Category: Holidays

Where’s Fido?

raising-a-happy-dog-7Searching games may be fun in books looking for a happy stripe shirt guy with glasses, but when it comes to your pet it’s no longer a game but a full on panic attack. Our furry family members are naturally curious and can be excellent escape artists. That’s why it is so important to make sure your pet can find its way back to you. Even if you have indoor pets that don’t wander outside, we never know what life will throw at us. Things like natural disasters and house fires, are just a few unfortunate events that might land our precious fur babies outside. Collars and tags are great but often times they can come off during our pets’ unexpected adventure. It’s time for a more permanent solution.

Microchips may sound scary or like something out of a sci-fi movie, but in reality think of it more as food. That’s right – I said food your, pet loves food! The microchip looks like a microchip-ricegrain of rice (but it does not go in your pets’ mouth – that would be a less permanent solution!) and is inserted into the muscle between your pets’ shoulder blades. By inserting it into the muscle instead of just under the skin, the chip stays in that location. Placing chips under the skin is perfectly fine, but then it migrate to different places all over the body. It can still be read, but it may take more time for a vet clinic or shelter to find it. I know inserting something into the muscle sounds painful but not to worry – we have that covered! Though the injection should only sting a little, we want to make sure your fur babies are 100% comfortable so we administer a light sedative to make sure they don’t feel anything.

Are microchips really helpful?
Yes! The Humane Society of the United States did a study and found that the number of lost dogs reunited with their families increased 250% with microchips & cat reunions increased to 20%! Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and furry to think of how many families got a second chance when they may have lost hope on finding their missing pet? We all want to hope for the best, but we should always prepare for the worse by making sure our much loved four legged friends can always find their way home.

So you got your pet micro-chipped, what’s next?
A peace of mind for one, but don’t forget the register those chips! Every chip has a unique number that you need to register to you with your information so vet clinics or shelters know how to find you. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping this information updated. We’ve had countless animals brought to us with out-of-date contact information and while the chips can be traced back to the clinic or shelter that purchased it, out-of-date information makes it incredibly difficult to get pets back home.

a-gray-kitten-asleep-in-a-bedThere are numerous brands of microchips available, such as AVID, 24PetWatch, and HomeAgain (just to name a few). At TLC Animal Hospital, we use PetLink microchips. The great thing about PetLink is that they offer a lifetime registration with no monthly fees. Other benefits that are included with PetLink chips are access by web or phone 24/7 365 days a year, free tips, and free posters that include your pet’s photo if they do wonder off.

Your pets are family and life is unpredictable. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter the situation, your pet has the best tools to find their way back home.

For more information check out petlink.net

 

Trick or Treat! Help your Pets have a Hazard-Free Halloween!

It’s that spooky time of year again! Witches, ghosts, scary movies, creepy decorations, haunted houses, grave yard tours, & above all, candy! While this is a fun time for people of all ages, don’t forget to make sure that your pets stay safe & don’t get into any trouble.

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Candy, candy, & more candy!

Just as a reminder, chocolate (in all forms) is toxic to both cats & dogs. The artificial sweetener Xylitol can cause problems for your pets as well. Ingestion of these can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, & worse. So be sure to keep the candy bucket, treat bags, & your own personal stash of Halloween candy out of reach from your pets! As always, if you pet does get into something, be sure to contact either the ASPCA Poison Control Center or your local animal emergency clinic.

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Jack-O-Lanterns, Cobwebs, & Wires –  Oh My!

Everyone knows that old saying about curious cats, but this time of year we need to be extra cautious with our spooky decorations. Those cobwebs look excellent, but you might need to move them if you notice your cat trying to eat them. Make sure that any open flames are out of reach from your pets & secured so that they can’t be accidentally knocked over. Keep wires secured as well as some pets may like to chew on them. We don’t want anyone getting shocked, starting a fire, or needing to have surgery to remove cobwebs from your pet’s digestive tract.

