When giving your dog a bath, it’s important not to get soap or water in his ears, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid cleaning your dog’s ears altogether! In fact, they need regular care. Here’s a rundown of how to clean your dog’s ears and why it’s so important.
Why Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
When most dog owners imagine grooming their pups, they think about trimming and cleaning up the coat, but a dog’s ears should not be forgotten. They need regular cleaning, and some dogs require more care than others.
One of the main reasons to clean your dog’s ears is to keep ear infections at bay. Whether caused by moisture or debris, ear infections are no fun. By cleaning your dog’s ears regularly, you can keep cut down on excess ear wax, clear out any debris, and check for ear mites. If left unchecked, ear infections can take hold. Signs of infection include:
- Odor around the ears
- Excess scratching at the ears
- Masses around the ear
How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
The frequency with which you should clean your dog’s ears depends entirely on your own dog! Some breeds, like poodles and bichons frises, are more prone to ear infections due to the hair inside their ear canals. This limits air flow, increasing the moisture trapped inside, and can lead to infections. Floppy-eared dogs, such as basset hounds and Labrador retrievers, are also more likely to develop infection because of lack of airflow.
Most dogs’ ears need to be cleaned just once a month, but if you have one of the dogs above, his ears may need cleaning once a week. If you’re not sure, speak with your veterinarian. Ask your veterinarian for advice on how often your pup needs this care, as it varies from dog to dog.
Other factors that can require you to clean your dog’s ears regularly or could lead to infection include:
- Debris – Dogs that like to roll around in grass can easily get pieces of it, leaves, or other debris stuck in their ears.
- Ear mites
- Moisture – This provides the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.
What You Need to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
You can absolutely clean your dog’s ears at home! But if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can always bring your pet to a groomer.
If you plan on cleaning your dog’s ears yourself, you’ll need a few supplies before you get started. Make sure you have them on-hand before getting down to business with your pup. You don’t want to find halfway through that you forgot something!
- Cotton balls, gauze, or pads – Do not use cotton swabs as this could push debris or wax into the ears.
- Vet-approved ear cleaner
- Treats as rewards
- Any medication your vet has prescribed
How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Have your dog sit somewhere he’s comfortable. The bathtub can be the perfect spot to prevent ear cleanser from getting on the floor, but some dogs don’t like the tub. If that won’t work, put a towel on the floor, or take him outside.
Hold the ear up and check for excess hair. Some dogs are more prone than others to excess hair, so keep an eye on it, as this hair can trap moisture and lead to ear infections. If you’re unsure if your dog has too much hair in their ear or not, ask your groomer or veterinarian. This may need to be removed with tweezers before you move to the next step.
Still holding the ear up, carefully squirt the ear solution inside per its instructions. Do not allow the tip of the applicator to touch their ear..
Gently and carefully massage the base of your dog’s ears for 20 to 30 seconds. You will hear a squishing sound—this is normal!
Allow your dog to shake. Use the towel to clean up any spilled cleaning solution or to hold over your pup’s head while he shakes his ears.
Use the cotton ball, pad, or gauze to carefully wipe the ear canal and outer ear. Do not use anything inside the ear. Stick to the part of the ear you can see.
Repeat with the other ear.
If your dog has any prescribed medication from the veterinarian, you can administer this after you have cleaned the ears. Make sure you follow the instructions on the prescription for application and dosage.
Tips to Make the Process Less Stressful
Cleaning your dog’s ears, especially if he’s not comfortable, can be stressful for everyone involved. These tips can make it easier for both of you:
- Be generous with treats to help your pup associate ear cleaning with good things.
- Start cleaning when your dog is young, if possible – It’s easier to get a puppy used to ear cleaning than an older dog.
- Be generous when using the cleaning solution to ensure it’s cleaning the entire ear.
- Inspect your dog’s ears regularly for excess hair, ear wax, mites, or other issues, so you can identify when a cleaning is needed.
You May Want to Take Your Dog to a Groomer
Some dogs don’t like their ears touched, especially when they’re older and not used to the ear-cleaning process. If this is the case with your pup or you don’t feel entirely comfortable administering the solution, a groomer can absolutely help.
A typical grooming session at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital includes a bubble bath, brush-out, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. This can be perfect if your dog is not a huge fan of having his ears cleaned. Our team is experienced and trained to identify any more serious issues with the ears, such as infections, ear mites, or trapped debris.
Cleaning your dog’s ears may feel like a chore, but it’s one your dog’s health relies on. Making it a regular occurrence will ensure your family member’s ears are comfortable and healthy, all while keeping ear infections at bay.
If you believe your dog is in need of an ear cleaning or check-up, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! You can make an appointment by calling 281-693-7387.
You’ve probably seen or heard the term “puppy mill,” but do you know what a puppy mill actually is? If you’re considering adopting a puppy or a dog, you’ll want to avoid adopting from one, even through a third party. Here’s what you need to know about puppy mills.
What Is a Puppy Mill?
A puppy mill is defined by the ASPCA as a “large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is placed above the well-being of the animals.” These mills work toward the mass production of puppies and dogs for sale:
- On the internet
- At flea markets
- In classified ads
- In pet stores
Any dog breed of dog, including mixed breeds, can be subjected to a puppy mill environment and the resulting animal cruelty.
Many puppy mills continue to exist because new owners aren’t aware of where their puppies come from. Many trust the breeders or pet stores from which they buy and don’t second-guess the origin of their new family members. As long as the demand is there and a lack of education continues, puppy mills will be around.
Why Are Puppy Mills Bad for Dogs?
