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Safe and Thankful

The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving is a part of the tradition for many families. But in the commotion, it's important to keep safety in mind for our four-legged family members. Our Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital veterinary staff offers these Thanksgiving safety tips to help you all have a safe and special holiday!


Even if your house will be full of guests or your entire family is traveling, double check that all pets are wearing a collar and identification tags with current contact information. The same goes for microchipped pets. Make sure all pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite prevention before traveling also.

If your pet is staying behind for the holiday, use a reputable pet sitter or boarding facility. Pets should never be left at home alone, even with food and water, for any extended length of time.

Stay in the same exercise and meal routine with your pets during the holiday. Going on your daily walk with your pet will also help you counteract that large Thanksgiving feast!

With guests in the house, pets may have sensory overload and need a little distraction from the distraction. Keep pet-safe toys and treats on hand and reward your pet for good behavior.

Remind guests and hosts alike that your pet should not eat table scraps. Not only are a lot of human foods high in sodium and sugar that can cause gastrointestinal issues in pets, many of our common Thanksgiving foods are highly toxic to pets, especially those containing onion, garlic, grapes or raisins and chocolate.

If your pet seems to be eyeing the counter for any accidentally dropped food while you are cooking, have a reliable guest or family member keep her occupied in a different room.

Before everyone settles into their post-meal naps, take all trash outside away from pets. Bones, scraps and packaging from food may seem like a tempting chew toy, but they can cause serious harm to your pets, especially if ingested.

If you have any questions about having a safe Thanksgiving holiday with everyone in your family, contact us at 763-755-3595. Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright © 2018 by Uhlig LLC. All rights reserved
Image Credit: Chepko/ istock / Getty Images Plus

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Safe Spooking

Do you have plans for trick-or-treating this month? Parties? Visiting kiddos in creative costumes? As Halloween activities can often stretch through much of October, our Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital veterinary staff provides these tips to help keep this fun and spooky holiday safe for furry family members, too! You can help your pet enjoy the season by being mindful of “F.E.A.R.: food, environment, attire and recovery”

Food. Many of the foods associated with Halloween are toxic to pets, especially chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that is deadly to both dogs and cats and is more concentrated the darker the chocolate is. Xylitol has been proven to be deadly to dogs. The risk to cats is not firmly established, but why chance it? Keep all candy out of reach. If you feel like you’re leaving your pet out of a chance to fully participate in the holiday, we have treats that are safe AND tasty in our clinic!
 
Environment. Keep all animals inside and provide a safe, stress-free place where they can while away the holiday free of all the commotion and any potential dangers. It is best to walk your dog early in the evening, preferably before the trick-or-treating begins and then retire all pets to their safe haven at least 30 minutes before you expect any trick-or-treaters.
 
Attire. Know whether your furry friend enjoys participating in the festivities in costume or in his "birthday suit" and let him celebrate accordingly. If he'll be dressing up, make sure the costume does not restrict movement or vision and that there are no loose or small parts that could be ingested.
 
Recovery. Have a plan in place in case your pet becomes sick or injured this holiday. Our clinic phone number is a good start: 763-755-3595. And it's always a good idea to ensure your pet has up-to-date ID, in the form of a collar and tag and microchip, just in case he gets lost. Our Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital veterinarians can easily microchip your pet in a quick and painless appointment, if he’s currently without his permanent ID. Microchips provide the best chance of reuniting with your pet if he or she becomes separated from you. If your pet already has a microchip, be sure  to verify that the information on file with the registry is up-to-date; it’s the only way for you and your pet to be reunited. 
 
With a little bit of planning and foresight, you can ensure your Halloween celebrations only spook those they should. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
 
Image credit: tobkatrina / iStock/ Getty Images Plus
Copyright © 2018 by Uhlig LLC. All rights reserved. 
 

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Fanatic About Food Safety

We hear about food safety for ourselves on a regular basis. Cook this food to this temperature, throw away that food after a certain period of time and so on. But what about our pet's food? September is National Food Safety Education Month, and Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital has several suggestions to keep in mind as you prepare your furry friend's daily meals.

 
Things to look for in a dry or wet food for your pet include natural preservatives, including Vitamins C and E, or preservative free; human-grade ingredients; and made in the United States. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) makes sure all ingredients used in pet foods are safe and have an appropriate function in the food. They recommend purchasing products in good condition without signs of damage to the packaging such as dents or tears.
 
Keep your pet's food and water bowls clean. Pets have bacterial microbes in their mouths just as we do, microbes that can be transferred to food and water dishes. A little food left in the dish makes a good environment for bacteria to grow, potentially causing illness for your pet and any (small) human who may play with the dishes. It's recommended to wash the food bowl between meals each day and the water bowl every other day.
 
Store your pet's food safely. If you serve a moist food, refrigerate it promptly or throw away any unused, leftover pet food. Leftover dry food and treats should be stored in a cool, dry place -- under 80 degrees -- in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid. Always keep the top of the bag folded close and wash and dry the pet food storage container before refilling with new food.
 
Always wash your hands before and after handling and preparing your pet's food. Though we've always been told to do this for our human food, the same goes with our pets. Bacteria and microorganisms such as salmonella can be spread from us to our pets, especially by accident. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling her food, including treats and feeding dishes.
 
Avoid feeding your pet a raw food diet. While many believe raw food is good for pets as it allows them to return to their primal roots, these food items can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter. These bacteria can be transferred between pets and humans alike. Raw diets include meat, poultry, milk and eggs that have not been cooked or treated to remove illness-causing germs.
 
When shopping for pet foods, here is a list of ingredients to avoid:
  • PG (Propylene Glycol) -- A chemical derivative of antifreeze, PG is commonly found in faux-meat dog treats that resemble bacon or sausage and some dog foods with a moist or crumbly texture. It is banned for use in feline products.
  • BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) -- These chemical fat preservatives are known carcinogens and have been banned in pet and human foods in Australia, Japan, Romania and Sweden, but are allowed in the United States.
  • Ethoxyquin -- A chemical preservative, ethoxyquin can enter your pet's food or treat as in protein "meals." It is illegal to use in human foods, as data reports state it is harmful when swallowed or has direct contact with skin, but is still allowed in pet food.
  • Food dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE) -- These color named dyes have been known to contribute to hypersensitivity reactions, behavioral problems and cancer in humans. 4-MIE is known as a carcinogen in animals.
  • Rendered fat -- Though it provides a flavor enhancement for dry foods, rendered fat is a source of microorganisms and toxins that can flourish if moisture enters the bag.
  • Corn and wheat gluten


Food safety goes beyond keeping refrigerated only items cool at all times. And though there are a multitude of pet foods and options on the market, we can help you wade through everything and set up a diet for your pet that meets her dietary needs safely and sufficiently and that your furry friend will find tasty and satisfying. Visit our clinic for a complete line of food options that we offer, including specialty diets. Contact us at 763-755-3595 with any questions about food safety or setting up a personalized diet for your pet. 


Image credit: humonia/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Copyright © 2018 by Uhlig LLC. All rights reserved 

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Only the Lonely

Does your dog chew, scratch, whine or bark when left alone? Or does your cat urinate in your bed or meow loudly? While more common in dogs than cats, you may be tempted to conclude your pet has separation anxiety. It's important to properly evaluate the behavior to avoid a misdiagnosis and delay in proper training or treatment to correct the issue as many of the behaviors and cues associated with separation anxiety can also be attributed to other medical or behavioral concerns.

Separation anxiety behaviors are very focused, occurring only when the pet is separated from her human. In dogs, they also seem frantic in nature and your pup may even show a disregard for personal safety, continuing even through injury to herself such as broken nails, scratches or cuts. A dog with true separation anxiety will focus her destructive behavior on windows or doors, or on attempting to get back to her human, such as escaping from a kennel. Or a dog with separation anxiety may exhibit her stress by eliminating in the house or through excessive vocalization such as barking, whining or howling. However, it is important to determine if the behavior is the result of an outside stimulus, such as cars driving by or the mailman knocking on the door or if it is truly the result of a mild separation distress or a true separation anxiety. At Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital, we’re here to help!

Often, separation anxiety in cats can manifest as loud vocalization or improper elimination, such as urinating in your bed or in your laundry. While you may be tempted to scold your cat, it's important to understand the situation from his point of view. As long as you've brought him in and we've ruled out any medical concerns such as a urinary tract infection, your cat is trying to help you find your way home by doing the feline equivalent of leaving a breadcrumb trail. Cats may also be over-enthusiastic in their greeting when a pet parent returns, head butting or being continuously underfoot. Another way cats exhibit separation anxiety is by hiding out. While a pet parent may interpret this as normal aloof cat behavior, it is the cat's way of dealing with being stressed. Often, cats are fine with short separations, such as when you need to be at work, but exhibit anxious behaviors if left alone for longer periods, such as a family vacation, so you may not be aware of your cat's need for reassurance that you will return until after that first big trip. In either species, a true separation anxiety will mean that the only thing that will stop the behavior is the return of the pet parent.

When dealing with behavior issues that could be attributed to separation anxiety or another factor, it is important to determine the root cause of the issue. Improperly diagnosing your pet as having separation anxiety can mean inappropriately addressing the behavior and increasing the frustration level for both you and your beloved pet while failing to resolve the behavioral issues. By the same token, misinterpreting your pet's separation anxiety behaviors for other behavioral issues could lead to the sad conclusion that your pet is not a good fit in your home and family and result in her surrender to another family or shelter, increasing her potential for developing true separation anxiety. The suspicion that your pet may have separation anxiety makes it important to consult with us at Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital to verify the concern and set up a program to appropriately address the situation. Just as with many issues our pets face, there are a variety of options for treatment and alleviation of symptoms, such as behavior modification therapies, pheromone diffusers (Adaptil or Feliway, depending on your pet’s species) and other prescription options that are available in our clinic. The main thing would be to ensure your furry friend is getting the treatment that is right for her level of separation anxiety and that it alleviates both her symptoms and the frustration you both naturally experience due to the situation.

If your pet is exhibiting signs of true separation anxiety, we urge you to make an appointment by calling 763-755-3595 to discuss the issue and create a plan to ease her distress. It will take time and patience, but both you and your four-legged friend will be happier when she is able to tolerate being left alone.

Copyright © 2018 by Uhlig LLC. All rights reserved

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