All posts by James

Pet-Safe Houseplants For People Who Kill Plants

Do you have both a pet and a brown thumb? Choosing houseplants may be tricky. You’ll want to avoid plants that are tricky to care for, as well as those that aren’t safe for pets. We can help! Here, a Brandon, FL vet lists some pet-safe plants for bad gardeners.

Spider Plants

Spider plants are super easy to grow, and won’t die if you forget to water them. That said, the plant itself may not be safe from cats. Fluffy loves to eat these!

Succulents

Many types of succulents, such as Echeveria, Jade, and Kalanchoe, are safe for pets. These are also easy keepers.

Cast Iron Plants

As the name suggests, these attractive plants are really tough. Even if you don’t feed or water them for a while, they just keep going strong.

Money Tree

A money tree may not have much effect on your bank account, but it won’t hurt your pet. Plus, they look nice!

Rubber Tree Plants

Rubber is pretty resilient, and so are the trees it comes from. These attractive plants are great options for people who kill plants.

Prayer Plants

These pretty plants are both safe for your furry friend and easy to grow. They look great in hanging baskets!

African Violets

African violets can add a pretty pop of color to any spot. They can live indoors or outdoors, and don’t need very much light.

Orchids

Orchids may not seem like an easy plant to care for, but many of them are actually quite hardy. Just take a few minutes to research how to water them, and choose the right soil. However, you’ll want to be sure to pick an orchid that is safe for pets. Most are, but there are a few varieties that aren’t.

Palms

Many varieties of palm trees are safe for pets. Ponytail palms, Areca palms, and Parlor palms are all fine. These are great options for a porch or patio! Just be sure to do some research, as not all palms are safe. Sago palms, for instance, are extremely toxic to pets.

Safety

Always err on the side of caution. If you aren’t sure whether or not a certain plant is toxic to pets, check the ASPCA website here.

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

7 Things to Do With Your Dog in 2020

Happy New Year! 2019 is officially in the rear-view mirror, and it’s time to focus on 2020. If you’re starting out the new year with a canine companion, this is a perfect time to revisit Fido’s care regimen, and make plans to keep that cute tail wagging. A Brandon, FL vet suggests some things to put on your agenda in this article.

Take A Day Trip

Dogs love exploring new places, and sniffing unfamiliar patches of grass. While daily walks are of course crucial, it’s also good for your canine buddy to enjoy a change of scenery now and then. Bring Fido to a new park, or check out a trail you haven’t explored before. Spending some time outdoors with your furry best friend is a great way to spend a nice afternoon!

Learn Something New

Many dogs actually like learning new things. Make sure your furry friend has mastered the basics, such as Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. Once your pooch has these down, have some fun with his petucation. Show Fido some cute tricks, like Shake or Roll Over.

Play

We all know that dogs love to play. Fido is absolutely adorable when he carries his favorite toy over to you to request doggy playtime. As it turns out, playing is actually very good for dogs, both mentally and physically. Carve out some time to play with your pup this year.

Relax

Life can get pretty hectic these days. Remember to enjoy some quiet time with your four-legged friend. Time spent with dogs is never wasted!

Get Fit!

Fitness is always at the top of many people’s resolutions lists. Fido is a great workout buddy! If your furry buddy is strong and fit enough to handle vigorous activity, take him on some hikes this year.

Snap Some Photos

Our canine companions take some super cute photos. Set aside some time for a puppy photo shoot, and get some great pics. (Tip: choose a background that contrasts with your pet’s fur.)

Visit The Vet

Doctors’ appointments may not be at the top of Fido’s 2020 to-do list, but your four-legged pal needs proper veterinary care to stay healthy. Keep up with your vet’s recommended appointment schedule!

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

Holidays With Nervous Dogs

Is your canine buddy easily excitable? Does Fido often get scared or anxious? If so, he isn’t the only one. Many of our canine companions are a bit fretful. Dogs can be afraid of a variety of things, such as loud noises, being left alone, visitors, social events, and changes to their daily routine or environment. Of course, all of these things may come into play around the holidays. This time of year can be quite difficult for timid pets! Here, a Brandon, FL vet offers tips on spending the holidays with a nervous pup.

Exercise

One of the best things you can do to keep Fido calm is to simply make sure he is getting enough activity. This will help your pooch burn off his excess energy. After a fun play session, your pup will be a bit tired, and therefore won’t be as jittery. Take time to walk and play with your pet every day.   (Tip: new toys make great gifts for dogs.)

