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256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Pet Owner’s Manual

Why It’s Important to Vaccinate Your Pet

In the world today, there are numerous controversies over whether or not certain vaccines are necessary in humans, but a problem that doesn’t often come up is the vaccinations in pets. Animals are often just as at risk for disease as people are but unlike us, they can’t rely on themselves to take the necessary precautions. That leaves you, as their owner, to decide what’s best for them.

 

 

Vaccines 

 

What is a vaccine?

A product designed to produce protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infection from the disease the vaccine is designed for.

 

How does it do this?

Vaccines stimulate the immune system’s production of the antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing agents entering the body.

 

Can a vaccine only protect against one disease?

No. Some vaccines are designed to protect against several diseases or several strains of the same disease.

 

Are vaccines one and done?

While it is a common belief that some vaccinations only need to be administered once, in most cases this is false. The best way to protect against diseases such as rabies or Lyme disease is to talk to your doctor about a schedule of when these need to be administered and how often. While some vaccines may need to be given annually for many it is more likely to be once every two or three years.

 

Vaccines and My Pet

 

Do vaccines guarantee protection in my pet?

It is very rare that a vaccine is not designed to eliminate the risk of a disease altogether and just as rare that a pet immune system will not be able to fend off the disease altogether after being vaccinated.

 

What specific vaccinations should my pet be receiving?

There are two different categories of vaccines that your pet may receive: Core and Non-core. Core vaccines are determined based on the region of the world that your pet lives in and are to protect against diseases most common in that area. Non-core vaccinations are individual to each pet based on their health and their risk. You can talk with your vet about what vaccines will be best for your pet based on their risk and exposure to different environments.

 

If I’m traveling with my pet, are their vaccines they may need to get?

Depending on how far away you are going, how long you’ll be gone, and how different the area is from where you live, your doctor may recommend certain vaccines to ensure that your pet remains protected in a new place. It is not entirely uncommon that some countries will require that incoming animals be vaccinated against diseases common to the area.

 

Vaccines and Their Risks

 

Are there risks to vaccinating my pet?

It is unlikely you’ll find a medical treatment that is entirely risk-free but it is very rare that a pet young or old will respond poorly to a vaccine. Any risk that is associated with a vaccine should be weighed against the protection of not only your pet against potentially fatal diseases but your community as well.

 

Are their specific responses to a vaccine that I should be worried about?
 
While the majority of responses will be mild and short term there are uncommon but potentially serious responses that are possible if unlikely. One of the rare serious reactions in cats is a tumor which can occur anywhere from weeks to years after the vaccination however improvements in vaccinations have made and continue to make this occurrence less and less likely.

 

Aside from the risks, are there side effects associated with vaccines?

Side effects are common even in human vaccinations and so it is common for pets to experience some mild side effects following hours after receiving their vaccine. However, if these side effects last for more than a couple days after the vaccine then you will want to contact your vet.

 

Vaccines and Their Side Effects

 

What are the side effects I should be aware of?
 
Side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Sneezing
  • Mild coughing
  • Mild fever
  • Discomfort at the vaccination site
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity

 

Are there side effects associated with a more serious reaction?

Yes, there are some less common but more severe side effects that should be brought to immediate attention with a doctor and in some cases may be life-threatening. These include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Itchy or bumpy skin
  • Swelling of the muzzle or around the face and eyes
  • Severe coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Collapse


Are all side effects that persist cause for concern?

While continuity of any of the side effects listed above over a number of days should be brought up with a doctor, a common occurrence in pets is a small swelling under the skin at the vaccination site. This should begin to disappear in a couple of weeks but if it persists and appears to get bigger up to three weeks, then you should see a doctor.

 

Vaccines and Puppies and Kittens

 

Why do puppies and kittens require so many vaccinations?
 
As with human babies, young animals are at a higher risk of contracting disease because of an immature immune system that has to develop as they get older. While for the first few months of their life they will receive some protection from the antibodies in their mother’s milk, once you’ve adopted them that protection begins to go away and they need to be protected another way.

 

Are vaccinations different for puppies and kittens because their immune system isn’t fully developed?

The vaccine that your pet will get will serve as a prep for your pet’s immune system against diseases. The vaccines that follow it will then stimulate the immune system so that it begins producing those protective antibodies.

 

Is there a specific order or schedule that should be followed for young pets?
 
For the best protection, the vaccination should be scheduled during the first months of the pets life about three or four weeks apart from one another. Typically, the last set of vaccines is given when the animal reaches about four months however schedules may be altered by doctors depending on individual pets. Often times if you are getting your pet from a breeder, they can take care of these things in the months that the pet lives with them before coming to you. If that is not the case, often times the breeder or shelter you’re are getting the animal from will give you a list of comprehensive information on what your pet will need during the first months of their life with you.
 

