Keep Animal Friends Safe on Halloween

Keep Animal Friends Safe on Halloween

Portland, OR. Fright Night might be fun for humans, but it can be scary for pets. Excited trick-or-treaters, tempting candy and spooky costumes can all pose threats to furry friends resulting in serious health issues. Doctors at DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital offer helpful advice for keeping pets safe during Halloween celebrations.

“Problems can arise for pets when their environments and routines change suddenly,” said Dr. Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh, DoveLewis critical care specialist. “Around Halloween, we’ve seen everything from gastrointestinal issues caused by pets ingesting dangerous items, injuries from costumes, and lost pets who escaped during trick-or-treating festivities.”

Animals in costume should be supervised at all times. Some pets may chew pieces of their outfit and ingest them, causing intestinal obstruction. Also, if a costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the outfit could get caught on trees, fences or bushes, and pets can get hurt or stuck in the process. Keep an eye on your pet and snap a few photos like the ones below, then remove.

Pet owners can also avoid a trip to the emergency room by following these helpful tips:

  • Monitor candy and treats at all times, and keep them out of reach. Chocolate is highly toxic to pets, and other candy can cause significant gastrointestinal upset. Additionally, lollipop sticks, plastic parts and wrappers can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture a pet’s intestines. Be sure to remind children that exposing pets to these treats can be dangerous. 
  • Keep pets secured indoors and away from trick-or-treaters. Visitors can cause pets to feel that their territory is being invaded. Even typically calm dogs may get spooked by loud, shrill voices and strange costumes. Stress can result in unsafe reactions – like growling, biting or running away – or even serious health issues, such as vomiting and gastrointestinal problems. Secure pets in a secluded area of the house to help them remain calm and prevent them from darting outdoors. Do not take dogs trick-or-treating, and make sure they are always wearing proper identification and have an updated microchip. (Learn how to update your microchip information.) 
  • When leaving the house, don’t leave candles lit – even if they’re inside pumpkins.
    When the house is occupied and candles are lit, be sure they are clearly out of reach and monitor pets at all times.
  • Keep decorative lights out of reach, especially from curious puppies and kittens.
    One chewing session can be dangerous and even deadly.

If pets are injured or become ill due to any of these holiday hazards, owners should seek medical treatment for them immediately. 

About DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital

DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, established in 1973 and based in Portland, Oregon, is the only nonprofit, 24-hour emergency and intensive care unit in the region. With 45 years of service to the community, DoveLewis has treated more than 500,000 animals. DoveLewis also has seven donor-supported community programs that serve animals in need and the animal-loving community. For more information, please visit


Pet Obesity Awareness Day: Helping Pets Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Pet Obesity Awareness Day: Helping Pets Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Portland, OR. With more than 55 percent of pets overweight, many are at risk for serious health issues. While human weight loss issues continuously top the headlines, National Pet Obesity Awareness Day (Wednesday, October 10) serves as a reminder that obesity is also a serious epidemic among the nation’s pet population.

An estimated 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Overweight pets are in danger of health problems that can lead to chronic diseases or even emergency situations. Primary risks of excess weight in pets include:

  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart and respiratory disease
  • Knee injuries
  • Kidney disease
  • Many forms of cancer
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

“Some pets may have legitimate health conditions that lead to obesity, such as hypothyroidism, which can be worked up and treated by your family veterinarian,” said Dr. Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh, a critical care specialist at DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital. “Unfortunately, most overweight pets suffer from loving parents who spoil them with too many treats or table scraps and more cuddling than exercise. Their intentions might be good, but this overfeeding can lead to obesity and many health concerns.”

How can you tell if your pet is overweight? If weight gain is gradual, it may be difficult to notice. Feel around your pet’s midsection while they are standing. If you have trouble feeling the ribs and spine, or if your pet lacks an hourglass shape at the waist, consult your regular veterinarian about your pet’s weight. If needed, your vet will be able to set up a weight loss plan. 

Pet Weight Loss Tips

Reduce calories – Look up the proper amount of food for a pet’s breed and size. Then write down everything your dog or cat eats for a few days. Compare the two numbers to see if your pet is eating more than the recommended daily amount. If the difference is substantial, consult your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for adjusting your pet’s diet plan.

Rethink treats – Offer treats sparingly and choose low-calorie options. Many dogs like carrot sticks and fresh green beans because they are crunchy. Treat-dispensing toys that make your pets work to release a treat is also a great alternative.

Daily, low-impact exercise – Start by simply increasing the number of steps your pet takes each day. Begin by having them move around the house with you from room to room. For dogs, you can then increase their exercise by walking them to your mailbox or around the yard. Eventually, they will be able to take longer walks. Dog parks are also a great way to encourage activity and play time. For cats, experts recommend at least 15 minutes of active play time a day. Experiment with a variety of toys to see which ones appeal to your feline.

Provide pain relief – If your pet is experiencing pain (possibly due to age, joint issues or recovery from a treatment), consult your regular veterinarian to find ways to reduce the pain and increase movement with prescription medication, heating pads, massage or even acupuncture.

Hydrotherapy – Dogs who enjoy water will love running on a submerged treadmill, which is a safe, low-impact way to burn calories. There are several canine swim centers in the Portland area, and hydrotherapy can help with everything from weight loss to arthritis.

With proper diet, exercise and advice from your regular veterinarian, pets can lose weight safely and live longer, happier, healthier life.

About DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital

DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, established in 1973 and based in Portland, Oregon, is the only nonprofit, 24-hour emergency and intensive care unit in the region. With 45 years of service to the community, DoveLewis has treated more than 500,000 animals. DoveLewis also has seven donor-supported community programs that serve animals in need and the animal-loving community. For more information, please visit

Costume Clad Westies (and Friends) Raise Funds for DoveLewis

Costume Clad Westies (and Friends) Raise Funds for DoveLewis

Portland, OR. The Westie (and Friends) Walk was a fun way for pet lovers to spend National Dog Day. More than 100 Westies and their friends gathered at this annual event to enjoy a 1.5 mile walk in Northwest Portland and raise money for DoveLewis. Proceeds from the walk benefit the Velvet Assistance Fund, which provides financial help to needy pet owners. The August 26th walk started in Wallace Park and featured popular costumes like the “Holy Hound.”

There were plenty of “friends” at the Westie (and Friends) Walk. This little guy won a prize in the costume contest.

Here’s more information about the Velvet Assistance Fund:

At DoveLewis, we understand that a pet emergency can be stressful, both emotionally and financially. On July 1, 2015, our donor-supported Velvet Assistance Fund was increased to almost a quarter of a million dollars per year to provide financial assistance to qualified low–income clients of DoveLewis experiencing pet emergencies.

We’re proud to offer this financial assistance to help qualifying families with the cost of veterinary treatment in an emergency. As you might imagine, there is a tremendous demand on this donor–funded program. The Velvet Assistance Fund provides more money, more often to local families than any other DoveLewis community program.

How Does the Velvet Assistance Fund Work?

  • Eligible clients may apply for Velvet Assistance.
  • DoveLewis staff determines who will receive help from the Velvet Fund. Help is given on a case-by-case basis.
  • Before they may apply for help from the Velvet Assistance Fund, DoveLewis clients must first fill out a Care Credit application. If clients receive Care Credit, they must fully utilize this option before receiving money from the Velvet Fund.

Cases being considered for Velvet Fund money must meet three criteria:

  1. Must be an emergency
  2. Patient must have a fair to good prognosis
  3. Owner must have financial need

The Velvet Assistance Fund covers a maximum of $750 per case. Anything above that must be paid by the owner at the time of service. DoveLewis does not bill or set up payment plans.

In order to remain viable, the Velvet Assistance Fund carries an average monthly cap. Just recently, thanks to our generous donors, the fund was increased by 67 percent to a total of $232,000 per year, with an average $19,000 monthly cap. Once that cap is reached, Velvet Assistance Fund money is not available to anyone until the next month. The cap allows us to manage The Velvet Assistance Fund and stretch its money based on donations to the fund.

Velvet Assistance Fund money recipients will never be asked to pay the money back. The Velvet Assistance Fund relies only on donations, not payments. We have had some recipients of Velvet Assistance Fund money tell us they would like to give back in some way. Some have made donations to the fund when their financial situation improved, but there are many options. DoveLewis welcomes volunteers in many capacities. For more information about volunteering, visit Again, donations and volunteering at DoveLewis are not required if DoveLewis clients receive money from the Velvet Assistance Fund.

The Velvet Assistance Fund was named after a dog who showed remarkable loyalty, bravery, and intelligence. Stranded with her human climbing partners on Mt. Hood during a February 2007 storm, Velvet took turns cuddling with each of her companions, keeping them alert and warm, lifting their spirits, and making the wait for rescuers that much more tolerable.

A donor who gave a generous gift to the assistance fund asked that we name the fund after Velvet. We are honored to immortalize Velvet’s bravery, as well as our donor’s generosity. The Velvet Financial Assistance Fund will help many DoveLewis clients through one of their toughest experiences, just as Velvet helped her fellow climbers through one of theirs.

DoveLewis Offers Winter Pet Health and Care Tips

DoveLewis Offers Winter Pet Health and Care Tips

Portland, OR.  The nonprofit DoveLewis pet hospital has some important information to insure your pet’s health and safety this holiday season. From weather changes to family gatherings, the winter months can be hard on our pets. Pets living in moderate climates do not often acclimate well to significant drops in temperature. Even short bouts of extreme cold can cause serious or fatal health problems. Also, be extra cautious during holiday feasts, where your pet may be tempted by all the tasty treats.


