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Thunderstorms and New Year's Fireworks Can Lead to Noise Phobia in Pets

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cat dog fireworksThunderstorms and New Year’s Fireworks Can Lead to Noise Phobia in Pets

Pets are not as thrilled about the New Year’s fireworks as their human owners. Just the opposite, they find the noise very stressful and even scary. The same counts for thunderstorms, especially when it comes to dogs although excessive fear of thunders, fireworks, gunshots and other loud noises can be developed by cats and other pets as well. And with each exposure, the fear tends to intensify, often progressing to noise phobia. Besides causing a major distress for both the pet and their owners, noise phobia also poses a risk of injury which can occur while the pet is trying to run away from the source of noise.

Dogs More Likely to Develop Noise Phobia than Cats

Irrational fear of loud noises such as thunders and New Year’s fireworks can be developed by both cats and dogs as well as other pets including horses. However, it is much more likely to be developed by dogs than cats. It remains unknown what causes noise phobia in pets and in most cases, there is no single trigger. But in most cases, the fear grows bigger with each exposure and eventually, the animal may also develop fear of similar noises/sounds and related events.

Signs and Symptoms of Noise Phobia

Animals suffering from noise phobia can display fear of loud noises in many different ways. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include trying to escape, hiding, shaking, pacing, drooling, whining, urinating/defecating, refusing to obey and panting, to mention just a few. As the animals try to run away from the source of the noise, they can injure themselves, while those succeeding to escape can get lost.

Making Loud Sounds Less Terrifying for Your Pet

If your pet suffers from noise phobia or is afraid of certain noises such as thunders and New Year’s fireworks, there are several things you can do to make the noise less stressful and frightening:

– Keep your pet away from sources of loud noises such as fireworks. As mentioned above, the fear tends to increase with each exposure. Therefore, it is best to avoid events such as New Year’s celebrations involving fireworks.

– Keep your pet indoors during thunderstorms. Pets generally feel safer with their owners and as a result, thunder and lightning appear less frightening. You may also run a kitchen fan or TV to mask the noise and distract your pet.

– Watch your attitude. The way you behave during thunderstorms and other ‘scary’ events has a major impact on your pet. Try to stay calm and take a comforting stand but be sure not to be overly comforting because the animal may misinterpret it as an approval of their behavior. Also, don’t punish your pet because it will only make things worse.

– Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier if you must go outside during a thunderstorm, fireworks or other loud event. Animals that are afraid of loud noises instinctively try to run away from the perceived threat and they don’t respond to commands. As a result, they are virtually impossible to control unless on a leash or in a carrier.

– Ask your vet for help. If your pet’s fear of loud noises is severe or if you suspect noise phobia, turn to your vet for help. There are several treatment options, with medications and behavior modification being the most common approaches to treatment of this irrational form of fear.

Christmas Dangers for Dogs

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Christmas is a happy time for most dogs. The entire family is together, everyone is in a festive mood, there are all sorts of goodies to eat, … But there are also all sorts of dangers lurking around every corner. To prevent painful and potentially life threatening accidents, and save yourself a trip to the veterinarian during the holidays, beware of Christmas dangers for dogs and take the necessary precautions. Some of the most common dangers and ways to reduce the risk of injury include:

– Christmas decorations and ornaments. They are intended to look pretty and create that special festive atmosphere, however, they can be very dangerous for your dog. Christmas decorations and ornaments such as Christmas tree baubles, tinsels, ribbons, lights, candles, wrapping paper, etc. don’t pose an immediate threat to your pet but they are a very common cause of veterinary visits during the holidays.

For example, baubles which are often made of glass or other fragile material can cause serious injuries to your dog’s mouth, intestines or other internal organs if chewed or/and swollen. Also, they pose a choking hazard. The same goes for tinsel, ribbon and many other popular Christmas decorations and ornaments. Christmas tree lights, on the other hand, can cause electric shock if chewed, while burning candles can lead to potentially severe burns, not to mention the risk of a potentially very serious fire. So make sure that potentially dangerous Christmas decorations and ornaments are out of reach of your dog.

– Holiday foods and treats. It’s perfectly normal to feel the need to give your dog a special treat during the holidays. Unfortunately, many holiday foods and treats are dangerous for your furry friend. Chocolate, nuts, onions, grapes and other popular Christmas choices are difficult to digest or even toxic for dogs, while many can also cause choking, internal damage, obstruction or other forms of health problems. So resist the temptation to give your dog special treats during Christmas.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something potentially poisonous, contact your vet immediately. The most common symptoms of food poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy and seizures. Also, call your vet immediately if your dog appears to be choking.

