International Health Papers: How to Avoid a Justin Bieber Epic Fail

May 21, 2013
Justin Bieber and Mally

Justin Bieber and Mally

International travel with pets is a complicated affair. Each country has its own set of rules about vaccinations, blood tests, deworming and microchipping. For island countries free of rabies, an elaborate scheme of testing and vaccination is required to prevent a dog or cat from introducing the disease to the country.

Some families handle the international health paper requirements better than others. Take for example Justin Bieber and his pet Chapuchin monkey, Mally. Passports are required for band members on the Believe Tour to enter a foreign country, and Mally the monkey needed special health papers to enter Germany. The problem was, proper papers were lacking and Mally’s concert touring days prematurely ended. Apparently, Mally remains overseas.

Here’s a better story of a family that did their homework regarding international pet travel. Today I saw a cute dog named Avatar, in need of an international health certificate. One of the requirements for entry into her home country is a health certificate signed by an accredited veterinarian. Not every veterinarian is accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), but this family knew to ask for an accredited veterinarian because they had carefully researched this information.

Avatar came to my office with a pile of papers carefully detailing all her vaccinations. I need this information to be sure she meets the entry requirements and to document vaccinations on the international health certificate. Another requirement for Avatar’s destination country is vaccination against leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria spread in the urine of wild animals. Happily, the paperwork indicated a vaccination against leptospirosis and I quickly checked off that requirement.

Avatar’s destination country did not require a microchip, but documentation of a microchip is a common requirement for entry into many countries. Some countries also have their own import paperwork, but Avatar’s accepted the USDA form. Once I signed off on my part of the health certificate, Avatar had another stop: the USDA area office at JFK Airport, where she received the endorsement of their New York area veterinarian.

How can you avoid a Bieber epic fail when traveling internationally with your pet?

  • Start early to ensue you have enough time for required testing or vaccination protocols.
  • Do your homework. Start with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website and the website of your destination country for pet import requirements.
  • If you need the signature of an accredited veterinarian like me, check to see if your veterinarian is accredited or ask for a recommendation.
  • Keep your pet up to date on vaccinations and other preventive health care measures to avoid any delays in getting your pet’s international health certificate.

Plan Ahead for International Pet Travel

January 16, 2013

dog with suitcaseWith the holidays over and summer not yet here, now is a good time to think about advanced planning for the upcoming trip you and your pet will be taking. If you haven’t thought about taking a trip with your pet, think again. Millions of Americans travel with their pets both locally and internationally and according to an August 2012 TripAdvisor.com survey, 49% of the pet owning public have plans to travel with their pets.

Get some ID

Entrance into many countries requires your pet to have a permanent form of identification. The best form is a microchip placed by your veterinarian. Even if you don’t plan to travel anytime soon, every pet should have a microchip to help get them back home if they are lost. If your pet already has a microchip, double check and make sure the registration information is paid and up to date. Inaccurate information in the microchip database prevents animal rescue groups from contacting you when they find your pet.

Do your homework

Research the pet entry requirements for your destination. Every country is different. As a start, review the information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Their website contains both general information and some country-specific information about pet travel.

You should also locate information on pet travel on the website of the country you plan to visit. Although you and your pet are simply going on vacation, the information about pet entry requirements may be found under import/export regulations. If you cannot find the information or you need further clarification, call the country’s consulate or embassy. The United States Department of State has a listing.

If you find conflicting information about entry requirements, the destination country holds the trump card, so rely on their website and embassy.

Pack the paper

Not newspaper, but your pet’s papers. According to TripAdvisor.com, only 45% of pet owners travel with health certificates and rabies documentation. I find this surprising. Keeping your pet’s vaccinations up to date and keeping their vaccination certificates on file will help streamline obtaining critical travel documents. Bring copies with you and ask your veterinarian for a summary of your pet’s medical conditions and medications.

Important reminders

  • Start early. Some countries require your pet to have a special rabies blood test performed. Only certain laboratories perform this test and timing is critical.
  • Even though you may have started preparing early for your trip, certain travel documents must be signed only days before departure. Allow time in your schedule to finalize any of your pet’s travel documents.
  • Some countries require your pet’s health papers be signed by a USDA accredited veterinarian. Not all veterinarians are accredited, so check with your veterinarian well in advance of your trip to make sure you have an appointment with one who can sign the travel papers.

Resolve to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

January 2, 2013

woman with dog2It’s that time of year again; the time when we make New Year’s resolutions. I seem to make the same ones every year: eat healthier, exercise more, be kinder. My suggestion for 2013 is for every pet owner to be a responsible one. To achieve that goal, the American Veterinary Medical Association has developed a list of guidelines for responsible pet ownership.

Fur the Love of Pets believes this is a good list for pet owners to review before making their 2013 list of resolutions:

Commit

As the holidays approached, I received several tweets discouraging pets as holiday gifts since a pet is a lifetime commitment and acquiring one should not be an impulsive decision. You must choose the right pet for your lifestyle and should have as many pets you can comfortably care for, both physically and financially.

Good pet care involves more than food and water. A successful pet parent provides exercise, a stimulating environment and training.

Invest

Having a pet requires an investment of both time and money. Preventive healthcare saves money in the long run and helps prevent costly emergency visits.

Although vaccinations are part of a preventive healthcare program, the rabies vaccine protects human health as well.

Identify

Every pet should have both permanent and temporary identification. Permanent identification should preferably be a microchip, but a tattoo is a viable alternative. A collar with tags is a good temporary and immediate method of letting people know where your pet belongs if he should become lost.

Limit

Help decrease the nation’s pet overpopulation problem by spaying or neutering your pet. Preventing unwanted litters limits the number of animals entering shelters each year.