Safe Space

Some dogs are more comfortable when they have a safe space to retreat to. A crate is great for this, though you shouldn’t keep Fido crated too long. If you have a spare room, you can also put your canine pal in there with bedding, toys, treats, and food. Put a baby gate at the door, so your pet can still see and hear you. That way, he won’t feel so isolated. If you’re expecting a noisy night, turn a radio or TV on to mask the sounds. This is a good tactic for New Year’s Eve, as many dogs are scared of fireworks.

Puppy-Calming Products

There are now quite a few products that are specifically made for calming pets, such as treats, collars, and sprays. Medication can also help your pooch cope with his anxiety. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Consider Boarding

Are you having a big holiday party? You may want to consider boarding Fido that day. You can enjoy the big event, while knowing that your pooch is safe and sound.

Quality Time

Last but not least, spend some quiet quality time with Fido. Relaxing with your pup and a good seasonal movie is a great break from all that hustle and bustle!

Please contact us, your local Brandon, FL vet clinic, for your dog’s boarding and veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Catproofing Your Tree

Are you planning on putting up a tree this year? If so, you may be in for a bit of a ‘catastrophe,’ especially if you have a frisky feline. We can help! Read on for some tips from a Brandon, FL vet on catproofing your tree.

Purrfect Placement

Keep your kitty in mind when picking a spot for the tree. Avoid putting it too close to anything Fluffy could jump off, like a desk or chair.

Reinforcement

Another thing you can do is reinforce the tree. Use fishing line to secure the top of the tree to the wall or ceiling. That extra support may help keep the tree upright if your furball tries to climb it.

Go Artificial

You may want to consider getting an artificial tree. Not only are these much harder for Fluffy to climb, they’re also cheaper.

Distract The Furball

Why not give your pet some of her gifts early? Offer Fluffy some new toys, and play with her every day. The idea here is to tire your frisky feline out a bit, so she’s more interested in napping than making mischief. If you want to go all-out, buy or make your furry buddy a cat tower. That should satisfy her urge to climb things!

Decorate Wisely

Cats are more or less hardwired to bat at anything that dangles, especially if it’s shiny. Put the majority of your ornaments and decorations on the top part of the tree. (Note: tinsel, lights, ribbons, and ornament hooks are all hazardous to kitties, so keep these well out of paws’ reach.) Hang just a few unbreakable things on the bottom portion of the tree.

Training

There are some things you can do to make the tree less appealing to your furball. When Fluffy approaches the tree, make a loud noise or squirt her with water. This won’t hurt her, but it will probably annoy her, which may be enough to make her form a negative association with the tree. That may just do the trick!

Kitty Guards

You can now buy tree guards that are specifically designed to protect trees from kitties. Taste deterrents may also work. If all else fails, you can always try getting a puppy gate.

Happy holidays from all of us here at Animal Medical Center, your local Brandon, FL vet clinic. Please contact us if ever we can be of assistance.

6 Great Reasons To Be Thankful For Pets

With Thanksgiving around the corner, many people are taking time to reflect on the things that they are most grateful for. For us, pets are definitely something to be appreciative of! Read on as a Brandon, FL vet lists some great reasons to be thankful for our animal companions.

Unconditional Love

Pets’ unconditional love is truly precious, and is something for us all to cherish. Your animal companion will never judge you or betray you. Fluffy and Fido also won’t care about where you work, how much you make, or who your friends are. In fact, pets often outlast jobs, cars, relationships, and even marriages. That’s really something to be grateful for, especially in this day and age!

Entertainment

If we can say one thing about our animal companions, it’s that they’re highly entertaining. Fido is absolutely hilarious when he’s chasing after a ball or squeaky toy. Fluffy is also pretty funny, especially when she’s feeling mischievous.

Health Benefits

Did you know that pets are actually good for us? Fluffy’s soothing purrs can help comfort people who are dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Dogs are also great for their humans. Studies have shown that people with pups tend to be fitter, healthier, and happier than those without canine buddies.

They Keep Us Smiling

As the saying says, laughter is the best medicine. Our animal friends definitely provide us with a lot of it! Fluffy and Fido are always making us smile with their adorable quirks and silly antics. Pets can even somehow make us chuckle when they’re sound asleep!

Comfort

Your furry pal will always be happy to see you when you get home. Those happy dances and cute meows can really be soothing in troubled times. Many of our animal companions also have a special way of knowing when someone needs some extra comfort. A house really isn’t a home without a pet!

