All posts by James

Spotlight on Assistance Dogs

International Assistance Dog Week starts today, August 1st. The 4th is also International Assistance Dog Day. Our canine companions are truly amazing animals! Fido’s devotion, intelligence, and hard work are special gifts, ones that allow him to help people with disabilities or medical challenges live independently. A vet discusses assistance dogs in this article.

A Helping Paw

Assistance Dog Week started with the intent to honor all of the loving, devoted pups that help their human pals live their best lives. However, there’s more to it than just giving Fido a well-deserved pat on the head. It’s also about raising awareness. The people who train and place assistance dogs also deserve recognition.

What Is An Assistance Dog?

People often get assistance dogs mixed up with therapy dogs. These pooches do have a few things in common. For one thing, they all help their humans live full, fulfilling lives. They’re also adorable! That said, there are some clear distinctions. Assistance dogs, which are also called service dogs, have been trained to perform specific tasks or functions. They are protected by law, and are allowed to go anywhere their humans go. There are only a few exceptions, such as hospitals. Therapy dogs have been trained to help people cope with sadness, grief, trauma, or anxiety. 

Requirements

Man’s Best Friend must meet some specific requirements before being classified as an assistance dog. His owner must be disabled according to law. Assistance dogs must also be trained to help their humans overcome or mitigate the disability in some way. Fido must also have proven himself to be a Good Boy in public, and to act properly and well-behaved at all times. Assistance dogs must also be in good health and kept up to proper hygiene standards. 

Tasks

One example of an assistance dog would be a Seeing Eye Dog, who helps guide a blind owner around. Assistance dogs have also been trained to detect oncoming seizures or drops in blood sugar for diabetics, and act accordingly.  

Meeting Fido

In many places, it’s now a felony to harm or interfere with an assistance dog. It may not be illegal to pet them, but it is inconsiderate. Never touch or interact with an assistance dog without express permission. After all, Fido is working like a dog, and needs to focus!

As your local veterinary clinic, we’re here to help! Call us anytime!

What to Know About Grain-Free Dog Food

You’ve probably heard about grain-free or gluten-free products over the past few years. They’ve gained a lot of popularity recently, and grain-free products have found their way into the pet food world, too. But is a grain-free diet right for your dog? Let’s take a closer look at what grain-free means and whether or not it’s the right choice for your pet. 

What is grain-free dog food? 

Grain-free dog food is just what it sounds like: food made without the common grains used in dog food, like wheat, barley, rye, corn, rice, oats, and soy. Grain-free foods usually substitute other sources of carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes or lentils, in place of those grains. 

Are grain-free and gluten-free the same thing? 

No, grain-free and gluten-free aren’t quite the same thing. Gluten-free foods don’t have grains that contain gluten, like wheat, barley, and rye, but they could be made with other types of grains (corn, soy, etc.). So, a grain-free diet could be gluten-free, but a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to be entirely grain-free.

Is there a connection between grain-free food and heart disease?

You may have heard about grain-free dog foods in the news recently. That’s because the Food and Drug Administration opened an investigation into possible linkages between grain-free diets and the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (heart disease). The study is ongoing, so it’s difficult to point to any concrete conclusions. It seems that other factors besides grain-free food could contribute to heart disease, and pets in the study that didn’t eat grain-free food developed heart disease as well. Here’s the bottom line: a direct link between grain-free food and heart disease has not been proven, so your best choice is to speak with your vet about the issue. 

Should my dog be fed a grain-free diet?

It’s always a good idea to ask your vet before feeding your dog a grain-free diet. Because whole grains provide important nutrients for your pup—fiber, magnesium, selenium, carbohydrates, and others—you don’t want to remove those ingredients unless it’s warranted. Grain-free foods may be helpful for dogs with particular allergies to grain sources, but this kind of diet isn’t necessary for most dogs. The best course of action is to work closely with your veterinarian when it comes to Fido’s dietary and nutritional needs. 

