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Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!

June 26, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 10:37 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette Underwood

Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!

Fireworks are enjoyed year-round by people but can be a source of fear for many animals.

It doesn’t have to be that way though, so don’t ignore the problem. Seek advice from your veterinarian about behavior or drug therapy to make this a not so frightening experience for your pet.

Keeping cats and dogs secure

  • Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a crate or in a closet.
  • Be sure and walk your dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
  • At nightfall close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.
  • If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behavior. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.
  • Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared, as this will only make things worse in the long run.
  • Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet micro chipped in case they do escape. 
Just for dogs – before the firework season starts 
Planning ahead can help your dog cope with the firework season. 
Talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog; in some cases your vet may even prescribe medication. If either of these options is used they should be used in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Before the firework season starts provide your dog with a doggy safe haven, this should be a quiet area so choose one of the quietist rooms in your home. It should be a place where the animal feels it is in control, so don’t interfere with it when it’s in that area. Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences e.g. by leaving toys there but not imposing yourself at any time. Use a variety of toys and swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your dog doesn’t become bored with them. With time your dog can learn that this place is safe and enjoyable. So when fireworks happen it may choose to go here because it knows that when it is here, no harm will come to it and so it’s more able to cope. It is important that your dog has access to its doggy safe haven at all times even when you’re not at home.

Just for dogs – when the fireworks start

  • Close any windows and black out the ‘doggy play area’ to remove any extra problems caused by flashing lights.
  • Each evening before the fireworks begin, move your dog to the play area and provide toys and other things that they enjoy. Make sure that there are things for you to do too so that your dog isn’t left alone.
  • Ignore the firework noises yourself. Try doing something with your pet to distract them. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
  • If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and which gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two together during the evenings may help your dog to realize that there’s no need to be afraid. 
Sounds Scary – for dogs 
In the long term your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. With proper treatment this is possible so that the next firework season will be less stressful for you and your dog. 
We recommend slowly introducing your dog to the sounds they do not like.


Just for cats

  • Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if it wants to. For example this may be under some furniture or in a quiet corner.
  • Don’t try and tempt your cat out, as this will cause it to become more stressed. 
Don’t forget small animals
    • If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well soundproofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.
    • Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.
    • If you have questions about fireworks and your pet. Contact dr. Norette Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Moble Service at Happy 4th of July.
Acknowledgement for part of this information is made to Prof Daniel Mills.

Is Talking Baby Talk Beneficial for your Puppy?

June 19, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:59 pm


Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Is Talking Baby Talk Beneficial for your Puppy?



I thought this was a very interesting debate. I found this article and wanted to share with my pet talk readers. This article was authored by Cari Romm on


There are of course exceptions to every rule, but most of the time, when faced with a baby, adults will find themselves slipping into a slower, higher-pitched, more repetition-prone version of their normal speech patterns: Hiiii there! Hiiii. Who’s the cutest baby? Is it you? Say what you want about how baby talk makes adults sound silly, it really does serve a purpose: Research has shown that it helps infants absorb words more easily than when you speak to them in a normal tone.


And according to a new study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a similar dynamic may be at play with puppies — the other group that causes us to lapse into that same cutesy voice. In the first part of the experiment, volunteers viewed images of puppies and adult dogs and recorded a piece of prewritten dialogue as though they were speaking directly to the dogs in the photos: “Hi! Hello cutie! Who’s a good boy? Come here! Good boy! Yes! Come here sweetie pie! What a good boy!” (For a control, the study authors also had them say the same few lines in their normal voices.) In the second part, the researchers played the recordings back to dogs — some borrowed from shelters and some belonging to humans who volunteered their pets — and observed how they reacted to the sound of the human voice.

The takeaways here are twofold: First, when the researchers ran an acoustical analysis on their voice recordings, they discovered that the participants altered their pitch depending on the age of the dog in question. In general, people spoke more slowly and at a higher pitch when addressing a dog than when they were speaking in their regular tone of voice, but the difference was especially pronounced when they were talking to puppies. Which, incidentally, works out well for the puppies: While older dogs were equally responsive to high-pitched and normal recordings, younger ones seemed particularly engaged when they were listening to people baby-talk in their direction.

The study authors didn’t have a firm conclusion as to why that was the case, but they speculated that, as with humans, talking high and slow “may be efficient to promote word learning, an ability well demonstrated in dogs” — which, they argued, is the same reason why we do it in the first place: Our minds lump dogs together with babies as “nonverbal companions,” entities that only kinda sorta maybe understand what we’re saying.

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




Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

June 12, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:47 pm

Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

Most soaps and detergents contain chemicals called ionic and anionic surfactants. Regular laundry detergent is not as highly concentrated as a pod. When your pet ingests regular detergent it is more dilute and they can quickly get rid of the taste by licking and drooling. Laundry pods are very highly concentrated and cause much more irritation to your pet’s mouth. They cannot rid the taste easily so they may paw at their mouth excessively and drool profusely.We all love laundry pods because of their ease of use.  Pets love them too. Dogs think they are brightly colored chew toys and cats like to bat them around like a hockey puck.


However, laundry pods present a new danger.  It was first noticed that young children were developing serious respiratory issues after biting into the highly concentrated, pre-packaged laundry detergent pods (some that look like candy and come in brightly colored packages).

Not surprisingly, Pet Poison Helpline has noticed some severe clinical signs in dogs and cats exposed to these pods as well. Of the cases reported to the Pet Poison Helpline over the past 2 years, 72.19% of pets developed clinical signs. In order of prevalence, 84.4% of symptomatic cases experienced vomiting, 21.48% experienced cough, 17% experienced lethargy, and 13.3% experienced dyspnea, wheezing, or other respiratory irritation.

The reason for the increased severity between pets exposed to laundry pods and pets simply licking product off the floor or off their fur is thought to be due to the way the product is formulated in the pod. When a pet bites into a pod, the product is both highly concentrated and under pressure from the bite. Therefore, when the pod is punctured, the detergents are forcefully expelled and may be easily aspirated or swallowed, often in large amounts. Theoretically, ingestion of multiple packets may run a risk for a foreign body obstruction and erosive lesions from prolonged contact in the gut.

When these exposures occur, it is important to dilute the exposed site as much as possible—rinse the mouth, skin, or eyes until the slick, “soapy” feel is gone. If your pet exhibits persistent vomiting or respiratory signs your veterinarian should immediately evaluate them. There is no antidote for laundry pod exposure. Your attending veterinarian should treat clinical signs with symptomatic and supportive care.


Please keep your laundry pods out of reach of children and pets.


If you have questions regarding laundry pod toxicity please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at