July 4th – People Have Fun – Pets Have Fears

By | Behavior, Client Education, News/ Events

The 4th of July can be very stressful for many pets. Some become so terrorized by the loud noises and the fireworks they panic and run away from home.  In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters.  But while many escaped pets end up there, many others are injured, killed or lost for good.

Include protecting your pet as part of your holiday planning

– Keep your pets inside on the 4th and don’t leave them home alone

– Secure the house against escapes.

– Close all doors and windows

– Put the pet in a “safe room” to decrease noise from the outside.

– Use TV or music to help cover the firework noise

– Distract your pet with toys and food puzzles

– Try calming apparel such as Thundershirts, ear muffs and caps

– Consider Pheromone sprays that give the pet a feeling of well-being…   Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are available at pet stores.


Plan ahead for the likelihood your pet does escape

– Before July 4, Microchip your pet and have their collar and tags on

– Make sure the chip is registered and the contact information is up to date

- Take current pictures of your pet.  They may be needed for posters, emails and faxes

– Immediately contact local animal control units, shelters, rescue groups and veterinarians

– Discuss desensitizing and counterconditioning your pet with your veterinarian


What about drugs?

– In some cases, your veterinarian can prescribe drug therapy that may help.

– Sedatives, tranquilizers, anti-anxiety and other drugs have been used.

– However, the drug therapy approach is not always predictable or successful.

– When used alone, drug therapy often fails.

– Drug therapy more effective when used in combination with other recommendations.

Close up image of chihuaha face

Why Your Dog Smells Better Than You

By | Behavior, Client Education

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed). While you have about 5 million scent glands, a dog, depending on the breed, has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million making your dog’s sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than yours. And the part of a dog’s brain that is used to analyze smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a human’s.

Dogs’ noses function quite differently from ours. When we inhale, we smell and breathe through the same airways within our nose. When dogs inhale, a fold of tissue just inside their nostril helps to separate these two functions.

Dogs also have a second olfactory capability, due to the Jacobson’s organ, an organ not found in human. Also called the vomeronasal organ, it’s located in the bottom of a dog’s nasal passage and picks up a variety of pheromones, the chemicals unique to each animal species that signal mating readiness and other sex-related details.

So how good is a dog’s sense of smell? If we used the sense of sight as an analogy, it means that what you can see 1/3 of a mile away, your dog could see 3,000 miles away.

We might notice a teaspoon of sugar in our cup of coffee- A dog can detect that teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Or one rotten apple in two million barrels.

Face of a tan and white dog with a cute nose.

Cute face, cute nose! At Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

A drug sniffing dog detected 35 pounds of marijuana that was packed in a plastic container and submerged in a gas tank filled with gasoline.

A cancer-sniffing dog kept returning to a spot on a patient’s skin that doctors had declared cancer-free. A subsequent biopsy confirmed there was melanoma in a small fraction of the cells.

What does this super sense of smell mean for your family dog’s behavior?

It’s why male dogs that have not been neutered can pick up a scent and follow their nose to the receptive female that might be nowhere in the neighborhood.

It’s why your dog knows there’s a treat sitting on a table that is too high up for him to ever be able to see it.

It’s why the local fire hydrant and/or tree, acts as Fido’s Facebook- letting all the dogs know who’s been by.

Yellow fire hydrant.

Facebook for Dogs in San Tan Valley, waiting for someone to come along and “post” on its time line.



Have a question about your pet or its behavior?  Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by texting or calling  480-987-4555

Male veterinarian vaccinating small dog in vet clinic

If You Lose Your Pet Will He Lose His Life?

By | Client Education, Products / Reviews

 Don’t Skip the Chip.

You do everything for your pet to be happy and healthy at home

  •  get the right food
  •  keep up with their vaccinations
  •  provide a soft bed
  • lots of toys
  • and plenty of love from the family.

But what if they leave home, get lost or wander away? How will they get back?

