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Did you know that your favorite staff at Godspeed Animal Care offers veterinary acupuncture for your pets?

Alternative therapies like acupuncture give us a scientifically founded way to help pets when other therapies are not enough or cannot be tolerated. In fact, therapies like acupuncture often work synergistically with traditional medicine to achieve even better results.

Interested yet? Read on to learn all you need to know about veterinary acupuncture and how your pet could benefit.

On Pins and Needles

You are probably familiar with the image of a person undergoing acupuncture with hundreds of little pins stuck all over their body. While this is a somewhat accurate picture, it is not quite so crazy as it might seem.

“Needling” is an ancient and very intricate technique and is one of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Special needles are placed in very specific locations, with there being about 150 potential acupuncture points in the dog.

Acupuncture can release anti-inflammatory substances in the body, relax the muscles, improve blood flow and tissue oxygenation, and lacks any serious side effects.

There are different types of veterinary acupuncture, including:

  • Dry needling uses acupuncture needles inserted based on modern scientific observations, primarily for pain management.
  • Chinese traditional acupuncture focuses on changing the flow of Qi, or energy to correct energy flow imbalances throughout the body.
  • Acupuncture uses the injection of liquids like diluted vitamin B12 and other homeopathics at acupuncture sites.
  • Cold laser at acupuncture points can be an alternative to needles insertion for some pets.
  • Electroacupuncture uses a small electrical current at needle sites to re-establish nerve impulses and relax muscles.

Different types of acupuncture may be indicated in different pets and different situations. While the exact techniques may vary, many pet patients can benefit.

Veterinary Acupuncture

Veterinary acupuncture seems to find ways to be useful for so many of our patients. WE might utilize it for:

  • Pain management
  • Stress relief
  • Support of orthopedic disease
  • Treatment of nerve injuries/diseases
  • Management of gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Help with seizure disorders
  • To support immune function
  • To decrease inflammation

Most of our pet patients tolerate acupuncture very well, and some even seem to enjoy it. It is non-invasive and quite safe. Adverse reactions are uncommon when done by a trained veterinary professional.

If you are curious about acupuncture and how it may help your pet, don’t hesitate to call us. We are always happy to talk about new ways to better the lives of animals and look forward to helping yours.

The post Veterinary Acupuncture for Your Pet appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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As if we needed another reason to detest fleas, they are responsible for spreading a bacterium called Bartonella henselae to approximately 40% of cats.

Found in flea dirt (droppings) and also deposited via direct bites on the skin, B. henselae can also be spread from one infected cat to another during a fight, and to humans, as well.

If you have a cat that likes to use their claws, we recommend this quick refresher on the dangers of cat scratch disease.

Yikes!

Cat scratch disease is a bacterial infection. If an infected cat bites or scratches you and breaks the skin, or simply licks at an existing open wound, a mild infection can develop at the site of the injury in about 3-14 days. Signs of cat scratch disease include:

  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Raised lesions
  • Pus
  • Headache
  • Warm or painful to the touch
  • Poor appetite
  • Exhaustion

The lymph nodes closest to the person’s scratch or bite wound can become enlarged, tender, or painful. Luckily, people cannot infect other people with cat scratch disease.

Cat scratch disease typically resolves itself, but some folks may need antibiotics if symptoms persist. Young children and adults with compromised immunity may need medical attention to guard against complications to the vital organs.

Cat Scratch Fever in Felines

Most cats do not show any signs that they’re carrying B. henselae. Whether they picked it up directly from fleas or from another cat, infected cats rarely show symptoms of the illness. Very rarely, cat scratch disease affects the heart, mouth, eyes, or urinary system in felines.

Kittens under a year are more likely to carry and spread the bacterium because they play-fight with their paws and teeth, inadvertently depositing B. henselae on any open wound or scab.

Feral cats or those allowed to wander are more likely to fight, increasing the chances of infection.

Relatively Easy to Prevent

If you are ever bitten or scratched by your own cat or another, thoroughly wash the affected area with hot water and soap. Also:

  • Restrict your cat from licking any scratches or open wounds
  • Discourage your cat from play-fighting with their claws and teeth
  • Keep your pet indoors to reduce their chances of running into potential carriers of the bacterium
  • Keep your cat’s claws trimmed
  • Maintain monthly parasite prevention
  • Inspect your cat’s coat (and other household pets) for any evidence of fleas, like eggs or flea dirt
  • Wash your hands after a vigorous play session with your kitty
One More Layer

Cat scratch fever may not ever affect you or your cat, but it’s always important to stay in the loop about issues that might come up. If our veterinarians and staff can assist you with any questions, please call us at Godspeed Animal Care.

The post Is Cat Scratch Disease a Real Thing? appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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We emphasize good pet dental care because periodontal disease is irreversible and progressive. The good news is that with a dedicated dental care routine, this disease is entirely preventable.

There is another facet of pet dental care that requires an added layer of vigilance, however. Dental cavities in dogs are a known phenomenon but because they aren’t as common, dog owners may be surprised to know they’re actually a risk.

Learning the Language

Cavities occur when oral bacteria ferments carbohydrates. This process results in an increase of enamel-destroying acids in the mouth. Decay is most common in the molars due to the additional stress caused by grinding food.

Dental cavities in dogs range from mild to severe. Depending on the case, both enamel and dentin may be decaying. Surgical dental extraction is often necessary if the pulp is exposed, inflamed, or infected. You may notice tooth discoloration when a cavity is present, bad breath, and you might be able to feel a place on the tooth for food to build up or get stuck.

A canine cavity or lesion can become very painful if left alone, and will eventually cause the death of a tooth.

A Look at the Numbers

Periodontal disease affects more than half of all adult pets; dental cavities in dogs occur about 5% of the time. This relatively low percentage is because of the conical shape of their teeth as well as fewer fermentable sugars in canine diets. Avoiding high-carb snacks can help keep those numbers low.

Cavities in Dogs

Veterinary dental exams and digital radiographs are critical in detecting and diagnosing dental cavities in dogs. When lesions are noticed early on, intervention is more successful and teeth can be saved.

Teeth with unexposed pulp can be restored to previous, normal function. This involves removing decayed tissue and placing a composite material and sealant over the lesion. Post-operative care is critical, and routine exams will help prevent further decay.

What You Can Do

We encourage you to maintain your dog’s dental care at home with daily brushing, and professional dental exams and cleanings at least once a year. A specially-designed dental rinse can help lower oral bacteria levels and keep tartar from accumulating (ask us for more details).

Dental cavities in dogs tend to occur more commonly in animals that have a lower salivary pH, and that  regularly consume a diet of fermentable carbohydrates. We can help you find a balanced diet for your dog. Routine dental care exams can also reveal whether pets have insufficiently mineralized enamel.

The best way to counteract dental cavities in dogs is to have their teeth and gums routinely examined by our staff. Because your dog’s dental health is so important to their overall wellness and longevity, we hope you’ll contact us with any questions.

The post Cavities in Dogs? While Rare, They’re Not Unheard Of appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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As pets age, their paw pads thicken up and harden, but they still experience pain after consistent exposure to the elements. Without a doubt, paw pads are very sensitive to heat, but special care is also needed during sub-freezing temperatures. Traditional salts and deicers can be extremely harsh and can even lead to GI upset if swallowed.

Luckily, with a little extra attention to pet paw care this season, your best friend will be ready to go.

Easing In

We’re all looking forward to spring, but we may be waiting a while. Maybe your pet has acclimated to the frozen sidewalks, but many others opt to stay indoors until it warms up. You can try making it easier for your pet with shorter, more frequent walks this winter.

If the ground is too cold for your bare feet, just imagine how uncomfortable it is for your pet. With everything from cuts and scrapes to other surface injuries or irritation, damage to the paw pads is common. Ice balls or snowpack can also get stuck to the fur between the pads.

Keep ‘Em Comfy

We recommend using only pet-safe ice melts or salts on your property, but you never know what other people are using. Do your best to steer your pet away from areas where products appear to be heavily applied. Also wash and thoroughly dry their feet when you get home.

These Booties are Made for Walking

Many animals cannot abide by booties or clothing in general. With a little positive reinforcement, however, they can become a little more flexible and open to the idea. Train your pet to wear booties around the house, offering praise, treats, and playtime. When they seem to be more tolerant, try going for a walk together. You may notice you jaunts getting longer and more enjoyable for your pet.

Pet Paw Care

Trimming the hairs between the pads can help minimize the amount of snow and ice buildup. If you notice your pet is preoccupied with their feet after a walk, help them out by washing and drying their paws. If you notice any signs of soreness or irritation, please let us know.

Explore Your Options

The use of products designed to protect delicate, sensitive skin is another important component of pet paw care. Musher’s Secret uses non-toxic oils and waxes to protect paw pads from severe temperatures and chemicals. Remember to wash all products off your pet’s feet after romping around outdoors.

Winter Fun

Not every pet enjoys the snow, cold air, and ice, but with a proactive approach to their comfort and safety, they may start enjoying the season a bit more.

If you have additional questions or concerns about seasonal pet paw care, please contact the team at Godspeed Animal Care.

The post Essential Winter Pet Paw Care appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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Alternative sweeteners are all the rage these days, and it only makes sense given what we know about the dangers of too much sugar. Reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can lead to a plethora of health benefits, including weight loss, better blood sugar control, and reduced risk of tooth decay.

The sugar substitute known as xylitol fits the bill when it comes to healthy sugar substitutes, and it can be found in a variety of sugar-free foods and personal care items. Although it’s a natural product that’s safe and even beneficial for human consumption, it can pose a deadly threat to our pets. Xylitol toxicity is a serious concern that should not be overlooked by any pet owner.

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

At this time, it’s unknown whether xylitol is toxic to cats; however, it’s known to be highly toxic to dogs and can result in the following conditions:

  • Hypoglycemia – The canine pancreas doesn’t recognize xylitol and confuses it with real sugar, causing blood sugar levels to drop rapidly. This can cause vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and collapse. Symptoms of hypoglycemia typically begin within 30 minutes to a few hours of ingestion and can last for up to 12 hours.
  • Hepatic necrosis – If enough xylitol is consumed, damage to the liver can occur. The exact cause of this is unknown, and not all dogs will experience hypoglycemia prior to hepatic necrosis. Internal hemorrhage, inability to clot blood, and acute liver failure (followed by death) can result.
How Much is Too Much?

The toxicity of xylitol depends on the size of the dog and how much was eaten. In general, it takes about 0.03 to 0.045 grams of xylitol per pound of dog to produce a hypoglycemic effect. For reference, a typical piece of sugar free chewing gum can have anywhere from 0.009 to 0.3 grams of xylitol per piece.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pet owner awareness is important when diagnosing xylitol toxicity in dogs. If you know or suspect your dog has eaten something poisonous, call us immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to xylitol toxicity, and the sooner we can begin treatment, the better the chance of a full recovery. If possible, bring along the packaging of the product your dog has eaten to help your veterinarian determine how much your pet has consumed.

Play it Safe

Xylitol can be found in a wide variety of sugar-free products, including gum, peanut butter, baked goods, candy, cough drops, toothpaste, mouthwash, and more. Always read the label, and make sure anything containing xylitol is stored securely. Educate everyone in the home about the dangers of xylitol poisoning in dogs, and make sure everyone takes the proper precautions.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Godspeed Animal Care with additional questions or concerns.

The post Sweet Dangers: Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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While the reasons to purchase a pet directly from a breeder vary, prospective owners are usually drawn to a particular look, distinct personality, or other well-known behavioral traits. While it’s true that responsible breeding has its place, the team at Godspeed Animal Care wants to remind people that a mixed breed pet can also bring a great deal to the table. In other words, adopting a mutt can be a huge game-changer!

A Look at Genetics

Part of the fun of a mixed breed pet is that we don’t always know their exact heritage. We can observe certain obvious markers, but without previous knowledge of a pet’s parents and/or genetic testing, it’s a guessing game.

