The Top Summer Safety Issues for Dogs and Cats

Now that summer is finally here, you and your pet can spend more time outdoors enjoying all that the season has to offer. Like the other three seasons, summer presents unique safety challenges for our companion animals. The good news is that you can enjoy a wonderful summer with your pet by taking a few simple precautions recommended by our Copper Country Veterinary Clinic veterinarians.

While dozens of potential issues could arise in the warm weather season, here are the ones that pet owners encounter most frequently:

 

Fireworks season: Independence Day may be only one day, but the fireworks used to help celebrate it can last for weeks before and after the actual 4th of July. Many communities have other festivals that include fireworks throughout the summer. Unfortunately, the constant loud booms can terrify some dogs and cats. We encourage you to shop in our online store for a Thundershirt to help reduce anxiety or to ask us about medication options if your pet is especially fearful and anxious of loud noises.

 

Outdoor barbeques: Cooking food outside is practically a rite of summer. From a pet’s perspective, the heavenly aromas may be too strong to resist. This can cause an otherwise well-mannered pet to try to grab meat off the grill, dig through the garbage, swipe food from guests, or become food possessive. It’s best to help your pet avoid temptation by keeping her in the house or kennel.

 

Lost Pets: The sound of fireworks, having the kids at home all day, and more people coming to the door are just some of the things that can make a pet feel over anxious or excited. This can cause him to dart out the door at the first opportunity. Without a microchip, statistics are not in favor of your pet returning home. Even a tag and collar can slip off or get caught on an object such as a fence. When a pet has a microchip, the person finding your pet can take them to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter for scanning. Since the chip registry holds information you’ve provided, you’ll want to ensure that your contact information is current.

 

Increased Risk of Tick-Borne Diseases: According to the website Pets and Parasites, the population of ticks is especially high this year and it increases the risk of companion animals contracting a serious disease. This includes Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Prevention just makes sense. We carry several tick prevention products in our online store. Our veterinarians are happy to help you choose the most appropriate one for your dog or cat.

These are just four potential summer hazards that your pet faces this summer. Please let us know if you have additional questions or schedule an appointment today by calling 906-482-1771. We wish you a fun, happy and safe summer!

Pet Health Checklist: 4 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Spring

Our recent winter is one we’re looking forward to leaving behind,  and it officially ends this month. As you look forward to spring, the Copper Country Veterinary Clinic veterinary team encourages you to take a few minutes to consider seasonal hazards from your pet’s perspective. By taking the time to pet-proof your home and yard, as well as being proactive with parasite prevention, you and your pet can fully enjoy the season together!
Fleas – An “Ick” to Avoid
 
As the weather gets warmer and you spend more time outdoors with your pet, keep in mind that the flea population increases with the warm weather. Since fleas require a living host for survival, your dog or cat is an easy target. Fleas tend to attach themselves to your pet’s ears, underbelly, tail, and paws. Common indications of fleas include excessive itching, bleeding or oozing skin, biting, chewing, and licking at the skin. Additionally, you may notice “black pepper” appearing specks, which may be “flea dirt”. It’s essential to ensure your pet is protected from the misery of fleas and a possible severe allergic reaction to flea saliva.
Garden and Yard Poisons
 
There’s nothing like looking at a brown or snow-covered lawn for months to get you excited about working on your yard! Before you do, remember that mulch, fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides can all be toxic if your cat or dog ingests even a little bit. We recommend keeping your pet in the house or a kennel when you’re working on the yard. Curious pets may be inquisitive about newly appearing smells and objects. Be sure that you read and follow the directions exactly as stated on any yard product labels. When not in use, keep products in a sealed container well out of your pet’s reach.
Heartworm Prevention
 
When a mosquito infected with heartworm bites your pet, the parasite transfers to her body. It lodges within the chambers of the heart and in the lungs, which may eventually make it impossible for your pet to breathe. A single heartworm can grow to a size of 12 inches inside of your pet’s body. Heartworm also reproduce rapidly, making it very challenging to treat an advanced infestation. With the potential for something this deadly, please be certain that your pet has heartworm protection. If you haven’t already, make your pet’s preventive care visit so we can test for heartworm infection, and get your pet on a protocol to keep her safe.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
 
Lyme disease is one of the most serious tick-borne illnesses that your pet can receive from a single tick bite. The most common symptoms of Lyme disease include skin infections, arthritis, lethargy, and fever. Unfortunately, the disease can progress and turn fatal.
Besides equipping your pet with tick protection, it’s important to check his body for ticks each time he comes in from outside. Prompt removal is critical since infection from a tick typically doesn’t start to spread for 48 hours. Use a pair of tweezers to pull the tick off your pet in a straight line. Avoid twisting the body of the tick since this could cause parts of its body to break off and remain lodged in your pet.
These are just some of the potential pet hazards to be aware of this spring. Please contact us at 906-482-1771 with additional questions or shop in our online store for flea, tick, and heartworm prevention products.

Has Your Pet Had a Preventive Care Exam Lately?

