Wednesday, November 30, 2016

AAHA Celebration!

Piper Glen Animal Hospital has been proudly accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) for the fourteenth year in a row! 
On Thursday, November 10th, 2016 we voluntarily participated in an evaluation program on our standards of care and passed with flying colors! The AAHA is an international association of more than 42,000 veterinary care providers who treat companion animals. Established in 1933, AAHA is well known among veterinarians and pet owners for its standards for hospitals and pet health care. Approximately 15% of veterinary hospitals in North America voluntarily participate in the AAHA hospital evaluation program and are accredited. Consultants regularly visit these hospitals to ensure compliance with AAHA’s standards for services and facilities.
AAHA is the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the United States and Canada. AAHA-accredited hospitals are evaluated on 900 standards in the following areas:
  • Quality of care
  • Diagnostic and pharmacy                                                                         
  • Management
  • Medical records
  • Facility
Why is it important to you, the pet owner, that Piper Glen Animal Hospital is an AAHA-accredited practice? Because being an AAHA-accredited practice means the following:
  • The standards require hospitals to provide diagnostic services (X-ray and laboratory) so that they can quickly and accurately diagnose your pet.
  • The standards focus on the quality of care in the areas of anesthesia, contagious diseases, dentistry, pain management, patient care, surgery, and emergency care.
  • Accredited hospitals have an onsite pharmacy (another standards area) so they can begin treatment immediately.
  • AAHA standards also require that medical records be thorough and complete, which helps our veterinarians better understand your pet’s medical history and how past health issues might be impacting their current medical status.
The standards developed and published by AAHA are widely accepted as those components of veterinary practice that represent high quality care. The standards are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain consistent with evolving knowledge and technology.
Accreditation helps veterinary hospitals stay on the leading edge of veterinary medicine and provide the quality and range of services you and your pet deserve. AAHA reminds pet owners that they can help pets live healthier and longer lives by taking their pets to the veterinarian for annual physical exams, vaccinations, and dental care, as well as providing pets with fresh water, a balanced diet, and exercise.
Piper Glen Animal Hospital is dedicated to providing the best care possible for your pet. For this reason, we are a voluntary member of the AAHA and challenge ourselves to pass their rigorous tests in order to ensure that we are meeting our mission, vision, and values.
You can visit for information regarding AAHA and what it means for your pet.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Safety For Pets


Halloween is celebrated in various countries around the world on October 31st. It is usually a night to dress up in costumes, where children go door to door “Trick or Treating” for candy. It is also a time for theme and costume parties and carries many traditions such as adorning houses with spooky decorations, carving pumpkins into Jack-o-Lanterns, bobbing for apples, playing pranks, visiting haunted houses and attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror movies. The modern imagery of Halloween as a spooky holiday with its themes of death and decay, evil spirits and monsters coming to life, and filled with frightening imagery and symbols have become the modern commercial incarnation of an ancient religious celebration.

Modern day Halloween evolved from a traditional Celtic celebration held the evening before the Christian feast of All Hallows Day, a day dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints and martyrs. It was Irish immigrants who brought the custom not only to North America, but to other parts of Great Britain, Australia, and parts of Asia, and Africa during British colonialism. While the more iconic and commercial elements of modern-day Halloween are largely influenced by the North American traditions that developed in the early 19th century, the exact traditions observed can vary greatly from country to country. In some countries like Australia, New Zealand and parts of the UK, celebrating Halloween is not as mainstream as in Canada, the US, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore, but slowly seems to be gaining popularity. No matter where in the world you live, if you celebrate Halloween in all its modern-day frightening glory, make sure you take a moment to think about how celebrating the traditions of the holiday might affect your pets and take note of a few tips to keep them safe.

Halloween Candy is NOT for pets!
Children look forward to the haul of candy they get from Trick or Treating all year. However, make sure that any and all candy is kept out of reach from curious wet noses. All forms of chocolate can be extremely toxic, even fatal for pets to consume. Candy that is artificially sweetened with Xylitol can also be toxic for dogs if ingested. And if pets get into the Halloween stash and eat it, wrappers and all, the foil and cellophane packaging can cause internal blockages, stomach upsets and more. Err on the side of caution, and keep all of the Halloween treats safely out of your pet’s reach.

