New Puppy Checklist: Everything You Need Before Welcoming Your New Furry Friend into Your Life

new puppyBringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting time but requires some preparation for your home. Puppies require a lot of attention and care, so this checklist will be beneficial if you are unsure where to start with the basics for your new puppy.

Some companies have created puppy starter kits. For example, this box made by Chewy has a set of toys, treats, and potty-training materials to help you with your new puppy. All top-rated items, new puppy owners are sure to appreciate it. It also makes a great gift. It can be found here.

Beyond toys, treats, and potty-training materials, puppies need food and water bowls. There are a lot of different options, but one that is slightly lifted is easier for your puppy to eat from. If you get one with walls, it is more likely your floor will stay cleaner.

Also necessary is a bed for your pet. An elevated bed is good for keeping your dog lifted and is helpful for teaching different cues. Other more traditional options are great too, especially as your pups are growing quickly.

Some owners choose to crate their puppies, and there are a lot of options but must be replaced as dogs grow. Crates help dogs have a safe place, especially as they adjust to a new space and lifestyle.

Also important for your new puppy is a leash. There are many kinds of leashes, with different uses. It will most likely be trial and error to find what works for you and your puppy, so be prepared for a trial period.

Puppies require hygiene efforts. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail clippers, brushes, and bathing supplies. Providing exposure to these items while young makes it less scary for adult dogs and easier for their owners.

Lastly, a collar is a great way to express your and your pet’s personality. Be prepared for your new pup with a collar and tag to provide some protection and peace of mind.

The last step for a new puppy is establishing an appointment with your veterinarian to get started on vaccinations and discuss your new dog’s life! Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen of Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868 to set up an appointment or discuss any questions!

2022 Pet Gift Guide

pet gift guideDon’t leave your pet out of the holiday fun! Furry friends like to open gifts too! Here are a few options to show your four-legged pal some love.

The Pupsicle is a great opportunity to give your dog a new treat experience. You freeze your dog’s favorite food in the mold, then when it is time for a treat, you put the frozen treat in the Pupsicle. When they’re done, you’re able to open the ball, wash it, and repeat! Find it here.

You can liven up your cat’s drinking experience with a cat fountain. Some cats enjoy moving water more than still, and a plastic cat fountain such as this one here circulates water for cats to drink.

Say you want to get a gift for your favorite pet owner in your life. The company West and Willow makes custom pet portraits that any pet owner will be sure to love. You can find them linked here.

Social media has allowed several pets to become Tik Tok famous. Pets have been trained to use buttons programmed with specific words to communicate with their owners. You can find a starter kit here to try your pet’s hand at internet fame.

For cats that love to play but whose owners don’t love obnoxiously bright-colored toys laying around the house, these handmade cat toys from an Etsy seller are stylish and aesthetically pleasing. They are environmentally friendly as well, made from leftover upholstery fabric. These toys are filled with grounds of a plant called silvervine which is like catnip. If your cat doesn’t really like regular catnip, silvervine is a great alternative. Find these toys here.

Whether you are looking for a gift for your furry friend or a close pet-lover, these gifts are sure to please all. Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868 with any questions!

Dr. Olsen’s Breed Spotlight: The Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large-size Tibetan dog breed. It has a medium to long double coat and is found in many colors. These can be solid black, black and tan, various shades of red (from pale gold to deep red), and bluish gray. Sometimes, they can have white markings around their neck, chest, and legs.

The term mastiff goes back to when the Europeans first went to Tibet. They used the term to refer to nearly all large dog breeds in the West. Early Western visitors misnamed several of its breeds through this process. For example, the Tibetan terrier is not a terrier, and the Tibetan spaniel is not a spaniel.

In the early 20th century, the Prince of Wales, George, introduced a pair of Tibetan Mastiffs to the United Kingdom, which caused the breed to become prevalent enough in England to be shown at the Crystal Palace show in 1906. Since 1980, the breed has been gaining in popularity worldwide.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a primitive breed and retains the general hardiness that would be required of them to survive in the harsh environment of Tibet, Ladakh, and other high-altitude Himalayan regions. Because of this, they tend to have strong instinctive behavior, including canine pack behaviors. These help the breed survive in harsh environments. It has maintained many of the same biological processes as wolfs and other animals.