If you only visit Copper Country Veterinary Clinic when your pet is injured or sick, you’re missing the opportunity to get a complete picture of her health. The preventive care exam allows our veterinarians to detect potential health issues and begin monitoring or treating them right away.  By committing to preventive care, you could extend it by months or years. It’s well worth the investment when you consider how much love and joy your pet brings into your life.

Our Recommended Schedule for Preventive Care Exams
If your pet is normally healthy and between the ages of 12 months and seven years, an annual exam is usually sufficient. Pets enter middle-age around age seven and their senior years around age 10, so we recommend bi-annual check-ups for pets in this age group. This is when we most often start seeing issues such arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease. Your puppy or kitten under one year will need to come in several times before his first birthday for routine vaccinations and monitoring.

Required vaccines for dogs include canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. The first shot offers protection for both hepatitis and respiratory disease. Essential vaccines for cats include feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, rabies, and rhinotracheitis. Our veterinarians will also discuss several optional vaccines you may want to consider for your pet depending on her species, age, lifestyle, and general health. Unless you plan to breed your dog or cat, we recommend sterilization as soon as possible. We can complete the spay or neuter procedure as early as six months.

A Typical Preventive Care Exam
If your pet needs a new vaccine or booster, we will provide it at this appointment. This is also a great time to talk to our staff about any behavioral concerns, parasite prevention, exercise, and diet. We will check your pet for parasites and let you know if we discover any. Our comprehensive preventive care exam also consists of the following:
  • Intestinal or stomach problems, which might show up as abnormal stools, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Unusual urinary discharge or mammary gland issues in females
  • Nasal issues, which might include labored breathing, allergies, asthma, coughing, or sneezing
  • Coat and skin for problems with anal sacs, hair loss, pigment changes, or excessive shedding
  • Teeth and gums for oral health diseases
  • Legs and feet for problems such as torn nails, weakness, limping, or joint pain
  • Eyes and ears for signs of normal vision and hearing as well as absence of unusual discharge
  • We will check your pet’s weight at each visit to establish a baseline and let you know if we have any concerns about being overweight or underweight

Our staff will complete further diagnostic testing if we notice any potential issues during your pet’s exam. This may include a blood or urine test, x-ray, stool sample, or whatever is necessary to diagnose the health condition. We will contact you with the results as soon as possible and discuss a treatment plan at that time as well. If your pet needs medication or other follow-up treatment, you may be able to order what you need from our online store.

If it’s been more than a year since your adult pet’s last preventive care exam or six months since your senior pet had an exam, please contact us at 906-482-1771 to schedule an appointment. We will let you know our preferred schedule for puppies and kittens the first time you bring your new pet to see us.

Halloween Can Be a Scary Holiday for Pets

As much as you and your children might enjoy Halloween, this particular holiday can be a stressful one for pets. They don’t understand why you have decorations and carved pumpkins with candles in them around the house and naturally feel curious enough to investigate. Your dog or cat may end up swallowing something inedible or even starting a fire by knocking over a candle. These are just two of several Halloween safety concerns to keep in mind. Copper Country Veterinary Clinic wants to provide the following safety tips to help keep your pets safe and happy during the month of October.

Don’t Share Your Candy
If anyone breaks out the treats before Halloween, instruct them not to share with the family pet regardless of how much he stares at them with sad eyes. Chocolate is especially problematic for pets because it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms associated with gastric distress. The artificial sweetener Xylitol may cause similar problems. If you really want to give your pet a treat, order something especially created for pets from our online store.

Pets Should Remain Indoors
The doorbell ringing and seeing groups of excited children at the door can be too much for your pet to handle. He may try to slip out the door or even become aggressive. To avoid these issues, plan to keep your dog or cat in an area of the house where you can close the door, and reduce noise and anxiety causingstimuli. Be sure to provide his food, bedding, and toys while he stays in the room and check in frequently to make sure he’s okay. You can even buy food puzzles (which lengthen time your pet engages with his food) or toys from our online store to help pass the time.

Another reason pets should stay inside is that October 31 tends to bring out people who like to play pranks or are deliberately cruel to animals. Due to unfounded superstitions about them, this is especially true of black cats. The problem is so widespread that many animal shelters will not allow people to adopt a black cat on or near Halloween.

How to Choose a Safe Costume
Some stores sell such adorable Halloween costumes for pets that it can be hard to resist buying one. If you choose to dress up your dog or cat, be sure you’re always nearby to supervise. Ensure he has no breathing obstructions and can see clearly. Very importantly, watch him carefully for signs of irritation, discomfort or fear which may indicate that he is probably not enjoying being dressed up for the event. Also remember that your pet might chew on the costume and end up swallowing a piece of it. A close eye on your pet’s environment is definitely a “must” for Halloween.

Should you experience an emergency with your pet, call us at 906-482-1771. If it is after hours, you’ll be directed for the appropriate number to call. Happy Halloween from the staff of Copper Country Veterinary Clinic!

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