Struggling to Breathe: When Your Pet Has Asthma

A dog lies on the ground as its owner rubs its face.

Have you noticed that your pet is having trouble breathing? They may cough or wheeze. They may even want to sleep more than normal, or don’t have any interest in exercise. Respiratory issues in pets can be caused  by a number of conditions, but if your pet already struggles with allergies, these symptoms may point to asthma.

When your pet has asthma, you may wonder what you can do to help them. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to explain this condition, its treatment, and at home care. 


Your Dog Licks You. Should They Be Trained to Stop?

While most animal lovers would probably welcome kisses from all sorts species (sloths, elephants, sea otters, etc.), we generally only get doggie slurps. Sure, cats may sample an extended finger or try to taste the tip of your nose, but they can’t really be described as “slobbery”. 

Dogs, on the other hand, are known to use their tongues to express themselves, and some go overboard. Also, when your dog licks you (and other people, too) they may be experiencing distress.


So Many Famous Cats, So Little Time

Gray cat with yellow eyes lokking through cardboard box hole

People and their cats a lot like like Forrest Gump and his gal pal Jenny: peas and carrots. We love them so much, in part because it seems like they love us, too. 

Indeed, our somewhat symbiotic relationship evolved through mutual appreciation and affection, but also because they served early human settlements as bona fide rodent hunters. They scratched our backs, and we repaid the favor tenfold by making them the most celebrated species in the world. They now rule the internet, but most famous cats over millennia were actually celebrated in art, religion, and folklore. 

Back In the Day

Ancient Egyptians have been credited with elevating cat ownership to the status our pets enjoy today. In fact, they deified the feline species and worshipped cat goddesses like Bastet and others. Over thousands of years, living with and caring for cats became popular around the world, especially after the Islamic prophet Mohammed became known for appreciating his favorite friends. 

Fast Forward

The idea of keeping cats strictly indoors arose after the arrival of kitty litter. Before that, cats may have slept inside but almost always went outside to do their business. They lived between our human world and the wild (even if they lived in established settlements or cities). Of course there have always been the cats that didn’t return, but mostly they did come home. We could only speculate over what they saw or did on their adventures, and human fascination has been sealed since!

Popular Culture

From Dewey the Library Cat Iowa to Mike the Feline Guard at the British Museum, Felicette the first (and only cat in space) to Unsinkable Sam (the cat that made it through 3 shipwrecks during WWII), there are plenty of real, historical famous cats to inspire future generations. I

The following cats that made their way from their creator’s imagination to the page, block of clay, film and more may be fictional, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t relatable or realistic to many of us:

  • Garfield
  • Tom Cat (of Tom and Jerry)
  • Hobbes (of Calvin and Hobbes)
  • Mr. Bigglesworth from Austin Powers
  • Felix the Cat
  • The Cheshire Cat
  • Sylvester from Looney Tunes
  • Snagglepuss
  • Salem Saberhagen from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
  • Thomas O’Malley from Aristocats
  • Cat in the Hat
  • So Many More!

Next Wave of Famous Cats

How many times have you spent more time than you had watching funny cat videos on YouTube? You’re not alone. They’re the best! Amazingly, there just isn’t a shortage of great cat content on the internet, and these famous cats can prove it:

  • Grumpy Cat
  • Maru
  • Cole and Marmalade
  • Lil Bub
  • Sam (the cat with eyebrows)
  • Garfi
  • Nala
  • Colonel Meow
  • Oskar and Klaus
  • Oh Long Johnson

Luckily, the world will not run out of funny, handsome cats to drool over and laugh about. This ist will continue to grow over the coming years as new stars rise.

No Question

The history of cat ownership is a long, varied, interesting story. They say a great deal without talking our ears off, they’re so smart, and the impact and influence of cats on cultures around the world cannot be overstated.

At Wheaton Animal Hospital we think cats are the…cat’s meow!

Dangerous Pet Toys

A gray Wheaton cat looking up.

Although modern dogs and cats look pretty different from their wild cousins, many of the instincts remain the same. For many pets, the need to chew, hunt and stalk prey, or just get their excess energy out can be relieved with a good toy. Providing them with safe outlets for these deeply-rooted needs seems like a reasonable way to protect your furniture, shoes, and other belongings – but there are more to pet toys than meets the eye.

Every year thousands of pets need medical treatment for injuries related to dangerous pet toys. That’s why it’s up to us to figure out which toys are safe, and which should be avoided.


Wheaton Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Pet Blogs of 2020

At long last, 2020 is drawing to a close. And what a year it’s been! Thankfully, we’ve had our pets by our side to see us through the pandemic and politics of the year. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have been at your – and your pets’ – side, too; and not just in the exam room, but our blog, too.

As is tradition, we are excited to review the year that was in blogs… Learning what topics have supported you the most this past year not only serves to help us help you, but your pet as well.

So, without any further ado, we present Wheaton Animal’s most-read blogs of 2020! Enjoy!!


The Protein Packed Snack: Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Smiling white Wheaton dog being handed a treat

If you’re like us, snacking is a must! And, if you’re like us, you probably feel the need to extend a few treats to our loveable pet companions. 

Nuts are a popular choice for snackers because they’re relatively good for us, despite the fat content (but it’s good fat, right?}. Since our dog companions adore peanut butter, it would seem that nuts are a healthy choice for rewarding them with something special. Not so fast, though.

While most nuts are not toxic, there are some that should be avoided when treating your dog to a snack. The question of, can dogs eat nuts, is a great one, and the Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to give you the scoop.

A Pack of Nuts: Which Ones Are Safe for Dogs?

When it comes to nuts, not all are as safe as Rover’s favored peanut butter. Some of them are difficult to digest while others contain compounds that can cause your pet to become sick. Here are some of the more popular  nuts and the verdict on whether or not they are safe for your furry loved one.

1. Almonds –Almonds are one of the best snacks for humans, and dogs love them too. Unfortunately, many almonds are flavored and salted, which can lead to stomach upset. Almonds are also high in fat and can create gastrointestinal problems as well as weight gain. Since these nuts are also hard to digest, like most hard nuts, give your pet only one or two on occasion or avoid them altogether.

2. Brazil Nuts – Another nut that is high in fat content, so therefore rich for most canines’ palette. They are also hard to chew and there is a choking risk for small dogs especially. They are acrid in taste, as well, so not the best choice for a doggie snack.

3. Cashews – This nut is generally fine for dogs as a spread or whole. Just be mindful of how much you give, since this is one of the fattiest of all of the nuts. Cashews cannot be cooked without releasing a toxin, so use these delicious yet high in calorie nuts in moderation and given raw or as a nut butter.

4. Walnuts – This type of nut has a toxin in it that can cause vascular disease in horses, but doesn’t affect dogs in the same way. This bitter nut can be hard to digest and can create a gastrointestinal obstruction which can lead to a veterinary emergency. They are also known to mold easily, and molds of any kind are harmful to pets. It’s best to avoid this nut when feeding your dog.

5. Chestnuts – This nut, that is popular around the holidays, is mostly safe for dogs, except that it can cause a stomachache in some. Roasted chestnuts can be a delicious alternative to peanuts, but use this nut sparingly in your dog’s array of treats.

6. Pecans – If you drool over the thought of a piece of pecan pie, we can relate, but are pecans okay for dogs? Pecans contain a few different compounds that are toxic to canines (and horses), which include juglone and aflatoxin. Never feed your pet pecans to avoid liver damage and a serious pet emergency.

7. Macadamia Nuts – Whether raw or roasted this is a nut your dog should avoid at all costs. Macadamia nut poisoning includes tremors, vomiting, muscle weakness, and fever. Researchers have yet to isolate why this nut causes serious reactions, but macadamia nut poisoning is one of the more serious of food based toxicity in dogs.

8. Pistachios – Like walnuts, these nuts can contain a mold that is very toxic to dogs when ingested. This form of toxicity can result in liver failure, so stash those pistachios away from your Fido.

Should Peanuts Always be a Go-to for Dogs?

Peanuts are actually not a nut but a legume. Much like other nuts, though, they shouldn’t be a primary staple of your pet’s diet. In fact, peanuts also contain a lot of fat, which can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and pancreatitis in larger quantities. 

The other issue to be aware of is peanut butter with added sweeteners. Some brands include the sugar substitute, Xylitol, which is highly poisonous to dogs. Always read the label on your favorite nut butter before giving your pup a taste.

Wheaton’s Top Veterinarians

We know that our four-legged friends love to eat what we also enjoy, but there are some considerations before they snack. Even safer nuts cannot be given in large quantities, as with any people food. If you have any additional questions on the topic of can dogs eat nuts, contact Wheaton’s top veterinarians today. We look forward to seeing you and your pet at their next wellness checkup!

Keeping Your Exotic Pet Mentally Healthy and Happy

A brown guinea pig and white guinea pig

In most traditional pets, it is well understood that without playtime and things to do, they become restless, bored, and depressed. This is why there are so many pet enrichment items on the market, knowing that a pet’s total wellness isn’t complete without a focus on behavioral or mental well-being.
This same belief is true for exotic pets. In order for them to be healthy and well adjusted, they also need things to do. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to explain the steps to keeping your exotic pet mentally healthy for a lifetime of good health.


Pick Your Foliage? The Bush or Tree Dweller Theory in Cats

Cats are cute. Cats are quirky. Cats are, if we are being honest, a bit of a conundrum. When it comes to understanding what cats do and why, things are sometimes a bit up in the air. There is sometimes a little method to the madness, though.

The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital knows that understanding cat behavior comes down to instinctual remnants in many cases. Understanding things like the bush or tree dweller theory in cats can help owners comprehend their feline friends a little better.


A Timeless Companion: A Brief History of Cats

Wheaton cat on concrete licking paw

Cats, like dogs, have evolved alongside us for thousands of years. There are many changes that must take place during the process of domestication, allowing wildcats to become the purr pals we now know. Many feline fanciers wonder how long the domestic cat has shared our homes. You may also wonder about the roles cats played throughout history.

The cat veterinarians at Wheaton Animal Hospital are more than purrfectly happy to answer questions about the history of cats. Let’s take a closer look!


The (Tiny) Leader of the Pack: Small Dog Syndrome

Does your small dog like to throw their minuscule weight around? Or behave like a landshark around pets and people? Small dogs can have big personalities which endear us to them, but sometimes this bravado can turn into big problems.

Small Dog Syndrome, as it is generally called, is a collection of the negative behaviors associated with tiny and small dog breeds.

The question is, are small dogs all like this? Is it genetic, or simply learned behavior? And what can a pet owner do about it? The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to explain negative behaviors in small dogs.