Vaccines and Why My Pet Should Have Them

 

How will vaccines benefit my pet?

The widespread use of vaccines on pets over the last century has saved millions of animafromfor disease and death. Unvaccinated pets are susceptible to both the common diseases in the civilized world as well as diseases common in the wild such as rabies. Vaccines will not only protect your pet from disease, but improve your pet’s overall quality of life.

 

Are there any other reasons to vaccinate my pet?

Here’s three:

  1. Vaccines help you avoid costly treatments for diseases.
  2. Vaccines protect against diseases that can be passed from animal to animal as well as animal to human.
  3. It is common for local or state areas to require that your pet have certain vaccinations.

 

Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Is Your Pet at Risk for Diabetes?

Our pets are out adorable, lovable, loyal companions, but a lot of times we forget that they can have health problems just like us. If your pet has or is at risk for diabetes, it could change a lot about how you care for them from the type of food they eat to how often you can put food out. The best way to avoid running into a sticky health situation is to know the warning signs ahead of time.

 

Risk Factors

Diabetes is surprisingly common in pets but there are certain factors that can contribute to their risk of developing the condition.

 

  • Breed. All dog and cat breeds are not the same, and their health isn’t either. Burmese cats, for example, are more prone to diabetes than any other breed of cat with about one in ten developing it later in their lifetime. When it comes to dogs, there are a number of breeds that are more likely to suffer from diabetes such as German Shepherds, Australian Terriers andPoodles. Other dog breeds that have an increased risk of diabetes are Cairn Terriers, Fox Terriers, Samoyeds, Schnauzers, Bichon Frise, Pugs, Golden Retrievers, and Keeshonden.
  • Age. Dogs are most likely to develop diabetes between the ages of 7 and 9 but there have also been numerous cases of a juvenile version of the disease in puppies. Cats are most likely to suffer from diabetes between 8 and 13.
  • Sex. In cats, males are more likely to become diabetic than females while in dogs, females are twice as likely to develop diabetes than males.
  • Medical Conditions. In both dogs and cats, having Cushing’s Disease increases their risk for diabetes. Cushing’s is when your pet’s body is making too much of the hormone cortisol, resulting in a small pea-sized tumor either at the base of their brain, the pituitary gland, or their adrenal glands above the kidneys. The other medical condition that shows increased risk for diabetes is pancreatitis.
  • Obesity. This is an avoidable risk factor but is one of the most well-known paths to diabetes. Make sure that you are keeping your pet on a regular feeding schedule and be careful to watch their weight. This can be a bigger problem in cats that stay indoors.
  • Medications. Certain medications your pet may need can have a negative impact on their production of insulin such as glucocorticoids and progestagens. If your pet is taking either of these make sure that you watch them carefully to see if there are any changes in their habits that might indicate diabetes.

 

 

Symptoms

The next step to keeping your pet healthy is not just knowing that if they are at an increased risk of diabetes but being able to recognize the symptoms.

  • Hunger. This may not be noticeable through the amount that they are eating if you keep them on a regular schedule but if you notice your pet whining or scratching consistently for more food, it could be a sign that they have diabetes.
  • Weight Loss. Your pet may seem to be hungrier, but if they suddenly lose weight then it may an indication that something else is going on. Diabetes cause and an increase in your pet’s metabolism that explains a sudden weight loss in your pet.
  • Thinning Hair. If you begin to notice your pet’s hair dulling or thinning without an apparent cause you may want to talk to your vet. This can not only be a sign of diabetes but a sign of many other illnesses as well.
  • Increased Urination. Frequent urination whether it be that your pet starts having accidents in the house or starts needing to go outside more is an early warning sign of diabetes.
  • Fatigue. Diabetes can cause your pet’s muscles to wear out more quickly resulting in weakness and exhaustion. If you notice that your pet is unable to get up and spends a lot more time napping than usual, it could be a sign of diabetes.
  • Depression. Depression can be caused be a later sign of diabetes called Ketoacidosis. This is when the breakdown of fats and proteins in the liver result in metabolic acidosis in response to a lack of insulin. This creates an imbalance in your pet’s body that results in depression.
  • Vomiting. This is another side effect of Ketoacidosis. If your pet’s diabetes has gone unnoticed for a long time this is a late sign. The stage of Ketoacidosis is more common in older females as well as in miniature poodles and dachshunds.

 

Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

How to Puppy Proof Your Home

Puppies are an amazing addition to your home but they come with a lot of maintenance. This includes making sure that your property is safe for the puppy. When it comes to making your house safe, think of your puppy like they are a toddler. They’ll go where they shouldn’t go, they’ll eat what they shouldn’t eat, they’ll scratch what they shouldn’t scratch. It is your responsibility to protect not only your house from your puppy but your puppy from your house.

