Why Tampa Is Third In The U.S.A. For Pet Friendliness

Why Tampa Is Third In The U.S.A. For Pet FriendlinessAccording to Wallet Hub’s list of 2019’s Most Pet Friendly Cities, Tampa, FL loves their dogs. This personal finance website took the time to create a list of the 100 largest cities based on a set of 24 key metrics they devised. Within this list Tampa ranked third in terms of pet friendliness while St. Petersburg, FL ranked thirty-sixth. The only two areas that topped Tampa in this metric were Scottsdale, AZ (coming in first place) and Orlando, FL (coming in first place).

Why This Study was Conducted

This study was conducted in advance of National Homeless Animals Day, which was held on August 17. It understood that pet friendliness in America is rampant with over 85 million homes owning pets and spending about $75 billion per year on them. Based on this information, Wallet Hub wanted to learn where these animals enjoyed the highest quality of life without spending a whole lot of money to do so. As such, Wallet Hub looked at things like walkability, how much it cost to visit pat-related businesses, and what pet care providers were charging.

What This Study Discovered

Wallet Hub’s discoveries in terms of pet friendliness are interesting, even if you’re not a pet owner. They discovered that:

  • Stockton, CA has the lowest per visit cost for vets ($37.08) while Plano, TX charges twice the amount ($84.24).
  • Newark, NJ has the fewest vets per square foot of population (0.0038) while Miami, FL has 88.9 times the number (0.3380).
  • St. Paul, MN has the lowest monthly fee for dog insurance premiums ($34.84) while San Francisco, CA charges 2.5 times more ($88.76).
  • Newark, NJ has the fewest pet businesses per square foot of population (0.0395) while San Francisco, CA has 21.4 times as man (0.8445).

Where Tampa Bay, FL Ranks

Tampa Bay is known for its pet friendliness, beating out St. Petersburg, FL when it comes to the cost of owning a pet (e.g. vet care, dog insurance premiums). Here Tampa ranked tenth while St. Petersburg ranked forty-sixth. Tampa also ranked higher when it came to having things like more dogs per capita, dog-friendly trails, and dog shows.

This has surprised some people because St. Petersburg won the 2019 Better Cities for Pets award for its pet friendliness. They also received a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors based on this merit. Nevertheless, it still ranks significantly lower than bot Tampa and Orlando. Wallet Hub says that this lower ranking is primarily due to St. Petersburg’s lower pet health and wellness score – something that took into account the number of vets, pet caretakers, trainers, businesses, daycare, boarding, and meetup groups, as well as the number of dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, and shops. In this regard, Tampa ranked 17 while St. Petersburg came in fifty-sixth place.

As a pet owner you should know that you’re in good hands living in Tampa if your fur baby ever needs to see a vet. Simply reach out to the Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center and you’ll receive top notch care.

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Keeping Your Pets Safe In The Hot Weather

Keeping Your Pets Safe In The Hot WeatherSummertime sunshine can be a lot of fun, but it can also be quite dangerous for our pets. This is why you should always remember some important pets’ tips when you’re headed outside with them.

Never Leave Your Pet by Themselves in Your Vehicle

Although we’ve all been warned about it, there are still many pets who die every year because their owner has left them alone inside of a parked vehicle that then overheats. It only takes a short amount of time for your car to become really stifling, hot, and deadly. In fact, Dr. Ernie Ward discovered that it only takes 30 minutes for your car can easily reach a temperature of 117 degrees even if your windows are cracked.

Remain Vigilant Regarding Vet Care

Before the summer heat kicks in, you should make an appointment with your vet to get your pet a full checkup. This should include a heartworm test. You should also discuss a flea and tick protection plan with your vet. While these are issues that affect your pet throughout the year, your pet is spending more time outdoors in the summer so you need to watch them closer.

Don’t Walk Your Dog When it’s hot Outside

Take your dog for a walk in the morning before the sun comes up or at night after it goes down. Regardless, you should still watch for any issues that may arise including frantic panting and glassy eyes. When your pet exhibits either of these symptoms you should get them to a vet immediately. Additional pets’ tips to remember here is ensuring your pet has plenty of shade and water available to them while you are outdoors together.

Keep Your Home Cool

Sometimes it’s difficult to cool your home. You may even be tempted to turn your AC off when you depart for the day. However, you must remember that this is dangerous for your pet. Instead, leave your air conditioner on about 76°F when you’re not home. A couple other important pets’ tips that often get overlooked here are making sure your curtains are closed and your pet has plenty of fresh water available to them while you’re gone.

