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Cats Dogs News

Fourth of July – Fireworks and Pets

One Person’s Holiday is his/her Best Friend’s Living Nightmare
By Briana Bryson, Summer Intern

Fourth of July weekend. In the name of celebrating our independence, many of us enjoy using the holiday as an opportunity to socialize with loved ones, consume lots of booze, and blast millions of pounds’ worth of pyrotechnics (mostly) into the air. Because of that last, and particularly loud point, our pets are more likely to spend the patriotic holiday freaking out and cowering under the bed. If news of all the unfortunate alcohol-related incidents during the weekend of festivities isn’t sobering enough, consider this fact – July 5th is reported by animal shelters across the nation as being their busiest day of the year. If your dog or cat is one of the many who react adversely to fireworks and other incessant, loud noises (such as thunderstorms and babies’ cries), this probably comes as no surprise. During the 4th, the anxiety experienced by pets may become high enough to override their normal reasoning abilities, causing them to engage in behaviors they wouldn’t normally do – such as run away from home.

Why is my Dog Freaking Out?

Not every dog has an issue with fireworks, but that is no cause for alarm that you, as an owner, are doing something wrong if your dog reacts negatively. It is important to understand that animals love routine, and they dislike loud, inexplicable noises that are difficult to source. Each year only has room for one 4th of July, and as the holiday that enjoys the most abundant usage of fireworks, it might seem like some sort of Annual Armageddon to your dog. Her fear may be the result of a traumatic experience where they learned to associate the sound with something negative, or it could be the result of the amount of stress caused by prolonged exposure. Regardless of the reason behind the behavior or its commonality, the fact remains that as long as fireworks remain a problem for your dog, her safety, the integrity of your home, and the sanity of both parties will continue to be jeopardized each time the holiday comes around.

How to Help Your Canine

You can’t exactly explain what those terrible crackling noises are to your dog, but you can help her understand that they pose no threat to her well-being. Recognizing the symptoms of her so-called noise phobia can help you plan for pre-emptive measures on getting her through the fireworks show. Such signs include hiding, house soiling, barking, vomiting, shaking, pacing, and attempting to escape. Long before the fireworks begin to report, you should try taking your dog out – on a well-secured leash – and allow her to exercise, in order to reduce stress levels and make sure she’s less energetic later in the day. Once the fireworks begin, keep her inside at all times – scared dogs are particularly effective in getting past fences. Also, make sure there’s a “canine-certified” safe haven your dog can retreat to if she gets scared. Humans tend to have different opinions on the matter and want to resort to a crate, but if your dog retreats to the underside of your bed or your bathtub, then that’s the best place for her to be until she calms down.

Short-term Solutions

These techniques may not strive to eliminate the problem completely, but they can help manage your dog’s symptoms.
• Attention-diversion is an excellent method if employed as soon as the anxious behavior begins. Keeping your dog busy with fun toys or long-lasting chew treats will help relegate the fireworks to a mere background noise.
• The use of calming pheromones can greatly reduce symptoms. These come in the form of mists and ointments that can be rubbed on your dog’s body, or diffusers that can be strategically placed in locations they feel secure.
• There are also several “anxiety vest” products available that you can fit onto your dog. These help reduce stress by making your dog feel secure and targeting certain pressure points.
• For particularly difficult cases, prescription anxiety medications are available that can be used for short-term stress relief.
Gradual Remediation
Ideally, you would want to tackle the issue in a way that prevents it from recurring in the future. Fear is a deeply ingrained animal instinct that is difficult to “train” out, but in some dogs, behavior modification can accomplish just that by focusing on a particular stimuli – in this case, the sound of fireworks.
• The process relies on desensitization and, sometimes, counter-conditioning. Dogs are first introduced to noises, such as a recorded thunderstorm or rainforest, low enough so that they produce no anxiety, sometimes accompanied by a treat. The loudness is gradually increased while carefully ensuring that the dog is comfortable with the new noise level and isn’t forced to endure something unpleasant. This continues until fireworks themselves are tolerated.
• Companies have produced sound therapy CDs that simplify this process by guiding you and you dog through a series of recordings.

