- 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...
Feline medicine wasn’t the original plan for Katarina Luther, DVM. But “Dr. Kat,” as she’s affectionately called now, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I absolutely love the mystery and uniqueness of each cat. They are truly special little beings,” said Luther, owner of AAHA-accredited Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and one of the biggest health concerns in feline medicine, according to Luther, is dental health.
“It affects not only their oral health and comfort, but also their overall health,” Luther said.
“Cat mouths, due to their size and the nature of cats, simply don’t get the attention that dog mouths do,” she said. “For instance, a dog will relax with his owner, often with his mouth wide open and tongue hanging out, panting. This makes his teeth more visible and his breath more noticeable. Sightings inside a cat’s mouth are few and far between unless they are very deliberate by an examiner.”
And, because many cats aren’t seeing a veterinarian as often as they should, undetected dental disease can progress and begin to affect overall health.
Brushing your cat’s teeth
“There is no doubt that brushing cats’ teeth...
Taking into account the needs and preferences of each cat living in a multicat household will improve their individual wellbeing and promote feline harmony in the home.
Litter boxes and location
When it comes to litter boxes, the general rule is one box per cat in the household plus an extra one. This gives cats options, as some cats prefer more privacy than others and may have a preference for a particular location. Lining up all the litter boxes in a row is often perceived as one giant box and this can cause one or more of the felines in the household to do their business outside the box.
Cats also like to be able to see who else is coming or going from the box. Therefore, open boxes are best. Stay away from placing boxes in enclosed cupboards or under staircase recesses—this will prevent a very territorial cat from trying to trap a feline housemate in this space or attempting to ambush her as she exits.
It’s OK to scratch
Scratching is an innate feline characteristic. Cats scratch to relieve stress, sharpen their claws, stretch, and exercise. Some like to scratch vertically; others, horizontally. In a multicat household, it’s a good idea to offer a variety of scratchers...
Growing up, my grandfather had a basset hound named Chloe. Chloe loved naps. She loved food. She was overweight.
My grandfather loved that dog—and his way of showing his love was to feed her. In fact, he regularly took her to McDonalds for six-piece Chicken McNuggets and always made her a hamburger when he was making them for the family.
Most of us have been guilty of similar misguided attempts at showing affection. For our pets, however, the consequences can be serious.
February 20 is Love Your Pet Day. (Yes, I know every day should be Love Your Pet Day.) Here are five ways many pet owners are hurting their pets with the wrong kinds of love.
My grandfather certainly wasn’t alone in showing a pet love by overfeeding.
“It’s a great way for us, we think, to express our love. And we do express love with food, not only in America, but in lots of cultures all over the world,” said Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant, writer, and syndicated radio host of Steve Dale’s Pet World.
Dale recommends being cognizant of your pet’s size—a small amount of food for us is much more for them—and generally avoiding giving your pet human food altogether. Rather than...
When Rosabel, an eight-year-old German shepherd, developed weakness in her rear legs, her concerned owners took her to their veterinarian. X-rays revealed she had a potential slipped disc in her lower back, so Rosabel was referred to a veterinary surgeon for an MRI and back surgery.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance examined 215,000 claims filed between June 2015 and June 2016 to identify the most common reasons our dogs and cats visit the veterinarian.
Top accidents and illnesses for dogs
• Digestive issues
• Skin conditions
• Ear infections
• Eye conditions
• Urinary tract infections
• Cruciate ligament injuries
Top accidents and illness for cats
• Digestive issues
• Urinary tract infections
• Skin conditions
• Kidney disease
• Eye conditions
• Ear infections
• Heart conditions
• Upper respiratory infections
• ADR (ain’t doin’ right)
For more information, visit healthypawspetinsurance.com.
“That dog has lived another three years, walking and comfortable, thanks to having pet insurance,” said Rosabel’s veterinarian, Al Schwartz, DVM, owner of 2016 finalist for AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year, Moorpark Veterinary Hospital, in...
Happy New Year! We hope you and your family and friends—furry and otherwise—enjoyed a relaxing holiday break! As we start a new year, it’s time to shed light on the most common disease occurring in adult dogs and cats, and a problem we see in patients every day at Medical District Veterinary Clinic: gum disease. […]
The post What You Need to Know about Gum Disease appeared first on Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois.
Has your veterinarian recommended adding essential fatty acids to your dog or cat’s diet? While the idea of giving your pet additional fat may seem counterintuitive, essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are energy-rich nutrients that can provide numerous benefits for humans and animals alike.
Good fat vs. bad fat
Healthy dietary fats, or unsaturated fats, are divided into two main groups: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Essential fatty acids fall into the polyunsaturated category. Commonly found in fish and plant-based foods or oils, these are the “good” fats that feed the body’s cells and promote overall health.
