1300 W. Conway Rd. Harbor Springs, MI 49740  231-347-2396

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Vet Clinic

44Next week is Christmas, and the majority of pet-friendly households plan on including their furry friends in the festivities. However, it’s important for pet parents to take precautions to ensure that everyone has a happy holiday, including all of the four-legged family members.

Just say no to mistletoe (and poinsettias and holly): these plants are poisonous to dogs and cats if ingested and can cause gastrointestinal upset. Keep these plants far out of reach of your pets or better yet, opt for a pet-friendly bouquet this holiday.

O Christmas tree: dogs and cats are naturally curious about the big, colorful tree that now sits in the middle of the room. Even more intriguing are the lights, ornaments and tinsel hanging about. Consider having a tinsel-less tree this year. Tinsel is something pets often try to consume. It can easily cause an obstruction in their digestive tract, which can result in surgery. It’s also not a bad idea to securely anchor your tree to prevent tips and injury to your pets (and your favorite glass ornaments!)

Candles: these are common this time of year, but it’s important not to leave pets unattended when candles are burning. Curious pets can tip them over, potentially injuring themselves or starting a fire.

Pass on the leftovers (for the most part): don’t pile your pup’s plate high with all the same trimmings that are on yours-they will not be used to this amount of human food and could develop gastrointestinal distress. Also, never give your pet bones to chew on that could become lodged in their throat.

No sweet treats: though it’s mostly common knowledge, keep all the Christmassy sugary foods away from your pet, especially chocolate. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can cause anything from diarrhea to seizures and in some cases, death.

Wrap it up: Keep gift wrap along with bows and ribbon away from pets. These are often fun to play with (especially for cats!) but if consumed, they can cause intestinal blockages.

Keep em’ happy: when guests arrive, if your pet is particularly shy and fearful of new people, make sure you have a warm, safe place for them to retreat to, away from the noise. Make sure they have fresh water and a bed to snuggle in to make them feel secure.

As always, if you have a question about your pet’s health, please make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

One major concern for pet owners during the winter months is keeping their pet protected from antifreeze, which can be potentially deadly if ingested. It’s important that antifreeze be kept out of pet’s reach and any spills on driveways and other hard surfaces should be cleaned up immediately. Unfortunately, many pets will consume this liquid, as it tends to have a sweet flavor.

Antifreeze can cause kidney failure in thDB3R5148e matter of a couple of days, and this doesn’t happen just by pets lapping it up in the driveway. If a pet walks through it and then goes inside to lick its paws, there is a real cause for concern.

But how do you know if you pet has gotten into antifreeze? If you suspect your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian first and foremost. Signs of antifreeze poisoning vary depending on the time of ingestion, but include:

-Drinking excessive amounts of water
-Decreased urination

Treatment for antifreeze poisoning is available and the earlier it is caught, the better chance of survival. The best way to make sure your pet doesn’t consume antifreeze is to be vigilant about checking the driveway for spills and monitor your pet when they’re out on walks, as well. Make sure to keep new and used antifreeze in sealed containers out of your pet’s reach and consider using a non-toxic alternative.

As always, if you have a question about your pet’s health, please make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

Candy CornSince November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month and November 17 is National Take a Hike Day, what better way to keep your beloved senior pet in shape than to start taking them for frequent hikes? Just because they have a little gray around the muzzle, doesn’t mean they should be excluded from a fun, outdoor adventure!

There are several things to keep in mind when exercising an older pet, such as the length of the walk, the outside temperature and any medical issues. Ensure that both you and your pet have a positive experience hiking together by keeping these tips in mind:

Impaired vision/hearing: it’s not uncommon for senior animals to have limited vision or hearing loss. Be sure to keep a careful eye on them so they don’t wander off and become lost on the trail. You may want to keep them on a leash for their own protection.

Special needs: there are a number of health issues that older pets develop such as diabetes, arthritis and hypothyroidism, just to name a few. This doesn’t mean your pet should stay home, however! Just make sure your veterinarian gives you the green light when taking your pet on hikes and bring any medications with you, just in case.

Keep your expectations realistic: your dog may have been able to cruise through a five mile run in their youth, but a senior pet may be limited to just a fraction of that. Make sure to bring an ample amount of water and offer it often. If your pet hasn’t had a lot of exercise lately, start out slow to make sure they don’t overdo it.

Time it right: keep in mind that older animals are more susceptible to temperature changes/extremes. In the summer, attempt to go during the cooler hours of the day, preferably in the morning or evening, and if you take your pet out in the winter, consider outfitting them with booties and a jacket/sweater.