For Felines

Cats have one of the widest hearing-ranges among mammals. While that doesn’t explain why, at times, their attention seems eerily focused on particular areas of all but featureless ceilings, it does help account for their sensitivity to fireworks. Many of the techniques used to help cats are similar to the ones outlined above that help dogs:
• Keep your cat indoors, and make sure he can’t get outdoors. Close all doors and windows, and block any cat-doors. In addition to preventing your cat from escaping, this helps filter some of the noise from outside.
• Make sure your cat has somewhere safe to hide if he gets scared. If your cat feels protected under, say, the dining chair you were hoping to use later, it’s best to let him have his way (once again) rather than forcing him out into a more convenient location. Treats can be used to encourage cats into a shelter, if they haven’t already picked one out.
• Keep your cat busy. Engage him in play, and provide an interesting new shelter for him to explore by building a “kitty tent” using chairs and blankets. This shelter can also double as a sanctuary for him to hide in if he gets scared. If he’s particular to catnip, give him a catnip-containing toy to mess with so he’ll be in a nice, drunken state throughout the night (much like many of the human celebrants).
• Desensitization therapy can also be used on cats! With much patience, you can work from short intervals of lowly-recorded fireworks to getting your cat to tolerate the real thing like a champ.

Other Things to Consider

Fourth of July weekend is supposed to be fun. You may feel tempted to travel elsewhere in order to enjoy the festivities, but keep in mind that it’s in your pet’s best interest that a familiar human’s nearby when they’re frightened. Pets, even ones with no history of freaking out during fireworks, should not be brought to shows. Murphy’s Law is particularly relentless when large numbers of people are involved. Also, it is important to note that a well-trained dog is a confident dog, and confidence can help your dog feel more secure in her environment and lead to faster, better results in attempts to address your dog’s fear. With all of that in mind, we wish you good luck and happy holidays!

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Dogs News

Kennel Cough Update – Prevention and Treatment

Since we see quite a few dogs from shelters and rescues, I thought it important to discuss Bordatella, also known as kennel cough. The past few weeks has seen a sharp increase in cases of Bordatellosis.

Overview
Kennel cough complex, a syndrome caused by several bacteria and / or viruses, causes dogs to have a hacking cough, possible fever, and occasional snotty nose. The most common cause is Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacteria. It’s a very commonly diagnosed condition and is generally easy to treat with oral antibiotics. Frequently, the cases are mild and resolve on their own. A vaccine is available that may protect your dog from certain causes of kennel cough. And most important: all dogs can get it – dog park dogs, neighborhood dogs, those that go to camp or the groomer, day care dogs and dogs that rarely interact with other pups.

Clinical Signs / Symptoms
The first sign of a Bordatella infection is a hacking, or honking cough. Many people at first think their dog is gagging or trying to vomit. It sounds as if something is stuck in their throat. In more severe cases, the dog may be lethargic, have a fever and even a runny nose. In many adult dogs with mild cases, it simply goes away on its own. Puppies and immune-compromised dogs are much more susceptible to Bordatella and viruses and can develop pneumonia, which may be severe.

Clinical signs can start 2 – 14 days from the time of initial infection. This is why newly adopted dogs frequently will become sick after a week at their new home. It’s all the stress associated with the shelter, moving to a new environment and being unsettled for a long time.

The cough itself usually comes from inflammation in the trachea, otherwise known as the windpipe. Basically, it itches. Another name for kennel cough is tracheobronchitis.

In general we do not test dogs for Bordatella since it requires a few days to return from the lab and we generally would treat the dog based upon history and clinical signs. In some cases we do recommend chest x-rays to see if there is pneumonia or other problems present.

There are no breeds that are reported to get Bordatella more than others, but personally, I’m more concerned about bulldogs and other “smoosh-faced” dogs and highly social dogs.

Treatment
In some cases we allow the dog to heal on his or her own, but in others we may intervene with oral antibiotics, if generally mild. Supportive care is used in more severe cases and may include a cough suppressant, antibiotics, fluids, an inhaler, nebulization of medications and nutritional support. We also recommend using a harness instead of a collar – it takes pressure off of the trachea, decreasing coughing and irritation.

