Wednesday, November 23, 2016

7 Tips to Keep Your Dog safe This Thanksgiving

Ideally, your dog should never eat even a bite of “people food” during Thanksgiving or any other holiday. But all too often, those sweet, hopeful eyes are too cute to resist—especially for guests who don’t know, or care, about your house rules. Since the last place you want to spend your Thanksgiving is in a veterinary hospital, here are some key tips to keep your precious dog healthy and happy this Thanksgiving.

A House Full of Guests

Your home will be buzzing with people during Thanksgiving, and if your dog is not comfortable with large crowds, this may make him or her stressed, anxious, or hyperactive. Pay attention to your pet as guests continue to arrive, and be prepared to put him or her in a “time out” room if there are any signs of aggression or stress. Exercising your pup in the morning will ensure that he or she is good and worn out by the time guests arrive, and cap any over-exuberance.

Don’t Feed Your Dog Turkey Bones

In the spirit of Thanksgiving generosity, you might be tempted to toss your pup a turkey drumstick while you’re cleaning up. But this can be extremely dangerous. Once broken into sharp, splintery bits, bird bones can easily become lodged in a pet’s esophagus or intestine. Be sure to never feed your dog a turkey or poultry bone of any kind, and make sure that your guests understand this as well. If you are determined to feed your pet a bite of turkey, make sure that it is boneless and well cooked.

No Gravy for Puppies  

Turkey skin, gravy, and other fatty, buttery side-dishes are definite no-nos when it comes to treating your pup on Thanksgiving. Fatty foods and trimmings can cause vomiting and diarrhea for dogs that aren’t used to them, and in the long-term, they can cause canine pancreatitis. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparations, you’ll probably be too busy to notice that your pup has crept out of the room to be sick on your nice Oriental rug—so save yourself the headache of an unexpected cleanup, and skip the fatty treats.

Keep Trash in the Trash  

Tossing used aluminum foil or plastic wrap to your dog might seem like a great way to give him a taste of the Thanksgiving feast, but swallowing these items can cause an intestinal obstruction, which requires minimally invasive surgery to remove. Stick with safer treats instead, like peanut butter inside a dog toy.

Watch the Chocolate

Almost everyone knows that chocolate is toxic for dogs—but small children visiting your home probably won’t. Take the time to explain the dangers of chocolate to your littlest guests, and tell them that, to a dog, a pat on the head is just as good a treat as food. You can also avoid any problems by simply banning chocolate from the menu altogether.  

No Dogs in the Kitchen

The kitchen is never more crowded or busy than it is before and after the Thanksgiving meal. Hot plates, heavy serving platters, sharp carving tools, and your grandmother’s fine china can all be a recipe for disaster when mixed with many moving bodies and an excited, curious dog. When it’s time to prepare the table, make sure that your pet is safely out of the way—either outside the house, or contained in another room.

Update Your Dog’s Microchip

With so many people coming and going, the door will be opened quite a bit, and your pet could easily slip out and bolt. To make sure that he or she is easy to retrieve, make sure to update the microchip. If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, call your local veterinarian to make an appointment today.

From all of us here at Bregman Veterinary Group, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

National Pet Cancer Awareness Month & The Top 5 Warning Signs

No one wants to think that their beloved kitty or precious pup might have cancer—but many pet owners wish that they had noticed the signs earlier. As the number one disease-related killer of cats and dogs, cancer is not something to be underestimated. The more quickly it is found and identified, the better a chance there is of a successful surgical treatment that can save your pet’s life.

While an annual veterinary check-up is the best way to diagnose any symptoms, looking out for these early warning signs can’t hurt. Canine and feline cancer can, unfortunately, metastasize at a much faster rate than it does in humans, so it is best to be proactive and attentive, especially with older animals. If you notice any of these warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Unusual Odors

If you’re a pet owner, you already know that bad smells are simply a part of the furry, cuddly package. However, an unusually foul smell that persists in spite of washing may indicate a tumor, especially if it emanates from the mouth, nose, or rectal area.

Bumps and Lumps

Bumps and lumps beneath a pet’s skin should not be ignored. A lump which persists over time, or which seems to be growing, should be examined by a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.

Unusual Weight Loss or Appetite Change
Unless he or she has been placed on a diet plan, your pet’s weight should remain relatively consistent. If the animal has suddenly lost interest in food which he or she previously enjoyed, illness is a strong possibility. Oral tumors can cause difficulty when the animal is eating and/or swallowing.

Behavioral Changes

Many pet owners fail to spot cancer in aging dogs and cats because they assume that the animal is simply “slowing down” due to its age. However, sudden torpor or lethargy in an animal can actually be a sign that it is experiencing pain. Sudden aggression in a previously well-tempered pet or sudden antisocial behavior can also be signs of cancer or illness. Be sure to also pay attention to changes in walking, eating, playing, and urinating.

Physical symptoms of cancer in pets

There are many physical symptoms that can indicate cancer in dogs and cats. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, limping, pale gums, and open sores that are not healing are all symptoms of pet cancer to be on the lookout for.

A Veterinarian You Can Trust

If you have noticed any of these signs in your dog or cat, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Bregman Veterinary Group’s qualified vets have the experience and skill to identify cancer in an animal as quickly as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your animal, give us a call today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How to Spot Depression in Cats and Dogs

Maybe you’ve recently moved or have brought home a new addition to the family and your dog or cat is suddenly acting different. It isn’t something to necessarily be concerned about, however because we cannot ask our animals if something is wrong, it is important to pay close attention to their overall mood and behavior as depression in cats and dogs is common and can be brought up by a number of factors.

Depression in Dogs:
Much like humans, depression symptoms in dogs are often defined by a withdrawn behavior, unusual drinking and eating habits, and if they stop taking part in the things they like – such as playing fetch or going for long walks. While these are the most common dog depression symptoms, these traits can also be linked to a medical issue, so if you are noticing such characteristics in your dog you should be sure to call us first and schedule an appointment to be sure nothing else is happening.

The most common reasons why dogs get into a bout of depression are either due to the loss of a companion animal or the loss of an owner. Our animals are more aware than we might think, and they are able to pick up on peculiarities that make their surroundings seem different.

Most depression cases in dogs go away within a few days to weeks. Giving them some extra affection or a few extra treats to reward them when they exhibit signs of happiness can help to expedite the process. If these simple remedies do not work, your dog might require medication. As always, you should call us if you notice your dog’s behavior is unusual and we’d be happy to help you.

Depression in Cats:
Unlike humans and dogs, cats do not experience the same emotional changes associated with depression. Stress in cats that lead to depression can be caused by a move, environmental changes or because of chemical imbalances in the brain.

Typically, if your cat stops eating or there is a major change in their appetite this is a big clue that something is not right. Additional signs that your cat might be depressed include significant behavioral change such as hissing or acting aggressively and being less active around the house.

Like we mentioned with dogs, these signs could be due to a medical issue. Loss of appetite could be caused by a dental issue or gastrointestinal problem and behavior could be due to a change in your schedule causing your pet to react. Getting to the bottom of the issue can sometimes be difficult so it’s best to contact us if you’re worried something might be wrong.  

In senior cats, pain is the most underdiagnosed condition, which can cause a cat to become depressed. If there is a stressor that can be identified as the cause of your cat’s anxiety or changed behavior, it is best to eliminate that stress to see if their behavior and overall mood improves.

Ensuring Your Pet’s Happiness
Overall you want to deal with the issue before it gets worse. If you suspect your cat or dog might be unhappy, give us a call to discuss their symptoms and stop in for a check-up. It’s always better to be safer rather than sorry, and your pet will be happy you checked in with us!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dogs and Your Emotional Wellbeing

After a long and stressful day, there is nothing better than coming home to your pets. The bond we share as humans with our pets is not something that can be compared to much else. The simple reality is, we have a relationship with our cats or dogs that causes us to have emotions that we associate with our pets. After a hard day we come home, relax on the sofa and find relief from having our cat curl up on our lap or sloppy dog kisses on our face.

In fact, according to research, when we interact with dogs for example, oxytocin levels increase in us and in dogs. Furthermore, the study shows that when mutual gazing exists between humans and their dogs, our oxytocin levels increase. Doctors have found that when our oxytocin level is at an increased rate, our stress and anxiety levels decrease significantly.

Today it is becoming more common to see dogs in hospitals, therapy sessions and exam study halls in universities across the country. Dogs and pets in general have many additional benefits besides being a reliable companion. One study illustrated that adults who regularly take their dogs on longer walks are more physically active and less likely to become obese than dog owners who did not regularly take their pets for a walk. Another looked at senior dog walkers ages 71 to 82 and found that if they regularly walked their dogs they were found to have greater mobility within their homes.

Having a dog can greatly improve your health and overall happiness. Don’t forget to be sure that your dog’s health is in tip top shape by regularly attending veterinary appointments. If you think you’re due for an appointment soon, give us a call today!