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Leptospirosis – Concerns to be aware of in the HRM

By | General Pet Care, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns, Uncategorized | No Comments

UPDATE

There has been an unusual increase of Leptospirosis-positive dogs being diagnosed since May, 2o17 – AND, this appears to be localized to the HRM only, and not the rest of Nova Scotia as of this update.

Currently, Sunnyview Animal Care does not recommend annual vaccination for this bacterial disease, but we are reviewing this disease with our clients on a regular basis with each examination – but we encourage you to contact us with your concerns anytime.

With the recent freezing cold temperatures – the transmission of this bacteria in stagnant water/puddles, or other water sources has been eliminated for this year, and for early 2018 until the temperatures rise above 10 Degrees Celsius.

Leptospirosis may be a risk for you and your pet if you hike in the Annapolis valley, the area north & west of Truro, and possibly in the Pictou area. Dogs can contract this disease by drinking out of any water source – fresh or just a puddle. It causes Kidney &/or Liver Damage – and it can be quite severe, even fatal if not treated for. One Symptom that is sometimes seen is blood in the urine. Please click here for more information.

Leptospirosis can be in water contaminated by other wildlife such as Raccoons, coyotes, rodents, skunks, and foxes. The water might look okay to drink – but it is a risk to your pet AND US! The mammals that carry this disease spread it by urination into water sources.

Therefore – Sunnyview Vet recommends that pet owners take fresh water for their pets on walks, hikes AND trips with you & your pets. Also – don’t forget to wash your hands after picking up after your pets!

Have Parrot – Will Travel!

By | Avian Care, Holiday Concerns | No Comments

Travelling with Parrots is relatively simple – but your & your family need to plan things well in advance.

Desensitization – this situation is simplified if you are going to drive with them in my experience. Typically, parrots travel very, very well-as long as you prepare them and, then yourself. Begin to desensitize them to their traveling “crate” as soon as you can.

Carrier choice – You need to place one or two perches across an appropriately sized plastic cat carrier. A simple “dowel” likely won’t do for proper grip so, finding Dragonwood or other perches through online bird stores that have more of a grip-texture that would be better for your birds. You’ll also need to place a towel in the bottom of the carrier and have extras with you on the road to change out daily. You can also purchase (online) appropriately sized stainless steel water and food bowls that will attach to the doorway of the kennel. I strongly recommend you do not use plastic bowls with birds like this-while you will think they may not destroy them-the moment you leave them unattended in the carrier and look elsewhere/take your eyes off of them- they usually will.

http://www.celltei.com/ also is an excellent company who makes carriers that are soft sided, easily secured, very easy to clean, mobile & light to carry. They already have perches in them with appropriate water bowls that come with them as well. However, they are little more expensive-if you do decide to purchase one of these for your bird – Ensure you get the stainless steel mesh and not the plastic mesh! While the latter is cheaper, for the same reasons noted above-stainless steel is better-the birds really have to try hard to get out of them. My Caique made easy work of chewing the plastic mesh once during a 20 minute commute to my practice with her – this was well after she was used to the carrier! Finally, Celltei carriers are also very convenient for travel-I move my birds exclusively in these carriers. Also- the company is very good about the occasional repair from one of my more robust parrots.

If you are traveling the winter or colder months – Celltie also makes fleece covers for the carriers that are absolutely perfect. If you don’t have towels over the carriers or have the ability to towel them-you will need to consider this depending on the length of time your on the road and in keeping with the birds 12 hour light cycle.

Tolerizing your bird to the carrier & travelling – Once you “desensitize” your bird by placing them in the carrier and rewarding them for perching, do some interactive enrichment as well and possibly even some foraging exercises which are “self-rewarding” activity for them to actually play in the carrier and get used to being in an enclosed space. And you increase the time in the carrier over days and weeks until your hundred percent comfortable that they are 100% comfortable in them or as best as they can be. Consider taking your bird on short day-trips for progressively longer times.

