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When NOT To Clean Your Pet's Ears

This Guide Is For Both Cats & Dogs

Lots of cats and dogs get itchy, dirty ears. It's sometimes safe to clean their ears at home, but not always. Not every “itchy ear” episode is the same.

Diving right in with a medication or cleaner — even one that your vet previously prescribed — can cause problems.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Itchiness, Bacterial Infection, Yeast Infection, Ears, Ear Cleaning

VOHC – A Seal Of Approval to Look Out For When Buying Pet Dental Products

Every Pet Owner Should Know What VOHC Is

If your pets have teeth — which I hope they do — then you should be happy to know that, along with your veterinarian, there is an independent organization that can also help you decide if the food, treats, and other products you’re buying to help keep your pet’s teeth healthy will actually perform as advertised. Which is a pretty important thing to know, don’t you think? And fortunately, they’ve made it easy for you, too!  

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, pet dental, dog teeth cleaning, cat teeth cleaning, Dog, Cat

Cloudy Eyes – Not Always Cataracts

Does your pet have cloudy or blueish eyes? 

Have you ever noticed a cloudiness in your cat’s or dog’s eyes? Many people mention such eye changes during veterinary visits. While people often assume that their pet is developing cataracts, it’s not always the case (especially in cats). While cataracts do happen in pets, there’s a far more common cause of “cloudy eyes” — Lenticular (Nuclear) Sclerosis.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Dog, Cat, Senior Pets, Blindness, Eye health, Cataracts

Pet Dentals – Why X-Rays Are Needed

A picture is worth a 1,000 words

Seeing as how it’s National Pet Dental Health month, I wanted to take this opportunity to mention an important and oft-unthought-of aspect of having your pet’s teeth evaluated and cleaned.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, pet dental

When Vomiting Isn't Actually Vomiting

Vomiting: One of the most common reasons pets visit their veterinarian

Lots of cats and dogs vomit, right? In fact, so many do it that vomiting is one of the most common reasons why people bring their pets to the vet. But did you know that “vomiting” isn’t always vomiting? It’s true, that isn’t a typo.

“Vomiting” isn’t always vomiting — sometimes it’s actually regurgitation (or, as it’s more affectionately known, “regurge”) — and knowing the difference can be quite important.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Vomiting, Regurgitation

Is Your Pet Too Bony? You Don't Know? – Try This Backbone Test

Take a second and try this right now
– Run your hand down your pet's back. Start up by the base of their neck and gently run your fingertips down the length of their spine, towards their tail. I know it’s a strange request, but bear with me. You’ll see why it’s important shortly.

How easily can you feel your pet's backbone? 

If those bones (they’re called the vertebral bodies and processes) are very prominent and easy to feel, then your pet may have decreased muscle mass and one of a host of the underlying conditions that can lead to such muscle loss.


Some of the conditions and problems that can result in decreased muscle mass in cats and dogs include:

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Ideal pet weight, Dog Tips, Cat Tips, Pet Diet

Antifreeze Poisoning In Cats & Dogs – Now Even Scarier

Update on Antifreeze!

With the cooler weather approaching, I want to take a moment to share an important update within the veterinary world and remind you of a common “cooler weather” pet poison.

Is your pet at risk?

  • Do you change your car's fluids at home?
  • Do you have a leaky car that drips on the pavement?
  • Do your pets have access to your driveway or garage?
  • Is your cat an outdoor cat and roams the neighborhood?
  • Does your dog roam your neighborhood?
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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, pet safety tips, toxicity in cats, Dogs, Cats, Antifreeze, Toxicity in dogs, Poison control, Winter pet hazards, EG toxicity

Why Hydrogen Peroxide Is NOT For Cleaning Pet Wounds

Many people wonder how long it will take their cat or dog's wound to heal, or what they can do to help it heal faster. While there isn't a "one-size-fits-all" answer for either of those two questions, there's definitely something that you should avoid using on your pet's wounds if you don't want to slow down the healing process. Though you wouldn't be the first to make such an honest mistake.

Unfortunately, vets see a lot of wounds (cat bite abscesses, dog bite wounds, skin cuts and lacerations, abrasions, etc.) where well-intentioned pet owners have inadvertently and sadly slowed their pet's wound healing with the at-home, first-aid care they’ve tried before bringing their pet in.

How have they done this? By using something you likely have in your medicine cabinet, and something that many people often reach for as a first line of defense when cleaning and treating a wound on their cat or dog (or even on themselves).

I’m talking about good ol' Hydrogen Peroxide.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, Pet First Aid

Shampoo For Your Pet – Which Kind Should You NOT Use?


Fido & Fluffy Need A Bath – Pick The Right Shampoo

When it comes to bathing your pets, it can be tempting to reach for whatever shampoo you might already have in your shower, or grab the dishwashing soap from your kitchen. While this may be ok every now and again, the regular use of human shampoos (even the “tear free” ones for babies) and dishwashing soaps can actually lead to worse skin problems for your pets.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, pet safety, Dog, Giving a cat a bath, Grooming, Pet Shampoo, Giving a dog a bath, Cat, Skin problems

Dog in a Hot Car – Would You Break the Window? Read this First!

Should you break a window to save a dog in a hot car?

You might've seen or read in the news recently the story of Michael Hammons, the Desert Storm veteran who was charged with criminal trespassing after breaking a car window to save a dog locked in a hot car. The story has prompted lots of comments, with most expressing their support for Mr. Hammonds and many declaring that they would've done the same in his situation.

Update: Fortunately the charges were dropped.

But as Mr. Hammons' story highlights, when it comes to pets locked in hot cars, sometimes doing the right thing can land you in hot water. So how, as a pet-loving society, can we protect, save, and advocate for pets while avoiding the prospect of criminal charges ourselves?

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Topics: Cat Health, Emergencies, Dog Health, pet safety tips, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, Blog

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.