All posts by James

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!

Great Ways to Celebrate National Dog Biscuit Day

Dogs have many adorable habits, but one of the cutest ones is the way they get excited when you hold up a treat. In fact, Fido’s enthusiasm for snacks has inspired an adorable doggy holiday. February 23rd is National Dog Biscuit Day! Read on as a Brandon, FL vet offers some tips on making Fido’s favorite day fun and special.

Make A Homemade Snack

Store-bought treats are great, but you can also make some snacks for your furry best friend. Just be sure to stick to ingredients that are safe for Fido. Some good options are plain, cooked meat, fish, or poultry; cheese; eggs; bacon bits; sodium-free broth; natural peanut butter; and/or wheat germ oil. You can also incorporate certain fruits and veggies, like apple slices, bananas, blueberries, peas, spinach, carrots, and pureed pumpkin.

Eat Out

Want to really treat your pup? Take Fido to a pet store that allows four-legged visitors, or bring him to a doggy café. Get your canine pal a special snack. Then, keep that tail going by visiting a dog park or a dog-friendly beach.

Learn A New Trick

Many of our canine buddies actually like learning new things. Training can be fun for dogs! It’s also another way for you and your pet to communicate. If your pooch doesn’t have doggy obedience basics down yet, work on these first. Otherwise, teach Fido something new. The Leave It command is always useful. Of course, if you want to keep things light and fun, you can go with something cuter. Shake Paw, Roll Over, Beg, and Play Dead are always adorable!

Strike A Pose

Dogs are absolutely adorable, and they can really take some charming photos. Snap a shot of your pup while he’s got his eye on a treat. Or, take a short video of Fido catching a snack mid-air. (This is even cuter with dogs that can’t catch.)

Donate To Dogs That Need Treats

Animal shelters are filled with sweet, lovable pooches that need homes. Even if you aren’t ready to adopt, you can still get some tails wagging by dropping off a package of treats or perhaps a gift card to a pet store. Just call first to find out about any rules or stipulations pertaining to donations.

Please reach out to us, your local Brandon, FL vet clinic, anytime. We are here to help!

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day

If you have a kitty, you may want to put a pawprint on your calendar for January 22nd: It’s Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day! Our feline buddies are known for being a bit curious, if not downright nosy. A Brandon, FL vet lists some of Fluffy’s most pressing questions in this article.

Why Does The Sunbeam Move?

Does your kitty like to sprawl out in the sun for her naps? Fluffy may move around from spot to spot as the sun changes position. Your furry buddy may want to know why she has to keep moving!

What’s Wrong With The Dog?

Dogs are great pets, but they don’t make a lot of sense to cats. Fido doesn’t know how to use a litterbox, enjoys car rides, does what the humans tell him, and hates baths. This must all be very confusing to Fluffy!

Why Won’t You Let Me-Owt?

Cats are much safer staying indoors, where they are protected from things like predators, bad weather, other kitties, cars, and other hazards. However, Fluffy isn’t purrticularly concerned about these things: she just wants to explore.

Why Don’t You Let Me Help?

Our feline friends really do appreciate the love and care we give them. Fluffy may try to repay you by ‘assisting’ you with things like folding laundry, doing the sheets, or balancing your checkbook. Of course, your furball probably isn’t actually very helpful, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Why Are You Ignoring Me?

Fluffy may very well ignore you when you’re watching TV, then meow for attention when you’re trying to do something. Your feline overlord may want to know what could ever be more important than petting her.

Why Can’t I Play With That?

Your cute little house pet is a fierce predator at heart. To Fluffy, a bottle cap may seem like a worthy adversary. It’s definitely in your furball’s best interests for you to take potentially-dangerous items away from her, but she may not see it that way.

Why Do I Have To Visit The Vet?

Fluffy may not understand the point of vaccinations, exams, parasite control, or other aspects of veterinary care. However, she’ll both look and feel better with proper veterinary care!

That may take care of Fluffy’s questions, but do you have any questions about your cat’s health or care? Call us, your Brandon, FL veterinary clinic, today!

6 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog

November is Adopt a Senior Dog Month. Dogs are still just as sweet, loyal, and loving as seniors as they are when they are puppies. Unfortunately, pups in their golden years often have a very hard time getting adopted. This is very sad, because they really can make amazing pets. Read on as a Valrico, FL vet lists some great reasons to adopt an older pooch.

Less Activity Needs

Fido is pretty active when he is young, and needs lots of toys and exercise in those first few years. However, as dogs age, they slow down, and won’t need as much activity or entertainment. This makes senior dogs an excellent choice for anyone with mobility issues. They are also great for anyone who just doesn’t have the inclination, ability, or energy to take their pets for long hikes or indulge them in vigorous play sessions.

They’re Full of Tail Wags

Dogs are very loving pets, and often want nothing more than to spend time with their human buddies. Fido’s lovable, friendly nature often becomes even more pronounced as he ages. Older dogs often develop a super-sweet, affectionate nature that is sure to melt your heart.

