Archive for the ‘Pet Health Tips’ Category

8 Holiday Pet-Proofing Tips

December 4, 2013

ImageHere’s a question that I get asked often this time of the year: How do you keep all those pets of yours out of trouble?

It’s a great question when you’ve got tinsel, glittery ornaments and all holiday trappings decking your halls, walls and — most menacingly of all — your holiday tree (if you happen to have one).

The answer to this perfectly reasonable query: I’m really into decorating my home with all kinds of oddball stuff — even more so during the holidays — so I’m well aware that the secret to keeping pets out of trouble is to understand that there is no 100 percent risk-free environment. You also need to assess and prioritize the risks your household presents, find your pets’ risk-taking tendencies and work to strategically lower the most dangerous risks to individual pets.

You can make yourself crazy trying to pet-proof your home for every possible risk — and you’re unlikely to get rid of every possible danger. That’s just life. I’ve seen dogs drown in their water bowls and choke on perfectly “safe” collars and restraints. But I understand why it may be useful to hear what a veterinarian might do to pet-proof her own abode. So here’s my list of must-dos.

1. Elevate the Holiday Tree

Put the tree in a tall pot or up on a high pedestal to make it harder for pets to tip the tree over, drink the water (sometimes cited as a toxic issue) or take an interest in low-hanging decorations. (It goes without saying that all decorations should be out of an animal’s reach.)

I’ve used a tall pot for the past couple of years, which brings me to my next tip.

2. Stabilize and Secure Your Decor

Whatever decorations you put up, go the extra mile and make them inaccessible to pets. Whether it’s lodging the tree in a sturdy position (a standard tree stand will not work if you’ve got a sufficiently motivated cat) or tacking wreaths and garlands securely, the idea is to keep stuff in a spot that won’t be accessible to your playful pets.

3. Don’t Buy Dangerous Stuff

Why take the risk with real mistletoe (reportedly toxic), yarn, ribbon or tinsel?

4. Purchase Nontoxic Stuff Instead

I use silver duct tape in place of ribbons, 100 percent nontoxic native trees in place of pines (pine oil has been reported to cause liver damage in some pets) and recyclable paper ornaments (origami is fun to learn). Sure, paper isn’t as shiny, but it’s classy — and one less thing to tempt pets.

5. Prevent the Pee-Pee Problem

Pet proofing for the holidays isn’t just about pets. Sometimes the goal is to keep humans from suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous urine. I have a dog who (this has been confirmed by multiple trainers) cannot be housebroken. Anything low — like a holiday tree — must be raised, so he doesn’t decide it’s worth marking.

6. Embrace Crates

This time of year, I’m even more of a sucker for crates — and I’m always a stickler when it comes to crating my dogs for safety reasons. To keep my cuties from running amok and headlong into danger, I keep them close. Since I spend 80 percent of my waking life in the kitchen, I drag the crates into that space and let them watch me do my thing.

7. Conceal Electric Cords

I’ve had two pets chew through them, and I’ve seen plenty of burned mouths as a result of electric shock, so I’m vigilant about keeping pets away from cords. Covering them with heavy-duty plastic liners helps, but during the holidays I’ve taken to using twinkly indoor lights powered by batteries. There’s only so much damage a pet can do chewing through these.

8. Keep Pets Away From Chocolate

Safety is all well and good, but here’s where I draw the line: Chocolate is a holiday must-have for me. So I’m very careful with the dark chocolate that’s included in probably 20 percent of my homemade holiday treats. Sure, chocolate is toxic, but here’s where knowing when to be careful is more than half the battle: In all my years of pet keeping and dark chocolate wielding, I’ve never had an incident.


Getting old is not fun!

October 7, 2013

When we bring home a new puppy (or even adopt an older dog), we are excited to add a new member family and never consider that they, too, will grow old one day.  Every dog ages differently, but there are a few changes that veterinarians tend to see in older dogs. Some of these common signs of canine aging include:older dogs

  • Hearing loss:   As dogs age, the nerve cells and hearing apparatus degenerates, resulting in a slow loss of hearing.
  • Vision loss:   The lens of the eye becomes cloudy with age. Natural changes result in lenticular sclerosis, which typically does not cause significant vision loss. However, cataracts may develop, which also interferes with vision.
  • Decreased activity:   As dogs age, their metabolic rate slows and as a result, they become less active.
  • Weight gain:   Elderly dogs require 30 to 40 percent fewer calories. So simply eating a normal maintenance diet, often causes obesity.
  • Infections:   As the body ages, the immune system weakens, making it harder for your dog to ward off infections.

