We frequently answer a lot of behavior questions from our clients who are frustrated about particular things their pets do. Our technician, Josh, is interested in behavior and has a lot of helpful hints for you in different situations. Josh has learned a lot by following Cesar Millan and the advice that he gives. Keep reading to learn where this behavior comes from and how to prevent it.
Dogs who aggressively bark at the doorbell could be caused by you! If you yell, grab or scream at your dog, you might be making the situation worse. Try to understand it from your dog’s point of view. When the doorbell rings they are thinking, “my human will attack me (verbally or by grabbing me) when the doorbell rings,” and that is not the idea you want them to have.
Use the doorbell as a practice tool with other family members or friends, but you want to associate it with something calm and pleasant for your dog. If your dogs are already trained to sit calmly before receiving treats from you, you’re halfway there.
What you need to do is get them to sit calmly for a treat first, and then ring the doorbell. If they do not react to it, they get the treat. If they do react, redirect them with the smell of the treat (but don’t give it to them yet), get them to sit calmly and wait, then repeat the process. In this way, you will teach them that the doorbell equals treat, but only if they sit calmly. You’ll also want everyone in the house to have treats on them at first, so that when the doorbell rings at random they can reward the dogs that comply right away. When you are unable to control this situation when people are coming over, then don’t allow them to practice failure and just simply put them in another room or outside. Remember consistency is the key!
Eventually, you’ll be able to do away with the treats. Finally, if you have more than one dog; focus on the most dominant one in the training; this will help you in training more than one dog at once.
Information adapted from Cesar’s Way (www.cesarsway.com)
Jack’s view as to how and why he became a Therapy Dog
Jack is owned by Carol, one of our fabulous West Lake receptionists. She helped him write this article!
From the day I was adopted from the Sangamon County Animal Control Unit, I knew I was destined to become a therapy dog because I loved all people and other fury friends. I just had to convince my new mom.
Together as a team, we started obedience classes. Wow, I needed those classes!! During our classes we could hear other people talking about their training to become therapy dogs. It sounded like a great adventure and such a rewarding experience because who doesn’t want to make people laugh and smile. During our training, we met a lady named Rose who has a group of people who take their dogs to visit nursing homes in Springfield. We joined up with the group so we could determine if this was something I could do. After a few test runs, my mom was convinced that I could become a therapy dog because she saw how I loved to visit people and she saw how happy it made the residents. From there, I finished my obedience classes, passed my Canine Good Citizen test and then I was in class learning how to become a certified therapy dog. The training took time (because I’m not the most focused guy). After training, we took our test to become a certified therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org). The test was challenging but we did it.
Our first visit was to St. Joseph’s home in Springfield. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Everyone was reaching out to pet me and hug on me and WOW you should have seen all of the smiles. It was a great day!! Now I visit other nursing homes in Springfield and throughout central Illinois. I even get to travel to Decatur and visit patients at Decatur Memorial Hospital. Plus, as you may have seen recently in the State Journal Register, I also get to have children read books to me at the library. That is so fun because the kids laugh and giggle and after reading they get to play with me for a little bit. I love my job being a Therapy Dog. It is very rewarding and the joy it brings to people cannot be measured. I am happy to say that I have received my Active Outstanding Volunteer Certificate from Therapy Dogs International because I have completed over 150 therapy dog visits. That is a lot of awesome hugs, kisses and tail wagging great times!!!
Read about another one of our patient's, Gabbie, who also loves books!
The early indications of failing kidneys (chronic renal or kidney failure) include a marked increase in water consumption and in urination, weight loss, decreased appetite, and in some cases, occasional vomiting. If these signs are observed, the owner should have the cat seen by their veterinarian immediately. Typically these signs are seen in an older patient (greater than 10 years of age).
When you take your cat into the veterinarian, the doctor will perform a physical exam and a blood test to diagnose kidney disease. Depending on the results, a treatment plan will be formed. Kidneys remove toxins from the body, and when kidneys are not functioning properly, your cat will start to show the above the clinical signs.
