Fire Saftey for Pets - Have a Plan

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Did you know that an estimated 500,000 pets are affected each year by home fires? Also, the National Fire Protection Association estimates about 1,000 house fires are accidentally started by family pets each year. Here are some fire safety tips for you and your pets: 

  • Make sure to extinguish any open flames that are unattended. Pets are curious and will want to investigate candles, fireplaces, and especially cooking appliances.

  • Remove stove knobs or cover them when leaving the house. Pets like to explore when you aren't home and the stove top is very interesting to them.

  • Consider flameless candles, especially if you have cats. They are notorious for flicking their tails over lit candles.

  • Use metal or ceramic dishes outside, especially on a wood deck. The sun's rays filtered through a glass container can heat up and ignite.

  • Young puppies should be secured in a safe area when left home alone.

  • If you don't have a pet door, be sure to keep your pets in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.

  • Practice escape routes with your pets. Be sure that leashes and carriers are easily accessible and that you have a plan.

  • Consider using a monitored smoke detection service as an added layer of protection. These smoke detectors are connected to a monitoring center and can help save pets when they're home alone.

  • Affix a pet alert window cling to your front window. These stickers tell firefighters how many of what types of pets are in the house and can save them critical time. We have these available here at Good Sam. Just come on by and ask a receptionist!

Foxtails - Dangerous to Pets

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The hills are full of foxtails and now that the rains have stopped, they're drying up fast. We've already seen several patients for foxtail probes this spring. Foxtail-like clusters, seen on the stalks of certain grasses, are very dangerous for our pets once they dry and drop. These seed pods are not only barbed so that they stick tight to whatever they touch, they also contain an enzyme which breaks down cell matter. While this helps the seed to burrow into the ground it also allows them to stick to and burrow into our pets. Foxtails can work their way into your pet's skin, just as it does the soil, resulting in pain, discomfort, infection, and, in some cases, death.

Typical places for foxtails to embed are a pet's ears, nose, eyes, armpits, or between the toes, but they can work their way in wherever they attach. Depending on where and how deep it is, we may be able to remove a foxtail with tweezers or forceps. However, if it has migrated too far your pet will need to undergo surgery.

Obvious preventative measures are avoiding fields or trails where foxtails are prevalent and eradicating any from your yard. Since foxtails are designed to travel with the wind, they really can go anywhere. We recommend carefully examining pets after they've been outside to remove any rogue foxtails. If your pet has a long or thick coat, you may want to consider a body shave. Signs that your pet has an embedded foxtail include:

  • rubbing eyes, squinting, discharge from eyes
  • sneezing, pawing at nose, bleeding from nostril
  • shaking head, pawing at ear, head tilt
  • gagging, coughing, swallowing repeatedly
  • licking or chewing at a specific area, redness or swelling, limping

If you suspect a foxtail, call us immediately for our first available appointment. The sooner we can act, the less opportunity there is for the foxtail to migrate.

Holiday Safety for pets

  This is such a fun and exciting time of year with lots of family & friends! Here are a few quick tips for keeping your pets safe and content during all of the holiday hub-bub:    Keep a close eye on pets around decorations.  Glass or metal ornaments, tinsel, and artificial snow are dangerous if ingested.  We recommend skipping tinsel if you have cats in the house.  It's pretty irresistible to them and can cause serious problems if eaten. Christmas tree water can also be toxic if ingested due to pesticides and fire retardants from the tree.    It's tempting to want to include our fuzzy kids in the holiday feast, but it's best to avoid "people foods".  Some foods, such as chocolate and artificial sweeteners, are very dangerous to pets. Other foods can be too rich and cause upset tummies or even pancreatitis. Bones are always a "no-no".    Be cautious with candles and floral decorations. Candles can be knocked over, or tails can swish into the flames. Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettia and Lilies are all toxic if eaten.    Before placing that gift under the tree, be sure that it's not edible. You don't want to put a box of chocolates in reach of your curious pets!    Be sure that alcoholic beverages are closely monitored. If ingested your pet could become weak, ill, or in extreme cases, go into respiratory failure.    Keep a lid on all the trash cans! This one is pretty self-explanatory!    Holiday crackers, noise makers, and horns are great fun for us, but your pet's ears are very sensitive. If your party will include this type of hilarity, be sure that your pet is in a quiet spot well away from the noise. Confetti and tinsel can cause serious problems if ingested, sometimes resulting in surgery to remove.      Pay attention to your pet's needs during all the hustle and bustle.  Does she need a quiet place away from all the hub-bub?  Will he get so excited that he'll forget to eat and drink, and run himself ragged?  Will she enjoy playing with the small children that are visiting? Will he need a new puzzle toy, such as a Kong, to keep him occupied, or a good long run before the guests arrive? Make a plan!

