True Story Time: My Dachshund Ate Chocolate

True Story Time: My Dachshund Ate Chocolate

True Story Time: My Dachshund Ate Chocolate

dachshund FrankieI have an adorable 9 year old spayed, dachshund named Frankie.  She, as most dachshunds, can be mischievous. Occasionally, she makes decisions that are not in her best interest.

Shortly before Easter 2017 my sister and her son were visiting.  They decided to go to a local chocolate company for some Easter goodies.  My sister informed my nephew that he was only allowed to have one candy before dinner and the rest should go on the counter.  I was working, and my spouse and sister were making dinner; just enough time for dear Frankie to find her way to the back of the couch, walk on the kitchen pass through to the counter and steal the bag of chocolates.  

I got a frantic call at work stating that Frankie had ingested all the chocolate candies in the bag.  Her list of treats included two milk chocolate peanut butter eggs, several milk chocolate marshmallow eggs, 2 dark chocolate raspberry cream eggs and 3 dark chocolate vanilla buttercream eggs.  I know what you are thinking, 

“Whoa! That is quite the list of treats for a little lady”.  

Yes, those were my thoughts too when I received the call.  I instructed them to bring Frankie over immediately so we could induce vomiting.  The ingestion took place about 5:30 in the evening and they were able to get her to us by 6:00.  Dr Arms was working that evening and administered a medication that induced the vomiting.  Within seconds my little Frankie was regretting her decision.  She produced copious amounts of chocolate vomit.  After the vomiting had stopped, we administered Cerenia – a medication to help alleviate nausea – and some subcutaneous fluids to help with hydration.  Dr. Arms advised that we should watch for any signs of gastrointestinal upset, but was confident that we had caught the incident within a good time frame.  

As the holiday season approaches, with lots of  treats; here are some fun facts about why they can be bad for our pets.  Chocolate contains (be ready for the big technical terms) Methylxanthines, which includes two items of concern; caffeine and theobromine.  Those, in certain amounts, can be toxic to our dogs.  

The types of chocolate below are listed from least dangerous to most dangerous:

  • White 
  • Milk
  • Semi-sweet
  • Unsweetened or baking
  • Dry cocoa powder

If your loveable furbaby makes a poor decision like mine, keep in mind that time is of the essence and the sooner you call your veterinary office the better.

Written By Krystal Barbera-Byrnes, Client Care Specialist

Splooting:  A Definition and Analysis

Splooting: A Definition and Analysis

Splooting: A Definition and Analysis

Full SplootOur pets, just like our friends and family, can have some quirks. Although these quirks can give us owners a good laugh or perhaps an endearing photo, sometimes, there is a reason for these odd behaviors. More recently, one peculiar behavior is taking social media by storm: splooting.

 So what is splooting? In short, splooting is a type of stretch that involves kicking one or both legs behind the body.  The one leg sploot involves one leg behind while the other leg remains tucked underneath.  This may look familiar to dog owners, however splooting is not an exclusively canine behavior. Occasionally, cats can do it too!

Grace Full SplootAlthough the Corgi is credited with making the sploot famous, all breeds of dogs and cats can sploot. Depending on their flexibility, animals can display an array of different sploots. For example:

  • The Classic Sploot: One leg remains beneath the body while the other leg is kicked back:
  • The Side Sploot (Left or Right): One leg is tucked under the body while the other is kicked out to the side. Often the animal is laying with on hip on the ground:
  • The Full Sploot: The animal has kicked both legs behind the body, exhibiting a full body stretch:

So is there a reason why animals sploot other than giving their owners a photo opportunity for a later social media post? Splooting is a great stretch for the animals’ hips. Splooting also allows the animal to cool themselves by pressing their belly into the ground or against tile floors. Owners may notice that their pets sploot more often when they are younger. This is simply because younger pets have more flexibility in their hips compared to senior pets.

Has your pet ever splooted? Show us by entering a photo of your pet showing off their finest sploot in our Superb Sploots contest! If your photo is chosen as our winner, we will display their photo on our GVH Facebook page. Your pet may also receive a prize!


By:      Abigail R. Hanlon, Senior, Music Therapy Major

Marywood University




How Bosco Became a Therapy Dog

How Bosco Became a Therapy Dog

Bosco working as a therapy dog at CHOP

Bosco working at CHOP

How Bosco Became a Therapy Dog

Ever since my dog, Bosco, was a puppy I wanted to socialize him as much as I could in a lot of different environments so I could take him just about anywhere.  We would go to different local events where I knew there would be people, kids and other dogs.  About five years ago I took him to a walk benefitting cystic fibrosis in honor of a good friend of mine whose sister had passed away from the disease.   After the walk was over, we were gathered around an area where there were a lot of children playing.  All of a sudden, the kids came running up to Bosco, petting him and asking questions, giving him hugs and tugging on his fluffy fur.  Bosco didn’t seem to be bothered by it one bit.  It actually looked like he liked all the attention!

It didn’t even occur to me that he could be a therapy dog until after I told the story about the kids to my sister, who happens to work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.   She suggested the idea of Bosco becoming a therapy dog.  I had never really thought about it before and decided to do some research into how to get Bosco registered as a therapy dog.  The process was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

I contacted Therapy Dogs International, which is a volunteer organization dedicated to testing, regulating and registration therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers.  Bosco had to pass a test reflecting real-life situations designed to simulate a therapy dog visit at a nursing home, hospital or facility where a therapy dog would be needed. 

