Spring time, Allergy Time

Spring is right around the corner, at least that is what we are hoping for. 

For many out there, Spring is also the beginning of the dreaded allergy season.

Did you know that our pets can also suffer from seasonal allergies?

Commonly known as Atopy, it is the most common type of allergy in pets and it is usually seasonal.  In the Spring, our pets come in contact with seasonal allergens such as airborne mould, pollens and dust as it begins to float in the air. 

Signs:                       Chewing/Licking at feet

                                    Reddened ears

                                    Reoccurring ear infections with odor

                                    Excessive scratching of ears

                                    Redness and Inflammation of skin

                                    Severe itchiness

                                    Sores and scabs from scratching

Severe signs:       Breathing issues (more likely in cats)

There is a concern that due to constant scratching that it will inflame the skin which could cause a secondary infection on the skin.  This can be known as the itch-scratch- itch cycle.  This can cause hair loss, scabbing, skin having a crusty appearance and onset of infection.  Once the skin has reached this point it needs to be treated by your veterinarian. 

A veterinarian will be able to assess the level of irritation and work towards identifying the cause.  This may require looking at other allergy causing agents like food, detergents. Your Veterinarian will look at timing of the onset of symptoms as well as where are the most affected areas.  Typically Atopy Dermatitis is located on the feet, groin, face and ears.  Allergies may not be curable for your pet but they can be treated. 

Some of the treatment options that your vet may suggest:

Treatment:                  Medicated baths

                                    Supplements such as Omega for skin & coat

                                    Antibiotics for secondary skin infection

                                    Steroid injection (your vet will weigh the pros vs. cons)

Unlike some allergens which can be avoided, such as food type allergies, it can be impossible to control outside factors like pollens as they are carried in the air.  Seeking Veterinarian advice and following treatment will help reduce the degree of irritation and also any pain that your pet could be feeling. 

Then you and your pet can concentrate on what is really important.  The warmer weather.

Be Safe, Be Healthy & Be Happy,

Krista DeCarle

Royal Pooch Pet Services

Pet First Aid Instructor for Walks ‘N’ Wags




Citizen Pet Article "Poisons"

Humans like to prepare for any situation that we may encounter.  We stock our cars in the winter with blankets, sand and flares for the event we break down.  Medicine cabinets usually have band aids, muscle creams, pain meds, just in case we experience an illness.  Now think about your furry companions; what do you have prepared for your cat or dog if an emergency were to occur?  Would you know what to do?

In a day and age where our pets can live longer, we socialize our pets with other pets and where they have become more a part of our families, we should also take the responsibility to know how to care for our pets if an emergency were to occur.  In no way by learning Pet First Aid is it to replace regular medical attention from a veterinarian.  Pet first aid is to give animal lovers the skills to assist in a first responder capacity until veterinarian attention can be accessed.  The students that have attended my pet first aid classes range from the novice pet owner, pet owners with accident prone pets, members of animal charities, employees of doggie daycares, etc.  All of the students have the same goal which is to ensure they are equipped to give the best care possible to the animals they are responsible for.

As we start to move into the colder weather and the holiday season quickly approaches we also enter a time where we should be a little more vigilant with our pets.  Whether due to carelessness or ignorance, the majority of the time when our pets are poisoned it is due to human error.  Although poisons can be ingested, absorbed, inhaled and injected I am going to just discuss the ones that are ingested as this is the most common. 

Chocolate – The darker and less sweet the chocolate the more dangerous it is.  It contains the highest methylxanthines (like theobromine and caffeine).

Caffeine – found in coffee, chocolate, chocolate covered coffee beans, tea, pops, diet pills and weight supplements. Small amounts may not have enough caffeine to cause poisoning but moderate amounts can cause death in small dogs or cats.

Alcohol – most people know that you shouldn’t give your pet alcoholic drinks, but don’t forget about the rum balls, rum soaked fruitcake where the alcohol is not burnt off in the baking process.

Hand/foot warmers – contains iron which consumed in higher amounts can be very toxic.

Macadamia Nuts – high phosphorus content is believed to cause bladder stones.

Yeast Dough – can cause a build up of gas in your pet’s digestive system.  In some cases this can be very painful and can cause stomach to intestine ruptures.  In some cases can result in GDV “bloat” which can cause death within hours.

Raw Eggs – can contain the bacteria of Salmonella and E. coli that can be just as harmful to pets as it is to humans.  As well raw eggs can contain an enzyme – avidin – that begins to block vitamin B which can cause coat and skin problems.

