It’s National Ice Cream Day


It’s A-OK to share a little bit of ice cream with your pet on National Ice Cream Day, isn’t it?  YES! Just be sure the frozen treat you choose is pet approved! Look for treats already made specifically for pets. Better yet…make your own concoction at home using your blender.

Godiva and Ruby love a Kong Classic rubber toy instead of the sugary waffle cone!


G & R’s PBB Stuffed Kong

  1. Blend in a food processor or blender.
  •  ¼ c Adams Natural Peanut Butter
  • ½ banana
  • ¼ water or broth of your choice – Godiva is allergic to chicken, so I just use water.
  • Blended ingredients
  • Up to ¼ cup dry kibble
  1. Combine in a separate bowl.
  2. Stuff contents into a Kong toy. Choose the appropriate size and strength for you dog.
  3. Place in the freezer until completely frozen. (I like to let them freeze overnight.)
  4. Once frozen…let you dogs enjoy!

Tech Tips

  • If your dog has a sensitive stomach or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), eliminate FATTY ingredients! Or minimize the amount of peanut butter by just coating the inside of the Kong.
  • Substitute different veggies for the banana; boost fiber and decrease calories!
  • When giving calorie dense treat, adjust daily caloric intake by reducing regular dog food that day.
  • Soak Kong Toys in beef, chicken or vegetable stock if you’re watching your pet’s waistline!  Pop them in the freezer for a cool summertime treat!
  • Use  a plain cone to serve pet ice-cream but be sure your pet doesn’t have a wheat allergy.
    • chocolate, raisins, alcohol, coffee, Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets), macadamia nuts, walnuts, grapes or bubble gum…JUST TO NAME A FEW!

Get creative!  Your dogs will love you for it! Let me know how much your dogs loved this delightful treat.  Comment and share photos of your dogs enjoying their favorite combos here!


Have a Fear Free Fourth

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and as a licensed veterinary technician, visions of frantic pets running scared down the freeway enter my head.  Year after year, pet owners are warned about the potential dangers Independence Day pose on our beloved furry family members.  Last year I wrote about preventing pet anxiety on this freedom filled holiday.  Fortunately, there’s already ample information on the web pertaining to Fourth of July pet safety, so I’ve decided to take a different approach.

Most of us know if our pets need special care on this explosive, rumbling night, but if they do need special care…do we really know why?


It’s fear that causes pets to hide under the bed during the thundering firecrackers.  It’s fear that causes dogs to jump through window panes, only to find the outside world is what they fear even more.  And it’s fear that causes pets to frantically roam for hours with no destination in sight only to wind up tragically deceased on the side of the road.  But…what is fear?  When does fear start?  Why did it start in the first place?

As an LVT at Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital, I see fear every day, and it comes it many shapes, sizes and severities.  Terror, fright, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress…the list goes on.  In humans fear is a vital response to physical or emotional danger allowing us to protect ourselves from threats.  In pets it’s equivalent, but with a major language barrier; fear can be amplified by the slightest movement or sound. scared dog and cat

Both, environmental and psychosocial, factors can cause stress in your pets.  Stressors such as humidity, noise, pheromones, and odor contribute to environmental fear. Unfamiliar pets and people, as well as separation from his or her owner contribute to psychosocial factors.  If taken lightly the festivities surrounding Independence Day can encompass many, if not ALL, of these!

Thanks to newer insights and progressive veterinary practices, fear can be recognized sooner and hopefully be reduced.  Understanding your pet’s fear-induced triggers is first way you can help. If you observe signs or behaviors listed below, take time to record them and the circumstances surrounding them.

Signs Your Pet May Be Fearful or Anxious

Cats – Dilated pupils, arched back, open mouth (breathing through their mouth), thumping/flicking tail, hidingScared cats

Dogs – Dilated pupils, taught skin, furrowed brow, hunched back/rigid spine, tucked tail or high over the back wagging, closed mouth with lips short, lip smacking, yawning, and tense growling/snarling

Scared submissive dog


We all know the cracks and booms of this year’s fireworks display will have many pets hiding, running or worst of all, dying.  If you think your pet may be fearful of specific circumstances or events, take the time to understand your pet’s fear and anxiety, so it can be reduced and/or prevented in the future.  Get your pet to the vet, or schedule a house call to have your pet assessed before tragedy strikes.  Ask your veterinarian about special treatment plans that may include sedatives and anti-anxiolytics to ensure you and your pet have a safe and happy Fourth.  This information isn’t meant to be boom, gloom and doom; it’s simply meant to empower you and protect your pet.





For tips to keep you pet safe during this Fourth of July, check out my 2016 post!

Spring Time is Prevention Time!

With record snow fall in the Sierras this winter, mosquitoes will be flourishing more now than drier years in the past. Spring is the perfect time to start preventatives for heartworm disease!

If you are not familiar with heartworm disease – it’s a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  Adult worms develop in the heart, cause heart failure and eventually death.  Crazy thing…it can be prevented. 

