How To Keep Your Energetic Dog Calm | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

How To Keep Your Energetic Dog Calm

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How To Keep Your Energetic Dog Calm | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

If you’re getting ready to go to bed and your dog is doing laps around the table, you may be wondering why your dog has so much energy.

It can be difficult to curb your pup’s excitability when you don’t know how to keep them calm.

There are many factors that influence your dog’s mood and energy levels, from training to diet.

Many owners think their dog is hyperactive, which is possible. But more often your pet is just lacking stimulation.

Let’s look at the most common variables affecting your dog’s energy levels, and what you can do as an owner to help them stay calm, cool, and collected.

For all of your animal behaviour questions and needs, and if you’re concerned about your dog’s health, consider contacting a Toronto veterinarian for more information on hyperactivity and beyond.

But in the meantime, let’s talk about dog hyperactivity and how you can help your dog stay calm.

Is Your Dog Hyperactive?

When your dog has more energy than you do, the question of hyperactivity may arise.

True hyperactivity in dogs is a possible condition, although it’s very rare.

The signs of a hyperactive dog include:

• Reactivity to everyday stimuli
• Very short attention span
• Inability to relax, even in the most comfortable and familiar of environments
• Elevated resting respiration and heart rate

If your dog shows these symptoms, consider talking to your vet. Their hyperactivity can manifest due to a thyroid issue, though this is incredibly rare.

The most likely scenario, though, is your dog is just not getting the stimulation they need.

Regular and sufficient mental, physical, and social stimulation is necessary for all pups to be at their best.

There are other factors to consider as well, including breed drive and diet that may be affecting your dog’s energy levels.

tricks to calm you dog down | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

1. Train Your Dog

Often, it may feel like your dog is hyperactive when they’re jumping all over you or others, pulling on their leash, or barking incessantly.

However, these behaviours can often be due to a lack of training.

Teach your dog how to interact with you and communicate their needs. Reward them when they do it right. If they want food or to go outside, for example. This will help your dog feel calmer and more comfortable.

Impulse control is key when it comes to training your pup to ask for what they want.

If you train your dog to sit when they want food, exercise, or a treat, they will understand doing this gets them a reward.

2. Give Your Dog More Exercise

A big factor that influences your dog’s energy levels is physical activity and requirements. These differ depending on breed.

Some breeds of dogs (for example, dogs from the sporting groups) have a very high drive and need much more stimulation than other breeds.

If you notice your dog is still bouncing off the walls at the end of the day, that’s a pretty good sign they need more physical stimulation.

There are games easy for you to engage in and also help your dog burn some energy, such as fetch and tug.

Additionally, there are activities you can enroll your dog in, such as agility courses or lure coursing.

If your pup likes to run and explore in the company of other dogs, consider taking them to a nearby dog park.

3. Keep Your Dog’s Mind Stimulated

It can be easy to overlook the importance of mental stimulation, but it’s necessary for dogs of all breeds.

When your dog is lacking in mental exercise , they can get bored or restless and act out.

There are many ways you can engage with your furry friend’s brain — and you may be surprised by how quickly they tire out!

Clicker training and shaping games (which teach your dog to break down desired behaviours into parts, or steps) are an excellent challenge for your pup’s mind.

Even a simple task like teaching your dog a new trick can work their brain and be a great source of fun and activity.

There are many puzzle games that dispense treats out on the market today, and they are usually a big hit.

Additionally, games that involve your dog’s sense, such as “find it”, can be very fun and engaging for your dog.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

It can be frustrating when you feel like your dog is way too excitable. There are ways, though, you can help your dog feel comfortable and calm.

Stimulation is important for your dog to feel and act their best.

For all your pet-related needs, contact us at Bickford Park Animal Hospital.

Our experienced veterinarian team would love to get to know you and your furry friend. We’ll answer any questions you may have about dog behaviour or well-being.

At Bickford Park Animal Hospital, we know and understand pets are family.

Whether your pup needs a check-up or you have a specific inquiry, we’d love to help.

Call us at Bickford Park Animal Hospital today.

Are Your Cats Fighting? Broker A Peace Treaty With These Tips | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Are Your Cats Fighting? Broker A Peace Treaty With These Tips

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Are Your Cats Fighting? Broker A Peace Treaty With These Tips | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

For many cat lovers, one cat is not enough.

But unless you are adopting a bonded pair who have been together since they were young, adding a second cat to your home can cause trouble.

It may result in your two cats fighting, which is not a fun situation to be in.

Despite this, you’ve decided you want to add a second cat to your home.

So before heading to the Toronto Human Society to pick out your new furry friend, take some tips from a purveyor of Toronto veterinary services on how to best integrate a second cat in your home, and what to do when two cats fight.

Keep reading to learn more.

Why Are My Cats Fighting?

Cats are territorial animals. In the wild, they form strong bonds with their mothers and siblings.

But those who have lived alone for a long time become solitary. They try to protect their territory from unknown animals.

Sometimes cats who have grown up together and were friends at one point can have experiences that disrupt that. This can include injuries during play or traumatic experience associated with the other cat.

This leads them to become mistrustful of others who they once got along with.

Keep reading to learn about different reasons cats might show aggression, and how to curb it, to avoid having to visit the vet because your cats injure each other.

1. Territorial Aggression

You cat is the Ruler of the Castle, the Master of the House – and that’s just how they like it. So when another cat shows up in their territory, they may treat them like an invader.

They may start hissing, swatting, chasing, stalking, and blocking access to places such as the litter box.

how to get you cats to get along together | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

2. Defensive Aggression

You cat may become defensive if they’re attempting to protect themselves from an aggressor and they feel backed into a corner.

This may result from threat of punishment, an actual or attempted attack from another cat or animal, or any other actions that make them feel afraid or threatened.

