Develop a Pet Emergency Supply Kit for National Preparedness Month - Part 1

Florence, Isaac, Joyce, Helene and Olivia are all active storms right now in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. No wonder September is known as National Preparedness Month.

“National Preparedness Month encourages and reminds Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Homeowners, families, communities, and businesses can use this opportunity to find ways or help others understand more about preparing for disasters and reducing risks to health and the environment. There are many ways to reduce risks from contamination, leaks, spills, hazardous materials, and other dangers. This page doesn't include all possible ways of preparing but provides many ideas and links to more information,” explains EPA.

FEMA states that “if you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets. Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer”.

Pet Emergency Supply KitThe Federal Emergency Management Agency in consultation with American Kennel Club, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, and The Humane Society of the U.S. developed a brochure entitled “Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for Pet Owners” put out by FEMA. In this brochure, it details the following information about how to prepare for an emergency for your pet.

Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, particularly food and water. Consider two kits. In one, put everything you and your pets will need to stay where you are. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you and your pets have to get away. Plus, be sure to review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents, especially foods and medicines, are fresh.


Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.


Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.

Medicines and medical records Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.

First aid kit

Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.

Collar with ID tag, harness or leash

Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit. In addition, place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your kit. You should also consider talking with your veterinarian about permanent identification such as microchipping, and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.

Crate or other pet carrier

If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation take your pets and animals with you provided that it is practical to do so. In many cases, your ability to do so will be aided by having a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting your pet. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.


Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one-part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches, or those with added cleaners.

A picture of you and your pet together

If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.

Familiar items

Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.

There is so much to do to be prepared for an emergency. Additional information will be detailed in Part 2. Stay safe by being prepared! If you have any questions about your pet as you are preparing for an emergency, contact a local vet that will give you peace of mind for your furry loved one.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Happy Healthy Cat Month

“Studies have shown that having a cat live with you can have many benefits for your health, both physical and mental, so why not give a little back to your favorite furry friend during Happy Cat Month,” says Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of CATalyst Council.

September is Happy Cat Month, dedicated to finding ways to keep our feline friends happy, healthy and purring all year long. In honor of Happy Cat Month, the CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, and Henry Schein Animal Health, the leading companion animal health distributor in the United States, offer a list of the top 10 ways cat owners can keep their pets happy: (And we all know that a happy cat means a happy home!) Visit the veterinarian. Healthy cats are happy cats. While some owners may dread a trip to the veterinarian with their cat, many veterinary practices are cat friendly or have doctors who specialize in cats and will gladly show leery owners how pleasant a trip to the veterinarian can be. “There are dozens of great reasons why cat owners should take their pet to see their veterinarian regularly,” says Kevin Vasquez, Chairman, CEO and President of Henry Schein Animal Health. “As a leading partner with the veterinary medical community, we know that the veterinarian is the strongest advocate an owner could have to help ensure the happiness and wellness of our cats. If you love your pet, see your vet.” Our hospitals have earned a “cat friendly” designation. Click here to schedule an appointment. *$50 off for New Clients!Provide preventive medications. No one likes fleas, ticks, mites or heartworms, especially your cat. Even if your cat is kept strictly indoors, they can still be attacked by these little creepy creatures. Talk with your veterinarian about the best preventive plan for your cat. A parasite-free cat is a happy cat—and preventive care will keep your family healthier, too. (see “Is Revolution necessary for indoor cats?“)

Microchip your cat. In addition to a collar and identification tag, owners should ask their veterinarian about microchipping their feline friend. If a cat ever escapes or gets lost, having this type of permanent ID will make a reunion between you and your pet much more likely.

Provide toys. One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new toy. Every cat has a preference as to what type of toy it likes best, and experimenting with different kinds will be fun for both you and your cat. (

Train together. Cats are smart and can be trained to do fun tricks–the mental and physical stimulation is great for felines. Teaching your cat to sit, for example, is easy, and training your cat to sit on chairs instead of counters will make you and your cat much happier. An added bonus is that training will strengthen the bond between you and your feline buddy.