In puppy mills, dogs and puppies are viewed purely for the money they bring in. Mother dogs are kept in small, confined cages where they are bred over and over. Their puppies are sold to various locations to be sold again to families looking for new dogs. The dogs that stay in puppy mills—as well as puppies before they are sold off—live their entire lives there in squalid conditions:
- They are usually outside in cages, with little to no shelter from weather, cold, or heat.
- Many of the dogs are left to their own devices, and as a result, have to sleep in their own excrement.
- Water and food, when given, can be contaminated or inadequate. Many dogs are starving.
- Dogs are bred until they cannot produce any more puppies. Then they are destroyed.
- Dogs don’t get access to any sort of care from a veterinarian. As a result, many are injured or sick. Dogs have been found suffering from: malnutrition, rotted teeth, skin diseases, matted fur, emaciation
- Mother dogs do not have any break in between litters.
- Dogs don’t get exercise or social engagement.
Puppies from puppy mills can also have behavioral and health problems, due to their environment or breeding. With lack of engagement and socialization with people during the first few weeks of their lives, they can be shy, anxious, or aggressive.
Genetic problems and illnesses are also commonly found in puppy mill puppies, including:
- Intestinal parasites
- Canine parvovirus (parvo)
- Canine distemper
- Urinary or bladder problems
- Respiratory problems or disorders
- Kidney disease
- Eye issues
- Cleft palate
How to Avoid Adopting from a Puppy Mill
One of the best ways to avoid adopting from a puppy mill is to become educated. If you’re considering welcoming a new family member into your home, do your research first. Here are some ways to avoid puppy mills altogether:
Adopt from a Local Animal Shelter or Humane Society
One of the best ways to avoid a puppy mill is to adopt a new family member from your local animal shelter. These are dogs that are looking for homes, are often socialized, and live in adequate conditions. You won’t be supporting a puppy mill by adopting from one of these centers.
If you’d like a particular breed or designer breed, these can be found at animal shelters too! They may even have their papers. There are also many breed-specific rescue organizations, like National Greyhound Adoption Program and Beagle Freedom Project. Don’t rule out shelters and rescues even if you’re after a specific breed!
Only Work with Reputable Breeders
If you want to get your dog from a breeder, try to make sure they are reputable. Responsible breeders truly care for their dogs. They provide a healthy environment and care about the homes their puppies go to. Before adopting from a breeder, always ask to see the puppies’ parents, other dogs in the environment, and the premises your dog was living in.
Avoid Pet Stores, Classified Ads, and “Deals”
Many deals you’ll find in the local newspaper, online on various websites, or at your neighborhood flea market also fall in the too-good-to-be-true category. It’s possible many of these dogs came from poor conditions or puppy mills.
About 90% of pet stores are selling dogs from puppy mills. Some pet stores do follow “puppy-friendly” rules, which means they are selling dogs from local animal shelters or rescues, but do your research if you plan on shopping at a pet store. Look for reviews of the store, and go there yourself to see if the pets look well.
Each year approximately 2 million puppies are sold as the result of puppy mills and nearly 200,000 dogs are being kept in the 10,000 facilities around the United States purely for breeding. You can work to stop puppy mills by advocating for the animals; contacting legislators; and educating others about what they are, the problems surrounding them, and how they too can avoid puppy mills.
Are you bringing home a new family member? It’s important to have them checked by a veterinarian. They can help you identify any genetic issues, work with behavioral problems, and more. To schedule your new family member’s first appointment, reach us at 281-693-7387.
Bringing your new puppy home is an exciting time for the whole family! During the excitement, don’t forget to bring your newest family member to the vet for important services that help him put his best paw forward. Find out what you can expect when you bring your puppy to the vet.
When Should Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit Be?
We recommend that you bring your puppy in for a veterinarian appointment within a week of adoption to ensure he’s in good health. Shelters and breeders usually have contracts that require you to get your puppy checked by a vet within a certain timeframe, so be sure to read the details of this paperwork before scheduling an appointment.
If your dog is showing signs of problems, bring him to a vet as soon as possible. Clinics like Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital allow for walk-ins if you’re not able to make an appointment on short notice.
Getting Ready for Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit
Your puppy’s first vet visit might sound stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! You can ask your veterinarian what you should bring to your appointment, but it’s always a good idea to have these items in preparation for a comfortable visit for both you and your pup.
A Collar and Leash
Your puppy should be getting comfortable on a leash and collar (or a harness) as soon as possible. There may be other dogs at the clinic when you visit, and you want to ensure you can keep your puppy nearby and away from trouble, especially in this new environment.
If your dog is smaller or not quite comfortable on a leash yet, you can also consider using a small dog carrier for the time being.
Medical Records and Paperwork
Whether you adopted your puppy from the shelter, a pet store, or a breeder, your dog has medical records and other relevant paperwork. This could be details about:
- His breed
- Past vaccinations
- Prior medical problems
These documents are important at your puppy’s first vet visit, so your veterinarian knows exactly what vaccines and/or treatments to schedule for your dog in the future.
Dog treats and praise are wonderful ways to get your puppy acclimated to a new environment! Visiting the veterinarian for the first time can be stressful for many pups, with loud dogs, cats, or even birds—plus all the new people! There’s a lot going on during a visit to the vet.
Your dog may also be afraid of the veterinarian or veterinary care. Dog treats will help him associate his doctor with good food. Many vets also have treats on hand, so if you forget them, we have you covered!
Questions or Concerns You Have About Your New Puppy
Puppies can be a handful, and it’s okay to have questions about their care or training, especially if you’re new to dog ownership. If you have questions or concerns about your pup’s health, dog training, breed, dog food options, or anything else, write them down and bring them to ask at your veterinary visit.
A Fecal Sample
It’s always a great idea to bring a stool sample with you to the veterinarian. This will allow the clinic to test your new family member for worms or other issues. If you’re on the fence about bringing one, call to ask before your appointment.
