Importance of Vaccinating Your Pet

Puppy LoveVaccinations play a major role in protecting your pet’s health. Because some illnesses can be transferred to humans, vaccines can protect you too! The most common vaccines used today are for rabies, distemper and hepatitis. Vaccinating your pet is one of the easiest ways to help him or her live a long, healthy life.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines can help your pet’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like a disease-causing organism to the immune system, however they don’t actually cause disease. When a vaccine is introduced to your pet’s body, their immune system becomes activated. Then, if your pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his or her immune system will recognize the disease and fight it off entirely or at least minimize the severity of the illness.

Types of vaccinations

There are several types of vaccines recommended for all pets. While vaccines differ slightly for dogs and cats, the end result is protection from illness. The first type are core vaccines. These vaccines are generally recommended for all pets and protect against potentially fatal diseases. The second type are non-core vaccines, which are given depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle and the geographic area in which you live. Some veterinarians will recommend yearly vaccinations. Work with your veterinarian to determine an immunization program that fits your pet’s needs, risks and lifestyle.

Health risks for your pet

The most common reason people choose to not vaccinate their pet is because they worry about the potential side effects. Like any medical procedure, vaccinations do have some risk. However, the risk is often much greater if you do not vaccinate your pet at all. Reactions to vaccinations are rare and generally include pain or swelling at the point of injection. If you have any questions about vaccinating your pet, please talk with your veterinarian. They will always have your pet’s best interest in mind.

Vaccinations have become second nature for pets today, as they can effectively prevent against life threatening diseases. Not only can vaccinations protect your pet’s health, but also the health of your entire family. While there are some risks to vaccinating your pet, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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How to Prevent Flea and Tick Infestation

Labrador pupFlea and tick prevention can help keep your pet happy and healthy. And it’s much cheaper than controlling them once fleas and ticks have settled on your pet. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with fleas and ticks, they are considered external parasites that can cause extreme discomfort and serious illness in pets, sometimes people.

Flea and tick prevention is very important because it can help prevent diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When ingested, fleas can cause tapeworm, which can drain your pet of blood and nutrients. As you can see, preventing flea and tick is necessary for the health and well-being of your pet. Here’s how you can prevent flea and tick infestation:

Flea and Tick Preventatives

The best way to protect your pet from fleas and ticks is by using preventatives. These products are typically administered orally by tablet or topically, using a liquid medication. Most liquid medications should be applied between your pet’s shoulder blades or at the back of their neck. Always read medications carefully. For instance, some flea products only protect against adult fleas, while other preventatives also target other stages of the flea life cycle, which is more beneficial to your pet.

Avoid Tick Habitats

Another way to protect your pet from infestation is by keeping him or her out of tick habitats, such as heavily wooded areas and tall grass. In your personal yard, you should strive to keep grass short and brushes cut back. This will help significantly to create a tick-free zone for your pet to play safely. Ticks also like moist areas. With fall right around the corner, it’s important to keep leaf liter at a minimum around your house.

Check Pets Regularly

Get your pet accustomed to regular tick checks. You can do this by checking your pet every time it comes indoors. If you have dark-colored or long-haired pets, this is especially important. When checking your pet, make sure to check their entire body. For a long-haired animal, consider giving him or her a haircut in the spring and keeping it short through the fall. Trust me, it’s much easier to check for ticks on a short-haired animal. If you find a tick, never remove it with your bare hands. Always use a pair of tweezers and grasp as close to the mouth as possible.

When it comes to flea and tick prevention, some medications can be highly toxic to different animals. Therefore, you should always use products on the species for which they are intended for. Don’t let your pet get bit this season. Protect him or her today!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Keeping Pets Safe In Summer Heat

Bonzer in the kiddie Pool
Even though the end of the summer is approaching, there are plenty of warm days left. In order to keep your pets healthy, you need to make sure they’re safe in the summer heat. Even if it the temperature feels okay to you, it might not feel okay to your pet! Read this guide for some advice on keeping them safe and sound.

Looking for Heatstroke in Pets

A high body temperature means your pet is in danger.  If it’s between 104 and 110 degrees (specifically for dogs and cats) you should seek veterinary help immediately. Often times, however, you won’t be able to tell what the body temperature is. Look out for other clues – like your pet walking differently, excessive panting, a very fast heartbeat, salivation, and more. When you cool down your pet, make sure you’re doing it properly. You never want to put ice water on your pet; it will make them more cold and potentially create more damage.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

No pet owner is an exception to this rule. Even if you intend to run into a store for a minute, it could take a lot longer than you planned. And heat rises rapidly in a car. Think about the times you’ve come back to your car in the summer. It’s always hot, right? Imagine your pet being in there. Rolling the windows down slightly won’t help either – the temperature in the car won’t drop significantly enough. Remember that animals can feel as hot as you do, so leave your pet at home, or make sure you’re going to places that are pet friendly.

Keep Water Stocked

It seems simple, but you’ll probably need more water for your pet than you think. Make sure it’s clean, fresh, and changed often. Like humans, pets lose water through sweating, but also through panting. If you need to install something to hook up to your outdoor faucet, by all means, do it!

Keep Your Pets in a Cool Area

When it’s really hot out, pets should be kept out of direct sunlight. Shade is a pet’s friend. Try getting your pet a kiddie pool if tget can swim. Just remember – pets can get sunburned. Just like for humans, sunburns aren’t healthy!

