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With Spring Break just around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to discuss tips for choosing a Boarding Facility or a Pet Sitter. When faced with finding care for a pet that must be left alone for a lengthy period of time, there are many aspects to consider. The following information may help you as you contemplate your options. 

If you prefer to use a Boarding facility:

Here are11 QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL BOARDING KENNEL before you choose to drop your pet off:


Many boarding kennels, especially during holidays, are booked weeks or months in advance. Make sure you know how far in advance you need to book a stay and whether a deposit is required when booking.


Most kennels require vaccinations, but the industry is still largely unregulated so it’s best to ask. Below are the minimum vaccinations that a kennel should require. 

Canine Vaccines

  • Canine Distemper
  • Infectious Hepatitis
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella

Feline Vaccines

  • Feline Panleukopenia
  • Feline Herpesvirus
  • Feline Calicivirus  
  • Rabies

If the kennel does not require vaccinations, ask them how they quarantine animals to prevent infection. Disease can be spread by contact with bodily fluids and even air. And even if your pet is vaccinated, there is always the chance it might be susceptible to disease.


  • Cats and dogs should never be kept within view or hearing distance of each other. Most kennels put up barriers inside the kennel space to prevent this.
  • The area should be well ventilated.
  • Make sure there’s enough room for your pet to move around and enough space for them to defecate or urinate if they need to. Cats should have a litter box in their space.


Dogs should be let out a minimum of 2-3 times a day or 24 hour period.. Ask them the times they take the dogs out and for how long. If your dog is in the habit of defecating each morning, they may take longer. Ask if they’re taken out on a leash or released into an outside pen. If they’re released into an outside pen, does the employee stay with the animal or go back inside for a designated period? How big is the exercise area?


Ask specifically if there are designated times for staff to interact with your pet, how long staff members stay with them, and how they interact.


If you have an elderly pet or one with special needs, this information is critical. If they say they can, ask them how they will accommodate your animal.


Veterinarians advise against changing your pet’s food, because it’s likely to result in digestive upset. So it is important to bring with your enough food from for your pet to dine one while you are away.


Many boarding kennels, whether or not they’re part of a veterinary practice, offer additional services for a fee, such as brushing, washing, training, nail trimming (for dogs) or extra play time. Veterinary boarding kennels frequently offer vaccinations and other minor procedures, too. Some kennels offer playgroups your pet may enjoy.


If they are not willing to give you a tour when you show up unannounced, leave immediately.


Even if you don’t live in a flood-, hurricane- or tornado-prone area, fire is always an issue.


If you are not using veterinary boarding, make sure the staff has received training and certification.


Here are some warning signs that the kennel may not be a good fit for your pet.

  • The building smells bad.
  • Outdoor pens are small and do not have shelter from the sun.
  • Your pet smells bad when you pick it up.
  • The employees tell you nothing about your pet when you pick it up.

Benefits of Hiring a Pet Sitter

When pet sitters enter a home their tasks often include filling up water bowls and scooping out the litter boxes. However, most pet sitters are not just hired for their time, but also for the attention they can provide to a pet. Additional care may be offered through services such as the following:

  • Walking energetic animals
  • Engaging pets in their favorite play activities
  • Providing bathroom walk breaks
  • Following feeding schedules
  • Administering health needs.

The use of a pet sitter also provides benefits that go beyond the assigned tasks. For example, a pet benefits through:

  • Remaining at home, in a comfortable familiar environment
  • Maintaining routine for diet, walking, exercise, and play
  • Eliminating the stress that can be caused by traveling or by being boarded in a kennel
  • Reduced boredom levels.

Additionally, establishing a pet sitter relationship may help owners to feel better about being away from home since they know their pet is being cared for, happy, and safe. 

Where to find a Qualified and Trustworthy Pet Sitter:

Starting the search for a pet sitter should begin by asking for recommendations from:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Veterinarians
  • Groomers
  • Dog Trainers.

Initial Communication

Begin your search for a pet sitter by gathering information on their qualifications and on the services they provide.  
Questions to Ask Prospective Pet Sitters:

  • What services do they offer? For example grooming, walking, training, exercising, playing, cleaning up after a pet, taking a pet to appointments, taking a pet to the veterinarian if it gets sick, live-in services?
  • Will they provide a written contract that explicitly identifies responsibilities, services, and fees charged?
  • Do they carry commercial liability insurance that covers accidents and negligence? Can they provide written proof? Are they bonded? Can they provide proof?
  • What training do they have for this position? For example CPR, First Aid?
  • What is the backup plan established for continuing the care of your pet in case the sitter becomes ill, has car trouble, or has other difficulties that keep them from their responsibilities? How do you interview this person? What are their qualifications?
  • Can they provide a list of references along with the contact information that includes client names and phone numbers?

Set Up A Meet and Greet

Once the information is gathered and references have been contacted, before making a final hiring decision it is important that you invite the pet sitter over to your home not only to talk with them in person but to have them meet the pet. During this stage of the interview additional important information can be gathered, for example:

  • Watch the way they interact with your pet, do they seem at ease and focused on the pet? Does their behavior make the pet feel comfortable? Does the pet welcome their attention and touch?
  • If a pet has special needs, do they ask appropriate questions about their responsibilities for its care?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the sitter’s behavior in their home?

Trial Period

When the decision to hire is made,  If you can plan to schedule services that cover an extended period of time, it is recommended to first arrange for the pet sitter to provide care for a trial period over a couple of days while you are still in town. This will allow for a chance to identify any issues that must be addressed before the pet is left in the sitter’s care for a longer period, such as:

  • Questions requiring further clarification
  • Changes that need to be made in reference to scheduling
  • Responsibilities that should be added to meet additional pet needs.

I recommend both Kennel Boarding and Pet Sitters as safe ways to love and care for your pet while you are on vacation or traveling. Taking the time to choose the right boarding facility or Pet Sitter is very important and will pay off in the long run. It is never pleasant to return home from your travels to find your pet in less than good condition and worrying about your pet while you are on holiday steals important moments of relaxing and enjoying your time.

To Your Pet’s Good Health,

Dr. Barry



Mar 5, 2018 4:09:42 PM By Barry Miller boarding pet sitter, General Information,


At-Home Pet Dental Care Tips

I remember I used to have a poster in my office that had a picture of a bulldog with the caption, "His breath could stop a train". At the time it was cute but I know from first-hand experience that when you have a pet with bad breath it is not cute! Establishing routine preventative dental care with the help of your veterinarian is important, but supporting this with regular at-home dental care for your pet is essential to continuing their good health!  For many pet parents that is not as easy as it sounds.

We are lucky to have so many options for preventative oral care that do not involve a toothbrush and the difficulty of brushing an unwilling beloved pet's teeth.

