Friday, July 31, 2015

Baby-Proofing the Dog

By Victoria Shade, CPDT

Everything changes when your new baby comes home, and your dog is probably going to feel confused by the upheaval at first. Your daily routines, level of attentiveness and availability are greatly impacted, which can be confusing for your pooch. Here are some tips to help smooth the transition for you and your dog when welcoming your newest family member.

1. Practice Dog Obedience Training
Before you get too close to your due date, take the time to polish up your dog’s basic obedience skills, and if you’ve never done any basic training get to work right away. Your dog should be able to do a basic “sit,” hold a down-stay, understand a casual “wait” cue (which is less formal than a “stay” and just means to hold position and not surge forward), and a “place” cue (which is a way to send your dog to a specific spot, like his bed). Each cue is very helpful in making sure that your dog is not underfoot, and if you practice enough, can help with your dog’s impulse control.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

6 Waiting Room Tips for Pet Owners

Whether we’re talking about your pet or the one camped in the owner’s lap next to you, there are ways to improve everyone’s waiting room experience. Because let’s face it, most pets don’t enjoy their time there — and by extension, plenty of their people don’t either.

It’s true; though they may tolerate us well enough, the majority of pets would prefer to be at the park or curled up in a sunny spot than in a busy hospital’s waiting room. But it doesn’t have to be terribly stressful either. To that end, here are some stress-relieving, enjoyment-enhancing waiting room to-dos for your consideration.

DO: Ditch that flexible leash in favor of a gloriously short one. Ever seen anyone get hog-tied by someone’s too-long leash? I have. It’s not pretty.

I’ve said it before: Flexible-length leashes are the bane of my existence, especially in a veterinary hospital. Now if everyone knew how to use one and paid attention to its setting… that would be different. A short leash, on the other hand, is everyone’s friend in the waiting room.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tips for Keeping Your Cat OFF Tables and Counters

Cats Off Counters

Cats are natural climbers and jumpers, and usually enjoy being in high places. But some of their favorite high places may include areas of your house where you don't want them: your kitchen counters, your dining room table or your shelf displaying precious porcelain figurines. And, of course, these are your cat's very favorite places.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

8 Myths About Big Dogs

There are a number of myths about big dogs that deserve to be debunked, for example, the one about “locking jaws” on certain breeds. Another old wives tale about large and giant breeds is that they prefer to live outdoors, away from their human family.

If you’re hesitant to bring a large dog home because of popular misconceptions about the differences between large and small dogs, it could be time to open your heart and let a big dog win you over.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pet First Aid Tricks Every Owner Should Know

pet first aid

Would you know what to do if your cat started having a seizure or your dog got hit by a car? Just the thought of something happening to your pet is enough to get your heart racing. Many people don't know what to do if their pet starts choking, has been poisoned, has suffered from cuts, bites or punctures, has been hit by a car, or is having a seizure.

In any medical emergency, the best course of action is to bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you're mentally prepared to respond to an accident, these key first-aid techniques can help you stabilize your pet until you get to a veterinary hospital. Here's what to do in the event of one of these five common emergency situations.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What's In a Name: Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a breed of dog that comes from the Romagna sub-region of Italy. The name means "lake dog from Romagna," originating from the Italian word lago, meaning lake. Its traditional function is a gundog, specifically a water retriever. However, it is often used to hunt for truffles. 

The Lagotto is an ancient breed of water retriever from the lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna, Italy. All modern water retrieving dog breeds are believed to have descended in part from the Lagotto Ramagnolo

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What's In A Name: French Bulldog

The adorable Frenchie is not, as it turns out, from France. These little dogs originated in Nottingham, England, where they were popular with lace workers who kept them as companions and ratters.

After the Industrial Revolution, many of England's lace makers immigrated to France, bringing their little bat-eared pals with them. The breed then became known as the French Bulldog.

