Monthly Archives

September 2015

Dealing with Dog Separation Anxiety

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Dealing with Dog Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can cause a lot of stress for both the dog and his owner(s). Dogs suffering from this behavioral problem are going through agony when their owner is away, while extreme cases may even result in self-injury. Needless to say, the sight of destroyed household items and/or injured pet is something no dog owner wants to experience when returning home after a hard day at work. Fortunately, dog separation anxiety can be successfully resolved although it takes quite a lot of time and patience to help the dog overcome this behavioral issue.

Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety and Its Symptoms

Dog separation anxiety is caused by distress due to the owner’s absence from home and sometimes even from the room. This distress can be displayed in the form of barking, howling, drooling, whining, chewing of various objects, scratching at doors and floors, urinating and/or defecating, and attempting to escape. Dogs that have separation anxiety may display one or more of the mentioned symptoms which can range from mild to severe.

Separation Anxiety Mustn’t be Confused with Misbehavior

Chewing shoes, excessive barking and other forms of behavioral problems don’t necessarily indicate that the dog has separation anxiety. On the contrary, they most often indicate that the dog is bored, not getting enough exercise or is simply ill-mannered. In most cases, unwanted behavior can be relatively easily corrected with obedience training and discipline.

If your dog gets upset when you prepare to leave or even attempts to prevent you from leaving, there is a great chance that he has separation anxiety rather than ‘simply’ misbehaving. In this case, obedience training and discipline will have no effect. This is because separation anxiety is caused by distress due to the separation from the owner and not by poor manners, or lack of training or discipline.

Counter Conditioning and Desensitization

Separation Anxiety

Mild cases of dog separation anxiety are treated using the so-called counter conditioning which is based on turning an unpleasant experience into a pleasant one. This is achieved by offering the dog his favorite food, a new toy or whatever he enjoys before leaving him alone in order for him to start associating separation from the owner with something pleasant. Over time, the dog’s distress reduces and eventually, he learns to be home alone without turning the house upside down.

Counter conditioning may not be enough to deal with moderate and severe forms of dog separation anxiety. To treat moderate and severe cases, counter conditioning is combined with the desensitization training. The latter helps the dog get used to being alone and gradually increase the duration of separation from the owner. This approach has been shown to be very effective but it can take months to show results and requires supervision of a qualified professional.

Anti-Anxiety Drugs Not a Long Term Solution

If your dog has a severe form of separation anxiety, your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-anxiety drugs. But keep in mind that while helping your dog to remain calm, anti-anxiety drugs are not a long term solution. They should be used only for a short period in conjunction with the above described treatments.

10 Steps to Feline Dental Health

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10 Steps to Feline Dental Health

In addition to ensuring that your cat’s teeth stay healthy and strong, the 10 steps to feline dental health below will also help you avoid invasive and often quite expensive procedures to restore your cat’s dental health.

– Step #1 Periodic Dental Exam
It is advisable to have your cat’s teeth and gums examined by a veterinarian at least once a year to detect dental problems before they start causing severe pain or other health complications.

– Step #2 Know the Signs of Dental Problems in Cats
The most common signs of dental problems in cats include red gums, bad breath, swelling, pawing of the mouth, difficulties eating/refusing to eat, drooling, mouth ulcers or loose teeth.

– Step #3 Watch for Signs of Dental Problems
Remember that dental problems in cats can be very painful as well. So watch for signs of dental problems and have your cat examined by a vet as soon as possible if suspecting dental disease.

– Step #4 Regularly Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
This will dramatically reduce the risk of dental problems. Just make sure to use feline toothpaste because that designed for humans can cause serious harm to cats. You may ask your vet to help you select the best feline toothbrushing products.

– Step #5 Learn to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth Properly
The easiest way to do that is to ask your vet to show you how it’s done.

– Step #6 Start with Routine Tooth Brushing During Kittenhood
It is a lot easier to establish a tooth brushing routine when the cat is still a kitten. In addition, your cat will be less likely to develop dental problems latter in life.

– Step #7 Don’t Forget About the Gums
Red and irritated gums are among the most common signs of dental disease in cats. So be sure to pay attention to gums when inspecting your cat’s teeth. Also, it is recommended to periodically massage the gums to keep them healthy and promote healing.

– Step #8 Ensure that Your Cat Eats a Healthy Diet
In addition to promoting dental health, nutritionally rich and balanced diet also promotes general health and wellbeing. Note that feline dietary needs vary greatly – depending on age, weight and overall health. Ask your vet to help you select the best diet for your cat.

– Step #9 Consider Chew Toys, Tartar Control Treats and Bones
They are not a substitute for tooth brushing but may be used as a complement to the recommended feline dental care. In addition to chew toys and tartar control treats, you may also ‘treat’ your cat with bones but never give her fish, pork or chicken bones as they can cause serious injuries. Also, choose raw over cooked bones to reduce the risk of splintering.

– Step #10 Call Your Vet if Having Any Concerns About Your Cat’s Dental Health
Work closely with your vet and don’t hesitate to seek professional help or advice if you have any concerns about your cat’s dental health. In addition to causing severe pain and discomfort, dental diseases such as tooth decay can also lead to a host of other health problems including hearth disease.

Cat Dental Health

Halloween Costume Contest – Rules

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Welcome to our Halloween Costume Contest!

For 2015, Rocklin Road Animal Hospital is throwing a costume contest online. Take a picture of your pet in their Halloween costume and then we will show off the cuteness/scariness/silliness of the puppy/kitty.

