All posts by James

Tips for Making a Purrfect Catio

Cats are very curious and playful, and often love to explore. These little furballs are very small, though, and can easily find themselves in danger outdoors. That’s why we always recommend keeping kitties inside. However, you can still let your cute pet enjoy the stimulation and entertainment of the Great Outdoors, by bringing the outdoors in to her. Here, a Brandon, FL vet offers some tips on making a great catio.

Picking A Place

A screened in porch or patio is a great spot for Fluffy’s room, but they aren’t the only options. A spare bedroom will do nicely. A sunny corner will also work. Or, if you have a yard, you can also build your furball her own enclosure.

Plants

Kitties are very curious, and love to sniff at and nibble on plants. Fluffy is also rather fond of hiding behind green leaves and pretending to be a vicious predator. Set out some pet-safe plants for your kitty. This will also make your place look nice! Some good options are Rubber tree plants, Boston ferns, Ponytail palms, Areca palms, Money trees, Spider plants, and African violets. You can also plant herbs in small pots. Catnip is, of course, the obvious choice, but you can also plant rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage. Check the ASPCA site here for more good options.

Furniture

A catio can make a great coffee spot or reading nook, so you definitely want to put a few pieces of furniture out for yourself. However, your feline friend will also appreciate having a few things of her own. Cat towers are a wonderful option, as they offer kitties napping spots, jungle gyms, and manicure stations, and also give them a good vantage point. Fluffy may also enjoy having pet tents or tipis to explore. Comfy beds are another must. If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your budget, go the DIY route. You’ll find some amazing ideas online!

Entertainment

Our feline buddies certainly do love to lounge around. However, Fluffy does still need entertainment options for when she is awake. Set out lots of toys for your kitty. If possible, consider putting a bird feeder up in your yard, so your furry little voyeur can relax and watch neighborhood wildlife.

Does your cat need an exam, vaccinations, or spay/neuter surgery? Contact us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, today!

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

July is Pet Hydration Month! While it’s always important to make sure your canine pal has fresh, clean water, this is absolutely crucial in summer, when temperatures soar. Read on as a local Brandon, FL vet offers tips on preventing doggy dehydration.

Water, Water, Water

First and foremost, make sure your furry friend always has plenty of water. If you have a large dog, more than one dog, and/or a big house, set out more than one watering station. You may want to consider getting an automated waterer, or a pet fountain.

Outdoor Stations

If you have a yard for Fido to chase squirrels around in, you’ll need to put water bowls outdoors as well. Clean these bowls daily, as otherwise bugs, dirt, and germs will quickly build up. If you want to make your canine buddy’s bowl look a bit nicer, get a pretty plant urn and put it in that.

Ice

On sweltering days, go ahead and drop a few ice cubes into Fido’s bowl. While you shouldn’t feed your furry buddy too much ice, you can give him one or two cubes to chew on, if he likes.

Snacks

Keep hydration in mind when choosing Fido’s treats. Your four-legged friend may enjoy a bowl of sodium-free beef or chicken broth. You can also make custom treats by pouring water or broth over dog biscuits, kibble, shredded meat, and/or safe fruits and veggies. Use waxed paper cups, an ice cube tray, or freezer-safe pet treat molds. Pop them in the freezer overnight, and hand out for tail wags on hot days.

Doggy On The Go

Whenever you take Fido off your property, always bring water along for him. You can get collapsible plastic bowls, which are very lightweight and easy to carry. A doggy water bottle with an attached dispenser is another good option.

Food

Although kibble does have its advantages, one good thing about canned food is that it does have a higher moisture content. If you feed Fido dry food, ask your vet for tips about adding a little water to it.

Tips

Fido will become dehydrated much more quickly in hot weather. Limit your furry pal’s outdoor time in hot weather, especially around midday, when it’s hottest.

As your local Brandon, FL vet, we are dedicated to offering great veterinary care. Please reach out if ever we can be of assistance!

