Monthly Archives: July 2015


There are many reasons not to give our furry friends table food. But perhaps the most important reason is that many tasty treats that we enjoy are extremely toxic to our pets. Chocolate and grapes are well known dangers, but did you know that avocados can be very poisonous to your furbaby? So secure that guac and check out the handy chart here for a quick reference to other foods that should pose a red flag.

Now what to do if your pup happens to eat one of these foods, it is very important to take the proper steps for getting the right care for your pet.  Depending on what they may have ingested and how much, every minute may count.

  1. Collect Evidence – quickly gather any packaging or remnants of what was eaten as well as try to determine how much and when;
  2. Look for symptoms – is your dog vomiting? Breathing heavily? Lethargic?
  3. Call for help – call your vet or the International Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-888-232-8870(available 24 hours a day).  It’s always a good idea to always have these phone numbers posted somewhere conspicuous in case of an emergency.

ALWAYS seek veterinary help immediately if you know, or even suspect, your pup has ingested something toxic or potentially dangerous — sometimes the effects aren’t immediately obvious and some symptoms may take longer to appear.


It’s All in the Poop…What are Fecal Exams and Why are they Important?

While no one enjoys obtaining or even transporting the sample, the information from a good fecal exam can reveal a lot of information (good and bad) about your dog and his/her health.

Getting and Testing the Sample

Please remember, the fresher the better.  While tempting, please understand that the poops in the back yard that are dried and hard are not useful.  If at all possible, bring the sample in the day you get it.  If your furbaby is a late night pooper then it is acceptable to refrigerate (NOT FREEZE) the sample and bring it to the vet in the morning.  Although solid samples are best, diarrhea is important too so please make sure to get the entire pile.  There are interesting things that hide in any form of poop that will help your doctor assess what the true problem is.  They can include hair, toys, clothes, bones or other items that could be contributing to an intestinal problem.  If you see a worm in your dog’s poop, please do everyone a favour and bring it along as well.  And don’t hesitate to ask about your veterinarian going and ‘getting’ a sample with a swab if you couldn’t collect one, many have the capacity to do so.

There are a wide variety of tests available from direct smears to detailed cultures; however, the most common conducted in an annual exam is a fecal flotation.  This is where the poop is placed in a special device and a solution is added.  Since the solution is heavier than any of the items being tested, the good (really bad) stuff floats to the top leaving the useless parts at the bottom.  What floats can include immature worms, worm eggs, protozoal parasites as well as other abnormal organisms that can then be placed on a microscope slide.  Each of the potential offenders can then be identified by their size, shape and other features under microscopic examination.

Worms and Parasites and Eggs … Oh My!

Now what happens if your previous furbaby’s fecal sample is positive?  There could be a variety of reasons and treatment options but ALWAYS get a repeat fecal examination to make sure the treatment was successful and your pet(s) didn’t re-infect themselves or each other.  Below I will outline the most common calls you might get from your vet.

Hookworms, Roundworms and Whipworms.  Each of these is a distinctly shaped worm that lives in the large or small intestine; and if left untreated can give your pup a potbelly sort of appearance.  If your furbaby is on a monthly worm protectant such as Interceptor or Sentinel then he/she should be protected; however, if your pup does test positive for these critters then the maker of these products will pay for the treatment since they are guaranteed to prevent these worms if used appropriately.  These worms are quite contagious and are spread by dog on dog contact and many can be passed along to the humans in your household.

Tapeworms.  Unlike the above worms that are one piece, tapeworms are segmented and give off sticky egg packets that resemble grains of rice.  They’ll most often be found in the hair underneath the tail.  Tapeworms are not contagious but they come from ingesting fleas so addressing the tapeworm issue ahead of or simultaneous with dealing with the flea outbreak is imperative.

Giardia and Coccidia.  These are single cell parasites (aka protozoal) that are generally caught via stagnant or stale water.  Very often puppies will come from their mom’s with this diagnosis.  Primarily parasites are limited to the small intestine and often cause diarrhea.  Giardia is one of the most challenging items to catch on a fecal exam.  Therefore, Giardia often goes undetected and all that alerts a pet owner is a positive Giardia ELISA (antibodies that remain after the Giardia itself has cleared) result.  This tells the veterinarian that your furbaby probably had Giardia at some point but only the antibodies remain.  Most veterinarians will treat a positive ELISA and a fecal exam should be repeated in about six weeks.  In contrast, Coccidia strains exist in many species and a positive result for a bird or small mammal won’t affect your pup but may still cause a positive result (albeit one that doesn’t require treatment) in their fecal exam.

It’s Negative!

Hopefully, your pet’s fecal sample will be negative, meaning no abnormal organisms were detected. This means either your pet is free of parasites, or the parasites are not shedding into the stool in detectable numbers. If your vet feels your pet has signs of parasites in spite of a negative test, other tests may be recommended.  And remember, if at any time you suspect your pet has been exposed to a worm or parasite, please pass the poop along to your local veterinarian.

To Shave or not to Shave, That is the Question

Every Summer, we see a long line of clients asking about or looking to shave their long haired or double coated dogs.  When we hesitate, we’re often asked immediately “but isn’t he/she hot?”  While an important question, there are many further implications to the decision to shave your long-haired or double coated dog and not all of them have to do with weather.  Double coated dogs are identifiable by their two types of coats.  The first, also known as down hairs, ground hairs or undercoat, are the super fine, fluffy hairs that lay closest to the skin.  These hairs are most often shorter and more crimped than the longer hairs and have the effect of insulating the pup to keep them warm in the winter as well as cool in the summer.  But this lighter, softer coat generally does not need to be shaved unless irreparably matted.  However, a good undercoat raking with the appropriate shampoos and conditions and/or special tools is imperative.  The result of this methodical undercoat removal will be a dog who feels cooler.  The ‘top’ coat is comprised of the guard hairs that lie on top of the undercoat and the guard hairs typically do not shed.  They provide most of the protection from the sun as well as additional insulation from the heat/cold.  As a compromise, we will sometimes shave a strip on the belly so laying on cool surfaces can provide maximum relief.

There are many double coated breeds and they include Pomeranians, Chow Chows, Huskies, Akitas, German Shepherds, Malamutes, Samoyed and some (but not all) Golden Retrievers.  And as much as we love these breeds, shedding is a never ending battle to be waged by their owners.  Be aware that the decision to shave will not end your shedding problem.  The hairs will be shorter, true; but your pup will continue to shed without the use of de-shedding shampoos, conditions and ongoing regularly scheduled maintenance.  The most important thing to remember is that the decision to shave (not trim) a long haired dog is also a long-term decision.  Once shaved, not only does the texture and growth pattern of the hair often change; but the older your furbaby is, the less likely it is for the guard hairs to grow back adequately.  This leaves your older pup susceptible to sunburn which is both painful and can take a long time from which to heal.  Ongoing issues from sunburn can also be dandruff and scaling even after the hair has regrown.  Remember dogs like poodles, maltese, Yorkshire terriers, shih-tzus and many others require regular grooming and haircuts.  And even dogs with undercoats can benefit from a good trim.  To shave or not to shave?  As it turns out this is a question not easily answered…


We will begin our “Ask the Expert” series with Rosemary, Pets A GoGo groomer. If you have a question for one of our experts, please email us anytime at


What made you become a groomer?

My love for animals, since I was a kid, especially dogs.  My mom loved animals and we took in many strays. We had a total of nine dogs at one time.  I used to brush and bathe them. My twin brother and I used to find animals and we tried to find owners.  Can’t begin to tell you how many strays we found homes for.  If not, we kept them.

What kinds of animals can you groom? 

I groom dogs and cats.
Whats your favorite breed to groom? 

My favorite  breed is Shih Tzu.
Should you shave your dog for the summer? 

No, trim yes.  Their hair is there to protect their skin in the winter and to protect them from sunburn in the summer.
Can you tell if a dog will shed? 

All dogs shed!
How often should you bathe your dog? 

Every six to eight weeks.
How can you prevent or cut down on shedding? 

Use furminating products and BRUSH their hair often, at least once a week.
What kinds of products do you suggest for bathing and grooming at home? 

Depends on dog coat.  Grimeinator is my best for all for all fur types.