Kersti Nieto, Professional Dog Trainer, discusses how to stop your dog from pulling on a leash
We all have that friend, relative, or rival who walks their dog with expert leash-wielding skills. They aren’t being pulled down the block, tied 'round trees, or tangled up with the friendly neighbor dog who’s also out for an afternoon stroll. I don’t know about you, but I silently envy the person and pet that can walk side-by-side without breaking a sweat. And I have to admit, good leash walking skills are important for more than just showing off your pet-parent talents. “From a relationship perspective,” explains Sarah Fraser, a certified professional dog trainer and co-founder of Instinct Behavior & Training in New York City, “if your dog is walking nicely on a leash, it likely means that your dog is paying more attention to you, making it easier for you to provide direction and guidance as needed along your walk.” A leash-puller can also run the risk of accidentally breaking away from your grip, which can pose multiple dangers to your pet if he or she continues to run, not to mention the danger for yourself if you end up face-first on the sidewalk. Having proper leash manners minimizes the risk that you will be pulled over in a moment of overzealous leash yanking and will make the time more about walking and less about tug-of-war. “Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash allows you to take her more places and for longer walks, because it’s more comfortable and enjoyable for the both of you,” Fraser says. Tips for Better Walking Behavior Whether your dog is big or small, here are six ways to improve your dog’s behavior on a leash: Adjust your attitude. First, ask yourself: “What would I like him or her to do instead?” Instead of teaching a dog to stop pulling, think of it as teaching your dog how to walk nicely beside you. Remember it’s all about the rewards. One of the easiest and most effective ways to start teaching a dog to walk properly on a dog leash is to reward the dog for paying attention to you and for being in the desired position (next to you or close to you) when out for a walk. “As the dog learns that walking next to you is a pleasant, rewarding experience, she’ll spend less time pulling and more time walking nicely beside you,” says Fraser. Try using very special treats in the beginning, like small pieces of boiled chicken or roast beef, to really get your dog’s attention, she advises. If you are worried about spoiling your pup's meals you can use pieces of dehydrated dog food or freeze-dried dog food from your pup's daily meals. That will help you to make sure you are not overfeeding your dog while also supplying them with tasty incentives for good behavior. Play the “follow me” game. Hold on to your leash and take several backward steps away from your dog. The backward movement is inviting, so your dog is likely to turn and follow you. Say “yes!” as your dog approaches you, then immediately reward him or her with a treat. “The game helps your dog focus and move with you,” says Fraser. Then back away several steps in another direction. Once again, says “yes!” as your dog approaches and reward him or her with a treat. Repeat this pattern eight to 12 times, until your dog is actively pursuing you when you move away. Practice on your regular walks. Once you’ve started your stride, each time your dog looks up at you or walks next to you, says “yes!” and immediately reward him or her with a treat. Reward often. "Frequent rewards will help your dog figure out more quickly what behavior you’re looking for and make the learning process easier for her,” Fraser explains. “The trick to making this work is using very special treats at first, and keeping your rate of reinforcement high, which just means that you are marking and rewarding often—maybe every 4-5 steps at first—for any and all ‘good’ leash behavior.” Over time, you can thin out your rate of reinforcement, rewarding your dog less frequently throughout the course of the walk, Fraser adds. Consider additional assistance. “If your dog is already a practiced puller, consider purchasing a quality front clip harness to provide extra control on walks,” Fraser recommends. But if your dog already pulls hard with a no pull dog harness, consider working with a certified, positive reinforcement-based trainer. Finally, remember that walking on a leash is a skill that takes time and practice for both the pet parent and dog, so celebrate incremental improvements and successes! By Caitlin Ultimo Kersti Nieto - Dog Training Camp USA - http://www.dogtrainingcampusa.com/
29 Oct 2018
What is Canine Influenza with Dr. Susan McMillan
What is Canine Influenza? with Dr. Susan McMillan, owner of Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in Burlington, Vermont. As travel season ramps up, you need to know and understand canine influenza and how to protect your pooch. Susan, Welcome to Bark & Wag’s 15 minute Vet Talk – It is a pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice before we begin on the topic of What is Canine Influenza? Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) in the U.S. is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus. In early 2016, a group of cats in an Indiana shelter were infected with H3N2 canine influenza (passed to them by infected dogs), and the findings suggested that cat-to-cat transmission was possible. Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats. Canine influenza symptoms and diagnosis CIV infection resembles canine infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough"). The illness may be mild or severe, and infected dogs develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. Some dogs may not show signs of illness, but can shed the virus and infect other dogs. Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian. CIV can be diagnosed early in the illness (less than 3 days) by testing a nasal or throat swab. The most accurate test for CIV infection is a blood test that requires a sample taken during the first week of illness, followed by a second sample 10-14 days later. Cats infected with H3N2 canine influenza show symptoms of upper respiratory illness, including a runny nose, congestion, malaise, lip smacking, and excessive salivation. Transmission and prevention of canine influenza Dogs are most contagious during the two- to four-day incubation period for the virus, when they are infected and shedding the virus in their nasal secretions but are not showing signs of illness. Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%). The spread of CIV can be reduced by isolating ill dogs as well as those who are known to have been exposed to an infected dog and those showing signs of respiratory illness. Good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, also reduce the spread of CIV. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants. There are vaccines against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza, which was first discovered in 2004 and until 2015 was the only strain of canine influenza found in the United States. However, a 2015 outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago was traced to the H3N2 strain – the first reporting of this strain outside of Asia – and it is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides any protection against this strain. Used against H3N8, the vaccines may not completely prevent infection, but appear to reduce the severity and duration of the illness, as well as the length of time when an infected dog may shed the virus in its respiratory secretions and the amount of virus shed – making them less contagious to other dogs. In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a conditional license to Zoetis to market the first commercially available H3N2 canine influenza vaccine. Later that month, Merck Animal Health announced the availability of an H3N2 canine influenza vaccine, also conditionally licensed by USDA. None of the currently available H3N2 canine influenza vaccines are approved for use in cats. The CIV vaccination is a "lifestyle" vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks.
2 Jan 2020
Cindy Myers, Animal Listener, helps a dog feel secure after being rescued
I’m Cindy Myers, Animal Listener I would like to share a little about what I do and how I got here working with both animals and two-leggers (humans...you will understand that terminology in a few minutes;) One of the frequently asked questions I get from my clients and workshop attendees is if I have always been able to communicate intuitively with animals and have empathic energy skills. The answer to that question is no, not really. I’ve always loved animals, but I was not aware of having any intuitive senses or that I could do healing energy work until I was an adult. I’ve always been a good listener. But, if twenty years ago, someone told me I’d be living on a farm with about 30 alpacas, 3 dogs, and 2 barn cats working as an intuitive energy healer and animal communicator, I would have laughed and thought that was the craziest thing I ever heard! Why I call myself An Animal Listener... Communication entails two elements; talking and listening. It has been my experience that when you ask someone to define what makes a good communicator, they often say, “She has a great style of talking to you,” or “He is really assertive and makes you feel at ease.” Almost everyone describes just the talking piece in good communication. It is pretty rare that someone describes the listening component of communication. Yet, the best communicators, the healthiest relationships, all have the ability to be effective listeners. Listening isn’t just done with our ears. To listen well, we must use all of our senses including our “sixth” sense. Most have heard of using their “third eye” to indicate their intuition. I also like to use the term, using our “third ear.” It is this “third ear,” that I use in listening to and communicating with animals. To be effective communicators with our animals, we must first be willing to listen to them. The beauty of improving our listening skills with our animal companions is that same skill can make our human relationships richer, deeper and more connected as well. Our animals can teach us much about how to be better listeners. Here’s what I believe... I believe that all of our life experiences lead us to our true calling in life, however, sometimes we take a roundabout way of getting there. Boy do I get that. It has taken many years, different career paths and life challenges from tending to and being my mom’s caregiver during her final years and then a house fire caused by an arsonist, before discovering and finding the courage to finally embrace and pursue my calling of intuitive energy work for people and their animals and teach others how to open up to their own intuitive listening abilities. What I used to do that drew me to my calling... It is quite amusing to watch people’s reaction when I tell them my career began working as an engineer. On the surface, it does seem a far stretch going from engineering to an intuitive healer and animal communicator. I enjoyed my engineering career in the beginning but in the end, it wasn’t quite the right fit. But when you are in your teens and early twenties, deciding on a career, it was a very good choice. I was drawn to engineering because of my interest in Physics. My first job was working on radars and that was no fluke. I was not ready to open up to my intuitive personal radar, but studying and working on equipment that sends out and receives frequency signals and then interprets the data was fascinating to me and I know that was a strong foundation in my eventually opening up to my own intuitive abilities. And it was that work and basic understanding of physics and quantum mechanics that validated in my mind that my intuitive experiences were real. My second career, I found myself drawn to Counseling. Another career that seems on the surface to be polar opposite to engineering yet I was supervising people and trying to be a good leader and you need to have excellent people skills for that so, counseling was a better idea than going and getting an MBA. I pursued and earned my Master’s Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Depth Psychology. It was during this time that my intuitive abilities began to open up and I had a place and an outlet to begin sharing my experiences with others. I began experiencing people’s pain in my own body! How freaky is that to suddenly have a pain in my side, headache or migraine? It was pretty darn scary at first and I often felt isolated because no way I was going to share those experiences with my engineering colleagues. But, at the same time, I knew I wasn’t crazy and that these experiences were very real. I also thought, it would be pretty cool to learn how to use these experiences for others’ benefit. I began reading a lot of different books. I was drawn to memoirs of intuitive healers. It helped to read about how they got started and how it all worked for them. I found they experienced things similar to what I was going through. That made me feel a little less alone and that it was more real. Then I found a book on Animal Communication and couldn’t wait to learn more. I practiced on my dog Rusty and we had the neatest experiences! Being able to communicate merely by thinking to him was so amazing and it made our connection and bond all the more special. I was hooked! I wanted to learn more and practice communicating with more animals. Although it was really amazing to communicate with animals, I never thought of it being a profession so I began working to get my Marriage Family Therapy license. I thought going into Counseling was the right fit and that this was my calling. Like many people, life can throw you quite the curve ball. Being the caregiver of my mother her final years was challenging. As her health declined, the responsibilities of her daily care and emotional upheaval of tending to her, working full time as an engineer all while still working on my Marriage Family Therapy license took its toll. I burned out. Both figuratively and literally! Only weeks after my mother passed away, I lost my home to arson fire. It was devastating. I only had the emotional strength to rebuild my own life and home. I couldn’t ethically care for others’ tender psyches. So I took a leave of absence from both counseling and engineering to tend to me and rebuild my life. My true life passion comes about... It was then that I discovered alpacas and I bought my first two, a mother and newly born daughter. I boarded them at the time and I learned the ropes of caring for alpacas and while doing that, I honed my intuitive skills. They healed me as much as I learned about doing healing energy work on them and on people. I became a student of Reiki and Healing Touch for Animals. I studied clicker training and adapted all the techniques I learned to work with alpacas. I wore a Phoenix necklace during that time to hold the intention of rebuilding my life up