Category Archives: Dogs

Happy Pit Bull Awareness Day! My name is Trixie and my mom works for the Ardmore Animal Hospital. She found me on the Dodo – A social media group that features pets in need. I’m blind in one eye and missing the other, so of course someone had to fall for me! I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. The Pit bull laws are a tad harsh in the big apple. The New York City Housing Authority bans Pit bulls in any housing under its control. They also ban Dobermans and Rottweilers. Some of the municipalities even consider us a “dangerous” dog, which means stricter laws against us if we were to have an incident. Yikes!

EmmaTrixie (002)My story goes like this – I was found at around six weeks old in a storm drain. My right eye was ruptured and I had a very low temperature. I was almost dead. A man found me and brought me to Sean Casey Animal Rescue, located in Brooklyn. A family who did volunteer work at the rescue was willing to foster me right away. I was fixed up, nursed back to health and feeling on top of the world. My foster mom had a few other dogs who I got along with very well. Shortly after they added a baby human to our pack, so of course they needed to find a place with more room. Their new apartment complex wouldn’t allow me to live with them because I’m a Pit bull… Shocker! Back to the shelter I went. I also spent some time with a handful of different fosters who were allowed to house me. Once I was with my last foster mom, Diana, I was featured on The Dodo and that’s when my “furever” mom and dad found me! They drove all the way to Brooklyn with their other Pit bull, Emma. She loved me right away at our meet and sniff. My mom and dad went home to “think about it” and without hesitation, they drove back up the following weekend to adopt me! Woohoo! The city of brotherly love welcomed me with open arms. There are restrictions here as well, but not quite as strict as New York. My mom says all pitties are welcome in her home, so I’m safe here. I love playing with my human baby brother, Dylan and my feline brother, Sid Vicious. Sid thinks I’m funny looking, but he secretly loves me. There isn’t much to be afraid of, really. I just want to sleep, eat and run in circles! My Pit bull sister, Emma, practically raised Dylan from infancy until toddler-hood. She slept by his side day in and day out and always shared her toys. She was a big red beauty. Sadly, she passed in December 2016 from lymphoma. Man, was she awesome at helping me learn my way around my new digs! She was also nothing to be afraid of… Unless you were a carpenter bee. She thought those guys were pretty tasty. 

Enough about me, though. Let’s discuss the truth about my breed. A dog is usually classified as a Pit bull just from its looks. A stocky body, boxy head, broad stature. That’s a lot of breeds and that is why we always catch a bad rap. A Boston Terrier mix all the way to a Mastiff mix can be classified as a Pit bull type dog by shelters or law enforcement. So if any one of my fellow bully breeds does anything wrong, we are all stereotyped. Is that really fair? We are one of the most feared breeds, but I blame humans. We are used and mistreated because of our loyalty and eagerness to please. In reality, we are gentle enough to have once been considered a “nanny” dog. I try to take darn good care of my baby human brother. I do steal the occasional chicken nugget, but we typically rock at being gentle and caring. We are smart, loyal and LOVE to snuggle! We don’t want to fight. We aren’t born aggressive. We aren’t capable of locking our jaws. It’s not a natural instinct for us to attack. We aren’t sharks! Our bite force is actually the same as a retriever – about 235 pounds. The myth about having a 1600 pound bite force is completely false. We also scored higher on the temperament testing than most trusted family breeds. According to the 2008 testing of 218 dog breeds by the American Temperament Testing Society, the passing rate for the American Pit bull Terrier was 85%, American Staffordshire Terrier was 83.9%, Staffordshire Bull Terriers was 88%! Some breeds that scored lower than us include the Beagle, Border Collie, Dalmatian, Greyhound, Caviler King Charles Spaniel and Toy Poodles. Last year’s test results proved to be very similar.

Emmadylan (002)There are just too many stereotypes and myths to count, but I can promise we aren’t what everyone thinks. There is an alarming amount of “Pit bull type” dogs in shelters all across America. Why are there so many of us? It’s not because we have behavioral issues. It’s because there are so many of us classified as “Pit bulls” and perhaps too many stereotypes going against us. Please don’t fall for them! We also end up in shelters due to a thing called “BSL” or Breed Specific Legislation. There are several cities that ban us because of all the misinformation and prejudice . Denver, CO. Miami, FL. Council Bluffs, IA. The list is endless! How do we stop these bans? Educate! Educate! Educate! Give us a try. Go to your local shelter and volunteer. Take us for walks and find out just how awesome and sweet we really are. The numbers are scary. Every year, 1.2 million pups are euthanized in shelters and 40% consist of Pit bulls. Yikes! Thankfully, we’re becoming more and more accepted and humans are becoming more aware of the stereotypes being only stereotypes. But, we still need more believers!

