5 Festive Ways to Include Your Pets in the Holiday Fun

A woman and her dog celebrate the holidays.

This holiday season, show your furry companions how grateful you are for their unconditional love by treating them to a jolly good time! Your friends at Androscoggin Animal Hospital have put together some suggestions for safe holiday fun you can have with your pets.

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Fun Pet Treat Recipes

Holiday pet treats.

While most store-bought pet treats are perfectly fine for your pet, sometimes you want to go the extra mile and make something from scratch to show your love. This way, you know all the ingredients that your pet is consuming, and can feel good about giving your pet something homemade. 

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Boo! When Only the Safest Pet Costumes Will Do

Dog as ghost-pet safe Halloween costume.

The overlap between safe and spooky isn’t impossible, but it does take some forethought to accomplish both. When it comes to your pet’s Halloween experience, it can be a tough sell to get them to wear a festive outfit. In fact, pet costumes can be the scariest part of the entire holiday! However, great timing, good choices, and loads of patience (from both you and your pet) can make all the difference. 

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My Cat is Panting, Should I Worry?

A cat panting.

Panting is perfectly natural for pooches. They pant when they’re happy, pant when they’re thirsty, and pant in your face when they just want attention! 

Cats, on the other hand, are rarely caught with their tongues hanging out. It’s perfectly normal for a cat to indulge in a few deep breaths after a bout of active play, but if your cat starts panting heavily for no discernable reason, a call to your pet’s doctor may be in order. 

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Options for Dealing With Your Destructive Dog

A dog chewing on a shoe

Chewing and playful biting are fun and cute when your pet is a puppy, but what happens when she grows up to be a destructive dog? These behaviors can demolish property and impact your ability to trust your pet at home. 

Know that your dog is not doing this to you out of spite or to get revenge for leaving them all day or not sharing your pizza crust. This behavior comes from a place of anxiety or unbridled energy levels.

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Down Cujo! Why Is My Small Dog Aggressive?

Small dog barking

While the image of a slobbering rottweiler or a menacing pack of pit bulls might be what comes to mind for most when aggressive dogs are discussed, our smaller canine companions are not exempt from this description. They may not have quite the bad rap that dobermans or German Shepherds can have, but pint-sized pups can carry quite the pugnacity as well. 

Understanding why the aggressive small dog has so much attitude can help pet owners to better train and enjoy their pets. No judgement here from the staff at Androscoggin Animal Hospital, we are here to help. 

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What Do Pet Vaccines Really Protect Your Dog From?

A cute puppy in front of a blue background

Most of us know that our pets should be vaccinated, but few really understand what pet vaccines are needed and why. Vaccines are an essential part of your pet’s preventative care. Even a little indoor lap dog needs some vaccinations, and Androscoggin Animal Hospital wants to help you to better understand why we recommend them.

Pet Vaccines as Part of Preventive Care

Similarly to human medicine, our veterinary team recommends pet vaccines in order to prevent serious disease in our dog (and cat) patients. 

A vaccination allows the body to learn how to mount an effective immune response against a particular virus or bacteria so that if it is exposed at some time down the line, it is better able to defend itself.

Some vaccinations provide complete or near complete protection against the disease while others just help to decrease the risk of serious infection. Regardless, pet vaccines are a powerful tool when it comes to keeping our furry friends happy and healthy and are a cornerstone of pet wellness care

Not all pets need all vaccinations, and not all vaccinations are created equal. Our veterinary team takes pride in assessing each patient to determine what vaccinations are necessary. We also utilize quality vaccinations that are stored and administered appropriately to ensure effectiveness.  

Understanding Your Dog’s Vaccinations

So what are all these vaccinations that you see in your pet’s reminders? When it comes to dog vaccinations, we can divide them into core (necessary for all dogs) and non-core (to be given based on risk factors).

Core Dog Vaccinations

  • Rabies—Rabies is a serious disease that is almost 100 percent fatal when contracted. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning humans can contract it from infected animals. Due to its serious nature, Maine requires all dogs to be vaccinated between 12 and 16 weeks of age and then again annually. Triennial vaccinations may be given with an appropriate vaccine and after the first annual booster is administered. 
  • DHPP (Distemper combination)—The distemper vaccine is actually composed of four different vaccinations in combination. Canine distemper, canine hepatitis (also called adenovirus 2), canine influenza, and parvovirus are all very serious diseases. Vaccination of puppies several times until they reach four months of age is recommended. Boosters are typically given annually thereafter.

Non Core Dog Vaccinations

  • Leptospirosis—Another zoonotic disease, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is found in wild animal urine. Infection can cause serious liver and kidney problems in both pets and people, which makes this vaccine a frequently recommended one for most dogs. 
  • Bordetella —One of the primary offending bugs in canine kennel cough, Bordetella can cause upper respiratory issues including a very persistent and very contagious cough. This vaccination is typically recommended for social dogs who will spend time around other pets in grooming, training, boarding, or play scenarios. 
  • Canine influenza —Another very contagious and potentially serious respiratory bug, the canine influenza virus is a little newer on the scene, but this is definitely a vaccination to consider for social butterflies. 
  • Lyme disease—Carried by ticks, Lyme disease is a serious bacterial disease that can cause fever, joint pain, and kidney problems in our canine companions. In Maine, this disease is endemic, and the vaccination is often recommended in conjunction with good tick prevention in at-risk pets. 

Pet vaccines are an important part of keeping your animals and human family healthy and thriving. If you have questions about our recommendations for your pet or vaccines in general, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

A Hairy Situation: Tips To Reduce How Much Your Dog Sheds

An older dog with a pile of fur

One of the biggest complaints from dog owners everywhere is how much dogs shed. The struggle to keep fur from flying and coating our homes and clothes from being covered in a mini Fido is definitely real. Most dogs shed, and anything from a change in the season to stress, and coat quality can affect how much. So, what can a dog owner do about it to avoid living in a sheen of hair?

Your friends at Androscoggin Animal Hospital are ready with some tips and tricks to minimize those fur tumbleweeds on your floor and clothes. Read on to learn all about how to reduce how much your dog sheds:

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What the Heck is a Reverse Sneeze?

A happy dog in the sun

Many people who love trivia may be stumped by the phrase inspiratory paroxysmal respiration. We can easily infer that this phenomenon has something to do with breathing, and maybe some kind of spasm, but otherwise the general public might be stumped by the meaning of this one. 

Inspiratory paroxysmal is, in fact, the medical term for a reverse sneeze, a common occurrence in some pets. But what exactly is it and how do you know if your pet’s okay?

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