Yearly Archives: 2016

Keeping Your Pet Safe at Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Foods Harmful To Your Pets


While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember that our canine companions cannot indulge in the same feasts that we prepare for ourselves. Some of the common Thanksgiving foods that fill our plate can actually be very dangerous for your pooch to ingest.

shutterstock_4156369Here are the 5 Thanksgiving foods that your dog should avoid:

Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.


Fat trimmings and fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. In fact, consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease can include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.


Dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, so the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.


Mushrooms can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.


Raisins and grapes, although the causes of their toxicity are unknown, can cause kidney failure in dogs.


The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.

The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.

Please keep our number handy in case of an emergency. Village Animal Clinic— 561-848-4349.

Love is Ageless: Adopting Senior Pets

Benefits of Adopting Senior Pets

November is National Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month, and local animal shelters are full of animals of all shapes, sizes, breeds, and ages. Senior pets are frequently the most difficult to place. Though they are typically more than seven years of age, there are many benefits to adopting a senior pet.

Most senior animals are surrendered by owners who could no longer keep them due to health or financial reasons. Though they may not know every trick, they are usually already housebroken and leash-trained.


The transition into your home will likely be easier and less destructive. While younger pets need constant supervision and training, most senior pets are already housebroken. They may even understand several commands already.


While an older pet can still have a lot of energy, they tend to have more stable personalities and require less excessive attention than younger animals. This makes them an ideal choice for the elderly and young children.


Senior pets seem to know that you saved them and are grateful for the second chance at life that you have given them. There is no better gift than adopting a senior pet and giving them the best last years of their life.


Unfortunately, they are most often passed up for puppies or kittens and spend far too long looking for a home to live out the rest of their golden years.


This November, please consider adopting one of our wonderful senior pets at Berk’s ARL or Hillside S.P.C.A. There are many sweet animals waiting to be your next best friend! Ask our veterinarians and staff or check your local animal shelters and SPCA locations for senior pets currently awaiting adoption.

Happy Cat Month

10 Ways To Keep Your Cat Happy


Happy Catember!!

In case you didn’t know, September is Happy Cat Month. This was created by the CATalyst Council to improve cat wellness by focusing on happiness. Studies have been shown that a happy cat is a healthier cat. Providing opportunities for your cat to act on these feline instincts is a core component of an enriching environment.

Here are 10 ways to keep your cat happy and occupied:


1. Provide toys. One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new toy. Not all toys have to be store bought. Paper sacks, wadded up paper and empty boxes will entertain cats for hours.


2. Train your cat together. Cats are smart as well as food oriented and can be trained to do fun tricks–the mental and physical stimulation is great for felines. Training your cat can strengthen the bond between you and your feline buddy.


3. Make your cat work for food. Feline obesity is a huge problem in this country and one way to combat it is to make cats work for their food. Food toys are available to channel a cat’s natural hunting instincts. The toy releases kibble in small amounts as the cat play with it. Another option is to hide a cat’s food in different places so that they have to find it.


4. Acclimate your cat to the carrier. Many cat owners find that the worst part about taking their cat anywhere is getting it into the carrier. The time to work with your cat on making their carrier seem like a safe, secure and inviting place to be is prior to veterinary visits or family vacations – not when you’re ready to get into the car.


5. Visit the veterinarian. Healthy cats are happy cats. Many veterinary practices are cat-friendly or have doctors who specialize in cats. Yearly wellness visits can help catch medical problems early.


6. Microchip your cat. In addition to a collar and identification tag, microchipping provides permanent identification in case your cat becomes lost.


7. Go outside (appropriately). Yes! There are ways owners can safely take their cats outside to allow them to broaden their horizons. Cats can be walked on a leash with a harness or confined in a special outdoor area—always under supervision, of course—so they can periodically and safely experience the world outside their window.


8. Provide proper scratching posts. Scratching is an important aspect of feline behavior. Cats should have places they are allowed to stretch and care for their claws. Providing a long and sturdy scratching post in a vertical, horizontal or angled position is a good way to keep your cat happy.


9. Provide preventive medications. No one likes fleas, ticks, mites or heartworms, especially your cat. Even if your cat is kept strictly indoors, they can still be attacked by these little creepy creatures. A parasite-free cat is a happy cat and preventive care will keep your family healthier, too.