Simple Pleasures

Fido and Fluffy don’t really ask for much, aside from food, comfy bedding, treats, and ear scritches. They can also remind us about the importance of focusing on the simple things in life, such as naps, sunbeam, and spending time with your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving! Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Reach out to us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Helping A Senior Dog Settle In

November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month! If you’re planning on adopting an older dog, you definitely have our support. Dogs in their golden years are typically super sweet and cuddly, and want nothing more than for someone to love them and care for them. Of course, going to a new home is a big deal for Fido, so you’ll want to make sure to get him started out on the right paw in this new chapter of his life. In this article, a Brandon, FL vet offers tips on helping a senior dog settle in.

Routine

Dogs do best when they are kept on a steady schedule for meals, walks, and playtime. Get Fido started on his new routine right away.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Our canine buddies are awesome, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Your pet may have a few habits you don’t care for, like begging or getting on the couch. Don’t punish your pooch for his transgressions: just focus on teaching him better petiquette. It’s worth noting that incontinence isn’t uncommon in older dogs. This can be quite embarrassing for Fido! Again, don’t reprimand your furry friend. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Bedding

One of the best things you can do for Fido is to get him a good bed. Older dogs are often very stiff and sore, and have a hard time getting comfortable in thin beds. Orthopedic beds are great options for senior pooches!

Visit The Vet

A trip to the vet is definitely in order. Although a senior dog will most likely already be fixed, you’ll want to get your canine pal a thorough exam, including a dental checkup. It’s also important to make sure Fido is microchipped and current on his vaccinations and parasite control. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific care instructions. That’s what we’re here for!

Doggy Comforts

Make your home senior-friendly by providing small doggy comforts. Pet ramps or stairs will help your furry pal get around more easily. Raised dishes will be more comfortable for your pooch to eat from. You may also want to make a few customized adjustments. For instance, if Fido has vision issues, set out floor runners to help him find his way around.

Please contact us with any questions about caring for senior dogs. As your local Brandon, FL vet clinic, we’re happy to help!

Benefits of Playing With Your Cat

Cats are very playful little pets. They’re also extremely entertaining! Fluffy certainly is adorable when she’s jumping on a catnip mouse or running after that elusive red dot. Actually, playing with your pet regularly is one of the best things you can do for her. Here, a Brandon, FL vet lists some great reasons to play with your feline friend.

Exercise

As you may have noticed, cats get pretty lazy as they age. Fluffy can spend up to 20 hours a day snoozing. That makes it really easy for kitties to pack on extra pounds. However, cats can burn a lot of calories in a short time by running and jumping. Daily play sessions are a great way for your pet to get her daily workout in!

Stimulation

Although cats sometime enjoy doing absolutely nothing, they do still need entertainment and enrichment. Playing can help keep Fluffy from getting bored. It’s also great for her mind. Kitties have to really focus to time those pounces just right. That’s sort of like the feline version of doing a crossword puzzle.

Burn Excess Energy

Does Fluffy sometimes race around the house like a furry little rocket? Does she wake you up by pouncing on your toes in the middle of the night? Wear your feisty furball out with a fun game of Chase The Feather Toy or Catch The Red Dot. We all know what happens when cats get tired!

Bonding

Kitty playtime is a great way to bond with your pet. When you take time to hold a laser pointer or wand toy for Fluffy, she’ll know you’re making an effort to entertain her. This will in turn please your feline overlord, by making her feel loved and pampered.

Soothe Tensions

Do you have more than one cat? Dual play sessions can actually help Fluffy and Mittens become friends! Your kitties will learn to associate each other’s presence with something good.

It’s Fun!

Kitties take hunting very seriously, but that doesn’t mean they don’t look silly when they are doing that pre-pounce butt wiggle or attacking a tiny stuffed mouse. It’s almost impossible not to smile at some of Fluffy’s playful antics. This is a great way to relax after a long day!

As your Brandon, FL vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care for cats. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

6 Reasons To Adopt A Shelter Dog

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month! While we always love seeing dogs get second chances, this is a great time to shed some light on this wonderful cause. Going to a shelter is a wonderful way to find your furry BFF! Read on as a Brandon, FL vet lists some great reasons to adopt a shelter dog.

Give Fido A Second Chance

There are far too many sweet and lovable dogs in shelters, just hoping that someone will take them home and give them love and care. Sadly, time is running out for many of these wonderful pooches. Rescuing is a small but important way to make a difference in the world. You’ll also change the world for that one lucky pup!

Save Some Money

If you get Fido from a breeder or pet store, you may spend hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars. Going to a shelter is often much cheaper. Plus, you may be able to save on veterinary care, since most shelter dogs are already spayed or neutered and are current on their vaccines and parasite control.

