Choosing and Training a Therapy Dog

By | Dogs | No Comments

Therapy Dog Visiting Young Female Patient In HospitalYou probably know that training a service dog requires consistent work and patience. The dog must be an appropriate breed, in excellent health, extensively trained, and more. What about a therapy dog? While people must not interfere with a service dog in training in any way so that it can learn to avoid distractions when serving its owner, therapy dogs are meant to provide comfort in times of great physical or emotional stress. Some dogs are better suited to this–more easily trained for it.

Training and Certification

The requirements for an animal to be designated as a therapy dog are more strict than people may realize; you cannot simply decide a pet is a therapy animal and have it be recognized as such, legally. Your pet must be approved with appropriate certification and registration. Both large and small breeds can make great therapy dogs.

Small Therapy Dogs

In the small dog category, the Beagle is an intelligent and friendly hound that can be easily trained to serve as support. Their strong sense of smell can even come in handy. The Welsh Corgi is also very intelligent, and it was originally bred to serve. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also a great service dog that was bred as a calm companion. Very small dogs, like the Pomeranian, are great; but, remember that they are energetic and need to burn off that energy.

Large Therapy Dogs

When it comes to large dogs, the more calm and intelligent they are, the better. The Saint Bernard is well-known for being naturally adept at serving human owners; they’re generally big, calm, cuddling dogs. Labradors have the same qualities, though they are sometimes more energetic. Dogs known for herding sheep historically, like Border Collies and Sheepdogs, are also intelligent enough to be trained for many kinds of service.

These dogs, and many more, can be helpful not only to those who struggle physically, but those who struggle mentally, as well. People with depression, anxiety, severe mental illnesses, and more can benefit from well-trained therapy dogs. They can bring medication to an owner during an episode, trigger an alert for medical services, and be of general comfort during something like an anxiety attack.

The key to a good, and legally-approved therapy dog is excellent, professional training. It must be consistent, and the trainer experienced. Before determining what sort of dog you want or need, and using that animal for therapy, you must research the requirements to make this happen.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we’re happy help you, too. We will be there for you and your dog, helping keep him healthy so you can rely on him for years to come.

Best Dog Breeds to be Part of Your Home Alarm System

By | Dogs | No Comments

Not everyone can afford a complex home security system. Not everyone wants one, either. Yet, home security continues to be a concern for everyone, particularly those who live in urban areas. Fortunately, if you’re a dog-lover, you can have both furry companionship and some security, all in one adorable, furry package. Dogs can be great at alerting their owners to intruders and potential danger. While almost any dog can be trained to serve as an “alarm system,” there are some dog breeds whose natural instincts serve owners well in this capacity.

The Bullmastiff

If you have ever seen The Sandlot, then you have seen a bullmastiff. Unlike the film’s portrayal—well, most of the film—these dogs can be very, very loving, docile, and sweet. They also tend to be very loyal and protective. This is what makes them great for protection. Their large size also makes them formidable in the face of possible intruders, which is why they may not be allowed in some apartments, or even neighborhoods.

Boy and girl with German shepherdThe German Shepherd

German shepherds are placed as security in large industrial areas for a reason; they take to defense naturally. However, don’t be fooled by misrepresentations. As protective as they can be, they can also be loving and loyal. Just give them as much love as you do positive training, and they will make you their permanent family, alert you of danger, and protect you. Of course, their size and reputation also make them forbidden in some locations.

The Bernese Mountain Dog

These large dogs are great for search and rescue, and protection. They are highly intelligent, love to play, and are often considered great for children because of their kind, playful, and protective nature. Of course, they are large dogs, which means they need enough space to stay active and healthy.

Unfortunately, these and other great guard dogs are not permitted in many apartments, and even some cities because they have reputations for being aggressive breeds. This is not their fault; they become aggressive when their owners train them to be so, or treat them poorly. So, if you are looking for the best dog breeds to act as your home alarm system, as well as be great companions for you and your family, these dogs could serve you very well with the right training, and a lot of love. Bring your friend in to see us at Pet Vet Hospitals, and we will help you and your new family member stay healthy and safe.