This is such a fun and exciting time of year with lots of family & friends! Here are a few quick tips for keeping your pets safe and content during all of the holiday hub-bub:

Keep a close eye on pets around decorations.  Glass or metal ornaments, tinsel, and artificial snow are dangerous if ingested.  We recommend skipping tinsel if you have cats in the house.  It's pretty irresistible to them and can cause serious problems if eaten. Christmas tree water can also be toxic if ingested due to pesticides and fire retardants from the tree.

It's tempting to want to include our fuzzy kids in the holiday feast, but it's best to avoid "people foods".  Some foods, such as chocolate and artificial sweeteners, are very dangerous to pets. Other foods can be too rich and cause upset tummies or even pancreatitis. Bones are always a "no-no".

Be cautious with candles and floral decorations. Candles can be knocked over, or tails can swish into the flames. Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettia and Lilies are all toxic if eaten.

Before placing that gift under the tree, be sure that it's not edible. You don't want to put a box of chocolates in reach of your curious pets!

Be sure that alcoholic beverages are closely monitored. If ingested your pet could become weak, ill, or in extreme cases, go into respiratory failure.

Keep a lid on all the trash cans! This one is pretty self-explanatory!

Holiday crackers, noise makers, and horns are great fun for us, but your pet's ears are very sensitive. If your party will include this type of hilarity, be sure that your pet is in a quiet spot well away from the noise. Confetti and tinsel can cause serious problems if ingested, sometimes resulting in surgery to remove.  

Pay attention to your pet's needs during all the hustle and bustle.  Does she need a quiet place away from all the hub-bub?  Will he get so excited that he'll forget to eat and drink, and run himself ragged?  Will she enjoy playing with the small children that are visiting? Will he need a new puzzle toy, such as a Kong, to keep him occupied, or a good long run before the guests arrive? Make a plan!

Tips for Flea Control

 

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FLEAS

  • Just because you don't see them, it doesn't mean they aren't there. Fleas tend to stay deep in your pet's coat where they are difficult to detect. They are also tiny and they move really fast.
  • Even strictly indoor pets can get fleas. Fleas are teeny tiny and can easily sneak into any home with a likely host.
  • Fleas can live dormant in the environment for up to a year. They will hatch when exposed to light and vibration.
  • Not every pet is allergic to flea bites. That is why you'll see varied reactions from one pet to another. Unfortunately, if you pet is allergic to flea bites it only takes one bite to start a huge reaction.
  • Fleas can be deadly. If a pet is extremely infested with fleas they can become anemic and die. This is especially risky with very young and very old pets.

HOW TO TREAT FLEA ALLERGIES

  • Flea allergies will make a pet extremely itchy and uncomfortable. It they go untreated, the constant scratching can lead to staff infections, hair loss and a miserable pet.
  • Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, and/or medicated shampoos.
  • Treatment will definitely include flea preventative medication.

FLEA PREVENTATIVE MEDICATIONS

  • There are so many options out there! Be cautious to always purchase the appropriate strength according to your pet's weight.
  • Never put a flea product on a cat unless it's specifically labeled for felines. Cats are very sensitive to many flea products and can become very ill. If your cat seems to be reacting to a topical flea product, bathe it and then bring it immediately to your vet.
  • We recommend Cheristin (a topical medication) or Comfortis (an oral medication) for cats.
  • For dogs we recommend Comfortis (controls fleas), Nexgard (controls fleas and ticks) or Trifexis (controls fleas, heartworm and many intestinal parasites) depending on your pet's needs. All of these are oral medications.
  • All pets in the household should be treated monthly, and we recommend year long flea control here in the Bay Area due to our temperate climate.
  • Good Sam is selling FLEA BUNDLES through the end of August. Buy a one year supply and save 15%. Call our office for more information (510)357-8574.

