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What to Expect at Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit

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

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.

Payment

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!

puppy first vet visit

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
  • Worms

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:

  • Rabies
  • Kennel cough
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Coronavirus
  • 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.

What to Expect at Your Kitten’s First Vet Visit

Did you recently adopt a kitten? Congratulations! One of the most important things about new pet ownership is scheduling their first vet visit. If your kitten is new to your household, here’s what you should expect when you bring him to the vet for the first time.

When Should You Bring Your Kitten In for a Check-Up?

Your kitten’s first vet visit should happen as soon as possible. It’s recommended that you schedule an appointment two to three days after adopting. Many shelters and breeders require you to visit a veterinarian after adopting and give you a window of seven days or fewer.

If your cat is showing signs of illness, however, an even earlier appointment may be needed. Keep an eye out for:

  • Watery eyes
  • Worms
  • Fleas
  • Sneezing
  • Refusing to eat
  • Difficulty breathing

Getting Your Kitten Ready for His First Vet Visit 

There are a few things you’ll need as you get ready for your kitten’s trip to the vet!

A Cat Carrier

We never recommend carrying your cat into our office in your arms, as the waiting room often has other animals, such as dogs, that can scare or threaten your pet. Kittens can be very slippery!

Instead, choose a hard case carrier or a soft carrier. A bigger one that your cat can grow into is fine.

Paperwork 

Whether you adopted your kitten from a shelter or a breeder, your cat most likely came with some paperwork. This usually includes:

  • Any vaccinations he received
  • Whether your cat was spayed or neutered
  • Notes about his age
  • Information about prior health issues

A Stool Sample

Some vets request that you bring a stool sample with your kitten. This may not always be required, so ask your veterinarian before you scoop some up and bring it in a sealed baggie.

Cat Treats

Some kittens take to the vet a bit easier than others. Even if your little one is brave, cat treats can do wonders. They can help your new pet associate the vet with good things and make him less likely to become uncomfortable on later visits.

Payment 

How much your kitten’s first vet visit will cost depends on what has already been completed by the shelter, store, or breeder. A checkup regularly runs about $20 to $40, but if your cat’s being tested for anything, he needs medication, or he’s getting vaccinations, the cost can be more.

If you’re curious how much a checkup for your kitten will cost, contact us for a more accurate quote.

kittens first vet visit

Your Kitten’s First Exam: What to Expect 

Once you’ve scheduled your kitten’s first vet appointment and have the supplies you need to get him to the office, it’s time to actually meet the vet! Your vet will perform a physical exam and tests. Here are some of the things you can expect your vet to do at your kitten’s appointment:

Take His Vitals

The first portion of the physical exam includes weighing your kitten and taking his temperature. Your vet will let you know if your cat is under or overweight and give you nutritional advice.

The normal temperature range for kittens is 101° F to 103° F. Anything outside of that range could point to a problem.

Check His Entire Body 

The vet will then look over the kitten’s entire body. This includes an inspection of the:

  • Coat
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Mouth
  • Joints
  • Organs

They will feel the stomach for any abnormalities and listen to the lungs and heart.

Look for Parasites

Parasites can be a problem for kittens and cats that come from a shelter, so your vet will definitely inspect your new pet for them. Mites like to make a home within the ears, for instance, while fleas stick to the fur. Fleas often leave behind flea eggs and flea dirt (flea poop), so your vet will inspect your kitten for these signs in addition to keeping an eye out for adult fleas.

Perform a Fecal Analysis 

If your vet requested that you bring in a stool sample, they’ll do a fecal analysis. This allows them to check for worms as well as other intestinal problems. If something abnormal is found, they can start treating your kitten right away.

Draw Blood  

If your cat is older than nine weeks, it’s important that your veterinarian perform blood tests to check for FeLV and FIV. FeLV is feline leukemia virus, and it’s a serious problem that negatively affects a cat’s immune system. Signs are not always obvious, so testing your new cat is a must.

FIV and FeLV are often confused for one another, but FIV is feline immunodeficiency virus. Care is important to keep your cat comfortable, so blood tests can help you know what to expect regarding your cat’s health. With proper steps, a kitten with FIV can live a normal life.

Your Kitten May Need Vaccinations 

If your kitten is old enough, he may be able to get his first shots during his first vet visit! The first rabies shot, for example, can be given between 8 and 12 weeks old. If your cat is not quite ready for his vaccinations, it’s important to schedule appointments for later dates for:

  • Rabies
  • Feline rhinotracheitis
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline panleukopenia
  • Feline leukemia
  • Bordetella
  • FIV
  • Chlamydophilia felis

Not all kittens need all the above shots, so talk to your veterinarian to work out a vaccination schedule based on their recommendations. Vaccinations can help keep serious diseases at bay.

Schedule a Follow-Up Visit

It’s always a good idea to schedule a follow-up visit for your kitten after he’s completed his first visit to the vet, especially if your little one needs vaccinations or to be spayed or neutered. After the initial visits, your new family member should see the veterinarian at least once a year to ensure his health is in good shape.

A kitten’s first trip to the vet doesn’t have to be scary! Having the right materials on hand can make the trip comfortable for both you and your new pet. If you have adopted a new kitten, never skip the first vet appointment. It’s a vital step in ensuring your little family member lives a long and healthy life.

Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital looks forward to meeting the two of you! To schedule an appointment, call 281-693-7387.

Heartworm in Cats: Signs, Prevention, Treatment

While heartworm is more common in dogs than cats, cat owners should still be vigilant about this parasite. It’s often mistaken for other ailments, so knowing what to be aware of can get your cat much needed treatment before she gets sick. Here’s what you need to know about heartworm in cats, the signs and symptoms, and what you should do if you believe your cat has heartworms.

What Are Heartworms?

Heartworms, also known as dirofilaria immitis, are parasites. When an animal is affected, heartworms tend to make their home in the heart and lungs. They can grow to be a foot long. A heartworm’s favorite host is the dog and similar animals like the fox, coyote, and wolf. But they don’t just stick to canines. It is possible for cats to be infected by this parasite as well.

Thankfully, most heartworms don’t make it to adulthood in cats. Felines are more resistant to the parasite, so heartworms have a hard time surviving. If parasites manage to live into adulthood, there will probably only be one to three at a time in the cat’s heart or lungs, compared to a dog, which can host hundreds.

Unfortunately, fewer worms make the issue more difficult to diagnose. More likely causes of health issues in cats get investigated first. That’s a problem because even immature worms can cause severe health issues for infected cats, including heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD).

What Causes Heartworm Disease in Cats?

Heartworms are transferred from animal to animal through mosquitoes. After feeding on an infected animal, a mosquito carries the larvae in its body, where it develops over a two-week period. When it’s ready, the larvae enters an animal through the bite of the infected mosquito, where it is left to start its six-month cycle to adult heartworm. It’s important to note that heartworms are not contagious and can’t be passed from cat to cat or from dog to cat.

The parasite can be found throughout the United States and is much more common in an area that is home to a lot of mosquitoes. It used to be the case that heartworm wasn’t found in all 50 states, but due to urbanization and irrigation, this is no longer true. If you have seen mosquitoes, your pets can be susceptible to catching the parasite.

3 Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

What Are the Symptoms of a Heartworm Infection?

In cats, symptoms of heartworm aren’t always obvious. There could be no signs, or there could be several. It depends on the cat as well as the stages and locations of the worms.

Here are some signs of heartworm to be on the lookout for:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Seizures
  • Fluid in abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gagging
  • Lethargy

Sadly, in some cases, there will be no signs until a cat collapses or dies from the parasite.

How Can Heartworms in Cats Be Treated?

Your vet can test for heartworm in your cat by taking a blood sample and use a combination of heartworm antibody and antigen tests. If heartworm proteins are found, they will request more tests, such as complete blood counts, X-rays, and ultrasounds.

There is no straightforward treatment for heartworm in cats and no standard cure. The medications used to cure heartworm disease in dogs can be fatal to cats, so should never be used. Instead, veterinarians often take a monitoring approach, with support.

The first step after a heartworm diagnosis is to stabilize your cat. Often, heartworm in a feline clears up on its own with proper care and nursing. Damage can be left behind when they’re gone, so monitoring is important. If worms were found in your cat’s lungs, your vet will most likely suggest regular chest x-rays.