The cost of a puppy’s first vet visit depends on what your puppy has done during the exam. Usually the visit itself costs between $45 and $55, though this varies from doctor to doctor. Also take into account:
A fecal exam, for example, costs between $25 and $45, and a heartworm test can cost around $50.
For future visits, you may want to consider the benefits of pet insurance. It can help you cover regular visits as well as unexpected emergencies. Talk to us to learn more!
Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit – What to Expect
You have your puppy, his paperwork, your questions about his care, and a fecal sample. Now it’s time to meet the vet! The veterinarian and vet techs will complete a few different tasks during your puppy’s visit.
Take His Vital Signs
One of the first things the vet tech or vet will do is take your puppy’s vital signs. These include:
- Checking his heart rate with a stethoscope
- Getting his weight – If your puppy is under- or overweight, they will provide nutritional and exercise advice to help get your dog on track to a healthier weight.
- Taking his temperature – A normal temperature for puppies is between 99.5° and 102.5° F degrees. Something outside those numbers could indicate an issue.
Complete a Nose-to-Tail Examination
Once the vitals are jotted down, your vet will complete an entire nose-to-tail exam of your puppy, checking his mouth and teeth to his paws to getting a good feel for his coat and skin. The vet will be looking for any obvious or not-so-obvious issues, such as:
- Fleas and ticks
- Issues with the lymph nodes
Give Vaccinations That Are Due
Depending on your puppy’s age, he may be due for vaccinations. At four months, for example, he’ll need a rabies shot. Your veterinarian will create a vaccination schedule over the next year or so to ensure he’s properly protected.
Over the next few months, you should expect your puppy to need shots for:
- Kennel cough
- Lyme disease
To learn more about the core vaccinations and boosters your puppy will need, take a look at this vaccination rundown we created for dog owners.
Scheduling Future Visits for Your Puppy
After the examination, your vet will discuss your puppy’s future visits. This could be to check on any issues found during the exam or to schedule future vaccinations and boosters. You’ll also want to talk about scheduling an appointment for a spay or neuter during this time.
In the future, your dog should have annual appointments with your veterinarian to complete any vaccinations, test for heartworm, and just ensure your family member is still in excellent health.
Scheduling your puppy’s first vet visit as soon as possible is in his best interest! It can find any health issues with your newest family member while also getting him on the right track of a healthy life ahead.
Are you adopting a puppy or a new dog? Schedule his appointment now! Our experienced veterinarians and vet techs can help ensure your visit is stress-free and comfortable for both you and your pup. To make an appointment, call us at 281-693-7387.
Hearing the diagnosis of “heartworms” can be scary for a dog owner. It’s important to be educated on the disease, the signs and symptoms, treatment options, and understand how to prevent heartworms in your pup. Find out what heartworms are and how you can keep your dog safe!
If you believe your dog may be suffering from heartworms, make an appointment to see a veterinarian right away. Testing and preventative medication can help ensure the parasites don’t take hold. To schedule testing for your dog, call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Katy, TX at 281-693-7387.
What Are Heartworms?
Heartworms are a very serious parasite for many animals. They’re found often in dogs and similar animals like wolves, coyotes, and foxes. The parasites are worms that can reach up to a foot long and generally live in the animal’s heart, hence the name. They can also be found in the lungs and blood vessels.
After only a year of being infected, dogs can have between 15 (the average) and hundreds of these parasites living in their body. Over time, they cause damage to the organs they call home. If left untreated, heartworms can continue to grow over seven years. They constantly produce offspring during that time.
If heartworms aren’t discovered and treated, they can lead to heart failure and death in dogs.
What Causes Heartworms in Dogs?
Heartworm is not contagious from dog to dog. The parasite is carried by mosquitoes. After biting an animal infected with heartworm, mosquitoes carry the blood and baby worms to the next animal they bite. Over the next six months, the worms will mature inside the animal.
The heartworm parasite can be found in all 50 states in the U.S. Previously, where mosquitoes were scarce, they weren’t a problem for dog owners, but because of variations in climate and other human developments, heartworm can now be found everywhere in the United States, including Texas.
It’s rare for humans to contract heartworms from mosquitoes, as it usually can’t complete its life cycle, but it does happen from time to time.
What Are the Symptoms of Heartworm?
When a dog first contracts heartworm, there will be very few, if any, symptoms. As the worms mature over time, signs of heartworm disease will become more apparent. The symptoms tend to be more obvious in more active dogs, so heartworm isn’t always clear in lazier pups.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian:
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (especially after exercise)
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Reluctance to exercise
- Swollen belly
If a dog is infected with large numbers of worms, more serious symptoms may develop, including:
- Labored breathing
- Bloody or dark urine
- Pale gums
- Heart failure
These signs are indicative of caval syndrome, which is caused by heartworms blocking blood flow. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to get her to a veterinarian right away, as surgery must be done quickly.
How Can Heartworms Be Treated?
The first step to uncovering heartworms is a simple blood test. Your dog should have a heartworm test annually to ensure she hasn’t contracted the parasite. It can be done during a routine visit with your veterinarian. Even if your dog is on heartworm preventative medication, this important test shouldn’t be skipped.
If your dog tests positive for heartworms, they are treatable. Your veterinarian will first perform additional tests to confirm she indeed has heartworms. These tests include ultrasounds, radiographs, and others.
If heartworms are present, you should limit your pup’s exercise routine, as activity can cause damage to the infected organs. Your veterinarian then may suggest various treatment options for your dog’s heartworm. Immiticide is the drug often recommended to kill the worms, as long as they’re not extremely serious. Antibiotics, steroids, and other medication may also be given along with immiticide. In more severe cases, surgery to remove the worms may be necessary.