A fur coat does not mean a warm pet. Hypothermia is a reality in cold weather. Keep your pet indoors as much as possible. When outside, check on your pets regularly, and make sure they have covered shelter with plenty of food and water. Blankets and thick towels will also help keep your animal warm.

Keep your pet hydrated in cold weather. Dehydration can be life-threatening in cold weather. If your pets are outside, make sure their water bowls are filled with clean water that is not frozen.

Avoid standing water. Standing water, like puddles or lakes, can give your pet digestive problems and may carry parasites or toxins. When outdoors, remember to bring fresh, clean water for your pet.

Be aware of chemicals used in cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow or protect gardens in the winter pose severe danger to pets. Keep a close eye on pets when they are outside, and store all chemicals out of reach. Wipe your pet’s feet when they return indoors so they can’t lick any toxic residue that may have stuck to their paws.

Don’t leave pets in the car. We all know that hot cars pose a threat to pets, but cold cars are dangerous as well. A car acts like a refrigerator in cold weather and can rapidly chill your pet. Animals that are young, old, ill or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in a cold car.

Avoid toxicosis caused by chocolate. Over the holidays, chocolate is one of the top food toxicities treated at DoveLewis. Keep chocolate candy, cakes and other desserts safely out of reach of pets, and monitor pets during food prep and feasts.

Keep all candy out of reach. Sugar can cause gastrointestinal upset, and lollipop sticks, plastic parts and wrappers can result in intestinal obstruction.

Don’t share “people food.” It may seem cruel to withhold holiday treats, but feeding pets “people food” often results in problems ranging from mild gastrointestinal upset to severe pancreatitis and even potentially life-threatening obstructions. Signs of serious problems may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and depression.

Take caution with ornamental plants. While decorating for the holidays, pet owners should be aware that many ornamental plants, including poinsettias, lilies, narcissus, mistletoe and holly, are harmful to pets.

Check your pet’s registration and ID tags and update their microchip. With house guests coming and going, it’s common for unsupervised pets to get loose. Updating your pet’s microchip is the best way to ensure your lost pet will be returned. You may also post lost pet information on the DoveLewis online Lost and Found Pet Database.

Finally, just for fun…Does your furry friend enjoy the holidays? Share your best holiday pet pic on their facebook page for a chance to win a gift bag of treats and toys. The winners – one dog and one cat – will be announced Wed, Dec. 21. Click here for the link.

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Dove Lewis

24-Hour Hospital Main Line: 503.228.7281

1945 NW Pettygrove Street
Portland, OR 97209
Phone: 503.228.7281
Fax: 503.228.0464

Open 24 hours / 7 days

We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for emergency and critical cases. Because of the serious and sensitive nature of emergency and critical care veterinary medicine, DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital does not give medical diagnoses or advice over the phone or through e-mail. The health of your pet is very important to us. We believe that in order to give you and your pet the best care, we must see your animal before we can accurately give a diagnosis or advice. Your regular veterinarian may be best suited for non-emergency questions or concerns.

Map and driving directions to our 24-hour hospital in Northwest Portland.

DoveLewis is located near several TriMet stops. Please visit for more information. Our facility also has bike racks located across the parking lot from the front entrance.

DoveLewis Westie Walk Has Costumed Characters

DoveLewis Westie Walk Has Costumed Characters

Portland, OR. Nearly 150 Westie lovers took to the streets of Northwest Portland’s Wallace Park for the annual DoveLewis Westie Walk. The 1.5 mile walk on August 27th was presented by Kaiser Permanente. There was outdoor fun, including breakfast snacks, prizes and vendors. Proceeds benefit the Velvet Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance for low-income families at DoveLewis.

Here’s a look at some of the Westies (West Highland White Terriers) and their costumes:


We just started our annual Westie (and Friends) Walk, presented by Kaiser Permanente Thrive! Today's event is a fundraiser for our Velvet Assistance Fund, financial assistance for low-income families facing pet emergencies.

And they're off! We had nearly 150 Westies and other doggy friends join us today for our annual Westie Walk! Thanks to everyone who came out, including our volunteers from Kaiser Permanente Thrive!



DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, established in 1973 and based in Portland, Ore., is the only nonprofit, 24-hour emergency and intensive care unit in the region. DoveLewis provides donor-funded programs to the community, including one of the United States’ largest volunteer-based animal blood banks, a nationally recognized pet loss support program, an animal-assisted therapy program, education for veterinary professionals and the animal-loving community, 24-hour stabilizing care for lost, stray and wild animals and financial assistance for qualifying low-income families and abused animals. With over 40 years of service to the community, DoveLewis has treated over 500,000 animals and has been deemed one of Oregon’s Most Admired Nonprofits by The Portland Business Journal for eight years.

The DoveLewis Mission

To provide the best emergency and critical care for companion animals, and to support veterinary professionals and the animal-loving community.