Spring and Summer Fun!

It is officially spring and almost SUMMER!  With the rising temps, we get all this glorious rebirth! Sunshine and outdoor fun go hand in hand. We, as well as our pets, will start to feel the revitalization that comes with the warmer weather. However, as with any change in season, there are things to keep in mind that might affect our furry friends this spring.

The arrival of warm weather also means the arrival of those pesky fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. If you have not kept up on your pets’ preventative through the winter, be sure to get it started a.s.a.p.!  Heartworm, caused by mosquitoes, is one of the most prevalent diseases in the spring. For more information on ticks and fleas, please reference our previous blog articles. Also, we are running our annual Spring is in the Air contest and you could win a three month supply of preventative! Check out our FB page for details or give us a call.

With the balmy breezes and comfy temps, many people get that urge to do their annual cleaning. As you clean, be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pet’s reach. Also, be sure to allow surfaces to completely dry before you let your pets walk on them. You want to avoid the cleaner getting on their fur and causing irritation or having them groom themselves and accidentally ingesting some. Be sure to read all labels on your cleaning products, and when at all possible, use those that are pet friendly.

We all love the warm breezes that flutter through our homes in the springtime, and so do our pets. However, be sure that if you have an open window, it is properly screened. Also, be sure to check your screens for any tearing or other weakness that could allow your pets to fall through.

As the grasses, flowers and trees bloom this spring, so do seasonal allergies. Many people are unaware that your pets can suffer from allergies just as humans do.  Allergic reactions in your pets can range from sniffling, sneezing and scratching to life threatening anaphylactic shock. The most common symptoms are runny nose and eyes and scratching. If you suspect your pets have allergies, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Moving from the indoors to the outdoors, spring is time of working on our yards and in our gardens. However, be sure that if you are using any fertilizer, insecticides or herbicides, your pet does not have access to these areas. They may make your lawn beautiful, but most contain ingredients that are toxic to your four legged friends. Be sure to check the label on any product you are using to see if it may harm your pets. Also, be aware of what plants you are planting in your yard. Lilies, rhododendron and azaleas are all highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten.

Finally, now that the weather is cooperating, people and pets love to get out and walk, run, hike and play. Though these are all fantastic activities that can help your pet (and let’s face it, us too) shed those winter pounds, they do provide more chances for your pet to wander off or get lost. It is wise to keep your pet leashed if you are out of your yard. Also, be sure to have tags with your pet’s name and all of your pertinent information on their collar. Finally, we highly recommend that you have your pets microchipped (please see our previous blog article on the importance of microchipping).

Keeping all of these things in mind, we hope that you, and your pets, get out there and enjoy the arrival of spring!

By on May 7th, 2019 in Pet Care

Thunder, Lightning & Fireworks Oh My!

Summer is quickly on it’s way! Hooray! However, as we move through spring and approach summer, our pets face many obstacles. Whether it is thunder and lightning or fireworks, this time of year can be very tough on those of our pets that are sensitive to loud noises. With all the fireworks for Memorial Day and the 4th of July, plus the increase in thunderstorms, we see more run away and lost pets this time of year than any other time. In fact, shelters across the country see an increase in numbers right around the 4th of July due to run away pets spooked by fireworks.  You might think that your animals are safe inside, but pets have been known to jump through screens and even pull a Houdini and escape the house when scared from loud noises. We have compiled a list of ways you can ease your pet’s stress level during both storms and fireworks.

