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Responsible Pet Ownership

posted on February 01, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

February is National Responsible Pet Owners Month.  Pets are a joy to own, but they are also a commitment.  Dogs and cats can live 10-20 years, and some pets such as birds can live even longer.  They depend upon us fully to care for them, but in return they give us unconditional love.

So what are some ways to be a responsible pet owner?

  •  Spay or neuter your pet.  Unfortunately in the U.S., there is an overpopulation of companion animals, with many dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and other pets living in shelters and rescues.  Spaying and neutering helps prevent further overpopulation, and has some health benefits as well.
  • Get pets from reputable sources.  On a similar note, when looking to add to your family, consider rescues and shelters.  There are many pure bred rescues if you want a pure bred, and mixed breed animals often have the benefit of fewer health issues.
  • Go to the vet annually.  While your pet may not require yearly vaccinations, the physical examination is the most important part of your visit.  Pets are very good at hiding pain and problems, and going to the vet regularly may help catch issues earlier, when they are easier to prevent or treat.
  • Microchip or otherwise identify your pet.  Tags with phone numbers are important, and having a microchip with current information can help reunite with your pet should you get separated.  Make sure to keep microchip information current if you move or get a new phone number.
  • Go to training.  Training your dog helps strengthen your bond, and can help prevent or reduce behavior issues.  Things like agility can also give you both something active to do together.
  • Provide good nutrition.  Your pet needs a well balanced, nutritious diet to have a long, healthy life.  At the same time, don’t overfeed.  Obesity is a major issue affecting our pets and can cause multiple health issues.  Talk with your veterinarian about recommended foods and amounts.
  • Provide regular grooming.  Almost all dogs need their nails trimmed periodically, and most dogs need a bath every once in awhile.  Some pets require regular brushing to keeps tangles at bay, and some dogs need professional grooming to maintain a health coat and skin.
  • Hygiene is important as well.  Ears should be cleaned periodically.  Anal glands may need to be emptied on a regular basis.  Teeth should be brushed, ideally daily, with a pet tooth paste.  Regular veterinary dental care may be required as well.
  • Be prepared for emergencies.  Have a basic first aid kit handy; there are even some made specifically for pets.  Know that certain human medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve) are toxic to pets.  Have emergency veterinarian contact information handy.  Keep a file of copies of bloodwork and other important health information handy in case you need to see a veterinarian other than your regular vet.
  • Have pet insurance or a savings account for your pets’ health.  There are multiple options for pet health insurance that may be able to alleviate the cost burden and financial part of making decisions in an emergency.  Having a regular savings account for your pet’s yearly care, with a buffer for emergency situations is another way to handle this.
  • Provide mental and physical stimulation.  Exercise is important for our pets, helping control weight, as well as giving a release for pent up energy that could otherwise feed unwanted behavior.  Mental stimulation such as scent training, puzzle toys, and foraging for food/treats is also important for that same reason.
  • Travel safely.  Pets should be confined when in a vehicle for their own and your safety.  There are multiple seat belt and harnesses available, as well as carriers, confinement nets, or crates.
  • Pet proof your house.  Wires and cords make tempting play toys to puppies and kittens.  Plants may pose a toxic threat.  Yards may have unforeseen escape routes or dangers.  Imagine yourself at their level and educate yourself about potential toxins to keep out of their reach.
  • Clean up after your pets.  Dogs can spread disease to other pets and humans via their feces, so if they have a bowel movement in public, be sure to clean it up.  This is also just the nice, neighborly thing to do!
  • Teach children to respect animals.  Discuss with children how to ask before going up to strange animals.  Teach them to understand basic dog and cat body language cues, and teach them how to approach and pet animals appropriately.  Supervise children and pets when they are together.  Lead by example.

Overall, there are many things that play a role into being a responsible pet owner.  These are just a few examples of things that contribute to having a healthy, happy pet for many years!

Pain in our pets

posted on January 02, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Since pets aren’t able to speak, it can be difficult to determine if they are in pain.  Pets tend to be extremely stoic, and may eat despite rotting teeth, may walk despite broken bones, and may wag their tail despite having just had surgery.  So how do you tell if something is amiss?

