Foods to Not Feed Feed Your Pets

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets This Halloween Season

Spooky season is upon us. Between the ghouls and goblins, candy and costumes – households are getting ready for trick or treating and other traditions. But if you’re a pet owner, Halloween can be frightening in more ways than one.

Halloween, while fun, can present some dangers to your pet, and we’re not talking about monsters or skeletons. We’re talking about harmful treats, foods to not feed your pets, and other hazards. Thankfully, Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA is here to help you understand potential risks your cat or dog may run into.

Dangerous Foods to Avoid

While kids love this time of year due to all the sugar and candy, (and let’s face it, adults enjoy it just as much) the treats we bring home can cause serious health problems if cats or dogs get their paws on them. We break down some of the most dangerous types of foods to not feed your pets:

Chocolate

Most pet owners know that while chocolate is delicious for us, they are toxic for dogs. It’s important to be extra cautious this time of year, as more chocolate is probably coming into the house. If eaten, chocolate can cause vomiting, seizures, and other health complications for dogs.

Raisins

Raisins and grapes are one of the most dangerous foods for cats and dogs. Eating them can cause sudden kidney failure. So if your child brings home any chocolate covered raisins from trick or treating, make sure to keep them out of sight, where your cat or dog can’t access them.

Candy Corn

If candy has one ingredient, and that one ingredient is sugar, you can bet it’s not good for your pet. Candies like candy corn and pixie sticks can cause painful stomach issues for cats and dogs and should be avoided.

Coconut Treats

The milk and coconuts used in candy may cause your pet to have an upset stomach. While your pet may like the sweet flavor, it’s important to avoid human candy with coconut in the ingredients.

Hard Candy

While they may not be considered as toxic as chocolate or raisins, hard candy presents a huge choking hazard to cats and dogs. This is especially true for lollipops, when you consider the stick could harm your pet’s stomach if ingested.

Pretzels & Chips

These goodies may not be as popular as chocolate and sugar, but if your child comes home from trick or treating with small bags of pretzels or chips, it’s important to keep them away from your pet. In this case, the issue is not so much with the food itself, but the plastic bags they’re packaged in. If eaten, these plastic bags can obstruct your pet’s intestines.

Sugar Free Candy

Pet owners may assume that sugar free candy must be better for pets than sugary treats, that’s not always the case. In fact, sugar-free candy can be even more hazardous. This is because a common alternative sweetener in these sugar free candies and gums is Xylitol. If eaten by a cat or dog, Xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar which can cause seizures or other complications including liver damage, and even death.

If your pet eats any of these foods, call or visit Northside Animal Hospital as soon as possible. Our treatments can help prevent further complications.

Other Halloween Frights For Pets

It’s not just candy that poses risks for your furry friend during Halloween season. There are other dangers that present themselves this time of year. We explore some potential hazards to be aware of.

Costumes

It’s hard to resist dressing up your pet in an adorable costume for Halloween. While dressing up your pet is fine, there are some factors you should consider when choosing the best costume for your cat or dog.
Make sure they are comfortable in their costume. If they are not, don’t force it on them. This can cause unnecessary stress. You should also avoid masks as it can impact their vision and breathing. No matter what costume you decide on, it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet to ensure that they are not chewing off pieces.

Dyes

If you choose to ditch the clothing, and dye your pet a festive color, make sure the dye you use will not cause irritation or an allergic reaction. You also want to make sure it is non-toxic, in case your pet decides to try licking it off. Always avoid applying dye around the eye and mouth area to avoid irritation.

Decorations

Decorations are fun, but as most pet owners know, your dog or cat may be curious about them. They may explore fake spider webs, rubber spiders, fake jewelry, or old jack-o-lanterns with their mouths. It’s important to keep these decorations out of reach, so your pet cannot ingest them, causing stomach issues that could lead to an emergency trip to the vet, or even surgery.

Door Dashing

If you are expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, it’s best to keep your cat or dog occupied in a place where they feel safe and comfortable, especially if you think the doorbell or knocking will bother them. If they get spooked or anxious, they may dash out the door as you hand out candy. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet contained in a crate during this time.

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets: It’s Not All Scary

While it may seem like there are a lot of hazards to avoid this Halloween season, the good news is, not all treats are bad! Your furry friend can still enjoy some Halloween fun. Just make sure whatever you feed them is meant for pets, not humans. If you choose to make your own pet-friendly Halloween treats, contact Northside Animal Hospital to make sure the ingredients you use are safe.

