Holiday Time With Family, Friends, and Furbabies!

Holiday meals and presents are wonderful traditions that warm our hearts and hold fond memories for years to come! As we enjoy this season of celebration and gift giving here are some tips for making this season even more enjoyable and avoiding some pitfalls that can cause stress or illness in your pets. Food changes, household changes, and routine changes can all contribute to anxiety and illness in our furry family members, but there are things we can do to minimize the disturbance and disruption.

Remember that treats are marketed to humans even though they are to be given to animals. This is an important piece of information because diet changes, even in the form of a treat or table food, can be very hard on pets. They can develop gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea or vomiting. In some cases only their appetite is adversely affected due to the discomfort. Sticking to more bland treats will still make your furry friend happy, but will not cause stomach upset. Avoid the spicy, many added flavors, or fatty treats that can so often cause illness. A small piece of turkey or other meat without skin or bones is a fine treat on the day of a special meal. Remember that your pet should be getting a taste rather than a meal when being given the treat of table food on special occasions. Give a very small amount and avoid dairy or fatty items. Some foods should be avoided completely due to their potential toxicity. Among these are onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, bones of any kind, and fatty foods.

Decorations can be a threat to pets as well. Cats can climb the Christmas tree or ingest the tinsel or other stringy decorations leading to surgery and emergency hospitals being a part of the holiday memory. Dogs can eat the chocolate candy present or ingest the toys left out resulting in an emergency visit of their own. Look around your house and think of the age and inclinations of the pets that are present. Remove any possible threat to them. Think outside the box! Our pets can be unpredictable. Put up cages or playpens to restrict access to items that are a concern. Keep Poinsettias out or reach if they are part of the holiday decorations. Keep puppies away from electric cords that (for some reason) they may decide to chew upon.

With the holidays come welcome guests as well as children coming back from college and, in some cases, their pets. Disruptions in homes are felt by pets, and these changes can be stressful. Make sure to provide an area where your pet can “get away from it all.” They can adjust to visiting people, excited children, and visiting pets, but sometimes they need a quiet place to relax after “entertaining” for a while. In some cases the changes are overwhelming, and we need to help a pet adjust to them with supplements or medications while the household changes are occurring. We have options to make the changes smoother or less stressful on everyone, because when our beloved pets are not themselves, this affects us also. Please let us know if you need help preparing for a visit from others or when going to visit others. We can suggest things that can really change the dynamic from anxiety to fun for all involved.

We wish you the most enjoyable holiday ever! Enjoy family and friends and delicious food! Let your animals be a part of it as seems best to you. Remember that they need you to take care of them and make the best decisions on their behalf. And if you run into trouble or need some advice, remember that we are here to help! Stop by our office today to pick up stocking stuffers of treats for 10% off to make your pet’s holiday merry and bright!

Dr. Lisa Gibson

Happy Veterinary Technician Week!

We are so excited to honor our amazing vet techs this week! Erin started with us as a volunteer and fell in love with working with animals. She’s been with us ever since! She sees vaccine appointments, assists in surgery, and keeps our clinics running smoothly!

Erin sees appointments on Tuesday nights from 5:00pm-6:30pm. Call us to schedule your pet’s appointment with her today! Thank you for all you do, Erin!

Don’t Be Scared by Your Pet’s Bad Breath!

Did you know pets need to have their teeth brushed regularly like people to prevent dental disease? It is also recommended that they have a dental cleaning every 6-12 months to keep dental disease at bay. Dental disease has many forms- bad breath, visible tartar, and bleeding gums. If you see your pet experiencing any of these symptoms, a dental cleaning is needed. Dental disease can have lasting effects on your pet’s immune system and leaves your pet prone to infections that may affect other organs in their body.

Dental disease can be scary, but this October we are offering 10% off your pet’s dental cleaning and extractions! Call us to schedule your furry “boo” today!

The Dog Days of Anxiety

Anxiety

It’s summer! This means it’s time for summer evening thunderstorms, fireworks, family and friend reunions, and traveling! Although we enjoy what summer has to offer, our furry friends may not be as enthusiastic. They may even be fearful of these events and become anxious.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the anticipation of danger but can occur without an obvious cause or threat. Anxiety can be mild or so severe that the animal may injure themselves trying to move away from the stimulus. Clinical signs of anxiety include: pacing, hiding or avoiding people or places, vocalizing, drooling, shaking, or hypervigilance. Some animals may become destructive. Depending on where the stimulus is located causing anxiety, some animals may refuse to move. Their body posture can be lowered with a tucked tail and ears against the head.

Common Dog phobias include (but not limited to):

  • Loud noises (thunderstorms, gunshots, explosions, fireworks)
  • Confinement (crate)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Car rides

Common Cat Phobias Include (but not limited to):

  • Unfamiliar people and pets
  • Environmental changes
  • Multi-cat household
  • Loud noises


Fortunately, there are a wide variety of things that can be done to help with your pet’s anxiety. We recommend seeing one of our veterinarians to address your pet’s anxiety. Treatment is usually multimodal and can include medication, training, and/or supplements.

