Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic
1214 Hwy 25 N
Buffalo, MN 55313

OFFICE HOURS :

7 am - 8 pm : Mon - Thurs

7 am - 6 pm : Friday

8 am - 2 pm : Saturday

How to Know if Your Dog Has Lyme Disease

 
 
We're so excited to get outside again after being cooped up indoors most of the winter. What we're not so thrilled about are the ticks just waiting to feast on us and transmit Lyme disease. This is where we need your help. Keep reading to learn what you can do to keep your cat or dog tick-free in the warmer weather.
 
Regards,
Carlos
 
Spring means spending more time outdoors, for both people and pets. Unfortunately, it also means an increase in Lyme disease. In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed 1,176 cases of Lyme disease in both people and pets. Your pet is completely dependent on you to protect him from this serious disease and to recognize the symptoms if it does occur. It’s important to realize that indoor pets are not immune since ticks that carry the disease can still get into your home. 

Finding Ticks on Your Pet
It can be challenging to detect Lyme disease because the first symptoms may not appear until several months after an infected tick bit your dog or cat. That’s why doing a daily tick check is so important. Start at the tip of your pet’s nose and run your hand down the entire length of her body. This includes the underside. You should visually inspect the inside of her ears as well. 

Should you find a tick, pull it out with a pair of tweezers. Be sure to pull firmly and swiftly and don’t twist the tweezers as you do so. That could cause you to leave parts of the tick’s body intact in your pet’s fur. Once it’s out, place the tick into a jar of rubbing alcohol to ensure that you kill it. 

The most common indications of Lyme disease in companion animals include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Marked change in behavior or mood
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness with movement
  • Lymph node or joint swelling
We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic right away if your pet displays any of these symptoms. While it doesn’t automatically mean that he has Lyme disease, we need to rule it out or make a diagnosis. We may run a blood parasite screening, chemistry panel, urine, thyroid, fecal, or electrolyte test to determine the level of functioning of his organs. A course of antibiotics is the most typical Lyme disease treatment for pets. We also encourage you to have your pet rest as much as possible.

Tips to Prevent Lyme Disease
It’s not possible to eliminate all risk of your pet developing Lyme disease, but the following can decrease the likelihood:
  • Don’t keep old mattresses or furniture on your property since ticks like to hide in them. 
  • Keep your grass cut short and be sure to clear brush and tall grass from its outer parameters.
  • If any wooded area butts up against your property, put up a gravel barrier or use wood chips.
  • Keep wood dry and stack it in orderly piles so as not to attract rodents that carry ticks.
  • Don’t keep leaf piles in your yard.
  • Be sure to use a tick prevention product on your pet. We offer several brands in our online store.
We wish you a happy spring and summer free of Lyme disease. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Photo Credit: gorr1 / Getty Images

 

National Pet ID Week is April 16 to 22

 
We might fuss when you try to put a collar on us or take us to get a microchip, but we know you do it out of love. I know I speak for all my animal friends when I say that we don't want to get separated from you any more than you want to lose us.
 
Love, Carlos
 
It's devastating for the entire family when a pet gets lost and can’t get home again. Sadly, this experience is all too common. According to the American Humane Society, one-third of all household pets will become separated from their families at some point. Every year, approximately 10 million pets become lost or are stolen from their families.

Dogs and cats who don’t have a microchip are unlikely to find their way back home. The Humane Society states that only two percent of cats and 22 percent of dogs in shelters reunite with their human families. The odds increase dramatically when the pet has a microchip.

Why a Tag and Collar Might Not Be Enough
We encourage pet owners to have a tag, collar, and a microchip for their dog or cat. The reason for this is that collars can become caught on a fence or other object and slip off. Some persistent animals can get them off on their own. When you have a microchip as back-up, the person who finds your pet can take her to the closest veterinarian to scan for contact information.

Common Misconceptions About Microchips
Pet owners sometimes avoid having a microchip implanted because they believe inaccurate information. They may also depend on them too much for the same reason. A common misconception is that a microchip acts as a global positioning system (GPS) for pets. In reality, a microchip can’t tell you the location of your lost pet. It just allows employees of a veterinary clinic or animal shelter to contact you more easily.

The only thing a microchip contains is a number that is stored in a lost pet database system. Your name, address, and telephone number is in the database, not your pet’s microchip. When your pet arrives at a veterinary clinic or shelter, the staff determine if he has a chip and then look up your contact details in the database. It’s up to you to keep your information updated if you move or get a new telephone number.

Reunite with Your Best Friend Faster
It only takes a split second for a pet to get lost forever. You have your hands full with groceries and your dog or cat darts out the door. The neighbor shoots off fireworks and your pet makes a run for it. Even when you restrain your pet, it’s possible she could break free from her chain and not be able to find her way home. 

Your pet faces extreme dangers when out on her own, such as getting attacked by another animal or hit by a car. When you have a microchip implanted, you have the reassurance of knowing that a happy reunion is much more likely.

Getting a Microchip is a Fast and Painless Procedure
A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It takes just minutes to implant and is not uncomfortable for your pet. Please contact Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic at 763-682-2181 with additional questions or to schedule an appointment.

Photo Credit:  Rasulovs / Getty Images

 

Don't Lose Your Dog to Canine Parvovirus

 
They say that dogs and cats don't get along, but that isn't always true. I hate to see my dog friends get sick, especially with something as serious as parvovirus. Please read below to learn how you can keep your dog happy and healthy.
 
All my best,
Carlos
 
 
Canine parvovirus is a serious and sometimes deadly disease in dogs, but it’s also highly preventable. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), any dog can acquire parvovirus but puppies under four months and unvaccinated dogs face the biggest risk. The virus is spread through direct contact with the feces of another infected dog, other dog-to-dog contact such as sharing food bowls, through the environment, and through people. The virus, which attacks a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, can withstand heat, humidity, cold, and dry conditions. This allows it to survive much longer than other types of viruses.

Common Symptoms of Parvovirus
Please contact Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital for an immediate appointment if your dog or puppy shows any of these symptoms:
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Diarrhea, which may or may not be bloody
  • Lack of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Low body temperature or fever
  • Vomiting
Unrelenting diarrhea or vomiting can cause your dog to become dehydrated quickly. It may also lead to septic shock due to serious damage to the immune system and intestines. When a dog or puppy dies from parvovirus, it’s usually within 48 to 72 hours after contracting it. That is why you need to seek evaluation and treatment without delay.

Diagnosing and Treating Parvovirus
Our veterinarians can normally diagnose the virus with a physical exam and fecal test. Treatment focuses on support of your dog’s immune system until it becomes healthy enough to fight off the viral infection. Controlling vomiting and diarrhea and combating dehydration by replacing fluids, electrolytes, and protein is essential. We also aim to prevent secondary infections. It’s important to keep your dog warm and make sure her environment is as stress-free as possible. The AMVA states that 90 percent of dogs can survive parvovirus with prompt diagnosis and aggressive treatment.

Strategies to Prevent Parvovirus
Puppies are most at risk after the natural protection from their mother’s milk wears off and before their immune system has become fully mature. We recommend that you avoid bringing your puppy to places such as dog parks, grooming facilities, daycare, boarding, and obedience classes until he has had his full series of parvovirus vaccines. Be sure to keep your dog away from the feces of other dogs and avoid exposure to dogs who have been ill or whose vaccination history you don’t know. If you handle or encounter a sick dog, be sure to wash your hands and change your clothes as soon as possible.

Puppies should receive a series of parvovirus vaccines between 14 and 16 weeks. Your pet’s veterinarian will provide the recommended vaccine schedule for your puppy or adult dog at her next wellness exam.
 
Photo credit: Damedeeso / Getty Images

 

Pet Poison Prevention Week is March 19 to 26

Life is an endless curiosity for cats and dogs. We simply must explore that vase full of flowers, the contents of your purse, or that bottle of candy you brought home from the doctor. Just like a toddler, you need to stay one step ahead of us to prevent an accident. Here are some tips to help you pet-proof every room in your house.

As always,

Carlos

 

The Minnesota-based Pet Poison Helpline established Pet Poison Prevention Week in 1962, the same year the organization started. Now in its 56th year, the awareness campaign always takes place the third week in March. Dogs and cats are curious creatures who love to investigate anything new to them. They do this by tasting, touching, and smelling things in their home and yard. 

Unfortunately, a pet’s curiosity isn’t tempered with understanding that certain things aren’t safe to explore. This room-by-room guide from the Pet Poison Helpline will help keep your beloved pets as safe as possible.

