Client Resources

Online Medications for Your Pet

In today’s world of instant access to shopping online, you might consider purchasing your pet’s medications over the internet. However, there are certain facts you should consider before purchasing your animals flea and tick and/or heartworm medications online. First, online pharmacies do not always follow the same regulations that we do at Grimes Plaza Veterinary Clinic. At GVPC, our medications come from manufactures that are regulated and quality controlled, which ensures that your pet’s medications are safe. And in the event that there is a recall of a medicine, our clinic will notify you of the recall and be of assistance finding an alternative medication. Second, medications purchased from online pet medication sites may come from unnamed international countries (e.g. China). At GVPC, we only purchase our medications from local distributors who follow protocols to ensure safe medications.

Further, the manufacturers we purchase from at GVPC will stand behind their product when sold through our clinic. This means, that in the unlikely event that your pet has a reaction to a medication and/or became heartworm positive, the manufacturer will pay for the product, and in some cover, they will cover the cost of the treatment. While online pharmacies may refund your money, most will not offer any further assistance. Lastly, some people assume that purchasing your pet’s medications online will save you money. However, in addition to supporting a local business, your veterinary clinic will have comparable prices, if not better due to rebates, promotions and coupons. In summary, purchasing your pet’s medication from GVPC not only makes you a smart consumer it is also a great way to support your local business.  If you have any questions concerning the purchase of any medications, we would be happy to assist you.

Is Heartworm Preventative Important?

Heartworm disease is a disease which is caused by worms that lodge themselves into the hearts of dogs and cats (yes, cats too!). This disease is very painful for animals, can be very costly to cure, and can be fatal for many pets when left untreated. Every pet is at risk of contracting the disease because it is spread by a mosquito bite (which can even sneak inside your home and infect your pet).

While this disease sounds daunting, the good news is that prevention is easy and inexpensive. The cost of prevention for a year ranges from $60-90, whereas the cost of treatment can be easily upwards of $1000.  Not only is prevention inexpensive, is relatively painless. On the contrary, treatment for heartworm disease includes a series of painful injections into the muscles along the spine. As an added bonus, the yearly Heartworm preventative also can protect your pet from intestinal parasites. Ultimately, heartworm preventative is an excellent insurance policy against a painful, expensive disease. Please contact your veterinarian at GVPC with any questions or concerns about heartworm disease. 

Feeding Your Pet From The Table

Pet owners sometimes feel that feeding table scraps to their pet is a form of reward or treat for your pet. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that sharing food with a pet may cause more harm than just poor table manners.  In addition to a bad behavior, feeding table scraps to your pet can increase your pet’s chance of certain health conditions. Since table scraps may contain foods high in fat and calories, pets are at increased risk for obesity and digestion problems. Additionally, people food can contain bones and sharp edges, which can cause damage to a pet’s throat or intestines. Overall, consuming table scraps can not only cause short term health problems, they can also reduce the quality of life or shorten a pet’s life span.  Instead of assuming that it is safe to feed your pet from your table, be sure to consult your veterinarian before feeding a pet anything other than food or treats specially designed for your pets.

Housetraining Tips for Your Pet 

Whether you have a cat or a dog, or both, there are certain things that you can do as an owner to make cohabitation with your furry companions a little easier and more enjoyable. Most commonly, new pet owners ask for assistance on how to potty train the new pet. While potty training can be very stressful, there are some steps an owner can take to help it go more smoothly.

Potty-Training for Dogs

Training a new puppy can be a very time consuming task, but with a little effort, your new pup will be house trained before you know it. First, new puppies need to be taken outside often. A good rule of thumb is that a new puppy can hold  the need to go for about an hour for every month old they are. That is, a 3 month old puppy can be expected to go three hours without needing to go outside. Next, encourage your puppy to go to the bathroom using positive reinforcement. Giving treats, praise, and petting your pup after they go outside is a great way to teach them the right thing to do. Even with a new pet owner’s due diligence taking your pup outside, a new puppy can have accidents inside your home. Contrary to a common practice, rubbing your dog’s nose in their urine/feces is not a good way to try to prevent more accidents. In fact, it will most likely just confuse and scare your pet. If you find that your pet has had an accident inside, clean it up and chalk it up to the “infant” stage of puppyhood. If your puppy is caught in the “act”, scoop them up and take them outside where they are supposed to go.

A great way to help potty-train your pet is to consider crate training. This involves placing your dog in a crate that is only big enough for them to get up and turn around in. A crate that is similar to their size discourages them from going to the bathroom in their own space and helps them to learn that they cannot go in their kennel. Additionally, in the beginning, only allow them out for feeding and scheduled potty times that work for you. This scheduled routine helps them establish a pattern and expectation for behavior. Not only does it help to assure them that they will get to go potty, it keeps you  from  clean ing up reoccurring accidents.

When crate training, it is very important to be consistent and to not give in to your pet’s whimpering while in their crate. Potty training is a process that involves teaching your dog a new routine. Remember the process of kenneling your pet in a safe, quiet place helps them feel secure and promotes positive behavior. 

Potty-Training for Cats

Most cats take to litter box training relatively easily due to their natural instinct. Showing your cat the litter box, having it easily accessible, and allowing some privacy for your cat, are all ways to help to encourage the use of the box. However, some pet owners occasionally still have problems. If your cat begins demonstrating problems using the litter box, one of the quickest fixes to implement is increasing the number of your cat’s litter boxes. It is recommended to have one more litter box than the number of cats in the household. Also, be sure to keep your cat’s box cleaned. We recommend doing this on a daily basis. Cats can be very particular about their habits, and if they feel that their box is too dirty then they will find a new place to do their business.

Destructive Behavior and Your Pet

In addition to potty-training issues, we often hear from pet owners dealing with a destructive pet. Many of us have to leave our pet home alone during the day. Many times, this alone time is when destructive behavior can occur. It is recommended that if this is the case, pet owners should utilize a crate or an easily confined safe area, such as a kitchen. Cats can also be confined in a safe area. However, be sure to keep access to food, water and a litter box. 

Many pet owners struggle with living with pets that have house-breaking issues. Please be sure to talk with your veterinarian at GVPC if you have any questions regarding training or the behavior of your pet. 

New Pet Considerations

There are many things to consider when thinking about buying a new pet.  Major considerations include the following:

  • Time

New pets require a lot of time and attention. Consider whether you will have time to walk, groom, and play with your new companion.

  • Puppy vs. Older Dog

Many times when people consider a new animal, they automatically think of a new puppy. However, older dogs may be a better fit for people who would like a dog that is generally house broken, more calm, and may already know some “tricks”.  Also, it a great way to give an older pet a new home!

  • Cost

Caring for a new pet can be an expensive undertaking. Expect costs associated with healthcare, including heartworm preventatives, flea and tick preventatives, regular vaccination appointments. Additionally, you may experience costs due to potential emergencies.  In addition to medical costs, new owners will incur costs with food, toys, and grooming (when necessary).

  • Training and socialization

Training and socialization will be needed to ensure a well behaved pet.  A well behaved pet is a joy, but a pet that doesn’t behave can be irritating.  Please be sure to consider how much time you can dedicate to ensuring your pet is well mannered and easily gets along with other pets and people.

  • Grooming

In addition to regular baths, some breeds require regular grooming in order to look and feel healthy. 

  • Spay and Neuter

Another consideration is whether you will spay or neuter your pet.  If you are not planning on breeding your pet, it is recommended to always spay or neuter your pet.  This can prevent many forms of cancer down the road, as well as minimize behavioral problems such as aggression, roaming, and inappropriate urination. 

  • Exercise and Lifestyle

New pet owners should consider if they have enough space to exercise a pet and if they will have time to do so. Exercise is one of the activities that pets love the most, plus it keeps them healthy and trim. In addition to exercise, new pet owners will need to consider the other people that live in their home. Will a new pet get along with small children? Will a new pet affect an elderly adult’s mobility?  

There are many considerations when adding a four-legged friend to the family, please call us at GVPC to discuss any concerns you may have.

Chocolate and Your Pet

Many people have heard that chocolate is harmful to dogs. In fact, it can be extremely toxic and potentially deadly depending on the type and quantity of chocolate consumed.  The main culprits in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. The amount of these chemicals varies by type of chocolate or food product. For example, milk chocolate, chocolate flavored cakes, and chocolate ice cream have smaller amounts of theobromine and caffeine than semi-sweet or baking chocolate. As a reference point, a 50-pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate to reach a toxic or life threatening dose, but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate would have the same impact.