The younger generations find us to be trendy these days and I’m OK with that! Us pitties just ask that you make sure you can keep us for life, because the mixture of trendiness and BSL is what’s putting us in these shelters in the first place. I’ll say it time and time again, we aren’t the problem – The human that owns us usually is. That goes for attacks and the number of us, homeless. Please consider giving us a chance, even if it’s just fostering one of us. The less of us in shelters means the less euthanized. You may become a “foster failure” and fall head over heels in love with one of us! Be prepared for lots of kisses, snuggles and FUN if you adopt a Pit bull. And, beware that pitties are like potato chips… You can’t just have one!

Reasons to own a Pit bull:

1. We come in any color variety
2. We can make friends with just about anyone
3. We’re pretty darn intelligent
4. We’re warm on chilly winter days (we love to snuggle)
5. We are eager to please
6. We’ve got energy for running, hiking, or a day at the park
7. We can sub as a babysitter last minute (we were nanny dogs)
8. We’re pretty low maintenance
9. We’re great home security
10. We’ll love you until the end of time

Woof!

Trixie Myers

 

By Gertie Lombardo

Hey there! Happy International Chihuahua Appreciation Day! Allow me to introduce myself: My name Is Gertie and my mom works at the front desk at Ardmore Animal Hospital. Perhaps you remember seeing me. Sometimes my brother Chimi and I get to come to work with my mom!

So, here’s the scoop: I am a Chihuahua. We are the smallest breed in the dog world and we were bred specifically for companionship. I am really good at being my mom’s companion. I follow her everywhere she goes like it’s my job. Whether it’s on the couch or lying in bed at night, you can usually find me right next to her. I absolutely MUST be touching her or I can’t sleep. Chihuahuas are a very loyal and form strong bonds with our family but we tend to single out one specific person and really attach ourselves to them. Did you know that our loyalty runs so deep that sometimes if our owner passes away, we could die of a broken heart!

Chihuahuas are from the Mexican State of Chihuahua. We are thought to be the descendants of the ancient Techichi dog. Because we are “desert dogs”, we tend to not like rain and cold weather. Winter is hard for my brother and me because we don’t like to go outside to do our “business”. Our mom and dad sometimes come home to “accidents” in the house. Chihuahuas are notorious for being hard to house train, but we have the largest brain in relation to our body than any other breed, so I don’t think that’s true… we just know that we don’t like going out when the weather is less than ideal!

Some fun facts about Chihuahuas include the following: We live to be 14-18 years old, so be prepared for a long term relationship if you adopt one. We are a generally healthy breed but we can be prone to heart conditions and luxating patellas; this condition is where the knee cap dislocates itself from its normal position. I actually had surgery to correct my knee. It was painful and I had a long recovery, but I am now in tip top shape and I can run with the best of them. Which reminds me; Chihuahuas don’t need much exercise so we make great apartment pets! Chimi and I rarely go for walks because our little legs get tired real fast.

Chihuahuas have a quirky and eccentric personality. Some of us are pretty social and others tend to be less than thrilled with the prospect of communicating with anyone. This is actually genetic- the temperament of a Chihuahua is largely based on the temperament of the dog’s parents and grandparents. Personally, I am not fond of other dogs right off the bat, but after I growl a few times at them and they seem cool with it, then I’m cool with them. My best friend is my older brother Chimi. He’s part Chihuahua and part terrier of some sort. We keep each other company, we snuggle, and we love getting into trouble together!

Thank you for letting me tell you a little about my breed. We are often misunderstood, but once you get to know a Chihuahua, you will find us to be one of the most devoted and funny little breeds you’ll ever meet.

Did you know that obesity is not just an epidemic in humans but also in pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 57% of dogs and 52% of cats are obese and these numbers are on the rise. Much like humans, obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint problems, and ultimately a shortened life expectancy.

Based on a survey created by APOP, a surprising 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners thought their pet was in the normal weight range. This disparity is known as the “fat gap” and is thought to be one of the primary factors in the growing rate of pet obesity. To tell if your pet is a healthy weight, use this scoring system. Your pet should rank at about a 3 if he or she is a healthy weight.

To keep your pet at a healthy weight, take care in providing him or her with a healthy diet and ensuring the proper amount of exercise. Pet foods have become more calorically dense and people are feeding their pets more. If your pet is already overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action. Your vet will probably recommend a controlled diet and specific type of food.

It can be hard to know what the proper caloric intake and weight should be for your pet so APOP has provided a few useful tables to help. This information does not replace the advice of your veterinarian and should only be used as a starting point.

Pet Caloric Needs – https://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs/

Ideal Weight Ranges – https://www.petobesityprevention.org/ideal-weight-ranges/

September is National Food Safety Month. Like cats and humans, certain foods can be toxic to dogs. While cats and dogs share many food toxicities, here is dog-specific and alphabetic list of the foods you should avoid giving your dog.

Alcohol: Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans are. Just a little bit can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, coordination problems, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. Hops in particular, which is found in beer, has been found to poison dogs. Dogs affected by hops can have damage and failure to multiple organ systems due to an uncontrollably high body temperature.

Avocado: Persin, the toxic element in Avocado, can cause mild upset stomach. Persin can be found in the leaves, seed, bark, and inside the fruit. Avocado is sometimes included in pet food but does not pose a threat to dogs.

Chocolate: Unlike cats, dogs will eat chocolate on their own. The rule with chocolate is usually, “the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate contains very few methylxanthines, the toxic component of chocolate, while dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and quantity of the chocolate consumed, the reaction your dog may have can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures, and death.

Coffee/Caffeine: Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog and there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding.

Corncobs: Corncobs are not digestible and often cause obstructions in the intestines.

Fat Trimmings and Bones: Don’t feed your dog table scraps. Fat, when cooked or uncooked, can cause pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). Bones should not be given to dogs either, as they can choke on it or the bone may splinter and cause an obstruction or internal lacerations.

Grapes and Raisins: Although it is not known what makes grapes and raisins toxic, they have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Some dogs eat them without any effects while others can develop vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Kidney failure means your dog’s ability to product urine decreases so they are unable to filter toxins out of their system.

Macadamia nuts: Although the chance that macadamia nuts are deathly to dogs is low, the symptoms they do feel can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms can include muscle tremors, paralysis of the back legs, vomiting, and more.

Milk/Dairy Products: Because dogs are devoid of the lactase needed to breakdown milk, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach.

Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body that result in nervous system abnormalities, seizures, shock, or death.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives: All members, and close members of the onion family (including shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.), can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Like chocolate, the stronger it is, the more toxic it is. Garlic has been found to be more toxic to dogs than onions. Even dehydrated forms of garlic and onion are a threat to your dog’s health. Affected dogs may exhibit symptoms up to five days later and can include weakness, reluctance to move, and orange-tinted to dark red urine. Dogs that have ingested garlic or onion should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.

Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums: The seeds or pits from these fruits are the main concern. Persimmons seeds can cause inflammation of the small intestines or intestinal obstruction. Intestinal obstruction is also a concern for peach and plum pits. Peach and plum pits also contain cyanide which is poisonous to both dogs and humans. Humans just know not to eat them.

Raw eggs, meat, and fish: Raw eggs, meat, and fish can contain bacteria like salmonella that can lead to food poisoning. Raw eggs also interfere with the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and can lead to skin, hair, and coat issues. Certain fish can cause “fish disease” which can be fatal within the first two weeks. The first signs are vomiting, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking meat and fish will kill the parasites and protect your dog.

Salt: Giving your dog salty foods is not a good idea. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination which leads to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of excessive salt consumption can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death.

Sugary foods: Sugary foods, such as candy and gum, are usually sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is known for increasing insulin production which causes blood sugar levels to drop. It can also cause disorientation and seizures as fast as 30 minutes after ingestion or as delayed as several hours. Xylitol can also lead to liver failure in just a few days. Even if the sugary food doesn’t contain xylitol it can still lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes.

Yeast dough: Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system. This can lead to pain and a possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Additionally, when the yeast causes the dough to rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning. Dogs with extreme poisoning cases can go into a coma or have seizures.

Non-food items: Foreign objects such as toys, small items of clothing, and medicine are perhaps a greater risk to dogs than food. One case is medical marijuana. It comes in many forms that a pet can easily eat and can cause vomiting, changes in heart rate, and depress the nervous system.

If you suspect your dog ate any of these foods, first try to determine what and how much he or she ate. You should then call us or your veterinarian to see if medical attention is needed. If a veterinarian is not available, call either Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

Do you have a cat? Most foods that are toxic for dogs are also toxic for cats. Check out this blog post for a cat-specific list of toxic foods. If you’re unsure about a certain food for either your cat or your dog and it’s not on this list, call your veterinarian. Your pet’s health is worth the call!

Sit. Stay. Now read. Training your dog can take a lot of time and sometimes it even seems like you’re not making any progress. But what if that’s because you’re not doing it in the best way possible? Dogs thrive from positive reinforcement. That is, if they do something right or well, they will get rewarded. Positive reinforcement can be the tone of your voice, a toy, or an edible treat. Negative reinforcement should never include hitting. Following some of the simple training guidelines listed here can make all the difference.

1. Make sure your whole family is doing the same training techniques. If you use the command “stay” and someone else uses “wait,” you won’t get the results you’re looking for. You should also make sure that you are all rewarding your dog for the same behaviors.

2. Make the commands simple and short. Try to keep your commands to one or two words. Sit, stay, come, here, down, lie down, etc.

3. If your pet does something right, reward him or her immediately. If you wait, they may not associate the reward with the action.

4. Make sure to reward your dog with something he or she will enjoy. Food treats tend to work especially well but other positive reinforcements can include praise, petting, or a favorite toy or game.

5. As your dog begins to learn the command, slowly ease up on how often he or she is rewarded. Go from continuous reinforcements to only intermittent reinforcements. You should get to the point where you are only giving a reward for the behavior occasionally.

All dogs are different so it is important to remain patient and consistent with your training. Your family should spend some time every day reinforcing the good behaviors. You can find a program led by an accredited instructor but the real work needs to be done at home. A trainer trains the family while the family trains a pet.

Happy training and good luck!

Wyomissing Animal Hospital has provided superior veterinary care for small animals for more than twenty years. Founded by Dr. Boyd Wagner and Dr. John Hampson, the hospital now has eight doctors and over 50 staff members who are dedicated to providing professional and loving care to all of our patients. At Wyomissing Animal Hospital, we understand that your pets are your family. We provide both wellness care and medical treatment for your animals. Wyomissing Animal Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA accreditation recognizes our hospital’s commitment to meeting the highest quality standards of care – a recognition achieved by only 17% of small animal practices in the United States and Canada.

Besides the ocean, there are many other dangers that your dog can encounter at the beach. Being alert and attentive and following some of these rules will make your beach getaway proceed without problems!

First, make sure to adhere to the beach’s specific rules as these are actually laws and you can be given a citation or fine. Some common laws include cleaning up after your dog, requiring your dog to wear a collar and ID tags and be up-to-date on vaccinations, be on a leash, and so on. Make sure to check prior to leaving to see if your beach destination is pet friendly!

Just like people, dogs can only handle so much sun. Sunscreen that is safe for your dog is available at pet stores or online. Do not use a sunscreen unless it is specifically labeled safe for animal use. Make sure there is a shady spot for your dog to retreat to like an umbrella, picnic table, or tree and bring plenty of fresh, cool water and a dog bowl. Offer water refills often, making sure that the water does not get hot in the sun. Watch for signs of overheating, which can include: excessive panting or drooling, vomiting or diarrhea, collapse, and loss of consciousness. If you start to see any of these signs immediately move your dog to a cooler environment. While staying calm and speaking in a soothing voice, wrap the dog in cool, wet towels. A fan can be used to help blow air over the animal to speed up the cooling and applying isopropyl alcohol to the paw pads will facilitate cooling and should be repeated as the alcohol dries. It is important to never fully immerse your overheated pet in water as it may increase their anxiety.

