Leave These Foods Off Your Pet’s Holiday Menu
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, eat great food and enjoy the company of our family and friends, which often includes our pets. While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to limit the amount and types of food that your pets consume on Thanksgiving. Foods that are fine for humans (and would seem okay for dogs) can actually be very dangerous for your pet.
The following foods should be avoided on Thanksgiving, no bones about it!
- Turkey Bones
Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
- Fat Trimmings
Fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest, and consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
- Dough/Cake Batter
Since dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
Though the causes of their toxicity are unknown, ingesting grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs.
- Garlic, Mushrooms, and Onions
All three of these foods can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and the central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
Photo: BBC News
Keep your vet’s number handy.
Should your pet become ill and show any of the above symptoms, be sure to have your veterinarian’s phone number and the local animal emergency hospital’s number on hand. A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. You can reach Boston Veterinary Care at (617) 226-5605.
For a comprehensive list of all foods that dogs should avoid visit: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx
The November Spay Waggin’ Schedule is Already Full
We’re just about halfway finished with November and the Spay Waggin’ is already fully booked for the month. The Spay Waggin’ is a subsidized spay/neuter program created by the ARL to assist clients in financial need. If you live on the South Shore or Cape Cod and your pet needs to be spayed or neutered, book your appointment for December as soon as possible.
To make an appointment, please call 1-877-590-SPAY(7729) or book online (cats only). The Spay Waggin’ phone line is open Monday-Wednesday and Fridays, from 10-4. For all other inquiries, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit: arlboston.org/spay-waggin.
October 9 Reminds Us that Pets can Suffer from Obesity too!
Reblogged from Food is not Love
Today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Did you know that one of the biggest issues with animal obesity is that owners often don’t recognize it? After all, pets are human’s best friends; you see your pet every day, so naturally a few extra pounds can easily go unnoticed. This is until of course the dreaded weigh in at the veterinarian’s office. When it comes to your pets being over weight there is much more at stake than just good looks. Some of the many health risks resulting from pet obesity include diabetes, joint stress, arthritis, blood pressure issues, heart disease and most importantly, longevity. Maintaining your pet’s everyday quality of life can be much more difficult when he or she is overweight. Obesity in our animals is not only important to recognize, but to control and prevent.
So how can you really tell if your pet is over weight? As DVM Kasja Newlin puts it, “when feeling over your dogs ribs it should feel similar to the way your knuckles do when your hand is laid out flat. On the contrary, if your pets ribs feel the same way your knuckles do when forming a fist then your pet are under-weight.” An easier way to tell might be to stand over your pet and look down at them you. You should be able to see a waist. If you do not see a waistline, then your pet is too heavy.
Keep track of your pets weight just as you would your own, this way any gains or losses can be easily detected. It is important for pet owners to understand that your pet being a few pounds over weight may not sound like much to you, it is to him or her. An interesting thing to note is your pets constant eagerness to eat is easily confused for actual hunger. The truth is that our pets are a lot like us, we eat because we like to and not necessarily because we are hungry!
If your veterinarian has advised you that your pet is over weight it’s important to take control of the issue. You don’t want to see rapid weight loss in any pet, so it is important to cut back to equate the ideal calorie intake. Proper calorie intake varies from each animal, so consult your veterinarian to learn your pet’s ideal weight and develop a proper diet. After all, you want to see your loyal companion live as long as possible, so we encourage you to create a lifestyle for your pet that encourages this!
Every year pets die because they were left in a car on a warm day.
On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, so leaving your dog in the car for “just a minute” is a dangerous thing to do. On a day like today (90+ degrees) the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes!
Just like people, animals are affected by the heat, but unlike humans they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads.
What to do if you come across a dog in a car with no owner in sight:
- Note the car’s make/model, license plate number, location and the time.
- Take down a description of the dog, and note the condition of the dog. Watch for restlessness, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and lack of coordination. These are all symptoms of heatstroke.
- Ask nearby businesses to make announcements using the vehicle’s make/model to locate the dog’s owner.
- If the owner is not located call the police or local animal control.
