Should You Consider Preventative Health Screening For Your Dog?

30 Apr

Your dog can’t tell you how he’s feeling—it’s usually how they look or act that is the first sign that something may be wrong. You as the owner play an integral role in helping your dog combat illness and stay as healthy as possible. That responsibility includes having an awareness of warning signs, knowing and preparing for appropriate first aid scenarios, and regular vet visits. Your vet may also recommend preventive health screening additions like blood work and other tests. Here are a few scenarios in which you may want to consider additional health screening for your dog.

When is blood work necessary?

In emergency situations: blood work provides you and your vet with a valuable picture of your pet’s health. It is often the first step in an exam when a pet is brought in to a clinic because they are sick or in an emergency situation. It helps the veterinary staff make immediate decisions so they can quickly help your pet.

Prior to a major procedure:

health screenings and blood work are routinely done prior to any major procedure being done on your pet. This helps the staff learn whether or not anesthesia is safe for your pet and allows them to make adjustments if hey see anything abnormal.

As a preventative measure:

because the signs your dog is sick are not always obvious, a health screening is often recommended as a part of your pet’s annual exam. It can uncover disease before it’s too late, and help you avoid significant medical expenses or risks to your pet’s health. As your pet ages, it becomes more important to take advantages of preventative measures like these.

For medication monitoring:

since some medications may have side effects, periodic blood work may be recommended during a course of medication for your pet, as a way to find these problems early and allow for changes to their course of treatment. With other medications, blood tests may be needed to ensure appropriate doses.

What health screening tests will my veterinarian run?

There are a few tests that are routinely performed when blood work is recommended by a vet. These can include the following.

  • Complete blood count (CBC): This will tell you if your dog has an infection, if inflammation is present, or if your dog is anemic.
  • Complete blood chemistry panel: A panel will provide you with information about your pet’s liver, kidneys, and pancreas, as well as other functions of the body like blood sugar and hydration.
  • Urinalysis: This can identify an infection or inflammation of the urinary tract.
  • Thyroid function test: This test will detect whether or not your pet’s thyroid gland in functioning normally. Thyroid disease is quite common in older dogs.

More often than not, doing blood work on your healthy pet will bring back normal results. However, if you’ve noticed your dog is more lethargic than usual, their appetite has changed, or you’ve begun noticing other behavioral changes that cannot be explained, it could be that something else is going on internally.

Adoption Story: Elise & Milo, The Staffy-Springer Mix

29 Apr

Story submitted by Elise

When I was 10 years old, I broke my ankle, and had to get two operations to fix it. My mum promised to get me a dog as I was being wheeled in for my operation, so obviously I was ecstatic! We planned for a while on what breed to get and decided on a lab.

However, at the time my friends dog fell pregnant and had a litter of five pups—all boys, and they weren’t labs. They were staffy/springer spaniel crosses. Still, I begged my mum for one and she gave in, we went round to my friends house to choose a puppy. This fat brown squirmy puppy was put in my arms and I fell in love, obviously this was Milo! After that, I went to my friends almost everyday after school to see the puppies, I couldn’t wait for the 8th week to bring him home. We could tell Milo apart from the other pups because he has a little white tuft of hair at the end of his tail.

To my suprise on the 4th week she brought Milo to me and said he was ready to take home, once he was at my house my mum rang a vet to come round and check him over (we knew he was well to young to leave his mum) and the vet said he was healthy and to keep him with us, we fed him milk for a little while before completely weaning him onto solid food. I slept downstairs with him for the first few weeks since he was so young, he always managed to climb onto the couch and I would wake up with him cuddled into me! Another time I was woken up by him crying, panicking I looked all over the living room for him but he was no where to be seen, I went out into the hall and found him on the first step of the stairs, crying because he couldn’t get down!

Milo settled into the family great, although where ever he went trouble followed. He once chewed a hole in a cupboard in the kitchen, then crawled into the hole and got cosy in his new little ‘den’ under the cupboard. We had to break the bottom of it to get him out! Another time he was left home alone for not even an hour and he stole the entire toilet roll and ripped it up, leaving the house covered in shreds of it!

