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Monthly Archives: December 2020

Detecting & Managing Worms in Dogs

worms in dogs

What Causes Worms in Dogs? 

Nobody wants to think about anything creepy or crawly invading their pup’s internal organs. Still, it’s every pet parent’s essential responsibility to understand the risks, signs, and treatment options available if your dog contracts worms. The first rule is don’t panic. Worms are a relatively common condition in domestic dogs, typically referred to as intestinal parasites, and can infect dogs of any age. Some worms can even be transferred to people, with immunosuppressed people and small children being the most vulnerable.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that there are five types of common worms in dogs that parents should be aware of: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms. 

“What do worms look like in dog poop?” is perhaps the most common question we hear our pet parents ask. Certain roundworms and hookworms will appear as small to large, off-white to tan, spaghetti shaped parasites in the stool. Tapeworms will appear as small, off-white to tan segments in the stool or clinging to the hair around the privates. Fresh segments will be white and may expand and contract, but dry segments often resemble rice grains or sesame seeds and are darker in color. However, some worms can be digested and won’t appear in the stool.

The Arizona Humane Society lays out how each of the common worms in dogs might be transmitted: 

  • Roundworm – Commonly transmitted to puppies prior to birth (while in the uterus). They can also be transmitted by nursing from an infected mother and through feces or contaminated soil. Ingesting infected rodents also increases susceptibility. 
  • Tapeworm – Commonly transmitted by fleas as a result of self-grooming and swallowing an infected flea that grows into a tapeworm.  
  • Hookworm – Commonly transmitted by eggs passing through feces of infected dogs and hatching into larvae. These larvae can often be swallowed or penetrate the dog’s foot pads or skin. Nursing dogs can also transmit hookworms to their pups. Hookworms are transmissible to humans.
  • Heartworm – Larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes from pet to pet and are prevalent throughout the country. Dogs that are infected carry thousands of microscopic larvae within their bloodstream, and when mosquitoes bite, they suck out the blood, swallowing the tiny worms and passing them to the next dog they bite. The adult worms grow quite large in the heart and lungs and can be life-threatening. 
  • Whipworm – Commonly transmitted by ingestion of food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs. Those eggs mature and attach to the intestinal tract, feeding on the dog’s blood. The eggs are often passed through the stool and remain in the soil where they mature, then the process repeats. Grooming tools can also carry contaminated eggs.

The Humane Society also provides detail for each parasite and their related symptoms and prevention. However, each parasite impacts every dog differently.  Here are some general warning signs owners can look out for:

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Intestinal blockage/pneumonia
  • Deficiencies in nutrition
  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite

Not all dogs with parasites will have clinical signs. Parasites come in many shapes and sizes, and although some may be impossible to see with the naked eye, they can still cause severe problems. Luckily, they’re preventable and treatable with proper veterinary care. 

Many deworming medications have been proven safe and effective, however, it is always recommended to discuss with your veterinarian prior to administering any medication. Worm infestations can be life-threatening for dogs if caught too late or left untreated. Some parasites can be transmitted to their human companions. It’s recommended that you check your pet frequently for parasites with the help of your pet’s veterinarian. This way, they can work with you to develop a treatment plan and get your pup on the fast track to recovery.

If you’re worried your pet might have a worm infection, immediately contact your nearest AZPetVet location and make an appointment.

If you would like to learn more about parasites visit



Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Holidays & Your Pets

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Next to spending quality time with extended family and friends, shiny decor and sweet treats are easily some of the greatest parts of the holiday season. However, before you pull out the tinsel or chocolate chips, make sure you establish a safe location to store these items far out of your pet’s reach. No matter which holiday you’re celebrating this winter, there are plenty of pet safety tips for New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and so on to help ensure your pets stay safe.

Holiday Decor

Mindfulness when setting up your space for the holidays tops the list of important Christmas safety tips for pets to follow. Decorations are half the fun of the holiday season, but unfortunately, most of them are dangerous to animals. 

Broken ornaments may expose your pets to loose shards of glass, and strands of tinsel may be toxic if ingested. Specifically, cats love to chase the sparkle of tinsel and ribbon, so you’ll want to monitor your feline friend closely around these items.

Twinkling lights add that extra glow, but you want to be sure to tuck excess electrical wires or batteries out of sight to avoid any curious paws. Christmas tree lights tend to heat up rather quickly, and one sniff can result in a bad snoot burn. Put your tree on a timer and never leave the lights on when you’re not home.

Fire can be mesmerizing for animals, so you’ll want to keep any candles out of reach, especially since the holiday scents often smell like food and easily attract those silly rascals. Remember to blow out your menorah candles every night along with any others you have scattered around and never leave any flame unattended!

Festive Greenery

Keeping an eye on festive plants, trees, and other greenery is essential among other Christmas safety tips for pets. While Amaryllis flowers are beautiful, they can be deceiving along with mistletoe, pine, cedar, holly, balsam, lilies, and poinsettias. If you’re not careful, their festive foliage can result in serious medical problems like heart issues or kidney failure, so it’s best for pet owners to steer clear and pick out artificial arrangements instead. 