Think carefully about costumes
 Dressing up your furry friend for Halloween can seem like the cutest idea ever! But be smart when it comes to dressing up your pet. Make sure any costume choice is not too tight and does not restrict or prohibit any type of movement. Check that it also does not interfere with their range of vision or hearing. Look for any small or easily removable pieces like buttons or accessories that pets could tug off and ingest. If using any type of dye or paint is absolutely necessary, look for ones that are non-toxic and even ingestible, or ones made specifically for animals, so that if your pet ingests it while grooming they do not get sick. Try on your pet’s costume in advance of the big day; if they seem to react badly to it, acting distressed or showing abnormal behavior, consider forgoing the full costume for a festive bandanna instead.

Keep your pet safely inside during Halloween
Even a dog that is good with children and strangers can get overwhelmed or scared if your neighborhood gets busy with ghosts and goblins overtaking the streets on Halloween night.  Keeping all your pets confined safely inside during Halloween can be a good idea for many reasons. The sight of scary creatures your pet does not know or understand may scare them and set off their protective instincts, causing them to react in aggressive ways. Just having them loose inside the house can pose issues; with the doorbell constantly ringing and people knocking, shouting “TICK OR TREAT” at their owners dressed as puzzling and unknown beings can make your pets territorial, anxious, and upset. Even a well-behaved pet may dart outside during an opening of the door, and Halloween is not an evening you want to be searching the neighborhood for your escaped furry friend. Keeping them somewhere out of the way, like a bedroom upstairs out of sight of the door, and turning on a TV or radio to drown out the sounds of Halloween can make the evening easier on your pet.
If you do decide to take your dog out during Halloween, make sure they are on a secure leash and kept close to you and under control at all times. The sight of frightening creatures out and about in their neighborhood may cause a usually-friendly dog to bark, growl or snap at an unsuspecting reveler coming in for a friendly pet, or take off across the street after a perceived threat.
You may want to consider not leaving your pets outside for extended periods of time on their own around and during Halloween. It is a time that pranksters and troublemakers of all kinds come out looking for mischief, and even if you think your dog is safe in your own yard, you would hate to be mistaken should anything happen. If you have an outdoor cat, it can be a good idea to keep them inside for a few days as well, protected from any pranksters and animal cruelty-related incidents.

Keep your pet’s safety in mind when decorating.
Going all out with festive decorations can be a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday, but make sure your d├ęcor is pet-friendly. Keep any electrical cords and wires tucked away or taped down so they can be chewed on. Remember that lit jack-o-lanterns can become a fire hazard with the swipe of a tail. Those spooky spider webs can get caught in fur, faces, and paws pretty easily. Pumpkins, gourds, and decorative corn husks, while usually nontoxic, can still cause stomach upset if ingested.
Halloween can be an exciting holiday to celebrate, but take a few moments to consider your pet’s safety, to make sure the whole family has a frighteningly good time!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Brushing Your Cat's Teeth - How To Video!


  • Teaching your cat to accept brushing will take some training, but will be very beneficial to the cat once he is accustomed to the process. Daily brushing is most beneficial and will help to establish a routine for your pet, but brushing twice a week is acceptable if your schedule can’t accommodate daily brushing.
  • Choose a quiet time and place to start the brushing.
  • It is best to teach your cat to accept brushing while he or she is still a kitten. If you have an older cat, the process may take a little longer.
  • Hold your cat securely in your lap.
  • Start by rubbing your finger or a soft cloth over the cat’s teeth in a back-and-forth motion. Be careful to stay on the outsides of the cheek teeth to avoid being bitten by accident.
  • Once the cat is comfortable with this, you may try letting him or her taste a little bit of toothpaste from your finger. Pet toothpaste is recommended and is very appetizing to most cats and may make brushing more enjoyable for them. Human toothpaste should not be used as it can result in your cat having an upset stomach.
  • Once the cat has accepted the taste of the toothpaste, apply a small amount to a toothbrush and begin by placing your free hand over your cat’s head with your thumb and index finger on opposite sides of your cat’s upper jaw. Gently raise your cat’s lip on one side and begin by brushing one or two cheek teeth. A human inter-dental toothbrush works well for most cats. With this type of toothbrush, it should be placed right along the gum-line and used in a straight back-and-forth motion. Start from the back and work toward the midline of the jaw. In order to brush the lower teeth, this requires opening your cat’s mouth just a little. This can be done by gently tilting your cat’s head backward while holding onto his or her upper jaw with your thumb and index finger of your free hand.
  • Gradually work up to brushing all of the teeth (this will probably take several days). Make sure you reach the big teeth at the back of the mouth.
  • Generally, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be cleaned because the tongue tends to remove plaque from the inner surfaces.
  • Try to brush for approximately 30 seconds per side.
  • A cat’s mouth houses plenty of harmful bacteria, so it is a good idea to wash your hands and the toothbrush thoroughly when you are done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Brushing Your Dog's Teeth - How To Video!

