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Why is My Cat Drinking More Water Than Usual?

Like us, cats drink water because they’re thirsty.

One of the most important things to consider when caring for your kitty is her water consumption.

Depending on the breed, the amount of water a cat needs can vary greatly. On average, cats drink between 10-30 ml per pound of cat per day.

Large breeds

Siamese cats, for example, are a large breed that can weigh up to 18 pounds.

On average, they need about two ounces of water for every pound of cat, meaning a Siamese cat will need about 36 ounces of water per day.

Small breeds

On the other end of the spectrum, smaller breeds like the Munchkin or Singapura may only weigh three or four pounds.

These cats usually require only one ounce of water per pound of cat, meaning they may only need three or four ounces of water per day.

Medium-sized breeds

Medium-sized breeds such as the American Shorthair or British Shorthair typically weigh between eight and ten pounds.

These cats usually need around 1.5 ounces of water for every pound of cat, which amounts to about 12 ounces of water per day.

A cat’s size isn’t the only factor to consider when determining how much water kitty needs. Cats that are more active, or live in warmer climates, or have a high-protein diet may need more water.

Thirst is regulated by the brain, but influenced by the health of the body.

If your cat is drinking more water than usual, it may be a sign of a medical condition or other issue.

Here are six possible reasons why your cat may be drinking water excessively and what you should do about it.

1. Dehydration

Dehydration can be caused by several factors, such as a poor diet, being outdoors in hot weather, or lack of access to enough water.

If your cat is showing signs of dehydration, such as panting, dry mouth, sunken eyes, or loss of appetite, it is important to take them to the vet for an exam.

2. Type of Food

Canned wet cat foods contain as much as 80 percent moisture, so cats that eat wet food might not get as thirsty as cats that eat dry food.

3. Stress

Stressed-out cats may drink more water in an attempt to comfort themselves. If your cat is drinking more than usual, look for signs of stress, such as changes in their behavior, and take steps to reduce their stress levels.

Medical Conditions

Urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and diabetes are three common – and life-threatening – medical conditions that require veterinary care.

When we examine your cat, we will run laboratory tests. The test results will help us distinguish between normal thirst and disease, and will help us diagnose any underlying medical conditions so we can advise you on the best course of action.

4. Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections can cause cats to drink more water in an attempt to flush out the infection.

5. Kidney Disease

When a cat’s kidneys are not able to properly balance the fluids in its body, a cat will drink more water than usual. If you observe an insatiable thirst, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

6. Diabetes

Diabetes can cause cats to drink more water, as the body is not able to process sugars properly.

Related articles on our blog:

If you are concerned that your cat is drinking too much water, contact us as soon as possible. The sooner we can pinpoint the underlying condition and begin treatment, the greater the likelihood of a positive outcome.

No matter the breed or size of your cat, make sure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

By providing your cat with the proper amount of water and being mindful of the other factors that can affect her water consumption, you can ensure that kitty stays healthy and hydrated.

When Can My Puppy Go Running with Me?

“Hey Doc, when can I run with my puppy?”

Veterinarians get this question a lot.

The answer: It depends.

While vets are huge fans of regular exercise for dogs’ emotional and physical health, we recommend holding off running with a dog until its musculoskeletal system is fully mature.

And, some breeds of dogs just aren’t born athletes, like Pugs, Frenchies, and Boston terriers. These smooshy-faced breeds should probably never be running partners.

Does that mean a puppy shouldn’t run at all?

Of course not. All puppies are going to run – around the house, around the yard, and around the park (only after completing their puppy vaccine series, please). But there’s a difference between short bursts of speed around the yard vs. miles of pounding the pavement or trail.

Dogs mature at different ages

Before you grab your leash and running shoes, you’ll need to make sure your dog is old enough to handle the physical strain of running.

Running longer distances too early and without appropriate training puts a great deal of stress on immature joints and ligaments, making your dog more susceptible to arthritis later in life.

The musculoskeletal systems of various dog breeds and sizes mature at different rates.

Large and giant breeds, like retrievers and Great Danes, aren’t fully mature until they are 18-24 months old.

Smaller, mixed-breed dogs (30-40 pounds) mature faster, at 14-16 months.

8 tips to develop a jogging routine with your dog

1. Before your puppy reaches running age, take them for short walks, gradually increasing the distance and pace. This will help your pup develop the stamina needed for a longer run.

2. As we mentioned earlier in this article, your puppy should have all their vaccinations before they start running. This will help protect them from illnesses they may come into contact with while on the trail or road.

3. Before starting your running routine, you should take your pup to the vet and have them checked out. It’s important that your dog be in good physical condition before starting to run distances.

