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Easter, The Only Time It’s Okay To Put All Your Eggs in One Basket😜
Easter Pet Safety Tips Sweets: Chocolates are one of the most-well known toxins to pets. It contains Theobromine which can affect the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Be sure to keep all candy out of reach from your pet. Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol is a common sugar substitute found in products such as sugar-free gum, sugar-free and low carb diabetic candies, and sugar-free baked goods. A small amount can be toxic to dog.
Signs of toxicity in dogs:
-Death Lilies: Lilies are extremely toxic to all pets, especially cats. Ingestion of this toxin results in renal (kidney) failure within 24-48 hours. The best preventative is to not have these plants in the house with your pets. Easter Grass: The plastic Easter grass found in Easter baskets is appealing to pets, and can cause a life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction which can require surgery to resolve. Keep Easter grass out of reach of all pets while in the house and dispose of used grass in a pet-proof container.
As Positive as I have wanted this year to be, I have tone be honest and say it’s been a tough. The 2nd half of last year, I lost two relatives that were very close to me. I found comfort in their passing, because both of the relatives had lived such long productive. And they were constantly with family and surrounded by family during their passing. I was heartbroken but I was able to get closer quickly because they both left this world they way wanted. And they had the most valuable thing on this earth, family and love.
I promised myself to make sure to make this year productive and happy. Most people that know me, knows I myself have dealt with all my life with an Immune disorder called Lupus or SLE. I don’t worry about myself. I’ve been to hell and back with this illness. Yet I believe I am one of the more fortunate ones out of those that suffer thru illness. This year I’m completely out of remission. I’ve been seriousl you depressed. But out of everything in this world that can keep a smile on my face and make me feel so loved really are my pets. Yes I have family that love me unconditionally . It’s just a difference when it’s your own pets. They are naive, highly spirited, love unconditionally. There’s never been a day that passed that I did giggle( and hard) over some of the craziest things they do. Ask me what I value the most in this world, the love of my pets is obviously way up there.
Well, on August 25, 2016 , my favorite baby girl , LoLa Bella, died all of the sudden. The night before death, she looked up at me and because she is always happy, I didn’t picked up on the reason she stared at me so long and lovingly. She slept in my arms the entire night that night. I got up rhat morning to get ready for work, then I heard a thump. It was my LoLa Bella. She had fallen on the floor and couldn’t. It scared me, I didn’t even finish getting dressed. I just picked her up and ran to Veterinarian. I was crying, fluttered and rushing and asking her ” please let mommy know you’re OK.
I felt liquid water run down my legs as I’m driving quickly to vet. I’m begging p,ease don’t die on me. When we got ,the doctor took her immediately. And he looked scared and told me, she died. I stood there completely in shock and begged to please resuscitate her. And he is trying to say he can’t. I thought it was a bad dream and I was trying to wake up. That never came. This was real life. He examined her and realize she was ill. I said but Imy her mom. I should know when she gets ill. And that is when he tried to me about an illness in pets called Acute Hemolytic Anemia. I’m shocked and for someone that has been in Pharmaceuticals for years, his words sounded foreign. I broke down and cried., cried and cried. I’m asking how did this happen,? No one has ever mentionedone, she had a disorder. She at the vet , once a year, and she was only 4 years old. He said an Acute Attack can begin then end a dog’s life within that same 24 hour time. He told me , you would not have ever known.
So after a few days of non crying, I called the vet back and asked him to explain to mexpress, what happened. He said he examined her and could tell by gums this is what killed her.
Matter of fact this is what helse told. Your LoLa had Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. Better known as IAHA. Itso a disease that can lie dormant in the body, and then suddenly attack the red blood cells. You know , like Lupus. He says her body attacked itself and it is hard to save the animal, because it eats away at the red blood cells quickly. Also, the acute IMHA will kill them in 24 hours quick. That is why LOLa Bella died so quickly. He also says some dogs are saved because they may have had the slower version of the illness. However, even the dogs whose body is attacked at a slower the rate, still dies. He told me there was no way you have noticed . Only unless your in medicine. I would not have caught the red because you wouldn’t know what to look for. But if they have very pale white gums, it’s a big red sign, and you would need to bring the pet in right away.
When that conversation ended, I broke down crying for hours. I couldn’t work , eat, or control the fact that I literally cried for two weeks. I really thought this nightmare would end. Well it didn’t. After two weeks of non stop crying , I decided to research this illness, and find a support group to deal with it. This has happened to so many pet owners. The strangest thing, though is when I’m sick,( I am dealing with Lupus and R.A.), my pets in some forms is going thru the same as myself. I’ve been extremely anemic and getting weekly blood transfusions and iron infusion. I would have gladly given my medicine to my LoLa.
So what is IMHA (IMMUNE MEDIATED HEMOLYTIC ANEMIA) ?
The red blood cells serve the crucial function of carrying oxygen to the cells in the body and picking up carbon dioxide.Anemia is a condition that arises when the number of red blood cells falls below normal values, or the red blood cells function improperly. There are many diseases and conditions that can cause anemia in dogs. A low red blood cell count can be the result of blood loss, the destruction of the red blood cells, or an inadequate production of new red blood cells.
When your dog has IMHA, it means his immune system destroys its own red blood cells. Your dog’s body still produces red blood cells in the bone marrow to replace the destroyed cells, but once they are released into circulation, the immune system mistakenly recognizes them as something foreign, like a virus or infection, and destroys them. This condition is also referred to as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA)
There are two forms of IMHA: primary (or idiopathic), and secondary IMHA.
