Pets Scared of the Vet

Pets Scared of the Vet

How can I help my pet when they are terrified of the vet?

If your pet is terrified of going to the vet, you are not alone. There are plenty of pet owners who dread every time they have to drag their pet into the vet’s office as their pet pulls back, quivers, or even becomes more aggressive when they get inside the clinic doors.  On top of that you just feel guilty putting your pet through that. You probably intentionally miss necessary vet visits just to avoid having to put your pet and yourself through this agonizing process. 

Rest assured, there are some things you can try that may help make the process a bit smoother and easier on both you and your pet. We’ll talk about some things you can do on your own, as well as some things you can implement working in collaboration with your veterinarian and their clinic staff.

Desensitization Techniques

It is completely normal for pets to be scared of the vet clinic. They are very good and making associations and associate the vet clinic with bad things happening to them, such as being poked with a needle, having a stranger touch them, and even being sick. Additionally, fearful pets give off fearful pheromone smells, so that other pets who come into the clinic begin their visit there uncertain and unafraid, on high alert.

Desensitization is the process of getting your pet comfortable with something they don’t like by exposing them to it in frequent, low, non-harmful doses and by pairing a lot of good stuff with it. In this case, it involves getting your pet used to everything involved in going to the vet- from the car ride to the vet’s office, to the smells and sounds of the vet’s office, to the equipment that is used during the veterinary exam.

Therefore, the first thing you can do is take your pet on car rides regularly, at random times, and to places they enjoy. This may mean taking them to a dog park, a pet store, a friend’s house, or to a drive-through to get some treats. Mix it up and do it often so they don’t think every time they get into the car they must be going to the vet.

The second thing you can do is take your pet to the vet just to hang out, without even needing anything to be done to them. Some veterinary clinics offer what we refer to as “happy visits”. These consist of scheduled times when you can bring your pet into the clinic, just for them to get used to be there without getting poked and prodded. They won’t have anything done to them and the veterinary staff will just offer your pet treats and love to help them become more calm in the environment. They may just sit and eat treats in the lobby, or they may go into an exam room and continue to get treats. They key here is slow, gradual, and making it fun and exciting.

Pheromones & Calming Tips

For some pets, such as cats and dogs, there are pheromone collars and sprays available to help relieve anxiety your pet may be feeling. “Dog Appeasing Pheromone” comes in sprays and collars, while “Feliway” for cats (https://www.feliway.com/us) comes in sprays that you can use on collars, carriers, leashes, bandanas, or blankets for your pet to breath in and feel calmer.

For cats, you can also sprinkle some catnip on a towel and put in your cat’s carrier to help them feel more at ease, and even playful. 

Calming supplements, such as “Composure”, can also be helpful. They are little treats that contain anxiety-relieving ingredients, such as colostrum and theanine. You can give them to your pet to eat prior to coming into the vet and they are very safe to use. Some people have also found CBD oils that are specifically made for pets to help a little with vet-associated anxiety. Just make sure to read the label and give the appropriate dose to your individual pet. You may also want to call your vet’s office ahead of time to make sure it’s okay to give.

There is also a product called a “Thundershirt” that your pet may benefit from. It is made to fit snuggly around your pet, helping endorphins to be released into their bloodstream, calming their anxieties. It’s sort of like receiving a long, snug hug from someone. These Thundershirts can help your pet feel more calm and relaxed, easing some of the tensions of going into the clinic. 

If your pet is very visual and over-reactive to all the visual stimuli within the vet clinic, they may benefit from the use of a “Calming Cap”.  Calming caps are little hood-like caps you can put on your pet before you bring them in to the vet. They cover the eyes so your pet can’t see everything going on around them. It’s best to get them used to these ahead of time at home and have them wear it at other times also so they don’t only associate it with going to the vet clinic. Partnering it’s application with yummy treats is a good way to get your pet okay with having it put on.

Here is a link to more information on Calming caps and Thundershirts:

Treats, yummy yummy treats!

Don’t feed your pet before bringing them in to the vet so that they are hungry and hopefully food motivated when they get there. This can help them be more able to focus on food if the vet staff offers them food and treats, allowing them to not think about their anxieties.

Something else you can do is set aside a certain treat or food that your pet absolutely loves. Only give them this treat or food when it is time to go to the vet. This gets them to think of the vet as a good thing as they get their favorite food only when they get to go to the vet!

Medications or sedation

For some pets, no matter what you try on your own, nothing will help. And that’s okay. There are certain medications available that your veterinarian can prescribe for you to give prior to bringing your pet into the vet. These medications are safe and will wear off after a few hours. The main side effects are they may make your pet drowsy and sleep for most of the day. If they are prescribed for your cat, you may need to be cautious and keep your cat confined to a small room for the remainder of the day after your vet visit so they don’t try to go down the stairs or jump up on something, falling off.

You may also consider looking for a veterinarian who does house calls. Some pets who are terrified at the vet’s office actually do just fine if the vet is brought to them where they are at ease and comfortable, not feeling threatened. There are more and more vets of all kinds offering at-home services these days. Even if your vet’s office doesn’t have it advertised as a service, go ahead and ask your vet if they would consider doing a house call for your pet or if they know of any nearby vets who can.

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

If you’ve ever seen your dog rummage the yard for pieces of poop, you’ll understand how frustrating and stomach turning it can be. Rest assured, this actually is a normal type of behavior for dogs, even if it disgusts us. Even though it can be normal, it’s best to try to deter this sort of behavior as it can lead to continued reinfection of parasites and cause intestinal disturbances. There are some actions you can take to try to break this habit, which we’ll discuss below.

What is so enticing about the Poop?

Coprophagy is the term used to describe the act of eating poop. Although it’s common for people to think a dog eats poop because they have some sort of nutrient deficiency, this is usually not the case. Poop scavengers are typically eating poop as a sign of dominance, indicating to others that they are in charge. When puppies eat poop, it’s more so out of curiosity and play. Other dogs may eat poop merely because it tastes good to them and is extremely malodorous. We all know how dogs love to chew on things that smell bad, such as worn socks, shoes, and dirty laundry (including underwear- that’s a common cause of intestinal obstruction in dogs). Finally, some dogs eat poop merely out of boredom or frustration.

What can I do to stop my dog from eating poop?

Getting your dog to stop eating poop (stool) will take a combinations of deterrence, training, and quick movement on your part. We’ll break these down below.

Deterrence:  

This is the act of making eating the poop less attractive, rewarding, and enticing for your dog. There are actually products made specifically for this reason- to get your dog to stop eating their stool or the stool of another pet. There are a few options out there, but the oldest and most effective one is called For-Bid (https://www.for-bid.com/)

For-Bid is a highly purified edible protein that comes in powder form. When eaten, it causes the dog’s stool to taste very bad. It’s important to note that even though we as humans may think stool already tastes bad, this is not necessarily the case for dogs, but the For-Bid powder causes the stool to be distasteful to dogs’ taste buds.

If your dog is eating their own stool, you sprinkle the powder into your dog’s food daily until your dog stops eating their poop. If the behavior begins again, you start the process over. If your dog is eating another dog’s poop, then you sprinkle the powder into the other dog’s food daily until your dog stops eating the other dog’s poop. You can also give this to your cats to eat if the problem is that your dog is getting into their litter box and eating their poop.

Behavior Training:

If your dog is eating their own poop or other dogs’ poop as a sign of dominance, out of frustration or boredom, or due to another behavioral issue, it is a good idea to seek out the help of either a certified dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. They can come to your home and spend some time with your dog and other pets in the home.  They can get an idea of the social hierarchy and any stressors that may be present, while working with you to provide recommendations and changes in the environment. 

Make sure your dog has lots of toys and enrichment to keep their body and mind entertained. If your schedule allows, try to play with them regularly and take them on daily walks. If your budget allows, taking them to regular dog training classes, dog parks, or agility courses will also help keep them stimulated and less inclined to eat their poop. 

Quick Movement:

Remove their poop as fast as you can from the ground. This is the number one best way to prevent them from eating their poop. If it’s not there, they can’t eat it! This, of course, means that you have to go outside with them during each potty break, take a glove and a bag, and scoop up their poop right as they are laying it down. This takes much more work on your part, but is the best preventative measure you have. 

Every dog is different and these measures may or may not work completely for your individual dog. If you are worried your dog is eating poop because of something painful in their mouth or a medical condition, it’s also always a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so they can do a thorough examination on your dog and discuss if bloodwork may be needed.

Easy Wound Care For Pets

Easy Wound Care For Pets

If you have a pet, you’ve probably been witness to them injuring themselves in some capacity at some point. Wounds, especially superficial skin wounds, are very common in pets.

They can get in a fight with another pet or animal outside, they can get their skin caught on something sharp and not realize it, they can scratch themselves to the point of causing a wound, and they can develop an abscess or have a bad skin reaction to something they came into contact with. 

Even though the best thing to do when you notice a wound on your pet is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, we understand you may not be able to get them in right away and you want to be able to do something to help the wound heal and prevent an infection from developing. In this article, we’ll discuss here how to clean a wound, what to watch for, and when to take your pet to the veterinarian. 

It’s important to note that wound management at home is mainly for mild, superficial wounds. If your pet has a deep bite wound, or a large gash that is deeper than just the superficial skin, you need to take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

Cleaning A Wound

When cleaning a wound on your pet, the first thing you should do is rinse it with lukewarm, running water. This is to make sure you remove any debris or particles that may stick to the wound, causing greater inflammation. This is also to help prevent infection as it can help wash away any bacteria that may be in the area. If you have or are able to get chlorhexidine solution (2% is best), you can then wash the wound gently with this as well. This will help to kill any bacteria that may be surrounding the wound. 

Do not clean with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide does more damage than good, and can further damage the already damaged and exposed skin tissue.

You can then dry the area around the wound by patting it dry with a clean towel. You can do this directly on the wound as well if it isn’t causing your pet too much discomfort, or you can just let it air dry. If the wound is particularly dirty or gets debris stuck to it again, you can continue cleansing it daily for 3-5 days.

If the wound is on a dog, you can apply some Neosporin (triple antibiotic ointment) on and around the wound, but make sure your dog doesn’t just lick it off. Offering food or a tasty treat would be a good distraction to discourage them from noticing you have put anything on their body they may want to lick off. You can reapply the triple antibiotic ointment daily for 3-5 days. (If the wound is on a cat, do not apply Neosporin, as they will definitely groom it off and it can make them sick if they ingest even just a little bit of it.

It is ideal that you also try to get a cone or E-collar to put around their neck to prevent them from licking or chewing at the wound. As the wound begins to heal, it can feel tingly and itchy, but if your pet is allowed to chew or pick at it, this will delay healing and increase the risk of infection developing.

Signs to Watch For & When to Go to the Vet

As the wound heals, the skin should begin to look more normal after 3-5 days. Your pet should feel comfortable and not be bothering it too much, though it may feel a little itchy to them. If your pet is really bothering the wound, if it’s not looking better within 3-5 days, if it starts to swell up, or if the skin begins looking a blue-purple or grey color, these are signs it isn’t healing appropriately and you should take your pet to the veterinarian. Sometimes a course of oral antibiotics is all that is needed, while other times the wound may need to surgical intervention to promote healing.

Is Nasal Discharge & Sneezing in Pets A Bad Sign?

Is Nasal Discharge & Sneezing in Pets A Bad Sign?

If you suddenly see nasal discharge in your pets, or if your pet sneezes a lot, you might wonder what’s going on. Just like people, our pets can get stuffy noses, runny noses, and suffer from sneezing episodes.

It can take you off guard seeing and hearing your pet sneeze, especially if it is a sneezing fit that takes a few minutes for them to get over. In this article we’ll discuss some of the more common reasons why your pet may sneeze or have drainage from their nose, also referred to as nasal discharge.

Causes Of Nasal Discharge 

Nasal discharge refers to any sort of drainage coming from the nose. Drainage from the nose can come in different forms, depending on what the underlying cause is and how inflamed the lining of the nasal passages are. For instance, the drainage can be:

  • clear, 
  • green, 
  • grey, or 
  • red

and it can be:

  • thick and goopy, or 
  • very thin. 

There are many different things that can cause nasal discharge in our pets. Here is a list of some of the more common reasons your pet may have drainage from the nose:

  • Irritation from something they sniffed/inhaled
  • Allergies
  • Viral infections (upper respiratory infections)
  • Bacterial infections (upper respiratory infections)
  • Tooth root infections

If your pet’s nasal drainage is due to just an inhaled irritant, it should improve on its own within 24-48 hours and will likely be just clear in color. Nasal drainage due to allergies or viral infections can also sometimes improve on their own if your pet’s immune system is functioning properly and will usually last about 1-2 weeks. 

However, if you’re noticing thick, green, mucoid drainage from your pet’s nose, it could indicate they have developed a bacterial infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.

When To Take Your Pet To The Veterinarian

If you notice anything more than clear, thin discharge, it’s best to take your pet in to see their veterinarian so they can prescribe the right medicine for them.

Your vet can also let you know if anything needs to be followed up on, such as scheduling a dental cleaning (only necessary if your pet has teeth). The reason infected tooth roots can cause nasal drainage is because the roots of the upper teeth are very close to the nasal passages, and if the tooth root is infected, this will also cause inflammation and infection to creep into the lining of the nose. 

There are also more serious conditions that result in nasal discharge, which do require medical attention. If you notice blood coming from your pet’s nasal area, or the nasal drainage does not improve on its own within 1-2 weeks, it is time for them to be seen by their veterinarian. 

Here is a list of some of the less common, but more serious causes of nasal drainage:

  • Having something stuck in the nasal passages, such as a blade of grass or pine bedding
  • Autoimmune inflammatory conditions affecting the nasal passages
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer

If your pet has nasal drainage of any kind for more than 2 weeks or if there is blood present, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for them to examine your pet and discuss if any more extensive diagnostics need to be done to evaluate for the more rare, but serious causes mentioned above.

Causes Of Sneezing

Sneezing occurs when something is irritating to the nasal passages. It is a protective mechanism of the body to try to prevent allergens, infections, and foreign bodies from lodging further down into the lower airways. Oftentimes, sneezing can be caused by similar things that cause nasal discharge. Some common reasons why your pet may be sneezing include:

  • An irritant that was inhaled, such as dust, pollen, fragrance, etc.
  • Allergies
  • Viral infections (upper respiratory infections)
  • Bacterial infections (upper respiratory infections)
  • Something stuck in the nasal passages, such as a blade of grass

Sometimes these things can resolve on their own within a few days. If you notice green, mucoid discharge from the sneeze, blood from the sneeze, or if the sneezing doesn’t become less frequent within 5-7 days, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for your pet to be examined. 

Nasal discharge doesn’t need to be scary or life threatening. In fact, in some cases, nasal discharge can be a good thing, especially if it helps your pets clear foreign bodies from their nasal passages. However, if your pet exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, then be sure to get veterinary help.