HOW TO TREAT THE ENVIRONMENT

  • If there are fleas on the pets, there are fleas in the environment.
  • We highly recommend treating your house and yard to get a handle on the flea population.
  • We recommend using Knockout Spray or Fleas Busters powder in the home. Vacuum first, and re-treat at least one time, 7 to 10 days after the initial treatment. You may need to re-treat several times depending on the severity of your infestation.
  • For the yard, we recommend using a yard & kennel spray, or hiring a professional exterminating company. Again, re-treat at least one time.

 

 


 

 

 

Summer Safety for Pets

  We all love spending time outdoors with our family and friends in the summer, and of course that includes our pets. Here are some simple precautions that you can take to keep your pets safe this summer.      FLEA AND TICK PREVENTATIVES     Make sure that all pets in your household are protected by flea and/or tick preventatives. Be sure to take advantage of our flea bundles, and save 15% on a one year supply of your flea preventatives. Dogs should also be protected from Heartworm, which is carried by mosquitoes, with a Heartworm preventative.     HIGH TEMPERATURE PRECAUTIONS     Pets can dehydrate very quickly. Be sure that they have access to clean, fresh water and plenty of shade. Be careful not to over-exercise them, and to keep them indoors and cool when temperatures are extremely high.    Never leave your pet in a parked car! Even with the windows down, the temperature in the car will rise to well above the outside temperature within minutes.    Remember that when the temperatures are high, concrete (and especially asphalt) get extremely hot. Your pet is much closer to these surfaces than you are, and will heat up quickly. Also, sensitive paw pads can burn very easily. If it's too hot for your bare feet, then it's also too hot for theirs.     KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE IN PETS     Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rates, drooling, weakness, stupor, or even collapse. In more extreme cases you may also see vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Cool your pet immediately with cold towels, and by applying rubbing alcohol to the paw pads. Then bring him/her immediately to a veterinarian.     WATER SAFETY     Do not leave your pets unsupervised around pools. Make sure that they wear flotation devices if you take them out on a boat. After swimming, be sure to rinse your pet to remove chlorine or salt from his/her coat.     OUTDOOR PARTIES WITH PETS     Outdoor parties and BBQ's are fun, and we love to include our furry family members, but be very careful that they do not have access to people foods, trash cans, or alcoholic beverages. Also be cautious when a lot of people are coming and going. You don't want to end the evening scouring the neighborhood for a lost pet. Is your pet microchipped? If not, call our office to take advantage of our 20% microchip special!

We all love spending time outdoors with our family and friends in the summer, and of course that includes our pets. Here are some simple precautions that you can take to keep your pets safe this summer.

FLEA AND TICK PREVENTATIVES

Make sure that all pets in your household are protected by flea and/or tick preventatives. Be sure to take advantage of our flea bundles, and save 15% on a one year supply of your flea preventatives. Dogs should also be protected from Heartworm, which is carried by mosquitoes, with a Heartworm preventative.

HIGH TEMPERATURE PRECAUTIONS

Pets can dehydrate very quickly. Be sure that they have access to clean, fresh water and plenty of shade. Be careful not to over-exercise them, and to keep them indoors and cool when temperatures are extremely high.

Never leave your pet in a parked car! Even with the windows down, the temperature in the car will rise to well above the outside temperature within minutes.

Remember that when the temperatures are high, concrete (and especially asphalt) get extremely hot. Your pet is much closer to these surfaces than you are, and will heat up quickly. Also, sensitive paw pads can burn very easily. If it's too hot for your bare feet, then it's also too hot for theirs.

KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE IN PETS

Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rates, drooling, weakness, stupor, or even collapse. In more extreme cases you may also see vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Cool your pet immediately with cold towels, and by applying rubbing alcohol to the paw pads. Then bring him/her immediately to a veterinarian.

WATER SAFETY

Do not leave your pets unsupervised around pools. Make sure that they wear flotation devices if you take them out on a boat. After swimming, be sure to rinse your pet to remove chlorine or salt from his/her coat.

OUTDOOR PARTIES WITH PETS

Outdoor parties and BBQ's are fun, and we love to include our furry family members, but be very careful that they do not have access to people foods, trash cans, or alcoholic beverages. Also be cautious when a lot of people are coming and going. You don't want to end the evening scouring the neighborhood for a lost pet. Is your pet microchipped? If not, call our office to take advantage of our 20% microchip special!

Our Recommended Dental Care Products

We've extended our dental special to the end of March! If you make an appointment this month, you'll save 15% on all our dental services, including pre-anesthetic lab work. But what about after your pet's teeth cleaning? You'll want to follow up with a proper dental care routine to keep those teeth as squeaky clean as possible. 

