Category Archives for Dog Care

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Nutrition Tips for Dogs from Your Little Rock Veterinarian

Just as with humans, good nutrition and exercise are key to keeping your dog healthy and happy. And just as with human nutrition, the internet is teeming with information, reviews, and advice that can be overwhelming.

You’ll find yourself weeding through advertisements masked as advice, supplement companies trying to sell the next cure-all, and plenty of make-at-home advice. Some of this information is helpful, but some can be so poorly balanced that it may even harm your dog.

So, how do you know what’s best for your furry friend? Today, we’ll discuss some tips for dog nutrition that will keep your barking buddy healthy:

Feed High Quality Food

It’s one of the biggest debates you see in the pet food world: Canned food vs. dry, commercial vs. home prepared. Both wet, canned food and dry, kibble-style food have their advantages.

Canned food can have a higher percentage of protein, but it also spoils if left out too long, and can contribute to dental problems due to its’ soft, no-chewing-necessary form. Dry food is more convenient, less expensive overall, and can help keep teeth cleaner with each crunch. However, it can also contain more fillers, may not have as much protein as wet food, and the low moisture content means your dog will need to drink more water.

Most dogs will thrive on dry food, but some pickier eaters and those with specific dietary needs will need canned. Another popular feeding option is home-prepared food. Keep in mind that a high quality commercial pet food has science and research on it’s side, and is a sure safe bet for Copper’s health.

Homemade food is a viable option if your dog has severe allergies or other medical needs that require specific ratios or easy digestibility. If you are unsure about which type of food would be best for your dog, ask the veterinarian.

Switching food? Take it slow.

When you are switching food brands or even “flavors,” you’ll want to transition slowly to the new food, not just abruptly start a fresh new bag or can. Starting a new food can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.

Mix the new food in with the old food, starting with about 25% of the new food mixed with the old for a few days, then 50/50 old and new, and transition over the course of several days to even up to two weeks to the new food.

Slow it Down

If Barkley seems like he is inhaling his food faster than a vacuum cleaner, you may want to take some steps to slow him down. Eating too fast can cause your dog to swallow air, which can lead to a potentially deadly condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV).

Scattering food across the floor or patio, folding the kibble into a towel for them to “hunt” through, or using a slow feeder bowl or puzzle feeder can help.

Don’t Overfeed

Sure, Jim’s big brown beggin’ eyes are sweet, but giving in to his snack desires too often can lead to too much Jim around the middle. Obesity is just as much an epidemic in dogs as it is in humans.

Be sure you are feeding the right amount of food. Most brands offer a feeding chart on the bag based on weight. Of course, if you have questions regarding how much to feed, consult Dr. Brian Barron. Keep treats as special “sometimes” rewards, and when training, account for the additional treat volume when feeding their regular meals. If you feel that you dog is packing on the pounds, discuss weight control food options with your veterinarian.

Beware of harmful human foods

Many “human” foods are fine to share with your dog, in fact some trainers use cheese, hot dogs, and chicken liver pieces as “high value” rewards, but be aware that not everything we eat is safe for your dog.

Some foods can simply give them an upset stomach and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, such as tree nuts, dairy in large quantities, onions, and garlic. Other people foods can make them extremely sick and even cause life threatening conditions and should be avoided at all costs. These include chocolate, grapes. alcohol, and the natural sweetener Xylitol.

The main takeaway here is that you should feed your dog a high quality diet, with moderate amounts of good quality treats, and be aware of any changes in their eating habits, weight, or behavior.

If you have questions about your dog’s specific nutritional needs, be sure to ask the veterinarians at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic!  We can advise you on the best food and treat options for your dog. During March 2019 just stop by and mention this article for 10% off any in-house treat purchase!

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New Puppy? Here’s How To Keep Your House Clean

This article was contributed by Chicago-area cleaning company Helping Hands Cleaning Services.