4. Check the weather before heading out for a run. If it’s too hot or too cold, you may want to postpone your run. You should also be aware of air quality, as dogs can be sensitive to air pollution.

5. Once your pup is old enough to run, start with short, slow running trips. Begin with distances of no more than a quarter of a mile, and pay close attention to your pup’s breathing and energy levels. If your dog seems to be panting more than usual or tiring, it’s time to slow down or stop for a bit.

6. Choose the right route; where you jog with your dog is just as important as how far you go. Choose a route that’s relatively flat and away from busy roads. This will make the experience more enjoyable and safer for both of you.

7. Bring plenty of water and a few snacks for both you and your pup. Dogs can become dehydrated from running, so offer them water regularly.

8. Bring poop bags, a leash, and any other items you may need.

With the right precautions, running with your pup can be a fun way to stay active, get fit, and enjoy quality time with your furry friend.

Related article on our blog:

Why Your Dog is the Perfect Workout Buddy

The Dangers of Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats, and How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

Dental disease is a serious problem for both dogs and cats. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that pet parents often overlook.

Left untreated, dental disease can cause pain and discomfort, and can even lead to more serious health problems.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  1. Why dogs and cats get dental disease
  2. Why smooshy-faced breeds are more prone to tartar buildup
  3. Five signs of periodontal disease in your pet
  4. Seven tips to keep your pet’s teeth healthy
  5. Why we perform full-mouth dental X-rays during oral health exams
  6. How our Wellness Plans make routine dental healthcare affordable

Why Dogs and Cats Get Dental Disease

Domesticated cats and dogs live longer than their wild counterparts. And, unlike wild carnivores, pets don’t fully utilize their teeth – pets get their food delivered in a small kibble, served in a bowl.

This lack of using their teeth, along with evolutionary changes in the shape of dogs’ skulls, results in plaque build-up.

Dental disease in is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth.

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on teeth. Because pets often don’t get their teeth brushed daily to remove plaque, it hardens over time and becomes tartar, which can cause inflammation and infection of the gums (gum disease).

Gum disease can then morph into periodontal disease, which causes pain and discomfort and can lead to more serious health problems.

Smooshy-faced Breeds are More Prone to Tartar Buildup

Smooshy-faced breeds of dogs and cats, technically called brachyocephalics, are particularly prone to tartar buildup.

Frenchies, Pugs, Bostons, Boxers, English Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Chihuahua, Chow Chow, Bull Mastiffs, Pekingese, Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, Himalayans, British Shorthairs, Scottish Folds, and the like have been bred to have shorter faces.

But the teeth of these small breeds are proportionately larger than those of larger dogs and cats.

For example, if you compare a Pug’s teeth to a Golden Retriever’s, you will notice that the Pug’s teeth are about a quarter of the size of the Golden’s, while the Pug’s body is only about one-tenth the size.

Although their jaws are shorter, the teeth of smooshy-faced breeds are still typical size, resulting in dental crowding. Instead of their teeth lining up in a straight arcade, their molars and premolars are rotated and stacked like dominoes behind one another, creating valleys where food can lodge.

Unless the food is removed within 24 hours, that food becomes plaque, which, in turn, becomes tartar. Severe tartar buildup quickly leads to loss of bone and to gum tissue, then tooth loss and pain.

If you own a smooshy-faced breed, be aware that your pet will require additional dental care than their longer-faced cousins.

5 Signs of Periodontal Disease in Your Dog or Cat

Periodontal disease can be difficult to detect, as it often does not have any obvious signs. However, there are a few telltale signs that can help you identify if your pet may be suffering from periodontal disease.

  1. Bad breath.
  2. Discolored yellow or brown teeth.
  3. Swollen or bleeding gums, or redness or swelling around your pet’s mouth is a sign that inflammation and infection have occurred.
  4. Pawing or rubbing at the mouth may indicate that your pet is in pain.
  5. Difficulty chewing or loss of appetite may also indicate that your pet is in pain.

7 Tips for Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

1. Brush your pet’s teeth regularly. Regular brushing with a pet-safe toothpaste will help remove plaque and tartar before it can build up and cause periodontal disease.

This article on our blog includes 7 steps to help your dog get used to having his teeth brushed.

2. Feed your pet dry food as much as possible. This helps to scrape off plaque and tartar as your pet chews.

3. Feed your pet a dental diet. Dental diets are specially formulated to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

4. Give your pet dental treats. Dental treats are specifically designed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

5. Give your pet chew toys. Chew toys help to reduce plaque buildup and clean your pet’s teeth. This article on our blog explains how to choose appropriate chew toys for your dog.