A safe pet is a happy pet, so just remember to keep their wellbeing in mind between all the Halloween fun, and there’s no need to be frightened!

How to Prepare Pets for the Fall

How to Prepare Pets for the Fall

The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping. It’s time to switch out your t-shirts for sweaters and your flip flops for boots. While you may be ready to sip on pumpkin spice lattes and cook hot chili and soups, there may be one member of your family who needs help transitioning to the new season – your pet!

Just like the weather, pets’ habits change from season to season. It’s important to make adjustments to their daily routines in order to make them comfortable. If you live in Albany, GA, it’s also important to prepare a plan for natural disasters. This is especially true across the South when hurricane season is in full swing.

Bush Animal Clinic has provided all the information you need to prepare pets for the fall. Let’s get started!

General Tips

The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to help your pet adjust to the changing season. And it’s more than just keeping them warm.

Groom Your Dog or Cat Appropriately

While it is true that a thick, furry coat helps your pet stay warm, it needs to be groomed properly. If your dog or cat’s fur gets matted, bacteria and other unwanted ailments can make its way into the pet’s skin, causing infections. In other words, make sure to brush your pet more frequently as the weather turns colder.

Alternatively, you can have your dog or cat groomed professionally.

Switch Up When You Walk Your Dog

Not only does the weather change with the seasons, so does the amount of sunlight. So while you may be getting up early in the summer to take your dog out in hopes of avoiding hotter temperatures, you may want to do the opposite in the fall.

In order to beat the darkness, it’s a good idea to take your dog on a later morning walk, and an earlier evening walk.

It is important to note that dogs are sensitive to schedule changes. Try transitioning to the new walk times in 15-minute intervals.

Be Careful of Snakes

Snakes don’t leave after summer is over. In fact, fall is when they get ready to hibernate and may be more likely to bite. Make sure to learn if any snakes are common in your area, so you and your pet can avoid areas where these slithering creatures are present.

Keep Your Pet Warm

You’re not the only one who needs to bundle up a little more. Your pet needs to stay warm too. If you want to prepare pets for the fall, consider purchasing cozy beds and blankets for your pets to snuggle with.

Depending on your dog’s type of fur, it may also be worth it to buy a dog coat to protect it from the chill and rain.

Plan for Your Changing Schedule

For many households, your schedule changes with the fall season. Kids are back to school, you may be spending less time outside, and your family activities may change. This can affect your pets.

Consider making time before and after you leave for school or work to give your dog or cat some special attention. Also, plan fun weekend activities that you can include your pet in.

Prepping Your Pet for Hurricane Season

When living in the South, households must prepare for hurricane season. Putting a plan in place is difficult enough when it’s just you and your family. Preparing your pet comes with its own set of challenges. Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to keep your furry friend safe.

Stock Up Beforehand

In addition to packing up supplies for you and your family, make sure you are equipped with plenty of supplies for your pet as well. This includes:

  • Food & Water
  • Water Bowls
  • Toys & Treats
  • Litter Box
  • Pet Bed
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Blankets
  • Pet Medical Records
  • Medications

Have An Evacuation Plan

Having an evacuation plan ahead of time is extremely important to keep safe during a hurricane. Make sure you have all the proper supplies for you and your pet ready to go. Also, make sure you are evacuating somewhere that is pet-friendly, so you know your cat or dog can stay with you.

Microchip Your Pet

If you haven’t already, it is important to microchip your pet. In the event that your dog or cat gets lost during a storm, a microchip makes it much easier for you to locate them.

Keep Your Pet on a Leash

Once a hurricane makes landfall, make sure to keep your pet on a leash, or contained in a carrier with a collar and ID tag. It is likely that your pet will be scared and anxious, so speak to them in a calm tone of voice.

Even after the hurricane is over, keep your pet contained on a leash or in a carrier until you are sure the area is safe.

Understanding How to Prepare Pets for the Fall

Fall is a great time to take advantage of the outdoors alongside your four-legged companion. By taking simple but necessary steps to prepare your pet for colder months, it helps you and your pet enjoy this time of year safely and comfortably.

Have a question about how to prepare pets for the fall? The experts at Bush Animal Clinic are here to help!