Prevention
First of all – one does not get kennel cough from going to a kennel – the dog simply contracts the causative agent from another dog. It could be anywhere – the park, at the groomer’s, on the sidewalk, in daycare, you get the point. It is more frequent in high-density housing areas such as kennels, daycares and shelters as infections can spread more rapidly in these environments.

If your dog is coughing or not feeling well, please keep him or her away from other dogs until the cough has resolved or until cleared for play by your veterinarian. This is the best measure that you can take to keep Bordatella from spreading.

We highly encourage all dogs to be vaccinated against Bordatella once per year. We use either an oral vaccine or an injectable vaccine. The use of either may depend upon your dog’s specific needs. The vaccines are not fool-proof and dogs may still get a cough, but is usually much less severe than if the dog was not vaccinated. Some boarding facilities require dogs to be vaccinated every 6 months. There is no ill effect to vaccinating on this schedule. Do not hesitate to ask any of us here at District Veterinary Hospital about Bordatella.

Categories
Cats Dogs News

Fleas – They’re Back!

“ They’re here.” Ok so it’s not Poltergeist, but it is high flea season once again. We at District Vet have a particular hated of these critters that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs (don’t believe me, click here). Fleas crawl through dog and cats’ fur, live there, feed off of them and take pleasure in making more fleas on your pet. Prevention is key as eliminating an infestation is slow, expensive and frustrating.

Aside from being a general annoyance and gross, they can cause some serious medical problems. Most dogs and cats have some degree of allergy to flea bites (think mosquitoes and humans), many pets do not show any signs of flea infestation, but a significant portion of the pet population has severe itching and allergy responses, necessitating veterinary help. This causes damage to the skin, behavioral problems, flaring of other allergies, and intense itching. Fleas also carry bartonella, the bacteria that causes cat-scratch disease, plague (it is still very real and not confided to the Dark Ages), tapeworms, and a few other bugs to boot. It is important to keep fleas at bay. Let’s discuss how.

The flea life cycle is important to understand: Fleas are very efficient at making more fleas. The adults live on your pet and the females can produce 40-50 eggs per day. They feed on your pet’s blood, defecate on the pet and when your dog or cat lays own to sleep, their feces and the eggs falls off the pet. Soon the eggs hatch into larvae (maggots) and they feed on the feces from the adults. Gross, but true. When they are fat enough, they form a cocoon and over the course of several months (or more, if conditions are not ideal), turn into adults. And then they hatch and seek out a new – or the current – pet to feed upon.

Fleas are notoriously difficult to find. Your pet, especially cats, can have an infestation without you ever knowing it. While it is obvious to think that indoor / outdoor pets are at risk for fleas, strictly indoor pets are far from safe. Consider this – you find flying insects and other bugs in your domicile all the time, why not fleas? They readily can hitch a ride in on your pats, shoes, a neighbor’s dog, your other et that goes outside, and don’t’ forget that they can simply seek out your pet on their own. Remember the dinosaurs above. They know how to survive.

We will talk prevention today – discussing eliminating an infestation is for another day. For low-risk indoor cats that do not live with indoor / outdoor pets (dogs or cats) and do not live in ground-floor housing, we recommend using Revolution topically at least twice per year. If they go outdoors, we use it monthly, year-round. If in a house with a dog or indoor / outdoor cat, we recommend it be used at least four times per year. Revolution kills fleas and also prevents heartworm disease, which can be fatal to cats. Although there are other flea products on the market, we have found Revolution to be the safest, most effective and easiest to use. We have Revolution a the hospital and have a promotion where you get one dose free for every three doses purchased.

As for dogs we have changed from topical products to Nexgard – an oral chew. It’s active ingredient rapidly kills fleas (ticks, too) and has proven very effective and safe. And since it is oral, there’s no topical mess and you don’t have to worry about the dog getting a bath or swimming. Brian, The Dog, uses Nexgard. There is also a promotion for NExGard when coupled with Heartgard Plus.
Please keep fleas at bay. They’re gross and can have negative consequences for your furry friends.

dt,dvm
© District Veterinary Hospital, 2015

Categories
Dogs News

Can a dog’s tail be too happy? Limber tail (dead tail) discussed.