10. Think about getting another cat. Cats are social animals, so you might want to consider visiting the shelter and adopting a best buddy for your current kitty. Cats love to play, and a playmate will make them happy—provided they are properly introduced and have the right places to eat, hide, play and go the bathroom.

The Importance of Regular Pet Checkups


In case you didn’t mark your calendar, August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day and it is a great time to remind everyone about the importance of preventive care. You wouldn’t dream of skipping your kids’ doctor appointments, so why should your cat’s veterinary check-ups be any different?

The fact is cats get sick too! While they are masters at hiding illness, they also suffer from many of the same disease as their canine and human counterparts.

Here are the top 5 reasons routine vet visits are a vital part for your cat to live a long, healthy life. You might not know that:

 

1. Cats age more rapidly than humans.A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 shutterstock_120813622during its first year, and then 24 at age 2. Each year thereafter, they age approximately four “cat years” for every calendar year. So your 8-year-old cat would be 48 in human years. Veterinary care is crucial because a lot can happen in four “cat years,” which is why yearly visits are so important.

 

2. Cats are masters at hiding illness.Cat’s natural behaviors make them excellent at hiding how they feel when they are sick or in pain. Your cat could be developing a health condition long before you notice anything is wrong. Veterinarians are trained to spot changes or abnormalities that could be overlooked and detect many problems before they advance or become more difficult to treat.

 

3. Over 50% of cats are overweight or obese.Your veterinarian will check your cat’s weight at every visit and provide nutritional and enrichment recommendations to help keep your cat at an ideal weight. Just a few extra pounds can put cats at risk for diabetes; heart, respiratory, and kidney disease; and more.

 

4. Preventive care is better than reactive care.Information discussed, along with a thorough physical examination, provides you and your veterinarian with a plan to help your cat remain healthy. Regular exams can help avoid medical emergencies since veterinarians can often detect conditions or diseases that may affect your cat’s health long before they become significant, painful, or more costly to treat.

 

5. Kittens have 26 teeth, while adult cats have 30. That equates to a lot of dental care! Periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats three years of age and older. Often there are no obvious signs of dental disease. Most cats with dental disease still eat without a noticeable change in appetite! Discuss your cat’s teeth at their routine preventive care veterinary visit.

Contact us at 561-848-4349 and schedule a routine pet checkup exam today.

I went for a walk with my pet. Now what?

The warm summer months lead to spending more time outside, which potentially results in more tick exposure. Many ticks harbor co-infections, meaning that they carry more than one disease such as Lyme disease. Did you know that only about 5% of dogs exposed will develop symptoms that are attributed to Lyme disease?  In order to best protect your dog from Lyme disease, you should: thoroughly check your dog for ticks after they’ve been outside and remove any ticks that are found, utilize a veterinarian recommended flea and tick prevention product year round & make sure your dog is current on his or her Lyme vaccination.

When checking your pet for ticks, brush or run your hands over your pet’s whole body, applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps or something the size of a pea. You may also use a brush or flea comb, stopping if you hit a bump or a snag to investigate. Most attachments occur in front of the shoulder blades, which includes the head, neck, and front legs. Make sure to also feel under the collar, under their armpits, between their toes, behind the ears, and around the tail. Ticks are attracted to dark, hidden areas and when attached can range in size from the size of a pinhead to a grape.

If you find an unattached tick, place it in alcohol and dispose of it. If you are uncomfortable removing the tick yourself, then call your veterinarian. While wearing gloves to protect yourself, use fine-tipped tweezers to grip the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, slowly and steadily, without squeezing the body, then place it in alcohol and dispose of it. It is very typical for a small nodule to occur at the site of the attachment and persist for up to three weeks. Clinical signs of Lyme disease typically occur weeks to months following a bite and may include limping, lethargy, poor appetite, or fever. A very small percentage of dogs may also develop a fatal form of the disease that affects their kidneys. If the skin remains irritated or infected or you suspect something might be wrong, call us at 561-848-4349

Microchipping

Advantages of Pet Microchipping

National Pet ID Week – April 17-23, 2016



Have you considered microchipping your pet? In a study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters, only 22% of dogs and less than 2% of cats that were not microchipped were reunited with their owners. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52% and for cats it was about 38.5%. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have joined together to create a day for reminding pet owners to have their pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up-to-date. “National Check the Chip Day” is this Friday, August 15th.