Consuming chocolate is not always fatal for dogs, but even small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, or seizures. And to further complicate this issue, many times chocolate foods are commonly wrapped in small packages that are easy to drop and misplace and are more difficult to keep track of in your home. Pet owners should do their best to keep chocolate away from their pets and stored in a safe place. If you suspect that your pet has consumed any amount of chocolate, please contact Grimes Plaza Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible to check with a veterinarian. 

Giving Pills to Your Pet

Pet owners should learn a few tricks to get your pet to swallow necessary pills and medicines.  When not given as table scrap, such things as peanut butter, cheese, and hot dogs can be great foods to stuff pills into (followed by a good drink of water!). Of course if that doesn’t do the trick, there are a few options to consider. Some tools exist that are created just for administering pills to your pets. On option is called a pill popper. A pill popper is a long plastic device with a rubber tip uses a plunger to place the pill at the back of a pet’s throat. Another tool is a pill pocket, which is a manufactured pet treat, can be used to wrap around a pill and given to your pet as a treat (sneaky!). Lastly, many pharmacies can now compound medications into several different forms. Your animals medications may be formulated into flavored chewable tablets or liquids, and in some cases, a gel can be formulated that can be rubbed into the inner ear flap. Sometimes though, not all medications are feasible to be given in these forms. Therefore, administering a pill to your pet may be the only choice. If you run across difficulties giving your animal his/her medicine, please give us a call at GVPC. We will be glad to assist you!

Harmful Poisons and Toxins to Your Pet

In most clinical surveys, there is repetition in the intoxications veterinarians see in pets. The ten most common poisonings in pets follow:

 

10) Recreational Compounds (i.e. drugs)

This is most commonly seen in the form of marijuana ingestion, but it can include amphetamines, cocaine, and opiates.

 

9) Chocolate

Chocolate contains chemicals (primarily theobromine and caffeine) that are harmful to your pet. The amount of these chemicals varies by chocolate type and food type. See the section called “Chocolate and Your Pet” for more information.


8) Home Pest Control Products

Insect killers, such as ant or roach killer/traps, can be extremely toxic to your pet. Repellent baits, which contain gels and liquids, can sometimes be seen as toys for animals, which they can chew or place in their mouths.


7) Commercial Home Products

This broad category includes a wide variety of products that are harmful to pets. Be sure to keep potpourri, sugar-free gum and candies (which contain Xylitol), glues, batteries and mothballs out of reach from your pet.

 

6) Insecticides

Bug killers used in your garden can be harmful for your pet when ingested. Consider keeping your roach, ant, and wasp killers (such as Raid, Ortho) in a safe place that your pet cannot access.

 

5) Household Materials

While it is common for people to know to keep bleach, detergents, and disinfectants  away from your pet, there are many things in your home that appear harmless to humans that can be of extreme danger to your pet. These include food items, such as grapes and raisins and even macadamia nuts.

 

4) Creepy-Crawlies

It may not be entirely possible for you to keep all bugs away from your pet, but it is a good idea to try to keep amphibians, reptiles, and most insects out of their reach. Many of these creepy-crawlies which live around your home have their own defense mechanisms that contain toxins that will harm your pet.

 

3) Household Plants

While you may enjoy filling your home and gardens with beautiful flowers, please consider reviewing the plant’s toxicity and its impact on your pet. Lilies, tulip bulbs, rhododendron, and castor beans are a few examples of plants and flowers that are very harmful for your pet. Due to this toxicity, keep these out of your pet’s reach.

 

2) Rodenticides

Rodenticides are pest control chemicals that are designed to kill rodents. It is important to note that even if you keep these chemicals out of your pet’s access, remember to keep an eye on your pet if they like to “hunt” and consume their find. Eating a rodent that has consumed rodenticide can be very harmful for your pet.

 

1) NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

Examples of these include aspirin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Please be sure to keep these away from our pet as they can be extremely toxic for your pet.


If you think at any time that you pet can ingested something harmful, please contact GVPC or Poison Control.


Adapted from F. Oehme (2009) The 10 Most Common Poisonings in Companion Animals

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