Join BLVD and our friends at Whirlpool for happy hour in River North to not only engage with adoptable, adorable puppies from ALIVE Rescue, but to also interactively learn about safe ingredients and recipes for homemade pet treats!
by Ashley Peters, DVM
Summer can be a fun time in Chicago to spend with your pets, but we and Wags-a-Lot Dog Walking want to make sure you can both enjoy it safely. Here are a few things to keep in mind while enjoying the sunshine.
What summer safety tips do you have for city dogs? What issues pop up in your practice this time of year that could be prevented?
Dog Parks: We see a lot of people spending more time with their pets at the dog park or beaches. Although these areas can allow exercise, playtime, and socialization, a lot of accidents, dog fights, and wounds can occur. Make sure to monitor your dog closely and to leave if you’re noticing unwanted behavior either exhibited by or to your dog. If you have a very small or fragile dog, try to avoid parks where there are a lot of larger dogs playing. Lastly, before you let your dog off-leash, make sure you have worked on some basic obedience, so if a problem does occur, your dog will listen and quickly respond to you.
Diseases: With many dogs out and about and interacting with each other, we see a surge in upper respiratory diseases such as kennel cough and canine influenza as well as other infectious disease including leptospirosis (a bacterial infection spread in wildlife/rodent urine and water sources), lyme disease, giardia, and gastrointestinal parasites. A proactive approach to such harmful diseases would be to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations, heart worm prevention, and flea/tick prevention.
Heat Stroke: One of the biggest issues we see this time of year in Chicago is heat stroke. When our dogs’ body temperature reaches a certain point, a number of harmful side effects can be life threatening. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate or respiratory rate, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or even collapse. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek veterinary attention right away! We recommend you gradually acclimate your dog to the warmer temperatures before allowing excessive exercise or play. Even a nice 70-75 degree day after many cooler days can be a problem. Make sure to always allow access to fresh cool water to keep them hydrated, an area for shade, or a place where they can cool down. Especially with our Brachycephalic breeds (such as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, Boston terriers, etc) who already have more compromised airways due to their anatomy, these hot and humid days can be detrimental. Make sure to take it easy and explore earlier in the day or later at night.
Sidewalks and Asphalt: During very hot days, asphalt can heat up quickly. Prolonged exposure can cause painful burns to our dogs sensitive paw pads. On hot days keep walking on these surfaces to a minimum.
Household Safety: When the weather is nice and we have our windows open, make sure that you have well fastened screens in place to prevent dogs from falling out or escaping.
Fairs and Festivals: We see a number of dogs enjoying time walking around the various street festivals Chicago has to offer. Make sure to monitor your dog from ingesting garbage or unwanted products they may find on the street or sidewalk and try to keep people food to a minimum. The goal is to avoid causing gastrointestinal upset that can lead to problems like pancreatitis or a bowel obstruction.
Fireworks: On and around the 4th of July, you can bank on hearing an increase in loud noises due to impressive firework displays. These loud noises and sounds can cause a lot of anxiety for our pets that can lead to destructive behaviors, or even escape. Create a safe place for your pets to stay indoors away from windows and loud noises, if possible. If your pet has extreme distress in these situations, make sure to speak with your veterinarian about certain medications to help reduce their anxiety.
Hear Us Out
Flea and Tick 101
Why are regular flea and tick prevention doses so important? What brand(s) do you recommend?
Fleas and ticks are common external parasites we can find on our adventurous pets, even in Chicago. Adult fleas live on our pets and lay eggs which then drop off into the environment and mature into new adult fleas (which can quickly create a flea infestation in our homes). Dogs can pick up fleas from any environment they visit frequently including the groomer, daycare, dogs parks, even from wildlife around our homes. Fleas can transmit infectious disease such as tapeworms, and unfortunately some dogs can have allergic response that can cause severe itching and skin infections. Ticks are small parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. In the last few years we have seen an increase in our tick population throughout the Midwest. Ticks can transmit a number of diseases, like Lyme disease which can affect both humans and pets. If a dog has a heavy enough infestation with ticks. it can lead to a neurologic condition called tick paralysis. Although we think of fleas and ticks mainly being active during the warmer months, they can actually cause problems for our pets year round.