Other treatment options include:

  • Prednisolone (medication to reduce inflammation)
  • Hospitalization
  • Fluids
  • Antibiotics
  • Cardiovascular drugs
  • Surgery
  • Oxygen therapy

It can take two to three years for the worms to complete their lifespan. Regular checkups and medication can help minimize symptoms during this time period. If heartworms are resolved, your veterinarian will probably recommend that your cat come in for continued checkups. This is to keep an eye on any damage the parasite might have done to her heart or lungs.

Heartworms Can Be Prevented

Since there is no standard cure for heartworms in cats, prevention is absolutely necessary. Even indoor cats can come in contact with mosquitoes.

Monthly heartworm preventive medications are a great way to keep the worms at bay. Even if your cat was previously diagnosed with the parasite, these medications can prevent a new infection. Heartworm preventative care for cats are available in topical and pill forms, which should be given once a month. Injectable medication may also be available through your veterinarian. These need to be administered every six months.

If you give your cat heartworm prevention medication, timing is essential. Missing a dose or administering one late could leave your pet open to infection. Kittens can be started on heartworm preventative as early as eight weeks, though dosage will change with their body weight.

Both indoor and outdoor cats can get heartworm! If you think your cat contracted the parasite or you would like to talk about preventative measures, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. Give us a call at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy TX.

Heartworm in Dogs: Signs & Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

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.

3 Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

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.

heartworm in dogs

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
  • Nervousness
  • 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:

  • Roundworms
  • Fleas
  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms

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.

How to Take a Stress-Free Flight with a Cat

Traveling can be exhausting when you’re on your own, but traveling with a cat can be a bit more stressful. But sometimes you need—or want—to fly with your furry friend! Here’s how to get to your destination, stress-free.

General Rules for Flying with Cats 

Each airline is different when it comes to pet requirements, so planning ahead is the first step to reducing stress when flying with a cat. These are some general rules of flying with pets:

  • Many airlines do not allow pets if you are making a connection.
  • Most airlines restrict your flights to 12 hours or less if you are bringing a cat.
  • Some airlines don’t allow you to fly internationally.
  • Snub-nosed cats, such as the Persian, are generally not allowed to fly.
  • Kittens should be about 8 to 12 weeks old, but some airlines ask that they be older.
  • Each airline has restrictions on kennel size.
  • You may be allowed to bring two cats in one carrier as carry-on luggage.
  • Some destinations bar pets or have very specific guidelines about bringing them in. Check with your destination to ensure everything is in order before you fly.

Checking In with Your Airline

Although airlines all have the same job, they don’t all have the same rules, especially when it comes to pets. If you’re looking to fly with your cat, carefully review all airline pet policies before purchasing tickets. This list provides links to the major airline companies in the United States and their individual pet policies:

It’s always important to notify the airline as soon as you know you’ll be traveling with your cat. Many planes restrict the total number of animals that can fly on a single flight, so you want to book your spot before the flight fills up. Fees and documentation may be required by the airline.

If your flight isn’t on one of the airlines above, you can find their pet policies by Googling the name of the company along with the phrase “pet policies.” If you can’t locate the information online, call their customer service directly.

What’s the pet policy of the airline you’re using?

What to Bring on a Flight with Your Cat 

Have these on hand when you’re getting ready to check in:

Documentation and Vet Records 

It’s always a good idea to have your cat’s vet records when you travel with him, especially a record of his rabies vaccination. In some cases, this documentation is required by the airline or your final destination. It may also come in handy if your cat has a medical emergency during your trip.

Kennel 

A proper kennel is absolutely required to bring your cat with you on a trip. In addition to being properly ventilated, the kennel must meet the size requirements of the airline and allow your cat to move comfortably inside it. If you’re planning on bringing your feline friend as carry-on luggage, his carrier has to be able to fit under the seat in front of you.

Each airline’s kennel size requirements are different, so it’s important to review its pet policy to determine what you need. In the case of Delta and JetBlue, you can buy properly sized kennels straight from the airline.

In addition to size restrictions, there may also be weight restrictions. For cats, you won’t run into this issue often, but it’s good to double-check. If you have a particularly heavy cat, you may have trouble with American Airlines, which requires the kennel and pet to weigh less than 20 pounds.

