Hypoallergenic Dogs: Too Good To Be True? 

If you’re a pet lover who has allergies, we understand the sneezing, watery eyes, and coughing that might accompany being in the presence of dogs. You may have heard about “hypoallergenic dogs” that don’t cause allergic symptoms. But it’s not quite that simple. 

Keep reading as Animal Family Veterinary Care explores the hype around hypoallergenic dogs.

Is the Science Real?

The allergic response in humans is due to a protein found in dog (and cat) dander and saliva. Dander is attached to pet hair, so the more a pet sheds, the more dander can be found in the home, and the worse an allergy might be. 

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Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, and Protecting Your Pet

After a record-breaking wet and wild spring across Iowa, it seems as if we are on-track to see two dangerous pet illnesses become the rising stars of summer: Lyme disease and Leptospirosis.

But these are not the kind of stars your dog wants to dance with. Both Lyme and Lepto can pose a serious, if not fatal, risk to your pet’s health. Luckily, there are preventive measures you can take to protect your four-legged friend from contracting these illnesses.

What do you know about Lyme disease and Leptospirosis? Read on to find out more about what these diseases are and how you can protect your pet this season and in the years to come.

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Understanding Fatal Canine Bloat

Every dog owner wants to ensure their best friend enjoys the longest, healthiest life possible. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as through disease prevention, balanced nutrition, and daily exercise.

However, even the most proactive and engaged owner can’t always prevent accidental injury or illness. For example, canine bloat, a life-threatening pet emergency, is a risk to all dogs.

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Leaving Your Dog Home Alone: How Long Is Too Long?

We don’t call dogs our best friends for nothing. They enjoy our company and are hardwired to protect us, work for us, and be our companions. In a perfect world we’d spend all day with our dogs, but for most of us this just isn’t a possibility.

Leaving your dog home alone doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet owner. Fortunately there are some great ways to enrich your dog’s life (and keep your house intact) while you’re away from home.

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Exciting Endeavors: Caring for Your New Puppy

new puppyThere is nothing more exciting than bringing home a new puppy, and experiencing all the love and joy they will add to your family. Owning a puppy isn’t all fun and games, however. By putting a little time, energy, and planning into puppy care, you can ensure that you’ll have a best friend for life.

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center shares our best tips and ideas for caring for your new puppy. We’re excited to be a part of your pet care family, and looking forward to setting you and your puppy on the road to lifelong health and happiness together.

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Beyond Fresh Breath: Why Pet Home Dental Care Is So Important

pet home dental careMost pet owners are familiar with the unpleasant (or downright foul) stench of doggie or kitty breath, but did you know that bad breath can indicate less-than-stellar dental health for a pet? Studies show that 85% of adult pets have some form of dental disease, and the bacteria found in plaque and tartar can have a negative impact on the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.

When it comes to pets, a healthy mouth is paramount to a healthy body. You can help your furry friend achieve optimal oral health through a commitment to pet home dental care, and your team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center can get you started.

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Dog Friendly Businesses Near and Far

dog friendly placesWe live in a world of animal lovers – and dog owners never miss a chance to take their favorite pooches with them wherever they go. Fortunately, many business and public places are embracing our canine companions by providing dog friendly spaces for well-behaved Fidos.

If you plan on sipping a cold brew on a dog-welcoming patio, playing fetch at a local dog park, or going for a walk downtown with your four-legged, here are some tips to help you find those great dog friendly spots.

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Socialization or How to Raise a Good Dog

cute bulldog puppy

 

We love spring at Animal Family. It’s not just the warm weather either. It’s the appearance of all those cuddly puppies we see every year.   After all, what’s much more adorable than a 7 week old puppy? The owners are great too. Generally kind and caring people who want to do everything they can to give their new friend the best possible start in life.  That includes socialization.

This is the time when we talk about core vaccinations, worming and getting puppies on parasite preventatives. We go over food choices and house training. We also discuss socialization. Our owners are encouraged to enroll in puppy classes and maybe Camp Canine as well. All of this is great but is it enough?

