Celebrate July with Your Pets

Ready or not here comes the “RUFF”est day of the year for our furry friends. Our Independence Day is full of fun, food, and fireworks for our families. Our pets struggle immensely with the unpredictable loud noises and flashes in the sky. I have clients that can’t even get their dogs to go outside for fear of fireworks being set off at random times day and night. Noise phobias are real for many pets. Unfortunately for owners, the ability to comfort them is unobtainable. We have encouraged owners to get thundershirts. Put their pets in rooms with noisy televisions, blaring radios, white noise monitors, fans, etc. to drown out the loud fireworks. For some it can help but many pets continue to pace, pant, shake, and vocalize due to fear and anxiety. Please be considerate if you encounter people who do not share your love of fireworks. The terror and threat are real for some and therefore they struggle finding the joy in fireworks.

The month of July moves us into the last ½ of the year. Not certain how we got here already. These celebrations can be found at TimeToPet in the following link. https://www.timetopet.com/blog/your-complete-guide-to-pet-holidays

We recognize that summer months come with needs for hydration but never knew that July was Pet National Hydration month. This seems like a no brainer but yet raising awareness never hurts. Reminding people to not leave pets in cars is another important safety tip. Maybe I should start a new pet holiday! Who knows – maybe there already is one. They call July “Dog House Repair” month as well. Seems we have a celebration for just about everything.

July 1st is ID Your Pet Day. This is something everyone with a dog should consider. I have heard stories of old dogs running off after years of staying on property. I get asked, “Why?” If I had that answer I probably would not be writing blogs anymore. It goes along with the “Why do dogs eat poop?” Another question that has no easy answer. If your pet has a microchip that is permanent, you can prove they are yours and when scanned the number can connect you and your pet quickly. It is not costly and the number of stories we have heard of how pets have been reunited with owners even after years of separation is staggering. Consider microchipping your cats as well. Even indoor cats can be lost with fear of repair personnel or in a move to a new location. This chip is lifetime. Most are less than $50 and come with online registration so no matter where or when they are scanned that number can connect you with your pet. Some people fear their personal information is on the chip. That is not true. The number is placed into a Microchip Look Up online database which gives a number to call, and the specialists then make the connection. Please remember to update your information whenever you move or change phone numbers. We have had pets found in Iowa whose owner’s information still indicated they lived in California.

July 5th is National Pet Remembrance Day. Let’s flood our social media posts with the pets that enhanced our lives during their time here on earth. I figure there is not a person on this planet whose life has not been touched by a special pet. That pet may have been large or small, furry or slimy, unique or common, but to that person it was life altering.

National Pet Fire Safety Day is July 15th. This is such an important safety tip. Please get something posted on your entry doors indicating the number of pets and type of pets so if there ever is a fire and you are not home the firemen and firewomen are aware.

July 16th is World Snake Day and Guinea Pig Appreciation Day. I feel now we do have a day for everything. I have been in practice for 36 years. I have never hidden the fact that I like pets with fur and feathers. The practice has a few reptiles that come through the door, but the staff know to have Dr Jim handle them. I have judged some pet shows in my days as a veterinarian and there have been some reptiles at those shows. Fortunately, since we are judging how the 4-H student handles their pet and their knowledge about their pet, I have been able to fulfill my obligation. Until I was in my 30’s, anytime I saw a snake on the road I would do the shimmy in my car seat. I can now see them and remain still. Slow progress!

Feed a rescue pet week is July 27th – Aug 3rd. One of the biggest expenses for shelters is the cost of food. We do a pet food drive every Christmas for our local Crisp program to help feed hungry pets. My guess is that there are hungry pets all year round. Could you find time to drop off food, litter, pets supplies, etc. to a local organization? If we all helped with this expense our local programs would greatly appreciate it. Every bit helps and you can spread joy and kindness into this world.

National Mutt Day is July 31st. This day is celebrated on December 2nd as well. It may also be known as National Mixed Breed Day. Years ago, every dog that was not a purebred dog was labeled as a mixed breed or mutt. Today most of the dogs we see are mixed breed dogs. With the trend of taking two purebred dogs and mating them together, we have created a whole new class of “mutts”. Many will be offended by my statement, but I am only pointing out that these “hybrid” mixed breed dogs are still mutts. The cost of these dogs has skyrocketed. I do feel that this trend has reduced some of the so-called genetic defects we see in purebred lines. When crossing the breeds you have the potential for a healthier dog. That is not to say they won’t have issues but in general we see less heart and joint problems at a younger age.

