Chippins Hill Veterinary Hospital

595 Clark Avenue Bristol, CT 06010

In case of an after-hours emergency please contact the following emergency hospitals:

Cheshire Veterinary Hospital
1572 S. Main St.
Cheshire, CT 06410
Phone: (203) 271-1577
Veterinary Specialists in West Hartford
993 North Main St
West Hartford, CT 06117
Phone: (860) 236-3273

** Exotics (rabbits, ferrets, birds, lizards, turtles, etc.) please refer to:
Bolton Veterinary Hospital
222 Boston Turnpike
Bolton, CT 06043
Phone: (860) 646-6134



A Beginner’s Guide to Pet Ownership: What to Expect from Each Type of Pet

September 15, 2017

Are you ready to adopt a pet? There are many different pets you can choose from, and all have their own unique quirks and responsibilities, so make sure to do your research before getting one so you can appropriately choose one that’s best for your lifestyle. Knowing what’s to come and preparing your home for your new pet will help guarantee you’ll have a happy, healthy, and long relationship with your pet.



  • Cats are intelligent, curious, playful, and, while it may not seem like it, most are affectionate and enjoy being with people.

  • Since cats tend to be more independent by nature, they require less attention and space than dogs and are fairly easy to care for.

  • The typical lifespan for a cat is between 14 and 20 years.

  • Almost all cats shed, which means you might have some issues if you’re allergic to cats.

  • Some cats don’t do well with children and may scratch or bite furniture or people.

  • Prepare to devote about an hour each day for scooping out the litter box, feeding, grooming, and playing.


  • Dogs typically form tight bonds with their owners and like to cuddle and play.

  • A dog’s size and temperament vary by breed. Typically the bigger the dog, the calmer the personality.

  • Their lifespan also varies by breed and can range from 8 to 16 years. A dog’s lifespan tends to get shorter the bigger the breed is.

  • Dogs need about one to two hours a day of walking, playtime, grooming, and training.

  • You’ll need enough space for a dog, as well as a fenced-in yard or a close-by dog park.

  • Dogs require a crate, bed, leash, collar, toys, and if you travel often, you’ll need to have a trusted dog sitter on the ready. Be sure you’re prepared for these added costs.

  • Like cats, most dogs also shed. If you’re allergic to dogs you can look into a hypoallergenic breed, but know that sometimes you can have allergies with even those dogs.

  • Some dogs have an odor.

  • They may bark or bite, chew belongings, dig in the yard, or have accidents in the house.



Mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils

  • These species are generally easy to care for and don’t require a lot of space.

  • They’re easily trained, playful, and friendly.

  • Most have lifespans of two years, except guinea pigs, which live longer.

  • Some rodents can be smelly, and some are only active at night.

  • You’ll need up to an hour a day for feeding, changing water and bedding, and playtime. Most require gentle handling, so younger kids require supervision.



  • Birds are easy to care for and tend to be tame and lively.

  • Parakeets and cockatiels are curious and playful and like to be held.

  • With the exception of canaries and finches, most birds bond with their owners.

  • The lifespan varies by bird. For example, finches live 2 to 3 years, parakeets live 4 to 7 years, and parrots may live 50 years or more.

  • You’ll need to devote about 30 minutes a day for cleaning, playtime, and attention. The floor under a cage can get messy, and most birds are noisy.

  • Children need to be supervised around birds (lovebirds and parrots aren’t recommended for kids).

Fish and reptiles

  • Fish and reptiles are fun to watch and don’t shed or mess up your house.

  • Unlike other species they cannot be cuddled or played with, and some reptiles are difficult to care for.

  • Depending on the fish, they’ll live between 2 and 10 years.

  • Reptiles can live between 15 and 60 years, depending on the animal.

  • The aquarium needs regular attention, but most feedings are fast and easy.

Bringing Your Pet Home

When preparing to bring your pet home, you’ll need to pet-proof your home and yard. Secure electrical cords and drapery cords, cover outlets, keep small items off the floor, ensure garbage cans have lids, and place locks on cabinets. Place valuable or fragile items where your pet can’t reach them, keep toilet seats closed, and check to see if plants in the home and yard are safe for pets. Obtaining a crate and choosing a safe space for your pet within your home is also important.