from the ashes. I often tell people that the blessing of that very hard time was that I got my “life do-over.” It was like these personas and reasons why I had to do the things I was doing were all written on a big white board. But when the fire happened, in a flash, that white board was wiped clean. I was no longer a caregiver, I stopped being an engineer and a counselor. I didn’t care about material things any more. Funny how when they are all taken in a second you realize how little importance they really are. The only thing that mattered was my family, friends and my dogs. After having the slate wiped clean, I was then handed a marker and allowed to start putting up on the whiteboard what I wanted to do with my life. That was very empowering and it allowed me to walk away from things that weren’t working for me anymore. I now had the time, space and energy to explore a totally different life. I went from living an “in the box” life to not just being out of the box, but having no box at all! Becoming an alpaca farmer and living with these amazing animals, provided that new life. They are quite ironic animals. They are prey animals and have no real means of defense so are driven by the flight response. They are incredibly skittish animals and vary wary of humans. Yet, for people that have experienced terrible traumas or live in a high stress environment, being around alpacas is incredibly calming and soothing. They pump out this very calming, zen-like energy. Alpacas are amazing teachers and are incredibly intuitive animals. When I first began using alpaca to teach others how to communicate with animals, I wasn’t sure how that would work having total strangers in the pasture with them, trying to mentally communicate with these skittish animals. I remember holding my breath that it would work the first time students went out into my pasture. But, true to form, they worked beautifully with all the students. Each student walked away having a special connection and knew they had actually communicated intuitively with an animal. Two leggers (I know you’ve been waiting for this)… In one story I tell in my book, “Alpacas Don’t Do That,” I was intuitively communicating with an alpaca for the first time, and she did a triple take and sniffed my face and I heard in my head, "hmm, I didn't know two-leggers could do that." Ever since then, I use the term two-leggers to refer to us humans. (There is your explanation from the first paragraph that I promised you). Why I love what I do… I know how busy we all are and that in our society and way of life, we have a hard time making time for ourselves. We can spend years trying to understand our dynamics and that is all great to go and do. However, it has been so exciting to find that my energetic techniques I use with both people and animals can facilitate those personal growth issues. These techniques remove those balls of trapped energies that created our old behavioral dynamics and support our bodies in healing and it can be done relatively quickly and easily. And the beauty of it is that I can be here in Oregon and people or their animals can be anywhere in the world. Not only can I do this work for anyone anywhere, I can do it all through email! You don’t even have to be on the phone with me as I tap into your subconscious. So you don’t even have to change your schedule or stop what you are doing in your busy lives. I take care of it and send an email to you telling you what emotions were trapped and I can also tell you what age they were trapped. Some like knowing that information and it will trigger a memory. Others don’t want to remember it at all and are just happy to have those energies that cause problems out of their body and system. Some people like to have me work on them in person or over the phone and experience the releases as I’m doing it, however, many more people, are very happy that they don’t have to schedule one more appointment into their busy and hectic lives. It is very rewarding releasing these trapped emotions and energies in people and animals, but even more rewarding is teaching people how to do it for themselves and their animals. It fits with that saying, provide someone a fish and they eat for the day; teach them to fish and they eat for the rest of their lives. This is true for learning to release your trapped emotions. We pretty much get a trapped emotion each day of our lives. Individually, a trapped emotion may not cause harm, but after awhile, it can keep attracting more similar trapped emotions and they tend to accumulate in similar areas of the body. I like to say, “We store our issues in our tissues.” Some very learned individuals such as Louise Hays has written multiple books on the subject. So learning how to remove those emotions that cause those issues is of everyone’s benefit. I like to set people up for success and with these techniques, you will experience for yourself how incredibly rewarding and useful these tools are in our daily lives. I love sharing my intuitive abilities with both animals and humans. I look forward to getting to know both you and your animals better soon!Certified in: Emotion Code as a Practitioner Level II Reiki Level II Healing Touch for Animals
12 Aug 2019
Kersti Moss, Co Owner at Dog Training Camp USA, discusses tips on camping with your dog.
OUR FRIENDS, CAMPING WITH DOGS, SHARE HELPFUL TIPS FOR CAMPING, HIKING AND ENJOYING THE GREAT OUTDOORS WITH FURRY FRIENDS. Camping with Dogs is a lifestyle brand built on a community of people who love outdoor adventure shared with their beloved pets. What began as an Instagram account featuring photos of dogs exploring the outdoors with their owners has now become so much more. Connecting people around their world through a shared love, who better to gather some of the best expert tips for camping and hiking with dogs? TIPS FOR HIKING AND CAMPING WITH DOGS FROM THE EXPERTS 1. LOOK UP THE REGULATIONS IN THE AREA OF TRAILS OR CAMPGROUNDS BEFOREHAND Some may not allow dogs are have restrictions. Keep your dog close, or on leash because others camping may not want to be bothered with your dog, and leashing up can also protect your dog against any wildlife that may come after your furry friend, or prevent them from wrestling in the bushes that may have poisonous plants. – @west_coast_heeler_pack 2. PACK PLENTY OF WATER It may seem like a no brainer, but make sure your dog is staying hydrated. It’s super important. Pack enough water for them if there won’t be a source of water they can safely use. Don’t let them drink salt water or from standing water! Same goes for food, make sure they have enough. Collapsible bowls are super handy. – @mirandashea24 3. KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED While it’s nice not to have your dog tug on a leash while hiking (unless you’ve trained them not to), there’s a few obvious reasons to have your dog on the leash. For starters, not everyone is as in love with dogs as we are and they could actually be terrified. If you have your dog leash-less, it could make other hikers very uncomfortable. Secondly, they could become targets for or infuriate wildlife (i.e., bears). I could go on but if your dog is like either of mine (i.e., likes to stay head 20 feet and greet any human being in site), then keep them leashed. – @samanthabrookephoto 4. PROTECT THE PAWS Not just from the snow, but from the hot ground as well. We have a pair of “cool” dog booties that we use for the summer when the dirt or cinder that we’re walking on is too hot for Jazz’s paws. In the winter we use Musher’s Secret, a wax product that you can put directly on your dog’s paws to protect their fur from balling up in the snow. We find that a lot of booties fall off of Jazz (because he loves hopping through the fresh powder) so the wax is a great alternative for the winter. – @jazz.paws 5. BRING A TENT WITH LOTS OF SPACE Get a tent with double entries and vestibules. If you have a smaller tent, you can put your packs and gear under one vestibule, and a little sleeping pad for your dog to sleep in the other one. We have a shorthair dog and prefer to keep him in our tent on cold nights, but in the summer the vestibule lets us enjoy more room. – @captainshark 6. DON’T LET RAINY DAYS DAMPEN OUTDOOR PLANS A tent can be used to provide a cozy and dry place to hangout outdoors with your pets. Another huge plus of venturing outside in the rain is that, chances are, no one else takes advantage of the day. We found an empty beach where we could relax, have lunch, and play cards in our warm little tent – during breaks in the rain, the pups could roam free without us worrying about them bothering other people. It was a super lovely day, rain and all. – @nancythebeat 7. PACK A BRUSH/COMB Here in the desert I always make sure I have my comb and leatherman tool cause more than likely my pup will have an encounter with a colla cactus. Even if he isn’t near one, the spines litter the desert all year long. – @dustydesertdogs 8. PACK TOYS Bring your dog’s favorite toy with you. It will help ease any anxieties he may have and help him feel more comfortable in his “home away from home.” – @alexborsuk 9. PET FIRST AID It’s always handy to have pet first aid knowledge. There are courses out there that are great to help build current knowledge or for those who don’t know where to start. Having a basic first aid guide book is also really handy to include in a first aid kit. You can get away with having a regular first aid kit and adding a few things to make it more accommodating to pets, such as, iodine for cleaning wounds, wax paw protector for dry pads, or to be used as a barrier for extreme conditions, and a tick remover. Liquid bandages are helpful for cuts. I also included dog boots and tongue suppressors that can be used as a splint. – @west_coast_heeler_pack By KOA
26 Aug 2019
Most Popular Podcasts
Why are your pets taken to the back room during a routine visit with Dr. Millie Armstrong
When you head to the veterinarian, you and your pet are likely both a little nervous. Whether it's for yearly vaccinations or to figure out why your furry best friend has been scratching or vomiting, you have to bring them in — and no one likes to be poked and prodded. By the time your vet appears in the exam room, you've both had time to worry about it and the doctor picks up on your combined nerves. That's one of the reasons so many veterinarians will do an initial exam in the room while you're there, but will whisk your pet "to the back" for vaccinations, bloodwork and other procedures."Some pets are actually calmer when they are away from their owners, which makes it easier to perform exams or draw blood or administer a treatment," writes veterinarian Dr. Joanne Intile in PetMD. "This allows the veterinarian to accomplish tasks more efficiently and safely, reducing stress for the pets." Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker agrees. "Your pet may actually be much more difficult (or even dangerous) to handle in your presence, either because he’s trying to protect you or is sensing your concern for him. For many pets, getting away from Mom or Dad and being handled by a confident, experienced, animal-loving veterinary technician means getting the procedure done faster and with less stress for everyone." Especially if you happen to get a little queasy when it comes to medical procedures. If you get lightheaded while your pet is getting vaccinated or having blood drawn, no doubt he will pick up on that. And do you really want to see them getting a fecal sample or drawing a lot of blood (which they usually get from your dog's jugular)? More room to work In most veterinary clinics, "the back" refers to a large open area with access to surgical lights, equipment and more space to move around. It's a comfortable room where it's easy for vets and techs to work with your pet with all the tools they need close at hand. "Exam rooms are generally smaller, with less room to maneuver, especially with the pet owner (or two, and sometimes children as well) taking up room without knowing the best place to stand or how to help — or even if (and when) staying out of the way is better," says Becker. Often there are other staff members in the back who can offer an extra set of hands to help with restraining or calming your pet or getting equipment, medications or anything else that's needed. In exam rooms, owners often insist on restraining pets themselves, but they aren't necessarily all that good at it. Owners have been bitten by their own dogs in exam rooms. "Because veterinarians are liable for anything that happens to owners in the exam room, it's quite normal for them to discourage you from restraining your pooch when they have staff who are professionally trained to perform safe restraining techniques," writes behavior consultant and former animal hospital assistant Adrienne Janet Farricelli. "Many years ago, I took my dog to the vet to have a painful wound cleaned. At first, I tried to help, but the vet said to me, 'Let me have my professionally-trained staff hold your dog for this procedure. We don't want him to associate this not-so-pleasant experience with you.'" Less stress ... or not? Does your presence comfort your pet or make her feel more anxious? (Photo: Gumpanat/Shutterstock) Although many vets will insist that pets pick up on their owners' stress, not all experts are convinced that dogs and cats are less likely to be anxious when we're with them. Faricelli reflects on her own days working at an animal hospital. "The dog who I thought appeared to be 'calmer' when brought to the back room may have likely been frozen in fear instead," she writes. "Some dogs who initially tried to resist, and then appeared calmer afterwards, may have been a victim of 'learned helplessness.' This means that they simply gave up. Their behavior might be mistaken for 'behaving,' but, in reality, they are in a subdued state of stress and fear." In the 2017 study, researchers in France assessed the behavioral and physiological responses in dogs while being examined by a vet. They found that signs of stress in dogs — which include an increased heart rate and lip licking — decreased when the owners stayed in the room, petting and talking to the dog during the exam. They also were less likely to try to jump off the exam table when the owner was comforting them. The researchers concluded, "This study demonstrates that owner-dog interactions improve the well-being of dogs during a veterinary examination. Future research may assist in further understanding the mechanisms associated with reducing stress in dogs in similar settings. If your vet takes your pet to the back and you aren't happy about it, talk about it. Your vet should be open to a discussion and should be able to give you a tour of the back so you can see what goes on back there. Either way, you'll get to stay in the room with your pet or you'll be more knowledgeable about where he goes when he's out of your sight. Profile Latest Stories Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.