The best way to protect our dogs from these parasites is to use a regular flea and tick prevention. There are many types out there including collars, topicals, and chewable products. The two most common brands we use are Nexgard and Bravecto. Both products are an oral chewable pill that you can give as a treat! Nexgard protects against fleas and ticks for one month, most commonly used with puppies. Bravecto protects for 3 months, most commonly use with dogs over 6 months of age.
Lastly, we recommend you keep your dog on a regular heartworm preventative. Heartworm is a parasitic disease spread by mosquito bites to dogs. When bitten by an infected mosquito, a baby heartworm is transmitted to our dogs bloodstream that over time will develop into a large worm that lives in the heart and major blood vessels. These worms can cause damage leading to heart failure. Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in heartworm disease due to the changing weather and shelter dogs being rescued from the south. There are topical, chewable, and injectable types of heartworm prevention. We use a once a month chewable product called Heartgard and Proheart, which is a one time injection that protects for 6 months. With the changing weather and environment these days, we recommend you protect your dog with these products year round.
Camping can be a fun way to escape with our dogs and a wonderful change of scenery for our city dwelling pets.; however, be sure to check on a few of these things before heading out to the woods.
What safety precautions should be taken when going camping with a dog (or taking a city dog to a more remote environment)?
Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and heartworm plus flea/tick medications to prevent unwanted disease.
Bring doggie food and water bowls, recommending the portable kind! Make sure to bring a clean/fresh source of water to offer your dog. Try to prevent your dog from drinking out of dirty puddles and ponds where diseases such as leptospirosis and giardia can fester.
Make sure to bring your dog his regular food from home, bedding to sleep on, and towels to dry off in the event of water activities. Make sure to provide an area of shade when it’s warm outside and a place to keep warm if it gets cool at night.
Make sure to have a properly fitting leash, collar and/or harness, and that they are covered with the proper identification (ID tags, microchip).
Keep pets on leash during walks and hikes. There are many new sights, sounds, and smells to be experienced while exploring that they normally wouldn’t be exposed to in the city and we don’t want them to get scared, distracted, or run away. Keeping them on leash can also prevent encounters with wildlife and protect them from falling off steep trails or cliffs.
After hikes be sure to check your dog over for ticks, thorns, burrs, foxtails, etc that can get tangled in their fur. If doing any extensive hiking, you may want to get your dog fitted with booties to protect their paw pads on the trails.
If you are traveling far from home to go camping, try to look up local veterinary clinic information in case of an emergency.
We recommend you either make or buy a doggie first aid-kit to take with you in case of a problem or emergency. These may include items such as absorbent gauze pads, triple antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, adhesive tape/bandage material, tweezers, etc.
We hope you found these tips helpful! If you need to make an appointment or need to refill your prescriptions for heartworm or flea and tick preventatives, don’t hesitate to contact us.
by Tyler Williams, DVM
While sharing your home with an animal companion can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of one's life, it is important to remember that pet ownership is also a big responsibility! Pet owners must be committed to providing for all of a pet's needs for the entire life of that animal. This includes housing/shelter, food & water, training, grooming, exercise and veterinary care. It is essential that you take the time to thoroughly research the basics of pet care and make sure you are familiar with the unique attributes of the breed before acquiring a new pet to ensure you are well prepared to meet of all your pet's needs.
Acquiring a pet should never be an impulsive decision. Tragically, animal shelters receive thousands of unwanted/abandoned animals each year as a result of inadequately considered decisions on pet ownership. Before you make the decision to become a pet owner, review these considerations to help ensure you can provide a good forever home for a new family member:
Can I afford a pet?
The costs of pet ownership will vary depending on the animal you choose. Remember that there are many costs involved with pet ownership that are often overlooked. Up front costs for puppies and kittens include adoption/purchasing fees, frequent veterinary exams, vaccinations, de-wormings, training, leashes/collars, microchipping and spay or neuter surgery. You will also need to be prepared to cover continual expenses for adult animals associated with feeding, boarding, bedding, toys, grooming, training and annual health checks and veterinary care. You will also need to ensure you can pay for any emergency medical treatment required in the event of injury or illness. Some of these costs can be mitigated with a Pet Health Insurance plan, such as ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
Do I have enough time for a pet?
