VSSF

Indoor Plant Safety for Your Pet

VSSF Admin - Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Indoor foliage adds life and charm to your home. Adding plants is a great way to liven up your decor while infusing color; however, similar to child-proofing your house for the safety of a baby, the same consideration should be given to your pets. Certain houseplants can be toxic to your dog or cat if eaten and are best kept in hanging baskets or outside the home.

The following lists are just a reference and are not complete lists. Check with your veterinarian for detailed information on toxic and not toxic plants.

These plants are non toxic and are safe for your pets:
-Bamboo
-Christmas Cactus
-Pony Tail Palm
-African Violet
-Areca Palm
-Blooming Sally
-Blue Daisy
-Brazilian Orchid

The following plants are toxic to pets and symptoms range from a rash to heart, resperatory, and kidney problems:
-Aloe Vera
-Baby’s Breath
-Begonia
-Geranium
-Tulip
-Cala Lily
-Dafodill
-Asparagus fern

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant, contact poison control or your veterinarian immediately and do not wait for symptoms to appear. Remember to also keep any plants that resemble grass out of your pet’s reach as they are likely to think it is food. When pets eat even your non toxic plants, they may still be ingesting any pesticides that have been sprayed on the leaves so it is best to discourage any interest your pet may have in your plants.


Indoor Plant Safety for Your Pet

VSSF Admin - Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Indoor foliage adds life and charm to your home. Adding plants is a great way to liven up your decor while infusing color; however, similar to child-proofing your house for the safety of a baby, the same consideration should be given to your pets. Certain houseplants can be toxic to your dog or cat if eaten and are best kept in hanging baskets or outside the home.

The following lists are just a reference and are not complete lists. Check with your veterinarian for detailed information on toxic and not toxic plants.

These plants are non toxic and are safe for your pets:
-Bamboo
-Christmas Cactus
-Pony Tail Palm
-African Violet
-Areca Palm
-Blooming Sally
-Blue Daisy
-Brazilian Orchid

The following plants are toxic to pets and symptoms range from a rash to heart, resperatory, and kidney problems:
-Aloe Vera
-Baby’s Breath
-Begonia
-Geranium
-Tulip
-Cala Lily
-Dafodill
-Asparagus fern

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant, contact poison control or your veterinarian immediately and do not wait for symptoms to appear. Remember to also keep any plants that resemble grass out of your pet’s reach as they are likely to think it is food. When pets eat even your non toxic plants, they may still be ingesting any pesticides that have been sprayed on the leaves so it is best to discourage any interest your pet may have in your plants.


Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

VSSF Admin - Monday, November 26, 2012

Whether it is to add a little foliage to their diet or to help with an upset stomach, doggy grass grazing is a harmless practice in most cases.

Why does my dog eat grass?
If a dog has a mild GI ailment, they may gobble on the green stuff to self treat the problem and induce vomiting. The blades of grass act as a brush when traveling down and will irritate the stomach walls- causing the dog to throw up. This may be the desired effect if they are feeling a bit nauseated or bloated.

If your dog is suddenly gorging on large amounts of grass then vomiting, this may be an indication of a more serious medical condition. Contact your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s health.

If your dog is carefully chomping the grass, it’s possible that they’re just seeking out their daily dose of veggies. Dogs are omnivores after all. They like a veggie or two and could just be attracted to the taste and texture of the crunchy blades. You can introduce some cooked vegetables into your dog’s diet, which may curb their grass grazing. You can grow your own indoor, pesticide-free grass if you’re worried about your dog ingesting pesticide chemicals or camouflaged grass pests.

As long as there are no underlying health concerns, there is really no reason to be worried about your dog’s sod snacking practices. If your furry friend is suddenly very interested in gorging on a large amount of grass, ask your veterinarian for advice.

The Smartest Dog Breeds

VSSF Admin - Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Intelligence in people is often assessed using an Intelligence Quotient, or I.Q., derived from standardized tests. However, many people agree that regardless of a person’s IQ score, different types of intelligence exists. It is difficult to measure the intelligence of a dog, or to even determine what characteristics make up dog intelligence. Just like in humans, there are many factors that should be considered when appraising a dog’s smarts.