Would you like to learn more about grain-free dog food? Contact your local pet clinic to speak with the professionals. 

Fourth of July Hazards for Pets

The Fourth Of July is coming up quickly! As you may know, this is a particularly dangerous holiday for our four-legged friends. You’ll want to take some precautions to make sure your beloved pet stays safe and healthy through America’s birthday. Read on as a Georgetown, IN vet lists some July Fourth safety tips for pets.

Heat

Pets can overheat very quickly at this time of year. Fido and Fluffy are wearing fur coats, and they can’t sweat to cool off. Make sure your furry bff always has fresh water and access to cool, shaded areas. Limit your pet’s outdoor time during the hottest parts of the day.

Parasites

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos will happily join in your celebration. These uninvited guests can carry dangerous diseases, and can also transmit other parasites! Keep up with your pet’s parasite prevention products. We also recommend mowing your lawn regularly.

Fireworks

Many dogs get very frightened by the noise and commotion of fireworks. If your canine buddy is scared of loud noises, bring him indoors well before dark on the Fourth, and set him up in a cozy spot. Turn a TV or radio on to mask the noise. If Fido is extremely nervous when there’s a lot of commotion, ask your vet about using pet-calming products, such as treats and sprays.

Grills

Many of our four-legged friends are very opportunistic eaters, and will snap up anything offered to them. Big dinners and grill-outs are always very dangerous for them, just because there are so many popular foods that are unsafe for them. Some of the dangerous foods include garlie, onions, scallions, and chives; grapes, currants, and raisins; chocolate; caffeine; avocado; pitted fruits; alcohol; meat on the bone; and anything that contains xylitol.

Trash

Use trashcans that close securely. Pets sometimes try to score some leftovers by poking around the garbage. Things like skewers, bones, can lids, trimmings, and can lids are just a few of the dangers that could be lurking in the trash.

Pools/Water

Pools are another concern. While some dogs are great swimmers, even water-loving pups can panic and get into trouble if they fall into the pool and don’t know how to get out again. If you’re taking Fido to a pool or beach, keep a close eye on him.  

Happy Fourth! Please contact us, your local Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, anytime!

5 Pawsome Reasons to Have a Dog Party

Dog Party Day is coming up June 21st. After a long year of lockdowns and quarantines, many people are really planning to make the most of this summer, and reunite with friends and family they haven’t seen in a while. A dog party is a great way to do that! A Georgetown, IN vet lists some reasons why in this article.

Socialization

Dogs are very social animals by nature. In the wild, Fido would spend all of his time with his pack, and would rarely be left alone. Giving your canine companion a chance to play with other dogs will be very beneficial. Socialization is very important for puppies.  This may be particularly helpful for pooches that didn’t see their buddies very much last year, and also in some cases for newly-adopted dogs.

Activity

Our furry friends need proper activity, just as people do. Fido will really benefit from being able to run around and play with his buddies. This is great for energetic, active pups. When you get home again, your canine pal will probably be more interested in taking  a nap than in chasing the cat around. This is one reason doggy daycares are becoming so popular!

Stimulation

Dog parties also offer our canine buddies beneficial mental stimulation. Set out some fun toys for your four-legged guests. Kiddie pools, sprinklers, and sandboxes are all good options. You can even get a mechanical ball launcher. (Note: these are not safe for large breeds, as they can be choking risks.)

Manners

If you have a young dog, puppy parties are also beneficial for another reason. Fido can learn quite a bit about how to be a Good Boy by observing and interacting with other polite dogs. Make sure to only invite friendly, well-behaved pooches.

It’s Cute

Watching dogs hard at play with their buddies will definitely put a smile on your face. Offer lots of toys for your four-legged pals to play with. Get a variety of things, as pups all have their own tastes. 

