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Questions to Ask Your Vet to Prevent Pet Obesity

All pet owners want their pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Keeping up with a regular routine of wellness and preventive veterinary care visits is vital to achieving this goal. Not only are you protecting them from diseases with annual vaccinations, but you can also ask your veterinarian questions about the best ways to prevent harmful conditions like obesity.

Each year, the number of obese cats and dogs is on the increase. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), about 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats weigh are classified as clinically overweight or obese by veterinary professionals. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share with you a few relevant questions to ask when you bring your pet in for their annual checkup to help them stay in a healthy weight range.

At what weight is my pet considered to be obese?

2 cute pups sittingWeight can be a sensitive subject for both people and pets because of the emotions and stigmas involved. However, you should never shy away from asking us about their weight when you bring them into a wellness visit at 5 Points Animal Hospital. The weight of your pet has the biggest influence on his longevity and quality of life. Obese cats and dogs are at a higher risk for developing arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and other serious health issues.

How much food should I be feed my pet everyday?

Knowing the exact number of nutrients and calories that your cat or dog should be eating everyday is very important in preventing pet obesity. After examining your pet, we can give you a range of calories they need to be at a healthy weight. Because the type, brand, and formulation of food determine the amount of food, you should always check how many cups or cans of food you are feeding them in relation to their caloric need. Remember to include his treats in his daily calorie count too!

How much exercise does my pet need each day?

Generally speaking, dogs need to exercise at least 30 minutes each day, and cats need to play intensely for five-minute periods three times a day. The type of exercise activity make a big difference, and our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital will give you fun exercise recommendations based on the breed, age, gender, and overall health of your pet.

Preventing pet obesity is key to making sure your pet enjoys a long and happy life. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for your pet’s wellness and preventive care visit today!

The Importance of the Canine Flu Vaccine

When it comes to the health and well-being of your dog, you are the one responsible for making sure your dog has all of the resources to stay happy and healthy, such as eating the best diet available and exercising every day. Another important factor in keeping your dog from becoming sick is to keep your dog on a routine vaccination schedule. With all of the different vaccines available, however, it can be overwhelming trying to stay on track with the few shots that are necessary. As the best professional veterinary clinic in East Nashville, 5 Points Animal Hospital, provides all of the vaccinations that your pet needs as part of our wellness and preventive care services. You may have heard debates on whether every dog needs a vaccination for the canine influenza virus (CIV), and while your dog may never be exposed to the virus, if he were to be, it is highly contagious. Many veterinary clinics do not even keep the CIV vaccine in stock. In fact, we just recently added it to our vaccination options because there have been reported cases of “dog flu” in 40 states, including East Tennessee and Kentucky. To help you understand exactly how important the CIV vaccine is, we would like to tell you more about this virus.Sick dog with Canine Influenza Virus and thermometer in mouth

What exactly is “dog flu”?

First confirmed in 2006 in Asia, this virus, also known as H3N2, appeared in this country in 2015 when rescue dogs were imported to Chicago from Asia. After several dogs at a boarding facility became sick, that company had to quickly close several facilities to disinfect them. However, it was too late as Chicago was experiencing the worst outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness in 35 years. This virus is so contagious that there were over 1,000 cases reported in Chicago, and from there, it quickly spread across the country. Not only can the virus live on surfaces for as many as 48 hours, but it can also live on clothes for 24 hours and on human hands for 12 hours.

How do I know if my dog has been infected with CIV?

Two to three days after being exposed to this virus, your dog will come down with a cough that is either soft and moist or dry and hacking which can last from anywhere between 10 to 21 days. This cough is typically combined with other symptoms such as lethargy, fever, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, and decrease in appetite. If your dog is officially diagnosed, he will have to be quarantined for 21 days as he is being treated with fluids, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication since that is how long his cough could last.

Does my dog need to be vaccinated against the canine flu?