As spring arrives the dogs are out to play and swim once again. When you come home after an outing with the pup, the dog isn’t quite right – his / her tail is not wagging!

Is it broken? Is there a sprain? What’s going on?

We at District Veterinary Hospital frequently see a condition called limber tail, happy tail, or dead tail. It is a muscle injury caused by damage to the coccygeal muscles that attach the tail to the body. The tail simply is not working. They may not want to play, can be slow or lethargic, usually linger in bed and can even be reluctant to eat. Dogs may have pain when sitting or lying down. And most telling – the tail will not wag. Yes, there is a condition that can cause your Lab’s tail to not work. It can have several presentations: with the tail normal for a few inches then drooping all the way to the tail limp from its attachment to the body.

The condition is most frequently seen in the spring when dogs suddenly are out and running about. After the first few visits to the dog park or after the pup goes swimming in the creek or ocean are the most common predecessors to limber tail. It’s overexertion – the pup is not used to high-intensity exercise. But be aware, limber tail can happen at any time.

The condition can be seen in any dog with a tail, but is overrepresented in Labradors and golden retrievers, pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, pointers, setters, beagles and foxhounds.

Limber tail resolves over the course of a few days to a few weeks and is aided in healing with anti-inflammatories and a bit of rest. We examine the dog to be sure there is no other cause of the problem, such as an anal gland problem, arthritis, tail fracture (they do happen), spinal problem, constipation or other etiology.

So why does it happen? We really aren’t sure, but believe that the tail is simply over-worked, leading to acute inflammation. It is not a sprain, as it involves muscles, not tendons and ligaments. Easing your pup into springtime activities and swimming over a few weeks is ideal. A couch potato needs a bit of a warm-up before running a marathon.

There are usually no long-term effects from limber tail and it may occur again. In dogs where it happens more than once, it is important to identify any triggers, such as a certain type of exercise or swimming at a particular time, and minimize these activities. Repeated episodes can lead to fibrous tissue forming in the tail and decreased tail function.

Should your pup have any tail problems, give us a call as soon as possible and we here at District Veterinary Hospital will be happy to perform an exam and fix up the pup.

Dan Teich, DVM
(c) District Veterinary Hospital, 2015

Categories
Dogs News

Tulip and Hyacinth Toxicity

District of Columbia: Sunday was a small reminder: spring is on the way. So is gardening! Many bulbs are quite toxic to dogs and care should be taken to avoid having your pup snack on tulips and hyacinths. Although tulips and hyacinth are traditionally planted in the fall, spring gardening can frequently ring their bulbs back to the surface. Many of us will also plant them in spring as well – but those in the know realize they don’t do as well.

Hyacinth and tulips contain alkaloids and allergenic lactones as they belong to the Lillaceae family. These compounds tend to be present in high concentrations in the bulbs, much less so in the leaves and flowers. Eating bulbs can result in serious medical issues. Dogs generally gain access to bulbs from digging them up, during planting season when the bag of bulbs is left out, or when the ground is tilled. When chewed the bulbs, and to a lesser degree the stems and flowers, cause irritation to the tissues of the mouth and the esophagus. Dogs may drool excessively, paw at their mouth, vomit, or even have severe diarrhea. If ingested in larger quantities, clinical signs such as increased heart rate and difficulty breathing, tremors, or depression may be seen.

Should your pup ingest these bulbs and show any problems, please give us a call at District Veterinary Hospital as soon as possible. Care is supportive.

Categories
Dogs News

Hotel Etiquette With Dogs

More hotels are opening their doors to our canine family members, even going as far as actively welcoming pets. Whenever I travel, I see a few dogs walk right through the front door of the hotel, receive treats from the desk and be on their way to a comfy bed. Travel with dogs is much easier if you do a bit of preparation – both in travel planning and with some basic dog training.

While many hotels welcome dogs, a number do not. Here in the District, a number of hotels welcome dogs. I discussed canine travel and with several concierges and will relay their advice. First call ahead and check with the hotels well in advance, and be sure to make a reservation for the dog. Policies can vary between hotels – ranging from size of dog, to breed restrictions, to number of dogs allowed. Some hotels treat your pup as another human guest and have no additional fees, some will have a deposit fee for welcoming your pup, others charge by the day. If there is a fee, it never hurts to kindly ask if it can be waived, especially if you will be there for a few days.

Room selection is also important. Ask for a room that is not immediately near the elevators or other areas in which people frequent. Simply – the less people that walk by your door, the less the dog will bark and defend your door. If you have a large dog, consider asking for a ground floor room. It makes taking the pup out easier and you don’t have to worry about noise from play disturbing neighbors below. If your dog is not used to an elevator – the ground floor may be better, too. If your dog eats a refrigerated food, ask for a room with a refrigerator. The concierges also told me that if there is no fridge, ask the front desk if the hotel can place the food in a fridge and have it ready for you at the desk at a certain hour.

Most hotels require that the dog be in a crate if you are not present in the room. I can’t say this is unreasonable. It will prevent the dog from getting into trouble and will prevent any unwanted escapes or contact with hotel staff. So – be sure your dog is crate-trained in advance. This may require having a crate at home for a while and using it for short periods of time to retrain the dog.

Once in a room, thoroughly inspect it for any loose items that may have been left behind by previous occupants or housekeeping. This includes food, pills (I find this happens quite often), soaps, etc. Also look for dangerous electrical lines or drapery cords. Remember to have toiletries, medications, and edible items high out of reach. Keeping these items in your luggage may not be a good idea – the dog may rip apart your bag looking for them.

If you leave remember to hang the ‘Do Not Disturb’ tag on your door and consider having a bit of background noise – such as the television – to wash out outside disturbances. Also, consider giving pup something to do in the crate (or room, if pup can roam free). I love Kong toys and other hard rubber toys. Be careful to not use treats that can stain rugs, such as peanut butter. Don’t use rawhides unattended, either, as they present as choking hazards. Before you leave, go to the hotel desk and give them your cell number. If there is a problem, they know how to quickly find you.

It goes without say, your dog needs to be an ambassador and needs to not leave a mess behind. If the weather calls for rain, or you know your pup will have muddy paws, bring a small towel with you and clean off his or her paws before you go inside. Also frequently brush your pup outside and consider bringing a spare sheet with you to place over the bed or furniture in the room to prevent sticking of dog hair. Bring your own poop bags and dispose of the fecal matter in an outside trashcan.

Remember, your pup is like any other guest. He or she must be well-mannered and be respectful of others. I have found that hotels love having well-behaved dogs and never underestimate how much a hotel will work to accommodate your needs, if you ask nicely.

-dt,dvm

(C) District Veterinary Hospital, 2015

Categories
Dogs News

Keep Your Dog’s Paws Happy This Winter!

Dogs’ paws don’t love the winter. Exposure to dry air, ice and cold temperatures can cause paws to dry and crack and even can lead to frostbite. Salt and other chemicals may cause burns and pain. There are a few easy things you can do to help your pup’s feet stay comfortable during the winter.

Use pet-friendly deicer. The best for paws is sand or clay cat litter, but it does not melt ice. If a salt-type product is used, consider Safe Paw  Ice Melter – we have it here at District Vet. Try to avoid walking in surfaces that have been heavily treated with salt and deicers. Eating large quantities of salt an deicers can lead to serious medical problems, too.

Keep the hair between the toes trimmed. Fluffy feet may be cute, but the hair traps ice and salt. We recommend trimming the hair so that it is level and even with the foot / toe pads, or even a bit shorter. The hair should not touch the ground. A decent beard trimmer with the shortest plastic guard in place should do nicely.

Everyone loves a pedicure. Routine nail trims during the winter are important. When it’s cold outside, dogs are walked less and the nails don’t wear down as fast as in the summer. Long nails causes the toes to possibly spread out, increasing the likelihood of salt and ice accumulating between them.

Wash your pup’s feet off after walking. This goes without say in many cases – they will track salt though out our house and will then lay down and lick all of the salt / chemicals off their feet. Warm water in a small bowl should suffice.