Teaching your dog to accept brushing will take some training, but will be very beneficial to the dog once he is accustomed to the process. Daily brushing is most beneficial and will help to establish a routine for your pet, but brushing twice a week is acceptable if your schedule can’t accommodate daily brushing.


  • Choose a quiet time and place to start the brushing.
  • It is best to teach your dog to accept brushing while he or she is still a puppy. If you have an older dog, the process may take a little longer.
  • First, call your dog to you in a friendly voice.
  • Start by rubbing your finger or a soft cloth over the dog’s teeth in a back-and-forth motion.
  • Once your dog is comfortable with this, you may try letting him or her taste a little bit of toothpaste from your finger. Pet toothpaste is recommended and is very appetizing to most pets. It may make brushing more enjoyable for them. Human toothpaste should not be used as it can result in the pet having an upset stomach.
  • Once your dog has accepted the taste of the toothpaste, apply a small amount to a toothbrush and begin by raising your dog’s lip with your free hand, then brushing one or two cheek teeth in a straight back-and-forth motion. Try to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth, with the bristles pointing toward the gumline. You will need to open the dog’s mouth slightly in order to reach the lower gumline.
  • Work from the back teeth toward the midline of your dog’s mouth, then switch to the other side.
  • Gradually work up to brushing all of the teeth (this will probably take several days). Make sure you reach the big teeth at the back of the mouth.
  • Generally, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be cleaned because the tongue tends to remove plaque from the inner surfaces.
  • Try to brush for approximately 30 seconds per side.
  • Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise and offer a treat after brushing. This will make the experience more positive and will make it easier to brush the next time.
  • A dog’s mouth houses plenty of harmful bacteria, so it is a good idea to wash your hands and the toothbrush thoroughly when you are done.

Brushing is a great way to manage your dog's oral health at home, but be sure to check with your veterinarian if your dog could benefit from a professional dental cleaning!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Benefits of Walking Your Dog (For National Walk Your Dog Week)

When you say, “It’s time to walk the dog,” many people assume that your pup needs to potty. Yes, walking the dog is essential to keeping the household carpet unblemished, but taking a stroll with your pooch provides many other benefits.

How does walking keep my dog healthy? 

Walking your dog is a simple task that has a positive impact on many aspects of overall health such as:
Weight and body condition
Obesity is a major health issue, but barring medical complications, it has a reasonable solution: burn more calories than consumed. Regular exercise, like walking, is a good way to burn those excess calories and keep the pounds off both you and your dog.
Joint health
Immobility is another common health problem. Joints, even old ones, need to work. People and pets get stiff when sedentary for too long, and keeping joints in motion improves their function.
Digestive/urinary health
Regular walking helps regulate the digestive tract. Some dogs, like some people, prefer to “go” on a schedule, and providing your dog with routine trips outdoors prevents constipation. Also, when urine sits in the bladder for long periods of time, bladder infections are more likely to occur, so regular emptying keeps this part of the anatomy happy as well.
Of course, it’s important to consult your doctor and your veterinarian before embarking on an exercise program.

Can’t my dog get all of those benefits with a good run around the yard?

There are plenty of benefits to walking that go beyond physical health. For example:
Mental health
Dogs don’t like to be bored and if you give them something constructive to do, like take a walk, they may be less likely to do something destructive, like chew the couch. Walking exercises the mind as well as the body. Watching wildlife, exploring new paths, seeing other people with their pets, and so on, are great mental stimulation for your dog that he just can’t get in the same fenced area all the time. Walking also releases excess energy and helps dogs sleep better at night.
Emotional health
You are the center of your dog’s universe and he craves your attention. What better way to spend quality time with your dog than taking a walk? Spending one-on-one time with your dog will deepen your bond and help deter annoying, attention-seeking behaviors such as excessive barking or whining.
Personal health
Many people need outside motivation to work out, and may depend on an exercise buddy to get them off the couch. What happens when your exercise partner gets stuck at work or stuck in traffic or has another commitment? Your dog is only committed to one thing… you! That makes him the perfect exercise partner. He’s always available and willing to accompany you on a walk.

Dog walkers: healthier people with healthier dogs

As you can see, regular walking has health benefits for both you and your dog and will help prevent obesity, which is a significant problem in both species.
It’s estimated that 1 in 3 Americans is overweight and childhood obesity is on the rise. In a study based in Seattle and Baltimore, adults who regularly walked their dogs were approximately 25% less likely to be obese than their non dog-owning neighbors. And in children, dog ownership reduced the risk of obesity by half. Walking the dog may be more fun than computer games! In addition, walking for 30 minutes a day will reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Canine obesity is a problem, too. It’s estimated that over 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight. The fact is that obese dogs don’t live as long as lean dogs. Plus they suffer more heart problems and joint ailments that affect their quality of life. It’s true that dogs may exercise themselves if left in a fenced in yard, but, like us, they have a tendency to plop down in the shade instead of romping, especially if there’s no one to play with. However, if given the chance, they will gladly go for a walk with their owners!

How much should we walk?

According to the World Health Organization, children 5-17 years old should receive 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Adults 18-65 years old should engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week and engage in strengthening exercises twice weekly. Seniors over 65 should also participate in moderate exercise 5 days a week and add flexibility and balance routines.
Walking your dog is a great start to fulfilling these recommendations. In fact, research at the University of Western Australia illustrated that while only 4 out of 10 people achieve 150 minutes of weekly exercise, 7 out of 10 dog owners reached that goal. Go dog walkers!

How do we get started?

Many people make a New Year’s resolution to exercise. What can you do to stick to your resolution? Make a reasonable exercise plan that doesn’t overwhelm you by including your best exercise buddy. Formulating a reasonable walking schedule that doesn’t over tax your body or crowd your busy schedule will help you stay on target, and including your dog will motivate you to get going.
Start out slowly by taking a few 10 minute practice walks around the neighborhood. When you – and your dog – are ready, increase the time and distance. Try to walk for a total of 30 minutes each day – and it doesn’t have to be all in one outing. You can take a 10 minute walk in the morning before work and add a 20 minute stroll when you get home. On weekends, you can vary the routine, perhaps doing three 10 minute sessions. Regardless of the schedule, strive for 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Keep the routine interesting by walking in different areas that provide visual interest for both you and your dog. Or substitute a game of fetch or a romp in the park if you feel up to it. The goal is to make exercise a priority that holds a scheduled spot in each day so that you feel less likely to weasel out of the plan. It won’t take long for your dog to get used to the routine and may remind you when it’s time to exercise. That’s why canines are great exercise companions!
Dog owners who like to mark their progress can download a walking calendar or exercise app or utilize one of the popular electronic tracking devices that record daily steps and caloric history (calories consumed vs. burned). Sometimes seeing the numbers provides additional motivation to walk a little further or validates your efforts when you reach your goal.

Rewarding your efforts

Some humans like to be rewarded for their workout efforts, so they grab a cookie or have a beer after exercising. After walking your dog, you may find his grateful, calorie-free affection is all the reward you need. And your dog will feel the same way! A simple stroll is a great way to say, “I love you!”
This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How To: Giving Your Cat A Pill (Video Post)

This month is also home to National Pet Wellness Month. Sometimes keeping your pet healthy means having to give life long medications for specific health issues. Cats specifically can be difficult to medicate, but we have some tips on how to do it successfully! 

The easiest way to give your cat a pill is to hide the pill in food. This usually works best if the pill is hidden in a small amount of tuna or cream cheese. To ensure that the pill is actually taken, it is best to give a small amount of food that the cat is certain to eat rather than a large portion that the cat may not complete. Some cats may spit out the pill, so it is important to monitor this activity. If your cat persists in spitting out the pills or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding the pills in an appealing treat, you will need to administer the pill directly into the cat’s mouth.


  • Prepare the environment so that you have a safe place to handle your cat. Have the pill ready and in a place where it will be easily accessible.
  • If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. You may need to have someone assist you in restraining your cat by wrapping it in a blanket with only the head exposed.
  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
  • Grease the pill with a very small amount of margarine or butter so it doesn’t stick in your cat’s mouth or throat.
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger.
  • Gently grasp your cat’s head from above with your other hand, by placing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Tilt the cat’s head back over its shoulder so that its nose points to the ceiling. The jaw should drop open slightly.
  • With your pilling hand, use your little finger and ring finger to open the cat’s mouth further by gently putting pressure on the lower front teeth.
  • Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible.
  • Close the cat’s mouth and hold it closed while you return the head to a normal position.
  • Gently rub the cat’s nose or throat, or blow lightly on the nose. This should stimulate swallowing.
  • If you have trouble with this method of opening the mouth, try placing the cat on a table. Hold the cat by the scruff of the neck and lift the front paws off of the table. The mouth will open. Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible, as in the previous method.
Here's a quick 2 minute video demonstrating how it's done. 

If you're still having trouble, don't hesitate to call our office and ask for a personal demonstration with your kitty and one of our veterinary assistants. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

FALL in love this season

October has many National Pet Holidays (which we will highlight individually throughout the month) and today we are going to feature Adopt-A-Dog Month! 

Here are some great adoption tips from the ASPCA if you are interested in adding to your family!

Caring for a companion animal goes far beyond providing food, water and shelter. It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home, and to make sure your lifestyle is the right one for your pet. Read on for tips to prepare yourself, as well as your home, for a new furry friend.

Are You Ready to Adopt?When adopting, you are making a commitment to care for an animal for the rest of his life—that could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats. As you go through lifestyle changes such as moves, the birth of children and new jobs, your animal will remain a permanent part of your life. If circumstances change, will you still be able to care for your pet?
  • Owning a dog or cat costs more than the initial adoption fee. Food, veterinary care, spaying or neutering and proper identification—that means a collar with tags and a more permanent form of ID such as microchipping—can add up.
  • Time is also a factor. Dogs benefit from several hours of exercise and companionship every day. Cats are healthiest and happiest indoors and love to be treated to energetic play sessions. If your work demands that you travel often, or if you're out of the house most days and evenings, this may not be the right time to adopt.
  • It is important to consider whether your children, along with your resident pets, are able to accommodate the addition of a cat or dog to your household.
Which Pet Is Right for You?Your personality and lifestyle, along with challenges such as space restrictions and amount of time spent at home, should be explored to determine what pet is right for your household. Research different breeds and ask shelter staffers for guidance—they're experts at making perfect matches!

If You’re Considering Adopting a Dog 
Loyal and loving, dogs are social animals who thrive on being upstanding members of their families.
  • If there are young children in your home, a puppy may not be your best bet. You may want to consider adopting a medium-sized dog over five months of age.
  • It is a good idea to draw up a schedule of who in the family will help with the care of your new dog, including walking, playing, feeding and grooming.
  • Don’t forget to have your new friend spayed or neutered.

Preparing Your Home for a New DogWhether it's tightly sealing your garbage cans or paying attention to dangerous decorations during the holidays, you'll need to make your home safe before adopting. That includes keeping toxic foods, pet-unfriendly plants and dangerous household items out of paw's reach. Here are some suggestions for preparing your home to welcome a new canine companion.
  • Put a cozy bed for your pet in every room. Pets are much more likely to keep off of furniture if they have attractive alternatives.
  • Avoid vertical blinds, pooling drapery, ornate tassels and long cords that can become strangulation hazards.
  • It may be a good idea to roll up and store decorative rugs until your new dog is fully house-trained.
  • Use dog crates and gates to confine your new dog when home alone until his house manners earn him unsupervised freedom.
  • Provide plenty of “legal” things for your dog to chew. If he has attractive toys and bones of his own, he’ll be much less likely to gnaw on your things!

Ready to do this? Visit the Charlotte SPCA website for a list of adoption events going on this month! Can't adopt? Here's are ways to help spread awareness from Petfinder! 

  • Donate your Facebook status. Just paste this message into the “What’s on your mind?” box at the top of your page: “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Save a life: Adopt a dog! #savedogs Find yours at 
  • Tweet  “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Save a life: Adopt a dog! #savedogs
  • Contact your local shelter or rescue group (you can search for groups near you here) and ask if they have a donation wish list or other flyer they’d like to you to post around your office or neighborhood. They may be holding special events for Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month which you can help promote.
  • Share an adoptable dog or a Petfinder dog-adoption Happy Tail on your blog, Facebook or Twitter page each day of the month.
  • Sign up as a foster parent or shelter volunteer then tell your friends how great it is. Contact your local shelter or rescue group to find out how you can help.
  • Add a Petfinder widget or banner to your Web site or blog.
  • Write an op-ed about the importance of pet adoption for your local paper.
  • Contact your local shelter or rescue group and offer to photograph their adoptable pets and upload the pics to Petfinder.
  • Donate to your local shelter or rescue group or to the Foundation in honor of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.
  • Pass on an understanding of the importance of pet adoption to the next generation. Talk to your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and other up-and-comers about animal shelters and why Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, and pet adoption in general, is important.