Tuesday, December 6, 2022

What Factors to Consider When Buying a Pet for Your Kids

 




A new pet is one of the most popular gifts for young children every year around the holidays, and never fails to bring a smile to their faces. While tiny animals are adorable and are great additions to the family, it’s important to select an animal that fits with your lifestyle and is a great fit for young children. While it might not be in your best interest to get a pony or even a brand-new puppy with a lot of energy, there are plenty of animals that make great pets, for kids of all ages!

The AVMA said it best: when you choose a pet, you accept responsibility for the health and welfare of another living thing. You’re making a promise to care for your pet for his/her entire life. You also become responsible for your pet’s impact on your family, friends, and community. Keep reading to learn a few tips and tricks so you can choose the best pet for your family.

Consider the costs associated


It’s so important that you consider your lifestyle, availability, and the time commitment necessary, so this is a successful transition for both you and your new pet. First, consider the costs of taking care of this new pet. From food, toys, and housing to veterinary bills and annual care, you’ll want to factor all of these expenses into your budget to ensure you can take on this new responsibility.

Take note of the time you have available


Another important thing to analyze is the amount of time you have available in order to care for this new animal. If you work long hours or are often out of the house / travel, you will not want to purchase an animal that needs frequent walks and attention. Exercise, play, and establishing routines are all very important, especially to young pets, and you’ll want to make sure you have enough time to devote to helping your pet adjust to their new environment.

Think about the life span


Kids can get very attached to their pets, so you will need to consider your child’s emotional attachment when choosing pets for kids. Research the life span of the pet you’re considering adding to the family and think through how this will affect your kids (from young children to older teens). Keep in mind that if you have older kids, once they leave for college or work, you may have to become the sole provider for your family pet.

Consider your child’s age


There are so many popular pets beyond just dogs and cats that you may want to consider adding to the family. Pet MD has a great list of best pets for kids broken out by age with parakeets and crested geckos recommended for children ages 4-7 and rabbits, cats, dogs, and bearded dragons recommended for kids aged 12-15.

Still not sure? Consult your veterinarian


If you are still unsure if the pet you are considering is right for your family, the best advice we can give is to consult your veterinarian. Our team at the Bregman Veterinary Group is happy to help you provide the best care for your pet to ensure a healthy life and this can include giving you a better understanding of a potential pet’s needs and how they may or may not be compatible with your family’s lifestyle. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, click here to get started!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Top Holiday Foods that are Bad for Dogs

 



Top Holiday Foods that are Bad for Dogs


The holidays are right around the corner and one of the main things everyone looks forward to is amazing holiday meals. From turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes to pumpkin pie and green bean casserole, there are so many classics that return to the dinner table in December. While family gatherings and amazing meals are awesome opportunities to unwind and indulge this holiday season for you, it’s important that your dog doesn’t also have a seat at the table.

It may feel natural to give your dog extra treats and want to share some of the delicious food, but there are a few holiday foods that can be dangerous for pups. Nothing can turn a great holiday gathering from fun to scary like an emergency trip to the vet clinic so keep reading to learn about a few top holiday foods that are bad for dogs. The more you know about what is safe for your canine best friend to eat, the better equipped you can be to share a few small things that are okay for them to eat this holiday season.

Sweets, chocolates, and baked goods


Chocolate tends to be an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it’s important to note that it is toxic to dogs and cats, states the AVMA. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it's safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets. As a rule of thumb, you should also avoid any sweets and baked goods due to them being too rich for dogs and often being filled with high amounts of artificial sweeteners which have been linked to liver failure in dogs.

Bones


While it may feel natural to feed your dog a bone, the bones left behind after a meal at the holidays are not safe treats for your pup. Bones can splinter and easily become lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive system. This can result in serious injury which makes bones off limits for your pup, even if they are licking their lips smelling your delicious turkey.

Alcoholic beverages


Wine, cocktails, and beer are popular additions to the menu during the holiday season, but they can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Alcoholic beverages have the same effect on dogs’ livers and brains as on humans’, but it doesn’t take as much to cause serious damage since your pup is much smaller. Avoid sharing your beverage with your furry friend, and same goes for if you have a boozy side dish or dessert.

Garlic, onions, shallots, and chives


All members of the onion family (or close relatives) are amazing, tasty additions, often found in a wide variety of dishes on the table. From creamy garlic potato mashed potatoes to a garlic rubbed roasted turkey, they are flavor enhancers that we love, but unfortunately your dog will need to steer clear of. Eating only a small amount of these ingredients, regardless of whether they are cooked or raw, can cause gastrointestinal irritation and should therefore be avoided.

Foods that are okay to share


To avoid focusing solely on the bad foods, we pulled together a few options that are okay for you to share this holiday season. While any food you give your dog should be given in moderation and after careful consideration, the following holiday foods are great treats.

  • Plain potatoes or sweet potatoes (hold one to the side before you mash in all the yummy flavor additives!)
  • Plain peas
  • Turkey meat (avoid the bone or skin)
  • Apple slices

For a full list of foods to avoid, and holiday safety tips, click here for the AVMA winter holiday pet safety guide. If you have any questions or need any help from us here at the Bregman Veterinary Group, give us a call at (863) 588-4200 for Reunion Veterinary Hospital or (407) 545-7789 for the Veterinary Hospital of Celebration and a team member will gladly help!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

3 Tips for Traveling by Plane with Pets

 



3 Tips for Traveling by Plane with Pets


As so many people consider their pets part of their families, it’s easy to understand how they quickly can become travel companions. While traveling by car is by far the easiest route to travel with your pet, going long distances might make this tricky and many pet owners turn to booking air travel. Anyone who has ever flown a commercial airline has most likely seen a cat or dog in the airport along with their owners, but unless you have traveled with your pet by plane you may not be familiar with the best practices. Here are some of the top trips for traveling by plane with your pet.

Read the airlines regulations, thoroughly


All airlines have easily accessible information on their website regarding pet travel that helps you prepare ahead of time, so you know what to expect. These guidelines and requirements often include carry-on pet requirements, shipping options for large pets, and service dog rules as well as size limits for kennels and age requirements of the pet. Delta airlines has an easy to navigate webpage dedicated to just this that also includes their fee structure, how to book your pets ticket, and what to expect when you visit their Delta Sky Club®.

Purchase the appropriate carrier


It’s important that your carrier not only follows the rules and regulations of the airline you are flying, but also that it is comfortable and size appropriate for your pet. Since travel by air is often quite long (especially when you add the time from the entrance of one airport to the exit of the next) this is even more critical that there is appropriate space for your pet to be safe and sound. Even though most airlines will accept either hard-sided carriers or soft-sided carriers (which may be more comfortable for your pet), you will still want to do your homework as some soft-sided carriers are acceptable only to certain airlines.

Use direct flights when you can


While layovers can be annoying for humans, they can be even more stressful and exhausting for pets. It’s important to try and use direct flights whenever possible to avoid any possible delays and the extra stress of two boarding processes. Layovers can be unpredictable and add time to an already long journey, so it’s best to avoid when you can so your pet has the least amount of time in transit as possible.

Safety is paramount


While over 2 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States, it’s important to remember that air transportation systems were not specifically designed for the carriage of animals. Prior to traveling, there are a few key people you should contact regarding your travel arrangements that the AVMA suggests. These people include your veterinarian, the airline or travel company, your accommodations (hotel, motel, etc.), the USDA (to learn about that state’s regulations) and the foreign consulate (for international travel).


If you have questions regarding traveling with your pet for this upcoming holiday season or simply need to schedule your next appointment with the Bregman Veterinary Group, all you have to do is click here to get started!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Poisonous Plants Every Cat Owner Should Avoid

 




Houseplants have always been a popular way to bring the outside in. These have become so popular recently that many attribute the COVID-19 pandemic as the driver for houseplant sales to go through the roof. In fact, recent studies show that 66% of all American households own at least one houseplant. With more people now having plants at home than ever before, so many people are taking advantage of this beautiful way to add some color and life to your indoor oasis.

While it’s easy to find indoor plants when shopping, it is not as easy to determine which ones are in fact safe for your four-legged family members. A lot of people now know that there are many plants that are actually dangerous for pets, so if you’re looking to buy a new plant for your home, it’s important you do your homework before making a purchase to ensure the plant is not poisonous to your cat or dog.

Most poisonous plants to cats

  • Below is the AVMA list of some of the most commonly grown greenery that should be kept away from plants.
  • Certain types of lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are highly toxic to cats, resulting in kidney failure — even if only small amounts are ingested.
  • Lily of the Valley, oleander, yew, foxglove, and kalanchoe may cause heart problems if ingested.
  • Sago palms (Cycas species) can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures and liver damage, especially if the nut portion of the plant is consumed.
  • Azaleas, rhododendrons and tulip/narcissus bulbs can cause intestinal upset, weakness, depression, heart problems, coma and death.
  • Castor beans can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures, coma, and death. Other plants that can cause intestinal upset include cyclamen, amaryllis, chrysanthemums, pothos, English ivy, philodendron, corn plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, hibiscus, hydrangea, peace lily and schefflera/schefflera.
  • Rhubarb leaves and shamrock contain substances that can produce kidney failure.
  • Fungi, such as certain types of mushrooms, can cause liver damage or other illnesses.

