Thunder, Lightning & Fireworks Oh My!

Summer is quickly on it’s way! Hooray! However, as we move through spring and approach summer, our pets face many obstacles. Whether it is thunder and lightning or fireworks, this time of year can be very tough on those of our pets that are sensitive to loud noises. With all the fireworks for Memorial Day and the 4th of July, plus the increase in thunderstorms, we see more run away and lost pets this time of year than any other time. In fact, shelters across the country see an increase in numbers right around the 4th of July due to run away pets spooked by fireworks.  You might think that your animals are safe inside, but pets have been known to jump through screens and even pull a Houdini and escape the house when scared from loud noises. We have compiled a list of ways you can ease your pet’s stress level during both storms and fireworks.

  • Know your local fireworks schedule. Try to find out when the fireworks shows will be happening so that you can be prepared. Also, stay tuned to the weather channel. Though we all know that weather forecasters have been known to be wrong at times, it is still a good idea to try and know when storms are going to be coming through your area.
  • Provide a soothing, safe place where your pet can ride out the storm or fireworks. This can be a bathroom, a kennel, a basement, ect. Any place that is comfortable, safe and away from the outdoors will work. If you have outdoor pets that you know are afraid, it is never a bad idea to bring them in for the duration of the fireworks or until the storm blows over.
  • Make the room or kennel comfortable and inviting. Add blankets, their favorite pillow or bed and water for hydration. If you are preparing a space for your cat, be sure to add a litter box.
  • It sometimes helps to leave a radio or television on to drown out the noise of the thunder or fireworks. The same goes for lighting. Having lights on generally makes your pet feel safer rather than being scared in the dark.
  • If possible, try and stay with your pet. Talk in a soothing voice and continue to pet your animal and offer reassurance.
  • Be sure your pet has proper ID with their name, your name and all other pertinent information in the case that they do get loose or run away.
  • Sometimes you can try desensitization with your pet. Playing CD’s with storm sounds can help get them used to the noise. However, if you choose this method, be careful. You want to start softly and gradually get louder. The idea is NOT to scare your pet. It is to get them slowly used to the noise.
  • Finally, if all else fails, talk to your veterinarian about medication.  Certain anxiety medications and sedatives might be able to help calm your pet down.

Spring and summer are a great time of year! We want to keep it all happy and fun. Losing a pet is the last thing we want to see happen. So, take the proper precautions and it will be smooth sailing!

By on May 1st, 2019 in Pet Care

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

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

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