Bathroom
Be sure to keep all medications in a secure container and keep them out of your pet’s reach in a closed cabinet. Your dog or cat could easily jump on the counter and get into medication. It’s also important to store veterinary medication away from human medication to avoid anyone taking the wrong thing. Keep the lid of your toilet closed to prevent pets from drinking out of it or possibly falling in. If you store cleaning supplies in the bathroom, make sure they’re well out of your pet’s reach.

Garage
Anti-freeze, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid are common items found in a garage that can be dangerous to pets. Pets can easily mistake anti-freeze for water due to its clear color. If it does spill in the garage or on the driveway, add water to dilute it and wipe it up immediately. All chemicals, along with nails, leaf bag ties, and other small items your pet could swallow, should be placed on a high shelf. It’s best to keep your pet out of the garage altogether.

Kitchen
If your dog or cat tends to get into the garbage, make sure you close all bags tightly and keep in an inaccessible area until you take the trash outside. This prevents your pet from ingesting food waste or choking on bones. The following foods and beverages are especially toxic to your pet:
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Unbaked yeast
To avoid an emergency, keep these items refrigerated or in the appropriate cupboard. Since pets are always on the lookout for dropped food, be sure to sweep up spills immediately.

Laundry Room
Mice and other rodents tend to enter homes through the laundry room. If you choose to place insecticides or rodenticides there, use caution and select a brand safe for companion animals. Your curious pet could jump inside an open wash machine or clothes dryer, so be certain to close the doors to avoid a tragedy. Lastly, make sure to keep laundry soap out of your pet’s reach.

Living Room
Several types of plants are toxic to pets. You can click here to see a list put together by the American Humane Society. Common overlooked dangers for pets in this room include:
  • Batteries
  • Cigarette butts left in ashtrays
  • Electrical cords
  • Potpourri
  • Remote controls 
Another source of curiosity for pets is a woman’s purse. Chewing gum and make-up can be harmful for cats and dogs if ingested.

Yard
Some types of mulch and fertilizers contain chemicals that could damage the intestinal system of your pet. Be certain to keep your pet off a recently treated lawn and out of the garden. Additionally, plan to keep your dog or cat inside when you mow the lawn or use electrical equipment outdoors.

If your pet begins displaying unusual symptoms and you suspect poisoning, contact us at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic immediately at 763-682-2181 or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661.

Photo Credit: Nataliamarc / Getty Images

 

Routine Vaccination Prevents Canine Distemper

 
I've heard the stories from my dog friends and canine distemper is nasty stuff. You can make sure your dog doesn't get it by scheduling a vaccination at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. Your dog might protest, but all will be forgiven quickly.
 
All my best,
Carlos
 
 
Canine distemper is serious and highly contagious viral disease that attacks the nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems of puppies and dogs. Thanks to routine vaccination, you may have never heard about a dog acquiring distemper. Some dog owners skip the original vaccination or booster shots because their pet seems perfectly fine. Not getting vaccinated on schedule is the biggest risk factor for canine distemper.
 
What is Canine Distemper?
A dog infected with distemper can spread it to another dog through blood, saliva, or urine. That means your dog could acquire the virus just by sharing a food bowl with an infected dog or being getting sprayed by sneeze droplets. The virus can move quickly once inside of your dog’s body. Some of the most common symptoms of distemper include:
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sneezing 
  • Vomiting
Wild animals can also carry the distemper virus. It has been reported in:
  • Coyotes
  • Ferrets
  • Foxes
  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Minks
  • Raccoons
  • Seals
  • Skunks
  • Tigers
  • Wolves
For this reason, it’s essential to keep your dog away from any wild animal. Pregnant dogs can transmit distemper to their puppies through the placenta. Once infected, a dog can continue shedding the virus for several months. Puppies younger than four months old and unvaccinated dogs are at the greatest risk of developing canine distemper.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Canine Distemper
If your dog displays the symptoms listed above, please schedule an evaluation at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital as soon as possible. We diagnose distemper through laboratory testing and clinical observation. Unfortunately, no cure currently exists. All we can do is treat your dog’s symptoms, such as offering fluids to prevent dehydration and anti-nausea medication. Once diagnosed with distemper, you must keep your dog isolated from other dogs until all symptoms have cleared.

The Distemper Vaccination
Puppies receive natural immunity from their mother if she received the distemper vaccination. However, this already starts wearing off by about six weeks of age. We recommend getting your puppy’s first vaccine between six and nine weeks old. Canine distemper is part of a core vaccine that also includes parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and adenovirus. Your puppy should get the second dose at 12 weeks of age and then won’t need a booster until one year. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that adult dogs receive the vaccination every three years.