Prepare

Prepare for your pet’s future like you prepare for your family’s future. Assemble a “go bag” for your pet. Include your pet in estate planning; don’t assume your family is prepared to add your pet to their household and make provisions for your pet in case you can no longer be the primary caretaker.


Plan, Prepare and Respond: Disaster Planning for Your Pet

September 24, 2012

September is Disaster Preparedness Month. Whether it is a hurricane, flood, or fire, disasters affect every member of the family, pets included. To help the furred and feathered members of your family weather a disaster safely, here are The Animal Medical Center’s suggestions for disaster planning.

Plan

Advanced planning is critical. Identify a safe place to take your pets in an emergency. New York City shelters will house animals in the event of emergency, but not all shelters will. Check NOW to see if your local emergency shelter plan includes pets. If not, find a boarding facility that will. Make a list of pet-friendly hotels in your area. Visit PetsWelcome.com for a state-by-state listing.

In case you and your pet are separated, be sure you pet is both microchipped and is wearing a collar with ID tags for quick identification.

Prepare

Create a Pet Go Bag for each pet in your household. The Pet Go Bag should contain information about your pet and necessary supplies. These include: your pet’s medical records and contact information for your veterinarian, proof of identification (including microchip number, photo of you and your pets), food, water, medications – enough for one week, pet first aid kit, leash, muzzle, toys, a sheet to use as bedding or to cover the carrier, towel, litter and pan, trash bags. Keep everything together with your pet’s carrier and consider storing your pet’s medical records in the “cloud” using a service like Microsoft Health Vault.

Respond

Remember first responders’ primary goal is helping people, but keep these following tips in mind once disaster strikes: Take your Pet Go Bag if you and your pet are evacuated. If your pet has sustained injuries administer first aid until veterinary help is available. Bathe your pet as soon as possible to clean wounds. Feed your pet only safe food such as that in your Pet Go Bag. Register your family and your pet as “Safe and Well” using the Red Cross website.

For more information about disaster planning for your pet, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.


Finding a Lost Pet: Prevention and Response

August 20, 2012

Some startling numbers about lost pets were recently released by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The article states that more than 10 million pets are lost annually. Over a five-year period, that translates to 15 lost pets of every 100 owned in this country.

Interestingly, dogs have a much higher chance of being reunited with their families than cats do. Only 74% of cats were returned to their homes while 93% of lost dogs were. Since cats see their veterinarian less often than dogs do, my theory is there are fewer cats with any form of ID, collars, or chips and fewer with a rabies tag to serve as identification.

Since these statistics show that the possibility of losing your pet is very real, here are some proactive steps to take before your pet becomes lost and how to respond if your precious pet disappears.

An ounce of prevention

  1. Your pet needs to wear some form of ID every day. Having two forms of ID, a collar and a microchip, increases the chances your pet will be returned home safely. If your pet is not microchipped, see your veterinarian and do it today!
  2. Keep up-to-date photos of your pet. I recommend a head shot and a whole body profile for making lost posters if you need them. Make updating the photos part of your pet’s birthday celebration or annual health check-up visit to help you remember to have a new version on hand.
  3. Anticipate escape. The Fourth of July is the number one day of the year for lost pets. Spooked by fireworks, pets often bolt and become lost. Another worrisome time: holiday parties. Be sure your pet is carefully locked away during these events. Guests coming and going through your front door offer a perfect opportunity for your pet to escape.

The pound of cure

  1. Harness the power of the internet. Many online organizations can help find a lost pet. Here are some for your reference:

    -The Center for Lost Pets-Fido Finder(dogs only)

    -Tabby Tracker (cats only)

    -craigslist

    -Pet Amber Alert

  2. Blanket the neighborhood with posters. Using your up-to-date pictures, put flyers in your veterinarian’s office, around your neighborhood, in the local shops, and on the website of your neighborhood association.
  3. Call your local animal shelters. Alert them to be on the lookout for your pet. Visit their website to view new pets admitted to the shelter. Visit the shelter in case the busy shelter staff doesn’t recognize your pet from the photos you provide.

I hope these tip help prevent your pet from becoming a statistic. Make a plan today!


Summer Safety for Pets

May 13, 2011
As the weather warms up, we spend more time outdoors with our pets. Everyone is happy for the fresh air and sunshine. But are you and your pet prepared? Here are The Animal Medical Center’s suggestions for a safe summer.

All Pets Need Double ID

A loud noise, a thunderstorm or a careless barbeque guest, and your pet could escape the house or yard unnoticed. Research has shown only 20% of dogs and 2% of cats in animal shelters are reunited with their families. Make double sure your pet comes home by having your veterinarian implant a microchip and always have your pet wear a collar with an ID tag.

Open Windows Need a Screen

Every summer, the AMC’s emergency room sees cats that have fallen or jumped out of apartment windows onto the street, garden or in pursuit of a pigeon on the fire escape. So many fall, we have a name for it — high rise syndrome. Cats typically fracture their wrists, lower jaw and rupture their lungs. Most cats survive, but not all.

High rise syndrome is a completely preventable injury with a trip to your local hardware store for window screens.

Sadie and the BreezeGuard/Photo: MuttManagers LLC

Dogs are less likely to fall or jump out of an apartment building window, but will jump out of car windows. MuttManagers manufactures a customizable screen for your car’s windows. Your dog can feel the wind in his ears while you drive, but the sturdy screen keeps him safe inside. Best of all, the window still closes with the screen installed.

