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Beware: Essential Oils can be very Harmful to Your Pets!

January 16, 2018 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:19 pm

Pet Talk

Beware: Essential Oils can be very Harmful to Your Pets!

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


I found this wonderful article by Natural News on essential oils and your pet.  As Aromatherapy is becoming more widely accepted in the mainstream, more people are using essential oils at home. Unfortunately, as some people are finding out, this is not always having a positive affect on the animals in their lives.


There have been many reports of animals harmed, even dying, from essential oils. Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia, has received a bad rap lately, most likely stemming from the fact that it is so widely available. Well meaning owners have used this oil to treat dermatological afflictions such as bites and scratches, only to end up at the veterinarian’s office with an animal exhibiting signs of toxicity, such as ataxia, in-coordination, weakness, tremors, vomiting or depression.


Misinformation is an enormous problem in this area as well. As an increasing amount of people turn to a more natural approach at life, companies are jumping to cash in. Thousands of products include essential oils in their ingredients; pet products are no different. The average person, unaware of the dangers, can easily think these products would be completely safe when in fact they are not.


Many products for cats also contain essential oils. Unfortunately for the cats, many cat owners are unaware that by using these products, they can slowly cause toxins to build up in the feline’s system, causing a slow onset of organ failure. A cat’s liver cannot process toxins as a human’s or even a dog’s can. The chemical constituents of the oils, such as terpenes, phenols, and ketones, are no exception. The effects of these can be immediate in showing up, or can take years.


Birds are well known for being sensitive to scents and particles in the air, and essential oils are no different. Gillian Willis, a toxicologist in Vancouver, has seen many cases of avian poisoning, including a well-meaning cockatiel owner who, upon seeing an abrasion on her bird’s foot, applied a drop of Tea Tree oil. The bird became depressed and even with veterinary intervention, died within 24 hours of respiratory failure. Even diffusing oils around a bird can produce dire consequences.


Not All Is Lost


While this may all seem daunting to an animal lover who also enjoys the benefits of aromatics, all is certainly not lost. A little knowledge can go a long way while incorporating essential oils in and around your animals.


Choosing Essential Oils:

Purity can be an issue when it comes to essential oils (EO’s). Due to the expense, many essential oils are diluted in other substances.  When you are choosing essential oils to use therapeutically for yourself and your pets, you want only the purest available. To determine this, there are a few key things to look for:


* EO’s should not be oily or leave a greasy residue.


* Packaging should include the common name (Lavender), the Latin binomial (Lavandula angustifolia), the country of origin, the method of distillation, the part of the plant used, lot number, amount of oil in bottle, contact information of the company, how the plant was grown, and the words “100% pure essential oil” or the ingredients, if in a carrier or blend.


* Price usually dictates quality.


* Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.


Using Quality Oils in Homes With Pets:


Once you have your essential oils and are satisfied with the quality, the task then becomes using them correctly.  Remember, just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe.


There are some essential oils that should never be used for animals: Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, or Yarrow, to name a few.


For dogs, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, from bathing to calming the nerves through diffusion. Some points to remember:


* Dogs cannot tell you what is or is not working. As such, you must closely watch their reactions. Excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining are signs to watch for.


* Giving essential oils internally is not generally recommended.


* Gradually introduce the oils.


* What is good for a large dog is not good for a small dog. Size matters, and less is definitely more when working with oils, for animals or humans.


* Never use oils near the eyes, mouth, nose, or genital area.


Felines are especially sensitive. Even dispersing oils or cleaning agents around the house can be detrimental. Make sure that the cat has a way to go into another room, with fresh air to ‘escape’. Oils should never be used topically because of their liver’s inability to process them.


Birds should never be exposed to oils, whether topically or in the air due to their extreme sensitivity.


Fish cannot tolerate oils or floral waters. The oils, not being water-soluble, would end up sticking to the fish, causing a host of problems, up to and many times, including death. Hydrosols each have their own pH levels, and have the possibility of wreaking havoc on the pH levels within the tank, also causing harm to the fish.


An animal lover’s best bet, for the sake of their pet, would be to educate themselves even further. One must be cautioned about searching the net, however, as misinformation is everywhere. Be sure to check the credentials of the writer before following the advice of any site. There are a few good books on the subject, one of my favorites, and the reference for this article, is Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.


Learn more:

Puppy Tips

January 1, 2018 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:00 am

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Puppy Tips

We love our dogs like we love our children, so of course many of us remember our puppies’ “firsts.” Their first toy, the first time they responded to their name, the first time they “went” outside…all have a place in our hearts.

Puppies don’t stay puppies for long, but in their short time as the little bundles of joy we fell in love with, they experience many changes. For this reason, a puppy’s first few months with you will build the foundation of their health and behavior throughout their lives.

