Halloween Pet Safety

Halloween is a much-anticipated holiday for many of us, but our pets may not be so keen. This scare-filled holiday can be a terrifying experience for pets who don’t always understand that the goblins at the door and blood-curdling screams aren’t real. Additionally, all the candy is quite the dangerous temptation! Learn more about these Halloween hazards and how to properly protect your pet with our Halloween pet safety tips!

Being Cautious with Costumes

Costumes for your pet can cause more trouble than they may be worth. It all depends on whether or not your pet enjoys being dressed up, and if they don’t, you may need to find a suitable alternative. Try your pet’s costume on them a few days before Halloween to see how they react and how it fits. A costume should never restrict your pet’s movement, breathing, eyesight, or hearing. Additionally, make sure it doesn’t have any parts hanging off that are easily edible. If your pet seems to be comfortable in their ‘stume and is loving the attention, then you’re good to go! Just always make sure your pet is supervised while in costume so they don’t get themselves into any trouble.

Avoiding Decoration Disasters

Pets can be awfully curious, which sometimes means sticking their noses where they don’t belong! Halloween decorations including candles, jack-o’-lanterns, electrical lights, and animatronics can be particularly dangerous for our furry friends. Make sure to put lit candles and jack-o’-lanterns well out of reach of wagging tails. Electrical cords should also be secured away from your pet’s reach because they often mistake them for chew toys!

Keeping Scary Noises to a Minimum

Pets can easily become anxious and frightened from all the spooky noises and an incessantly ringing doorbell! Halloween recordings can be a popular accompaniment to your porch décor, but try to keep the speakers facing outward so the scary sounds don’t flood your house. Additionally, if possible, sit outside to hand out candy so kids don’t have to ring the doorbell. If you can’t muffle the noises, it might be best to put your pet in a quiet back room where they can relax for the evening. Your veterinarian can also prescribe anti-anxiety medication if your pet is overly anxious.

Interested in more Halloween pet safety tips? Contact our animal hospital at (806) 792-8387 or ask your veterinarian at your next appointment!

Pet Heat Safety in Lubbock

We all know that summers can get hot—really hot. Yet, many of us might not realize the toll excessive heat can take on our pets. Our own experience is to sweat it out, but our cats and dogs can’t sweat like we can, and those fur coats don’t help either. They release heat through panting and can sweat minimally through their paws. Often, though, this is not enough. To prevent heatstroke in your pet, view our animal hospital’s pet heat safety tips on how to keep it cool this summer!

Pet Heat Safety in Lubbock: A Dog Rests in the Shade

How to Keep It Cool

  • Take your dog’s daily walks earlier in the morning or later in the evening, when the temperature is a little bit cooler.
  • Try not to walk on hot asphalt. Your pet cools down from the bottom up (remember, they can sweat a bit through their paws) but on hot pavement, the heat radiating off it can increase their body temperature to dangerous levels. Not to mention the pavement can burn their paws, too!
  • Whenever your pet is outdoors in warmer weather, make sure they have sufficient cool water to drink as well as a shady place to lie down and rest.
  • While cats typically enjoy an indoor lifestyle with the AC, be careful not to set the temperature too high when you go out. 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit is a good level to keep it at for your kitty.
  • Keep in mind that flat-faced dog breeds such as Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, and cats such as Himalayans, Persians, and Burmillas can all have a harder time keeping cool. This is due to their facial design—their short snouts don’t allow enough air to get through for efficient panting, so pay closer attention to their needs during the summer!

Recognizing Signs of Heatstroke

In the event your pet does suffer from heat stroke, it’s important to recognize the symptoms so you can bring them to your veterinarian right away. These include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Stupor
  • Increased heart rate
  • Reddened gums
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

If you suspect your pet is having a heatstroke, get them into an air-conditioned area as quickly as possible and wrap their bodies in damp, cool towels. Make sure the towels are not too cold—this could send their bodies into shock. As soon as you are able, bring your pet to your veterinarian where we can replenish fluids and help bring the body temperature into a normal range.

Have any questions about pet heat safety in Lubbock? Contact us today!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Bulldog sitting down and brushing his teeth with a blue toothbrush that has toothpaste bubbles

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

SOURCE: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

4 Reasons to See a Vet

Reasons to See a Vet in Lubbock, TX

Our pets may seem happy-go-lucky most of the time, but the truth is, they age about 7x faster than we do! This is why it’s so important to take your pet to a vet like The Veterinary Clinic of Lubbock in Lubbock, TX, at least once per year. Below is a list of four of the most common reasons that we recommend pet owners bring their best friend into the vet:

Comprehensive Pet Wellness Exams

Pets can’t tell us they’re not feeling well or that they’re in pain, and since some health problems are asymptomatic, your pet could have an illness that you wouldn’t know about without a veterinary exam. Here at The Veterinary Clinic of Lubbock, we recommend that all pets have a comprehensive wellness exam at least once a year so we can either make sure your pet is healthy or provide treatment recommendations if they’re not. Even if your pet seems to be completely healthy, it’s still important to take them to the vet every year to find out for sure.


Preventive Pet Care

The best way to treat your pet’s health problems is to prevent them in any way you can. That’s why our veterinarians place such a strong emphasis on preventive care. From parasites to viruses, there are dozens of possible threats to your pet’s health that justify keeping your pet on a year-round parasite preventive product and keeping them updated on their vaccinations. We can recommend the best products to fit your pet’s lifestyle at their next visit.


Dental Care

Dental disease is one of the most common health problems seen in pets. In fact, more than 50% of dogs and cats have some form of gum disease by just 3 years of age. Gum disease can lead to infection, tooth loss, and even a shortened lifespan if left untreated. This is why dental care is another reason you should see a vet on a regular basis. The Veterinary Clinic of Lubbock offers comprehensive dentistry to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. With annual dental visits to our clinic, you can lower or even eliminate your pet’s chances of developing gum disease.


Diagnostic Care

Sometimes the results of a comprehensive exam aren’t enough to fully diagnose a pet’s condition, and advanced diagnostic care is needed. This technology allows a veterinarian to examine your pet internally to detect fractures/broken bones, foreign bodies, and a number of other conditions. If you’ve noticed your pet limping or suspect they ate a non-edible item, we recommend that X-rays be taken to find out for sure.


If it’s been a while since your pet has seen a vet, or if you’re looking for a new one, please contact us to schedule a visit with our team. We look forward to helping your pet lead a happy and healthy life for years to come!

Holiday Safety Tips

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The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips