Wednesday, March 30, 2016

5 Poisonous Mushrooms You Should Know

Poisonous Mushrooms

Mushroom poisoning in pets may be underestimated. Mushroom species can be difficult to nearly impossible for even mushroom experts (called mycologists) to identify. That difficulty is compounded by the fact that little is known about the potential toxicity of many species. 

Mushrooms reported as edible in Europe have been associated with toxicity cases in North America and vice versa. Mushroom toxicity reportedly can vary depending on habitat and/or what other plants or trees are growing nearby. And many mushrooms can contain more than one poisonous substance.

Toxicity also can depend on underlying health conditions in victims or on other substances they may ingest. And in our global economy, toxic mushrooms from other parts of the world that resemble species presumed edible in the United States have been imported to North America, further muddying the scene.

To be safe, it's best to keep your pet away from all wild mushrooms and call your vet immediately if you think your animal has eaten a mushroom. Below are a handful of the most recognizable species of toxic mushrooms.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Dangers for Your Pets

Easter Pet Dangers

It’s finally spring! A warm welcome to many dogs (and dog owners!), springtime is, for many, the best time of the year. But, along with the beautiful weather, colorful blooms, and the singing of freshly hatched birds comes some serious dangers to our four-legged friends, especially surrounding the celebration of Easter. 

Follow these guidelines to stay safely away from the animal ER this Easter holiday:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How to Break Up a Dog Fight

Break Up Dog Fights

It’s a skill everyone hopes they’ll never need to use but should know, especially dog owners: how to safely break up a dog fight. Like humans, not all dogs simply get along. Even the most gentle mannered dogs are capable of a dangerous fight when provoked.

During a scuffle, a dog owner’s first instinct is to reach into the middle of the fight and try to grab their dog by the collar. This technique is not only ineffective, but also very dangerous. The odds of you being badly injured or bitten while reaching for a fighting dog’s collar are very high. Two furious animals in the middle of a serious fight are normally in survival mode. If they spot you at all, they likely won’t recognize you as the loving owner they are cognizant of. The moment you charge in and reach for their collars, they may respond out of a fight reflex and then bite, or they might perceive you as another threat or attacker.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How Dogs Communicate

Dog Communication

There are two basic methods of "canine speak"-- body language and vocalizations. Body language includes: jumping, nipping, licking, tail wagging, biting, use of the head including, ears, eyes and mouth and various other posturing during which your dog uses his entire body. Vocalization includes: barking, growling, whining, howling and other miscellaneous sounds.

Know that each posture means something. When your dog wants to play, he'll get into a play stance, which I'm sure you have seen; his front end is low, rear end is up and wiggling and his tail is wagging. If he is approached by another dog, that dog will recognize the stance immediately and if he's feeling playful too he might mirror the stance and the games begin.

Each vocalization means something also. Your dog, when startled, might bark or growl to express his discomfort.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Door Dashing Prevention Tips

Door Dashing Tips

If your dog is a "door dasher" not only are they endangering themselves by running unrestricted when they could be hit by a car or encounter an aggressive animal, or even be stolen or picked up by animal control, but they are also endangering others because they could knock over a small child or an elderly person, or run into someone else's yard and do damage. This is a behavior that needs to be prevented and changed. 

There are many different ways to train dogs to perform desirable behaviors. The steps listed below are among several that can be used to successfully teach your dog not to dash out open doors.

The most effective and humane training method, and the one I always recommend, involves setting your dog up for success, using positive reinforcement to train the behaviors you want to see more of, and ignoring (not punishing) undesirable behaviors.

Very Important: All dogs, especially escape artists, should be wearing an up-to-date ID collar or tag at all times

With a dog who dashes, the first order of business is to put an immediate and permanent stop to your pet's ability to scoot out the door. This means gaining the cooperation of everyone in the household, and all visitors to your home.