Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Emmett is a 2 year old Great Pyrenees, and he is tall enough to get to anything unattended.  This can be a pet owner’s worse nightmare.  When you have a curious puppy or young dog, there are all kinds of household hazards you need to constantly be aware of, so we are going to use Emmett’s constant escapades to help our pet owners navigate through the tricky health concerns of all puppies and young dogs.

Episode #6 Raw Bread Dough!
Bread; completely innocuous, right?! Yes, bread dough, however, can be a problem in dogs.  The reason: yeast.
The encounter:   You are making Thanksgiving dinner.  You have put up the turkey and the stuffing, and everything else is in the oven.  There is no way your dog, Emmett, is ruining this meal.  Except for those rounds of frozen bread dough you set out to rise so you could bake them; but bread dough really doesn’t have a smell or a flavor when its frozen, so surely not a problem.  Wrong.  Unfortunately, Emmett decides he will remove the saran wrap on the dish and has gone ahead and ingested all the frozen bread dough.

The scoop:
There are several main concerns with bread and pizza dough.  If it is the kind that needs to rise, and is not just premade rolls or crust, then it contains the vital ingredient, yeast.  Yeast can do two things while sitting in your dog’s stomach; expand, and ferment.
One of the first concerns is mechanical.  Raw bread dough is meant to rise and expand, and this happening inside your dog has the potential to cause bloat.  Not only is stomach bloat painful, but with enough pressure, can cause significant pressure on other organs, including the lungs, making breathing difficult.
The secondary concern is what the yeast produces.  Yeast that is fermenting is producing both gas (CO2 gas) and ethanol (alcohol) as byproduct.  So basically, you pet can continue to have further bloating concerns with an increase of gas producing happening inside its stomach, and later start feeling like he consumed a large amount of tequila.  Unfortunately, it is hard to use the amount of bread dough as an indicator of how much ethanol or alcohol will be produced, since it is more important to know how much active yeast was in the raw bread dough.  The potential for ethanol toxicity can be life threatening.  It causes the acid level to rise in your pet’s blood stream, and causes a lot of stress to the organs as a result.  In high volumes, this can be very similar to a person suffering alcohol poisoning.

The plan:
There are a couple of things that can be done to try to halt this process before it gets out of hand.  If caught fairly early on, the stomach can be flushed and cleaned with cold water, which can help deactivate the yeast, and sometimes help flush some of the bread dough out of your pet’s stomach.  Then it is usually recommended that your pet be hospitalized with fluids and monitoring of the acid/base status of their blood.  Sometimes pain medications may be administered to help with the “hangover”.  There are cases of bread dough ingestion being fatal, very much like a severe case of alcohol poisoning in a person.   Make sure you keep the bread up somewhere away from your adventurous pooch, and consult with your veterinarian right away if you suspect this type of ingestion.

Thanks for reading and Join us next time for #stuffemmetteats

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving, A time to be thankful and a time to be careful!

Turkey is a great ting for us, but can cause some stomach troubles in our pets! (Image Source)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! With this comes great food, time with family and friends and the excitement of entering the holiday season!
There are many creative ways to show your pet your are thankful for them without giving them table food! (Image Source)

While this is such a fun and happy time for us, it is important that to remember that it can be a stressful or hazardous time for our pets! There are a few things to keep in mind to keep your holiday happy and fun!
This is a trip to the vet's office waiting to happen! (Image Source)

If you are expecting company, remember to keep your pets collar and identification on and up to date. Every time the door opens that is an opportunity for your pet to slip out! You should also pay attention to your pet's activity and body language when you have visitors. Many pets are very excited and happy to see company, however some can become stressed. It is a good idea to have a place they can go to feel safe and quiet and relax for a little while away from the buzz of activity.
Definitely not a good idea for your pet! (Image Source)

Food is usually one of the main focuses of Thanksgiving! It is a way we can all come together and celebrate. Many of the foods we will be preparing may prove to be VERY tempting even for the best behaved pet. When cooking it is a good idea to keep pets away from the kitchen. Those delicious smells could prove to be just too tempting for them! Many of the foods we are preparing could be WAY too rich for our pets leading to stomach upset. This would include the skin from turkey or of the other meats and their seasonings. Although they may give you the saddest eyes, stay strong and resist the temptation to give them table scraps! It is also VERY important to NEVER give your pets bones of ANY meat. Poultry bones are especially bad as they can splinter easily. Nothing will ruin the holiday festivities like a trip the Animal Emergency Room.
This cat will not be happy if he eats this! (Image Source)

