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Thanksgiving and Pets

Thanksgiving and Pets

Party risks:

During the Thanksgiving holiday season where “friends-giving” events and holiday festivities are not uncommon, it’s important to take extra precaution in keeping your pets safe. One of the most hazardous factors commonly found in holiday parties are festive decorations which consist of tinsel, ribbons, floral arrangements, decorative plants, etc. Consuming table decorations and large amounts of plant fiber can result in poisoning, digestive health issues, and even gastrointestinal injury. 

Activities with your pet:

While there are many health risks for your furry friends at Thanksgiving parties, it shouldn’t prevent them from getting into the holiday spirit. In the midst of this chaotic time, there are many chill activities you and your pet can partake in that are both safe and enjoyable: this includes a pet-friendly thanksgiving feast, hiking, playing dress up, or playing ball games. Even planning a local festive getaway with your pet may be a good option. When traveling across international borders though, it’s important to ensure that they are permitted on transportation systems and have proper identification in case of an emergency. 

Toxic foods to your pet:

Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives are all part of the Allium spp genus and can cause blood cell damage in dogs and cats. Ham, bacon or poultry skin products are high in fact which can result in pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Dairy products, used in dishes like mashed potatoes, can also cause the same symptoms because adult dogs and cats lack the enzyme lactase to break down lactose. Grapes/raisins and other desserts with artificial sweeteners can cause kidney or liver failure as well. Be sure to keep your pets safe from these foods so that both you and your pet can have a happy thanksgiving!

Pet-friendly thanksgiving treats:

Leftover turkey meatballs, dehydrated/dried green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie dog biscuits, and turkey bone broth are all safe and tasty treats for pets! Many vendors sell Thanksgiving related treats online as well, though DIY recipes have gotten far more popular over the years.



Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

History of Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer in pets has been documented since the very first domesticated animals in Egypt in 1600 B.C. The invention of the microscope in 1590 brought about a greater awareness for cancer in both pets and humans, however progress in developing treatment methods remained slow. But, in the 1960s, a few veterinarians pioneered the creation of the field of clinical veterinary oncology which has since grown rapidly over the past couple decades. The first National Pet Cancer Awareness Month was marked in 2005 and was officially declared to raise money and awareness to aid in the fight against cancer in pets.

What are the common types of cancer in pets?

Lymphoma/Lymphosarcoma: an encompassing term for cancer that originates from white blood cells called lymphocytes. The most common types of lymphoma in dogs are multicentric, alimentary, mediastinal and extranodal lymphoma. 

Mast Cell Tumors: occur in the skin or just underneath the skin and can be occasionally found in the eyes, mouth, throat, and spine.

Melanoma: frequently bening and easily treated but can turn malignant and spread quickly.

Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer): often found in the larger or longer bones of a dog and are more likely to occur in larger breed dogs including dobermans, boxers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Irish wolfhounds, rottweilers, and weimaraners.

Hemangiosarcoma: are very serious and require emergency intervention. They can grow anywhere blood vessels are present including organs such as the heart and lungs.

Fibrosarcoma: a slow spreading form of cancer. Treatment options usually only include amputation or radiation treatment.

What are some signs of cancer to look for in my pet?

There are many different kinds of cancer, so depending on the type and location of the illness, the cancer signs may vary. However, if your pet showcases any physical or behavioral symptoms, this may be a sign of cancer. Some of the common symptoms to look out for in your pet include loss of stamina, diarrhea,  difficulty breathing, and unusual swelling which could be a sign of swollen lymph nodes or cancer tumors. Other warning signs that may not be as apparent are unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, foul odor, and difficulty with stool or urination.

How can I reduce the risk of cancer in my pets?

Unfortunately, all pets are at a risk for this disease as cancer in animals is not uncommon, and statistics reveal that about four in ten dogs will develop cancerous conditions sometime in their life. According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, older dogs are even more likely to acquire this illness as it is the leading cause of death in dogs older than ten years old. While there is no definitive way to avoid this devastating disease, simply attending regular veterinary checkups, monitoring your pet for cancerous symptoms, and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen are helpful steps that can greatly reduce your pet’s risk of cancer.



Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips

Which popular Halloween treats are most harmful to pets?

Your pet may keep begging for a bite of your Snickers or Twix, but when your dog or cat is near, it’s important to keep all types of candy out of reach. Of all the treats on Halloween, dark chocolate, baking chocolate, and even milk chocolate are the most harmful to your pet. Chocolates contain a particularly toxic ingredient known as methylxanthines, which includes theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients cause most dogs and cats to develop severe symptoms, and possibly acute kidney failure. Other trick-or-treat candies that are dangerous to dogs/cats are many hard candies, lollipops, and mints. Most of those candies include a toxic ingredient: xylitol, which is a common sugar substitute. Large amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure, and even death in your animal. If your furry companion ever experiences any symptoms of poisoning, contact the Animal Poison Control Center right away.

How can I keep my pets safe during Halloween?

There are many simple tasks you can do to ensure both you and your pet have a fun time on Halloween. Animals, such as cats or dogs, have very curious noses, so make sure to stash away all candy bags and candy bowls from within their reach. Lastly, if you see them experiencing any discomfort or unusual symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination, they might
have found a candy bar lying around somewhere. If you have any suspicions of candy poisoning in your animal, again, make sure to contact your veterinary care physician or the Animal Poison Control Center.

What other dangers can harm pets during Halloween?

In addition to keeping your pets away from Halloween treats, it is also important to keep them away from your decorations. Pets can easily knock over a lit jack-o-lantern or candle and start a fire. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn may also produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them. The flurry of visitors at your front door during peak
trick-or-treating hours can also be scary or stressful for some pets, so make sure that they are accounted for! If your pet manages to escape during Halloween activities, make sure to have them wear proper identification. Finally, always keep an eye out for candy wrappers that may find themselves on the ground and in the mouths of your furry friend.