The dog has a long, double coat whose length depends ultimately on the climate. Uniquely, the Tibetan Mastiff lacks the unpleasant big-dog smell that affects many other large dog breeds. Their coat can shed dirt and odors on its own. Many of the dogs shed somewhat throughout the year, but there is generally one great molt in late Winter or early Spring.

Tibetan Mastiffs have a life expectancy of around 10-16 years, but this span can vary. Generally, the breed has fewer genetic health problems than many other breeds. However, cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion, ectropion, distichiasis, skin problems, etc. As with most large breeds, some will suffer from elbow or hip dysplasia.

Hypothyroidism is common in Tibetan Mastiffs, along with many other large “northern” breeds. They should be tested periodically throughout their lives using a complete thyroid panel. However, because the standard thyroid levels were established using domestic dog breeds, test results must be considered in the context of what is “normal” for the breed, not what is standard for all breeds. Many Tibetan Mastiffs will have “low” thyroid values, but no clinical symptoms. Vets and owners differ on the relative merits of medicating dogs that test “low” but are completely asymptomatic.

The Tibetan Mastiff is sure to be a large lovable friend for any owner. Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic with any questions at 618-656-5868.

 

Tips and Tricks For Grooming Your Pet

Tips and Tricks For Grooming Your Pet

Part of taking care of your pet is regular grooming efforts to keep their coat healthy and your pet comfortable. These tips will help you stay on top of their grooming and keep your pet happy and healthy.

First, be sure to regularly brush your pet’s coat to prevent matting. Especially with long-haired animals. Your pet needs regular brushing regardless of the breed to keep its coat shiny and healthy. The amount of brushing depends on coat length and texture. Longhaired breeds will need more frequent brushing of at least once a week if not every other day. Short-haired breeds like greyhounds or Labradors may need a good brushing only every other week. Matting can cause pain for your pet. This will lead to licking or biting, causing skin irritation which can then lead to skin infections. Be sure to brush your pet regularly to keep their coat healthy.

Second, many pet owners choose to have a groomer take care of their pet’s hair care. That said, if you proceed carefully, you can trim overgrown hair around your pet’s eyes or pays in between professional grooming appointments. Trimming the hair around your pet’s eyes can prevent overgrown hair from blocking its vision and rubbing against and damaging its eyes. When trimming, make sure your pet is calm and lying down, preferably. Move slowly and calmly and use extra caution with scissors. Make sure to reward their calmness with a treat after they are finished.

Third, trimming your pet’s nails will keep them from experiencing discomfort from overly long nails. There are many different tools to do so, and you may have some trial and error until you find what works best. There are plenty of resources found online for guidance on your specific pet and how to trim its nails.

When grooming your pet, be sure to check their ears for ear infections. Ear infections can be painful, so if you notice any inflammation, odd smells, shaking or scratching, discharge, or pain upon touch. If you notice any of these signs during your regular grooming, take your pet to the vet for a checkup.

Grooming your pet is part of their regular care of them such as feeding them and providing them with exercise. With these tips, you can be more prepared for helping your pet take care of itself. Of course, with any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

CBD For Your Dog: What You Need To Know

CBD For Your DogCBD can work wonders for dogs in oils or dog treats. CBD can provide the same benefits for dogs as medical marijuana for humans who experience seizures, extreme pain, anxiety, and cancer. CBD is not what you may traditionally view as weed. CBD is not psychoactive, unlike its more famous counterpart, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is one of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” derived from the marijuana plant. Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting. Never give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. However, CBD-based products can substantially improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.

CBD can help with many ailments your dog may experience such as pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Because CBD shares the same metabolic pathways as anti-inflammatory drugs, it can help with inflammatory conditions. Anything that ends in “-itis” is an inflammatory condition. This includes osteoarthritis (arthritis for short). 25% of dogs will be diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime. By some estimates, as many as 60% of dogs exhibit some degree of the disease. CBD can provide relief for dogs that may be experiencing pain.