There is no cure for kidney disease, but there are several treatments that can be done to help control clinical signs and improve the quality of life. We often treat our kidney failure cats with fluids under the skin, appetite stimulants, and a low protein diet. Sometimes gastroprotectants will be used to help with nausea caused by the increased toxins in the body. Each cat will respond differently to treatment depending on the stage of disease they are in at diagnosis and what is causing the disease.
If you think your cat is showing signs of kidney disease, please call your veterinarian today to make an appointment. The earlier treatment is started, the better your cat will feel and more can be done to suppress the disease into earlier stages. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
This has been an abnormal winter as far as weather goes in Central Illinois. We are definitely seeing the effects of this at West Lake Animal Hospital as well. Typically, our case load declines a little during the months of November through March, but boy have we been busy! We have seen a high number of skin and allergy cases this winter compared to most. The warm winter months have also been perfect for fleas to continue their life cycle. It is extremely rare to see fleas on patients during December, January, and February, but we have been seeing fleas weekly this winter.
What does this mean for the rest of the year? We expect an exceptionally high number of allergy and skin disease cases this year. Plants are growing now that normally do not, which is causing dogs to react when they never have before. This will get worse once spring is officially here. Fleas will likely be out in full force much earlier in the year as well.
The most common causes of itchy pets are environmental allergens (grass, pollens, weeds, trees), food allergies, and external parasites (fleas). Problems with skin can be very frustrating and complicated to diagnose and treat, but once the patient is doing better, they are some of the most rewarding cases because the animal feels so much better! If you notice your pet has been itching more than normal, contact your veterinarian or calls us at 217-529-4499 to discuss what is going on and how to correct it.
Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
We are having a Biggest Loser Contest for our patients this spring! Since many humans are on a health and fitness journey early in the year, we thought it’d be good for our pets to join us! Cats and dogs are welcome to sign up; the deadline to enter is January 16. The contest will fun from February 1 through April 30. First prize is a year’s supply of free prescription pet food, and 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive a gift basket. All participants will be eating Hill’s Prescription Metabolic food throughout the contest. If you’d like to enter your pet, hurry and call the clinic and get them signed up today!
Check out this article from JAVMA, about how diets actually make cats more affectionate! https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/160401f.aspx
And here are some awesome before and after pictures of pet’s who went on a 6 month weight loss journey (as reported by CBS news). http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/pet-weight-loss-contest-before-and-after/
Please contact us in Springfield at 217-529-4499 to get your pet signed up for our Biggest Loser Challenge. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
What exactly constitutes a “senior” pet? In the veterinarian world in Springfield, we consider a dog or cat a senior when they reach the age of 8. For large breed dogs, their senior years begin at a younger age, closer to 6 years.
Many people shy away from adopting a senior pet because they think their time with them is short. However, these pets are such loyal companions and have so much love to give because they are grateful to have a wonderful family and home. The life expectancy of many dogs and cats can be 12-15 years or longer, and giving them a loving environment for the remainder of their lives is very rewarding. Senior pets often are more laid-back and have less energy than a young dog, which is a desirable trait for many pet owners.
With age comes more health concerns of course, but many of the senior pet diseases can be managed with changes to diet, environment, and/or medication. It is a good idea to have a senior pet examined by your veterinarian prior to finalizing the adoption. The most common health issues that we see in senior animals are arthritis, liver or kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Don’t let this list scare you away from adopting a sweet senior and giving them the best loving home they’ve ever had. With well managed care, they can maintain a great quality of life for years as a member of your family.
Often, rescues and shelters will have Senior Pet Programs where discounts are offered for the adoption of a senior pet. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to ask the staff when you go to find your new forever friend!
If we can answer any questions for you regarding senior pet health or where to find a senior pet to adopt, please contact us in Springfield at 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Below are some links of local shelters who adopt out senior pets:
Diabetes mellitus is a disease that both dogs and cats can develop, although the disease differs between species somewhat. The clinical signs that many pet owners report early in the disease process are weight gain, excessive thirst, increased frequency in urination, urinating outside the litter box or having accidents in the house, and increased appetite. As the disease progresses, the clinical signs are typically weight loss, lethargy, not eating, and vomiting.
