It's a common scenario in our business--people come in with a dog or cat they just found (or, as some say, who found them!) and they want to know what to do. Many people in this situation are ready to take on this new project and add the new guy to the family. Sometimes the finder is not necessarily in the market for a new pet, but worried that taking the foundling to the local shelter will end up with them being euthanized, and this makes them understandably reluctant to report the pet as "found." Others are concerned with the sorry state of the pet when it was found, and assume the previous owners mistreated or abandoned the poor thing, but often this isn't true!
What should you do, then, if you find a dog or cat without a collar tag in sight? A good mantra to remember is "Assume LOST, not ABANDONED," and give the previous owner the benefit of the doubt and a chance to reunite with Fluffy.
Here' are some steps you can take when you find a lost pet:
A great first step is to take the pet to a professional who can scan the pet for a microchip. A microchip is a small ID tag, the size of a grain of rice, implanted in the skin between the shoulder blades. If it is registered to an owner and their contact information is current, the pet can be returned! Sometimes a pet can be lost for months or even years, and be far from home, or in pretty bad shape, but still have an owner looking for them. Pet microchip numbers can be searched at www.petmicrochiplookup.org. If you want to get your dog or cat outfitted with a microchip, give our office a call for an appointment.
Many municipalities have a mandated "holding period" where an animal suspected of having an owner must be held for a certain number of days before a new owner can be legally declared. In our area, that is 30 days. This waiting period gives the owner a chance to come forward and claim their pet. This means, if you find a lost or stray pet, you should report it to the local Animal Control so they can have a record of the pet being found, in case someone comes looking for them. They will be able to help you decide if the pet should be brought to the shelter for holding, or if you can "foster" it until an owner comes forward, or the waiting period is up. Old-fashioned flyers on telephone poles, door-to-door canvassing in the local area, and posting on social media are all good ways to get the word out about your new project. Other places to post flyers include local veterinary offices and the local shelter.
Maybe Fluffy really does need a new home, and is happy to have found you! But, before everyone settles in, make sure you've done what you can to get them back to their family, just like you would want if your pet went missing.
Spring is in full swing in the North Bay, which means the old adage “April Showers bring May Flowers” is truer than ever. Our furry friends may become targets, of sorts, to some of our favorite flowers and plants very soon. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with certain common household plants that may be toxic to your pets and avoid adding distress to your summer plans!
Many green-thumb gardeners are aware that lilies are some of the most toxic flowers to our pets that we may grow in our garden, but issues often arise when someone receives a bouquet and unwittingly exposes their inquisitive housecats. The lily family includes Easter Lilies and Tiger Lilies, as well as the rest of the flowers in the genus Lilium. These plants cause irreversible kidney failure in cats who ingest even a small amount of pollen, petals, or leaves, so we recommend that no lilies be brought into a house with cats. Interestingly, Lily of the Valley is also very toxic, though it is not in the lily family.
Other common plants that are toxic to our pets are tulips (especially the bulbs), irises, morning glory, wisteria, foxglove, Sago palms, azaleas, and hydrangeas, as well as many others too numerous to name. If you’re not sure if a plant in your yard or house is toxic, the ASPCA Poisonous Plants website is an excellent resource.
Common signs that your furry friend might have eaten something toxic are a noticeable lack of energy or lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and abdominal pain. If you are concerned your pet may have eaten a toxic plant, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for advice ($65 fee) as well as calling our office, or the Solano-Napa Pet Emergency Clinic if we are closed.
We hope that if we remain aware of our gardens, our pets, and what they put in their mouths, the coming months are sure to be a beautiful sight for all!
Dr. Woodall donates her time to International Veterinary Outreach, a non-profit organization run by veterinarians and other professionals working together in different communities around the globe. Dr. Woodall enjoys working with IVO because it allows her to make a difference for animals in communities that don’t normally have access to full-service veterinary care, whether abroad or closer to home.
After graduation, Dr. Woodall stayed on with the organization and became the project manager for their Bay Area project, which partners with Oakland Animal Services to help provide surgery for shelter cats. This project has reduced the burden on the shelter, and also decreases the amount of time the cats spend in the shelter before they can be placed for adoption. In the future, IVO hopes to expand this project in order to provide basic medical care, such as vaccines and spay/neuter, for low-income residents of Oakland.
You can read more about IVO’s mission, history, and current projects at ivetoutreach.org.
Dr. Stambaugh here! My husband, who is also a veterinarian, and I recently had a baby of the human variety! As a result, we have been showered with animal-themed children’s everything. Today, we are sharing our current dog-themed favorites from the bookshelf.
Walter the Farting Dog
Our technicians and doctors write posts for this blog, hoping to keep our clients informed and entertained. We hope you find their topics helpful and fun to read about!