Are costumes safe for pets to wear?

Have your pet wear a costume for prolonged periods of time may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you do not put your pet into a costume unless you are certain that they are okay with it. Make sure that the costume isn’t too small or awkward as to limit their movement, sight, or ability to breathe. Also, check for dangling or easily chewed-off pieces of clothing to prevent choking. Oversized ill-fitting outfits can also get caught and tangled on external objects which may lead to injury so make sure that they fit just right! Also, do not leave your pet unattended with a costume. Again, loose material may be a choking hazard.

Autumn/Fall Pet Allergies

Autumn/Fall Pet Allergies

As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, here are 8 pet allergies that occur during the autumn/fall months:

Although moths are more prevalent during the fall months, stay away from using mothballs as they can contain chemicals that pose harm to your pets. Some healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives include sachets with cedar chips, lavender or cloves.


Rodents like to spend their winters in cozy warm places. As they scope out their spot in the fall, keep in mind that rodenticides are not just harmful to rodents, but to your pets as well. Make sure to speak with a professional and use pet-safe solutions to prevent any poisoning or serious medical issues.


Make sure to wipe up any drips of antifreeze as just a small amount ingested could lead to serious and immediate health issues in your pet. In the event that your pet licks it, call a veterinarian clinic immediately.


This is a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria, which live in moist soil and stagnant water. It is most common during fall months because of the rainy season. If your pet comes in contact with urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding that contains this bacterial strain, they may be at risk of contracting this disease. This is also not limited to rural areas but can be spread by raccoons, rodents, and possums in the urban and suburban areas. Luckily, this is preventable! Get your pet vaccinated for this disease. 


Even as the winter months approach, parasites such as fleas and ticks still remain a threat despite the cooler temperatures. Although the weather is constantly changing, it’s a good idea to maintain your pet’s wellness with an effective flea or tick treatment plan year round.

Fall veggies:

As the autumn holidays come near and we gear into fall harvest mode, your furry friends become more susceptible to potential dangers. One of the many ways you can ensure your beloved animals’ health is by storing away any vegetables that may be toxic to your pets such as onions, leeks, or garlic. On the contrary, there are also many seasonal vegetables that can be beneficial for your pet’s health. Some examples of autumn foods you can feed your pet are apples (without the seeds), cranberries, canned pumpkin, cooked sweet potatoes, and even butternut squash when cooked correctly. These vegetables offer a variety of nutrients, minerals, fibers, and anti-inflammatory attributes that are both safe and healthy for animals.

Halloween candies:

Having candy during the holiday treat season is an ongoing tradition, but it poses many life-threatening problems to your pets. It’s important to ensure that there are no candy wrappers, chocolates, or other halloween treats lying within your pets’ reach. Chocolate is toxic to pets and many other treats such as gum, chewy candy, and bite-size hard candy contain artificial sweeteners that are extremely dangerous to all animals. 


During the rainy season, wild mushrooms are commonly found in areas that your pet may roam around in. It is extremely hard to tell toxic mushrooms and regular mushrooms apart, so it’s safer to just keep your pet away from all mushrooms. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any mushrooms, contact your veterinarian right away.


National Service Dog Month

National Service Dog Month

Why is national dog service month celebrated?

National service dog month is an entire month in September dedicated to celebrate all the hard work service animals do to assist their human companions. This appreciation month started in 2008 when awareness was brought upon a program that trained dogs for the visually impaired: it was called “Guide Dogs of the Desert.” In support of the operation, actor and animal advocate Van Patten launched a fundraising drive to benefit the program and eventually became an honorary board member on the “Guide Dogs of the Desert” operation. He continued to promote national guide dog month with the intent of benefiting non profit organizations for service dogs, and after much fundraising, National Service dog month was officially confirmed in 2009.

What are service dogs?

Service dogs are trained to implement tasks for people with disabilities in their daily lives. They can help in very specific actions such as getting or returning items, alerting their owner of dangerous shifts in blood sugar, or even help with psychiatric disabilities. They also offer companionship, physical assistance and aid in mental health which can help them cope with their impairments and improve their overall quality of life. 

What are the types of service dogs?

It is generally considered that there are 8 types of service dogs that aid people in need:.

  1. Guide dogs assist visually impaired people with tasks like moving around the house or public spaces and are usually the most common type of service dog. 
  2. Emotional support dogs provide comfort to those with mental health conditions or disabilities. 
  3. Allergy detection dogs help people with severe allergies to foods. Because dogs have so many olfactory receptors, they can easily dissect the ingredients in a food dish and identify whether it is dangerous.
  4. Hearing dogs act as ears for their human companions and can also keep their owners company if they feel lonely.
  5. Mobility assistance dogs can retrieve objects, open automatic doors, carry bags, etc. for a movement impaired or disabled owner.
  6. Autism support dogs are trained to assist those with autism, often children so that they feel safer and calmer in new and unfamiliar environments.
  7. Diabetes alert dogs can help notify owners if their blood sugar levels are too low before they experience any serious symptoms.
  8. Psychiatric service dogs help those with mental illness including PTSD and schizophrenia by acting as emotional support animals.

How can I get a service dog?

If you are considering getting a service dog, first think about whether you have the financial means of pet ownership. Training, feeding, and grooming dogs can be expensive, and dog ownership in general is a large commitment, one that should be taken seriously. If you are ready, talk to your doctor, therapist, or mental health professional who could provide advice and resources on the requirements to qualify for a certain type of service dog and how to legally own one.