Work for food. Feline obesity is a huge problem in this country (not to make a pun), and one way to combat it is to make cats work for their food. Food toys are available to channel a cat’s natural hunting instincts. The toy releases kibble in small amounts. Another option is to hide a cat’s food in different places so that they have to find it. Working for food makes a cat happy because it’s great physical and mental exercise. Which food is right for your pet?

Get your cat acclimated to the carrier. Many cat owners find that the worst part about taking their cat anywhere is getting it into the carrier. The time to work with your cat on making their carrier seem like a safe, secure and inviting place to be is prior to veterinary visits or family vacations – not when you’re ready to get into the car. Visit to view Cats and Carriers: Friends not Foes for tips on how to get cats to love their carriers.

Go outside (appropriately). Yes! There are ways owners can safely take their cats outside to allow them to broaden their horizons. Cats can be walked on a leash with a harness, walked in an enclosed stroller, or confined in a special outdoor area—always under supervision, of course—so they can periodically and safely experience the world outside their window.

Scratch the surface. Cats should have places they are allowed to stretch and care for their claws. Scratching is an important aspect of feline behavior. Providing a long and sturdy scratching post in a vertical, horizontal or angled position is a good way to keep your cat happy … and your sofa, too!

Think about getting another cat. Cats are social animals, so you might want to consider visiting the shelter and adopting a best buddy for your current kitty. Cats love to play, and a playmate will make them happy—provided they are properly introduced and have the right places to eat, hide, play and go the bathroom. Visit your community animal shelter and see what feline friends they have to offer. Visit our hospitals FB page for cats and kittens available for adoption.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Coping with Your Animals Fall Shedding

With the first official day of fall coming in September, it is a great time to get on top of your pet’s shedding. In early fall, most pets begin shedding their summer coat just in time to allow room for their winter coat to grow in. That means pet hair will be on everything — your couch, chair, clothing, on and under furniture, in hallways, entrances, etc. Tumbleweeds of animal hair everywhere you look.

If you get a routine in place now, it doesn't have to be that way. Make time to brush your pet daily or weekly, depending on your particular pet's shedding habits. Catch it in a brush instead of around your home.

Benefits of Grooming

There are wonderful benefits of helping the shedding process with grooming your pet. Here are some of them:

  • preventing painful tangles and knots,
  • reducing pet dander in the home,
  • seeing signs of pet illness or parasites, and
  • boosting the pet-person bond by spending time together.


All you need is a bit of time and the right tools to help deshed your favorite furry loved one. A few of those deshedding tools include:

  • Wide-toothed combs: Usually metal or plastic, with widely separated teeth.
  • Rubber brushes: These come in various shapes; each has rubber tines.
  • Slicker brushes: Often rectangular-headed, these brushes have fine metal tines.
  • Blade-on-a-handle metal combs: Newer pet deshedding tools, such as the Furminator or FurBuster.
  • Bristle brushes: The bristles of these familiar-looking brushes may be made of natural or synthetic bristles.
  • Pin brushes: Often shaped like a bristle brush, but with metal (or sometimes wood) pins instead of bristles.

Low Shedding Breeds

Low shedding breeds such as poodles and some terriers are also breeds that tend to be kept clipped short. Their shed coat is not nearly as noticeable as that of other breeds.

Dogs who are always kept indoors are prone to smaller fluctuations in coat thickness and tend to shed fairly evenly all year.

Heavy Shedding Breeds

Dogs with short coats are the heaviest shedding types of dog, such as Corgis, German Shepherds, Labs and Jack Russell’s. Short coated dogs have coats that are short in length, but extremely thick. The thickness of the coat means that large amounts of hair is constantly being shed, and will land on furniture, carpets, and, of course, your favorite pair of pants.

Double Coats Shedding Breeds

Collies, Chow Chows, Shelties, and Husky breeds have a coat that can be particularly difficult and high-shedding. These dogs have thick, double coats and shed a thick undercoat, which easily mats into their long outer hair. Their hair often appears to shed in clumps.

Hit the easy button and schedule a regular grooming for your pet at a local Veterinary practice. You and your pet will be happy with the results.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Dog Friendly Restaurants in Cobb County Georgia

You love to dine out and find new tasty restaurants. When you walk out the door, do you ever turn back and feel a little tinge of guilt for leaving your family member with four paws? Did you know that there are restaurants that cater to your furry loved one? You can now take your dog to get a meal with pet-friendly patios in Cobb County.

Cobb County

Cobb County is a suburban county in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2017, the population was 755,754, making it Georgia's third most-populous county. Its county seat and largest city is Marietta. Cobb County is made up of these cities – Acworth, Atlanta, Austell, Clarkdale, Kennesaw, Mableton, Marietta, Powder Springs and Smyrna.

Pet-Friendly Restaurants

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did their research and provided a list of six dog-friendly restaurants in Cobb County. If you prefer to view them, here is a video all about the restaurants by Access Atlanta. Read on to learn all about the 6 locations.

Hemingway’s Bar & Grill Hemingway’s Bar & Grill was established in Marietta, Georgia on July 1st, 1992. Hemingway’s is located in the heart of Marietta, on the “Historic Marietta Square”. The Marietta Square is known for its wide variety of cultural events from hometown gatherings and concerts in Glover Park, to Broadway theatrical plays at the Theater in the Square; from the Cobb Museum of Arts, to the Historic Arts, Crafts and Antiques Street Festivals; Marietta’s Historic Square has it all.

29 West Park Square Marietta, GA, 30080 770-427-5445

Keegan’s Irish PubThis bar with multiple locations in north metro Atlanta allows pooches on their patio at all times -- as long as they're leashed. Enjoy hearty Irish food favorites and a cold pint in a friendly relaxed atmosphere.

Kennesaw: 1625 Ridenour Blvd NW #301, Kennesaw, GA 30152 678-213-2460

Smyrna: 4687 S Atlanta Rd SE #224, Smyrna, GA 30080 404-319-8183

The Nest Kennesaw Located in historic downtown Kennesaw Georgia, The Nest combines Southern BBQ with a traditional beer garden. The Nest Kennesaw opened in February of 2016 and is located next to Depot Park in Historic Downtown Kennesaw Georgia. The Nest boasts a legendary beer list. Fifty-Nine taps pouring great craft beers, draft coffee, draft wines plus nitro charged brews. They are a place to come for a meal, have a beer, build a community, and play Pac-Man. Cheers!

2921 Cherokee St NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144;

Pier 213 Seafood Pier 213 Seafood is a bar and casual dining seafood restaurant in Marietta, GA focused on delivering high quality seafood and drinks. Their seafood is sourced from the Gulf States (Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi) and they serve it fresh. Feast on gumbo with your dog on the crab shack’s patio.

35 South Marietta Pkwy SW Marietta, GA 30064

Rose & Crown Tavern This modern-day English tavern near Cumberland Mall welcomes dogs to their patio. It is a family owned and operated establishment that's been serving and entertaining the local Atlanta community since 2010. Owner Miguel along with wife Rachel work together to create this welcoming environment for their community.

1931 Powers Ferry Rd SE Atlanta, GA 30339

The Wing Cafe & Tap House Have dinner on the patio with the kids and the dog at this Marietta restaurant just off Route 120. They are a comfortable neighborhood destination with deliciously creative and plump, juicy wings among other things. They have a wide variety of craft beers, tour-quality live music, a tiki-bar and a never-ending list of special events and festivals.

2145 Roswell Rd, Marietta, GA 30062

Enjoy your dining adventure in Cobb County! Tell them Animal Care Center and Otto Williams, DVM, sent you!

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Help! My Dog is having a Seizure!

It can be incredibly scary watching your dog collapse to the floor and seeing his body jerk, muscles stiffen or twitching while he looks confused and dazed?

Why is he having a seizure? What are the symptoms? What should I do? If you are concerned about your dog and want to know the answers to these questions, read on.

Seizure Triggers What can cause seizures in dogs?

Most commonly, dog seizures are caused by idiopathic epilepsy, which is typically inherited, but the cause is usually unknown.

Here is a general list provided by Pets.WebMD:

Environmental triggers can include: herbicides, insecticides, and chemicals found in yard treatments; extremely hot or cold temperatures; and other triggers from the yard might include poisonous flowers and plants.