Fluffy’s Plans For World Domination

Did you know that June 24th is Cat World Domination Day? Of course, if you were to ask Fluffy, she would probably insist that every day is Cat World Domination Day. She wouldn’t be entirely wrong, either. Many of our feline pals have their humans firmly wrapped around their adorable little paws! What are these cuddly little furballs up to? Here, a Brandon, FL vet discusses kitty domination tactics.

The Meow

We’re suspect that cats know full well that we have a hard time resisting their plaintive meows. Actually Fluffy may have started meowing specifically to boss us around. Kitties rarely ‘speak’ to one another: they use body language and facial expressions to communicate with one another.

R & R

Cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day, and may rotate from spot to spot for their morning, midmorning, noon, afternoon, and evening naps. (This will help your pet ensure that she’s evenly distributing her fur throughout your home.) Kitties certainly are adorable when they’re snoozing. They do this on purpose, so we’ll feel bad for moving them mid-nap. Many people stay in their chairs when their cats are on their laps, just to avoid disturbing them. Well played, Fluffy. Well played.

Internet Takeover

Though there have been no official studies, we guestimate that cat photos, memes, and videos take up about 65% of the worldwide web. People just can’t get enough of watching cute kitty videos! Is Fluffy slowly brainwashing us? Is that why she likes to sit and sleep on our laptops and keyboards? One has to wonder.

Reading Interruptions

Settling down to read with a good book and a purring cat sounds very relaxing. In actuality, Fluffy isn’t always the best reading buddy. Kitties like to paw at our books and magazines, and sometimes use them as beds. They just hate it when we pay attention to anything other than them!

Fluffy’s Plans

What if cats are plotting world domination? What are their plans? We suspect that Fluffy would demand catnip and cat grass be planted in every yard. Stocked fishponds would also probably be required on every corner. You may even be required to spend a certain amount of time every day playing with or cuddling your pet.

Please call us, your Brandon, FL pet clinic, with any questions about your feline overlord’s health or care. We’re here to help!

Hot Weather Care For Dogs

Florida is a beautiful place to live. However, the Sunshine State isn’t exactly known for balmy summers. This time of year can actually be quite dangerous for our canine companions. After all, Fido is wearing a fur coat! Read on as a Brandon, FL vet discusses caring for your dog in hot weather.

Water

Making sure your canine friend stays hydrated is always important, but it’s especially crucial in hot weather. You may want to set out multiple water stations, especially if you have a yard, more than one dog, and/or a big house. Consider getting an automated waterer or a pet fountain. You can also drop a few ice cubes into Fido’s bowl on scorching days.

Schedule

Fido will be both safer and more comfortable indoors, in climate-controlled rooms. Try to limit your pup’s outdoor time around midday, which is the hottest part of the day. Walk and play with Fido in the mornings and evenings, when it’s at least a little cooler out.

Cold Treats

Want to get that cute tail going? Pick up some doggy ice cream for Fido in a local pet store or grocery market. You can also make your furry pal some homemade cold treats. Look online for recipes. Just be sure to stick to pet-safe ingredients.

Brushing

Brushing your four-legged buddy will not only keep his fur looking soft and smooth, it will also help keep him cool. Dead fur and dander make your dog’s coat hot and itchy, and can hamper the insulating properties of Fido’s coat.

Paws

Your canine pal is running around barefoot. That can get pretty uncomfortable at this time of year! Use paw balm or wax on Fido’s furry feet, and try to keep him on soft ground as much as possible. This is extra important after your pooch has been swimming. Just like human skin, dogs’ paw pads become very delicate when they are wet.

Safety

We can’t stress enough how dangerous it can be to leave a dog in a locked car in hot weather. It only takes a few minutes for temperatures to reach deadly levels in vehicles! If you can’t take your pooch indoors with you at your destination, leave him safe and sound at home instead.