 

Dangerous Items

Unfortunately, these come in abundance. The best way to avoid a problem is to educate yourself on everything that can be dangerous and take preventative measures.

 

  • Medications. Any type of medications are dangerous for a puppy if they get their paws on them. You need to keep these locked away in closed cabinets that are off the ground and out of reach. Puppies are incredibly agile, which makes even leaving medication out on a high counter dangerous and even plastic containers may not keep them out.
  • Cleaning Supplies. Laundry detergent, dish soap, Clorox, it’s all dangerous for puppies. Like with medicine, this should be kept high and shut away where a puppy can’t even see it. They are naturally curious creatures and so even seeing something on a remotely accessible surface makes them that much more likely to get to it.
  • Electrical Cords. The number of injuries a puppy can sustain from electrical cords alone could be enough to make you want to pack them all away permanently. Chewing on one can result in burns, shock, and electrocution. Make sure you keep them wrapped up, out of the way, and unplugged when you aren’t using them and consider getting covers for the cords to protect your puppy from them.
  • Plants. They may be pretty, but a number of houseplants are actually poisonous to animals. DO some research on the plants that you have to find out if they could be harmful to your puppy and either move them to high places or replace them with safe plants.
  • Sharp Objects. Look around carefully at everything in your house and assess whether or not it is sharp. Pencils, scissors, fishing hooks, toothpicks, paper clips, anything. Make sure you keep all of that as far out of reach as you can from your puppy and be careful not to leave them unattended in areas where you may have these types of things stored.
  • Drapery Cords. In looking around at what in your house might be dangerous, it is likely that these never crossed your mind. But puppies are energetic and unpredictable and these cords are thin. If your puppy gets tangled up in them, it could result in strangulation. Before to keep them tied up off of the ground where your puppy can’t reach even if they jump.
  • Small Objects. Coins, pins, floss, jewelry, elastics, anything is fair game. Your house will never be as clean as right before you get a puppy because just about anything that a puppy could potentially fit into his mouth needs to be kept out of sight and out of reach.
  • Trash Cans. Everything you put in a trash can is potentially hazardous to a puppy whether it be people food or face wipes. There are dozens of dangers in what you put in the trash can from used razors to sanitary products to plastic wrap. Keep your trash cans in cabinets or up high, just keep them away from your pup.
  • People Food. While certain types of food are fine and even healthy for a dog to eat, a number of things that we think are harmless to a puppy actually aren’t. Chocolate is only one of the most known ones but things like onion, meat trimmings, even chicken bones can all be incredibly harmful to your puppy. Unless you know for sure that what you are feeding them is safe, avoid leaving any food out anywhere in your house. They will find it.
  • Do you have a cat? Cat litter boxes are unfortunately a gold mine to a puppy. Keep them in a room that the puppy doesn’t have access to or keep them where the pup can’t reach but the cat can because they will eat anything in there.

 

 

Dangerous Areas

On top of the items you need to keep away from your puppy, there are also places and scenarios in your house to avoid.

 

  • Fire. Anywhere there is fire is hazardous. Never leave your puppy unattended near fireplaces and keep candles as far out of reach as possible. Even stoves and ovens whether they are wood burning or otherwise can be hazardous to your puppy.
  • Furniture. Your living room is full of it. If you have reclining chairs or rocking chairs, both can be dangerous to your puppy.  A rocking chair can injure their paws or tail and puppies can be prone to crawling underneath recliners.
  • Bathroom. On top of the dozens of hazardous items in your bathrooms, sinks, bathtubs, and toilets can all be dangerous for a puppy if they are full. Make sure to keep the door to the toilet closed off and to always drain your sinks and bathtubs so that if your puppy gets curious they won’t drown.
  • Doorways. Young puppies are followers and so for the first year or so, whenever you close a door, you should always be checking behind you to see if your little follower is there. Doors can easily damage their paws and their tails.
  • Any House Openings. This includes doors, windows, and maybe even cat doors. Keep all of these closed and screened off at all times to avoid your puppy falling through or escaping.
  • Use Gates. The easiest way to keep a puppy out of trouble is to keep them confined. Maybe confine them to the kitchen for the first little while with gates to keep them from running away. This will make it easy to keep an eye on them and give them a chance to grow up a bit before they get exposed to the dangers of the rest of the house. But this isn’t a license to keep your puppy locked up in one room at all times. Bring them around the house with you, let them sleep in their crate in your bedroom, and most importantly bring them outside to let them run around and get all of that puppy energy out.

 

 

Outside

Puppies need to go outside. They need to do their business, run and play. Before they do, you need to make sure not only that the inside of your house is safe, but that the outside is too.

