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

The 411 on Fleas

We all know that when the weather gets warmer, we start to see a lot more pests bugging our beloved pets. As the temperatures go up, fleas can really cause your dog or cat some discomfort and give you a lot of headaches. But the question is; how much do you really know about fleas? Here are some of the biggest myths that people believe about those icky, tricky little buggers!

Myth: If you only see one or two fleas, it is no big deal.

Truth: A few fleas can turn into a horde of fleas in a very short time period. They breed with speed! Plus, even a few fleas can cause discomfort to your pet and no one wants that for their faithful companions.

Myth: Your pet only needs preventative a few months out of the year.

Truth: Although low temperatures can help keep flea infestation down in the winter, they still can flourish inside your home. Plus, any warm spells during the winter or an unusually warm spring or fall can make the flea season last much longer. To be safe, it is recommended to use preventative year round.

Myth: I have never seen a flea on my pet and they are only going out in my yard, therefore I do not need preventative.

Truth: Your back yard is constantly being visited by wildlife that can bring fleas and flea eggs into the environment. It is very easy for your pets to pick them up in the yard. Plus, just because you don’t see a flea, does not mean they are not there. Especially on animals with long fur, fleas can sometimes be tough to detect. Better safe than sorry!

Myth: I only need to treat the animal that I see fleas on. All of my other pets are fine.

Truth: If you see fleas on one pet, each and every pet in your household needs to be treated. If you treat one, but skip the others because you don’t see fleas, you are most likely going to get a reinfestation.

Myth: Once I treat my pet, my job is done.

Truth:  The truth is you need to treat your entire home. Fleas love carpet fibers and will stay in them and multiply only to start the problem all over again. Simple vacuuming every day can help eliminate the majority of the population. Then there are treatments that can be purchased at the store. Most importantly, once you have treated your pet and home, keep your pet on preventative! That is the #1 most effective way to keep those pesky fleas out of the house!

Myth: Fleas are a nuisance, but they really are harmless.

Truth:  Fleas are far from harmless. The can do serious damage to your pet and in some severe cases, even cause death. Some conditions that are a direct result of flea bites include: allergic dermatitis, flea anemia, cat scratch fever and tapeworm infections.

Myth: I can get good flea control at the pet store.

Truth: Though some pet stores have started selling more potent flea preventative, the best place to go is your veterinarian’s office. They can prescribe the best product for your pet and their lifestyle and show you exactly how to apply it.

 

By on May 7th, 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

Happy New Year!

We all know that this is the time of year for making resolutions. We want to start the New Year off on a good note. However, have you ever thought about making resolutions for your pets? It only makes sense. Certainly there are things in their life that can be made better too. So, here are a few resolutions for you and your pet to help you have the best 2014 ever!

1. Get more exercise.

Make it a point to take more walks (or jogs) with your dog. This will benefit both of you. The exercise will help all involved lose those extra pounds you have been carrying and make you both healthier in general.

2. Play more.

Take a little time each day to play with your cat or dog. Even if it is just a few minutes, that time will help to strengthen your bond. Plus, a few minutes of playtime a day will help to lighten your mood and your pet’s too!

3. Eat better.

Eating better is NOT just a resolution for humans. Your pets should not only be eating quality pet food, but they need to be eating the correct amount of it as well. If you have any questions about the kind of pet food you are using or how much your pet should be getting, be sure to contact your veterinarian and they will be able to help you.

4. Make an appointment with your vet.

Just as we strive to keep our bodies healthy with annual visits to our doctor, so should your pets. Or more importantly, YOU should make it happen for them. Your pet should be seeing their vet at least once a year for an annual check up, vaccinations and flea, tick and heartworm preventatives. Many conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and obesity can be caught and treated early if your vet sees your pets frequently.

5. Brush those teeth!

This is something we hope that you are doing on a daily basis already, but maybe we can recommend flossing for you if you are not already doing that! However, you should also be brushing your pets’ teeth every day. Be sure to use toothpaste that is specifically made for cats or dogs. It might take a bit of time for your pet to get used to brushing every day, but stick with it! Also, don’t forget your pets’ annual teeth cleaning with your veterinarian!

6. Be sure your pet’s ID is up to date.

If you have moved or changed any phone number, be sure this is reflected on your pet’s ID tag. Also, be sure that your vet and microchipping company have up to date information as well. If you do not have your pet microchipped, we highly recommend it! Collars can come off and tags lost, but the success rate for finding lost pets increases dramatically with microchipping.

7.  Teach your pet a new trick.

This will help challenge both of you. And believe it or not, you CAN teach behaviors to your cat as well. All it takes with any pet is time, patience and a good reward system. Make it fun and it will stimulate both of your brains making for a healthier you and your pet!

8. Spend a few quiet minutes together each day.

This may be one of the most important resolutions on our list! In the busy hustle and bustle of today’s world, it is easy to let time get away from us. The benefits of taking a couple of minutes each day to sit down and simply pet your dog or cat are numerous. In addition to strengthening your relationship with your pet, there are also health benefits. Studies have shown that spending time with your animals decreases blood pressure and makes people happier overall.

So, let’s get ready to make 2014 the best year ever… for both you and your four legged, furry friends! Happy New Year everyone!

By on December 31st, 2013 in Pet Care

Giving Thanks!

This time of year we pause to give thanks for all the wonderful things in our lives. For so many of us, we are thankful for our beloved animals. Therefore, it only makes sense that we would want to keep them as healthy and safe as possible. However, with every major holiday, there are unforeseen hazards that can cause serious problems for our pets. Therefore, this Thanksgiving, here are a few things to keep in mind.

First and foremost, there is the aromatic, juicy turkey that we all love to eat on Thanksgiving. Well, this probably is not a news flash, but our pets love to consume turkey as well. And while a little nibble of turkey won’t necessarily cause any issues with your pet, you should be cautious. First, be sure that the turkey is cooked all the way through. This will save your pet (and your family) from inadvertently ingesting any salmonella bacteria. Second, be sure that if you do give any turkey to your pet, there are absolutely no bones in it. Bones can easily lodge in the esophagus, stomach or intestines.  They can also splinter causing infection, blockages and even death if not treated. Your best course of action is to avoid giving your pets scraps, but we understand that this does happen. So, just be careful.

Avoid giving your pets (or letting them get at) any foods that are high in fat content. This includes the skin from the turkey, gravy and any beef fat that you may be using. These high fat foods can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in pets. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloat and even pancreatitis.

When making the stuffing, be careful about what herbs you are using. They may be tasty to you, but toxic to your pet. Sage in particular is one that can cause gastrointestinal problems in your animals. Cats are particularly sensitive to essential oils and herbs, so watch them around the stuffing.

Be careful of the packing that the food comes in. Nosing through the trash that smells so delightful, your dog or cat might think that they have found a treasure chest of goodies. Unfortunately, when consumed, those plastic bags, strings and other items can cause serious issues and even death for your pet.

Finally, once the meal is over and dessert is served, keep Fifi and Fido away. Chocolate, in particular is very toxic to dogs. However, most of the decadent and rich desserts we eat on Thanksgiving will not settle well with your animals. Just say no when it comes to letting them sample the dessert.

We want to keep our holidays festive and fun and an emergency trip to the vet does not factor into these plans! So, keep an eye on your pets, keep the food out of reach and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

By on November 25th, 2013 in Pet Care