Please contact us, your local Brandon, FL vet clinic, if ever we can be of assistance. We are always happy to help!

Pool Safety For Dogs

Do you enjoy swimming? Heading for the pool is a wonderful way to cool off on a summer afternoon. It’s also a great workout! Many of our canine pals also enjoy going for a dip on hot days. The pool can be a dangerous place for dogs, however, so you’ll want to take some precautions to keep your furry friend safe. A Brandon, FL vet offers tips on keeping Fido safe at the pool in this article.

This Way Out

One of the most important things you’ll need to do is make sure that your pooch knows where the exit is. If Fido falls in when no one is looking, he could be in serious trouble if he doesn’t know how to get out again! Take time teaching your pet how to get out of the pool. Have him get into the water, and then call him to you from different spots, until you’re sure he will remember. It may also help to put a visible landmark, such as a potted tree or life preserver, near the stairs.

Paw Safety

Just like human skin, doggy paw pads get very delicate when they are wet. Fido can easily injure his furry feet running around on a pool deck or a tar driveway after going swimming. Use paw balm or wax to protect your pet’s paw pads. When your pooch gets out of the pool, keep him on soft grass for a while.

Water, Water Everywhere

Make sure Fido always has fresh water near the pool. Otherwise, your pup may very well try to drink the pool water. This isn’t safe, as pool water contains chemicals that aren’t supposed to be ingested, such as chlorine.

Restricted Access

Never leave Fido unattended near the water. We recommend fencing off the pool when it’s not in use. This goes double for anyone with a pool cover. Pool covers can be very hazardous to Man’s Best Friend. Dogs sometimes mistake pool covers for solid surfaces, and try to walk on them. This can be very dangerous!

Rinse Fido Off

After Fido gets out of the pool, rinse him off to get the chlorine and bleach out of his fur. When he’s dry, brush him to remove dead fur and tangles.

Please call us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, anytime. We offer the best veterinary care and the best customer service around!

6 Reasons To Brush Your Cat

One thing we love about cats is the fact that they are such clean pets. You don’t have to walk or bathe your feline friend, and she (hopefully) won’t slobber all over you. However, even though Fluffy is very self-sufficient, she will still benefit from being brushed regularly. A local Brandon, FL vet tells you why in this article.

Less Shedding

Fluffy has very pretty fur, but it looks better on her than it does on you, or on your sofa, for that matter. The more hair you grab with a brush, the less you’ll find stuck to your clothes and belongings.

Reduce Hairballs

We probably don’t have to tell you that hairballs are not the best part of having a kitty. They aren’t any more fun for Fluffy than they are for you. When you brush your feline companions, you’ll be capturing that dead fur in a brush before she can swallow it. This translates into less hairballs.

Health Check

Cats can’t tell us if something is wrong. In fact, Fluffy often tries to hide signs of illness or injury. When you brush your furry friend, take time to inspect her. You’ll want to check for cuts and injuries, as well as bruising, swelling, or sore spots.

Remove Mats

This one mostly applies to longhaired cats. Fluffy kitties are absolutely adorable, but they usually need some help with their grooming needs. Your cute pet may get tangles, especially under her arms and around her bottom. These can get quite uncomfortable! Brushing is a great way to keep your furry little buddy’s fur free of knots and tangles.

Keeping Kitty Comfortable

Dead fur can actually interfere with the natural insulating properties of your furry friend’s pretty coat. By removing it, you’ll be helping your feline pal stay cooler in summer and warmer in cool weather.

Bonding Time

Brushing Fluffy is also a great way to make sure she feels loved and pampered. Many cats actually enjoy being groomed! Just be sure to choose a time when your pet is feeling relaxed and a bit cuddly. Talk to your cat as you brush her, and offer her compliments and ear scritches. Don’t be surprised if your feline buddy starts her little motor!

