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Kelly Serfas, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Bethlehem, PA, contributed to this article.

Anesthesia can be scary. In addition to understanding the particulars of anesthesia, make sure you understand the real risks for your particular pet by asking following questions of your vet, general practitioner or specialist. Yes, it will take a little bit of time. It may even sound annoying or picky at times… But it is well worth it to ensure the well being of your beloved pet.

1. What are the risks of anesthesia for my pet?

Some pets are ideal candidates for anesthesia, like a healthy 6 month old kitten who needs to be neutered.  Others can present significant risks because of a variety of health conditions: heart murmur, liver disease, infection etc. If your pet has a flat face (brachycephalic breeds such as a Himalayan cat or a Bulldog), there is an increased risk of complications before, during and after anesthesia. Therefore, special precautions should be taken at every step – which you should discuss with your vet. Chubby patients are at a higher risk for anesthesia because they don’t breathe well.

2. Will my pet have an IV catheter and IV fluids?

The duration and invasiveness of the procedure will usually determine if your vet will place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. For minor procedures (radiographs, bandage placement, nail trim), it may not be necessary. For others (most surgeries, dental procedures), it is very beneficial to place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. The catheter helps administering anesthesia drugs and pain medications and the IV fluids help maintain proper organ function, starting with the kidneys.

3. Who will monitor my pet?

In a perfect world, all patients under anesthesia would be monitored by a veterinary nurse or technician who has been specifically trained to perform and adjust anesthesia. Even better, this person should ideally stay with your pet during and after anesthesia at all times.

4. How will my pet be monitored?

These days, pets can be monitored almost as well as people. We can track heart beats, EKG, blood pressure, oxygen levels, CO2 levels, temperature, respiration rates and more. The more we know about what’s going on inside a patient, the safer the anesthesia is. Now different clinics offer different levels of monitoring. Most clinics these days can monitor oxygen levels.  However, few can track CO2, even though it’s a very important piece of information. An experienced technician will also rely on his or her senses, including listening, touching, and observing the patient..

5. Who will recover my pet?

Waking up from anesthesia is half the battle. More pets actually get in trouble after anesthesia than during anesthesia. Therefore, it is very important to continue monitoring patients very closely after they wake up.

6. What is done to make sure my pet is safe to go under anesthesia?

Several things can be done to decrease the risks of anesthesia. Most vets will recommend blood work to make sure your pet is healthy. Even if we find liver or kidney disease, we can perform safe anesthesia. We might, however, need to tweak the anesthesia protocol to decrease the dose of certain drugs or eliminate them altogether. Depending on your particular pet’s health, we may also recommend an EKG, blood pressure testing, chest X-rays or an ultrasound.

7. What happens during anesthesia?

Typically, a tranquilizer is given first. This will make your pet drowsy.  We then often place an IV catheter. About 20 to 30 minutes later, anesthesia drugs are given IV. A plastic tube is then placed in the wind pipe or trachea. This allows delivery of 98% pure oxygen and 2% anesthesia gas on average. Anesthesia is then maintained with gas. At the end of anesthesia, the gas is turned off and your pet is kept on 100% oxygen. When your pet starts to wake up, the tube is pulled out of the trachea and normal breathing starts again.

8. How long will my pet take to recover?

This depends on many factors, including health status, involvement of the procedure, duration of anesthesia, drugs given, breed, age and body temperature. In other words, you would expect a healthy, crazy, happy 6 month old lab to recover very quickly from a spay. You also would expect a 14 year old diabetic, hypothyroid toy poodle to take longer to recover from a two hour surgery.

9. Should I leave a blanket or piece of clothing with my scent on it?

You may leave a blanket or piece of clothing at most hospitals… as long as you understand that they may get lost. Why? Not because we’re careless, but because if your pet soils your item, it will be washed and dried.

Many hospitals have staggering amounts of laundry to go through every day because their caring staff always makes sure pets have clean blankets and towels at all times. In other words, your blanket may be buried (not quite lost) in a mountain of laundry. If you are really emotionally attached to a specific blanket or towel, please keep it at home. We will provide whatever your pet needs.

10. Why do I need to sign an anesthesia/surgery consent form?

When you sign the anesthesia and surgery consent form, you acknowledge that you understand the diagnosis, the possible risks and the likely outcome of the procedure you have discussed with your vet. The consent form is both a medical and legal document.  Therefore, it is important that you truly understand what will and might happen during your pet’s care.

Clearly, there are always risks with anesthesia, no matter how careful we are. Make sure you understand those risks. An honest, open discussion should reassure you that your pet in in great hands and that everything will be done to return your pet home at soon as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

All About Service and Guide Dogs, Veterinarians in Beaverton Oregon

In Celebration of National Service/Guide Dog Month, we’re sharing this great article from Jenna Stregowski, RVT at The Spruce Pet.

You have probably heard the terms service dog and assistance dog before, but do you know what these terms truly mean? Generally speaking, a service dog or assistance dog is a working dog specially trained to help a person or group of people with a disability or specific needs. However, there is a bit more to the definition of a service dog, especially in the eyes of the law. A service dog is a type of working dog but is very different from other working dogs like police dogs, cadaver dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs.

