Category Archives for "Safety"

10 Cool Ways to Help Your Pet Beat the Heat

Summer means heading outdoors and soaking up the sizzling sun’s rays, while lounging on a boat or in the pool. Naturally, you want your furry pal to also enjoy all the adventures of the season, but your thick-coated pet may not be too excited about playing in the heat of the day. Before venturing into the scorching outdoors, check out the following 10 tips, to help your pet beat the heat, and enjoy the summer safely by your side. 

#1: Create frozen treats for your pet

While ice cream sundaes are incredible all year-round, your furry pal will also appreciate a frozen treat made especially for them. Whip up a “pupsicle” for your canine companion by freezing a rubber Kong stuffed with peanut butter, yogurt, canned food, or fresh fruit, for a few hours. Cats enjoy frozen Kongs filled with canned food or tuna. You can also make ice cubes with tuna juice, or the liquid from canned food, to add to your pet’s water dish. 

#2: Train your dog to wear a life vest

Before heading out on a boat, or splashing in the deep end of the pool, fit your dog for a life vest. Try it out on dry land first to ensure a good fit, and to acclimate your pet to moving comfortably in the unusual gear. Then, head out for a fun-filled day of swimming with your best friend, always keeping a close eye on your pup, to ensure their head stays above water, and no accidents occur. 

#3: Let your pet splash in a wading pool

While your cat likely won’t hop into a kiddie pool to cool off, your dog may appreciate a refreshing soak or swim. Fill a wading pool with a few inches of cool water—depending on your pet’s size and swimming ability—and enjoy frolicking in the water with your furry pal.  

#4: Ensure your pet has a shady, cool resting spot

Whether indoors or out, ensure your fluffy friend can rest in a well-shaded, cool spot. Although many pets enjoy lazing in the sun’s rays, they can quickly overheat, especially if outdoors with high temperatures and humidity. Offer your pet a shady, ventilated area for relaxing and cooling off, whether they’re indoors or outside. While your pet may enjoy the sun’s heat, try to keep your furry pal out of direct sunlight as much as possible, to avoid increasing the risk for squamous cell carcinoma.

#5: Play outdoors with your pet during the coolest time of day

When the temperature and humidity level skyrocket, it’s miserable outdoors, especially if you’re wearing a permanent fur coat. Think of your pet when choosing the best time to exercise and play outdoors—the cool, early morning is often best, but late evening can also cool down enough to be comfortable and safe for outdoor activities.

#6: Choose water or low-energy activities to play outside with your pet

During the height of summer, when temperatures are close to that triple-digit mark, nothing feels better than a dip in the pool. Your pet may not enjoy swimming, but a sprinkler or mister in the yard can help your furry pal cool off when playing. Otherwise, avoid the typical intense activities your rough-and-tumble dog usually enjoys, and instead of a nonstop game of fetch, try some nosework, by hiding small treats throughout your backyard. 

#7: Protect your pet’s paws when walking on pavement

If you’ve ever tried in summer to run across your paved driveway while barefoot, you know how scorching that surface can be. Despite common perception, your dog’s paw pads are not impervious to extreme temperatures, and can easily burn on asphalt and pavement. Slather on a protective paw wax, slip on some doggie booties, or avoid paved surfaces altogether, to keep your pet’s paws safe. 

#8: Encourage your pet to drink more during hot weather

No matter how hot the weather, some pets simply do not like to drink much, especially cats. Encourage your furry pal to remain hydrated by installing a drinking fountain, or adding a tiny amount of sodium-free chicken broth to their water dish. You can also add canned food to your pet’s normal diet, to increase moisture intake.

#9: Never leave your pet alone in your vehicle

Although having your pet’s company while running errands is wonderful, they can quickly overheat when left in your vehicle. Accidents can happenthe car can shut off, or the air-conditioning control knob can get bumped, and rolling down the windows does not help. Keep your pet safe by leaving them behind in the comfort of your air-conditioned home.

#10: Stock up on parasite prevention for your pet

During the height of summer, parasites are at their worst, seeking out any living creature for their next meal. Fleas can attack pets, and create irritating hot spots, while ticks and mosquitoes can transmit potentially life-threatening diseases. Protect your furry pal from becoming a parasite’s next hot meal by administering a preventive on a regular schedule. If you’re unsure about the parasite prevention products that will work best for your pet, check out our online pharmacy, or stop by the Harbor Pines Veterinary Center, so we can ensure your best friend is well-protected.

Is your four-legged friend having too much fun in the sun? If your furry pal experiences a summer-related problem, contact us for an appointment.

5 Ways to Prevent Your Pet From July Fourth Fiascos

Is your favorite part of summer the eye-popping firework displays, and delicious July Fourth cookouts? While your pet may agree that barbecued food tastes incredible, they are unlikely to share your sentiments about fireworks. Many Independence Day activities pose a threat to your furry pal’s health, but with proper preparation, you can keep your best friend safe from harm. Discover the most common July Fourth hazards, and follow our tips to avoid danger befalling your four-legged friend. 

#1: Check your pet’s microchip

Each year, July Fourth is the day most pets are lost. Accidents happen, and panicked pets dart out open doors, slip out of collars, or bolt from backyards during a fireworks show. Without adequate or permanent identification, you may never be reunited with your beloved companion. Prevent this horrible scenario by ensuring your pet’s microchip registration company has your current contact information on file. Double up on identification by checking your pet’s collar ID tags for signs of wear, fading, or inaccurate information, and ensuring the collar fits well. For peace of mind, and to check the function and placement of your pet’s microchip, stop by Harbor Pines Veterinary Center so one of our team members can scan the chip. While it’s rare, microchips can migrate and move to odd locations under your pet’s skin, so it’s always a great idea to check the chip.

#2: Keep your pet off your cookout guest list

As the mouthwatering aromas of barbecued meat, roasted corn on the cob, and rich desserts fill the air, you may be hard-pressed to hold your pet back from rushing the picnic table. While your furry pal may give you their best begging puppy-dog eyes, hoping you will give in, and invite them to your cookout, stay strong. Fourth of July cookouts are chock-full of delicious people foods that are tantalizing health hazards for pets. Corn cobs, and bones from ribs, steaks, or chicken can become a gastrointestinal obstruction, or perforate your pet’s intestinal tract, requiring emergency, life-saving surgery. Side dishes like pasta salads tend to be full of high-fat mayonnaise, which can lead to pancreatitis. 

If you simply can’t resist your pet’s beseeching gaze, stick to healthy, safe treats. You can give your four-legged friend fresh veggies, small bites of pet-safe fruit—avoid grapes and raisins—and tiny morsels of plain, grilled chicken breast. For a delicious cooling treat that will also keep your pet occupied while you enjoy your own holiday meal, make them a long-lasting snack by stuffing a rubber Kong with their favorite canned food and kibble mixture, and freezing it overnight.   

#3: Take action to avoid heatstroke in your pet

As summer kicks into high gear, the temperature and humidity levels continue to climb. However, during your July Fourth celebrations, the only thing sizzling should be juicy steaks on the grill, not your poor pet’s paw pads on the pavement. Avoid overheating your fur-coat-wearing pet by exercising during the early morning and late evening when it’s coolest, but still watch out for blacktop, since these surfaces hold the sun’s heat well into the night. When outside, ply your pet with plenty of fresh water, ventilation, and shade, and monitor them for overheating signs. If your pet pants more than normal, becomes lethargic, or their drool turns thick and ropy, it’s past time to head indoors into a cool, air-conditioned room. Pets with flat faces, thick coats, or excess weight are most at risk for heatstroke, so exercise caution when these pets are outdoors in the summer heat. Also, never leave your pet in your vehicle on a hot day, because heatstroke can set in in less than 20 minutes. 

#4: Prepare your pet’s firework-free haven

Most pets do not appreciate fireworks, and would much rather stay at home than tag along to your local fireworks show. If you’re setting off fireworks in your own backyard, leave your furry pal indoors to relax in a safe spot. Ideally, create a haven in a sound-proof location, if possible, to minimize the booming fireworks explosions. Small rooms with few windows also work well, and, if your pet enjoys relaxing in their crate, move it to this enclosed room. Drape a blanket over the top, and furnish the crate with a cozy bed, favorite toys, and treat puzzles to keep your pet distracted and comfortable. Well before lighting the first firework, ensure your pet is set up with a long-lasting treat or food puzzle in their safe zone, to keep them calm. 

#5: Consider professional help to prevent pet disasters during July Fourth

Some pets become so panicked at the first hint of a loud noise, they can hurt themselves trying to escape, or damage their surroundings. Your pet’s anxiety may not reach this extreme level, but pharmaceutical therapy can help reduce your beloved companion’s stress during scary events. Schedule an appointment with our Harbor Pines Veterinary Clinic team, to discuss treatment options to soothe your pet’s anxiety. Our veterinarian may recommend a multimodal treatment plan that includes medications, supplements, pheromone therapy, or a Thundershirt to help calm your pet, and achieve maximum effect. 

Before your July Fourth celebration, ensure your furry pal is fully prepared for the festivities. Give us a call to schedule an appointment to discuss options that will help ease noise phobia and anxiety, or to check your pet’s microchip for proper function. With careful planning, you can keep your best friend safe and sound during Independence Day celebrations.

COVID-19 and Pets: What Do We Know?

COVID-19 has surprised scientists at every turn. When they seem to have it figured out, a new syndrome develops, or another group of people become affected. Despite being originally transmitted from a bat to a human, COVID-19 did not seem to affect animals—until recently. Now, several pets across the globe have tested positive, some with respiratory illness, which may cause you concern for your furry friend. Although we are still learning about the novel coronavirus and our uncertain future, we want to share the facts regarding what we currently know about animals, COVID-19, and your pet’s risk.

#1: A small number of pets have tested positive for COVID-19

The first pets to test positive for COVID-19 were two dogs and a cat in Hong Kong, who were being held in quarantine because their owners had tested positive. None of these pets developed illness, and subsequently tested negative. Since then, several other pets have tested positive, with the results confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), including:

  • Two New York cats — Two cats living in different households in New York tested positive after developing mild respiratory illness. One cat lived with several family members who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The other cat was an indoor-outdoor cat whose owner did not develop symptoms, and was never tested; however, they lived in an area with a high number of cases. Both cats are expected to make a full recovery.
  • Eight large cats at the Bronx zoo — Five tigers and three lions at the Bronx zoo also tested positive after developing mild respiratory illness. One zookeeper subsequently tested positive, but was asymptomatic at the time of exposure.
  • Mink at Netherlands farms — Mink on four Netherlands farms tested positive after farmers noticed an increase in gastrointestinal and respiratory illness, and overall mortality. Several caretakers at each farm had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and are believed to have passed the virus to the animals. Mink are not kept as pets, but they are closely related to ferrets, who have been shown through scientific investigation to be susceptible to the virus.

#2: Your pet’s risk of infection is extremely low

What does all this mean for your pet? Although pets apparently can become infected, the likelihood of your pet developing COVID-19 is minimal. To date, almost 1.5 million U.S. human COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with only a handful of pet cases. At this point, pet infections are not likely to dramatically increase, so your pet’s risk of infection will  probably remain low.

#3: To be safe, you should take precautions to prevent infection in your pet

Although your pet will probably not become infected, the CDC recommends that you take precautions to ensure their safety, including:

  • Practicing social distancing — Prevent your pet from interacting with people outside your household by keeping cats indoors, walking your dog on a leash while maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and avoiding dog parks and pet stores.
  • Restricting contact if you become sick — If you develop COVID-19, or respiratory signs, have another family member care for your pet to prevent unnecessary contact. If you live alone, having someone outside your home care for your pet is not necessary, or recommended, unless you are too sick. While sick, you should have minimal contact with your pet, wear a face covering, and wash your hands before and after handling them, or their food.
  • Practicing good hygiene — Avoid close contact with your pet, such as snuggling, petting, and sharing bedding or food.

#4: No cases of pet-to-human transmission have been reported

Despite possible human-to-pet transmission, the reverse does not seem to hold true, with no cases of pet-to-human transmission reported to date. Although this seems unlikely to change, we will continue to monitor this situation. Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend following the above guidelines to keep yourself, and your pet, healthy.

#5: Your pet likely does not need to be tested for COVID-19

If your pet is not sick, it is not recommended they be tested for COVID-19. If your pet develops respiratory signs, call us to schedule an appointment, so we can thoroughly evaluate your pet’s condition. We can test for COVID-19, although pets can develop a number of respiratory illnesses that are more likely the culprit. Let us know if your pet has had contact with anyone known to be infected with the virus, as this will guide our diagnostic testing, and our safety practices.

We are still open for your pet’s health care needs.

Your pet’s health care is important to our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team, and we have remained open to provide essential services to our pets and pet owners. If your pet needs veterinary care, whether for vaccines or illness signs, call us to make an appointment with Dr. White.

We are here for your family members—two- and four-legged—during this uncertain time. Contact us if you have questions about your pet and COVID-19, or other healthcare concerns.

Should I Spay/Neuter my Pet?

Should I Spay/Neuter my Pet?

Let’s talk spaying and neutering. First of all, what’s the difference? Both terms refer to the sterilization of pets, but spaying is mostly used when talking about females as it is the ovariohysterectomy - or the removal of the ovaries, and neutering is used when talking about males, as it is the orchiectomy - or the removal of the testicles.

Now that we’ve settled the verbiage, let’s get down to business.

So should I spay or neuter my pet?  The short answer is yes.
But let’s get a little deeper. There are a handful of reasons as to why you should spay/neuter your pet. Overall health, behavior, longevity of life, and population control.

Overall Health

The act of spaying/neutering your pets can greatly reduce the risk of major illness later in life. Female dogs that are spayed very rarely develop mammary cancer. Plus, unspayed dogs have a 200x greater chance for breast cancer than those that have been spayed before their first heat. Even dogs that are spayed after their first heat are 10x less likely to get cancer than those who haven’t been spayed at all. On the male side, neutering completely eliminates the possibility of developing testicular cancer, and is purported to reduce the risk of prostate cancer as well.


Now let’s talk behavior. Male dogs who have yet to be neutered tend to be more territorial and will mark (and yes, I do mean pee!) indiscriminately, even all over the house. Intact males will also go to great lengths to find a mate, and are more likely to roam away from home, putting them in danger of being hit by a car or getting into fights with other, unknown dogs. In their journey to find a mate, they’ll also be far more inclined to hump… everything. Other dogs, the couch, your leg. Having your male dog neutered reduces the amount of testosterone in their body and can be used as a behavioral modification mechanism to calm overly excited dogs. It’s not a guarantee, however, as it doesn’t eliminate all the testosterone in their body, so be sure to give us a call if you have any behavior concerns and we’ll help figure out a solution that best suits you and your pet. Unspayed females will go into heat for four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. It’s as messy as it sounds, doggy diapers and all.

Longevity of Life

Our primary concern is always the health and happiness of your pet. What we can do, together, to ensure you share a long life - filled with walks at the park, a million games of catch, and countless belly rubs. The main reason you’re reading this right now is because you love your furry best friend and you want to make sure they stick around for as long as possible. Spaying/neutering gives you the best chance to make that happen. Pets that are fixed tend to live longer - they’re less likely to roam, which can put them in harm’s way. They’re less likely to develop mammary/testicular cancer. They’re more likely to be there, tail wagging, when you walk through the door. They’re more likely to spend their lives as your loyal companion, happy and healthy.

Population Control

Nationwide, upwards of 1.5 million healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year simply because there just aren’t enough homes to go around. 6.5 million companion pets enter US animal shelters every year. These are unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, they are family pets who lost their homes, they are dogs and cats just like your furry best friend. And that’s just the shelters. It’s estimated that the feral cat population in the United States is over 50 million. Spaying/neutering your pets is the only form of birth control that is one hundred percent successful. Those intact dogs that are roaming to find a mate? Imagine they hump an unspayed female and that results in a litter of puppies, puppies you may never even know exist. Imagine your female is in heat and your friend brings their new dog over to socialize but they forget to tell you they have yet to be fixed. Surprise! Puppies! To ensure there are no surprises, getting your pets spayed/neutered is important.

