National Pain Awareness Month….Pets can feel pain too! How do you know if your pet is in Pain

Kit:  Oh hey Al Catcino!  It’s National Pain Awareness Month for Humans, so I thought we should chat about pain in pets! I figured you might know a thing or two about pain 😉

Al Catcino: Hey Kit, no problem! I sure do know a lot about pain! Being a tom cat, sometimes I get into…shall we say…disagreements with other tom cats….and sometimes I get hurt!  Don’t tell anybody though – I don’t want to mess up my tough guy image.  The thing is, pain in pets can be tough because we can’t talk!  So we can’t tell our owners with words how uncomfortable we are – and being the tough guy that I am, I often hide my pain and act like everything is fine until the pain is really bad!

Kit: I know lots of pet friends who pretend to be fine when they are in pain. Our instincts tell us we should not show our pain to others. If we can’t talk and we hide our pain, how will our owners know something is wrong and that we need to go visit the vet?

Al Catcino: Well Kit, the last time I got into a really bad, um, disagreement… well, let’s just say that I had some pretty bad bruises and a small cut – and you shoulda seen the other guy!  Anyway, after a couple days of pretending that everything was ok, the cut got infected and it hurt so bad that I could not put any weight on my foot. That’s how my owner knew to take me to see my vet, Dr. Murphy.  Dr. Murphy talked a lot to my owner about pain in pets and how to pick up on the little clues. I guess next time I won’t be able to hide it so well! Dr. Murphy fixed my infected cut and I am feeling great now! If you like, I can tell you some of the things she told my owner.

Kit: That would be great Al. It’s important for people to know that pets feel pain too! And because we can’t talk, it’s even more important to be able to notice little things that might mean we are uncomfortable.

Al Catcino: First of all, Dr. Murphy said that the reason we like to hide our pain is because of our instincts like you said. When great-great-great-great granddaddy Caesar lived in the wilds in Sicily, he naturally wanted to protect himself from any bad guys looking to make him their lunch! Those predators look for injured animals as they are easier prey. It was safer for us back then to pretend we were not hurt or in pain. Caesar was really tough and he never let his pain show.

Dr. Murphy also said that it is more difficult to tell if a cat is in pain. One of the most common things a cat does when they are in pain is HIDE.  She was right with this one! Every time I get into a scuff and get hurt, I go right under the bed and stay there!

The American Animal Hospital Associations (AAHA) came up with 5 clues for owners to help identify discomfort or pain in pets. Dr. Murphy gave them to my owner, I’ll list them below!
“Abnormal chewing habits: Abnormal chewing can be a sign of pain in the mouth. This could be due to dental disease or a growth in the mouth. Other signs include face rubbing or smelly breath. Regular dental checkups at your vet are very important to catch dental concerns early and prevent unnecessary dental pain.
Drastic weight gain or loss: Pain can influence a pet’s weight and eating habits. Animals carrying excess weight are at increased risk for joint or ligament pain. Pets with arthritis or sore muscles may not eat as well if it is uncomfortable to bend down to the food dish or go up or down stairs where the food bowl might be located. Arthritis pain can be very subtle – you might notice weight gain because the pet is less active. If pain is really bad, it often can lead to a lack of appetite in cats and dogs.
Avoiding affection or handling: A normally active pet may spend more time sleeping or laying around if it is painful. A pet may not like being petted if there is an area that is sore.
Decreased movement and exercise: Pets may be reluctant to go up the stairs, jump into the car or up onto the bed if they have sore muscles or joints. You might even notice limping if a limb is painful. Back pain can often cause dogs to walk very stiffly and cry out loud when they jump up or are picked up.
Accidents in the house: Sometimes accidents in the house can be seen as a behavioural issue when they are actually secondary to pain. A cat with arthritis pain may not want to go downstairs to a litter box or climb over the high sides to get into it, and therefore may do their business on the floor somewhere else in the house. Urinary tract infections or tummy troubles can also cause pets to have accidents in the house. The pet may be very painful in its abdomen if there is a bladder infection or if they are experiencing a sore tummy. Unwanted surprises in the house should prompt an owner to take their pet to see the veterinarian to make sure there are no health concerns.
Being aware of a pet’s habits can be helpful too, any changes may be a sign that something is wrong or that the pet is uncomfortable.
 Kit: That is very helpful information Al, thank you! It sounds like it can be really hard to tell if a pet is in pain. Is there anything else owners should look out for?

