Praise Outranks Treats For Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

According to ScienceMag a recent study strongly indicated that dogs might actually prefer the praise of their owners over treats. Despite the long-standing use of treats and food by us ‘Hoomans’ to help train our canine companions it would appear that the positive reinforcement of a belly rub or a pat on the head is actually more effective in melting most of your fuzzy children’s hearts.

In the first half of the study (soon to be published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) the brain activity of fifteen canines was monitored by researchers. After being shown a toy car the canines were then praised by their respective owners. Later, they were each given toy horses with a piece of hot dog. Of the fifteen dogs in the study thirteen exhibited a greater or equal response in the area of the brain associated with reward and decision-making when the reinforcement was praise from their owner vs. food/treats.

The second half of the experiment positioned the dogs at the start of a maze that forked in two directions. One led to a bowl of food and the other led the dog to his or her owner. Most of the dogs chose their owner over the food bowl. The dogs who chose the food were the same subjects who favored treats in the first half of the study indicating that some dogs are just food motivated.

Of course fifteen is not a large enough sample size to reach absolute conclusions but it gives us further understanding of the nature of the dog/owner relationship. The affection does appear to go both ways.

There are always skeptics who question the ability of our furry children to truly reciprocate the feelings of love we have for them but anyone who has returned to their dog from a long absence knows the reaction of their furry child. It’s pure excitement and joy. Watch this dog after he is reunited with his owner after being stolen from him two years before.

So dogs prefer praise. What about Cats?

Are cats on the same level as the canine companions we love so dearly or do they merely tolerate our existence in exchange for food? The latter is apparently much more likely if another recent study is any indication.

In February of 2016 BBC2 broadcast Cats V. Dogs, a television documentary that explored this question by measuring the level of oxytocin in cats and dogs. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain when we feel an attachment to someone or something. Oxytocin levels in humans rise by up to 60% when we see someone we love.

Researchers tested saliva samples from ten cats and ten dogs before and after playing with their owners for a ten minute period. The dogs showed an increase of 57.2% after the playful interaction with their owners. For cats it was just 12%. In fact, only 50% of the cats tested showed any rise in their oxytocin levels at all. Moo (from the video below) appears to be the exception to the rule.

Again, these small sample sizes can’t back up definitive conclusions but they do seem to support the notion that most of our cats view us as food dispensers above anything else. Compared to dogs they appear to be fairly indifferent to us. As someone who has had multiple cats and multiple dogs I don’t think these theories are too far from the truth. Do I think my cats have loved me on the same level that my dogs have? Maybe — but who can be sure? Look at those glares…

20160825_195023_1472169149038

This doesn’t look like satisfaction…

Untitled

Maggie’s ‘friendliest’ expression. Seriously.

 

 

 

 

Summer Heat Solutions for Cats and Dogs| University Animal Hospital NYC

The summer heat in New York City is really kicking into high gear. With record heat waves scorching the city and making all of us reconsider even stepping outside there are some that feel the effects of the harsh sun’s rays far worse than we do — our furry children. Both cats and dogs are at risk of overheating as our city roasts like a rotisserie chicken. Cats typically because they’re confined inside baking apartments or homes that often lack suitable air-conditioning when owners are not present and dogs because they’re walking in the intense heat — lacking a sufficient way of naturally cooling themselves.

Dogs are particularly susceptible to the effects of the heat. Heatstroke for canines is dangerous and likely when dealing with temperatures over 100 degrees. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like we do so the heat is much more uncomfortable and dangerous for them. I just read an article this morning about a police dog in Texas that died in the line of duty from heatstroke while pursuing a suspect. It’s a real threat and something people sometimes overlook or forget about. Signs of heatstroke to look out for include: excessive panting (a natural way dogs cool themselves down), drooling, increased salivation, restlessness and other signs of agitation. There are, fortunately, actions pet owners can take in order to help with the dangerous heat that might make these summer months a bit safer for your fuzzy child.

