General Pet Tips

Toys

Always use hard rubber type toys for pets if possible. Thin rubber toys with squeekers can be chewed into large chunks and swallowed. This could cause your dog to get seriously ill and possibly require surgery to have the pieces removed. Kongs or Kong-like toys are usually very good. Never throw sticks for your dog. They can land and stick in the dirt and your dog can actually impale itself on the stick as it lunges to get it! Never use string as a toy especially for cats. The string could be ingested and become a life threatening foreign body in the small intestines. Whole Dog Journal is a great reference for toys for dogs!

Every toy has good and bad points. I still feel that rawhide is okay if used with care. You should purchase the large bones with the knots on the ends. The pet will chew off pieces that are usually small enough to not create problems. Cow hooves are popular, but tend to smell when wet.

Pig ears can lacerate the esophagus when swallowed.

Hard plastic toys or hard bones can fracture teeth.

Holidays

Do not allow your pet to eat food to which it is not accustomed—especially pork fat. Diet changes in a pet not used to variety could create vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly life-threatening pancreatitis. Veggies and fruits are usually okay in small amounts, except for onions or grapes/raisins, which are toxic. Fats could create an issue.

In general, a homemade diet or diet with natural ingredients is preferred, we must be cautious if our pets are not used to such changes.

Chocolate is toxic to pets. Chocolate contains a substance related to caffeine called theobromine. It can cause nervous disorders and kidney failure in pets.

Baker’s chocolate is the most toxic. Semisweet chocolate is usually not as toxic, but should still be avoided. Keep all chocolate, including cake products, up out of pet’s reach.

Do not give your pet any cooked bones! Cooked bones can break into sharp splinters and lacerate the gastrointestinal tract.

Your Pet’s Weight

You can best judge if your pet’s weight is appropriate by feel. You should be able to run your fingers over the sides of the pet and feel the ribs. They should not feel too prominent, or the pet may be underweight. A favorite saying is that you “should be able to feel the ribs, but not see them.” You should also be able to feel the shoulder blades or tops of the vertebrae (backbones).

Your pet should have a waist as you look over top of them. If not, he or she is likely overweight.

There are many tactics to get your pet to lose weight.

We can help you determine the best way to help your pet lose weight or discuss ways to help your pet keep the weight off. Just call the office for suggestions.

If weight loss is difficult for your pet, one thing that must be evaluated is thyroid function. Dogs with hypothyroidism can become overweight, despite adjusting the diet. Thyroid hormone supplementation is very important to correct this issue.

Exercise is also very important. Your pet should have 20 minutes of exercise like walking, playing, and running at least 2-3 times per week. Remember that in the winter, if the pet gets less exercise, then you must make appropriate decreases in the caloric intake since the pet won’t be working the calories off.