Physical signs of defensiveness include crouching with the legs and tail pulled against the body, flattening the ears and head, and rolling to the side.

These are also signs your cat may attack you if approached.

3. Redirected Aggression

Has your cat ever started acting aggressive for no obvious reason? The cause is likely something you didn’t even notice.

They may have heard a noise in the apartment building hallway. They might have been looking out the window and saw another animal outside.

This is their territory, and how dare another animal intrude on it!

Now you go to pet or play with your cat, and all of a sudden she’s chomping down on your hand for no particular reason. This is likely redirected aggression. The other animal that seemed to pose a threat is no longer nearby, but they still feel threatened.

4. Male Aggression

If you want a second cat, and you already have a male cat, consider adopting a female cat, and vice-versa. Make sure they’re spayed and neutered, of course.

Male cats are more likely to show aggression towards other male cats. This is especially so if they haven’t been neutered.

Depending on the circumstances, this could be because they’re fighting over a female, for status, or trying to defend their territory.

One cat may puff up their fur to look larger and more aggressive. But if the other cat doesn’t back down it could lead to a fight, including biting, swatting, and screaming.

How To Stop A Fight Between Cats

If your cats are fighting, you may think of making a loud noise to distract them, or even to pull out a water gun or spray bottle.

This approach is likely to make the situation worse.

A better option is to try to put an object between them, such as a large piece of cardboard.

If placing a physical barrier between them is too difficult, pick up one cat by the scruff of the neck. This should cause them to release the other one. Your cat’s mother used to carry them around this way, so it makes you seem “parental”.

Don’t try to distract them with food, as they’ll see this as a reward for aggression.

Once you’ve separated the cats, keep them apart for a while to avoid a recurrence and allow for a “cooling off” period.

How To Get Your Cats To Stop Fighting

Getting your cats to stop fighting takes time and space – and a whole lot of each.

When introducing a new cat to your home, start out by giving them each a separate area.

Have food, litter, and water for each cat in their own area, and be sure to give each cat lots of individual attention.

Introduce them slowly – allow them to smell each other and get used to the other cat’s scent.

Feeding them near each other, but still in separate areas, will allow them to associate each other with food. And just like humans, food makes cats happy.

After some time of exposing your cats to each other’s scents, it’s time for a carefully staged face-to-face meeting. Having each cat on opposite sides of a screen or baby gate is one way.

While doing this, continue to shower both cats with lots of attention and praise, so long as they behave. This way, they associate the other cat with positive experiences.

How to Create a Lasting Peace

So you’ve got your cats to stop fighting – how do you maintain this over the long term?
Ensure each cat has their own necessities – they should not have to share food and water dishes, or a litter box.

Make sure your home has a lot of places where your cats can escape to hide when they want to. Corners, caves, shelves, places they can go to and be alone.

Finally, one of the most important things you can do is to be sure to have your cats spayed and/or neutered..

Not only will this reduce unwanted aggressive (and amorous) behaviours, it can reduce the risk for cancers, infections, and other diseases.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you looking to introduce a new furry friend to your home? Do you want to know the best age to arrange a spay or neuter appointment to avoid aggressive behaviours in the first place?

Or do you need a little professional help and want to chat about other options, such as pheromone dispenser or anti-anxiety medication.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today, and we’ll do everything we can to help broker a peace treaty in your household.

How To Keep Your Dog Entertained | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

How To Keep Your Dog Entertained

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How To Keep Your Dog Entertained | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Imagine if you had nothing to do all day.

Although this might sound relaxing at first, you’d likely start to get bored pretty quickly.

Well, our pets can get bored without anything to do as well. This can lead to the type of behaviour you don’t want to deal with.

Not everyone has the ability to work from home, or a modern office which allows them to bring their pets to work. So it’s important to look at wellness strategies for dogs to prevent them from getting bored while being at home all day.

Let’s talk about fighting off your pup’s daily doldrums.

Is My Dog Bored?

There are a lot of factors to consider when getting a puppy.

Having a dog is a big responsibility, with a number of factors to consider before bringing a new addition to your home.

Will you have the amount of time to give your new four-legged friend everything they need?

Puppies can be a lot of work, and left to their own devices without proper attention and stimulation they can get bored. This may lead to destructive behaviours such as chewing, digging through the trash, or excessive barking.

Keep reading to learn how to keep your dog entertained, and limit the behaviours associated with boredom.

1. Get Them Some Fun Toys

If your pup is home alone all day, having mentally stimulating toys can help to stave-off boredom. Look for puzzle toys which release treats in response to interaction. These will keep your dog interested in the toy, and not chewing on your shoes.

Using hard plastic toys with small holes where you can hide treats is also a good way to keep your dog busy.

When using puzzle toys or other toys with “hidden” treat, be sure to use something other than their regular kibble. That way, it really is a special treat when they get to the food.

2. Keep Them Active

Being sure your dog is getting enough exercise is important for so many reasons.

A quick 20 minute walk in the morning before you leave for the day can help them release energy and may help curb destructive behaviour.

Of course, most dogs will need more than just a 20 minute walk, and the amount of activity required can vary by breed.

ideas for entertaining your active dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. Find Them A Pal

Some dogs need more stimulation than others. Sometimes you may need to find extra help to make sure they’re getting the attention and exercise they need.

If you work particularly long days, or have a rambunctious pup, consider hiring a dog-walker for some mid-day exercise if coming home for a lunchtime walk isn’t a possibility.

Another option would be to have a neighbour stop by during the day for a play session and bathroom break. This is a perfect job for your local student who wants to earn a few extra bucks, or a retiree who needs something to do.

If you prefer your dog have more constant stimulation and supervision, you could look into a “doggie daycare” centre. Do your research, though, and make sure you agree with the practices your daycare uses.

