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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:
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.
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.
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/READ MORE
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:
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!
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.
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/.READ MORE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.READ MORE
At TCAP, we are Pet Lovers First. Our dedicated staff works hard each week to both educate and serve our community of pet owners. Through this work, TCAP staff vaccinates many puppies and adult dogs every week. During this work, we commonly find that most dog owners understand the importance of the Rabies, Distemper/Parvo, and Bordetella vaccines, but there is a definite lack of knowledge about protecting their dogs and human families from leptospirosis. We have assembled answers to commonly asked questions about leptospirosis and why it is important to seek preventative safeguards against it.
Leptospirosis, also known as “lepto”, is an infection caused by bacteria called Leptospira. This infection is fatal and is spread throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system. The Leptospira bacteria are zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Children are most at risk of acquiring the bacteria from an infected pet. So it is essential that your pet remains protected from this bacteria.
Dogs commonly become infected by coming into contact with the urine of an infected animal. The most common infection sites are areas with stagnant surface water and are frequented by wildlife. Because of this, pets on farms or near wooded areas are at an increased risk of becoming infected. However, pets living in suburban or city environments are also at risk because rodents, squirrels, raccoons, and other common city-bound wild animals are commonly infected with these bacteria.
Dogs usually get lepto from infected water, soil, or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected animal.
Symptoms of leptospirosis can vary and it is why this infection is commonly misdiagnosed. Dogs and humans infected by this bacteria can experience a mixed combination of these symptoms: Sudden fever and illness, sore muscles (reluctance to move), muscle stiffness, shivering, weakness, lack of appetite, increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing or fast breathing, and an irregular pulse.
TCAP offers a lepto vaccination for $10. If your pet has never been vaccinated against the Lepto vaccine, the first vaccine will need to be boostered 3-4 weeks later. It is highly recommended that dogs (especially puppies) receive the lepto vaccination as part of their core vaccines on a yearly basis. Lepto vaccines are provided on a walk-in basis during TCAP’s walk-in vaccine hours.READ MORE
With the holidays just around the corner, many of us will make long journeys to join family and friends. Often times this presents a choice, will your pets stay at home or will they come with you to celebrate the holiday? Should you choose to travel with your pet, we have a couple tips to make certain that your pet stays happy and safe throughout the holidays.
When it comes to vehicle travel, your pet should never be allowed to roam freely. Not only can this be distracting to the driver, but it is also unsafe for your pet should an accident occur. Cats in particular may become stressed from being in a moving vehicle; keeping them in carrier will keep them calm and help them feel more secure.
It is best to keep pets in kennels or pet carriers that are secured in place to prevent them from sliding around or rolling while the car is being operated. Pets traveling in vehicles should also be kept out of the front seat. Airbags are not designed with pet safety in mind and they can harm your pet rather than protect him in the event of an accident.
Stop frequently to allow your dog a chance to exercise and eliminate. Long trips can be taxing and boring and these breaks will help him remain happy. Please note, cats often become stressed and difficult to handle if they are taken out of their carrier in an unknown environment. Do not attempt to remove your cat from his carrier unless you are at your destination or unless your vehicle doors are securely closed.
Never allow your pets to leave your vehicle without a leash and proper identification. A combination of a collar, ID tag, and microchip works best and gives your furry friend their best chance of returning to you should you become separated.
Before traveling with a pet, please check to ensure that he has an ID tag and a microchip with your current contact information. ID tags are necessary because people who find pets may not always think to look for a microchip when rescuing a stray pet. It is also a good idea to have a temporary travel ID tag included on your pet’s collar with your cell phone and your destination phone number for the duration of the trip. Microchips are important because they serve as a backup in case ID tags fall off. All animal shelters and veterinary clinics have microchip scanner to help rescuers contact the owners of lost pets.
TCAP offers both of these essential tools for ensuring your pet’s safety. You may order a custom ID tag online for $6 and have it mailed to your home and you can come in during TCAP’s walk-in vaccine hours and have your pet microchipped for $30.READ MORE
Adding a furry friend to your home is an exciting decision. However, like most decisions, you are faced with so many choices it’s often hard to know where to begin. As a low cost spay and neuter clinic, we at TCAP encourage you to visit your local animal shelter or local rescue organization to find a new pet. There are many reasons why a shelter or rescue pet is a better choice than purchasing a pet from a breeder, Craigslist, or even breeding your own litter to get just one pet. Some of these many reasons are listed below:
1. You save a life.
Each year, 6-8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters throughout the United States. Due to low adoption rates, many of these animals never find a forever home. Most animal shelters are forced to end animal overpopulation through euthanasia. By adopting a lost, abandoned, or unwanted pet from a shelter, you give that animal a second chance at a happy and healthy life.
2. You can choose from a great selection of animals.
Shelters always have a large variety of animals awaiting adoption. You can find animals of all ages, breeds, temperaments, personalities and sizes. This variety guarantees you can find the perfect pet for your home. Whether you are looking for a running buddy, guard dog, lap warmer, or just a new best friend, your local shelter is sure to have a perfect pet for you.
3. You can get to know a pet before bringing it home.
Animal shelter employees generally know about each animal’s temperament, activity level, and personality. By speaking with a shelter technician or volunteer, you can leverage this knowledge to find a pet that is perfect for your home.
4. You support a valuable organization for your community.
When you adopt from a local rescue or shelter, you assist an organization that is dedicated to promoting and advancing animal welfare. Shelters improve their community by mandating and enforcing that adopted animals be spayed or neutered. This alone helps break the cycle and reduce more unwanted litters.
5. You pay less.
Animal shelters keep adoption fees as low as possible. These fees ordinarily only cover the cost of the basic care the pet has already received.