 

  • Plants. Whether you want to replace them, dig them up, or close them off, you need to keep your puppy from eating anything that could be dangerous to them.
  • Pools. Of all the outside dangers, if you have a pool, that may be the biggest. Make sure that you keep your pool or hot tub closed off or covered whenever you have your puppy outside. If you have a gate make sure it is never left unlocked and if you don’t your eye should always be on your pup.
  • Garbage Cans. You have them. Your neighbors have them. Keep them closed at all times and make sure that you keep your puppy away.
  • Fire. Whether you have a fire pit or a grill outside you need to keep your puppy away so that they don’t get burned.
  • Take a walk. Your yard can have anything in it from broken glass or old plastic. Any of it can be dangerous to your puppy. Make sure to do a thorough sweep of your property before getting a dog and take a walk around whenever you take your puppy outside to make sure that they are safe.
  • Confine the area. Whether you are going to use an electric fence or an actual gate, finding a way to confine your puppy’s access is one of the most effective ways to keep them safe outside.

 

Never leave them unsupervised. This is the biggest thing when it comes to a pup. They are like a small child but faster. You should always have an eye on your puppy outside for at least the first half a year that they are with you and even after that part of your attention should always be on your pup.

 

Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Why Your Pet Needs Dental Care – Just Like You!

Every toothpaste commercial stresses to us just how important our dental healthcare is, but how often do you see commercials stressing the dental health of your pets? Well, it’s just as important for them to have a clean and healthy mouth as it is for us. If you want to keep your dogs or cats as healthy as they can be, it’s important to be educated on just why you should be caring for their teeth.

 

The statistics? 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are three years old.

 

Dental disease is just as much of a threat to your pets as it is to you if not more. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can result in bad breath and tooth loss and can make it painful for your pets to chew their food. But aside from the direct effects that gum disease can have on the mouth of your pet, the bacteria that cause can also travel to your pet’s kidneys, liver, and heart, resulting in other health problems.

 

What causes gum disease in pets?

The same thing that causes it in humans. It comes from plaque. Plaque results from food particles and bacteria combining and as days pass, mineral in the saliva bond with that plaque to form a hard substance called tartar that solidifies on teeth.

The longer it is left untouched, the more likely that bacteria is to work its way under the teeth and cause inflammation or gingivitis. The bacteria will continue to destroy the tissue resulting in tooth loss. Simple dental plaque has thus turned into gum disease or periodontal disease.

 

How would you know if your pet was suffering from gum disease?

That can be tricky. Unfortunately, dogs and cats are very good at hiding their pain and so if they are struggling with tooth pain you may never notice. However, there are other things that you can watch out for that is often due to some kind of dental health problem.

Bad breath, for starters. This is not only a symptom in dogs and cats but humans as well. You may think that because they are animals it is natural that their breath might not smell great, but if their bad breath has become very noticeable it is likely a sign of tooth problems.

Drooling. Again, this is not just some normal pet behavior. If your dog or cat is drooling persistently then you should get their mouths checked out.

Fidgeting or pawing at their mouth. If your dog or cat is pawing at their mouth, this is most likely a sign of discomfort in their teeth that could be a result of gum disease.

Chewing difficulty. This is another sign of pain or discomfort in your pet’s teeth.

Brownish coloring around the base of their teeth. This is plaque, and the more plaque that builds up, the more at risk they are of disease. Any brown-gold discoloring at the base of their teeth needs to be removed with a dental cleaning.

Bleeding or inflammation of their gums. Maybe you notice that your pet’s gums are looking especially red or appear to be bleeding. It may seem like a no-brainer, but people are very prone to ignoring clear signs of something being wrong.

Tooth loss. Don’t wait, you need to take your pet to the vet to get their teeth checked out. Catching gum disease in its early stages is essential to prevent irreparable damage and if your pet is exhibiting tooth loss, not due to external circumstance, then gum disease has likely already set in.

 

What can you do?

Take your pet for dental cleanings. You can even get them one of those dental bones that is meant to act as a toothbrush. Prevention is the best way to treat any type of disease and so you want to do everything possible to prevent gum disease in your pets. Check their teeth regularly and make sure that there is no apparent plaque buildup or inflammation.

 

Keeping a pet’s dental health up to par not only spares them the pain of gum disease but will make your household a happier place. You work to take care good care of your teeth. Why shouldn’t you do the same for your pet?

 

Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

How To Tell If Your Pet Is Overheated And What To Do About It

We’re all familiar with the burning heat of the summer sun. It’s hot. But we’re not the only ones that overheat on some of those scorching days. In fact, our pets are often at more risk than we are. Just in case, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of overheating in your pet and to know what to do if they are getting too hot.

 

The Dangers of Overheating

Heat stroke. It’s not just humans that suffer from this dangerous summer occurrence. Your pets are at risk too. Heat stroke is responsible for animal deaths every year and it doesn’t take long for them to suffer from organ failure if left in the heat for too long.

 

Heat stroke is a non-fever form of hyperthermia, not to be confused with hypothermia, where there is an elevation in body temperature above the generally accepted normal levels. Heat stroke in your pets occurs when their bodies are not capable of accommodating the excessive external heat and results from any form of increased body temperature except for inflammation, or fever.

 

What Causes Heat Stroke?

  • Excessive exercise
  • High heat or humidity (can occur in cars, rooms, outdoors, etc)
  • Upper airway disease – inhibits breathing
  • Heart-related diseases
  • High levels of thyroid hormones
  • Damage to hypothalamus (a structure in the brain)
  • Poisoning or seizures

 

Does Your Pet Have a Higher Risk of Heat Stroke

If your pet fits any of these criteria, they are likely at a higher risk of overheating:

  • Heart or lung disease
  • History of heart-related diseases
  • History of heat-related diseases
  • Brachycephalic breeds (short nosed, flat faced)
  • Obesity
  • Thick coats
  • Puppies
  • Very old
  • Dehydration

 

What To Do In The Event Of Heat Stroke

For starters, prevention is the best weapon you have against heat stroke. Try to avoid any excessive exercise during the summer, especially between the hours of 10am and 2pm, to scale back the risk of overheating. You may even want to keep your pet inside during the hottest hours of the day, especially towards the beginning of the summer when they haven’t adapted to the rise in temperature.

 

But on top of all that NEVER leave your pet in a parked car on a hot day for any amount of time. Whether you’re just running into the grocery store or dropping something off for a friend, your pet should never be left inside a hot car, especially without a window open.

 

However, any hot weather can result in overheating, so if you think your dog may be overheating, here’s what to do:

 

  • Move them to a cooler area immediately, whether that be an air conditioned room, or a patch of shade if that’s all you have available.
  • Assess your pet. You notice them losing consciousness or unable to stand, you may want to call the vet right away. If it seems a little more minor, it may be more important that you take the steps you can at home to make your pet more comfortable before it gets serious.
  • Take their temperature. If your pet’s temperature is at or lower than 104ºF, you should proceed to make them more comfortable. If it is higher, you’ll want to get your pet to the vet as quickly as possible.
  • Give them sips of water. Dehydrated pets may try to gulp up the water you give them but don’t let them. Drinking too fast may cause them to vomit.
  • Put cool wet towels over them. This will help to cool down your pet and reduce their body temperature.
  • Take them to the vet. Reactions in pets can be unpredictable and so if you think that your pet has been suffering from overheating, you may want to take them to the vet. Call your vet before you leave or on your way to let them know that you are coming and you can let them advise you in caring for your pet until you get there.
     

    Symptoms of Heat Stroke

     

    Excessive Drool

    No, they’re not just hungry. If it’s a hot day out and you notice that your pet is drooling in high amounts, you might want to worry about overheating.

    Dehydration or Panting

    When we’re in danger of heat stroke, we get hungry and our breathing may get heavier. It’s the same with animals. If you notice your pet panting or displaying any other signs that they might be dehydrated, they could be at risk of heat stroke.

    Bright Red Gums or Tongue

    This is a serious sign that your pet is overheating. If you notice that your pet’s mouth is looking especially red on a hot day you need to take the steps necessary to ensure that your dog doesn’t get heat stroke.

    Increased Pulse or Heartbeat

    Your pet’s body may be working overtime to fight the hyperthermia and so if you notice your pet’s heartbeat to be racing, you should get them out of the sun or the heat.

    Staggering, Weakness, or Collapse

    These are serious signs that your pet is in danger of heat stroke. If you notice that your pet is losing their ability to stand or walk, you need to get them out of the heat and call the vet.

    Vomiting or Bloody Diarrhea

    This is abnormal for a pet on any day, but especially if it is a scorcher, this is a major sign that your pet is overheating. Not only do you need to move them somewhere cool, but you need to get them to a vet and fast.

    Overheating in pets is nothing to be lax about. It only takes fifteen minutes for an animal to sustain brain damage of die from heat stroke. Keep a close eye on your pets during the hotter months to make sure that your furry friends will be by your side for as long as possible.
     

    Contact us!

    Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

How to Introduce Pets and Children

One of the trickiest parts of getting a pet is having kids. No doubt a pet is a great contribution to your household but when they’re going to be sharing the space with your kids, that first meeting might be a little worrisome. But while a bird is going to spend most of its time in a cage and a cat is fine minding its own business, puppies can be unpredictable so it’s important to know the best way to introduce them to your kids and what to watch out for.

 

For starters, why is your pup more likely to bite a child?

It has nothing to do with them being a dog or being young and it is generally not because they’re a mean dog. Kids are more unpredictable, and to a puppy, that can be scary. Kids will move fast or energetically, unaware that this could potentially frighten the dog. It’s best to try to keep your child as calm as possible when introducing them to a dog. Prepare them as best as you can, making sure that they know that to be calm and gentle and that this new friend is not a toy.