Some pets will vocalize when in pain, whether a whine, whimper, howl, or growl.  However, not all pets will, so this is not always a good indicator.  Sometimes there are physical signs of pain that are visible-limping, trembling, dilated pupils (unless the eye is what is painful, then may see squinting, and dilated or constricted pupils), increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate, changes in gait, posture, tail and/or ear position, mobility, or even changes in the way they sit or lay (leg cocked out, prayer position, curled up or stretched out differently).  Overgrooming an area or barbering the hair can indicate pain, as can a complete lack of grooming.  Changes in eating, drinking, urination, defecation, and sleep habits may all indicate pain also.

More often, pets will have subtle changes in their personality.  They may act more anxious-whining, pacing, licking, panting, seeming unable to get comfortable/or unable to relax.  They may also be agitated, and may even become aggressive.  Some pets may become less social, actively hiding or avoiding interactions with other pets and/or humans.

Since many of these signs can be a bit subjective, it is always best to seek veterinary advice to determine if your pet is in pain and what may be the cause so appropriate treatment can be pursued.  Always finish all pain medications prescribed unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian.  Lastly, many human pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and even aspirin can be toxic to our pets, so please do not administer these to your pet.  Veterinarians have pet safe medications they can dispense when appropriate.  If you think your pet is painful, please call today!

The ABCs of Antibiotics

posted on December 01, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Chances are, you have heard of antibiotics.  And in this day and age, you may have heard of a phenomenon called antibiotic resistance.  Then there are things called prebiotics and probiotics.  What are all of these, and what are they used for?

Antibiotics are medications that work against bacteria/bacterial infections.  They work by killing bacteria or stopping the bacteria’s ability to reproduce.  They do not work against parasites, fungal infections, viral infections, or autoimmune diseases in most cases.  The type of antibiotic, the frequency and dose, and the length of treatment are all determined by the type and location of infection, the pet’s overall health, and any other medical conditions that may be present.

An important aspect of using antibiotics is to try to prevent antibiotic resistance.  Resistance is when a particular bacteria develops a way to not be killed off by a particular antibiotic.  It is important to finish the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed, because if you stop early, you may have only killed 90% of the bacteria present, and the remaining 10% may have been better able to resist the antibiotic.  This can lead to the same infection no longer responding to the same antibiotic in the future, which can mean we no longer have a way to treat a potentially life threatening disease.  Only stop your antibiotic early if instructed to do so by a doctor.

Prebiotics and probiotics are in essence the opposite of antibiotics.  They work to promote healthy bacteria in the body.  Prebiotics are nutrients used as fuel by bacteria and promote healthy bacteria colonies.  Probiotics are live bacteria to be introduced into the body, usually into the GI tract.  Pre and probiotics can be used daily as a preventative, or they may be recommended after a course of medication such as antibiotics or chemotherapy to help build up the normal bacteria again.

If you ever have questions about antibiotics being prescribed for your pet, or about pre or probiotics, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

Posted in: Uncategorized

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

posted on November 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Senior pets in shelters are the least likely to find homes, sometimes making them most likely to be euthanized in crowding situations.  Many people think that if an older pet is at the shelter, it means that they were problematic.  This is not the case however.  Many older pets belonged to households that had changes in them such as children, new jobs, moving, or an elderly person who is no longer able to care for them.  This month we take a look at why adopting a senior pet is such a great thing!

Adult dogs tend to have had some training.  Most have been through obedience classes, may already have been taught simple commands and tricks, and have had time to become socialized and acclimated to living with humans.  This often means most dogs are already house trained, meaning you don’t have to wake up every two hours all night like you would with a puppy!  It also means that these pets tend to be less destructive, and are less likely to chew your favorite pair of shoes.

That being said, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  In fact, older dogs tend to be more able to focus than young puppies, meaning they may actually pick up on new tricks easier.  They tend to be eager to please, and are grateful to be given a second chance.

You know what you are getting when you adopt an older pet.  There is no guessing what the hair color will be or how big the pet will get when they are already full grown.  It is possible to get pure bred senior pets as well-most breeds have their own specific rescue organizations if you are looking for a purebred pet.

Senior pets tend to be a little more relaxed than the energetic puppy or kitty.  They make good companions for elderly people or families that have a more sedentary lifestyle.  However, many still have plenty of spunk left to go for a walk or play ball!

Lastly, adopting a senior pet will fill your life with love and will make you a hero in your pets’ eyes.  They often seem to know that you gave them a second chance and spend the rest of their life showing you how thankful they are.  You can take pride in opening your house and heart for an otherwise less likely to find it’s forever home pet.  So the next time you are looking to add to your fur family, give those senior pets a second look!