Common Reasons Your Dog Has Itchy Skin

Common Reasons Your Dog Has Itchy Skin

Every dog has itchy skin from time to time; behind their ears, on their sides, and they’ll even roll around on their backs or brush up against furniture to relieve themselves.

But when the occasional scratch becomes frequent and excessive, it can be harmful and uncomfortable to any dog, no matter their breed or size.

There are many causes of itchy skin in dogs. Some may be environmental while others may be due to infection, immunity, and health conditions.

If your dog has itchy skin, here are some possible causes ﹣ and what you can do about it.

Reasons Why Your Dog Has Itchy Skin

Allergies

Like humans, a dog’s immune system can react to dust, pollen, and other allergens in the environment. Your dog may have seasonal allergies if they develop skin changes and excessive scratching during certain times of the year.

Dogs can also develop food sensitivities and allergies to ingredients in their diet. A dog with food allergies is more likely to scratch their ears and their paws. Food allergies in dogs are often accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues.

Fleas

Scratching accompanied by licking and biting are the telltale signs of a dog with fleas. Fleas are external parasites that can take up residency on your dog’s skin. It’s common for dogs to be allergic to flea saliva, making a dog’s skin uncomfortably itchy.

If your dog has fleas, their gums may become pale or they can develop fur loss as the result of severe itching. Fleabites can cause redness, inflammation, and scabs. Dogs with fleas will also bite or scratch the base of their tail, and you may even be able to spot fleas or flea dirt, as well.

Parasites

Fleas aren’t the only parasites that can cause itchy skin in dogs. Mites and ticks can also cause adverse skin reactions in dogs, resulting in scratching, hives, bumps, and redness. Severe skin reactions to mites and ticks can also cause excessive licking and biting, fur loss, and lesions.

Untreated parasitic infestation can cause worsening symptoms, leading to infected lesions and even tapeworms, while untreated tick bites can cause Lyme disease.

Dry Skin

Dry skin in dogs may not always be attributed to fleas or allergies. Cold weather, dry air, pesticides, and harsh soaps can cause dry skin and other symptoms, including:

  • Dandruff
  • Flaking
  • Oily fur
  • Scaling
  • Scabs
  • Redness

Some breeds, including hairless dogs and large breeds, are prone to certain skin conditions that can result in dry, flaky skin.

Dry skin can also be indicative of cancer, hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, and other conditions. If your dog develops dry skin or any of the other symptoms discussed, your veterinarian can help you narrow down the causes.

Behavior-Based

Your dog may excessively scratch themselves out of habit or because of boredom or anxiety. If you can rule out other causes, your dog may be scratching themselves because they’re cooped up and need stimulating activity.

Tips to Prevent Itchy Skin

Flea & Parasite Prevention

Flea and tick prevention products can protect your dog. These products are available as topical treatments or as oral medications. Talk to your veterinarian about which preventative medication is best for your dog. You should also talk to your veterinarian about heartworm prevention!

Veterinary Treatment

If your dog has fleas, ticks, or mites, it’s important to seek veterinary treatment for them right away. Your veterinarian will need to examine your dog and run blood, urine, or skin tests to diagnose and determine the right course of treatment.

Your veterinarian may prescribe oral medications, antibiotics, or topical treatments to eliminate the infestation. Steroid medications may also be administered to help relieve your dog’s symptoms.

Food Changes

Common allergens can include wheat, beef, egg, lamb, or soy. Talk to your veterinarian about testing your dog for food allergens. Your veterinarian can also make recommendations for dog food, dietary supplements, and how to wean your dog off their current food. The goal is to eliminate allergens and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

Lots of Attention, Love, & Be Proactive

Playtime and love are the best preventative measures against scratching and itchy skin, especially if your dog is prone to boredom and anxiety.

Regular grooming and bathing can help you keep an eye on your dog’s skin and fur. Give your dog a bath once or twice a month (and no more, unless your dog enjoys rolling in the mud). Be sure to use gentle shampoos without perfumes. An oatmeal-based shampoo is best, especially if your dog is prone to scratching.

You should also check your dog’s skin and fur after playing outside or walking through wooded areas. This will help you detect ticks and mites before they become a real problem.

Put an End to Itchy Skin Once & for All

Excessive scratching and itchy skin can affect your dog’s physical and emotional health. If you’re located in Bainbridge, GA, and suspect your dog has an underlying cause to their itchy skin, Bryan-Hight Veterinary Hospital is here to help.