With primary IMHA, your dog’s immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that attack its own red blood cells. This is the most common cause of anemia in dogs.With secondary IMHA, the surface of your dog’s red blood cells is modified by an underlying disease process, drug, or toxin. Your dog’s immune system identifies the modified red blood cells as something foreign and destroys them. When too many red blood cells are destroyed and not replaced quickly enough by bone marrow, the patient becomes anemic. Secondary IMHA can be triggered by a variety of conditions, such as:
These symptoms can vary from dog to dog and depend upon the underlying cause of IMHA. In some situations (mild or early IMHA), your dog may present no signs at all!
When a dog is anemic, it is important to identify the underlying cause. Your veterinarian may recommend particular tests, depending on your pet’s symptoms and history. These tests may include:
A complete blood count to identify if your dog is anemic, and, if so, to determine whether or not his body is responding to
the anemia by producing new red blood cells
A reticulocyte count to identify if your dog’s body is responding to the anemia by making new red blood cells
A blood film to look for parasites and blood cell characteristics
Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels
Electrolyte tests to ensure your dog isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance
Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other disease, and to evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine
Fecal analysis to evaluate for intestinal parasites
Patient-side screening for vector-borne disease
Specialized tests that can help identify underlying infectious disease (e.g., various titers, PCR testing)
Treatment of IMHA depends on the severity of the condition. Your veterinarian will determine whether your dog needs intensive care or can be treated as an outpatient. Treatment often includes a variety of drugs and close monitoring of your pet’s vital signs and laboratory values. With secondary IMHA, treatment of the underlying cause is critical for recovery. Your veterinarian will recommend blood and other diagnostic tests including radiographs and ultrasound to try to determine if your pet’s IMHA is primary or secondary.
Your veterinarian may also recommend you see a specialist to help outline the best treatment plan possible, particularly if your dog requires 24-hour monitoring or specialty testing. The prognosis of a dog diagnosed with IMHA is dependent upon the underlying cause, the severity of disease, and the stage at which the disease is diagnosed. Your veterinarian can best help you understand your pet’s prognosis based on his specific diagnosis, overall health, and history.
Happy New Year Everyone! Anyone else out there has had panic attacks when they see their dog in the cat dish or the cat in the dog food ? I know I’m not the only who has worried if they have messed with their pets’ diet mistakenly. I am a worry wart when it comes to my kiddies. So I was excited when I read this article by Dr. Becker and it brought some relief. I wanted to share these words with you. Dr. Becker is a veterinarian with a wealth of knowledge and writes her own articles. so please enjoy!
Got Cats and Dogs? Do This in a Pinch, But Don’t Make a Habit of It By Dr. Becker
Many pet parents – especially those with both a canine and feline in the family – wonder if there’s really a difference between dog and cat food. This question often comes up when a pet owner runs out of one type of food and wonders if there’s any harm in feeding Fido a little of Fluffy’s food, or vice versa.
Another time the question arises is when a particularly finicky dog turns up his nose at his own meal, but dives head first into the cat’s food bowl.
The answer? Generally speaking, a healthy dog or cat will not suffer one iota from eating a meal intended for the other species. If healthy Fido gobbles up a bowl of cat food while your back is turned, or you need to offer Fluffy some of Fido’s dog food in a pinch, there’s no need for concern.
Obligate Carnivore (Cat) versus Scavenging Carnivore (Dog)
The reason dog food differs from cat food is because each species requires its own nutrient profile for optimal health. Felines and canines are both carnivores (meat eaters), but with a very important distinction. Cats are obligate carnivores, whereas dogs are scavenging carnivores.
The definition of an obligate carnivore:
An obligate carnivore (or true carnivore) is an animal that must eat meat in order to thrive (Syufy 2008). They may eat other foods, such as fruits, honey, grains, and so forth, but meat must be included in their diet.
True carnivores lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter, and, in fact, some carnivorous mammals eat vegetation specifically as an emetic.
The domestic cat is a prime example of an obligate carnivore, as are all of the other felids (Pierson 2008).1
Dogs are scavenging, or facultative carnivores, which in general terms means they are primarily meat-eaters, but can survive on plant material alone if necessary. The key word here is “survive.” To survive is not to thrive. To thrive is to grow vigorously. To survive means simply to stay alive.
One of the arguments for feeding dogs grain or plant-based or even vegetarian diets seems to be the distinction between obligate and scavenging carnivores. It’s assumed, since dogs aren’t strict carnivores like cats are, they can easily transition to a meatless diet. This is a dangerous misconception.
In fact, I often see dogs referred to as omnivores rather than carnivores. I strongly disagree with this assumption. Just because dogs fed plant-based diets are able to stay alive doesn’t make them omnivores. Taxonomically, dogs are in the Order Carnivora and the family Canidae along with other carnivorous mammals.
Cats Have a Unique Requirement for Animal Protein
Cats must eat animal meat and organs to meet their nutritional needs, and plant-based proteins (grains and vegetables) simply aren’t a good substitute. Cats lack the specific enzymes necessary to use plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins.
The proteins derived from animal tissue contain a complete amino acid profile. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Plant-based proteins don’t contain all the amino acids critical for the health of an obligate carnivore.
Humans, who are omnivores, have the physiological ability to turn plant proteins into the missing pieces needed for a complete amino acid profile. To a very limited extent dogs can do this, but a cat’s body isn’t equipped for it whatsoever.
Cats also need much more protein in their diet than other animals. Kittens require 1.5 times more protein than puppies. Adult cats need 2 to 3 times the amount adult dogs require.
One of the reasons for this is because while other mammal species use most of the protein they consume for growth and body maintenance, cats use protein for those purposes and also as a source of energy.
When other species of animals are fed a low-protein diet, their bodies make adjustments to conserve amino acids to manage the deficit. But a cat’s body must continue to use protein even when there’s not enough in the diet, which is why protein malnutrition happens quickly in sick or injured cats, and cats suffering from anorexia.
