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7 Holiday Foods NOT to Feed Pets

By Educational, Health

7 Holiday Foods NOT to Feed Pets

Sharing holiday foods with pets can be hard to resist—especially when they stare at you with those adorable eyes. However, while many foods that humans eat are not dangerous to pets, some exceptions can lead to life-threatening and even fatal outcomes.

To help prevent this, here’s a quick list of seven-holiday foods not  to feed pets:

Grapes, Raisins, and Currants

Found in fruitcakes, traditional holiday puddings, bread, grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Since researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact agent that makes these fruits so toxic, any ingestion should be cause for concern, regardless of the grape variety.

Poisoning in dogs has occurred from:

  • Seedless and seeded grapes
  • Commercial and homegrown fruits
  • Red and green grapes/raisins
  • Organic and non-organic fruits
  • Grape pressings from wineries

Foods containing grapes, raisins, and currants (including everyday foods like raisin bran cereal, trail mix and granola mix) are all potential sources of poison for dogs.

Macadamia Nuts

Common to holiday cookie recipes, macadamia nuts are considered poisonous for dogs. Though researchers are still trying to identify the specific toxin that affects dogs, both raw and roasted macadamia nuts are considered dangerous.

Signs of macadamia nut poisoning include:

  • Lethargy
  • Joint stiffness or hind limb weakness
  • Increased body temperature or fever
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

According to numerous animal poison control agencies, macadamia nut poisoning in dogs can also cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

Foods Sweetened with Xylitol

As a sugar substitute widely found in diet baked goods, gum, candies and other foods, xylitol is safe for human consumption. Yet for dogs, xylitol can be lethal. Xylitol is rapidly absorbed into a pet’s bloodstream and can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, seizures and even death in dogs.

Signs of xylitol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Loss of energy
  • Tremors


All forms of chocolate are toxic to dogs (and cats) because of theobromine, a compound similar to caffeine. At doses over 40 mg/kg, cardiac symptoms can be seen, including racing heart rate, high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat, and doses around 200 mg/kg can be fatal.

The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. While milk chocolate only contains about 44-58 mg of theobromine per ounce, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate can contain 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce.

Signs of chocolate poisoning include:

  • Agitation and hyperactivity
  • Drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Increased thirst, panting or restlessness
  • Excessive urination
  • Racing heart rate


As the intoxicating agent found in beer, wine and liquor, ethanol (a.k.a. alcohol) affects dogs in much the same way that it affects humans. Ethanol depresses a dog’s central nervous system to commonly cause drowsiness, lack of coordination and unconsciousness. Signs of advanced ethanol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Depression or vocalization
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate
  • Involuntary urination or defecation
  • Acidosis, hypothermia, hypoglycemia or hypotension
  • Seizures or coma
  • Heart attack

Unbaked Bread Dough

When ingested by dogs, unbaked bread dough results in the production of ethanol from the fermentation of sugars by certain species of yeast. As such, the consumption of unbaked bread dough presents most of the same symptoms and risks listed previously under Alcohol, including vomiting, incontinence, respiratory distress, seizures and heart attack.

Other signs of poisoning from unbaked bread dough include:

  • Distended, painful abdomen (from gases produced by fermentation)
  • Gastric obstruction with the potential for gastric dilation (twisted stomach)

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain a substance called thiosulphate, which causes a form of anemia in dogs and cats due to an abnormal breakdown of red blood cells, though signs and symptoms may not appear right away. Onions don’t have to be raw to be potentially lethal to pets. Toxicity can occur from fried, dehydrated or powdered onions in food. Garlic contains significantly higher concentrations of thiosulphate than onions, meaning just a little can be dangerous.

Signs of poisoning from garlic or onions include:

  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Vomiting, nausea or diarrhea
  • Reddish discoloration of urine
  • Excessive drooling or a wobbly gait (ataxia)
  • Elevated heart rate or increased panting
  • Pale gums
  • Abdominal discomfort

The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” remains true today when it comes to protecting your pet from toxic foods during the holidays.

Don’t leave foods unattended on coffee tables and other places where foods are easily consumed by curious pets. Put leftovers away and take out the trash so pets aren’t tempted to raid the scraps.

If you see your pet eating anything toxic or exhibiting any unusual signs, immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline, available in North America by calling 800-213-6680.

Happy holidays!

RocklinVet Celebrates 40 Years!

By Events, News


Rocklin Road Animal Hospital Celebrates 40 years!


