Pet Food and Treats: The Good, the Bad, and the Dangerous

Pet food and treats have an impact on pet nutrition and pet healthProviding our pet with nourishing food and delicious treats is a big part of how we show them our love. Feeding our pets connects us to them in a fundamental way, and consistently giving them what they need to survive and thrive builds their trust and deepens the bond we share with them.

Unfortunately, not all pet foods and treats are created equal. Besides being extremely low quality, some imported commercial food and treats have sickened and even killed hundreds of pets in the United States. This leaves many pet owners understandably angry and confused about which food and treats are safe for their animals.

What to Watch Out For

Commercially available pet foods and treats, especially those imported from China and certain other countries, can pose a surprising number of health risks. Some of the dangers that have cropped up and led to recalls over the past decade and beyond include: Continue…

Wind, Rain, and Hurricane Preparedness for Pets

Hurricane preparedness for pets is part of pet storm safety and keeping pets safe during a huricane.Hurricane season is upon us here in Florida, which makes being prepared for an emergency more important than ever. Most of us have the essentials on hand and a plan in place in case of evacuation, but not everyone factors the family pet into the equation. Hurricane preparedness for pets is critical for their safety and health, and King’s Trail Animal Hospital can help!

Stick Together

In the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster, the safest place for your pet is with you. Never leave your pet behind if you have to evacuate, as abandoned pets are at serious risk for injury or death. Exchange house keys and evacuation plans with a few trusted neighbors or local friends, and plan to evacuate each other’s pets if one of you is caught outside evacuation lines. Continue…

That Time of Year: Pine and Oak Pollen Allergies in Pets

Pollen allergies in pets are not fun for anyoneAllergic reactions are common among humans, but our pets may also experience problems caused by allergens in their environment. Along with dust, flea, and food allergies, oak and pine pollen allergies in pets have become more and more common this time of year.

What are Pine and Oak Pollen Allergies in Pets?

In the springtime, different varieties of pine and oak trees release significant amounts of pollen into the air. This can aggravate seasonal allergies in our pets, and it’s difficult to avoid, as the pollen can drift over a large area.   

The pollen released by the trees lands on your pet’s paws, coat, and skin. Specialized immune cells, called mast cells, leap into action on your pet’s behalf. When the immune system is stimulated by allergens, it produces a protein called histamine. Histamine causes an inflammatory response in the tissues, leading to itchy and inflamed skin. Continue…

Friend or Foe? What Pet Owners Need to Know About Snake Safety for Dogs

snake safety for dogsRegardless of how long you’ve lived in Duval County, you have likely encountered your share of wildlife in your yard, on a trail, at the park, or on the beach. The countless species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects certainly make life more beautiful. But sometimes these species can make life more difficult for humans and pets who share their space.

With over 30 species of snakes in the Jacksonville area, several of which are poisonous, bumping into a snake while you’re with your dog can pose a unique challenge. Many dogs don’t have a natural aversion to snakes, and their curiosity and eagerness to investigate could put them, and you, at risk. Understanding and applying the principles of snake safety for dogs is key to preventing a tragedy.

Your team at Kings Trail Animal Hospital is here to help.

Continue…

Have a Heart, and Protect Your Pet from Heartworm

A mosquito poised to bite. Mosquitos are carriers of heartworm disease.As pet owners, we do everything we can to keep our pets happy and healthy, even in the midst of our busy lives. Our focus on preventive care, daily exercise and play, and lots of snuggles makes it easy to overlook year-round heartworm prevention. Unfortunately, our busy schedules, along with a proliferation of false information about heartworm, have led to the steady rise of heartworm among U.S. pets over the past 5 years.

Annual screening and year-round prevention of heartworm should be essential components of your pet care plan.

Heartworm 101

Heartworm disease is caused by parasitic worms, Dirofilaria immitis, which are transmitted to pets by mosquitos. Mosquitos can pick up the parasite by feeding on an infected animal, such as a dog, cat, raccoon, coyote, or opossum.

Once inside your pet’s body, the immature worms travel throughout the bloodstream, eventually taking up residence in the heart, lungs, and accompanying blood vessels. Over a period of several months to a year, worms can grow up to a foot in length and cause pain, discomfort, and significant damage to important internal organs. Continue…

When Is It a Pet Emergency?

A striped cat with its ears down partially hiding behind a white cloth like it's in pain. This may be a behavior associated with a pet emergency.As a pet owner, few things are as frightening as a pet emergency. Whether your pet has been hit by a car, is vomiting unexpectedly, or something just seems off, it can send even the calmest pet parent into a tailspin.

Knowing whether or not your pet needs immediate medical attention isn’t always easy. Some emergencies are obvious, but many are not. It can be hard not to panic when a pet suddenly seems ill or is behaving differently, which is why it’s so important to understand what constitutes a pet emergency.

Know Their Normals

Pets are naturally skilled at hiding signs of illness or injury, which is why it’s so important for you to pay close attention to their normal habits and behaviors. Changes in the following can signal a need for a trip to the veterinarian: Continue…

Healthy and Happy: Why Pet Wellness is the Key to Good Health

Brown and black dog with purple collar looks like it's laughing and is a picture-perfect example of pet wellness in action.Words like wellness, holistic, and prevention are all the buzz these days as we approach health and modern medicine in a more integrated way. No longer do we just treat the disease, but we also aspire to identify and curtail risks that could lead to disease.

Thankfully, this trend has extended itself to the veterinary world, too. Pet wellness encompasses a wide range of services and at-home care that encourage complete health for our furry friends. The team at Kings Trail Animal Hospital would like to provide an overview of our approach to pet wellness in hopes that it helps you to give your pet the best life possible.

What is Pet Wellness?

Pet wellness covers all elements of physical, behavioral, and emotional health with an emphasis on prevention. At Kings Trail, we include the following services as part of your pet’s annual/bi-annual wellness visit: Continue…