It pays to be prepared for these many important firsts. Are you? Here are some firsts you and your puppy will probably experience and my recommendations for how to deal with them.

First teeth: Your puppy will inevitably experience teething as their adult teeth develop. This process makes their gums hurt and makes them want to bite and chew to relieve the pain. To help your puppy during his teething process, provide him with a suitable toy to chew on. If you want to encourage your puppy to chew on this toy, you can smear a tiny bit of peanut butter on it. If the weather is warm enough, you can also provide ice or crushed ice for your puppy to chew on once in a while. The hard surface is great for crunching on, and the cold will numb the puppy’s gums, easing the discomfort temporarily.

First biting: With teething often comes hand biting! Puppies may also bite to play or to get your attention. The very first few times that your puppy bites you, no matter how lightly or playfully he does it, it’s important to react correctly. If a puppy is not deterred from biting when he’s young it becomes more difficult to prevent biting as he gets older. When a puppy bites you, try discouraging the behavior by yelping loudly and withdraw – which is how the puppy’s siblings would react to let the puppy know if he bit too hard during playtime. If your puppy does not stop biting, stop playing with him immediately and do not pay attention to him for several minutes. This teaches him that biting means “playtime is over,” and no puppy wants that!

First learned command: You want your puppy to be well-behaved, so you should begin training as soon as possible. But which command to teach first? “Sit” and “down” are two of the easiest commands to teach and they are good to learn. However, I also recommend that everyone teach their puppy the commands “come” and “stay” before that. These two commands can be important for your puppy’s safety. If your puppy were to get away from you, you need to be able to call him to you or tell him to stay and wait where he is so you can retrieve him safely.

First food: What do you feed your puppy? The right food will make all the difference in your puppy’s health and well-being because it paves the way for a healthy, happy life. It should be food made specifically for puppies (adult dogs need a different set of nutrients and minerals.

I hope some of these tips help you and your puppy – especially if a puppy is a first for you. Give your puppy the right start and your puppy will grow up healthy, strong, and happy.


If you have questions about raising your new puppy contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

5 Tips for Helping Your Cat Exercise

December 24, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 10:35 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


5 Tips for Helping Your Cat Exercise

  1. Make sure kitty has things to climb on, like a multi-level cat tree or tower.
  2. Invest in a laser toy, either an inexpensive one, or something a bit more sophisticated like the Frolicat™ line.
  3. Choose toys and activities that appeal to your cat’s hunting instinct. Neko fly toys are on a wand with an interchangeable toy end. You can put feathers, flys, strings, etc for fun for your cat.
  4. Don’t overlook old standbys, like dragging a piece of string across the floor in view of your cat. Ping-pong balls are another oldie but goodie, along with bits of paper rolled into balls, and any light object that can be made to move fast and in unexpected ways.
  5. I also recommend walking your cat in nice weather using a harness. This gets him out into the fresh air, stimulates his senses and gets his paws in direct contact with the ground. An alternative is a safe, fully enclosed porch or patio area that prevents your cat from getting out and other animals from getting in.


If you have questions about exercising your cat please contact Dr Norette at

Barnie Moe’s Letter to Santa

December 18, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:35 pm

Pet Talk

By dr. Norette L. Underwood


Barnie Moe’s Letter to Santa


This week my adoptive rescue from 2 years ago” Barnie Moe” wanted me to write a letter to Santa not only for him but for all dogs and cats.  He thought pet parents needed guidance on what their furry children really wanted for Christmas and every day as far as that goes.


Dear Santa Paws:


  • I would really like to have Love and lots of petting daily for me and my brother and sisters. Opie, Lucy and Gracie Rose.
  • Healthy treats daily to keep me full of energy between meals. Especially those treats my momma brings home from her veterinary clinic.
  • Make sure the couch has soft beds and warm blankets for us to rest and snuggle on.
  • Keep my fur clean and tangle free. I have lots of fur especially on my feet and those mats in between my toes can sure be painful. Don’t forget to clean the sleep out of my eyes daily.
  • Play with me daily. Lucy, my older sister the lab, loves to fetch toys and bumpers. When you throw for her it is so much fun for us to run and chase her. Like our short legs can catch this long-legged creature.
  • Let me curl up in a lap while you and dad watch TV.
  • Keep the blinds up all day so I can survey my Kingdom. I like to make sure no trespassers such as cars, squirrels, birds, and other dogs don’t invade my space.
  • Don’t fuss when I bark incessantly at anything that moves outside.
  • Teach me to be obedient and mannered so others will love me too.
  • Teach me to go to the bathroom in my designated area.

Genetic testing is a great way to see who my ancestors could be. My mom did this for me. She has info on how others can test their dogs to see what breeds they are.