A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. Instead of running on batteries, the microchip is designed to be activated by a scanner that is passed over the area and then it transmits radio waves that send the identification number to the scanner screen. Microchips are also designed to work for 25 years.


Pet microchipping is as simple as a quick injection between the shoulder blades and can be done in a routine appointment as no surgery or anesthesia is required. An additional benefit to having your dog microchipped is that you can purchase a lifetime license for your dog. This eliminates having to remember to purchase a dog license annually.


You can take advantage of the day by making an appointment with us to have your pet microchipped where we will immediately register the chip. If your pet is already microchipped, you can check the chip’s registration information by going to the manufacturer’s database and making sure everything is up-to-date. Most of the time if an animal is microchipped and not returned to their owner, it’s because the information is incorrect or there isn’t any information provided.


A microchip does not replace identification tags or rabies tags. Identification tags are the easiest and quickest way to process an animal and contact the owner. If the pet is not wearing a collar or tags, or if either the collar or ID tag is lost, a microchip may be the only way to find a pet’s owner. Rabies tags allow to others to quickly see that your pet is vaccinated against the disease. It is more difficult to trace a lost pet’s owners with rabies tags as it can only be done when veterinary clinics or county offices are open. Microchip databases are online or can be reached through the phone 24/7/365.


You can use this useful flyer from the AVMA to keep a record of your pet’s microchip number and manufacturer.

International Assistance Dog Week

International Guide Dog Day – April 27, 2016


 

This week is International Assistance Dog Week, a week dedicated to recognizing all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs that help individuals mitigate their disability related limitations. The goal of the week is to: recognize and honor assistance dogs, raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs, honor puppy raisers and trainers, and recognize the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our community.


 

Assistance dogs not only provide a specific service to their handlers, but also greatly enhance the quality of their lives with a new sense of freedom and independence. Today there are three types of Assistance Dogs: guide dogs (for the blind and visually impaired), hearing dogs (for the deaf or hard of hearing), and service dogs (for people with disabilities other than those relating to vision or hearing).


 

Guide dogs assist blind and visually impaired people by: helping them avoid obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, and negotiating traffic. The human communicates with the dog using directorial commands. The dogs are even trained to disobey a command if it proves to be unsafe. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and other large breeds are socialized and raised for over a year by volunteers. The dog is then trained for four to six months by professional trainers before being placed with their visually impaired handler. A guide dog can be identified by the U-shaped handle the handler holds on to.


Hearing dogs assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals by alerting them to a variety of household sounds such as: a door knock or doorbell, alarm clock, oven buzzer, telephone, crying baby, name call, or smoke alarm. When the dog hears the sound he will make physical contact with his handler and lead them to the source of the sound. Before the dog has formal audio response training, he or she will be raised and socialized by a volunteer. A hearing dog can be identified by a leash or vest.


Service dogs assist people who have a disability other than a visual or hearing impairment. With special training these dogs can help with many different types of disabilities. They can be trained to work with: people who use power or manual wheelchairs, have balance issues, have various types of autism, need seizure alert or response, need to be alerted to other medical issues like low blood sugar, or have psychiatric disabilities. These specially trained dogs assist their handlers by: retrieving objects that are out of reach, opening and closing doors, turning on and off light switches, barking to indicate that help is needed or finding another person and leading them to the handler, and many other individual tasks as needed by the specific person. Most service dogs are Golden Retrievers or Labrador Retrievers and are either rescued from animal shelters or bred in selective breeding programs and raised by volunteers before they enter formal training. You can identify a service dog by a jacket, backpack, or harness.


Please remember that if you see one of these dogs, you should not bother, distract, or pet them You should also not offer the dog any food before asking the handler for permission. If you are need of an assistance dog, there are many organizations that can help you. A few of them include Assistance Dogs International (https://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/), Canine Companions for Independence (http://www.cci.org/), and National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS) (https://www.neads.org/assistance-dogs).