A Safety Plan for Your Pet This Hurricane Season

A Safety Plan for Your Pet This Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is here. As a pet owner, you want to keep your animal family safe and protected under any and all circumstances. While there’s no way to predict how this hurricane season will pan out, there are lots of safety measures you can take to ensure your pet stays healthy and safe.

To protect the health and welfare of pets throughout Stevenson, AL, and the surrounding areas, North Jackson Animal Clinic is here to explore everything pet owners need to know and prepare for in the event of a hurricane.

Here’s a safety plan for your pet this hurricane season!

Have Your Pet’s ID Ready

Pets should wear ID tags at all times, but it’s important that they wear them during hurricane season. That way, you won’t have to scramble trying to find your pet’s ID if they run off and get lost.

Consider Microchipping

Torrential thunderstorms, heavy winds, and tornadoes are common between June and October. Some animals are easily frightened by these weather events and are prone to running away.

Unfortunately, collars and ID tags can easily break and fall off. By microchipping your dog or cat, you can increase the chances of having them returned if they run away or get lost.

Stock Up on Your Pet’s Medication

Like humans, some pets rely on daily or weekly medication. If a hurricane makes landfall, there’s no predicting how soon you’ll be able to pick up your pet’s prescription medication.

Talk to your veterinarian and inquire about getting a two-week supply of your pet’s prescription. Even if your pet doesn’t rely on prescription medication, they may be coming up on their next round of heartworm medication.

Keep in mind that hurricane season also coincides with flea and tick season. Have your pet’s next doses of heartworm and tick medication ready to go if you’re unable to see the veterinarian in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Get Your Pet Vaccinated

In addition to stocking up on any medication for your pet, now is a good time to get them caught up on their vaccinations.

In the event that you and your family take shelter in close proximity with other families, vaccines can prevent the spread of kennel cough and disease among your pets. Vaccines can also provide an extra layer of protection from disease should your pet go missing for an extended period of time after a hurricane or bad weather.

Make extra copies of their vaccination records and consolidate them in one folder for easy access.

Create an Emergency Pet Kit

When an emergency weather alert or hurricane watch goes into effect, don’t scurry at the last minute trying to gather all of your pet’s essentials. By creating a portable emergency kit for your pet, you’ll be able to grab it and go at a moment’s notice.

What should your pet’s emergency kit contain?

  • Collar with identification
  • Leash
  • Harness
  • Extra leash & collar
  • Medical & vaccination documentation
  • Rabies certificate
  • Two weeks worth of food
  • Clean water
  • Water & food bowls
  • Prescription medication
  • Kitty litter & litter box
  • Pet waste bags or puppy pads
  • Pet treats

Consider bringing a crate or carrier to wherever you may shelter. Because your pet will be going to the bathroom indoors, you don’t want to forget cleaning supplies!

Keep Your Pet Calm During Bad Weather

Your entire family ‒ including your pet ‒ is prepared. Once a hurricane or bad weather strikes, what else can you do to keep your pets safe?

Pets can experience anxiety during major storms or away from home. It might be a good idea to pack their bed, favorite toy, or blanket to comfort them.

Keep your pets close and indoors. Speak to them in a soothing voice and comfort them to alleviate their anxiety. You can also read up on how to understand your pet’s mental health and discover ways to console them during bad weather.

Keeping Our Pets Healthy & Safe This Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is inevitable in the Southeastern United States. By being proactive and preparing before a hurricane makes landfall, you can protect your pet and keep them healthy and safe, no matter what kind of weather comes your way.

North Jackson Animal Clinic is also here to protect our animal patients and their families. We recommend scheduling a checkup for your pet to ensure they’re all up to date on their vaccinations.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions and concerns regarding your pet’s health and safety. We hope you and your animal family stay safe!

Animals & Children: How to Build a Pawsitive Relationship

Animals & Children: How to Build a Pawsitive Relationship

The loving and unforgettable bond a child can have with an animal can be monumental to their identity, development, empathy, and self-esteem. Every parent wants their children and pets to live in harmony with each other, but the unpredictability of both young children and animals can lead to unfortunate ‒ and sometimes traumatic ‒ events.

At Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital, we want the best for our pet patients and their human families. In this article, we’ll explore building a pawsitive relationship between animals and children to ensure the safety and well-being of all in your household.

If you’d like to speak to a veterinarian directly and are located in Bainbridge, GA, or Decatur County, we encourage you to get in touch with us today. Otherwise, let’s get started!

Supervise Young Children & Animals

Young children do not yet grasp the ability to control their emotions and are prone to impulsive behaviors that can be scary, stressful, or directly inflicted upon animals.

We recommend parents are actively present and provide their undivided attention when a child who is six years old or younger interacts with a pet.

