Pet First Animal Hospital

2212 53 Avenue East
Bradenton, FL 34203


Welcome to our blog!  Here you can view helpful veterinary care, tips, and veterinary information.  Updated monthly!

Dangerous Foods for Dogs - 10/30/2017

John E. Taylor, DVM at Pet First Animal Hospital would like to remind everyone that there are certain foods that should definitely be kept away from your dogs.  Here is a list of foods as well as reasons why they should be kept away from your dogs at all times:


Alcohol can cause your dog to vomit, have uncontrollable diarrhea, coordination impairment, depression, respiratory distress, trembling, and can be fatal.  

Coffee, Caffeine, and Chocolate

All three of these can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, feeling extremely thirsty, may cause your dog to become hyperactive, produce irregular heart rhythm, trembling, seizures and can be fatal. Keep in mind that dark chocolate is more jeopardous than milk chocolate.  


Xylitol is found in many different kinds of candy, gum, tooth pastes, and baked goods.  If ingested, xylitol can cause your dog’s blood sugar to fall dangerously low and can also result in liver failure. So, if you notice that your gum has been eaten, for example, and you see your dog vomiting, fatigue, and experiencing coordination problems, you should seek medical treatment right away.  If left untreated, your dog might end up having seizures or possibly die.  

Onions and Garlic

You’ll definitely want to keep all forms of onions and garlic away from your dog.  They can cause your dog to become anemic.  Warning signs for anemia in your dog include vomiting, weakness, and respiratory issues.

Grapes and Raisins

These foods are terrible for your dog.  Even a small number of grapes can be dangerous because they can cause kidney failure, and can make your dog vomit repeatedly.   You’ll notice your dog will also become lazy.

Dairy Products

Dairy products can cause diarrhea and increase the chance that your dog will develop allergies.  

Raw eggs, meat, and Fish

All of these things carry bacteria and could make your dog really sick. It’s best not to give your dog any of these foods, but if you’re going to do it anyways, at least cook them.

This is by no means a complete list of foods to avoid giving your dog.  The best food for your dog is a high-quality dog food, such as Hill’s Science Diet.  If you have any questions or would like more information, please give Pet First Animal Hospital a call at (941) 753-2995.

Thinking About Getting a New Dog or Cat? - 09/30/2017

So, you think you’re ready to add a new dog or cat to the home, and that’s amazing!  Before you follow through and bring your new family member home, there are some serious factors that must be taken into consideration.  Having a pet is a great responsibility.  We at Pet First Animal Hospital have comprised a list of responsibilities that you’ll need to be prepared to commit to.  Hopefully this will help you determine whether a new pet is a practical decision for your lifestyle, family, and budget:

·        Puppies and kittens require multiple vaccinations, and will continue to need vaccinations for life. Puppies will need several rounds of vaccines:  Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, and Rabies.  Kittens will also need several rounds of vaccines: Feline Leukemia, Feline Distemper, and Rabies.  At Pet First Animal Hospital we will administer the vaccinations for you and keep you up to speed so you don’t miss any. 

·        It is highly recommended to have your pet microchipped.  Doing so will increase the chances of finding your pet if it ever becomes lost.

·        Your new dog or cat will definitely need to be spayed or neutered, depending on gender. Doing so will prevent diseases and help control the animal population!

·        Dr. Taylor at Pet First Animal Hospital also recommends that you sign your new dog up for professional training.  If you’re looking for an excellent dog trainer, we can recommend one to you. Just give us a call at (941) 753-2995.

·        Don’t forget the ID tags, collars, and leashes.  It’s especially important to have these items in Florida since we have hurricanes.  Should you ever have to evacuate, having these items is extremely important in case you get separated from your pet.  In addition, most areas have leash laws in place.

·        If you don’t want a flea infestation in your home, both your dogs and cats will need monthly flea treatments.  Your dog will also need monthly heartworm treatment, along with regular heartworm tests. 

·        Your dog and cat will need annual wellness checks, and once they become seniors, it is recommended to have semi-annual wellness checks.  Don’t forget the dental exams, and random trips to the vet when your pet isn’t feeling so well.

·        You’ll want to make sure your pet has a high-quality diet. Taylor recommends Hill’s Science Diet or Purina Pro Plan for pet food.  Some healthy treat options include Henry Schein’s Lean Treat (sold here at Pet First Animal Hospital), carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, and banana.

·        Dogs need daily walks and exercise, so make sure you have time in your schedule to allow time for this.

·        Both cats and dogs will need safe toys to play with.

·        You’ll need a crate and a bed for your dog, as well as a cat litter box for your cat. If you have more than one cat, make sure to have at least one litter box per cat.

Owning a pet brings many people and families much joy despite the costs and responsibilities!  Make sure that when you are considering a new pet for your family that you realize most pets are a long-term commitment.  Also, some pets have high energy levels or will have additional needs depending on breed and age.    Hopefully this blog will help you determine if you are really prepared to own a pet.  We look forward to seeing you and your furry legged friends soon!  Please give us a call to set up an appointment or contact us via email at:

Heartworm Prevention:  Is Your Dog Protected (every month, for life)? - 08/31/2017

Heartworm, (Dirofilaria immitis), is a parasitic roundworm that is spread to dogs through mosquito bites. Heartworms cause heart disease and if neglected, will most likely cause infected dogs to die.