Good Times

Hanging out with your friends and some cute, playful pups is a perfect way to relax on a summer afternoon. Just make sure all of your furry guests are fixed, microchipped, and current on their parasite control.

Contact us, your local Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here for you!

Yard Pupgrades for Summer

Dogs are very playful and active. While every pooch has their own unique exercise needs and preferences, most, if not all, of them will enjoy and benefit from having an outdoor space of their own to run and play in. If you have a back yard, you may want to consider adding a few features to make it more fun for your canine pal. A Georgetown, IN vet lists a few ‘pawsome’ options in this article.

Kiddie Pool

Fido often enjoys splashing around on hot days, just as much as people do. Get your four-legged buddy a kiddie pool to play around in. This can make for some really cute pictures … not to mention a really happy dog.

Pet Fountain

Keeping Fido hydrated is extremely important in summer. It can also be super cute! Put in a pet fountain for him. There are different types. Some shoot water into the air when your furry pal steps on a pad. Others just offer your canine companion moving, filtered water.

Agility Ramps

This is a good option for very active, bouncy dogs. Put in a little doggy agility course for Fido. You can use things like ramps, children’s slides, or buried tractor tires.

Sandbox

Does your furry bff like to dig? Give him a little sandbox to bury goodies in. This is great for pups that like to bury treasure. If Fido knows where the good stuff is, he may leave your flowerbeds alone!

Doghouse

Doghouses are always the gold standard when it comes to yard upgrades. Just be sure to choose the right size. If Fido’s hangout pad is too big, it won’t feel very safe or cozy to him. He’ll also be more likely to defecate in it. Your pup should have room to sit up, turn around, and stretch out a bit, but that’s about it. Material is also important. Plastic is cheapest, but doesn’t offer much by way of insulation. You’ll also want to avoid pressure-treated wood: the chemicals used to process it make it toxic to dogs.

Mechanical Ball Launcher

Is running after tennis balls your canine friend’s favorite thing ever, aside from perhaps scoring some treats or belly rubs? Get Fido his own ball launcher! Just get one that uses balls that are the right size for him.

As your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we’re here to help! Call us anytime!

Cute Ways to Pamper a Senior Cat

Did you know that it’s no longer uncommon for cats to live well into their late teens or even their 20’s? You won’t notice drastic changes happening quickly as your kitty ages, but Fluffy will benefit from some extra TLC in her golden years. Here, a Georgetown, IN vet offers some tips on keeping a senior cat comfy and purring.

Beds

All cats are sleepy, but senior ones are purrticularly tired. Fluffy may spend up to 20 hours a day snoozing! Make sure she has lots of comfy spots to curl up in. Your furry friend may have a hard time jumping onto things, so offer her napping spots that are easy for her to get on and off.

Stimulation

Your feline pal’s mental health is just as important as her physical well-being. If you’re leaving your kitty alone, leave a light and a TV or radio on for her. This will help her from feeling lonely.

Playtime

Fluffy won’t be as mischievous as she once was, but she’ll still have her kitten moments. Take a few minutes a day to play with your cute pet. This will be good for her both mentally and physically. It’s also a great way to get that little motor going!

Brushing

Your kitty may have a hard time bending and stretching, which can make it hard for her to groom her entire body. Brushing your furball daily will remove dead hair from her coat, and keep her from feeling itchy and uncomfortable.

Window Seat

Give your furry buddy a comfy spot with a good view. Our feline friends love to watch birds and squirrels! Fluffy may spend hours relaxing in a sunbeam and looking out the window.

Nightlights

Your furball may have trouble seeing at night. Setting out a night light or her will help her get around more easily.

Senior-Friendly Facilities

Small touches can make life much easier for Fluffy. Get her a litterbox with low sides. This will be easy for her to get in and out of. Pet ramps or stairs will help her jump off and on her favorite perches.

Love

The secret ingredient in any good pet care routine is simple TLC. Pay lots of attention to your adorable pet, and make sure she feels loved!