Can Heartworm in Dogs Be Prevented?
Heartworm disease in dogs can absolutely be prevented, and steps should be taken to restrict your pet’s chances of contracting the parasite. Yearly testing and preventative medications are two musts to keep your dog safe. The name of the preventative heartworm medicine is chemoprophylaxis. It also fights against:
Chemoprophylaxis comes in chewable, topical, and injectable forms.
Heartworm preventatives should always be given to your dog on time, every time. A missed or late dose—even by a couple of days—can leave your dog open to heartworm infection. Some are monthly heartworm preventives, while others are every six months. Speak with your veterinarian to come up with a schedule that will ensure your dog is protected year-round.
Heartworms are an extremely serious parasite for dogs, and prevention is important in the fight against them. Talk to your veterinarian about prevention techniques, and if you suspect your dog may have heartworms, bring her in for an appointment for testing as soon as possible.
Cinco Ranch Vet can help. Give us a call at 281-693-7387 to schedule an appointment, arrange for testing and treatment of heartworm disease, or discuss preventative options.
Think you don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day? If you have a dog, you sure do! Leave your plans for a sad V-Day behind, and choose one of these ways to spend the day with your best furry friend.
1. Spend the Day Together at Home
Who says you have to go out to have a great time? Spending the day indoors with your pup can be wonderful. It gives you both a chance to relax and de-stress. And if your dog tends to be a “lazier” breed, this is just what she’s looking for.
Not sure what to do all day? Try one of these!
Binge-Watch Some Themed Programming
There are plenty of shows about love and dogs out there! You and your dog could spend Valentine’s Day curled up on the couch watching a few of your favorite movies or shows. Or try a few you’ve never seen before! Lady and the Tramp is the ultimate pick for Valentine’s Day, but after you finish that flick, this list should keep the day going strong:
- Fox and the Hound
- All Dogs Go to Heaven
- Isle of Dogs
- 101 Dalmatians
- Turner & Hooch
- Dogs (Netflix documentary)
Just make sure to have the popcorn and treats handy before you start!
Cook a Meal for Two
While you make your Valentine’s Day dinner, whip up something special for your furry friend! Check out our list of people foods that are also safe for dogs here.
2. Share Delicious Treats
Your dog is sure to love that meal for two, but she also won’t say no to special treats. These Valentine’s-themed recipes to go along with your own box of candy is sure to keep you both happy.
Vet Note: Chocolate is dangerous for dogs, so stick to the foods above if you want to make yours happy!
Red Velvet Pupcakes
This recipe on Rover will have your dog head over paws in love with you! Made with beets, have these items on hand before you get started:
- 2 baking sheets
- A pastry bag with an open star or French tip
- A food processor
- Mini muffin pans
You’ll also need these ingredients for the muffins themselves:
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Raw beets
- Unsweetened applesauce
For the frosting, you should have:
- Frozen strawberries
- Reduced fat cream cheese
This recipe is perfectly decadent for Valentine’s Day!
Heart-Shaped Chicken Dog Treats
For something a bit easier, but just as delicious, you’ll need:
- Cooked and mashed rice
- Rice flour
- Diced chicken
- A heart mold
- Blender (if you choose to freeze them)
You can make these chicken treats in either the oven or the freezer—or make both if you have enough heart molds!
Another super simple Valentine’s Day dog treat is doggy fro-yo bites. You can use a heart mold for these as well, so you really stick to the holiday theme.
- A blender
- Low-fat, all-natural Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter
- A baking sheet
Check out the full recipe right here.
3. Go Out on the Town
Sitting inside not for you or your pup? If you’d rather head out, there are plenty of fun ways you two can spend Valentine’s Day out on the town. You may be having such a great time, you want to do all four of these!
Head to the Dog Park
Nothing says, “I love you” to your pup like heading to the dog park for the day! It gives her a chance to relax, run around, and have some fun.
Take a Hike
If your town doesn’t have a dog park, don’t worry. You can spend V-Day in the woods or fields together, just the two of you. Our area has plenty of dog-friendly trails for you two to choose from on Valentine’s Day. Check them out here!
Visit the Pet Store
There are plenty of pet stores that allow your pets inside, and your dog may love a trip to one. Let her choose out a new dog toy or treat to bring home for the evening. It’s also the perfect chance to pick up those dog products you’ve been putting off.
Don’t Leave the Backyard
If you want to be outside, but don’t want to make a full day of it (or spend your Valentine’s evening cleaning up muddy dog prints from the dog park), your backyard is a great option. Whether you play tag around the shed or spend the day throwing tennis balls, your dog is sure to love the extra time with you.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be that “lonely holiday” you dread. It’s a wonderful chance to lavish your best furry friend with some extra love and attention. Whether you spend the day with your dog inside on the couch watching movies and making treats, or you head out to the dog park, this year’s Valentine’s Day is sure to be a hit for you both.
Halloween is just around the corner; don’t leave your pup out of the fun! He can absolutely be a part of this spooky holiday and even take part in trick-or-treating. Below are seven great examples of Halloween treats for dogs that you can find online or make at home!
Human Candy Is Not for the Dogs
As much as we like to share everything with our dogs, human candy should never be given to them. Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs. That’s because of two ingredients—theobromine and caffeine—that are toxic.
But there are other foods, snacks, and ingredients that can be found in your trick-or-treat bag that you should keep away from your pup, including:
- Xylitol (also commonly found in gum and baked goods)
It’s always a good idea to stow your candy and snacks out of reach of your pets and to keep a sharp eye on furry friends during the holidays. If you suspect your dog ate a food or snack that is toxic to them—or you watched them do it—bring him to your veterinarian right away.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #1: Pumpkin FroYo Bites
You only need a few ingredients, plus an ice cube tray, to make Pumpkin FroYo Bites!
- 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
- ½ cup canned pure pumpkin (Canned pumpkin is better for dogs than fresh!)
- ¼ cup water
Mix the ingredients together, and spoon the mixture into the ice cube tray. Once the bites are frozen, they make a wonderful October treat for your dog.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #2: Halloween Brownies
Healthy Hound Bakery has plenty of delicious treats for your dog, including Halloween Brownies. No chocolate is harmed in the making of these brownies! Instead, they’re concocted with pumpkin and carob.
This online bakery also has plenty of other Halloween-themed dog treats, including
Head to their website to see their full selection.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #3: Skeleton Bones Dog Treats
- 2½ cups non-bleached flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1½ cup water
- 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt.
Simply mix, and freeze!
These treats will take you about one-and-a-half hours, plus time for freezing.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #4: Pumpkin Cubes
Pumpkin cubes are 100% pumpkin, so your pup gets all the health benefits of this awesome gourd. And they’re super easy to make. All you need is
- Canned pumpkin
- An ice cube tray
Simply put the pumpkin into the tray, and freeze!
You and your dog will enjoy pumpkin’s benefits to his digestive system, fur, and skin.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #5: Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Pooch Treats
With the health benefits of pumpkin and the deliciousness of peanut butter, your dog will love this combination.
- 2½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
You should also have cookie cutters (Halloween-themed would look great!), a bowl, and a baking sheet.
To make Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Pooch Treats, follow this super easy recipe.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #6: Sweet Potato Dog Treats
Pumpkin isn’t the only fall food that can be a treat for dogs. Sweet potato is also wonderful to create Halloween-themed treats with. All need are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooking spray
- A microwave
Learn how to make Sweet Potato Dog Treats by following this recipe.
Spooktacular Dog Treat #7: Sweet Potato Pretzel Dog Treats
Following the sweet potato theme, Sweet Potato Pretzel Dog Treats are another autumn-themed snack perfect for Halloween.
You should have:
- 200g fresh sweet potatoes
- 1¾ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 1 beaten egg
You will also need to have a baking tray and baking paper. To see exactly how to make these pretzels, check out the recipe here. The pretzel shape makes this recipe especially fun for kids!
Halloween is about sharing. Why not include your furry friend too? Remember to feed him dog-friendly snacks and not human food. These wonderful Halloween dog treats will keep your dog happy and healthy while still sharing in the holiday spirit!
If you suspect your dog got into the Halloween candy or ate something else harmful to him, contact your veterinarian right away. To speak with one of our staff about the signs and symptoms of chocolate consumption or other toxic items, please give us a call at 281-693-7387.
It’s pumpkin season! You’ve seen it flooding your social media feeds, all over commercials, and advertised in stores. Believe it or not, pumpkins can be used for much more than pumpkin spice lattes and Jack-o-lanterns. They’re delicious and healthy for your dog as well! There are plenty of ways to use the gourd during the fall season—or year-round.
1. Pumpkin for Digestive Health
Pumpkin can do great things for your dog’s digestive system, especially if she’s suffering from diarrhea or constipation. It helps with both! Fiber rich, pumpkin contains vitamins A, E, and C and also includes potassium and iron. Do be careful how much pumpkin you give your dog; too much vitamin A can be dangerous. A couple teaspoons a day is best.
Dog diarrhea could be a sign of a more serious issue, especially if constant or bloody. Constipation could also point to problems, such as a foreign obstruction. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is dealing with either type of bowel movements. If your pup is cleared by a doctor or the problem is because of a change in diet, a few teaspoons of canned pumpkin can be truly beneficial.
2. Pumpkin for Urinary Health
Pumpkin is a wonder for your dog’s urinary health. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, can get rid of kidney stones, and the oil from the seed and gourd can assist with incontinence.
3. Pumpkin to Deworm Your Dog
No dog (or owner) wants to deal with worms, but if you do, stock your pantry with pumpkin. The gourd’s seeds provide relief! They’re often used as a natural remedy for tapeworms and roundworms. The omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects.
4. Pumpkin for a Glossy Coat
Those same fatty acids can do wonders for your pup’s coat, nourishing it and leaving it shinier than before pumpkin season!
5. Pumpkin for Weight Loss
If your dog is on the heavy side, and you need to reduce the amount of food she eats each day, replace the missing food with pumpkin to ensure she finishes with a full—healthy—stomach.
Instead of using fatty treats, try pumpkin substitutes. The gourd is 90% water, which provides an excellent extra source of hydration.
How to Give Pumpkin to Your Dog
Choose Canned Over Fresh
While both canned and fresh pumpkin can be beneficial to your dog, plain canned pumpkin has more vitamins, fiber content, and nutrients. This is due to the high water content in fresh pumpkin. It’s also easier to get canned pumpkin, as it’s sold year-round in stores!
Crush Up the Pumpkin Seeds
If you want to give your dog pumpkin seeds, you can simply crush and grind them into your dog’s food. They can eat whole seeds, but these should be fed one at a time and kept to a minimum.
Seeds can go bad quickly, so you have two options:
- Use them fast, or
- Roast them.
Roasting them allows them to last about 30 days. Throw bad seeds away, as they can be toxic.
Never Give Your Dog Pumpkin Pie
Delicious as it is for humans, never give your dog pumpkin pie. Some pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol, a toxic ingredient for dogs. Always stick to canned or fresh varieties, or seeds.
