- Family and health
Working with your pet to obey commands might help your dog become a design canine citizen. Your dog that understands what's expected of him will be happier and has a far more enjoyable relationship along with his people. Here are a few basic commands methods to teach your canine what you expect.
It is very important make sure your pet's safety all the time. Outside of your house, you can find local laws that want that pets to be restrained appropriately. It is also very important to your dog (and sometimes for the belongings) he be contained in your own home and your property. Here are a few ideas on how best to keep your dog safe.
Your dog's puppyhood could be really fun and really challenging. It is necessary that you introduce him to different animals and people and train him what behavior you anticipate. Here are some ideas to help your puppy grow right into a model canine citizen!
What YOUR PET Is Telling You
Dogs cannot speak English however they still everyday talk to us! Check out both of these great posters and discover what your dog says!
Probably the most frustrating points for a human would be to wake up and part of a yellow puddle (or even worse). Below are a few tips to assist you train your companion where you can go!
Dogs need workout and stimulation to greatly help them end up being both and mentally healthy physically. Here are a few ideas for secure and fun exercise for the dog.
Most pet owners share similar issues with their pets, when they are new to a home especially. Here are a few ideas of how exactly to focus on common behavior issues.
Is that aggression?
The overall belief is that when your dog barks and growls, he could be angry. While this is true, it's often an indicator of various other behavior. Maybe such case your dog needs pet behavioral evaluations?
Multiple animal households
Having multiple pets will be a lot of fun and a good way for the animals to socialize. However, it could be difficult and exhausting aswell. You can find different needs and issues that dogs have when they remain other pets. Here are a few ideas on how best to introduce your dog to new buddies in a safe method.
How often do you consider that common household products could be potentially hazardous to your pet’s health? While it might not be something you think about on a regular basis, taking the time to familiarize yourself with the potential hazards in your home could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
According to Pet Poison Helpline, the top 10 toxins for dogs include:
For cats, the list includes:
We recently spoke with AAHA’s incoming president and owner and medical director of Macungie Animal Hospital, Nancy Soares, VMD, about common household toxins and how to...
Veterinary professionals don’t need a study to tell them that pets are good for your health. But now, there is quantitative data to prove it.
On Dec. 14, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) released a new economic study that quantifies the healthcare cost savings associated with pet ownership. The economic analysis, conducted by researchers at George Mason University, calculated an $11.7 billion savings in U.S. healthcare costs as a result of pet ownership.
“There was abundant research to show that pets have a positive effect on our health, but this is the first time that anyone has looked at the impact on the U.S. healthcare system,” said study co-author Terry L. Clower, PhD, Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs and Director of its Center on Regional Analysis. “Our analysis shows that pet ownership produces meaningful savings for total health care costs in the United States.”
The cost savings breakdown is in two areas:
By threatening to hurt or kill the family pet, an abusive partner manipulates, intimidates, and terrorizes his or her victims.
Fearing for the safety of their pets—who are often one of the few sources of comfort and emotional support victims have left—but with nowhere to take them, many battered partners and children end up staying in abusive situations.
Fortunately, communities are becoming aware of this ugly reality and have begun creating safe havens for the pets of domestic violence victims. Help can be found through several groups and online directories.
Safe Havens Mapping Project
Created eight 8 years ago by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Safe Havens Mapping Project is a comprehensive list of sheltering services in the U.S. The directory, which can be searched by ZIP code, includes more than 1,400 refuges across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
These places of safety may be foster homes or spaces provided by local animal shelters, veterinary hospitals, or refuges for dogs, cats, small animals, birds, and even horses and cows. Even better, there also are shelters where pets—typically dogs and cats—can stay with their humans.
“It’s a very slow change in the...
The word "mange" doesn’t exactly conjure up soothing images of your beloved pup. Instead, when we think of mange, most of us think of sad-looking dogs with large patches of missing fur.
What is mange?
Mange is a condition caused by mites that invade the hair follicle. While some mites are harmless, others infest the pet and cause hair loss. Two types of mange typically affect dogs: sarcoptic and demodectic, which is the most common. Mange is extremely rare in cats.
There are three common types of demodectic mange:
Localized: Localized mange causes hair loss in a single area, such as the dog’s face. This results in bald patches that resemble polka dots. Localized mange is very common in puppies and many cases clear up on their own.
Generalized: Generalized mange is more severe and can affect a much larger portion of the dog’s body. In addition to hair loss, secondary infections can cause the skin to become quite itchy and develop a bad odor.
Pododermatitis: Pododermatitis refers to mite infestation of the feet. This type of mange, which is often accompanied by bacterial infection, is the most resistant to treatment.
“Make sure your veterinarian investigates any hair loss,” says...
When it comes to your pet, you would do anything to keep him safe, happy, and healthy. Working with an AAHA-accredited veterinarian can help you do just that. Preventive veterinary care will help to ensure that your pet is healthy, and can save you from the potential financial hardship that occurs when medical problems are not addressed with proper care.
In case of an emergency, it is important to seek veterinary help immediately—but there are steps you can take to ensure your pet’s comfort until you can get to the veterinary hospital. Always use caution, however. When pets are scared, in pain, or experiencing shock, it is not uncommon for them to bite even their owners.
Sarah Kubacki, a veterinary technician at Brekke Veterinary Clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado, provided the following tips for aiding your pet until you can get professional help.
Help! My pet is bleeding!
First, clean the wound with a mild antibacterial soap. Rinse with water and dry well.
Apply pressure directly to the bleeding site with a clean cloth or towel for a minimum of three minutes. This is important, as it takes time for the blood to clot. If you remove the cloth or towel too soon, you may remove the...
One of the most surprising things about working from home has been the number of dogs who drop by—without their owners.
I’ll be typing away at my computer when my Lab mix, Rio, will start frantically barking and squealing with delight. Sure enough, a dog will be outside the gate, hoping to play. Sometimes it’s a dog we’ve never met; other times, it’s a repeat offender. Occasionally, we’ll even wind up hosting several dogs from different homes on the same day.
Luckily, the canine escape artists usually have ID tags on their collars so I can call their families. The owners are typically grateful to know their dog is safe and come get them, apologizing with, “My son must have left the door open,” or “Ugh, I guess Jake is digging under the fence again.”
What makes dogs roam, and is there anything owners can do to prevent it? I love meeting new dogs, but clearly the safest place for them is at home instead of wandering nearby (or far away) streets and properties, where they might be hit by a car, chase after a frightened child, or simply become lost.
Ellen Lindell, VMD, DACVB, and owner of Veterinary Behavior Consultations in Bethel, Connecticut, says while no dog obeys 100 percent...
If your cat is urinating or defecating anywhere other than his litter box, you probably find yourself at your wits’ end. Though house soiling can seem like a deal breaker, it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to remedy the situation so the cat can stay and the behavior goes.
Save your cat
According to the National Council on Pet Population, 72 percent of cats surrendered to animal shelters in the U.S. are euthanized, and research journals in the fields of animal behavior and companionship cite house soiling as the primary reason they are relinquished in the first place.
“One factor that may be underlying this is that 66 percent of owners think that cats act out of spite,” says Ilona Rodan, DVM, DABVP (F), medical director and founder of AAHA-accredited Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Instead, she says, it’s because the cat’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met.
See your veterinarian
The first step in resolving a house soiling problem is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice a problem.
Rodan, who primarily evaluates cats for behavioral issues, says she often diagnoses medical...
If you’re reading this, chances are, you love your pets—and you know that panicked feeling when you think something might be wrong. Why is he whining? Why is she limping? Is he in pain? Is this something serious? What should I do?
We all want answers fast, so it’s tempting to look for clues online. In fact, AAHA receives many, many private messages through Facebook (and sometimes in the comments section of PetsMatter articles) requesting medical advice for a pet. But the response is always: “Ask your veterinarian.” Why?
It isn’t a cop out. Seeing your veterinarian about an issue your pet is having is the best way to care for your dog or cat, says Heather Loenser, DVM, AAHA’s Veterinary Advisor for Professional and Public Affairs. Loenser practices in several specialty, emergency, and general practices in the New York metro area, and lives with a number of rescued dogs, cats, turtles and five pampered hens (Peep Peep, Frofro, Cookie, Arabelle, and Golden, who were named by a 4-year-old girl).
“Without examining a pet and carefully questioning an owner, the advice given over the Internet could be inaccurate and potentially life threatening,” Loenser said. “Although many pet...
I can always find my beloved pets in my heart, but having their cremains on a shelf in the living room makes me feel like they are still here with me.
The boxes and urns have become the physical presence of the companions I loved and lost. Stopping to look at each one may make the tears fall, but it more often stirs good memories.
The first pet I had cremated was my wonderful Booker, a German shepherd I adopted as a puppy from a shelter. When he was about 10 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer and stopped eating. I agonized about the euthanasia process, but it ended up going calmly and quickly.
Then I was asked what I planned to do with his body. I hadn’t even thought about that.
I learned that I could take his body home to bury in my yard since I lived in a rural area, but if I had lived in a municipality, I’d have to check local codes. I also could have him cremated. The choices were a private cremation, in which he alone would be cremated and his cremains returned to me; individual cremation, in which several pets are cremated together, but kept separate in the chamber, and his cremains returned to me; or group cremation, in which he would be cremated with other pets and...
“Never say never” is the expression. However, in this instance, I will say it: I would never take my pets to a nonaccredited veterinary practice.
I’ve been around the veterinary industry for over 20 years, writing and broadcasting about companion animals. I’ve presented at all the major U.S. veterinary conferences on numerous occasions, and have spoken at veterinary conferences and shelter events around the world. I’m also a certified animal behavior consultant. Still, I’m not a veterinarian. At the end of the day, I am just another pet owner, albeit an educated one.
The truth is, not all veterinary practices are equal. If you want the very best for your pet, there’s truly only one way to know your veterinary hospital is a cut above the rest: AAHA accreditation.
Even the savviest pet owners can’t possibly know which anesthetic cocktail is being delivered or the type of continuing education the credentialed veterinary technicians at a particular practice receive, how efficiently vaccines are being stored or whether appropriate pain management based on AAHA’s guidelines is offered behind the scenes.
AAHA accreditation—a designation earned by only 15 percent of veterinary...
It’s a common experience for animal lovers: We’re about to take our first bite of a meal and notice a dog sitting ever-so-politely next to us, possibly drooling, with eyes focused like tractor beams, willing us to share our food. “Aww, how cute!” we think, and give the pooch a little morsel.
It’s hard to withstand those puppy dog eyes any time of year, and can seem next to impossible at holiday meals during the season of giving. But for the good of our dogs, we need to resist the temptation to feed them table scraps—and so do our guests.
AAHA board member Adam Hechko, DVM, owner and medical director of the 2015 AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year, North Royalton Animal Hospital in North Royalton, Ohio, said his practice sees an influx of dogs with gastrointestinal upset after any holiday.
“We tend to think food is love for our pets, and that is not always the case,” Hechko said. “Abrupt changes in diet or feeding little scraps of food, particularly when they're not used to getting those types of food, can really create a lot of problems for the gastrointestinal tract.”
One common and potentially serious issue is pancreatitis, which causes inflammation of the pancreas, the...
Are you an animal lover with oodles of patience and lots of attention and care to give? Consider fostering.
You might be wondering, “Why should I foster a pet for a short time when I could just keep him forever?” The logic behind fostering is that shelters are often filled to the brim with stray or rescued pets and cannot always give the proper attention every animal deserves. By acting as a foster parent, you provide necessary care and training and give a pet a home instead of a small space in a shelter.
We recently spoke with Pam Nichols, DVM, AAHA board member and owner of AAHA-accredited Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, Utah, who gave us some tips on fostering dos and don’ts.
DO work with a rescue that will assist with finances. While many organizations will provide for basic needs—think food, medication, and other supplies—it is important to understand how additional expenses will be covered.
“Most abandoned and neglected dogs have a few problems that may have led up to relinquishment,” Nichols said. “Be prepared for the expense or at least have a plan.”
DO reward desirable behavior. Part of your duty as a foster parent is training and socializing. Help your foster...
At AAHA, we believe pets deserve the very best. That’s why we are continually evolving to ensure we are best serving the pet owners and practitioners who love them.
In November, the AAHA Board of Directors voted to discontinue PetsMatter, the pet owner blog and monthly e-newsletter, in favor of refocusing efforts on AAHA’s pet owner website and social media platforms. The e-newsletter and blog will be discontinued effective December 31, 2016 and January 31, 2017, respectively.
Don’t worry, great content is still at your fingertips. Visit the AAHA Facebook page and pet owner website for relevant, reliable association and pet health information—and while you’re there, keep your eyes open for some exciting new features.
Illini Pet Fair Saturday, November 19 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Medical District Veterinary Clinic 2242 W. Harrison, Chicago Free Admission You and your pet are invited to join us outside of the Medical District Veterinary Clinic for Illini Days fun at the Illini Pet Fair, hosted by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. We’ll have a […]
The post Illini Pet Fair on November 19 appeared first on Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois.
Canine noise aversion is a common anxiety and fear-based response that affects over 1/3 of dogs.1 When considering if your dog has noise aversion, first determine your dog’s trigger: What sounds initiate your dog’s noise aversion? Although fireworks and thunder are the most commonly reported triggers2, there are many indoor noises that can trigger a fear response. As the holidays approach, many of these indoor triggers become more common, including ringing doorbells, the loud voices of children, the cheers for your favorite football team, or something as common as the vacuum cleaner.
Also consider how your dog reacts to the noise. Signs of noise aversion range from subtle (lip licking, holding one foreleg up, or yawning) to moderate (panting, pacing, barking, or hiding) to severe (running away, hurting themselves, or causing property damage as they try to escape from the house or their crate). Not sure if your dog has noise aversion? Click here to take a simple, online quiz.
Regardless of the sounds that cause noise aversion or the signs, your dog is reacting this way because he/she is terrified of the noise. In fact, what your dog is experiencing is similar to what a person...
Mindy Tehan, RVT, gives laser therapy treatments
Denver resident, Sue Kohut, was alarmed when her Great Dane puppy, Beauxmont, became lethargic and developed swollen legs that were hot to the touch. At just five months old, the pup was diagnosed with hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD), a painful bone disease that can occur in fast-growing large and giant breeds.
“It can be crippling—in certain cases, a puppy would have to be euthanized,” Kohut said. “I had this big puppy who was in so much pain. I was like, ‘Just fix him!’”
Fortunately, Kohut’s veterinarian developed a treatment protocol that included laser therapy. Unlike surgical lasers that cut through tissue, therapy lasers—or “cold” lasers—stimulate the body’s cells to promote healing and alleviate pain.
“I literally noticed an improvement after his first treatment,” Kohut said. “He was less lethargic and seemed like he was in less pain.”
After three or four laser therapy treatments, Beauxmont’s condition was completely resolved. Two years later, Beauxmont, who is also deaf and blind in one eye, is a loving pet who is “simultaneously graceful and...
As you get ready to decorate your home for the festive season, remember that from a cat’s perspective, a holiday tree in the living room is deemed there for climbing and feline fun. And, whether it’s a real tree or an artificial one, your dog may consider it a conveniently placed indoor bathroom.
Here are some simple safety tips to keep decorations intact and pets out of harm’s way.
Obesity is a major problem for dogs and cats in the United States—in fact October 12 was National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over 50% of dogs and cats are either overweight or obese. Obesity is often overlooked as a problem by pet owners, but as a veterinarian, […]
The post Pet Obesity Concerns appeared first on Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois.
Veterinary technicians are vital to our practice and to the care of your pets. If we were to compare a veterinary technician to a position in the human medicine field, they play a role very similar to a registered nurse (RN). October 16-22 was National Veterinary Technician Week. I would like to let our clients […]
The post Thank You, Vet Techs! appeared first on Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois.
“What a beautiful dog. What breed is he?”
We got that question a lot when we walked Tony. We responded proudly that he was a mutt.
With a thick coat of long silky hair, a big floofy tail, and solidly built at about 80 pounds, Tony was a unique-looking guy and, best of all, a sweetheart without a mean bone in his body.
Of course, we had fun trying to guess at his possible heritage. The black and tan coloring gave hints of a German shepherd dog. The long hair on his ears, tail, and backs of his legs reminded us of setters or golden retrievers. His solid body and the white on his chest made us think of a Bernese mountain dog. My husband saw a photo in a magazine and was convinced Tony had to have Estrela mountain dog in him until we looked it up and found they were rare outside of Portugal.
Whatever Tony’s ancestry, he didn’t deserve to be left in a box on the road in a nearby town as a puppy. He was not alone—the woman who thankfully stopped to check the box rescued not only him, but another pup she assumed to be his sister.
We hadn’t even intended to keep him. We already had two other mixed-breed dogs adopted from local shelters. We had agreed to foster the chunky little fella...
When Deb Hipp noticed her 17-year-old dog, Toby, was having a hard time getting up, she thought he might just be having a bad day. He had experienced problems with mobility before; however, when Hipp tried to rouse him again later, she noticed Toby had a noticeable head tilt.
Alarmed, Hipp rushed Toby to the veterinary hospital. After a thorough exam, Toby’s veterinarian put Hipp’s fears to rest with a diagnosis of canine idiopathic vestibular disease, which is sometimes also referred to as “old dog disease” or “rolling dog syndrome.”
The diagnosis came with a hopeful prognosis that proved to be true: Toby fully recovered within several days.
What is vestibular disease?
The vestibular system is made up of organs and canals located within the inner ear. According to the Vestibular Disorders Association, “the vestibular organs provide the brain with vital information about body position with respect to gravity.”
The word “idiopathic” indicates that a cause has not been determined.
“Just as with some people who experience vertigo, we don’t always know what causes this condition,” said Patrick Mahaney, VMD, owner of California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, Inc. in West Hollywood,...
|Betsy Ridenour helps manage Stella's diabetes
at home with regular insulin injections.
