10500 Little Brier Creek Lane, Raleigh, NC 27617 | (919) 544-2226

What Vets Wish Pet Parents Knew

AHBC is always here to help you take the best possible care of your beloved fur babies. Here are some vital things every pet parent should know.

Dr. Goetz carefully examines an AHBC in-patient.

When a pet is not eating or drinking, there is something seriously wrong.

If a pet ever refuses food or water, he or she needs to be taken to a veterinarian or an emergency care facility right now. Pets conceal symptoms of disease, even very serious ones, until the issue is so severe they can no longer hide it.

But why would your beloved furry family member hide illness from you? Many pet parents are sure their dog or cat would let them know something was wrong. But dogs and cats have been conditioned for millions of years to act on survival instinct; in the wild, showing any sign of sickness sends the message, “I am lunch.”

We often see dogs and cats with no outside symptoms who are secretly suffering from a painful, debilitating condition such as a root abscess or pancreatitis. We strongly encourage regular wellness visits—we will do everything we can to catch every condition, start treatment, and alleviate pain.

Pets rarely cry out when they are in pain.

Symptoms of pain are often subtle, such as…

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased or decreased drinking water
  • Lethargy or decreased activity
  • Dilated pupils
  • Panting, increased respiratory rate, increased respiratory effort
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Increased or decreased temperature
  • Increased or decreased blood pressure

Signs may be either increased or decreased because they depend on the condition causing the pain.

A good diet can prevent disease and extend your pet’s life.

Dogs should eat dog food. Cats should eat cat food. And people food is for people!

Commercial food labels do not tell you how good the food is! That’s because the commercial pet food industry has almost no regulation. A company can throw one cranberry into a huge vat of dog food and then claim the food contains cranberries on every single bag.

We see so many dogs with diarrhea whose diet hasn’t changed, but the pet parent recently opened a new bag of food—since the formula is totally different bag to bag, the food in the new bag upset the dog’s stomach.

The only way to prove a food is good is if the company invests in extensive, consistent, long-term research into its formula and effectiveness. Prescription diets are the only pet food companies who do this. Good food may be expensive…but it is a lot more affordable than treating and managing disease.

Did you know pets almost never have a grain allergy or sensitivity? Protein is the most common allergy in pets, chicken and beef for dogs and fish for cats.

If you ever suspect your pet is sick or in pain, call us right away!

Sadly, we have gotten too many calls on Friday night about pets who have vomiting all week. We will always find time to see sick pets! We never want a pet to feel sick or painful any longer than necessary. We believe your pet’s health is a priority.

Kimbo survived Parvo as an AHBC in-patient.

Too many well-meaning pet parents delay treatment—we understand you are busy and will work with you to get your pet seen. We can always admit your pet for the day; this gives you a chance to get to work and us a chance to observe and treat him, then call you with updates

We treat hospitalized pets like were our own. We watch them closely for symptoms. We administer medications and watch to see if they’re helping. We freshen water and take canine in-patients on a walk up to three times daily. Cats get soft blankets and litter boxes. Every pet gets expert care, compassion, and attention.

After-hours, there are local emergency care facilities open 24/7/365. We recommend Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital and Veterinary Specialty Hospital.

Serious conditions that cannot wait include crying, limping, difficulty breathing, difficulty urinating or defecating, not eating or not drinking water, repeated vomiting, seizures, bite wounds, bleeding, car accidents, holding an eye shut, green or yellow eye discharge, coughing in a cat, or suspected ingestion of anything toxic, particularly chocolate in dogs.

If you are unsure if your pet needs treatment right away or can wait, call us and ask!

What can wait until the next day? Stool that is a little soft, vomiting just once, slightly decreased appetite, a lump (unless it is bleeding), sneezing, mild coughing in an otherwise healthy dog, clear eye or nasal discharge, ear discharge without pain or bleeding, mild itching, mild lethargy, hair thinning, and drinking just a little more than usual.

A dog with behavior problems is not bad and was not necessarily abused.

Dogs require socialization to humans, noises, dogs, and other animals before the age of 8 weeks. Pet parents almost never get the chance to control what happens to their puppy in those first short weeks of life. Lack of proper socialization is far more common than abuse.

Pet parents often unknowingly promote behavior problems by reinforcing them. Punishment, including yelling, does not work. In fact, negative reinforcement makes the behavior problem worse.

Extensive research proves positive reinforcement is the best way to train, or re-train, any dog. There are many training and socialization techniques proven to work, even in older dogs. It just takes patience, consistency, and dedication. We can help.

Training cannot cure a dog’s behavior problem.

Dog trainers train obedience. A dog with a behavior problem is better served by a behavior consultation with a veterinarian. That’s because a dog with a behavior problem is trying to tell us something is wrong, either medically or emotionally. As pet parents, we can learn to listen.

We offer behavior consultations and are also happy to refer you to veterinarians who specialize in canine behavior.

Just say no to Dr. Google.

Please don’t ask Dr. Google.

This is the biggest pet peeve of both veterinary and human medical professionals alike! Online you can get completely contradictory information in a matter of minutes…not to mention totally scare yourself silly.

We understand the Internet can be helpful—if you know where to look for accurate, current information. We are happy to direct you to trusted sites created and run by veterinarians.

We recommend…

Education is one of our Core Values at AHBC. We love educating ourselves and our pet parents about their pets! The best way for pets to stay healthy is for their humans to know how to keep them healthy.