Feel free to contact us for more tips about controlling this virus or to request an appointment.

 

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month

 
It's not that puppies and kittens aren't adorable. I was a kitten once and just look at me now! I'm one of the lucky ones and get to live here at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. A lot of dogs and cats aren't so lucky and end up homeless or euthanized in a shelter. It's a good thing preventing this sad fate is so easy with a simple spay or neuter surgery. Keep reading to learn more about the other benefits of spaying and neutering.
 
Many thanks,
Carlos
 
 
According to the American Humane Society, animal shelter staff euthanizes almost 2.5 million dogs and cats each year because they could not find a home for the animals. That means a healthy pet dies approximately every 13 seconds. As sad as this is, it’s also frustrating because animal shelters could dramatically decrease euthanasia if more people chose to spay or neuter their pets. A successful spay surgery means a female can’t get pregnant while neutering creates impotence in males. 

Several years ago, three animal humane organizations came together to declare February National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. The purpose was two-fold: to get people to have their pets altered and to promote the other important benefits of spaying and neutering.

Spaying Benefits
An unsprayed cat may go into heat several times a year. For dogs, heat cycles typically occur twice a year. A female cat is fertile before her first birthday and remains so throughout her life. This makes her capable of producing hundreds of kittens. Additionally, a cat in heat can display aggressive behavior and vocalize loudly. She strikes certain body postures and yowls incessantly to attract the attention of unaltered male cats.

A spayed dog or cat is more safe because the procedure decreases her instincts to roam. Even if neighborhood male pets aren’t neutered, they won’t want to mate with your animal if she’s been spayed. Besides reducing unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, spaying reduces your dog or cat’s likelihood of developing ovarian, mammary gland, or uterine cancer. This is especially true when you have her spayed before she goes into heat for the first time.

Neutering Benefits
Aggressiveness and roaming behavior are both common in unneutered dogs and cats trying to mate. They may even become aggressive enough to bite other animals or their human family members. Another unpleasant behavior is spraying urine to mark territory. This odor can be extremely difficult to get rid of. After a male pet has been neutered, his risk of prostate and testicular cancer both drop dramatically.

Improve Your Pet’s Quality and Quantity of Life
The North Shore Animal League states that spaying or neutering increases a cat’s lifespan by three to five years and a dog’s lifespan by one to three years. It also benefits the entire community. That is because city governments don’t have to spend as much money capturing, impounding, and euthanizing unwanted or unclaimed pets. Feral animals are a public health risk as well.

At Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic, we recommend spay or neuter surgery by six months of age whenever possible. If your dog or cat has not been sterilized yet, please click here to request an appointment.

Photo Credit: Global P / Getty Images

Untreated Heartworm Disease Can Be Fatal to Dogs and Cats

If it seems like you shouldn't have to think about heartworm protection this time of year, we pets feel the same way. I will let you in on a little secret, though. We may act like we don't appreciate what you do to keep us safe from this nasty parasite, but we really do. We even understand that heartworm protection doesn't take a season off.

Thank you,

Carlos

 

Infected mosquitos transmit heartworm disease to dogs and cats through a single bite. Unfortunately, the heartworm parasite can live up to five years inside the host animal’s body and grow to a length of one foot. They can also reproduce at an extremely fast rate. When the larvae mature, they live inside the right heart ventricle or the pulmonary arteries of your pet. They enter your dog or cat’s right atrium when so many are present that there isn’t enough room for all of them. Severe heartworm infestation can cause your pet to collapse and die.

Symptoms and Prevention of Heartworm Disease
Please contact us at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital right away if your pet displays any of the following symptoms:
• Loss of appetite
• Loss of weight
• Cough that doesn’t go away
• Vomiting
• Lack of energy
• Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest or seem to be caused by exertion

It's important to note that some dogs and cats don’t give any indication that they’re infected with heartworm. By the time you suspect something, it may be too late for treatment to be effective. As dire as this sounds, heartworm disease is entirely preventable. Many products are on the market just for the prevention of heartworm, which can make it challenging to choose the most effective one for your pet. Our veterinarians are happy to make a recommendation upon request.
 
