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3 Facts About Pet Dental Care Every Pet Owner Should Know

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Pet’s teeth and gums need just as much love and attention as our’s do, but oral health is an often overlooked facet of dog or cat ownership. Dog and cat dental care is an essential element of overall pet wellness, however, and your friends at Eastside Veterinary Associates want to make it easier than ever to give it to them. Here are some facts about the importance of pet dental care so you can be sure you can keep their teeth and gums in top shape:

1. Dental Disease Is More Common than You Think

Most cats and dogs will have some form of periodontal disease by the age of 3, which means you have to start thinking about caring for teeth and gums early in their lives. Dental disease can manifest in many different ways, including:

  • Visible yellow or brown buildup on the teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depression

If you notice any of the above in your dog or cat, you should schedule a dental appointment with your veterinarian. 

2. Anesthesia Is Essential for Proper Dental Cleanings

Cat and dog teeth cleaning without anesthesia can be dangerous and not effective. Veterinarians use anesthesia when cleaning your pet’s teeth to ensure that your pets do not feel undue stress during the procedure. Anesthesia also allows them to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums, which will help prevent future issues with tartar and periodontal disease.

3. Pet Dental Care Is a Team Effort

Although professional dental cleanings are hugely important, they alone are not enough to completely ward off all forms of periodontal disease. If you want to give your pets the best defense against infections in the mouth, you have to do your part at home, too. Talk to your veterinarian about the best kind of home toothpaste and brush to use for your cats and dogs to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Eastside Veterinary Associates are here to help you get the pet dental care your pet needs. From routine cleanings to surgery, our dedicated team will always do our best for your pets. We are proud to partner up with you for your pet’s health. 

Winter Pet Care Tips in Washington State

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Winter Pet Care Tips in Washington State

Now that colder temperatures are on the doorstep, it’s time to bring out the heavy jackets, scarves, and gloves. Put the ice scraper and winter emergency kit in the car. Now you’re ready for winter’s cold, wind, and occasional snow.

Next, take steps to protect your dog from harsh winter weather. These five winter pet care tips will give you a leg up whatever Mother Nature throws your way. 

Winter Care for Pets

Animals are very curious by nature, and they love to explore, even when it’s cold outside. It’s up to you to ensure they have everything they need to stay safe from the winter weather.

Invite Him Indoors

It’s important to keep your pets inside when the temperatures drop below freezing. Hypothermia and frostbite are real risks for pets (even with all that fur), and they cannot verbally tell us when they’re feeling cold. If you have to let your dog out, try to do so in short bursts. As much as they might fight you, keep your cats inside to keep them safe and warm.

Dress Him for the Weather

There is plenty of weather gear for pets that can help keep your furry friends toasty if they have to spend time outside. Provide your short-coated, elderly, very young, or very thin animals with a toasty warm sweater. In very cold weather or paw pads to offer an extra layer of protection from the cold.

Wipe His Paws After Trips Outside

De-icing salts and chemicals can irritate your pet’s footpads, and is toxic if ingested. Keep a damp towel handy, and thoroughly wipe his feet after his potty walks and treks around the neighborhood. Remember: even if the walkways look clear, there’s a good chance of salt and chemical buildup.

Keep Him Away from Deadly Antifreeze

Animals are attracted to the traditional sweet taste of antifreeze. Unfortunately, this substance is deadly to many small creatures. Be extremely careful how you use and store antifreeze to be sure it is safely away from your susceptible pets.

Provide Shelter

Some animals truly love being outdoors, and providing a warm, sturdy shelter can protect from harsh wind, rain, and snow.

Give your pet a draft-free structure in which he can comfortably sit and lie down. However, keep it small enough so it holds his body heat. Raise the floor off the ground, and cover it with clean straw or cedar shavings. Face the entrance away from the wind, and cover the door with heavy plastic or sturdy waterproof fabric.