All of these changes are common as dogs age and with careful attention from a loving owner, they are easy to manage. It’s very important to maintain good routine care in your dog’s golden years and have your dog evaluated twice annually by the veterinarian.

Additional pet food recall…

September 17, 2013

Purina One dry dog food is being voluntarily recalled because of potential salmonella contamination as reported by Nestle Purina Petcare, the manufacturer of this product. Products affected include the 3.5 pound bags of White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult dry dog food (these packages are further identified with an expiration date of October 2014 and the production code of 31071083).royal canon

We still maintain that the Royal Canin label of food is far superior given their rigorous commitment to quality and consumer protection.  We understand you have choices when it comes to what to feed your pet but we also know you want the best for your pet.

Stop by or call us today to discuss more about your pet’s nutritional needs and how to keep them happy and healthy!

Is it time for a nail trim for your pet?

September 12, 2013

Your pet’s nails are a vital part of their anatomy. They help your pet walk and run, explore and play. And if they aren’t taken care of properly, their nails can cause a host of problems ranging from mild discomfort to punctures or even joint and bone problems.

pet nail trimThis can easily be prevented by keeping your pet’s nails trimmed. The question is, how frequently do you need to do it? The answer depends on multiple factors. The average range of time for trimming a pet’s nails is anywhere between three to even eight weeks.

Two things that affect your pet’s nail trimming schedule are their location and their breed. The more active that a dog is, the less frequent their nail trims might be. Walking on rough surfaces can grind down the nail so city dogs and dogs that frequently walk on sidewalks and asphalt often need less frequent trimming. Dogs who spend little time outside typically need more frequent trims.

In addition, some breeds and individuals have nails which grow faster than the average; for example, Dachshunds and Bassets may need to have their nails trimmed more often.

A good rule of thumb is that if you can hear your pet’s nails “click” when he walks, they need to be trimmed. You should also keep an eye out for any changes in your pet’s walk as this might also indicate foot pain from lengthy nails.

Trimming your pet’s nails is important to his comfort and good health. Overgrown nails can cause problems like:

•  Ingrown nails

•  Torn bleeding nails

•  Splayed toes (deformed feet)

•  Bone and joint problems

•  Hip and back problems

Trimming your pet’s nails is a must. But often, it is a stressful and unpleasant task for both you and your pet. We asked pet owners to tell us what they dislike most about trimming their dog’s nails. Here’s what we learned.

•  Most people said their pet makes it difficult. Whether the pet is scared or simply uncooperative, it was hard to safely trim their nails while struggling to restrain them.

•  Pain and bleeding are a common complaint. There is a blood vessel running through your pet’s nails called the quick. It is easy to see on light-colored nails  and somewhat harder on dark-colored ones. When you cut into the quick, the nail bleeds. This is painful for your pet and it can also be a little scary for the pet owner.

•  Painful cuts make pets fearful of nail trimming. Just one bad experience can make a pet struggle and resist, turning a tough job even tougher. Some pets hate having their nails trimmed so much that they actually bite their owners.

It’s not surprising that most pet owners would rather not cut their pet’s nails and prefer visiting a groomer.  Print out this message and receive $5.00 off your pet’s nail trim!  Call us today at 614-888-4050 to schedule an appointment for your pet’s nail trim!


Puppies love to play…why not play at doggie daycare?

August 20, 2013

Play for your dog is an exciting way to keep your cute canine happy, entertained and in good health. Dogs who have mental stimulation and exercise have better manners, fewer behavior issues and fewer health daycare

Some of the benefits of play for your pet include:

  • Social activities and play encourage communication between humans and pets.
  • Keeps the dog from getting bored. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation. Play gives them the chance to use some of their instinctive behaviors, such as hunting, searching, running and jumping.
  • Prevents destructive behavior. If a dog has structured play and regular game times, he is less likely to rummage through the garbage or dig up the lawn.
  • Keeps the dog healthy. Play that includes running, chasing, swimming and jumping keeps your dog lean and builds muscle, preventing obesity and diabetes.
  • Helps train the dog. Using play with rewards and treats is a great way to encourage good behavior and train him to obey.

