DogTime Blogs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How to Select a Crate

There are many different types of dog crates to service every need: big or small, solid or collapsing, hard-wearing or light-weight, large for roaming around or compact for travel.

When looking for a new dog crate its important to consider the following:
• Is your dog big or small?
• Will you be traveling with the crate?
• How sociable is your dog?
• What is the budget?
• Does your pet chew?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Clicker Training

Clicker training is widely used by behaviorists and trainers. It was originally used for the training of dolphins and is based on positive reinforcement methods. The sound of the clicker or whistle immediately after a good behavior acts as positive reinforcement. The clicker can then be followed by hugs or a treat.

This type of training can be used for all ages. The younger the pet the quicker they will become accustomed to the clicker.

Consult your veterinarian or behavior specialist to see if this is ideal for your pet.

Further information at

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dog Parks

A dog park is a great place for dogs to socialize and exercise. They usually have wide-open spaces, climbing structures, eating areas, tubes and occasionally a beach.

When considering a dog park ensure:
• Your dog is up to date with all vaccinations including the annual kennel cough vaccine
• Your pet is well socialized with other dogs, people, children and bikes
• Your pet does not have any injuries that could be exacerbated by running around or chasing e.g. arthritis, old cruciate repair.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cool Games in the Sun

A perfect time to bond with your pet is when the sun is out. But, it is important to ensure that your pets stay cool.

Here are some tips:
• Wading Pools: create a shallow wading pool for your pet to play in.
• Frozen Treats: Dogs often like to play with ice blocks. For those fussy pets,
add a bit of chicken or beef stock before freezing them.
• Kong Fun: Add some frozen treats to the Kong and watch your pet play for hours
• Beach or Lake Fun: go swimming in the water and bring along a pet lifejacket for
those pets that are not the best at swimming

And don’t forget the sunscreen! Pet sunscreen are often the best protection and important to put on the nose and ears. Avoid human sunscreen as they can be toxic if ingested. Peaked hats are also a good option.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Our Pets Should Be Desexed

Surgical desexing or neutering involves the removal of the male or female reproductive organs so that they can no longer have puppies or kittens. The female procedure is referred to as a spey (spay) and the male procedure is referred to as a castration.

Desexing is highly recommended around the age of 6 months because:
• It prevents unwanted pregnancies
• It reduces the risk of some cancers
• It prevents life threatening infections in females such as the pyometra (uterine infection)
• It reduces unwanted behaviours that can occur in male dogs e.g. inappropriate urinating, aggression

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Testing

Anaesthetics have come a long way in terms of safety and recovery times. However, it is not without risk. As our pets are unable to tell us whether they are unwell, the veterinarian relies on the blood test to give us clues as to what is going on. Anaesthetic protocols can be altered according results.

The blood test can test for various problems such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure, thyroid problems and anemia.

It is essential in older dogs (> 7 years) that blood testing is done annually and prior to anaesthetics so that any problems are picked up early.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Finding the Right Vet for your Pet

The right veterinarian is one that will take time to get to know you and your pet. They focus on preventive medicine and education. Recommendations from friends, neighbours, family and animal shelters are a good place to start.

When you call to set up a visit, always enquire about:
• Office hours
• Emergency care
• Fees and payment
• Services
• Specialties or Special interests
• Staff
• Hospital tours
• Veterinarians and whether you will see the same vet each time or will it change

Friday, June 19, 2009

Important Socialization for your Puppy

Socialization is an extremely important aspect of raising a happy dog. It is important to expose our dog to many different positive experiences with humans, animals and different environments. Intense socialization should occur from the time you adopt them until 14 weeks of age. Socialization continues throughout adulthood too.

Puppies should be exposed to positive people experiences with infants, the elderly, people with physical disabilities (wheelchairs, walking sticks), and people with facial hair, glasses and hats, people who ride bikes, jog or skateboard, people with umbrellas or in uniform.

Puppies should be exposed to positive animal experiences wish dogs of all sizes, ages, appearances, cats, rabbits, sheep, horses.

Puppies should be exposed to positive environmental experiences with the television, vacuum, the car, traffic, veterinary hospitals and washing machine.

A well-adjusted puppy that has been exposed to all these people, animal and environment experiences will be a happy puppy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

House Soiling - Cats

House soiling is one of the most common causes for complaint by cat owners. There are many medical reasons for why this may occur including:
• Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
• Diabetes
• Kidney Disease
• Hyperthyroidism

If your veterinarian determines your cat to be healthy, it is important to look at other reasons for this behavioural problem, such as:
• Litter problems
• Poor location of litter box i.e. hallway, walkway - choose a secluded area
• New Pets – have you introduced a new pet? intercat aggression?
• New Neighbors – are there new pets in the neighborhood or stray cats that are scaring your cat?

Cats are extremely sensitive. Any change in routine or to the environment can cause them to stress. House soiling is just one example of how cats show they are stressed. Here are some tips on how to prepare your cat for change,
click here

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Diabetes in cats and dogs

According to Abbott Animal Health, 1.4 million dogs and cats have diabetes in the US. Diabetes is a complex disease that requires exceptional veterinary and home care in order to achieve a stable patient.

Predisposing Factors:
• Genetics
• Immune mediated problems
• Pancreas problems
• Obesity
• Kidney disease
• Urinary tract problems

• Obesity
• High carbohydrate diet
• Inactivity
• Pancreas problems
• Kidney disease
• Heart disease
• Genetics (e.g. Burmese)

Treatment often requires numerous types of lifestyle changes such as medical and dietary changes. Regular visits to the veterinarian, blood tests and urine tests are required.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tips for Handling an Injured Pet

If your pet is injured or you come across an injured pet, it’s important to know the basics of handling in order to prevent harm to yourself and further harm to your pet. Even the most gentle of pets can be unpredictable when in pain.

• Call your veterinarian immediately to explain the situation
• If you suspect a fracture, muzzle your pet
• If your pet is vomiting, do not use a muzzle
• If you are unable to get your pet into a carrier, use a thick blanket as a stretcher to carry your pet into the car

Monday, June 15, 2009

Atopy - Inhaled Allergens

Atopy refers to allergies in pets that are caused by inhaled allergens. It is often diagnosed between 6 months and 3 years of age. And characterized by itchy feet, face, ears, belly and under arms.

Common breeds
• Shar Peis
• Fox Terriers
• Golden Retrievers
• Dalmations
• Boxers
• Boston Terriers
• Labrador Retrievers
• Lhasa Apsos
• Scottish Terriers
• Shih Tzus
• West Highland White Terriers

Diagnosis is based on:
• history
• physical exam
• ruling out food allergies
• parasites
• ruling out contact allergies

1. Avoidance of allergen
2. Symptomatic therapy (anti-histamines, corticosteroids etc)
3. Desensitization from allergy testing and shots

Friday, June 12, 2009

Joint Disease in Cats

Osteoarthritis is a form of joint disease in cats. It affects cats of all ages but predominantly cats >10 years.

• Inappropriate toileting
• Decreased grooming and poor coat
• Reluctance to jump
• Sleeping more
• Withdrawing from human interaction
• Hiding
• Decreased appetite

If your cat is showing any of these signs, seek veterinary attention.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is Your Pet Afraid of a Storm?

It’s not uncommon for pets to be afraid of a storm. Dogs can hide, try to escape or show destructive behavior. Panting, pacing, trembling, increased salivation, barking, indoor toileting and self-trauma are signs of distress.

Treatment options:
1. Medical
a. Depending on the age and health of your pet, veterinarians can prescribe low dose anti-anxiety medications.

2. Behavioral
a. Do not reward distressed behavior
b. Engage in fun activity during a storm
c. Desensitize your pet to storm noises through the use of CDs from a young age

3. Environmental
a. Take your dog into a room that blocks any storm visuals or audios

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Treadmill Therapy

Treadmill therapy is becoming increasingly popular at veterinary hospitals as a way to enhance rehabilitation, provide pain relief, facilitate muscle relaxation, and provide cardiovascular endurance in a buoyant environment.

