4 Things to Note When Picking Treats for Your Pet

Did you know?

Pet owners spend about 2 billion dollars on treats per year!! It is difficult to pick out the right treat these days with advancements in marketing and nutrition research in pets. We are here to help you pick a good healthy nutritious treat for your pet!

What to look for in the perfect treats:

1. Nutrition.Tartar Shield

A treat that is nutritious and offers a health benefit (joint or dental treats). Avoid junk food or other options that have no nutritional value such as table scrapes, rawhides, chewy chunks, pig ears.

2. Counting the calories.

Your veterinarian can determine your pets’ daily calorie intake need, by calculating your pets RER, or Resting Energy Requirement. In active or working pets, this number will be higher; in indoor, less active pets, this number will be lower. Treats calories should be included in your pets daily RER!

Hills Treats3. Number of Treats.

Keep an eye on how many treats per day you are giving. Your veterinarian can help you determine this number.
4. Low-Calorie Treats.

If you have already reach your pets caloric intake for the day, try offering low calorie snack like baby carrots, celery, green beans, ice cubes or broccoli.  This will still allow your pet to enjoy a treat, without all the additional calories!

Let us help you find the perfect treat for your pet!

-Dr. Griffin

4 Steps to Prepare your Dog for Your New Baby

Dr. Keri Henderson

In all the preparations for your new bundle of joy it can be easy to forget, that this is not only a big adjustment for you but for your dog as well. With a new baby comes many new sights, sounds, and smells that can overwhelm your furry companion. Your previous routine will be drastically altered and subsequently your pets’ routine will also have to change. Although your pet is and always will be your fur baby, he or she will by necessity receive less attention from you. Without adequate preparation these changes can result in anxiety and behavioral issues.

Camden HandBelow are some things you should do in the months prior to baby’s arrival to ensure that your dog transitions well this new phase of your life:

Basic obedience skills are a must.

Sit, down, and stay are basics that are necessary to keep an excitable dog in check around your infant. Stay and settle are important commands that teach your pet to control their impulses even while new circumstances are occurring. Teaching your dog a simple placing command, where your pet goes to a certain area and sits or lies down on cue, can be useful when you are tending to your infants needs but would like your pet to be present and not in the way. “Leave it” and “drop it” can be important commands in teaching your dog to leave baby’s things alone, such as a dropped pacifier or bottle. If your dog has the tendency to jump, teach them to greet people in a calm and controlled manner. If your dog is not already crate trained then you may consider training him/her as a crate can be your pets’ “safe place” when things get hectic in your household. “Go away” is a good command for your pet to know once baby is a little older and beginning to crawl. This command can remove your pet from any situation where they may become uncomfortable, such as baby crawling towards them or attempting to use them to pull up to stand. If you and your dog have limited experience with obedience training and commands then consider enrolling in behavioral classes. Please note the training resources and links at the end of this blog.

Start introducing your dog to new sites, sounds, and smells associated with an infant.

This can be as simple as letting your dog listen to a recording of a crying baby while continuing to “settle” or stay in their “place” as you have previously taught them. You can also shake a baby rattle, turn on any crib mobile or toy that makes noise Camden Babythat you have purchased for your child, and simulate preparing/microwaving a bottle all while your pet remains calm and responds to basic commands. Use some of baby’s lotions and ointments on yourself so that your pet begins to associate them with someone familiar. You can even practice going through the motions of changing, feeding, etc with a doll so that your pet becomes accustomed to your attention being focused elsewhere.


Begin to make alterations to your routine prior to baby’s arrival.

Get up during the night and go into the nursery and sit in your nursing chair, go into the kitchen frequently to simulate preparing baby’s bottle, etc. Make sure that your pet continues to respond to basic commands during these routine changes. You can also vary your pets’ feeding time if they are used to being fed at a specific time as life with a new baby can be unpredictable and may result in unexpected changes to your pets feeding schedule. If you are worried about your dog not receiving enough playtime then consider doggie day camp and don’t wait until you new baby arrives to begin bringing your pet, as beginning day camp can be an adjustment all its own.

Set up the first interaction to be successful.

Leash your pet upon the very first introducing to your infant, even if you have no reason to believe he/she will act poorly. Remain calm, if your pet senses that you are anxious then they will respond similarly. Ask your dog to respond to some of the Camden Baby 2obedience cues you have taught and reward your dog for any calm attention he/she may express towards the new baby. If your dog is calm and has positive body language (see below for link on body language) then allow he/she to sniff the new baby. If your pet is too eager and with their interactions then redirect their attention with a placing command followed by a treat reward.  Your dog will gradually learn to associate appropriate interactions with your child with treats and praise.

With adequate preparation and training your pet will adjust to your new addition quickly and this will make your adjustment easier as well. As always, the doctors at Animal Medical are happy to help you with any advice regarding your pet’s adjustment to your new child. Please feel free to contact us regarding local training resources, doggie daycare, or behavioral consultation for your pet.


