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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Smelly Doggie: Why Does My Dog Stink? 

A smelly pet is a common complaint we hear from pet owners. Dogs can stink for a number of reasons, and many of which may be normal. After all, have you ever met a dog who doesn’t smell a little doggie? The odor that is emitted from your dog, though, may be an underlying sign of trouble. 

The team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to explain the causes and conditions of a smelly dog to help you answer the question, “Why does my dog stink?”

6 Causes of a Stinky Dog

That unmistakable smell when your dog returns from a rainy walk, or when they haven’t had a bath in a few weeks, is something most owners lament. A mix of musk and oil create a bouquet of malodorous odor, not something you want to have on the couch or the bed. But there are some odors that are more than just that doggie aroma. 

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Get An A+ In Winter Pet Safety 

Residents of Bowie are all too familiar with the hazards and perils of the cold temperatures that bring snow, ice, and bitter wind. The harrowing cold of winter makes the safety of our family members a top priority in the winter months, and that includes our best fur pals, too. 

Review Highway Veterinary Hospital’s winter pet safety tips to keep your pet healthy and safe until the first signs of spring. 

Brighten Up The Night

If you’re walking your dog in the early morning or evening, consider a reflective harness, collar, and leash so that motorists have an easier time spotting her. You may also want to invest in a dog coat, sweater, or booties to protect your pet and keep her warm and dry when out and about. 

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Holiday Pet Adoption: No Greater Gift

There’s no greater gift a shelter pet can receive than a loving family. And the thought of bringing home a new pet for the holidays can make us almost giddy with excitement! But  without proper planning, surprising our significant other, child, or other loved one with a new pet may backfire. 

Holiday pet adoption can be successful if preparation and planning are undertaken first. Our tips can help to make sure your new pet’s home is a forever home. 

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A Romp In The Leaves: Fall Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season is fast approaching, and your calendar is full with planning, shopping, and autumn activities. Is spending time with your pet may be falling (ahem) farther down your list of things to do? 

But crisp autumn days are wonderful for getting outdoors with your dog for a romp in the leaves. And your kitty is probably loving the midday rays of sunshine as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. A little extra attention for your pets can go a long way towards making sure they stay healthy and don’t get into trouble.

Highway Veterinary Hospital wants you and your pet to enjoy everything this beautiful season has to offer, while keeping fall pet safety in mind! 

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Should You Be Worried About Your Dog’s Reverse Sneeze?

A dog, mid-sneeze, standing in a forrest of falling leaves

If you have never heard or witnessed a reverse sneeze, you may want to consider yourself pretty lucky. 

This canine phenomenon that sounds much worse than it really is, the reverse sneeze can be startling, to say the least. However, most pet owners don’t know that this bizarre phenomenon even exists until they’re woken in the middle of the night by this unique noise.

The Research

A quick YouTube search for a reverse sneeze may be educational for those that have never heard of it before. Owners of dogs with this condition understandably mistake the sound for choking or respiratory distress. Snorting, honking, snuffling, and even gagging noises can be highly distressing. Most of the time, a reverse sneeze is completely normal.

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