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The Top Seven Vet Questions Answered

When it comes to our pets, we all have pretty similar questions. We went to Dr. Amy Anderson at West Fargo Animal Hospital to get answers.

Two dogs lying on some pillows

Photos by Hillary Ehlen and special to Fargo Monthly

When it comes to our pets, we all have pretty similar questions. Well, we went to Dr. Amy Anderson at West Fargo Animal Hospital to answer all your burning questions.

Amy Anderson from West Fargo Animal Hospital

Amy Anderson
Practice Owner

This summer is shaping out to be really hot. What’s a safe temperature to go running with my dog?
– Sincerely, Me and Rover are getting swole this summer

Good job for wanting to get fit! I, myself, use the heat as an excuse to lay on the couch and watch a movie! There are many dogs who should do the same, such as bulldogs, pugs and other short-nosed breeds. There really is no specific temperature that is too high, although the 90s is a bit risky. What’s more important is the amount of humidity. This makes it much harder to cool down. On a really hot and humid day, I would recommend going for a run after the sun goes down and the temperatures start to drop a bit. If your dog is already fit, they will be more able to handle higher temperatures and longer runs, but the less-fit Rovers should take it easy.

I just got a new kitty and his claws are crazy sharp. Do people still de-claw cats?
– Sincerely, Tired of being a pin cushion

Declawing cats is going out of style. It is purely a cosmetic procedure for our own comfort. Luckily, there are a lot of other ways to prevent yourself from turning into a pin cushion. You can purchase rubber nail caps that glue onto the nail – this protects your furniture AND your skin! They are easy to apply and come in many fun and sparkly colors. Cat claws are also very easy to trim and, if you start them out young, you should be able to do it solo.

Me and my puppers want to go hiking this summer. How can I make sure those pesky ticks and mosquitoes stay away from him?
– Sincerely, Going off the grid

Use good quality flea/tick and heartworm preventatives! Products purchased from your veterinarian are guaranteed to be safe and effective. There are an unbelievable amount of counterfeit products out there right now that can be extremely harmful to your pet and their packaging looks so similar to the real product, it’s scary. If you don’t purchase it from your vet, there is a good chance it is counterfeit and a 100 percent chance the manufacturer will not stand by their product if there is a problem. Trust your veterinarian – they know and recommend what’s best for your pet.

I’m allergic to cats but I love them so! What can I do to help out my allergies?
– Sincerely, I’m so conflicted

Well you could bathe them every day in a dander-reducing shampoo, but that doesn’t sound fun, healthy or feasible, does it?! Depending on how bad your allergies are and what symptoms you experience, there are many over-the-counter products that can help with itchy eyes, runny noses or rashes. If you are more sensitive, visiting an allergist for hyposensitization is a good idea. Most cat allergies are to the skin dander or saliva. Bathing frequently, if the cat tolerates it, can be helpful. It is also wise to vacuum often, wash sheets and blankets frequently and wash your hands immediately after interacting with the cat. Having a cat allergy of moderate severity myself, I also find that I am more sensitive to certain breeds, and even colors, of cats. You may want to visit friends’ homes that have cats and spend some time with different ones to see which ones you tolerate best.

My dog is 12-years old and has really been slowing down. How do I know when it’s finally time to put her down?
– Sincerely, My heart is broken

This is such a difficult question, but one we veterinarians get asked on almost a daily basis. The short answer is this…you WILL know when it is time. The number of clients who have asked this question of me, and I gave that answer to, is immeasurable. They didn’t know how they would know, and it was not something I could fully explain (although I try my best), but they woke up that day and they knew. You will make the right decision if you are keeping your pet’s needs above your own. It is very hard for us emotionally to let our beloved companions go, but at that stage in their life, it should not be about our hearts and emotions, it should be about the animal’s comfort and peace.

If your dog is in pain and you’ve tried every medication offered; if she’s so confused she can’t find her way to the food bowl; or if he won’t even eat his very favorite non-vet-approved snack, then you have to give serious consideration to what their quality of life is like at that time. When your best canine friend loses interest in your relationship and prefers to sleep rather than greet you after work, or come running when he hears the treat jar open, then it is time to start thinking about the good days versus the bad days. Keep track of this for a week or two. If the bad days outnumber the good days, it is time to consider euthanasia. Remember, this decision must always be made for the benefit of the pet, NOT the humans.

I have a six-month-old and a two-year-old. Any suggestions on breaking my new pet into my household?
– Sincerely, A concerned mom

Coming from a mom of 2 children that are 2 years and 4 months apart in age, I would have told you to WAIT on the new pet! Now there are a few supermoms who can do this successfully, but if you are like me, it can become a hot mess and unfortunately, the non-human is usually the one that suffers. Pets require a lot of time and attention, especially when they are babies. So many things can go wrong when you are not paying attention, but since you have already jumped in, I would recommend developing a strict schedule for the pet as far as meal time, outdoor play and housetraining. Crate training is also extremely helpful. The crate is a safe place where pets can be separated from children so no unfortunate accidents occur. Under absolutely NO circumstances should pets ever be left alone with children. Even the nicest, most loveable, and reliable pet can react to pain or fear with a bite. Introducing kids and pets in a supervised and calm setting for short periods of time usually works best.

I want a dog so bad but I enjoy my free lifestyle. What are some other things I should consider before getting a doggo?
– Sincerely, Wild and free

Getting a dog is not the same as buying a trampoline or the latest gaming console. When you are done playing, it still needs your time and attention to become well-socialized and a good citizen. It also needs you to provide food, water and shelter EVERY SINGLE DAY to keep it alive. Are you willing to give up happy hour after work to go home and let your dog out, feed him and play with him? Do you have friends who are willing to babysit when you have to travel for work, or do you have the funds to board your pet? Are you willing to keep your house clean so your dog can’t chew up items that could be harmful? Can you afford the basic wellness care? Do you have an emergency fund ($500-$1,000 minimum) to provide the necessary care in the event of a sudden illness or accident? Owning a dog is a BIG responsibility, but it can be incredibly rewarding if you are all in! Being prepared up front leads to more fun and less stress in the future.

West Fargo Animal Hospital

816 Meyer Dr., West Fargo

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Andrew Jason

Written by Andrew Jason

Andrew Jason is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media. He oversees the production and the wonderful team behind Fargo Monthly, Fargo INC!, Bison Illustrated and Design and Living magazines. In his free time, he enjoys running marathons and pretending he's a much better piano player than he actually is.

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