Do you consider an attentive labrador a smart dog? Or a hound that thinks for himself and sniffs out a trail? How about a dog that loyally stays by your side throughout the day and has you wrapped around his paw? When determining the most intelligent dogs, the smart breeds are generally considered the more teachable, obedient ones. These smarties are eager to work and are ready to learn. They are at their owners beck and call and are whizzes at grasping new commands. By this criteria, here are breeds often considered to be the top dogs:

  • Border Collie
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Poodle
  • Beauceron
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Papillon
  • Belgian Malinois

Be careful not to write off other dog breeds just because they are not on the puppy honor roll. Highly intelligent dogs usually need a lot of stimulation and if a five mile run isn’t your idea of fun - but it is for your dog, you’ve got a lifestyle clash that is likely to cause you and your dog stress. First, consider what the dog was bred for. If you have a Border Collie at home alone while you’re at work all day, he’ll get bored and take it out on your sofa and designer shoes. But if you own a Basset Hound, he will probably be curled up on the chair when you get home- in the same position you left him in 8 hours prior. When it comes to the basics: sit, stay, come; most breeds will learn at about the same rate with good training techniques.

Some dogs are workaholics- eager to please their human pack in exchange for recognition. Others are bred to live and work independently and are not as accommodating to their owners’ commands. It is important, above all, to consider your lifestyle, your availability, and your patience level with regards to being a dog owner. All dogs are intelligent in their own way. Sometimes it just takes the right owner to bring out a dog’s best character.

The Truth About Dogs and Chocolate

VSSF Admin - Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It may be a habit of some dog owners to sneak “people food” to their dog under the table at dinnertime but when it comes to dessert, especially anything that contains chocolate, refrain from feeding Fido your leftovers.

Why is chocolate so toxic to dogs?
Known as theobromine poisoning, ingestion of chocolate is the leading cause of canine poisoning. The cause is a reaction to the alkaloid theobromine. The amount of theobromine found in different types of chocolate depends on how processed the cacao beans are, with unsweetened bakers’ chocolate and dark chocolate generally containing higher levels than milk or white chocolate. The theobromine levels in chocolate are low enough for humans to safely consume in moderate quantities but domestic animals, especially dogs, are at risk when it comes these chemicals because they metabolize them much more slowly than humans. Since dogs and puppies are more likely to eat large quantities (especially if unattended) this puts them at an even greater risk and theobromine poisoning can be fatal for canines. Felines are less likely to get sick from theobromine poisoning because they rarely have interest in chocolate or any kind of sweet food.

Look for the signs
No one should intentionally feed their dog chocolate but if you discover that your dog has ingested any amount of theobromine, you should contact your veterinarian right away.
The initial signs of theobromine poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and increased urination. More advanced symptoms can include cardiac arrhythmias, epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, and heart attacks. Symptoms can last for 72 hours and typically start anywhere from 4-24 hours after the chocolate was eaten.

What amount of chocolate is toxic?
Consider any amount of chocolate poisonous to your dog but it is important to know that toxic reactions especially if the product contained high levels of theobromine (as in dark or bakers’ chocolate), will generally occur at around 100 to 150 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight. It is important to remember that there are other factors to consider- such as your dog’s overall health and age. The following are general guidelines to follow but it is always best to speak to your pet’s doctor if you suspect a problem.

Dog Weight (approx.) Toxic levels of chocolate
9 lbs. 1 oz. of baking chocolate, 3 oz. semi sweet, 9 oz. dark
27 lbs. 3 oz. of baking chocolate, 9 oz. semi sweet, 27 oz. dark
63 lbs. 7 oz. of baking chocolate, 21 oz. semi sweet, 63 oz. dark

What to do.
If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately. They will gather the necessary information to determine whether your dog has eaten a toxic level of theobromine. If your vet does not think your dog’s health is in immediate danger, they may give you tips on how to induce vomiting. If symptoms are more serious, your vet may need you to promptly bring your dog in. Once in the office, they will determine what treatment is necessary- this can range from inducing vomiting to remove the substance, giving activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of the theobromine, and may also include intravenous drugs and fluids to prevent seizures and heart damage.

