Bloat -- what you need to know

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:31 AM

dog-owners.jpgWhen you buy a dog, it's a life-long commitment. You have to make sure they are fed properly, taken to the veterinarian many times during their lives, make sure they get walked, etc.

One of the topics we are going to discuss today is bloat or Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This is an extremely serious situation and should be considered life-threatening. There are no natural or home remedies for bloat so if your dog is having symptoms related to this disease - which we will be going through below, you need to see your Veterinarian ASAP.

Dogs with bloat can die within several hours so time is of the essence. Even when a dog gets treatment there is still a chance that they may not survive.

With bloat, for a number of different reasons, your dog's stomach can fill up with air and put extra pressure on the other organs in the dog's body. It can also cause the stomach to rotate onto itself and pinch off the blood supply. Once this happens the blood supply is cut off and the stomach begins to die.

The pressure makes it difficult for the dog to breath and it can also compress larger veins in the abdomen which can prevent blood from returning to the heart.

Breeds That GDV Is More Common In

As with a lot of other health issues and diseases, GDV is more common in some breeds than it is in others.

Great Danes have a 4.1 risk ratio
German Shepherds have a 4.1
Golden Retrievers have a 1.2
Mini Poodles have a 0.3

GDV tends to be much more common in larger dogs than smaller dogs, hence the numbers above.

It's a good idea to not only talk to your veterinarian about GDV but also talk to them about your specific breed.

Dogs also over the age of 7, who are male, who are fed less than 1 times a day are also more at risk to get GDV than dogs who are not.

Signs Of Bloat In Dogs

Some of the symptoms you'll want to look for in your dog include:

- Swollen or Protruding Belly
- Non-Productive Vomiting
- Retching
- Abdominal Pain
- Rapid Shallow Breathing

Prevention Of Bloat In Dogs

While getting care for your dog after the fact can keep GDV from coming back later on in the dog's life, most vets agree that having a surgery called gastropexy, while they are young, is the best way to keep dog bloat away entirely. A gastropexy can be done on both male and female dogs and it can be done at the same time as they are being spayed or neutered.

In gastropexy, the dog's stomach will be sutured and attached to the abdominal wall or the diaphragm and this is what will keep the dog's stomach from flipping over on itself.

For most dog lovers and owners, that stat alone is worth getting the gastropexy.

Other Preventative Measures:

- Owners should be aware that they have a dog breed who is more susceptible to GDV.

- Dogs who are more susceptible should be fed 2-3 times a day, rather than 1 time a day.

- Water should always be available, however, it should be limited after the dog is done eating.

- While exercise is great for any dog, dogs that have a higher chance of getting GDV should not exercise vigorously, be too excited or stressed out 1-2 hours before and 1-2 hours after a meal.

According to studies, dogs that have the gastropexy have a small 4.3% chance of getting GDV in the future versus the 54.5% who can get it in the future who have NOT gotten gastropexy.

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Topics: pet resources, pet care, pet behaviour, choosing a vet, pet nutrition, dog care, animal hospital, Halifax vet

The Danger of Essential Oils

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Mon, Mar 05, 2018 @ 08:35 AM

christin-hume-505815-unsplash.jpgEssential oils are nothing new - they've been around for years, but more and more these days these essential oils are showing up in the news because of incidents regarding children. Children are at risk when it comes to ingesting essential oils, but so are pets!

If you use essential oils in your home, that's fine, but it's also important to keep your pets safe by following the rules below. These rules are primarily for essential oils.

Essential Oils Can Be Toxic

Aromatherapy for humans uses essential oils to create a relaxing atmosphere to calm people, take away headaches, reduce stress, etc. Unfortunately, if your pet gets into contact with these essential oils they can also become really sick. Make sure that if you use these oils at home that you keep your animals away from them. Pets should not lick, smell or eat these oils and they definitely shouldn't come into contact with them in terms of getting the oils on their feet, in their eyes, or on their skin.

Essential Oils Can Be irritants

As you probably know animals, especially dogs, and cats have a heightened sense of smell, more so than humans. Because of this some scents may become overpowering to them and cause irritations to the inside of their nose or eyes. Beyond just being able to smell better than humans do, dogs and cats have a more sensitive respiratory system than we do as well, which is why essential oils are NOT recommended around pets.

Pet Aromatherapy vs Human

If you visit your local pet shop or favorite online store you might see these pet aromatherapy products for pets, the pet variations are greatly diluted which does make them safer for animals. It's still a good idea to talk to your veterinarian though before using any oils on your pet. And never ever use these oils on open wounds, scratched skin, irritated skin, broken skin, etc.

