Keeping the Happy in Your Halloween for Your Pets

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halloween dogIt’s a night to your kids wildly anticipate: free candy, spooky decorations and the chance to dress up like a Ninja. For your pets, it’s a night of being jolted repeatedly by the ring of the doorbell and scared silly by those strange beings just outside the door.

A few precautions can lower stress levels for your whole family and help keep your dog or cat settled and safe. Take a look at these 7 tips to help you courageously conquer a fear-provoking night:

1. Chocolate Stash. Cats aren’t usually tempted, but dogs have often ended up in vet emergency rooms on Halloween night. Chocolate’s toxicity and easy access can be a disastrous combination. Keep candy dishes and treat bags in a safe place, and remember: the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

2. Raisin Ban. Some parents like to supply a healthy snack, but if your pet consumes raisins or even grapes, she could be in danger of kidney failure within 48 hours. Watch for symptoms like lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea.

3. No-Glo. Glo sticks and glowing jewelry can be a great accessory for children, but endanger cats, in particular. Their curiosity may prompt them to bite a glow-stick open and release dubutyl phthalate. This clear or yellow oily liquid can cause irritation to your pet’s skin or eyes, and your first clue may be when your pet drools excessively, gags or retches.

4. Masked Dangers. In the pictures, your pet totally rocks the look. However, before you start going door to door, please insure that the costume doesn’t limit vision, movement or breathing. Also look out for beads or any small part your pet could ingest.

5. Dumpster Diving. Candy-flavored wrappers may be too much temptation for your sniff-happy dog or your curious kitty. Once ingested, these wrappers can block small systems and cause all sorts of problems.

6. Burn Notice. Avoid placing real candles in jack-o-lanterns or in your decorations. One lightning-quick move by your cat or dog could accidentally start a fire.

7. A Valid ID. Are your pet’s tags up to date? If your pet bolted and ran a few blocks from your house, updated tags could insure the return of a worried (or oblivious) wanderer.

Halloween doesn’t have to be a scary night for your pet or a headache for you. Take a few precautions for a fun, pet-friendly holiday.

Happy Halloween from everyone at Town N Country!

PS Don’t forget our Howl o ween celebration!

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It’s A Howl-O-Ween Party!

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halloween dangersJoin us for a Howling & Yowling good time on Wednesday, October 29th from 3 – 6 pm!

We will have Hot Cocoa, Cider, Cookies, and Brownies for our human guests, treat bags for our favorite Doggies and Kitties. For the kids we’ll have games, balloons, candy, and prizes! There will be a beautiful picture taking area so you can share the moment.

Our employees will be dressed up, so you and your pet should, too!

We can’t wait to see you!

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Halloween: Scary. Forgetting Rabies Shots: Way Scarier!

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dog dressed up as a lobster“EEEEEK!!! Who put that plastic spider THERE??”

A little scary can be fun, but letting your pet’s rabies shots lapse can lead to truly frightening events.

Rabies can kill your pet – painfully. And the disease is zoonotic, which means it can be passed to humans. (Creepy, huh?)

The word “rabies” comes from the Latin word for madness. Because it affects the central nervous system and brain, this disease progresses fairly quickly with the following symptoms:

1. The bad beginning. Initial proof is that your pet runs a fever and may have a headache.

2. Daunting development. A little later, your pet may look depressed, show signs of severe pain and move violently.

3. Hair-raising hydrophobia (fear of water). Actually, hydrophobia is another word for rabies. Victims are plagued with a fear of water, along with the inability to swallow, foaming at the mouth, unquenchable thirst.

4. Maniacal Mania. Your pet will alternate between mania and lethargy that will eventually lead to coma.

5. Disturbing Death. An unprotected pet will die primarily from inability to breathe.

Rabies is a very serious disease that can be completely prevented with regularly scheduled rabies shots or boosters. Maybe associating a scary disease like rabies with a scary holiday like Halloween will help you remember your pet’s shots.

Watch out for wild animals that are likely candidates to pass on rabies to your pet like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.

If you have a puppy, arrange for rabies shots when your pup’s between the age of 12 and 16 weeks. That first vaccination is good for a year, and boosters should be administered every year for cats, and every three years for dogs.

If your pet’s shots aren’t up to date or you’re not sure about your pet’s vaccine schedule, give Town N Country a call. One quick appointment eliminates the “way scary” from your Halloween.

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The Truth About Sleep And Your Pet

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sleeping dogTruth is, you may be envious of how often – and how easily – your dog or cat sleeps! What a life!
Your pet’s sleep patterns don’t fit an 8 hour stretch like humans. Did you know that cats can sleep anywhere from 12 to nearly 17 hours in a 24 hour period? Dogs can sleep anywhere from 12 to 18 hours per day – varying somewhat by breed and individual dog. Our youngest and oldest pets can spend even more time getting some shut-eye.

