Breed Spotlight: Getting to Know Border Collies

November 22nd, 2015

Billings_iStock_000009354962_Large.jpgFrom catching frisbees to fetching the exact pink left slipper you’ve been looking for, Border Collies seem to have an intelligence that rivals that of most small children. In people terms they’re smart, in dog terms they are a veritable doggie Einstein or Hawking. Read the rest of this entry »

Scrapping Table Scraps: A Guide to Avoiding Pet Pancreatitis

November 15th, 2015

Billings_iStock_000076272325_Large.jpgAfter indulging in a chocolate cronut or an extra helping of mashed potatoes, most of us can just reach for some green papaya capsules or an antacid if we’re feeling uncomfortable. Luckily, many people can embrace a rich, delicious treat now and then without major repercussions. But can the same be said for your four-legged friend?

Sadly, no pet’s dinner menu should include cronut-inspired dishes. While those pleading eyes are hard to resist, he or she could develop pet pancreatitis from even one bite of something rich and fatty. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun With Our Pets in the Snow

November 8th, 2015

Billings_iStock_000022175096_Large.jpgIt begins with a stillness in the air from the silence in the wildlife, snow is on its way. All the leaves left their trees weeks ago, leaving them sparse and thin.

Then, white pieces of sky, at first one by one, building to a flood of cold fluffy flakes, it’s snowing. Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Dental Chews: Tried and True or a Waste of Money?

October 31st, 2015

WestPark-_-Leon_iStock_000031982520_Large.jpgThe over-the-counter pet supply market is big business. Pet owners spend millions of dollars every year on toys, accessories, and health care products for their beloved furry family friends.

We have all heard how important dental care is for our pets, so it is no wonder that the market is flooded with pet dental chews, treats, rinses, and foods. But before you get lost in this plethora of oral care products for pets, take a step back and learn about if they are really worth the cost. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips and Tricks for Moving Your Cat

October 25th, 2015

Billings_Leon_iStock_000057478694_LargeMaybe you’ve had it with your upstairs neighbor moving furniture at all hours of the night. Or, maybe that big promotion at work finally came through… in Omaha. Whatever the precipice, one thing is clear: moving is in your future.

But have you thought about how best to move your cat? Sure, cats love boxes, but change is not the feline’s forte. From keeping your kitty safe while you pack, to physically transporting him from Point A to Point B, to helping him settle into your new digs, there is a lot to consider. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Cats and Halloween: The Myths, the Facts, the Dangers

October 17th, 2015

iStock_000008891247_LargeAt some point in time, the image of a black cat, hackles raised and eyes glowing, has become intimately associated with the Halloween holiday. They certainly add an aura of mystique to the season, but why black cats? Read on to learn more about how black cats and Halloween have come to be associated and separate the facts from the spooky speculation.

The History of Black Cats and Halloween

The connection between black cats and Halloween is certainly not a new one. Stories of black cats, thought to be evil spirits, being sacrificed into fires during the celebration of the Lord of the Dead on October 31 can be found about 2,000 years back in Druid circles. Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife Awareness for Pet Owners

October 12th, 2015

Desert CoyoteWhile you may not consider yourself the Grizzly Adams type, life in Montana means exposure to Mother Nature in all of her beauty and perils (after all, it’s why we live here). Wildlife awareness is almost second nature to us, and we often have personal stories with wildlife close encounters.

But wildlife safety takes a different turn when we are pet owners. Whether our cat is outdoors a lot or we love to hike with our dog, there are precautions to take.

The Basics of Wildlife Awareness

Even if you aren’t planning a camping or hiking excursion, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with species that have adapted to urban areas. And, it is not uncommon to run into coyotes, bears, skunks, foxes, and other wildlife. Read the rest of this entry »

The Billings Animal Family Hospital Guide To Healthy Treats

October 1st, 2015

Portrait of a Parson Jack Russell Terrier transfixed by the prospect of a treatThe word “treat” is not generally synonymous with “healthy”. Most treats for pets, and for people, come in packages and are laden with fat, salt, and sugar. All pets love prepackaged treats, but did you know that most enjoy fruits and vegetables too?

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, certain properly prepared fruits, veggies, and other pantry staples make wonderful alternative treats for dogs and cats. When deciding which of the many healthy treats to offer your pet, it is absolutely vital to keep in mind that some people food is toxic to pets and therefore strictly off-limits, such as grapes, onions, chocolate, and macadamia nuts to name a few.
Read the rest of this entry »

Mental Illness in Pets: Not Just a Problem for People

September 11th, 2015

iStock_000000686354_LargeJust about everyone knows someone, or has themselves been touched by conditions such as depression, anxiety, or dementia. These issues are very real for many Americans. But while we focus very heavily on the bodily health of our pets, we sometimes forget that pets can battle these types of problems as well. Learn what you need to know about mental illness in pets

Common Types of Mental Illness in Pets

There are many manifestations of mental illness in pets that we must deal with. A few types are more common than others, however. Some of the more common issues that we deal with include: Read the rest of this entry »

Foxtail Grasses and How They Harm Your Pet

September 8th, 2015

FoxtailsFoxtails…the word makes you think of a lovely meadow with the sun shining through those golden-tipped grasses. And, while foxtails can seem beautiful from afar, but can actually cause severe infections and abscesses in pets – mostly generally, dogs. That is why it is important to know how to keep your pet away from foxtail grasses and similar species of this problematic plant group.

Identifying Foxtails

Foxtails belong to a family of grasses that contain awns, or barbs, that are designed to burrow into the ground, along with the seed, to encourage propagation. Awns are the dried arrow-shaped stickers that the grasses shed, and are the harmful portion of the foxtail. Read the rest of this entry »