Regardless of real or artificial, the pine needles found in festive trees and wreaths can be harmful to pets if consumed. Keep an eye on the water source to make sure your pets aren’t drinking it, and try not to leave your pets unattended with these items. It’s safest to choose a location for these decorations that’s off-limits to your pets. Otherwise, select an area that you can temporarily fence or block off if, for any reason, you’re away for the day and make sure it’s completely secure and won’t topple over on anything or anyone.

Seasonal Treats

Fudge, sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, candy canes, cakes, pies, chocolates – you name it, it’s hazardous and should be stored far out of reach. Holiday dinner may also bring temptation, and you may find your pet begging for “people food” under the table. But, It’s best not to indulge your pet with table scraps as consumption of heavy food items like stuffing, turkey, potatoes, and more can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and worse. Also, be sure to put any leftovers away to avoid your pets helping themselves to a snack while you’re in the other room enjoying dessert.

Changing Seasons

Along with festive decor and delectable treats, the holidays bring colder weather than usual. Although adjusting may come easier in Arizona, winter brings excessive dryness, which only increases dehydration risk. Some simple cold weather safety tips for pets, tips for hiking with your dog, or tips for those just looking to take a quick trip to the snow are being mindful of your dog’s age, weight, and size and be sure to check paws regularly for hydration. Smaller or shorter-haired dogs are more susceptible to lower temperatures and may benefit from a festive sweater. In contrast, larger, longer-haired, or double-coated breeds tend to be more tolerating and might overheat if dressed in any garments. 

Additionally, the holidays come with end-of-year excitement, so it’s essential to follow these few pet safety tips for New Year’s Eve to minimize risk and ensure safer celebrations:

  • Keep pets in a secure room
  • Make sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags
  • Keep alcohol away from pets
  • Never leave pets outside during fireworks
  • Distract nervous pets with white noise or toys
  • Clean up firework debris before letting pets outside
  • Keep streamers, noisemakers, balloons, and tinsel out of reach

Animals love to use their mouths to examine foreign objects, which poses a high risk for choking and swallowing. 

Pets are such a rewarding addition to any household. They deserve to enjoy the holidays in the safest environment possible and to be cared for as we care for ourselves and the rest of our family. By becoming aware of the different hazardous holiday household items, you and your pet will be able to enjoy a safe and fun holiday season together.



Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately

An Important Update: 12/16/2020

To Our Amazing AZPetVet Clients:

The health and safety of your family and pets, as well as our team members is our highest priority. As always, we are dedicated to providing you with great service and care that you have come to expect from our hospitals. Our efforts to keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 includes:


  • CURBSIDE APPOINTMENTS – ALL NON-CRITICAL APPOINTMENTS: In almost all situations we will be providing curbside appointments. When you arrive for your appointment, please remain in your car and call or text our practice on your cell phone. Please note, the hospital’s text number is different from the phone line. To verify the text number, feel free to give us a call. We will walk you through what that process will look like for both you and your pet. Please limit the number of people at your veterinary appointments to one person if possible. We ask that our clients join us in wearing masks during all contact with our medical team including outdoors.
  • FOOD OR MEDICATION PICKUP: Please contact us to request any needed refills on medications or food. If you are picking up food or medications, please call when you arrive, and we will deliver these items directly to your car. We ask that our clients join us in wearing masks during all contact with our medical team. You may also request refills on medication or food through our online pharmacy and have them shipped right to your door; you can find a link on all of our hospital websites.


  • Our team members continue to follow the highest standard of cleaning and disinfecting within the hospital, as well as specific hygiene protocols throughout their shifts. Employees are not reporting to work if they are experiencing any illness or respiratory symptoms and are following their doctor’s recommendations for medical care and quarantine.

Continued Precautions

Our team members will be wearing masks when interacting with any clients or fellow team members. Our smiles are still underneath though! We ask that our clients join us in wearing masks during all contact with our medical team.

We continue to advise any team members who have a fever or are experiencing any illness or symptoms to stay home. We ask that our clients continue to do this as well.

We sincerely appreciate how supportive you have been as we navigate through this pandemic together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our hospitals with any questions or concerns you may have. We are here to support the health and safety of your family and pets!


The AZPetVet Family of Animal Hospitals

Holiday Gift Guide for Pets

Stocking Stuffers: Safer Christmas Gifts for Cats & Dogs

You can’t forget to treat your furry friends this holiday season. After all, more toys mean more distractions, comfort when they’re feeling anxious, a quick solution to tiring out an energized pup, and less time spent getting into things they shouldn’t be in.

Picking out Christmas gifts for cats is easier since they’re already pretty picky about toys and well, everything else, but dogs are often quick to accept any kind of toy or treat you present to them. This means that it’s your duty as a pet parent to be especially mindful when picking out stocking stuffers and other Christmas gifts for your pets.