Many owners are interested in having a concrete understanding of an animal’s breed so they can better determine whether they’ll be a good fit for their lifestyle and family.

Nature vs. Nurture

There’s a perception purebred pets aren’t as healthy as, say, mutts. That’s because mixed breed pets tend to inherit fewer hereditary health concerns, and, as a result, can be healthier than their genetically pure counterparts.To combat this idea, some breeders try to weed out genetic diseases known to plague certain breeds, such as hip dysplasia, cancer, or heart disease.

In short, because mutts receive a lower dose of specific purebred genetics, they’re hardier, healthier, and generally require less specialized medical care.

That’s Not to Say…

However, while mutts inherit fewer diseases, they still require the same level of attention to overall health and wellbeing. Preventing contagious diseases, dental care, excellent nutrition, daily exercise, and more all play into the health of a mixed breed pet.

What About Their Behavior?

Purebreds come with prominent markers of personality, and many are purchased in order to perform certain jobs, like hunting, herding, or guarding.

If you’re thinking about adopting a mutt but aren’t sure of their personality or history, positive reinforcement training and other bonding opportunities have the potential to address any fear-based behavioral issues.

Adopting a Mutt

There’s so much to love about mixed-breed pets, and adopting a mutt from a shelter or rescue helps save lives. It also frees up space and resources to help other homeless pets find their forever home. In addition, because of the potential for unethical standards around breeding, you’re taking a stand against the “pets for profit” mentality.

The Marvelous Mutt

A pure breed can be quite expensive to purchase and support. On the other hand, adopting a mutt is extremely cost-effective. They’re usually already spayed/neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated. What’s more, they could already be potty-trained, socialized, and eager to please their new best friend!

Adorable to the Max!

Adopting a mutt is the obvious choice for many prospective pet owners, and our team is happy to help you make an informed decision. Since a mixed breed pet is the result of at least two different breeds (usually more), you’ll be getting a truly unique pet who doesn’t look or behave like any other. What could be better than that?

The post Adopting a Mutt Can be Absolutely Mutt-Tastic! appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, you know that it’s always tick season. In the autumn, many of our clients and their pets are still happily taking advantage of the crisp days by spending time outdoors. We know that ticks are something to prevent, but have you ever had to safely remove a tick? If not, we have some tips and tricks for you to make this process relatively easy.

The Problem With Ticks

There are four tick species in our area that humans and dogs encounter: the Lone Star tick, the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, and the deer tick. Most of us know that tick bites are painful and uncomfortable. Did you know that they are also dangerous?

Ticks can transmit disease to dogs and humans with their bites, so it’s important to remove them as soon as possible. Diseases are only transmitted 24-48 hours after a tick bites and attaches to your pet so swift action is required. Some of the diseases they carry are:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis

Luckily, tick bites can be prevented with year round use of a monthly preventive. Ask us what may be right for your dog based on her breed, age, and lifestyle. It’s also important to clear brush and yard debris from your property (where ticks live and breed) and to examine your dog for ticks (and remove them) each time they spend time outdoors.

Learning how to safely remove a tick can actually prevent disease, but if your dog is at risk for tick borne diseases, ask us about annual blood testing that can help us identify if he’s been exposed. Tick borne diseases are treatable, but they are difficult to diagnose and can be painful and debilitating. By catching tick borne diseases early, we can treat your pet more effectively and for less cost.

How to Safely Remove a Tick

Here’s a step by step guide for how to safely remove a tick.

  • Use fine tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool
  • Wear latex gloves to prevent disease exposure
  • Spread your dog’s fur so you can see their skin
  • Gently grasp the tick’s body as close as possible to the skin
  • Very gently pull straight up in a slow, steady motion
  • Don’t twist the tick as you may detach the head, leaving it imbedded in your dog’s body

It’s a good idea to keep the tick in a lidded container so that if you need to have it tested for disease, you can. Disinfect all tools after tick removal as well as your dog’s skin. Wash your hands well.