Read more


From Preventative Vet

Many people are finding themselves working from home and dogs everywhere are reveling in having their humans around all the time.

But working with your pets around can be tough — just try being on a conference call with a barking dog in the background, or a puppy who wants your constant attention and keeps crawling onto your keyboard.

It can be hard to stay on-task and feel like you’re getting work done from your home office. While including your pet in your work video chats is often appreciated by your coworkers, when you need to be productive and stay distraction-free, we’ve got you covered.

Below are our favorite ways to keep our dogs occupied, as well as how to set yourself up for success while working from home with your pet.

Read more

Your Canine Etiquette Guide: Dog Park Do's

BY MIKKEL BECKER | Featured on

Your dog loves the dog park, and you love taking him there to play. But you both need to be on your best behavior while you’re there. Here are six simple ways to be a good dog park citizen and help your pooch and his friends enjoy their play time together.

Read more

7 Things to Consider When Hiring a Pet Sitter

By Shayna Meliker | Article Featured on

Picking a pet sitter isn’t a decision you should take lightly — but we’re sure we don’t need to tell you that! We bet you’ve already put more thought into who will be caring for your beloved cat or dog than you did into which hotels you booked or which car you rented for your trip.

So don’t fret! We’re here to help you through the process of finding a pet sitter who’s right for you and your pet. We’ll review where to start your search, which questions you should ask and how to make arrangements for anxious or special-needs pets.

Read more

vet clinic, beaverton, oregonArticle Found on ScienceDaily

There’s a new twist to the perennial argument about which is smarter, cats or dogs.

It has to do with their brains, specifically the number of neurons in their cerebral cortex: the “little gray cells” associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior — all considered hallmarks of intelligence.

The first study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs, has found that dogs possess significantly more of them than cats. Read more

Need some inspiration for our Pet Costume Contest? Check out these 18 super adorable DIY pet costume ideas for Halloween!

Original Article & Images Featured on HGTV

Include your furry friend in this year’s Halloween celebrations by crafting a handmade costume for your dog or cat. Just be sure to use only soft, lightweight materials that don’t obstruct your pet’s movement, eyes, nose or mouth.

Fluttering Fairy or Butterfly

Their favorite jacket and a few inexpensive craft materials are all you need to magic up a (cute!) winged Halloween pet costume for your pup. Get crafting with our easy step-by-step instructions.

FROM H. Camille Smith

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Groovy Rasta

Your pet will look positively Irie and ready to party in this fun Rastafarian wig and hat. A few craft store materials are all you need for this easy-to-make costume. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

FROM Sam Henderson

Court Jester

Honor your pup’s inner goofball with a Halloween costume that celebrates his true colors. Colorful fabric remnants, basic machine sewing and our free printable costume templates make this a DIY project you can complete while binge-watching your favorite show. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.

FROM Sam Henderson

French Chef

Ooh-la-la! Your dog or cat will be the cutest chef on four legs in this crafty Halloween costume. Use tissue paper and card stock to create a mini version of a chef’s toque blanche and a bit of red fabric to stitch up a jaunty neckerchief. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

FROM Sam Henderson

Ready For Business

Giving new meaning to the phrase, ‘working like a dog,’ this costume cleverly repurposes closet castoffs to create a costume that’s easy on and off and is comfy for your pet. Our step-by-step instructions will help you dress your best friend for success.

FROM Sam Henderson

Black Bat

Felt, pipe cleaners and a bit of Velcro are all you need to dress your furry friend as a winged bat for Halloween. This costume is not only easy to craft with our step-by-step instructions it’s also lightweight so it’s comfortable for your dog or cat.

FROM Sam Henderson

Little Bo Peep & Her Sheep

For HGTV fan Sara Alavi, dressing her girls up in Halloween costumes is a tradition. She chooses a new look each year based on pop culture trends or her pups’ personalities. For this look, she was inspired by Jelly Bean, initially a timid rescue, who followed Sara’s older pup, Darci, around like a lost little sheep. To create Darci’s Little Bo Peep costume, Sara stitched up the dress herself then topped it off with a curly blonde dog wig (yes, there’s such a thing) she bought online. Sara also crafted Jelly Bean’s sheep costume using faux fur for the body and hood and pink felt for the interior of the ears. Velcro strips added to each costume ensure easy on and off should either pup become overheated.

Pretty as a Posy

Easily turn craft foam sheets into an oversized flower costume for your furball. Attaching the foam flower to your pet’s harness ensures they can move freely and be comfortable while enjoying the Halloween festivities. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

FROM H. Camille Smith

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Sea-Worthy Celeb-U-Pup

Not only is Eli the Chihuahua a ship-shape sailor, he’s also a canine celebrity who starred in the reality series Doggie Moms on NYC life. His mom and HGTV fan, Karen Biehl, capped off Eli’s sailor costume by adding star stickers, a bit of white ribbon and a thin elastic band to a paper ice cream cup to craft his diminutive sailor’s hat.

