Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Picture Perfect Pets



I Need Unwanted Toys to Give to Other Cats
Having Fun in the Snow
Cabin Fever in Pets
Keep Your Pet's Breath Fresh
Brushing Your Pet's Teeth



Picture Perfect Pets 

Want to take cute pictures of your pet... but can't get your dog or cat to cooperate? Come learn how to take better pictures! Join us on Sunday February 6th from 2 - 3:30 pm in the dining room at Jarman Center. Jarman Center is located at 704 N. Main St. in Tuscola. 

Speakers Kirby and Cindy Pringle will tell you the secrets of getting that perfect picture. The Pringles have published two "dog people" books using their own pets as models. Check out their website.

Why Can't We be Friends

Do your pets figtht like cats and dogs? Wish they would just get along? Come learn how to help your pets get along better. Dr. Foote will discuss what may be causing the fighting and what you can do to help increase the peace. She will be at Prairieland Feeds on Sunday February 27th from 2 - 3 pm.

This talk is open to all pet lovers. Please invite your friends! 

Please RSVP by February 26th. You can email us at okawvetstaff@mcshi.com or call us at 217-253-3221.

This is a people only event. Please leave your pets at home. 


 I Need Unwanted Toys to Give to Other Cats!

Hello again. Ranger here. The girls told me I could write another article. They said it was my Christmas gift. So here it goes.

I NEED toys... not for me. I have lots of toys. You should see all the toys I keep in my bed. Nope, I am asking for toys for other kitties that come to see Dr. Foote.

Some of the kitties have a little too much energy and need something to chase, other than their human's legs and hands. So Dr. Foote gives these kitties something to chase. The kitties get a toy to chase and kill. She calls it "Kill the Bear," but I call it LOTS-O-FUN!!! I love to play with my toy. Check me out in this video the girls took of me. (It is the second to last video on the page).

So, I'm asking, on behalf of the kitties and their scratched upped owners, for some toys. Toys that kitties can grab and kick.

What I need are old dog or cat toys, teddy bears, or Easter bunnies - about the size of a squirrel to the size of a cat. The girls will take outgrown child, dog or cat toys. The girls wash them so they are nice and clean for the new owner. 

This is me playing with my toy. I like to play with it and pretend it is Mercy. (The toy doesn't bite back). Sometimes the girls put Catnip on it too and oh boy, it's TONS-O-FUN then.

Ok. I'm done. Bye Bye for now. Gotta go help the girls work on files


 Having Fun in the Snow

Winter is still dragging on here in central Illinois. It has been one of the snowiest winters for us in a while. I know there are areas out east getting a whole lot more white stuff than us, but many dogs are getting tired of limited play time outside. Bella, our family dog is one of those restless canines. She will play inside but the call of the great outdoors has her pining for fetch and running around. A few days into the first snow, I realized she was acting so naughty because she was not getting all the aerobic play she would usually get. Walks were challenging due to the  ice and snow. What to do? It dawned on me that she could still play on the line and that would be a great way for her to get short bursts of play especially when it is bitter cold. As her feet became cold, we could go inside quickly for a warm up and then go out again 15 minutes later. She would overall get the running and sniffing in and be a happier dog. So, Bella has been going on the line with me or my daughter for a rousing game of fetch at least a few times a week.

So if your dog is going stir crazy, and you do not have a fenced in yard, here is a way to help your pet get a lot of active play outside.
I purchased a horse lunge line to attach to Bella's harness. You can get these at Rural King, or check online for a horse supply source. The harness will prevent Bella from hurting her neck if she suddenly (as she does!) runs out after a squirrel and gets to the end of the line. Most lunge lines are about 30 feet and made of a wide canvas webbing with a latch end. If you have a Houdini that can twist the latch to spring free, use the latch end at the stake out part and tie the handle end to the harness with 2 or 3 throws to keep things secure. Tie the end over the back, not the chest. You can connect 2 lunge lines together to get more length. Tie this to a strong post on a porch or somewhere if you do not have a secure stake out in the ground.  


Now get 3 or 4 tennis balls, Frisbee or what ever your pet really likes to chase. Throw the ball in one direction. As soon as your dog gets the one ball call their name and throw the next ball in the opposite direction. As they get that ball, throw the third ball in a third direction. Keep this up. Now your dog is going to be literally running all over the yard non stop. Most dogs will carry the ball and drop it somewhere near you as they are on  the way to the next one. Keep your dog running around until they slow down or are spending a lot of time sniffing around. This means they are getting tired. That is a good thing!!!!  All that aerobic activity does help increase the calming chemicals in the brain. Even though the ground is frozen, dogs can still smell all the scents in the yard which is also very stimulating for their heads. Actually when everything is frozen it smells a bit different so your dog may be very intrigued. Just bundle yourself up well and if you get too cold, then bring your pooch inside for a break. 

If you know your dog really needs a lot of active play, try this fun in the snow technique for a better behaved pet. Winter won't be over for a while! 


At our home, we do not have a fenced in back yard. So, for safe play we use a stake out base with a cable for Bella to play on. Now, the typical 20 foot length of cable is not really enough for Bella to get a good head of steam running about in the yard. We have devised a long horse lunge line connected to the stake out to give her more length. The yard has about 80 feet or so of open space for her to play fetch with a willing human. Bella really needs her running around, sniffing where all the bunnies and squirrels have been. Sniffing every bush and tree is what keeps Bella happy. My whole family knows this about her. Having a safe outlet for this is what keeps her behaving best. So for summer play in between long walks, we will take the Frisbee or tennis balls out and play with her. Thirty minutes of constant running around really poops her out and that gives us all a better evening.  

For more information about keeping your pet happy during the winter, check out Dr. Foote's blog.


Cabin Fever in Pets

When the weather gets horribly cold, it is really difficult to give our pets as much exercise and  play outside. Both dogs and cats that go outside may act up due to boredom. Feet freeze, making in painful to walk very far.It is harder to find the ball in the snow or chase mice and birds that are hunkering down in the shrubbery. Sometimes dogs may have accidents in the house because it is too hard on their feet to get "in position" to potty. Their toilet area may  be covered with snow or just frozen, making it hard to smell the area.Accidents are forgivable; they are also very aggravating. Other ways that pets may act up in the winter is being more mischievous in the home. Cats may be knocking more items off your dresser or getting on the counters. Dogs may be pulling things off shelves to get your attention. You may hear more barking at squirrels out the window, or your cats may be swatting at each other more. 

What to do? First of all, try to understand why your pets are behaving badly. The house is no where nearly as fun as the great outdoors. There are not as many places to sniff out, dig out or climb on top of. So, to help cure cabin fever, make the indoors more interesting. First be sure to keep the routines regular such as feeding and going outside. When you do feed make feeding time more interesting by using food puzzles rather than just feeding out of a bowl. Both dogs and cats get a lot of mental stimulation figuring out how the heck to get the food out of the toy. Meals in the puzzle, not just treats. You can see some videos starring Bella and Ranger using food puzzles on my website.

To avoid accidents in the house, keep your dog on a feeding schedule.They will typically need to toilet about a half an hour after eating. You can now predict when they will need to go and not have to spend so much time outside.Take your pet out for short but more frequent breaks and praise praise praise when they get it right. You may give them the first chance to eliminate, come in for 5 minutes (keeping them confined) then go on out again to finish up.Outside cats may still demand to toilet outside.If you let them out, give them some super yummy canned food just inside the house door to reward them for coming home. 

Offering a potty pad in the home may be another way to help out the toy breeds.Reward the dog when they use the pad. Shoveling off some snow or making a path can also help the small dog go outside. For the housebound cat, reward them after using the box and keep the box absolutely clean. As soon as it is used, scoop it. 

Increasing exercise cuts down on boredom and can help pets get along. Walking, even limited, is still good in the cold. Booties and coats help and there are sizes for the large to small pets. More frequent short walks going in different areas can help to minimize the frozen paws and still provide variety and some outside time.  Head halters and front attaching harnesses can make walking easier and safer for the humans as well. Premier and other makers have various halter models that are easy to use.

Lastly, find ways to play and get exercise in the house. Games of chase up and down the stairs, review obedience commands or teach them a new trick. This will decrease naughty behaviors that come from boredom.

For cats use laser pointers they can chase, stuffed toys they can pounce on or boxes they can investigate. Cats really need to have their toys rotated every day to keep it interesting. You don't need many; just keep most up taking one or 2 down a day. Be sure you have enough places for the cats to lay and perch on.A step ladder set up with towels on the tread can increase the space to the cats.Placing this near a window can relieve much boredom.

Make the home mischief proof at this time. Remember that both cats and dogs can smell much better than us. So even though you put the chocolate brownies way back on the counter, your dog or cat will be very interested in getting to them. Be sure your garbage has a closing lid as well. 

