Pet Sounds

Pet Sounds (18)

Thursday, 22 February 2018 21:32

Adopting a New Pet

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Considerations Before Adopting a New Pet

1. Is anyone in the home allergic to animals?

2. Caring for a pet can be expensive. Can the family afford to provide food, supplies and medical care for the pet?

3. Some pets can live to be 15 years or more. Are you ready to commit to the care of a pet for many years?

4. Pets require daily care (feeding, walking, cleaning litter boxes, grooming, etc.) Do you have the time to devote to proper care of the pet?

5. If your family travels a lot, be ready to make arrangements for the pet to have care while you are on vacation. This can be expensive.

6. Some apartment and condominium buildings have rules regarding pet ownership. Be sure that pets are permitted where you live.

7. Behavioral problems are the basis for the majority of pets which are returned to shelters. Are you willing to commit to obedience training for dogs and the investment of time when behavioral problems arise in both dogs and cats?

8. If you already own a pet, how will it react to a new addition to the family? Before you choose a particular dog breed, do your research. An 8 pound puppy may grow up to be over 100 pounds when it is fully grown. Certain breeds are not particularly good with children. Some breeds are prone to a variety of medical problems and could need costly veterinary care. Some dogs such as Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers are very energetic and require hours of exercise each day. Just because reptiles (iguanas, snakes) are kept in cages, does not mean their care is simple and easy. These pets require a lot of special care regarding diet and a specially designed environment. Before getting one of these pets, buy books, or research them at the library or on the internet.

Please give the decision of acquiring a pet a lot of thought. Getting a new pet should never be done on a whim and is something no one should regret. Many people think that giving a pet as a gift is a wonderful idea. Never give an animal as a gift without asking the intended recipient first. Giving someone a surprise gift can be nice, but it should never be a pet.

Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:10

Holiday Safety Tips

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Holiday Safety Tips


Thanksgiving Tips

• Ask guests to please avoid feeding table food to pets.  Fatty foods are particularly dangerous and can cause a serious condition known as pancreatitis.
• Never leave kitchen trash bags unsupervised! Dogs and cats will become very ill if they eat bones or other items in the trash.
• Keep pets confined while guests arrive and depart to avoid escapes from the house.
• Be sure that all pets have proper identification tags or microchips.

Christmas tree safety

NO TINSEL! - If swallowed by dog or cat, tinsel and ribbons can cause severe damage to intestines and possible death.

• keep tree well watered so needles do not become dry and create a fire hazard
• use safety approved lights
• always turn off lights when leaving home
• tree fertilizer added to water can be toxic if ingested by pets
• be sure that tree ornaments are well secured so they cannot fall onto floor and be consumed (some dogs will even eat glass ornaments)
• do not leave wrapped food items under tree, dogs will be able to smell food and will ravage the package
• exposed electrical cords, if chewed, are very dangerous to puppies, kittens, rabbits

Hanukkah Safety Tips 

• Supervise Hanukkah and other holiday candles while they burn.
• Be sure to keep open flames out of cats’ reach.
• Latkes are very greasy and can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Harmful Foods

• theobromine is the toxic agent found in chocolate, it affects the body similarly to caffeine
• baker’s chocolate (bittersweet) is the most dangerous, “white” chocolate does not contain cocoa powder and is therefore not as dangerous except to cause vomiting and diarrhea
• the onset of effects can be seen from 4-24 hours after ingestion
• signs of chocolate toxicity include: vomiting, tender abdomen, hyperactivity, seizures and death are possible 
• If your dog eats chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately!
• Other food items that are unsafe for dogs include raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, and garlic. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum and baked goods can be fatal if ingested by dogs.

Toy Safety

Who can’t resist buying your furry friend a new toy for the holidays? Choose toys wisely! Avoid gifts that can be destroyed and ingested if your dog is prone to dismantling stuffed toys. Stuffing, squeakers and other toy components can lead to obstructions if ingested.  Although cats love to play and chase ribbon and string, if ingested, these materials can be very dangerous.  Be particularly careful to put away ribbon used for wrapping gifts.

