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The Importance of Keeping Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed

Trimmed Dog Nails If you are like many dog owners, you dread trimming his nails, but your dog’s health depends on you doing this grooming task regularly. Fortunately, you do have other options to make sure your dog’s nails are kept short. You can always take your dog to your favorite groomer, or you can stop by 5 Points Animal Hospital to have one of our techs do this job. We can also show you the best way to trim your dog’s nails yourself to help you feel more comfortable doing it yourself. We would like to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about trimming dog’s nails to let you know why this task is necessary.

Why is it so important to keep my dog’s nails trimmed?

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, his nails are kept short because they get worn down from running on hard surfaces, like concrete. However, if you have an indoor dog, he most likely does not get enough time on the right surfaces. According to The Whole Dog Journal, untrimmed nails can cause your dog harm. If the nails become so long that they touch the ground as your dog walks, they are forced back into the nail bed, which is very painful. This also puts pressure on the toe joint which, over time, can realign the joints of the foreleg. This compromises the distribution of weight and the natural alignment, which makes it easier for your dog to get injured. If the nails get too long, they can grow into the foot pad.

How short should I be cutting my dog’s nails?

You have trimmed the nails to the right length if the nails do not make contact with the ground when your dog is standing. If you can hear the nails clicking on the ground, you need to trim the nails shorter.

Should I trim my dog’s dewclaws?

Found on the inside of your dog’s leg, the dewclaw does need to be trimmed. Since this nail never touches the ground, it does not get worn down at all. The dewclaw tends to be much pointier than the other nails, and because of its loose attachment to the forelimb, your dog will probably not mind your trimming it as much as the other nails.

Make sure you are keeping your dog’s nails trimmed on a regular basis. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for any questions and help you may have about this important grooming routine.

How to Deal with Excessive Shedding

Dealing with Pet Shedding Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalWhen you have an indoor dog, cleaning up hair is a fact of life. Shedding hair is normal for dogs, and some breeds shed more hair than others. However, certain health problems can cause your dog to shed more than usual, and it can be important to be alert to changes in the amount of hair that your dog is shedding. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to tell you how to deal with shedding and why your dog could be shedding more than normal.

How can I keep my dog from shedding so much hair?

Of course, you cannot keep your dog from shedding, but you can reduce how much hair ends up on your floors and furniture. WebMD recommends brushing your dog on a regular basis to help cut back on how much hair is actually shed. 5 Points Animal Hospital can show you the best brushes for the breed of dog you own.

Why is my dog shedding more hair than usual?

If you have noticed that you are sweeping up more dog hair than you usually do, the larger amount could possibly have to do with stress, diet, or a medical issue. Poor nutrition can cause excessive shedding. You should be sure the food you are feeding your dog includes the right amount of nutrients. If you are providing a healthy diet to your dog, you most likely will not need to add any sort of supplements. 5 Points Animal Hospital is happy to give you recommendations on the best food for your dog. Your dog could also be shedding more than normal if he has a flea problem, and we can help you find the best flea preventive medication for your dog to solve this issue. Certain medical problems can also cause excessive shedding, and these include fungal or bacterial infections, immune disease, cancer, and kidney, adrenal, thyroid, and liver disease.

When should I see the vet for excessive hair shedding?

As your dog’s owner, you will most likely know when there is something wrong with your dog’s health, but there are some signs that you should come into our office as soon as possible. WebMD suggests that you need to consult with your vet if you notice any of the following signs persisting for more than a week:

  • Redness, bumps, rashes, scabs, or any other types of skin irritation
  • Open sores
  • Dry hair that you can easily pull out
  • Bald spots
  • Constant licking or scratching

A regular grooming routine should reduce the amount of hair that your dog sheds, but an increase in the amount of hair that is shed can be a sign of another problem. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital if you have noticed that your dog is shedding more hair than usual. We will exam your dog to diagnose and treat the issue to keep your dog healthy and happy.

The Importance of a Proper Diet for Your Pet

Pet Proper Diet Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital You know that you need to eat a healthy and balanced diet to function at your best, but did you realize that your pets should also be on a proper diet as well? Just like people, animals need to eat the right combination of nutrients to stay healthy and strong. Knowing how much protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and water your dog or cat needs to be eating every day is important in maintaining a happy and healthy pet. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we are frequently asked about the best diets for dogs, cats, and other pets, so we would like to share with you helpful information about the nutrients you should be feeding your pets each day. While a specific diet plan can differ from pet to pet depending on age and breed, the following nutrients are the essential building blocks of a proper diet for your pet.

Protein

According to PetMD, one of the first ingredients on a dog food label should be a protein source. Protein is essential in building new cells and repairing damaged cells because every single cell in the body consists of this nutrient. Pets need protein to build muscles, skin, hair, organs, and other tissues, which means it is especially important for young and growing pets as well as pregnant animals.