Betsy Ridenour spent most of her life terrified of needles—to the point that if one even appeared on TV, she had to shut her eyes. That was before the day she rushed her beloved dog, Stella, to an emergency animal hospital when she “knew something was wrong” and learned the little Dachshund has diabetes.
The veterinarian told her Stella would need regular insulin injections and asked Ridenour if she and her husband were willing to commit to giving shots at home. Despite her fear, Ridenour didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“I was so scared I was going to lose her that I would have done anything,” she said.
Just as in humans, diabetes in pets occurs when the body cannot convert glucose, or sugar, into energy due to problems producing or regulating the hormone insulin. This creates toxic compounds called ketones that, if left untreated, can result in serious illness or death. To help the pet process glucose properly, owners must administer insulin injections.
Though it was a challenge to overcome her fear of needles—and to stop giving Stella treats—Ridenour said the results made the experience...
When you're in the market for a new place to live, finding just the right apartment can often be a grueling ordeal. Finding an apartment that welcomes a pet—especially a dog—is almost impossible. Until recently, most property owners banned pets because of the risk of stained carpets, scratched doors and floors, and noise issues. But, finally, apartment developers are slowly seeing the advantages of accommodating pets as a way to attract and retain clients.
Cats are generally more compatible with urban and apartment living, since they tend to be more solitary and easily left alone for longer periods of time. But until recently, the needs of dogs were harder to accommodate.
Anne Rosen, co-owner of Avenue 8 Mayfair Apartments in Denver, Colorado, says she and her partner set out to design a dog-friendly living opportunity.
“Over 50 percent of our current residents have pets," Rosen said. "In addition to human amenities, such as gyms and yoga studios, Avenue 8 has an on-site canine concierge, an indoor Bark Park complete with an agility course, and specialized floor mats. We also have two stainless steel dog wash basins and an outdoor private park."
Dog trainer Gavin Ehringer, who...
Canine noise aversion is defined as anxiety and fear based reaction to noise, which is also known as noise sensitivity, anxiety or phobia.1 The most common triggers of canine noise aversion are fireworks and thunderstorms.2 But other common, everyday sounds including construction noise, street sounds such as screaming sirens and honking horns, or the clamor of celebrations can also trigger noise aversion. It is important to recognize these other triggers of noise aversion because, regardless of the cause, noise aversion progresses when not properly treated. Progression of noise aversion includes one or more of the following:
The signs of noise aversion can be subtle such as lip licking, yawning or remaining still. More obvious signs include panting, pacing, vocalizing or hiding. In severe cases, dogs may try to run away, which can result in self-trauma as well as property damage. The suffering associated with self-inflicted trauma is readily recognized. However, the physiological and emotional distress that dogs with noise aversion experience...
As a pet parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure your dog is happy and healthy. From day one, you have observed your dog closely to learn every cue or indicator they give you. No one knows your dog better than you, but what if you can have additional health and wellness information about your dog? Remote monitoring technology is allowing pet parents to learn more than ever about their dogs.
Health monitors, such as Voyce, collect vital data such as resting heart and respiratory rates, amount and intensity of activity, distance traveled, calories burned and quality of rest from your dog’s most comfortable environment—your home.
By measuring key health indicators daily, from the home environment, data is collected without the stress-inducing veterinary visit that can influence data readings. Daily measurement creates a baseline average of vital signs, making it easier for you and your veterinarian to notice subtle changes that could signal a health issue. Dogs are experts at hiding pain, so this is a way for your pet to “communicate” with you.
Pet parents can connect their veterinarian and caretakers, which reduces the communication gap. Additionally, veterinarians...
If you’re ready to adopt, don’t limit your choices to puppies or kittens. Consider opening your heart to a senior pet instead. According to many who have, the experience has been a life changer.
Too often, senior pets are euthanized or live out their final days in discomfort and loneliness in shelters because of their age. Many were once the faithful companions of people who have moved to assisted living or nursing homes or have died. Others were surrendered due to changing circumstances for their owners or because they became difficult or inconvenient to care for.
Yet, these pets still have much to offer—without the issues that come with their young counterparts.
Oh, yes, the silliness and energy of puppies and kittens can be fun—for a while. But people often underestimate how much work they actually are, said Lisa Lunghofer, PhD, executive director of The Grey Muzzle Organization, which assists groups that help homeless senior dogs.
Whether it’s dealing with teething, jumping, play biting, digging, climbing, potty or litter box training, or socializing, raising a puppy or kitten takes a lot of time. That can be a strain in many busy households.
In addition, young pets are...