Prevention

Dogs have a very keen sense of smell and will likely be able to uncover even your most carefully hidden stash of chocolate. If left to their own devices, it is possible that they may gorge themselves with a fatal dose. It is best to keep chocolate out of your pets’ reach altogether and avoid giving them even a small taste of chocolate- which will make them want more. Be especially cognizant of your chocolate inventory around holidays where candy is in excess like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter.  

Keeping Your Dog's Shedding Under Control

VSSF Admin - Monday, October 15, 2012

Why do Dogs shed? How do I keep shedding under control?

When choosing a dog, many prospective pet owners consider how much a dog may shed when deciding on a breed. Shedding is a natural process for all animals with fur but it can be a hassle to clean and may be a major issue if you’re dealing with allergies. Here’s an overview on why dogs shed and some things you can do as a dog owner to keep it under control.

365 days of fur
With the exception of a completely hairless dog, all breeds shed. Due to the natural life cycle of the hair shaft, all animals with fur shed year-round. The rate in which they shed depends on many factors including: coat length, the dog’s overall health, environment, age, and the life cycle of the hair shaft. When the hair shaft has a longer life cycle, hair will shed less often. The reverse is true for breeds with shorter hair shaft life cycle--they will shed their coats more frequently.

In with the New
Dogs have undercoats and they require more or less fur due to changes in the season and temperature. An undercoat consists of shorter fur that grows alongside their main coat. In the summer months, dogs shed their heavier winter coats in order to be more comfortable in the warmer temperatures. When the weather cools off, they grow heavy, thick coats that can withstand the cold winter season. Seasonal shedding is referred to as “blowing coat.” Whether or not a dog sheds heavily at each change-of-season depends on the presence of a thick undercoat. Some breeds have very little undercoat and as a result, seasonal shedding may be barely noticeable. If your dog’s coat is getting very thin or if you notice bald spots, contact your veterinarian as this may indicate a skin infection or other health problem.

Keeping it Clean
Since shedding is a normal and essential process, you can’t stop it completely. The best line of defense in keeping excess fur to a minimum is regular pet grooming. Brushing and combing your dog will help capture loose fur before it gets released into your carpet, your furniture, and onto your clothes. Brushing also helps distribute the natural oils in your dog’s skin that contribute to a healthy, shiny coat. Be extra vigilant at the start of a new season when shedding is likely at its worst. Keep a pet fur roller or lint brush to clean up hair that ends up on upholstery and clothing. For tackling bigger jobs, consider specialty vacuum cleaners designed for picking up pet fur. With powerful suction and brushes, they aid in getting embedded pet hair out of your carpet and upholstery.

Dealing with loose pet hair can be stressful but with the right knowledge and tools, keeping your dog’s shedding under control is possible.

Teaching your Dog How to Swim

VSSF Admin - Friday, September 07, 2012


There is nothing more refreshing than taking a swim in the cold pool on a hot day. Give your dog the same luxury by teaching them how to swim! Encourage your dog to join you for a dip in the pool; this is a great way for them to get some exercise while having fun! If they have never been swimming before, you may want to take some time for a few lessons first.

As always, safety comes first! Many people assume that for dogs, swimming comes naturally. However, some breeds, like bulldogs, cannot swim at all. If you have a lightweight dog with short legs you should invest in a life vest or jacket. Also, as you are teaching your dog to swim you should keep a leash on them. The leash will not be a restricting measure, but it will keep your dog from getting into trouble or swimming out too far. You should keep the leash on until your dog is able to swim unassisted. Also, be sure to never leave your dog unattended in the water, this is very dangerous and could permanently ruin the swimming experience for your dog.