Whatever celebrations you have planned for this month please be aware that extreme heat can be hazardous to your pets. Make certain they have a cool place to retreat to and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Hot Summer Days Come with June Pet Holidays

Hopefully you are finding your rhythm with summer routines. School is out and camps and activities are in full force as are celebrations for our furry friends in June. June is Adopt a Cat Month traditionally. There are many places to adopt from but also many cats just seem to find their forever families by showing up at the right place at the right time. I always say few people go looking for a cat, cats just find their people.

June is also called National Pet Preparedness Month. This is something that should be considered not only for our small animals but also large animals. If natural disasters occur there are certain things that should be considered regardless of the size of the animal. For instance, all animals should have some form of identification. A microchip can be used for all species of animals and will never fall off or be removed. Most people only think about it for dogs or cats. If livestock get out of their pens they can travel away from home and be difficult to identify without some form of ID. In the south, multiple dogs and cats have been recovered at the time of hurricanes and many do not have identification. The shelters then rehome them to shelters up north and finding them is next to impossible. Another thing to always consider is food and access to water. These are essential items and not having access to water for a few days can cause severe dehydration and possible death. Having photos of you with your animals can prove ownership at the time of a natural disaster. Follow the above link to learn more about National Pet Preparedness Month.

June has some well-deserved cat holidays. Sometimes it seems that cats are left out and considered 2nd class citizens next to dogs. They are gaining status but have a long way to go to catch up with dogs. Even when considering medications and available treatments for cats, many of them started as dog products and have been adapted to cats. Also, dog owners take their dog to a veterinarian once a year 78.8% of the time compared to cat owners 47.2%. With the help of google I discovered that cats outnumber dogs in the USA, but many rarely see a veterinarian for preventative care.  Many cats and dogs end up in shelters each year and very few cats are spayed or neutered. This article from Psychology Today has some interesting patterns that they have collected about people and their pets.

The Truth about Cats and Dogs—by the Numbers

After reading an article like this one, I recognize that we need to do a better job of education with cat owners about the need to spay and neuter their kittens. Often spraying/vocalization

I see that the week of June 17th – 21st is take your pet to work week.  I would love to see photos of my readers at work with their pets. Talk with your employers and see if they would be open to celebrating this event at your work.  It may not be a productive day but certainly can bring great joy and happiness to the office. I have discovered more offices have cats or dogs that are present during business hours. I feel this is a good trend for both the customers and the pets.  As you can see cat workday is at the beginning of the week and dog workday at the end.  Might be good to have 2 separate days.  Some cats and dogs do not get along with the other species.

Whatever holiday you decide to celebrate with your pets this month of June, be certain to get out and enjoy our first official month of summer in Iowa. With all the rain in May Iowa is in full color and water interests are ready for our enjoyment. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Make certain your dogs are on heartworm prevention. The mosquitoes will be out too!

May Additional Celebration

The beauty of a blog is having the opportunity to share life events with my readers. Three years ago, we shared the birth of our first granddaughter, July, who was living in Omaha at the time. Almost two years ago her parents made a decision to move back to the Des Moines metro. We have been so blessed to have them closer. This week my husband and I had the privilege of caring for July while her baby sister was entering the world.

We found many things to keep July busy and distracted while her parents were away, and the storms were passing through. Yesterday we had the opportunity to take July, the big sister, to meet Vienna. July was excited to see all of them and hold her sister for the first time. A few minutes later she was busy moving her mom’s hospital bed up and down and asking questions about the different buttons in the room. Our daughter and granddaughter are doing great. Vienna is 8 lbs 10 oz, 20 inches long, and has lots of dark black hair. We are excited to be able to watch the two sisters grow and experience life together. I hope everyone is safe after the strong winds and tornados that passed through Iowa last night. It is times like this that we realize what is important. 

May is National Pet Month and Many More Celebrations

We finally got some rain so hopefully those April showers will bring our May flowers to full bloom. Of course, many of the early spring blooms have come and gone already with our mild spring temperatures. Let’s pray for a calm warm sunny May versus a windy hot month! We will certainly take more rain though. Every little bit helps.

