FreddieSez was fortunate to schedule time with the Freddie’s Place team of docs for a special interview to discuss important, and potentially stress reducing and money saving topics that should interest every clients family.

FreddieSez:  Thank you so much for carving out this time from your busy schedules to speak with us. I know that with the Grand Opening of the Hospital and everything that is involved, it’s got to be pretty hectic right now.

Freddie Docs: It’s an exciting time around here, for sure. We are thrilled to have the doors opened and the chance to serve the families in the San Diego County area. We are happy to have the chance to sit down and discuss this topic with you, we think it’s valuable information for everyone to know and consider.

FS: You bet, especially with the Holiday Season in full force. You now how different the average home is at this time of the year. More food, more treats, decorations, presents and more people. Fur friends have access to different, great looking and smelling stuff they don’t normally see.

Freddie Docs:  Exactly, and you know what they say about curiosity. What we see at Veterinary Clinics and Urgent Care facilities is an uptick in emergency visits. These are always costly and a great number of them are avoidable. Now, we’re not saying they aren’t understandable, everyone has those panic moments when their pets show signs of distress and are acting unusual or strange. It’s normal.

FS: I know that’s the case. It’s not like the fur kids can tell you what they are experiencing. You see vomit or worse, maybe they are acting funny or not responding to you, hiding… all those things are off their normal behavior. Trying to get an appointment right away isn’t always easy and you’re afraid to wait, so you end up in the waiting room of an Emergency Vet to find out it was something they shouldn’t have eaten but it’s not that serious. Better safe than sorry, right?

Freddie Docs: In many cases, yes, but there are some very common things that our clients can consider BEFORE they go to the Urgent or Emergency room with their pets.

FS: Really? Like what, for instance?

Freddie Docs: Well, for starters let’s talk about forbidden foods and their impact on pets health. Chocolate for instance…

FS: Yes, NO CHOCOLATE. And at Christmas, it’s everywhere. Santa is lousy with candy and pets DO NOT need candy, right!

Freddie Docs: Absolutely, no chocolate and it can be toxic if enough is ingested but… THAT is the key, the amount. It’s all relevant to the weight of the pet vs. how much of what kind of chocolate was eaten. We always suggest you call before you come. Have the information ready when you call, what kind of chocolate.. dark, milk, white, Snickers, Mounds… how much was eaten, how long has it been in their system and how much does your pet weigh. With all these things we can quickly tell you if you need to come in or if you just need to watch for any symptoms or after effects.

FS: Wow, I’d never considered that. Everything you see just says that chocolate can kill.

Freddie Docs: And it is toxic but it’s also relevant. So if we can play detective and figure out the amount digested, type, time and factor in the weight of the dog… call ahead and let the professionals guide you. It could save everyone involved stress and the client money. The same is true with garlic and onion.

FS: WHAT? That is mind blowing. Onion is on everyone’s list of no-no’s. And you’re telling me its not always bad?

Freddie Docs: Again, garlic and onion should not be in a pets diet, they can be toxic. However, much of what humans eat in their daily meals are flavored with both. If your dog has access to table scraps or gets into human food, they will likely be exposed to garlic and onion. The key factor is how much. You need to do the same calculations as with chocolate. How much did they intake, what type, what does the dog weigh, then call to discuss. A trip to the Vet or ER could be avoidable with one phone call.

FS: I think it’s also important that you set ground rules with guests. If you’re having people in your home, you let them know what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to your pets. No table scraps, no extra treats, no sweets, no whatever you don’t want. It’s the animals home that guests are invading, right?

Freddie Docs: That’s a good point. Either set those parameters or have a safe and comfortable place to separate the loved ones.

FS: The people or the pet?

Freddie Docs: Guess that is up to you!!

FS: So, this all makes sense about the food. If you can identify type, quantity, time and weight… call ahead. What other types of things are you seeing?

Freddie Docs: Do you know what a “reverse sneeze” is, it’s also called a “backwards sneeze”?

FS: Sure, it’s that weird sounding sneeze, cough, facial tick, eyes bugging out, backing up thing that freaks out the dog and their people… right!

Freddie Docs: Well, yes, guess that’s one way to describe it. Did you know it can happen in cats, too, just not very often? This happens because your pets soft palate becomes irritated. The soft palate is an area at the roof of the mouth that helps with making sounds, swallowing and breathing. It’s a muscle and when it gets irritated it’s spasms which causes the trachea to narrow. Your pet will extend their neck and they try to expand their chest to catch a full breath but their narrowed trachea won’t allow the full breath.

So, the animal will forcefully try to exhale through their nose, which causes that “backwards sneeze”.

FS: YIKES… that sounds horrible!

Freddie Docs: In most cases it’s a lot worse sounding than it looks. Episodes don’t last much more than 30 seconds but because of the physical symptoms, it seems like a lot longer. Reverse sneezing is caused by things like allergies, household products like perfumes/air fresheners/cleaning products, pulling on a leash, a tight collar, over excitement, eating and drinking. More serious causes are objects in throat (a toy, bone, or mass), nasal mites or elongated soft palate, which is common in short nosed breeds.

FS: So, a lot of that seems like it’s harmless? Do I have that right?

Freddie Docs: Exactly… so before you bring in your pet for treatment consider the surroundings, frequency, length of events and what going on with the animal. Did they play, eat or drink, did you just clean or put on some different scent? Again, call first if you’re not sure. If it’s the very first time or if its continually repeated, the Vet might have you bring the dog in. You can try a couple “in home” treatments to cure it. If you cover your dogs nostrils, that will cause your pet to swallow and often helps get rid of the irritant that started the episode. You can also massage the animals throat, which can dislodge or sooth any irritation that is in the area.

FS: That seems pretty easy to do, and harmless. It’s worth a try to avoid a stressful trip to the vet.

Freddie Docs: We hope our furry clients are happy to see us but I get what you’re saying. You’re right, it’s worth a moment of your time and a phone call to save stress and money.

FS: Wow, these are HUGE tips Doc. What else do we need to know?

Freddie Docs: Well, not necessarily related to Christmas or the Holiday but still a huge life event for any family is your pet going into labor when giving birth.

FS: Well certainly we would want to get to a Hospital for that, right?

Freddie Docs: When you have signs that your pet is going into labor, call first. Most do not need to come into the Hospital and we can give better instructions on what to look for and advise. In many cases home birth is the best option, it’s easier and more comfortable for the animal. Again, pre-planning is critical and staying calm is vital. Call and speak to a professional and they can help you assess the pet, the situation, time frame to birth and if you need to come in and, if so, when.

FS: You make it sound simple.

Freddie Docs: For most animals, it is. It’s the human factor that adds stress and complication. They have been doing it this way since the beginning of time. We are here to handle the cases where things don’t go as planned. When possible, let nature be nature.

FS: I like the sound of that. Okay, we have time for one more tip, today. Make is a big one!

Freddie Docs: Well, one of the biggest money and time grabber we see is clients bringing their pets into the Urgent Care facility for a first case of diarrhea. Nobody likes to deal with it, it’s gross and awful. It normally is scary and unexpected. People associate it with illness and disease in animals, which it certainly could be. However, the truth is, unless the diarrhea is bloody, frequent or both, chances are it is a food intolerance or stomach issue. This is a HUGE “call before you come” topic. Take a moment, assess the situation, gather facts, think about what has happened before the diarrhea began. Are there additional symptoms? Did you change food, was there any sudden stress or changes in the environment. All these things can impact the animal. Once you gather details, call and talk to someone if it’s the first time you’ve seen this change. Hopefully it’s a “Nothing Burger” and passes quickly, if not, then we will advise you to come in for a visit so we can figure things out.

FS: Well, that’s the straight poop on that topic… so to speak!! You’re right, it’s a subject that is not easy to talk about, scary and not understood. You see that and you do think something is not right.

Freddie Docs: In all of these examples, we know responsible pet owners are just trying to take care of their loved ones and do the right thing. In many cases, as caring parents of fur kids, we have knee jerk reactions and add stress and cost to a situation that could be solved with a simple phone call. That’s the message here, take a step back and assess before you rush. A phone call is easy and can save an unneeded trip.

FS: Awesome insights, Docs! Thank you taking time out of your busy schedules for us, today. I hope we can do more of these, your viewpoints and information are one of a kind!

Freddie Docs: We are always glad to make time for you. This was fun.

FS: This has been our time today with the amazing Freddie’s Place Docs.

From all of us at FreddieSez, our thanks to the readers for stopping by and being the main cog that’s “Keeping the Ball Rolling”!