Ring in The New Year with our Top 10 Blogs for 2017

The New Year is almost upon us, and with that comes reflection on the year gone by and – a little excitement and new energy for the year to come. At Billings Animal Family Hospital, we took some time to look back at the blogs we wrote last year, and what interested our online family. We then pulled together the Top 10 Blogs for 2017 that you found the most relevant, informational, and fun. So, without further ado, we are pleased to share them here with you!

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Pot and Pets: What You Need to Know

pot and petsThe state of marijuana legalization in the United States is in flux, and Montana is no exception. Medical cannabis was legalized in Montana in 2004, and a 2016 ballot initiative further loosened the regulations.

While proponents of medical marijuana are obviously pleased with the growing acceptance of the drug, it has had a less than positive impact on many pets. The Pet Poison Hotline reports a 330% increase in marijuana toxicity cases in pets over the past several years, correlating with the rise in legalization across the country.

Educating yourself about pot and pets, including the dangers and how you can prevent an accidental poisoning, is the first step toward making sure your furry loved ones stay safe. Continue…

Do Pets Mourn the Loss of Another Household Pet?

Losing a beloved pet is devastating for people, and this loss can be just as upsetting to other animals in the household. Pet grief is somewhat of a mystery, and the subject of grief among animals has been the focus of many researchers for decades.

From the heartbreaking image of a dog lying down in front of his owner’s casket to the mourning rituals of elephants, grief in animals (as well as other complex emotions) has been well documented. However, while the emotional life of animals is obviously rich, there are few studies that examine how pets mourn the loss of other pets within the home.

Because many owners report behavioral changes in surviving pets, let’s take a closer look at pet grief and what owners can do to support their four-legged friends.

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Senior Pet Diet and Nutrition for Greater Well-Being

Feeding the dogAs pets age, their nutritional needs will change. Just as a puppy or kitten requires a special diet for rapid growth, a senior pet diet may also need to factor in certain health and lifestyle changes.

Typically, many senior pets struggle with weight gain due, in part, to their inability to exercise as much as when they were younger. From mobility challenges to decreased energy, senior pet food should support the overall health and wellness of an aging pet.

Define “Senior”

With advancements in veterinary medicine and a focus on preventive care, pets are now living much longer lives. In fact, what constitutes “senior” or “geriatric” is now a bit amorphous, particularly if your four-legged is still quite active and in good health. Continue…

Caring for Senior Pets: Signs of Chronic Illness

Labrador dog resting indoorsJust like us, pets develop health problems as they age. It’s hard to admit (or even recognize), but modern veterinary medicine and regular at-home care can go a long way to improving and extending the lives of senior pets.

The Timeline

Senior pets are generally considered geriatric at 7 years old. As your pet ages, you may notice some behavioral changes. While some of these may be completely harmless, many shifts in patterns or habits can indicate larger health problems. Continue…

In Full Swing: How to Beat Your Pet’s Back to School Blues

guinea pig in glasses reading a bookOne of the best ways to manage change in your household is to keep to a routine. This time-tested approach works wonders for people, but it’s also a great strategy for your pet at the start of the school year.

The back to school blues are felt profoundly by your four-legged family member, but with a healthy combination of preparation and patience, your pet’s new routine will be a smashing success.

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Happy Feet: Keeping Pet Paws Protected from Outdoor and Heat Dangers

Doggie PawsDespite all of the wear-and-tear they receive, pet paws are actually quite sensitive and subject to risk of injury, burn, and dryness or cracking. From scorching sidewalks to sharp rocks, paws are at increased risk, as we often spend more time outdoors with our furry companions during the summer months.

So how can you better protect those tender paws? Through summertime pet paw care!

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream… For Pet Popsicles!

Dog And A Red PopsicleSwimming in the river, running through the sprinklers, splashing in a kiddie pool, lying by the fan, and hiding in the air conditioned house are all perfectly acceptable ways for our pets to keep cool now that summer is in full swing. But why not shake things up for our furry friends by offering them a time-honored, summer tradition: the popsicle?

Pet popsicles are becoming quite “the thing” these days, and with tons of health options available for making your own, there’s no reason not to indulge your pet in one of these tasty treats. Continue…

Fear Free and Proud:  All About Our Fear Free Certification

Beagle at the veterinarianWhile most owners know how important it is to bring their pet in for their wellness examinations, actually mustering up the gumption to do so can be another story altogether. Besides finding the time and wrestling an often unwilling participant into a pet carrier or the vehicle, it can be hard to watch your sweet companion become anxious or even terrified while at our hospital.

That is why Billings Animal Family Hospital has dedicated itself to making your visits to see us as pleasant as possible and have committed ourselves to achieving our Fear Free Certification. Continue…

Five Things Your Cat Wishes You Knew

Billings_iStock_000026797308_LargeIt can take months or maybe even years for a cat-owner relationship to grow strong enough to have the mutual respect that makes for a pleasant and smooth routine. Having to guess what your animal friends wish you already knew is a challenging part of pet ownership, care, and companionship.

What if there was a way for you to understand what your cat wanted you to know? Would you want to hear what she had to say? If there were five things your cat wishes you knew, what would they be?

Sometimes a strong message is exactly what is needed to communicate without guessing, but until then let’s look at five things your cat wishes you knew. Continue…