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So far Matt McGarry has created 68 blog entries.

Fall. Fun, but Dangerous! Go figure!

Okay, there I was, out on the internet looking for fun Fall things to do when I came across the following.  I thought Fall could be a fun time with my dog… cooler weather, fun “dog festival-type” stuff, dog parks teeming with potential playmates, etcetera.  Well, it IS all of that but apparently it’s also a time for real concern about certain things I never even thought of; like rat poison, mushrooms, decorations and anti-freeze!  Sounds like Fall is perhaps a good time to have your local Boca Raton veterinarian’s phone number on speed dial! So, why do we need to be so cautious with our pets come Fall? Well, to sum up according to, “when it comes to keeping your pet healthy and helping him enjoy fall to the fullest, there are some things to keep in mind.” #1. Watch out for ticks in fall According to PetHealthNetwork, ticks can still be a real problem, even as the cooler weather descends upon us. In fact. According to a study by the University of Rhode Island, many species of ticks remain active even into the winter.  So… don’t let Fido play in the leaf piles (they’re a favorite tick “hang out,” continue to give your dog flea and tick protection, and importantly, bring your pet to see his or her local pet care specialist on a regular basis for tick-borne infection screenings.  If your pet should be bitten, the chances of a problematic infection are greatly reduced if you “catch it early.” #2. Beware rat poison and other rodenticides Here’s another caution from PetHealthNetwork that took me completely by surprise.  Pesticides.  “Fall is the time of year when mice, rats, and other rodents start [...]

By |October 13th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

Weathering the Storm. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Hopefully, Matthew left you unscathed and we hope that things here in south Florida soon return to normal. We’re reminded, though, that we are now well into hurricane season.  If you haven’t already, it’s certainly time to make sure that you are completely prepared for the next tropical storm that comes our way.  As you’ve just seen, Mother Nature whips up some furious weather with a hurricane or tropical storm.  High winds, rising water, flying debris, loss of electricity… all combine to create one of nature’s most frightening phenomena.  And if this is terrifying to you – and I’m sure it is -- just imagine how your pet feels! 1. Have a Plan Simply put, be prepared. Decide on a course of action and make sure you can initiate it at a moment's notice. Have supplies set aside in a safe, easily accessible place. It’s like having candles or a flashlight under the kitchen sink in case of a black out. You may never need them, but if a blackout happens, there’s no need to scramble in the dark, because you know exactly where to go and what to do for light. 2. Prepare an Emergency Kit An emergency kit for your pet is essential, and is much like one that you would (or should!?) prepare for yourself.  Start with essentials like food and water; ideally, enough water and non-perishable food for three to five days.  Make sure that you have a lighter and flashlight, a solid carrier, litter and litter box for your cat, puppy pads and leash for your pooch, plastic bags, and any medicines your pet may be taking.  Very important!  Medical records!  These will be essential if for some reason you [...]

By |October 5th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

Make your “Howl-O-Ween” a Happy One!

Everyone loves Halloween… especially dentists, but that’s a story for another time.  Even pets love the excitement of it.  It can, however, be a stressful time for our furry friends.  All you need to do is take a few precautions for the evening to be a lot of fun for both dogs and “demons” alike. First, Watch the Treats Candy is great for trick-or-treaters, but for dogs, they can be downright scary. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to dogs, chief among them being chocolate in all forms.  Do not let your dog near chocolate, especially dark or semi-sweet chocolate.  In addition, any treats that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems.  Some sugar-free gum and mints are dandy treats for kids, but very likely contain this sugar substitute. Some cookie recipes also call for xylitol, which is safe – as far as we know today – for children but in dogs can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemic shock) and even liver failure. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your Boca Raton veterinarian immediately. Second, Watch the Decorations While a glowing jack-o-lantern is certainly a Halloween icon and a “must have” for any self-respecting treat or treat-friendly home, it doesn’t take much for a rambunctious Lab to knock over a lit pumpkin and a) start a fire, and b) burn himself in the process. Also, remember that popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn, while nontoxic to dogs, can often produce serious stomach discomfort – and diarrhea – in pets who nibble on them.  If you favor electric decorations, as always, be watchful of wires.  It’s one thing to have electrical cords [...]