Am I Dreaming? If you’ve ever heard your dog yip in her sleep or seen your cat move in his sleep, you’ve seen your pet in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Stage or the stage where he dreams. For humans, it takes about 90 minutes to reach this sleep stage, but dogs and cats reach this stage in about 15 minutes.

While you may feel rejuvenated and restored after a good night’s sleep, your pet may leap up from a short nap, alert and ready for the next adventure. This intrinsic tendency to rapidly recharge worked very well in the wild, where hunting for small prey took up loads of energy.

Today, that same energy level might be expended to persuade you to get out of bed in the morning – pronto, please!

Are you sleeping, Brother John? Puppies and kittens may not sleep through the night because they’re wired for short spurts of rest. However, as these pets get older, they’re content to sleep when you sleep, provided the environment encourages it. So if the room is dark and the bedding and temperature suits your pet, he’ll sleep through the night just fine.

Can my pet sleep too much? Sometimes new dog or cat owners worry about a pet’s sleeping habits. Is it too much? Is she okay? The key to telling the difference between a needed nap and lethargy lies in how your pet behaves when awake. Changes in usual responses or patterns could be a red flag.

For instance, does the jangle of a leash still excite your dog? Or does he seem disinterested? Maybe your cat has lost her appetite and eats much less. Or you notice that it’s all she can do to move from one favorite napping spot to another. When a cat or dog seems perpetually exhausted or simply lacks energy, that’s lethargy and may indicate a health problem. The best way to know for sure what’s going in is to schedule a check-up for your pet.

(Yawn) As soon as you make that appointment, maybe you’d like to treat yourself to a little nap. After all…what Shakespeare said is true…

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

From The Tempest (4.1.168-170) by William Shakespeare

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What Are Those Big Brown Eyes Saying?

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raw dog food“You know I love you, right? Pass me the chicken, will ya?”

To your dog, love is a piece of your hamburger, a sliver of your chicken or whatever you’re eating at the time. Any dog can turn into a beggar, but under-the-table treats should be the exception and not the rule.

Of course, your cat would never dream of begging. She’s more adept at a planned hunger strike. She knows that if she stops eating whatever you provide, you may bring out better choices.

Good nutrition means wise choices, and those choices can vary a bit for each individual pet.

Wet? Dry? Raw? What packs the best nutrition for your pet? Dry Kibble is crunchy and helps clean your dog’s or cat’s teeth as they chew. It’s also the least expensive option. Read labels closely – you want more meat than grain in your pet’s dry food. Most pets prefer wet food because it has more meat, but it’s a bit more expensive. However, if you have an older pet that has trouble chewing, canned wet food may be your best choice.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets® are sold at Town N Country. Many customers are surprised by the turn around their pets experienced with Raw – a glossier coat, more energy, better muscle tone, to name a few noticeable changes. (You can certainly start small and see how your pet likes it.)

Whatever you choose, it’s always a good idea to occasionally rotate varieties of your pet’s main food source from time to time to provide variety, meet nutritional needs and prevent development of allergies. Even switching between kibbles is beneficial.

Does your Pet need a Prescription Diet?A prescription diet is formulated for dogs with health challenges like kidney problems, digestive issues, skin problems or allergies, to name a few. If your pet has a recurring health issue, talk to your vet. Prescription diets have been created and are continually monitored by the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), a branch of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be sure the product lives up to its claim to treat a specific condition.

Once a diagnosis points to your pet’s need for a prescription diet, your vet would closely monitor your pet’s health to ensure the best possible solution.

Live long and prosper. The best way to love your dog or cat is to feed them well – which means a balanced, nutritious diet. Allowing a pet to overeat and gain weight means that his life can be shortened by a couple of years! Like you, your pet’s dietary needs will change for many reasons. Talk to us about the right choices for your pet.

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7 Benefits of Exercising Your Dog: Why Fit Leads to Fabulous

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exercising in the coldLack of exercise. It’s bad for you. It’s bad for your dog. When you consider the benefits of regular exercise, you might get up and dance with your dog, which isn’t a horrible idea, by the way.
Take a look at these seven benefits of routine physical activity for your pet:

1. Gain strength and protection. A dog that exercises has stronger bones and more defined muscles that help him avoid injuries.

2. Overcome obesity. And also overcome everything associated with it: heart disease, breathing problems, diabetes, arthritis and even depression. Happy dogs live longer!

3. Discover even more health benefits. The list of good things continues! Active dogs don’t usually have digestive problems, and they’re less likely to develop urinary infections. (Think of how many patches of grass your dog christened on your last walk.) Exercise is a great stress-reducer and will help your dog rest and sleep better at the end of the day.

4. Look for better behavior. Regular exercise means your dog uses excess energy on the trail and not on tearing apart your sofa. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

5. Boost your dog’s confidence. Maintaining a regular routine of walks or outings to the park will help a shy dog get used to others and be more outgoing. Naturally nervous dogs are less nervous, and you may see less anxiety for dogs with separation issues. Overall, your dog will be happier because any running, jumping, chasing activity is more interesting than your sofa.

6. Jumpstart your own fitness craze. You and your whole family could benefit from your dog’s fitness. One study conducted by the University of Western Australia found that seven in every 10 adult dog owners logged 150 minutes of physical exercise per week. Another Australian study reported that having a dog in the house cut the risk of childhood obesity in half. *

7. Create a stronger bond with you. Your dog’s favorite activity is whatever you’re doing. Spending active time outdoors with your dog rocks her world – and gives her another reason to adore you.

Do you have your sneakers on yet?? Getting fit with your dog can be a lot of fun – and can certainly lead to fabulous.

Of course, you’re going to have to get used to hearing “You look marvelous, dahhhling!”

*The Bark

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Dog Agility: For You & Your Dog?

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dog agility trainingIt’s a dog’s nature to hunt, but most dogs today don’t develop skills that could help them capture their next meal over hill and dale.

Dog Agility is a sport where dogs compete against the clock and against other dogs to complete a field course similar to what a hunting dog might encounter in the wild. Started in 1978 in England, this just might be the fun sport you and your pet are looking for. The best way to get started is to take classes. Here are 4 benefits you don’t want to miss:

Sweat for fun and profit. Even a high-energy dog can get a great work-out that challenges his mind and body with agility training. These movements and drills can help your dog get healthy – an incredibly profitable status!

Wild thing, you make my heart sing! Exercises for your pet like running fast, walking over a raised wooden walkway, getting through tight spaces, and stopping on command fulfill your dog’s inner desire to track and hunt.

Do run, run! If you’re not careful, you may find yourself running alongside your favorite competitor(s), having fun and getting more fit. One study done by the University of Massachusetts that closely monitored oxygen consumption and heart rates of dog trainers during dog agility training showed that the trainers’ levels of exercise could be defined as moderate to vigorous.* Cool work out!

Be true, Bleu. Agility training can help you bond with your dog. You’ll spend quality time together as you both practice, learn signals and build trust.

If you’re new to the idea of agility training, take a look at obedience classes or canine good citizen classes. Every dog starts somewhere! In Burlington, you may want to check here for class opportunities.

If you have any questions about your dog and his fitness level, give Town N Country a call. We’d love to get you started on the right paw.

*ZoomRoomOnline.com

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Vaccinating Your One-of-a-Kind Cat

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feline Your cat may sleep on the arm of your sofa while you watch television or run across your pillow in the wee hours of the morning. He may charm your visitors with a quick affectionate brush against their legs or hide under a piece of furniture until they leave. She may have a taste for a certain brand of cat food, or he may display a penchant toward an accessible backyard bird buffet.

Every detail points to a very individual creature – which is why at Town N Country, we don’t have one size fits all vaccination recommendations for your cat.

Indoors-only cats need Rabies and Distemper (AKA Feline Panleukopenia, Calci and Rhinotracheitis/Herpes Virus) vaccinations. These are considered CORE vaccines by the American Academy of Feline Practitioners. Cats allowed to go outside must have these, but will most likely need additional vaccines. Take a look at this disease and vaccine primer so you’ll know what to expect:

CORE vaccines
1. Rabies. NC state law requires that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age. Rabies affects the central nervous system, evidenced in a cat’s radically changed behavior – including aggression. Purevax® Feline Rabies vaccine is Town N Country’s Rabies vaccine of choice because its state-of-the-art technology administers immunity without unnecessary proteins or adjuvants. SOME adjuvants have been implicated with certain risks like vaccine-site reactions, inflammation, or even vaccine-site-associated TUMORS. Some owners ask about 3-year Rabies vaccines. These vaccines are associated with the aforementioned risks. Town N Country vets trusts PureVax® vaccines to protect the lives of one-of-a-kind cats – like yours.

2. Feline Distemper Vaccine – this is a combination vaccine that includes vaccination against Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia. This vaccine is considered a CORE vaccine for all cats, even indoor-exclusive cats. Although indoor cats may not come in contact with other cats, there is concern for boarding visits, hospital visits, traveling and transmission of disease from the owner’s clothing or shoes. These diseases are highly contagious and many cats don’t survive the disease.

NON-CORE Vaccines
3. Feline Leukemia. Particularly dangerous for young cats, Feline Leukemia causes lymphoma in a quarter of infected cats and contributes to other diseases because it suppresses the immune system and bone marrow production. Vaccines are only recommended for multi-cat households, cats that spend anytime outside, and all kittens. Often a cat that’s infected with Feline Leukemia exhibits no visible symptoms. Kittens should be vaccinated for the first year of their life because of their high susceptibility to the disease.

4. Feline Immunodificiency Virus. Vaccination against this serious disease should be administered to cats of multi-cat households and those that spend anytime outside. This disease is most commonly transmitted via the saliva of infected cats or by transmission from mothers to their kittens. Many cats can live a long, normal life until their immune system’s function drops dangerously low. This is when cats become highly susceptible to infectious diseases.

If you’ve added a kitten to your family or you think your cat may need a booster, give us a call. Before we decide what shots and preventions your cat needs, we’ll discuss your cat’s habits, health, age and preferred environment. It’s a simple step you can take to protect your pet.

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Emergency! 13 Emergencies That Need Immediate care

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tncphotoSplit second decisions can save your pet’s life. Would you recognize these animal emergencies? Take a look at 13 conditions* that should send you and your pet to the nearest vet emergency room STAT:

1. Seeing red? When you see your pet bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum, seek medical attention immediately. Other emergency situations include coughing up blood or blood in urine.

2. Still seeing red? Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes warrants a quick trip to your local vet ER.

3. Taking your breath away? When your pet is choking or coughing or gagging continuously or having any difficulty breathing, seek prompt care.

4. Noticing an untouched litterbox? Inability to urinate or pass feces as well as obvious pain associated with urinating or elimination are great causes for concern.

5. Has she been drinkin’? When your pet won’t drink for 24 hours or more, something’s greatly amiss.

6. In a pig’s, dog’s or cat’s eye? Don’t delay treatment with any injuries to your pet’s eye(s). You would hate to discover 48 hours later that medical attention administered sooner could’ve saved your pet’s vision.

7. Telltale evidence? Don’t second guess yourself if you find an overturned bottle or empty gum wrappers. Poisons like antifreeze, Xylitol, chocolate or rat poison can cause a painful death. Quick intervention saves lives.

8. Feeling hot? Heat stress or heatstroke can be scary. Look for excessive panting, drooling, an increased temperature, lethargy, staggering and vomiting. Cats may restlessly look for a cooler spot and groom excessively.

Your pet will instinctively camouflage any injury or problem. (Think survival of the fittest.) When you observe obvious problems like these, your pet is crying out for medical attention.

9. Seizures and/or staggering.

10. Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s).

11. Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety.

12. Severe vomiting or diarrhea. More than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period would define an emergency. Either symptom may be combined with other problems listed here.

13. Unconsciousness.

Your pet may deal with pain, sickness or other problems in ways not listed here. If you see anything unusual about your pet or have questions about his health, give Town N Country a call. One phone call can give you peace of mind or maybe even save a life. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

*Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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It’s a jungle in there! Keep Your Indoor Cat Healthy

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finn the catFor your pet cat, it’s a jungle out there! Watch the crafty hunter crouch silently in the tall grass, ready to pounce on his prey. See the mighty huntress bring home the fresh meat, to be proudly displayed by the bathroom door. Your lovable tabby cat has a lot in common with lions, tigers and panthers, and even if she’s an indoor kitty, there are some things that just don’t change.

Fresh meat! Like their distant relatives, house cats crave meat. Hopefully your indoor cat isn’t catching critters in your house. Instinct®’s Raw delivers nutrition the way nature intended — and supplies what your cat would seek in his natural habitat. Each flash frozen patty, medallion and chub ensures the best taste and nutritional quality – and you can find a variety of Nature’s Variety Instinct® Raw Frozen diets at Town N Country’s freezer section. Many pet owners see a true turn-around in their pet’s health when they change to Instinct® . For their testimonials, click here.

Protection Needed Indoors or Outdoors. Keep in mind that indoor cats can fall victim to the same diseases that plague outdoor cats. Any unprotected cat is one mosquito bite away from heartworm disease. That’s why it’s so important that your cat receives the recommended vaccinations. Symptoms of heartworms mimic common problems like asthma or pneumonia. By the time the real cause is diagnosed, the unfortunate result can be adult-sized (14-inch) heartworms thriving inside a cat’s small heart and arteries. Prevention is much simpler than treatment. Revolution®, a once-a-month treatment can be applied topically to the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. And the same topical medication prevents most intestinal parasites, ear mites, fleas and ticks.

Indoors, outdoors, or a little bit of both, if you have questions about how to keep your cat healthy or you’d like to be sure vaccines are up to date, give us a call.

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