In addition to their increased need for protein, cats also have a higher requirement for certain specific amino acids found naturally in animal tissue.
One of the amino acids missing in plants is taurine, which is found in animal muscle meat, in particular the heart and liver. Taurine deficiency causes serious health problems in cats, including cardiovascular disease and blindness. Dogs can make their own taurine.
Cats Also Have a Unique Dietary Requirement for Certain Vitamins
Cats evolved hunting a different set of prey species than dogs did, so their dietary requirements are different than dogs. Cats have a special requirement for vitamin A, which is available naturally only in animal tissue. They lack the intestinal enzymes necessary to convert B-carotene in plants to the active form of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for maintenance of vision, growth of bone and muscle, reproduction, and the health of epithelial tissues.
Cats also require 5 times more dietary thiamine (vitamin B1) than dogs do. A thiamine deficiency can result in a poor quality coat, loss of appetite, hunched posture, neurologic problems including seizures, and even death. Unfortunately, thiamine isn’t stable in commercial pet foods and levels drop significantly the longer the food is stored, so many cats may be deficient unless they are eating very fresh food.
Vitamin D is also essential in the diets of all mammals. Cats (and dogs) must consume vitamin D in their diet (they can’t synthesize it through their skin). The liver and fatty tissue of prey animals is rich in vitamin D.
Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that dogs can make themselves, but cats must get from their diet.
Cats Also Need a Moisture-Dense Diet
Another distinctive biological feature of cats is their need to get most of their water intake from the food they eat.
Domestic kitties — who evolved from desert-dwelling ancestors, after all — are not as responsive as other animals to sensations of thirst or dehydration. Unlike dogs who drink frequently from their water bowls, when fed a diet devoid of moisture (e.g., kibble), cats aren’t driven to search for another source of water to make up the difference between what their bodies require and what their diet provides.
This can result in chronic mild dehydration, a condition that will ultimately result in disease, especially of the feline lower urinary tract and kidneys. Species-Appropriate Diets Are the Best Option for Both Dogs and Cats
Obviously, cats can’t thrive on a diet designed for dogs. And while dogs may be able to survive on cat food, it’s certainly not an optimal diet for them.
Diets designed for kitties are significantly higher in calories, protein, and fat than dogs require. A steady diet of cat food fed to even a very healthy dog may ultimately result in an overweight pet who suffers bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, and is at increased risk for pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening.
So as I said earlier, in a pinch, a healthy dog can eat a meal of cat food, or a healthy cat can eat a meal of dog food.
A better option, of course, is to offer your dog or cat species-appropriate safe human food until you can home prepare or purchase more of his regular food.
Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say their dog was “hyperactive” or “ADHD” – I’d be a wealthy woman. In fact, those are clinical terms referring to very specific behavioral disorders (canine and human) that are relatively uncommon in dogs. In reality, most “hyper” dogs are just under-exercised. A couple of days hiking at the Peaceable Paws farm and you’d hardly know them.
Not every dog owner has access to large tracts of acreage upon which to exercise their unruly canines, and in any case, “wild child canine syndrome” (WCCS) is more than just lack of exercise; it’s also lack of appropriate reinforcement for calm behavior – i.e., training. Unfortunately, all too often a dog loses his happy home – maybe even his life, as a result of his high-energy behavior.
We’ve seen several of these WCCS dogs at the training center in recent weeks. One private client decided to return her Shar-Pei-mix to the rescue from whence the pup came. Despite her best intentions and efforts, the client had mobility challenges that made it impossible for her to provide the pup with the exercise and management she needed. As painful as it was for the owner, returning the pup was the right decision.
WCCS dogs often include inappropriate biting in their repertoire of undesirable behaviors. We currently have a temporary foster resident at the training center: a 13-week-old high-energy Jack Russell Terrier who failed his assessment at the shelter for using his mouth in protest when restrained. Little Squid is a perfect example of the kind of dog who needs to learn self-control and the art of being calm.
A successful WCCS behavior modification program contains three elements: physical exercise, management, and training. While any one of these alone can make your high-energy dog easier to live with, apply all three for maximum success. Let’s look at each of these elements in greater detail.
Squid’s day begins with an hour of barn-play while we do chores. He delights in harassing our dogs (and our pig). He gets at least one long hike around the farm per day, preferably two, or even three. He also gets one or more sessions of ball/toy fetch in the training center, and some puppy socialization/play time when there’s a class going on. Finally, he wraps up his day with evening barn chores. Does it tire him out? No. I have yet to see him tired. But it does take the edge off, so that when I work with him to teach calm he is able to focus and participate in the training. The physical exercise sets him up for training success.
Not everyone has an 80-acre farm to play on. If you’re farm-deprived, there are other ways to provide exercise for your WCCS dog. A placid walk or three around the block won’t do it. Nor will leaving him on his own in your fenced backyard. He needs to be actively engaged.
Outings to your local well-run dog park can be a good exercise option. If you don’t have one in your area, invite compatible canines over to play in your dog’s fenced yard. If you don’t have one, invite yourself and your dog over to your dog-friend’s fenced yard for play dates.
Absent any access to a dog-friendly fenced yard, play with your dog on a long line. A 50-foot line gives him a 100-foot stretch to run back and forth and work his jollies off.
Caution: Work up to 50 feet gradually, so he learns where the end of the line is. You don’t want him to blast full-speed to the end of his long line and hurt himself. Also, wear long pants. A high-speed long-line wrapped around bare legs can give you a nasty rope burn.
