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

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. 

Photo Credit: MTR / Getty Images

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. 

Photo Credit: cassinga / Getty Images 

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. 

Photo Credit: kiko_jimenez / Getty Images

 

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. 

Photo Credit: Okssi68 / Getty Images

 

Cats Get Separation Anxiety Too

Although we would probably deny it to our friends, us cats love our humans and can feel quite distressed when they leave us. We don't know it's just for the day and that you will be back before supper. We just know that we miss you. Some of us even develop separation anxiety, which you can learn more about in the article below.  Cheers, Carlos

People often have the mistaken impression that only dogs get separation anxiety. Part of the reason for this persistent myth is the belief that cats are solitary animals who don't have the same need for human contact as their canine counterparts. In reality, cats are social creatures who form close bonds both with their human family and with other animal members in the household. 
 
Cats who were weaned from their mother too young, orphaned, or who have lived with several different families tend to be the most at risk of developing separation anxiety. Your home environment and the fact that some cat owners reward them for being clingy and needy can also play a role. If your cat has no other activities to entertain herself, she may become overly dependent on you. Other possible causes include a change in your work schedule, family tension, or re-adjusting after you come home from a vacation. 
 
Signs of Feline Social Anxiety 
 
If you're not sure what to look for, it would be easy to misinterpret your cat's clues that he is struggling with anxiety as deliberate misbehavior. Some of the most common indications include: 
• Excessive meowing 
• Excessive grooming 
• Eliminating outside of the litterbox 
• Eliminating on your bed or a piece of your clothing 
• Eating too fast 
• Refusing to eat at all when you're not home 
 
While coming home to find cat feces on your bed isn't pleasant, your cat isn't just trying to be naughty. She is actually mixing her scent with yours as a means of self-comfort. You obviously need to take steps so she doesn't repeat the behavior, but you shouldn't punish her for it. 
 
What to Do About Separation Anxiety 
 
It's important to keep in mind that displaying the above symptoms doesn't necessarily mean your cat has separation anxiety. Since he could also have a legitimate illness, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic if the symptoms persist.  Once you're certain that you're dealing with separation anxiety, employing several behavioral techniques should help to reduce or eliminate it. 
 
Making changes to your cat's environment so it is more enriching is a good way to start changing this anxious behavior. It helps him to feel more secure, satisfied, and entertained in your absence. Some things to consider include cat climbing trees, puzzle feeders, and creating more spaces for hideaways. Cats love to curl up and hide and they have a natural instinct to chase prey, both of which they can satisfy with these changes. 
 
Although it may be hard, ignore your cat when she's being demanding and reward her when she's being quiet or entertaining herself. Most cats enjoy petting and praise from their owners as well as the occasional treat. To get her more active and tap into that natural hunting instinct, be sure to play with her once or twice each day. This also gives her your undivided attention. 
 
One final tip is not to make a big production about leaving. Just be matter of fact about it and be on your way so your cat doesn't pick up on your anxiety. If none of these suggestions work, you may need to consider medication for your cat. Please let us know how we can help with this frustrating problem. 

Photo Credit: DavidGraham86 / Getty Images

Protect Your Dog's Paws from the Hot Asphalt

 

You don't often see us cats walking across a hot sidewalk in the summertime, but dogs can't help it. They're a bit more wound up than we are and need their exercise. Since it's up to you to keep their paws safe, go ahead an embarrass them and put on some dog booties. That's just one idea, so keep reading for everything you need to know about dogs and hot asphalt. Love, Carlos

Many dog owners don't realize just how hot asphalt can get or how uncomfortable it can be for their dog to walk on it.  Although the paw pads are tough, your dog can sustain serious burns by walking or running on hot pavement or metal surfaces that can reach well over 100 degrees in the summertime. However, the damage to the paw pads isn't as obvious as injuries on other parts of your dog's body. You need to specifically look for the following symptoms:

• Blisters
• Chewing or licking at the feet
• Darker color on some or all of the paw pad
• Limping
• Part of the paw pad is missing
• Redness
• Refusing to walk
 
If you notice any of these problems, clean the foot area and cool it down with water. Be sure to schedule an appointment with us right away so we can check for indications of deeper burns.
 
How to Prevent Paw Pad Burns
 
Your dog needs exercise in all four seasons, summer included. You don't have to avoid going outside for fear of him walking on something too hot, but it is important to take precautions. Make sure that you're the one taking the lead in your walks and not your dog. This gives you the chance to scan the environment and stay clear of hot asphalt and metal surfaces. When you see something coming up that looks too hot for your dog to handle, cross the street to avoid it or find a grassy area to walk instead.
 
Putting pet-sized slippers on all four of your dog's paws before each walk allows you to walk wherever you want to. It may look a little funny and your dog may even protest it, but coming home with undamaged paws is well worth it. If your dog is lightweight, you can even carry her across hot surfaces.
 
Avoiding going outside when the sun is at its peak, which is normally between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., is one possible way to avoid burns. However, it's always best to check the pavement first by briefly touching it with your hand to determine if it's safe for your dog to walk on.
 