Food allergies are also common triggers of seizures in dogs, brought on by processed, low grade dog foods. Certain spices, such as rosemary, sage, fennel and saffron can also be potential seizure triggers.

Seizures commonly occur when the canine’s brain has a change in activity, which can occur through stimulation from the environment, things around the house, foods, medications and of course, stress.

SymptomsCommon symptoms of your dog having a seizure can include:

  • hyperactivity or acting abnormally,
  • jerking, 
  • collapsing,
  • stiffening, 
  • muscle twitching
  • drooling,
  • chomping,
  • tongue chewing,
  • foaming at the mouth,
  • loss of consciousness,
  • falling to the side
  • making paddling motions with their legs, and
  • loss of bowel control (can poop or pee during the seizure).

“Some dogs may look dazed, seem unsteady or confused, or stare off into space before a seizure. Afterward, your dog may be disoriented, wobbly, or temporarily blind. He may walk in circles and bump into things”, states

What to do?If you think your dog is having a seizure, you can:

  • Stay calm.
  • Don't move your dog if you don’t need to.
  • If he is in a dangerous location where he might hurt himself, you can move him by gently dragging him by his hind legs.
  • Stay away from your dog’s mouth so he won’t bite you. Dogs cannot choke on their tongues.
  • Time it (if you can).
  • You dog is at risk of overheating if the seizure lasts for more than a couple of minutes. Put cold water on his paws or back or turn a fan on your dog to cool him down.
  • Reassure your dog by talking to him and staying by his side.
  • Avoid touching him or he may uncontrollably bite you.
  • As soon as you can, call your vet.
  • If the seizure last more than three to five minutes or if he has a second one, get your dog to a veterinarian. Seizures that last that long can cause problems with their brain and cause brain damage.
  • Make sure you put the seizure on your calendar to see if there is a pattern at all developing. That way you can give your Vet the exact dates and description.

If you are in doubt at all about whether your dog is having a seizure and what to do about it, contact your Veterinarian asap to get your flurry loved one out of danger.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Motion Sickness in Animals

Did you know that “motion sickness is a stressful condition that affects 1 out of every 5 dogs? While many dog owners are aware of the condition, most don’t discuss it with their veterinarians. Canine motion sickness can prevent your whole family from taking a trip together”, reports

Motion sickness is seen during travel by land, sea, or air, and signs usually disappear when vehicular motion ceases.

Study of motion sickness in 1900’sLive Science explains that “most animals get seasick, just as people do. In fact, it's such a common problem that the FDA approved a drug, called Cerenia, for dogs and cats to keep their stomachs settled. “Before Cerenia was available, we recommended Dramamine — a human over-the-counter medication,” says Eric Maddon, a veterinarian in Brooklyn. “It never worked very well, but that’s all we had.” In fact, there’s a long history of using animals to model human seasickness. The earliest study of motion sickness was done in the early 1900’s on dogs — scientists spun the animals around on a platform until they vomited. Since then, scientists have discovered that cats, monkeys, birds, sheep and horses all experience motion sickness. There are also some animals that seem to be immune to motion sickness, like macaques. Today, the best primate model for motion sickness in humans is the squirrel monkey”.

Symptoms Motion sickness stimulates the autonomic nervous system and the following symptoms can include one or more of these signs:

  • Excessive salivation (drooling)
  • Excessive lip licking
  • Dry heaving (retching)
  • Yawning
  • Whining
  • Uneasiness and apprehension
  • Inactivity
  • Pacing
  • Rapid panting
  • Vomiting
  • Severely affected animals may also develop diarrhea.

Cause of motion sicknessMerck Vet Manual explains that “the principal causative mechanism involves stimulation of the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear, which has connections to the emetic center in the brain stem. The chemoreceptor trigger zone (CRTZ) and H1-histaminergic receptors are involved in this pathway in dogs but apparently are less important in cats. Recent evidence has revealed that the neurokinin 1 substance P receptors (NK1) in the emetic center play a major role in motion sickness in both dogs and cats and are more important than the receptors in the CRTZ. Fear of the vehicle may also become a contributory factor in dogs and cats that develop a conditioned response to the event; signs may be seen even in a stationary vehicle. In this situation, behavioral modification may be needed to eliminate this fear, or the use of drugs that provide a sedative effect may be needed”.

