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Active Dogs Running

The Best Gifts for a Healthy & Active Pet

We all want to see our pets as happy and healthy as possible. With the holiday season quickly approaching, now is a great time to consider which gifts will make your furry little friends the happiest and healthiest. Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital has created a short list of some great gift ideas that every pet in your life will love.

Read on for more information, and if you are looking for veterinary services for your pet, contact Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital today!

Gifts for Dogs & Cats

Squeak & Bell Toys

It is no secret that our four-legged friends LOVE a nice squeaky toy, but what you may not know is that they also have many health benefits. Toys that squeak encourage your pet to engage in healthy, exciting, and active play. According to Kimberly Alt from the Canine Journal, the squeaking of these toys also provides instant feedback to your pet that their bite is strong and will keep them interested for longer.

Unfortunately, pets are known for ripping these to shreds to get to the squeaker inside, but there are many squeak toys on the market now made out of semi-hard rubber that will help protect the toy for longer. Of course, dogs come in all shapes and sizes; luckily, so do these! When you’re shopping, make sure to buy the right size for the breed that you are buying for.

Cats may not take to squeaky toys as much, as they like to pounce and swat at their toys instead of chewing. For a great cat alternative, consider toys with a bell inside. This way, when they swat at them, they get similar audio feedback that encourages continued play.

Reflective Gear

Running together is a great way to keep you and your pet active, happy, and healthy while also providing bonding opportunities. If you enjoy the occasional night run with your pup, these products are for you!

Just about every dog walking accessory these days has a reflective alternative. From full vests to leashes and collars, there is no shortage of readily available options. If you or someone in your life is an avid runner, definitely check these out.

Slow Feeders

In some cases, pets overexcite themselves at feeding time and can fall into the habit of binge eating their food so quickly that they make themselves sick. Slow feeders are essentially feeding bowls (also sold to fit into your existing bowl) that make food harder to access (without being impossible).

These feeders are a great way to promote healthy eating habits for both dogs and cats. By making the food harder to get to, your pet must be active while eating, working at the bowl and the food in order to get every last bite. Although it may sound frustrating for your pet, in most cases they enjoy the challenge, and because they have to eat slower, the chances of them overeating go down significantly.

Car Seats

Yes, car seats. It may sound ridiculous but according to Pet Pro Supply Co., out of the 80% of pet owners who regularly drive with their pets in the car, only 16% of them use proper restraints.

Taking your dog or cat with you in the car is an inevitability, and you should be able to take your pet out when you’d like. Trips to the dog park for some fun social activities, or to the vet, pet sitter, or just general travel are great, but it is incredibly important that it is done the safest way possible.

Car seats not only provide some much-needed protection for your pet in the case of a crash but can also prevent you from getting into a crash by keeping your pet in place, away from the wheel and pedals.

Gifts for Bunnies

The best toys for bunnies are toys that will soothe and file their constantly growing teeth. Some great gifts for our floppy-eared friends include straw or wicker baskets and stuffed logs for treats, but it’s quite easy to make them yourself as well!

To make a homemade bunny treat, simply place your bunny’s favorite treat, food, hay, or a mixture of all of them into an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll and twist the ends closed securely. The smell and the rattle from the fillings are great for catching and keeping their attention, and they will likely work tirelessly at it until they can get to the good stuff inside.

Gifts for Pet Rodents

Small rodents make great pets and create lifelong bonds with their owners. A great way to keep your guinea pig, hamster, mouse, or rat happy and healthy this holiday season is to get them something that keeps them moving. If you have a pet rodent, you probably already have some kind of wheel for cage play and a ball for house play, but there are other great options as well!

Consider getting them a tunnel system for their enclosure. There are many sets you can buy that will come with a pre-determined layout but they can also be modular and can be bought separately depending on what you are looking for specifically. Also, much like bunnies, hamsters and guinea pigs love everything wicker. There is no shortage of wicker toy styles. From balls to full structures, wicker is a safe option for the pet rodent in your life!

The Gift of Health

Although pet toys sound like they’re all fun and games, choosing the right toys can have great effects on the health and wellbeing of your pet. Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital hope that you and your pets have a fantastic upcoming holiday season. Bring joy into you and your pet’s life with gifts that promote healthy habits and active play.

If you are looking for veterinary services, contact Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment!

senior pet

Caring for Your Senior Pet: A Gentle Approach

No matter how old or experienced you are, watching your dog or cat grow old never gets easier.

Our pets are family, and watching them change and face the challenges of aging can take a heavy emotional toll ‒ but there are ways you can cope better and help your furry loved one feel comforted and loved every step of the way.

