All posts by James

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!

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!