When it comes to socialization, the answer is no. Developing a healthy, well rounded dog is long term commitment.

Are there perfect dogs? Are some dogs born unsocial? Much like people, dogs are born with predispositions for shyness, reactivity, fear and other traits. Still, even the best dog can be improved and poorly socialized dogs are not always a lost cause. Nurture can influence nature. That’s why careful, ongoing socialization is so important.

Socialization begins the moment a puppy is born. Littermate interaction teaches canine social skills while handling and controlled exposure to stress by a knowledgeable breeder helps make puppies even more stable and accustomed to human interaction.

Puppies need to see as many different types, races and ages of people as possible. They need to be exposed a wide variety of objects too. Show them everything from umbrellas to hats to cars, bells, livestock and bunnies. Don’t put the dog away when there is company. Have them meet everyone but try to keep it as nonfrightening as possible.

As soon as it’s safe, dogs really need to meet other species as well. Cats, rabbits, rats, horses, llamas and everything else that’s not poisonous. Be sure supervise to keep interactions safe but the more new things the better.

Remember, that even if your dog did well as a puppy they can develop problems as a young adult if they end up confined to the backyard at 5 months. A well rounded dog needs continued trips to dog parks, day camps and additional training. If you walk your dog, try taking a different route every time. Bring along a bag of treats and have helpful souls feed your dog so new people are associated with good things.

Even if your dog doesn’t go to camp, bring them with you to pick up food or medications. They enjoy seeing us when we give them a treat instead of a vaccination.

Remember your reaction can influence any canine to canine meeting. Please, don’t let the end of a tight leash be the way you introduce your pet to other animals. Try using a head halter (Gentle Leader) instead of a regular collar during walks. They discourage straining forward which can lead to excitement and aggressive behavior.

If your dog barks or growls, don’t punish them. It’s not the end of the world. Get some distance from the other dog and distract yours with a treat.   The next time may go better. It can take time. Remember that even if you all you achieve is a dog who can pass another animal and ignore them that’s still great!

If your dog is able to do well at the dog park or day camp, even better. Just make sure you use a camp that temperament tests and groups dogs by activity level and sociability.

Finally, before you bring home a new puppy, research breeds and what their original use was. Compare and contrast breed traits with your personality and lifestyle. Recognize that there are variations within the breeds. There are aggressive Golden Retrievers and there are bully breeds that love every little creature, right down to tiny hamsters. Don’t forget to look closely at who you get your pup from. Puppy mills do not socialize.

So what if you do everything right and your dog still becomes, fearful, aggressive or overly anxious? It’s not hopeless. Consult with your veterinarian and have them recommend a trained animal behaviorist who can help you achieve a healthier pet.

Canine Careers:  Working Dogs and Their Jobs

Young Girl Being Visited In Hospital By Therapy DogIf you are like most adults, you probably punch the clock in one form or another. Working can be a pain, but it brings us a source of income, a feeling of fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. Believe it or not, many of our canine friends are no different. Keep reading to learn more about working dogs and what type of jobs they have beyond being loyal friends.

Working Dogs Who Help the Public

Public service is a place where our working dogs excel. They are a natural at many of the jobs asked of them. Dogs who work in the public sector may work with the military or law enforcement and often specialize in particular areas such as: Continue…

A Walk in the Park: Creating a Safe and Enjoyable Dog Park Experience

Funny catchingDog parks can present several benefits for our canine companions. From opportunities to socialize to essential mental and physical engagement, our dogs thoroughly enjoy those daily or weekly dog park excursions. But, there is a caveat: dog parks can also be sources of dog fights and irresponsibility on the part of pet owners.

Whether you’re new to the dog park routine or are simply looking for some tips to make your dog’s social experiences more enjoyable, we will cover some dog park basics that are often overlooked or ignored. Continue…