Mo’s Winter Safety Tips

Original drawing by Dr. John Bialasik, DVM; 2019

Wintertime is here…


The weather can change drastically through the next months, so, monitor it closely and make adjustments. If it is too cold for you, it’s likely to be too cold for your pets. When pets are left outdoors without appropriate protection, pets can freeze, suffer frostbite, become disoriented, lost, stolen or injured.


Mo has some important tips and reminders from the ASPCA to keep your pets warm and safe.


Prevent Itchy, Flaking Skin

When pets are going in and out of the home, from cold temperatures into the dry heat, their coats and skin can become dry and irritated. Keep your home humidified and dry your wet pets as soon as they come indoors.


Reduce Washing and Bathing

This is not the best time for baths. When necessary, be sure to completely dry them and limit the times this is done. Frequent baths can remove essential oils for protecting the skin. If your dog or cat requires frequent baths, ask about a moisturizing or non-rinsing shampoo.



Remove clinging ice crystals from between paws. These can become irritating and painful.


Antifreeze (ethylene glycol)

This is still toxic. Be sure to clean up any spills and avoid leaving containers lying around.



A cozy bed with a clean, dry and warm blanket is perfect. If outside, be sure there is shelter protecting from drafts, precipitation and the cold. Feeding a little bit more for outdoor pets can provide much-needed calories. Make sure there is plenty of drinking water available. Check the water frequently to make sure it is not frozen.


Dogs Off-leash

Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost or disoriented. Make sure your pets’ id tag is current and if they have a microchip it is currently registered.


Ice Melts Caution

These are commonly made of different salts. The most common side effect seen when your pet ingests ice melts from treated snow or licking their paws is vomiting and diarrhea. How much they consume, size and health can lead to other concerns such as electrolyte imbalances.

  • Avoid your pet eating any snow treated with ice melt.
  • Wipe your pet’s paws when coming in from outside.
  • Paw wax or doggie booties can provide an excellent barrier to minimize risk to sensitive paws.
  • Keep ice melt packages out of paws reach

Holiday Safety Reminders

Safety Reminders this Holiday Season

(Original drawing by John Bialasik, DVM, 2018)


Mo here, and while I’m ecstatic about the awesome holiday tree and decorations that have been set up for me to destroy, I am reminded of some important safety lessons to avoid a CATastrophic holiday season.


The Holiday Tree

Secure it tightly so it doesn’t fall over. Your pet will be very curious about the new arrival and my want to explore each branch.


Tree Water

Cover the water dish for your tree with a skirt or towel to avoid pet drinking. Tree water may contain fertilizers that can be hazardous or toxic to your pet leading to diarrhea, nausea and stomach upset. The water can also become a great place for bacteria to culture and grow.



Place ornaments out of reach of pet paws. These can become a choking hazard if ingested and when broken can lead to injury or irritation.


Homemade Ornaments

Play dough and salt dough ornaments are an alluring and appetizing treat to your furry friends. These are heavily salted and when ingested can cause life-threatening electrolyte imbalances.



Simply put, toss it. This is very attractive to cats with its shiny appearance and tantalizing strings. If consumed though it can lead to severe vomiting and potential digestive obstruction requiring surgery.



Set these away from curious paws and whiskers.


Wires (electric lights)

Your electric lights can deliver a lethal shock if chewed on. Avoid these at pet level, and inspect regularly for loose or frayed wires. Batteries can also create corrosive burns to the digestive tract if chewed on or swallowed.



No peeking! These can be a threat to curious pets rummaging around under the tree. Be sure to keep all wrapped foods and treats up and away from your pets. Remember they can smell them and won’t wait to unwrap it!


More Holiday Tips:


Are We There Yet?!

How much further…are we there yet…


 (original drawing by John Bialasik, DVM; 2018)

Hello again, it’s Mo here to talk to you about tips for traveling with your pet this Holiday Season.


