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Spring into Spring with These 3 Pet Safety Tips

Are you ready to hop into spring? We sure are. In spite of the uncertainties of this unprecedented time, we are happy to see so many people (distantly) uniting and finding creative ways to be the community we’re proud to serve. From treasure-hunt style Easter egg hunts to the resurgence of “Victory Gardens, it’s heartwarming to see folks looking out for each other while staying safe and healthy.

Thankfully, at the time of this writing, it appears that companion animals are not susceptible to COVID-19, but there are still everyday health concerns to consider as the season changes. If you’re tired of being cooped up inside and ready to get some fresh air with your dog or cat, be sure they’re protected with these three spring safety tips.

1. Prevent Heartworms

Did you know April is Heartworm Awareness Month? As the weather warms and mosquitoes begin hatching, pets need heartworm prevention to stay protected.

All it takes is one mosquito bite for a pet to become infected. Heartworms grow and multiply, eventually obstructing blood flow and making it hard for pets to breathe. Even after treatment, which doesn’t currently exist for cats, heartworm disease leaves lasting internal damage and is potentially fatal, particularly for dogs.

Cats are not the “ideal” host for heartworms so while they are less likely to experience severe symptoms, significant respiratory damage is still a concern. Indoor cats aren’t afforded much protection from their lifestyle, accounting for 25% of heartworm cases, since mosquitoes can easily get into your home.

By protecting your pet with a preventative in the form of a pill, topical medication, or injection, you’re giving them the best chance to avoid a life-altering disease. We have many options available to help you protect your pet’s heart. Give us a call and we’ll help prescribe and get the medication most appropriate for your pet.

2. Check Your Pet’s ID and Microchip

Tag! You’re it! It’s time to check or order your pet’s ID tag. Not only is April Heartworm Awareness Month, but National Pet ID Week and Lost Dog Awareness Day are on the calendar.

Based on a study from the ASPCA, it’s calculated that between 11-16% of dogs and 12-18% of cats are likely to go missing at least once in five years. How much difference does a microchip make? This tiny device has a massive impact! Microchipped dogs are 2.5 times more likely to reunite with their families and cats with microchips are 20 times more likely to come home.

Next time you’re snuggled on the couch, check your pet’s tag. If the information is out-of-date, order a new one. Make sure the ring securing it to the collar is strong. Then hop online to confirm your pet’s microchip information.

3. Don’t Get Ticked Off--Prevent Lyme Disease

If you’re planning a socially-distant hike, don’t expose your trail partner to the danger of Lyme disease. It’s the most common disease transmitted by ticks, painful for pets, and easily goes undetected by pet parents.

Ticks can hide in long or short grass waiting to latch onto your dog or cat (or you!). They’re difficult to find beneath your pet’s fur and they like to attach themselves in areas that often go unnoticed, like an armpit. Finding and removing attached ticks quickly is important, as Lyme disease only has the chance to spread if they’re able to feed on your pet for more than 24 hours.

Fortunately, there are many preventative options available to fit your pet’s lifestyle and budget. Give us a call today and we’ll help you find the best option.

Spring Into Spring with Reasons to Celebrate

Despite the uncertainty surrounding us, we hope you’re taking time to disconnect from the news and enjoy the company of your pets. Your pet may not know what COVID-19 is, but they will appreciate the extra attention. Schedule screen-free bonding sessions for some peace of mind during this troubling time.

We’re doing the same and looking forward to the future. We miss our clients and want to stay connected, so please share photos of your pets at home or on outdoor adventures on our Facebook page.

Stay safe and healthy!

 

Image credit: TZ/ Pexels

Common Household Items Can Be Toxic to Pets: Here's What You Need to Know

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month. Many pet parents are surprised by the number of seemingly harmless items around the house that can cause serious injury or death for cats and dogs. To help you march through this spring and into the rest of the year with a safer home for your animal companions, here are the most common and dangerous household poisons to keep away from your pets.

