Newsletter

newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the Bridgewater Veterinary Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

May is National Chip Your Pet Month: Is Your Pet Protected?

Each year, millions of dogs and cats are lost. In fact, this disaster strikes nearly one-third of all pet-owning families. Of the millions of cats and dogs that are lost, only 10 percent are ever identified and returned to their owners. More pets lives are lost because owners did not identify them than from all infectious diseases combined.

All pets should wear traditional collars with identification and rabies vaccination tags. A traditional collar, however, is not enough. These collars are often worn loosely and are easily removed. Cat collars are designed to break off if the animal is caught in a tree branch. When the traditional collar is lost, removed or breaks off, nothing is left to identify the pet unless the pet has a microchip.

Microchips are rapidly becoming a very popular method for identifying pets. Once the microchip is inserted, the pet is identified for life. Microchips are safe, unalterable and permanent identification for pets. The microchip is a tiny computer chip or transponder about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of a cat or dog, in much the same way that a vaccine is administered. The microchip is coded with a unique 10-digit code. Each microchip that is inserted contains a unique code, specific to the individual pet.




Inserting the microchip is simple and causes minimal or no discomfort. The microchip comes pre-loaded in a syringe, ready for insertion. The entire procedure takes less than 10 seconds. Post-injection reactions are very rare and the encapsulated microchip remains in place permanently.

The scanner is a hand-held device used to detect the message encoded in the microchip. The scanner is passed over the animal, paying particular attention to the area between the shoulder blades. If a microchip is present, the 10-digit number (encoded in the capsule) is read by the scanner. Scanners are provided to animal control, humane shelters and other rescue organizations so that all stray pets are scanned and those with microchips are reunited with their owners. Veterinarians can also purchase scanners for use in their hospital.

The veterinary hospital where the microchip is implanted records the pet’s information and its unique microchip identification number. When a lost pet is found and scanned, the veterinary hospital is immediately contacted. Since most veterinary hospitals are not open 24 hours a day, it may take some time before you are notified. In addition to this standard registration, you can register your pet in your own name for a charge of $15-20. By doing this, as soon as your pet is found, you are notified.

Along with the additional registration fee, we recommend that you update your personal information with the microchip database on a regular basis. It is also advisable to have your veterinarian test the microchip on an annual basis in order to make sure that it is properly transmitting data.

Introducing Your New Pet to Your Current Furry Friend

Thinking of adding another furry friend to your family? Introducing new pets can be tricky, but there are some ways you can help the process run smoothly! Whether you are introducing a cat and dog, or a senior pet and a little one, there are ways to help make the transition easier. Check out our tips to help you introduce your new furry friend to your other pets:

Introducing a Puppy to an Older Dog

It is natural for your older or senior dog to be apprehensive of a new dog "invading" their territory. The best way to establish a pack mentality is to have the first meeting occur in a neutral area, like a park. Walking the two dogs together can help them understand that they are a team. It is important that you choose a location that your current dog does not feel is their territory. So that could mean taking them for a walk in a different neighborhood or going to a park they have never visited before. Let the dogs smell each other and make their own introductions. Don't bring any toys that your dog already plays with, because they may feel protective over it.

After the initial meeting, bring the dogs to the house and put the new dog in their crate. Let your current dog roam around and do whatever they normally do while the puppy observes. After some time, you can take the puppy out and let them explore the space. This will help your dog feel that they are in control, and it can give them the opportunity to model proper behavior for your new dog.

If either dog exhibits some behavioral red flags, like biting, snarling, growling, or if they are being territorial, consult with our team or a professional trainer. Don't leave the dogs alone together for some time until they seem to be totally comfortable. Your older dog may become irritable after sharing their space for a few hours, so just keep an eye on them and separate them if you feel they need the space. This is also a good opportunity for your puppy to get to know their crate and feel comfortable in a space specifically made for them.