14 Apr 2019
Cindy Myers, Animal Intuitive, discusses a few clients that were out of the ordinary
https://www.beananimallistener.com/ Reach out to Cindy for a reading on your pet. Office Hours: Monday - Wednesday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Tuesday - Thursday : 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM Friday: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Please call my office at 541-658-5062. If it is during business hours, I might be working with a client and am not accepting calls. I will return your call during my next open spot. If you call after hours, please feel free to leave me a message and be sure to leave your Name, Best Number to reach you back on, and your time zone so I know when is appropriate to call you back. I will return their call during my regular business hours.
22 Apr 2019
Does your dog ever have a reverse sneezing attack? What is it? What can we do to help our dogs?
Welcome to Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk – I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking to one of our favorite Vets, Dr. Laura Brown, owner of Green Tree Animal Hospital in Libertyville, IL as we discuss reverse sneezing. Dogs have a condition we call a 'reverse sneeze.' It may also be known as a 'pharyngeal gag reflex'. It is termed a reverse sneeze, because it sounds like the dog is rapidly pulling air into his nose, whereas in a 'regular' sneeze, the air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. During a reverse sneeze, the dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still, and extend his head. A loud snorting sound is produced, which may make you think the dog has something caught in his nose. The most common cause of a reverse sneeze is irritation of the soft palate, which results in a spasm. This spasm narrows the airway and makes it temporarily more difficult for the dog to take in air. Factors that may be associated with reverse sneezing include excitement, eating or drinking, exercise, physical irritation of the throat such as from pulling on a leash, respiratory tract mites, allergies, irritating chemicals such as perfumes or household cleaners, viral infections, foreign bodies caught in the throat, and post-nasal drip. If you witness a dog having a reverse sneeze it may seem alarming, but in most cases it is not a harmful condition, there are no ill effects, and treatment is unnecessary. Usually the dog is completely normal before and after the episode. However, in some dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds such as Boxers or King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, sounds similar to a reverse sneeze may be a sign of a respiratory problem, such as an elongated soft palate. In these cases, there are usually other respiratory symptoms as well, and these dogs should be examined by a veterinarian. A reverse sneezing episode can last for several seconds to a minute. Some claim that an episode can be shortened by closing the dog's nostrils for several seconds with your hand or massaging the throat.
14 Nov 2016
Coronavirus and your pet with Dr. Susan McMillan
Hong Kong (CNN)They're your furry best friend and a fixture of your home -- but could your beloved cat or dog give you coronavirus? Last Friday, Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that samples from a dog's nasal and oral cavities had tested "weak positive" for novel coronavirus. Initially, experts believed the virus was likely to be present only on the surface of the animal. But this week authorities confirmed that the dog -- which has been in quarantine -- had repeatedly tested weak positive, indicating a low-level infection with the virus. Experts, including those from the World Organization for Animal Health, unanimously agreed that it was likely a case of human-to-animal transmission. But there's no need for pet owners to panic yet. Coronavirus outbreak: Latest news on the global pandemic "There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they can become sick," the AFCD spokesman said. To be safe, the AFCD recommends that pet owners wash their hands after being around their animals, and avoid kissing them. The department also "strongly advises" that pets of people infected with coronavirus should be quarantined. Both Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the World Organization for Animal Health reiterated that there is no evidence of pets becoming sick with Covid-19, even when infected. "Members of the public are advised to differentiate that 'being infected' does not equal being infectious and capable of spreading the Covid-19 virus," Hong Kong SPCA said in a statement. Can pets give you coronavirus? There were similar fears over coronavirus spreading to pets during the SARS outbreak in 2003, when over 280 people died in Hong Kong. Experts believe that both SARS and Covid-19 likely originated in bats. Dogs and cats do get coronaviruses -- but they are usually not the same viruses associated with this outbreak, said Jane Gray, Hong Kong SPCA's chief veterinary surgeon. The strains dogs and cats typically get don't cause respiratory problems. Back in 2003, scientists said the chance of getting SARS -- which is also a type of coronavirus -- from your cat was extremely remote. A cat lies on the windowsill on February 16, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Gray, who was working in Hong Kong during SARS, said the virus was found in a small number of cats, but there was no evidence that they could pass it to humans. Could a dog be contaminated with coronavirus? We know that coronaviruses can live on surfaces and objects, although researchers don't know exactly how long this virus can linger for. This is such a concern in mainland China that the central bank has been deep cleaning and destroying potentially infected cash. In the same way, coronavirus could be present on the surface of a dog or cat, even if the dog or cat hasn't actually contracted the virus. A Chinese woman holds her dog on a Beijing street on February 7, 2020. "Present evidence suggests that dogs are no more of a risk of spreading (coronavirus) than inanimate objects such as door handles," wrote Sheila McClelland, the founder of Hong Kong-based Lifelong Animal Protection Charity (LAP), in a letter to the Hong Kong authorities, which she shared with CNN. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main way the disease is spreading is from person-to-person, either from when people are close together, or from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs and sneezes. Is it worth quarantining pets? According to Gray, there is value in quarantining pets from a scientific perspective, because it allows scientists to observe how an animal relates to a disease we still know relatively little about. "Whilst it seems a bit scary, it's purely a precautionary measure, and it's certainly nothing for pet owners in general to be concerned about," said Gray. A dog wears a mask over its mouth on a street in Beijing on February 13, 2020. Some pet owners in mainland China have been fitting their dogs with tiny face masks, but Gray said there is no benefit to that -- in fact, it's probably fairly distressing for the pet and could cause them to panic. Instead, pet owners should stick to the basics: good hygiene. Both WHO and Gray said owners should wash their hands with soap and water after touching pets. Gray said if dog owners are particularly concerned, they can wipe their dog's paws with antiseptic wipes after they have had a walk outside -- but they should take care not to overdo it, as wiping too much can dry out a dog's paws. "I am certainly not in any concern of my dog or cats, I'm far more concerned about myself catching it from a human being that has the disease," said Gray, who is a pet owner herself. What's the bigger risk? To veterinarians and animal rights experts, there is a bigger issue than the potential spread of coronavirus to pets: the spread of fear. After the announcement that the Hong Kong dog tested positive last week, the Lifelong Animal Protection Charity (LAP) -- a group which helps rehome animals in Hong Kong -- wrote to the government, saying its announcement caused "a tremendous amount of panic." Dogs wearing masks are seen in a stroller in Shanghai on February 19, 2020. McClelland, the founder of LAP, said she had been contacted by "countless people" worried for their pets, with many anxious that their dog or cat would be forcibly set to quarantine. "In a state of panic, people could abandon or kill their pets," she said. "Other people could stigmatize people who have dogs. Dog owners could face unreasonable problems when simply walking their pets outdoors, or neighbors could create trouble for no reason." Back in 2003, there were reports of cats in Beijing being taken from the owners and killed by people worried that they could be harboring the disease, according to a New Scientist report. In Hong Kong, there was an increase of abandoned pets, said McClelland. A Chinese woman wears a protective mask as she plays with her dogs at a park on February 25, 2020 in Beijing, China. In Wuhan -- the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic and which has been under lockdown for over a month -- pets have been trapped in apartments alone while their owners are stuck outside the city. Volunteers from Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association say they have rescued hundreds of pets left in apartments. Furry Angels Haven, a group that works to rescue homeless and neglected pets in Wuhan, said that "without a doubt" there had been an increase in abandoned pets since the outbreak and that pets were being unfairly targeted. Last week, Gray and McClelland said they hadn't seen any sign of an increase in pet abuse or abandonment in Hong Kong. Instead, they've both seen a rise in people looking into steps to export their pets overseas -- suggesting owners are looking to leave the city. Why pets are worth keeping Rather than pets being a coronavirus culprit, they are actually good to have around in this stressful period when many people are stuck working or studying from home, says Gray. Pets are likely happy to have extra time with their owners, and can help lower people's blood pressure and ease the feelings of stress, she said. "We know that stress lowers our immunity, and no one right now wants their immunity lowered," she added. That's been the case for Hong Kong resident Marco Leung, who has a seven-year-old pet dog. He's not worried about his dog getting sick from coronavirus -- although he has been taking precautions such as cleaning his dog after walks. "I know dogs will not be infected, but if the virus goes on their skin or fur, it will stay there. So if we are careful, I think it's OK," he said. He's been working from home, so he gets to spend the whole day with his pet Hung Jai, which means "little bear" in Cantonese. "Working from home is very very boring, so now I have more time for us to play together," he said.
