If your canine companion is more family member than pet, you may be in the habit of sharing the foods your family loves with him. Maybe even (accidentally or intentionally) your Halloween candy. Although some people foods are fine in moderation, this is definitely not the case with chocolate! Chocolate can sicken and even kill dogs, and it is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning.
While the occasional chocolate chip within one cookie may not be an issue, we worry about certain types of chocolate – the less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your pet. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. Other sources include chewable, flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. The chemical toxicity is due to a methylxanthine (like theobromine), and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, inflammation of the pancreas (i.e., pancreatitis), an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and rarely, even death. With Halloween right around the corner, make sure your kids know to hide the stash from your dogs. (Dogs make up 95% of all our chocolate calls, as cats are usually too discriminating to eat chocolate!) In smaller dogs, even the wrappers from candy can result in a secondary obstruction in the stomach or intestines.
Threat to pets
It’s the dose that makes the poison! Pets that ingest a few M&Ms or 1-2 bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning.
- For milk chocolate, any ingestion of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight may put dogs at risk for chocolate poisoning.
- Ingestions of more than 0.13 ounces per pound of dark or semi-sweet chocolate may cause poisoning.
- Almost all ingestions of baker’s chocolate can result in poisoning and are considered emergencies.
- Very young, geriatric and animals with underlying disease must be treated more conservatively as they are more at risk for poisoning than healthy adult animals.
- Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate (see fatty foods).
Signs of chocolate poisoning
Ingestions of small amounts of chocolate may cause mild vomiting and diarrhea. Larger ingestions can cause severe agitation, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and collapse.
Induce vomiting and give multiple doses activated charcoal to decontaminate. Aggressive IV fluids to help with excretion, sedatives to calm the pet, specific heart medications to reduce the heart rate and blood pressure, anti-convulsants for seizures, antacids (such as Pepcid) for stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Theobromine may be reabsorbed across the bladder wall so a urinary catheter or frequent walks are needed to keep the bladder empty.
If your pet accidentally eats chocolate please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Or you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline for assistance:
Pet Poison Helpline: 1-800-213-6680
24/7 Animal Poison Control Center
This Pet Tip is brought to you by:
EZ Vet Clinic
12035 South Dixie Hwy. Pinecrest, FL 33156
Pets can’t tell us when they are not feeling well. That is why it is important to monitor your pets temperature. An increased temperature is an important indicator of infection or illness. The normal temperature range for adult dogs and cats is around 99.5-102.5° F. If your pet has an increased temperature you should seek medical attention from your veterinarian.
Pet Care Video: Preventing Pet Ear Infections
Keeping pets’ ears clean contribute to their health and wellness by preventing irritation and infection that can be painful and potentially lead to hearing loss. Ear disease is one of the most common conditions in pets. The medical name for inflammation or infection of the outer ear canal is otitis externa. Otitis externa is estimated to affect 20% of dogs and 7% of cats in the United States. In 2007, Veterinary Pet Insurance reported that treatment for ear infections ranked as the number one medical claim made for dogs and number eight for cats.
Pets are prone to otitis externa due to the long length and L-shape of their ear canals. Debris and bacteria love to collect at the corner of the L and with the naturally warm and sometimes moist environment of the ears, it becomes the perfect environment for infection.
Dogs that are most prone to ear infection include floppy or long-eared breeds (Cocker Spaniels, retrievers, basset hounds, etc) because the long ears hang over the ear canal entrance and prevent the canals from drying out. Dogs that swim and get water into their ears and pets with over-production of wax or hair growth deep in their ear canals are also at increased risk. Ear infection can also result from underlying conditions such as skin allergies and hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism.
Other conditions that can affect pets’ ears and mimic infection include ear mites, foreign bodies (especially plant material) and ear tumors.
What are signs that your pet may have an ear infection?
Signs of ear problems include:
- Scratching or rubbing of the ears and/or head
- Head shaking or tilting the head to one side
- Pain around the ears—your pet may shy away from you petting his or her head
- Odor or discharge from the ears
- Redness or swelling of the ear flap or the ear canal
- Changes in behavior—ear infections are painful and many pets will become snappy or irritable
If you witness any of these signs in your pet, visit EZ Vet Pet Health Care Center for a thorough ear examination to determine the cause of the problem. If infections are left untreated, they can lead to hearing loss or extend into the inner ear and become life threatening.