Prior Experience

Another great thing about older dogs is that they have often already been trained. Most senior pooches are already housetrained, and know basic commands like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down.

Less Behavioral Issues

Fido is a great pet, but he isn’t perfect. Our canine buddies do have some bad habits, such as digging and chewing. These issues are much less common in older dogs, however. Pets in their golden years are typically more interested in napping and collecting belly rubs than in making mischief.

They’re Adorable

Older pooches are just as cute as puppies in their own way. Fido can be absolutely charming as he is plodding along on a walk or snoring in a sunbeam!

Save A Life

Senior dogs face some pretty stiff odds when it comes to getting adopted. By adopting an older dog, you’re giving that one lucky pooch a second chance at happiness. It’s a truly beautiful thing to save an animal’s life. You’ll be rewarded with tail wags and unconditional love, which are both precious gifts in our book.

Please call us, your Valrico, FL vet clinic, with any questions about senior dog care. We are here to help!

Tips for Bathing Your Cat

Cats are very clean pets, which is one reason they are so popular. Fluffy may spend hours each day carefully grooming herself. However, some people do like to bathe their kitties. This is fine, as long as your vet doesn’t object. Read on as a local Brandon, FL vet offers tips on giving Fluffy a bath.

Prep Work

Before bringing Fluffy into the bathroom, put a mat down in the tub or sink. You may also want to clip your cat’s claws. It isn’t a bad idea to wear thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Last but not least, give the furball a good brushing a day or so before her bath. This will help remove dead fur or dander.

Products

Only use shampoos that are made specifically for cats. Products made for people are much too strong for our feline pals. If you don’t have a sprayer on your tub or sink, you may also want to get a pitcher or teapot for rinsing.

Bathtime

Fill the tub or sink with just a few inches of warm—not hot—water. The water shouldn’t be any deeper than your kitty’s chest. Gently lather your cat up. Talk to her gently as you do this, and pet her a bit. This will help her realize that she’s being pampered, not punished. We don’t recommend using soap on Fluffy’s head. Just use a washcloth to clean her face. When you are done, rinse your cat off gently.

Drying

When Fluffy has been thoroughly rinsed, pick her up and wrap her in a soft towel. Gently pat her to get as much water out of her fur as you can. It’s worth noting that some cats don’t mind being blow-dried. If your furry little diva is one of them, you can blow-dry her using a low-heat setting. Just don’t force her to endure being blow-dried if she seems frightened. Once your kitty is as dry as you can get her, just let her go. She will probably retreat to one of her favorite spots and immediately start grooming herself to get her fur back in order. Give your feline buddy a special treat or a new toy, and then enjoy some snuggles with a clean, soft pet.

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

Caring for Your Dog’s Paws

Your dog’s feet play an important role in his life. Fido uses his feet to run, jump, and play, and can also perform adorable tricks, like Shake or Gimme Five with them. Taking care of those furry feet is very important! Read on as a Brandon, FL vet offers some helpful doggy paw care tips.

Claws

Keep your dog’s claws trimmed. Overgrown nails are very uncomfortable for dogs. They also make it harder for pets to get a good grip on slippery ground. Plus, long claws can cause Fido to adjust his stride a bit. This puts a lot of stress on his bones and joints, especially in older dogs. Another concern with long nails is that they can snag on things and rip, which can cause painful cuts and infections. If you aren’t comfortable giving Fido a pedicure, call us to set up a quick nail trim.

Paw Pads

If you’ve ever walked on hot tar barefoot, you know how painful that can be. Taking a barefoot stroll in the summer heat can be pretty uncomfortable for your canine buddy. Keep your pup on soft grass as much as possible. If Fido does have to cross tar or asphalt, use paw wax to protect his feet.

Ticks

Check Fido’s paws regularly for signs of injury. You’ll want to look for swelling, redness, and insect bites, as well as foreign objects or ticks. Minor cuts can be treated with antiseptic, but call your vet for anything more than that.

Toe Fur

If your pooch has toe fur tufts, you may want to trim them. They can easily collect gunk and get matted up, which is very uncomfortable for Man’s Best Friend.

Swimming

Does your dog like swimming? Many of pooches love cooling off on hot days by going for a swim. Just like human skin, dogs’ paws are very delicate when they are wet. This makes it very easy for pets to get cuts or blisters when running or walking on hot or harsh surfaces. If you go to the beach, you’ll also want to be careful about shells, sharp rocks, and broken glass. You can try putting booties on Fido. If he won’t go for it, use paw balm or wax to protect his paws.

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

Tips for Creating a Catio

Do you keep your feline friend indoors? If so, that’s great! Fluffy may think she’s invincible, but she’s actually pretty small, and is very vulnerable in the great outdoors. Cars, weather, other kitties, gators, and heat can all endanger outdoor cats. However, there’s no reason your pet can’t enjoy a taste of nature. Read on as a local Valrico, FL vet offers tips on setting up a catio.

Picking The Spot

A screened in porch or patio is a purrfect spot for a catio. If you don’t want to let the A/C out, put a cat door in for your pet. You can also use a spare bedroom or even just a quiet corner.

