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

10 Delicious Foods That Are Poisonous For Your Dog

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

Dogs are man’s best friend, right?

And when those sweet puppy-dog eyes come along and stare at you, begging for a bite of food, it can be hard not to give in.

However before you offer Fido a piece of your dinner, it’s important to recognize some foods which we as humans love, can be harmful – deadly even – to our furry family members.

Keep reading to learn more about nutrition for dogs, and some of the foods which you should never share – no matter how much they make puppy-dog eyes at you.

Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

So what is safe to share and what should you keep away from your dog at all costs?

While some of these may seem like common sense (I don’t think many people are sharing their beer with their pets) others may not be so obvious.

Keep reading to learn what you should never feed your dog.

1. Alcohol

Even though you might love a nice glass of beer or wine after a long day, this treat that humans love can be very dangerous for your dog.

Alcohol does the same thing to a dog’s liver and brain as it does for humans, however it only takes a very small amount to see adverse effects.

From vomiting and diarrhea, to problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, and death – it’s probably best for Fido to stick to water.

2. Coffee

Although for many humans, coffee is an essential substance needed to start the day, it’s not the same for dogs.

Caffeine in coffee – as well as things like cocoa, cola, and chocolate can be fatal for dogs.

3. Tea

Curling up with a nice ‘cuppa tea, good book, and your dog at your feet may seem like the perfect way to spend a quiet afternoon.

Just don’t share your tea with your dog – as with coffee, the caffeine in tea can be harmful.

foods that will make your dog sick | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

4. Xylitol

Xylitol is a commonly used sweetener, often used in candy, gum, and diet foods.

If your dog gets his paws on it, it can lead to low blood sugar and liver failure.

Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, lethargy, and seizures.

5. Macadamia Nuts

For humans, macadamia nuts can be a great, and healthy snack.

High in protein, fibre, and healthy fats – what’s not to love?

For dogs however, it’s a different story.

As few as six macadamia nuts can be enough to cause symptoms such as vomiting, fever, and weakness.

6. Pitted Fruits

Pits from peaches, persimmons, and plums can be primarily problematic for your precious pup.

Say that five times fast.

Or don’t.

The bottom line is pits from fruits can become lodged in the small intestine and cause problems and blockages.

Additionally, some fruit pits contain cyanide which is poisonous to both humans and dogs, but your dog doesn’t know to avoid them.

7. Uncooked Dough

Who doesn’t love to sneak a taste of cookie dough when making baked goods?

Even though we’ve all heard many times over about how you shouldn’t do this – I know I’m guilty.

And this habit, while bad for humans, is also bad for dogs.

The risks are the same for both of us – salmonella or E. coli which can be found in raw eggs.

8. Baking Soda

Baking soda is very handy to have around the house, and can have many uses – who doesn’t have a box in their fridge to absorb food odours?

However this useful product can be harmful to pets if ingested in large amounts.

Did you spill some baking soda and your sneaky pup managed to lick some up before you could clean it?

Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, and seizures.

These symptoms will generally occur within three hours of ingestion.

9. Nutmeg

Nutmeg can invoke feelings of warmth, and make us think of the holidays, however before you offer your new pup a taste of grandma’s favourite cookies, consider this may not be the best idea.

Nutmeg contains a compound called Myristicin which is toxic to dogs.

In high doses, it can cause hallucinations, disorientation, increased heart rate and blood pressure, abdominal pain, and seizures.

In smaller amounts, you may see mild vomiting or diarrhea, or possibly no side effects at all.

When hosting holiday parties, be sure to tell your guests not to feed any snacks to your dog – no matter how much they beg, it’s not worth the risk.

10. Sugary Food

Too much sugary food can have the same effects on dogs as it does on people.

It can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and teeth problems.

Avoid health issues in the future by avoiding sharing sweet treats with your dog today.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Something Toxic

So despite your best attempts to keep these foods away from your dog, she somehow managed to get her sneaky paws on some anyways.

What now?

Be sure to always keep your vet’s phone number, as well as that 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 straight away.

Why Is My Cat Refusing To Eat? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Why Is My Cat Refusing To Eat?

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Why Is My Cat Refusing To Eat? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Many of us think of our pets as our children, but unlike human children cats can’t tell us specifically why something is wrong.

If your cat isn’t eating, there are a number of reasons why this could be, and it can be especially worrying if you are used to being woken up at 5am every morning by a small furry creature demanding food (tip: automatic feeders can help ensure you get your full night’s sleep).

Before you take your kitty to get nutritional counseling for cats, let’s look at some of the reasons why your cat may be refusing to eat.

What Happens When Your Cat Stops Eating?

If your cat is refusing to eat, their body will turn to fat reserves for energy.

In order for stored fat to be used for energy, it is processed in the liver, which requires protein.

As protein supplies are depleted to convert fat to energy, a condition called hepatic lipidosis can occur, which can result in liver failure.

Why Isn’t Your Cat Eating?

There are a number of reasons why your cat may not be eating.

From illness to anxiety, many of the reasons for a loss of appetite are the same as why humans might experience this.

The sooner you can pinpoint the reason and take appropriate action, the better a chance you will have to do something which will make a difference for your furry friend.

Keep reading to learn about common reasons why your cat may not be eating.

1. Illness

There are a number of illnesses which may cause your cat to stop eating.

From the relatively minor, such as a toothache, to serious issues such as kidney failure, pancreatitis, or even cancer.

If you suspect this to be the case, be sure to see your vet to pinpoint the precise cause.

2. Anxiety or Depression

Is your cat depressed?

Anxiety or depression could be the reason for a loss of appetite, especially if you have had changes in your home.

Moving to a new home, the addition of another person or new pet, or even changes to your schedule (perhaps you used to work from home and took a new job where you are away more often) can trigger these issues in your cat.

reasons why a pet cat refuses to eat | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. Recent Vaccination

Vaccines are super important for both humans, and our pets.

But they can sometimes result in side effects such as loss of appetite.

The good news here is that this reaction is usually temporary, and after a day or so Fluffy will be back to normal.

4. Being In Unfamiliar Surroundings

Have you moved recently?

Cats don’t always adjust well to new environments – they are creatures of habit and don’t always respond well to change.

Additionally, if you have had them in a vehicle, motion sickness could also be a factor in refusal to eat.

5. General Finickiness

Some cats are just picky.

If you’ve had to change the food you are giving them, it could take a while for them to get used to it.

How To Encourage Your Cat To Eat

No matter the reason for your cat’s refusal to eat, if they go without food long enough the consequences can be heartbreaking.

If it’s a question of having a picky eater, one tip for changing cat foods is to do it gradually, and give a mix of the old food and the new food, gradually increasing the amount of the new food and decreasing the old until you are feeding only the new food.

Never try to starve your cat into eating a particular type of food – always be sure they have an option that they will eat readily available as you transition to a new food.

If your cat isn’t eating due to illness, you should work with your veterinarian to find the best solution.

Sometimes a cat who is sick will refuse dry kibble but be willing to try canned wet food more easily.

Other times medications may be used to help stimulate appetite.

In extreme cases syringe-feeding a liquid diet to ensure your cat is getting proper nutrients, or use of an IV may be needed.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you worried about your cat?

Have they stopped eating, or exhibiting other behaviours which are out-of-the-ordinary?

Here at Bickford Park Animal Hospital we want to help, to ensure you have as many happy years with your furry friends as possible.

Contact us today to book a consultation.

How To Care For Your Blind Dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

How To Care For Your Blind Dog

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How To Care For Your Blind Dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Just like humans sometimes do as they age, dogs can also lose their eyesight to one of several different conditions.

Sometimes you can have it reversed – just reach out to a Toronto veterinary surgery clinic.

Sometimes, though, it can’t be fixed. However, your pup WILL adjust to their life with diminishing eyesight.

This isn’t a terribly pleasant subject to think about for dog owners, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life. Being prepared for such an event can sometimes help ease the transition.

Signs Your Dog Is Starting To Lose Their Vision

It may be time to go visit the canine ophthalmologist if you notice one of the following signs:

• Difficulty finding toys
• Getting startled easily
• Increasing clumsiness
• Reduced energy levels
• Eye pain
• Cloudiness or red blood vessels in their eyes

How To Care For Your Blind Dog

Although your dog will lean the new skills they need to survive in their darkened world, there are many things you can do to help them feel more comfortable and adapt more pleasantly.

1. Make Sure Others Know Your Dog Is Blind

Like people, dogs don’t like being startled, which can happen easily if someone suddenly touches them who they weren’t aware was there.

One good way of helping this problem is to get them a t-shirt or sweater that says “I’m blind” on it, so people understand to be careful.

In case your dog gets out or gets lost, also consider getting a collar that says “I’m blind,” or at least a tag.

2. Don’t Rearrange Your Dog’s Things

Dogs will remember where their stuff is, such as toys, food bowls and beds. If you move those, it will disorient them and make them uncertain of their surroundings.

Especially their food and water bowls should never be touched, which helps your pet orient themselves through the smell of it.

3. Don’t Rearrange Your Things Either

As well, don’t start moving your people furniture around, because your pet will be completely thrown off by a new decor layout.

They may even injure themselves walking into something that wasn’t there yesterday.

4. Set Up A Safe Zone

For a blind pet, a safe zone might include gates at the top of staircases, or limiting them from areas they may find difficult to navigate.

Create a safe zone, as well, through the use of carpeting and rugs – having runners can help them stay in the middle of the hallway, and having a different rug texture in each room helps them understand where they are.

tips for taking care of a bling dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

5. Play With Your Dog Using Scent Or Sound

The best kinds of toys for blind pets would definitely be squeaky toys or other ones that make noises when they are thrown or chewed on.

Alternately, you can still play fetch with your dog, but you will have to use some sort of scent for them to sniff and chase down after you’ve thrown the toy.

If you want to use something natural like an essential oil, proceed with caution, as some essential oils are actually poisonous to dogs, including cinnamon, tea tree, any citrus, ylang ylang, peppermint, and many others. And even those that aren’t actively poisonous can end up stressing your dog out further as a result of the strong scent (don’t forget their noses are stronger than ours)

Dogs love to play, even with disabilities such as blindness – you just have to ensure they have a place to play that they can feel safe in, and make a few small modifications.

6. Talk To Your Dog

You’ll have to be a lot more talkative with a blind pet, because your voice is how they’ll locate you.

If you talk as you walk up to them, it helps them gauge your distance from them, and when they can expect to be touched.

As well, it helps prevent loneliness.

7. Have Ambient Noise In The Background

Another way to ensure your puppy doesn’t get lonely when you’re gone is to have ambient noise in the background.

Something such as the radio, or even music playing softly in one area of the house helps a blind pet to orient themselves in relation to that room, helping them to move around.

8. Keep The Floor Clear And Safe

Tripping hazards can cause your pet to be reticent to roam, so try your best to keep laundry off the floor, shoes put away and other items off to one side.

Pets can easily get caught up and injure themselves if they aren’t able to see the hazard.

9. Take Your Dog On A Tour Of New Places

A great way to introduce a newly-blind or new and blind puppy to your home is to take them for a walk around while still leashed.

Through their leash, your dog will trust you and follow; it will inadvertently learn the routes around the house for when they are unleashed.

If you need to, start with a small route, and add to it every few days by introducing a new room for them to learn and explore safely.

10. Dog-Proof Your Home

This one is a good one to do on your hands and knees, so you can see all the sharp corners, tripping hazards and protrusions that might injure your pet.

Another idea is to get a water dish that has continually-running water, so they can hear where it is.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

If your pup is aging and you feel like they may be losing their vision, you can always book a veterinary ophthalmologist – it’s possible to treat conditions such as cataracts or glaucoma with either meds or surgery.

Nevertheless, to help you prepare for the road ahead, and help your pet adjust to their adjusted life, we recommend you contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital and set up an appointment to speak with a vet.

We’ll be able to help you think of what you need to do next, and make sure your pet can continue living a healthy and happy life despite their blindness.

Why Does My Cat Have Bad Breath? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Why Does My Cat Have Bad Breath?

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Why Does My Cat Have Bad Breath? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

The worst thing in the world is for your beloved pet to come up to you ready for nose-buts, and have their breath take you away.

Hanging out with your pet doesn’t have to be a toxic experience; a little veterinary dentistry and you’ll be wanting to snuggle your furry friend again in no time.

Diagnosing Bad Breath In Cats

There are a few factors that can cause bad breath in cats – halitosis can be a sign of illness, but in some cases it can also be avoided.

Read below for more information.

1. Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth, around the gum line.

It can cause an infection in the bone surrounding the teeth, if left to harden into tartar.

Periodontal disease can also lead to bleeding gums, tooth loss, pain and other infections.

Most veterinarians will sedate your pet so that they can do a proper cleaning, as well as possibly take x-rays and extract any diseased teeth.

The best way to avoid this is to brush your cat’s teeth regularly, and ideally using feline toothpaste.

Many cats will resist having their teeth brushed, so you may have to work up to it slowly.

2. Oral Cancer

Cats who develop oral cancer will often have tumors that get infected and cause dreadful halitosis.

Unfortunately, it’s one of the most common ways vets diagnose cancer of the mouth, which means the cancer is farther along.

With a poor prognosis, cats will typically only live another two to six months once diagnosed.

3. Diabetes

Cats can also get diabetes, which vets will treat with insulin, just as doctors treat humans.

Diabetes is characterized by losing weight even though they seem ravenous, or possibly urinating more often than usual while also drinking more water than normal.

However, the breath is a dead giveaway for diagnosing diabetes – because it will smell sweet and fruity.

reasons for cat's bad breath | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

4. Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Stomatitis

Lymphatic plasmacytic stomatitis is an inflammation of the mouth, causing swelling, bleeding gums, serious pain when your cat opens their mouth, and also that nasty odour.

This issue can be solved by doing a thorough cleaning, and likely removing some teeth; in severe cases, your cat may also need antibiotics.

5. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease will often create bad breath that smells like urine or ammonia.

If your kitten urinates frequently or in larger volume; if they drink more than usual; if they are lethargic or lose weight; these are all signs of kidney disease.

The odour is a result of toxins building up, and is easily tested with a urinalysis and blood test.

You can manage your pet’s kidney disease with a modified diet, proper hydration and possibly medication for anemia or high blood pressure.

6. Liver Disease

If you smell bad breath and notice your cat’s eyes, ears or gums have yellowed, then there’s a good chance your fur baby has liver disease.

When you take them to the veterinarian, they’ll also want to know if your cat has been lethargic, eating poorly, experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, or drinking and urinating more frequently than usual.

Your vet will recommend a course of treatment depending on the severity and condition of the case.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Sometimes bad breath is simply due to a piece of residual tuna stuck between their teeth, but very often it can be the indication of something more serious.

If your cat has fetid breath, consider having them properly looked at by a veterinarian.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital, and let us help you and your feline friend.

Why Does My Pet Drag Their Bum On The Ground? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Why Does My Pet Drag Their Bum On The Ground?

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Why Does My Pet Drag Their Bum On The Ground? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

It can be embarrassing in front of guests, and bad news for your new area rug, you’re your pets can’t help it when they scoot their bums across the ground. It’s the only way for them to find relief from a problem they’re experiencing.

Bickford Park Animal Hospital has all kinds of veterinary wellness services in Toronto; we’re easy for you to get your pet to when you need us.

Dogs and cats have different reasons for why they might be scooting. Let’s look at them both.

Sometimes It’s Normal

It’s important to note that although sometimes it can indicate a problem, often bum rubbing (if infrequent and not ongoing) is normal for cats and dogs.

They’re supposed to drag their bums to release their anal glands when they’re full.

We get concerned if they seem uncomfortable and the rubbing seems to be continuous, like they are struggling to get something out.

