Dogs, like people, need mental and physical exercise. They crave playful interaction with their peers. Going to the dog park will allow them to see, hear, and smell new things as they exercise with other dogs. Active dogs, like active, people, are healthier. So, let’s take a trip to the park!
Here are a few simple rules of etiquette for you and your dog at the dog park:
- Scout the park. Make your first visit to the park without your dog. Look around, walk the perimeter, observe the park guests (human and canine).
- Avoid rush hour. As a new park visitor, your dog may fare better when the park isn’t crowded. Take your time to acquaint yourselves with the surroundings during a less busy time. It’s easier for both of you to focus without the distraction of lots of dogs and owners.
- Obey the rules. Your dog may be smart, but she can’t read. It’s your responsibility to read and obey all posted rules. Especially obey the “clean up after your dog” rule.
- Leave human children at home. It’s great to have your children play with your dog, but it’s best to do that without the interference of other dogs. Even though your child and dog may get along wonderfully, not all dogs are well-socialized with kids. And just because a dog loves children it doesn’t mean that he won’t barrel right over a toddler while in the throes of a game of chase.
- Limit toys and treats, but not water. Don’t pack the entire toy box or pantry for a park excursion. It’s OK to give your dog a treat, but brandishing lots of toys and treats may create conflict with other park patrons. Bring bottled water and a collapsible water bowl if your dog park does not have a dog-friendly water fountain.
- Observe park age restrictions. Some parks do not allow young puppies for many reasons. Pups under 4 months of age aren’t fully immunized and exposure to other dogs puts them at risk of infection. Small pups are more vulnerable to injury, even by well-intentioned larger dogs. And young pups aren’t adequately socialized and may not do well when bombarded by multiple new faces, human or canine. Socialize your pup gradually, vaccinate and de-worm him regularly, and let him grow a bit before venturing out to the park.
- Control your dog. Bring a leash along to restrain your dog as needed. Make sure your dog heeds basic verbal commands. He may get so excited to be around his friends that he temporarily forgets his manners. If you have multiple dogs, consider bringing only two at a time so that you can adequately control them both.
- Be aware of your dog’s physical condition. Don’t bring your dog to the park if he is sick. This isn’t good for your dog or his playmates. No one wants to share sniffles, coughs, or diarrhea. Also, it’s best to leave female dogs at home when they are in heat.
- Supervise your dog (and everyone else’s). Spending time with your dog in the company of others is a joy. Avoid reading a magazine or playing games on your smart phone. You may get so distracted that you miss something really fun or really dangerous. Feel free to interrupt inappropriate play when necessary.
- Be nice. Don’t correct someone else’s dog, but notify the owner if you observe misbehavior. If someone complains about your dog’s behavior, keep an open mind and try to remedy the situation. The park is no fun if you make enemies.
Going to the dog park can be an exciting outing for your dog and time for the two of you to bond. By following some simple, common sense rules, you can ensure you, your dog, and everyone else at the dog parks has great fun in a safe and courteous way.
LABRADOR RETRIEVER IS ONCE AGAIN AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR DOG
For the 25th consecutive year, the family-friendly Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America, according to 2015 AKC registration stats. Although Labs are currently the top dogs, French Bulldogs and a few other breeds are moving their way up the list. See the full list here:
Brought to you by the American Kennel Club
With the unpredictability of weather this season, it’s even more critical to keep your pet on a monthly Heartworm preventative year-round. Unseasonably warm temperatures in March followed by freezing cold in May? It’s the reality for many parts of the country these days. While it’s hard to figure out exactly what Mother Nature’s thinking, it’s even harder to guess when the mosquito population—and with it, an increase in Heartworm disease—will make its presence known.
Year-round protection is that much more important since we never know when mosquitoes will emerge in the spring or how late into the fall they’ll hang around. Protection is important for both dogs and cats as well! While cats are not the primary host of Heartworms they can still contract this dangerous disease! The American Heartworm Society (AHS) strongly recommends keeping your pet(s) on year-round Heartworm prevention and having them tested if they’ve missed any monthly doses or if it’s been 2 years since they were last tested for Heartworms.
Heartworm disease is becoming more prominent throughout the United States and costs less to prevent this dangerous disease than it does to treat for it. You can find more information on Heartworm Disease from the American Heartworm Soceity at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/.
The Pet Anti-Breeding System (PABS) prevents unwanted breeding for owners who might want to breed their female dogs or wait to spay them when they’re older.