When it comes to caring for your senior pet, we recommend taking a compassionate and gentle approach. In this article, Walhalla Veterinary Hospital will explore everything you need to know about caring for older dogs and cats.

Based in West Union, SC, our animal hospital welcomes dogs and cats of all ages throughout Oconee County and the surrounding areas. Contact us today if you’d like to schedule a wellness visit with one of our veterinarians.

Do Your Research

There’s no predicting what types of challenges your dog or cat will face in old age, but you can better prepare by understanding more about their breed and expected lifespan.

Not all dogs have the same lifespan. Some breeds live longer than others, while some develop health problems earlier in life. Larger dogs, like Great Danes and Mastiffs, for example, tend to have a shorter lifespan. They generally don’t live longer than ten years, while smaller dogs can live upwards of 13+ years.

With cats, owners can typically expect their feline companions to live between 10 to 20 years, as the lifespan of breeds doesn’t vary quite as much as with dogs.

Know Common Health Problems in Senior Dogs & Cats

Regardless of the expected lifespan for your particular breed of dog or cat, it’s essential to understand the types of health problems that can arise in older pets. Geriatric pets are more susceptible to developing:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease

Some of these conditions are more common in cats than in dogs ‒ and vice versa ‒ and the risk of them occurring increases with age. The sooner you can identify early signs of disease or aging, the sooner you can get your pet the medical care and attention they need for a longer and higher quality of life.

Changes in your dog or cat’s personality and interest levels are the telltale signs that something may be wrong with their health. Schedule an appointment with a veterinarian if your pet is also exhibiting appetite changes, significant weight loss or gain, excessive urination, drinking, and/or drooling, or increased difficulty moving.

Keep an Eye on Behavioral Changes

Like humans, pets go through many changes in health, personality, and behavior as they age.

Sound sensitivities or decreased responsiveness to your commands may indicate hearing loss, for example. If your dog or cat begins to bump into objects frequently or shows signs of fear and hesitation going up or downstairs, they may be experiencing vision loss. Dogs and cats can also experience a decrease in appetite or show less of a desire to participate in activities they once enjoyed.

House soiling, irritability, increased aggression, or isolation are also some other behavioral changes that can occur with age ‒ but there could be underlying diseases or conditions to blame, so always keep up with your pet’s annual or bi-annual wellness visits and blood work.

Nourish Your Pet

Proper nutrition is essential at all stages in an animal’s life, but as your dog or cat gets older, they’re more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies and subsequent health problems.

As their bones and muscles grow weaker, geriatric pets require foods with adequate protein and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Foods high in fiber and antioxidants will also better protect your pet’s skin, coat, and digestion.

Work closely with your veterinarian to navigate your pet’s unique nutritional needs. Some pets may need to consume lower levels of calories or protein, while others may require special foods or supplements. If you’re unsure of your pet’s nutritional needs, or if it’s been a while since they had blood work done, contact Walhalla Veterinary Hospital today.

Stay Active

Older pets are more likely to slow down, sleep more, and play less as they age ‒ but keeping them active can help them maintain their health, well-being, and quality of life.

Go for shorter walks with your dog. Monitor how long they can walk until they begin to slow down or limp. Don’t force them to walk further if they are exhibiting signs of pain or fatigue. To keep them stimulated, explore new locations together, like a nearby hiking trail or park.

Does your cat play in a tall jungle gym? Once they reach old age, consider replacing this with a smaller and shorter jungle gym to limit jumping and tumbling-related injuries. If your cat enjoys going outdoors or climbing trees, limit how frequently they go outside to prevent injuries or introduce them to new indoor toys.

The bottom line: The more care and attention you show your pet, the happier and more stimulated they’ll be. Talk to them and play with them every day and remind them of how much they are loved ‒ this can be the best medicine for an older pet.

Caring for Our Pets As They Get Older

Watching our pets grow old is challenging and very often heartbreaking – but by taking a gentle approach to caring for your senior pet, you can make their remaining years as enjoyable, loveable, and happy as ever.

Are you the owner of an older cat or dog? Is your pet showing signs of aging? Walhalla Veterinary Hospital invites pet owners throughout West Union, SC, and Oconee County to contact us today. We’re happy to schedule a wellness visit, routine blood work, and an examination of your furry family member!

Adopting a dog

Tips to Prepare for Adopting a Cat or Dog

Adopting a cat or dog requires much more than providing water, food, and shelter. To properly care and provide for a companion animal, you should research and carefully plan to ensure their lifestyle and needs match your availability and commitment.

Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, is here to help you properly prepare for your pet adoption. Pets bring immense happiness to their owners, which is why over 1.6 billion are adopted each year. We have come up with a list of tips to guide you through this exciting and love-filled time. Please contact us today if you have any questions or concerns for your pet!

