Yearly Archives: 2014

One Click and You Can Help Animals

Help us fill an animal’s food bowl and spread some holiday cheer this season! From December 9th to January 9th, every time we get a like on Facebook we will donate a scoop of food in partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the Animal House Rescue – an animal rescue in our area. Please help us by spreading the word! When we post on any of our social media accounts, please share, retweet, or create something on your own. We’re aiming to get 1,000 likes (that equals about 10 40-lb bags of dog food!) and we can’t do it without you! So please let all your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else know so we can make this holiday season just a little bit better for these animals in need. Visit our Facebook page to make a difference! Animal House is a different type of rescue. Animal House Rescue is a 501(c)(3) no kill dog rescue that specializes in the problem children! Many of our adoptable dogs are ready to go, but we also welcome the dogs with character. Our dogs can be bounce backs (returns), abused or neglected, and the misunderstood. We have found that these dogs will make perfectly good (and safe) companions. Someone just needs to understand them – and that’s where we come in! shutterstock_216951478

Thanksgiving Dinner and Your Pet

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and soon enough you will be sitting down for your big dinner and your pet will place himself next to you and just stare at you—waiting and begging for you to drop just a morsel of turkey on the floor. A poll of petMD readers showed that 56% of people share Thanksgiving food scraps with their pets. We do not encourage families to feed their pets from the table as it can be unhealthy and can cause negative behavior, but we also know that sometimes the temptation is too great. If you know that you are one of these families, please follow these tips and keep your animals safe! The YES List: Turkey can be a great lean protein for your pet. Remove any skin or fat from the meat and only offer your pet dry, white meat. Turkey gravy often has ingredients that can be bad for animals. Unless your pet is used to table scraps, keep the serving sizes small to avoid gastrointestinal issues. As long as they’re plain, green beans are actually a healthy and good treat for pets. Do not feed your pet green beans if they are marinated or in a green bean casserole. If you want to feed your pet mashed potatoes, be very careful of any additional ingredients. Cheese, butter, garlic, onions, gravy, and more should not be a part of your pet’s diet. When served in a small portion, cranberry sauce can be enjoyable for your pet but careful with the amount of sugar in it. As long as you know that your pet’s stomach is okay with dairy, macaroni and cheese is another okay option. If you are at all unsure, only give him or her plain macaroni. The NO List: Along with gravy, also make sure your pet does not eat any alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, etc). These can be toxic to your pet. If you have grapes at your meal, do not let your pet eat them. Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. Do not give your pet any food with xylitol or artificial sweeteners. While you may be trying to make your meal healthier by not using real sugar, sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous to pets. Chocolate is an absolute no. Be aware of what contains chocolate and keep it out of reach of pets. Especially if the food contains baking chocolate. Keep your alcohol to yourself. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in animals. Make sure to throw away all packaging, wrappers, bones, and other items properly. A pet can easily get into the garbage and choke on something. Educate your guests on what they can and cannot give your pet. Also make sure that there is somewhere for your pet to escape to if they are overwhelmed or stressed. Most importantly, enjoy your holiday! We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Pet Diabetes