Plant Safety

Holly and mistletoe can both cause severe gastrointestinal upset.  If you must hang mistletoe, be sure it is out of pets’ reach and well secured.  Poinsettia plants are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting and drooling, so keep these out of reach.  If you have cats and receive a holiday bouquet with lilies, do not keep them in the house.   A mere nibble on a lily plant can cause severe kidney damage to cats.

If your pet has ingested something toxic, call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Hotline at (855)764-7661. Both have operators available everyday of the year, 24 hours a day.  There is a consultation fee, but it is well worth the life of your pet.

Gift Ideas for Pets

The gift of health and a long life are top recommendations for your pet. At least 40 % of dogs and cats in the US are overweight.  Health problems related to obesity include diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, and arthritis (joint pain).  Providing exercise, a nutritious and healthy diet, and healthy treats for dogs and cats is a better way of showing your love compared to feeding table food and fattening snacks. Many dogs enjoy carrots, apples, canned pumpkin and green beans. Indoor cats are at high risk for being overweight since they spend most of the day sleeping and eating. Feeding measured amounts of food is better than continuously filling a food bowl.  Provide interactive toys to get your cat moving off the sofa.   

• Pawprints ornament – kits are available to create a lasting imprint of your pet’s foot
• New beds for dogs or window sill perches for cats
• Comfortable traveling carriers for small dogs or cats
• Homemade dog treat kits or recipe book
• Toys
• New collar, leash or harness


Monday, 31 July 2017 16:30

Thyroid Disease in Dogs and Cats

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Dogs and cats share many similarities, but not in the case of thyroid disease. While cats are typically affected by overactive thyroid glands (hyperthyroidism), dogs suffer from a lack of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). People, on the other hand, can be affected by both underactive and overactive thyroid glands. The thyroid glands form the shape of a butterfly and are situated in the neck on either side of the trachea (windpipe). The glands are part of the body’s endocrine system, and are therefore important in the production of hormones. The glands are controlled, in turn, by yet another hormone released from the pituitary gland which sits beneath the brain.

With an understanding of the many important physiologic functions of thyroid hormones, one can easily understand the many problems that occur when the hormone levels become unbalanced. The main function of the thyroid gland is to regulate the body’s metabolism, or how it uses energy. It plays a role in regulating heat rate, breathing, body weight, the nervous system, and body temperature.

When too little thyroid hormone is produced, dogs will exhibit symptoms such as:

·       Lethargy

·       Dull hair coat and hair loss

·       Weight gain

·       Scaly skin and skin infections

·       Mental dullness

Hypothyroidism is seen more commonly in medium and large sized dogs. Certain dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Boxers, Dachshunds, miniature Schnauzers and Irish Setters are predisposed.

When too much thyroid hormone is produced, cats will exhibit symptoms such as

·       Weight loss

·       Increased appetite

·       Increased thirst

·       Vomiting and diarrhea

·       High blood pressure

Hyperthyroidism is typically diagnosed in senior cats with an average age at diagnosis of 13 years. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are diagnosed based upon blood test results. Dogs with hypothyroidism are managed with medication. Once treatment has been initiated, periodic blood tests are necessary to determine if any medication adjustments are needed.

When it comes to treating hyperthyroid cats, more options are available. Surgery to remove the benign thyroid tumors is still an option, but not commonly pursued. Cat owners are more likely to choose medication or radiotherapy. Medication must be given for the remainder of the cat’s life and, like dogs, periodic blood work will be needed to monitor thyroid hormone levels. Treatment with radioactive iodine (Iodine 131) requires an initial evaluation to determine the cat’s candidacy for the procedure, a stay of 3-4 days at a veterinary specialty facility, and special precautions once the cat returns home.

Both feline hyperthyroidism and canine hypothyroidism are easily diagnosed and readily manageable. If you notice your pet displaying the typical symptoms of either condition, contact your veterinarian for a consult appointment and blood testing.


The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association sponsor national “Check the Chip” day every August. Studies have shown that dogs, which become lost, are 30 percent more likely to be reunited with their family if they have a microchip. Cats with microchips are almost 40 percent more likely to be returned to their home. Although microchips do not locate lost pets like a GPS collar, they are important in proving pet ownership and providing identification if collars and I.D. tags are lost.

For more information, go to

If you need help determining where your pet is registered, go to





Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:24

Dangerous Foods for Pets

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Many pet owners have become aware of the various food items that pose a danger to dogs and cats. The following items can cause serious and life threatening illness:

·         Chocolate
·         Coffee
·         Grapes and raisins
·         Macadamia nuts
·         Alcoholic beverages
·         Onions, garlic
·         Xylitol

It is important to realize that other foods, although not labeled “toxic” can still pose a serious threat to pets. During the summer months, pets have increased exposure to dangerous foods while families host or attend parties and bar-b-ques. The following items must be kept out of reach from pets:

·         Corn on the cob (obstruction)
·         Peach and cherry pits (obstruction)
·         Baked goods containing xylitol (low blood sugar, liver failure)
·         Fatty foods such as hotdogs, hamburgers and ham (pancreatitis)
·         Ribs, chicken wings, steak bones (damage to stomach, intestines)
·         Guacamole (vomiting, diarrhea, anemia)


Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:22

Canine Influenza

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Canine influenza, also called dog flu, is caused by an influenza A virus. In 2004, the first strain, H3N8 was reported in racing greyhounds in Florida. Shortly after the problem arose in Florida, other states, which permit greyhound racing, were faced with respiratory disease outbreaks. Eventually, the virus was reported in at least 40 states and Washington, D.C.

The second identified strain, H3N2, was originally reported in Korea, China and Thailand. It was not detected in the U.S. until the spring of 2015 when an outbreak in the Chicago area affected more than 1,000 dogs. In the past two years, thousands of dogs across the U.S. have been infected.

Dogs that are infected by the canine influenza virus can develop mild or severe disease or become asymptomatic carriers. Dogs with the mild form of the disease present with a cough, sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, a decreased appetite and lethargy. Dogs with the severe form of the disease initially develop the aforementioned symptoms, but eventually develop high fever and pneumonia. These dogs usually require hospitalization and supportive care including antibiotics, intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy. Fortunately, the majority (80%) of dogs will develop the mild form and recover within 2-3 weeks. Less than 10% of affected dogs will die from the influenza virus.

Although most dogs infected by the influenza virus will become ill, approximately 20-25% of dogs will show no symptoms of illness. These asymptomatic dogs are dangerous in that they are carriers and can transmit the virus to other dogs. Because of the highly contagious nature of the influenza virus, notify your dog’s veterinarian immediately if you notice coughing, nose or eye discharge, lethargy or a decrease in appetite.

If your dog is showing respiratory symptoms, do not visit dog parks, doggie daycare, groomers or boarding facilities. Be sure to notify the veterinary office of the nature of your dog’s symptoms when you call to schedule an appointment. The office staff will likely instruct you to wait outside until you and your dog are ready to be seen. Expect to be directly ushered into an examination room and avoid approaching or coming into contact with other dogs.

At your dog’s visit, the veterinarian will perform a physical exam, take your dog’s temperature, draw blood and possibly recommend chest x-rays and a nasal swab to test for the influenza virus. Based upon your dog’s symptoms, the veterinarian will discuss treatment options.

A bivalent vaccine is available which offers protection against both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. The vaccine will reduce the risk of a dog contracting the virus and, although not guaranteed to completely prevent disease, it will minimize the severity and duration of illness.

In order to reduce the risk of your dog becoming infected with the influenza virus, necessary precautions must be taken. If your dog’s lifestyle includes play dates at a park or daycare, if your dog participates in agility or dog show competitions, or boards at a kennel, the bivalent vaccine is recommended. As an added safety measure, before allowing your dog to visit kennels or facilities in which many dogs are in close contact, ask whether the influenza vaccine is required and if screening procedures are in place. Do not wait until the last minute to have your dog vaccinated. The bivalent vaccine requires a series of 2 injections, 2-4 weeks apart. Your dog should receive the final booster at least 2 weeks prior to potential exposure to ensure appropriate immunity.






Thursday, 29 June 2017 20:22

Summer Pet Precautions

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Noise Phobia

Even once July 4th has passed, fireworks can still be randomly heard throughout the summer months and they are guaranteed New Year’s Eve. In addition to fireworks, pets with noise phobias can also be scared by thunderstorms, gun shots, backfires, construction, and motorcycles. While cats can also be fearful of loud noises, dogs are more commonly affected. A survey conducted last year indicated that 44% of dogs have noise aversion. 

