Essential Items To Have In Your Dog First Aid Kit

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, May 29, 2018 @ 08:17 AM

lou-liebau-377672-unsplashLife is one of those things that usually never goes the way you want to or think it will go.  Things just happen!  But, if you have a dog and you want to make sure that you are always prepared and ready in case something does happen, you should have a dog first aid kit.  While you can purchase these, I would suggest making your own because then you can customize it however you see fit.  If you need some ideas on what items you should be included, check out the list below to get started! 

Paperwork For Your Pooch 

If you are having some sort of a critical emergency, you will want to keep all of this information in one place.  It should include things like vaccination and medical records, emergency phone numbers or any other passports for your dog.  Also, if you leave your pet with a dog sitter make sure that they know where the first aid kit is.

Antibiotic Ointment or Neosporin

Whether your pup gets a small scratch or a cut, an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin is a great item to have in your first aid kit!  Not only can it help relieve any pain or soreness they might be having, but it can help prevent any infections as well as act as a barrier against dirt and germs.  If you're not comfortable with using Neosporin, you can also use coconut oil – though this won't protect against germs it will soothe the area until you can see a vet, and you don't have to worry about them eating it.

Scissors, Tape, and Gauze

If you're in an emergency situation, gauze can help soak up blood – or can be used as a temporary brace.  You can also use an old but clean t-shirt and tape for a brace too until you can get in to see a vet. 

Collapsible Food and Water Bowls

When you think of food and water bowls you think of clunkiness and something that takes up a lot of space, but there are special collapsible food and water bowls that you can place right in the first aid kit for your dog.

Small Bottles of Water and Emergency Food/Treats

People that live in areas where wildfires, volcanos, or earthquakes are present will also want to add some essential nutrients to their first aid kit for the dog.  Like with humans, water = life!  So make sure you pack a few bottles of water just in case you don't have access to water for hours, days or weeks at a time.


Of course, this should be common sense but if your pup has any medications that are imperative to keeping them healthy, make sure that you pack these in the first aid kit as well.  Another idea is to also include their flea and tick meds if you're going to be traveling.

Creature Comforts

If an emergency ever happens, your pup will want to be comforted.  If they have a favorite toy or blanket, make sure that you also pack this away in a first aid kit too.  It will help to keep them calm. 

Safety Dog Handbook

These are really smart to have!  These little guidebooks teach you how to give your dog CPR, how to bandage a wound or even give you more ideas to add to your first aid kit.

 In addition to all of the items above, you can also ask your vet if they can suggest any other items or products to have in your dog first aid kit.

As the old age saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Already you will be more prepared for a pet emergency.  And while you are educating yourself consider reading this blog, Emergency Care for your pet -- before you get to the veterinarian

And our local clients can take great comfort in knowing we are available to you 24 hours a day with the services of Metro Animal Emergency Clinic, learn more here:

Early Detection Packages

Topics: pet resources

Things Your Pet Could Be Allergic to

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, May 15, 2018 @ 09:19 PM

izaak-berkeley-hurst-334086-unsplashJust like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain products, foods, and allergens as well. While cats are allergic to some things like certain flowers, dogs are more allergic to more things, especially food items. When talking about dogs, the most common food items that they will be allergic to are:

- Beef
- Eggs
- Wheat
- Chicken
- Lamb
- Soy
- Pork
- Fish

A lot of the time when it comes down to food allergies it depends on the breed of dog you have. Here are the most common breeds that get food allergies:

- Dachshunds
- Shepherds
- Retrievers
- Cocker Spaniels

But, this doesn't mean that another breed not listed above is any less susceptible, it's just more common in the breeds above.

How Are Dog's Allergies Determined?

If you find that your dog is having allergic reactions, there is only one real way to determine what exactly they are reacting to. A vet might suggest that you completely remove everything from the dog's diet. Then, give them a food that they have never had before. Once the symptoms of the allergy start to clear up, you can then start to reintroduce food to the dog's diet one ingredient at a time. Usually, when you add one ingredient, say beef, you would wait 1-2 weeks to see if there are any noticeable allergic reactions. If no symptoms are seen, this would be added to the list of foods your dog is NOT allergic to. This is called an elimination test.

