Essential Winter Pet Paw Care

As pets age, their paw pads thicken up and harden, but they still experience pain after consistent exposure to the elements. Without a doubt, paw pads are very sensitive to heat, but special care is also needed during sub-freezing temperatures. Traditional salts and deicers can be extremely harsh and can even lead to GI upset if swallowed.

Luckily, with a little extra attention to pet paw care this season, your best friend will be ready to go.

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Sweet Dangers: Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs is a Pet Emergency

Alternative sweeteners are all the rage these days, and it only makes sense given what we know about the dangers of too much sugar. Reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can lead to a plethora of health benefits, including weight loss, better blood sugar control, and reduced risk of tooth decay.

The sugar substitute known as xylitol fits the bill when it comes to healthy sugar substitutes, and it can be found in a variety of sugar-free foods and personal care items. Although it’s a natural product that’s safe and even beneficial for human consumption, it can pose a deadly threat to our pets. Xylitol toxicity is a serious concern that should not be overlooked by any pet owner.

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Adopting a Mutt Can be Absolutely Mutt-Tastic!

Adopting a mutt is the very best!

While the reasons to purchase a pet directly from a breeder vary, prospective owners are usually drawn to a particular look, distinct personality, or other well-known behavioral traits. While it’s true that responsible breeding has its place, the team at Godspeed Animal Care wants to remind people that a mixed breed pet can also bring a great deal to the table. In other words, adopting a mutt can be a huge game-changer!

A Look at Genetics

Part of the fun of a mixed breed pet is that we don’t always know their exact heritage. We can observe certain obvious markers, but without previous knowledge of a pet’s parents and/or genetic testing, it’s a guessing game.

Many owners are interested in having a concrete understanding of an animal’s breed so they can better determine whether they’ll be a good fit for their lifestyle and family.

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How to Safely Remove a Tick, And 4 Ways Not To

It is important to remove a tick the right way to prevent tick-borne illness in pets

If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, you know that it’s always tick season. In the autumn, many of our clients and their pets are still happily taking advantage of the crisp days by spending time outdoors. We know that ticks are something to prevent, but have you ever had to safely remove a tick? If not, we have some tips and tricks for you to make this process relatively easy.

The Problem With Ticks

There are four tick species in our area that humans and dogs encounter: the Lone Star tick, the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, and the deer tick. Most of us know that tick bites are painful and uncomfortable. Did you know that they are also dangerous?

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What’s the 3rd Week in October For? Celebrating Vet Techs, Of Course!

Vet techs are the backbone of pet health

When you visit your doctor’s office, there is always a nurse that takes your blood pressure, weight, temperature, and so forth before the exam begins. In our profession, instead of nursing professionals, veterinarians need vet techs (veterinary technicians) or LVTs (licensed veterinary technicians). And when we say that we need them, we really, really need them! In fact, they are so important to hospital functionality, an entire week in October is set aside to celebrate their hard work, raise them up, and provide additional tools to help them succeed.

But what do vet techs do, exactly?

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Do You Have a Happy Cat? Five Signs the Answer May Be No

A happy cat will show their feline affection. Cats are pretty self sufficient. They are also good at covering up when they are not happy or experiencing stress. Many cat owners feel that things are hunky-dory in the kitty happiness department. After all, they have a warm place to snuggle, a bowl of food, and a clean litter box. What’s to be sad about?

Many cats are not as content with life as their owners may believe. In honor of Happy Cat Month, Godspeed Animal Care wants to share with you a few ways to assess if have a happy cat (or if you have some work to do). Continue…

Emergency Preparedness for Pets Before You Actually Need It

Pet emergency preparedness can save your pet's lifeMost pet owners spring into action to prevent, recognize, and treat a pet emergency, but what’s the right approach when it comes to disaster preparation? There are similarities, of course, but to truly tackle emergency preparedness for pets, you have to widen the scope quite a bit. Between hurricanes, floods, fires, and more, pets can quickly become separated from their owners, and suffer from injury or illness.

If You Gotta Go

Evacuation is one of the most common results of a natural or man-made disaster. The rule of thumb for owners of all types of pets is that, in the case of evacuation, pets must go, too. In other words, if it’s unsafe enough for people, it’s certainly no place for animals.

Acceptable Alternatives

A major part of your emergency preparedness for your pet must include a list of alternative places to safely stay in the case of evacuation. Have an evacuation route all mapped out, and mark places along the way that you know are pet-friendly. Hotels, motels, friends, and family members are all excellent, safe choices, but if there’s a lack of availability, you may not be able to keep all your pets together.

Depending on the type of emergency, there could be temporary Red Cross shelters positioned around the area. Designed to help people, these shelters cannot accept pets except for service animals. Check with us about pet boarding.