Source: Dr. Becker

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Safety Tips for Helping Your Dog Beat the Heat

Help Dog With Heat

During these dog days of summer, it’s tough to keep cool — especially when you’re wearing a fur coat. It’s easy for your best friend to overheat, which poses dangers to his health. Luckily, there are some simple ways to help keep your dog comfortable during the hot summer months. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite ideas below.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dogs and Bee Stings

Spring has sprung, summer is here, and with those pretty flowers come the bees. These busy little buggers are imperative to the food chain, but can cause big trouble to curious pooches. It’s best to be prepared and know how to handle a sting should your pup find himself on the business end of a hornet, wasp or bee.

Dogs are fascinated by insects. They love to stalk and observe the various bugs that cross their turf. Unfortunately, most stings occur when an insect feels threatened. Our pups are cute and funny to us, but to a bee, hornet or wasp, they are terrifying.

Most dogs suffer stings to their face, paws or the inside of their mouth. These stings occur when a rambunctious pooch chases a bee, snaps at a hornet or digs up an underground wasp nest. Signs that your dog has been stung include whining, drooling, hives, pawing at the face or eyes and facial swelling. Always seek veterinary help immediately.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nail Trimming Tips for Dogs Who Hate Them

Q: My dog hates getting her toe nails trimmed. It has gotten to the point that she has to be muzzled and several people hold her to trim her nails. We all hate it!
— Brittany

Dear Brittany,

Anxiety about nail trimming is a common problem with dogs. I personally experienced this with my dog Cookie. Cookie was normally a very sweet dog but as soon as the nail trimmer came out, she turned into a biting, thrashing ball of fur and teeth. When it got to the point where I started sedating her to have her nails trimmed, I thought, there has got to be a better way. And there is!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

6 Facts About Hairballs!

Hairballs. Those oh-so-gross tubes of slimy hair our cats leave on the floor for us, the ones we always seem to find in the middle of the night with the bottoms of our feet, right? Well, we’ve hacked up some interesting facts about them for you:

1. The scientific term for a hairball is Trichobezoar
Trich is Greek for “hair” and a bezoar is a mass found in the stomach or the intestines.

2. Some cats get more hairballs than others

Hairballs are caused by cats grooming and ingesting their fur, so it would make sense that cats who groom less get fewer hairballs! That said, long haired cats tend to swallow more hair and thus, have more hairballs. Kittens rarely have hairballs at all because they haven’t developed a thorough grooming regimen yet. Obviously hairless breeds don’t get hairballs at all (lucky!).

Monday, July 20, 2015

5 Things to Know About Microchipping Your Pet

Here’s the story of how a microchip saved a dog named Sage: The 10-year-old, three-legged German Shepherd — a predominantly outdoor dog — went missing one summer from her owner’s property near Spokane, Washington. After being gone for three months, Sage was presumed dead, due to her age and poor physical condition. But then Sage’s owner received good news from a veterinarian in a town 30 miles away: Sage had been found and brought in for an exam. The veterinarian scanned her for a microchip (which she had) and checked a database for the owner’s contact information. If it hadn’t have been for this tiny piece of technology, the happy reunion between Sage and her owner very likely wouldn’t have happened. It was also important that the microchip company had her owner's up to date information!

A lost pet safely returned to her owner: Is there a better reason for microchipping? Keep reading to find out more about microchipping, then talk to your veterinarian about how to get your pet chipped and protected.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What's In A Name: Poodle

The modern day Poodle, thanks largely to show dog grooming practices, is often considered a somewhat snooty, upper crust canine. However, this breed's roots are anything but.

The original Poodles worked as retrievers of fallen waterfowl. Their name is derived from the German word pudelin, which means "to splash." These dogs were known as Pudelhunds or "water dogs" originally, but their name eventually evolved into the English "Poodle." Poodles are bred in three sizes, standard, miniature, and toy.

