Skip to main content
Live Chat

PetSafe Pet Author

Dr. Tony Johnson

Dr. Tony Johnson

Dr. Tony Johnson, DVM, DACVECC, is a 1996 Washington State University graduate and became board certified in the shadowy art of emergency medicine and critical care in 2003.

He is currently the Minister of Happiness for VIN, the Veterinary Information Network, an online community of 50,000 worldwide veterinarians.  He is a former clinical assistant professor at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is on the Advisory Board for Fear Free Pet Visits, a national group of experts in a wide range of veterinary subject areas working together to improve the experience of animals in private practice settings and a frequent author of articles for veterinary medical journals.

Dr. Tony has lectured for several international veterinary conferences, winning the small animal speaker of the year award for the Western Veterinary Conference in 2010.

He is an active blogger, teacher, writer, and exercise avoider. He used to live in a converted one-room schoolhouse in the middle of a cornfield, but has since taken up occupancy in a normal house in a normal neighborhood with very little corn. He has 3 young kids and a beautiful wife named Gretchen, who is also a veterinary emergency and critical care specialist. He reads the New Yorker because it makes him look like he’s into some pretty cool stuff when you see it lying on his coffee table.

His animal family consists of: Cupid, formerly shot with an arrow, now a feline meatloaf; Crispy, formerly set on fire, now rules with a furry iron fist; and Rocco, missing a leg from a Buick-induced injury. The chickens are Uno, Rosita and Carlita, and he plans on naming his next chicken Omelet. He has lost count of how many fish they have, and believes it is in the low double digits. In his spare time he enjoys sleeping, eating, and breathing with occasional forays into woodworking, cooking, wine, movies, reading, and writing (but not arithmetic).

Visit Tony's website.

Articles by This Author

Training Collars: a Vet Gives You the Pros and Cons of Different Types
What’s the Best Dog Training Collar for You? The Pros and Cons of Different Dog Collars

Trying to find the best training collar is not as easy as it may seem. Searching this subject online will likely turn up a wide variety of opinions and make the choice even more confusing. To...

PetSafe® Drinkwell® pet fountains keep the slow burn of pet dehydration at bay
PetSafe® Drinkwell® pet fountains keep the slow burn of pet dehydration at bay

Dehydration creeps up stealthily, like a slow-moving brush fire that suddenly blossoms into a major blaze, causing major problems. Dehydration, like fire, is best fought with water. Lots of...

Don’t want to see your kitty suffer? A cat fountain can prevent urinary agony
Don’t want to see your kitty suffer? A cat fountain can prevent urinary agony

Many cat parents have experienced it before: the heartbreak and feelings of helplessness that comes when a kitty can’t pee. They will strain, moan, cry, hiss, and try to hide, scampering away...

5 Reasons to Stay Out of the Pet E.R. This Summer
5 Reasons to Stay Out of the Pet E.R. This Summer

Watch out for the top 5 summertime threats to your pet that I have seen and treated in my 17 years as an emergency vet.

What Items in Your House or Yard Can Harm Your Pet?
What Items in Your House or Yard Can Harm Your Pet?

With the coming of spring and summer also come many hazards that can potentially harm your pet. Some of these come along with fun warm-weather activities like camping or trips to the lake or...

Safety Indoors and Out with Pet Doors & Wireless Containment
Safety Indoors and Out with Pet Doors & Wireless Containment

Really, a pet door is freedom. And if pet doors are freedom, then a wireless containment system is peace of mind. Put them together, and suddenly, you've got more than you expected and the world is a better place, and full of benefits for you and your pets.

Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: An Important Global Issue That You Can Help

You can’t read a news website or magazine these days without a headline warning about antibiotic resistance. You may have heard of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), but the alphabet soup of super bugs is growing to include VRSA (vancomycin-resistant Staph aureus), VISA (vancomycin-intermediate Staph aureus) and a host of other scary bugs. So, let’s discuss a few points about what antibiotic resistance is and what it means for people and pets.