Readiness

Puppies and kittens sound adorable to have by your side through the tough times and daily life, but you must realize they are living, breathing animals who grow and need a lot of attention and care. Dogs and cats could be a 15-20 year commitment, and you must be willing to dedicate your life to them for that time.

As life has its ups and downs throughout the years, you have to remember that your pet is your priority and responsibility to keep safe, healthy, and happy. This includes ensuring they receive enough exercise, companionship, and supervision.

Please consider your time, flexibility, finances, and living conditions before committing to adopting a cat or dog.

Finding The Right Pet

There are plenty of options when it comes to adopting the perfect pet for you. Rescues and shelters are experts at helping find the dog or cat that suits your lifestyle best. If you are looking for a specific breed and are looking to go through a breeder, you must research the breed and breeder.

You should consider your household, how many people live with you (children and adults), and if your space and time have room for a pet. Cats are known to be graceful, independent, playful, and sensitive, while dogs are very social animals who need quality companionship and attention from their owners.

Make sure to do your research and ensure you are adopting your pet from a reliable source that is true regarding their health and necessities.

When adopting a cat or dog, please examine the following to ensure they are in good health:

  • Clean, soft coat with no external parasites
  • Clear eyes with no redness or discharge
  • Clean, odor-free ears
  • Healthy skin with no sores
  • Solid-body structure
  • No signs of coughing, congestion, or diarrhea
  • Vaccinations up to date

Adopting a Cat or Dog & Preparing Your Home

Many household items may not seem dangerous to us, but they can be very harmful to pets or small children. If your garbage is open or there are toxic plants in reach, your pet can get into something they aren’t supposed to and become very ill.

We encourage all owners to keep their house pet-friendly and protect all animals from getting stuck in wires, harmed in prohibited areas, or eating unknown materials. We have developed a list of things you can check in your home to ensure the safety for your new furry family member.

  • Ensure all plants are out of reach and not poisonous to pets.
  • Hide all hazardous wires that are in your pet’s reach.
  • Avoid long cords or tassels on blinds and curtains that can strangle or choke a pet.
  • Ensure your pet has a comfortable area in each room, so you can avoid them ruining any furniture.
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of chew items to prevent nibbling on your furniture and other possessions.
  • Provide a crate for training purposes.

Let Us Help You Welcome Your Furry Family Member

Millions of pets out there need homes, and if you believe you are ready to have your own, you can find the perfect one for you. We encourage you to address each of our tips and ensure you are prepared to take on the commitment of a dog or cat.

Adopting a cat or dog isn’t easy, but you can make the process run smoothly with love, dedication, and proper care. Bush Animal Clinic is here to guide you through each stage of your pet’s life, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. If you’re a pet owner in Albany, GA, Dougherty County, or the surrounding areas, contact us today!

cat looking out window at storm

A Safety Plan for Your Pet This Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is here. As a pet owner, you want to keep your animal family safe and protected under any and all circumstances. While there’s no way to predict how this hurricane season will pan out, there are lots of safety measures you can take to ensure your pet stays healthy and safe.

To protect the health and welfare of pets throughout Stevenson, AL, and the surrounding areas, North Jackson Animal Clinic is here to explore everything pet owners need to know and prepare for in the event of a hurricane.

Here’s a safety plan for your pet this hurricane season!

Have Your Pet’s ID Ready

Pets should wear ID tags at all times, but it’s important that they wear them during hurricane season. That way, you won’t have to scramble trying to find your pet’s ID if they run off and get lost.

Consider Microchipping

Torrential thunderstorms, heavy winds, and tornadoes are common between June and October. Some animals are easily frightened by these weather events and are prone to running away.

Unfortunately, collars and ID tags can easily break and fall off. By microchipping your dog or cat, you can increase the chances of having them returned if they run away or get lost.

Stock Up on Your Pet’s Medication

Like humans, some pets rely on daily or weekly medication. If a hurricane makes landfall, there’s no predicting how soon you’ll be able to pick up your pet’s prescription medication.

Talk to your veterinarian and inquire about getting a two-week supply of your pet’s prescription. Even if your pet doesn’t rely on prescription medication, they may be coming up on their next round of heartworm medication.

Keep in mind that hurricane season also coincides with flea and tick season. Have your pet’s next doses of heartworm and tick medication ready to go if you’re unable to see the veterinarian in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Get Your Pet Vaccinated

In addition to stocking up on any medication for your pet, now is a good time to get them caught up on their vaccinations.

