The word “xylitol” may sound like a rare substance, but this sugar substitute can be found in almost every American household. Because xylitol is so common, we feel the need to tell you all about it to keep your pets safe. So, here it is: This sweet substance can do serious harm to unknowing pets.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is frequently used as a sugar replacement. Xylitol can be found in nature in berries, corn, plums, mushrooms, trees, and other plants. But it is very often chemically created to add to common products like gummies and toothpaste.

Xylitol has been used for decades in sugarless gum and in dental products. Why? Because it fights dental plaque. But over the past decade or so, it appears on more and more ingredient lists because it’s low in calories and has a low glycemic index. Some of the most common products that contain xylitol include:

  • Candy
  • Gum
  • Pudding
  • Mouthwash
  • Chewable vitamins
  • Laxatives
  • Digestive medicine
  • Allergy medicine
  • Pain relievers

It can be listed on ingredients as “sugar alcohol.” It can also be called birch sugar, E967, meso-xylitol, sucre de bouleau, pentol, xylo-pentane.

How Does Xylitol Affect Dogs?

While xylitol is perfectly safe for you and your family, it’s extremely toxic for dogs. It’s also dangerous for cats, although cats are more suspicious and picky when it comes to what they’ll eat.

Even in the smallest amounts, xylitol can cause an extreme drop in your dog’s blood sugar, severe seizures, liver failure, and death. These symptoms can occur with ten minutes of your dog eating this substance.

When we eat xylitol, our bodies respond by producing insulin. But when dogs eat xylitol, their bodies rapidly absorb it into their bloodstreams causing an intense and immediate release of insulin. This, in turn, makes their blood sugar drop with dangerous results.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness and muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Xylitol poisoning can result in permanent damage to your dog’s vital organs. From liver failure to pancreatic issues, this sweet substance is deadly.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Pets?

Keep any products that may have xylitol out of reach of your pets. This means Halloween candy and the upcoming Thanksgiving treats. Ask guests to refrain from handouts for your dog or cat since these can be potentially dangerous. And if you’re expecting guests this holiday season, request that they keep their toiletry bags zipped and stored where your dog or cat won’t find them.

What Should You Do if Your Dog or Cat Eats Something with Xylitol?

Call us immediately. Time is of the essence if your pet eats a food or other substance containing xylitol.

Xylitol Poisoning is Deadly: Don’t Let This Sweetener Take Your Dog

Please be cautious this time of year when it comes to what your dog or cat eats. Avoid handouts or leaving any products that may contain xylitol within paws’ reach. When it comes to xylitol poisoning, prevention will save your dog’s life.



Photo Credit: Pixabay

Fall is synonymous with hunting season for many dog owners here in Minnesota. And if you’re hunting for a reminder or some new ideas to make your trip a success and as safe as possible we have some tips for you.

How Can You Keep Your Dog Safe This Hunting Season?

Keep your hunting buddy safe as you plan your upcoming trip by looking over our hunting safety tips.

1. Protect Your Pooch from Inside Out

From ticks to rabies, you don’t want your dog exposed to disease and illness. Part of protecting your four-legged hunting partner includes making sure his vaccinations are up-to-date. 

We recommend making an appointment or calling to see if your dog is due for

  • Leptospirosis and rabies vaccines
  • Flea and tick prevention

2. Check Your Dog’s Paws Before and After You Go Out

Your dog’s paws are vulnerable to cuts, scrapes and other types of damage as he runs through the woods. If you notice any cuts or scrapes before your hunt, it’s best to let him have the day off. Bring him by if he gets any cuts that you notice afterward. Also, remember to check for burs and ticks.

You can pick a product like Musher’s Secret to help protect those precious paws before heading out.

Some dogs take to dog hunting and hiking boots while others won’t stand for it.

3. Watch Out for Hypothermia

As the temperatures drop, it’s essential to keep an eye out for signs of hypothermia in your dog (especially if he gets wet). Hypothermia, if left untreated, can become deadly or result in coma and permanent health damage.