Another reason is that most children are unaware of their relationship to the dog, whether it is how close they are physically or understanding that the pup is a living creature. Your child may accidentally trip over the dog or step on his tail, unaware that they are doing anything wrong. Regardless, that can be threatening or even painful to a dog or a puppy who doesn’t know what’s going on, causing them to lash out. You need to be sure that your child is very aware of themselves around the dog and that they know that the pup is not a play toy.

 

How to avoid a bad situation

The first rule: never leave your dog and your child alone. They may have a great relationship, but animals and children can be unpredictable. Maybe your child will get upset and start screaming, or maybe a garbage truck outside will frighten the dog. The only way to avoid these situations is to always be supervising.

Don’t let your child rush up to a dog or treat the like a toy whether it is your own or not. Dogs are not meant to be ridden and they do not alway react well to a small human running into their face.

But aside from how you should prep your child, you need to consider the dog as well. If you notice that your dog is uncomfortable whether it is with the way your child is playing with them or if they are being teased, you need to stop it. Take the child away or move the dog somewhere that they can feel safe.

On top of that though, if your pup does start growling at your child, do NOT punish them. Growling is how they are communicating that they are uncomfortable and the more you suppress it, the less likely they are to let you know they’re uncomfortable which could lead to a bad situation.

 

What you can do to make the meeting go smoothly

Educate your child. That is the biggest weapon you have against any conflict between your pet and the child. They need to know to be careful and gentle with the pup and they need to understand that a dog is not a toy and that it is a living being that needs to be cared for and respected.

But aside from educating your child on the nature of a dog, you need to educate them on how to approach the dog, whether they are your own or a dog they see on the streets. If they are meeting a dog that is not your own, not only does your child need to know to ask the owner first if it is okay to pet the dog, they need to be informed on the correct way to make sure petting is okay with the dog. Have your child put out their hand in a low fist and see if the dog if the dog comes to them. Once he or she has finished sniffing and decided that they are not a threat, then your child may be able to gently and slowly pet them. This goes for meeting any new dog including one you’re introducing to your household.

 

It is also important to know the safest way for a child to pet the dog. Once they’ve gotten the okay, your child should know to pet the dog on the back and not the head. A hand suddenly approaching a dog’s head may appear to them as a threat and they may be more likely to defend themselves.

Finally, you need to be alert at all times. Be ready to intervene, whether that is grabbing your child away from a stranger’s dog or picking up the puppy to keep them away from your kid. Even doing everything right, something can still go wrong so even if your child is alert and prepared, you need to be too.

 

Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

 

The Pros and Cons of Wet Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food

The decision to choose dry food or wet food is an eternal debate for pet owners. In order to choose wisely, it is important to know the benefits and downsides of each type of food. Something that works well for one dog, may not for another.  

 

Wet Dog Food Pros:

Wet food has a high concentration of moisture that is perfect if your dog doesn’t drink enough water. This makes it practical for older dogs that need more water, as well as for living in a warmer climate. It also contains high amounts of protein and fats that are very healthy for your dog, while the carbohydrate count is much lower. Because it is sealed, it also has no need for synthetic preservatives making it a more natural option.

Wet food has a richer scent and taste to it that is more appealing to a sick or senior dog with affected olfactory senses. It has been seen to help dogs that have dietary problems because of the high moisture content. It’s also a good option for dogs with small mouths or any type of jaw or tooth problem. It will be easier on their mouths and less effort to chew.

 

Wet Dog Food Cons:

To start, wet dog food is more expensive. It does not last as long because wet dog food is not stored or maintained as easily as dry food. Once it has been opened, it must be covered and refrigerated. It also cannot be left in the bowl for longer than a few hours because it is prone to contamination. Because it is more meaty and wet, dogs are much more likely to make a mess near the bowl.

Another downside to wet food is that your dog will require more dental care. You’ll want to pay more attention to their teeth as wet dog food does not clean them the way dry dog food does. Also, due to the high moisture, protein, and fat content, some dogs are more likely to come away with upset stomachs, especially when transitioning off of kibble.

 

Dry Dog Food Pros:

Dry food is cheaper. It can be bought in large containers that will last you a long time. It is much easier to store, with no worries about refrigeration and can be left in the bowl for days without spoiling. Dry food is the most convenient food option. It is easy to measure out and travel with and you can fill the bowl with enough for a day and not have to worry about feeding your dog.

Dry food can also be used to train your dogs. They are good supplements if you don’t want your dog to have too many treats and work just as effectively. Dry food is also a good dental health supplement. They massage your dog’s gums and remove plaque from their teeth. There is even kibble made specially to clean your dog’s teeth, not to mention there is such a wide variety of dry food as well as prescription foods, you are bound to find something perfect for your dog.