Get in touch with us to schedule an evaluation with one of our veterinarians. For more pet-related health news and information, stay tuned to our blog!

Does Your Pet Have Anxiety? Here’s How You Can Help!

Does Your Pet Have Anxiety?

Here’s How You Can Help!

Everyone has experienced some form of anxiety in 2020. As we navigate our nervousness, us pet-owners need to keep a close eye on our animals to monitor their stress, too. Since dogs and cats cannot request medication or schedule a therapy appointment, it is the pet-owners’ responsibility to identify, prevent, and treat animal anxiety.

”I Take Great Care of My Pet, What Do They Have to Worry About?”

You may think that our furry-friends live worry-free lives, but this isn’t true; animals have sophisticated minds and experience emotions similar to humans.

Certain breeds of dogs, including border-collie, greyhound, and labrador retrievers are prone to generalized anxiety. In this case, there isn’t a specific root of the problem, and symptoms may be harder to recognize — but you can still refer to the treatment and prevention methods below to help them!

Here are a few potential triggers for pet anxiety:

Separation: Does your usually relaxed pet go off the rails when they’re left without you or your family? They likely have separation anxiety.
Fear: Animals have phobias just like people do. Odd atmospheres, alarming noises, and unusual visuals (like a strange hat) can easily spark an anxious episode.
Age: As they get older, pets may begin to develop cognitive dysfunction. This can lead to confusion and anxiety.
Their Past: Sheltered or rescued animals may be anxious because they once lived in unpredictable or unusual circumstances, or worse, were victims of neglect or abuse.

Signs

Now that we understand some causes of your pet’s anxiety, let’s talk about how this anxiety can manifest.

Symptoms to be on the lookout for include:

  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Destructive behavior
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
  • Drooling
  • Pacing & Restlessness
  • Frequent barking, howling or meowing
  • Self-harm

There are also less noticeable things to pick up on, including lip licking and paw lifting.

Unfortunately, a major indication of pet anxiety is urinating and defecation in the house or somewhere they’re not supposed to. This is common — instead of getting angry with them, treat their anxiety!

Prevention & Treatment

Anxiety doesn’t have to be a prevalent problem for your pet. There’s a great deal we can do to help our companions cope!

Stopping Your Pet’s Anxiety From Becoming a Persistent Problem

Professional Obedience Training: An excellent resource, professional obedience training lays the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy and happy habits.
A Nutrient-Rich Diet and a Regular Exercise Routine: Like people, getting active and eating healthy food has a positive impact on our pet’s mental health.
Make Sure You’re Giving Them Enough Love: For most cats and dogs, physical affection is key in connecting with their human friends. If you leave them for an extended period, remember to give them the time and attention they deserve!
Shield Them From Triggers: For pets with particular triggers, if what they fear is out of sight, it is likely out of mind. Monitor their situations and keep them away from stressful environments or objects.

Medications & Supplements

A health concern like any other, if your pet is suffering from anxiety, a medicinal approach may be the best course of action. From organic over-the-counter options to prescription medications, below are just a few suggested medications:

Alprazolam: A sedative, Alprazolam (Xanax) should be used sparingly to calm your pet before a stressful situation (like a visit to the vet, or a road trip).
Sertraline: Great for general anxiety and anxiety-related behavioral issues, Sertraline is an SSRI that will give your pet a needed dose of serotonin.

Other Options

In addition to medication, there are other ways to help your pet relax:

Calming Clothing: An anxiety jacket is inexpensive, effective, and functions like a constant reassuring hug!
Aromatherapy: Essential oils is a beneficial way of keeping your pet’s nerves in check.

Partners in Protecting Your Pet’s Mental Health

Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA, is here to help ensure that your pet experiences an enjoyable and worry-free life! If you believe your animal is suffering from anxiety, contact us and we can start discussing ways to soothe your pet!

Beat the Heat! How to Keep Your Pet Cool

Beat the Heat! How to Keep Your Pet Cool

When the scorching summer temperatures rise, people can take a splash in the pool, crank the air conditioner, or enjoy a refreshing summer treat to cool down; however, it’s not always as simple for our pets. It can be challenging to know when our pets are overheated, and how we, as their caring owners, can help. This post will outline how to keep your pet cool and detail warning signs of dehydration and heat stroke. Here’s to a summer of happy and healthy pets!