Tips and Tricks

In the spirit of preparation, cover your emergency bases in these ways:

  • Train your pet to leave the house. This will help them move quickly when it really counts.
  • Have your pet microchipped and always update your contact information if it changes.
  • Ensure that their vaccinations are all up to date.
  • Print up your pet’s medical records just in case.
  • Have a picture of your pet printed and placed on their travel kennel or crate.
  • Keep a backup collar, ID tags, and leash in your car.
  • Store a few days worth of food, water, waste disposal bags, toys, and bedding.
  • Keep some first aid items on hand.
  • Affix a sticker to the door or window near the entrance to alarm rescue workers that a pet lives there (be sure to remove them or write “evacuated” across them before you leave).
  • Before moving back into your home, be sure to carefully inspect your property for any potential hazards to your pet’s health and wellness.

Emergency Preparedness Pets

No matter the type of destruction your home or block experienced, it’s an uphill battle to get back into the normal swing of things. You may notice subtle to major shifts in your pet’s behavior. Aggressiveness, resource guarding, or anxiety are typical results of trauma or stress. Please let us know if we can help you address certain behavioral problems.

Also, if we can answer further questions about emergency preparedness pets, we encourage you to reach out to us at Godspeed Animal Care.

Promote Water Safety for Pets All Summer Long

Water safety for pets makes having a pet at the pool more fun.One of the easiest ways to combat a heat wave is to simply get wet. This might take some of us out of our comfort zone (that is, a nice air conditioned environment), but the bottom line is that splashing around is not only effective, it’s fun, too! Chances are, your pet agrees with the fun factor. You want to make them happy and comfortable, but water safety for pets absolutely must be enforced.

The Basics

There are quite a few precautions when it comes to summer in general. We recommend scheduling your pet’s wellness care exam before any upcoming adventures to ascertain the quality of their overall health. If they aren’t fully vaccinated yet or microchipped, these help protect them from unseen dangers this summer. Continue…

Expecting the Unexpected: Putting Together a Pet First Aid Kit

A pet first aid kit is important in a pet emergencyIllness, injury, and accidents are an unfortunate, but inevitable, part of life for pets and people alike. Knowing what to do (and what not to do) in the event of one of an emergency can go a long way toward maximizing your pet’s safety and comfort. Assembling a pet first aid kit and knowing how to use one is the first step in the process of being a prepared pet owner, and the team at Godspeed Animal Care is here to help!

Pet First Aid Kit

Ideally, every pet owner should keep a pet first aid kit in their car and home. Kits can be purchased online or in most pet stores or you can assemble your own.

If you’re putting together your own pet first aid kit, start with a sturdy container, such as a lunch box or tackle box. Something with a strap is ideal so you can sling the kit over your shoulder should you need to carry your pet. Include the following essentials:

  • Information – Download and print PDFs about pet first aid from the American Red Cross, and install their pet first aid app on your phone. Also have the numbers for Godspeed Animal Care, the Pet Poison Helpline, and an additional emergency contact programmed into your phone.
  • Basic supplies – Many of the basic items in a human first aid kit can be used in a pet first aid kit. This includes gauze, hypoallergenic adhesive tape, blunt scissors, antibiotic ointment, styptic powder, cotton balls or swabs, instant cold pack, and a compact emergency blanket.
  • Additional items – You may want to include other items, such as a clean towel, cloth strips, disposable gloves, saline solution, and bottled water for drinking and washing.
  • Other supplies – Keep your pet’s leash, carrier, muzzle (if needed), medications, and medical records stored near the first aid kit for easy access.

Helping Your Pet

Being prepared helps keep you calm, which is what your pet needs most during an emergency situation. Before rushing in to help your pet, analyze the scene for any potential dangers, such as oncoming vehicles. Be aware that your pet might try to bite you out of fear or pain. Also keep the following in mind:

  • Remove your pet and yourself from danger as soon as possible. If it’s safe, try stabilizing your pet’s wounds before moving.
  • In the event of a dog fight, seek help in separating the animals, and keep your hands and face out of the fight.
  • If possible, place your pet in their carrier or secure them in your car.
  • Keep your pet warm to prevent shock, but make sure they do not overheat.
  • Transport your pet to our clinic or to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Call ahead for help and to let the staff know you’re on your way so they can be prepared for your arrival.

If you have further questions about putting together a pet first aid kit, please don’t hesitate to contact Godspeed Animal Care.

The Role of Pet Rehabilitation Therapy in Veterinary Care

Pet Rehabilitation therapy is important to your pet's health and recoveryMany people seek out the care of physical therapists throughout their lifetime. Whether it be for a bad back, strengthening a limb after surgery, or regaining function after an injury, physical therapy plays a huge role in helping us stay healthy, active, and comfortable.

Animals are no different. Pet rehabilitation therapy is fast becoming a cornerstone of veterinary care. Godspeed Animal Care knows how important it is to provide the very best for our furry patients, which is why we offer pet rehabilitation therapy services for animals in the Williamsburg, Virginia area.

Pet Rehabilitation Therapy Basics

Much like physical therapy in people, pet rehabilitation therapy focuses on the relationships between muscles, bones, nerves, tendons, and ligaments in order to decrease pain and improve function. Continue…