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14 Ways to Keep Your Cat Safe on Halloween

Halloween can be a scary – and dangerous – day for cats. You’ll want to take extra precautions to keep your feline friend safe around costumed trick-or-treaters, jack-o-lanterns, and candy.

If you have a black cat, be especially vigilant; black cats are more likely to be abused or even killed during this time of year.

1. Keep your cat indoors.

This is the best way to protect your cat from the dangers of Halloween, including:

  • Candy and other Halloween treats, many of which are toxic to cats.
  • Costumes, which can be scary and stressful for cats.
  • Decorations, such as electrical cords and small objects that could be choking hazards.
  • Other animals, such as stray cats and dogs that may be aggressive.

2. Microchip your cat and make sure their ID tags are up to date.

If you must let your cat outside on Halloween, make sure they are wearing a collar with ID tags and that they are supervised at all times.

A microchip is a permanent form of identification (the size of a grain of rice) implanted under the skin. If your cat escapes, having them microchipped and wearing ID tags will make it easier for a veterinarian or animal shelter to identify them, ensuring that they are returned to you as quickly as possible.

3. Carefully consider whether your cat will enjoy wearing a costume.

Cats in costume are so cute! And some of them don’t mind dressing up. But if your kitty hisses, sprints away, or hides when you break out the Halloween costume, that’s a good sign that they’re just not into dressing up.

If you do dress up your cat, make sure the costume is loose and comfortable and does not restrict their movement or breathing. Avoid costumes with small parts that could be a choking hazard.

4. Be aware of the dangers of Halloween decorations.

Electrical cords and other decorations can be choking hazards for cats. Small objects can be swallowed and cause intestinal blockages.

When decorating your home, avoid using decorations made of fragile materials, such as glass or ceramic. Keep all cords and small objects out of reach of your cat.

5. Be mindful of the noise level on Halloween.

Loud noises can be stressful for cats, so try to keep the volume down if you are having a party or if trick-or-treaters are coming to your door.

6. Provide a safe place for your cat to hide.

If you are having a Halloween party or are expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, set up a private and quiet place for kitty to hide in, such as a room in the back of your home, a closest, under a bed, or their carrier.

You may also want to provide your cat with a hiding place in their regular living area. This could be a cardboard box, a cat tree, or a tunnel.

Provide your cat with fresh food and water and leave them alone so they can relax and de-stress.

7. Don’t bring your cat to a party.

If you are going to a Halloween party, leave your cat at home with a friend or family member. This will help reduce the stress and anxiety they may experience.

If you must take your cat to a party, make sure they are in a carrier or on a leash at all times. This will help keep them safe from other animals and from getting lost.

8. Keep candy and other Halloween treats out of reach.

Many Halloween treats, such as chocolate and macadamia nuts, are toxic to cats and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death. Keep all candy and treats in a sealed container or in a high place where your cat cannot reach them.

If you are having a Halloween party, ask your guests to keep their candy bowls out of reach of pets. You may also want to provide pet-safe treats for your guests to give to your cat.

9. Keep your cat away from pumpkin-carving activities.

If you are carving a pumpkin, keep the pumpkin seeds and pumpkin flesh out of reach of your cat. Pumpkin seeds can be a choking hazard and pumpkin flesh can cause stomach upset.

10. Be careful with open flames.

Candles, jack-o’-lanterns, and other open flames can be a fire hazard and can also cause burns to cats. Keep all open flames out of reach of your curious kitty.

Consider using battery-operated candles instead of real candles. They have realistic-looking flames, are just as festive, and are much safer for pets, small children, and tipsy party-goers.

11. Keep your cat’s vaccinations up to date.

If your cat is not vaccinated, they are at risk of contracting diseases from other animals. It’s important to keep your cat’s vaccinations up to date, especially if you let them outside on Halloween.

12. If you see a stray cat on Halloween, try to help it find a safe place to stay.

You can contact your local animal shelter or rescue organization for assistance.

13. Help keep community cats safe.

If you live in an area with a community cat population, avoid leaving food out for community cats on Halloween. This could attract unwanted attention from trick-or-treaters or pranksters.

If you see a community cat that appears to be lost or injured, please contact a local animal shelter or rescue organization.

14. Talk to your neighbors.

Talk to your neighbors about the importance of keeping cats safe on Halloween. Ask them to be careful when driving home from trick-or-treating, and to keep an eye out for lost or injured cats.

You may also want to organize a neighborhood watch group to help keep cats and other pets safe on Halloween.

With a little planning and care, you can help your cat have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

Related articles on our blog:

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:

Why Dogs Chew Stuff, and How to Encourage Appropriate Chewing

Dog chewing shoeUh oh. Last week it was the couch cushions. This week another shoe got destroyed by your dog.

What is it with dogs and chewing?

Chewing = Touching

People touch things with their hands to learn about an object’s texture. Dogs use their mouths to feel an object. What appears to be chewing may be, in fact, “mouthing.”

5 Reasons Dogs Chew Stuff

  1. Teething – Puppies aged 3-to-6 months chew on everything they can sink their baby teeth into.
  2. Playing – When dogs play, they love to bite and carry objects.
  3. Boredom – Dogs who don’t get enough physical or mental stimulation chew to release pent-up energy.
  4. Hunger – Dogs on a calorie-restricted diet may chew or gnaw because they’re searching for something to eat.
  5. Separation Anxiety – Destructive chewing can be a result of a dog getting distressed or agitated when pet parents leave home.