The staff at Eastside Veterinary Associates is here to help you with everything from winter care to annual wellness exams. To learn more about our services, please call (425) 276-4100 for our Renton location and (425) 882-7788 for our Kirkland location.

The Best Pet Care Products to Spoil Your Cat With This Season

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The Best Pet Care Products to Spoil Your Cat With This Season

 

We all have that one person that is impossible to buy for during the holidays. Eastside Veterinary Associates understands that, for some of us, that person is a cat. Read on to find some of our favorite and best pet care products to indulge your cat this holiday season.

Best Pet Care Products

Most of our kitties are used to living in the lap of luxury already, but with some of the newest and best pet care products out there, you can up your ante.  Some of our favorite and best selling pet products for cats include:

 

  • Litter-Robot 3: A litter box robot that empties your cat’s throne regularly and tells you when it’s full? What’s not to like? While it may not be the perfect gift for every cat (larger cats, arthritic cats, more timid cats), it is a game changer for feline fanatics everywhere. 
  • Doc and Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder: These little mice are designed to be hunted by your cat, resulting in more natural hunting behavior, increased exercise, and mental stimulation.
  • Assisi Loop or Lounger: We know that many cats suffer from some arthritis as they get older. Targeted pulse electromagnetic field therapy can be a great way to help with this. Ask us about whether an Assisi loop or lounger might be a good option for your pet. 
  • Catit Pixi Smart Fountain: Water fountains are great for encouraging cats to drink, and this cute option has lots of benefits! Whisker-friendly with a stainless steel top, it is kitty friendly. The LED indicator to add water is very helpful, too. 
  • Window perch: There are many different options for window perches for cats that can help them get a good look into the great outdoors from the safety of home. 
  • Meowbox: A subscription box for cats? Yes, please! Choose delivery of unique and fun toys and treats monthly or every other month and up your environmental enrichment game. 
  • Van Ness Calm Carrier: A secure and kitty friendly cat carrier can make bringing your cat in to see our team a dream. We love the Van Ness Calm Carrier that allows timid patient to remain in the safety of their carrier for most of their visit. 
  • Exercise wheel:  Get your kitty moving with an exercise wheel. Many cats love burning off a little steam. 

 

Thinking Outside of the Box

But what about the cat that truly has everything? There are some trending pet products and services that might interest the cat owner with enough “stuff.” Consider:

 

  • Basepaws Breed + Health DNA Test: DNA testing with companies like 23andMe are all the rage for people. Why not include your cat? Companies like Basepaws not only give you fun insights into your cat’s breeding via a cheek swab, but can also give you valuable health information such as whether your cat is at risk for certain health conditions such as dental disease or cardiovascular problems.
  • Rover: The Rover app may bear a more doggo-friendly name, but we think it’s great for finding qualified, responsible people to help you care for your kitty. Consider booking your cat a playdate during long work days or some extra attention while you are out of town. 
  • Rescue Box: While getting your cat a subscription to Rescue Box does mean a monthly shipment of fun toys, it also is a way to give back to pets in need. 
  • Pet insurance: Consider a pet insurance policy to help you care for your pet. Pet Pawlicy Advisor is a great place to help you compare options. 

 

Buying a gift for those you love can be a fun and rewarding experience. We hope that we have helped you find the purr-fect gift for your whiskered family this holiday season

reverse sneeze in pets

What Was That Noise? The Reverse Sneeze

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If you hear an unusual, somewhat alarming sound from your dog—not quite a sneeze, not quite a cough—you might ask yourself, “What was that noise?”

This unusual honking sound could just be a reverse sneezing, and this article will discuss what it is, why it happens, and what you can do about it. 

What Is a Reverse Sneeze?

Reverse sneezing is a fairly common condition that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. It may last for just a few seconds or go on for several minutes. During a reverse sneeze, the dog suddenly stands still, extends its head and neck, and produces a snorting sound.

A reverse sneeze is a sudden, involuntary inhalation through the nose accompanied by a loud snorting sound. A dog may reverse sneeze several times in a row or just once. It’s not unusual for the dog to have a mild nasal discharge and difficulty breathing during or after the episode.

Why Is My Dog Reverse Sneezing So Much? 

It’s not entirely clear why some dogs experience reverse sneezing, but it’s thought to be because of irritation of the soft palate (the flap of tissue that connects your dog’s mouth to his nose) or trachea (windpipe). Excitement, stress, or water getting into the airway during exercise may also contribute to episodes. 

Reverse sneezing has been linked to allergies, which can cause inflammation of the nasal passages and windpipe. This inflammation makes it difficult for air to pass through your dog’s nose and throat. 

When your dog tries to inhale, the throat momentarily closes off. Your dog then opens its mouth quickly to try again—this is when you hear the loud snorting sound. The pressure behind the closed windpipe causes your dog to take rapid, shallow breaths, similar to a short series of sneezes.

Airway irritation can be caused by: 

  • Allergies to dust or pollens
  • Smoke, perfume, or chemicals
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinusitis (an infection or inflammation of the lining of the sinuses)

How Can I Treat My Dog’s Reverse Sneezing?

The best treatment for reverse sneezing is prevention. Try to avoid situations or substances that tend to bring on reverse sneezing in your dog. Anxiety and stress—even excitement—can exacerbate the problem. 

If your dog begins to reverse sneeze, stay calm and let the episode pass on its own. You can help your dog by holding it upright and gently rubbing its back or massaging its throat until the episode passes.

What If My Dog’s Reverse Sneezing Is Getting Worse? 

If your dog’s reverse sneezing becomes worse, contact your veterinarian.

Reverse sneezing can be alarming to witness and hear. Your dog may appear to be choking, with its head back and mouth open. But this behavior is actually a reflex that causes the soft palate to contract and then relax repeatedly. 

Your dog may seem restless during an episode of reverse sneezing, but it shouldn’t show other signs of distress, such as pawing at its nose or face, gagging, or trying to vomit. If your dog displays these symptoms and can’t clear its airway after several attempts, seek immediate veterinary care.

If your dog has had episodes of reverse sneezing in the past, it’s likely to continue throughout its lifetime—although the occurrences may become less frequent with age.

Reverse Sneezing Should Resolve on Its Own

If you have questions about your dog’s reverse sneezing, give us a call at 425-882-7788 for our Kirkland location or 425-276-4100 for our Renton location. Our team is always happy to help!

pets benefit mental health

Discover How Pets and Mental Health Research are Connected

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Everyone knows your dog or cat provides the best stress relief on the planet. Maybe your pet greets you at the front door after a challenging day. Playing with them and stroking their coat can help your stress virtually dissolve into thin air. At Eastside Veterinary Associates, we’re not surprised that pets can provide other mental health benefits. Keep reading to learn about the link between pets and mental health research, and look at your dog or cat in an entirely new light:

The Link Between Pets and Mental Health Research

During the past few decades, numerous studies have delved into the benefits of pets for human health. Specifically, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healths January 22, 2021 edition published a qualitative study on how human-animal interactions can affect pet owners’ mental and physical health. The UK-based study analyzed feedback from 5,926 participants locked down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave.

How Participants’ Companion Animals Uplifted Them

Study participants reported that their pets helped to support their mental and physical well-being during a challenging time. Participants said their pets’ unconditional love and affection was a great stress reducer and mood enhancer. Animal ownership also helped participants to maintain a sense of purpose while decreasing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Participants’ Pets and the Great Outdoors

Many study participants said their pets helped them to maintain their physical activity during an otherwise sedentary period. Walking their dogs provided good exercise and exposure to green space and the natural world. Pet owners with horses reported benefits from caring for and exercising their equine companions.

Other Ways Pet Ownership Enhances Human Health

Not surprisingly, the benefits of pets for human health continue. Multiple studies have demonstrated that the human-pet bond can result in reduced blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels.

Playing with your dog has been shown to increase dopamine and oxytocin, the feel-good brain chemicals that produce well-being sensations. Older pet-owning adults have improved cognitive function. Pet ownership can also help to reduce anxiety and PTSD symptoms.

Health Benefits of Pets in the Workplace

Taking your pet to work offers two proven benefits. Whether you work at home or in an office, studies have shown that having your pet nearby helps to decrease your stress and increase your job satisfaction. And sometimes, a few timely licks or nuzzles can help to smooth out uncomfortable situations.

On-the-job pets can help to improve productivity. When a dog visits a virtual meeting, participants rank their coworkers higher on several important variables. And it’s impossible not to laugh when your cat plops himself on the keyboard while you’re trying to type an important email.

Keeping Your Pet Healthy is Important

By providing your dog or cat with consistent wellness care, they can better improve your quality of life. At Eastside Veterinary Associates, our skilled veterinarians and veterinary team stand ready to help keep your pet in tip-top shape. Call us for an appointment in Kirkland: 425-882-7788. Call us in Newcastle/Renton: 425-276-4100.

 

 

 

cat scratching

What’s the Big Deal About Cat Scratch Fever?

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We love sharing our lives with animals. In fact, few things compare with a good snuggle, and for many of us, the time spent holding and nuzzling a sweet, furry feline is life-affirming. Part of what makes this closeness possible is a proactive approach to disease prevention. Unfortunately, zoonotic diseases, or those that can be transmitted between animals and people, can make living in such close proximity dangerous. Cat scratch fever is one such illness.

A Thin, Invisible Line

Cats have the potential to carry various zoonotic diseases, including rabies, ringworm, toxoplasmosis, and more. A reasonable concern for most cat owners is cat scratch fever, or Cat-Scratch Disease (CSD). A bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae, CSD is a zoonotic disease carried by approximately 40% of all cats at some point in their lives. 

It would be one thing if owners saw obvious symptoms of cat scratch fever, but many cats show no signs of illness. Most carriers of the disease are kittens younger than a year.

How to Protect Yourself

Cats get infected with Bartonella by way of fleas, specifically through bites and flea dirt (feces). When flea dirt builds up around the feet and claws, or near the mouth, the chances of passing the infection to others increases. If a cat with the bacterium scratches or bites you, or licks an open wound, the Bartonella organism can enter the bloodstream and cause infection.

Signs of Cat-Scratch Disease in humans can include:

  • Redness at the site of the wound
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite

 While CSD can be mild enough to warrant little to no medical intervention, reactions can be more serious in young and immunocompromised people.

Either way, it is worth it to protect yourself and your family from problems associated with CSD. 

Good Kitty

Your cat benefits from an effective parasite prevention medication, and so does your entire household. Keeping them free of a flea infestation is an important precaution, but knowing that their medication can prevent CSD is an additional motivator. 

Furthermore, cat owners can protect themselves from CSD in these ways:

  • Wash cat bites or scratches right away with hot water and soap. 
  • Try not to handle unfamiliar cats, and if you do, be sure they don’t bite or scratch you.
  • Trim your cat’s nails regularly to minimize their scratching power.
  • Keep your house as tidy as possible to reduce any flea numbers.

While fleas can find even strictly indoor cats, it is proven that indoor cats have lower rates of problems related to fleas and other parasites. 

No More Cat Scratch Fever 

If you have any questions about your cat’s health, safety, lifestyle, and behavior, please give us a call at 425-882-7788 for our Kirkland location or 425-276-4100 for our Renton location. We’re always here for your cat at Eastside Veterinary Associates, and hope you and your cat can squeeze in a good, disease-free, snuggle soon.

potty training a puppy

Potty Training a Puppy? We’ve Got You Covered!

