Northeast Animal Shelter knows that owning a pet is like being a parent. There are always questions and concerns when caring for the newest member of the family.
To help you be the best pet parent possible, we have provided you with some useful information and tips.
But please remember, nothing replaces the medical knowledge and skills of your veterinarian. If your animal has been injured, is not eating, is vomiting or has diarrhea, CALL THE VET! Locally, if you have an emergency and your veterinarian is not available, we suggest contacting In Town Veterinary Group for an emergency care facility close to you.
General Pet Tips
Spring Pet Tips
Our pets love us forever and deserve the very best care we can give them. To keep your dog or cat safe and healthy this spring, please be sure to:
- Protect your dog from traffic by always walking him or her on a leash.
- Keep your cat in the house where s/he will be safe from cars, illness and pet theft.
- Check that your houseplants and flowers aren't poisonous in case your pet should nibble on one.
- Put the Animal Poison Control 24-hour hotline phone number (1-800-548-2423) near your phone.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian for a check-up.
- Keep an identification tag on your dog or cat that includes your current phone number.
Summer Pet Tips
Scorching heat, soaring humidity and longer days mark the arrival of summer. But often our pets are overlooked when it comes to summer and the results can be deadly.
Don't let this happen to your pet -- follow these few simple tips and help make summer safe for everyone in the family:
- NEVER leave your pet in the car. Even though there can be a breeze outside, the temperature in the car can rapidly rise while you are away, making it dangerous for your pet to stay there.
- Check your pet’s water dish several times a day during the summer months. Just like you, your pet will need plenty of hydration to stay healthy in the heat.
- If you are transporting an animal, always bring enough water, so that he/she does not attempt to drink from contaminated puddles outside.
Winter Pet Tips
Oh dear! Winter is here! Help protect pets with these tips for the cold months.
- Beware of potentially dangerous chemicals such as antifreeze or road salt. When you come indoors with your dog make sure to wipe off his/her paws, legs and stomachs to avoid your pet ingesting these chemicals or causing contact skin irritations.
- Outdoor cats have been known to crawl up under the hoods of cars to seek shelter and warmth near the engine during the cold winter months. A cat may be killed or injured when the motor is started. Make sure you bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting it so a cat may escape.
- We recommend keeping your cat indoors at all times, but especially in the winter. Cats can freeze if left out and exposed to the freezing temperatures. If kept in, he will not become lost, stolen, or injured by a car or another animal. He also won't pick up fleas or other parasites (ticks, ear mites, worms), or become exposed to a number of contagious, deadly diseases like feline leukemia, infectious peritonitis and rabies.
- Leaving your pet in the car while running into a store is not recommended. Your car can act as a refrigerator holding in the cold.
- Some dogs that do not have such a hearty coat may require a coat or sweater when going out for their daily walks.
- Many dogs are hit by snowplows every year. Even though an area may look safe, your dog should be on a leash or in a fenced area. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears a collar with ID tags.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
Pet Health Risks
When you adopt a pet from a shelter or kennel environment, there is a chance it may have or carry coccidia. We take several of our pets from rescue situations where there is a greater possibility that the pet you adopt may be infected.
Coccidia is a microscopic organism that infects the intestinal tract of dogs and cats. Very often the mother gives it to her young. She probably got it from another contaminated animal. It is passed through contact with feces. Most often a simple stool sample checked under a microscope will confirm the infection. The most common symptom is diarrhea with mucus or blood in it. Your pet may also show a loss of appetite.
Vets recommend that the pet receive a 10-day course of treatment, usually with a medicine called Albon. One week after finishing treatment, you should have another stool check. If coccidia shows up in that stool check, the pet would have to be treated again. If medication is given consistently, living conditions are kept clean, and the pet is given a high quality food, he should feel better within a few days. With treatment, coccidia is often gone within 10 days
It is common for the dog to have diarrhea during the first day or two of treatment. It may help to feed baby food (only the 100% meat variety) mixed with baby rice cereal until the diarrhea is gone. But be sure to check with your veterinarian if the diarrhea persists.
Canine cough is a contagious, upper respiratory infection. It is spread by an airborne virus, which cannot be prevented, even with thorough disinfecting procedures. This virus is a relatively short term illness, usually no more serious than the common cold.
Because the incubation period is roughly 3-7 days, your dog may not develop any symptoms until a few days after adoption. The main symptom is a gagging cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Although this coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious. However, as with the normal cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases, making him susceptible to secondary infections.
As in the case of the common cold, canine cough is not cured but must run its course. Check with your veterinarian to see if he wants to prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infection, cough suppressants to reduce excessive coughing, or Vitamin C to boost the immune system.
There is a preventative vaccine, which is quite effective against most strains of canine cough. However, if a dog comes into our shelter unvaccinated, a vaccination at that time will not help since it takes a week to become effective.
When you walk your dog, if he pulls on the leash, the pressure created against his throat, may increase the coughing. Dogs who have canine cough should be kept warm and given limited exercise.
Upper Respiratory Infection
What is an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)? Cats commonly suffer from colds just like people do. Your cat may sneeze frequently, have a runny nose (the sniffles) or runny eyes and have noisy breathing. He may lose his appetite or seem lethargic and tired. The stress of being kenneled or going to a new home can lower the immune system and make them more apt to develop colds.
How is URI treated? There is no cure for URI, just as there is no cure for the common cold. However, if your cat shows any URI symptoms, call your veterinarian. He may prescribe an antibiotic, which will prevent your cat from developing a more serious infection. If treated at the onset of the illness, he should recover quickly. If left untreated, your cat may become sick enough to require hospitalization.
How do I care for my cat while he has a URI? Keep your cat extra warm if the weather is cold. A room temperature of 70 degrees is ideal. Give him a hot water bottle to snuggle up to. Run a vaporizer to aid his breathing if necessary.
Since your cat's sense of smell is affected, he may not eat well. Tempt him with all-meat baby food or "smelly" foods, like sardines or tuna fish.
Is a URI contagious? Other cats (but not dogs or people) can catch this cold. If you have another cat, we suggest that when you bring your new cat home, you isolate him in a separate room for at least a few days. This will help with adjustment for both cats, but it will also allow you to see if he develops any URI symptoms. If your other cat does happen to get URI, of course it can also be easily treated.
Any other hints? Make sure your other pets are up to date on shots BEFORE you bring a new pet home. Feed high quality food available from a pet supply store? Call your veterinarian if you notice any symptoms of URI.
If you have any question or concerns, please call our office at 978-745-9888.
Tips for Caring for Your Cat
Making Your Home Safe for Your Cat
There are many poisonous items in your home -- Lysol™, aspirin, antifreeze and many other cleaning products. Make sure to put these out of reach of your pet...but remember cats are very good at opening cabinets. If your cabinets are within your cats reach, consider child-proofing them.
And don't forget that reclining chairs, string, yarn, garage doors, and electrical cords can also present dangers for your cat.
Many household plants are also poisonous, such as poinsettia and philodendron. If your cat gets into your plants, hang the plants up high. For plants that cannot be hung, wrap the base in tinfoil or stick toothpicks into the dirt to keep your cat from digging. Or you might try spraying the plant with water and sprinkling its leaves with powdered ginger.
The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of toxic plants, which can be found by visiting their website.