Animals are more sensitive to weird weather than humans, so they’ll sense a storm is brewing long before you. Don’t freak. When you do, they probably will, too. Dogs often are more aware of weather changes than other animals. That’s because their olfactory cortex (the part of the brain that analyzes smells) is 40 times larger than a human's. That means the slightest change in air quality can alert dogs to danger. Canines also are far more sensitive to shifts in barometric pressure, so Fido might experience storm-related anxiety long before the weatherman makes predictions. If your pet gets skittish during downpours, thunder bumpers and lightening storms, create a “safe zone” inside your home. Maybe a crate, a small room in the center of the house or a basement corner, where storms or less noticeable. Wherever it is, distract your pet from the commotion, especially excitable animals like dogs. Close the blinds; turn on the TV or radio, but not too loudly, and make your friend as comfortable as possible. Give him a blanket and a favorite chew toy. Feel free to leave the room, but don’t leave your pet stranded. Feed him regularly, play with him, reassure him and reward him for staying calm. But don’t coddle too much. Seriously. He’ll pick up on your pandering and wig out. Try to act as though everything is business as usual. And when it truly is, take the dog outdoors. Even if the storm wasn’t a big deal to you, it might have been for your pet. Animals can often become aggressive or defensive after storms, as they sense that their territory has been invaded. Be patient and monitor your pets’ behaviors until you’re sure they can
Vacations are a lot more fun when you share them with your best friend. If you plan to take your dog with you, careful planning and safety measures will make the trip more enjoyable. Safety First It’s safer for everyone if your dog is securely fastened or confined during car trips. A large dog in your lap or a small one bouncing around the accelerator pedal is dangerous, and in an accident, your unrestrained dog might be thrown about. Popular options for safe dog travel include dog seat belts, crates and car barriers. If you choose a seat belt, put your dog in the back seat. Riding up front increases the possibility of injuries or death if you have an accident and an airbag deploys. Microchip your dog before leaving home and attach an ID tag with your cell phone number to its collar. Never leave your dog unattended in a hot or cold car. It’s not just uncomfortable. It’s also inhumane and potentially life-threatening. Identify emergency animal clinics close to locations you plan to visit, particularly if your sidekick is a senior pet. Things to Bring Pack a spill-proof water bowl, your dog’s regular food, edible chews, medications and favorite toys, including chew toys. It‘s also good to pack something that can safely secure your dog when it’s unsupervised. A sturdy tether, a crate or an exercise pen works great. Dogs Who Dislike Car Rides Although some dogs gleefully bound into the car, others seem to dread the ride. If your dog seems afraid, anxious or uncomfortable in the car, experiment before making a long haul. Speak with the veterinarian. Your dog may suffer from carsickness. Even if it doesn’t vomit
Dogs love swimming, plain and simple. Given half the chance, most will jump headfirst into any stretch of water — the muckier the better. Aside from the fun factor, there are many reasons to treat your dog to a swim. The benefits of hydrotherapy are plentiful, including: Improved circulation and cardiovascular fitness Increased range of motion in joints Stronger muscles Better flexibility Relief from pain, swelling and stiffness For years, doctors have prescribed hydrotherapy to humans for years. And it’s helped racehorses recover from sports injuries. Dogs are the latest group of patients to benefit with encouraging results. Vets have long known that swimming is good exercise for animals with joint problems. A dog’s natural buoyancy supports the weight of the body, allowing strenuous, muscle-building exercise without over-stressing. If you think hydrotherapy is something that would benefit your pet, give us a call. All dogs swim with a life jacket under the supervision of a trained hydrotherapist. Most dogs large and small leave with a big, wet smile. But it’s not surprising considering that a five-minute swim is equivalent to a five-mile run.
Ticks are bad news: They transmit several diseases that can cause severe illness and even death in both dogs and humans, so keeping your dog tick-free is a top priority. Huge numbers of tick eggs hatch each spring, and the young ticks climb onto grasses and other vegetation. Their sticky shells help them to cling to passing animals, including your adventurous dog. Ticks quickly climb down the hair, attach to the skin, and begin to suck blood, only dropping off hours or days later when they are engorged. In the meantime, any microorganisms that were hitching a ride inside this insect traveler are transmitted to your dog through the tick’s mouth. So when you find one — and you will — here’s what to do: Use a pair of tweezers to grasp the head of the tick where it attaches to the skin. Wear gloves if you plan to use your fingers to remove the tick. Pull on the tick gently and steadily. If you yank the tick away from your dog too quickly, you’ll leave part of the tick’s mouth behind, which can cause an infection. In 20 to 30 seconds, the tick’s mouth will release its grasp and the tick will come away cleanly. Dab disinfectant on the bitten area, being extremely careful if you’re around your dog’s eyes. Kill the tick by placing it in alcohol. Consider saving the dead tick in a re-sealable plastic bag, labeled with the date on which the tick was found. This may sound weird, but if your dog becomes ill, you may need to identify the species of tick that bit him. If your dog becomes ill, seek veterinary attention immediately. Most tick-borne diseases
Americans spend more each year on Fido and Fluffy than on booze, bread and everyday pantry staples. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average U.S. pet owner spent $502 on feathered, furred and fishy friends in 2012. That’s more than the $456 the average person paid for alcohol in one year or the $404 they spent on men’s and boy’s clothing. Pet food alone costs the average household $183 — more than most folks spend on chicken, cereal, bread and candy. So to all who scoffed at the idea of a veterinary practice emphasizing animal acupuncture, massage and house calls, you can stop laughing now. The odds are tilted in favor of Acupet Wellness and Dr. Mandy DuBose. The latest numbers underscore just how much people in the U.S. think of their pets. Collectively, they spent nearly $53 billion on them in 2012. That's an all-time high and the first time in history that more than $50 billion has gone to dogs, cats, canaries, guppies, reptiles and every critter in between, according the American Pet Products Association, which confirmed the numbers. That’s a lot of zeros to say the least, and the $6.2 billion that went toward grooming and treats last year is more than Facebook made in advertising revenue. The numbers speak volumes. Not even the brutal economy of the past few years has reversed the trend of spending on pets. The totals have risen every year right through the Great Recession. Dr. DuBose hopes the APPA is accurately predicting a climb of at least 4 percent for 2013, particularly in her niche market — referred to as alternative pet care — which totaled about $12.5 billion last year. If you thought