  • Know your local fireworks schedule. Try to find out when the fireworks shows will be happening so that you can be prepared. Also, stay tuned to the weather channel. Though we all know that weather forecasters have been known to be wrong at times, it is still a good idea to try and know when storms are going to be coming through your area.
  • Provide a soothing, safe place where your pet can ride out the storm or fireworks. This can be a bathroom, a kennel, a basement, ect. Any place that is comfortable, safe and away from the outdoors will work. If you have outdoor pets that you know are afraid, it is never a bad idea to bring them in for the duration of the fireworks or until the storm blows over.
  • Make the room or kennel comfortable and inviting. Add blankets, their favorite pillow or bed and water for hydration. If you are preparing a space for your cat, be sure to add a litter box.
  • It sometimes helps to leave a radio or television on to drown out the noise of the thunder or fireworks. The same goes for lighting. Having lights on generally makes your pet feel safer rather than being scared in the dark.
  • If possible, try and stay with your pet. Talk in a soothing voice and continue to pet your animal and offer reassurance.
  • Be sure your pet has proper ID with their name, your name and all other pertinent information in the case that they do get loose or run away.
  • Sometimes you can try desensitization with your pet. Playing CD’s with storm sounds can help get them used to the noise. However, if you choose this method, be careful. You want to start softly and gradually get louder. The idea is NOT to scare your pet. It is to get them slowly used to the noise.
  • Finally, if all else fails, talk to your veterinarian about medication.  Certain anxiety medications and sedatives might be able to help calm your pet down.

Spring and summer are a great time of year! We want to keep it all happy and fun. Losing a pet is the last thing we want to see happen. So, take the proper precautions and it will be smooth sailing!

By on May 1st, 2019 in Pet Care

Making Halloween Spooktacular for Pets!

That chill is in the air. The leaves are falling from the trees. In a few short hours, the night will be alive with ghosts and goblins around every corner. Shouts of “trick or treat” will be heard around the neighborhood. Indeed, Halloween is here!

With Halloween upon us, you are probably ready for the big night! However, there are a few things to keep in mind concerning animals and Halloween. Even though we love this holiday, it is not always a pet friendly one.

So, here are a few things to be aware of this Halloween:

Halloween Candy.  One of the best things about Halloween is the awesome candy!  Yes parents, even you must admit to nabbing a piece of candy or 10 from your kids’ stash. Don’t worry, we are not judging. We all do it too. However, all that candy can be mighty tempting for your dogs and cats as well. Be sure to keep candy up and away from where pets can get into it. Although chocolate is the worst (and can even kill animals in large amounts), too much of any candy is not good for pets and can cause upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.

Candles. Both in pumpkins and in the open, candles can be a hazard to your pet. Often, candles burning in jack o’ lanterns create a wonderful aroma that just begs a pet to come and investigate. This can lead to singed whiskers at best and severe burns in the worst cases. Be sure that the pumpkins are placed where your dog or cat cannot access them. Also be careful of placing candles in open areas where they can be knocked over by the dog or cat. In addition to painful burns from the flame or wax, this can also start house fires.

Costumes:  Everyone loves a cute dog or cat in a costume. But keep in mind; sometimes your dog or cat is not as happy with the prospect of dressing up. If you do decide to put them in a costume, be sure that they can move freely, the costume does not have small pieces that can be chewed off and ingested and that it does not impair their vision. Also, before you put any kind of dye or coloring on your pet, be sure to check with your vet. Even if it claims to be non-toxic for humans, this is not always true of animals. And one last warning pertaining to costumes; If you decide to take your dog trick or treating with your kids, be aware that all the little ghouls and goblins running around, crazy on sugar, might be a source of anxiety for your pup. Some dogs react with fear and others can get aggressive, so be prepared.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry.  Over the past several years, glow sticks and glow bracelets and necklaces have become a staple for the Halloween holiday. Parents give them to their kids to make them more visible and kids love them because they look cool. Cats and dogs love them because they make fun chew toys. Though the contents are not usually life threatening if consumed, they can cause pain and irritation in the mouth. Therefore, do not leave them lying around where your pets can get to them.

As with all things pet related, knowledge is key. Knowing what things to be aware of and what to avoid this Halloween can make it happy hauntings for everyone!

By on October 26th, 2018 in Pet Care

Make the Holidays Happy for Your Pets!

Well, despite the fact that the snow has yet to fly, we are well into the holiday season with Christmas just a few weeks away! The time has come for festive lights, good food, decorations and holiday cheer. There will be lots of shopping, presents, family visits and much much more! As we go about our merry way, as always, it is important that we keep our four legged family members’ safety a top priority. With all the new things being introduced to their environment, it is no wonder that veterinarians see an increase in sick pets this time of year. All that food, candy, presents, plants, ect. can be tough to resist for a lot of pets. So, check out our list below of potentially hazardous situations that you should be aware of to keep your pet safe this holiday season.

