Cold Weather? Practical Ideas to Keep Your Dog (and You) Moving

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mj and lola dressed for cold weatherIf warming your car up is the most exposure you have to cold weather, your dog’s probably not too happy with you. Rain, snow or shine, your dog behaves better and feels more content when a little exercise makes up part of the day.

Even if you don’t like cold weather, here are some exercise ideas that are cold weather friendly:

Indoor Games. When inclement weather makes an outdoor jaunt impractical, a rousing indoor game of fetch can get your dog’s heart rate up. Toss the ball or toy up the stairs or in a totally different direction to keep him guessing.

Shop’ercise. There are stores that are pet friendly – think your local pet shop. Your dog will appreciate a car ride and a change of scenery. Allow your dog to walk up and down the aisles for exercise, and you both can check out the latest toys or food puzzles like a classic Kong or a Goodie Bone.

Hunting Trip. Let your dog fantasize about hunting in the wild. You can use various toy puzzles to get her to work for treats. Or you could simply hide a few small treats in different parts of your home, and tell your dog to “Find your treat!” Lead him to it the first few times, and he’ll soon catch on.

Roll Over Beethoven. Your dog isn’t too old to learn new tricks. Teach her to jump through a hoop, jump, spin around, or an old standby like roll over.

Walk This Way. Doggie Day care at Town N Country offers your dog supervised active time with other dogs. You’ll both be happier at the end of the day. You can also hire a Town N Country staff member to walk your dog for only $10.90 per session. (The price stays the same – rain or shine.)

Mind Trips. People pay big bucks to go on dogsledding trips to colder climes. Go outside! Bundle up, grab the leash, and pretend you are on an Alaskan winter vacation – for less!

Fun activities like these can help your pet reach his weight loss goal, and win the weight loss competition. (What?! You haven’t heard about it? Read more here!)

If you have questions or would like to discuss your dog’s fitness needs, give us a call. We’d love to help your pet live a long, healthy life – no matter the weather.

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Enter Our Weight Loss Contest!

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fat catHere’s the skinny: too much weight gain can endanger your pet. Obesity among pets has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Did you realize that approximately 52% of all US dogs and 58% of all US cats weigh enough to be considered obese or overweight?

When your sweet cat Tabby starts looking tubby, his life span can be two years shorter than a cat at his recommended weight. An overweight pet can suffer from life-threatening conditions like heart disease or diabetes. (Imagine giving your dog insulin shots every 12 hours!)

Dogs or cats that don’t exercise and put on weight may experience orthopedic injuries, cruciate tears, intervertebral disk disease or arthritis. Losing just a little weight can initiate increased activity levels and lead to better health and a longer life span for your pet.

That’s why Town N Country is sponsoring a three month weight loss competition beginning this month. Each entry will receive a Purina starter package – free Purina OM dog food or Purina DM cat food, food bowl, measuring cup, laser pointer (for cats) or frisbee (for dogs).

Each pet must schedule a competition entry appointment before the end of February to be done with an exam room nurse. Your pet will receive a weight evaluation, body condition scoring, picture, and measurements.

Contestants must commit to feed the diet over the 3 month course and return for monthly weigh-ins. The contestant with the highest percentage of weight loss will receive the grand-prize, which includes a complete spa package*, a $150.00 gift certificate for use toward future purchase of prescription weight loss diet, and other surprises!

Of course, in this contest, losers may not win the big prize, but all losers will gain. So call now to schedule your contest entry appointment – and may the best loser win!

*Spa package includes groom or bath, brushout and nail trim, depending on the breed/species of the winner.

Biggest Loser Contest Details and Rules:

Clients wanting their pet to join the program must schedule an intake appointment. This appointment is complimentary and there will be no charge associated with this service. At the appointment the client will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire/diet history for their pet. Our staff will then use this information to counsel the client as to how to successfully start their pet’s weight loss journey (changes in home environment, addition of exercise program, reduction of treats, etc). At the end of the appointment our staff will then take pictures of the pet and record their current weight. This appointment will be with an exam room nurse, will last about 20 minutes and is required for entry; pet must have an up to date physical with our hospital (within the last year). Client will be required to come back in another month and then after a two month period for additional pictures and weight checks.