Al Catcino: Well Kit, we’ve talked quite a bit about cats, I suppose we should talk about those other pets… dogs!  Here is a list of other signs that dogs may be in pain.
“Most dogs that are experiencing pain will show a vocal cue such as whimpering or crying out. They also might be significantly agitated and not able to get settled. Sometimes they become extremely sensitive and things that normally would not hurt them, such as picking them up, may cause them to cry out.
Long term pain in dogs can cause signs of depression, reduction in appetite, changes in attitude such as nipping or growling, and trembling.
Dogs that are hurting may…
Appear less active and quieter than normal
Hide or avoid being around people
Have stiff body movements or unwillingness to move, limping
Appear restless and pace around
Show increased panting, shallow breathing, trembling or pupils may be dilated
Stop eating
Be licking or chewing at an area that might be uncomfortable
Seek more attention than usual or follow the owner everywhere
Stand in a hunched position when there is back or abdominal pain

Kit: That’s a great list of signs to watch for! Hey Al, can you tell me a bit about how pain in pets can be treated?

Al Catcino: Sure Kit! When I saw Dr. Murphy last week, she gave me something called a “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug” or NSAID. It helps with pain and can take down swelling too. You can get it in two ways – from a needle or in a pill. There are human forms of NSAIDs but they ARE NOT SAFE for pets!! This is a common problem for veterinarians. Many humans who think that their pet is in pain, give them one of their own pills, like Tylenol or Advil. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the proper enzymes in our liver to break down these drugs and they can be TOXIC!  Sometimes even fatal! Especially with Tylenol in cats!  Stay away from that, Kit!

If owners think their pets are in pain, its best to see the veterinarian. Veterinarians can prescribe SAFE pain medication, some that are made just for pets! Most of them come in yummy flavors too!  Some pets with long term pain, such as arthritis pain, take these NSAIDs on a regular basis. For these pets, it’s important to have their blood checked out every 6-12 months to make sure it’s safe to continue taking this medication long term.

These days, many people are looking for alternative options for pet pain management. Things such as laser therapy, acupuncture, massage and physiotherapy can really help. Dr. Penney at PetFocus Bedford South does those cool treatments.

Kit: I didn’t know that people pain medication like Tylenol or Advil were so toxic for pets! I am sure glad my owner always calls my veterinarian first if she thinks I am sick! I’m glad we talked about this Al, this is important information to know! One more question for you before you go, what happens if a pet is in a lot of pain and their owner cannot get them to the vet clinic?

Al Catcino: That’s a good question Kit! It happened to a good friend of mine once who fell out of a tree! His owner was afraid to move him! They called PetFocus and the veterinarian came out to their house! Did you know PetFocus now offers house calls?

Kit: I didn’t know that! That’s great! Sometimes I get terrified when I am at the vet clinic, even though my vet is really nice. There are a lot of scary smells and sounds there. I think I would be much less scared if my vet came to visit me at home. Thanks for all your helpful information today Al! I hope our blog readers find it useful!

Al Catcino: No problem Kit, now back to guarding my territory!

Kit:  Stay out of trouble, Al Catcino! You don’t want to be visiting your veterinarian over the Christmas Holidays, unless it’s for a treat!

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And they called it… Puppy Love….

Kit: How are you today, Kapoodle?

 

Kapoodle: I’m great Kit, how about you?

 

Kit: Well I am a little worried today, Kapoodle. My owners are talking about getting a new puppy! I am the only pet in the house right now and it’s not just that I like having all the attention, I’m worried because my owners have never had a dog.

 

Kapoodle: Oh my, that is big news and it’s normal to be worried – a new puppy comes with a lot of responsibility but can be a great addition to a family!