Don’t Let Your Pet Roam

With the pet obesity epidemic, we all want our pets to exercise more, but pets on the loose have a greater risk of automobile injuries, contracting infectious diseases, getting lost and irritating your neighbors. Tying your dog to a long lead may be disastrous, since tethered dogs left alone in a yard are more likely to bite humans. A traditional fence will confine your dog, but may not be so successful with your cat.

Harry with his Invisible Fence collar/Photo: Philip Fox, DVM

My patient, Harry, left, loved to chase squirrels, deer and the occasional skunk. So his family got him an Invisible Fence to keep him close to home. In this photo he is sitting in the garden, wearing his special collar which first emitted an audible warning sound, and if Harry went too far, the collar gave an unpleasant but safe electric shock to teach him to stay within the fence boundaries. It takes about 10-14 days training for a dog to learn his boundaries. Invisible Fence technology can also be used with cats, who I am pleased to say learn it faster than dogs do! Other safety applications of the Invisible Fence include teaching a pet to avoid potentially dangerous areas in the home or yard, such as a garden with toxic plants, the garage with antifreeze, swimming pools, and terraces which might result in high rise syndrome.

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For more great pet safety and wellness information, please join the Animal Medical Center’s Junior Committee for PAW Day 2011: Pet and Wellness Fun, a health fair for families and their pets! Sunday May 15, 2011, 9am –12 noon, featuring AMC veterinarians, information on preventative care, children’s area with Spot the dog, pet safety information, and much more! For more information or to make a contribution, please call 212.329.8660 or visit http://www.amcny.org.

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This may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog on WebMD.com.

For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Facebook Gets a Puppy

March 16, 2011

Selecting Your New Puppy

Beast/Photo: Facebook

There is a new face on Facebook and it belongs to a dog.

The dog, known as Beast, is not just any dog; he belongs to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. You and Mr. Zuckerberg have a love of dogs in common, but the similarities end there. Before getting a new pet, you must plan for the ongoing and unexpected needs of your pet. I suspect Mr. Zuckerberg does not.

Beast is a Hungarian Puli.

Pulis sport a very unique corded haircoat making them kind of the Bob Marley of the dog world. The article about Beast quotes his breeders as saying many Pulis end up in shelters because they are difficult to maintain. Mr. Zuckerberg can clearly provide any special grooming needs Beast requires, but the comment speaks to a bigger issue.

What questions should you answer before you get a new pet?

If, like Mr. Zuckerberg, you chose a purebred dog, investigate the health concerns that are specific for your breed. Interview breeders and determine how they are addressing these concerns. The American Kennel Club actively supports research into health issues of purebred dogs. Part of being a responsible breeder is to participate in and support breed club work to improve the breed. You might also consider adopting a dog from a breed-specific rescue organization.

Don’t forget to take into consideration other family members — including your other pets — when choosing the new addition. Although cute as a button, a puppy or kitten may be too much for an elderly family member to handle. Small children can be injured or can injure tiny puppies and kittens. In these cases consider adoption of an adult pet. Adopting an adult pet allows you to avoid the challenge of housebreaking and the chewing phase of development.

Develop a budget for your new friend. When organizing your pet budget, consider the cost of food. Cats are all about same size and food costs will be similar. The same is not true for dogs; consider feeding a Chihuahua or a St. Bernard! Investigate pet insurance and how it might help keep your budget on track in the case of serious medical problems. Determine if the pet will have special requirements for grooming or exercise. If so, what are the anticipated cost and include these costs in your budget?

As important, identify a veterinarian who will be the health care provider for the new addition to your family.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.

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For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit http://www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Holiday Gifts for Your Pets

December 6, 2010

When shopping for the holidays, don’t forget a gift for the cat or dog in the family. To help the harried shopper, the specialist veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center have teamed up to create a holiday gift list for pets using ideas from the Pet Socialite’s “No Place Like Home” Pet Expo on November 9 in New York City. A member of the AMC staff has carefully selected each gift with a different health issue in mind. Everyone at The AMC hopes you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season. Be sure to review our holiday safety tips for pets.

From the Neurology Service and the Rehabilitation & Fitness Service: Surprise your dog with a bad back and a weak hind end by ordering a large roll of yoga mat. Trim the yoga mat to fit your slippery hallway and turn it into a non-skid walkway for your dog with bad back legs. As an added bonus, the mats come in many colors to match your décor or mood.

Photo: Pioneer Pet Products, LLC

AMC’s Renal Medicine Service is always prescribing more water for their feline patients with bladder problems. If the prescription for your cat is to drink more water, try a water fountain. Many cats find the bubbling water more attractive than still water in a bowl and will increase their water consumption with the fountain. Shown here is a Feng shui fountain. Even if your cat won’t drink from it, maybe his litter box use will improve just with a better flow of qi.

Photo: Jax and Bones

Selecting the correct chew toy for your dog is critical. AMC’s Dentistry Service recommends avoiding hard nylon toys and the Gastroenterology Service recommends avoiding real bones since they often lodge in the intestinal tract and cause serious problems. For a safe chew, consider these holiday themed toys from Jax and Bones. Colored with vegetable dyes and graded according to the “Chomp Chart,” these delightful toys can be wet and frozen to entertain chewers for hours.

Photo: Go Pet LLC

Is your pooch a weekend warrior who doesn’t exercise Monday-Friday? Weekday couch potatoes are prone to sports injuries. Keep your dog in tip top shape all week and avoid the need to see one of AMC’s orthopedic surgeons for a knee repair by exercising your dog everyday. The self-powered exercise wheel shown below is an in-home method of exercising your dog and a great addition to the family’s home gym.

