4 Pet Myths Debunked!

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.

A Summer Health & Safety Guide for Your Pet

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!

Fun Ways to Celebrate 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.

Preparing Your Pet for Flea & Tick Season

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

Understanding & Improving Your Pet’s 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!

How to Keep Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

How to Keep Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

Our pets can’t tell us something is wrong. Therefore, we have to be extra observant. At times, your pet can be suffering internally, and problems can often go overlooked. Fortunately, you can implement simple routine methods to maintain your pet’s heart health and overall well-being.

Like humans, animals can experience different types of heart diseases. Some age-related or genetic heart issues cannot be prevented but can be caught early enough to be maintained, allowing your pet to live comfortably. With easily applied wellness methods, you can avoid other heart diseases from occurring.

Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA is here to provide you with some tips to prolong your pet’s life and keep them living happy and healthy.

Proper Dental Care

Dental care is a massive part of an animal’s health maintenance. Not taking adequate care of your pet’s dental health can lead to heart and liver problems. The same cultured bacteria from the infected heart valves are the same as those also found in the mouth. Excess growth of this bacteria in the mouth can eventually trickle down and accumulate in the heart, causing problems like heart disease or infection.

Luckily, administering the proper dental care for a pet is relatively simple. Some steps you can take to ensure your pet’s heart maintains optimum health through dental care include:

  • Brushing your pet’s teeth daily or weekly
  • Checking for foul-smelling breath
  • Checking for red or swollen gums
  • Any loose or missing teeth

Some signs that your pet may be experiencing oral health issues can easily be overlooked, such as bad breath or a lost tooth. By staying on top of your pet’s oral hygiene regimen and regularly checking for these signs, you can help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

Nutritious Diet

Like humans, a pet’s dietary plan changes over the years because different nutrition is necessary for different ages. Pets must maintain a healthy weight to provide optimal protection to their heart and avoid any heart problems. It is crucial to discuss with your veterinarian what specific needs your pet may require in their diet because dogs’ and cats’ dietary needs differ significantly, especially as they age.

Make sure you are not overfeeding your pet and reading the labels on your food to match the serving size according to your pet’s weight. It is also important to monitor proper hydration levels in your pet. There are many vitamins and foods that contain the nutrition necessary for maintaining your pet’s health.

For small or medium-sized dogs, consider food containing:

  • Vitamin A – for a healthy immune system
  • Vitamin C – for proper heart function and strength
  • Vitamin E – prevents damage in cells and heart disease
  • Fiber
  • Healthy grains

For adult cats, consider food containing:

  • Vitamin A – for a healthy immune system
  • Easily digestible protein
  • Taurine – for eye health and heart muscle
  • Essential fatty acids

These supplements are essential to consider when finding the right diet for your pet. There are also other activities you can implement to maintain your pet’s heart health.

Exercise

One thing that may be the easiest to implement is routine exercise for your pet’s health. Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart and overall wellness for humans and pets. To avoid your pet becoming overweight, you must make sure they are exercising regularly.

Overweight animals can suffer from more than just heart problems. They can develop cancer, bone disease, or lung disease and significantly decrease their life expectancy.

Dogs should receive at least 30 minutes of brisk activity daily, and cats should spend at least 15 minutes.

To prevent these health problems from occurring in your furry family member, please consider some of these easy methods:

  • Interactive toys and playing fetch
  • Daily walks
  • Training
  • Daycare activity (if you are unable to)

Remember to consult your veterinarian on what physical activities they believe will benefit your pet the best.

Wellness Exams

A routine wellness exam is the most important thing you can do for your pet’s heart health. Each pet is valuable to each family and should be cared for the same. Pets especially need regular checkups because they can’t voice their health concerns to us.

A yearly wellness exam can prolong your pet’s life by detecting symptoms before they arise and obtaining expert health advice. Oftentimes, your vet can provide you with heartworm medications for your dog or cat to avoid severe lung disease, heart failure, or other organ damage.

If you have any concerns about the possibility of heart disease in your pet, check for the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fast or very slow heartbeat
  • Coughing
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Weakness

Make sure to discuss with your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet.

Promote Your Pet’s Heart Health

When it comes to promoting heart health in pets, staying informed and proactive is the first step pet owners should take. By following these tips and taking these other steps, you can keep your pet’s heart healthy for years to come and help them live a long and happy life.