Understanding Your Dog’s Breed

There are some dogs who aren’t able to tolerate the heat as well as others. This is especially true of short-nosed dogs like Boston Terriers, Boxers, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Pugs, and Shih Tzu’s. However, there are also some stages in life when dogs are more intolerant of the heat as well. This includes those dogs who are elderly and have health issues. Of course, it’s important to watch your dog when they’re outside in the summertime regardless of their age, breed, or health.

Conclusion

Remember, your pet relies upon you to keep them safe and comfortable throughout the year. A good rule of thumb to live by in the summer is when you’re hot, simply assume that your pet is hot too. Of course, this may not always keep your pet safe and when an accident does arise make sure you have the number for Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center nearby.

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Keeping Your Dogs Safe In And Around Water

Keeping Your Dogs Safe In And Around WaterMany people think that dogs were born to swim, but they honestly don’t know how to swim. Instead, they instinctively tread water (doggy paddle) when they fall in, which is different from knowing how to swim. Once you understand this, you’ll see why it’s so important for you to take the time to properly introduce your dog to the water.

How to Introduce Your dog to the Water

Before you introduce your dog to the water you must first make sure that they have good, solid obedience training. This is important because if your dog is going to disobey you on land, they’ll disobey you when around a body of water. When this happens it’s even more dangerous than if you weren’t around a pool, lake, or an ocean. Once you have the obedience training down, you’ll be ready to introduce your dog to the water. There are a few things you’ll want to remember when doing so, including:

  • You should never simply throw your dog into any body of water.
  • You should never leave your dog unattended around any body of water. If you own a pool in the back of your home, make sure that you place a fence around it so your dog won’t have access when you’re not around. It’s also important that you show him how to get in and out of the pool correctly – by using the pool’s steps. This is something that you should practice with him until you’re sure that he understands where to exit the pool if he does accidentally fall in sometime.
  • Remember how tired you get when you go swimming. Dogs feel the same way. This is important to remember because once your dog is tired, he’s more susceptible of becoming a victim of drowning. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you have your dog get out of the water occasionally so he can get some rest.
  • Buy your dog a life vest so he’ll have some help swimming in case he grows too tired to do it himself.
  • Make sure you take a dog CPR class so that if an accident does occur around the water, you’re prepared to take proper pet health steps.

How to Protect Your dog From Drowning

Besides keeping your dog away from the water when he’s unattended and buying him a doggy life vest, make sure that you also know your dog well before you go by the water. There are some dogs who are simply better suited for the water. These are the breeds that have a short snout. On the other hand, dogs like the pug, Boston Terrier, and English bulldog aren’t equipped to go swimming so you should leave them on the shore.

A few Other Tips for pet Health Around Water

Now that you and your dog are prepared to have some water fun, here are a few additional pet health tips to remember:

  • Never let your dog drink water from lakes or rivers because there’s parasites and algae in them.
  • Don’t let your dog drink swimming pool water because it contains chlorine.
  • Make sure your dog doesn’t drink ocean water as it has too much salt in it.
  • Always rinse your dog off after swimming and dry off their ears too so they don’t get infected.

If you have any questions about this or anything else to do with pet health, make sure you contact Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center.

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Study Discovers Dogs’ Personalities Change Over Time

Study Discovers Dogs' Personalities Change Over TimeAnyone who owns dogs will tell you that their pets have personalities. However, what they may not tell you is what a new Michigan State University study that was published in the Journal of Research in Personality discovered: These personalities are very likely to change over the course of their dogs’ lifetime. According to this study dogs and humans share something in common here when it comes to their personalities.

How Dogs and Humans’ Personalities are Alike

Any major change in a human’s life is likely to change their personality traits is a statement that was put forth by the lead author of this study, professor William Chopik. He then continued on to say that this is something that also happens with your canine companion. However, while most of us are willing to accept that this happens with people, we are surprised to learn that this can also happen to our pets, especially since this has been shown to happen to a large degree.

Most of us believe that our dogs have fairly stable personalities. This belief comes from the fact that they don’t have as drastic of lifestyle changes as we ourselves do. Nevertheless, their personalities still change a lot. In fact, when you look at this you’ll find that there’s actually an optimal time at which to train your dog and there’s also a time in your pet’s life during which they are more prone to grow increasingly more aggressive toward other animals.