Active supervision is also highly recommended if your infant, toddler, or young child spends time around unfamiliar animals, such as a neighbor or babysitter’s dog, for example. Knowing a dog’s history around children can be beneficial but not indicative of future interactions. So, it’s better to approach all interactions between animals and young children with a level of caution.

As your child gets older and develops a relationship with the family pet, you can become more passive in your level of supervision. However, it’s important to know how to facilitate positive interactions and build trust before you allow children and animals to spend exclusive time with one another.

Minimize Harmful Behaviors Towards Animals

Positive interactions build positive relationships. It seems simple, but like humans, animals are emotional and are prone to experiencing and responding to fear, stress, and anger.

For dogs and cats, interactions with children mustn’t be scary or stressful ‒ they should be comforting and compassionate. However, the unpredictability of children’s behavior can often scare or harm pets unintentionally and subsequently lead to behaviors like growling, hissing, snapping, scratching, or biting.

With that said, you can explain to your child that the following behaviors can scare animals and cause them to react aggressively:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Grabbing
  • Poking
  • Teasing
  • Pulling tails
  • Sitting on or trying to ride animals

These behaviors can even be scary to kids, so it may be helpful to explain them in these relatable terms.

When cats or dogs are eating or playing, children also shouldn’t grab or try to take away their food or toys. Even hugging can induce stress in some dogs and cats, so until your pet and child have developed a closer relationship, or you understand your pet’s triggers, err on the side of caution when it comes to hugging.

Know When Your Dog or Cat Is Scared/Stressed

By understanding your pet’s body language, you can quickly identify when your pet may potentially react to fear or stress and cause harm to a child. Here are the tell-tale signs that your dog or cat may be stressed, uncomfortable, or afraid:

  • Excessive grooming, barking or whining
  • Side-eyeing or dilated pupils
  • Yawning
  • Hiding
  • Pacing
  • Shaking

Dogs and cats that are stressed may also tuck in their tails or flatten their ears. If your pet exhibits any of these signs, it’s best to avoid yelling, gently separate your child, and give your dog or cat space.

The state of your pet’s long-term mental health can also affect their relationships with children and the rest of your family. By understanding pet mental health, you can better identify signs of stress, irritability, and discomfort in your dog or cat and prevent aggressive behavior.

Redirect Behavior & Encourage Bonding Time

The more interaction between your child and pet, the more opportunity there is for their relationship to grow. With your supervision, have your child take part in your pet’s day-to-day care, like feeding them, filling their water bowls, brushing them, or taking them for a walk.

When your child behaves in a way that may frighten or harm an animal, you can redirect them to do something more positive.

For example, if your child pulls your dog or cat’s tail, explain to them, “We don’t pull their tail. Let’s pet them softly instead.”

On the flip side, when your child is gentle and kind towards their dog or cat, praise them. Similarly, you should praise your pet when they interact gently with children, up close and at a distance.

Let’s Build a Pawsitive Relationship with Your Pets & Children

As a leading animal clinic that has served Bainbridge, GA, since 1968, Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital has witnessed the incredible bond that children and pets can share ‒ and we’ve seen what these relationships can do not only for children but for the health and well-being of animals, too.

As a parent, you want the best for your children. By nurturing a harmonious relationship between your pets and children, you can teach your child how to have a lifelong love and appreciation for all animals.

One of the first steps you can take to foster pawsitive animal-children relationships is making sure your pet is healthy. If you’re located in Bainbridge, GA, or Decatur County, contact us today to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian!

4 Pet Myths: Debunked!

4 Pet Myths: Debunked!

A cat always lands on its feet… A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s…

We’ve all heard these tales about dogs and cats ‒ but just because people have always said these things doesn’t make them true.

In reality, following these myths and urban legends can make all the difference for the health and well-being of our pets. As a pet owner, you want the best for your canine companion or feline friend ‒ so you should educate yourself and learn the truth behind these stories.

Northside Animal Hospital is here to debunk four of the most common pet myths, once and for all. If you’re located in the Valdosta, GA, region and would like to schedule a veterinarian appointment for your pet, contact us today!

A Dry Nose Means Your Dog Is Sick

Did you know that a dog’s nose needs to be wet to function properly? Thanks to a mixture of saliva and mucus, a wet nose regulates a dog’s body temperature and also helps them smell better and identify odors.

With that said, it’s commonly believed that if a dog’s nose is dry, something is wrong ‒ but this is not always the case. It’s true that a dry nose can be a sign of dehydration; but in most cases, a dog’s nose dries out from being in a warm environment, allergies, or old age. A dog’s nose naturally dries out while they sleep, as well.

A frequently dry nose, or one that cracks and bleeds, may be cause for concern. If your dog suddenly seems unwell, a dry nose is not always the first sign to indicate that something is wrong. Instead, pay attention to these signs:

  • Low energy & lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive drinking or drooling
  • Foul breath
  • Heavy panting
  • Difficulty moving or climbing up/down stairs

Reach out to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian if your dog is currently experiencing any of these symptoms or if their nose is frequently dry, cracked, or bleeding.

Cats Purr Because They’re Happy

Curled up, eyes half closed, and purring are all signs that your cat is happy, right?

For the most part, yes ‒ cats purr when they’re happy, comfortable, and relaxed. But they also purr as a means of communicating their needs.

Cats tend to purr when they’re hungry. How can you tell the difference? A hungry cat will let out a normal purr or mew with troublesome undertones. This type of purring is most common in the mornings. If your cat is rounding your feet and looking up at you while they’re purring, this is another sign that they’re hungry.

Cats also purr as a means of relieving themselves when they’re scared or physically hurt. Some studies even suggest that the low frequency of vibrations caused by purring can stimulate muscles and bones. This means purring may have the potential to repair muscle, heal injuries, support bones, and reduce pain and inflammation, and even combat stress.

Typically speaking, purring is a sign that your cat is content, but you shouldn’t overlook it, either.

A Dog’s Mouth Is Cleaner Than a Human’s

Our dogs love to show us their affection by plopping slobbery kisses on your faces… but the next time your dog runs up to lick you, you may want to reconsider allowing them to! Because contrary to the old adage, a dog’s mouth is not necessarily cleaner than a human’s.

Like humans, dogs’ mouths are full of bacterial microbes, most of which aren’t harmful to us. So generally speaking, the possibility of catching a disease after a dog licks your face is minuscule.

Still, dogs sniff and lick any variety of things around the house and in nature, meaning their mouths could sometimes harbor bacteria humans aren’t typically exposed to. Additionally, dogs who are prone to eating fecal matter can potentially pass on parasites or zoonotic bacteria ‒ so err with a side of caution before you let your dog lick you or jump into bed with you.

Even though you may not brush your dog’s teeth as frequently as your own, it’s important to bring them to the veterinarian for a regular oral checkup. Professional teeth cleanings for dogs can remove gum disease, minimize bad breath, and prevent widespread bacterial infection. If it’s time to schedule an oral checkup for your dog, contact us today.

Cats Always Land On Their Feet

It’s true that cats are graceful on their feet, and while they have a superior balancing system known as a “righting reflex”, cats aren’t always capable of landing on their feet.

The “righting reflex” does allow a cat to orient themselves, making them more likely to land on their feet when they’re falling ‒ all thanks to the vestibular apparatus inside their ear that helps them balance and maneuver their head and body accordingly. Their naturally angled legs also help with this.

That doesn’t mean the “righting reflex” is flawless. The height at which a cat falls has a lot to do with whether they land on their feet or not. The higher the fall, the more time the cat has to brace their bodies and feet.

So, while cats do land on their feet more often than not, cat owners should still be careful. Cats aren’t invincible to injuries. If your cat is an avid climber, or if you live in a tall building or next to tall trees, it’s a good idea to keep your windows closed and install any other safeguards to protect your cat from escaping and falling.

Don’t Believe the Pet Myths ‒ Always Call a Veterinarian!

When it comes to the health and safety of your pet, take pet myths, legends, and friendly, non-expert advice with a grain of salt. If you ever have questions or concerns about your dog or cat’s behavior, demeanor, physical, or emotional well-being, always turn to a veterinarian.

Are you located in the Valdosta, GA, area? Contact Northside Animal Hospital today to schedule an appointment for your pet.

A Summer Health & Safety Guide for Your Pet

A Summer Health & Safety Guide for Your Pet

With summertime around the corner, we are excited for beach days, sunshine, and outdoor adventures. However, higher temperatures come with the fun of Summer. We all want our furry companions to enjoy the outdoors with us as much as they can, but we must take precautions during the hotter months to keep them safe and healthy.

Pets can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat strokes, more injuries, and other mishaps during the summer season. We are here to offer some valuable tips that will help provide a safe and healthy summer for your pet. If you’re located in Southwest Georgia and need to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian for your dog or cat, contact Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, today.

Don’t Leave Your Pet in Your Car

Maybe you are just running into the store to pick up something quickly or need to go inside somewhere fast. It doesn’t matter. You should never leave any pet in a vehicle, whether it is running or not. It can only take a matter of minutes for an animal to suffer from heatstroke, organ damage, or even death when stuck inside a hot car.

If you must drive around with your dog in the car on a hot day, be sure to make water and air conditioning accessible, and take them out of the car when you get out. You can make all the difference and save your pet’s life.

Visit the Vet for an Early Summer Checkup

You want your furry family member to enjoy the summer season just as much as you, so get them appropriately prepared. During the summer season, your dog or animal could be at risk for Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or heart worm if they are not protected.

There are plenty of other nasty and dangerous conditions that pets can fall victim to during the hotter months. It’s better to be safe than sorry and schedule a visit with your vet as soon as possible before the hot days creep in.