May is National Pet Month and May 5-11 this year is National Pet Week. National Pet week is always the first full week of May. National Pet Month in the UK is in April. Interesting that we do the month after because April is Heartworm awareness month and canine fitness month. It has become increasingly aware to me that every day of every week of every month of every year is for our pets. They have become the center of our lives. Their focus is on us only as their providers. They live daily to bring us joy. We are the center of their universe. Yet in my daily interactions with clients, I see how much our dependence is on them for our mental and physical health. It is important that people who work with humans recognize this shift and not minimize someone’s co-dependence on their pets. It is not just people with obvious medical and physical issues that need service dogs or emotional support dogs. I am not advocating that someone attempt to illegally pass their pet off as a service dog or emotional support dog. Yet if someone is under the proper care of a physician or therapist it is important to recognize the bond between them and their pets.

Taken from the National Pet Week link they have daily themes for National Pet Week. I decided to repost this since many would not choose to follow the link: https://www.avma.org/events/national-pet-week

Daily Themes

Each day of the week focuses on a different topic essential to responsible pet ownership:

All of these themes are important to consider when owning a pet for the first time or have had pets for years.

The list of pet holidays for May 2024 are gotten from this link: https://www.timetopet.com/blog/your-complete-guide-to-pet-holidays

I repost this so you can be amazed at how many different days have been created because of the interdependence we have with our pets. I have been practicing veterinary medicine since 1988. Our class was the first class that had more women than men enrolled. The shift has continued because of the bond between people and their pets. The following list completes the May celebrations. If nothing else you can use them as trivia questions for your meetings or game nights.

With May 1st approaching and it being a celebration of Purebred Dog Day, I must note that I am seeing more mixed breeds – created breeds than purebred dogs. Lots of people want to claim that a goldendoodle or a Yorkipoo are a breed, but they are NOT. There is nothing wrong with mixing the breeds together and sometimes they are healthier but please do not try to tell people you have a new breed of dog. It is a mixed breed.

National Mom’s Dog Day was a new one for me. Had not been aware of this holiday before. Looking into it, it was created in 2018. Dig is a dog person’s dating app and apparently, they were responsible for creating this holiday. It is suppose to be celebrated the second Saturday of the month of May.

I love that they have a Hug Your Cat Day at the end of the month. I know many that would never attempt to hug their cat but sometimes taking a cat out of their comfort zone is a good idea. Of course, be cautious if they have been known to use their claws and teeth! Check out World Turtle Day and Chihuahua Appreciation Day. Find ways to celebrate the bond you share with your pets and farm animals. My dad was a farmer all his life but the relationship he had with animals of all sizes, shapes, and colors is what bonded me to animals from the beginning. It is where my desire to help animals began. When you share your love of animals with others you never know where it may lead them. Our lives are changed by the animals that we share our days with as well as those animals who are under our tender loving care.  Happy May Day! Go out and spread some May Day cheer!

April Pet Holidays for 2024

April is Heartworm Awareness Month across the nation. This disease is prevalent in all parts of our country since dogs travel often with their owners. When I started practicing over 35 years ago, pet owners had to give dogs a daily tablet to protect against heartworm disease. We only did prevention 3 seasons since mosquitoes are not a concern in the winter months. Every dog had a heartworm test in the spring. As you can imagine the spring schedule was intense because if they came in for the heartworm test, they wanted to do everything at the same time. During my senior year of veterinary school my last rotation was a preceptorship for the 6 weeks before graduation. That was a huge plus looking for jobs because I was able to start in April and help during that busy season. My first job was in St. Cloud, Minnesota at Granite City Pet Hospital. It was a newer practice with a seasoned veterinarian who was growing his business and needed assistance. My husband and I both visited the area and after our interviews we both were given a thumbs up that we would have jobs waiting for us if we accepted. Dan would move from Farm Credit Services in Perry, Iowa to continue his role with them in St. Cloud, MN. I would begin working as a veterinarian under the supervision of the current owner until passing my National and State boards. As it worked out, we spent the next 12 years in the St. Cloud area.

