Scooping The Poop: When “Doodie” Calls

We may love our pets, but we don’t always love cleaning up after them. Sadly, there is no poop-fairy; so cleaning up pet messes is a crucial part of responsible dog ownership. Scooping the poop not only makes us a good neighbor, it protects the environment and minimizes the spread of disease. 

Follow along as Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care shows you how to take care of business.


How to Best Transport your Dog to the Vet

Dr. Bridget Andersen

How you transport your dog to the vet matters. We at Animal Medical Hospital are working to become a certified “Fear Free” hospital.   The term “Fear Free” refers to a movement within veterinary medicine that addresses the emotional welfare of our patients, and the people that love them.  This means that we are making adjustments to our lobby, exam room visits, and hospitalized stays in order to decrease fear, anxiety, and stress.  The first step to a less stressful visit to the veterinarian starts with a positive traveling experience.

Fear Free

  1. Prepare the car

    1. Play calming music or music specifically made to soothe dogs (Through a Dog’s Ear, or Icalm).
    2. Make sure that your dog has secure footing in the car.  Use a non-slip mat.
    3. Fasten in your dog with a seatbelt or place inside a carrier to provide your pet with a secure place to rest and to prevent injury or loss during the event of an accident.
  2. Use pheromones

    Dog appeasing pheromones such as Adaptil can have a calming effect on your dog.  Pheromones can be purchased as a spray, collar, or wipe and can be sprayed in your car or to a bandana that your dog can wear around his/her neck.

  3. Praise

    1. Praise your dog for calm behavior.  Bring his or her favorite treats and use them in the car, lobby and the appointment.
    2. Avoid disciplining your dog for showing signs of stress such as barking, growling, hiding, or refusing to walk.
  4. Safety

    1. Make sure your dog is always on a leash or is in a carrier.  Your pet’s behavior may be unpredictable at the veterinary office and leashes and carriers can prevent tragic loss and injury.
    2. In addition, maintaining control over your pet will also enable you to more quickly protect your dog from another dog in the event of an altercation.
  5. Sedation

    1. Your dog may need an anti-anxiety medication prior to coming into the hospital.  If he/she starts to show signs of fear, anxiety and stress (panting, drooling, pacing, barking) as soon as they get into the car, please call AMH to discuss premedication.
    2. A stressful car ride will never lead to a good vet visit.
  6. Reschedule

    Consider rescheduling your appointment if your dog is showing signs of fear, anxiety or stress (see chart below).

  7. Return home

    1. If your dog is returning to a multi-dog household, be aware that the housemates that remained at home may not be accepting of the dog that is returning to the house due to the strange hospital smells.
    2. Monitor all dogs carefully after returning until your are sure that they are accepting one another.
    3. If they seem on edge, separate the dog who went on the vet visit and rub him/her down with a garment or towel that has a familiar “home” smell.
    4. For dogs that have been sedated, keep them in a quiet room by themselves until they are completely awake.
  8. Don’t hesitate to call for advice if you are having difficulty transporting your dog!  704-334-4684  Fear Anxiety Stress Signs

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.