Why Dogs Chew Stuff, and How to Encourage Appropriate Chewing | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

How to Deal With Inappropriate Chewing

Chewing is a normal dog behavior, and if you exercise your dog daily and give him plenty of playtime, social stimulation, and appropriate chew toys, excessive chewing will often disappear.

However, chewing can sometimes be associated with a behavioral problem. If you notice excessive or destructive chewing, start a “chew journal.” For one week, note and/or videotape times of day your dog chews, what he chews, and what’s going on in his environment that could be causing the chewing.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian and bring your chew journal, which will help us determine what may be triggering the inappropriate chewing.

Dogs can’t tell the difference between old socks and new socks! Don’t give your dog old socks or shoes to chew, as that will train him to chew all socks and shoes.

To help prevent temptation, dog-proof your home by storing items you don’t want him to chew out of reach. When you’re away from home, crate your dog or confine him in a safe area.

Don’t reward your dog for inappropriate chewing. It sounds like a no-brainer, but some pet parents who catch their dog gnawing a table leg scold the dog and then give him a doggie treat. When you do this, you’re rewarding and encouraging the behavior. Instead, get your dog’s attention, and then redirect him to his favorite chew toy. Praise him when he begins playing with the toy.

Dogs don’t have a sense of time like humans do, so when you come home and discover that your pup has destroyed your favorite pair of jeans, don’t yell, spank, swat, or punish him. Your dog will have no idea what he’s being reprimanded for.

Your veterinarian will acquaint you with behavior modification training and other products that will help you safely deter destructive chewing.

Supervise your dog closely. When you spot your dog chewing an approved chew toy, praise him. This teaches him that it’s not wrong to chew, and trains him about the types of things he is encouraged to chew.

Chew Toys to Avoid

It’s important NOT to give your dog a chew toy that is harder than his teeth, as carnivore teeth are not designed to chew bones or other objects harder than the teeth. These objects can break your dog’s teeth and cause the gums to become infected.

Never give your dog cooked or uncooked bones, antlers, hard and thick rawhides, plastic or nylon bones, or large ice cubes.

Flatter, softer rawhide chews are safer for your dog’s teeth and can be effective in reducing plaque accumulation.

Also avoid giving him tennis balls, Frisbees, and other objects with abrasive surfaces, as they have a sandpaper-like effect on your dog’s teeth.

Why Dogs Chew Stuff, and How to Encourage Appropriate Chewing | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

How Hard is Too Hard?

Here are some ways you can quickly determine whether a toy is too hard for your dog to chew.

  • Tap the chew toy against your knee. If it hurts, it’s too hard for your dog.
  • Test the chew toy as a hammer. If you can use it to drive a nail into something, it’s too hard for your dog.
  • Use your fingernail to indent the surface of the toy. The surface needs to have some “give.”
  • Flex or break the chew toy with your bare hands (after buying it, of course). If you can’t flex it or break it, it’s too hard for your dog.

Puppy with chew toy

Appropriate Chew Toys for Your Dog

Provide lots of chew toys, particularly if you have a teething puppy. Try a variety of shapes, textures, colors, and odors and your dog will find a favorite.

KONG and West Paw both make a wide variety of chew toys, including balls, flying discs, squishy, squeaky, floppy, knotted, plush, durable bones, dental, teething, tug-of-war, fetch-and-retrieve, and more.

KONG organizes chewing styles into four categories:

  1. Teething chewer
  2. Average chewer
  3. Power chewer
  4. Aging chewer

They also provide a handy size guide that matches chew toys to a dog’s weight.

West Paw organizes toys according to three chewing and play levels:

  1. Tough chewers 
  2. Moderate chewers 
  3. Gentle chewers

Treat-Filled Chew Toys

Many chew toys can be stuffed with tasty treats to encourage chewing as needed. You can coat or fill a chew toy with peanut butter, cheese spread, canned dog food, and/or dog kibble. You can feed a portion of your dog’s regular diet from a chew toy. If your dog is removing the food too quickly, you can place the filled toy in the freezer before offering.

Click this link for chew toy filler recipes.

Here’s a recipe called Fido’s Farmhouse Feast.

Three important things to remember:

  1. Make sure all rawhide chews and chew toys are an appropriate size for your dog’s weight.
  2. Monitor your dog when he’s chewing to prevent ingestion of the toys (or of large pieces of a rawhide chew).
  3. Rotate chew toys every few days to add variety.

Download this handy list of chew toys approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). You’ll find rawhide chews, dental care chews, and edible chew treats in various flavors.

Leptospirosis: How to Protect Your Dog and Yourself

With the return of wet weather in the fall, the risk of leptospirosis increases for our dog patients.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and humans. This bacterial disease can affect dogs, humans, livestock, and wildlife.

The spiral-shaped organisms, called Leptospira, are found worldwide and thrive in in both rural and urban areas, including  lakes, streams, puddles, vegetation, and mud. Even fenced yards can be contaminated by bacteria-carrying mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, deer, and livestock.

The bacteria can live in the kidneys and bloodstream of infected animals, and are shed in their urine.

How do dogs become infected with leptospirosis?

Dogs can become infected with leptospirosis by coming into contact with contaminated water, soil, urine, food, or through bites from infected animals.