Keep Him on a Leash: Leash Training Your Dog

By | Dogs | No Comments

dog-237187_1280Your dog needs that regular walk. The more often you can go walk, the better. Of course, if your dog pulls on the leash constantly and is erratic, that can kill the desire to talk him on a walk at all. That can be remedied, however; leash training your dog is like any other type of training. It just calls for consistency and patience.

Importance of Leash Control

You have probably seen dogs prancing along next to their owners, whether at dog shows, or just on your street. It is impressive, but that doesn’t mean it came easily. It’s a dog’s instinct to pull on the leash because there is simply so much out there to inspect, and that means pulling away from you. Even dogs that are not the most curious need a little help learning to be better on a leash. You don’t have to train your dog to walk perfectly like a showdog; you just need to help him learn to stop pulling when you direct him.

  • Start by making all walks training sessions. This means they will probably be short and slow, but that is okay. Just remain patient.
  • It helps if your dog is already tired. He is less likely to pull on the leash and be excitable if he’s tired.
  • Have treats ready for when your dog is obedient. You can even use a clicker. Remain consistent, and your dog will learn that obeying you during a walk leads to good things.
  • Try to walk quickly. If your dog has to walk or trot fast, he’ll wear out. Plus, he’ll be forced to keep up with you, which will get him used to being next to you at all times during the walk.
  • Work on other training, too. The better your dog’s training in general, the easier it will be to get his obedience during a walk.

Training is very important for a happy relationship with your dog. To keep up your dog’s health during leash training, bring him to us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

When Obedience Training Doesn’t Work

By | Pet Care | No Comments

If you have had trouble with your pet’s obedience, you have probably been offered innumerable pieces of advice on how to manage it. It can be frustrating, particularly when you have exhausted all you know to do, and the advice is unsolicited. There are circumstances in which obedience training doesn’t work. It is true that some pets require much more obedience training than others—more training than you may be able to give or afford, in fact—but it is possible for there to come a time when you have to consider other options.

Professional Training

dog-200942_1280If you have done all you know to do, then you might be considering professional training. This doesn’t refer to classes like those offered at some pet stores. Instead, it means having a professional come to your home to work with you and your pet. If this goes on long, it can become expensive, so you will want to make sure you can afford the money and the time.

Medical Treatment

If you haven’t considered that your pet needs medical help, or if you haven’t explored that option, then you should. Sometimes, medication is all you need. At other times, it’s a combination of both medication and training. It is usually the latter. It could also mean you are still in for a difficult road, but at least you will have the help of your vet.

The Last Resort

No one wants to give up a pet. The very idea can bring up a lot of guilt. However, there are sometimes circumstances in which you have to consider what is best for you and your pet. Can you give your pet the life he needs? Does he require a lifestyle, or more time and money than you can offer? If you simply cannot handle your pet’s lack of obedience, despite trying all you are able, then it may be time to think long and hard about finding a better home, as sad as it may feel.

If you’re struggling with your pet’s obedience training, talk to us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We will do all we can to help.

Pet Separation Anxiety: When Humans Have It

By | Pet Care, Uncategorized | No Comments

dogs, petsSome people might suggest that you have a problem. However, that’s not a diagnosis for anyone else to make except you and your doctor. Many pet owners would also argue that a touch of separation anxiety when leaving your pet is normal, particularly when you’re leaving them alone for a period of time, or with strangers. So, what is to be done?

Watch Out for Your Pet

There are a lot of things you can do to alleviate your anxiety about leaving your pet. If the anxiety comes because you’re leaving him alone in the house, invest in a camera. Wifi cameras are ready available today and they are very cost effective. You don’t have to worry about whether or not that camera is worth the expense, because it can come in handy for a number of things. Many of these cameras also have speakers so that you can hear and talk to your pet while your away. This could help you manage your separation anxiety a lot.

Trust is Key

If you’re nervous about leaving him with another person, start by only leaving him with people you trust. Family and close friends are your best bets for this. Of course, there are many boarding services out there, and finding one to trust isn’t always easy. You can look at reviews all day long and still not be sure. Talk to your loved ones about this, too. There are also some boarding services that will let you view your pet via a camera. You might even be able to arrange constant remote viewing with the click of a button, even if you have to provide your own camera. You never know unless you ask.

