Spring and Summer Fun!

It is officially spring and almost SUMMER!  With the rising temps, we get all this glorious rebirth! Sunshine and outdoor fun go hand in hand. We, as well as our pets, will start to feel the revitalization that comes with the warmer weather. However, as with any change in season, there are things to keep in mind that might affect our furry friends this spring.

The arrival of warm weather also means the arrival of those pesky fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. If you have not kept up on your pets’ preventative through the winter, be sure to get it started a.s.a.p.!  Heartworm, caused by mosquitoes, is one of the most prevalent diseases in the spring. For more information on ticks and fleas, please reference our previous blog articles. Also, we are running our annual Spring is in the Air contest and you could win a three month supply of preventative! Check out our FB page for details or give us a call.

With the balmy breezes and comfy temps, many people get that urge to do their annual cleaning. As you clean, be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pet’s reach. Also, be sure to allow surfaces to completely dry before you let your pets walk on them. You want to avoid the cleaner getting on their fur and causing irritation or having them groom themselves and accidentally ingesting some. Be sure to read all labels on your cleaning products, and when at all possible, use those that are pet friendly.

We all love the warm breezes that flutter through our homes in the springtime, and so do our pets. However, be sure that if you have an open window, it is properly screened. Also, be sure to check your screens for any tearing or other weakness that could allow your pets to fall through.

As the grasses, flowers and trees bloom this spring, so do seasonal allergies. Many people are unaware that your pets can suffer from allergies just as humans do.  Allergic reactions in your pets can range from sniffling, sneezing and scratching to life threatening anaphylactic shock. The most common symptoms are runny nose and eyes and scratching. If you suspect your pets have allergies, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Moving from the indoors to the outdoors, spring is time of working on our yards and in our gardens. However, be sure that if you are using any fertilizer, insecticides or herbicides, your pet does not have access to these areas. They may make your lawn beautiful, but most contain ingredients that are toxic to your four legged friends. Be sure to check the label on any product you are using to see if it may harm your pets. Also, be aware of what plants you are planting in your yard. Lilies, rhododendron and azaleas are all highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten.

Finally, now that the weather is cooperating, people and pets love to get out and walk, run, hike and play. Though these are all fantastic activities that can help your pet (and let’s face it, us too) shed those winter pounds, they do provide more chances for your pet to wander off or get lost. It is wise to keep your pet leashed if you are out of your yard. Also, be sure to have tags with your pet’s name and all of your pertinent information on their collar. Finally, we highly recommend that you have your pets microchipped (please see our previous blog article on the importance of microchipping).

Keeping all of these things in mind, we hope that you, and your pets, get out there and enjoy the arrival of spring!

By on June 11th, 2023 in Pet Care

The 411 on Fleas

We all know that when the weather gets warmer, we start to see a lot more pests bugging our beloved pets. As the temperatures go up, fleas can really cause your dog or cat some discomfort and give you a lot of headaches. But the question is; how much do you really know about fleas? Here are some of the biggest myths that people believe about those icky, tricky little buggers!

Myth: If you only see one or two fleas, it is no big deal.

Truth: A few fleas can turn into a horde of fleas in a very short time period. They breed with speed! Plus, even a few fleas can cause discomfort to your pet and no one wants that for their faithful companions.

Myth: Your pet only needs preventative a few months out of the year.

Truth: Although low temperatures can help keep flea infestation down in the winter, they still can flourish inside your home. Plus, any warm spells during the winter or an unusually warm spring or fall can make the flea season last much longer. To be safe, it is recommended to use preventative year round.

Myth: I have never seen a flea on my pet and they are only going out in my yard, therefore I do not need preventative.

Truth: Your back yard is constantly being visited by wildlife that can bring fleas and flea eggs into the environment. It is very easy for your pets to pick them up in the yard. Plus, just because you don’t see a flea, does not mean they are not there. Especially on animals with long fur, fleas can sometimes be tough to detect. Better safe than sorry!

Myth: I only need to treat the animal that I see fleas on. All of my other pets are fine.

Truth: If you see fleas on one pet, each and every pet in your household needs to be treated. If you treat one, but skip the others because you don’t see fleas, you are most likely going to get a reinfestation.

Myth: Once I treat my pet, my job is done.

Truth:  The truth is you need to treat your entire home. Fleas love carpet fibers and will stay in them and multiply only to start the problem all over again. Simple vacuuming every day can help eliminate the majority of the population. Then there are treatments that can be purchased at the store. Most importantly, once you have treated your pet and home, keep your pet on preventative! That is the #1 most effective way to keep those pesky fleas out of the house!

Myth: Fleas are a nuisance, but they really are harmless.

Truth:  Fleas are far from harmless. The can do serious damage to your pet and in some severe cases, even cause death. Some conditions that are a direct result of flea bites include: allergic dermatitis, flea anemia, cat scratch fever and tapeworm infections.

Myth: I can get good flea control at the pet store.

Truth: Though some pet stores have started selling more potent flea preventative, the best place to go is your veterinarian’s office. They can prescribe the best product for your pet and their lifestyle and show you exactly how to apply it.


By on May 31st, 2023 in Pet Care

The Truth About Those Tricky Ticks!

Now that we have let you in on all the flea fun, we thought it might be time to tackle those ticks! In the same way that people are often mistaken about flea facts, ticks can be tricky as well. So, here are some common misconceptions about ticks and the truth to help set them straight!

Myth: The best way to remove a tick is to touch it with a lit match, cover it with petroleum jelly or nail polish.

