Posts Tagged ‘pet adoption’

How To Protect Your Pet From The Heat

protect your pet from the heatProtecting your pet from the heat is extremely important. As temperatures rise, it becomes more and more uncomfortable to be outside. This is true for your dog as well. During the summer, it is healthier for your dog if you limit outside time, time in dog parks, and exercise to cooler parts of the day, such as morning and evening times. It is not always the temperature as well. The humidity can cause your dog to have difficulty panting. Panting helps your dog cool itself off. Without being able to pant, your dog’s temperature can rise that can lead to heatstroke. If your dog is exhibiting any of the signs of overheating (heavy panting, heavy drooling, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, dark or red gums and tongue, dizziness, and weakness, or agitation), be sure to bring your dog to the vet right away. To avoid overheating, there are multiple things that you can do to keep your puppy cool during the hot summer.

To begin, make sure to keep your dog groomed, especially if they have long fur. Each breed has different needs. For example, dogs with short, thin coats handle heat better than cold weather and mountain dogs. No dog is immune to heatstroke or paw pad burns, so it’s important to keep your dog groomed. If you get any mats and tangles out of their fur, it will help keep them cool. However, don’t shave or clip their coat until you talk to your vet or groomer. The extra fur that helps your dog stay warm in the winter may also keep it cool in the summer. To keep your dog’s paw pads safe, stick to shaded areas or bring insulation booties to protect your dog’s feet from the hot pavement. To test the heat of the pavement, feel it with the back of your hand. If it is too hot for you, then it is definitely too hot for your dog.

Similarly, be sure to keep your dog’s shots up to date, especially in the summer. The parvovirus spreads in hot weather. During the summer, your dog probably spends more time outside which means that it could come in contact with an animal that has rabies. Summer is also a high season for fleas and mosquitos, both which carry many diseases. By giving your dog medication to prevent these pests, your dog will be safer in the long run.

This should go without saying but leave your pet at home unless your destination is pet friendly. Do not leave your pet in your car. Even with the windows of your car cracked, the temperature inside the car rises rapidly in the summer heat. Similarly, keep your dog’s water supply full. Be sure that there are multiple bowls available for your dog that are always filled with fresh water that is clean. Even if you think that the walk you are going on will be short, be sure to bring clean drinking water and a dish that your dog can easily drink from. If you are worried that your pet is not drinking enough water, add some ice cubes to the bowl. It will make drinking water more appealing to dogs.

When you are spending days outside by a pool or a lake, you can do many things to keep your dog cool while you enjoy the summer sun. You can freeze containers of water so that they will stay cooler for longer. Be sure to keep their water in the shade. You can also provide a small kiddie pool or a sprinkler for your dog to play in. These allow fun places for your dog to cool off and maybe even get some exercise. Similarly, you could put a pet-friendly dig area for your dog in your yard. These can include a sandbox area that your dogs are able to dig in. Dogs often dig a hole to sit in and keep cool. To make an even cooler area, you can spray sand with your cold water. Be sure to make sure that it is located in the shade and not in the sun.

Sometimes, a little extra help is needed to cool your dog. Dog cooling mats and cooling vests are great products. Many work by soaking them in cool water for a long time. If you don’t have access to these, you can soak a towel in cool water and let your dog lie on it. You can also spray your dog’s belly and paws to cool them down. Dogs will cool down more quickly through their belly and paws than water sprayed on their back. Another great DIY to keep your dog cool is to put a pan of ice water in front of the fan to make it more effective for your pup to stay cool.

There are many similar DIYs to keep your pet cool in the summer. Dog-Safe ice cream exists, and you can make it at home. Here is a big list of easy to make ice creams that won’t cost an arm and a leg unlike the gourmet pet store ice-creams. You can also make some frozen treats to put in your dog’s favorite toy. Kong toys come in all shapes and sizes because all dogs love them. They are tough rubber chew toys that are meant to be filled with yummy sticky treats like peanut butter to keep your dog occupied for a while. There are pet-friendly recipes available that are meant to be frozen to keep your dog refreshed while they lick the center. Similar to the Kong treats, you can freeze your dog’s favorite treats in a popsicle mold and fill it with water. It will give your dog a fun treat to keep them cold.

The summer gives many fun opportunities for you and your family. You wouldn’t allow a member of your family to overheat, so don’t let your dog (a furry family member). By following the simple rules of pet care and making some fun treats that your dog will enjoy, you and your dog can have a healthy and cool summer! Make sure to contact our office if you have any questions!