Be sure to also keep glow sticks out of reach from your pets. If your pet tries to play with these, they may puncture them & ingest some of the liquid. While most glows ticks are non-toxic, it may have a very bitter taste which may cause your pet to because nauseated.

bantha-pet-costumeSpooky Costumes!

Your pet’s comfort should always be your top priority when it comes to dressing them up. While it may look hilarious, if you know that your pet does not like to wear things, don’t force them to. You wouldn’t go to a party without having tried out your costume first, right? You should always make sure that the costume for your pet fits properly & that they are comfortable with it ahead of time. Costumes should never restrict your pet’s movement & it should never inhibit their ability to see. This can cause them to stress & possibly hurt themselves trying to get out of them. Caution should also be taken with costumes that have things hanging off of them. These could get caught on something or your pet may decide to try to eat it.

Don’t worry – Your pet can still be festive even if they’re not wearing a full costume! Halloween shirts, bandannas, collars, & harnesses are available pretty much everywhere in all shapes & sizes.

f4717c63ac9c0af1866a8cfc9d8b5ab9--halloween-costumes-for-cats-pet-costumesWhy are all of these weird-looking people coming to my house?! I’m outta here!

While Halloween is a fun holiday for everyone, your pet may be stressed or frightened with everything that’s going on. If your pet is a nervous one, be sure to take proper steps to ensure that they also have a Happy Halloween.

If they don’t like the door bell or people coming to the door, sit outside to hand out treats or leave the treat bucket out on your porch. If you have your dog outside with you, make sure that they’re on a leash & have their collar on. Make sure that you have a secured hold on the leash as well.

If your pet has a habit of running off when they’re nervous, make sure that they’re kept secure either in their kennel or in another room to prevent them from running out the door while you’re handing out candy. As we’ve talked about before, there are all sorts of options available to help calm down your nervous pets. If you’re concerned about your pet needing something to help take the edge off, talk to your veterinarian.

You should also make sure that your pets are wearing their collars & have their tags. Yes, even with their costumes! While shelters & clinics can check for microchips, a collar with tags is a quick & easy way for anyone to get a lost pet back home.

Speaking of microchips, this is the perfect time to make sure that your pet’s microchip information is up-to-date! If your pet was microchipped with us at TLC Animal Hospital, visit petlink.net to check the information that is associated with your pet’s chip. Not sure what company the chip is registered through? That’s ok! AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Association) has set up this fantastic website that allows you to search for your pet’s microchip number & it will tell you where to go to from there.iStock-612816962

With these tips in mind, you & your pets should be able to have a worry-free Halloween!

By: Ashley Elliott

Sources:
Halloween Safety Tips from ASPCA
Celebrating Safely with your Pets this Halloween from ASPCA
Universal Pet Microchip Lookup

 

Hey girl. I missed you sooooo I ate the wall…

Can you tell when your pet is stressed? Anxiety is a common condition that we hear about from clients time and time again. It can affect both cats and dogs and we see it at the clinic on a daily basis. Sometimes pets are stimulated by specific events such as a visit to the clinic, fireworks or visiting relatives and other times it may not be so easy to pinpoint the stressors. Even little things like running the vacuum may cause pets to pant and shake, panic or even act out in destructive ways. Like humans, pets may even experience physiological changes as a result of anxiety.

So what do you do when your furbaby exhibits signs of anxiety? Don’t worry! We know exactly how you feel because we’ve been there too! Thankfully, there are lots of ways to help our pets combat their anxiety.

Check out this personal account from one of our Kennel Technicians, Susan, and her experience with her dog’s anxiety over the years:

Cannon: A Story of Anxiety

by: Susan N.

I adopted Cannon in the summer of 2013 while my husband was deployed. I got him from a Craig’s list ad advertising a 10 month old Lab/Shepherd mix for $40. I was in love the second I saw his picture. I immediately messaged the owner to set up a meet and greet for the next day. At the meet and greet I was told he was destructive when he was left alone and that they kept him in a kennel most of the time because he was too rambunctious for their small child. I adopted him on the spot.