As your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we are here to help! Please contact us anytime!

Things Cats Just Don’t Care About

Cats have it pretty easy. Fluffy doesn’t have to worry about bills, errands, or any of the other things her humans handle. In fact, there are actually quite a few things that kitties can’t be bothered to worry about. A Georgetown, IN vet lists some key ones below.

Your Privacy

Many kitties like to follow their humans around like furry little shadows. This is cute, but it can also be awkward. There’s really no need for Fluffy to follow you into the bathroom!

Etiquette

Kitties have some adorable habits, but they also have some we could do without, such as the elevator-butt greeting. Fluffy also has been known to groom herself in a room full of people, and sometimes bites or scratches for no reason. Clearly, manners aren’t a big priority for Man’s Second Best Friend.

Your Breakables

Does Fluffy sometimes smack small objects off of your coffee table, and then give you a smug look? No one can say for sure that kitties do this on purpose, but you’d have a hard time convincing us otherwise.

Your Furniture

Is your furniture covered in cat fur? Is Fluffy using your sofa as a peticure station? Case in point.

Your Sleep

Cats take their breakfasts—all eight of them—very seriously. If you have the audacity to sleep past the time when Fluffy usually gets her first meal, she may wake you up by pawing at you or headbutting you to let you know she wants breakfast right meow.

Your Computer

Have you ever found Fluffy sleeping on your laptop? Does she sometimes sprawl out on a book or magazine you’re attempting to read? Your kitty may have ruined a report, but she won’t care. She’s too busy dreaming about … whatever cats dream about.

Us

Our feline patients are all much healthier with proper care. However, we suspect that, given the chance to choose, they’d unanimously choose staying home and taking yet another nap over coming to see us.

Price

Does Fluffy  ignore that expensive cat tower you got her, and sleep on a pizza box instead? Does she  prefer playing with a bottlecap over her catnip mouse? It’s probably safe to say your furball isn’t losing any sleep over your financial loss.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? As your Georgetown, IN veterinary care, we really do care. Call us anytime! 

Pet First-Aid Awareness

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month! While no one wants to think of their beloved pet being injured, accidents can and do happen. If something should go wrong, being prepared in advance can make all the difference. Of course, if your pet is ever hurt, you’ll need to get them to the vet or emergency clinic right away. However, you may need to stabilize them before transporting them. That’s where first-aid preparation comes in. A local Georgetown, IN vet offers some advice on this below.

First-Aid Kit

If you don’t have a pet first-aid kit, we recommend getting one ASAP. You can start with a regular first-aid kit, and then add some things to make it more pet-specific. Your shopping list should include things like non-stick gauze, splints, rubbing alcohol, tweezers, round-end scissors, styptic powder, bandages, and towels. The exact items you need will depend on what sort of pet you have. For instance, if you have a dog, include a muzzle. Even the sweetest pup can bite if they’re hurt!

Information

You could have all the gear in the world, but it won’t do any good if you don’t know how to use it. Print out some pet first-aid brochures, and keep them with the kit. It’s also a good idea to download some pet first-aid apps. The American Red Cross has a good one. Keep phone numbers for your vet and the nearest emergency clinic in your phone and in the kit. Ours is 812-952-3643. Another number which may come in handy is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number, which is (888) 426-4435. (Note: charges may apply.)

Pet CPR

Are you interested in learning more? You may want to consider taking a class in pet CPR. It never hurts to grow and change and learn new things. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use this information, but you never know: it could save your pet’s life!

Prevention

When it comes to keeping pets safe, an ounce of prevention can be worth several pounds of cure. Be aware of potential hazards, such as toxic plants, plastic bags, and wires and cords. We also recommend keeping cats indoors, and not letting dogs roam around off-leash. Ask your vet for more information.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!

