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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

This Saturday is Pet Fire Safety Day

It might seem hard to believe that a pet can start a house fire, but it happens approximately 1,000 times a year in the United States. A curious cat can knock over a burning candle or an excited dog can accidentally bump a burner when jumping up on the stove to sniff dinner. This is one of the reasons that ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club (AKC) teamed together to sponsor National Pet Fire Safety Day every year on July 15. The other is that 40,000 pets die and another 500,000 are injured in fires every year.
How to Prevent Fires with Pets in the Home
All homes should have a smoke detector with working batteries on every floor. This alerts you to the presence of smoke or fire somewhere in your household, but the alert only comes after the fact. By following these safety tips, you can stop a fire before it starts:
  • Pet-proofing your home may require you to get down on your hands and knees to see things from your pet’s point of view. For example, the stove can be easy for a dog to reach just by standing on his hind legs. Loose wiring may draw the attention of a curious kitty who could then electrocute herself in the process. It’s also important to ensure that you put any hot item away immediately after use, such as an iron.
  • ADT and AKC both offer free window clings that alert emergency responders to the fact pets are in the home. You can write the number and species of pets on it so they know what to expect.
  • If you’re going to be away from home for more than a few hours, place your pets near the front entrance of your home to improve the likelihood of a firefighter finding them. Before you leave, do a quick check to make sure your pet isn’t close to any fire hazards.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home or choose to burn candles, make sure that you supervise your pet around any open flames. Additionally, extinguish all flames before leaving the room and don’t allow your pet to investigate.
Plan How to Escape a Fire with Your Pet
We published a blog post last year about making a written disaster plan that includes your pets. Whether it’s a fire or another sudden catastrophe, make sure you have a first-aid kit and a stash of food, water, and toys already prepared for your pet. Keeping a leash and collar near the door allows you to get out of the house faster if you have a large or frightened animal who tries to run away from you. These are simple precautions, but they can save your pet’s life in a fire when every second counts.
Photo Credit: A Dog’s Life Photo / Getty Images

Are You Ready to Adopt a New Pet?

Sharing your home and life with a pet can be immensely rewarding. It's also a lot of responsibility. Sadly, many dogs and cats are surrendered to animal shelters or just dropped somewhere to fend for themselves because people underestimate everything involved in pet ownership. Some pets find another home only to repeat the cycle and others are euthanized before they can find their permanent home. That is why it's so essential to thoughtfully consider all that caring for a pet entails.

Your Decision Will Affect You for Years


According to the American Humane Association, the average lifespan for dogs is 12 to 15 years while cats can live 15 to 20 years. The little puppy or kitten you bring home today will age rapidly and require your care for a lifetime. Before you act on a whim, be sure to think about the following:
  • Are you anticipating any major changes that might affect your ability to care for a pet, such as a move, new job, getting married, or having a baby?
  • What do you plan to do if someone in your household is allergic to the new pet or can't get along with her?
  • If the pet is for your children, are they responsible enough to care for him? Are you willing to take over the duties if they don't meet them or when they move out on their own?
  • Can you afford to care for a pet? Click here to see what you can expect to spend the first year and beyond.
  • Are your current living arrangements a good set-up for a pet? An older cat may do just fine in a one-bedroom apartment, but an energetic puppy could annoy the neighbors and become destructive.
  • What will you do with your pet when you travel for business or go on vacation?
  • Are you willing to get your pet immunized as well as spayed or neutered?
  • How will you handle behavioral issues such as chewed up furniture and inappropriate elimination?
  • Do you have time to play with and exercise your pet?
  • Will your pet spend most of her time alone?
These are a lot of questions, but it's important to honestly reflect on your answer to each one of them. Even if you decide that now isn't the best time to adopt a pet, that doesn't mean you can't revisit the issue later.

Establish a Veterinary Relationship Right Away

If you decide you're ready for the responsibilities of pet ownership, one of the first things to do is schedule a check-up for your new dog or cat at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. We will get your pet started on a vaccine schedule and complete a full head-to-tail exam. We also recommend spaying or neutering your new pet as soon as possible if he or she is not yet altered. Congratulations on your new family member and we hope to see you soon.
Photo Credit: Rozowynos / Getty Images

What Are Hot Spots and What Can You Do About Them?


Your dog or cat can develop hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, due to a combination of moisture and bacteria on her skin. As the condition becomes more bothersome, you will notice her licking, scratching, or biting her skin to try to relieve the discomfort. This only makes the problem worse. Some of the most common causes of hot spots include lack of grooming, flea allergies, mange, food allergies, and tick bites.
Hot spots can be more of a problem during the hot and humid months of summer. The excess moisture on your pet’s skin provides a warm, moist place for bacteria to multiply. Be sure to groom your pet consistently and to check his skin for signs that he could be developing a hot spot.

Symptoms of Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats
Companion animals with hot spots typically have at least a few of these symptoms:
  • Pus build-up or oozing from a sore
  • Swelling not otherwise explained
  • Constant chewing, licking, and other attempts to relieve the discomfort
  • Raised or red lesions
  • Brown or red coloring in or around the area
  • Odor coming from the area of the hot spot
If you notice any of these signs, please contact us to schedule an immediate evaluation for your pet.
Treat Hot Spots and Preventing Future Outbreaks
The best way to prevent your pet from developing hot spots in the first place is to keep her skin healthy. This includes regular grooming and year-round parasite protection. Your pet’s fur is more likely to attract moisture if it’s matted, which in turn can attract parasites. Sometimes the excess scratching, biting, and licking is due to a behavioral cause rather than a medical one. In either case, the staff at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital can help you develop a treatment plan.
The first thing we do for an animal with hot spots is to trim the fur around it and clean the area using a mild anesthetic. Cortisone cream may be useful if your pet has severe itching. We have a wide range of flea and tick, grooming, and other products that can help you treat and prevent your pet’s hot spots in our online store. Summer is short enough as it is. Make sure your pet has a fun and safe summer by treating hot spots right away.