If none of those work for you, having him wear a pack when you walk him, or even better, pull a cart (which takes significant training), or exercising him (safely) from a bicycle may be options for using up excess energy. If outside exercise is simply out of the question, here are some indoor activities that can help take the edge off:
-Find it. Most dogs love to use their noses. Take advantage of this natural talent by teaching yours the “Find It!” game:
1. Start with a handful of pea-sized tasty treats. Toss one to your left and say “Find it!” Then toss one to your other side and say “Find it!” Do this back and forth a half-dozen times.
2. Then have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash. Walk 10 to 15 feet away and let him see you place a treat on the floor. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.
3. Next, have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash and let him see you “hide” the treat in an easy hiding place: behind a chair leg, under the coffee table, next to the plant stand. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.
4. Again, have your dog sit and wait. This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching. Return to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” Be sure not to help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.
You can repeat the “find it” cue, and indicate the general area, but don’t show him where it is; you want him to have to work to find it.
5. Hide the treats in harder and harder places so he really has to look for them: surfaces off the ground; underneath things; and in containers he can easily open.
6. Finally, put him in another room while you hide treats. Bring him back into the room and tell him to “Find it!” and enjoy watching him work his powerful nose to find the goodies. Once you’ve taught him this step of the game you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house, and then telling him to “Find it!” Nose work is surprisingly tiring.
If you prefer something less challenging, just go back to Step 1 and feed your dog his entire meal by tossing pieces or kibble from one side to the other, farther and farther, with a “Find it!” each time. He’ll get a bunch of exercise just chasing after his dinner!
-Hide And Seek. This is a fun variation of the “Find it” game. Have your dog sit and wait (or have someone hold him) while you go hide yourself in another room of the house. When you’re hidden, call your dog’s name and say “Find me!” Make it easy at first so he can find you quickly and succeed. Reinforce him with whatever he loves best – treats, a game of “tug,” petting and praise, a tossed ball – or a combination of these. Then hide again. As he learns the game, make your hiding places harder and harder, so he has to really search. A trainer friend tells me she has hidden in bathtubs and closets, under beds, and even inside a cedar chest.
-Manners Minder. If you are into higher-tech exercise, use a treat dispenser called the Manners Minder that spits out treats when you push a button on the remote control. A Maryland trainer friend, Elizabeth Adamec of Sweet Wag Dog Training, shared her exercise secret with me for her high-energy adolescent Golden Retriever, Truman. This one is especially useful if you don’t feel like exercising along with your canine pal or can’t, due to physical restrictions of your own:
Teach your dog to use the Manners Minder, by showing him several times that when he hears the beep, a treats fall out of the machine. You can use his own dog food, if he really likes his food.
1. Set the machine a few feet away and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and let him go eat the treats. Repeat several times, encouraging him, if necessary, to go get the treats when he hears the beep.
2. Put the machine across the room, and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and watch him run over and eat the treats. If he’s not doing this with great enthusiasm, repeat Steps 1 and 2 several more times with higher value treats, until he really gets excited about the treats when he hears the beep.
3. Set the machine in the next room, and repeat the exercise several times. Call him back to you each time, so he runs to the Manners Minder when he hears the beep, eats the treat, and runs back to you to wait for the next beep. Gradually move the treat dispenser into rooms farther and farther away from you, until your dog has to run all the way across the house, or even upstairs, when he hears the beep. Now you can sit back with the TV remote in one hand, your dog’s remote in the other, and enjoy your favorite show while canine pal gets exercise and dinner, all at the same time.
There are tons of other ways to provide your dog with indoor exercise. Play tug. Teach him to bowl. Teach him to catch, then repeatedly toss him his ball 10 feet away and have him bring it back to you. Some trainers use treadmills and canine exercise wheels to exercise their dogs. (These must be carefully trained and supervised.) Get creative. Get busy. Have fun. Let the indoor games begin.
Successful positive training, especially for high-energy dogs, relies on the appropriate use of management tools to prevent the dog from practicing – and being reinforced for – undesirable behaviors. In between his many daily exercise and training sessions, Squid is either parked in an exercise pen in the barn tack room (with plenty of bathroom breaks outside), or in an outdoor kennel off the side of the training center.
Here are examples of when to use various management tools for your wild child dog:
Crates and Pens. Use crates and exercise pens when you can’t directly supervise his energy to consistently reinforce appropriate behaviors and prevent reinforcement for inappropriate ones. The best times for the appropriate use of crates and exercise pens include:
–When you can provide adequate exercise and social time in addition to his time in the crate or pen.
–When your dog has been properly introduced to the crate or pen and accepts it as a good place to be. Note: Dogs who suffer from isolation or separation distress or anxiety often do not crate or pen well.
–When you know you’ll be home in a reasonable period of time so you don’t force your dog to soil his den – no longer than one hour more than your pup’s age in months, no more than an outside maximum of eight to nine hours for adult dogs.
Leashes and Tethers. Leashes and tethers are useful for the “umbilical cord” technique of preventing your wild child from being reinforced for unwanted behaviors. With your dog near or attached to you, you can provide constant supervision. Also, with your dog tethered to your side, you should have many opportunities to reinforce him for appropriate behavior.
The leash can be hooked to waist belts that are designed for that purpose, or clipped to your belt or belt-loop with a carabineer. Your WCCS dog can’t zoom around the house if he’s glued to your side.
If inappropriate mouthing behavior is included in his high-energy repertoire, however, this may not be the best choice. Tethers are better for keeping this dog in view, with easy access for reinforcement of calm behavior, while keeping his teeth from your clothing or skin. Appropriate situations for the use of leashes and tethers include:
–For dogs who get into trouble when they are unsupervised.
-Leashed when your activities don’t preclude having a dog connected to you – okay for working on the computer; not okay for working out.