Watch the video below on how to properly clean your pet ears and help prevent any possible ear infections with your pet.
How to clean your pets ears by EZ Vet Pet Health Care Center
Dogs and cats are curious by nature, particularly when it comes to food. They’re also very good at begging for a taste of whatever we may be eating or cooking. As cute as they may be, though, our pets can’t always stomach the same foods as us — some food can be toxic and even deadly to their health.
Use this toxic food list as a guide to preventing accidental toxic exposure to your four-legged companion.
Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Desserts containing alcohol or yeast-containing dough are often the unknown culprits.
Coffee, tea, energy drinks, dietary pills or anything containing caffeine should never be given to your pet, as they can affect the heart, stomach, intestines and nervous system. Symptoms include restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, excessive panting, increased heart rate and blood pressure levels and seizures.
Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate (i.e., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures.
Foods that are high in fat can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Pancreatitis often follows the ingestion of fatty meal in dogs. Certain breeds like miniature schnauzers, Shetland sheepdogs, and Yorkshire terriers appear to be more susceptible to a bout of pancreatitis than other breeds. Fight the temptation to share fast food leftovers, junk food or foods cooked in grease with your dog.
Fat Trimmings and Bones
Table scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn’t eat and bones. Both are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis in dogs. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog’s digestive system.
The specific problem with persimmons, peaches, and plums are the seeds or pits. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction, a good possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs should the pit be broken open and consumed.
According to Pet Poison Helpline, grapes and raisins have been known to cause acute renal (kidney) failure in dogs. With kidney failure, a pet’s ability to produce urine decreases, which means they are unable to filter toxins out of their system.
Unfortunately, the reason for kidney failure and the amount of grapes/raisins necessary to be toxic to pets is unknown, so all cases of ingestion have the potential to be grave. Depending on the size of the dog, as little as four grapes/raisins can have an adverse effect on your fuzzy friend.
Milk and Dairy Products
It may be tempting on a hot day to share your ice cream cone with your dog; however, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues because adult dogs are deficient in lactase necessary for digestion of milk. Ask your veterinarian for safe alternatives.
Wild mushrooms — which may be found growing in your backyard or on the nature trail where you walk your dog — contain toxins that will trigger numerous organ systems, including the kidneys, liver and brain. Nervous system abnormalities, seizures, coma, vomiting, and death can all result when a dog consumes mushrooms.
Nutmeg can also be stored in the pantry with other potentially hazardous substances for pets. Often used as a spice for baking, nutmeg’s rich, spicy scent is attractive to dogs. High levels can be fatal. Signs include tremors, seizures and nervous system abnormalities.
Abundant in many cookies and candies, certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog’s throat and/or intestinal tract; macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can cause toxic poisonings. Moldy walnuts can contain toxic chemical products produced by fungi which cause seizures or neurological signs. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion.
Onions and Garlic
Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions, onion powder, or even cooked onion causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by damage to the red blood cells. In other words,onion toxicity can cause the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body to burst. A small amount can be toxic to your dog or cat.
Garlic, chives, and leeks are also part of the Allium family, and are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Garlic is considered to be about five times as potent as onions, causing oxidative damage to the red blood cells as well as an upset stomach (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Other clinical signs of anemia may be seen, and include lethargy, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse. Onion and garlic poisoning may have a delayed onset, and clinical signs may not be apparent for several days. Immediate veterinary care is recommended.
Have you ever accidentally dropped an egg on the kitchen floor while your dog is nearby? Be careful: there are two problems with allowing your dog to eat raw eggs. First: your dog could possibly get food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. Second: excessive consumption of raw eggs may result in biotin deficiency that can cause skin problems and affect your dog’s coat. Feeding your dog cooked eggs is a safer bet.
Raw Meat and Fish
Raw meat and raw fish, like raw eggs, can contain bacteria that causes food poisoning. Certain kinds of fish such as salmon, trout, shad, or sturgeon can contain a parasite that causes “fish disease.” If not treated, the disease can be fatal within 2 weeks. The first signs of illness are vomiting, fever, and big lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking the fish will kill the parasite and protect your dog.
Rhubarb, a vegetable, contains oxalates which trigger abnormalities with the nervous system, kidneys and digestive tract.
