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Jason Nicholas, BVetMed ("Dr. J")

dr jason nicholas
As President and Chief Medical Officer of Preventive Vet, Dr. J is a man on a mission. He’s a dog-and-cat lover, husband, father of two and former ER and general practice veterinarian obsessed with keeping your pets safe, healthy and out of harm’s way. Just like Preventive Vet, the pet-expert collective he founded in 2011, Dr. J strives for a world where all pet owners are empowered to keep their pets happy, healthy and free from preventable suffering.
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Recent Posts

How to Remove a Tick from Your Dog or Cat — What to Do and What NOT to Do


Ticks are gross, right? But what’s even worse is that they can carry a host of diseases that they can pass along to your pets (and you) if they’re allowed to stay attached for too long! So what’s the best way to remove a tick from your dog or cat? I’m going to outline the process below, as well as provide some handy tools and tips to help you even further.

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Topics: cat first aid, dog first aid, Parasites, Parasite Preventatives, Outdoor cats, Dogs Outdoors, Ticks, Hiking

Public Dog Water Bowls: Think Before They Drink


Communal Water Bowls – Are They Safe?

You might be thankful when you and your pup are strolling down the street on a warm day and you see a water bowl sitting outside of a pet-friendly business just waiting to provide your dog with the hydration they so desperately need — but wait! 

You may just want to take a pause before letting your dog take that water break. And the same goes for that water bowl at your local dog park! Why? Because of the very real possibility that while your dog is quenching their thirst from a public water bowl, they could also be lapping up bacteria, viruses, or even parasites that could make them quite sick. You know what they say … a moment on the lips ... could lead to sleepless nights of diarrhea.

OK, even if that’s not really how that saying goes, it’s still a good idea to keep it in mind when you come across a communal or public water bowl for your dog. Here’s what you need to know and how you can safely keep your pup hydrated when out and about.

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Topics: Dog Health, Puppy, Parasites, Water Bowls, Water, pet health, Giardia, Water hazards, Dog park, Lepto

How to Help A Dog That’s Missed Early Socialization


Missed the early socialization window? – There's still hope!

Considering or just adopted a timid older puppy or adult dog that clearly didn't have the best early life socialization? Or recently got a new puppy but were told to keep them locked away and not introduce them to any other dogs or bring them out and about until all of their puppy shots were done and you've now missed their early (3–4month old) socialization window? Sadly, these are scenarios that are (still) far too common. But all hope is not lost!

Yes, there’s no doubt or debate about it … proper early life socialization (i.e., before 16 weeks old) is very important for a dog’s wellbeing and development and, if you’ve missed their critical early “socialization window,” you’re definitely starting behind the proverbial "8-ball." But people have made some pretty impressive shots from behind 8-balls actually, and you can too!

Here’s some information, tips, and resources to help you help your previously under- or unsocialized dog get more comfortable with the world. (And be sure to check out the encouraging and heartwarming video and story at the end to see just how far some of these dogs can come, even when getting some of the worst starts in life possible!)

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Topics: Dog Health, Socialization, Training, Dog Behavior

Why You Should Watch Your Dog Pee


Reading the 'Pee Leaves'

Did you know that the way your dog is peeing — or not — can give you some important information about their urinary, and even overall health. This article will highlight some of the signs you may notice when your dog pees that could indicate that a vet visit is needed.

Straining While Peeing

If your dog is struggling or straining while they’re peeing, it could actually be a very serious emergency condition. Both male and female dogs can have their urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world) blocked by a urinary stone, scaring, inflammation, or even a tumor. Male dogs can also suffer a urethral blockage from an overly enlarged prostate (more of a problem in male dogs that haven’t been neutered, as the prostate grows under the influence of testosterone). You should always err on the side of caution if you see your dog straining to pee and bring them for immediate veterinary evaluation. Even if they’re not “blocked,” your dog will be happy that you had them checked to be sure.

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Topics: Dog Health, Urine sample, Blood in urine, Potty Training, Potty accidents

What Your Dog's Poo Can Tell You About Their Health


Though it may not be your favorite topic to think about or discuss, your dog’s poop can actually provide some good clues about their health. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that, like the eyes are the windows to the soul, poop is the window to overall health … but it definitely can provide a glimpse! So here’s the skinny on why you should go outside with your dog when they go to the bathroom and generally pay attention to your dog’s poops. They could be trying to tell you something.

