Category Archives: Tips

Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

By Autumn Bowers, Shippensburg Receptionist



If you have ever visited our Shippensburg location for your pet’s exams, chances are I have talked to you at one point or another about my beloved cat Roland.  He is a one-year old Ragdoll, and he is quite the character.  Like most of your pets, he immediately greets me at the door when I return home. Roland always makes it a point to chirp at me and tell me how his day was and if any of his “fur siblings” had misbehaved while I was gone.  He never misses a chance to “help” me make my bed or be by my side during my morning routine in case I ever need his advice while applying my makeup.  His newest quirk is looking into the mirror and giving himself a motivational “pep talk” each day.

Not only is Roland my cat, but he’s also one of my best friends.  To celebrate the joys that he and pets everywhere bring to our lives, I would like to share a few facts about how pets better our health!

    • According to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, pet ownership has been linked to a decreased risk of a heart attack.  Relatedly, our “fur children” can even help us to lower our blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.  Not only do our pets warm and fill our hearts with joy, but they also help to keep us heart healthy!

    • Have you ever arrived home after a bad day and been cheered up after spending a few minutes talking to and petting your “fur baby?” Among those individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, pet ownership has been shown to improve their mood! Researchers have concluded that the unconditional love, companionship, social interaction, and responsibility that pets afford us are powerful agents in helping to alleviate depression. So the next time you are having a difficult day, look forward to improving your mood by taking your pet on a walk or snuggling up to him/her on the couch when you get home!

    • Do you have young children and are currently debating whether or not to introduce a pet into their life? It should be noted that pets have many health benefits for children, too! In addition to the comfort and nurturing that pets can provide for young children, they can also lower their risk of developing common allergies (e.g., ragweed, grass, and dust-mite allergens). In a study led by Dr. Dennis Ownby, children with at least two pets were found to be less than half as likely to suffer from common allergies when compared to children who did not have any pets in their household. Not only may your new cat or dog become your child’s new best friend, but he/she could also help to boost their immune systems!

In conclusion, pets do not only provide us hours of entertainment and laughs, but they also have many physical and psychological health benefits for pet lovers of all ages.  Sure, taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom on a cold winter night probably isn’t your favorite thing to do.  Nor is having your cat meow and climb all over you when you try to sleep.  With all things considered, however, they sure are quite remarkable characters that I know my life wouldn’t be complete without. 🙂

Halloween Safety Tips

Fall is in full swing and Halloween is just around the corner.  This time of year is perfect for scary movie marathons, Halloween tricks and treats, silly costumes, and eerie decorations. For pet owners, it is very important to keep our furry critters in mind during this spooktacular time of year!

While tasty for us humans, chocolaty Halloween treats can pose serious health risks for our four-legged canine and feline companions.  Most people understand that chocolate ingestion in pets can be serious, but at what point does chocolate become toxic?

Toxicity levels vary depending on the weight of the animal, the type of chocolate consumed, and the amount of chocolate ingested.  For milk chocolate, consumption of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight can put dogs and cats at risk for toxicity.  Ingestion of more than 0.13 ounces per pound of body weight of dark or semi-sweet chocolate can cause toxicity.  Animals with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for toxicity than healthy, adult dogs and cats.

Signs of chocolate toxicity in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, excitement, elevated heart rate, tremors, seizures, and collapse.  If you think your pet has ingested chocolate, it is important to contact us immediately.

Another festive yet dangerous element for our pets are costumes and decorations.  Although it’s adorable to dress our dogs up for Halloween as your third black cat or Abraham Lincoln Beagle:  Rabbit Hunter, leaving our pets unattended while in costume can cause serious choking hazards if they start chewing at them.  If you are planning on dressing your pets up this Halloween, make sure to supervise them at all times while they are presiding beagle president of the United States, I mean, in costume. Also make sure to snap a picture and send it to us for our Halloween costume contest! To avoid pets chewing on Halloween decorations, it is best to keep them out of reach, ideally by hanging. 

Halloween can be a fun time for owners and pets alike.  Being aware and cautious of the dangers that lurk to keep our furry companions happy and healthy are key to enjoying this holiday season.  For more information on Halloween with our pets, please contact us today!



Moving Preparedness with Animals

By: Tasha Grafton, Reception Supervisor

Moving, although incredibly, ridiculously stressful, is a momentous occasion.  For me, I will be moving from a borough with barely any land to a property with wide open space; almost two acres!  My beagle Hunter is going to love sniffing and rolling on every square centimeter of our yard.  I have done so much planning for this move, but never took into consideration what kind of outcome this would have on Hunter and my two cats.

Through the packing process, Hunter has started acting out behaviorally, even more so than his typical ornery beagle self.  For instance, last Sunday while packing he managed to jump up on the counter and eat a pack of tic tacs (not toxic by the way), got into the cat food (that’s not so good), and tore open a packed away box to eat ALL of his treats (holy GI distress).

Moral of my story, don’t forget that moving affects your pets too!  Now that I’m cognizant of how packing everything up is upsetting Hunter in particular, I am using natural calming remedies to ease his anxiety from this environmentally-induced stress.  The product I am currently using is Adaptil, which uses synthetic pheromones to simulate the pheromones the mother releases after giving birth to make their puppies feel safe and calm.  For the cats, come moving day I will have Feliway on hand, which is similar to its canine counterpart in that the active ingredient mimics a natural facial pheromone to promote a feeling of security.

With this new found awareness, I am and will be equipped with the comforting remedies to hopefully soothe both Hunter and my cats to aid with a less stressful housing transition, at least for them.

If you’re in the process of moving or want more information about these or other remedies you can use to comfort you pet, feel free to give us a call!