November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Are your pets at risk? The likelihood of your cat or dog developing diabetes is anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 500 and experts say those numbers are increasing. Diabetes mellitus, the clinical name for “sugar diabetes,” is a disease that affects glucose in your pet’s blood and is caused by a shortage of insulin or when the body can’t process insulin properly. Diabetes in dogs is usually type 1 while diabetes in cats is usually type 2 but can progress to type 1. The food that your pet eats is broken down into small components that the body can use. One of the components, carbohydrates, is converted into sugar or glucose. If there is too little insulin or the insulin cannot be processed correctly, then the glucose is not able to enter the cells and provide energy. Because the cells cannot absorb glucose, a diabetic pet may always want to eat but still look malnourished. If your pet exhibits the following symptoms, he or she may have diabetes: -Excessive drinking or urination, -increased appetite (early stages) or loss of appetite (late stages), -weight loss, -lethargy or weakness, and -vomiting or other intestinal problems. If your pet has these symptoms then let us or your veterinarian know so we can get started on creating a plan for your and your pet. Although diabetes is not curable, it can be managed with daily insulin injections and changes in diet (and exercise for dogs). Oral medications have shown to be not particularly helpful. Successful management of your pet’s diabetes means that he or she can live a happy and healthy life. Making sure that your pet is eating a proper diet, gets regular exercise, and maintains a healthy weight can be a big help in preventing diabetes. For more information about pet diabetes, visit https://www.petdiabetesmonth.com.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a holiday that humans and animals can enjoy together. There are many exciting aspects of Halloween but that doesn’t mean there are no risks. See below and read how to have fun while keeping your animal friends safe. CANDY – Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy! Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in most sugar-free candy and it is also toxic to animals. Also be sure to throw away all wrappers as they present a choking hazard. CANDLES – Make sure to keep any lit candles or jack-o-lanterns out of reach from pets. They are attracted to the bright light and can either burn themselves or cause a fire. CHIP YOUR PET – Make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip and collar and tag. They can easily escape through an open door when you greet trick-or-treaters or while trick-or-treating. Only 22% of lost dogs and less than 2% of lost cats that are not microchipped are ever returned to their owners. COSTUMES – Make sure any costume you put on your pet fits properly and is comfortable. Also make sure that it doesn’t have any pieces that can be chewed off and doesn’t affect your pet’s seeing, hearing, breathing, or moving. You should also avoid any costumes with metal pieces. Some metals (like zinc) are dangerous if ingested. If your pet does not want to wear a costume, you should not force it. Never leave your pet unattended while he or she is wearing a costume. DECORATIONS – Make sure to keep all wires and electrical cords out of reach of pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts, burns, or receive a shock. Also keep pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach. While these are considered relatively nontoxic, they can produce stomach upset if ingested. GLOW STICKS – Although the liquid in glow sticks and glow jewelry has not been known to be toxic, it causes pain and irritation in the mouth and will make your pets salivate excessively and act strangely. KEEP YOUR PET INSIDE – There have been reports of pranks being played on pets that are outside. You should bring any outdoor cats inside a few days prior and a few days after Halloween as well. If you bring your pet trick-or-treating with you, make sure you keep them on a leash with a firm grip. Animals can be spooked by all the people and costumes they may see. While inside, put them in a safe space where they are comfortable. The constant motion of trick-or-treaters at the door can be stressful and upsetting to pets. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Halloween full of devilish dogs, cool cats, boo bunnies, and more!

Hot Spots

A “hot spot” (also known as pyotraumatic or moist dermatitis) is a skin condition that occurs when an animal constantly bites, licks, or scratches an area of itchy skin. The skin becomes inflamed and infected and often appears as a moist, oozing, reddened area that is painful and very itchy. If there is hair at the area, the hair will hold in moisture and irritate the skin more. The condition worsens if the animal continues to bother the area and it is common to notice a small affected area in the morning and a larger one in the evening. Because the lesions are warm to the touch, they are called hot spots. Hot spots are treatable but it is important to also identity the underlying cause to ensure the prevention of future hot spots. A visit to your veterinarian may be required depending on the severity of the lesion. Any hair in or around the lesion will be trimmed and removed so the area can be thoroughly cleaned and topical medications can be applied. Your veterinarian will prescribe oral antibiotics for about three to four weeks to treat the infection and may also prescribed corticosteroids (such as prednisone) to help with the itching and pain from the inflammation. One of the ways you can prevent hot spots is by removing exposure to allergens. Animals can have environmental allergies, such as grass, trees, or dust mites, or they can also be allergic to food. Avoiding fleas, mites, insect bites, and skin wounds in general will also help prevent your pet from developing hot spots. You can use an Elizabethan collar, or “e-collar,” to keep your pet from agitating the spot further.

Halloween Costume Contest

Submit a photo of your pet in a Halloween costume and you could win a $50 gift card!! Halloween is almost here and that means it’s time to get festive. Like our Facebook Page and submit a photo of your pet in his or her best costume through private message on Facebook. We will be accepting submissions now through October 23rd and voting will start on October 24th. We will be posting all photos in an album where you can vote for your favorite(s). The person whose photo gets the most “likes” will receive a $50 gift card! We ask that you only send one photo per pet. Once the photos are posted and voting is open, make sure to share your photo or the album with all your friends and family to increase your chances of winning! The lucky winner will be announced on Halloween. We hope you participate and good luck!   winding

Pet Obesity

Did you know that obesity is not just an epidemic in humans but also in pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 57% of dogs and 52% of cats are obese and these numbers are on the rise. Much like humans, obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint problems, and ultimately a shortened life expectancy. Based on a survey created by APOP, a surprising 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners thought their pet was in the normal weight range. This disparity is known as the “fat gap” and is thought to be one of the primary factors in the growing rate of pet obesity. To tell if your pet is a healthy weight, use this scoring system. Your pet should rank at about a 3 if he or she is a healthy weight. To keep your pet at a healthy weight, take care in providing him or her with a healthy diet and ensuring the proper amount of exercise. Pet foods have become more calorically dense and people are feeding their pets more. If your pet is already overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action. Your vet will probably recommend a controlled diet and specific type of food. It can be hard to know what the proper caloric intake and weight should be for your pet so APOP has provided a few useful tables to help. This information does not replace the advice of your veterinarian and should only be used as a starting point. Pet Caloric Needs – https://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs/ Ideal Weight Ranges – https://www.petobesityprevention.org/ideal-weight-ranges/

