Whichever holiday you celebrate this winter, there are common dangers to be aware of! We want to celebrate with our pets and keep them safe at the same time.
Whether you are staying home and hosting for the holidays or travelling to be with family, make sure you know your emergency options. Your veterinarian likely has holiday hours, but they usually have emergency care recommendations. When we’re closed at ORAH, all you have to do is call us! Our voicemail will tell you what to do if you need emergency help. We have a pager number, and the number to contact the emergency hospital we recommend.
If you’re out of town, make sure to have a copy of your pets medical records. Your veterinarian can print a paper copy for you or email you an electronic copy. Having access to these records makes it easier if we have to see you for an issue while you’re visiting. The more we know about your pet, the faster we can help them in an emergency.
We also use an app called PetDesk, that you can download on your phone and it will give you access to basic health records for each of your pets. You can also schedule appointments, request medication refills and set reminders for monthly preventatives!
Keep the holiday feast for the humans! Common toxins are sweets like chocolate (especially dark) and sugar free sweeteners. Other foods that can be troublesome are turkey and turkey skin, bones, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions and yeast dough. During the holidays we like to indulge in fatty foods, which can be hard for pets to digest. Make sure the trash can is secured and under lock down, too.
If you want to treat your pets during the holidays, it’s best to have specific treats for your pets on hand.
From the AVMA website: “Quick action can save lives. If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435. Signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Candles and fire can be dangerous for pets. A curious cat, a rambunctious dog. It’s best to keep pets away from open flames and make sure your fireplace, stove or candles are protected from curious pets.
Christmas trees can also pose a risk if not secured. Try attaching to the ceiling or wall if you have curious pets that may try to climb and play with lights or ornaments. You can also use a gate to keep pets away from the tree.
In addition to trees, be aware of what plants are in your home. Certain plants are toxic to cats and dogs. Even plants that aren’t toxic may give your pets a stomach ache if they munch on them.
Ornaments and other holiday decorations can also hurt pets. Broken ornaments can injure pets. Ornaments made with food products can be toxic. Any ornament can get stuck if your pet tries to eat it. Other decorations like tinsel and small decorative objects have the same risks. Strings of lights can cause burns if chewed by curious pets. A pet gate or barrier can keep curious pets safe!
Even the most well behaved furry family members may get themselves into trouble at the holidays. The decorations and hubbub may cause them to be more curious than usual or they might be a little nervous about all the new stimulation.
Make sure that pets have access to a safe space where they can escape the celebrating. This should be a place that they already feel comfortable, and is away from the center of celebration. Make sure they have some of their favorite things, a blanket, bed or toy.
They should also have something to keep them busy. This could be a brand new toy or an old faithful. You can offer an interactive toy or a frozen toy filled with peanut butter. If pets get anxious with a lot of new stimulation- medication may be helpful. Discuss with your veterinarian what may be helpful for your pet!
Make sure guests know the rules. Whether pets stay inside or are allowed outside. What foods and treats are okay for pets. Whether guests are allowed to bring their own pets, and how to introduce unfamiliar pets so everyone is happy and comfortable.
Make sure your pet has updated identification, too. Make sure that their microchip information is up to date and their collar and tag is on and the contact number is correct. Even an up to date rabies tag on a collar can help reunite an owner and pet. Make sure that the vet where your rabies vaccine was done, has your current phone number on file.
If you have any questions about travelling with your pets or easing the holiday stress for them, please give us a call! We are always happy to chat about recommendations for your furry family members!
While we’re in the month of feeling Thankful, none of us are about to leave our pets out. We love them, we’re thankful for them, we want to spoil them, right?
Here are the Thanksgiving specific rules to follow to keep your pet safe this holiday season! (And a few ways to spoil them!)
-Fatty foods are hard for pets to digest, including turkey and turkey skin. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Other toxic foods are onions, garlic, raisins, grapes This includes the trash! Keep an eye on pets in the kitchen (counter surfers, here’s looking at you!) and keep the trash behind a closed door for the holiday. If you do want to give your pet a bite of turkey, make sure it is cooked well and boneless.