You’ll also need to bring bottled water with you and try not to change the brand while you’re traveling. You will also likely need to bring some form of suction cup perch also available online from various distributors so that you can have them perch at points in the hotel room or, more appropriately in the bathroom tub and if needed, you can shower them.

Ensure that you also bring their favorite food and treats but, you must be certain that every night they eat and drink well and try to keep them on their light cycle as much as possible. Of course you can leave some water and food in the carriers while you’re traveling.

Jeff Goodall, DVM

Owner/Medical Director
Sunnyview Animal Care
36 Duke Street, Unit #6
Bedford, Nova Scotia
B4A 2Z5

www.sunnyview.vet

Corn Cobs & your Dog – watch that your Green Bin is secure!

By | Holiday Concerns, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns | No Comments

With the fall weather closing in, and thoughts turning to Thanksgiving, one of our staff had a scare today that led me to write this blog. This entry is meant to remind all of us to be extra careful – not only our food waste in the garbage, but also what we put in our ‘Green Bins’!

Kim’s dogs got into some dried corn cobs that were in her Green Bin. Corn Cobs are one of the most problematic of all things dogs can eat, as they are difficult at times to see on X-Ray, and even the smallest portion of the cob can result in an intestinal blockage requiring emergency surgery! (See the picture of a cob portion that required surgical removal) Too many times, our clients don’t know what their pet has gotten into, but they present to our practice vomiting, depressed, and have an inability to hold water or food down.

The dogs ate some drying cobs that were thought to be out of reach, and thank goodness; Kim knew that it had happened, Knew the time that they had been able to get to them was less then an hour, and most Importantly – Knew that it was an emergency. Dried Corn Cobs are less likely to cause the blockages then those that ‘fresh’ cobs will lead to if eaten.

Treatment can be as simple as what happened with Kim’s dogs – we X-Rayed them, figured out that the cobs were very well chewed up, and that we could likely resolve the situation by inducing vomiting. It appears to have worked. (see comments below)

However, with Thanksgiving coming up – Sunnyview Animal Care wants to remind our clients to be extra careful in disposing of not only Turkey or Chicken bones safely, but also watch that your Green Bin is not accidentally accessed. Too Many cases of Corn Cob ingestion – Sunnyview has about one a year – result in the need for emergency surgery to remove them. Fresh Corn Cob is less likely to be broken up in the stomach to allow your Veterinarian to safely induce vomiting, let alone for the pet to safely vomit the cob(s) up. Some cobs can be removed with an endoscope, but not many Vet practices have them, and sadly there are some cases of pets going into cardiac arrhythmias as the cob is pulled back up the esophagus – leading to their passing. Also, if the cob or it’s fragments have moved into the small intestine, then the ‘scope’ may not be able to reach nor extract them – meaning exploratory surgery is needed anyway.

In many cases, and in our opinion – the timely exploration of the abdomen is the safest option for your pet’s recovery from Corn Cob ingestion; To allow your Veterinarian to fully asses your pet’s intestines & stomach and, To allow for the timely removal of all the fragments. Please note, that even if you attempt to induce vomiting and, not have your pet examined and X-rayed at your veterinary clinic – there is still a risk if your pet may NOT actually vomit all the fragments up – there may still be some cob fragments left in the stomach, or they may have already migrated into the small intestine. There is also the significant risk of the vomiting leading to impaction of the foreign body within the esophagus.

So we are clear – Sunnyview is NOT recommending you induce vomiting for any foreign body ingestion without your Veterinarian’s direct involvement.

Please, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from the Staff at Sunnyview.Vet Let us also give Thanks not only for time with our families, but for the companionship our pets give us everyday, in addition to the love of all of those in our daily lives!

Inappropriate urination in our feline friends

By | Pet Behaviour Concerns | No Comments

Recently, we had a client come to visit us reporting that their indoor / outdoor cat had started urinating in the home on a curtain, & in one of the bedrooms both on the bed, & in a closet over the past 3 months or so, on a weekly or more regular basis. Many clients are looking for a very rapid, & simple solution to the problem – unfortunately, it’s rarely the case.

