TCAP Blog

Posted by Robert Knox

March 10, 2017

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Feral Cats and TNR

Many people believe that stray cats and feral cats are one in the same. While feral cats and stray cats are the same species, they differ greatly. It is important to be able to spot these differences so you can know how best to interact and care for outdoor cats that may live near you.

What is a “Feral” Cat?

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A stray cat is a pet cat that is lost or abandoned by its previous home. Stray cats may enjoy close interaction with people. Feral cats are wild and prefer little-to-no contact with humans and are well-suited to living outdoors. Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats or other feral cats. They are not accustomed to contact with people and are typically too fearful and wild to be handled.

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Without intervention, feral cat populations can quickly get out of control. In fact, female cats may become pregnant as early as 4 months of age and can have two to three litters per year. Being pregnant and nursing kittens is very stressful to female cats that are struggling to survive. More than half of feral kittens likely die due to malnutrition. Commonly, people will take on the responsibility of feeding outdoor cats on a regular basis. However, this will only perpetuate the problem of cat overpopulation if the cats are not sterilized.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a strategy for improving the lives of feral cats and humanely reducing their numbers. The name for Trap-Neuter-Return is quite literal. First, feral cats are trapped in live traps by caretakers or rescues. These trapped cats are then brought to a local veterinarian for sterilization. Lastly, these cats are returned to their original capture site to continue living their life as they did before. At minimum, feral cats that are TNR’d are spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, and surgically ear-tipped on one ear. An ear tip is the universally recognized sign of a cat that has been TNR’d.

Why is TNR Important?

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Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is generally accepted to be the most humane and effective way to control feral cat overpopulation. Once spayed, female feral cats tend to live much healthier lives because they will no longer have to provide nutrients to litter-after-litter. Male cats have a reduced need to roam and defend territory once they are neutered, thus reducing their chances of injury.

Other efforts to control feral cat populations typically include relocating cats. This method is usually less effective because feral cats can typically reproduce faster than they can be removed from the environment. TNR operates on the idea that once an entire colony is TNR’d, the existing cats claim the resources within their territory which deters other cats from entering. If all cats in a feral colony are TNR’d there is no longer a fight for food and shelter and all cats may have a healthier, safer life as a result.

TCAP now offers free feral sterilizations for the first 12 feral cats per surgery day at our 6 main locations in Denton, Fort Worth, Burleson, Allen, Hurst and Weatherford on regular surgery days. Cats must be in individual live traps and their ear will be tipped. Caretakers just pay $5.00 for a rabies vaccine. Extra fees apply if the cat is crypt orchid or pregnant. To learn more about TCAP’s feral policies, visit http://www.texasforthem.org/feral-cats/feral-fix-program/.

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Posted by Robert Knox

March 3, 2017

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A World Without Spay and Neuter

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As a spay and neuter clinic, we often encounter the question, why should I spay and neuter my pet? To answer, let us propose an interesting scenario, instead. For just a moment, imagine a world without spay and neuter.

Efficient Reproduction

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No matter their breed, background or training, all dogs and cats share one talent-they do a great job at reproducing. According to the ASPCA, a female cat can give birth to up to two litters per year that result in 4-6 kittens on average. A female dog can have one litter per year and that results in 4-6 puppies (larger dogs have larger litters). Puppies and kittens are able to reproduce as soon as they reach their first heat cycle at 4-6 months old. Assuming an average of 4 animals per litter, this means that in the course of one year a cat and her offspring can produce 30 kittens. Dogs, because they can only have one litter, will reproduce overall a little slower and would produce approximately 16 puppies. Without physical intervention, these numbers will only grow exponentially.

Lack of Resources

Despite the current combined efforts of responsible owners, veterinarians, adoption agencies, fosters, rescue groups, and animal shelters, approximately 3.4 million animals are euthanized in United States animal shelters every year. This is not done out of malice, but simply a lack of room and a lack of resources for the number of pets in our country. And that number is with the availability of low cost, high quality resources like TCAP for spay and neuter. Now imagine what that number would grow to without the benefits of preventative spays and neuters available to most any household. The ultimate outcome would be far more dismal and costly.