Provide Lots of Water & Shade

Our pets don’t sweat the way we do, which is why we have to keep them cool in other ways. It is essential that you make fresh water and shade are easily accessible for your furry friend during the summertime. We even recommend setting up a little kitty pool, sprinkler system, or hose outside for your dog to play in and keep cool at the same time.

Just like humans, our pets need water and shade to stay healthy and safe in the heat. Since our dogs can’t let us know what they need, it’s our job to do our best to provide them with it.

Protect the Paws

Pets can also suffer from sunburn and heat blisters, especially on their paws. We love taking our pups on long walks and enjoying the fresh air together. However, it is in their best interest and health during the hotter months to keep the walk duration to a minimum.

Hot asphalt can not only burn paws, but the heat can transfer to the body, causing overheating. You should be aware of the following symptoms, which indicate overheating:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling
  • & more!

Help Your Pet Enjoy Summer

The mentioned tips are just a few ways to keep your pet protected and safe throughout the hot months. There are various ways to help your pet enjoy the summertime and remain healthy and happy. You don’t have to restrict your activities or leave your pup at home. We are pleased to help you modify your ways to accommodate your furry friend’s needs.

For more tips on keeping your pet safe and healthy for the summer, please contact Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, today. We welcome pets throughout Southwest Georgia to our animal hospital!

Preparing Your Pet for Flea & Tick Season

Preparing Your Pet for Flea & Tick Season

As the weather gets warmer and spring flowers begin to bloom, it is the perfect time to get outside with your pet. There’s nothing better than a nice walk or hike with your dog or lounging on the porch with your cat. But with the warm Georgia weather comes the risk of pesky fleas and ticks.

Fleas and ticks irritate your pet, impact their health, and can even end up infesting your home if left untreated. In order to keep your pet as happy and healthy as possible, we have simple but effective tips to avoid fleas and ticks this season.

If you have concerns about fleas and ticks and want to take proactive measures to protect your pet, contact Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital today.

Medications

One of the most effective ways to prepare your pet for flea and tick season is by applying medicine monthly. There are several medication options, including topical treatments, chewable pills, and flea collars.

If you are unsure of what medications to use, contact our veterinary clinic, and one of our veterinarians will advise you on the best flea and tick products for your pet.

Keep Bird Feeders and Bird Baths Away From Pet Areas

This may come as a surprise to many pet owners, but fleas and ticks are attracted to bird feeders and birdbaths. You should move these items away from areas where your pet spends a lot of time.

You should also make sure your pet does not drink from water sources potentially shared with insects.

Tend to Your Lawn

Mowing the lawn and trimming your bushes does more than make your home look good. Trees, bushes, and grass are prime breeding grounds for fleas and ticks. That’s why it’s essential to stay on top of your lawn maintenance.

If you have a garden, it may be a good idea to fence it off, so your pet does not have access to it. And if you take your dog for a walk, it’s important to avoid areas with overgrown grass.

Give Regular Baths

Your pet may not love bath time, but it’s worth the extra grooming to keep disease-carrying pests at bay. Fur that is dirty or matted may attract fleas and ticks.

Also, if a pest does attach to your dog or cat, an unkempt coat may make it difficult to detect, potentially causing more harm and discomfort.

Wash Your Pet’s Bedding & Toys

One of the most worrying and stressful impacts of fleas and ticks is an infestation in your home. If fleas or ticks attach to your pet, your pet may bring them inside where they can lay eggs.

Washing your pet’s bedding and toys or any area that they frequent regularly can help prevent an outbreak.

What Do I Do If My Pet Has a Flea or Tick?

If you find that your pet has fleas or ticks, time is of the essence. You want to eradicate the pests as soon as possible for your pet’s sake and your home’s sake.

There are several shampoos and other products that can get rid of fleas and ticks. You should always check with your veterinarian before trying any treatment.

The Takeaway?

As the weather gets warmer, you can take many preventative measures to keep your pet protected from fleas and ticks. Medications, lawn maintenance, and grooming are all simple steps you can take to keep your dog or cat safe from disease and discomfort.

If you ever have any questions about how to prevent fleas and ticks or how to treat them, you should check with your veterinarian for the best course of action. Contact Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital today. Our team is always happy to help

How to Keep Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

How to Keep Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

Our pets can’t tell us something is wrong. Therefore, we have to be extra observant. At times, your pet can be suffering internally, and problems can often go overlooked. Fortunately, you can implement simple routine methods to maintain your pet’s heart health and overall well-being.

Like humans, animals can experience different types of heart diseases. Some age-related or genetic heart issues cannot be prevented but can be caught early enough to be maintained, allowing your pet to live comfortably. With easily applied wellness methods, you can avoid other heart diseases from occurring.

Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA is here to provide you with some tips to prolong your pet’s life and keep them living happy and healthy.