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How to Take Care of a Bird

Pet bird in a cageBirds are very interesting creatures, which is exactly why it’s important to give your new bird enough attention to feel loved but not smother him or her. As easy as it might seem to spoil your new bird, spoiled birds tend to become unhappy, uncooperative members of your family that will end up only causing ruckus in your home. In order to develop happy and healthy birds as family pets, here are some easy to follow tips.

Establish boundaries

Just like any other animal, you need to teach your new pet what the boundaries are now that they’re living with you. Birds are very quick to adapt to new environments, but you need to make sure you teach them right off the bat what’s acceptable and what’s not. For example, when taking your bird out of the cage, teach them the step up rule to avoid any biting or nipping at your hands. This will in turn teach the bird that they have to behave this way with not only you but everyone else as well.

Prevent single bonding

Unfortunately this rule is pretty backwards compared to how you’d teach a dog that you’re his master. With a bird, single person bonding does help to establish a bond between you and the bird and decreases any fears between the bird and any human handlers, but it shouldn’t just be taught with a single person. Each caregiver in the family should have the opportunity to help your bird feel secure with all family members in order for the bird to feel comfortable with each and every one of you.

Be realistic with attention

CockatielSo you’re excited about your new bird and you want to spend as much time with it as possible, but this isn’t exactly a good indication of the future relationship with your bird. If you initially show your bird this much attention, they’ll get used to it and think it’s the norm. You want to be realistic with the amount of time you’ll be spending paying attention to the bird and do this from the very beginning in order to avoid giving any false expectations.

Develop a healthy diet

If you’re new to being a bird owner, you’ll learn quickly that food is one of the most abused sources of comfort and appeasement for birds. In order to help your bird grow healthy and lean, you need to be aware of the type of food your bird is eating and how much he’s consuming. Avoid spoiling your bird with too many seeds and other treats and you’ll be in the clear.

Bird-proof your home

213..365 | Birds > CatsJust like you have to prepare for any other pet, preparing the home for a new bird is imperative to ensure that nothing can get damaged in the process. Birds go off of visual, audio, and olfactory stimulation, but birds tend to use their mouths to explore and like to give everything a taste at least once. Before bringing your new bird home, put away any plants, toxic substances or anything that could prove to be harmful to your bird. Also, if possible, try to cover any electrical sockets or chords.

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Preventing Hypothermia and Frostbite in Dogs

As the temperatures continue to drop into the lowest temperatures of the season, we’ve all started to pull out the warmest of sweaters, socks and any other accessory that will shield us from the cold. Unfortunately for our pets, there’s not much they can do to protect themselves from the freezing temperatures like we can. Hypothermia and frostbite are two of the most common winter problems that your dog can suffer from, which is why it’s important for you to know the facts and how to prevent these problems from happening to your beloved pet!

What causes frostbite?

DogFrostbite is the name given to tissue damage that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold conditions. In order for dogs to conserve their heat, they reduce the amount of blood flow to the peripheral parts of his body, such as his ears, paws and tail. Without blood in these areas, they lack warmth and oxygen and as a consequence, ice crystals may form in the tissue which can then cause that tissue to die.

Symptoms of frostbite

The difficulty with frostbite in dogs is that because dogs are covered in hair, it’s challenging to find areas that might be impacted by it. The signs to really look out for are very pale skin, usually found on the belly area, which will be very cold to the touch.

You’ll also notice that once the skin starts to warm up, it will become red and swell, which will also prove to be very painful for your pet. After just a few days, the skin will then become dry and will appear to be scaly.

How to treat frostbite

Trapper in the SnowIf you notice an area on your dog that you think might be frostbite, bring your pet to a warm area and put heat on the area immediately. Most importantly for frostbite, make sure that you resist the urge to rub or massage the affected area since rather than helping, you’d really be hurting your pet, releasing toxins that can further cause damage to the tissue.

Call your vet and describe the severity of the frostbitten area. The vet can then determine whether it’s better for you to bring your dog into the office or if it’s better for you to stay home and monitor him for the next few days. If you do see your vet, they will likely prescribe your pet pain killers and antibiotics to help ease your dog’s pain and look at removing any dead tissue.

What causes hypothermia?

Sally in the snowHypothermia occurs when your dog’s temperature falls and stays below its normal range of 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When a dog is suffering from hypothermia, this means that he is losing body heat faster than he can replace it. This can happen when you’re walking your dog outside or even when he’s playing around outside in the backyard during the winter.

Symptoms of hypothermia

  • shivering;
  • lethargy;
  • muscle stiffness;
  • lack of coordination;
  • low heart and breathing rates;
  • fixed and dilated pupils;
  • collapse;
  • coma.

How to treat hypothermia

Wee Westie Under Wraps

In order to treat your dog for hypothermia, you must focus on warming them up so that their core temperature returns to normal. If you’re walking with your dog and notice he is suffering from the cold temperatures, you need to immediately prevent him from losing any further body heat by picking up your dog and running him into the house (if he’s small enough!) or walk quickly back to the house to warm up.

Once you’re in a warm environment, make sure you’re in a heated room where the floor is well insulated and find a blanket to wrap your dog in. It would be ideal to keep him in this position until his internal temperature returns to normal. If you don’t have a thermometer, don’t fret, as long as you pay close attention to him and get him to the point where he’s no longer shivering and appears to be acting normal again, it’s a pretty good indication that your dog’s temperature is back up.

The next time you’re getting bundled up to take a long walk with your pup, remember that while you might be able to go the distance in the cold weather, they might not be able to go quite as far. By reading the information above and preparing your pet for the cold, you now have the knowledge necessary to keep your furry friend safe from hypothermia and frostbite!

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