Pool SafetyJuly 25, 2017
Did you know that the 5th leading cause of accidental death for dogs is drowning? Dogs can drown even though many people think they can’t. Even the breeds that known swimmers and loving water. Accidents can happen so below are some tips and tricks to prevent that.
1. Teach your dog how to swim: you can enlist in a professional dog trainer for this or can even take some steps at home if you would like. Generally you want to start in a small baby pool at first to get your dog used to water.
2. Invest in a life vest: life vest are generally available and most pet stores and the employees there can help make sure you get the best fit for your dog.
3. Watch older dogs: older dogs generally can’t see or hear the best anymore so always watch them closely by the pool because they could easily slip right in. Also they sometimes have health conditions where you don’t want them in the heat for too long or over activity. If you have an older dog and are concerned contact your Veterinarian prior to get their advice.
4. Get a fence: by putting a fence around your pool you may not only save your own pets lives but many wild animals as well. Wild animals often fall into pools and then cannot seem to get themselves out.
5. Learn CPR: yes there is CPR for animals and there is classes you can take to make sure you doing it properly. If you own pets it’s never a bad idea to know how to do CPR.
6. ALWAYS stay with your pet: never leave a pet in or near a pool or any body of water by themselves. They can quickly fall in or go out too far and have a serious issue quickly.
7. Exits: make sure that your pet can get out of your pool and know where all the exits are.
8. Drinking: try not to let your pet drink the pool water because most pools have chlorine in them which isn’t good for them to drink a lot of. Always have fresh cold water available.
9. Play: it’s always fun for both of you to play in the pool together but make sure to watch for how long especially in the heat.
10. Rinse: Always rinse your dog off after being in a pool or any body of water.
11. Heat: even though they are in the water they are still exercising. Make sure they have ample shade to get to and fresh water available at all time. If you notice that they are getting tire or seem to be panting more than normal make sure to get them out of the heat right away and monitor them. If they start to get worse or do not improve call your Veterinarian right away.
12. Pool Covers: yes they are extremely practical but try to use the ones that a tight against the pool if you use one. The flimsy ones can easily take the life of your pet or other animals. They can fall and tangled in the cover or can end up underneath the cover and not able to find their way out.
13. Have a plan: no one want to think of the worst case scenario but it’s always good idea to with the pets so that way you can be prepared. Try to have a plan in place including some sort of first aid kit or an emergency vet hospital phone number.
Fire Safety Tips with PetsJuly 13, 2017
The BEST way to protect your pet is to have a plan and a disaster kit ready. Always practice with your pet and make sure they know to come when called. Around 500,000 pets are affected by home fires and nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by homeowner’s pets.
Tips to help your pet from starting a fire:
- Extinguish open flames: do not leave any sort of open flames unattended especially candles.
- Remove/cover stove knobs: pets can jump up and accidently turn burners on with their feet or even their nose.
- Invest in flameless candles: animals gets very curious around flames and their little tails cans easily knock them over.
- Use caution with glass water bowls: Sometimes if a clear water bowl is placed outside on a wooden deck in the direct sunlight, the sunlight can actually warm up the wood below and cause a fire.
- Always secure pets: make sure to keeps pets in a cage or behind a baby gate when not being watched.
Tips to be prepared in case a fire would happen:
- Have an escape plan: make sure to include your pets in the plan
- Have a leash/carrier: make sure to have them in the planned escape routes and easily accessible to grab on the way.
- Know their hiding places: know where your pets generally go when they are scared to know where to look for them quickly if needed.
- Have fire drills: make sure to practice with your pets, go over basic commands like come and stay.
- Secure pet during danger: pets often aren’t fans of loud noise or a lot of people and most likely during an emergency there will be a lot of both so make sure to have a leash or carrier to keep them secure.
- Have an animal emergency kit: have food, dishes, water, meds anything that would help just in case and have it easily accessible in your escape plan.
- Place to stay: talk to family members or even neighbors that your pet could stay with in case of an emergency.
- Dog House: if you have a dog house outside try to make sure that it isn’t right next to your house and free of tress or other flammable objects. That way if your pet would hide in there they would be safe.
- Pets alone: try to leave pets in crates by the front door so that if a fire fighter comes in they can find them easily and quickly.
- Consider Monitor Smoke Detectors: pets can’t escape burning house on their own it may be a good idea to use a monitored smoke detector that are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders will be contacted even if you aren’t home.