What to Do When Food Won't Stay Down
Gastroenteritis: What to Do When Food Won’t Stay Down

One of the most common reasons that pets end up in the veterinary hospital or ER is due to vomiting and diarrhea, known medically as gastroenteritis. While trauma and poisonings are common and more dramatic, this sometimes simple, sometimes complex condition accounts for a big percentage of veterinary visits. In some cases, the cause can be serious, elude diagnostics tests, or require hospitalization or surgery. Luckily for many cases, the cause and treatment are simple, and management can be completed at home. Your vet can help guide you through the steps needed to determine the cause and the best course of action, and some of the information here will help you decide what's best for your pet before a visit.

That's toxic?
That’s Toxic? Things You Didn’t Know Were Poisonous to Your Pets

Pet owners are pretty savvy these days, and thanks to the internet, information about pet health and toxins is pretty widely available. There's a heap of bad information, too, so be careful what you read and check your sources. Most pet owners in-the-know are aware of antifreeze, chocolate, and rat poison, and know about several other possible toxins that can affect pets like human prescription and over the counter medications. Despite this, there are a few items that are found in most homes that can be toxic to pets, and I'm always surprised that more people aren't aware of them. I've treated patients poisoned with each one of these substances, so the threat is very real.

Should I Get My Pet Spayed or Neutered?

This simple surgical procedure keeps our pets happier and healthier and helps bring the cycle of pet overpopulation to an end once and for all.

pet dental toys and treats
Making Sense of Dental Care Toys & Treats

When you go into the dental aisle at your local pet retailer, you're faced with a whole host of choices. Toys, specially-designed treats and dental appliances like toothbrushes and dental wipes are all vying for you attention - and your dollar. So which of these are worth the effort, and which are just hype? Read on to help make some sense of the issue.

cat litterbox problems
Thinking Inside the Litter Box

As a veterinarian, one of the most common and heartbreaking situations that I've encountered is a family dealing with a cat who is urinating outside the litter box. There may be a medical reason for this behavior, while in others it may be due to factors in the home, the cat's personality, or even the litter box and type of litter. Here are some tips for dealing with a cat who is urinating in places besides the litter box.

dogs eating toys
Where Did That Toy Go?

As an emergency vet, one of the most common medical problems that we see in the clinic is the case of a dog or cat who's chewed up a toy or eaten something they shouldn't and is now vomiting. Here's how to keep your dog or cat safe from eating something they shouldn't and save a trip to the emergency vet.

pet microchip
How Microchips & I.D. Tags Save Lives

Have you ever had a pet go missing? Each year, millions of pets get lost or separated from their owners and homes. Some manage to get back home, while for others, their fate remains a mystery to their loving families. I'd like to share a few tips and pointers about microchips that may help reunite you with a lost pet. I'll also provide some tips for steps to take if your pet does become lost.

small dog park
Dog Park Safety for All Breeds

As a veteran vet of 20 years in the small animal ER, one of the most heartbreaking emergencies I've seen over the years goes by the name of "Big dog - Little dog" in medical slang. It's heartbreaking because not only does the bigger dog usually win, human bites (while they try to break up the fight) are common, and in most cases these fights arise out of a simple desire to take your dog for a walk. Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your pet (big or little) out of trouble at the dog park.

basic cat behavior
Cats 101: Understanding Basic Cat Behavior

Are you thinking about adopting a cat or a kitten, but you've never had one before? Cats are great companions and will provide you with unconditional entertainment and affection. Here are a few basic cat behaviors that you should know about before bringing home your new pet.

blind dogs
Living with a Blind Dog

When a dog's eyes fail them and blindness is the result, it can have a serious impact. But that doesn't always mean that they have no quality of life. There are a few important differences between blind dogs and blind humans, and I'd like to talk a bit about them and discus some easy tips for living with a blind dog or one with decreased vision.