It’s World Rabies Day

Today, September 28th, is World Rabies Day. Rabies is an infectious virus that affects the central nervous system in mammals and is transmitted through the saliva of animals. Both humans and animals can contract the virus if they handle or get bitten by an infected animal. It is estimated that each year in the US about 40,000 people receive the rabies prevention treatment, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), because they may have been exposed to rabies. There is no cure to rabies and it is almost always fatal. Globally about 55,000 people die each year of rabies, mostly in Africa and Asia. In the northeast, the most common rabid wildlife are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Although 90% of all rabid animals reported to the CDC are wild animals, most people are exposed to rabies because of a cat or a dog. Cats are also about three times more likely to be rabid than dogs are. For this reason, it is important to visit your veterinarian on a regular basis and make sure all rabies vaccinations are up-to-date for cats, dogs, and even ferrets. Giving your pet direct supervision while they are outdoors is also important in reducing exposure to rabies. Pets that have not gotten their rabies vaccine and are exposed to rabies must be quarantined for six month, or euthanized, because of their risk of getting rabies after the exposure. Every US state (excluding Hawaii) requires all dogs and cats to get the rabies vaccination. They should then be subsequently revaccinated on an ongoing basis according to the directions of the vaccine manufacturer. Hawaii is the only US state that has not had any reported cases of rabies. Dogs and cats that are imported into Hawaii must be placed in quarantine. You can read more and view the laws for each state here or here. World Rabies Day, since its launch in 2007, has helped to educate over 182 million people and vaccinated about 7.7 million dogs through events in 150 countries. To read more about World Rabies Day, visit their website at https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.

Foods to Avoid Giving Your Dogs

September is National Food Safety Month. Like cats and humans, certain foods can be toxic to dogs. While cats and dogs share many food toxicities, here is dog-specific and alphabetic list of the foods you should avoid giving your dog. Alcohol: Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans are. Just a little bit can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, coordination problems, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. Hops in particular, which is found in beer, has been found to poison dogs. Dogs affected by hops can have damage and failure to multiple organ systems due to an uncontrollably high body temperature. Avocado: Persin, the toxic element in Avocado, can cause mild upset stomach. Persin can be found in the leaves, seed, bark, and inside the fruit. Avocado is sometimes included in pet food but does not pose a threat to dogs. Chocolate: Unlike cats, dogs will eat chocolate on their own. The rule with chocolate is usually, “the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate contains very few methylxanthines, the toxic component of chocolate, while dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and quantity of the chocolate consumed, the reaction your dog may have can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures, and death. Coffee/Caffeine: Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog and there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding. Corncobs: Corncobs are not digestible and often cause obstructions in the intestines. Fat Trimmings and Bones: Don’t feed your dog table scraps. Fat, when cooked or uncooked, can cause pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). Bones should not be given to dogs either, as they can choke on it or the bone may splinter and cause an obstruction or internal lacerations. Grapes and Raisins: Although it is not known what makes grapes and raisins toxic, they have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Some dogs eat them without any effects while others can develop vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Kidney failure means your dog’s ability to product urine decreases so they are unable to filter toxins out of their system. Macadamia nuts: Although the chance that macadamia nuts are deathly to dogs is low, the symptoms they do feel can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms can include muscle tremors, paralysis of the back legs, vomiting, and more. Milk/Dairy Products: Because dogs are devoid of the lactase needed to breakdown milk, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body that result in nervous system abnormalities, seizures, shock, or death. Onions, Garlic, and Chives: All members, and close members of the onion family (including shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.), can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Like chocolate, the stronger it is, the more toxic it is. Garlic has been found to be more toxic to dogs than onions. Even dehydrated forms of garlic and onion are a threat to your dog’s health. Affected dogs may exhibit symptoms up to five days later and can include weakness, reluctance to move, and orange-tinted to dark red urine. Dogs that have ingested garlic or onion should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums: The seeds or pits from these fruits are the main concern. Persimmons seeds can cause inflammation of the small intestines or intestinal obstruction. Intestinal obstruction is also a concern for peach and plum pits. Peach and plum pits also contain cyanide which is poisonous to both dogs and humans. Humans just know not to eat them. Raw eggs, meat, and fish: Raw eggs, meat, and fish can contain bacteria like salmonella that can lead to food poisoning. Raw eggs also interfere with the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and can lead to skin, hair, and coat issues. Certain fish can cause “fish disease” which can be fatal within the first two weeks. The first signs are vomiting, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking meat and fish will kill the parasites and protect your dog. Salt: Giving your dog salty foods is not a good idea. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination which leads to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of excessive salt consumption can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death. Sugary foods: Sugary foods, such as candy and gum, are usually sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is known for increasing insulin production which causes blood sugar levels to drop. It can also cause disorientation and seizures as fast as 30 minutes after ingestion or as delayed as several hours. Xylitol can also lead to liver failure in just a few days. Even if the sugary food doesn’t contain xylitol it can still lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes. Yeast dough: Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system. This can lead to pain and a possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Additionally, when the yeast causes the dough to rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning. Dogs with extreme poisoning cases can go into a coma or have seizures. Non-food items: Foreign objects such as toys, small items of clothing, and medicine are perhaps a greater risk to dogs than food. One case is medical marijuana. It comes in many forms that a pet can easily eat and can cause vomiting, changes in heart rate, and depress the nervous system. If you suspect your dog ate any of these foods, first try to determine what and how much he or she ate. You should then call us or your veterinarian to see if medical attention is needed. If a veterinarian is not available, call either Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. Do you have a cat? Most foods that are toxic for dogs are also toxic for cats. Check out this blog post for a cat-specific list of toxic foods. If you’re unsure about a certain food for either your cat or your dog and it’s not on this list, call your veterinarian. Your pet’s health is worth the call!