Once that's finished another ingredient would be added, and so on and so forth. It can take time. It can be frustrating. But, if you love your dog as much as I think you do, you're more than willing to take small steps in order to make your dog feel happier, more comfortable, and healthier!

But, if you take them to a vet, they can also do tests to rule out allergies. For example, they can take discharge from the dog's ears or test their skin to see if they have allergies. In the case of dogs, blood tests are not accurate.

Symptoms Of Food Allergies

If you notice that Fido is/has:

- Chronic Ear Infections
- Chronic Ear Inflammation
- Digestive Issues
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Chronic Gas
- Itchy or red anus
- Licking their feet, biting or scratching their skin

These can all be symptoms that your dog has an allergy - but these symptoms aren't just pointed towards food allergies, but any allergy; grass, dust mites, other animals, other animals dander/hair, etc. That's why its best to see a vet if you see one or more of the above symptoms in your dog. For owners its sort of a "where do I go from here" situation, but a vet is trained in all situations and can make recommendations on what to do next!

Is Cooking Their Food More Beneficial?

On one hand, if you decide to cook your dogs food with natural fresh ingredients, you know exactly what is in the food, down to the very last grain. However, raw feeding is a pretty scandalous topic among dog owners. Some people think it's amazingly healthy, while others don't - for obvious reasons... raw meat anyone?!

Some vets agree that feeding a dog a raw diet is okay, but you have to understand the basics of how to do a raw food diet for your dog - and the Internet just won't cut it. Instead, talk to your vet and see what they recommend. If they think that a raw food diet would be good for your pet, talk to them about what foods to give them, how to prepare the food, etc.

Dog Apt Checklist

Topics: pet resources, dog care

End of life decision making

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 11:39 AM

pets_wide-af65d25cd6980441331f3eae6f52334d1aa7d74f.jpgPets quickly become a cherished member of the family and it can be hard to imagine life without them. However, part of life is aging and pets generally have much shorter lives than their owners. When the time comes to make a decision for your pet, it's never going to be easy. But you can move forward with peace of mind that you did the right thing if you follow certain signs and do the right amount of research. The day will be hard, but in the end, euthanizing your pet can be what's best for everyone involved. When considering whether euthanasia is the right direction for your family and your pet, think of the items in their life like a pyramid and use these tips to help you make the agonizing decision.

Emotional Aspects

The emotional involvement of your pet is at the top of the pyramid. It will help make a small portion of the decision. Ask yourself if your pet still has their dignity. Can they go to the bathroom on their own and eat alone or do they need help with some of the most basic items? Do they seem lax in their will to live or are they still looking for attention and acting like themselves? These emotional items will tell you a little more about what your pet might want if they could talk to you.

Social Elements

You know what your pet is like when they are healthy. How they act socially will tell you a lot about the direction you should take. Does your pet still engage with your family and play? Do they want to have pets and cuddles like they used to? Are they engaged with the other pets in your house if you have them? Pets who show some social engagement are healthier and in a better place than those who don't. If your pet is pulling back in a social way, they may be nearing the end of their time with you.

Pain Management

The bottom part of the pyramid is the largest portion and a big deciding factor as to what you need to do with your pet. You want your pet to be happy and healthy, but when they're not, you want to ensure that they aren't in any pain, if at all possible. Take a look at their mobility and hygiene. Are they able to keep clean like they used to and get around as needed? Are they safe or are they stumbling and stairs becoming a danger to them? Sometimes you can tell a pet is in pain because of the way they act and other times, they suffer silently. The best thing you can do when it comes to pain is consult with your vet. They are experts in the field and can tell you what your pet may be experiencing. The last thing you want is for your pet to suffer and if it is evident they are and there's no end in sight, you will know what to do.

Every pet is an individual and an important member of your family. No two pets are alike and there is no one right answer when it comes to the end of their life. If you are able to take a look at the emotional, social, and physical pyramid and fill in the gaps, you will better be able to come up with an answer that will give you peace of mind about the direction you take with your pet.

Contact Us

Topics: pet resources, pet care, pet cancer, exotic pet care, dog care, cat care

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.