A brown dog casts a sad look from behind a wire gate at Animal Control.

A lost pet at Pinal County Animal Control.

            “One in three pets will get lost during their lifetime.” 

The best chance of having your furry friend return depends on something as small as a grain of rice… a microchip placed under the skin.

Microchips provide positive proof of ownership and can be used on a variety of pets including birds, reptiles and horses. People who own very valuable animals often have them microchipped for monetary reasons. But the most important reason for your family pet to be chipped really is a matter of life and death. If your pet gets lost and is picked up by Animal Control or is turned into a city pound he may only have a certain number of days at that facility before he could be euthanized. However, that won’t happen if a microchip is detected. Instead, efforts will be made to identify and contact his owner.

A microchip is being inserted into the back of a white dog between the shoulder blades.

A microchip is easily inserted into a pet. Just like giving a vaccine.

How Is the Chip Inserted?

The procedure is simple. A veterinarian injects the microchip beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine vaccination, the process takes only a few seconds. No anesthetic is required. The microchip itself has no internal energy source and will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner will emit an audible “beep” when it detects the chip and your pet’s unique ID code will show up on the scanner’s screen. Encryption features prevent duplication or cloning of the identification code. The chip is not affected by x-rays or MRIs and cannot be readily removed. But the microchip is just the first part of bringing your pet home. If your pet is microchipped but not yet registered he is not protected.



            ” 42% of microchipped pets are not registered in a pet recovery service.”

Why is Microchip Registration Important?

Enrolling in the registry services offered by microchip companies such as AVID and HomeAgain, and keeping the information in the registry up-to-date is important so you can be reached quickly when your lost pet is found. Almost all veterinarians and animal shelters across the country are equipped with scanners that can read your pet’s microchip. When your lost pet is taken to an animal shelter or veterinary clinic, they will scan your pet for a microchip and will read its unique code. This code is stored with your pet’s profile and linked to your contact information in a national pet recovery database. This is the number used to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet. So register your pet and keep your pet’s profile current if addresses, phone numbers and alternate contacts have changed. When pet owners forget to register their pet’s microchip and the pet’s owner can’t be found, shelters have to make difficult decisions regarding the fate of the animal.

Also see Microchipping Your Dog and Microchipping Your Cat.

Call Santanvalleyvets at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic (or Text us at the same number)  at 480-987-4555

Clinic cat Joe is prepared with his fire extinguisher by his side

Is Your Pet a Pyromaniac?

By | Client Education, News/ Events


Well, maybe not intentionally, but

almost 1,000 household fires are caused by pets each year.

How does this happen? Take a walk through your home and consider all the potential fire hazards just waiting to become an inferno.

  •      Lit candles, fireplaces, BBQs
  •      Plug in deodorizers
  •      Stove top burners (especially flat glass)
  •      Electrical cords

Can your pet reach candles and topple them so they set something else on fire?

Clinic cat Joe practically has his nose in the electrical outlet.

Joe’s curiosity draws him to the electrical outlet.

Will your pet chew on electrical cords or drag them so they cause something hot to fall?

Is there food cooking enticing your pet to jump up on the stove?

The solution:

Repair, replace or remove these possible dangers and then…

  • Don‘t leave pets unattended near an open flame
  • Have pets microchipped so they can be returned if they escape during a fire
  • Train pets to come when called
  • Know their hiding places
  • Post window stickers to let people know there are pets in the house

Consider the likely scenarios when and how a fire could occur in your home- daytime, at night, when people are home and when no one is home. Every family should prepare for these eventualities with drills and an escape plan which should include the family’s pets. For more ideas on keeping your pets safe from fire visit the National Fire Protection Association’s pet web page.



 Contact your San Tan Valley Veterinarians at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic   480-987-4555.  You can call or text us at this number!


A Pembroke Welsh Corgi with upright ears and sweet face

Ten Facts about Welsh Corgis… the Dog Fit for a Queen

By | Breed of the Week, Client Education


Corgis are sturdy little dogs with long bodies, short bowed legs and upright ears

Tail is evident on this Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy sitting on the exam table.

The tail distinguishes Sedona as a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. How cute is this puppy?

There are two types of Corgis: the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Cardigan Welsh corgi.

The most notable difference is that the Pembroke does not have a tail

Both originated in Wales but in different counties, resulting in their different names.

Both the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Cardigan Welsh corgi were bred for the same purpose, to herd cattle by nipping at their heels

Corgi Means Dwarf Dog in Welsh

Welsh legend said corgis are “enchanted dogs” ridden by fairies and elves

They make good family pets.

Tailess Pembroke Welsh Corgi standing on floor looking up at us.

This is Pembroke Welsh Corgi Paisley in for an exam at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

The Pembroke corgi is the more popular and is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dog breed.

The Pembroke is part of the Spitz group while the Cardigan is related to the Dachshund.

The face a Welsh Corgi next to a stuffed duck toy

Joseph is another handsome Corgi in San Tan Valley. “Duck” keeps Joseph company while recovering from a procedure.

They are about 10-12” at the shoulders and weight between 24 – 38 pounds with the Cardigan being a little bigger and heavier

While the popular Pembroke Welsh corgi is sociable and outgoing the Cardigan Welsh corgi is more laid back and reserved

Dog at pool edge looking back

Hot Stuff – Summer Dangers for Your Pet in San Tan Valley

By | Client Education


It almost summertime and the living should be easy but too many pet owners get the “Summertime Blues” because they are unaware of how dangerous our desert heat can be for their furry friends. It’s very hot for very long and many everyday activities that include your pet need to be adjusted.


Small dog at pool edge looking interested at the water.

Be careful with your pet around backyard pools. Do they know how to swim and get out of the pool?

Swimming Pools

Pools, like pets, are everywhere in the greater Phoenix area. Many dogs love the water on a hot summer day and need no coaxing to jump in. But even good swimmers may be bad at finding their way out and can drown. Show your dog where the steps are and how to get out of the pool. Create a ramp or other device to help water-loving small dogs.
Consider a pet-size life jacket. Supervise old, sick or blind dogs around the pool. Remember, a doggy door can provide access to an unfenced backyard pool. It should also be noted that during winter months a pet falling into the pool may suffer hypothermia even if rescued in time.



Small dog with her front feet on the center consul of the front seat of a truck

Don’t leave your pet alone in a vehicle.

Most dogs love car rides but if you can’t take the pet into the store with you, leave him at home. Cars in Arizona can reach 150-200 degrees in minutes, even with the windows opened, even on so-called mild days.




At Home

Even your own backyard and neighborhood have dangers. Don’t leave dogs outside during the Arizona summer. If you do leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.


Burned abraded pads on a dog's foot.

The pads on this dog’s feet were burned and abraded when he escaped from the yard on a hot day.

Out and About

Don’t walk or hike with your pet during the heat of the day. Adjust your pet’s exercise routine just as you adjust yours. Walk your dog very early in the morning or at sunset, or later. Remember, hot pavement hurts their paws just as it would your bare feet. Be careful where you walk. Pets can get cactus spines stuck on their muzzles, paws and elsewhere and extracting them can be a lengthy, painful process so teach your pet to avoid them.

Take extra care with overweight, thick coated and short-muzzled dogs like pugs and bulldogs, which are all more sensitive to heat. Pets with pale skin, thin coats and pink noses can get sunburned, even get skin cancer. But be aware that certain sunscreens and zinc are toxic



Summers in Arizona are not for the fainthearted. But the best cure for the Summertime Blues is….October.



Brown Dog Tick nymphs under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. They look like crabs without pincers and have six legs.

Monsters Within

By | Disease and Medicine

MONSTERS WITHIN – – – Pet Parasites in San Tan Valley, Arizona.

