I will be bringing a lot of useful and helpful information to share with you, after the conference.
To be the Best of the Best, as we are, we never stop learning and improving!
Liz Schneider, Owner
I once went to a pet vist for two dogs and were warned by the Owners that..."the dogs will bark and growl, but he won't bite you, he just wants to be pet." Well, I got bit twice. I have studied and worked with dogs, just like this little guy, for about 10 years. Any Veterinarian or Trainer will tell you that barking, growling and showing his teeth is NOT a sign that he wants to be pet or played with at all; that he is having fear and anxiety at that very moment.
ALWAYS keep in mind that what might seem scary to a dog will feel normal to us. Respect how that dog feels. When I was very young, there was a family member that used to "tease me" when he caught a roach and I was terrified of them! He would then pretend to throw it at me and I would scream out of shear terror and run as fast as I could. Picking up the roach, to that guy, was no big deal, but for me it was scary and cruel. Have you ever walked your dog and he saw a Halloween decoration in a yard and backed away from it, barked or growled at it...that is fear to them but normal to us. Sometimes dogs will see just some litter on the ground and react the same way...fear for them but normal for us.
There are several ways that I have shown my staff and owners on how to manage a situation like this when you walk in the front door and some of them are:
1. START BY understand that you are entering the DOG'S home, probably for the first time and he doesn't know you. His [distressful] barking or growling likely means he being anxious and fearful. Fearful and anxious dogs will bark, back up, growl, show their teeth and not let you touch them or maybe even try to nip at you. Dogs that aren't socialized correctly will usually have this before to new people walking THEIR home. That being said, NEVER try to touch, pet or stick your hand out when a dog is clearly distressed and do NOT bend over his head. Always have bite size treats with you when you go to a fearful dog's home.
2. Always Assess First before walking further into the house: Is the dog's tail wagging while he is barking or is his tail stiff and he is growling and showing his teeth? Is he moving closer to you to smell you while he is barking or is he backing away due to fear, continuing to bark? If the tail is wagging, that is a good sign and means that he is a little nervous because he doesn't know you. If he is reacting more viciously that is called a REACTIVE dog and he is scared and doesn't know what to do.
3. So the first method: Show the dog that you respect his space and it's his house. I always talk calmly to the dog, let him sniff me and literally ask him, "can I come into your house?" or "show me your toys? It sounds ridiulous but the tone of my voice and my body language can be calming and most times I can walk past him, but follow through with taking him outside, seeing his toys or taking him for a walk. But if is still showing signs of anxiety or fear, just go about your business WITHOUT MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH THE FEARFUL DOG. Let him hear your voice and speak as calmly and friendly and always mention the dog's name. If he follows you to go outside to potty in the yard or preparing his food, etc., give him a little treat for every calm and positive effort that he is making.
4. Second method: If you CANNOT get past him (likely a bigger dog), then you stay at the entrance of the home and wait till he can calm down. Once he calms down a bit, lower yourself to his eye level but not close in front of his face; that takes away the fear of you towering over him which can be intimidating for any dog just meeting you and it keeps you from possibly getting bit in the face. Keep avoiding eye contact, which is a trigger and can cause a dog to take that as a challenge. While lowering yourself to the ground, don't make any gestures or try to touch him or bend over his head. Let him calm down even more and he should start to sniff you. If he doesn't, go to #5.
5. Another method is to lower yourself to the ground slowly BUT turn your back on the dog. Turning your back on him removes eye contact, your arms are in front of you and away from the dog and you aren't trying to engage with the dog in any way. That removes some immediate fear right away. Every fearful dog whereby I use this technique, has always slowly approached me (feeling safer w/my back turned) and starts to sniff all around my back, my hair, then my shoulders and neck while you just stay still and talk to him calmly mentioning his name. If you happen to have a small treat (not a large one), slightly hold it out with your arms extended, still with your back to the dog. Let him take the treat and that will be one sign, to him, that you are not there to hurt him. If he is calmer, then slowly try to stand back up.
6. After he has settled down more, don't move around the house in a rush, as that couldl trigger the dog that something might be wrong and he likely will return to being anxious. Just move about the house calmly, go to the back door and let them outside to potty. If you're taking him on a walk, put the leash on the floor, with a treat, and use the word "walk" or "outside" to elicit some sort of response, from him that he wants to go for a walk with you.
WRAPPING THIS ARTICLE UP, LET ME SAY;
Knowing canine body language is very important. All dogs have fears and triggers; it's so important to discover what they are in an effort to help them. Sometimes it may appear that he is fearful or aggressive when he actually is in pain somewhere. SO BEFORE AN OWNER ATTEMPTS THESE STEPS, FIRST RULE OUT, WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN, THAT HE IS OKAY. So many times the owners thank me because their Vet said that he had something in his paw, his arthritis was worse or he had a virus. It could easily be so many things that aren't easily recognizable to us. So always rule out pain first with your Vet.