~ Holiday lights and candles

We all know how beautiful the house and tree look all lit up. However, for many animals, those twinkling and often dangly lights present a temptation pets cannot resist. They bat, pull and chew at the lighted strands, often resulting in electrical burns to the mouth or even death from electrocution.

If you decide to light candles for the holiday season, keep them high and in places where your dog and especially your kitty (who likes to defy gravity and get to places unseen) cannot reach. Not only can your pets get seriously burned from the flame or wax, they can also knock candles over creating a potential fire hazard for your home.

~ Tinsel and other decorations

Although it is not toxic, tinsel can cause serious harm and even death if consumed by your pets. Cats in particular are attracted to the shiny stuff that glitters and flutters as though alive. Once ingested, the tinsel can twist and bunch up causing intestinal blockages.

Also highly tempting to your pets are the bright, shiny and colorful bulbs that you hang on the tree. Both dogs and cats have been known to consume tree ornaments. Many of these can shatter, causing lacerations to the mouth, esophagus or stomach. They also can be potential choking hazards.

~ Presents

We all love giving presents to our family and our pets are certainly not an exception to this rule! However, be aware that if you wrap up a nice smelly bone or catnip, that wrapping paper is not going to completely mask the smell. Many cats and dogs, if left alone with scrumptious smelling gifts, will take it upon themselves to break into their presents stash (or others) and not wait for Christmas morning! This can be bad if they ingest the paper, cardboard or plastic wrapping that often are on these items. So, it is wise to wait to put those gift under the tree until that last minute and keep the room blocked if possible.

~ Holiday plants

Though they are beautiful and certainly add to the festive holiday mood, certain plants are highly poisonous and should be avoided or kept out of reach if you have pets. If ingested these plants may cause issues:

Pine needles – Pine needles can cause irritation to the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy.

Poinsettias – Poinsettias can cause mouth irritation and vomiting.

Holly – Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression in your pet.

Mistletoe – Mistletoe can cause respiratory distress, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea or even death.

~ Food

Finally, it is definitely the season for rich, delectable food. For many pets and people alike, the temptation can be great! But before you drop those scraps to your faithful friend, please remember that many foods can cause gastrointestinal issues at best or even death in the worst cases.

Chocolate  – One of the worst offenders, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats alike, although worse for dogs.

Stuffing – The stuffing may contain nuts and herbs that can be potentially dangerous to your pets. Cats are sensitive to essential oils and sage. Many nuts, such as macadamia, walnuts, almonds and others can cause stomach irritation, lethargy, vomiting and                 diarrhea.

Fatty foods – Foods high in fat content, such as turkey skin and desserts can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and even                   pancreatitis.

Bones – Many people feel that it is natural to give dogs and cats bones. However, they can cause very serious health issues with your pets and should be avoided. Bones can easily lodge in the esophagus, stomach or intestines.  They can also splinter causing infection, blockages and even death if not treated.

Most of our pets will sail through this holiday season happy and healthy with your help! As much as we love seeing you and yours at OAH, let’s not have it be in an emergency situation. By being aware of the potential dangers your pets may encounter, you can make a very happy home this holiday season!

By on December 2nd, 2017 in Pet Care

Microchipping… Why is it Important?

The feeling is terrifying… You realize that your beloved pet is missing. Either they tunneled out of the yard, got loose from their leash or simply wandered too far from home. Whatever the scenario is, loosing your pet is one of the worst things a person can go through.

Usually the steps pet owners take when this happens are the same. Drive around looking, ask neighbors, call local vet clinics and shelters and make signs. All of these are good things to do, but you can make it much easier on yourself and your pet if this ever happens to you. How you ask? One word… Microchip.

Microchipping has been around for some time, but only become mainstream in the past decade or so. The process of microchipping your pet is relatively simple. You make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will insert a chip under the skin on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades of your pet. You then register your information with the microchipping company.