Tips For Welcoming A New Puppy Into Your Family

new puppyAfter three years of having a dog-less house with the passing of our beloved Chocolate Lab Ruby, the Olsens are getting a new puppy. Part of me is still in denial, and part of me is apprehensive as to what we need to do to prepare for a new puppy, which is something that we had not had to do in about 13 years.  So now that the purchase is done, it is time to ready the home for our newest member, prepare the prior residents (our cats) for invasion of another four-legged friend, and purchase the supplies and equipment needed for the puppy.

Preparing the Home

We all know that puppies get into everything.  So we will need to act like a forensic detective and get down on our hands and knees to look for things that a playful puppy might foresee as fun. Items like electrical cords should be tied out of reach.  Dangerous products such as cleaning supplies and other items should be locked in a cabinet or placed out of reach.  Any valuable items or family heirlooms need to be kept out of reach so they do not become your puppies new chew toy.  Lastly, unless you want to be like Imelda Marcos and purchase a new pair of shoes each week, it is best to make sure your shoes are stored away in a closet and the door is secured.

Puppies are always looking for their next meal, so garbage can be enticing to them. In order to prevent them getting into the trash, it is wise to have trash cans that have sealed lids.

The puppy should not have free reign of the house, so you will need to have gates and barriers to keep him in his allowed space.  This will also include a kennel for his nighttime bed, which I will talk about later in the article.

No puppy will be an entirely indoor dog unless it is in a big city with little green space.  So here in Madison County, Illinois, we will want to examine the outdoor area so that there are not any chemicals or poisonous plants that will entice the inquisitive puppy.  Your new puppy may be the cutest thing that you have ever seen, but your neighbor may not have the same opinion.  And they always say that a good fence makes good neighbors.  So it may be important to make sure that you have one that doesn’t allow your pet to roam free.

Items to Have

As I eluded in the last section, in my opinion, it is best to kennel train your pet.  No, this is not seen as “doggie jail” to the pet, but as I explain to my clients, it is best to treat a kennel as it is their bedroom and their place of security.  I recommend that you get a larger one as they get larger.  It should start as one that is just big enough for them to sleep in.  If it is too large, that will allow them to urinate and defecate in the kennel and may inhibit the potty training outside.

I am not an advocate for “potty pads.”  I feel that they are just condoning bad behavior by the puppy.  The learning puppy will get confused by our laziness that more or less tells it that “they can go here but not there in the house.”  To a puppy, this thinking may be problematic.

Obviously we want food bowls as well as toys to keep it occupied when you can’t give it the attention it needs.  With the toys, I recommend that they be they type that are indestructible like “Kong toys.”  Avoid those that they can easily chew up and have the possibility of ingesting.

A new owner will want to have a collar and a leash.  When you take your pet out on walks, it will be necessary to have these to protect your pet from injury by other pets or getting ran over by a vehicle.

Grooming brushes are important to have especially with those puppies that will have long wooly coats.  They will need to be brushed frequently to prevent matting and tangling.

I am not a big proponent of treats, but they would be alright to have on hand, but I caution the owner to use them in moderation.

Bringing it Home

The big day to bring the puppy into your household is here, so what should you do?

Many people erroneously allow their new puppy to roam free and explore the house.  This is sensory overload.  Too many new places, new smells and people at once may confuse him.  Instead, let him explore a designated area, perhaps where his food and water are.  Or he can acclimate himself to a small puppy-proofed space where his kennel is. Then introduce him to the rest of the house one room at a time, skipping the areas that you want off-limits to him.

It is best to introduce your new puppy to its’ new owners one at a time.  I know that they are cute and cuddly, and everyone wants to meet him, but that can create too much excitement for the puppy and may stress the puppy out.  So it is best to let him meet each family member quietly and make it rewarding and pleasant.

As previously mentioned, puppies love to chew, so make sure that he has a safe chew toy.  If he starts to chew on anything else, redirect him to the chew toy.

It is important that your new puppy know where its’ sleeping quarters are. Puppies sleep between 15-20 hours a day, and likely they will drop in their tracks.  It is important to take him to his crate when he seems to be ready to nap and at bedtime.  Contrary to what most people think, this is not “doggie jail” as the puppy will associate this as a safe and secure place.

House training starts on day one. Your puppy needs to know exactly where you expect him to do his business. Prevent accidents by monitoring the puppy and take him outside accordingly. This helps him to learn where not to go.  Accidents happen, but don’t scold the puppy.  Clean up the accident with an enzymatic cleaner.

Teaching your new puppy basic behaviors like watch me, sit, or down are important. With positive reinforcement based training, you can encourage good manners in very young puppies.

Obedience training for your new puppy is always important.  It will teach basic manners that can lead to all kinds of fun dog activities and provide socialization with other dogs and humans.

In a few weeks, I will be reliving the excitement that our family experienced 13 years ago. Getting a new puppy can be an exciting and stressful time in any household.  It teaches our children to be responsible and committed.  So if you need advice or any tips in preparing for the new family member, please do not hesitate to contact or call the Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

Dr. Olsen’s Breed Spotlight: The Lowchen

lowchenThe month of February is reserved to spotlight a dog breed.  Most of the time, I try to shed some light on a breed that isn’t very popular.  Well this month is no exception as I am featuring a dog that is not very popular, unique in its appearance, rich in history and really considers its only job as being a companion for its owner. That breed is the Lowchen, which is also known as the “Little Lion Dog”.

The Lowchen is a small breed that generally stands about a foot tall but has an enormous heart.  The coat is traditionally kept in a “lion clip” in which most of the hind quarters and tail are clipped down close to the skin.  The overall effect is that of a mini lion with a full mane and plumed tail. This breed coat comes in many colors and color combinations.

The breed has a long and somewhat controversial history.  We know from works of art depicting images of small dogs in a very distinctive lion trim from the breed dated to the 16thcentury.  The breed has been depicted throughout the centuries in paintings, drawings and tapestries from around the world.

The controversy arises as to the exact origin of the breed.  There are several theories of debate with one thinking that the breed originated in Northern Europe which is now known as Germany, France and Belgium.  Because it came from this area, the Lowchen is thought to be tied to the breeds that were the forerunner to the modern day poodle.  The stories go that they were a favorite companion for the ladies of the castles and they would lay close to their owners at night to keep them warm like a water bottle, as well as attract the fleas away from the owner.

Another theory is that the Lowchen originated in the Mediterranean region and are directly related to the Bichon breeds.  Also there are some theories that the breed might have originated in Russia or Tibet.

The Lowchen has been a resident of all households through the ages, from castles to farmyards and cottages.  Aside from the function of being a companion, they possibly were varmint hunters and fierce little guards.

There is a story from the late 1700’s about a Lowchen whose name was Bijou.  As the story goes, Bijou was so upset that his owner was leaving him behind, he jumped out of  a castle window into the Lahn River that was 60 feet below.  One ending has him surviving and was rewarded by riding to the hunt in the owner’s saddle, the other that the jump ended in disaster.  Whichever the outcome, his portrait from 1787 still hangs in the Baronesses’ bedroom in Wellburg Castle.

Little has been written about this breeds early years.  The first record of a breeder and fancier was Dr. Walthier in Germany in the 1800’s.  The breed standard was written in the 1800’s and in 1897, a Madame Madelaine Bennert purchased her first Lowchen.  She is the one who would be recognized for her efforts in saving the disappearing breed.

In 1999, the Lowchen was admitted into the AKC in the Non-Sporting group. The Lowchen is a small breed that weighs about 15 pounds and has a life expectancy or about 13-15 years.  It is a very loving dog whose sole purpose is giving love and hoping to get loved in return. It might see a squirrel, chase it and catch it, but it would not know what to do with it if it did catch it. It will bark at strangers, but then when they enter, the Lowchen will lick them to death.  The Lowchen’s favorite spot to be is on the couch watching out the window.

Don’t mistake the breeds sweetness, because it is a true lion that will stand up to any German Shepherd and bark down a Great Dane.  They are active, smart, and love children.  They can make very good agility dogs because they are trainable, resourceful and very adaptable.  Since they like to bark, it is recommended that they undergo some obedience training. Due to their haircoat it is advisable that they be brushed regularly and see an experienced groomer monthly.  Another plus with this breed is that they are hypoallergenic.

There are very few health problems with this breed.  But they may suffer from patellar luxations, heart issues and some eye issues.

Here at the Olsen Veterinary Clinic, we love to see all breeds.  So if you have a Lowchen, or a mixed breed, gives us a call at (618)-656-5868 and we will be happy to assist you.

Should I Adopt A Cat Or A Dog?

cat-dogIt is always a good time to adopt pets, but June has been designated cat adoption month.  By far the most common pets are dogs and cats.  If I asked a person the difference, I would probably get a strange look and an answer like “one barks and growls, where the other meows and purrs.”  But there are other differences that affect them as to whether they may be the right pet for your family.

First off, dogs need to be cared for, whereas cats are independent. Dogs are descendants of pack animals.  Dogs like company and will never be bored if one spends a lot of time with it.  Their pack mentality allows the dogs to be trained more easily as they crave attention.  On the other hand, cats love to spend a lot of time alone.  Cats are solitary hunters that are more attached to their environment than they are to other cats.

The pack behavior also relates to how a dog is built physically.  In the wild they are designed to run down their prey.  This translates to dogs being built as long distance runners.  Dogs need a lot of space as they love to run around.  Cats are designed to stalk their prey.  Their instincts lead them to sneak up on their prey and then pounce.  This leads to cats being built more as sprinters rather than long distance runners.  Contrary to dogs, cats are very happy in small places.

When looking at  the nature of dogs and cats, the former loves to please you, but the latter always love to please themselves.  Well, dogs are more affectionate when compared to cats.  Dogs will wag their tail, and even their whole body, to show affection.  A cat will only show affection by allowing you to scratch it behind the ears.

Unlike dogs, cats are lap animals.  A cat will tolerate being smooched, but on the other hand, you will be smooched by a dog.  Dogs are happy to see you when it is awaken from sleep, but a cat will just pretend to be sleeping, even if you try to wake it.

Dogs tend to be your friends at night and protect you from harms way by scaring the intruders.  Cats, they will just run for cover.

By knowing your lifestyle, you can determine what pet is best for you.  Dogs are more social, require more attention and space.  Cats on the other hand tend to be happy being by themselves and don’t require as much attention and space.   Both species can be rewarding pets.

If you have any questions about the right pet for you, please contact our office!

October is National Pet Adoption Month

53dc0374ce93c.pngOctober is National Pet Adoption Month and many people constantly are adopting pets from rescue organizations.  Peoples lives are enriched in ways that they have never dreamed possible.  Bringing home a new pet is such an exciting and fulfilling experience, but it can be a bit daunting as well, especially if you have never shared your home with a furry companion.  Here are some tips to get your relationship off on the right foot.

Be prepared  Before you bring your pet home, determine where your pet will be spending most of its time.  Because it will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment, it may forget any housebreaking it has learned.  An area with tiled, pergo, or linoleum floors may be best because it is easiest to clean up.  You will also need to dog-proof the area where your pet will spend most of its time.  This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards, storing chemicals on high shelves, removing plants, rugs and breakables.  The more prepared that you are, the smoother your new family member’s transition will be.

Shop for the basics  You will need a leash, collar, food and water dishes and of course food.  It is best to know what your new adoptee is eating as an abrupt diet change can cause diarrhea and other problems.  If you change its diet, do it as a gradual change like maybe over 10 to 14 days.  One other thing to buy is a medal id tag.  It does not replace microchipping, but it does help some.  If you are planning on crate training your pet, it is best to wait and take your pet with you to purchase it.  This way you will get the proper size.

Consistency  Make sure all family members are on the same page.  Ground rules need to be set and the family members need to agree to follow and enforce them.  For instance, if you don’t want your new pup on the couch, all the training in the world won’t help if your child lets it sit there with you when you are not home.  Also, caring for your pet is a family effort and endeavor, so it is important that everyone understands their particular roles and responsibilities.

Adjustment  Over the first few days to few weeks, your new pet will be undergoing an adjustment period.  These surrounding are new to him, so you may notice some anxiety issues that may include appetite loss or suppressed bowel habits.  It may even hide under or behind furniture or stay in one room.  Don’t be alarmed-this is absolutely normal behavior.  Give the pet time to acclimate to your home and family.  By showing patience, you will help it through a tough, scary time and it will show the pet how wonderful his new home really is.

Set Schedule  It is best to set a schedule for feeding, toileting and play/exercise.  From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement.  Don’t give in and comfort it when it whines when left alone.  Instead, give it attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly.  By sticking with a schedule that you created, your pet will be bonded with you in no time and the pet will be showing its true personality.

Veterinary Care  Schedule a first visit to your pet’s veterinarian during the first week.  Bring any and all medical and vaccination records that were supplied by the shelter or rescue from which you adopted your dog.  This first visit os a great time to get clues about your pet’s personality and past history, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.  Also, if your pet is not microchipped, this is a good time to do it because true love is hard to replace.

Congratulations!  If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to having a well-adjusted family member. Make sure to contact us if you have any questions!