AMC’s Dermatology Service frequently prescribes a t-shirt for their itchy patients. The t-shirt prevents excessive licking and scratching while your pet’s skin heals. How about having your pet recover in style with this cute t-shirt from Sexy Beast: Canine Style Unleashed.

Photo: Sexy Beast

Pills, pills and more pills — AMC’s Internal Medicine Service is a big prescriber. Diligent pet owners make charts, calendars and post it reminders and still have a hard time remembering to give medication. How about simplifying the system with a glow cap reminder system by Vitality GlowCap? The special lid has connection to a wireless network and fits on a regular pill bottle. A missed dose sends a text message or phone call as a reminder. You can even send a reminder to another family member who can give the missed medication.

Photo: Doggles

Your dog only has one set of eyes and AMC’s Ophthalmology Service wants to protect them. These sport glasses designed with dogs in mind, keep out sun, are shatterproof and protect eyes from flying debris if your dog rides in a open car, a pickup bed or the sidecar of a motorcycle.

The entire AMC staff hopes for a safe new year for all pets. To be prepared in case your cat or dog gets lost, be sure they have both a microchip and a collar with ID tags. Neither is a foolproof method of identification, so use both to make sure your pet is home for the holidays.

And the entire AMC staff hopes for a healthy new year for all pets. To be prepared in case your new year comes with an illness or injury, consider purchasing an insurance policy for your favorite dog or cat. Having a pet insurance policy will help to ease the financial burden and let you make decisions based on good medicine and not on finances. Many different companies underwrite policies for pets, so investigate carefully to pick the best one for your family.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.

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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org.  To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Collars and Chips for All Cats

November 29, 2010

kitten with collarWithout research into disease mechanisms, new diagnostic tests and better treatments, there would be no advances in the medical care of either animals or people. Yet some folks think all animal research is bad. Let me tell you about some recently published research that just might save your cat’s life. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has published a study “Evaluation of collars and microchips for visual and permanent identification of pet cats.” Since cats are now more popular pets than dogs are, this research is really important to those of us who love cats.

The lack of identification — either by a collar or microchip — is the main reason a cat’s owner cannot be found. Both indoor and outdoor cats can be lost and end up in a shelter so this study applies to all pet cats. Unfortunately, when cats end up in a shelter they are frequently euthanized if the owner cannot be found, making the question asked in this study, “What is the best method of identifying a lost cat, is it a collar or a microchip?” a matter of life and death.

The owners of 538 pet cats in Ohio, New York, Florida and Texas gave permission for their cats to participate in this creative study. All cats had a microchip placed for permanent identification and each cat wore a collar. To determine which collar would stay on the cat and provide the best opportunity for a cat’s owner to be identified, three different collars were evaluated in the study: a plastic buckle collar, a breakaway plastic buckle safety collar and an elastic stretch safety collar. Owners were surveyed at the beginning and the end of the 6 month study.

cat with microchip readerAs you might expect, the microchips performed extremely well. All but one was working well after 6 months, providing a ready method of cat owner identification. This information reinforces the need for every cat (and by the way, dogs too!) to have a microchip placed. But because this study identified a microchip failure, all cat owner’s should have their cat’s microchip function confirmed during an annual examination. This takes barely a second or two.

Not surprisingly, collars were less reliable than microchips, but they were still effective in identifying a cat. Just over 70% of cats wore their collars successfully for the duration of the study, underscoring the importance of the microchip as a backup method of identification. Owners frequently had to replace all types of collars, but the plastic buckle collar stayed on the best. No collar related injuries were identified, although 3.8% of cats did get the collar caught on an inanimate object or a body part such as their leg or mouth.

Cat owners, this is your call to action. Researchers have provided you with the tools to save your cat’s life. All you need to do is get your favorite feline a collar and a chip.

What kind of collar does your cat like best? Post your response in our comments section below.

Source: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2010:237:387-394. Evaluation of collars and microchips for visual and permanent identification of pet cats. Lord LK, Griffin B, Slater MR, Levy JK.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.

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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit http://www.amcny.org/. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Hitting the Road with Fluffy and Fido: Traveling with Pets

November 22, 2010

A recently published survey of pet owners throughout the world, found most 61% of pet owners take their pets on holiday more than once a year and travel more than 50 miles from their homes. Because so many pet owners who come to The Animal Medical Center ask a variety of questions about traveling with their pets, The AMC has two previous blog posts about travel to help address the common questions that arise. One post is devoted exclusively to international travel.

In addition, to help you prepare for any upcoming trips, I searched the Internet to compile a list of useful websites for the traveling pet and his owner. It is important to remember that the regulations for international travel are not standardized between countries and change frequently. So remember, your only source for pet travel information should be the country’s website and their consulate. The US Department of State has links to various countries’ consulates.

If you are bringing an animal into the USA from another country, importation is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control. This applies to American pets who are returning home as well as to foreign born pets entering for the first time.

General Travel Information

Pet Travel Clubs

These websites provide travel information for their members:

  • “Take Your Pet” offers a free pet travel newsletter to those who register. To access lists of pet friendly hotels, lists of pet related services and message boards, the fee is $1.95.
  • “Pets On The Go” is another membership travel website. To access their newsletter and concierge service for pet travel questions, the fee is $15/year.

Pet Shipping

Vacation is not always the reason for travel. When families relocate for business, moving the family pet can be challenging. To find a pet shipping service check the website of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International (IPATA). For a pet shipper to be a member, they must be legally registered to conduct business and provide animal shipping services. In the United States, shippers must be USDA certified to handle animals.