Never apply human aromatherapy oils to your animal as these compounds can quickly be absorbed into the skin and go into the bloodstream to cause possible issues to your dog's organs.

Liquid Potpourri

Potpourri has long been touted as the perfect way to make your home smell nice. And while this is true, it can also lead to serious problems for your pets, especially when it comes to liquid potpourri which is made from essential oils and cationic detergents. These ingredients can cause chemical burns on the face, mouth or in the eyes. Not to mention the pure heat that comes from a pot of liquid potpourri can cause burns - or even death.

Keep your animals away from liquid potpourri and away from the stove or oven while it’s on. If your pet does accidentally come into contact with liquid potpourri, essential oils or any other type of harmful liquid, bath them immediately using a hand-safe natural dishwashing agent and call the veterinarian just in case.

While humans might find benefits in using essential oils, they are simply not made for pets, especially if they are not meant for pets or they are not diluted properly. If there ever comes a time when you want to try aromatherapy for pets on your animal, always make sure that you talk to your veterinarian first before using it on the animal.

Your veterinarian is more experienced and has more knowledge on this and therefore can offer a heads up on any issues you might see if you use the product, symptoms to look out for, and what to do in case of an emergency regarding your pet and these caustic liquids.

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Topics: pet resources, pet care, exotic pet care, vet halifax, dog care, animal hospital, Halifax vet, cat care

What does an RVT really do?

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 @ 03:55 PM

When you take your pet to your trusted veterinary hospital or clinic – you may not realize 22467737_1534599219966132_3783171366806282032_o.jpgthat it takes a team of professionals working alongside the doctor. One group of professionals you will find in most every veterinary clinic or hospital is the Registered Veterinary Technician/Technologist. The team works together for your pet to receive the best possible medical care.

A valuable team member – Registered Veterinary Technician/Technologist

Registered Veterinary Technicians and Technologists is a field that has become very popular among animal lovers. There are many traits that you will find in most RVTs. The most obvious, of course – is that Registered Veterinary Technicians have a love for animals. They enjoy working with pets and their owners and want to help them to be as healthy as they can be so they can enjoy a long life. RVTs also have an interest in health science, preventative health and nutrition for animals.

RVT training and education

A Registered Veterinary Technician has become an essential member of the healthcare team caring for your pet’s health and well-being. Their education is extensive. Before they begin working in an animal hospital or clinic, they must be proficient in many health-related skills, procedures and treatment.

Take a look at some of the services the Registered Veterinary Technician in your Veterinary office provides to your pet:

  • Administer and monitor anesthesia during surgical procedures
  • Administer medications, treatments and vaccinations as directed by the doctor
  • Animal research
  • Assist in surgery
  • Collect laboratory samples – blood, urine, tissue
  • Educate pet owners about healthy nutrition for their pets
  • Obtain and read x-rays
  • Prepare animals and the operating room for surgery
  • Provide emergency first aid

To become skillful in these and many more hospital and clinic tasks – an RVT is highly educated and trained. When they have completed the education component of their schooling, they must successfully complete the certification exam to receive their credentials. You can see why Registered Veterinary Technicians and Technologists are vital members of a veterinarian team.

Did you know October is RVT Month?

A week is simply not long enough to celebrate the many responsibilities that come with being a Registered Veterinary Technician or Technologist. They work beside veterinarians to make sure your pets receive the highest quality of healthcare – both emergent and preventative.

To honor and bring awareness to this interesting career – associations in each province can provide you with RVT Month Kits. The kits contain stickers, posters, buttons and other items to bring awareness to RVTs across the country.

Registered Veterinary Technicians and Technologists are dedicated to assisting your veterinarian to provide the medical and preventative care he or she needs to live a long and happy life as a beloved member of your family.

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Topics: Halifax vet, animal hospital, Registered Veterinary Technician

Body Conditioning

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 @ 02:03 PM

It goes without saying that you want the best for your pet. But there are times when a loving pet owner can go overboard with good intentions and give a dog too much of the good stuff, be that food or fun. As with people, it is vital that dogs maintain a healthy balance of diet and exercise. Otherwise, you can see their weight fluctuate one way or another quite quickly. In this post, we will discuss some signs you may see when your dog's body conditioning is off, as well as some you will see when it's spot on.