It might sound like a 15th-century solution to a 21st-century problem, but amid the clamor for pet owners to get their dogs spayed or neutered and prevent unwanted litters comes a device that’s basically a chastity belt for female dogs.
Dexter Blanch, the owner of Shreveport, La.-based Highly Favored Creations, invented the Pet Anti-Breeding System, or PABS, as a fabric patch that covers a female dog’s nether region and is affixed using a series of straps.
The dog-owning public has been slow to embrace PABS, which Blanch launched in 2013 as a way to protect one of his favorite female hunting dogs, who he might want to breed one day, from randy males.
“Perhaps … the proponents of traditional early spay and neuter practices don’t trust American pet owners to be responsible,” he said.
Blanch is starting to get results after ringing the bell loudly and often through blogs, social media and word of mouth.
“Since we began our efforts to educate, we have seen an increase in attention from media outlets and increased sales from pet owners,” he noted.
The campaign has generated an uptick in sales in Australia and other countries where Blanch said pet owners “have a different way of controlling pet overpopulation and a different attitude toward a dog’s health.”
The latest PABS design was tested on dogs by Renita Marshall, DVM, MS, an animal reproductive scientist at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. She found the device 98 percent effective in preventing unwanted breeding.
The tests were conducted using multiple breeds and in various settings. Any failures were attributed mostly to incorrect fittings, Blanch said.
PABS is easy to clean and allows urine to pass through the mesh. The patch rides low enough that the dog can defecate over the top of it, he said. We recommend this to owners who intend to breed their female dogs but don’t want to deal with a strange male dog, or a male relative of the female, fathering their litter of puppies.
The most effective way to prevent unwanted litters is to have your pet spayed or neutered! Having this done will also add years to your pet’s life by decreasing their risk of developing certain cancers!
-This Article is brought to you by the April 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News.
Why Read a Breed Profile?
Each breed has a story intertwined into man’s history. A breed might have been developed to herd in certain weather, control animals, or work on specific terrain. When we look at the country and timeframe of a breed’s development, we uncover new insight into the ongoing, evolving relationship between man and dog. Lets take a little closer look at The Doberman Pinscher.
The Doberman Pinscher is one of the few breeds named after its breed developer, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann of late 19th century Apolda, Germany. So who is Dobermann? Well he held more than one job; He was a tax collector, often beleaguered by bandits. He was also a night watchman and was in charge of the local dog pound. Fed up with harassment and wanting a companion, Dobermann began developing a new dog breed. He was searching of strength, intelligence, protection and companionship. And because Dobermann controlled the local pound, he could combine strays with breeds such as the Rottweiler and the German Pinscher. The Doberman Pinscher was born! The particulars of what breeds and ratios went into the Doberman today are unknown because Dobermann was bad at keeping records.
The Doberman was used by Germany in World War I as messenger dogs, guard dogs, and mercy dogs searching for the wounded. Their small and slender frame and being faster than humans, made them perfect to be able to maneuver obstacles and navigate rough, muddy terrain more easily. In World War II they were used on both sides of the conflict. Known by “Devil Dog,” (early Dobermans were described as “robust, with no trace of fear-not the devil himself”) they guarded camp, searched for and rescued wounded soldiers, discovered enemy mines, and delivered messages. The dogs also kept watch at night even slept in foxholes with the men.
Many people see a Doberman and imagine them in a protection role, in reality only a few are used in police and military work these days. They are mainly family dogs, excelling in rally, agility, dock diving, and any other sport the family is in to. Athletic and muscular, the Dobe needs daily exercise! Dobe’s are working dogs by nature and they crave interactive workouts, not solo workouts. Dobe’s do well with active families where they get played with and get exercise everyday, they don’t do well with seniors that cannot actively work with them. They are very easy to train and eager to learn, they do not like to be ignored, this is because of their willingness to please their owners. Doberman’s require little grooming so weekly brushing would suffice.
Many Dobes show reserve around newcomers, and usually save the I-love-you for their family. A well-bred Doberman is usually loving and protective with the family’s children; a well-socialized dobe should show calmness and confidence around unknown children.
-Article reference “Who’s that dog?” by: Lynn M. Hayner
Fun “Dobe” Facts
- The average life span for a Dobe is 10-12 Years
- Dobe’s generally shy away from cold and rain due to short hair coat.
- Dobe’s come in 4 colors: Black, Red, Blue (gray), and Fawn (tan).