-Tethered when you want to keep your dog near but not directly connected to you, to teach good manners and/or prevent inappropriate behaviors.
Baby Gates and Doors. Baby gates and doors prevent your dog’s access to vulnerable areas when he’s in wild child mode. A baby gate across the nursery door keeps him safely on the other side while you’re changing diapers, but still lets him be part of the “baby experience.” Not to worry if the older kids left their stuffed toys strewn across the bedroom floor; just close the bedroom door when your dog is in a “grab toy and run” mood. The most appropriate uses of baby gates and doors include:
–To prevent your dog’s temporary access to areas during activities you don’t want him to participate in.
–To prevent your dog’s access to areas when you can’t supervise closely enough, to prevent inappropriate behaviors such as counter surfing or getting on forbidden furniture.
The final element of your WCCS behavior modification program is training. The more training you do the easier it is to communicate with your dog. The better he understands you, the more easily he can follow your instructions and requests. With a high-energy dog, in addition to basic good manners training, invest a lot of training time in impulse-control behaviors.
-Click for Calm. Start by simply clicking your dog for calm behavior, beginning with clicks and treats for any pause in the action. One challenge with a high-energy dog is that the instant you try to praise or reward, he’s bouncing off the walls again. With the clicker, an instant of calm elicits a “click” during the calm behavior. Even if the delivery of the treat causes excitement, your dog still understands it was calm that caused the click-and-treat to happen. An added advantage of the clicker: when they hear the click, most dogs pause in anticipation of the coming morsel, drawing out the brief period of relatively calm behavior even longer.
The goal of clicker training is to get your dog to understand that he can make the click happen by offering certain behaviors – in this case, calm. At first you won’t get long, leisurely stretches of calm behavior to click. Begin by giving your dog a click and treat just because all four feet are on the floor at the same instant. Be quick! You want him to understand the behavior he got rewarded for was pausing with all four feet on the floor, so the click needs to happen the instant all four feet are down. If you click late, you may reinforce him for bouncing around – the exact opposite of what you want!
If your timing is good and you click for four-on-the-floor several times in a row he’ll start to stand still deliberately to make the clicker go off. This is one of the most exciting moments in dog training –when your dog realizes he can control the clicker. Your clicker is now a powerful tool; you can reinforce any behavior you want, any time it happens, and your dog will quickly start repeating that behavior for you.
How does “pausing briefly on all four feet” translate into calm? Very gradually. You will “shape” the pause into longer periods of stillness, by extending the time, in milliseconds at first, that he stands still before you click and treat. As he gets better at being calm for longer periods, be sure to reinforce randomly – sometimes for shorter pauses, sometimes longer. Do the same thing with “sit” and “down.” Down is my favorite calm position: the very act of lying down evokes relaxation.
Do several short training sessions every day. You’ll have the most success if you practice “clicking for calm” right after one of your dog’s exercise sessions when he’s tired anyway. When he understands that “calm” is a very rewardable behavior, it will work even when he has more energy.
When your dog will remain still for several seconds at a time, add the verbal cue of your choice, like “Chill out,” that will eventually cue him into calmness. Over time you can phase out the click and treat for calm behavior and use other rewards such as calm praise, a gentle massage, or an invitation to lie quietly next to you on the sofa.
-“Sit” As Default Behavior. “Sit” is one of the first behaviors we teach. Even after the dog knows it well we reinforce “sit” so heavily that it becomes his “default behavior” – what he does when he doesn’t know what else to do. Teach your dog to sit by holding a treat at the end of his nose and moving it slowly back a few inches, clicking and treating when his bottom touches ground.
Alternatively, shape it by clicking and treating for slightly lowered hind end until touchdown, and/or click for offered sits. Then shape longer sits. If he already knows sit, start reinforcing it every time he does it until he sits for anything and nothing. When you have installed “sit” as his default, things like the “Wait” exercises (below) and “Go wild and freeze” (See “More Steps to a Calm Dog,” page 19) happen very easily.
-Wait. “Wait” is especially useful for dogs who are short on impulse control. I teach it using food bowls and doorways. “Wait” then easily generalizes to other situations.
-Wait for Food: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “Wait.” Hold his bowl (with food in it, topped with tasty treats) chest-high, then move it toward the floor 4 to 6 inches. If your dog stays sitting, click and feed him a treat from the bowl as you raise it back up to your chest. If your dog gets up, say “Oops!” and ask him to sit again. If he gets up several times in a row, you’re asking for too much too soon; lower the bowl in smaller increments.
If he remains sitting, lower the bowl 4 to 6 inches again, and click and treat for his continued sitting. Repeat several times until he consistently remains sitting as you lower the bowl. Gradually move the bowl closer to the floor with succeeding repetitions until you can place it on the floor without your dog getting up. Finally, place the bowl on the floor and tell him to eat. After he’s had a few bites, lift the bowl up and try again. Repeat these steps until you can easily place the bowl on the floor and he doesn’t move until you give him permission.
Caution: If your dog guards resources such as his food bowl, consult with a qualified positive behavior professional before trying this exercise.
-Wait at the Door: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “wait.” Reach for the doorknob. If he doesn’t move, click and treat. Repeat this step several times. Then jiggle the doorknob. Click and reward him for not moving. Repeat this step several times. Slowly open the door a crack. Again, click and treat if he doesn’t move, and repeat. Gradually open the door farther, an inch or two at a time. Do several repetitions at each step, with clicks and treats each time.
Eventually you’ll walk all the way through the door, stop, and face your dog, without having him move. Wait a few seconds, click, then return and give him a tasty treat. Of course, occasionally you’ll actually give him permission to go out the door!