He was rambunctious, to say the least. He was constantly on the move, pacing and coming back to me to lick my face and arms. He had no concept of personal space. He had just been moved to a new environment and was still a puppy so I did not worry too much about it. I was able to spend a few days at home with him without needed to leave him.  The first time I left him home alone was to run to PetsMart. I did not put him in his kennel. I came home to a GIANT mess. He had gotten into some of my school work and shredded it, there were scratch marks by the front door, and he had also had accidents in the house when he never had before. He greeted me at the door a bundle of energy, tail wagging, whining, jumping and licking. I think he missed me just a bit. I had owned dogs before and understood the concept of separation anxiety. I was not, however, very prepared to deal with it.

Sings of separation anxiety include destructiveness, excessive vocalization and house soiling. Cannon displayed two out of three signs. The hallmark of separation anxiety is that these behaviors occur immediately after departures. Additional signs occur when the owner is preparing for departure, such as gathering school work or grabbing keys. The dog needs to be with the owner as these things occur and follows people when they are home. Cannon was always glued to my side.

I did my research and began a plan to help my poor puppy with his anxiety. One out of every six dogs may suffer from separation anxiety.  Some dogs have anxiety so severe that cannot be left alone without injuring themselves. Dogs this severe should not be left alone. Some dogs benefit from being placed in a dog day care. Others will adapt to having a specific place to be confined when left alone, such a crate or a specific room. Cannon had a kennel but hated it. He would not even go near it. Due to his previous owners keeping him in the kennel so much he had developed a phobia of being kenneled. Luckily, I had a spare room for Cannon. (Spoiled much?) I placed his bed, food and water in his room. I would place him in the room and give him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter and treats. I would gradually increase the amount of time he was in the room by himself. After some time, he began to think of his room as a happy place, a place to eat and get special treats. This managed his separation anxiety for the time being.

Other dogs with more severe cases may need the help of medications or Pheromone therapy. Adaptil is a synthetic pheromone product that mimics the pheromone that mother dogs put out when nursing. It sends out the signal that the dog should feel calm and relaxed. There are several medications that act as a calming agent or sedative. Zylkene, Flouxetine,Trazadone, Diazepam and Alprazolam are several such medications. You should consult with your vet to decide upon the right medication for your dog.

Fast forward several years. I added two more dogs and a cat to the household. My husband had gotten out of the army and it was time for us to move back home. After a twelve hour drive, we settled into our new apartment. Due to work schedules and lack of room we needed to get Cannon kennel trained. Utilizing the same strategies I used when Cannon first displayed his separation anxiety I managed to get him kennel trained. All three dogs began sleeping in their kennels instead of in the bed with us. Then the first rain storm hit…

Cannon was NOT happy with this. He barked and whined and clawed his way out of the kennel. Once Cannon was out of his kennel he was shaking and would not leave my lap. Cannon had developed thunder storm anxiety. This is not unheard of in dogs with an existing anxiety condition. Thunder storm anxiety is also common by itself.

Treating dogs with thunder storm anxiety is very similar to treating separation anxiety. Dogs may try to find a place to hide during a storm. Alleviating the symptoms of storm anxiety may be as simple as giving them a safe place to hide such as a kennel or a comfy corner of a room. Other dogs do well when distracted by a puzzle toy or working on obedience exercises. Thunder shirts may work for some dogs. Other dogs may require medication if their anxiety is severe. The medications for storm anxiety are the same as with separation anxiety. Talk to your vet to discuss the best course of action for your specific dog.

After talking with Dr. Kuecker & Dr. Richardson, Cannon now wears an Adaptil collar and takes Zylkene once a day. He stays in his kennel while I’m at work and is sleeping soundly through storms. It is such a good feeling to know that he has been relieved from his anxiety and can now enjoy life more without all of the stress that he was previously experiencing.

