Make the Holidays Happy for Your Pets!

Well, despite the fact that the snow has yet to fly, we are well into the holiday season with Christmas just a few weeks away! The time has come for festive lights, good food, decorations and holiday cheer. There will be lots of shopping, presents, family visits and much much more! As we go about our merry way, as always, it is important that we keep our four legged family members’ safety a top priority. With all the new things being introduced to their environment, it is no wonder that veterinarians see an increase in sick pets this time of year. All that food, candy, presents, plants, ect. can be tough to resist for a lot of pets. So, check out our list below of potentially hazardous situations that you should be aware of to keep your pet safe this holiday season.

~ Holiday lights and candles

We all know how beautiful the house and tree look all lit up. However, for many animals, those twinkling and often dangly lights present a temptation pets cannot resist. They bat, pull and chew at the lighted strands, often resulting in electrical burns to the mouth or even death from electrocution.

If you decide to light candles for the holiday season, keep them high and in places where your dog and especially your kitty (who likes to defy gravity and get to places unseen) cannot reach. Not only can your pets get seriously burned from the flame or wax, they can also knock candles over creating a potential fire hazard for your home.

~ Tinsel and other decorations

Although it is not toxic, tinsel can cause serious harm and even death if consumed by your pets. Cats in particular are attracted to the shiny stuff that glitters and flutters as though alive. Once ingested, the tinsel can twist and bunch up causing intestinal blockages.

Also highly tempting to your pets are the bright, shiny and colorful bulbs that you hang on the tree. Both dogs and cats have been known to consume tree ornaments. Many of these can shatter, causing lacerations to the mouth, esophagus or stomach. They also can be potential choking hazards.

~ Presents

We all love giving presents to our family and our pets are certainly not an exception to this rule! However, be aware that if you wrap up a nice smelly bone or catnip, that wrapping paper is not going to completely mask the smell. Many cats and dogs, if left alone with scrumptious smelling gifts, will take it upon themselves to break into their presents stash (or others) and not wait for Christmas morning! This can be bad if they ingest the paper, cardboard or plastic wrapping that often are on these items. So, it is wise to wait to put those gift under the tree until that last minute and keep the room blocked if possible.

~ Holiday plants

Though they are beautiful and certainly add to the festive holiday mood, certain plants are highly poisonous and should be avoided or kept out of reach if you have pets. If ingested these plants may cause issues:

Pine needles – Pine needles can cause irritation to the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy.

Poinsettias – Poinsettias can cause mouth irritation and vomiting.

Holly – Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression in your pet.

Mistletoe – Mistletoe can cause respiratory distress, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea or even death.

~ Food

Finally, it is definitely the season for rich, delectable food. For many pets and people alike, the temptation can be great! But before you drop those scraps to your faithful friend, please remember that many foods can cause gastrointestinal issues at best or even death in the worst cases.

Chocolate  – One of the worst offenders, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats alike, although worse for dogs.

Stuffing – The stuffing may contain nuts and herbs that can be potentially dangerous to your pets. Cats are sensitive to essential oils and sage. Many nuts, such as macadamia, walnuts, almonds and others can cause stomach irritation, lethargy, vomiting and                 diarrhea.

Fatty foods – Foods high in fat content, such as turkey skin and desserts can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and even                   pancreatitis.

Bones – Many people feel that it is natural to give dogs and cats bones. However, they can cause very serious health issues with your pets and should be avoided. Bones can easily lodge in the esophagus, stomach or intestines.  They can also splinter causing infection, blockages and even death if not treated.

Most of our pets will sail through this holiday season happy and healthy with your help! As much as we love seeing you and yours at OAH, let’s not have it be in an emergency situation. By being aware of the potential dangers your pets may encounter, you can make a very happy home this holiday season!

By on December 2nd, 2017 in Pet Care

Microchipping… Why is it Important?

The feeling is terrifying… You realize that your beloved pet is missing. Either they tunneled out of the yard, got loose from their leash or simply wandered too far from home. Whatever the scenario is, loosing your pet is one of the worst things a person can go through.