13 Mar 2020
Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk
Welcome to Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk – I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking to Kelly Burkholder, owner of Dirty Hairy Dog Wash, from Daphne, Alabama. Many of us take our dogs to the groomer. What happens during that time of drop off to pick up? Many of us simply just drop our dogs off and assume we left our beloved four-legged companion in capable hands. However, we are assuming a lot. Leaving the dog with the groomer is much like leaving him with a day care or the vet. We entrust the groomer with our dog's health and safety, not just the length of the cut or the trimming of the nails. Leave Your Contact Information On the very first visit, any responsible groomer will ask all new clients to fill out a grooming card. A grooming card includes your vet's number, your cell and home phone numbers and who to call in case of an emergency. Provide Physical Health Info Any grooming shop worth its salt makes sure that each canine client is up to date on its vaccinations. This ensures the greater safety of all the clients against many contagious diseases. You should also expect to provide additional info about your dog's health such as whether he has a murmur, arthritis or any other condition that might be relevant. It's important that your groomer knows these things in case your dog becomes ill while being groomed. Accidents Accidents can happen at even the most reputable grooming salons. Razor burns, nicks, styling mishaps and nails clipped too short can all happen when working on a wiggly dog. Stylists are sometimes even bitten by a frightened dog. These things can still happen even if you have been going to the same groomer for twenty years; that's why they are called accidents. In the case of an emergency, a good groomer will notify you immediately and make sure that your dog receives proper medical care as needed. Health issues that an owner and vet might miss on your pet. A groomer is watching for anything that might be suspicious and examined by the vet. Stress Our dogs usually experience some amount of stress while being groomed, but severe stress might be a sign that something went wrong. A good groomer will recognize the signs of stress in your pet and call you if your dog is so stressed that the session cannot be completed. Signs of stress: Glazed eyes Dilated pupils Refusal to make eye contact Yawning Drooling Excessive licking, scratching, panting Biting Growling Snapping Tremors Involuntary urinating or diarrhea Should you notice any of these signs when picking up your dog, please take a moment to talk with your groomer and find out what happened. The idea here is to make a grooming day fun day for your dog.
16 Jun 2016
What are puppy mills and how can we protect our furry friends?
Welcome to Bark & Wag’s 15 Minute Vet Talk – I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking to Dr. Meredith Rives, Owner of Natural Touch Veterinary Care in Evanston, IL about puppy mills and what we can do to stop the madness. Welcome Merry…..Please tell us about puppy mills and how we can stop this awful business. Buyer Beware: The Problem with Puppy Mills Choosing to bring a new canine companion into your life is an exciting but involved decision-making process, especially when deciding where to get one. You might have concerns about "puppy mills" and want to know how to steer clear of them. Perhaps you don't even know what these are and need more information. As you begin your research, here are some things to consider: Puppy mills Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities that mass-produce dogs (and cats in cat mills) for sale through pet stores, or directly to consumers through classified ads or the Internet. Roughly 90 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. Many retailers who buy animals from such facilities take the wholesaler's word that the animals are happy and healthy without seeing for themselves. In most states, these commercial breeding kennels can legally keep hundreds of dogs in cages their entire lives, for the sole purpose of continuously churning out puppies. The animals produced range from purebreds to any number of the latest "designer" mixed breeds. Cat breeding occurs under similar conditions to supply pet stores with kittens. Animals in puppy mills are treated like cash crops They are confined to squalid, overcrowded cages with minimal shelter from extreme weather and no choice but to sit and sleep in their own excrement. Animals suffer from malnutrition or starvation due to inadequate or unsanitary food and water. Sick or dying animals receive little or no veterinary care. Adult animals are continuously bred until they can no longer produce, then destroyed or discarded. Kittens and puppies are taken from their mothers at such an early age; many suffer from serious behavior problems. Look for these red flags: The seller has many types of purebreds or "designer" hybrid breeds being sold at less than six weeks old. Breeders who are reluctant to show potential customers the entire premises on which animals are being bred and kept. Breeders who don't ask a lot of questions of potential buyers. No guarantees-responsible breeders make a commitment to take back the pet at anytime during the animal's life, no matter the reason. Because puppy mills and backyard breeders choose profit over animal welfare, their animals typically do not receive proper veterinary care. Animals may seem healthy at first but later show issues like congenital eye and hip defects, parasites or even the deadly Parvovirus. Taking homes away When puppy mills and backyard breeders flood the market with animals, they reduce homes available for animals from reputable establishments, shelters and rescue groups. Every year, more than 150,000 cats and dogs enter shelters in Washington State-6 to 8 million animals enter shelters nationwide. Sadly, only about 15 percent of people with pets in the U.S. adopted them from a shelter or rescue group, leaving so many deserving pets left behind. Help stop the suffering by taking these steps: Be a responsible, informed consumer-if you do buy from a breeder, go to a reputable one who: Will show you where the dogs spend their time and introduces you to the puppy's parents. Explains the puppy's medical history, including vaccines, and gives you their veterinarian's contact info. Doesn't have puppies available year-round, yet may keep a waiting list for interested people. Asks about your family's lifestyle, why you want a dog, and your care and training plans for the puppy. Doesn't use pressure sales tactics. Adopt from a shelter or breed-specific rescue group near you-typically 25% of the animals in shelters are purebred. Support laws that protect animals from puppy mill cruelty-tell your elected officials you support laws which cap the number of animals a person can own and breed, and establish care standards for exercise, housing, access to food and water and regular veterinary care. Urge your local pet store to support shelters-animals are often used to draw consumers into stores. Encourage pet stores to promote shelter animals for adoption instead of replenishing their supply through questionable sources. Donate pet supplies to local shelters to help those rescued from the puppy mills and many other homeless animals in need. CAPS-web.org (Companion Animal Protection Society) No Pet Store Puppies (ASPCA) PrisonersOfGreed.org StopPuppyMills.com (The Humane Society of the United States) Learn more at:
6 Mar 2017
Thinking of rescuing a dog over the holidays? Here are tips on how to acclimate your new pup to your house.
Tips from the Humane Society on bringing home a new dog. Bringing home a new dog can be one of the most joyous experiences of your life, but you have to make sure you have a solid plan to avoid some of the pitfalls that can lead to problems down the road. You also need to be patient. Acclimating a new dog to your home can take as long as two months, so be sure you’re in it for the long haul. And remember, your new family member doesn’t understand what you’re saying. He learns what is and isn’t allowed from how you behave, your tone of voice, what rules you set, and all of the nonverbal cues you give him. Here are 7 tips the Humane Society recommend to acclimate your new dog to your home: 1. Have all needed supplies ready before Fido walks through the door These include a food and water bowl, a leash, age-appropriate food (don’t give a puppy adult dog food) and treats, a collar and ID tag, and a crate if you plan on crate training. It’s also a good idea to have a few toys ready for him. 2. Set the rules of the house in advance You have to decide who will take care of feedings and who will take him for daily walks. Decide ahead of time what your dog is allowed to do, and what’s not permitted, and be consistent. For example, are you going to let him up on furniture, and if so, in what rooms? Where will he sleep? 3. Do some research on housebreaking Housebreaking your new dog is actually easier than you might think—all it takes is patience and consistency. Be prepared for accidents—again, remember that your dog doesn’t understand the rules until you teach them to him. Establish a consistent schedule for feeding your dog and taking him outside to go. “Patience and consistency are the keys to #housebreaking your #dog” TWEET THIS If you bring home a puppy, he’ll have to go more often; plan on taking him out every two hours. Always take him to the same place in the yard (he’ll know from scent what you want him to do). When he has an accident, interrupt him if you catch him in the act. Make a startling noise, or simply say “outside,” but be sure not to frighten him. Immediately take him to his outside “go location.” Above all, don’t ever punish your dog for having an accident, and always reward him for getting it right. 4. Take him to a vet within the first week Even dogs adopted from reputable breeders and shelters are prone to diseases, so he has to have his shots as soon as possible if he doesn’t already have them. Take him to a vet to receive all his vaccinations. It’s also important to spay or neuter your dog. The best age to spay or neuter is from 6 to 9 months. 5. Crate your dog for several hours a day Many new owners don’t want to crate their dogs because they think it’s cruel. Actually, dogs in the wild live in dens, so to your dog the crate represents safety and helps him relax. Be sure the crate is the right size (check with your vet) and doesn’t have dangerous wires where he could catch his claws or hurt himself. Generally, you don’t want to crate your dog for more than a few hours each day, and always at the same time (remember—consistency!). 6. Let your dog know who the pack leader is It’s important for dogs to be submissive to their owners. Dogs are pack animals and will be calmer and less anxious if they know from the outset that you set the rules. It’s important to be assertive, letting him know clearly and consistently what the rules and boundaries are, but equally important to always remain calm. When he makes a mistake, convey your disapproval in a firm but calm tone. When he behaves properly, give him positive reinforcement in the form of praise and a treat. 7. Give him plenty of exercise Dogs have a lot of pent up energy, especially when they’re young. A regular schedule of exercise is critical to his physical and emotional health. Take him for walks, give him a place where he can run free, and play active games with him. Remember... If this is your first dog, you might be a little anxious and concerned that you'll make mistakes. The truth is, you probably will, but if you follow the steps outlined here, stay calm and provide your dog with love, structure and discipline, he'll be happy, and so will you. If you have questions, you can always check with your vet who will be happy to listen and give you good advice. Here at South Boston Animal Hospital, we're always willing to help you forge a great relationship with your dog and keep him as healthy as possible. If you have questions or need helpful advice, contact us today.
16 Dec 2018
What is Canine Hip Dysplasia and how do you protect your dog?
