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What to do if you see Animal Cruelty?

You might be saving an animal’s life but also a person’s life if you take some safe action after observing animal cruelty. The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports that “a 2017 study showed that 89% of women who had companion animals during an abusive relationship reported that their animals were threatened, harmed, or killed by their abusive partner”.

According to PETA, “witnessing cruelty to animals is an upsetting experience, but knowing how to handle the situation properly can save a life and prevent the abuser from harming other victims. Here are several things to do recommended by PETA if you see someone abuse an animal:

  1. Remain calm and get veterinary care.
  2. Speak up, because if you don’t, who will?
  3. Know the law.
  4. Document the crime with photos or video. 
  5. File a first information report (FIR) with the police immediately. Report the crime to the police.
  6. Contact animal-protection groups.PETA’s helpful links to online directories.
  7. Be persistent.
  8. Thank the people who helped”.

Signs of animal abuse / cruelty

How do you know if an animal is being abused? Here are some physical and environmental signs of cruelty described by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

Physical signs of cruelty

  • Tight collar that has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet's neck
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
  • Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental signs of cruelty

  • Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
  • Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
  • Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
  • Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements

Where to report animal abuse / cruelty

If you have any questions about an animal being abused, call your local Veterinarian to assist 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.

Is Your Pet Safe Eating? Animal Food Recalls and Alerts.

Unfortunately foods can be toxic to humans and animals. There are several resources available to check to see if there are any current food recalls and alerts for your furry loved ones.

Here are the resources and what is being discussed and possibly recalled now:

U.S. Food & Drug Administration

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration put out an alert to pet owners about potentially toxic levels of Vitamin D in several dry pet foods. After receiving complaints from pet owners about dogs with vitamin D toxicity, one of the firms reported to the FDA that it was recalling dry pet food due to potentially toxic levels of vitamin D. Many other brands with a common contract manufacturer have also been recalled. Here is a list about the brands that have been recalled.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about recalls of several dry dog foods after receiving complaints that dogs eating the food experienced vitamin D toxicity.
  • Testing found that samples of the dog food contained excessive, potentially toxic amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs, but very high amounts can cause serious health problems like kidney failure or death.
  • At this time, the only pet products that have been impacted are food made for dogs.
  • Pet owners should discontinue feeding these recalled products.
  • The FDA is asking veterinarians who suspect vitamin D toxicity in their patients to report them through the Safety Reporting Portalor by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Pet owners can also report suspect cases to the FDA.
  • This is a developing situation and additional recalls may be announced.

American Veterinary Medical Association

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a page on their website about animal food recalls and alerts. You can check it from time to time to stay current.

Animal Health Foundation

This website has an entire year of what is happening in the pet food industry.

Petfood Industry

Stay up to date with Petfood Industry’s list of US and international cat and dog food, pet treat and companion animal feed recalls. According to FDA, pet food can be recalled by a manufacturer to remove product from the market, by FDA request or by FDA order under statutory authority.

Dog Food Advisor

The Dog Food Advisor is a public service website put out by Mike Sagman designed to help pet owners make more informed decisions when buying dog food. Here is a list of the current dog food recalls.

Petful

Petful has been researching U.S. dog food recalls for several years now, and they have compiled the following list. Recalls are listed in order from newest to oldest. Looking for cat food recalls? Go here.

If you have any questions about your pet’s food, call your local Veterinarian to assist 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.

National Pet Dental Health Month in February

“Dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue — when your canine companion or feline friend has red gums, yellow teeth and stinky breath, it could be a sign of serious oral disease that could, if left untreated, lead to devastating affects on your pet’s quality of life. Neglecting your pet’s teeth and gums can cause chronic pain issues that may even be at the center of certain behavioral problems,” according to Dogtime.com.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3. National Pet Dental Health Month is in February. It is the perfect time to contact your veterinarian and schedule a dental check-up for your loved furry family members.

National Pet Dental Health Month in February is intentional to promote check-ups to catch any serious health issue for pets. Oral disease is a sign to future serious consequences for pets, including severe pain, infection, and even organ damage which can all be avoided. Veterinarians all across the US want to remind pet owners that their pet’s dental health should be a concern all year long.

“Between regular veterinary examinations, pet owners should look for the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines, and bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched,” Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. chief veterinary medical officer Dr. Carol McConnell recommends.