Other foods to be careful about your pet getting into include raisins and grapes. No one know exactly why or how much of these fruits it requires, but ingestion of grapes or raisins, can lead to kidney disease very quickly in some of our pets. Another hazard is chocolate. It is the time of year where sweets are becoming very popular! Be sure to keep them away from your pets! Again, it is better for our pets to just stick with their normal diet and not make any changes, especially around the holidays.
Keep all food safely away from your pet! (Image Source)

There are many foods that can cause upset stomach or other more serious issues in our pets. We would recommend sticking with their normal diet and treats ESPECIALLY during the stressful holiday season. If you pet does accidentally get into something they are not supposed to it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA poison control  hotline.
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We hope you and your pets have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Winter Activities with Your Pet!

It is starting to get a little chilly out there, so we need to get creative to entertain our pets! (Image Source)

Well the weather is starting to shift into a colder time of year for us here! Although the temperatures are dropping, our pets need for exercise do not change. We just may have to get a little creative about how they get their daily activity!
Running or walking outside may not be a good option for year round exercise, so we may have to look into options inside! (Image Source)

As a general rule of thumb our pets need about a minute of exercise per pound per day. This can vary in some animals, my dog for instances needs a little more than that each day. These activities can be spread throughout the day so they do not have to happen all at once.
This dog is all ready for the colder weather! He could continue to exercise outside for quite some time! (Image Source)

For dogs walking outside is a great exercise! However if it is too cold, icy or dark (or all of the above), we may have to think of alternatives. While in the summer, we used to walk after dark when it was cooler, in the winter, we try to walk more at noon, when it will be the most warm and the safest. If you do have to walk early in the morning or late at night make sure you and your dog are taking every safety precaution and are in a well lit area with lights on yourself.  Also remember to watch for ice as this can be harmful if you fall, but can also cause some damage to your pet's pads. You may need to consider purchasing boots for their feet or covering their pads with some petroleum jelly to protect them.
There are many options to help keep you and your pet visible during dark walks, these can include lighted leashes and collars, flash lights, blinking lights. Whatever it takes to keep you and your furry friend safe. (Image Source)

If the outside is just not going to be a viable option, there are some activities to play inside with your dog, and many of these can be adapted to your cat as well! One of our favorite games is hide and seek. We make our dog sit in one room, then we go hide and give him his release word. He has to search every room until he finds us. Then we have a couple rounds of chase in the hall way, then start over. He loves it and we are both getting a little exercise! A variation of this would be to hide a portion of their kibble or yummy treats throughout the house and have them find it! If you do have a food motivated pet, they may like food puzzle type toys. This will give them both mental and sometimes physical exercise!
You can use hallways to your advantage to get a little indoor exercise. (Image Source)

If you have a straight hallway or larger area you could also take a portion of their meals and roll or toss the kibble down the hall way so they have to run and get the kibble. Then call them back to you and start again.
Winter may be a good time to take advantage of doggy daycares or training facilities in your area. (Image Source)

Another option may be to look into training facilities to see what winter classes or open gym times may be available. This offers a lot of exercise but sheltered from the elements. If your dog is used to the dog park, they may do well in a doggy daycare situation one day a week. Or arrange a playdate with some other pets. This may work best in a home that has an unfinished basement or a large area with few breakables!
Food puzzles aren't just for dogs! Cats can find a lot of entertainment with them as well! (Image source)

I will sometimes take my dog into a store that allows pets just to get some exercise. We are very blessed to have several options in our town. We can walk up and down the aisles and stretch our legs without worrying about the weather outside.
Cat trees do not have to be elaborate, they can be home made and still offer exercise for your cat! They love the different levels as an option. A quick google search can show you a variety of different plans/ options to build your own! (Image Source)

These are just a few suggestions, there are many options and lots of them don't have to cost anything. This website gives some ideas for exercising your dog indoors.
This website has GREAT ideas for homemade food puzzles for cats!!