- A white Doberman is not albino, they are to be considered a genetic mutation, as well as all black.
- Males weigh about 75-95 pounds, Females 60-80 pounds.
Dobermans have some health problems including heart disease and some cancers.
Blind Faithfulness and loyalty around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
How slimming down gave these 3 dogs and 1 cat- a new leash on life.
Cody the Shiba Inu
Was 104 lbs. & Now 36 lbs.
When this dog from Charlton, Massachusetts, was adopted from a shelter in 2014, he weighed an unhealthy 104 lbs.
“He couldn’t even make it up three stairs,” says owner Kim Linde, 33. “He wheezed with every breath. The doctor that saw him when he was surrendered didn’t want him to be around other animals in case the excitement caused a heart attack.”
Once Cody was placed on regular thyroid medication, Kim and her husband Sean, who own a pressure washing company, also put the dog on a raw-meat diet and started exercising him daily, first with swimming lessons to help ease the pain in his joints and then with regular walks. Kim says he responded “perfectly” to the new regimen and didn’t push back.
Now, Cody, 9, weighs 36 lbs, and despite his bowed front legs (a result of his previous excess weight), is running 5Ks with his owner and inspiring others with his “Get Fit with Cody” Facebook group.
Obie the Dachshund
Was 77 lbs. & Now 23 lbs.
After Nora Vanatta rescued Obie in 2012, she created a Facebook page called Obie Dog Journey. More than 420,000 people have followed along as the now 9-year-old pup lost 54 lbs. through exercise and the Purina OM (overweight management) Diet. (He also had skin-removal surgery in 2013).
“When I first got him, he weighed as much as my Labrador,” says the Portland, Oregon, veterinary technician, 38. “Sometimes his only exercise was going from one end of the house to the other.”
Now the Internet star loves going on walks and meeting his fans — he even has his own calendar out.
“Even when he couldn’t walk, his tail was always wagging. He’s just a really happy dog.”
Kale Chips the Beagle
Was 85 lbs. & Now 41 lbs.
When the overweight beagle Kale arrived at the Chicago-based dog rescue One Tail at a Time nearly a year ago, “he was super depressed and basically immobile,” says executive director Heather Owen.
Fortunately, he had no other health concerns and with exercise, reduced-calorie meals and healthy treats like liver-infused carrots and, yes, kale chips, the pounds started to drop off.
One of his new pastimes?
Running up and down the aisles of a local bookstore.
“Now he’s very sassy. It’s like he couldn’t get his personality out when he was overweight,” says Owen of 8-year-old Kale. “It’s really cool to see him finally be himself.”
Skinny the Orange Tabby
Was 41 lbs. & Now 19 lbs.
“Before Skinny’s weight loss, his whole body hurt,” his current owner, Dr. Brittney Barton, 40, says of the stray cat who was found abandoned in Richardson, Texas, in 2012. “His legs would just quake when he would try to get up. And his body was sore so he didn’t like to be petted.”
With a prescription weight-loss plan and exercise using treadmills both on land and in water, Barton, who is a veterinarian at HEAL Veterinary Hospital, helped the now-8-year-old orange tabby lose 22 lbs.
“Because Skinny is so food-motivated, we used treats to help him accept the treadmill,” says Barton.
Now, “he jumps up in your lap and purrs. You can tell he just feels better.”
-Article is brought to you by People Magazine, January 2016 issue.
Preventive Measures Can Save Pets
The holidays are a festive time for us and our pets. However, due to ongoing activities and constant distractions, we can easily overlook potential dangers to our four-legged family members.
Take preventive measures to protect your pets this holiday season. Being aware of these top five dangers could save you a trip to the veterinary emergency room.
1. Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments
Tinsel, while not toxic, is very attractive to pets, particularly cats. The shiny, dangling decoration reflects light and can move in the slightest draft — appearing to come alive to watchful critters.
The problem with tinsel is that once it’s consumed, it can cause serious injury to your pet. If not caught in time, this foreign body ingestion could actually be fatal as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines. Immediate veterinary care is required.
In addition, bright and colorful tree ornaments can attract your pet’s curiosity. Place glass, aluminum and paper ornaments higher up on the tree. Pets can chew and swallow these fragile objects and not only can broken pieces form sharp edges that may lacerate your pet’s mouth, throat and intestines, they could also create a choking hazard.
