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Training Your Pet

Once you have decided to make a new pet a part of your family, the first concern you should have is with making them comfortable. After your pet has settled into your home, a good next step would be to think about training which can help to ensure that the behaviors they exhibit are primarily desirable ones.


Training your Dog

Whilst dogs have earned a reputation as ‘man’s best friend’ thanks to their loyal and affectionate nature, they can sometimes possess frustrating habits or personality traits that make them difficult to live with, just like their human counterparts.

Training your dog will be hugely beneficial for your dog to learn to live harmoniously alongside his human family. It will strengthen his bond with your family and ensure his safety when out and about.

What is the best method to train my dog?

There are many different schools of thought concerning how to best train a dog. Some owners prefer strict training with punishments for non-compliance, whilst others prefer to praise positive behavior and ignore undesirable reactions. Studies have shown that as a general rule, the latter method works best, but however you decide to train your dog, you will need to consistently control the consequences of your dogs’ behavior in order for the training to be effective.

Since dogs cannot relate events that are separated by time, the consequences to negative behavior need to be immediate. Just as you cannot praise your dog several minutes after returning to you when called since he will not understand why he is receiving it. The easiest way to train a dog is to reward the behaviors that you like and not those that you don’t.

  • If your dog likes the reward you give them, they will be more likely to repeat that behavior so they can receive it again i.e. love, attention, and praise.

  • If they dislike the consequences, then they will do the behavior less often.


It really is that simple, but being consistent is vital to a successful training plan, otherwise, you will send mixed messages to your pet. For example, if you do not want your pet to jump on you (which they do to get your attention) then ignore them until they calm down. Once they have calmed down, be sure to praise and make a fuss over them. This will help them to learn that this is the way that you prefer them to behave. It may take several days or weeks of doing this, but your dog will soon learn the correct behavior to exhibit.


Pet Obesity

We are constantly being told that obesity levels are increasing worldwide and that we should act now in order to ensure our long term health. However, this problem doesn't just affect humans. A shocking statistic from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.
(Source: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2015)

Just like humans, pets who are overweight are at increased risk for a number of health problems including but not limited to:
 

  • Cranial cruciate ligament injury

  • Decreased life expectancy by up to 2.5 years

  • Heart and respiratory disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

  • Kidney disease

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Varying forms of cancer


Pet Loss Support

Letting children, especially young children, and pets, especially new ones, play can be a little nerve-wracking. The foremost worry is for the safety of the children, of course — it's more likely that an animal would physically hurt a child than the other way around. Unfortunately, kids can hurt pets too, and what's more, they can antagonize a pet to the point the animal will act out.

This is mostly due to two factors. First, children are still growing, learning, and testing boundaries, coupled with still learning how to verbalize their thoughts and needs. Second, pets can't verbalize at all, making it more difficult for them to communicate when they don't like something, want certain behaviors to stop, or are hurting. As a parent, you need to step in and fill this fundamental gap and help them understand each other.


Ensure new pets like kids

Keep in mind that some animals simply aren't comfortable around children, and that's okay. When adopting a new pet, especially if it's older, make sure to talk to the shelter or rescue organization staff to make sure the animal is safe to live with kids. Similarly, if you already have kids and kid-friendly pets but are ready to adopt a new pet, make sure to ask if the animal is also comfortable with other animals. Bringing a pet into a home where it's uncomfortable will only make them more and more stressed, and thus more likely to hurt someone.


Microchipping

Did you know that despite doing all we can to keep our pets safe, approximately one in three pets in the United States will become lost at some point during their lifetime? This is a scenario that no owner wants to think about, but by understanding that it is something that does happen, we can be better prepared. One of the best ways of doing this is by microchipping your pet.
 

Why should I microchip my pet?

 

Many owners are quite content with using collars and tags as identification for their beloved animal. While microchipping isn’t intended to replace this traditional and highly successful practice, it can complement it. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected under your pet’s skin. Once inserted, it is impossible to locate exactly where they are, which makes them tamper-proof and accident-proof. While conventional tags and collars can be removed by thieves or can fall off, microchipping is permanent. 

Studies have shown that microchipping is also a much more effective and efficient way of reuniting pets with their owners. Since many animals look alike, ownership disputes are a fairly common occurrence in neighborhoods where there are a number of pets of the same type and breed. However, microchipping can also prove invaluable when it comes to proving who the rightful owner of your pet is. While having your details on the chip is not proof of ownership, disputes nearly always go the way of the person who is registered with the microchip provider.


How to Bath your Cat and Survive Scratch-Free!

We all know that most cats like water as much as we like receiving a letter from the IRS! While they may spend hours grooming themselves to perfection, there are some circumstances where it may be necessary to perform a thorough cleaning of your feline friend which usually makes bathing them unavoidable.

Cats can find being bathed extremely stressful which makes them far more likely to become defensive or even aggressive, causing them to hiss, raise their fur and even lash out at you. However, with some preparation and patience, you can bathe your cat and survive scratch-free. The secret to this involves not so much a bath, but a shower instead!
 

Get Organized

Just like bathing a baby; bathing a cat requires everything that you need to be within arm’s reach.

You should have:

  • A shower or bath with a handheld showerhead.

  • Several towels to clean her off and help her dry.

  • Specialty cat shampoo and conditioner which is available from most pet stores. Additionally, your veterinarian will be able to tell you if there is a particular type that would be best for your feline friend. Just remember, you should never use human shampoo or conditioner as is has a different PH level to the sort suitable for cats and could damage your pet’s hair or skin.
     

Pre-bathing Prep

Before you begin, you should brush your cat to remove any knots or tangles, particularly if she is a long-haired breed. Set the water temperature to warm and have it running through the showerhead at a medium level spray.


Poison Guide: What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

Despite how careful we try to be regarding toxic substances, there are still thousands of pets every year who unfortunately suffer from the accidental ingestion of harmful substances, many of which are household poisons. Poisoning can cause extreme health problems and even death, but these can be prevented by understanding which common household toxins may harm your pet and how to poison-proof your home. This guide will also explain some of the symptoms you should look out for and what you should do if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance.
 

Most Common Poisons

We have taken information from the Pet Poison Helpline website to bring you information on some of the most common poisons for cats and dogs. Please be aware that these lists are in no specific order and the toxicity levels for these poisons are variable.

Top Ten most commonly reported cat poisons:

  1. Topical spot-on insecticides
  2. Household cleaners
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Lilies
  5. Insoluble oxalate plants
  6. Human and veterinary NSAIDS
  7. Cold and flu medication (e.g. Tylenol)
  8. Glow sticks
  9. ADHD/ADD medications and amphetamines
  10. Mouse and rat poison
     

Top Ten most commonly reported dog poisons:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Mouse and rat poisons
  3. Vitamins and minerals
  4. NSAIDS
  5. Cardiac medications
  6. Cold and allergy medications
  7. Antidepressants
  8. Xylitol
  9. Acetaminophen
  10. Caffeine pills


Plants that are poisonous to pets

Although there are thousands of species of plants, there are a few that are highly toxic to pets.
This list represents some of the most poisonous plants to pets.

  1. Autumn Crocus
  2. Azalea
  3. Cyclamen
  4. Kalanchoe
  5. Lilies
  6. Oleander
  7. Dieffenbachia
  8. Daffodils
  9. Lily of the Valley
  10. Sago Palm
  11. Tulips
  12. Hyacinths

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