Let us know if you have any recommendations for indoor activities with pets!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Emmett is a 2 year old Great Pyrenees, and he is tall enough to get to anything unattended.  This can be a pet owner’s worse nightmare.  When you have a curious puppy or young dog, there are all kinds of household hazards you need to constantly be aware of, so we are going to use Emmett’s constant escapades to help our pet owner’s navigate through the tricky health concerns of all puppies and young dogs.

Episode #5 Bones, rawhides, and deer antlers, and even sticks; oh my!

Bones and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies, and milk, or ham and cheese?? But do they?? Actually, no, bones in most cases are not ideal to give your dog, as they can causes several concerns that you may not be aware of.
The encounter

Scenario:   You finish your buffalo chicken wings, and toss your dog the bones to chew on, you pick up your favorite pooch a large rawhide at the petstore, your pet goes dumpster diving, and picks out some choice rib bones from the garbage; the scenarios are endless.

The scoop:
There are several main concerns with feeding these types of items to your loving canine friend.  The most common concern is that if your bet is eating chicken or rib bones, these “real” bones can splinter and cause punctures or abrasions to your pet’s stomach and intestines.  This could lead to bleeding in the Gastrointestinal tract, and also be quite painful. 
The next main concern is that if there is some meat left on the bones, or flavoring, this can cause upset stomach, and cause your pet to break out with vomiting, diarrhea or both.  Sometimes, your pet can even fracture a tooth chewing on bones, antlers or rawhides.
Dogs that eat the rawhide type bones too fast, before they really get softened up with saliva, could swallow a chunk that is just too big to pass through there digestive tract causing a life-threatening obstruction, needing emergency surgery.  This can happen with squares, but is more common with the round ends of the dog rawhide “bones”.

Pets often present urgently to the veterinary clinic after chewing on sticks with owner’s complaining of pawing at the mouth, crying/vocalizing, chewing motions, or even breathing issues.  Often, the doctor finds a stick lodge somewhere in between the teeth, or stuck on the roof of the mouth, and potentially even puncturing the tissues in the roof of the mouth or cheeks.

The plan:
Obviously all of these circumstances can require different medical plans to manage.  Teeth fractures caused by chewing hard bones and antlers almost always will require the tooth be extracted.  The tooth is painful to your pet, and is very likely to get a dental infection if left in too long.  Upset tummy can require diet changes, medications, or sometimes a hospital stay depending on how sensitive your pet’s digestive system is.  Obstructions and GI bleeds are rare from obstructing or splintering bones, but often this will require a surgery where your veterinarian can go in and remove these pieces to prevent further harm happening to your pet’s stomach.   

Alternatives for chewing include kong or other rubber toys, rope toys, and stuffed animals depending on the size of your pet.  
Join us for the next episode of #stuffemmetteats

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Canine Parvovirus: a little virus with BIG consequences

Parvovirus can make puppies very sick! (Image Source)

Canine Parvovirus is a very serious condition that typically affects puppies or young dogs. Although adults can be affected, it is not very common unless they are under some sort of intense stress. One of the reasons parvovirus is so serious, is that it is found in pretty much any environment and once it is there it is EXTREMELY difficult to get rid of. It can even survive freezing temperatures!!
There are many ways puppies are exposed to the virus. Typically they get it from ingestion of something in contact with parvo virus. (Image Source)

Transmission of parvovirus, typically occurs through ingestion. This could be infected soil, toys or anything that has contacted the virus. Unfortunately, the virus is VERY good at sticking to our shoes and clothes as well, so even if your puppy hasn't been somewhere the virus was, you may have been. There is a very short incubation period, with some dogs showing symptoms within 3-7 days of exposure. Practicing good hygiene and keeping your puppy from chewing on inappropriate or unknown objects (That's easier said than done I know!) can help minimize their risk of infection. While socialization of your puppy is very important, especially at young ages, it is also equally important that you ensure the animals with which they are socializing are healthy and up to date on their vaccinations.
Puppies are growing quickly, they should have a good appetite, if they stop eating, that is one of the first signs they need to go to the veterinarian's office. (Image Source)