Proper Dental Care

Dental care is a massive part of an animal’s health maintenance. Not taking adequate care of your pet’s dental health can lead to heart and liver problems. The same cultured bacteria from the infected heart valves are the same as those also found in the mouth. Excess growth of this bacteria in the mouth can eventually trickle down and accumulate in the heart, causing problems like heart disease or infection.

Luckily, administering the proper dental care for a pet is relatively simple. Some steps you can take to ensure your pet’s heart maintains optimum health through dental care include:

  • Brushing your pet’s teeth daily or weekly
  • Checking for foul-smelling breath
  • Checking for red or swollen gums
  • Any loose or missing teeth

Some signs that your pet may be experiencing oral health issues can easily be overlooked, such as bad breath or a lost tooth. By staying on top of your pet’s oral hygiene regimen and regularly checking for these signs, you can help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

Nutritious Diet

Like humans, a pet’s dietary plan changes over the years because different nutrition is necessary for different ages. Pets must maintain a healthy weight to provide optimal protection to their heart and avoid any heart problems. It is crucial to discuss with your veterinarian what specific needs your pet may require in their diet because dogs’ and cats’ dietary needs differ significantly, especially as they age.

Make sure you are not overfeeding your pet and reading the labels on your food to match the serving size according to your pet’s weight. It is also important to monitor proper hydration levels in your pet. There are many vitamins and foods that contain the nutrition necessary for maintaining your pet’s health.

For small or medium-sized dogs, consider food containing:

  • Vitamin A – for a healthy immune system
  • Vitamin C – for proper heart function and strength
  • Vitamin E – prevents damage in cells and heart disease
  • Fiber
  • Healthy grains

For adult cats, consider food containing:

  • Vitamin A – for a healthy immune system
  • Easily digestible protein
  • Taurine – for eye health and heart muscle
  • Essential fatty acids

These supplements are essential to consider when finding the right diet for your pet. There are also other activities you can implement to maintain your pet’s heart health.

Exercise

One thing that may be the easiest to implement is routine exercise for your pet’s health. Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart and overall wellness for humans and pets. To avoid your pet becoming overweight, you must make sure they are exercising regularly.

Overweight animals can suffer from more than just heart problems. They can develop cancer, bone disease, or lung disease and significantly decrease their life expectancy.

Dogs should receive at least 30 minutes of brisk activity daily, and cats should spend at least 15 minutes.

To prevent these health problems from occurring in your furry family member, please consider some of these easy methods:

  • Interactive toys and playing fetch
  • Daily walks
  • Training
  • Daycare activity (if you are unable to)

Remember to consult your veterinarian on what physical activities they believe will benefit your pet the best.

Wellness Exams

A routine wellness exam is the most important thing you can do for your pet’s heart health. Each pet is valuable to each family and should be cared for the same. Pets especially need regular checkups because they can’t voice their health concerns to us.

A yearly wellness exam can prolong your pet’s life by detecting symptoms before they arise and obtaining expert health advice. Oftentimes, your vet can provide you with heartworm medications for your dog or cat to avoid severe lung disease, heart failure, or other organ damage.

If you have any concerns about the possibility of heart disease in your pet, check for the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fast or very slow heartbeat
  • Coughing
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Weakness

Make sure to discuss with your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet.

Promote Your Pet’s Heart Health

When it comes to promoting heart health in pets, staying informed and proactive is the first step pet owners should take. By following these tips and taking these other steps, you can keep your pet’s heart healthy for years to come and help them live a long and happy life.

Stay on top of your pet’s overall health and spot any issues before they arise with a wellness exam at our facility. Call us at 229-244-2983 or contact us to schedule an appointment!

National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices

National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices

Happy National Train Your Dog Month!

While training your dog should be a consistent, lifelong responsibility, commit to making this January the month you get your canine companion refreshed and back on track to being a “good boy” / “good girl.”

At Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, we celebrate all dog personalities and welcome the opportunity to help our dogs behave better for a healthier, safer, and happier life. To help you celebrate National Train Your Dog Month, we’re bringing you these effectively pawsome dog training tips and practices.

Let’s get started!

Why We Celebrate National Train Your Dog Month

Training our dogs is not only for show. The extra help can go a long way to maintain their health and well-being.

Following the holiday season, January is traditionally a peak time of year where families adopt or bring home dogs. Sadly, humans give away hundreds of dogs per year due to behavioral and training challenges.

In 2010, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers started National Train Your Dog Month to raise awareness about the significance of training, socializing, and providing our dogs with a nurturing and loving home environment.

Learning is a precious opportunity for humans to bond with their canine companions, and even just a little bit of work each day can go a long way for your dog’s well-being. Without further ado, let’s dive into the ultimutt dog training tips and tricks!

Daily Walks

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and if your dog tends to act out after being cooped up all day, it may be time to integrate more brisk and intentional walks into their daily routine.