- If possible, don’t leave the scene until help has arrived!
If a pet shows signs of heatstroke, bring them to a vet immediately! Provide the pet with water to drink, and apply cool (not cold, you don’t want over cool the pet), wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws. If you have access to a large amount of water, consider spraying or splashing them with cool water, to bring their body temperature down.
The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and spring is finally here! As much as we love this weather, we pet owners need to remember that fleas and ticks do too. While we are out and about stretching our winter legs it is important to remember we still need to protect our pets from the dangers the warm weather brings. With ample opportunity to latch on, ticks are able to transmit disease to animals just as they would to humans. The most common diseases that ticks can spread are lyme disease, anaplasma and ehrlichia. In order to screen for these diseases, there is a small blood test that can be performed by your veterinarian.
Regardless of which product you chose to protect your pet we advocate that you do so year round given the irregularity in our seasons. A popular brand of flea and tick prevention is Frontline Plus. Despite popular belief, this is not considered a repellent. In order for Frontline Plus to do its job, the fleas or ticks must make contact with the treated animal before dying, so after applying, don’t be alarmed if you are still finding them on your pet. If you and your pet are active, enjoy hiking and visiting the dog park, we encourage you to consult your veterinarian about the lyme vaccine.
Consider all of your options with regards to keeping your pet protected and don’t hesitate to call your veterinary clinic for advice. Remember, as the warm weather is arriving and the green grass is growing, it’s the most important time of the year to keep your best friend covered!
While we humans are busily cleaning this spring, our cats are, well, doing the opposite. Spring is when cats shed, which could easily impede your cleaning efforts and cause your allergies to flare up, but with a few helpful tips you can have a clean house this spring and a happy, healthy cat! So as you’re tackling your to-do lists, consider these tips that will make spring cleaning easier on you and your cat:
1. Coiffed Cat: A well-brushed cat will help keep the house clean and keep your allergies to a minimum. A thorough brushing 3-4 times a week goes a long way towards reducing shedding. Some grooming tools remove loose fur and dander in the undercoat. Visit Petco’s grooming section for some helpful tools.
2. Bath time: For most cats, a bath is their worst enemy, but if your cat will allow it, try bathing your cat using a pet shampoo. For those cats who refuse a bath, consider some earth-friendly, all natural hypoallergenic cat wipes. They can be used daily and help to remove dander and maintain a healthy coat.
3. Wash Your Cat’s Bedding: Take a look around the house and find any places that your cat frequents and wash/clean them. Pillow covers and blankets can easily be thrown in the washing machine and many cat beds will have removable covers that are washing machine safe. Remember to use a gentle, unscented detergent that won’t irritate your cat. If it’s something that can’t be put in the washing machine, then vacuum it thoroughly. Some vacuums have special pet hair attachments.
4. Take Caution: While you’re sprucing up your place for spring don’t forget to keep the cleaning chemicals away from your pet! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to animals. Keep your vet’s emergency hotline in a prominent place, just in case. Remember to properly dispose of old cleaners and hazardous materials that may pose a danger to your cat.
5. Allergies: Yes, pets get them too! Pay attention to any changes in your cats health of behavior – scratching, irritated eyes or runny nose may be symptoms of allergies. Cleaning can stir up mold spores or dust that can irritate their delicate respiratory system.
Beyla, currently available for adoption, will need to start a weight loss program in her new home.
Chubby kitties might look cute, but those extra pounds can be a serious health risk for your cat, putting them at risk for dangers such as diabetes, fur matting, osteoarthritis, and respiratory issues, among others. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your cat healthy and active and help them to shed the extra pounds!
1. Don’t Overfeed
Some cats are great grazers, while others don’t have the ability to regulate their own food intake. A cat in the wild would first have to hunt and kill its food, which takes time and energy. But for our spoiled pets, it’s up to us to regulate their diet. You can start by reading the recommended portions from your food brand. Even if your cat grazes throughout the day, you should not put down more than a day’s serving at a time. If you have multiple cats that can’t share, try feeding them in separate rooms with the door closed during designated meal times. Also limit the number of treats you give each day. Save them as a special reward for when your cat does something good (like staying still for nail trimming or after a long snuggle session)!