The Nestle Purina Body Condition System is divided into nine levels. Those nine levels are divided (unevenly) into three categories: too thin, ideal, and too heavy. We'll explore each of these categories below.

Too thin (1-3)

Levels one and two are relatively easy to spot, even from a distance. The ribs, lumbar vertebrae, and pelvic bones, as well as smaller bones are clearly visible. There will be little to no body fat. Unless a dog is old and his or her metabolism is simply not functioning properly, dwindling down to these levels is almost certainly a sign of an underlying illness.WA_3-1.jpg

The ribs will be clearly visible in the case of dogs on level three as well, but less so the rest of their bones. Still, you may be able to see the pelvic bones or the top of the lumbar vertebrae. A distinguishing factor of level three is the abdominal tuck; when looking from above, you will see that the waist and abdomen are clearly thinner than the ribs and hips.

Too heavy (6-9)

If a dog's on level six, the ribs will be visible albeit through a layer of fat. While the abdomen is still tucked, the waist is hardly perceivable from above.

On level seven the ribs are hardly visible at all due to heavy fat. You will likely see fat deposits over the lumbar area and the base of the tail. A dog can be on level seven even if a slight abdominal tuck is visible. You will likely not see the waste from above though.

In level eight a dog's ribs may be visible under intense scrutiny but in level nine they are hidden beneath massive fat deposits. The deposits cover the lumbar area and the base of the tail, and in level nine even the neck and limbs. Dogs in level eight may be bloated or have abdominal distention, as those in level nine certainly will be.

Ideal (4-5)

In the ideal-weight dog, the ribs will be visible beneath a little bit of fat. In level four dogs, you can still make out the waist from above and the abdomen from the side; in level five dogs the waist will be less apparent when looking from above, but you can definitely see the abdomen tucked from the side.

Keep in mind that this is only intended as a general guideline. If you have any reason to believe that your dog's body conditioning is off, please see your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

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Topics: dog care, pet care, Halifax vet, animal hospital

Pet Diabetes

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Thu, Mar 02, 2017 @ 09:19 AM

Special_needs_pets--Sophie.jpgJust as diabetes in humans seems to be on the increase - so does diabetes in pets. Diabetes is a complex disease that can be caused by a lack of insulin - or an inadequate response to insulin.

About diabetes

When an animal has diabetes, insufficient amounts of insulin are produced, or the insulin is not utilized normally - causing the animal's blood sugar levels to elevate. This results in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Diabetes is classified into two types.

  • Type 1 - Lack of insulin production
  • Type 2 - Inability to respond to insulin

Type 1 diabetes is the type that is the most common form of diabetes found in dogs. Insulin is formed in the pancreas. When there is not enough insulin produced, insulin therapy is needed in order for your pet to remain healthy.

Type 2 diabetes is most commonly found in cats. In this condition, sufficient amounts of insulin are produced, but the cat does not have a normal response to it.

Symptoms to watch for

There are several signs you can watch for that may lead to a diagnosis of diabetes in your pet.

  • Change in appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst - increased water consumption
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting

Change in appetite. Any time your pet has a change in appetite it should be checked out by your vet. Not only is this a sign of diabetes, but it is also a symptom of many other medical conditions that may be affecting your pet.

Dehydration and Excessive thirst. Even though your pet may be exhibiting excessive thirst and drinking more water than usual they still may become dehydrated. In fact, excessive thirst is a signal that your pet may be dehydrated. Dehydration is a serious condition in pets and needs to be treated as soon as it is noticed. There are many signs of dehydration.

  • Loose or wrinkled skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dry gums

Lethargy. Lethargy in your pet is also a symptom that should not be ignored or go untreated, as it can be a red flag that something is not right with your pet.

Frequent urination and UTIs. If your pet has more frequent urination than usual or frequent urinary tract infections - make sure your vet checks for diabetes.

Overweight and older pets

Diabetes seems to be more common in pets that are overweight and as they get older. It can also be brought on by the pet's lifestyle.

Diabetes treatment for your pet

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes - it is important to get the right treatment.

  • Oral medication
  • Diet
  • Insulin injections
  • Life-style change

Depending on the type and severity of diabetes - your pet may need oral insulin or insulin injections. Your veterinarian will give you detailed instructions on administrating the insulin.

It is important that your pet lead an active life and that his or her diet is a healthy one. Keep your pet active by play or taking walks.

A diet that is higher in protein and lower in carbs has shown to be a conservative treatment for pets with diabetes.