4. Leave The Radio/TV On

Most of us wouldn’t like spending all day in a place which is completely silent.

Even in the quietest of offices, there’s always background noise and conversation.
It’s no different for your dog. Being home alone with only silence can be a recipe for boredom – and boredom leads to trouble.

Leaving the television or radio on for your pet can offer a distraction. Some companies even make CDs or DVDs meant specifically for you to play for your pet.

5. Talk To Your Vet About Anxiety

Just as humans can experience anxiety, dogs can too.

It may be because they’re stressed from being separated from you, or perhaps due to mistreatment in their past.

Start by reading this article on dog behaviour. Watch for signs that your dog may be experiencing anxiety, such as reluctance to play or avoidance.

If you think your dog may be suffering from depression or anxiety, your vet can help. We’ll determine your next steps, which could come in the form of medication or behaviour therapy.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you following these recommendations but still noticing undesirable behaviours in your pup?

Do you think your dog may actually have issues with anxiety or depression that an extra walk or more playtime can’t help with?

Perhaps it’s time to discuss other options to help keep your dog relaxed and stress-free.

Contact us at Bickford Park Animal Hospital today, and let us help.

Is Your Cat Obese? Here's How To Fix It | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Is Your Cat Obese? Here’s How To Fix It

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Is Your Cat Obese? Here's How To Fix It | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Fat cats, or “CHONKY” cats as the kids these days say, seems to be these days seem to be all the rage on the internet. All cats are cute, even the fat ones. And those fat-cat photos may result in lots of “likes” online. But it’s not healthy for your cat to be overweight, and can lead to diabetes, arthritis and a shortened life span. If you notice your cat is starting to put on those pounds, it’s important to consider nutrition for cats. Work with your vet to get things back on track, to prevent, ahem, larger health issues down the road.

Keep reading to learn more about why cats get fat, and what you can do about it.

Why Do Cats Get Fat?

Not many people would deny that North America has a problem with obesity in humans. A recent study shows our pets are facing this problem as well.

In 2011, over 50% of cats qualify as obese.

There are a number of reasons for this rise in obesity among cats. These can include the rise of pet owners keeping their cats indoors for safety reasons, owners who “free feed” and always make food available, and the propensity for cat owners to offer treats as bribes every time their cat doesn’t do what they want.

How to Put Your Cat on a Diet

Let’s face it, no one likes a diet. And when you’re limiting your cat’s food intake, or suddenly change their food or offer less of it, they aren’t going to like it either.

Ignoring their cries for more kibble, though, will make a big impact on their quality of life in the future.

Here are some tips to help get your cat back to a healthy weight.

how to care for obese cats | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

1. Limit Feeding Times

Many cats have food available at all times, allowing them to have a bite or two whenever they feel like it.

Unlike humans, many don’t realize eating all day, every day may not always be the healthiest option. Limiting feeding times to a few times per day, as well as limiting portion sizes will go a long way to getting your cat back to a healthy weight.

2. Limit Treats

It can be easy for a cat owner to get into the habit of offering treats when, well, anything is wrong. Cat meowing your ear off? Treat. Can’t figure out where the cat is hiding? Open the treat bag, and they’ll come running.

It’s also important to be aware of the types of treats you’re offering to cats. Many store-bought options are not nutritionally sound – if you do want to give your cat something special offer a small piece of cooked fish or meat.

3. Make Sure Your Cat Gets Exercise

Making sure dogs get enough exercise is easy – most are begging for a walk the second you step in the door.

But try putting a leash and harness on most cats, and they want nothing to do with it.

Cats can sleep up to 12 to 16 hours per day, and they seem perfectly content with this arrangement.

Adding interactive toys to their environment, and making time to “play” with your cat can help keep them active. If it’s possible for you to do so, consider adopting a second cat from your local shelter or rescue. Not only are you giving your cat a “friend” to play with, you’re saving another life as well.

4. Feed A High-Protein, Meat-Based Diet

A cat in the wild is a carnivorous creature. People with outdoor cats often find “gifts” of mice and birds left by their feline friends.

A cat’s natural diet is high in protein, so the ideal diet for your cat will be meat based. This means 35-45% “dry matter” protein (meaning this is the protein level in the food when water has been removed), and a moderate fat content. Many people prefer dry kibble because it’s generally lower priced, and can be left out for long periods of time. However, these have higher levels of flour and sugar, which results in them being high in carbohydrates. Cats don’t process carbs as easily as humans. You may not want to give-up on the kibble entirely. But feeding a combination of wet and dry food is almost always better for your cat.

5. Avoid Poisonous Foods

This seems obvious – avoid eating poison. But it’s worth noting that some foods are not healthy for cats, and should be avoided.

Read this article to learn about some of the household foods you should ensure your cat never gets their paws on.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Is your cat looking a little on the heavy side?

Are you trying to determine the best way to help your cat lose some weight? Do you need a professional opinion on how much weight your cat needs to lose? For help with these and other important questions when it comes to taking care of your pets, Bickford Park Animal Hospital is here to help.

Contact us today to set up an appointment, and let us help you get your furry friend back to a healthy weight.

8 Natural Home Remedies For Your Dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

8 Natural Home Remedies For Your Dog

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8 Natural Home Remedies For Your Dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Most of us have home remedies which we like to use for ourselves.

Chicken soup when we’re sick.

Lavender oil for a headache.

A cucumber eye mask to help combat tired, puffy eyes.

However when it comes to our four-legged friends, we have to be careful, because some of the remedies we use for ourselves may not be so good for Fido.

Today we’ll take a look at some home remedies which can be used for our pups, and when to use them versus when to seek out veterinary treatments for your dog’s ailments.

Keep reading to learn what you can treat at home, and when to call the vet.

When Should You See Your Vet?

