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Pain is universal and one of the most common feelings animals will convey. Obviously, most owners can detect a limp or a painful cry, but pain that’s chronic, or moderate enough to withstand, takes more scrutiny to recognize. Dogs and cats generally show a change in behavior or temperament when they’re uncomfortable. A normally happy and affectionate pet may become irritable and refuse to be held or petted. A normally rambunctious dog may prefer to sit or lie quietly and be left alone. Additionally, if a dog or cat can reach the painful area, such as a paw, they may lick, scratch, or bite it in an attempt to make it feel better. Unfortunately, they may inadvertently inflict self-injury by repeatedly rubbing or scratching the area. This is seen frequently in animals with ear infections that dig at the skin behind the sore ear with their rear claws.

Everyone has experienced pain and knows how debilitating it can be. Your pet’s no different, and they have a limited language to convey their discomfort. Overall, when it comes to detecting pain, you should look for a change, or abnormality in your pet’s behavior. You know them better than anyone else and if you suspect something is wrong, take them to your veterinarian. 


Finally, don’t ever give a human pain medication to your pet unless your veterinarian has specifically recommended it. Common over the counter painkillers, such as acetaminophen, are very poisonous to certain pets.

  1. Plain turkey in small quantities may be ok for a pet. Most pets do not tolerate spicy seasonings very well or large quantity of food. So giving the dog a sampling of everything on the human menu should be avoided.
  2. Food high in fat such as gravy or the skin of the bird can cause inflammation in our dogs
  3. Make sure to dispose of turkey bones where the pet cannot get to it. These bones will splinter when chewed. Bones can get caught in a pet’s esophagus or intestinal track. Could be life threatening
  4. Rancid food is full of bacteria and can make a pet very sick, so make sure garbage is not accessible to the pet
  5. Turkey stuffing may contain onions, garlic or raisins all toxic to dogs. Included on the list, bread dough, grapes and chocolate, avocados
  6. Remind guests not to offer table scraps or appetizers to the dog
  7. Manage children and pets. The excitement of the holiday can get the best of anyone
  8. If the family pet is skittish around people, noises, sudden movement then containing the dog away from the stimulation is recommended
  9. If your pet guards any resources such as food, toys or you, be proactive to ensure everyone has a good thanksgiving. Otherwise a child or adult could get bitten
  10. An open door or open garage may be an invitation for your pet to bolt. Keep your pet contained while guests are coming or going.

Based on the Pet Poison Helpline call volume and extensive database, here are the top 10 most common toxins that Pet Poison Helpline gets called about. Now keep in mind that some of these listed are very toxic, while some are minimally toxic (like ant baits and silica packs). When in doubt, call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline to make sure there won’t be a problem. Take special care to keep these toxins out of your pet’s reach and pet-proof your house!
Dog Poisons:

  • Chocolate
  • Mouse and Rat Poisons (rodenticides)
  • Vitamins and Minerals (e.g., Vitamin D3, iron, etc.)
  • NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.)
  • Cardiac Medications (e.g., calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, etc.)
  • Cold and Allergy Medications (e.g., pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, etc.)
  • Antidepressants (e.g., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • Xylitol
  • Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol)
  • Caffeine Pills

Cat Poisons:

  • Topical spot-on insecticides
  • Household Cleaners
  • Antidepressants
  • Lilies
  • Insoluble Oxalate Plants (e.g., Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, etc.)
  • Human and Veterinary NSAIDs
  • Cold and Flu Medication (e.g., Tylenol)
  • Glow Sticks
  • ADD/ADHD Medications/Amphetamines
  • Mouse and Rat Poison

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian for assistance. Accurate and timely identification of the suspected substance is very important. Having the container, package, or label in hand will save valuable time and may save the life of your pet.

Bringing home a new baby is a hectic and exciting time for everyone in your household. Before the baby is born you can help ease the transition for your cat by getting her used to the sounds and smells associated with babies. You may want to start using small amounts of baby lotion, baby oil and baby powder on your own skin so that the cat gets accustomed to the scent and associates it with you. Playing a tape recording of an infant's cry will help get your cat used to a soon to be familiar sound in your home. Have a friend with a baby visit so your cat will get used to the sight, smell and sound of a baby.

When preparing the nursery, allow plenty of time so that the cat can get used to it. Provide the cat with a refuge while you are working on the nursery. Leave a TV or radio on in the refuge. Let the cat explore the new room at her own pace and maintain her refuge so that she can return to a familiar place when she needs to.
Make the crib undesirable to the cat by placing empty soda cans in it. Cans are uncomfortable to lie down on and will rattle if the cat jumps in. The cat will associate the unpleasant noise with the crib, not you. Alternatively, a crib net may be placed over the crib to keep the cat out. Pull netting tight to keep the cat from using it as a hammock.

When the baby arrives, try to keep the cat's routine as normal as possible. Increase the amount of playtime or petting and grooming your cat receives from family members to reassure her. Your cat will be curious about the baby. Let her see and smell the baby while you supervise carefully. The cat may want to be near you when you hold or nurse the baby. Let the cat sit beside you or have someone offer her treats or playtime while you are busy with the baby. Allow yourself time daily to play with your cat.