Consider Vaseline or Bag Balm. Some dogs simply get dried and cracked feet. We treat them in much the same way as ourselves – with a  safe ointment. Apply a small amount to the pads and rub it in well immediately before a walk. Post walk clean with a warm cloth, water if needed, and apply a very small amount again, if needed.

Booties are stylish. For dogs with sensitive feet, or for long walks, booties may be of benefit. Numerous types are available, but you should consider ones with grips on the bottom. Be certain that the strap on the top of them is not too tight. Also dry out the booties very well post use and let air flow through them.

Every year Dr. Teich and the staff at District Veterinary Hospital field calls about hurt feet in the winter. A few easy steps can help prevent painful episodes. And remember, if pup is out for a walk and salt gets in the paw, don’t panic! Gently clean out the area and wash off the foot when you get home.

Warmest thoughts during these cold times.

Dan Teich, DVM

Categories
Cats Dogs News

Don’t Chop Down The Tree – Trim it Safely!

Don’t Chop Down The Tree – Trim it Safely!

For many in our community this ritual happens every December: putting up the Christmas tree. It’s joyful and brings many happy memories and starts the holiday cheer. But beneath this green beacon lays a bit of a more sinister side for pets, especially cats. Let’s discuss Christmas Tree Safety for dogs and cats and exorcise these risks.

Tipping Points

It happens every year to one of our clients – the tree falls over, all the ornaments break – and the cat was the guilty party. Be certain the tree has a very stable base, go bigger than you believe necessary. If a very tall tree, consider tethering the tree to the wall, too. If you have a kitten, consider a tabletop tree until kitten (or puppy) is old enough to not play with everything.

Sap and Water

The water a tree sits in can be toxic or cause vomiting and diarrhea. Simple solution: a high-quality tree skirt clamped to the tree base. It will protect the water from meeting their tongues.

Jumping off Points

Provide the tree with plenty of space – this will prevent the cat from climbing the bookshelf and dive-bombing the tree. It also gives the dog plenty of space to run around it without tipping it over. A corner space with at least 6 feet of clearance on either side should suffice. Unless you have a jungle cat.

Tie Down Those Ornaments

Nothing is like candy to a cat than swinging ornaments. Consider sparsely decorating the bottom third of the tree, keeping the ornaments a bit out of the dog and cat’s reach. Also consider clamping the ornaments with a small clamp or ornament wire. It will prevent treasured keepsakes from falling off and will prevent the cat or dog from accidentally damaging them.

Not Everything is Ornamental

Ornaments that are especially attractive to cats (shiny, swinging, etc) should be placed in the upper branches, far out of reach. Never use tinsel in a house with pets, you are asking for an intestinal blockage or other serious complication from being eaten. Catnip on a tree, again, trouble – never place ornaments with catnip on a tree! Food on the tree (popcorn, chocolate…): nope. Again, trouble. And candles – nope to the real ones. While we like chestnuts roasting, please don’t provide the opportunity to roast the cat or dog (or house!).

Electricity is Shocking

Be certain all electrical cords are well concealed. Taping them to the wall or floor may be of benefit. Do not leave any wires dangling – cats and dogs will want to play with them, may chew through them or may become entangled. Consider unplugging the tree when no one is around to watch it. Be certain that where they are plugged in is inaccessible as well.

A Few Avoidance Tips

Consider spraying any cords with Bitter Apple Spray (we have it at District Veterinary Hospital). Also consider placing citronella-sprayed pine cones around the base of the tree if you have cats. They hate walking on pine cones and citronella may be a good deterrent.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas from all of us At District Veterinary Hospital

dt,dvm – December, 2014

(c) 2014

Categories
Cats Dogs News

Dashing into Fall Yard Work! A few Safety Tips.

Fall has arrived and for many in our community, so has fall yard work! Unlike many of us that live in condos in the city, many Brookland have wonderful yards with towering oaks and maples. While the community prepares for winter, there are several considerations you should take to keep your pets and wildlife safe and happy all fall and winter long!

Leaves are not all that bad!