Introducing a Cat and a Dog

Cats and dogs have very different behavioral protocols, so the best thing to do is to let your cat dictate how the interaction is going to go. Dogs will be more likely to want to smell the cat and get in their personal space, which could trigger a negative reaction in the cat. Instead, keep your dog on a leash and reward them for calm behavior. Find a really high-value treat, like chicken or peanut butter, and be generous with praise. Don't excite them, even if it seems positive. It is possible that interactions will differ based on the environment. Dogs may interact positively indoors, but they may stalk the cat outdoors, similar to if it were a rabbit or squirrel. Every animal is different, so just try to keep an eye on how the animals interact with each other.

The goal for introducing a cat and dog is that they will be generally uninterested in each other. If you can't trust that the animals can be left alone together, keep them separated. It is very possible that they could both injure each other, so don't assume that they will be on their best behavior. While we love to consider our furry friends to be angels, these types of pets have very different boundaries. Don't assume that the interaction will be positive or negative, just be prepared to reward good behavior or separate after negative interactions. With positive reinforcement, you can help your pets become the best of friends!

Every pet is unique, so talk to our team to learn more about how you can safely introduce your new pets. We can direct you to some helpful local resources to set your pets up for success. Call our office for more info about introducing your pets.

Renting With Pets
Is he allowed in your new apartment?

Is the rental market improving or getting worse for tenants with pets? Some say better, others disagree and scream worse...unfair!

According to a study released in 1999 by the National Council on Pet Population, moving was identified as the major reason for giving up a pet dog and the third most common reason for giving up a pet cat. Moving in itself was not the reason for giving up the pet; it was the landlord's refusal to accept pets in the new apartment or house.

Certain regions of the country are more difficult for renters who have pets. According to a study, renting with pets is most difficult in the Northeast and in California. The area of the country where it is easiest to rent with pets appears to be in the Southeast. The situation in Atlanta is a prime example of why it is so difficult for some pet owners. With only 2500 apartment complexes in the metropolitan area, only about 10 percent take dogs weighing more than 35 pounds. In the metropolitan New York area (including Long Island and New Jersey), it is very difficult for a new renter to find lodging where pets are allowed.

As frustrating as it appears, there are methods to sway owners with firm "no pets" policies.

  • Make sure your pet is well behaved. Toilet training is a must and personality problems, such as separation anxiety, must be addressed.
  • Adoption of a pet-friendly contract with set rules:
  • Spay or neuter requirements
  • Obligatory License
  • Current with vaccinations
  • Leash policy
  • Designated toilet area
  • Scoop-up regulations
  • Supplemental pet security deposit
  • Pet committee to oversee the program

The Humane Society of the United States' website offers a "Renting with Pets" section.

In the San Francisco area, pet owners can purchase a revolutionary new insurance policy. This policy protects landlords against pet-related damages. www.LeasesWithPets.com sell policies for about $200/year that cover up to $5000 worth of damage.

If you already own a pet and your landlord is trying to evict you, consult an attorney that has some knowledge in landlord-tenant law as well as in animal law. Many cities and towns have laws that prohibit eviction of a tenant who owns a pet.

For more information about renting with pets, the following websites are worth visiting:

www.hsus.org - Humane Society of the US
www.mspca.org
www.sfspca.org
www.apartments.com - Includes pets as a search criteria

Most of the information for this article comes from the ASPCA. You can visit their website at www.aspca.org.

Garden Safety Tips for Pets

Spring is upon us, and that means spending more time outdoors! If you'll be tending to a garden thing spring season, make sure you are sticking to pet-friendly plants! There are so many different types of plants and garden items that could quickly become dangerous to your pet if ingested, so talk to us if you have any questions about your plants. We've created this guide to help you create a safe outdoor space for your furry friend to enjoy.

Research Plants Before Gardening

There are so many different types of plants that can quickly become dangerous to pets, so make sure you are researching before adding something to your garden. The most common poisonous plants include:

  • lilies
  • sago palm
  • tulips
  • oleander
  • philodendrons
  • azaleas
  • autumn crocus
  • marijuana plants
  • yew
  • cyclamen
  • chrysanthemum
  • English ivy

These are just some of the most common poisonous plants for pets, but there are many others. The best way to determine if a plant is safe for pets is to research the individual plant type before adding it to your garden. Many vegetables are also poisonous to pets, such as onions, garlic, leek, and chives. Tomato plants and unripe tomatoes can also induce vomiting if ingested due to a substance called tomatine. This substance fades as tomatoes ripen, which is why it is safe for pets to eat fully developed tomatoes. Other safe garden veggies include carrots, beans, peas, celery, and zucchini.