By |September 26th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

To chip or not to chip?

Did you know that a family pet is lost every two seconds?  Imagine… in the time it takes you to read this sentence, about six pets will have gone lost in the U.S., over 10 million pets each year. An even more depressing, and staggering, statistic is that only one in ten family pets will ever be found.  7.6 million of these lost pets will end up in shelters, and 2.7 million of them will be euthanized. As if these statistics weren’t disturbing enough, it’s not just a matter of your pet jumping the fence and running away or simply wandering off… many are stolen, often right from their homes. The good news – and thankfully, there is some – is that you can take steps to make certain that if your furry friend is ever lost that the story has a happy ending.  For starters, make sure that your pet wears a well-fitted collar with current identification information.  While collars and tags are certainly helpful, they’re really not sufficient.  Why?  Because collars and tags have a way of coming off your pet’s neck. Sometimes by accident, other times by individuals who would like to make YOUR pet their own. Once that happens, your pet is not just lost, but completely identifiable as yours… unless, you take the next step:  Microchipping. How does microchipping work? A microchip is about the size and shape of a grain of rice and is placed underneath your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Microchip implantation is completely safe, and your Boca Raton pet care specialist can perform the procedure in just a few minutes. Each microchip is unique and carries vital information about your pet—including your name, address, and contact information. [...]

By |September 19th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

Fall. A Great Time for Training.

Fall is almost here. It’s nice and cool outside, the ideal time to be outdoors with your furry friend. It’s also a good time to be sure that your pet “knows the rules,” in order to avoid trouble or injury. What’s the most important command your dog must know? It’s the command that motivates him to move from wherever he is to wherever you are; the command “come”, that is. So, how do you teach your dog to come when called? Coming when Called Start by attaching him or her to a long line, or connect several leashes. Get a friend to help. Have one person walk approximately 10 feet away from the other person (who is holding the dog) and say "DOGS NAME, COME.” Do not repeat; instead, clap, whistle, pat your legs until your dog reaches you. When he/she does, reward your dog with 3-4 small treats one right after another (not a handful). Always practice in a safe area, if not fenced in, be sure to use a long line. Practice, practice, practice. Understand that your dog – much like a spouse or significant other – doesn’t want to be around you when you are stressed or angry. So, don’t expect your dog to come to you when called if you exhibit behavior that makes the dog anxious. Remember, too, that whenever your dog does what you ask, no matter what it is, SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION! As your dog begins to come to you reliably, add a command to “SIT” and do not allow them to run off without releasing them. Jumping Up Have trouble with your dog jumping up on, or nipping at, people… strangers and family members alike?! There’s a [...]

By |September 14th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

The origin of “man’s best friend”… maybe.

Ran across an interesting story while ferreting around the internet for info on the upcoming 75th Annual National Dog Week. It’s the story of “man’s best friend.” To begin, the man credited with this phrase is Senator George Vest. While Vest got the credit, I see no mention of it in the following passages of his speech, so, well… you decide. The three words, “man’s,” “best,” and “friend” never appear together, but it can certainly be inferred from what Vest told the jury in court that day. Here’s what happened. It’s 1870 in Pettis County, Missouri and attorney George Vest takes on the case of Charles Burden and “Old Drum,” his dog (known now in litigation lore as Burden v. Hornsby). As the story goes, Drum wandered onto the property of neighboring sheep farmer, Leonidas Hornsby – Burden's brother-in-law?! – who had previously warned Burden that he “would shoot any dog found on his property.” A man of his word, and much to Burden’s displeasure, Hornsby shot Old Drum. Burden did what any red-blooded American would do. No, he didn’t go after Hornsby with a gun of his own… instead, he slapped a massive lawsuit on him; $50, to be exact. Was that all that Old Drum was worth? Certainly not, but that was the maximum damages compensation allowed by law at the time. Note: If it makes you dog lovers feel any better, that $50, adjusted for 2015 inflation, comes to nearly $1000! During the trial, Mr. Vest boasted that he would either "win the case or apologize to every dog in Missouri." Considering that there were tens of thousands of canines residing in Missouri at the time, Vest was pretty motivated to win [...]