It should be an occasional occurrence, and once they have done it, they should then stop for days-weeks before they try to do it again.

That said, let’s dig into some of the problems frequent butt-scooting can indicate.

We’ll start with dogs (sorry cat lovers!)

Dog Scooting

Dogs who scoot are communicating with you that they need your attention, and that something is wrong.

Here are some examples of what those things could be.

1. Anal Sac Problems

The ‘anal sac’ is what is located on either side of their anus, and it provides them with their own unique scent, which they use to communicate with other dogs. That’s why dogs sniff each other’s bums all the time.

These sacs can, however, get abscessed, inflamed or blocked (especially for small-breed dogs).

Your pet will experience this as pain or discomfort, and scooting relieves that temporarily; alternately, they may lick or chew around the area, or have trouble defecating.

Your vet will recommend a treatment involving: increasing dietary fiber, applying warm compresses, prescribing antibiotics or possibly expressing the sacs.

2. Tapeworms

They’re not as common, but trouble with tapeworms might also cause scooting behaviour in your dog.

Dogs can pick up tapeworms by swallowing worm-infested fleas.

In order to prevent tapeworms, you’ll want to get a handle on your dog’s fleas, either through ingestible or topical medications. And make sure you stay away from dogs that have fleas, too.

3. Prolapsed Rectum

While it may look unfortunate, a prolapsed rectum can be easily fixed by a vet – either with a stool softener prescription, a few stitches to partially close the rectum, or possibly through surgery under anesthetic.

A prolapsed rectum often happens after a severe bout of diarrhea or constipation, in which your dog strains too hard.

The prolapse is actually the final bit of the large intestine, which protrudes though the rectum; it will look like a long, cylindrical piece of flesh that is sticking out of your dog’s anus.

As you can imagine, this isn’t terribly pleasant, but your dog’s intestines can be sensitive and fragile, so the longer Fido scoots, the greater your risk of bigger problems.

4. Contaminated Feces

A bad case of diarrhea can cause matting on your dog’s backside, which can generate enough discomfort that your pet will start to scoot.

If it looks like there’s some infection, you’ll want to visit your vet right away; if not, carefully trim away dirty hair, then clean the area thoroughly with warm water.

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and weakness, so if your dog is afflicted for more than one day, be sure to talk to your vet.

why animals drag their bum on the ground | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Cat Scooting

Cats might scoot because they have some hair or other object that is partially holding a piece of feces outside their anus, and they want to dislodge it.

However, here are some other reasons your cat might be dragging their bum.

1. Anal Sac Problems

Similar to dogs, a cat’s anal sac can get inflamed, infected and need the pressure released.

Most cats won’t like this, so your first option is to try to treat it with a warm compress, and try to get more fibre in their diets, or get yourself a pair of chainmail gloves to avoid your cat’s wayward unhappy claws.

Your vet is an expert in helping cats with abscessed or blocked anal sacs, so don’t forget that you can always bring them in to see us for some help.

2. Environmental Allergens

If you notice this behaviour has started shortly after starting a new food, it may be a food sensitivity or allergy.

As well, it can be caused by something around or in your home, including grasses, molds, fleas or dust mites.

Whatever the cause, consider whether there have been any changes in your cat’s environment t lately. This may lead you to the culprit.

3. Parasitic Infestation

Cats are susceptible to parasitic infestations, because there are several ways in which they might be exposed to them.

For example, they may step in infested feces, and then ingest the eggs or larvae when they later groom themselves.

Alternately, they may eat rodents or other prey and get infected when they eat the fleas on that animal that are carrying worm eggs.

Take A Look At Their Bum

It’s probably not something you’re looking forward (or backward) to, but if your pet is scooting you’ll need to get up close and personal with their butt to see.

Get a pair of gloves and try to lift your pet’s tail to check the condition of their anus.

A bad smell will indicate anal sac problems, whereas tapeworms will be identified by little white rice-like pieces surrounding their anus.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

In many of these cases, you’ll want to get to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital now, if you’re noticing your pet scooting.

A quick trip will make things far more comfortable for pet and pet parent alike.

Common Cat Behavioural Problems And How To Solve Them | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Common Cat Behavioural Problems And How To Solve Them

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Common Cat Behavioural Problems And How To Solve Them | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

So you’ve decided to add a new member to your family.

No, not a baby – a cat.

Whether you adopt a baby kitten, or rescue an older cat, it can be rewarding to share your home with a new pet.

Despite their aloof reputation, cats can actually show love and affection towards their owners (although maybe not as much towards strangers).

But in between the cuteness and cuddles, you may encounter behavioural issues.

Here at our Toronto veterinary animal hospital, we help cats and their humans deal with their bizarre behaviour all the time.

Here are some of the more common cat behavioural issues we face, and how to solve them.

Common Cat Behavioural Problems

From scratching your new couch, to refusal to use the litter box, cat owners should be prepared to deal with common behavioural issues which may arise with their new furry friend.

In this article we will discuss some of the most common issues cat owners may run into, and how to address them.

1. They’re Clawing Up My Furniture!

Why do cats scratch?

It’s a way to mark their territory, as a way to stretch, and to sharpen their claws.

It is a normal, instinctive behaviour and it’s probably not a good idea to attempt to get your cat to stop scratching entirely.

The Solution

If you want to prevent your cat from scratching your new couch, you will need to offer alternatives.