2. Exercise Your Cat, Physically & Mentally
If your cat is constantly crying for food (and you’re feeding them plenty), then chances are they’re not actually hungry. They might just be bored, and if food time is the most interesting part of their day, that will become their default need. Next time your cat cries and it’s not dinner time, take a ten minute break from whatever you’re doing and start up a game instead!
Don’t know how to engage your cat in play? Every cat likes a different toy and it can be hard to find that one they go crazy for. Some cats might seem like they are stubborn and uninterested in playing at all. Don’t let that fool you! Start by buying a small selection of a variety of toys (fuzzy mice, bell balls, wand toys, etc.) and see which interests them the most. Then, make the game as fun as can be! It’s important that you play to your cat’s hunting instincts. Dangling a feather in their face is more annoying than fun. Instead, show your cat the feather and then slowly drag it behind the corner of a wall or piece of furniture and watch your cat spring into action! Just as they get close, lift the feather up into the air and see if they leap for it.
When you figure out your cat’s favorites, keep them novel. Try rotating toys every few days. Your cat will forget the hidden toys even existed until they magically appear again!
3. Make Food Time Fun
If your cat acts like it hasn’t eaten in days when it’s only be a few hours since their last meal, it’s important to make food time last as long as possible (which will also help their stomachs feel full). A great way to do this is with a food puzzle, which you can buy, make from a yogurt container, or even an egg carton.
You can also use dry food to train your cat. Dinner time is a great time to do this because your cat is more motivated. Take half of your cat’s dry food and make it sit, climb, or touch for a piece of kibble (clickers work great for training cats, but it’s important to learn the proper techniques first!). When everything is gone, you can reward your cat with the other half of its dinner portion. (Remember, any food you use for training should be accounted for in your cat’s daily caloric intake.)
4. When in Doubt, Ask a Vet
If you’re not sure where to begin on your cat’s weight-loss program, or if you need to reduce portions or change brands of food, be sure to consult a vet. If you suddenly cut your cat’s portions dramatically or switch types of food, your cat might stop eating – which is not good either! A veterinarian can help you come up with a systematic program to get your cat back on track to a healthy lifestyle.
Imagine what your teeth would look like after years of not brushing. It’s not a pleasant visual but is a reality for our pets. Dental disease is an issue that can often go over looked. It’s common for humans not to consider their pets’ teeth like they do their own. However, the risks involved when our furry companions’ teeth go un-cared for can be very serious. Periodontal disease can lead to infection of the blood causing heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease. It can also lead to infection of the mouth, making it very painful for our pets to chew.
If dental disease is diagnosed by a veterinarian, your pet will have to undergo anesthesia and a dental cleaning with possible tooth extractions, depending on the severity. As one can imagine, the bill for a procedure like this can be very costly, but is crucial to your beloved cat or dog’s health. Dr. Mekler, Veterinarian at Boston Veterinary Care, warns us that, “Dental disease can allow bacteria to get under the gum line, which can cause a sinus abscess. When this occurs it can be an emergency situation. When it comes to the gums, red means pain!” Luckily there are many steps we as owners can take in order to prevent periodontal disease.
Dr. Davis, Veterinarian at Boston Veterinary Care, shares some advice on helping to prevent dental disease. “Brush your pet’s teeth! T/D does work.” (T/D stands for “tooth diet” and is a prescription brand of food by Hills Science Diet made specifically to help control the tartar that builds on the teeth). Dr. Davis adds that, “At this point water additives have not proven to be effective – but are undergoing clinical trials. The best way to maintain good health and avoid periodontal disease is to brush routinely. The recommended amount of brushing is every day- and at the very least, every 48 hours. Brushing any less than every 48 hours is not effective.”
