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Accident, MD, 21520
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Stories from HART

How Do I Safely Swim with My Dog?

Sarah Myers

Many different dog breeds have a strong love for the water. This makes swimming a great activity to provide exercise for your pet. It's also good for their joints, mental wellbeing, and heart health.

But before you start dog paddling, there are some swimming techniques to be aware of for your pet. Four-Legged friends should also practice proper safety measures when swimming. For some pets, this may include a doggy life jacket. 

Read on to learn more about how to ensure safe dog swimming habits.  

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What is the True Cost of Owning a Dog?

Sarah Myers

Dogs are man's best friend, out faithful companions and treasured members of our families. However, for those considering buying a dog for their homes or as a children's gift should be aware of the full cost of owning a dog.

One of the most ethical ways to get a dog is to adopt from us here at HART for Animals. In most cases, this only involves a one-time $195 fee to take home the dog of your choice. This fee does include the dog already spayed or neutered; however, you may be surprised to learn that the first-year cost of owning a dog can end up being over a thousand dollars.

Having your new dog examined by Dr. Jessy or Dr. Weimer, buying a new leash and collar and getting dog food can all add up.

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How Do I Safely Hike with My Dog?

Sarah Myers

The benefits of hiking with your furry friend are immense.

For starters, it is a good exercise for both you and the dog. Second, it acts as a therapy session for a dog that has been exhibiting bad behavior. For instance, if your dog has been barking, lawn digging or chewing on shoes, hiking can help mitigate those behaviors. Lastly, hiking with dogs strengthens the bond between the owner and his best friend.

Before heading out the door for your first hike, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to keep your journey fun and safe. 

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Dogs in Parked Cars: What’s the Law?

Sarah Myers

Every summer, we see the same terrible tragedy take place around the country: pets are left in parked cars. Temperatures skyrocket inside a car on a hot day, and pets left in the car can die in as little as six minutes.

These pets are our family, and their deaths are needless and heartbreaking.

If you live in Maryland, you need to know the law when it comes to dogs in hot cars. In this guide, we'll go over the laws about pets locked in hot cars and give you an update on coming changes to the law. 

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What to Do for a Stress-Free Visit to the Vet

Sarah Myers

We’ve all seen how stressed and anxious the word vet makes our dogs or cats. You may have a hard time getting him or her in the kennel or in the car, and he may not budge when you try to walk him into our office. A stressful vet visit may also stick in your pet’s memory and he may be forever scared to go.

This can be stressful and tiring for pet owners as well.

How can you make a visit to our clinic less stressful for you and your pet?

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Why is it Important to have an Annual Vet Checkup?

Sarah Myers

Pet expenditure in the U.S. is almost $70 billion with approximately $30 billion of that going towards pet healthcare. Numbers like that highlight the importance of preventative healthcare for your pets. The earlier you identify potential health concerns, the less you're likely to spend on treatment. One of the best ways you can invest in pet wellness is with annual vet checkups.

 But why exactly is an annual checkup so worthwhile? And what does Dr. Jessy check for when she performs an annual exam?

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How do I Develop a Strong Relationship with my Veterinarian?

Sarah Myers

Developing a strong, positive veterinary client patient relationship is key to keeping your pet healthy. We are happy to have your pet here at the Bredel Veterinary Clinic and get to know you, too! Both sides of the relationship need to work together to support the treatment and health of your pet. Equally, both sides have their responsibilities to make the relationship work.

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How do I Prepare my Pet for Travel?

Sarah Myers

68% of U.S. households own a pet. So odds are, there'll come a time when most of us will have to travel with our best friend. Assembling a pet travel kit is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth journey for you and your pet. But what exactly should you include in your kit and how should you otherwise prepare for the trip?

 Here's everything you need to know about traveling with a pet: how to prepare for the journey ahead and what to include in your travel kit.

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What Common Foods are Dangerous for My Pet?

Sarah Myers

When eating meals, it is hard to ignore the sweet begging eyes of our animals asking, “Can I have a bite? Just a little bite?” You may wonder what common foods are dangerous for our pets.

Here is a list of foods TO KEEP AWAY from your dog or cat: 


Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coma, and, in some cases, death. So next time you’re having a beer or any adult beverage and your dog is begging, don’t pour beer in the dog bowl. If you think your pet has ingested any alcohol, contact the Bredel Veterinary Clinic immediately.