 

 

Spring into Easter & Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday

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Spring has finally sprung! The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, and Peter Cottontail is on his way! Easter is right around the corner and this year is extra special because we get two holidays in one as Easter falls on April 1st this year allowing us to celebrate tricks and treats in one day but wait isn’t that another holiday? Well we get two rounds of it in 2018 which also means we get double the toil & trouble with our pets this year, wait…. Back to Spring, we often get so caught up in our excitement for Easter and warm weather that we forget about the hazards some objects bring to our cats and dogs during these celebrations. So, here’s just a quick reminder of things that could cause potential harm to your beloved fur-family!

The most common thing that people are aware of when it comes to holidays and your pets is chocolate, yes chocolate is toxic not only to dogs but to cats as well. Theobromine is the chemical ingredient in cocoa that animals are toxic to and the toxicity of chocolate is based off of the amount of theobromine in the chocolate and the weight of the animal. Anything over 45mg is considered toxic and possibly lethal to dogs however every situation is different, different chocolates vs different types/weight of canines can result in different outcomes. The best way to keep your pup safe is to be able to access the situation if your dog has consumed chocolate and what signs to recognize if your clever canine hid the evidence of eating that delicious bunny that went missing from the basket.

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First thing to remember is that different chocolates have different percentage of theobromine in them. The easiest way to remember is: the darker the chocolate the higher percentage. White chocolate has very little amount, milk chocolate has about 44-64mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate, dark chocolate is going to be the most toxic to your animals unsweet Baker’s chocolate has about 450mg per ounce. That’s a big difference from milk chocolate. To give a better visual; an 80lbs Lab would have to consume 3lbs of milk chocolate for it to potentially be lethal to the animal that same Lab would only have to consume 3.5 ounces of Baker’s chocolate to have the same toxic effect as the milk chocolate. Again, every situation and every animal is unique which is why it is important to recognize some important signs that your cat or dogs possibly consumed chocolate. Although many cats often do not bother with chocolate there are a few who might get curious, symptoms for felines are vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increase heart rate, or seizures. For canines: vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, increase heart rate and body temperature. If your pet is in any way acting sick or lethargic and you believe they may have gotten into chocolate take them to your vet immediately as the most important thing is to get the toxins out of their system as quick as possible.

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Another food hazard that people are not always aware of are sugar-free treats. The sugar substitute in these candies is called xylitol.  It is very toxic to animals and can cause hypoglycemia which can be fatal causing things such as liver failure. Some of these candies you will see around Easter include gum, jelly beans, gummies, licorice, and lollipops. Consumption of sugar-free candies can cause a lot of the same symptoms as chocolate some more severe signs associated with candy consumption are your pet becoming disoriented or collapsing. If this occurs please get your pet to the nearest emergency clinic.

Foods are not the only things that your curious four-legged friends can get into. We all love a good Easter egg hunt and this year someone might find it clever and funny to fill those bright colored eggs with something not so appealing to your kids! Like maybe dog kibble? Grass? Or something else? Some of you may be better masterminds at ways to slightly pick on your kids, it’s all in good fun of course and it never gets old to see those pouty looks on children’s faces but just remember your pupper has a better sniffer than your kid and will more than likely find those delicious eggs before they do and eat the plastic eggs areuse-plastic-easter-eggs33long with the contents inside. The sharp torn pieces of plastic could do serious damage to your dog’s intestines and other vital organs. The eggs could also become a choking hazard, as we know a lot of the time dogs try to swallow things before completely chewing them. These potential hazards don’t mean that you have to keep your dog shut off from all the festivities, they are enjoying the holiday as much as their human counterparts but keeping an eye on their whereabouts, know where the eggs are, or just having your pet on a leash can go along way in having a great holiday.