Here are some at-home dental tips and options that may help to keep your pet’s mouth healthy in between visits to the veterinarian.

Signs that there is something wrong:

Watch for the following observable changes in behavior as they often point to a dental problem. If observed, the signs indicate that the dog needs to be seen by the veterinarian.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Appearance of a good appetite, but reluctance to eat
  • Eating on only one side of the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gulping food without chewing
  • Food dropping out of the mouth while eating.


Dogs don’t always have lovely breath, but chronic halitosis is one of the most common signs of severe oral/dental problems, including:

  • Periodontal disease:
    • Gum disease caused by plaque
    • Results in:
      • Gum infections
      • Tooth loss
      • Systemic infections
  • Oral masses
    • Cancerous Growths
    • Benign growths
  • Gingival hyperplasia
    • Condition caused when the gums overgrow
    • Observed as bumps and deep crevices.

How to assess your pet's Gums and Teeth

  • Once a week, gently pull back your pet's lips and look at its gums and teeth or sneak a peek when your cat or dog bares its teeth for any reason.
    • Gums should be pink
    • Gums should not be white or red
    • Teeth should be white
    • Teeth should not show any discoloration or have any tartar buildup.

There are many options available today other than just brushing your pet's teeth. I know that brushing can be challenging so I would recommend reading thru the rest of this blog to see what option might work for you and your pet. It will definitely be worth it as it will prevent dental disease and other health disorders that often begin as a result of poor dental health.



Brushing with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste is still the most effective option. Cleaning your pet’s teeth on a regular basis will help to prevent the problems caused by bacteria and plaque build-up. Follow these steps:

  • Talk to your veterinarian to gather information and ask them to:
    • Recommend a toothbrush that is appropriate for your type and size of pet
    • Select a toothpaste that will entice your pet and make them look forward to having their teeth brushed, most kinds of toothpaste are flavored in a way that dogs will enjoy the taste. Do no use human toothpaste.
    • Provide a demonstration of the steps involved in brushing your pet’s teeth.

The following steps will teach your pet to enjoy their brushing routine:

  • Begin by helping the dog get comfortable with the brushing motions:
    • Over a few weeks, daily massage their lips with your finger moving in a circular motion
    • Once the lips have been massaged, move to the teeth and gums
  • Once the animal is comfortable, place a small amount of toothpaste on the animal’s lips to introduce them to the taste
  • Using the toothbrush, massage the animal’s gums
  • Apply toothpaste to the toothbrush or directly on the teeth and then gently brush the teeth using the following technique:
    • At a 45-degree angle to the teeth, gently move the toothbrush in small, circular motions
    • Clean one area at a time
    • Since the teeth that touch the cheek have the most tartar, using a downward motion of the toothbrush will help to loosen and remove this tartar.


Chewing: Chews, toys, and treats

The right type of chewing toy is good for the teeth of dogs. Not only does chewing massage the gums and clean the teeth, but it also provides a safe way to satisfy its desire to gnaw on something which will help to reduce stress and prevent boredom. Talk to your veterinarian to get their advice on picking out a proper type of chewing item for your pet.


Water Additives and Oral Rinses

Drinking water additives and oral rinses are one of the easiest, safest and most convenient ways to provide oral health care to dogs. 

Simply add the pet drinking water additive to your pet's daily drinking water and you can truly do wonders at preventing dental disease. These drinking water additives typically do not contain any harmful ingredients such as chlorhexidine, chlorines or alcohols and are safe enough for daily ingestion without any side effects. At present, several types dental rinses are available on the market. For Oral Rinses you will be required to lift the lip of your pet exposing their gums. When the gums are exposed you will spray/squeeze the bottle aiming the oral rinse at their gums. When followed by a healthy treat your pet usually won't mind the intrusion. It is less time consuming than brushing.


Diet and food additives.

Discuss with your veterinarian the type of food that your pet eats. Dry kibble helps to slow down the formation of plaque and tartar. An animal fed mostly canned food may benefit from being supplemented with hard biscuits to help remove plaque and tartar. I also recommend a product called Perio Support Powder.  Perio Support Powder is a daily support formula for dental health and hygiene for both cats and dogs. It was designed to be used between veterinary dental cleanings to control plaque formation and support gum health, 


Professional Dental Cleaning

During your pet's annual exam your Veterinarian will assess your pet's teeth and gums. Your Veterinarian can perform a dental cleaning much like you receive from your dentist. Often during teeth cleaning your Veterinarian will be able to take a closer look at your pet's teeth, gums and mouth to determine their overall dental health.  As pets get older I recommend annual teeth cleaning or as needed when recommended by your Veterinarian.


Finding the best dental routine for your pet is important for their longevity and vitality. Too many of my patients have mouth infections or the beginning signs of dental disease or advanced stages of it. This impacts their overall health. Providing daily at-home dental care will help to further improve your pet's chances for better dental health and longevity.

To Your Pet's Good Health,


Barry Miller DVM

Jan 30, 2018 5:20:05 PM By Barry Miller Dental Health,

My Top 6 Dog Training Tips

January is National Dog Training month so I thought I would share some tips on training our furry four-legged friends. All dogs need an owner that will accept the responsibilities that come with training them to be socialized and obedient family members.
Training a dog requires more than teaching verbal commands. When working with your dog, it is important that we understand that communication is key, we speak two different languages and it is easy for dogs to become distracted, confused or misunderstand what we are asking them to learn.

The first step to good dog training is to ideally begin training when they are young( around 8weeks of age) but this is not always possible especially with rescue dogs.  Please know that when you first are establishing yourself as the teacher and your pet as the student, you must have a quiet non-distracting environment to train in. Otherwise, you will waste time trying to get your pet's attention or your pet will not quite get what you are asking them to learn.

Here are my top 6 Dog Training Tips:

Tip #1: Where do you start in training?

When working with your pup at home, the most important commands for them to learn are:

  • Come
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down.

Teaching these commands will not only work on bettering your pup’s manners, but can also help to keep it safe. For example, should your pup get startled and run off, it could end up lost or put in harm’s way. But, if it knows what to do when commanded to “come,” hearing your call may help it redirect its behavior and return to you. 

Tip #2. Be Consistent:

Training requires working in a fair and consistent manner that teaches the dog not only how to behave, but also that their good behavior is expected in all settings. 
Teaching your dog what to do along, with what not to do, will help them to better understand and recognize the behaviors you want from them. For example:

  • When working on a command of stay and the dog moves, don’t get upset; just put it back into the stay position and continue the training.
  • Later, when the command to stay is again given and the dog follows the command, make sure to praise the animal so it knows it did as you wanted and that you are pleased it has done its job.