Many people have taken to carrying around a spray bottle when they walk their dog in order to give a relieving cool mist on the face or belly. Consider carrying a collapsible water cup and water to decrease the risk of potential dehydration. Look into obtaining booties to protect his or her pads on the hot pavement and sidewalks. It may seem odd to look at but have you wondered what it might feel like to go barefoot on the Manhattan streets in the blazing heat? Your dog isn’t too concerned with how he looks to strangers (you shouldn’t be either) and avoiding discomfort is probably much higher on his list of priorities.

ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS FOR STAVING OFF THE SUMMER HEAT?

If your dog is pad/paper trained you should think about foregoing outside walks until the heat has died down. If outside walks are necessary take shorter relief walks as opposed to the usual jog or hour-long strolls. Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior when out and about so you can be aware of significant discomfort or distress. If your dog lays down in the shade or grass perhaps it’s time to head back inside. Take frequent breaks and try to walk in shaded areas or on grass whenever possible.

Keep your home at a reasonable temperature even if you’re not there with your pet. People are often apprehensive about leaving the air-conditioner on when they aren’t home for fear of extreme electric bills. Keep the air conditioning at a level that’s safe for your stay-at-home pets but that won’t kill your energy bill. Make sure the water you leave out is cool and that the bowl is full. Consider dropping an ice cube in from time to time when you are home with them. Do not ever leave your dog in an unattended car for any period of time even if you think you’ll only be gone for a moment. In under ten minutes the inside of your car can reach temperatures of over 102 degrees so no amount of time in a car alone is acceptable or excusable.

The most important thing to remember is that your dogs and cats can’t verbalize the discomfort that the summer heat bestows upon them. It is up to you to keep your eyes and ears open and look for the signs of distress or overheating. Be alert and present when you’re taking your walks and pay attention to the tiny details that your dog is giving you. The dangers of the heat are too great to risk and you know your fuzzy child is worth it.

 

Cost Effective Heartworm Products | University Animal Hospital NYC

If you have or have ever had a dog then chances are you have heard about heartworm disease before. What exactly is this disease and how can I keep your dog from getting it? Preventative care is your best solution to fight heartworm disease. There are a handful of reputable products currently available to protect your furry child from this potentially fatal disease. Between Sentinel, Heartgard and Interceptor and the cost effective pricing available at University Animal Hospital for these “once a month” medications there is no reason your pet should not be kept safe from these parasites.

Parasites!? What are we talking about here?

First let’s discuss what exactly heartworm disease is.

For dogs the disease is caused by long worms that reside in the lungs, associated blood vessels and the heart of affected pets. This can lead to severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other internal organs in your dog. These monsters can affect the quality of your dog’s life and his or her overall health even after the parasites are gone. Therefore prevention is the best option for maintaining your dog’s healthy status.

Dogs can develop heartworm disease by getting bit by a mosquito that has had contact with a heartworm infected mammal (which includes a large assortment of wild animals besides just dogs). Once bitten by an infected mosquito the larvae are deposited into the bite wound of the mosquito and over time mature into adult heartworms. These unwelcome intruders can live anywhere from five to seven years in dogs.

 

What might happen to your dog if he or she becomes infected?

Many dogs are asymptomatic at first but as time goes on they may develop lethargy, a mild but persistent cough, fatigue, weight loss and decreased appetite and heart failure. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse.

Your dog should be tested annually for heartworm infection. This is a routine blood test that is necessary even if your pet is on preventative medication. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected.

What about those cost effective heartworm products?

At University Animal Hospital we have a few different products we recommend to protect against heartworm disease.

1. Sentinel

This is a beef flavored pill you give your pet once a month. In addition to heartworm protection it also guards against hookworms, whipworms and roundworms. It controls fleas by preventing the development of flea eggs (it does not kill adult fleas, however). If you purchase twelve doses from University Animal Hospital you receive a rebate for $12.

$12 dollars off a pack of 12

$20 off a pack of 12, or $7 off a pack of 6

2. Heartgard

This is a flavored chew-able treat that is given once every month. Like Sentinel it guards against heartworm disease. It also protects against hookworms and roundworms. If your purchase from University Animal Hospital you receive a rebate for $12 off a pack of 12.

$12 off a pack of 12

$12 off a pack of 12

3. Interceptor

This is a once per month pill that protects against heartworm disease. It also treats and controls hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.