 

Kit: I guess it would be nice to have another pet to hang out with. But how will they know what breed to get and how to train it? I sure don’t want to step in dog pee! And what if the puppy gets sick? I know when I got sick once, my family found it hard to fit the cost into their budget.  What if the puppy doesn’t like cats and chases me around the house, oh no! I’m getting more stressed all the time… what should I do, Kapoodle?

 

Kapoodle: Take a deep breath.  There is a lot of good information out there to help your family pick out a wonderful puppy that will fit just right and maybe even become your friend! I can help answer some of your questions if you want, after all, I do know a few things about dogs 😉

 

Kit: Oh would you!? That would be great Kapoodle, then maybe I can stop worrying and get back to playing with my toys and watching birds through the window.

 

Kapoodle: First of all, picking the right breed of dog is one of the most important things to consider! Every family is different and some breeds may fit into a family much better than others. For example, if your family has lots of time and loves to hike and play outdoors, or you live on a large property or farm, a larger breed or more active breed might be best. On the other hand, if you have a family that lives in a small apartment and works long shifts, a smaller, less active dog might be best. There are dogs that shed less for people with allergies or who are bothered by dog hair too! Some families have young kids and if so, it would be important to pick a breed that is known for being wonderful with kids – gentle and calm.

 

This website might be helpful in choosing a breed:

www.pawclub.ca/preparing-puppy/traits-common-breeds

 

Does the family have any pets already living in the home? This is very important to consider, as everyone wants his or her family members to get along! If getting a puppy from an SPCA or shelter, it would be important to make sure they get along with any pets in the home before deciding to adopt. Some places will allow a home visit to see how the pets get along and other shelters might already know if a certain dog does not get along with cats. I am sure your family will make sure they get a dog that enjoys the company of a cat, Kit J

 

As you mentioned Kit, pets can be costly to care for sometimes so it’s important to be sure a new puppy will fit into your family budget. Even puppies that are adopted for “free” are never really free. Puppies in their first year of life can be quite costly as they require frequent deworming, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, food, dishes, and of course, lots of toys to play with! New puppy owners should also consider long term costs as well, such as health issues that may pop up. There is nothing more sad for an owner or a veterinarian then when a pet is very ill and the cost of care is too great for the owner to afford. Pet Insurance is something that new puppy owners should strongly consider. When a pet is ill, it can ease a lot of stress from an already stressful situation for the owner and the veterinarian. The pet is able to get their care they need and deserve without breaking the family budget or putting a family in a very difficult financial situation.

 

Kit: Thanks Kapoodle, I feel better already. Is there anything else they should know?

 

Kapoodle: Well Kit, training can be a challenging issue for some owners. A well behaved dog, like myself, doesn’t just happen, it takes work! I remember chewing up many of my owner’s favourite things when I was a puppy! I got in big trouble and learned quickly that when I was good, I got lots of snuggles and treats! Kit, did you know that many pets are surrendered to shelters because of bad behaviour that could have been avoided and corrected with proper training!

 

PetFocus offers puppy socialization classes and obedience classes at many of their locations! These can be very helpful for new puppies to learn proper behaviour and manners. It is also a great way for them to be properly socialized and be mentally stimulated.  Obedience classes are great for older dogs too, I have gone to a couple with my owner and had a ton of fun, and I got lots of treats too!

 

Where should you look for a new puppy?  Once you decide what breed or size of dog might suit your family, you then need to find that new puppy! There are many breeders out there; ask your vet for a recommendation. They often know many good breeders. You can also check out your local shelters and SPCA. There are always lots of nice puppies and mature dogs looking for a loving forever home. A mixed breed dog can be just as great as a purebred and many times have fewer health issues too. When choosing a breeder, it is important to see the mom and dad, ask for health certificates and be sure they are well bred and well cared for. You may want to see what kind of personality the parents have or how big they are.  Be careful purchasing pets online; you want to make sure the pet is healthy.  Never get a puppy from someone who won’t give you all the information you want – or who wants to meet you in a parking lot!

 

Always remember that pets are forever – families should look into the future and decide if it’s the right time to get a new puppy. Our futures are never predictable but a family should consider what they have planned such as changes in career, a move, financial changes, marital or parental status changes. Pets are sometimes surrendered to shelters because of a divorce or because a family is moving and cannot take the pet. It’s something to think about – your home should be a forever home for a new pet.