Here is the basic life cycle of heartworms: they start in an infected mosquito which bites a healthy dog, then the heartworms mature and cause detrimental heart diseases for the dog they’ve infected. The infected mosquito will repeat this process over and over, resulting in many infected dogs.

There are several warning signs and symptoms that your dog might display to indicate that he may have been infected by heartworm such as coughing, lethargy, becoming skinny, labored or trouble breathing, and in some cases your dog may collapse.  These symptoms are all extremely necessary reasons to take your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.  Doing so will ensure that your dog gets the necessary testing and bloodwork done to rule out or diagnose heartworm.  

Heartworm is extremely difficult to treat and many times leads to death regardless of treatment.  However, it’s not a complete death sentence.  It’s always best to prevent it rather than hope for the best.  Prevention is also easy and much more cost efficient than treatment.   At Pet First Animal Hospital, we sell several heartworm prevention medicines such as Heartgard™ and Trifexis™.  Both of these medicines are given to your dog orally once per month for the life of your pet, starting at around six to eight weeks old.  Your veterinarian will let you know when the appropriate time to start prevention for your puppy.  If you have an older dog who has never taken a heartworm prevention medication, it’s the best recommended standard of veterinary care to test the dog for heartworm prior to starting medication.  Please give us a call at (941) 753-2995 to schedule an appointment with John E. Taylor, DVM to figure out the best plan of care for your dog and his prevention of heartworm.

There are numerous heartworm prevention medications on the market such as These medications are in tablet form and are given to the dog orally. A tablet must be given once a month for an indefinite amount of time. If you have a new puppy then heartworm medication is given around 6 weeks for Heartgard™ or 8 weeks for Trifexis™. Older dogs should be tested for heartworm before starting medication. To top it all off, both Heartgard™ and Trifexis™ can be picked up here at Pet First Animal Hospital!  Please call us (941) 753-2995 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Taylor to figure out the best plan of action to ensure that you have a heart healthy dog.


How to Catch a Urine Sample From Your Dog - 08/05/2017

How to Catch a Urine Sample From Your Dog

Hurricane Preparedness for Dogs and Cats - 07/31/2017

Hurricane season has arrived!  As most of us Floridians know, the season begins in June and lasts through November, and it never hurts to have a plan to prepare yourself for when disaster strikes.  Most people think of themselves and their families, but remember, your pets are family too, and whatever your plan is, make sure it includes your pets.   If your “plan” is just to throw everyone in the car and heading away from the storm, we hate to break it to you but you’re going to need to do a little more planning.  You need to have a solid plan that you’ll stick to because your pets’ lives could potentially be in danger and if you have to flee your home, you’ll definitely want to have everything you need for them.

First and foremost, devise a plan that you intend on sticking to.  If your plan includes evacuating at the first warning, do so.  You will need to make sure that you are able to begin implementing your plan at the drop of a hat, otherwise it is no longer a plan…and in a frantic state, you could end up panicking and get completely off track and end up not having a plan anymore.  

Make sure that you have a kit for your cats and dogs that includes the necessities, and have enough in your kit to last your pets about 3 to 5 days.  Your kit should include a carrier large enough for your pet to spend the majority of their time in for 3 to 5 days, leashes for all of your pets, collars with ID tags (luggage tags will be ok if that’s all you have), canned pet food, a can opener, water and food bowls, litter, litter box, plastic bags, puppy pads, blankets, medications, vaccination history, and a picture of you with your pet.  It is advised to put the medications, vaccination history and the picture in a waterproof case.

John E. Taylor, DVM at Pet First Animal Hospital highly recommends that you microchip your pets.  This is extremely beneficial when hurricanes strike because so many pets become displaced during these severe storms and sometimes a microchip is the only way to become reunited with your pet if you become separated.  If you need to schedule an appointment to have your dog or cat get microchipped, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (941) 753-2995.  

You should also be aware of, and have a list of all of the shelters and hotels around town that are pet friendly.  Call ahead to see if there will be space available, and have a backup plan if there is no room.  Pet First Animal Hospital does offer boarding during hurricanes; however, we do fill up very quickly so it is best to call ahead and make a reservation as soon as possible if you know a hurricane is approaching.  Our staff will tend to your pet on a regular basis as long as weather conditions are safe enough to drive to and from Pet First.  Our kennels are inside with air conditioning and are very secure.  

Before the storm hits, round up all of your pets and put them in their carriers so that if a mandatory evacuation order is issued, you will be prepared to leave quickly.  The last thing you want to do is be forced to search all over your house for your scared cats when you’re trying to leave.  Remain calm during all of this.  Your pets can sense your emotions, so if you become frantic they will probably start feeling the same and it will only make things more difficult.  

If you have any questions, please give us a call and we will be happy to address any of your concerns.  

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