Some pets may shiver in terror at the thought of being on the road and others insist on sharing your lap while hanging their heads out the window loving every moment. To say the least, pet travel can be an adventure. And whether you are traveling across town or just around the block advanced preparation and a tool kit of tips can help to make it a safer and more pleasant experience for everyone.


Check with your Veterinarian:

Make sure your pet is healthy and up to date with vaccinations before traveling. Address any health concerns that may be lingering. Get their prescription refilled and be current on flea, tick and heartworm prevention. Some pets just don’t handle travel well and medications to ease travel anxieties can be discussed at an appointment.


Know your Pet:

Training is essential for every pet. While it does not have to be extensive it helps if your pets comes to you when called. Travel with a leash, collar or harness. A tag identifying your pet and providing a contact number is advisable. Microchip identification can be discussed with your veterinarian. A current picture of your pet is also recommended to carry with you.


Pet Supplies:

Pack all your necessary supplies for your pet in one bag and keep it easily assessable. A few items recommended to pack are:

  • A supply of pet food, food bowl and bottled water
  • Dog treats and enriching toys
  • Prescribed medications, primary veterinary clinic and contact information and a brief medical history if your pet is being treated
  • A clean sheet and towel, favorite bed, plastic bags for clean-up, extra cat litter
  • Grooming supplies such as a brush, shampoo or wet wipes


Plan your Route:

Be sure to plan for rest stops and potty breaks to stretch the paws. Cat boxes can be placed in a carrier with a cat, but don’t forget extra litter if your trip is going to be long, or a plastic bag for used litter. Many motels are pet friendly, but may have a limited number of dog and cat friendly rooms, so making reservations can be key to a stress-free trip. Pack a picnic lunch or snacks for yourself. This way your pet companion and you can stretch your legs in a park while eating.


Hey everybody, Mo again.

Well it is HOT again here in the Rogue Valley.  Too hot.  Try wearing a fur coat.  Trust me, it is even worse.

Which is why I wanted to remind people, please keep in mind your little furry friends when it comes to this weather.  Hundreds if not thousands of animals die each year from being shut inside of cars in this extreme heat.  It may seem unnecessary to say, but please leave your pets at home when you go to the store, work, gym, etc.  Trust me, they may give you that pouty look when you are walking out the door without them, but they are better off at home.

Also, for many of these animals that suffer heatstroke in the car, it is often an accident.  Cats may jump into open windows of cars parked in the driveway, or an eager puppy may jump into an open car door and into the back seat, escaping notice from its owner.  So please do your friends a favor and check your whole car out before leaving the house.

Below you can see how hot it can be in the car.  And this table doesn’t even go up to the temps we have been having lately!

Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Elapsed time Outside Air Temperature (F)
70 75 80 85 90 95
0 minutes 70 75 80 85 90 95
10 minutes 89 94 99 104 109 114
20 minutes 99 104 109 114 119 124
30 minutes 104 109 114 119 124 129
40 minutes 108 113 118 123 128 133
50 minutes 111 116 121 126 131 136
60 minutes 113 118 123 128 133 138
> 1 hour 115 120 125 130 135 140
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University
Thanks again,

Smoked again…

Hey there, Mo here.

Well, so it begins again; the Rogue Valley is socked in with smoke.  Though the smell and sight of it is unpleasant, there are other unseen dangers lurking there as well.  The smoke can be locally irritating to the nasal passages and lower airways, and can worsen existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis.  The smoke contains not only carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which can affect oxygen delivery to the tissues, but can also carry other toxic substances released by burning organic and synthetic materials.

Until those firefighters get things under control, try to limit the time your pet spends outside, and especially try to avoid prolonged strenuous outdoor activities (such as ball, Frisbee, etc.).  Inside the house you can keep the air clear by changing the filter for your air conditioning and running the fan to circulate and filter the air.

If your pet shows signs of respiratory difficulty, including coughing, labored breathing, “cheek-puffing”, or abdominal effort during breathing, bring them in right away for Dr. Costello to have a look.

Thanks again,