Veterinarians will suspect diabetes based on a pet’s history and the clinical signs that the pet owner has seen. A urinalysis and blood test can be done to diagnose a cat or dog with diabetes. Once the blood glucose reaches a certain level, it will actually start spilling out into the urine and we sometimes see this when we are checking a cat for a urinary tract infection.
Once a diagnosis of diabetes has been made, it will be important to follow the advice of your veterinarian very closely. Treatment will vary based on species and your particular pet. Dogs more commonly have Type 1 diabetes; which is when insulin-secreting cells are destroyed, thus making the dog dependant on an outside source of insulin. Cats develop inadequate or delayed insulin secretion (Type 2), and often cats can be controlled with diet alone after the blood glucose is stabilized initially with insulin.
We teach pet owner’s how to give insulin at home, which will be given every 12 hours. Periodic blood work will be required, more frequently right after diagnosis, to ensure that the blood glucose normalizes. We recommend a special diet that will aid in weight loss and controlling the blood glucose. Cats can sometimes be taken off insulin and controlled with diet alone.
If diabetes is untreated, it can cause the pet to become very sick and can be fatal. The body will go into a state of ketoacidosis causing electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, kidney failure and obtundation. Pets will require hospitalization for several days and the prognosis is guarded.
If you think your pet is showing signs of diabetes, please contact us in Springfield at 217-529-4499 to get an appointment set up right away. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Chocolate and xylitol (a sugar substitute) can be toxic to pets. It is important to keep all candy in a place that is inaccessible by your pets. If your pet does consume candy, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control right away, 1-888-426-4435.
Doorbells, strangers in masks, and an open door can be a brewing storm of anxiety and all a stressed pet needs for a great escape. It might be best to have your pet in another room with the door closed to decrease their stress, or at least have your dog on a leash in order to keep them close by you. This is a great time to be sure that your pet’s microchip information is up to date, just in case.
If you decide to dress your pet up in a cute costume, be sure it fits and is not too snug, especially around the neck. Pets like to roll and rub on the floor sometimes with clothes on, so it is important that there are no constricting parts around the neck area. Another thing to keep in mind is any small parts that come on the costume, cats and dogs have been known to chew these off, which is a fright that no one needs.
Candles, Jack-0-Lanterns with candles, and light strands can be dangerous to a pet. Pumpkins and candles can easily be knocked over by an unknowing dog or cat, and for some reason strands of lights are often chewed on by dogs and cats. Be sure to only have candles going in places that are supervised or put decorations in places where they can’t be knocked over. And always turn light strands off if you are not nearby to avoid your pet getting injured.
We would love to see your Halloween pets in costume or trick-or-treating with the family. Send us pictures or stop by the clinic! Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
We love our techs here at West Lake! We are celebrating all that they do for us this week and having some fun too! Stay tuned for Kennedy's Q & A later this week.
Question and Answer with Eric:
1) If you were a vegetable, which one would you be? Tomato
2) What is your favorite season? Spring
3) If you had to be a dog or cat, which would you choose to be and why? A cat because of their super athletic abilities.
4) If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 items, what would you have with you? Electricity, air conditioning, and video games
5) What do you enjoy about your job as a vet tech at West Lake Animal Hospital? Working with animals
We love our techs here at West Lake! We are celebrating all that they do for us this week and having some fun too!
Question and Answer with Kennedy:
1) If you were a vegetable, which one would you be? A tomato
2) What is your favorite season? Fall, because of the pretty weather and Halloween.
3) If you had to be a dog or cat, which would you choose to be and why? A dog because they are the coolest and they get to sleep the most.
4) If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 items, what would you have with you? My phone, a fuzzy blanket, and some type of transportation to get me home.
5) What do you enjoy about your job as a vet tech at West Lake Animal Hospital? Getting to spend every day with my awesome co-workers and bosses and seeing all of our amazing clients and patients and helping them in anyway possible.