August is Microchip Month at Boston Veterinary Care!

Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) answers your FAQs and encourages you to take advantage of their special monthly offer – 25% off your pet’s microchip – registration included!

Did you know… that microchipping your pet DOUBLES their chances of finding their way home?

August 15 is National Check the Chip Day, and for good reason: During the Summer months, pets will be spending more time outside—or may find themselves extra eager to slip out the door into the sunshine. In the event that you and your pet ever become separated, you’ll want to make sure that you are reunited as quickly and easily as possible.

That’s where a microchip comes in handy! Once microchipped, your pet can be identified throughout its life with a one-of-a-kind ID number. For this reason, microchipping has become extremely popular for pet owners, and scanning pets for microchips has become standard practice in veterinary offices, animal hospitals, and animal shelters.

BVC answers your FAQs about microchips and why they are a great idea for you and your pet:

Q: What is a microchip?

A: A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number that is unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required. The microchip is injected with a needle beneath the skin between the shoulder blades and is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it.

Q: Will the implantation of the microchip cause my pet pain?

A: Your pet may feel a slight “pinch” as they would with any other needle injection. Once the microchip in place, however, it does not cause pain and cannot be felt by touch. Many pet owners opt to microchip their pet during routine exams, spay or neutering, or dental cleanings; it’s one less trip to the vet, and your furry companion will probably be too distracted to notice that the injection is happening.

size of a pet microchip

Ever wonder what a pet microchip looks like? It’s as small as a grain of rice! Check out BVC’s August promotion and get your pet microchipped today!

Q: Can all cats and dogs receive a microchip, and at what age?

A: Absolutely! A microchip is recommended for all cats and dogs (even toy breeds) and can be implanted as early as 6-8 weeks of age.

Q: How does microchip identification work?

A: A special non-intrusive scanner is used to send a signal to the microchip to read the identification number. The person reading the scanner can search a national microchip registry to find out the pet owner’s information.

Q: Why should I microchip my pet; isn’t a collar enough?

A: In short, things happen. While a collar with ID tags is an excellent start, there is always a chance that they can be removed or fall off.  Think of a microchip as a permanent ID tag for your pet—and a fail-safe way to verify that you’re their owner.

Microchips have reunited thousands of pets with their owners, even ones who have been missing for years or traveled many miles away! If your pet were to go astray, any veterinarian’s office, animal hospital, or animal shelter would be able to scan your pet’s microchip and contact you immediately. Be sure to keep your contact information current in the national microchip registry database to ensure an easy reunion with your pet – some microchip companies even let you add a backup contact.

Q: My microchipped pet is missing. What do I do?

A: The first step is to contact your pet’s microchip manufacturer (e.g, PetLink, Home Again) and provide them with your pet’s unique microchip number. If your pet has already been located, they’ll be able to tell you where to pick up your pet. If your pet’s whereabouts have not yet been located, it means that their microchip has not yet been scanned by a local animal shelter, animal hospital, or veterinarian. The microchip manufacturer will put an alert in the system so that when your pet’s microchip IS scanned they can contact you right away.

Take advantage of Boston Veterinary Care’s special August promotion!

This month, BVC clients will receive 25% off microchipping – registration included – with an exam or procedure; not to be combined with any other offer. Click here or call (617) 226-5606 for more details or to make an appointment.

TOO HOT FOR SPOT! For more advice on how to keep your pet safe in the warmer months, visit


Boston Spay Neuter Day for Cats is Coming Up!

Spay/Neuter & Exams for Cat Owners with Financial Need on October 2

The Animal Rescue League of Boston, Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society and MSPCA are teaming up to provide spay/neuter services for Boston cats. During the “Boston Spay-Neuter Day for Cats,” pet owners in financial need can have their cats spayed or neutered for the low cost of just $25 per feline. Priority will be given to residents of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.

09-12-14 SpayNeuterDayCatCall 617.226.5685 to book an appointment for your cat today! 