Common in puppies and young dogs“Motion sickness is much more common in puppies and young dogs than in older dogs, presumably because the ear structures used for balance aren’t fully developed in puppies. If the first few car rides of a dog’s life result in nausea, the dog may begin to equate travel with uncomfortable sensations, even after his or her balance system fully matures. Therefore, a dog who suffers motion sickness should be treated as soon as possible”, states

Solutions Here are some suggestions to either prevent or treat motion sickness for your favorite furry loved one.

  • Make the car ride as comfortable as possible for your dog.
  • Try facing your animal forward while you’re traveling, rather than looking out the side windows.
  • Lower your car windows just a few inches to equalize the outside and inside air pressures.
  • Use a specially designed dog seat belt. If you choose to have your dog ride on the front passenger seat, keep in mind that air bags do pose a potential hazard to dogs.
  • Turn on the AC to keep the vehicle cool.
  • Prior to your traveling, reduce your dog’s food and water consumption.
  • Use a crate for safety. Crates do have the added benefit of containing vomit, should your dog become ill.
  • Condition your pet with positive reinforcement by giving a treat every time they get into the car.
  • Switch up the vehicles you use to avoid a negative response to one vehicle.
  • Take fun trips at first to the dog park or a friend’s house with another animal. Make it a short ride to condition the trip with fun and enjoyment.
  • Build up a dog’s tolerance to car rides.
    • Have your dog be outside of the vehicle without getting in.
    • Have your dog inside the car without the engine on.
    • Take short trips like around the block.
    • Then, make the trips longer.
    • Use praise and/or treats when things go well to reinforce positive emotions with the trip.
  • Talk with your Vet about possible medications to control the situation.
  • After talking with you Vet, consider using an “antihistamine (such as diphenhydramine hydrochloride, dimenhydrinate, meclizine, and promethazine hydrochloride) prevent motion sickness, provide sedation, and inhibit drooling. The centrally acting phenothiazine derivatives (such as chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, and acepromazine maleate) have antiemetic as well as sedative effects. Cats have no histamine receptors in the CRTZ; therefore, antihistamines are ineffective in treating motion sickness in this species”, as described by Merck Vet Manual.

Enjoy your next road trip with your four legged loved one with success!

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Ask Yourself These Important Questions Before You Foster a Dog or Cat

Fostering means bringing in a cat or dog or any other homeless pet with the goal of nurturing them for a while until they can be dispatched to a permanent home with a family who'll love them forever. There are some major benefits but also some cons involved.

BenefitsThere are many benefits to becoming a foster parent.

  • Foster owners give animals a place to stay while they wait for a forever home
  • Relieving crowding at the shelter
  • Accustoming the pet to a home environment.
  • Fostering is a good way to “test-drive” an additional pet or a different type of pet.


There are also some cons to taking in a foster animal.

  • Foster owners must sometimes absorb charges through necessary veterinary care like heartworm treatment,
  • Extra time and care to help them lose weight or teach them manners before they can be put up for adoption.
  • Fostering also requires the skills of a diplomat to ensure that your family’s own pets don’t feel left out.

If you are considering taking home a foster pet from a local shelter or rescue group, please ask yourself the following questions so you can have a successful experience for both you and the animal.

Current Pets

Will your own pets get along with a foster dog or cat? If your loved one is in charge of your lap, how will she respond when a guest animal tries to sit there? Your well-behaved pet may “act out” with the addition of a new pet. Research your breed. Some are more prone to fighting than others, and bringing in a new animal can upset the balance in your household.

House Trained

Is this animal house trained? Are you prepared to teach the skills necessary? If you're up for potty training, you’ll need a crate and possibly a baby gate.


How much care, socialization or training will this animal require? Bottle-feeding babies often means round-the-clock dedication. Older kittens or puppies, on the other hand, need lots of handling, training and socialization. They may need services at a veterinarian’s office for spay/neuter surgery or teeth cleaning. Adult animals may simply need a place to stay until they are adopted, but sometimes they have special needs as well.

