Are you bringing home a new dog, cat, or other pet soon? Choosing the ideal time to introduce your pet to your family and reviewing care basics will make your pet's first weeks in your new home more enjoyable.
Selecting the Right Time
The holiday season can be a hectic time in your home so Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or New Year's Eve might not be the best time to introduce a new pet. The noise and excitement of holiday celebrations may stress your pet, making the adjustment process more difficult. But now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays have come to an end, it can be a good time to finally bring your new addition to the family home. You can make your pet feel at home by:
- Choosing a Calm Day for the Homecoming. Pick a quiet day when only your immediate family members will be home.
- Finding a Special Place for Your Pet During Gatherings. Set up your pet's food and water bowls and other necessities in a quiet room if you'll be entertaining visitors soon after you bring your pet home. Introducing your pet to visitors when it hasn't even become accustomed to your family members can cause anxiety.
- Giving a Gift Certificate Rather Than a Live Pet. If you're planning to give a family member an animal as a gift in the new year, consider wrapping a gift certificate to an animal shelter or reputable breeding facility instead. With a gift certificate, the person can choose the animal themselves and bring the pet home after the holidays when things are calmer.
Buy Everything Your Pet Needs In Advance
Creating a pet needs checklist will help you avoid last-minute trips to the store for food, litter, and other necessities. Add these items to your checklist:
- Food. Read food labels and instructions carefully to ensure that you're choosing the best type of food for your pet's stage of life. Foods intended for kittens and puppies have the extra calories that growing animals need, while senior foods contain fewer calories and help older animals control their weight.
- Cages and Aquariums. Make sure cages or aquariums provide plenty of room to move, explore, or swim.
- Crates. A crate serves as your dog's private den, provides a quiet place to rest, and can help you house train your new pet.
- Dishes and Feeders. Stay away from cheap plastic bowls that can trap bacteria. Instead, choose stainless steel or glass dishes. Select chew-proof water bottles that hang easily on the side of the cage if you'll be bringing a small animal home.
- Litter Box and Litter. The litter box you choose should be big enough to allow your cat to turn around easily. Scoopable litter makes it simple to remove liquid and solid waste from the box and cuts down on cleaning, although you should still clean the litter box at least once a week.
- Collar, Harness, and Leash. If your pet will be going outside, you'll need to buy a collar and harness or leash. Harnesses are the best options for smaller dogs and cats.
- Miscellaneous Supplies. You'll also want to buy a selection of brushes, combs, toys, beds, treats, identification tags, and other pet supplies.
Schedule A Visit With A Veterinarian
Make an appointment with a veterinarian sometime in the first few weeks after you bring your pet home. During the visit your pet's veterinarian will:
- Perform a thorough examination and diagnose any illnesses or chronic health conditions
- Provide immunizations that will help your pet stay healthy
- Recommend a flea and tick prevention program if needed
- Check your pet's weight and recommend specific foods if your new friend is overweight or has a health problem
During the visit, you can also have your pet microchipped and make an appointment for spaying and neutering. Microchips are rice-sized chips that contain a number linked to your contact information. If your pet is ever lost, an animal shelter or veterinary office can scan the chip and quickly identify your furry friend.
Spaying and neutering are types of surgeries that prevent males and females from reproducing. The surgeries help reduce the number of unwanted animals, protect your pets from certain types of cancer, prevent spraying in male cats, and may decrease aggressive behavior or roaming in male animals. On average, spayed and neutered dogs live one to three years longer, while cats live three to five years longer, according to Humane Society International.
Will a new pet be joining your home in the new year? Call our office at (805) 522-7476 to schedule your new arrival's appointment.
Pet Blood Donors: Helping Other Animals In Need
Blood transfusions are just as crucial for sick or injured animals as they are for people. Without a ready supply of donated blood, animals may die unnecessarily. Thanks to the generosity of donor pets and their people, animals with severe health conditions or injuries can receive the blood transfusions they need.
When Are Blood Transfusions Recommended?
A blood transfusion may be needed if an animal experiences blood loss due to an accident, ruptured tumor or other cause; has severe anemia; has been poisoned or requires major surgery due to an illness or injury. Although human blood banks can be found in small and large towns alike, pet blood banks aren't quite as common. If there are no blood banks close by, small private veterinary practices or veterinary schools may create their own blood banks.
Can Any Pet Be Blood Donor?
Ask your pet's veterinarian if he or she thinks your furry friend would be a good candidate for blood or plasma donation. If the veterinary practice you visit doesn't have its own blood bank, the employees may be able to recommend one in the area. In some cases, local veterinarians collect blood for regional blood banks, ensuring that you won't have to travel far if your pet becomes a donor. Dogs and cats aren't the only blood donors. In rural areas, cows and horses may also donate blood.
Before your dog or cat is accepted as a blood donor, the blood bank or your veterinarian will consider these factors:
- Health. Donors must be in good health and may not take any medications, other than heartworm, tick and flea prevention medication. All vaccinations must also be current. Pets may be prohibited from donating if they have ever received blood transfusions in the past.
- Blood Type. The blood bank may also consider your pet's blood type when approving new donors.
- Age. Donation is usually limited to younger pets. If your pet is younger than 1 or older than 8, he or she may not be a good candidate.
- Personality. Becoming a blood donor isn't a good idea if your pet hates visiting the vet. Forcing a reluctant pet to donate blood can be traumatic and may make the process much more difficult.
- Weight. Typically, cats must weigh at least 10 pounds and dogs 50 pounds, although weight requirements may vary. Outdoor cats aren't eligible to donate blood.
What Are The Advantages of Blood Donation for My Pet?
Blood banks and veterinary practices may show their appreciation for donor pets by offering free examinations at every donation visit, giving you a copy of the lab analysis performed on the donated blood, informing you of your pet's blood type and offering free services, such as complimentary vaccines or free or reduced-cost veterinary care.
What Happens During The Blood Donation Process?
A small amount of your pet's fur must be shaved in order to allow the needle to be placed in the jugular vein in the neck. Although that sounds a little painful, most pets don't seem to mind the needle. Before donations, cats usually receive a mild anesthetic, as they're less likely to remain still for the donation. If your pet is awake, he or she will receive plenty of attention, and probably a few treats, from the veterinary staff. Some dogs and cats receive intravenous fluids after donations to ensure that they don't experience a drop in blood pressure.
Your local blood bank or veterinarian's office will determine how often your pet can donate blood. Some banks will ask you to bring your pet in for donations every six weeks for a year, while large banks may ask that your pet donate two or three times per year for several years. Donations are needed frequently, as donated blood has a limited shelf life and must be used within approximately one month.
Do you think your pet would make a good donor? Give us a call at (805) 522-7476 and we'll help you get the process started.
Petfinder: Can Your Dog Be a Blood Donor?
Humane Society of the United States: Life-Saves: Dogs Who Donate Blood, 11/20/12
PetPlace: Animal Blood Banks in the U.S., 9/23/15
- Weight Loss Awareness Month
- Walk Your Pet Month Month
- National Train Your Dog Month
- January 1: New Year's Day
- January 2: National Pet Travel Safety Day
- January 8: Bubble Bath Day
- January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day
- January 16: Get To Know Your Customers Day
- January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- January 22: National Answer Your Cat's Question Day
- January 24: Change A Pet's Life Day
January's Quote of the Month
“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” - George Eliot, British Author