No matter which pet you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the many benefits of pet ownership. For example, the health benefits of having a dog include improving your mood, reducing stress, and reducing your risk of heart disease. And since dog walking is a big part of owning a dog, it’s easy to get exercise, which promotes your health by improving your muscle tone, bone health, and lung capacity.


Whether you bring home a dog, a lizard, or a gerbil, you’ll find joy in being a pet owner. Just be sure to research which pet is right for you and how to prepare your home for your new pet.

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Helping Your Pets Cope With July 4th

June 30, 2017

Independence Day is thoroughly relished by a majority of Americans, however there is a small fraction of the population that dread this boisterous holiday. Pet owners have always struggled with their pets’ firework anxiety. In some cases the anxiety is so severe that a pet will injure themselves or others. Shelters are flooded with calls of runaway dogs during thunderstorms and fireworks. In fact, more dogs runaway on July 4th than any other day of the year. So why does this happen and how can we help our furry friends?

Many dogs and some cats can’t cope with the phobia of thunderstorms and fireworks. One explanation for this is that their senses are often much better than a humans therefore they experience these sounds and smells at a much greater level. Many animals will run from a loud sound especially if that sound is unexpected like a firework explosion, it is instinctual to avoid loud noises as they can be associated with danger.

There are a few approaches you can take to ease your animal’s fear. One thing that is recommended is to acknowledge your pet’s distress, but not overly comfort them, as that may further instill the phobia. If you must, offer a crate with a blanket covering the top to allow for a cave-like sanctuary for your dog to wait out the noises. This allows the dog to do what he/she may do in the wild during severe storms, however this does not address the problem or anxiety.

A “thundershirt” has proven to be effective in mild cases of anxiety, however in extreme cases it appears to have little to no positive results. Some have found results in training their dog to run on a treadmill during storms and some go jogging during fireworks. This tactic in theory is to aid a dog’s mind in moving forward and away from fear in these instances, however this can also further traumatized an animal by forcing them into the situation. There are homeopathic remedies some swear by, however they are not effective with every case. As far as treatment goes, different dogs respond to different methods. If needed contact a local behaviorist to pinpoint the exact problem and work with you to formulate a plan.

The last resort should be sedation. If all else fails, consult your veterinarian about possible medications. A new medication, “Sileo” is being developed and unfortunately is years away from approval by the FDA. Success rates are very high in the clinical trials for this medication, though we don’t expect it on the market anytime soon. As always medication should be considered last after all other options have been exhausted.

Each pet should be considered individually and an owner must understand not all methods work for all pets. An owner must be understanding and help their cat/dog cope with this all too common noise phobia. Offer relief where you can and try to address the problem directly if possible. These tips should help you and your pet enjoy a happy and safe Holiday.

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June 28, 2017


Many pet owners believe the likelihood of heartworm disease affecting their pet is slim to none. This is a common misconception! Let’s begin with how this parasite infests both dogs, cats, ferrets and a number of wildlife (i.e. wolves, coyotes, foxes and even sea lions). Generally speaking pets acquire heartworms from exposure to a mosquito carrying the heartworm larvae. Heartworm can grow to 12 inches in length, and left untreated, may be fatal. This parasite effects cats and dogs very differently, but its hosts of choice are dogs. Luckily preventative blogmeasures are simple.

Dogs are the primary host for heartworm. Symptoms include: mild persistent cough, lethargy, decreased activity and weight loss. The scariest aspect is that many times dogs have no symptoms. Treatment is risky and a small percentage of dogs can die over the course of the three treatments. Even after the treatments a dog must remain calm for months afterward to not cause a heartworm blockage in the heart due to the decaying parasite.

Cats afflicted with heartworm incubate the parasites differently than dogs. The organism will rarely survive to its adult stage however it can lead to Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD). Cats with heartworm are rarely diagnosed, as an adult worm needs to be present in order for an animal to test positive for the parasite. The symptoms include: coughing and asthma attacks. There is no known treatment for heartworm in cats (besides manually extraction) so prevention is the best option.

