Fright Night: Halloween Dangers For Pets

A cat investigating a jack-o-lanternHalloween is one of the most popular holidays for humans, and if the cute internet pictures are accurate, it’s popular with pets as well. But even though pets in costume look cute and funny, Halloween can actually be a frightful holiday for companion animals. Certain Halloween dangers for pets can even lead to scary pet emergencies.

But, fear not! With some preparation and planning, as well as awareness, you can make sure your pet stays safe, secure, and happy on Halloween.

Cozy and Safe

Some pets would love to answer the door with you all night long or go along on the trick-or-treating rounds. But if your pet is at all reluctant or anxious, do yourself (and them) a favor and let them sit this one out. 


Your Guide To The Purrr-fect Holiday Gifts For Pets

A dog with a treat on its pawsIt’s hard to imagine a holiday season without at least one or two gifts for the four-legged friends in your life! Whether you completed your holiday shopping back in August or are still struggling to figure out what to buy, our ideas for holiday gifts for pets can round out your list.

Wacky Gifts For Pets

One of the best parts of gift giving is coming up with creative ideas to surprise your loved ones. The pet care industry has capitalized on this concept and the amount of interesting, unique, useful, and pawsitively pawsome pet products on the market is simply dazzling. For instance:

Stocking Stuffers

You can pack a lot of health, fun, and deliciousness into a pet’s stocking while still staying within your budget. Try these pet stocking stuffers:

  • Pet toothbrush and toothpaste (also available at The Bluffs Pet Clinic).
  • Homemade pet treats, made right at home with love.
  • Felted cat toys or other small, fuzzy toys for your beloved kitty to play with.
  • A rolled leather leash or other vet-approved leash for your furry friend.

Wardrobe Upgrade

Not every pet enjoys wearing clothes, but some accessories are designed to protect your pet against our Northern Minnesota winters and look super adorable, such as:

Wellness Abounds

Has your pet been in for a wellness exam lately? Are they up-to-date on vaccines and parasite preventives? Could your little guy or gal use a good bath and nail trim with a professional groomer? Wellness gifts such as these may not seem very interesting, but there’s simply no better gift you can give your pet than the gift of good health!

Giving Back

If your pet’s toy box doesn’t have room for more stuffed animals or squeaky bones, consider giving to animals in need this holiday season instead. Consider the following ideas for making your community a better place this holiday season (and all year long):

  • Donate your time, energy, supplies, or money to a local animal shelter or rescue organization
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered to ensure that you don’t contribute to the homeless pet population
  • Adopt or foster a new pet

What’s under the tree for your furry friend this year? We’d love to hear about it during your pet’s next appointment. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact The Bluffs Pet Clinic with any concerns you may have regarding your pet.

Celebrating the Holidays with Pets: Safety, Fun, and Loot!

A puppy sitting in a Christmas basket

For many pet parents, celebrating the holidays with pets is one of the highlights of the season. Pets are like family, and it’s hard to imagine not including them in as many aspects of our revelry as possible.

Whether you are trying to find the perfect gift for Fido or are wondering how to keep Fluffy safe around all those decorations, we’ve got you covered with our simple guidelines for safe and fun holidays with pets.

Avoiding Holiday Mishaps

  • With so much food available during the holiday season, it’s easy for pets to be given (or sneak) food from the table. Unfortunately, many common holiday foods can cause accidental poisoning or a serious inflammatory condition known as pancreatitis. Play it safe and keep table scraps away from pets, and encourage guests to do the same.
  • Many of the decorations that make our homes sparkle during the holiday season pose a risk of serious injury to curious pets. Electric cords can cause entanglement, strangulation, or electric shock if chewed on, and should be tacked high out of reach or bundled and tied together.
  • Christmas trees fascinate pets, but pets incur serious injuries related to trees every year. For your furry friend’s safety, not to mention the preservation of your hard decorating work, securely anchor your tree to prevent it from falling and keep glass or breakable ornaments on the highest branches where pets can’t reach them. Similarly, avoid the use of tinsel and other string-like items, as they can cause choking or intestinal blockage if ingested by pets.
  • Many holiday plants, including mistletoe, English ivy, holly, narcissus, and amaryllis, are toxic to pets and should be kept out of reach. Poinsettia is actually the least toxic of the seasonal plant lot, but should still be kept away from pets since mild stomach upset could occur if eaten.
  • A houseful of guests can overwhelm even the friendliest pet. Provide your pet with a quiet out-of-the-way spot (furnished with water, bedding, and other comforts) to escape the holiday madness.