Today Heartworm prevention looks very different. For instance, cats are a secondary host for heartworms and causes lung disease if exposed. We never had options for cat prevention until recently. Now there is a product called Revolution Plus that protects cats against heartworms as well. We now have an annual injection called Proheart 12 for all dogs over 12 months of age to prevent heartworm disease. This new product has allowed owners to focus only on flea and tick prevention at home. We do heartworm prevention year-round because these products do not stop infection on day 1 when given. They are slowly released over the course of the year and knock down the larva as they mature. Also, so many are traveling with pets that many exposures are happening as people seek warmer climates. The winter even here in Iowa has changed enough that we have ticks year-round now. Prevention is key when it comes to protecting our pets against these diseases.   

April 1-7th is International Pooper Scooper Week. Who would have known there would be a week for this. The week is designed to encourage people to pick up poop after their pet(s). There is a concern about pet waste contaminating the water supply and surrounding environments. Poop broken down by the sun can still spread intestinal parasites to other dogs that sniff in the location of the decaying stool. Some dogs tend to eat poop so by being a good canine pet owner and removing their waste we can prevent other diseases from occurring. Many cities have ordinances that fine people for not picking up after their pet(s). I have seen fines anywhere from $100 – 1000 for failure to comply.  The city of Winterset has an ordinance stating in section 3.1304 and 3.1305 about clean up and penalties associated with dog poop. The fines start small but increase over time for multiple offenses. If you need some light reading material before bed, check out Chapter 13, pages 131-132 in the following link:

April 2nd is Ferret Day. A lot of people do not think of ferrets as pets. Any owners I have known over the years, if they have one, they have multiples. They are inquisitive and can be very entertaining as you watch them explore the world around them. Care is often centered around spay and neuter. There are no vaccinations specifically for ferrets, but we use the canine distemper vaccination and rabies for dogs and cats if needed. Some people want to descent a ferret to reduce odor. It is important to know they will still have a musky odor since the skin has glands that secrete oils as well.

April 11th is National Pet Day. Is there ever a day that our pets are not front and center?  2006 was the first year this holiday was recognized. The founder, Colleen Paige, wanted to celebrate the joy that pets bring to our lives but also raise awareness for all the pets waiting in shelters to be adopted. She also was the founder of National Dog Day and National Cat Day.  Think about posting a photo of you with your pet(s) on Thursday April 11th to recognize the joy and health benefits you receive from your pet(s).

April 14-21, 2024 is National Dog Bite Prevention week. For years I would spend a day each spring at one of the 3 different schools in our county discussing Dog Bites and how to prevent them. It was part of the Health and Safety Fair funded by Madison County Cares and Madison County Health Care System. It ran for 12 straight years but then Covid hit. As with many programs, it was never scheduled again. I have kept my poster hoping that one day there will be a place to share this valuable information again. The misunderstanding is that only certain breeds are dangerous. Over 30 different breeds of dogs have killed people. Most of the injured are children and most bites happen with a dog that is familiar to the victim. Please teach your children to ASK to pet a person’s dog. HOLD OUT THEIR HAND to let the dog sniff them before approaching any closer. If the dog growls or raises a lip or snaps they will be farther away to react and avoid serious injury. Those two simple things can reduce the incidence of dog bites.

April 27, 2024 is World Veterinary Day. This celebration takes place every year the last Saturday of April. It was established in the year 2000 to celebrate those in the veterinary profession. They wanted to acknowledge not only the veterinarians but also the staff that help keep our pets healthy and disease free. Did you know that the first veterinary college was opened in 1761 in France? If interested in learning more about the World Veterinary Association or how you can celebrate World Veterinary Day follow this link:

World Veterinary Day (April 27th, 2024) | Days Of The Year

April 30th is National Therapy Animal Day. There seems to be a lot of confusion about service dogs, therapy dogs, or emotional support dogs.  In April 2017 I wrote a blog about these terminologies hoping to help people understand the difference.

Is This a Service Animal, Therapy Animal, or Pet? Winterset Veterinary Center Blog

There is a place for therapy dogs trained and certified to help people during a crisis or illness. Please do not try to pass your personal pet off as a therapy or service dog or cat. When people do these things, it makes it more difficult for those who truly do need their service dog or therapy animal to go to public spaces with them.  The following link shares more information about National Therapy Animal Day if you are interested in celebrating this event with a special therapy dog or cat.

National Therapy Animal Day

Multiple other holidays are in the month of April that you can look up in the attached link. It is difficult to list them all. I just decided to touch on a few of them.

