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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

How to Have a Happy and Healthy Summer with Your Pet

The start of summer in Minnesota comes with great excitement for everyone. You have more opportunities to spend time outdoors with the people and animals you love. Dogs in particular want to do everything that you do, such as camping in a state park or going for a swim. Before you get out there and enjoy the great outdoors with your pet, make sure that he is ready for all of the adventure. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, your first stop should be the veterinarian.
Schedule Your Summer Check-Up with Minnesota Veterinary Clinic
Just as people should visit the doctor before starting a diet or any major lifestyle change, you should bring your pet in prior to engaging her in any strenuous activity. This is especially important for older animals who may be just beginning to show signs of osteoarthritis. It's also essential for your pet to be up-to-date on all vaccines, especially for rabies. You don't want your pet’s encounter with a raccoon, fox, or other wild animal in the woods to give her a deadly disease.
Controlling parasites is especially important in the warmer months. An infected tick could transmit Lyme disease to your dog or cat with a single bite. Fleas and heartworm are other common parasites that can ruin your pet’s health this summer. Heartworm disease can even be fatal in severe cases. If you’re not certain which parasite prevention products to use, just ask one of our veterinarians for a recommendation.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
When you pack a first aid kit for your family, don't forget about preparing one for your pet. This should include supplies for wound care and removing any visible parasites. Also, keep in mind that companion animals don't release excess body heat as efficiently as humans do. When traveling, you need to bring a water dish and make sure that your pet always has access to clean drinking water. Also, never leave your pet in a hot car even for a minute and even with the window cracked.
Because dogs and cats can slip away quickly in the excitement and confusion of a family vacation, make sure that yours has proper identification. If your pet already wears a collar and tag, considering having a microchip implanted before you leave home. This greatly increases the odds that he will return to you safely.
When Your Pet Can't Come with You
While you enjoy spending time with your pet, it's not always possible to include her in vacation plans. Cats, who are notorious creatures of habit, typically have no interest in that type of disruption. At Minnesota Veterinary Clinic, we have boarding facilities catering to each pet's individual needs. Be sure to reserve your spot as soon as you know the dates of your vacation since we fill up quickly in the summer months.

April is Pets Are Wonderful Month

In September 2016, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) conducted a research study on the bond between people and their pets. The results of the study reinforced the long-proven theory that pets help people live longer lives. It also showed that those who enjoy a deep bond with their pet tend to be more loving and responsible pet owners. Compared to less bonded pet owners, this group of participants had higher reports of the following types of behavior:
  • Made a commitment to care for their pet from puppyhood or kittenhood to old age
  • Kept every routine check-up and made sure their pet had all required vaccines
  • Purchased nutritious food for their pet
  • Purchased pet insurance
  • Concerned with mental stimulation and physical exercise for their pet
As a veterinary clinic accredited by AAHA, we at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital are not surprised to learn the results of the organization’s joint study. Our clients take great care of their pets and are rewarded for it every day by the deep bond they share.
Pet Are Wonderful Because They Improve Our Health
During Pets Are Wonderful Month, we want to explore one of the biggest benefits of having a pet: improved emotional and physical health. The HABRI and AAHA joint study indicates that people with at least one pet report far less incidence of feeling lonely and depressed than those with no pets. Dogs are a great excuse to get out for a daily walk and interact with people who feel naturally drawn to animals. Research has also proven that regular exercise has a powerful effect on fighting depression.
People struggling with the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism especially benefit from living with a pet. One reason for this is that it turns their focus outwards to caring for the pet rather than on their own challenges.
Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Knows How Much You Love Your Pet
The HABRI and AAHA joint research study also indicated that 97 percent of pet owners view their veterinarian in a favorable light. Of the 2,000 participants, approximately 66 percent stated that their impression would be even greater if their veterinarian showed a deep understanding of the human-animal bond. In fact, many said it would cause them to come in for visits more often.
The staff at our AAHA affiliated clinic understand this bond very well. We do everything we can to encourage it by giving you the most up-to-date information you need to take great care of your pet. Whether your pet has a sudden illness or injury or you’re coming in for more routine matters, you can expect the highest quality of care.

We are proud to say that several members of our staff have earned Fear Free Certification. This reduces the stress of veterinary visits for both of you so you have no threat to the deep bond you share. Our staff looks forward to helping you care for your pet for a lifetime.

Photo Credit: Liliya Kulianionak / Getty Images

Tips for a Pet-Safe Easter

Easter will be here in a few short days. As the first warm-weather holiday of the year, many people enjoy decorating their homes and gathering with friends and family. If you have pets, it’s important to prepare for Easter with them in mind. Chocolate, plastic grass, and several other staples of this holiday can be dangerous for pets if ingested. 
Don’t Share Food or Treats with Pets
An Easter basket filled with candy is just too tempting for some pets to resist. Dogs may eat all of its contents while cats may chew on the plastic grass it contains. To prevent poisoning or a choking hazard, be sure to keep your children’s Easter baskets out of reach of pets. Xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener added to numerous types of candies, can cause liver failure and seizures. The primary ingredient in chocolate, theobromine, causes hyperactivity, increased heart rate, and seizures in severe cases. 
It’s also important to avoid feeding table scraps to pets. They often contain bones that your pet could choke on as well as spices and a high fat content. It’s best to keep your pet in another room during the meal if you think your guests may be tempted to give your pet “just a taste.” 
Some dogs and cats also become highly anxious around people they don’t know. This could result in unpredictable behavior that may lead to injuries. While you might know your pet, you don’t know how your guests may behave. This is especially true with small children. It’s better to play it safe by keeping your pet comfortable in a separate room until the festivities are over. 
Other Common Pet Hazards at Easter Time
Most pets are curious and need to investigate anything they don’t recognize. Plastic eggs and Easter grass are no exception. If your pet chews on a plastic egg, hard pieces of plastic could break off and get lodged in her throat. A single string of plastic grass could cause health hazards as well.  Once your children find their baskets in the morning, they should keep them in their rooms with the door closed. 
If you do an Easter egg hunt with real hard-boiled eggs, be sure to remove anything the kids don’t find. It doesn’t take long for eggs to rot and this could cause severe stomach upset for your pet. 
Easter lilies are popular this time of year, but they’re extremely toxic for cats. Chewing on a single petal could cause lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and even death. Cats are natural climbers and may be able to get at the Easter lily even if you put it on a high shelf. It’s best to avoid this plant altogether.
Emergency Contact Information
If you do experience an emergency with your pet outside of regular office hours, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service in Blaine at 763-754-5000. Both are available 24 hours.

Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photos / Getty Images