Prevention is the best medicine. Using a toothbrush is one way you can take a proactive role in preventing oral disease in your pet. We love our animals just like a family member. Unfortunately, they can’t speak and tell us they have dental problems like a child can. Your pet's teeth are so important. “Vets say 85 percent of canines over age 4 have some form of gum disease,” reported by Animal Planet.com

Regular inspection of your pet’s mouth is important to catch dental disease in the early stages. Here are some signs that you need to get your pet into the vet.

  1. Tartar Build-Up
  2. Bad Breath
  3. Drooling
  4. Pawing at the Mouth
  5. Difficulty Chewing
  6. Loose or Missing Teeth 

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. 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.

Keep Your Pets Safe this Winter

With the temperatures dropping below freezing this winter, it is extremely important to keep your pets safe. The Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA and Great Plains SPCA all have some great ideas for pet safety as shown below.

Know your dog’s limits!  Some dogs are more susceptible to the cold than others. Short-coated, thin, elderly, or very young dogs get cold more quickly – so adjust the amount of time they stay outside! If your dog enjoys being outdoors and you will be outside longer than a few minutes, consider outfitting it with a sweater or coat to keep it warm. Hypothermia and frostbite pose major risks to dogs in winter, so remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your dog!

Check the hood! 

Cats often sleep in the wheel wells of cars during the winter months to keep warm. If you start your car and a cat is sleeping on your tire, it can be severely hurt or even killed by moving engine parts. Prevent injuries by banging loudly on your hood or honking the horn before starting your car. This will wake up the cat and give it a chance to escape before starting the car.

Wipe their paws! 

During winter walks, your dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals – salt, antifreeze, or de-icers. Be sure to wipe off your dog’s paws when you return from walks to prevent him from licking it off and becoming sick. Purchase pet-safe de-icers for your home for an extra level of safety. And when wiping off your dog’s paws, remember to check for signs of injury, such as cracked or bleeding paws.

Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

Wear a sweater

No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life.Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater—even during short walks.

Keep them leashed! 

More pets become lost in the winter than any other season because snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home. Prevent your pets from becoming lost by keeping dogs leashed on walks and, just in case you are separated from your pets, make sure their collars have up-to-date contact information and they are microchipped.

Avoid the ice! 

When walking your dog, be sure to avoid frozen lakes and ponds. Your dog could be seriously hurt or even killed if the ice breaks.

Leave them home! 

Just as hot cars are dangerous for pets in the summer, cold cars pose a threat as well! Only take your pets in the car if it is necessary, and never leave them unattended.

Be seen! 

Due to Daylight Savings, many of us are relegated to walking our dogs in the dark. Keep yourself and your dog are safe by wearing reflective gear (clothing, leash, collar, etc.) and keeping your dog close when walking on the street.

Give them shelter! 

Ideally, all pets should live inside. If your pets live outdoors primarily, bring them indoors during sub-zero temperatures. For the rest of the winter, provide them with a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow them to sit and lay down comfortably, but small enough to conserve body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the shelter so it faces away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Also, pets who spend a lot of time outside need more food to replace energy lost from trying to stay warm. Use plastic food and water dishes instead of metal – when the temperature is low enough, your pets’ tongue can become stuck to metal.

Avoid spills! 

Antifreeze attracts cats and dogs because it is very sweet to taste, but it is extremely poisonous and can cause serious illness or death when ingested. Be sure to clean up any antifreeze that spills in your garage, and keep the bottle somewhere your pets cannot access.Be prepared! Winter brings extreme weather that can cause power outages. Have an emergency plan and make sure they include your pets! Have an emergency kit with enough food, water, and medication to last your pets at least five days. Most likely you will never need it, but if you do, you will be thankful you planned ahead!

Bathe less

Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Feed less

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Cozy bed

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Keep pets sheltered

Keep your pets inside with you and your family. Under no circumstances should pet cats be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs are happiest when taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time. Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Remove common poisons

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family.

Protect outdoor animals

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It's easy to give them a hand. You can make your own cat shelter quickly and easily with a plastic tub.

Source: Great Plains SPCA, Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA 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.

How Old is Your Dog in Human Years?

Pets age differently than humans. One year for a dog is not equal to one year for its human owner. The American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA has guidelines on how to calculate dog years to human years. 

