Eat This, Not That: Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Cat at Thanksgiving dinner looking at a Turkey

There’s nothing like an amazing meal, especially at Thanksgiving. Pies and baked goods, stuffing and mashed potatoes, and did we say turkey and gravy? It’s enough to make anyone salivate, including the family dog or cat. 

Unfortunately, with every Thanksgiving meal comes a number of tempting dishes that are toxic to pets. The team at Highway Veterinary Hospital wants to ensure your holiday is pet emergency-free by raising awareness about the Thanksgiving foods that are bad for pets.

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Giving Props to Pet Poop

Dog pooping

Your pet’s feces may not be the most glamorous thing to talk about, they deserve a lot more credit than you might think. Besides being a vehicle for eliminating waste from the body, pet poop holds a lot of information that can help you as well as our doctors at Highway Veterinary Hospital

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Which Leash Is Best for My Dog?

When choosing a leash for your pet, not just any leash will do. You have to think about your pet’s safety and how suitable the length, strength, and durability is for them.

There are a wide variety of styles and materials on the market that promise to be the best, but which ones are safest for your pooch

When you choose a leash and other walking tools for your furry, there are several factors to consider to make for a great leash walking experience. 

Since a leash is one of the most used pet tools you’ll need to select, the team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to provide some insight into the question, “Which leash is best for my dog?”

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Teach Your Cat to Swim!

The idea of bringing your pet into any body of water may seem suspect. After all, cats loathe water, right? 

It may come as a shock to you, but cats can be taught to appreciate water if they get the right introduction. Several cat owners have pondered why cats can’t swim, but the truth is, the can! 

If you are one of the brave cat owners out there who would like to teach your cat to swim, you are in luck! The team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to explain the basics of cat swimming, and how to slowly introduce your feline friend to being in water.

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Troubled Waters: Blue-Green Algae Toxicity in Pets

Here in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy the water with our friends and family. Especially this time of year many of our families, two legged and four, are in the water swimming, boating, or just lounging. 

The water is not without worry, though, and it is important to enjoy it responsibly. One potential peril that is not on the radar of many pet parents is cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Highway Veterinary Hospital hopes that you will add blue-green algae toxicity to your list of things to know about for water safety. 

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Decoding Dog Language: What Does a Bark Mean?

Your dog probably has all manner of expressing himself, whether it’s body language or verbal cues – such as barking. There is meaning in this expression, and your dog’s bark may have a lot to say about what’s going on in that brain of his. Understanding various barks and sounds from pets is key in making sure they are healthy, safe, and engaged in our lives with them. 

If your dog is a barker, you may ask yourself, what does a bark mean? Your friends at Highway Veterinary Hospital are here to decode this language for a better bond with your furry friend.

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Adventures Indoors: Creative Ideas for Indoor Pet Activities

Through the past few months of the pandemic, many of us have been pulling out all of the stops when it comes to entertaining ourselves. From art projects to YouTube travel, we are opting for new, fun indoor activities to keep us busy. Our pets also have a serious case of cabin fever and need daily exercise and enrichment to keep them from becoming listless, unhealthy or overweight, and bored.

The good news is that your friends at Highway Veterinary Hospital have some cool new games and activities that will entertain even the most discerning of pets. Read on to learn more!

8 Great Indoor Pet Activities for Your Fur Friend

Since movement and fun are important to the health and well-being of your pet, you don’t have to ditch those when you can’t get outside. There are many things you and your bestie can do when the weather stinks or you’re otherwise stuck inside.

  1. Learn something new together – There are some great options in online group classes for pets and people. You can learn how to dance together, zen out on downward dog during a doga class, or try your hand  at some DIY homemade treats or meals  for your pet.
  2. Play an indoor game of fetch – Yes, you can still play that favorite backyard game, but just switch to a soft ball or toy to throw. Pull away the furniture in the living room and toss the toy! Or, use a big space like a garage or rec room.
  3. Buy some puzzle games – Food based puzzle games are especially enjoyable for your pet. The challenge is to get small treats or pieces of kibble out of the toy. Your pet’s brain will be active, and this is a good way to slow down a quick-eating pet.
  4. Teach new tricks – Old dogs can learn new tricks. There are several commands you can teach your pet to keep them active and engaged. Tricks like beg, sit up, roll over, and so on are fun for your pet who wants an extra challenge. After you have mastered them, make a video. We’d love to see their new skills.
  5. Set up an agility course – there are some great agility courses that can easily be made using things lying around the home. Set up open boxes, kiddie pools filled with balls and toys, poles and chairs for jumping, and other obstacles. You can also purchase a ready-made agility course online, too.
  6. Build a catio – Your cat will love the addition of an extra, screened-in space to look at birds, play, and relax. Catios are essentially screened in patios that can be made as a standalone to use in the yard, an extension of a porch, or as a window unit. There are multiple plans available online to put your DIY skills to work.
  7. Use your pet’s nose for a scavenger hunt – The nose knows, as you know. Put your pet’s Sherlock Holmes skills to the test by hiding various treats, toys, or pieces of their kibble around the house. Then get them to go scout it out with their keenest sense, their sense of smell.
  8. Dance with your pet – Your pet may never have the moves of Fred Astaire, but they will definitely get into the groove if you put on some tunes and dance. Many dogs will hop on hind legs or circle around you if the music is right and the excitement of dancing is in the air. It’s a fun time for everyone in the family, too. 

We’re Only a Phone Call Away!

During the COVID-19 standstill, we are here for you and your pet. We are currently open Mondays through Fridays with varying hours.

We recommend that your pets stay current on any long term medications, their heartworm prevention, and their flea & tick prevention. Rabies and Leptospirosis are zoonotic diseases; therefore, we strongly recommend keeping current with these booster vaccines, too.

If you have any questions about your pet, including their vaccine status, just give us a call!

The Heart of the Matter: Understanding Heart Disease in Dogs

If your dog is the most big-hearted pet you know, you’re not alone. Our dogs are the heartbeat of the entire family and provide unconditional love and loyalty. But did you know that heart disease in dogs is diagnosed more than you might think. In fact, it is estimated that up to 10% of all dogs who are over 7 years of age have some form of a heart condition. 

Heart disease accounts for a big portion of senior pet problems, although some conditions can also appear in younger dogs, too. It’s important to understand this disease that affects millions of dogs each year and the team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to tell you more. 

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A Message from Highway Veterinary Hospital

Dear Pet Parents, 

In response to Maryland’s Stay-At-Home Order, and in the very real interest of keeping everyone safe, we are changing our hospital hours. Beginning Monday April 6, we will be open the following days and times until further notice: 

Monday and Friday: 8am – 2pm 
Tuesday and Thursday: 8am – 7pm
Wednesday and Saturday: CLOSED

If you have an upcoming appointment during a time that we will be closed, and we haven’t contacted you already, please call us to reschedule.

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Xylitol: A Leading Cause of Pet Poisoning 

As a dedicated and involved pet owner, you know the drill – you do your very best to prevent illness or injury, and if that doesn’t work, seek help immediately. In the case of accidental exposure to dangerous chemicals, medication or foods, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Because a pet poisoning can cause irreparable damage to a pet’s health, it is imperative to prevent them from eating anything containing Xylitol, and provide emergency care if you know or suspect ingestion.

Good For Us, Bad For Them

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that naturally occurs in various berries, fruits, trees, and other plants. It has gained traction in wellness circles because of its low glycemic index.

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