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3 Hidden Signs of Pet Pain - Is Your Pet Trying to Tell You Something?

3 Hidden Signs of Pet Pain - Is Your Pet Trying to Tell You Something?

Pain and your pet: two things you never want to think about together. When our pets hurt, our hearts break. We do everything we can to help our beloved companions avoid the irritation and anguish of physical discomfort. Yet it can be challenging to recognize how your pet experiences pain and exhibits distress. It would be so much easier if our furry family members spoke human!

What is pet pain like? Our dogs, cats, and other domestic animals are prone to the same types of pain we experience, like surgical pain, arthritis, or trauma-related pain, to name a few. Sharp or acute pain is often from an injury and is typically accompanied by limping or vocalizing. Long-term aches and soreness caused by internal discomfort may be harder to spot as your pet instinctually hides their compromised health.

If you’ve wondered if your pet’s behavior changes are more than “just signs of aging,” we can help. To bring attention to Pain Awareness Month this September, we’ve put together the common signs of pet pain to help you spot if your pet is stoically suffering. Keep reading to see if it’s time to bring your furry friend in for an evaluation.

1. Your Pet Doesn’t Eat as Well They Used To

Chronic and acute pain can wreak havoc on your pet’s appetite or ability to eat a nutritious meal. If your pet no longer looks forward to their dinner after a lifetime of being a chowhound, it could be because of pain.

A common reason for a decreased appetite in pets is an infection or underlying diseases, like diabetes, cancer, or hyperthyroidism. Stomach or intestinal blockages are often seen in curious pets who get into the garbage or big dogs who chew small toys. Dental issues and mouth pain can also make a pet hesitant to eat.

Have you noticed any of these changes in your pet’s eating habits?

  • Less enthusiasm for a meal
  • Not finishing their regular portion
  • Avoiding harder food or treats
  • Chewing less
  • Vomiting after they eat

2. Not Partaking in Activities Your Pet Once Loved

Have you seen your pet stop joining or enjoying the activities they once loved? Maybe your birdwatching cat hesitates to jump up on the windowsill, or your social dog won’t play with friends. Often these changes are gradual and can be attributed to aging. But they could also be a sign your dog or cat is experiencing chronic pain, typically from culprits like arthritis and inflamed joints.

Have you seen a change in your pet’s interest in these activities?

  • Walks
  • Playtime
  • Being pet
  • Grooming

3. Your Pet’s Personality Isn’t the Same

You’ve likely seen a senior dog react to a puppy by showing their teeth or snapping to tell the young upstart to get lost. Even if your pet isn’t aggressive by nature, they may often exhibit a change in personality when they’re in pain.

The ache and stress of pain can cause your pet to become more withdrawn, defensive, or aggressive. These are natural instincts to protect themselves and a side effect of not feeling well.

What changes in personality should you look out for?

  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Restlessness
  • Increased neediness
  • Avoiding other pets
  • Avoiding people
  • Being snippy

Provide Your Pet with a Pain-Free Life

Did you recognize any of these signs of pain in your pet? Concerned about how aging will affect your senior cat or dog? If you notice any of these symptoms or other changes that have you worried, make an appointment for an examination today.

Along with paying close attention to your animal companion’s habits, keeping an annual exam on your calendar is the essential commitment you can make to their health. Regular checkups help us diagnose developing conditions and prevent problems before they get worse. We can provide you with guidance to help your pet age gracefully and answer questions you may have about what’s normal and what’s a cause for concern.

There are many options for treating your pet’s pain, including medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy, and therapeutic massage. Schedule an appointment today and we’ll help you find the right fit for your companion, lifestyle, and budget. You and your pet will rest easier when they find relief from pain.

 

 

3 Hidden Summer Hazards That Can Be Fatal for Pets

3 Hidden Summer Hazards That Can Be Fatal for Pets

The dog days of summer are here. For many, this season comes with endless possibilities for having fun with your pets, like picnics, nature walks, and swimming pools. After being stuck at home for so long due to COVID-19, we bet you’re looking to break up the boredom with some outdoor adventures.