Having a new puppy in the house is so exciting. It is almost as exciting as having a new baby, and, if you ask many people, it might be just as hard! Dog owners love their puppies as they love their families, taking them to the vet to ensure they stay in good health. There, they can also have all their questions answered about how best to care for their new best friend.

Puppies give lots of love and lots of kisses, but they also make lots of messes! If you haven’t had a young dog in the house in a while (or ever) you should make sure to have a plan for keeping your house up to your usual standards.

Puppy Messes to Consider

Puppies are playful. In fact, puppyhood is the most energetic time of your dog’s life. They will want to run and jump and be into everything. Just like babies, toddlers, and kids, puppies are discovering the world around them. Here are the messes you’ll need to think about when you have a new puppy in the house


Potty training is hard, whether you walk on two legs or four. Puppies are going to have accidents, but you can try to limit the damage. Crate training is a great way to make sure that when you go out, your puppy not only feels safe, but also won’t poop or pee in the house. There are many different ways you can potty train your pup —  consulting your vet is a good start. You’ll have to find the method that works for you and your dog.

Just remember, the best way to avoid accidents is to take your puppy out frequently, avoid leaving the dog alone to wander the house freely, and, if necessary,  keep your puppy off the carpeted areas of your home. That will make any messes much easier to clean up.


Whether this is a concern for you depends on your dog’s breed. Some dogs have hair instead of fur, which means they don’t shed much at all.

If your dog has fur, remember that the best way to keep pet fur at a minimum is to sweep and vacuum multiple times each week. Brushing and baths can help with shedding, but talk to your vet about the frequency with which you should do so.

Floors and Furniture

You’ll be training your puppy to do a lot of things in his or her first year of life. Sit, shake, come, and stay are just a few of the basic commands. Training your puppy to stay off the furniture is a good idea too. You’ll want to cuddle them all of the time, but ensure that your dog understands that they should only sit on the couch or bed when they’re asked.

Do not let your puppy have free range of your furniture. Make sure they have a comfortable bed of their own for sleeping and relaxing. If you do choose to invite them on your bed or the furniture, you might have a designated blanket for them to lay on. This will help them learn that if they see the blanket, that’s where they should be.

When your pup comes in and out of the house, there will be dirt, mud, and other grime on their paws. Teaching your puppy to wait by the door while you wipe their paws off is a good habit that help you avoid mopping the floors daily.

How To Clean Puppy Accidents On Carpet

Even if you take all the precautions above, there will be accidents. A shoe or sock might not make it, a kid’s toy might be mistaken for a puppy’s toy, but your floors are likely to take the brunt of it.

Don’t worry. In most cases,  you’ll probably get to the accident pretty quickly. As long as you take your time and clean it properly, you can make sure it’s not a permanent part of your floor. Here’s the best way to clean up puppy accidents on your carpet.

Blot the Spot

Blot out as much of the spot as you can. If you do not take the time to blot, you’ll just push the spot down further into the carpet as you clean it. If the spot infiltrates the carpet pad, you won’t be able to get it out.

Enzyme Cleaners

Make sure you use an enzyme cleaner. The biological substances in the urine, feces, or vomit are a food source for the enzyme, so they are attracted to the source of the accident. Sometimes you’ll clean a spot and then see it come back. This can be because you didn’t get deep enough into the carpet to pull out all the soil, so make sure you take your time.

Drying is Key

Once you’ve cleaned according to the cleaning product’s directions, make sure you get as much moisture out of the carpet as possible. Using a portable extractor can ensure all of the cleaning product and water is removed from the carpet. If you don’t have an extractor to soak up moisture, use several dry white cloths or towels. A fan directed toward the accident area can also be helpful in the drying process.

Your vet is a great source of information about caring for and cleaning up after your puppy. If you have a mess that is too big to handle, you might seek professional cleaning help. This article was contributed by Helping Hands Cleaning Services.

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How to Pay for Veterinary Care

When unexpected illness or injury strikes a pet, unexpected expense does too. SRVC understands that. While we do not bill or allow payment plans, there are several ways to help manage your charges.