Coffee, Tea and Caffeine
We all know how coffee makes us jittery and now we know that it can have the same effect on pets. Initially, the dog or cat will have increased heartrate and get restless. But, too much caffeine can increase blood pressure and cause the pet to have tremor or seizures.


Pets shouldn’t have chocolate. But why? Chocolate contains theobromine. This ingredient is very toxic to pets. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm, hyperactivity, and death.



Grapes and raisins can cause liver and kidney problems in cats and dogs. Even a little bit can bring issues such as sluggishness and decreased appetite. Excessive amounts can cause kidney failure or death.


Greasy/Fatty Foods

We’ve all eaten a big juicy hamburger and saw our pets tail wagging excitedly at the sight and smell. However, don’t give in to those big eyes and the happy tail. These foods are not necessarily toxic on ingestion but can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues, and pancreatitis. It is difficult to see our pets in pain, so don’t put them in that unnecessary position.



Be careful when you’re trimming the fat off of steak or throwing bones to your dog as it can cause liver and pancreatic issues. Even cooked bones can cause splinters or sharp pieces that can cut the digestive tract or cause internal bleeding.


Feeding pets nuts can cause lethargy, seizures, vomiting, and loss of muscle control. Nuts also have a lot of salt and fat in them, which can also cause a number of health issues.

Salty foods

A lot of salt can cause pets to be very thirsty and excessively urinate. In some cases, a lot of salt can even cause sodium ion poisoning. Sodium ion poisoning can cause neurological issues and seizures.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions contain ingredients that can cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells and cause anemia. Whether it is whole or in powder form, you should keep these foods away from your pets at all times.


Raw Fish

This is not necessarily toxic to dogs, but can have harmful bacteria in it that can cause food poisoning or other food borne illnesses for your pet. Your pet just doesn’t need this food.

Some candy, gum, toothpaste, and diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. This sweetener can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and even cause liver failure. Initial symptoms of poisoning can include vomiting, lethargy, and coordination problems for pets.

If your pet has gotten into human food that they were not supposed to and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact Dr. Jessy or Dr. Weimer at HART Bredel Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible for the best treatment options.

How Do I Care for My Elderly Dog?

Sarah Myers

Dogs truly are man's best friend. No one wants to see their best friend age, but odds are that you're going to have to care for your pet well into his senior years. Depending on your dog's breed, most dogs will live to around 10 years old. You want to make sure every one of those years is enjoyable and comfortable. 

 Caring for an elderly dog? Here are several tips for providing the best senior dog care.

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Why Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?

Sarah Myers

You have probably heard people talking about spaying or neutering their pets. You may also wonder, “why should I spay or neuter my pet?”

Spaying or neutering procedures offer both health benefits for your pet and help to control pet homelessness.

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What is Feline Leukemia?

Sarah Myers

The Feline Leukemia Virus is quite common in cats. It affects 2-3% of cats in the United States. Cats who are already ill are more likely to get the virus. However, due to an effective vaccine, the presence of the virus has decreased.

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How Do I Get Rid of Fleas?

Sarah Myers

Fleas are a pain! A flea is a wingless insect that can jump onto an animal and feed on the pet’s blood by biting. When fleas bite, it ​itches!​ Not to mention there are bacterial infections and tapeworms that can be transmitted by a flea bite. Pets can get fleas from being outside, going to the groomers, and even stray animals. Most pet owners aren’t aware of the four distinct stages of flea maturity and, therefore, have trouble removing fleas from their home.

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How Can I Prevent or Manage Ticks on My Pet?

Sarah Myers

Ticks are small, blood-sucking parasites from the same class as spiders. But, the greatest danger ticks pose isn't the loss of blood, but rather the bacteria and diseases they carry to hosts that can cause serious illness and even death.

The most susceptible targets are our pets who spend a significant amount of time outside and are more likely to brush up against vegetation where ticks reside.

Read on for our guide on preventing, recognizing, and treating tick bites in your pets.