Why is parvovirus so serious? The virus actually likes to attack rapidly dividing cells. In most cases it targets the lining of the gut. It will destroy the intestinal walls which leads to many of the symptoms we commonly see. This includes vomiting and severe diarrhea typically with blood in it. Because the lining of gut is affected, absorption of nutrients is also diminished, so even if your puppy feels like eating, they are not able to obtain what they need from the food. You can see where this becomes a very vicious cycle. They are losing large amount of water and nutrients from the vomiting and diarrhea, and even if they feel like eating (which many don't) they can't replenish their needs. I have seen puppies that were happy and healthy one day and within 24 hours they were in need of EMERGENCY attention. This is not a disease to wait and see if they get better. At the first signs of vomiting or diarrhea in your puppy, you should definitely take them to the veterinary office. Additional signs may also include anemia, lethargy, and weakness.
Parvo tests are one of the quickest ways to identify if your puppy has the virus. (Image Source)

There are many causes for vomiting and diarrhea in puppies so it is important to make sure we are treating the correct condition. This is why veterinarians may recommend parvo testing which is done via a fecal swab. They may also want blood work to check for anemia and electrolyte imbalances and some may also need x-rays to rule out foreign bodies. Puppies are into everything and signs of an intestinal obstruction can look very similar to parvovirus. Many veterinarians will chose to start with the parvovirus test, because this can be done out in the parking lot and if positive, the necessary measures can be taken to prevent further spread throughout the clinic environment.
Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and supportive care is recommended for parvo positive puppies. (Image source

Once a diagnosis of parvovirus is made, treatment needs to be instituted quickly. While there is no drug to cure parvovirus, it is STRONGLY recommended to hospitalize the patient and begin supportive care. This will include intravenous fluids, medications to settle the stomach, possibly starting antibiotics (which will not treat the virus, but will help with any secondary infections), and in extreme cases if the anemia is severe, they may need a blood transfusion. This is not a disease that should be taken lightly. It is very serious and many patients can pass away, despite aggressive treatment. The earlier treatment is instituted the better chance we have for a positive outcome.
Vaccinations are one way to help prevent parvovirus infection in your puppy. (Image Source)

The good news is, there is a vaccination to help prevent this virus. Although puppies are not considered fully protected until their puppy series if completed, appropriate vaccination timing may lead to less severe clinical signs. If you are picking out a puppy from a breeder, make sure the parents were both up to date on their vaccinations, this will also help minimize the risk of your puppy contracting this potentially deadly virus.

For more information on parvovirus you can read the following article here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Safety Reminder!

(Image Source)

Halloween is a lot of fun for everyone in the family, including pets, but there are several things we need to consider to help keep our pets safe!
Leave the trick or treating to the humans! (Image Source)

Most people know that out pets shouldn't have candy, however they can be VERY creative in how to get to the candy. Make sure that the goodies are stored in a place that they cannot get to, for example a cabinet they cannot open. Also aside from chocolate, sugar free candies and gums may also pose a threat. Remember that if the ingredient Xylitol is present in the product this could pose an even greater risk to your pet. Xylitol is typically found in sugar free products but can be found in other candies and gums. If they ingest a product with this ingredient you need to call your veterinarian immediately.
Good tips! (Image Source)

It is also important around this time of year to have your pets identification information up to date and make sure they are wearing their collars. There is a lot of opening of doors and excitement surrounding Halloween. It only takes a split second for your pet to dart outside. If they do not have proper identification is may be very difficult for you to find them!
(Image Source)

If your pet has high anxiety, this could be a very stressful day for them. First there will be a lot of commotion outside that could set them on edge. They also may become stressed with repeated ringing of the doorbell. Some pets are also frightened by costumes. If your pet is easily stressed, it may be best to set up a safe place for them away from all the excitement. This could be a bedroom, or their kennel, where it is quiet and more relaxing. As long as it it out of the way of the main traffic areas, that should help them relax. If they are REALLY stressed, be sure to contact your veterinarian to see if they may need some anti-anxiety medications or supplements.
These safety tips apply to ALL our furry friends (Image Source)

Another thing to consider are costumes. It is so much fun to dress up your pet (and your family members). Make sure if you do dress your pet up, that the fit of the costume is appropriate and not causing any harm. Also make sure all pieces of their costume and your family members' costumes are accounted for. It is not unheard of for a pet to ingest a portion of a costume which could lead to big trouble later!
(Image Source)

Hopefully with these tips in mind, you  and your furry friend will have a fun and safe holiday!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Emmett is a 2 year old Great Pyrenees, and he is tall enough to get to anything unattended.  This can be a pet owner’s worse nightmare.  When you have a curious puppy or young dog, there are all kinds of household hazards you need to constantly be aware of, so we are going to use Emmett’s constant escapades to help our pet owner’s navigate through the tricky health concerns of all puppies and young dogs.

