Posts Tagged ‘Pet’

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.


Pet Poisoning Prevention

August 27, 2013

Poisoning cases are some of the most common reasons for visits to veterinary emergency clinics. Nearly every day, we field a call or see a patient that has eaten something they shouldn’t and must then receive life-saving treatment.Pet Poisons

It’s even worse when you realize that most of these incidents are completely preventable. It doesn’t have to be like this. Most of the time owners don’t even realize that their homes contain so many toxic items. Some of the most toxic items include:

Household cleaners, bleach, Lysol and other corrosives… why? 

Because household cleaners can cause very serious “chemical burns”.  Most often, these chemicals are ingested or licked, causing a caustic or corrosive burn usually affecting the tongue and esophagus. 


Aspirin interferes with platelets, which are responsible for helping the blood to clot.  Aspirin toxicity can lead to gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure.


Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) is extremely toxic for pets and has potentially lethal effects…even a small dose can be lethal within a few hours of ingestion.  


If left untreated, amphetamine toxicity can be fatal in your pet.  These classification of drugs affect your pet’s nervous system and brain.  Toxic signs are typically visible within 1-2 hours.

While this list is not exhaustive, it does cover some of the more common substances that are particularly harmful to your pet.  If you are ever in doubt about your pet’s exposure to these and other potentially harmful products, don’t hesitate to contact us at (614) 888-4050.

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).

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.


We like to “treat” our pet with special treats…

April 3, 2013

The idea that it’s natural for dogs to chew on bones is a popular notion; however, it’s a dangerous practice and can be a serious threat to your pet’s health. Why are bones a bad treat for your furry friend?
Bones Dangerous to Dogs

  • Mouth or tongue injury.
  • Broken teeth.  This leads to expensive veterinary dentistry.
  • Bones can get caught or looped around your pet’s lower jaw.
  • Bones can also get caught in the esophagus or windpipe.
  • Constipation due to bone fragments.
  • Bones can get stuck in the intestines.

These are just a few of the possible tragedies that may come from our desire to “treat” our pets.

Remember that we are open late and on the weekends to help care for your pet:
Monday – Friday:  7:30 AM – 10 PM
Saturday:  8 AM – 8 PM
Sunday:  10 AM – 8 PM

Your friends @ the Animal Hospital of Polaris
8928 South Old State Road
Lewis Center, Ohio  43035


With Spring just around the corner…

March 26, 2013

As we look forward to Spring (and the warmer temperatures), it may inspire a love-hate relationship for people and pets with allergies. Many people and pets suffer from seasonal allergies in the Spring. Their bodies react to a variety of environmental allergens (substances that cause allergies) and the results can range from mildly annoying to severe. Seasonal allergies are more common in dogs than in cats.
What are signs of allergies? Most allergens are inhaled but some may also be ingested. Most dogs with seasonal allergies experience skin disorders rather than sneezing and watery eyes, and once exposed they usually become extremely itchy.

Pet owners may also notice some typical signs including licking the feet, rubbing the face, and frequent scratching. Your pet might also develop skin or ear infections.  If you notice these signs in your pet, contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.  Both people and pets have numerous options and don’t have to suffer.

Remember that we are open late and on the weekends to help care for your pet:
Monday – Friday:  7:30 AM – 10 PM
Saturday:  8 AM – 8 PM
Sunday:  10 AM – 8 PM

Your friends @ the Animal Hospital of Polaris
8928 South Old State Road
Lewis Center, Ohio  43035

12 things you might not know about parasites…

March 1, 2013

As a pet owner, your veterinarian has probably enlightened you about the dangers of parasites.  Do you really know everything you should about these tiny, troublesome organisms?  If you haven’t spoken with your veterinarian recently, you might be putting your pet and your family at risk.   Below are some common questions and answers regarding these pesky pests:

1.  What is a parasite? What are the types of parasites that can affect pets?
  A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. Some parasites that may affect your pet include:
◦    Fleas
◦    Ticks
◦    Ear Mites
◦    Mange Mites
◦    Coccidia
◦    Giardia
◦    Toxoplasmosis
◦    Heartworms
◦    Hookworms
◦    Roundworms
◦    Tapeworms
◦    Whipworms

2.  Can parasites be transmitted from pets to humans?
  Yes, some worms can be transmitted in the environment, while fleas and ticks can carry and either directly or indirectly transmit several potential illnesses to humans.