Julie Buzby, DVM, CAVCA, CVA, associate veterinarian at Animal Medical Center of the Lowcountry in Beaufort, South Carolina, and member of the Grey Muzzle Organization Advisory Board, is a firm believer in adding fatty acids to a pet’s diet. “The closest thing to a panacea, omega-3 supplements can positively impact every cell in your dog’s body,” she said.
The omega fatty acids family
Omega-3 and omega-6 are part of the essential fatty acids family, and both are vital to a pet’s health and wellbeing. As the name implies, these nutrients are...
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—the season of giving! During the holidays, many people decide to give dogs or cats as gifts, which can be a boon to shelter pets.
“There are millions of animals in need in the United States alone, and choosing to adopt a pet is an incredible gift to not only that animal, but also to your household, for it will never again be short of love and tail wags,” said Tiana Nelson, president and chief operating officer of PawsCo, a nonprofit animal welfare organization based in Denver, Colorado.
Of course, welcoming a new pet into your home is a big commitment—one people aren’t always ready to make. Sadly, animal shelters see an influx of pets after the holidays when people receive them as gifts but are unable or unwilling to care for them, Nelson said. Rather than surprising someone with a pet they might not keep, she recommends visiting a shelter or looking at adoption websites as a family to make the decision together about which pet to bring home.
“Wrapping a note or animal supplies and then making the gift ‘Let’s pick out a new pet together’ is another way to bring an animal in need into the family,” she said. “Consider visiting your local...
January is Walk Your Pet Month, a great time to get outside and exercise with your pup. But what if your dog needs space from other dogs or people? Don’t resort to walking your dog at midnight. With patience, ongoing training, and expert advice, you can successfully manage your dog’s leash reactivity.
“It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the information circulating out there about what to do with your reactive dog and how best to help them improve,” said Scott Raymond, MS, CPDT-KA, a certified professional dog trainer with Synergy Behavior Solutions in Portland, Oregon.
Misleading information can also result in the development of even more significant behavioral issues, he said.
“Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to punish a dog to make them act better,” Raymond said. “Having a consistent management plan and a solid rewards-based approach to training can help a lot.”
According to animal behaviorist, ethologist, and adjunct professor in zoology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB, it is important to gain confidence walking your reactive dog to build resilience—the process of adapting well in the face of significant stress.
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...
Sabina Jennings had a special relationship with her cat, Gemma.
“I adopted her in 2004. The shelter said she was about a year old. I saw her markings and took her out, and she was friendly and responded to touch, and I knew she was the one,” she said.
Jennings had just moved into her first apartment and was ready for a feline companion. That companionship lasted more than 12 years, until Gemma, who Jennings refers to as her “first born,” passed away in October 2016.
“She left a big hole in my heart. She was there through so many difficult times in my life. She had a sixth sense and knew to be with me when I was breaking down,” Jennings said.
The bond between Jennings and Gemma wasn’t unlike the bond many pet owners share with their pets. And, as the human-animal bond grows stronger, more pet owners are looking for ways to make it last as long as possible.
That’s why the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) teamed up with the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) to create the AAHA/IAAHPC End-of-Life Care Guidelines.
Heather Loenser, DVM, AAHA’s veterinary advisor for professional and public affairs, said these new guidelines will...
I’m lucky to have been a pet writer for nearly a decade. I regularly interview veterinarians for articles, and while I’m typically impressed by their knowledge of medicine, I’ve also been amazed by how generously they give back to their local communities. I’ve spoken with veterinary teams who give free exams to service and police dogs, offer low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to local animal shelters, lead free educational workshops, and sponsor walk-a-thons to raise money for canine cancer research.
So I wasn’t surprised—although still moved—to learn about the support veterinarians give to Pets of the Homeless, a Nevada-based nonprofit that provides pet food and mobile veterinary services to low-income and homeless people across the country.
In partnership with Pets of the Homeless, veterinarians and volunteers have treated over 13,000 animals. Typically, these pop-up wellness clinics include vaccinations, physical exams, and treatment for minor injuries or illnesses. If a pet needs emergency care, such as surgery in an animal hospital, Pets of the Homeless has a program to help defray costs of that treatment, while veterinarians provide deep discounts for the procedure.
Thanksgiving has come and gone. The temperatures are now consistently low enough to bother the non-native Chicagoans. Bears fans are looking forward to the next NFL draft. And holiday music is leaking out of every single possible speaker, phone, and computer screen. That means it’s time for us to be the sobering voice of reason […]
The post Your Holiday Pet-Safety Checklist appeared first on Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois.
Dear Friends, As some of you may have heard, as of December 9, Veterinary Specialty Center will no longer be providing emergency and specialty services at the location next door to Medical District Veterinary Clinic. While we have enjoyed a working relationship with VSC at Illinois over the past four years, the change does allow us […]
The post Medical District Veterinary Clinic Is Growing appeared first on Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois.
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.