electronic fences
5 Electronic Fence Myths

One conundrum that's frequently encountered when trying to place a shelter pet is having to make a call on whether or not an electronic fence makes for a safe pet containment system. Some otherwise great pet owners cannot have a traditional fence due to landscape, zoning, or other issues - and for shelters that don't consider this fencing adequate, this represents an opportunity lost when it comes to providing a loving home for a needy dog. Read on to discover myths about shelter pets and electronic fences.

small dog syndrome
Little Dog Syndrome: Keeping Small Dogs Safe at the Dog Park

Small dogs have lots of advantages - less food, medicine costs less, less shedding and they are easily portable for trips with the family. One potential problem with small dogs, however, is their tendency to not look in the mirror and realize that they are small - they have big hearts, full of canine courage and can sometimes take on a foe many times their size with disastrous results. Learn how to keep your pocket pooch safe at the dog park and around town.

dental toys & treats
Can Dental Toys & Treats Really Help with Bad Teeth?

When you were growing up, your parents probably told you to brush your teeth after every meal. But what about your dog and cat? Many people don't know that pets need dental care too. Dental disease in pets starts the same way as it does in people: poor oral hygiene. And poor oral hygiene leads to periodontal disease.

Winter Pet Care Tips

Watch out for these 8 winter problems to keep your pets safe all winter long.

Prevent Pet Poisoning

Poisoning is a common reason for pets to make a trip to their local veterinary ER, especially around the holiday season. The National Animal Poison Control Center handled 180,000 cases of animal poisoning in 2013. Don't let your pet become a statistic. Read on to learn some of the more common poisonings that pets encounter plus specific tips on how to pet proof your home to prevent poisonings.

Seizures and Epilepsy: What Are They & How Are They Treated?

In 18 years of veterinary ER work, I've dealt with a lot of scared people. But some of the most frightened pet owners that I can remember are those who just witnessed their dog (or, rarely, cat) have their first seizure.

Birth Defects and Pet Prostheses: Science to the Rescue Veterinary medicine has advanced to the point that many high-tech diagnostic and therapeutic options, once only available to people, can now be used on pets.
Basic Instinct: Dogs and Chewing

Your dog may chew things you wish he'd leave alone: shoes, furniture, even parts of your house. And sometimes chewing leads to health problems for dogs. Here are 5 expert-recommended ways for your dog to get his chew on while you still have something to wear to work in the morning.

In Harm’s Way: The Story of Shadow the Injured Police Dog

Find out what happens to Shadow the canine cop when he's shot on the job and Dr. Tony's team does everything they can to save him.

With a Portable Wireless Fence, You CAN Camp with Your Dog!

I love seeing people bring their dogs to campgrounds nowadays. But how do you keep your dog safe at the campground? How can you keep him from wandering off and getting into trouble?

Birds Gotta Fly, Dogs Gotta Dig

With the right mix of proper training, boredom-busting activity, and a little patience on your part, most dogs will learn not to dig.

Safe and Secure: The Right Fence for Your Dog

As an ER vet, I've seen too many dogs injured or killed because of improper fencing. Which fence is best for you and your pet?

First Aid FAQs for Pet Emergencies

Emergencies with pets happen every day, and being prepared is important. How do you make a first aid pet kit? When should you go straight to the vet? Learn more from Dr. Tony.

What to Know Before You Visit the Pet Dentist

Dr. Tony answers common questions about dental disease in pets and what you should know before bringing your pet for a dental checkup.

What to Do If Your Pet Has an Orthopedic Injury

Just like humans, pets can suffer from broken bones, torn ligaments, and dislocated joints. What are the first steps you should take, common injuries, and average costs from orthopedic injuries?

Canine Parvovirus: What Is It and How Can Your Dog Avoid It?

The word “Parvo” strikes fear into the hearts of dog owners everywhere. Parvo is a deadly disease that usually strikes young, unvaccinated puppies and has a mortality rate with treatment of about 30-40%.