Looking to adopt a pet? Find your local animal shelter or call your local animal rescue organization. They are bound to have exactly the pet you are looking for! You can see all the exciting adoptable pets in your area by going to https://www.petfinder.com/READ MORE
Do you plan on getting your pet into the spirit of Halloween this year? Halloween can be a spooky night, but that does not mean it has to be scary for your pet. We have a few safety tips to help keep your pet safe and spook-free.
It is very important to avoid giving your pets any Halloween candy. Chocolate, in any form, is toxic for both dogs and cats, especially dark or baking chocolate. Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener, can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar, seizures, and liver failure in dogs. Make sure your candy bowl stays out of reach and let everyone in your family know that the candy is for humans only (exceptions can be made for humans dressed as aliens, ghouls, robots, etc.).
Pet costumes can be highly entertaining for owners, but our furry friends may not always agree. It is recommended that you make certain your pet likes wearing a costume before making him wear one for extended periods of time. If you have a costume you wish to use, test it out with your pet before the big day. If your pet doesn’t mind getting into the Halloween spirit, make certain that the costume fits him well without restricting his movement or ability to breathe. On the other hand, if your pet isn’t a fan of dressing up – don’t force it. Bandanas or other collar accessories are a great compromise.
If you are handing out candy this year, you will be opening your door to a large number of people. While opening the door for eager trick-or-treaters, be certain your pet does not dash outside. A microchip and ID tag will drastically increase your pet’s chances of returning home should you ever get separated from him.
TCAP offers low cost microchipping for $30 on a walk-in basis during our vaccine hours at all locations. If your pet is already microchipped, you can double your pet’s safety this holiday by getting them an engraved ID tag. You may purchase an ID tag online and have it delivered to your home in time for Halloween here: http://store.texasforthem.org/id-tags.htmlREAD MORE
TCAP is excited to announce that we have joined the Partners for Pets program. This program was founded by the Bissell Pet Foundation to help reduce the number of homeless pets in shelters across the nation and to support organizations dedicated to the humane care and treatment of animals.
The Partners for Pets program allows TCAP access to multiple donation sources to help further our goal of reducing animal overpopulation throughout North Texas. As a member of this program, TCAP will also have the opportunity to apply for grants funded by the Bissell Pet Foundation.
The most direct way you can support TCAP through this amazing program is to shop at www.Bissell.com and enter the “ADOPT” coupon code at the time of check out. Select “Texas Coalition for Animal Protection” and a portion of the funds from your purchase will be donated to support TCAP.
Don’t forget to also check out Lost Pet USA, Bissell’s other amazing program dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their loving owners! Lost Pet USA’s database allows you to register your pet in a nationwide database then search for your pet should he become lost. You can even report found pets, too! This resource is a great way to increase your pet’s chances of returning home safely. Check out their website anytime at: http://www.lostpetusa.net/home
Intestinal parasites live in a pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Many pets infected with intestinal parasites are asymptomatic and seem healthy upon first glance. However, infestations of intestinal parasites can lead to weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia. At TCAP we believe that it is important for pet owners to know what to look for and how to protect their pets from intestinal parasites since many of these parasites can cause serious health conditions for both people and pets.
Intestinal parasites can be classified into two groups: worms and protozoa. Intestinal worms include roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite found in both dogs and cats. Roundworm larvae cause damage to a pet’s lungs and can lead to serious respiratory problems. Once roundworms mature, pets (particularly puppies and kittens) can develop vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. Tapeworms are another common parasite and are usually seen with the appearance of tapeworm segments in your pet’s stool that look like grains of rice. These are found near your pet’s anus or near his favorite bedding most frequently.
Protozoa are microscopic organisms that are larger than bacteria, but smaller than you can see with the naked eye. Protozoa that infect animals commonly in our service area include Giardia and Coccidia. The protozoa are treated with antibiotics, but the antibiotic chosen is specific for each type of condition. There is not one drug that will get them all. As you will see, protozoa tend to be more difficult to detect and treat than other common intestinal parasites.
How Pets Get Parasites
Intestinal parasites are more common than you might imagine. The most common way they are transmitted is through ingesting parasite eggs or spores located in contaminated soil, water, feces, food, or even in fleas. Puppies and kittens can also get intestinal parasites in utero or from nursing from an infected mother.
How to Detect, Treat, and Prevent Intestinal Parasites
Detecting intestinal parasites is easy with a TCAP fecal test. These $15.00 tests require a recent (less than 24 hours old) dime-sized sample of your pet’s stool. The results from this test will give you the information you need to treat and protect your pets. TCAP offers two affordable dewormers during our vaccine hours (link to vaccine hours).
Strongid-T is an oral dewormer that will treat roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. This dewormer should be given with your pet’s puppy/ kitten boosters and annual vaccines. The Droncit dewormer will treat tapeworms and should only be given if you begin to notice tapeworm segments that look like white grains of rice in your pet’s stool. Because tapeworms are caused by fleas, it is always advised to treat your pet for fleas at the time of treating tapeworms to prevent tapeworm reinfection.
Through their monthly heartworm medications, many dogs already ingest a broad spectrum dewormer. If your dog is not already on a monthly heartworm preventative, please bring him in for a heartworm test to get them started on a monthly heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention. Through TCAP’s online store, we also have monthly medications for flea control and deworming for cats as well.
Although intestinal parasites are treatable, remember that the best way to protect your family from parasites is to keep your pets on monthly preventatives and have samples of their stool checked with a TCAP fecal test at least once a year.
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.
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.
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.
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 5 main locations in Denton, Fort Worth, Burleson, Allen and Hurst 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/.READ MORE