Rhubarb is commonly used in recipes for pies, jams, jellies, sauces and juice.
Believe it or not, common table salt is poisonous to your pet—but it’s not usually from table scraps. The source is often what surprises pet owners: pets often experience salt toxicity as a result of eating household play dough, swallowing too much ocean salt water or ingesting paint balls, which are loaded with salt. Salt toxicity can be very severe and results in neurologic signs such as poor coordination, seizures and brain swelling, and needs to be treated carefully by a veterinarian.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly used in toothpastes, mouthwash, sugarless gum, certain cough medicines and children’s chewable multi-vitamins. It also used in many baked goods and candies. This product is recommended for diabetics and those following a low-carbohydrate diet. However, xylitol is extremely dangerous to your dog.
Ingestion of the product will cause the rapid release of insulin in dogs and result in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia results in vomiting, weakness, and sometimes seizures. In some cases, xylitol poisoning can result in liver failure. As little as one stick of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog.
Unbaked dough that contains yeast can expand in your pet’s stomach or intestines. As the yeast ferments, it releases gases, resulting in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even life-threatening bloat and a twisted stomach. Some yeast dough also ferments into alcohol, which contributes to signs of lethargy and alcohol toxicity.
If you have concerns that your pet may have consumed a toxic substance, please contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline* immediately.
EZ Vet Pet Health Care Center 12035 South Dixie Highway, Pinecrest, FL 33156 Office: 305-255-7838
How to Estimate the Right Serving Size for Your Dog
The verdict is in. And the results confirm what you’d always thought… Overweight dogs don’t live as long as normal weight dogs. According to a recent study published in a respected veterinary journal1overweight dogs suffer from a higher incidence of these life-shortening diseases…
- Oral disease
So, how much should you feed your dog to ensure his health?
Well, don’t just blindly follow the directions on a dog food package. That’s because manufacturers like to “hedge” by suggesting an overly broad “range” of serving sizes. For example, a bag of kibble might read… “for dogs from 5 to 15 pounds feed 1/2… to… 1-1/2 cups a day”. Wow. That’s a monstrously wide range… a 200% variation! It’s simply not precise enough. If you follow that advice you’ll be guessing. You could be significantly overfeeding… or underfeeding your dog. Misjudging a serving size by even a small amount… and then feeding that same amount day-in and day-out… multiplies the error. And it could have a devastating effect on your dog’s health.
Don’t Guess… Follow These Three Easy Steps
When deciding how much to feed your dog… never guess. Be scientific. Always calculate and measure.
Use the Dog Food Calculator and follow these three simple steps…
- Step 1 – Enter your dog’s ideal weight
- Step 2 – Select your dog’s life stage and activity level
- Step 3 – Insert your dog food’s “calories per serving”
Then, use a measuring cup or a scale… and feed the calculated amount. Of course, keep in mind… results are approximate. Certain breeds and conditions may require some adjustment. And please remember… the calculator assumes your dog is at or near his ideal weight. So, be flexible. If your dog appears to be overweight… or underweight… substitute something closer to “ideal” for your weight entry. By the way… the calculator is for adult dogs only. Puppies require their own special feeding program. Once again… never guess. Always measure each serving. And check your dog’s weight once a month or so. Over time, you’ll be glad you did.
Obesity can be defined as an excess of body fat that is enough to impair health, welfare and quality of life. It can affect all types of pet, and the main cause is from eating too much or not exercising enough, although some diseases can cause obesity.
Obesity in people is generally 20% above ideal body weight. This is similar in pets; however, 20% in small cats and dogs can equal just a few extra pounds. 20% for a 10 pound Chihuahua is only 2 extra pounds.
We believe obesity is a serious welfare issue in pets because it:
- Can cause a lot of unnecessary suffering and can be extremely disabling.
- Can affect animals for long periods.
- Is a preventable and detectable problem!
It’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions as we get ready to ring in 2014 in style!
Typical world-wide celebrations include lots of glamorous, festive parties along with loud and colorful fireworks. The sparkling lights, whistles, bangs and popping sounds might be fun for humans, but it can make many pets agitated and scared. Without proper care, pets can get lost during the festivities. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your furry friend safe this New Year’s Eve:
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags with current information. Cats should wear break away / safety collars. Microchipping your pet is always advised.
