5 Things to Watch for When Taking Your Dog to the Beach


5 Things to Watch for When Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Splashing in the waves at the beach is a great summer activity for dogs in the summer heat of Pensacola. To ensure you and your dog have a fun and safe time, there are some precautions you should take when you visit the beach with your dog.

5 Things to Keep an Eye Out for When Taking Your Dog to the Beach

1. Signs of Heatstroke

Dogs can overheat quickly in the summer heat, so it’s important to find an area with shade and bring plenty of fresh water to keep your pet hydrated in the sun. Additionally, pay close attention to signs that your pet might be overheating, dehydrating, and developing heatstroke such as:
If your dog exhibits signs of heatstroke, immediately seek emergency veterinary care.

2. Beach Rules

Before you take to the beach with your dog, make sure you are both welcome. Not all beaches allow dogs, and you don’t want to incur a fine when you could have checked the rules and then simply visited a different beach that does allow dogs.

3. Sunburn

Dogs are susceptible to sunburn on the skin beneath their coats. Don’t trim your dog’s hair shorter than one inch and use a dog-safe sunscreen to protect your pup’s skin at the beach.

4. Salt Poisoning

Too much salt is toxic for dogs, and drinking too much ocean water can lead to salt poisoning. Bring fresh water to the beach for your dog to drink and keep a close eye on them to make sure they aren’t drinking ocean water.

5. Water Conditions and Wildlife

Rough waves, dangerous currents, jellyfish, or stingrays can all make the ocean dangerous for your pet. Pay close attention to water condition notices or talk with a lifeguard before jumping in with your pet.

Summer Safety at Olive Branch Pet Hospital

At Olive Branch Pet Hospital, we have everything you need to keep your pet safe, secure, and healthy this summer including vaccinations, parasite prevention, and pet microchips. To learn more about summer beach safety for pets or to schedule a wellness exam for your dog or cat, we welcome you to contact our veterinary hospital in Pensacola today.

Are Nutrition and Weight Management Right for My Pet?


Are Nutrition and Weight Management Right for My Pet?

If you are a human concerned with your own health, then you are already aware that your weight and the nutrition you feed your body play a major role in your own health. The same is true for our pets. In order to live healthy and happy lives, we need to provide our pets with the proper nutrition through a balanced diet (and sometimes nutritional supplements) and help to manage their weight by providing opportunities for physical activity combined with the right number of daily calories.

3 Reasons Why Nutrition and Weight Management Are Right for Every Pet

1. A Strong Foundation for Good Health and Development

At a cellular level, the body needs the right vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats to function properly. Additionally, the body needs the right number of calories in a day to provide the perfect amount of energy. Feeding your pet a balanced diet with the right ratio of nutrients for their species will support their bodies and all of the systems within it to keep them at their optimal level of health.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight to Prevent Illness

Unfortunately, obese and overweight pets have become incredibly common, and many pet owners do not even know how to recognize when a pet is overweight. (You should be able to see a noticeable narrowing at your pet’s waist.) Too much weight on a pet can lead to several health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, joint problems, and respiratory disease. Maintaining a healthy weight will help your pet to feel energetic while also preventing weight-related health problems.

3. Manage Chronic Health Conditions

Prescription diets and nutritional supplementation can also be used to address a variety of health problems in pets such as allergies, diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, pancreatitis, urinary tract issues, GI issues, and cardiovascular disease.

Nutrition and Weight Management for Pets in Pensacola

At Olive Branch Pet Hospital in Pensacola, we place a strong emphasis on wellness and preventative care, including nutrition and weight management, to keep pets healthy and prevent illness from occurring whenever possible. Managing your pet’s weight and providing them with proper nutrition are two of the most vital components of wellness and preventative care.
To learn more about how nutrition and weight affect your pet’s health and wellbeing, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Olive Branch Pet Hospital or contact us to learn more about our Wellness Plans for dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and senior pets.

Preparing for Flea and Tick Season


Preparing for Flea and Tick Season

With our warm climate, the flea and tick season lasts pretty much the entire year. While the parasites might be slightly less active during the very coldest weeks of our winter, our climate never gets cold enough for them to go completely dormant (steadily below freezing) or to kill them off (multiple days with sustained temperatures below 10°F).
For this reason, our veterinarians at Olive Branch Pet Hospital recommend year-round protection for cats and dogs living on the Gulf Coast. Preventing your pets from picking up fleas and ticks not only keeps them safe from the diseases these parasites can carry but your human family members, too.

