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.

puppy on a treadmill

Exercise Ideas for Pets During Wintertime

From a pet’s point of view from the window, winter presents plenty of possibilities for stimulating play. For many cooped up cats and dogs, they find snow and other seasonal elements to be entrancing… until they’re outside and feel the bitter cold.

But should fewer trips outside mean less exercise for your pet? No, it shouldn’t! North Jackson Animal Clinic in Stevenson, AL, explores pet exercise tips to keep your animal companion happy and healthy all winter long.

Keeping Your Furry Friend Safe & Warm If You Go Outdoors

Be Attentive to Your Dog’s Needs

There’s nothing wrong with taking your dog on a stroll when it’s on the colder side. The same goes for your outdoor cat. But when it’s bitterly cold outdoors, keep an eye out for warning signs that the weather might be too much for your pet.

Depending on their breed, dogs respond differently to chilly conditions. Dogs with shorter coats and shorter legs tend to feel the effects of the cold much quicker than long-haired, thick-coated animals

Age is another deterrent for winter walks. During their golden years, older dogs can struggle with walking on snow and ice and are more likely to fall. On freezing days, you may want to skip on the winter adventure and wait for a slightly warmer day.

If you have a cat who enjoys the outdoors, you may want to keep them indoors on those brutally cold days.

Dress Your Pet for the Weather

Humans bundle up when bracing for the bitter cold, so why shouldn’t our pets?

You may think their fur will keep them warm enough, but their fur can only protect them so much. When going on a wintertime walk, deck out your trusted companion with warm apparel. Not only will they look cute, but they’ll be better prepared for the conditions outside.

When dressing your dog up for the weather, be cautious — some dogs don’t enjoy jackets and may try to escape from them. In certain situations, this can lead to suffocation. You’ll also want to protect their paws, so consider investing in dog boots to lessen the risk for frostbite.

Keeping Your Furry Friend Active & Entertained Inside

Take Them to School

It’s not summer camp; it’s winter camp! Enroll your dog in a class at a local center as a way to make the most of the winter season.

A class will keep your dog active and also allow them the opportunity to interact with their puppy pals and develop socialization skills. There’s an array of great offerings out there for pet stimulation, including swimming, obedience, and indoor agility classes.

The Classics

It may seem obvious, but a little bit more games of fetch, cat toys, and tug of war can go a long way when it comes to boosting your pet’s activity level.

If you have a long hallway in your home, make it your designated fetch or prey-catch spot. Carve out time throughout the day to play with your dog or cat (this can be the time you’d normally be walking them if the weather wasn’t a concern.)

Tug of war is a time-tested method of bonding and livening up your dog’s life. Although dogs love tug of war, it can make some dogs more aggressive. The good news? There are ways to play tug of war that’ll ensure the session is safe and productive.

Hit the Home Gym

Cardio machines aren’t just for people anymore! Dogs, too, enjoy getting their heart rate up at the home gym. There are a multitude of terrific treadmill options with diverse features.

When shopping, consider your budget, but also what will work best for your dog’s specific needs. What is their regular activity level? Do they need to lose weight? There’s an ideal option out there that’ll ensure your pet is stimulated throughout the winter season!

Your Pet’s Health is Our Priority Year-Round!

At Jackson Animal Clinic, we believe that our role in caring for pets isn’t just about regular vet visits, but providing tips to optimize their quality of life. Many humans and pets have a hard time adjusting to winter months, but we can get through it together with creative solutions and being attentive to needs. If you have questions about our veterinary services or other ways to keep your pet active, contact us today!

cat and dog on Christmas

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season

Cats, dogs, and other animals are always a gift and make a welcome addition to holiday festivities.
However, it’s important not to get carried away with the seasonal merriment as some holiday traditions can be hazardous to our furry friends. Below are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the people and pets in your family have a healthy and happy holiday.

Be Aware of Decorative Items

Christmas Trees, Ornaments, Tinsel, etc.

Whether you’re a real or artificial tree family, one thing’s for certain: if you have a cat, they will likely want to climb on it. Both cats and dogs can enjoy playing with ornaments and other materials typically found on a Christmas tree. Climbing and toying with its decor can lead to the tree falling over and injuring your precious pet.

We suggest using a fishing line (or similar solution), secure your tree to a ceiling fan or door frame to prevent a fall.

In addition, you should keep your pets away from water in Christmas tree stands as it can be full of bacteria and make them sick.

Lights & Open Flames

We love (and need to) illuminate our spaces to feel the joy of the season, but if you have a puppy or kitty, you’ll want to be cautious. Baby animals are especially likely to chew on wires which can lead to electric shock.

We suggest going with lights that are low in voltage and purchasing chew-protective cords.

Seasonal Plants

Seasonal plants spread cheer, but they can also spread sickness in animals. When you think of the season, visuals of holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias may come to mind. Unfortunately, they can be the most harmful to animals. Mistletoe and holly contain toxicity level that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and death (if ingested in large amounts).

We suggest If you choose to get any of the above plants, place them somewhere where it’s inaccessible for your pet. Check out this list of safe alternatives that provide the same festive effect!

Be Mindful of Foods That Aren’t Pet-Friendly

Hanukkah Treats

Most dog-owners know that chocolate and dogs do not mix. You’ll want to be especially careful when it comes to chocolate gold coins as the foil wrapping can lead to intestinal issues when digested.