Experts say that walking or taking them out to a dog park, a run on the levee, dog play dates or even Petco to smell all of the goodies, are all great ways to provide your dog with different stimuli and experiences [adventures] that will provide him fun, exercise and socialization. How will a fearful or aggressive dog ever learn that poeple are okay and safe if they never meet them? So it is SO IMPORTANT to provide these adventures for your dog to give him confidence rather than fear, enrichment rather than living only within the house and backyard.
We definitely get it; your life is busy with work, cooking, laundry, homework, baseball or soccer practice, school events, etc., THAT IS WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR...to make YOUR life a little easier and to provide your dog enriching experiences and you will find a happier, calmer and better behaved dog for your family to enjoy.
Written by Liz Schneider,
Owner of Nonie's Pet Care
I am going to attach an article from the Anti-Cruelty Society, 2022. that addresses determining your dog's triggers and then how to deal with them.
Finding your dog’s trigger(s):
It’s crucial to always be aware of your dog's behavior and to take note of the things she is afraid of, aka her “triggers”. Along with noting what her triggers are, observe the amount of the scary thing she can handle before behaving in a fearful manner. This is called her threshold. It is important to never exceed your dog’s threshold throughout the training process.
Managing your dog’s trigger(s):
Once you have determined her triggers and threshold, create a plan to limit her exposure to these things. When you’re training her, it’s important that you don’t scare her more.
In most cases, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid every trigger. Make sure to have a “Plan B” in case you aren’t able to avoid a trigger, such as taking a U-turn on a walk or crossing the street. Be sure to always have treats on you to reward your dog for moving away from the scary thing!
Reintroducing triggers through positive reinforcement:
Introduce your dog to the things that scare her slowly, gradually, and in a controlled environment. To prevent your dog from being more afraid, it’s incredibly important not to rush this process and never to force your dog into a situation where she is scared. Remaining calm throughout this process is also key. Use calming gestures such as stroking her head and talking to her in a soft tone of voice to help ease your dog’s anxiety and fear.
Start off by introducing the scary thing to your dog at a distance and rewarding her with lots of treats and praise when she does not show signs of fear. This will teach her to associate yummy treats with the scary object. If at any point she does start showing signs of fear, take a break and calm her down by softly petting her. Start again from the last point when you succeeded and go even slower.
For example, if your dog is afraid of strollers, feed your dog a treat every time she sees a stroller, even if it’s from a distance. Soon enough, your dog will start associating the stroller with treats and be less fearful of them.
Common Cat Diseases, from ASPCA
As a cat parent, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of common illnesses so you can seek veterinary help for your feline friend in a timely manner if necessary. Read on for information about diseases and other medical inflictions that frequently impact cats.
CancerCancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow uncontrollably, invade surrounding tissue and may spread to other areas of the body. As with people, cats can get various kinds of cancer. The disease can be localized (confined to one area, like a tumor) or generalized (spread throughout the body).
Diabetes in cats is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a cat eats, her digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose—which is carried into her cells by insulin. When a cat does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, her blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a cat.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may not show symptoms until years after the initial infection occurred. Although the virus is slow-acting, a cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections. Infected cats receiving supportive medical care and kept in a stress-free, indoor environment can live relatively comfortable lives for months to years before the disease reaches its chronic stages.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FelV)
First discovered in the 1960s, feline leukemia virus is a transmittable RNA retrovirus that can severely inhibit a cat’s immune system. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed causes of disease and death in domestic cats. Because the virus doesn’t always manifest symptoms right away, any new cat entering a household—and any sick cat—should be tested for FeLV.
Spread by infected mosquitoes, heartworm is increasingly being recognized as an underlying cause of health problems in domestic cats. Cats are an atypical host for heartworms. Despite its name, heartworm primarily causes lung disease in cats. It is an important concern for any cat owner living in areas densely populated by mosquitoes, and prevention should be discussed with a veterinarian.
Many pet parents eagerly open their windows to enjoy the weather during the summer months. Unfortunately, unscreened windows pose a real danger to cats, who fall out of them so often that the veterinary profession has a name for the complaint—High-Rise Syndrome. Falls can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises—and even death.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats, dogs and humans. This preventable disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii. There’s good reason that the very word “rabies” evokes fear in people—once symptoms appear, rabies is close to 100% fatal.
Although the name suggests otherwise, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm at all—but a fungus that can infect the skin, hair and nails. Not uncommon in cats, this highly contagious disease can lead to patchy, circular areas of hair loss with central red rings. Also known as dermatophytosis, ringworm often spreads to other pets in the household—and to humans, too.
Upper Respiratory Infections
A cat’s upper respiratory tract—the nose, throat and sinus area—is susceptible to infections caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria.
Cats can acquire a variety of intestinal parasites, including some that are commonly referred to as “worms.” Infestations of intestinal worms can cause a variety of symptoms. Sometimes cats demonstrate few to no outward signs of infection, and the infestation can go undetected despite being a potentially serious health problem. Some feline parasitic worms are hazards for human health as well.
Common Types of Worms in Cats
Outdoor cats and those who are routinely exposed to soil where other animals defecate are prone to worms. Kittens and cats who do not receive regular preventative health care are most at risk for developing complications associated with internal parasites.
Symptoms differ depending on the type of parasite and the location of infection, but some common clinical signs include:
Treatment for Worms
Please don’t attempt to treat your pet yourself—your cat should be treated for the specific type of worms he has.
A large number of roundworm eggs can accumulate where cats defecate. People, especially children, who ingest such eggs can develop serious health problems, such as blindness, encephalitis and other organ damage. Treatment of blindness caused by roundworm may involve surgical removal.
Hookworm larvae can penetrate human skin and cause lesions. People can acquire tapeworms through the ingestion of an infected flea, although this is rare.
The Benefits of Walking Your Dog: By Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, CCRP; Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
Another topic that is near and dear to my heart is a family dog whose whole life is inside the house and in the backyard only; the dog that no one has time to walk. We take ourselves out to eat, we go to Saints games, we go shopping and some of us work out; the kids go to baseball games, dance or soccer. Our calendars are so full. But the poor family dog gets sItuck at home.
Think of it this way:
I had a wonderful, local Veterinarian tell me once that walking a dog and letting him sniff all of the smells durg the walk is just like when we scroll through our Facebook page and see who is doing what. For a dog, it is the same thing. I see dogs getting walked every day, but for the 500+ cliets that we have, I worry about the dogs that aren't getting walked, enjoying the exercise, being outside, sniffing the smells and just BEING HAPPY.
NONIE'S HAS A WALKING/PLAYTIME PROGRAM specifically designed for busy families who LOVE their dogs but just don't have the time to give their dog a good 30 minute walk a day, or maybe 3 times a week. We also have a one-hour visit that inludes a 30 min long walk and then we play fetch with the Dog Nerf Ball Launcher [fetch] that the dogs just LOVE! The younger dogs need to burn off that energy and the older dogs need that exercise to keep arthritis pain at bay as long as possible. We also have special slower dog walks aroud the neighborhood for the senior dogs and we let them call the shots, they lead the way and tell us when they have had enough. And don't get me started on WEIGHT MANAGEMENT and HEART DISEASE. We take our dogs to the Vet for check ups or when they get sick, but more walking, playtime and exercise will keep the those Vet bills few and far between.
BELOW IS AN ARTICLE THAT I AM SHARING WRITTEN BY TWO VETERINARIANS WHO EXPLAIN HOW IMPORTANT WALKING REALLY IS.
When you say, “It’s time to walk the dog,” many people assume that your pup needs to go do his “business”. Yes, walking the dog is essential to keeping the household carpet unblemished, but taking a stroll with your pooch provides many other benefits.
How does walking keep my dog healthy?Walking your dog is a simple task that has a positive impact on many aspects of overall health such as:
Weight and Body Condition. Obesity is a major health issue, but barring medical complications, it has a reasonable solution: burn more calories than consumed. Regular exercise, like walking, is a good way to burn those excess calories and keep the pounds off – for both you and your dog.
Joint Health. Immobility is another common health problem. Joints, even old ones, need to work. People and pets get stiff when sedentary for too long, and keeping joints in motion improves their function.
Digestive and Urinary Health. Regular walking helps regulate the digestive tract. Some dogs, like some people, prefer to “go” on a schedule, and providing your dog with routine trips outdoors prevents constipation. Also, when urine sits in the bladder for long periods of time, bladder infections are more likely to occur, so regular emptying keeps this part of the anatomy happy as well.
Of course, it is important to consult your doctor and your veterinarian before embarking on an exercise program.
Can’t my dog get all of those benefits with a good run around the yard?There are plenty of benefits to walking that go beyond physical health including:
Mental Health. Dogs do not like to be bored and if you give them something constructive to do, like taking a walk, they may be less likely to do something destructive, like chewing the couch. Walking exercises the mind as well as the body. Watching wildlife, exploring new paths, seeing other people with their pets, and so on, are great mental stimulation for your dog that he just cannot get in the same fenced area all the time. Walking also releases excess energy and helps dogs sleep better at night.
Emotional Health. You are the center of your dog’s universe and he craves your attention. What better way to spend quality time with your dog than taking a walk? Spending one-on-one time with your dog will deepen your bond and help deter annoying, attention- seeking behaviors such as excessive barking or whining.
Personal Health. Many people need outside motivation to work out, and may depend on an exercise buddy to get them off the couch. What happens when your exercise partner gets stuck at work or stuck in traffic or has another commitment? Your dog is only committed to one thing… you! That makes him the perfect exercise partner. He is always available and willing to accompany you on a walk.
Dog walkers: healthier people with healthier dogs
As you can see, regular walking has health benefits for both you and your dog and will help prevent obesity, which is a significant problem in both species. Nearly 75% of Americans are overweight and childhood obesity is on the rise (close to 20%). In a 2008 study based in Seattle and Baltimore, adults who regularly walked their dogs were less likely to be obese than their non dog-owning neighbors. In addition, walking for 30 minutes a day will reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer, and type-2 diabetes.
"It is estimated that about 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight and 25-30% of dogs are obese."Canine obesity is a problem, too. It is estimated that about 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight and 25-30% of dogs are obese. The fact is, obese dogs do not live as long as lean dogs. Plus, they suffer more heart problems and joint ailments that affect their quality of life. While it is true that dogs may exercise themselves if left in a fenced-in yard, like us, they have a tendency to plop down in the shade instead of romping, especially if there is no one to play with. However, if given the chance, they will gladly go for a walk with their owners!
How much should we walk?
According to the World Health Organization, children 5-17 years old should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous (aerobic) exercise every day. Adults 18-64 years old should engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week and engage in strengthening exercises at least twice weekly. Seniors over 65 should also participate in moderate exercise 5 days a week, engage in strengthening exercise 2 or more days a week, and add flexibility and balance routines at least 3 days a week.
Walking your dog is a great start to fulfilling these recommendations for you and your family, and leads to a healthy, happier dog!
How do we get started?
Many people make a New Year’s resolution to exercise. What can you do to stick to your resolution? Make a reasonable exercise plan that does not overwhelm you by including your best exercise buddy. Formulating a reasonable walking schedule that does not over tax your body or crowd your busy schedule will help you stay on target and including your dog will motivate you to get going.
"Keep the routine interesting by walking in different areas that provide visual interest for both you and your dog."Start out slowly by taking a few 10 minute practice walks around the neighborhood. When you – and your dog – are ready, increase the time and distance. Try to walk for a total of 30 minutes each day – it doesn’t have to be all in one outing. You can take a 10 minute walk in the morning before work and add a 20 minute stroll when you get home. On weekends, you can vary the routine, perhaps doing three 10 minute sessions. Regardless of the schedule, strive for 30 minutes of daily exercise.
Keep the routine interesting by walking in different areas that provide visual interest for both you and your dog. Or substitute a game of fetch or a romp in the park if you feel up to it. The goal is to make exercise a priority that holds a scheduled spot in each day so that you feel less likely to avoid your plan. It will not take long for your dog to get used to the routine and he may remind you when it is time to exercise. That is just one reason why canines are great exercise companions!
Dog owners who like to mark their progress can download a walking calendar or exercise app or use one of an electronic tracking device that record daily steps and caloric history (calories consumed vs. burned). Sometimes seeing the numbers provides additional motivation to walk a little further or validates your efforts when you reach your goal.
Rewarding your efforts
Some humans like to be rewarded for their workout efforts, so they grab a cookie or have a beer after exercising. After walking your dog, you may find his grateful, calorie-free affection is all the reward you need. And your dog will feel the same way! A simple stroll is a great way to say, “I love you!”
Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, CCRP; Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
Have you ever sat back in your chair, at work, looked at the files on your desk, your laptop open to speadsheets and emails that you don't want to open. You look around the office at all of the tops of your co-worker's heads in their cubicles doing the same thing that you are. Maybe you're near a window and you stare outside while contemplating where you are in your life. Is this all there is for me? Fulfilling my job description for that paycheck to be auto-deposited into my account twice a month. Then what? If you tell me that it's never happened to you, I don't believe you.
It happened to me more than a few times during my life in corporate America. Then one day, I came home from work, opened the door and my two wonderful best friends came running to me, racing to see who would get to me first. They were so excited to see me and I them. Tory, my lab mix that I rescued from the Waveland Animal Shelter. Tory was used as a bait dog for dog fights. And Reggie, my Rottweiller mix that was so loyal, protective and affectionate. Other than food and water, what else do you really need?
Fast forward to having my own company, doing what I truly love and being surrounded by people that love animals as much as I do. I have trained, studied, webinars, Zoom Conferences all to be fully prepared for this and to make absolutely sure that my company will deliver the elite standard of care to your pets and provide you with the peace of mind while you are away.
But let's stop for a minute and let's remember all of the work that goes into owning and caring for a pet. You know how much work it is. Walking, feeding, brushing, bathing, vaccinations, muddy paws, flea control, chewing up shoes, blankets and pillows, just to name a few things. So when our day starts, every morning, my teams are at multiple houses from Lakeview to River Ridge handling all of those things and more. Washing their bowls to remove any bacteria so they won't get stomach aches, giving them fresh food and water, picking up piles of poop in the backyard or while we are walking your dog. We are cleaning out litterboxes and cleaning up all of the scattered litter outside of the box as well, keeping your house clean. We are cleaning out bird cages and making sure their living area is clean with fresh food and water. Then we go to the next house and do it all over again, and then the next house and so on and so forth. So by the end of the day, which ends around 8:30 pm for us, we smell like a dirty dog towel, we've walked probably 4-5 miles and probably have a scratch or a bruise or two from a cat or an excited dog. We then slide into a hot bath and soak our aching muscles. BUT we're on our cell phones texting each other sharing stories about "how much fun Lucy had on her walk today" or "how excited we were to see Fluffy the cat finally come out to see us and let us pet him" or even "Guido the guinea pig trusted us enough today to take the treat from our hands." Those moments, for us, are special wins in our day that leave us with a smile on our face and a full heart as we fall asleep. It is what gets us up each morning and we do it all over again.
We know that these pets miss their families when they are gone. But it is our goal, to not only care for them in our signature-special way, but to bond with them and make sure that they are happy and having fun when we are there. Remember when I mentioned coming home and having my two best friends race to greet me at the door? Well, they both have passed away from cancer recently. But for all of us, when we connect with your pet, they learn that we are there for just THEM ONLY; and when they run to the door to greet us when we arrive, it's that same feeling.
I sit at my desk in the office sometimes and I just smile and enjoy listening to the girls share their stories with each other about what pets they get to see today. I am so blessed to have a wonderful staff that shares the gratification and love for our client's pets and I know as they leave and get into their cars, with keys and lockboxes, that there will be some happy and excited pets today when we walk through your door.
God has truly blessed me and I will continue to honor his blessing by making sure that ALL of our clients and their pets are well taken care of and happy with our service. My door is always open for any body that would like to join our team or join our family of amazing clients.
Author, By Liz Schneider, Founder & Owner of Nonie's Pet Care, January 22, 2023
6 Tips to Improve Your Aging Dogs Life, Article from the National Association of Pet Sitters
Watching your dog slow down as they age can be difficult. No matter how lively and active your dog is, they will inevitably experience a decline in activity as they age. However, there are several ways to ensure your senior dog stays comfortable and maximize its quality of life.
The Difference Between a Senior and a Geriatric Dog
There is an important distinction to be made between senior dogs and geriatric dogs. Senior dogs are in the early part of the aging process, though the exact timing of this phase depends on the dog’s breed. Generally, dogs are considered to be senior once they reach 75 percent of their expected lifespan.
During this phase, dogs can typically continue to live their lives as normal with very few changes. Sometimes, dogs will show no signs of aging during the senior phase, while in other circumstances, they may show minor signs like reduced mobility.
As dogs begin nearing the end of their lives, they can lose some of their normal function beyond minor mobility issues. Once a dog advances to this point, they are considered geriatric. Geriatric dogs require significant adjustments to support mobility and feeding.
Make Proper Dietary Adjustments
As a dog ages, their dietary needs change. In many cases, owners of both senior and geriatric dogs will need to make some dietary adjustments to keep their pets healthy.
One of the primary dietary considerations for aging dogs is obesity. According to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half of all dogs in the United States are obese or overweight. This is especially common in elderly dogs since they have reduced caloric needs and lower activity levels.
If an owner continues to feed an older dog the same way as when they were younger, the dog can quickly gain weight. This excess size can lead to many health problems in older dogs, so you may need to gradually reduce the amount of pet food your dog consumes each meal. Veterinarians often recommend a 20-30 percent reduction in caloric intake.
Another aspect to consider is your dog’s dental health. If your dog’s teeth are deteriorating, you can feed them specially-formulated cooked dog food, which tastes great and is easier to chew than other high-protein dog food. Before making changes, consult your veterinarian for advice.
Commit to Regular Vet Appointments
While regular visits to the veterinarian are essential for a dog of any age, older dogs require more professional attention than younger dogs. Even if your dog is not showing any signs of disease or ailments, your vet can perform tests to detect underlying issues and start early treatment. This can have a significant impact on your dog's health outcomes.
VCA Animal Hospitals recommends that owners of aging dogs take the following measures:
Manage Chronic Pain
Elderly dogs often suffer from chronic pain due to ailments like arthritis. Some signs that your dog is suffering from chronic pain include:
Commonly prescribed canine pain management medications include:
Continue Regular Exercise
Even in dogs with chronic pain or mobility issues, it is vital to continue to exercise your dog. The intensity and duration of this exercise will depend on your dog’s mobility and pain levels.
For example, a dog with no chronic pain can continue to exercise with relatively high intensity, while a dog with severe mobility and pain issues may need to reduce the intensity and frequency of their exercise significantly. Talk with your vet to develop exercise ideas that will not aggravate any pre-existing issues your dog may suffer.