Chocolate

Most pet parents know to not feed their dog or cat chocolate, but this sweet indulgence still tops our list because sneaky canines can get into their humans’ chocolate stash and wind up in a world of trouble.

Chocolate contains a toxic combination of caffeine and a molecular compound called theobromine. Your dog or cat cannot metabolize these the way humans can, resulting in a racing heart and overstimulated nervous system. While a small amount of chocolate will likely only cause an upset stomach and diarrhea, larger amounts can lead to seizures or a heart attack.

Darker chocolate is more dangerous as it contains more theobromine and it doesn’t take much to reach toxic levels. A 50-pound dog may show serious signs of poisoning if they ingest just an ounce of baker’s chocolate.

Keep your chocolate stash safely stored and educate your kids about how toxic chocolate is to their furry friend. Teaching your kids about the dangers of their favorite sweets can help keep your pets safe.

Xylitol

Xylitol may sound like a substance you’d find on a science fiction movie, but it’s actually a common sugar substitute. Commonly labeled as “sugar alcohol” on an ingredients list, a small amount of something containing it could send your dog, cat, or ferret to the emergency room. Xylitol creates a sudden rush of insulin through your pet’s body, resulting in dangerously low levels of blood sugar, causing shock, seizures, lethargy, liver failure, and potentially death.

Xylitol is commonly used in

  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Sugarfree gum
  • Vitamin gummies
  • Baked goods
  • OTC medicines
  • Lotion
  • Sugar-free peanut butter

Typically, dogs are more susceptible to xylitol poisoning than cats, since cats don’t have the taste buds that allow them to detect and appreciate sweet flavors.

Grapes and Raisins

Some dogs can eat grapes while others can be fatally poisoned by just a few. There is currently no conclusive research to explain why grapes can be so toxic to dogs or any “safe” amount they can have, so it’s best to avoid them completely.

Fig bars, granola bars, or other snack bars might include the dried fruit, so be sure to read the ingredients list closely if you’re sharing your snack with your pal.

Hops and Alcohol

We know these may seem obvious but there’s been a recent increase in pet poisoning related to home brewing. If you have gotten into the hobby of fermenting your own wine or beer, carefully store your supplies.

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications

Our pets are naturally curious, and while medications often come in child-proof containers, they’re not necessarily pet-proof. Some of the most common ways pets become poisoned is by ingesting medications meant for humans.

Which medications pose the biggest threat to pets?

  • Cold medicine
  • Allergy medication
  • Vitamins (especially vitamin D3)
  • Minerals
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen
  • Antidepressants
  • ADD & ADHD Medications
  • Cardiac medications

What You Can Do to Protect Your Pet from Poisons

We all do our best to protect our pets but accidents happen. Familiarize yourself with the common symptoms of poisoning and watch for signs of mischief in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. Create and regularly review an emergency plan for your pet ingesting something poisonous. Make sure you know the location of the nearest emergency animal hospital at home or on the road.

Save our number, a local emergency vet, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in your phone. If you suspect your cat dog may have eaten something toxic or gotten into a dangerous substance, give us a call immediately. If we’re not open, call the emergency vet or Poison Control at (888) 426-4435. The ASPCA line charges a fee for calls but can give you accurate and helpful advice that may save your pet’s life.

Save any packaging from the product you suspect your pet ingested and bring it with you if you’re directed to bring your pet to be seen by a veterinarian. Do not induce vomiting unless you are explicitly directed to do so by a professional.

When it comes to your pet and possible poisons, you’re always better safe than sorry. Survey your home and make sure the cabinets where you store your cleaners, medications, and dry goods are pet-proofed. Read the label of products before bringing them into your home and only feed your pals treats created specifically for them. If your pet is showing any signs of being poisoned, like vomiting, lethargy, or if you simply find a package with bite marks in it and someone is looking extra guilty, give us a call right away.

 

 

Image credit: Anna Shvets/ Pexels

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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Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
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(612)925-1121
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