- Keep your pet indoors in a quiet area that is familiar to him / her with plenty of fresh water and give dogs several safchew toys. Dogs who are crate trained may feel safest in their kennels. Cats will do best in a bathroom or utility room with food, water and their litter box.
- Frightened outdoor dogs have been known to jump high fences and dig holes to escape the sound of fireworks. Indoor animals should be kept away from large glass windows or doors because when scared they are capable of crashing right through.
- Make sure to keep all alcohol, festive foods / chocolates, floral arrangements and party decorations away from your pets.
Remember to keep a watchful eye on your pet and put the name and number of your veterinarian and local animal emergency clinic in a designated area.
And have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!
Keep your Furry Friend Healthy and Happy with these 4 Tips
Having a pet is like having a furry member of the family. We give them food, shelter, toys, and they love us back. But, like their owners, each animal has different needs. There are, however, a few things that every pet has in common, whether it meows, neighs, or barks. These 4 tips will help you keep any furry friend healthy and happy.
The #1 way to keep your furry friend healthy is to make sure it has all of its vaccinations. All different types of animals require different vaccines. Some, like heartworm, are common to all animals, but have different dosages depending on weight and species. The best way to ensure that your pet is properly vaccinated is to visit your vet.
Food and Nutrition
Another way to keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible is to make sure he or she is getting proper nutrition. Talking about your pet’s age and activity level with your vet will help you and your vet make sure your fuzzy friend gets the right balance of nutrients he or she needs. Equally important to getting proper nutrition is making sure your pet is at a healthy weight. Just like humans, weighing your pet regularly serves as important health indicator of your pet’s health. Overweight or a sudden weight decrease can be a sign of a serious underlying health issue for your pet. It is recommended to weigh your pet at least twice a month. EZ Vet pet weight kiosk offers a free pet weight analysis making weighing your pet easy and convenient.
Activity and Exercise
A third tip for keeping your furry friend healthy is proper exercise. All pets, big or small, need exercise. The type of exercise depends on the type of pet. For example, in dogs, exercise helps stimulate their minds, which helps avoid boredom and destructive behaviors. Cats need imaginary prey to chase and stalk as well as scratching posts. Regardless of what kind of furry friend you have, exercise will keep your pet trim and fit, both mentally and physically.
Check for Disease
Keep an eye out for ear mites and other illnesses. They are a common problem for cats and dogs especially. If your pet is constantly shaking its head or scratching its ears, then he or she might have ear mites. These can be spread from animal to animal, and may require being thoroughly cleaned out before medication is prescribed. Check for any irregular behavior that could indicate disease.
Every human life is enriched by having an animal companion. From the unconditional love they give us, to the constant support, the benefits of having a pet are tremendous. Following these 4 tips, and regular visits to the vet, will guarantee that you and your pet have a long and happy life together.
Pets, just like humans, have different tastes, allergies, and sensitivities to foods. With the growing obesity epidemic in the US, it’s important to pay close attention to what our pets are eating on a daily basis and it all starts at the pet food dish.
Here are a few tips for pet feeding:
- Choose a nutritionally balanced pet food. Be sure to check the ingredients on the label and try to avoid foods with fat listed within the first four ingredients. Speak with your veterinarian for suggestions of good foods.
- Moisten your cat’s food. According to a 2010 study at the Waltham Center in the UK, cats on moistened diets (even if it’s just adding water to their kibble) tended to be more active and weighed less.
- Check for allergies or intolerance. If you recently brought home a new pet or are switching your pet’s current food, it is important to monitor them on their new diet to make sure they don’t have any allergies or tummy aches caused by the food.
- Measure your pet’s meals. Free-pouring or “eyeing” the amount of food you feed your pet can make a big difference over time. Be sure to use measuring cups or a scoop with marked measurements so that you can be consistent and ensure that you’re not overfeeding.
- Determine whether you are feeding the correct amount of food. At your next veterinary check-up, ask your vet if your dog or cat is too thin or too fat to ensure that you are feeding the proper amount.
- Be consistent. Frequently changing the brand or type of pet food can upset your pet’s tummy so it’s important to generally stick to the same food, prepared the same, each day. If you decide to change foods, it should be done gradually by mixing in small amounts with your pet’s current food.
- Watch the treat intake. Pet treats can be high in calories and quickly add up. Be sure to moderate the amount of treats given to your pet each day.
