Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic
1214 Hwy 25 N
Buffalo, MN 55313

OFFICE HOURS :

7 am - 8 pm : Mon - Thurs

7 am - 6 pm : Friday

8 am - 2 pm : Saturday

How to Make Sure Your Pet Has a Happy Thanksgiving

 

It's that time of year again. The incredible aroma of turkey, pie, and other Thanksgiving goodies is in the air and your cat or dog goes crazy with anticipation. It might seem cruel not to let us share in the bounty, but deep down we know it's for our own good. People food isn't meant for pets and vice versa. Here are some other tips for everyone to have safe and happy Thanksgiving.

In gratitude, 

Carlos

 

Nothing can ruin a holiday celebration faster than a pet who suddenly becomes sick or suffers an injury. That’s probably not what you had in mind when you planned your Thanksgiving get-together this year. However, the excitement of different people in the house and the smells of forbidden food can make even the most well-behaved dog or cat act differently than you would expect. This includes getting into things that could harm him. The good news is that you can take several steps to keep your pet safe and stay out of the animal version of the emergency room this Thanksgiving.

If you’re hosting the holiday meal, keep in mind that some people may have animal allergies. In this case, it’s best to keep your dog or cat comfortable in a room as far away from the kitchen as possible. We also recommend keeping your pet elsewhere if you’re afraid she will become over-excited to the point of stealing someone’s food or accidentally knocking someone over. If your pet does remain out with the company, make sure that someone keeps an eye on the front door. It only takes a minute for her to dash outside and away from what she perceives as a stressful situation.

Re-Consider Sharing Part of Your Thanksgiving Meal with Your Pet
Like many pet owners, you might enjoy sharing a morsel of people food with your pet to make him happy. While a small piece of unseasoned turkey shouldn’t cause any harm, we urge you to exercise caution with other common staples of the Thanksgiving meal. Many of them are toxic for dogs and cats, including the following:
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Cake batter and bread dough
  • Sage and other common seasonings
  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
Depending on what your pet consumes, she could experience immediate symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other foods are more of a choking hazard than a gastrointestinal one, such as grapes and raisins. Your dog or cat could also try to knock over the garbage can to get a treat or even ingest dropped food wrappers. Be sure your garbage can is in a locked cabinet and that you pick up anything that you or your guests drop right away.

What to Do in an Emergency
Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital will be closed on Thanksgiving. If you experience an emergency, contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. You can also contact us for a list of 24-hour emergency clinics before Thanksgiving.

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that your pet stays safe!

Photo Credit: MDMilliman / Getty Images

 

It's Pet Cancer Awareness Month

 

When we hide our pain and sickness, it's not to make things more difficult for you. It's just in our DNA to never show weakness. That's why my fellow cats and my dog friends need you to look for the signs of cancer, especially in our golden years. Although your pet could be really sick, the good people at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital will do whatever they can to make him feel better and live longer.

With appreciation,

Carlos

 

A diagnosis of cancer often takes pet owners by surprise. Because of this, Veterinary Pet Insurance decided to launch Pet Cancer Awareness Month in November of 2005. The good news is that awareness has increased significantly since that time. The bad news is that cancer is still the most common fatality for dogs and cats nationwide. It is so prominent that the Veterinary Cancer Center indicates that half of all dogs and cats who die from a disease had cancer. 

Although this deadly disease is diagnosed more often in dogs, it tends to act more aggressively in cats. The earlier your pet receives a diagnosis, the better her chances of beating cancer.

Indications Your Pet Could Have Cancer
Dogs and cats are notorious for hiding their sickness and pain. While certain things may be obvious, such as vomiting or an offensive odor, others require you to pay close attention to your pet’s routine to notice that something is wrong. We encourage you to contact Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
  • Vocalizations when trying to eliminate
  • Eating less than usual
  • Stiff or unusual gait
  • Problems chewing or swallowing food
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding without an obvious injury
  • Swelling anywhere on the body that gets more pronounced over time
It doesn’t necessarily mean your pet has cancer if he displays some of these symptoms. However, they typically mean something isn’t right and that your pet needs some form of treatment.

Common Forms of Cancer in Dogs and Cats
 
The following types of cancer are most common in household pets:

Feline Leukemia: Kittens receive this diagnosis more frequently than older cats since they can inherit it from their mother before birth. You may want to consider a feline leukemia vaccine if your cat goes outside or if you have two or more cats.

Canine Lymphoma: Specific to dogs, this cancer grows in the white blood cells, bone marrow, and intestinal tract.

