Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

What do YOU know about Lyme Disease?

April is Prevent Lyme in Dogs Month, so all of us at Best Friends want to help you become a little more knowledgeable about this disease and what you can do to protect your furry family members.

Lyme in Dogs Month

Lyme disease (also known as borreliosis) is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by the bite of infected deer ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-transmitted disease in the US. Not only that, it is also a serious health concern for dogs.

Not all dogs that are bitten by a tick will become infected or show signs of illness. Those that do however, may have lameness, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Some dogs may also develop a kidney problem which causes inflammation in the kidney and protein loss in the urine (Lyme nephritis).

The good news is that there are ways to protect your dog against this infection. Prevention is key and there are many safe and effective tick prevention products available. There is also a vaccination available to help protect your dog against Lyme disease.

Given the mobility of our society and the migratory paths of birds and animals, Lyme disease is no longer a geographically isolated problem and has been reported in all 50 states. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products and whether your dog should receive the Lyme disease vaccine.

For more information, visit the CDC Lyme Disease web site (


Pet First Aid: Are you ready for an emergency?

What would you do if your pet had a medical emergency? Do you know what to do if your cat cuts his leg on something in the yard? What if your dog gets overheated playing in the park? April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month so as part of our ongoing quest to help you be a superstar pet parent, here are some tips to help you be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Pet First Aid Month

Cuts and scrapes

If your pet gets a cut (also called a laceration) and they are bleeding, use a clean cloth or paper towels to put pressure on the wound. This will help slow down the bleeding and give them time to form a blood clot. Once the bleeding has stopped or slowed down, you can examine the wound more closely. If the cut is severe or does not stop bleeding, continue to place pressure on the wound and get to your nearest veterinary hospital. There, they can perform a more thorough evaluation and determine if stitches are needed.


If your pet has been playing outdoors or has been in an area that is very warm, you may notice that they are breathing heavier and seem very tired or weak. If you have a thermometer, try and take their rectal temperature (be sure to lubricate the thermometer with some petroleum jelly or baby oil first). A normal temperature for a dog or cat is < 102.5. If they are above this, get them into a cool environment right away and place some damp towels on them to try and get their temperature down. Dogs or cats with a temperature > 104 or who experience bloody diarrhea, weakness, or collapse, need to see a veterinarian right away as they may be experiencing a heatstroke which can be life –threatening.


A pet who is having a seizure will often fall over and become rigid or start paddling its legs. They may vocalize or lose control of their bowels. If your pet is having a seizure, do not put your hands near their face (they may accidentally bite you) but do try to make sure they are in a safe place where they won’t fall or hurt themselves. Try to make a note of how long the seizure lasts. Once the seizure passes, your pet may act very disoriented or aggressive. Keep them calm and quiet and be sure to call your veterinarian as they may need to be seen to determine the cause of the seizure. If the seizures are severe or continuous, get them to a veterinarian right away. Continued seizure activity can hurt their brain and needs to be addressed right away.


If you know that your pet has eaten something that it should not have eaten (e.g., a medication, a cleaning product, plant, trash, etc.), call your veterinarian or nearest emergency clinic right away for advice. If possible, have the packaging of what they got into available. There are some toxins where it is a recommended to make your pet vomit but this is NOT the case for all toxins. If your pet is acting ill (dilated pupils, strange behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or loss of consciousness), take them to your veterinarian right away. They can help determine what is going on and if there is a specific therapy that they need.

Remember, first aid is not meant to substitute veterinary care, so always call or go see your family veterinarian or nearest emergency clinic if your pet experiences a medical emergency. We are here to help!

The American Red Cross also has a list of items to keep on hand at home for pet emergencies as well as a handy Pet First Aid App!

This blog post is brought to you by the SLVS team. If you have a suggestion for a future post, please leave it in the comments section below…


Toxic Foods, Plants and Household Items for Pets

We always look after the animals in our homes, but oftentimes, our pets often “take care” of us in ways beyond imagination. Pets are amazing creatures that bring joy and happiness into our lives, so it’s important that we treat and take care of them like family.

Whether it’s people food or household chemicals, there are several items that your pets may ingest (pets lick floors!).  There are many items that are hazardous to smaller animals, and some that are especially dangerous to particular pets. All of them are found in the home.

Toxic Food for Pets

The kitchen, bathroom, medicine cabinet, laundry room and garage all are areas that contain potential hazards to your house pets. Depending on what kinds of animals you have, your pets either will live in cages or have the run of the house, so figure out where you need to ‘pet proof’ your home.

Pets get into things! Help your pet’s safety by simply keeping the enclosure away from chemicals or poisons, and being careful not to allow your pet to ingest anything harmful either during playtime or from your own hand. Cats and dogs for the most part come and go as they please, so rooms of the home typically require pet proofing.

The first step of preventing accidental poisoning of your pets is awareness. Several toxins to be aware of are:

1. Plants

Several plants are toxic to your pets. Be aware when cooking or mealtimes that any vegetables in the Allium family (garlic, onion, chives, scallions, and so on) are harmful to animals.

Some exotic plants and popular flowers are also known to be poisonous to curious cats and dogs. These include azaleas, lilies, and coca plants, to name a few.

2. People Foods

Most processed foods aren’t good for even humans, but some people foods in particular, like candy or gum, contain toxic levels of sweeteners for pets. Additionally be aware that alcohol and caffeine affect animals at a much higher rate than they do humans, so be responsible with beer, spirits, and even coffee grounds.

3. Medicine

Just like small children, animals can get into medicine. Whether it’s prescription or over the counter, any pills left laying around may be tempting to pets that are used to consuming treats around the same size.

4. Chemicals

Cleaners and pesticides can pose a danger to your pets when used injudiciously. Rodenticides in particular may be attractive to your pets for the same reason that they attract rodents, so be wary when setting out traps or pellets around your home.

Once you’re aware of the foods and substances that may pose a danger to your pet it’s time to plan. Be sure to have a safe area for garbage disposal so your pets won’t have access to harmful table scraps or pieces that could cause obstructions. Keep all medicines stowed when not in use, and take care when using household cleaners to get rid of all chemicals carefully.

Learn to administer CPR to your pet–for both dogs and cats, hold your pet’s snout closed and breath into its nostrils, keeping your mouth around his nose so that the air enters. Gently palpitate his chest with two fingers for smaller animals. Call pet poison control and/or your local emergency vet clinic if your pets are exhibiting symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or dizziness.


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