Summer Day Do’s to Keep Your Pet Cool

Shade & Water

You and your family are your pet’s best friends, but shade and water are a close second during summer months. Providing your pet with a shady spot and lots of water is an easy, effective way to protect them from the perils of the season, like overheating and dehydration. It doesn’t take long for a pet to get dehydrated when it’s hot, so be sure to give them ample amounts of cold, clean water. If you’re leaving your home with your dog, bring water and a portable bowl.

Pay Extra Attention to At-Risk Pets

Pets that are older, overweight, or have heart/lung disease are susceptible to heat stroke. Pets with flat faces (such as Persian cats and pugs) or those with thicker coats are more prone to overheating. To help prevent heat stroke, it is essential to keep at-risk pets out of the heat and indoors where it is cooler.

Apply Sunscreen

Fur doesn’t protect dogs from UV rays! Stock up on sunscreen made for dogs and apply before sun exposure. The most important spots to get are the areas with the least amount of fur. Remember to reapply after four hours (or following a swim), and make sure to monitor your dog after applying sunscreen — they’re known to lick it off!

Protect Their Paws

Pet paws aren’t made for toasty surfaces like asphalt and cement. These surfaces are dangerous as they can easily lead to scorched paws and overheating. If you are transporting your pet in a truck, keep them out of the back. Most truck beds are made from steel or aluminum, which can absorb heat and create a dangerously hot surface.

Summer Day Don’ts

Hot Cars

Leaving your pet alone in a parked vehicle for an extended period is animal abuse. Animals are in danger of overheating after just ten minutes of being alone in a vehicle. “Hot car” legislation makes it illegal to leave animals unattended in a vehicle when it’s hot in many states across the country.

This, of course, doesn’t mean doggies can’t go for car rides with the windows down — that’s one of their favorite activities! If they’re riding in a crate, double-check that it’s properly ventilated.

Improper Fur Care

Never give your dog a major buzzcut. A fresh cut or trim is fine, but a complete shave can be harmful; they need their fur to protect them from sunburn and other dangers during the hot weather.

Cats also need proper fur care in the heat. Their fur can cause overheating, so it is good to brush them often and regularly. Consider professional grooming to keep your pet cool in the summer.

Unsupervised Pool Time

It’s okay to take your pets for a swim, but never let them out of sight. If you want your pet to experience the water, let them get used to it; they will slowly become more comfortable. Chlorine is bad for dogs. Try not to let them get it in their mouths and remember to shower them off.

Swims in lakes, creeks, and other water bodies are also a great idea, but remember to be an attentive owner while your dog swims!

Dog Dehydration

When your dog is drooling excessively and has dry gums, they are likely dehydrated. Other signs for concern include loss of skin elasticity, sluggish behavior, and sunken eyes. If the case appears mild, rehydrate them using a liquid with electrolytes, like Pedialyte — but don’t let them drink too fast! It’s also essential to leave them indoors for the remainder of the day.

If the case appears to be serious, don’t hesitate — contact your veterinarian’s office right away!

Heat Stroke in Dogs

Dogs pant way more than they sweat. Dogs have sweat glands in their feet. Panting is how they disperse their body heat. However, when the weather is sweltering, they are sometimes unable to pant in the way they need to control their body temperature. This can lead to heat stroke — which is fatal if not handled in time.

Symptoms

  • Excessive, heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mental dullness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Collapse

Heat Stroke in Cats

Cats can absorb heat just as easily as dogs, but the signs of overheating may not be as apparent at first. While dogs pant to disperse body heat, cats sweat through glands in their paws. Cats naturally have a bright pink tongue, which can quickly turn bright red if they’ve overheated. If you suspect your cat is suffering from heat stroke, check their paws and their tongue. You can also check them for the following symptoms:

Symptoms

  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Thickened saliva
  • Vomiting

How to Treat Heat Stroke

If your pet is currently exhibiting signs of heat stroke, here’s what you can do:

Cool them down: After getting them out of the hot location immediately, bring them to a cool environment where there is air conditioning or shade.
Monitor their temperature: A dog’s temperature typically ranges between 100°F and 103°F. A cat’s temperature usually ranges between 100.4º to 102.5ºF.
Call your vet: Heat stroke is serious. It requires immediate attention and care from a trained veterinary professional.

Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer

Pets love sunshine and warmer weather. With proper care and attention, you can help your pet enjoy the summertime and prevent heat stroke, dehydration, and overheating. If you have any questions or concerns about how to keep your pet cool this summer, contact us today!

Puppy Vaccinations: Here’s What to Know

Puppy Vaccinations: Here’s What to Know

Congrats on the new addition to your family! Getting a puppy is an exciting (and sometimes challenging) time. Whether you are a first-time puppy owner or have had dogs all your life, you want to make sure you give your puppy the start they deserve. An important part of laying the foundation for a healthy, happy life is making sure they get the appropriate puppy vaccinations.

When Does My Puppy Receive Particular Vaccines?

There is not one set schedule for puppy vaccinations. Which vaccines your dog should receive depends on their individual risk factors. That said, here is a general timeline for when your puppy should receive their vaccines.

6 to 8 weeks of age: DHPP Optional: Bordetella.
10-12 weeks of age: DHPP Optional: Coronavirus
14-16 weeks of age: DHPP. Optional: Lyme & Coronavirus.
18-20 weeks of age: DHPP Optional: Lyme & Coronavirus
12-16 months: DHPP, rabies Optional: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the appropriate vaccine schedule for your puppy.

What Types of Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need?

Like human babies, puppies will need to see their vet several times in their first year of life. During these visits, your vet will monitor your puppy’s growth and administer vaccinations. To learn more about recommended and optional vaccines, please refer to the information below.

Recommended Puppy Vaccinations

The recommended vaccination schedule for puppies includes vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus (DHPP), and rabies.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a severe and contagious disease caused by a virus that affects the gastrointestinal (GI), respiratory, and nervous systems of dogs, skunks, raccoons, and other animals. It is spread through sneezing or coughing, but can also be transmitted through shared food or water bowls. Symptoms include discharges from the eyes and nose, coughing, vomiting, fever, seizures, diarrhea, twitching, and paralysis.

There is no cure for distemper, and it is often fatal, but if the animal survives the symptoms, the virus can last for months.

Canine Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is another highly contagious viral infection. It affects the liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen, and eyes. This disease is not related to the human form of hepatitis. The symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion to vomiting, stomach enlargement, jaundice, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can make a recovery for mild cases, but in severe cases, it can be fatal. There is no cure for canine hepatitis, but the symptoms are treatable.

Canine Parainfluenza

This is one of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough. Symptoms are usually mild unless it is combined with another virus or Bordetella bacteria. It is transmitted by nasal discharge and saliva. Parainfluenza causes a dry hacking cough and watery nasal discharge, but if left untreated, it can cause pneumonia or even death.

Parvovirus

This is another highly contagious virus that affects all dogs; however, unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the highest risk to contract it. Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal system, resulting in a loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, or severe, bloody diarrhea. Receiving prompt veterinary attention is crucial as hydration can come on rapidly and be fatal within a 48-72 hour period. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling secondary symptoms will keep them going until the dog’s immune system beats the virus.

Rabies

Rabies vaccinations are required by the State of Georgia for all dogs three months of age or older. It is a viral disease that invades the central nervous system, resulting in headaches, hallucinations, anxiety, fear of water, excessive drooling, paralysis, and death. The most common method of transmission is through a rabid animal bite. It is essential to receive treatment within hours of transmission; otherwise, it is likely to be fatal.

Optional Vaccinations

The vaccine types listed below are optional and dependent on your lifestyle and dog’s particular needs.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

The Bordetella Bronchiseptica vaccine is recommended if you plan on boarding your puppy in the future, attending training classes, or enrolling your dog in dog daycare. For many facilities, proof of vaccination is a requirement.

This is a highly infectious bacteria that causes severe coughing, whooping, and vomiting. In rare cases, it can cause seizures and death. This bacteria is the primary cause of kennel cough.

Coronavirus

Canine coronavirus is not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in people. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is a health threat to dogs. That said, canine coronavirus usually affects a dog’s gastrointestinal system, although it can cause respiratory infections. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. There is no cure for canine coronavirus, but it helps to keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is another bacterial disease that is found worldwide in soil and water. Some dogs may show no symptoms at all. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to people. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stiffness, muscle pain, severe weakness, lethargy, and more. Antibiotics are effective at treating this, but the sooner treatment is administered, the better.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by spirochete bacteria. An infected dog often shows symptoms, including limping, swollen lymph nodes, raised temperature, and reduced appetite. This disease can affect the heart, kidney, and joints and lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. When diagnosed early, antibiotics are beneficial, but relapses can occur months or years later.