Another great resource for determining poisonous plants for pets is the ASPCA toxic and non-toxic plants list.

Other plants to be aware of


While plants like those listed above are important to avoid as part of your interior d├ęcor, there are also some flowers you will want to steer clear of. These include common flowers like daffodils, tulips, lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums. These vibrant flowers can add pops of color to your tables and bouquets but can also be dangerous if your cats get too close.

Signs your cat has been poisoned by a plant


Even if you do your due diligence to avoid poisonous plants inside your home, some may sneak in through seasonal bouquets or your cat may become exposed if they venture outside. While it may be hard to determine which part of the plant is toxic to cats, it’s safer to assume that all parts of it are poisonous, even if some parts may contain higher concentrations of a toxin. Some symptoms to keep an eye out for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, labored breathing, depression, appetite loss, and more.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important that you take swift action and contact your veterinarian. Immediate care includes removing any plant material that you may find from your cat’s mouth, skin, and coat, keeping them confined and closely monitored, and contacting your veterinary office and either the pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661 or animal poison control at 888-426-4435.

Keep in mind that giving the name of the plant your cat potentially (or did) ingest is very important, so even if you don’t know what it is, bringing a sample with you in a Ziplock bag to your veterinarian’s office could make a difference. If you are ready to schedule your next vet appointment at the Bregman Veterinary Group, reach out to our team today.

Monday, August 15, 2022

How to Ease Separation Anxiety in Dogs

 


Bringing a new dog into your home is one of the most exciting times for you and your family. As they quickly become integrated in your life and their new home, chances are you won’t have time to spend with them 24/7. While you may think that leaving your four-legged new best friend is difficult for you, especially in the beginning, separation anxiety could be extremely traumatic and scary for your dog. It’s important not to feel hopeless if you notice any signs that your dog is struggling from separation anxiety, but instead arm yourself with tips, tricks, and knowledge so you and your dog can feel more at ease.

 

Signs of separation anxiety in dogs

 

There are many tell-tale signs that your dog is having issues with separation anxiety but if you have never had a pet before or if some of these behaviors are foreign to you, you may not notice right away. Some of the top signs include:

  • Pacing and getting nervous when you are getting ready to leave the house, head for the door, start putting on your shoes, or grab your keys.
  • A burst of over-the-top energy and joy every time you come home or walk through the door.
  • Destroying furniture and things like shoes and blankets around the house while you’re gone.
  • Claw marks on the door or chew marks on the corner of end tables while you’re gone.
  • Barking and howling persistently while you’re gone (you’ll likely know if you have close neighbors or a camera you can monitor when you are gone)
  • Signs of escaping like digging and chewing through doors and windows.

Tips and tricks to help ease the anxiety

 

Since it is not likely that you will be able to spend every minute with your dog, there are a few tips you can have up your sleeve to help if you begin to notice signs of separation anxiety. One great way to reinforce calm behavior is to make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Another is to give your dog a special treat when you leave (remember to take it away when you get home, so it’s associated with the absence of you). Finally, try leaving some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.

Reasons why dogs may suffer from separation anxiety

 

While not every pup suffers from separation anxiety, it is important to know that this is a common problem that many dogs experience. The ASPCA states that some of the top reasons why dogs develop separation include:

 

  • Change of guardian or family: especially for older dogs that were abandoned and/or adopted from a shelter. 
  • Change in schedule: abrupt changes in your work schedule, time away from home, and/or other major life changes can be startling for your pup. 
  • Change in residence: you know how stressful moving can be for humans, imagine how disorienting it can be for dogs as well.

In addition to life changes, there may be something more serious underlying where their behaviors that you notice are actually caused by medical problems. If you notice extreme behavior or are concerned about how your dog is acting, it’s important that you consult your veterinarian. If you need to schedule an appointment with the Bregman Veterinary Group, click here to get started!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

3 Signs That Your Cat Might Be Sick

 


Cats are naturally independent animals that don’t need as much attention as more active pets like hyper dogs. Cat attitudes range from recluse and quiet to vocal and playful and you’ll notice early on by how your cat interacts with you and others in your home. Since these stoic pets sometimes hide their discomfort when they are feeling sick, it’s important to get to know your cat and their habits early on so you can detect if something is off at any point.