- Affix Pet Alert: they are window clings that you can write the number of pets and what kind of pets that are in your house so that fire fighters know what they are looking for and are aware.
- First Aid Kit: it’s a good idea to have on hand especially in an emergency situation, you can purchase them at local pet stores or you can talk to your Veterinarian to check what they would recommend to have in them for your pets.
Spaying and NeuteringJune 16, 2017
Everyone always says “it’s good to spay and neuter your pets”, but why? There are many reasons why it’s a good idea. The main and most important is it lets you have your pet for a longer time. Who wouldn’t want that?
If you get your dog spayed prior to her first heat, it cuts down the mammary cancer to zero percent where as if you wait until after her first heat, the chance increases to 7%. After her third heat, it jumps to 25%. Female dogs can go into heat every 8 months after reaching maturity, which is generally between 5 and 12 months of age. Having your dog spayed also prevents uterine infections and ovarian cancer, both of which can be life threatening. If your dog does get a mammary mass, it tends to be malignant about 50% of the time. Female dogs can be in heat for 2-3 weeks at a time and during that time if you don’t want to have accidental puppies, you need to keep her away from all unaltered male dogs. It’s not even recommended to leave her outside in your own yard by herself, just in case she would happen to run off or a male dog would smell her and try to find her. Also, a dog’s heat can be rather messy so it’s a good idea to either get a diaper of some sort or be prepared and make sure she’s in an area that is okay to get a little messy.
While people are fairly open to spaying their female pets, that is not always the case when it comes to neutering their male pet. Whether it be the man in the house doesn’t like the idea, or it’s not “messy” so why worry? It’s true that it might not be the same kind of messy, but it definitely has health risks. If you get your dog neutered, it cuts down on prostate problems, testicular cancer, hernias, and perianal tumors. Unneutered males tend to roam a lot more, especially if there are females around. So when a dog gets hit by a car or runs away, 9 times out of 10 it’s an unneutered male. Also, getting them neutered can help with any sign of aggression and marking. However, if they are over a year old and showing signs of undesired behaviors, it might be too late as it can become permanent at that point. That’s why it’s a good idea to get them neutered prior to reaching maturity, which is around six months of age.
Felines need to be spayed or neutered too, especially if they go outside at all. The stray feline population continues to grow each year and it’s mainly because unaltered cats are outside together. Cats go into heat for 4-5 days about every 3 weeks during breeding season and although it’s not as messy as dogs, it definitely causes them to act differently. Female cats generally start going into heat from around 5-12 months old. Female cats generally start to “talk” when they are going into heat and they will walk all around your house or neighborhood yowling, acting very needy, and overly groom themselves. Male cats can even start spraying which can become a permanent behavior. Spaying or neutering your cat also bring with it the same health benefits as dogs. It prevents mammary cancer which is 90% malignant in female cats and it also prevents uterine and ovarian cancer, as well as prostate and testicular cancer in male cats.
Overall it’s in the best interest of your pet, whether male or female, dog or cat. Even if it seems expensive in the long run, it will save you money compared to an accidental litter or even treatment. Your pets will thank you in the end and when done safely at your vet’s office, they really don’t even know what happened. Who wouldn’t want to make sure they had their pets with them for as long as possible by taking the right steps for prevention from the beginning?
Lyme DiseaseMay 30, 2017
The ticks are coming back! It’s that season again and there’s no better time than the present to learn how to prevent Lyme disease and what symptoms to look for.
Before we can get into prevention we should probably know what Lyme disease is first and how your dog gets it. Lyme disease is an infectious tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria “Borrelia burgdorgeri.” It is carried most commonly by the deer tick aka black legged tick. Lyme disease is also carried by the brown tick, rocky mountain wood tick and American dog tick. Lyme disease is transmitted from the bacteria carrying tick to the animal from the saliva. Ticks must be attached for 48 hours to transmit the disease and it can only be transmitted from the tick vector not dog to dog or dog to human. The tick also needs to bite to infect the host.
Symptoms of Lyme disease can differ from pet to pet and sometimes it can take up to 5 months before symptoms even arise. Some general symptoms are fever, lameness (often shifting leg lameness), lethargy, lost of appetite, swelling in joints and lymph nodes. They do not get bull’s-eye rashes like in humans. Also, watch symptoms closely because Lyme disease can sometimes become deadly.
Diagnosing your pet is fairly easy at least, in case your pet had a tick on them or is showing some symptoms noted above. Generally, a blood test is taken by your veterinarian. However, if your pet tests positive that does not always mean your pet has Lyme disease. It can just mean that your pet was exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme but did not actually contract it. Often the dog’s system can fight it naturally but your veterinarian will use blood work, medical history and symptoms to diagnose.