Helping Your Pet Live Longer, Healthier & Happier

Puppy vaccinations are an essential part of giving your dog a long, happy, and healthy life. Our team is eager to help you. If you still have questions about vaccinations, give Bush Animal Clinic a call at 229-439-7073 today!

Common Pet Poisons

Common Pet Poisons

While many pet owners are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs, for example, there are many pet poisons that owners are unaware of. Varying in toxicity, these poisons are harmful to your pet, and extra efforts should be taken to prevent your furry friends from ingesting them.

What Are Some of the Most Common Pet Poisons?

Some of the most common pet poisons are common sense, and others may surprise you. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) conducts research of the most common pet poisons each year. According to their research, the most common pet poisons in 2019 were as follows:

  1. Over the counter (OTC) medications
  2. Human prescription medications
  3. Food
  4. Chocolate
  5. Veterinary products
  6. Household items
  7. Rodenticide
  8. Plants
  9. Insecticides
  10. Garden products

See a Full List of Animal Poisons here.

Tips For Prevention

You may be wondering to yourself, “What can I do to make sure my pet doesn’t ingest anything they shouldn’t?” Here are some of the best things you can do to ensure just that:

Know the Most Common Pet Poisons

Knowing which substances are poisonous and which are not will allow you to take any precautions necessary to keep your pet safe and healthy. Read and remember the list above, writing it down for good measure. Accidents can still happen, but the chances of one happening are decreased drastically if you are well educated on the most common pet poisons.

Make The Poisons Hard to Access

Keeping the harmful substances away from your pet is the best way to prevent your pet from ingesting them. Properly store all harmful food in containers and out of reach. When gardening or doing lawn care, keep your pet inside for the time being to prevent them from ingesting fertilizer, insecticide, and other gardening products.

Certain plants can be harmful, as well. Lilies are harmful to cats, and cycad palms are very harmful to both cats and dogs. Keeping these substances out of your pet’s reach is the best preventative measure you can take to ensure your pet’s safety.

Be Careful of Feeding Your Pet Leftovers

It may seem harmless, and it sure can sure be hard to say no to your dog who’s giving you the “puppy eyes,” but feeding your pet the leftovers on your plate may be more harmful than you think. Some of the most common poisons are food that frequents the dinner table. For example, garlic and onions are harmful to your furry friend, as are grapes, raisins, and chocolate.

Have A Plan Just In Case

No matter how cautious you are, mistakes can happen. The best thing you can do is to have a plan of action in case you suspect your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance. Some common symptoms your pet has been poisoned include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Blood in the stool
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruising
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Inability to urinate

If you think your pet may have ingested poison, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call the number above.

For more information from the Animal Poison Control Center, click here!

If you have any questions about poisonous substances for your pet, give us a call, and we’ll assist you the best we can!

Brush Those Teeth! The Importance of Maintaining Your Pet’s Dental Hygiene

Brush Those Teeth! The Importance of Maintaining Your Pet’s Dental Hygiene

The importance of a healthy dental care routine for your pet is often overlooked. Dental disease is one of the most prevalent health problems of cats and dogs. It has been estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they’re just three years old. Recent figures have these percentages even higher.

How to Spot Dental Disease

The best way to determine if your pet has dental disease is to have one of our highly experienced and trained veterinarians perform a check-up. That said, if you remain vigilant, there are some common symptoms of dental disease that you can spot at home. The symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • Lethargy, inactivity, or depression
  • Salivating
  • Red, swollen, and even bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Dropping food from mouth while eating
  • Facial swelling
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Pawing at the face
  • Poor grooming
  • Teeth becoming loose or falling out

Why Is Pet Dental Hygiene Important?

Poor pet dental care can lead to oral cancer and periodontal disease. While bad in itself, these diseases are shown to be linked to other health problems throughout the body. Heart, kidney, and liver disease have all been linked to periodontal disease.

So What Can You Do to Help Your Pet?

Brush Regularly

Similarly to how it’s important for humans to brush their teeth regularly, it’s also important to brush your pet’s teeth! Train your pet at an early age to accept tooth brushing, and it will make a massive difference in your pet’s dental health. Aim for once a day, but a few times a week will work well too. If you’re going to use toothpaste (water will suffice), remember, dogs cannot use human toothpaste. It’s toxic for them!

A Healthy “Dental Diet”

You will be flooded with options when browsing online or in the pet store for food. Talk with one of our vets to learn more about which brands/foods are better than others to promote great dental health. There are specific dental diets that consist of dry food that is clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain, and tartar buildup. If nothing else, at least reconsider feeding your pet exclusively wet food, as it leads to a higher accumulation of plaque.

Tooth-Friendly Treats

Just like your pet’s kibble, there are treats that are specifically designed to fight plaque and tartar and improve your furry friend’s teeth. While they should not replace regular brushing or check-ups, they are a good way to promote good dental health while giving your pet a treat.

Regular Dental Checkups

We can’t stress the importance of this enough! While brushing and dental diets are great steps to improve your pet’s dental health, the best way to diagnose and treat dental diseases, such as periodontal disease or oral cancer, is through regular dental exams administered by your vet. Through general anesthesia, we will be able to reach the spots you couldn’t, probe the gums, and screen for diseases that may be hidden otherwise.

Do Some Research

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is a great resource to learn more about effective ways to care for your pet’s oral health. They even have a list of approved treats, foods, and products that promote great dental hygiene.

Check them out here!

As always, if you have a question about your pet’s dental health, you can call Northside Animal Hospital at 229-244-2983, and we’ll assist you the best we can!

Spaying & Neutering: What to Know

Spaying & Neutering: What to Know

Spaying and neutering are incredibly important procedures that will reduce the pet overpopulation problem our country has and also help your pet live a longer, healthier life. For those who have recently adopted a pet or are considering it, it is one of the most important health decisions you’ll make for your furry friend.

What’s the Difference?

Spaying

The removal of your female pet’s ovaries and uterus. This procedure requires little hospitalization, yet a lifetime of health benefits.

Neutering

The removal of your male pet’s testicles. It will improve your pet’s behavior and keep him close to home.

What Are the Medical Benefits of Spaying & Neutering?

Protection from Diseases

Spaying your female pet will help them live a longer, healthier life. Spaying can prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are cancerous in around 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Neutering your male pet can prevent various prostate problems and testicular cancer.

While spaying and neutering can help your animal live a longer and healthier life, there are several behavioral benefits, as well.

What Are the Behavioral Benefits of Spaying & Neutering?

Better Behaved Boys

While your pet’s instinctual personality won’t change, certain behavior problems can be fixed, such as aggression, excessive barking, mounting, and other dominance-related tendencies.

Less Roaming

Animals that haven’t been neutered will try their best to find a mate. This includes roaming away from home! Having your pet neutered will reduce their desire to roam, decreasing their chance of getting injured in traffic or from fighting other males in the process.

No Heat for the Ladies

Your female pet will typically urinate more frequently, sometimes in your home, when they go into heat. Spaying your four-legged friend can eliminate this issue!

When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Cats

Cats will be ready to be fixed at a younger age than dogs. Traditionally, it is safe for kittens to be spayed or neutered as young as eight weeks old. You want to have them fixed before they’re five months old to avoid the start of urine spraying and reduce the chance of pregnancy.

Dogs

Typically you should spay or neuter your dog when they’re between the ages of six and nine months. That’s not to say that dogs can be fixed earlier or later than that, however.

If a dog is healthy enough, they can undergo the operation as young as 2 months old, although we do not recommend it. Dogs can also be fixed as adults as well, although there is a higher risk of post-operative complications due to their weight, age, or pre-existing health problems.

Rabbits

You can spay or neuter your female bunny as soon as they are sexually mature, usually around 4 months of age. That said, many veterinarians prefer to wait until they are 6 months old, to reduce the risk associated with performing the procedure on a younger rabbit.

Males can be neutered as soon as the testicles descend. This typically happens around 8 to 12 weeks.

A Cost-Effective Solution to Pet Overpopulation

Spaying and neutering are important procedures that will help your pet live a healthier life and curb the massive overpopulation issue we are currently facing. Not to mention, it can help save you money in the long-run.

The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treating reproductive system cancer or injuries from fighting, something that is common in unaltered pets.

Helping Your Pet Live Longer, Healthier & Happier

As a pet owner, you want to do everything you can to keep your furry loved one healthy, happy, and thriving. If you still have questions about spaying and neutering, call Northside Animal Hospital at 229-244-2983 today!