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Paula Yudelevit


HART for Animals is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Katlyn Weimer, DVM, to the Bredel Veterinary Clinic at the HART Animal Center. Dr. Weimer joined the HART team on June 17, and is responsible for the health and wellbeing of dogs, cats and pocket pets. In addition, Dr. Weimer will be managing the health of the adoptable animals in the HART Adoption Wing, including the spay/neuter surgeries prior to adoption.

Raised in Michigan, Dr. Weimer spent most summers at the home of her grandparents in Oakland. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Macomb Community College, a B.A. from Walsh College of Business, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Weimer interned at HART in 2016, during her second year in veterinary school and has a keen interest in shelter medicine.

The Bredel Clinic is a full-service veterinary center providing consultations, examinations, surgeries, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, dentals, radiographs, and lab tests for dogs, cats and pocket pets. As part of its mission to protect the lives of all animals, the Bredel Clinic will continue to offer no-cost spay/neuters for qualifying families through their Lifesaver program, funded by the Maryland Spay and Neuter Grants Program. Low-cost spay/neuters are also available for residents in nearby states.

In announcing the new veterinarian, HART’s Bredel Veterinary Clinic Director, Dr. Jessy Vandevender, noted that 92% of HART’s total revenue goes directly into the care of the animals rescued by HART. She added, “In addition to our excellent service, our clinic and boarding clients have the satisfaction of knowing that their fees go to save the lives of homeless animals in our region.”

Are You Introducing a New Pet to Your Family?

Sarah Myers

Adding a pet to your family is a big responsibility, but can be incredibly rewarding.

There's a long list of health benefits of having a pet, and it teaches your kids how to care for something else. Like any new member of your family though, Dr. Jessy wants to ensure that you introduce your new pet the right way.

Make sure to keep the following things in mind to make a smooth transition

Introducing a New Pet to Kids

There are things we take for granted as adults that kids don't understand. Here's how to make sure your kids and your new pet begin bonding from the start.

1. Steer Clear of Surprises

We've all seen those videos online of parents surprising their kids with a new puppy. As cute as it can be when those surprises go right, they can also go terribly wrong.

Kids tend to screech and yell when they're excited and surprised. Those sudden loud noises are understandably scary for a new pet. You run the risk of the fear created becoming defensive and even leading to a bite.

Simply surprise your kids with the news of their new dog or cat instead so they are calm when they meet their new friend.

2. Have a Training Session

Kids are still building their motor skills and they often don't know their own strength. To teach them how to be gentle and how to treat a pet kindly, Dr. Jessy recommends using stuffed animals for "training." 

Kids should be taught to refrain from disturbing their pets when they are resting or sleeping, handling them roughly, screaming or shouting at them, getting too close to the pet’s face, hugging the pet or trying to take their toys or food.

The younger your kids are, the less developed their motor skills are and the more important this training is as a first step.

3. Set Up the Approach

When it's time for your kids to meet their new furry friend, be careful about the way they are introduced. An adult should have the pet on lead and let the pet observe the kids first. Kids should be sitting on the floor quietly and calmly with several treats in their hands. The kids should take turns saying the pet’s name and tossing a treat in the pet’s direction as the pet moves closer to the children.

This method gives the pet the choice of how close to approach which is determined by the pet’s comfort level.

Also, be sure everyone avoids approaching a pet from behind until the pet is comfortable in his or her new home.

4. Love the Leash

When you're bringing a new dog into the family, a leash is your best friend. The leash gives you a way to control the dog in case they exhibit an unwanted behavior; i.e. pick up an item they shouldn’t have, try to chase a running kid, decide to check out the trash, etc.  And, the truth is, you’re not sure how a new dog will react with your family.

Some people skip the leash because they plan to hold the dog, but this isn't recommended. A dog can squirm out of your arms in an instant, and you don't want to put your own safety or that of your family at risk. A leash is the only way to go.

Building Your Family Four Legs at a Time

Every family who gets a pet can’t wait until the pet and the kids are best friends, playing in the yard or cuddling together. But, don't assume that will happen on day one. The tips above can help you arrange a peaceful, successful start to your growing family's bond.

If you’re not adopting from us here at HART, be sure to bring your pet to see Dr. Jessy to make sure your new pet is in good health and his or her vaccines are up-to-date.

Call our office for your new pet's first appointment.


