Holiday Tips With Your Pets!

They say “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

Things can quickly change if your cat slips out the door as company arrives or if the dog gets sick on the long drive to Grandma’s  house.  Here are 5 tips to help the holidays go smooth with pets.

  1. Traveling: Whether you are going across town or to another state, traveling can be stressful for our pets.  A pet carrier with pheromones is a simple way to help your pet remain calm during travel.  If your pet gets sick or has anxiety during travel, contact us.  We may be able to help.
  2.  Interaction With Other Pets: If your pet is boarding or will be interacting with other animals, make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccines.  Canines should be vaccinated against kennel cough and influenza to ensure they are protected if they will be interacting with other dogs.
  3. Guest In the Home: Having extra people in the home can be overwhelming for our pets.  Designate a crate or quiet room for them to retreat to.  Play soft music and give them interactive toys to help them feel more at ease.
  4. Probiotics:  The holidays always cause a disruption in the daily routine.  70% of your pet’s immune system is in the gut, so when disruptions hit your furry friend is more likely to have soft stools and be more prone to illness.  The good new is a probiotic is  great      way to strengthen your pet’s immune system.  We have a very easy to give your pets during the holiday season.  You just sprinkle it over your pet’s food once daily.  We have it in the clinic or online. 
  5. Decorations:  Supervise your pets around the decor.  Christmas trees can be easily tipped over by our pets.  Plus, all the shiny ornaments look like new toys in their eyes.  Skip the tinsel: cats are notorious for eating tinsel which can cause some major GI upset. Also, watch those holiday plants and flowers.  Many are toxic to our pets.
  6. Food & Snacks:  Especially with guest in the home, make sure your pets don’t get anything to eat that will make them
    sick.  Most people know that chocolate is toxic to our pets, but did you know an artificial sweetner called xylitol can be deadly to our pets?  It is found in many types of desserts and candies.  Turkey may seem safe, but it can be just enough to cause an upset stomach or worse, pancreatitis.  Yeast/Dough is never safe for your furry companions.  Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour resource if your pet gets into something over the holidays.

Buy 2, Get 1 Free! All Toys & Treats: Mix & Match!

It’s Christmas in July!

Spoil your pets all month long with new toys and treats. 2 items, Get 1 free*!

Mix and match with any toys or treats at South Des Moines Veterinary Center!  Stock up for both dogs and cats.  From interactive toys to harnesses, and dental chewz to lean treats.  Find something for all of your pets.  Check out the videos below of our daycare dogs enjoying a few of the toys we carry.

*Free items must be of equal of lower value.





Microchip Your Pet: It Can Save Their Life


Is Your Pet Microchipped?

If the answer is “no” or “I am not sure”, now is the time to connect with us.

What Is A Microchip?

A microchip is a permanent form of identifcation for your pet.  It is approximately the size of a grain of rice and is administered between your pet’s shoulder plades.

How Does It Work?

We never expect our kitty to sneak out the door as the kids are racing in and out of the house.  We never expect our pooch to bolt when the fireworks go off.  But it happens.  If your furry family member gets out and is scooped up by animal control or brought into a vet clinic, they will scan him for a microchip.  The microchip contains a unique identification code.  This ID code is linked to your information.   This allows you to be reunited with your pet fast!


Why Should I Have My Pet Microchipped? 

One out of three pets will go missing in their lifetime.  That’s scary.  If your pet is microchipped, it increases the chances of being reunited by over 90%.

Do you know which day pets go missing the most?  The 4th of July.  That’s less than a month away.

I Want To Get My Pet Microchipped, What Now?

Set up an appointment with us and we can implant the chip.  The cost of having the microchip implanted is $49.35.

To have the microchip registered, it typically costs $19.99.  This month, we are covering the cost of registration for you!

Spring Forward With Healthy Pets!

Along with an annual exam, wellness bloodwork provides insight to what is going on inside your pet.

Testing can reveal:

  • Infection
  • Liver disease
  • Renal/kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Thyroid abnormalities

Dogs and cats over the age of 8 have the greatest benefits to receiving this bloodwork. Many times pets appear normal upon physical examination, and their abnormalities on the inside go undetected without bloodwork.

The process of disease development in pets can be slow.  When an organ system starts to fail, that organ will compensate to bring function back to normal.  Overtime, this compensation mechanism will fail as well, and the pet will become ill.  Once the pet is in organ failure, treatment options are limited and prognosis is poor.

The good news is if caught early, three out of four pets have abnormalities that can be treated!  Bloodwork is collected in the clinic and sent out to our lab.  Results come back in 1-2 business days.  During the month of April we are offering $15 off wellness bloodwork for our patients.

Set Up Appointment for Wellness Blood Work Here.

Which Dog Has Heartworm Disease?

If left untreated, heartworm disease is fatal.

It takes approximately 6 months for a dog to test positive for heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  Many times dogs do not show symptoms of the disease until it has progressed to the later stages.

This is why bringing your pooch to the vet for an annual heartworm screening is so important.  Once the test is completed, you can begin a monthly heartworm preventive like Heartgard Plus, a beef-flavored chew, which protects your pet against this deadly disease.  Currently, we are offering a $12 rebate on 12 months of Heartgard. Take advantage of this deal while it lasts!

Poppy, Mia, Dash & Buster are all patients at South Des Moines Veterinary Center.  One dog tested positive and has been treated for Heartworm Disease.  Can you tell which dog is positive?  The signs are not always clear from just their appearance.  Protect your pet from Heartworm Disease.  Once a month, every month.

Want to protect your furry kiddos from Heartworm Disease?  Set up an appointment here.

Three Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

Our feline friends are wonderful companions, but they can also be curious critters when it comes to some of their behaviors.  Here are three weird cat behaviors explained.

My Cat “Head Butts” Me.

Does your kitty rub his face on you?  This is also known as “head butting” Don’t worry, this is a good thing! This is his way of saying “hello, you are my people and I trust you”.

Cats have scent markers in their cheeks and they are rubbing their pheromones on you when they “head butt” you.  This is just one of the many ways cats show their love for their humans.


My Cat Loves to Sit in Small Spaces.

If you’ve visited our office, you have probably met our charismatic clinic cat “Wesley”.  He is notorious for curling up in the recycle basket behind the front counter that is approximately one size too small to fit (what we would consider) Wesley comfortably.  However, with all his soft, plush beds scattered throughout the clinic, he still prefers to curl up in the basket.   So why does he prefer the small space?

Small spaces actually help cats feel more safe and secure.  This stems to when cats are in the wild, they aren’t going to take a nap in a big open space, are they? No, they are going to hide in an enclosed spot where they are hidden from any potential predators.  So, when they curl up in a box or hide in a small space, it means they are finding themselves a safe, secure spot.

My Cat Sleeps All Day and Keeps Me Up All Night.  

There’s nothing worse than when you are laying in bed at night just about to drift off to sleep and your cat decides to tear through the house like he’s chasing a ghost.  Cats need exercise and stimulation throughout the day to ensure a restful sleep at night.  Consider a cat food puzzle toy to make eating more of  a game or challenge.  Interactive toys, like a laser pointer or a Pounce toy are great ways to stimulate your cats body and mind.   It’s easy to think a cat is a “self-sufficient” pet, but they want companionship from their human friends just as much as we do!




4 Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Joints Healthy

By the time a new year arrives, the temperature is frigid in Iowa.  It’s easy for us to fall into a routine of warming up under a blanket by the fire or reading a book with a cup of coffee.  Many times, our pets don’t want to go outside any more than we do.  When we become sedentary, it can be harsh on our joints.  This is also true for our pets.  Just like our doctor’s encourage us to get exercise and take vitamins, there are several things you can do to keep your pet’s joints healthy as well.



1.  Exercise.  Take advantage of those warm, sunny days when they are here by taking your dog for a short walk.  Keep your dog active

indoors with interactive games.  Try hiding treats throughout the house and encourage him to sniff out the treats.  Play fetch or tug if you have a room big enough.  Doggy daycare is another good way to get them exercise and stimulation with other dogs.

2. Synovi G4:  This is a chewable supplement filled with glucosamine, turmeric and antioxidants to help keep your pet’s joints healthy.  It’s as easy as giving him a treat!  We carry these supplements in the clinic and are easily purchased with a prescription at SDMVC.

3. Acupuncture:  This can help with a variety of health problems in pets.  Acupuncture is performed by the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to stimulate specific points on the body.  It can be very beneficial for dogs that have joint pain. Dr. Mullins does  acupuncture at South Des Moines Veterinary Center on Mondays and Wednesdays.

4. Therapeutics:  We have a wide variety of prescription medications that can help your dog’s joints if needed from anti-inflammatory medications to pain medications.

If you would like to discuss your pet’s joint health care, set up an appointment today! 

April 26th is National Kids and Pets Day!

National Kids and Pets Day is a fun day to celebrate the special bond that is held between our pets and kids.  It also reminds us what pets can teach our children as they grow up.

RESPONSIBILITY:   If your child is old enough to get involved with activities taking care of your pet, let her help!  She can fill the water bowl, brush the fur, or help pick up the pet toys.  As she grows older, she can assist with the feeding schedule, clean up feces from the yard, and even help with training.

COMPASSION: The compassion and nurturing that a child can learn from a pet will extend to other people as they grow, and even to their own kids one day.

HEALTH: In a world where technology is king, having pets can be a positive distraction from our devices.  It’s also a great way to encourage the kids to get outside more!

SOCIAL: A pet can help teach a child social skills and build their confidence.  Is your child learning how to read?  Have her read a story to the cat!  What’s better than having a best friend to talk to who will never judge you?

SAFETY: A pet helps teach our kids how to be safe with animals.  As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our kids how to interact with animals appropriately and always supervise their interactions.  If you meet a new dog on a walk, does your child know to ask permission first before petting?

Thinking about adding a furry companion to your family?  Consider adoption first.



Spring Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats

Spring has arrived in Iowa!  With the warmer weather comes flowers blooming, spring cleaning and lots of rain! This means there are potential springtime hazards for your furry companions.


When spring arrives, we know that Easter is not far behind.  With Easter comes lilies and candy, items that are very toxic to pets.  If ingested lilies can be fatal to our feline friends, even with just a few bites.  Chocolate goodies are also toxic to both dogs and cats.  The plastic grass in Easter baskets can also cause an obstructed digestive track, causing severe vomiting and dehydration.  If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items, it’s time to visit your Veterinarian.

Rain and Puddles

The rainy and wet season increases the risk of your dog contracting Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that is spread by wild anim als.  Leptospirosis (lepto) can cause liver and kidney damage.  It is also zoonotic, meaning we (humans) can also contract lepto.  We carry a vaccine that protects your pooch against the 4 most common strains of lepto.  


When the weather starts to get warm, we open the windows to welcome the breeze in.  Our felines love to lounge in the window sill.  Double check to make sure your screens are secure to prevent your cats from falling or jumping out.

Spring Cleaning

Keep those house cleaners and fertilizers away from your pets.  Almost all cleaning products contain chemicals that may be harmful to our pets.  Store your fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides out of reach of your pets.  Follow the instructions on the label carefully to ensure your pet’s safety.


Spring can be a prime allergy time for pets just like us.  Pets typically express allergies through their skin.  If your pet is itchy, biting at his feet or skin seems irritated, there are many things we can do to help them feel more at ease.


Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes, Oh My!

With Iowa weather, we see this pesky critters throughout the year and recommend preventive all 12 months of the years for both dogs and cats.  If your pet is not on parasite prevention, now is the time to start!

To set up an appointment to see the doctor, click here.

You can also contact Pet Poison Helpline for immediate assistance.



3 Pet Safety Tips For Thanksgiving


1. IDENTIFICATION CHECK.  Does your pet have a collar and tags with updated info?  If your pet is microchipped, have you updated your contact information in the past year?  The holidays bring an increase of pets who will sneak out the door unexpectedly and end up in a shelter.  If you have guests visiting your home for the holiday or if you are leaving your pet with a sitter, this is an important step to ensure the safety of your pet.



2. SAFE SPACE.  Whether guests are coming to your home or you are traveling with your pet, make sure your pet has a safe space away from the activities.  This could be a crate or a guest bedroom.  Set up your pet with water, a blanket and a favorite toy to help him/her feel more at ease.


3. FOODS TO AVOID.  Many foods that are perfectly safe for humans, can be extremely toxic to pets.  It’s best to keep them on their regular diet to prevent any illness.  Here are some people foods that should be avoided at all costs:thanksgiving-dinner

  • Fatty Foods.  Meat drippings or scraps even in small amounts can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can result in a trip the veterinarian.  Clinical symptoms of pancreatitis are vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain.
  • Desserts.  Most desserts contain chocolate which is well-known by most to be toxic to dogs.  Remember the darker the chocolate, the more serious the ingestion.  Many desserts and candies may also contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol. This is dangerous to pets.  It can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar along with liver damage.
  • Raisins/Grapes.  These can be found in some of our Thanksgiving favorites and can cause acute renal failure even in small amounts.
  • Bones. Turkey or ham bones can cause obstructions if eaten, as well as, can make your pet’s tummy upset.  It’s best to get a pet- safe bone or goodie for them to enjoy for the holiday.