Natural Supplements/Nutraceuticals

Solliquin contains L-theanine, which is a protein found naturally in green tea. This protein activates the production of brain waves that facilitate relaxation, wakefulness, and mental awareness. It also contains Magnolia/Phellodendron.

This is available for both cats and dogs.

For more information: https://www.solliquin.com/



Anxitane also contains L-Theanine to help the production of brain waves to facilitate relaxation.

Natural Pheromones  

Pheromones are a type of an odorless, species specific, chemical that are produced for communication. They are processed by the pet’s vomeronasal organ, which is located between the nose and the mouth. Some pheromones that are produced can be calming or appeasing which can help relieve stressed pets. There are products that mimic these pheromones for both dogs and cats (and are specific to them)!

Adaptil products are intended for our canine companions. The product mimics “Dog Appeasing Pheromones” that are produced by mother dogs to communicate with their puppies. Products in this line include sprays, diffusers, and collars.

For more information: https://www.adaptil.com/us

Feliway products are for cats. There a few different Feliway products on the market that help with a variety of behaviors seen in cats. For anxiety, there are Feliway plug-in diffusers and  sprays. Diffusers can be helpful for periods of time where the cat is stressed out (moving, guests in the house, fireworks). Sprays can be helpful for traveling and short-term periods of stress.

For more information: https://www.feliway.com/us

There are other medications our doctors may recommend for long term treatment of anxiety. Again, medication should be paired with behavioral modification.

Take advantage of this months specials —

  • 10% anxiety medication for pets
  • 10% off of Sileo (Works great for 4th of July Fireworks!)

The FAQs about Allergies

Allergies in Dogs:

There are so many different allergies in dogs. Oftentimes, this is why owners get frustrated with their dog’s progress or lack thereof. Let’s break it down:

Why do dogs have allergies?

Allergies are when a dog’s immune system is reacting to something in the environment or something ingested. This immune response is harmful to the body and can be extremely irritating to the dog. Put simply, allergies are an unnecessary reaction of the immune system.

What do allergies look like in dogs?

Although dogs can have respiratory issues from allergies such as allergic bronchitis, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, more commonly they experience pruritus (itchy skin). That leads to scabs, hair loss, redness, etc that the owner notices. If you see a dog scratching, having redness, coughing, or sneezing, those are all signs of an allergic reaction.

What are the different types of allergies dogs have?

Food allergy: Allergy to something ingested

Flea allergy: Allergy to the saliva of fleas

Atopy or contact allergy: Allergy to salt, pollen, etc; Something in the environment

Are allergies something my dog was born with?

Allergies to the environment (dust, pollen, etc) can be inherited.

What types of things cause food allergies? How do I tell if my dog is sensitive?

The most common food allergies are: chicken, beef, and occasionally grains. Most dogs will react to protein in their diet, and that reaction manifests in inflammation or infection in the ears, itchy skin, and inflamed/full anal glands.

To tell if your dog has an allergy, you need to feed a prescription diet from your veterinarian for 8-12 weeks. During this time, it is mandatory that your dog has no food other than the prescription food because the goal is to allow his or her gastrointestinal system to clear any allergens that are present and seeing how his or her body responds. Is there less scratching, fewer ear infections, less anal gland inflammation? That information will help the veterinarian determine if your pet is responding well or not.

What is a flea allergy?

Flea allergies are when a dog reacts to the saliva of the flea that bites it. Fleas normally cause itchiness, hair loss, scabs, and redness. If you see this on your dog, spread the hair at the top of the tail and look on its stomach to check for any fleas. A flea allergy is caused by the dog reacting to the saliva of the fleas. It takes three months for owners to see a reduction in the number of fleas if the flea prevention is reliable. So, make sure to get all flea prevention from your veterinarian as well as other medications to be able to help your dog be not as itchy and heal the lesions from the flea bites.

Atopy is an allergy to the environment: pollens, dust, other animals. These cases can be the hardest to control. Seasons, environments, and lifestyle changes all come into play and cause issues for these dogs. The best thing to do with these patients is to come in for an appointment. We have a number of different medicines and therapies that will help treat and cure these allergies. Heska allergy therapy identifies what allergens your dog is reacting to. Then, with immunotherapy, they work to decrease your dog’s reactions to those allergens. We highly recommend this because it actually works to reduce the allergy symptoms through healing your pet. This works in about 80% of cases. Allergies can worsen with age and exposure. So, healing your pet of his or her allergies saves your pet from a lifelong struggle with allergens.

This month, Elkwood Animal Hospital is discounting all allergy testing bloodwork! Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and discover what your pet is allergic to!

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