In addition, make sure sufganiyot (doughnuts) and latkes are far from your pet’s reach, as it can bring on vomiting and diarrhea. Cats and dogs have a heightened risk of getting Heinz body amnea after ingesting latkes due to a signature ingredient (onions).

Christmas Dinner

While it may only seem fair for your pet to take part in your feast, you’ll want to avoid feeding them anything containing salt, citrus, xylitol (even scraps) as it can be harmful to your animal’s health.

Want to throw your dog a bone after dinner? It may seem like a great gift, but it’s not — this can cause severe health problems.

We suggest baking some treats just for them since they can’t enjoy human food!

Here’s to the Holiday & the New Year!

Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital wishes you and your family a happy holiday season! We look forward to helping your pet remain healthy in 2021. Don’t forget to schedule your pet wellness in the new year!

Halloween dog

Foods to Not Feed Feed Your Pets

Spooky season is upon us. Between the ghouls and goblins, candy and costumes – households are getting ready for trick or treating and other traditions. But if you’re a pet owner, Halloween can be frightening in more ways than one.

Halloween, while fun, can present some dangers to your pet, and we’re not talking about monsters or skeletons. We’re talking about harmful treats, foods to not feed your pets, and other hazards. Thankfully, Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA is here to help you understand potential risks your cat or dog may run into.

Dangerous Foods to Avoid

While kids love this time of year due to all the sugar and candy, (and let’s face it, adults enjoy it just as much) the treats we bring home can cause serious health problems if cats or dogs get their paws on them. We break down some of the most dangerous types of foods to not feed your pets:


Most pet owners know that while chocolate is delicious for us, they are toxic for dogs. It’s important to be extra cautious this time of year, as more chocolate is probably coming into the house. If eaten, chocolate can cause vomiting, seizures, and other health complications for dogs.


Raisins and grapes are one of the most dangerous foods for cats and dogs. Eating them can cause sudden kidney failure. So if your child brings home any chocolate covered raisins from trick or treating, make sure to keep them out of sight, where your cat or dog can’t access them.

Candy Corn

If candy has one ingredient, and that one ingredient is sugar, you can bet it’s not good for your pet. Candies like candy corn and pixie sticks can cause painful stomach issues for cats and dogs and should be avoided.

Coconut Treats

The milk and coconuts used in candy may cause your pet to have an upset stomach. While your pet may like the sweet flavor, it’s important to avoid human candy with coconut in the ingredients.

Hard Candy

While they may not be considered as toxic as chocolate or raisins, hard candy presents a huge choking hazard to cats and dogs. This is especially true for lollipops, when you consider the stick could harm your pet’s stomach if ingested.

Pretzels & Chips

These goodies may not be as popular as chocolate and sugar, but if your child comes home from trick or treating with small bags of pretzels or chips, it’s important to keep them away from your pet. In this case, the issue is not so much with the food itself, but the plastic bags they’re packaged in. If eaten, these plastic bags can obstruct your pet’s intestines.

Sugar Free Candy

Pet owners may assume that sugar free candy must be better for pets than sugary treats, that’s not always the case. In fact, sugar-free candy can be even more hazardous. This is because a common alternative sweetener in these sugar free candies and gums is Xylitol. If eaten by a cat or dog, Xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar which can cause seizures or other complications including liver damage, and even death.

If your pet eats any of these foods, call or visit Northside Animal Hospital as soon as possible. Our treatments can help prevent further complications.

Other Halloween Frights For Pets

It’s not just candy that poses risks for your furry friend during Halloween season. There are other dangers that present themselves this time of year. We explore some potential hazards to be aware of.


It’s hard to resist dressing up your pet in an adorable costume for Halloween. While dressing up your pet is fine, there are some factors you should consider when choosing the best costume for your cat or dog.
Make sure they are comfortable in their costume. If they are not, don’t force it on them. This can cause unnecessary stress. You should also avoid masks as it can impact their vision and breathing. No matter what costume you decide on, it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet to ensure that they are not chewing off pieces.


If you choose to ditch the clothing, and dye your pet a festive color, make sure the dye you use will not cause irritation or an allergic reaction. You also want to make sure it is non-toxic, in case your pet decides to try licking it off. Always avoid applying dye around the eye and mouth area to avoid irritation.


Decorations are fun, but as most pet owners know, your dog or cat may be curious about them. They may explore fake spider webs, rubber spiders, fake jewelry, or old jack-o-lanterns with their mouths. It’s important to keep these decorations out of reach, so your pet cannot ingest them, causing stomach issues that could lead to an emergency trip to the vet, or even surgery.

Door Dashing

If you are expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, it’s best to keep your cat or dog occupied in a place where they feel safe and comfortable, especially if you think the doorbell or knocking will bother them. If they get spooked or anxious, they may dash out the door as you hand out candy. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet contained in a crate during this time.

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets: It’s Not All Scary

While it may seem like there are a lot of hazards to avoid this Halloween season, the good news is, not all treats are bad! Your furry friend can still enjoy some Halloween fun. Just make sure whatever you feed them is meant for pets, not humans. If you choose to make your own pet-friendly Halloween treats, contact Northside Animal Hospital to make sure the ingredients you use are safe.

A safe pet is a happy pet, so just remember to keep their wellbeing in mind between all the Halloween fun, and there’s no need to be frightened!