Prevention of heartworm is always the best answer. This includes a simple blood test done yearly at your pet’s physical exam. Monthly preventatives are available in a chew form for both dogs and cats. Many preventatives also act as a monthly dewormer, which will help rid your pet of parasites. Call your vet today to arrange your pet’s yearly heartworm testing, and pick up a preventative today.

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Is Smoking Killing Our Pets?

May 31, 2017


cigarette-1359560_1280As we know, smoking is the leading cause of heart disease and lung cancer in humans, but how are smokers’ pets affected? In this article we will be talking specifically about the concerns of smoking indoors in the same household as a pet. The consequences for your furry/feathered loved ones can be devastating, precautions must be taken for the health of your pet.

Cats, rabbits and birds are among the most sensitive to cigarette carcinogens. Cats and rabbits groom themselves regularly which results in ingestion of toxic particles found on the fur from exposure to smoke, this scenario can lead to mouth cancers. Birds are notorious to being sensitive to just about everything (including non-stick pan coating fumes), these fumes may cause an array of respiratory, skin, eye, and heart illnesses. They too groom themselves in a way that they are orally ingesting smoke carcinogens. Even when our pets are not directly inhaling smoke they still suffer from the lingering toxins.

All animals (even fish) present in a house where smoking is active indoors have a substantial risk of cancer, especially lung cancer. Long snouted dogs have a higher risk of nasal cancers if cohabitating with an active indoor smoker. Some studies have even suggested that cigarette smoke can effect an animal’s DNA, hindering the way the body fights cancer. Even in well ventilated conditions inhalation of cigarette smoke can having lasting effects on your pets’ health.

Many don’t think smoking while driving with a pet in your car is an issue but the same problems arise when you smoke indoors. Even if your pet is not present when smoking they can still be exposed when riding in the vehicle of an active smoker. It is important to be aware of the risks one takes when they smoke in a vehicle that transports an animal.

You can limit the amount of exposure by cleaning the carpets and furniture professionally after indoor smoking has ceased. Washing sheets and clothing is also recommended. Ideally you would also shower several times a day to keep the exposure to smoke carcinogens to a minimum for your pets. Obviously the best course of action would be to quit smoking altogether, if not for you do it for your pets.

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Dog Breeds Across America

April 7, 2017

Made in America

Dog Breeds Across America

The United States is responsible for a number of breeds recognized globally. Some may be obvious (i.e. Boston Terrier) and some are not so obvious (i.e. Australian Shepard). Selective breeding has been performed in the United States since the birth of this country. Typically, a dog was bred for a certain purpose or task. Some were intended for companionship while others were designed for herding and hunting.

Mainly dogs were bred for rural living and they earned their keep just like any other member of the family. Some American hunting dogs include: Redbone Coonhound, Plott Hound, Black and Tan Coonhound, Leopard Hound, Blue Tick Hound and Treeing Walker Coonhound. If it’s not obvious these dogs were bred for the purpose of tracking and hunting. This helped people living in rural areas acquire a side income as pelt and meat was sold to local stores.

The United States is also responsible for two well-known herding breeds, the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the Australian Shepard. Both dogs bond very closely with their owners, are weary of strangers and enjoy spending their time herding sheep, ducks, and sometimes children.

Few dogs were bred for companionship in the states. They include the Boston Terrier and Alaskan Klee Kai. The Boston Terrier was created by selectively breeding for smaller bulldogs, these offspring were later crossed with French Bulldogs. The Alaskan Klee Kai was bred as a companion alternative to its larger counterpart the Husky. They were meant for people who loved the look of Huskies but in lap dog form.

A recently recognized breed, the American Hairless Terrier was created unintentionally by Rat Terrier breeders who produced a hairless puppy. The owner named her Josephine and then bred her until she produced more puppies with the mutation. This dog was bred merely because the breeder wanted to see if it could be done. In 2016 the first American Hairless Terrier was able to compete in dog shows as it was recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The United States is a relatively young country. Despite that, we have managed to create many vastly different breeds for a variety of purposes. These breeds have become a part of American history and it’s important to remember that they too helped mankind build this country by loyally contributing to their owner’s needs.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute
Carolina Dog
Carolina Dog
Rat Terrier
Rat Terrier

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What Makes Ozzie Tick

February 9, 2017


Ozzie timeclock 2I stroll in lazily from outside, beckoning Cheryl with a long croak to fill my food bowl before I arrive at her station. I hop up in front of her computer and completely block her view of her work. I purr softly while slowly blinking contently at her.