Episode #4  Chocolate
Emmett and his partner in crime, Haley, have had many opportunities for encounters with chocolate, and many owners are well aware that chocolate is a potential toxin for dogs.
The most important information owners need to be aware of with chocolate toxicity is it is amount and size dependent, and there are different types of chocolate with different potential concerns.

The encounter:
Its Halloween season, and almost everyone has some candy stashed in the house, whether their child came home with a bucket of goodies, or they have some stocked up to pass out to all those ghouls and goblins for the big night.  If your pet is curious about the shiny packages and yummy smells, they are highly likely to eat some of that candy goodness when your back is turned.  In Emmett’s case, that included the wrappers and all.  Luckily, it was well past Halloween and most of the candy was gone. 

Image result for chocolate toxicity dog 

The scoop:
The good news is that most of the time if your pet gets into chocolate candy, it is usually milk chocolate and this has much less potential to be toxic to your pet.  The bigger the pet, the more chocolate they can consume without serious ill effects, minus a tummy ache.  If you have a small dog that ate a large amount, or a large dog that ate a ginormous amount, you might have a more serious condition to control.  The dark chocolates and the baker’s chocolates are more concentrated with the actual toxin component, theobromine, and these are the chocolates we become more concerned about if your pet consumes them!

The plan:
The most important thing to do first is to call your local veterinarian or the ASPCA poison control, and determine if the amount of chocolate consumed will be a toxic concern. 
Often, if the professionals determine that it is a concerning amount, your veterinarian can safely induce vomiting, and this often solves the immediate problem before symptoms can occur.  A tummy ache may still be in the cards, and your pet may be monitored for possible toxicity signs in the hospital for a period of time.  If it is not a large toxic amount of chocolate, then your veterinarian will likely make you aware that GI signs, like diarrhea, and vomiting are likely from a general upset stomach from eating something so rich, and sugary.

In severe cases of ingestion, or in cases that were not caught right away, symptoms can include hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, racing heart beat, and sometimes death.  Luckily, most cases do not go undetected, as it is a fairly messy item for your dog to ingest.

Happy Halloween!!!
Thank you for reading!! and Join us for the next episode of #stuffemmetteats

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Books for Pet Lovers

As the seasons are changing, some people may be looking for a good books to curl up with a hot drink and enjoy. Here are some books that pet lovers may really love!

1. Tell Me Where it Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon
By: Nick Trout
Image Source

This book is both touching and entertaining. It follows several cases through the eyes of a board certified veterinary surgeon. It provides a brief glimpse into what the life of a veterinarian is like and the ups and downs that can occur on any given day. People in the veterinary profession will love it because they can relate to many of the issues Dr. Trout is facing. Pet owners will enjoy it because it is a refreshing look at what goes on behind the scenes and they will be able to understand what many of the pet owners are going through. If you like this book, Dr. Trout has several others as well! 

2. Marley and Me
By: John Grogon
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Many people may have heard of this book, as it was also made into a major motion picture. This is a book for anyone that loves pets. It follows the antics of family dog, Marley, that forever changes his owners' lives. There are both highs and lows in their life and Marley is with them through it all. In fact he brings around a few of their MANY trials. This book will have you both laughing and crying until the end. (Note: We recommend keeping a box of tissues handy!)

3. Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story
By: Vicki Myron and Bret Witter
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Dewey is a true story about a cat that changes the lives of a whole town! If you love cats or have ever owned one, this story will resonate with you. Occasionally the book can seem a little long, but overall it is a great story that is very touching. 

4. Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale
By: Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye
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This is truly an inspiring story about a Great Dane that overcame many odds in her life. She also changed the lives of her owners. Inspiring them to start a new dog bakery business as well as cook books for pets. This is a touching story that is a quick read and will warm your heart in many ways!

5. Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
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This book is a compilation of many different inspiring pet stories. Most of the stories are submitted by regular pet owners that just want to share their pet's life. It will make you laugh and cry and leave you wanting more. This is a great book to pick up and put down any time since they are natural breaks in the short stories. It makes a great gift for pet lovers and there are many different sequels that can keep you inspired and wanting more.