The Heat is On: Summer Paw Safety

Four-footed friends need special attention in summer. With warmer weather and longer summer days, chances are good that you’re spending more time with your best dog pal outdoors.

Whether you’re vacationing together, playing frisbee in the yard, or swimming in the lake or river, your dog’s increased exposure to the outdoors requires more vigilance on your part. 

The condition of your dog’s feet is key to health and well being. When it comes to those four feet, let Volunteer Veterinary Hospital share some tips and tricks that will ensure a happy and healthy summer for your pet.

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Running With Your Dog

When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, getting in a great workout, and bonding with your furry friend, running with your dog can’t be beat. Besides the many health benefits of regular exercise for pets, running provides an outlet for excess energy, reduces boredom and negative behaviors, and strengthens the bond you share.

In case you haven’t noticed, your pet’s safety is one of our top priorities at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital. We want to share some simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to running with your dog.

But First…

  • Come see us. Before beginning any exercise program, schedule a wellness exam with your veterinarian. We’ll make sure your best pal is healthy enough for running and is up-to-date on important vaccines and parasite protection.
  • Brush up on obedience. A good grasp of basic obedience commands is essential for your dog’s safety. Dogs who run with their owners should be able to heel, not pull at the leash, and respond to basic commands, such as “come” or “drop it.”
  • Get in gear. A sturdy, 4-6 foot leash, a harness with a back clip, and a few plastic baggies for doggie waste are all you need before hitting the trail with your pet. Stay away from retractable leashes, as these can be extremely dangerous and offer little control.

Tips for Running With Your Dog

Consider these tips to ensure running with your dog is a successful experience:

  • Start slowly – You wouldn’t go from a couch potato to running 10 miles overnight, so don’t expect your dog to do the same. Work up to longer distances slowly with your pet. Additionally, don’t skip the warm-up period anytime you run with your dog  – a few minutes of brisk walking or slow jogging is sufficient to get the blood moving and muscles warmed up.
  • Be observant – Always pay close attention to your dog’s body language and watch for signs of overexertion or heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, drooling, stumbling, or slowing down/stopping. Never force your dog to run if they don’t want to.
  • Watch the heat – Dogs aren’t able to regulate body temperature as efficiently as humans, meaning that heat stroke or heat exhaustion can come on quickly. Running during the early morning or evening hours is best during warmer months.
  • Paw protection – A dog’s paw pads are tough, but they’re no match for hot pavement or asphalt, rocks, sticks, or glass. Whenever possible, choose a softer running surface, such as a trail or grass, and be on the lookout for any debris that could injure your dog’s paws.

We applaud you for giving your dog the joy and health benefits of running! Please let us know if you need more information or would like to schedule an appointment for your pup.

Is Fall Pet Safety a Thing? It Sure Is!

Fall pet safety will keep your pet your pet safe from antifreeze poisoning.We’re finally coming out of the extremely hot summer, and the items on your pet to-do list are about to change. Keeping your pet safe is just one of those enterprises that keeps you on track throughout the year, but it does differ from season to season.

Fall pet safety hinges upon paying extra close attention to certain seasonal threats that don’t pop up on your radar during, say, June. With that in mind, we’ve got some top-notch tips that will keep you and your pet going strong and healthy for the rest of the year.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Now that the sweltering heat has subsided, pets collectively look forward to spending more time outside. You can definitely enjoy being together, but even if it’s simply doing yard work out back, there are certain safety considerations for your pet. Continue…

Understanding and Preventing Pet Heat Diseases

Keeping your dog hydrated during the heat will help with pet heat diseases that often happen in the summer. It’s hot, it’s sticky, and all you want to do is hide inside with the air conditioning or jump into an ice cold pool. Summer in Tennessee is not for the faint of heart, and if humans are feeling the effects of extreme heat, you can be sure our pets are also experiencing it. Because of the differences in the way our pets’ bodies handle the hot weather, they’re at greater risk for certain heat-related ailments; keeping an eye on them during the hottest part of the year is essential.

Let’s take a moment to learn more about pet heat diseases, including how to prevent and recognize them.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is defined as a life-threatening elevation in body temperature, and it’s the most dangerous of all pet heat diseases. Heat stroke usually occurs in warm weather, and it can lead to multiple organ failure and death if left untreated. Signs your pet may be experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion include: Continue…

Factor in Pet Safety When It Comes to Summer Activities

Pet SafetySummer has arrived, and if you have children in the home, this is likely a time of great rejoicing. Visions of running through the sprinklers, popsicles on the porch, endless crafts, and other summer delights fill the heads of the youngest family members, and, of course, the family pet must be involved in the fun.

Before diving into to your to-do list of activities and adventures this summer, take a moment to make sure pet safety is at the top!

Outdoor Fun

Nothing screams summer like playing outdoors with the family pet, especially if there’s a pool, sprinkler, or hose involved. While everyone is out soaking up the sun, it’s important to remember that pets can easily succumb to dehydration and heatstroke during the warm and humid months. Keep the following tips in mind to protect your pet this summer:

  • Make sure pets have access to plenty of shade and fresh, cool drinking water at all times while outdoors.
  • Keep pets inside as much as possible on very hot or humid days.
  • Let your kids and pets keep cool in a shallow kiddie pool or sprinkler.

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Pet Cancer: A Primer  

pet cancerHearing that your pet has cancer is a frightening experience, but according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, 1 out of 3 dogs will receive a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime. For cats, the statistic is 1 out of every 5 according to the Animal Cancer Foundation.

There is good news, however. Some pet cancers are treatable, especially if caught early and treated aggressively. There’s also ongoing research for the development of new treatments, as well as cures for some forms of cancer.  At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we honor Cancer Awareness Month by exploring common forms of pet cancer and some possible treatment options.

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Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs

lyme diseaseTicks are known to cause many problems, not the least of which is Lyme disease. Caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick and affects dogs and humans alike. You may be wondering which dogs are at risk, and how do we treat and prevent Lyme disease in dogs. Stay tuned for a primer from your veterinary team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital.

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Packing on the Pounds: Pet Obesity

A fluffy pet is super cute, but what about a fat one? Despite the adorable images of roly poly cats and dogs, there really is nothing cute about an overweight pet.

Pet obesity is a huge factor in the health and quality of life of our animal friends. At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, helping your pet maintain a healthy weight is a top goal.

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Diabetes in Pets 101

It is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, and what better time to take a minute to learn about this common affliction in both our dog and cat family members? Join Volunteer Veterinary Hospital as we explain everything you need to know about diabetes in pets.

Diabetes in a Nutshell

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the human population in this country, so most of our pet parents have some concept of what this disease is and how it can affect the body. Many people are shocked to find out, though, that our pets can develop this disease, too.

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The Howl-O-Ween Blog: All About Pet Halloween Safety

veterinarianThe leaves are changing, the air has cooled, and is tinged with the smell of wood smoke. Everywhere you turn there are carved pumpkins on the porches, spooky cobwebs in the trees, and bags of candy disappearing off the store shelves. There’s no doubt about it, Halloween is right around the corner.

While you and your family are getting ready for a night of costumed fun, Halloween festivities can have some serious consequences for our pets. Not only does your pet potentially have access to more toxic foods this time of year, his or her risk of injury increases as well. Help keep your pet happy, calm, and safe this year with our Halloween pet safety tips. Continue…