How Heartworm Disease Manifests Differently in Cats
Heartworm disease occurs less often in cats, but it tends to be more serious due to their smaller size. Sometimes it only takes one worm for a cat to have serious health consequences. They may display shortness of breath and coughing fits or no symptoms at all. A diagnosis of heartworm disease is more challenging to arrive at in cats because we must conduct several blood tests to ensure the symptoms aren’t due to another health condition. Our veterinarians will tailor your cat’s treatment approach to her age, general health, and the number of worms present.
 
Treatment for Dogs
Once we have confirmed a positive heartworm diagnosis for your dog, you must restrict his exercise as much as possible. This can be difficult, especially for very active dogs. However, exercise increases the amount of damage heartworms can do to your dog’s heart and lungs. Once he has stabilized, we will begin a treatment plan based on his individual factors. This typically includes medication for heartworm prevention. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have additional concerns about heartworm disease. We strongly encourage you to give your pet a prevention product all year long. 

Photo Credit: Henrik_L / Getty Images

Chocolate is Not a Sweet Treat for Dogs and Cats

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I have to come clean. My animal friends and I might beg for your chocolatey treats and give you the cold shoulder when you don't share, but deep down we know you're doing what's best for us. After all, our stomachs just can't handle this stuff like yours can. So, go ahead and enjoy your chocolate but please keep it to yourself.

Love, Carlos

 

Many people love chocolate and can’t imagine that it would be harmful. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it can be for dogs and cats. When you consider how much smaller their bodies are than a human body, it’s easy to understand why. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which can cause toxic reactions when you pet ingests a large amount. Although not all chocolates contain the same amount of these ingredients, it’s best to avoid giving your pet chocolate all together.

Cocoa beans and baking chocolate contain a higher concentration of toxic ingredients while milk and white chocolate are on the lower end of the toxicity scale. However, it’s not just chocolate treats that pose a danger for your pet. Cocoa mulch, which gardeners use to keep their plants healthy, has a strong chocolate aroma that attracts pets. Be sure to keep your pet away from the garden and store cocoa mulch on a high shelf in the garage if you use it.

Symptoms and Treatment of Chocolate Toxicity
Sometimes all it takes is leaving a candy bar in sight for a few seconds while you turn your attention elsewhere for a persistent pet to nab a treat. If you know or suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, watch for the following symptoms: 

  • Hyperactivity 
  • Restlessness 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Irritability 
  • Excessive panting 
  • Abnormal heart rhythm, with or without an increased rate 
  • Increased thirst and urination 
  • Tremors and muscle twitching 

Seizures and death can occur in severe cases of chocolate poisoning. Animals with underlying health conditions, as well as the very young or old, have a higher risk of increased complications from eating chocolate. 
 
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital immediately during regular business hours. We are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-764-7661. Treatment may consist of trying to induce vomiting, medications to control diarrhea and stomach pain, IV fluids, heart medication, or anti-convulsants. 
 
With Valentine’s Day arriving shortly, it’s even more important to keep your sweet treats out of your pet’s reach. 

 

Don't Forget About Your Pet's Teeth

 

We dogs and cats might act like we don't want our teeth brushed, but we love having pearly whites and strong teeth so we can enjoy that nutritious food you give us. Keep reading for some tips on gaining our cooperation and how you can tell when we might have a problem with our oral health.

Cheers,

Carlos

 

You bring your pet to the veterinarian for annual exams, feed her nutritious food, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, and regularly spend time grooming her. Despite all this, you could be overlooking an important part of her overall healthcare. Care of your pet’s teeth, gums, and mouth is equally as important as the rest of her body. That is because untreated dental disorders can cause serious problems like infection and tooth loss. Without strong teeth, your pet can’t get the nourishment she needs for a long and healthy life.
 
If you haven’t yet made oral healthcare part of your pet’s daily routine, you’re not alone. Most pet owners are either intimidated at the thought of caring for their animal’s teeth or never knew that it was important. At Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital, we recommend an annual oral care exam for your pet in addition to the routine check-up.
 
Pets Develop Periodontal Disease Too
By age three, approximately three out of four pets have some degree of periodontal disease. Also called gum disease, this occurs when plaque, bacteria, and tartar build up on the teeth and attack the gum tissues. One way to guard against periodontal disease is to feed your dog or cat high-quality food with a large concentration of protein and meat but no fillers. A dental-specific diet may be appropriate in some situations.
 
If you can’t brush your pet’s teeth daily, at least commit to doing it several times a week. To start, have your pet lie down in a comfortable spot. Next, gently pry open his mouth and rub your finger across the teeth for a few seconds so he gets used to having something in his mouth. You may want to wear rubber gloves for this step. You can then have your pet taste a small amount of toothpaste. However, be certain that you choose toothpaste specially made for your pet’s species.
 
