8 min read

Pets bring us immeasurable joy and companionship. Firehouse Animal Health Center’s mission is to prevent your cat, dog, and exotic pet from getting sick so they can stay by your side – healthy and happy – for as long as possible.

Our care guidelines are based on 4 pillars to ensure the best long-term care:

  • Wellness through preventive medicine at yearly check-ups.
  • The best nutrition for your specific pet.
  • Regular dental cleanings to prevent the spread of disease from oral bacteria.
  • Reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in your home and at the vet.

Prevention through yearly check-ups:

Benjamin Franklin’s quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is still relevant today, as disease prevention is generally cheaper (and less traumatic) than treatment.

We can find disease early if we see your pets regularly. That’s why our core recommendation is to schedule a yearly wellness exam.

Some clients use a pet’s birthday as a reminder to schedule an appointment. Others use their “gotcha” day as the milestone and reminder to visit Firehouse.

Your wellness visit will include:

  • History gathering: you know your pet best. We want to hear about a typical day so we can assess your pet’s needs.
  • Physical exam: we’ll check their ears, eyes, listen to their heart, and more.
  • Blood and urine testing: these offer internal insights into your pet’s health. Plus, they offer a baseline for the future if your pet’s health starts to change.
  • Intestinal parasite screening: we recommend testing all our patients to ensure disease-causing parasites aren’t present.
  • Heartworm/flea/tick prevention: we’ll help safeguard your pet against parasites with a prevention recommendation.
  • Vaccines: we’ll develop a plan together based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, health, and more.
  • Nutrition consultation: We’ll use current research and your pet’s lifestyle to develop – together with you — the best plan for your pet.
  • Dental care: routine cleanings may be one of the best ways to prevent disease.
  • Behavior consultation: behavior, training, and stress management are critical to developing a bond with your animal. We can help with ideas and recommend resource partners.

The savings: We’ll give you an itemized treatment plan for recommendations. Together, we’ll create a healthcare plan that fits within your lifestyle and budget. If you’re ever unsure of the costs, please ask us! We offer discounts on wellness visits that can range from $50-$500. We also offer a payment option called Scratch Pay (LINK to each location’s payment options page) that offers flexibility in handling the finances.

The savings: We’ll give you an itemized treatment plan for recommendations. Together, we’ll create a healthcare plan that fits within your lifestyle and budget. If you’re ever unsure of the costs, please ask us! We offer discounts on wellness visits that can range from $50-$500. We also offer a payment option called Scratch Pay that offers flexibility in handling the finances.

More benefits of working with Firehouse:

  • Recommendations to experts: trainers, groomers, etc.
  • Firehouse doctors are trained in communication to ask better questions to understand your needs. We buck the industry trend with longer appointment times to give your pet the attention they deserve.
  • We do 100 little things to make your overall experience at Firehouse the best in Austin.

Nutrition Consultation

You are what you eat. And the same is true for pets. Just like humans, our pets need healthy food and exercise to keep their organs functioning well.

We want your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life helped along the way with the right kind and amounts of food.

  • We weigh your pet at every visit. We also ask you about his or her activity level.
  • We’ll discuss the food your pet is eating.
  • The dog and cat population’s obesity level mirrors that in the human population. More than 50% of pets are obese, leading to shorter lives with more disease, joint pain, inflammation, heart issues and more. So, we’ll also ask you about the amount of food and treats your pet is eating and we’ll make recommendations fine-tuned to you and your pet.

We are dedicated to reviewing current discussions in nutritional research and sharing that information with you.

Professional Dental Cleanings

We are so passionate about dental health that we offer free dental exams.

Routine professional dental cleanings may be one of the best ways to prevent illness and disease. That’s because bacteria build between teeth and under gums, harming your pet’s heart, organs, and joints. Plus, toothaches are painful. Studies show that most dogs and cats have some form of dental disease by age 3.

Your pet’s dental exam includes:

  • An oral exam as part of your pet’s annual wellness visit. This is where we look for chipped or broken teeth, tooth resorption (more common in cats), red gums (gingivitis), and tartar buildup.
  • Timing recommendations for a professional teeth cleaning based on your pet’s oral health. Some pets need more frequent cleanings while other pets can go 1-2 years between cleanings (but no longer than 3 years).
  • Brushing, dental treats/chews, dental diets, and water additives can be great ways to maintain oral health between cleanings. We’ll talk about products and techniques at your appointment. Yet, nothing can clean under the gumline like a professional cleaning under anesthesia at the veterinarian.

Your pet’s professional dental cleaning includes:

  • Lab work before the cleaning to confirm your pet is healthy enough to have the anesthesia needed for a dental cleaning.
  • Anesthesia is needed because pets won’t sit still for x-rays (that let us see under the gumline) or the actual cleaning.
  • During the cleaning, a thorough oral exam is done to look for any abnormalities in the mouth we cannot see while your pet is awake. At least 2 trained team members focus on your pet: one cleans the teeth and takes dental radiographs, while the other watches your pet’s vitals. The doctor will review the dental X-rays and determine if further treatment is recommended.

Many health problems begin with underlying dental disease. Supporting good oral health each year makes a tremendous difference in the health of our pets.

Fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS)

Behavioral problems with pets are the #1 reason pets are taken to animal shelters. We can help you handle issues as they arise.

Reducing FAS at home

Signs of FAS include dogs who bark and cats who show excessive vocalization. Dogs and cats might also hide, pace, destroy items, or seem generally nervous. Actions like these can come from a fear of storms, loud noises, strangers, or separation anxiety.

In more severe cases (like biting, aggression, or destructive behaviors), Firehouse expert training partners can help. We have relationships with local experts who are pros at treating behavioral issues and making your pet more comfortable.

We will check in on how your pet is managing FAS at your wellness appointment. Some cases require an appointment dedicated only/solely to behavior, so do not feel like you have to wait for a wellness visit to talk about FAS.

Reducing FAS at the pet hospital

We know visiting the vet can be stressful for some animals. So, we use calming exam room methods to keep anxious pets relaxed.

Calmer check-ups offer you and your pet a better experience.

Firehouse uses Fear Free and Cat Friendly techniques, including:

  • Gentle touch, quiet voices, and lots of treats.
  • Dog exams on the floor and cat exams wherever they’re most comfortable (in their crate, in a bag, or wrapped in a towel).
  • Letting the pet explore or play before beginning the check-up.
  • For cats: calming pheromones and separate cat areas without any dog smells.
  • We can also prescribe pre-visit pharmaceuticals (PVPs) for cats and dogs to address FAS before your pet arrives at the hospital.

Everything we do for your pet is focused on your cat or dog’s long-term wellness.

We have found that annual check-ins let us better guide you, so you can keep your pets happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Contact us 24/7 with questions and to schedule your next visit.

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