Pets and Pee Pads: A Conundrum

Pet pee pads may not be the most glamorous thing to have around the house, but they can be indispensable when it comes to housetraining a puppy or a newly adopted adult dog. Although they can be helpful in many circumstances, care and planning should be used to avoid pet pee pads from becoming a crutch and thwarting long-term housetraining.

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center explores the pros and cons of using pet pee pads. 

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What to Expect When a Pet Goes Blind

A close-up of a blind brindle dog

Blindness is not uncommon in cats and especially in dogs. Blindness can occur rapidly, as with an injury, or over time when a pet develops macular degeneration. Since, like us, sight is a necessity for navigating the world, when a pet goes blind it can be frightening and can create several situations that will need to be changed in order for them to cope.

The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care wants to explain why some pets go blind, what you can do about it, and how to help a blind pet thrive despite their obstacles.

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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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During Street Fest, Keeping Dogs Safe in Crowds Is Key

During Davenport Street Fest, Keeping Dogs Safe in Crowds Is KeyIt’s that time of year again! Davenport’s beloved Street Fest 2018 is officially underway July 27-28th, and we couldn’t be more excited. Whether you partake in the food, music, gorgeous arts and crafts booths, or come down to celebrate the final day of RAGBRAI (which concludes right here in Davenport this year), it’s sure to be a fun event.

Bringing dogs to Street Fest is a tradition for many pet owners, but the crowds, noise, heat, and other factors can quickly turn a fun event into a disaster if you aren’t prepared. If you are considering bringing a four-legged companion to Street Fest this year, we offer you the following tips and tricks for keeping dogs safe in crowds… Continue…

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…

Animal Family’s Easy Guide to House Breaking your Puppy

 When it comes to puppy training consistency is the key.

 

  • Always use the same door to take your puppy outside to eliminate. 

 

  • Take him or her to the same area.  Hopefully once that area smells like urine and stool their sense of smell will help stimulate them to eliminate.

 

  • Go out with them, so you can praise while they are going and give a treat right afterwards.  Don’t give them their treat once they are in the house.  If you do,  you praised them for is coming back in, not going potty outdoors.

 

  • Always use the same word for elimination, Start talking as soon as you take them out of the kennel and continue until you get to the designated place outside.  Choose a word.  It can be “go potty”, “do your business” or any other phrase that works for both you and your puppy.

 

  • If your puppy starts going to the door on his or her own, ask them to let you know it’s time to go out.  An easy way to do this is to hang a bell by your door.  You can teach the pup to touch the bell or simply reward them when they do it inadvertently. 

 

  • If your puppy goes outside and doesn’t get down to business (within 5 minutes or so) bring them back indoors and put them in their kennel (yes I do recommend crates or kennels).  Wait about 15-20 minutes and try again.  Make a big deal about it when they go outside (“YEH!!! GOOD PUPPY, GOOD JOB….LOOK HOW SMART YOU ARE!!!!!”)  Go ahead and give a treat as well. (Remember,  give the treat while they are outside.)

 

  • Anytime your puppy has been playing for more the 30 minutes go outside again…… Puppies can’t engage in more than  30-50  minutes of active play without needing to eliminate!

 

  • Puppy stays in the kennel when you can’t give them 100 %  of your attention!!!! That way they can’t sneak off into another room.  Use it like a play pen or crib for babies .  As they get better, try using the kennel less and less. 

 

  •  If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clean it up thoroughly and be more vigilant.  The fewer mistakes your puppy makes indoors the faster he or she will learn.  No corrections unless you catch them in the act.  If you see your pup going potty in the house, startle and redirect.  Yell, shake a penny can or throw a toy towards them and then quickly take them to their designated area outdoors.  Spankings just scare and confuse the puppy.

 

  • Repeat as needed for good house breaking…. If you put all of your work in at the beginning you and Rover WILL SUCCEED! 

 

  •  House breaking is easier in the winter.  I find that you and your dog spend very little time outside, so the puppy really learns what you want.  Whereas in the summer, when both people and pets want to spend a lot of time outside,  puppy can potty any time and may have a much harder time understanding the actual mission.  Still if you are consistent you will get the job done.

How to Keep Your Pet Exercised in the Winter Months

AAHA Pets’ Matter is a great source of information on pet health.  This week we’d like to share their tips for keeping your dog healthy and active in the winter months.  Just click on the link below.

AAHA Pet’s Matter

Have a wonderful and safe New Year!

Making Veterinary Visits Better for Your Dog

We have all seen owners and/or trainers who have taught their dog, bird, horse or cat to do amazing things.  Birds with huge vocabularies, bike riding dogs and dancing horses.  So how hard should it really be to teach our dog to tolerate a visit to the vet??  If you’re willing to invest a little time, you can train your dog to be a happier patient.

It’s all about practice, practice, practice.

  • The first place your new puppy should visit is the veterinary office. The very first visit should just be to say hello and get some treats. Use the second visit to make sure they are healthy…
  • Get your puppy used to having his/her feet handled at home. Start by holding a paw then move on to grasping a toenail. Even if you never plan on clipping nails at home, get your pup accustomed to the clipper around their feet.  Remember to use lots of treats and praise! 
  • Teach your puppy how to take pills before they actually need to.  Have your puppy sit sideways next to you or on your lap if they are small.  Place one hand around the top jaw with your thumb and middle finger behind the canines.  Use your other thumb and forefinger to gently open the lower jaw.  Now just place a small treat or piece of cheese in the mouth on the tongue.  Do this a few times and you shouldn’t have any trouble when the time to actually medicate comes along. Today there are even specially made products to hide pills in that most dogs love!
  • Handle your puppy’s ears, clean the area around their eyes, lift their tail and run your hands along their abdomen. Desensitizing your pup to handling is one of the kindest things you can do for them.
  • Teach your dog to stand quietly.  Much of a veterinary exam is done with the pet standing.  If your dog is accustomed to standing calmly beforehand the stress level will go way down.  Again, use treats and gentle praise to let your dog know they are doing the correct thing.
  • Teach your dog to walk on a leash.  If your dog is out of control in the waiting area things will only go downhill in the exam room.
  • Once your pet is protected by vaccines, schedule a puppy class and/or doggie daycare. A well socialized dog is a stable dog.  
  • It’s OK to bring something from home. A toy or blanket work fine.  The familiar odor of home is calming.
  • If you‘re nervous your dog will be too.  Whatever you feel telegraphs directly to your pet.  Some people can’t actually be in the room with their dog.  That’s OK.  Just don’t let your limitations make things more difficult for your pet.
  •  If your dog acts up on the exam table please don’t stroke them and tell them everything will be OK.  Even though it seems reasonable to you it is actually rewarding negative behavior.  Remember your dog has no idea what you are saying he just knows he’s getting good feedback so his bad behavior must be fine with you.
  • When you’re done with your visit take your dog for a short walk around the outside of the clinic before you get in the car.  This will allow them to relax at the clinic not in the car as they are leaving.
  • Finally, don’t let going to the vet be the only time your dog gets in the car.  Make sure to take lots of fun rides as well where you can both relax and enjoy yourselves.

Davenport, Iowa Veterinary Clinic Lists 10 Reasons People Take Pets to the Humane Society.

 

According to the ASPCA, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.” 

That is a really sad statistic.  We work closely with many of our local shelters at Animal Family and are always surprised at the quality of the pets we see.  These animals are neither worthless nor dangerous.  In fact, often the opposite is true.  Many are pure bred and almost all are loving, healthy animals who through no fault of their own end up homeless.

The 10 most common reasons owners give when surrendering a pet at the Humane Society of Scott County are:

  1. The owner is moving and is not able to take their pet with them
  2. The pet is too active for the owner to handle.
  3. The owner does not have enough time to devote to pet care
  4. The owner has encountered problems with housebreaking
  5. The animal is too expensive to care for.
  6. The animal is too young, too old or has developed health issues.
  7. The owner or a family member is allergic to the pet.
  8. The pet does not get along with another animal in the household.
  9. The pet belonged to a child who no longer lives in the home.
  10. The pet has become pregnant

Do you see a common thread among many of the reasons for pet relinquishment listed above?   How many of these problems could be avoided by a little research and planning before acquiring a pet.  For all the information on specific breeds that is available, it seems that people still jump into pet ownership on impulse.

So, please, before you bring a pet into your life, do your research. Think about your lifestyle, future plans, and overall health.  How busy are you?  Can you even afford a pet at this time?  Do you have the time or interest for training, walks and general health and coat care.  Don’t pick your pet based on looks.  Don’t assume you have to have a puppy and never, ever give a pet as a gift without a thorough discussion with the prospective new owner first.

Next week, we will go over what you need to think about before you add a new pet to your family.