Pet Travel Products

  • Check out the Pet Travel Store for all your pet’s travel needs: collapsible bowl, disposable litter trays and a nifty hotel door hanger to remind the housekeeping staff you have a pet inside.
  • Life jackets for the boating dog and collapsible cat playpens may be just the vacation items your pets needs. They can be found online at J-B Wholesale Pet Supplies.

Be prepared. Do all that you can to ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.

Have you taken your pet on vacation or traveled more than 50 miles with him? Share your experiences below in the “comments” section.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.
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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Bedbugs and Pets

November 1, 2010

A few weekends ago, I was volunteering at The AMC’s “Ask the Vet” booth during AKC’s Meet the Breeds show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. A pet owner came to the booth with questions about bedbugs and pets. I know there is a nationwide epidemic of bedbugs, but in veterinary school parasitology, I remember learning bedbugs are a nuisance to humans not animals. I decided to do some reading and here is what I found.

First, a bit about bedbug biology. They belong to the family Cimicidae and are flightless, so they crawl to their host. Like most parasites, bedbugs are very specific in their choice of host. And fortunately for your pet, bedbugs prefer people over pets. The blood of humans, dogs and cats is different and bedbugs have evolved to feast on human blood. Bedbugs climb on their host only to feed and spend the rest of the time in mattresses, furniture and crevices. As nocturnal creatures, they feed at night, attacking their sleeping host, hence their colloquial name bedbug. For more information on bedbug biology from entomologists (bug experts), go to http://www.oasas.state.ny.us/AdMed/FYI/bedbugs.cfm.

Bedbugs live in environments, not on pets or people, and can easily be confused with other household bugs. If your pet has critters crawling in its fur, black specks deposited on its blanket and is scratching up a storm, most likely your pet has fleas, not bedbugs. This time of year when the weather gets cold, fleas are looking to move indoors and you might be more likely to see them in your house. 

If you do discover bedbugs, there are a few things you can do to decrease the number of bedbugs in your home. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water and dry them in a hot dryer (>120 degrees F). Vacuuming thoroughly and discarding the bag after each vacuuming session will help decrease bedbugs in the environment. Ultimately, most people need a professional exterminator to clear the bedbugs from their home. For more information on eradicating bedbugs from your home, go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vector/bed-bug-guide.pdf.

If you use the services of a professional exterminator, follow his directions explicitly. Keep in mind, insecticides are common causes of toxicity in pets. Insecticides used in the treatment of environmental bedbugs are generally safe for pets if used properly. 

If your pet has previously experienced reactions to flea and tick preventatives, check with your veterinarian to determine if the product your exterminator recommended is safe for your pet.

This blog and many others may be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.
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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Halloween Hazards

October 19, 2010

For children, Halloween is a long anticipated holiday featuring parties, costumes and above all, candy. Adults celebrate the holiday too, by decorating their homes and yards with ghosts, goblins and jack o’lanterns. But as you can see by the photo above of my cat, Cheetah costumed as Minnie Mouse, pets don’t enjoy Halloween.

Trick or treaters constantly ringing the doorbell can make an anxious pet even more so. When the treats are passed out at the front door, they may try to escape the commotion, slipping outside unnoticed. I recommend confining your cat or dog in its crate or one room of the house while you receive trick or treaters to prevent your pet from being one of the estimated 3-4 million pets entering shelters annually. Only 25% of these pets are reunited with their families. If confining your pet is not possible, double check their collar and ID tags and if they don’t have a microchip get one to help your pet come home if it succeeds in escaping while you dole out the treats.

Halloween food presents another risk for your pets, particularly dogs. Dogs can have quite a sweet tooth and will devour the entire contents of a goodie bag, but cats are too finicky to be tempted by sweets. Just like with children who over indulge on Halloween, too many treats will cause an upset stomach, or worse, vomiting and diarrhea. So keep the cauldron of treats out of reach of your dog.

Feasting on two specific sweets may end in a scary visit to the veterinary emergency room – chocolate, especially dark chocolate and xylitol. Chocolate contains a substance related to caffeine and the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine like substance it contains. Small dogs that eat chocolate are especially at risk for developing vomiting, diarrhea, an elevated heart rate and hyperexcitability. Xylitol is a low calorie sweetener in some diet foods, gum and mints. It is safe for humans, but lethal for dogs who develop low blood sugar, seizures and liver problems. If your pet eats something other than their usual fare on Halloween, don’t hesitate to call Animal Poison Control (888) 426-4435 to find out if you should head to the Animal ER. They take calls 24/7.

When pets are around, jack o’lanterns can be risky. Pumpkin is appealing to some dogs and cats, but that is not the problem. It is the candle inside. Pet hair can easily cat on fire if a nosy or hungry pet decides to investigate the jack o’lantern. Better to use a battery operated flickering light, which will be safer for everyone.

And if you want to see some really cute pets ready for trick or treating, check out WebMD or The AMC Facebook page.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.
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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Labor Day is No Picnic for Your Pet

August 31, 2010

To celebrate or, more accurately, say a fond farewell to the end of summer, there will be millions of backyard barbecues over Labor Day weekend. Since our pets are members of the family, we want them to participate in this end of summer ritual, but picnics pose some dangers for the family pet.

If you are the host family for the backyard barbecue, make sure your pets are safely corralled inside the house. Some cats will want to hide under the bed when the guests begin to arrive, but curious cats may try to join the party and could slip outside unnoticed. Make sure all pets have collars with ID tags and microchips before the party starts.

Dogs are more likely than cats to join the party, but party food should be off the menu for dogs. The picnic table laden with summer treats is a buffet of hazards for Fido. Barbecued chicken, ribs and steaks all contain bones which can be splintered and lodged somewhere in the esophagus or intestine. Stuck bones can be a holiday-wrecking emergency requiring endoscopy or surgery for removal. Trash can-raiding dogs will eat corncobs and peach pits — two other commonly stuck food items.

