Summer Safety for Pets

July 11th, 2014

iStock_000004795774_SmallFor most of us, summer means spending more time outdoors with your pet for a little fun in the sun. From basking in the summer sun and hiking the local trails to taking out pets for a swim or on a camping adventure, there’s endless fun to be had when summer comes to Montana.

But the increased temperatures also mean taking the necessary precautions to ensure your pet remains happy, healthy and hydrated in the heat. So before you head out on your next adventure, consider these tips when it comes to summer safety for pets.

Staying Hydrated

Keeping your pet hydrated in the hot summer weather is essential, so make sure your pet has access to fresh drinking water throughout the day. Usually this means having more than one water dish available to your pet, located at different spots in the yard and house. Read the rest of this entry »

Fourth of July Pet Safety

July 2nd, 2014

iStock_000023839723_SmallAlthough you and your family may enjoy the awesome fireworks and local festivities surrounding the Fourth of July, these celebrations can pose a number of problems for your pet’s safety and well-being, making Fourth of July pet safety a must for any responsible pet owner.

Your pet can become incredibly distressed by the loud noises, bright lights, and large crowds that accompany the Fourth. This distress can manifest itself through stress and fear, resulting in timid or aggressive behavior; or your pet may try to escape, and end up a Fourth of July statistic (July 5 is the busiest day for local animal shelters). Your pet’s health is also at risk during this time of year, when not-so-pet-friendly picnic foods and alcoholic beverages can easily end up within your pet’s reach.

Help keep your pet safe this week by following these Fourth of July pet safety tips… Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Escape: Reining in Your Escape Artist

June 13th, 2014

iStock_000009884821_SmallSome pets like to live a little dangerously. No matter what you do, it seems that these daredevils are not happy to be confined to your property. While a little adventure can be good from time to time, it can also be a dangerous indulgence for pets who are not supervised.

If you have a pet that regularly escapes your yard, it is important to take steps to prevent and discourage that behavior. Your pet is safest at home, or at least under your direct supervision. Here are a few tips on how to control pet escape

Escape-Proof Your Yard

Sometimes preventing your pet from getting out of your yard is as simple as securing your borders a little better. Take a walk around your property and look at things from your pet’s point of view. Be sure to mend any broken fencing or other escape routes. Read the rest of this entry »

Billings Animal Family Hospital Open House

June 6th, 2014

SoCuteThis Saturday, June 7, Billings Animal Family Hospital will be holding its annual open house from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.! We hope you will come say hi, meet our amazing staff of veterinarians, technicians, and service staff, and take a tour of our beautiful facility.

As you may know, we’ve gotten quite a bit of new equipment and done some remodeling over the past year, making Billings Animal Family Hospital one of the most tech savvy veterinary practices in the Billings area.

We’d love for you to come see what we can offer you and your pet, and how our new equipment can benefit your pet’s health and wellness care.

In addition to exploring all we have to offer in our newly updated practice, we’ll also have local vendors on-site, including Marty Golden from Big Sky Dog Training, Tony Barone from Bark Busters Dog Training, and the Invisible Fence Company.

Likewise, we’ll be running special promotions on Senior Wellness blood testing and Wellness Packages for your furry family, as part of the fun.

We will also be providing snacks and beverages for those in attendance; and everyone who comes will get a goodie bag to take home, too (Yay! SWAG!). If you download our new app, and like our Facebook page, you’ll also be entered eligible to win a secret prize, in addition to your goodie bag!

Please note, however; that while we usually welcome our furry friends, this event is just for people. So please: leave your pets at home… It’s too hot to have them in the car, anyway!

We hope to see you on Saturday!


Troubleshooting Pet Weight Loss

May 30th, 2014

Young papillonSometimes weight loss in pets is a good thing; but if you are suddenly noticing ribs on Fluffy or Fido it can be cause for concern. If your pet is losing weight, it is important to ask yourself why it is happening. Weight loss can be a normal physiologic occurrence, but sometimes it is a symptom of a problem.