This disease isn’t as prevalent in Northern Nevada, but it does exist in the Reno-Tahoe area.  It actually affects both, dogs and cats, in every state. 2013-Heartworm-Incidence-Map

With record snow fall in the Sierras this winter, mosquitoes will be flourishing more now than drier years in the past.  Spring is the perfect time to start preventatives for heartworm disease!

Heartworm larvae live in infected mosquitoes and are transmitted when they bite your dog or cat.  The larvae develop into adults that gather in the heart.  Once adult worms are present, without treatment prognosis is death.

Boomer HW

Boomer’s Heart Infected with Adult Heartworms – Villa Lobos Rescue Center

The best way to prevent heartworm disease is keeping your pet on a preventative year round. Infected mosquitoes in the Lake Tahoe Area, have even been found at the Lake level as late as November. Yes November! So, skipping winter months is no longer a viable option to fight this often fatal disease.

Performing a simple blood test at your veterinarian’s hospital can test for the disease in as little as 10 minutes.  Negative results mean you can start the preventative.  It’s as easy as giving a tasty beef chew once a month.  Positive results are another story of their own.  Treatment is necessary to save your pet and risks involved can be fatal as well.

As an active outdoor enthusiast, camping and hiking with my dogs is a must. My dogs are protected by Heartgard all year, since mosquitoes are unavoidable. Although there are products like k9 Advantix II that repel mosquitoes, there’s no guarantee.  And…mosquitoes not biting your dog are biting you.  Cases of heartworm have been reported in humans as well. West Nile Virus is another nasty disease spread by mosquitoes.

Tech Tips:

  • Get your dog tested for Heartworm disease annually.
  • If, you skip or miss a dose, be sure to re-test in 6 months.
  • Keep your dog on a Heartworm preventative all year.
  • Symptoms, though not always seen, may include:
  • A mild persistent cough, lethargy, exercise intolerance, weight-loss, and loss of appetite.

The fact is, if there’s even a chance for infection and there’s a preventative…It’s in your power to ensure you pets’ well being.

Spring is here so start prevention now!

Why does my pet’s surgery cost so much?

Higher standards of care lead to higher costs.

dog-on-phoneWhen clients are shopping around for costs on spays and neuters, receptionists are often rebutted with, “Wow, that’s expensive!”  Although it may seem as if a routine surgery, like a spay or neuter, should be inexpensive, there are key components that increase the cost.

As an LVT at Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital, I know we provide high quality care with knowledgeable, skillful, compassionate staff.  We are an AAHA accredited hospital and are held to high standards; and these are the same standards we want for our own pets.

Our routine surgeries include pre-anesthetic blood work to check the patient’s liver, kidneys, red and white blood cells, and electrolytes to be sure he or she is healthy enough for anesthesia.

Before any surgical procedure our doctors perform an exam to be sure the pet is well enough for the surgery.  Listening to the heart and lungs is very important.  Even our veterinary technicians listen to ALL pets before premedicating and inducing anesthesia.

We don’t practice cookie cutter medicine either! Each patient is assessed individually, and we tailor the pet’s anesthetic protocol to his or her own anesthetic needs.

Pre-oxygenating before induction for better O2 saturation!

The surgical patients in our hospital have an intravenous catheter placed to allow easy injectable drug administration and intraoperative fluids.  The IV catheter also serves as quick, venous access in case of an emergency.  Fluids during surgery help maintain a normal blood pressure, vital to kidney health.  Fluids postoperatively help wash drugs out of the pet’s organs for quicker recovery and support proper hydration levels.

In addition to performing the actual surgery itself, patients are monitored with multiple parameters while under anesthesia.  Important vital signs like heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature are required by law, and must be recorded every 5 minutes.  At Lone Mountain, we take anesthesia very seriously and also monitor blood pressure, oxygenation in the blood, and capnography.

Finally, our veterinarians practice multimodal pain management.  Our licensed technicians give our patients pre-operative pain injections, infuse a local anesthetic at the incision site(s), and post-op medications as well.  In addition, each pet goes home with oral pain medications.

So next time you receive a treatment plan from your veterinarian, remember you get what you pay for.   Prices may seem high, but so are the standards! 


Ten Ways To Bark in the New Year Purr-fectly!


Our pets are clueless when it comes to the holidays, nor do they care about our need to ring in the New Year!  Try some of my tech tips and start you and your pet’s New Year right.

  1. Check your local listings for announcements about Fireworks displays and New Year’s celebrations. (Reno/Tahoe) (Carson City)
  2. Keep pets in a safe, secure place inside during outdoor festivities. Be sure doors and windows are secured.  Turn on the TV or Radio.
  3. Be sure they have current identification tags and that their microchip information is updated.
  4. When hosting or attending parties, keep pets at a safe distance and in a secure place. Festive noise makers, loud, laughing friends or unfamiliar faces could spook your pet.9cff457122ad4cae45c24215e5bc8052
  5. Keep toxic foods out of paws’ reach. Goodies like chocolate, raisin laden fruit cake, rich, fatty foods, meat bones, and alcohol could be fatal.
  6. Schedule a visit to your veterinarian for special medications to help with anxiety or noise aversion.
  7. Take them to a cozy boarding facility with fully enclosed kennels if you’re going to be out-of-town.
  8. Hire a pet sitter or friend to stay home with your pets, if you can’t be there with them to celebrate.
  9. Find a dog friendly celebration and bring Fido along!
  10. Watch Ryan Seacrest rock in the New Year in Times Square together.