Change in behavior

Since cats are creatures of habit, it’s easy to settle into a routine quickly once you bring them home. If you happen to notice that their behavior is changing, it’s important you take notice. One behavioral change that can be alarming is if you have a quiet cat that becomes vocal all of a sudden or even noticeable more frequently than before. This type of increased vocalization with more meows than usual may signal that your cat is in pain or uncomfortable. Another behavioral change to pay attention to is in terms of socialization. Some cats love attention and affection and if you and your cat are very friendly you will likely notice if they become shier and more disconnected. This decreased level of socialization could be a sign that something is wrong, especially since cats in general tend to avoid socializing when they aren’t feeling well.

Change in appearance

Cats are meticulous groomers and love to keep their fur nice and clean. Pay attention if you notice that your cats grooming habits are changing. One sign that they aren’t feeling well is if they look a bit unkempt with a greasy / oily coat and more matting than normal. When cats are uncomfortable or too tired, they may cut back on taking care of themselves. On the other hand, if you begin to notice bald spots or red / irritated skin this is a sign that they are over grooming. This can be caused by a variety of things from allergies and change of medicine to anxiety and other illnesses.

Change in weight

Every pet owner knows that keeping your pet at a healthy weight by feeding them a balanced diet is important. Since you are in charge of feeding them, you’ll likely notice when your pet is refusing to eat or is overeating. According to the ASPCA, cat weight loss, which can happen quickly or over a more extended period of time, and rapid weight gain can be signs your cat is sick.

When in doubt, consult your veterinarian

The CDC reports that nearly 40 million households in the United States have pet cats, and this number has been growing rapidly ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were looking for companionship. With more people becoming pet owners now than ever before, it’s important to educate yourself before bringing your pet home with the best practices for keeping them safe, healthy, active, and happy. If you notice any of the changes listed above or if you suspect your cat might be sick, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If you need to schedule an appointment with the Bregman Veterinary Group, click here to get started!

How to Crate Train Your Puppy

 How to Crate Train Your Puppy


Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for families and pets alike, but it’s important to remember that the transition can be overwhelming to even the friendliest pups. Training your new pet early on is important to setting them up for success in their new home. Since your home is foreign to the pup, introducing your dog to a crate and getting them trained to treat that crate like their own safe haven has amazing benefits. Even though crate training can make pet owners feel guilty, these shelters can quickly become awesome training tools and comfortable hideouts if you approach the training the right way. Before your pup comes home, make sure you buy a crate that is the right one for your dog. Do your research regarding the type of crate and size and make sure to have it at home before they join the family so it’s part of their environment from the very beginning.

Ensure your mindset and attitude is always positive

Pets can tell when we have strong emotions like anger and sadness, and they will often mimic those feelings or react to them. This means that if you have an uncomfortable or anxious mindset when it comes to crate training, chances are that your pet will too. Instead, establish a relaxed mindset and encourage your pup to experience the crate during happy moments with you nearby and the crate door open so they see it as a place of rest and fun.

Make the crate a cozy space

It’s important to make your pets crate a comfortable home for them, but keep in mind that young pups tend to be mischievous. Some puppies like to rip apart pee pads and dig into dog beds so try a few different options including dog beds, towels, and blankets. Some dogs do prefer hard cold surfaces, especially when they are warm so try not to overstuff the crate.

Reward your dog after they go into the crate

If you are positive about the experience, your pet will feel much more comfortable and less reluctant about going into the crate. Rewarding your pup with a small treat after they spend time in the crate and/or go in by themselves is a great way to positively reinforce that the crate is a safe space that you would like them to spend time in. Try out one of American Kennel Club’s trick’s and give your pup a KONG toy filled with peanut butter that has been put in the freezer if you’re looking for a fun way to keep them occupied for a while. This delicious treat has to be worked down due to it being frozen and it gives them a fun activity to enjoy while inside their new safe haven.

Vary the amount of time your pup is in the crate

It’s important to approach crate training in small steps and therefore you won’t want to leave them there for long periods of time, especially in the beginning. Try small steps like 20–30-minute stints in the crate before you leave them for longer. Make sure that your pet has plenty of time to exercise and has lots of human interaction so they don’t become depressed or anxious. Don’t forget to reward them when you come back so you reinforce that they did a good job.

Make sure the crate is not a punishment

While these tips are great ways to help encourage your pup to like and feel comfortable in their crate, the most important rule of thumb is to make sure your dog does not feel trapped, scared, or frustrated in the crate. The Humane Society states that while crates can be used to manage a behavior, they should never be used for punishment. If you are adopting a new puppy and need to schedule a veterinary appointment, our team at Bregman Veterinary Group is here to help. At Bregman Veterinary Group we make it our mission to help you determine the best course of action for your pet from the very beginning so that they can live long, healthy lives. To schedule an appointment for your new pup, click here to get started.