Any time an animal urinates in our homes it’s upsetting but, it’s worse for everyone involved if this becomes a semi-regular problem. Before you just attempt cleaning the areas of interest or, using some form of physical barrier, it’s a very good idea to come in for a physical examination to rule out any medical conditions. It is not that unusual for a cat to present with diabetes or, a simple urinary tract infection that causes similar symptoms & an office visit can usually quickly detect these issues.

After medical causes are removed from the equation (sometimes this does involve not only a urinalysis test but also bloodwork); There really only four or five concerns that need to be addressed &, all of them require some thought & change in behavior on both ourselves &, our family in order to change the behavior in our cat.

#1- Litter Box Numbers – There are usually “never enough” litter boxes. The general understanding is that there should be at least one on every floor in the home, AND at least one more than the number of cats in the home. For example, if you have four cats in a three floor home- FIVE litter boxes are needed!, & remember that two litter boxes in the same room do not count as two but only as one to our cats senses.

Aside – Cats Like Privacy! Place the litter pan(s) AWAY from noisy appliances like furnaces, dehumidifiers, washers/dryers, or a frequency used human bathroom whenever possible.

#2- Type of Litter Makes a Difference – Remembering that your cat needs two & 1/2 inches in litter depth, the type of litter does make a difference to many cats. I used clay litter for years with no concerns however, many studies now indicate that cats have a preference for non-scented, clumping cat litter. There are other natural clumping litters available that work well too.

#3- This one’s Simple – Clean your litter box DAILY! If you’re using clumping cat litter change over the entire contents of the litter box if not weekly then, every two weeks. Be certain to clean the litter pans out with warm, soapy water &, dry them well before refilling them. Some recommend replacing the Litter Pan every 6 Months as well as the accumulated odors in plastic cannot be fully removed &, some cats find that repulsive-they do have a sensitive sense of smell after all…

#4- Type / Design of the Litter Box – Some cats prefer completely enclosed litter boxes [as do we usually] however, many cats need open litter boxes – they want to see any other cats in the area to ensure they are not ‘trapped’ by a more alpha cat in the home. Also, consider that very young kittens & very old cats can’t climb over high sided boxes either, so varying the type of litter boxes in the home is always very recommended. Sometimes, it is simpler to cut down one side of a cheap litter box to obtain this result.

#5- STRESS – Once you addressed the previous four issues, changes in their world becomes the most likely “last straw” for many cats. My point is: Many cats will “deal with” dirty litter boxes, not enough litter boxes, possibly a discontent with the type of litter, or the design of the litter box – but stress pushes them to the point that they start to urinate outside the box.

In our client’s case-it was an infestation of fleas &, unfortunately the client did not see this is a significant issue until things had advanced to the degree they did.

Whether your cat is indoors or, does go outdoors – relationships within the ‘clowder’ (Aka. group of cats) you have in your home or, in your neighbourhood do change over time & cats that once got along may no longer do so. Also there may be a new dog in the area or, within the home you may have moved the furniture, obtained new furniture, or it can be simply a new perfume or even in some cases, we have found when clients paint their homes, they suddenly have behavior issues in their cats!

For these situations behavioral training products are one option, as are pheromones, medications, & even sometimes playing music will make a difference if the music is chosen correctly.

In summary although many clients want that simple solution, it rarely exists once a medical concern has been eliminated in your cat where abnormal urination in the home is considered.

Please take the time to review the first four options, & contact your veterinarian in a timely manner for his or her medical opinion on the overall health of your pet & take things from there! If the situation is dealt with earlier – many cats return to their normal behavior quickly, urinating & defecating in the appropriate locations.

Submitted with respect from Dr. Jeff Goodall, Sunnyview Animal Care in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Halifax Veterinarian, Lower Sackville Veterinarian, Fall River Veterinarian, using various Veterinary Reviewed Source materials. Further Reference Information Available upon Request.