Truth: None of these old wives tales actually work to remove a tick. Actually they cause the tick to deposit more saliva into the wound therefore causing greater infection. The best way to remove a tick is to wear protective gloves, grasp the body of the tick as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull it out with a slow, smooth motion. Once the tick is removed, put it in an alcohol solution or flush it. Finally, clean the wound with soap, water and/or disinfectant.

Myth: I don’t need to worry about ticks during the winter months.

Truth: Though tick season is predominantly the months of April – November, they can be found in most states year round. Some are particularly hearty and can survive the cold, while other simply move indoors bringing them closer to you and your pets. Therefore, it is extremely important to use preventative on your pets year round.

Myth: Ticks are insects, so they cannot really be that harmful.

Truth: This statement is actually doubly false. Ticks are not insects. They are actually parasites that belong to the same family as mites. Ticks can cause all kinds of harmful diseases as well. From Lyme Disease, to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and many more, ticks are nothing to take lightly.

Myth: Ticks only live in trees or wooded areas, and since I don’t live by any wooded areas, I don’t need to worry.

Truth: Ticks can live on the ground in any location. They attach to a host from the grass and move their way up.

Myth: If I find a tick on a family member, or myself, we can rule out all tick borne illnesses with a blood test.

Truth:  The truth is, for you, your family and pets, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnosis certain illnesses resulting from ticks. Sometimes it takes a few weeks and multiple blood tests to get results that are positive for the illness. It can also be difficult to tell if you are ill because many people to not experience symptoms in the early stages. The best that you can do is to contact your family physician (for humans) or your veterinarian (for pets) and do repeated blood tests over a period of weeks.

As with anything in life, the key to dealing with ticks is prevention. If you are hiking with the family in an area with tall grasses, it is smart to wear long pants with high socks. Keeping your family pets on year round preventative can also stop the spread of diseases caused by ticks. The age-old saying truly holds up here… An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

By on May 20th, 2023 in Pet Care

Make the Holidays Happy for Your Pets!

Well, despite the fact that the snow has yet to fly, we are well into the holiday season with Christmas just a few weeks away! The time has come for festive lights, good food, decorations and holiday cheer. There will be lots of shopping, presents, family visits and much much more! As we go about our merry way, as always, it is important that we keep our four legged family members’ safety a top priority. With all the new things being introduced to their environment, it is no wonder that veterinarians see an increase in sick pets this time of year. All that food, candy, presents, plants, ect. can be tough to resist for a lot of pets. So, check out our list below of potentially hazardous situations that you should be aware of to keep your pet safe this holiday season.

~ Holiday lights and candles

We all know how beautiful the house and tree look all lit up. However, for many animals, those twinkling and often dangly lights present a temptation pets cannot resist. They bat, pull and chew at the lighted strands, often resulting in electrical burns to the mouth or even death from electrocution.

If you decide to light candles for the holiday season, keep them high and in places where your dog and especially your kitty (who likes to defy gravity and get to places unseen) cannot reach. Not only can your pets get seriously burned from the flame or wax, they can also knock candles over creating a potential fire hazard for your home.

~ Tinsel and other decorations

Although it is not toxic, tinsel can cause serious harm and even death if consumed by your pets. Cats in particular are attracted to the shiny stuff that glitters and flutters as though alive. Once ingested, the tinsel can twist and bunch up causing intestinal blockages.

Also highly tempting to your pets are the bright, shiny and colorful bulbs that you hang on the tree. Both dogs and cats have been known to consume tree ornaments. Many of these can shatter, causing lacerations to the mouth, esophagus or stomach. They also can be potential choking hazards.

~ Presents

We all love giving presents to our family and our pets are certainly not an exception to this rule! However, be aware that if you wrap up a nice smelly bone or catnip, that wrapping paper is not going to completely mask the smell. Many cats and dogs, if left alone with scrumptious smelling gifts, will take it upon themselves to break into their presents stash (or others) and not wait for Christmas morning! This can be bad if they ingest the paper, cardboard or plastic wrapping that often are on these items. So, it is wise to wait to put those gift under the tree until that last minute and keep the room blocked if possible.

~ Holiday plants

Though they are beautiful and certainly add to the festive holiday mood, certain plants are highly poisonous and should be avoided or kept out of reach if you have pets. If ingested these plants may cause issues:

Pine needles – Pine needles can cause irritation to the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy.

Poinsettias – Poinsettias can cause mouth irritation and vomiting.

Holly – Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression in your pet.

Mistletoe – Mistletoe can cause respiratory distress, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea or even death.

~ Food

Finally, it is definitely the season for rich, delectable food. For many pets and people alike, the temptation can be great! But before you drop those scraps to your faithful friend, please remember that many foods can cause gastrointestinal issues at best or even death in the worst cases.

Chocolate  – One of the worst offenders, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats alike, although worse for dogs.

Stuffing – The stuffing may contain nuts and herbs that can be potentially dangerous to your pets. Cats are sensitive to essential oils and sage. Many nuts, such as macadamia, walnuts, almonds and others can cause stomach irritation, lethargy, vomiting and                 diarrhea.

Fatty foods – Foods high in fat content, such as turkey skin and desserts can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and even                   pancreatitis.

Bones – Many people feel that it is natural to give dogs and cats bones. However, they can cause very serious health issues with your pets and should be avoided. Bones can easily lodge in the esophagus, stomach or intestines.  They can also splinter causing infection, blockages and even death if not treated.

Most of our pets will sail through this holiday season happy and healthy with your help! As much as we love seeing you and yours at OAH, let’s not have it be in an emergency situation. By being aware of the potential dangers your pets may encounter, you can make a very happy home this holiday season!

By on December 15th, 2022 in Pet Care