A phobia is “an extremely strong dislike or fear of something.” Examples of common phobias that affect people include heights, snakes, rollercoasters. Once fearful of an experience, it is difficult to overcome that fear in the future. 

Thunderstorms are different than other events merely associated with noise. Dogs often become fearful before the storm arrives.  Dogs begin to react when they sense a change in the barometric pressure or when they hear and see rain and wind. Both thunder and lightening associated with storms can dramatically affect dogs. Surprisingly, not all dogs with storm phobias are affected by loud noises and not all dogs afraid of loud noises are sensitive to storms.

Noise phobias are not only stressful for the afflicted dog or cat, they can be very unsettling for the pet parent. Watching your pet in emotional distress is heart breaking. Pet owners often feel helpless when it comes to comforting an upset dog or cat. Common symptoms of noise phobia include:

• Pacing
• Panting
• Whining/barking/meowing
• Drooling
• Hiding
• Destructive behavior

Some dogs will show subtler signs such as lip licking, yawning, or just remaining stationary out of fear. 

If your dog or cat is very fearful of loud noises or storms, consult your pet’s veterinarian. Suggestions can be offered to help minimize your pet’s anxiety. One strategy is avoidance. By avoiding the offensive stimulus, your pet will have nothing to fear. However, since we cannot control the weather, avoid neighbors who light fireworks, or prevent local construction, this is easier said than done. 

As pet owners, we can take measures to minimize our pet’s fear. For example, when fireworks or storms are expected, keep your pets inside and play the television or radio at a loud volume to drown out the offending noise. Some dogs can be distracted by providing a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. Allow your pet to hide wherever it feels comfortable. Never scold a pet or try to make it leave a secure hiding location! Many dogs seek shelter in bathrooms and specifically bathtubs. 

During storms or fireworks, try to engage your dog in a playful game or obedience skill to redirect its focus. Nonprescription medications can be tried. There are pheromone products such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats that can be helpful. These products mimic the natural chemicals released by a nursing mother dog or cat and provide a sense of calm for pets. “Rescue Remedy” is a natural product that can also create a calming effect for stressed pets. A “Thunder Shirt” is a snuggly fitting coat that “hugs” the pet and gives a sense of security. 

If non-medication products do not provide enough stress relief, a veterinarian should be consulted to discuss medications for your anxious pet. There are many different medications that can be tried, but not all can resolve noise phobias. Some pets benefit from a multimodal approach. Finding the solution to a pet’s anxiety requires time and patience and often the best plan is discovered by trial and error.

Heat Related Illness

The Philadelphia area has already experienced several heat waves this summer.  Heat and high humidity pose dangerous risks to both people and pets.   Dogs are susceptible to heat stroke when allowed to exercise on hot and humid days or when accidentally placed in a confined space such as an automobile.  A study found that the temperature within a vehicle may increase by an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit within one hour, even on a relatively cool (70 degree) day.

While all dogs can develop heat related problems when exposed to adverse conditions, some dogs are particularly susceptible.  Unlike people, dogs do not sweat to cool their bodies.   Dogs rely on evaporative cooling from the tongue, by means of panting.   Dogs with flat faces such as Bulldogs, Pekingese, Pugs, Boxers and Boston Terriers are at a disadvantage when it comes to regulating normal heat balance.   Dogs that are elderly, overweight, have heart disease, or have laryngeal paralysis are also more prone to becoming overheated.

Animals with heat-induced illness can develop the following signs:

• excessive panting and drooling
• red or pale gums
• vomiting
• diarrhea
• weakness and collapse

More severe signs include vomiting blood and difficulty breathing.   All body systems (kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, coagulation factors) can be affected by heat-induced illness.  If not caught and treated immediately, the patient can develop life threatening multisystem failure, sepsis, and deregulation of the blood clotting system. Seizures and coma may develop if heatstroke progresses resulting in cardiac arrest and death.