Some obvious signs of canine hypothermia include:

  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stints of shivering and not shivering
  • Dilated pupils
  • Trouble walking or breathing

Hypothermia needs to be treated immediately. If you think your dog is experiencing hypothermia, wrap him in a blanket and dry him off to the best of your ability. If you have warm water, let him drink it. Put him in the truck with the heater on and drive home or call and come in.

*While the weather seems cool, you should still watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

4. Gear Up Your Dog

Your dog should wear a collar that can break free if he gets stuck on a branch or falls into a ravine or down a hillside. Your dog should always wear a properly fitted safety vest with reflectors in hunter’s orange.

5. Even the Sharpest Hunting Dogs Get Lost

Keep your updated information, including your phone number, address, and an alternate number on your dog’s ID tag. Update your dog’s microchip information before your trip as well. This is extremely important if your dog’s collar breaks free.

Happy Hunting with Your Dog!

We wish you a happy and successful hunting season! If you need to microchip your dog or you need to refill your dog’s flea and tick prescription, make an appointment before hunting season opens.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Pumpkin spice and everything nice: Fall is here! And along with the much needed cool weather, you can pull out your pet’s favorite sweater and pumpkin flavored treats! We love fall and you probably do, too! To make this season more about thanks than “oops,” we’ve put together some of our favorite safety tips for keeping your pets out of trouble.

Fall in love with keeping your pet safe and healthy this autumn with these fall-tastic tips!

1. Fallen Fruit is a No-Go

As fruit falls to the ground, your dog or cat may feel like the luckiest pup or kitty in the world. And why wouldn't he? He has a buffet of fruit to snack on until he can’t eat anymore. 

Seeds, pits, and excess fruit can cause diarrhea or upset stomach. And if your pup has the appetite of a goldfish, he could wind up with heart issues, seizures, coma, and even death. 

Keep an eye on your hungry cat or canine and remove fallen fruit from your yard.

2. A Quick Lesson on Back to School Dangers

Does your dog seem to more sullen than usual? This could be because of the change in routine as the kids board the bus and go back to school.

Cats also miss their little humans while they’re away.

If you think your pet needs to get some extra wiggles out or to help distract them from how much they miss the kids, schedule a pet walker to come over and play with your cat or walk your dog. Establishing a new schedule can give your dog a potty break and break up the day for bored pets.

While your dog may not eat your kids’ homework, he may still get into trouble when it comes to your children’s school supplies. Some supplies to watch out for that can cause intestinal blockage or other health issues include:

  • Glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Pencils 
  • Pens
  • Yarn
  • Paper clips
  • Rubber bands

3. Trick or Treat!

Don’t let your dog or cat get tricked by your children’s treats. From xylitol to chocolate Halloween candy can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Keep your candy bowl out of reach of your pets and your kids’ Halloween haul locked away too.

And when it comes to the kids’ costumes, keep any loose strings and ribbons tucked away. These can tempt curious cats and become a choking hazard for mischievous dogs.

4. Mushrooms are a Must-Don’t

Whether you’re walking in the woods with your pup or letting your cat take a stroll in the backyard, keep an eye out for mushrooms. They tend to pop up out of nowhere this time of year and many can be poisonous to dogs and cats.

Pick and dispose of mushrooms if you seem them and supervise your pet if they might stumble across mushrooms.

5. Beware of Anti-Freeze

If you add antifreeze to your car, make sure you close the container tightly, clean up any spilled anti-freeze, and store the container in a pet-proof place.

6. Fall Can Mean an Up-Tick in Ticks

As the weather cools, the ticks warm up. Not only are ticks more active in this cool weather, but we tend to spend more time outside. Protect your pet with tick preventative medicine and check him for ticks when you get back from long walks.