5 Tips to Protect Your Pets From Fleas and Ticks

1. Choose a Preventative Product That Is Safe for All of Your Pets

Parasite preventatives have species-specific formulations, and treating a pet with a preventative for the wrong species can be very dangerous. Be sure to select a product that’s appropriate for your pet’s species, and if you have both dogs and cats in your household, talk with a veterinarian about the type of products that would be safest for all of your pets.

2. Use a Preventative Product for Your Pet's Size

Parasite preventatives also come in different dosages that are based on your pet’s size. To ensure your pet is adequately protected, be sure to select a product that’s properly dosed for their weight.

3. Understand How to Use Different Preventative Products

There are a variety of different parasite preventatives available. These include medicated collars, topicals, and pills. Choose one that makes sense for your family and that you will be more likely to remember to administer.

4. Set Reminders on Your Calendar

Some parasite preventatives provide protection for a month, others for several months. Take note of how long your pet is protected and set a reminder on your calendar so you’ll remember when it’s time to administer their next dose. If you forget, your pet could become vulnerable to fleas and ticks.

5. Keep Your Yard Clean and Avoid Brushy Areas

Fleas and ticks thrive in brushy, damp areas. Keep your yard clear of debris and don’t let your pet play in brushy environments.

Personalized Parasite Prevention Recommendations for Your Pets in Pensacola

Our veterinarians at Olive Branch Pet Hospital will be happy to help you select the parasite preventatives that will work best for your pets and be safe for your entire household. To learn more about the importance of protecting your pets from fleas and ticks, we welcome you to schedule an appointment today.

Fun Facts About Puppies to Celebrate National Puppy Day


Fun Facts About Puppies to Celebrate National Puppy Day

Whether you have a new puppy or just consider yourself a puppy enthusiast (and who isn’t enthusiastic about puppies?), we invite you to celebrate everything puppy in honor of National Puppy Day on March 23rd. At Olive Branch Pet Hospital, we celebrate puppies every day, but we’re bringing you some fun facts about puppies in honor of their own holiday.

5 Surprising Facts About Puppies

1. They Sleep a Lot

You might think of puppies as having crazy amounts of energy, but they actually sleep quite a lot. Although their waking hours are quite exuberant, puppies, on average, sleep between 15 and 20 hours each day.

2. They're Born Blind, Deaf, and Toothless

Puppies are born both blind and deaf. They don’t open their eyes or start to hear until they’re about two weeks old, and their teeth won’t come until they’re about four weeks old. Plus, this is just the first set of teeth that they’ll shed by about six months to make room for their permanent teeth to come in.

3. Puppy Paws Can Indicate Adult Size

While it’s not an exact science, you can generally determine how big a puppy will be when it’s fully grown based on the size of its paws. Big dogs need big paws to support themselves, so a puppy with large, clumsy paws will likely grow up to be a pretty sizeable dog.

4. They're Actually Softer

Puppies are born with a baby coat of fur that’s only a single layer thick and is softer than their adult coat. They shed this fur at about six months when their grown-up fur starts growing in.

5. They Like Baby Talk

Puppies’ brains actually respond to sing-songy baby talk more than regular voices. So, go ahead and be all cutsie-wootsie with your new puppy. It’ll help them bond with you faster.

Start Out on the Right Paw With a Puppy Wellness Plan

If you’ve recently adopted a new puppy or are thinking about bringing home a new puppy, then we encourage you to consider establishing your new furry family member’s veterinary care at Olive Branch Pet Hospital in Pensacola. We provide our patients with comprehensive veterinary care, and we are pleased to offer our clients a variety of wellness plans (including one especially for puppies) designed to fit their budgets while getting their pets all the wellness and preventative care they need to live happy and healthy lives.
To learn more about our services or to schedule a new pet appointment for your puppy, we welcome you to contact our office today.

It’s Time to Get Your Pet’s Teeth Cleaned

Although you might not realize it, pets need their teeth and gums cared for the same way that people need their teeth and gums cared for. This includes a combination of at-home care (such as teeth brushing, dental-friendly chew toys, and dental-friendly treats) and professional dental care at our veterinary hospital.

Why Dental Care Is Important for Your Pet

Without proper care, pets can develop periodontal disease (gum disease) which can cause them local problems in their mouths, as well as lead to systemic health problems that can cause organ damage and even premature death.

How to Know When Your Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning (5 Signs)

As a general guideline, pets typically require a professional dental cleaning and examination at least once a year. Every pet is different, though. Some might not need dental cleanings as often, while others might benefit from more frequent cleanings. Our veterinarian can help you determine when your pet needs a dental cleaning.
Additionally, the following signs and symptoms indicate your pet needs professional dental care:

1. Persistent Bad Breath

Dogs and cats aren’t exactly known for their flowery or minty-fresh breath. However, breath that is excessively strong or persistently bad is an indication of a mouth that has too much bad bacteria growing in it.

2. Broken Teeth

Broken teeth are not only painful for pets, but they can also lead to serious bacterial infections and abscesses in the mouth. Typically broken teeth need to be extracted to resolve the issue and avoid further complications.

3. Yellow, Brown, or Discolored Teeth

Teeth that are discolored indicate an excessive buildup of plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth. This accumulation on the teeth is a precursor to the development of periodontal disease and could indicate that a pet already has some form of this serious gum infection.

4. Your Pet Keeps Dropping Things

Oral health problems can cause pain and sensitivity. As a result, your pet might start frequently dropping its toys or kibble.

5. Excessive Drooling

Oral health problems trigger the mouth to produce more saliva than normal, resulting in excessive drooling.

Comprehensive Pet Dentistry in Pensacola

Regular teeth cleanings and examinations help protect your pet from gum disease while preserving the health and comfort of their teeth and gums. To learn more about the importance of pet dental care or to schedule an appointment for your pet, we welcome you to contact Olive Branch Pet Hospital today.

How to Keep Your Pet Entertained Inside This Winter

On the cold, windy, and wet days of winter, taking your dog outside for a walk along the beach or even a stroll around the block can be uncomfortable for you and your pet, too – despite their fur natural coat.
When the weather is bad, you might be perfectly alright skipping your daily walk. However, your dog needs daily exercise and enrichment to stay happy and healthy. Thankfully, there are plenty of activities you can do inside with your dog to keep both their minds and bodies active.

6 Indoor Activities to Do With Your Dog

1. Play Hide and Seek

This game will challenge your dog mentally and get them up and moving. You can hide treats, treat-stuffed toys, or your pet’s toys (it’s easier if your dog knows the toys’ names) around the house. Then tell them to go find the treats. You might need to show your dog how to play at first, but they’ll get the hang of this rewarding game eventually.

2. Indoor Fetch

If you have a hallway or a large room, you can still play a game of fetch indoors. This game is more exciting for smaller dogs or for larger dogs living in large houses. Either way, your pet will be happy to have some attention and excitement.

3. Puzzle Games

Give your dog a mental challenge and keep them busy with a treat-filled puzzle game.

4. Snuffle Mats

Snuffle mats help your dog practice their natural instinct for foraging for food in the wild and make regular mealtimes much more fun. Plus, these are a great solution for dogs who eat too fast.

5. Training

Nothing stimulates your dog’s brain while helping the two of you bond quite like positive reinforcement training. Go ahead and teach your dog – no matter how old – a new trick this winter.

6. Tug-o-War

This game isn’t recommended for puppies that are still learning manners, but tugging on a rope with your dog at the other end provides great indoor exercise.

Get Out of the House for a Veterinary Exam and Wellness Appointment

If your pet is due for vaccine boosters or hasn’t visited the veterinary clinic for a checkup in a while, we welcome you to contact Olive Branch Pet Hospital in Pensacola to schedule your pet for a wellness and preventative care appointment. This way, you can ensure both you and your dog are ready to hit the beaches this spring.

How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching

How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching

Protecting your home from your cat’s claws can be a real challenge. While many humans try to fight the good fight in the name of having nice things, others simply give up and let the cat scratch away.
However, there are some steps you can take to protect your tables, chairs, and couches from your cat, and you can start by understanding why your cat wants to scratch the furniture in the first place.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

When a cat scratches, it leaves behind its scent and marks territory. Cats also scratch as a form of play, to stretch better, and sometimes out of stress or boredom.

6 Ways to Keep Your Cat From Scratching

1. Provide Alternatives

If you don’t want your cat scratching in the house, provide better alternatives like a variety of cat scratching posts. Choose scratching posts and pads that feature different materials, angles, and the attractive scent of catnip.

2. Spray Citrus

Cats don’t like the smell of citrus. Dilute a bit of orange, grapefruit, or lemon oil in water and spritz your home (especially furniture) with it.

3. Hang Foil

Cats don’t like the sound or feel of aluminum foil and hanging some in high-scratch zones makes scratching less attractive and satisfying for your cat.

4. Calm Your Cat

Your cat might be scratching because he is stressed. Try a calming pheromone spray to help your kitty chill.

5. Use a Furniture Guard

There are a variety of products available that are designed to protect your furniture from cat claws. They range from vinyl covers to actual furniture-corner-shaped cat scratchers.

6. Try Soft Paws

If scratching persists, get a pair of Soft Paws, vinyl claw covers, for your cat’s claws. It’s a safe and humane alternative to declawing that renders your cat’s household scratching harmless.

Learn More About Your Cat's Behavior Issues With Our Veterinarian in Pensacola

If you feel like you’ve tried everything, and your cat is still having behavior problems, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Olive Branch Pet Hospital. Behavior issues can sometimes be an indication of a health problem, and our veterinarian can help you rule out underlying issues and address the problem at hand.
To learn more or schedule an appointment for your cat, please contact us today.

How to Keep Your Pet Calm During Grooming


How to Keep Your Pet Calm During Grooming

We associate baths and haircuts with self-care and pampering, but our pets don’t always feel the same way. Many dogs become quite anxious when it’s time for their regular grooming, and this results in many not getting the skin and coat care they need to stay healthy and comfortable.
To make your pet’s next bath time go more smoothly, consider the following tips.

5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm for Grooming

1. Be Prepared

When it’s time to begin, you should have everything you need nearby and ready to go. Interrupting your dog’s grooming to retrieve a brush or another tool might make your dog think he’s done and result in having to calm him down all over again.

2. Start Slowly

Introduce your dog to the brushing, bathing, and haircuts one at a time, instead of all at once. Additionally, give them a chance to sniff and check out all the tools you’ll be using before you start using them. Then they’ll be less concerned about the brush and clippers running through their fur.
It’s also best to start when your pet’s still young. But you can teach an old dog to learn new tricks; they might just need a little extra reassurance.

3. Make It Positive

Provide plenty of positive reinforcement during the grooming. Store a bag of treats with your dog’s brushes and clippers. Talk sweetly and be generous with love by really getting into your pet’s coat and scrubbing.

4. Groom After Play

A worn-out pet is always a calmer pet. If you can, take your dog out for a game of fetch, a run, or a long walk before you start grooming. This will ensure all their excess energy has been burned off, and they’ll be calmer as a result.

5. Be Calm

Dogs take a lot of emotional cues from their human family members. If you feel nervous about grooming your pet, then your pet will likely feel nervous, too.

Talk With Our Veterinarians About the Best Grooming Tools for Your Dog

If you’re not sure what kind of coat your dog has, what the best shampoo for his sensitive skin is, or the right kind of brush for detangling, we welcome you to talk with our veterinarians about grooming your pet. We can provide you with advice, training tips, and more!

How to Protect Your Furniture From Your Cat


Kitty Has Claws! How to Protect Your Furniture From Your Cat

Cats love to scratch. Furniture, carpets, and pretty much anything they can get their claws into. They simply can’t help it because scratching is a desire that’s built into their instincts for marking territory. So, like burying waste, grooming, and pouncing, scratching is a difficult behavior to stop.
Although you probably can’t stop your cat’s scratching altogether, you can take some steps to make your cat’s scratching habit a little less destructive.

4 Tips to Protect Your Furniture From Your Cat's Scratching

1. Determine Your Cat's Favorite Targets

The first step in protecting your furniture from your cat’s claws is to identify your pet’s favorite targets. Does your cat tend to scratch wood, upholstered furniture, carpet, or drapes? What angle does your cat prefer to scratch at? Vertical or horizontal surfaces?

2. Provide Desirable Alternatives

Now that you know what types of scratching your cat prefers, you should look for a scratching alternative that will meet these needs. If your cat likes to scratch the carpet, provide a carpeted post. If your cat is more drawn to upholstery, they’ll probably enjoy scratching a post covered in sisal.
Scratching posts of all sizes, shapes, and materials are available at most pet supply stores, so you should be able to find one that meets your cat’s needs and is an even more attractive target than your furniture.

3. Discourage Them From Scratching the Furniture

You should also take measures to discourage your cat from scratching your furniture. However, do not do this by squirting your cat or using any other method that you must be present for. It’s important that your cat learns not to scratch whether you’re home or away.
Stack plastic cups in front of their usual scratching target, purchase a motion-activated noise machine, or a motion-activated cat deterrent that will spray a puff of air in their direction. These types of training tools are designed specifically for felines, and they won’t teach your cat to simply fear your presence like other methods could.

4. Keep Their Claws Trimmed

You can minimize the damage your cat is able to inflict on the upholstery by keeping its claws trimmed. To trim your cat’s claw, squeeze its toe to extend the nail. Then trim at an angle that will remove the hook-shaped portion at the end of the claw without cutting into the quick. If you knick the quick of your cat’s nail, you’ll hit nerve endings and blood vessels, causing pain and bleeding for your pet.
For more information about cat scratching, contact our veterinary clinic today!