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Should I spay or neuter my pet?

Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters, help protect against some serious health problems, and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

Removing a female dog or cat’s ovaries eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration. Removing the testes from male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home.

Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.

The procedure has no effect on a pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Some pets tend to be better behaved following surgical removal of their ovaries or testes, making them more desirable companions.

What are the risks of spaying and neutering?

Although reproductive hormones cause mating behaviors that may be undesirable for many pet owners, these hormones also affect your pet’s overall health and can be beneficial. Removing your pet’s ovaries or testes removes these hormones and can result in increased risk of health problems such as urinary incontinence and some types of cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure so you can make an informed decision.

While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low.

Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that he/she is in good health. General anesthesia is administered to perform the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal.

When should I spay or neuter my pet?

Consult your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon his/her breed, age and physical condition. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it may NOT be best to wait until your female dog or cat has gone through her first heat cycle.

How do I decide?

Discuss your options with your veterinarian so you can get answers and make an educated decision.

More info from AVMA here

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/AnimalWelfare/Pages/Elective-Spaying-Neutering-Pets.aspx

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www.homewardboundpets.com

Hiring someone to watch over your pets? Here is what you need to know!

To begin the search, you might ask for recommendations from your vet, dog trainer or local Humane Society office or check the databases for the National Assn. of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International .

Those are, by no means, the only ones. You can find other options by searching online or asking friends and family.

To begin, start with a telephone interview and ask lots of questions.

Here are a few to start with:

1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required? Rules and regulations vary regarding what is required to legally operate a business. If your city or state requires a business license, any professional pet sitter you use should have a valid business license. While pet sitters care for your pet at your home, some do offer limited in-their-home boarding. If so, ensure that they also have the proper authorization and license to offer this service as well.

2. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded? Ask for proof of coverage. PSI members have access to group rates on policies specifically for petsitters and are provided insurance cards.

3. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history? Remember, the person you choose to hire will have access to your property and your beloved animal companion(s). Ask for third-party credentials that verify the sitter has a history of honesty and integrity. Official verification documents will contain a current date (within one year), a Social Security number trace, county-level court search results and the contact information of a reputable investigator. This documentation can provide the peace of mind you seek when admitting a new pet-care provider to your home.

4. Does the pet sitter provide client references? PSI recommends that all of its members have a list of references for potential clients to contact. Some pet sitters also include testimonials on their company websites or on their PSI Locator profiles.

5. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract? A well-written contract outlines the details associated with each service the sitter will provide. The contract includes all fees along with the expected amount of time that will be spent with your pet(s). This ensures that both you and your sitter have agreed on and understand the level of service being provided in your absence.

6. Has the pet sitter completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid? Experience in caring for special needs pets or various types of pets is helpful if that is what you need. Pet sitters who have completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program have the resources on hand to care for a wide variety of companion animal species.

7. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International? Membership in a professional association such as PSI demonstrates a pet sitter’s commitment to their profession and the industry at large. PSI members have access to the most up-to-date educational resources and business tools to help them provide the best possible service to clients and their pets.

Happy Mother’s Day Pet Moms!

“Being a mother doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means loving someone unconditionally and with your whole heart. ~ Anonymous

Senior Dog Care Challenges

The notion of dog years stems from the common belief that one year for a dog equals seven years for a human. Although canine aging is more nuanced than a simple formula, any dog lover knows that dogs’ lives pass far too quickly.

Even so, America’s 70 million dogs, like their human companions, are living longer, on average, because of better medical care and nutrition. Caring for elderly dogs can be heart-wrenching. Many pet owners struggle to understand when to pursue aggressive care and when to stop and help a beloved pet pass on.

“Older patients are the biggest challenge veterinarians face,” says Dr. Alicia Karas, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at Tufts University. She argues for a holistic approach to older dogs, saying that “too often we focus on the affected body part or the results of an X-ray, not how an animal walks into the exam room.”

Pain tops the list of common health concerns for older dogs, with causes ranging from the routine, such as arthritis, to the more serious, such as cancer. As in humans, pain management can be complicated by other conditions. A dog with weak kidneys, for instance, may not be able to take canine-specific pain medicine.

Read more here http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/25/515610795/when-you-love-an-old-dog-managing-care-can-be-a-challenge

Homeward Bound Pet Care

www.homewardboundpets.com

281-909-7386

My Puppy is Chewing EVERYTHING!

