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Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should I spay or neuter my pet?

It is recommended that a dog or cat be spayed and neutered between the ages of 5-6 months old. We recommend altering your pet between 5-6 months old because they are old enough to undergo anesthesia, and it is usually before they have their first heat cycle for females. It is the best time for them all around.

Is it bad to feed my dog or cat people food, even if it's just a little bit?

It is not recommended that you give your dog or cat any people food. Most of the foods humans eat are too rich for your pets to digest. It can cause them to have diarrhea, vomiting, gas, intestinal problems, kidney and liver problems, pancreatitis, along with choking, (if a bone or piece of food isn't chewed well or cut right). The pet food companies have made sure that the food they put out is complete with all of the nutrients your pet needs. If you have questions on the type of pet food your pet should be eating, please call us.

How often should I have my pets teeth cleaned?

It is important to start routine dental preventative care at home with your dog and cat. This includes brushing their teeth, using mouth rinses or using special dental mouth washes that you add to their water for preventative care. Have your veterinarian check your pet's teeth every 6-12 months. If your vet recommends a dental cleaning, he will scale up under the gums, polish and give a fluoride treatment to your pet's teeth while they are anesthetized. It is important to take care of your pet's teeth because gingivitis and periodontal disease can develop if the teeth are left untreated. It is possible for an infection to travel through the bloodstream to the liver, kidneys and heart.

Is it important for my pet to have an annual exam?

It is important for your pet to be seen on a regular basis. A yearly visit with the vet can help prevent any health issues from going unnoticed. When the vet examines your pet, he is looking at the health of their teeth, ears, skin, eyes, heart, lungs, hearing and sight. He is checking for any lumps and can answer any questions you might have. All pets benefit from preventative health care.

My pet drinks more water than normal - should I be concerned?

If your pet is drinking more water than normal, he needs to see a vet. This is a common symptom of diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing’s disease and urinary tract infections. These common ailments can be detected with diagnostic tests such as blood work and urine tests. It can be treated.

What is Lyme disease and should I vaccinate my dog for it?

Lyme disease is an illness that affects the joints and muscles of the dog. It can be transmitted to dogs and people. The ticks in this area have been found to carry Lyme disease. It is highly recommended that your pet be vaccinated for this if they go outside. You can also apply Frontline as a preventative for ticks and fleas. Talk to your vet if you have more questions. 

What will happen if my dog eats chocolate?

Dogs love chocolate just like people do. But it's not good for them to eat chocolate because there is a component in chocolate called methylxanthine, which can be very toxic to your pet. Different types of chocolate have different degrees of cocoa bean in them, which can affect your dog differently. For instance, milk chocolate:

  • 15-pound dog can have approximately one-fourth pound of chocolate.
  • 30-pound dog can have approximately one-half pound of chocolate.
  • 60-pound dog can have approximately one pound of chocolate.

Baker chocolate and bitter or dark chocolate is more concentrated and takes very little to poison your pet. If your pet eats any chocolate, call your veterinarian right away. Let them know what type of chocolate it is and how much was eaten.

Is it normal for my dog or cat to eat grass?

Dogs often eat grass if they have an upset stomach. A little grass eating is okay, but extensive grass eating is not healthy. If your dog or cat is eating excessive amounts of grass, call your vet.

Can I give my dog aspirin?

It is important to have your pet seen for any abnormal behavior they may be displaying, such as limping, not getting up and slow to move. If you are trying to treat arthritis or pain, it is important to consult your vet first. Aspirin can be safely given if your vet recommends it. Do not give pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil. For answers to further questions, please feel free to call us.

Why does my pet scoot across the carpet?

If your pet is scooting across the floor, this could be due to allergies, external parasites (fleas or ticks), or internal parasites. This behavior could also be a sign of full anal gland sacs. The anal glands are little sacs that are located on the inside of each side of the rectum. The pet secretes a liquid from its anal glands while it defecates. Some pets' anal glands don't secrete completely or at all. That's when they become itchy and painful. Your vet can express the anal glands to relieve your pet of any discomfort. It is important to have the anal glands expressed regularly to prevent an infection. See your vet if your pet is displaying any signs of scooting their bottom across the floor, constant chewing at the base of the tail, or licking their rectum constantly.

Cold Weather Care

Just as we care for ourselves differently at different times of the year, we also need to be aware that our pets require different care during colder Michigan weather conditions. Below are a few general precautions to follow. If you have questions, please call us for more information.

1. Well-nourished pets are better prepared to withstand winter, particularly if they are housed outdoors. An outdoor shelter should be insulated, elevated, protected from the wind and be watertight. Outdoor pets normally require more food to generate enough energy to cope with the cold. It is important to use a high quality, nutritionally complete and balanced food. Fresh water should always be available and watched closely against freezing. Heated water bowls are available, but close monitoring is still required.

2. Pets housed indoors may require less food in order to maintain a good overall body condition. They tend to be less active and expend less energy, so their diets need to be monitored closely to guard against "winter weight gain."

3. Remove packed snow or ice from between your pet’s paw pads and dry thoroughly. Otherwise, moisture can get trapped and cause infection or sores. Salt and other de-icers spread on the ground may also irritate the pads of the feet and cause bleeding.

4. Because of its sweet taste, pets are attracted to antifreeze and may lap it up if it is not properly disposed of. Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets. If you suspect antifreeze has been ingested, even a small amount, contact your veterinarian immediately.

5. As in humans, frostbite can also happen to our pets. If you suspect your pet has frostbite, do not rub or apply anything to the frozen tissue as this can cause more damage. Seek veterinary treatment.

6. You may find your indoor pet experiencing shedding or dry skin. This is usually the result of low-humidity. Frequent brushing helps to remove excess hair and dead skin and will help stimulate oil glands.

7. We are often tempted to give our pets an extra treat, especially during the holidays. Refrain from feeding table food because pets are not able to properly digest it, and it can make them very sick. Also watch for other holiday hazards such as Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria), electrical cords, ribbons and tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause obstruction-most commonly occurs with kittens), batteries, and glass ornaments.