Taking your dog for a walk provides them with the physical activity and mental stimulation they need for strong mental health. Bored dogs are more prone to destructive behaviors. Walking helps them release pent-up energy, burn calories, and regulate their digestive and musculoskeletal health.

It’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk before a training session. Your dog will listen and focus better when they’re already stimulated and tired.

Don’t treat your dog’s walk as a glorified potty break. Your dog loves your attention, so what better way to make an hour all about them by joining them for an adventure in the great outdoors?

Calling Your Dog to Come

Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to your dog’s safety. Otherwise known as “reliable recall”, teaching your dog to come when called can protect them from getting injured, lost, hit by a car, or engaging in abrasive behavior with other dogs and animals.

If your dog can’t go off-leash right away, that’s okay. Start small by working with your dog in a fenced-in area or with a long leash.

Treat reliable recall like a game. Let your dog run around, explore, and keep distractions to a minimum.

Anytime your dog makes eye contact with you or starts to move towards you, give them the verbal cue to come or verbally praise them using a high and positive inflection in your voice. You can also incorporate direct verbal cues to “come” and reward your pup with treats or their favorite toy.

Even if your dog takes their time to come when called, you should still praise them ‒ not show your frustration.

Don’t repeat yourself if your dog doesn’t immediately come when called. There may be too many distractions, or they haven’t yet learned the skill.

Remember: It can take time for dogs to develop trust in their owners and to reliably come when called. The best way to earn their trust and build your confidence in them is to work at this skill every day and always make their training environment happy and positive.

How to Stop Dog Jumping

Even though a jumping dog can be a nuisance, it is a common behavior problem as it is a natural way for dogs to greet those they love and are excited to see. So, even if your dog is a jumper, you are not alone. And luckily, this is a behavior that is relatively easy to fix.

The first thing to stop jumping is to remove the emotional stimulation causing the behavior. Refrain from getting your dog excited when you walk through the door by changing your tone and using a quiet and low inflection in your voice.

Don’t greet your dog until they are fully calm and have all four paws on the floor. Be consistent with this. The more repetition, the more your dog will come to control their excitement and understand the proper way to greet you and others.

Establish the House Rules & Stay Consistent

Every dog owner is different when setting off-limits areas of the home or letting their canine companions up on the bed or couch.

Early on, establish what your dog can and cannot do and where they can and cannot go. Whatever you decide the house rules are with your dog, ward off any confusion and stay consistent. By doing so, your dog will come to understand and obey the rules, preventing them from getting scolded unnecessarily.

With all that said, designate a part of your home as your dog’s special area. Make this environment as calm and comfortable as possible and place their bed here or incorporate their toys and blanket. You want your dog to feel like this is their safe place. Choose a location where you can also be nearby.

Pawsome Tips & Practices for a Healthier & Happier Pup

There’s nothing better than the loving look your dog gives you when you commend them for being a “good boy” or “good girl.” As National Train Your Dog Month comes to a close, stay consistent and keep practicing these tips and tricks so you can instill healthy behavior in your dog for years to come.

If you’re struggling to train your aggressive or impulsive dog, pet anxiety may be to blame. The team at Bush Animal Clinic is happy to guide you on how to train your dog, alleviate their anxiety, and help them improve their behavior and well-being. We encourage you to contact us today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a behavior consultation with a veterinarian.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season

Cats, dogs, and other animals are always a gift and make a welcome addition to holiday festivities.
However, it’s important not to get carried away with the seasonal merriment as some holiday traditions can be hazardous to our furry friends. Below are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the people and pets in your family have a healthy and happy holiday.

Be Aware of Decorative Items

Christmas Trees, Ornaments, Tinsel, etc.

Whether you’re a real or artificial tree family, one thing’s for certain: if you have a cat, they will likely want to climb on it. Both cats and dogs can enjoy playing with ornaments and other materials typically found on a Christmas tree. Climbing and toying with its decor can lead to the tree falling over and injuring your precious pet.

We suggest using a fishing line (or similar solution), secure your tree to a ceiling fan or door frame to prevent a fall.

In addition, you should keep your pets away from water in Christmas tree stands as it can be full of bacteria and make them sick.

Lights & Open Flames

We love (and need to) illuminate our spaces to feel the joy of the season, but if you have a puppy or kitty, you’ll want to be cautious. Baby animals are especially likely to chew on wires which can lead to electric shock.

We suggest going with lights that are low in voltage and purchasing chew-protective cords.

Seasonal Plants

Seasonal plants spread cheer, but they can also spread sickness in animals. When you think of the season, visuals of holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias may come to mind. Unfortunately, they can be the most harmful to animals. Mistletoe and holly contain toxicity level that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and death (if ingested in large amounts).

We suggest If you choose to get any of the above plants, place them somewhere where it’s inaccessible for your pet. Check out this list of safe alternatives that provide the same festive effect!

Be Mindful of Foods That Aren’t Pet-Friendly

Hanukkah Treats

Most dog-owners know that chocolate and dogs do not mix. You’ll want to be especially careful when it comes to chocolate gold coins as the foil wrapping can lead to intestinal issues when digested.

In addition, make sure sufganiyot (doughnuts) and latkes are far from your pet’s reach, as it can bring on vomiting and diarrhea. Cats and dogs have a heightened risk of getting Heinz body amnea after ingesting latkes due to a signature ingredient (onions).

Christmas Dinner

While it may only seem fair for your pet to take part in your feast, you’ll want to avoid feeding them anything containing salt, citrus, xylitol (even scraps) as it can be harmful to your animal’s health.

Want to throw your dog a bone after dinner? It may seem like a great gift, but it’s not — this can cause severe health problems.

We suggest baking some treats just for them since they can’t enjoy human food!

Here’s to the Holiday & the New Year!

Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital wishes you and your family a happy holiday season! We look forward to helping your pet remain healthy in 2021. Don’t forget to schedule your pet wellness in the new year!

Foods to Not Feed Feed Your Pets

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets This Halloween Season

Spooky season is upon us. Between the ghouls and goblins, candy and costumes – households are getting ready for trick or treating and other traditions. But if you’re a pet owner, Halloween can be frightening in more ways than one.

Halloween, while fun, can present some dangers to your pet, and we’re not talking about monsters or skeletons. We’re talking about harmful treats, foods to not feed your pets, and other hazards. Thankfully, Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA is here to help you understand potential risks your cat or dog may run into.

Dangerous Foods to Avoid

While kids love this time of year due to all the sugar and candy, (and let’s face it, adults enjoy it just as much) the treats we bring home can cause serious health problems if cats or dogs get their paws on them. We break down some of the most dangerous types of foods to not feed your pets:

Chocolate

Most pet owners know that while chocolate is delicious for us, they are toxic for dogs. It’s important to be extra cautious this time of year, as more chocolate is probably coming into the house. If eaten, chocolate can cause vomiting, seizures, and other health complications for dogs.

Raisins

Raisins and grapes are one of the most dangerous foods for cats and dogs. Eating them can cause sudden kidney failure. So if your child brings home any chocolate covered raisins from trick or treating, make sure to keep them out of sight, where your cat or dog can’t access them.

Candy Corn

If candy has one ingredient, and that one ingredient is sugar, you can bet it’s not good for your pet. Candies like candy corn and pixie sticks can cause painful stomach issues for cats and dogs and should be avoided.

Coconut Treats

The milk and coconuts used in candy may cause your pet to have an upset stomach. While your pet may like the sweet flavor, it’s important to avoid human candy with coconut in the ingredients.

Hard Candy

While they may not be considered as toxic as chocolate or raisins, hard candy presents a huge choking hazard to cats and dogs. This is especially true for lollipops, when you consider the stick could harm your pet’s stomach if ingested.

Pretzels & Chips

These goodies may not be as popular as chocolate and sugar, but if your child comes home from trick or treating with small bags of pretzels or chips, it’s important to keep them away from your pet. In this case, the issue is not so much with the food itself, but the plastic bags they’re packaged in. If eaten, these plastic bags can obstruct your pet’s intestines.

Sugar Free Candy

Pet owners may assume that sugar free candy must be better for pets than sugary treats, that’s not always the case. In fact, sugar-free candy can be even more hazardous. This is because a common alternative sweetener in these sugar free candies and gums is Xylitol. If eaten by a cat or dog, Xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar which can cause seizures or other complications including liver damage, and even death.

If your pet eats any of these foods, call or visit Northside Animal Hospital as soon as possible. Our treatments can help prevent further complications.

Other Halloween Frights For Pets

It’s not just candy that poses risks for your furry friend during Halloween season. There are other dangers that present themselves this time of year. We explore some potential hazards to be aware of.

Costumes

It’s hard to resist dressing up your pet in an adorable costume for Halloween. While dressing up your pet is fine, there are some factors you should consider when choosing the best costume for your cat or dog.
Make sure they are comfortable in their costume. If they are not, don’t force it on them. This can cause unnecessary stress. You should also avoid masks as it can impact their vision and breathing. No matter what costume you decide on, it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet to ensure that they are not chewing off pieces.

Dyes

If you choose to ditch the clothing, and dye your pet a festive color, make sure the dye you use will not cause irritation or an allergic reaction. You also want to make sure it is non-toxic, in case your pet decides to try licking it off. Always avoid applying dye around the eye and mouth area to avoid irritation.

Decorations

Decorations are fun, but as most pet owners know, your dog or cat may be curious about them. They may explore fake spider webs, rubber spiders, fake jewelry, or old jack-o-lanterns with their mouths. It’s important to keep these decorations out of reach, so your pet cannot ingest them, causing stomach issues that could lead to an emergency trip to the vet, or even surgery.