It’s hard to find the time to play with your pet each and every day… which is why we offer Doggie Daycare at the Animal Hospital of Polaris.  Dogs of all breeds can play and we recognize the benefits of of play for every pet!

Animal Hospital of Polaris provides doggie daycare for our active canine companions at $15 per day. If you do have all of your vaccines and tests performed here at Animal Hospital of Polaris, doggie daycare is only $13.00 per day.

Doggie daycare hours are from 7 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday.  Come let your pooch play!

Monday – Friday:  7:30 AM – 9 PM
Saturday:  8 AM – 6 PM (Veterinarian hours 8 AM – 4 PM)
Sunday:  10 AM – 6PM (Veterinarian hours 10 AM – 4 PM)
*Boarding clients:
Weekend drop off must be prior to 4 PM and pick up prior to 6 PM.

Dental health affects overall health for your pets

August 14, 2013

Halitosis, or bad breath, is the most common sign of dental disease. Classic “doggy breath” is not necessarily normal. It’s usually caused by an infection of the gums and potentially the other canine dental healthsupporting structures of the teeth. Plaque builds up every day on the tooth surface including at the gum line. Left in place, the plaque can mineralize, or harden, in less than 2 days. The brown, grey, or yellow staining commonly seen near the gum line is a sign of advancing disease. Signs of dental disease include:

  • bad bath
  • red inflamed gums
  • loose teeth
  • tartar accumulation
  • calculus on the teeth.

Dental disease is the most common ailment affecting pet dogs and cats and affects more than just their dental health.

The amount and severity of dental disease in our pets can be very surprising. The  best way to reduce the risk of dental disease in pets is proper dental care. A simple and quick tooth brushing just 3 times a week can add years to your dog’s life, but the sad fact is that most dogs never even see a toothbrush.  We have made it even easier and more affordable for our clients to take great care of their favorite furry friends.  Not only do we offer a FREE dental examination…just call us at (614) 888-4050 and we’ll be happy to schedule that appointment… but we also offer a cost effective option for dental cleanings for your pet.

BUDGET Friendly Dental Cleanings

Our clients know how important dental health is for their pets and we want to make that more affordable as well.  For cats and dogs up to 6 years of age, dental cleanings start at $125!

(Prices for all procedures may be adjusted based upon the weight of your pet as the amount of anesthesia utilized will vary based upon weight).

Protect your pets!

August 2, 2013

canine fluThe canine flu virus has existed for several years.  It first received media attention after an article, published in September of 2005, explored the “Transmission of Equine Influenza Virus to Dogs”.  Further national media attention was given to the virus in 2009 when it was discovered that the virus was causing illness and death in dogs at Florida Greyhound tracks and then spreading to other dogs across the country.

What is Canine Flu?  It is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs.  What are the symptoms?  The virus can cause coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, high fevers, eye discharge and, possibly, fatal pneumonia.

It has been supported that 80% of dogs exposed to the virus will develop an infection.  Most canine companions will experience only mild coughing; however, puppies and senior dogs are a greatest risk for fatalities associated with the virus.  The number of dogs at risk from actually dying from the virus is estimated at anywhere between 1 and 10%.

Who is at risk?  Dogs housed in high-density population areas or boarding kennels are at increased risk.  The virus has been documented in shelters, veterinary clinics, pet stores, boarding/kennel facilities and dog tracks.

What can the H3N8 dog vaccine do to protect my pet?  We hear this question many times each week from our clients who are opting to board their pets at the Animal Hospital of Polaris.  Our clients like to do everything they can to protect their pets but also want to minimize the risk of complications associated with vaccination.  They also want to avoid any unnecessary expenses.  We still recommend the vaccine (and require it) if you are boarding your dog at our extended stay kennel facility.  There are just some risks that we don’t wish to take with the health of your pet or any other pet.  We believe the canine influenza vaccine is beneficial.  The only exception might be if your dog is never boarded, is mostly in the house and does not interact with other dogs.  Vaccination could be very beneficial if your pet were exposed and may help to prevent the spread of this nasty and contagious virus.

Your garage is not a safe place for your pets!