  • Keep my Toy Basket full of toys that I can squeak, toss and rip to pieces.
  • Santa please make sure that all the less fortunate dogs and cats are safe and warm this Holiday Season.
  • Please donate or adopt from a group that helps unwanted and lost pets receive love and care. Instead of getting me so many toys take some of that money and help some less fortunate pets.
  • Last but not least, I want Officer Corey to know how thankful I am that he brought me to Trumann Animal Clinic. I was so tiny. His kind heart would not let me go into a run with bigger dogs. Animal Nurse Tarsha who took me in just knowing that my momma Dr. Underwood would just had to have me. I am truly blessed to have a wonderful home where I am loved and cared for daily. I wish that all homeless dogs and cats could have a wonderful life like me.
  • Santa please help everyone to please find it in their heart to make a donation to the animal Charity of their choice to help others have a Happy Loving Home like me.


Thank You Santa,

Love Barnie Moe

Holiday Hazards in Your Home

December 11, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:08 pm


Pet Talk

Holiday Hazards in your Home!

By Norette L. Underwood, DVM



Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous to their health.  Pets being the curious creatures that they are, love to play with anything dangling.  They will eat plastic and glass balls.


If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed.


Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe. Lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats.  Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.


Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Be careful with drinks and foods containing alcohol.


With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems:

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.

Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.


Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy.  Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.


Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.


If you have questions about holiday hazards and your pet contact Dr. Norette L Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service and Trumann Animal Clinic at

#wearethebest #veterinarianintrumann #veterinariannearharrisburg #veterinariannearjonesboro


Pet Hair, Pet Hair, Everywhere! What can we do to make it go away?

December 4, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:14 pm

Pet Hair, Pet Hair, Everywhere!  What can we do to make it go away?

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


If you are a pet owner excess hair is your number one concern.  Just how can my pet loose all that hair in my house and still have hair left on its body?  I have three cats and four dogs, one of which is a black Labrador Retriever that sheds incessantly. My three terriers do not really shed, but the lab makes up for their lack of shedding.  I have white tile floors so it is visible all the time.  So as a small animal veterinarian what do I do to control hair loss in my home.

Continue reading and I will give you my formula for decreasing the volume of hair in your environment!


Brush your pet often. Daily brushing is the best thing you can do to decrease unwanted pet fur in your environment.  Not only are you making you making your pet’s coat softer, cleaner and helping with excess hair, you are bonding with your furry friend.


Feed a high quality pet food. Your pet’s hair coat is the outward sign of their over all health.  Your pet is what it eats.


Control fleas and ticks. Infestation with parasites can cause intense itching, which increases scratching. This leads to damage to the skin and hair follicles. Infection and irritation can occur which will cause hair to fall out.


Keep allergies and skin infection under control.   Scratching increases hair loss. It also can cause a skin infection and cause even more fur loss.


Feed a fatty acid supplement prescribed by your veterinarian.  Fatty acids keep your pets fur healthy by decreasing inflammation and keeping the skin barrier healthy.


Bathe your pet every 1-2 weeks in a moisturizing shampoo.  Keeping your pet’s hair coat shinny and clean makes their skin healthier. Plus they feel better when you pet them.


Cover your furniture and car seats.  Fabric is a magnet for pet hair. This will protect your original coverings and help contain pet hair.


Vacuum often.  I have several cordless vacuums located around my house.  This makes removing unwanted pet fur easy and quick.  I also recommend the robotic vacuums. They get under furniture and get that hidden hair you don’t see. Swiffer sweepers are great fur grabbers also.


Regular check ups with your veterinarian.  This will help insure that your pet is not harboring an underlying disease that can contribute to bad skin and fur loss.  Your veterinarian is also an excellent source for tips on shed prevention.


A healthy pet is a happy pet and that a pet’s hair coat is their sign of good health.

If you have questions about your pet contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

Donate to a Canine Health Charity this holiday season!

November 27, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:55 pm
Pet talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood
Donate to a Canine Health Charity this holiday season!
This holiday season why not spread some cheer and love and donate to a canine health nonprofit. These are generally tax deductible.
Several great organizations are:
AKC Canine Health foundation.
This is the largest nonprofit funder of health research focused soley on dogs. Its mission is the One Health Initiative,a movement that links human, animal and environmental health and fosters global collaboration among all health care professionals. Last year they funded nearly 2 million dollars in new grants around the world. These included studies focused on lymphoma, epilepsy and tick-borne diseases. Visit
Arthur L and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation.
Arthur Johnson had a deep passion for German Shepherd Dogs and loved seeing them put to use to help people. In 1990 he started a foundation in honor of his wife, Elaine. They began making grants to assist other organizations in providing Guide dogs. Vist
National Canine Cancer Foundation.
This foundation funds research for cures, better treatments and cost effective diagnostic methods for different canine cancers. The foundations’ website suggests a great idea in giving is to honor a beloved dog, veterinarian or special occassion by making a donation in their behalf. Visit
American Veterinary Medical Foundation.
It has funded more than $10 million in grants. All in pursiut to fulfill its mission of advancing the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health.
The Grey Muzzle Foundation.
This organization funds shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries and other nonprofits across the U.S. to improve the lives of at risk senior dogs. Since 2008 they have funded more than $1 million in grants. Visit
Morris Animal Foundation.
They have invested $44 million in 951 canine studies since 1950. The foundation keeps a focus on animals through lifting up critical scientific research that helps save lives.
If the person that has everything is on your Christmas list maybe a donation in their honor is the purrfect gift.
If you have questions about organizations that benefit animals please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood at

Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

November 20, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:42 pm

Pet Talk

By dr. Norette L. Underwood

 turkeyday pet talk

Fall: Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

Keeping Thanksgiving Happy: 10 Pet Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful and meaningful holiday. Families and friends excitedly gather to show their gratitude for all they are so fortunate to have. Ovens are working overtime and delicious holiday aromas fill the air.

During this happy time of family, food and giving, people tend to become overly generous with their pets. This means that dogs and cats will get a lot of table food scraps. Sometimes, however, too many treats can lead to injury or illness for our pets.

North Shore Animal League America would like to offer some important tips to help keep your pets safe this holiday – and to keep the “Happy” in Thanksgiving!


  1. Fatty Foods: Too many fatty, rich, or unfamiliar foods can give your pet pancreatitis or gastroenteritis; two medical conditions that can be very painful and even life-threatening.
  2. Diet and Exercise: Maintain your pet’s regular meal and exercise schedule and avoid too many holiday leftovers. A disruption in his dietary routine can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and/or vomiting.
  3. Bones: Make no bones about it. Certain bones can lacerate or obstruct your pets’ insides. Save the bones for the broth – not your dog.
  4. Onions:  Onions and onion powder, widely found in stuffing and used as a general seasoning, will destroy your dog or cat’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.
  5. Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage to both dogs and cats.
  6. Chocolate: Chocolate can actually be fatal to your dog or cat; so all those sweets must be kept well out of reach.
  7. Food Wrappings: Aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction. Make sure to place these items securely in the garbage.
  8. Fresh Water: Make sure your pet always has fresh water. When there are more people in the house, there’s more chance to bump into the water bowl leaving your pet dry.
  9. Quiet Time: Make sure your pet has a quiet retreat should the holiday festivities be too much for him. Watch his behavior to make sure he is not stressed.
  10. Garbage: Keep an eye on the garbage and keep it securely fastened! If your dog gets into it, he may think he’s hit the jackpot, but all he’ll be winning is health problems from something as simple as gastric disturbance, vomiting and diarrhea to the worst-case scenario – death.  These tips were from the North Shore League for Animal Rescue Group.


Please be careful with your pets during this holiday season. If you have questions about your pet contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Winter Pet Tips

November 13, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:00 pm

Pet Talk

Winter Pet Tips

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Brrrr—it’s cold outside!  With our temperatures getting ready to drop for old man winter, the following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.


  • Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
  • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give any cat a chance to escape.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags and are micro-chipped.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Consider getting a short-coated dog a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
  • Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, in tip-top shape.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Centermore information.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect. If you have questions about winter weather and your pet, contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Daylight Savings Time and your Pets!

October 30, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 9:28 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Daylight Savings Time and your Pets!

Daylight Savings Time officially ends November 5th at 2 AM. (Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour!) For most of us that means we get an extra hour of sleep and relaxation before starting the day. Did you know that pets can be affected by the time change as well?

Dogs and cats don’t use watches, but they can tell when there is a change in their owner’s behavior.

Much of a pets behavior is linked to our schedules. Your dog might get up when you do, and learn to ask to go outside at a certain point in the morning routine. They might even learn other behaviors depending on yours. (One client of mine, a little Boston Terrier named Rez, has learned to go back to bed when she sees her owner picking up her purse to leave. Aren’t dogs smart?) 

Dogs thrive on schedules. Cats are more flexible. When those schedules are disrupted it can cause changes in their behavior. An extra hour in bed for you might mean your dog wakes up at the same time needing to go to the bathroom or to eat breakfast. If you’re not careful it can seem like you woke up to a dog who has lost all their training. 
Keep a close eye on your dog or cat for any changes in their behavior after the time change. If they seem to be more anxious or are having more accidents than normal, try getting up an hour earlier and seeing if the behavior continues. Of course, you might get lucky and have a dog or cat who will appreciate the extra hour of sleep, too.

If you have questions about pet care contact Dr. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic at