Happy Thanksgiving… Pets Included!

Happy Thanksgiving…Almost! The big day is only a week away and it is time to stop and reflect on all we have to be thankful for! One of the many things that make our live complete is our pets. We love them and want the very best for them. But on a holiday where we give thanks for those furry, four legged bundles of joy, there are many dangers lurking that can cause real trouble for our pets. With all the decorating, cooking, relatives and chaos that often accompany Turkey Day, our pets can easily get lost in the shuffle. This can make for a lot of unwanted accidents. A scrap dropped here, a turkey bone left out there… these things may seem small, but they can add up to big consequences! So, here are a few things to keep in mind to help keep your pets safe while celebrating this Thanksgiving!

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. 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 10th, 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

Cat Bathing???? Is that Even Possible?

If you are a cat owner, then you are probably more then well aware that cats do not like water. They avoid it at all costs. Even when they drink, it is daintily and far less then their canine counterparts, who they watch with disdain as they slobber in their water bowls. Unless you are the cat owner with that rare kitty who actually enjoys a quick dip, you probably have never thought about giving your cat a bath. Of course you haven’t… you enjoy having all your digits, right?

Though it is not often, there are times when a kitty bath is warranted. This may cause you, the owner, to run and cower behind the living room sofa in fear. But fear not… we are here to help! The first step is understanding when Mrs. Flufferkins actually needs a bath. Most cats can go their entire life and not need help from their human companions to keep clean. They are usually very good at grooming themselves. Unfortunately, as some cats age, they lose the ability to properly groom themselves and need some assistance. Then there is the adventurous cat that finds themselves in a substance of unknown origin. And you, the ever diligent owner, do not want them ingesting this. True story… we once had a cat that rolled in motor oil! Not the type of stuff you want them grooming off their fur.

If you find yourself in a situation where your cat needs a bath, you can either take them to the groomer (and have no fear of judgment from anyone that knows cats!) Or, you can choose to try and do the job yourself. If you do decide to forage into that great unknown of kitty bathing, we have a few tips to help you and your little darling get though the event with as little trauma (for both of you) as possible.  Here we go:

 Step 1:

Choose your battle plan. You may want to enlist some help. Cats are crafty and amazingly strong when they want to get away. Plus, there are those very sharp things they have called claws! A couple set of hands are always a good idea.

 Step 2:

Figure out where the bathing is going to take place. Get your kitty into the room and close the door! If Fluffy makes it out mid bath, it is not going to be an easy task to her back into the room!

 Step 3:

Place a rubber mat in a clean, empty sink or bathtub for kitty to stand on. This will help give sure footing and prevent slipping.

 Step 4:

Test the water. You want it warm, but not hot. Use the inside of your forearm to judge the temperature. Remember, your pet can suffer a burn just like you can.

 Step 5:

Slowly and gently pour the water over your cat. Bring it to her and not the other way around. Talk softly to kitty in a low, steady voice to keep her calm.

 Step 6: 

Make sure you are using a cat-specific shampoo. All species have a specific pH balance and using a shampoo not balanced for cats can cause skin irritation.

 Step 7:

Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Shampoo residue can contribute to skin allergies.


 Step 8:

Have a clean bath towel handy and gently stroke your cat’s fur to soak up as much water as you can. Keep the house warm and free from drafts until your cat is completely dry.

 Step 9:

Reward! Talk gently to your cat and lavish her with praise during the entire bathing process. When your cat comes out of hiding, that is the time for lots of extra love and a treat or two!

We hope that if your kitty is one of the multitudes of water phobic cats, you never need this article. But if you do, good luck and let us know how it goes!

By on August 1st, 2014 in Pet Care

‘Tis the Season

Though the temperatures are a bit mild for this time of year, the holidays are upon us! Now is the time for festive lights, good food, decorations and holiday cheer. It is also a time of year where there are many distractions that can keep us from watching out for our four legged friends. Amid the decorating, shopping, meal preparation and present wrapping, things sometimes get overlooked, ending in an unplanned trip to your veterinarian.

Here is a list of potentially hazardous situations that you should be aware of to keep your pet safe.

~ 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.

~ 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.

We hope that these tips help you avoid any unplanned vet trips and that you and your pets have a Ho Ho Happy Holiday Season!

By on December 15th, 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

Hunting Safety and Your Pet

We are well into our Michigan hunting season and opening day for firearms is just around the corner. Whether you are a hunter or not, there are a few things you need to be aware of to help keep your pets safe during the hunting season.

~ Know the hunting season dates.  Even if you are not a hunter, if you enjoy hiking with your pets, you need to know when hunters are out. The following is a link from the Michigan DNR that has all of the hunting seasons listed: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10363—,00.html

~ Know where it is legal to hunt in your area. You may want to avoid these places during hunting season. Even public trails can be near private land, where hunting may be allowed. Do your research to make sure you and your pet are safe year round.

~ Avoid walking in wooded areas at dawn and dusk. These are prime hunting times and visibility is limited.

~ On that note, make yourself and your pet as visible as possible. Wear bright colors, preferably “hunter orange”, which is the universal color for hunters. If you see a hunter, announce that you and your pet are there.

~ Make sure your dog is wearing the proper gear. A “hunter orange” canine vest will make them visible to other hunters. Also consider booties to protect their feet.

~ Consider putting a bell on your pet’s collar to help hunters hear him/her coming. On that same note, you may want to keep up a conversation with your pet as you walk. Talking will make your presence known, and keep your pet entertained as well.

~ Keep your pets on a leash. By keeping your pets close to you, it is much less likely that they will be mistaken for game bounding through the woods or a field.

~ Carry a first aid kit. You never know when you, or your pet, might need it.

 

For those of you that have hunting dogs, here are a few tips to help keep them safe as well.

~ Make sure all of your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. In addition, be sure they are current on flea and tick preventative.

~ Be sure that your dogs have tags, are microchipped and/or have a radio collar. Even the most obedient dogs can get lost.

~ Be aware of weather conditions. If it is cold and your dog gets wet find a place where they can get out of the elements, dry them as much as possible. Watch for signs of hypothermia. If the weather is warm, watch for signs of heat exhaustion.

~ Always carry fresh water for your dog to drink.

As with any situation, being knowledgeable and vigilant will assure that you and your pet are safe during hunting season.

By on November 13th, 2013 in Pet Care

Happy Halloween!

Close your eyes and picture it… an ink black sky with an almost full moon glowing bright as wisps of clouds float by. The night is chilly with the promise of ghosts and goblins around every corner. Shouts of “trick or treat” can be heard around the neighborhood. Indeed, Halloween is coming quickly!

But before you run out and grab a costume to get Missy or Buddy ready for the big night (and we are talking about your pets here, not your kids) there are a few things to keep in mind concerning animals and Halloween. Even though we love this holiday, it is not always the best for our four legged friends.

Here are a few things to be aware of this Halloween:

Halloween Candy.  One of the best things about Halloween is the awesome candy!  Yes parents, even you must admit to nabbing a piece of candy or 10 from your kids’ stash. Don’t worry, we are not judging. We all do it too. However, all that candy can be mighty tempting for your dogs and cats too. Be sure to keep candy up and away from where pets can get into it. Although chocolate is the worst (and can even kill animals in large amounts), too much of any candy is not good for pets and can cause upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.

Candles. Both in pumpkins and in the open, candles can be a hazard to your pet. Often, candles burning in jack o’ lanterns create a wonderful aroma that just begs a pet to come and investigate. This can lead to singed whiskers at best and severe burns in the worst cases. Be sure that the pumpkins are placed where your dog or cat cannot access them. Also be careful of placing candles in open areas where they can be knocked over by the dog or cat. In addition to painful burns from the flame or wax, this can also start house fires.

Costumes:  Everyone loves a cute dog or cat in a costume. But keep in mind; sometimes your dog or cat is not as happy with the prospect of dressing up. If you do decide to put them in a costume, be sure that they can move freely, the costume does not have small pieces that can be chewed off and ingested and that it does not impair their vision. Also, before you put any kind of dye or coloring on your pet, be sure to check with your vet. Even if it claims to be non-toxic for humans, this is not always true of animals. And one last warning pertaining to costumes; If you decide to take your dog trick or treating with your kids, be aware that all the little ghouls and goblins running around, crazy on sugar, might be a source of anxiety for your pup. Some dogs react with fear and others can get aggressive, so be prepared.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry.  Over the past several years, glow sticks and glow bracelets and necklaces have become a staple for the Halloween holiday. Parents give them to their kids to make them more visible and kids love them because they look cool. Cats and dogs love them because they make fun chew toys. Though the contents are not usually life threatening if consumed, they can cause pain and irritation in the mouth. Therefore, do not leave them lying around where your pets can get to them.

As with all things pet related, knowledge is key. Knowing what things to be aware of and what to avoid this Halloween can make it happy hauntings for everyone!

By on October 17th, 2013 in Pet Care