Caring for a pet takes a considerable amount of time each and every day. Training, exercise, feeding, grooming, socialization, and playing are all fundamental aspects of pet ownership. Some pets require more of your time than others - puppies and kittens are a particularly large time investment - but every pet requires daily care so you need to be sure you have time available or have someone you trust be able to take the time to meet these daily requirements for your pet.
Can I commit to a pet for its whole life?
Pets are a long term commitment. The average lifespan of a dog is 10-12 years and cats can live 15-20 years and their senior years often require additional veterinary care to keep them healthy. Also remember that young kittens and puppies will be constantly growing so be prepared to provide for the animal when it is a full grown adult too. This includes appropriately sized bedding/collars/harnesses/leashes, larger food volumes, and larger space requirements.
Will a pet fit into my lifestyle?
Daily working hours, relationship commitments, vacationing, and social life events are all factors that need to be considered before owning a pet. You'll have to consider if your own housing accepts pets and when you need to move, your options may be limited by having a pet. You must be sure that your lifestyle can accommodate all of your pet's specific needs as they rely on you completely for their care. Before you own a pet, get to know the breed you are interested in and do enough research to be familiar with what kind of schedule you would need to keep in order to meet its needs. Some animals are high-energy and require lots of regular exercise while others are more sedentary and can be self sufficient if left alone for longer periods of time. Make sure you can make accommodations for pet care if you ever need to be away from home.
Is my home pet friendly?
There are many aspects to consider when determining if you can provide suitable accommodations for a pet. Don't forget to factor in the size of your home, access to a yard or park, proximity to the "bathroom" area, permission to keep a pet in your residence, potential health complications of all people in your home (i.e. allergies), and temperament of any pets already established in the household.
Be mindful of the dangers that common household items can pose to pets. It is important to go through your home before you bring in a new pet to identify and eliminate potential hazards. This includes access to cabinets and counter tops, human medications, toxic plants, electrical cords, cleaning chemicals, small toys, curtains, etc.
Obviously, we love our pets. They bring us joy, they can be sources of comfort and loyal companionship. If you are committed to making sure they have that in return, we look forward to meeting them! It's part of our mission to be advocates for the needs of our animal friends and the best way we can do that is through education. We want you to provide the best life you can give your new pet - and help you along the way.
by Dr. Dylan
Greetings BLVD Friends and Clients,
2018 has been another whirlwind year over hear at BLVD Vet! Here are some highlights:
Fear Free: We had Colleen,one of our Certified Veterinary Technicians, become credentialed in Fear Free™ handling of pets. She has brought many of their methods back to BLVD where it has become a core way of how we interact with pets. Fear Free’s mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. This is important to us as we want your pets to have a great experience when they come to us!
BLVD Babies: Two of our colleagues: Charlene, CVT, and Dr. Geisler gave birth to healthy little girls this fall. Charlene is already back in the office and we are looking forward to having Dr. Geisler rejoin us this January. We will have regular availability for Dr. Geisler’s Chiropractic and Acupuncture patients as soon as she’s back!
Dr. Josie Arbogast: In August, our newest DVM, Dr. Arbogast joined us. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Dr. Arbogast. Her enthusiasm, can-do attitude and great bedside manner have been an incredible addition to the BLVD DVM group. Plus, she’s a natural on social media, so look for more of Dr. Arbogast’s “BLVD Pointers” in 2019 on our Instagram and Facebook feeds. If you have any questions or topics you would like covered, please submit them here!
AAHA Re-Accreditation at BLVD Vet Logan Square: The American Animal Hospital Association requires regular inspections in order to maintain our accredited status. This December we passed our 2nd evaluation since 2016 with flying colors! Our scores were even higher, which makes us so proud as we believe in always looking for ways to improve all aspects of our practice. To read more about AAHA Accreditation, click here.