 

 

Puppy Proofing your home!

Puppies also like to chew and eat things they shouldn’t! Its very important to “puppy proof” your home like you would for a baby. Keep clothes and socks off the floor, all food should be locked away or up on high counters where pets cannot reach. Did you know Kit, that veterinarians see many puppies every year for tummy troubles? Many times the puppies have eaten something they shouldn’t, sometimes the item even gets stuck in their tummies and they require costly surgery to remove it!

“Puppy proofing” your home and using a crate to contain your puppy while you are at work or away can greatly reduce the chances of a puppy ingesting something it shouldn’t. And always remember that chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions can be toxic to dogs! Yuck… I stay away from all of those things – and you should too!

 

Lastly Kit, there are a couple of health related things to know about puppies! Puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. Your veterinarian can help a family decide which vaccines are appropriate for their puppy. Puppies also tend to have worms! Ewww! They need to be dewormed every 2 weeks until they are 3 months of age, then monthly. Flea protection should be used monthly as well. It is recommended that puppies be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age. This prevents unwanted puppies. Many people do not know this Kit, but spaying and neutering is also important to prevent many health issues, some of which can be life threatening! It can also decrease behavioural issues such as marking areas with pee and roaming or running away for example.

 

Helpful websites:

www.petplace.com

www.wormsandgermsblog.com

 

Kit: Oh wow Kapoodle! You have given me so much helpful information! I feel so much better now. I will bring this information to my family to help them chose the right puppy and make sure it stays healthy and happy! Maybe they will contact our veterinarian at PetFocus as well to get some help!

 

Kapoodle: You never know Kit, you might think this new puppy is just as awesome as me!

 

Kit: Hang on now Kapoodle, you are my friend, but you will always be a DOG J

 

Getting Too Hot Under the (Dog) Collar

“Whew! Dahling – it’s like an oven in this car!  I can’t possibly wait for you here.”  Zsa Zsa Dogbor was indignant that her owner would even think about leaving her in the car while she went in for her hair appointment.  Summer is here and some owners forget that their pets need to stay cool!  Zsa Zsa was chatting later with her friend, Schnitzel, about this and he agreed that it is a scary time of year for dogs, especially.  “Ja, dis is da wurst time for dogs.  Sometimes, I feel like a ‘hot dog’ bratwurst in da bun”, said the little dachshund.  “Every year, dey hear da warnings, and every year, some dog owners let their pets suffer in the heat.  Why, why, why do dey do dat?” 

“Oh Dahling”, Zsa Zsa cooed, “some owners have memories that are shorter than your legs – we have to keep reminding them about the dangers of heat stress for us.  My cousin, Ilsa, almost died from being left in a car while her owner went for lunch.  Can you imagine?  She was stuck there, with no air conditioning, and no idea why she was left there or for how long.  She panicked and that made it even worse.  Here is what I learned from my PetFocus vet after they saved her…. 

“It’s Ok – I’ll only be gone five minutes.”  That’s what Ilsa’s owner said when she left her.  The human was going into Tim’s to pick up a coffee – but, she met a friend and decided to have lunch and forgot about Ilsa.  That happens so often.  Five minutes becomes twenty-five.  Honestly, I don’t know how any human could forget about me for a moment, but it happens!  The scary thing is that Ilsa started to be stressed in only 10 minutes.  Her human left all the windows open a crack and left her some water but it didn’t help.  She still suffered from heat stress. 

“How hot is too hot?”, asked Schnitzel.    

Well, even on a typical summer day at 21OC, temperatures inside a parked car can reach 38OC and on a really hot day of 32OC, they can hit a whopping 60OC!  Oh Dahling, we literally cook at those temperatures.  People don’t realize that inside temperatures can be 10–20OC higher than outdoors within minutes. Of course, Dahling, I don’t sweat!  Actually, no dogs and cats can sweat like humans and most of us have heavy fur coats. I don’t like to talk about it as it is not very ladylike, but we cool down mainly by panting and through sweat glands on our feet. The other problem, which Ilsa had, is that as it got hotter, she panicked which made things even worse.  Poor baby was barking and pacing and no one noticed.  

