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bear safety dogs asheville

Keeping Your Dog Safe in Bear Country

Reports of bear sightings are common in Western North Carolina.

As humans develop more land, they find themselves sharing more living space with bears. This raises the question, How can I keep my dog safe around bears?

The black bears of WNC are, for the most part, shy and reserved but when provoked can be a danger to humans and pets alike. They are stronger, faster, and better at climbing than we are. So the best defense against bears is to avoid them all together.

If bears are commonplace in your neighborhood, always survey your yard before letting your pet outside. When not in a fenced yard, your dog should be on a leash. Even a well-trained dog may not respond to your commands in the presence of a bear.

Avoid keeping any food in your yard. This means keeping trash and compost in sealed, airtight containers and waiting to bring your garbage to the curb until collection day, if possible. Make sure you never leave pet food unattended outdoors. And always clean up your grill and outdoor food prep areas. In bear territory, it is best to eliminate bird feeders.

If you notice bears coming into your yard on a frequent basis, try making a lot of noise to scare them away. From a safe distance, blow an air horn or bang pots and pans together.

When camping or hiking, make your presence known by talking loudly or singing. Bears don’t like to be startled, so making noise alerts them without spooking them. You can also keep bear bells on your backpack and on your dog’s collar. Avoid listening to headphones or talking on the phone so you can better listen to your surroundings. If you hear or see signs of a bear, turn around and quietly and calmly leave the area. Never leave your pet unattended at a campground, and keep your pet on a leash as much as possible. Dogs have been known to run off towards a bear and come running back to your campsite with an angry bear in tow. Keep human food and dog food in airtight canisters. Avoid recreational running in bear country. A person running can trigger the predator instinct in bears, and you may unintentionally become prey.

If you come in contact with a bear, stay calm. Keep a safe distance and make sure you are not blocking the bear’s only escape route. Speak in a normal tone of voice and move your arms so the bear sees you are human and not prey. Walk away slowly and calmly. Do not run. If you are face to face with the bear, make yourself as big as possible by waving your arms around. Do not make eye contact. Throw an object in the bear’s direction; this may create a distraction for the bear to investigate. Do NOT toss food toward a bear. And never try to feed a bear. Carry EPA-approved bear spray. If all else fails, spray it in the direction of the bear’s face. This can stun a bear and may get it to retreat. It is important that you use spray specifically intended for bears and not pepper spray for humans, which would not be fully effective on a bear. A barking dog can scare the bear away, but it may also anger the bear. It is up to you to assess the situation and move yourself and your pet away in the best manner.

Remember: bears don’t want to harm you or your dog. They will most often keep to themselves unless provoked. The most common reasons a bear may get defensive involve protecting food and cubs. Avoiding bears all together is your best recourse. If you have any questions about bear safety or if you have a problematic bear in your neighborhood, contact the local Wildlife Resource Commission at 919-707-0010.

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how to keep pets warm in the winter

How to keep pets warm in the winter

We all love the holidays, but with the winter season comes a major drop in temperature. Despite a pet’s fur coat, cold temperature can bring discomfort and danger.

Never leave pets outside for too long in the cold. Make sure they spend most of their day in covered, heated areas, with short periods of time outside for walks and play. Don’t allow them to stay in the car without the heat on for any extended period of time, as temperatures can drop quickly. Make sure pets have plenty of water available, as they use a lot of energy to stay warm.

Set up a cozy area with bedding and blankets inside,making sure pets and their bedding stay a safe distance from fireplaces and space heaters.If you have a pet who gets extra chilly, buy a coat or sweater that fits properly. It should allow free movement but shouldn’t be so loose that it creates an entanglement hazard. If your pet is prone to chewing or ingesting foreign objects, never leave its clothing on while unattended.

Putting these ideas into practice, the whole family can enjoy a warm and cozy winter.

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Sleepover Time! Now Providing Overnight Boarding Staff

The Pet Vet continues to grow and expand our services, which now include having staff in the building twenty-four hours a day. This means patients in our care receive additional monitoring with expanded caretaking, allowing us to offer an even safer and happier experience for boarding pets.

For more information on our boarding services call the Pet Vet at (828) 232-9990.

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Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is here again! This delightfully spooky holiday means tricks and treats for the entire family, including our pets. Know the important precautions you can take to keep your furry goblins safe and happy this Halloween.

Candy is deeelicious, but it is strictly for humans. No candy is ok to give to pets–ever. With all the fun and excitement, be sure you’re not leaving candy where your pet could get it. Candy can cause GI upset. Even worse, it can be toxic and potentially lethal. Make sure you are doing your part to keep candy out of your pet’s reach.

Be cautious with Halloween decorations, which can seem like treats and toys to a pet. Keep decorations away from your playful companions and be aware that lit candles can pose a danger to paws and tails. Toss pumpkins and gourds before they start rotting to ensure that your pet doesn’t ingest mold.

Trick or Treaters can be a sensory overload for our pets. The doorbell rings constantly, with strangers at the door dressed in wild outfits yelling, “Trick or Treat!” If your pet seems at all uncomfortable, put them in a quiet area away from the excitement. This will minimize the chance of your pet reacting by growling or snapping or even running away. Keep pets indoors; this means wandering kitties, as well. Not only can the theatrics cause undue stress, but pranksters are on the loose. Keep your pets safely indoors to avoid being caught in the middle of a misguided high jinks.

Be kind when putting your pets in costumes. Some pets LOVE to dress up, but others just don’t. If your pet seems stressed or uncomfortable, don’t force it. Keep your pet comfortable and at ease. If your pet has trouble moving or breathing in its costume, take it off. Only allow your pet to wear a costume when monitored. Leaving your pet alone in a costume could result in the outfit getting caught on something or your pet trying to eat it. Stay away from using hair dyes, as this can be harmful and potentially toxic. For pets that don’t enjoy costumes, try a fun bandana instead!

With these tips in mind, Halloween can be a fun and stress-free holiday for the whole family.

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The Golden Years: How to Increase Your Senior Pet’s Quality of Life

Our pets are truly members of the family, offering us love and companionship. It’s not always easy to see our beloved pets enter their senior years, but understanding their needs can help keep them happy and healthy. Here are a few points to consider.

It is important to take your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness care. The doctor may suggest routine lab work to monitor for abnormalities. Just like humans, pets can develop issues with organ function as they age. Medications can help regulate the functioning of their heart, kidneys, liver, and thyroid, and this will increase their comfort and potentially help prolong their life. Also like humans, pets are susceptible to developing arthritis. Supplements, medications, acupuncture, or physical therapy can help their ability to remain active.

Like humans who become senile or develop dementia, animals can have cognitive dysfunction. We may relate many of these symptoms to normal aging – symptoms such as pacing, forgetting daily routines, or having accidents in the house. A doctor can help diagnose cognitive dysfunction. If properly managed, it is possible to reduce the symptoms and increase your pet’s quality of life.

Switch your pet’s food to one that’s specially formulated for seniors. A specialized diet can address an aging lifestyle. You will find a number of diets that increase fiber and add in supplements for joint health. Fatty acid supplements like fish oil can help maintain healthy skin and a healthy coat.

Comfort is key. Make sure you provide your senior pet with plenty of cushy bedding around your home and in your car. Try laying down rugs or runners to help your pet with traction on tile or hardwood. Does your pet love being social or going on walks but isn’t as physically capable? Think about getting your pet a wagon or stroller, allowing relaxation while enjoying the things they love! Have them join you at outdoor cafes for some low-key socialization. Kitties who enjoy the outdoors may benefit from a screened-in patio, bringing the outdoors inside.

Stay active, or as active as possible. Keeping your pet mobile will help keep muscles and joints healthy. Keep up the frequent walks and throw the ball around, but limit exercise time so your pet won’t overdo it. Also monitor for overheating on warmer days. Don’t forget to encourage an active mind; practice training exercises and engage your pet with toys that provide a mental challenge. For the food motivated play games that offer treats as prizes!

Allowing your pet to maintain its familiar lifestyle is paramount during the senior years. This, combined with routine medical care to manage physical health, can make all the difference in quality of life. For more guidance on senior pet care, call the Pet Vet to schedule a consultation (828) 232-9990.

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Let’s Help the Pets of Texas!

As many of you know, humans aren’t the only ones who have been affected by Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey.  There are thousands of families either homeless or stranded with their pets.  Rescue efforts across the state of Texas are actively saving displaced and stranded pets.  As a result, animal shelter populations are increasing by the hundreds and they need our support.  In an effort to lend a hand, we have arranged a fundraising campaign for the SPCA of Texas.  The Pet Vet will MATCH HALF of what is raised, up to $750!!  To make a donation, stop by the office or give us a call at 828-232-9990.

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Adventure Time for Your Pets

Springtime is here, and it’s time to head outdoors! Looking for activities you and your furry companion can enjoy together? Then look no further than these pet-friendly activities.

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Cats on Leashes

Have you considered taking your cat outside on a leash? Social and outgoing cats might benefit from exploring the outdoors on a leash, while cats who are shy and like to hide may prefer to remain indoors.

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