I want to spay/neuter my pet, now what?

The first step when you acquire a new friend is to make an appointment for a physical examination. There we can structure a plan for the happiest, healthiest life for you and your pet.

Let’s Talk Hot Weather

Picture this: summertime has arrived and that can only mean one thing. Beach days, barbecues, and long walks with your furry friend. It’s hot outside and you want to get out of the house so you grab the leash and start toward the front door. You glance at the clock on the wall and realize it’s the middle of the day – the temperature outside is at a high. You look down at your furry friend as your hand pauses on the doorknob.

Now Let’s Talk Hot Weather Risks

Summer is here, and so is the heat! That means easy days lounging by the pool, but it also means more risks for your pet. There are a few significant risks your pet faces when the days become hotter and the temperature rises. Burned paws, heatstroke, and dehydration are the most common. You’re likely aware of all of these, but maybe not just how much of a potential danger they pose during hotter months.

Burned Paws

Have you ever walked across the pavement on a hot day and had to sprint like you’ve never sprinted before because it burned your feet? When it’s extra hot outside, the pavement can burn and blister the pads of your pet’s feet and cause them immense pain. If it’s 77° outside, asphalt can be up to 125° in direct sunlight. To see if the street temperature is safe, put the back of your hand against the pavement and if you can’t keep it there for five seconds, it’s too hot for your pet. If taking them out is necessary, use dog booties or dog paw wax to help keep the sensitive pads of their feet safe. You know your pet the best. If you think they’re uncomfortable or in pain, bring them inside immediately. Tricks aside, the best rule of thumb is that if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.


Often caused by human error, heatstroke causes your pet’s body temperature to rise, which can lead to organ failure. The most susceptible to heatstroke are those that are elderly, overweight, or those with heart or lung disease. You’ve probably heard stories on the news of people leaving their pets in a hot car. But what you may not know is just how dangerous that situation is. If it’s 70° outside and the sign is shining, the temperature inside the car will reach 104° within just thirty minutes. After an hour, it can reach 113°. Having the window down does little to nothing to ease the temperature inside the car.

Though not sensationalized like being left in a hot car, being outside, even in your backyard or on long walks can be just as deadly if it’s hot enough. But heatstroke can be avoided by following these easy steps. Limit exercise on hot days – the best time to be outside is either early morning or late evening when the temperature drops. Pets with white-colored ears need extra precautionary care because they are more susceptible to skin cancer; pets with shorter snouts are more susceptible to breathing problems. If being out during the day is unavoidable, have your pet walk on grass if at all possible. Providing shade is key – tree shade and tarps are optimal because they don’t obstruct airflow. Dog houses are actually a bad idea during the summer because their closed spaces obstruct airflow, effectively making things worse. If it’s extra hot, add ice cubes to your pet’s water bowl. You can make DIY popsicles with peanut butter, or provide cooling mats or bandanas to help keep your pet comfortable. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t shave your dog. You’d think doing so would keep them cool, but it actually has the opposite effect. The layers of their coats protect them from sunburn as well as overheating. It’s also a good idea to brush your cat more often than normal as it can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

Always make sure your pet has access to fresh, cool water so they don’t become dehydrated.


Without continual access to fresh water, your pet is at risk to become dehydrated. When this happens, blood becomes very thick because the heart is forced to work extra hard in order to pump enough blood to organs throughout the body. Left untreated, dehydration can lead to circulatory shock and organ failure.

If you think your pet is suffering from any of these things, bring them in immediately. Their well-being is the priority, both yours and ours.

Now picture this: you take your hand off the doorknob and look to your pet. “Let’s stay inside today”, you say as you hang the leash back up. Your furry friend’s tail wags as you turn together and walk back into the depths of the air conditioning, safe for another day.

Let’s Talk Heartworms

Picture this: you and your dog are outside, frolicking beneath the sun on a warm,summer day. Not a care in the world beyond tossing the ball as far as you can and having your furry friend run to get it, tail wagging, darting through the tall grass. You feel something on your arm and you swat at it, coming away with a mosquito smashed between your fingers. Something tickles the back of your brain, a piece of knowledge that has settled there, waiting to be picked up. Heartworms.

What are heartworms and where do they come from?

Heartworms come from larvae that is transported from an infected mosquito to anunsuspecting host. This can happen anywhere there are mosquitos, but especially wherever there are hot spots along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and along river tributaries. Once the larvae has been planted onto its new animal host, it grows into adult worms that live in the blood vessels that distribute to the heart and lungs of your pet. The most vulnerable of the unsuspecting hosts are animals that are kept outdoors,though any dog or cat can be infected from a mosquito bite. Dogs can be infected multiple times, leading to different stages of infection in the same host. The very presence of the parasite can stress the animal’s heart and cause inflammation of the blood vessels and lungs, and in some cases the worms can make their way into the heart. Heartworms as a disease is progressive and if left untreated, will only get worse and can even cause death.

How do I know if my pet has been affected?

Symptoms can vary, depending on a few different factors. The number of worms, the immune response of the infected pet, how long they’ve had the heartworms, and the activity level of the animal all factor in to what kind of symptoms they’re displaying and the severity of how they’re presented. The more active the animal, the more pronounced the symptoms. Heartworms can live upwards of five years, and left untreated, can cause serious health problems for your pet, even death. Possible symptoms for dogs include coughing, exercise intolerance, stunted growth, labored breathing, discoloration of the skin, spitting up blood, fainting, bleeding of the nose, and accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Possible symptoms for cats include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, and weight loss. If your pet displays any of these symptoms, take them in immediately to get tested. Pets should be tested annually anyway, which can be done during a routine visit for preventative planning. The best care is preventative care, but if you think that your pet may be infected, acting fast is crucial.

I think my pet has been infected… what do I do?

If you think there’s a possibility that your pet may have been infected, even if you’re unsure, give us a call and we’ll get them tested and take the appropriate steps for treatment. There is just one drug available for heart worm treatment for dogs and is administered by being injected deep into muscles in the back of the dog. One third of dogs will experience side effects from the drug, including localized pain, swelling, and soreness. Dogs should be kept in a confined area with little to no activity for up to amonth after, as even after treatment, dead heartworms can cause respiratory problems.Your pet will need to be retested after six months to ensure the heartworms are gone.For cats, unfortunately, there are currently no effective treatments, so preventative care is imperative.

Let’s talk prevention.

As with most animal care, prevention is the key to everything. Chances are, you already knew about heartworm medication, but now you know just why it’s so important. We recommend it as a year-round treatment, as it’s impossible to accurately guess just when mosquitoes will be present, and we want to keep your pets safe at all times.Medications are available only by prescription and accessible in-office. Most heart worm medications are given monthly, and the most important thing is to stick to the regimen for your pet, as a lapse in medication can lead to infection. A good trick to ensure you remember every month is to set a reminder on your phone. Some manufacturers of medications also offer monthly email reminders. If you miss a dose, contact us immediately to have your pet tested. It’s important to note that some medications may also protect against other parasites, both internal and external but no single medication can guarantee 100% protection against all parasites, so it’s important to schedule that initial preventative planning appointment to discuss your pet’s needs and what is best for them.Now picture this: your dog brings back the ball, joy in his every step as he bounds back to you. You discard of the squashed mosquito and grab the ball as your phone dings – a reminder that it’s time for this month’s dose. You scratch your good boy behind the earsas you throw the last ball of the day, happy in the knowledge that your furry friend is safe thanks to his heartworm medication.

Dog looking at food in the plate

5 Holiday Items That Can Hurt Your Pet

5 Holiday Items That Can Hurt Your Pet

The Holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy good company and great food. But some holiday food items and items are actually toxic to pets, and can cause serious health issues – such as the painful and life-threatening illnesses pancreatitis and bloat. In this article, you will gain a handy list that explains which common holiday foods and items are harmful for your pet. This way, with some easy planning and a bit of caution, you can just relax and enjoy the holidays!


#1 – Fatty Foods and Table Scraps

Any fatty meats are very harmful to dogs – such as pork products, meat drippings, turkey skin, and table scraps. This can cause a host of stomach issues, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and internal injury. More troublingly, fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Pancreatitis is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. Older and overweight dogs are especially at risk. The pancreas is an organ in your dog’s body that is responsible for helping to digest food through the release of enzymes. Normally, these enzymes are activated only once they reach the small intestine. When a dog experiences Pancreatitis, the enzymes are activated before they normally would be, and can damage the dog’s pancreas and surrounding internal organs and tissues. This is very painful, and can cause devastating effects. This is why it is so important to never feed your dogs fatty foods. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Vomiting
  • Hunched Back
  • Bloated Stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Lethargy

Pancreatitis requires immediate veterinary care. If you notice any of the symptoms in your dog, please call us immediately at (310) 517-1832. We’ll need to stabilize your dog’s condition, monitor their vitals, treat their pain levels, and administer intravenous fluids.


#2 Bread Dough

Unbaked bread dough should never be ingested by dogs or cats. This is because it contains yeast. As a pet ingests the raw dough, yeast transforms the dough’s sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide expands within your dog’s stomach, and can cause bloating. This is a life threatening medical emergency, and must be treated by a veterinary team right away. Bloat is one of the leading causes of death in dogs.

Some of the symptoms of bloat are:

  • Unsuccessful vomiting attempts
  • Atypical behaviors
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Hunched appearance
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Off-color gums
  • Flatulence
  • Coughing and gagging
  • Licking the air


#3 Bird Bones

In order for a bird’s body to be able to support flight (even turkey), their bones must be hollow. This is why you should never allow your dog or cat to ingest bird bones, as these bones can easily splinter during digestion. If the bone splinters, it can cause severe damage to your pet’s intestines. This damage can cause infection or an intestinal blockage, both of which can be serious. Intestinal blockage is especially dangerous, and almost always requires immediate surgery by a veterinarian.

The symptoms of intestinal blockage vary based on where the blockage occurs. If the blockage occurs in their throat, they may lick their lips, swallow excessively, or vomit immediately after being fed. If the blockage exists in the stomach, they may vomit a few hours after their meal. If the blockage occurs somewhere in the small intestine, they may vomit, diarrhea, or exhibit a bloated stomach.


#4 Alcohol

Alcohol poisoning is surprisingly common in dogs and cats, and incidences swell around the holiday season. This is usually due to pets getting into drinks that are left unattended. Alcohol is absorbed quickly either through your pet’s digestion or through their skin. It can be very serious, and can even cause death (usually by heart attack). Please make sure your pet never has access to anyone’s alcoholic beverage (or foods that are made with alcohol, such as rum cake).

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning:

  • Depression
  • Involuntary urination or defecation
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Delayed reflexes
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate (this usually indicates an advanced case)



#5 Holiday Plants 

Pet owners often decorate their homes with festive plants around the holidays. However, many of these plants are actually toxic to pets. A couple common Christmas plants that are toxic to pets are mistletoe and holly. These can cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Other common holiday plants that are dangerous for pets to ingest are:

  • Lillies
  • Poinsettias
  • Daffodils
  • Amaryllis

Christmas trees can actually be a hazard for pets as well. Tinsel commonly attracts cats. When ingested, this can cause intestinal blockage, which, as discussed in item #3, is a serious and life-threatening emergency. It’s also important not to let your pet eat the pine needles either, as these can puncture your pet’s intestines.


With some simple planning, you can make sure your pet stays out of danger’s way, and you can enjoy the holidays with friends, family, and plenty of delicious food. Our team at Harbor Pines wishes you the happiest of holiday seasons, and if you ever need us, we are always here for you and your pets.



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