The Solution

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Luckily, we don’t have to live in a world without spay and neuter services that most anyone can afford. In fact, any veterinary professional would tell you that spaying and neutering is the most humane and effective way to combat pet overpopulation. As a nonprofit, TCAP seeks to overcome this barrier by providing the lowest cost spays, neuters, and vaccinations in North Texas. If you have any questions about sterilizing your pet or request an appointment at one of our convenient locations, give us a call at 940-566-5551 today! Together we can make a difference for people and their pets throughout North Texas.

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Posted by Robert Knox

February 21, 2017

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Commonly Asked Questions about Kittens

At TCAP, we have the pleasure of meeting many kittens. During these visits we often receive common questions from new kitten owners. In an effort to make raising a kitten easier, our staff has compiled a list of answers to commonly asked questions.

 

Will Her Eyes Stay Blue?

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Kittens don’t open their eyes until they are about 1-2 weeks of age. At this stage, their eyes will often appear as a grayish-blue, but this color does tend to fade into your kitten’s permanent eye color at around 4-7 weeks of age. More often than not, the permanent color is just as beautiful as the blue of early kitten-hood.

 

When Can She Start Eating Solid Food?

Mother kittens tend to begin leaving their kittens for extended periods of time when the kittens reach 5 weeks of age. At this point, kittens are perfectly able to eat solid kitten food and should be encouraged to do so at 4-5 weeks of age.

 

How Do I House-Train Him?

Thankfully, most kittens have natural instincts that fit perfectly with using a litterbox. To introduce a kitten to this process, simply feed your kitten(s), put him inside a litterbox filled with cat litter, and wait! It may take a couple repeats, but quickly enough your kitten will catch on and eliminate into the litter box. Repeat this process a few times over the course of a day or two to let your kitten get acquainted with where his litter box is and you are set. When placing your cat’s litter box, it is best to keep your kitten’s litter box separate from their food and on the ground for easy access.

 

When Does He Get His Shots?

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Kitten shots are given in two sets. The first set of shots should be given when a kitten is 9-11 weeks of age. The first round of shots includes an FHCPCh and FeLV vaccine and a general dewormer. The second set of kitten shots should be given 3-4 weeks later and includes the Rabies, FHCPCh and FeLV vaccines and a general dewormer. From then on, vaccines must be boostered on an annual basis. For an easy guide on kitten vaccines visit: http://www.texasforthem.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Vaccinations.png

 

When Should I Spay or Neuter?

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Kittens can become pregnant at as early as 4 months of age. Veterinarians working with TCAP will provide spays and neuters to kittens that weigh more than 2lbs. Most often, kittens reach this weight at about 2-3 months of age. For male kittens, it is important to wait until both of their testicles have dropped before the procedure. You may have heard that females need to wait until after their first heat cycle to be spayed, however there is no need for this and they can be safely spayed before their first heat.

                To learn more about the prices of kitten spays and neuters or to request an appointment, visit TCAP’s website: http://www.texasforthem.org/services/spay-neuter/cat-spayneuter/

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Posted by Robert Knox

February 17, 2017

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Tapeworms

                Intestinal parasites are a disgusting, but relatively common threat to your pets. At TCAP, we regularly help pets that need a quick dewormer to clear their system of parasites hoping to absorb the nutrients pets need to stay healthy and happy. Today, we will focus on the tapeworm, how to identify it, and how to clear it out of your pet’s system.

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What are Tapeworms?

                Tapeworms are flat intestinal worms that are made up of many small segments, each about a quarter of an inch long. These worms thrive by attaching to the wall of the small intestine using hook-like mouthparts. The most common type of tapeworm found in household pets is known as Dipylidium Caninum. Adult tapeworms may reach up to 8 inches in length formed of individual segments. These segments will occasionally break off from the end to be passed when a pet defecates. These segments are known as proglottids and are an easy indicator to look for to see if your pet has been infected. As these tapeworm segments dry, it begins to turn a golden color and eventually breaks open, releasing the fertilized eggs into the environment.

 

How Do Pets Get Tapeworms?

                Unlike roundworms, the most common intestinal parasite in pets, tapeworms must first pass through an intermediate host (a flea) before they can infect a pet. Pets will consume infected fleas either during grooming or in response to a flea bite. Ingesting infected fleas is the most common way a pet can get tapeworms, therefore one of the best ways to prevent tapeworms is to ensure that your pet’s environment is flea-free or that your pet is on a flea preventative.

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Symptoms to Look For

                Ever notice flecks of rice in your pet’s stool or in the fur around their anus? This is a surefire sign that your pet is infected with tapeworms. Pets with tapeworms may also exhibit a behavior known as “scooting”. Please note that scooting can occur for a variety of reasons so this is not a reliable symptom.

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Treatment

                Treatment is quick and simple. At TCAP, we offer a Droncit injection to clear the tapeworms out of your pet’s system. This injection is $10 for cats and $15 for dogs. On rare cases, this injection will need to be provided again 2-3 weeks later, but most often a single dose does the trick. Droncit injections are offered on a walk-in basis during TCAP’s vaccine hours, if you think your pet has tapeworms, find a convenient time and our friendly and experienced veterinary team would love to be of assistance: http://www.texasforthem.org/hours-locations/vaccinations/.

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Posted by Robert Knox

February 9, 2017

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Dog Breath Explained

               Dog Breath. We have all fallen victim to its stench at one time or another. Many of our clients believe that this is to be expected and is uncontrollable as their dogs age. At TCAP, we know that this doesn’t have to be true. Today we will examine dog breath and reveal how you can drastically improve it.

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Common Causes

Most often, bad breath is caused by dental or periodontal (gum) disease. It should also be noted that small dogs are especially prone to plaque and tartar build up. In rarer cases, bad breath can be a warning sign of a possible kidney disease or foreign (non-food) substances. A decrease in kidney function can make a dog’s breath smell similar to ammonia. This is a result of waste product, normally filtered by the kidneys, accumulating in the canine’s bloodstream and then eventually revealing itself through bad breath.

Dogs love to chew and your dog’s teeth can hold elements of foreign substances such as bones, toys, and sticks. Dogs are also notorious for eating things that they shouldn’t such as feces and long-dead animals. Wet food in particular can stick to pet’s teeth and cause quick plaque buildup.  All these items can contribute to your dog’s bad breath.

Periodontal Disease

Like with humans, dental care is vital to keeping your pet healthy. If periodontal (gum) disease is left untreated it can lead to health complications such as heart, lung, and kidney disease.  The keys to your pet’s oral health are professional veterinary dental care and attentive home care. If your dog receives regular teeth cleaning and still has bad breath, you should visit your full service veterinarian to find its cause.

Treatment

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              TCAP recommends dental cleaning on an annual basis when a pet reaches three years of age. TCAP uses light anesthesia to keep pets asleep during the cleaning procedure that includes techniques and tools similar to your own dentist. During a TCAP dental cleaning, your pet’s teeth will receive a supragingival cleaning (cleaning above the gum line), subgingival cleaning (cleaning under the gum line), polishing, antibacterial or saline flush, and fluoride treatment. These steps clean your pet’s teeth, remove and prevent plaque, and harden your pet’s teeth to help protect them in the future.

              The subgingival cleaning or cleaning below the gum line removes subgingival plaque and calculus which are the causes of periodontal disease. Subgingival cleaning is not possible through home remedies so it is recommended that you have your pet’s teeth cleaned even if they receive regular brushing or teeth-cleaning toys/snacks.  Click here learn more about TCAP’s dental program. If you wish to have your pet’s teeth cleaned, you may Request an Appointment online or call (940) 566-5551.

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Posted by Robert Knox

February 3, 2017

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Common Myths About Spay and Neuter

At our clinics, we love to talk to people about their pets. From time to time, we hear misinformation about spay and neuter services and we cannot express enough the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. Sterilization is not only good for your individual pet, but also for the animal community as a whole. We have comprised a list of the most common myths involving spaying and neutering pets to clear the air on the subject:

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MYTH: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.
FACT: Every litter counts.

 

Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. At TCAP, our veterinarians regularly provide spays and neuters for pets 6-8 weeks of age so long as they are over 2lbs.

 

As a pet owner, this should be great news because it’s a lot easier to live with a spayed female or a neutered male. Spayed females won’t have a heat cycle, eliminating the likelihood that they will leave bloodstains on your favorite white pants or your newly upholstered sofa, and neutered males are less likely to desire to roam or dart off in search of a mate.

 

There are health benefits to fixing your pet as well.  Dogs that are spayed before their first heat cycle have a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer and it essentially eliminates the risk of developing uterine or ovarian cancer. In the same way, neutering male pets eliminates testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate problems. Perhaps most importantly, choosing to spay or neuter your pet means you won’t run the risk of contributing to canine or feline overpopulation in your community.

 

MYTH: My pet is too young to be spayed or neutered. 
FACT: In many cases, younger is better.

Some young animals can reach sexual maturity as early as 4 months of age. With cats, especially, spaying or neutering sooner can prevent unwanted litters. Young dogs and cats can be better able to handle the surgery. Younger pets may come out of anesthesia more smoothly and recover more quickly with less bleeding and pain.

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MYTH: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.
FACT: Your pet’s puppies or kittens have an unlikely chance of being a carbon copy of your pet.

Even professional breeders cannot make this guarantee. Just like all people are unique individuals, our pets are all unique as well. Aside from this, there are shelter pets waiting for homes that are just as cute, smart, sweet, and loving as your own.

 

MYTH: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
FACT: Spays and neuters range from just $20-$65 at TCAP!

As a non-profit, TCAP strives to make essential pet care affordable throughout DFW. TCAP’s prices are, on average, 70% less than what traditional veterinary clinics charge.

TCAP contracts licensed veterinarians who have extensive surgical experience and are well-versed in preventative animal care. We also employ experienced and caring veterinary technicians who work alongside and support our veterinary team during their surgery sessions. Our compassionate employees and our amazing shelter and rescue partners throughout North Texas help us in the fight against euthanasia in our area shelters. To learn more about TCAP’s Spay and Neuter Program visit: http://www.texasforthem.org/services/spay-neuter/

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Posted by Robert Knox

January 20, 2017

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5 Fun Facts about Dogs

At TCAP we are pet lovers first, and we enjoy the pets and their people who visit our clinics every day. If you a pet lover too, you may enjoy learning these five fun facts about dogs listed below that really set them apart from us and other animals.

Dog Days of Summer

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Ever wonder what this means? The saying “dog days of summer” originated in ancient Greece and Rome to describe the hottest days of summer that coincided with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.

Extreme Senses

Dogs have serious senses! Most humans have better vision during the day and almost 4x as many taste buds as dogs, but canines still have us outclassed when it comes to smelling and hearing. A dog’s hearing can pick up sounds that are far too high pitched for humans to hear. Their hearing range can pick up a range of frequencies between 67 Hz to 45 kHz, compared to humans who can hear a range between 20 Hz to 20 kHz. A dog’s nose also functions very differently than our own. A dog’s nose processes up to 300 million olfactory receptors, compared to a human’s 6 million. Also, the part of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smell is, proportionally, 40 times greater than a human’s. All these factors combine to allow a dog’s sense of smell to work at least 10,000 times better than our own!

Famous Female Dogs

Did you know that Toto from Wizard of Oz was female? She was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry. The Taco Bell Chihuahua is also a female and her name is Gidget.

Variety

Dogs can vary drastically in size and weight. The tallest dog breed is the Irish Wolfhound measuring an average of 34-35 inches. The heaviest dog breed is the English Mastiff weighing as much as 250lbs (the heaviest weight for any dog was for an English Mastiff named Alcama Zorba that weighed a whopping 343 pounds). On the opposite end of the scale, the average Chihuahua weighs an average of just 4-6lbs.

Cooling Off

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In addition to sweating from their paw pads, dogs use rapid breathing to prevent overheating. Amazingly, a panting dog can take 300-400 breaths per minute (compared to his regular 30-40) with very little effort. Because of his natural elasticity of his lungs and airways, panting does not expend much of your pet’s energy, nor does it create additional heat.

We appreciate all the amazing things about you and your dog at TCAP. We offer low cost vaccines, hw testing and hw prevention every Monday-Saturday at locations throughout North Texas. Come and visit us during one of our events. We’d love to meet you and your amazing pets! You can view our vaccine events online anytime at: http://www.texasforthem.org/hours-locations/vaccinations/

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Posted by Robert Knox

January 12, 2017

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Winter Pet Safety

Texas winters are unpredictable!  When the outdoor temperature drops, it is important to keep your pets safe and comfortable. We’ve listed some of the most common dangers you need to consider:

Cold Weather Chemicals

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                If you plan to take your dog on extended walks, be sure to bring a towel to clean and dry stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Because they lick their paws after a walk, dogs are at a particular risk of poisoning. Antifreeze is another deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that can attract animals and children. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach.

Basic Needs

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                Pets burn more calories during the winter in order to stay warm. Feed your pet a little bit more during cold weather months to help provide much-needed calories. Routinely check your pet’s outdoor water dish to make certain his water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal ones. Washing your pets too often during winter months can remove essential oils and increase the chances of your pets developing dry, flaky skin. If your pet must be bathed, make certain to use a moisturizing shampoo.

Exposure

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               Despite his natural fur coat, your pet can freeze or become injured as a result of extended exposure to cold temperatures. Here is a good rule of thumb: if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Dogs may still enjoy going on walks, but make certain that they are not left outside for extended periods of time. If your pet must be outdoors for any length of time, he must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter. Be sure that it is large enough to allow him to move comfortably, but small enough to hold in his body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Cats should not be left outdoors without shelter for extended periods, even if they roam outside during other seasons.

Because pets are more prone to be disoriented by cold weather (especially snow), it is a good idea to make certain that their microchip and ID tag information are up-to-date. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip or engraved ID tag, TCAP provides those services during our walk-in vaccine hours. You can check out our online calendar to see when you can bring your pet by a TCAP location anytime at: http://www.texasforthem.org/hours-locations/vaccinations/

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Posted by Robert Knox

December 30, 2016

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New Year’s Resolutions with Your Pet

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               The New Year is just around the corner and most of us our making our list of New Year’s resolutions. Many of these resolutions focus on self-improvement (dieting, exercise, weight loss, attaining a new skill, etc), but why not make a resolution that includes your four-legged friends as well? Pets are an ever-present part our lives year-round, so shouldn’t they be involved in our new year’s resolutions too? Their presence has been shown to even inspire us to make the extra effort to improve.

Here are a few recommendations for pet-inclusive 2017 resolutions:

Resolution: Exercise More

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               It’s not always easy to take our dogs for a walk, but if you make walking your dog a part of your workout routine it gets easier. Exercise is just as important for our pets to maintain an active life as it is for us. Work a 30 minute walk into your workout routine and you (and your dog) will be happier!