Squid does a variation of “Wait at the door” in his pen and kennel. With the dog on the inside and human on the outside, I reach for the latch. If he jumps up, I pull my hand away. If he sits, I continue with the gate-opening process. Each time he jumps up, the process stops. If he exercises self-control the gate opens and he earns his freedom.
A Happy Future
Using a combination of exercise, training, and management, I am wildly optimistic that I can help Squid chill out, pass his shelter assessment, and find his forever home. If, after reading all this you still think your dog suffers from clinical hyperactivity or ADHD, then it’s time to visit a qualified behavior professional for help. More likely though, using the same combination of exercise, training, and management, you can ensure your own dog’s calm and happy future in your family.
Summer is here! And there’s no better way to kick off the Memorial Day celebrations than having some fun in the sun with a beach barbeque or picnic at the park. However, before you ignite the grill and start the festivities, it is important to remember the safety of your furry companions! ASPCA does recommend keeping your pets indoors as much as possible during outdoor parties. However, if your pet insists on joining you out and about this Memorial weekend, we have provided some safety tips to ensure the day is fun for both pets and people!
• Keep alcoholic beverages out of the paw’s reach. Alcohol is potentially hazardous to pets, so make sure your pet does not accidentally consume any wine, beer, or mixed drinks.
• Avoid scraps from the grill. It is important to resist those begging eyes and stick with your pet’s normal diet. Any table scraps, even in the smallest amounts, can result in upset stomachs and potential intestinal obstructions. Certain foods, such as onions, avocado, chocolate, grapes, and raisins can even be toxic to pets!
•Only use pet-specific insect repellent and sunscreen. It is imperative to only use products that are intended for those with four legs, such as Epi-Pet sunscreen for dogs. Avoid human products—ingestion can result in excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and lethargy.
• Supervise pets around pools, lakes, and oceans. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake (remember not all dogs are expert swimmers). If you do plan on taking your dog into the water, best to have a doggie life jacket. Also, beware of the possible chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach upset. Other natural “doggie bowls,” such as puddles, ponds and bay water—may contain parasites.
• Use precaution around the grill. Keep your pets away from matches, citronella candles, and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.
• Keep your pets hydrated. Always make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water available.
• Do not leave your pet in the car. Have you ever sat in a car on a hot day? Most pets can’t open doors and it only takes a few minutes for the inside of your car to get excessively hot. Even leaving a car parked in the shade with the windows down is no guarantee that pets will be safe. Please avoid heatstroke in your pet by never leaving them inside a car on a hot day.
• Keep your pet’s identification handy. If traveling with your pet it may be beneficial to take all identification and health records with you. Make sure they are wearing their collars/tags at all times in case they get lost. You may also wish to consider micro-chipping your pet to prevent such occurrences. Remember to keep all gates and fences closed and remind your guests as well. This will ensure that your pet does not go running into oncoming traffic or a busy intersection.
• Hire A Pet Sitter. If you don’t feel like being responsible on Memorial Day and want a true vacation. Hire a Professional Pet Sitter. You can rest assure, your pet will have a grand, safe time on Memorial Day.
Memorial day can be quite stressful and noisy on your pet so it is important to provide him/her with a safe and quiet place to rest and get away from the crowd. Taking these simple precautions will go a long way to ensure your holiday is a joyful occasion to remember.
I, myself, was diagnosed with Lupus at 8 years old and have lived with for over 30 years. May is a Special Month for me. May is the month for Lupus Awareness . It’s also National Pet Month. I thought to bring awareness to both is quite important. I usually do a lot during this month including the Lupus Walk and Fundraisers.
Have you ever had a doctor or veterinarian tell you that your pet shares many of the illnesses that you have. I have had plenty of pets that have suffered the illnesses I have including Lupus. Yes , Pets as well suffer from this syndrome. So I want to inform you on what it is , what to look for and treatments so that your pets have a great quality of life.
Lupus in dogs does exist. Lupus is a type of autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. There are two types of lupus found in dogs; Systemic Lupus and Discoid Lupus.
Systemic Lupus is a fairly rare and potentially fatal form of lupus. It causes inflammation of the skin and can also cause damage to the heart, lungs, and joints. Because this disease affects many body systems it is difficult to diagnose. The most common symptoms are pain in muscles, skin sores, hair loss, increased urination and fever. This type of lupus can be managed with proper medication but not cured. Dr. Mike Richards says treatment usually involves the use of immunosuppressive medication, and that dogs can live with this disease successfully. Middle-aged female dogs are more prone to systemic lupus and it’s most common in breeds such as Beagles, German Shepherds, Collies, and Poodles.
Discoid Lupus is the second most common autoimmune disease in dogs and causes them to become allergic to there own tissue. Unlike Systemic Lupus, which affects the whole body, Discoid Lupus is found only on the skin, primarily the nose. This type of lupus is found on the skin, and most often on the nose. Symptoms include change in the appearance of the nose causing it to flake and peel. Due to the increase in sun exposure this disease is worse in the summer. This is diagnosed through examination of biopsy samples. Treatment involves using sunscreen, corticosteroids, and in severe cases, prednisone or other immunosuppressive medication can be taken. This type of lupus can occur at any age and is seen most often in Shelties, Siberian Huskies, and Collies.
According to Dr. Patricia Huff of Pet Samaritan Clinic, “Diagnosis of lupus is reached with a positive combination of clinical signs and laboratory diagnostic tests. SLE may have some signs in common with certain infectious diseases, neoplasms (new growths or tumors) and other conditions. “ Your veterinarian may order appropriate tests to rule out these other conditions. Radiographs (x-rays) of affected joints will allow differential diagnosis between lupus-associated joint disease and other forms of arthritis. A complete blood count (CBC) will reveal anemia and other blood cell disorders. A blood chemistry panel and urinalysis may demonstrate nonspecific changes consistent with SLE.