Thinking about it ahead of time and preparing can go a long way.

The following are a few options that can help lessen the financial strain.

Pet Assure: Veterinary Discount Plan

SRVC gladly accepts Pet Assure, which grants owners a 25% discount on in-house medical services at the time of checkout. Pet Assure can be thought of as an alternative to Pet Insurance, but it is important to compare both before enrolling in either. We are always happy to discuss either option with you.

Pet Insurance

For many pet owners, pet insurance is the most practical and affordable way to have peace of mind when it comes to managing pet care costs. Paying a small monthly fee will keep you from worrying about the “what ifs” and unexpected illnesses and injuries that may happen to anyone’s pet.

Like most insurance, monthly premiums vary depending on certain factors, but most polices range from $30 – $50 monthly.

There are two general types of policies. The first is traditional coverage, which is similar to personal healthcare insurance. This typically is a lifetime coverage and has a maximum annual payout. You’ll pay a premium and deductible and will cover only a portion of vet bills.

There’s also emergency or accident coverage, which typically only covers unexpected costs but not care related to ongoing illnesses or general check-ups.

With pet insurance, the pet owner pays for services at the time of delivery, then files a claim for reimbursement per the terms of their policy. SRVC gladly provides any necessary information to the insurance company to help with your claim.

CareCredit Can Help You Afford Pet Care

While SRVC does not offer payment plans, we do support a financing option.

SRVC can help you arrange an account with CareCredit via an iPad while in our office.

CareCredit is essentially a credit card that’s specifically set up to be used at health offices, including veterinary hospitals and clinics, throughout the U.S. Once you have approval, you can use it for a variety of health care needs. This arrangement makes it easier for you to manage your payments in a way that works for you. You can apply at our clinic on our iPad or you can apply directly on CareCredit’s site at your own convenience.

Special Offer: CareCredit is currently offering a free Fitbit for new customers who use their card for a $200.00 purchase before December 31, 2018, so go check them out!

How to Choose the Right Type of Coverage

As you go about choosing your options, you’ll want to bear in mind what your budget can best handle, but also what your needs might be. Cheaper insurance packages probably will have smaller limits, so read the fine print when deciding to buy particular packages.

Keep in mind that breeding pets are generally “worth” more and therefore are more expensive to insure. And, just like humans, the younger your animal is, the more likely you are to get good coverage.  

When it comes to caring for your favorite furry friends, you don’t want to take any risks or be stuck with a massive bill that you can’t handle. That’s why our Little Rock office suggests that you take a look at the different payment options available when it comes to pet care.

Want to learn more about how to best care for your pet and pay for vet services? Schedule an appointment with us today.

7 Common Things that Lead to Accidental Poisoning in Pets

We all want our pets to live long happy and healthy lives, but unfortunately, there are several things in our homes that can lead to accidental poisoning in our pets. Awareness is the key to preventing accidental poisoning emergencies. 

What may be good for humans may not always be good for your animals when it comes to food and medicine. A general rule of thumb is that if it is bad for your child, it’s bad for your pet. In honor of the National Poison Prevention Week (March 18th-24th), we’ll show you 7 different groups of toxins that you should avoid exposing to or giving your pet:   

 1. Household Products 

Unsurprisingly, most common household products that are harmful to people to ingest are also bad for your pets. Antifreeze, paint thinner, pool chemicals, and common cleaners like bleach and drain cleaner are considered toxic and can result in stomach, respiratory problems, and renal failure. 

A good way to prevent an accidental poisoning is to keep these household products out of the reach of your pets. Keep the toxic products out-of-sight in closed storage or place them high on shelves to avoid accidental spillage. Just as you would child-proof any potential household danger, you should pet-proof your house as well. 

 2. Human Medications 

While most human prescription medications are life-savers for people with medical conditions, even a small dose can be potentially fatal for our pets. Some of the more harmful medications include: 

  • Antidepressants 
  • Blood pressure medications 
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications 

Over-the-counter medications can also present an accidental poisoning hazard for pets. Pain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In fact, a single 200-milligram ibuprofen tablet can be toxic for most small or mid-sized pets. 