Now what could be easier you ask? Not much. Though there are some problems that vet clinics see every day with microchipping. When a found dog or cat is brought to a clinic, the first thing the vet will do is scan them for a microchip. However, many times, animals will come in and they will be chipped, but the owner has not registered the chip. Therefore, it is essentially useless. It is like going to a restaurant and ordering a plate of food, and then moving to a table where the server cannot find you. Why would you ever do such a thing?

Another issue with microchips is that there are several different companies that offer chips. They are not universal. However, most scanners today can read all the different kinds of chips. So, unless a clinic has an older scanner, that is not really a problem anymore.

Some pet owners are worried about the ongoing cost. But that too, is relatively low. Though it varies from clinic to clinic, microchipping your pet can range anywhere from $15-$75. The fee to register your information with the company also varies. While one company offers a one-time fee and no further payments, another has a yearly fee of about $18. It depends on which company your vet clinic uses. But once again, in the grand scheme of things, this cost is very low for piece of mind.

So, the bottom line is this, microchip your pet and make sure to register your information. This simple act can be the difference in getting your pet back in a short amount of time, or not getting them back at all.

By on November 6th, 2017 in Pet Care

The 411 on Fleas

We all know that when the weather gets warmer, we start to see a lot more pests bugging our beloved pets. As the temperatures go up, fleas can really cause your dog or cat some discomfort and give you a lot of headaches. But the question is; how much do you really know about fleas? Here are some of the biggest myths that people believe about those icky, tricky little buggers!

Myth: If you only see one or two fleas, it is no big deal.

Truth: A few fleas can turn into a horde of fleas in a very short time period. They breed with speed! Plus, even a few fleas can cause discomfort to your pet and no one wants that for their faithful companions.

Myth: Your pet only needs preventative a few months out of the year.

Truth: Although low temperatures can help keep flea infestation down in the winter, they still can flourish inside your home. Plus, any warm spells during the winter or an unusually warm spring or fall can make the flea season last much longer. To be safe, it is recommended to use preventative year round.

Myth: I have never seen a flea on my pet and they are only going out in my yard, therefore I do not need preventative.

Truth: Your back yard is constantly being visited by wildlife that can bring fleas and flea eggs into the environment. It is very easy for your pets to pick them up in the yard. Plus, just because you don’t see a flea, does not mean they are not there. Especially on animals with long fur, fleas can sometimes be tough to detect. Better safe than sorry!

Myth: I only need to treat the animal that I see fleas on. All of my other pets are fine.

Truth: If you see fleas on one pet, each and every pet in your household needs to be treated. If you treat one, but skip the others because you don’t see fleas, you are most likely going to get a reinfestation.

Myth: Once I treat my pet, my job is done.

Truth:  The truth is you need to treat your entire home. Fleas love carpet fibers and will stay in them and multiply only to start the problem all over again. Simple vacuuming every day can help eliminate the majority of the population. Then there are treatments that can be purchased at the store. Most importantly, once you have treated your pet and home, keep your pet on preventative! That is the #1 most effective way to keep those pesky fleas out of the house!

Myth: Fleas are a nuisance, but they really are harmless.

Truth:  Fleas are far from harmless. The can do serious damage to your pet and in some severe cases, even cause death. Some conditions that are a direct result of flea bites include: allergic dermatitis, flea anemia, cat scratch fever and tapeworm infections.

Myth: I can get good flea control at the pet store.

Truth: Though some pet stores have started selling more potent flea preventative, the best place to go is your veterinarian’s office. They can prescribe the best product for your pet and their lifestyle and show you exactly how to apply it.

 

By on May 7th, 2017 in Pet Care

The Truth About Those Tricky Ticks!

Now that we have let you in on all the flea fun, we thought it might be time to tackle those ticks! In the same way that people are often mistaken about flea facts, ticks can be tricky as well. So, here are some common misconceptions about ticks and the truth to help set them straight!

Myth: The best way to remove a tick is to touch it with a lit match, cover it with petroleum jelly or nail polish.

Truth: None of these old wives tales actually work to remove a tick. Actually they cause the tick to deposit more saliva into the wound therefore causing greater infection. The best way to remove a tick is to wear protective gloves, grasp the body of the tick as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull it out with a slow, smooth motion. Once the tick is removed, put it in an alcohol solution or flush it. Finally, clean the wound with soap, water and/or disinfectant.