Other Hot Weather Tips
 
The opening of the Minnesota State Fair in a few short weeks may signal the end of summer, but there's still plenty of days of hot weather ahead. Be sure your dog stays hydrated and that he doesn't spend long hours in the direct sunlight. Lastly, never leave your dog in a hot car even for a minute. The risk of heat stroke or even death just isn't worth it. 

Photo Credit : Makedadance / Getty Images

Pets and Backyard Barbeques

You can't really blame us pets for going a little crazy when the mouth-watering aroma of food on the grill catches our attention. From that point on, we will generally make pests of ourselves trying to get what we want. You really shouldn't give in. It's for our own good, but I will never admit to saying that in front of the other animals. It will be our little secret.

Love, Carlos

If you haven’t already been invited to or hosted a backyard barbeque yet this summer, chances are that you will. With dogs and cats being such a part of our everyday lives, you may want to have your pet present at the next such event.  While your pet certainly can join in the fun, it does require some careful planning and supervision on your part.
 
Keep Pets Away from the Grill
This won’t be a problem for shy cats and dogs who will run and hide at the first sign of a stranger. The more gregarious pets will feel curious about what’s going on and tempted by the smells. If this describes your pet, either keep him in the house or on a leash when the food is cooking. Contact with hot coals and grills, along with spatulas and other equipment used to cook the meat, is a disaster waiting to happen.

Ask Other Guests Not to Feed Your Pet
Some people just can’t resist a dog or cat’s sad eyes and begging behavior, so make sure you ask others not to feed your pet. Several types of typical barbeque food are unsafe for animals to consume. These can include avocados, grapes, nuts, onions, and dairy products. While most meat is safe, some can contain bones that pose a choking hazard. If you decide to give your pet a taste of meat, cut it into small pieces and feed it to him away from the other guests. This also reinforces the idea that he shouldn’t beg from them.

Guard the Garbage
If you or other guests consume food with leftover bones, they should go inside of a sealed bag and placed in a trash receptacle that your pet can’t knock over. It only takes a second for a dog or cat to snatch a bone and end up with an airway obstruction, fractured tooth, or gastrointestinal upset.

Limit Sun Exposure
Dogs and cats don’t have the same ability to expel body heat that humans do. With this in mind, make sure that you provide your pet with continuous access to cool drinking water. If you’re the host, make it a point to let her in the house periodically as well. When you’re the guest, put your pet on a leash near a tree that provides a lot of shade. 

Please contact us at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital right away in the event of sudden illness or injury during or after the barbeque.

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Rabies: Separating Fact from Fiction

My animal friends might protest getting a rabies vaccination, but deep down they appreciate that you love them enough to keep them safe. I would like to have them around for a long time, and I'm sure that you would do. Here is what you need to know to keep rabies away.

Sincerely, Carlos

When you consider the serious and deadly nature of rabies, it’s easy to understand why so much fear and misinformation continues to surround it. That is why making sure that you have the right information is so essential. You don’t want to expose your dog or cat to unnecessary risk, yet it’s important not to act on information that may be inaccurate. The information below will help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to rabies.
 
Common Misinformation About Rabies
The idea that a companion animal doesn’t develop the disease of rabies until the brain becomes affected is false. If an infected racoon, bat, or other type of wild animals bites your pet, he has rabies from that moment on. It can take anywhere from 10 to 60 days for the infection caused by rabies to reach your dog or cat’s central nervous system and cause widespread damage. The incubation period depends on the location and severity of the bite.

Another common assumption is that a pet can only contract rabies if an infected animal bites her directly. Unfortunately, she only has to have contact with the infected animal’s saliva to acquire the disease. This can easily happen when an animal with rabies has saliva on its claws and scratches your pet.

Many people get the idea that a pet infected with rabies foams at the mouth all the time because this is what they have seen on television shows and movies. However, this symptom typically only occurs at the latest stages of rabies and even then it’s not constant. If you’re concerned that your pet may have come in contact with an infected animal, watch for the following:

• Behavioral changes, such as a normally docile pet becoming unusually aggressive
• Disorientation
• Hind leg paralysis
• Lack of appetite
• Seizures

Please contact us at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. They don’t necessarily mean your pet has rabies, but we do need to conduct testing. Unfortunately, no cure exists for advanced rabies. Animals at this stage should be euthanized to prevent suffering and further spread of the disease.
 
The earliest stage of rabies is the prodromal phrase, which lasts just a few days. Animals typically start to show a behavioral change at this point. The furious phase can last up to a week and dogs and cats show marked restlessness and irritability. The last phase is the paralytic phase in which nerves of the body are affected and the animal eventually succumbs to respiratory failure.

Preventing Rabies
Keeping up-to-date on your pet’s vaccines is essential. Both puppies and kittens receive a vaccination followed by a booster shot every three years. You should also avoid allowing your animal to roam free, particularly if you live near a wooded area. With some common sense and commitment to keeping the recommended vaccine schedule, you can protect your pet from this terrible disease. 