Osteosarcoma (Bone): Most common in large dogs, bone cancer typically appears in the leg bone or ribs. It’s uncommon in small dogs and in cats.

Oral: Most common in dogs, this cancer typically presents with bleeding from the nose or a noticeable challenge in eating. 

Abdominal: Abdominal cancer can include tumors founds in the intestines, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Unfortunately, your pet’s swollen belly can disguise them for a long time.

Breast: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer of female dogs. With cats, tumors turn malignant more than 80 percent of the time. 

Bladder: Pets who live in homes with smokers tend to develop this type of cancer more often.

Skin: Skin cancer is the easiest to treat because it’s visible. The biggest risk factor is spending a lot of time in the sun.

Prostate/Testicular: These are aggressive types of cancer found in male dogs and cats. Your pet may have trouble defecating because of a tumor pressing on his lower colon. Testicular cancer shows up most often in pets who haven’t received treatment for a parasite infection or who live near many environmental toxins.

Preventive Care Can Help You Stay Ahead of Cancer
Since cancer is especially prevalent in older pets, it’s important to bring your pet in for regular preventive care exams. Cancer is a devastating diagnosis, but your pet has a better chance of avoiding it or overcoming it with proper nutrition, exercise, a healthy and stimulating home environment, and regular check-ups at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital.

Photo Credit: Tverkhovinets / Getty Images

 

It's National Animal Safety and Protection Month

Even if you're not blessed to share your home with a pet, there's plenty you can do to look after the welfare of animals. There's even a special month dedicated to the cause.
 
- Carlos
 
Several years ago, the PALS Foundation launched National Animal Safety and Protection Month in October to encourage people to care for and handle animals in a safe and respectful manner. Through this campaign, the PALS Foundation hopes to encourage better treatment of both domestic and wild animals. The organization believes that animals and people can and should live together in peace.

What You Can Do as a Pet Owner
One way to get into the spirit of National Animal Safety and Protection Month is to continue to take excellent care of the pets with whom you share a life and home. If your dog or cat doesn’t have microchip identification yet, we encourage you to schedule this simple procedure. This allows anyone who finds your pet to take her to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter to scan for a chip. 

While we also recommend a tag and collar, these can easily become caught on something or fall off. Taking the added step of getting a microchip for your pet provides you with valuable peace of mind. Here are some other steps you can take to ensure your pet’s health and safety:
  • Place potential toxins such as cleaning solution and rodent traps out of your pet’s reach
  • Keep your pet at a healthy weight by feeding him nutritious food, making sure that he gets enough exercise, and limiting treats
  • Consider how you would continue to care for your pet in an emergency and put a disaster plan in writing
  • Remember to interact with your pet each day as it’s important for her emotional health
  • Schedule a preventive care exam at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital at least once a year or more frequently for kittens, puppies, and senior pets
  • When you bring home a new pet, commit to providing a home for the rest of his life
You Don’t Have to Be a Pet Owner to Help Animals
Many people love pets and want to help them, but can’t offer them a lifetime commitment. If that describes you, consider providing foster care for dogs and cats as they wait for their forever family to find them. Local animal shelters always appreciate donations of time and supplies. They typically need food, bedding, and toys the most.

Caring about animals also includes those in zoos and in the wild. Teach the children in your life to care for and respect animals from a young age by visiting the zoo and nature centers often. You can also let as many people as possible know about National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

Your Partner in Animal Care
Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital is proud to care for animals in our community. Please contact us at 763-682-2181 with questions or to schedule an appointment.
 
Photo Credit: Kosamatu / Getty Images
 

How Much Do You Know About the Feline Leukemia Virus?

There's nothing fun about being sick, and the feline leukemia virus has the potential to make us feel really awful. Getting preventive care and knowing the symptoms of FeLV are the best things you can do for your cat. He will thank you with his meows and purrs.
 
Much appreciation,
Carlos
 
 
FeLV, which is the abbreviation for feline leukemia virus, causes leukemia as well as other variations of cancer in cats. Approximately two to three percent of cats have the virus, with it being much more common in kittens and younger cats. The reason for this is that cats develop FeLV through extended contacts with another infected cat. It’s most common among kittens who acquire the virus from their mothers either through the placenta or when nursing. It can also be spread through a cat-on-cat bite. Humans cannot catch FeLV.