Client will sign an authorization allowing us to use their pet’s story and images for advertisement. Clients owning a dog will be sent home with a free 6 lb bag of Purina dry canine Overweight Management diet, frisbee, food bowl, measuring cup, and weight loss information/ brochures. Clients owning a cat will be sent home with their choice of a free 6 lb bag of Purina dry feline Dietetic Management diet or 12 cans of Purina feline Dietetic Management, laser light, food bowl, measuring cup, and weight loss information/brochures. The sign up period for this contest will end on January 31, 2015 and we will accept entries while supplies last.

At the end of the contest period one winner will be announced. The winner chosen will be the pet that has lost highest percentage of overall body weight. The prize awarded to this pet will be a spa package with full grooming; this includes a bath, conditioner, brushout, hair cut (if necessary for breed), and nail trim AND a $150.00 gift certificate to be used for future purchases of Purina prescription diets at Town N Country Animal Hospital. To participate in spa services canines must be up to date on their exam, distemper/parvo vaccine, bordetella vaccine, rabies vaccine and fecal centrifuge test. To participate in spa services felines must be up to date on their exam, distemper/calici vaccine, and rabies vaccine. All decisions are final.

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When the Weather Outside is Frightful…

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pet exercise in inclement weatherWe’re headed into January, when the weather outside can be really frightful. Before we get one of those arctic vortex forecasts this season, make plans to keep your pet warm and safe – no matter the temperature. Last year, we had a streak where temperatures dropped into the 20’s with wind chills in the teens or below. We don’t have this kind of weather regularly, but if it comes back this year, there’s no chance for our furry friends to get used to the frigid air. And when the temps plunge, it can be a life or death situation.

Many people don’t realize animals are susceptible to frost bite and dehydration just like humans – even though they have “fur coats” to help keep them warm. A few tips to keep their core temperature warm include keeping them in an enclosed shelter, such as a garage or utility room. Outdoor pets should have an enclosed shelter facing away from the wind.

Also, keep pets water changed often to make sure it does not freeze. Make sure they have plenty of food, too, because keeping warm uses up energy. Use plastic bowls instead of metal, and check your pet’s ears, tail and footpads for signs of frostbite.

Just like you, your pet deserves a warm, comfortable place to stay warm this winter, no matter the weather. Get your pet ready now, and then you’ll be able to sing, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

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How to Keep Santa Claws and Old Saint Nikki Safe this Christmas

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pets and christmas treeChristmas is the most wonderful time of the year – but without a few precautions, your favorite Christmas traditions could land your beloved pet in the vet hospital’s emergency room. Here are 7 popular pointers to positively pet-proof your palace or humble abode:

1. Tame the Tannenbaum. The lovely branches of a live tree are very appealing to a cat. Try to place your tree so that it’s not near a piece of furniture that your cat could use as a spring board to jump from. Families with adventurous puppies or kittens may opt to have the tree in a play pen as a precaution.

2. Spiked Water. Dogs and cats are funny critters, drinking from toilets or Christmas tree stands at any opportunity. Water from the stand could poison your pet due to the pesticides or fertilizer solutions designed to keep your tree fresh. To block your pet from drinking this water, strategically place a Christmas tree skirt over the stand.

3. Keep Those Angels Way Up High. Cat or dogs may try to chew on ornaments or lights, and tinsel and ribbons can also be tempting. Unfortunately, all that glitters can wreak havoc on the digestive system of a pet that ingests them and could require a costly, traumatic surgery. Keep potentially dangerous decorations at the top of the tree. To discourage a cat’s curiosity, apply a cat repellent to the base of tree or on strands of lights near the bottom of the tree. Turn off tree lights if you’re not home.

4. Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas. Many times in nature, bright colors are a warning. It’s true that poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are all poisonous to your pet. If you decorate with them, keep them out of your pet’s reach.

5. Don’t Give Her That Figgy Pudding. You may be tempted to slip some of the rich food that you love to your pet, but keep in mind that too much fatty foods could result in pancreatitis. Beware of symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting, and lethargy – they could indicate a serious problem that needs immediate medical attention. Questions? See the article on Should You Give Your Dog Table Food?.

6. It’s a Wrap! As you’re wrapping presents and singing loudly along with your favorite Christmas tunes, be aware of ribbon. An ingested ribbon can cause a blockage in the intestine or stomach and require emergency surgery.

7. The More the Merrier? Holiday guests will change your routine somewhat. Some pets are happy to welcome extra folks into your home, and other pets are a little nervous with company, especially small children. Be sure your dog still gets the needed exercise, and perhaps allow your cat a little extra space for a bit.

You know we love seeing your pets – and we’d love for you to visit this Christmas, but we don’t want it to be related to a holiday mishap. So check our list – maybe you should check it twice – and keep your pets safe and happy as you celebrate this wonderful time of year.

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Spread Christmas Cheer in Alamance County

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christmas cheer donationsPlease join Town N Country and support Christmas Cheer, a Christmas charity that makes a difference in the life of a child in Alamance County.

Not every child expects a happy Christmas this year. You can change that fact by donating a new, unwrapped toy or article of clothing, non-perishable food items or non-perishable pet food items valued at $10.

For each donation, Town N Country will give you a gift certificate worth $15 that can be used for goods or services from Town N Country Animal Hospital. Donations are accepted anytime from now until December 20th.

You may be the perfect person to bring joy to someone’s world.

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We Are Thankful for The Miracle of Healing: Bulls-eye’s story

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bullseyeby Dr. King. This is part three of our ‘We Are Thankful” series that is highlighting some of the pets that come to Town N Country.
Waking up to a police officer knocking on your door at 7 in the morning is no one’s idea of a good start to the day, but it’s how Holly’s day started a few months ago. The police officer had found a badly injured cat and had taken his time to search for its owner, going door to door to see who the broken kitty belonged to.

Holly had worried about Bulls-eye not coming home the night before, but occasionally he would stay out late at night, arriving the next morning ready for breakfast. This morning instead of being greeted with hungry meows, the doorbell and the explanation from the officer was her first experience of the day. She saw how badly Bulls-eye was hurt and tearfully rushed him in to the vet’s office, knowing he was in serious condition, but not knowing the full extent of his injuries.

There is hope. Bulls-eye’s injuries were ones that viscerally make you turn away, but then you have to look back. He had sustained severe injuries to his head and face. One eyeball was completely ruptured with remnants resting on his cheek. The remaining eye was severely swollen and hemorrhagic, protruding from the socket. His mouth gaped open as blood tinged saliva dripped on his paws. You could hear the sounds of him breathing as he tried to suck air in through his swollen nose and throat. His tongue wouldn’t fit in his mouth anymore with all the swelling in the back of his throat.

My habit is to start my exam at the head and work back and so far all I’d found was trauma after trauma after trauma. But then I checked his heart and lungs. His heart was strong and steady. My pulse rate was probably higher than his at that time. His abdomen was untouched. His spine and legs worked, although the left front wasn’t as strong as the right. All the technicians were prepared for the seemingly obvious euthanasia, so they looked in disbelief when I said, “I think he has a chance”.

Holly and I talked about the road ahead for Bulls-eye as she chose to treat his injuries while the staff administered pain medications and started cleaning the dried blood from his face. There was a very slim chance he would be able to see out of the one eye that wasn’t ruptured, and would at least need surgery to remove the one that was. His jaw was likely fractured in at least one and maybe two places. There would be days to weeks in the hospital with the possibility of multiple surgeries to help him overcome the injuries. But his injuries weren’t life threatening, and the decision was made to treat him.

A few days were spent to see if any vision would come back to the less damaged eye, and to see how much damage was in the back of his throat. He had to be syringe fed, wounds cleaned, and treated on a daily basis, but he never put up much resistance when we were helping him. With no improvement in the “good” eye, the decision was made to remove both eyes and place a feeding tube as a first step. He came through surgery great and seemed to feel better after his eyes were removed and thing started healing. He enjoyed getting his meals through his tube since his jaw was still an issue.

A leap of faith. The jaw fractures were the next obstacle to overcome. The front fracture was an easy thing to repair, but fracture at the back, involving the joint, was much trickier. It was something we thought a specialist may need to weigh in with. Our regular specialist, Dr. Clary looked at the x-rays and agreed a surgeon need to see him, but couldn’t help himself, as he was out of town.

We called another specialist that would come to our office, but she was scheduled for conferences. Moving him to a teaching hospital was out of reach for our client. We could try it ourselves, but having no prior experience with that particular surgery but knowing the intricacies of the jaw joint, that seemed a less than favorable option.

I did have experience with a cat name Charlie years ago that had a similar fracture in which surgery wasn’t an option. Charlie healed and was able to eat, although he did have a snaggle tooth appearance because of a misalignment. We discussed the options and the worries of what surgery may entail, and Holly opted to let Bulls-eye have the opportunity to heal. He already had his feeding tube in, so there wasn’t any rush for him to use his jaw, and if it didn’t heal correctly we could go back in later and correct it.

And then he started to heal. Over the next few weeks, the swelling went down from his nostrils and he could breathe easy again. The scabs and bleeding from those passages dried up and fell away, letting him smell his food. He’d had major contusions and bruising to his hard palate and his tongue, and over time it loosened up and fell away showing off the pink new healthy tissue.

The swelling in the back of his tongue and throat shrunk down and as he could close his mouth better, he started licking again like a normal cat. First his nose, then his lips, and finally time for a bath! Although he still was getting most of his nutrition from his feeding tube, he started trying to eat the other cat’s food.

Eventually, he was eating enough that the feeding tube was no longer necessary and could be pulled.

Bulls-eye is still adjusting to his new life. The hardest part is not getting familiar to mapping out his house, and figuring out how to negotiate without the sense of sight, but he sometimes longs for the outdoors and is bullheaded enough to try and sneak outside. But Holly is always watchful and on guard to prevent him from wandering out into the wild. His story makes us thankful and appreciative for wonders and adaptability of creation. It humbles us knowing that for all we are trained to do, all the technology that is available, it is God who does the healing. We take for granted that healing will come, but it is a miracle that we get to watch first-hand.

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We Are Thankful: Our Pets

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We asked you to send us pictures of your pets so we could create a “Thankful Gallery”. Here are the pictures we received. Thank you – and Happy Thanksgiving!

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We Are Thankful: Rugby & Gov

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http://www.veterinarian-hospital.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/rubgy-and-gov.jpgThis is part two of our ‘We Are Thankful” series that is highlighting some of the pets that come to Town N Country.

If you think “Rugby” and “Gov” look like your normal household Golden Retrievers, think again. Five year old Rugby is a competitive field dog who runs in hunt tests multiple times a year while six month old “Gov” is still in training and will likely compete in his first junior competition next spring or summer. The puppy began training at seven weeks old, but only for a few minutes a day and as one can imagine the “training” was more like playing at that age.

Owner Jim Lasley is no stranger to working with field dogs as he has almost 40 years of experience. He has trained six golden retrievers and has worked with dogs his entire life. He says he works with his two boys almost every day, weather permitting, doing drills and water work. They keep him company inside the rest of the time.

The Goldens follow hand signals to train and they are rarely used for actual hunting, although Rugby does duck hunt on occasion. When the dogs are tested, the training hunt tests involve a simulated hunting situation, hunting for water fowl, doves, ducks, and geese, using both land and water.

These two follow a special diet using food designed for dogs that perform hunt tests and field trials. Once they do compete in an actual hunt test, Rugby and Gov are not competing against other dogs, they are judged against AKC standards set for retrievers.

We are thankful for Rugby and Gov and the way they inspire us to work hard and keep physically and mentally fit!

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We are Thankful: Maya, a Rescue Dog

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maya in the car

Maya right after Doggy Day Care

“Maya”, a 3 year old Alaskan Husky has given owners Jeff and Susan Corbett something to be extra thankful for this year. This intelligent, quick, and sweet girl had been surrendered and was rescued from the Guilford Animal Shelter last November weighing in at 45 pounds.

Since then her “mom” Susan said she now weighs 65 pounds, the ideal weight recommended by Dr. Bolynn. (Speaking of Dr. Bolynn, we have it on good authority that Maya is a top Doggy Day Care attendee.)

The Corbetts were previously parents to a Labrador who passed away in 2013. They had no plans to bring home another companion right away, but they decided quickly when the time was right they would adopt.

Jeff and Susan visited the Guilford County Animal Shelter with plans to bring home a different dog. But they noticed Maya cowering in the back of her cage. As soon as the cage was opened she lay on Susan’s feet.

Maya

Maya right after Doggy Day Care

The rest of the story is history! While Maya loves to chase balls and run like many dogs, she is also a very loyal companion to Susan, who has Lupus. Maya has become very protective, and has a very good sense of when Susan is sick and will stay by her side and cuddle in bed.

Technically Maya is considered a rescue dog, but her owners think otherwise…”We didn’t rescue her, she rescued us”.

We’re thankful for Maya, as well as all the pets that enrich our lives so very much.

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We Need Your Pet’s Picture!

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Dressed up dogNovember is a time that we focus on being thankful. Naturally, you and your pets are among the things that we are most grateful for!

We want to do a special “Thankful” gallery on our website, and we need your help! Would you send us pictures of your pet (with you, if you would like!) for us to post?

Please either email your picture upload your pictures here.

Thank you!

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