Event Details
Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats
October 2, 2014
9AM – 4PM
United House of Prayer for All People
206 Seaver Street Dorchester, MA 02121

If your cat is already spayed/neutered please help spread the word about Boston Spay/Neuter Day for Cats, by sharing this blog post with your friends!

10-2-14 Boston Spay Neuter Day Flyer


Thank You Thursday: The Broadway Dog Spa Donates Grooming Services for Lynnfield Dogs

Thank You Broadway Dog Spa!

The six dogs that the ARL’s Rescue Team removed from the Lynnfield hoarding house a few weeks ago underwent a dramatic transformation thanks to The Broadway Dog Spa in South Boston. The ARL doesn’t have professional groomers on staff, so whenever we take in a dog with a dire need for grooming, we rely on support from local businesses to help the dog look his or her best.

From the moment we took in the Lynnfield dogs we knew that they needed to see a groomer as soon as possible! All of their coats were overgrown and some were caked in feces and urine. Not only was a good grooming important to the dogs getting adopted, it was important to their overall health and self esteem.

The Broadway Dog Spa generously agreed to donate their grooming services to help. Take a look through our before and after photos and you’ll see the dramatic transformation. They look like entirely different dogs!

Most importantly, the grooming seemed to change their dispositions. They were clearly happier after their grooming. The dog with the most obvious shift was Zorro. Initially, very timid, he would hide in the back of his kennel and cower. Immediately after his grooming it was as though a huge weight had been lifted off of him. His tail wouldn’t stop wagging and he would run to the front of his kennel, eager for attention.

Today’s Thank You Thursday is dedicated to Michelle at The Broadway Dog Spa for coming to the aid of these dogs and generously donating grooming services to the ARL. Thank you!

Bella Before-After Buddy Before-After Shadow Before-After Sugar Before-After Zorro Before-After

Georgina Before-After



Tomorrow: World Spay Day Twitter Chat with Dr. Schettino

Learn the Facts & Myths About Spay/Neuter

01-10-14 Dr Schettino Photo

Dr. Edward Schettino

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of World Spay Day, a day that allows us to shine a spotlight on spay/neuter.

Spay/neuter represents one of the most humane ways to lessen the number of homeless animals in our communities.

To celebrate the occasion we’re hosting an Ask the Vet Twitter Chat on February 25,12pm -1pm. You can join fellow supporters of animal welfare and Dr. Edward Schettino, our director of veterinary services to discuss this important issue.

Conversation topics include:

  • How to encourage more people to spay/neuter their pets
  • Common myths about spay/neuter
  • Health benefits and cost savings

To participate in the conversation, follow the ARL on Twitter (@arlboston) and submit your questions using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet. Questions may be submitted real time or in advance.

For more information about spay/neuter and low-cost resources visit or download our “5 Good Reasons to Spay/Neuter” flyer.


World Spay Day is One Week Away

Join Our #ARLAskaVet Twitter Chat on 2/25

02-18-14 SpayNueter Billboard

One of our billboards generously donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.

An annual campaign of the Humane Society of the United States and animal welfare organizations like the ARL, World Spay Day focuses attention on the important issue of spay/neuter.

Spay/neuter represents one of the most humane ways to lessen the number of homeless animals in our communities.  The surgery comes with low risks and offers a variety of benefits to pets and the people who love them.

We’re raising awareness about spay/neuter all month long – February is Spay/Neuter Awareness month after all! -  with our “good for pets and the people who love them” public education campaign and billboards across Eastern MA, courtesy of our friends at Clear Channel Outdoor.

To mark the 20th anniversary of World Spay Day, we’ll host an ARL Ask the Vet Twitter Chat on February 25, 12pm-1pm. Join fellow animal welfare supporters and Dr. Edward Schettino, director of  veterinary services at the ARL, to talk about:

  • Ways to encourage more people to spay/neuter their pets
  • Common myths about spay/neuter
  • Health benefits and cost savings

To participate in the conversation, follow the ARL on Twitter (@arlboston) and submit your questions using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet. You can submit questions real time or in advance.

For more information about spay/neuter and low-cost resources visit or download our “5 Good Reasons to Spay/Neuter” flyer.