Here are some of the dental products we recommend:

Toothpastes, Toothbrushes, Finger Brushes

Ideally your pet's teeth should be brushed daily using a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for pets only. We sell a variety of flavored toothpastes, including poultry, beef, and seafood. They're safe to ingest and can be used on both cats and dogs. After your pet's dental cleaning, you may want to wait two weeks before brushing your pet's teeth. If there are extractions, for example, they will need time to heal. Our veterinarians and staff will advise you on when is the best time to start.

C.E.T Oral Hygiene Rinse

If brushing your pet's teeth is too difficult, you may want to look into using an oral rinse. The one we sell at our clinic contains Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic), is safe to ingest, and will help to freshen breath and decrease bacteria in your pet's mouth.

C.E.T Dental Chews

Available at Good Sam for both cats and dogs, these treats are coated with enzymes and antiseptics to help prevent dental disease. Please take care to supervise your pet while chewing to prevent choking or obstruction. Remove the chew if you notice your pet trying to swallow a large portion.

Hill's Prescription Diet t/d

A prescription diet called t/d is available for purchase at Good Sam and may be recommended depending on your pet's degree of dental disease. Dental diets have been formulated to help minimize tartar build-up.

Signs of Dental Disease in your Pets

Periodontal disease is one of the most common disease in dogs and cats. Food particles along the gum line can turn to plaque within a few hours. If plaque continues to accumulate, it will mix with minerals in saliva to harden into calculus. When you look into your pet's mouth, calculus above the gum line is easy to see. It's hard and crusty and will appear yellow and/or brown. 

The real damage happens where you can't see it — beneath the gums. As the disease advances, calculus will travel down the teeth, creating pockets for bacteria growth. Tissue will be eaten away, teeth will loosen, and once the bacteria enters the blood stream, major organs can also be affected.

Since pets don't show pain the same way you do, you won't be able to tell just how bad your pet is feeling. Give us a call to set up an appointment if you notice your pet has bad breath, stained teeth, or inflamed gums. Other symptoms include drooling, swelling under one eye, and refusing to eat.

Better still, regular wellness exams allow us to monitor the condition of your pet's teeth. If caught early, many dental issues can be reversed, and we're always happy to talk to you if you have questions about your pet's dental care routine. But if your pet's dental disease has advanced to the point of no return, treatment will require anesthesia to clean under the gums and to extract any teeth that are too far gone to save.

If you suspect your pet has periodontal disease, set up an appointment this month to take advantage of our dental special. In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, you'll get to save 15% on all our dental services.

Bonus Content: Check out our e-newsletter for tips on home dental care for your pets.

Keep Your Pet Healthy

In our last two newsletters, we broke down your pet's wellness care into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. Looking after pets can be overwhelming, especially with so much conflicting information out there. We recommend establishing a regular routine and setting up a reminder system to make it as easy as possible.

You can read the entire two-part article here and here, but here's a short sample to get you started:

Daily: Spending quality time with your pet seems like a no-brainer, but when our lives get busy, it's easy to feed and forget, especially with cats! The predominant myth is that cats need less attention than dogs, but that's not true. Take your pets for a walk, play fetch or catch the feather toy, or simply sit on the couch and tell them about your day. Petting your cat or dog is good for everyone's health and it gives you a chance to monitor their health by checking for lumps, tangles, and funny odors. Besides, after an exhausting day, there's nothing more soothing than a purring cat on your lap or listening to the happy sound of a wagging tail.

Weekly: If you've brought your pet to us before then our doctors will have talked to you about brushing your pet's teeth. Oral health is important! Periodontal disease is all too common and it can cause serious illnesses. What's frustrating is that it's super easy to prevent. Give us a call anytime if you'd like to find out how you can start brushing your pet's teeth. You can also watch our How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth video featuring our very own Chris the super tech and Robbie the wonder dog.

Monthly: Fleas are everywhere! And with our gorgeous year-round California weather, all pets (even indoor-only ones) need a monthly flea preventative. Not only will you repel fleas and prevent an infestation, you're also protecting your pet from icky things like tapeworms, dermatitis, and haemobartonellosis. Make sure to only use a brand that's recommended by veterinary professionals. Just give us a call to see which one is best for your pet.

Find out what else you can do to keep your pet healthy by reading the rest of our two-part article here and here, If you'd like to subscribe to our newsletter for more health tips, you can sign up here.