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Chocolates And Your Pets

August 8th, 2013 3:53 am

Your dogs, cats, rabbits, or any other household pet should not be allowed to eat chocolates. This is an important thought that pet owners should know about. The danger lies basically on the components of chocolates.

The substance called theobromine is considered toxic to animals. Thus, they should be avoided. If ingested by your pets, the effects can range from simple gastrointestinal problems to a more serious complication, death.

Some might argue that while chocolate is nontoxic to humans, they should be nontoxic to animals as well. This is not true as humans can better digest chocolates, specifically its component theobromine. Thus, chocolates cannot be considered dangerous to human beings as they are dangerous to your beloved pets.

Some chocolate products might contain more or fewer amounts of theobromine. But most of the time, milk chocolate contains the least. But, this does not mean that it is safe for you to feed your pet with milk chocolate. Your best option is to avoid giving it altogether.

The issue of how much you can give and how much is still considered ‘safe’ for your pet can be dependent on several factors. The most important one is the amount of theobromine that is present in the product. The size of your pet and how it will be able to digest the product is also a consideration. Again, just to be safe, it is better to make it a point to avoid giving chocolates to your pet.

However, if you pet has accidentally ingested them, there are a few signs that you need to observe. These signs are necessary so that you will know what your next actions will be.

Restlessness can be noted. This sign can be subtle and careful observation is needed to be able to make a decision early. There may be vomiting or passage of loose stools. Some pets may exhibit seizures or muscle twitching. A more serious sign can be lethargy or in rare cases, coma. These signs most commonly appear within half a day after chocolates are eaten.

What you can do as an owner is to observe your pet at the beginning. When you have not seen any alarming symptoms, there may be no need to take any action. Just continue observing your pet for changes in its behavior, appetite, or even sleep and play patterns.

For those who have observed that their pet seemed too irritable or restless or their pets have exhibited one or some of the symptoms listed earlier, there might be a need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet would know what necessary interventions need to be done in order to manage the specific gravity of your pet’s condition.

Pet Health Tips

April 15th, 2013 4:07 am

1. Go See the Vet
This is #1 on the list for a reason.  All pets should go to the vet’s office at least once each year.  In fact, regular veterinary examinations are the most important component of any preventive health care plan.  These exams often result in the early detection of changes and problems, which allows for earlier intervention.

2. Vaccinate Your Pets
Keeping your pet up to date on their vaccinations helps to protect them, and in some cases you, from numerous infectious diseases.  Your veterinarian will work with you to create an individualized vaccination plan for your pet based on their specific needs and risks.

3. Take Heartworm Disease Seriously
If you do nothing else in 2013, please take heartworm disease seriously, as heartworms are endemic in our region.  The good news is that heartworm disease is essentially 100% preventable if you are compliant with the administration of heartworm preventatives throughout the year and regular blood screening tests.

4. Make Exercise a Priority
Obesity in dogs and cats in this country is a growing problem.  Just as in people, obesity can lead to numerous health problems in our pets, such as diabetes and arthritis.  Try to make walks with your dog or interactive play sessions with your cat part of your daily routine.  Your health will also benefit from the additional activity.

5. Spay or Neuter
This one is pretty straightforward.  Unless you are serious about taking on the significant time and financial commitment necessary for running a responsible breeding program, you should have your pet spayed or neutered.  The health benefits of this procedure greatly outweigh the risks.

6. Prevent Fleas and Ticks
These pesky pests are out there and preventing them with quality products can save you and your pets a lot of annoyance, not to mention illness, as many of these parasites also transmit numerous diseases.  Always consult with your veterinarian about what products are safe and effective for use on your pet.

7. Take Nutrition Seriously
Nutrition plays a key role in your pet’s overall health.  There is a lot of misleading and controversial information out there about pet nutrition and it is not my intention to enter that discussion here.  However, I will say that not all pet foods are created equal and the TV commercial or pet shop worker might not be the best source of information when it comes to pet nutrition.  Your veterinarian can teach you more about pet nutrition and help you select a quality food for your pets.

8. Blood Work
Laboratory testing, including blood and urine tests, gives us veterinarians a more complete picture of your pet’s overall health, beyond what can be evaluated with the examination alone.  Therefore, routine laboratory work should be run on your pet periodically throughout life, including prior to anesthesia and as a part of a wellness-screening program in middle-aged to older pets.

9. Microchip Your Pet
Microchipping is the most reliable way of having your pet correctly identified and returned to you if they are ever lost or stolen.  Remember, it only takes a brief moment for a pet to run through an open door or slip out of a collar.

10.   Indoor Cat Enrichment
Numerous feline health conditions, including bladder and behavioral problems, are related to stress.  Therefore, these conditions may be prevented or managed through enrichment activities, which may include changes to your cat’s environment, feeding practices, and interactions.  Ask your veterinarian for more information.