Puppies, just like human toddlers, need a completely puppy-proof area, either a crate or gated room. If your puppy grabs a forbidden item while you are watching him, quickly distract him with a sharp “Eh eh!” and when he drops it, redirect cheerfully with a toy that he is allowed to have.

Teaching tricks is a good way to give your pup appropriate outlets. A good one to start with is “Leave it.” Follow this link to learn how.

Insufficient exercise and mental stimulation can drive your adult dog to find destructive forms of entertainment, so it’s up to you to meet his needs. If ugly winter weather keeps you inside, play indoor games with him. Fetch, hide and seek, and tug-of-war (played correctly) are great fun and exercise for both of you. Here are some good indoor game ideas to try.

There are many entertaining dog puzzles on the market, too, and you can even make your own. Just remember that many of these are meant to be enjoyed with you and not left alone with your dog.

Read more here http://www.akc.org/content/dog-training/articles/how-to-stop-chewing/?utm_source=enewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170227-yourakc

 

Homeward Bound Pet Care

www.homewardboundpets.com

281-909-7386

Homemade Organic Spinach and Chicken Cat Treats

Recipe from Sarah Lipoff, POPSUGAR Pets

http://www.popsugar.com/pets/Homemade-Organic-Cat-Treats-30776974

NOTES

If your cat isn’t a fan of chicken, then swap with organic salmon or tuna.

Homemade Organic Cat Treats

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1/2 pound steamed organic boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  2. 1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves
  3. 1 cup organic quick-cooking oats
  4. 1 organic brown egg
  5. 1 tablespoon organic catnip
  6. 1/4 cup flour

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Steam the boneless and skinless chicken thighs until cooked through. You can swap for boneless and skinless organic chicken breasts, salmon, or tuna with cat-loving results too. Let the chicken cool for 20 minutes before the next step.
  2. Place the chicken, oats, spinach leaves, egg, and catnip in a blender or food processor, and pulse on low until the mixture blends together. It should still be a bit chunky but also smooth, similar to the texture of wet sand.
  3. Pop the mixture into a bowl and add the flour. You can also add a dash of salt or sugar to mix up the flavor. Use your hands to knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky, then place on a flour-dusted work surface.
  4. Use a rolling pin to create a rectangle of dough around 1/2 inch thick. With the help of a pizza cutter or small cookie cutter, create small shapes for the finished treats.
  5. Place the kitty treats on a parchment-lined sheet tray, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool until room temperature, and then toss to your cat.

Homeward Bound Pet Sitting

www.homewardboundpets.com

281-909-7386

19th Annual Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Mardi Gras Parade Galveston 2/26

The Galveston Island Humane Society’s (GIHS) 19th Annual Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Mardi Gras Parade will have its Annual “A Cat’s Eye View” Parade Viewing Party on the balcony of the Trolley Building which will allow people to view three family fun parades: The Shriners Hospitals for Children & Sunshine Kids Parade, our Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade, and the beloved Children’s Parade following us.  

The theme for this year’s Parade is, “A Paw-Jama Party,” with our Paws Gala Elite Pet Owner winner Shelby Scott and her winning Pet of the Year, Travis. 
The “A Cat’s Eye View” Balcony Party is set for Sunday, February 26, 2017, is from Noon to 4:00 p.m. 

Our Barkus & Meoux Parade will begin at Pier 20, travel the strand to Mechanic, and return to Pier 20. Pre-registration for the parade is $20 per pet. On-site registration will be $30 per pet.

The Parade and Viewing Party are not only fun, but raise money for our community support programs.The success of these projects depends on the support of individuals and businesses who generously contribute.

Contact the shelter for details on sponsorship opportunities, 409-740-1919. The GIHS is a 501c3 organization andyour contributions are tax deductible.

?“A Cat’s Eye View”  Balcony Party Highlights:

  • FREE entrance into the entertainment district included in your Ticket
  • 1 free drink ticket with light appetizers and cash bar
  •  In the center of all the Mardi Gras action
  • View of 3 Parades
  • Perfect view of the Krewe of Barkus & Meoux parade featuring area pets, many in their Mardi Gras finest attire.

Cost: $20 per person

Purchase tickets here:  tix.extremetix.com…

All proceeds go to The Galveston Island Humane Society.