Shower pets with gifts
Dogs and cats get as excited about new toys as human children (and some adults) do. A new toy can provide hours of tug-of-war, pawing and batting, or mental stimulation. The next time you feel like expressing love to your pets, consider visiting the pet supply store and picking out a toy you know your pet will love. And for fashion-conscious pets, you can spice up their wardrobe with a new collar or leash.

Do you have questions about spay and neutering animals? We can explain the process, including how safe it is. According to animal experts, pets that are spayed and neutered live longer than those that aren't. The medical conditions that can arise in intact pets later in life can be very expensive to treat and may require complicated dangerous surgeries.

There are many medical and behavioral benefits.

  • Spaying a female dog before their second heat will eliminate the risk of ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer or uterine infections (Pyometra) which can be life threatening.
  • Female cats that are not spayed come into heat constantly and vocalize loudly to everyone’s displeasure. They can also develop Pyometra at an older age which can be life threatening and require costly emergency surgery.
  • Male cats that are not neutered will spray urine throughout the house to mark their territories.  If outdoors, they will fight and mate with other cats contributing to the overpopulation problem and spread diseases like feline leukemia and feline aids. 
  • Male dogs that are neutered will not develop testicular cancer and have a tremendously reduced chance of getting prostate cancer. Intact male dogs have a great desire to roam (run away) and urine mark in and around the home.
  • Spay or Neuter your pet at a young age to greatly reduce these health and behavioral problems. It is more affordable and safer to spay and neuter pets early in life.  

Inappropriate elimination is the most common behavior problem seen in cats – when cats urinate or defecate outside of the litter box, it makes for a very unhappy home. But often, both the problem and the solution require pet parents to think inside the box – literally (don’t forget, a visit to the vet should be your first step to rule out any medical problems).

For a practically purr-fect potty, check off these tips:

  • litter to love: Studies have shown that most cats prefer unscented clumping clay or sand litters at a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches.  But your cat is an individual, so you may want to try a few varieties of litter to learn which on your feline friend prefers.
  • comfy commode: It turns out that not all boxes are created equal.  Consider a litter box with low sides for kittens or senior cats, who may have trouble climbing in.  If you have a cat on the larger side, a bigger box will make her life easier.  No one likes feeling cramped in the bathroom.
  • put a lid on it?  Litter box covers make our lives easier because they allow for less mess around the box, but covered boxes may make your cat feel vulnerable or trapped.  Try one week off to learn how much privacy your cat needs.
  • location, location, location:  Put litter boxes in private, easily accessible places.  Make sure your cat can see in all directions (but against a wall or in a corner is fine).  Avoid placing litter boxes next to appliances.  While a laundry room seems like a perfectly logical place to put a box, imagine your cat’s distress at being caught in the box when the washer goes off balance or the dryer buzzes loudly.  These things can turn a litter box into a seriously scary place.
  • multiply and conquer: Your home should have one litter box per cat, plus one (example: for three cats you should have at least 4 boxes). Don’t put them all in a row though – if you have a multi-level home, place at least one box on each level.  Nobody likes having to run up multiple flights of stairs when nature calls – especially older, arthritic kitties.
  • exit plan: Particularly in multi-cat homes, make sure there is more than one entrance or exit to the box.  Family cat dynamics don’t always gel, and your cat doesn’t want to feel trapped in her box.  If she is the victim of a sneak attack, she needs to be able to escape unscathed.
  • clean sweep: This is no one’s favorite job, but it’s a necessary evil for avoiding litter box aversion.  Scoop the box at least once a day every day.

Once litter box aversion or inappropriate elimination behavior starts, it can be tough to find a solution.  If you’ve tried all of these tips and your feline friend’s problem persists, talk to your veterinarian about other options.

Veterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them - if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it's more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are importatnt components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life threatening, but very expensive to treat.

We can recommend a wellness program based on our pet's breed (some breeds are predisposed to certain health problems), age, lifestyle and overall health.

Summertime often finds people and their pets visiting natural bodies of water for recreation!  Lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and reservoirs can be refreshing for all of us but can also be a source of disease.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which can infect the liver and kidneys of any mammal including dogs, cats and people. Often difficult to detect, symptoms vary and can cause serious complications.

Fortunately, there is a vaccine available for dogs. Two injections are initially required 3-4 weeks apart followed by a yearly booster.

Please contact our office to speak with one of the doctors for more information and to see if this vaccine would benefit you and your family!




Lyme disease is a debilitating bacterial infection that can affect any mammal including dogs, cats and people. It is transmitted by the bite of a tick. The deer tick is the primary carrier which feeds on deer and the white footed mouse.The symptons range significantly with pets. One pet may suffer from no symptoms, while others will have mild flu like symptoms and then of course, there are very serious cases of fever, lameness, heart and kidney complications.

Lyme disease can be prevented by vaccination in dogs, and through the use of flea and tick preventatives in dogs and cats. A simple office blood test can tell if your dog has been exposed. If your dog tests positive, a course of antibiotics is highly recommended.  Vaccination is two part, each vaccine given 3-4 weeks apart. We stongly recommend vaccinating dogs and using tick preventatives in dogs and cats.

Please call to set up and appointment for vaccinating your dog and to discuss prevention.