Take Your Time

Adopting a new dog is exciting, and I know you want to take that dog out as soon as you get him/her and show them off to the world, but PLEASE DON’T. Relationships take time to build. You cannot take a newly acquired dog and put them into unknown situations with people he just met and expect it be a positive experience for the dog or the new owner.

Dogs take at least two weeks to acclimate to a new environment. During those first two weeks you should be laying the foundation for your lifetime you’re about to spend with them. Allow them time to settle, and then start working on basic obedience. Remember, if you don’t have 100% control over your dog in your home you’ll never have it outside of your home. Once you have the foundation laid at home start introducing the dog to different scenarios in a controlled manner. For example, take the dog to the park and sit near the playground, and by near I mean like 20-30 feet away. That way the dog can observe screaming and running children from a distance without being forced to confront these alien creatures. Make sure you reward the dog with tasty treats so he makes a positive connection between the aliens and his behavior. If the dog is having a hard time increase the distance between you and the children (aka aliens). Once the dog is more comfortable then use the food rewards. This scenario can be used in any situation such as bicycles, skateboards, strollers, etc. read more

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How many times have you been walking your dog on leash and been accosted by another off leash dog with an irresponsible owner screaming behind them as they charge toward you, “my dog is friendly”? Well, what if mine is not? Then as the strange dog charges you and your dog your dog acts aggressively because of the perceived threat and ends up looking like the bad one when it was simply doing what it’s supposed to do!

This scenario happened recently on the VCU campus. A responsible owner was walking her dog on leash when an irresponsible owner allowed their unleashed pit bull type dog to charge the other dog…invading his space and being totally inappropriate. The dog reacted to the other dogs rude behavior and everyone around once again makes a judgment that the pit bull type dog is a “bad dog” when in all reality he is not, this was the owners fault for allowing his dog to be off leash, ignoring the law and the rights of others to safely walk their dogs! read more

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Disaster Preparedness Tips

Disaster Preparedness Tips

When disaster strikes, don’t be caught unprepared! Follow these important tips: =&0=& Identify your pets at all times with collars or microchips. Collars should display your name, telephone number and an emergency contact. While collars can become lost, microchips are a secure means of assuring that your pet is identified via an electronic device that is painlessly implanted in your pet’s shoulder area. Since animals may escape during disasters, permanent identification will increase your chances of retrieving your pet(s).

2. Evacuation Supplies. Be prepared for emergency evacuation by having pet carriers on-hand and in an accessible place near the front door. An “Evacsak” is an alternative to a carrier and is similar to a pillowcase but ensures safe pet transport. For reptiles or fish, make sure you have lightweight plastic tanks that can be used for transporting animals in a hurry.

For dogs, keep an extra leash hanging near the front door where friends or neighbors can find it. All dogs should have collars and leashes, especially since a frightened dog may slip away if held only by the collar. read more

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Fourth of July safety tips

Take a moment to think about all the different, seemingly imperceptible sounds your pet can hear. Not only can they hear within a larger range, the shape of their ears also helps them to pick up sounds that often escape our senses. Think then how loud a firework might be to your best friend, the same dog that can hear the shaking of a cookie jar 2 floors away or the mailman dropping off a package 20 doors down. Not surprisingly, dogs and fireworks can often be a frightful, anxious experience for your pet. Shelters and animals rescues report taking in more strays during the 4th of July holiday than any other time of year. This statistic makes sense when you consider the way dogs react to fear and/or confusion. While some may choose to cower, hide and shake, others may attempt to flee – searching for their owners or simply attempting to escape the loud noises outside. A good indicator of how your dog may behave during a fireworks display is to gauge their behavior during a thunderstorm. If your dog typically paces or hides, it is likely they will do the same during a fireworks event. However, there is always the possibility bizarre behaviors to appear. Some, otherwise calm dogs, may turn destructive or aggressive when confronted with loud, unfamiliar sounds. It’s best to make your dog’s fireworks safety a priority to help ensure they will remain cool, calm and collected while everyone else revels in the streets. In an effort to keep our pets safe and comfortable at home while we celebrate July 4th, here’s a short list of tips to provide help an anxious dog during fireworks. =&0=& Having your pet microchipped is always a good idea. I don’t want to start off the list so “doom and gloom”, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. =&1=& – unless you are 100% certain they will be non-reactive. =&2=& If your pet is crate trained, crating is a good idea – you may want to move the crate to the quietest part of the house. I would also suggest keeping the room dark, leaving some chew toys with your pet and playing ambient noise from either a radio, TV or other device. =&3=& Dogs have amazing abilities to scale fences and walls when scared, and your dog should be kept in a quiet, confined area in the home during fireworks. =&4=& This will only reinforce the behavior for your pet and could make them more anxious. A better technique to deal with dog frightened by fireworks is to distract the dog with physical activity such as a game of tug or fetch. A chew toy can also be effective in the situation of an anxious pet – what you’re really looking for is something for them to be able to exert energy and calm themselves down. =&5=& – in fact, it will most likely cause confusion. As the pack leader it is your responsibility to show your dog the “proper” way to behave. The best way for the pack leader to do this in the case of fireworks is to remain calm and as if you do not notice the noise outside. =&6=& Petting your dog and showing them affection while they are anxious or scared will most likely reinforce negative behaviors. A better strategy here is to give your dog a short, gentle massage or place your hand on their head as reassurance. Going out of town? =&7=&
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Keep your pet safe this summer

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell For Pets Best Insurance It’s summertime! With rising temperatures and time off school come vacations, fun in the sun and time with family. The heat, sun and summer activities can also bring some perils, especially to the furry members of your family. While there are a number of things you can do to keep your pets healthy, like ensuring they have pet insurance, knowing the following things can help keep your pets safe this summer. Heat stroke is a very deadly threat to pets. Heat stroke is defined as severe hyperthermia, with temperatures sometimes over 105 degrees. The animal can suffer severe internal damage to important organs, especially the brain. Dogs don’t sweat like we do, and their only means of cooling themselves is by panting. While in the right combination of circumstances any dog could potentially suffer from heat stroke, the dogs most at risk are those that have difficulty breathing, such as older dogs with underlying respiratory disease and ‘brachycephalic’ (short snout) breeds. Signs of heat stroke include rapid breathing and heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and depression. As heat stroke progresses, severe respiratory distress, gray or purple gum, seizures, and eventually collapse can be seen. NEVER douse your pet in water if you believe they are suffering heat stroke, lowering the body temperature too quickly can be lethal. Immediate veterinary attention is paramount.
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Adoptables: Diego

Diego is a beautiful and spunky 2 year old boy who enjoys spending time outdoors. He loves going on morning walks and/or jogs and playing... more

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