Contact Us

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

Common Anal Gland Issues

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Fri, Mar 09, 2018 @ 11:28 AM

3038662-poster-p-1-the-most-statistically-sound-dogs-charted.jpgWhen you own an animal, few topics raise eyebrows as much as the term anal glands, but actually, this is a very important topic!

Anal glands are small pouches that are located between an animals internal and external sphincter muscles. These glands empty through narrow and short ducts inside the anus of the animal. These sacs are lined with modified sebaceous oil and sweat glands - the substance that is secreted from the area can be an oily almost brownish fluid that has a pretty strong odor to it.

Usually when an animal defecates the liquid inside the sac will be expelled, but if this process does not happen on a daily or weekly basis, the material inside will thicken and make it harder for the animal to pass it. If this situation keeps happening over time, the anal gland can become impacted, inflamed, or even infected. If it becomes bad enough, it can even cause a rupture through the skin via an abscess.

While some Veterinarian say that the reason for anal glands is to help create a territorial marker, others state that the anal sac oils actually help lubricate hard stool, which makes passage easier and more comfortable for the animal.

While this problem is less common in cats, it still is an issue. In dogs this issue becomes even more prevalent - around 12% of dogs will face the issue with their anal glands at least one time in their life.

Dogs who are overweight also experience this issue more than dogs who are not. Some breeds or certain dogs may be born with narrow anal ducts.

Age and Breed Considerations

Anal gland issues are more common in dogs, yes, but they are even more common in smaller breeds of dogs including toy poodles, teacup terriers, bichon frise's, cocker spaniels, beagles and even Chihuahuas. When it comes to anal glad issues and sexes - both female and male dogs can be affected.

Why Their Diet Matters

While a diet change won't resolve all of the issues your dog might be having right off the bat, it's still a good place to start. Make sure that your dog has a diet that is rich in fiber which will help prevent issues in the future.

Expressing The Glands By Hand

While you can express the glands by hand, most vets will tell you that this should NOT be done to a normal dog with no history of issues with their anal glands. Instead, if you are worried if your dog has anal gland problems or you find that they are experiencing issues when defecating; it's a good idea to talk to your veterinarian to see if there is a true issue or not. If the anal glands need to be expressed, your veterinarian can do this process for you or even teach you how to do it for your own dogs.

Recognizing A True Problem

Some of the more common symptoms, become very obvious almost right away because these "acts" may not be something your dog did before and suddenly does now. The symptoms or signs of something possibly being wrong include; scooting their bottom across the floor, trying to lick the anal region or displaying discomfort in the area of the glands.

Impaction and infection are two of the most common worries when it comes to issues with anal glands, but if you ignore the problem as time goes on, this can eventually turn into an even bigger problem such as cancer. If you find that your animal is suffering from issues with their anal glands, see your veterinarian immediately.

Dog Apt Checklist

Topics: pet resources, pet care, pet nutrition, 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.

enewsletter sign up


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

Resources for Pet Care

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 @ 09:23 AM

petgallery.jpgThe Internet is a wonderful resource and you can learn endless things when you search topics that interest you. The problem is, you don't always know if the information you get is from a valid source. When it comes to pet care, it's important to rely only on credible sources. There's information from every angle out there and you can waste a lot of time and effort finding the right options or worse yet – find incorrect information that may be harmful to your pet. Instead of wasting time and possibly going down the wrong path because of misinformation, use the Halifax Veterinary Hospitals Resource page.

We work with animals on a daily basis. We know the topics revolving around animal care extremely well. We have put the necessary time and effort into finding the right information for you so all you have to do is visit the resource page and look for the topic you need help with.

If you are a first-time pet owner, you might be concerned about every detail from top to bottom. How do you clean your home with a pet around? What do they need and what should you think about as a pet owner in terms of cleanliness? Take those worries off your mind by doing a little reading. The resource page has outlets for you to learn everything you need to know from a valid source endorsed by veterinarians.

We are also open to your ideas and suggestions on resources we should include here. Or if you have a specific question please send us your questions and we’ll answer it here on our blog. If you have a health concern that is more urgent in nature, don't wait for an answer on the blog. Contact your local veterinarian right away and find out what you need to know sooner rather than later.

Learn More

Topics: pet care, dog care, cat care, veterinary hospital, Halifax vet, pet resources