Myth: I don’t need to worry about ticks during the winter months.

Truth: Though tick season is predominantly the months of April – November, they can be found in most states year round. Some are particularly hearty and can survive the cold, while other simply move indoors bringing them closer to you and your pets. Therefore, it is extremely important to use preventative on your pets year round.

Myth: Ticks are insects, so they cannot really be that harmful.

Truth: This statement is actually doubly false. Ticks are not insects. They are actually parasites that belong to the same family as mites. Ticks can cause all kinds of harmful diseases as well. From Lyme Disease, to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and many more, ticks are nothing to take lightly.

Myth: Ticks only live in trees or wooded areas, and since I don’t live by any wooded areas, I don’t need to worry.

Truth: Ticks can live on the ground in any location. They attach to a host from the grass and move their way up.

Myth: If I find a tick on a family member, or myself, we can rule out all tick borne illnesses with a blood test.

Truth:  The truth is, for you, your family and pets, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnosis certain illnesses resulting from ticks. Sometimes it takes a few weeks and multiple blood tests to get results that are positive for the illness. It can also be difficult to tell if you are ill because many people to not experience symptoms in the early stages. The best that you can do is to contact your family physician (for humans) or your veterinarian (for pets) and do repeated blood tests over a period of weeks.

As with anything in life, the key to dealing with ticks is prevention. If you are hiking with the family in an area with tall grasses, it is smart to wear long pants with high socks. Keeping your family pets on year round preventative can also stop the spread of diseases caused by ticks. The age-old saying truly holds up here… An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

By on May 7th, 2017 in Pet Care

Back to School… Your Pets Miss You!

In our last post, we discussed how your kids return to school can affect your pet. With the start of school just a couple of days away, it is time to talk about how you can help your animals through the transition.

The first thing that you must acknowledge is that this is a family matter. Everyone should be involved in taking care of the family pets. The more each individual works together, the easier it will be on your fluffy family members. Let your kids know that their animals woll miss them when they are gone to school all day. Discuss ways that you can help make it easier for your pets.

First, since pets thrive on routines, start a new routine to replace the old one from summer. Each day, when the kids get home from school, have them set aside some time to play with their pets. The first few days might be rough for your pets, but they will quickly come to learn that the kids will be returning home each day. And that with their return will be plenty of time to play!

Avoid prolonged, sad goodbyes in the morning with your animals. Pets are very good at picking up on our emotional cues. The more fuss the kids make about leaving Fifi or Fido, the more anxiety your dog or cat will build up. Keep goodbyes happy, short and positive. Maybe offer a “good boy or good girl” and a quick treat as you leave.

Other environmental cues might be sources of anxiety for your pets. For example, the sight of the kids getting into their backpacks might cause barking, whining or other anxious behaviors. Or possibly the sound of your car keys may trigger this. If that is the case, then pick up your keys and walk around for a few minutes, but do not leave. Or have the kids put on their backpacks and walk around for a bit before leaving. This helps to get your animals used to these triggers, eventually making them benign.

Finally, remember that while the family is away, the dog or cat will play. And if there is nothing for them to play with, they will find something! To avoid your favorite throw pillows or other household items becoming pet toys, be sure to offer a wide array of actual dog and cat toys to keep them occupied. Once they get used to the new routine, it is most likely they will sleep most of the day. Then it is up to you and the kids to give them lots of love, attention and exercise once you get home. With the whole family working together, there is no reason the beginning of the school year can’t be a smooth one for everyone!

By on August 31st, 2014 in Pet Care

Prepping Your Pets for Back to School

Whether we want to admit it or not, September is approaching quickly. For Michiganders, September signifies one thing for both parents and kids alike… School is starting again. Gone are the carefree, lazy summer days. Instead is a carefully crafted schedule of homework, sports and other after school activities. Parents tend to fall into two camps this time of year. There are those that get teary at the site of their little ones getting ready to head out the door for yet another school year. Then, on the other side of the fence, are those that are doing cartwheels at the prospect of no longer being a referee, teacher and more on top of being a parent!