In the event that you and your family take shelter in close proximity with other families, vaccines can prevent the spread of kennel cough and disease among your pets. Vaccines can also provide an extra layer of protection from disease should your pet go missing for an extended period of time after a hurricane or bad weather.

Make extra copies of their vaccination records and consolidate them in one folder for easy access.

Create an Emergency Pet Kit

When an emergency weather alert or hurricane watch goes into effect, don’t scurry at the last minute trying to gather all of your pet’s essentials. By creating a portable emergency kit for your pet, you’ll be able to grab it and go at a moment’s notice.

What should your pet’s emergency kit contain?

  • Collar with identification
  • Leash
  • Harness
  • Extra leash & collar
  • Medical & vaccination documentation
  • Rabies certificate
  • Two weeks worth of food
  • Clean water
  • Water & food bowls
  • Prescription medication
  • Kitty litter & litter box
  • Pet waste bags or puppy pads
  • Pet treats

Consider bringing a crate or carrier to wherever you may shelter. Because your pet will be going to the bathroom indoors, you don’t want to forget cleaning supplies!

Keep Your Pet Calm During Bad Weather

Your entire family ‒ including your pet ‒ is prepared. Once a hurricane or bad weather strikes, what else can you do to keep your pets safe?

Pets can experience anxiety during major storms or away from home. It might be a good idea to pack their bed, favorite toy, or blanket to comfort them.

Keep your pets close and indoors. Speak to them in a soothing voice and comfort them to alleviate their anxiety. You can also read up on how to understand your pet’s mental health and discover ways to console them during bad weather.

Keeping Our Pets Healthy & Safe This Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is inevitable in the Southeastern United States. By being proactive and preparing before a hurricane makes landfall, you can protect your pet and keep them healthy and safe, no matter what kind of weather comes your way.

North Jackson Animal Clinic is also here to protect our animal patients and their families. We recommend scheduling a checkup for your pet to ensure they’re all up to date on their vaccinations.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions and concerns regarding your pet’s health and safety. We hope you and your animal family stay safe!

little girl with dog

Animals & Children: How to Build a Pawsitive Relationship

The loving and unforgettable bond a child can have with an animal can be monumental to their identity, development, empathy, and self-esteem. Every parent wants their children and pets to live in harmony with each other, but the unpredictability of both young children and animals can lead to unfortunate ‒ and sometimes traumatic ‒ events.

At Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital, we want the best for our pet patients and their human families. In this article, we’ll explore building a pawsitive relationship between animals and children to ensure the safety and well-being of all in your household.

If you’d like to speak to a veterinarian directly and are located in Bainbridge, GA, or Decatur County, we encourage you to get in touch with us today. Otherwise, let’s get started!

Supervise Young Children & Animals

Young children do not yet grasp the ability to control their emotions and are prone to impulsive behaviors that can be scary, stressful, or directly inflicted upon animals.

We recommend parents are actively present and provide their undivided attention when a child who is six years old or younger interacts with a pet.

Active supervision is also highly recommended if your infant, toddler, or young child spends time around unfamiliar animals, such as a neighbor or babysitter’s dog, for example. Knowing a dog’s history around children can be beneficial but not indicative of future interactions. So, it’s better to approach all interactions between animals and young children with a level of caution.

As your child gets older and develops a relationship with the family pet, you can become more passive in your level of supervision. However, it’s important to know how to facilitate positive interactions and build trust before you allow children and animals to spend exclusive time with one another.

Minimize Harmful Behaviors Towards Animals

Positive interactions build positive relationships. It seems simple, but like humans, animals are emotional and are prone to experiencing and responding to fear, stress, and anger.

For dogs and cats, interactions with children mustn’t be scary or stressful ‒ they should be comforting and compassionate. However, the unpredictability of children’s behavior can often scare or harm pets unintentionally and subsequently lead to behaviors like growling, hissing, snapping, scratching, or biting.

With that said, you can explain to your child that the following behaviors can scare animals and cause them to react aggressively:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Grabbing
  • Poking
  • Teasing
  • Pulling tails
  • Sitting on or trying to ride animals

These behaviors can even be scary to kids, so it may be helpful to explain them in these relatable terms.

When cats or dogs are eating or playing, children also shouldn’t grab or try to take away their food or toys. Even hugging can induce stress in some dogs and cats, so until your pet and child have developed a closer relationship, or you understand your pet’s triggers, err on the side of caution when it comes to hugging.