July 12, 2013

Almost every room in your house most likely contains at least one thing that poses a safety risk to your pet. However, one room in particular is filled with so many dangerous items that we would guess it’s the location of most incidents that lead to veterinarian emergency visits. It’s really very dangerous and we are surprised so many animals are allowed in the garage!

pets in garage 

Many pets are put in the garage during the day and many outdoor pets are often allowed in the garage during the winter.  But letting your pet into the garage could be very dangerous. There are multitudes of toxins, sharp objects and dangerous things to consume in the garage. You would be surprised how many pets become ill or injured after spending time in the garage. Aside from high temperatures and exposures to dangers lurking in the garage, your pet may still enjoy spending time in the garage…just be cautious to minimize any risk or exposure by moving any chemicals, machinery, etc. out of reach of your pet (this can be tricky with our feline friends). 

A new puppy is a great deal of fun but also a great responsibility…

July 10, 2013

As puppies grow, they will need quality, routine veterinary care along the way. Their delicate immune systems mean that it is very important to make sure they have all required vaccinations at the right time. Regular checkups with your veterinarian will permit you to monitor your puppy’s growth and health.

The right activity and healthcare are just two parts of the equation for a happy puppy. The other thing puppies need to support their healthy growth is quality nutrition. There are many puppy foods on the market, so how can you be sure that you are choosing a food that will provide for your puppy’s nutritional needs?

You might have heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out” in reference to poor human food choices but it can apply to dogs as well. It’s very important that puppies get complete nutrition from a good-quality food in order to develop properly. A happy, long life begins with a diet designed to support your puppy’s growing, changing body. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t feed adult dog food to a puppy.
  • Choose a good puppy food that will provide all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Avoid foods high in “fillers” such as corn and wheat with little or no nutritional value.
  • Be wary of additives and preservatives.

Your veterinarian will tell you that good nutrition is of the utmost important to your puppy’s healthy growth. Veterinarians also know that while puppy parents have the best intentions, it’s hard to make the best choices. That’s because many people don’t really know how to tell which puppy foods are good choices and which are low-quality.Our veterinarians recommend Royal Canin puppy food.  The benefits of the Royal Canin food line include:

  • Reduces the formation of tartar
  • L-Carnitine helps metabolize fat
  • Biotin keeps skin and coat clean and healthy
  • Developed with highly digestible proteins for the best possible nutrient absorption and with specific nutrients to support digestive health
  • Higher caloric content aids developing puppies

In addition, the Royal Canin frequent buyer plan offers further savings when you buy 6 bags…you get the 7th free! If you are considering adding a new puppy to your family, make sure to ask us about the best nutrition options to help your new furry family member grow up happy and healthy!

Detecting pain in our pets…

June 21, 2013

Pain is exceptionally hard to detect in pets. Our pets can’t talk, so you have to look for the signs. Sometimes those signs can be very subtle, such as stiffness, particularly in the morning or after a nap, difficulty going up and down stairs,  favoring a limb and ultimately lameness (though this is never one of the first signs).

If you do notice signs of pain in your pet, be sure to consult your veterinarian for treatment options right away.

The good news is that joint pain, stiffness and the lack of mobility that accompanies the normal aging process and arthritis is not something your pet has to live with.

With the proper treatment, your pet can start moving again with less pain and inflammation. You can also prevent pain by keeping your pet’s joints healthy with frequent exercise, keeping your pet warm especially on those cold mornings and with supplements to support joint health.

The Animal Hospital of Polaris invested in a Medical Therapy Laser to treat pain and inflammation in pets as a supplement and/or alternative treatment for our patients.  Medical Therapy Laser treatment is offered to our patients at $200 for 6 sessions/treatments (plus a FREE examination).  Regular price is $400 for 6 sessions but now through July 31st, the price is reduced to make this treatment affordable. In addition to both traditional and Medical Therapy Laser treatments, we recommend the following:

1. Help your pet lose weight – Joint pain can be aggravated in overweight animals. If your pet is overweight, consult with your vet about putting your furry friend on a monitored weight-loss program.

2. Plan a little play time every day – Help your pet maintain mobility and flexibility with frequent short sessions of moderate exercise and play. Excessive exercise is not recommended. Particularly at this time of the year, swimming is a great way for dogs to exercise without stressing their joints.

3. Keep your pet warm – Make sure your pet has a nice warm spot to rest and warm blankets when it’s cold. You also can try using booties. A soft surface also makes your sore pet more comfortable.

Give us a call today to schedule your pet’s FREE examination and to discuss Medical Therapy Laser treatment for your pet.