Keeping your pet healthy

As important as it is to watch for any unusual signs or symptoms in your pet - the best thing you can do to keep your pet healthy is to make sure he or she has regular checkups.

The professionals at Halifax Veterinary Hospital care for each and every pet patient that comes through our doors. Call us with any concerns you may have about the health of your beloved pet.

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Topics: cat care, dog care, veterinary hospital, animal hospital

November: National Pet Cancer Awareness month

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Mon, Nov 07, 2016 @ 12:16 PM

pet cancer.jpgThanks to the continual advancement of veterinary medicine, dogs and cats are living longer and healthier lives. We love hearing how pet care is evolving and support the continual research and development of all areas of veterinary care, especially cancer prevention, treatment and awareness. As an AAHA certified hospital (certified by the American Animal Hospital Association), the Halifax Veterinary Hospitals are committed to providing the best technology and healthcare for your pets – including cancer treatment.

We abide by the 2016 AAHA Oncology Guidelines for Dogs and Cats and use its resources and tips for diagnosing various tumor types; determining the stage of cancer; evaluating treatment options such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and adjunctive medications; follow-up care; safety protocols; and other considerations for determining the approach best suited to each individual patient.

The AAHA guidelines emphasize the importance of good communication with pet owners and we could not agree more. Our veterinary staff is always here for pet parents who may have questions regarding a cancer diagnosis and want to ensure them that we understand how difficult deciding the right course of treatment for your pet can be. We like to think of ourselves as your personal support team; we are here to help you from the moment you bring your pet into the hospital. We want to ensure our patients and their owners are comfortable. Most of us are proud pet owners too and because of that our lives revolve around the health and wellbeing of pets.

Pet Cancer Detection Tips

To detect cancer early, pet owners should be attentive to any growing lumps or sores on their pet that fail to heal. They should also monitor their pet for: 1) drastic changes in the pet’s appetite or weight; 2) unusually strong odors coming from a pet; 3) discharge or bleeding from any body opening; 4) difficulty chewing or swallowing; or 5) an unwillingness to exercise.

Halifax Veterinary Hospital, Fairview Animal Hospital and Spryfield Animal Hospital are offer preventive and early detection medical care. If you think your pet may have a health issue, don’t hesitate to call us today. We are here to help.

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Topics: animal hospital, early detection, pet cancer

What to look for when choosing an animal hospital

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Mar 09, 2015 @ 07:12 AM

When you buy or adopt an animal to be your pet, you’re making a big commitment. When properly nurtured and dog-ownerstrained, a pet can become a new friend and new family member that you love unconditionally. When someone you love needs medical attention, you want to do everything you can to insure a 100% clean bill of health. Though it can seem like the situation every pet owner dreads, it is important to know what to look for in an animal hospital: People who are committed, knowledgeable and dependable. That’s what you’ll find at any of our three clinics.

What to expect from us

Halifax Veterinary Hospital Inc. has been actively providing animal health care since its doors opened in 1952.  Since then, we have opened hospitals in three different locations:

  • Halifax Veterinary Hospital in Quinpool
  • Fairview Animal Hospital
  • And Spryfield Animal Hospital

All of our locations are accredited members of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and that accreditation is a badge of honor we wear proudly as it showcases our commitment to providing services of the highest quality. Halifax Veterinary Hospital Inc. offers a variety of veterinary services that include, but are not limited to:

  • Annual Physical Exams
  • Microchipping
  • Spaying and Neutering
  • Dentistry
  • Grooming
  • House Calls and more

Our entire list of services can be found on the services page on our website: Our comprehensive care can assure that whatever you or your pet needs is 100% covered. If you’re still feeling apprehensive, however, there’s a way that you can get a closer look at our facilities and staff: a guided tour of any hospital of your choice.

Finding the right hospital

When it comes to something like health care, the best course of action is preventive; preparing for the future that may or may not come. We know that there are a lot of choices out there for you and your pet when it comes to health care and we’d like to show you up close and personal what we have to offer with our guided tours. You can gain a good deal of information from browsing the Halifax Veterinary Hospital Inc. website, but a scheduled a visit to tour our hospitals can help clear up any questions or concerns you may have.

