New Year’s Resolutions

The Countdown is on to 2015!

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, the team here at Guelph Animal Hospital has been busy getting ready for the festivities.  There’s an excitement in the air as we make last minute preparations for an evening of celebration.  We can’t wait to ring in the New Year with all of our families, friends and pets!

But once the calendar flips forward, the last drop of champagne has been drunk and the remaining extra piece of kibble has been eaten, it will be time for us all to get down to business. And by ‘business’, we mean reflecting on the past year and coming up with our New Year’s resolutions.  On the human side of things, popular goals for the upcoming months can include things such as, taking up a new hobby, quitting smoking or joining a gym. However, resolutions don’t just have to be for people. We can make pledges for our pets too! Here are some suggestions:

1. Learn how to brush your pet’s teeth (ask us!)

2. Pre-Schedule an Annual Exam and Heartworm visit and mark them down in your calendar

3. Get your pet microchipped or update your contact information

4. Establish an exercise routine

5. Get your animal spayed or neutered

If these ideas don’t suit your fancy, not to worry!  We spoke with some of our own four-legged experts, and they were more than happy to share what they plan on working on for 2015:

1 “Even though they are a delicacy to my doggie palate, I am going to stop looking for snacks in my brother’s litterbox. Sigh.”
RVT Diana’s Reese

2“I get really excited for my food, and this year I am going to try really hard to wait patiently and not take my eagerness out on my brothers and sisters. I guess I can be a little rough. Wimps….”
CCS Krystal’s Cyrus

3 “My goal is to be gentle with the neighborhood rabbits instead of running after them. Apparently I’m ‘scaring’ them, when really I just want to be friends!”
Boutique Specialist Sara’s Buffy

131 “The Dog tattled, so now instead of getting my weekly manicure via the living room carpet, I will try using my scratch post instead.”
RVT Rachel’s Cali

 ”I love food, but this year I’m going on a diet. I won’t be happy until I drop one size in the Chilli Dog sweater collection.”
Hospital Manager Cheryl’s Henry

 ”I will work on getting back my girlish figure. My extra belly flab is getting embarrassing.”
RVT Meaghan’s Simba

 ”My New Year’s resolution is to stop using Mom’s arm as a scratching post….oh well, I guess there’s always the couch …”
CCS Whitney’s Noelle

81 “Mom says I need to treat the cat more like my sibling and less like my chew toy. I’ll give it my best. She’s so darn tasty!”
CCS Cynthia’s Cassie

 “Although we have mastered the art of the Puppy Dog Eyes, our mom says we need to learn to beg less. Spoilsport.”
RVT Stacey’s Vera and Preudence

91 “I’m going to be a brave boy this year, and not give the cat the satisfaction of laughing when I hide from fireworks.”
ACA Erica’s Forrest

 “I’m going to try really hard to eat more vegetables, and less poop – including my own.”
Dr. Renee Fleming’s Eleanor Bea

11 “I love to prove to the humans that I can stand on 2 legs too! But mom says I need to learn not to jump on people when I meet them…..and before I turn 13.”
Dr. Jen Perret’s Lilith

Sounds like they are all striving toward getting themselves back on track!  We wish everyone the best of luck with their goals. We’d love to hear what our patients are working on for 2015. What’s your pet’s New Year’s Resolution? And from all of us here at GAH, we’d like to wish you a safe and:


Pet Safety for the Holidays

Hints for the Holidays to Keep Your Pet Safe

The holidays are a wonderful and exciting time of year. They are a time for family, friends,
christmas-dog-200x200food and celebration, but they can also hold hidden dangers for our furry family members. In order to help you and your four legged friends have the best holiday possible, we thought we would share five common issues we see over the holidays, and ways to keep your pets safe!

1. Topsy-Turvy Tummies: The holiday season is a bright and colourful time, full of amazing food, drinks and festive flowers! Unfortunately for our pets, many of these glad tidings can bring with them gastrointestinal upset.

  • Plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and lilies can cause issues ranging from stomach upset and vomiting to kidney failure if ingested by your pets. Using artificial substitutes for these colourful holiday decorations is an easy (and reusable!) way to keep your pet safe.
  • Alcohol is abundant at many holiday gatherings and the sweet, tasty concoctions that are so popular this time of year can be enticing for our pets. Keeping alcoholic beverages out of reach and quickly clearing glasses once guests are finished will reduce the chance your pet has to sneak a sip!
  • The final tummy-twisting-tiding to look out for is (predictably) food. Eating those delicious leftovers is a chore best left for you, as they can cause digestive upset for your pets. Fatty foods and novel eats can cause diarrhea, vomiting and pancreatitis! In addition, some things commonly found in holiday foods (raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, etc.) are poisonous to your pet and can cause them to become extremely ill. The best bet for safe holiday food for your pet is their own.  If you are looking for a fun treat for your pet, we sell many dog-friendly and festively decorated cookies in our boutique!