Dog Years to Human Years

As a general guideline, though, the American Veterinary Medical Association breaks it down like this:

  • 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
  • And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.

The American Kennel Club explains that “there are many several factors to consider, so it’s not possible to pin it down precisely, but the AVMA says: “Cats and small dogs are generally considered ‘senior’ at seven years old, but we all know they’ve got plenty of life left in them at that age. Larger-breed dogs tend to have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they are 5 to 6 years of age. The ‘senior’ classification is based on the fact that pets age faster than people, and veterinarians start seeing more age-related problems in these pets. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for each year in dog years”.

“Size and breed also play a role. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger ones, but they may mature more quickly in the first few years of life. A huge pup might age more slowly at first, but be nearing middle age at 5. Tiny and toy breeds don't become "seniors" until around age 10. Medium-sized pooches are somewhere in the middle on both counts,” reports Pets.WebMd.com.

Here is a chart to help you gauge your dog’s age in human years

Source: www.Pets.webmd.com

If you are in doubt about the age of your dog, consult your Veterinarian? They have telltale signs that can help you identify your pet’s true age.

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.

January is National Train Your Dog Month

Train Dogs

American Kennel Club announced that “January is National Train Your Dog Month and there's no better way to celebrate the bond between you and your canine companion than by introducing some fun into your daily routine. Tricks training is a great way to do that. National Train Your Dog Month

National Train Your Dog Month was established six years ago by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, to remind new owners that, like children, dogs need socialization and schooling to become well-behaved companions.

Tricks are easy to teach and they both build upon and reinforce skills you and your dog have mastered—or are still working on—in basic obedience work. There are also good exercises, stretching and working muscles that are not used in day-to-day activities like walking and running.Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)In 2010 the Association of Professional Dog Trainers began the National Train Your Dog Month campaign. The APDT thought it was long overdue to dedicate a month to bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun! We selected January as the perfect month because so many dogs and puppies are adopted or purchased from breeders and brought home during the winter holidays. The desire is to help these new pet parents start off the new year right with their newest family member.

The event is designed to promote the importance and benefits of training dogs to become happy and healthy companions. Too many dogs are turned into animal shelters each year for behavior and training issues that could be easily solved with proper socialization and positive, gentle, science-based methods of training. Moreover, we want the public to know that training your dog is not just beneficial, it's FUN!

The APDT is a professional educational organization of trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through using positive, dog friendly methods based on sound scientific principles. With over 6,000 members worldwide, the APDT provides professional dog trainers with a respected and concerted voice. The APDT promotes caring relationships between dogs and people and works to increase public awareness of dog-friendly training techniques. For more information, visit the Web site at apdt.com.

Locate a Dog Trainer

If you want to join in for dog training in January or during the year, either check with your local veterinarian or the APDT “Locate a Trainer” service.

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.

Most Popular Dog Breeds in the U.S.

The American Kennel Club put out their Most Popular Dog Breeds List in America.

Here are the top ten breeds:

#1 Retrievers (Labrador)

The sturdy, well-balanced Labrador Retriever can, depending on the sex, stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. The dense, hard coat comes in yellow, black, and a luscious chocolate. The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindliness, and the thick, tapering “otter tail” seems to be forever signaling the breed’s innate eagerness. Labs are famously friendly. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. But don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit.

#2 German Shepherd DogsGerman Shepherd Dogs can stand as high as 26 inches at the shoulder and, when viewed in outline, presents a picture of smooth, graceful curves rather than angles. The natural gait is a free-and-easy trot, but they can turn it up a notch or two and reach great speeds. There are many reasons why German Shepherds stand in the front rank of canine royalty, but experts say their defining attribute is character: loyalty, courage, confidence, the ability to learn commands for many tasks, and the willingness to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones. German Shepherds will be gentle family pets and steadfast guardians, but, the breed standard says, there’s a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.