Some exercise options for dogs with chronic pain include:
An often-overlooked part of maintaining an elderly dog’s health is their mental engagement. As dogs age, their cognition can begin to deteriorate. Fortunately, you can prevent cognitive decline with enrichment activities. Enrichment activities are mini-games or activities your dog can engage in to maintain cognition. Some examples of these activities include:
Adjust Your Home for Accessibility
If your dog has reduced mobility or chronic pain, you should make accommodations in your home for them. Depending on your dog’s mobility level, you can make a variety of adjustments to make their lives easier, including:
Support Your Aging Dog
As your dog ages, it is crucial to make adjustments to your home and their routine to accommodate their changing mobility and metabolic needs. Simple changes like adding ramps to get on the sofa or in the car or providing alternative activities to keep them stimulated can significantly enhance their quality of life in their later years.
NONIE'S PERSONAL COMMENT [NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABOVE ARTICLE], as an elderly dog suffers with arthritis, sore joints, hip problems, I recommend providing your elderly or geriatric dog with an elevated feeding station. It can really be uncomfortable for the to have to bend down to the floor to eat or drink. IN fact, due to this discomfort, you might find your elderly dog reduce his eating habits.
Which type of dog collar is best for your dog? Article by: The Humane Society of the United States
Every dog needs a collar, chiefly because they need something on which to hang their leash, license, ID and rabies vaccination tag.
There are so many styles of collar out there that it's easy to get one that reflects your dog's (or your) personality—but collars serve purposes beyond identification and decoration and not all kinds of collars are appropriate for all, or even any, dogs.
This is the standard collar for dogs. It has a buckle or plastic snap ("quick-release") closure and a ring for attaching identification tags and leash and is available in many colors and designs. A flat collar should fit comfortably on your dog's neck; it should not be so tight as to choke your dog nor so loose that they can slip out of it. The rule of thumb says you should be able to get two fingers underneath the collar.
The martingale collar is also known as a limited-slip collar. This collar is designed for dogs with narrow heads such as Greyhounds, Salukis, Whippets and other sighthounds. It is also useful for a dog of any breed who is adept at slipping out of their collar or for fearful dogs who may try to retreat while out on a walk. A martingale collar is a must-have for anxious and fearful dogs.
The martingale consists of a length of material with a metal ring at each end. A separate loop of material passes through the two rings. The leash attaches to a ring on this loop. When your dog tries to back out of the martingale, the collar tightens around their neck. If the collar is properly adjusted, it will tighten just to the size of your dog's neck, without choking them. This is the most humane collar option for dogs who may slip out of their collars.
The head collar is similar in principle to a horse's halter. One strap of the collar fits around your dog's neck and sits high on the head, just behind the ears. The other strap forms a loop around your dog's muzzle. The leash attaches to the ring at the bottom of the muzzle loop.
The head collar is good for strong, energetic dogs who may jump and/or pull. Because the halter is around your dog's muzzle, instead of their neck, your dog loses a great deal of leverage and they are unable to pull on the leash with the full weight of their body.
To be effective, the head collar must be properly fitted. As with any training equipment, the head halter is not intended to be used in a jerking or yanking fashion but rather to gently steer your dog in the direction you need them to go. Some manufacturers include instructions and a DVD with the collar. Otherwise, ask your dog trainer or a knowledgeable sales clerk for assistance with fitting. Proper fit and use should minimize the risk of injury to your dog.
It may take some time, patience and lots of treats to get your dog accustomed to wearing a head collar. Put it on them for short periods while giving your dog lots of high-value treats until your dog is comfortable in the collar. Then they should only wear it when you are taking them out on a leash. Don't leave the head collar on your dog all the time; eventually they will manage to pull off the muzzle loop and use it as their chew toy!
Aversive collars, or collars that rely on physical discomfort or even pain to teach a dog what not to do, are not a humane option. While they may suppress the unwanted behavior, they don't teach the dog what the proper behavior is and they can create anxiety and fear, which can lead to aggression. Positive reinforcement training methods—ones that use rewards—are more effective and strengthen the relationship between you and your dog.
Choke chain collars
As the name implies, this collar is made of metal links and is designed to control your dog by tightening around your dog's neck, an often painful and inhumane training tool. Unlike the martingale collar, there is no way to control how much the choke chain tightens, so it's possible to choke or strangle your dog. It can also cause other problems, such as injuries to the trachea and esophagus, injuries to blood vessels in the eyes, neck sprains, nerve damage, fainting, transient paralysis and even death. It is very easy to misuse choke chains and with all the humane, effective collars on the market, choke chains are unnecessary and should not be used.
Prong or pinch collars
The prong or pinch collar is similar in design to the martingale. However, the control loop that the leash is attached to is made of chain. The loop that fits around your dog's neck is made of a series of fang-shaped metal links, or prongs, with blunted points. When the control loop is pulled, the prongs pinch the loose skin of your dog's neck. Similar to choke chains, these collars can be easily misused and should not be used.
Shock collars use electric current passing through metal contact points on the collar to give your dog an electric signal. This electric signal can range from a mild tickling sensation to a painful shock. Shock collars may be sold as training devices, although more and more companies are pulling them from the shelves. They are also used with pet containment (electronic fencing) systems. Shock collars are often misused and can create fear, anxiety and aggression in your dog toward you or other animals. While they may suppress unwanted behavior, they do not teach a dog what you would like them to do instead and therefore should not be used.
Electronic fencing uses shock collars to deliver a shock when the dog approaches the boundaries of the "fenced" area. Typically, the shock is preceded by a tone to warn the dog they are about to get shocked. While the dog will be shocked if they run out through the electronic fence, they will also be shocked when they re-enter, leading to dogs who are unlikely to return home.
During the holidays, plants play a prominent role in festive decorations. However, there are some types of decorative plants that are toxic to dogs and cats. In some cases, only mild indigestion and discomfort will result; in other cases, the toxicity can lead to more severe health problems, and even fatalities.
If you are planning to bring holiday foliage into your home this season, you will need to know which plants are safe, which should be kept out of your pet’s reach, and which should be avoided entirely.
Poinsettia PlantsA lot of people have been led to believe that the poinsettia plant is deadly for pets and children, but this is actually an unlikely occurrence.
The poinsettia plant’s brightly colored leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals and children won’t eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.
However, if the plant has been treated with a pesticide, your pet could be at risk of becoming ill from ingesting the pesticide. The size of your pet and the amount of ingested plant material will be the determining factors for the severity of the poisoning. Young animals—puppies and kittens—are at the highest risk.
Severe reactions to the plant or to the pesticide it has been treated with include seizures, coma, and in some cases, death. That being said, it is still best to keep poinsettias out of reach of pets.
Holly and Mistletoe
Holly and mistletoe are also popular holiday plants. These plants, along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Symptoms of illness form ingesting these plants include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling and abdominal pain.
Mistletoe contains multiple substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats, including toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin (lectins, phoratoxins). It’s well-known for causing severe intestinal upset as well as a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems and even hallucinations (showing up as unusual behavior).
If a large enough amount of these plants are ingested, seizures and death may follow.
The leaves and berries of holly and mistletoe plants, even the dried plants, should be kept well out of your pet's reach, or better yet, kept out of the home altogether.
Lilies and Daffodils
Both popular gift items at this time of year, the lily and daffodil can be toxic to pets.
In cats, Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies are the most dangerous. Eating even a small amount of the plant will have a severe impact on a cat's system, causing severe symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia and convulsions.
Daffodils are also toxic to both dogs and cats. The bulbs are the most toxic; however, even a few bites of the flower can cause kidney failure and even death in cats.
Any lilies and daffodils you buy or receive as gifts might be better used for decorating your desk at work to keep your pet safe (unless there are pets in the office).
Amaryllis (Belladonna)The beauty of the flowering Amaryllis is only matched by its toxicity. The Amaryllis contains lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite and abdominal pain), lethargy and tremors in both cats and dogs.
The bulb of the plant is reputed to be even more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.
The Amaryllis also goes by other names, including Belladonna, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna and Naked Lady. Amaryllis, by any name, should be kept out of the house.
Fortunately, the Christmas Cactus (or its relative, the Easter Cactus) plant is not toxic to dogs in either its parts or flowers. The same applies for cats. However, fibrous plant material can cause irritation to the stomach and intestine, leading to vomiting or diarrhea. Curious cats and dogs, especially kitt
The Christmas Tree
There are other dangers to consider with the Christmas tree that go beyond lights and ornaments.
The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet's mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and punctures.
Additionally, the water used to nourish Christmas trees can be noxious. Bacteria, molds and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps of water. Keep the water covered and blocked off to prevent pets from accessing it.
Curious cats may climb the tree and/or knock the tree over, injuring themselves and damaging heirloom ornaments. Best practice is to keep your Christmas tree blocked off and out of reach of your cats.
Playing It Safe
If you do choose to bring any of these plants into your home, be very careful about where you are placing them. Cats especially need to be considered, since they can jump to high shelves.
If your cat is a known plant chewer, you will probably be better off choosing artificial plants over the real things.
But if your dog or cat does manage to ingest any part of these holiday plants, call your veterinarian or poison control immediately to find out what you should do to minimize the damage.
The phone number for the ASPCA Poison Control is 1-888-426-4435, 24 hours a day.
The holiday season brings potential dangers for our pets, but with a little effort, you can keep them safe.
Steroid Induced Diabetes In Cats
Author: Ann Staub, Vet Tech & Pet Blogger, Pawsitively Pets!
Diabetes mellitus is a common medical condition that can affect cats. Some cats just have the right genes for it. Others may be at risk due to their weight and diet. But were you aware that cats can actually come down with diabetes after receiving steroid treatments?
There are many cats out there who are plagued with itchy skin due to allergies. Many vets today are more cautious with their use of steroids in feline patients, but sometimes they may feel that steroids are necessary. In a cat with horribly itchy skin, a steroid injection could be recommended for relief.
One method of treatment is an injection called Depo medrol which is a steroid injection with effects that last a few weeks. If your cat is already at risk for diabetes, a steroid treatment like this could give them that push over the edge and some become diabetic after the injection. Repeated long-term use of steroids in cats also puts them at more risk of becoming diabetic.
Steroids also have a number of side effects on cats. Increased urination, thirst, and hunger are a few. Steroids raise a cat's blood glucose levels. These are some of the side effects of diabetes mellitus as well. Diabetes is not caused by the steroids alone, but is more like a "side effect" of the drug.
Fortunately, steroid induced diabetes in cats can go away in time with treatment, but this is not always the case. After the cat has been weaned slowly off of the steroids, given an insulin regimen, and started to eat a proper diet, it is possible for the diabetes to go away all together. The patient will need to return to his or her veterinarian for regular check ups and blood tests to regulate how their treatment is going.
Of course, a cat who is diagnosed with diabetes should not receive steroids. Taking steroids will make it difficult, if not impossible, to treat diabetes in cats. Cats with allergies should seek different treatment options to help their itchy skin.
Always keep a cat with severe skin allergies on a flea prevention. Even one bite from a flea can cause a severe reaction in cats with allergies. Try a hypo-allergenic diet with a novel protein and less grains. This may also help with your cat's diabetes.
I don't think that it is wrong to have your cat treated with steroids when it is needed, but you should keep in mind that steroids can have unwanted side effects. I treated my own cat with steroid injections and pills for asthma and oral ulcers on several occasions. It may be easy to tell the vet that you just want to get a shot and stop your cat's itching, but it might not be in their best interest over time. A quick and easy fix is not always the best answer.
I am inspired to write this by one of my favorite cat patients. He had steroid induced diabetes and severe skin allergies. Unfortunately, his steroid induced diabetes did not go away with time and treatment. His family eventually decided to let him cross over the rainbow bridge due to his poor quality of life. I don't typically become very attached to patients, but this cat was one that I will never forget and his story has always stuck with me.
Top 5 Common Pet Owner Mistakes, Written by: Jessica Vogelsang, DVM PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 19, 2012
Pets Aren't Always Fun and Games
By Jessica Vogelsang, DVM
Pets can present a variety of challenges, even to the best prepared of owners. Here are our picks for the 5 common pet owner mistakes that may be making your life challenging. Let us know if anything sounds familiar?
1. 'He’s Not Fat, He’s Big Boned'Actually, he probably is overweight or obese, along with more than half of pets in American households. Because the majority of dogs and cats are packing on extra pounds these days, our minds are fooled into thinking this is normal. Your veterinarian can assess your pet with an objective tool such as the Healthy Weight Protocol to give you an accurate idea of what your pet’s weight should be, as well as a specific diet plan to get you to that healthy goal.
2. 'I Only Go to the Vet When My Pet is Sick'Animals are tremendous masters of disguise; they don’t want to inconvenience us by letting us know they feel poorly. Usually by the time owners notice signs of illness, a pet has been sick for quite some time. Annual preventive care exams at the veterinarian allow you to catch diseases like arthritis and renal disease much earlier in the process, saving you money, and your pet pain and stress.
3. 'The Store Employee Told Me to Change Pet Food'Choosing a pet food can be confusing. Meanwhile, the person at the pet food store, convincing as they may be, doesn’t know your pet’s medical history the way your vet does. If your veterinarian recommends a specific diet for your pet, there’s usually an excellent reason. Diet plays a key role in your pet’s health, so make sure to include their number one health advocate in that decision.
4. 'Don't Be Scared; Give Him a Cookie'When a pet is exhibiting a fearful behavior, such as growling or snapping, it can be tempting to try and calm them down with attention. But rewarding a fearful pet with hugs and consolation can actually worsen the behavior by reinforcing it. If this behavior worsens over time, a pet might actually wind up in a shelter, and aggressive pets have lower chances of being adopted. If your pet shows any signs of fear or aggression, talk to a certified trainer, your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist ASAP!
5. 'My Dog Doesn’t Need a Leash, He's Trained'It’s important to be a good dog ambassador by obeying local dog ordinances about leashes and cleaning up after your pup. If you live in an area where leashes are required by law, you should obey that law without fail. Many people — and even some dogs — are frightened of other dogs, and they can be very distressed by being approached by any canine. Many cities and towns have designated areas where dogs can run off leash, so if your dog is feeling the call of the wild, find a dog park and let loose.