Remember to always consult your veterinarian about giving your pet any kind of medication even if it is over-the-counter and designed for the pet. Just like humans, pets can overdose or have unintended side effects from using even prescribed veterinary drugs. Some of the more easily overdosed medications include painkillers and de-wormers, so be sure to always administer the veterinarian-recommended dosage. 

SRVC has both in-house and online pharmacy services to make sure your furry friends have the medicines they need.  

3. Human Food 

We all love to treat our furry friends to a treat now and then, but not all treats are created equal. Many foods that are safe for humans are actually poisonous for our pets. Dogs are often in the spotlight since nearly 91% of calls to the Pet Poison Hotline involve dogs. Some of the foods to avoid accidental poisoning in dogs include: 

  • Alcohol 
  • Avocado 
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate 
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts  
  • Onion and Garlic 
  • Xylitol (often found in a surprising amount of foods) 

Many of the same foods can be toxic to cats as well. Since cats tend to be smaller than most dog breeds they are more susceptible to fatal accidental poisoning from even a small amount of human food.  

If you ever have any questions about what human food you can and cannot feed your pet, consult your veterinarian. In order to be safe, only feed your pet food and diets made specifically for your pet. 

 4. Rodenticides 

Rat poison and other rodent poisons can cause accidental poisoning when ingested by your pets. Symptoms of this type of poisoning often do not present themselves until several days after ingestion. If you suspect your pet to have consumed rodenticides or eaten a poisoned rodent, you should take your pet ASAP to your emergency veterinarian.   

In order to avoid accidental poisoning from rodenticides, be sure to keep the poison out of the reach of your pet, avoid setting traps near any pet common areas, and alert your neighbors when you set any traps. 

 5. Flea and Tick Products 

These products may be helpful for preventing flea and tick infestations, but they can accidentally poison your pet if not used carefully. Often the problem involves your pet eating one of these products or a small pet receiving more of the product than prescribed. Always talk with your veterinarian about how much you should give your pet even if it is an over-the-counter flea and tick product designed for your pet. Oftentimes veterinarians can prescribe your pet flea and tick medication that is not only more effective but would be administered at a safe dosage for your pet.

 6. Plants 

One of the most overlooked ways a pet can be accidentally poisoned is by plants. House and garden plants were originally taken from natural environments where they employ chemicals and toxins for self-defense. Some plants that can present dangers to both cats and dogs include: 

  • Azaleas 
  • Daffodils (bulbs) 
  • Lilies 
  • Rhododendrons 
  • Sago Palms (seeds) 
  • Tulips (bulbs) 

What if you have one of these plants in or around your house? For dogs, simply putting the plants out of reach will likely eliminate the problem. For cats, it can a little trickier since they like to climb things. We recommend avoiding having any type of toxic plant in a cat household, especially lilies since they can cause severe liver damage with only a couple bites.

If you want more information on what types of plants are toxic to your pets, visit the ASPCA Toxic Plant List website to learn more.

 7. Lawn and Garden Products 

Are you landscaping or fertilizing your yard? Be sure to keep your pets away from the lawn or garden since many of these products can cause accidental poisoning if ingested. Once the products have dissipated within a week or two, then you should be able to let your pet run around in the affected area. Also, avoid allowing your dog to roll in fertilizer mainly because it smells and no one likes a stinky dog!

What to Do If Your Pet Suffers Accidental Poisoning

  1. Stay calm and act fast – Although most toxins absorb quickly, if you act swiftly you can potentially prevent damage by taking your pet to the local emergency veterinarian.  
  2. Safely remove the toxin – Be sure to remove any more of the toxin from the pet’s reach so they cannot ingest any more of the toxin. 
  3. Contact your veterinarian immediately – During regular hours, bring your pet into SRVC. However, after hours you can either bring your pet to the local emergency clinic or call the main poison hotlines: 


Emergency Veterinarian for Accidental Poisoning in Little Rock, Arkansas 

Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic offers many emergency services to help with accidental poisoning or any additional veterinary services for your pet. Be sure to get your pets regular check-ups at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic in Little Rock. Book an appointment today!

Teaching Proper Pet Care is Good for Both Your Child and Pet

Getting a pet is a huge commitment not only for adults but for children as well. Let us help you with proper pet care management. SVCAre you considering choosing a pet to add to your family and teach your child about pet care? Getting a pet is a huge commitment not only for adults but for children as well. Along with bringing joy into the household, pet ownership can teach your child about compassion, kindness, and responsibility.

One of the best ways to teach a child about pet care is to include them in the adoption process. Your child will see that adopting a pet is not something to take lightly and it allows the child to meet the pet before taking them home. Empower your child with information about the adoption process and also try to give your pet some breathing room when they first arrive at home.

If you are adopting a cat or dog, it is important to consider the breed. While every cat or dog has a different personality, some breeds are more conducive to family life. Dog breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Boxers, and Terriers are good examples of family-friendly dogs. Birmans, Burmese, Maine Coons, and Siberians are excellent examples of relaxed cat breeds that will do fine around children as well.

Regardless of what pet you get, it is important to teach your child how to properly take care of the pet. Let’s break down age-appropriate ways to keep your pet happy and healthy in a child-filled environment.

Pet Care at Ages 5 and below

During this age range, it is important to model positive behavior in order to show children how to be kind and respectful towards the pet. Children at this age tend to be grabby, excitable, and all of the things most pets would prefer to avoid.

Teach children that it’s not OK to pull on tails, pick them up without an adult, play with them roughly, or play with them while the pet is eating. Animals have feelings too! Animals cannot speak like we can, but they have feelings that we should try to understand so they can be happy and healthy. It’s critical that you teach the pet that it’s not OK to defend their food by biting or being aggressive. Food guarding can be a major problem that can lead to bites, especially with young dogs.

Children at this age also are not mature enough to take care of a pet on their own. Therefore, you should include the children in pet care rituals such as housetraining, grooming, and leash-walking. These rituals teach your child the necessary steps to owning a pet responsibly. We recommend not giving small pets, such as hamsters or guinea pigs, to children in this age range. While a cat or dog can survive a small mishap, our experience shows that small pets usually are not so lucky.

Pet Care at Ages 6 to 11

While the children may not be able to fully take care of the pet at this age, they can still help teach tricks and commands. Children can even start taking dogs on walks with parental supervision. Even better, they can start picking up poop or cleaning pet cages so you don’t have to anymore! This is a vital time where you can help children understand the basic needs of the pet by learning the names and functions of pet care supplies.

Another tip for this age range is to establish clear boundaries for the children and pets. Pets need quiet time too. A child’s enthusiasm may overwhelm the pet and also act as a huge distraction from things like schoolwork or sleeping. For your sanity as a parent, it is recommended you try to limit the number of nights your child sleeps with pets like cats or dogs.

Children can be expected to take care of small pets and not have any accidents in this age range. In fact, small pets are a great way to introduce your child to the responsibility of pet ownership. Small pets tend to require less maintenance than cats or dogs, and they can usually be placed in a child’s room without too many problems.

Pet Care at Ages 12+

This age range is when those early lessons about kindness and responsibility will start paying off. Children this age are often more responsible and understand the pet care needed to keep your pet happy and healthy. For example, taking your child with you during routine vet visits demonstrates that pets need regular healthcare just like humans. This can help your child feel more responsible for the pet’s care and health.

This also the age where children may understand the need for animal shelters and rescues. Younger children often cannot comprehend the reasons for these facilities. This is a prime opportunity to teach your child about how responsible pet ownership can reduce the need for such facilities.

Your Little Rock Veterinary Experts

No matter the age, most children are just excited to own a pet. Teaching them vital pet care skills can help them grow as people and treat others with respect and kindness. If you invite an animal friend into your household, be sure to get them regular check-ups at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic in Little Rock. Book an appointment today!

Important Information from Your Little Rock Veterinarian about Canine Influenza Outbreak

Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that is considered to be a Type A influenza virus. At present, two strains of canine influenza virus have been identified in the United States: H3N8 and H3N2.

Influenza viruses can quickly change and give rise to new strains that can infect different species. Both strains of canine influenza identified in the U.S. can be traced to influenza strains known to infect species other than dogs., but at some point, these viruses acquired the ability to infect dogs and be transmitted from dog to dog.

Canine H3N8 influenza was first identified in Florida in 2004 in racing greyhounds. It is thought this strain developed from an equine H3N8 influenza strain that jumped from horses to dogs. Since being detected in 2004, canine H3N8 influenza has been identified in dogs in most U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Canine H3N2 influenza was first identified in the United States in March 2015 following an outbreak of respiratory illness in dogs in the Chicago area. Prior to this outbreak, reports of canine H3N2 influenza virus were restricted to South Korea, China and Thailand. It was initially identified in dogs in Asia in 2006-2007 and likely arose through the direct transfer of an avian influenza virus – possibly from among viruses circulating in live bird markets – to dogs.

As of May, 30 states have reported H3N2 infections and 42 (including Arkansas) have reported H3N8 cases.

These cases are primarily associated with movement between AKC dog shows, but have spilled over into pet dogs, and there is major concern the outbreak will continue via AKC shows. NOTE: Last weekend’s AKC show scheduled in Texarkana, AR was canceled as a precautionary measure.

Get Your Dog Flu Vaccine at Your Favorite Little Rock Veterinarian

The most important step to prevention is to vaccinate dogs against the canine influenza viruses, so please call us to schedule an appointment. Just like human flu vaccines, the H3N2 CIV vaccine may not completely prevent infection but will make it less likely. Additionally, if a vaccinated dog does get infected, the disease is likely to be mild and of shorter duration. The vaccine can also protect against pneumonia.

Canine influenza is not currently a reportable disease in Arkansas. However, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission has broad authority to respond to animal disease outbreaks including quarantine and additional actions if deemed necessary by the State Veterinarian.

The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory offers canine influenza testing on nasal swabs. Please contact the laboratory for additional information.

Additional information is also available at the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

How to Help Your Pet Live Longer with Good Dental Care

Regularly Visit your Little Rock Veterinarian for Dental Check-Ups

Our team will perform a complete dental exam and will then recommend oral care and/or a treatment tailored for your pet. Treatment can involve professional teeth cleaning and polishing, and dental surgery (tooth extraction) if necessary. Drugs may be prescribed to complement the treatment: antibiotics or local antiseptics during some days or weeks in order to fight bacterial infection.

Do not hesitate to ask us if your pet suffers from bad breath or decreased appetite.

Preventive Dental Care at Home

Dental home care is critical in the prevention of periodontal disease. It is also a key factor to make the effects of professional dental cleaning last longer.

You can help delay the first professional dental cleaning with appropriate dental care at home starting as early as possible in your pet’s life.

Brushing, chewing, rinsing, food or water additive: All of these are good ways to prevent the accumulation of dental plaque and bacteria on your pet’s teeth and help them live a long, happy life.

Bad Breath: The Evidence of Periodontal Disease

Imagine never brushing your teeth… for years. That’s what happens to your pet without proper dental care. Bad breath is not a normal condition for dogs and cats. It is evidence of a very serious condition: periodontal disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

It’s the scientific name given to disease of the gum and surrounding tissues of the teeth. Periodontal disease occurs when there is an excess build-up of dental plaque that is further infected by bacteria and mineralized into tartar. More than 85% of dogs and cats suffer from some stage of periodontal disease.

Bad breath rarely originates from intestinal or liver problems; it comes from poor oral health. And, without proper oral care, periodontal disease can have very serious and irreversible consequences.


Advanced stages of periodontal disease have very serious effects and can shorten your pet’s life:

  • Jaw bone destruction leading to fractures, dental abscesses and tooth loss
  • Intense pain preventing your pet from eating
  • Spreading of bacteria into the blood flow toward other organs (heart, liver, kidneys and lungs)

For more than 30 years, Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic has been serving pet owners and their furry friends across central Arkansas with comprehensive and compassionate veterinary services. Contact us today and let our doctors and techs keep your pets happy and healthy.

On the Road with Fido and Fluffy – Traveling with Pets

Traveling with your pets can be a fun endeavor, especially with the rising popularity of pet-friendly restaurants and hotels. But, much like packing up the kids to go on vacation, there are a few specific details you need to iron out before you go.

What to Pack

Here’s a brief checklist of items you should remember to bring along whether you’re traveling by land or air:

  • Your pet’s food
  • Food and water dishes
  • Bedding
  • Litter and litter box
  • Leash, collar and tags
  • Grooming supplies
  • A first-aid kit (for dogs or cats
  • Any necessary medications.

And if you’re on a road trip, always have a container of drinking water with you!

Pet Health Requirements

When traveling with your pet, you might encounter animal health requirements specific to your destination. As soon as you know your travel details, it’s important to contact your veterinarian to assist with the pet travel process. Factors to consider may include meeting time frames for obtaining a health certificate, updating vaccinations, diagnostic testing, or administration of medications/ treatments. Regulations for traveling in the U.S. are not stringent; however, it’s always a good idea to have your pet’s health records on-hand.

Traveling with your pet to a foreign country, however, can be a little…hairy! For example, if you plan to travel to Australia with your pup, you must follow 20 steps before the government will permit entry! You definitely don’t want to wait until the last minute.

Airplane Travel with your Dog or Cat

Some airlines allow small pets to travel in the cabin with you as your carry-on item while others require pets to travel in the cargo area below. BringFido has an excellent list detailing regulations and fees for most major airlines.

Some general rules for flying with your pet. Make sure you:

  • Use a carrier that is approved by your airline.
  • Have your pet’s vaccinations updated before you leave.
  • Ensure your pet is microchipped in the event he’s lost.

Road Tripping with your Furry Friends

When you take a car trip with your cat or dog, the Humane Society recommends that each (especially cats who are more prone to wandering) be crated. They also say that dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction; however, they haven’t reliably been shown to protect dogs in the event of a crash.

Be sure to also stop for plenty of bathroom and exercise breaks, but always keep a collar and tags on your dog just in case he gets loose. It’s always best when traveling with pets to have another two-legged traveler so one of you can stay in the vehicle if you need to take a rest stop. If you’re solo, make it quick and leave windows open in warm weather.

And, before you go, be sure to search the internet for pet friendly places that welcome your animals. Most places in the U.S. that are pet friendly only welcome dogs, so search for “dog friendly restaurant” and the city you’re visiting.

Most of all, have a great time and fun adventures with your pets!

Kids and Pets – What to Know Before You Adopt

You know the familiar refrain (Heck, you probably even used it yourself back in the day): “But, moooooom! Everyone else has a puppy [kitty] [goldfish] [ferret]!” Or even better, “Dad! Look what followed me home! Can we keep him???” It seems like kids and pets (more often than not) go together like peanut butter and jelly, so adopting a new family member may feel like an easy choice. But, it’s really important to ensure that you don’t enter into pet parenthood with little forethought. You need to take a lot of factors into consideration before you make the leap into being owned by a pet, and the Little Rock veterinarians at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic can help with some advice.

What’s your style?

One of the main things you need to think about when deciding to welcome a pet into your home is your family’s lifestyle. This checklist might be helpful as you go through the pros and cons of adoption:

  • How many kids do you have?
  • How old are your kids?
  • Do you already have a pet?
  • Does anyone have animal fur or dander allergies?
  • What’s the size of your home compared to the pet you’d like to adopt?
  • In what life stage is the pet are you considering (baby, adult, senior)?
  • If you’re considering adopting a dog, do you have a fenced back yard?
  • What’s your daily schedule like?

Thinking through these questions will help you determine what type of pet will fit your family’s dynamic. For example, if the adult(s) in the family work a typical 8-5 job seven days a week, the kids are in school, and also have after-school activities, adopting a puppy might not be the best idea. But, a self-sufficient cat would be perfect!

Kids and Pet Care

Of course, when you bring home a new pet, the kids are over the moon! They’re so excited that they’ll promise to do all of the pet-care chores! It’s important to realize, however, that once the elation of having a new family member wears off, Mom or Dad will likely be the ones managing those tasks. Starting their pet-care responsibilities from day one will often ensure that your kids get into good habits with their new friend. When making a chore chart, it’s important to consider their ages when you’re determining appropriate pet care chores.

The folks at Parents magazine advise that kids as young as three can lend a hand by helping Mom or Dad feed their pet. As they get older, responsibilities such as walking the dog or cleaning the litter box every day can be added.

Kids and Pet Treatment

While welcoming a new family member can be an exciting time, it’s also extremely important to make sure your kids understand how to act around pets: They’re in an unfamiliar environment and need to be treated gently for the first few weeks. The experts at offer a few recommendations. Teach your kids:

  • How to properly handle and pick up pets.
  • To never tease animals or pull their tails or ears.
  • To never bother animals while they’re eating or sleeping.
  • To never take a toy or bone away from a dog.
  • To wash their hands with soap and water after handling pets.

And a couple tips for Mom and Dad to remember:

  • Closely supervise pets and never leave an infant or toddler alone with a pet.
  • Don’t put pets into scary situations. For example, if you know your cat gets nervous around too many people, then put the kitty in another room during parties.
  • Be sure to have your new pet checked out at your veterinarian’s office. The Little Rock veterinarians at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic would love to visit with you and your furry friend!

Adding a new pet to the family can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Just take the time to do a little research and self-evaluation to make sure you and your kids are ready for the responsibility. And have fun!

October is National Pet Wellness Month

Because dogs and cats age six to ten times faster than humans, it’s important that we humans ensure their health and well-being is looked after because they sure can’t do it on their own. October is National Pet Wellness Month, so this is the perfect time to provide our top five guidelines to keep your dog or cat in tip-top shape!

  1. Semi-Annual Vet Visits

The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AMVA) recommends twice-yearly visits for a thorough check-up. Because our pets age more quickly than we do, health issues can show up fast. An exam every six months provides the opportunity for early detection, treatment, or prevention of potentially life-threatening conditions.

  1. Dental Hygiene

According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal (or gum) disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable. The disorder develops after food and bacteria collect along the gum line and form plaque in a pet’s mouth. Just like in humans, a build-up of this oral bacteria can lead to all sorts of health issues for your pet, including heart valve problems and kidney infections. Be sure to sign up on our website to receive 10% off dental treatments scheduled during the month of October!

  1. Watch Rover’s and Fluffy’s weight

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of U.S. cats and 53% of dogs were said to be overweight in 2014. Unfortunately, most pet parents don’t realize that their furry friend is obese. Since pets don’t process or break down food like we do, giving even one ounce of cheddar cheese to a 20 lb. dog is the same as an average-size woman eating 1 ½ hamburgers or 3 chocolate bars! Feeding them too much pet food is also an issue for overweight pets. That’s why it’s important to follow the suggested guidelines, or talk to your veterinarian about a pet food diet plan.

  1. And don’t forget to exercise

Just like humans, all pets require daily physical exercise. Not only does it keep them active (especially as they age), but it also helps mental stimulation and is a great way to burn off excess energy.

  1. Stay up-to-date with their monthly supplements

Fleas, ticks, and heartworms can cause serious (and even deadly) problems for your pets. Prevention is key, so be sure you mark on the calendar when it’s time for their medications.

Following these five simple tips will keep your pets happy and healthy for a long time to come. Happy National Pet Wellness Month!

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