-Bones are dangerous for pets. It’s common to think that giving a dog a bone at the holidays is harmless, but cooked bones splinter easily and can cause a lot of damage internally. In addition to the bones, keep all string, bags and packaging away from pets.
-Keep pets away from the desserts! Sweeteners and chocolate (especially dark) can be toxic for pets.
-Yeast dough is also harmful for your furry family members. It can cause painful gas and potentially deadly bloating.
-Certain decorative plants can be toxic to cats and dogs. Even if a plant isn’t toxic, it’s best to keep pets away. Munching on unusual plants can cause digestive upset.
It’s important to remember that having visitors over can be overwhelming. Even if your pets are familiar with all of your guests, the number of guests can be overwhelming. Especially if there are children and unfamiliar volumes.
Make sure your pets all have a safe place they can access while visitors are around. It’s important for them to be able to choose to escape the crazy if they need to, and not force them into the chaos if they don’t want to interact.
Make sure if your pet is anxious, that they also have a favorite toy or blanket or interactive toy or feeder to keep them busy and content.
Keep an eye on the doors. Pets that get stressed, may bolt through an open doorway. Also, make sure visitors know the rules. Whether it’s keeping indoor cats indoors, or dogs that need supervision outside.
If your pet does get out when they shouldn’t be out, make sure they are up to date on vaccines and that their identification (collar and/or microchip) is up to date. Even a current rabies tag on a collar can reunite you with your pet, provided all your information is up to date.
Be mindful of holiday decor. Plastic decorations, lit candles- make sure your house is pet-proofed!
If You’re Travelling
If you’re traveling internationally or flying, you’ll need paperwork. Make sure to contact your veterinarian and do your research to make sure that you’ve got your bases covered. Different airlines require different things, so make sure you’ve got your i’s dotted and t’s crossed.
Don’t leave your pet in the car. Regardless of temperature.
When driving, make sure your pet is properly restrained. Whether by crate or pet seat belt, proper precautions can save your pets life if in an accident and can prevent injury if you need to brake or swerve suddenly. This will also help keep the driver safe as pets can be an unnecessary distraction while driving.
Make sure to pack for your pet. Food, water and comfort items as well as toys. Bring any medications and have a copy of your pets medical records with you in case something were to happen and you needed to visit another vet. It’s also a good idea to have a pet first aid kit.
If you’re going to board your dog while you travel, make sure to discuss with your veterinarian which vaccines are appropriate to protect against common illnesses found in kennels and boarding facilities. Make sure you have everything your boarding facility needs. Some require a negative fecal test, others require certain vaccines.
If you want to include your pet in the holiday, make them a special treat! There are a variety of homemade dog treat recipes online!
Humans love going all out for the spooky holiday coming up, but it’s important to keep our pets in mind. They don’t love being spooked nearly as much as we do.
Create a Safe Space
When it comes to trick-or-treaters, make sure your pets have a safe place in your home to hide out. This should be a space where they are comfortable and feel safe. Even the friendliest of company-loving pets can get overwhelmed by the repeated ringing of the doorbell, and high pitched cheering of children.
Keep Them Busy
In addition to making sure our pets have somewhere comfy to hide out, it’s not a bad idea to make sure they have something to keep them occupied. Giving them somewhere else to direct their focus will help them with any additional anxiety. Whether that’s a few new toys or catnip for your kitties or a peanut butter filled toy for your dog, keep those pets busy!
Keep Treats Out of Reach
Before and after the holiday, keep those pets out of the candy bowl! It’s not just the chocolate you have to worry about. Sugar-free sweeteners (namely xylitol) can be harmful to your pet. If you suspect your pet has ingested some candy, call us (802)223-7765 or call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Decorations Can Be Dangerous, Too
Decorations can also be harmful to your pets. Opt for battery operated lights in your pumpkins instead of real candles to prevent pets from knocking over pumpkins and setting anything on fire. Some decorations have wires that pets can chew on, or pieces and parts that can harm pets if they nibble on them.
