What kind of food should I feed my pet?

Although there isn't one brand of food that we recommend, we have several suggestions. Feeding your pet a quality diet is the best thing you can do for your adored pet. We do recommend avoiding foods that contain soy, wheat, and corn. These tend to be possible causes of skin and stomach troubles. When you feed a quality diet to your pet, you are able to feed much less. The initial costs may be more than used to, but in the long run, savings are incredible. Please refer to our winter newsletter 2010 for more useful information.

How many doctors do you have at your practice?

We have 2 full time veterinarians at our practice.

At what age can I spay or neuter my pet?

We recommend spaying and neutering your pet at 5 to 6 months old. A female may go in to heat after the age of 6 months, depending on the size of the animal. Our clinic sends out reminders to bring your pet in for this surgical procedure.

How often should I feed my pet?

At Billings Animal Family Hospital, we recommend feeding your pet twice daily. A puppy up to the age of 4 months can be fed three times per day. Meal feeding your pet allows you to keep track of the amount that they eat and allows for an easier schedule for potty breaks. If you have not previously meal fed your pet, please call us and we would be happy to help you with the transition. We also recommend a measured amount of food per day for cats. Cats will often nibble throughout the day. Please remember that if your pet does not finish the daily amount of food put down for them, then you may be feeding too much.

Why does my pet need a rabies vaccination even if they don't go outside?

First, and foremost, rabies is a disease that humans can acquire. Even if your pet is strictly indoors, there is potential that they could bite you or a guest in your home. When your pet comes to our clinic, we will require an updated rabies vaccination. We must keep our staff and doctors safe too. Our doctors have researched and found the safest vaccination for your pet. If your pet does bite, and is not current on the rabies, your pet may be quarantined or even euthanized. Yellowstone County is often in a rabies quarantine, which means that your pet needs to be current in order to be in the county and to travel out of the county.

What does it mean when my pet scoots on the floor?

The myth that is often assumed is that your pet has worms when it scoots. Most often your pet is struggling with anal gland issues. There are 2 glands inside the rectum that fill up routinely with a fluid that is often expressed with bowel movements. When your pet has trouble expressing them, they often will scoot their bottom on the carpet. They may lick their bottom, sit real fast, and seem real agitated with that area. Cats often will run around neurotically or pull hair out on their lower back area. If any of these signs come up, please call us and we will guide you in making an appointment.

How often should I trim my pet's nails?

As all pets vary in the frequency of nail trims, we definitely recommend at least trimming them once monthly. During nicer weather, we can exercise our pet, which often files the nails down. If your pet seems to have long nails, feel free to bring in to a groomer or Billings Animal Family Hospital to have them done properly. You may also be taught with the proper methods for nail trimming and the anatomy of the nail. Pets with long nails can have discomfort when walking and can cause further problems such as torn toenails. Kitties like to sharpen their nails so providing them with a scratching post is beneficial.

How long are dogs/cats in heat?

Dogs typically come in to heat every 6 months. Dogs stay in heat for approximately 3 weeks. There is discharge and swelling of the vulva. There is no guaranteed time when a dog is able to breed, so keeping your dog in heat away from other dogs is recommended. The gestation period for dogs is 60-63 days. Cats come in to heat more often than dogs. They typically come in to heat for 7-10 days, and are out for 7-10 days. Cats tend to come in heat as the days lengthen. Gestation period for cats is also 60-63 days.

Do I need tags on my dog?

We always recommend an ID tag on your pet at all times. When your dog is given a rabies vaccination, a rabies tag is issued. This tag has a number on the bottom that corresponds to your pet. If your pet gets out of a yard and someone finds him, there is a phone number on the tag of the veterinary hospital. When you call the hospital, you may give the number on the bottom of the tag, and the pet's information can be located in the computer. Also, the city of Billings requires your pet to be licensed if you live in the city limits. To license your pet, you may take a current rabies certificate to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, and they will license your pet. Your pet is required to have a city license by the age of 6 months. This gives you time to spay/neuter your pet, which makes licensing your pet less expensive. The shelter will issue a tag for the license also which is recommended to be on your pet's collar.

If my pet is not due for vaccinations, why should I bring him in every year?

Bringing in your pet yearly for exams can help the doctor in finding early onset of disease. Although your pet may appear healthy, there can be underlying issues that have no external symptoms. Our pets cannot voice their concerns to us. A good head to toe exam will cover all bases and give the doctor a good idea of your pet's overall health. Early detection leads to early care. Senior pets benefit from twice-yearly exams as they may age quicker and have problems arise more often than a healthy puppy or kitten.