Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Step Ahead

     If you share your house with a pet, having a first aid kit can come in handy. One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it. You can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. Below is a list of items that should be in your kit for those of you who want to make your own. If you perform any first aid on your pet please make sure you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to see if any further treatment is recommended.

Pet-specific supplies

  • Pet first-aid book
  • Contacts: Keep a list in a place that can be easily referred to of important contacts along with their pertinent information. Such as your veterinarians name, number, address, and clinic hours. Some other important numbers to consider are the closest emergency clinic, transportation if necessary, and a poison-control center or hotline, such as the ASPCA poison control center. If you are traveling with your pet, find out where the closest clinic is and know how to get there.
  • Paperwork for your pet: proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records, and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)
  • Nylon leash
  • Self-cling bandage: (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs)
  • Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting: Use with caution. If there is anything causing or  could end up causing any breathing obstruction or difficulty, do NOT muzzle.

Basic first-aid supplies

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray
  • Blanket or a foil emergency blanket
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Tweezers
  • A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
  • A pet carrier

Other useful items

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet's size.
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic pets or those with low blood sugar)
  • Nail clippers
  • Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
  • Flashlight
  • Plastic eyedropper or syringe
  • Rubbing alcohol to clean the thermometer
  • Splints and tongue depressors
  • Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
  • Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet's collar when you travel)
  • Towels
  • Needle-nosed pliers


In addition to the items listed above, include anything your veterinarian has recommended specifically for your pet.

*Check the supplies in your pet's first-aid kit occasionally and replace any items that have expired.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

State of the Art Care with State of the Art Technology

     Yes! We have an app for that! Download your free Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod app at the iTunes Store today! Get instant access to breaking news such as pet food recalls, appointment requests, medication refills, tap to call, emergency, poison control & more! For more information see http://www.capecodvets.com/app-downloads.php  Coming soon for Android.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Safety Tips

     Your pets coat may look cozy and warm, but it's not always enough when the temperature dips down into freezing. Long hair pets have slightly more insulation than short hair, but still not enough to be outside for an extended period. If the temperature drops below freezing than your pet should not be outside for more than a quick pee break unattended. This includes leaving them in a car for a lengthy duration. Some factors vary such as age and breed. Puppies and seniors are at more risk then an adults in their prime. This doesn't mean all adults. That is where breed comes in. Take the time to learn about your dogs breed to have a better judgement on their tolerance and safety.
     Think of their fur coats as our winter apparel. Regardless of what you are wearing, you are still susceptible to hypothermia if exposed long enough. Apparel for your canine friend will help to a degree, but again, it is no different from our clothes, and as we all know, sometimes a jacket and thermal underwear just doesn't cut it. Boots can also help. Your pets pads are at risk for injury due to the cold and the salt that is used to make surfaces less slippery. Boots can be worn but should be broken in by your dog prior to protective use. It can take a few times wearing them for them to get the hang of it. I strongly recommend having a video camera ready the first time they try the boots. Make sure they are tight enough to not trip them up, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. If boots are not used one sign to watch for is your dog may start raising one foot at a time because they are starting to become too cold. If this occurs bring them inside and rub their paws until they are warm again. If you can't get them inside immediately because you are away on a walk, carry them if possible. If that's not possible bring them to your vet to ensure they are okay. As far as the salt goes, they do make a pet friendly salt for around your home. Keep in mind that the salt the towns use on sidewalks is NOT pet friendly. Having said that, it is also dangerous for you and your pet to walk on an icy surface. Besides frostbite, slipping and falling is almost inevitable with a dog on a leash, which can result in sprains, fractures, or even long term problems for either one of you. If you do walk on sidewalks, wipe their paws off afterwards so none of the salt gets in their mouth.
    If you are near any body of water that is frozen over, keep your pet on a leash. Seriously, no matter how obedient they may be, do not chance this. It's just too dangerous and potentially devastating.
    As far a our feline friends go, they should remain indoors during the winter. If you have an outdoor cat, come fall you may want to start keeping them in more often so it's not a huge shock when they are in all the time. If you have stray feral cats in your area and want to go the extra mile, you can make a small shelter out of a Rubbermaid bin and some warm, dry blankets. Supply food water as well if you can. 
    If you see a dog tied out on a leash, running loose without an owner in sight, left in a car, a stray cat, etc., instead of doing something that may land you behind bars, call your local police department. They will contact Animal Control.
    The safest place for you and your friend on these rigid days is on their bed (or yours) in front of a warm fire, spooning with you.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Time Blues

  Have a case of cabin fever? Did you know that humans are not the only ones that struggle through long winters? Dogs, much like humans, need daily mind and body stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Nothing beats a long walk in the woods or along a beach on a clear summer day, but maybe some of these ideas will help you and your friend(s) pass the time.

   * A brief walk depending on breed, age, and/or temperature can still be
      beneficial. Most pet stores sell jackets and boots to help tolerate the cold
      better. Not to mention they look adorable all dressed up!

             * A light game of indoor fetch is better than no fetch at all.
                Who could resist that face?

* Interactive treat dispensing toys, puzzles, etc. There are several different varieties of "busy" toys available to your pets. Most are made of an incredibly durable rubber that even the toughest jaw can't destroy. The object is to fill the toy with appropriate doggie snacks and leave your dog to his/her own devices to figure out how to retrieve their rewards. This can keep them occupied for hours!
This Is what I have for my 90 pound lab. He loves it!

There are many different companies on the web or in your local pet store to pick out the "busy" toy that is best for your dog(s). One company name is Busy Buddy. Check them out. You won't be sorry. I refill my dogs waggle each morning and give it to him before I leave for work. Instead of having to endure his "please don't leave me" face at the door, I can leave feeling good knowing he is off in the living room doing his job as a lab. Making sure that every last crumb has his full and undivided attention.

Interactive puzzle
              *Laser pointer: Yes, these are generally for cats, but some dogs go wild for them.

  *Searching game: Hide treats or favorite toys around the house, then tell your dog to find them.

 * Hide and seek: Have your dog in a sit and stay in one room while you go hide in another. Once you
    give the release command the game is on!

 * Depending on the weather and if the roads are safe, sometimes just a nice ride in the car can
    do the trick.

 * Enroll them in a class. A social life is a happy life!!

     I hope some of these ideas are helpful. If you have any ideas to add, please leave a comment or email me @ grizzandshikaka@gmail.com.