Next, make sure to start slow. Don’t startle your dog by throwing them in the pool; that will only ensure that they will be terrified of the water. Get your dog accustomed to the water in a shallow area to let them “get their feet wet” first. If your pet seems apprehensive about entering the water, bring some toys and training treats to persuade them. Verbally praise your pup when they make positive moves towards the water. Once you enter deeper water, provide an arm under your dog’s belly for support. Making your dog feel comfortable and supported to keep them from panicking. If your dog still seems overly nervous, come back to shallow water and let them calm down before repeating.

After you have finished your swimming lesson, you must teach your dog how to get out of the pool or boat. Next, rinse your pup with fresh water to get rid of any residue from the water. Once you have completed all of these necessary steps, remember to give your dog verbal and physical praise. You want your dog to associate swimming with fun and positive times. Repeat these lessons regularly and soon you will have a new swimming buddy!

Growing Up with a Pet

VSSF Admin - Friday, August 31, 2012


A pet can be more than just a cozy companion or a warm greeting at the door. Growing up with a pet in the house can be good for a child’s health and development. There is nothing like the relationship between a child and their pet. According to Pedigree, studies have shown that children with pets have higher self-esteem, improved social skills, and are more popular with their peers. In addition, having a pet requires some sort of responsibility whether it’s simply brushing them or refilling the water bowl. It can teach a child how to nurture and care for another being.

Aside from just benefitting the children’s growth, having a pet in the family is said to have a positive effect on family harmony. Families tend to spend more time interacting with one another once a pet is added to the family. The companionship that a pet provides to its owner is irreplaceable. Also, studies show health benefits of pet owners such as: a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, decreased amount of minor illnesses, and report fewer visits to the doctor.

Having an energetic animal like a dog is likely to get you and your kids off of the couch. Animals give us a reason to get out of the house and go on a daily walk to get some fresh air. Having a dog actually helps pregnant women stay healthy by motivating them to participate in some sort of activity each day. According to Dr. Sandra McCune, “We are increasingly seeing that exercising with a dog can lead to improved motivation and effectiveness.” Combined with a healthy diet, you are not only improving your health, but you are improving your pet’s health as well.

Interacting with a pet on a daily basis and learning to take care of an animal is an important life experience. The health and development benefits of growing up with a pet in the house are endless. What could be better than raising your child with a loving playmate and companion that is proven to better their development? Look into adding a furry companion to your family today!

Microchipping Could Save Your Pet’s Life

VSSF Admin - Friday, August 24, 2012

Lets face it… gates get left open, fences contain holes in the dirt beneath them, and front doors are occasionally closed a split second too late. Even though our beloved best friends never choose to leave us, they would love to adventure the world away from home when given the opportunity. Let your agony rest aside; your lost pet can be easily identified with a microchip! Many misconceptions have occurred over the last twenty years, so hopefully this will help you and your pet rest at ease!

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is simply a permanent pet ID.  Being the size of a grain of rice, the transmitter is implanted between the shoulder blades through a large needle. Many people think that this procedure requires surgery, but it can actually occur in a matter of seconds.

What Information is Encoded on the Chip?

The microchip encodes one simple identification number.  The number is then used in a central registry that contains your personal contact information and pet description. This is how you are reunited with your best friend!

Vital Chip Situations

Lost Pet- This scenario is the most common.  The pet is found, taken to an animal hospital or shelter, the pet is then scanned, the registry contacted, and you will be notified. EASY!

Natural Disaster- Mother nature happens; don’t let a bad storm change the fate of your pet’s life!

Injury- Good Samaritans help lost and injured pets every day! If your beloved pet gets hurt on their voyage, a simple microchip will allow veterinarians to perform duties and save lives!

Common Misconceptions

A microchip cannot be used to locate a lost pet. It is an identification device, not a locator. On the bright side, this device will serve as proof of ownership, be a deciding factor for euthanasia, and ultimately lead your pet back to his/her home.

Once a chip is registered, it will last a lifetime. Many people move or adopt an animal and forget to update the chip. It is very important to have an up-to-date chip in order to find your pooch quickly and safely!

There are several registries a chip can be registered to. Thankfully, based on the specific number, it is easy to find the chip’s most likely registry.