For some pets, brushing their teeth may be a challenge. Dr. Mekler suggests slowly introducing brushing. This is a life time prevention and if it takes months to get your pet comfortable with it, that’s okay! Some ways to go about this are simply finding a pet tooth paste that your pet enjoys and considers a treat. Start by getting your pet used to having their teeth touched and use your finger as the tooth brush. As your pet gets used to this, you can then begin to introduce a tooth brush. You can find one at your local pet store or veterinary clinic. For our treat motivated pets, you can also incorporate a reward to help make this process easier and fun for your pet!
If you think your pet suffers from dental disease, you should see a veterinarian immediately. If your pets’ teeth are not yet a problem, then it’s important to keep them that way. Most importantly, Dr. Shophet of Boston Veterinary care reminds us to “Brush, brush, brush!”
Danielle d.W.: We just had a terrible scare with our dog and the disease HGE! I had never heard of this before and I think it would be great to let people know how serious, but treatable this is!
Answer: BVC Relief Veterinarian Dr. Vo explains Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) as an acute condition that leads to inflammation and bleeding of the intestines. This disease can also cause systemic infection, this means that bacteria can be absorbed into the body. Dr. Vo tells us that HGE presents with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. When this illness is present the stool is described as “raspberry jam.” When diagnosed by a veterinarian the treatment includes, hospitalization with fluids and pain management. Depending on the cause of the disease it may be treated by antibiotics as well. Symptoms of this illness can be severe and even fatal if not treated. Causes are still unknown, but may be due to abnormal reactions to food, bacteria or drugs. Dr. Vo reminds us that many other diseases can cause similar symptoms. If your dog suddenly displays bloody diarrhea you should seek medical attention immediately.
Erin: My 4-year old male cat (8.5 lbs) with a formally small appetite is suddenly, over the past few months, seemingly starving about an hour after eating and bugs me for the rest of the night. He also wakes me up in the morning now wanting food (which he never did, that was left to my other (fat) cat). I took him to the vet and they did a fecal and found nothing wrong, or no physical symptoms like weight loss, etc…is it worth getting blood work? They didn’t’ think so, unless his weight changes.
Answer: Dr. Vo explains that changes in dietary habits can be caused by both medical and behavioral issues. Endocrine problems, parasites and intestinal disease are some common medical causes of these symptoms. At 4 years old it would be rare for a cat to have hyperthyroidism. Blood work can indicate other issues and it is never a bad idea to check because doing this will also help in ruling out certain medical problems. Dr. Vo notes that if behavior is the cause of her increasing food demands, then it may be helpful to evaluate her environment and your own behavior to see if you may be enabling these changes. To learn more check out http://indoorpet.osu.edu/. Here you can find tips to help you identify sources of un-wanted behavior.
Have a question for one of our Boston Veterinary Care vets? Leave your questions in our comments section below!
Stella waits for her playmate in the snow! She’s currently available for adoption at our Boston shelter.
Winter is upon us, so it’s important to make sure that you and your dog are prepared! The following tips will help protect your pup in winter weather.
- Dogs can easily lose their scent in the snow, so never let your dog off leash during a snowstorm, or when there’s snow and ice on the ground.
- Wipe your dogs paws AND stomach when he’s been outside in the snow or sleet. Sidewalks are often treated with rock salt, antifreeze and other dangerous chemicals. Not only are these bad for your pet’s paws, but if ingested these chemicals could poison your dog. Make sure your pet does not lick his paws or stomach before you’ve wiped them down!
- Protect your pup from the elements. If your dog typically has a longer coat don’t shave it down for the winter. A longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog has a short coat get him a coat or a sweater. It will make the outdoors more enjoyable for him and will protect him from the cold.
- Don’t leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. The car can act like a refrigerator and could cause your dog to freeze to death.
- If your dog spends a lot of time outside, playing, running or going for long walks, make sure he’s getting enough protein. you want to make sure that his coat it in excellent condition so he stays nice and warm when he’s frolicking in the snow!
- Make sure your dog has a warm place to sleep away from a door or any drafts. If your dog likes to burrow consider putting a blanket on his bed as well.
- Lastly, if your dog likes to play in the snow, go ahead and join him! There’s probably nothing that he’d like better than to have his best friend (YOU) play fetch in the snow or just run around with him!