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Tips for Traveling with Cats and Dogs

You humans ride in the car every day and you're used to it. For my cat and dog friends, it's going to take some time. We promise we're not trying to be difficult on purpose. We actually love you and want to make the experience easier for everyone. That is why we asked the staff here to come up with some tips for the next time you hit the road with pets in tow.  Love, Carlos

When it comes to car travel, most cats hate it and most dogs love it. For cats, being placed in a carrier and put in the car usually means one of two things. They're going to the vet or you're leaving them with a sitter. Dogs, on the other hand, know that a ride in the car means they get to spend extra time with you and maybe even get a treat out of the deal. Of course, there are always exceptions and most pets don’t cooperate right away. Whether you're running a quick errand or planning a cross-country trip, you can take steps to make it more enjoyable for your pet.

Tips for Cat Owners
Cats thrive on routine, which doesn't necessarily mean riding in the car. To get your cat accustomed to the idea, leave her carrier out for a few days. This gives her the chance to sniff it and mark it with her scent as well as check out the inside. If your cat has never been in the car, start with shorter trips and work your way up to longer ones. Be sure that the carrier you choose provides decent ventilation for your cat to avoid even more anxiety. Also, make sure your cat has eaten and used her litter box before setting out on longer trips.

Tips for Dog Owners
It can take a while for a puppy to learn to enjoy car travel. After all, the first trip in a car takes him away from his mother and the next several take him to a place where he gets shots. You can change his perception by playing fun games near the car and offering treats when he gets in willingly. Also, let your puppy see you just sitting in the car for a while to help him realize that it's not a scary experience. As with cats, start with short car trip and gradually increase the time of each trip until your dog learns to enjoy it.

For Both Types of Pets
Cats and dogs should both be in a carrier or crate as well as buckled up when you travel with them in the car. This is much safer than allowing your pet to roam freely in a moving vehicle. For longer trips, be sure to pack a bag of your pet's medications, food and treats, favorite toys, and a blanket or pillow she normally sleeps with at home. While the car trip itself is out of the ordinary, having the comforts of home makes it less stressful.

Lastly, resist the urge to leave your pet alone in the car while you run errands or reach your vacation destination. This is especially critical advice when it's extremely hot or cold outside. Not only will this make him anxious, it can endanger his life. The temperature inside of your car could make your pet very sick or even cause his death. This can happen extremely quickly. An anxious pet is also more likely to try to escape his carrier or crate to try to find you.

If you're planning a long road trip with your pet this summer, be sure to visit us at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic first. We will make sure that she is up-to-date on her vaccinations and provide you with a health certificate if you need one.

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How Much Water Does Your Dog or Cat Need?

It's summer, and that means my dog and cat friends are more thirsty than usual. It's important that we can access fresh, clean drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day. Since it can be hard for you to know how much to provide us, the staff at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic created these guidelines.
 
Water Quantity
A good rule of thumb is to make one-half to one cup of water per pound of body weight available to your dog each day. For cats, the ratio is 60 ml of water per pound of body weight. They need far less water than dogs and people due to their smaller size. Some other factors to consider when providing water to your pet include:

• Season: As mentioned above, the heat and humidity of summer means that your pet can quickly become dehydrated without enough water. To prevent this, make sure the amount of water you offer is on the higher end of the above ratios.
• Medication: Some medications make your pet thirstier than usual. Be sure to ask your pet's regular veterinarian about adjusting the amount of water you offer your pet based on her medications.
• Age: Puppies and kittens need water at least every two hours while older pets can pace themselves when it comes to water consumption.
• Exercise: When you walk your dog or engage in vigorous exercise with him, offer water immediately afterwards to replace lost body heat.
• Diet: Dogs and cats who eat mostly dry food need more water than those whose diets consist mainly of wet food. It's important to avoid buying food with a high concentration of sodium and other ingredients that increase thirst.

Helping Pets Who Consume Too Little or Too Much Water
If your dog or cat doesn't drink enough water, it can cause dehydration, organ failure, kidney stones, or even death in severe cases. On the flip side, over-drinking can cause stomach bloat, electrolyte imbalance, and water toxicity. It can also be an early indicator of diabetes. To help the pet who under-drinks, be certain to place her water bowl near her food and other places she normally goes during the day. Offering plenty of praise can also help to modify her water-drinking behavior. You can also consider adding a packet of flavoring to the water if nothing else seems to help.
 
For the dog or cat who drinks too much water, try putting out a smaller bowl. You will need to refill the bowl more often throughout the day, but at least you will know how much he is drinking. To help satisfy your pet's thirst, allow him to lick the condensation off water bottles if you feel comfortable with it. This can prevent him from lapping up an entire bowl of water. Placing a rabbit feeder in a dog's crate at night can also help.
 
If you're concerned that your pet is suffering the effects of too much or too little water consumption, please schedule an appointment at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. We will complete an exam and let you know if she is displaying specific health problems. Our veterinarians can also assist you further with making sure that your dog or cat has just the right amount of water each day.

Photo Credit: Magone / iStock Photo