For certain minor things such as dry skin, or minor wounds, you are probably OK to give your dog a home remedy – though you should also make sure to bring it up at your next vet appointment.

However if your dog seems to be feeling under the weather or is acting strangely your best bet is to call your vet, because minor symptoms can often be indicators of a more serious condition.

You never want to risk an at home remedy making things worse, or your dog getting sicker because you’ve delayed a vet visit, so when in doubt, make an appointment.

What can you use to treat your dog safely at home? Keep reading to find out.

1. Yogurt

You’ve heard about the benefits of yogurt for humans – a great source of protein, calcium and of course those probiotics which are important for gut health.

Well, plain yogurt can have similar effects for your four-legged friends.

The live cultures in yogurt can help keep the balance in your dog’s intestines, however it still may not be the best option.

A better option is to look for probiotic supplements meant for canines specifically, but in a pinch, a bit of yogurt will work.

Make sure to choose plain, unsweetened, full-fat yogurt though, as some yogurts are sweetened with xylitol which can lead to a massive insulin spike and liver damage.

2. Chamomile Tea

I have fond memories from childhood of sharing a cup of chamomile tea with my father in the evening, to help calm me down before bedtime.

But it can also help decrease muscle spasms and cramps for your dog.

Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties, and can decrease inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

This tea can also be used topically to soothe raw skin – make a strong brew, let it cool in the fridge and use a spray bottle to apply.

3. Epsom Salts

An Epsom salt bath may be something us humans enjoy after a particularly strenuous workout, however they can also be used to help clean wounds.

An Epsom salt soak can help to drain abscesses, relieve pressure in wounds and promote healing for your pup.

Mix the salts with warm water, and apply for five to ten minutes a few times a day.

type of natural home remedies for your pet dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

4. Hydrogen Peroxide, Dishwashing Liquid, Or Baking Soda

You may have heard if your dog gets skunked, you should give them a bath in tomato juice.

But not only is this a messy solution, who has that much tomato juice on hand?

An easier solution, using ingredients you are more likely to have on hand to remove the skunk smell is to use four cups of hydrogen peroxide, one-third baking soda and a small amount of dishwashing liquid.

Apply this mixture to your pets coat, allow it to soak in for about five minutes and rinse well.

5. Vitamin E Oil

When I walk through the drugstore, there is no shortage of creams and oils containing vitamin E which claim to make my skin more moisturized and youthful-looking.

However aside from the superficial benefits, vitamin E Oil can be beneficial – not just for humans, but for dogs too.

Vitamin E can oil can offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays, which is great if you are spending a lot of time outdoors with your dog.

It can also help with dry skin, warts, and calluses.

Plus, if your dog decides to lick it off, it’s safe for them (although probably not as effective on those dry spots).

6. Licorice Root

If you’re picturing bright-red, candy flavoured Twizzlers, think again.

Licorice root is a form of cortisone, which can be used as a treatment for itchy skin.

It can be found in most health food stores, and can be used orally to help treat skin irritation.

It should be noted that cortisone is a steroid, which means you should always speak to your vet before giving it to your pet, especially if they are on any other medications as well.

7. Electrolytes

If you’re an athlete, you’ve probably heard of electrolyte replenishing drinks to rehydrate after an intense workout.

If you’re a parent, you may have used them to help your baby recover from illness.

However, if you have a dog who is experiencing diarrhea, drinks with electrolytes can help replenish electrolytes and fluids, especially if your dog’s appetite isn’t back to what it was.

Consult with your vet to determine the proper dosage for your dog.

8. Oatmeal

If you’ve ever had chicken pox, or come into contact with poison ivy, you may have been told to bath in a mixture of oatmeal, as it contains chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties.

And this is another case where what works for us humans can also be beneficial for our four-legged friends as well.

If your dog is experiencing skin allergies, itchy skin, or superficial infections, a mixture of oatmeal, or even an oatmeal bath (if they’ll let you) can be soothing.

As a bonus, it’s non-toxic, and safe if they decide to try to eat the mixture.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

As you can see, many minor ailments which your dog might encounter can be easily treated with things you probably already have around the house.

However if any of these symptoms persist, if your pup is acting weird, or if you are worried that something might be wrong which goes beyond the minor symptoms mentioned here, Bickford Park Animal Hospital is here to help.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and bring your dog in for a visit if you want a second opinion.

10 More Delicious Foods That Are Poisonous For Your Dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

10 More Delicious Foods That Are Poisonous For Your Dog

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10 More Delicious Foods That Are Poisonous For Your Dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Dogs are notorious for eating anything and everything they can get into.

From stealing an entire chicken, to munching on socks, I’ve heard it all.

For a big city dog, Toronto dog wellness is important to keeping your dog happy and healthy – and that starts with a balanced diet.

Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

We looked at foods to keep away from your dog last month, however seeing as how some dogs will eat nearly anything, we felt it was important to continue to examine foods which your dog should steer clear of.

Keep reading to learn about what foods to stay away from.

1. Garlic

Garlic can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs, and result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dehydration.

Although it would take a lot of garlic for your dog to become really sick, it’s best just to avoid it altogether – also, some dogs are more sensitive to it than others and a toxic dose spread over a few days’ time can be just as problematic as having it all at once.

2. Onions

Onions in all forms – powdered, raw, cooked, and dehydrated can be dangerous for your pup.

They damage and kill red blood cells, resulting in anemia.

If you think your dog has gotten into the onions, watch for signs such as weakness, vomiting, and breathing problems.

3. Avocado

Avocado contains a substance called persin, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Persin is found in the leaves, seeds, bark, and the fruit itself – so not only should you avoid feeding your dog a taste of your guacamole, but if you grow the plants themselves it should be kept away from your dog.

