Time to Update your Pet’s Vaccinations!

August is International Immunization Awareness Month for people of all ages, but don’t forget, it’s important for your pets to get their shots too! This month while you’re going in for a yearly check-up, go ahead and take your pet to the veterinarian to ensure all their vaccinations are up-to-date.

Vaccinations are essentially the same as immunizations, but our pets rely on us to remember when to have them administered. Vaccines contain antigens that are introduced to the immune system to better prepare your pet for preventing and fighting off future illness.

There a few basic vaccinations that all pets must receive the first time they go to the vet. It’s important to have a set vaccination schedule to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccines, especially if your pet is a young puppy or kitten.

There are specific core vaccinations that all dogs and cats, regardless of age, need for protection against particularly common or especially dangerous diseases. Puppies can begin vaccinations after they are weaned as early as six to eight weeks of age and kittens can also begin receiving vaccinations at six weeks.

Both dogs and cats should receive the rabies vaccine as part of their core vaccinations. Depending on your state’s laws, dogs and cats are required to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and documented proof of said vaccination. It’s a good idea to keep your pet’s medical records on file if you ever need to prove their vaccinations are to date.

Puppies need to have core vaccinations administered to prevent rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper and canine hepatitis. Puppies receive most of their needed vaccines every two to four weeks until they age to 14 weeks or older.

For kittens, their core vaccinations should include ones that protect against rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia or distemper (FVRCP) and feline calicivirus which causes feline respiratory infections. The preventatives for these diseases can be administered through a combination vaccine and should be updated every three years. All of these diseases are common in nature and are frequently found in the general cat population. Outside cats or cats at higher risk for these diseases will benefit from more frequent vaccinations. Kittens should be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they age to 16 weeks or older.

Because some pets are at a higher risk for exposure to various diseases, discuss with your veterinarian the appropriate interval for vaccinations and booster shots to be administered. Frequency of vaccinations can be dependent on your pet’s age, lifestyle, medical history or environment.

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Four Signs that Your Pet May Have the Flu

Flu season is among us, and in some areas, it’s even becoming an epidemic. Though you may feel a bit relieved after receiving your flu shot this year, it’s important to note that we two-legged folks aren’t the only ones susceptible to the respiratory illness—our furry friends are as well. Not to worry, catching these signs early can save your pooch or feline from feeling under the weather for an extended period of time.

Look out for these four signs in your pet’s behavior that could indicate influenza:

#1. Coughing

Like in humans, when pets get the flu, they develop a cough. This cough can cause your pet’s throat to become sore. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for your pet if their dry cough is giving them trouble.

#2. Sneezing

Unfortunately for our furry ones, tissues aren’t exactly a pet’s best friend. When your pet sneezes, their germs from their illness spread to surrounding areas. If you notice your pet sneezing, be sure to separate them from other animals in the home, as the flu is highly contagious.

#3. Lack of Appetite

Is your pet not taking advantage of meal time like they usually do? That’s not a good sign. While your pet’s palate may change over time, neglecting to eat could mean that they are not feeling their best.

#4. Restlessness

When you are sick, it’s safe to say that you don’t feel like doing much of anything. The same goes for our pets. If you notice your spunky pooch or kitty is a little more lethargic than usual, monitor their behavior. If it extends over a long period of time, contact your vet.

Knowing your furry friend isn’t feeling their best is a tough burden to carry. If you notice any of the above signs in your pet’s behavior, be sure to consult your veterinarian as soon as you can, as the flu can turn into pneumonia if ignored. Your pet will likely be treated with antibiotics to prevent the illness from becoming any worse. When there is illness like the flu in humans or pets – close contact should be avoided and practicing good sanitary habits, like washing your hands with soap and warm water, is always a good idea. A healthy, nutritional diet and hydration are also essential in fighting off the flu.

There are also many natural remedies you can use to stop the illness in it’s tracks. For more information, click here.

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Get Outside and Play with Your Pet Today

Did you know your pets crave vitamin D just as much as you do? It’s true. January and February are known for being the busiest months in the gym, so let’s take your workout outside with the ultimate partner, your pet. The Precise team has come up with a few reasons why giving your pet time outdoors can make a positive impact on their daily lifestyle:

Improves Mental Health

Exercise is proven to reduce stress and improve mental well-being in humans, and the same goes for our furry friends. Try bringing your pets with you to local greenways, lake trails, or state parks to explore and release some energy! Be sure to bring a leash along for the ride, as not all parks have leash-free zones. Also, don’t forget to bring a bowl and plenty of water so your companion stays hydrated during your excursion.

Reduces Risk of Illness

Did you know 75% of dogs don’t get enough vitamin D? Plenty of time outside paired with our Precise Naturals Chicken Meal and Rice Foundation Formula can help reduce the risks of calcium deficiency, heart conditions, and high blood pressure in our furry companions. Less visits to the vet sounds pretty great—and we’re sure Fido would agree.

Social Interaction

It’s no secret that a great way to bond with your pet is by dedicating time with them daily. The simple commitment to visit a dog park on the weekends, or to go for a 30-minute walk everyday are both great opportunities for your companion to interact with other pets and people.

Improvement in Behavioral Traits

Let’s face it, when you return home from a day jam-packed with classes, or another day at the office, your pet gets a little excited when you come home and may even show you through chewing, scratching, or jumping. The impact of taking your pet outside to release their built up energy will decrease the likelihood of destructive behaviors when you return home.

Now it’s up to us, as pet parents, to commit to spending more time outside with our fur babies. It’s pretty safe to say your pet will be thrilled to be included in your pact to be more active together. How do you plan to spend more time outside with your pet this year? Comment below!

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Three Reasons to Spay and Neuter Your Pet

We’ve all had that thought: “My insert pet here would make the most adorable babies!” We get that feeling every time we look into those big sweet eyes of our lovable canine and feline friends; however, that feeling also greets us with a big reality check: the importance of spaying or neutering ours pets. Need us to explain? Read on:

Think of the Strays

This is the obvious one. Unfortunately, the surplus in the domestic pet population has resulted in overcrowding. Cats are 45 times more prolific than humans, and dogs are 15 times more prolific. Overcrowding, and an abundance of stray or feral animals leads to unnecessary euthanasia in pets.

Your Pet’s Life Expectancy Increases

Believe it or not, spaying/neutering your pet helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), breast tumors, and testicular cancer, promoting a long and healthy life for your pet.

If your pet is mainly outdoors, take comfort in knowing that this procedure will also reduce your pet’s interest in roaming; therefore, your pet will be less likely to run away, become injured in fights with other animals, or be involved in an auto accident.

Decreases Unruly Behavior

Whether your pet’s heat has them riled up, or they relieve themselves all over the house, neutering or spaying your pet can actually improve their behavior. Typically, your pet’s hormones will cause this territory-marking escapade; so once your pet’s hormones are balanced from the procedure, they will be less inclined to claim the space. This will also make your pet calmer if they tend to be a bit feisty.

Though the financial commitment of spaying/neutering your pet may make you shutter, many vets offer a wellness plan that allows you to make responsible decisions about your pet’s health, without breaking the bank (not to mention, having a litter of puppies or kittens is much more expensive). Once you bring your pet home after their appointment, be sure to take these tips into account to make your pet’s recovery time comfortable and relaxing.

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Quality Time: Near-infrared testing

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Another important test we perform on our pet foods here at Precise is Near-infrared (NIR) testing. These tests analyze properties such as fat, fiber and amino acids, and help us provide ongoing analysis along the production line as our food is being made.

What used to take hours can now be done in 15 seconds, which allows us to test more often and in a more effective way. Here are a few photos of the process. First, here is a sample being prepared for NIR analysis:

Then the sample is loaded onto the NIR machine:

Finally, our staff monitors the NIR results to be sure it meets our stringent standards:

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Pet news roundup – 3/4/11

Here on The Dish, we’ll keep an eye on the latest news in the pet food industry. We’ll have a mix of articles, statistics, news and fun facts from a variety of pet industry sources and Twitter.

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