As your local Brandon, FL pet clinic, we are dedicated to keeping your beloved pet healthy. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Easter Dangers For Pets

Easter is coming up quick! While Floridians don’t really need to celebrate the end of another long, cold winter the way people up north do, this is a great time to gather with friends and family. Just be sure to keep your pet’s health and safety in mind: this can be a dangerous time for pets. Here, a Valrico, FL vet lists some seasonal dangers for pet owners to be aware of.

Bouquets

Flowers are a big part of many spring decorations. If you set out a bouquet, place it in a spot your furry friend can’t reach. Many Easter bouquets contain lilies, which are highly toxic to cats. Tulips, gladiolas, and several other popular flowers are also unsafe. If you aren’t certain whether something is dangerous for your pet or not, check the ASPCA website here.

Chocolate

Chocolate bunnies and eggs make a great treat to put in a candy dish, but keep them away from pets. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Plus, many chocolate products contain xylitol and/or nuts, which are also unsafe. Hard candies and candy wrappers are also unsafe, as they can choke pets, and can cause serious internal injuries if swallowed.

Heat

Summer is technically a few months off, but Florida can still be sweltering hot at this time of year. Make sure your furry companion always has fresh water and shade. If you have a dog, limit Fido’s outdoor time on hot days. Your canine buddy will be much more comfortable in cool, climate-controlled rooms! As for Fluffy, she’s always safer indoors, where she’s protected from traffic, weather, gators, and other dangers.

Food

If you’re hosting Easter dinner, be careful not to let your pet have any unsafe foods. Some things on the no-no list include garlic, onions, scallions, and chives; pitted fruits, especially avocados; grapes, currants, and raisins; meat on the bone; and raw dough, meat, or yeast. Ask your vet for more information.

Decorations

Easter baskets often contain plastic grass, which is a choking hazard for playful pets. Keep decorations out of paws’ reach!

Eggs

Are you hosting an Easter egg hunt? If so, make sure no eggs are missed. They will quickly go bad. Unfortunately this won’t necessarily stop pets—especially dogs—from eating them.

Please contact us, your local Valrico, FL pet clinic, if we can ever be of assistance. We’re here to help!

Frozen Treats for Fido

Summer is just around the corner! Florida isn’t exactly known for having mild summers. When it gets hot, many of us like to cool off by reaching for a cold treat. Why not make something for your dog? In this article, a Brandon, FL vet lists some frozen snacks you can make for Fido.

Pupsicles

For this one, you’ll want to start by filling an ice cube tray with fresh water or sodium free broth. Put pieces of kibble or crumbled-up doggy treats into each one. Voila!

Doggy Ice Cream

You can buy doggy ice cream at many pet stores and grocery stores, or you can make your own. Start with a smooth base. Try mixing peanut butter with bananas and plain yogurt. You can also use sodium-free broth, pureed pumpkin, and/or organic baby food. For ‘toppings’ try adding bacon bits, shredded cheese, or cooked hamburger.

Banana/PB Bites

Speaking of PB and bananas, they’re the stars of this yummy snack. Mix the two together, and add a bit of water to thin the mixture out.

Frozen Cheeseburger Bites

Want to really get that cute tail going? Cook up some hamburger and add some water to it. Portion it out, and top with shredded cheese and bacon bits.

Apple Chicken Yums

Put fresh apple slices (without the seeds) into an ice cube tray, along with some shredded cheddar. Pour sodium-free chicken broth over them, and pop them into the freezer. Instant tail wags!

Frozen Yums

Start with sodium-free broth and water. Pour it into a small container, such as a paper cup. Let it start to freeze, and then put a chew stick in the middle.

Yogurt Bones

Plain yogurt is a great treat for dogs! You can offer Fido some plain yogurt, but you can also add things like carrots, berries, bananas, or peanut butter.