What you’ll gain from a tour

There aren't many people out there who would buy a car without taking it for a spin. And not many people would make a huge decision like buying a car, choosing a school, or a purchasing a new house before getting a closer look. Choosing a healthcare facility to rely on for your pet is just as important a decision and a chance to tour any of our three hospital locations will afford you with more information before making your final decision. A tour will also allow you to put these possible fears to rest:

  • Who will be my pet’s veterinarian?
  • Where will my pet stay if it needs to be cared for overnight?
  • What type of equipment is used for treatments and how do they work?
  • What if an emergency were to happen during my pet’s visit? What are the safety procedures?
  • Which animals do the veterinarians have the most experience with?

When it comes to important decisions, especially ones made for a loved one’s health, it is important to have as much information at hand as possible. Though our website is very thorough in providing information, you are more than welcome to take a closer look with a guided tour. We hope to see you soon!  

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Topics: animal hospital, Halifax vet

Nova Scotia Tightens Animal Protection Rules

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 08:35 AM

Nova Scotia's dogs and cats – and their owners – have reason to celebrate in this year, asdescribe the image regulations passed last month offer new protections to help ensure the health and safety of the province's pets.

The recent changes made to the Animal Protection Act accomplish several things: they provide clear guidelines for the health and safety of pets who are kept outdoors for any length of time, they give SPCA investigators and law enforcement more power to rescue pets trapped in hot cars when the owner cannot be found, and they require certification by a veterinarian of a cat or dog's health before the animal can be sold. This last regulation was introduced with the aim to help prevent the tragedies resulting from unsuspecting pet owners being sold sick and dying puppies by unethical dog brokers, but it applies equally to cats as well.

Though it may be a few months before Nova Scotia dogs face the dangers of heatstroke from being left in enclosed cars, the new Animal Protection Act regulations will help save lives when the warmer weather does finally come. Even on relatively cool days, the glass windows of a car or truck act like a greenhouse, causing the temperature inside the vehicle to climb to dangerous levels for a pet (or child) left inside. Previously, only the RCMP had the authority to break into a vehicle to rescue a pet whose health was in danger when the owner could not be found, but the new changes give enforcement inspectors the power to take this life-saving step. Despite the seemingly widespread knowledge that an enclosed car left in the sun can get dangerously hot, every year animals die of heatstroke in unattended cars; these new regulations will mean more dogs may be saved.

An important change introduced with the new regulations is the requirement that any dog or cat sold must have been evaluated by a veterinarian, who must complete a certificate of health for the animal. Many pet owners assume that breeders and brokers who sell dogs and cats must go into the business for the love of the animals – and indeed, some do. But others see only the profits that can be made from other people's love of dogs and cats, and will callously exploit and neglect puppies and kittens in the process. Too many dog owners have suffered the heartbreak of buying a new puppy, only to watch their new family member die within hours of parvovirus or other illnesses. Puppy mills strive to churn out valuable dogs as quickly as possible, often without regard for keeping the animals clean and healthy, and frequently remove puppies from their mothers at too young an age, while they still need to nurse. Unscrupulous animal sellers sell puppies and dogs that they know are sick, giving them only the bare minimum of care to keep them alive until they can be sold to an unsuspecting new owner. Under the new requirements, pet owners will be much more likely to receive healthy animals – but it remains important to do your research on the breeder or seller if you choose to buy a dog or cat rather than adopt a rescue animal.

The new Animal Protection Act regulations were developed with the input of animal rights organizations and carry the approval of the Nova Scotia SPCA. The clearly-outlined standards for care give officials the necessary tools to ensure that dogs and cats are being properly cared for, and the required veterinary certificate helps protect pets and owners from predatory sellers.

Topics: animal hospital, dog care, cat care

The Benefits and Use of Pet Ultra Sound

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 @ 07:15 AM

Many people have benefited from the diagnostic medical procedure called ultrasonography, but did you know that this non-invasive and well-tolerated examination is available to the veterinarian in the care of your beloved family pet?

Why is ultrasonography used on a pet?

Ultrasound examination of cats, dogs, horses and other companion and farm animals has grown indescribe the image popularity over the past several years because of the sharp and clear images produced when sound waves are introduced to an animal's body cavity (such as the chest or abdomen). The resulting "echoes" back from inside the body are translated into computerized pictures of the soft tissues such as:

  • the heart
  • lungs
  • liver
  • spleen 
  • urinary bladder
  • pregnant uterus

Not only are the pictures produced by ultrasound equipment accurate and detailed, but they allow the doctor to evaluate structures live, in real time, or the pictures may be saved to be viewed at a later date. The pictures tell an accurate story of the shape, size, location and blood supply associated with body organs.