#3 Retrievers (Golden)The Golden Retriever is a sturdy, muscular dog of medium size, famous for the dense, lustrous coat of gold that gives the breed its name. The broad head, with its friendly and intelligent eyes, short ears, and straight muzzle, is a breed hallmark. In motion, Goldens move with a smooth, powerful gait, and the feathery tail is carried, as breed fanciers say, with a “merry action.” The most complete records of the development of the Golden Retriever are included in the record books that were kept from 1835 until about 1890 by the gamekeepers at the Guisachan (pronounced Gooeesicun) estate of Lord Tweedmouth at Inverness-Shire, Scotland. These records were released to public notice in Country Life in 1952, when Lord Tweedmouth’s great-nephew, the sixth Earl of Ilchester, historian and sportsman, published material that had been left by his ancestor. They provided factual confirmation to the stories that had been handed down through generations. Goldens are outgoing, trustworthy, and eager-to-please family dogs, and relatively easy to train. They take a joyous and playful approach to life and maintain this puppyish behavior into adulthood. These energetic, powerful gundogs enjoy outdoor play. For a breed built to retrieve waterfowl for hours on end, swimming and fetching are natural pastimes.

#4 French BulldogsThe French Bulldog resembles a Bulldog in miniature, except for the large, erect “bat ears” that are the breed’s trademark feature. The head is large and square, with heavy wrinkles rolled above the extremely short nose. The body beneath the smooth, brilliant coat is compact and muscular. The bright, affectionate Frenchie is a charmer. Dogs of few words, Frenchies don’t bark much—but their alertness makes them excellent watchdogs. They happily adapt to life with singles, couples, or families, and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise. They get on well with other animals and enjoy making new friends of the human variety. It is no wonder that city folk from Paris to Peoria swear by this vastly amusing and companionable breed.

#5 BulldogsYou can’t mistake a Bulldog for any other breed. The loose skin of the head, furrowed brow, pushed-in nose, small ears, undershot jaw with hanging chops on either side, and the distinctive rolling gait all practically scream “I’m a Bulldog!” The coat, seen in a variety of colors and patterns, is short, smooth, and glossy. Bulldogs can weigh up to 50 pounds, but that won’t stop them from curling up in your lap, or at least trying to. But don’t mistake their easygoing ways for laziness—Bulldogs enjoy brisk walks and need regular moderate exercise, along with a careful diet, to stay trim. Summer afternoons are best spent in an air-conditioned room as a Bulldog’s short snout can cause labored breathing in hot and humid weather.

#6 BeaglesThere are two Beagle varieties: those standing under 13 inches at the shoulder, and those between 13 and 15 inches. Both varieties are sturdy, solid, and “big for their inches,” as dog folks say. They come in such pleasing colors as lemon, red and white, and tricolor. The Beagle’s fortune is in his adorable face, with its big brown or hazel eyes set off by long, houndy ears set low on a broad head. A breed described as “merry” by its fanciers, Beagles are loving and lovable, happy, and companionable—all qualities that make them excellent family dogs. No wonder that for years the Beagle has been the most popular hound dog among American pet owners. These are curious, clever, and energetic hounds who require plenty of playtime.

#7 PoodlesPoodles come in three size varieties: Standards should be more than 15 inches tall at the shoulder; Miniatures are 15 inches or under; Toys stand no more than 10 inches. All three varieties have the same build and proportions. At dog shows, Poodles are usually seen in the elaborate Continental Clip. Most pet owners prefer the simpler Sporting Clip, in which the coat is shorn to follow the outline of the squarely built, smoothly muscled body. Forget those old stereotypes of Poodles as sissy dogs. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility. The Standard, with his greater size and strength, is the best all-around athlete of the family, but all Poodles can be trained with great success.

#8 RottweilersA male Rottweiler will stand anywhere from 24 to 27 muscular inches at the shoulder; females run a bit smaller and lighter. The glistening, short black coat with smart rust markings add to the picture of imposing strength. A thickly muscled hindquarters powers the Rottie’s effortless trotting gait. A well-bred and properly raised Rottie will be calm and confident, courageous but not unduly aggressive. The aloof demeanor these world-class guardians present to outsiders belies the playfulness, and downright silliness, that endear Rotties to their loved ones. (No one told the Rottie he’s not a toy breed, so he is liable plop onto your lap for a cuddle.) Early training and socialization will harness a Rottie’s territorial instincts in a positive way.

#9 Yorkshire TerriersThe Yorkshire Terrier is a compact, toy-size terrier of no more than seven pounds whose crowning glory is a floor-length, silky coat of steel blue and a rich golden tan. Don’t let the Yorkie’s daintiness fool you. Tenacious, feisty, brave, and sometimes bossy, the Yorkie exhibits all the traits of a true terrier. Often named the most popular dog breed in various American cities, Yorkies pack lots of big-town attitude into a small but self-important package. They are favorites of urbanites the world over. Yorkies are long-lived and hypoallergenic (the coat is more like human hair than animal fur), and they make fine little watchdogs. This is a true “personality breed,” providing years of laughs, love, and close companionship.

#10 Pointers (German Shorthaired)Male German Shorthaired Pointers stand between 23 and 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 55 to 70 pounds; females run smaller. The coat is solid liver (a reddish brown), or liver and white in distinctive patterns. The dark eyes shine with enthusiasm and friendliness. Built to work long days in the field or at the lake, GSPs are known for power, speed, agility, and endurance. “Noble” and “aristocratic” are words often used to describe the overall look. GSPs make happy, trainable pets who bond firmly to their family. They are always up for physical activities like running, swimming, organized dog sports—in fact, anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoors time with a human buddy.

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.

Does Your Pet Need Dental Care?

How do you know if you pet needs dental care? Did you know that “more than 80% of dogs over 3 years old have periodontal disease,” states Pets WebMD.

A professional dental cleaning removes not only the visible plaque and tartar on the teeth surfaces but also the bacteria under the gums. This eliminates potential sources of infection to the mouth and other organs and protects your pet from pain and tooth loss.

Why Dental Care?

“Plaque, which is made of saliva, sloughed mouth cells, food, and other things, forms on teeth just minutes after eating. If left untreated, the plaque builds up, leading to gum inflammation that can then cause tissue decay. The inflammation then progresses deep enough to destroy bone, which finally leads to tooth loss, the ultimate end of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease (also called gum disease), occurs five times as often in pets as it does in people. Yet, while gum disease is usually the biggest dental problem a dog faces, it's not the only one. Some dogs, especially larger breeds, are also prone to broken or fractured teeth,” reports Pets WebMD.

How Often?

Regular cleanings and exams for your dog depends on:

  • The dog's breed. (Smaller breeds have more dental problems that larger breeds.)
  • The dog's age.
  • The home care you provide. (Do you brush your dog's teeth? Offer them good-quality chew toys and treats?)

Signs

Here are some signs that your pet needs to have dental care:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at mouth
  • Tartar build-up
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty Chewing

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

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.

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Animals

The holiday excitement is in the air with the season upon us. Families love to include their pets with the many festivities and celebrations. We want you to remember your furry loved ones and keep them safe.

Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips for your animals over the holidays:

Care

  • Try to keep a normal routine for your pet’s exercise and feeding habits.
  • With your schedule getting busier, remember to take some time to give attention and affection to your pet.

Food

The American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA recommends to “keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats formulated just for them. The following people foods are especially hazardous for pets:

  • Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
  • Other sweets and baked goods also should be kept out of reach. Not only are they often too rich for pets; an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
  • Turkey and turkey skin – sometimes even in small amounts – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
  • Table scraps – including gravy and meat fat –also should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially fattening and hard for animals to digest and can cause pancreatitis.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating”.

Decorations

“Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations:

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn't tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching "toy" that's easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It's best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don't leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet's mouth and digestive tract,” reports the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Leaving the House

  • Don’t forget to unplug the decorations so pets will not be tempted to nibble on electrical cords.
  • Empty the trash so they will not eat something dangerous.

Happy holidays to you and your pets.

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.

Top Toxic People Foods for Animals

With the holidays here, festive celebrations with food and drinks are in the air. While you are enjoying friends, family and good food, please keep in mind that certain foods are highly toxic to animals.

ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center experts have put together a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Here is the list:

  • Alcohol - Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.
  • Avocado - Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds. Horses, donkeys and ruminants frequently get swollen, edematous head and neck.
  • Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine - These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
  • Citrus - The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.
  • Coconut and Coconut Oil - When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts do contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when offering your pets these foods. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.
  • Grapes and Raisins - Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.
  • Macadamia Nuts - Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
  • Milk and Dairy - Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
  • Nuts - Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.
  • Onions, Garlic, Chives - These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.
  • Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones - Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
  • Salt and Salty Snack Foods - Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. As such, we encourage you to avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets. 
  • Xylitol - Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
  • Yeast Dough - Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life-threatening emergency. The yeast produce ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk (See alcohol).

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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