Related Tags – Cat Health, Cat Diseases, Feline Urination, Aberrant Urination in Cats, veterinary treatment, veterinary information, cat care, pet care, Litter behaviour, diabetes in cats, urinary infections in cats,

Sunnyview Animal Care
36 Duke Street, Unit#6
Bedford, Nova Scotia  B4A 2Z5
Phone: (902)835-2223  Fax:(902)835-8837  
sunnyviewvet@eastlink.ca / www.sunnyview.vet

Xylitol toxicity in Cats & Dogs

By | First Aid for Your Pet, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns | No Comments

Xylitol is a “natural” sweetener that appears to sweeten much the same way as sugar-but with 75% fewer carbohydrates & 40% fewer calories. It is actually a sugar alcohol & in nature is found in mushrooms, lettuce, plums, berries and some other hardwood trees & fruits. Therefore it’s no surprise this product is showing up very many different foods & other products in our homes. these products vary but include chewing gum, mouthwashes, toothpaste, baking products, breath fresheners, nasal sprays including the more commonly available candy & mints. Please be clear-xylitol is safe in people.

Our concern at Sunnyview Animal Care-your Halifax, Bedford, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, and Fall River veterinarians-is that xylitol is estimated to be 100 times as toxic as chocolate to dogs, and is very toxic to cats. There is no test for its presence in your pet, and toxic effects in a pet can be rapid. The prognosis is good however with early intervention.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning:

A) Vomiting
B) Weakness
C) In-coordination or difficulty walking or standing/walking like they are drunk
D) Depression or lethargy
E Tremors or Seizures

Xylitol Toxicity in Cats

In cats, a very small amount of xylitol can elicit a sudden release of insulin resulting in low blood sugar-a condition known as hypoglycemia. Even if your pet is able to survive exposure, liver failure is sadly common. It is extremely toxic.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a product containing xylitol – This condition can lead to seizures & a coma-therefore prompt veterinary attention is needed on an emergency basis with no exceptions.

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Like we outlined in the discussion regarding cats, xylitol is also extremely toxic to dogs. Small amounts of xylitol result in low blood sugar levels, seizures, liver failure and can progress to your pet’s passing.

For example; as few as two pieces of gum can lead to hypoglycaemia in a 20kg (44b), while the liver toxic dose with many brands of gum can result from the ingestion of only nine(9) pieces/ or sticks in a 45 pound dog.

Please do not induce vomiting or give anything orally, a your dog or cat unless specifically directed to do so by our veterinarians or those at the emergency clinic.

In summary, please keep xylitol containing products where your pets cannot get to them, and if your cat or dog does eat something you suspect contain xylitol we do recommend you obtain our services or those of the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic(MAEC) in Burnside immediately.

Our Practice Number is 902-835-2223, the Metro Animal Emergency phone number is 902-468-0674.

How is Xylitol Poisoning Treated?

Fast & aggressive treatment by our veterinarians are essential to effectively reverse the toxic effects of xylitol, & prevent the development of severe problems. You can expect your pet the placed on IV fluids, bloodwork for a general outline of your pet’s overall health situation, and specifically the blood glucose level, possibly the induction of vomiting to prevent further xylitol absorption.

You can expect your dog or cat will require extended hospitalization & blood sugar monitoring for 24-48 hours, the administration of liver protectant, and possibly even the supplementation of potassium as this electrolyte can be affected in addition to everything else outlined above in these cases.

You can also expect a follow-up appointment with a repetition of liver enzyme-related blood work to ensure no long-term damage has occurred. This is especially important if the animal is over the age of eight years whether the dog or a cat.

While the overall toxicity of xylitol in other species is not well documented at the time of this writing, there is some concern that other non-primate species such as ferrets, hamsters & guinea pigs etc. may also react to xylitol in a similar manner to that in dogs & cats.