 

Dry Dog Food Cons:

Dry food does not provide the moisture that wet food does. Many dogs don’t drink as much water as they should. Since this can be difficult to track, wet food ensures that your dog gets the moisture they need. Wet food is also a good choice for dogs that are older or living in a warmer climate because both require more water. For dogs with dental problems, chewing on the dry food can be painful and make toothaches worse

Dry food also has lower levels of animal-based protein and fat, but are higher in carbohydrates. All dogs need protein and the more active your dog, the more fat they need. Dry food may not provide enough, so mixing a diet of dry food and wet food is often the best plan for those dogs.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

 

Why Does My Dog Chase His Tail?

Everyone gets a kick out of their dog obsessively chasing their tail. But, did you ever wonder why they do it?

 

Boredom/Confinement

A dog chasing their tail can stem from a lack of exercise. If they haven’t been on a good walk recently or no one is playing with them, they need to entertain themselves. Chasing their tail is a way to both get exercise and have fun. If a dog is cramped in a small space for a while, they may try to get exercise such that they fit in the small space. Chasing one’s tail doesn’t take up a lot of room. In this case, it is a harmless behavior that can be stopped if you give them more exercise and attention.

 

They’re Puppies

Puppies are new to the world. They don’t fully understand how things relate and tend to be a little clueless. For this reason, they catch a glimpse of their tail out of the corner of their eye and think it’s a toy. From there, it’s a fruitless mission to catch the mysterious fluffball that’s always just out of their reach. As pups get older, they usually grow out of this when they realize this fuzzy toy is attached to them.

 

Attention

Dogs are attention snobs. They like to make you laugh and smile and they even do things to get a negative reaction out of you. So, when you crack up at your dog’s determined mission to catch their tail, this prompts them to keep going. It may start to become a habit just to get a reaction out of you, good or bad.

 

Irritation

If you notice that your dog is trying to nip at or bite their tail, there may be something else at play. If they have recently injured their tail, this can be a reaction to get it to stop itching. Another possibility is that your dog has fleas or worms on their tail that are causing this irritation. You may want to get them to a vet if their tail chasing becomes frequent and aggressive.

 

Hereditary

For some dogs, tail chasing is genetic. Although there is no real explanation for it, certain breeds, like German Shepherds or cattle dogs, are prone to tail chasing. In this case, the cause is mainly habit but, if you take them to a vet or trainer, you may be able to stop the behavior.

 

Canine Compulsive Disorder

This is a very rare condition and is seldom the culprit behind your dog’s tail chasing. Still, if you’re worried that the tail chasing has become too frequent, you can get your dog checked for Canine Compulsive Disorder. This disorder can be treated with anti compulsory medication as prescribed by a vet.

 

Note: If your dog is chasing their tail due to boredom, attention, or irritation, the behavior can turn into a habit that will be difficult for your dog to break. You may want to interject if you think that is becoming too common. If the dog is chasing their tail because they injured it, it can become a learned behavior for whenever they are scared or upset making it a psychological issue. This may require a vets help to remedy.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

What to Expect on Your Puppy’s First Visit to the Vet

Getting a puppy is both exciting and stressful. Now you have another mouth to feed and another family member to take care of. The best way to ensure that your new friend stays happy and healthy with little stress is taking them to a veterinarian to get their health needs taken care of. But this can also be nerve-racking if you don’t know what to expect.

 

Here are some things you can do to make your first visit easy on you and your pup as well as what to expect during the visit:

 

Before the Puppy

Many breeders will list an immediate vet check, yearly physicals, and necessary vaccinations as conditions for adoption. To keep your puppy safe and healthy whether the breeder does or doesn’t require these three things, you should do them anyway. Puppies are much more susceptible to diseases and illness as the protective antibodies in their mother’s milk wear off at around six or seven weeks.

It is a good idea to visit your perspective veterinary clinic ahead of time. You want to be comfortable with the environment and the people there before you bring in your dog. When making the decision about a veterinarian, make sure they are familiar with your breed of dog. This is because some medical conditions are common in specific breeds, and you will want your vet to be aware of and understand these conditions. To ensure that you are perfectly comfortable putting your pup into their hands, ask about their credentials and experience. Check on their emergency availability if you need to rush to the clinic at any hour of the day and how emergency transportation will work.

Be prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your visit. Veterinary clinics can be very busy so, to get the day you want, you should schedule it early. You can schedule the appointment before you have the dog.

 

Before the Visit

Make sure you and your dog are prepared going into the visit. You’ll want your puppy to be comfortable in the car to reduce anxiety before and after the visit. It is also a good idea to take your puppy to the visit the clinic before the appointment, so they can become familiar with the environment and the veterinarian. This will make them considerably more comfortable during the visit.