Lupus can be a difficult disease to diagnose. If suspect your dog has it, then consult with your vet.
One of my favorite times of the year. Gardening, beautiful flowers and plants always set the mood right. There are so many that helps make your environment beautiful. But wait, I have six pets. How is my garden treating my pets? We all worry about our allergies during this time. Another worry of ours is always our furry babies as well. . While there are thousands of species of plants and flowers, only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous and poisonous to your pet. Make sure you know which plants are most deadly to avoid your dog or cat from getting into these poisonous flowers and poisonous plants! Some of the most poisonous plants for dogs and cats are reviewed below.
There are two Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring (Crocus species) and the other in the autumn Colchicum autumnale). The spring plants are more common and are part of the Iridaceae family. These ingestions can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. These should not be mistaken for Autumn Crocus, part of the Liliaceae family, which contain colchicine. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure. If you’re not sure what plant it is, bring your pet to their veterinarian immediately for care. Signs may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days. AZALEA
In the same family as rhododendrons, azaleas can have serious effects on pets. Eating even a few leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling; without immediate veterinary attention, the pet could fall into a coma and possibly die.
The roots of this seasonal flowering plant are especially dangerous to pets. If ingested, cyclamen can cause severe vomiting and even death.
This popular flowering succulent plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea and heart arrhythmias if ingested by pets.
There are dangerous and benign lilies out there, and it’s important to know the difference. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus – this results in minor drooling. The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) can result in severe kidney failure. If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently we can treat the poisoning. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis.
Oleander is an outdoor shrub, popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate flowers. However, the leaves and flowers are extremely toxic if ingested and can cause severe vomiting, slow the heart rate and possibly even cause death.
Popular in many homes and offices, dieffenbachia can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.
These flowers contain lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties (something that triggers vomiting). Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac.
LILY OF THE VALLEY
The Convallaria majalis plant contains cardiac glycosides which will cause symptoms similar to digitalis (foxglove) ingestion. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures. Pets with any known exposure to this plant should be examined and evaluated by a veterinarian and treated symptomatically.
Very popular in warmer climates, this household and outdoor plant can be very harmful to pets. If ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death
It can happen to even the best pet owners. You turn around for one second and the dog is into the chocolate that was sitting on the counter, or the cat has discovered the Easter lily you thought was safely out of the way.
“We just don’t realize how determined our pets are to eat the things they shouldn’t,” Dr. Tina Wismer, DVM, medical director for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, says.
Of the more than 180,000 cases that the organization handled in 2013, most of them involved pets who’d ingested human prescriptions. “Many children with ADHD don’t want to take their medications, so they leave pills on their plates, where pets can get at them,” Dr. Wismer says. “Even nonprescription medications, such as ibuprofen, can be a problem, because many brands have a sweet coating, so it’s like candy for dogs.”
As part of National Poison Prevention Week (March 15-21), Vetstreet has compiled an A-to-Z photo gallery of common pet poisons that should be on your radar. This list is not all inclusive, so for more information on these and many other toxins, check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center website and talk with your vet. Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen, which is found in Tylenol and other medications, can cause liver damage in dogs. Cats are even more sensitive: Ingestion of a single 325 mg tablet by a 10-pound cat can cause red blood cell damage and even be fatal. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Batteries can be toxic to both dogs and cats, leading to ulcers in the mouth, esophagus and stomach. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Chocolate can cause seizures and death in dogs and cats. Darker chocolate, such as unsweetened baker’s chocolate, is more toxic than milk or white chocolate. Even cocoa bean mulch, when eaten in large quantities, can be a problem. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe
Detergents and fabric softener sheets can cause ulcers in the mouth, esophagus and stomach in dogs and cats. The newer laundry pods, which contain concentrated detergent packaged under pressure, may pose a greater risk. When pets bite into the pod, the contents can be forcibly expelled, then inhaled or swallowed in large amounts. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Ethylene glycol is found in antifreeze, windshield de-icing agents and motor oils. Dogs and cats are attracted to its sweet taste, but as little as a teaspoon in cats or a tablespoon in dogs can cause kidney failure. Recently, antifreeze and engine coolant manufacturers have agreed to voluntarily add bittering agents to reduce the products’ appeal to pets and children. Toxicity Ranking: severe to fatal.
Fertilizers can contain poisonous amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, herbicides and pesticides. Keep dogs and cats away from treated lawns until they are dry. Check the product packaging, though, since some products must be rinsed into the lawn before it is safe to walk on. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Grapes, raisins and currants — even grape juice — in small amounts can cause kidney failure in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Household cleaners, such as bleach, drain cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners, can cause gastrointestinal ulcers and other problems in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
Insecticides in flea and tick products can cause problems if not used according to labels. Insecticides that are meant for dogs can cause severe toxicity in cats, leading to signs such as vomiting, seizures and difficulty breathing. Products intended for treating the yard or house should not be used on pets. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
Jimson weed, also known as devil’s trumpet, can cause restlessness, drunken walking and respiratory failure in dogs and cats.
Toxicity Ranking: moderate.
Kerosene, gasoline and tiki torch fluids can cause drooling, drunken walking and difficulty breathing in dogs and cats. If these products contain antifreeze, they are even more problematic. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe (potentially life threatening).
Lilies — Easter, day, tiger, Japanese and Asiatic varieties — can cause kidney failure in cats. Lilies of the valley can cause heart rhythm problems and death in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Mothballs, especially if they contain naphthalene, can be toxic to dogs and cats, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, and seizures. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life threatening).
Nonprescription medications, such as ibuprofen, can lead to severe ulcers and anemia, as well as liver and kidney failure in pets. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life threatening).