By keeping your pets safe this New Year’s Eve, 2017 is sure to unveil a year full of playing and hiking, catnip and cookies…pet friendly cookies that is!

cool-catWhat will you be doing to this NYE to start it off PURR-FECTLY?

Protect your pets from winter’s harsh reality.

Winter is officially here. As the days get longer, so can the list of potential hazards. Protect your pets from winter’s harsh reality.

Protecting your pet during the cold weather is just as important as protection from the heat of summer.  Follow my tech tips to kick of your pet’s winter safely.

Keep them cozy inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during the cold months of winter.  Most pets need to do their “business” outside, but be mindful of the length of time spent out there or in unattended vehicles.  Adequate bedding inside is also necessary to keep pets comfortable on hard, cold floors.ruby-snuggled-for-blog-12-21

Bundle them up.  Shorter haired pets can wear sweaters or jackets to keep the warm during outdoor winter activities. Be sure pet clothing fits properly to avoid chaffing and discomfort.

Protect their paws.  Paws can be traumatized by the frigid ground, sharp ice and chemicals  found in commercial ice melts.  Use booties during icy conditions or when going for longer walks or hikes.  Find booties that fit your pet properly.   Even cats can benefit from booties, but may be more reluctant to wear them.  When wearing boots, check feet often and look for any sores or bleeding – we’ve all had a blister from breaking in a new pair of shoes!

Godiva in Boots

            Ruby and Godiva wear Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boots!

Clean up spills.  Antifreeze is deadly to pets.  Toxicity happens quickly and is lethal in very small doses. Try Low Tox™ brand antifreeze which contains propylene glycol and is recommended for use in pet households. If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian and the Pet Poison Animal Poison Help Line(855-764-7661)  right away!

Choose ice melt that is pet safe. Safe Paw Ice Melter is a safe salt free alternative. Make your own, but be cautious of the pros and cons.

Be prepared for emergencies. Whether you’re at home or on the road, always consider your pet’s needs too.  Power outages during frigid temperatures and storms could leave you and your pet in need for days. The AVMA suggests keeping a supply of food and/or medications to last at least 5 days.  Keep an emergency kit, additional blankets and clothes in your vehicle.

Monitor dietary wellness. Be sure your pet is staying hydrated and well fed during the cold months of winter.  Proper nutrition is important for thermoregulation all year long -just because its cold doesn’t mean they need to fatten up.  Provide fresh water daily. Dehydration can happen in the winter too! Snow consumption is fine for fun, but too much could cause intestinal upset.

Keep them healthy.  Talk to your veterinarian about keeping your pet safe and comfortable this winter. Discuss changes in behavior and/or activity levels.  Changes in weather can often show us signs of illness we hadn’t seen previously, such lameness, hypothermia or frostbite.ruby-and-godiva-in-coats-for-blog-12-21

What will you do to protect your pet this winter?  

Ruby and Godiva want you to submit picture or story of you and your pet preventing winter’s woes!

Rabies is real…


Rabies is real. It’s here. It’s fatal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The most common animals to transmit the disease are bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, foxes and other wild carnivores. Small mammals, like mice and squirrels, are not usually know to be carriers; but if the critter is acting sick or suspicious take it seriously.

Rabies can only be contracted by coming into contact with saliva and brain/nervous system tissue. You cannot get rabies from simply petting an infected animal. The tissue or saliva must actually be transmitted through the bite/puncture/scratch of the rabid animal.

According the CDC (Center for Disease Control), it has rarely documented via other routes such as contamination of mucous membranes (i.e., eyes, nose, mouth), aerosol transmission, and corneal and organ transplantation.

bat nv
Photo from

In the past 60 days five bats have tested positive for rabies in Washoe County, Nevada. The current confirmation of rabid bats in Washoe County should have residents scared. People, children and pets should take caution around common carriers of rabies.

Follow my tech tips to protect you and your pets.

  • Be sure ALL pets are current on his or her rabies vaccination. If not, make the appointment today. The CDC suggests immediately euthanizing any pet exposed to a rabid animal. GET YOUR PET VACCINATED!
  • If you suspect you or your pet has come in contact with a rabid animal, seek medical attention. Pets not euthanized are placed on a strict 6 month quarantine.
  • Do NOT handle ANY dead or injured animals that could be carriers. Contact your local animal control services or department of public health for disposal.

Remember…Rabies is ALWAYS fatal. The only way to avoid rabies is prevention. PLEASE take the appropriate steps to protect your pets and family.