Know When Your Dog or Cat Is Scared/Stressed

By understanding your pet’s body language, you can quickly identify when your pet may potentially react to fear or stress and cause harm to a child. Here are the tell-tale signs that your dog or cat may be stressed, uncomfortable, or afraid:

  • Excessive grooming, barking or whining
  • Side-eyeing or dilated pupils
  • Yawning
  • Hiding
  • Pacing
  • Shaking

Dogs and cats that are stressed may also tuck in their tails or flatten their ears. If your pet exhibits any of these signs, it’s best to avoid yelling, gently separate your child, and give your dog or cat space.

The state of your pet’s long-term mental health can also affect their relationships with children and the rest of your family. By understanding pet mental health, you can better identify signs of stress, irritability, and discomfort in your dog or cat and prevent aggressive behavior.

Redirect Behavior & Encourage Bonding Time

The more interaction between your child and pet, the more opportunity there is for their relationship to grow. With your supervision, have your child take part in your pet’s day-to-day care, like feeding them, filling their water bowls, brushing them, or taking them for a walk.

When your child behaves in a way that may frighten or harm an animal, you can redirect them to do something more positive.

For example, if your child pulls your dog or cat’s tail, explain to them, “We don’t pull their tail. Let’s pet them softly instead.”

On the flip side, when your child is gentle and kind towards their dog or cat, praise them. Similarly, you should praise your pet when they interact gently with children, up close and at a distance.

Let’s Build a Pawsitive Relationship with Your Pets & Children

As a leading animal clinic that has served Bainbridge, GA, since 1968, Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital has witnessed the incredible bond that children and pets can share ‒ and we’ve seen what these relationships can do not only for children but for the health and well-being of animals, too.

As a parent, you want the best for your children. By nurturing a harmonious relationship between your pets and children, you can teach your child how to have a lifelong love and appreciation for all animals.

One of the first steps you can take to foster pawsitive animal-children relationships is making sure your pet is healthy. If you’re located in Bainbridge, GA, or Decatur County, contact us today to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian!

cat thinking

4 Pet Myths: Debunked!

A cat always lands on its feet… A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s…

We’ve all heard these tales about dogs and cats ‒ but just because people have always said these things doesn’t make them true.

In reality, following these myths and urban legends can make all the difference for the health and well-being of our pets. As a pet owner, you want the best for your canine companion or feline friend ‒ so you should educate yourself and learn the truth behind these stories.

Northside Animal Hospital is here to debunk four of the most common pet myths, once and for all. If you’re located in the Valdosta, GA, region and would like to schedule a veterinarian appointment for your pet, contact us today!

A Dry Nose Means Your Dog Is Sick

Did you know that a dog’s nose needs to be wet to function properly? Thanks to a mixture of saliva and mucus, a wet nose regulates a dog’s body temperature and also helps them smell better and identify odors.

With that said, it’s commonly believed that if a dog’s nose is dry, something is wrong ‒ but this is not always the case. It’s true that a dry nose can be a sign of dehydration; but in most cases, a dog’s nose dries out from being in a warm environment, allergies, or old age. A dog’s nose naturally dries out while they sleep, as well.

A frequently dry nose, or one that cracks and bleeds, may be cause for concern. If your dog suddenly seems unwell, a dry nose is not always the first sign to indicate that something is wrong. Instead, pay attention to these signs:

  • Low energy & lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive drinking or drooling
  • Foul breath
  • Heavy panting
  • Difficulty moving or climbing up/down stairs

Reach out to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian if your dog is currently experiencing any of these symptoms or if their nose is frequently dry, cracked, or bleeding.

Cats Purr Because They’re Happy

Curled up, eyes half closed, and purring are all signs that your cat is happy, right?

For the most part, yes ‒ cats purr when they’re happy, comfortable, and relaxed. But they also purr as a means of communicating their needs.

Cats tend to purr when they’re hungry. How can you tell the difference? A hungry cat will let out a normal purr or mew with troublesome undertones. This type of purring is most common in the mornings. If your cat is rounding your feet and looking up at you while they’re purring, this is another sign that they’re hungry.

Cats also purr as a means of relieving themselves when they’re scared or physically hurt. Some studies even suggest that the low frequency of vibrations caused by purring can stimulate muscles and bones. This means purring may have the potential to repair muscle, heal injuries, support bones, and reduce pain and inflammation, and even combat stress.

Typically speaking, purring is a sign that your cat is content, but you shouldn’t overlook it, either.

A Dog’s Mouth Is Cleaner Than a Human’s

Our dogs love to show us their affection by plopping slobbery kisses on your faces… but the next time your dog runs up to lick you, you may want to reconsider allowing them to! Because contrary to the old adage, a dog’s mouth is not necessarily cleaner than a human’s.

Like humans, dogs’ mouths are full of bacterial microbes, most of which aren’t harmful to us. So generally speaking, the possibility of catching a disease after a dog licks your face is minuscule.

