Outdoor Winter Safety Tips for Your Pet

It only takes a quick glance out your window to see that winter is here to stay for a while. Like every season, it presents unique safety challenges for dogs and cats. Fortunately, you can easily minimize these risks to ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy all season long. 

Protecting Your Pet Outdoors
Unlike cats who could stay indoors all winter, dogs still need to go for walks and go outside to relieve themselves. When the temperature and the wind chill are below zero, limit this time to no more than is absolutely necessary. A dog-sized coat and covers for the paws will help your dog stay warm when you go for a walk. Additionally, the dog booties protect his paws from road salt that can be painful to step on and get lodged between his toes. 

The Pet Poison Helpline fields hundreds of calls this time of year from people who are frantic because their pet ingested anti-freeze. Even a small amount of this substance can be toxic or fatal, particularly for cats and small dogs. If you have anti-freeze spills on your driveway, be sure to keep your pet away from that area entirely. It's also important to keep unused anti-freeze in a sealed container on a high shelf. This substance is attractive to them due to its sweetness and clear appearance.

Mice and other rodents are pesky at any time of year, but they are even more of a problem in the winter because they seek shelter inside of your home to escape the weather. If you use outdoor rodenticides, train your pet to stay away from them and supervise her when she is outside. Like anti-freeze, ingesting rodenticide can create toxic effects in animals within minutes.

When you are outside with your pet, be sure to look for signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Excessive shivering, lethargy, black or bright red tissues, and icicles on the body are the most common indications that one of these conditions has occurred. Please contact us immediately for treatment advice or to schedule an appointment to evaluate your pet's symptoms.

In case of an emergency this winter, please contact the clinic nearest you during regular office hours. After hours, you may contact our on-call doctor at 1-800-924-0588. Our veterinarian will arrange to meet you or refer you to another emergency service if not available to see your pet right away.

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FDA Warns Pet Owners About the Dangers of Unregulated Online Pharmacies

In January 2015, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a buyer beware warning to pet owners who order medications from an online pharmacy. Although many legitimate online veterinary pharmacies exist, others operate without FDA regulation. These pharmacies promise customers they can buy medications cheaply without a prescription. Such a practice is both dangerous and illegal. Selling expired and counterfeit drugs are also common practices of disreputable online pharmacies.

Beware of the Online Pharmacy That Offers a Long-Distance Evaluation
It's a common practice among unregulated online pharmacies to offer to evaluate a pet by reading a health form the owner provided and then selling him or her a medication that normally requires a prescription. This is obviously a dangerous practice. Besides not knowing the quality of the medication, a pet should receive a personal evaluation by a veterinarian prior to starting any new drug. This is the only way to know if the medication is appropriate for the pet's current health condition.

The FDA is especially concerned about unregulated pharmacies dispensing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and heartworm medications. These drugs can be dangerous when not dispensed and actively monitored by a veterinarian. He or she needs to take a blood test and analyze the results before recommending either of these medications, which is it's risky to order them from an online pharmacy that doesn't require this.

Order Your Pet's Medications Safely from Our Online Store
If you like the convenience of ordering your pet's medications online, just place an order from our online store. We offer medications in 22 categories, including pain management and parasite prevention. With our Easy Dose It option, you can order a single dose of your pet's medication to be sent monthly. You can also set up recurring shipments for any type of maintenance medication.

In addition to convenience, shopping at Grantsburg Animal Hospital's My Vet Store Online provides you with valuable peace of mind. All medications are FDA approved and guaranteed by the manufacturer. You can also contact us with a refill request and we will have it ready for you when you arrive at the clinic. If the prescription was originally written elsewhere, Dr. Palmquist will need to examine your pet before we can issue a refill. After that, we can refill the prescription for six months to one year before requiring another exam.

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Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day may not be commonly associated with pets, but who better to represent a holiday that’s based on love? No offense, Cupid, but is there any truer affection than the wagging tail that greets a parent after a long day at work? Or the gentle tap of a furry paw to wake you in the morning?

Perhaps you were in a bad mood and too tired for Thursday’s evening walk, or forgot to clean the litter box twice this week. But guess what? You’re still the center of the universe to your four-legged family members. There are no ulterior motives for the things they enjoy most—a play session, a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears. And each of these acts have just one thing in common—love and attention from the parent they adore. Indeed, unconditional love is a lesson best taught by the pets with whom we share our lives.

Here’s wishing you a day filled with the affection of loved ones, family and friends, and most of all, PETS!

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While chocolate is a popular “people treat” that’s enjoyed all year, it comes in bumper supply during holidays like Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, we want to remind our clinic family to take extra care to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong paws, including cats’, even though it tends to be dogs who find and ingest it most often.

Chocolate contains caffeine and a natural stimulant called theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats, with dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate being the most dangerous. Depending on the amount of chocolate consumed, pets can suffer reactions ranging from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea to death. Other signs of chocolate consumption can include an increased heart rate and restlessness. If you suspect your furry friend has ingested chocolate, we need to see him immediately. One of the most critical factors influencing the pet’s survival rate and recovery is how quickly his parents react. Possible treatments include induced vomiting, stomach pumping or the administration of medicine to prevent absorption into the bloodstream.

Candy and other treats are common sources in most homes, but don’t forget about baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder in the kitchen, and even cocoa shell mulch around landscaping outdoors. If pets have access to your lawn, opt for mulches made from materials like tree bark instead. 

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