However you or your kids react to the start of the school year, have you ever stopped to think about how it affects your pets? Consider this… all summer long Fluffy or Fido has had constant companionship. There is always someone around to play with, someone to snuggle up to, someone to hand out a quick pat or treat. Then, suddenly there is only you or your spouse. And if you both work, then there is no one, all day, until the kids get home from school. This can be very disturbing for a pet.

Be aware that you might see some changes in your pets’ behavior this September. Both cats and dogs may show signs of sadness and even depression once the kids return to school. What should you be on the lookout for? Your pets may sleep more and eat less than usual. Your cat may wander around meowing or your dog might stake a claim at the door, waiting. They also might start chewing things or urinating and/or defecating around the house. This usually only happens in extreme cases, but it does occur.

Pets love routines. They get used to things happening at a certain time and having the same loved ones around all day. When that suddenly changes, it is hard for them. They do not understand that you will be home at the end of the day. They only know that they are being left alone. And while some animals show mild signs of sadness, some can have full blown separation anxiety! Therefore, it is important to remember that while it might be an adjustment for you and your kids this fall, it will also take some getting used to for your animals as well. Check out our next blog entry on ways to help your animals cope with the new school year!

By on August 19th, 2014 in Pet Care

Cat Bathing???? Is that Even Possible?

If you are a cat owner, then you are probably more then well aware that cats do not like water. They avoid it at all costs. Even when they drink, it is daintily and far less then their canine counterparts, who they watch with disdain as they slobber in their water bowls. Unless you are the cat owner with that rare kitty who actually enjoys a quick dip, you probably have never thought about giving your cat a bath. Of course you haven’t… you enjoy having all your digits, right?

Though it is not often, there are times when a kitty bath is warranted. This may cause you, the owner, to run and cower behind the living room sofa in fear. But fear not… we are here to help! The first step is understanding when Mrs. Flufferkins actually needs a bath. Most cats can go their entire life and not need help from their human companions to keep clean. They are usually very good at grooming themselves. Unfortunately, as some cats age, they lose the ability to properly groom themselves and need some assistance. Then there is the adventurous cat that finds themselves in a substance of unknown origin. And you, the ever diligent owner, do not want them ingesting this. True story… we once had a cat that rolled in motor oil! Not the type of stuff you want them grooming off their fur.

If you find yourself in a situation where your cat needs a bath, you can either take them to the groomer (and have no fear of judgment from anyone that knows cats!) Or, you can choose to try and do the job yourself. If you do decide to forage into that great unknown of kitty bathing, we have a few tips to help you and your little darling get though the event with as little trauma (for both of you) as possible.  Here we go:

 Step 1:

Choose your battle plan. You may want to enlist some help. Cats are crafty and amazingly strong when they want to get away. Plus, there are those very sharp things they have called claws! A couple set of hands are always a good idea.

 Step 2:

Figure out where the bathing is going to take place. Get your kitty into the room and close the door! If Fluffy makes it out mid bath, it is not going to be an easy task to her back into the room!

 Step 3:

Place a rubber mat in a clean, empty sink or bathtub for kitty to stand on. This will help give sure footing and prevent slipping.

 Step 4:

Test the water. You want it warm, but not hot. Use the inside of your forearm to judge the temperature. Remember, your pet can suffer a burn just like you can.

 Step 5:

Slowly and gently pour the water over your cat. Bring it to her and not the other way around. Talk softly to kitty in a low, steady voice to keep her calm.

 Step 6: 

Make sure you are using a cat-specific shampoo. All species have a specific pH balance and using a shampoo not balanced for cats can cause skin irritation.

 Step 7:

Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Shampoo residue can contribute to skin allergies.


 Step 8:

Have a clean bath towel handy and gently stroke your cat’s fur to soak up as much water as you can. Keep the house warm and free from drafts until your cat is completely dry.

 Step 9:

Reward! Talk gently to your cat and lavish her with praise during the entire bathing process. When your cat comes out of hiding, that is the time for lots of extra love and a treat or two!

We hope that if your kitty is one of the multitudes of water phobic cats, you never need this article. But if you do, good luck and let us know how it goes!

By on August 1st, 2014 in Pet Care