At this point, you can place the toothpaste on the brush and begin brushing. If your pet is resistant, start with a small finger brush first.  Eventually, try to brush the outsides of the top and bottom rows of teeth for 30 seconds each. Plenty of praise and reassurance should help your pet get used to the new routine. If you’re still having trouble after a few weeks, ask one of our veterinarians for some suggestions.

Recognizing and Preventing Dental Health Problems
The following symptoms may indicate that your pet has developed periodontal disease or another oral health problem: 
 
• Bad breath despite brushing or using dental chews 
• Drooling more than usual 
• Brown or yellow staining of the teeth 
• Poor appetite 

Please schedule an appointment for your pet at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic right away if you notice any of these issues. We use the latest dental equipment, such as an ultrasonic scaler and a restorative sealant, to clean the teeth. Our veterinarians also use dental radiographs to ensure the best possible view of any potential problems in your pet’s mouth. 

Photo Credit: Gra?a Victoria / Getty Images

How to Choose Safe Gifts & Toys for Your Pet This Holiday Season

 

Us cats and dogs love to be a part of your holiday celebrations. It makes us feel especially loved when you include us by wrapping a gift and then putting our name on the outside of it. Since you're human and don't know how we think, here are some ideas for gifts that are both fun and safe.

Season's Greetings!

Carlos

 
Children and pets make the holiday season especially magical. After all, you would have to be a real Scrooge not to smile when you see an excited child, dog, or cat tear into a gift. Toys are not an extravagance when it comes to pets. They provide much-needed stimulation in addition to distraction, comfort, entertainment and exercise. With our long Minnesota winters, having several toys available for your pet helps to focus her energy on the toys instead of becoming destructive around the house.
 
Choosing Toys for Your Dog
An appropriate toy for a Chihuahua isn’t necessarily something you would give to a St. Bernard. With the size and weight of dogs varying dramatically, it’s important to select toys without parts that your dog could easily swallow. Plastic eyes, buttons, and strings are all good examples of this. Additionally, toys containing nutshells or polystyrene beads can be significant choking hazards.
 
All dogs have an instinctual desire to chew. Tennis balls, a rope toy with a knot at each end, and hard rubber toys are safe choices to give your dog as a holiday gift. Toys that allow you to hide a treat inside, such as a busy box or Kong, motivate your dog to keep playing with the toy to get to the treat. It’s a rare dog who would pass up this opportunity.
 
Considerations When Selecting a Cat Toy
Many cats are just as entertained by batting a twist-tie across the floor than they are with an expensive toy meant to stimulate them. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a gift for your cat as long as she can move or bat it and interact with you while doing so. You can even create a gift out of a simple homemade item like the cardboard center of a paper towel roll. Some classic cat favorites include: 

  • Any toy attached to the end of a rod that allows you to dangle it in front of him 
  • A laser pointer 
  • Toy mice, with or without catnip 

These toys give your cat the satisfaction of chasing and capturing her prey, which is built into her DNA. For cats who remain strictly indoors, having a wide variety of toys enables them to get enough exercise and keep boredom at bay. 
 
Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital wishes you a happy holiday season with your beloved pets. 

Photo Credit: GlobalP / Getty Images

 

 

 

Conquering Your Pet's Anxiety About Going to the Vet

It's no big secret that dogs and my fellow cats aren't big fans of visiting the vet. It's nothing personal, really. We're just scared and don't like our routine disrupted. We know that you love us. Here are some things you can do for the next appointment to help us be cool about it.

Yours truly,

Carlos

 

If your pet’s behavior when preparing him to visit us at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic is exasperating, take heart. He isn’t acting naughty on purpose. It is his only way of coping with an unknown situation that can make him feel highly anxious. Continue reading for specific tips on making veterinary visits less stressful for your dog or cat. And you, of course.

Taming Vet Fear for Dogs
Most dogs love riding in the car with their owners. They only object when that car ends up at the vet’s office. While you’re out running errands with your dog, feel free to stop in for a quick visit. We love seeing healthy pets and your dog will come to associate our office with love and snuggles and not just pokes and prods. Here are some other things you can try:

• A few hours before the appointment, spray a calming pheromone in your dog’s crate, her harness, and the seat of your car.
• Make sure you restrain your dog in the car for safety as well as to help her feel more secure.
• Play calming music on the way to your dog’s appointment.
• Budget plenty of time to get to the appointment so your dog won’t pick up on your stress.
• If your dog suffers severe stress and nothing else seems to help, speak to her regular veterinarian about giving her calming medication before leaving for the appointment.