“Ach, nein!”  said Schnitzel.  “Dat is terrible.”  He wondered… 

How can you tell if a panting animal in a car needs immediate help?”  

Zsa Zsa explained – Oh, it is not at all ladylike – some signs of heat stroke are extreme panting, drooling, deep red or bluish tongue, trouble breathing… Ilsa threw up (how embarrassing), and she was stumbling and weak and her muscles had tremors.  When her owner finally came back, her eyes were glassy and she had a “far away” stare… it was awful, dahling.  The vet said that the next step would have been a seizure, collapse or loss of consciousness.  Even worse, after that, she might have gone into a coma or even died! 

“What if someone had seen her in the car?  What should they have done?”  asked Schnitzel.

This is a difficult question to answer – they could call 911 or the local animal control agency right away.  They should write down the license plate and a description of the car. They could also try to find the owner in nearby buildings – ask stores to page the car owner.  If they think that it is urgent, they could get another person to check too and then do whatever they can to get the poor baby out of the car.  They will need to go to the vet right away.  They should be moved to an air-conditioned car or building and they should be wetted down with “cool” (never cold or icy) water for a few minutes.  Give them some cool water to drink.  

Other things to think about in the heat are that pets can get sunburned too – Zsa Zsa said that she never sits in the sun as she is so concerned about her perfect skin but some dogs are taken places where there is no shade.  Cats, she said, are sometimes better at finding shady places and dogs need that too.  It is also important to make sure that pets don’t have to walk a long way on hot pavement – oh dahling, my poor feet. 

Don’t make excuses. Don’t take pets out for walks or runs during the hottest time of day.  Leave your pets at home if you know you will need to make any stops and NEVER leave them unattended in a parked car.  Paying attention to this may save their life.

Tick Talk! With Kit and Kapoodle

“Hey Kit!  Did you hear about that crazy guy, Tommy Holedigger?  What a character.  You know how Border Collies like to run and play?  Well, that guy just can’t stay out of the woods around his yard and yep… you guessed it… he came home with a bunch of ticks!”

 Kit was intrigued – “you mean sort of like hiccups? “, she purred.

 “No”, Kapoodle replied – “and not like fleas either!  I know, I know, you are too prim and proper to know anything about such things – but let me tell you, these little parasites are no fun.  Even for a fun guy like Tommy.  He was really ‘ticked off.”’  With that, Kapoodle rolled on the floor, laughing at his own joke.

Kit ignored his attempt at humour – but she was really curious now – “do tell”, she said – even though just the word “parasite” made her itchy.

 Kapoodle loves telling stories so he launched into it…

 “Tommy Holedigger had a bunch of ticks on him – his owner, who does a great job of checking him over after they have been out in the woods or for their long hikes in the grassy areas, found some ticks on him.  Did you know that a tick, which is about the size of a sesame seed, can get to be about the size of a lima bean when it has been acting like a little doggy vampire?  Ewww.  True fact – they swell up as they feed.  I have a picture I can show you.  Anyway, Tommy’s human checked online to see what to do – he saw all these crazy ideas like putting a lit cigarette on the tick!  Can you imagine?!?  Yikes – Tommy was pretty glad they didn’t try that.  Then they read about people putting finger nail polish on the tick…”

 Kit perked up at that – “oooo like going to the spa…I love the spa”, she purred. 

 “No no, you spoiled kitty – not like going to the spa!  Some people think they can get ticks out if they put polish on them – duh, not!  Anyway, the human kept researching and realized he would probably make things worse if he tried to pull the ticks off himself, and that the best thing was to visit PetFocus.”

 Kit asked why it wasn’t a good idea to just pull the ticks right off quickly.

 Kappodle, so proud of his new found knowledge, said that he heard Dr. Woodbury on CTV talking about this and that Dr. Woodbury said that if you pull them off and don’t get everything, the bacteria can cause even more problems.

 He continued with the story… “so, they went to PetFocus and got the ticks off with a little tick twister gizmo and they did a simple blood test on Tommy.  And, poor Tommy – the test showed that those deer ticks were carrying Lyme disease and he had contracted the organism carrying it!  Tommy had to take medication right away and now he is fine.”