Onions, garlic, leeks and chives can be toxic in dogs and cats. When chewed or swallowed, these ingredients can cause anemia and gastrointestinal upset. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Prescription medications, such as antidepressants and ADHD and cardiac drugs, are commonly ingested by pets when pills are dropped on the floor or left on counters. Even a small dose can cause problems. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
Queensland nuts, also known as macadamia nuts, can cause lethargy, vomiting and difficulty walking in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Rodenticides, such as mouse and rat poisons, can contain a number of different toxins, which have different effects on dogs and cats. Several common ingredients, like warfarin and coumarin, can cause blood-clotting problems and hemorrhaging. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
Sago palms are one of a number of toxic plants for dogs and cats. Ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and seizures, as well as liver failure in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: severe
Tobacco can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingestion of nicotine in the tobacco plant or in cigarettes or patches can lead to vomiting, tremors, collapse and death. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Unbaked Bread Dough
Unbaked bread dough can expand in the stomach. If the stomach twists, cutting off the blood supply, emergency surgery is needed. The yeast in the dough can also produce alcohol, leading to seizures and respiratory failure. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe. Veterinary Prescriptions
Veterinary prescriptions, such as arthritis medications, are often meat flavored, which can be enticing to dogs. Ingestion of large quantities can result in stomach ulcers, liver failure or kidney failure. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Windshield wiper fluid can contain methanol or ethylene glycol. Ingestion of methanol can cause low blood sugar and drunken walking in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener commonly found in chewing gum, breath mints and toothpaste. In dogs, it can lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar and liver failure. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
Yard products, including snail and slug bait, herbicides and fertilizers, are never good for pets. Signs will vary by the ingredient. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
Zinc toxicity can happen when dogs and cats eat metal or coins. Ingestion of pennies minted after 1982 can be more problematic. Zinc can cause anemia, as well as liver, kidney or heart failure. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
I have had my new Shih Tzu puppy , Prince Nino for almost three weeks now. I will tell you, it has not been easy introducing Nino to his new siblings of dogs and cats. The older pets simply don’t like him. And I’ve been working on different strategies to help them get along. I get that Nino is a puppy. Puppies can be annoying. My older pets have no issue with letting him. And when Nino cries, I get very upset and feel bad. I know what it’s like to be rejected too.
Well I have developed some strategies and want to pass along the tips to anyone going through the same thing.
It’s exciting to add a cuddly new pet to your life, except maybe when you have to introduce it to another pet that has already staked claim to your home. That’s especially true if one’s a dog and the other’s a cat. But whether you’re introducing a new dog to your cats — or a new cat to your dogs — it doesn’t have to be hard. Here is some expert advice to help keep peace during the transition.
Watch the Dog
If there’s going to be a problem during cat and dog introductions, it’s usually caused by the dog. SURPRISE!
Most dogs will chase a rapidly moving object. So if a cat gets frightened and runs, a dog often feels honor-bound to chase it.. It’s important to nip that in the bud. If you don’t, the result can be injury, and even death, for the cat.
Make sure your cat can run and hide if it wants to. Whether your cat is the newbie or the senior pet in the house, the cat needs to be able to move freely when the introduction is made. There should be perches or cubbies for hiding, someplace where the cat can get off the floor and settle in. You basically want an elevated resting place [for the cat].
Make sure your puppy or dog is well restrained. Your dog shouldn’t be able to chase, even if the cat darts away. This is a bigger issue with herding breed dogs, who have a prey instinct. But it’s really a hardwired response in all dogs to chase small fluffy things that run away quickly.
Consider baby gates. Gates can help you gradually introduce dogs and cats, and the barrier minimizes danger to the cat. A baby gate is often better than a cat carrier because it gives the cat much-needed freedom.
Age Can Make a Difference
When introducing a new pet to the household, youth can be a virtue. That’s because puppies are much less dangerous to adult cats, and kittens can be quite fearless with adult dogs.
The same safety rules still apply, though. When adding a kitten or puppy, you may want to enforce separation longer or extend your period of supervision. That’s because kittens tend to scurry (an enticing behavior for dogs) and puppies are just goofy and will want to pester the cat.
Here are four common mistakes you don’t want to make when introducing cats and dogs:
Forcing physical proximity: Picking up your cat and holding it in your dog’s face by way of introduction will tempt your cat to scratch the dog and encourage the dog to not like the cat. Always let kitty decide when or if it will approach the dog.
Not knowing the background of the dog you adopt. Adopting a dog from a shelter is often a wonderful idea, especially if you don’t have other pets. But people rarely know a shelter dog’s past. If a 2-year-old dog is looking for a home, there’s usually a good reason. In some cases, the dog may be aggressive, destructive, or have other problems. If you want to bring a canine into a feline household, I do recommend getting a puppy.
Not preparing your pet for change: Make changes like moving your cat’s litter box, putting up a baby gate, or closing certain doors before you bring your new pet home. That way, your long-time pet has a chance to get used to the changes before the new pet shows up.
Not thinking about your pet’s reaction. Try to think about the changes you’re making in your home from your pet’s perspective. For example, be aware that if you move the litter box and the cat has to walk past the dog’s kennel to get to it and the dog is barking that’s going to be stressful for the cat.
When to Get Help
If you’re lucky, it can take just a few minutes for a new pet to settle in, although it’s more likely to take days or even weeks.
But if you’ve come home to find your kitty cowering in fear, if one pet is always hiding, if your dog is displaying resource guarding behavior (such as snarling around its food) or being aggressive toward your cat, get help.
Don’t wait until a pet gets hurt. Talk with a veterinary behaviorist (a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior). These professionals can help you troubleshoot so that your old and new pets get along.