4 min read
Firehouse turned 10 in April 2022. It’s fun to look back and see progress in animal care.
Dr Stacy Mozisek at Firehouse Westlake has seen trends come and go over the last decade. She reflects on 6 ideas that gained popularity in the last decade.
Here, she offers advice about which to embrace and which one of those trends to ignore 😉.
1. Embrace: Adopting your pet
We’ve noticed that Austinites have opened their hearts, homes, and wallets on behalf of shelter pets. Central Texans volunteer, foster, and adopt pets who need a home. Our city rocks and motivates us every day!
Firehouse has always nurtured the goal to heal shelter pets so they can find a home. We’ve increased our support in each of the last 10 years we’ve been open.
Firehouse now supports 14 in Central Texas, including Austin Pets Alive!, WILCO, PAWS, and Thundering Paws. We gift free medical care to hundreds of shelter cats and dogs each year. We do free dental cleanings, vaccinations, and even surgeries when needed. To date, we’ve donated more than $1.3M to local nonprofits.
Your future pet might have received free medical care from us. Or was sheltered by one of our team members! We embrace pet adoption and will do whatever it takes to prep pets for a home.
2. Embrace: Put your pet in your will
Pets are our children. So, you’ll want to ensure they’re protected if something happens to you.
Include your cat, dog, bird, or bunny in your estate plan. This trend has gained popularity over the last decade. We support this practice and recommend considering it.
The benefits ensure your pet:
-Ends up in a loving home you trust.
-Doesn’t become a burden for a family member who doesn’t want a pet.
Tip: prep the chosen beneficiary about your pet’s needs and personality. Some people also set up funds to cover medical care for the life of the pet.
3. Ignore: Trendy pet diets
Pet food options have grown alongside human food trends. Raw, grain-free, and gluten-free diets are now common.
Yet, Firehouse hasn’t seen evidence that these choices keep your pet any healthier. Some might harm your pet:
-Raw diets (uncooked meat, poultry, and eggs) leave your pet open to infection. That’s because heat kills bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms. These can get into the pet’s intestines and make them sick.
-Gluten-free diets aren’t dangerous to pets. Yet, we don’t see them as necessary.
Stick with food made by a reputable company that has animal nutrition expertise. Don’t lean on human nutrition trends.
We support Purina because they have board certified veterinary nutritionists on their team who formulate their diets. Purina is on the cutting edge of new veterinary nutrition research. Plus, they’re a leader in producing and supporting client and professional education.
4. Embrace: CBD to ease pain as your pet ages
We’ve seen good evidence that CBD helps treat arthritis in dogs. It can also treat anxiety, nausea, and seizures in both dogs and cats.
Use caution when choosing a product: the CBD industry isn’t regulated. So, sellers can develop their own formulas. We’ve seen inconsistencies from package to package. The result could be ineffective or harmful products.
Ask to see a guaranteed analysis of CBD and other chemicals in the batch of product you are buying. If the vendor cannot produce an analysis from an independent 3rd-party lab, do not buy the product.
5. Embrace: health insurance for your dog and cat
Did you know that Lassie — yes, the TV star – got the first pet insurance in 1982? While pet insurance has been around for a while, we’ve seen it grow in popularity over the last decade.
Firehouse recommends it. It helps you rest easier. And removes affordability issues and financial stress if your pet needs extra attention or a complicated procedure.
As veterinarians, we want your pets to live alongside you for as long as possible. We value the human-pet bond. We buy health insurance for our pets and suggest the same for you.
6. Embrace: Calmer check-ups for a better experience
New methods to remove stress from hospital visits have evolved over the last decade.
Firehouse uses Fear Free and Cat Friendly techniques, which include:
-Gentle touch, quiet voices, and lots of treats.
-Dog exams on the floor and cat exams wherever they’re most comfortable (in their crate or wrapped in a towel).
-Letting the pet explore or play before beginning the check-up.
-For cats: calming pheromones and separate cat areas that don’t have left-over dog smells.
We regularly prescribe pre-visit pharmaceuticals (PVPs) for cats and dogs to address fear, anxiety, and stress before the pet even arrives at the hospital.