- Take exercise into consideration. Did you recently start a new jogging routine with your dog? Are your kids spending more time playing with the cats? If your pet’s exercise habits have changed, it might also be time to adjust his food intake.
- Age is a factor. As your dog or cat gets older, his metabolism (and likely activity level) slow down. Be sure to take your pet’s age into consideration when choosing a food (is it time for a senior diet?) and the size of the scoop.
- All pets are different. Each pet has its own nutritional needs based on his individual age, breed, activity level, lifestyle, etc. so be sure to look at each pet as an individual when determining their food needs.
Most dog owners spend a significant amount of time worrying about ways to prevent their dogs from gaining weight. The opposite problem is rarely the case. When a dog does appear to be losing weight inexplicably, it is always cause for concern.
The first step toward a resolution is to go over your dog’s eating and exercise schedule. Question all members of the family about their responsibilities related to the dog’s care and feeding. Go as far as making a chart that quantifies amounts of food offered and actually consumed, and duration of and exertion during the various walks the dog is taken on. Not until the logic of this part of your dog’s daily routine has been established should you move on to further investigation.
What to Look For
Weight loss is weight loss. When it represents a threat to your dog’s health, however, it is much more of a concern. Of course, any time significant weight loss is mentioned, a thorough physical exam is called for.
For your current purposes, though, let’s focus on your dog’s immediate issues. Start evaluating your dog as a whole. Analyze his levels of energy and enthusiasm. Check his fur to see if it is sparse, coarse, or dull. Look for any loss of muscle mass. If you observe such a loss, see if it occurred in a symmetric fashion or if it is limited to certain parts of his anatomy. Check for evidence of protruding bones, especially the ridges of his skull, his shoulder blades, spinal vertebrae, ribs, and hips.
What to Do
Now go through the following questions to figure out what to do next:
- Has your dog been ill recently? Chronic illness, especially organ system failure of the pancreas, kidney, or liver can result in long term nausea and vomiting, often leading to dramatic weight loss. If any of these conditions affect your dog, weight loss is to be expected, but not irreversible if the prognosis for the disease is optimistic.
- Is your dog’s coat sparse, coarse, or dull? If so, it could be due to the same cause as the weight loss. If your dog’s appetite has remained healthy throughout the weight loss, intestinal parasites may be the problem. Warn your family members to practice strict personal hygiene and submit a fecal sample from your dog to your veterinarian.
- Is your dog currently taking any medication? Either the illness your dog is being treated for or the medication he is taking for it could be a factor in his weight loss. If your veterinarian approves, try reducing or even eliminating your dog’s chronic medication to see if that helps him regain his appetite and the weight he has lost.
- Has your dog recently suffered from any form of head trauma? If so, there is the possibility of a concussion, as well as the dizziness and nausea that go with it. These symptoms could very well result in noticeable weight loss over a relatively short period of time. Seek your vet’s help for a neurology consult.
In many parts of the U.S. temperatures are climbing above 90 degrees, with heat indexes projected into the triple digits, there are no signs of letting up any time soon.
You may think it’s hot, but for your furry friends it could be very dangerous!
For pets, the heat can stress their ability to control their body temperature. In extreme cases, pets can suffer brain damage, fatal heat stroke or suffocate. Yet, there are some ways owners can reduce heat stress.
TIPS TO KEEP PET SAFE
- Avoid activity during the heat of the day
- Avoid asphalt – Ensure pets have access to plenty of water
- Spray down pets that are struggling with heat
- Never leave pets unattended in a parked car for any period of time
On warm days, temperatures inside a vehicle can easily exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even when the windows are partially open.
Some animals suffer under the summer sun itself, though. Pet owners should look out for the following symptoms of heat stress:
- Dark red gums
EZ Vet is your companion to a healthy pet!
The following tips will help ensure that your pet travels safely, whether it be by train, ship, or airplane.
Traveling by ship
With the exception of assistance dogs, only a few cruise lines accept pets -and usually on ocean crossings only. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but mostly they are confined to kennels. Contact cruise lines in advance to find out their policies and which of their ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship’s kennel, make sure it is protected from the elements.
Traveling by train
Amtrak currently does not accept pets unless they are assistance dogs.
(There may be smaller U.S. railroad companies that permit animals on board.) Many trains in European countries allow pets. Generally, it is the passengers’ responsibility to feed and exercise their pets at station stops.