To learn more about pet behavior, tools to use and understanding your pet read my blog and look out for our events announced in our newsletter.

If your pet is driving you crazy, give us a call. Take a look at the behavior services we offer.  


Keep your Pet's Breath Fresh

Keeping your pet's mouth healthy is important. Your pet will be healthier and not have "doggy" or "kitty" breath. Here are a few tips you can do at home to help your pet's breath to stay fresh. If these tips don't work for your pet, call us and we will set up an appointment to look at your pet's teeth. 

  • Encourage your pet to chew on rawhides, nylabones and other toys to help clean your pet's teeth. The chewing motion helps to clean teeth. Some nylabones and toys are designed to help clean teeth.
  • Use a water addative to help keep your pet's teeth clean. We sell an additive called Clenz-a-dent. We also have a cleaning rinse that can be squirted into your pet's mouth. If your pet doesn't like the rinse squirtted into his or her mouth, you can squirt it onto a toy or rawhide and let your pet chew on that. 
  • Brush your pet's teeth. Use a pet tooth brush and tooth paste. Do NOT use people tooth paste. People tooth paste can make your pet sick. Read the next article to find out more about how to brush your pet's teeth.
If none of these are helping with your dog or cat's bad breath, call us to set up an appointment. Dr. Foote will look at your pet's teeth. We can set up an appointmet to clean your pet's teeth.
We place your pet under anesthesia while we perform the dental. Dr. Foote cleans the teeth while one of the veterinary technicians or assistants moniter your pet. We look at your pet's gums for any abnormalities. We remove plaque and tartar from your pet's teeth and look for loose teeth. We will remove loose teeth. We will also remove teeth if they are damaged. We then polish your pet's teeth and apply a sealant to help prevent tartar build up. Here are a before and after picture of a dog we performed a dental cleaning on.
    Before          After   


Most adult dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. Tartar and plaque build up on your pet's teeth. Bacteria starts to live and reproduce around the plaque. Hair and pieces of food also can get stuck between your pet's teeth, allowing more bacteria to grow. The bacteria releases toxins that irritate the gum tissue. This causes inflammation, redness and pain. The toxins also attack the supporting structures, including the periodontal ligaments and bone, around the tooth. The loss of supporting structures makes the tooth loose. The bacteria can enter your pet's blood stream and travel to other organs, including the heart, kidney and liver. The bacteria can inflame these organs and cause health problems. The bacteria living in your pet's mouth also causes bad breath.
The progression of dental disease has four stages. During the first stage, the gums will be slightly red and swollen and teeth will have plaque on them. The first stage is reversable with a dental cleaning. During the second stage, the gums are red and swollen, the teeth have chunks of plaque on them and the breath will smell. This stage is also reversable with a dental cleaning. During the third stage, the gums will also bleed and some teeth may be completely covered by tartar. The mouth is also very sore during this stage. This stage may be reversable with a dental cleaning. During the fourth stage, the gums may contain pus pockets and tooth roots may be visible. This stage is not reversable. We perform a dental cleaning to remove the tartar, loose teeth and any infected tissues.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to get your pet's teeth cleaned, please call us or send an email.


Brushing your Pet's Teeth

Brush your pet's teeth daily. Use a pet tooth brush and tooth paste. We sell a tooth brush that has a three sided head so it brushes each side of the tooth in one swipe. Pet tooth pastes come in chicken, liver, beef and other flavors. Do NOT use people tooth paste. It is poisonous to your pet. 

You can teach your pet to accept having his or her teeth brushed. The best time to start brushing your pet's teeth is when they are a puppy or kitten. But you can teach your adult pet too. It just may take a little bit longer. Purchase a pet tooth brush and paste. Pet tooth pastes come in various flavors. Try a flavor you think your pet will like.


When you start, don't just shove the tooth brush into your pet's mouth. They can get scared. You need to slowly work your way up to brushing your pet's teeth over several days. Start by putting some of the tooth paste on your finger and let your pet lick it off. When your pet looks forward to getting the tooth paste, start sticking your finger in your pet's mouth and move in like a tooth brush a few times. Do this until your pet is comfortable. Then start putting it on the brush and let him or her lick it off. When your pet is comfortable with this, move the brush in and out of the mouth one time. Do this until your pet is comfortable. Then slowly add more swipes until you can brush your pet's mouth.


You can give your pet treats after you brush his or her teeth. This may seem strange. After all, you just cleaned their teeth. But giving your pet a treat lets them know, if they let you brush their teeth, then they get a treat.


Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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