Don’t Add Any “Flavoring”
While you may like to add things to your pumpkin dishes, keep it as simple as possible for your pup. Do not add salt to the seeds or pumpkin, but also avoid spices, flavors, and preservatives.
Getting Creative with Pumpkin for Dogs
While 1 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin (or tablespoons for big guys) is best for dogs, you may want to mix it up a little, so pumpkin season is fun for them too!
Mix cooked pumpkin, banana, plain unsweetened yogurt, and peanut butter together. Put this concoction into one of your dog’s stuffable toys for her to lick out!
Using the same ingredients as the pumpkin filler above, freeze the mix. This is a delicious cold treat on a hot summer day and keeps your dog occupied for longer.
A Dinner Topper
Mix pumpkin puree or mashed pumpkin with plain yogurt, chicken or beef broth, rice, and water. Pour it over your dog’s dinner to add a bit of flavor!
A Hollow Pumpkin
You don’t want to give your pup an entire pumpkin, but a hollow pumpkin can provide hours of fun. Add some treats or food, and it becomes a puzzle for your pup to enjoy with a reward at the end.
Who says pumpkin season is only for humans? Pumpkin is for the dogs! It can be an absolutely delicious and beneficial treat for your pet, encouraging better hydration, fur, skin, and weight. There are endless possibilities for this treat when it comes to your dog, and she’s sure to enjoy it year-round.
While adding pumpkin and pumpkin seeds can provide wonderful health benefits for your dog, if your pet is experiencing any medical problems, it’s important to take her to a veterinarian before giving her this treat. You should also ask your vet if it’s okay for your pup to have pumpkin if she suffers from diabetes.
If you have questions about the benefits of pumpkins for your dog, schedule an appointment with us! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387.
When most people think of mosquitoes, they imagine the itchy bumps left on their skin and the diseases they carry that can affect humans. Have you thought about whether mosquitoes can affect your pet? Can your dog get West Nile virus?
There are a few illnesses mosquitoes can carry that you should know about if you’re a dog or cat owner. Then you can help protect and care for your pet when you’re out and about during mosquito season!
1. West Nile Virus
One question we hear is: Can my dog or cat get West Nile virus?
While your pet can catch this disease from mosquitoes, it isn’t one owners generally need to worry about. A study conducted on pets and West Nile found that both dogs and cats are very resistant to the disease. Dogs that were infected had such low measurable quantities of the virus that it would be very unlikely they would transmit it to another mosquito if they were bitten again.
Very few pets die from West Nile virus infection. In a study from 1999, 5% to 11% of dogs had the virus, but none of their owners reported signs of their pets being sick.
When symptoms do (rarely) occur, they can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Neurological problems
If your pet is displaying these symptoms, your veterinarian will check for more likely causes first, as they’re rarely caused by West Nile virus.
Heartworm is one disease that all pet owners should be proactive about. It’s the most common disease transferred by mosquitoes to cats and dogs and can prove painful to your pet and expensive for you if you haven’t taken precautionary measures.
Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs
Symptoms of heartworm in dogs often don’t show up until seven months after an infected mosquito infects your animal. Once mature, the heartworms will begin to reproduce in your dog’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. If not treated, heartworm can be fatal.
- Lack of energy
- Reluctance to exercise
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Abnormal lung sounds
The best way to prevent heartworm disease in dogs is to use heartworm medication regularly. Your vet can prescribe it to you.
Heartworm Symptoms in Cats
For most cats, heartworm does not reach the adult stage, but even immature worms can cause issues, such as heartworm-associated respiratory disease.
Prevention is a must, as tests may not discover the immature worms, and in cases of infection, many cat owners don’t realize until it is too late.
There is no heartworm medication for cats. If your cat displays these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian immediately:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Fluid in abdomen
- Coordination issues
3. Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Dog and cat owners generally don’t need to worry about eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), as they’re usually resistant to health effects. EEE most often affects horses. If your pet does display symptoms, he will most likely make a full recovery. In the worst-case scenario, he’ll need supportive treatment.
You should contact your vet if you notice these symptoms in your dog or cat:
- Neurological issues
How Do You Know If Your Pet Has Been Bitten by a Mosquito?
Dogs and cats often display the same signs as humans when they’re bitten by mosquitoes! Constant scratching and irritation are most common, along with the red welts people are used to. They may also rub their ears or noses to find relief.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
You can help prevent the spread of West Nile virus, heartworm, and EEE to your dog or cat by doing a few simple things:
- Use dog- and cat-friendly insect repellent – Never use insect repellent designed for humans on your pets; it can be toxic. If you do, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Get rid of standing water in your yard, such as bird baths, untreated pools, and collected rain water.
- Don’t walk your dog during peak mosquito times: dawn and dusk.
- Use window screens, and replace or repair any tears.
- Administer preventative heartworm medication – It’s an inexpensive, monthly treatment. Always give your dog his heartworm medication on time and correctly. Missing a dose or administering it late can leave your pet open to infection.
- Have your dog tested for heartworm – This can be done annually by your vet to ensure your dog is not infected. While heartworm medicine is highly effective, it’s not 100%.
While you don’t have to worry too much about your dog or cat contracting West Nile virus or EEE from mosquitoes, preventative measures should still be taken to reduce the chances of contracting more severe illnesses, like heartworm. Medication and steps to remove mosquito habitats from your property go a long way in pet care, but if yours displays symptoms of West Nile virus, EEE, or heartworms, get him to a veterinarian quickly. Early detection is key to ensuring your pet stays in good health.
Whether your dog or cat is showing symptoms of one of these three infections, you would like to start your pet on preventative measures, or you need prescription refills, visit Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Katy, Texas. To book an appointment or bring your pet in for an emergency, give us a call at 281-693-7387.
