Cornell Feline Health Center
The holiday season is here bringing with it excitement, joy, gatherings of family and friends, and tasty treats the whole month through. This is a very busy time for most families bustling around to enjoy the lights around town and (if you’re anything like me) scrambling to get a last-minute gift or two together. While there is much to celebrate and appreciate, this time of year brings with it seasonal stresses for both two and four-legged creatures alike. Here are a few tips to ensure you and your pets enjoy a safe and fun “howliday” season.
Ever heard the phrase, “a tired dog is a good dog?” It’s true! Consistent, moderate exercise that your pet can rely upon is one of the best ways to help keep them healthy and out of trouble. Set a routine and stick to it. A 30 minute walk or jog at the same time of day is a great way to strengthen your bond with your pet, provide good aerobic exercise for you both, and can prevent boredom trouble-making. Bundle up and get out there!
This time of year, most of us allow ourselves to indulge in the holiday delicacies we enjoy so much! Use caution in doing the same with your pet. New, rich treats or bones can upset sensitive stomachs and result in diarrhea. Try to remind house guests that your pet should not be getting people food. If everyone is sneaking the family pet “just a small taste” of their holiday dinner, that same family pet may leave an unwanted present under the tree.
My dog thinks every gift under the tree is for her. If you have a nosey pet too, consider purchasing a few sturdy rubber chew toys such as those made by the Kong ™ brand. Stuff them with canned dog food or a small amount of peanut butter and freeze. When it is time to open gifts, give your furry friend their treat as a project to keep them occupied.
Even if you’re not a Clark Griswold, decorating for the holidays is one of the best ways to get in the holiday mood. Remember to keep toxic plants out of reach of curious pets. Ingestion of Mistletoe, Holly, and Amaryllis can all result in varying degrees of gastrointestinal distress among other clinical signs. Ensure electrical cords are out of reach of puppies and kittens who are teething. Consider placing a gate or large gift boxes around your Christmas tree to prevent your pet from bumping into it or attempted to climb.
Wishing your families a very happy holiday and health in the coming year!
Molly was all ears when she heard she was having dental work! But no worries Molly, Lauryn was there to comfort you. We love sweet Molly, and our Fear Free Practices make every visit more comfortable for your furbaby!
Just a few of our furbaby clients, they are all so very special to us. We see all types -big, small, old, young, and all breeds of cats and dogs. Dr. Morgan Wilcox is a Fear Free Certified Professional , this makes a big difference in how your furbaby handles a vet visit. These cuties love the treats and calm approach, Dr. Morgan and the staff will sit on the floor to make your furbaby more comfortable too!
Last week, I had a patient that needed emergency surgery. I needed an extra set of hands to assist with the surgery. So I called my dad, Dr. Gerald Matile MD. Although he’s done thousands of surgeries on people, this was his first time watching and assisting me. I’ve always looked up to him and what he’s done as a physician. It was one of the most memorable times in my career to have him in the surgery suite with me. Fortunately, our pal Ruben made a full recovery. He’s back to living his best life with the most loving family.
In order to earn Fear Free certification, veterinary professionals must successfully complete the online certification program.
After Fear Free Certification is earned, it is valid for 3 years.
To uphold certification, Veterinarians must:
1. Earn 4 additional hours of Fear Free-specific CE annually.
2. Maintain an active membership via an annual renewal fee.
After Fear Free Certification is earned, it is valid for 3 years. To renew, there is additional testing.
Fear Free Certified Professional will:
The photos below show the difference that a cleaning really can make.
We now offer now offer full mouth dental radiographs at the time of our cleanings!
Fun fact: dental x ray allows us to see what is going on under the surface of the gums... much like an iceberg, the majority of the tooth lives below the gum line where we can't see it! Without dental x ray, roughly 42% of pathology goes undiagnosed due to our inability to know what is happening with the ROOTS of our patient's teeth! Just a note on what you see below - when you shine a black light on teeth, plaque and tartar will fluoresce in pink)
Before the cleaning, check out all the plaque!
After cleaning, plaque free!
November 30, 2020 we spent 4 hours learning from Mary Berg BS RLATG RVT VTS (Dentistry). We are investing in our patient's dental health by adding a dental X-ray unit to our clinic. 42% of dental disease goes undetected without dental X-ray. By finding and treating the infection and pain caused by dental disease, we give our patients more healthy, happy years.
Back-to-school season can be an exciting time for children, but a stressful time for dogs. After all, our pups love the extra time and attention enjoyed during summer vacation. During the coronavirus pandemic, our pets have been the beneficiaries of stay-at-home orders, as parents are often around more, too.
Plus, many families have adopted pets during the pandemic, so those dogs typically have little to no experience with being left home alone.
So how can we prepare our dogs if or when schools begin to reopen?
Danielle Fuchs, MSc, CPDT-KA, Behavior and Training Manager at East Bay SPCA, a nonprofit animal shelter in Northern California whose staff completed the Fear Free Shelters program, says a good place to start is having everyone in the household leave twice a day for a few minutes.
“You can go to your garden or the mailbox and just get the mail and come right back in,” she suggests. “Then try to vary the amount of time that you leave so it’s not super predictable and it’s happening on a regular basis.”
Since dogs need enrichment activities to engage their minds, she recommends providing dogs with a puzzle feeder, toy, or frozen Kong before we leave to make our exit “no big deal.”
“Also provide them with those types of puzzles when you’re home as well, so it doesn’t become a predictive indicator that you’re leaving,” she says. “If you always give them a piece of enrichment when you’re leaving, they might be able to associate that with you leaving and start to get worried when they get food enrichment.”
Similarly, a dog might associate a child picking up their backpack or putting on their shoes with leaving. Kids can make a game out of putting on their packs or shoes and then taking them right off instead of heading out the door.
Separation Distress or Separation Anxiety?
Dogs can have varying degrees of concern about being left alone. Some might simply feel bored and chew on objects to find something to do, while others might feel distress shown by panting, pacing or vocalizing.
In extreme cases, they might experience separation anxiety, a panic disorder that can be marked by urinating and defecating indoors, self-injury during attempted escape, and massive property destruction. Fuchs strongly recommends speaking to a trusted veterinarian or dog trainer for help with separation anxiety.
For dogs with milder symptoms, professional pet sitters, neighbors or family members can take dogs for walks to help break up their days and provide companionship.
Incorporating Dogs Into Homeschooling Even if kids don’t go back to school full time this fall, it never hurts to prepare dogs for changes in routines since transitions are part of life, Fuchs says.
Meanwhile, parents helping their children learn from home during the pandemic can incorporate pets into homeschooling. For instance, a reward for completing an assignment or test could be playing an enrichment game with their dog. During breaks, kids can practice clicker training, crate training, or other skills so their dog is “in school,” too.
“Having kids get creative with DIY enrichment and making something for their pup before a stretch of time where they need to focus on something else could potentially work great,” Fuchs says.
Potential DIY projects:
“If your dog is relaxed and happy, you’ll be happier,” she says.
This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.
Award-winning journalist Jen Reeder is former president of the Dog Writers Association of America.