Source: Dr. Becker

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What's In A Name: Lhasa Apso

The little Lhasa Apso originated in Tibet, where it served as a watchdog for Tibetan palaces and monasteries. "Lhasa" is the capital of Tibet; "Apso" means "bearded," making the literal meaning "Bearded Lhasa Dog". There are some who claim the word "apso" is a form of the Tibetan word "rapso", meaning "goat-like", which would make the translation "Wooly Lhasa Dog".

The Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting dog and was bred as an interior sentinel with a keen sense of hearing in the Buddhist monasteries to alert the monks to any intruders. They are wary of strangers but loyal to those closest to them.

Source: Dr. Becker

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Best Fruits and Vegetables to Give (As Treats) To Your Cat!

Fat cats are no joke, and we know responsible pet owners like you are doing all you can to help keep your cat as healthy as he can be. If you're thinking of adding fruits and vegetables to your cat's diet, you're probably wondering which foods are safe to feed him. Well, you've come to the right place!

Here's the skinny: Cats don't require fruits and vegetables to balance their nutrition. In fact, cats are obligate carnivores — not omnivores, like dogs and humans are. This means that animal protein is the only type of protein that fulfills a cat's nutritional needs. So, a quality commercial diet approved by your veterinarian is enough to keep him going strong. But if you want to replace high-calorie treats with something fresh from the produce section, these fruits and vegetables (given in small amounts, of course) are safe options. Just remember to always check with your veterinarian before introducing a new food into your cat's diet.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

5 Tips to Lengthen Your Pet's Life

Lengthen Your Pet's Life

Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing — that he or she has a healthy and long life. Here are five tips that can help your pet do just that.


Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. A good diet can help strengthen your pet’s immune system, help maintain his or her intestinal health, help increase his or her mental acuity, help keep joints and muscles healthy, and much more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's In A Name: Irish Setter

This is an easy one. This gorgeous creature does indeed hail from Ireland. In Irish it is "Sotar Rua", which literally means "red setter" in the Gaelic language. 

A setter or setting dog describes a large, long-haired breed trained to stand rigid when scenting game. The Irish setter was bred for hunting, specifically for location and pointing upland game birds. They are tireless hunters and are well-suited to fields and wet or dry moorland terrain.

Source: Dr. Becker

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Guide to Biking With Your Dog

dog biking guide

Biking with your dog can be one of life’s great joys — but for many of us, the idea of taking your dog on a bike ride is daunting. Where do you even begin? What equipment do you need? Will your dog even enjoy it? Great questions. We’ve got answers.

How to get started:

Get the green light. First off, get your pooch checked over by your vet to make sure that he’s up for this new jogging regime. Exercise might not be safe for your pup, depending on his weight, size, medical history, or even age! We know your puppy has a lot of energy, but dogs shouldn’t be doing any serious distance running until they’re at least 18 months old.

Monday, July 13, 2015

9 Tips for a Successful Summer with Your Dog

By Dr. Becker

As more and more public places become dog-friendly in recognition that for many of us, dogs are members of the family, the onus is on us to be thoughtful and responsible guardians.

During the warmer months of the year, people like to get out and about with their dogs, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a short hike, or a summer vacation.

The best way to set yourself and your dog up for a fun, memorable season is to do a bit of pre-planning, and follow some simple canine etiquette guidelines that will make you a hit with other dog lovers and a welcome guest when you go on the road with your canine travel companion.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

3 Minnesota Breeders Named on National Worst Puppy Mills List

In May of this year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released their annual“The Horrible Hundred” list, which lists the names and locations of the 100 worst puppy mills in the United States. Only 16 states had mills on the list — and horrifyingly, Minnesota was one of those states, with three breeders listed. 
This is who they are.