After you unpack your sweaters and stock up on marshmallows, give us a call to schedule your pet’s fall checkup. We can refill your tick prevention or recommend some treats for those fuzzy trick-or-treaters.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

You may notice your cat or dog acting a bit down this time of year. Your pet may be experiencing the back-to-school blues. As the kids board the bus, your pet’s schedule, and entire reality, changes. They receive less attention, less excitement, and they just miss their humans!

Why Do Dogs and Cats Struggle to Cope with the Kids Going Back to School?

Our pets miss us when we’re gone. The latest studies show that dogs feel sad when their humans are gone and happy when they return. And while cats are a bit harder to read, they miss us, too!

For dogs, they see their people as part of their ‘pack’ and the root of separation anxiety is very similar to what they feel as puppies when their moms leave them. That’s why separation anxiety is paired with puppy-like behavior that, in the wild, would help bring their moms back.

Some signs of dog separation anxiety can include:

  • Whining and crying
  • Abandoning their potty etiquette
  • Scratching at the door and trying to escape
  • Barking and distressed howling
  • Destruction
  • Pacing

Dogs are also creatures of routine and love when they know what to expect. The sudden change of back to school interrupts their “normal” and can increase a dog’s sense of instability.

Our cats, despite their independent dispositions, can also suffer from separation anxiety. Some cats are more prone to separation anxiety. These include rescue kitties, orphan cats, only-child cats, and cats that share a special bond with your son or daughter.

Some indicators of kitty separation anxiety include:

  • Yowling and excessive meowing
  • Having accidents outside the litter box (this can present itself as going on their human’s belongings)
  • Nervous and excessive grooming
  • Lack of appetite or rapid eating

How Can You Help Your Pet Beat the Back to School Blues?

1. Let Your Pet Release Her Nervous Energy

For Dogs

Before the kids leave for school, let them play fetch or go for a run. This can help your dog get rid of those nervous jitters. This is also a ton of fun and can help ease the boredom of the day.

Use a special occasion toy that she only sees during this time to give her something extra special to look forward to. Try the Air Kong Squeaker Ball or Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone.

For Cats

Cats should receive at least 30 to 45 minutes of active play, daily. Help your kitty sleep soundly with a play session before school. Try the Kong Grappler Teaser toy for a high-intensity play session.

2. Treat Your Pet to a Little Going Away Gift

While your dog or cat may never be thrilled about alone time, you can get their minds off your departure and recondition them by providing your pet with a high-value treat.

Like the name implies, the “Busy Buddy” toys will keep your busy buddy-busy. The Magic Mushroom provides pups with long-lasting fun.

The Egg-cersizer is perfect for your feline friend that needs something to break up the boredom of the day and provide a treat when the kids depart for school.

3. Downplay Your Kids’ Departure

When getting the kids ready, try to downplay their departure. While you shouldn’t ignore your cat or dog, you don’t need to make a big to-do about going. This can increase anxiety in dogs and bring more attention to the change in routine.

Just go about getting ready and leaving. Acknowledge your pet but stay calm while putting out their treats saying “good-bye.”

4. Find a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter to Break Up the Day

If your kids’ return to school means your pets will be left alone in an empty house, you may want to find a person who will pop in to give them a bit of loving.

Many dogs love visitors. And almost all dogs love walks. A dog walker will give you the reassurance that your pup isn’t just moping at home waiting for your return and give your pup a bit of exercise and attention.

For Cats

Use your judgment when it comes to kitties. Some run for the hills and hide deep in the Christmas ornaments while others would appreciate a pet sitter who will stop by for a few pets and attention.

5. Try Adaptil or a Zendog Compression Shirt to Give Your Pup Peace of Mind

If your pet experiences anxiety, you can provide her with a bit of comfort with the help of Adaptil, a pheromone that ignites comfort areas in your dog’s brain.

Another option to help your nervous Nancy is ZenDog Compression Shirt. This hugs your pup in the right spots to calm nerves and ease anxiety.

As for cats, Feliway works wonders to give your cat some comfort.

