Build a Bear Workshop has Christmas Pups, Kittys, Bears and More for Fun Gifts

Santa Pals Black Lab

From Build a Bear Workshop, meet the Santa Pals black Labrador. There is also a Jack Russell, Yorky, Husky and more dogs and cats that you can personalize with Christmas clothes or other accessories and make a perfect gift for a little boy or girl.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My staff and I want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

The clinic is closed Thursday through Sunday for the holidays. If you should have an emergency, the North Houston Veterinary Specialists are now open 24 hours and can be reached by calling 832-616-5000.

They are located at 1646 Spring Cypress Rd, Ste. 100 in Spring, TX 77388


Tips for avoiding the Pet ER for Thanksgiving-

  • Limit the table scraps and do not feed bones to your pet. Changing the diet or feeding fats can cause upset stomachs, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Do not feed the following foods at all: Chocolate, raisins, grapes, raw dough, macadamia nuts, garlic, onions, sugar substitute xylitol, and alcohol.
  • If you have visitors, please ask them to keep their prescriptions out of reach of your pet. Pets are curious and have been know to get into purses and luggage and eat the medications, bottles and all.
  • Although poinsettia plants have gotten a bad wrap for causing poisonings in pets, they really are not toxic but can cause vomiting if ingested. Mistletoe, ivy and other houseplants are more toxic.
  • Use shatter proof balls on your Christmas tree.
  • Keep your pet from drinking the water if you are using a fresh tree.
  • Watch the electric cords and keep them from chewing on them.
  • Tinsel and ribbons can also be choking hazards to your pet.
  • With visitors going in and out, it may be best to keep the dog in the back bedroom to prevent escaping out the front door.

Christmas Ornaments for Dog Lovers

Adorable personalized Christmas ornaments for dog lovers, (cats, too) make a great addition to your Christmas tree or as a gift to the dog lover on your list.

Check out my new store where you can find fun dog Christmas ornaments and gifts

Allergic Reactions in Pets

Pets,  just like humans, can have allergic reactions to just about anything. The reactions can range from mild itching, to hives and whelps, or even life-threatening anaphylaxis. Allergies occur when a substance the pet is exposed to triggers an overactive response from the immune system. Allergies can develop slowly over time, or can develop suddenly.

The most common allergic reaction in pets is that to fleas. The flea saliva has a protein component that causes the pet to itch every time they are bitten. Sometimes, you never see the flea because the pet grooms themselves and can ingest the flea. The most common area for the dog to itch is just above the base of the tail. Once the skin is broken, and the dog licks and chews at the area, secondary skin infections set in. Here in Houston, the hot bed of all things allergic and the perfect storm of warm temperatures and humidity, is ideal for growing parasites and pollen. We recommend giving the heartworm and flea control medications all year round to control the fleas.

Allergies can also develop to injections, such as antibiotics or vaccines. Every effort has been made to improve the quality of vaccines and reduce the episodes of reactions, but every dog is different and so is their immune system. The majority of these reactions can occur rather quickly, so waiting around the hospital to check out after an injection is sometimes a good thing because the reaction can be treated quickly.

The other common allergen is food allergies, such as wheat, corn, beef and others. Dogs with food allergies can have intestinal problems and can have itching and swelling around the face and eyes. Food trials or blood tests can help to identify the culprit and then you have to avoid that ingredient in the diet. Special foods that have novel proteins, such as salmon and potato are often fed for a 6-8 week trial to see if the allergies improve. Once the dog is not itching, a protein is re-introduced to the dog one at a time to identify the allergen. Sometimes, the dog needs to stay on the special diet.

The next common allergen is inhaled allergens, such as pollen, dander, dust mites, etc. Yes, I have even had a Bichon that was allergic to human dander. The majority of these dogs present with anything from licking and chewing at their feet, to generalized itching, hair loss and secondary infections. Ear infections are also a common secondary development because the skin is inflamed from the allergy and the warm, dark, moist environment of the ear sets up the perfect growth media for yeast and bacteria.  Cortisone and anti-histamines will help relieve the symptoms for a short time but for real control, the allergen needs to be identified with either skin tests or blood panels. Once the specific allergens are identified, a special “vaccine’ of the allergy causing culprits are mixed up and desensitization injections are given to help reduce the symptoms over time.  Secondary infections are controlled with antibiotics and/or  medicated shampoos. Newer spot-ons have been developed to help heal the integrity of the skin barrier to help it fight off the secondary infections better and omega-3 fatty acid supplements can also help by reducing the allergic response and improving the health of the skin.

Another allergic causing culprit is insect or spider bites. In this scenario, the dog is outside playing, and then comes back in with usually a swollen nose and muzzle. Snake bites can also present with the same signs. If the swelling continues to worsen, a call or visit to your veterinarian is warranted.

The next allergic reaction that can occur is a contact allergy. The reason I am writing this post is because one of my patients had a possible allergic reaction to a common carpet freshener that was applied to freshen the carpet before the holidays. Because we are investigating this product with the company, I am not going to identify the product specifically, but give general recommendations on how to test products before applying them to your carpets.

The story goes as follows, the owners applied the carpet freshener as directed. Later they noticed the dog’ s skin was bright red and the pet had vomited. They bathed the pet in cool water to calm the skin, not knowing what had caused the reaction and the skin improved. The next morning the dog walked across the carpet and broke out in hives and big whelps. The pet was then presented to my hospital where we administered benadryl and some cortisone to relieve the allergic reactions. The owner then recalled that the pet may have had a slight reaction the last time they applied the product.  Now the owners are going to have to steam clean the carpets to remove the product.