Additional Resources

  • Kids and Dogs: A Professional’s Guide to Helping Families by Colleen Pelar
  • Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind by Colleen Pelar
  • Raising Puppies & Kids Together: A Guide for Parents by Pia Silvani and Lynn Eckhardt










Indoor Cat Parasite Prevention

by Dr. Kerri Blackburn

Why does my indoor cat need parasite prevention? They never go outside.

Parasite prevention is very important for ALL pets, even those that don’t go outside. Even though your cat doesn’t go outside- parasites routinely come inside.



  • Many intestinal parasites and worms lay their eggs in the soil and these can be brought inside on your shoes and clothing and be left on the floor for your cat to walk through before grooming their paws.
  • Others may be hidden in places such as potting soil used for houseplants. Bugs that can gain access to your house transmit some parasites.

Heartworms are transmitted by a mosquito (who hasn’t killed a mosquito in their house- right?).

  • And some parasites are bugs themselves and can cause problems for entire families- fleas and ticks bite people as well as pets and gain access to homes as do other bugs- but often stay and breed within homes that have pets who can provide blood meals! Yuck!



Regardless of how they gmouse (2)et inside- they do, and can cause severe, often life threatening infections. In addition, some of these parasites and the infections they cause can be transmitted to people and can put your entire family at risk (think Lyme disease and ticks). In some instances these infections are NOT treatable and can be life threatening (Lyme disease in people and heartworms in cats for example). Parasite preventatives are key to preventing these issues– even for indoor only cats and pets.

If your cat is not on parasite prevention- our staff at Animal Medical Hospital would be happy to discuss the various options. We have preventatives for all situations and would be happy to discuss what product would best fit your family’s unique needs.


Avoiding Heat Stroke in Dogs

by Dr. Ashley Gray

After going on a long hike with my dog Louis recently, it finally hit me that the warm weather is here to stay! It has been in the steady 80-90’s now for a few weeks here in the Carolina’s, which means we are out & about more than ever. With the rise in temperatures comes the humidity, and it can be really tough on our dogs outside for extended periods of time. Louis is an athletic breed, but he does have a longer coat paired with black fur that can make him overheat quicker than average. I noticed about halfway through our hike that he was slowing down and panting much harder than the first mile. You may be thinking…hey, my dog can handle it just fine. I’m sure they can…sometimes, but heat stroke is a real life threatening issue with dogs, so it is important to be aware of it.

The best way for our dogs to expel heat is through panting. This can be very effective for most dogs, however, certain breeds have been bred for an appearance that sets them up for respiratory difficulty. You probably guessed I am referring to the “brachycephalic” dogs or bulldogs, pugs, etc. We have bred them for their cute wrinkly face, which in turn has caused these breeds to have a much more difficult time in warmer weather. Last summer was my first time as a veterinarian out in the real world. I saw at least a handful of English Bulldogs come in to our clinic with a temperature > 105°F. Unfortunately, none of them survived despite aggressive treatment in our ICU.

Heat stroke is due to the inability of our dogs to cool off, causing internal temperatures to rise. Once their internal temperature gets to a certain point, multiple organ dysfunction can occur.

Signs to Increase your Suspicion of Heat Stroke:AGR Heat Stroke

Excessive panting
Excessive drooling
Reddened gums
Black, tarry stools
Rapid heart rate
Vomiting blood
Wobbly gait
Pinpoint areas of bleeding under the skin
Abnormal mentation

If you have the ability to take their temperature, anything > 102.5°F is abnormal. If it is only mildly increased (102.5°F-103.5°F), you can try to cool your dog off by blowing fans on them or rinsing them with room temperature water (NEVER COLD WATER). If their temperature is >104°F or you notice multiple signs from the list above, it is in your pet’s best interest to see a veterinarian immediately.

How Do We Avoid Heat Stroke?

  • Bring a bowl and plenty of water with you on extended walks or hikes. Offer it as often as their panting/activity level calls for.
  • Let them rest in the shade in 10 minute intervals based on how strenuous the activity is on them.
  • Consider shaving your dog’s hair-coat in summer if longer coated.
  • Use a harness instead of a neck lead on longer walks.
  • If you have a brachycephalic breed, decrease the time of your walks and pay close attention to how they are breathing. Minimize their exposure to the hottest part of the day by walking them in the early morning or late evening.
    • If you own a brachycephalic breed, you can always see your regular veterinarian for advice or a consult as there are certain surgeries that can be performed on bulldogs, pugs, etc to help them breathe better, if indicated based on their anatomy.

Part of the fun of having a dog is enjoying the beautiful outdoors together! It is important to know that heat stroke can happen to your dog so we are mindful of it as the temperatures continue to rise.

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