A Look at the Study Itself

This is one of the first and largest studies to look at how life can change the personalities of dogs. Herein Chopik surveyed the owners of over 1,600 dogs. These owners not only answered questions about their pet’s personality, but also about their own. In this poll were over 50 breeds of dogs between the ages of a few weeks old to 15-years-old.

When Chopik reviewed the surveys, he found correlations in age and personality, similarities between humans and their pet’s personalities, and he also found that these things impacted the quality of the relationship between humans and pets. For instance, he found that an increase in age made training more difficult with the “sweet spot” being around 6-years-old – a time when the puppy stage is over and yet your canine isn’t set in their ways.

The study also supports the idea that pets resemble their owners. For instance, if someone is extroverted, their canine is more likely to be excited and active. Additionally, people who saw themselves as agreeable said their canines weren’t very fearful or aggressive.

Chopik says in the future he’ll study the impact of the environment on behavior. He wants to understand why actions and changes occur. In the meantime, if you need any help dealing with your pets personalities or managing their health overall, you should know that Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center is there for you. Ask any of their canine owners and you’ll find that this is an experienced vet team you’ll want to have on your side.

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Tips for Training Cats to Walk on Leashes

Tips for Training Cats to Walk on LeashesWhen you put a cat leash on your beloved pet, you’re bound to see their inner tiger emerge. Of course, there are a few cats who are adventurous enough to let you try this with them. Unfortunately, this is something you won’t know until you try.

Why Train Your pet to Walk on a cat Leash

Both you and your cat will benefit from him walking on a leash. He will enjoy a stimulating experience that will enrich his life. You will get to enjoy taking him on walks and getting exercise with him. Together the two of you will have a great bonding experience too.

Tips for  on a cat Leash

While this is something you can do with your cat at any age, the sooner, the better. Of course, you will need to be patient. Here are a few other tips that will help you as well:

  • Find the right harness. You want one that’ll securely wrap around your cat and stay snugly (not tightly) in place. This is why you should measure the front of his chest, middle, and behind his front legs. Don’t use a collar because this could harm his windpipe.
  • While you’re at home, slowly introduce your cat to the leash. Don’t rush to put it on him. Let him sniff and play with it. Once you do get it on him, let him move around the house and get comfortable wearing it. Make sure he can’t wiggle his way out of his harness though.
  • Don’t attach the leash to the harness right away – give your cat time to adapt. Once you do finally attach it, walk your cat around the house so he gets comfortable. Make sure you give him plenty of treats and ear scratches while doing all these things.
  • Choose a good location for your cat’s first outdoor adventure with you – somewhere safe and semi-private so he feels relaxed, secure, and confident.
  • Always take a towel with you so if something goes wrong you can quickly wrap him up and get him safely back inside.

What Happens When Leash Training Doesn’t Work

If you notice that your cat doesn’t enjoy walking on his leash with you, it may be that you need to slow down and use more incentives. While it may simply take your cat a little more time to adapt to a leash, there are some cats who never will adapt. For these cats you may enjoy being outside with them in a cat tent or a stroller instead.

Successfully Walking Your pet on a cat Leash

Now that you know how to get your pet to walk on a cat leash, you’ll want to have a vet who is available when you need them. This is why so many clients highly recommend Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center. While you and your cat shouldn’t experience any problems with the adventures you undertake, it’s always nice to know that they’ll be there if you do need them.

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Tips Every New Cat Parent Needs

Tips Every New Cat Parent NeedsBringing home a new pet cat is an exciting time for your family, but it’s also a stressful time for your new feline friend. Since you want to make this time easier on everyone who’s involved, you’ll want to keep some tips in mind.

Buy Your Cat Everything They Need Before Taking Them Home

Before you start looking around at cats, there are some things your new pet will need. We highly recommend getting these things before bringing them home. They include:

  • A scratching is important if you don’t want your couch shredded.
  • Cat furniture
  • Food is just as important to your cat as it is to you and your family so you’ll want to make sure it’s healthy. Make sure you choose high-quality food that contains plenty of protein, amino acids, fats, and minerals. It should also be appropriate for their age, energy level, and if they have any special needs. Use this same knowledge in choosing a good treat to occasionally give to them.
  • Beds are important because your cat will sleep 16 – 18 hours a day.
  • A litter box, scoop, and mat for each individual cat is necessary even though they’ll end up sharing litter boxes anyway. You should also get stain and odor remover for when your cat has an accident.