6. Once a month, thoroughly check inside your pet’s mouth to see whether you notice any unusual changes.

7. Schedule regular dental checkups and routine dental X-rays. A yearly oral health exam will help your veterinarian catch dental issues early, which will hopefully prevent them from becoming serious.

In addition, schedule a professional dental cleaning every 1-3 years, depending on your veterinarian’s recommendation.

During the annual dental exam, we will check for signs of periodontal disease and recommend treatments if necessary. We will examine the exterior of the tooth crowns, but we can’t see the tooth roots, dental ligaments, or jaw bone. That’s because more than half of each tooth resides under the gumline, where the human eye can’t see.

Full-mouth dental X-rays are an important part of your pet’s dental care and are a service we perform with every anesthetic dental procedure.

While it may be tempting, due to cost, to skip dental X-rays, we consider them a necessary step in evaluating your pet’s dental health and developing a dental treatment plan.

Dental X-Ray of a dog's mouth | AtlanticVetSeattle.comDental X-rays, also known as radiographs, can detect oral health problems at their earliest stages, such as gum disease, bone loss, oral infections, and some types of tumors. After examining your pet’s mouth under anesthesia and reviewing the X-rays, we can accurately diagnose and treat dental problems.

Because dental X-ray machines are designed to minimize radiation, these processes are safe and your pet’s exposure is negligible. In fact, we use the very latest digital X-rays, which further reduce radiation exposure and significantly improve the quality of the picture for the veterinarian to review.

Wellness Plans Make Routine Dental Healthcare Affordable

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital’s Wellness Plans are a program we designed to save you money on important preventive healthcare services for your furry family members.

Each Wellness Plan provides all essential preventive healthcare services we recommend for one year, plus discounts on any additional care your pet may need. Some of our plans include additional services like a professional dental cleaning and full-mouth digital dental radiographs.

Wellness Plan costs have some built-in discounts and spread the cost of care over 12 months with zero interest, allowing you to budget for your pet’s care. If you’d like to learn more about our affordable wellness plans, give us a call at 206-323-4433.

Marijuana: Concerns and Possible Benefits in Veterinary Medicine

Marijuana: Concerns and Possible Benefits in Veterinary Medicine | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

With recreational marijuana legal in Washington State, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of questions from pet parents about its uses in veterinary medicine.

As most people know, marijuana has two main active components: THC and CBD.

THC – Toxic to Pets

THC is the chemical in marijuana that causes the high (and many of its other effects). THC may also cause increased sensory perception (ie., brighter colors), laughter, a change in the perception of time, drowsiness, and the munchies. However, in some people, THC causes fear, anxiety, distrust, and hallucinations.

THC is toxic to pets. With the increased availability of edible marijuana products and marijuana cigarettes, we’re seeing an increase in the number of marijuana poisonings in dogs. Often, these poisonings require emergency treatment.

CBD – Illegal for Veterinarians to Recommend

CBD is the compound in marijuana that may decrease inflammation. CBD does not make people high and is not mind-altering. It’s been investigated since the 1970s as a potential anti-seizure medication in people with uncontrolled seizures.

CBD appears to be a safe drug in people with no addictive side effects, and it may be therapeutic in a number of human medical conditions, such as epilepsy, arthritis, and anxiety.

There are no published studies of CBD’s safety in pets, its potential drug interactions, its proper dosing, or whether currently available products contain a consistent amount of CBD.

And while CBD products are readily available for purchase – some even specifically labeled for pets by their manufacturer – it is illegal for veterinarians to recommend CBD products at this time.

CBD Oil – The Jury’s Out

We get questions daily from pet parents who would like to treat their dog or cat with CBD oil. Some pet parents choose to use these products without consulting with us first.

To be on the safe side, please don’t give your dog CBD oil or any marijuana products.

Studies are underway, but until we have more information and products that have been tested for purity and accurate concentrations, as well as federal authorization to prescribe, veterinarians are unable to recommend them.

11 Ways to Volunteer to Help Shelter Pets

“I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid.”

Not a day goes by when I don’t hear that sentiment. It warms my heart to interact daily with people who love animals, no matter what their role.

But it warms my soul down to my toes when people volunteer their talents purely for the joy of caring for animals in need.

Volunteering to help homeless and abandoned pets is an incredibly rewarding experience. Your commitment also gives these animals a better chance at finding a loving home.

Here are 11 ways to get involved in helping shelter pets

1. Donate Supplies

Shelters always need pet food, bedding, toys, treats, and cleaning supplies. Check with your local shelter to see what they need, and then gather a few items from your local pet store and drop them off.