Related Tags – Submitted with respect from Dr. Jeff Goodall, Sunnyview Animal Care in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Halifax Veterinarian, Lower Sackville Veterinarian, Fall River Veterinarian, using various Veterinary Reviewed Source materials. Alcohol, antidote, liver failure, glucose, ingested poison, poison, poisons, gum toxicity, chewing gum toxicity, gum, chewing gum, gum poisoning, chewing gum toxicity, mouthwash toxicity, mouthwash, baking product toxicity, chocolate toxicity, chocolate poisoning, sugar substitute poisoning, sugar substitute toxicity, sugar-free gum, sugar-free gum toxicity, sugar-free chewing gum poisoning, sugar-free chewing gum toxicity, toothpaste toxicity, toothpaste poisoning, poisoning treatments, veterinary poisoning treatments, dog vomiting, cat vomiting, vomiting, seizures, dog seizures, Seizures, veterinary treatment

Sunnyview Animal Care

36 Duke Street, Unit#6

Bedford, Nova Scotia B4A 2Z5

Phone: (902)835-2223 Fax:(902)835-8837

sunnyviewvet@eastlink.ca / www.sunnyview.vet

March is Tick Awareness Month at Sunnyview

By | Family Pet Care, Parasite Concerns | No Comments

Contrary to past years, Sunnyview Animal Care is recommending ALL our clients consider starting their pets on tick prevention medication earlier in 2016. This is a significant change to our policy from past years, & is due to our review of various journal-reviewed information sources in the past few weeks.

In the past year, the distribution & range of tick populations in Canada appears to be increasing significantly given new data released by both the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) here in Canada and, the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) in the USA.

Also, I only recently became aware study from 2001 which confirms what we saw in the past few months at our Bedford, Nova Scotia veterinary practice – that ticks are now moving & looking for hosts [referred to as “questing”] all months of the year given our mild Nova Scotia winters. In fact, data from 2001 shows that adult Lyme disease bearing tick species will “quest” at temperatures as low as -0.6°C! (Although the accepted general minimum average temperature is 4°C for this behaviour).

“In most parts of Canada, tick activity begins when the snow starts to melt in our early spring & continues until the late fall-the adult Lyme disease bearing ticks (Ixodes scapularis aka. the ‘Deer Tick’) prefer cooler weather and can “quest” at any time through late fall into the spring if conditions are appropriate” CVMA CVJ Vol 57 2016, pg. 254.

Given that our family dogs are more likely to be exposed to ticks than we ourselves are, can also bring ticks into our homes, & that testing for the bacterium causing Lyme disease (Borellia burgdorferi) is detected more readily in dogs then in humans; this puts all veterinarians in a unique position to be involved in both the health & well-being of our pets, with our client’s families, & possibly play a role in helping to increase public awareness & educate our clients about this concern.

To this end, Sunnyview Animal Care will be posting some prevention thoughts for our clients & their friends to consider in the coming days, & emailing our clients directly. With new oral tick prevention products, those clients who have concerns with topical applications used in the prevention of ticks & fleas now have other options that are easily combined with oral deworming medication if needed. These products can be given monthly, or every 3 months.

Submitted with respect from Dr. Jeff Goodall, Sunnyview Animal Care in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Halifax Veterinarian, Lower Sackville Veterinarian, Fall River Veterinarian, using various Veterinary Reviewed Source materials. Further Reference Information Available upon Request.

Related Tags – Ticks, Lyme Disease, Lyme disease prevention, Tick Prevention, Tick Concerns, questing behaviour, veterinary treatment, veterinary information, dog care, pet carersz_deertick_copy

Holiday Hours, and Our Best Wishes for 2016!

By | Clinic Holiday News | No Comments

Happy Holidays

The Sunnyview Team would like to take a moment to extend our sincere thanks to all of our clients for a wonderful year!
We are excited with the move into our new location 36 Duke Street in Bedford this June. Although it was a bit of an adjustment and we still have fine tuning with some details, we couldn’t have done any of it without all of you. So thank you and thank you for your patience during the move and settling in.

We welcomed Dr. Jennifer Marriott to our team in June and she has fit right in with all of our patients and clients. Next time you’re booking an appointment consider seeing Dr. Jenn you won’t regret it!
We recently held our 8th annual Santa Paws pictures and had our best turnout yet raising $1120 for Feed Nova Scotia with the help of everyone who came and donated both money & food!

It was wonderful to see all of our long time and new to us clients at our open house this year. We look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.

2016 marks our 16th year in business and that again is all thanks to you for choosing us and allowing us to care for your 4 legged family members!

We wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season and the very best for 2016!

Our Holiday Hours are below –

Holiday hours 2015 MAEC Logo

Your Bedford Veterinarians, Lower Sackville Veterinarians, serving as Halifax Veterinarians, & Dartmouth Veterinarians as well!

Marijuana Medication Toxicity & Your Pet

By | First Aid for Your Pet, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you believe your pet has ingested Marijuana/cannabis/THC, please take them to the closest veterinary practice as soon as you can – place your pet in a carrier or have a friend restrain them if at all possible.

Lets be very clear – THC in dogs & cats is NOT metabolized in the same manner as people, and small doses in our pets can lead to significant, and serious illness – fatalities are being reported more often. The toxic amount for dogs & cats is a fraction of the human dose and, unlike people – dogs & cats become scared & very sick with THC ingestion.

The symptoms are variable – but typically your pet will be lethargic for no reason, be unsteady on their feet (‘ataxia’), vomit, or have urinary incontinence (urinate in the house/acting like they don’t know they are even going), and have a slow/low heart beat. Some pets may have seizures too.

We are not here to judge, and at Sunnyview – we really don’t care how an illness or injury happened – let us do our best to help your pet. You can be concerned about the ‘how’ later. If you suspect medication toxicity – let us know, the more we know the better, as we are here to help.

Treatment involves IV fluids and hospitalization after some basic blood work, and usually we administer activated charcoal, and occasionally anti-seizure medication as well.

For those readers who can prepare themselves – puppy-proof (same in many ways to ‘child-proofing) your home – keep cannabis products & plants safely out of reach and, prevent their accidental ingestion. There are THC & Hemp creams & oils that in the prescribed/recommended dose for people appear to help many ailments (like pain) – but a pet ingesting the entire container can lead to serious veterinary medical concerns requiring urgent attention. Just please put them away & out of reach.

Treat chocolate, onion ingestion, Tylenol or Acetaminophen ingestion, or any medication(s) – recreational or otherwise as toxic for your pets.

Some helpful web information –

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23216842

Video – Dangers of THC in Pets

Sunnyview Animal Care Centre

36 Duke Street, Unit #6

Bedford, Nova Scotia B4A 2Z5

Phone: (902) 835-2223 Fax: (902) 835-8837

info@sunnyview.vet / www.sunnyview.vet

Planning any Late Summer Beach Swimming with your dog?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

A great exercise for your dog is swimming, and what a great thing to do with your pet for yourself as well!

Also, swimming is a great way to keep your pet cool this summer too – but as the news has been telling us, in the latter part of August and September the bacteria counts of many of our lakes begin to climb to levels that could make your pet ill.

Plan Ahead – look for website information on the beach you are going to, pack lots of water & a bowl, towels, a long leash or rope, tie out, beach umbrella (if you can), & a life jacket.

Before you take your dog for a swim – check online for local parks & recreation bulletins on the lake you are going to first. Also, some ocean beaches can get high bacteria counts with our August heat ‘blasts’ – so check them out as well.

Don’t forget to consider a life jacket for your pet – it acts to not only increase their buoyancy, BUT also lets you see them if they get beyond your reach, and if you are ocean beach swimming can save their lives if there is a rip tide.

While your pet is swimming – have fresh water and a bowl nearby to help them slake their thirst without drinking the water, in case the bacteria counts are high. You will be surprised at how much water your pet will need – so pack extra.

After you get home, it is never a bad idea to rinse off any dog after swimming to reduce the contamination of bacteria – then use a few drops of straight white vinegar in the ears after you clean them too with a good quality ear cleaner. (Don’t forget to clean the ears after any bath too!)

You can always use a 1/2 & 1/2 vinegar water rinse on your pets coat after rinsing them off if they have a history of skin issues – as long as there is no active infection or open wounds, and of course, avoid the eyes and mouth!