Several factors contribute to the danger or safety of a toy, and many of them depend on the size of your pet, their activity levels and playing environment. Certain gifts for small dogs might not make great gifts for large ones.

Although we can’t deem any toy 100% safe, we can provide you with a simple holiday gift guide for pets to help point you in the right direction.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, different types of toys fit the different personalities of each dog.

Active toys. Hard, rubber toys like Nylabones or Kong-like products that come in various shapes and sizes are great for chewing on and playing with. Rope and woven toys are excellent for multiple-pet households where a lot of tug-of-war goes down. Tennis balls are also perfect for fetching; however, you should discard any that have been chewed up as they can be a choking hazard. 

Distraction toys. Kongs, “busy box,” “feeders,” or other similar rubber products that you can fill with treats are great for distracting your pooch for hours. If approved by your veterinarian, peanut butter is also a fantastic and tasty toy stuffer.

Comfort toys. Soft, plush toys serve several purposes for pups, but this is when the dog type comes into play. If your pet enjoys carrying around soft toys and views this toy as their friend, pick one appropriate to the size of your pup’s mouth. For those that want to shake or destroy their toys, choose one that’s sturdy to withstand such rough-housing and one large enough to avoid accidental swallowing amid that chaos.

The Bark offers some smart, safer, and widely popular dog toy options from reputable pet product companies worldwide.

Additionally, for those on the hunt for Christmas gifts for cats, Chewy offers an array of toys from reputable brands like PetStages, All Kind, Frisco, Ethical Pet, and many more. These serve as great distractions for your kitty counter surfer, hopefully keeping them from swatting all your holiday decor down!

Some things to avoid:

  • Balls with single air holes (these can create a dangerous suction trap)
  • Squeaker toys (unless closely monitored)
  • Sticks and stones (may splinter or become lodged in throat or stomach)
  • Heavily dyed toys
  • Toys treated with fire retardants or stain guard
  • Soft plastics
  • Feather toys
  • Balls with bells inside
  • Toys with plastic inside

Both dogs and cats use toys for comfort, to carry, shake, and roll around with, so the toys you purchase should be interactive yet appropriate for their playstyle and appropriate for their size – you wouldn’t give a teacup chihuahua the same toy you’d give a newfoundland and you surely wouldn’t give that same toy to your cat!

It’s imperative to understand the risks toys pose of ingestion, choking, stomach obstruction, containment of toxic materials, and more. While it’s a federal requirement that products consumed by humans are regulated and inspected for safety, it’s not a requirement for animal products. Exercise caution when purchasing Christmas gifts for your pets, and be sure to supervise their play once you’ve gifted it to them.

If you’re looking to stuff your pets stocking this season, check with your veterinarian for guidance on which toys are safer and which ones to avoid according to your pet’s specific needs. The brands/products contained within this article have no affiliation with AZPetVet, and their presence should not be interpreted as an endorsement or recommendation by our veterinarians.

How to Help Animal Shelters

Supporting Your Local Pet Rescue

For all the animal lovers out there looking for an opportunity to give back, there are several ways to show support to your local pet rescue and other shelters. While local shelters and humane animal rescues work day-in and day-out tending to the needs of each animal they take in, they often do so with limited resources.

Here are five ways to show your support and lend a helping hand to the groups that do so much for the animals and people of our community.

  1. Adopt – If you’ve been considering expanding your family, there’s no time like the present and no better place to look than your local pet rescue group or shelter. As one example, we are a proud partner of the LovePup Foundation and provide essential medical services to rescue pets who are looking for their forever home.
  2. Foster – Fosters can be lifesavers for animals that are struggling to adapt to shelter life, need to be nursed back to health, or require undivided attention and care beyond what shelter staff is able to provide. Foster families and homes are often the backbones of rescue groups. By bringing one or more of these homeless animals into their home, they are freeing up space and allowing the rescue groups to take in and care for a greater number of animals.
  3. Volunteer – Hang up flyers for upcoming events, transport animals, walk dogs, pet cats – you name it. Local pet rescues and shelters can always use an extra pair of hands to help out!
  4. Donate – Along with monetary support, local pet rescues and shelters are always in need of more towels, toys and other supplies. The best way to learn what items your local group needs is by calling. However, some have wish lists on their websites, so check to see how you can best help.
  5. Recognize – Become a rescue ambassador. Share adoption profiles on social media, express gratitude to the people working at your local rescue groups, give them a shoutout, and acknowledge their hard work! By publicly recognizing your local rescue groups, you’re spreading the word to friends, family, and coworkers who otherwise may never have known about the group and their initiatives. Sharing adoption profiles also increases the chances for the animals to find their furever homes!

Every day, the staff at local pet rescues work endlessly to save and protect animals from vulnerable situations. Without the help of their surrounding community and people like you, the animals within these shelters would not have the ability to improve or the opportunity for a second chance at life. Thank you for caring about animal rescue programs. Community support makes a world of difference.