Because pets have a lot more skin area exposed to the carpets, they may be at a greater risk for contact allergies or simply irritation. Since their noses are closer to the ground, they can also inhale the products, which may result in allergic reactions.

So, what can you do to see if your pet could have a problem? Just like when ladies have to test the hair dye before applying it to their hair, you may want to test a small amount of the product on the belly of your pet. If a red whelp or a red irritation develops, you may wish to skip that product and stick with steam cleaning.  If you suspect your pet may have had a reaction to a product, take your pet and the product to your veterinarian. Your pet should be bathed to remove any product from the skin and then treated with antihistamines. The product should then be reported to the company for further testing. You should also write down the UPC code and the product batch code. Most of these products have usually been tested rigorously, but a super sensitive pet may still have a reaction to just about anything.

Christmas Ornaments for Dachshunds

Christmas is nearing and I have found the most adorable Dachshund Christmas ornaments and gifts for Dachshund lovers.  I put up a new site for just dog Christmas ornaments and gifts at All other human Holiday Decorations are at Join the holiday newsletter at and you will get the early alerts for Black Friday savings and other discounts and coupons to help save on your Christmas shopping.

So while we are talking about Dachshunds, I thought I would cover some common diseases found in the Dachshund breed.

Although some of these diseases are found in Dachshunds the overwhelming majority of Doxies are born healthy and live long, mostly disease-free lives. Some minor health issues arise for nearly every dog at some point, even those who receive early vaccinations and excellent life-long care.

Nevertheless, there are some conditions that tend to occur more frequently in Dachshunds than in other breeds.

– Adrenal Gland Disease

One common form of this condition is called Cushing’s Disease, is also found in other breeds with some regularity. The technical name is hyperadrenocorticism, an excess production of hormones made by the adrenal gland, particularly cortisol. Since that hormone helps regulate blood sugar, one effect of cortisol is to raise the blood sugar levels over a period of time which results in signs of diabetes, excessive thirst and urination. Some diabetic dogs will have concurrent adrenal gland disease and that makes regulation of the diabetes tougher.

The hyperadrenocorticism is caused by either a malfunctioning pituitary gland or adrenal tumors. As such, the disease can be treated once proper diagnosis is made. Special diagnostic tests and ultrasound can determine the cause of the disease so proper treatment can be started.

The opposite condition is possible in a disease known as Addison’s Disease. This produces too little cortisol, resulting in hypoglycemia. These disease is sometimes even harder to diagnose because in early onset, it mimics other diseases. Special blood work has to be done to identify the disease and lifelong therapy will help to control the disease. Some of the symptoms are lethargy and poor appetite, both rare in healthy Dachshunds, a situation calling for a vet visit.


Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye condition that produces gradual degradation of eyesight. In PRA, the membrane at the back of the eye slowly deteriorates, leading to loss of vision and ultimately blindness. There is currently no cure.

PRA, when it occurs, tends to start at around 2 years of age but may not become obvious until as late as age 10. The average age of diagnosis is just shy of 5 years old. Since it may not be detected for so long and can be subtle, it is possible to accidentally breed a Doxie with PRA, which perpetuates the bad gene responsible.

Regular eye exams for your Dachshund are advised.

– Kidney and Urinary Tract Problems

One common form of a urinary tract disease in Dachshunds is bladder stones. These painful pebbles are produced when the from many different factors such as bladder infections or improper diets. If you notice blood in the urine, increased frequency of urination, straining to urinate or not being able to urinate at all, a quick trip to your veterinarian is indicated. An annual urine test to check for early signs is recommended along with a blood profile as your dog gets older.

– Spinal Problems

Because of their long bodies and short legs, coupled with muscular and heavy chests, Dachshunds are much more prone to spinal problems than other breeds. Among the most common manifestations are disc problems, such as IVDD (Intervertebral Disk Disease). The ruptured disc can result in extreme pain and even paralysis. Having had a disc rupture in my own back which then required surgery last year, I am truly empathetic with these little guys.


Keep in mind that most Dachshunds, if they receive proper diet, exercise and care, lead normal, healthy lives of up to 15 years or more. Regular vet visits, including routine vaccinations and tests, will help ensure that outcome. Pet insurance is highly recommended because of their back problems. Surgery is done by a specialists and is expensive. For pet insurance to cover an incident, it has to be purchased before the occurrence, not after. You should check it out and get it sooner than later.

Cocker Spaniel Christmas Tree Ornaments

Don’t forget your special friends for the holidays. If you love Cocker Spaniels, then you truly will love these Cocker Spaniel Christmas tree ornaments. has dog breed ornaments and dog breed stockings so your pet won’t feel left out during Christmas.

Labrador Retriever Christmas Tree Ornaments


I suppose since my own personal dog is a black Labrador, my first dog ornament video is for Labradors. Some of these ornaments are just too cute. Several of the ornaments come in your choice of black, yellow or chocolate.

Because there are so many breeds to choose from, perhaps you can leave a comment on which breed to feature next.

Find your dog breed Christmas Tree ornament at

Cat Lover Christmas Ornaments

I have my Christmas Store and Thanksgiving Store up and running now and I have a huge selection of cat and dog ornaments for you to choose from as well as personalized ornaments for you or to give as gifts.

Find more Cat Christmas Ornaments at