3.  What are heartworms? Should I be concerned about them even if I don’t live in a high-risk area? 
Heartworms are nematodes, or microscopic worms that infect many animal species. The larvae are transmitted through mosquito bites, maturing into worms once they arrive at the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. They can grow to as much as 11 inches in length, and can cause pulmonary disease, secondary heart problems and eventually death. Everyone with a dog or cat should be concerned about heartworm; mosquitoes are everywhere, and heartworms have been diagnosed in all 50 states.

4.  How is heartworm prevented?  A simple, chewable pill can prevent heartworm in pets if taken once per month. There also is monthly spot-on prevention medication available.

5.  Why does my veterinarian have to test for heartworms annually if my pet has been on preventive all year long?  
Pets can have a life-threatening reaction if given heartworm preventive medications when they have an active heartworm infection, so your veterinarian wants to be sure that your pet does not have a heartworm infection before prescribing a heartworm preventive medication. You may have accidentally missed a dose, or your pet may have spit the heartworm medication out or vomited it up, leaving your pet unprotected for a period that you were unaware of. Combination tests for heartworms in dogs also help your veterinarian check for other diseases like those transmitted by ticks, such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis.

6.  How does a pet become infected with intestinal parasites?
  Pets can become infected with intestinal parasites through many routes, including:
◦    Drinking contaminated water
◦    Coming into contact with other infected animals, although it’s unlikely if it’s just through casual contact
◦    Coming into contact with feces containing parasites eggs or larvae
◦    Swallowing fleas carrying the infective stage of tapeworms
◦    Nursing from an infected mother
◦    Eating a rodent or other small animal carrying the infective stage of a parasite

7.  Why is it necessary to bring a fecal sample in to my veterinarian? 
To test for a number of internal parasites that could possibly be present.

8.  How are intestinal parasites prevented? 
Bowel movements are the source of most intestinal parasites. To avoid parasites, keep your pet away from areas where other animals relieve themselves. Dispose of your own pet’s bowel movements as quickly as possible, and keep your pet and his environment clean. Keep your pet free of fleas, and make sure a fecal exam is included in his annual preventive care exam.

9.  What are the physical signs that an intestinal parasite is present in a pet?
  Keep your eyes open for some of these changes:
◦    Change in appetite
◦    Coughing
◦    Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
◦    Weight loss
◦    Skin irritation and itching
◦    Rough or dry coat
◦    Overall poor appearance

10.  How are intestinal parasites treated? 
The medication will vary depending on the parasite(s) involved. Your veterinarian may prescribe pills, powders, liquids, or injectable medication.

11.  Are intestinal parasites transmittable from animals to humans?  
Under some conditions, intestinal parasites can be transmitted from pets to people. Especially at risk are children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals (elderly are also at risk).

12.  What can you do to protect your pet and your family from parasites?
  Responsible pet parasite control can reduce risks of pets becoming infected with parasites and their transmission to humans.
◦    Use flea, tick, and heartworm preventive year-round
◦    Visit your veterinarian annually for a preventive care exam
◦    Practice good personal hygiene
◦    Clean up pet feces regularly

If you have any questions, give us a call!  With our expanded weekday and weekend hours…. we will be here if you need us!

Your friends @ the Animal Hospital of Polaris
8928 South Old State Road
Lewis Center, Ohio  43035

Healthy Treats (and tips) For Your Pet

February 22, 2013

A recent recall of chicken jerky treats produced in China made the news across the world. It encouraged many pet lovers to think very carefully about the snacks they give their pets. Treats, table scraps and human foods can all cause problems in pets. Today we want to give you a few tips on how to keep your dog healthy and hopefully prevent illness or injury.

