1300 W. Conway Rd. Harbor Springs, MI 49740  231-347-2396

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Vet Clinic

Candy CornSince November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month and November 17 is National Take a Hike Day, what better way to keep your beloved senior pet in shape than to start taking them for frequent hikes? Just because they have a little gray around the muzzle, doesn’t mean they should be excluded from a fun, outdoor adventure!

There are several things to keep in mind when exercising an older pet, such as the length of the walk, the outside temperature and any medical issues. Ensure that both you and your pet have a positive experience hiking together by keeping these tips in mind:

Impaired vision/hearing: it’s not uncommon for senior animals to have limited vision or hearing loss. Be sure to keep a careful eye on them so they don’t wander off and become lost on the trail. You may want to keep them on a leash for their own protection.

Special needs: there are a number of health issues that older pets develop such as diabetes, arthritis and hypothyroidism, just to name a few. This doesn’t mean your pet should stay home, however! Just make sure your veterinarian gives you the green light when taking your pet on hikes and bring any medications with you, just in case.

Keep your expectations realistic: your dog may have been able to cruise through a five mile run in their youth, but a senior pet may be limited to just a fraction of that. Make sure to bring an ample amount of water and offer it often. If your pet hasn’t had a lot of exercise lately, start out slow to make sure they don’t overdo it.

Time it right: keep in mind that older animals are more susceptible to temperature changes/extremes. In the summer, attempt to go during the cooler hours of the day, preferably in the morning or evening, and if you take your pet out in the winter, consider outfitting them with booties and a jacket/sweater.

Make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic to have their overall health evaluated to make sure they are healthy enough to taking hiking. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.

Daisy 081617November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, which aims to bring awareness to the many adoptable older animals waiting in shelters every year to find their forever homes. Each year, Little Traverse Bay Humane Society (LTBHS) finds homes for dozens of senior animals. Younger animals may require a good deal of time from their owners to train them properly. On the other hand, an older animal is likely to be potty trained, while a puppy will require some work and patience. Another thing to consider is that young animals are still developing their personalities, but with older animals, usually what you see is what you get.

Adopting an older animal can be an incredibly rewarding experience, just take it from Emily Stratton, who recently opened her heart and home to Daisy, a 13 year old cat who was surrendered with her feline friend, Lucy, several months ago. Lucy, who was much younger, quickly got adopted, but Daisy found herself sad and lonely at the shelter, being passed up by potential adopters in favor of younger cats. Thankfully, Emily had been keeping an eye on Daisy and vowed that if she didn’t find a home during the Empty the Shelters weekend (where all adoptions were sponsored by the BISSELL Pet Foundation), that she would come on Monday and adopt her.

“It made me so sad when I heard that her buddy (Lucy) left,” Stratton said. “Her story definitely spoke to me and I had to bring her home.”

Stratton said that Daisy has been a wonderful addition, and even though she’s older, she is a great companion.

“Daisy may be an older kitty, but she has a lot of years left in her and a lot of love to give,” she said. “I would recommend adopting an older shelter animal to anyone-they need homes, too.”

It’s Important to keep in mind that older pets may require some extra TLC in regard to their health. Take these tips into consideration so that your senior pet can remain happy and healthy for many years to come!

• Regular check-ups: Make sure to visit your veterinarian for a yearly exam, even if you pet appears in good health as some diseases are not outwardly apparent.

• High-quality food is a must: Older animals are more likely to become obese due to less physical activity than their younger counterparts, so be sure that they are not only eating the appropriate amount of food, but that it’s a high-quality variety that provides your pet with the proper nutrition.

• Consider supplements: If your pet’s fur has lost its luster or if they’re having joint issues, it may be a good idea to consider supplements if your veterinarian approves of them.

• Keep up on oral health: Older animals are likely to have issues with their teeth and gums than younger animals, so schedule a yearly dental exam/cleaning.

• Get them out and about: Make sure you pet continues to be physically active in their golden years. They might not go for as long of a walk as they once did, but be sure they are getting the exercise appropriate for their age and condition. If your senior pet is not used to exercise, consult your veterinarian and develop a plan to start slowly.

Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic offers numerous options for geriatric care to ensure that your pet stays healthy well into their golden years. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.