A strategically-placed scratching post or two can be just the trick in many cases – sprinkle some catnip on it to make it more enticing.

Some cats show preferences for certain fabrics over others, so you may need to offer them different textures to find the right one.

You can also make spots which are off-limit for scratching un-appealing by using double-sided tape or aluminum foil.

2. They Just Won’t Shut Up!

It’s cute when your cat tries to “talk” to you, right?

Well, it’s cute until its 4am and you’re just trying to get some sleep – cats are nocturnal animals after all, and requesting – no, demanding – breakfast when you’re still sound asleep seems can perfectly reasonable – to them.

There are a number of reasons why your cat might be vocalizing more often:

● This can be a sign of senility in older cats
● Some breeds, such as Siamese, are naturally more vocal than others
● It could be a sign that your cat is in pain – some of these may be obvious, for instance a pinched tail or altercation with another cat, others are less obvious for instance crying while using the litter box may indicate discomfort while urinating or defecating
● Excessive meowing during the day could simply be a sign they want your attention – at night it might be a sign of boredom.

The Solution

The solution to a cat that “just won’t shut up” will depend on the reason why they are vocalizing excessively.

If you have a breed which is naturally more vocal, there might not be much you can do.

If you always give in when your cat cries for more attention or treats, though, you will teach it to continue this behaviour.

Providing toys or activities for your cat to keep busy at night may help with excessive meowing at night – another option is to schedule extra play-time in the evening so they are less active.

If you suspect the meowing is due to your cat being in pain, it may be time to visit the vet, especially if you suspect a urinary tract issue.

how to fix bad cat behaviour issues | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. They Won’t Use The Litter Box!

There are a variety of reasons your cat may not be using their litter box.

If the reason for this might be medical, you need to get to the vet immediately.

However, once this has been ruled out, the reason could be due to issues with the litter box itself, or the type and amount of litter you are using.

The Solution

Common issues which are easily fixed with regard to the litter box may include:

● The litter box is dirty – cats often have very exacting standards for their litter boxes, and may refuse to use a box which is not cleaned out regularly.
● The type or amount of litter you’re using may not be acceptable to your picky kitty – if the litter is too deep in the box this could cause an issue. Alternatively your cat may prefer a different brand.
● If you have multiple cats, be sure you have more than one litter box, so they don’t have to share.
● Attempt to eliminate or minimize possible stressors – for instance if you have indoor cats, they may become anxious when seeing outdoor cats through the window, so closing the curtains when other cats are around may help.

4. They Won’t Stop Licking Themselves!

Cats are “self-cleaning”, and some amount of licking is normal, however if it becomes excessive there may be other issues in play.

If your cat is licking to the point of an area becoming hairless and raw this can be a sign of stress or pain.

Note that although this response may indicate your cat is in pain, the area they are licking may not be the same area where they are experiencing pain.

The Solution

If you suspect your cat is in pain, plan a visit to your vet to discuss potential solutions.

Possible solutions may include a special diet, medications, or supplements to help ease pain, lower stress levels, and ultimately put a stop to this behaviour.

5. They’re Fighting Each Other!

If your cat is showing aggression towards other cats (or other pets in general) this is an issue you will want to get a handle on right away.

If you have recently introduced a new pet into your home, the aggression could be due to the stress of a new animal being present.

“Catfights” are more likely to occur between cats of the same sex, and this behaviour gets worse during mating season.

Changes in the cat’s social environment (such as adding a new cat), or physical environment (rearranging furniture) can also cause stress and fights.

Changes in routine may also be a cause of stress, leaving cats to fight.

The Solution

As noted above, there are a number of potential reasons why your cats may be getting into fights.

Ensuring that your cats are spayed or neutered can help reduce aggression, especially during mating season.

If possible, attempt to determine what the trigger is for this behaviour, and remove it if you are able to.

If you have one cat who is more of a bully towards your other cat, avoid rewarding this behaviour, even if giving more attention seems to be a way to calm them in the short term.

Providing more toys and activities for your cats to focus their energy on may also help.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you worried about your cat displaying the behaviours noted here today?

Perhaps you’ve tried everything you can to stop your cat from demanding breakfast at 4am, to no avail?

Or you are worried about how your new kitten is getting along with your older, more stubborn cat who is used to having you all to herself?

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today, and let us help you determine what the best solution is for you and your cats to live together in peace.

Thinking Of Getting A New Puppy? Read This First | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Thinking Of Getting A New Puppy? Read This First

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Thinking Of Getting A New Puppy? Read This First | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

There’s nothing better watching a cute puppy video to improve a bad day – they make our hearts melt, they make us laugh, and they also are a lovable factor in reducing our stress through play.

However, having a dog isn’t a walk in the park – there are a lot of important factors that go into making a smart decision.

From nutritional counseling for puppies to puppy-proofing your home, there’s a lot to think about.

Keep reading to see some of them.

What To Consider Before Getting A Puppy

To make your decision-making slightly easier, we’ve put together the most important points for you into one list.

Have a read, and consider how you feel about them and how you react – these might be telling signs as to whether or not you can handle your puppy love.

1. Puppies Get Into Trouble. Is Your Home Ready?

Little puppies can fit into some very small spaces and find all the things that look tucked away, from your perspective.

Puppies will often eat things in order to experience them for the first time, but this can get them into trouble.