 OMG, said Kit.  “Did he turn green?”

 Kapoodle shook his head… “Cats”, he said.  ‘Not that kind of Lyme – this Lyme is named after a place in the US where the disease was first discovered.  Fortunately, the disease is easily handled in dogs but it is much worse for people.  They can’t catch it from dogs or from each other – only from a tick – Tommy was pretty relieved to hear that as he loves to cuddle – when he can sit still long enough.  However, his human had some ticks too and they are being tested as well.  And his human was reminded about how important it is for Tommy to have annual checkups and vaccines too – I am so glad my human takes me to PetFocus every year for an exam and vaccine against a whole bunch of parasites. It would really ‘bug me’ to have ticks”, he said, rolling on the floor and giggling again.

 Kit was nervous now as she loves her humans so much and didn’t want anyone to be sick.  She wanted to know more – :”Why don’t I know about Lyme Disease?  Why didn’t we hear about it years ago?”

 Now Kapoodle could really show off his new knowledge.  Here is why, he said:

  • Deer ticks live on… guess where?  I bet even a cat can answer that one.  (Kit just rolled her eyes at him!)  Yep – on deer.  And there are more deer in Nova Scotia than there used to be and they are living closer to where people live and so there are more ticks being carried around.  Birds can carry the ticks around too.
  • The climate is a little warmer than it used to be and the ticks can live through the winter.
  • The rules about “no pesticides” to help the environment mean that ticks are not killed as much as they used to be.

 Kit was impressed.  She decided to tell all her friends who live with dogs to make sure they get tested right away at PetFocus.  She also said that she has new appreciation for dogs – the occurrence of Lyme in dogs is useful to know about so that humans can be protected too!  Well, she cooed – “Finally, a good reason for dogs to be around!”

To learn more about Ticks and Lyme Disease – see:

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Safe-use-of-flea-and-tick-preventive-products.aspx

Pictures below:

1. A Tick

2. A tick that is attached to a dog

3. A tick on a person

 ImageImageImage

Tinsel Trouble

Kit: Hey Catrina! Have your humans started putting up all the Christmas decorations!? I love that giant tree to climb with all those shiny things, and the cozy stockings to sleep in. Not to mention the warm fireplace to sleep in front of, the cookie house to chew on, all the food I can steal and I always get gifts from my humans because I’m always a purrfect cat! Oh! It’s just my favorite holiday of the year! You know, the best part is once the humans open up all their presents, we get to play in those boxes and with all those ribbons, and all that tinsel, it’s absolutely amazing. Don’t you agree, Catrina?

 Catrina: Well, I agree for the most part, but my family doesn’t have tinsel anymore, not since last year. I was pretty confused because they put it all over the tree, and it was just the most beautiful toy I had ever seen. It would shine in the glow of that tree, and I was certain that it was my Christmas gift, they just gave it to me early. So, I ate a few pieces and I was pretty proud of myself because my humans never even noticed! But the next day, I started to feel sick.  I was vomiting, I completely lost my appetite, my stomach was hurting, and I began to excessively drool. I knew it couldn’t be the wonderful tinsel that I had eaten the day before because that stuff was magical, and Christmas magic doesn’t do that to cats! My humans were concerned and rushed me into the PetFocus location at Petworks. Dr. Swinemar explained to my humans that I had a “foreign body” and that the only way to fix it was to surgically remove it. Yikes! I thought it would be the worst Christmas after that, but it actually turned out better than expected.  I wasn’t allowed to move around very much because of my stitches, but my humans doted on me more than usual, and I got all sorts of fun toys in my stocking. The only downside was they took down all my beautiful tinsel toys; they didn’t even leave me one. 

 Kit: Wow, that’s awful. I didn’t realize that tinsel was so dangerous. I had heard about Cat Albert eating all those Poinsettias – you know that crazy Maine Coon, he’ll eat anything. He was feeling pretty sick that evening and he had to find out the hard way that Poinsettias, although they are not deadly, they are toxic, and will cause gastrointestinal upset. My humans always talk to their PetFocus Veterinarian if they are unsure about what they are bringing into my home, and I’m glad because sometimes I just can’t help myself if they have flowers on the table.