Local wildlife loves leaves. If you can leave leaves under shrubbery or leave a larger pile of branches and leaves in a corner of the yard, you may find box turtles and other wildlife hibernating there over the winter. We will talk about this next week.

Watch out when using yard equipment.

Although many dogs love to play in leaf blower’s gusts, don’t use them when the dog is outside. The gusts they produce can easily hurtle debris into your dog’s eyes, causing trauma. Small sticks can even puncture a dog’s skin. Both of these will cause you to take pup to see us at District Vet. Take care with rakes and other equipment as well. Remember, there might be wildlife in the leaves, too (turtles, toads, etc).

Mulch!

Cocoa bark mulch is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Just don’t use it, please! Cocoa mulch contains many of the same substances as dark chocolate and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and even death. Mulch can also grow many mushrooms, many of which are toxic to dogs and humans. If you see mushrooms, please look up if they are toxic to dogs.

Fertilizers and chemicals

We are generally fans of organic gardens, but there are uses and times for fertilizers and chemicals. It is important to remember that just because something may be organic, it may not be healthy for the dog or cat. When applying organic fertilizers, please be sure the dog does not eat them! If using other fertilizers, check the package for safety instructions or talk to your gardener. More problems are seen with herbicides. It is very important to follow instructions and, if watering is needed, allow the area to dry before allowing the dog or cat (or kid) outside. If your pet eats fertilizer or has been in a fertilized area and is acting unusually, contact your veterinarian asap – we can help! Insecticides and snail baits can be fatal – if you have pets, we generally recommend you avoid their use entirely, if possible. They can cause vomiting, seizures, drooling, diarrhea and even death. Again, call us at District Vet asap if any is ingested.

Make your yard and garden beautiful! Keep your pet safe!

dt,dvm

Categories
Cats Dogs News

Keeping Pets Safe and Happy in the City

We live in a city – we live in a neighborhood with individual houses – we live on the edge of the park. It doesn’t matter where in DC you live, there are hazards all around. There are many tricks to keeping your dog or cat safe and happy in our growing metropolis. Some dangers are very obvious, others, not so much.

Some seemingly obvious dangers include heavy traffic (pedestrian, bikes, or automobiles). Keeping your dog on a short leash, so s/he does not get tangled or unexpectedly dart away from you is important in these crowded areas. Please avoid retractable leashes!

Another danger is to be aware of the temperature of your area. On sunny, hot days, be sure to walk your dog on the shaded side of the street, as pavement can burn the sensitive pads on their feet. The hair on their feet will not protect them from the scorching pavement and concrete. Also, even though it is tempting, refrain from taking your pet with you on hot days if you will be out of the house awhile. The air conditioning indoors will be safer and much more comfortable for them as opposed to the hot car or being leashed outside when you go indoors to run quick errands.

Less obvious dangers include make sure your cat (or dog) is never left unattended on unenclosed balconies, fire escapes, or terraces. Be sure all window screens are secure so they do not push through while enjoying the scenery. (Dr. Teich has seen a number of animals that have jumped or fallen out of windows!) Bird houses and feeders on window ledges will encourage your pets to spend more time looking outside and they may test their boundaries by leaning on the screen to get a better view. If there is an accident, see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

In multi-level apartment buildings, elevators are a concern because leashes can get caught in closing doors, therefor choking the pet when the elevator moves. This is more common than you think. Always hold your dog on a short leash and take extra care when elevator doors are opening or closing.

Littering is not only ruining our scenic view of the city, but can pose a very real threat to your dog. Many dogs, especially Labs and Pit Bulls, love to eat everything they can find! Most litter is probably harmless, but there are many things, like raisins, cigarette butts, and gum that can be toxic to your pet. Please be aware of anything your dog may pick up along their walk. Even seemingly innocent debris, like pigeon droppings and puddles (or standing water), can present a danger to pets because the feces and excrements that wildlife leave behind may transmit disease between the species. Always take care to clean your pet’s feet and do not allow them to eat off or drink off the ground.

Having a pet is a joy, and we want to make sure your pets are happy and healthy. Please contact us here at District Veterinary Hospital to talk about your pet’s health care and how we can help you!

-Beth Grimes, Hospital Administrator