The best way to keep the ticks off your pet is prevention. Flea and tick prevention can stop the tick from being attached for 48 hours hence stopping the ability of transmitting the disease. It’s also good to keep your pet away from tall grass and wooded areas. Your veterinarian will have plenty of flea and tick prevention they can suggest that would be best for your pet as well. Sometimes even a Lyme vaccine is a good choice but again speak to with your veterinarian directly to see what they recommend.
Check your pet after being outside or even daily to see if you feel any sort of ticks on them. They can be anywhere on your pet but the most common spots are on or in the ears, on the feet and between the toes. If you happen to find one, it should be removed as soon as possible. You can remove them with a tick removing tweezers by grasping from the head where it is attached to your pet’s skin. Try to make sure you get the whole thing because if any of it is left attached it can cause infection. Also, never burn the tick or apply any sort of irritant to the tick to remove it because that can cause further problems.
If your pet is showing any symptoms of Lyme disease or if you think your pet may have had ticks on them, call your veterinarian right away and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Pet Health Insurance Informational SessionFebruary 24, 2017
Pet Health Insurance 101
Join us for an afternoon of pet health insurance on Saturday, March 11th from 2pm – 4pm! Learn the ins and outs of pet health insurance and get your questions answered by company representatives.
Light refreshments will be served.
Reserve your ticket HERE! This is a free event but you MUST get a ticket as seating is limited!
Keeping Pets Entertained IndoorsJanuary 25, 2017
During the winter months it can be hard to figure out what to do with your pet to keep them happy, healthy, and sometimes most importantly, entertained. We came up with a list for both cats and dogs. Leave a comment if you think we left anything out!
Cats are generally easier to keep entertained when you are not home or even when you are home but here are some easy tips to help make them feel more comfortable.
- Get cat friendly plants: wheatgrass or catnip are good choices (watch out for toxic plants it’s always good to check or get from a pet stores) The plants will allow them to chew and enjoy what they would outside with the grass.
- Feeders: cat’s love to watch and see prey so getting bird and squirrel feeders are great to keep them entertained and watching things outside.
- Play hide and treat: cat’s love to “hunt” by placing treats around the house or even getting treat dispensing toys that will give them the illusion of hunting.
- Playtime: play when you are home, just a few times a day will keep them happy and healthy.
- Create “fun” zones: place cat trees or scratching post in a corner or by a window with some toys. If you want you can even screen in places right outside a window or even on a porch that the cat can go into to enjoy the outdoors without any danger.
- Get a buddy: cats are better in pairs, then they can create all kind of new games and stuff together and if one is bored they tend to always find a way to make their buddy play with them.
- Soothing sounds: generally cats like music just like people/babies, leaving soothing music on when gone generally helps, such as a soft piano or string instruments.
Dogs on the other hand are generally not as content on being indoors but hopefully the following tricks with help keep them entertained.
- Play “which hand game”: place a treat in one hand and close both fists and let your dog try to use their sense of smell to figure out which hand it is.
- “Three Cup game”: place a treat or something rewarding to your dog under one of the cups and move them all around and try to get your dog to pick the right cup.
- Teach new tricks: a dog is never too old for new tricks, you can always teach new things like “how to find my slippers”.
- Kongs: people will swear by them, fill them up with peanut butter, wet or dry food and you can give just like that or even frozen to keep them entertained for even longer.
- Master obedience: still trying to get your dog to sit or stay right away try working on that task while your stuck inside.
- Try something new: try teaching them clicker training, it’s a positive reinforcement way of training and it generally fun for you and your dog.
- Teach your dog how to clean up their toys: this one will even help you out, start one toy at a time until they understand.
- Puzzle toys: there are tons of puzzle toys at pet stores and even getting bully sticks or benebones to chew on for hours.
- Play fetch: obviously a nice indoor way of playing inside, with soft toys is generally a good idea.
- Master “doggie massage”: this will help out older pets, reduce anxiety, relieves stress, improves circulation and helps with bonding.
- Create obstacle courses: set towels and boxes or even treats all round and try to make your dog take certain paths to get to the reward.
- Blow bubbles: some dogs love this and will entertain them for hours they even make pet bubble making toys.
- New toys: or you can even rotate the toys you already have, if your dog hasn’t seen it for a while they love when it come back out.