The dessert and drink tables are no safer. Chocolate, whether in cake or brownies, should not be on your dog’s menu as chocolate is toxic to dogs. Even the fruit tray can be a problem. Grapes and raisins both cause kidney failure in dogs. Why dogs are so sensitive and humans are resistant to the effects of these fruits is unknown. The sweet taste of fruity summer drinks left unattended on the lawn is attractive to dogs, but alcoholic beverages are a no-no. A few sips of an alcoholic beverage by a small pup can easily result in intoxication.

If you are picnicking at the beach or pool, be sure your dog can swim or have her wear a lifejacket. Watch out for cuts from sharp rocks and broken glass, or strong tides which could pull your dog out into the surf. Be sure to provide fresh water and a bowl — too much pond or salt water can cause stomach upset.

Whether you spend this weekend in your backyard, the beach or the woods, fleas and ticks will be there too. These pesky creatures are still active this time of year spreading disease causing organisms to both people and pets by their bites. Many dogs are allergic to flea bites and will have their weekend ruined by itching if bitten by a flea, so don’t forget this month’s dose of flea and tick preventative.

Have a fun and relaxing holiday weekend by keeping the pets and humans in your family safe and well.

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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Fireworks and Your Dog

June 30, 2010

The fourth of July is rapidly approaching and with it comes fireworks. Fireworks are a major cause of noise phobia in dogs. Why? Dog hearing is better than human hearing. Your dog probably hears more and louder noises than you do. Your dog’s nose is better too, and maybe the smell of the fireworks is unpleasant. Additionally, fireworks are an uncommon noise, and from your dog’s point of view, an unpredictable event. Your dog never has a chance to get used to the sudden, loud noises accompanied by flashes of light. Dogs with noise phobia pace, run, scratch at the door, shake, drool and can be very destructive. Verbal reprimand or physical cuddling will not help in this case because your dog cannot understand why she should not be afraid of the fireworks.

If your dog is noise phobic, here are some tips on managing the upcoming holiday weekend:

• On July 4th, plan extra exercise for your dog during the day so she is tired and will want to hit the sack early.

• Provide a safe and familiar environment for sleeping. The safest place is his crate. In the room where the crate is located, close the windows and drapes to keep out both noise and flashes of light. Provide some background noise, the TV, radio or air conditioner, to drown out the booming fireworks.

• Aromatherapy is also worth a try. Rub lavender oil on your dog’s earflaps or use one of the pheromone products designed to mimic the comfort signals a mother dog sends to her puppies, such as Comfort Zone.

• Internet testimonials suggest the Anxiety Wrap lessens anxiety in noise phobic dogs. The wrap is made of a lightweight fabric and uses acupressure and maintained pressure to decrease undesirable behaviors associated with stress and anxiety.

• If your dog won’t take a nap, distract him with other activities such as a game of indoor fetch or a feeding toy. These toys slowly dispense pieces of food as your dog plays with them.

• Finally, you can consider desensitization of your dog. This involves playing a commercially available CD with recorded fireworks noise while engaging your dog in a fun activity. The volume is gradually increased while your dog becomes used to the noise. If you need help with this endeavor, you should consider a consultation with a veterinary behavior specialist. This project requires time, and you have plenty of time to start now for next year.

Every year we hear about dogs frightened by fireworks, they escape from home and run away. Be sure your dog is microchipped and has up to date tags on his collar. Also make sure you have a recent photo of your dog in case you need to make a lost pet poster.

If these suggestions don’t seem to help, see your veterinarian to discuss using a tranquilizer on the 4th of July. Remember, your veterinarian will want to see your dog, get an accurate weight and determine the appropriate medication to prescribe.

For some additional tips from Animal Planet, visit: http://ht.ly/24Luc.

The Animal Medical Center
For 100 years, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit http://www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Traveling Internationally with Your Pet

August 17, 2009

By Deirdre Chiaramonte, DVM, DACVIM, The Animal Medical Center

intl-travel2The key to successful international travel is to start planning early. First, review the pet policies of your foreign destination and call the consulate at least a year in advance to determine what vaccinations, blood tests and paperwork are required for your pet to successfully enter a foreign country. Regulations change unexpectedly and you should check with the consulate frequently to prevent a last minute rule change from thwarting your carefully planned trip.

For example, prior to 2002, travel to the United Kingdom was prohibited unless your dog was quarantined for 6 months! Quarantine is no longer required, but travelers should anticipate an involved process requiring multiple trips to the vet for vaccinations, blood tests, microchips and deworming. A useful website for UK travel information is http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine/index.htm. There is also a helpful brochure to download called “Protecting the welfare of pet dogs and cats during journeys.” 

If you are thinking of traveling to a different hemisphere, there may be other requirements. For example, if you are traveling to Australia you need to apply for an AQIS import permit. Additionally, many countries use a ‘Pet Passport’ to facilitate pet travel. For more information, visit http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/qanda_en.htm.

Which pets should travel?
Not all pets should travel internationally. It is much safer if your dog or cat can travel under seat with you than in cargo for those long transoceanic flights. Besides geriatric dogs and dogs with chronic diseases – brachycephalic dogs, dogs with behavior issues (separation anxiety) and dogs with arthritis (staying in same position for long hours is hard on joints), also epileptic dogs should not travel  in cargo.