Fatty Acids

For a shiny and healthy coat, your pet needs to be eating a diet with the right amount of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only are these fatty acids important for your pet’s fur, but without enough fat in his diet, he could have dry skin problems. Dry skin leads to itching, split ends, and hair loss. If your pet has allergies, omega-3 fatty acids can be especially beneficial as they reduce inflammation.

Carbohydrates

In order to digest and eliminate properly, your pet should be eating a diet that includes carbohydrates to provide fiber. Good digestion is important so that your pet can absorb all of the needed nutrients from food and get rid of waste products. A proper diet needs to give your pet good nutrition while producing a minimum of stool.

Vitamins and Minerals

Your pet needs vitamins and minerals to keep his immune system and metabolism working as it should. Without the right amount of vitamins and minerals, your pet could easily get sick. Vitamins are also needed to reduce cell damage, and minerals are necessary to promote normal cell function.

If you want to keep your pet in good health, feeding him or her a balanced diet is very important. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for recommendations on the best diets for dogs, cats, and other animals.

Keep Your Pets Safe in Cold Weather

Dog Listening Weather Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital You hear a lot about how dangerous the summer heat can be for pets, but freezing cold temperatures can be just as hazardous. Winter weather can pose some hazards and other problems for dogs and cats, and it is important to be aware of certain situations. Following a few cold weather safety practices can keep your pets happy and healthy all winter long. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share some tips with you to help you make sure your pets are safe and warm this winter.

Know your pet’s limits.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) certain factors of your pet determine his tolerance to cold weather. Based on his coat, amount of body fat, health, and level of activity, he may be able to stay outside in the cold longer than your neighbor’s dog. If your dog has arthritis or is elderly, it can be more difficult to tolerate cold weather and to walk on snow and ice. Pets with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and other health issues can be more susceptible to extreme temperatures because they have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature.

Keep your pet inside during cold weather.

Some people mistakenly believe that dogs and cats can handle being outside in cold weather because of their fur coats, but pets are just as susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite as humans are. Even if you have a long-haired dog like a husky, you should never leave your pet outside for an extended period of time when the temperature drops below freezing.

Be careful when starting your car.

If you have outdoor and feral cats living in your neighborhood, you should always knock on the hood of your car before you start the engine during the winter. These cats tend to sleep under the hoods of cars during periods of freezing weather. Making a bit of noise allows a cat to escape from under the hood before you start up your car.

Take a look at your dog’s paws.

Frequently check your dog’s paws for cracked paw pads and bleeding as these are signs of injuries or damage from cold weather. Your dog’s feet can pick up ice balls as well as toxic chemicals from deicers and antifreeze during walks, so you should always wipe off your dog’s paws when you get home from your walks.

Stay away from ice.

You should always avoid frozen lakes, ponds, and other water when on walks with your dog. You can never tell if the ice can support the weight of your dog, and if your dog falls through the ice, it can be a deadly situation.
5 Points Animal Hospital wants you and your pets to stay safe and warm this winter. Contact us if you would like to know more winter weather safety tips for your dogs and cats.

All About Microchipping

Lost Pet Microchipping Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital Although you take great care to keep your dog from being able to run away, accidents can happen, unfortunately, and your dog could get lost and end up in an animal shelter. According to WebMD, up to eight million animals end up in shelters every year. One of the best ways to increase your chances of finding your dog in a shelter is to have your pet microchipped. 5 Points Animal Hospital is proud to offer microchipping services for pets, and we would like to tell you more about this safety option by answering a few frequently asked questions.

What is the microchipping process like?

Using a needle, a tiny chip is inserted under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. This chip has a unique number on it that can be scanned to determine the identity of the pet. This process is very similar to drawing blood, so there is a pinch involved. However, your pet may not even flinch. The insertion process only takes seconds. You will spend more time filling out the paperwork associated with the chip. While dogs are the most popular animals to be microchipped, cats, horses, ferrets, and most other mammals can also have this done.

How does microchipping help me find my pet?

Although many people believe the chip works as a tracker or GPS device, the chip will only work if someone scans the device. This means someone must find your pet and take him to a shelter or a veterinarian’s office to be scanned for a chip. The vet or the shelter worker will be able to find the number and the company to contact about your pet, so it is very important that you keep your contact information current with the microchip company. If you move and/or change your phone number, you will need to contact the company to have them update your contact information.

Do I still need to get a tag for my dog if he has been microchipped?

Yes, a microchip is only one part of being able to identify your pet. Having a collar with tags is crucial because your pet could be found by someone who does not know anything about microchips. Without a tag, the person who finds your pet may just keep your pet or give him away because he may assume there is no owner. However, if your pet is wearing a tag with your phone number on it, it is very easy to contact you. When you have your tag made for your pet, remember that your phone number is the most important information needed to be on the tag. Make sure that the phone number has voicemail or an answering machine so that someone can leave you a message about your pet if you are unable to answer the phone.

Make sure your pet’s identification system includes a collar and a tag as well as a microchip. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to learn more about how we can help you with the microchipping process.

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