Safe Dog Treats

1. Don’t Give Dogs Bones: Dogs are notorious for chewing on things they shouldn’t. Such items given to dogs as “treats” can have grave effects. In particular, many people think that giving their dogs chicken or turkey bones (especially during the holidays) is safe, but they soon end up in the emergency room after their dog swallows one. Bones can easily break if chewed and the sharp edges can lead to bleeding, internal injuries, or worse.

2. Don’t Feed Table Scraps: Another problem is that human food can contain toxic ingredients that can poison your dog. The tasty onion rings, grapes, raisins or high-fat meals that you love can make your dog sick, especially if your pet is very small.

3. Only Feed Dog-Specific Treats: The best way to keep your dog safe from toxicity or injury due to treats is to only feed them treats which are designed for canine consumption.

4. Check Recalls: Regularly check the FDA recall list and make sure that your dog’s food or treats are not anywhere on there. Monitor your dog closely for any signs of injury or illness  and if you suspect something, trust your instincts.

5. Pick Treats for Your Dogs Size: Treats that are too big or too small can cause problems by getting caught in your dog’s mouth or esophagus. Items which are too small for your large dog can be easily swallowed.

If you have any questions, give us a call!  With our expanded weekday and weekend hours…. we will be here if you need us!

Your friends @ the Animal Hospital of Polaris
8928 South Old State Road
Lewis Center, Ohio  43035


More Pet Food/Treat Recalls

October 17, 2012

Nature’s Recipe brand is voluntarily recalling a limited supply of Nature’s Recipe® Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken, manufactured in one of its U.S. production facilities. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.dog_treat_recall

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some, or all, of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact us immediately.


Fall is still prime flea season…save on Frontline & get $15 to spend!

October 11, 2012

Year-Round Flea Protection


Many pet owners mistakenly believe that fleas die off and are out of sight in the fall (and therefore out of mind) but nothing can be further from the truth. Temperatures are still warm enough outside, so fleas are still actively breeding. In addition, there’s typically an increase in precipitation in the fall months and fleas love the moisture. Fleas can also live inside your warm home and will continue to multiply until you do something about it.

Pet owners often choose to let their dogs go without protection in the fall and winter, leaving them at great risk for picking up these pesky pests in the yard, by the lake or on a walk. Did you know? Fleas can jump 8-12 inches – easily able to attach to your furry friend. Within 30 minutes, those little vampires start sucking your dog’s blood. In just 24 hours, a flea will start breeding. Without treatment, these little bloodsuckers can live six to 12 months … feeding on your poor dog the whole time.

The flea eggs begin hatching within two-five days and the whole lifecycle of the flea continues until your pets, your carpets … even your bed are infested with those itchy and nasty pests.

Don’t be fooled by cooler weather! Just because the temperatures start dropping outside doesn’t mean the fleas will die off in your home. They’re still nice and warm inside your home … breeding and multiplying to your dog’s (and your) irritation.

Now that you know how serious the flea problem is in the fall, we urge all pet owners to protect your beloved pets against these nasty, icky and painful pests. There’s no reason any dog should go unprotected this fall. If price is an issue, not to worry! We have a great deal for you.

Frontline Plus: Buy 6 doses, Get 2 FREE (PLUS $15.00 to spend)

The key to all-year-round flea control is continued monthly application of FRONTLINE PLUS, even in cooler weather. FRONTLINE PLUS kills all stages of the flea life cycle to protect your pets and their home environment
from flea infestation. If you purchase 6 doses of Frontline between now and October 31st, you will not only receive 2 Free doses but you’ll receive a check for $15.00 from the makers of Frontline to be used for any product or service offered at the Animal Hospital of Polaris.


Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers or coupons.