What’s Under the Tree for Me?

It would be hard to include your four-legged-family members in your holiday celebrations without giving them gifts, but with so many pet products on the market it can be hard to choose just one or two (or more!). Let us help you with a list of our favorite useful, safe, and fun pet gifts:

  • Kong toys are nearly indestructible, and come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties depending on your pet’s preferences and playing style.
  • Environmental enrichment is an important part of your pet’s well-being, and you can provide this for him or her in the form of food puzzlesslow feeder bowls, and DIY pet games.
  • Give your fur friend the gift of health with a new pet toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste in his or her stocking. Or better yet, make an appointment for a professional dental exam and cleaning.
  • A little baggie of homemade dog or cat treats is a wonderful way to show your pet how much you care.
  • Does your pampered pet already have everything he or she needs and wants? Consider donating to a local shelter or rescue organization in your pet’s name, or add to your family by adopting or fostering a homeless pet.

Celebrating Holidays with Pets

In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the main event of the holidays, it’s easy to overlook our furry friends. Take some time for your pet each day, whether it’s a walk through the ‘hood to check out the holiday lights, a snowy game of fetch, or a laser pointer session by the fire.

Time spent together is a wonderful reminder of the love that surrounds us during the holidays and the rest of the year.

Happy holidays from all of us at The Bluffs Pet Clinic!

The Weather is Frightful, So is the Food: Preventing a Pet Poisoning This Holiday Season

A small dog licking its lips at the sight of human foodThe holidays are all about families celebrating together. Tables overflowing with savory, decadent food, champagne glasses clinking, and abundant greenery adorning every surface and walkway. All of this sounds lovely, but when you add your pet to the mix, your sparkling holiday scene could turn into a disaster rather quickly. While there’s definitely room for concern, pet poisoning around the holidays can be prevented when you learn to recognize the common culprits.


From advent calendars to Hanukkah gelt, chocolate is ubiquitous during the holidays. It’s given as gifts, it’s a showpiece on the dessert buffet, and it even makes an appearance in cocktails.

Depending on the amount and type of chocolate consumed, theobromine is responsible for hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, or even heart attack in pets.

Keep all chocolate on surfaces your pet can’t reach and away from the floor. Remember, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Know what to look for in a pet poisoning, and call us immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested any chocolate.

Pet Poisoning and the Dining Table

It might seem relatively easy to keep chocolate out of the house, off the menu, or away from the table, but many other ingredients can pose risks. Onions, garlic, xylitol-sweetened goodies, desserts with raisins, and alcohol can all result in a pet poisoning.

Fatty or rich foods can result in a painful turn of pancreatitis, leading to emergency treatment, medical support, and lab work.

Also, rising dough may seem appetizing to your pet, but yeasted, uncooked dough can create sizable complications in the GI tract.


Garlands on banisters, over doorways, or on the mantel are par for the season, but you may want to consider artificial greenery. Pine needles from garlands, wreaths, or the holiday tree can lead to serious GI problems or get stuck in your pet’s delicate paw pads.

In addition, poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly berries can result in a pet poisoning if ingested by a curious (or hungry) pet. Keep plants off the floors and out of your pet’s reach.

Unpredictable Natures

You may have done your due diligence when it comes to the prevention of a pet poisoning, but if you’re entertaining guests, all your hard work may quickly dissipate.

Please inform any visitors of your concerns. Remind them to not feed your pet from the table, to clean up any plates or cups left out, and ask that all medications be stored safely. NSAIDs, acetaminophen, antidepressants, sleep aids, and more must always be kept out of sight and out of reach.

If you anticipate that your cat might be exposed to great risk this holiday season, please consider our feline boarding services.

Happy, Yet Safe, Holidays!

We hope your pet remains safe and sound this holiday season. If you have any questions about pet poisoning, we urge you to contact us. You can never be too prepared for a pet emergency. Remember, our team is always here to assist you.