With any treatment, there are potential risks. Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe for both dogs and cats. However, it has been found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP). It is too early in its research to see if the elevation in this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value. It is simply too early to know for sure. There are anecdotal reports of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive a large dose of CBD, but these effects resolve independently with time. Moreover, CBD doesn’t appear to have any drug interactions when given to a dog on an anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl. However, there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any other medication, so it is essential to consult with your veterinarian before treating your dog with CBD.

CBD can be administered in topical treatments; however, it is most often administered orally to dogs. The correct dosage is imperative. Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate. This is about 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight, twice daily. This dosage has been found to be safe and effective for use with arthritis and seizures. Additional research is needed to evaluate the differences in CBD dosages for other conditions.

CBD can provide benefits for your dog that may be experiencing pain or anxiety. However, the correct dosage is imperative. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

 

Tips For Socializing Your Dog

Tips For Socializing Your DogSocializing your dog teaches them how to react to the world around them healthily without any unnecessary fear or aggression. It is important to start socialization early, so it becomes their normal behavior. Ideally, it should be between three and 12 weeks of age, but not everyone is with their furry friend at that point in their life. Beyond 18 weeks, socialization gets a lot harder, but it is not impossible.

An important first step is to take your dog out on daily walks in public. This allows your dog to be exposed to many different experiences such as cars, other dogs, and strangers. The world becomes less scary after a few trips outside. Keep them on a short leash and take your dog on different routes to expose them to new sights and smells. Typically, new puppies should be exposed to different places, bodies of water, woods, beaches, and common neighborhood objects like street signs, bikes, strollers, skateboards, and benches.

Related, expose your dog to a wide variety of people such as men, women, and children so that they can get acclimated to the idea of people other than its owners. If your dog isn’t exposed to people other than its owners, it could become wary of anyone who isn’t their owner, so it is crucial to diversify whom your dog interacts with. Included in socialization is allowing your dog to meet unfamiliar people in unfamiliar clothes like hoods, jackets, sunglasses, and hats.

If your dog acts scared, stay calm and confident. Don’t push them, but don’t make a big deal out of their scared behavior. Use treats to give your dog a positive association with new people and experiences.

Socializing your dog allows them to enjoy the world around them and new experiences. To help your dog not fear new surroundings and people, start early, and show them all that your area has to offer! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

Seatbelts For Dogs – What You Need To Know

When you get into the car, you think about bucking yourself up. Your dog is most likely not getting their own seatbelt. In fact, 84 percent of pet owners don’t restrain their dogs on car trips according to a survey done by AAA. Even if you think you have the calmest dog in the world, your dog does need a seat belt. It helps keep them and the driver safe.

When dogs are restrained or contained in the car, they can’t distract the driver as much. According to the CDC, nine people are killed and 1,000 more injured because they were distracted while driving every day. While cell phones are the biggest distracter, your pet can be a major attention grabber too. Roughly two out of three dog owners admit to being distracted by their pup in the car. If you are in an accident, a dog without a seatbelt can turn into a deadly projectile. A ten-pound dog exerts 500 pounds of force during a 50-mph collision while a 60-pound dog becomes a 2,700-pound projectile at 35-mph. Overall, a dog without a seatbelt can cause serious damage in an accident.

Some states require pet restraint laws. So far, only three have laws that require your dog to buckle up in the car, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Others forbid pets from riding in the back of pick-up trucks or on a driver’s lap. While Illinois does not have any specific pet restraint laws, you can still get a ticket for distracted driving if you get pulled over and your dog is not restrained. The safest place for dogs is in a carrier or harness in the back seat. Just as an airbag can damage a child, the same is for your pet. To get your pet used to a harness, start slowly with five-minute trips, and then expand to ten- and 15-minute rides. Eventually your dog will get used to it. During the outing, be sure to give your dog plenty of praise and a treat after the run.

When you get into the car, you think about bucking yourself up. Your dog is most likely not getting their own seatbelt. In fact, 84 percent of pet owners don’t restrain their dogs on car trips according to a survey done by AAA. Even if you think you have the calmest dog in the world, your dog does need a seat belt. It helps keep them and the driver safe. When dogs are restrained or contained in the car, they can’t distract the driver as much. According to the CDC, nine people are killed and 1,000 more injured because they were distracted while driving every day. While cell phones are the biggest distracter, your pet can be a major attention grabber too. Roughly two out of three dog owners admit to being distracted by their pup in the car.