5 Pet-Conscious Tips For Valentine’s Day

Thanks to PetMD for this great article!

Does your heart melt whenever you look into the soft, imploring eyes of the one you love? Does it skip a beat at the sound of your sweetheart’s voice as you walk in the door at the end of a long day? Do you pause in the middle of the day to sigh, thinking of your honey’s warm, wet nose, and furry ears?

It’s love, and we know it — dogs and cats make the best Valentine’s ever. There’s no need to get them chocolates, and they have no use for flowers. In fact, these gifts are actually dangerous for them. But do you know why?

Here are five great tips that help will keep your pets safe this Valentine’s Day.

  1. Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Theirs. Everyone knows that chocolate causes abnormally high heart rhythms in dogs, among other problems. But not everyone is aware that baking chocolate is especially toxic. While an M&M or two may not do any harm, a dog or cat that snatches a large chunk of baking chocolate from the counter may end up in the ER. It is essential to keep all chocolates out of your pet’s reach. Yes, even that last raspberry-filled nugget from the assorted box of chocolates no one ever seems to want to eat.
  1. Skip the Candygram. Sugar-free candies and gums often contain large amounts of xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to pets, especially dogs. If ingested, it may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure.
  1. Restart the Heart. If your dog or cat should ingest large amounts of chocolate, gum, or candy, it may go into cardiac arrest. Be prepared by learning the proper methods for artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary respiration (CPR), both of which can be found in our emergency section.
  1. A Rose is Just a Rose. But then again, it can also be a something that hurts your pets. The aroma from your floral arrangement may be too enticing for your dog or cat, and it only takes a nibble to cause a severe reaction. Even small amounts may lead to cases of upset stomachs or vomiting, particularly if the plant or flower is toxic. Be extremely careful if your arrangement contains lilies, as these lovely flowers are fatally poisonous to cats.
  1. To Give or Not to Give. Are you planning to gift a loved one a new puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day? You may want to reconsider. Mull it over and do your homework — animals are not disposable, nor can they easily be repackaged, regifted, or returned if the recipient is not pleased.

Homeward Bound Pet Care

Valentine’s Day Pet Do’s and Don’ts from the Pet Poison Help Line

Do find safe gifts to show your pet Valentine’s Day love! 

A new collar, treats, or toys can all be great gifts for your pet on Valentine’s day.  Valentine’s Day can also be a great time to try a new dog or cat treat recipe or make a new toy.  If your pet is already swimming in toys and treats, consider giving toys, bedding, food, or a donation to an animal shelter or rescue group in your pet’s name.

Don’t forget that many pets appreciate the gift of time and love more than anything!

An extra walk and some extra time cuddling or playing cost nothing and will be greatly appreciated by your cat or dog.  The extra exercise and snuggle time is a healthy, happy choice for you as well.

Do be careful to keep Valentine’s gifts, foods, flowers, and drinks away from your pet’s reach!

Chocolate, flowers, candy, rich foods, and alcoholic drinks are common in our homes as we celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Dogs will readily ingest toxic amounts of chocolate, and keep us busy here at Pet Poison Helpline at this time of year.  If you have cats, please watch out for flower bouquets that include lilies, as lilies are very toxic to cats.  Rich foods can cause stomach upset and possibly pancreatitis when ingested by pets.  Pets can be sensitive to alcohol, so be certain to keep alcoholic drinks out of reach.  Also be careful with sugar-free foods that might contain xylitol, which can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar when ingested by pets.

Don’t forget to share the love!

Valentine’s Day can be a lonely holiday for many people.  This could be a great time to visit an animal shelter and donate your time and attention to rescued pets.  While I do not recommend giving pets as gifts, if you are thinking about adding a furry friend to your household, Valentine’s Day could be a great time to adopt.  Maybe a visit with your pet could help brighten the day of someone you know who is unable to have their own dog or cat.  This could also be a great time to look into getting your dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen or therapy dog to help others.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Pet Poison Helpline!

 

February is Pet Dental Health Month – Article from AVMA

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Test Yourself!

How much do you know about your pet’s dental health? 

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

What about “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings?

The American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend dental cleanings without anesthesia because they do not allow cleaning or inspection below the gumline, where most dental disease occurs, and can result in injury to the pet or the person performing the procedure.

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.