By |September 8th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

The “Dog Days” of Summer

It’s traditionally been those searing hot days between July 3 and August 11, the “dog days of summer.” These mid-summer weeks have long been associated with uncomfortable heat, drought, and at one time, mad dogs. The “dog days” phrase originated with the Ancient Romans, who observed that the lack of rain and extreme heat coincided with the appearance of the Dog Star, Sirius, in the Canis Major constellation. As Sirius happens to be the brightest star in the heavens, the Romans reasoned that its brightness somehow contributed to the heat of the day. Truth is, Sirius is about 8.7 light years from earth (roughly 50 trillion miles), so the Romans were, well, a bit mistaken in their calculations. Interestingly, some calendars, like that in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, list the 'Dog Daies' as running from July 6 to August 17, which may be why the feast of St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs, falls on August 16. The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as beginning with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of Sirius. While the rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days in the US can occur well into September ((known as “Indian Summer,” and a story for another time)), the ancient Egyptians noted that Sirius appeared at a time of extreme heat. As a result, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time. Now, simply because “dog days” doesn’t literally mean a time when it’s so hot that dogs simply lay around, there is legitimate reason for concern about your dog’s health during times of severe heat and humidity. The reason for [...]

By |August 29th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

Yuk! Worms!

No one wants to talk about them because, frankly… well, yuk! The very thought of worms is enough to gross people out; unless you’re an avid fisherman and we’re talking worm on a hook. The idea of worms living inside your pet is a tough conversation to have, but one that is certainly worth having. There are four common worm types; roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. How can you tell your pet has worms? Most infestations cause any or all of the following:  Diarrhea, perhaps with blood  Weight loss  Dry hair  General poor appearance  Vomiting, perhaps with worms in the vomit However, some infestations cause few or no symptoms. That is why, if your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit your Boca Raton pet care specialist. Many times, only a stool sample and microscopic examination, can reveal an infestation. Roundworms A large percentage of puppies and kittens are born with microscopically small roundworm in their bodies. The worm larvae eventually migrate to the intestinal tract where they can grow up to five inches in length. There, they begin shedding eggs which are passed in the stool. If eaten, the egg-bearing stool passed the worms along to another animal. Puppies and kittens with active roundworms in their intestines often have a pot-bellied appearance and poor growth. The worms may be seen in vomit or stool. If not treated in time, a severe infestation can cause death by intestinal blockage. Whipworms This parasite is more often seen in dogs than cats. Adult whipworms live in the animal’s large intestine and although seldom seen in the stool, look like tiny pieces of thread, with one end enlarged. [...]

By |August 24th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

Com-PET-ative Pooches!

There’s only one thing better than having a dog as a pet and that’s having MORE THAN ONE dog! Of course, while this can be a tremendous experience for you and your dogs, this arrangement is not without a few “minor” complications. For starters, with the exception of one or two breeds , and Malamutes are among these (having experienced this myself), dogs love hanging out with other dogs. They do and will, however, tend to compete with other; whether it’s for a meal, a chew toy or your attention, you must be prepared to do a bit of referee-ing. Training one dog can be challenging enough, training two even more so but if you ever hope to create a harmonious household with two competing pets, good training is essential. Both dogs must be trained to accept that there are no rewards if they bully or misbehave toward each other. Only then, will they get from you what they want… which is, most often, attention. Don’t make it hard for them. Make it easy. And you can do this by making sure that there is always “enough to go around,” from toys to food. Start with two food bowls and two water bowls with plenty toys for each so that, in theory at least, there are no excuses for conflict. Competing for food, or “food possessive” behavior can, for instance, quickly spiral into food aggression, where both the companion dog AND the pet parent can be at risk of harm. Food aggression, where your pet will finish his own mean, then go after someone else’s, can range from mild growling to biting. Should you dog show any signs of food possessive or food aggression behavior, [...]

By |August 15th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments

It’s the responsible thing to do…

As any experienced veterinarian will tell you, having your pet spayed or neutered is simply the responsible thing to do. Why? The following statistics, put forth by the ASPCA on, will help you see why: “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state. • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats). • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats). • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats. • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner. • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners. • About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.” As you can see, there are simply too many cats and dogs around the world who cannot [...]

By |August 10th, 2016|Categories: Boca Pet Vet|0 Comments