Make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic to have their overall health evaluated to make sure they are healthy enough to taking hiking. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.

Daisy 081617November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, which aims to bring awareness to the many adoptable older animals waiting in shelters every year to find their forever homes. Each year, Little Traverse Bay Humane Society (LTBHS) finds homes for dozens of senior animals. Younger animals may require a good deal of time from their owners to train them properly. On the other hand, an older animal is likely to be potty trained, while a puppy will require some work and patience. Another thing to consider is that young animals are still developing their personalities, but with older animals, usually what you see is what you get.

Adopting an older animal can be an incredibly rewarding experience, just take it from Emily Stratton, who recently opened her heart and home to Daisy, a 13 year old cat who was surrendered with her feline friend, Lucy, several months ago. Lucy, who was much younger, quickly got adopted, but Daisy found herself sad and lonely at the shelter, being passed up by potential adopters in favor of younger cats. Thankfully, Emily had been keeping an eye on Daisy and vowed that if she didn’t find a home during the Empty the Shelters weekend (where all adoptions were sponsored by the BISSELL Pet Foundation), that she would come on Monday and adopt her.

“It made me so sad when I heard that her buddy (Lucy) left,” Stratton said. “Her story definitely spoke to me and I had to bring her home.”

Stratton said that Daisy has been a wonderful addition, and even though she’s older, she is a great companion.

“Daisy may be an older kitty, but she has a lot of years left in her and a lot of love to give,” she said. “I would recommend adopting an older shelter animal to anyone-they need homes, too.”

It’s Important to keep in mind that older pets may require some extra TLC in regard to their health. Take these tips into consideration so that your senior pet can remain happy and healthy for many years to come!

• Regular check-ups: Make sure to visit your veterinarian for a yearly exam, even if you pet appears in good health as some diseases are not outwardly apparent.

• High-quality food is a must: Older animals are more likely to become obese due to less physical activity than their younger counterparts, so be sure that they are not only eating the appropriate amount of food, but that it’s a high-quality variety that provides your pet with the proper nutrition.

• Consider supplements: If your pet’s fur has lost its luster or if they’re having joint issues, it may be a good idea to consider supplements if your veterinarian approves of them.

• Keep up on oral health: Older animals are likely to have issues with their teeth and gums than younger animals, so schedule a yearly dental exam/cleaning.

• Get them out and about: Make sure you pet continues to be physically active in their golden years. They might not go for as long of a walk as they once did, but be sure they are getting the exercise appropriate for their age and condition. If your senior pet is not used to exercise, consult your veterinarian and develop a plan to start slowly.

Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic offers numerous options for geriatric care to ensure that your pet stays healthy well into their golden years. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.

AbleOne component of health that many people don’t take into consideration when it comes to their pet is mental health. By providing your pet with an outlet to be mentally stimulated and engaged, you’re helping to improve your pet’s overall health. This ultimately results in a happier, more well-adjusted pet. There are several ways to go about this, including:
Training. Teaching you dog a new trick has benefits beyond a better mannered pup. Working with your dog to teach them something new not only engages their brain but also keeps their daily routine fun and interesting. And that saying about old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Not true! Even if you’ve adopted a senior pet, they will definitely benefit (and enjoy!) frequent training sessions with you.

Take a leisurely walk. When you take you dog out on their walk, try not to be in a hurry. Part of what your dog enjoys so much about their daily walks is being able to take the time to smell new things. Since a dog’s sense of smell is so much greater than ours, scents allow him to “see” the world through an olfactory lens, which can keep him mentally stimulated.

Toys and puzzles-both dogs and cats benefit from toys. This can be anything from a laser pointer for your cat (which is great physical exercise, as well) to a fun treat puzzle toy for your dog (that forces them to work for their food). Many pets even enjoy interactive games like hide and seek with their owners. Or consider hiding treats for them to find throughout the house on a rainy day-they will love the challenge!

Consider a cattery-this is typically an enclosed area outside or perhaps built just off a windowsill that curious cats can cozy up in. It allows them to experience the outdoors but stay safe from predators or without getting lost. Being able to listen to birds and feel like they’re outside is a great way for them to enjoy themselves.

Socialization is key-enroll your pup in doggy daycare which is a wonderful way for them to make new friends and also learn proper social skills. This is a good way to keep them mentally stimulated and learn to be more tolerant of other dogs (and people).

As always, if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health, please contact Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.