2. Walk Dogs

Exercise is important for all pets, but especially for dogs in shelters. However, shelters are often short-staffed and need volunteers to take the dogs for a walk. Even if you can’t commit to a regular schedule, a few hours here and there can make a big difference in a shelter pet’s life.

3. Socialize Animals

Socialization is important for shelter animals so they can be adopted into good homes. Spend time with them and help them become more comfortable with people.

4. Help With Administrative Tasks

Shelters always need help with things like paperwork, filing, inputting data, updating websites, or stuffing flyers.

5. Foster a Pet

There are more homeless pets every day. Rescue organizations and shelters need volunteers to take in pets for a few weeks or months at a time, providing them with care and attention until they can be adopted.

6. Educate the Public

Educating others about pet adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering can help reduce the number of homeless animals.

7. Assist at Adoption Events

Shelters often host adoption events or adoption drives to match potential pet owners with an adoptable furry friend. Participating in these events can help spread awareness of the shelter and encourage adoptions.

8. Fundraise

Fundraising is essential for shelters to keep running. You can organize a fundraiser or donate your time and/or money to an existing one.

9. Provide Transportation

Many people need rides to and from the shelter to get their pets to vet appointments or adoption events.

10. Become an Adoption Ambassador

Helping shelter pets doesn’t always require physical labor. You can help find homes for shelter pets by spreading the word about the shelter and its adoptable pets.

Post about the shelter on your social media, encourage your friends to volunteer or donate, or write a review online—all of these actions can make a big difference.

11. Adopt a Pet

Visit Petfinder.com to learn about pets available for adoption in your area and to find your best match.

Thank you, fellow animal lovers, for the things you do to help care for our furry friends in need. I know the joy you receive in return makes it all worthwhile and makes this world a better place.

The Perfect Dog Breed for You, Based on Your Enneagram Personality Type

Dog breeds

Are you trying to decide which type of dog would be the best fit for your personality?

With so many breeds out there, it can be hard to narrow down your options. Fortunately, you don’t have to look any further than your Enneagram personality type.

Read on for nine points about breeds of dog that fit each Enneagram personality type.

Disclaimer: This information is not scientifically based – it’s just for fun! And, just as humans fit several Enneagram personality types, so do dogs. You’ll notice that some breeds appear in multiple categories.

Type One: The Reformer

Enneagram Ones are known for their idealism and perfectionism. They are principled, purposeful, and self-controlled.

Type One Enneagram - Samoyed

Breeds that are highly intelligent, loyal, protective, inquisitive, eager to please, and have a strong work ethic are ideal for Ones.

Some self-assured breeds may be challenging to train, but once trained, they are respectful and reliable.

  • Samoyed
  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • Japanese Chin
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Boston Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Poodle

Type Two: The Helper

Enneagram Twos are caring, interpersonal types. Twos are people-pleasing givers who thrive on helping others.

Type Two Enneagram - Labrador Retriever

Breeds known for their gentle, friendly, loving, and loyal personalities make excellent companions for Twos, because they’re affectionate and eager to please.

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Dutch Spaniel
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Bichon Frisé
  • Maltese
  • Havanese

Type Three: The Achiever

Enneagram Threes crave high-energy activities and enjoy being in the spotlight. They are success-oriented, driven, and image-conscious.

Type Three Enneagram - Chihuahua

Threes need an energetic, outgoing canine companion who can keep up with their active lifestyle and turn heads when they hit the town together.

  • Chihuahua
  • Pomeranian
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Bulldog
  • Beagle
  • English Foxhound
  • Brussels Griffon

Type Four: The Individualist

Enneagram Fours are sensitive souls. They have a tendency to be self-absorbed and temperamental and are also expressive, creative, and dramatic.

Type Four Enneagram - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Fours gravitate towards breeds with sweet, gentle, laid-back personalities who will happily snuggle up during quiet moments at home, and who also know how to mind their own business.

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Havanese
  • French Bulldog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • English Bulldog
  • Akita
  • Border Collie
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • Dutch Sheepdog

Type Five: The Investigator

Enneagram Fives are intense, perceptive, thoughtful, analytical, and can be secretive and isolated.

Type Five Enneagram - Greyhound

Fives appreciate intelligence, independence, loyalty, and adaptability in their canine companion. They enjoy breeds that are easy to train and can adjust to a variety of lifestyles.

  • Greyhound
  • Beagle
  • Poodle
  • Bloodhound
  • Chow Chow
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Rat Terrier

Type Six: The Loyalist

Enneagram Sixes have an innate need for security and protection. They tend to be anxious and suspicious as well as responsible, engaging, and committed.