Xylitol – it is a sweetener in gum, candy and toothpaste.  Can cause increased insulin to be released which can lead to hypoglycemia and then liver failure.  As little as a few pieces of gum can begin to cause issues in a 20 pound dog.

Salt – can lead to sodium poisoning.  Found in day to day table salt, salted nuts, chips, de-icers.

Batteries – whether it’s chewing on the remote control or getting the new batteries for the wrapped gifts under the tree it can cause ulcerated burns.  If a battery is punctured there is that risk that alkaline to leak out. 

Glow Jewelry – great little necklaces, bracelets for kid’s stockings but can be dangerous to our pets.  Contains dibutyl phthalate which isn’t highly toxic but till a toxin.  Especially with cats since they end up ingesting more because of cleaning their fur and paws more than their dog counterpart.

Antifreeze – smells and tastes sweet.  As little as a tablespoon can cause kidney failure in a dog and as little as a teaspoon can cause kidney failure in a cat.

Ice Melt – as it contains sodium or salt like ingredients.

Poinsettia, Holly & Mistletoe- are actually considered mildly toxic to cats and dogs, but still toxic.

How many of these were you unaware of?  If you are ever unsure if an item is poison for your cat or dog contact your veterinarian.  They are more than happy to ensure you and your pet have a great healthy winter and holiday season.

Krista DeCarle

Royal Pooch Pet Services

Pet First Aid Instructor for Walks ‘N’ Wags







Pet First Aid item to have on hand

Sterile gauze

Gauze bandages

Tensor bandages

Triangular bandages

Latex gloves

Medical tape

Vet wrap


Scissors – I prefer medical scissors with flat edge to deter accidental cuts

Cold pack



Your veterinarian’s and emergency phone numbers


To learn what these items are for and how to use them I invite you to join me for one of my pet first aid classes.  Mention this article and receive 15% off your sign up.


7 Tips to a Healthier Pet

Working with pets and teaching Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid, I hear a lot of questions and concerns regarding keeping our pets healthy.  Although there are no guarantees with health, there are some tips that we can do to support a healthy life with our pets.  These are just some of the items we cover in class as we discuss much more items in depth.

1.   Regular Vet Care - Veterinarians are there not only for emergencies but to guide you on proper nutrition, medical treatments and day to day preventative care.  Usually it is less expensive to prevent a disease than treat it if it has been left undiagnosed. 

2.   Vaccinations – vaccinations can prevent a disease such as Rabies which attacks the brain and nervous system.  Frequency of vaccinations should be discussed with your vet as over the past few years theories have changed on whether or not they should be given annually or can be left longer. *Rabies is still every three years*

3.   Neutering and Spaying -   The advantages outweigh the disadvantages on this topic.  It prevents unwanted litters, reduces aggression and reduces risk of certain Cancers.  Just a few of the major advantages.  The disadvantages; eliminates breeding, prevents having the pet in a showing as they require intact animals and requires surgery with anaesthetic.

4.   Exercise - It is essential to maintaining good health.  It helps prevent obesity, reduces the risk of heart disease, decreases risk of diabetes and also increases your health when you walk them!  The amount of exercise depends on the health of your pet, age and breed.  Your cat needs to exercise as well.  Sure you might not take them out for a walk but why not try the laser pointer or other cat toy that gets them moving.

5.   Teeth and Gum care – It will not only prevent bad breath but also help in preventing gum infections, preventing infections entering the bloodstream and ultimately affecting the organs.  With proper technique and practice you will be able to brush your dog/cat’s teeth on a regular basis.  *Remember to never use human toothpaste as it can poison your pet*

6.   Nutrition – There are a variety of vet brands and commercial made pet food that can be great choices for your pet.  Consider these things when looking at food:  The breed of your pet, your pet’s age, how active they are, their current health and the food’s ingredients.  You also need to be comfortable in what you can afford for your pet.  No one expects you to spend more on your pet’s food than what you can afford to spend on your own food.

7.   Environment – Always provide clean water; think about it, would you drink from the same glass with the same water for days?  Clean that litter box!  Clean bedding regularly as dirty bedding can hide things like fleas and parasites.  Ensure they have adequate shelter for the elements.  We all know how Calgary can have the four seasons in 24 hours.

Each of these 7 tips are very important and can help increase the likelihood of your pet having a long, happy and healthy life with you.