2. Holiday Lighting and Candles
Twinkling, shiny and dangling holiday lights — such as the icicle, netting, garland, curtain, rope and candle varietal — may be another source of danger to your curious pets.
Got a pet that likes to chew? Electrical shock may occur when a pet chomps down on an electrical cord, causing tongue lacerations and possible death. Check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing and use a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution.
If you have candles on display, place them in a hard-to-reach spot so that your pets can not access them. Not only can pets seriously burn themselves, but knocking over candles creates a fire hazard and may leave a trail of hot wax that will easily burn the pads of paws and more.
3. Gift Wrap Ribbon
You may be tempted to fashion your pet with a decorative ribbon “collar” but beware that this could become a choking hazard.
Also, it’s best to quickly discard ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts so that your curious companions won’t be enticed to chew or swallow them. Ingested ribbon can cause a choking hazard and ultimately twist throughout the intestines, leading to emergency surgery and even death.
4. Food Hazards
Festive events often mean edible treats — and lots of them. Unfortunately, some of the most popular holiday goodies, such as chocolate, bones and nuts, can be extremely toxic or fatal to pets.
- Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate (i.e., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs might experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures.
- Fat trimmings and bones are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog’s digestive system.
- Abundant in many cookies and candies, and certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog’s throat and/or intestinal tract. Macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can be toxic, causing seizures or neurological signs. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion.
Keep your pet on her regular diet and caution visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps.
5. Toxic Holiday Plants
They may be pretty, but some holiday plants are poisonous—even deadly. As little as a single leaf from any lily variety is lethal to cats. Others to avoid:
- Christmas tree pine needles can produce oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness.
- Holly, commonly found during the Christmas season, can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression.
- Mistletoe, another Christmas plant, can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death when ingested.
- Poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting.
Taking precautions with pets during these festive times can help ensure that you and your family will enjoy a happy — and healthy — holiday season!
Free ranging felines usually take care of themselves by scavenging and hunting for their meals while also depending on the kindnesses of cat lovers, but things can get a lot chancier when the weather turns frigid.
Help Give Community Cats Shelter
Cats don’t need a lot of space, just a space that is large enough for them to stand, and move about, and stay safe from the harshest outdoor elements. When the weather is at its coldest, the cats will be relying on each other for warmth, and will create their own tight spaces within their shelter. With that in mind, you can use whatever space and materials available to you to create a small haven. Use of mylar in your shelter will help to reflect body heat and keep them warm. When creating the entry opening into the shelter, keep in mind that the opening should only be large enough to allow a cat to enter, so that as much of the wind and snow stay outside of the shelter as possible and the interior of the shelter remains dry. If space allows, you can create an awning or plastic “curtain” to shield the entry. Plastic sheeting or heavy garbage bags are quick and inexpensive options for this. If it is not possible to cover the opening, you can try placing the shelter close to a wall, with the entry facing the wall.
Give outdoor cats food and water
If you can do so without compromising the privacy and security of the shelter, place food and water near the shelter so the cats won’t have to travel far. One way to protect food and water is to place two shelters—doorways facing each other—two feet apart. Then create a canopy between them by securing a wide board from one roof to the other. Then put the food and water under the canopy. What you put food and water in can make a difference. A thick plastic water container that’s deep and wide is better-insulated than a thin plastic or ceramic container. A solar-heated water bowl can prevent or delay water and canned food from freezing. If shelters are well-insulated, you can put bowls of dry or moist food inside them, far from the doorway. Even if the moist food freezes, the cats’ body heat will defrost it when they hunker down in their shelter. Don’t put water bowls inside the shelter. Water is easily spilled, and a wet shelter will feel more like a refrigerator than a warm haven.
There has been a long debate amongst dog owners on whether or not it is safe to give your dog bones. Many people believe giving their dogs raw, uncooked bones and raw meat is safe, when in reality raw bones carry bacteria such as, Salmonella and E-Coli, and will spoil in a few days if it isn’t eaten. Bones pose a serious choking hazard and can cause digestive upset in your barking friends, not to mention in many cases bones have caused lacerations and perforations of the intestinal wall and/or throat either on the way down when eating, or back up when vomiting. Bones even fracture your pet’s teeth! This is true for raw or cooked bones, but cooked bones pose a much more serious threat. They become weak and brittle and are more likely to splinter when chewing. These small bones can collect in your pet’s stomach and more often than not it requires taking your pet to the veterinarian and having emergency surgery in order to remove the obstruction(s). However, if you do decide to treat your dog to a bone, do NOT leave anything to chance! All bones should be given under supervision in case of emergency. If your dog gets into difficulty while eating call to schedule an appointment right away with us, or your local veterinarian to be certain there isn’t a problem which requires emergency surgery. So, feed your dog any bones and you are asking for trouble!
