Category Archives: Dogs

The Best Running Buddy: Dogs for Runners

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Woman and dog running on beach at sunsetDogs make great companions for a lot of activities. All dogs need walks, and most love to run if they have a reason, but not all dogs are suitable for regular, long runs. If you love running and you want to mix that love with the companionship of a dog, you need the right breed. There are plenty of great dogs for runners out there, ready and waiting to run alongside you.

Greyhounds

You probably already know that greyhounds are runners; they are members of a breed found often on the dog racing track. Their ability to do so well in that situation means they’re highly capable of being trained. Outside the track, they are also capable of loyalty and gentleness. Together, you could run a lot of miles.

Weimaraners

Weimaraners are generally lean, muscular dogs. They make for very energetic dogs, and need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. They are also intelligent dogs and easily trained with the usual amount of patience and persistence. They can make excellent running partners.

Labradors

Of course, Labradors of any type are well-loved by many as energetic, playful, highly intelligent, loyal dogs. They are easily trained for any number of activities and would love nothing better than a good, long run by your side on a regular basis.

German Shepherds

Large, strong, and proud, German Shepherds are renown for their loyalty and protectiveness. They are also energetic dogs and need regular exercise to stay strong and content. They would love to run with their owners and protect them all along the way.

Huskies

Siberian huskies have served humans for centuries. In the coldest places, they run, hunt, and even pull sleds. That strength and stamina comes naturally, and means that these dogs need regular exercise to remain naturally healthy. They would make excellent running partners, and could go on as long as you, and even longer.

Running is great for your health. Let your dog share in that. Adopt your running buddy today and bring him into our office at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Choosing and Training a Therapy Dog

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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

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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

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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.

Some Basics of Clicker Training for Your Dog

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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.

The Dog Mounting Problem

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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.

Canine Influenza Awareness

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Sick DogA flu season has been in full swing for many recently. One after another, co-workers and family members have “dropped,” staying at home for days fighting the virus. We may get so busy trying to avoid the flu, or fighting it ourselves, that we forget our pets have their version, too. Canine influenza is a very real possibility for your dog and it’s important to know the signs, and to be aware of how to prevent it and treat it.

The canine flu virus is called Influenza Type A (H3N8). It is a very contagious virus and there is a vaccine. Your vet will always insist that you get your dog the vaccine. However, that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t a threat.

Symptoms

Dogs infected with canine flu may have a lot of symptoms similar to those in humans. Ranging from mild to severe, these symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Eye Discharge
  • Red Eyes
  • Fever
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue

Similar to humans, these symptoms can be mild to severe. When severe, your dog could be a risk of developing pneumonia—bacterial infection in the lungs—and that could become deadly, too. You can prevent these severe results, however, if you know the signs.

Healing

If you see any of the above symptoms, take your pet straight to the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a physical and may check blood, mucus, and may take x-rays to check for signs of lung infection. If you take your pet fast, you may have no trouble getting your pet through the virus. Wait too long, however, and you could be facing a long, expensive recovery.

Because canine influenza is so contagious, he should be kept from other dogs as much as possible. If you hear of another dog having the flu and yours was in contact with that dog recently, go ahead and keep your dog away from others pets, even if he doesn’t yet show symptoms. If your pet has contracted the virus, he will probably show symptoms very soon.

It also helps to have some pet insurance when you bring your sick dog into the vet’s office. Come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us help you keep your pet in good health.

Managing Dog Aggression

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bulldog lying down pantingThere are specific dog breeds which have reputations for being aggressive. Human influence is a major factor in most cases of dog violence. The truth is, however, that any dog is capable of aggression in the right circumstances. If your dog exhibits aggression, it is essential that you address the issue immediately.

Don’t wait to act.

Dog aggression is taken very, very seriously. If you wait to address the problem, you could find yourself in the worst possible scenario: your dog has attacked someone and has to be put down. In many places, the police can force you to have the dog euthanized. Do not wait for this to happen, and don’t assume that it won’t.

What caused the change?