Any dog or cat in San Tan Valley could easily be harboring Monsters within its body and we may not know it. These Monsters are the parasites that can afflict our pets. Under the microscope, they look as bad or worse than the monsters that Hollywood dreams up. Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic tests for, diagnoses or treats parasites in cats and dogs daily. Commonly encountered parasites in San Tan Valley include:

  • mites in the skin and ears
  • ticks and fleas in and on the skin of the pet.
  • worms and protozoans (one celled animals) in the gastrointestinal tract
  • heartworms in the blood vessels and heart
Demodectes mite on a skin scraping from a dog. High power under the microscope Cigar shaped with legs and thick tail. Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic in San Tan Valley.

Demodectes mite on a skin scraping from a dog at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. High power

Mange mites (Demodectes)

Can cause areas of the skin to lose hair and the skin to become red and scaly. Sometimes they can cause “itchiness”. They are a consideration in almost any skin abnormality.



Ear mites

Common finding in outdoor cats and some dogs. They cause ear infections, scratching and head shaking


Brown Dog Tick nymphs under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. They look like crabs without pincers and have six legs.

Brown Dog Tick nymphs under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. Taken from a dog in San Tan Valley.


Brown Dog Ticks

Suck the blood of its host and transmit other diseases like Tick Fever. Tick Fever can affect the dog in many ways, including just “not acting right”, lethargy, eating less and sudden bleeding episodes.




Front end of this flea looks like a monster under the microscope at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

Flea taken from a cat at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic in San Tan Valley. Low power under the microscope.



Occasionally seen on cats or dogs, but our dry climate does not allow them to multiply as easily as in other areas of the country.
Unless an owner uses “swamp cooling” they are easily handled once identified.




Intestinal parasites

The various worms and protozoans of dogs and cats can effect the eating, weight, activity level and stool consistency. Some can even be transmitted to people from the pet.



Heartworm Positive Snap Test

Positive heartworm test at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

The staff at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic diagnoses a number of heartworm cases each year.  Only half of these heartworm cases receive proper treatment because of the cost and involved treatment protocol. These pets can suffer from decreased energy and activity caused by lung and heart damage. Eventually it can kill the dog.






Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic uses thorough examinations, microscopy, stool parasite screening and blood testing to detect these monsters in our pets. They can be treated and preventive measures taken once identified.

Our goal is to keep the pets of San Tan Valley healthy and happy so they and their owners can enjoy the special bond that develops between people and their pets.

For more information, visit the Pet Health tab of this website or call or text us at 480-987-4555


Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

By | Uncategorized

It’s monsoon season and it just rained. They let Sassy outside and when she didn’t come when called they found her staggering around in the backyard. Was it

-Vestibular syndrome


-Muscle cramp

-Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

While the first three are possibilities, during monsoon season, a toad could be the right answer.


Last seen: at night, just before or during monsoon season. These large amphibians are out and about this time of year looking to mate and your dog may come in contact with them.

Danger: these toads secrete a powerful neurotoxin from a skin gland behind the eye. This  causes seizure-like symptoms if a curious or aggressive dog licks, bites or plays with the toad or drinks from a water bowl where toad was sitting. The neurotoxin is rapidly absorbed through the lining of the dog’s mouth and can quickly cause this adverse effect on your pet.

Symptoms: may include staggering, incoordination, drooling, panting, anxiety and disorientation.

Treatment:  If your pet shows any of these symptom after being outside consider that a toad could be the culprit. Immediately take a garden hose and gently rinse the mouth out, squirting the water sideways so as not to drown your pet. Afterwards, call your veterinarian for additional instructions because while these symptoms may start to subside shortly, in some pets the symptoms will progress to seizures and possible death.

Contact the Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic team at  (480) 458-5331 anytime during regular business hours with any questions you may have or for more information.

Contact Us

270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143