Dog Poo 'Ground Rules'

The poop and pooping characteristics outlined below are a general guide. What’s also very important is a “change in normal” for your specific dog. For example, if your dog normally has slightly “soft” stools and is doing well, then all of a sudden develops firm, dryer stools … that could be an indication of a problem. Or visa versa. Or if they normally poop three times a day, and then suddenly start pooping just once a day (without any changes in diet or exercise), then that is a change that should be investigated with your vet. And so on.

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Topics: Dog Health, dog fleas, Pancreatitis, Parasites, Parasite Preventatives, Digestive upset, Intestinal Worms

What to Put (and Not Put) in Your Dog's Crate


Outfitting Your Dog’s Crate Safely

What is and isn’t safe or OK to put in your dog’s crate is a pretty common question we get asked here at Preventive Vet. People often want to know … Is it ok to leave food or water in my dog’s crate? Should I leave one of my t-shirts in my puppy’s crate? What about towels and other bedding? Chews and other toys? 

Of course, every dog and every situation is different. Young puppies are different than adult dogs (in many ways!). Similarly, a dog just beginning their crate training is a different situation than a dog that’s already acclimated to and in love with their crate. All that said, there are some general insights and recommendations we can provide to help you as you ponder the safest and most comfortable “interior design” of your dog’s crate.

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Topics: Dog Safety, poisonous plants for dogs, Crate Training, Crate training puppies, Crate training tips, Potty Training, puppy tips

5 Pet Hazards People on Keto Diets Need to Know


Have you decided to start living a healthier lifestyle? If you’re contemplating the ketogenic or “keto” diet to accomplish your goals, or are already on it, there are some things you should be aware of to best ensure that you don’t endanger the health and safety of your pets while you’re improving your own.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Xylitol, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Dog Food, Foods that aren't good for cats, Cat food

#IfOnlyIKnew: Milo's Brush With a Chip Bag


The evening of December 4, 2018 was unfolding like any other. Kristi Blust 
did the usual quick basketball practice drop off run with her daughter after work, taking the typical 10 minutes or so. She returned home to start making dinner for her family, just like the night before. That's where the similarities stop though. Sadly, that evening wasn’t going to be just like any other evening for Kristi and her family.

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Topics: pet safety, Dogs, Pet Suffocation, #IfOnlyIKnew, hearing loss

Shopping List: Help Your New Dog Settle In Easier


Bringing home a new dog — whether they're a puppy or adult — is an awesome thing, no doubt! But it can also be a bit overwhelming, both for you and your new dog. Regardless of where your dog came from — shelter, rescue, foster home, breeder, or even your neighbor down the street — joining your family is a change. An awesome change, but a change none-the-less. And change can be stressful for dogs. This is why many dogs will go through an "adjustment period" when they first come into a new home.

You can ease and shorten their adjustment period — and minimize your own stress — by being well prepared with products and aids that can help your new dog settle into their new life. This article aims to make things easier for you, with some behavior and safety awareness, shopping tips, and recommendations for products that may help you and your pup during this time of transition. I cover everything from calming aids (including pheromones and music), to how to make bedtime "sleeptime," as well as safe toys and crate essentials. 

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Topics: Puppy Training, Puppy, Dog, Chewing, Dog Treats, new puppy, puppy tips, adjustment period, bedtime for puppies

#IfOnlyIKnew: Baking Healthy Killed This Dog!


Like many health-conscious people these days, Melissa Wardrop is eating healthier and watching her and her family’s consumption of sugar. She’s also a very considerate person, both generally and also in terms of taking her friends' sugar-free eating habits into consideration. Sadly, it was the two “thank you” loaves of sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free zucchini bread she baked for her friends that led to the loss of her beloved family dog, Lucy, a beautiful and sweet 5 year old Lab.

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Topics: pet safety, Dogs, Xylitol, Xylitol Products, Dog Treats, #IfOnlyIKnew

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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