Bosco the happy therapy dog

Bosco the happy therapy dog

We went on a designated date and time to take the test which consisted of Bosco following some commands:  sit, down, stay.  After that, he was tested for his temperament and behavior.  These tests involved his reactions to different situations including: how he reacted when someone approached him and walked by him, someone in a wheelchair coming up to him, seeing another dog, and loud sounds – which all didn’t seem to bother him one bit.  He passed the test on the first try!  He also had to do a similar test at Penn Veterinary Hospital.  They conduct yearly checkups as part of CHOP’s protocol to be a therapy dog in their pet therapy program.

Once I got my human clearances, we were off to start our visits.  In a nutshell, it consists of Bosco and I visiting designated floors at CHOP and going to each hospital room and seeing if anyone would like a visit.  That could be the child, the parents, visitors or even the nurses or doctors!  We go into the room and say hello.  I try to get Bosco as close as I can so the child can see Bosco up close and pet him.  Bosco has such a laid-back personality.  He seems to really love all the attention and petting that he gets, and sometimes he even gives his paw to those who ask for it! 

It’s truly a wonderful experience being a volunteer.  Sharing my dog with those who don’t get the chance to leave the hospital for any length of time is really rewarding – not only for me, but for Bosco, too!  Bosco and I have been doing therapy work for three years now.   He knows it’s time to go to work when I put his blue bandana on.  He has gotten the routine down so well that after we sign in at the volunteer center at CHOP, he’s already heading to the door to get on the elevator and start doing what he does best – bringing smiles and joy to all those around him!

Lauren Buchak – Bosco’s Owner and GVH Client

Microchipping: Fact or Fiction

Microchipping: Fact or Fiction

There are a lot of myths about Microchips.  We hope this blog helps clear up the rumors and share some great facts about microchips.

Fiction:  Having a microchip implanted will hurt my pet.

Fact:  No anesthetic is required for a microchip implant. The procedure is performed in the hospital and is simple and similar to administering a vaccine or a routine shot.  The microchip injection comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip is the size of a small grain of rice and the process to inject it only takes a few seconds.

Fiction:  Pet microchips work like global positioning devices (GPS) and tell me my pet’s location.

Fact:  Pet microchips are not tracking devices they are permanent identification for your pet. They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants and do not require a power source like a GPS. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet, the microchip transmits the microchip’s ID number. Since there’s no battery and no moving parts, there’s nothing to keep charged, wear out, or replace. The microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.

Fiction:  My pet wears a collar with tags, so he doesn’t need a microchip.

Fact:  All pets should wear collar tags imprinted with their name and the phone number of their owner, but only a microchip provides a permanent ID that cannot fall off, be removed, or become impossible to read.

Busting the Tick Myths

Busting the Tick Myths

Ticks raise a lot of questions!  Dr. Adolph bust the Myths and tells us the Truth about these 8 legged insects.  Common Tick from North Eastern United States

The Myth:  Ticks die off during the winter months

The Truth:  Ticks doe not die just because it is winter.  They do become less active during the cold months but can still attach to your pet and transmit potentially deadly diseases.

The Myth:  I never see ticks on my pet, so we do not have ticks in our area

The Truth:  Ticks are present throughout the U.S. The 3 life stages capable of attaching to pets (nymph, larva, and adult) are very small.  Unless there are dozens of ticks present, or the ticks have fed long enough to become engorged (about 7 days), most infestations go unnoticed.

The Myth:  Ticks should be removed with alcohol, a lit match, nail polish, petroleum jelly, etc.

The Truth:  The best removal method is grabbing a tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and using gentle, steady traction to lift it.  Other methods may facilitate the transmission of infectious agents.

The Myth:  Ticks fall from trees

The Truth:  Tick live on and just above the ground.  When the host approaches, they release from love vegetation and attach to the animal.

The Myth:  Those medications do not work – I still see ticks.

The Truth:  No product is 100% effective.  Consider this: if a pet encounters 1,000 ticks, a product with 99% efficacy (considered excellent by medical standards) may still leave 10 ticks.  With very high exposure, additional measures may be necessary to protect your pet.

The Myth:  My dog does not go outside, so I don’t need to worry about ticks.

The Truth:  Does your dog go outside to relieve him or herself?  Even a short excursion increases the risk for ticks.

The Myth:  I’ll start using medication if I see ticks.

The Truth:  Prevention is better for your pet and more cost effective for you.  By the time ticks are detected, disease transmission may have already occurred.

The Myth:  I treat my yard, so my pet does not need medications.

The Truth:  Environmental control is great, but it is one of many components of effective tick control and alone is not enough.  Combining yard treatment, minor landscaping changes, and most importantly year-round preventatives for your pet will keep him or her safer.

Why do I still have fleas?

Why do I still have fleas?

Tired of having a flea problem?

tired of fleas???

Why am I still seeing fleas? 

  • Small breaks in prevention, even during the winter can cause major problems.  On average fleas lay 50 eggs a day, so a few days or months late on prevention can mean 100’s to 1000’s of flea eggs being left to hatch.
  • Flea eggs can last for months in the environment. These eggs will wait to hatch until conditions are optimal, this can lead to hundreds of fleas hatching and laying eggs over a period of time.
  • Unprotected or stray pets roaming through your yard can leave trails of fleas or flea eggs that later infest your yard and home.
  • Once you see fleas on your pet there are already 100’s to 1000’s of eggs laid on your pet and in your home.  You will have to use prevention measures for 3 – 4 months to kill all of the life cycles of the flea and rid your home of the pests.


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