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Making sure your dog minds his manners when he’s at the beach helps keep things fun and safe for everyone.

A growing number of beaches allow dogs – great news for those of us who love the sand and surf, and want to share them with our canine companions. But it’s important to keep in mind that even the most dog-friendly beach has rules and regulations for keeping the space safe, fun and healthy for everyone, human and canine alike. It’s important to follow these regulations, and also to make sure your dog is on his best behavior when he’s cavorting on the sand or playing in the waves.

Behavior basics for the beach

  • Rules can differ from beach to beach, so check them out carefully before taking your dog. e handler.
  • Ensuring your dog is well-trained is the next important factor.
  • The best thing you can teach your dog before you go to the beach is a solid recall, even around distractions. This will prevent pretty much all the problems you might have. It keeps your dog from being a nuisance toward other dogs and beachgoers, who may not appreciate the unbridled affection of your wet, sandy pup.
  • If someone’s walking their dog on a leash, you need to call and leash your own dog as you pass. This is good practice anywhere, including the beach. It’s unfair to have a leashed dog jumped by one who’s off leash. They can’t play properly if one dog is restrained. And the other dog is probably leashed for a good reason — she may be old and creaky, or may not like other dogs.
  • It should go without saying that you must pick up after your dog at the beach. Too many people leaving dog poop for people to step or sit in can result in the beach being posted off-limits to dogs. Also, clean up his urine – if he pees on the sand where people sit or children play, scoop it up as you would a clump of cat litter, and dispose of it properly. Take more poop bags than you think you’ll need.
  • Always keep an eye on your dog if he’s off-leash or on a long lead. It’s easy to get distracted, but not paying attention can lead to disaster – whether your dog knocks down a child, gets into someone’s tote bag, or threatens another dog. If your dog steals a sandwich, pees on an umbrella stand or kicks sand in a sunbather’s face, he could get kicked off the beach and his behavior could become be a blot against all dogs. Let your dog have a good time, but always keep in mind how you’d feel if a strange dog charged full speed at you or barked nonstop. Don’t let your dog shake off on an unsuspecting sunbather, steal a Frisbee mid-game or make off with a beach towel!

Additional beach etiquette tips from include:

  • Make sure your dog doesn’t have fleas or ticks. These pests can plant themselves in the sand and create an infestation affecting other animals and beachgoers.
  • Don’t let your dog ruin the area for natural marine life, whether you’re at the ocean or a freshwater lake. Dogs will try to sniff out wildlife, or even raid sea turtle egg nests. Respect any natural habitats and keep dogs from digging up nests and chasing shorebirds.
  • Pick up your dog’s toys as well as his waste. A split or punctured ball, for example, can sink in the water, causing litter and becoming a danger to marine life.

Keeping your dog safe and maintaining consideration for other beach users, whether human or canine, is the winning combination for an enjoyable time at the beach.

Remember that being able to take your dog the beach is a privilege. Good manners and attention to safety from both of you will ensure you’re always welcome!

As a pet owner, you’ve probably heard of heartworm disease, though you may not be sure what exactly it is or how it can affect your dog or cat. The guide below is meant to give you a general overview of what heartworm is, what it can do to your beloved companion, how you can prevent it, and how it can be treated.

What is Heartworm and How Do Animals Become Infected?

Heartworms are parasites that can live in the heart of dogs, and rarely cats. They are  transferred from one animal to another via mosquito bites. An animal that’s infected with heartworms will have young worms, microfilaria, circulating in their bloodstream. When a mosquito bites the infected dog or cat, the young worms are ingested with the pets blood and the microfilaria  begin to develop inside the mosquito. Once these reach their third stage of their development, they move into the mosquito’s salivary glands. When the mosquito bites your pet, the larvae are transferred into his body, where they continue to develop over the course of six to seven months. Once these worms become sexually mature, they migrate to the heart where they live and breed.  Heartworm can be detected by a simple blood test in the doctor's office. If untreated, they can cause heart and lung failure and death.

What are the Symptoms?

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease may not be present in the early stages, which is why veterinarians highly recommend taking preventative measures to ensure your pet doesn’t become infected in the first place.
Symptoms may appear months or even years after infection with the worms, which will continue to accumulate in the body.

Dogs who are heavily infected may show symptoms that include a persistent mild cough, fatigue after moderate exercise, weight loss, reduced appetite, and lethargy or reluctance to exercise.

  • All dogs should take a monthly preventative to prevent infection.
  • Treatment is difficult and is administered by a veterinarian.


There is a theory making the rounds that Neanderthals were ousted by Homo sapiens (our ancestors) because Neanderthals preferred to sit at home, while our
ancestors, being hunter-gatherers, were always on the move. Apparently, the mental stimulation that resulted from being on the move made Homo sapiens smarter and, thus, better able to cope.

Your dog may not be in danger of extinction, but animal behaviorists (and most veterinarians) have no doubt that dog mental stimulation is a close cousin of physical exercise in keeping your pet in great shape.

Here are some of the proven ways of providing mental exercise to your dog.

  1. Change the Walks - It is known phenomenon that regular (human) runners cling to a small set of routes. This doesn’t work for Fido. Your dog will be much more excited if his routes are unexpected. The park, the forest, down the river, the walking trail just mix it up!
  2. Exercise — Variety is the Spice of Life. Variety in his physical exercise is another great way to mentally stimulate your dog. A simple method of incorporating this is to involve additional members of the household into his daily walk; since each tends to have different predilections, it mixes things up for your pet. If you are alone, throw in jogging or a bike ride once in a while.
  3. Obedience Training The mental exercise of obedience training may be just what the doctor ordered for a number of breeds meant to be working dogs. Highly intelligent dogs — like the Border Collie or the bigger Poodle Mixes  — tend to do very well within this structure.
  4. Agility Training Agility training also provides an excellent combination of physical and mental stimulation. This is ideal for dogs that are intelligent, strong and energetic — like the German Shepherd, the German Short-haired Pointer and the like.
  5. Visiting Taking along your dog when visiting friends can be a great way of providing him with mental stimulation. Not only is the ride interesting, but friends at the other end — both human and animal — will be sure to boost your dog’s spirits. Obviously, a certain amount of judgment has to be used; not all your friends may welcome your pet.
  6. Change Toys We all need to change our “devices” every once in a while; corporations know that, and exploit it mercilessly. Unsurprisingly, your dog can also tire of toys. Set up your electronic calendar to send you a reminder to switch his toys around on a regular basis; he will be happier for it.
  7. Games Many dog breeds the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever to name a couple will derive great vicarious pleasure from playing a game of fetch. Retriever Dog fetches stick in water. That’s what many of them were bred to do. It’s a guaranteed way of mentally and physically stimulating your dog.

A Final Word

Studies show that all living organisms are healthier when mentally stimulated dogs are no exception. Highly intelligent breeds tend to need more mental stimulation than others. Dogs that have less access to the outdoors if you live in an apartment, for example will particularly benefit from a structured program of mental stimulation. If you find your dog succumbing regularly to bad habits like chewing, chasing his tail or other obsessive compulsive disorders, one of the best ways to counter those tendencies is to increase his mental stimulation. It does require a concerted effort and a commitment of time, but you may well find that after a while you get used to the new routine enough so that it’s not a turn-off  for you at all. Your dog, certainly, will be much happier and  better behaved.

Pet owners know that dogs and cats often have a penchant for eating strange things. Cats often gravitate toward plastic or wool, and many a dog will chew on whatever it can get its chops around. And then there are plants.

In order to prevent poisoning by cut flowers or house plants, avoid placing toxic ones in your home where pets may be able to access them. Or better yet, avoid buying flowers and plants that are known to be toxic. Outside is trickier, especially if your dog or cat has a wide range to roam.

The only other thing to do is to watch your dog’s behavior when outside, and try to prevent them from munching on vegetation unless you know it is harmless. When you see symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, abnormal urine, salivation, weakness, and any other abnormal condition, take your pet to the veterinarian because he may be poisoned

You can use this list, which has been compiled using information provided by and

Aloe vera

 Symptoms: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine color.


 Symptoms: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors.


 Symptoms:  Acute digestive upset, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, frequent bowel movements/diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, leg paralysis, weak heart rate and recumbency for 2 or more days; at this point, improvement may be seen or the animal may become comatose and die.

Baby’s Breath

 Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea.


 Symptoms: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.


 Symptoms:  Mild gastrointestinal signs, mild dermatitis.

Castor Bean

 Symptoms:  abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.


 Symptoms:  Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis.


 Symptoms:  gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.


 Symptoms:  Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias.


 Symptoms:  Salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, diarrhea.


 Symptoms:  Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.

Ivy (California Ivy, Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, English Ivy)

 Symptoms:  Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea.


 Symptoms:  Kidney failure.


 Symptoms:  Vomiting, profound depression, weakness, anorexia, and diarrhea are common; may be followed by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid, weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and death.

Morning Glory

 Symptoms:  Gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia, hallucinations.


 Symptoms:  Colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbency, and possibly death from cardiac failure.


 Symptoms:  Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing mild vomiting.


 Symptoms:  Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

Sago Palm

 They are apparently very tasty to animals, and unfortunately highly toxic–all parts are poisonous, but especially the seeds.

 Symptoms:  Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

Tomato Plant

 Symptoms:  Hypersalivation, inappetence, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, CNS depression, confusion, behavioral change, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate.


 Symptoms:  Intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.


 Symptoms:  Central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.

8 Things you can do to protect your dog in summer. 

  1. Never, ever leave your dog in the car;
  2. Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water;
  3. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside;
  4. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day;
  5. When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog's paws;
  6. If you think it's hot outside, it's even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off;
  7. Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – consult your veterinarian about the best product for your pet;
  8. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it's appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your dog's skin if she or he has a thin coat.


What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute.

How is it used?
Xylitol is manufactured into a white powder that looks and tastes similar to sugar.  Products that may contain xylitol include sugar-free gum, yogurt, candies, breath mints, baked goods, cough syrup, children's chewable vitamins, mouthwash, and toothpaste, to list a few.

How safe is xylitol?
Xylitol is safe for use in humans.
However, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.

Why is xylitol toxic to dogs?
When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.  This rapid release of insulin results in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

How much xylitol is poisonous to a dog?
The dose of xylitol that can cause hypoglycemia in the dog has been reported between 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg). The higher the dose ingested, the more the risk of liver failure. The most common source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline gets called about comes from sugar-free gum. With certain brands of gum, only 9 pieces of gum can result in severe hypoglycemia in a 45 pound dog, while 45 pieces would need to be ingested to result in liver failure. With other common brands of gum (which contain 1 g/piece of gum), only 2 pieces would result in severe hypoglycemia, while 10 pieces can result in liver failure. As there is a large range of xylitol in each different brand and flavor of gum, it is important to identify whether a toxic amount has been ingested.

What should I do if my dog eats something containing xylitol?
If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately.
Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your dog unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian. It is important to get treatment for your dog as quickly as possible.  As some dogs may already be hypoglycemic, inducing vomiting can make them worse!

What are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning?
Symptoms of xylitol toxicity develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking like drunk)
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

How is xylitol poisoning treated?
Fast and aggressive treatment by your veterinarian is essential to effectively reverse any toxic effects and prevent the development of severe problems. Your dog may require hospitalization for blood work, sugar monitoring, dextrose administration, intravenous fluids, liver protectants, and any other supportive care that may be needed.

What is the prognosis for recovery from xylitol poisoning?
The prognosis is good for dogs that are treated BEFORE symptoms develop, or for dogs that develop uncomplicated hypoglycemia that is reversed rapidly. If liver failure or a bleeding disorder develops, the prognosis is generally poor. If the dog lapses into a coma, the prognosis is very poor.

Canine influenza is caused by 2 highly contagious type A influenza viruses. These cause respiratory disease in dogs. The first virus was identified in racing greyhounds and appears to have been the cause of significant respiratory disease on canine tracks throughout the US for the last 2-3 years. The most recent cases have occurred in dog breeds other than greyhounds in shelters, boarding facilities and dog parks in Florida, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. All dogs are susceptible to infection and do not have naturally acquired immunity to the virus.

What is canine influenza (dog flu)?

Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs and can be fatal.  There are two different influenza viruses in dogs that we know of: one is the H3N8 virus and the other is the H3N2 virus.

Can canine influenza viruses infect humans?

To date, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza viruses from dogs to people and there has not been a single reported case of human infection with a canine influenza virus.

However, influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to mutate so that it could infect other species. For this reason, CDC and its partners are monitoring the canine influenza H3N8 and H3N2 viruses (as well as other animal influenza viruses) closely.

What are signs of canine influenza infection in dogs?

The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, and fever, but not all dogs will show all of these signs. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from mild signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and death.

How is canine influenza spread?

Canine flu can spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) from infected dogs, by coming into contact with contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dogs who develop a cough or show other signs of respiratory disease should be prevented from coming into contact with other dogs. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.

Is there a test for canine influenza?

Testing to confirm canine influenza virus infection in dogs is available. Your veterinarian can tell you if testing is appropriate.

How is canine influenza infection in dogs treated?

Treatment largely consists of supportive care. Making sure they continue to eat and drink. This helps the dog mount an immune response. Medications may be useful to stop the cough and treat discomfort. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected. And fluid therapy may be necessary if your dog becomes dehydrated.

Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?

There are two vaccines currently available to protect dogs against canine influenza. On vaccine for H3N8 and one for H3N2. Two vaccines are required initially, 2-3 weeks apart, and then 1 booster every year.

The do’s and don’ts of interacting with and managing an aggressive dog.

  • If your dog scratches you or jumps on you or others, don't push it down. Instead, fold your arms and turn away. Attention withdrawal is one of the best ways to correct aggressive dogs' behaviors because often they're trying to manipulate you into interaction.
  • Don't play tug-of-war with your aggressive dog unless you can teach it to sit, take the toy only on command and give it back when you ask for it. Also, never fling your dog around while holding onto the toy.
  • Don't feed an aggressive dog in its crate—this can cause it to become more territorial. Likely, the dog cares either about its food or feeding location—so the best thing to do is to feed it in a separate room away from people.
  • Dominance Aggression Syndrome in canines often includes biting, snapping and growling accompanied by multiple ritual dominance signals such as eye contact, erect ears and elevated tail.  If you disturb a sleeping dog and he growls, that is dominance aggression.
  • A dog's aggression is often exacerbated by physical punishment. Disrupt a bad situation by softly and firmly saying "no," encouraging the dog to join you in a different room or leaving the dog alone.

Dogs who show sudden signs of aggression may have an underlying medical problem. There are a number of conditions and diseases which cause aggressive behavior.

Talk to your veterinarian to determine whether this is the case for your pet. Treatment or medication may make big improvements in your dog's behavior.

If you have ruled out a medical problem, it is time to call in a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Because aggression is such a serious problem, dog owners should not attempt to fix it on their own. A professional can help you create a plan to manage your dog's aggression.


It's very important for puppies and kittens to receive a thorough exam each time they come in for routine vaccines. They should receive their first exam and initial vaccines between 6 and 8 weeks of age.  We check for birth defects, developmental concerns, retained baby teeth, retained testicles, and hernias, among other concerns. We can help advise you on house training, leash training, feeding schedules and all of the questions that come up when you're raising a puppy or kitten.

Your pets physical examination includes:

  • checking all vital signs
  • examining the teeth/eyes/ears
  • listening to the heart & lungs & abdomen
  • palpating the abdomen for any abnormalities
  • searching for lumps, bumps, enlarged lymph nodes
  • checking the skin and fur
  • evaluating the pet for orthopedic soundness
  • observing their behavior

Another equally important part of your pet's examination is the interview with you, his owner. You know your pet better than anyone else, so you are the best source of information for his usual daily habits:

  •  how much is he eating, drinking, urinating, defecating?
  •  Does he play with his toys?
  •  Have you noticed an odor lately?
  •  How is his housetraining?
  • Can he go up the stairs/jump on the bed/jump in the car?

Armed with this information, plus the information from the physical exam, the doctors of Nassau Animal Hospital can diagnose developmental concerns and health problems in your pet early, which means a longer, more comfortable life for your pet, more peace of mind for you, and lower veterinary bills!