Your pet means a lot to you and it’s natural to worry. Never worry about your vet services; bring your pet into Pet Vet Hospitals and we’ll provide the best care of your beloved pet.

Some Basics of Clicker Training for Your Dog

By | Dogs | No Comments

Clicker training is a classic, proven method for training many dogs. Like any training, it takes consistency and patience, but it comes highly recommended by many trainers and vets. If you are ready to train your dog with a clicker, then here are some basics of clicker training for your dog to get you started.

When you push the little clicker’s button, it makes a clicking sound. You want your dog to associate this with good things, like rewards. That association is what motivates your dog to perform well later. Eventually, he may even perform well without the clicker at all.

Time and Interaction

Girl playing with her  dog in autumn parkTiming is very, very important. You want the click to happen during the positive behavior. This is true reinforcement. If you click at the wrong time, your dog could become confused about what the click is supposed to mean, or associate it with the wrong thing.

Start by interacting with your dog. When your dog does something good, click, and then offer a treat. Start will simple things, like sitting. If your dog has a habit of jumping up, as soon as he goes back down, click, and then give a treat. If your dog already responds somewhat well to a simple command, you can use that as a starting point. Once he realizes that the click means something he has done is good, it will be that much easier for him to learn something else good.

You don’t have to rely on the clicks alone. Your dog knows your behavior, too. So, when you ask your dog to do something, let your body express it, too. When you want your dog to sit, try sitting down, as well. Or, make a motion with your hand, like pointing. The more cues you have for your dog, the easier it will be for him to learn.

Training is good for any dog. If you’re having behavioral problems, try training, and make sure to bring your dog to us at Pet Vet Hospitals to make sure everything is fine with his health.

When Your Cat Hurts

By | Cats | No Comments

cat, cats, petsCats are notorious for their “poker faces.” Knowing when your cat hurts is no easy thing, unless the pain is extreme. Cats are excellent at masking pain. That means it’s harder to care for your pet, easier to miss trouble, and you could find yourself facing an emergency before you know it. You may never be able to know what your cat’s feeling at all times, but there are a few things you can learn about the signs that something is up and your cat hurts.

Slow Movements: When your cat isn’t feeling well, she may move slowly. How slow she moves may depend upon how much she hurts. If she is in a lot of pain, she may not move at all. If the pain is slight, she may only avoid moving certain parts of her body. Keep an eye on how she moves. You can test her; find something that normally excites her and see if she goes after it. If she does, she is probably alright.

Withdrawal: When cats don’t feel well, they may withdraw. It’s an instinct for self-preservation. If your cat is hiding more than usual and reluctant to come out, or refusing altogether, that could be a sign that she doesn’t feel well.

Agitation: When your cat is in pain, or ill, she may be agitated. Her heart may race. She may pace, or breathe hard. She might also cry, or howl. If you approach her like normal and she’s hurting, she may act oddly toward you, such as growling or swatting you away. It probably means that she wants to be left alone because she doesn’t feel well.

There are many other potential signs of pain in your cat and it’s not possible for a human to learn them all. A good rule to have is to know your cat well, and watch for any changes in behavior. Any noticeable behavioral change could be signs of a problem. If you suspect your cat is hurting, bring her in to Pet Vet Hospitals. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Cat Flu Awareness

By | Cats | No Comments

Like other types of influenza, cat flu is caused by viruses, and sometimes bacteria. And, like other types of flu, a healthy cat can survive it, but it can be fatal for kittens and older cats with other health complications. It’s important to be aware of cat flu, how to recognize it, and how to treat it.

How it Spreads

Depositphotos_82165668_m-2015Cat flu spreads like many other viruses. It is in nasal discharge, saliva, and eye discharge. Cats that are already sick are the biggest concern, but there are some who carry the virus with no symptoms. The virus can survive for several days on surfaces, which means that other cats can catch the virus indirectly.

To diagnose a cat with the flu, your vet may take swabs. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for cat flu, though there are ways to alleviate the symptoms until the cat recovers. The biggest concern is spreading the virus to cats with poor, or underdeveloped immune systems.

The Symptoms and Risks

If your cat has the flu, she may sneeze. She may also have runny eyes and a runny nose. Other symptoms may be hard to see in your cat, as cats often don’t show obvious symptoms. Your cat may experience aches and pains, fever, sneezing, and more.

The real trouble comes with kittens and older cats. Defeating the virus needs a healthy immune system. Kitten immune systems may not be strong enough, and other cats’ immune systems have weakened. Cats that are already ill can be killed by the flu, too.

Unfortunately, there are no antivirals for cat flu. Like human flu, antibiotics may help if bacterial infections make things worse. In most cases, your cat needs good care at home. Your cat will need some encouragement when it comes to eating a drinking. Take care to clean up after your cat, and sanitize to help prevent further spread of the virus. Steam can help clear some symptoms, so let your cat in the bathroom when you shower.

Be aware of cat flu, and watch for the symptoms. If you’re worried that your cat has the flu, bring her in to Pet Vet Hospitals immediately.

When is Your Pet Too Old for Cancer Treatment?

By | Pet Care | No Comments

When that inevitable moment comes and your pet is facing the end of his life, you will feel a range of emotions. All of them will be valid. Though it’s your vet’s job to remain professional and give you the facts, he or she will also have to make recommendations for you and your pet, and that’s not an easy job. It is no better when the diagnosis is cancer, and you simply don’t know if you should put your aging pet through cancer treatment, or say good bye.

Concerns About Cancer and Age

Old labrador retriever.If your pet is older and has cancer, it’s not uncommon for age to factor into your decision whether or not to pursue treatment, or how far to take that treatment. You may wonder if your elderly pet can withstand chemotherapy, or surgery. You might worry that medication side effects will be more pronounced.

The truth is that there isn’t an easy answer to whether or not you pet is too old for cancer treatment. It is possible that your pet would not survive cancer treatment, or that the disease has progressed so far that treatment would do more harm than good. Your vet will give you all the facts. He or she will make all the recommendations for treatment.

Asking Your Vet for Advice

If you ask for your vet’s take on the issue of age, she or he will be honest. Your vet will let you know of the risks, the possible results, and give you all the support possible. However, don’t be surprised if your vet is unwilling to tell you, outright, what route to choose. Trying to save a pet’s life, even when the situation is dire, is what your vet is all about. Of course, your vet also understands the desire to save your pet from the agony of cancer and treatment at the end of his life.

If the time comes for you to decide if your aging pet should receive cancer treatment, you want vets who care enough to be honest when advising you. You can trust our vets at Pet Vet Hospitals.

The Dog Mounting Problem

By | Dogs | No Comments

How many times have you laughed at candid photos of one dog mounting another, or something, or someone else? It’s a natural instinct, and it can be funny. It can also be embarrassing. As a dog owner, you may apologize, try to stop the mounting, and even feel angry. Have you ever wondered why it is that your dog does this? Is it purely hormones, or a need to mate? Or, is there more to dog mounting?

Mounting Reasons

bulldog lying down pantingMany, possibly most, people assume that mounting is about some sort of dog attraction. Asserting dominance is another common belief. While these scenarios may sometimes be true, in many cases, mounting is about anxiety, or an uncomfortable emotional state. While that doesn’t make mounting abnormal, it does mean that your dog could be trying to settle some unease.

It’s called “displacement behavior.” When your dog is anxious or overstimulated, he may mount instinctively as a way to relieve that tension. Humans have their own types of displacement behaviors—though it’s usually far less embarrassing.

Mounting Solutions

Like any behavior, you have to be consistent in addressing it. It’s important not to reward it, but it’s also important not to create more fear and anxiety. As long as the mounting isn’t harming anything, and it’s not excessive, you may want to leave your dog alone. If it is excessive, then you can apply many of the training techniques you use for other issues. Try to diverting your dog when he starts to mount. If you suspect it may be an issue of boredom, try to relieve that with more stimulation.

It may also help to speak with a vet. Physiological and neurological problems can sometimes cause these behaviors. If you’re concerned about an embarrassing dog mounting problem, bring your pet into Pet Vet Hospitals.