Taming Vet Fear for Cats
As with dogs, you’re welcome to stop in the clinic with your cat any time. We hope the extra attention and opportunity to look around to his heart’s desire will help to reduce anxiety. These tips should help as well:
• Bring your cat’s carrier out at least a few days before his appointment. This gives him the chance to sniff it out as well as sleep and play in it. You may even want to put a treat in the carrier so he makes a pleasant association.
• You may need to enlist the assistance of another family member if you can’t gain your cat’s cooperation to get in the carrier on appointment day. One of you should hold the cat while the other lifts the cover off the carrier. Quickly replace the cover as the other person lets go of the cat.
• Feliway is a cat-specific pheromone that emits a calming aroma. You can try spraying it on the carrier and in the car. Do not allow your cat to roam free in the car.
• Don’t rush to the appointment and try to keep the cat-to-person ratio at 1:1 if possible.

Check Your Own Anxiety
Dogs and cats are extremely perceptive and will pick up on your anxiety. Approaching the appointment in a confident, matter-of-fact way can affect how your pet feels about it. We are always happy to see your pet, even if she would rather be just about anywhere else. Our staff will do everything possible to help her feel comfortable during the visit. 

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Preparing for a Safe and Healthy Thanksgiving with Your Pet

It seems cruel to be a dog or cat at this time of year. All of those amazing smells and mouth-watering food right in front of us and we can't have any. As much as we protest, don't give in and let us eat your food. We dogs and cats have sensitive stomachs and need to stick to the food made especially for us.

Love, Carlos

 

Being the creatures of habit that they are, dogs and cats aren’t as excited about the Thanksgiving holiday as you are. There are extra people in the house, some of whom may be small children that poke at them. The smells of the holiday feast are overpowering, yet the food is not for them. Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or traveling with your pet to someone else’s home, make sure that one person supervises her closely the entire day. Plan to keep your pet away from the front door as people arrive to prevent a possible escape.

If you have any concerns about your dog or cat’s ability to tolerate a large group of people, keep him in a separate room until the crowd has cleared. You don’t want a frightened cat biting a small child or an over-excited dog knocking your grandmother off her feet.
 
Should You Share Thanksgiving Treats with Your Pet?
While small amounts of certain foods might be okay to give your pet, wait until everyone is away from the table. You don’t want to encourage begging behavior by feeding your pet from the same table where you eat. A tiny portion of boneless, well-cooked turkey that doesn’t contain added seasonings should be okay for most animals. However, many foods associated with the Thanksgiving meal are toxic to them. These include: 

  • Avocados 
  • Bread dough 
  • Cake 
  • Chocolate 
  • Grapes 
  • Raisins 
  • Sage 
  • Seasonings 
  • Turkey bones
 
If your pet does sneak one of these foods, it can cause severe abdominal upset. Some are choking hazards as well. Another thing to watch for is that your pet doesn’t try to eat food wrappers dropped on the floor since these are also easy to choke on. Between the temptations of the plentiful food and its pleasing aroma, your normally well-behaved dog or cat may try finding a treat in the garbage can. This is all the more reason your pet should not be in the kitchen or dining room while the meal is prepared or served.

Prepare for an Emergency Just in Case
Since Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital will be closed on Thanksgiving, make sure you have the telephone number to the Pet Poison Helpline programmed into your phone. It is 1-855-764-7661. You can also contact Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service at the location closest to you. Our entire staff wishes your family a Happy Thanksgiving. 

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Make Sure Halloween Isn't Scary for Your Pets

 

You humans might think Halloween is a fun time, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret. It kind of freaks us cats and dogs out. Between the non-stop knocks at the door, people dressed in strange outfits, and all of the treats we're not supposed to have, we can get a bit stressed on this day. We're not saying that you shouldn't have your fun. Just make sure that you follow a few simple tips so we make it through to November 1 without a meltdown, okay?

Thank you,

Carlos

 

Halloween is a fun diversion for kids and many adults, but the holiday is often stressful for pets. This begins long before October 31 officially arrives. Dogs and cats are naturally curious about anything new in their surroundings, including streamers, cut-outs, and other Halloween decorations. If you decide to decorate, avoid lighting candles and make sure everything is out of your pet’s reach. This allows you to enjoy the season while keeping your pet safe at the same time.