Some dogs begin aggression early, and others develop it. Sometimes, it seems sudden. You need to have some idea of what may have caused your dog’s responses. If this is a new ordeal, have there been any changes in his life or routine? When, specifically, does he show aggression? This can help you determine what changes need to be made and what sort of training you need to address the problem. In some cases, medical help may be necessary.

Seek help.

An aggressive dog is a dangerous thing, for you and those around you. Even when you know the triggers, it can still be unpredictable. Trying to solve the problem yourself may simply not be feasible, and could put you and your family at risk. Seek help from your vet and a professional trainer.

See your vet.

Your dog’s aggression may not be solved through training alone. You never know when it may be the result of a neurological problem. Plus, some physical ailments can cause aggression. See your vet. Your vet will determine if there are any underlying medical problems causing the personality change, and if medication may help the situation.

We want you and your dog to have a happy life together. If your dog is showing signs of aggression, come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals immediately. We’ll help you figure out what to do.

Why Consider Adopting an Older Pet?

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Old labrador retriever.When people consider adopting a pet, they often search for a young one—usually a puppy or kitten. The perceived cuteness is often a factor in these decisions. However, most pet owners want their new addition to be around as long as possible, and the younger they are, the longer they will be with the family.

So, why bother adopting an older pet?

Older pets may not be with your family as long as the young, but their time is precious, and they have their own versions of cuteness. Older pets are well-worth considering as your new companion for many reasons. These are just a few:

They Need You: When they’re in the shelters, puppies and kittens are in need of a home. However, they are far more likely to find that home. Older pets are at risk of dying in those shelters because the volunteers cannot find homes for them. And, this sometimes occurs for no good reason. They have just as much need as others, if not more; they are nearing the end of their lives, and need someone to make those last days happy ones.

They’re Often Pre-Trained: The reasons for older pets living in shelters and pounds vary. It is entirely possible to find a good, happy pet who is already well-trained. You will not have to bother with puppy pads or litter boxes. Older dogs may already know how to be home alone, sit still, be quiet, not jump up, etc. Ignore the old phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”—it is not true. With patience, you absolutely can train an old dog.

They Have Adorable Love to Give: Older pets have no shortage of devotion and love for you. They are capable of being loving and as adorable as any young pet. For the time that you have your old dog or cat, you could have the best possible animal friend.

If you’re ready for a new pet, don’t discount those older ones. When you have adopted, bring your new family member to us at Pet Vet Hospitals; we’re happy to help your pet have a healthy life.

Mosquito Proofing for Outdoor Dogs

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dogs, dog, petsMosquitoes are one of the worst parts of summer. Though they live year-round in most places, they appear most in the summer and everyone is searching for the perfect method to be rid of them. As you take precautions to avoid being biting this summer, don’t forget that your pets need some help, too.

Outdoor dogs, for example, are susceptible to mosquitoes all day long. While their topical medications can help prevent flea, tick, and heartworm infestations, nothing is completely foolproof. Plus, those medications don’t always stop the bites.

Protect your dog’s sleeping area.

There are plenty of options for deterring mosquitoes outside full-time. Flames and sprays are generally temporary, and there aren’t many sprays meant for dogs. There are some oil solutions, such as those with citronella, that will work in the longer term. They will still have to be replaced from time-to-time, however. But, they’re worth it if they save your dog from being bitten regularly. Remember to shield them from the rain if your dog’s main sleeping area is out in the open, and make sure your dog is not likely to chew or eat the source.

Try some natural deterrents.

If you’re a gardener, there are several plants known for deterring mosquitoes. Many of them are edible for you, too, and smell pleasant. Plant some citronella, basil, mint, and rosemary. Plant plenty of them so that they may make a difference. The effects may be mild, but some are better than none.

Remember, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. If your dog’s water bowl is outside, don’t overfill. It’s tempting to do so because the summer heat causes the water to evaporate quickly, which leaves you to refill the water more often. However, fresh water more often is better than stagnant water that breeds mosquitoes.

Add some air circulation.

Strong winds make it harder for the little bugs to fly. If your dog’s home has a plug nearby, try an outdoor fan. It will give your dog a breeze, and help reduce the amount of biting insects for a short time.

For help surviving the summer with your pets, come to us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We can give you tips on protecting your dog.