Drinking contaminated water: Leptospires can survive in water for weeks or months, so even stagnant or muddy puddles can be a source of infection.

Swimming in contaminated water: Leptospires can also be present in swimming pools, lakes, and rivers.

Walking through contaminated soil.

Eating or licking contaminated food or objects.

Coming into contact with the urine of an infected animal: Leptospires can enter the body through cuts or abrasions in the skin, or through the eyes or nose.

How to spot leptospirosis in your dog

The early signs of leptospirosis in dogs can be vague and easily mistaken for other illnesses.

Fall Weather Brings Increased Risk of Leptospirosis | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

The symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the infection – some dogs show no symptoms at all, while others may experience a range of signs, including:

  • Fever: A persistent and unexplained fever is one of the most common signs of leptospirosis.
  • Loss of appetite: Infected dogs may exhibit a sudden decrease in appetite or refusal to eat.
  • Weakness and lethargy: Infected dogs may become weak, appear lethargic, and display a lack of interest in their usual activities.
  • Muscle pain: Leptospirosis can cause muscle pain, leading to reluctance to move, limping, or stiffness.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea: Some dogs with leptospirosis may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Increased thirst and urination: Since the disease affects the kidneys, infected dogs may appear thirsty and may urinate frequently.

Other symptoms of leptospirosis may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Eye pain
  • Cough
  • Bleeding gums
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, consult your veterinarian right away. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics and intravenous fluids increases the chances of a dog’s recovery. Untreated animals or animal treated too late often die.

8 ways to protect your dog from leptospirosis

There are a number of practical things you can do to protect your dog:

1. Vaccinate your dog yearly during your pet’s annual comprehensive exam. There are several vaccines available that can help protect your dog from leptospirosis. Ask your veterinarian which vaccine is right for your dog, based on your dog’s lifestyle and risk factors. Although the vaccine doesn’t protect against all strains of leptospirosis, it does provide protection against the most common ones.

2. Keep your dog away from stagnant water. If you live in an area where leptospirosis is common, avoid letting your dog drink from stagnant water or swim in contaminated water. This includes water from puddles, ponds, lakes, and streams.

3. Avoid letting your dog walk through contaminated soil. This includes soil that has been used as a toilet by wildlife.

4. Clean and disinfect any areas where your dog has been exposed to contaminated water or soil.

5. Disinfect your dog’s bedding and toys regularly. If your dog comes into contact with contaminated water or soil, be sure to disinfect their bedding and toys as soon as possible.

6. Keep your dog’s yard clean. If your dog has access to a yard, keep it clean and free of debris. This will help prevent the buildup of bacteria that can cause leptospirosis. Be sure to properly dispose of pet waste!

7. Control rodents around your property. Keep garbage bins tightly closed, limit access to food sources, and consult a professional pest control service if needed.

8. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed short. This will help to prevent cuts and abrasions that could allow the bacteria to enter the body.

5 ways to protect yourself from leptospirosis

While the focus of this article is mainly on protecting dogs from leptospirosis, it is essential to take precautions to protect yourself as well. That’s because leptospirosis can be transmitted from dogs to humans (even though it happens rarely).

Here are some measures you can take:

1. Vaccinate yourself. There is a vaccine available for humans that can help protect you from leptospirosis. Talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is right for you.

2. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water after handling your dog, especially if your dog has been in contact with contaminated water or soil, or if you have had contact with your dog’s urine.

3. Avoid contact with contaminated water. If you are in an area where leptospirosis is common, avoid ingesting, wading in, or swimming in natural bodies of water that may be contaminated with leptospirosis.

4. Wear long sleeves, gloves, and boots when handling animals that may be infected with leptospirosis and when cleaning up animal waste, to protect yourself from contact with their urine. Also wear gloves and boots when gardening or working in areas where there may be contaminated soil.

5. If you are bitten by an animal, seek medical attention immediately.

Treatment for leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a potentially deadly disease that can affect both dogs and humans. To decrease the risk of infection, stay vigilant: Get your dog vaccinated annually, avoid contaminated water and soil, and practice good hygiene.

If you think you or your canine companion may have been exposed to leptospirosis, it is important to see a doctor or veterinarian right away.

Leptospirosis is treatable with antibiotics. The sooner treatment is started, the better the chances of a full recovery.

Licensed Veterinary Nursing: A Recession-Proof Career that Combines a Love of Animals and People

Licensed Veterinary Nursing: A Recession-Proof Career that Combines a Love of Animals and People

Whether you’re planning a first career or seeking a career change, veterinary nursing may be a wonderful choice if you love animals and people.

Licensed veterinary nurses are in high demand, with the number of openings nationally predicted to swell 16 percent by 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

What is a Veterinary Nurse?

Similar to nurses for human patients, veterinary nurses (formerly called veterinary technicians) are integral members of the veterinary health care team. Educated in the latest medical advances, they are skilled at working alongside veterinarians to diagnose, treat, and care for animals.

Responsibilities of a veterinary nurse are diverse, and may include:

  • Client education
  • Assist in surgery (monitor vital signs or “glove-in” as needed)
  • Administer anesthesia
  • Take patient histories
  • Evaluate and clean teeth (dental prophylaxis)
  • Collect samples
  • Analyze laboratory specimens
  • Wound care and bandaging
  • X-ray imaging
  • Physical therapy
  • Animal nursing care
  • Emergency first aid
  • Preparation and administering of medications and vaccines

Empathetic, compassionate, and hard-working, veterinary nurses enable veterinary hospitals to offer a variety of services.

Licensed Veterinary Nursing: A Recession-Proof Career that Combines a Love of Animals and People

How to Prepare for a Career in Veterinary Nursing

A licensed veterinary nurse is sometimes referred to as a veterinary technician or technologist, depending on the degree.

There are a variety of two-year, three-year, and four-year veterinary nursing degree programs. Upon completion, the student earns an Associate of Applied Science degree (2 or 3-year program) or Bachelor of Science degree (4-year program). Students attending in-person programs can usually work part-time while attending college.

Accredited In-Person Programs in Washington

  • Bellingham Technical College
  • Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom
  • Pima Medical Institute in Renton (and Seattle)
  • Yakima Valley College

Online Programs

In addition to in-person programs, one might consider one of several online veterinary nursing education programs instead. The online programs provide more schedule flexibility and allow students to complete the program at their own pace. Online programs are not for all personal learning styles, but cost approximately half the cost of an in-person program and allow for part-time or full-time employment while attending school.

Accredited Online Programs

Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for a state-by-state list of accredited online programs.

Obtaining an Entry-Level Position as a Licensed Veterinary Nurse

To obtain an entry-level position as a licensed veterinary nurse in Washington State, candidates need to:

For specific Washington certification and licensing requirements, visit the Washington State Veterinary Board of Governors.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe From Hobo Spiders

Fall and early winter are prime time for spiders searching for warmer breeding grounds, and your home will do quite nicely for the randy hobo spider. Chances are, right now a male hobo spider is singing his own version of Barry White’s “Let’s Get in On” while making his way into your home in hot pursuit of a mate.

Hobos are a very common poisonous spider species in the Pacific Northwest, and we don’t want them near your curious kitty. In this article, you’ll learn:

  1. How to recognize a hobo spider
  2. The differences between the two types of hobo spider bites
  3. Why you should keep your cat away from hobo spiders
  4. Seven effective ways to control hobo spiders

How to identify a hobo spider

The hobo spider (Eratigena agrestis) is native to Europe. This large, brown spider first entered North America via the Port of Seattle between 1920 and 1930.

They weave flat, non-sticky funnel webs to catch insects and other spiders. Their webs are typically found in dark, moist areas such as basements, crawl spaces, near a home’s foundation or landscaping elements, and in woodpiles.

They are most active during the fall and spring.

  • Hobo spiders are typically about the size of a quarter, from ½-inch to 1¾-inch long.
  • They have a brown or gray body with two dark stripes that run parallel to each other down the middle of the abdomen.
  • They have long, brown, spindly legs and a round abdomen.
  • The cephalothorax (head and thorax) is wider than the abdomen.
  • The eyes are arranged in a semicircle.
  • There are large poison sacs near the face.

It is important to note that other spiders, such as the brown recluse and black widow, look similar to the hobo spider.

Two kinds of hobo spider bites: dry and wet

Hobo spiders have a reputation for being venomous. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does not list hobo spiders as a medically significant species.

However, hobo spider bites can still be painful and can cause some swelling and redness. In a “dry” bite, no venom is injected. Typically, these bites are painless and the victim develops only minor redness. The symptoms usually go away within a few days.

A “wet” or venomous bite is not always painful, but a small, hard area typically appears within 30 minutes, surrounded by an expanding red welt that may reach several inches in diameter. Blisters form within 15-35 hours, which eventually crust over and the tissue beneath dies (becomes necrotic). In rare cases, the bite may lead to a skin infection.

In severe cases, surgical removal of damaged tissue is required and may take months to heal, frequently leaving a permanent scar. A bite victim may also experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, and flu-like symptoms. No human deaths have been reported.

Why cats should stay away from hobo spiders

Hobo spiders are not aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened. However, curious kitties may be tempted to play with a hobo spider, which could lead to a bite.

We don’t recommend “siccing” your cat on a hobo for spider control.

Why? Ask Dr. Monahan about the feline patient who was bitten by a hobo spider under the tongue, resulting in a large, very-slow-to-heal mouth wound.

The “wet” bites of a hobo spider are venomous, and their venom can be toxic to cats. In severe cases, a hobo spider bite can even be fatal to a cat.

If a hobo spider bites you or your cat, immediately clean the bite site with soap and water and then apply a cold compress to the area.

If the spider bites you and the bite becomes infected, you should see a doctor.

If you suspect your kitty has been bitten by a hobo spider, please contact us right away at 206.323.4433 or seek emergency veterinary care. The vet will assess the severity of the bite and provide treatment if necessary.

How to keep your cat safe from hobo spiders

  • Keep your cat’s food and water bowls clean and free of debris.
  • Supervise your cat when it is outdoors.
  • Regularly inspect your cat’s fur for spiders.

7 effective ways to control hobo spiders

The best method of hobo spider control is to eliminate suitable habitats and allow orb weaver spiders (your typical garden spiders) to do their job.

To eliminate hobo habitats:

  1. Seal cracks, crevices, gaps, and openings around your windows, doors, and foundation walls. This will prevent spiders from getting inside. Repair damaged screens and install door sweeps to reduce entry points. Be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves when working in areas where hobo spiders may be present.
  2. Trim vegetation and remove debris, grass, leaves, and firewood from your yard, garden, and near your home’s exterior. This will minimize hiding spots.
  3. Reduce clutter: Spiders thrive in cluttered environments. Declutter your living spaces, particularly in basements, attics, and storage areas. Keeping your living spaces organized and clean will discourage hobo spiders from settling in.
  4. Vacuum and dust regularly. This will help remove spider webs and egg sacs. Pay attention to dark, moist areas and neglected areas such as corners, under furniture, and behind appliances.
  5. Shake out shoes and clothing before putting them on.
  6. Inspect toys and beds for spiders.
  7. Eliminate their food sources. Hobo spiders eat insects, so getting rid of any insect problems in your home will help reduce the number of hobo spiders.

Use horticultural oils or non-pesticide spider traps, found at most local hardware stores. Pesticides are not recommended for hobo control. That’s because hobo spiders are highly mobile and resistant to most pesticides, but other spider species are not. While the hobos pack up and find better air quality, pesticides kill all of their predators.

Non-pesticide spider traps have a sticky surface with an attractant in the middle. Place the traps on the floor near doors, vents, first floor windows, and stairs, following package directions regarding placement to the traps away from pets and children.

The hobo spider’s inability to move on sticky or smooth, vertical surfaces is its ultimate weakness. It falls prey to other spiders’ sticky webs and can’t get out of sinks and bathtubs after seeking a drink.

If you see a hobo spider, avoid touching it and call a pest control company if you have a serious hobo spider infestation.

Hobo spiders are not as dangerous as they are often made out to be, but their bite can cause some discomfort. It’s important to take steps to control them, especially if you have children or pets.

6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog

Welcome to part 5 in our 7-part series on pet adoption!

Part 1: Should I Adopt a Puppy or an Adult Dog?
Part 2: 4 Important Decisions to Make Before Adopting a Dog
Part 3: The Perfect Dog Breed for You, Based on Your Enneagram Personality Type
Part 4: 15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy

Coming Next:
Part 6: 10 Tips for Adopting a Cat
Part 7: 5 Steps to Introducing a New Kitten to Your Resident Cat


“Our dog needs a friend!”

Someone in your family is convinced a second dog would be the perfect companion for your current dog.

6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog | atlanticvetseattle.com

The thought stays with you as teasing, conflicting thoughts chase each other…

Aren’t you your dog’s “best friend?” He doesn’t need a companion. On the other hand, you can’t always spend as much time playing with your dog as you would like. Perhaps she’d like a puppy to nurture.

Your yard is large enough; two dogs could play together. Or, your yard barely supports the energy of one dog; two is out of the question.

You could take two dogs to the park as easily as one, but only if two carriers will fit in your vehicle.

The internal debate nearly drives you crazy, as family members plead for a puppy, or assert that a certain breed would be So. Much. Fun.

Before adding a second dog to your family, it’s good to look at as many factors as possible before making a commitment. To lessen the stress on everyone, follow these steps.

6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog | atlanticvetseattle.com

Step 1:
Consider your current dog’s temperament and prepare him for a new arrival

While some dogs may enjoy a playmate, other factors may make adding a second furry friend a negative experience, rather than a positive one. For example, if your current dog is shy, fearful, or anxious, he may not accept another animal in the household.

According to Kathy Santo, in a blog post for the American Kennel Club, “Sometimes dogs can ‘pass’ their fear on to another dog, so then you could have two fearful dogs.”

A second dog will also not necessarily help socialize an aggressive dog.

Tip: Assess how well your dog interacts with other dogs in general. One way to do this is to take him to an off-leash dog park and observe how easily he makes friends.

Step 2:
Prepare yourself by thinking it through

Based on your current dog’s age, consider the ideal age for a second pet. Some people prefer their dogs to be similar ages, expecting the dogs to be playmates.

Dogs have different health needs at different stages of life, which is also a consideration. Depending on the age(s) of the dogs, expect to see behaviors in which an older dog is teaching a younger puppy social skills. Even if the dogs are the same age, one will have been with your family longer, and the other will be the “newcomer.”

Be aware of the financial aspect. Two dogs require more investment in food, supplies, and health care than one dog. Work with family members to plan and budget for a second dog.

Review information about dogs’ body language to better understand your dog’s reaction to the new arrival. Remember to verbally praise your current dog for good behavior, especially during the introduction period.

Tip: Create a simple chart listing the pros and cons of bringing a second dog into your household situation.

6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog | atlanticvetseattle.comStep 3:
Prepare your home before the new dog arrives

You’ll want to train a new dog to fit in with your family and lifestyle. Make sure you have supplies and areas ready to train your new pet in house manners and obedience. It may be easier to wait until your current dog is fully trained.

Tip: Consider your present situation in life. Are you willing and able to take the time and responsibility to train a second dog?

Step 4:
Prepare your family for a new pet

It also takes time to help a second dog acclimate and become part of your family. In the same way adding another person to a group of people changes the dynamic, the presence of another pet changes the dynamic of a household.

Tip: Make sure everyone in your family agrees with the idea. It’s especially important to realize the person who wants the dog may not take final responsibility for it. Consider creating a backup plan describing who will take responsibility if circumstances change.

Step 5:
Introduce your new dog gradually

Gradually introduce your dog to a “new puppy scent” by taking a piece of cloth when you meet your new dog before bringing her home. Allow your dog to smell any “new dog” scents from the cloth or your hands.

Set up a place for each dog to call its own (e.g., a pen or crate), and plan to use these areas in staggered rotation to help the dogs get used to each other. This may be done without the dogs seeing each other by strategically placing their private spaces and rotating which animal is with you or in their personal “safe” space. You may then wish to use a gate or screen to introduce the dogs face-to-face, allowing them to turn away after a brief meeting.

Respect and protect each dog’s needs. Arrange separate feeding areas to start, and allow each pet to have personal play time with you and other family members.

Tip: If possible, provide opportunities for each dog to become familiar with the other’s scent before or after bringing the new dog home.

6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog | atlanticvetseattle.comStep 6:
Continue the introduction process

Have someone help you introduce the dogs to each other “in person.” You might choose to take the dogs for a walk, each animal on a short, loose leash.

You can offer supervised play separately with each person, and then closer together as the dogs tolerate and accept each other.

Tip: Observe each dog’s behavioral clues, recalling the body language signals you reviewed earlier. Be ready to praise verbally and offer special attention to each dog at appropriate times.

The overall process will take time, so be patient. Be prepared to separate the dogs as needed, but keep working to gradually foster peaceful co-existence. If, over time, the relationship doesn’t improve, contact Atlantic Veterinary Hospital and ask about next steps you can take.

Remembering your pets’ temperaments and behavior signals will help you work with them for successful integration with your family.

Related Articles

15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy

Welcome to part 4 of our 7-part series on pet adoption!

Part 1: Should I Adopt a Puppy or an Adult Dog?
Part 2: 4 Important Decisions to Make Before Adopting a Dog
Part 3: The Perfect Dog Breed for You, Based on Your Enneagram Personality Type

Coming Next:

Part 5: 6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog
Part 6: 10 Tips for Adopting a Cat
Part 7: 5 Steps to Introducing a New Kitten to Your Resident Cat



Pandemic Puppies: 15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy in a Socially Distant World | atlanticvetseattle.com

Think about the ways a child learns to socialize with others from birth through the middle school years.

Now think about a puppy.

One month of a puppy’s life is equivalent to approximately one year of a human child’s life.

That’s why it’s critical to prepare your puppy to interact with people, other animals, and new situations when they are 8-to-14 weeks old.

Pandemic Puppies: 15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy in a Socially Distant World | atlanticvetseattle.com

We can successfully help our pups learn socialization skills. We just have to be intentional about it. Similar to homeschooling our human children, we need to homeschool our puppies.

Think of it as “puppy pre-school.”

Here are 15 fun and easy ways you can socialize your puppy during that critical age of 8-to-14 weeks, to help them develop into a happy, confident, well-mannered dog.

Sight experiences

With face masks still being worn, it’s important to get your pup accustomed to seeing humans wearing masks. Inside your home, put on your mask, praise and treat your puppy, and then take off your mask. Repeat until your puppy is unfazed by face coverings.

In addition to practicing with face masks, train your puppy to interact with a “stranger” by wearing different hats, gloves, sunglasses, and clothing in the house and yard (do these things one at a time, not all in one day!).

Sound experiences

Pandemic Puppies: 15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy in a Socially Distant World | atlanticvetseattle.com

You want your puppy to remain calm when in busy, loud public places where sudden sounds are likely to occur. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of everyday sounds:

  • phone ringtones
  • electronic devices
  • hair dryer
  • vacuum cleaner
  • pots and pans clanking
  • shower or bathtub (running water)
  • microwave
  • radio and TV
  • various forms of music
  • doors opening and shutting
  • doorbell
  • garbage trucks
  • traffic sounds

Watch for signs of stress, and make each new noise exposure experience as positive as possible by rewarding your pup with a treat and acting calm and happy around the sound.

Tactile experiences

Pandemic Puppies: 15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy in a Socially Distant World | atlanticvetseattle.com

Expose your puppy to a new tactile experience each day by introducing them to a variety of surfaces. Never force your puppy to step on these surfaces – allow them to take their time approaching and stepping on new surfaces, and reassure and reward them often.

  • Concrete
  • Linoleum
  • Hardwood
  • Dirt
  • Sand
  • Carpet
  • Rubberized doormats
  • Grass
  • Leaves
  • Mud

Of course, go for a walk in the rain so your pup gets accustomed to walking on wet surfaces.

Set up a simple “obstacle course” and encourage your puppy to walk over, under, and around objects with different textures, such as a pillow, cookie sheet, cardboard box, or skateboard.

Video

This video includes practical tips for creating fun socializing events.

Experiences with humans

To help your puppy get used to meeting new people, try these strategies:

  • If you live with others, encourage every member of your household to spend one-on-one time cuddling, feeding, grooming, and playing with your puppy.
  • Prepare your puppy for the different ways people will pet them. Pat them on the head. Scratch under their chin. Pet them against the grain of their fur, praising as you pet. If your puppy gets anxious, stop and try again later.
  • Go for regular, short car rides to get your puppy used to traveling in a car.
  • Drive to a local strip mall and sit in the parking lot. Give your puppy treats as you watch the action.
  • Walk them around in the parking lot or on a sidewalk. When someone approaches, praise and give your puppy a treat until that person passes.
  • Briefly stop and talk with others, while maintaining a safe distance from each other.

Experiences with animals

After two years of social distancing, we all know what that means for humans. Practicing social distancing when encountering other dogs is also ideal for your puppy, because you don’t want your pup to have a close encounter with an aggressive dog.

When you take your puppy for a walk and they spot another dog and want to stop and watch that dog walk by, let them. This helps your puppy understand that seeing other dogs is normal.

Practice walking past dogs in fenced yards who bark or run along with you. Watch your puppy’s reaction. Reassure your puppy and give them bits of food to reinforce appropriate behavior.

If there are dogs in your neighborhood that you trust to be well-mannered with your puppy, arrange short, positive doggy play dates while maintaining a safe distance from the other owner.

Alone Time

Pandemic Puppies: 15 Tips for Socializing Your Puppy in a Socially Distant World | atlanticvetseattle.com

Learning to be without people around is as important as learning to be with them. While you may be working from home now, if you anticipate returning to a job outside the home, it’s important to create structured alone time by crate training your puppy.

To help your puppy feel safe and less anxiety when you’re away, get an appropriately sized crate or set up a gated area (here’s a helpful article on how to crate train your dog in 9 easy steps).

Put your puppy in their crate or other safe area for a total of at least 2-4 hours a day. During that time, you and other household members should be in another part of the house.

Snuggle time

Most puppies love to be held, petted, and snuggled. Get your dog used to different types of handling by gently touching and examining their paws, nails, eyes, ears, mouth and tail several times each week (this will prepare them to visit the vet, too!).

Groom your puppy with a dog brush for 3-to-5 minutes per day.

Petting your puppy not only helps them feel more bonded to you, but it’s good therapy for you, too!

Routine

Puppies, like humans, thrive on routine. Make sure your puppy eats, plays, and naps around the same time each day. These routines will prepare your puppy to face the world with confidence.

What You Need to Know About Fleas, Ticks and Parasite Preventives

More than an itchy nuisance, fleas and ticks are blood-sucking, disease-spreading pests that can cause a variety of problems for cats and dogs.

What You Need to Know About Fleas, Ticks and Parasite Preventives | atlanticvetseattle.com

Fleas can cause skin irritation, anemia, and allergic reactions, while ticks can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis.

In this article, we’re going to look at the not-so-fun facts about fleas and ticks and introduce you to several prevention methods.

Not-So-Fun Flea Facts

Fleas have been around for millions of years, causing itchy misery and spreading diseases like tapeworms and life-threatening bacteria and viruses affecting animals and people.

For example, fleas spread the bacteria that causes The Plague, a disease that killed thousands in Europe in the Dark Ages and is still found today in places as near as Eastern Oregon.

Although tiny and flightless, fleas can jump 7-13 inches and show no respect for property lines and door sills.

April Showers Bring May Flowers – Fleas & Ticks Aren’t Far Behind | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Female fleas can lay over 5,000 eggs in their lifetime and live up to 18 months.

A single pregnant flea can cause a population explosion of fleas on your pet and in your home.

Flea Bite Anemia

When cats get infested with fleas, they can get flea bite anemia due to losing so much blood. Those suckers (literally) drain so much blood that a cat’s body is unable to function normally.

Cats particularly susceptible to flea bite anemia include:

  • kittens
  • small cats
  • elderly cats
  • cats with weakened immune systems
  • cats who have lost blood due to an injury
  • cats who have recently undergone surgery and required a blood transfusion

Cat Scratch Fever

Fleas also cause cat scratch fever, a mild-to-severe bacterial infection that cats can pass along to humans. Humans can get cat scratch fever when a cat infected with Bartonella henselae (a bacteria cats contract when scratching or biting at infected fleas) bites or scratches a human or licks an open wound on a human’s skin.

Cat scratch fever (also called cat scratch disease) in humans is most prevalent in the southern part of the U.S. and most common among teenagers and children aged 5-9. However, anyone who owns or interacts with a cat is at risk of contracting the disease.

Signs of Flea Allergy in Dogs

Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, a condition called flea allergy dermatitis. Some common symptoms include excessive scratching, hair loss, red and inflamed skin, hot spots, and the presence of flea dirt (tiny black specks resembling ground pepper) on your dog’s coat.

If you suspect your dog may dog is allergic to fleas, it is crucial to see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Ticks…A Growing Concern in the Pacific Northwest and Worldwide

What you need to know about ticks | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Ticks are blood-sucking arachnids – not insects – and are implicated in the spread of a number of life-threatening diseases that affect humans and animals. They can harbor bacteria, viruses, and protozoal parasites, sometimes more than one at a time.

Slow-moving and unable to jump, they lay in wait on grass or leaves until their prey walks by, then grab on for the ride.

Ticks can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, and erlichiosis, to name a few.

Unfortunately, one of the many side effects of warmer temperatures is that ticks are increasing in abundance and geographical range throughout the world. Once a realm of warmer, humid southern areas of the US, ticks and tick-borne diseases have spread north and occur in all 50 states and Canada.

A similar phenomenon has occurred in Europe. Tick migration mostly occurs through the movement of animals upon which ticks feed. Small mammals can transport ticks short distances, but migrating deer and, especially, birds can carry the intrepid hitchhikers into new territories where they once did not exist.

Our Western Washington “Emerald Isle” has more ticks.

How to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

The best way to prevent fleas and ticks is to use a year-round flea and tick preventive.

We have amazing new parasite preventives that came out in the past two years. These preventives are better than anything you can buy over the counter. (They prevent ticks, too.)

Call Atlantic Veterinary Hospital at 206-323-4433 and ask about our flea and tick preventives.

There are a variety of preventives available, including oral medications, topical medications, and collars.

Oral Medications

Oral medications are typically given to your pet by mouth once a month. They work by killing fleas and ticks before they can attach to your pet. These medications are generally more effective than topical medications, but they can be more expensive.

We recommend the oral chews that have come on the market in the past two years. No more messy topical medication or stinky collar; just a tasty “treat” that safely and effectively prevents fleas and ticks from 30-90 days, depending on the product.

Topical Medications

Topical medications are generally applied to your pet’s back between the shoulder blades.

They work by killing the fleas and ticks that come into contact with your pet. Be sure to follow the instructions on the medication label carefully.

Collars

Collars work by releasing a slow-release insecticide that kills fleas and tick that come into contact with the collar.

Collars are less effective than topical or oral medications, but they are a good option for pets that don’t tolerate other preventives.

New Lab Tests Spot Ticks Quickly

In addition to preventives, new laboratory tests help us spot tick-borne diseases faster, sometimes before they even cause disease symptoms.

You know the 4DX lab test we recommend for your dog every year? Well, test #1 screens for heartworm disease, but #2-4 are screens for tick-borne illnesses – Lyme disease, erlichiosis, and anaplasmosis.

Hey ticks, we’re watching.

Better Lyme disease vaccines are now available for dogs traveling to Lyme disease endemic areas – the Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida.

We recommend your dog begins the Lyme vaccine series 7-8 weeks prior to your trip back East, as well as using one of the newer tick prevention products.

Precautions to Take

6 Steps to Introduce a New Dog to Your Current Dog | atlanticvetseattle.com

In addition to using a flea and tick preventive, take these precautions to help prevent fleas and ticks from infesting your pet:

  1. Keep your pet’s yard free of weeds, brush, and tall grass, which can provide hiding places for fleas and ticks.
  2. Treat your yard with appropriate insecticides to eliminate fleas and ticks in the outdoor area.
  3. Create barriers that prevent wildlife from entering your yard and potentially introducing fleas and ticks.
  4. Avoid walking your pet in wooded areas.
  5. Do a daily tick inspection of yourself and your pet.
  6. Bathe your pet regularly with a veterinarian-approved flea and tick shampoo to provide an extra layer of protection.
  7. Wash your pet’s bedding and toys regularly.
  8. Treat your pet’s bedding with flea and tick spray.
  9. Brush your pet’s coat, which will help remove any existing fleas or ticks and will allow you to detect and address any issues promptly.
  10. Vacuum floors, carpets, and furniture regularly, paying special attention to areas where your pet sleeps. This can help remove flea eggs, larvae, and ticks.
  11. Schedule routine veterinary checkups and vaccinations. Vaccinations not only protect against common diseases but can also boost your pet’s immune system to better resist fleas and ticks.

What to Do If Your Pet Gets Fleas or Ticks

If your pet does get fleas or ticks, it is important to treat them promptly. First, consult with your veterinarian, who can prescribe a treatment that is safe for your pet and that will kill all of the fleas and ticks.

Additional Resources

Acupuncture: This Ancient Healing Art Helps Pets, Too!

An ancient healing art developed in China more than 4,000 years ago, acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that enhances a body’s natural healing abilities.

Acupuncture: This Ancient Healing Art Helps Pets, Too! | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Dr. Munroe uses acupuncture to treat a dog.

What is Animal Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves inserting very fine, sterile needles into specific points mapped over the body. The needles stimulate circulation, stimulate the release of hormones, and help restore the body’s natural balance.

Dr. Tricia Munroe | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Dr. Tricia Munroe, cVMA, CCRT, completed her training and certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2015.

Animal acupuncture should only be performed by a trained and certified veterinary acupuncturist. Dr. Tricia Munroe, cVMA, CCRT, completed her training and certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2015 and has been using the technique to provide our patients with an additional therapy option.

Conditions that Acupuncture Can Improve

More and more pet owners are trying acupuncture for their furry family members. Pain management is one of the most common uses for acupuncture, often in conjunction with a more traditional treatment plan.

Several common conditions effecting animals can improve with the addition of acupuncture treatment, including:

  • arthritis and back pain
  • immune disorders
  • decreased appetite
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • skin conditions
  • intestinal problems (diarrhea and constipation)
  • metabolic problems (liver and kidney disease)
  • anxiety
  • urinary incontinence

During Therapy…

Pets typically relax and enjoy acupuncture therapy. The tiny pinch caused by the needle insertion is very tolerable and often unnoticed. Many pets relax and fall asleep while they wait the 15-30 minutes before the needles are removed.

Acupuncture: This Ancient Healing Art Helps Pets, Too! | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Dr. Munroe uses acupuncture to treat a dog.

Initially, Dr. Munroe recommends acupuncture on a weekly basis, but as a pet’s condition improves, treatment sessions are often changed to a monthly or as needed basis.

About Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the safest medical therapies, using no chemicals or medications. Veterinary acupuncture was approved as an alternative therapy by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1988. A new development in animal acupuncture is the use of therapeutic lasers instead of needles.

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.