All posts by James

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.

7 Reasons Cats Are So Sleepy

Is your cat sleeping right now? There’s a good chance that the answer to that question is yes. And if Fluffy is actually awake, she probably won’t stay that way for long. Why are our feline friends so drowsy? Is being adorable really that exhausting? A Brandon, FL vet lists some reasons why kitties are so tired in this article.

Age

Kittens are both adorable and tired. Actually, there is a reason that baby cats sleep so much. Feline growth hormones are released during kitty sleep cycles. All those naps help little Fluffy grow from a tiny furball into a healthy, happy adult cat! Then, by the time Fluffy is a senior, she’ll be a napping expert, capable of sleeping up to 20 hours a day. That’s pretty impressive!

Preventing Overheating

Overheating can be very dangerous for cats. They only sweat through their paws, and panting isn’t very efficient for them. Kitties probably learned to take it easy, especially after exerting themselves. That said, we suspect our feline pals may be overcompensating a bit. Fluffy probably doesn’t need to recuperate with a nap every time she walks through the kitchen.

Official Kitty Schedule

Cats definitely play by their own rules. They do, however, seem to have some very strict codes for certain things … like naps. Kitties are very diligent about taking their morning, mid-morning, noon, afternoon, and evening naps!

Cuddles

Many kitties love cuddling with their humans in bed. Purring cats make great sleep aids! Fluffy may nap while you’re at work, but she’ll still want to snuggle up with you when you hit the sack. In fact, your pet will adjust her sleep schedule to match yours.

Boredom

Kitties may sleep more when they aren’t getting enough stimulation or entertainment. Make sure Fluffy has lots of toys to play with!

Weather

Have you ever noticed that dreary days make you drowsy? This applies to kitties too! Fluffy sleeps even more than usual in bad weather.

Dozing

Most of the time, when Fluffy is snoozing, she isn’t sound asleep, but is still processing sounds and stimuli. This is why you’ll likely see her ears move if you call her name. In the wild, this helps cats know when there are predators or prey around.

Does your sleepy pet need an exam, vaccinations, or parasite control? Contact us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, today!

How to Pamper a Puppy

Did you know that Spoil Your Dog Day is coming up August 10th? If you have a puppy, this is a great way to make sure your little buddy knows he is loved. Here, a Brandon, FL vet lists some great ways to spoil your new pet.

Doggy Daycare

Little Fido has a lot to learn. Your pooch will not only need to be housebroken, he’ll also need to learn basic doggy obedience commands, like Sit, StayCome, Heel, and Lay Down. Consider enrolling him in doggy daycare or puppygarten.

Photos

Your pet’s adorable toddler phase will pass quickly. Snap some cute photos of your furry pal on Spoil Your Dog Day. This could be a great start for an annual tradition!

Toys

Toys help keep puppies occupied and entertained, and also keep them out of mischief. Chew toys are also a must for young dogs. Pick up some new playthings for your pet!

Puppy Party

There’s no cuter way to wind down after a long day than by hanging out with friends and family members … and playing with dogs. Invite some people with friendly, polite pups over for a barbeque. Set out treats and toys for your furry guests. This will also be good for little Fido, as it can help with socialization.

Treats

Snacks are a definite must for this special occasion! Little Fido can have regular doggy treats, but you can also give him some plain, cooked meat, fish, or chicken, without the skin, bones, or fat. Doggy ice cream is another good option. You can also make homemade doggy treats. Check online for recipe ideas.

New Digs

Do you have a yard for your canine pal to play in? Why not get the little guy a doghouse? If you haven’t gotten little Fido a crate yet, this is also a good option. When you go shopping, buy things that will fit your pup’s expected adult size. Otherwise, you’ll have to replace it. A kiddie pool is also a great option.

Love

The best way to brighten up your pet’s day is really just to spend time with him. Take little Fido for a long walk, and then indulge him with a fun play session. Don’t skimp on the belly rubs, either!

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

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.