– Christmas tree and other popular holiday plants. Believe it or not, but many popular holiday plants are poisonous and can cause a potentially deadly poisoning if ingested. Fortunately, this doesn’t count for Christmas tree although pine tree needles can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested. Also, they can get stuck in your pet’s paws and cause a major discomfort, irritation or injury. You are therefore recommended to vacuum the needles on a daily basis.

Ingestion of plants such as Holly, Poinsettia or Mistletoe, all of which are very popular during the holiday season, is another Christmas danger for dogs as all the mentioned plants are toxic. The good news is that they are not very toxic although some Christmas plants can be deadly if ingested in small amounts. To reduce the risk of poisoning, check plants for toxicity before bringing them home and keep all poisonous (or potentially poisonous) plants out of reach of your dog.

Employee Pumpkin Carving Contest

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***UPDATE***

The votes are all in and counted.  The winner is….

Samantha, our new Receptionist with Entry #5!

Congratulations Samantha!


It’s our annual Employee Pumpkin Carving Contest!

This year you will be able to vote online as well as in the office!

Below are pictures of the beautiful creations as well as pictures of them lite up with bewitching power!

Each pumpkin has a number attached to it.  Remember your favorite and vote at the top of the page!

 Good Luck to all the contestants!

Entry #1

entry #2

entry #3

entry #4

entry #5

Vote on the Halloween Costume Contest

By | Contests, News

***UPDATE***

We have winners!

Martini anyone is 1st!

Cat Sushi is 2nd!

Sleeping Skeleton is 3rd!

Yoda is 4th!

Sunny as “Toothless” is 5th, Darth Vader is 6th, Sydney as “Toothless” is 7th,

T-Bird from Grease is 8th, Sleeping Lion is 9th and Horse and Jockey is 10th!

Congratulations to all the entries!

Prizes will be selected in order of winning place.

Prizes are:

  • Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large (1 prizes)
  • One Year Supply of Heart Guard Plus heartworm prevention. (2 prizes)
  • Free Weekend of Boarding (3 prizes)
  • One month supply of food from Hill’s Food Supply (2 prizes)
  • Free Auto Detail from Capital City Mobile Auto Detail – He comes to you (4 prizes)

 

Skeleton Collage

brody Cat Sushimurphy

Bumble BeeSonic Box wong1 Sunny as “Toothless”

Sydney as “Toothless” wong2Skeleton Morgan Morgan    Madison, Trick or Treater?MadisonT-Bird from Grease Sylvester T-Bird From Grease Martini any one?Meridth Gray Wong 007 Puss in Boots

Sleeping SkeletonRobin-Daisy Little LionSpencer

Yorkie SkeletonKiinder Biker BuddyRRAH Costume Contest

Horse and JockeyRRAH Costume ContestSailor Kitty RRAH Costume Contest

Devil Dog001YodaRRAH Costume ContestDarth Vader RRAH Costume Contest

 

Halloween Costume Contest – Rules

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Welcome to our Halloween Costume Contest!

For 2015, Rocklin Road Animal Hospital is throwing a costume contest online. Take a picture of your pet in their Halloween costume and then we will show off the cuteness/scariness/silliness of the puppy/kitty.

Rules for RRAH’s Halloween Costume ContestRRAH Halloween Contest

  • One picture per pet (so if you have more than one pet, submit a picture for each pet)
  • Email the picture to Donnette by clicking HERE.
  • Entries are open until October 18th, 2015
  • The top 20 entries will be voted on for two weeks to name the top 12 winners
  • Named winners will be on Nov 02, 2015
  • Must be a client of Rocklin Road Animal Hospital

 

Prizes for RRAH’s Halloween Costume Contest

We are putting together some great prizes. The top 12 winners will pick from a pool of prizes in the order of their rank. You will not want to miss out on these!

Prize Pool:

 

Dog Walking Etiquette

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Dog Walking Etiquette

Easy Infographic

Besides providing exercise, taking your dog for a walk is also a fantastic way for the two of you to bond, spend quality time together or simply have fun. But only under condition that you follow the rules of dog walking etiquette. There are not many but there are some very important rules to follow to make the daily walk with your dog an enjoyable and rewarding experience not only for the two of you but for other dog walkers, joggers, cyclists, etc. as well.

Always Keep Your Dog on a Leash

This rule should never be broken even if you have the most highly trained and obedient dog in the world, for both his and other people’s (and dogs’) safety. A leash enables you to have full control of your dog at all times. It enables you to prevent him not only from chasing cats, attacking skateboarders, etc. but it also enables you to prevent him from running on the street and get hit by a car. And the last but not the least important, it reassures other people that they won’t get attacked or disturbed by your dog.