Don’t Let the Back to School Blues Bother Your Best Friend

As your children learn and grow, keep your pets comfortable, confident, and calm with some of these techniques. 

Nervous and anxious pets sometimes need a little extra support to adjust to changes. If you need additional help or advice from us, we’re happy to chat about solutions that will work for your pet. Make an appointment. We offer a wide range of prescription options that work wonders for anxious pets.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

What is the difference between a bored visitor and a dog with fleas? One is itching to go and the other is just darn itchy!

How about this one: What is a flea’s favorite book? The Itch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

If you didn’t find those funny, you may need a checkup to see if your funny bone is working. Or maybe you’re a responsible pet parent that doesn’t find fleas to be a laughing matter. Either way, these pesky little bugs can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. 

Arming yourself with knowledge is one way to protect your little buddy from an infestation, protect your wallet by not wasting money on ineffective flea treatments, and protect yourself from wasting your time.

Lucky for you, we are taking a magnifying glass to the life of the flea… and we’re not just scratching the surface. 

The Flea’s Life Cycle

Stage One: How Many Eggs?

Fleas start out as eggs. Tiny eggs. Fleas lay thousands of tiny eggs. How many? An adult flea can lay between 10 and 60 eggs every day! And these egg-layers can live two to three months. That’s a lot of eggs, right? One flea can lay about 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.

What if a momma flea reaches adulthood in the winter? Unfortunately, the myth that fleas go dormant during the winter is untrue. While fleas do prefer heat, they can live quite comfortably inside our homes. This is because fleas enjoy the same temperatures we do. They thrive in temperatures of 75 to 95-degrees. 

So, where do fleas lay their eggs? On your dog or cat. But many of those eggs end up getting knocked off or shaken off and flying onto your floor, their bedding, or elsewhere.

Stage Two: Larvae Alive!

A few days after eggs are laid, they begin to hatch. Not all eggs will hatch, right? About half of them will develop into larvae. 

Flea larvae are practically microscopic. They are also repelled by light. So, they frequently end up in the cracks and crevices of floorboards and deep in the carpet. This is why fleas can seemingly reemerge after you think you’ve eliminated them.

And to make these babies even more adorable, they survive off adult flea poop, also known as “flea dirt.” Gross. 

Stage Three: From Larvae to Pupae

So, once flea larvae have had their fill of flea dirt, they spin themselves itty bitty cocoons. This phase can last between two weeks and six months. When the conditions are right, they hatch. 

And they don’t emerge as beautiful butterflies. They emerge as adult fleas ready to find their first blood meal. 

Stage Four: The Adult Flea

Adults fleas live off the blood of their hosts. They feast on your pup, cat, or your ankles. And once they’ve had a meal, they’re ready to lay eggs, and the cycle starts all over again. 

Other Flea Facts

  • 5% of fleas are at the adult stage at one time. Others are eggs, larvae or pupae, waiting to mature.
  • 10% of fleas live on your pet. The rest live throughout your home.
  • The life cycle of the flea lasts between two weeks and six months.
  • Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae and infect your pet with these intestinal parasites.

Stop Those Fleas from Infesting Your Home and Biting Your Pet

Ending a flea infestation is a matter of interrupting the flea’s life cycle. Prescription flea medicine does just that.

When your pet ingests oral prescription flea medicine, it makes its way through your pet’s system and winds up in your pet’s outer fat layer. Then, when a flea bites your pet, they ingest the flea poison which renders them sterile. This means any eggs they lay cannot survive.

Make Fleas Flee!

What did the dog on flea prevention say to the vet? 

“Long time, no flea!”

Protect your pet from fleas. Don’t give fleas the chance to infest your home and wreak havoc on your pet’s skin and mental state. 

It’s time to give us a call and make an appointment to scratch that itch your dog or cat can’t shake on their own. Don’t try to fight a flea infestation alone, you’ll quickly get outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Photo Credit: Pixabay