As temperatures rise, so do the risk factors for heat and summer-related dangers. We want to share with you some of the hidden hazards associated with summer activities that pets and their owners adore.

1. Blue-Green Algae

If you’re like many dog owners, you plan your summer walks to include a water source for your hiking buddy to cool off and rehydrate. Staying cool and drinking enough is vital during these scorching hot days, but many of our freshwater ponds and lakes host a deadly and dangerous toxin: blue-green algae.

What are blue-green algae? It’s not a form of algae at all, actually, but a microscopic bacteria called “cyanobacteria.” These bacteria thrive in water sources when temperatures reach 75º or warmer.

What you see as “pond scum” is more than just gross - it’s deadly. Blue-green algae are highly toxic for pets when ingested, leading to seizures, neurological damage, liver failure, and death. Most frightening of all, dogs and cats often die within hours of becoming poisoned.

How can pet owners protect their pets from this deadly bacteria? Never let your dog or cat drink from a water source that has green scum floating on top or near the shoreline. This includes pools and garden ponds.

While you’re out on the trail, provide your pet with fresh, cool water from home. Rinse your dog off if they go for a swim. They could later ingest blue-green algae that cling to their fur and become very sick.

Don’t let your pets explore freshwater ponds and lakes unsupervised. When in doubt, keep your dog out.

2. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is another bacterial threat, but it cannot be seen with the naked eye. This bacterial disease has been on the rise as temperatures climb. We know the last thing you want to think about is another zoonotic disease, but leptospirosis can affect pets and humans.

Leptospirosis is caused by spring-shaped bacteria that can be found in water and soil and is commonly spread through urine. The bacteria are picked up from a pet drinking contaminated water, or sniffing or digging in an area where an infected host urinated.

Once inside your pet’s body, leptospirosis causes flu-like illness and can damage the kidneys, liver, and other organs. Young pets, senior pets, and those with weakened immune systems are at risk of dying from leptospirosis.

What areas are high-risk zones? Leptospirosis infects domestic and wild animals. Your pet risks contracting this disease at the dog park, in your yard, and almost anywhere an animal could urinate.

Protect your pet by not letting them drink from unknown water sources, preventing them from exploring areas where mice, rats, and other wild mammals frequent, and asking us about the leptospirosis vaccine.

3. Hot, Hot, Heat Stroke

Each year dogs and cats die from heat stroke. This hidden killer is heartbreaking because many pet owners don’t realize their pets are at risk.

Also known as hyperthermia, heat stroke happens when the body is too hot for too long. Heat stroke occurs frequently with pets because dogs and cats cannot regulate their temperature through sweat, relying on other means such as panting or lying on a cool surface. When they’re on a hike, locked in the car, or fenced in the backyard, these methods may not be enough to bring their body temperature down to a safe level.

Heat stroke is extremely dangerous, leading to stroke, organ failure, and death. Some pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than others, such as dogs and cats with short snouts, senior or overweight pets, and those with thick coats.

To keep your pal from reaching an unhealthy temperature, supply them with ample cool, fresh water. (Are you seeing a pattern yet?) Always provide them shade when outdoors. Watch for signs of overheating like excessive panting, shivering muscles, and weakness. Don’t let your pet exercise in the middle of the day when temperatures are the highest. And NEVER leave a pet in your car.

What should you do if you suspect your dog or cat is overheating? Immediately bring them inside to an air-conditioned location and provide them with cool water. Hose them down or put them in the shower, using room-temperature water. Do not use cold water, which can send them into shock. Wrap them in a damp towel, call us, and bring them in.

Don’t Let These Summer Hazards Turn Your Summer into a Bummer

Make a splash, have a blast, and keep the fun in summer fun! Protecting your pet takes a bit of proactive planning but can be the difference between life and death. We hope these tips help keep your furry family members safe all summer long.

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.

 
 
 

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Minneapolis, MN 55410
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