Pet Health Articles

Care & Wellness

  • Chocolate is toxic to dogs. While rarely fatal, chocolate ingestion often results in significant illness. Chocolate is toxic because it contains the alkaloid theobromine. Theobromine is similar to caffeine and is used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant.

  • Choke is a relatively common condition that occurs when food or a foreign body blocks the horse's esophagus (gullet), which is the tube that takes food from the back of the mouth (pharynx) to the stomach.

  • Before acquiring a reptile, thoroughly research all aspects of reptile ownership including not only which reptile is appropriate for your lifestyle, but also how to provide it with proper diet, suitable housing, and a healthy, stimulating environment. As a rule, if you want a pet to snuggle with, a reptile is not for you! If, on the other hand, you want an animal you can display in a well-designed, natural habitat, marvel in its natural behaviors, and enjoy learning about it, owning a reptile might be for you. Most reptiles must be fed and watered daily, and often their cages need to be cleaned daily as well. All reptiles need to be examined by a reptile-savvy veterinarian immediately after purchase or adoption (within 48 hours), and then at least annually after that. Since many exotic animals are prey species that hide illness to avoid being captured by predators, these pets usually do not act sick (or show any indication of illness) until they are very sick and need immediate veterinary attention. Regular veterinary care, plus an informed, knowledgeable pet owner, greatly reduces the likelihood of illness and death in these pets.

  • Your cat's skin and coat condition are good indicators of her health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky, or bumpy. Selective breeding has led to the development of cats with various coat characteristics requiring varying grooming needs. To maintain healthy skin and coat, your cat also requires a properly balanced diet.

  • The general condition of your dog's skin and coat are good indicators of his health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky, or bumpy. Selective breeding has led to the development of dogs with various coat characteristics requiring varying grooming needs. Nutrition also plays an important role in skin and coat maintenance.

  • Cockatiels make excellent first birds for families. Larger than budgies and smaller than larger parrots, these entertaining birds are easy to maintain and provide endless hours of entertainment and companionship. They are beautiful flyers and enjoy lots of activity and play. Cockatiels love to chew; therefore, providing bird-safe toys will easily distract them from unwanted destructive chewing. They may be adopted from shelters or purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. They require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups to help prevent disease and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

  • Cockatoos are a suitable family pet for families with elementary school-aged and older children. Their jumpy nature and strong bite make them inappropriate for families with young children. Owning a cockatoo can be like having a small child. These birds are high maintenance both physically and emotionally, as they demand a lot of attention and a great deal of time outside their cages. Without adequate attention, cockatoos sometimes become excessively boisterous and are potentially destructive. Cockatoos need to chew; therefore, providing a continuous supply of non-toxic wood or cardboard bird-safe toys will afford it many hours of entertainment and likely save household items from being destroyed. Cockatoos may be adopted from shelters or purchased from pet stores or reputable breeders. They require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups to help prevent disease and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

  • The term colic simply means abdominal pain. There are many causes of colic and symptoms range from very mild to violent.

  • Choosing the right collar or harness for a dog requires understanding how each device works and what is best for the dog and the owner. Correct selection, fit, and use are crucial for any training tool's success.

  • Pet birds often become ill when they are not cared for or fed appropriately. Birds can develop infections with bacteria such as Chlamydia psittaci and parasites such as Giardia. They also commonly suffer from reproductive problems, such as egg binding and reproductive tumors. Many feather-pick when psychologically stressed or sexually frustrated. Birds on all-seed, high-fat diets may become obese and develop fatty liver syndrome. Older birds may develop cloacal papillomas or cancer. Your veterinarian familiar with birds will formulate an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan if your pet bird becomes ill.