Foods to Avoid Giving Your Cats

September is National Food Safety Month. Just like people can’t eat everything they come across, cats can’t either. In fact, many human foods are toxic for cats. See the alphabetic list below for the foods you should avoid giving your cat. Alcohol: Alcohol has the same effect on a cat’s brain and liver as it does to humans but it takes far less to see the effects. As little as a teaspoon can cause a coma in a cat and it can easily cause severe liver or brain damage. The higher the proof of alcohol, the worse the symptoms will be. Chocolate: Although most cats won’t eat chocolate on their own, you should not attempt to try to feed it to your cat. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical found in all chocolate including white chocolate, which is toxic to cats. Eating chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death. Dark and semisweet chocolate are the most dangerous. Coffee/Caffeine: Along with chocolate, coffee contains caffeine. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and can be toxic to the heart and nervous system. Fat Trimmings and Bones: Don’t feed your cat table scraps. Fat, when cooked or uncooked, can cause intestinal problems, vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). Cats can choke on bones or the bones can splinter and cause an obstruction or internal lacerations. You should also never give them anything that is as hard as or harder than their teeth because it can cause dental fractures. Fish: This includes raw, canned, and cooked fish. You can get away with small amounts of fish but if fed in high amounts your cat can develop a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency that leads to loss of appetite, seizures, and maybe death. The exception to this is if the fish is made into cat food. Most good cat food brands are supplemented with thiamine are just fine. Grapes and Raisins: Although it is not known what makes grapes and raisins toxic, they can cause kidney failure. Even a small amount can make a cat sick and cause them to repeatedly vomit and be hyperactive. Macadamia nuts: Like grapes and raisins, it is not known what makes macadamia nuts toxic. Ingestion of macadamia nuts can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle. Milk/Dairy Products: Surprisingly most cats are lactose-intolerant, so it’s best to be safe and avoid any dairy products. Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body and cause shock or result in death. Onions, Garlic, and Chives: Onion, in any form, can cause a cat to become anemic because it breaks down red blood cells. Even the onion powder that is in some baby foods is bad for cats. Onion, along with garlic and chives, can also cause gastrointestinal upset. Raw eggs and meat: Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and can lead to skin, hair, and coat issues. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella or other parasites. Raw meat may contain Salmonella and E. coli which can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Sugary foods: Sugary foods, such as candy and gum, are usually sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is known for increasing insulin production which causes blood sugar levels to drop. It can also cause vomiting, fatigue, loss of coordination, and eventually liver failure. Even if the sugary food doesn’t contain xylitol it can still lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes. Yeast dough: Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system. This can lead to pain and a possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Additionally, when the yeast causes the dough to rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning. Non-food items: Foreign objects such as toys, soft rubber objects, stringy objects (thread, yarn, tinsel), coins, and medicine are perhaps a greater risk to cats than food. Aspirin, Tylenol, and Motrin are all highly toxic and a single tablet could be lethal.   If you suspect your cat ate any of these foods, first try to determine what and how much he or she ate. You should then call us or your veterinarian to see if medical attention is needed. If a veterinarian is not available, call either Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. Do you have a dog? Most foods that are toxic for cats are also toxic for dogs. Check back here later for a dog-specific list of toxic foods. If you’re unsure about a certain food and it’s not on this list, call your veterinarian. Your pet’s health is worth the call!