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Pet Safety Tips for Spring

Springtime has arrived in the Nashville area, which means longer days and spending more time outside with your pet. In order to fully enjoyfamily with dog outdoors the warmer weather of spring, it is important to keep in mind certain safety practices. As the most comprehensive veterinary clinic in East Nashville, 5 Points Animal Hospital places a high priority on educating our clients on how to keep their pets as healthy and happy as possible. We would like to share with you a few pet safety tips for the spring season.

Be aware of holiday candy and decorations.

This season includes some major religious holidays, such as Easter and Passover, and food plays a big role in these celebrations. Cat owners should be careful of the possibility of their cats attempting to eat both real and fake plants. One of the most dangerous plants for cats is the lily. This flower can be fatal to your cat if he ingests it, according to the ASPCA, and if your cat eats plastic decorative grass, he can suffer from dehydration, nausea, and even an obstructed digestive tract. If you have a dog, you should also keep an eye on what he eats. Make sure to keep holiday candy out of reach from your pets.

Secure your windows.

Although it seems like a cliché, it is true that dogs love to hang their heads out of a moving-car-window; however, this, as well as riding unsecured in the back of a pick-up truck, can be very dangerous. Whenever your pet is riding with you in your car, you should always keep him safe by securing him in his crate or wearing a specially-designed harness as a seatbelt. You should also check your windows at home to make sure sturdy screens are properly installed before you open them. Cats are especially prone to jumping out of opened windows.

Store toxic chemicals out of the way.

Many homeowners have a traditional spring cleaning routine they do every year. When you are taking care of these tasks, make sure your pets cannot get into your cleaning products. Even if they claim to be all-natural, most contain chemicals that can be harmful to your animals. This includes paint, solvents, mineral spirits, and other home improvement products as well as gardening products such as fertilizer and insecticides.

Keep your pets safe this spring by staying aware of these tips. Contact us today at 5 Points Animal Hospital for all of your veterinary needs.

Fun Tablet Apps for Cats

It never fails that whenever you sit down to play a game on your iPad, your cat becomes so fascinated with what is on the screen that he tries to play along with you. If your cat seems to enjoy tablet games as much as you do, you will be happy to learn about a few apps that are made just for felines. To help you narrow down which apps would be the most fun for your cat to play with, 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share some of our favorite ones from this PC World article, “Seven Apps for Playful Cats.”

Pocket Pondcat poking at a computer screen

If your cat loves to stalk your fishbowl, he will enjoy Pocket Pond. This is an app that gives him a digital bowl to watch and attempt to catch. Add more fish and buzzing dragonflies to inspire your cat to go into attack mode while you raise and feed the koi in the pond. Once your cat has grown tired of swatting at the fish and the flies, he can relax alongside you as you gaze into the rippling water. Available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, Pocket Pond is an app you can enjoy just as much as your cat.

Paint for Cats

Have you ever wondered whether or not your cat could be the next Van Gogh or Picasso? You can find out with this iPad app that combines paint splatters with mouse chasing gameplay. Once your cat has finished chasing the rainbow-hued mouse all over the screen, you will have his artistic masterpiece to save to your photo album and share to your social media accounts.

Laser Chase

Although your cat loves it when you get out your laser pointer for him to chase, you can get bored moving the pointer around after a while. This Android app does the work for you as it gives your cat a dancing red dot to chase down. You will have fun watching him frolic while you keep score. Every time your cat catches the red dot, he gets ten points.

Cat Playground

With multiple games included in this Android app, your cat can play Catch a Mouse, Laser Chase, Whack a Mouse, and Go Fishing. This app is perfect for cats that get easily bored as the four games provide a variety of play action. Our cats love the Go Fishing game because of the splashing sounds they hear every time their paws hit the screen.

App technology is not just for humans anymore as these tablet apps will provide hours of fun for your cat. For more information about toys and games for your feline friends, contact us today at 5 Points Animal Hospital. Our expert staff is happy to help you find a variety of fun ways to give your cat the exercise he needs.

Safety Tips for Walking Your Dog in the Rain

The highlight of your dog’s day is going for a regular walk each and every day. Not only is it an exciting opportunity for adventure for your dog, but a daily walk is also a way to get the necessary exercise that keeps your dog happy and healthy. Unfortunately, the weather may not always be perfect for walking your dog every day. Although spring does bring warmer temperatures to the Nashville area, strong storm systems with thunder, lightning, hail, and even tornadoes are common, which is why 5 Points Animal Hospital recommends that dog owners regularly check the daily and weekly weather forecast. While you should never go outside with your dog when a thunderstorm, tornado, flood, or other severe weather warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, you can still take your dog on shorter versions of his daily walk on rainy days. We would like to share with you a few tips to keep you and your dog safe when walking in the rain. 

Couple Wwalking their dog in the rain

Be aware of low visibility dangers.