Costumes for pets are cute, but make sure your pet isn’t uncomfortable. Not all pets like being put in clothes, and it’s important to make sure your pet is on board before subjecting them to wearing a costume. If they seem uncomfortable or nervous, if the costume restricts their breathing or sight in any way, it’s best to let them skip the costume. If costumes have small pieces or parts, these can also be choking hazards for the curious pets. Opt for a festive bandana or collar if you really want your pet to dress up for the festivities.
Keep Them Up to Date
Make sure your pet is properly identified. If your pet does happen to get outside, make sure they have visible identification. Make sure their collar, tag and microchip are all up to date. Holidays are when we see the highest number of pets go missing.
This might be one of our biggest pet peeves.
We want all pet owners to be the very best pet owners they can be. However, the information you find on the world wide web, might not be as helpful as you think. When it comes to an accurate diagnosis for your pet, there is a lot to take into consideration and it is best to leave this to the professionals.
Anyone can post anything on the internet. This can be helpful if you’re perusing reviews for a shirt online, but you shouldn’t rely on opinions of strangers when caring for your family members, furry or otherwise. Our veterinarians know you, they know your pet and they know your pets' medical history. They’ve been through years of schooling and have years of experience in the field, as well as other professionals in the field to consult with.
Your veterinarian likely has specific websites they can direct you to if you’re interested in more information about a specific condition, concern or symptom. This can save you hours of time spent endlessly scrolling, and fretting, trying to find a cure for Fido’s ills.
We would rather chat with you on the phone, direct you to our website, or schedule an appointment, to get your pet the tailored care they need, than to receive a panicked phone call first thing in the morning because you read an article about something rare and tragic that happened years ago to a pet with an entirely different medical history. It’s as easy to jump to conclusions as it is to click the ‘Search’ button. Let us help you be the best pet owner for your pet!
It’s the same lessons your teachers taught you while you were in school- make sure your sources are credible! We absolutely want you to do your own research to be the best advocate for your pet.
When you want to head straight to Google, take a detour and head to www.onionriveranimalhospital.com instead! Once you’re there, head to our ‘Resources’ tab at the top of the page, and then… go crazy!
At the bottom of the ‘Pet Health Articles’ section, you will see a link for www.veterinarypartner.com , where you can search for specific conditions, species specific and all from credible sources.
The more you know, the better you can advocate for your pet, which is why a lot of veterinary professionals are in this field in the first place. We just want to make sure that your sources are legitimate!
Have you ever noticed that most veterinary offices have slip leads in the lobby and waiting areas?
They aren’t only for the owner that may forget their leash at home.
Did you know your dog is actually safer on a shorter, non-retractable leash?
We prefer that you do not use your retractable leash while visiting us. That’s why we provide these short slip leashes for you to use while here or bring home with you, for other situations when you may need a little more control over your pet.
Your dog may behave very well for you on a retractable leash in most situations. However, when at the Vet, there are new smells, new dogs and lots of emotions at play. Unless the lock function is applied, a retractable leash isn’t doing your dog, or the other pets here, any favors. There is a time and a place to be given freedom to roam and explore, and the Vet’s office isn’t one of them.
Your dog may be very friendly and want to approach every dog they see. While other dogs may also be very friendly, they may be here because they aren’t feeling well or have an injury and may be a little more agitated than usual. In these cases, it is best that your keep your pet next to you and in control at all times.
It isn’t only retractable leashes, but also very long leashes and bungee leashes that we discourage. The majority of our staff is Fear Free Certified, which means that we’ve all taken classes and gotten certified to make your pets as anxiety free as possible when coming to visit us.
According to the Fear Free Happy Homes website, “A six-foot regular leash is our suggestion to help keep your dog at a controllable distance from you. Retractable leashes can be dangerous to not only dogs but humans and make it more difficult to keep your dog where you want him.”
Do not be offended if we ask you to use one of our leashes while you’re here! It’s not you, we promise. We just want to make sure that when your pet comes to see us, that they are as safe and controlled as possible.