You are listening to Bark & Wag’s 15 Minute Vet Talk and I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking with Dr. Susan McMillan, owner of Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in Burlington, Vermont about Canine Hip Dysplasia. What is it and how do we protect our dogs? Canine Hip Dysplasia in Dogs The hip joint is composed of the ball and the socket. The development of hip dysplasia is determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, though there is a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, with multiple genes involved. Hip dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally (known as malformation), gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints. Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases seen in dogs. Gender does not seem to be a factor, but some breeds are more likely to have the genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia than other breeds. Large and giant breeds are most commonly affected, including the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd. Rarely, small breed dogs can also be affected, but are less likely to show clinical signs. Hip dysplasia often begins while a dog is still young and physically immature. Early onset usually develops after four months of age. There are also cases of later onset, where hip dysplasia develops later due to osteoarthritis, a form of joint inflammation (arthritis) that is characterized by chronic deterioration, or degeneration of the joint cartilage. Symptoms and Types Symptoms depend on the degree of joint looseness or laxity, the degree of joint inflammation, and the duration of the disease. Early disease: signs are related to joint looseness or laxity Later disease: signs are related to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis Decreased activity Difficulty rising Reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs Intermittent or persistent hind-limb lameness, often worse after exercise “Bunny-hopping,” or swaying gait Narrow stance in the hind limbs (back legs unnaturally close together) Pain in hip joints Joint looseness or laxity – characteristic of early disease; may not be seen in long-term hip dysplasia due to arthritic changes in the hip joint Grating detected with joint movement Decreased range of motion in the hip joints Loss of muscle mass in thigh muscles Enlargement of shoulder muscles due to more weight being exerted on front legs as dog tries to avoid weight on its hips, leading to extra work for the shoulder muscles and subsequent enlargement of these muscles Causes Influences on the development and progression of hip dysplasia are concurrent with both genetic and environmental factors: Genetic susceptibility for hip looseness or laxity Rapid weight gain and obesity Nutritional factors Pelvic-muscle mass Diagnosis Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog, including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. Inflammation due to joint disease may be noted in the complete blood count. As part of surveying the physical symptoms and fluid work-ups, your veterinarian will also need a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, and any possible incidents or injuries that may have contributed to your dog's symptoms. Any information you have on your dog's parentage will be helpful as well, as there may be a genetic link. X-rays are crucial for visualizing the signs of hip dysplasia. Some of the possible findings may be degenerative disease of the spinal cord, lumbar vertebral instability, bilateral stifle disease and other bone diseases. Treatment Your dog may be treated for hip dysplasia on an outpatient basis as long as it does not require surgery. The decision for whether your dog will undergo surgery will depend on your dog's size, age, and intended function (i.e., whether your dog is a working dog, as many large breeds tend to be). It will also depend on the severity of joint looseness, degree of osteoarthritis, your veterinarian's preference for treatment, and your own financial considerations. Physiotherapy (passive joint motion) can decrease joint stiffness and help maintain muscle integrity. Swimming is an excellent form of physical therapy, encouraging joint and muscle activity without increasing the severity of joint injury. Weight control is an important aspect of recovery and is recommended to decrease the pressure applied to the painful joint as the dog moves. You and your veterinarian will need to work together to minimize any weight gain associated with reduced exercise during recovery. Special diets designed for rapidly growing large-breed dogs may decrease the severity of hip dysplasia. The TPO surgery rotates the socket for dogs less than a year old. The juvenile pubic symphysiodesis surgery is performed on dogs that are younger than six months, fusing part of the pelvis together to improve hip joint stability. A total hip replacement is done in mature dogs that are not responding well to medical therapy and that are suffering from severe osteoarthritis. Most dogs will handle this type of surgery, with acceptable hip function after the recovery period. Excision arthroplasty is performed when hip replacement surgery is cost-prohibitive. In this surgery the ball of the hip joint is removed, leaving muscles to act as the joint. This surgery works best for dogs weighing less than 44 pounds, and for dogs with good hip musculature. Your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and inflammation, along with pain medications for lessening the severity of the pain. Living and Management Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments with you to monitor any changes in your dog's hip dysplasia. X-rays will be taken for comparison with previous x-rays. If your dog has undergone surgery, these x-rays will indicate the rate of post-surgical healing. If your dog is being treated as an outpatient only, the x-rays may indicate the rate of deterioration in the hip joint. If your dog has been effectively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it should not be bred out, and the dam and sire (the parents) of your pet should not be bred again, since this condition is often acquired genetically. Special diets designed for rapidly-growing large-breed dogs may decrease severity of hip dysplasia.
29 Jan 2017
Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk
Does your dog have Arthritis? Today we talk to Dr. Susan McMillan, owner of Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in Burlington, Vermont about the symptoms of Arthritis. Effects of Arthritis – From the Dog’s Point of View Arthritis is a painful, progressive, usually permanent joint disease that unfortunately is common in domestic dogs. While it is most commonly seen in older dogs, arthritis can also strike younger animals, especially those with a genetic predisposition to developing the disease. Arthritic dogs experience varying degrees of stiffness, soreness, lameness and pain in one or more affected joints. They feel worse when they get up in the morning or try to stand after taking a nap. Cold, damp weather can increase their discomfort. Because arthritis is almost always irreversible, most arthritic dogs get more painful as time passes. In severe cases, this condition can become debilitating and even crippling. Symptoms of Arthritis – What the Owner Sees The clinical signs of canine arthritis usually appear gradually and slowly worsen over time. Outward signs of arthritis are not specific to this disease and can mimic those of many other disorders. The first symptoms are often so mild that even the most observant owners may miss them. Eventually, however, owners will notice that their dog just isn’t doing right. The signs of arthritis include: Intermittent lameness Reluctance to rise or move Stiffness (especially after vigorous exercise or prolonged periods of rest; “bunny-hopping” gait) Swollen joints; may be warm and tender Visible joint deformities Painful joints (when touched/palpated or moved) Prolonged periods of rest (sleeps more than usual) Exercise intolerance; disinterest in physical activity Weight gain Lethargy Depression Irritability Aggression when joints are touched Appetite loss Abnormal stance when walking (pelvis tucked under; using hind legs with exaggerated care) Affected dogs may rise slower in the morning and take longer to warm up after naps later in the day. They often spend more time resting or sleeping, which can lead to weight gain and exacerbate the effects of the disease. If a single joint is affected, the animal may become “three-legged lame,” which will predispose joints in the other limbs to develop arthritis, because they will be carrying more weight than normal. How rapidly the disease progresses will depend on a number of factors, including the dog’s breed, overall nutrition, weight, age and genetics. Dogs at Increased Risk There is no general breed or gender predisposition that increases a dog’s chance of developing arthritis, although this disease most commonly affects aging and older animals. However, breeds that are predisposed to elbow osteochondrosis and dysplasia (Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, others), hip dysplasia (lots of breeds), patellar luxation (small toy breeds) or cranial cruciate ligament tear or rupture (many breeds) do have an increased chance of developing degenerative arthritis secondary to those underlying conditions. Free-roaming dogs have a greater risk of traumatic injuries, which increases their chance of developing arthritis at the injury sites. Overweight animals, working dogs and highly athletic dogs have similar risks. Large, heavy breeds are also predisposed. Genetics are thought to be influential as well.
2 Sep 2016
Is your dog a swimmer? How to use Essential Oils to prevent ear infections.
You are listening to Bark & Wag’s 15 Minute Vet Talk and I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking with Sara DeTienne, Essential Oils Representative about ear infections and how Essential Oils can help. Maddie, our Black Lab, is a big swimmer and I would love to be proactive with her ears and use oils before an infection starts. How can Essential Oils help? Canine ear infections are most often caused by bacteria or yeast overgrowth. Ear mites, growing hair, trapped water, tumor or foreign body in the ear canal can also lead to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. Infections may also develop when allergies, immune system disorders, hypothyroidism or an excessive amount of ear wax are present. Frequent bathing, swimming and using incorrect cleansing methods can also lead to infections. Because a dog’s ear canals plunge downward then horizontally from the ear opening, it is difficult for caught debris or water to be released as it must work it’s way upward to escape this makes dogs especially susceptible to ear infections (even more so with floppy ear breeds). Also a diet that contains grains (corn, wheat, soy, etc) and more than moderate amounts of carbohydrates can feed yeast infections and also cause chronic inflammation and damage to their immune system, setting a a predisposed dog for even more ear infections. HOW CAN I TELL IF MY DOG HAS AN EAR INFECTION? The following symptoms may indicate your dog has an ear infection: Ear Scratching Brown, yellow or bloody discharge Foul or offensive odor coming from the ear Redness Swelling Crusted or scabby skin on or near the ear Hair loss around the year Wiping or rubbing their ears on the floor, ground or furniture Head shaking or tilting their head Loss of balance, walking in circles Unusual eye movements Hearing loss In conventional veterinary medicine, infected ears are often treated with oral antibiotics, tropical drugs or even surgery. The problem is that none of these treatments is a cure for the root cause of the infection, they are only treating/masking the symptoms. As soon as the dog eat another wrong food, goes for a swim, has a build up of was or in some way triggers another reoccurrence, the infection is back and most often worse. Many ear infections, especially in puppies, stem from immune system imbalances caused by vaccinosis, a reaction to their vaccinations. They can cause mucoid discharge in puppies. For example, it’s not uncommon for puppies to have discharge from their eyes or develop conjunctivitis after the distemper vaccine. NOTE: If your dog develops a suspected ear infection for the first time, or if it’s contain is especially severe/painful, seek veterinarian care to rule out a tumor, polyp or some other issue that requires medical attention. YEAST INFECTIONS: An under active immune system can lead to a yeast overgrowth, because it can’t keep things in balance. The other end of the spectrum is an over active immune response where allergies are present, and can also attribute to a yeast overgrowth. Dogs with allergies (a sign of a damaged/overactive immune system) are typically prescribed steroid therapy to shut off the immune systems’ response. This treatment does not address the underlying cause of the allergy it only stops the unwanted symptom. When your dog’s immune system is turned off with drugs, it can not do it’s job of regulation and balancing so a yeast overgrowth continues. When conventional vets see dogs with allergies and possibly a secondary skin infection they will prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are well-known to destroy ALL GOOD BACTERIA while attempting to kill the bad bacteria. These antibiotics most often make a bad situation worse in the long run. Another reason an allergic dog can end up with a yeast overgrowth, is he can develop an allergy to the yeast itself. Intra-dermal tests often reveal that a dog is having an allergic response to it’s own natural flora. This situation can be very problematic because the dog’s allergic response can affect his whole body. These dogs are often plagued with red, inflamed and irritated skin over their entire body. SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A YEAST OVERGROWTH A definitive diagnosis by a vet of a yeast infection is accomplished by either a cytology (looking at a skin swab under a microscope) or by culturing (submitting a sterile saw of the skin to a lab where the cells are grown and identified in a petri dish). As a pet owner, you’ll be able to tell if your dog has a yeast overgrowth/infection just by it’s smell. Yeast has a very characteristic odor, some people think it smells like moldy-yeast bread, cheese popcorn or corn chips. In fact people often refer to a yeast infection of a dog’s paws as “Frito Feet.” It’s a pungent, musty unpleasant smell. Another sign of a yeast infected dog is intense itching. HOW TO CURE A YEAST OVERGROWTH It’s rare that a dog has yeast in just one spot, it will most likely be present in more than just one ear. Both ears, ears and paws, all four paws, if your dog has a reoccurring ear infections or if his entire body has some symptom of yeast overgrowth, you have no choice but to proactively address his diet. Yeast, just like all other living organisms, need a source of energy. Carbohydrates are their fuel and by eliminating them from your dog’s diet you can effectively treat and prevent a yeast overgrowth. You will want to avoid any product containing honey, high fructose corn syrup, white/sweet potato, carrots, wheat, rice, corn – essentially feeding them a low carbohydrate (high fat & protein diet) CHANGING YOUR DOG’S DIET IS THE MOST CRITICAL STEP YOU CAN TAKE TO HAVING HEALTHY DOG! And it is why we’ve chosen to specifically feed our dogs a raw diet (learn more HERE) If you aren’t interested in feeding a raw diet, you can find many options for grain free dog foods. EAR MITES Not every ear infection is an “infection” sometimes it’s a infestation. Ear Mites are tiny parasites that eat ear wax and oils in the ear and fill the ear canal with black waste. The problem is most common in dogs from pet shops, puppy mills, shelters or breeders with unclean environments. Ear mites are species specific. Feline ear mites prefer cats’ ears and canine ear mites prefer dogs’ ears, however it is possible in a mixed pet household for both dogs and cats to be infected with the same type of ear mites. The ear mite bites to the ear tissue can also ulcerate the ear canal and lead to secondary infections. HOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG’S EARS HEALTHY Healthy ears start with a weekly maintenance exams and cleaning with cotton balls and cotton swabs. The canine ear canal isn’t straight like our ears canal and this makes it less likely to cause damage while cleaning (remember how the canine ear canal changes direction, it’s almost a 90 degree angle) Lift the dog’s ear flap while holding a cotton ball between your thumb and index finger, push the cotton downward into the ear’s opening and scoop upward. Use a few dry cotton balls to clean out any normal waxy buildup. Next put a cotton swab gently vertical into the ear canal until it stops, then scoop upward while rubbing it against the walls of the vertical canal. Repeat as needed depending on how much debris is in the ear. After the excess debris is removed from the ear, lightly spray (3-4 times) the inside of your dog’s ear flap or spray a cotton ball with my Homemade Essential Oil Dog Ear Wash Spray (recipe at the end of this post) and wipe around and it to the ear canal. You do not want to drip oils or cleaners into the ear canal because they will end up collecting on the ear drum where they can cause infection. By using a light spray mist you can lightly distribute the essential oil blend without over saturating the area. If ears are especially inflamed or infected, dilute 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil in 4 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil on a cotton ball and apply lightly to soothe the inflamed ear area. Essential Oil Ear Wash Spray (for Ear Infections) ESSENTIAL OIL DOG EAR WASH SPRAY RECIPE: In a 2 ounce glass spray bottle, combine: 15 drops Lavender Essential Oil 15 dropsGeranium Essential Oil 15 drops Frankincense, Serrata Essential Oil 15 drops Basil Essentail Oil Fractionated Coconut Oilto fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way full Shake well. Use as described above. When using essential oils, it’s imperative to use high quality oils. Do not use cheap oils! Contact Sara DeTinne at Essential Oils 608-320-4513
8 Jan 2017
Signs your dog is in pain with Kersti Nieto from Dog Training Camp USA
If your dog is in pain they may: Show signs of agitation. Cry out, yelp or growl. Be sensitive to touch or resent normal handling. Become grumpy and snap at you. Be quiet, less active, or hide. Limp or be reluctant to walk. Become depressed and stop eating. Have rapid, shallow breathing and an increased heart rate.
19 Apr 2018
What should be in your emergency kit at home with Dr. Laura Brown
Items you should have at home in case of a pet emergency with Dr. Laura Brown. This podcast is sponsored by Rover.com. Receive $25 off your first booking by using rover.com/vettalk. Everyone who shares a home with a pet should have a basic pet first-aid kit on hand. Keep your pet's first-aid kit in your home and take it with you if you are traveling with your pet. One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it. You can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. But you can easily assemble your own kit by gathering the items on our lists below. Pet-specific supplies Pet first-aid book Phone numbers: your veterinarian, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic (along with directions!) and a poison-control center or hotline (such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at 1-800-426-4435) Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost) Nylon leash Self-cling bandage (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs) Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (don't use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing or otherwise having difficulty breathing) Basic first-aid supplies Absorbent gauze pads Adhesive tape Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray Blanket (a foil emergency blanket) Cotton balls or swabs Gauze rolls Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert) Ice pack Non-latex disposable gloves Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer) Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F) Scissors (with blunt ends) Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies) Tweezers A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment A pet carrier Pre-assembled first-aid kits The hassle of creating a kit for your pet can be reduced by purchasing one pre-assembled. Pet Fist Aid Kits on Amazon.com » Other useful items Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet's size. Ear-cleaning solution Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar) Nail clippers Non-prescription antibiotic ointment Penlight or flashlight Plastic eyedropper or syringe Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer Splints and tongue depressors Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy) Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet's collar when you travel) Towels Needle-nosed pliers
15 Apr 2018
Protect your dog from heartworm disease with Dr. Susan McMillan
Heartworm Prevention for Dogs Heartworm prevention for dogs is an important concern for every pet owner. Prevention is an important part of providing essential care, and heartworm disease prevention for dogs is something every owner can do. Consider this: Dogs have been diagnosed with heartworm disease in every state in the U.S. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, so any area of the country that has mosquitoes—even just a few of them—can also have heartworm disease. Dogs don’t just need prevention during warm-weather months. Heartworm preventives work by treating heartworms that already infected the pet within the past month or longer; meanwhile, preventives need to be given on time, every time to be effective. That’s why the American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention for pets. The American Heartworm Society estimates that more than a million dogs in the U.S. have heartworm disease—and heartworm disease can be fatal. Cats and ferrets can also get heartworm disease. Heartworm preventives are safe, relatively inexpensive and easy to give, but if a dog becomes infected, heartworm treatment can be costly and difficult, requiring multiple veterinary visits and months of exercise restriction. While there are drug-free strategies owners can put in place to reduce a pet’s exposure to mosquitoes, there’s no such thing as a “natural” heartworm preventives. Heartworm preventives come in different forms, including monthly chewable pills and topical “spot on” medications, as well as an injectable medication that is given every 6 or 12 months. Heartworm preventives are available only by prescription from veterinarians. Some preventives only prevent heartworms, some protect pets from heartworms and intestinal parasites, and some protect pets from many different parasites, including heartworms, intestinal worms, fleas, ticks and mites. Because veterinarians know which parasites are common in the area in which they practice, owners should talk to their pet’s doctor about what product or products will be best for their pets. For more information on the “dos” and “don’ts” of heartworm prevention in dogs, click here.
2 Mar 2020
What are rabies and how do you protect your dog from getting this disease?
Rabies is a severe, and often fatal, viral polioencephalitis that specifically affects the gray matter of the dog's brain and its central nervous system (CNS). The primary way the rabies virus is transmitted to dogs in the United States is through a bite from a disease carrier: foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats. Infectious virus particles are retained in a rabid animal's salivary glands to better disseminate the virus through their saliva. Once the virus enters the dog's body, it replicates in the cells of the muscles, and then spreads to the closest nerve fibers, including all peripheral, sensory and motor nerves, traveling from there to the CNS via fluid within the nerves. The virus can take up to a month to develop, but once the symptoms have begun, the virus progresses rapidly. This inflammatory infection also has zoonotic characteristics and can therefore be transmitted to humans. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library. Symptoms and Types of Rabies in Dogs There are two forms of rabies: paralytic and furious. In the early symptom (prodomal) stage of rabies infection, the dog will show only mild signs of CNS abnormalities. This stage will last from one to three days. Most dogs will then progress to either the furious stage, the paralytic stage, or a combination of the two, while others succumb to the infection without displaying any major symptoms. Furious rabies is characterized by extreme behavioral changes, including overt aggression and attack behavior. Paralytic rabies, also referred to as dumb rabies, is characterized by weakness and loss of coordination, followed by paralysis. This is a fast-moving virus. If it is not treated soon after the symptoms have begun, the prognosis is poor. Therefore, if your dog has been in a fight with another animal, or has been bitten or scratched by another animal, or if you have any reason to suspect that your pet has come into contact with a rabid animal (even if your pet has been vaccinated against the virus), you must take your dog to a veterinarian for preventive care immediately. The following are some of the symptoms of rabies to watch for in your dog: Pica Fever Seizures Paralysis Hydrophobia Jaw is dropped Inability to swallow Change in tone of bark Muscular lack of coordination Unusual shyness or aggression Excessive excitability Constant irritability/changes in attitude and behavior Paralysis in the mandible and larynx Excessive salivation (hypersalivation), or frothy saliva Causes of Canine Rabies The rabies virus is a single-stranded RNA virus of the genus Lyssavirus, in the family Rhabdoviridae. It is transmitted through the exchange of blood or saliva from an infected animal, and very rarely through breathing in the escaping gasses from decomposing animal carcasses. Contracting the virus in this way is rare but it can occur, often in caves with large populations of bats, where the virus is widespread. This may be a concern for hunting dogs. Diagnosing Rabies in Dogs If you suspect your dog has rabies, call your veterinarian immediately. If it is safe to do so, cage, or otherwise subdue your dog, and take it to a veterinarian to be quarantined. If your pet is behaving viciously, or is trying to attack, and you feel you are at risk of being bitten or scratched, you must contact animal control to catch your dog for you. Your veterinarian will keep your dog quarantined in a locked cage for 10 days. This is the only acceptable method for confirming suspected rabies infection. Rabies can be confused with other conditions that cause aggressive behavior, so a laboratory blood analysis must be conducted to confirm the presence of the virus. However, blood testing for the virus is not veterinary procedure. Diagnosis in the U.S. is done using a post-mortem direct fluorescence antibody test performed by a state-approved laboratory for rabies diagnosis. Your veterinarian will collect fluid samples if your dog dies while in quarantine, or if it begins showing progressive signs of rabies; in which case, your veterinarian will opt to put your dog to sleep (or euthanize it).