Have a great few weeks of summer!

Submitted by Dr. Jeff W. Goodall
Sunnyview Animal Care / www.sunnyview.vet

dog and cat lying on red pet bed

Introducing your Baby to your Dog

By | Family Pet Care, Pet Behaviour Concerns | No Comments

New Baby, Old Dog
Considerations for introducing your baby with your dog.

So, your family is having a baby! Congratulations! Among the many things to consider with the new baby, is how is your dog going to accept it? A major consideration is to start long before the baby’s arrival. Preparation now could save many headaches, and heartaches later.

First, consider your dog’s personality. If your pet has shown any aggression to children in the past, recognize that you will never be able to completely trust your pet-but you can do a lot to lessen any problems. Is your pet possessive of toys, or does your pet suffer from any condition that may cause pain if touched in the hind-end or ears? For example, if your pet is sensitive to sudden movements, the baby could trigger unwanted behaviour. Always keep in mind that not all pets will be aggressive, some will just need to keep space between themselves and the baby. Adjusting your furniture to allow easy escape from a baby may be one idea.

While the pregnancy progresses, a refresher obedience course is a wise first option, even if you anticipate few problems with your pet. Among the basic behaviours to reinforce are two additional ones. I like to teach the pet the meaning of the word ‘careful’ said slowly-it sounds a bit like a growl and, you don’t fall into the trap of saying ‘No’ repeatedly. In fact anything the dog sees as punishment, if used after the baby’s arrival, could be misread by your pet-causing increased anxiety anytime the baby is around your pet. The second technique to build into your pet’s behaviour is to say ‘…What was that?’ Try saying this calmly while gently pinching the skin or, tugging lovingly on an ear or tail for example. Anytime you begin to use either technique, reward your pet for acceptable behaviour with verbal praise and an occasional treat.

Another useful technique is to start changing your pet’s routine before the babies’ arrival-not getting up on the couch, or any change in your walks. If you anticipate the need for a head halter-now is the time to have your pet get used to it. In fact, if you anticipate that your pet will be nervous, a halter gives increased control during introductory periods.

During the first meetings, please stay calm. Having the dog comfortable in the room first and bringing the baby to your pet is best. One key to reducing anxiety now is to have lots of treats handy, and while encouraging your pet to interact with your baby, add in the occasional command, such as sit, or down, and give lots of praise. Soon your pet will expect to behave normally with the baby, and know that treats are a part of it!

Once your baby has arrived, a productive method to lessen your pet’s anxiety is to pay them more attention when the baby is awake and, less when the baby is asleep or out with your partner. Ensure that you allow your pet to be a part of the family in every way, using a chew bone while the baby is crying for example will help with any fearful response, or feeding both the baby and your pet at the same time can really build up a positive relationship.

Finally, the use of an Adaptyl pheromone plug in diffuser is a great asset for you to use – the feline version is ‘Feliway’.  These diffusers release calming pheromones into the air of your home, covering 800 sq ft. and, you cannot smell them nor do they have an ill effect on you nor your child.  Instead, these are calming pheromones – in fact they are the same as those released by nursing mother dogs & cats, and calm your pet’s anxiety more then you can believe!

Please do not forget to never leave your dog alone with your baby – even the best dog can find itself in a situation with your newborn that it cannot manage, and accidents occur.  The most common form of accident with a baby is as it begins to explore its world – getting into the dog food can led to an instant response from your dog.  So putting the food up out of their reach between meals is one manner to prevent this accident, and restricting your baby from getting near your dog while it eats is another way to avoid a problem before one can occur!

Please contact your Veterinarian for more information – submitted by Dr. Jeff Goodall, Sunnyview Animal Care, 1746 Bedford Highway, Bedford, Nova Scotia. Your Bedford Veterinarian, your Halifax Veterinarian, and your Lower Sackville Veterinarian! #sac

We also love to help you care for your exotic pets too – Sunnyview is your Exotic Pet Vet!  We are Located on the Bedford Highway Vet!