Teach Your Dog to Obey and Respond Instantly to Commands Such as “Come”, “Sit” and “Leave It”

In addition to having control of your dog physically, it is crucial to control him mentally/psychologically as well which is especially important if the dog is from a medium- to large-sized breed. Unless he is controlled through voice commands, he can be impossible to manage even if leashed. What is more, the leash is of little use if the dog doesn’t obey his owner. For that reason it is crucial for your dog to be well trained and above all, to obey and respond instantly to commands such as “come”, “sit” and “leave it”.

Remember that Some People Don’t Like Dogs and that No One Likes Misbehaved Dogs

Dog Walking Etiquette

Keep your dog away from other people and their properties. Most people love dogs, especially if they are well behaved but remember that there are also people who don’t like dogs for one reason or the other. And they don’t want to be approached by dogs and much less to be jumped on. Speaking about jumping, no one likes it, not even people who own dogs themselves. So respect other people’s space and teach your dog good manners.

Know the Rules of Dog Greeting

Don’t let your dog approach other dogs without asking their owners for approval. Let him greet the other dog by sniffing his rear end only if the owner agrees and be sure to pay attention to both dogs’ body language. If you notice any signs of tension or stress from either side, move your dog away immediately.

Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop

In addition to being unsightly, smelly and annoying, uncollected dog poop can also spread various parasites, viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms to other dogs and in some cases even to people. Always carry a plastic bag in your pocket to be able to pick up your dog’s poop and dispose it in the nearest garbage can.

Dog Walking

Itchy Skin in Cats

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Itchy Skin in Cats

If your cat can’t stop scratching, you should take a closer look at her coat and skin to see what could be the culprit. Itchy skin in cats is a very common problem and fortunately, it usually isn’t serious. However, it is of utmost importance to identify the cause of itching and make sure that your cat receives proper treatment. As soon as possible in order to avoid complications as constant scratching can lead to hair loss, crusting and infection.

A number of things can be responsible for itchy skin in cats. The most common causes include:

– Fleas and lice. Both parasites can cause major discomfort including intense itchiness which gets worse if the infestation is left unchecked. Fleas and flea droppings can often be seen with a naked eye but to be sure, you may also use a comb. If you see tiny black spots, you are looking at flea droppings. You may also comb out white dots or flea eggs. Lice and their eggs can be visually detected as well. They are tiny white insects producing white elongated eggs. However, they are far less common than fleas.

– Mites and other parasites. Mite infestation in cats usually involves the ears but there is also mite species which affects the skin, causing severe itching and symptoms such as scaling and skin lesions. Just like fleas and lice, skin mites can often be seen with a naked eye on a closer inspection of the skin. The same counts for parasites such as ticks.

– Allergies. Cats can develop allergies too. And they can manifest themselves in the form of itchy skin. The latter can be a reaction to a number of things including food, grooming products and even environmental factors such as pollen and dust, while many cats are also hypersensitive to flea and insect bites. Besides itchy skin, symptoms of an allergy in cats may also include skin lesions and hair loss.

– Bacterial and fungal skin infections. These are usually also accompanied by other symptoms such as crusting, lesions, hair loss or/and discharge.

Treatment of Itchy Skin in Cats

Scratching Cat

To relieve the discomfort, it is necessary to identify and treat the cause of the itchiness. If fleas or lice are the culprit, the itchiness will go away as soon as the parasites are eliminated. There are a number of highly effective topical products from shampoos and sprays to spot-ons, many of which also provide protection from future infestations and are available over-the-counter.

Other parasites such as mites can successfully be treated with topical products as well, while ticks should be physically removed. Topical ointments and creams are the most commonly prescribed treatment for bacterial and fungal skin infections but your vet may also prescribe oral medications, depending on the cause and severity of the infection.

Allergies can be very challenging to treat, especially if the trigger hasn’t been identified yet. The best treatment is elimination of the trigger but your vet may also prescribe oral and topical medications to reduce the allergic reaction and alleviate its symptoms including itchy skin.

Introducing Your Dog to New Dogs

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Introducing Your Dog to New Dogs

Dogs are social animals and a new dog can thus bring a lot of joy in your pet’s life. A new dog, after all, means a new playmate, new friend and new companion. Unfortunately, this is not how your dog may perceive new dogs, especially when first introduced. For that reason, it is highly important to take the introduction process very seriously and follow the expert advice summarized below.