Low Sew Pinata Pup

This year, celebrate Halloween, fiesta-style, with your best friend. Easily craft a piñata-inspired costume for your dog using felt, hot glue and just a bit of hand stitching. Canine couture designer Kelly Owen shares her step-by-step instructions for crafting this costume for your little party animal.

Little Ladybug

Disguise your dog in a cute ladybug costume you can create in under an hour using basic craft materials and a no-sew method. Our easy step-by-step instructions make this adorable costume a snap.

FROM Kim Stoegbauer
Photo By: Rennai Hoefer, Ten22 Studio

Pooches from Far, Far Away

Leather shoelaces and a bit of brown felt are all HGTV fan samiam405 needed to dress her two pups up like the furry Ewoks of Star Wars fame. Cutting holes to accommodate their ears ensures her furkids are comfortable.

Royal Wedding Attendees

The fashion-forward hats sported by Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding weren’t just a hit in royal circles, they also made quite an impression on HGTV fan Sara Alavi who began work on her pups’ elaborate Halloween costumes soon after the royal wedding. To construct Princess Eugenie’s blue hat, Sara used craft foam sheets secured with hot glue. Stretch cording keeps the hat comfortably on pup Darci’s head while wispy white feathers and a purple rosette complete the look. For Princess Beatrice’s fascinator, the trick was finding a flexible material that’s also lightweight enough for pup Jelly Bean’s small size. Sara used pipe cleaners, covered by a stitched tube of gold fabric, to replicate the twisting ribbon shape. An elastic band wasn’t strong enough to prevent shifting so Sara stitched the ribbon to a fabric-covered disk that’s sewn directly onto a blonde dog wig.

Arrch, Me Kitties

Dressing your cat for Halloween is a rite attempted by only the bravest of pet owners — but, if your cat is willing, take a cue from HGTV fan Queen1Cat and turn your landlocked kitty into a seafaring rogue with a custom-stitched puffy shirt and felt pirate’s hat. Just be sure to sleep with one eye open for a while.

King of the Beasts

A Great Dane is sure to turn heads any day — but add a furry lion’s mane and tail and you can literally stop traffic. HGTV fan FriscoChick put her sewing skills to work to stitch up a thick, faux fur mane to slide over her pup’s head. A soft, fabric covered band over his nose attaches to the inside of the mane to prevent it from shifting.

A Pack of Pugs

Many owners of pugs will tell you: You can’t stop at just one. Clearly, HGTV fan bratlaw feels the more pugs, the merrier. She outfitted her 5 pups to resemble a favorite candy that’s also better by the bunch. To make the costumes, she sewed colorful fabric remnants, filled with a thin foam circle, into round pillows that she then embellished with iron-on letters. A small fabric loop that attaches to their collars plus a wide strap that velcros under each pup’s middle keep the pillows from shifting.

Count Kittula

HGTV fan Debbie Richmond is one of those souls brave enough to dress her cats for Halloween. To ensure the Halloween costume doesn’t cause them to overheat, she chooses lightweight fabrics, like this nylon cape, that can easily be removed.

Headless Horsemen

Trick-or-treaters will definitely do a double-take of this clever Halloween costume that uses toddler-size clothing on a well-crafted body to resemble the Headless Horseman and his horse, Daredevil. HGTV fan newfy1_5226167 is the creative genius behind this amazing pet costume that actually weighs in at less than 5 pounds total and even includes a custom-stitched saddle and bridle to accurately recreate the look.

Remember! The Laurelwood Animal Hospital Pet Costume Contest is open until November 11th! Dress up your pet and submit your best photo here! Don’t forget to vote!!

Laurelwood Animal Hospital,located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.

If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: [email protected]

10 fun ways to exercise your dogYou’ve traveled this route many times. Your footsteps are on automatic pilot and your dog is tired of smelling the same patches of grass. You continue your daily walks sticking as closely to the same path like a beagle honing in on a scent because your dog needs exercise for his health and as an outlet for pent up energy. Walking is what you are supposed to do with a dog, right? Well, yes, but there’s a movement afoot that challenges the traditional ideas of what dogs and humans can do together for fun and physical conditioning. So if you and your canine companion are getting a little bored with the same activities day after day, here are some suggestions to shake up your routine. Read more



The entries have been submitted and you only have a few more days to cast your vote!

Check out our contest entries for our 2014 Halloween Pet Costume Contest and vote for your favorite. You can vote once daily through November 14th.

The top two winners will be chosen.

Vote now

We wanted to wish you and your pet a wonderful Halloween Holiday! Here are some tips on keeping your pet safe during tonight’s festivities. And don’t forget to take a photo for your pet in their Halloween costume and upload to our photo contest on our homepage.

10 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a downright nightmare. Forgo the stress and dangers this year by following these 10 easy tips.

1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets.

All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting,diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.

Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless.

3. Keep pets confined and away from the door.

Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxiousand growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night … a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.

4. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween.

Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.

5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.

Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed. And speaking of pumpkins …

6. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.

Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

7. Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach.

If chewed, your pet could cut himself or herself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

8. Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it.

If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow. 

9. Try on pet costumes before the big night.

If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”. Festive bandanas usually work for party poopers, too.

10. IDs, please!

If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet does have one of those fancy-schmancy embedded microchips.