Type Six Enneagram - German Shepherd

It makes sense that Sixes would opt for larger, highly intelligent, loyal breeds with a strong independent streak. Sixes prefer good-natured breeds that offer plenty of protection against potential intruders while still providing lots of love and affection when needed.

  • German Shepherd
  • Siberian Husky
  • Boston Terrier
  • Chinook
  • Greyhound
  • Pug

Type Seven: The Enthusiast

Enneagram Sevens are busy, fun-loving, and spontaneous. They’re distractible, scattered, and versatile.

Type Seven Enneagram - Boxer

Sevens need a naturally extroverted dog that is friendly, affectionate, and has a zest for life. Sevens gravitate toward breeds that require plenty of exercise but who also love lounging and watching TV with their owners on lazy days.

  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Beagle
  • Dachshund
  • Pomeranian
  • Corgi
  • Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Type Eight: The Challenger

Enneagram Eights are self-confident, powerful, dominating, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

Type Eight Enneagram - Doberman Pinscher

Eights might feel overwhelmed by smaller dogs, and often opt for low-maintenance breeds that require minimal grooming but still provide all the love they could want from a canine companion.

Eights respond well to charismatic, strong-willed dogs known for being loyal and protective, yet still loving and affectionate.

  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chihuahua
  • Bulldog
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Maltese
  • Labrador Retriever

Type Nine: The Peacemaker

Enneagram Nines are easygoing, self-effacing, agreeable, complacent, and non-confrontational.

Type Nine Enneagram - Border Collie

Nines respond well to gentle, affectionate, laid-back dogs that are loving and loyal. Often, Nines like medium-sized breeds that offer all the attention a Nine could want without taking up too much space in the home.

  • Border Collie
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Golden Retriever
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Dog breeds large to small

No matter what your Enneagram personality type is, there’s sure to be a breed out there perfect just for you.

In the comments, let us know which breed(s) you feel the most affinity for. Does your favorite breed march your Enneagram personality type?

More info about the Enneagram

The Enneagram Institute

5 Reasons Your Pet Must Receive the Rabies Vaccine

One of my neighbors was going for a walk last week when a large, scruffy, very pregnant dog came out of nowhere and bit her leg.

She reported the incident to Animal Control and warned her neighbors, who compared notes to see if they could determine where the dog lived.

There were conflicting reports:

“She belongs to the people who live three houses down and they let her roam.”

“She’s a stray who’s been wandering the neighborhood.”

The inability to pinpoint whether the dog belongs to someone or is a stray raised the question:

Has the dog been vaccinated for rabies?

It’s a valid question, since dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to rabies – a deadly virus that can also be passed to humans.

Vaccination against the virus is the best way to protect your pet and those around them from this potentially fatal disease.

5 Reasons Your Pet Should Receive a Rabies Vaccine

1. Rabies is Serious and Potentially Fatal

Rabies is one of the deadliest viruses known to humankind. A single bite or scratch from an infected animal can cause severe neurological symptoms that can be fatal if left untreated.

In Washington State, 400-to-600 animals per year are tested for rabies, mostly bats. “Bats are the only animal in Washington known to carry rabies,” according to the Washington State Department of Health website.  “We find rabid bats in Washington every year.”

Related article on our blog: Why Indoor Pets Should Be Vaccinated for Rabies

Why Indoor Pets Should Be Vaccinated for Rabies

Vaccinating your pet helps protect them from the virus, and, if your pet is exposed, it can help reduce the severity of the disease.

2. It’s the Law

In most states, including Washington, it is illegal to own a pet without a current rabies vaccination.

In Washington, WAC 246-100-197 was put into place to help protect both pets and people from the dangerous virus. Failure to vaccinate your pet could result in fines or other legal repercussions.

We typically recommend puppies and kittens receive their first rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age.

A booster vaccine should be administered one year later, and then every 3 years for dogs and annually for cats (who receive the gentler modified live rabies vaccine).

3. It’s Affordable

Rabies vaccines are typically available at low cost through your veterinarian or through local health departments, making it easy to keep your pet up to date.

The cost of the vaccine is far less than the costs you would be faced with if your pet were to contract the disease.

4. It’s Easy

Rabies vaccines can be administered by your veterinarian or other qualified health professional – typically through a single injection. The entire process is quick, easy, and relatively painless for your pet.

5. It Prevents the Spread of the Virus

Vaccinating your cat or dog not only helps protect them from the virus if they are exposed, but it also helps prevent the spread of the virus to other animals and humans. This is especially important if you live in an area where rabies is more common.

Visit the Washington State Department of Health for the latest information on rabies activity in Washington.

Be sure to keep your pet up to date on their rabies vaccine to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.

Related article:

Bat Positive for Rabies Found in King County,” Public Health Insider

9 Human Medications Dangerous to Dogs

When your dog is feeling uncomfortable and is obviously in pain, it’s tempting to give her an over-the-counter human medication. But instead of helping her feel better, human meds can cause a great deal of harm to your pup, and may even result in a fatal reaction.

Rule of thumb: Never give your dog human medications unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to.

Here are 9 household medications you must keep out of your dog’s reach:

1. Multivitamins

Human vitamins commonly contain four ingredients toxic to dogs: xylitol (can cause low blood sugar and liver failure), vitamin D (can cause secondary kidney failure), iron (can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and organ damage or failure), and calcium (can cause mild stomach upset to kidney failure).

Rather than giving your dog human multivitamins, feed your dog a balanced diet and ask your veterinarian to recommend vitamins or supplements specially formulated for dogs.

2. Topical Creams and Ointments

When you apply lotions, oils, creams, or ointments to your own skin, don’t allow your dog to lick your skin. Some of the ingredients found in these products can cause serious or life-threatening gastrointestinal problems in dogs.

Read the label and be especially wary of products that include:

  • baclofen
  • calcipotriene
  • dibucaine
  • diclofenac
  • 5-fluorouracil
  • flurbiprofen
  • ketamine
  • lidocaine

3. Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol®, Percocet®, aspirin-free Excedrin®, and other sinus, cold, and flu medications. Acetaminophen helps reduce fever and general aches and pains in humans.

However, when a dog eats acetaminophen tablets, the results can be catastrophic. Acetaminophen poisoning can cause permanent liver damage or liver failure, abnormal red blood cells, lack of oxygen, and dry eye.

If you believe your dog ingested acetaminophen, seek emergency veterinary attention immediately.

4. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

In the same way that acetaminophen can wreak havoc on your dog’s system, human NSAIDs such as Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, as well as potential kidney failure.

Even veterinary NSAIDs, when ingested in large amounts, can cause similar problems. Keep chewable veterinary NSAIDs and human NSAIDs out of your dog’s reach.

5. Nasal Decongestants

If your dog ingests a nasal/sinus decongestant containing pseudoephedrine, it stimulates the nervous system and cardiovascular systems.

Symptoms may include restlessness, agitation, hyperactivity, tremors, tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, panting, and mydriasis.

6. Kaopectate and Pepto Bismol

If your dog has an upset tummy, do not treat her with Kaopectate, Pepto Bismol, or any product that contains salicylates.

Large doses of bismuth salicylate could cause gastric irritation or ulceration, bleeding problems, seizures, and liver damage.

7. ADD/ADHD Drugs and Amphetamines

Common prescription ADD drugs such as Adderall contain amphetamines, which stimulate the central nervous and cardiovascular systems. If enough amphetamines are ingested, they can cause hyperactivity, tremors and seizures, fever, abnormal heart rate and rhythm, coma, and even death.

Consult your veterinarian immediately if your pet has ingested a medication containing amphetamines.

8. Cardiac Medications

Human cardiac drugs are commonly used for hypertension and to prevent heart failure. These medications are also used in veterinary medicine, but the human variety can be dangerous to dogs when ingested in small amounts. Signs of poisoning include a very abnormal heart rate, collapse, low blood pressure, excessive thirst and urination, and even organ failure.

9. Antidepressants

Antidepressants are one of the top medications prescribed by doctors, and some of these medications are also used in veterinary medicine to treat behavior problems and anxiety.

When a dog accidentally ingests human antidepressants, signs of poisoning may include hyperactivity, a racing heart rate, hypertension, dilated pupils, tremors, and even seizures.

What to do if you think your dog was poisoned

Your best line of defense is to dog-proof your home, keeping ALL medications (human and pet) out of reach. If you take multivitamins or other tablets daily, be careful not to drop tablets on the floor or to leave open bottles around.

If you suspect your dog ingested a poison, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline: (888) 426-4435. For more info, visit  their website.

Or call the Pet Poison Helpline (fee-based). For info, visit their website.

Learn more about dog hazards and toxins

Animal Poison Control Center Podcast

Download a free mobile app from the Animal Poison Control Center that will:

  • help you identify over 300 potential hazards and toxins found in and around the home
  • provide crucial information about the severity of the problem
  • suggest critical next steps


4 Important New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for Pets

There are two days each year when the most U.S. pets get lost: The 4th of July and New Year’s Eve.

The explosive noise and flashes of light from fireworks scare the “pants” off many dogs and cats.

Of course, Seattleites don’t wait until midnight on New Year’s Eve to shoot off fireworks. You’ll hear a smattering of booms throughout the day, with neighborhood fireworks starting in earnest at 9pm (to coincide with the Time Square Ball Drop) and continuing past midnight.

Some pet owners unwisely bring their dogs with them to New Year’s Eve celebrations, where the combination of unfamiliar surroundings, crowds, loud music, alcohol, and fireworks creates a potent cocktail practically guaranteed to send panicked pets running for cover (not to mention getting “the runs,” and you don’t want that, either).

By planning ahead, you can help calm your pets’ nerves and keep them safe on New Year’s Eve.

Protect your Pet with a Collar, ID tag, and Microchip

You don’t want your pet to be one of the 7.6 million pets who are lost each year.

Even if your pet wears a collar and ID tag, those can fall off. A collar, ID tag, and properly-registered microchip will increase the chances of your pet being reunited with you if it runs away.

What is a Microchip?

Microchips are implantable computer chips no bigger than a grain of rice. The microchip is placed under your pet’s skin by your veterinarian with a needle and syringe.

The chip receives a radio signal from a scanner and transmits a unique encoded identification number back to the scanner, to help reunite you with your pet.

Register the Microchip

It is important to register your pet’s microchip, to maintain updated contact information, and to provide multiple emergency contacts in case your pet gets lost while you’re out of town.

Give your pet the best chance of being reunited with you. Call us today at 206.323.4433 to schedule an appointment to have your pet microchipped.

Create a Safe Place for Your Pet

Whether you’re hosting a get-together or spending a quiet evening at home, you’ll want to keep your pet indoors on New Year’s Eve.

  • Close pet doors, windows, and curtains.
  • Set up a comfortable pet bed in the most sound-proofed space in your home, as far away as possible from noisemakers, poppers, fireworks, loud music, and conversations. A good location might be a closet or the basement.
  • If you have a cat, provide access to as many hiding places as possible.
  • Dim the lights and turn on soothing white noise such as a fan, air conditioner, radio, or television.
  • If you have a white noise machine, try playing the sound of a gentle rainfall. Every Seattle pet is accustomed to that particular sound, and it’s likely to calm them.
  • Provide toys and treats to distract your pet.

If you’re hosting a party, consider temporarily disabling your doorbell, particularly if you have a dog who barks like crazy whenever it rings. If a lot of people will be coming and going, your curious pup will want to meet them, but your dog may also freak out and make a break for it out the front door.

Your dog is not the host of your party – you are.

Keep your dog safe, in a room away from the door.

If you’re planning to go out on New Year’s Eve, recruit a family member, friend, or neighbor to pet-sit. Be sure to supply your sitter with your pet’s water bowl, bed, and their favorite food, treats, and toys.

If your pet experiences severe noise anxiety, we can recommend medications that may help decrease anxiety and relax your pet.

Give Your Pet Plenty of Physical Activity

When their normal routine gets disrupted, pets often get frightened and anxious. They’ll likely sense that there’s something different about this day, so make an effort to spend extra time with your pet throughout the day. Buy a new toy for your pet and actively play with them throughout the day.

Earlier in the day (when it’s still relatively quiet), take your pet for a longer-than-usual walk, which will tire them out and help them relax and sleep more soundly. During your walk, be prepared for people to unexpectedly set off fireworks. Make sure your pet’s collar ID tag, GPS tracker, and leash are properly attached.

If you’re home with your pet during the evening, be extra attentive to them. If your stressed pet pees or defecates on the floor, don’t yell at them. Instead, attempt to make your presence a comforting one. Distract your pet by calmly playing together or listening to soothing music.

Keep Your Pet Away From Toxic Substances

Alcohol. Marijuana. Salty snacks. Liqueur-filled chocolates. Balloons. Streamers. Party Poppers.

New Year’s Eve is a veritable feast of items that can cause digestive issues, poisoning, and other health issues.


Copious amounts of alcohol are often within easy reach of curious pets on New Year’s Eve, so it’s not surprising that a lot of opportunistic pets get alcohol poisoning.

Sadly, some people think it’s funny or cute to get a pet tipsy.

Please, PLEASE don’t serve a dog or cat alcohol!

One teaspoon of grain alcohol (hard liquor) is enough to cause severe alcohol toxicity symptoms in cats and dogs. One tablespoon is enough to put a healthy cat or small dog into a coma, and can even be fatal.

Pets who consume even a small amount of alcohol have a similar, yet more severe reaction to alcohol than their human counterparts: vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, lethargy, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, drops in body temperature and blood pressure, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, acute kidney failure, and even death.

(Yes, we know we sound like a TV commercial that ominously intones a long list of potential side-effects of a prescription drug, but we want you to be aware of the dangers of alcohol poisoning!)


The same goes for marijuana. Pets who inhale secondhand marijuana smoke or eat edibles that contain caffeine, chocolate, garlic, grapes, raisins, or Xylitol often require emergency treatment.

According to the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), “Marijuana can cause your pet to become unsteady, sleepy and sensitive to touch, and can cause a decrease in their heart rate and body temperature. In rare cases, seizures and death may be possible.”

Other Items Toxic to Pets

  • Salty snack foods
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw and under-cooked meat
  • Poultry, beef, and pork bones
  • Pie crust
  • Decorations (streamers, balloons, ribbons, twinkly lights)

For more information, read these articles on our blog:

The last thing you want is to ring in the New Year with an emergency visit to the vet.

Whether you’re entertaining at home or you’re at a party away from home, assume that dangerous items will be within your pets’ reach. Keep a close eye on your furbabies, and do your best to keep them away from toxic substances.

10 Reasons Your Cat Cries or Meows at Night (and what to do about it)

There’s a reason we call that shrill howling or wailing “caterwauling.”

Caterwauling is the incessant meowing or yowling sound some cats make all night, when you’re trying to sleep.

Why is this happening?

First, we need to talk about feline sleep patterns.

Cats are a crepuscular species, meaning they are naturally most active at dawn and dusk and they sleep in the middle of the day and night.

Younger cats, in particular, tend to be more active at night because their feline instincts alert them that the darkest hours are the perfect time to go hunting.

Humans, on the other hand, are diurnal. We do most of our activities during daylight hours and sleep at night.

Mix crepusculars with diurnals and you have a mismatch of sleep patterns. At the exact time you’re ready to nod off, your kitty is feeling wide awake and eager to “talk.”

In this article, we’ll look at ten common causes of nighttime meowing, and suggest what you can do to reduce the racket.

10 causes of kitty insomnia

1. Boredom. Excessive nighttime vocalizing is often a sign of a bored cat. If you’re away from home all day, your indoor cat(s) may lounge and nap most of the day, decreasing their need for sleep at night. Lack of exercise and play makes them more likely to engage in attention-seeking behavior when you’re trying to sleep.

One way to counter this is to increase kitty’s exercise and mental stimulation during the day, and to spend quality one-on-one time together in the evening.

This article on our blog suggests five fun (and funny) ways to help your senior cat exercise.

2. Hunger or Thirst. Remember the “Dagwood sandwich?” The comic strip character, Dagwood Bumstead, is famous for sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to whip up enormous, multi-layered sandwiches.

Nocturnal meowing may be a sign that your cat is ravenous and wants you to create the kitty version of a Dagwood sandwich to satisfy their craving.

One way around this is to feed your cat later in the evening, just before bedtime. Be sure to fill kitty’s water bowl then, too.

3. Anxiety. If you welcome a new kitten, dog, or baby into your family, your cat may be confused about what’s happening, making them more prone to nighttime noise-making.

This article on our blog includes five helpful tips for introducing a new kitten to your resident cat.

4. Desire to mate. Cats become sexually mature around 4 months of age. Cats in heat have a distinctive mating call, which cat parents often mistake for a cry of pain.

If kitty hasn’t been spayed or neutered, they may yowl or cry in an attempt to warn competitors away from their chosen mate.

5. Aging. Many humans age 60 and up complain they have trouble sleeping. That’s because melatonin (aka, the “sleep hormone”) production declines over time, by as much as 80% by age 60.

As cats age, they, too, experience health issues that can cause insomnia.

Those may include:

6. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) which revs a cat’s metabolism, making them anxious and ravenous.

This article on our blog overviews the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for hyperthyroidism.

7. Hypertension (high blood pressure).

This article on our blog will acquaint you with some of the symptoms of high blood pressure.

8. Kidney disease – Cats who are unable to filter waste from their body may experience painful conditions that cause them to cry.

9. Pain. In addition to kidney disease, other pain-related causes of nighttime crying include  arthritis, dental disease, or headaches caused by high blood pressure.

10. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) – As cats age, their cognitive function and night vision can deteriorate, causing feelings of insecurity, confusion, vulnerability, and disorientation. One way to help your cat feel less fearful and more confident is to place nightlights around your home.

How to improve your cat’s sleep habits

If nighttime yowling persists, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. We will conduct a thorough physical exam, blood pressure screening, and routine lab tests, which will help us diagnose the underlying cause.

Fortunately, we can often improve a kitty’s sleep habits by addressing the condition that’s causing the problem and suggesting simple lifestyle changes that will allow everyone to get a better night’s sleep.

Related articles on our blog:

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Seattle serves the following neighborhoods: Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Valley, International District, and Georgetown.