Common Symptoms and Methods of Transmission
A cat infected with FeLV sheds the virus through her saliva. That means an infected cat should never groom one who is not infected. Other typical ways cats transmit FeLV to one another besides bites include contact with feces or urine, touching noses, and sharing bowls of food and water. Unfortunately, FeLV can cause several serious health problems in addition to cancer. Some of the most common ones include:
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Problems with reproduction
  • Neurological issues
  • Diseases of the eye
  • Infections
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Fever
  • Weakened immune system
  • Platelet disorders
 The good news is that some cats have no issues even when they pick up the virus. Their immune system is strong enough to defend against it. It’s also possible for cats to have a latent infection, which means they’re not strong enough to fight the virus entirely but can keep most symptoms at bay. Sadly, other cats have persistent FeLV infection and develop numerous and progressive symptoms a few years after picking up the virus. Kittens under eight weeks old at the time of infection have the most difficulty fighting FeLV. 

FeLV Positive Cats Can Maintain a Good Quality of Life
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, cats should receive a FeLV test when ill, if they live with other cats that have recently tested positive, immediately after adoption, or if they have been bitten by an unknown cat. We typically diagnose FeLV after running several blood tests. It’s also important that a cat who already has the disease not receive the vaccine for it as it won’t be effective. 

Cats with a latent infection and those who completely fight off the virus can potentially live for several years after acquiring FeLV. If your cat has received a diagnosis, be sure to keep him or her indoors to avoid the possibility of spreading it to other cats or of additional contact with infected cats. We also encourage you to minimize stress in your cat’s life and make sure that each veterinarian you see knows about the diagnosis.

Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital offers an optional vaccine against FeLV. Please speak to any member of our staff if you’re concerned about the possibility of your cat having the virus.

Photo Credit: Anurakpong / Getty Images

 

September is Senior Pet Wellness Month

 
My friends and I like to say that we're not getting older, we're getting better. Even so, we may start to have many of the same health issues you humans have. Here are five that you especially need to keep an eye on
 
Much appreciated,
Carlos
 
Most people have heard that a pet ages seven years for every one year of a human’s life. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association states that formula isn’t exactly on target. By a dog or cat’s first birthday, he is approximately 15 years old in human years. By age two, the equivalent is approximately 24 years old. After that, aging accelerates at the rate of five years for every one year a person lives.

Regardless of the formula you use, no one can deny that pets age at an accelerated rate compared to people. They hit middle age around seven years old and the senior years after one decade of life. For this reason, we at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital recommend that people start bringing their pets in for bi-annual preventive care exams around age seven. A lot can happen in an older pet’s life in six months.

Senior Pets and People Have Many of the Same Issues
Sadly, cats and dogs aren’t immune from common health problems that people experience more often as they get older. Some of these include:

Arthritis: Arthritis is a painful condition that occurs when the cartilage present in bones wears away and causes them to rub together. Your pet can experience pain and inflammation without the natural cushioning of the cartilage. Since she can’t tell you this, look for a reluctance to jump, stiff walking gait, loud meowing or howling when you pick her up, and the tendency to favor some limbs over others.

Cancer: According to several veterinary organizations, dogs and cats over age 10 succumb to cancer more than any other disease. Leukemia is most common in cats and mast cell tumor is most common in dogs. Some of the first indications of potential cancer in your pet include changes in behavior, fatigue, weight loss, and wounds that seem slow to heal.

Cognitive decline: Approximately 50 percent of all dogs and cats show at least mild cognitive decline in the senior years. Your normally docile pet may become aggressive or a typically confident dog or cat could become anxious and not want to leave your side. Skill regression is also common.

Diabetes: The increase in obese and inactive pets has caused more of them to develop diabetes. However, it can also occur due to genetic inheritance, normal aging, and other risk factors. Your pet with diabetes will urinate more frequently, lose weight, appear irritable and fatigued, and possibly display vision problems.

Kidney disease: Healthy kidneys enable your dog or cat to eliminate waste properly. Kidney dysfunction can cause waste products to remain trapped in the body, causing pain, weight loss, vomiting, inability to hold urine or feces, and increased thirst. 

Dogs and Cats Are Masters at Hiding Pain
The need to never appear weak to potential predators is hardwired into dogs and cats. This causes them to hide when they feel pain rather than express it. It’s up to you to look for signs of declining health in your older pet and seek the appropriate treatment. Feel free to contact us with questions or to schedule a senior wellness exam.
 
Photo Credit: BigRedCurlyGuy / Getty Images

 

August 30 is National Holistic Pet Day

 
 
Doesn't this dog look relaxed? He's actually getting great healthcare too. Complementary medicine in veterinary care helps us pets who, ahem, might be getting up in years or who deal with chronic pain. We even offer acupuncture right here at the clinic! Be sure to ask our staff about it the next time you visit.
 
Regards,
Carlos
 
With National Holistic Pet Day coming up on August 30, we wanted to make sure that you’re aware of the acupuncture services at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. Like people, pets don’t always respond to traditional medical treatments for the management of ongoing pain and chronic diseases. Although people have benefitted from acupuncture for thousands of years, the practice is relatively new with pets. We believe that animals’ bodies can self-heal if provided with the proper stimulation, and we invite you to schedule an acupuncture appointment to find out for yourself.

Acupuncture as Complementary Veterinary Medicine
With medical acupuncture for pets, our doctors first determine which areas of the body do not function properly. After making this diagnosis, they create a treatment plan that stimulates your pet’s central nervous system to start the self-healing process. By placing tiny needles at your pet’s pain points, it helps to interrupt chronic pain signals. The more long-standing the pain, the more sessions your pet requires to be free of it. 

Pet acupuncture helps to access areas of the animal’s body that stimulates the release of endorphins and other natural pain-relieving hormones. You may notice a difference in your pet after a single session, but it could take up to several sessions for the maximum benefits. We recommend scheduling appointments once or twice a week. According to the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, the practice is most useful for pets who suffer from the following disorders:
  • Arthritis, traumatic nerve injury, intervertebral disc disease, or other chronic musculoskeletal conditions
  • Reproductive issues
  • Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Allergies and asthma
A Typical Acupuncture Session
If you feel your pet will become anxious, feel free to accompany him or her to offer comfort. At the start of each session, our acupuncturist inserts several tiny needles into the area where your pet is experiencing ongoing pain. This does not hurt your pet. After a short time, your pet will feel sleepy and relaxed. Many dogs and cats even look forward to their acupuncture sessions once they associate the appointment with these feelings. Don’t feel alarmed if your pet seems lethargic or sleepy for up to 24 hours after each session as this is completely normal. 

If traditional treatment approaches are not giving your pet the relief from chronic pain that you would like, please contact us to schedule an appointment or ask additional questions about acupuncture. This is just one more way you can show commitment to your pet’s well-being
 
Photo Credit: BigshotD3 / Getty Images

 

Is Now the Right Time for You to Adopt a New Pet?

 
Being the clinic cat at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic is certainly the cat's meow, but I know all my animal friends are so lucky to have a great home. We're cute and cuddly, but also a big responsibility. Here are some things for you to think about if before deciding to share your home with a new animal friend.
 
Regards,
Carlos
 
 
Living with and caring for a pet is both rewarding and challenging. Unfortunately, some people fail to understand the responsibility involved and quickly decide they don’t want a pet after all. These animals end up at shelters or with friends in best-case scenarios or simply abandoned and left to fend for themselves. 

Even though surrendering a pet to a shelter is better than abandonment, shelters can only keep animals so long before euthanizing them. That’s why we urge people to consider the responsibility involved in pet ownership as well as how a dog, cat, or other animal will fit into their lifestyle before bringing a new pet home.
 
You’re Making a Commitment for the Lifetime of the Animal
The American Humane Association estimates that dogs live for 12 to 15 years and that cats have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Of course, the breed of the animal and his overall health at adoption play into the average lifespan as well. The fuzzy kitten or rambunctious puppy you adopt today will eventually grow old. Pets require time and resources at every stage of the life cycle. Here are several factors the American Humane Association recommends that people consider before bringing home a new pet:

  • Does anyone in your house have asthma or allergies that might be triggered by animal fur?
  • What do you plan to do if a family member just doesn’t care for the pet?
  • Do you anticipate major changes such as moving, a new job, having a baby, or getting married that could affect how well you can care for the pet?
  • Are your finances stable enough to handle basic pet necessities as well as emergency care?
  • Are you getting the pet for your kids? If so, do you consider them responsible enough to provide her with consistent care? If the answer is no, are you willing to provide the care yourself?
  • Who will care for your pet when you go on vacation or need to travel for business?
  • Will you commit to getting your pet spayed or neutered as well as keep up with required vaccinations?
  • Does your family have such a busy schedule that your pet will end up spending a lot of time alone?
  • Does someone in the family have enough time to provide the pet with the exercise and play time he needs?
  • What kind of living arrangements do you have? A large German Shepherd needs plenty of outdoor space to run around while a senior cat would do just fine in a small apartment.
  • Do you know how you would handle behavior problems?
Although this list is long, we encourage you to take the time to answer each question honestly. If you decide that you’re not ready for a pet after all, you can always reconsider it later when your circumstances change.
 