New Family Member

Are you prepared to treat a foster animal as a member of the family? Fostering isn't just making sure the animal stays healthy and safe and eats well. You are responsible for teaching your foster pet how to be a good family member. For this reason, it's important to make sure that everyone who lives in your house is on board with the foster plan and willing to help your temporary pet fit in.


Can you afford to care for an additional animal? Make sure you ask up front what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. Some rescue groups will cover any veterinary expenses, but it may or may not pay for items such as food or cat litter.

Fostering takes patience, love and a good eye for observation. It can be incredibly rewarding for everyone!

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

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How Can I Tell if My Dog has Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease can be hard to detect and can cause serious, ongoing health problems in both dogs and people. It was first named when a number of cases occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. Learn all about it by reading below.

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is transmitted through a deer tick called Lxodes Scapularis and is an inflammatory disease caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria. If not detected early, this disease is known to attack many systems in your dog’s body.


“It's a common misconception that ticks die in the winter. On the contrary, however, experts say they really just hunker down and wait for the first warm day. So, that makes stopping your pet's tick control medicine during the winter months a risky thing to do. It is not a seasonal disease. So, year-round diligence, year-round protection for dogs is essential,” reports CBS News.

Can my dog get Lyme Disease? Yes, Lyme disease is an illness that affects both animals and humans. It is known as a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic means infectious diseases that are spread between animals and people.

Lyme disease is not communicable from one animal to another, except through tick bites. However, if you have more than one pet and one is diagnosed with Lyme disease, your veterinarian might recommend testing for any other pets who may have been exposed to ticks at the same time.

Symptoms? The common symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs are joint pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes and joints, lameness, loss of appetite, decreased activity, kidney problems, and occasionally neurological issues. No two cases are exactly alike so your dog may not have all of these symptoms. Most dogs do not experience immediate symptoms. The symptoms may not show up for 2-5 months.

What to do if your dog has some of these symptoms? Take your dog to your Vet. Timing is everything with Lyme Disease. It is extremely important to catch it early in dogs.

There are several tests that can be done in-office and out of the vet’s office.

  • Idexx SNAP® 3Dx® test - samples a drop of your pet’s blood.
  • Western Blot test
  • Idexx Quantitative C6 test

Treatment? Most Veterinarians recommend a 30-day treatment of doxycycline. In some cases, especially those where the disease has begun to target a dog’s kidneys, the dosage will exceed 30 days. Remadyl may also be prescribes to assist with joint pain.

Prevention? Best tips for preventing Lyme disease for your dog are:

  • keep the grass short where your dog walks
  • use flea/tick prevention on your pet
  • check your pet daily for ticks by using a tick comb, and
  • avoid allowing your furry friend to go in areas where wildlife frequents
  • consider vaccines available to prevent Lyme disease in dogs; however, many vaccines possess risk factors

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

Should I Consider Pet Insurance?

Are you a pet owner? If your pet gets sick or injured, can you give your pet the best medical care possible? Should you consider pet insurance? Or are there other options? Let’s look at the possibilities and considerations.

What can happen to your pet?

First, what could happen to your pet and why would you even need pet insurance?

Accidents and Emergencies

Animals can have accidents and/or emergencies ranging from injured knees and swallowed socks — to stings from bees and cuts from rocks! Some are affordable and other could break the bank.


Your pet can be under the weather just like us, including dental disease, ear infections and stomach bugs.

Hereditary and Chronic Conditions

Lingering problems pester pets and pocketbooks. Chronic issues like allergies, and hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia and cancer.

Veterinary Exam Fees

Per vet visit routine care.What does pet insurance cover?

Almost all pet insurance providers cover injuries and illnesses to some degree. While you are reviewing a pet insurance plan, you need to consider or ask about:

  • accidents,
  • illnesses,
  • cancer,
  • emergency care,
  • genetic conditions,
  • veterinary exam fees,
  • imaging – mri, cat scan, ultrasound,
  • diagnostic treatments,
  • prescription medications
  • cancer treatments,
  • dental treatments (non-routine),
  • surgery + rehabilitation, and
  • alternative care.