Meeting Your Family

You’ll want to have a pleasant and calm homecoming. Make sure any children in your home understand the importance of treating your new family member gently. There are also some other important safety tips to keep in mind, including:

  • When introducing different pets to each other, go slow and make sure you give them all equal attention. Consider keeping one crated when you’re unavailable to supervise.
  • Make sure that anything that’s breakable is stowed away so your new pet won’t knock it over. Any wires, window cords, or full-length curtains that can entangle your new friend should also be taken care of properly.
  • There are some plants in your home that could also be harmful. Relocate them either to someplace your cat can’t get them. This is also true of chemicals like cleaning supplies.
  • Since your cat will sleep so much, you should move his bed throughout your home to encourage him to move about and explore their environment a bit. If your cat doesn’t do this on his own, consider infusing his bed with some catnip.
  • Consider buying a book that will help you understand what your feline’s behavior means so you can better take care of them.

Since different pets react differently, just like different people do, you need to be prepared for anything to happen.

Finding a Vet

It’s also a good idea to find a vet before bringing your new feline friend home. If you live in Tampa Bay, Florida you should contact us here at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center. We’d be happy to give them their first wellness visit so you can put your mind at ease and start enjoying your new friendship.

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How Music Affects Your Dog

How Music Affects Your DogMusic has a way of powerfully affecting both people and animals alike. It can pump us up, soothe and relax us, or give us a gentle lift. There are even studies showing how it helps Parkinson’s and stroke patients with their lost neurological deficits (e.g. verbal control). Since canines have much better hearing than humans (hearing sounds about 80 feet away), it should come as no surprise that music has an even greater effect on them.

How the Type of Music Affects Your Dog

Since dog behavior is affected by music, it’s only natural to wonder how this will vary depending on the genre. Here’s what a study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior has found:

  • Classical music will positively affect your canine’s behavior by calming him down and soothing him. It may even put him to sleep because it will lower his heart rate and brain activity.
  • Reggae and soft rock tend to be even more calming than classical music for your pet.
  • Rock music will make your canine act even more anxious and agitated than he may already be feeling – accelerating physical signs like shaking.
  • Pop music doesn’t have much effect on your pet.

How Canines Determine Pitch

Your dog has an uncanny ability to determine a song’s pitch and tone. This is something that many musicians throughout history have found quite useful. Some notable artists who have their best four-legged friend to thank for at least part of their success include:

  • Richard Wilhelm Wagner played different melodies to his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Peps, who’d respond by wagging his tail and barking.
  • Dr. George Robinson Sinclair played the organ at the Hereford Cathedral in London alongside his Bulldog, Dan, who’d growl at anyone who sang out of tune.
  • Composer Nurock created many performances for canines including Howl (1980), Sonata for Piano and Dog (1983), and the Expedition (1984). In each piece you’ll hear Siberian Huskies howling, barking and yipping along to the music.

How you can use Music to Help Your Pet

According to dog behaviorists your pet can benefit from listening to music during many different situations including:

  • Training sessions – This will help your pet concentrate better when you’re trying to teach him new tricks and commands.
  • During stressful situations (e.g. fireworks, traveling in a car)

Even if you don’t know what type of music to play, there’s been so much research done in this area in recent years that there are even albums available just for your pet. For instance, pianist Lisa Spector (in conjunction with scientist Susan Wagner) created “Through a Dog’s Ear” in 2003 after spending years raising puppies for blind people. She created the album after discovering that her 6 golden Labrador puppies were lulled to sleep by the piano.

Music is just one of the many important facets of keeping your dog healthy. Regardless of whatever else your canine needs, the Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center has you covered. They understand your pet is a member of your family who deserves nothing but the best care possible. So, when you need to take your canine to the vet, contact them for the top-notch service their clients have come to expect.

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How to Care for Your Senior Cat

How to Care for Your Senior CatWhen you adopt a kitten the last thing you think about is them becoming a senior cat, but it will eventually happen. As that time draws near, it’s important for you to be ready to take care of them. There are a few special ways you can do so.

Watch for Changes in Your Cat’s Habits

Cats do a great job of hiding the fact that they’re sick. Since signs are subtle and easy to miss, any difference in behavior (e.g. sleeping more, hiding) is something you should mention to your veterinarian since you know your cat best.

Watch for Changes in Weight

It’s challenging to notice a gradual change in your cat’s weight. However, when you notice either weight gain or an unplanned weight loss you should tell your veterinarian. A gain could result in a chronic disease that shortens your cat’s life span. On the other hand, a weight loss typically means there’s something wrong such as hyperthyroidism, intestinal disease, or diabetes.