Still, dogs sniff and lick any variety of things around the house and in nature, meaning their mouths could sometimes harbor bacteria humans aren’t typically exposed to. Additionally, dogs who are prone to eating fecal matter can potentially pass on parasites or zoonotic bacteria ‒ so err with a side of caution before you let your dog lick you or jump into bed with you.

Even though you may not brush your dog’s teeth as frequently as your own, it’s important to bring them to the veterinarian for a regular oral checkup. Professional teeth cleanings for dogs can remove gum disease, minimize bad breath, and prevent widespread bacterial infection. If it’s time to schedule an oral checkup for your dog, contact us today.

Cats Always Land On Their Feet

It’s true that cats are graceful on their feet, and while they have a superior balancing system known as a “righting reflex”, cats aren’t always capable of landing on their feet.

The “righting reflex” does allow a cat to orient themselves, making them more likely to land on their feet when they’re falling ‒ all thanks to the vestibular apparatus inside their ear that helps them balance and maneuver their head and body accordingly. Their naturally angled legs also help with this.

That doesn’t mean the “righting reflex” is flawless. The height at which a cat falls has a lot to do with whether they land on their feet or not. The higher the fall, the more time the cat has to brace their bodies and feet.

So, while cats do land on their feet more often than not, cat owners should still be careful. Cats aren’t invincible to injuries. If your cat is an avid climber, or if you live in a tall building or next to tall trees, it’s a good idea to keep your windows closed and install any other safeguards to protect your cat from escaping and falling.

Don’t Believe the Pet Myths ‒ Always Call a Veterinarian!

When it comes to the health and safety of your pet, take pet myths, legends, and friendly, non-expert advice with a grain of salt. If you ever have questions or concerns about your dog or cat’s behavior, demeanor, physical, or emotional well-being, always turn to a veterinarian.

Are you located in the Valdosta, GA, area? Contact Northside Animal Hospital today to schedule an appointment for your pet.

dog & cat in summer

A Summer Health & Safety Guide for Your Pet

With summertime around the corner, we are excited for beach days, sunshine, and outdoor adventures. However, higher temperatures come with the fun of Summer. We all want our furry companions to enjoy the outdoors with us as much as they can, but we must take precautions during the hotter months to keep them safe and healthy.

Pets can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat strokes, more injuries, and other mishaps during the summer season. We are here to offer some valuable tips that will help provide a safe and healthy summer for your pet. If you’re located in Southwest Georgia and need to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian for your dog or cat, contact Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, today.

Don’t Leave Your Pet in Your Car

Maybe you are just running into the store to pick up something quickly or need to go inside somewhere fast. It doesn’t matter. You should never leave any pet in a vehicle, whether it is running or not. It can only take a matter of minutes for an animal to suffer from heatstroke, organ damage, or even death when stuck inside a hot car.

If you must drive around with your dog in the car on a hot day, be sure to make water and air conditioning accessible, and take them out of the car when you get out. You can make all the difference and save your pet’s life.

Visit the Vet for an Early Summer Checkup

You want your furry family member to enjoy the summer season just as much as you, so get them appropriately prepared. During the summer season, your dog or animal could be at risk for Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or heart worm if they are not protected.

There are plenty of other nasty and dangerous conditions that pets can fall victim to during the hotter months. It’s better to be safe than sorry and schedule a visit with your vet as soon as possible before the hot days creep in.

Provide Lots of Water & Shade

Our pets don’t sweat the way we do, which is why we have to keep them cool in other ways. It is essential that you make fresh water and shade are easily accessible for your furry friend during the summertime. We even recommend setting up a little kitty pool, sprinkler system, or hose outside for your dog to play in and keep cool at the same time.

Just like humans, our pets need water and shade to stay healthy and safe in the heat. Since our dogs can’t let us know what they need, it’s our job to do our best to provide them with it.

Protect the Paws

Pets can also suffer from sunburn and heat blisters, especially on their paws. We love taking our pups on long walks and enjoying the fresh air together. However, it is in their best interest and health during the hotter months to keep the walk duration to a minimum.

Hot asphalt can not only burn paws, but the heat can transfer to the body, causing overheating. You should be aware of the following symptoms, which indicate overheating:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling
  • & more!

Help Your Pet Enjoy Summer

The mentioned tips are just a few ways to keep your pet protected and safe throughout the hot months. There are various ways to help your pet enjoy the summertime and remain healthy and happy. You don’t have to restrict your activities or leave your pup at home. We are pleased to help you modify your ways to accommodate your furry friend’s needs.

For more tips on keeping your pet safe and healthy for the summer, please contact Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, today. We welcome pets throughout Southwest Georgia to our animal hospital!

celebrating national pet month

Fun Ways to Celebrate National Pet Month

Did you know that May is National Pet Month? We’re sure you love giving your pet plenty of care and attention throughout the year, but this month offers the perfect opportunity to not only appreciate and play more with your pet, but also celebrate the joys of pet ownership.

As a trusted veterinary clinic in Stevenson, AL, we know the importance of good pet ownership at North Jackson Animal Clinic. That’s why we’re proud to share some fun ways for you and your pet to make the most of this National Pet Month.

What is National Pet Month?

National Pet Month takes place annually in May and commemorates the benefits that companion animals bring to people and the other way around. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey 2019-2020, 67% of U.S. households own a pet. With so many pet owners nationwide, National Pet Month seeks to highlight charities working for animal welfare, pet-related business, and pet lovers.

This month of celebration has several objectives:

  • Promoting responsible pet ownership
  • Acknowledging the mutual benefits of living with pets
  • Increasing public awareness about the importance of pet care specialists
  • Teaching the importance of working and assistance companion animals

Activities to Enjoy During National Pet Month

Go Exploring

Not every pet enjoys traveling, even over short distances, but finding an ideal spot for them to enjoy could be worth it. Try visiting a dog-friendly park or restaurant with your dog to encourage some exercise and social interaction. A cat might also enjoy visiting the pet store to see the fish and birds, or to pick out some new treats. Even just a quick drive around town can let your pet experience some new sights and sounds.

Give Your Pet a Gift

It may not be your pet’s birthday, but National Pet Month sure seems like the perfect time to get them a gift. Help your cat or dog look their best with a new collar or accessory. Spoil them with a yummy treat, a fun toy, or a new bed. If you’re more of a DIYer, you could even try your hand at making your own pet treats and toys.

Have a Photo Shoot

Capture the spirit of your furry friend with a photo shoot. While most pets aren’t keen on staying still for too long, you can always follow them around with your camera or phone and snap pictures of them living their normal lives. For higher quality pet portraits, consider hiring a professional photographer; that way you’ll be able to take a memorable photo with your pet that you can frame and cherish forever.

Pamper Your Pet

Just like humans, pets deserve to look and feel their best. Schedule a grooming appointment for your pet so they can enjoy some proper pampering. From a bath and a haircut to nail trimming, ear cleaning, and more, it can be a great opportunity to boost your pet’s mood.

Volunteer at a Local Animal Shelter

During National Pet Month, it’s important to not only value your own pet, but all pets. Many animal shelters would be grateful for extra help and gladly welcome volunteers. If you already enjoy spending time with animals, why not make some new furry friends and help them find their forever homes? If you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can always contribute by donating to your local animal shelter.

Adopt a New Pet

Have you been considering adding a new pet to your family? Now’s the perfect time! There are plenty of dogs, cats, and small animals at local animal shelters that have a lot of love to offer and desperately need new homes. If you’re unable to adopt a new pet yourself, try encouraging friends and family to find a new animal companion, and be sure to promote responsible pet ownership.

Celebrating Pets & Pet Ownership

As a pet owner, you know how important it is to cherish your pets and the joy they bring into your life. No matter how you choose to celebrate this National Pet Month, we hope you have fun and take some time to share your love of pets with others.

Stay tuned to our blog for more pet tips and information; and if it’s time to schedule a wellness appointment for your pet, be sure to contact our team at North Jackson Animal Clinic.

cat scratching fleas

Preparing Your Pet for Flea & Tick Season

As the weather gets warmer and spring flowers begin to bloom, it is the perfect time to get outside with your pet. There’s nothing better than a nice walk or hike with your dog or lounging on the porch with your cat. But with the warm Georgia weather comes the risk of pesky fleas and ticks.

Fleas and ticks irritate your pet, impact their health, and can even end up infesting your home if left untreated. In order to keep your pet as happy and healthy as possible, we have simple but effective tips to avoid fleas and ticks this season.

If you have concerns about fleas and ticks and want to take proactive measures to protect your pet, contact Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital today.

Medications

One of the most effective ways to prepare your pet for flea and tick season is by applying medicine monthly. There are several medication options, including topical treatments, chewable pills, and flea collars.

If you are unsure of what medications to use, contact our veterinary clinic, and one of our veterinarians will advise you on the best flea and tick products for your pet.

Keep Bird Feeders and Bird Baths Away From Pet Areas

This may come as a surprise to many pet owners, but fleas and ticks are attracted to bird feeders and birdbaths. You should move these items away from areas where your pet spends a lot of time.

