Monthly Archives

November 2021

What To Do When Your Dog Swallows Something that is Not Food

By Dogs No Comments

You walk into the room and right before you can say “drop it”, your dog has swallowed a Lego/sock/golf ball… Now what?

Not only have I experienced it with Sashi, our dog, I’ve met hundreds of pet parents who have panicked in those first moments after the object disappears. It’s complete dread, as you try to figure out what to do next. When a dog or a cat choke, it can be a scary situation for any pet parent. This article explores what to do when your dog has swallowed something.

Foreign Objects

Curious dogs and cats explore their world by tasting and chewing, but sometimes they bite off more than they can chew. A dog can accidentally inhale whatever they are chewing on, and that can cause choking. Choking hazards include chew toys, balls, rawhides, bones, sticks, etc.—basically anything that is smaller than the windpipe or back of the throat can get stuck. It is a good idea to only let your dog chew on rawhides and toys under supervision and take away the toy or rawhide when your dog chews it down small enough to swallow.

If your dog appears to be choking on a toy or rawhide, keep calm. A dog who is suffocating will panic and may accidentally bite. Avoid bite wounds and never put your hand in your dog’s mouth to retrieve the item. If your dog can still breathe, take your dog to your nearest veterinarian or veterinary emergency center immediately. If your dog can’t breathe, use the Heimlich maneuver to remove the item.

If your dog passes out, then and only then should you open the mouth and see if you can remove the item. Use both hands to open the mouth and grasp the upper jaw while pressing the lips over the dog’s teeth so they are between the teeth and your fingers. Look inside your dog’s mouth and remove the obstruction if possible. If you can’t remove the object, try using a flat spoon to pry it out of the dog’s mouth.



Depending on the object and how long it’s been since your pooch swallowed it, your vet may recommend giving it time for the object to pass. Or it may be recommended that you bring your dog in immediately to the hospital; this is often your safest course of action. The doctor will likely need to take abdominal x-rays (to help assess the size, shape, position and location of the object), and then, if warranted and safe to do so, the veterinarian may recommended to induce vomiting.


It’s not recommended you induce vomiting without speaking to your vet first. If the item swallowed is an acid, petroleum, or alkali product, vomiting will cause more damage. The same could be said for sharp objects, vomiting them up could cause serious damage.

If it has been less than two hours though, and if safe to do so, your veterinarian may instruct you to induce vomiting at home. This is often done with an agent such as hydrogen peroxide. Ask your vet if you should feed your dog a small meal first. This is recommended to make vomiting easier on your pet, and to cushion the object, protecting your dog as it comes up.

Signs That a Dog Is Choking

If a dog is suffocating, you can see they will be panicking.  A dog may paw at his mouth if something is lodged, though this does not necessarily mean he is choking. Another suspicious sign of choking is an unresponsive or unconscious dog; in these cases, check the throat and mouth for foreign objects.

Primary Cause

Almost any small object can cause choking, though the most common are hard rubber balls and chew toys or sticks that have become swollen due to moisture.



Immediate Care

Be very careful when dealing with a dog that’s choking, as even calm animals will panic when they cannot breathe. Protect yourself by restraining the dog, but do not muzzle your dog.

Removing an item from your dogs’ mouth, while he/she is in a state of panic can be dangerous; another reason we recommend calling your vet first. If you can see the object, and you have an additional set of hands to safely keep your dogs’ mouth open, try to gently remove the item. Be careful not to accidentally push the object further down the throat.

  1. Use both hands to open the dog’s mouth, with one hand on the upper jaw and the other on the lower.
  2. Grasping the jaws, press the lips over the dog’s teeth so that they are between the teeth and your fingers. Any dog can bite when they are panicking, so be extremely careful if you are choosing to do this.
  3. Look inside the mouth and remove the obstruction with your fingers. Sweep your finger across the back of the mouth to feel for any obstruction. *If there are bones lodged deep in the dog’s throat, do not try to pull these out. You will need to take your dog to the vet immediately to have him sedated and the object removed safely.
  4. If you can’t see the item, you may have success sweeping the mouth. Again, this is safer to do when you have help keeping your dogs’ mouth open. To properly sweep, gently drag your finger from the back of the mouth forward. If you can’t move the object with your fingers but can see it, call your veterinarian or the emergency clinic right away.

If the dog is still choking and you can’t see anything in the mouth, or the dog has fallen unconscious, follow these guidelines:

-Seek immediate veterinary care.  If you are unable to do so, for example out in the woods camping, you can consider performing the Heimlich Maneuver.



We can successfully perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on dogs, it’s even trickier than humans.

–          SMALL DOGS: Your dog will likely be panicking but try to lay her gently on her back. With the palm of your hand placed just below her rib cage, push in and up quickly.

          LARGE DOGS: If your dog is standing, wrap your arms around his stomach. Make a fist in on hand, clasping it with the other, push up and forward (into the rib cage). Lay your dog on his side after. If your dog is laying on his side, place one hand on his back for support, and use the other hand to squeeze the stomach up and forward.

The manoeuvre may need to be performed a few times, when done, be sure to check your dogs’ mouth and remove the object. Offer your dog some water and call your vet, it may be a good idea to still bring her in for a check-up. In particular, your vet will be looking for damage to the throat, mouth, and ribcage.

Veterinary Care

It is likely that objects stuck in the throat may have caused damage. Depending on the length of time the dog was without oxygen and the degree of damage to the throat, the dog may require hospitalization after the emergency is addressed.

In some moderate to severe cases, bronchoscopy (whereby a small camera is inserted into the windpipe to visualize and remove the foreign body) may be recommended to assess the damage. Endoscopy may need to be performed to remove an object stuck in the esophagus.  If more foreign material is in the stomach, using the endoscope, it can retrieve the material directly from the stomach to avoid a gastroscopy (open stomach surgery).  X-rays may also be recommended before the procedures to better evaluate the patient, and after to make sure the object is completely removed.

Sometimes foreign bodies, such as bones, that are stuck in the esophagus can cause respiratory distress and mimic choking.


The best way to prevent choking is to treat your dog as you would a small child.  Although, it is almost impossible to stop them from putting objects into their mouths, you should always be present to keep a close eye on what they are chewing – and doing.  Avoid them getting into the garbage, unattended in the garden, for example. Avoid moisture swollen chew toys and sticks and cut up any large pieces of food for them.  Do not give your dog T-bones, or bones of any kind as these are also known to cause choking and fracture teeth.  Never give your dog a bone even if it fits completely inside his mouth.  Take away all bones and chew toys once they can fit within your dogs’ whole mouth.  Many dogs will try to swallow an object once it fits completely inside their mouth.

Country Grove Vet is trained to handle emergency medical cases, including choking or accidental ingestion of foreign material. We also offer anaesthesia and patient monitoring, to keep them safe during and after all surgical and emergency procedures. If you suspect your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance, please call the ASPCA Poison Control Centre in Canada: 1-888-426-4435


Resources – OVC-LifeLearn and Pet MD




Is Your Cat at Risk for Diabetes?

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The rate of diabetes in cats has increased significantly in recent years. If diagnosed and managed successfully though, your cat can continue to live a happy, normal life. This article explores feline diabetes, including how to recognize its symptoms, how to manage treatment, and how to prevent it.



Diabetes Mellitus is the inability to produce enough insulin to properly manage glucose or blood sugar levels. Cats that are older, or overweight are more at risk for developing diabetes. The true incidence rate is hard to estimate because it’s likely to be under-diagnosed, but it’s believed to be around 1%-2% of the feline population.



If your cat relates to more than one of these common risk factors, then they could be more likely to develop diabetes:

  • Male and neutered.
  • Seven years or older.
  • Additional medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, renal issues, or an infection.
  • Relying on medications, especially corticosteroids.



It can be very tricky to spot feline diabetes. Many pet owners aren’t aware that their cat may  be at risk for diabetes in the first place. Veterinarians are often the first to notice a problem, during an annual check-up. Things to look out for if you are concerned about your cat having diabetes include:

  • Needing more water than usual or drinking from unusual places.
  • Dramatic weight loss.
  • Increased appetite or begging for food.
  • Walking on their heels (avoiding toes).
  • Urine that is sticky or hard to clean.
  • Decreased energy or activity.



If you or your veterinarian are concerned that your cat has diabetes, blood and urine tests will be done. The tests will look for repeated levels of hyperglycaemia (high levels of blood glucose). The tests will also rule out any other possible conditions that could be causing the symptoms.



Once diagnosed, you’ll work with your vet to try different treatment options. During this, it’s important you’re honest with your vet about how much time you have and your ability to monitor your cat. Regardless of the treatment, the goals are usually the same:

  • To stabilize and regulate blood glucose levels.
  • To reduce your cat to a more appropriate body weight.
  • To reach potential remission (which may not be possible for all cats).


There are two common treatments for feline diabetes:



To help control your cat’s diabetes, and to prevent further damage, your vet will likely start with changes to its diet. Just like humans, cats need a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. For some cat’s, changing the diet is all that’s needed. For many though, this is done in addition to other treatment options.


Your vet will help you find an ideal weight for your cat and the best ways to get there. Less food overall, as well as a low-carb diet, are often recommended.



There are several insulin options available to your cat, your vet may recommend trying a couple for best results. Insulin is typically delivered by injection. If this is the case for your cat, your veterinarian will show you how. You’ll also learn how to administer glucose level tests. Many cat owners find after administering insulin a few times it becomes easier for them and their cat.




When insulin therapy is first started, monitoring your cat’s response to therapy by periodic blood glucose determinations is important. Ideally, this involves serial blood glucose measurements in the form of a glucose curve.


Serum fructosamine levels can be used to help diagnose and further evaluate your cat’s response to insulin therapy. Fructosamine is measured from a single blood sample. No special preparation (e.g., fasting) is required before fructosamine testing. Serum fructosamine levels are proportional to the average blood glucose concentration that your cat has achieved over the past 7 – 14 days. Therefore, it can be used in long-term monitoring of diabetic cats.


At home, other important things you can do for your cat include monitoring her appetite, water consumption (if increasing or decreasing), energy level, grooming habits (unkempt greasy haircoat can indicate lack of diabetic control), and urine output. If you notice any of these changes, please inform your vet because these changes may signify the need for additional testing and/or adjustments in the insulin dosage. It is very important that you do not make adjustments in insulin dosage without first consulting your veterinarian!  By working together, you are your vet can continue to provide a healthy and happy lifestyle for your cat.



We know obesity is a huge risk factor in cats with diabetes. There are also some breeds that are more prone to diabetes than others. Unfortunately, though, enough studies haven’t been done to confirm techniques to prevent diabetes in cats. A low-carb diet has been shown to help manage diabetes, but there is no confirmation that such a diet will prevent diabetes in the first place.


Weighing your cat regularly and maintaining consistent yearly physical examinations with your veterinarian is currently the best way to stay ahead of any potential diabetes diagnoses.



Resources: Life Learn

Does Your Pet Have a UTI?

By Uncategorized No Comments

When you notice your pet needing to go outside more often, or urinating in spots they’re not supposed to and straining to urinate, it could be a sign of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Both dogs and cats are able to develop UTIs, they are, however, more common in dogs, and in females as well. This article explores UTIs including how to recognize when your pet has one, and your treatment options.



When bacteria travel from a source outside of the body, up the urethra, and into the bladder it causes an infection in (what should be) a sterile place. Dogs are more prone to UTIs than cats because they pee outside (an uncontrolled environment) often. Females are more likely to experience UTIs than males in most mammals because the urethra is much shorter and wider in females, so bacteria can travel up quickly and easily.



The symptoms for a UTI are very similar in dogs and cats, because of their lifestyle and behavioural differences, however, pet owners need to be on the lookout for different signs.


  • CATS: Will start urinating in places other than their litter box and urinating more frequently. You may also see signs of blood in their urine.
  • DOGS: Will be going outside to pee more often. There may be blood in their urine, but it can be harder for dog owners to spot, unless the dog ends up needing to pee inside.


Both female cats and dogs may lick their vulva more often than normal while experiencing a UTI, but not all pets fall into this behaviour. If the UTI persists and a kidney infection has developed, symptoms extend into drinking more water than usual, not eating, and vomiting.



UTI’s are very painful for dogs and cats, it can also turn into a much bigger infection very quickly. That means you’ll want to bring your pet to your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will perform a urinalysis to confirm a UTI diagnosis. The culture and sensitivity of the urine will be tested as well. The culture will likely be obtained by inserting a syringe directly into the bladder.  This is the quickest, and least painful method on your pet, who is already experiencing significant discomfort.


Testing the sensitivity portion and the culture will help your veterinarian decide which antibiotic is best to use. This is why it’s important to bring your pet to the vet for every possible UTI, because the antibiotic needed may be different each time.


If a kidney infection is suspected, your vet will perform additional bloodwork and/or recommend an abdominal ultrasound.



Antibiotics are the only way to fight a urinary tract infection. Most treatments are 10-14 days long. Your dog or cat should be feeling better within the first five days though. Even if there are signs of improvement, it’s important to continue giving your pet the antibiotics, as the infection often lives on for a week after symptoms disappear.


Be sure to provide your pet with plenty of water during this time, and to keep an eye on their peeing habits, as well as their eating. If symptoms persist or worsen then your vet will likely want to examine your pet again, testing for a kidney infection. These infections are usually much longer to treat, averaging six to eight weeks. A serious kidney infection may require your dog or cat receiving intravenous fluid therapy and be monitored for a few days.



There are no preventive measures to take to avoid occasional UTI’s. Ensuring your dog or cat always has access to fresh water is your best bet. If your pet is experiencing recurrent UTIs, then your veterinarian can recommend supplements to make such infections less likely to occur or strengthen the immune system.   Further diagnostics may also be needed, such as x-rays and ultrasound of the abdomen, to rule out bladder stones.