Find A Perfect Pooch

Our canine pals come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. It doesn’t matter whether you want a small, cuddly lapdog; a goofy, gentle family pet; or an athletic pup to go hiking with. Shelters have all sorts of adorable pooches! Just remember to keep an open mind, and let your heart guide you.

Help Other Animals

When you adopt from a shelter, you also help other homeless animals. The space Fido leaves vacant will soon house another cute pup. Plus, your canine buddy’s adoption fees will help the shelter provide food, care, and shelter for other pets. That’s truly something you can feel great about!

It’s The Responsible Thing To Do

While there certainly are some great breeders out there, there also some who are more concerned with profits than with good animal welfare. Giving a shelter pet a second chance at happiness is one small way to help stop the cycle of overpopulation and abuse.

Skip The Terrible Twos

Many shelter dogs are fully grown. There are some great benefits to adopting adult dogs. Many are already trained, so you’ll be able to skip the housebreaking stage!

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

Dog Park Safety Tips

One great thing about living in Tampa is our warm weather. While many of our friends up north are bundling up against frigid winters, we’re still able to soak up some sunshine. Our canine pals also benefit from our climate, as they get to run and play outdoors all year long. One great way for Fido to get some fresh air and exercise is by visiting the dog park. Here, a Brandon, FL vet offers some suggestions on taking your pet to a park.

Training

Make sure you can control your dog at all times. Before you take Fido to a park, make sure he knows basic doggy obedience commands, like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down.

ID

We strongly recommend microchipping Fido. Also, make sure that your records are correct in the chip manufacturer’s database. Your canine companion should also be wearing current ID tags.

Preventative Care

Dog parks are a high-risk location for heartworms, which are spread from pup to pup via mosquitoes. Keep up with Fido’s parasite prevention products. Your furry buddy should also be current on his vaccinations. Keep copies of his paperwork with you, either in your car or on your phone.

Heat

Fido can overheat and/or get dehydrated very quickly by running and playing with his friends on hot days. Always bring water along for your pooch. You may want to get a water bottle with an attached dispenser. Keep an eye on your furry pal, and watch for warning signs. Panting is usually the first one you’ll spot. If you know or suspect that your pet is getting too hot, immediately give him some water and take him to a cool area. Call your vet if signs persist.

Fido’s Buddies

Before letting Fido off leash, take time to watch the pups in the park. Look for pooches that are acting aggressive or unruly and/or bullying other dogs. Also, watch for female dogs that may be in heat. If you see dogs fighting or acting rowdy, take your canine buddy for a walk instead, and try again later.

Timing

If possible, avoid going to the park during peak times. You also don’t want to stay too long, or linger long after dark. Aim for about a half hour to an hour tops.

As your Brandon, FL vet clinic, we’re here to offer great veterinary care. Please call us anytime.

Happy, Healthy Cat Month

September is a big month here in the world of veterinary care medicine. It’s Happy, Healthy Cat Month! Of course, we want our feline friends to be happy and healthy all the time. That’s why we’re so dedicated to offering great veterinary care. Read on as a Brandon, FL vet offers some tips on keeping your furry pal content and purring.

Good Food

Make sure Fluffy is eating a good, high-quality cat food. You don’t want to overfeed your fuzzy friend, however: if your kitty becomes obese, she’ll face some very dangerous health problems. Follow your vet’s advice, including portion sizes and suitable snacks.

Clean Litterbox

Cats like their litterboxes nice and clean, and who can blame them? Scoop Fluffy’s litterbox out daily, and change the litter every week.

Beds

You’ve probably noticed that cats are pretty tired. We’re not sure why Fluffy is so drowsy, but we do know that she will spend about two-thirds of her life snoozing. Make sure that your sleepy pet has lots of comfy beds to look adorable in.

Toys/Playtime

Even the sleepiest kitty can’t spend all of her time snoozing. Your furball will need something to do when she’s awake. Fluffy’s napping obsession also makes it very easy for her to get out of shape. Spend a few minutes a day holding a wand toy or laser pointer for your kitty to chase. This will be good for your cat both physically and mentally. It will also help her feel safe and loved.

Keep Kitty In

We strongly recommend keeping cats inside. Fluffy will be both healthier and safer as an indoor pet!

Stimulation

Did you know that cats can and do get bored? While playing is great, your cute pet can only spend so much time batting at catnip mice. Offer her a comfy window seat with a good view, and leave a radio on for her.

Veterinary Care

It’s probably safe to say that most of our feline patients would opt out of their appointments if they could. We know, Fluffy would rather try out a new napping position than visit us. However, coming to see us is definitely in her best interests! Keep up with your vet’s recommended appointment schedule.

Please reach out to us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering the best care ever.