Bring Your New Pet in for a Check-Up as Soon as Possible
When you adopt a new pet, whether that’s now or in the future, make sure to schedule a comprehensive physical exam with Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital shortly after bringing her home. We will make sure your dog, cat, or other animal has the necessary vaccines to stay healthy and check several other things as well. We look forward to seeing the newest member of your family soon.
 
Photo Credit: Ablokhin / Getty Images

 

 

 

Tips to Reduce Stress When Traveling by Plane with Your Pet

 
It's summer, glorious summer, and that means travel season. Many people can't stand the thought of being away from their pet for too long, and who can blame them? We're adorable. That doesn't mean we like traveling by plane, but it can be done. Just ask the fine folks at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic who compiled the tips you see below.
 
Happy traveling,
Carlos
 
 
The thought of boarding an airplane with their pet strikes fear into the heart of many people. Dogs and cats can become highly stressed in a busy airport, not to mention on the flight itself. You both end up feeling stressed and feed off each other’s anxious feelings. Whether you choose to fly with a pet in tow or it’s your only option, try to remain as calm as you can to set the expectation for your pet. The tips outlined below can make the experience more enjoyable for the entire family as well.
 
 Certain Breeds of Pets Should Not Fly
According to the American Humane Society, some breeds of dogs and cats have extreme difficulty breathing on a plane due to reduced oxygen in the pressurized cabin. These include any type of brachycephalic dog or cat, which technically means the animal has genetically inherited a pushed-in face. Bulldogs, pugs, and Persian cats fit this description. Their nasal passages are too short to allow for normal breathing on a plane. 

Keep Your Pet in the Airplane’s Cabin if Possible
Your dog or cat will probably still feel anxious about flying, but riding in a carrier where she can see you can dramatically reduce her stress. Some airlines allow limited numbers of small pets contained within a carrier to remain with their owners. Each airline has its own rules, so be certain to check on this option early. Most cats meet size limitations, but your dog may not. 

When Your Pet Must Fly in Cargo
If you’re unable to keep your pet in the cabin with you, be sure to follow these tips for the trip in the plane’s cargo hold to go as smoothly as possible:

  • When an airline loses a pet, it’s usually during a connecting flight. You can reduce that risk by booking a direct connection.
  • Do not give your pet tranquilizers before the flight unless you have received a prescription from Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. Also, avoid feeding him for at least four hours before the flight to reduce the likelihood of motion sickness. 
  • Try to avoid flying with your pet when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold, both in your departing city and your destination city.
  • Leave your pet’s carrier out at home for a few days before the trip to allow her to get used to it.
  • Be sure that your pet has proper identification, including a microchip, tag, and collar. You should label his pet carrier as well. 
  • Groom your pet a few days before the trip and be sure to trim her nails. This prevents her from getting them caught on anything at the airport or on the plane.
Once you land and collect your pet from cargo, examine him from head to tail to ensure he didn’t sustain any injuries during the flight. If anything seems amiss, be sure to take a photo while still at the airport in case you need to file a complaint later.

Visit Us for a Check-Up Before You Fly
We recommend scheduling a preventive care exam approximately two weeks before your trip to make sure that your pet is healthy enough to fly. Our staff will check his vaccination status and give any vaccines that are due soon. We also advise you to learn the airline’s pet policies well in advance to avoid additional stress on the day of your trip.
 
Photo Credit: Damedeeso / Getty Images

 

July 15 is Pet Fire Safety Day

 
I will let you in on a little secret: dogs and cats can be quick and mischievous. Okay, so maybe it's not such a secret that we're curious and can get into trouble in a hurry without your help. This Pet Fire Safety
Day, be sure to think like a dog or cat and pet-proof your house so we don't accidentally start a fire.
 
Best,
Carlos
 
 
Several years ago, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and ADT Security Services started an awareness campaign called Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15 of each year. This was in response to the alarming statistics about pets and fires. Did you know that companion animals start approximately 1,000 home fires every year? Even more startling, 40,000 pets die in fire-related incidents each year and another 500,00 receive some type of injury. Many of these fires are in the home, but they can also be burns received in a backyard barbeque or accidental contact with another form of heat or fire.