What pet insurance doesn’t cover

Under most of the pet insurances out there, these are the normal items that are not covered. This will vary depending on the carrier and plan.

Pre-existing conditions

Unlike human healthcare, pet insurance is unable to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. If your pet experienced a curable condition prior to enrolling in a policy, the condition may be eligible for coverage after an exclusionary period.

Routine + wellness care

Pet insurance is not a wellness plan and does not provide coverage for routine care such as teeth cleaning, vaccines or spaying/neutering.

Cosmetic procedures

Tail docking, ear cropping and dewclaw removal are unnecessary cosmetic procedures ineligible for coverage, unless deemed medically necessary by your vet.

Liability coverage

Unlike pet insurance, which is designed to protect the pet, liability insurance only protects the homeowner and their assets in the event of an incident.Insurance Policy Considerations

Things to think about when considering a pet insurance policy.

Before You Buy

Pet insurance is a relatively new industry in the U.S. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) offered the first policy in 1982. Today, many companies offer policies, which is good, but it also makes choosing the best policy for you and your pet more complicated. Before you sign on the dotted line and write that first check, do your due diligence.Read the policy very, very carefully.

Most complaints seem to stem from the fact that the pet owner didn’t fully understand what was and wasn’t covered. Each insurance company offers a slightly different product, and you can’t assume that one policy is like another. Read them! If you don’t understand the terms, it’s worth the cost of a half-hour consultation with an attorney to make sure you do.Understand co-pays, deductibles and caps.

Co-pays and deductibles are the amounts the policy requires you pay out-of-pocket for each claim. Then, to complicate things, policies have caps. Generally, there are three caps in play at any one time: lifetime, period and per incident.”Talk with your Veterinarian

If you are being proactive about researching your options, speak with your Vet’s office about the different policies out there and which one they recommend and they accept so you don’t have any surprises.


There are many options to consider regarding your pet.


Set up a savings account for your pet and deposit in it the amount equal to what you would pay as a premium, then use it only for extraordinary care. This works best if you’re disciplined and if your pet doesn’t require expensive care early in his life. Better yet, start out with a large initial deposit and add to it each month.


Most people know about CareCredit for dental and mental help for people. They have it for Veterinary Financing too. This is a line of credit specifically for use at participating veterinary clinics. Like a credit card, this line of credit can be used for routine care and/or extraordinary care. There are no up-front costs and you select the monthly payment option you can handle. Depending on the amount put on the card, you can take from six to 60 months to pay off the balance (check the annual percentage rate before you sign up).

Pet Insurance

Google has an entire list full of insurance companies. You can even find a pet insurance review website to help make things a little easier when comparing. This is a very personal choice and involves your risk level and knowing your pet.Rolling the Dice

So what are you really insuring against when you purchase a policy? The short answer: anything that would cause you financial hardship and make you ask yourself if you can afford the care your pet needs. None of us wants to be in the position of making an important decision about our dog’s care based solely on cost.

The bottom line

Choose the option that will allow you to sleep well, knowing that if your beloved companion requires expensive diagnostics, treatment and care, you have the resources available to pay for them. If you choose pet insurance, read every word of the policy very carefully and understand what the terms mean before you purchase. Then, go have fun with your flurry loved one!

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

14 Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats

For your dog or cat, poisonous plants may cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death. Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant. Cats, for instance, are poisoned by any part of a lily.

“Every day, Pet Poison Helpline receives dozens of phone calls from dog and cat owners saying “My cat ate a lily!” or “My dog ate a plant. Is it poisonous?” Some of the most poisonous plants for dogs and cats are reviewed below. While there are thousands of species of plants and flowers, only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous and poisonous to your pet. Make sure you know which plants are most deadly to avoid your dog or cat from getting into these poisonous flowers and poisonous plants”, reports Pet Poison Helpline which is a a 24-hour animal poison control service for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.