Think about how hard it can be to see when you are driving in the pouring rain. To keep your dog safe around cars in low visibility, PetMD recommends avoiding going for walks during heavy rainstorms. If rain is in the forecast, try to take your dog on his daily walk before the storm arrives. If a rainy walk is unavoidable, keep it shorter than usual.

Seek shelter if you hear thunder or see lightning.

Many dogs can get spooked by thunderstorms, which is why you should always avoid walking your pet during a thunderstorm warning. However, these types of storms can pop up suddenly in this area, so if you ever see lightning or hear thunder, you should quickly seek shelter. Be sure to stay away from trees and high points to stay safe as you are on your way to the closest shelter.

Avoid puddles.

Although your dog may love to jump into puddles when you are on your daily walks, standing water can contain infectious bacteria or harmful chemicals that can make your dog very sick if he came into contact with it. To keep your dog from being tempted to drink from puddles, always offer him plenty of water before and during your walks. If your dog does step in a puddle during a walk, you should immediately clean his paws when you return home to keep him from ingesting any of the water when he licks his paws. Soak each paw for 30 seconds in antiseptic mouthwash that is diluted with water, and towel the paws dry. 

Stay alert to symptoms of pneumonia and other illnesses.

Just like humans, dogs can be more susceptible to developing respiratory illnesses when exposed to cold, rainy weather for too long. You can keep your dog from getting sick by drying him with a warm towel or blanket as soon as you come home from a rainy walk. If you notice him wheezing, coughing, or having any other type of difficulty with breathing, contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital immediately. Pneumonia can be life-threatening, so you can count on us to provide the best veterinary medical care to your pet in our comprehensive full-service East Nashville clinic.

Ways to Keep Your Dog Active During the Winter

One of the most essential things you provide your dog is daily opportunities to exercise and be active. When it’s cold outside, it can be challenging to find ways to get that movement every day. While the Nashville area is fortunate to enjoy moderate temperatures for most of the year, winter still brings dangerous temperatures. Since 2011, 5 Points Animal Hospital has been helping the residents of East Nashville find ways to exercise their dogs when the temperature has dropped below freezing. Here, we will share some of our favorites.

Pet Exercise in Winter

Don’t give up that walk!

You may have to dress yourself and your dog warmly, you can still go for your daily walks when it’s cold outside. If there is ice or snow on the sidewalks, PetMD reminds you that any salt or de-icing chemicals can be harmful to your dog. Be mindful of what your dog is walking on.If you notice any, rinse off his paws after your walk to keep them from becoming irritated and prevent your dog from ingesting any residue.

Make meals and treats more interesting

Another way to keep your dog active is to switch his food dish with a feeding toy for some of his meals. According to several veterinary studies, working for his food helps your dog enjoy it more, and this will also aid his digestion by slowing down how fast he eats. When the weather outside is cold and stormy, 5 Points Animal Hospital also recommends making treat time more interesting by playing hide-and-seek with your dog’s favorite treats.

Spend time practicing new tricks

Take advantage of spending more time indoors by training your dog to do simple tricks, such as “sit” and “stay”. Our staff can help you find the best online dog training resources to use. We recommend only working with your dog on new skills for about 15 minutes to keep your training sessions fun for everyone.

Keeping up with a daily exercise routine is important for your dog’s health and happiness, no matter what the weather may be outside. Contact us today at 5 Points Animal Hospital for any of your veterinary questions or concerns.

Why Your Pet’s Dental Health Is So Important

INCREASED INFLAMMATION 

When your pet is suffering from gum disease, PetMD warns that bacteria from the infection triggers your pet’s immune system, and this leads to inflammation, which can destroy tissue as it kills bacteria. When this inflammation is present, there is the risk of bacteria entering your pet’s bloodstream and spreading throughout their body. This can cause more infections and possible damage to other organs and body parts. 

Small dog holding a toothbrush in their mouth

INCREASED RISK FOR HEART DISEASE, DIABETES, AND OTHER HEALTH ISSUES 

Veterinary studies have shown evidence that periodontal disease is linked to heart disease like endocarditis. These pet periodontal disease studies have also found that there is a vicious cycle between this oral health problem and diabetes. If your dog is diabetic, they are at a much higher risk for severe levels of periodontal disease. Veterinary scientists have discovered that inflammation associated with gum disease affects blood sugar metabolism, so it is crucial to keep up with a regular pet dental cleaning routine if your pet is diabetic. Many times periodontal disease must be treated before diabetes can be stabilized. 

POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW 

As we mentioned earlier, inflammation from periodontal disease can destroy healthy bone tissue in the mouth, and this can lead not only to missing teeth but also to a fractured jaw. Unfortunately, since the bone tissue in the mouth has been affected by inflammation, it can be difficult for the fracture to properly heal. This serious pet dental health problem can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog. 

The best way to avoid these serious pet dental health issues is to maintain a regular oral hygiene routine with your dog. 5 Points Animal Hospital can also help with our veterinary health services, which include exams and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule a dental cleaning during the month of February and save 10 percent in honor of National Pet Dental Health Month.

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