Each year around Easter, purchases of rabbit’s skyrocket. After dogs and cats, rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States. However, while parents adopt or buy these rabbits for their children, the amount of care and longevity of the animal’s life aren’t taken into consideration. This is especially true for baby bunnies. While they may be ridiculously cute and fluffy, they do require much needed care and attention to live a happy and fulfilled life. Below are some reasons to adopt a rescue rabbit opposed to a kit:
Although litter training a rabbit isn’t too hard for the most part, it could save you a lot of frustration by adopting a rabbit that is already litterbox trained. For example, my first rabbit was about 3 months old when I rescued her from an unexpected litter. It was super frustrating the amount of bedding I went through while trying to get her to use a litterbox instead of going all over her cage. It also took a while to get her into a routine of which litter she had to use for digging and bedding, and which litter was meant for her to do her business. Since Toots, I’ve adopted 3 young adult rabbits from the humane society, already litter trained, and have never had an issue with incontinence. Just like with a puppy, it takes a lot of time and work to potty-train these little critters.
When adopting an older/shelter rabbit, 9/10 times they have already been spayed or neutered. Female rabbits can reproduce as soon as 12 weeks of age, so it’s important to have both males and females fixed ASAP. Other behavioral concerns can arise with unfixed rabbits. Male rabbits will mark with urine and show aggressive sexual behaviors towards other pets in the household if left unneutered. It’s also harder to bond male rabbits with other male rabbits if one or both are left unneutered. This is the same for female rabbits. Female rabbits have other medical concerns if not spayed, such as ovarian, uterine, and mammarian cancers. Costs of spays and neuters can also be another concern when purchasing a baby rabbit. While you would think that since rabbits are small that the cost would be minimal, costs can range from $100-$300.
Rabbits are the third most surrendered domestic pet in the United States, and majority of rabbits in shelters are due to surrender of ownership. Most times that they are surrendered, it’s not because of behavioral issues but because of lack of attention and inability to care for them. Most shelters often don’t have the space and means to care for these fragile creatures. They require fresh food, hay, quiet space, and a space to call their own. If you think of a typical animal shelter, you can imagine stressed and barking dogs and a constant flow of people and animals. This is not an ideal home for rabbits, these sensitive animals can come down with fatal illnesses such as GI Stasis due to this extreme stress.
There are many rabbits out there that desperately need a forever home to call their own. Please check your local Humane Society or https://www.petfinder.com to see if there are any adoptable rabbits in your area.
Keep calm and hop on!
Central Vermont Humane Society: https://centralvermonthumane.org/adopt-a-critter/
We all know that most cats aren’t huge fans of riding in cars, or going to the vets. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but typically, cats don’t love being in carriers. Dr. Jane Brunt offers some tips for how to make cats more comfortable with carriers in her Podcast with AVMA.
Her first suggestion is to make sure that your carrier is appropriately sized for your cat. It should be large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around, but small enough that they feel secure. A carrier that is too big will make a cat feel less secure and can also be harmful during transportation to the vet.
Her second piece of advice is to make sure that the cat is used to the carrier. The carrier shouldn’t be hidden away in the basement or garage, and only taken out when you’re headed to the vet. The carrier should be out and open in an area where the cat has full access to it at all times. This way, the cat doesn’t associate the carrier with being in the car or going to the vet.
Having the carrier as a part of the cat’s environment will help the cat feel more comfortable at the vet because the carrier will be a place of comfort for them. Another way to help your cat feel more comfortable is to make sure that the carrier has something comfortable for the cat to lay on. This should be a bed or towel that smells like the cat, or you. This way your cat will be used to the carrier and will have something that smells familiar.
Another tip is to actively work with your cat to make them comfortable with their carrier. Reward them with treats or food any time they go near or inside their carrier. You can use toys to entice them to use their carrier in the beginning, this will help them associate some of their favorite things with the carrier. The key is positive reinforcement!
What should you do if your cat has already had a bad experience with a carrier? Start from scratch! Get a different type of carrier and leave it out. Plan ahead, too. Make sure that you get your cat their new carrier weeks before you actually have to use it. Once you pick out their new carrier, bring it home and put something that smells like them in the carrier and leave the carrier in a non-threatening area. Follow the advice above to help your feline friend get used to their new carrier!
This will help your cat associate the new carrier with home, and a comfortable space, instead of a scary cage they have to be crammed into once a year to come to see the vet.