Observe your dog well for any signs of tick borne disease, and schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you notice any of these common signs of disease:

  • Body and/or joint pain
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
4 Myths of Tick Removal

There are common myths about tick removal. Here’s why not to remove a tick using these methods.

Paint the tick with nail polish, petroleum jelly a common myth is that painting a tick with these products will cause it to back out of your dog. However, your goal is to remove the tick as soon as possible to prevent disease, not wait for it to detach.

Freezing the tick off this method can be risky to your pet’s skin, and what’s more, it doesn’t work. Usually, the tick’s head stays imbedded in your dog, putting him at risk for infection.

Burning the tick off lighting a match and holding it close to your dog’s fur is the very definition of playing with fire. This is dangerous to your dog, as he could get burned, or worse, set on fire. Simply not safe!
The team at Godspeed Animal Care are experts at tick removal, so if you’d rather come in to have us remove the tick in the office, please call us. We also have tick removal tools available for purchase which are handy to have for home use. If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to help!

The post How to Safely Remove a Tick, And 4 Ways Not To appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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When you visit your doctor’s office, there is always a nurse that takes your blood pressure, weight, temperature, and so forth before the exam begins. In our profession, instead of nursing professionals, veterinarians need vet techs (veterinary technicians) or LVTs (licensed veterinary technicians). And when we say that we need them, we really, really need them! In fact, they are so important to hospital functionality, an entire week in October is set aside to celebrate their hard work, raise them up, and provide additional tools to help them succeed.

But what do vet techs do, exactly?


Family First

At Godspeed Animal Care, we are a family. Our tight-knit group of animal lovers wants to bring all of our collective skills to the table to help pets in need. Leading the pack will always be vet techs.

They stop at nothing to support, treat, and save an animal in their care – all while doing at least 5 other important tasks. They are the ones you deal with in the exam room before and after your pet is examined by a veterinarian, and as far as we’re concerned, they handle the emotional and physical responsibilities of the job with aplomb.

Look Back, Move Forward

Back in 1993, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians declared that the 3rd week of October would be set aside for National Vet Tech Week. It’s a week of celebration, but it’s also an opportunity to educate the public about the profession. Team building and professional development are major facets of vet tech week, as well.

A Wide Scope

Vet techs are so amazing because unlike nurses in your doctor’s office, they serve as support in various other ways, such as:

In other words, vet techs are the multi-tasking heroes of the profession.

Getting There

There are various certifications necessary to obtain licensure. State-approved curriculum for Veterinary Technology typically leads to either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. A credentialing examination must be passed before entering the field. Then, vets techs must pursue ongoing education to remain up-to-date on their license/registration/certification.

Vet techs are supervised by licensed veterinarians and cannot diagnose, prescribe, perform surgery, or act in any way out of accordance with state veterinary standards. As a result, vets techs are the “eyes” and “ears” of the practice, and work endlessly for the welfare of the animals in our care.

Vet Techs Are Amazing

This October, our entire staff will raise our voices for the vast accomplishments of all the vet techs out there that make veterinary practices work well. For all your hard work, dedication, support, and skills, we appreciate you, vet techs! Thank you!

The post What’s the 3rd Week in October For? Celebrating Vet Techs, Of Course! appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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Cats are pretty self sufficient. They are also good at covering up when they are not happy or experiencing stress. Many cat owners feel that things are hunky-dory in the kitty happiness department. After all, they have a warm place to snuggle, a bowl of food, and a clean litter box. What’s to be sad about?

Many cats are not as content with life as their owners may believe. In honor of Happy Cat Month, Godspeed Animal Care wants to share with you a few ways to assess if have a happy cat (or if you have some work to do).

Five Indications of a Happy Cat

When it comes to determining whether or not you have a happy cat, it’s not as easy as simply asking kitty if they are feeling blue. There are a few telltale signs that you have a content cat on your hands, however. Take a step back and evaluate if your cat is:

Using the litter box constantly – Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box is a universal sign that your cat may not be as happy as you think. If this is happening on an ongoing basis, it is time to call us to evaluate your cat’s overall health and to discuss potential stressors in their environment.

