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Tips for Traveling with Your Dog Safely

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog Safely Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalIf you are planning on bringing your dog along on your summer road trip, it is important to remember a few safety tips to make the ride more enjoyable for your pet. While many dogs love to ride in the car, even those dogs can become anxious on long trips. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share with you some tips on traveling with your dog safely that can help your trip be a great success.

Get your dog used to your car.

If your dog loves riding in the car, you will not have to worry about him not being used to it, but if your dog has anxiety about car rides, you can help him feel more secure about being in the car. Start by sitting in your car with your dog in your driveway. Let him explore and sniff the seats. Then, take your dog on short trips to let him get used to riding in the car.

Ensure you have a safe and well-ventilated place for your dog in your car.

If your dog will be traveling in his crate, you will want to check to be sure fresh air will be able to flow into the crate. If your dog will not be in his crate, never let him ride with his head hanging out the window as this could cause an eye injury. You should also never allow your dog to ride in the back of an open truck. The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that this is very dangerous and can lead to severe injuries and even death.

Bring a supply of food and water.

If you have not traveled by car with your dog before, you may want your dog to start the trip on an empty stomach to avoid car sickness. You will want to have plenty of water for the trip as well as a supply of his regular food. You should also remember to bring any medications your dog needs.

Make frequent stops.

You will want to stop often to allow your dog to get some exercise and have a potty break. Long car rides can be very boring for dogs, so these stops will help to break up the monotony of riding in the car for hours. When your dog does go to the bathroom, be sure to clean up after him.

Never leave your dog unattended in your car.

Leaving your dog alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes, can be very dangerous to your dog’s health. If you have to leave your car, ask a member of your family to stay with the dog in the car with the windows open.

Traveling with your dog can be lots of fun if you follow these safety suggestions. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital if you have any questions about traveling with your dog.

Is Your Pet Constantly Scratching?

Is Your Pet Constantly Scratching Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalDoes it seem like every time you see your cat or dog, he is scratching himself? You may think he has a flea problem, and while this may be true, there are several other reasons your pet could be constantly scratching himself. Your cat or dog could have allergy problems, sensitivity to certain grasses, or even a diet issue. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we can help find exactly what is causing the itching problem and treat your pet to relieve his constant scratching. We would like to tell you more about some of the possible reasons for this condition besides fleas and ticks.

Environmental

If your dog loves to swim, dig around gopher holes, and run through fields, he could end up with a scratching problem. Not only are some dogs allergic to certain plants, but they can also get patches of moist eczema, or “hot spots” from exposure to water. If these patches are left untreated, they can easily spread and become infected. 5 Points Animal Hospital can treat these types of skin problems and give you tips on preventing these issues in the future.

Nutritional

Your pets need proper nourishment, or they could end up with skin problems as their entire bodies are continuously in a state of stress, according to PetMD. We strongly recommend that you feed your cat or dog a high-quality meat-based food. If you feed your pets commercial pet food, you should look to see that the first ingredient is meat (beef, poultry, lamb, or fish) to avoid skin problems.

Infectious

Your cat or dog can have coat or skin problems from bacterial and fungal organisms. If you notice circular patches of hair loss, your pet could have ringworm, which is a fungal infection that is contagious to other animals as well as humans. While this may sound scary, ringworm is easily treated, and 5 Points Animal Hospital can apply treatment in our office. Infectious bacteria dermatitis is a very common skin problem in dogs, and it can be so irritating to your dog that he will constantly lick the lesion, which undoes any previous healing. The best way to treat infectious dermatitis is to clip the hair away from the area to allow it to dry. We can give your dog both a topical medication and oral antibiotics to stop the bacterial organisms from invading your dog’s skin.

Of course, fleas and ticks are another big reason why your cat or dog is constantly scratching. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to make an appointment for your pet to relieve his itching.

The Importance of Grooming Your Pet

When you own a cat or a dog, it is essential to keep them groomed. Of course, grooming includes brushing your pet’s fur and trimming his nails, but you also need to check out his ears, eyes, and teeth to be sure everything is healthy. According to WebMD, grooming your pet helps you find the first signs of a health issue. Whenever you groom your pet, you should be checking for lumps, bumps, and overall body condition. 5 Points Animal Hospital understands the importance of grooming pets, and we would like to share some grooming tips with you.

Brush your dog or cat several times a week.The Importance of Grooming Your Pet Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Even if your pet has short hair, you should brush him often to cut down on hairballs. Although cats typically will vomit or eliminate hairballs in litter, a large hairball could lead to stomach or intestinal blockages. You may not hear as much about dogs having problems with hairballs, but they can occur.

Routinely check your pet’s eyes and ears.