Resolution: Eat Better

               While you may think that dieting is only for humans, it is also very important for your pets to maintain a healthy weight. You can keep your pet’s weight in control by following the recommended feeding guidelines on your pet’s food bag (be sure to use a measuring cup), choosing an age appropriate diet, and limiting the amount of treats you introduce into their diet.

Resolution: Learn a New Skill

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               It’s never too late for you to learn something new, and this can apply to your pets, too! Teach your pet a new trick in 2017. Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, an active mind is a healthy mind! It also serves as a great way for you to bond with your pet.

Resolution: Remove Stress

              Stress is unpleasant and as much as we work to avoid it, it still can creep back into our lives. While searching for ways to reduce stress in your life in the coming year, ensure that your pets are spayed/neutered and up-to-date on their vaccinations. Sterilization surgeries not only eliminate the problems brought by unwanted litters, but also reduce many annoying tendencies such as roaming and marking. Vaccinations protect your pets against common, highly infectious diseases, and can keep you healthy, too! To learn more about low-cost veterinary care for your pet, visit TCAP online at: http://www.texasforthem.org/services/.

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Posted by Robert Knox

December 21, 2016

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Christmas Parties with Pets

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Christmas is a wonderful season to spend time with friends and family. If you are planning a holiday party, here are some tips to make sure your pet can join in the festivities while staying safe and comfortable.

 

Dangerous Decorations

No Christmas party is complete without common holiday plants such as mistletoe, poinsettias, holly, and Christmas trees.  The first three decorative plants are very toxic to both dogs and cats so we would advise either getting realistic fake alternatives or keeping your pets away from these plants completely. Live Christmas trees require a reservoir of water at their base to keep them alive. This water is not recommended for your pet’s consumption, so it is important to make certain your pet cannot access it for a quick drink. To many pets, tinsel looks like a toy or a festive treat. While it used to pose a larger threat due to containing elements of lead, current lead-free tinsel can still block an animal’s intestinal tract if consumed.

 

Buff up Your Buffet

If you plan on having a buffet-style meal or snack area, remember to use sturdy dishware. Your pet may be disciplined enough to resist jumping on the buffet table, but a guest’s dog might not be so controlled. Should this happen, you will be glad it was durable dishware that hit the kitchen floor rather than your grandmother’s fine china.

 

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Paw-rty Favors

Pets like party favors, too. While Santa hats may be cute, but they don’t stay on very well and they often cause pets distress. Instead, you can go to your local pet supply store and purchase cute bow ties for collars and hair bows.

 

Safety First

Before bringing your pet to a pet friendly Christmas gathering, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. The core vaccines are Rabies, DAPPv, and Bordetella for dogs and Rabies, FHCPCh, and FeLV for cats. TCAP has many convenient, walk-in vaccine events throughout North Texas to help you and your pet. To learn more about updating your pet’s vaccinations, visit our website at http://www.texasforthem.org/services/vaccinations/.

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Locations
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Allen

717 S. Greenville Ave, Suite 133
Allen, TX 75002
940-566-5551

Vaccination Hours:
Mon, Tues, & Fri 9:00am – 12:00pm

Burleson

344 SW Wilshire Blvd, Suite E
Burleson, TX 76028
817-426-3777

Vaccination Hours:
Mon–Fri 9:00am – 12:00pm

Denton

713 Sunset Street
Denton, TX 76201
940-566-5551

Vaccination Hours:
Mon–Thurs 9:00am – 12:00pm,
Thurs 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Fort Worth

2400 Westport Pkwy, Suite 100
Ft Worth, TX 76177
817-837-4500

Vaccination Hours:
Mon–Fri 9:00am – 12:00pm

Hurst

1856 Precinct Line Rd, Suite 108
Hurst, TX 76054
817-837-4500

Vaccination Hours:
Mon, Wed, Thurs, & Fri 9:00am – 12:00pm,
Wed 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Weatherford

1302 S. Main Street #114
Weatherford, TX 76086
817-837-4500

Vaccination Hours:
Th & Fri 9am-12pm

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