Here is a partial list from Pet Poison Helpline and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:Autumn Crocus There are two Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring (Crocus species) and the other in the autumn Colchicum autumnale). The spring plants are more common and are part of the Iridaceae family. These ingestions can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. These should not be mistaken for Autumn Crocus, part of the Liliaceae family, which contain colchicine. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure. If you’re not sure what plant it is, bring your pet to their veterinarian immediately for care. Signs may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days.

Azalea In the same family as rhododendrons, azaleas can have serious effects on pets. Eating even a few leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling; without immediate veterinary attention, the pet could fall into a coma and possibly die.Castor BeanRicinus communis (commonly known as the castor bean) contains ricin, which can be highly toxic. Ricin causes multiple organ failure. Ricin is found throughout the plant, but the highest levels are found in the seeds. The seed coat must be damaged to release the toxins, so animals who swallow the seeds whole may not get sick. The mortality rate in dogs is about 9 percent. These beans are also commonly used in many rustic-type ornaments and jewelry.

CyclamenThe roots of this seasonal flowering plant are especially dangerous to pets. If ingested, cyclamen can cause severe vomiting and even death.Kalanchoe This popular flowering succulent plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea and heart arrhythmias if ingested by pets.Lilies There are dangerous and benign lilies out there, and it’s important to know the difference. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus – this results in minor drooling. The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) can result in severe kidney failure. If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently we can treat the poisoning. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis.

OleanderOleander is an outdoor shrub, popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate flowers. However, the leaves and flowers are extremely toxic if ingested and can cause severe vomiting, slow the heart rate and possibly even cause death.

Dieffenbachia Popular in many homes and offices, dieffenbachia can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.Daffodils These flowers contain lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties (something that triggers vomiting). Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression. Crystals are found in the outer layer of the bulbs, similar to hyacinths, which cause severe tissue irritation and secondary drooling. Daffodil ingestions can result in more severe symptoms so if an exposure is witnessed or symptoms are seen, we recommend seeking veterinary care for further supportive care.HopsHops are used in beer brewing, so home brewers need to be aware of this toxic plant. Ingestion of hops (Humulus lupulis) by dogs causes their body temperature to skyrocket. Signs can be seen within hours. Dogs become agitated and begin to pant. Their body temperature can get high enough to kill them — up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.Japanese YewYews are commonly used as landscaping plants as they stay green year-round. A pet looking for a bit of winter green may be tempted to take a nibble. Yews contain compounds that have a direct action on the heart. The toxins can cause an irregular heartbeat or even stop the heart. All parts, except for the ripe berry (the fleshy red structure surrounding the seed), are toxic. Sudden death can occur within hours of ingestion.

Lily of the Valley The Convallaria majalis plant contains cardiac glycosides which will cause symptoms similar to digitalis (foxglove) ingestion. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures. Pets with any known exposure to this plant should be examined and evaluated by a veterinarian and treated symptomatically.

Sago PalmVery popular in warmer climates, this household and outdoor plant can be very harmful to pets. If ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death.

All parts of the plant are toxic, with the seeds having the highest concentration of toxin. One seed can kill a dog. Vomiting usually begins within 24 hours, and animals become depressed and may start to seizure. This plant is one of the most toxic, with a mortality rate of around 30 percent.

Tulips and HyacinthsTulips contain allergenic lactones while hyacinths contain similar alkaloids. The toxic principle of these plants is very concentrated in the bulbs (versus the leaf or flower), so make sure your dog isn’t digging up the bulbs in the garden. When the plant parts or bulbs are chewed or ingested, it can result in tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Typical signs include profuse drooling, vomiting, or even diarrhea, depending on the amount consumed. There’s no specific antidote, but with supportive care from the veterinarian (including rinsing the mouth, anti-vomiting medication, and possibly subcutaneous fluids), animals do quite well. With large ingestions of the bulb, more severe symptoms such as an increase in heart rate and changes in respiration can be seen, and should be treated by a veterinarian. These more severe signs are seen in cattle or our overzealous, chowhound Labradors.

If you believe that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, or if you have any further questions regarding the information contained in this database, contact either your local veterinarian, the APCC 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline 24/7 at 855-764-7661.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.