Monday, November 21, 2016

Emergency Care for Your Pet

13 animal emergencies that should receive immediate veterinary consultation and/or care

  1. Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes
  2. Choking, difficulty breathing or nonstop coughing and gagging
  3. Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
  4. Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
  5. Injuries to your pet’s eye(s)
  6. You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
  7. Seizures and/or staggering
  8. Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s)
  9. Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
  10. Heat stress or heatstroke
  11. Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
  12. Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more
  13. Unconsciousness
The bottom line is that ANY concern about your pet’s health warrants, at minimum, a call to your veterinarian.

7 things you should know in case of an emergency with your pet

If you have an animal emergency, contact your vet immediately.
If you suspect or know that your pet has eaten or been exposed to a toxic substance or product, contact your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [888-426-4435*] immediately.
* a fee may apply
  1. Your vet’s emergency phone number;
  2. The local emergency clinic number;
  3. How to get to the emergency clinic;
  4. Poison Control number (888-426-4435)
  5. How to perform basic CPR on your pet;
  6. How to stop bleeding/apply a basic pressure wrap;
  7. How to muzzle your pet (to keep an injured pet from biting you)
​In addition to these seven things, you should also be prepared with methods of payment for your pet’s emergency care. Emergency care is often more expensive than routine care due to the intensity of diagnostics, monitoring and treatment required, and it is your responsibility as a pet owner to pay for that care. Many clinics are unable to bill you for the services, or may require a deposit or payment in full at the time of service. Delaying emergency care to avoid emergency fees could put your pet’s life at risk. Planning ahead for financial coverage of emergencies – perhaps by having a separate account or credit card for emergency use only, or pet insurance – can save you a lot of stress when they do happen.

First Aid Tips for Pet Owners

Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment.

First aid supplies
Our handy checklist tells you all the supplies you should have on hand for pet first aid. Print out a copy to use for shopping, and keep a copy on your refrigerator or next to the first aid kit for your family, for quick reference in emergencies.
How to handle an injured pet
Knowing how to comfort an injured pet can help minimize your pet's anxiety and also protect you and your family from injury.
Basic pet first aid procedures
Read our simple instructions for providing emergency first aid if your pet is suffering from poisoning, seizures, broken bones, bleeding, burns, shock, heatstroke, choking or other urgent medical problems. Print out a copy to keep with your pet emergency kit.
First aid when traveling with your pet
A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet in first aid situations while you are traveling. Remember: pet medical emergencies don't just happen at home.
Pets and disasters
Whether confronted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, or unexpected catastrophes such as a house fire, you need to be prepared to take care of your animals. A pre-determined disaster plan will help you remain calm and think clearly.

Additional pet first aid links


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Can My Dog Eat This?

Guy Crites wanted to share this article with my fans. Very informative!

He can be reached at

Sunday, September 4, 2016

NJ Family Pet Show Event

The NJ Family Pet Show!

Are you an animal lover in the northeast NJ area? Then this event is for you!
I've been invited to speak three times a day at the Nov 5th & 6th show at The Garden State Expo Center on 50 Atrium Drive in Somerset, New Jersey. I'll also be holding Mini Grooming Sessions and having a booth to sell my books (signed copies will be on sale!) and a variety of grooming supplies.
My educational seminars are free and details can be found on the Special Attractions Page at
There will be many other demos and speakers, and lots of vendors. Fun for the whole family! Check out their Facebook page for updates:
If you attend, please stop by and say hello!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Another Summer Issue: Heat Stroke

Heat stroke (or hyperthermia) is a condition caused by overheating in your pet. Early in heat stroke, symptoms may be easy to miss. Appearing distressed, panting, and acting restless are common signs, but you may just chalk them up to the excitement of the day. As heat stroke progresses, you may see your pet become unsteady on his feet.  His gum color may also change from pink to blue or purple. Heat stroke is an emergency which requires immediate veterinary care.

Avoiding heat stroke is easy if you consider the following points:

•  Never leave your pet in your car on a warm day. Not even to run into the store for a minute. On a warm day, your car can become an oven. Studies have shown that even in temperatures as mild as 70 degrees, the inside of your car can rise 40 degrees in as short as an hour. Let me repeat:  NEVER leave your pet in your car on even a slightly warm day.

Provide shade for your outdoor dog. Being able to get out of direct sunlight can help your dog stay cool.

• Because dogs cannot sweat, they rely on panting to cool their systems. Provide adequate ventilation at all times, especially if you have a short-nosed breed like a Pug or English Bulldog.

Work up slowly to exercise. If you’re like most of us, you AND your pets have been dormant most of the winter. Just as you’re not ready for that marathon right off the bat, our pets also need to ease into their new exercise routine.

Keep a special eye on older pets. They have a harder time rising and can be very sound sleepers. Falling asleep in the sun may sound luxurious, but for older pets it can be life-threatening.

Just as the case with our canine friends, obese cats are more prone to overheating, so these are the ones that you’ll want to keep a closer eye on during extremely hot days. 