If you’re planning a flight in the near future, you may be considering bringing your dog along with you. There are two options for flying with your dog:
1. As a carry-on – Typically under a seat
2. In cargo – Below the seating area, where luggage is transported
Unfortunately, not all dogs are allowed onboard as carry-ons. If they’re too large, for example, they may not be able to fly or will have to go cargo. But you may wonder if that’s safe.
Here’s what you need to know about flying your dog in a plane’s cargo hold and what you can do to make your pet as comfortable as possible.
Only Some Companies Accept Dogs as Airline Cargo
Each commercial airline has a different pet policy, especially when it comes to dogs traveling in cargo. Some airlines don’t allow pets to fly in the cargo hold at all. It’s important to note the specific airline pet policies before booking your ticket if you’re considering bringing your pup along.
The three major commercial airlines that allow dog cargo travel are:
- American Airlines® – Allows pups to fly in cargo (if it’s not too hot) for a $200 fee, as long as you reserve their spot 48 hours ahead of time and have the proper documentation, like a health certificate
- Delta – Has a separate program called Delta Cargo, which may or may not put your dog on a different flight than yours
- United Airlines® – Partners with American Humane in a program called PetSafe, which offers temperature-controlled vehicles, stress-reducing measures (such as boarding your dog last), and onsite and offsite kennels
Frontier, JetBlue®, Southwest® Airlines, and Spirit® do not allow pets to fly cargo.
Watch Out for Other Airline Restrictions
If you book on an airline that allows cargo travel, make sure you pay extra attention to the rest of their requirements. Some flights only allow specific dog breeds or sizes, while others restrict the amount of time your pet can fly. Usually pets are only allowed on flights that are 12 hours or less. Most airlines will not let you bring your dog in cargo if you have a connecting flight or are flying internationally.
Don’t forget to let the airline know in advance that you are checking your dog. Many flights have a limited number of pets allowed onboard, so the sooner you notify the company, the better.
You may encounter country restrictions if you’re flying overseas. Australia, for instance, requires pets to spend time in quarantine when they arrive. And pets traveling to Hawaii can only do so with strict documentation and during specific times of the year. It’s important to look at both your airline’s and your destination’s policies regarding pets.
What Is Flying Cargo Like for Your Dog?
When your dog flies in the airline cargo hold, they have a slightly different experience from the luggage even though they’re located in the same area. Your pup’s kennel will be secured separately from the rest of checked baggage, and it will remain there for the duration of the flight.
Each airline handles cargo differently, but in many cases, the pilot and crew can monitor or change the temperature in the cargo hold to help your pet have a more comfortable flight.
What You Need for Your Dog to Fly Cargo
There isn’t much you need to gather for your dog to fly cargo, but every airline and destination is different, so read over the guidelines. Here is a quick list of the things you will probably need to have:
- An airline-approved kennel that fits size restrictions and is big enough for your dog to stand up and move around
- Documentation, including ID and vaccination records
- Food, water, and treats for before and after the flight
- A clip-on water bottle
- Collar and leash
- Food for the kennel (if allowed)
Help Your Dog Be Comfortable and Safe
There are several things you can do before your flight to ensure your dog is safe as can be while in the airline cargo hold. Work through this list to help your pup prepare:
- Get a checkup with your vet – Some airlines and destinations require this!
- Groom your dog, and don’t forget to trim his nails!
- Take his travel kennel out well before the trip, so he becomes accustomed to it.
- Give your dog food and water within four hours of check-in time, but not within four hours of the flight (required by the USDA).
- Ask your airline if you are allowed to put food and water in your pup’s kennel during the flight, or if they will provide some.
- If you are including a clip-on water bottle, ensure your dog knows how to use it before the flight.
- Do not give your pet sedatives – They can increase the chance of heart and breathing problems.
- Consider including a favorite toy or blanket in his kennel.
- Try to avoid flight connections – If your dog gets lost, it’s likely to be during that transition.
When Your Dog Shouldn’t Fly Cargo
Not all dogs were made for flying, especially for flying as checked baggage. Breeds with snub noses—bulldogs, pugs, and boxers—are usually banned from flights. These breeds find it difficult to breathe, and high altitudes can make it worse. Other types of dogs may be banned by specific airlines (like mastiffs, spaniels, and others), so double-check with your airline to ensure your dog meets their requirements.
Your dog probably also shouldn’t fly cargo if he is particularly anxious. Flying can be a lot even for humans, and being separated and flown cargo can be pretty scary to a pet that doesn’t know what’s going on.
Don’t check your dog if he’s very young or very old. Older dogs may have trouble dealing with the transport, while many younger dogs, especially 12 weeks or younger, may be barred from flying.
There Can Be Risks
There can be risks when flying your dog as cargo, so due diligence and research before selecting your flight are essential. Pets that fly can be more susceptible to:
- Heat stroke
- Respiratory problems
- Heart issues
A vet check-up before you fly is essential to seeing whether your furry family member is fit enough to travel as cargo.
Booking direct flights and taking a photo of your pet in case he gets lost may help you avoid more serious problems.
If your dog isn’t up for flying cargo, you can consider other alternatives like boarding him or leaving him with a trusted pet sitter. If you do plan on checking your dog as cargo, research is the most important step you can take to ensure both a safe flight for your pup and a stress-free flight for you.
Are you planning to travel with your dog? We highly recommend a check-up before he takes off! To book your pre-flight appointment, give Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call at 281-693-7387.
Want to take a trip with your dog this year? If you’re planning on flying, you may be wondering how you can bring him along, without all the stress. It can be done! But preparation is key.
Here’s a quick outline on how to fly with a dog, so you and he have the best time possible!
