Our Blog

September 2018
17: Monthly Focus: Cancer Awareness - Lonestar's Story
August 2018
30: Labour Day 2018
23: Bug bites and stings
July 2018
09: House-training your puppy
June 2018
21: Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer
14: Happy 10th Anniversary, Westbridge Veterinary Hospital
April 2018
18: Congratulations friends of dogs and cats everywhere!
February 2018
28: Parasite Prevention
January 2018
11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
October 2017
03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
September 2017
13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
August 2017
10: What's that smell?!
July 2017
27: Clicker Training
24: Our Commitment to a Low Stress Environment
13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
June 2017
21: Lyme Disease
March 2017
06: The Value Of Education
January 2017
17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
November 2016
28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
September 2016
20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2016
21: Cat Carriers
June 2016
29: Dog Park Etiquette
May 2016
31: Heartworm Q & A
12: Tick Troubles
March 2016
10: Anticipated tick bloom
February 2016
22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
October 2015
09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
September 2015
23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2015
28: Exciting news for our hospital!
June 2015
11: Mosquito Prevention
May 2015
08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
March 2015
01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

The Holidays are Here!

Posted: 2013-12-13

Westbridge Veterianry Hospital, an animal clinic in ississaugaOur pets for many of us are considered a part of our family, and that becomes particularly true when we see how much they become involved in the holiday season. Did you know that over 63% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners in a recent survey said they give their pets presents at Christmas? Further, over 40% of dog owners and 37% of cat owners hang stockings for their pets. Finally, approximately 27% of families with pets have professional photographs taken with their pets and Santa! We love our pets, there’s no doubt about that, and below are some helpful tips and information on how to keep your pets safe through the holiday season.

Chocolate…. Good For You?

Recent reports have suggested that dark chocolate may have positive effects on human health – it contains high amounts of antioxidants, lowers blood pressure, and lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent. To the delight of many, we now have a good excuse for stocking our homes with delicious chocolate treats in light of the holiday season. Unfortunately, our furry companions don’t share the same benefits. We’ve all heard it, “don’t give your dog chocolate it will kill him”, yet many people will report that they have given their pets chocolate with no ill effects. So how true is it, you’re probably wondering?

Chocolate contains theobromine, a xanthine compound in the same family as caffeine, which is toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. Xanthines affect the nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. Signs of toxicity in your pet may include hyper-excitability, increased heart rate, restlessness, muscle tremors, vomiting and diarrhea. Left untreated, a toxic dose of chocolate could lead to fatal heart arrhythmias and seizures. Baking chocolate is the most toxic, containing the most theobromine, with dark chocolate in close proximity and milk chocolate being the least. These compounds are toxic to our feline friends too; however, they seem to be more averse to chocolate than their canine counterparts. Older animals, especially those with underlying heart disease, are even more susceptible to the dangerous side-effects.

So what is a toxic dose? This depends on many factors including body weight and body composition. As an example, a toxic dose for a 10 pound dog or cat would be only half an ounce of dark chocolate, or 4 ounces of milk chocolate. If your pet has consumed chocolate, please contact us immediately, or a veterinary emergency hospital in the event that we are unavailable.

Christmas Tree Hazards

Decorating the Christmas tree is for many a cherished family tradition; we’d like to help make visits to the veterinarian not become one. Some pets may be attracted to the shape, colour and even taste of decorations – this includes both ornaments and other decorations such as tinsel. Ingested, these can pose serious harm, including intestinal obstruction and intestinal perforation from broken glass or needles. Tinsel is of particular concern, as when ingested it can become caught in the intestinal tract, causing life-threatening obstructions – this is a particular problem in cats. Finally, be cautious with electrical cords from lighting or other decorations, as they can cause electrocution and burns when bitten.

Points on Poinsettias

Despite rumours to the contrary, poinsettias are not poisonous. According to the American Association For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control web page, eating poinsettias can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation and vomiting. However with some prudent placement, poinsettias can brighten your home for the holidays without concern to your pets. Other holiday plants of concern include the mistletoe and holly, both moderately toxic causing potentially severe gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting.

Ebenezer Scrooge

With the inevitable consumption of various holiday meals and treats, your pet will be best off with you keeping it all for yourselves. Aside from the
additional calories, which can be significant given the small size of most pets, foods rich in sugar, protein or fat can cause severe stomach upset and even pancreatitis – a possibly fatal condition which often requires extensive and costly hospitalization.

Winter Safety Tips

Now that we are almost knee-deep (pun not intended) in the colder weather, there are some important measures to be taken to keep our pets safe. Some breeds are native to areas which require a thick coat to maintain body temperature through winter and colder months, such as the Siberian Husky. Others, however, such as the Chihuahua and Boxer, have thin coats that do little to protect them from extreme temperatures. Limiting exposure to the cold as well as protective clothing such as jackets can help to keep them warm.

Snow and ice can often become impacted in paws which can be extremely uncomfortable, pulling on sensitive hairs in their pads and decreasing traction, which can make them more likely to injure themselves on slippery ground. Inspecting your pet’s paws after a winter stroll should be a part of your walking routine, removing any snow building and rinsing to remove any road salt that they may have walked on. Road salt can cause severe, irritating chemical burns to the pads – if ingested in large enough amounts, it can cause oral ulcerations, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, tremors, disorientation, increased drinking, seizures, and when ingested in large amounts, even death.

Finally are a few commonly mentioned yet often forgot risks to our cats. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a substance that is extremely toxic to our pets and quickly causes complete kidney failure if left untreated. They are attracted to the sweet taste, and particularly when other sources of fresh water are not available, will sometimes consume puddles left outdoors. Cleaning up spills and not letting your pet outdoors unsupervised can prevent such accidents. Similarly, while we never advocate letting our pet cats roam outdoors, it is of particular concern during the cold weather where they can develop frost bite and hypothermia.


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital) in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

Bookmark and Share