- Tug-a-jug: a very good toy to keep pets entertained you can fill them with kibble or even small treats.
- Pupsicles: you can freeze chicken broth, peanut butter, baby carrots or treats and then give to your pet as your on your way out.
- Exercise: dogs need and love exercise, try taking them for a brisk walk before leaving or once get home.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help keep your furry family members entertained but always make sure when ever giving your pet a new treat or toy to watch them when they first get them to make sure they won’t eat or destroy them. You don’t want to cause any sort of harm. Also if your pet is on any sort of dietary restrictions always check with your veterinarian first before giving any kind of treat.
Employee Spotlight: JoleneDecember 22, 2016
Jolene is a receptionist at Wyomissing Animal Hospital. She started out by doing an internship as a veterinary assistant but decided that she enjoyed the client interaction more.
She currently has two pets; Kahlua, a 10 year old chocolate Labrador that loves everyone and eating everything, and a kitten named Cannoli who is about eight months old that Jolene rescued from work. All she had to do was take one look at him and knew she needed to keep him.
She is currently engaged and is planning on getting married next October to her fiancé Kyle. When she’s not a work she loves reading books such as the Lunar Chronicles and playing video games. She also enjoys doing crafty things like crocheting, which works out because she works part-time at Michaels!
Christmas SafetyDecember 15, 2016
It’s that time of year again where snow is in the air and Christmas decorations are going up. Decorating for Christmas is always fun and cheerful however, it’s not always the best idea when you have pets. It’s generally a good idea to always look at things from their perspective to make sure decorations are up and out of their reach.
Christmas trees are a tradition in most households but the tree itself can cause a lot of problems when it comes to animals. Cats especially love to get in the tree and eat the needles and climb all the way to the top (if they make it). Cats are also fond of anything shiny especially if it makes a crinkly noise. So ornaments and tinsel are always first in their minds, not to mention the lights and decorations. Cats aren’t the only ones that love the tree, but dogs tend to try to drink the water and even eat homemade ornaments. All of these can cause stomach upset to say the least but can easily become an emergency situation if they eat too much or eat the wrong thing.
A lot of the time decorations are up off the floor but you really want to watch extension cords and candles, cats and dogs are fond of chewing on anything and if it’s new that’s even more exciting. Sometimes even flames of candles will draw their attention and that’s generally not a good idea they can easily get burned or even knock it over and start other things in the room on fire. Tinsel is really pretty and shiny but pets will disagree and either rip it to shreds or sometimes eat it and that can cause intestinal blockage or even become a choking hazard. Try to be mindful and keep things out of reach.
Along with decorations who doesn’t love to make holiday cookies and desserts. I don’t know many people that would pass them up and as much as we love it our pets think they do too, but most are toxic. Chocolate for one is very toxic to dogs even small amounts especially dark chocolate and baking chocolate can cause major problems. Anything with artificial sweeteners can be toxic because a lot have xylitol in them and that is very toxic as well. It’s always good to keep alcohol out of reach as well. Even small amounts can cause major problems.
With any holiday it’s always good to be prepared and always keep a close eye on all your pets. If your pets are prone to getting into things try to make sure they are never left alone and try to look at things from their point of view.
If you would happen to run into an emergency always have your veterinarian phone number on hand, poison control and an emergency vet.
Wyomissing Animal Hospital – 610-372-2121
Poison Control number 888-426-4435
Berks Animal Emergency (Shillington) – 610-777-7535
Metropolitan (Norristown) – 610-666-0914
Valley Central (Whitehall) – 610-435-1553
Hope (Malvern) – 610-296-2099
How to Keep Pets Safe in the ColdNovember 29, 2016
As the seasons change and it becomes colder outside pets can feel the difference too. Some pets enjoy the cold but not all do so it’s best to know how to keep them safe. When it comes to keeping them safe common sense is the best way to go, if you are cold most likely they are too. Pets do have fur but just like us they still feel the cold. Always bring your pets in especially if the temperature is 20°F.
Cold tolerance is different for each pet. The tolerance depends on the type of coat, how their body stores fat, activity level and over all health of each animal. Even if pets do have a longer coat and are used to the colder weather they should still not be left unattended outside for any length of time and make sure their coat is groomed. (Matted fur doesn’t aid in keeping them warm and can cause skin problems) Shorter coated pets are more sensitive to cold so even little sweaters and booties are a good choice for them. Your pet may appear healthy but cold can make even slight sicknesses worse. If your pet is diabetic, has heart disease, kidney disease, hormonal imbalances they generally have a hard time regulating their body temp. Very young and very old animals are generally prone to having issues with the cold so always keep a close eye on them.