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, spray the pet with cool water or immerse in a cool water bath. Do not immerse pet in ice bath! Direct fans towards dog to further help with body cooling. Transport your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

To prevent heatstroke:

• Never leave pets in a hot parked car.
• Provide access to water and shade on warm days.
• Do not allow dogs to heavily exercise on hot and humid days.
• Walk pets early in the morning of after sunset during the summer.
• Never muzzle dogs in hot environments, take caution with dryers used at grooming facilities

It is much better to prevent heatstroke than to treat it!

Out and About with Dogs

Dining Out

One of the best things about the warm weather is the ability to dine out with your dog. Pet friendly restaurants are becoming more common. Be sure your dog is well behaved and will be welcome at a restaurant before making a reservation. Since most restaurants are only permitted to allow dogs in certain areas, call ahead to reserve a table at which you and your dog will be able to dine. If rain is forecasted, be sure that a covered area is available for shelter. If you plan on dining mid day, be sure shade is available to prevent your dog from experiencing heat related problems. While most restaurants which welcome dogs provide water bowls, always bring your own water supply as well as treats to keep your dog happy and hydrated. 

Beach Visits

Before heading to a beach with your pup, investigate whether dogs are allowed. Even if dogs are permitted to run freely, always bring a leash. This will ensure that you can control your dog around small children and ensure safely when close to roads. If your dog will be swimming, a life vest is always a good safety precaution. If the weather is extremely hot, be sure to pack an umbrella or tent to provide shade for your dog. Also bring cool water and a blanket. Be careful that your dog does not burn its pads on hot sand. For the health and well being of other beachgoers and their canine companions, always pack enough poop bags. No one wants to step in dog poop with bare feet!


Tuesday, 23 May 2017 21:28

Allergies In Pets

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Although a meteorology report makes it official, you only need to look at an outdoor object such as a car to know that the pollen count is high. It is during this time of the year that you should not only be washing your car with greater frequency, but also your dog. Spring allergies often seem worse than those during the summer and fall. People and pets’ heightened symptoms of springtime allergies are possibly due to a greater number of airborne inciting agents or the fact that humans, dogs and cats receive an allergy reprieve during the winter months. While there is no cure for the annoying problems associated with allergies, people and pets can receive relief with various treatments.

Sneezing and a runny nose and eyes are the most common allergy symptoms in people. Pets with air borne allergies to substances such as molds, pollens and grasses tend to become itchy. If you notice your dog or cat excessively biting or licking its legs and paws, or scratching its head, face or armpits, schedule an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian. If untreated, pets with allergies can bite or scratch their skin to the point of causing significant injury and infection. 

Ear infections and hot spots are two common manifestations of allergies. Since the ears are an extension of a pet’s skin, ears often become inflamed and infected secondary to allergies. When a dog or cat scratches or shakes its head vigorously, the small blood vessels in the ear can break. The blood from damaged vessels accumulates between the two folds of ear cartilage resulting in a swollen ear known as an ear hematoma. This is a very uncomfortable condition for pets and often requires surgery. 

Hot spots are a painful area of skin that results from excessive scratching, rubbing or biting. The name implies the severe inflammation at the site. Hot spots are often moist and pet families will notice damp skin or sometimes a bad odor coming from the site. Hot spots and ear infections are very painful and need immediate veterinary attention and care. 

In addition to air borne allergies, dogs and cats can also develop itchy skin from food allergens and external parasites. Through diagnostic testing and and the acquisition of a thorough history, your veterinarian can narrow down the list of possible allergens. In order to determine whether certain foods are responsible for a pet’s itchiness, an “elimination” diet may be necessary. This food trial usually involves feeding a new protein and carbohydrate source or a prescription veterinary diet. An examination of your dog’s or cat’s skin and fur is needed to diagnose a mite or flea infection. Determining the source of your pet’s allergies is critical in order to develop the best treatment plan. 

Allergies are very frustrating as there is no permanent cure, and once diagnosed, allergies typically require life long treatment. Fortunately, recent scientific advances have created numerous options for managing dog and cat allergies. There are several oral medications available from your pet’s veterinarian. For dogs and cats for which it is difficult to administer a daily pill or liquid, injectable medications can be used. Pets that undergo tests to identify specific allergens are candidates for either injectable (allergy shots) or oral desensitization medication. 