Watch Their Litter Box

There’s a lot that your cat’s litter box can tell you about. Since you should be scooping the litter box more frequently to keep up with your cat’s increased urine output, these are things you should be able to easily notice and bring to the attention of your veterinarian.

Missing the litter box or having accidents around the house could be a sign that there’s an underlying medical issue. These could include:

  • Difficulty getting into the litter box due to muscle weakness
  • The litter box being in a “bad” place (e.g. having to traverse stairs)
  • Being frightened by too much noise or by other pets may cause your elderly cat not to use the litter box if it’s not in a secluded location
  • Your cat’s paws change as they grow older so you’ll want to make sure that the litter you use is gentle on them

Besides missing the litter box, your elderly cat may also suffer from:

  • Increased urine output is often a sign of urinary infections, but it could be a sign of diabetes, an over active thyroid gland, kidney disease, or high blood pressure
  • Constipation or not defecating daily due to dehydration
  • Stools that are softer, harder, or a different color

Watch how Much Your cat is Eating

It can be challenging to know how much your cat is eating if you have multiple cats in your home. However, you need to know if your elderly cat is eating less than normal so your veterinarian can intervene if there’s an issue. This could be a sign of a chronic disease, which if caught early enough could be easily treated.

Understand They’re Doing More Than “Slowing Down”

With age comes things like arthritis and degenerative joint disease – things your veterinarian will notice, but you may not. This is why you should develop a close relationship with Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center. Routine visits coupled with both mental and physical stimulation while at home will help your cat enjoy the remainder of their lives with you.

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Puppy with rare spine condition survives 1,000-mile journey, recovering from life-changing surgery

Rescued New York puppy flies to Tampa for medical treatment, among four other pets flown to the Tampa Bay area by charity group for surgery this year

TAMPA, Fla. – A veterinary surgeon at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center (TBVSECC), a part of Pathway Vet Alliance, performed a life-saving surgery Wednesday on Giuseppe, a 7-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy who suffers from a rare congenital condition called atlanto-axial instability (AAI). Continue reading

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How to Safely Travel with Your Pets

Safely Traveling With PetsAs a pet owner you may think your trip will be more enjoyable if you can bring Fido along, but, traveling is very stressful for your pets. Before you leave, you should make sure your pet is microchipped and has your information printed on their calendar. Otherwise the type of trip you take will have a heavy influence on your pet care.

Traveling by Plane

You should avoid this type of a trip unless Fido can fit under your seat. However, if this isn’t possible and you must still take Fido with you, make sure you heed these tips for proper pet care:

  • Do your best to book a direct flight whenever possible so it’s less likely Fido gets left on the tarmac or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Buy a USDA-approved shipping crate that’s big enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Line it with bedding (e.g. shredded paper or towels) to absorb accidents. Tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so Fido can be fed if he gets hungry. Also freeze a small dish or tray of water so it won’t spill but is there for them when they’re thirsty. Never lock the crate because you want airline personnel to be able to open it in case of an emergency. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” and your name, cell phone number, and photo of your pet – carry this same photo with you as well in case Fido escapes from his carrier.

Taking a Road Trip

You can’t expect to just load Fido in your backseat and drive away, especially if you’re driving a long distance or will be gone for a long time. Instead, you should heed these pet care tips to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip:

  • Take Fido on short drives before spending a lot of time in the car. If you plan to cross state lines, make sure you have his rabies vaccination record with you as some states will want to see this.
  • Use a well-ventilated crate or carrier to keep Fido safe and secure. Make sure it’s big enough for him to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s secure enough that it won’t slide or shift if you stop abruptly. If you don’t use a crate, make sure Fido doesn’t ride with his head outside the window, and stays harnessed in the back seat.
  • Make sure you have food (never feed him in a moving vehicle), bottled water (unfamiliar water can make his stomach uncomfortable), a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, first-aid supplies, and any travel documents you need with you. Take along his favorite toy or pillow too as these things will give him a sense of familiarity.
  • Never leave Fido alone in a parked vehicle, especially on a hot day. Even if you have your windows open, your parked vehicle can quickly turn into a furnace and Fido will develop heatstroke. In cold weather, your car acts like a refrigerator in which he could freeze to death if you’re not careful.

Before you Leave Home

Make an appointment with Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center for Fido to get a checkup within 10 days of leaving on your trip. This is a great time to make sure his vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate. You can also ask about ways to help your pet relax if you suspect they’ll be afraid, anxious or uncomfortable and get other pet care tips.

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