• Early return to function
• Improve muscle strength
• Improve range of motion
• Athletic conditioning
• Weight management

• Pets that are fearful of water
• Pets that have heart or lung disease
• Some spinal injuries
• Pets with open wounds or sutures

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Stop Puppy Biting

It is normal for puppies to bite as they often use their mouth to explore and play. Biting is considered an undesirable behavior and can be prevented through appropriate training. Physical correction should never be used as this can result in fear and aggression.

Always get your puppy checked first to ensure that there is no medical reason for their biting.

• Teach your pup basic commands such as sit, stay and come
• Exercise your pup in a set routine
• Avoid wrestling and rough play
• Frequently leash-walk your pet (ensure all vaccinations are up-to-date)
• Provide chew toys
• Isolate the pup when it starts to play bite
• Reward your pup for good, calm behavior
• Enroll your pup into puppy classes from 6-14 weeks of age

Monday, June 8, 2009

Poisonous Palms

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has recently seen an increase in reports of Palm plant poisonings in dogs. The Sago of Cycad palms are decorative indoor plants often found in households in tropical areas. The seeds contain the most toxins, but the leaves, stem and roots are also toxic and can cause severe gastrointestinal problems in dogs, sheep, cattle and humans.

Signs of poisoning:
• Vomiting
• Inappetence
• Depression
• Diarrhea
• Seizures
• Liver failure

If you have these plants, ensure they are in areas out of reach of pets. If you are concerned your pet may have ingested this plant, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Deadly Parvo

Parvo is a severe gastrointestinal disorder that can affect dogs, but predominantly puppies. It is highly contagious and contracted through contaminated feces. The reason is can become such a problem is that the virus itself is highly resistant and can remain in the environment such as parks, malls, boarding kennels, for any unprotected pet.

Clinical Signs Include:
• Vomiting
• Severe, bloody diarrhea
• Depression or lethargy
• Loss of appetite
• Vomiting and diarrhea
• Death as quick as 48-72 hours after onset of signs

As with most infectious disease, prevention is better than treatment. Highly effective vaccines exist for dogs starting from a pup at 6 weeks of age, every 3 weeks up to 16 weeks of age. They will then need continued protection with a vaccination one year later and every three years after that.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ear Infections

Common Causes:
1. Yeast
2. Food Allergies
3. Fox tails/Grass Seeds
4. Parasites - mites (demodex), fleas, ticks
5. Hypothyroidism

1. Narrow ear canal e.g. Shar Peis
2. Defective drainage
3. Ear Conformation
4. Self Trauma - dog or cat scratching at it or rough cleaning
5. over treatment
6. obstruction e.g. tumour or polyp

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Safety Tips When Exercising Your Pet

• Check with your local veterinarian to choose which exercise is right for your pet
• Always keep your dog on a leash unless in an enclosed supervised area such as dog day care
• Always have an adult with you when exercising outside your home
• Know exactly where your dog is at all times
• Check the path in which you walk the dog to ensure there are no hazards
• Do not tie the leash to your wrist
• Do not exercise when the weather is too hot
• Bring water and a travel bowl for your pet

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Appropriate Play Tips for Children

There is estimated to be 400 million dogs in the world. Exposure to dogs is inevitable so it is important to ensure our children and pets have a positive experience.

If it is a dog you know and you have been given permission from an adult to approach the dog, here are some tips:
• Be Gentle: Gently stroke the pet on the chest and shoulders: avoid the neck, face, feet and tail.
• Approach Slowly: Move slowly around a pet.
• Be quiet and confident around the dog.
• Do not approach a dog when it is eating or sleeping.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to Train Your Pet to "Sit"

• Use a treat and hold is directly above your pet’s head.
• Move the treat so that your pet follows it with it’s eyes.
• As you move the treat forward, your pet’s legs should start to fold under
• You may need to give a gentle push if your pet does not start to bend the legs
• As this begins to happen, say “Sit”
• When the dog fully sits, give the treat or praise
• Practice, practice, practice