1. Know Your Airline’s Rules and Regulations
Bringing your dog on vacation may seem like a dream come true, but it’s important to plan ahead and know what to expect before you get to the airport. Each airline has its own rules about flying with dogs, but, in general, you should know:
- Dogs are not always allowed on flights with connections.
- Pets are usually only permitted on flights of 12 hours and fewer.
- There are kennel-size restrictions, for both carry-on and cargo.
- Puppies should be at least eight weeks old, but some airlines request that dogs be older.
- Some breeds, such as bulldogs, are not allowed to fly.
- Certain destinations have restrictions and rules regarding pets.
Already know which airline you’ll be using? Carefully research what is and isn’t allowed on the flight. Here are links to some of the most well-known airlines’ pet policies:
If your airline is not one of the examples listed above, you can usually find pet policies by searching online for “Name of the Airline’s Pet Policies.” Certain companies, such as JetBlue, offer specialized programs to make flying with your dog easier.
Each airline has rules about how many total pets are allowed as carry-ons or in cargo, and how large your dog’s kennel can be. When booking your flight, mention your dog as early as possible to ensure he gets a spot on the plane. You’ll be asked to pay extra fees, and further information about your pup may be requested.
Never show up to the airport with your dog without booking his spot and carefully researching pet rules. You don’t want to begin your trip disappointed!
2. Bring This to Make Your Dog Comfortable
Flying with your dog can be a fun experience you won’t forget. Make those memories good ones by being properly prepared!
Here are a few items you should definitely bring along:
Documentation and Vaccination Records
Some airlines and even some destinations require you to bring documentation and vaccination records along with your pup. For example, JetBlue requires vaccination records, and American Airlines requires pet documentation in specific situations. It’s important to research both your flight and your destination to ensure you’re prepared in the paperwork department.
Regardless of requirements, it’s generally a good idea to bring these items with you, so you’re prepared for any medical emergency or situation that could arise.
Each airline has different requirements when it comes to kennel size, depending on whether you’re bringing your dog as a carry-on or checking him as cargo.
If your pup will be onboard with you, his kennel should fit under the seat in front of you. Bringing two pups along? That’s fine by some airlines, as long as they are the same species and fit in the same kennel.
While his kennel generally has to fit under a plane seat, size allowances vary from airline to airline, so make sure you know the exact rules for your flight. For example, Delta requires kennels to have proper ventilation, but sizes allowed vary from plane to plane. Spirit states that carriers must be 18” l x 14” w x 9” h, but for Frontier, kennels should be 24” l x 16” w x 10” h. Some airlines, like Delta and JetBlue offer kennels for you to buy that meet their restrictions.
The kennel you choose depends on how you’re flying with your pet (carry-on or cargo), your pet, and the airline. Research is essential to avoid problems, as airline requirements may change. You can find approved carriers through airlines’ websites or by searching online for “airline friendly kennels.”
Flying with your dog can be a stressful situation, but treats are almost always welcome! Give your pup treats throughout flight preparation (like packing), boarding, and during the flight to ensure he’s comfortable and knows his good behavior will earn him more.
Stick a favorite toy into your carry-on, and let your dog have it whenever possible. This is another great way to lower his stress because it’s familiar and comforting.
Food and Water
While you generally can’t feed your dog during your flight, you definitely want to have food on hand for afterward. Your pup will be hungry and thirsty, so it’s best to feed him as soon as you land.
If your dog is traveling as cargo, he should have water and food at least four hours before takeoff.
Baggies and Paper Towels or Wipes
It’s quite possible your pup will have an accident at some point during your travels. New situations and unfamiliar places like airports and planes can be confusing to a pup. When you have baggies and paper towels or wipes on hand, you can be a polite traveler and clean up the mess before one of your fellow passengers steps in it!
3. Reduce Your Dog’s Stress While Flying
Flying is stressful for many humans, so there’s no doubt it can be anxiety-inducing for our fur babies. There are steps you can take, both during and before the flight, to help him feel more comfortable.
Get Prepared Early
A few days before your flight, take your dog’s carrier out. He may already be anxious about the carrier, but having it out before your trip can help him get a bit more comfortable before travel day comes. Leave treats inside, so he associates it with yummy things.
Gather everything else that your dog will need, like his documentation, your tickets, his treats and food, etc.
Schedule a Checkup
Many airlines or destinations require that your dog has a checkup prior to take off, but it’s a good idea regardless of requirements! It can help ensure your dog is ready to fly comfortably, free of any potential health issues.
As you get ready for your flight, it’s smart to fit some exercise in. Walk your dog, throw ball, or do some agility. Your dog will be cooped up for a while, so it’s important he works out some of that pent-up energy for a more relaxing flight—for both of you.
Groom Your Dog
Grooming your dog, which includes trimming his nails, is recommended to ensure he stays cool and comfortable throughout the trip.
Fly Your Dog as Carry-On If Possible
Flying your dog as carry-on is recommended over checked baggage. Just being near you can reduce his stress. Give him treats regularly to reward him for good behavior and calm his nerves.
When Not to Fly with Your Dog
Not all dogs are cut out for airplane rides. If your pooch is particularly anxious, you may want to leave him at home with a friend or family member, or board him with a trusted facility.
It’s also recommended that certain breeds do not fly. Dogs with snubbed noses, for example, may have difficulty breathing in the cargo area or during stressful situations. Many airlines don’t allow these types of dogs to fly. If your dog has trouble breathing due to breed or health issues, it’s best not to take him on a plane.
Taking a trip with your dog can add a whole new, fun layer to the experience. But it does require preparation and research, so you can ensure your pup has just as much fun as you do!
Taking a trip with your dog in the near future? We recommend a checkup! You can schedule your appointment with us by calling 281-693-7387.