Door Dashing

If you are expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, it’s best to keep your cat or dog occupied in a place where they feel safe and comfortable, especially if you think the doorbell or knocking will bother them. If they get spooked or anxious, they may dash out the door as you hand out candy. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet contained in a crate during this time.

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets: It’s Not All Scary

While it may seem like there are a lot of hazards to avoid this Halloween season, the good news is, not all treats are bad! Your furry friend can still enjoy some Halloween fun. Just make sure whatever you feed them is meant for pets, not humans. If you choose to make your own pet-friendly Halloween treats, contact Northside Animal Hospital to make sure the ingredients you use are safe.

A safe pet is a happy pet, so just remember to keep their wellbeing in mind between all the Halloween fun, and there’s no need to be frightened!

How to Prepare Pets for the Fall

How to Prepare Pets for the Fall

The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping. It’s time to switch out your t-shirts for sweaters and your flip flops for boots. While you may be ready to sip on pumpkin spice lattes and cook hot chili and soups, there may be one member of your family who needs help transitioning to the new season – your pet!

Just like the weather, pets’ habits change from season to season. It’s important to make adjustments to their daily routines in order to make them comfortable. If you live in Albany, GA, it’s also important to prepare a plan for natural disasters. This is especially true across the South when hurricane season is in full swing.

Bush Animal Clinic has provided all the information you need to prepare pets for the fall. Let’s get started!

General Tips

The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to help your pet adjust to the changing season. And it’s more than just keeping them warm.

Groom Your Dog or Cat Appropriately

While it is true that a thick, furry coat helps your pet stay warm, it needs to be groomed properly. If your dog or cat’s fur gets matted, bacteria and other unwanted ailments can make its way into the pet’s skin, causing infections. In other words, make sure to brush your pet more frequently as the weather turns colder.

Alternatively, you can have your dog or cat groomed professionally.

Switch Up When You Walk Your Dog

Not only does the weather change with the seasons, so does the amount of sunlight. So while you may be getting up early in the summer to take your dog out in hopes of avoiding hotter temperatures, you may want to do the opposite in the fall.

In order to beat the darkness, it’s a good idea to take your dog on a later morning walk, and an earlier evening walk.

It is important to note that dogs are sensitive to schedule changes. Try transitioning to the new walk times in 15-minute intervals.

Be Careful of Snakes

Snakes don’t leave after summer is over. In fact, fall is when they get ready to hibernate and may be more likely to bite. Make sure to learn if any snakes are common in your area, so you and your pet can avoid areas where these slithering creatures are present.

Keep Your Pet Warm

You’re not the only one who needs to bundle up a little more. Your pet needs to stay warm too. If you want to prepare pets for the fall, consider purchasing cozy beds and blankets for your pets to snuggle with.

Depending on your dog’s type of fur, it may also be worth it to buy a dog coat to protect it from the chill and rain.

Plan for Your Changing Schedule

For many households, your schedule changes with the fall season. Kids are back to school, you may be spending less time outside, and your family activities may change. This can affect your pets.

Consider making time before and after you leave for school or work to give your dog or cat some special attention. Also, plan fun weekend activities that you can include your pet in.

Prepping Your Pet for Hurricane Season

When living in the South, households must prepare for hurricane season. Putting a plan in place is difficult enough when it’s just you and your family. Preparing your pet comes with its own set of challenges. Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to keep your furry friend safe.

Stock Up Beforehand

In addition to packing up supplies for you and your family, make sure you are equipped with plenty of supplies for your pet as well. This includes:

  • Food & Water
  • Water Bowls
  • Toys & Treats
  • Litter Box
  • Pet Bed
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Blankets
  • Pet Medical Records
  • Medications

Have An Evacuation Plan

Having an evacuation plan ahead of time is extremely important to keep safe during a hurricane. Make sure you have all the proper supplies for you and your pet ready to go. Also, make sure you are evacuating somewhere that is pet-friendly, so you know your cat or dog can stay with you.

Microchip Your Pet

If you haven’t already, it is important to microchip your pet. In the event that your dog or cat gets lost during a storm, a microchip makes it much easier for you to locate them.

Keep Your Pet on a Leash

Once a hurricane makes landfall, make sure to keep your pet on a leash, or contained in a carrier with a collar and ID tag. It is likely that your pet will be scared and anxious, so speak to them in a calm tone of voice.

Even after the hurricane is over, keep your pet contained on a leash or in a carrier until you are sure the area is safe.

Understanding How to Prepare Pets for the Fall

Fall is a great time to take advantage of the outdoors alongside your four-legged companion. By taking simple but necessary steps to prepare your pet for colder months, it helps you and your pet enjoy this time of year safely and comfortably.

Have a question about how to prepare pets for the fall? The experts at Bush Animal Clinic are here to help!