For your dog to understand what is expected of it, all family members should follow the same steps when working with the dog. Without consistency, they will become confused about what it is to do. For example:

  • If the rule is established that the dog is only to go to the bathroom in the far corner of the yard, then every time the animal needs to go to the bathroom, it should be taken to the far corner of the yard as part of its training.
  • Allowing the animal to use an inside potty pad on bad-weather days sends the dog a message that says it is okay to potty inside if it wants.
  • When the dog then goes to the bathroom in the house and receives correction, it will become confused on what you are expecting it to do.

Tip #3.  Always complete the Training Exercise

When working on an exercise, make sure to stick with the training until the puppy does as it is told. If you don’t, if you allow it to have its way, the pup may look at the exercise as something it doesn’t need to do.


Training Tip #4. Learn to communicate by reading your pet’s body language.

Owners often become frustrated when their pet behaves inappropriately. Before responding to the situation, take a moment to think about why the unwanted behavior occurred. Dogs use body language to communicate their wants and needs. When they behave improperly, there is a good chance that the signals for the unwanted behaviors were present but were overlooked or missed. 

The following offers examples of the way dogs communicate by body language:

  • Play time!
    • Running up to you
    • Barking
    • Backing up with a wagging tail
  • I need to go to the bathroom! 
    • Furiously sniffing
    • Going around in circles
    • Starting to squat
  • I’m being cautious! Or I’m nervous! Stay back!
    • Stiffly wagging tail that is moving slowly
    • Tail may be held very high or is hanging down
    • Animal may be leaning slightly forward, almost on its tiptoes
  • I’m friendly!
    • Happy, wagging tail
  • I’m afraid! I may be aggressive!
    • Stiff body
    • Tail tucked down and ears held back
    • Arched back
    • Hair may stand up along the ridge of their back
    • Cowering
    • Intense gaze
    • Low growl
  • I’m nervous! I’m timid!
    • Submissive urination - when animal gets excited and then squats and urinates
      • In puppies, this could mean that their bladder has not yet fully developed
      • In older animals, this reaction occurs when the animal feels it is about to be corrected or feels nervous if being approached by a stranger.

To be successful, training requires clear communication between both owner and animal. While it is important to help the dog know what we expect of them, it is equally important that we pay attention to what they are trying to tell us. 

Tip #5. Let them know they did what was asked.
Rewarding your dog will reinforce the point of the training exercise, as well as build their self-confidence and increase their desire to please. 

There are many thoughts regarding methods of positive reinforcement that utilize treats, toys, and praise. A reward does not have to be a food treat; it could be praise, time spent playing a game, or being given a special toy.
Keep in mind that different dogs have different personalities, and what motivates one may not motivate another. As you spend time with your pup, you will learn what motivates them best.

Every puppy needs help understanding what is expected of them. There is no doubt that working with your pup will require your patience and time, but the end result will be worth it!

Training Tip #6 : Understand that not all dogs are A students

It is easy for pet parents to become frustrated with their dogs when they feel they have repeatedly taught their dog not to do an unwanted behavior and their dog continues to seem like they are not learning.  Bear,my 1 1/2 year old dog still occasionally gets into garbage cans.  She is still young and struggles with the only pet boredom syndrome.  Some dogs seem to excel at bad behavior. Dogs that are bored or lonely often:

  • Go to the bathroom in the house
  • Get into the trash
  • Tear up blankets, pillows, or clothing
  • Chew on things not meant to be chewed!

If your dog falls into this category, it may benefit from daily walks and toys that challenge them.  With my dog Bear, I simply remove the trash from her, say no and give a command” go get your toy” and she usually runs and gets a toy to play with. When I find her playing with a toy I praise her. Obedience training that focuses on manners for behaving when in the house can also be of benefit and take the pressure off of you. Also, if your dog has unwanted or destructive behaviors that occur when you are not at home, you may want to discuss the possibility of separation anxiety with your Veterinarian.

Training and enjoying your pet go hand in hand. It is always worth the patience and effort necessary to develop good manners and habits in your pet.  There are many resources available to pet owners to help you train your dog into a wonderful companion and family member. My tips are the tried and true methods of dog or puppytraining that can have great results when taught with patience and consistency. 

To Your Pet’s Good Health,

Dr. Barry



Jan 13, 2018 11:42:57 AM By Barry Miller dog training, Behavior,

5 Ways to Keep Pets Safe in the Cold Winter Months

As temperatures drop, we all try to keep warm. Well, guess what? Our pets do too! Even though many pets are covered in fur, they are not immune to the cold; in fact, pets shiver to show they are cold, just like people. 

1.) Dress for the occasion: Some breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes, or Siberian Huskies have thick winter coats that help provide insulation from the cold. However, for some animals, clothing can help them stay warm in the winter, especially those that are small with little body mass, or those with short or thin fur. Sweaters and jackets made specifically for pets can be helpful, and some pets will also tolerate booties made specifically for their paws.

2.) Take it inside: Provide pets shelter from wet, drafty and cold weather. The shelter doesn’t have to be fancy, just provide a barricade from the worst of winter while the pet is outside. Low temperatures combined with wind chill makes your dog even colder than the temperature recorded. When he gets cold or wet, his body temperature drops, internal organs can shut down and your dog can be at risk of dying even though temperatures are above freezing. Access to an insulated doghouse, garage or shed when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit helps keep your dog warm. Dogs accustomed to indoor living or temperate climates should not be left outside in freezing temperatures. 

For those neighborhood cats who might be lost or stuck outside, building an outdoor, insulated cat box is a nice way to keep them safe, warm and secure. Simple instructions on how to make outdoor cat boxes, like those found at the American Humane Society website, allow you to protect neighborhood furry friends at a low cost. Follow this link to find instructions:

3.) Let it grow:  A pet’s fur may need to be kept longer and thicker during the winter months. Do not let pets outside after bathing them until the animal is completely dry. Pay attention to a pet’s feet to look out for cracks and cuts on the paw pads. Also, if you use salt on your driveways and sidewalks, I recommend a brand that is friendly to pets.

4.) Look out for winter illnesses and injuries: Frostbite, respiratory infections and consumption of toxic substances (such as de-icer and melting salt) are all dangers pets are susceptible to in the winter. If you notice your dog isn’t behaving normally or appears to be in pain, you should seek veterinary care immediately. 

We often use salt on our driveways and sidewalk to make them safer. This type of salt, however, is dangerous and toxic to pets. Animal-friendly de-icers and ice melters are available and are recommended if you have a pet that frequents the area it has been used.

Running out of car fluids like antifreeze or windshield washer fluid is common during the winter months. These chemicals, especially antifreeze, are potentially deadly to animals, according to the American Humane Society. And, to make matters worse, dogs often like the taste of antifreeze! Be sure to remind your clients to keep their pets out of the garage or away from these chemicals at all times to keep them safe.