The most important take away is to get your cat used to their carrier. Move their carrier to a place in your home where they can access it at all times. This will help them view their carrier as a hideout or bed, instead of something strange and scary. Make sure interaction with their carrier is frequent and positive. This will help ease their tension about coming to the vet!
Now that we are settled into our new location we are excited to announce we are hosting an Open House on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm!
You will be able to tour our new hospital facility, meet some of our staff, view X-Rays and demonstrations in our dental suite. You will be able to play games for prizes, learn about pet food from representatives as well as buy raffle tickets for our many gift baskets!
Raffle tickets are on sale for $5 per ticket, cash or check only. They can be purchased before the open house or the day of. The raffle baskets available are:
#1- *Just for Owners Raffle Basket
#2- Nexgard Large Dog Raffle Basket
#3- Nexgard Small Dog Raffle Basket
#4- Frontline Cat Raffle Basket
#5- Cat Treat Raffle Basket
#6- Dog Treat Raffle Basket
#7- Pet Adventure First Aid Kit
#8- Waterproof Action Camera
#9- 12 months Triheart Plus- Heartworm & Parasite Preventative
#10- 12 months Bravecto- Flea & Tick Preventative
#11- 6 months of FREE Dog Food- Purina
#12- 6 months of FREE Dog Food- Hill's
#13- 6 months of FREE Cat Food- Purina
#14- 6 months of FREE Cat Food- Hill's
#15- Free Annual Exam & Free Vaccinations for Cat
#16- Free Annual Exam & Free Vaccinations for Dog
#17- Free Dog Bloodwork Panel
#18- Free Cat Bloodwork Panel
We hope to see you there!
Change can be nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at once. Here at ORAH we are growing more and more excited about our impending move to a new location. Many of our patients’ families seem excited too—we get asked about the move every day!
As much as we hate to leave the charm and history of our old dairy barn, there are some practical reasons why moving makes sense. Most importantly, we’ve known for a long time that we’ve outgrown the available space. When a patient has to wait longer than we’d like to see us, it’s usually because we don’t have a room available. Also, for a medical facility, there are obvious challenges in terms of heating, cooling and ventilating the space to our liking throughout the seasons. We know parking can be a challenge too, even though we’ve expanded the small lot a couple of times. Finally, for years we have wanted our building to be more accessible, to families and patients both. We love our porch but having stairs to climb simply to get in the building can be a challenge for some. With the small floor space in our entrance area, we haven’t been able to add an ADA compliant restroom. All these details will be corrected in our new location!
In addition to improving so many practical things with our move, we are even more excited about what the move will mean for our patients. There is a current shift in veterinary medicine towards creating a fear-free practice. Reducing the anxiety and stress some of our patients feel when visiting us is one of our most important goals right now. Some of what stresses our patients happens at the level of the facility—noises, odors, and face-to-face meetings with other patients can be anxiety triggers for some pets. While we want our entrance area to be a welcoming place where friends can cross paths, greet neighbors, even have a cup of coffee, we want our patients to have the space they need.
In our new facility, cats will have their own nook, away from curious dog noses. Dogs who enjoy other dogs can still say hello, but those who find other dogs threatening or who grow more worried around new people will be able to enter their exam rooms directly from a side door. On the rare occasions we need to take a patient to another spot to finish a procedure, we will have a quiet room that is not in the busiest part of the hospital. Examination rooms will offer treats for dogs and cats, pheromone sprays designed to reduce stress, and safe ways for cats to climb and “hide.”
When our new facility is ready, we will offer an Open House with a tour to explain all these exciting changes. Please visit www.fearfreepets.com to learn more about the theories behind a fear-free veterinary practice. Look for more information here in the future about what families, our veterinarians, and our staff can do as a team to reduce a pet’s stress at visiting the doctor!
Our new sign is up, and it's time to make an official announcement! Onion River Animal Hospital will be moving to our new location this summer! Our new hospital, located at 2386 Airport Road, Berlin, VT, is in the process of being remodeled!
Our new location will allow us to better serve our clients and patients! Stay tuned for progress pics and the official opening date!