Hot sand is also a very real concern. Foot pad burns can occur when the sand is too hot. If a person cannot walk barefoot, their dog cannot either. While on the sand, lead the way for your dog to make sure they won’t step on anything sharp. Broken glass and shells are only two of many things that can hurt your pet’s paws. If your dog’s paw gets cut, apply pressure to the wound to ease the bleeding. If it’s severe, seek veterinary attention immediately. Once in the water, jellyfish and rocks start to potentially pose problems. If your dog gets stung by a jellyfish, douse the affected area in vinegar to ease the pain and kill off the stinging barbs before trying to remove the tentacles.

If your dog does not come to you every time you call them, keep them on a leash. You can buy a long-reaching leash (20-30 feet) which will still allow you and your dog to play with a ball or Frisbee without worrying about the possibility of them running away.

Pay close attention to your dog’s swimming habits. Fitness level, experience, and even breed of dog can influence how well your dog can swim. Poor swimmers and brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Boxers should probably not spend much time on the beach. When in doubt, put a life vest on your dog and keep an eye out. If your pet does go in the water, make sure to remove them if they start to drink the water. Instead offer fresh, clean water since salt water is bad for dogs and can cause gastrointestinal problems. Salt water may also cause some irritation to their skin and paws. Rinsing your dog off with fresh water before you leave or shortly after getting home will help him or her stay comfortable and happy.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, have fun!

You probably heard it repeatedly right around the Fourth of July in relation to fireworks—leave your pets at home. But the reason extends to more than just fireworks. Many dogs are frightened by loud noises and almost all aspects of a thunderstorm: wind, rain, thunder, lightning, and even atmospheric pressure. These fears can develop even if your dog has not had any traumatic experiences.

The level of anxiety your dog experiences depends on the individual dog. Some dogs whine and pace while others injure themselves trying to escape. The most common reactions to loud noises are destruction and running away or escaping. To reduce his fears, your dog might seek out a place where the thunder or loud sounds are less intense.

You can try a few different things to ease his fears. First is to create a “safe place” or somewhere that is safe for your dog to be and is readily accessible. Let him choose this place by seeing where he goes during a storm and making this a space he can retreat to when he is scared. Another option is to distract your dog. This works best when your dog is just beginning to get anxious. Engage your dog in an activity he likes that will capture his attention and distract him from the noises. This can mean a game of fetch, practicing behavioral commands, or even listening to calm music.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, do not attempt to reassure or soothe your dog too much when he is afraid. This includes over petting and giving him treats. Attempting to do so may reinforce the fearful behavior and make it worse. You should, instead, stay calm and as relaxed as possible.

Another interesting option is a snug-fitting garment or shirt, such as the ThunderShirt. Products like this apply gentle, constant pressure and are designed to calm anxious dogs. They have a calming effect similar to swaddling a baby. If you prefer to make your own, you can buy a small t-shirt and put your dog’s front legs through the armholes of the shirt. The shirt should fit snugly around your dog’s torso.

You can also try behavior modification. Counterconditioning is when the animal is taught to display acceptable behavior instead of the unacceptable one. You can do this by only playing your dog’s favorite game or giving him his favorite toy right before and during a storm. Another modification is desensitization. This is when your dog’s response is decreased while exposed to increasing levels of what they’re afraid of. For a noise phobia, start with the noise at a quiet level and work your way to a louder volume level. If you feel that his anxiety is out of control, consult your veterinarian as medication can be prescribed to temporarily alleviate your dog’s anxiety. Do not give your dog any over the counter or prescription medication without asking your vet first. What works for a human may be fatal to your dog.

If you have any concerns or questions, please give us a call at 610-372-2121.

 

Wyomissing Animal Hospital has provided superior veterinary care for small animals for more than twenty years. Founded by Dr. Boyd Wagner and Dr. John Hampson, the hospital now has eight doctors and over 50 staff members who are dedicated to providing professional and loving care to all of our patients. At Wyomissing Animal Hospital, we understand that your pets are your family. We provide both wellness care and medical treatment for your animals. Wyomissing Animal Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA accreditation recognizes our hospital’s commitment to meeting the highest quality standards of care – a recognition achieved by only 17% of small animal practices in the United States and Canada.

Dog Bite Prevention (for more info, go to: https://www.avma.org/public/pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention.aspx)

Dog Bite Facts:
  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
  • Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how – or if – they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.