How to get there?
If traveling by sea, some ships have kennels, but most do not permit pets in the staterooms. Airline websites usually have their own section on pet travel rules and regulations and these sites will detail what crates they will approve for travel. Choose direct flights if possible and try to avoid the hottest or coldest part of the day to travel.

intl-travel1Label the crate (in English and the native language of the country to which you are traveling) with all identification and medical information in case you are separated from your pet due to unforeseen circumstances. Secure a photo of the pet to the crate, a copy of the medical record and some of the pet’s food so airline personnel can feed your pet in the event of an emergency. A large sticker saying LIVE ANIMALS should be placed on the crate as well. Animals should be familiar, comfortable and acclimated in their crates long before embarking on a trip. Supply your pet with a non-spill bowl for water inside the crate and line the bottom of the crate with absorbent paper.

On the day of travel, feed only a light meal a few hours before departing. Water can be frozen so it will thaw slowly and spill less or you can teach your pet to drink from a special water dispensing bottle attached to the inside of the crate. Veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center do not recommend sedatives due to possible adverse reactions and inability to react to certain situations such as take-off and landing.

Research Required
Once you have determined the travel regulations for your pet, the real research begins. You need to find pet-friendly hotels and a veterinarian who can handle emergencies at your destination. You will also need to plan for any changes in weather might affect your pet as well as determine the pooper-scooper laws at your destination.

Carry health and vaccine records, extra food, medication refills and extra copies of paper prescriptions, microchip information, extra leashes and collars and photos of the pet. You may elect to purchase a personal microchip reader to facilitate entry through customs.

Helpful websites:
www.pettravel.com
www.pettravelcenter.com
www.aphis.usda.gov

You may want to seek additional advice about international travel from a USDA accredited veterinarian. Ask your veterinarian if they hold this certification. If not, you may contact The Animal Medical Center for assistance. To make an appointment at The AMC, please call 212 838-7053.
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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts.  Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Summer Travel with Your Pet Made Easy

August 10, 2009

To quote George Gershwin, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” but travelin’ with your pet requires more than just hopping in the car with your furry family member and heading off on a road trip. Here are some tips about travel for the pet-owning family.

Which pets should travel?
pet-travel1Travel is not for every pet. If you are going to be gone only a few days or less, it maybe better for your pet to stay home with a pet sitter, especially if you have a large dog and the trip involves air travel as cargo. (Read more on air travel in the “How to get there” section.) Geriatric animals may not be the best travelers either. Just like grandma, changes in schedule, water and nap time may not be the older pet’s idea of fun. Pets with chronic health conditions such as kidney disease or heart disease may decompensate from travel stress, so check with your veterinarian about the feasibility of traveling with your older pet.

How to get there
Pet owners are limited to travel by car or airplane since long distance trains and buses typically do not allow pets. Local buses and trains may allow small pets if they are confined in a carrier.

Car – If you are traveling by car, your pet needs to be restrained to protect your pet if you stop quickly and to protect you from being distracted by their antics. Seatbelts can attach to a special harness or you can use the existing seatbelts to curtail any movements of the pet carrier during quick stops.

pet-travel2Air – An excellent resource for the pet owner planning an airline trip is PetFlight.com. This site has travel tips, airline information and travel alerts. Each airline has its own rules about pets on flights, so be sure to check with your carrier well before your planned trip. Make sure your pet and its carrier meet the airline’ regulations, and you have the appropriate travel certificate from your veterinarian.

New to the world of pet travel is Pet Airways the only airline focused on transporting your pet as a passenger, not as cargo. The airline launched July 14, with flights between New York, Denver, Los Angles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

What to pack
pet-travel3Although bulky, taking your pet’s regular food is likely to prevent a serious case of stomach upset and save you from having to find an emergency clinic and a new source of your pet’s regular food. Abrupt changes in food often set off a bout of vomiting and diarrhea. Litter is bulky too, but a necessity if you are traveling with a cat. Be sure to carry a copy of your pet’s most recent vaccinations. If your pet has health problems, ask your veterinarian for a summary letter explaining your pet’s condition in case you need veterinary care when your regular veterinarian’s office is closed. Be sure the letter lists your pet’s current prescriptions and most recent blood test results.

In addition to packing your pet’s medical information and food and bowls, you need to pack a leash/harness/collar and a backup set all with current ID tags. If your pet has not been microchipped, have your veterinarian implant one so your pet can be identified if it slips its collar.

If you will be staying in one location for more than a week, you might want to ask your veterinarian for a recommendation of a veterinarian in that area. You could also identify a veterinarian using the American Animal Hospital Association’s accredited hospital locator. Finding a veterinarian in advance will save time in an emergency.

Where to stay: finding a pet friendly hotel
pet-travel4The American Automobile Association has an advanced hotel option which allows you to search for hotels which allow pets. The website DogFriendly.com is also a good resource for all things dog friendly. If national parks are your destination this year, the website www.nps.gov can serve as your resource guide for parks and park lodging friendly to your pet.

Always follow good “petiquette” when staying in hotels with your pet. Cover the furniture with a sheet or blanket to protect it from hair. Crate your pet if you leave it alone in the hotel room while dining out and put the “do not disturb” sign on the door so hotel staff will not inadvertently open the door and let your pet escape. When walking your pet, keep away from the building and be sure to pack enough plastic bags to properly dispose of waste. Cats present a different set of problems in a hotel room. Picture yourself trying to get your “scaredy” cat out from underneath the hotel bed. Cats might be better confined in the hotel bathroom or in their travel crate.

While traveling with a pet may present some challenges, being well prepared can help to alleviate stress on you and your pet. ______________________________
For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org.