Much of my time this past year has been spent identifying and hiring veterinarians who are exceptionally talented and excel in both patient and client care. I’m pleased to say that our veterinarians Dr. Geisler, Dr. Williams, Dr. Cordes and Dr. Arbogast have even more positive online reviews than I do so my expectation is that every pet will continue to receive an exceptional level of care regardless of whom they see. I plan to continue to have regular but reduced clinical hours going forward, but please know you can always ask for me.
One of the important projects we’ve worked on this year is establishing Boulevard Veterinary’s Core Values. They are as follows:
These came from a collaborative effort of our staff, managers, as well as Kelly and myself. I found that it was more a process of identifying what our intrinsic values already were and putting them into words, rather than simply creating a list of aspirations. Your feedback was another important consideration in establishing these values, your emails and reviews have consistently helped direct us in what we’re doing well and what we can do better.
There are lots of exciting things in store for 2019 at BLVD Vet. As always, thank you for your patronage and support!
Happy New Year,
Dylan Frederickson, DVM
by Dr. Josie Arbogast
It's the most wonderful time of the year- a time to spend celebrating with our friends and family members, including our furry ones! As we prepare for this holiday season, here are a few helpful tips on what you should help your pets avoid so as not to put a damper on the festivities:
Mistletoe & Holly: Whether you are decking the halls or cuddling up underneath the mistletoe this winter, be sure it's out of your pet's reach. Holly and mistletoe can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and if large amounts are ingested, and even cardiovascular problems can occur in our pets.
Lilies: Although these flowers look great in a holiday bouquet, a significant number of lily species can cause severe kidney damage in cats from ingestion of any part of the plant, including pollen that could accumulate on your cat’s fur. It’s generally recommend to not keep lilies in your home if you have a cat to be safe.
Poinsettias: It may be better to opt for the silk or artificial version when decorating with these traditional holiday plants. Poinsettias contain a sap that can cause severe GI upset and blisters in the mouth.
Tinsel: Our feline friends love bright, shiny objects and especially strings. So, when they see a tree full of tinsel - it’s game on! Although tinsel itself is not toxic, it can cause serious gastrointestinal complications such as an intestinal obstruction or blockage if swallowed.
Candles: Never leave your pet unattended around an open flame. One wrong step or wag of a tail could cause your pet to get burnt or start a house fire.
Christmas Trees: We recommend securing your Christmas tree to the ceiling or to a door frame to prevent it from tipping over and causing potential injury. This will also keep the tree water from spilling, which is not safe for our pets to drink.
Leftovers: Although our pets usually want to help us sample the spread, it's important to keep the table food to a minimum. Fatty foods, meats, and grease can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis.
Sweet treats: By now, most of us know that our pets should never eat chocolate, especially dark chocolate. However, it’s best to avoid feeding them sweets altogether as many of these contain an artificial sweetener known as xylitol, which can cause our pet’s blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels and require hospitalization.
Grapes/raisins: Many holiday dishes contain these fruits and if ingested, even in very small quantities, can cause acute kidney failure.
We hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any questions you can always give us a call or shoot us an email with your questions. If you are unable to reach us and need immediate assistance due to ingestion or exposure, please contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control.
We want to underscore that the FDA still deems these medications safe for the majority of patients. From the FDA bulletin: “The FDA carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica prior to approval, and these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals.”
Happy Holidays friends!
We hope you and your pets are staying bundled up as we dive into the colder holiday season! Our team wanted to share couple tidbits before the year is through that can benefit pets in need as well as some new offerings for your pets.
ALIVE Rescue Donation Drive
We are happy to announce that we're now carrying a safe, easy alternative to monthly Heartworm prescriptions! After hearing out many of your requests and doing the research, we wanted to make this convenient and effective option available to our patients. Proheart 6 is an alternative Heartworm preventive that we administer here at the practice that lasts for 6 months. In two visits to your favorite vet, your dog can have year round protection against Heartworm disease. For many clients, depending on your pets weight, this is also the more economical option. Next time your dog is in need of a refill, we welcome you to talk to us about this as an option for your pet.
