Monthly Archives

February 2015

Retractable Dog Leash Dangers

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Why are retractable leashes harmful?

Do you walk your dog with a retractable leash?

Retractable leashes have been popular for a long time. Pet owners like that dogs have more freedom to roam while on their walks. The walker can reel them in whenever they choose to call them back. Right? Not always. Below is just one scenario of the dangers they can cause to the pet and to the holder.

Scenario One

You are walking your dog on his retractable leash when out of nowhere another dog appears from just feet away. Do you have time to reel in your dog if the other dog is acting aggressively or negatively to your dog, or worse, to you? You most likely don’t.

The danger is that if the dogs react negatively to each other and you have a long line attached to your dog’s collar you will not be able to move quickly enough to reel him back to you. Quickly the dogs can begin fighting and one or both become can become entangled in the leash line.
There is a great probability for one or both dogs to become seriously injured. The handler can also become seriously injured by having the leash torn from his/her hand with the force of the dog on the other end of it.

There have been reported incidents that people who have found themselves in this predicament have received painful leash burns, lost fingers, have received deep lacerations and even arms being pulled out of their sockets. There is also the strong possibility that if your dog sees a bird, squirrel or other small animal and decides to take off to investigate further, that he pulls the leash out of your hand and runs straight in to traffic. This can be deadly for your dog.

Retractable leashes are often dropped easily due to their cumbersome feel. This causes a hurdling effect towards your dog and can easily strike your dog in the head. When this happens it can easily and completely understandably, spook your dog with the possibility of him running off. If a person is not paying attention and this happens; most commonly their first reaction is that the handler grabs the leash line. This can cause injury to the hand causing severe leash burns and even amputation of entangled fingers.

Scenario Two

In the veterinary field, many retractable leashes are seen being used by clients on their dogs. Clients bring their pets to the veterinarian sometimes behaving as if they’re at the park thus letting their dogs have the freedom of the full length of their retractable leash. Not only is this dangerous it is irresponsible. Pet owners are often at the veterinary clinic with their pet because the pet is sick. They don’t want a dog approaching without permission, but sadly it happens. There are dogs that are deemed “Not dog friendly” so when a dog who has free rein on a lengthy leash approaches another dog; there is a possibility of a negative interaction between the two. That brings us back to the dangers of entanglement, lost fingers and serious leash burns.

Dogs on retractable leashes in the veterinary practice is not only impolite to the other pet owners but to the staff as well. They already know the dangers of retractable leashes. Now they have to watch your pet even closer.

So the conclusion? Retractable leashes are not only unsafe for your dog but they are unsafe for you as well.

What leash is recommended?

A sturdy nylon or leather leash is suggested. These leashes have a “Hand/Loop” for you to hold on to and they come in all lengths. They are safe, durable and easy to use. The leashes are best used along with a safe harness. You can read our previous blog post on the dangers of prong, choke, bark collars and harnesses.

Let’s hope that most of you will in the very least, consider changing from a retractable leash to a sturdy nylon or leather leash!

Thanks pet friends!

terrier dog

February Case of the Month: Cystotomy Surgery

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Our case of the month for February involves a cystotomy surgery. Dr. Schmidt and the Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic team performed a cystotomy on one of our patients, Shae Pilson. Shae, a 3-year-old spayed Yorkie mix, was initially brought in because her owners noticed that she was frequently straining to urinate. They also noticed blood in her urine. During Shae’s visit, she was given antibiotics and had radiographs taken, along with a urinalysis.


After receiving the results of Shae’s radiographs and urinalysis, her owners elected for her to have a cystotomy. Cystotomy is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made into the urinary bladder, located on the belly near the rear of the abdomen. Once Shae’s bladder was accessed, Dr. Schmidt removed several bladder stones, which were then analyzed for their composition. After the surgery, Shae received antibiotics and pain medication.

We are happy to announce that Shae is doing much better now and is back home with her family!



Responsible Pet Ownership

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What does “Being a responsible pet owner really mean?”

