Ready for Single Digits? Prepare with Our Winter Pet Safety Guide

Animals are highly adaptable, but that doesn’t mean Chihuahuas can handle sub-zero temperatures or that huskies thrive in the desert. Each pet acclimates to environmental changes in different ways, but sometimes, they need our help to survive seasonal extremes. Without a proactive approach to winter pet safety, the animals we love may face deadly hazards.

Mild to Wild

Pets adapt to seasonal shifts in temperature and humidity via their coats, which thicken during the fall. Although a great defense against the cold, wet, and windy weather, thicker coats do not replace the vital need for shelter. Continue reading “Ready for Single Digits? Prepare with Our Winter Pet Safety Guide”

The Prevention and Treatment of Pet Diabetes

As a dedicated pet owner, you want to do your best to ensure your pet is at the top of their game. That means providing top-notch food, daily opportunities for exercise, and access to routine wellness care. Sometimes, however, pets develop an illness despite their owner’s best efforts. Pet diabetes is one of many age-related conditions that can not only be treated and controlled, it can also be prevented.

What is Pet Diabetes?

Glucose is a sugar that’s produced from digested food. Absorbed by the intestines, glucose travels throughout the body via the bloodstream as a source of energy. In order for cells to absorb the glucose, insulin is required. Produced in the pancreas, the amount of insulin required depends on the level of glucose in the blood. Continue reading “The Prevention and Treatment of Pet Diabetes”

Why Pets and Candy Make for a Chilling Halloween Tale

Pets and candy can result in pet poisoning on HalloweenPets are nothing if not opportunistic. They’re constantly sniffing out the next interesting thing to play with or eat, and the temptations around Halloween are practically endless. Pets and candy are always a bad combination, but this time of year seems especially risky.

Whether you’re passing out candy or expecting your own little ghosts and goblins to bring home a hefty stash (or both!), you’ll want to take the proper precautions when it comes to your furry family members. Continue reading “Why Pets and Candy Make for a Chilling Halloween Tale”

Yes or No: The Pet Insurance Question

Pet insurance can defray the cost of veterinary careWe all want to do the very best we can to provide health and happiness for our pets. They’re members of the family, after all! And we’re fortunate that in this day and age, we all have access to the very best in advanced medical care for our pets, from puppy or kitten-hood to adulthood and into their senior years. But this advanced care doesn’t come without cost. And with average annual pet care costs topping $1800, taking great care of our pets can put a significant financial strain on many families.

That’s where pet insurance comes in. Just as human health insurance is designed to offset our own health care costs, pet insurance can ease the financial burden of unexpected injury or major illness in our pets. But is it worth it? Here, The Bluffs Pet Clinic lays out the basics so that you can begin to weigh the costs and benefits for your situation. Continue reading “Yes or No: The Pet Insurance Question”

It’s a Heat Wave:  All About Pet Heat Safety

At The Bluffs Pet Clinic we often see pets who have problems related to the warm weather, and many of them are preventable when we are aware of the risk. Beat the heat this summer with our pet heat safety tips.

Keep an eye on your dog and be sure to practice summer pet safety While Minnesota may not exactly be known for its sweltering temperatures, we get our fair share of hot days in the summer. At The Bluffs Pet Clinic we often see pets who have problems related to the warm weather, and many of them are preventable when we are aware of the risk. Beat the heat this summer with our pet heat safety tips.

Keeping Cool

As the temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat exhaustion in our pets. Just like people, sustained increases in body temperature can have serious and even fatal consequences.

Even in less intense heat, our pets are more prone to overheating than we are. Be sure to monitor closely for signs that your pet is becoming distressed.

Early symptoms of heat exhaustion can include panting, restlessness, increased breathing rate, decreased activity level, drooling, and vomiting or diarrhea.

If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, it is time to head indoors. If ignored, heat exhaustion can progress to weakness, incoordination, seizures, coma, and even death. If you are worried about heat stroke in your pet, it is an emergency.

Help your pet keep cool by:

  • Avoiding leaving your pet in the car, even with the windows down or for a seemingly short time
  • Provide plenty of shade and fresh when you are outdoors
  • Offer fresh, cool water often
  • Try to spend time outdoors during the cooler parts of the day
  • Providing a small wading pool or other source of water can help your pet beat the heat when supervised
  • Always monitor your pet’s activity levels while outside

Avoiding Burns

The sun is a powerful force, and an important part of pet heat safety is preventing burns.

Hot surfaces prevent a unique challenge for our canine friends. While we typically wear shoes while outdoors, our pets do not. Remember that if you can’t hold your hand to a surface for at least ten seconds, it is too hot for your pooch to walk on. Surfaces such as asphalt, sand, pavement, and even packed dirt can result in paw pad burns.

Our pets are susceptible to sunburns as well, particularly if they have a shorter hair coat or are light in color. The ear tips, nose, lips, and underbelly tend to be most susceptible. Try to avoid the times of the day when the sun is most intense or look for a pet-specific sunscreen or pet clothes with SPF.

Pet Heat Safety for Special Pets

Some pets are more susceptible to the summer heat than others. In particular use extra caution for animals who are:

  • Very old
  • Very young
  • Overweight
  • Have other health concerns
  • Brachycephalic (breeds with a short nose such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus)

These animals are unable to cool themselves efficiently and may find themselves in trouble more quickly than others. No matter what type of pet you have, leaving them unattended in the heat is never a good idea.