Your pet’s eyes should be clear and shiny, so if you notice any redness or cloudiness, you should call 5 Points Animal Hospital to be sure there is not a problem. Your pet’s ears should never look red or inflamed as this is a sign of an infection. We recommend using liquid ear cleaners that are designed for pets to prevent infections and are happy to show you how to use this cleaner.

Take care when trimming your dog’s nails.

While cats’ claws are easy to clip, you will need to use caution when trimming your dog’s nails because it can be hard to avoid cutting into the quick, which is the area within the nails that holds blood vessels. Styptic powder will stop the bleeding if you do cut into the quick. If this intimidates you, you can always visit 5 Points Animal Hospital for a professional trim.

Brush your pet’s teeth once a week.The Importance of Grooming Your Pet Image - Nashville Tennessee - 5 Points Animal Hospital

You can find toothbrush kits that are specially made for cats or dogs that include a special toothbrush that fits over your finger and a pet toothpaste. Start slowly by massaging your pet’s muzzle for a week, and then dab your pet’s lips with the toothpaste. You are then ready to introduce your dog or cat to the toothbrush. At first, let your pet play with the toothbrush and chew it. After your pet is used to the brush, you can then brush as many teeth as you can in one sitting.

To keep your pet happy and healthy, regular grooming is very important. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to find out more grooming tips for your cat or dog.

Why Does My Dog Lick?

When you own a dog, you most likely know how much he or she loves to lick you. While most people believe this is how their dog shows affection, licking can mean other things as well. A natural instinct for dogs, licking can play different roles in canine behavior. To help you better understand your dog’s reasons for licking you, 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share with you a list of the different interpretations humans have made in comprehending this mode of communication. We also want to tell you what to do when licking becomes too extreme of a behavior.Why Does My Dog Lick Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Dogs lick to solicit resources.

According to Vet Street, puppies will lick their mothers to let them know they are ready to feed. This type of licking also occurs when lower members in a pack of dogs lick their superiors in hopes of an invitation to be included to dine on prey.

Dogs use licking as a sensory tool.

Our furry friends use their tongues to reach out and touch you just as you would with your hands and fingers. Of course, tasting is another advantage enjoyed when your dog licks you.

Dogs lick to get your attention and to play.Why Does My Dog Lick Image -Nashville, Tennessee - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Licks from your dog can be a simple greeting as well as an invitation to play-fight. Instead of using their teeth, dogs will use their tongues when play-fighting. Once your dog realizes he or she gets more attention from licking, it becomes a learned behavior.

Unfortunately, some dog owners prefer not to be licked. If you feel your dog is an excessive licker, 5 Points Animal Hospital can assist by finding you a veterinary behaviorist or a certified dog trainer who can help your dog be more reserved. Frequently, dogs with obsessive-compulsive behavioral disorders tend to be excessive lickers. A veterinary behaviorist will work with your dog to overcome these issues.

For more information about why your dog loves to lick you, contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital. We are happy to help you get to know your dog better.

Why Your Pets Need Exercise

To keep your pet healthy, you should be sure your pet gets enough exercise. While most people know the importance of exercising dogs, many people do not realize that cats also need to exercise. Keeping your pets at a healthy weight is essential in prolonging their lives, and exercise is a great way to make sure your pets do not become overweight. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share with you some ideas about exercising your pets and how you can make sure they are getting the exercise they need.Why Your Pets Need Exercise Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Cats

Even though your cat may not approach you with a ball in her mouth, she still wants and needs to play with you. Without the mental and physical stimulation from play interaction, your cat could become bored and develop behavioral problems. Since cats are natural hunters, they love chasing things. To give your cat an exciting challenge, The American Humane Association (AHA) recommends inventing a game to play with your cat by giving her something to chase. All you need is a fishing pole-style apparatus with an object that has feathers, streamers, or other items attached on a string. Using quick, short, and jerky motions, move the toy across the room like a bird or insect flying in the air or a mouse running on the floor. Let your cat catch the toy a few times so she will not lose interest in this game. Doing this throughout the day for around 10 minutes each time will create a great bond between you and your cat by sharing fun and silly moments.

Dogs

You may have a fenced-in yard where your dog can run around outside and play, but the AHA feels the best exercise for dogs is walking. When you take your dog on a walk, it gives you special bonding time that improves the mutual communication with your dog. Your dog may also get to socialize with other dogs you may encounter on walks. Walking around the neighborhood, in the park, or on the greenway gives your dog a needed change of scenery that will help prevent boredom, which causes behavioral issues just as it does for cats. Even better, you also get some exercise when you walk your dog. Walking increases strength and endurance, burns calories, and provides fresh air to you and your dog.

Want to learn more exercise suggestions for your pets? Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to find out our favorite ways to exercise with our cats and dogs.

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