Rocklin, CA, August 16, 2018– Rocklin Road Animal Hospital will celebrate 40 years of caring for the pets of Rocklin, with an Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, September 23, 2018, from 11 am to 2 pm at 4730 Rocklin Road.   

The community is invited to take a tour of the hospital and enjoy a walk around the beautifully landscaped grounds.  There will be an 11:00 ribbon cutting by the Rocklin Chamber of Commerce commemorating Rocklin Road Animal Hospitals 40-year commitment to the community.  Enjoy a Bar-B-Que served by Boy Scout Troop 12 from Loomis, Zelda’s Cotton Candy Cart, Lazy Dog Ice Cream and lots of treats for the dogs.  Demonstrations will start at 11:30 with AKC Rally Sport, police dogs, brushing your pet’s teeth, cleaning your dog’s ears, and the best way to trim toenails. For the kids, there will be a bounce house, face painting, a balloon twist artist, and a fun game of Scoop the Poop (not real poop)! For the dogs, there will be Pet Painting and lots of treats.  Embrace Pet Insurance, Pet Harnesses, Invisible Fence, Doody Calls and other vendors will be there to answer any questions.  Placer SPCA will have pets up for adoption with the Pet Mobile.  There will be a Raffle, and the proceeds will go to Placer SPCA.  Gift bags to the first 150 visitors.  Parking will be available at Better Health Chiropractic and Little Caesars Pizza Center. As a reminder, all dogs must be on a leash. 

Dr.  Eric Grunder, DVM expressed “I am excited to open our doors and invite the community to our Anniversary celebration.  I have owned Rocklin Road Animal Hospital since 1998 and have been proud to be a part of this community.  This is my way of saying thank you to Rocklin!”

A client since 1998 shared, “Dr. Grunder, Dr. Willams, Dr. Gerst and all the staff at Rocklin Road Animal have taken care of all my animals.  The genuine care we receive is truly appreciated at all times. When my dogs are there for boarding, I have no worries.  Why do I go to Rocklin Road Animal Hospital?  Because they are a part of my family!” 

If you would like more information about this event or Rocklin Road Animal Hospital, please contact Donnette Larson at 916-624-8255 or email at

Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

By Uncategorized

Cats are America’s #1 pet

There are 86.4 million pet cats in the United States, compared with 78.2 million pet dogs, making cats the most popular pet. A third of U.S. households own at least one cat and more than half of those own at least two.
Since the days of the ancient Egyptians and throughout history cats have earned their reputation as affectionate, intelligent, clean, easily trainable, playful and fun family pets. As a cat owner, you probably agree.

Veterinarian Visits Are Declining

Despite the fact that in the last five years the number of pet cats has increased to more than 4 million, the number of feline veterinarian visits is declining. Compared with dogs, nearly three times as many cats did not receive any veterinary care in the past year. This is a disturbing trend that leads us to ask pet owners, “Have we seen your cat lately?”

The American Association of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association recommend a minimum of one annual wellness exam for cats, with more frequent exams for senior and geriatric patients, or those cats with medical or behavioral conditions.

What can You do?

What can you do to stay on track and help your cat get the health care they deserve? Call us! We have reminder systems to help you stay on track. We also have a Preventive Plan for Cats of all ages. They include the necessary vaccines and tests all at 10% off regular prices. You can also either pay all at once or pay in monthly installments to help make it more affordable. 

Summer Pet Safety Tips and Reminders

By Educational, Health

Summer is now in full swing and with it comes the long, hot days. Here are some tips and reminders to keep your dog safe during the dog days of summer.

    • Dogs do not sweat through their skin but dissipate heat by panting. Dogs with compromised respiratory systems are more susceptible to heat stroke.
    • Never leave your dog in the car. Many sources say when the outside temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s too hot. This is a good guideline. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can start in dogs when their internal temperature reaches 104 degrees. Keep in mind that normal temperature in dogs is around 101 degrees. The temperature inside cars can get hot fast. A scientific review written by forensic scientists measured temperature variations in parked cars. When the outside temperature was measured at 75 degrees, the temperature in the cabin of a car has been measured at 118 degrees. That’s too hot. At 81 degrees, the cabin of the car can reach 138 degrees. Cracking the windows has an effect, but not enough of one when the temperature is in the 70s. A one inch crack in all windows lowers the maximum cabin temperature by 5 degrees. A 2” crack in all windows lowers the cabin temperature by 10 degrees.
    • Go for walks early in the day or in the evening. Dogs need exercise but it’s best to take them out for walks early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. Also, be aware of hot asphalt. It can burn your dog’s paws. Asphalt temperatures have been measured at 143 degrees Fahrenheit when the ambient temperature was only 87 degrees. To put this in perspective, 140 degrees can cause skin damage to vulnerable areas in five seconds. Eggs can literally fry at 131 degrees. If you suspect the ground may be hot enough to make your dog uncomfortable, simply bend down and test the surface with the back of your hand. You should be able to press the back of your hand firmly into the asphalt or metal for seven seconds with no discomfort.
    • Make sure your dog has plenty of water. Dogs need extra water on hot days to keep them hydrated. In addition, your pup will be grateful for a pond or creek, wading pool and/or a nice shaded area to keep cool when outside. Bring your dog inside often. Like humans, they also appreciate air conditioning and fans.
    • Dogs can sunburn. Dog breeds with short or no hair at all and with white or light-colored hair are the most vulnerable canines. Sunburn most often occurs on the nose, ears, around the eyes, and the tummy area of dogs. The most common sign that your dog has sunburn is redness and tenderness around the affected area. Sometimes, in more serious cases, the sunburn can even lead to hair loss and exposed skin on the burn site. As is the case with humans, repeated sun exposure and burns can cause skin damage and possibly skin cancer for your pets. You can apply sunscreen that is specifically labeled for dogs.

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion in your pet and how to deal with it are also important. Signs and symptoms include vigorous panting, elevated heart rate, excess salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, staggering, gasping, lying down and refusing to get up, and brick red, blue, or purple discoloration of the gums.

Heat Exhaustion Action Steps:

    • Take immediate measures to reduce body temperature.
    • Move dog to shade or air conditioned room.
    • Give the dog small doses of cool water or ice cubes to lick. Do not let the dog drink a copious amount of water.
    • Rinse the dog off with cool (not cold) water.
    • Place ice bags around the head, neck, and chest.
    • Put a fan on the dog if possible.
    • Do not cover the dog with a wet towel as this may prevent heat from escaping the body.
    • Bring your dog friend to us.


Here’s to a very happy and healthy summer!

Hairball Awareness Day is observed on the last Friday in April. So we're regurgitating the furry facts about hairballs in your feline friends!

By Educational, Health

What Causes a Feline Hairball?

By Dr. Mike Paul, DVM

Cats commonly develop hairballs that stress them and make us none too happy when we find them on the floor. Hairballs are, as their name implies, accumulations of hair that has been swallowed with grooming or excessive licking. Though generally considered a cat condition, other animals, including humans, can be affected.

What are hairballs and how do they form?
As cats groom themselves, they swallow a lot of the dead hair that has come loose. This indigestible hair passes down their throats and into the stomach. Most of this hair eventually passes through the cat’s digestive tract and then through the stools, but some of it remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates into a wet clump—the hairball.

What are the signs that my cat is having trouble with hairballs?
Because cats groom so much, it is not uncommon for cats to “cough up a hairball” as often as weekly. They are generally rather small (<1” in length) but can be quite large with long cylinders (up to 4” in length). On occasion, they may lodge in the stomach or intestine and develop to a size that requires intervention.

Hairballs tend to begin with the sound of a cough that is followed by retching and gagging and then followed by expelling a cylindrical mass of hair. It is impossible to distinguish the cause of a cough just by the sound.

It is very difficult to differentiate the coughing and gagging associated with a hairball from coughing associated with primary lung disease or parasites.

Vomiting can also look a lot like coughing and may or may not be associated with a cough.

Is my cat likely to have problems with hairballs?
Long hair cats have a greater tendency to form hairballs, as do younger cats. Some cats that are prone to skin problems and excessive grooming may have more problems with hairball formation. In some cases, frequent vomiting of hairballs may indicate an underlying gastrointestinal problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Prevention and management of hairballs
Brush and comb your cat frequently to remove hair that will otherwise be ingested. When you get a new kitten, start getting her accustomed to grooming. If your cat is a long hair cat and does not allow daily combing, it may be necessary to have her shaved regularly.

Administer a hairball remedy if necessary. Do not attempt to use mineral oil as there is a risk of aspiration. Petroleum jelly is effective if the cat will tolerate it. If not, there are a number of more palatable petroleum jelly based products that most cats find appealing.

Cat foods that have increased fiber content to facilitate the passing of hairballs and omega-6 fatty acids to enhance skin health may also be beneficial.

Questions to ask your veterinarian

  • Why do cats regularly vomit wads of hair?
  • How can I prevent hairballs in my cats?

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


Don't PANIC about your pet's skin

By Uncategorized

Pets’ skin conditions can drive an entire household a little crazy with the constant biting, licking and SO. MUCH. SCRATCHING.

But if your pet is suffering from a skin problem, there’s hope. Here are the top 4 things you need to know about your furry friend’s skin.


Dermatology cases are no walk in the park—in fact, it might surprise you to know there are over 160 skin conditions that affect dogs, ranging from curable to incurable. Veterinarians need to understand what is really happening to and within the skin before appropriate therapeutic strategies can be employed. Since it takes a new, healthy skin cell about four weeks to mature and be present near the skin surface, even curable skin diseases may take weeks to resolve. For the incurable cases, controlling an ongoing skin disorder through selected diets, medications, shampoos, sprays, fatty acids and vitamin supplements is the often the best we can do for our pets. But before you panic about how to handle your pet’s skin condition, review the most important things pet owners should know about skin conditions.


Some skin conditions are zoonotic.

What does this mean? Well, whatever’s causing your pooch to scratch may be the same thing that’s bothering your skin. And you should know: The veterinarian’s first priority is ensuring human health above all else. When some pets’ skin conditions are ignored or not addressed immediately, there is a risk of transmission to humans. So if you suspect something is troubling your pet, see your veterinarian in a hurry.

It is important to use antibiotics responsibly.

Antibiotics are not recommended for every skin infection. It is imperative that when your veterinarian prescribes an antibiotic, you finish the entire prescription. Do not try to give a few pills left over from last year when your pet has a skin flare-up—not only is this practice unsafe, it can also build the bacteria’s natural resistance to antibiotics. Together we can reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.

Ear infections are usually due to allergies.

For a pet that has more than two ear infections in the past year, it is important to ask the why and discuss what could be the underlying triggers with your veterinary team.

Many allergies can be managed.

Allergies don’t have to be treated with a barrage of steroids and antibiotics each time. There are many tools available to treat and manage allergies in pets. It is important to discuss a game plan with your veterinarian so you can be sure your pet is getting the best dermatologic care possible.


Five Tips for a Healthier Dog Smile

By Educational, Health

Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

Dogs have 42 smile generators. Keeping those 42 teeth strong, healthy, and happy is essential to preventing illness, pain, and may extend longevity.

Each February, U.S. veterinarians celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the dangers of oral diseases such as gingivitis, tooth abscesses, and mouth tumors. While I’ll be the first to admit it’s not a thrilling party theme, it is an incredibly important topic that directly affects every dog’s quality of life.

To get this party started, I’d like to share five of my top tips for a healthier dog smile!

1. Daily brushing
The foundation of a good oral care regimen for your dog is daily brushing. It can seem like a lot to brush your pet’s teeth daily, but it’s my professional obligation to remind you why it’s important. Daily brushing removes the biofilm and plaque created by mouth bacteria and helps avoid most oral diseases. That’s why we spend two to three minutes twice a day brushing our pearly whites; we fear the dentist’s drill and the threat of root canals (well, at least I do). Once you train your pooch to sit still for a couple of minutes while you clean his teeth, you’ll discover how fast and easy it is. Here are my seven simple steps to teaching your dog to tolerate the toothbrush:

  • Start by touching and rubbing the face, lips, and muzzle. Do this for a few days before moving to the next step.
  • Next, rub the teeth and gums with your fingers for a few days.
  • Begin rubbing and brushing your pet’s face and lips with a veterinarian-approved toothbrush.
  • Let your pet “taste test” pet-safe toothpaste on the toothbrush.
  • Gently brush the front teeth by lifting the lips.
  • Slowly work your way to the back teeth over several sessions. Concentrate on the outside of the teeth.
  • Make it fun! Reward your pet with praise and a crunchy veggie treat after each session.

2. Beyond the brush
No matter what, some pet parents simply can’t brush their dog’s teeth. If you fall into that category, think beyond the brush. Daily oral swishes and rinses chew treats containing anti-plaque ingredients, and specialized teeth-cleaning diets are easy options. Be honest with your veterinarian if you struggle to clean your dog’s teeth; ask for alternatives to tooth brushing. I almost always find another technique the pet parent can use. Are these substitutes as good as brushing? Of course not. But they’re infinitely better than no oral care, and some work nearly as well.

3. Monthly mouth check
In addition to daily oral care, mark your calendar for a monthly peek inside your pet’s mouth. Look for reddened or puffy gums, cracked or broken teeth, and unusual color changes, growths or swellings. Any bleeding, pus, or discharges from teeth and gums should be reported to your veterinarian immediately. While you’re checking the teeth, be sure to feel the throat for swollen lymph nodes, the eyes for cloudiness or changes in coloration, and the tummy for tenderness or masses. Identifying subtle changes early can help prevent significant diseases later.

