Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why Dogs Bark and Growl

Does your dog growl or bark when a stranger approaches your house or when something goes bump in the night? If so, you’re not alone.

Most dogs will vocalize when they are exposed to new or different situations, including strange people or animals entering their territory; being separated from their pack, mother or even your family members; or new or alarming sounds. Dogs may also bark or growl when they see prey, such as squirrels, and they may bark for attention, food or if they are anxious. Dogs often growl when they are fearful or trying to assert themselves in a situation. If the dog’s fear or assertiveness is alleviated by growling or barking, the dog will learn that his behavior is acceptable and the behavior may become more frequent or severe. Some medical problems may cause growling or barking and older pets experiencing senile changes may have barking problems. Intense and continuous barking may be considered compulsive. Check with your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s barking or growling problem. Behavior training and drug therapy may be helpful in reducing barking for pets with medical, geriatric and compulsive disorders.

Socializing your puppy can help

Acclimate your puppy to a variety of different people, environments, situations and noises to help lessen anxiety as your puppy grows. Make sure your puppy spends time alone so that he doesn’t develop separation anxiety while you are away from him. Proper training is essential to preventing behavior problems, such as growling and barking. Ask you veterinarian for more information about puppy training.

Correcting a barking or growling problem 

Correcting a barking or growling problem first requires that you have effective management of your dog. Once you have achieved this, you can begin to train your dog to lessen his barking or growling behavior by using rewards for quiet behavior. The reward should be something that the dog really likes such as a favorite treat, tummy rubs, or a favorite toy. Punishment is generally ineffective in correcting barking problems. Too much punishment may even exacerbate the behavior and cause the dog to be fearful or aggressive.

 Begin your training with situations that you can easily control (such as a family member making a noise that causes the dog to bark) before moving on to difficult situations (such as a strange animal in your yard). When your dog barks at the stimuli (for instance, a doorbell ring), immediately interrupt the barking. When the dog is quiet offer the dog a reward for their behavior. Without the reward there is no incentive to remain quiet.Reward your dog when, at your request, he has stopped barking. Only reward the dog when he is quiet and gradually increase the amount of time that the dog needs to be quiet for him to receive a reward.

As the barking or growling problem decreases, make sure to direct your dog to more appropriate behavior, such as play, and the problem should lessen over time. Don't forget to discuss training options with your veterinarian to find the one that will work best for your pet.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Labor Day Safety Tips for Pets

1. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.

2. Always assign a dog guardian. No matter where you're celebrating, be sure to assign a friend or member of the family to keep an eye on your pooch-especially if you're not in a fenced-in yard or other secure area.
3. Made in the shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water, and make sure they have a shady place to escape the sun.
4. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws' reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing-or even kidney disease in severe cases.
5. Keep your pet on his normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea.
6. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingesting any of these items can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression in your pets, and if inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia.
7. Never leave your dog alone in the car. Traveling with your dog means occasionally you'll make stops in places where he's not permitted. Be sure to rotate dog walking duties between family members, and never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.
8. Make a safe splash. Don't leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Car Sickness In Pets

Does your dog throw up in the car when you go for rides? He may be experiencing typical motion sickness, just like some people do. Motion sickness usually begins very shortly after starting the car ride. The dog will begin to drool and then vomit. It’s not serious, but certainly not something that we like to clean up! To solve the problem, first try acclimating the dog to car rides. Do this by simply putting him in the car for a few minutes each day without going anywhere. Then try just going down the driveway and back, and the next day going around the block. Gradually build up the distance and time the dog rides in the car. 

 Sometimes this will help to decrease the dog’s anxiety over riding in the car and may help to decrease vomiting. If that doesn’t work, there are some over-the-counter medications you can try. The medication will need to be given about an hour before the car ride. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation as to what drug to try and the dosage for your pet.

(Never give any medications to your pet without your veterinarian’s advice!) These drugs are safe, with drowsiness usually the only major side effect. But since your dog isn’t driving the car, that shouldn’t be a problem! If over-the-counter drugs don’t work, your veterinarian may be able to suggest another method for curing the car sickness.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heatstroke Awarenss

As you begin to enjoy the nice weather with your pet, it is important to keep in mind that pets cannot tolerate high temperatures, as well as humans.

 Some common situations that can cause your pet to suffer a heat stoke include: being left in cars, vigorous exercise, and spending too much time on hot asphalt.

 Pets suffering from heat stroke will initially demonstrate signs of excessive panting, salivating and discomfort.
As symptoms progress, they may vomit or have diarrhea, become disoriented or even begin to have seizures.
If not promptly treated, this can lead to loss of consciousness and death.

To help keep your pet from suffering a heatstoke, provide them with some shade and fresh drinking water often, throughout the day.

 If you ever suspect that your pet is suffering a heatstroke, contact us immediately.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two National Pet Stores Pulling China-Made Treats


Two major national pet stores are pulling all dog and cat treats made in China off of their shelves as years of complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pile up that jerky treats from China were possibly making pets sick.
Vice President of Merchandising for Petco John Sturm said they are voluntarily removing these products after consumers voiced concerns. Another major pet food retailer, PetSmart, is pulling Chinese-made jerky treats from its stores in the U.S. and CanadaThe treats have been linked to more than 1,000 dog deaths and nearly 5,000 other pet illnesses.
The FDA said it's still working to determine the exact causes of the illnesses.
While the products won't actually disappear from PetSmart shelves until March of 2015, Petco plans to pull the products by the end of this year. Click the link below, to view more details. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love Your Pet Day

Did you know today happens to be Love Your Pet Day?  Every day is Love Your Pet Day for us!  There are many ways to show a little extra love to your pet.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet

You may have heard time and time again that it is important to spay or neuter your pet.  Maybe you have thought about it, but do not see it as a necessity.  Or perhaps you might think that your pet should not go through all the pain that surgery may cause.  The truth is that spaying or neutering your pet may help prevent different types of cancers, allowing your pet to live a happier and healthier life. 

            Take a moment to review the following reasons that spaying and neutering pets is so important ... They may change your perspective:

·         Between 3 and 4 million adoptable animals are euthanized in animal shelters each year, simply because they do not have homes.    These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

·         Spaying and neutering dramatically reduce the number of stray animals on the streets.

·         The term “spay” refers to removing a female animal’s ovaries and uterus so that she cannot reproduce. The term "neuter" refers to removing a male animal’s testicles so that he cannot reproduce. Although the term “neuter” technically means the sterilization of either a male or a female animal, today it is typically used to refer to the procedure for a male animal.

·         Pets should be spayed or neutered at young ages, before 6 months for a male and before a female’s first heat.

·         Historic records indicate that surgical procedures to sterilize male animals date back as far as 284 B.C. Such surgeries for companion animals date back about 100 years.

·         Spaying and neutering can help reduce the incidence of some of the most common types of cancers so your animal is likely to live a longer and healthier life.

·         Spay/neuter surgeries can only be performed by licensed veterinarians.

·         The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year.
·         Seventy-eight percent of pet dogs and 88 percent of pet cats are spayed or neutered.

·         Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering.

·         Many unneutered pets have aggression problems and often mark their territory with strong-scented urine, which can make the household unbearable. Early neutering can nix aggression

Source: ASPCA, PETA, The Anti-Cruelty Society