Back to School

posted on September 01, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

As September rolls around, many people are headed back to school.  In the veterinary field, most of us are no longer in school, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t go to a lot of school to get here, and that certainly doesn’t mean we are ever done learning!

Certified veterinary technicians hold either a two year associate or a four year bachelor’s degree from accredited programs.  They partake in an internship at a veterinary clinic as part of their degree program.  Once they graduate, they must take a national test called the NVTE (national veterinary technical examination) to become certified.  Here in Minnesota, technicians are required to also obtain 10 hours of continuing education every 2 years to remain certified.

Veterinarians face a bit more schooling.  Most veterinarians have a bachelor’s degree in a variety of fields including biology, chemistry, and animal science, but they may also have degrees in a variety of other majors including the arts, history, engineering, or business administration.  They must meet the prerequisite list of classes for the veterinary program they are applying to, which usually includes a number of years of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, statistics, and other classes.  Once they have completed the prerequisite courses, they must take a standardized test such as the GRE.  They can then apply to veterinary schools, which often look for volunteer or job shadow experience from animal related jobs, as well as letters of reference and recommendation from employers and professors.

Veterinary school is a 4-5 year program, with the last year usually being a clinical year.  During this clinical year, students take rotations at a working veterinary hospital in areas such as general practice, oncology, radiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, cardiology, surgery, and internal medicine.  They also spend time doing externships at practices outside of the school.  After all of this is completed, they graduate with a doctorate degree.  During this final year of rotations, they must take the national accreditation test, the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Examination).  Once this is passed, many states have their own accreditation test that must be passed.  Here in Minnesota, veterinarians must obtain 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years to keep practicing.

As you can see, there is a lot of schooling involved in the health and care of your pet.  If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a veterinarian or veterinary technician, please contact us to discuss the process more, or to see if we have any job shadowing or internship opportunities available!


Posted in: Uncategorized

Don’t even think outside the box!

posted on August 03, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

One of the main behavior complaints we see for cats is inappropriate elimination (urinating and/or defecating outside of the litter box).  We recommend an examination to make sure there is not a medical problem first.  Things such as arthritis can make it hard to get into the litter box, losing vision can cause pets to have a hard time going down stairs to get to the box, and cognitive issues can cause changes in behavior.  Urinary tract infections, urinary crystals, bladder stones, bladder polyps and tumors, feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), anal gland issues, kidney disease, diabetes, other metabolic issues, neurologic issues, and gastrointestinal issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, lymphoma, parasites, or bacterial imbalances can all also present as inappropriate elimination.  Often a thorough examination, urinalysis, stool analysis, anal gland expression, bloodwork, and/or radiographs may be recommended.  If these results rule out a medical cause for the issue, behavior is then addressed.

There are a number of things we recommend for litter box issues:

1)  Increase the number of litter boxes.  The rule of thumb is one plus the number of cats in the household, so for example, if you have 2 cats you should have a minimum of 3 litter boxes.  Make sure they are in different locations-two boxes right next to one another are considered one box with a divider to pets.  Make sure they are on all levels of the house and are readily available.

2)  Clean (scoop) litterboxes daily, and once  a week completely dump all litter and wash the box with soap and water.  Yearly litter boxes should be disposed of, and new replacements purchased.  Plastic tends to absorb odors that we may not smell, but pets can smell about 10,000 times better than we can.

3)  Pick up clothes, sheets, blankets, pillows, etc.  Make beds so no bedding is on the floor, pick up laundry and place in a covered hamper or a hamper that is in a closet, etc.  Do not leave towels on bathroom floor.

4)  Limit access to rooms where urination seems to be a problem.  Doors, baby gates, and crates can all be used to limit access.  Moving a litter box to that room is also an option, with the hope that slowly over time the box can be moved back to a more agreeable location for everyone.

5)  Try different products, there are a number of options available.  There are litters made from paper, wheat, or pine.  There are clumping vs. non clumping, or scented vs. unscented options.  The hope is to determine their preference, which can change over time.  We recommend that you only change one box at a time.  Other options include products such as cat attract, covered vs. uncovered litter boxes, larger boxes, or boxes with low entrances may also be helpful.

6)  Clean areas where the pet has urinated/defecated with an enzymatic cleaner to remove all remnants of smell (even if we can’t smell it they often can).  Black lights can show cat urine in a dark room if you are having trouble finding it.

7)  Assess litter box locations-make sure they aren’t next to the scary water heater that kicks on and makes noise, or that another pet in the house is not guarding the only entrance to the box.

8)  We have products meant to help with stress and behavioral issues such as feliway diffusers or behavioral medications.  We also have some urinary and GI tract diets that may help with the situation.

Hopefully we can help you get to the bottom of your cat’s bathroom behavior! Give us a call today.

Posted in: Feline Health

Fresh Faces (and a few familiar ones!)

posted on July 01, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

thumb-2Heritage Animal Hospital is proud to welcome our newest veterinarian, Dr. Kaley Alger.  Dr. Alger is a Minnesota native, having grown up in Rochester.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in Animal Science.  She attended the University of Glasgow College of Veterinary Medicine in Glasgow, Scotland, and earned her veterinary degree in 2017.  Professional affiliations include AVMA, RCVS, MVMA, and BSAVA.  Her interests in veterinary medicine include surgery and ultrasound as a diagnostic tool.  When she is not here, she enjoys running, trying new food, and a variety of outdoor activities.  This summer she is also busy planning a wedding, and is looking forward to adopting a puppy in a few months’ time.

Dr. Alger has been with Heritage Animal Hospital for a number of years however, so you may recognize her.  She has worked as an animal care attendant, customer care representative, veterinary technician assistant, and veterinarian intern while she was attending school.


thumbDr. Silverstein is a familiar face.  He owns Heritage Animal Hospital, and has been here since it’s inception in 1991.  He is a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine and also holds a B.A. in biology from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Professional affiliations include the AVMA, AAHA, AAFP, IAVPM, and MVMA. Dr. Silverstein has a special interest in technology and its applications to diagnosis and patient care. If you want to distract him, ask him about his family, his poodle Ruby, hockey, or his most recent ski trip.



thumb-1Dr. Hartman is another familiar face.  She has been at Heritage Animal Hospital since 2009.  She is a 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She studied biology and chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for 3 years, and was awarded a B.S. in Veterinary Science from the University of Minnesota. Professional affiliations include AVMA, MVMA, VIN, AEMV, AFA, ASGV, and WVMA. Dr. Hartman is originally from Wisconsin, and after spending much of her life helping on her grandparent’s dairy farm, she decided she wanted to become a small animal veterinarian. Special interests include small mammal “exotics” or pocket pets such as ferrets (which she has owned for 10 years), rabbits, and rodents, dentistry, weight management to improve pet health, and using ultrasound as a diagnostic tool. When not at work, Dr. Hartman enjoys spending time with her English Springer Spaniels-Ace and Afton. She also enjoys reading, quilting, and a variety of arts and crafts.

unnamed 2Dr. Carter is Dr. Silverstein’s wife and together they formed Heritage Animal Hospital.  Dr. Carter was raised in Morris, IL on a working farm. In 1986 she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from North Central College in Naperville, IL. She earned her veterinary degree with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Her professional affiliations include AVMA, MVMA, AAEP, MAEP, and VIN.  Her hobbies include showing and breeding American Saddlebred horses, barn work, reading, and keeping up with Dr. Silverstein and the kids. She is both a small animal and an equine (horse) veterinarian who had her own equine practice.  She still helps out occasionally at Heritage Animal Hospital.

Summer Swimming Safety

posted on June 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

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As the weather gets warmer, we turn to the water to relax and cool down.  Many dogs also enjoy water fun, but there are a few things you should know so that everyone has a safe and fun summer!

First of all, not all dogs know how to swim, so don’t assume yours does!  Start small, in a shallow, quiet area of water.  Have your pet on a leash, and get in the water with them.  Gradually work to deeper water together.  As you get deeper, the pet should start to paddle with the front feet.  When it does this, you can help support the rear end to help them learn how to float.  Having a floating life vest can also be a great aid in this.  Both the life vest and the first time in the water should be done slowly with positive reinforcement such as treats, and if the dog is not enjoying it, do not force it.

When at lakes, rivers, or ponds, you will want to make sure there is not any blue-green algae, which is toxic to dogs.  Make sure the current is not too strong for your pet.  Keep them away from fishing gear-they can get tangled, or a hook could get imbedded causing injury.  If you are out where other boats are, make sure your pet has a bright colored life vest on for visibility, and discourage swimming in the boating lanes.  Lastly, make sure you can lift your pet back into the boat, or that your dog can either get back up on the dock or find a piece of shore to get back out of the water.

At the ocean, should you travel to one, you need to make sure you understand the tides, currents, and riptide risks.  Surf has the potential to cause higher waves than your pet may be used to, and even good swimmers can tire quickly in rough water.  Try to discourage drinking of the salt water, as this can make your pet sick, and make sure to have plenty fresh water available for them to drink.  Avoid fish and other things that have washed up on shore-while they may smell enticing to your pet, they could also make your pet sick.

If you have a pool, make sure to keep it safe for your pet.  Have a fence around it to keep your dog out when not supervised or it’s not time to swim.  Keep a sturdy cover on the pool as well-dogs may not realize that the surface is not solid, and can get tangled and potentially drown in soft covers.   Teach your pet how to get in and out-make sure there are stairs or a ramp they can use safely.  Also, make sure your pool is the appropriate temperature-a dog’s body temperature is warmer than ours, so despite the fact they have fur, they have a harder time with cold temperature water and can get hypothermic quicker.

Anytime your pet goes swimming, try to avoid allowing them to drink a lot of water.  Even if it is fresh water not salt water, it can still make them sick-algae, giardia, or bacteria such as leptospirosis can all be transmitted by water.  Rinse your pet well with fresh water after any swim.  Salt, chlorine, algae, pollution or other minerals can irritate skin.  Make sure to dry your pet well also, as moist skin can lead to infections.   Clean ears with a cleaner that contains a drying agent to help prevent infections.  Douxo and Epi-Otic are two that we carry that would work for this.  If you have recently applied a topical flea and tick preventative, you should wait for 2 days before allowing them to swim.  If this is difficult in the summer, we do have an oral flea and tick medication called Nexgard that does not have the same withholding period for getting wet.  Let us know if you would like some of this.  Last of all, never leave your pet unattended while they are in or near the water.  With a little planning and precaution, we can all enjoy a safe summer!unnamed

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Posted in: Canine Health

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month

posted on May 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

One of the most common issues we see in our pets is allergy issues, and the month of May is dedicated to allergy and asthma awareness.  In our pets, 90% of allergies are environmental, versus only about 10% which are due to food.

If your pet is experiencing symptoms such as eye discharge, sneezing, chewing on feet, anal gland issues (scooting or licking anal area), thickened skin, recurrent ear infections, skin infections, or overall itching, it may be allergies.  An examination by your veterinarian should be performed to determine if it is indeed allergies and then appropriate treatment can be implemented.  Cats with allergies can develop wheezing and respiratory issues (allergic bronchitis and asthma).  However, breathing issues can also be due to many other illnesses and can be an emergency.  Please seek immediate medical attention for your pet if it is having difficulty breathing.

Allergies are the immune system over-reacting to things it does not or should not need to.  The goal of treatment is to try to decrease the immune response, either by suppressing the immune system and it’s activity, or to decrease the body’s response to the items it is over-reacting to.  There are a number of ways we can try to do this.

  1. Decrease exposure:  Most allergens are through contact in pets, so decreasing contact is important.  Things such as weekly bathing, soaking the feet in Epsom salts nightly, washing all bedding, and using HEPA filters in vacuums and air filters can help decrease exposure.  If the allergy is food related, finding diets without the offending ingredients can also help.  If allergy testing is pursued, it can further help point us in the correct direction for decreasing expsoure.
  2. Control histamines:  Histamines are released by white blood cells in response to allergens, and they are responsible for many of the symptoms we see such as itching, running eyes and nose, and sneezing.  Antihistamines are a relatively inexpensive, well tolerated, and safe way of controlling these.  Often anti-histamines alone are not enough to completely stop allergies, but they can be of great help.  We can help direct you with the correct dosing of antihistamines for your pet.
  3. Suppress the immune system:  Steroids are the most common medication used to do this.  Steroids work very well to suppress the immune system, but they have side effects.  Short term, they can cause increased thirst and urination, which may lead to house soiling.  They can also cause an increased appetite, which can lead to weight gain.  Long term use can cause weakening of ligaments and muscle loss, along with elevations in liver enzymes and even potentially damage to the liver.  Steroids can also make your pet more prone to infections.  Because of these reasons, we often try to use bathing and antihistamines first, and add in steroids as a later treatment for cases that don’t respond as we would like.

Veterinary dermatologists such as Dr. McKeever or Dr. Eisenschenk have immunosuppressive medications that cause less side effects than steroids.  We now also have a medication like this, called Apoquel.  These medications are more expensive, and may still require monitoring of liver and kidney enzymes or white blood cell counts as they suppress the immune system.  However, these medications are more specific to what part of the immune system they target, reportedly have fewer side effects, and may work better for some pets.

  1. Re-training the immune system:  Lastly, allergy testing can be performed to determine what the pet is specifically allergic to.  Using this information, the environment or diet can be modified to avoid triggers.  Also, an allergy extract can be made.  This extract is injected in very small amounts and slowly increased to try to teach the immune system that the allergens in it are not to be reacted to.  Allergy testing and allergy extract injections can be costly and require a lot of follow up, but may provide your pet with very specific relief and much fewer side effects than some of the other medications available.

Allergies are frustrating for all of us because they are not easily fixed, often require life-long therapy, and flare ups are common.  However, we will try to implement many of the above therapies in the best approach for you and your pet to help alleviate their symptoms.


Hitting the trails with Fido

posted on April 03, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

As the weather turns warm again, we start to get the itch to go out and explore.  Dogs can make great hiking companions with a little planning and preparation, and most enjoy getting out the house as much as we do!

The first thing you will want to make sure of is that your dog is adequately covered for fleas, ticks, and heartworm disease.  Topical flea and tick medications such as Frontline Plus and Parastar must be applied 48 hours prior to getting wet, so make sure to give this a few days in advance.  Nexgard, an oral flea and tick preventative does not have the same water warning, but still should be given in advance so that it is fully on board by the time you hit the trail.

Next, you should pack for your dog.  A first aid kit specifically for your pet is a must.  Things you may wish to have with you include bandaging material (non stick gauze pads, self adhesive wrap, and tape can all be helpful).  Saline can be used to rinse both eyes and wounds, so having a saline eye wash can also be beneficial. Tweezers, scissors, and a tick removal device also may be helpful.  Some dogs can snap when they are painful, so having a well fitting cloth muzzle may be advised as well.  Stypic powder, a nail trimmer, and benadryl can also round out the first aid kit.  Benadryl can be used for mild allergic reactions, bee stings, bug bites, and allergies while on the trail, but follow up with a veterinarian may still be required.  Lastly, talk with your veterinarian.  They may be willing to prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain medication to have on hand, and/or topical ointments for eyes or wounds.  Human pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Aleve) are all toxic to dogs and should not be used.  Having a local veterinarian/emergency veterinarian in the area where you are traveling ahead of time can help, as can having a copy of recent bloodwork and vaccine history for your pet.

Once you have a first aid kit assembled, next you should look at equipment for your dog.  Having booties with durable treads can help protect paw pads when climbing on rough surfaces.  They can also be used as a bandage in the case of a foot injury.  Some dogs will tolerate a pack to carry their own supplies.  Make sure you have a good fitting collar or harness, and an appropriate leash (most parks require a 6 ft leash).  There are options for hands free leashes that attach around your waist to allow full range of motion while you hike.  Have identification tags and microchip information up to date.  Some people use GPS trackers for their pets as well.  A tee shirt can help protect the pet from pests, sun, and branches, or there are specific vests made for hunting dogs to help protect their underside.  A life vest is also recommended if the pet is going to be in any water.  Lastly, for dogs that tend to run through the heavy brush, doggles, a pair of goggles for dogs, may be of use.  A few other things you may wish to bring include towels or blankets, and a light source for the leash/collar.

Make sure to pack plenty of fresh water for your dog.  They can get parasites such as giardia or infections such as leptospirosis from drinking water that has not been filtered properly.  Have a collapsable bowl or water bottle for them to use.  Packing a high protein snack or food is also important as they use calories and energy at a higher rate when out exploring.  Lastly, make sure you have plenty of poop bags for the journey.  It is not uncommon for them to have a few more bowel movements when excited and exploring new areas.

With a little planning, you can enjoy hours and miles of hiking with your pooch!  Happy Trails!


Posted in: Canine Health


12624 Bass Lake Road
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Located just east of highway 494 on Bass Lake Road,
behind Culver's.

Communities We Serve:

Plymouth, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Corcoran, Greenfield, Champlin, New Hope, Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Rogers, Robbinsdale, Hamel and Golden Valley, Minnesota (MN).