If you are in an accident, a dog without a seatbelt can turn into a deadly projectile. A ten-pound dog exerts 500 pounds of force during a 50-mph collision while a 60-pound dog becomes a 2,700-pound projectile at 35-mph. Overall, a dog without a seatbelt can cause serious damage in an accident.

Some states require pet restraint laws. So far, only three have laws that require your dog to buckle up in the car, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Others forbid pets from riding in the back of pick-up trucks or on a driver’s lap. While Illinois does not have any specific pet restraint laws, you can still get a ticket for distracted driving if you get pulled over and your dog is not restrained.

The safest place for dogs is in a carrier or harness in the back seat. Just as an airbag can damage a child, the same is for your pet. To get your pet used to a harness, start slowly with five-minute trips, and then expand to ten- and 15-minute rides. Eventually your dog will get used to it. During the outing, be sure to give your dog plenty of praise and a treat after the run.

It may be tempting to have your dog ride shotgun with you, but for their safety and yours, keep them buckled up in the back. With any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868!

Can Cats and Birds Cohabitate?

Can Cats and Birds Cohabitate?Cats and birds are natural opposites. Some cats won’t care about birds at all. Other times, the cat’s instinct to pounce, capture, and “play” with the bird will emerge. Either way, if you have a cat and bird cohabitating, it is important to have the proper precautions in place to keep both animals safe and healthy.

Cats can kill or hurt a bird very easily. With its sharp claws, it can wound the bird and possibly even give it an infection. Cats also pull out important feathers needed for flight, balance, and warmth. They can cause serious mental trauma to a bird that has endured an attack or threat. Cats can even eat small birds. Even though a cat is more dangerous to a bird than a bird is to a cat, bigger birds can seriously hurt a cat. With their strong beaks and claws, they could grab and bite a cat.

Even with the risks, there are ways that you can keep both the cat and bird safe. First, secure the bird cage in a serious manner. Make sure that the cat cannot get inside or knock the bird cage over. Small cages are often placed on tables and are easily knocked over. Make sure the cage is heavy enough that the cat cannot push it around. Be sure to use cage locks or carabiners to make sure the cat cannot open the bird cage doors.

Next, keep them in separate rooms. If you keep the bird cage in a room that the cat is not allowed it, you can avoid the extra stress that a stalking cat can cause for a bird.

Lastly, try and introduce your bird to your cat. It is typically a very slow process, and it starts with allowing your caged bird and cat to see each other from a distance. Eventually, you can lessen the distance between the two after ensuring both are comfortable and not stressed. Some people who have cats that show no signs of going into predator mode will take their bird out of its cage and allow the two to see each other without bars in the way. If you feel comfortable trying this, it must be done with great caution and awareness in case your bird tries to jump out of your hands, or your cat tries to pounce on the bird.

Cats and birds can cohabitate, if the owner takes proper precautions to keep both animals safe and calm. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

 

Holiday Pet Gift Guide – 2021

pet gift guideThe holidays are a time for giving, and you can’t forget about your pets or a pet-lover in your life. I’ve assembled a list of the best pet gifts around to show your furry loved ones you care and help them participate in the holiday spirit.

The easiest gift is that of more toys for your pet. You can get new toys you think they would like or replace the favorites that always seem to go missing. Here are some cute toy options that your pet would love. Here is a cute Christmas pickle dog toy. Here is a winter rope dog toy. Here is a cute snowman cat toy. Here is a catnip-based reindeer cat toy.

More practical, you could get new essentials like water or food bowls or new leashes. Items like these are always welcome since they get used daily by pets. Here is a nice modern option that is useful and still looks nice in your home. Here is the link.

For a more unique gift, you could get a pet DNA kit to see what their history is as an animal. For some kits, you can learn about their preferences as an individual animal. An example cat DNA test is linked here. Here is a dog DNA test. Here is a pet food and environmental intolerance test to see what bothers your pet.