The best defense is a good offence: keep an eye on your puppy and use the following tips to prevent mishaps when your back is turned.

• Put away electrical cords or encase them so they can’t deliver shocks if bitten
• Keep houseplants high up, as some leaves can be poisonous
• Make sure you have locks on your trash can, as well as any cupboards or cabinets that store food, medications, chemicals or small, easy-to-swallow objects
• Do not leave shoes or laundry lying out – they can smell your scent on your items, and will often chew or swallow these

2. Where Should You Get Your Puppy?

Most people start by looking at rescue dogs or shelter dogs, because these animals need a good home.

Others have their hearts’ set on a purebred dog, but if this is your choice, there are a few extra things you need to know.

Don’t buy from backyard breeders or pet stores, as these animals often come from puppy mills.

You may be getting more than you bargained for with puppies advertised online or being sold at a flea market, because you don’t know their health background and could be getting a sick dog.

Instead, you should look for an experienced breeder with an excellent reputation.

what you need to know before getting a new puppy | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. What Type Of Dog Suits Your Lifestyle?

Whether you’re looking at a purebred or a mixed-breed dog, it’s good to have some idea what type of dog would best suit your personality and lifestyle.

One of the top considerations is the amount of space you have – you might find it unduly challenging to have a large dog in a small condo.

As well, you must keep in mind that large dogs are more expensive to upkeep, as they need more food, supplies and medication than smaller dogs.

Next, consider how active you are – and choose a dog that matches your energy level.

Lastly, you’ll want to give a thought to how much you hate vacuuming – because dogs with long coats or who shed a lot can mean that you’ll be at it constantly.

4. Do You Have All The Supplies You Need?

Dogs don’t need a lot, at first, especially until you learn what your dog prefers and uses – otherwise you could end up with lots of toys they care nothing for.

You will need a collar that can adjust to your growing dog, and make sure you have proper ID tags on them.

Pick up a short leash that’s about four to six feet in length; save the long ones for when they’re older.

Have a couple of bowls – metal or ceramic, but not plastic – for food and water.

Make sure you have the right kind of food on hand – puppy food for puppies, and adjust as they grow.

You may want a dog crate as well as a dog bed, so you can control their movement as you’re training them.

Don’t forget to pick up a grooming brush to keep their coats tangle-free and shining.

Lastly – get a couple of toys to play with, such as a squeaky toy and a ball that’s too large to be swallowed.

5. Are You Ready For A Puppy?

You’ll have heard it before, but: getting a dog is a real responsibility, because you’ll have another life to care for as well as your own and your human family’s.

It’s easy to be charmed by their cuteness, their playfulness and their affection, but they also require regular feedings and daily walks.

As well, you’ll have to have the time and patience to train them – for their safety and for your sanity.

Puppies also require socialization, which means they actually NEED that attention that they lavish on you.

6. Are You Prepared For The Costs?

Everyone loves the idea of having a furry friend to keep you company. But the costs might take you off-guard.

Healthy food, supplies, toys, and vet visits can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per year, especially if your dog has unique health challenges.

And if your dog gets sick, your veterinary bill could easily be in the thousands.

It’s not fun to think about, but if you’re on a tight budget it may be a good idea to wait to get a dog, or at least come up with a plan to deal with any unexpected costs that may arise.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

If you plan on welcoming a new ‘fur baby’ we recommend giving us a call first to get your questions answered.

We can help guide your choice of breed, based on our extensive knowledge and experience handling many different dogs.

Call now and let us get acquainted with you and assist you through this exciting new addition to your family.

The First Six Weeks Of Your New Kitten's Life | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

The First Six Weeks Of Your New Kitten’s Life

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The First Six Weeks Of Your New Kitten's Life | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Baby kittens go from fur blobs to rambunctious energy balls very quickly indeed, and the speed can often catch new pet parents off guard.

The first six weeks of a kitten’s life is when this amazing growth happens, so to help you plan week-by-week, we’ve laid it all out for you below.

There are important general feline wellness facts to know at each stage of this journey to ensure you end up with a healthy, happy cat.

Week 1

A newborn kitten, like a baby, is completely helpless on its own, needing its mother to feed them, keep them warm and keep them sanitary.

Kittens are small when born, fitting into your hand and weighing mere ounces.

This first week their umbilical cord will fall off, they will double their weight, and they will do a lot of sleeping when they aren’t nursing.

If you need to feed a week-old kitten yourself, you’ll want to measure out 8cc of formula for each ounce of body weight for a normal, healthy kitten.

We recommend you weigh them each day to get an accurate reading, and you can gradually increase the amount of formula as you decrease the number of feedings.

Week 2

This is the week that your kitten will see for the first time.

Keep in mind that their pupils aren’t yet working properly, so they should be kept away from bright lights.

As well, their vision is still blurry, so they won’t be able to recognize much or see any dangers.

At this point, your kitten will be gaining about 10 grams per day, still fed entirely by their mother’s milk.

Their mother should be given a high-quality canned kitten food so that her energy, nutrients and mineral stores are being replenished correctly.

In the second week, your kitten’s sense of smell will also develop, helping them to learn what their mother and siblings smell like.

Week 3

In week three, kittens’ ears are one of the main areas development: their ear canals open entirely, ears can be fully erect, and they will start to learn new sounds every day.

You’ll perhaps notice that their eyes change from baby blue to their final adult colour.

Three-week-old kittens can also use the ‘toilet’ automatically, though that means that they go where they are and their mother continues to clean them up.

Sometimes you’ll see baby teeth start to poke through, which starts to number the weeks left that mama cat will be weaning them.

Lastly – if you’re very lucky – you may hear your cat purring as early as week three.

what to do with very young kittens | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Week 4

Around the third or fourth weeks, kittens start trying to stand and move around on their wobbly legs, even though their little bodies are out of proportion and therefore difficult to control.

This week is when you’ll start getting run ragged, as they escape the nest and begin to foray out further and further.

They will also start to play and interact with their siblings more, start developing their own little personalities and making friends.

If your kitten is still nursing, as they probably still are at this point, make sure the mother is still getting nutritious food to keep her going.

Week 5

Week five is when kittens can start to eat canned food, and we recommend that you give them the same high-quality kitten food that you’ve been feeding their mom all this time.

We also recommend that you choose one that has a meat source as their first ingredient, so that they’re getting the correct nutrients their growing bodies need.

When you serve them, be sure to put it on a shallow plate so they can reach it easily.

Despite getting solid food, kittens shouldn’t be weaned until they’re at least eight weeks old, as they still require the suckling experience.

Lastly, week five brings a start to toilet training, but you’ll need to set them up with something different than their mother.

Because they’ll need to be able to climb in, you’ll have to find a very shallow plastic storage box, or perhaps a shoe box lid.

As well, avoid clumping cat litter for kittens, instead tearing up paper strips or using wood chips or corn cobs.

Week 6

Week six is when you start to really focus on socializing your kitten, so that they become affectionate adults.

Kittens will enjoy running around and pouncing on their siblings, their mom, or anything else that moves.

Feel free to play with them, in order to teach them to be comfortable around humans; especially if their mother is not, because they will learn from her primarily.

Due to the amount of growing they’re doing, they’ll still be doing a lot of sleeping.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Raising a healthy cat is a big responsibility, but we’re here to help.

If you’ve got a new kitten addition to your family, you’ll want to have a vet to help you stay on top of their vaccines, measuring their development and answering your many questions.

Call now and have Bickford Park Animal Hospital help you prepare for and nurture your new fur baby for a long and healthy life.

What To Do When Your Dog Swallows Something They Shouldn't? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

What To Do When Your Dog Swallows Something They Shouldn’t?

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What To Do When Your Dog Swallows Something They Shouldn't? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Puppies are known to be curious explorers, just like human babies.

With exploring comes eating – and often that include things they shouldn’t. After all, dogs use their mouths to interact with the world far more than we do.

If you’re a puppy parent, it’s a very good idea to be prepared by doing some advance research, because it’s almost guaranteed that at some point you’ll be surprised at what your pet scarfs down.

Preventive measures can go a long way toward avoiding potentially invasive veterinary surgical services.

Read on to find out more.

What Might Your Dog Have Swallowed?

If you’re out for a walk, it’s entirely possible you’ll know what your pet has ingested.

If you weren’t sure what it was, start by trying to figure out what your dog may have swallowed through deduction. For example: what’s missing from the coffee table? Is there anything left in your dog’s mouth?

Which of your children is crying because they can’t find their favourite toy?

Figuring this out will help you to plan your next steps.

Symptoms Of Foreign Objects In Your Dog’s Tummy

Sometimes, you won’t even know they’ve swallowed something until you notice they’re acting or looking unlike themselves.

For instance, if your dog has swallowed a battery, they will experience lead poisoning, and will begin displaying symptoms that include hyperactivity, loss of appetite, vomiting, seizures and teeth grinding.

Animals who have swallowed copper coins will often have similar symptoms as lead, but zinc toxicity from coins looks different.

For this one, they can have bloody urine, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, pale gums, and loss of appetite.

If your pet has a distended belly, or has ongoing vomiting, it might be that an object is caught in the stomach or intestines, causing a blockage (partial or complete).

What NOT To Do

One of the most important things you can know is what NOT to do in case of an emergency.

After all, you don’t want to cause more damage to your poor pet, even as you try to help them.

1. Don’t Pull On String

String – or ribbon, thread, pantyhose, tree tinsel or fishing line – can be very dangerous to pets, especially since they sometimes have objects like sharp lures or needles attached to them.

Because these long objects can get wrapped around other objects, pulling on them can cause a clog.

Sharp objects attached to string can puncture organs or cause a tear.

Also, deliberately pulling a ribbon out through a dog’s rectum can end up gathering a large portion of the intestines into an accordion, causing complications.

Blockages, constrictions or tears can cause peritonitis, which usually leads to death.

However, if you can identify there’s an issue, then help your vet determine the source of the problem, it’s likely the vet can clear up the issue.

In some situations, additional surgery is needed to repair intestines, but these cases generally have very good prognoses.

2. Don’t Induce Vomiting After 2 Hours Or For Sharp Objects

Vomiting is a great way to remove foreign objects, but that only works as long as the item is still in the stomach.

It usually takes two hours to process a stomach full of food, so after that time, there’s no point trying – the object will be in the intestines, and you’ll just make your dog go through the unpleasant experience of vomiting for nothing.

The other time you don’t want to induce vomiting is if there’s a chance of a fishing hook or needle being attached, in which case you want to feed your pet a meal (to cushion the sharp item) and bring them immediately to the vet.

what to do when you dog swallows something bad | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. Don’t Wait If They Swallowed Something Harmful

That leads me to the most important tip: don’t hesitate to have them treated.

There can be very serious complications with most of the objects listed above, so it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Similar to an emergency human doctor, the quicker the doctors can intervene, the better the outcome for you and your puppy.

What TO Do

Now we’ve handled the seriously scary topics, let’s look at what you can do to avoid the problem and how to help your pet through it.

1. Let It Pass If It’s Small And Harmless

If it’s not in the section above – toxic or a blockage risk due to size or shape – then the best course of action is pretty much to let it pass.

Small objects that flow through the intestines easily enough can be left to nature, though you may want to keep an eye on their bowel movements to make sure the object finally is expelled.

Feeding your pet a bulky meal of largely dry food will help to buffer and propel along little foreign objects.

Food also activates digestive enzymes, which can soften things that are organic in nature.

2. Keep Hazardous Things Out Of Reach

It’s a good idea to get down on your hands and knees and look at your home from your puppy’s perspective – what stands out or looks interesting?

Similar to when you have a human baby, you’ll want to proof your house.

Puppy-proofing involves putting anything small enough to go into their mouths out of their reach, whether they’re on all fours or up on their hind legs.

3. Have Only Puppy-Proof Toys

There are careful and ethical toy makers out there who ensure that they don’t create or sell anything that can be chewed or broken into small pieces.

Similar to children’s toys, pet toys need to be designed to be safe, despite the wear and tear they will experience.

Keep an eye out when you’re buying your puppy presents, and head for the toys that are too large to be swallowed or that are a solid piece that can’t be broken.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Many pet parents find themselves surprised at how often their puppies swallow things they shouldn’t.

Knowing what to do in these situations can help you guide your reaction, as well as know when it really is time to hit the pet hospital.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital with any emergencies or if you need guidance in dealing with a blockage in your pet.

We’ll be happy to help you out and ensure your pet is comfortable once more.

What To Do When Your Dog Has A Seizure | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

What To Do When Your Dog Has A Seizure

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What To Do When Your Dog Has A Seizure | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Seizures are scary things to witness, whether it’s in a human or a beloved pet.

If your pet suddenly starts to have seizures, and that’s the reason you’re reading this post, then know that while there’s no need to panic, you should bring your pet in to see the vet.

However, if your pet’s seizure lasts longer than a minute, it’s time to take them into the emergency clinic as quickly as possible.

For all other seizure types, here’s a guide on what to look for and how to handle it.

What Causes Canine Seizures?

Pets can have epilepsy, just like humans, but in many cases we never learn the underlying cause of the seizures.

Sometimes seizures can be related to brain tumors, liver disease, low blood sugar levels or mineral deficiencies, and occasionally toxins.

No matter what the cause, dogs generally react well to seizure medication, which can cause the seizures to lessen or stop entirely.

Warning Signs Of A Seizure

Sometimes pet parents learn to recognize when their pup is about to have a seizure, because their behaviour changes somewhat, but very predictably.

Other signs to look for include restlessness and pacing in your dog, dizziness or vomiting, bathroom accidents, or loss of body control – such as twitching.

Be aware that after the seizure has passed, your pet may be disoriented for a while as they recover.

What To Do When Your Dog Has A Seizure

There are some simple guidelines to help you through this episode and ensure that your pet also gets the help they need.

We’ve broken it down into 3 steps, below.

1. Don’t Panic

First off, know that your pet will very likely be perfectly fine. While it’s possible for your dog to choke on their tongue, this is very rare, so you don’t need to worry about getting your hands too close to their mouth (and in fact, you shouldn’t).

Try to take note of the time it started, the length, and recall what the dog was doing immediately preceding the seizure, in order to determine the trigger.

if your dog has a seizure this is what to do | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

2. Protect Your Dog

Mainly, you want to make sure that your dog doesn’t harm itself as they go through their seizure – protect them from furniture and sharp corners, and try to buffer them with blankets, pillows or towels.

Seizures can cause your dog’s body to overheat, however, so make sure not to cover them up too much with warm blankets, as you don’t want to exacerbate that side effect.

Try to remove any other animals or children from the room, and ensure that your dog is given space and is not crowded.

3. Make A Peaceful Environment

As your pet comes to, it may take them a while to recognize you and reorient themselves – so try to again keep your hands away from your dog’s mouth and head, and be gentle in handling them.

Try to dim the lights or close the curtains so the environment isn’t so bright, and turn off music or reduce noise where possible.

Instead, gently and soothingly talk to your pet, giving them a chance to hear and recognize your voice and learn that they’re safe.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

It’s a good idea to bring in your pet for a checkup if they’ve had a seizure – hopefully the cause can be determined, but if not, anticonvulsants can be prescribed to keep them safe.

However, there are a few specific times you should take immediate action:
• If your dog’s seizure has lasted longer than a minute
• If your dog has experienced cluster-seizures, which can be several within a short period of time, or even more than one a month
• If your dog’s seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, this is called a status epilepticus, and they require immediate intravenous anticonvulsants in order to prevent brain damage or death.

If you’ve noticed some of the symptoms above, or if you’re aware of your pet’s seizures and have noticed they’re increasing in frequency, you should reach out and get veterinary support.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital now to be connected with one of our veterinarians on staff, and we’ll make sure your pet friend receives the very best care.