After my breakfast, Cheryl brushes through my fur while taking phone calls (I can pretty much take all the credit for her multitasking abilities). She sighs to herself as she pulls one tick from my neck and another from my back. Why are these freeloading pests not hibernating for the winter? I don’t particularly enjoy this part. I stare across the room at Kay flicking my tail. I can’t exactly explain how I know, but somehow this is her fault. I’m planning how I will exact my revenge on her later, just for being in my vicinity while experiencing this invasive grooming.

The unseasonably warm winter weather is great for my outdoor endeavors. However, it has also invited a life sucking parasite that is usually dormant during low temperatures. Cheryl finishes brushing me and disappears into the back for a breakaway tick/flea repellant collar to combat the disease spreading arachnids.

I pounce from the counter to the filing cabinet and finally to my basket, one size too small. I nap until Kay walks by to put files away, then I swipe her with my paw to remind her not to get too chummy. She always manages to dodge my swatting and sneak in a quick pat.

I want all my animal friends to remind their parents that ticks don’t always hibernate in the winter. Keep an eye out for those pesky hitchhikers! Please have your parents buy some Nexgard or Bravecto at Chippens Hill Vet to kill these little pests!!

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A Day in the Life of Ozzie

October 31, 2016

ozzieIt’s 5 AM and still dark. Dreams pass through my mind, one eye drifts open lazily as I roll on my back in my bed. I dream of the day I came to Chippens Hill. I was a street-wise cat in roaming the wood in Southington, Connecticut. I approached a woman feeding her own cats outside and weaved between her legs. She shared her food with me but knew she couldn’t share her already full home with me. She knew what to do. I arrived at Chippens Hill Veterinary Hospital one sunny day, everyone there figured I would be easy to adopt to a new home. I entered their adoption program with high hopes. Unfortunately no takers, but fortunately the staff had fallen in love with me. So I got to stay!

Around 7:30 AM the staff trickles in. I wait patiently tapping my six toes and croaking at anyone passing by to remind them to let me out of my kennel. I always make a B-line to the front desk where I hop on the counter next to Cheryl and kindly remind her with my imagejpeg_0nails to feed me. After some breakfast, I must patrol the grass and garden, no strays on my turf. After some sun bathing I wait at the door for the next client to let me in, for that is the job of a human. I make my way to the highest point, jump in my basket and take an all-day nap with brief breaks to watch the dogs waiting to be seen.

Lunch time rolls around and I jump in front of the nearest receptionist; I sit on the one chart they need in hopes they will feed me. Sometimes staring and gentle pats on the head with my large paws helps remind them quicker. I’m never bothered by squawking birds or barking dogs. If I am, I wonder the rest of the hospital looking important. I can always find somewhere else to take a nap.

In the evening I wake up enough to make one more set of rounds outside to traverse the grounds. An assistant calls after me shaking a box of tasty crunchies; it’s all I need to hear to come running inside to my kennel. I curl up on my soft bed dreaming of the adventures of tomorrow.

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Dog Walking: Why You Shouldn’t Skip it

October 19, 2016

How many of us walk our dogs daily? Dog walking is important for your dog’s physical and mental health but it could also be beneficial to your health as well. Some owners have even started to walk their indoor cats! Take time to consider the benefits of dog walking before skipping this activity before or after a stressful work day.

It is important to remember that your dog spends a lot of time indoors and outside activity can do a lot to improve their quality of life and offer enrichment. The cardio will keep waists trim and hearts healthy; with this exercise you will see a decreased risk of diabetes shutterstock_151457717and heart disease for your pet. Walking also offers mental stimulation for your pet so that he or she does not resort to destructive behavior when you are at work. Pet walking can decrease accidents and boredom. Most of all it strengthens the bond between owner and dog.