Keeping yourself and your pets cool this summer is key to having a great time. Don’t hesitate to call us, though, if you find yourself in trouble with the summer heat.

On Pins and Needles: The Wonderful World of Veterinary Acupuncture

Veterinary acupuncture is an effective form of pet rehabilitation therapy, pet pain management, and pet wellness Modern veterinary medicine is amazing. Animals are living longer than ever before, and sick pets have an incredible number of options for their treatment and care. Organ transplants, immunotherapy for cancer, and advanced orthopedic surgeries are a reality.

At The Bluffs Pet Clinic, it is important to us to bring options to our pet patients. We accomplish this through alternative and complementary treatment modalities like veterinary acupuncture. Keep reading to learn how this type of therapy is helping our veterinary patients.

Acupuncture 101

While it may look like sticking needles haphazardly into an unsuspecting patient, acupuncture is an ancient and intricate technique.

One of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. Veterinary acupuncture utilizes the insertion of special needles into the body at very specific locations in order to stimulate strategic points. Acupuncture points are located along the channels that Qi, or energy, is thought to move through within  the body. Continue reading “On Pins and Needles: The Wonderful World of Veterinary Acupuncture”

Four-Legged Rejuvenation: The Benefits of Tui Na for Pets

Who among us can deny the pleasure and benefits of a good massage? Whether you have sore muscles, are recovering from an injury, or simply enjoy a little bit of stress relief from time to time, a good massage can certainly hit the spot. It probably comes as no surprise that massage can have many of the same benefits for pets as it does for people, and more and more pet owners are turning to massage as a way to help ease pain and promote healing in their fur babies.

If you’ve ever considered booking a massage for Fido or Fluffy, we invite you to consider Tui-Na, a form of traditional Chinese massage therapy. Tui-Na for pets is growing in popularity as a non-invasive, drug-free way to speed healing and increase well-being (and the pets seem to enjoy it as well).

Tui-Na 101

Tui-Na, pronounced “twee na”, is a form of manipulative bodywork based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). By performing Tui-Na, which can be roughly translated as “pinch and pull”, the practitioner is attempting to removing any blockages or other disruptions to the natural flow of the body’s energy along the meridians and muscles, thus bringing the energy back into proper alignment.

This popular TCM modality is not generally used for relaxation purposes, but rather as a treatment for pain, injury, and a variety of musculoskeletal concerns. Tui-Na is often used in conjunction with other TCM therapies, such as acupuncture, herbalism, t’ai chi, and fire cupping. 

Tui Na for Pets

Pets, like people, can be negatively affected by blockages to the continuous flow of energy and blood throughout their bodies. According to the principles of TCM, when the body of a human or animal becomes unbalanced, their health is more likely to become compromised. Tui-Na is a highly effective technique that can address a variety of health issues in pets, including:

  • Muscle, tendon, and ligament conditions
  • Aging and mobility issues such as arthritis, joint stiffness, and overall weakness
  • Respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, and immune disorders

Tui-Na can also improve a pet’s overall well-being and speed healing by helping to increase blood and lymph circulation, maintain balance, and by promoting a better appetite and sound sleeping.

Know the Risks

Tui-Na is not recommended for pets that are frail, pregnant, or suffering from any open sores, bleeding, or infectious disease. It is not meant to be a replacement for mainstream veterinary medicine, and should always be performed under the guidance of an experienced and licensed professional.

At The Bluffs Pet Clinic, we believe that all pets deserve a gentle, balanced approach to medicine, and we are proud to provide exceptional quality care to each and every one of our patients. If you have any further questions about Tui-Na for pets or other TCM treatments, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Protecting Your Pal From Common Tick Diseases in Pets

ticksWhat’s small, has eight legs, and feeds off the blood of humans and animals?

You got it, ticks. These tiny parasites are not only gross, but they can also spread disease to both people and pets. Thanks to an increase in the geographical distribution of ticks throughout the country, tick diseases in pets are being diagnosed with greater frequency in recent years.

Tick-borne illnesses in pets can cause big problems, and may even be life-threatening in some cases, making knowledge of these illnesses an important part of responsible pet ownership.

Continue reading “Protecting Your Pal From Common Tick Diseases in Pets”

The Link Between Pet Obesity and Exercise

With pet obesity numbers skyrocketing (over half of all cats and dogs!), it’s critical to not only measure precise meal portions, but to keep a daily exercise routine, as well.

pet obesityAnimals love to eat as much as we do. Some like to snack throughout the day – and relish every bite – while others enjoy scarfing down their meals in a single gulp (only to beg for more). Free-feeding doesn’t always result in an overweight pet, but when pets consume more calories than they need on a daily basis, weight gain is guaranteed. With pet obesity numbers skyrocketing (over half of all cats and dogs!), it’s critical to not only measure precise meal portions, but to keep a daily exercise routine, as well.

Continue reading “The Link Between Pet Obesity and Exercise”

So You Adopted a New Pet…Now What?

Adopted a New PetSharing your life with an animal is such a worthwhile experience, but bringing home a new pet is not without its challenges. First and foremost, pet owners must be able to responsibly provide for their new addition in every possible way. But don’t worry – preparing for and meeting the needs of your new pet can be fun!

Continue reading “So You Adopted a New Pet…Now What?”