Additionally, the avocado pit can become lodged in the stomach or small intestine, which may require an internal medicine veterinarian, and complications from this can be fatal.

don't feed these poisonous foods to your dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

4. Chocolate

The fact that chocolate is bad for dogs is fairly common knowledge.

However many people assume the reason for this is the caffeine, or possibly the dairy.

And while neither of these substances are good for dogs, the big reason why it is not good is a substance called theobromine.

Theobromine is most concentrated in dark chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate usually used in baking.

It can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, heart issues, tremors, seizures, and death.

5. Raw Eggs

Feeding dogs a “raw diet”, which includes uncooked eggs is becoming more and more popular lately.

However feeding raw eggs to your dog is a bad idea for the same reason you personally should avoid raw eggs – there is a risk of food poisoning from bacteria such as salmonella, or E. coli.

6. Raw Meat

Another component of the “raw diet” is uncooked meat.

As with eggs, this carries a risk for bacteria which can lead to food poisoning.

Additionally, raw fish such as salmon, trout, and sturgeon can carry a parasite which can result in “fish disease”.

Watch for signs such as vomiting and inflamed lymph nodes.

7. Salt

As much as your dog might beg for a bite of your pretzels or chips, it’s important to ensure they don’t get too much salt.

Excessive salt consumption can make them thirsty and lead to sodium ion poisoning.

Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, high temperature, and seizures.

In severe cases it can also lead to death.

8. Grapes

Grapes – and their shriveled counterparts, raisins – can lead to kidney failure for your dog.

Even a small amount can make them very sick.

Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, sluggishness, and depression.

9. Walnuts

In general, nuts are not good for dogs, due to their high fat content which can lead to stomach upset.

Black walnuts in particular are toxic to dogs, and if you have a walnut tree nearby it’s best to stay away from it.

Ingesting walnuts can lead to tremors and seizures.

10. Dairy Products

Out for a walk on a hot day, and tempted to get some ice cream?

Perhaps even share some ice cream with your dog?

You may want to reconsider this, as milk-based products can cause diarrhea and digestive upset in dogs.

They can also act as a trigger for food allergies, which can lead to itchiness.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Something Toxic

So you’ve read our lists of what to keep your dog away from.

You’ve attempted to “dog-proof” your kitchen.

But your dog is sneaky and smart – and while most of the time you brag about how smart your dog is, this time she’s gotten into something she shouldn’t eat.

What now?

Be sure to always keep your vet’s phone number, as well as the number of your local emergency vet on-hand for these types of emergencies.

The ASPCA also has an Animal Poison Control Center which can be reached at (888) 426-4435.

If you suspect your dog has ingested harmful foods, or they are showing adverse symptoms be sure to contact your vet immediately.

Types of foods that are poisonous to your cat | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

5 More Delicious Foods That Are Poisonous For Your Cat

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Types of foods that are poisonous to your cat | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Last month we looked at some of the foods which your cat should never eat, however we weren’t able to cover everything that should be avoided in one article.

Part of keeping your cat happy and healthy is ensuring they are eating a nutritionally balanced diet, and avoiding foods which can cause health issue, block important vitamins, or result in stomach upset, or worse.

So take it from a Toronto veterinarian, and keep reading to learn about 5 more foods which your cat should avoid.

For the first part of the list, click here to look at our last article on this topic.

Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

Even though they can be picky eaters, some cats are less discerning than others, and if they get into food they shouldn’t have, we can end up looking at situations where the old adage “curiosity killed the cat” can ring sadly true.

Read on to learn about the foods you should avoid giving your cat – some may surprise you.

1. Liver

This one might not be something most people may not have to worry about. Since so many humans have a strong aversion to the taste of liver, it’s not something most people have in their homes.

However if you are one of those who does enjoy it, think twice before sharing your meal with your cat.

Although it can be OK in small amounts, too much liver can result in vitamin A toxicity.

This condition can affect your cat’s bones, and result in deformed bones, osteoporosis, and in extreme cases, death.

don't feed these poisonous foods to your cats | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

2. Raw Meat

Some people justify the practice of feeding their cats a diet containing raw meat, because they say it is closer to what cats would eat in nature, left to their own devices.

However, raw meat can contain bacteria which can result in food poisoning.

Additionally, there is an enzyme in raw fish in particular which can destroy the B vitamin thiamine.

Thiamine deficiency can result in neurological problems for your cat, and lead to convulsions and coma.

3. Raw Dough

If you make treats at home such as bread or homemade pizza, you know that the dough needs time to rise.

Eating raw dough results in the dough rising in your cats stomach, which can lead to stomach pain, and potentially the rupture of the stomach and intestines.

Raw dough can also ferment in the stomach, and release alcohol, which is also very dangerous for cats.

4. Potatoes

Raw potatoes contain a substance called solanine which is toxic to cats.

Consuming solanine can lead to lower gastrointestinal problems.

Cooked potatoes are free of solanine, as the heat destroys it – so if your cat nabs a bite of your mashed potatoes, or steals a French fry, you don’t need to worry.

5. Green Tomatoes

Solanine is also found in green, or unripe, tomatoes.

Although some cat foods contain tomatoes, they are in very small quantities, and the tomatoes used are ripe, so there is no safety issue in these cases.

If you have tomatoes in your garden, be sure to keep your cat from munching on the plants.

What To Do If Your Cat Eats Something Toxic

Even the pickiest of felines can surprise you with what they are interested in.

I once saw a cat walk up to someone eating French fries, sniff around a bit then take a big bite of fries – right out of their hand.

So if, despite your best efforts your cat gets into something they should not have, its best to be prepared.

The ASPCA also has an Animal Poison Control Center which can be reached at (888) 426-4435.

As well, keep numbers for your vet, as well as your local emergency vet clinic on speed-dial.

If you suspect your cat has ingested harmful foods, or they are showing adverse symptoms be sure to contact your vet straight away.

how to remove ticks from your pet | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

How To Remove A Tick From Your Pet

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how to remove ticks from your pet | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Now that the sun is shining and you’re spending more time outside, there is increased chance of your furry friend being bitten by a tick.

As an animal hospital clinic in Toronto, we commonly see cases of pets having been bitten by ticks while outdoors in the summer

There are many diseases and illnesses often spread by ticks and if your dog or cat suffers a tick bite, they will be at risk of contracting one of these conditions.

It’s incredibly important as a pet owner to pay special mind to skincare for cats and dogs, and ticks are a big part of that.

Let’s dive into what a tick is, how to spot if your pet has been bitten by a tick, and the possible consequences of a tick bite.

What Is A Tick?

The tick is a member of the Arachnida classification, so it’s closely related to spiders and other arachnids.

They’ve been around for at least 90 million years so you know they’re hardy little creatures.

Ticks are usually 3-5mm in length and are external parasites that survive by feeding on the blood of various animals.

There are two families of ticks known to spread diseases to humans, which are hard ticks (or Ixodidae) and soft ticks (or Argasidae).

Hard ticks may bite and not let go for days, but it can take only hours for diseases to make their way into the host’s system.

Soft ticks, on the other hand, transmit diseases much faster — within minutes.

The bite of a soft tick is also more intensely painful than that of a hard tick, which can often go unnoticed.

Most bites are by females as males usually die after mating, but ticks of all ages and both sexes need blood meals to progress to the next stage of their life cycle.

Some species of tick can survive for more than a year without feeding but they will die eventually if they don’t find a blood meal.

You’re more likely to find ticks in warm, humid areas, but they’re seen all across the world.

What Does A Tick Bite Look Like?

If you’re spending a lot of time in grassy or wooded areas, you should be mindful of checking yourself and your pet for ticks.

Hard tick bites are usually painless and you may bring a tick in from outdoors, so even if you have an indoor cat you should check all of your pets for potential tick bites.

Check your dogs and cats for ticks daily between the months of April and September by combing your fingers through their fur, searching for small bumps.

Investigate any bumps you may find and look for a black or dark brown dot, ranging from the size of a pinhead to a grape.

Sometimes, the legs of the tick are visible.

The tick bite may be accompanied by a rash, swelling, numbness, or an itching/burning sensation.

If you find a tick attached to your pet, remove it immediately — keep reading for instructions on how to remove a tick safely.

Dangers Of Ticks

These tricky pests are disease vectors, meaning they transmit several diseases to animals and humans.

Ticks carry microbes in their mouth secretions, which get into your blood upon being bitten.

Dogs and cats are especially at risk of these diseases because they can’t share with you if they’ve been bitten & it’s up to you to keep them safe from ticks.

If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors during the warmer months, they have a much higher chance of coming into contact with a tick.

However, you can also accidentally bring a tick indoors on your clothing or shoes, so indoor pets should also be checked.

Let’s look at some of the dangers of ticks to understand why proactive tick prevention is so important for pet owners.

1. Anemia

Although rare, your dog or cat may develop anemia if they lose a large amount of blood from a tick bite, or series of tick bites.

Anemia means your body can’t create red blood cells fast enough, which can cause a lack of energy, dizziness, fainting, and weakness.

A disease we’ll discuss shortly called babesiosis may also cause hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made.

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2. Lyme Disease

The main disease most people associate with tick bites is Lyme disease because it is one of the most common tick-transmitted conditions.

Although Lyme only causes symptoms in around 10% of affected dogs, the symptoms can be extremely painful and even fatal.

Humans, dogs, cats, and other animals are at risk of contracting Lyme disease.

The primary symptom of this disease is recurrent lameness due to joint inflammation, which can further progress to the following signs and symptoms:

– Swollen joints and stiff walk
– Sensitivity to touch
– Fever and lack of appetite
– Swollen lymph nodes near tick bite
– Rare heart abnormalities

One of the most dangerous complications of Lyme disease is kidney failure, which may set in as your pet experiences vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and increased thirst and urination.

To diagnose Lyme disease, your veterinarian will conduct a series of tests (blood chemistry tests, a urinalysis, X-rays, and fecal examinations, to name a few).

There are various antibiotics prescribed to treat Lyme disease in dogs and cats, though Doxycycline is the most common.

3. Ehrlichiosis

Another extremely common disease spread by ticks is ehrlichiosis.

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the brown dog tick and is often undiagnosed for a long time because symptoms take months to surface.

Symptoms include:

– Fever
– Loss of appetite and weight loss
– Runny eyes and nose
– Swollen limbs and joints
– Nose bleeds
– Low energy and depression

4. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

This next condition is caused by multiple species of tick: the American dog tick, the lone star tick, and the wood tick.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial infection that can be deadly if not treated with antibiotics immediately.

RMSF usually lasts around two weeks, and symptoms include fever, general stiffness, skin lesions, and neurological issues.

5. Anaplasmosis

Another name for anaplasmosis is dog fever, or dog tick fever, and it is spread by the deer tick.

In extreme cases of this disease, animals may suffer seizures.

Typical symptoms of anaplasmosis are similar to those of other tick-transmitted diseases and include fever, stiff joints, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Digestion issues such as vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.

6. Babesiosis

As mentioned earlier, babesiosis may cause anemia after being spread by a tick bite.

You can spot signs of babesiosis by inspecting your pet’s mouth, because it often causes pale gums as well as weakness and vomiting.

7. Bartonellosis

Caused by the brown dog tick, bartonellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria in the Baratonella genus.

There are a minimum of 22 named species of bacteria in the Bartonella genus and they can cause a wide variety of illnesses including bartonellosis.

Common symptoms of bartonellosis include lameness and fever, and if this disease is left untreated it may result in heart or liver disease.

8. Hepatozoonosis

Unlike the other diseases on this list, hepatozoonosis is contracted through a much different method.

If your dog or cat decides to eat a disease-carrying tick (or does so accidentally), they are at risk of contracting this disease.

Hepatozoonosis causes fever, runny nose and eyes, bloody diarrhea, and muscle pain.

9. Tick Paralysis

Lastly, there is a rare form of animal paralysis that can be caused by a tick releasing a certain toxin.

Once the tick is removed, the paralysis is completely reversed — hence why it is so important to check your pet for ticks and get them removed as soon as possible.

The culprits known to cause tick paralysis are the Rocky Mountain wood tick and American dog tick.

After a female tick has fed for around a week, symptoms of this condition arise.

These symptoms include:

– Numbness and tingling, particularly in the limbs and face
– Weakness and fatigue
– Restlessness and muscle pain
– Irritability

As time passes, these symptoms worsen and progress to a lack of balance and eventually paralysis.

The paralysis caused by this toxin starts in the legs and travels upwards, often causing partial paralysis in one part of the body.

How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog Or Cat

Once you’ve located a tick feeding on your pet, the next step is to remove it as safely and quickly as possible.

In terms of tools, you’ll need a pair of disposable gloves and tweezers or forceps.

Using the tweezers, get as closely as you can to your pet’s skin and grab the tick by the head.

Pull confidently but gently away from your dog or cat’s body, and check to make sure you removed the entire tick.

Don’t assume the pest is dead upon removal — you may discard it and it could find its way back onto you or your pet’s skin.

Also, you will want to hold onto the tick in case any complications arise in the future.

You can put the tick into an air-tight jar with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, and if there are any unfortunate consequences of the tick bite, it will be available for disease testing (and won’t be outdoors, ready to bite another).

After removal, keep an eye on your dog or cat and monitor their behaviour.

Is their temperature normal, and are they urinating/defecating as usual?

Fever, loss of appetite, stiffness, and joint pain are some of the first symptoms to show up in many tick-transmitted diseases.

Also, check on the bite area every day and look for rashes, redness, or any other signs of infection.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

It’s important to be knowledgeable about the potential diseases your pet is at risk of contracting from a tick bite.

Although it may be scary to read about these dangerous conditions, it’s best to be prepared and know the consequences of an encounter with a tick.

If you are proactive and engage in preventative tick treatment for your dog or cat, the chances of your beloved pet contracting one of these conditions will be drastically lowered.

If you have any questions about protecting your pet’s health, contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital.

We’ve been serving the Toronto area since 2012, and we would love to help you and your pet prepare for the peak of tick season.

At Bickford Park Animal Hospital, we know pets are family.

Reach out to our veterinary team and learn more about the services we provide for animals of all shapes and sizes.

Contact us at Bickford Park Animal Hospital today.

Preventative Medicine For Cats | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Preventative Medicine For Cats

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Preventative Medicine For Cats | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Despite their reputation for being less friendly than other furry companions, cats are incredible pets with a lot of love to give.

The average life span of cats is quite long, between 13 and 17 years, and there are steps you can take as a proactive pet owner to ensure your kitty lives a long and healthy life.

It’s important to look into veterinary wellness for cats if you’re a cat owner, or if you’re thinking about adding one to your family.

Let’s look at why preventative medicine is important and how it will enrich your cat’s life for years to come.

Why Is Preventative Medicine Important?

There’s nothing worse than discovering your beloved cat has an illness or issue that could have been prevented.

Preventative medicine is necessary because all every great pet owner wants is excellent quality of life for their pets.

Some health concerns are relatively common in cats but easily preventable, if you’re proactive and utilize the preventative medicine available to you from the moment you bring your kitty home.

1. A Healthy, Balanced Diet

The foundation of every healthy cat’s well being is a healthy and well-balanced diet, and it is your responsibility to make sure your kitten is eating what — and when — they should.

With the proper diet, your cat will be full of energy and better equipped to deal with any other health concerns that may arise.

Every cat needs a diet rich in protein and high-quality amino acids, which are typically found in most premium pet foods.

Cats require “life cycle feeding”, which means your cat’s age determines food quantity and ingredients.

Kittens require more calories and minerals because they’re always on the go and growing rapidly, while adult cats should be consuming a diet with a reasonable amount of calories to encourage a healthy body weight.

If you have any questions about choosing a proper diet for your cat, check in with your veterinarian — they’ll be able to work with you to ensure your kitty’s diet has enough nutrients and protein.

2. Spaying Or Neutering

One of the most important preventative care decisions you can make for your pet is whether or not to spay/neuter.

This surgery can prevent future problems that commonly affect cats, such as uterine infections, aggression/cat fights, spraying, roaming, and of course, overpopulation.

Spays and neuters are routine surgeries, so they are known to be safe. However, they are still major surgeries and require general anaesthesia.

Typically, cats are spayed or neutered at around 4-6 months old.

Your veterinarian is a great resource to help you learn more about the procedure and decide whether or not you want to spay/neuter your cat.

3. Vaccinations

Vaccinations are incredibly important for all household pets, and cats are no exception.

The purpose of vaccinations is not only to protect your pet, but to prevent the spreading of these dangerous illnesses.

Kittens need to receive vaccines as part of their preventative lifelong care, and booster shots should be administered when your kitten becomes an adult cat.

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4. Parasite Control

Much like dogs, there are certain parasites and worms that try to find their way into your cat’s system and wreak havoc.

Thankfully there are ways for you to make sure your cat is parasite-free.

Many kittens are born with intestinal worms attached to the lining of their digestive system, which can cause painful symptoms and may even be life-threatening.

Intestinal worms affect the growth and overall energy of your cat by stealing their nutrients before they are properly digested.