Pets should be kept inside during the colder months but if they do stay outside make sure that they always have food and water. Try to check the water frequently to keep it from freezing and sometimes use heated water bowels. Animals outside should always have shelter and it’s best to be facing away from wind if possible. The bottom should be kept off the ground and the bedding should be thick and warm. The bedding should be changed regularly to make sure it stays warm and dry. Try to avoid space heaters and heating pads because the pet can burn themselves and it can sometimes catch fire. Also make sure that if your pet is going to be staying outside that they keep a healthy weight through the winter, they will need more calories to help with body heat but it’s best to check with your veterinarian to make sure they don’t gain too much weight.
If you want to make sure your pet is still active during the colder months that’s fine just limit the time they are outside and make sure they are monitored the whole time. Walks are fine but it’s better to shorten them. Always check their feet after being outside to make sure they are not cracked or bleeding. Always clean off ice and snow from paws and try to keep fur between toes cut short. When taking them outside make sure to stay clear of ice, frozen ponds or lakes, pets can fall or fall in and it can become an emergency quickly. Also make sure they have proper identification on at all times when outside just in case they would get away from you.
In addition to just to the cold weather there are other things to watch for in the colder months. Antifreeze is out a lot in the cold and it smells very sweet to animals but is very deadly. Small amounts can cause major problems for them and sometimes even death. Always watch and make sure any spills are cleaned up right away. Monitor wood stoves, fire places, electric blankets and space heaters because they can burn them very easily. Never leave them in the car because they can be affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. If there is severe weather coming always try to be prepared not only for yourself but your pets as well. An emergency kit is a good option with enough food, water and medications including heartworm prevention and flea and tick prevention for 5 days. Also try to have extra blankets, leashes and collars.
Thanksgiving PrecautionsNovember 14, 2016
By Kendra Martin
The holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving is starting it out. Everyone loves to meet up with family and enjoy a nice dinner but pets aren’t always as enthusiastic as we would like. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping them happy and healthy during this holiday time.
Pets enjoy being with us all the time especially when we are eating and most of us know that not everything we eat they should eat. Turkey and turkey skin being one of them. It is extremely fatty and pets have a hard time digesting fatty foods and sometimes it can even cause pancreatitis. Also desserts are generally not a good idea either due to chocolate or xylitol (which is generally in unsweetened desserts). Try to keep all trash up and away from the ground or reachable by pets. Almost everything smells good to them but is not generally safe for them to eat.
When holidays come friends and family visit but some pets get too excited and others are not fond of the idea at all. It’s good to always know ahead of time how your pet is going to be. Sometimes it’s good to keep them separate all together. Certain pets are better in an area by themselves with their favorite toy. Cats tend to get very stressed when anything changes in their home especially a lot of people being in their space. Stress can cause disease so keeping them by themselves is generally the best idea in keeping them calm and stress free. Always tell your guests know if your pet is around to make sure they don’t leave doors open and watch when entering and exiting your home. Keeping up to date identification and collars are always a good idea just in case your pet gets out.
Decorations always make the holidays come together but try to make sure that you keep your pets in mind. Lit candles and fire places make things look so nice but can quickly cause problems with your pets. They can easily become burned or even knock things over and start your house on fire. Not to mention certain plants that are really pretty can be very toxic. For example baby’s breath, sweet william and lilies to name a few. Keep an eye on all ribbons and strings, cats especially love to play with them but if they decide to eat them can quickly become a problem.
Traveling with pets can be fun but it’s good to plan ahead. Heath certificates from your veterinarian are used when traveling across state lines and international borders and when flying in an airplane. Never leave pets alone in vehicles regardless of length of time or weather because it can easily become dangerous. Always have your pets restrained properly in vehicles when traveling either in a harness or carrier but never in the back of a pickup truck. Pets can easily become distracting or find little places to hide in vehicles. In case you can’t take your pet with you on your travels there is a lot of boarding kennels available out there but it’s always good to fully check out the facility first and find out what vaccines are necessary to board there.
The best precaution when it comes to pets is to be prepared. Try to have a game plan ahead of time to make sure they stay safe and healthy. If traveling with your pets it’s a good idea to have copies of their medical records, extra medications, and up to date identification in case anything would go wrong while enjoying the holiday season. Fast action and being prepared saves more lives.