AbleOne component of health that many people don’t take into consideration when it comes to their pet is mental health. By providing your pet with an outlet to be mentally stimulated and engaged, you’re helping to improve your pet’s overall health. This ultimately results in a happier, more well-adjusted pet. There are several ways to go about this, including:
Training. Teaching you dog a new trick has benefits beyond a better mannered pup. Working with your dog to teach them something new not only engages their brain but also keeps their daily routine fun and interesting. And that saying about old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Not true! Even if you’ve adopted a senior pet, they will definitely benefit (and enjoy!) frequent training sessions with you.

Take a leisurely walk. When you take you dog out on their walk, try not to be in a hurry. Part of what your dog enjoys so much about their daily walks is being able to take the time to smell new things. Since a dog’s sense of smell is so much greater than ours, scents allow him to “see” the world through an olfactory lens, which can keep him mentally stimulated.

Toys and puzzles-both dogs and cats benefit from toys. This can be anything from a laser pointer for your cat (which is great physical exercise, as well) to a fun treat puzzle toy for your dog (that forces them to work for their food). Many pets even enjoy interactive games like hide and seek with their owners. Or consider hiding treats for them to find throughout the house on a rainy day-they will love the challenge!

Consider a cattery-this is typically an enclosed area outside or perhaps built just off a windowsill that curious cats can cozy up in. It allows them to experience the outdoors but stay safe from predators or without getting lost. Being able to listen to birds and feel like they’re outside is a great way for them to enjoy themselves.

Socialization is key-enroll your pup in doggy daycare which is a wonderful way for them to make new friends and also learn proper social skills. This is a good way to keep them mentally stimulated and learn to be more tolerant of other dogs (and people).

As always, if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health, please contact Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

edited2Crisp air and leaves falling…is there anything better than fall? It’s a great time to get out with your pets-cooler temperatures and sunny days are perfect for a nice hike in the woods. Make sure your pet has a happy and healthy fall by keeping these tips in mind:

-Keep up with your pet’s heartworm and flea/tick medications. These pesky parasites can still be found in the cooler months, so make sure you pet still receives their preventative medications on a regular basis. Be sure to look your pet over frequently for ticks -these are easy to pick up, and 2017 has been a bad year for them!

-Speaking of walks…keep an eye on your pup to make sure they don’t gobble up something they’re not supposed to while outside. This time of year, hundreds of varieties of mushrooms pop up in the woods, and while many are harmless, there are some that could do serious harm if you dog were to consume them.

-Watch what they eat around the house, too-the cooler months often start to drive rodents inside which prompts homeowners to put out traps and rodenticides which can be potentially deadly if your pet were to ingests some. This also includes rodents who have consumed poison and died-if you pet decides to make a yummy treat of one, contact your veterinarian immediately.

-Fall means lots of fun decorations around the house, but to your pet, this might mean a new treat to chew on or fully consume. Make sure they don’t get into trinkets or candles as these items can cause intestinal obstruction (among other issues), which requires immediate medical attention.

As always, if you have any concerns about the above issues throughout the fall season (or any time!) you can make an appointment with Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

JazzieFullbodyWednesday, October 11 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, which originated as a way to prevent and reduce obesity-related health issues in pets. Obesity not only makes a huge impact on an animal’s health, but also on their general well-being, as it makes it difficult to run, play and breathe properly. It’s never easy to turn down a food request from our furry friend, but it’s necessary in order to make sure they stay healthy and happy. Make sure to abide by these tips to keep your best friend at their ideal weight:

It may be difficult for you to visually determine if your pet is obese, so make sure they receive a yearly wellness exam with your veterinarian. Here, they will be weighed and your vet can tell you what the ideal weight is for your pet. Your veterinarian will also determine if there are any underlying health obesity-related health issues.

Weigh your pet at home. It may be difficult, and your home scale might not be quite as accurate as the one at the doctor’s office, but it will give you a general idea of what your pet weighs and a way to keep track if that number starts to creep up.

Be aware of what your pet is eating. Is your pet eating a healthy, appropriate-sized portion of food each day, or is your pup all too eager to oblige when your toddler is feeding them crackers during snack time? It’s important to be aware of what your pet is consuming and to keep this amount in check.

-Feed them high-quality food. It may go without saying, but not all pet foods are created equal. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on what food would be suit your pet’s lifestyle and activity level.

Take a hike….with your pet! Taking your pet on walks obviously works better for dogs than cats, but it’s important for both cats and dogs to receive daily exercise. A laser pointer or fun toy for your cat can work wonders in regard to getting them moving. A game of fetch in the backyard or a swim at the lake are good ways to burn a few calories with your canine companion.

Finally, if in doubt about your pet’s weight, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have them evaluated. To make an appointment with Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic, please call 231-622-6363.