1. Renner’s Kennels in Detroit Lakes

Dogs were found with fleas and skin disorders at Renner’s Kennel (Photo: USDA)
Dogs were found with fleas and
skin disorders at Renner's Kennels
(Photo: USDA)
From the report: “During three separate visits since our last report was published in May (May 2014, Sept. 2014 and Nov. 2014), USDA inspectors found sick or injured dogs at Renner’s Kennel. The issues included dogs with swollen areas of red skin, a husky with a ‘reddened and cloudy right eye,’ and a Greyhound with signs of severe dental disease that ‘can make it difficult for the dog to eat’ and ‘can be painful,’ according to the USDA inspector. In July 2014, the USDA gave Renner an official warning for violations of federal regulations for the failure to maintain adequate veterinary care for several animals. In February 2014, four dogs were found with injured paws, and two of the buildings had such strong odors that the inspectors said they felt ‘a burning sensation in our throats,’ and in the puppy nursery, ‘our eyes also felt a burning sensation.’”
This is Renner’s Kennels third time on this list.

2. Clearwater Kennel, Inc. in Cushing

From the report: “The complaint alleges that Clearwater Kennel, Inc. willfully violated the Animal Welfare Act by failing to establish and maintain a program of adequate veterinary care, failing to provide the proper cleaning, maintenance and sanitation, and failing to maintain enough employees to carry out the level of care needed by the enormous number of dogs at the facility. Clearwater Kennel, Inc. is one of the largest puppy mills in the country, with more than 1,000 dogs. February 2014 violations at Clearwater Kennel included a strong ammonia (urine) odor, rodent feces near the dogs’ food, and excessive dog feces in the enclosures that left ‘limited areas for the dogs to walk or stand without coming into contact’ with their own wastes, according to a USDA inspection report.”
Clearwater Kennel is one of the largest puppy mills in the country and has made this list three times.

3. Michelle Sonnenberg in Detroit Lakes

From the report: “In June 2014 an inspector found the same standing water issue in three different barns that contained a total of 306 dogs and puppies, and noticed that the standing water was buzzing with flies – yet the same issue was noted again in October 2014, when the inspector noted that the water was ‘dark, dirty and mixed with excreta’ and presented a ‘risk of odors, insects and disease hazards.’ In February 2013 an inspector noted an ‘ammonia level strong enough to make the inspector cough and feel a burn in the back of the throat’ and other problems.”


While it’s horrifying that Minnesota breeders made this list, there’s also reason to hope that these breeders will be shut down (or forced to improve conditions drastically) in the years to come. Since the passage of the 2014 MN Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill, standards of care for commercial breeders have become more strict[Related Story: MN Breeder Bill Passes!]
This law, which decreed that all breeders must allow the MN Board of Animal Health to inspect their facilities to enforce laws and ensure animal care standards are met, went into effect on July 1, 2014. It stated that all breeders had to register with the state before July 1 of this year.  Then by July 1 of this year, all breeders must be licensed and inspected by the MN Board of Animal Health with annual inspections thereafter.
Unfortunately, the USDA inspectors have noted that Clearwater Kennel “has a history of temporarily coming into compliance, only to be found with additional severe violations at subsequent visits,” so this may be a long battle.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What's In A Name: Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terrierThe Jack Russell Terrier is named after, you guessed it, Jack (John) Russell. Mr. Russell was an English parson and an avid hunter who became known as "The Sporting Parson." One day he met a milkman with a white female terrier named Trump. Trump seemed to be a great foxhunting dog, so Russell convinced the milkman to sell him the dog.

Russell bred Trump and developed a line of terriers that could hunt foxes all day, and fearlessly go after game that dove into holes in the ground.

The Sporting Parson also developed the Parson Russell Terrier, which has longer legs than the Jack Russell, and is recognized as a separate breed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What's In A Name: Dachshund

The low-to-the-ground Doxie was developed in Germany in the early 17th century by crossing terriers (for their feistiness) and hounds (for their tracking abilities).  "Dachshund" means Badger Dog in German. 

Their traits were specifically bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals. The Miniature Dachshund was bred to hunt smaller prey like rabbits and have been used to hunt Prairie Dogs.  They are also commonly nicknamed Weiner Dog or Sausage Dog.

Source: Dr. Becker