In addition to prescription medications, pet parents can administer over the counter allergy medicines such as antihistamines. Always be sure to consult a veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet! The benefits of allergy medications are often strengthened by bathing. 

While bathing may not be necessary for, or appreciated by indoor cats, shampooing can significantly help allergic dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. Medicated shampoos not only remove allergen particles from a dog’s skin, they also provide immediate itch relief. Since bathing is time consuming, in between weekly baths, families can wipe their dog’s fur and paws with a damp cloth each time it returns from being outdoors. 

Pet allergies can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive to treat. Dogs and cats that do not receive therapy can be miserable and suffer from unrelenting itchiness and significant medical issues. Pet families need to pay close attention to their dog or cat for signs of itchiness or skin problems. If treated early, and managed with close veterinary supervision, allergic dogs and cats can lead normal and happy and healthy lives. 


Thursday, 27 April 2017 20:11

Traveling With Pets

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Now that many hotels and privately owned accommodations are opening their doors to pets, traveling with furry companions has become an option for many families.  Planning ahead is important whether you are traveling with or without pets. Call ahead to find out any restrictions (size of dog, leaving pet alone in room)

 If traveling by car:

  • Be sure your pet is comfortable in car (not anxious, not prone to car sickness).
  • Seat covers protect car fabric and prevent dog from slipping.
  • Safety harness or travel carriers help to secure dog in case of sudden stops or accidents.
  • Keep cats in carrier for their safety as well as preventing driver from being distracted.
  • If feeding ahead of time, provide a very small meal.
  • Do not allow dog to stick head out of window - particles can get into eyes, other flying objects could be dangerous

If flying:



  • Call airline ahead of time to learn specifications for travel with pet (health certificate, vaccinations, size restrictions)
  • Book a direct flight and book early as the number of pets is limited per flight.
  • Health certificates signed by a veterinarian are usually needed within 10 days of travel.
  • Investigate carrier specifications well ahead of time.
  • Cats and small dogs traveling in the plane’s cabin need to be in small, soft sided carriers.
  • Dogs traveling in cargo section should be in sturdy carriers  labeled “live animal” with arrows showing upright position.
  • Be sure carriers are well labeled with your contact information, pet’s name and destination.
  • Request an aisle seat. Avoid sitting behind the bulk head as there will be no seat under which you can place a carrier.
  • Allow pets to spend time in carriers before travel so they will be acclimated


  • Tranquilizers can be very unpredictable.
  • Always do a trial with medication before you travel to see how pet will react.
  • Line carrier with paper towels or pee pee pads in case of accident.


 Other tips: 

Items to pack

  • regular food, treats, dishes, bed, toys, fresh water
  • leash or harness
  • medications (heartworm preventative, flea/tick medications, seizure medication, other important daily medicine)
  • bland food and medications in case pet has a sensitive stomach (consult your dog’s veterinarian)
  • research phone numbers of local vets, emergency clinics in case needed
  • Bring number for ASPCA Poison Control 1-888-426-4435
  • be sure pet has ID tag with cell phone number, temporary ID tags can be made with address of where you are vacationing
  • pooper scooper/bags and litter box + litter
  • recent photo of pet (in case it gets lost)
  • proof of vaccines and medical records
  • grooming supplies (shampoo, brush)
  • carpet cleaning product in case of accidents

First Aid Kits are recommended

  • bandages, Telfa pads, gauze
  • triple antibiotic ointment
  • styptic powder for broken nails
  • digital thermometer and lubricating jelly
  • hydrogen peroxide /saline solution for cleaning wounds


 Travel plans can be very exciting and it may be easy to become distracted from making the necessary arrangements for pets prior to your vacation. Be sure to make arrangements for pets to be taken care of in your home, to stay with a friend, or to stay at a boarding facility.


If leaving a pet at home, be sure to choose a reliable pet sitter. Make sure he/she is well acquainted with your pets - the last thing you want is for your dog to not allow the sitter into your home!


 Leave a written list of instructions for sitter.  