5.) Keep them active: Dogs and some cats can get “cabin fever” too! Pets who are used to running around outside when it is warm outside might need to get more of their activity inside. Hide toys or treats for your pet to find around your house, play a modified game of catch, or have them walk or run up and down stairs. Read Dr. Barry's previous blog on Pet Boredom Busters by following this link:

Treat dispensing toys like Kongs are great tools for burning off some restless energy. Be sure to spend some time exercising their brains too; brush up on basic training or try teaching some new tricks. When exercising outside, make sure to pay attention to any signals that they may be getting too cold and make sure they have plenty of water to recover. While your time outside may have to be shorter, it can still be fun!


To Your Pet’s Good Health,


Dr. Barry


Dec 19, 2017 12:02:34 PM By Barry Miller safe-cold-winter-months, General Information,

Feline Itchy Skin, Help!

In our house it's usually easy to find Bear,our dog, she is usually close by but if not a quick call brings her running.  Dogs are normally more responsive to being called.   Finding Boo,our Cat, is a little trickier. Cats are normally much quieter so Boo can be anywhere in the house and it can take us a long time to find him.  Of course, we have a unique built-in cat finder, our dog Bear is 100% in love with Boo and if we want to know where the cat is all we have to do is let Bear loose and within minutes Bear is making happy noises that she has found her true love. Not all houses have this feature and we truly appreciate having it.

Finding your cat is, unfortunately, easier if they are scratching, which has its own identifiable noise and is often accompanied by a thumping noise as their foot repeatedly hits the floor. Sounds innocent but when your cat is bothered by constant or frequent itching, it can be hard to listen to day after day.

Is your feline constantly scratching, licking, biting at the skin, or rubbing up against objects? If so, they could be suffering from an itchy skin disease, a very common problem found in felines and characterized by behaviors focused on relieving the itch. If your feline friend is itching, the first step to take is to carefully look at the skin and the hair coat.  

A feline’s skin and hair coat can tell a great deal about their general health and condition.

What are the basic functions of the skin?

Because felines are such curious creatures they often find themselves in situations where they are at risk of injury or exposure to noxious chemicals or harmful environmental conditions. The cat’s skin provides a barrier that helps to keep bacteria, microorganisms, and foreign elements from entering the body, and protects the internal tissues from dehydration and loss of body heat by insulating against conditions of extreme heat and cold. The skin also acts as a receptor for the awareness of touch, temperature, pressure, and pain.

What are the functions of the hair coat?

The hair coat also has specific useful functions. The outer coat is made up of primary hair, which grows from its own individual root. Connected to these roots are tiny muscles that enable a feline to fluff out its coat trapping warm air creating a form of insulation. Secondary hair, or the undercoat, is more abundant and also functions to provide added warmth and protection. Tactile hairs include the whiskers, eyebrows, chin hairs and the hairs found on the backs of the front legs. Tactile hairs are specially modified to provide detailed information about anything that they touch which gives important sensory information to the cat. Whiskers are longer, thicker, and stiffer than normal hairs and a feline can fan them out, and rotate them forwards or backward. The nerve endings in whiskers are clustered and help to supply a feline with detailed information about air currents, air pressure, or objects close to their face. This information helps to supplement the feline’s other senses of smell, sight, and hearing and are useful when investigating objects nearby.

What does healthy cat’s skin and hair coat look like?

Different breeds have different hair – short, medium, or long and fine, medium or coarse, but all healthy felines should have shiny and mat-free coats. A feline with dull fur that breaks easily or has bald spots may indicate that there is a health issue and your veterinarian should be consulted.

How to examine the skin and hair coat of a feline:          

  • Run a comb or bristle brush against the lay of the hair to expose the skin
  • Check the appearance of the skin
  • Look to see if there is any residue on the comb or brush.


What am I looking for?

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Bumps
  • Flea detritus
  • Insects
  • Scabs
  • Scaly flakes

After looking at my cat’s skin, I believe they have a problem, What could be causing it?

Here is a short list of itchy skin diseases and their characteristics:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis: Red and itchy bumps, inflamed skin at the site of contact, a rash that may spread beyond the area of contact
  • Chiggers: Itching with skin irritation between toes, around ears and mouth
  • Contact dermatitis: Red, itchy bumps, inflamed skin at site of contact, may be caused by rubber or plastic food dishes
  • Ear mites: Head tilting and shaking, scratching at the ears, brown, waxy material in ear canals
  • Flea allergy dermatitis: Red, itchy bumps over the base of tail, back of rear legs and inner thighs, itching continues after fleas have been killed
  • Fleas: Itching and scratching along the back, around tail and hindquarters, may see fleas, flea feces, and eggs
  • Food allergy dermatitis: Severe itching over the head, neck, and back, swelling of eyelids, reddened ears, possible hair loss and oozing sores
  • Inhalant allergy: Small bumps and crusts around the head, neck, and back beneath hair coat, may have symmetrical hair loss over body
  • Lice: Look for nits that look like white grains of sandy material attached to the hair, may have bare spots where hair has been rubbed off
  • Maggots: Soft-bodied, legless fly larvae found in matted fur or open wounds
  • Scabies: Intense itching around the head, face, neck, and edges of the ears, hair is rubbed off, typical thick gray to yellow crusts on skin
  • Ticks: Often found around the ears, along the back, between the toes
  • Walking dandruff: Large amounts of dry, scaly, flaky skin over the neck, back, and sides, mild itching

This partial list shows feline skin ailments can be caused by allergies, parasites, irritations, or internal diseases. Your veterinarian is trained to recognize the symptoms and diagnose a remedy that will relieve the itchiness before the cat suffers hair loss, wounds, or bacterial infections.  

What you can do:

Once the cause of the skin irritation has been identified, steps should be taken to prevent the animal from further exposure. Bathing the animal right away may help to minimize or eliminate the discomfort. 
The following treatments will not cure the problem but will help to control the symptoms by reducing the itching and soothing the inflammation. Such treatments include the use of:

  • Topical or oral corticosteroids
  • Antihistamines
  • Allergy shots
  • Immune therapy

To Your Pet’s Good Health,

Dr. Barry



Nov 27, 2017 1:16:16 PM By Barry Miller feline itchy skin, Skin & Coat,

When Cats Hurt

 “Not too long ago I trimmed the trees back from one corner of my home. I trimmed one tree, in particular, that was more than a tree it was a ladder our 14-year-old cat, Boo, to climb up on our roof. I trimmed it so that our cat could no longer get up on our roof after an incident where he was unable to get down. Since then we have not seen Boo on the roof.