How to Ensure a Great Vacation For You and Your Dog

A boxer with its face out of a windowHere comes summer and road trips with your dog. Taking Fido on vacation can be fun for the family and your dog, if you plan with care, and always keep your dog’s best interests in mind.

Here’s a collection of vital tips to ensure your dog is safe and enjoys the trip as much as you do.

Getting Started

Begin preparing for your dog one month ahead of your trip. Here are the top pre-trip “to-do’s.”

  1. Visit your vet and microchip your dog. That’s the only certain way to ensure your dog can be identified if lost. Collars and tags can fall off. Microchips are permanent. For more information, call The Bluffs Pet Clinic.
  2. While at the vet, make sure all vaccines are current and that your dog’s rabies tag is, too. Your vet can provide certificates for all vaccines in case you need to board your pet. Make sure you have your vet’s phone number on your phone.
  3. If your dog doesn’t travel well, tell your vet. The veterinarians at The Bluffs Pet Clinic can prescribe medications or herbs to reduce their anxiety.  This is also a good time to refill any medications that you may run out of while you are gone.
  4. Plan how to restrain your dog in the car. Whether a kennel, dog seat belt, pet car seat or a barrier between the front and back seat, remember that a sharp turn or sudden brake can throw a loose dog into the car’s side or back of the front seat and harm your pet. If you choose a kennel, make sure it is well ventilated on both sides. Then fit the pet car seat or seat belt well before the trip. Just as it’s important for you to be comfortable in the car, it’s equally important for your pet.
  5. Take a few “practice rounds” with your pet in the kennel, car seat or seat belt. Start by placing your dog in the restraint in the car—without driving. Let him/her adjust to the restraint. Next, take your dog for small drives in the restraint. That way, when it’s travel time, they know exactly what to expect and you’ve reduced their anxiety. Back seats only. Never put your pet in the front seat. If an air bag deploys, it can severely injure your pet.
  6. Also, never travel with your dog in an open truck bed. This is extremely dangerous.
  7. If staying in a pet-friendly hotel, make sure you know if there are weight restrictions before making the reservation. Prevent an unfortunate surprise this way.
  8. Now is also the time to look up a veterinary clinic in the area you will be staying in case of an emergency.

On Trip Day

  1. Make sure you place your dog’s bed or favorite blanket with him/her in the car to help reduce anxiety.
  2. Bring along Fido’s favorite toys. Helps him/her feel at home—wherever you are.
  3. Bring along a photo of your dog that can be printed and duplicated. In the tragic event your dog is lost, you can post pictures to increase the likelihood he/she will be found.
  4. If your pet is on any medications or supplements, then make sure to bring enough to last until you return home.
  5. Pack enough of their dog food to last the entire trip. Vacations are not the time to introduce your dog to a new food. You don’t want your dog to have an upset tummy, (nor do you want to travel with one who does).
  6. Don’t forget their food and water dishes. If you’re short on space, invest in collapsible dishes.
  7. Start out with at least one gallon of water from your home. Dogs don’t always adjust well to new water. Gradually mix in your water with the new sources to reduce the chance of an upset stomach.
  8. Don’t forget the pooper scooper or dog waste bags!

On the Road

  1. Make frequent rest stops for your dog. Always use a leash to walk him/her, and give plenty of time to eliminate and exercise. Then give them more water. It’s very important to keep your dog hydrated during the drive. This is also a good time to give your dog extra love and attention—they’ll love you for it.
  2. Never leave your pet alone in the car. With windows closed at 72°, your car will reach 116° in an hour. At 85°, your car will reach 102° in 10 minutes. With windows slightly open, in 30 minutes it’s 120°. Dogs can suffer irreversible organ damage and/or death. If you see a dog in a hot car with windows rolled up call 911. That pet is in critical danger.

In a Hotel

  1. Please don’t leave your dog alone in a strange place—particularly a hotel. You will stress out your pooch and he/she will probably bark incessantly, leaving you to find a new hotel when you return. No fun for Fido, and no fun for you.
  2. If you have plans and your pup can’t join you, find a local dog daycare for them to spend the day. That way you both get to have fun!

Now you—and your pooch—are ready for a great vacation! As always, if you have any concerns or questions, the staff at The Bluffs is eager to help you. Happy and safe travels for you and your dog!