Owning a pet is a privilege, but the benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities.

That’s right. Owning a pet should be fun but there comes responsibility with it.

The following are some suggestions and tips on how to be a responsible pet owner:

1. Commit

  • Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet.
  • Select a pet that’s suited to your home and lifestyle.
  • Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
  • Commit to the relationship for the life of your pet(s).
  • Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Properly socialize and train your pet consulting with a Force Free Dog Training Professional.
Be Kind to dogs

Be Kind to dogs

Microchipping can be done right at our office!

Microchipping can be done right at our office!

2. Invest

  • Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money.
  • Make sure your pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, heartworm testing and prevention, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.
  • Budget for potential emergencies. These tend to happen while you are away or on the weekend when most family veterinary clinics are closed. Know the location and telephone numbers of the nearest Emergency Animal Hospital.

3. Obey

  • Clean up after your pet. Leaving feces in your yard can spread contagious intestinal parasites and serious and potentially deadly, viruses. (Parvo)
  • Obey all local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and noise control. The Law requires every dog owner to uphold an annual registration license and Rabies vaccines according to state laws.
  • Don’t allow your pet to stray or become feral.

4. Identify

  • Make sure your pet is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and keep its registration up-to-date. Most microchip companies search for pet ID’s by owner name/address/telephone number, so if yours is outdated, there’s a very good chance you will not be contacted if your pet is lost and then found.

5. Limit

  • Don’t contribute to our nation’s pet overpopulation problem: limit your pet’s reproduction through spay/neuter! Adopt, Don’t Shop! Visit your local shelters when adding a new pet to your family.
Universal Microchip Scanner

Universal Microchip Scanner

6. Prepare

  • Prepare for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit and a home first aid kit for pets.
  • Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your pet.
  • Recognize any decline in your pet’s quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.

Participate in a pet CPR and First Aid class so you will know what to do at home if your pet becomes ill or injured.

Help spread the word about responsible pet ownership by sharing this article. Thank you pet parents!

cat with stuffed pig

Spay And Neuter Awareness Month

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February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and we’d like to help spread the word of the importance of spaying and neutering your dogs and cats.

You may have read the popular article before, but for those of you who haven’t, we wanted to post it once more. The author is unknown and therefore shareable. If you need more information on spaying or neutering your pet, please call us at 480-987-4555. We will review with you the importance of spaying and neutering and schedule your pre-spay or neuter exam. Please read on…

The 10 Worst Excuses Not to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

  1. “Just one Litter and then we’ll have “Fluffy” spayed. (studies show that the entire pet overpopulation stems from the “just one litter” mentality.)
  2. “My dog doesn’t run loose, so he doesn’t need to be fixed.” (Murphy’s Law says otherwise.)
  3. “We always find homes for the kittens/puppies.” (And that means that an equal number of kittens or puppies at the pound will be killed.)
  4. “I want the children to witness the miracle of birth.” (Rent a video. Oh yes, and also make sure they witness the killing of innocent recently “birthed” kittens and puppies.)
  5. “My dog is so cute and unique; there should be more of her.” (The shelters and pounds are full of cute and unique pets, most with only a few days to live.)
  6. “It’s not natural.” (There hasn’t been anything “natural” about dogs since we began to develop breeds thousands of years ago.)
  7. “I just couldn’t look my dog in the eye if I had him castrated.” (Watch it, you’re anthropomorphizing.)
  8. “A female dog or cat should have at least one litter for health reasons.” (Medically, factually and ethically, indefensible.) (You actually reduce the chances of testicular, mammary and uterine cancer if spayed or neutered.)
  9. “Neutering my dog will make him fat and lazy.” (Too much food and not enough exercise make a dog fat and lazy.)
  10. “Fixing my pet will change it’s personality.” (The primary influences on an animal’s personality are the kindness and care with which it is raised.)

If your pet is not spayed or neutered please make an appointment with your Veterinarian today and get it done! Thank you for promoting responsible pet ownership!

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San Tan Valley, AZ 85143