To my wife’s and my surprise upon returning home after a morning walk we saw Boo on the roof attempting to jump to the trimmed back tree. We were too far away to help.  Not being very limber he missed his mark and fell to the ground. He quickly walked away from the mishap but with his age, we knew he would be hurting.  We regularly give Boo Feline RJ Plus Transdermal Cream but decided to double the dose for the next couple of days.  Boo never showed signs of discomfort so I know that this wonderful transdermal cream worked and I didn’t have to fight Boo every day trying to administer a pill to him. “

Cats can be difficult to treat for pain for several reasons. One, Cats being cats, when they hurt because of illness or injuries, their instincts cause them to mask their pain. This natural behavior creates a problem when the animal has a serious condition that should receive veterinary attention but instead goes unchecked. Two, it’s just hard to give cats pills or liquids in spite of pill poppers and syringes.

Unmasking Hidden Feline Pain

It is important that cat owners be vigilant in watching for signs that their cat is experiencing discomfort since cats hide it well and often become ill-tempered when they experience pain.

Signs that indicate a cat is in pain may include:

  • Behavioral changes
    • Increased vocalization
    • Acting agitated by biting or slapping
    • Withdrawal from play activities
    • Excessive sleeping
    • Loss of interest in being handled, cuddled, picked up
    • Aggression when handled
    • Acting depressed, hiding, or disappearing for long lengths of time
    • Changes in grooming habits
      • Decreased grooming, hair mats
      • Increased grooming in a specific area, pulling out hair
    • Subtle changes in personality
  • Physical changes
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Shallow breathing
    • Trembling
    • Increase in blood pressure
    • Increased heart rate
    • Limb stiffness or limping

Reasons Why Cats May Experience Pain:

Hiding their pain also makes it difficult for your veterinarian to diagnose the cause of the cat’s discomfort. A cat can encounter many causes of pain, for example:

  • Trauma
  • Injury
  • Poison
  • Recovering from medical treatment or surgery
  • Dental infections
  • Degenerative disease
  • Urinary tract diseases
  • Ear infections
  • Systemic infections
  • Cancer
  • Age
  • Arthritis

What you can do to treat and manage Pain in Cats:

Determining the cause to alleviate the pain is imperative to help your cat feel better. However, in cats, pain management does not always have a straightforward approach. While there are many ways for a veterinarian to medically manage animal pain, unfortunately, there are fewer options for cats than there are for dogs.

Pain relief medications that can be used on cats include:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
    • Used to treat mild to moderate pain
    • Provide analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic help
    • However, caution must be shown when used with cats
      • Recommended only for short-term use
      • NSAIDs can cause liver, kidney, stomach, intestinal problems
        • For example, acetaminophen is toxic to cats and can be fatal
  • Opioids
    • Used to treat cats with severe pain, for example:
      • Following surgery
      • Advanced cancer
      • Severe arthritis
    • Certain opioids are considered to have few side effects than others
    • Felt to offer quality of life for cats with severe chronic pain
  • Corticosteroids
    • Used to treat cats with anti-inflammatory needs, for example:
      • Arthritis pain
      • Allergic discomfort
    • Caution must be shown when used with cats
      • Potential long-term side effects

Alternative Therapies for Managing Pain in Cats

Two types of alternatives methods for managing feline pain include:

  • Acupuncture
    • Considered a natural, non-invasive therapy that acts as an aid to stimulate the body to repair itself.
    • Therapy typically requires a series of treatments and should not be considered to be a quick fix.
    • The outcome usually recommends a series of treatments before an animal can return to its original pain-free state.
    • Has been proven to help animals with conditions such as:
      • Traumatic nerve injuries
      • Arthritis
      • Seizures and epilepsy
      • Immune function
      • Systemic inflammatory conditions
      • Degenerative joint disease
      • Cancer, to provide pain relief and aid fatigue
      • Cancer, to alleviate gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, nausea, inappetence
  • Transdermal Cream

Feline RJ Plus Transdermal treatment is an anti-inflammatory & pain reliever for cats that you simply massage on the inside of one ear of your cat. There are no known side effects or contraindications. It is safe and non-toxic and easy to use with no gloves required.

  • Prolotherapy
    • Type of holistic rehabilitative therapy also referred to as non-surgical ligament reconstruction
    • Therapy has been used in human rehabilitative medicine with minimal side effects.
    • Involves a series of injections that are a mixture of medicines that work to:
      • Relieve pain
      • Reconstruct and regenerate ligaments and tendons
      • Speed healing
  • Injections are inserted into the area where ligament or tendon attaches to the bone, increasing the blood supply which stimulates the repair of the tissues and provides pain relief.
  • Therapy has been shown to reduce pain in animals diagnosed with medical issues such as:
    • Ligament, tendon, and/or cartilage damage
    • Joint degeneration
    • Arthritis
    • Degenerated or herniated spinal discs


Cats are often beloved for their strong independent natures combined with their loving and sweet personalities.  Although it can be hard to determine when and why our cats experience pain with some understanding of feline pain you will have the knowledge to help you make those assessments correctly. Making your cat comfortable by using tried-and-true medicines or newer medical therapies offer methods for you to manage your cat’s pain and keep them comfortable.

To your Pet’s good health,

Dr. Barry




Nov 20, 2017 9:46:07 AM By Barry Miller cat-pain-hurt-arthritis, Arthritis & Joint Health,

Help for the Owner’s of Poop Eaters

For 10 years we had the joy of raising baby doll sheep. My children loved the lambs each spring season. The sheep were free to roam our five acres of grass. We enjoyed the sheep but unfortunately we made a discovery that my wife was 100% repulsed by; our 7 year old Poodle, Rupert, developed a liking for eating the scattered sheep droppings that the sheep generously left behind.  For Rupert it was Easter every day as he enjoyed a treasure hunt in our yard. Neither one of us had had a pet that ate poop and realized how hard it was to let a pet that eats poop lick your children’s face or get too close. 

As the house Veterinarian I had the job of solving this nasty problem called Cophrophagia. Coprophagia is a term used to refer to the eating of feces, aka, poop.

Although we were unhappy with Rupert’s habit of eating the poop, Rupert on the other hand was very happy. Thus the challenge to put an end to it became apparent. I found a talk given by Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD, DACVB, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California –Davis, he spoke about some of the more inexplicable behaviors of companion animals in his talk: “Why do they do that? Purring, yawning, flipping out on catnip, and ……eating poop.”  Of course he left the last inexplicable behavior of eating poop to the last because of its gross factor.

"Hart cited a recent unpublished Web-based study, which included information from nearly 1,500 pet owners with dogs that had been seen eating feces daily or weekly, and at least 10 times.

According to the survey, the top five Poop-eating dogs were:

  1. Labrador retriever (10.4 percent);
  2. Golden retriever (5.8 percent);
  3. Basset hound (5.5 percent);
  4. German shepherd (5.3 percent);
  5. Shetland sheepdog (4.7 percent)….I believe the word sheep explains this one

About 10 percent of the dogs ate only their own poop, while 32 percent ate the poop of others, and nearly 50 percent of all dogs who ate poop would eat their own or that of other dogs. “Most dogs ate any ol’ stool,” Hart said.

Other findings included:

  • Females were more likely than males to engage in this behavior (60 percent vs. 40 percent)
  • The behavior does not reflect poor living sanitation: 82 percent of dogs in the survey almost never soiled their own house
  • Almost all dogs opted for fresh poop as opposed to old ones…the gross factor just reached a new level.
  • Coprophagia was more common in multi-dog households. In single-dog homes, only 20 percent of dogs had the habit, while in homes with three dogs, that rose to 33 percent.
  • Poop eaters are no harder to house train than any other dogs.
  • 85 percent of poop eaters will not eat their own poop, only that of other dogs.
  • Greedy eaters—dogs who steal food off tables—tend to also be poop eaters.

Hart wrote, "Our conclusion is that eating of fresh stools is a reflection of an innate predisposition of ancestral canids living in nature that protects pack members from intestinal parasites present in feces that could occasionally be dropped in the den/rest area." His study consisted of two separate surveys sent to about 3,000 dog owners."

I agree that there is an element of ancestral innate poop eating that can explain this behavior.  Other than being gross a dog that eats their own poop can be harmless. It’s when our canine friends eat the poop of other animals that it becomes more of a health concern.  This can result in the internalization of parasites, viruses, or toxins. Puppies are more likely to eat poop until about 9months of age but it is not too uncommon for older pets to suddenly start this nasty habit. 

The Question of Why, Answered…sort of: the eating of poop has long baffled many owners and veterinarians. It can be hard to determine the exact cause.

Possible Causes of Coprophagia:

  • Parasites
  • Diets deficient in nutrients and calories
  • Mal absorption syndromes
  • Diabetes, cushing’s disease, thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite
  • Drugs, such as steroids

Dr. Jerry Clein, the chief Veterinary Officer at the American Kennel Club, offers these possible causes:

“ In many cases, dogs start to eat their own poop because of some kind of environmental stress or behavioral triggers, including:

  • Isolation: Studies have shown dogs who are kept alone in kennels or basements are more likely to eat poop than those dogs that live close to their people.
  • Restrictive confinement: Spending too much time confined in a small space can cause the problem. It's not unusual to see coprophagia in dogs rescued from crowded shelters.
  • Anxiety: often a result of a person using punishment or harsh methods during housetraining. According to this theory, dogs may eliminate and then eat their own poop to get rid of the evidence, but then they are punished more. It becomes a vicious cycle.
  • Attention-seeking: Dogs eat their own poop to get a reaction from their humans, which they inevitably will. So if you see your dog doing this, don't overreact.
  • Inappropriate association with real food: Dogs who are fed in close proximity to their feces may make a connection between the odors of food and those of poop and will be unable to tell the difference.
  • Scenting it on their mothers: Lindsay writes that in some cases, puppies will get confused by sniffing fecal odors on their mother's breath after she has cleaned them. Also, sometimes mothers may regurgitate food that is mixed with puppy fecal matter. He calls this an "appetitive inoculation," which may set a puppy up to develop this bad habit.
  • Living with a sick or elderly dog: Sometimes a healthy dog will consume stools from a weaker canine member of the household, especially in cases of fecal incontinence. Scientists hypothesize that this may be related to the instinct to protect the pack from predators.”


So how do you stop your dog from eating poop?

I recommend talking with your Veterinarian first, it will be important to rule out medical reasons for your pet’s coprophagia.

I have had success working with my own and other dogs with the following  suggestions:

  • Enzyme supplementation: The modern canine diet is higher in carbohydrates and lower in meat-based proteins and fats than the canine ancestral diet. A great enzyme supplement is Prozyme. Prozyme a unique, scientifically proven, all-natural enzymatic food supplement that allows greater absorption of the important nutrients found in a pet's food. I also recommend Probiotics, a natural way to improve your pet’s nutritional absorption. The Probiotic I recommend is Synacore or Advita.
  • Taste-aversion products: The theory is that certain tastes and smells are as disgusting to dogs as the idea of stool eating is to us and that spraying certain substances on poop will make it less appealing. Many of these products contain monosodium glutamate, chamomile, pepper-plant derivatives, yucca, garlic, and parsley. CoproBan, Cease Coprophagia soft chews or granules, Stop Stool Eating chewable tablets or soft chews and For Bid.  Another interesting poop eating aversion product is for those pets that like to snack on litter boxes, it’s called Outta My Box. This product comes in a 500 Count tub and you feed it to both your cat and dog.

Will Training help?

Yes, it can help some but the effectiveness of training is dependent on your pet’s ability to respond to your training.

The best place to start is by asking your Veterinarian for tips on training your pet

1.Remove the Temptation:

  • Become a home and yard poop picking up expert, so there will be no poop for your pet to eat.
  • Location and Reach, keep cat litter boxes empty of feces and out of your dog's reach.

2.Monitor the amount of time the dog spends alone, in a crate, or in a cage so that out of boredom they do not begin to eat their poop.

3.Positively train your dog with the following cues:

  • “come” – use to call them away from a potential item they may eat
  • “leave it” – use to command the dog to leave an item alone
  • “drop it” – use to get the dog to drop an item before swallowing

4.As an absolute last resort, you can try a Basket-muzzle when taking your pet for walks

  • This will eliminate the dog’s opportunities to quickly snatch up and swallow any poop but will still allow them to breath and drink

I hope that this information will help you in your efforts to decrease your pet’s consumption of poop, it can be a very frustrating habit to break but it is possible. To end this blog on a happy note, Rupert did stop eating sheep poop. But you may find this a hard thing to achieve, it will be important to talk to your Veterinarian and maybe an animal behaviorist. I wish you good luck!

To your Pet’s good health,

Barry Miller DVM








Oct 23, 2017 5:48:33 PM By Barry Miller coprophagia poop eater behavior, Behavior,

No Bones About Joints

The most common problem with middle age to senior dogs and cats is arthritis or some type of joint problem. Just like people our pet’s need help taking care of their joints. Today, I want to share important facts and pointers on how to  keep our pet’s joints healthy.

Did You Know?

  • Dogs have about 319 individual bones
    • Bones will vary in size and shape depending upon the breed.
  • Cats have about 244 individual bones
    • The number of bones will vary depending upon the length of their tail.
  • Unlike humans, who walk on the soles of their feet, cats and dogs walk on their toes.
  • While humans carry all of their weight on their hips, dogs carry 75 percent of their weight on their shoulders and front legs.
  • In cats, the collar bone is small and may even be absent:
    • If present, the collar bone is not attached to the main skeleton, which helps to narrow the chest to allow the animal to keep its legs and feet close together and offers increased flexibility and the ability to fit in tight spaces.
    • This also enables the front legs to better absorb the shock of landing.
  • The musculoskeletal system works together to provide stability and skeletal tightness, but in a cat, this system is less tightly connected, which helps to provide for their extreme flexibility!

Become Familiar with The Basics:

Musculoskeletal System

The joints are a part of the musculoskeletal system, which also consists of bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles. This system has three general purposes:

  • Support the weight of the body
  • Maintain body position
  • Produce controlled movements


When two bones come together they meet at the joint and provide for the range of motion in the skeletal system.

  • Most joints have a cushioning pad of cartilage that works to protect the bones from the friction caused by everyday movement.
  • When damaged by joint stress or trauma, these pads may deteriorate and inflame joint surfaces to cause pain and decrease mobility.
  • Damage to the cartilage or structures in the joint often results in arthritis, a painful joint disease which is treatable, but has no cure, and typically progresses over time.
  • Some joint issues are related to genetics.

Growth Plates and Young Puppies

What is a Growth Plate?  Growth plates are soft areas that sit at the ends of the long bones in puppies and kittens.

Growth Plates  contain rapidly dividing cells that allow bones to become longer.  Growth plates normally close or fuse as a pet matures.   In puppies, this closure is normally completed by approximately 12-18 months old.

Until the growth plates close, they’re soft and vulnerable to injury. Puppies and kittens that jump from high places or for toys can cause stress on the growth plates.

 Injury to a growth plate can result in a misshapen or shortened limbs which, in turn, can create an incorrect angle to a joint which can make the puppy more prone to yet more injuries or arthritis when he grows up.

4       Tips for Maintaining Joint Health and Reducing Joint Issues

#1.  Overweight animals are more likely to develop joint problems

  • Veterinarians can provide answers to questions regarding a pet’s appropriate weight.
  • Consult with your veterinarian about a pet’s dietary needs, for example:
    • Young animals need a diet balanced for the age and breed.
    • Unbalanced diets that cause the animal to grow too quickly can lead to excessive stress on cartilage and may cause future joint issues.
    • Diets with an imbalance in the calcium to phosphorous ratio in growing animals can result in metabolic bone diseases which will affect joint health.
    • Older animals need a diet that is nutritionally balanced for their age, and one that helps to maintain good body condition and weight.
  • Dietary supplements
    • Consult with a veterinarian about the possible need for a supplement that supports joint health and mobility in your pet, such as: Feline RJ+, Vitality Joint Support, Dasuquin, Rejuvenate Plus
      • Glucosamine: supports joint health, increases mobility and decreases pain.
      • Omega 3 fatty acids: helps to ease joint pain by reducing inflammation.
  • Exercise
    • Consult with a veterinarian to establish an exercise regimen that:
      • Looks at the pet’s current overall health.
      • Considers the pet’s issues with joint pain, arthritis and overall health.
      • Promotes an exercise plan that is appropriate for the pet; for example, moderate and low-impact exercise like walking and swimming for older animals.
  • Help reduce joint strain
    • Everyday movements, such as jumping and climbing, can cause joint strain. Here are 3 things to do to prevent joint strain for the pet:
      • Consider using pet ramps or pet stairs for getting on/off of beds and couches, and in/out of vehicles.
      • Cover floors with rugs or carpet to protect the pet from injuries caused by slipping.
      • Provide the pet with a place to rest that helps to keep joints warm.

Not all joint issues are preventable, but keeping your pet at the right weight and in good body condition will definitely help to avoid some. Maintaining a good diet and providing the proper exercise can reduce the amount of discomfort they could otherwise experience if they suffered from poor joint health issues.

To Your Pet’s Good Health,


Dr. Barry



Sep 25, 2017 10:57:57 AM By Barry Miller Arthritis & Joint Health,

Tips on How To Live With An Incontinent Pet

Even when under the most watchful eyes, puppies may soil in the house. Until they have full control of their bladder and have figured out the importance of house training, accidents are bound to happen! Fortunately, most pups quickly figure out what they need to do. Why then, several years down the road, do we see signs that these same dogs seem to have forgotten what they learned? Urinary incontinence is a condition that can affects dogs of all ages, breeds, or gender. Most commonly observed in spayed females that are middle-aged and older, incontinence can cause health problems that require veterinary attention.

The first signs of urinary incontinence may include:

1. Wetting the bedding or floor where animal has been sleeping
2. Dribbling of urine
3. Increase in frequency of urinating
4. Voiding bladder when excited or stressed.

The initial signs of incontinence are sometimes overlooked. It can be easy to excuse away urinary mishaps, or we may incorrectly assume our pet was not been let out in time. However, incontinence won’t just go away. As the condition progresses, pet owners who may not have been aware of the issue in the beginning will soon recognize that their pet does indeed have a problem. It is important that pet owners of pets know that the symptoms indicate a need to bring their pet in for an examination.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

#1. Age

  • When incontinence symptoms are observed only occasionally, such as when the animal has been sleeping, the cause may be related to the animal’s age and attributed to:
  • Weakened muscle tone of the urethral sphincter
  • Lowered estrogen levels or hormonal imbalance
  • Treatment:
    • Prescribed medication that works to increase the muscle tone of the urethral sphincter, such as phenylpropanolamine
    • Neutered male dogs also respond to being given testosterone

 #2. Illness

    • Certain diseases cause excessive water consumption which increases the animal’s production of urine as well as their need to urinate, and include:
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Cushing’s disease
    • Underlying conditions
      • Examples:
      • Bladder or urinary tract infections
      • Urinary stones
      • Spinal injury
      • Spine degeneration
      • Prostate disorders
      • Protruding intervertebral disc
      • Congenital abnormalities
  • Treatment:
    • Can be difficult, but may include:
    • Long-term catheterization
    • Antibiotics
    • Drugs that act on the function of the bladder
  • When the symptoms are related to Kidney Failure or Cushings Disease, the implications of the disease require much more than providing a treatment for incontinence

#3. Stress

  • When a dog shows signs of a loss of bladder control when in scary or tense situations, it be stress incontinence. Found to occur more often in younger animals, most will outgrow the condition. See Tip#6. below for tips on treating this condition.

What Your Veterinarian Will Need to Know:

Without knowing the exact cause, incontinence may be difficult to treat. Clients should be prepared to provide their veterinarian with the answers to such questions as the following:

  • When did the symptoms first appear?
  • Do the symptoms occur all the time or just on occasion?
  • Does the animal dribble as it walks? Or on where it sits and sleeps?
  • Does it seem to occur only when relaxed or when excited?
  • Is there anything unusual about the urine? Strange color or odor?
  • Does the animal seem to have difficulty urinating? Does it posture as usual?
  • Has the dog been drinking more water than usual?
  • Has the dog always signaled its need to go outside?
  • Has the animal’s need to go outside changed in frequency or in urgency?
  • Does the animal want to go outside?
  • Are there any other unfamiliar signs?

Tips on How to Live With An Incontinent Pet

Living with an incontinent dog will require extra effort on your part. The following tips may be helpful.

Tip #1. Monitor your pet’s condition closely, watch for any changes that may signal the start of a disease, such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased frequency in urinating needs


Tip #2. Provide proper hygiene. When keeping the dog clean, watch for developing signs of:

  • Urine scalding
  • Skin infections


Tip #3. Living area cleanliness is absolutely necessary for the health and comfort of the animal.

  • Place waterproof pads under the dog’s bedding to absorb urine
  • Layer clean blankets, towels or sheets on the animal’s sleeping spot, changing frequently
  • To protect furniture and carpets, use doggie diapers


Tip #4. Increase the number of walks per day, make sure to the get animal outside quickly as soon as it wakes from sleeping.

Tip #5. Under no circumstances should the animal’s access to its water bowl be removed or limited.

Tip #6. If the animal experiences stress incontinence, apply behavioral modification techniques such as the following:

  • Avoid bending over the animal
  • Do not make direct eye contact
  • Keep stressful interactions brief and to a minimum
  • If possible, work with a canine behaviorist
  • Use stress hormone products such as Stress Away,  Adaptil Collars and Spray and Feliway

Tip#7 If you are concerned with the wear and tear on your home use the following products to assist you in cleaning up.  Urine Away Odour Remover and a Urine Finder Flashlight. to gently remove the harshness and smell of urine from your pet try using AOE wipes & spray and F.O.N. spray.

 I have lived with a pet with urinary incontinence, I know it can be frustrating. It will be important to discuss your pet’s incontinence with your Veterinarian.  And they can help you determine if it is a symptom that can be easily treated or a symptom of a serious illness.

To Your Pet’s Good Health,

Dr. Barry


Sep 12, 2017 2:20:33 PM By Barry Miller urinary-incontinence-dogs, Urinary,

Summer Fruits and Vegetables That are Pet Friendly

I have heard of enclosing a vegetable garden to keep wildlife from nibbling on the produce. My brother-in-law had a garden raider that would steal produce before it could be picked or while it was being picked. This garden raider had developed a strong liking for cucumbers and strawberries. Their garden thief was surprisingly their rescue dog named “Spooks”. He would meander in the garden and eat a cucumber or strawberry before they had a chance to pick them or while it was being picked he would sneak up and steal one. And then there are those of you that have plate raiders. You may have a pet that sits patiently waiting for something off of your plate to nibble on. “It’s just so difficult to ignore those pleading eyes!”  However your pet may acquire human food it is important to know which foods are pet friendly.

This helpful list features people-healthy fruits and vegetables that can also be offered as safe treats for dogs!

Fruits and Vegetables that Make Good Dog Treats


  • Not only do apples provide vitamins A and C, they are also low in protein and fat which makes them good snacks for overweight, sedentary, and senior dogs
  • Remember to remove the core and seeds before offering as a snack


  • High in vitamins, fiber, and potassium, yet low in cholesterol and sodium, bananas are good for dogs and most find them delicious
  • Because they have a high sugar content, clients should be advised that even though their pup begs for more, bananas should only be given as a treat


  • Beneficial in so many ways, blueberries are good for dogs
  • Full of fiber and rich in antioxidants, blueberries are a healthy treat choice


  • Raw broccoli is good for a dog, but only the stem
  • The head and florets contain a toxin which can cause gastrointestinal problems
  • The stem, however, contains plenty of fiber and vitamin C, and is also good for helping to maintain clean teeth


  • Known to freshen breath, celery contains the nutrients the body needs to fight cancer, and support heart health
  • Celery is also full of vitamins A, B, and C, and many dogs enjoy it as a treat topped with peanut butter or cream cheese
  • Be careful when feeding a dog celery as it can be a choking hazard. Make sure the bites are sized appropriately and that the dog chews the celery well.


  • When used as a snack, cucumbers can provide a dog with vitamins B1, C, and K, and also supplements the diet with copper, magnesium, and potassium
  • This vegetable is considered good for overweight dogs as it is capable of boosting energy levels and has relatively no carbohydrates, fats, or oils


  • While the taste of oranges may not appeal to all dogs, oranges are safe to use as a treat and are full of vitamin C
  • Outside of the seeds, a dog can eat the entire fruit; however, you should remove the peel as it can be difficult to digest


  • The skin of the pear is its healthiest part, so wash the fruit, but leave its skin intact
  • It only takes a few chunks to provide a dog with beneficial vitamins C and K, copper and fiber
  • IMPORTANT!  Be sure to remove the pit and pear seeds as the seeds contain small traces of cyanide which is capable of making a dog ill


  • Once fresh pineapple is trimmed and cored it makes a really nice treat
  • Full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, pineapple also contains bromelain, an enzyme that supports a dog’s ability to absorb proteins


  • With their high iron content, potatoes are a good treat to give to dogs every once in a while
  • When raw they can cause stomach distress so be advised to always cook them first
  • Any time potatoes are offered as a treat, they should be plain, not topped with butter and seasonings as most people enjoy


  • One of the most popular summer fruits, fresh strawberries are chock full of vitamins and fiber, and can be used as a treat for dogs
  • Strawberries have a high sugar content and so they should be given to a pet in moderation

Sweet Potatoes

  • Full of fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C, dogs benefit from a treat of sweet potatoes
  • Before being given to a dog, their preparation should be completed in the same way as regular potatoes, cooked and unseasoned


  • As long as the rind and seeds are removed, watermelon can be offered as a safe choice for dog treats
  • Full of nutrients, with no fat or cholesterol, its high water content also provides a way to help keep a dog hydrated on hot days


For your pet, sneaking a fresh picked fruit or vegetable directly from the garden may be the best treat. One of the simplest forms of dog treats using fruits and vegetables is to freeze them. Here are two recipes that your pet will enjoy:

Frozen Apple

Slice two apples, removing the seeds and the core, then chop up and throw in a blender. Add a cup of plain Greek yogurt and a splash of water, then blend, pour in an ice tray, freeze, 

Frozen Yogurt Strawberries

Fresh strawberries (with the greens cut off, of course), dipped in plain yogurt. That’s it!

Use a fork to do the dipping, then lay on parchment paper and freeze.

Remember that there is a difference between offering a dog a treat and providing their meal. Regardless of the benefit provided by eating fruits or vegetables, feeding too much may reduce your dog’s nutritional intake if the quantity of treats interferes with their natural hunger response to eat their specially balanced regular diet.

To Your Pet’s Good Health,

Dr. Barry


Aug 28, 2017 1:52:39 PM By Barry Miller general information nutrition, General Information,
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