Feliscratch by Feliway
For our feline companions, we're introducing a new product by Feliway. Feliscratch uses a synthetic copy of natural pheromones that our cats leave behind when they mark their territory by scratching. A pipette of this pheromone is applied to where you want your cat to scratch instead, such as their cat tree, and it lasts up to four weeks. Their studies indicate 8 out of 10 cats respond positively, a great step in saving our furniture! If you're having issues with your cat clawing up your furniture at home, please bring it up the next time you talk to us.
Take care and stay cozy,
The BLVD Team
We had a busy October as we get to know our new River North neighborhood! We hope you had as much fun as we had these past few weeks. Check out all the cute costumes and boozy debauchery below.
BLVD Yappy Hour at Parc Huron
BLVD Yappy Hour at Erie on the Park
BLVD Vet Trick-Or-Treat 2017
And last but not least a little video of all the Team trickery we had on Halloween!
If you'd like Boulevard Veterinary to host a Yappy Hour at your pet friendly business or residence, please contact Kelly Frederickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past Sunday, Boulevard Veterinary set up shop at the Logan Square Farmer's Market. In the spirit of Halloween fun, our photobooth came with costume accessories for you and your pets! See all the fun below, and if you come in for a visit soon you'll see we have plenty of accessories for your pet's to try on when they come in for a visit!
Check out our upcoming seasonal events, listed below!:
- Saturday, 10/28: Trick-Or-Treating in Montgomery Ward Park from 2-4! Free Halloween fun for the whole family along the beautiful river walk in our new neighborhood. Put on by the River North Residents Association, the event has over 20 participating local businesses giving out candy, freebies, and hosting spooktastic activities! BLVD Vet will be there handing out treats for pups & peeps!
- Tuesday, 10/31: Trick-Or-Treat & Doggy Dress up at BLVD Vet River North from 5-7pm! Our new neighbors, the Erie Centre Condo Association, are hosting a building wide trick-or-treating event and we're taking part with treats for pups & peeps, plus doggy costume props & photo ops in our beautiful new lobby! Stop by our 375 W. Erie location for a treat and a photo-op!
- "Yappy Hours": Does your building hold social events in the lobby of your residence? BLVD Vet would love to host a "Yappy Hour" social event for pups & peeps in your lobby! We're set for fun mixers with our River North neighbors, Parc Huron, Erie on the Park, and we would love to add your residence to our calendar! Email our Events Director, Kelly Frederickson, at email@example.com to request a "Yappy Hour" at your building!
Thanks again for stopping by our booth at Taste of River North 2017!
It was wonderful to meet you at the Taste of River North! We couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome from the River North community and all of your four legged friends. BLVD Vet is thrilled to be joining such an active, engaged community and can't wait to open our doors to you this August. We'd like to extend a big thank you to the River North Residents Association (RNRA) for having us as sponsors and for organizing such a lively and pet friendly event.
Through rain storms and summer sun, the tropical doggy photo booth (albeit one feline friend determinedly got their photo too) was a hit! Enjoy all the furry cuteness below and click here for the full size images!
Dear Friends and Clients,
As some of you may have heard, we have some exciting news to share--BLVD Vet is expanding! In just a few weeks we will be opening a second full service veterinary practice in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, at 375 W. Erie.
We're hard at work designing the clinic to be as fresh and welcoming as our Logan Square location and you can expect the staff to be the same friendly, professional team always striving to accommodate to your needs. Over the past few months we’ve been investing in some great new staff members and training them in the the BLVD way of doing things so that they’re ready to hit the ground running.
We’re going to be using the same phone number, same website, same social media, and the same management team for both locations to ensure consistency in service. We anticipate opening our doors August 15th--possibly sooner!
For our current clients at BLVD Vet Logan Square, or future clients of BLVD Vet River North, we’d be incredibly grateful if you referred BLVD Vet to any of your pet-owning friends who live in or near downtown Chicago. As always, our clients receive a $15 credit for EVERY household that they refer. Make sure you tell your friends to notify our front desk of your referral. We’ve found organic client word of mouth to be by far the best way to grow. For those of you who happen to live in or near downtown, you’ll be able to seamlessly transition to the new location if you prefer. It's hassle free as all medical records can be securely shared between practices.
Dr. Dylan and Dr. Williams will be available for appointments at both the River North and Logan Square locations. As always, we encourage our clients to request the veterinarian that they prefer and we will do our very best to accommodate those preferences based on scheduling. As they will be scheduled for two days at each location every week, we do not anticipate any difficulty in continuing to see your preferred veterinarian at Logan Square once River North opens. Our relief veterinarians, Dr. Ho and Dr. Holub will also lend their time and expertise at River North.
As an aside, we'd also like to note that no outside investors or private equity firms were partnered with for the new location, meaning that BLVD Vet will continue to be a 100% locally owned and managed small business. We believe that allows us to keep client and patient care as our top priority, as well as quickly adapt and change to community needs.
Thank you so much for your patronage and business. As always, we welcome your feedback and will use it to make BLVD Vet River North just as successful as BLVD Vet Logan Square!
Dr. Dylan Frederickson and the BLVD Team
We recently participated in For Paws Club Charity Pool Party at at Pet Care Plus, and for everyone who came, we thank you! The event raised over $1,000 for One Tail at a Time, an amazing organization that operates as an all-breed dog rescue committed to lowering euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area through the rescue and adoption of dogs in need; provides comprehensive support of adopters; and community outreach through humane education programs and assistance for disadvantaged and low-income families. If you're interested in adopting, check out their available dogs here!
As for our attendees, here are many of the photos we snapped (due to limited storage space on our camera). It was so much fun to see everyone's dogs having an absolute blast in their tropical leis and sparkly party hats and we hope you love your polaroids!
For those who didn't get to see us here (or those of you who want to party with us again!) and want their own Polaroid snapshot with their pet, we're going to be attending the Taste of River North festival with Pet Care Plus July 12-23. Come find us!
Until next time,
Dr. Dylan and the BLVD Team
Since it’s summer we wanted to remind you of some important summertime safety tips to keep your pets safe! We like you all a lot, but we rather you not end up at the vet for one of these preventable issues.
Heat Stroke: When it’s hot, make sure you’re not overdoing it—especially with short nosed breeds like Frenchies, Pugs, English Bulldogs, and any dark-colored dog (darker colors absorb more heat). Take frequent water breaks and avoid exertion when it’s over 80 degrees. If you think your dog may be experiencing heat stroke (labored breathing, collapse, purple tongue) come in or go the nearest ER immediately. While we are an appointment-based clinic, many of us have trained extensively at emergency hospitals and we will drop everything if we must to see a critical emergency. That said, we prefer the “ounce of prevention” method…so be careful on hot days and NEVER leave your dog (or any pet) in a car without A/C.
Fleas, Tick and Heartworm Prevention: We’re entering prime season for insects that prey on pets and carry infectious diseases so be sure your dog and outdoor cat is protected by an FDA approved preventative. These days there are many safe, easy-to-give preventatives such as chewables. We stock Heartgard Plus, Nexgard and Revolution at the clinic and are always happy to provide prescriptions. Many of these products also help with intestinal parasites they might pick up here and there. Feel free to request one at our Online Pharmacy or by calling, if we've seen you in the last year and your pet is up to date on their Heartworm Test (dog owners) for Heartgard - we should be able to approve it!
High-Rise Falls: Use care with open windows. Cats used to closed windows don’t always recognize an open one and if they don’t put the brakes on quickly enough they can take a bad fall (yes, even through the screen). Start out by opening the window just a couple inches until they recognize the change, and even if they are acclimated it's always a good idea to supervise your pets whenever there's an open window. Also, if you have access to a roof-top deck or a balcony, make sure if you bringing your dog out with you they're always supervised. You never know when a squirrel will catch someone's eye.
Fireworks Anxiety: Summertime in Northwest Chicago can feel like Armageddon to noise-sensitive dogs. We have a number of good medications to safely treat severe noise phobias. These are not medications that “knock out” the dog. Give the clinic a call if you feel your dog might benefit from this and we can set up a consult to discuss in more detail. We specifically carry a medication for noise phobic dogs called SILEO.
As always, give us a call if you have any questions and have a wonderful start to your summer!
-Dr. Dylan, Dr. Geisler, Dr. Williams and the rest of the Staff at Boulevard Veterinary