A veterinarian will suggest use of ultrasound imaging when a cat, dog or other pet has a problem in his blood work, may have internal bleeding or repeated infections, has aspirated or swallowed a foreign object or whenever the doctor wishes to see inside the animal without using x-rays. In fact, the pictures produced by ultrasound examination can be far superior to the traditional x-ray. 

What will my pet experience during ultrasound examination?

Because this procedure is non-invasive and completely painless, most animals tolerate it very well and often do not require anaesthesia for it. No fasting from food or water is necessary. Some pets may need light sedation, however, as they must remain still for the examination which can last 20 to 30 minutes.  An assistant will hold and comfort the pet during the examination.

Before the ultrasound procedure, the area of the body to be examined is shaved so that the pet's fur or hair does not interfere with the imaging.  A small amount of water-based lubricating gel is placed on the skin over the area to be imaged. The doctor or ultrasound technician puts a transducer on the body. This device sends sound waves into the body cavity, and a computer builds a picture based on how those sound waves reflect back from the organs or other structures being visualized. Pets do well with the exam, and there is no recovery protocol. The animals may resume their normal routine. 

Veterinarians praise pet ultrasound for its safety, repeatability, ease of use and for how helpful it is before and during surgeries. It even  assists with locating an area which needs a biopsy and with cancer staging. Pet owners like ultrasound because their pets are comfortable and well cared for during the procedure, and they are given an accurate report of their animals' state of health.

As a full-service facility, Halifax Veterinary Hospital is pleased to use ultrasonography in the care of its patients.

To learn more

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Topics: Halifax vet, animal hospital, dog care, cat care

Tips for administering pet medication

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Sun, Nov 30, 2014 @ 08:48 PM

Owning pets is an absolute joy. Whether you are a cat person or a dog person, there are so manypet meds for traveling 1 different benefits to having an animal in your life that they become like family. And when your four-legged family member becomes ill, there isn't even an option. You have to see them well again. 

Just like with humans, pet sicknesses come in many different varieties, with numerous different medications used to treat them. And again, just like us humans, most of the time they down right just don't want to take their medicine. It's a fact of life. So how do you get your dog or cat to take their medications?

  • Force them
    Probably the most basic way to give a medicine dosage is simply to force them to take it. When choosing this route to get your pet take their medicine, do your best to be quick, as often your cat or dog won't like the taste of their medicine, and a drawn out affair could cause them to be even less eager the next time. Forcing them to take their medicine could take the form of popping the pill in your pet's mouth and holding their jaw shut until they swallows, or using a syringe with liquid medicines to squirt it past their lips. While this is something almost anyone can do, often times pets don't like it. Cats will scratch, dogs struggle, and either one will give you that sad look of betrayal.  It's tough love, though, and for their own good. If they're struggling overly much, you could use a towel to wrap them up to keep them from scratching you.You could also use a pill gun to place the pill in their mouth, if you are worried about getting nipped. Still, when it is at all possible, other methods can often be easier. 
  • Put it in their food
    Another option is to give them their medicine with their food. Some medications can be ground up and sprinkled over your pet's normal dinner. This is an easy, and often effective way of making sure they get their medication. It does have its own downsides though. If the medicine is not mixed in well enough, your pet may decide to eat around it. Even when it is mixed in, it can alter the flavor in a way that makes the food undesirable for your pet and may in fact turn them off their food completely. Really the effectiveness of this technique depends on whether or not you have a picky eater. Your mileage may vary. 
  • Treat them
    Another method that is often effective is to hide the medication in a treat. For larger dogs, you could put a pill into a piece of meat. Some dogs really like peanut butter and will eat their medicine readily when mixed with that. Cats may take their medicine when it is mixed in with tuna fish or a similar wet food. It may be easier for you to use a ready made product to hide the medicine. Products like Greenie's Pill Pockets are treats designed to hold a pill on the inside, and are a quick and simple way to get your pet to take their medicine. 
  • Compounded Medications

Many medications used in veterinary medicine can be made by compounding pharmacies. These medications will be available as flavoured liquids, chews, smaller tablets, flavoured powders or even medications that can be used as creams on the inside of the pet’s ears where the drug is absorbed through the skin.

Finding out what works for your pet can take some time. Any one of these techniques could be the perfect solution for you, but they could also fail. Cats and dogs often have a mind of their own where these things are involved. It may take some trial and error, but eventually you will be able to find what works for you. Good luck and get well soon!  And if you need a little help getting well, contact us.

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Topics: animal hospital, dog care, cat care