2.   Festive Foreign Bodies: Often times decorations and other holiday trimmings are mistaken by our pets as tasty treats. When a pet ingests objects that their body cannot easily pass, often a blockage in their intestinal tract is created which requires costly surgery to remedy. Avoiding some common trouble makers can save you unexpected vet bills over the holidays.

  • Tinsel is best avoided in a home with pets. They love to play with it but will often accidentally eat it when it clings to their paws and fur. The same goes for the shiny, plastic confetti often thrown during New Year’s celebrations!
  • Decorating with food, such as popcorn strings, gingerbread or candy canes, should also be avoided. Not only will your pet likely eat the food they find, but also the wrappers, strings and possibly the nearby tree branches.
  • When wrapping gifts, it is a good idea to limit the use of ribbons and strings. Gifts often sit out for days and weeks before being opened, and inevitably our furry family members chew on the colourful offerings and will likely swallow some of the ribbon/string.

3.  Ornamental “Owwies”: Decorating for the holidays is a fun tradition, and a few simple precautions can help ensure it is also safe for your pets.

  • Avoid glass ornaments which can shatter if dropped and lead to cuts and scrapes on paws.
  • Avoid the use of metal hooks for hanging ornaments, as they can be swallowed by your pets. If you are using metal hooks, take extra care to close them tightly around tree limbs so they do not become accidentally loose and fall from the tree.
  • If you are putting up a Christmas tree, ensure that it is secured to a wall to prevent it from falling/toppling onto your pet. This is especially important if you have cats in your home, who often climb trees. If your tree is a live one, ensure that your pet cannot access the water basin at the base of the tree. The water often grows bacteria that can cause upset stomachs if ingested by your pet.
  • Keep any candles out of reach of your pets, and ensure that they are extinguished when you are not in the room.
  • Keep wires and lighting out of the reach of your pet.

4.  Seasonal Stress: The holidays are full of extra visits from family and friends, which can sometimes be overwhelming to our four legged family members. With a little forethought, we can ensure our pets feel as safe and stress free as possible during the festivities.

  • Have a safe place for your pet to retreat to. Set food and water (and a litter box for feline friends) in a quiet room that is off limits to your guests. This will allow your pet to retreat to a safe place if the noise and excitement start to get overwhelming.
  • Set aside some one-on-one snuggle time with each of your pets. Quiet time with you is a great way to help relieve anxiety that may be building in our pets when we are spending more time away from home than normal while visiting others and attending holiday gatherings.
  • If you will be hosting children during the holidays, it is a good idea to set some ground rules with them when they visit. Children with no pets may not understand what is appropriate and what is not, but even those with pets may not understand that these animals are unfamiliar with them and might be frightened of them. Explaining that it is ok to pet your cat or dog if they approach on their own – but not to go looking for them – can make a big difference for your pet’s anxiety!

5.   Stocking Stuffer Safety: If you have had the chance to browse through our boutique here at Guelph Animal Hospital, you will know that we are a staff who love to give toys to our pets. It seems more often than not pets even have their very own stockings for Santa to stuff! Ensuring that the gifts your pets receive are safe is essential to having a safe and fun holiday gift exchange.

  • Avoid animal bones. Animal bones, when chewed, can splinter and break in unpredictable ways and the pieces can be swallowed by your pet. This can lead to a trip to the vet if the sharp fragments become embedded or stuck within your pets gastrointestinal tract.
  • String is silly! Many cat toys are adorned with long strings, which can be dangerous if ingested. It is best to avoid these types of toys for safer, string free alternatives. However, if you have a toy with a string (such as a stick with a toy attached to a string for interactive playing) it is best to put the toy away and only bring it out when you will be supervising your pet’s play time.
  • Rawhide is a very popular holiday gift and can provide hours of chewing time for your pet. However, it is possible for large pieces to break off, which can choke your pet if swallowed. It is best to allow your pet to chew on rawhides only under your close supervision.

We here at the Guelph Animal Hospital always enjoy seeing our clients and their pets over the holidays, but we prefer it be for some belly scratches and liver treats, not an emergency visit! We hope that these helpful hints for keeping your pet safe will ensure emergency-free festivities for you and your family.



 Krystal Boehm B.A

Client Care Specialist


Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Dogs and Cats

Christmas is about family which of course includes our pets! Over half of all households hang a stocking for their furry friends each year to ensure Santa knows they are special. Here is a list of our favourite presents for dogs and cats to help you ensure they wake up Christmas morning with a gift you know they will love!


1. A new bed! West Paw makes super high quality beds in many styles and sizes. These beds are eco-friendly, 100% guaranteed and come in a variety of fun designs to fit any décor. $24-$179

A new bed

2. A new toy (or two)! For snugglers there are the Big Sky Puppy and Teddy, eco-friendly and made of soft faux suede and fleece. For fetchers try the Orbee-Tuff Fetch or Woof Balls which are durable and fun! For the chewers out there give a Good Karma Rope toy a try, they are machine washable, durable and safe.  $7.95-$23


3. Liver treats! Benny Bully liver treats have been a favourite amongst dogs for their irresistible taste and amongst pet parents for their all natural ingredients. In fact there is only one ingredient, liver! Pick up a bag for the perfect stocking stuffer. $8.98-$51.09

Liver treats!