Tips to Prevent Your Pet from Becoming a Fire Statistic
One of the easiest ways to prevent a serious fire in your home is to install a smoke detector on every level. However, that only alerts you to a fire after it has already started. We recommend taking the following actions to prevent fires and unsafe situations for your pet in the first place:
  • Walk around your home with your pet’s mindset and look for areas where you need to pet-proof. The stove is a common example. A dog who is excited to see you at the end of a long day could easily jump up and bump a burner with his or her paw. Loose wires are another potential way that your pet could start a fire. Additionally, make sure that you keep all hot items like curling irons and heating pads out of your pet’s reach.
  • Never leave your pet unsupervised around an open flame. Whether you’re cooking on the stove or burning candles to get a nice scent in the house, extinguish flames when you’re done and don’t allow your pet to approach the fire source.
  • When you must leave pets home alone, put them in a room or entrance near the front of the house where a firefighter could reach them more easily. You should also check to make sure they’re not located near any fire hazards when you leave the house.
  • Place a window cling or note on your door that states the number of pets inside in case of an emergency. Both AKC and ADT offer free window clings and you can find them at community safety events as well.
Create a Fire Escape Plan That Includes Your Pet
We have written before about the importance of preparing for disaster before it happens. This includes the possibility of a house fire or burn injury. Make sure that you have a first aid kit prepared for your pet and keep an extra leash and collar by the front door that you can grab quickly. These precautions don’t take long to implement, but can make a life or death difference for your pet. If your pet does sustain injuries in a fire, please contact Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital immediately for treatment.
 
Photo Credit: JStaley / Getty Images

 

Water Safety Tips for a Safe Summer with Your Pet

 
It's officially summer and that means spending more time at the pool and beach. Most cats I know aren't keen on such an experience, but my dogs friends are definitely up for it. I may act cool, but I care about them and their safety. That's why I asked the staff to write some water safety tips for the dog people out there.
 
Take Care,
Carlos
 
It can be a dangerous assumption that your dog will instinctively know how to swim in all situations. While some breeds are natural swimmers, others must be taught how to swim. Other breeds, including those with a large ratio of chest to hindquarters or a short muzzle, don’t have the body type to survive in the water. It’s up to you to know your dog’s limits and to take precautions to keep her safe. If your dog has never gone swimming before, you may want to schedule a preventive care exam to ensure that she’s physically up to the challenge.

Introducing Your Dog to Water
We recommend starting small when it comes to teaching your dog water safety skills. The first time you go to the lake or pool together, go into the water with your dog and note if he seems comfortable with the situation or not. The water should not be more than a couple of feet deep. You can take it as a good sign if he starts paddling right away, but you should still position yourself no more than a few feet away. This allows you to grab your dog if he suddenly starts sinking. 

Increasing the distance from your dog and time spent in the water are simple ways to get her to feel comfortable with swimming. However, you still need to supervise your dog any time she is in or near water. Unpredictable situations, such as a bird flying nearby, could cause her to get overstimulated and chase after the bird. This could quickly land her in water over her head. It’s also important to teach your dog not to enter the water until you have given the command and to come at once when you call her to get out of the water.

Safety When Boating
Dogs often enjoy riding in the boat with their human families, just as they do in the car. If you choose to bring your dog out for a ride, make sure that you put a life jacket on him first. He will come to accept it as part of the routine if you consistently put the life jacket on before you even reach the boat. If he does go over the side of the boat, use a floatation device to pull him back in rather than risk your own safety by jumping in the water.

If you plan to hit the beach a lot this summer, make sure that you dog has a microchip in addition to a tag and collar. This improves your chances of reuniting if case she gets lost. If you think your dog might suffer from motion sickness on the boat, be sure to ask us for advice on preventing it before you set sail. Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital wishes you and your dog a safe and happy summer together. 

Take a Hike! How to Enjoy Great Outdoors Month with Your Dog

 
Hiking isn't really my thing. I prefer a cushy indoor life at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic, but I know many of my dog friends would jump at the chance to go hiking. If you and your dog are planning a hike, we have some tips for you below.
 
June is Great Outdoors Month, which is something we truly appreciate here in Minnesota. People and their pets wait months for the weather to turn nice enough that they can spend more time outside than inside. Hiking is just one of the activities that dogs and people enjoy doing together during the summer. Before you head out on your next adventure, we recommend scheduling a preventive care exam to ensure that your dog is healthy and up-do-date on vaccines. 

Planning a Hike with Your Dog
The first thing you need to do is locate the right trail and make sure you understand its rules and etiquette. If a park allows dogs on the hiking trail, you need to keep your dog under your control at all times. That means using a leash and harness, yielding the right-of-way to other hikers, and investing time in behavior training so he doesn’t go after other dogs or people.