Stay on top of your pet’s overall health and spot any issues before they arise with a wellness exam at our facility. Call us at 229-244-2983 or contact us to schedule an appointment!

Exercise Ideas for Pets During Wintertime

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!

National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices

National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices

Happy National Train Your Dog Month!

While training your dog should be a consistent, lifelong responsibility, commit to making this January the month you get your canine companion refreshed and back on track to being a “good boy” / “good girl.”

At Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, we celebrate all dog personalities and welcome the opportunity to help our dogs behave better for a healthier, safer, and happier life. To help you celebrate National Train Your Dog Month, we’re bringing you these effectively pawsome dog training tips and practices.

Let’s get started!

Why We Celebrate National Train Your Dog Month

Training our dogs is not only for show. The extra help can go a long way to maintain their health and well-being.

Following the holiday season, January is traditionally a peak time of year where families adopt or bring home dogs. Sadly, humans give away hundreds of dogs per year due to behavioral and training challenges.

In 2010, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers started National Train Your Dog Month to raise awareness about the significance of training, socializing, and providing our dogs with a nurturing and loving home environment.

Learning is a precious opportunity for humans to bond with their canine companions, and even just a little bit of work each day can go a long way for your dog’s well-being. Without further ado, let’s dive into the ultimutt dog training tips and tricks!

Daily Walks

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and if your dog tends to act out after being cooped up all day, it may be time to integrate more brisk and intentional walks into their daily routine.

Taking your dog for a walk provides them with the physical activity and mental stimulation they need for strong mental health. Bored dogs are more prone to destructive behaviors. Walking helps them release pent-up energy, burn calories, and regulate their digestive and musculoskeletal health.

It’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk before a training session. Your dog will listen and focus better when they’re already stimulated and tired.

Don’t treat your dog’s walk as a glorified potty break. Your dog loves your attention, so what better way to make an hour all about them by joining them for an adventure in the great outdoors?

Calling Your Dog to Come

Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to your dog’s safety. Otherwise known as “reliable recall”, teaching your dog to come when called can protect them from getting injured, lost, hit by a car, or engaging in abrasive behavior with other dogs and animals.

If your dog can’t go off-leash right away, that’s okay. Start small by working with your dog in a fenced-in area or with a long leash.

Treat reliable recall like a game. Let your dog run around, explore, and keep distractions to a minimum.

Anytime your dog makes eye contact with you or starts to move towards you, give them the verbal cue to come or verbally praise them using a high and positive inflection in your voice. You can also incorporate direct verbal cues to “come” and reward your pup with treats or their favorite toy.

Even if your dog takes their time to come when called, you should still praise them ‒ not show your frustration.

Don’t repeat yourself if your dog doesn’t immediately come when called. There may be too many distractions, or they haven’t yet learned the skill.

Remember: It can take time for dogs to develop trust in their owners and to reliably come when called. The best way to earn their trust and build your confidence in them is to work at this skill every day and always make their training environment happy and positive.

How to Stop Dog Jumping

Even though a jumping dog can be a nuisance, it is a common behavior problem as it is a natural way for dogs to greet those they love and are excited to see. So, even if your dog is a jumper, you are not alone. And luckily, this is a behavior that is relatively easy to fix.

The first thing to stop jumping is to remove the emotional stimulation causing the behavior. Refrain from getting your dog excited when you walk through the door by changing your tone and using a quiet and low inflection in your voice.

Don’t greet your dog until they are fully calm and have all four paws on the floor. Be consistent with this. The more repetition, the more your dog will come to control their excitement and understand the proper way to greet you and others.

Establish the House Rules & Stay Consistent

Every dog owner is different when setting off-limits areas of the home or letting their canine companions up on the bed or couch.

Early on, establish what your dog can and cannot do and where they can and cannot go. Whatever you decide the house rules are with your dog, ward off any confusion and stay consistent. By doing so, your dog will come to understand and obey the rules, preventing them from getting scolded unnecessarily.

With all that said, designate a part of your home as your dog’s special area. Make this environment as calm and comfortable as possible and place their bed here or incorporate their toys and blanket. You want your dog to feel like this is their safe place. Choose a location where you can also be nearby.