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Teaching your puppy the proper place to go potty is immensely gratifying. Not only are you giving them tools to be more confident, but you’re controlling the environment you share with your dog. Of course, accidents are going to happen, and sometimes they’ll happen with a maddening frequency. When potty training a puppy, you have to go with the flow, and Eastside Veterinary Associates got some tips to help you start the process and reap the benefits.

Refrain Expectations

Potty training a puppy is not an experience to be taken lightly. Approaching it the right way can make all the difference to a young, growing, impressionable dog. An important chapter in their introduction to you, your lifestyle, and their new home, successful potty training ensures that your dog understands their place alongside their new people. What could be better than building confidence in your new best buddy?

Eating, Drinking, Going Potty

You can potty train a puppy at the same time as building their eating and drinking routines. Fixed meal times can increase the control of bathroom habits. 

A puppy needs a chance to go to the bathroom after every meal and each time they take a drink. Ideally, take them outside to their specified potty spot after play and nap times, as well, and at least every 30 minutes throughout the day. 

Waiting for Patterns to Emerge

You might notice that your puppy doesn’t always urinate or defecate when outside, but does so following certain events. It’s up to you to observe their behavior patterns closely and make accommodations that suit their needs. For example, your dog may only defecate upon waking up, or directly following a certain meal. 

Stay the Course

One of the largest barriers to effectively potty training a puppy is inconsistency.

Potty breaks should be at the same times every day, and must run like clockwork. Lead your puppy outside on-leash to the same place each time. Cue them with a basic command, like “go,” “time to potty,” or other commands you can repeat regularly. They’ll begin to understand what you mean. Try not to engage with them except for these specific words during this time.

If they go, immediately offer them a tasty treat and praise them for going to the bathroom. If possible, give them some fun off-leash play time in the backyard.

When They Don’t Go

If your puppy doesn’t go to the bathroom during one of their scheduled trips, bring them back indoors to a contained area. Don’t let them wait there for too long; chances are they’ll go inside if they aren’t led outside in 10-20 minutes. 

Once they begin to show success with your routine, you can open up their indoor world a little bit for supervised exploration. 

A Tip for Success

Mistakes are going to happen, but you should never scold or punish them for it. Stay as neutral as possible when they potty inside. Take them immediately outside and wait with them at their potty spot. They may not have to go anymore, and that’s okay. Simply return to the house and thoroughly clean up the mess in a calm manner. 

Potty Training a Puppy

Investing in a good crate, puppy pads, and a marker for their potty spot outside are all helpful. You can get an odor-neutralizing cleaner for when accidents happen.

If you have questions about potty training a puppy, give us a call at 425-882-7788 for our Kirkland location, or 425-276-4100 for our Renton location. Our team is happy to help!

Preparing your dog for a new baby

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First off, congratulations! What an exciting time preparing for a new baby in your expanding home. Many owners worry about what their fur babies will think of their new human babies. Will they become anxious? Be jealous? Become fearful or aggressive? We can never predict how your dog will react, but there are many ways to prepare.

Start preparing early. Training should start WAY before you bring your new baby home. There are 3 main things that will be changing in your dogs’ life:

  • The “stuff”: Start setting up the nursery and baby stuff early. Have your dog used to the nursery being gated off. Set up family room toys, cribs, high chairs, etc so your dog is used to the extra furniture before the baby arrives.
  • The noise: Babies are loud! It may sound silly but play short clips of babies crying and talking to start exposing your dog to the noise. For noise sensitive dogs, start counter-conditioning by tossing them a treat when the baby cries. Reward the dog when they are calm and relaxed during the noise.
  • The time: Your fur baby will not longer be the center of your universe. Practice hanging out in the nursery, with your dog receiving a chew toy or special treat while you are preoccupied. This will help create a positive association while you are in the nursery, and also train your dog to entertain themselves while you are away. If your dog sleeps with you, have them sleep in their crate a few nights a week. Frozen stuffed Kong toys and Busy Buddy toys are great tools to keep your dog occupied.

Also step up your general training. Make sure your dog does not jump onto people, quickly goes into their crate when instructed, sits on command, etc.

Bite awareness. Any dog can bite with the right stimulus. Never leave your baby or toddler alone with your dog, no matter how trustworthy. Over 800,000 people are treated for dog bites per year, and over half of those are children, mostly under the age of 7. Bites are more likely to the face. 75% of kids bitten are familiar with the dog (i.e. family or friend’s dog).

Your dogs’ history. Has your dog been around babies or children before? How did they respond? How does your dog do with change? How does your dog react when disturbed while sleeping? If your dog has shown aggression or anxiety in the past, crate training, training with a basket muzzle, and creating safe stations for your dog with gated off areas or tethered areas are important for bite prevention. Also, do not hesitate to work with a veterinary trainer/behaviorist if your dog has aggressive triggers.

The first day. Have Mom greet the dog first when arriving home without the baby in hand. Once calm, have Dad or another adult come in with the baby. Do not force an interaction between your new baby and dog. Allow your dog to come up and sniff if they desire or be curious from afar. If your dog starts to become agitated, too excited, or aggressive, toss some treats or a toy toward them but away from the baby.  Your dog may need breaks with short supervised times of interaction at first.

Resources:

www.Familypaws.com

http://www.americanhumane.org/publication/pet-meets-baby/

Good luck, and as always, lets us know how we can help!

Dr. Coil

Indoor cats want to play too!

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It’s spring!

Finally time when most of us want to venture outside again. Tempting to our indoor kitties too!

Life’s not safe out there for our feline friends with the threats of cars and predators.  Keeping cats indoors helps keep them safe.

Outdoor though life is full adventures that cats seek. Cats love to play, climb and hunt!  Transferring some of the outdoor fun indoors will help keep your feline friend mentally and physically stimulated. This will help keep them healthy and avoid medical issues like obesity and inappropriate urination that afflicts many bored, overweight, indoor cats

Check out the Ohio state feline enrichment program at https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats for some great ideas on how to enrich your kitties home environment.

Dr. Stacy Chartrand

Lost and Found

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Eastside Veterinary Associates and Renton Animal Control have been working together this past year to care for stray and neglected animals found in the City of Renton. We provide a warm bed, meal and veterinary care for all the pets that come in. It’s been great to establish a relationship with the caring Animal Control Officers and local humane society/rescues where the pets go to if their owners are not found. After creating this new relationship, a few pet ownership reminders have been brought to light:

  • Make sure your pet has a ID tag on and is microchipped to give your pet the best chance to be reunited with you. Bonus points if your pet has a license as they get a free ride home!

Unfortunately, many stray pets get loose in situations that can happen to all of us, like a recent storm creating a hole in your fenced yard. Or your dog getting scared by thunder, fireworks, or Halloween,  and running out the door. Life happens! You never think your pet will get loose, but it happens to many of us including me! If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, don’t wait!

  • Fleas, fleas and more fleas! The vast majority of these pets come in with flea infestations. Fleas are very prevalent in our area, even in December. Flea control is soooo important year-round. And don’t forget that fleas transmit tapeworms. Yuk!
  • All pets deserve TLC. Some of these animals have been neglected and are very scared when they come to us. It’s amazing what a good meal, treats, and extra petting can do to have a scared animal feel at home.
  • The image of a big scary animal pound is not reality. The Animal Control Officers truly care about helping these animals. They will come in just to check on the pets and ask how they are doing!

Microchipping your pet takes a matter of minutes and we register them for you with your current address and phone number, making it very easy! If you are a City of Renton resident, free microchipping is available for your pet(s), thanks to a private donor. No appointment is needed. You can bring your pet(s) in Monday-Friday from 11:30am-12:00pm to receive a free microchip! Please show your driver’s license with a Renton address for proof of residency. Please call us at (425) 276-4100 with any questions.

Dr. Rebecca Coil