As with walking in a local neighborhood, you’re responsible for cleaning up your pet’s waste. You then need to bury the bag at least six to eight inches deep in a hole that is a minimum of 200 feet from the trail, water sources, and camp sites. Additionally, be sure to monitor where your dog urinates so it’s not too close to a source of water.

You will want to start training at home by placing an empty pack on your dog and gradually increasing both the weight of the pack and the time you walk each day. The weight of a full pack shouldn’t exceed 25 percent of your dog’s body weight. Keep in mind that puppies under one year old generally don’t have the bone strength to carry their own pack on a hiking trail. 

Pet Supplies to Bring on Your Hike
A first-aid kit is essential when you’re in the woods and far away from immediate help. It should contain your dog’s regular medication, swabs, rubber gloves, saline, heavy-duty bandages, pliers, a whistle, and lights and bells for her collar. Other things to include in your pack or your dog’s pack include:
  • Her regular food
  • Food and water dishes
  • Dog coat for cooler weather
  • Booties to protect her paws pads and nails
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Cooling collar
  • Towel for baths and wiping off paws
Check for Fleas and Ticks
Being in a wooded environment increases the likelihood of your dog picking up fleas and ticks. Since an undetected tick can lead to Lyme disease, it’s important to check him from nose to tail at the end of every hiking session. Be sure to comb his fur daily and to remove ticks with a pair of tweezers immediately if you spot one. A flea and tick collar or preventive medication can help make your dog’s time on the hiking trail more enjoyable as well. 

Photo Credit: tntemerson Creative / Getty Images

 

 

 

It's Responsible Animal Guardian Month

 
I'm lucky enough to have several people take great care of me as the clinic cat at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. If you're just bringing home a new pet or just want to make sure you're doing all that you can for your furry loved one, be sure to check out these tips from the folks who bring you Responsible Animal Guardian Month.
 
Sincerely,
Carlos
 
 
In Defense of Animals (IDA), a well-known animal welfare organization, has chosen the month of May as Responsible Animal Guardian Month. The primary purpose of the campaign is to encourage people to treat animals with more respect and to fulfill their obligation to care for those they have taken in as pets. One way to accomplish this is to use the term guardian instead of owner when referring to our pets.
 
Steps You Can Take to Be a More Responsible Animal Guardian
Responsible pet guardians are concerned with the physical, emotional, and cognitive health of their dog, cat, or other animal. Those who do look out for their pet’s overall well-being are more likely to develop a strong bond with her. Here are some suggestions from IDA on what you can do to take the best possible care of your pet:
  • Apply rules consistently and invest as much time as needed in behavior training
  • Gain your pet’s cooperation by forgoing punishment in favor of positive reinforcement
  • Pet-proof your home to make it as safe as possible for her
  • Make sure your pet has the opportunity to socialize with other people and pets
  • Be sure to build play and exercise into his routine each day
  • Limit treats, avoid giving people food, and feed your pet high-quality, nutritious food designed for her species
  • Give him several minutes of your undivided attention every day
Another reason IDA started Responsible Animal Guardian Month is to encourage people to get their next pet from a shelter instead of a breeder or pet store. “Adopt, Don’t Shop” is one motto of the annual campaign.
 
The Importance of Annual Preventive Care Exams
If you only bring your pet to Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital when he’s sick or injured, we encourage you to come in at least once a year for a preventive care exam. This gives our veterinarians the chance to diagnose and treat issues before they become more serious and difficult to treat in the future. Dogs and cats over age seven would benefit from a check-up every six months since this is the time that many start to display age-related health problems. Puppies and kittens under 12 months need several vaccinations as well. 
 
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions or need to schedule an appointment for your pet. Our telephone number is 763-682-2181.

 

May 13 is National Disaster Preparedness Day

When an emergency strikes, pets like me and my friends depend on our human family to get us out of the house quickly and safely. The situation is stressful for everyone, but you can do it. The tips below will help.
 
With appreciation,
Carlos
 
 
How would you care for your pet in a fire, flood, tornado, blizzard, or other unpredictable event? If you’re like many pet owners, you haven’t given this question much thought. With National Disaster Preparedness Day coming up, we encourage you to consider preparing a disaster kit for your pet. That way you can confidently state what you would do when faced with severe weather or another type of emergency.
 