If your dog stays in a daycare facility or needs to be boarded or groomed, he is at a higher risk of being exposed, and 5 Points Animal Hospital recommends that you have him vaccinated every year against CIV. If you have a young puppy, elderly dog, or other pet with a weakened immune system, we also feel you should consider giving your dog the CIV vaccine as it could lead to pneumonia. According to PetMD, it may also help to protect your dog by finding a facility that requires all dogs to be vaccinated before they can come inside.

If you are considering to have your dog vaccinated against the canine influenza virus, 5 Points Animal Hospital can help you find out even more information. Contact us today to schedule a wellness check for your dog to keep him happier and healthier.

What Is a Safe Outdoor Temperature for Pets?

Even though the summer season is coming to a close, the weather in the Nashville area can still be hot and humid throughout the fall. Our moderate climate allows us to spend more time outdoors with our pets, but you should still be aware of the temperature What Is a Safe Outdoor Temperature forto keep your pet comfortable at all times. As we get closer to winter, the weather can change from one day to the next, which means it is very important to pay attention to the weather forecast when you are planning an outing with your pet. Since 2011, 5 Points Animal Hospital has been providing professional veterinary care to the pets of East Nashville, and we would like to give you some tips on keeping your pet safe in hot and cold weather.

HOT WEATHER

When hot temperatures are combined with high levels of humidity, your pet faces a greater risk of dehydration and heatstroke, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation. Here in the Nashville area, it can be uncomfortably humid, which means it is very important to keep a close eye on your pet for signs of heatstroke and dehydration when playing outside on a humid day. These symptoms include panting, drooling, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, and disorientation. To keep your pet safe outside in hot and humid weather, 5 Points Animal Hospital suggests going out in the early morning or late evening hours rather than during the middle of the day, finding shaded walk routes, and bringing along water. One of the most essential things to always remember when the weather is warm is to never, ever, ever leave your pet alone in the car for even a minute. The Humane Society warns that it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car with its windows partially rolled down to reach 102 degrees on an 88-degree day.

COLD WEATHER

Although it may seem far away, the freezing weather of winter will be here before you know it. Being prepared for snow and ice can ensure your pet stays comfortable all winter long. Any time the temperature drops below 32 degrees, hypothermia and frostbite can occur in pets. If you must leave your pet outside in these conditions, you should provide him with proper shelter, such as a dog house with a solid, raised floor and bedding or straw for insulation, to keep him safe. Make sure your pet has plenty of food and available water that is not frozen. Be aware that even long-haired breeds should never be left outdoors for extended periods of time when the temperature is below freezing.

If it is too hot or cold for humans to be comfortable outdoors, it is likely that the temperature could possibly be dangerous for your pet. 5 Points Animal Hospital is here to help you keep your pet happy and healthy. Contact us to schedule an appointment for his or her routine wellness and preventive care visit.

The Importance of Year-Round Heartworm Prevention

When it comes to heartworm prevention, there is a common misconception about exactly how many months of the year you should be giving a pet his medicine. Since heartworms are typically transmitted to pets by mosquitoes, many people think that their dogs Heartworm Prevention - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospitaland cats do not need to take their heartworm preventive medication when these parasites are dormant during the fall and winter seasons. However, this is far from the best advice when it comes to protecting your pet from heartworms. In fact, the American Heartworm Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and other national experts strongly recommend that you should give your pet his heartworm preventive medicine every month all year long as well as have him tested for heartworms every 12 months. Since 2011, 5 Points Animal Hospital has been providing comprehensive and preventive veterinary services to the four-legged residents of East Nashville, and we are here to keep your pet safe from heartworm disease throughout the year. We would like to tell you more about why it is so important to make sure you take heartworm prevention seriously every month of the year.

What is heartworm disease and how does my pet get it?

