Dogs have protected human societies for well over 10,000 years. The first record of dogs defending humans in battle was around 600 B.C., and dogs continued to serve and protect humans all over the world, from the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, to a variety of Far East cultures.
The natural progression of our dependence on dogs led to the first organized police dog program in Ghent, Belgium in 1899. Since then, K9 officer dogs have been an important part of police and military programs throughout the world.
Bringing home a new puppy may well be one of life’s great pleasures. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pet owner, you are no doubt aware of the large amount of work that goes into new puppy care. Your pet needs so much more than food and water to grow into a happy and thriving adult dog.
Your health care team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing you with the tools you need every step of the way.
As a general rule, people brush and floss their teeth about twice a day (or least we’re supposed to). In fact, the act of caring for our teeth and gums is so essential to daily living that we can’t even fathom going a day without it. Animals may not have the same expectations for good-smelling breath and dazzling smiles, but nonetheless, they still benefit from oral health. If you’ve been wondering about pet dental care but weren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. With February being National Pet Dental Health Month, we wanted to give you a good head start on your pet’s dental health for the new year!
During the holiday season, it’s natural to turn our thoughts toward the needs of those less fortunate. As pet owners and animal lovers, it can be difficult to think of the plight of so many pets who languish in shelters all over the country.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help homeless pets in your community and beyond, and the benefits are well worth the effort!
More than half of all American cats and dogs are considered overweight or obese. Perhaps even more shocking than the prevalence of pet obesity, however, is the fact that a majority of owners who care for overweight pets erroneously classify their pets in the normal weight range. What’s at the root of this disconnect, and how can we work together to reverse this harmful trend?
Animals are naturally curious – that’s one reason we love them! But sometimes, curiosity and exploration can have disastrous results. Take, for example, the foods that fill our own cupboards and fridges. While most of it isn’t bad for your pet, some things are downright toxic. When you know without a doubt the various things your pet should never, ever eat, you drastically reduce potential pet poisonings. Those are odds we can live with – how about you?
Too Many to Count
To be sure, many pet owners are unaware that something in the house could endanger their pet – until frightening symptoms surface. Sure, we all do our best to ensure the house is free of choking hazards, entanglement issues, and, of course, toxins, but many things slip through the cracks.
It’s also not uncommon for pet owners to be highly vigilant at first, only to let things slide a bit after a pet demonstrates an obvious lack of interest in dangerous items. Letting down your guard can be the fastest route to pet poisonings.
From cancer sniffing canines and drug and bomb detecting dogs, to dogs that protect our borders and keep our food supplies safe; and, to the best pal that sleeps at the end of your bed, there’s no shortage of amazing dogs out there. In honor of dogs and the wonderful services they provide for their human companions, we’d like to take this opportunity to pay homage to the original service canine: guide dogs.
Guide Dogs Defined
Guide dogs are professionally trained to assist the blind and visually impaired by avoiding obstacles, navigating traffic and urban obstacles, and generally helping their person get to where they need to go, safely. The dog and their human (handler) work together as a team; the handler knows where he or she wants to go, and the dog’s job is to get both of them there safely.
Guide dogs are trained from birth to about 18 months old, typically spending the first year of their lives with a “foster family” whose role is to provide a loving home, basic obedience training, and socialization. After about a year the dogs undergo their formal guide dog training, which typically takes 4-6 months.
While few pets seek to get wet when it’s cold, the majority of dogs crave time in and around the water all summer long. A powerful element, water has the capacity to excite and amuse pets, but it also plays a major role in reducing the risk of heat stroke. To be certain, water play is fun, but without pet water safety measures, it can quickly turn perilous.
An Obvious Choice
Swimming, splashing, running through the sprinkler, boating, and other water sports are perfect summer options – and they’re all more fun with a furry friend in tow. Many pets are bred for water recreation while others (like the typical feline) don’t take to it quite as naturally. Also, brachycephalic breeds, those with shorter legs, and big barrel chests are not designed for swimming.
People unaccustomed to our weather can feel pretty droopy by the end of the day. It’s true, we have wilting humidity and occasional heat waves that make summers in Maryland challenging for some – pets included. If you’re looking for just one more reason to kick it in the AC, we’ve got some startling facts that place summer pet safety firmly in the spotlight.
Play it Safe
Instead of exposing your pet to the heat, play it safe and avoid the midday temps. Place the back of your hand against the sidewalk outside. If you pull it away within 5 seconds, the ground is too hot for your pet. Wait for it to cool off after dinner, or wake up early for a slightly cooler morning walk.
The Dangers of Heatstroke
A spike in body temperature can negatively impact the health of internal organs and impair breathing. Heatstroke is characterized by excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rates, drooling, weakness, stupor, and collapse. Left alone, bloody diarrhea and vomit, seizures, and even death can occur. Continue…
Parasite control is a must for every furry friend, and the foundation of this is flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Unfortunately, some pet owners make the mistake of skipping a month of heartworm medication or assume that indoor kitty doesn’t need to be on any form of parasite prevention.
To highlight some of the reasons parasite control is so important, let’s take a look at what risks these pests can pose to your cherished pet and what you can do to stop them.
The life cycle of a tick includes: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult – and each female can lay thousands of eggs at a time. Ticks thrive by feeding on the blood of a host mammal, most notably wildlife, but also humans and pets.
Most people are familiar with Lyme disease, especially in our region where diagnoses have skyrocketed over the past few decades. However, did you know this parasite can also pass vector-borne diseases onto our canine and feline friends?