Although mischievous, he was great when it came to training, he picked up on toilet training right away and loved learning new things. Now he’s able to do many tricks, including sit pretty, play dead, speak, balance (balance a treat on his nose and head), paw, shake, spin, crawl, and many other things!

After getting neutered, Milo became dog aggressive, and it has been a constant struggle to get him to feel calmer around dogs but we are slowly getting there, of course we have been using R+ methods to help Milo with this issue and we are making progress. Sadly, a dog got off the lead a few weeks ago and came to Milo barking and lunging, which as you can imagine freaked him out. It did set is back as now Milo is as wary as ever of other dogs but we are just going to carry on with our training and I know he will get there in the end!

I’ve had him now for five years and he is literally my best friend. Last year my mum sadly passed away and he was my little rock, he really did look after me. Whenever I would get upset he would cuddle with me and give me kisses, he is honestly my whole world and I’m so lucky to have him.

Tips to Stop Your Dog From Jumping

28 Apr

Most dogs jump out of excitement. When they greet new people, when you return home… sometimes they have so much joy that they just can’t help themselves, and because they don’t understand that it isn’t good behaviour. It’s our job to teach them what we want from them, and to be consistent with our rules. After all, at the end of the day all your dog wants is to make you happy.

Dogs jumping up or at people is annoying in and of itself, but it poses the problem of safety as well. Although you may not mind your dog jumping up, it can be bothersome to guests in your home or passersby on walks. Most of all, a jumping dog (depending on its size) can easily knock over a child or even an adult. For the well-socialized dog, putting a stop to jumping is an absolute must.

Enforce No-Jumping Early

It may be easy to shrug off a puppy jumping because they don’t know any better, but that training is 100% on you. Puppies are incredibly receptive to positive reinforcement, and if you want your puppy to grow into a well-mannered dog, starting early with any rules or obedience is key. We encourage all puppies to attend a Puppy Class to learn the basics of obedience as well as socialize with other dogs their age. Most of all, it’s a great opportunity for you to discuss with the trainer(s) about best practices for certain rules, like jumping. If one method isn’t working for you, they likely have a few backup plans that are sure to point you and your pup in the right direction.

Never Encourage Jumping

You may not realize it, but you may have encouraged jumping from your dog in the past and potentially continue to do so today. When we arrive home, we often receive an energetic, excited welcome from our dogs. In return, we shower them with love and praise. If your dog jumps as a means of greeting you, and you continue to praise the dog (rather than correcting unwanted behaviour), you are essentially telling the dog it is okay to jump up.

What to Do When Your Dog Jumps Up

There are a few methods of training to help discourage jumping from your dog. Be firm in your training, be flexible. If one method absolutely is not working, then move on to the next.

Ignore

If your dog jumps on or at you, immediately stop paying them any attention and move your hands away from them. Once they have four paws on the floor, give them praise. If they jump up again as a result of your praise, simply repeat the process. Eventually, they will make the connection that four-on-the-floor is good, and a means of getting your attention.

Sit Command

If your dog is a notorious jumper when guests enter your home, or when you meet people on walks, command them to sit before answering the door or greeting people. If your dog behaves, releasing them from a sit to a stand is okay—but the moment your dog jumps, reinforce the sit comment and do not offer praise until your dog sits. This may seem repetitive (and sometimes hopeless) in an excitable situation, but keep at it and praise good behaviour while ignoring undesired behaviour.

Use a Leash

If your dog simply won’t take your queues through ignoring them or sitting, then consider bringing a leash into play until they associate four-on-the-floor as good behaviour. This means attaching the leash to their collar with the end of the leash under your foot, and giving them only enough slack to stand comfortably. This physically prevents jumping. Offer praise whenever your dog is not pulling against the leash, and is simply standing calmly.

As Always, Consistency is Key

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to always be consistent and to ensure those who regularly interact with your dog maintain the same consistency. You must be firm 100% of the time, and not just during training sessions. Calm, assertive consistency is key. Keep your voice level, and try to remain positive. Always use positive reinforcement, and be quick to reinforce desired behaviour.