When humans vomit, it’s usually because we’re either sick or because we’ve eaten something that "doesn't agree with us". For animals, it’s mostly the same. Pets such as dogs are prone to eating things they really shouldn’t, and this results in vomiting as a defense mechanism to get the “thing” out of their system.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to distinguish between times when vomiting is beneficial to your pet and when vomiting is a sign of a pressing underlying issue. So in this post, we’re going to take a look at why your pet is vomiting and also when to consider it a pressing issue that you should contact your vet about.

What causes my pet to vomit?

Pets vomit for a variety of different reasons.

In dogs, vomiting occurs as a defensive mechanism to expel anything in the body that shouldn’t be there. If your dog has been out exploring and eats something bad, then they’re going to vomit it back up and should feel fine afterwards. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern and you’ll need to clean up the mess, but your dog should feel absolutely fine once it’s over.

You may want to consider monitoring your dog especially when they’re allowed to roam free. Keep all sources of food out of reach so your dog doesn’t overeat and make sure you keep miscellaneous objects hidden as well so that your dog doesn’t try to chew on them and end up swallowing something.

For cats, it’s a slightly different story.

Cats will also vomit if they eat something bad or strange, but they’re less likely to do so especially if you’re raising a house cat. They do, however, vomit up hairballs. While they can be disgusting to even look at, they’re actually a part of your cat’s grooming routine. When your cat grooms itself, the small hooks on their tongue will latch on to dead hairs and will be swallowed. Most of this hair will pass without an issue, but if it stays in the stomach it will form a hairball which will be vomited out.

Hairballs aren’t a major cause for concern, but if your cat suffers from a lack of appetite, diarrhea or ongoing vomiting after the hairball has been coughed up, then you’ll want to contact your vet and bring your cat in for an examination.

Should I bring my pet to the vet?

In most cases, you won’t need to bring your pet to the vet for vomiting. They should feel fine after their stomach settles. But if they continue to vomit on a fairly frequent basis, or show other symptoms such as a lack of appetite then you'll want to contact our veterinary team and ask for advice. Regular vomiting also isn’t normal, so this should be a cause for concern and one reason why you’ll want to get in touch with us.

If you feel that your pet is in pain or feeling unwell, then get in touch with Battletown Animal Clinic at 540-955-2171 to book an appointment with us.

Photo Credit: GlobalP

What do you think of when you hear the word “February”?  It is the month of Valentine’s Day, and with the extra opportunity for treats and decorations, we wanted to share four Valentine’s Day hazards to be mindful of in keeping your pets safe during this sweet holiday!

Xylitol

A sugar substitute that is found in many candies and gums, xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, even in the smallest of amounts. Be sure to keep any of these items up out of reach of your curious canine. If your pet ingests any items containing xylitol, it’s imperative that you call Battletown Animal Clinic immediately. When xylitol poisoning is recognized early, treatment is possible and increases the likelihood of a better outcome for your dog.

Chocolate

It’s fairly well known that chocolate can present dangers to our dogs, and is potentially fatal. However, certain types of chocolate are more hazardous than others - typically the darker the chocolate, the greater the risk. Keep all chocolates far out of reach of your pets, and especially items such as cocoa, baker’s chocolate, and dark chocolate.

This chocolate toxicity meter can be helpful in knowing when it’s critical to seek veterinary attention. When in doubt, it’s always good to give us a call if you have concerns.

Floral Arrangements

As beautiful as they are, floral arrangements can be toxic to our four-legged friends. Lilies, tulips, azaleas, and Sago Palm are extremely hazardous, and can cause vomiting, kidney failure, and even death. If you receive an arrangement with any of these species, be sure to put them far out of reach from pets, and instead in a place where you can enjoy without worry of the flowers presenting a danger.

Bags & Wrapping

Everyone loves to get gifts, and once the treasure is unwrapped, the ribbon, bag, or wrapping is often cast aside. Your pets may be tempted to play with these items, or even to ingest them. Not only can this present a choking hazard, but also creates an opportunity for an intestinal blockage or other complications. 

Having snacks along with a quiet movie night? Be sure to keep the chip or other snack bag out of your pet’s reach. Pet suffocation can occur in less than five minutes. This infographic shows how quickly and often this accident occurs.

We know you love your pet, and since this is a holiday celebrating love, be sure to spend some extra time with him or her. Giving our furry friends in our lives a little extra love is just what our doctor ordered!

References:

“Poisonous Plants.” ASPCA, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.

Photo Credit: Vvvita

A pet’s oral health usually provides a sign of her overall health, nonetheless many of us pet owners overlook the importance of a brushing and regular dental exams. Due to this, about 75% of dogs and cats have some stage periodontal disease before the age of three. How can you keep your pet from being part of these statistics?

Nutrition.

A nutritious diet can help to significantly impact overall dental health.  This starts with the food you buy. Our veterinary team can provide insight on the best type of food for your pet’s age, current health needs, and level of overall dental health. Our online store features many options for improving dental health through nutrition, and these items can be shipped FREE to you with a minimum of a $38 purchase.

Brushing.

Dental chews will help scale back tartar and plaque in dogs, however pets still must have their teeth brushed on a frequent basis. It’s best to begin this routine when your pet is a puppy or kitten.  Even if you didn't already begin this routine when your pet was small, or if you've adopted and older pet, your pet will be able to learn to accept it as a part of the conventional routine with lots of gentle persistence, praise and treats from you. Select a toothbrush that's appropriately sized for your pet’s breed and life stage, as well as a tasty (to them) toothpaste that will encourage them to enjoy the brushing routine (These items are also available in our online store.).

If you think that your pet is going to be reluctant, let him or her sniff the toothbrush before placing it near the mouth for small intervals of time. Each day add a bit more time to the process and gradually place the toothbrush topped with dog-friendly/cat-friendly toothpaste inside your pet’s mouth. As you progressively increase the amount of teeth you clean day by day, your pet will even begin looking forward to this time spent with you, especially if given frequent and tasty rewards (TREATS!).

Regular Professional Cleanings

Besides proper nutrition and routine at-home dental care, we encourage you to schedule a professional dental cleaning at Battletown Animal Clinic each year. Our staff uses anesthesia during your pet’s cleaning session to ensure that he remains comfortable and cooperative and also conducts a thorough oral exam. We also take a dental radiograph during this appointment, which provides us with a clear image of your dog or cat’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. This gives us with a baseline as well makes it easier to plan treatment, if needed.

Identifying Dental Health Issues

Complaints of their pet having foul  breath is common among pet owners. However, it’s often taken a bit lightly. If your pet has this symptom, it’s necessary for you to schedule an appointment with us. This may be an indicator of periodontal disease or another  oral health issue. Other symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath despite your tooth brushing efforts
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Stains on the teeth that appear yellow or brown

If you've been unaware of the significant importance of oral hygiene for dogs and cats, it’s time for a fresh new view of how care of the teeth has tremendous impact on your pet’s overall health. Schedule your pet’s dental exam today by calling us at Battletown Animal Clinic: (540) 955-2171

Photo Credit: BCFC

 

We’re a couple of weeks into a new year, and if you’re like most people, as you turned the calendar, you thought of ways that you want to make this year better than the previous. A new year gives us a time to commit to better decisions and a “fresh start”. As you’ve had these reflections for your own commitments, consider also making a commitment to your pet’s health this year. By embracing preventive care for your pet, you’ll benefit in 3 significant ways - something you’ll both be happy about!

Cost

By committing to preventive care for your pet, one of the biggest impacts is on your pocketbook. Research has proven that the average cost of preventing serious diseases or catching them early is significantly less expensive than treatment when disease has advanced into more serious stages. One study comparing the costs of screening and preventive medications for external parasites vs. treatment for these diseases was on average $95.00 less. Preventive care for dental disease vs. treatment as the disease has advanced was on average approximately $360 less. One of the most significant areas of savings is in the prevention of infectious disease, which can be up to $600 less!  These are just a few of examples of how this investment into regular preventive care has a tremendous financial benefit to you as a pet owner.

