Why Shouldn’t My Dog Eat Chocolate?
Chocolate contains two chemicals, caffeine and theobromine- both of which can affect your pet's nervous system. The effects of chocolate depend on your pet's weight, size, and the amount of chocolate eaten. The most harmful types of chocolate are the "baker's" or bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. Most chocolate candy, such as milk chocolate, is not pure chocolate. If you see your pet eating chocolate, call the hospital for advice right away. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, restlessness, muscle tremors, and seizures. If these symptoms occur immediate treatment is critical.
What Should I Do If Another Animal Has Bitten My Pet?
Bite wounds are common in animals and are always contaminated. Innocent puncture wounds can frequently result in major abscesses or systemic infections. Cleaning the wounds with some type of anti-bacterial soap and warm water usually helps but it is still strongly recommended that you consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible with ALL bite wounds. Do not use astringents such as alcohol and tincture of iodine as these may cause severe burning and irritation to the pet.
Why Are Dentals Important For My Pet?
Dental care is extremely important for pets, as it is for humans. Improper dental care can lead to all of the following problems:
- Prolonged pain, which can cause behavioral changes and difficulty eating
- Tooth abscesses and the loss of one or more teeth
- Chronic infections
- Lowered resistance to various viral and bacterial infections
- Potentially life threatening heart, liver and kidney infections.
What Plants Are Poisonous To Pets?
There are many plants and trees that are poisonous to pets. A great source for information before planting your garden or purchasing house plants is aspca.org. If your pet has ingested a plant and you would like immediate assistance you can call ASPCA poison control directly at (888) 426-4435 (there is a charge for phone consultations).
Rat Poison (Anticoagulant)
Because rat bait is made to be very palatable, pets can easily ingest unopened bait or find and eat bait already in use. The bait is usually in the form of red or green "cakes." The poison contains an ingredient, which prevents the blood from clotting. When pets eat the poison their blood does not clot correctly. If you see your pet eat rat poison or are even suspicious that the poison may have been ingested call our hospital immediately. Symptoms include pale mucous membranes, anemia, bleeding or sudden collapse. Please note that symptoms of rat bait ingestion do not show up for 2-3 days. Therefore if you know your pet has ingested a poison it is imperative that you bring your pet in immediately, even if he/she is showing no abnormal signs
. Since there are two common poisons for rats that require two VERY different types of treatment, when possible bring in the packaging of the poison that was ingested.
Why Does My Dog Chew And Lick His Paws?
Consistent chewing and licking of the paws and/or scratching at the stomach are often a sign of allergies in pets. This type of allergic reaction can be food related but is most commonly due to environmental allergens such as trees, grasses, molds, and even human dander. They can be seasonal or, especially in areas like Southern California, year round. Because the allergens are usually airborne, changing your pet’s environment will rarely get rid of the problem. The continual licking and chewing pet can cause recurrent skin infections and antibiotics may be needed. Skin cytology and/or culture should be performed to determine what type of infection is present and which antibiotic would be best suited to treat the infection. While not 100% effective allergy testing and desensitization is an option for allergic pets that do not respond to routine treatment.
Why Does My Dog Always Seem To Be Getting Ear Infections?
Some breeds are more prone to ear infections than others due to the structure of their ear allowing bacteria and yeast to grow. Ear infections are also often related to allergies, especially food allergies. Food allergies are difficult to diagnose and allergy testing for foods can be inaccurate. Pet owners will often change their pet’s diet, which makes isolating the food source causing the allergic reaction difficult. If your pet has allergies, always speak with your veterinarian before trying a new diet. Your veterinarian may recommend a strict “home cooked” diet trial or a prescription hypoallergenic diet. The underlying cause of the infection must be identified to prevent reoccurrence. Antibiotics and topical ear medications are usually the needed treatment.
Why Does My New Little Chihuahua (Or Other Small Breed) Sometimes Limp On Its Back Legs?
Many small breeds (ie- Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Malteses, Poodles, Yorkies, etc) have a congenital condition called “Luxating Patellas”. This is a condition which allows the patella or knee cap to “pop” out of joint very easily. Early-on these puppies will occasionally limp when the knee cap “pops” out, as they grow older most grow accustomed to their knee “popping” out of joint and it becomes hardly noticeable. However, some pets’ knees are so bad that they remain very unstable. These pets tend to develop early arthritis due to the constant rubbing of the knee cap on the top of the tibia (shin bone). In severe cases of luxating patellas - surgery is recommended to stabilize the knee cap and thus, stabilize the knee joint to prevent the onset of early arthritis. In the event your pet is limping a lot, or seems in pain, you should consult your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis of just what is going on.
Can My Puppy Go Out In Public Before 16 Weeks Of Age?
Puppies are quite susceptible to infection as the anti-bodies from mom are weaning and their immune system is maturing and being stimulated from the series of vaccines given by your vet. One of the most hearty viruses that is a concern is the Parvo Virus that attacks the intestines of young puppies. This virus lives in the environment for months; therefore taking your new pet to an environment where you do not know what other pets have been there is risky. This includes parks, dog parks, pet stores and even the vet. When you take your new puppy to the vet, always carry your pet in a pet carrier.
That being said, socialization is one of the most important things you can do for you pet and remember, lack of socialization and training is the number one reason for dogs going to the pound, and therefore the number one reason for euthanasia in the country. Studies have shown that dogs do their most important learning between the ages of 7 - 12 weeks of age. Socializing with friendly, fully vaccinated, and healthy (free of contagious disease; no coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea) pets is very important as well as different people and lots positive experiences.