We have talked a lot about dogs and the hazards surrounding them but cats are not exempt from getting into something on Easter. Although they may not be interested in chocolate or candy (but remember it is toxic to them too!) they have their own fascinations surrounding the holiday. The Easter basket seems to be the most “caution zone” area for your pets, your kitties may not be interested in the sweet stuff but they are very interested in the stuff under all those goodies: yes, your cat will go for the Easter grass in the basket. Most Easter grass is made of small strings of plastic and just like the plastic eggs for your dog are no good the grass for cats is very dangerous.

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First off the grass comes in a variety of bright colors and cats love bright colors, they will be attracted to it from across the room and to them it just looks like a huge bowl of pretty and delicious spaghetti and because they are kittens and rulers of the household natural this meal was especially prepared for them. The dangers of your cat consuming the Easter grass however is no joke, cats have very small organs and eating something so compact and stringy results in abdominal and intestinal blockage. Removal of Easter grass from a cat’s organs can only be donethrough surgery by a veterinarian. A very important thing to remember if you see a string hanging out of your cats mouth (or backside as well) NEVER pull on the string, this will result in intestinal damage; the best way to think of this is your cats intestines are like a drawstring effect when you try to pull on the string, this is why surgery is the only safe way to remove the string/ grass from your pet. Keeping an eye on your feline around the Easter baskets is essential but there are signs if they find a way to sneak into that appealing treat: abdominal swelling or sensitivity, lack of energy, loss of appetite, and trouble urinating or defecating are all signs that your cat has some type of blockage and should be taken to your local vet.

T263-2BOne last thing to be aware of when it comes to your cats is plants. We all know cats love to nibble on plants and as spring time comes around we start to bring more and more flowers into our homes.  Once again, our regal fur-babies will be happy that the human brought them lovely treats to enjoy but one plant we should be aware of this holiday is Easter lilies.  Many of us bring these into our home in spirit of Easter without realizing they are very toxic to cats.  Anything from nibbling on the plant, to drinking the plant water, even if the pollen gets on your kitty’s paws and they lick it.  However your cat interacts with the plant it can be very dangerous possibly resulting in kidney failure causing symptoms such as vomiting, change in appetite, and increase or decrease in urination.  If you have Easter lilies in your house just make sure you keep an eye on your little acrobats and don’t let them jump up on the counter that’s displaying your beautiful lilies.

Hazards are a part of everyday life when you have pets, it just comes with the territory of owning an animal and during holidays often hazards becoming a little bit bigger problem but this doesn’t mean that we spend the whole time worrying and not enjoying the holiday. Your pets are family and they want to share in the memories of being together with you, so include your pets in the activities and enjoy being together as a family.  Knowledge and awareness are the best defense for your furry family members and hopefully after reading this you are more knowledgeable and aware so every member of your family two-legged and four-legged can be together and enjoy Easter.  Remember: they love being with you and depend on you to be their protectors.

Have an Amazing and Safe Easter!

By: Deanna Smith

Let’s Talk Turkey!

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. The days following Thanksgiving are always busy at the Clinic and our cages are always full of pets that overdid it! Pets (and their owners!) won’t be so thankful when they get an upset tummy and have to visit the vet!

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Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:

Keep the feast on the table—not under it: Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including onions, raisins and grapes. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones are brittle and can be problematic for the digestive tract.

No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning. Many ingredients such as chocolate and raisins are toxic to pets.

A Feast Fit for a King: If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones or a special can of food. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of pet friendly foods such as vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans)—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Some other Holiday Tips:

Put the trash away!   A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash.

Be careful with decorative plants. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and more. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control) but the safest route is simply to keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.

Visitors can upset your pets. Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors at once and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. This will reduce the emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.

And remember-  If you have an emergency with your pet on Thanksgiving, please contact one of the Animal Emergency Clinics:  Calder Rd: 281-332-1678 or Edgebrook: 713-941-8460.