Pedicure 101

Almost all dogs and cats need nail trims every few weeks (the frequency depends on the pet – when you see a sharp point or hook present at the nail tips then it’s time to get out the trimmers). Cats sharpen their nails to almost razor points and although some dogs are active enough on hard surfaces (such as compacted dirt or concrete) to they wear their nails down naturally, they still need their dewclaws trimmed (if they have them) since these nails don’t touch the ground to be worn down.    If you don’t keep the nails trimmed they can overgrow and actually curl into the nearby pawpad causing pain and even infections/abscesses.
Many people are scared to trim a pet’s nails however as they’re afraid they’ll “quick” them or cut the nail too short which hurts and makes it bleed.  “Quicking” a nail happens to all of us at some point but below is a guide on how to trim nails to decrease the likelihood of this from happening.  If you do trim a nail too short however, simply have some Qwik-Stop on hand (or baking powder or flour in a pinch) to apply to the nail to stop the bleeding. As an added bonus, Qwik-Stop also has a pain reliever in it.


Nail trimming is easier if you a holder to keep the pet still and the leg stretched out.  If needed, you can also distract your pet with a firm head tapping or a treat (like a kong filled with peanut butter or canned food – if you freeze the food containing kong first it takes even longer to eat it all).  Always be prepared to quick a nail during a nail trim – pour some of the Kwik-Stop powder in the container’s lid so it’s ready to use before you begin.  What you don’t use, just pour back into the bottle. To trim a toenail identify the pink quick if the nail is white/clear and position your clippers just in front of where the quick ends; if the nail is black (and you therefore can’t see the quick) simply start small – with just the tip.
Trimming nails compilation
In one fluid motion squeeze the clippers and cut the toenail.  Now inspect the nail to see if it is short enough, if it’s not cut off a little more.  For black nails, take small amounts at a time until you see a black dot in the approximate center of the nail when you look at it head on; once you see this black dot stop as that is the tip of the quick.  Should you nick the quick and the nail starts bleeding, simply dab the toe in the Kwik-Stop you already have ready to use in the container’s lid.  You can press the Kwik-Stop against the nail tighter if needed or apply another coat should it continue to bleed.
Black nail black dot compilation
Repeat this procedure on the remaining toes and Voila, your pet’s nails are now trimmed!  Congratulations, you did it! Nail trim before and after

Pet Food Storage and Handling 101

It never hurts to review the basics so here are the fundamentals on how to safely store and handle pet food.

  • Avoid purchasing dented cans or dry food with torn packaging – these have an increase risk to having been exposed to harmful bacterial
  • Check the expiration date on the food you’re purchasing and ensure you’ll use it all before that date, especially when buying in bulk
  • All pet food should be stored in a cool dry location free of pests -pet food can spoil in high temperatures or with greatly fluctuating temperatures (such as occur in a garage or outdoors) and excessive heat can also degrade food and destroy some nutrients
  • To prevent pests from getting into dry food, store open bags of food in a plastic container
  • Plastic food containers should be washed in between new bags of food – small food particles will adhere to the container and eventually spoil, contaminating the rest of the food inside
  • Be vigilant for the presence of molds in dry food left out for free feeding
  • Wash water and dry food dishes ideally once daily but at least once a week and dishes used for canned food after each use, with soap and warm water, ensuring all soap residue has been thoroughly rinsed from them before reusing
  • If the temperature is greater than 50 degrees, discard uneaten wet food after 2 to 4 hours
  • Cover and store open wet food cans in the refrigerator – discard after 3 days
  • Wash your hands and food prep counters well after handling pet food

For more information on safe food storage and handling watch the FDA’s video on pet food and treats in your home:

This dog has….

The dog in the last post has…BLADDER STONES!  Were you able to spot them?


Whats wrong with this dog answer

The two main types of urinary stones we see in dogs and cats are struvite and calcium oxalate.  They appear the same on radiographs so a urinalysis is then needed to try and determine the type of stones present.  The urinalysis may reveal struvite or calcium oxalate crystals (crystals are the building block for stones), a high or low pH (struvites occur with high/alkaline urine pH and calcium oxalate with low/acidic urine pH), and a urinary tract infection (struvites most commonly form when a UTI is present).  If the stones are struvite they can be dissolved with a special diet but if they are calcium oxalate (as was the case for this dog) – surgical removal is required. Unfortunately, the stones can also be a mix of struvite and calcium oxalate so you can get them smaller with the special diet but not fully dissolved, so surgery is still ultimately required.  It is important to address stones right away as they are often painful, can lead to a UTI, can be in the kidneys as well (which can lead to kidney failure if they block the duct leading from the kidney to the bladder), and in some instances (particularly in males) can lead to a urinary blockage where the pet is no longer able to urinate.  In this dog’s case, the stones were surgically removed and then he was placed on a special diet to keep the stones from reforming.

Did you know what was wrong with this dog?  Have you ever had a pet with urinary stones?


What’s Wrong with this Dog?

Below is an abdominal radiograph of a dog lying on it’s side (head facing to the left).  Can you diagnosis what is wrong with him?  Check back next time for the answer and how he was treated.

Whats wrong with this dog

How to Collect a Urine Sample From Your Dog

A urinalysis allows us to examine the health of your dog’s urinary tract and kidneys. Sometimes, we may not discover that there is an issue until we perform a microscopic exam of your pet’s urine. A urinalysis may also detect kidney problems sooner than a blood test.  However, if Dr. D. or Dr. J. recommends a urinalysis during your visit with us it may not always be possible to collect a sample that day – sometimes dogs are too nervous to urinate at our hospital or they may not need to go.  You may also know ahead a time you want your dog’s urine checked as he/she isn’t urinating normally (there’s blood, pain, etc) and need to know how to collect a sample to bring with you. Fortunately, collecting a urine sample at home from your dog is an easy process:

  • Before taking your dog outside to urinate, select a container you feel comfortable using to catch your pet’s urine in mid-stream. We recommend a clean, disposable plastic container or the sterile container we have provided for you (try not to touch the inside of the container).
  • Once your pet begins to urinate, hold your selected container mid-stream. The minimum amount we need to process your pet’s urine is a tablespoon; however, if you can collect more, that is helpful.
  • If collecting in a separate container, promptly place the urine in the sterile cup that was sent home with you. If you are not able to deliver the urine to us within one hour (maximum two), place the urine in your refrigerator (do not freeze).
  • Deliver the urine to our hospital within 24 hours. Keep the urine in the refrigerator until you are on your way to the hospital.
  • We will contact you in one to two business days with the results.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us during our business hours at 919-267-9315 or email

Have you ever collected a urine sample from your dog?  Did you find it easy to do or hard?