  • note amount of food to be fed, normal feeding times, number of treats/snacks
  • note how often and at what times dog goes out to go to the bathroom
  • note any common problems to monitor (cat with urinary problems, pets with seizures, arthritis, diarrhea, etc)

 If leaving pets in kennel:

  • Get referrals to make sure facility is reputable.
  • Make sure that if kennel is not affiliated with vet hospital, they will be able to provide medical care in case of emergency.
  • Make a scheduled and surprise visit to kennel to evaluate
  • Bring pet’s favorite toys, blankets, and regular food to avoid likelihood of vomiting or diarrhea

 Whether leaving pet with sitter or in kennel, ALWAYS LEAVE EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS

 GIVE PET SITTER CONSENT TO APPROVE MEDICAL TREATMENT IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.   You can call vet office to let them know pet sitter has authority to okay any treatment needed. You can even leave credit card number on file.

Some helpful websites:


Wednesday, 29 March 2017 15:16

Pet Care & Feeding

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Basic guidelines for feeding dogs and cats

Choose a food with packaging containing a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The inclusion of this statement indicates that the diet has either been tested via food trials or has been analyzed to meet nutritional guidelines.

For puppies and kittens, choose food designated for “growth” or “all life stages.” Puppies and kittens have different nutritional needs than adult dogs and cats. It is important to feed an appropriate life stage diet until your pet reaches skeletal maturity (small and medium dogs and cats = 1 year, large breed dogs = 18 months).

Large and giant breed dogs require an even more specific diet. These dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Great Danes, have a very rapid growth rate. It is therefore necessary to feed a diet formulated to help prevent developmental disorders related to their quick growth. Look for labeling with statements such as “large breed puppy formula.”

There are a multitude of food choices for adult dogs and cats. In fact, many pet parents are overwhelmed by the the number of options presented in pet stores. When it comes to choosing a food for your adult dog or cat, there are several important factors to consider such as weight and health. Obesity affects more than half of the dogs and cats in the U.S. If you are unsure whether your pet is at a healthy weight, consult a veterinarian. Your pet’s doctor can make suggestions for safe ways to promote weight loss. There are many health conditions for which prescription or specialized diets exist. Health issues that can be managed with specific diets include allergies, urinary problems, liver and kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis. There is now a special diet for pets that suffer from seizures.

While pet food manufacturers produce diets labeled for “senior” dogs and cats, there has yet to be a standardization for such a designation. As pets enter their mature years, each one has individual needs. It is therefore best to consult your pet’s veterinarian for recommendations specific to your pet.

Raw diets have become equally popular and controversial. These diets pose a risk to both pets and their families for bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella as well as parasites. Bone fragments in raw diets can result in broken teeth and can also cause severe damage to the gastrointestinal tract of dogs and cats. Raw diets are often not nutritionally balanced and pose a risk of vitamin A toxicity due to the high liver content.

For more information, visit

The responsibilities of pet care

  • Provide clean bowls with fresh food and water daily
  • Basic veterinary care
  • Examinations
  • Vaccines
  • Spay and neuter: prevents medical problems and unwanted puppies and kittens
  • Fecal and blood tests
  • Heart worm, flea and tick prevention
  • Dental care (home care and professional cleanings)


Become familiar with what is normal for your pet (poop appearance/frequency, appetite, water consumption) and what situations warrant a call to a veterinarian such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing/Sneezing
  • Decreased Energy
  • Limping
  • Ingestion of toxic food (grapes, raisins, chocolate)
  • Ingestion of objects such as toys, articles of clothing
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing

 Provide regular exercise for physical and mental health

Having a pet requires taking the financial responsibility for its well being. Owning a pet   can be very expensive when you consider the cost of basic care (food, toys, bedding), boarding/pet sitter/doggie daycare/dog walker, medical care (surgery, prescription food, medicine, blood tests, veterinary visits).

6.     You must make a time commitment for walking the dog before school and bedtime, training and spending quality time together.

7.     It is also important to choose a pet appropriate for your lifestyle, taking into account your free time and available living space. For example, getting a Great Dane when you live in a small apartment might not be the best idea.