To determine kennel size, first consider if you will be bringing your cat as carry-on or checking him.

how to fly with a cat

Food, Water, and Treats 

It’s likely your cat will get hungry on his trip, so food, water, and treats are a must. Pack enough for both before your flight and when you land.

Vet Tip: Cats should be fed within four hours of check-in, but not within four hours of take-off to help avoid kennel accidents.

Paper Towels 

Even if you followed the food and water rule, you may run into an accident with your cat mid-flight. If he happens to go to the bathroom or throw up in his kennel, having paper towels on hand will allow you to clean it up right away.

Lowering Your Cat’s Stress  

Cats can be naturally anxious and skittish, so flying can be a bit much for them. Preparation can help ease their fears, so take these important steps before you get in the air.

Try to Take Your Cat Onboard as Carry-On 

In most cases, as long as you book your cat’s spot early enough, you should have no problem bringing him as carry-on luggage. This allows him to be by your feet for the duration of the flight. This method of flying is less stressful on cats than flying cargo.

Gather the Items You and Your Cat Need 

If your cat is wary of his kennel, take it out a few days before take-off, so he has a chance to become more accustomed to it. Keep the door open, and place treats inside to make it a little more enticing.

Gather your documentation, your cat’s ticket, his food, and other supplies, so you’re not scrambling with them and a potentially frightened cat when it’s time to head out the door.

Visit the Vet 

It’s always a good idea for a cat to get a checkup well before his flight. While you may want to fly with your feline, it’s important to know when it’s not a good idea. For severely anxious kitties, the flight may be too much, causing stress-related reactions, including vomiting. Cats with health issues or trouble breathing should also stay on the ground. Your vet can make a final recommendation.

Some airlines and destinations also require recent vet records.

The first step to flying stress-free with your cat is preparation. Never skip a visit to the vet’s office. Your veterinarian can clear your cat to fly while also giving you documents that may be required by the airline or your final destination.

If your cat needs to stay home, consider boarding him in a comfortable, reliable facility or leaving him with a family member.

Ready to make an appointment for a pre-flight checkup? Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387.

3 Ideas for the Best Valentine’s Day…with Your Dog as Your Date

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
  • Beethoven
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Frankenweenie
  • 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.

Pumpkin for your dog!

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!

valentines-day-dog

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
  • Oatmeal
  • Cinnamon
  • Flour
  • Raw beets
  • Strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Eggs

For the frosting, you should have:

  • Yogurt
  • Cornstarch
  • 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
  • Parsley
  • Egg
  • 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!

Doggy Fro-Yo 

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.

Gather together:

  • A blender
  • Low-fat, all-natural Greek yogurt
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • 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.

7 Easy Halloween Treats for Your Spooky Pup!

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:

  • Raisins
  • Citrus
  • Dairy
  • Salt
  • 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

This unique Halloween dog treat requires a fun, bone-shaped cookie pan that you can find on Amazon. You’ll also need:

  • 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.

halloween dog treats

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.

Gather together:

  • 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.

Pumpkin Season… for Dogs? 5 Health Benefits & How to Give Pumpkin to Your Pup

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.

Your dog ate something she shouldn’t have

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.

pumpkin for dogs

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!

Toy Filler

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!

Ice Cream

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.

3 Mosquito-Borne Illnesses That Affect Pets & How to Prevent Them

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:

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • 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.

Vet’s Note: Horses and birds they are most likely to be affected by the virus. If you see symptoms in your horse or pet bird, you should see a veterinarian right away.

2. Heartworm

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.

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Lack of energy
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abnormal lung sounds
  • Fainting

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:

  • Coughing
  • Asthma
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Fluid in abdomen
  • Coordination issues

can dogs get west nile

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:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • 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.

Dogs Flying in Cargo: Is It Safe?

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)

dogs flying in cargo

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.

Tips for Flying with Your Dog Stress-Free

When Your Dog Shouldn’t Fly Cargo

Not all dogs were made for flying, especially for flying as checked baggage. Breeds with snub nosesbulldogs, 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
  • Hypothermia
  • 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.

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