 What to Include in a Disaster Kit for Your Pet
When a disaster strikes, knowing that you have a kit prepared and stored in a safe place can help keep you calm. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the kit should include the following at a minimum:

  • Written details about each pet in the event you become separated. Your notes should include your contact details, any behavior issues, feeding and care instructions, and how to contact your pet’s regular veterinarian.
  • Water and food for each pet to last for up to two weeks. Be sure to place the food in an airtight container so it doesn’t spoil and pack a can opener or scoop if you need them to feed your pet. Water should go in an airtight container and be replaced periodically with a fresh supply.
  • Bags for dog waste and a litter box for cats
  • Cleaning supplies if your pet eliminates inappropriately
  • Up-to-date medical records
  • Two weeks’ worth of any prescription medications
  • Grooming supplies
  • Harness, leash, and pet carrier
  • Toys and pet beds 
Best Practices for Creating Your Pet’s Disaster Plan
It's essential that your dog, cat, or other pet has current identification in the chaos of a sudden emergency. If your pet has a microchip, make sure that you update your contact details any time you move or change your telephone number or email address. Additionally, ensure each pet has an individual carrier with your name and the pet’s name written on it clearly. You may want to consider placing your pet in the carrier and going for a car ride for practice if she doesn’t ride in the car often.
 
Another recommendation from the CDC is to place a harness or leash near every exit in your home. It may be difficult to hold a pet who is highly stressed, which increases the likelihood of him running off. By having a leash or harness available, you can safely remove your pet from the situation as quickly as possible.

We recommend that you determine where you will evacuate to before an emergency hits. If the situation doesn’t call for you to leave home, choose one room in your home to wait it out with your pet. Just make sure there are no plants, chemicals, or other things in the room your pet could get into during the chaos. It’s also helpful to prepare a list of pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, veterinary clinics, and shelters just in case you do need to evacuate.
 
Diseases Can Spread Quickly During Natural Disasters
When your pet is exposed to stagnant water, severe weather, wild animals, large groups of people, and other situations common to disasters, she may acquire a contagious virus. Please make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on vaccinations with Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital. To schedule an appointment or seek help in an emergency, please call us at 763-682-2181.

 

How to Know if Your Dog Has Lyme Disease

 
 
We're so excited to get outside again after being cooped up indoors most of the winter. What we're not so thrilled about are the ticks just waiting to feast on us and transmit Lyme disease. This is where we need your help. Keep reading to learn what you can do to keep your cat or dog tick-free in the warmer weather.
 
Regards,
Carlos
 
Spring means spending more time outdoors, for both people and pets. Unfortunately, it also means an increase in Lyme disease. In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed 1,176 cases of Lyme disease in both people and pets. Your pet is completely dependent on you to protect him from this serious disease and to recognize the symptoms if it does occur. It’s important to realize that indoor pets are not immune since ticks that carry the disease can still get into your home. 

Finding Ticks on Your Pet
It can be challenging to detect Lyme disease because the first symptoms may not appear until several months after an infected tick bit your dog or cat. That’s why doing a daily tick check is so important. Start at the tip of your pet’s nose and run your hand down the entire length of her body. This includes the underside. You should visually inspect the inside of her ears as well. 

Should you find a tick, pull it out with a pair of tweezers. Be sure to pull firmly and swiftly and don’t twist the tweezers as you do so. That could cause you to leave parts of the tick’s body intact in your pet’s fur. Once it’s out, place the tick into a jar of rubbing alcohol to ensure that you kill it. 

The most common indications of Lyme disease in companion animals include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Marked change in behavior or mood
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness with movement
  • Lymph node or joint swelling
We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic right away if your pet displays any of these symptoms. While it doesn’t automatically mean that he has Lyme disease, we need to rule it out or make a diagnosis. We may run a blood parasite screening, chemistry panel, urine, thyroid, fecal, or electrolyte test to determine the level of functioning of his organs. A course of antibiotics is the most typical Lyme disease treatment for pets. We also encourage you to have your pet rest as much as possible.

Tips to Prevent Lyme Disease
It’s not possible to eliminate all risk of your pet developing Lyme disease, but the following can decrease the likelihood:
  • Don’t keep old mattresses or furniture on your property since ticks like to hide in them. 
  • Keep your grass cut short and be sure to clear brush and tall grass from its outer parameters.
  • If any wooded area butts up against your property, put up a gravel barrier or use wood chips.
  • Keep wood dry and stack it in orderly piles so as not to attract rodents that carry ticks.
  • Don’t keep leaf piles in your yard.
  • Be sure to use a tick prevention product on your pet. We offer several brands in our online store.
We wish you a happy spring and summer free of Lyme disease. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Photo Credit: gorr1 / Getty Images