Collars and tags can only do so much for your pet’s safety. Have lifetime comfort and call your veterinarian to find out more about microchipping today! 

Can Your Pet Love You Too Much?

VSSF Admin - Friday, August 10, 2012

One of the greatest pleasures when owning a dog is having “mans best friend” by your side. To have a companion is to have unlimited love and support from one who will never judge or criticize you. Although we all embrace the connection we have with our canine companions, too much attachment can lead to your dog experience separation anxiety. 

Four Main Symptoms

1) Destructive behavior directed toward exits from the home, crates, and other confined areas.

2) Persistent howling and barking in the form of a monotonous sound. This will occur especially while you leave/return to the house.

3) Bowl movement and urination accidents when your dog is left alone or thinks they are left alone.

4) Increased drooling, which may also led to boosted thirst because of dehydration.

These symptoms can occur from a variety of reasons and situations. A change in routine could result in your pooch being very unsettled. Dogs are creatures of habit, so when things change, they become confused. Another possible scenario is if a traumatizing situation, such as a bad thunderstorm, occurs while you are away. If this happens, your pet may associate your absence with the traumatic event. The change of moving can also led to separation anxiety of the unfamiliar. This can be from house to house or if the dog is rescued from a shelter and is being moved into the new home. Treatment involves increasing your dog’s level of independence and reducing the excitement levels that are associated with your departure.

Daily Modifications to Help Your Pooch

  • Start with keeping your dog in a different room than you to get the idea in mind.
  • Ignore any attention demands your dog initiates. Keep in mind this is different than YOU initiating the attention.  
  • Provide plenty of clean water and bedding to ensure a safe, comfortable environment.
  • Plenty of exercise is vital when you are around. This will keep your dogs brain stimulated as well as tire them out for when you leave.
  • Appealing dog toys/treats help pass the time while you are away. (Toys that require work are best!)
  • If you find that these methods are not working for you, contact your veterinarian, as there are FDA approved separation anxiety medications for dogs.

All in all: You are your dogs’ first priority. There’s no argument there. Your dog would probably spend every bit of his life with you if he could. It’s only natural that when you go out your dog experiences varying degrees of distress. This anxiety can last the entire time you are away, all the way up to when you return home hours later. Like any relationship, take precautions to ensure a healthy and happy life for you and your dog. 


Recent Posts


Tags

christmas foster vets airplane sleeping health benefits sting wagging tail death yarn ticks bumps Funny moving tricks independent socialization obsession travel diet plaque walking shoes photography aging pets dog beach pets dogs dog summer safety old cats gifts blood test air travel healing fleas overheating summer pets newborn relieve stress urban entertainment angry safety service dog stress management grass toothbrush positive chewing dental hygiene exercise pill brushing steps climbing the stairs heartworm disease relaxation puppy table scratching microchip vehicles missing dog plants presents animals dehydration stairs spring furniture water additivies baby events black cat radiology summer safety tips teeth city training food post-surgery vacation intelligence dogs summer bath medication chocolate bee doorstep cat woofstock medical sports kitchen, counters, countertop, kitchen counter lost pet pollen shedding virus pet lover fostering a pet bed cancer begging dog, dogs, training, smart, intelligent, intelligence, puppy, smartest, breed companion sun protection dead mice x-rays stray canine heartworm disease stress relief life expectancy purr doggy daycare slobber communication chew cone adopt declaw litter box bite dog bee sting benign vet daycare attention kidney caring for pet after surgery deaf driving drool outdoors technology afraid of stairs allergies lost myths about cats pet sitter allergy veterinarians apartment dental chews dog tuxedo overweight cats indoor cats summer pet pets as stress relievers dog names breed anxiety new puppy marriage hypersalivation outdoor cats dog bites second dog lyme diesease love poisonous taking pictures halloween hazards kids obesity attack pet gifts stolen swimming separation anxiety intelligent endorphins stray cat holidays wedding dog dog park surgery smartest smart gift vaccinations soap lumps new years eve heat stroke sleep

Archive

Our General Practice
Animal Medical Center at Cooper City