You could also get your pet a nice jacket to keep them extra warm in the cold winter months. An example one for your dog is linked here. Maybe you’d like a more fun outfit to wear on the special holiday. An example is linked here.

Perhaps your dog likes to stick their head out the window. Some protective goggles for their eyes can be found linked here.

For the pet-lover in your life, you could get them a personalized pin for them to display their furry friend with pride.  A handmade pin can be found linked here.

Maybe you are looking to splurge on your pet this winter. If your pet wants to go outside and is not allowed, or maybe they are getting old and can’t move as much as they used to but still wants to enjoy the outdoors, they could use a stroller like this one linked here to enjoy nature. Another splurge item could be this activity monitoring pet tracker. It’ll allow you to stay on top of your pet’s health.

Sharing the season of giving with your pets will only make it more enjoyable. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868 or send him an email here!

Introducing Your Cat To A Newly Adopted Cat: 6 Tips for Success

Introducing Your Cat To A Newly Adopted CatAdopting a cat can do a lot of good. You are giving a cat a loving home who may not have had one before. However, if you already have one or more cats at home, introducing a new feline can be tricky. Especially so if the cats have different personality or between a cat that loves being an only-child and a new kitten. To avoid any extra stress, here are six tips to help your cats acclimate.

Create a Separate Kitten Space

When bringing a new cat home, the first thing should always be to provide your feline with a safe place. This space gives your cat a sense of familiarity and a place to retreat to if the new house ever gets overwhelmed. This area should be secure from the rest of the house and other felines. In this space, you should have a litter box, food bowl, water bowl, and plenty of toys to keep your kitten occupied when you aren’t home. You should also have safe hiding and sleeping areas for maximum comfort.

Handle Vet Visits Right Away

Part of the adoption process is a regular vet check-up. Schedule your kitten’s first visits to the vet on the same day you plan to bring your cat home. This should include a wellness exam, vaccinations needed, and a discussion about spaying or neutering if your kitten is not already fixed.

In addition, take some time to trim your kitten’s claws and groom its fur before leaving the cat in their designated space. Not only do these tasks help you bond with your new cat, but they also can reduce the risk of stress responses to the presence of the resident cat.

Introduce the Cats Slowly

Cats are very territorial. A new kitten can feel like a threat to your resident cat, so it is important to make new introductions slowly. Anticipate keeping the kitten separate for at least a few days. After the first day or two, give each of your cats an item with the other animal’s scent on it. A blanket, cushion, or fabric toy for example. Place this item in an area where your cat feels comfortable. Avoid specifically approaching either cat with a scented item, as it could be understood as a threat.

Once your cats get used to each other’s scents, you can allow them to interact in limited ways. For example, let them interact through a baby gate or sniff under the door of the other cat’s designated area. Only after your cats begin to behave normally when in proximity to each other should you allow them to meet.

Keep Watch for Any Warning Signs

Change can be extremely upsetting for your cats. Your resident cat may feel like its space is being violated and your new kitten may struggle to get used to a new home and a new sibling at the same time. If either cat gets aggressive, start the introduction process over by separating the cats. This helps your animals and their autonomy and safety feel less threatened.

Stay Patient Through the Introductions

Many cats can learn to live together, but it’s up to you to give them time to get used to the idea. The introduction process should take no less than a week’s time. Before bringing a new cat home, ensure that you have the time and resources to handle this process with care and compassion. You will need to spend dedicated time with both cats to ease the transition and bond.

Understand How to Respond to Aggression

When cats begin to live with each other, they may play fight or compete for attention or toys. For the first few days after your cats are allowed to interact freely, pay attention to their behavior. Normal play may involve a fair amount of batting, pouncing, and so on. If you see threat displays like hissing and arching, distract the cats with a loud noise or toy so that they can retreat. If possible, avoid letting serious physical altercations occur. If necessary, separate the cats until they both calm down. A fight could mean injuries for you and your cats.

Introducing a new cat can be tricky, but with some patience, you can build a happy family with your new felines. Feel free to contact us here or call Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868 with any questions.