01-11-14 Dr Schettino

Join Dr. Schettino on 2/25 for the #ARLAskaVet Twitter Chat and follow him on Twitter: @ARLDrS.


Your Winter Pet Health Questions, Answered

Dr. Schettino’s Answers to Pet Health Questions from Yesterday’s Twitter Chat

01-11-14 Dr SchettinoThank you to all who participated in and submitted questions to yesterday’s twitter chat with the ARL’s Director of Veterinary Medical Services, Dr. Edward Schettino.

In cased you missed it, you can see a transcript of the conversation below. We’ll be organizing another twitter chat at the end of February about spay/neuter, so stay-tuned!

Introduction: @ARLBoston: Hi everyone. Our Winter #PetHealth Twitter chat starts NOW! #ARLAskaVet

Q:@pawspluspals: @ARLBoston #ARLAskaVet Should dogs always wear doggie boots/booties when they go walking on snow/ice?
Dr.Schettino: Doggie boots help protect your companion’s pads from salt and ice so depending on location they can be helpful. #ARLAskaVet
A: however, some dogs may not like them #ARLAskaVet

Q: @ubergirl4: My cats shed a lot during the winter and get indigestion from hairballs. What should I give them to help?” #ARLAskaVet
You should give them love and affection by grooming them on a regular basis. This will help reduce shedding! #ARLAskaVet 

Q: @Dobrska: How do I remove sap from my pet’s fur? #ARLAskaVet
A: The best way to remove sap is to use some type of cooking oil (Olive oil ..) and gently rub into the sap. #ARLAskaVet
A: ‏
Once the sap is lose you then can use a liquid dishwashing detergent to wash out the oil. Problem solved!! #ARLAskaVet

Q: Do dogs need flea/tick treatment in the winter if they rarely interact with other dogs?

A: Yes! Fleas can live inside during the winter months. Year round protection is very important. #ARLAskaVet
A: And depending on the temperature outside and your location … ticks can still be a nuisance during the winter months. #ARLAskaVet

Q: @MRegan102205: #arlaskavet – If someone has an indoor/outdoor cat, when is it too cold for the cat to remain outside?” 
A: When the temperature starts to dip below freezing you need to be very careful with outdoor pets. #ARLAskaVet
A: You need to keep a careful eye on your cat when they are outside. They will let you know when it is too cold. #ARLAskaVet

A: If it is too cold for you … your cat is probably cold as well! Be very careful and monitor your cat carefully. #ARLAskaVet

Q: What is the longest a pet should be outside when the temperature is below 32F? #ARLAskaVet 
A: Some pets love the cold weather and can spend hours outside in the snow and cold. However, you need to keep a watchful eye #ARLAskaVet
A: on your pet and when they show signs of cold: holding up their paws, shivering and becoming less active #ARLAskaVet

Q: @BostonDailyNews: Can animals get frostbite? #ARLAskaVet #Boston cc:@ARLDrS

A: Yes! Usually on their paw pads, the tip of the tail and the margins of the ears. #ARLAskaVet #Boston

Q: Cats seem to eat plants frequently during the winter. Why and is this a cause for concern? #ARLAskaVet #Boston cc:@ARLDrS
A: You are either home more often or you have moved your plants inside for the winter months. #ARLAskaVet #Boston
A: It is vital that you are familiar with what type of houseplants you have and their degree of toxicity! #ARLAskaVet #Boston

Q: @AlyssaKane: @ARLBoston @ARLDrS Should I vaccinate my dog for lepto and canine flu? I’m not sure if I should be worried about these illnesses #ARLAskaVet

A: It all depends on the lifestyle of your dog. You should have this conversation with your local veterinarian.

Q: @CamillaRFox: @ARLBoston @ARLDrS #ARLAskaVet Any winter exercise tips for large dog whose arthritis lets him swim, but little else?

A: You can find a canine physical therapist who generally have underwater treadmills that you can use.

Q: @norwoodsworld:@ARLBoston @ARLDrS what’s the difference between kennel cough and canine flu? #ARLAskaVet

A: Great tweet! They both have similar symptoms but are very different – canine flu generally contd #ARLAskaVet
A: … is more severe. You should speak with your regular veterinarian regarding risks of each. #ARLAskaVet

Q: When should a dog wear a coat? #ARLAskaVet
A: It all depends on the dog. If you feel your dog is uncomfortable in the cold, feel free to try a warm winter coat.

A: Generally dogs lose heat through their paws, ears and respiratory tract.


Q&A with ARL’s Dr. Schettino about Winter Pet Health

Don’t Miss the Twitter Chat with Dr. Schettino on January 14

Love it or hate it, winter is here. We all prepare the best we can to endure the plummeting temperatures, snow, and ice. Making sure our pets stay happy and healthy in the cold should top the list of winter weather preparations.

The ARL’s Director of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Schettino, will be holding a Twitter Chat on Tuesday, January 14 from 12:30-1 p.m. to answer your questions about winter pet health and safety.

To be a part of the conversation, follow the ARL on Twitter (@arlboston) and submit your questions using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet.

Here are just a few questions that we had for him… and he provided some really helpful answers, so if you have a question you want to ask, just submit it on Twitter in advance or real time using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet.

01-10-14 Dr Schettino PhotoQ:  When should a dog wear a coat?

A:  It all depends on the dog.  Some dogs, large or small, love to spend time outdoors in many weather conditions.  Typically your dog will let you know what weather conditions they are comfortable with and how much cold they can tolerate.  Signs of cold in your four-legged companion are shivering, holding up their paws, and generally acting in discomfort.  If you feel your dog is uncomfortable, feel free to try a warm winter coat, however you cannot assume that this will keep them warm enough.  It is still key to keep a close eye on them for signs of cold.  If your dog is acclimated to the winter, a coat  should not be unnecessary.  However, a fashionable coat never harmed anyone or any dog!

Q:  What is the longest a pet should be outside when the temperature is below 320F?

A: It all depends on the dog and how much below 32oF.  Some dogs (and people) love the cold weather and snow and can spend hours outside, while other dogs (and people) would rather travel to the Caribbean and wait out the long winter months.  When it gets below 10oF it is best to limit the time outside for both the human and the dog.  Keep a very watchful eye on your dog; signs of cold are holding up their paws, shivering and becoming less active.  If these signs are detected it is best to bring your companion inside to warm up.  If your dog has never experienced the cold weather do not leave him/her outside unattended.  The majority of dogs will let the owner know when they are done!

Q:  Cats seem to eat plants frequently during the winter.  Why and is this a cause for concern?

A:  It may seem that your cat is eating plants more frequently during the winter months, but this is generally not the case.  More than likely either you are home more and are seeing your feline friend nibble on your plants more often, or you have moved your outdoor plants inside for the winter, providing a new buffet for your kitty.  It is vital that you are familiar with what types of houseplants you have and to determine their degree of toxicity.  Some plants such as lilies are fatal to cats.  A great reference is the ASPCA’s list of Toxic and Non-toxic plants (



5 Thanksgiving Foods Your Pet Needs to Avoid

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!

  1. 11-25 Thanksgiving Foods Photo 3Turkey 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Raisins/Grapes
    Though the causes of their toxicity are unknown, ingesting grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs.
  5. 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

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:


National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

October 9 Reminds Us that Pets can Suffer from Obesity too!

Reblogged from Food is not Love

Obese Dog – 48 lbs, Ideal weight 20-22 lbs. Photo credit: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

Obese Dog – 48 lbs, Ideal weight 20-22 lbs.
Photo credit: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

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!


Pet in Hot Car. What to Do?!

Every year pets die because they were left in a car on a warm day.

hotcarwarning 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.

DogpantingWhat to do if you come across a dog in a car with no owner in sight:

  1. Note the car’s make/model, license plate number, location and the time.
  2. 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.
  3. Ask nearby businesses to make announcements using the vehicle’s make/model to locate the dog’s owner.
  4. If the owner is not located call the police or local animal control.
  5. 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.