Friday, 24 February 2017 21:14

Happy Hearts / Broken Hearts

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Listen as Dr. Mindy Cohan talks with Kathy about keeping your pet happy - and also tips on dealing with the death of a pet  

February is Valentine's Day - when people decorate with hearts - so Dr. Mindy Cohan joined us to talk about both Happy Hearts and Broken Hearts: things you can do to pamper your pet ... and ways to process the sadness when dealing with the death of a pet. 

Showing that doggie love: 

*  Make homemade treats
* Visit a dog bakery
* Take a walk, run or hike (great exercise and mental stimulation)
* Go to a pet store and let your dog choose a new toy
* Buy a treat/food dispensing ball
* Take your dog on a trip to a pet friendly bed and breakfast or hotel ( and
* Buy a safety harness for car travel
* Purchase a new leash and matching collar
* Snuggle on a sofa while reading or watching television
* Enroll your dog in doggie day care or arrange for a dog walker if you will be away from home during daytime hours
* Go for a ride in the car (assuming your pup does not get car sick)
* Spend one on one time teaching a new trick or attend agility class together
* Play time (toss a ball or toy)
* Take your dog for a swim (Labs, Golden Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Standard Poodles)
* Give belly rubs, back scratches
* Talk to your dog
* Morning cuddles in bed
* Special treats (Frosty Paws)
* Bathe and brush your dog
* Buy a new plush bed

Tips for coddling your cat:

* Buy new toys (laser pointer, feather wand, motorized mouse)
* Combing helps to prevent mats and hairballs and many cats enjoy being brushed
* Buy a cat tree or climbing furniture which provide a great look out spot, sense of security from house guests or other resident pets
* Place a soft bed in the sunshine or by a window
* Set up a window sill perch which allows for all day entertainment of watching birds, squirrels
* Provide multiple scratching posts with various textures
* Purchase a harness for walks outside
* Set aside time to snuggle on a sofa
* Leave a video on while out of the house featuring birds or fish
* Growth fresh catnip
* Provide plenty of litter boxes, cleaning them multiple times daily
* Give a gentle massage

Dealing With Broken Hearts

As a veterinarian and pet parent, I understand the devastation that follows the loss of a pet. For many children, the loss of a pet is their first experience with death. Children mourn differently than adults and expressions of grief can vary depending on the child’s age. It is very important for parents to allow children to grieve in their own personal fashion. 

The bond between children and their pets is extremely strong. A recent study found that children can prefer their pets to siblings. Pets provide unconditional love, they serve as loyal confidants, pets are always available as playmates and they provide children with a sense of security during scary or sad situations. The loss of a companion which served so many important roles in a child’s life can result in tremendous grief. 

Grief is a perfectly natural reaction to the death of a loved one. Grieving for a pet is a tribute to the special relationship that was shared. Shock and disbelief are very common initial reactions to the loss of a beloved pet. Shock is particularly common when the death occurred suddenly and unexpectedly. Guilt is another common emotion, especially if the pet died as a result of an accident. Sadness is a normal emotion following a death, yet many people who are not animal lovers may say insensitive things such as, “It was only a pet” or “You should be over it by now.” 

Symptoms of grief are shared by adults, children and even the surviving pet family members. Common physical and emotional manifestations of grief include:

Decreased appetite
Sleeping more or less
Lack of concentration
Lack of energy/motivation
Feeling overwhelmed

Suggestions for helping children before or after the loss of a pet include: 

         Allow the child to see you cry and be sad.
Always be straightforward and honest when answering a child’s questions.
Do not force a child to discuss his/her feelings, give them time and space.
Offer to help a child memorialize a pet. Set up a tribute table to include photos, a collar or leash, toys, bowls, a lock of fur. Help a child to write a poem or letter to the deceased pet. Plant a flower or tree in the pet’s memory. Allow the child to participate in a memorial service.
Avoid using terms such as “put to sleep” or inaccurate stories such as “Fluffy went to a farm.”
 Reassure a child that they were not at fault for the pet’s death.
Do not replace the pet before the child has a chance to mourn.

·       Resources for grieving pet families


Books for children

Dog Heaven – Cynthia Rylant

Cat Heaven – Cynthia Rylant

The 10th Best Thing about Barney – Judith Viorst

Books for Adults

When a Pet Dies – Fred Rogers

Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping – Marty Tousley

When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing – Alan Wolfelt

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