Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Winter Skin & Paw Care Tips

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. Says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, “During the winter, products used as de-icers on sidewalks and other areas can lead to trouble for our animal companions, potentially causing problems ranging from sore feet to internal toxicity. Pet parents should take precautions to minimize their furry friends' exposure to such agents.” To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s paws and skin, please heed the following advice from our experts:

· Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes. · Trim long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. (Don’t neglect the hair between the toes!)

· Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

· Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

 · Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry. · Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible. · Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt and chemical agents. And moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.

· Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation, improving the skin’s overall condition.

· Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her well-hydrated, and her skin less dry.

· Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when the mercury drops.

 SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/top-ten-winter-skin-paw-care-tips

Thursday, September 25, 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.

Source: http://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/dog_care/behavior/barking_and_growling.aspx

Thursday, August 7, 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. 

Source: http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/labor-day-pet-safety-tips

Friday, July 11, 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.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter Safety for Pets

During the Easter season, it’s important to make sure that your pets are safe. Many popular Easter decorations and themes can be dangerous for our pets, including the ever-popular Easter lilies and the plastic green Easter grass that often fills Easter baskets.

If you are stuffing Easter baskets this year, we highly recommend avoiding this plastic grass. It can cause extreme problems if it is swallowed by your pet, including intestinal obstruction, and it can be fatal. There are a number of safer options available, including paper Easter grass, which will be a lot safer if your pet gets into it.

Easter lilies, one of the prettiest springtime flowers available, are unfortunately both appealing and toxic to cats and other pets. We recommend keeping the Easter lily out of your home if you have an adventurous kitty that likes to get into things, as this is the best way to keep them safe.

If you have any concerns about your pet’s safety or have seen them consume something not meant for consumption, please contact us right away. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about this. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today is 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.