Keeping up appearances – A healthy, well groomed coat is the pinnacle of feline pride. Dullness, matting, flaky skin, or bald spots are a prime indicator that something isn’t right.

Fostering healthy relationships – Cats are not always as social as their canine counterparts, but they should be able to tolerate other people and pets in their midst. If your cat constantly acts out towards other cats, dogs, or humans in the home, there may be an issue.

Maintaining a healthy weight – A happy cat is one that is active and keeping at a healthy body weight. A feline who is too skinny or too fat may be experiencing health or mental issues that affect quality of life.

Showing a zest for life – Any proper cat is going to spend a decent part of the day sleeping in a sunbeam, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t show interest in things at least some of the time. A healthy, happy cat is inquisitive, playful, and observant of the surrounding environment.

Cheering Up an Unhappy Kitty

If you feel that your cat may not be as happy as you once thought, don’t worry. There are plenty of things that you can do to get things back on track.

Our expert staff is here to help you troubleshoot ways to make your cat a happier camper. We will want to start off with a wellness evaluation to be sure things like orthopedic pain, urinary issues, or other systemic disease aren’t playing a role.

Most times reducing stress and increasing quality of life in our feline housemates involves multimodal environmental enrichment. Simply put, this is using our resources to create a stimulating, safe cat-friendly environment. It can include things like:

We would love to take the time to get to know your pet’s individual situation so that we can help create an ideal environment within your home. Your cat’s health and well-being hinges on a safe and comfortable existence. Happy cats are healthy cats, and we are all about helping to make that happen!

The post Do You Have a Happy Cat? Five Signs the Answer May Be No appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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Most pet owners spring into action to prevent, recognize, and treat a pet emergency, but what’s the right approach when it comes to disaster preparation? There are similarities, of course, but to truly tackle emergency preparedness for pets, you have to widen the scope quite a bit. Between hurricanes, floods, fires, and more, pets can quickly become separated from their owners, and suffer from injury or illness.

If You Gotta Go

Evacuation is one of the most common results of a natural or man-made disaster. The rule of thumb for owners of all types of pets is that, in the case of evacuation, pets must go, too. In other words, if it’s unsafe enough for people, it’s certainly no place for animals.

Acceptable Alternatives

A major part of your emergency preparedness for your pet must include a list of alternative places to safely stay in the case of evacuation. Have an evacuation route all mapped out, and mark places along the way that you know are pet-friendly. Hotels, motels, friends, and family members are all excellent, safe choices, but if there’s a lack of availability, you may not be able to keep all your pets together.

Depending on the type of emergency, there could be temporary Red Cross shelters positioned around the area. Designed to help people, these shelters cannot accept pets except for service animals. Check with us about pet boarding.

Tips and Tricks

In the spirit of preparation, cover your emergency bases in these ways:

  • Train your pet to leave the house. This will help them move quickly when it really counts.
  • Have your pet microchipped and always update your contact information if it changes.
  • Ensure that their vaccinations are all up to date.
  • Print up your pet’s medical records just in case.
  • Have a picture of your pet printed and placed on their travel kennel or crate.
  • Keep a backup collar, ID tags, and leash in your car.
  • Store a few days worth of food, water, waste disposal bags, toys, and bedding.
  • Keep some first aid items on hand.
  • Affix a sticker to the door or window near the entrance to alarm rescue workers that a pet lives there (be sure to remove them or write “evacuated” across them before you leave).
  • Before moving back into your home, be sure to carefully inspect your property for any potential hazards to your pet’s health and wellness.
Emergency Preparedness Pets

No matter the type of destruction your home or block experienced, it’s an uphill battle to get back into the normal swing of things. You may notice subtle to major shifts in your pet’s behavior. Aggressiveness, resource guarding, or anxiety are typical results of trauma or stress. Please let us know if we can help you address certain behavioral problems.

Also, if we can answer further questions about emergency preparedness pets, we encourage you to reach out to us at Godspeed Animal Care.

The post Emergency Preparedness for Pets Before You Actually Need It appeared first on Godspeed Animal Care.

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