Tips

There are many different ways to portion these recipes out before freezing. You use ice cube trays, Kong toys, or paper cups. Or, get some cute bone-shaped molds. You can also experiment with ingredients. Just stick to pet-safe foods. Some things to avoid include garlic, onions, scallions and chives; chocolate; avocados; pitted fruits; nuts; chocolate; alcohol;  grapes, currants, and raisins; meat on the bone; and products containing xylitol. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about safe and unsafe treats? Contact us, your Brandon, FL vet, anytime.

Tips For Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Did you know that brushing your dog’s teeth is one of the best things you can do to keep his mouth and teeth healthy? Just like people, our canine companions can develop some very painful dental issues, such as gum disease, abscesses, cracked or broken teeth, and misalignments. However, doggy dental care is often overlooked, even by the most loving pet parents. A local Brandon, FL vet offers tips on brushing Fido’s teeth in this article.

Products

You’ll need to go to the pet store and pick up some supplies for your four-legged buddy. It’s very important to stick to using products that were made specifically for pets. Human toothbrushes aren’t angled right for dogs, and our toothpastes often contain things that are toxic to them. When picking out pet toothpaste, pick a flavored one. This will make the process much more enjoyable for your furry companion.

Training

It’s going to take a little while for your furry buddy to accept having his teeth brushed. The first thing you’ll need to do is get him used to having his mouth handled. Start by just gently rubbing his teeth and gums. Talk to your pooch gently as you do this, and offer treats, affection, and praise. This will help soothe him, and keep him from feeling uneasy. The next step is to add a bit of pet toothpaste. You can use a finger toothbrush, or wrap your finger in gauze. Keep rewarding Fido with snacks, ear scritches, and compliments. After a few weeks of this, you can slowly introduce a pet toothbrush.

Tips

You don’t have to brush your dog’s entire mouth every day. Just do one section at a time, and keep rotating. Once you and your pup are used to the routine, this will only take you a minute or two!

Other Options

No luck? If you can’t get your canine pal to sit still long enough for you to brush his teeth, there are still other ways to keep his mouth healthy. Oral rinses are one good option. You can also offer your furry friend dental-formula treats, kibble, and chews. Suitable chew toys will help as well. Finally, make sure that Fido always has plenty of fresh water.

Please reach out to us, your local Brandon, FL vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Cat Care for Apartment Dwellers

Cats are often the number one choice of pet for people who live in apartments. One reason for this is simply that most apartment complexes and landlords accept cats, while many don’t allow dogs. Fluffy also doesn’t need much room. However, if you and your feline pal live in an apartment, you’ll want to take some steps to make your home safe, fun, and comfy for your kitty. A Brandon, FL vet offers tips on how to do that below.

Entertainment

While it’s probably safe to say that cats enjoy doing as little as possible, they do still need entertainment. Offer your furball lots of toys, and take time to play with her regularly.

Plants

Give Fluffy a taste of nature by setting out some pet-safe plants. Kitties love to hide behind green leaves and watch their humans! You can find a list of safe options online here.

Vertical Space

If you don’t have a lot of room, get Fluffy some vertical space. This can be a cat tower, kitty shelves, or even a catwalk. You can also put a scratching post on your wall: just attach a piece of carpet to a smooth board, and then hang the board on the wall.

Veterinary Care

Even if Fluffy lives indoors—which is much safer for her—she’ll still need regular veterinary care. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Kittyproofing

Cats are very playful and mischievous, and don’t necessarily know what is and isn’t safe for them. Actually, some kitties seem to be most interested in the things they shouldn’t be playing with! Make your home safe by removing anything that may be a hazard to your furry pal. This includes toxic plants; plastic bags and ties; chemicals; medication; and anything small or sharp.

Catio

Do you have a screened porch or patio? Make it a catio! Just add some pet furniture, toys, and a few pet-safe plants.

Windows

Most cats love looking out windows. If you have blinds, don’t be surprised if Fluffy makes herself a little door. This can actually be a bit dangerous, so you may want to get different window coverings, like drapes. If you have a screen, make sure it locks, so your furball can’t accidentally fall out.

Please contact us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!