Longevity

When you bring your pet in to see us at regular intervals, we’re able to notice changes in your pet that are not obvious to you. Preventive care exams allow us to notice early stages of disease in your pet’s blood work or changes to any of his or her senses and motor ability. Not only does this allow you to begin treatment at a less costly rate, as mentioned above, but helps to catch the disease at its most treatable stages. This allows you to have longer, more quality time with your pet, and with you pet feeling good in the best level of health he or she can be.

The Bond You Share

As a pet owner, you know how much your pet means to you. They are a member of our families and share the highs and lows with us each and every day. By taking the time to brush his or her teeth daily, taking walks together, playing with them with mind-enriching toys, teaching them tricks, or even just by holding them on your lap and giving them attention through touch and talking with them, this time is valued. Your pet will love this commitment you’ve made in time. Even if you already have a spectacular relationship with your pet, every moment will be truly enjoyed by your companion, and continue to enhance your relationship together.

We hope you have a wonderful year ahead. Please feel free to call us anytime if you have questions or concerns regarding your pets' health. As always, we look forward to providing the quality health care you deserve. Call us at (540) 955-2171 to make your pet’s appointment.

Source:
DVM, Carol McConnell. “How Preventive Care for Pets Pays Off.” Vetstreet, www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-preventive-care-for-pets-pays-off.

Photo Credit: Belovodchenko

This time of year is an exciting one, and a time to get caught up in holiday festivities and the spirit of gift giving. Even turning on the TV at this time of year offers viewers programming of nostalgia-inducing Christmas celebrations, often focused around gift-giving moments at the tree. Of course, in these shows, when a puppy or kitten pops out of the present, there is a happy ending and smiles all around. However, reality is often not quite as blissful. The weeks following the holiday season tend to be the weeks of the highest pet relinquishment. Here are 4 reasons to reconsider gifting someone a pet.

1. Bringing a pet Into a home requires planning, education and preparation

Getting a pet should never be done on a “whim”. One must consider family dynamics, lifestyle, time available to devote to creating an enriching and mentally stimulating environment for a pet, and best type of pet to have the most successful integration into the family. This can take weeks or even months of research and planning. There are other questions, too, such as:

  • Who will take care of the pet while the owner is working?
  • Who will be primarily responsible for attending to the pet’s needs?
  • Are children at an appropriate age to safely and responsibly interact with the pet?

2. Financial impact

The costs of caring for a pet exist beyond just the cost of the pet or the adoption fee. Consider the first year of the pet’s life when all of the primary vaccinations, spaying or neutering,  and wellness checks are necessary to get his start in his new home off to a healthy one. Add in food, toys, and obedience classes, and the expenditures quickly add up to a significant number. What if an accident or sudden illness should occur to the new furry family member? These expenses may quickly reach into numbers exceeding $1000 or more. This “gift” suddenly becomes an unexpected, and potentially insurmountable, burden.

3. Allergies

Allergies to a pet are one of the top 10 reasons that pets (specifically cats) are relinquished to shelters, according to Petfinder. If one is unaware of the gift recipient’s allergy to a pet, not only does receiving an animal unexpectedly have the danger of causing health issues to the human, but the pet would likely be turned in to a shelter, only to be required to wait for a new home.

4.  Stress, stress, and more stress.

The holidays already have a high level of activity and energy. Consider what this would be like for a pet entering a “strange” new home. Not only is the charged environment a stressor, but the extra bustle, noise, strange faces, smells and sights create highly unpredictable surroundings. The potential for bites, aggression, or behaviors due to stress increases. Pets are much more content in calming and predictable settings, which potential pet owners would have more control outside of the busy holiday season.

At Battletown Animal Clinic, we’re excited to partner with pet owners on the journey to their pet’s health and well-being. Although a pet is truly a gift to a family, avoiding giving them as a present just makes sense. By allowing a potential pet owner to carefully research the best type of pet for their home and lifestyle, make financial plans for care, and attend to preparation to make the pet’s joining of the household a smooth, welcome and stress-free one! With education and planning, acquiring a new pet is a happy and informed experience, which will set the stage for 10-20 years of devoted companionship.

Photo Credit: Pixabay