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Basic First Aid For Dogs, Part 2 | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Basic First Aid For Dogs, Part 2

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Basic First Aid For Dogs, Part 2 | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Hopefully you’ve already gone through part one of our basic first aid for dogs, which would have given you some basics, and listed the supplies you need to keep in your first aid kit.

There are a few other things you need to know in order to keep your dog happy, safe and well-cared-for.

In case you missed the previous article, you can find it here.

Be aware, this article mentions some accidents you may find disturbing, so use your best judgment on reader discretion.

Basic Dog CPR

CPR should be used if your dog stops breathing, indicating a problem with his airway, or possibly an internal injury.

1. Get your dog on their side, then check to ensure breathing has stopped entirely, and is not merely shallow breathing.
2. Next you need to check for a blockage in their airway – do this by opening the mouth and pulling the tongue forwards slightly.
3. The obstruction may be an object, or it may be blood.
4. If you’re able to remove the blockage, do so, but make sure you protect yourself from being bitten.
5. If your pet’s breathing doesn’t naturally restart, then gently pull their head into an extended position, with their nose pointing forward and their mouth held closed.
6. Next, you will blow into your dog’s nose twice, and check for breathing and heartbeat.
7. If you hear no heartbeat, give fifteen chest compressions; one every second. The right spot is in the middle of the chest, just behind the front legs.
8. Go back and forth with two breaths through the nose, then fifteen chest compressions, until your pet revives.

if you are unsuccessful in reviving your pet after about three minutes, you should be aware that recovery is not likely.

First Aid For A Dog Who’s Been Poisoned

The most important thing you can do for your poisoned dog is to figure out what they’ve swallowed, and find the packaging to have on hand when you call the vet.

Sometimes dogs can get sick from eating or chewing plants; in that case, try to identify the plant.

Avoid inducing vomiting for your pet until after you’ve spoken to your vet.

However, if you think your dog has been poisoned, find the source quickly and call your vet’s emergency line.

First Aid For A Dog With A Swollen Stomach

A good idea for a swollen stomach is to immediately get your dog internal imaging so that the vet can see what’s really going on.

A swollen stomach can be the sign of something quite serious, especially if the dog is a boxer, or another breed with a deep chest.

If you see you pet gulping, heaving in order to vomit, or drooling saliva, there may be a twist in their stomach, and you should phone your vet immediately.

properly give your dog first aid tips | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

First Aid For A Dog Whose Coat Has Toxic Chemicals On It

Sometimes during a walk your pet comes across toxic chemicals, and may get some of the substance on their fur – be aware of this and take immediate steps to remediate, as described here.

If you need to use an Elizabethan collar, do so – they will want to lick and clean their coat or paws, but this substance is likely toxic and could poison your pet.

Never add more solvents – such as turpentine or paint thinner – in removing toxic substances.

You can try to bathe your dog in washing up liquid, or swarfega, but you may have to simply snip off the part of their coat that is affected.

If you have trouble cleaning your dog properly, or the area is simply too large, get them to the vet as soon as you can and enlist their help.

First Aid For A Dog With Heat Stroke

This is an important thing to look out for on not just hot, but even warm days.

If you notice your dog is panting heavily and seems upset, they may have heatstroke; short-nosed breeds such as Boxers are especially prone to this.

Get your pet out of the heat, and somewhere cool.

You can also give them a quick shower to wet their coat, and then put them under a fan or somewhere with moving air in order to create a bit of a cooling evaporation process.

You can also give your pet small amounts of water, and then call the vet to get their input on whether they want you to bring your pet in or not for a checkup.

First Aid For A Dog Who’s Drowning

First of all, make sure you never put yourself at risk of drowning in your attempt to rescue a dog.

Be aware that they may be panicked or scared, and may be prone to biting, even as you try to rescue them.

If you retrieve a dog from the water that is unconscious, wipe away any material from their nose and mouth.

To drain any water out of the dog’s lungs, you can carefully hold them upside down by their hind legs.

Provide resuscitation, as described in the above CPR section, and hopefully you will manage to revive your pup.

No matter how well your pet looks afterward, be sure to take them to get checked out by your vet, as it’s fairly common to see complications crop up afterward.

As a preventative measure, it’s a great idea to check the conditions of your local beach before letting your pet dive in headfirst.

First Aid For A Dog With An Eye Injury

If the injury is chemical in nature, do your best to flush out the eye with water, using something similar to an eye dropper.

If your pet’s eye is bulging out of its socket, prevent scratching or rubbing by applying a wet dressing to the area.

In both cases, call the vet immediately for further instructions.

First Aid For A Dog Who Just Had An Electric Shock

If the electric shock occurred at home, start by turning off your power at the switch box.

If you are unable to do this, you’ll need to find a dry, non-metallic tool – such as a plastic broom or even a chair – to push your dog away from the source of electricity. If not, you risk becoming electrocuted yourself.

If they’re not breathing, provide CPR as described above and have someone call your vet emergency line immediately.

If the shock is high-voltage, such as from a downed power line, do not approach your pet, and call the police.

Book An Appointment At Bickford Park Animal Hospital

If your pet has recently had a first aid emergency, it’s a good idea to have them checked out to make sure there are no lingering issues.

Call now to book an appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital and have your pet seen by an experienced vet.

Basic First Aid For Dogs, Part 1 | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Basic First Aid For Dogs, Part 1

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Basic First Aid For Dogs, Part 1 | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re having an emergency with your pet and are looking for guidance.

Read below for some guidance and next steps for dealing with those emergencies.

For those looking for a new veterinarian, Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a Toronto veterinary clinic that can help you with checkups and emergencies alike.

What Should Be In Your Doggy First Aid Kit?

Just like a good parent to human kids, a responsible pet parent is prepared for emergencies.

Even though dogs are very resilient, accidents and injuries do happen, and preparedness can help both you and your pup through the experience.

Make sure you have:
• Surgical sticky tape
• Blunt-ended scissors
• Cotton wool and sterile absorbent gauze
• Bandages (at least 5cm width)
• Open-weave/conforming bandages (at least 2.5cm width)
• Non-adhesive absorbent dressings (at least 5cm x 5cm)
• A thick towel
• A muzzle, if your dog might be prone to biting

Most of this stuff can be found in a basic first aid kit from the drug store, though you may need to visit a pet supply store for some of it.

What To Do In An Emergency Situation

When an emergency occurs, your fur-baby will need you to stay safe and calm, because they will be frightened.

Just like when a human is injured and we call the emergency line, you’ll want to have your vet’s and emergency veterinary clinic number in your phone for events such as this.

No matter how grave the situation, it’s recommended that you call the vet first before rushing over – in the event there’s no surgical staff in at the time, they can give you directions to the fastest care.

Be sure to not give your dog any human medicine, which can harm them more than help.

In case your pet might need an anesthetic once they arrive at the vet, avoid giving them any food or water.

You may also need internal diagnostic imaging for your dog.

Lastly, be careful driving your pet to the hospital so that they aren’t further stressed.

tips for first aid treatments for your dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

First Aid For A Dog In A Road Accident

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.

Whenever you’re near traffic, keep your pet on a leash and keep a comfortable rein on them – don’t let them dash out into traffic.

If they do get hit, make sure you don’t rush them – they will be confused and in pain, and they may lash out and bite.

Instead, speak soothingly and move slowly.

If you have a blanket, towel, sweater or scarf handy, you might need it to muzzle your dog to prevent them from biting.

Read below to get more information on treating injuries they may have sustained.

First Aid For A Dog With A Broken Bone

The most important thing you need to know is that you should not make any attempt to set the bone or splint it – it may cause bone to break through the skin surface and further harm your pet.

Instead, try to confine your dog comfortably so that they don’t further hurt themselves but are at ease on the way for help.

Most veterinary clinics will have staff on hand who are can perform emergency surgery on your dog if that’s what is required.

Our goal is to have you home and back to normal as quickly as possible.

First Aid For A Dog Who’s Bleeding

As best you can, keep your pet quiet by using a calming or soothing voice.

Try to stop the bleeding by wrapping the wound with a tight bandage.

If you are not at home, use a scarf, jacket or baby blanket – whatever you have handy.

If blood continues to seep through, apply another tight bandage layer; try to avoid using a tourniquet, which should only be a last resort.

If the area is too difficult to bandage, hold a non-adhesive absorbent dressing in place to staunch the blood flow.

Call the emergency clinic and get your pet to a vet as soon as you’re able.

Additional note: if you are bandaging your dog’s limbs, be sure to include the lower leg in the bandaging process to avoid swelling.

First Aid For A Dog Who’s Been Burned

Similar to how you’d treat your own burn, run cool water over your dog’s burn for several minutes to cool the skin and the spread of the burn.

Next, call your vet and prepare to transport them for treatment.

Never use ointments or creams on your pet.

If you truly need to apply a topical solution for a long transport, soak a dressing in saline solution and apply it to the area.

Lastly, keep your pet warm until they get care.

Book An Appointment At Bickford Park Animal Hospital

If you have a new pet, it’s a great idea to start building a relationship with your local vet, so that you have expert advice and emergency help at a moment’s notice.

We can help prepare you for emergencies, and we’ll be here to treat your fur-baby if something does happen.

Call now to book an appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital and we’ll have you ready for pet parenthood in no time.

Why Are Cats So Weird? Strange Cat Behaviours, Explained | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Why Are Cats So Weird? Strange Cat Behaviours, Explained

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Why Are Cats So Weird? Strange Cat Behaviours, Explained | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Most cat owners can attest, cats have some pretty strange behaviours.

As a cat veterinarian, people come to us concerned about some of these behaviours all the time.

And while some of these are normal – for cats that is – others can be signs your cat is having health issues.

So today we’ll review some common behaviours which may be shown by cats, and why they do it.

This will help you to know what is normal and what isn’t, as a way to keep close tabs on your cat’s health, and be able to recognize when something might be wrong.

Why Does My Cat Knead?

Does your cat like to rhythmically alternate pushing her paws in and out of something soft – like a pillow, or your stomach?

This behaviour is called kneading.

While we don’t know for certain why they do this, there are a few theories.

Kneading comes naturally to baby kittens, as it helps to stimulate milk production in the mama cat.

Another theory is that this is a cat’s way of showing affection, or getting a nice soft spot ready to lie down in for a nap.

In female cats it might also be a way to display they are ready to mate.

Why Does My Cat Eat Grass?

Cats are carnivores – they need to eat meat to get all of the nutrients they need, and they have high protein needs.

So why do they like to eat grass – especially because they don’t have the enzymes needed to properly break it down, and inevitably end up throwing it up afterwards?

Even though this is the case, there are theories which suggest eating grass is good for your cat.

The juices in grass contain folic acid, which assists in the production of hemoglobin.

Grass may also act as a natural laxative, helping to break down fur in the digestive tract.

A smart idea is to grow a small amount of grass specifically for your cat.

If your cat is an indoor cat it will give them access to this potentially beneficial treat, and if you have an outdoor cat it will give them an alternative to munching on grass which may contain pesticides or other chemicals.

Why Won’t My Cat Shut Up?

It’s the middle of the night.

You’re trying to sleep, when all of a sudden it starts – your cat has decided to serenade you at 4am.

There are a number of reasons which could be the cause of these excessive vocalization, including pain, illness, or hearing loss in senior cats.

High-energy cat breeds can also be prone to excessive meowing.

If your cat isn’t normally one for excessive vocalization, and this behaviour starts out of the blue, call us. It’s important to rule out health issues as the cause before attempting behaviour modification.

We’ll help you with a full veterinary exam, including blood and urine analysis.

understanding your cat's weird behaviour | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Why Does My Cat Love Being Up High?

The top of the refrigerator.

The top of the bookshelf.

The top of the tall dresser.

These are all spots which cats seem to gravitate towards.

In the wild, cats would climb trees to escape predators, and to survey their own prey.

Being up high gives cats a sense of safety and security. It gets them away from other stressors (small children, dogs, other cats), and in multi-cat homes it can indicate status. The cat with the best perch is literally “top cat”.

It’s important to give your cats lots of vertical space to climb, so they stay engaged and healthy.

Why Does My Cat Rub Their Face All Over Everything?

When your cat rubs their face on your couch, your chair, and even you, they are marking their territory.

A cat’s face and cheeks contain glands which deposit their scent on whatever they are rubbing against, marking it as theirs.

If your cat does this to you, feel honoured that they have chosen to mark you as their own.

Why Does My Cat Roll Around?

If your cat regularly rolls on their back, exposing their tummy to you, this is a good sign.

The tummy is a vulnerable spot for cats, and they only expose it to those who they trust.

As many cat owners can attest to though, this doesn’t always mean they want a tummy rub – but maybe try offering a chin scratch or head rub.

Book an Appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Is your cat exhibiting strange behaviours?

Are you worried about a sudden change of behaviour, or actions which don’t seem normal?

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today to bring your cat in for a full work-up.

We can help you determine if these changes are normal, or if there is an underlying health issues which needs to be addressed.

Are You Making One Of These Vet Visit Mistakes With Your Dog? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Are You Making One Of These Vet Visit Mistakes With Your Dog?

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Are You Making One Of These Vet Visit Mistakes With Your Dog? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

You dog is a member of the family.

You want what’s best for them, from ensuring they get proper dog nutrition, to ensuring they get plenty of exercise.

But there might be some mistakes you’re making during your annual vet visit, and not even realizing it.

As an animal hospital in Toronto, we’ve seen this mistake made quite often by dog owners.

Keep reading to learn about some of the things you might be doing which need to be changed when it comes to seeing your vet.

1. Not Being Honest With Your Vet

You know you shouldn’t be feeding your dog table scraps.

But you do it anyways, each time saying “ok, just this once” – you can’t resist those big puppy dog eyes.

And maybe you’ve had a series of rushed mornings, skipping your regular walk, and just taking your dog outside long enough to “do her business” without ensuring they are getting exercise.

Then when it comes time to see your vet, you’re told your pup is overweight.

Do you just shrug and act surprised? If you do, your vet will continue to look for reasons your pup has packed on the pounds, rather than acknowledging the actual cause.

Being honest with your vet is important – plus it might be the kick you need to get back into healthy habits.

2. Respecting Other Dogs’ Space

Your dog loves to make friends.

You go to the dog park to socialize with other dogs, and have your friends bring their dogs over so you can introduce your pups.

But most dogs don’t go to the vet to make friends.

And some of the other dogs in the waiting room might not be all too friendly.

It’s important to keep a handle on your dog, and give other dogs space in the waiting area of the vet, especially where other dogs are likely to be scared or nervous.

what do know when you take your dog to a veterinarian | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. Not Warning Your Vet If Your Dog Isn’t Friendly

Some dogs just aren’t friendly.

Perhaps they are nervous around anyone who isn’t their owner, or have a history which makes them distrustful.

Others are aggressive or fearful around other dogs.

If this is the case, and you are worried about your dog’s ability to stay calm around unknown people or animals, it’s vital to inform your vet of this so accommodations can be made.

Consider speaking to your vet office staff about waiting outside or in the car until they can move you directly into an exam room.

This way, you don’t have to sit in the waiting room with lots of strange people and animals. It can save you, your dog, and your vet a lot of stress.

4. Not Keeping Your Dog On A Leash

You might have the best-behaved dog in the world.

You take them for walks off-leash, and they never leave your side.

They know all the commands you’ve taught them and is an eager student to learn new tricks.

But at the vet’s office, there’s a whole other slate of factors to consider.

A normally well-behaved dog may suffer from anxiety in the vet’s office.

Plus, there are other dogs to consider – some may feel nervous in the presence of your dog, and while she just wants to play, they want their space.

When visiting the vet, no matter how well-behaved your dog is, be sure to keep them on-leash when in the waiting area.

5. Not Being Real with Your Vet about Your Ability to Follow Through

Your vet has recommended your dog take a medication which needs to be given three times per day.

But you work long hours. You’re not home when you need to provide dosage.

You have a local high school student who stops by to feed your dog and let them outside, but you’re not sure you trust them with the medication.

Be upfront with your vet about your ability to follow-through on recommendations they make.

It’s better to work out a plan you can stick with from the start than having to revisit it at a later time.

Book An Appointment At Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you overdue for a vet visit?

Perhaps you’re new to the area and looking for somewhere to bring your pup.

Or you have a fearful dog, and your previous vet hasn’t been the most receptive to working with you.

Give Bickford Park Animal Hospital a call – we’ll be glad to work with your to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Catnip | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Frequently Asked Questions About Catnip

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Frequently Asked Questions About Catnip | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

As a Toronto veterinarian, a common question from first-time cat parents has to do with catnip, and what they’ve seen it do to their kitten.

Mostly, they’re concerned that ingesting it may cause their cat internal issues. There’s a lot of curiosity about the seeming ‘drug-like’ effect it has as well.

That’s why we put together a little catnip 101 here for you today.

What Is Catnip?

Nepeta cataria is the scientific name for catnip. It’s an herb belonging to the mint family. It originates from Africa, Asia and parts of Europe, but grows easily in most climates.

The essential oil found in the leaves and stems of catnip is the active ingredient – called nepetalactone.

The plant is ornamental, and grows to approximately 2-3 feet.

It’s a great option for gardens because it’s also drought-proof and also attracts butterflies. It’s also an effective pest repellent. If you have a problem with mosquitoes, cockroaches, termites and even house flies, consider a catnip plant.

You might be surprised to learn that it’s almost ten times more effective than DEET, which is everyone’s go-to.

However, if like many Toronto neighbourhoods you have a handful of local cats roaming around, you may want to reconsider. It’s not uncommon for cats to get so excited about catnip they destroy an entire plant.

Which brings us to our next point.

What Does Catnip Do?

Cats sometimes inhale catnip, and sometimes eat it. Each delivery system seems to have a different effect.

Cats who rub their noses in it to inhale the oil into their nostrils will go crazy running around.

That’s because it engages with sensory neurons in their nose which activate the areas in their brain that control behaviour and emotion.

On the other hand, cats who ingest the catnip often become very sedate and ‘stoned’.

Occasionally, though, they get aggressive after some catnip.

As a result, it’s a good idea to let your cats try catnip on their own for the first time. If you have more than one cat, it’s better to find out they’re aggressive on their own.

A catnip high will last only about 5-15 minutes, and after that they won’t be able to get high again for another hour or so.

what you need to know about catnip | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Do All Cats Love Catnip?

Interestingly, no. Research shows that catnip affects somewhere between 50% and 75% of cats.

It seems to affect different breeds differently. For instance, cats in Australia seem to have an immunity to it. Meanwhile, large cats (think lions and leopards) seem to have a sensitivity to it.

It seems that younger cats and aging cats also are less likely to find it stimulating. But there are variations in breed as well, and your mileage may vary.

Is Catnip Dangerous?

Catnip is not dangerous at all, either to felines or humans.

The only dangers seem to come from secondary concerns. For example, if your cat becomes aggressive while on catnip and gets into a fight with another cat.

Even though it’s used to deter mosquitoes and repels deer, it’s not harmful to them, either.

It’s possible though, in theory, for your cat to overdose on catnip. Generally, cats know when they’ve had enough, so this is quite rare. But if it does happen, your cat may experience vomiting or diarrhea. This might be distressing, but it’s not generally cause for concern.

If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea, though, it’s a good idea to contact your vet.

Despite this, the general consensus among veterinarians is that catnip is perfectly safe for your cat.

Is Catnip Addictive?

There is no evidence that catnip is addictive for your kitten in the slightest.

The effect of catnip is often compared to hallucinogenic drugs. This is why we sometimes may assume it’s addictive. But there’s nothing for them to be addicted to.

On top of that, hallucinations aren’t really what they’re experiencing. We can’t understand what’s going on in their furry little brains when they take catnip.

But it’s not addictive.

Does Catnip Do Anything For Humans?

It does, but it’s not as fun as what it does for your cat.

If you grow your own catnip, or if you pick up a box of catnip tea from your local health food store, it’s a great drink to sip on before bed.

For us humans, catnip is a bit of a sedative, so it can help you get to sleep.

It’s also effective on an upset stomach, on headaches, and even on toothache.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

If you have any questions about what you’ve read in this article, we welcome them.

Call us at Bickford Park Animal Hospital with any questions related to your cats, or dogs.

We’d love to meet you and your fur-baby.

What Is Xylitol And Why Is It Deadly To Your Dog? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

What Is Xylitol And Why Is It Deadly To Your Dog?

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What Is Xylitol And Why Is It Deadly To Your Dog? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

When it comes to keeping your dog healthy, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Is your dog getting enough exercise?

Do they have comfortable living conditions where they feel safe, and can relax?

And of course, what you’re feeding your dog plays a huge role, and this involves ensuring you aren’t giving your dog food which could make it sick.

Today we’re going to talk about xylitol, a common food additive that can be deadly to your dog.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is an alcohol which occurs naturally in many plants, including fruits and vegetables.

Due to its sweet taste, xylitol is often used as a substitute to sugar in “sugar free” mints, gum, and other candy.

It can also be used to help prevent tooth decay in humans, and for this reason can be found in gum and toothpaste.

Foods containing xylitol are poisonous to your dog and even a small amount can be deadly.

Keep reading to learn more about what could happen if your dog consumes xylitol.

What Happens When Your Dog Eats Xylitol?

To humans, if you eat a lot of xylitol, it might cause some digestive issues. But in general, it’s well tolerated.

For our non-primate friends, though, it’s a different story.

If your dog, or cat for that matter, eats xylitol, it causes an insulin spike. This can lead to hypoglycemia, a condition where their blood sugar drops.

It can also lead to severe liver failure, which is deadly.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs

How do you know if your dog has ingested xylitol?

Symptoms to watch for include:

● Tiredness and weakness
● Vomiting
● Seizures
● Rapid heart rate
● Jaundiced gums
● Black, tarry stool or diarrhea
● Trembling

If you notice any of these, contact your vet or emergency clinic right away.

What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Xylitol

If you suspect your dog has eaten something with xylitol, check the ingredients on the package. It might be listed as “sugar alcohol”.

If you do see it listed there, check to see how much there is. If it’s listed as one of the first three to five ingredients, you have reason to be concerned.

Try to calculate if the amount of xylitol ingested is toxic to your pet.

In dogs a dose greater than 0.1g/kg is considered toxic – if you’re not sure, contact your vet.

Your vet will do a blood sugar level check and depending on this, may do anything from inducing vomiting to starting an IV of dextrose.

They may also put your dog on liver protectants such as milk thistle for a few weeks.

human drugs that are deadly to your dog | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Common Sources of Xylitol

If you aren’t sure about whether or not you have xylitol in your home – well, you probably do.

Keep reading to learn about common places where this is found.

1. Toothpaste

Xylitol is used as an ingredient in toothpaste for two reasons.

Its sweet flavour makes toothpaste more appealing, and it has properties which help strengthen teeth and fight plaque.

So if your dog has made their way into your bathroom and has started to chew on the toothpaste tube, a visit to the vet might be a good idea.

2. Most “Sugar Free” Products

If you’re buying groceries which are labelled as “sugar free” it’s important to be aware xylitol is often used as the sweetener for these items.

Sometimes this will be clearly labelled, and other times it won’t be so noticeable, making it important to check labels.

Of particular note is the use of xylitol in sugar-free peanut butter.

Because so many dogs love peanut butter, it’s important to make sure the kind you’re getting is xylitol free.

3. Chewing Gum

If you like to chew on sugar-free gum, it’s best to keep it far away from your dog.

Because the levels of xylitol vary greatly depending on the brand of gum, the amount your dog needs to ingest before they start to get sick can vary greatly as well.

If you discover your dog has eaten chewing gum, it’s important to know what brand it was, and how much they ate. That way, your vet can get a better idea of what the risk of illness is.

4. Baked Goods

Xylitol has become a common sugar-substitute for diabetic people who like to bake.

Or, perhaps you’re looking to buy pre-baked goodies which are lower in sugar – chances are they contain xylitol.

If you’re buying your baked goods fresh, talk to the baker to find out if their treats have xylitol. And if you’re getting pre-packaged baked goods, check the package.

5. Deodorants

This one may come as a surprise – why do you need an artificial sweetener in your deodorant?

Xylitol has humectant properties, which means it can help a product retain moisture.

Your best bet is to keep these sorts of personal care products up high and out-of-reach of your dog.

Your adult dog is unlikely to snack on your deodorant, but a curious puppy may stick their nose in your gym bag.

Book an Appointment at Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you worried that your dog has consumed something with xylitol in it?

Or perhaps you’re just looking for a new veterinary service provider.

Whatever your issue Bickford Park Animal Hospital can help – give us a call today to set up an appointment.

5 Things Your Cat Does When They're Stressed | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

5 Things Your Cat Does When They’re Stressed

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5 Things Your Cat Does When They're Stressed | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Cats are intelligent creatures, as prone to stress and anxiety as we humans.

That might seem strange at first. After all, your cat lives in the safest environment they could possibly be. There are no predators in your home.

But your cat is working on their evolved traits. They react to things based on this programming.

Because they’re both predators and prey in the wild, their senses serve to find them food as well as keep them safe.

There are times, though, that they get stressed. This anxiety is hard for them to shake.

It’s not good to leave them to deal with their anxiety. They need your help. So consider taking them to a cat wellness vet.

What’s causing your cat’s stress? Let’s talk about that now.

What’s Stressing Your Cat Out?

Once you notice your cat is behaving strangely, spend some time trying to figure out what the problem is.

A cat left stressed for long periods of time will start acting out. These are unmissable, and usually unpleasant, signals that they need your help.

For instance, cats have a very sharp sense of smell – up to fifteen times more perceptive than yours.

Smells around the house can bother them. These include essential oils, household cleaning products, garbage, or aerosols such as hairspray.

Another smell that bothers them is the urine of another cat. If they smell this, they feel like there’s an invader in their territory. This can put them on edge.

The smell of dogs is extremely anxiety-provoking for cats, especially if your cat isn’t used to them. This is because dogs are one of their natural predators.

Another super cat sense that can cause your kitty stress is their sharp hearing.

This evolved to help them pick up the sound of a mouse rusting in the grass meters away. It’s great in the wild, but consider how difficult it could be for them to handle the sound of breaking glass.

If you’ve ever heard your cat whine after you sneeze near them, this is why.

As well, they can hear different pitches. One study found the upper range of a cat’s hearing is 85 kHz. By comparison, the upper range of a human’s hearing is commonly accepted as about 20 kHz. So they hear a lot that we don’t. The high whine of a lightbulb or computer that doesn’t reach your ears could be driving them up the walls.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure their litter box is in a quieter spot – they need that to be a safe zone.

Here are some of the signs your cat is stressed.

how to tell your cat is stressed out | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

1. They’re Isolating Themselves

Although cats have a reputation for being aloof, they are social animals. When your cat isolates themselves for long periods of time, it’s because they’re unhappy.

Spend some time playing with them, letting them hunt toys with you, or cuddling together in the sun.

2. They’re Obsessively Grooming

Cats are very clean animals, but when you see spots they’ve licked bare of fur, it could be more than just a feline skin condition. It could be a sign anxiety is getting the better of them.

This is a good time to visit your vet, as you’ll need their experience to understand the behaviour. Your vet will also check the condition of their coat.

3. They’re Urinating Outside The Litter Box

It’s not necessarily a weak bladder or an ‘accident’ when you discover your cat has used your duvet for their potty.

Cats sometimes use behaviour like this to send a message. You might read that message as that they’re mad at you, but that’s not always true. What they’re really trying to do is find somewhere they feel safe and comfortable to relieve themselves.

Make sure their litter box is far from noisy machinery such as the water heater or the furnace. If this doesn’t help, talk to us.

4. They’re Aggressive Toward Animals Or People

If your cat becomes aggressive toward other pets or humans, that’s a clear sign that they’re in distress.

Usually, it means that they don’t feel comfortable with their personal boundaries. Often it means they don’t feel they have a good place they can retreat to.

Try to put aside a space for them that is exclusively theirs, and ensure it’s darker, well-nestled, soft, and quiet.

5. They’re Not Eating As Much

If cats stop eating, there’s something up.

Cats are very good at regulating their food intake. They’re always mindful about ensuring they get enough food to sustain their active lifestyle.

There’s a reason why the saying is “corporate fat cat”, not “corporate fat dog”.

If they suddenly stop emptying their bowl, be sure to get them over to Bickford Park Animal Hospital for a check-up.

It may a medical condition, environmental concerns, or something else. Whatever it is, though, we’ll work to get to the bottom of it.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

No one likes seeing their family cat stressed out and misbehaving. It’s difficult to watch something you love suffer so.

Don’t let your cat down. Investigate their situation, see if you can improve it, and if that doesn’t work, bring in the experts.

If you’re reading this because you don’t know where to turn next, call Bickford Park Animal Hospital.

Book an appointment to sit down with your pet. We’ll help you get to the root of the stress so you can bring relief to your kitty.

How To Soothe Your Dog's Winter Arthritic Pain | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

How To Soothe Your Dog’s Winter Arthritic Pain

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How To Soothe Your Dog's Winter Arthritic Pain | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Just like their human parents, dogs can experience joint pain and arthritis.

Although dogs can’t describe their pain, it’s generally easy to diagnose arthritis in dogs if you pay attention to their behaviour.

Dogs with joint pain will move slower, be less likely to jump up (on people or furniture), and will exhibit these signs of discomfort more during bad weather and wintertime.

What’s causing this pain? And what can you do about it?

Keep reading to find out.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis most often manifests as osteoarthritis. The simplest way to describe it is as “wear and tear” on the body.

It’s characterized by the erosion of cartilage between bones. It occurs most frequently on the weight-bearing joints, such as those in the knees, ankles, pelvis and spine.

Keep in mind that injury can also lead to early-onset arthritis. If your pet broke a bone near one of these joints, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the first signs of arthritis.

Why Is Arthritis Worse During The Winter?

For people as well as pets, arthritis seems to get worse during the winter months. Doctors don’t know exactly why yet.

One theory is that it has to do with the cold contracting surrounding muscles. This puts tension on joints.

It could also be caused by a drop in air pressure. This can cause tissues to swell and the inflammation to increase the pressure in the joint. This leads to higher levels of pain.

In fact, some people claim they can predict the weather based on their arthritic pain levels.

But as for a definitive answer, we don’t know.

How To Ease Your Dog’s Arthritic Pain

To help out you and your pup navigate the pitfalls of arthritis pain, we’ve put together our top three MUSTS for you.

Follow these and your pal will be forever grateful.

help your dog's arthritis this winter | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

1. Keep Your Dog Active

It’s important to keep your dog active. The city has a number of off-leash areas that can help with this.

Before you take your dog there, though, be sure to get a dog tracking microchip for your dog. Even in a fenced-in area, you never know.

Be careful about pushing your dog too quickly if they’ve been languishing too long though. You don’t want them to be in pain the next day (like you would be from a too-strenuous workout).

If you’re out of shape, you don’t start by running a marathon. You ease into physical activity. The same goes for your dog.

Helping your pet to stay active helps the mobility in their joints. If it’s too cold outside, consider getting them set up on your home treadmill to keep them moving in the winter.

Part of the reason for staying active is that you want to be sure they’re getting enough exercise that they don’t become overweight.

Which brings us to our next point.

2. Keep Your Dog At A Healthy Weight

Overweight pets have a higher instance of arthritis. This is because the added weight puts more pressure on their joints. As well, they seem to feel the pain more than dogs who are at a healthy weight.

It’s for this reason that it’s important to keep them active. However, you also want to be sure to be feeding them the best food for their needs.

Speak to your vet about what type of food is the best option for your pet.

You may need to try out several different ones. Although dogs aren’t as finicky as cats, they can still be picky about their food.

Sometimes you can contact the companies directly to have them send you samples. This is a great option until you find the one that’s best for your pet’s preferences and nutritional requirements.

3. Keep Your Dog Warm

Warmth is a wonderful way to ease your pet’s arthritis pain. This is especially true in winter, although sometimes it’s needed all year round.

Consider getting them a nice warm vest or jacket for when you’re taking them for walks.

When they’re at home, invest in a pet-specific heating blanket. That way they have somewhere to go when they need some comfort and respite.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Have you noticed your pet has started limping? Are they wincing while active? Are they becoming less active in general?

If so, reach out to Bickford Park Animal Hospital.

We’ll help you with a custom strategy to ensure your pet is being well taken care of.

Call now to book your pet’s next appointment with Bickford Park Animal Hospital. Leave your beloved pet’s health in our experienced and friendly hands.

Why Is Your Cat Destroying Your Furniture? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Why Is Your Cat Destroying Your Furniture?

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Why Is Your Cat Destroying Your Furniture? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Your cat doesn’t mean you or your belongings harm. He’s just genetically predisposed to these behaviours.

Cat teeth and claws can do a lot of damage to couches, furniture corners and drapes. The truth of the matter is that this is in their nature, and the way to avoid it is to provide suitable alternates.

Let’s talk about your cat’s bad habits, and find a solution so you don’t have to buy a new couch every three months.

Why Do Your Cats Claw Things And Climb?

Most people have indoor cats rather than outdoor cats, but they evolved to live vertically.

Because they mostly live indoors, we need to be sure to create for them the environment they need.

Cats need to be able to climb, jump, and roam.

They love heights, because it allows them to see and track their prey. As well, because out in the wilds they could also be prey to larger animals, cats tend to feel safer in high, hidden places.

This goes a long way to describing some of the seemingly weird habits your cat has. They act like predators sometimes, and prey sometimes. This is because in the wild, they were both.

Climbing your drapes is the way they recreate this in your home, if they have no other place to turn to.

How To Get Your Cat To Stop Ruining Your Stuff

The best way to discourage your cat from ruining your home furnishings is to give them what they need. That way, they can do with it what they want, without causing problems.

Below are five factors you should be aware of when creating their own space for them.

1. First, Don’t Punish Them

The first thing to keep in mind is that what they are doing isn’t inherently wrong. It comes naturally to them.

As a result, it doesn’t make sense to punish them for it, any more than you should punish them for eating. It’s a thing they do, and they need it in their lives.

Pet psychology cautions that punishing a cat for being a cat can lead to aggressive behaviour later.

tips to stop your cat from ruining your home | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

2. Address The Underlying Reasons

As we mentioned above, cats need to climb to feel safe. They want to watch their prey and stay safe from predators.

Create that environment by adding a cat condo, hanging baskets designed for cats to nestle in, or a bed on top of a sturdy set of shelves.

This gives them what they need, without sacrificing your furniture to do it.

3. Create A Safe Area For Clawing

The reason cat condos come covered in carpet is that it’s a safe and preferred spot for a cat to stretch their paws and sharpen their claws.

You can always create your own with some scrap wood and carpet samples.

As long as you train your cat properly to use this, instead of your furniture, almost anything works.

4. Train Your Cat Not To Claw – For Kittens

Kittens are rambunctious, so playing with them is a good first start.

You can train them to only play and exert their curiosity and sense of exploration in the space designed for them.

Cats love to hunt. Try placing a toy on the higher levels of your cat’s area. This will encourage them to play there.

Putting cat treats in a soft bed at the top of the structure encourages them to go up THERE, not elsewhere.

If you cat is fond of catnip (and what cat isn’t?), leave them a treat up where they can chill out for a while.

5. Train Your Cat Not To Claw – For Adults

You can train an adult cat mostly the same way as a kitten. It’s important though to accommodate for their age.

The older cats get, the harder it is for them to jump, climb and leap.

Adult cats may not want to make it the whole way to the top, so be sure to leave treats along the way for them. That way they have a reward no matter how far they go.

Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital

If you’re having some growing pains with your kitten or cat, we’re your local animal specialists here at Bickford Park Animal Hospital.

We can help you keep your cat in good physical health. We can also help you understand their behaviour and how to fit it into your life.

Call now to book an appointment with Bickford Park Animal Hospital, and we’ll help you with training strategies for your cat.

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.