There are other heat related situations that can potentially use up one of your feline’s nine lives, though. Knowing that cats seek out the warm spots, it may not be a surprise to hear that cats often jump into the clothes dryer, especially if there are freshly dried clothes there. This is enough to overheat your kitty, but an even more dangerous event may follow. Cats can go undetected in the dryer before it is started, leading to a potentially life threatening (not to mention very scary) wild ride. Check your dryer before you start it, especially in the winter when cats are even more likely to seek warmth.

Your vet will make a diagnosis based on your pet’s history and the physical exam findings. Heat stroke is treated with intravenous fluids and other supportive treatments, including possible plasma transfusions and treatments for kidney failure and gastrointestinal damage. Despite aggressive treatment, there is still a 50% mortality rate in patients who present with severe heat stroke, so remember that prevention is key to keep our furry friends from overheating this summer.

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on

Monday, June 6, 2016

Dry Drowning in Dogs

Dry Drowning in Dogs

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan
(with permission) 

The mercury has risen where I live, which is welcome after our harsh winter that seemed to last forever. And finally, summer is officially here.

With summer, though, comes some dangers for our pets. For the last few weeks, my Facebook feed has been sprinkled with posts warning friends about the risk of “dry drowning” in children, and this got me thinking about the same condition in pets.

I will never forget the first case of “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” that I ever saw. I was a fourth year student in veterinary school, working my clinical rotations. A very nice young couple came in to our emergency service with their 9-month-old Golden Retriever pup. It seems their pup found his way into their pool while they were out.

Dogs love swimming, and we know that most dogs can instinctively swim. They’ll eagerly jump in the pool for some real doggy paddling, but the trouble comes in getting out. By instinct, dogs tend to approach the side of the pool to exit, only to find themselves unable to climb out.

Like most dogs, the Golden Retriever pup could not get out of the pool. His owners had not taught him how to find and use the steps yet. These owners were very lucky to get home in time to see his accident; they were able to rescue him from the pool before he became so exhausted that he could no longer swim.

But their dog wasn’t out of the woods yet. That’s because the pool water he may have aspirated (or inhaled) while struggling to keep his muzzle above sea level was acting as an irritant in his lungs. This irritation was causing pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) to occur. As fluid built up inside his lungs, his ability to breathe became hampered.

This, dear readers, is dry drowning. It can happen hours – or even days – after a near drowning accident, and it is heart breaking because even though you rescued your pet from the immediate danger of drowning, you could still lose her later due to complications.

My story has a good outcome—the pup pulled through, much to everyone’s relief. But many stories do not turn out as well.

If you have to rescue your pet from a near drowning episode, keep a very, very close eye on him or her in the hours after the accident. To be safe, you may want to think about just taking her to the vet for observation, especially if the accident happens in the evening hours and you need someone to watch her overnight.

This summer, make sure your pets know how to get out of the pool. Teach them where the steps are and how to use them. And go one step further—never let your pet have access to the pool without supervision. It’s just not worth the risk!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pet Health Tips

This site offers great tips to keep your pets healthy and safe. Topics include traveling with pets, grass eating pets, and why standing water and dirty puddles are not good for pets.

Download their pdf files from the site,

PetPlan Health Tips

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dental Care for Your Dog

NOTE: From newsletter

February is Pet Dental Health Month—a good time to remember that dogs have oral care needs too. While dental health may not be at the top of your pet-care priorities, it is important to your dog's health. Taking care of his chompers not only curbs dog breath and helps prevent periodontal disease (the most commonly diagnosed disease among dogs aged 3+), it can actually help him live a healthier life.

The best way to keep your dog's teeth clean is to brush them regularly. Look for a finger brush, which is a little sleeve that fits over your finger. It's easy to use and its textured design provides effective scrubbing. You can also use a toothbrush that's specifically designed for dogs. And be sure to use only dog toothpaste, which is available at pet stores. Human toothpaste foams too easily and may be harmful or toxic if swallowed by dogs. For the ultimate in oral care, you can try using oral rinses that are made for pets.

Simple tips for better oral health:
1. Watch his diet. Studies show that hard kibble is slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. If you feed your dog canned food exclusively, try mixing dry and canned food together. Or supplement his wet food with an oral care treat. (See below.)
2. Give him something to chew on. There are many products available online or at your local pet store that will benefit your dog's teeth and gums. Be careful not to choose anything too large or hard that could break his teeth. Do not use toys that are abrasive and can wear down the teeth.
3. Look for tartar control treats. There are some dental chews specifically designed to help control plaque and tartar buildup, such as PEDIGREE® DENTASTIX® Daily Oral Care Snack Food for Dogs. Make sure the snacks you choose are clinically proven.
4. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or sweet treats because they can increase the buildup of plaque and tartar, and may lead to other health problems.

Whether you choose to use brushing, chews, kibble, oral care snacks, or a combination of the four, be sure to keep up with it. With a little vigilance on your part, you can help your dog maintain good oral health—and that could mean better overall health and a longer life.

For more at-home tips to care for your dogs and cats, buy my Kindle book, Pet Grooming 101, for only $.99!