Interceptor_large

All of these protections are cost effective when factoring in how much they cover

If you have questions about heartworm disease or any of these products reach out to the staff of University Animal Hospital and we will help any way we can.

Cost Effective Flea and Tick Products | University Animal Hospital NYC

Do not let the recent cold temperatures fool you. Spring is right around the corner. Any day now people will be wearing sandals and tank tops and the heat wave will soon be upon us. With that comes an increased risk that your dog or cat might be interacting with the dreaded parasites. The flea and tick problem.

These little monsters are actually a year-round presence but they are far more prevalent in the warmer months of the year.

That is why it’s so important for your pet to be on monthly flea and tick preventative all year round.

Some of our clients at University Animal Hospital have downplayed the need for their pet to be on the flea and tick preventative. I’ve heard people say that fleas and ticks aren’t really an issue in Manhattan. This is simply not true.

Fleas can live up to a year without feeding. Ticks like to hang out on the tops of blades of grass waiting to grab onto unsuspecting warm-blooded beings. You don’t need to leave the city to encounter these creeps. You can find them in plenty of places in New York City. I’ve run into ticks in a few of my apartments in Queens over the last several years. Twice in the month of December.

The health concerns of your pet getting bit by a tick far outweighs any apprehension you should have about the medications. The products are very safe and very effective. It just depends where you get it from.

Many pet stores and online pharmacies sell generic flea and tick medication that can be very harmful to your pet. In the cases where they have the actual product and not a cheap knock-off they are getting them through third party suppliers and not the manufacturer or a licensed distributor. Since this product is coming from a third party seller there is a risk that it is not being shipped and stored based on the manufacturers recommendations. This can leave the product ineffective and potentially harmful to your pet. You don’t really know what you’re getting.

Fake Frontline Plus found on ebay can be very dangerous

Fake Frontline Plus found online

These online pharmacies also do not offer some of the rebates and freebies you get from buying the product from a licensed distributor (like University Animal Hospital.) In our case we’re able to offer two free additional doses of Frontline Plus when a client purchases a pack of six. In the case of Nexgard we’re able to offer a free month worth of the medication. With Bravecto there are rebate coupons available that helps keep the cost of the medication manageable. The net down price of the free goods we’re able to offer our clients often-times makes our product considerably less expensive than one you’re buying online.
There are three fantastic options for flea/tick preventative available at University Animal Hospital.

Frontline Plus

Topical options are effective.

What kind of flea and tick products are there?

1. Frontline Plus. Chances are you’ve tried this before or have at least heard of it. It’s a topical that is placed on the skin of your pet (between the shoulder blades) once every month. This is a highly effective treatment. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 8 months for the price of 6.

Nexgard

Chew-ables are growing in popularity.

2. Nexgard. This is a once-a-month chew-able from the makers of Frontline that is just as effective — if not more.

Nexgard - Chew

It’ s a chew-able treat and thus there is no chance the medication will rub off on your hands or come off if your pet gets wet. It’s also beef flavored so dogs tend to love them. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 7 months for the price of 6.

3. Braveco. Like Nexgard this is chew-able but it only needs to be given every three months. That’s just four doses a year. If you buy multiple doses the rebate amounts increase.

Group_Packs-22_RGB-medium_tcm102-154707
These items are also available for purchase through the University Animal Hospital Online Store

There’s really no reason you shouldn’t take measures to protect your dog or cat from these creatures. The cost of the medications is minor and the peace-of-mind they provide should be more than worth it. Trust me when I say you don’t want to have to treat your pet for Lyme disease if you don’t have to. Not to mention dealing with fleas is a burden I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (okay, maybe I would but only because I have firsthand knowledge of how terrible it is). You’ll get that story next time

New Dog Flu Hits the City | University Animal Hospital NYC

The newest strain of dog flu to really begin impacting New York City dogs isn’t necessarily a new strain of the virus. This virus (know as H3N2 CIV) actually evolved from an avian flu and appeared in both South Korea and China nearly ten years ago. People may remember the virus being a big deal last March in Chicago when a wave of outbreaks were being reported. Since that time at least twenty-six states have reported cases.

It seems as though the virus is now showing signs of life in New York. A new vaccine is now available. This H3N2 flu vaccine is different from the H3N8 vaccine that has been protecting many NYC dogs over the last couple of years and you will need that particular vaccine to keep your dog protected. Neither vaccine can protect against both strains.

In most cases the symptoms include nasal discharge, fatigue, coughing and lack of appetite. The H3N2 virus is spreading more effectively than the H3N8 virus because some dogs do not exhibit symptoms and dogs stay contagious longer. That means an infected dog can be spreading the virus around while the owner is completely unaware there is any problem.

Social dogs are, of course, at a greater risk of infection. The dog flu virus is spread through air, contaminated surfaces (food and water bowls) and humans that have had contact with infected dogs. Boarding facilities, groomers, dog runs and apartment buildings that house many pets are all places that, if frequented, could put your furry child at more risk than others. It’s probably a good idea to avoid those stores or banks that have communal water bowls set out for dogs as well. Can you imagine drinking from a single cup of water that your bank left near the ATMs that several dozen strangers had used that day? I just pictured it and it made me queasy.

Though rare, the canine influenza virus can be deadly in some circumstances. Apparently fewer than ten percent of cases are fatal but that number isn’t minuscule by any means.

Is the dog flu worth vaccinating against or not?

At the very least it is worth discussing with your veterinarian if the vaccine is right for you. Make an appointment to meet with one of our amazing doctors if you are thinking about vaccinating your pet for the flu vaccine.

 

 

 

Traveling Tips for Cats and Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

If you have ever traveled with your cat or dog you must know that it isn’t the easiest endeavor. Besides finding an airline that is pet friendly there is often paperwork and several hoops that must be jumped through that are necessary in order to board the plane without issue. If you are flying internationally then there’s a whole assortment of steps you have to take in order to cover your bases. If you have not traveled with your pet before then hopefully these dog and cat traveling tips will prepare you for any potential issues that can arise.

The first thing to consider is if it is worth the effort to take your pet on your trip with you. Factor in the length of your trip and what will be required in order to bring your fuzzy child along. Most importantly consider the effect it will have on your pet. Does he/she travel well? Will the three days apart be easier than going through all the motions? If it’s a long trip maybe it would be worth it to bring them along for the adventure.

If you’re traveling domestically with your pet you should immediately contact your airline and ask what their specific requirements are. Most often the airline has rules specific to them. Almost every major airline will require a domestic health certificate, signed by your veterinarian, that states that your pet has been examined within a certain period (usually 30 days) and is fit for travel.

Many of them require your pet be in a certain sized carrier. They have to be certain that your pet, in the carrier, will fit under the seat. I learned the hard way that the size of this space can alter depending on the size of the plane your flight is scheduled for. I spent at least an hour on the phone with Delta Airlines customer care team having my flight changed to ensure that the plane I would be flying on would have the appropriate sized space under the seat to fit my cat (Maggie Rooneymara Nilbog-Ackerman IV) in her carrier.

Should I get my pet micro-chipped before I travel?

Consider the possibility that your pet could be lost at some point during your trip and make sure that your pet has a collar and ID tag with your contact information (address and phone number) clearly visible. It’s also a very good idea to have a microchip implanted into your pet (if you haven’t already) which can help locate your pet if he/she is lost at any point during your trip. It’s a quick injection, non-invasive, that can be done when your pet is awake.

If your pet is a nervous traveler discuss with your veterinarian any supplements or medications they might suggest to help keep your pet calm during travel. There are calming supplements that can help your pet without actually having to medicate them. In some cases your pet might need a sedative but this should always be something you discuss with your veterinarian first. Do not attempt to administer medications without discussing with your vet beforehand.

Pack some water if it’s a long flight. You don’t want your dog or cat to get dehydrated. A few treats to reward good behavior couldn’t hurt either. A chew toy or something to keep him or her distracted is always helpful. Don’t forget to pack a leash, some toys, extra water/food bowls, poopy bags, any necessary medications, etc.

If you’re staying at a hotel make sure it is a pet-friendly establishment. A little bit of research goes a long way and you’d rather have things set up in advance than be scrambling to figure them out in a crisis.

Remember that emergencies can happen so it’s also very important to do some research on emergency veterinary hospitals where you’ll be staying just in case your pet begins experiencing symptoms of illness. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s medical history on hand for this very reason. Save it to your e-mail as a PDF file so it can be easily accessed in an emergency.

How hard is it to traveling internationally?

If you are traveling internationally things get a little more complicated. The rules for international travel are not standard. They vary from country to country and change on a semi-regular basis. In almost every case you will need an international health certificate issued by a USDA certified veterinarian that proves your pet was examined and found fit for travel. Most often this needs to be done within ten days of arrival in your destination country. The vets at University Animal Hospital are USDA certified and fully capable of filling out any documentation required to travel. They are familiar with paperwork necessary and can inform you what you’ll need when trying to get into the country of your destination.

If you are planning on traveling with your pet set up an appointment with one of our doctors to get the process moving and to answer any questions you might have. Let them handle the details and the nightmare of paperwork so you can focus on your trip and the fun things you plan to do, with your dog or cat in tow.

Vet Terms: What Your Veterinarian is Talking About

Does your heart skip a beat or two when you hear your vet refer to your pet using unfamiliar and unnerving words? Learn what some of these more common terms mean so going to the pet hospital with your pet is less stressful for both of you.

“Your dog (or cat) has otitis externa or otitis interna

Your pet either has a middle/inner ear infection (otitis interna) or is suffering inflammation of the external ear canal (otitis externa). Symptoms of otitis interna include frequent head shaking, greenish discharge from the ear (may be tinged with blood) and deliberate pawing/scratching at the ear. Symptoms of otitis externa are similar to symptoms of otitis interna but do no include discharge. In addition, your pet may flinch if you touch his ear and the ear may have a foul smell.

Treatment for both outer and inner ear infections involves antibiotics and regular pet grooming.

“Your pet is suffering gastroenteritis. He needs his blood electrolytes balanced and rehydrated”.

If you brought your dog or cat to the animal hospital because of vomiting and diarrhea, the veterinarian may diagnose him with gastroenteritis. Attributed to viral, bacterial or parasitical infections, gastroenteritis causes rapid dehydration if the animal isn’t treated with appropriate medications. In addition, a dog or cat suffering gastroenteritis may run a low-grade fever, avoid food and sleep much more than usual.

“We will give your pet local anesthesia before performing a biospy, removing a small skin growth, stitching a small wound, etc.”

When veterinarians gives animals local anesthesia, they will inject a specific amount of a numbing agent directly into the area needing treatment. Pets given local anesthesia remain awake during a procedure. On the other hand, pets needing major surgery are given general anesthesia  to put them to sleep.

“Your dog has hypothyroidism” or “Your cat has hyperthyroidism“.

Hypothyroidism is a common disease affecting all breeds of dogs but especially targets cocker spaniels, dachshunds, retrievers, setters and Dobermans. If you’ve brought your dog to our pet hospital because he is losing his hair, has flaky skin, appears to be gaining weight for no reason and seems lethargic, he may have hypothyroidism. When blood tests determine your dog’s thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormones, your veterinarian will prescribe a synthetic hormone call L-thyroxine that restores normal thyroid functioning.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a common endocrine disorder affecting cats, especially cat over ten years old, that increases their appetite but causes weight loss. Cats with hyperthyroidism also drink and urinate more, may vomit and have diarrhea and present skin, nail and coat abnormalities. Restlessness, nighttime meowing/yowling and noticeable behavioral changes are other symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

If diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, your cat can take a medication called TapazoleTM to suppress an overactive thyroid or undergo radioactive iodine therapy. In some cases, the veterinarian may need to remove the thyroid gland if overactivity is caused by a benign tumor.

For more information about veterinary medical terms and procedures as well as services we provide, call our animal hospital today at (212) 288-8884.

Good Animal Care Requires Annual Checkups

Annual Checkups for Consitent Animal Care

The easiest and most effective animal care includes an annual visit to your vet at your pet hospital and keeping up your pet’s vaccination schedule. Vaccines prevent your cat or dog from disease causing organizisms that can invade them and make them severely ill, or in the worst-case scenario, can cause death of your pet. According to the ASPCA, vaccines introduce an antigen to a disease that is similar to the disease but builds up the immune system of your pet to ward off actually getting the disease. Ask your vet at your animal hospital for a vaccine schedule and make certain your pet gets all the core vaccines needed to be a healthy family member.

Flea and Tick Control

The most common external parasites on your dog or cat are fleas and ticks. It is best to keep your pet on a year round preventative medication to control these pests. When they get out of control, fleas and ticks can invade your home and also wreak havoc on the humans in your family. Flea infestations on your dog or cat can lead to more serious complications of the skin. Your pet will scratch constantly, bite, and lick at the site of fleabites. A cat or dog can loose hair in the areas that are constantly licked and can have serious sores on his or her skin that require antibiotic treatment from your veternarian. Excessive fleabites can also manifest into your dog or cat contracting tapeworms and needing medications to remove them from the body. Ask your vet for advice on topical or oral medications that prevent fleas and ticks and at what age your dog or cat can start on the medications. Topical and oral medications are generally administered monthly to all of your pets. The ASPCA states that all of your pets, both inside and outside need to be treated at the same time to prevent an infestation.

Pet Grooming

All dogs and cats, no matter the hair length need brushing or combing on a regular basis. Brushing or combing your four-legged family member removes dirt and spreads natural oils through the coat to prevent tangles and keep skin irritants of tangled hair out of the coat.

Dog Grooming

Dogs with a smooth, short coat only require brushing once a week with a rubber brush followed by a bristle brush. This process removes dead skin, dirt and hair from your pooch. Short and dense hair is prone to matting and requires a slicker brush followed by a bristle brush. Long coats on dogs that are silky need daily brushing to remove tangles. The ASPCA recommends to first, brush the coat with a slicker brush to remove tangles and follow it with a bristle brush.

Cat Grooming

Cats need brushing to remove dead hair from the coat and relieve your kitty from digesting hairballs when grooming himself or herself. Short haired cats can be brushed once or twice a week with a metal comb, followed by a rubber brush to remove dead hair. The ASPCA warns that longhaired cats that are indoors only shed all year round and need to be groomed every few days with a metal comb.

Dental Care

Make sure your pet has a dental exam yearly from a dental vet and keep up with the teeth cleaning schedule for great oral health. Animal teeth cleaning by a pet dentist is crucial to a healthy four-legged family member.

Chances are you’re probably spending time with your furry children this holiday season. With that in mind there are always precautions that should be taken. Here are some holiday pet safety tips to factor into the festivities.

Christmas trees are beautiful but make sure you keep your pet away from the tree stand. The water in the stand can house fertilizers from the tree itself and bacteria can also grow in the stagnant water. There’s also the concern of the tree itself. It should be secured well enough that you don’t run the risk of it tipping over on a curious cat or dog. Perhaps place it in the corner where tipping is less likely. Tend to the area frequently to remove any possible pine needles which can cause intestinal problems if swallowed.

Holly and mistletoe are poisonous to pets and can cause serious health problems. I suggest going artificial with these. Lilies, poinsettias, amaryllis, hibiscus and certain types of ivy can cause problems for pets so those should be avoided as well.

Avoid tinsel around the house. It’s pretty to look at but there’s nothing pretty about an obstructed digestive tract or emergency surgery — which can be a possibility if your pet ingests the sparkly decoration.

Stick with twinkle lights instead of candles. Unattended candles around your pets is just asking for trouble. If you must go with candles be sure they are in solid protective holders and that you blow them out when you leave the room.

If you go with those twinkle lights make sure the wires are out of reach. Keep from off of the lower branches of your tree. The ornaments hanging from your tree or around the house could also be dangerous if ingested or stepped on by your furry child.

Be cautious when wrapping gifts. String and scissors should be kept off of floors or low tables where they are less likely to be touched by your pets.

Be careful with the human food. During the holidays there are an assortment of goodies that can be dangerous is consumed by your fuzzy children. The obvious chocolates and artificially sweetened items should be kept away and in a safe place. Keep in mind any fatty or spicy foods and especially anything with bones. Keep any alcoholic beverages away from your pet’s roaming tongue as well. Any of these people-friendly items can be issues for your pet. Do yourself a favor and ensure that the lid to your garbage can is also secure.

If you’re planning on gifting your pet any toys be sure to stick with pet-friendly chew toys. Kong toys are safe and can be safely filled with treats. For your cat try to avoid stringy toys. Ribbons, yarn and little pieces can cause digestive issues and potential obstructions. Spare yourself the inevitable grief and don’t even bother with these toys. Stick with a new ball (that’s too big to swallow) and consider a stuffed catnip toy or interactive cat dancer.

 

Tell your house guests to keep their medications carefully zipped up and packed away. Consider giving your pet a private space somewhere quiet they can retreat to away from all the noise and commotion. New Year’s is the next major holiday on the agenda and with that comes noisy poppers and fireworks.

 

 

Avoid giving pets as gifts to those not in your immediate family. A pet is not like caring for a plant. It’s a full-time job. Gifting a living being to someone who may not be prepared to handle everything that comes with that is not a good idea. This is what often results in animals being given up for adoption a few weeks into the new year. If you plan on giving someone a pet as a gift make sure they’re aware and have told you they are okay with that.

There are always unforeseeable incidents that can occur so make sure you have some emergency numbers easily accessible should anything happen. Remember that our doctors are only a phone call away and can be reached if you have any concerns or questions. I’ll never forget a dog we saw a few years ago suffering from lethargy and diarrhea. After having X-rays done we saw a perfectly centered metal “Star of David” in the dog’s stomach. It had been in the cup-holder of a client’s car. The client has placed a cupcake on top. Left alone for just a moment in the car resulted in the dog swallowing the cupcake and the star. Luckily the dog was okay after some surgery but the issue could have been easily avoided with some easy pet-proofing. That was just a dog in a car. Imagine a home filled with visiting guests and holiday chaos. Safe yourself the headache and take a little time to ensure your holiday festivities are joyous and relaxing.

 

Stay Safe When Dressing Your Pet For the Holidays

Many pet parents love dressing up their pets during the holidays. Pet stores are filled with pet outfits for Thanksgiving and Christmas; however, some pet outfits may pose a danger to your pets. Furthermore, some pets may be allergic to certain materials in the fabric. To help make sure your pet avoids a trip to the animal hospital, follow these bits of advice when dressing your pet for the holidays.

Strings on Pet Clothes Lead to the Animal Hospital.

Strings can attract all sorts of trouble. People may step on them and cause injury to your pet. Strings may become frayed, and broken strings can pose a choking hazard for your pet. Avoid pet clothing that contains loose, fringed, or frayed strings. This will help keep your pets from becoming a tangled mess while wearing their holiday-best.

Inspect Clothing Prior to Wearing It.

Regardless of the age of your pet’s clothing, always inspect pet clothing prior to placing it on your pet. Clothing may become damaged over time, and articles of pet clothing can be a breeding ground for fleas, other inspects, and skin infections. If an item has a foul odor, make sure to wash the item before placing it on your pet. Also, beware of skin irritations from areas when clothing rubs the skin.

If Pets Chew on Clothes, Take It Off.

Pets do not wear clothes in nature, so avoid forcing your pet to wear clothing. If your pet begins to chew on the article, remove it immediately. You do want a loose button or bead to end up at the end of an endoscopy tube at the animal hospital. Some bitter sprays are available over the counter to help deter pets from chewing on your clothing and belongings as well.

Watch For Signs of Heat Exhaustion.

While indoors, you can lose track of your pet’s whereabouts and condition, especially during busy times during the holiday season. If your pet appears to be panting excessively or avoiding people, remove any clothing. These behaviors could be a sign of heat exhaustion. If your pet appears excessively lethargic, contact your veterinarian immediately.

 Your pet may love wearing their holiday-themed outfits, but you need to take a few extra steps to make sure pet clothing stays safe and comfortable. By following these tips, you can reduce the stress on your pet from holiday-themed, pet clothing. To learn more about proper pet health, contact us at the pet hospital today.

1 2