You have a new pet - congratulations! Here are a few things you need to know.
There is nothing like getting a new puppy or kitten. The snuggles, the first moments, the sweet face that melts your heart- all of these things make your new addition a welcome part of the family. We know you want the best for your pet, so here are 7 great tips to get your new family member off on the right foot - ahem - paw.
Tip #1 - Heartworm, Flea, and Intestinal Parasite Prevention
Heartworms, fleas, and other parasites can be devastating to dogs and cats in Houston. At Animal Clinics of The Woodlands, we have a number of parasites that we keep our eye on and treat for. Don't underestimate the importance of heartworm prevention. Please make sure to take your new puppy or kitten to the veterinarian right away and discuss the best parasite prevention plan for your pet and family.
Tip#2 - Spay and neuter your pets
In addition to reducing the pet population, spaying and neutering your pets has many health benefits and improves the quality of their lives. For instance, did you know that spaying helps prevent uterine infections and mammary cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats?
Tip#3 - Chocolate and other unknown toxins
Many of the common plants, flowers, foods and spices that we all have around our home and are perfectly safe for us are actually toxic and in some cases, lethal to our pets. Here's a brief list of some of the most common dangers:
Plants & Flowers
Foods & Spices
* For a more complete list of common pet toxins, please visit http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Tip#4 - Heatstroke is a very real danger in Houston
We have been saddened to hear of children around the country being left in locked cars and suffering from heatstroke. Here in Houston, its basically summer temperatures 7 months out of the year and we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to our pets and children. Here are some quick tips to help your pets avoid heatstroke in Houston:
Tip #5 - Feeding
Feeding both dogs and cats a premium diet targeted at the appropriate life stage and breed/size of pet is important. Kitten/Puppy food is recommended until 10-12 months of age, adult food until 7 years of age, and senior food for 7+ years.
Puppies and kittens require a much larger daily intake, but a measured daily feeding amount is recommended for adults and/or after being altered to ensure a healthy weight is maintained.
At least 50%, if not all, of a cat's diet should be canned because they are carnivores, benefit from the additional moisture of canned food, and the carbohydrates in dry food contribute to weight issues.
Tip#6 - Crate Training
Crate training from a young age is recommended to provide the quickest and most effective potty training for young (an even adult) dogs. Crate training also helps ensure the safety of pets when they cannot be directly supervised and allow them a source of safety. Dogs are den animals and benefit greatly from having a crate to call their own.
Tip#7 -Microchip your pets
1 in 3 pets goes missing during its lifetime, and without proper ID, 90% never return home. A microchip for dogs & cats gives the best protection with permanent ID that can never be removed or become impossible to read. Even indoor pets should be microchipped because there is always the potential for a normally indoor only pet to slip out of an open door/window or escape during travel and find themselves lost. Microchips are placed under the skin, over the shoulders, and are readable with scanners at all clinics, shelters, and pet rescues. It is truly the ONLY 100% reliable form of identification. Because tags and collars can be removed, damaged, or fall off. Keeping your pet's microchip contact information up to date is important as well.
Do you have a new puppy or kitten? Learn more about our puppy and kitten packages, or download our e-book "How To Take Care Of A New Puppy" & "How To Take Care Of A New Kitten".
There has been an increase in discussion, media coverage, and worry regarding Canine Influenza (CIV) here in Texas. Considering that Texas ranks as one of the top 10 states with the most number of dog owners, we can understand why. We hope that knowing the facts and understanding how to protect your pet will put your mind at ease, so here are a few facts to consider regarding CIV in Texas:
To date there has been one documented case of the H3N2 strain of CIV documented in Texas in a dog that had recently traveled from Chicago where the initial outbreak occurred.
Although there isn't currently a vaccine for the H3N2 strain of canine influenza, one is reported to be in development. Keep in mind that existing CIV vaccines actually provide protection against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza. Vaccinated dogs are shown to develop less severe symptoms and are less likely to spread the disease. What is unknown, though, is if these vaccines provide any cross protection against H3N2.
Canine influenza is spread through exposure to respiratory secretions and can last in the environment for 2 days. So dogs that are at highest risk for CIV are those that spend time in areas with large populations of dogs such as groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities.
Reducing exposure to the virus is the best way to prevent the canine influenza illness. This includes avoiding exposure to other dogs showing respiratory signs, but it should be noted that infected dogs can be contagious to others several days before showing signs themselves.
Initially, there was a shortage of current CIV vaccinations, but increased production is beginning to meet recent demands. It is recommended that ALL dogs that come into contact with other dogs be vaccinated for Canine Influenza. Contact your veterinarian to update your pet's CIV vaccination.
While the current risk for H3N2 in our area is low, should your pet be experiencing any respiratory symptoms, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. We are always here to address any and all of your pet’s needs!