Microchipping Your Pet

April 20, 2009

April 19-25 is National Pet ID Week!

walking-in-nycNew York City is a walking city.  Although there is good public transportation, New Yorkers walk around our neighborhoods doing errands at the grocery store, the drug store or the dry cleaner. We walk around other people’s neighborhoods to visit friends and go to good restaurants.  Children walk to school and adults walk to work.

Everywhere you go in New York City, you’ll find people walking, many times with their dogs. In New York City, you can find dogs everywhere. Dogs are often found patiently waiting outside the bagel shop, getting a bite or two from the brunch table at an outdoor restaurant or playing with their families in the park. Lucky dogs walk to work, spend the day in the office and walk home again at night. 

I was out walking to school the other day and saw something that upset me terribly, a dog out for its morning stroll off-leash and without a collar at the intersection of two busy New York City streets. What if that dog had been spooked by a car and ran into the street? Without a leash, the owner had no ability to control the dog’s actions. Worse, what if the dog had run away?  How could the dog have been reunited with its owner if it didn’t have its collar and ID tags?

microchip11The news is full of stories of pets that travel hundreds of miles to reunite with their families, but in reality less than ¾ of lost dogs are returned to their owners. Pet owners can be proactive about pet identification to give their pet the best chance at being returned to them if they get lost.  All pets should have a microchip implanted under the skin. This device is smaller than a rice grain but contains vital information if you and your pet should become separated. The microchip is read with a handheld device which displays a number linked to your contact information in a database. Animal shelters, rescue groups and veterinarians typically have these devices to help determine the identity of a stray pet.  

microchip-catA recent study about the return of lost dogs to their owners, published in the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association, has 2 important take home messages about pet identification. First, not enough dogs have microchips, only about 10% of dogs in this study were chipped. Second, dogs with ID tags were more quickly returned to their families because the dog did not have to be transported to a facility for the microchip to be read. So before you walk your dog make sure to have both a microchip and an ID tag so your dog will be with you for its walk tomorrow. Don’t forget to microchip your cat too!  Cats can often escape from our homes and be mistaken for strays, so microchipping is important for them as well. Microchipping your pet is done quickly and easily and can be a lifesaver is your pet ever becomes lost.

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About Dr. Ann E. Hohenhaus
ann-cropped2A Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Dr. Hohenhaus is certified in both Oncology and Small Animal Internal Medicine. She is a 1985 graduate of Cornell University and has over 20 years of experience as a practicing veterinary oncologist. Her postgraduate training was conducted at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, which provides veterinary postgraduate education, conducts clinical research and provides health care to over 30,000 individual pets annually.  Currently, Dr. Hohenhaus serves as the Senior Medical Advisor at The AMC.  She has lectured nationally and internationally, most recently throughout Japan as part of the Japanese Animal Hospital Association’s 30th Anniversary celebration. Her areas of research are vaccine associated sarcomas, transfusion medicine and canine mast cell tumors.

For more information about The Animal Medical Center or to make a donation, visit www.amcny.org.


The AMC Holiday Gift List

December 2, 2008

At The AMC we know how much animals enrich our daily lives.  This holiday season, we have prepared a list of wonderful gifts for all the pets and pet lovers in your life.

Gifts for Pets
Microchip: When it comes to giving your pet a holiday gift, good things really do come in small packages.  A microchip is only the size of a grain of rice, yet contains enough information to send your beloved back to you if you should accidentally get separated.  Your veterinarian can implant a microchip in minutes. 

 

Chew Toys: Toys are always a popular holiday gift.  If you are selecting a chew toy for a dog, be sure to pick a tooth-safe chew toy such as a Kong®. http://www.kongcompany.com/ 

 

A nifty price conscious cat toy is the virtually indestructible Cat Dancer® which provides hours of entertainment for your cat. http://catdancer.com/products.htm

 

Seat belt: A safer trip to Grandma’s includes the addition of a doggie seat belt for your four-legged back seat driver.  They are easy to use and available at stores from Petsmart to Orvis.  Here’s one on-line at: http://www.petsafetybelts.com/

 

Pet insurance: For a gift that keeps on giving, pet insurance is one that pleases both the pet and the pet owner. With rising costs of veterinary care, pet insurance can help take the bite out of routine and specialty care.  Just make sure you read the fine print when choosing the policy that’s the best fit for your pet.

 

Grooming: Pamper your pooch or fluff your feline by getting them a gift certificate to their favorite grooming parlor.  A warm bath and a hair cut will perk up any pup.    

  

Pheromones: Too many holiday guests?  Help pets cope with the “holiday blues” with Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP)® spray or a Feliway® diffuser.  Available from various web sites.  
 

Gifts for Humans
Books: The Complete Dog Book for Kids, by the American Kennel Club http://www.akc.org/store/detail/index.cfm

 

The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, Home Edition. Available in the pet section of your favorite bookstore.

 

Pet Hair Remover: Having a party?  Use Scotch brand Fur Fighter™ to remove the hair from your furniture instead of having it stick to your guests’ clothes.

 

Cookbook: For the epicurean pet lover, try the Pet Treat Kitty Cookbook or Pet Treat Cookbook Doggy Bone Cookbook.  Just remember no more than 10% of your pets daily calories should come from snacks. 

 

Gifts to Help The Animal Medical Center
Give to your favorite pet charity, just by shopping.  Do your holiday shopping on www.petgive.com and list The Animal Medical Center as your charity.  View The AMC wishlist.

 

Toast the New Year with a bottle of Syrah from Lieb Family Cellars.  Twenty percent of the proceeds from its sale benefits The Animal Medical Center.  http://www.amcny.org/supportamc/syrah.aspx 

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Please note: The use of product names and websites within this post is for reader information and does not imply endorsement by The Animal Medical Center of any product or service.


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