National Dog Day and 150+ Other Pet Holidays to … Happy Spring and Happy Easter to all my readers. Get out and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine. Only 6 months before the first frost shows up again. Got to take advantage of these longer days. Easter seems early this year. Looking at past history, Easter usually falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. Good thing the flowers started early too.

March Pet Holidays to Celebrate

February was an amazing month for weather. Feel that spring has come early but here come March. The old saying: “In like a lamb out like a lion,” should be considered. With the new month comes a whole new set of days to celebrate critters in the animal kingdom. Let’s see how many days you can celebrate in March 2024 with the wide variety of pet holidays.

March 1:National Pig Day
National Welsh Corgi Day
National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
Employee Appreciation Day (first Friday in March)
March 2:International Rescue Cat Day
March 3:World Wildlife Day
If Pets Had Thumbs Day
Tripawed Awareness Day
March 8:International Akita Day
March 13:K-9 Veterans Day
March 14:World Kidney Day
UK Dog Theft Awareness Day
March 15:National Catio Day
March 17:Saint Gertrude of Nivelles Day (patron saint of cats)
March 20:National Westie Day
World Sparrow Day
March 23:National Puppy Day
March 25:National Newfoundland Dog Day
March 27:National Terrier Day
March 28:Respect Your Cat Day
March 30:Take a Walk in the Park Day

Interesting list of celebrations for the month of March. In honor of National Pig Day on March 1st, I have posted a photo of our clients with their miniature pigs Flower and Daisy. I have fond memories of my days raising hogs on our family farm in the 70’s. My brother and I showed hogs in FFA and had great success with our Hampshire/Duroc cross. We had a farrow to finish operation for most of my childhood years. I was the county and district Pork Queen and traveled promoting pork around the state of Iowa and even got a trip to Southern California to promote pork. Monday night is the Pork Producers Banquet celebrating the benefits of our porcine friends. Whether as companions or livestock we are better off with pigs in our lives.  See you at the banquet!

Miniature pigs, Flower & Daisy

March 3rd Is If Pets Had Thumbs Day. WHAT? Where did this celebration come from. Seems thought has gone into if pets had thumbs would they even need us? They could get their own food, open their own doors, fill their own water bowls, and do many other tasks. I thought it might be a day to celebrate polydactyles like Cheetoe. I would call these THUMBS!

Cheetoe and his thumbs

Never knew March 3rd is a TriPAWED Awareness Day for pets that are amputees. Dr Jim does this surgery 3-4 times a year for various reasons. Trauma cases are the most common reason a pet’s limb is removed. We also have situations where the nerves have been damaged by a trauma event and getting the sensation back is unlikely, so the decision is made to amputate. Bone cancer is another reason a limb is removed to reduce likelihood of the cancer spreading to other limbs. It is amazing how well tripawed dogs and cats do with day-to-day activities. I adopted a cat that had been run over and her paw had lost innervation to the front leg. Dr Jim amputated it and she still loved to run and hunt like the rest of them. She never wanted sympathy or special treatment. She just wanted to be treated like everyone else. The picture of Rose with her special friend shows how fun life can be as a tripawed! Rose has been a tripawed most of her life and brings such joy to all around her. She never misses an opportunity to explore her world when given the chance. Let’s flood Facebook with photos of our tripaws on March 3rd. Today it is possible to have a prosthetic limb made for animals that lose a limb. How far we have come in helping our animals live life to its fullest.

March 15th is National Catio Day. I had to look this one up. It is thinking outside of the box to give your cat more stimulation about the outside world without ever exposing them to it. For instance, a glass box window that juts out from your house. When looking at it from the outside it appears your cat is suspended in the air. Enclosures that allow your cat to go out on the patio but never touch the ground. A sunroom that is set up for your cats to feel like they are in the outdoors. Look it up. You would be amazed at people’s creativity. Cats love to be able to climb up and look over their kingdom.

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles is considered the patron saint of cats. The history behind this is interesting. She lived during a time in Belgium (600 AD) when rats were a common pest. She brought cats into the monastery to control the rat population. In the 1980’s someone decided to make her a patron saint of cats. The day is March 17th. If you are not Irish and have no interest in drinking green beverages maybe you can celebrate St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day with your favorite felines!  Follow this link for a beautiful prayer for your cat(s) from an article by CatGenie. 