Affecting dogs, cats, ferrets, and other mammals, heartworm disease is caused by foot-long worms that live in the hearts, lungs, and associated blood vessels of these animals. Severe lung disease, heart failure, and other organ damage can result from this serious and potentially deadly disease. The larvae of the heartworms are transmitted to pets and wild animals through the bites of infected mosquitoes. After maturing for six months, the larvae develop into adult heartworms, which can live in dogs for five to seven years and in cats for two to three years. These lifespans mean that the number of worms can increase each mosquito season. This is why it is so important to give your pet heartworm prevention medication every month.

If heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, why do I still need to give my pet preventive medicine against heartworms in the winter?

According to the American Heartworm Society, heartworm prevention medication works retroactively, so it can eliminate new infections even if they were transmitted months earlier. Additionally, you should also be sure to have your pet tested for heartworms every 12 months, even if he is on year-round preventive treatment. An infection opportunity could be created if you miss a dose, are late with a dose, or your pet spits out or rubs off his medication.

At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we carry a wide variety of heartworm prevention medication in our East Nashville clinic as well as in our online pharmacy. The best way to stay on top of protecting your pet from this deadly disease is to follow a routine schedule of wellness and preventive care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your pet.

Fun Places in Nashville to Take Your Dog

One of the many reasons why 5 Points Animal Hospital loves Nashville so much is the city’s warm-hearted attitude towards dogs. With numerous dog parks and hiking trails as well as dog-friendly bars and restaurants located throughout the city, you can bring your dog just about everywhere you go. We would like to tell you more about some of the fun places in our city where you can take your dog to help you plan a new and exciting adventure to share with your best four-legged friend.Fun Places in Nashville to Take Your Dog - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

DOG PARKS

A couple of decades ago, there was not really anywhere in Nashville where you could let your dog run around off-leash without risking paying a fine for violating the county leash law. Fast-forward to today, however, and you will find six dog parks around the city to explore. Since these parks are operated by the Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation Department, there are specific rules you must follow, including picking up after your dog and disposing of his waste. While these dog parks do not discriminate against certain breeds, any dog who shows aggressive behavior towards another dog must be leashed and removed immediately. Although 5 Points Animal Hospital loves all six of these dog parks, we must admit that we do have a favorite one, Shelby Dog Park, which is located not far from our office in East Nashville. One of the first dog parks in the city, Shelby has become a popular hangout spot for both dogs and their owners.

HIKING TRAILS

If you are a nature lover, Tennessee offers a wide variety of scenic spots and its state parks system provides hundreds of hiking trails, many of which are dog-friendly. Here in the Nashville area, 5 Points Animal Hospital recommends Long Hunter State Park as a fun place to take your dog. Located next to our largest body of water, Percy Priest Lake, this state park allows leashed dogs to accompany you on five of its nine hiking trails. We especially like the five and a half mile Volunteer Trail Day Loop for its lakeside views.

BARS AND RESTAURANTS

You will find many restaurants and bars here in Nashville with dog-friendly patio seating. While each place may have its own dog policy, you should always make sure that your dog is under control on a six-foot (or shorter) non-retractable leash. Remember that dogs cannot go inside a restaurant for any reason. Some of our favorite dog-friendly hangouts in our East Nashville neighborhood include Drifters BBQ, Two Ten Jack, Eastland Café, and Pomodoro East. We are looking forward to checking out the debut of the first-ever BarkPark, a three-month pop-up from BARK, the company behind BarkBox when it opens soon. With a $19-a-day membership pass, you can enjoy free WiFi at a coffee bar (or BYOB beer and wine) while your dog plays on a square block of green space right here in East Nashville.

As one of the best full-service comprehensive veterinary clinics in Nashville, 5 Points Animal Hospital knows the best dog-friendly spots in the area, but with new places opening up all the time, we could use your help. Contact us today and share with us your favorite fun place to go in our city with your dog. Our staff will pass along more of our recommendations, and we can also schedule an appointment for your dog’s annual wellness care visit when you call.

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5 Points Animal Hospital | 1103 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 | Click to Call Us Now