4. Yearly vet check
No discussion of oral health would be complete without mentioning the importance of annual veterinary checkups. Your veterinarian will carefully examine your pet’s oral cavity for any problems difficult to notice at home. Oral health may impact your dog’s entire body: infection in the mouth is reported to cause infection in the heart, kidneys, and elsewhere. A complete annual exam with basic bloodwork and complete urinalysis for adult dogs is what I recommend. The exam should be every 6 to 12 months for older canines as this can help with early disease diagnosis and optimize outcomes.

5. Veterinary dental cleaning  
There’s no substitute for regular dental cleanings by your veterinarian. Every one to three years, your pet will likely need to have his teeth professionally cleaned. In addition to producing a sparkling smile, the most important work occurs out of sight, beneath your dog’s gum line. Your veterinarian will carefully clean every tooth surface and remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach recesses below the gums and between teeth. Unchecked and uncleaned, pathogenic bacteria will eventually cause significant gum recession, resulting in oral pain and tooth loss. Tooth abscesses have been linked to heart valve infections and other serious medical conditions. The next time your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, remember the procedure is much more than cleaning teeth; it’s about preventing disease.

There are many, many reasons to keep your dog’s smile healthy. Good health begins in the mouth. A healthy smile suggests a healthy pet. Try these five tips and ask your veterinarian for five more. Together we can help our pets live the longest, highest quality of life possible. Keep brushing and keep smiling!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Here at Rocklin Road Animal Hospital we now offer Dental Preventive Plans.  Monthly payments and a nice discount make it affordable to give your pets the best care!  Click here to find out more!

Protecting Your Pet's Paws

By Educational, Health

Winter can be brutal on our dog’s paw pads. Exposed to the elements and toxic chemicals, the paw pads are at risk for drying, cracking, trauma, frostbite and chemical burns. Luckily, there are some tips and products out there that can help keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy this winter.
Many protective balms are available to help protect your dog’s paws, and even some human products can do the trick, Musher’s Secret or Bag Balm are good examples. Do your research.

Once you find the balm that you like, take these steps:

Prep the paws

Before using the balm, make sure the paw is ready. Good grooming is essential for healthy winter feet. If your dog has long hair use a clipper (beard trimmer with the shortest plastic guard equipped works well) to keep the hair between the paw pads short so that it is even with the pad.
Trim the hair around the paws especially if they have a lot of feathering to make sure none of the hair comes into contact with the ground. This will help prevent ice balls from forming between and around the paw pads which can be painful and result in trauma. It also makes it easier to apply the balm to the pads. Keeping the nails trimmed is important year-round but even more so in the winter because long nails force the paw to splay out and make it more likely that snow and ice will accumulate between the paw pads.
Apply a thin even layer of balm just before going out for a wintery walk. After the walk wipe your dog’s paws with a warm washcloth to remove snow, ice and ice melt. Then apply another layer of balm to soothe any irritation and to keep them from drying out. Bag Balm can be found in most drug stores and pet stores. If you can’t find Bag Balm then Vaseline is an acceptable alternative.

Dog boots

Another good option to protect your dog’s paws is dog boots. These boots are made by various manufacturers and can be easily found online and in pet stores. They consist of a sock like boot with a Velcro strap to help keep them in place. Some have soles which provide the additional benefit of adding traction. These boots protect the paw by helping them stay dry and preventing exposure to salt and deicers.
Be sure to check that the strap is not too tight; the boot should be snug so that it doesn’t slip off but not so tight that it constricts the paw. Dogs tend to not to like wearing the boots at first so acclimate them to wearing them by putting them on your dog for short periods of time in the house. Praise them and gradually increasing the length of time as they get used to them.

Salt and deicers can be toxic

Be aware that salt and most deicers can be toxic to our canine friends. Try to keep your dog away from roads and sidewalks that have been heavily treated with salt and chemical deicers. There are pet friendly deicers available for use on your own sidewalks and driveway and you should encourage your neighbors to do the same.
Immediately after a walk, wash your dog’s paws with warm water as described earlier to help prevent them from ingesting any salt or chemicals that may be on their paws. While outdoors, do not let your dog eat slush or drink from puddles near heavily treated roads and sidewalks.
Dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just as people are so use common sense as to how long your walks can be. Keep them short and watch for signs of hypothermia such as shivering, anxiety and moving slowly.
Winter can be tough on our dog’s feet but good grooming and protecting the paws by using a balm or booties will go a long way to keeping your dog’s feet healthy.