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles: Patron Saint Of Cats

March 23rd is National Puppy Day. If you ask me, every day is puppy day if you are lucky enough to have one. Wonderful to honor them with a celebration but from my point of view they bless us every day just by being in our lives. Whether your dog is young or old, big or little, bald or hairy, they all play a major role in bringing us joy, comfort, companionship, unconditional love, reasons to get outside and enjoy our unseasonably warm weather. That leads me to the next day to celebrate which is March 30th – Walk in the Park Day. Our pets can keep us active by encouraging us to get outside and take a walk.  Let the sun fill you with warmth and your furry friend remind you of all the blessings in your life.  Happy Spring everyone!

February’s Special Events

LET’S MOVE ON FROM JANUARY. For me January is the longest month of the year. Not certain if it is the shorter daylight or the freezing cold, or like this year the blizzard conditions but I am very glad to put it in the review mirror. February being the shortest month of the year even though 2024 is a leap year is full of pet events. Our profession has done a great job of promoting February as Dental health Month for our furry friends. Let’s look at other fun events that this month holds.

  • Dog Training Education Month
  • National Cat Health Month
  • National Prevent a Litter Month
  • Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month
  • Responsible Pet Owners Month
  • Feb 2nd: Hedgehog Day (Groundhog Day)
  • Feb 2nd: Golden Retriever Day
  • Feb 3rd: Doggie Date Night
  • Feb 7th-14th: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week
  • Feb 14th:  Pet Theft Awareness Day
  • Feb 18th-24th: National Justice for Animals Week
  • Feb 20th: National Love Your Pet Day
  • Feb 22nd: National Walking the Dog Day
  • Feb 22nd: National Wildlife Day (also celebrated in September)
  • Feb 23rd: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
  • Feb 27th: International Polar Bear Day
  • Feb 28th: World Spay Day

The most known celebration would be Groundhog Day on February 2nd each year. I discovered while looking at the history of this event that Punxsutawney Phil and Polk County Paula (yes we have our own celebrity in Iowa!) are only right 40% of the time. If you use their predictions on how many more weeks of winter, you might be disappointed. The Farmer’s Almanac may be more reliable but even that has had a rocky road when it comes to predictions. I believe only the Creator knows and He smiles down as we place our hope in these traditions.

One day I do want to acknowledge in the month of February is Golden Retriever Day. I am aware that multiple breeds have a special day but this one holds a special place in my heart. Our coach shown here was our first family dog. Our kids grew up with him and he left a permanent mark on their lives.

Our first-born child, Jaclyn, chose to follow the tradition and got Ciggy 7 months before our granddaughter was born. It has been a joy watching July grow up with Ciggy. It has brought back many fun memories of watching her mom grow up with Coach. We are only 2 ½ years into this new relationship but they are very bonded. I decided to do a photo drop of Ciggy and July through the last few years. You will see not only that I have one of the cutest granddaughters but also that Ciggy has been an exceptional companion for her. From the moment she came home he has showered her with snuggles and wet kisses. Get ready for some adorable photos and some “Nene pride and joy”.

February 3rd is Doggie Date Night. This could be a fun event during the cold days of winter to plan a special event with your dog. Maybe you could have a dog get together with friends. Maybe you could plan a date at the local dog park. Maybe taking them on a weekend getaway would help break the boredom of long winter days and nights. Lots of hotels are allowing pets access to certain rooms in their buildings. Most have outdoor areas for elimination. They have realized if they want to attract pet loving customers they need to be more open to their fur babies.

I would also like to highlight the February 20th National Love Your Pet Day. Take a great photo of you and your pet or pets between now and then. On the 20th post those photos and let’s show the world how important our animal friends are in our lives. If you have lost a pet recently, share a photo in memory of them. Tell us why they are/were important in your life. With all the negativity in our world lets flood social media with positive messages.