5 Ways To Pamper Your Cat On Respect Your Cat Day

There’s a very important pet holiday coming up. Respect Your Cat Day is March 28th! Showing your kitty proper respect doesn’t mean hanging portraits of her or installing catnip gardens and stocked fishponds. It really just means understanding some of Fluffy’s innate needs. A Georgetown, IN vet lists some ‘purrfect’ ways to celebrate this special occasion below.

Scratching Post

Fluffy is very dedicated to keeping her paw daggers sharp, and with good reason. Kitties depend on their claws in the wild, for hunting, defense, and climbing to safety. Your furry buddy will need a good peticure station. A cat tower is ideal, but you can also get a scratching board. This is a great gift for your feline friend!

Playtime

Kitties are actually fierce predators at heart. Let Fluffy indulge her inner lioness! Even if your pet’s ‘prey’ is only a catnip mouse or a rubber ball, pouncing and jumping on it will help her stay active, burn off stress and excess energy, and build confidence. Make sure your furry buddy has lots of toys to bat around. It’s also important to play with your cat regularly. Take a few minutes to hold a wand toy or laser pointer for your kitty.

Window Views

We always recommend that cats stay inside: Fluffy is both safer and healthier indoors. However, indoor pets don’t get as much exercise or stimulation as kitties that are allowed out. It’s important to make sure your feline buddy has ways to amuse herself. Birdwatching is, unsurprisingly, one of Fluffy’s favorite pastimes. A comfy window seat is a must! Or, better yet, put a cat tower before a window that overlooks a birdfeeder.

Hiding Spots

While some cats are bold and fearless, others are very timid. No matter which end of that spectrum your kitty falls onto, it’s safe to say that she will appreciate having some hiding spots to retreat to if she feels scared. Enclosed cat condos are great for this, but you can also give Fluffy things like boxes, paper grocery bags, or homemade pet tents.

Love

At the end of the day, the best way to make your feline pal feel respected is to just pay attention to her. Spend some quality time with your adorable pet!

As your local Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we are here to help. Contact us anytime!

If Your Cat Had Thumbs

There’s a pretty fun and whimsical pet holiday coming up: March 3rd is It Pets Had Thumbs Day! Our feline friends are very curious and mischievous. They can also be, well, a bit bratty at times. What do you think your kitty would do if she suddenly grew opposable thumbs? A Georgetown, IN vet lists a few ‘pawsible’ options below.

Put The Dog Out

Cats and dogs sometimes become the best of friends. However, at other times they can become jealous and competitive of each other. Fluffy may very well open the door for your Fido … and then lock it behind him.

Ransack … Everything

Cats are very nosy little furballs. Fluffy would probably be more than happy to go through your drawers, cupboards, and closets. She likely wouldn’t be too worried about covering her tracks, either. You may come home to find all of your belongings in piles, and your kitty sleeping peacefully atop a small mountain of soft clothes.

Fridge Raid

Kitties aren’t as finicky as dogs are, but they do still enjoy special treats. Your feline pal may want to sample everything you have in your fridge. Of course, she’d probably discard half of it, because that’s just something cats would do.

Appointment Cancellations

Fluffy will both look and feel better with proper care, but it’s probably safe to say that she would rather take another nap than come visit us. We may suddenly find our schedules cleared of kitty appointments!

Outdoor Sports

Fluffy is a predator by nature, and she’s instinctively driven to go after smaller critters. If your furball suddenly grew thumbs, she may try to amp up her hunting skills by using some equipment. Any nets or fishing poles you have lying around quickly go missing!

Online Ordering

If Fluffy could use thumbs, she may also try her paw at buying things online. Some things we suspect may end up in her cart? Kitty furniture, live fish, scratching posts, treats, smoked salmon, catnip, comfy beds, cat enclosures, lots of live plants, and basically anything that comes in a box. Your furry buddy may also get a few random things that make you scratch your head, such as nail polish sets or Funko pops.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if ever we could be of assistance. As your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we are here to help!