Paula Yudelevit

HART staff earns certifications to ease pets’ fear, anxiety during visits

 Can you imagine telling your dog, “Let’s go to the vet!” and seeing her tail wag? How about getting out your cat’s carrier and seeing him come running?

 Pet owners won’t need to imagine it when they visit the HART Animal Center in Accident, Maryland. The Director of the Bredel Clinic, Dr. Jessy Vandevender, and her staff, and the department managers and supervisors in the Adoption Wing, Bed ‘n Bark Inn and MuttWorks Grooming, are all part of a new initiative in veterinary medicine designed to ease the stress, fear, and anxiety so many pets experience while at the veterinarian.

 Known as “Fear Free,” the training and certification program help veterinarians and animal care-givers modify their procedures, handling, and facilities to help pets feel safe and comfortable while receiving the medical care they need.

 The “Fear Free” initiative aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. Utilization of Fear Free methods and protocols leads to reduction or removal of anxiety triggers, which creates an experience that is rewarding and safer for all involved including pets, their owners, and veterinary health care teams.

 “I saw how fearful many dogs and cats can be when visiting a veterinarian clinic or boarding facility,” says Dr. Jessy. “Many of these pets have bad experiences and owners are reluctant to bring them for care or to leave them for an extended stay. With this training, our staff at HART can help alleviate the stress and anxiety and create a happier visit for pets and their owners. The adoptable animals in the Adoption Wing are also happier because of the training the staff received.”

Founded by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear Free Certification Program was developed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists, veterinary technician behavior specialists, board-certified veterinary anesthetists, well-known veterinary practice management experts, and board-certified veterinary practitioners experienced in Fear Free methods.

“Providing veterinarians with the tools they need to ease this burden of fear and anxiety for our patients is the pinnacle of my 37-year veterinary career,” said Dr. Becker, who was dubbed “America’s Veterinarian” by Dr. Oz and appeared on Good Morning America for 17 years. “Veterinary professionals are hungry for this information. Animals and their humans need and deserve it. And now it’s here!”

 To become certified, those participating in the program are required to complete a comprehensive, 8-part educational course and exam. They also have to take continuing education to remain certified.

 The HART staff who have completed and are certified in the “Fear Free” course are Bredel Clinic staff: Dr. Jessy Vandevender, Veterinarian Technician, Stacey Hershman, Veterinarian Assistants, Sarah Maust and Courtney Lowery; Adoption Wing staff: Adoption Manager and Behaviorist Debbie Snyder, Adoption Wing and Rescue & Transport Manager Caroline Robison, and Supervisors, Kelsey VanSickle and Ashley Diehl, and Adoption Coordinator, Janessa Beitzel; Bed ‘n Bark Inn staff: Manager, Rachel Dudok and Supervisors, Kerri Sanders and Megan Sherbin; and groomer, Heather Umbel.

 Pet owners who would like their pets to experience the “Fear Free” difference can schedule an appointment at the Bredel Clinic, or MuttWorks, make a reservation at the Bed ‘n Bark Inn, or visit our adoptable animals, by calling 301.387.7729.

From Top:

Adoption Wing: Heather Umbel (MuttWorks Grooming), Janessa Beitzel, Caroline Robison, Kelsey VanSickle, Ashley Diehl, Debbie Snyder

Bed ‘n Bark Inn: Megan Sherbin, Rachel Dudok, Kerri Sanders

Bredel Veterinary Clinic: Dr. Jessy Vandevender, Sarah Maust, Stacey Hershman, Courtney Lowery

Does My Pet Have A Food Allergy?

Sarah Myers

Pets can be vulnerable to food allergies just like humans.

 Does your dog constantly have ear infections? Has he been scratching his sides until they’re bald? Does he chew on his paws?

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, it could be a food allergy. Be sure to note, though, only about 10-15% of allergic reactions are caused by food. The majority of allergies are flea or environmental allergies.

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What Common Human Medications Are Dangerous for Pets?

Sarah Myers

It is difficult to see our pets suffer in pain. While there are some human medications that our pets can have, there are some common medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, that are extremely dangerous for pets. Before considering giving your pet any human treatment, it is important to contact Dr. Jessy at HART Bredel Veterinary Clinic to determine if the medicine is safe. 

Here is a short list of medications that are dangerous for your pet:

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