To ensure a smooth trip for you and your pet, follow the guidelines suggested below for traveling by airplane.
Traveling by airplane
The HSUS recommends that you do not transport your pet by air unless absolutely necessary. If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, you can increase the chances of a safe flight for your pet by following these tips.
Hope you find these tips helplful.
EZ Vet is your companion to a healthy pet!
Simple Steps Ensure a Long Life for Your Pet
As a responsible pet owner, you can take a few simple steps that will go a long way toward keeping your pet healthy and happy. The American Animal Hospital Association suggests these practical tips that can ensure your pet’s health and happiness.
Make your home a safe environment
Unfortunately, making your home pet safe often is a job that is overlooked. Pet proofing your home can lower the risk of a serious pet accident occurring. A pet owner needs to be aware of several potential dangers. Poisons in the home that can kill or seriously injure your pet include some kinds of house plants (dieffenbachia, philodendron, hyacinth, and mistletoe), pesticides, and medications. Low electrical cords are extremely hazardous when chewed. Keep harmful objects out of your pet’s reach. A little prevention may be just enough to avoid a pet tragedy from happening in your home.
Make sure your pet receives a complete check-up
“A regular physical is the most overlooked pet health need today,” says Dr. Bill Swartz, an AAHA veterinarian. “Most people only take their pet to a veterinarian when a health problem already exists or for routine vaccinations. Preventive vaccinations and early detection of diseases are the keys to successfully treating your pet,” he added. Your veterinarian can conduct a comprehensive exam that includes a lab analysis, heart check, and dental exam.
Design a diet and exercise plan to meet your pet’s specific needs
Obesity leads to serious dog and cat health problems such as heart disease. Exercise is important, but a pet will only exercise if there is an incentive to do so. Your veterinarian will consider what stage of life your pet is in, the amount of activity your pet enjoys, and the time of year before outlining a specific plan. The right kind of food and physical activity can add to the quality of your pet’s life. Check out an EZ Vet kiosk to monitor your pets weight. Locations
Following are ten general pet care tips:
- Mmm… all that chocolate! None for your pets, please! Chocolate contains a toxic substance, theobromine, which is harmful to pets. So, just say NO!
- Is it an emergency? A pet exposed to bitter cold that becomes lethargic, depressed, and weak, could be hypothermic. Call your veterinarian immediately.
- Did you know that by shivering, a pet that is cold or recovering from anesthesia is trying to warm its body back to normal temperature?
- The sweet, lovely green pool of antifreeze on the driveway is an often deadly drink for dogs and cats. Even a small lick by a small pet is enough to poison it. Clean up those spills fast!
- Did you know that some caged birds are afraid of the dark? Try a night light or leaving the front of the cage uncovered.
- Before traveling with your pets, make sure they have all required vaccinations and health papers. If they are on medications, have enough to last through the trip.
- When traveling by air, be aware of airline restrictions regarding outside temperature and number of animals allowed per flight. Someone may have already booked a pet and there are no more allowed. Check with the airline reservationist or travel agent.
- Remember that even the most gentle and trusting pet may bite when in pain. If you must muzzle, use a soft towel or cloth strips and remove it as soon as possible so the pet can breathe more easily.
- If you must transport an injured or ill animal, a blanket, vinyl mat, and even a door make excellent stretchers. The trick is to immobilize the animal to avoid further stress.
- Moving from a cold climate to a warmer one? Don’t forget to have your dog tested for heartworm disease BEFORE beginning preventive medicine. Ask your veterinarian for more information about heartworm disease.
The American Animal Hospital Association asks you to provide a safe environment, quality diet, exercise, and adequate veterinary care for your pet. Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health care.
We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, ASPCA experts warn.
“Most people love to spend the warmer days enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, but it is important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for our pets,” said Dr. Camille DeClementi, Senior Toxicologist at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. “By following a few simple rules, it is easy to keep your pet safe while still having fun in the sun.”
Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.
Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control program.
Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
Know the Warning Signs
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. “On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear floatation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
“During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-rise Syndrome which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured,” says Dr. Murray. “Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions.” Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435
Taking Fido to a backyard barbeque or party? Remember that the food and drink offered to guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.
Fireworks Aren’t Very Pet-riotic
Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets, and even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals.