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When should I vaccinate my puppy or kitten?We recommend the animal be at least 6 weeks of age before any vaccination. Up until 6 weeks old the animal will be carrying the mother’s immunity to disease. If the puppy or kitten was not nursing until at least 6 weeks of age, please contact the office to speak with a veterinarian or technician about a vaccine protocol.

How long is a dog or cat pregnant?
Dog gestation averages 63 days. Cat gestation averages 61 days.

How long is a dog in heat?
Non-spayed female dogs will go into "heat" or estrus usually twice a year. The age at which they start their cycles and the duration of the cycle varies greatly between the breeds of dogs and individual dogs. There are four stages to the canine estrus cycle:

  • Proestrus: vaginal discharge, males attracted to females, females unwilling to mate. Length: 4-20 days. A dog is most fertile after they cease to bleed.
  • Estrus: swollen vulva, yellowish vaginal discharge, mating occurs during this phase. Length: 5-13 days.
  • Metestrus (or Diestrus): period after estrus or mating. Length: 60-90 days. If pregnant, pregnancy lasts between 60-64 days in the dog.
  • Anestrus: period of inactivity (sexual and hormonal) between estrus phases. Length: 2-3 months.

Some general "rules of thumb" for canine estrus:
-The first estrus cycle usually occurs by age 6-12 months; for some small breeds, as early as 5 months, and for some large and giant breeds, the first cycle may not occur until 14 months of age or older.
-On average, dogs have two cycles a year.
-The estrus cycle lasts on average 12-21 days, but maybe be as short as a few days to four weeks. The estrus period length varies widely between breeds and individual dogs.
The length of a cycle varies widely, even for dogs of the same breed. If in doubt, assume the longer end of the range for the cycle length.
-Bleeding occurs prior to a female being receptive to a male (allowing mounting by the male), but male dogs will be very attracted to the female in the proestrus stage.
-Dogs can get pregnant during their first heat cycle, but this is not advisable as a 6-month old dog is not yet fully grown/mature, and complications for the mother and the puppies are more likely

How long is a cat in heat?
Cats are induced ovulators. Once they reach puberty, female cats will go in and out of a heat cycle.

What age should my dog or cat be before having them “fixed” (spay/neuter)?
You may start as early as 4-6 months.

Can my dog have allergies?
Yes. Dogs can develop allergies to their environment just as humans do. Seasonal allergies to pollen and grass are not uncommon. Food allergies are also seen in all breeds of dogs. Dogs with allergies can and will demonstrate very irritated and itchy skin. Signs can include constant chewing at the paws, running watery eyes and redness of the skin.

My cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, should I bring her in?
Yes. It could be possible that your kitty has a urinary problem and should be checked by a veterinarian. Suddenly not using the litterbox can also be a behavioral problem and can also be identified by your veterinarian.

Should I give my dog table scraps?
No. Some vegetables are okay for your dog to eat just as you do. Any meat or bone prepared for our table should not be given to your dog, regardless of how much he might think he wants it.

Should I give my dog or cat ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, etc?
Do not give your pet any medications without first consulting your veterinarian! Many human medications are not metabolized the same way by cats or dogs and can be fatal.

What fruits/vegetables should I avoid feeding my dog/cat?
Apple, Almond, Apricot, Peach, Wild Cherries, Plum, Balsam Pear, Prunes and similar fruit: Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, (Stem, Seeds and Leaves) The seeds of most fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans.

  • Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart
  • Broccoli: reported to be pretty potent gastrointestinal irritant
  • Cherry: rapid breathing, shock, mouth inflammation, heart rate increase
  • Chocolate: seizures, coma, hyperactivity, rapid heartbeat, tremors, death. Bakers chocolate is the most dangerous. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated but is still very dangerous.

1 oz per lb of body weight for (2 oz per kg) of body weight for bakers chocolate
1 oz per 3 lbs of body weight (1 oz per 1.5 kg body weight) for semi-sweet chocolate
1 oz per 9lbs of body weight (1 oz per 4 kg) for milk chocolate