Are you still seeing fleas on your dogs and cats? We’re getting into cooler weather and your probably saying to yourself, why the fleas! Treating for fleas can seem like a never-ending process and unfortunately, flea season isn’t over. The worst time of the year for fleas is August, September and October. Their populations have increased to the point that they cannot be ignored. It is important to treat all of your pets once a month (preferably year round) with an oral pill or topical “spot-on” treatment. If you’re seeing fleas on your pets they are more than likely in your home as well. In order to have a flea free home, start by cleaning as fleas lay eggs where dust accumulates. Use a house spray that kills adults and eggs like KNOCKOUT, a home treatment spray we sell at our clinics, or something similar, which also has an insect growth inhibitor in its ingredients. An insect growth inhibitor will prevent flea eggs from hatching, stopping the life cycle of a flea by preventing their development into the adult biting stage. Using KNOCKOUT will continue to kill fleas for four additional months after application. Apply to furniture, carpets, and hard floors.
If you have stray pets going in and out of your yard, treating your yard will help! Keeping your grass well trimmed can help to keep fleas at bay. There are also chemical treatment sprays that you can use in your yard. Just be careful not to treat near anything that you or your pet might eat. Outdoor areas that remain relatively moist and protected from direct sunlight can provide adequate conditions for flea development.
Your pet is on flea prevention but you are still seeing fleas! Why? The fleas for the past few years have built up a resistance to the chemical fipronil, which is the key chemical in Frontline and many over the counter generic flea products. We have new generation insecticides like NEXGARD AND Revolution which are very effective.
Oral Products are tablets that your pet eats while Topical Products are applied to your pet’s skin.
Oral Flea Control
- Available as palatable, flavored tablets, therefore, generally easy to administer to most dogs.
- Often flavored like a treat to make administering to your pet easier because they think they are getting a special treat!
- No mess, and no worry about accidental contact with skin (children’s or other pets’) or potential discoloration of household surfaces (furniture or flooring) from topical products immediately after application.
- No need to worry about swimming or bathing. (Frequent swimming or bathing may reduce the effectiveness of some topical products.)
Topical Flea Control
- No risk of your pet vomiting the medication.
- No worries about whether your pet ate the whole tablet.
- An alternative for pets that won’t take oral products or are difficult to medicate.
Fleas need a host
Who is the host? The most common and recognizable hosts are your dog or cat. Other common hosts are most of the outside critters! Raccoons, mice, rats, & opossums are just a few of many animals that fall victim to fleas! An adult flea can live for 2-3 weeks without a host for food. However, with ample food supply, the adult flea will often live up to 100 days. Newly emerged adult fleas live only about one week if a blood meal is not obtained.
When are the fleas dead for the year?
Fleas can survive in temperatures as low as 36 degrees fahrenheit! This means we need two hards frosts and then it is safe to say the fleas are gone!
Can fleas harm my pet and me?
No pet is safe from fleas and their bites, but not all pets are hypersensitive to them. This means severe infestations can occur without your dog or cat showing any obvious signs of discomfort. Some pets have a severe allergy to the flea saliva, a condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). When feeding, fleas inject salivary proteins into the bite area. FAD can cause hair loss and open sores that can leave the skin vulnerable to infection. The inflammation and itching that occurs with FAD will make your pets miserable.
FACT: Fleas are often infected with tapeworm larvae. Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite caused when an infected flea is digested. After digestion of the infected flea the tapeworms are released inside the pet and go on to infect it’s new, larger host. Tapeworms can also be passed to people so keeping your pets protected also protects you and your family as well.
Flea dirt (flea feces) also may have a bacterial agent that can cause cat scratch disease in people, which is transmitted by a cat scratch or bite. Yes, there are some illnesses associated with fleas, but don’t worry too much about catching a flea related disease from your pet. However, those of you that have impaired immune systems, the threat of contracting cat scratch disease should be taken much more seriously. Remember, you can always call us with any questions or concerns!
In conclusion, keep all of your pets on monthly flea prevention and start before flea season to avoid battling a flea infestation!