What Causes Pet Weight Loss

If you understand how and why people lose weight, you can easily understand why pets lose weight. A pet’s body weight is a function of the
calories he or she consumes and the calories that are burned. A decrease in your pet’s intake or an increase in the amount of energy the pet is using on a daily basis will result in the loss of weight. Read the rest of this entry »

Helping Your Senior Pet Get the Most Out of Summer

May 28th, 2014

iStock_000016978232_SmallSummer is finally here and it’s likely that you can’t wait to get outside with your pet.

This may be especially true if you have a senior pet, who has probably felt cooped up indoors for too long and is aching to soak up the sunshine and stretch the old bones a bit. However, spending winter indoors has probably meant limited exercise for your arthritic pet, which can have a negative impact on your senior pet’s summer fun, if you don’t take it a little easy.

While the prospect of enjoying the yard, the lake, and long walks is exciting to you both, it’s important to start slow and not rush into any extreme activity. After all, you wouldn’t want to jump up off the couch and run a marathon at 60, and neither does your pet. Read the rest of this entry »

Pets and People Food

May 16th, 2014

iStock_000013651584_LargeJust about every pet owner is guilty of sharing people food with their pets at some point or another. Sometimes this means sharing the food off of your plate at the end of a meal, or it means giving your four-legged friend a special “treat” just for being the loving and loyal companion that he or she is. And who hasn’t had a pet snag something off the counter?

As a pet owner, you need to be aware of those foods that are both good and bad for your pet to consume. While some people foods are fine, and a few are even beneficial, there are six foods in particular that can be detrimental to your pet’s health. Here’s what to know about pets and people food:

  • Chocolate has two ingredients (caffeine and theobromine) that can lead to toxicosis and pancreatitis. When it comes to this food, all chocolate is bad chocolate, but it is especially important to remember that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pet.
  • Bread dough poses a double threat to your pet. By ingesting raw bread dough, your pet not only faces the very real danger of having the dough rise in the moist environment of his stomach causing extreme discomfort, but also the yeast in raw bread dough releases alcohol that can cause your pet to become intoxicated.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    How to Tick Check Your Pet

    May 9th, 2014

    iStock_000019296376_SmallThis time of year, it seems like no matter how you try to avoid them, ticks will find their way onto our pets. Those of us that grew up in the Billings area know all about the power of the tick check – for both people and pets. Ticks in this region carry a variety of diseases, including Lyme Disease, so it’s important to tick check your pet daily this time of year.

    Unless your pet is very patient, it is best that you check for ticks when your pet is tired. Consider checking for ticks after a long walk or vigorous playtime. If your pet is excitable, try to enlist the help of a second person.

    Ticks are best found by touch, especially if your pet has long fur or is a dark color. If done right, checking for ticks will feel like a good massage, and be Read the rest of this entry »

    Be Prepared! How to Make a Pet First-Aid Kit

    May 2nd, 2014

    FirstAidAs a pet parent, you know that anything can, and at some point probably will, happen. Your pet might get in a scrape with another animal, tussle with a blackberry bush, or scrap himself up on rocky hike in the foothills. These are not necessarily emergencies (although they can be), but just minor bumps and scratches that can be tended to with a little first aid.

    By taking the time now to assemble a pet first-aid kit, you can be better able provide whatever care is needed, when it’s needed. Not only will having a pet first-aid kit on hand help you to stabilize your pet in an emergency, but it will also keep you from coming in when emergency care might not be necessary. And while we do encourage you to call with any questions or concerns you might have, you should have these items on hand, just in case: Read the rest of this entry »

    Easter Pet Safety

    April 17th, 2014

    EasterKittyIt may seem strange to think of Easter as a threat to our pets; after all, for many of us, the holiday itself is synonymous with fluffy bunnies and baby animals. Yet many Easter traditions involve foods and decorations that are dangerous to pets, making the holiday one to watch out for when it comes to pet safety.

    As you prep for Peter Cottontail and your family’s Easter activities, be sure to consider how accessible your celebrations are to your pets and take the extra time to keep your furry family members safe from the dangers you may not consider…

    Chocolate and Candies

    One of the most common causes for pet emergencies over the Easter weekend is chocolate and Xylitol.

    The theobromine in chocolate is highly toxic to most animals, especially dogs. Even a small amount can be fatal, depending on the cocoa content Read the rest of this entry »