Cat people refuse to be left out of this bonding activity and are starting a new trend. That’s right cat owners are hitting the streets with their harnessed feline counterparts on leashes. This is a fantastic development as it allows the cat to experience the outside world without endangering themselves or local birds and rodents. If you are a cat person there is no need for you to miss out on all the fun, with some patience they too can learn to perk up at the word “walk.”

Exercise is the key to keeping pets happy and healthy, it will benefit you in the same ways. The walker will experience lower health risks when they make walking their dog a daily activity. Daily dog (or cat) walkers will see: a 75 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, a 49 percent decreased risk of heart disease as well as a 35 percent reduced risk of diabetes. Multiple studies have shown that daily exercise can help ease anxiety and depression. Since this activity benefits both parties greatly it is suggested that walking become part of your daily routine.

Walking benefits the walkee and the walker though the activity is not limited to dogs. So grab your leash and get moving!

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Halloween Costume Contest

October 13, 2016
Calling All Halloween Lovers!
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!

To enter:
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.

On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!

We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck and may the best costume win!

*One photo per pet. If you have won a contest more than once, we ask that you please split the prize with the 2nd place winner. To keep this lighthearted and fun, pictures shared to “like for like” groups or those similar, or others deemed unfair or inappropriate, will be disqualified.
Chippens Hill - jessica frey cucka - fuzzy

2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Fuzzy

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Car Safety for Dogs

September 12, 2016

Statistics show that 80% of dog owners travel with their dog in the car frequently and only 16% use any restraints for their dog. For those of us who take our dogs everywhere we can, it has crossed many of our minds that even in a minor fender bender our furry loved ones can be seriously injured. Even more, your dog may injure you due to lack of restraint. It is also important for those of us with small dogs to remember the danger you expose to those on the road, yourself and your dog when Fido travels in the driver’s lap. While a dog’s favorite activity is hanging their head out the window, it can be surprisingly hazardous for your pet. It is important for all of us to be well informed on how to safely travel in a car with our furry friends.

Neighboring states New Jersey and Rhode Island have made it against the law for an individual to drive with a dog in their lap. It is a hefty ticket in New Jersey ranging from $250-$1000. In Connecticut distracted driving is a finable offense but no law explicitly says that traveling with a dog in ones’ lap is against the law. An officer may ticket you based on their evaluation of the circumstances. While it may hurt your wallet, it may hurt you more in a collision. Even a dog as small as 5 pounds can inhibit a person’s ability to turn their steering wheel. That being said, if your dog hinders your driving ability for even one tenth of a second you are a danger on the road.

When it comes to traveling with your pup, the most important thing is to make sure that he or she is properly restrained. Restraints are important for many reasons, the first being that the dog can distract you. The second is that your pet can become a dangerous flying object during a collision that can injure you or themselves. If a car is traveling 50 MPH and gets into an accident a dog as small as 10 pounds can become a dangerous rocket which can impact you with the force of 500 pounds. It is also common for dogs traveling in a car during a collision to be propelled through the windshield when not restrained. Proper restraint is vital for the protection of your pet and you. Always use a harness type device or a walking harness with a seat belt attachment to restrain your dog as a collar can cause more damage to their spine than the accident itself.

Fido may thoroughly enjoy hanging his head out the window but there are some things you should know. Some of us may have encountered a time in which a small pebble has been propelled at our windshield like a missile leaving a large spider webbed crack. Imagine for a moment that it happens again this time its destination is your dog’s very fragile eye. This car window surfing can also damage your pooch’s respiratory system, even more so if your dog is a breed which has a short snout. This may cut a lot of fun out of your dog’s vehicular travel but it is truly not worth the cost.

It’s important to keep in mind that your dog doesn’t have the mental strength to assess the danger of a car therefore it is up to you to keep him or her equipped for the unthinkable. So next time you find yourself at the pet store pick up a seatbelt attachment for your pooch. When it comes to driving with your pet make sure you are taking the proper safety measures to keep you and your dog safe in a vehicle. If you do encounter a pet medical emergency due to an injury sustained in a car please don’t hesitate to call Chippens Hill Veterinary Hospital or your local veterinarian.

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