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Category Archives: Seasonal

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Six Halloween Hitches for Pets and How to Avoid Them

Northwest Pet Clinic - Halloween Pet Safety TipsIt may not feel like it, but fall is here! With the advent of autumn comes the beginning October—and preparations for Halloween. It’s easy for the whole family to get caught up in enthusiasm for the cooler seasons’ first big holiday.

New health and safety concerns arise for animals during this time of year, with increased treats, visitors, and household decorations. There are six major elements of the impending holiday that carry preventable risks for pets; familiarize yourself with them so that this year’s Halloween is fun for all.

1. Decorations
The best way to get into the holiday spirit is definitely to throw up some spooky decorations. Think twice before you put them within your pet’s reach, though, as some decorations might actually be harmful. Pumpkins, gourds, decorative corn, spooky plants, and other potentially edible decorations could cause an upset stomach if your pet has the chance to ingest even a little bit of them. And speaking of pumpkins, watch out for Jack-o-Lanterns: if your pet accidentally knocks over a pumpkin with a lit candle in it, she might start a fire. Light displays usually have cords that pets might enjoy chewing on, and this could also be a fire hazard—or worse. Chewing on an exposed wire can burn your pet or expose her to electrical shock. Non-electrical decorations that have cords or dangling pieces could also attract your pet’s teeth, which could pose a choking hazard or lead to your pet ingesting something inedible.

2. Costumes
Of course your cat looks adorable in his lion costume. But how does he feel about it? If your pet is upset by being put into a costume or shows a desire to destroy the costume, you may want to reconsider your plans for his debut at the Halloween party. Forcing your pet to wear a costume might create undue stress that will ruin the festive environment for everyone. If your pet is fine parading about in a costume, then by all means dress him up. Just keep watch for any loose, constricting, or annoying parts of the costume that might hurt your pet or get on others’ nerves as he moves through the crowd. Also make sure no parts of the costume pose a danger of your pet getting stuck somewhere.

3. Trick-or-Treaters
It’s likely that your doorbell doesn’t ring every five minutes on a normal night. The increased number of people stopping by your house on Halloween—whether they ring the doorbell, knock, or simply approach you outside—can be stressful for pets, especially those who are not well-socialized with humans. To keep the anxiety level down and minimize the risk of your pet accidentally escaping, keep your pet locked in another room while your household accepts Trick-or-Treaters. Having the TV on in the room might minimize some of the unusual noise, and keeping your pet in a room that has a small nook or much-loved bed will give her a feeling of safety, despite all the intruders she hears. Finally, make sure your pet is wearing her collar and ID tags on Halloween, just to be safe. You don’t want your pet to be caught without identification in the event that she does run away.

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Monsoon Pet Safety

The rains are upon us! While many of us humans adore our rare summer rains, monsoon season can be a stressful and scary time for our pets. Just as the beautiful monsoon rains can be dangerous for us when we aren’t careful, they also present dangers for our pets. Be watchful and keep your pets safe and secure during monsoon season by following these four tips.

Keep your pet indoors, especially if you are not at home. Monsoon rain and dust storms can arrive with little or no warning, so it is better to have your pet safely inside than caught outside. If your pet has to go out, first check to be sure that your fences are secure and locked, as a storm’s scary sounds can cause your pet to run away.

Thunder, wind, hail, pounding rain. The noises that accompany monsoon rains, as well as bright flashes of lightning, are the worst part of the storm for most pets. You can desensitize your pet to the noise by not acting concerned about the weather (or your pet’s agitation). If you play with your pet indoors during monsoon storms, the high she gets from playing provides positive reinforcement to help her accept the monsoon as just another part of life—one that can be fun! If your pet just can’t be calmed down during a storm, you might consider investing in a Thundershirt, playing calming music, or giving your pet Rescue Remedy or Relax My Dog. Talk to your veterinarian about the options if your pet is easily upset by thunderstorms.

Between gusting winds and hard rains or hail, monsoons kick up a lot of dust. Since Valley Fever fungal spores live in our desert soil, it’s best to keep your pet indoors during and after the dust storms that accompany many monsoons. While Valley Fever affects humans and dogs, many more dogs than people have been reported as having the fungal infection. Symptoms of Valley Fever include coughing, fever, weight loss, and a lack of appetite or energy. If you notice your pet has these symptoms, please see a veterinarian immediately. The lung infection caused by Valley Fever can develop into pneumonia, lameness, skin inflammation, and even heart failure, among other painful and deadly manifestations.

Toads, crickets, and rattlesnakes tend to be more active during monsoon season. All of these creatures can be toxic to pets, so be sure to watch your pet when he goes outside, and check your yard to ensure it is visibly free of these creatures. Whether your dog licks or eats a toad, or drinks water in which a toad has been sitting, the toad’s toxic skin can make your pet sick. If you see your dog foaming at the mouth or pawing at its mouth, he might have eaten a toad. You will need to rinse out his mouth with a garden hose. You can do this by opening your pet’s mouth and spraying the water through one side for about five minutes. In cats, crickets can cause stomach worms. If you cat begins vomiting, he might have eaten a cricket and will need veterinary assistance. Rattlesnake bites and venom are just as dangerous for pets as they are for humans, creating swelling and pain. Your pet will need immediate veterinary care if bitten by a snake.

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Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus

Get the facts about a dangerous, aggressive illness in dogs

Overview
This is one virus you DON’T want your dog to pick up.

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a nasty, highly contagious illness, spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with feces. That means that your dog can get CPV from either eating an
infected dog’s poop or simply sniffing an infected dog’s hindquarters! It can be especially hard on puppies who haven’t yet been vaccinated because their immune systems haven’t yet fully developed.

CPV can affect all dog breeds, though for some reason some breeds it affects some breeds more than others, such as:

Symptoms
CPV shows up in two forms: intestinal and, more rarely, cardiac. Symptoms of the intestinal form of CPV include:

  • Extreme vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea, often containing mucus or blood
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • High fever or, sometimes, a low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Severe abdominal pain
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