  • Please keep in mind that these are only guidelines, and if you suspect your pet had ingested chocolate, please keep an eye out for ANY signs of poisoning! Every dog reacts differently to quantity.
  • Coffee/Tea: Drinks/Foods: containing caffeine or sugar may cause many of the same symptoms chocolate causes
  • Cooked Bones: uncooked bones should be safe but if they are cooked you should refrain because they deteriorate and easily splinter. Can cause extensive damage to internal organs and passage ways, may times resulting in death.
  • Mushrooms: acute gastric effects, liver and kidney damage, abdominal pain, nausea, salivation, vomiting
  • Nutmeg: tremors, seizures and death
  • Tobacco: nausea, salivation, vomiting, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Onion: (cats are more sensitive), gastrointestinal upset, hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, hemoglobinuria, destroys red blood cells
  • Grapes, Raisins, Prunes: kidney failure, as little as a single serving of grapes or raisins can kill a dog. It takes anywhere from 9 oz to 2 lbs of grapes and raisins (between .041 and 1.1 oz/kg of body weight), to cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, and possible kidney failure
  • Salt: excessive intake can cause kidney problems
  • Raw Eggs: many people feed raw eggs to their dogs but keep in mind that they can contain salmonella. Dogs do have a higher immunity against salmonella poisoning but are not immune and have been reported to get it from uncooked eggs.

Acceptable vegetables: Carrots, green beans

Do I need to brush my dog's teeth?
There are many products on the market now that help reduce or eliminate tarter from your pet’s teeth. Those include many styles and flavors of treats for both dogs and cats. Brushing is still an option but you will need to purchase canine or feline toothpaste. Human toothpaste should not be used on your pet. If you cannot brush your pet’s teeth or feed the treats, then regular checkups by your veterinarian are recommended. Tarter buildup can cause dental disease which can lead to a compromise in the pet’s immune system and feeling generally ill. Please call us if you have further questions about this important topic.

Will I be able to get a prescription for my dog/cat without seeing the vet?
No. Veterinarians are licensed just as a human doctor or pharmacist. We cannot dispense any medication for your pet without first seeing the animal usually on the same day.

What medications can I give my cat?
Use only medications that are recommended by your veterinarian. Some human drugs are actually deadly to cats.

What are the signs of a possible vaccination reaction?
Swollen muzzle, eyelids, possible vomiting, occasional vaccination site reaction. It is normal for your pet to be sore at the vaccination site or seem slightly “achy”. Lethargy can also be common; however, if your pet is VERY lethargic and has any of the above symptoms, we recommend you call our regular number and possibly bring the animal in to be seen.

What should I do if my dog has vomiting or diarrhea?
Seek advice from your veterinarian. A lot of cases can be cured easily with something like Pepto-Bismol, but some cases can be severe and lead to dehydration and death.

Possible toxins
If you have any questions on poisoning, poison control should be contacted such as the Pet Poison Hotline. 1-800-213-6680. See above list under fruits and vegetables.

What do I do if my dog eats Decon or mouse poison?
Contact your veterinarian immediately. If ingestion has occurred within the last hour, vomiting should be induced. This can be done giving hydrogen peroxide in 5-10 milliliter increments. Don’t give more than twice. Most cases will be prescribed oral vitamin K to prevent after affects of ingestion.

My dog is scratching at his ears, does he have fleas or mites?
It is possible, however, the majority of the time the dog has an infection in the ear(s). The structure of the ear is a perfect environment for yeast and/or bacteria growth. Some dog's are more prone than others to ear infections and this can be diagnosed with a simple ear swab sample viewed under a microscope. It is rare for dogs to have mites in the ears. Please call the office if you have any questions.

How do I properly trim my dogs toenails? What happens if he starts to bleed?
Dogs and cats both have a nail bed in each nail that extends past the pad of the toe. In a clear nail, the pink seen closer to the pad is the nail bed. This nail bed extends through the nail and ends in a point just as the nail grows. When trimming the nail, if the nail bed is “quicked” or cut, it can be very painful and sensitive. The nail bed may also bleed if cut deep enough. Dark or black nails can be more difficult to trim due to not being able to see the nail bed.
If the nail bed does start to bleed, products such as Quickstop powder may be applied or a silver nitrate stick. If these are not readily available to you, you may use flour or cornstarch.

What is the best way to potty train my puppy?
Crate training is a proven method that helps with potty training, behavior issues and normal destructive puppy behavior. It is better to take your puppy out frequently, ie. Every 2-4 hours or after he/she eats, drinks or wakes up. It is helpful to use key words or phrases such as “Let’s go potty.” Always take the puppy out the same door to the same place in the yard. Often puppies get distracted and want to play, then urinate inside. If your puppy is more interested in playing, take him back inside, put him back in the crate and go back out in 10 minutes.

Do I need to vaccinate my indoor cat?
Yes. Rabies vaccination is required by law and many indoor cats can escape accidentally, get outside and be exposed to many of the diseases we vaccinate for, including some that are deadly.