Pawsome Tips & Practices for a Healthier & Happier Pup

There’s nothing better than the loving look your dog gives you when you commend them for being a “good boy” or “good girl.” As National Train Your Dog Month comes to a close, stay consistent and keep practicing these tips and tricks so you can instill healthy behavior in your dog for years to come.

If you’re struggling to train your aggressive or impulsive dog, pet anxiety may be to blame. The team at Bush Animal Clinic is happy to guide you on how to train your dog, alleviate their anxiety, and help them improve their behavior and well-being. We encourage you to contact us today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a behavior consultation with a veterinarian.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season

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!

Why Pets Need Regular Grooming

Why Pets Need Regular Grooming

Grooming your pet is about more than maintaining their good looks and appearance; proper hair hygiene is essential to their physical health and overall well-being.

Blackshear Veterinary Hospital is here to help Cordele pet owners understand why pets need regular grooming and how to do it safely, properly, and effectively.

Let’s get started!

Brushing

Like humans, animals require good hygiene to help lower their risk of disease and illness. But for pets, grooming removes dead, unwanted hair and prevents their coats from matting, tangling, and accumulating bacteria, dirt, pollen, and other debris.

Brushing, in particular, also helps to distribute oil for a healthier coat. It ventilates your pet’s skin, reducing grease levels and preventing clogged pores.

Make brushing part of your pet’s weekly hygiene regimen. Brush their coat every couple of days, no matter how long or short their hair is. Familiarize your pet with their hairbrush and let them smell and observe it. Provide them with treats and use a soothing voice to keep them calm. This can make for great bonding time between you and your pet.

Most standard dog brushes will suffice; but if your dog has a thick or matted coat, you may want to use a shedding blade. There are benefits to professional grooming services; your pet’s groomer will be able to handle larger breeds and better spot abnormalities or signs of disease on their skin.

Bathing

Cats usually require a bath every four to six weeks, while dogs need a bath every couple of months. Frequent bathing can strip the natural oil from their coats, resulting in dry skin and brittle hair.

However, if you have a dog who enjoys rolling around in the mud or a cat that ventures outside for hours at a time, you may find it necessary to bathe them more often. Use only animal-safe shampoo products at bath time that are specifically made for dogs or cats. These shampoos won’t contain the harsh, irritating chemicals that are often found in human products.

When bathing your dog or cat, use lukewarm water, lather up their coat, and rinse thoroughly. Avoid coming into direct contact with their ears, eyes, and mouth.

Post-bath is a good time to clean your animal’s ears, but make it a point to clean your pet’s ears more frequently (at least once every 1-2 weeks). Preventing dirt buildup in the ears can reduce their risk for infection, and it also provides an opportunity to check their ears for signs of mites, fleas, and other problems. Your veterinary team can provide an ear cleaning solution, which you should apply with a cotton ball.

Nails & Feet

They’re easy to overlook, but it’s important to pay close attention to your pet’s paws or claws. Allowing their nails to grow too long can cause your pet discomfort and pain. It also increases their risk of broken toes and other injuries.

A general rule of thumb: If you can hear your dog’s nails tap on the floor, or if your cat’s claws get caught in the furniture, curtains, or linens, it is time for a trimming.

Monitor your pet’s feet on a daily basis for any debris that may be caught in between their toes. You should also monitor their nails and trim them every couple of weeks. Make sure you trim the hair around their toes, as well.

A lot of dogs and cats dislike having their feet touched or their nails clipped. By familiarizing them with the sound and smell of their clippers (and providing them with treats at the same time), you can normalize this grooming technique into their weekly hygiene routine.

Start small and slow. You may only be able to trim one or two toes at a time. You can save the remaining toes for the following day. While trimming their nails, use a soothing voice to calm them and provide them with their favorite toy or treats.

Dental Hygiene

Don’t forget to brush your dog or cat’s teeth!

Make sure to regularly brush your pet’s teeth with warm water or pet-friendly toothpaste (human toothpaste is toxic to animals!) In between dental checkups at the veterinarian, you can provide your dog or cat with tooth-friendly treats that naturally brush their teeth and remove plaque and tartar.

A Clean, Groomed Pet Is a Healthy Pet

Pets need regular grooming to promote healthier and happier well-being, but sometimes pet owners need a little extra assistance when it comes to getting their four-legged companions to cooperate and feel comfortable during a grooming session.

Contact Blackshear Veterinary Hospital to schedule your pet for a grooming appointment or checkup!