Plus, these worms can be transmitted to humans — you don’t want to have a parasite outbreak happening in your home.

If you’re bringing a kitten into your family, make sure to visit your vet and have their stool checked for worm eggs.

Typically kittens are routinely dewormed, but it’s best to make absolutely sure your cat is 100% worm free.

Your vet may also recommend deworming medication, if and when necessary.

Fleas are another parasitical threat to you and your pets, and they are incredibly difficult to get rid of once you have an infestation.

Talk to your vet to keep your cat flea-free.

5. Routine Check-Ups

The best thing you can do for your cat is maintain regular communication with your veterinarian.

From parasite prevention to healthy diet tips to general health and well being, your vet can share all sorts of knowledge on pet care with you and your cat.

If you visit your doctor, dentist, and other various healthcare providers multiple times a year, why would you settle for less when it comes to your furriest family member?

Regular check-ups will keep you on top of your cat’s health and set you both up for a long and happy life together.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Preventative care is absolutely crucial to give your cat the best chance at living a long, healthy life.

So many potential problems in your cat’s life can be avoided by being proactive and taking steps to ensure your cat’s health.

At Bickford Park Animal Hospital, we know pets are family members and they deserve the best care possible.

Our veterinary team would love to get to know you and your pet, and we can answer any questions you may have about preventative medicine.

For more information on veterinary care, contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today.

How To Brush Your Pet's Teeth | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

How To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

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How To Brush Your Pet's Teeth | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Most humans acknowledge the importance of going to the dentist regularly (although whether they do this or not is another story).

When it comes to our pet’s teeth however, dental care is something which often gets overlooked.

Let a Toronto pet dentist tell you why your pet’s dental care is important, and how to go about helping your pet keep their teeth healthy.

Do You Need To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth?

You probably brush your teeth at least two, maybe three times a day.

Dental care is important, and prevention is the best way to avoid needing pricey procedures later on.

Just as with humans, taking care of your pet’s teeth can help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar, and brushing their teeth regularly means you remain aware of changes in their mouth, including noticing signs of gum disease, trauma, or other issues.

Your pet can’t tell you if something hurts, or is irregular, so brushing their teeth and getting to know what is “normal” makes it more likely you will recognize when something is wrong – and then you can deal with any issues before they escalate.

Keep reading to learn why to brush your pet’s teeth, and some tips on how to do it.

1. Deals With Bad Breath

I don’t know many people who would say their dog’s breath smells good.

Not only is bad breath unpleasant, it can be an indicator of dental disease.

Regular teeth cleaning can not only help deal with your pets smelly breath, but also makes you more aware of issues which might come up, as you become familiar with what smells are “normal” and which are not.

2. Prevents Periodontal Disease

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease can result in inflamed, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Brushing teeth regularly can help protect against periodontal disease.

In its advanced stages, periodontal disease may necessitate tooth extraction, which you want to avoid.

3. Helps You Detect Signs Of Oral Pain

Your pet won’t always show you when they are in pain.

Although an injury to a limb may result in an obvious sign such as limping, there is not always an outward sign of dental pain.

Brushing your pet’s teeth means you will be more likely to notice if something is wrong that might be causing them pain.

How To Get Your Pet To Not Hate Teeth Brushing

If you have never brushed your pet’s teeth before, it may take a few attempts to be successful and get them to cooperate.

Here are some tips for getting them to cooperate with you, and with some practice you will soon become a pro at pet dental-hygiene.

how to brush your dog or cat's teeth | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

1. Use A Tasty Toothpaste

What flavour is your toothpaste?

Probably some form of mint.

Maybe bubblegum or fruit flavoured if you have kids.

What if I told you there was toothpaste flavoured like beef, seafood, or peanuts?

These are some of the flavours toothpaste for dogs and cats come in.

Don’t be tempted to share your own toothpaste with your pet – although humans know not to swallow toothpaste, chance are some will be ingested when brushing your pets teeth, so specially formulated products meant for pets are your best option.

2. Don’t Try To Force Their Mouth Open

If you’ve ever tried to pry a stolen object from your dog’s mouth so they don’t swallow it, you know how difficult it can be.

When it comes to teeth-brushing you want to make it a pleasant experience for them, so you can continue to do it on a regular basis, and forcing their mouth open can lead to them panicking, struggling, and result in aversion to future brushing attempts.

Start gradually, get them used to the taste of the toothpaste and be sure to offer rewards for good behaviour and cooperation.

3. Don’t Push Too Hard

Just as you would not brush your own teeth too hard or roughly, be gradual and gentle with your pet.

Pull their gums back gently, and brush gently, from the gum line to the tip of the tooth.

Practice makes perfect, and you’ll want to make sure that the experience is pleasant for your pet.

4. Get A Professional Cleaning First

Before attempting to brush your pets teeth, consider a professional cleaning through your vet first.

Otherwise you could just end up pushing bacteria around, and back into the bloodstream.

“I Tried All That, And They Still Hate It”

Sometimes, despite your best efforts a pet just will not let you brush their teeth.

There are still ways you can protect their teeth, even if brushing is not an option.

Feeding quality pet food can go a long way to help maintain good dental health (and overall health as well).

There are also pet foods specifically formulated to help keep your pets teeth clean – these will often be labeled as “dental diets”.

Look for foods approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

There are also pet-safe chews and toys approved by the VOHC which can help keep your pets teeth clean and disease-free.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you worried about your pet’s oral health?

Or maybe you just want a check-up to ensure everything is in good shape.

Perhaps you’ve tried our tips and can’t quite get your dog or cat to cooperate with having their teeth cleaned, and need a professional to step in.

Bickford Park Animal Hospital can help.

All of our vets are trained in veterinary dentistry, and can help assess your pet’s teeth and set up a treatment plan if required.

Call us to set up an appointment today.