You should also make sure your pet does not drink from water sources potentially shared with insects.

Tend to Your Lawn

Mowing the lawn and trimming your bushes does more than make your home look good. Trees, bushes, and grass are prime breeding grounds for fleas and ticks. That’s why it’s essential to stay on top of your lawn maintenance.

If you have a garden, it may be a good idea to fence it off, so your pet does not have access to it. And if you take your dog for a walk, it’s important to avoid areas with overgrown grass.

Give Regular Baths

Your pet may not love bath time, but it’s worth the extra grooming to keep disease-carrying pests at bay. Fur that is dirty or matted may attract fleas and ticks.

Also, if a pest does attach to your dog or cat, an unkempt coat may make it difficult to detect, potentially causing more harm and discomfort.

Wash Your Pet’s Bedding & Toys

One of the most worrying and stressful impacts of fleas and ticks is an infestation in your home. If fleas or ticks attach to your pet, your pet may bring them inside where they can lay eggs.

Washing your pet’s bedding and toys or any area that they frequent regularly can help prevent an outbreak.

What Do I Do If My Pet Has a Flea or Tick?

If you find that your pet has fleas or ticks, time is of the essence. You want to eradicate the pests as soon as possible for your pet’s sake and your home’s sake.

There are several shampoos and other products that can get rid of fleas and ticks. You should always check with your veterinarian before trying any treatment.

The Takeaway?

As the weather gets warmer, you can take many preventative measures to keep your pet protected from fleas and ticks. Medications, lawn maintenance, and grooming are all simple steps you can take to keep your dog or cat safe from disease and discomfort.

If you ever have any questions about how to prevent fleas and ticks or how to treat them, you should check with your veterinarian for the best course of action. Contact Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital today. Our team is always happy to help

happy dog pet mental health

Understanding & Improving Your Pet’s Mental Health

It’s scientifically proven that having a pet companion can reduce depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

When people are having a rough day or struggling through something, it’s apparent — our personality is affected, and those we’re closest with notice and (hopefully) provide solace. Even in situations when we need to be all alone to feel better, we still take comfort in the presence of our pets. Our four-legged friends are there for us to bring love and joy when we’re feeling lonely or dealing with mental hardships.

But what about pet mental health? How do we as compassionate, grateful pet owners return the favor and protect their wellbeing?

Pet Depression & Anxiety — What to Look For

1. Apathy

Loss of interest is a symptom of depression in both people and pets. When our friends suddenly stop caring about activities they once loved, that’s a clear indicator that something is wrong. Does your dog seem disinterested in their daily walk? Could your cat care less about the stick toy that once brought them excitement? These are signs to be aware of, especially if your cat or dog has additional symptoms.

2. Frequent or Infrequent Grooming

Is your cat or dog overdoing or under-doing their self-care? Dogs with anxiety tend to excessively lick their paws to soothe themselves when experiencing physiological distress. On the other hand, kitties are known to lick themselves clean throughout the day. If you notice your cat’s coat has become dull or matted due to decreased grooming, it would be a good idea to check in on them how you would like a friend who has gone far too long without showering.

3. Distance

It can be heartbreaking when a cat or dog that was once cuddly, ready to play, and always at your side suddenly starts to keep their distance from you. While it’s easy to take this personally, it’s important to remember that behavior like this is a symptom of a pet mental health problem.

Pet Depression & Anxiety — How to Help

1. Positive Attention

Spend quality time with your pet partaking in healthy activities they love. Pencil in extra play time, longer walks, and even some tasty treats to keep them engaged. However, while we want to comfort our animal companions when they’re down in the dumps, try not to reward or praise them when they’re sulking — this may send the wrong message.

2. A New Friend

Has your pet been spending more time alone at home recently? Perhaps you’re back at the office after an extended period working from home. Or, your pet is dealing with an even greater loss, like the loss of a human or fellow-animal friend (yes, pets can experience grief). Bringing home a new best friend for them to play with could improve their mood and allow you to focus on your responsibilities without fear your animal companion isn’t getting the attention they deserve.

3. Medications

Similar to people, the right medication can improve your pet’s mental state. Some common medications used to treat anxiety and depression in cats and dogs may even already be in your medicine cabinet. Commonly prescribed medications for pets include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Zoloft. Contact us if you think a pet antidepressant or mood stabilizer will improve their quality of life, and we’ll work together to find the right fit.

Blackshear Veterinary Hospital — Keeping Your Pet Happy

At Blackshear Veterinary Hospital, we’re passionate about pets and the people who care for them. We see emotional concerns as troubling as physical ones. We’ll do our best to ensure your best friend is loving at their best. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment to talk about your furry friends mental health!