Usually the steps pet owners take when this happens are the same. Drive around looking, ask neighbors, call local vet clinics and shelters and make signs. All of these are good things to do, but you can make it much easier on yourself and your pet if this ever happens to you. How you ask? One word… Microchip.

Microchipping has been around for some time, but only become mainstream in the past decade or so. The process of microchipping your pet is relatively simple. You make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will insert a chip under the skin on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades of your pet. You then register your information with the microchipping company.

Now what could be easier you ask? Not much. Though there are some problems that vet clinics see every day with microchipping. When a found dog or cat is brought to a clinic, the first thing the vet will do is scan them for a microchip. However, many times, animals will come in and they will be chipped, but the owner has not registered the chip. Therefore, it is essentially useless. It is like going to a restaurant and ordering a plate of food, and then moving to a table where the server cannot find you. Why would you ever do such a thing?

Another issue with microchips is that there are several different companies that offer chips. They are not universal. However, most scanners today can read all the different kinds of chips. So, unless a clinic has an older scanner, that is not really a problem anymore.

Some pet owners are worried about the ongoing cost. But that too, is relatively low. Though it varies from clinic to clinic, microchipping your pet can range anywhere from $15-$75. The fee to register your information with the company also varies. While one company offers a one-time fee and no further payments, another has a yearly fee of about $18. It depends on which company your vet clinic uses. But once again, in the grand scheme of things, this cost is very low for piece of mind.

So, the bottom line is this, microchip your pet and make sure to register your information. This simple act can be the difference in getting your pet back in a short amount of time, or not getting them back at all.

By on November 6th, 2017 in Pet Care

Common Signs of Arthritis

All pet owners know, it is hard to think about our beloved furry friends getting older. However, it is inevitable that they do age. As they get older, there are many things we, as pet owners, need to look for. One of the most common ailments that we see in older pet is arthritis. Depending on the circumstances, we even see younger pets that have the start of early arthritis. Arthritis affects your pet’s joints and causes pain and discomfort. Here are five common signs that your pet may be suffering from arthritis.

Difficulty with movement: One of the most common signs that your pet may have arthritis is that they have problems with their movement. You may notice your pets have stopped doing activities that previously were no problem for them. For example, your dog may not be able to climb stairs as easily, run and play or get in and out of your vehicle. For your cats, you may notice that they are no longer able to jump onto counters, furniture, perches or other high places that they previously liked to go. You may also see some limping or favoring of paws. Or you may notice that it takes your pet a little longer to get going in the morning or after a nap. Sometimes they need to walk around a bit to loosen up their limbs. They may also appear very stiff and uncomfortable to you.

Fatigue: You may notice that your pets are simply slowing down as they get older. Long walks and runs may be tough for them and tire them out. You may see them napping more often and for longer periods of time.

Irritability: You may see a change in your pet’s demeanor if they are suffering from arthritis. Since they are probably in a fair amount of discomfort or pain, they may growl or whimper if they are touched in a way that causes them more distress. In extreme cases, you might even have a normally mild mannered pet who will snap or bite if they are hurting too much.

Excessive grooming or licking: Sometimes an animal will lick, bite or even chew at a particularly painful area. This can cause hair loss and irritation at the site. When suffering from arthritis, pets will often over groom the area, trying to make it feel better and possibly causing more problems.

Muscle and spinal issues: One of the most serious problems associated with arthritis is when it infiltrates the joints to the point where it affects the muscles or spine. Because your pet may reduce their activities, you might notice them losing weight and muscle in their legs. Or you might notice that they have adopted a hunched position to their body due to their spine being affected. At times you may even see a loss of control over their hindquarters.

Though all of these symptoms can be very scary and difficult for you and your pets, there is also good news. When your pet is diagnosed correctly, there are treatments that can help with arthritis. In our next article, we will discuss what things you can do to help your pet when they have arthritis. If you have concerns that your pet may be in a lot of pain, please contact your veterinarian at once.

By on February 20th, 2014 in Pet Care