I cannot forget to mention Feb 28th World Spay Day. Since 1988 I have been in the veterinary profession. When I began practicing, we often did wait to spay/neuter cats and dogs. I am seeing a trend in the current pet owner population to wait. These decisions are for various reasons, and I will not go into those here today. I want to comment that the behavioral issues and health implications of waiting needs to be factored into the decision to wait. Dogs and cats that are left intact are going to be more “worldly” in their mannerisms. They are constantly distracted by the environment around them and less tuned into their humans. This is instinctive and they cannot prevent it. If you are questioning whether to spay/neuter early or delay, speak with your veterinarian. The resources are great online to educate yourself about this topic. Your veterinarian would be an even better resource. Most breeders have experiences that may impact their preferences. Friends and family as resources can be helpful but don’t rely only on what others say or think. Make these important decisions for yourself and your pet based on what situations are happening in your life. Our world has shelters that are overcrowded with adult dogs and cats that come from all walks of life. Be a responsible pet owner and avoid unwanted litters by spaying your dog or cat.

1993… Jaclyn and our golden retriever, Coach


January weather has been less than normal but what a great opportunity to travel safely over the holidays. I have been mulling over what my blog topics should be this year. I have covered many different subjects over the last 7 1/2 years. Interesting to note that the “Hacking Cats” blog has had one of the highest hits on the great wide web! Guess we know what gets cat owners frustrated or concerned regularly.

I was looking for topics and discovered there are over 150 different pet holidays in a calendar year. I was curious to see what all those could be. January alone has 8 days designated as a pet holiday along with being labelled “Walk Your Dog month and “National Train Your Dog” month. Each special event has a website you can explore to get involved. The information is designed to help strengthen the bond between your dog and family. I have never heard a client say they regretted training their dog or going for walks with their dog. Both activities help your dogs and yourself stay healthier which improves everyones quality of life.

I will list the celebrations that are coming up in January. It was interesting to see the variety of celebrations that you can participate in this month. I was just curious about some of them so will highlight those here. Feel free to do your own research to learn more about these days in January.

  • January  2nd  – National Pet Travel Safety Day
  • January  5th   – National Bird Day
  • January  8th   – National Labrador Retriever Day
  • January 14th  – National Dress Up Your Pet Day
  • January 21st  – Squirrel Appreciation Day
  • January 22nd – National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day
  • January 24th  – Change a Pet’s Life Day
  • January 29th  – Seeing-Eye Guide Dog Birthday

Each of these has their own website giving history about the celebration. January 29th commemorates the date “The Seeing Eye” was incorporated in Nashville, TN in 1929. This organization is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. New Jersey is the location of the current campus that includes not only administration and training centers, but also houses an adult breeding center with puppies that are kept there until 8 weeks of age. These puppies are monitored early for behavioral and physical concerns that could prevent them from being guide dogs for the blind. Not all puppies that begin the program graduate. This is one reason, of many, that it is not recommended that you purchase a puppy and have it trained. One person who did that exact thing stated, “After spending over $20,000 to train a service dog for my son we were left with a very expensive pet.” Be cautious if a trainer indicates they can train your puppy to be a service dog. It is not that easy and failure rates are high even with dogs from an organization like The Seeing Eye.

January 21st – Squirrel Appreciation Day – Never knew there was a day to appreciate squirrels. Many people and dogs get frustrated with squirrels. They are mischievous and crafty – acrobatic and entertaining all at the same time. There are 3 types of squirrels listed on this website worth noting: flying squirrels, tree squirrels, and ground squirrels. Ground squirrels include the chipmunks, groundhogs, marmots, and prairie dogs. Flying squirrels are unique in that they are nocturnal and difficult to see as they glide from tree to tree. Be sure to put out some extra corn to honor these creatures Sunday, January 21st.

National Bird Day is on January 5th. I had difficulty finding much history on this celebration but activities surrounding this day include birdwatching, studying birds, and even adoption. A bird owner must be prepared for screaming, biting, continual clean up, special dietary needs, and social interactions on a daily basis. Some birds can like parrots and Macaws can live 35-50 years. You thought a dog or cat required a long commitment.

During this long month of winter get out and celebrate one or more of these occasions. There are many species of birds that winter here in Madison County. Bundle up and head outside to see and listen for squirrel and bird activity. Dress up your pet on January 14th and post a picture on Facebook for all to see. Let’s enjoy this month as the days are getting longer and we are one day closer to spring.

Forever in our Hearts – FURITOE

At Winterset Veterinary Center we have the joy of spending our days with creatures great and small. We lost a special one suddenly today when Furitoe wandered out into harm’s way and was instantly killed. He will be remembered for his extra large feet and fluffy furry hair coat. He was born in April 2020 and came with his brother, Cheetoe, to work in the Customer Relations department at Winterset Veterinary Center. He took his job seriously and made a point of sitting on people’s jackets, purses, papers to get attention. He would chew on zippers and strings forcing a hand to pet him. He found joy in greeting customers and their pets as they entered our building daily.

The staff at Winterset Veterinary Center were constantly entertained by his interest in flushing toliets, dripping water faucets, empty boxes, etc. He would suddenly appear out of a closed cupboard during an appointment to the surprise of everyone in the room. He was a great retiever of toys. Throw a toy and he would bring it back to you as many times as you were willing to throw it. He loved a good belly rub and a warm lap to sit on.

Furitoe and Cheetoe often gave us photo/video opportunities that we shared on Facebook with our friends. Many of these friends only became  friends because of how adorable these two brothers have been. The photos shown here are just a small sample of a day in the life of Furitoe. We are deeply saddened by his passing and he will be missed tremendously by his brother, Cheetoe and all the staff,  clients,  and Facebook friends of Winterset Veterinary Center. 

If you have a special memory you would like to share we would love to hear it. Furitoe lived his life fast and was full of joy each day that he was on this earth. We know we will see him again someday at the Rainbow bridge and look forward to that soft nose, extra large feet, and soft fluffy hair coat that made him so huggable and loveable.

Final Blog of 2023

Where has 2023 gone? Long ago I was told that time goes faster as we age. I now understand that concept. Of course, we know that scientifically time is consistent but boy there are times I swear hours turn into minutes. This blog will cover multiple items since lots has happened since the last blog.

FIRST, let’s have a quick note on the mysterious canine respiratory disease. I believe the news has covered this well over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, we do not have an exact cause or cure at this time. The veterinary community is working on cases and diagnostics and treatment for this new condition. What we do know is that dogs in close contact with other dogs can spread this by sharing bowls, coughing, sneezing, licking another dog. Therefore, activities where dogs gather in close proximity to one another can spread the disease. They believe it is not a virus so finding the right antibiotics for treatment is crucial going forward. Dogs cough for lots of reasons. Please do not jump to conclusions that your dog has this disease just because it coughs. The disease does cause lethargy, fever, nasal discharge, cough, and potentially pneumonia. These dogs are sick. The cough is persistent it does not come and go. For instance, there are dogs that cough only when they get excited or only when they have been laying down. This would not correlate with this mystery respiratory disease. If you are concerned about your dog’s cough, please contact your veterinarian to find out how they want to proceed with diagnostics and treatment. Give the veterinary profession time to explore this new disease and we will surely share our findings once we have concrete information about it.

SECOND,  we have had a successful launch of the Librela osteoarthritis injection. The November blog goes into more detail about this new mode of treatment. We have had a few clients that have returned for the 2nd injection and have been pleased with the positive changes in their aging dogs. Comments such as – my dog is running and playing with the other dogs more, I saw my dog jump onto the couch again, my dog is getting up off the floor easier, etc. Our goal is to help dogs age more gracefully and with less pain. If you have seen changes in your dog’s mobility please consider a course of injections to see if LIbrela can help them. Let’s make life as easy as possible for them in their senior years.

THIRD, please continue flea and tick medication year-round. I realize in the past once the cold weather arrived we stopped. Well, this last summer we had 11 positive lyme disease cases. Compare that to only 1 case in 2022. A significant increase. Why you might ask? Our winters do not have snow on the ground like years ago. If there is no snow, the deer ticks are out and active. Our dogs are out in the woods and tall grasses with them. Let’s stop the spread of these tick borne disease by protecting our dogs all year long. Once a dog gets lyme disease, it’s body does not clear it after that. We see kidney disease in older dogs related to positive lyme cases. Protect your pets and keep them on flea and tick prevention.

FOURTH, with holiday gatherings our pets are at higher risk of poisonings. Finding chocolate goodies or packages with edible items is a common reason for a emergency call during this time of year. We also see higher cases of stomach issues from vomiting and diarrhea because of eating items we normally would not feed our pets. Please refrain from offering different food items to your pets during the holidays. No one wants to spend the holidays in the ER with your dog.

FIFTH, and final thought for 2023….




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