4. A new coat! With the cold weather fast approaching it`s important to keep your dog warm and comfortable on their daily walk. The Teckelklub Trench is one of the first fully waterproof dog jackets that also allows your dog`s skin to breathe. Made in North America of the highest quality materials they are sure to keep out the chilly Canadian winds. $40-$90


5. Their own music! There is a solution for the dog who has everything. Through A Dog`s Ear CDs are made with specific harmonies and intervals which have been clinically proven to reduce anxiety in up to 85% of dogs. Many veterinarians play this music in their exam rooms in order to help alleviate stress a dog may be feeling. $15.98-$20.98







1. A laser toy! The Frolicat Dart is an automatic rotating laser light that provides hours of entertainment, perfect for kittens and adult cats alike! $48


2. Continuous fresh water! The Drinkwell Stainless Steel Pet Fountain is dishwasher safe and its stainless steel construction helps protect from bacterial contamination. It will encourage your cat to drink more which will have many health benefits! $87.75


3. Catnip! The perfect gift because it’s entertaining for both cats and owners! Try some loose leaf West Paw catnip in your cat’s favourite spots, or pick up a catnip toy such as the Sushi. Perfect stocking stuffers! $2.95-$4.95


4. A bed/carrier hybrid! The SleepyPod original carrier is the perfect way to ensure your cat is as happy as possible during travel. At home it serves as a comfortable bed, on the go it becomes a safe haven where your cat can feel at ease. It also works with your seat belt and is crash tested to provide you with perfect peace of mind. $179


5. Treats, lots of treats! Purebites cat treats are all natural dried meats that cats adore with flavours including Liver, Chicken and Shrimp. The Honest Kitchen makes Smittens low calorie dried Haddock treats for a crunchy bedtime snack. $4.73-$12.29


All of these items are available in the Guelph Animal Hospital Boutique. Bring your pet with you so they can pick out their own favourites! Happy shopping!

Common Myths About Anxious Pets

True or False With Dr. Jen Perret

Many animals are anxious at the clinic, but some animals find all new situations stressful, and some are even nervous at home. These may be the cats that hide for days when the furniture is moved, or the dog that barks incessantly and lunges at other dogs on a walk. Sometimes the behaviour is a new one, but it might just seem to be part of the pet’s personality. As a pet owner, where do you turn for help?01-scaredy-cat1-200x200

True or False: Veterinarians deal only with the physical causes of behaviour.

False. Veterinarians are concerned with your pet’s emotional and mental health as much as its physical health! If the problem is too complex to be addressed during a behavioural consultation in the clinic, we may recommend a referral to a specialist.

True or False: Changes in behaviour can indicate a change in health.

True. A good physical exam and medical history, sometimes combined with bloodwork or a urinalysis, might reveal a reason for your pet’s unpleasant behaviour. For example, older dogs might be startled more easily if they are losing their vision or hearing. Cats with bladder stones will often urinate around the house.

True or False: If my pet needs medication for her behaviour, she may not need it for life.

True. For very anxious animals, even training is too stressful. A temporary stint on medication or supplements can be very helpful to put them in the right mindset. Once calmer behaviour has been learned and reinforced, the medication may be reduced, or no longer needed. Some pets only need help during certain stressful events such as thunderstorms.

True or False: Cats who are fighting will work it out if left to their own devices.

False. Cats lead complex social lives and are very quick to learn negative associations. Each time they fight with another individual, their anger toward that cat gets stronger! This effect can be true even if the fight starts with something completely unrelated – like a loud noise. Cats who are fighting should be kept apart as much as possible until a strategy is devised for their slow reintroduction. Often, we’ll use the feline comfort pheromone (Feliway) to curb their anxiety about the situation.

True or False: Dogs who misbehave need to learn that you are dominant.

False. Although occasionally effective, misguided attempts to “dominate” anxious or aggressive dogs will often result in an escalation of the unwanted behaviour. A veterinarian or canine behaviourist can help direct you toward a positive training method that will allow you to be a leader for your dog, without increasing their level of anxiety or stress.

Behavioural issues remain one of the top reasons that cats & dogs are rehomed or surrendered to rescue agencies. The sooner a problem is addressed, the more likely it is to be corrected. At Guelph Animal Hospital, we are here for you and your pet.  Book a consultation today if you are worried about your pet, we can help!

Dr. Jen Perret

Santa’s Furry Little Helpers

December has arrived and Christmas has taken over everything at the Guelph Animal Hospital…even the animals!
In the spirit of Christmas, here are some pictures of the Guelph Animal Hospital staff’s furry little helpers! Enjoy!