Don’t Share Your Halloween Candy
Be sure to keep all Halloween candy away from your dog or cat and instruct your kids to do the same. It may be tempting to give in when your pet is begging for treats or looking at you with sad eyes, but even a small amount of candy could be harmful. Besides chocolate, artificial sweeteners cause the most problems for pets. These candies can induce diarrhea, vomiting, and severe abdominal discomfort.

Separate Your Pet from the Festivities
Your pet may become highly agitated by the constant ringing of the doorbell and opening of the door on Halloween night. To avoid an escape attempt or even an attack on the trick-or-treaters, prepare a room in your home for him in advance. He will be more comfortable with his favorite toys, pillow, and food than out with all of the commotion. The same is true if you host a Halloween party. Just be sure to peek in so your pet knows you haven’t abandoned him and let him come out to join the family at the end of the night.

Another reason to keep your pet secured on Halloween night is to keep her safe from pranksters. People have been known to steal pets on or near Halloween, particularly black cats. It is a big enough problem that most animal shelters won’t allow people to adopt a black cat around Halloween just to make sure the animal doesn’t meet a cruel fate.

Costume Safety Tips
It seems like Halloween costumes for pets get more creative and adorable every year. There is nothing wrong with dressing your pet in a costume for as long as you follow a few safety tips. As with children’s costumes, make sure anything you put on your pet doesn’t cover his eyes, nose, or mouth. It’s important to supervise your pet closely while he’s wearing the costume to make sure that he doesn’t try to eat a piece of fabric or anything else that could be harmful. 

If your pet does become sick or injured on Halloween, try contacting our clinic first. Halloween is on a Monday this year and we are normally open until 8:00 p.m. After hours, try the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. We wish you and your pet a Happy Halloween and would love to see a picture of her in costume. 

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Seven Tips for Keeping Your Pet Healthy During Pet Wellness Month

My friends and I might give you a hard time about going to the vet, brushing our teeth, and the many other things you do to take care of us. Don't believe our act. We appreciate your loving care so much that we're even willing to give you tips you might not have thought of on your own.

Humbly yours,

Carlos

The American Veterinary Medical Association started Pet Wellness Month a dozen years ago to encourage people to consider their pet’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, the absence of an obvious illness doesn’t mean your pet is as healthy as she could be. In the spirit of the awareness event, we would like to highlight seven important things you can do to take the best possible care of your pet. These include: 

Schedule a preventive care exam at least once a year. Puppies, kittens, and senior pets should visit us more often. These check-ups give our veterinarians the chance to determine potential health problems in your pet as early as possible. Some conditions require only careful monitoring while others will need treatment. We always let you know exactly what we discover during a preventive care exam. 

Keep up-to-date on your pet’s vaccinations. This not only prevents him from serious illness or death, but some vaccines are required by law. Our staff will also discuss optional vaccines your pet may benefit from, such as Lyme disease or feline leukemia. 

Spay or neuter your pet. We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized every year because there just aren’t enough people willing to provide them with a loving home. Altering your pet also reduces the risk of conditions such as mammary gland tumors or testicular cancer. 

Don’t forget the importance of oral hygiene. Did you know that untreated dental problems can lead to issues with the heart, kidneys, and joints? We would be happy to demonstrate how to gain your pet’s cooperation long enough for you to brush her teeth. Additionally, checking your dog or cat’s oral hygiene is a normal part of our preventive care exams. 

Be sure to feed your pet nutritious foods. Ingredients that have the word meal or by-product added to it are little more than filler and don’t provide any real nutritional value. We also encourage you to limit treats and make sure that your pet gets exercise each day. 

Prepare a kit for your pet in the event of a natural disaster. If you’re suddenly facing a flood, fire, or tornado, you won’t be thinking clearly about what your pet needs to survive. Having a bag ready to go that has his food, toys, medications, and other essentials will help you evacuate your pet safely. 

Learn as much as you can about your pet’s species. This allows you to form a deeper bond because you have realistic expectations about her behavior. It also gives you the tools you need to create a living environment that is as stress-free and nurturing as possible. 

Feel free to contact us at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic if you have questions about your pet’s health or care. If we haven’t seen your pet in more than a year, please schedule a check-up today. 

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