Neutral Territory

It is recommended not to introduce your dog to new dogs at home. Dogs are territorial and they consider your home and backyard as their territory. Just like a stranger (and mailman), a new dog can be perceived as an intruder. To prevent hostile and aggressive reactions, introduce your dog to new dogs on a neutral territory, for example in a nearby park.

One Person Per Dog

It is impossible to foretell how your dog will react to a new dog. To prevent the worse, there should be one person per dog. Also, every dog should be on the leash. That way the distance between the dogs can be controlled and in case of aggression, they can be pulled apart before seriously injuring each other. But remember that the leashes should be kept loose. Tightness can cause anxiety and nervousness which in turn can lead to hostility.

One Dog at a Time

Introducing Dogs

If you have more dogs, introduce the newcomer to one dog at a time. Two or multiple dogs act like a pack and if one of them attacks the new dog, others will follow him.

Calm, Friendly Tone

If you’re tense, your dog will be tense as well. Tension is bad because it translates into an increased risk of hostility and aggression. So be sure to be calm and talk with a friendly tone when introducing the dogs.

Gradual Progress

Let the dogs to sniff each other but only for a few seconds. Then take them for a walk and allow them to sniff each other repeatedly while walking. You may also reward the dogs with a treat when obeying your commands or displaying good behavior to make the experience more pleasant for both of them.

Body Language

It is extremely important to ‘read’ your dog’s body language. If your dog appears relaxed, has his mouth open, makes a play bow or wags his tail, it means he is OK with the new dog. But if his tail is held high, ears placed forward, mouth closed or if he is staring, growling or moving stiffly and slowly, immediately stop the introduction and distance the dogs from each other for a few minutes.

Dogs Need Time Too

Don’t try to speed things up. Instead, let the dogs to proceed at their own pace. When ready, they will interact. Also, keep in mind that it’s normal for newly introduced dogs to ignore each other at first. Be patient and remember that just like humans, dogs need some time before becoming comfortable with each other as well.

You should follow the above listed ‘introduction rules’ no matter if the new dog is just a visitor or new pack member. If the introduction didn’t go well, you are recommended to seek professional help as soon as possible, especially if the dogs are going to live together.

Dogs being introduced

Arthritis In Cats

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Cats Get Arthritis Too

Arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints which gradually gets worse doesn’t only affect humans. The condition is also very common in cats, especially in those older than 10 years although it can be developed by younger cats as well. And since cats typically hide signs of health problems, arthritis usually goes unnoticed until the pain becomes severe. Unfortunately, arthritis in cats cannot be cured but there are ways to relieve the pain and improve the cat’s quality of life.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats

Cats are masters of disguise when it comes to hiding health issues. As a result, it is very difficult to notice that they have a problem until it gets severe. And arthritis is no exception. The first signs and symptoms are thus displayed only when the pain increases to the point the cat can no longer hide it. Some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in cats include:

– stiffness, lameness
– lethargy
– reduced activity, lack of interest in play
– reluctance to jump, difficulty climbing stairs
– joint swelling
– accidents outside the litter box
– decreased grooming
– discomfort, irritability, display of aggression when handled

Causes of Arthritis in Cats

Arthritic Cat

Most cases of arthritis in cats are caused by degeneration of the cartilage, a protective tissue that prevents the bones from rubbing directly against each other. This degeneration is unfortunately a normal part of the aging process and thus the condition is most often observed in older cats. However, arthritis can also be developed by younger cats. The most common causes after aging related wear and tear include injury, trauma and infection. Overweight has also been shown to play a role in arthritis by increasing stress on the joints which doesn’t only increase the risk of developing the condition but it also makes it more difficult to manage.

Risk Factors of Arthritis in Cats

Just like in humans, the risk of arthritis in cats increases with age. More than three quarters of cats aged 10 years or more have damaged cartilage to a certain extent. Overweight is also a major risk factor because it puts stress on the joints and increases the wear and tear. Other risk factors include injury such as joint dislocation, trauma and infection causing inflammation of the joints.

Treatment of Arthritis in Cats

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis in cats. The available treatments focus on relieving the pain and improving joint mobility which, however, dramatically increases the pet’s quality of life. For that reason it is critical to start with treatment as soon as possible.

Anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly prescribed treatment because they alleviate the pain and improve mobility. Surgery may also be an option, especially if the cat has suffered an injury or trauma. If your cat has arthritis, you can also help her by making food and water easily available, providing easy-to-reach and cozy bed, buying a litter box with low sides, etc. The last but not the least important is to watch the cat’s weight. If she is overweight, ask your vet for advice on diet and exercise that is safe for cats with arthritis.