Winter Worries from the Fashion Experts

Liz Claybone: Liz Claybone here!  Your fashion forward cocker spaniel!!!  I just wanted to let everyone know about all the salt on the sidewalks that is soon to come. All of us dogs love going for walks but in the wintertime it becomes almost painful. The salt they use to breakdown ice on the sidewalks dries out our poor paw pads. Though that may mean a trip to one of my favourite places, a PetFocus Clinic, it also means sore poochie paws. But… for all of us who love fashion, our humans can pick up some winter boots at pet stores or other retailers who carry pet supplies that are specially made to fit our paws.  They shield our sensitive paw pads from cold weather and the salty sidewalk. Of course we will walk like a duck uncontrollably at first, but after that there’s just no stopping us!!  There are also creams you can use to help shield the paw, and moisturize, it’s like a manicure/pedicure!  What do you think CATrina, is there anything you’d like to add?

Catrina: Hey Liz, it’s almost purrrfect, but don’t forget that outdoor cats can suffer from the same problem. You also forgot to mention that if we are outside too long we can suffer from hypothermia.  Even though I’m a Russian Blue, I would prefer my toes and nose not to be the same color!  When the temperature drops you should keep your pets inside as much as possible, outdoor cats should be kept inside, and dogs should be let outside to do their business for short periods of time, short haired dogs should have jackets, and all dogs should wear some sort of paw protection as you mentioned!  If they have to be outdoors, then they should be provided with a heated doghouse or run for shelter. If owners have any questions about the best care of their pet during the winter they can go into any PetFocus Veterinary Hospital, they are always very helpful.

Trick or Treat?

Kapoodle: Hey Kit, did you hear what happened to Indie? You know, my buddy, Indiana Bones?  His humans brought home a whole lot of chocolate and a costume for him. He was pretty excited about the chocolate because they never let him have any, but not so keen about the costume… Who ever heard of a dog wearing a hot dog costume?   He noticed that they hid all those boxes of chocolates in the pantry, and he didn’t understand why they thought they needed to hide those things from him. Anyway, when the grown ups went to work, and the kids went to school, he broke into the pantry and decided to sample all of the different types of chocolates.  He said it was fabulous!  Some guys have all the luck!

Kit: Oh my gosh, Kapoodle!  Don’t his owners realize that wearing a hot dog costume is so last season!? And doesn’t he know that chocolate is toxic to him?

Kapoodle: Well, actually, his luck did change pretty fast.  He realized that after he ate all of that chocolate, he felt pretty ill and quite a bit of stomach upset. As soon as his owners got home and saw all the wrappers and boxes, they rushed him to the PetFocus Veterinary Group clinic at the DartmouthVeterinaryHospital – he is definitely lucky that he has such smart owners – they realized right away that it was an emergency. Sarah, the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) took very good care of him, and Dr. Robb told Indie’s owners that there is this chemical in chocolate, called Theobromine, that causes serious issues such as cardiac arrhythmias, epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, heart attacks, and can also be fatal.  And it doesn’t just affect dogs – it can affect other animals including cats!  Pretty scary, eh?  I’ve been reading more about it on these sites that Dr. Robb told Indie about:

http://www.healthypet.com/PetCare/PetCareArticle.aspx?title=A_Safe_Halloween

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/halloween-safety-tips.aspx

Kit: Well I’m glad that he is okay, Kapoodle, and I hope that he learned a lesson from today. My tastes are too delicate for chocolate anyway – did you know that cats cannot taste sweetness?   And did you know that there are a lot more hazards at Halloween than most pets think. Decorative corn and pumpkin stems can cause tummy upset, and with doors constantly opening and closing, anyone could just run outside and get lost. Ooo… I don’t want to even think about what could happen out there with all those scary goblins and ghosts!

Kapoodle: Wow! I didn’t realize how many potential hazards there are during Halloween! It’s amazing how much our humans really need to pay attention to what pets can get into. Indiana Bones was pretty lucky – things could have been a lot worse for him had his humans not rushed him to a PetFocus clinic right away.