Keep Pets Out of Your Garden

Another way you can make sure that your pet does not ingest any potentially harmful plant is to take measures to keep them out of your garden entirely. That could mean adding fencing, potting plants out of reach of animals, or perhaps keeping plants in a greenhouse. Raising your garden beds or using hanging baskets can also keep your pet and plants safe.

Choose the Right Mulch

Some mulch can be poisonous to pets, like cocoa bean mulch. This mulch has a sweet scent that could attract a curious nose, but it can be deadly if ingested by your pet. Avoid using this type of mulch, and instead go for something like pine, cedar, or hemlock mulch which is not poisonous. However, still make an effort to keep your pet out of these areas because some mulch can cause internal injuries, like the pine needles in pine mulch.

Fertilizers, Pesticides & Herbicides

Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers all help our gardens thrive, but they are dangerous for your pet to ingest. If you see a pesticide warning on neighboring lawns, try not to walk your pet in those areas. Make sure you wipe their paws after coming inside from a walk to make sure you remove any traces of pesticides that they may have picked up. It is possible for your pet to lick the chemicals off their paws and get sick, but a quick cleaning can avoid this problem. When putting down fertilizer, keep your pet indoors or far away from the area. Even organic fertilizer and compost is hazardous to pets, so just try to keep your pet away from any fertilizer whenever possible. Things like decaying plants, bones, fish meal, and blood can all smell interesting to your pet, but they can cause a variety of major health emergencies if ingested. Toxins that exist in these spaces can cause poisoning and even death if consumed by your pet, so keep them far away.

This spring make sure you are gardening with your pet's safety in mind! Call our office if you have any further questions about garden safety tips for your pets.

Household Items that are Dangerous for Pets

Everyday household items can quickly become dangerous for pets, so make sure you are taking proper precautions to keep harmful chemicals and potentially dangerous items out of reach. Poisoning can happen in an instant, so talk to our veterinarian about your pet's unique risks.

The clearest signs that your pet has been poisoned are excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, weakness, and pale or yellow-ish gums. Depending on what they ate, a reaction could be immediate, or it may take several hours.

If you witness your pet ingest something that you believe may be harmful to them, you can have them drink a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. This is safe for pets in small quantities and will help them spit up whatever they have in their stomach. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. The suggested dosage is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of your pet's body weight, but not more than 3 tablespoons. Any more than that or using a more highly concentrated solution could be damaging.

Household items that are toxic to pets include:

  • antifreeze, mulch, fertilizer, insecticides, pesticides, pool chemicals, rat bait
  • cleaning supplies, bleach
  • alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, certain medications
  • citrus oil extracts, grapes and raisins, coffee, onions, garlic, nuts, chocolate
  • xylitol (sugar-free sweetener), salt, yeast products (raw bread dough)

There are several types of plants that can be poisonous to both cats and dogs, so keep this in mind when choosing what to incorporate into your garden. Minimize the amounts of plants in your home, or make sure plants are potted and out of reach. Any plant that is on the ground could be a choking hazard for pets, and it can be tricky to make sure you are only buying pet-friendly plants. Plants can vary widely when it comes to the risk they pose to animals, so make sure you are looking up anything you are thinking of adding to your garden or home.

The best way to handle a health emergency is to prepare for one. Have our number on speed dial in case you need to call on a moment's notice. You can also create an action safety plan designed around your pet's unique risks so that you are always prepared for the worst case scenario. Putting together a pet first-aid kit can save your pet's life in an emergency, so make sure you have one in your home and your car in case something happens while you are out with your furry friend. Fast action can truly save your pet's life, so over-preparing is not a bad idea!

Take proper precautions to keep harmful substances out of your pet's reach. Keep things like medications, alcohol, and cleaning chemicals in cabinets or closets where your pet can not access them. If you have any further questions about poison prevention for pets, call our office for further information.