Be sure that you remember any medical documents your dog may have if they visited a vet with the breeder before you got them. Your vet will want to be aware of any checkups, treatments, or vaccines they may have received. Vets will need to check the dog feces for worms, as most pups are born with roundworms. Call ahead to ask if you need to bring a sample and check any medical documents to see if they have been treated for worms already.

Right before the visit, take your pup on a run or a long walk. You’ll want to wear them out so that they are calmer during the appointment.

 

During the Visit

You should have your pup on a short leash when you go to the appointment. This will keep them in check in the waiting room. It will also be easier when moving them to the checkup room.

Once the appointment begins, the veterinarian will do a general physical exam. They will weigh your puppy, listen to their heart and lungs, and examine their body, eyes, nose, and ears. They will also inspect your dog’s skin, coat, and teeth. If there are any initial vaccines or worms that needed to be treated, they will talk to you about the best way to proceed. They can be administered there or scheduled for in another appointment.

There are four core vaccines recommended for all puppies: distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and rabies, which is a required vaccination in many states. This is why your doctor will want to check any medical records to see if these have already been administered.

Finally, you will discuss future visits, whether they are for vaccination, microchipping, neutering, or physicals. This is a good time to ask the vet any and all questions you have about your dog. They can be questions about treatments and medications or feeding and behavioral. Anything goes.

 

After the Visit

Reward your puppy! They made it through their first veterinary visit. Give them a treat and take them to do something fun. Go on a hike, head to the park or even just run around with them in your yard. You want them to associate vet visits with something fun instead of anxiety.

 

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Dogs Should Eat These People Foods

Every dog owner has that moment of panic about feeding people food to their dog. After first adopting a puppy, you are often told that it’s a bad idea to feed your dog anything that isn’t specifically made for dogs. That’s not true! There are actually a number of people foods that your dog can not only eat but benefit from eating. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss healthy treats and people food you can share with your pup during your dog’s next vet check-up.

 

Meats

All dogs love meat. It’s their favorite thing to snag from the dinner table. They’re not supposed to do that, but a little bit of cooked meat every now and then is perfectly okay for your dog. It’s a tasty source of protein and cooked chicken can even be used as a meal replacement if you realize last minute you’re out of dog food.

When it comes to bones, raw chicken bones do not pose the same threat to dogs that cooked bones do. When bones are cooked, they are more likely to splinter which can be hazardous for your pup. Dogs can usually chew through raw bones with ease, but be sure to monitor dogs that eat in large gulps, such as a rottweiler, as a chicken wing can still pose a choking hazard.

 

Salmon

Salmon is actually quite good for dogs. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, which a dog needs to keep their coat shiny and healthy. On top of that, salmon is good for their immune system so adding a little to their bowl every now and then is a healthy treat.

 

Eggs

Eggs are a great low-calorie snack for your pup. They give a good high protein boost and can be fed to your cooked. Avoid any seasoning if you decide to scramble some eggs for your dog.

 

Cheese

Cheese is often used with puppies to teach them new tricks and it’s actually good for them. You may want to watch your dog’s reaction the first time you give them a little as a small percentage of dogs are lactose intolerant. Since cheese contains a lot of fat, it is a good idea to get low or reduced fat and give a little to them at a time. Slip your dog a spoonful of cottage cheese and they’ll love you for it.

 

Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and a good source of protein. Both healthy for your dogs and a nice way to liven up their meals, feeding your pup a little yogurt from time to time won’t hurt. Be sure that the yogurt you are using does not have any added sugars or artificial sweeteners as those can be harmful.

 

Peanut Butter

It’s no secret that dogs love peanut butter. It’s a great healthy snack for them and can keep them occupied for a long time. For a good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins, try stuffing a Kong dog toy with peanut butter and they’ll entertain themselves for a little while.

Be careful about what peanut butter you feed them. Unsalted peanut butter is a good idea because too much salt can be bad for dogs. Make sure you read the ingredients label and avoid feeding them sugar-free or lite peanut butter, as it often contains the artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is harmful to dogs.

 

Grains

The grains of oatmeal can be found in some dogs foods, but oatmeal itself is good for dogs as well. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber that is helpful for older dogs with digestive issues. Don’t add any sugars or artificial flavors as they aren’t good for dogs. Pasta and rice is also good for them on occasion. Brown rice is an excellent source of grain that can be added to a meal for a little something different.

 

Vegetables

Many vegetables are good for dogs as they contain fiber and are low in calories, but a few stick out as being quite healthy for them. Carrots and pumpkin are a great source of fiber as well as having other benefits for a dog’s body. Carrots are healthy for a dog’s teeth while pumpkin keeps their GI tract moving and is good for digestive issues.

 

Fruit

Just like apples are good for our teeth, they are also good for cleaning dog’s teeth. They help keeps their breath smelling fresh while also being a source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Cut up some apple slices and feed them to your dog to give them something sweet and different as a snack.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

 

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