Plants

Our feline pals love to nibble on and hide behind green plants. Set out some pet-safe plants for your furball. Some good options are Boston ferns, Money tree plants, Spider plants, Rubber trees, and African violets. Certain palms, such as Areca palms and Ponytail palms, are also fine, as are some succulents. You can also grow fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage, and parsley. Catnip is, of course, a must. Plant small containers of it for your kitty. If you really want to spoil your four-legged companion, plant a living mat of cat grass in a storage tote, and give Fluffy her own little lawn. You can find a full list of both toxic and nontoxic plants online at the ASPCA website here.

Purrniture

A catio is a great spot for a cat tower! If possible, position it so that it faces a yard or field, and then set a birdfeeder in Fluffy’s line of sight. Your feline buddy will also appreciate cat walks, kitty condos, and, of course, cardboard boxes. Set out some things for yourself as well. This may very well end up being your favorite coffee spot or reading nook!

Toys

Playing isn’t just fun for Fluffy: it’s also very good for her, both physically and mentally. Offer your feline companion lots of fun toys to smack around. Catnip mice and small balls will always be popular with our furry pals, but you can also get your frisky pet more modern toys, like catnip bubbles, robotic mice, automated laser pointers, or remote-controlled “swimming” fish.

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

Helping Your Cat Beat the Heat

As you have probably noticed, Florida summers can be scorching hot. This time of year can be pretty tough on pets, especially kitties. Read on as a local Brandon, FL vet offers tips on helping Fluffy stay cool this summer.

Water

Make sure your kitty always has fresh water. You may want to get Fluffy a pet fountain. Many cats actually prefer to drink running water!

Cold Snack

Fluffy can have some sodium-free broth as a treat. Give your kitty a chilled bowl of fish, beef, or chicken broth on hot days. Your furball may also appreciate a chilled can of tuna or chicken in water or some cat milk. You can also try dropping an ice cube into your kitty’s bowl on sweltering days.

Brushing

Regular beauty sessions will remove dust, fur, and dander from your pet’s coat. Brushing your furry little diva regularly won’t just help keep her fur soft and shiny: it will also keep her cooler.

Climate Control

We always recommend that kitties stay indoors. Fluffy is both safer and healthier inside! However, if you do let your feline pal out, limit her outdoor time during the hottest parts of the day. Fluffy will be cool and comfy in rooms with AC or fans. If you let your furry pal roam freely throughout the house, she’ll naturally find the coolest spots. Cats are very, very good at getting comfortable!

Hammock Bed

Hammock beds are great for hot weather. Because air can move beneath them, they stay cooler than regular beds. You can buy a hammock for your feline friend, or just make one. You’ll need a table with four legs, and a piece of sturdy material. Cut the material so that it’s smaller than the tabletop, then use twine or Velcro to attach the corners to the table legs.

Ice ‘Pawkey’

Kitties don’t have many ways to cool themselves down if they get hot. They can’t sweat, and panting isn’t as efficient for them as it is for dogs. However, Fluffy’s paw pads are quite sensitive, and can help her regulate her temperature. Your pet may enjoy batting an ice cube around on hot days. This will both entertain your furball and keep her cool.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Taking Fido to the Beach

Florida’s gorgeous sandy beaches are the envy of our friends and family to the north. Dogs also love to run and play at the shore! Just be sure to keep your pet’s safety in mind when taking him to a beach. A Valrico, FL vet discusses doggy beach safety below.

Swim Lessons

Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Some pooches even need to be taught how to do the doggy paddle! If your canine friend doesn’t know how to swim, take time to teach him. Support Fido gently while he is learning, and encourage him with praise and ear scritches.

Doggy Obedience

All dogs should know basic commands, like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. This isn’t just about petiquette: these commands can help you keep your furry buddy from running up to strangers or approaching dangerous areas. Make sure Fido knows these important commands.

Heat

Dogs can overheat very quickly running and playing at the beach. Make sure to bring plenty of water along for your pup! You’ll also want to keep a close eye out for warning signs, such as drooling, panting, trembling, vomiting, and dark urine. If you see any of these symptoms, immediately give Fido water and take him to a cool area. If symptoms persist, contact your vet. We also recommend taking your pooch to the beach in the morning or evening, when it’s cooler out.

Fur

Before you go home, rinse Fido off to get the salt and sand out of his fur. You may want to brush your dog later on, after he’s dry. Some of our canine pals are also susceptible to sunburn. Ask your vet for tips on putting sunscreen on your four-legged pal.

Paw Care

Fido can easily burn his paws by running around on hot sand or rocks. He can also cut himself on sharp shells or broken glass. Try to keep your pup on soft ground as much as possible. Use paw balm or wax to protect your furry friend’s feet.

Dangers

Always keep a close eye on your canine buddy. Dogs can get into trouble in just a few feet of water! Never bring Fido anywhere with steep drop-offs, heavy wakes, or riptides.

Do you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Please contact us, your local Valrico, FL pet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.