18 Feb 2017
Does your dog have separation anxiety? How can we help our pets?
Welcome to Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk – I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking to Robyn Santor, owner of Spirit Dog Training in Fairfax, VT as we discuss separation anxiety. Recently, my mom rescued a Golden Retriever who has severe separation anxiety. I wanted to bring Robyn on the podcast to discuss why pets gets separation anxiety and what we can do to help our pets. Welcome Robyn One of the most common complaints of pet parents is that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone. Their dogs might urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, dig or try to escape. Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress. When a dog’s problems are accompanied by other distress behaviors, such as drooling and showing anxiety when his pet parents prepare to leave the house, they aren’t evidence that the dog isn’t house trained or doesn’t know which toys are his to chew. Instead, they are indications that the dog has separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors. Some dogs suffering from separation anxiety become agitated when their guardians prepare to leave. Others seem anxious or depressed prior to their guardians’ departure or when their guardians aren’t present. Some try to prevent their guardians from leaving. Usually, right after a guardian leaves a dog with separation anxiety, the dog will begin barking and displaying other distress behaviors within a short time after being left alone—often within minutes. When the guardian returns home, the dog acts as though it’s been years since he’s seen his mom or dad! When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog’s underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety. Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate separation anxiety: Urinating and Defecating Some dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their guardians. If a dog urinates or defecates in the presence of his guardian, his house soiling probably isn’t caused by separation anxiety. Barking and Howling A dog who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone. Chewing, Digging and Destruction Some dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, dig at doors and doorways, or destroy household objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a dog’s chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they don’t usually occur in his guardian’s presence. Escaping A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where he’s confined when he’s left alone or separated from his guardian. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dog’s escape behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it doesn’t occur when his guardian is present. Pacing Some dogs walk or trot along a specific path in a fixed pattern when left alone or separated from their guardians. Some pacing dogs move around in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines. If a dog’s pacing behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it usually doesn’t occur when his guardian is present. Coprophagia When left alone or separated from their guardians, some dogs defecate and then consume all or some of their excrement. If a dog eats excrement because of separation anxiety, he probably doesn’t perform that behavior in the presence of his guardian. Why Do Some Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety? There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation anxiety. However, because far more dogs who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior problem than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that loss of an important person or group of people in a dog’s life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder. The following is a list of situations that have been associated with development of separation anxiety. Change of Guardian or Family Being abandoned, surrendered to a shelter or given to a new guardian or family can trigger the development of separation anxiety. Change in Schedule An abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how long a dog is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety. For example, if a dog’s guardian works from home and spends all day with his dog but then gets a new job that requires him to leave his dog alone for six or more hours at a time, the dog might develop separation anxiety because of that change. Change in Residence Moving to a new residence can trigger the development of separation anxiety. Change in Household Membership The sudden absence of a resident family member, either due to death or moving away, can trigger the development of separation anxiety. Medical Problems to Rule Out First Incontinence Caused by Medical Problems Some dogs’ house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical condition in which a dog “leaks” or voids his bladder. Dogs with incontinence problems often seem unaware that they’ve soiled. Sometimes they void urine while asleep. A number of medical issues—including a urinary tract infection, a weak sphincter caused by old age, hormone-related problems after spay surgery, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, neurological problems and abnormalities of the genitalia—can cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Before attempting behavior modification for separation anxiety, please see your dog’s veterinarian to rule out medical issues. Medications There are a number of medications that can cause frequent urination and house soiling. If your dog takes any medications, please contact his veterinarian to find out whether or not they might contribute to his house-soiling problems. Other Behavior Problems to Rule Out Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether a dog has separation anxiety or not. Some common behavior problems can cause similar symptoms. Before concluding that your dog has separation anxiety, it’s important to rule out the following behavior problems: Submissive or Excitement Urination Some dogs may urinate during greetings, play, physical contact or when being reprimanded or punished. Such dogs tend to display submissive postures during interactions, such as holding the tail low, flattening the ears back against the head, crouching or rolling over and exposing the belly. Incomplete House Training A dog who occasionally urinates in the house might not be completely house trained. His house training might have been inconsistent or it might have involved punishment that made him afraid to eliminate while his owner is watching or nearby. Urine Marking Some dogs urinate in the house because they’re scent marking. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate. Juvenile Destruction Many young dogs engage in destructive chewing or digging while their guardians are home as well as when they’re away. Please see our articles, Destructive Chewing, for more information about these problems. Boredom Dogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because they’re bored and looking for something to do. These dogs usually don’t appear anxious. Excessive Barking or Howling Some dogs bark or howl in response to various triggers in their environments, like unfamiliar sights and sounds. They usually vocalize when their guardians are home as well as when they’re away. For more information about this kind of problem, please see our articles, Barking and Howling. What to Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety Treatment for Mild Separation Anxiety If your dog has a mild case of separation anxiety, counterconditioning might reduce or resolve the problem. Counterconditioning is a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. It’s done by associating the sight or presence of a feared or disliked person, animal, place, object or situation with something really good, something the dog loves. Over time, the dog learns that whatever he fears actually predicts good things for him. For dogs with separation anxiety, counterconditioning focuses on developing an association between being alone and good things, like delicious food. To develop this kind of association, every time you leave the house, you can offer your dog a puzzle toy stuffed with food that will take him at least 20 to 30 minutes to finish. For example, try giving your dog a KONG® stuffed with something really tasty, like low-fat cream cheese, spray cheese or low-fat peanut butter, frozen banana and cottage cheese, or canned dog food and kibble. A KONG can even be frozen so that getting all the food out takes even more of your dog’s time. Be sure to remove these special toys as soon as you return home so that your dog only has access to them and the high-value foods inside when he’s by himself. You can feed your dog all of his daily meals in special toys. For example, you can give your dog a KONG or two stuffed with his breakfast and some tasty treats every morning before going to work. Keep in mind, though, that this approach will only work for mild cases of separation anxiety because highly anxious dogs usually won’t eat when their guardians aren’t home. Treatment for Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety Moderate or severe cases of separation anxiety require a more complex desensitization and counterconditioning program. In these cases, it’s crucial to gradually accustom a dog to being alone by starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety and then gradually increasing the duration of the separations over many weeks of daily sessions. The following steps briefly describe a desensitization and counterconditioning program. Please keep in mind that this is a short, general explanation. Desensitization and counterconditioning are complex and can be tricky to carry out. Fear must be avoided or the procedure will backfire and the dog will get more frightened. Because treatment must progress and change according to the pet’s reactions, and because these reactions can be difficult to read and interpret, desensitization and counterconditioning require the guidance of a trained and experienced professional. For help designing and carrying out a desensitization and counterconditioning plan, consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB). If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience in treating fear with desensitization and counterconditioning, since this kind of expertise isn’t required for CPDT certification. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts in your area. Step One: Predeparture Cues As mentioned above, some dogs begin to feel anxious while their guardians get ready to leave. For example, a dog might start to pace, pant and whine when he notices his guardian applying makeup, putting on shoes and a coat, and then picking up a bag or car keys. (If your dog doesn’t show signs of anxiety when you’re preparing to leave him alone, you can just skip to step two below.) Guardians of dogs who become upset during predeparture rituals are unable to leave—even for just few seconds—without triggering their dogs’ extreme anxiety. Your dog may see telltale cues that you’re leaving (like your putting on your coat or picking up your keys) and get so anxious about being left alone that he can’t control himself and forgets that you’ll come back. One treatment approach to this “predeparture anxiety” is to teach your dog that when you pick up your keys or put on your coat, it doesn’t always mean that you’re leaving. You can do this by exposing your dog to these cues in various orders several times a day—without leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat, and then just watch TV instead of leaving. Or pick up your keys, and then sit down at the kitchen table for awhile. This will reduce your dog’s anxiety because these cues won’t always lead to your departure, and so your dog won’t get so anxious when he sees them. Please be aware, though, that your dog has many years of learning the significance of your departure cues, so in order to learn that the cues no longer predict your long absences, your dog must experience the fake cues many, many times a day for many weeks. After your dog doesn’t become anxious when he sees you getting ready to leave, you can move on to the next step below. Step Two: Graduated Departures/Absences If your dog is less anxious before you leave, you can probably skip the predeparture treatment above and start with very short departures. The main rule is to plan your absences to be shorter than the time it takes for your dog to become upset. To get started, train your dog to perform out-of-sight stays by an inside door in the home, such as the bathroom. You can teach your dog to sit or down and stay while you go to the other side of the bathroom door. (You can also contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for assistance. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area.) Gradually increase the length of time you wait on the other side of the door, out of your dog’s sight. You can also work on getting your dog used to predeparture cues as you practice the stay. For example, ask your dog to stay. Then put on your coat, pick up your purse and go into the bathroom while your dog continues to stay. Progress to doing out-of-sight stay exercises at a bedroom door, and then later at an exit door. If you always leave through the front door, do the exercises at the back door first. By the time you start working with your dog at exit doors, he shouldn’t behave anxiously because he has a history of playing the “stay game.” At this point, you can start to incorporate very short absences into your training. Start with absences that last only last one to two seconds, and then slowly increase the time you’re out of your dog’s sight. When you’ve trained up to separations of five to ten seconds long, build in counterconditioning by giving your dog a stuffed food toy just before you step out the door. The food-stuffed toy also works as a safety cue that tells the dog that this is a “safe” separation. During your sessions, be sure to wait a few minutes between absences. After each short separation, it’s important to make sure that your dog is completely relaxed before you leave again. If you leave again right away, while your dog is still excited about your return from the previous separation, he’ll already feel aroused when he experiences the next absence. This arousal might make him less able to tolerate the next separation, which could make the problem worse rather than better. Remember to behave in a very calm and quiet manner when going out and coming in. This will lower the contrast between times when you’re there and times when you’re gone. You must judge when your dog is able to tolerate an increase in the length of separation. Each dog reacts differently, so there are no standard timelines. Deciding when to increase the time that your dog is alone can be very difficult, and many pet parents make errors. They want treatment to progress quickly, so they expose their dogs to durations that are too long, which provokes anxiety and worsens the problem. To prevent this kind of mistake, watch for signs of stress in your dog. These signs might include dilated pupils, panting, yawning, salivating, trembling, pacing and exuberant greeting. If you detect stress, you should back up and shorten the length of your departures to a point where your dog can relax again. Then start again at that level and progress more slowly. You will need to spend a significant amount of time building up to 40-minute absences because most of your dog’s anxious responses will occur within the first 40 minutes that he’s alone. This means that over weeks of conditioning, you’ll increase the duration of your departures by only a few seconds each session, or every couple of sessions, depending on your dog’s tolerance at each level. Once your dog can tolerate 40 minutes of separation from you, you can increase absences by larger chunks of time (5-minute increments at first, then later 15-minute increments). Once your dog can be alone for 90 minutes without getting upset or anxious, he can probably handle four to eight hours. (Just to be safe, try leaving him alone for four hours at first, and then work up to eight full hours over a few days.) This treatment process can be accomplished within a few weeks if you can conduct several daily sessions on the weekends and twice-daily sessions during the work week, usually before leaving for work and in the evenings. A Necessary Component of Separation Anxiety Treatment During desensitization to any type of fear, it is essential to ensure that your dog never experiences the full-blown version of whatever provokes his anxiety or fear. He must experience only a low-intensity version that doesn’t frighten him. Otherwise, he won’t learn to feel calm and comfortable in situations that upset him. This means that during treatment for separation anxiety, your dog cannot be left alone except during your desensitization sessions. Fortunately there are plenty of alternative arrangements: If possible, take your dog to work with you. Arrange for a family member, friend or dog sitter to come to your home and stay with your dog when you’re not there. (Most dogs suffering from separation anxiety are fine as long as someone is with them. That someone doesn’t necessarily need to be you.) Take your dog to a sitter’s house or to a doggy daycare. Many dogs suffering from separation anxiety are okay when left in a car. You can try leaving your dog in a car—but only if the weather is moderate. Be warned: dogs can suffer from heatstroke and die if left in cars in warm weather (70 degrees Fahrenheit and up)—even for just a few minutes. DO NOT leave your dog in a car unless you’re sure that the interior of your car won’t heat up. In addition to your graduated absences exercises, all greetings (hellos and goodbyes) should be conducted in a very calm manner. When saying goodbye, just give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then don’t pay any more attention to him until he’s calm and relaxed. The amount of time it takes for your dog to relax once you’ve returned home will depend on his level of anxiety and individual temperament. To decrease your dog’s excitement level when you come home, it might help to distract him by asking him to perform some simple behaviors that he’s already learned, such as sit, down or shake. To Crate or Not to Crate? Crate training can be helpful for some dogs if they learn that the crate is their safe place to go when left alone. However, for other dogs, the crate can cause added stress and anxiety. In order to determine whether or not you should try using a crate, monitor your dog’s behavior during crate training and when he’s left in the crate while you’re home. If he shows signs of distress (heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, persistent howling or barking), crate confinement isn’t the best option for him. Instead of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate. Provide Plenty of “Jobs” for Your Dog to Do Providing lots of physical and mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems, especially those involving anxiety. Exercising your dog’s mind and body can greatly enrich his life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal dog behaviors. Additionally, a physically and mentally tired dog doesn’t have much excess energy to expend when he’s left alone. To keep your dog busy and happy, try the following suggestions: Give your dog at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity (for example, running and swimming) every day. Try to exercise your dog right before you have to leave him by himself. This might help him relax and rest while you’re gone. Play fun, interactive games with your dog, such as fetch and tug-of-war. Take your dog on daily walks and outings. Take different routes and visit new places as often as possible so that he can experience novel smells and sights. If your dog likes other dogs, let him play off-leash with his canine buddies. Frequently provide food puzzle toys. You can feed your dog his meals in these toys or stuff them with a little peanut butter, cheese or yogurt. Also give your dog a variety of attractive edible and inedible chew things. Puzzle toys and chew items encourage chewing and licking, which have been shown to have a calming effect on dogs. Be sure to provide them whenever you leave your dog alone. Make your dog “hunt” his meals by hiding small piles of his kibble around your house or yard when you leave. Most dogs love this game! Enroll in a reward-based training class to increase your dog’s mental activity and enhance the bond between you and your dog. Contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of great skills to learn and games to play together. After you and your dog have learned a few new skills, you can mentally tire your dog out by practicing them right before you leave your dog home alone. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area. Get involved in dog sports, such as agility, freestyle (dancing with your dog) or flyball. Medications Might Help Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog any type of medication for a behavior problem. The use of medications can be very helpful, especially for severe cases of separation anxiety. Some dogs are so distraught by any separation from their pet parents that treatment can’t be implemented without the help of medication. Anti-anxiety medication can help a dog tolerate some level of isolation without experiencing anxiety. It can also make treatment progress more quickly. On rare occasions, a dog with mild separation anxiety might benefit from drug therapy alone, without accompanying behavior modification. The dog becomes accustomed to being left alone with the help of the drug and retains this new conditioning after he’s gradually weaned off the medication. However, most dogs need a combination of medication and behavior modification. If you’d like to explore this option, speak with your veterinarian, a veterinary behaviorist or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who can work closely with your vet. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these professionals in your area. What NOT to Do Do not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite. They are distress responses! Your dog displays anxious behaviors when left alone because he’s upset and trying to cope with a great deal of stress. If you punish him, he may become even more upset and the problem could get much worse.
7 Nov 2016
Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk
Welcome to Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk – I am your host Polly ReQua Today we are talking to Carey and Adam Brown, Owner of Simple Oil Girl and Simple Oil Guy, from Bend, Oregon. We are going to discuss oils for pets. I wanted to interview Carey to discuss what are oils for pets, how do you use the oils and what type of issues can you treat with oils? Welcome Carey and Adam..... Just as aromatherapy can benefit humans both physically and psychologically, it can also benefit dogs. It is important to remember that the essential oils blends and aromatherapy that human beings can handle and enjoy, might not produce the same reaction in our pets. In fact, some oils can be quite dangerous. Dr. Richard Palmquist has the following to say about essential oils and your dog: “Oils have been shown to have many possible desirable effects such as reducing anxiety and inflammation, fighting oxidative processes, battling toxins and fighting infections by inhibiting bacteria, fungi and viruses. Oil odors can also be used to affect mental states and memory. Modern doctors are looking for agents that will assist in management of resistant infections and cancer, and these natural products may well hold the key to several major advancements. Essential oils contain a host of biologically active and powerful compounds. Used correctly, they are an indispensible part of integrative medical care. However, they can cause undesirable and even dangerous side effects, and people using oils medically should seek specialized training. Oil Essentials Plants manufacture oils for many reasons. Plants cannot move and escape predators and infectious threats, so they produce compounds that neutralize or repel pests and pathogens. Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. They rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues. As with all compounds, some chemicals have a biological affinity for specific tissues, and doctors — or those knowledgeable about oil use — can use this property to select oils that will target specific tissues. The compounds present in essential oils are powerful. Very small amounts of these substances can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body. For example, lavender oil has powerful effects on the brain and creates a calming sensation. Small amounts of lavender oil can be used when traveling to calm pets or make them feel sleepy. Some Safe Oils To Consider Veterinarians are skilled in the diagnosis of disease in animals and should always be consulted — especially in situations where symptoms are severe or persist. Always tell your veterinarian what natural products your pet is using and involve him or her in these decisions. The following oils can be used in first aid and are safe for short-term use: Lavender: Universal oil, can use pure or diluted. Useful in conditioning patients to a safe space. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, insomnia, car ride anxiety and car sickness, to name a few. Cardamom: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, normalizes appetite, colic, coughs, heartburn and nausea. Fennel: assists the adrenal cortex, helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue. Balances pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands. Helichrysum: Anti-bacterial, reduces bleeding in accidents, skin regenerator, helps repair nerves. Also useful in cardiac disease. Frankincense: Has helped some cases of cancer. Works on the immune system. Has reduced tumors and external ulcers. Increases blood supply to the brain (although it can worsen hypertension so use caution). Spearmint: Helps to reduce weight. Good for colic, diarrhea, nausea. Helps balance metabolism, stimulates gallbladder. When diluted and used short term, this oil is helpful for many gastrointestinal issues in cats. Cautions While oils are useful in healing and affecting mentation, they are powerful and can cause a wide variety of adverse effects. Principles of safe use are recommended. The largest problem with essential oils is that they may contain contaminates or adulterants that make more serious issues arise. For this reason, one should only use therapeutic grade oils from reputable companies and verify the quality of oils before using them. Animals have sensitive senses of smell, so in most cases it is best to use oils that are diluted and always provide an escape route. If a pet does not like an oil do not enforce its use. Cats are particularly at risk for oil reactions and in most cases we use oils very sparingly on cats. One drop of essential oil diluted in 50 drops of a pure dilutional oil such as grape seed oil is usually sufficient. Since animals metabolize and react differently to essential oils, it is important to know about species-specific differences before using oils. One problem we see in our clinic involves people overusing oils. A person discovers essential oils and begins to diffuse the oils into their homes leading to an unintentional overdose for their pets. Lavender oil is highly useful, but it contains no antioxidant compounds and can therefore oxidize as it is stored. These oxidized alcohols can aggravate patients and lead to the development of allergic responses. Some essential oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in sensitive species. Cats use a different system in their liver to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called “hot” oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme and birch, which are oils that should be avoided in cats. Cats should not receive melaleuca oil, and never put essential oils into the ear canal as they can damage cats’ delicate ear drums and nerves. Care is needed around eyes as well. Always wash your hands after handling oils to prevent accidentally getting them into your eyes. To reduce the chances of sensitivity and organ toxicity, we generally use an oil for no more than two weeks and then provide a rest period. Under certain circumstances — like in the treatment of cancer — we will use oils for longer periods, but this is something best left to those trained in the use of oils.” Visit Simpleoilgirl@gmail.com Carey Brown for more questions and answers!
18 Sep 2016