Rules for RRAH’s Halloween Costume ContestRRAH Halloween Contest

  • One picture per pet (so if you have more than one pet, submit a picture for each pet)
  • Email the picture to Donnette by clicking HERE.
  • Entries are open until October 18th, 2015
  • The top 20 entries will be voted on for two weeks to name the top 12 winners
  • Named winners will be on Nov 02, 2015
  • Must be a client of Rocklin Road Animal Hospital

 

Prizes for RRAH’s Halloween Costume Contest

We are putting together some great prizes. The top 12 winners will pick from a pool of prizes in the order of their rank. You will not want to miss out on these!

Prize Pool:

 

Boxer – Breed Information

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Boxer – Breed Information

The Boxer is a medium-sized dog breed which originates from Germany. Great with kids and other pets, and suspicious of but polite to strangers, the breed is especially popular with families. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Boxer is currently the 8th most popular breed in the United States.

History of the Boxer

A member of the so-called Molosser dog breeds, the Boxer was bred in Germany in the 1800s from the Bulldog and Bullenbeisser which became extinct by the early 20th century. The public had the opportunity to see the new breed for the first time in 1895 at a dog show in the city in Munich (Germany). It was formally recognized as a breed by the AKC 9 years later.

Boxer Appearance and Physical Characteristics

The Boxer is instantly recognizable by its distinct head and strong, muscular body. Males can reach up to 25 inches in height and weigh about 70 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and lighter. Both males and females have a short-haired coat in fawn or brindle color with or without white markings and black mask. On average, Boxers have life expectancy of 9 to 10 years.

Boxer Personality and Temperament

The AKC describes the Boxer as intelligent, active and cheerful although it is also very protective, especially when around strangers. Boxers love being around children and are also good with other dogs and pets. Mistrustful of strangers, however, dogs of this breed are well-behaved and very friendly to other people when noticing that they mean no harm.

In order to grow into a happy, well-behaved and balanced dog, the Boxer – just like any other dog – requires early training and socialization.

Boxer Grooming and Care

Boxers are “low maintenance dogs” when it comes to grooming and care, and need only an occasional bath to keep their coat soft and shiny. Just like other dogs, they need regular nail trimming/clipping to prevent splitting, have their ears cleaned and inspected for signs of ear infection, and brushed their teeth on a daily basis if possible.

Boxer Diet and Exercise

Nutritionally rich and balanced diet is crucial for a happy and healthy life, and longevity of any dog. And the Boxer is no exception. Since it can be very difficult to choose between the many formulas available and since nutritional requirements tend to change over time, it is a good idea to consult a veterinarian on things such as type of food, frequency of feeding and size of portions. Also, it is of utmost importance for the dog to have access to clean water at all times.

Boxers are high-energy level dogs which means that they need plenty of exercise. Since they are very smart and intelligent, they appreciate if exercise involves activities that are also mentally stimulating.

Boxer Health

Boxers

Just like other breeds, Boxers are more susceptible to some genetic health problems that are passed down in the breed. To reduce the risk of genetic defects and disorders, it is recommended to get the dog from a reputable breeder and work closely with a veterinarian when it comes to disease prevention.

Things You May Not Know About the Boxer

– they were among the first breeds to be used as police dogs in Germany
– they are “housedogs”; they don’t have an undercoat to provide protection against the cold and don’t tolerate high temperatures for an extended period of time
– they don’t like to be home alone

Protect Your Pets from Coyotes

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Protect Your Pets from Coyotes

Coyotes pose a serious threat to pets, both cats and dogs, in both rural and urban areas. They normally prey on small animals such as rats and rabbits but may also attack cats and even dogs, especially smaller breeds. The good news is that coyote attacks on pets can be prevented.

Protecting Cats from Coyotes

Cats are at high risk of coyote attacks. The best way to prevent coyotes from harming or possibly even killing your cat is to keep her inside all the times or at least during the night when coyotes are most active. If/when letting your cat outside, never leave her alone in the yard, especially if coyote sightings are common in your community. In the latter case, it is recommended not to let cats outside at all. Most veterinarians agree that indoor cats are just as happy as those that are allowed to go outside. Also, they are not exposed to other outside threats and on average live longer.

Protecting Dogs from Coyotes

Coyote Dangers

Coyote attacks on dogs are relatively rare, especially those involving larger breeds although the risk is there. There have also been reports of coyotes attacking larger dogs; these are most likely to happen if ‘invading’ the coyotes’ territory. They are especially territorial during the breeding season from January to March.

When it comes to coyote threat to smaller dog breeds, the risk is similar to that posed to cats. For that reason it is of utmost importance never to leave the dog outside unattended and always keep him on the leash outside your yard. For obvious reasons, the dog shouldn’t be allowed to interact or play with coyotes.

Making Your Yard Coyote-Proof

In addition to following the above mentioned protective measures against coyotes, it is also advisable to make your yard safe from coyotes and other predators that can harm your pet. The simplest and the most effective way to keep coyotes out of your yard is to erect a fence that is at least six feet high and extends to the ground at least six inches.

Other Methods to Keep Coyotes Away from Your Pet

In addition to installing a fence to keep coyotes out of your yard, you are also recommended to:

– Never leave any pet food outside. Feed your cat or dog inside and make sure that trash is out of reach to wildlife.

– Don’t keep bird feeders in your yard. In addition to attracting birds, they may also attract rodents which in turn can attract coyotes.

– Regularly trim shrubs if having any, keep the lawn short and make sure that there are no wildlife nests or habitats. That way you will remove potential hiding places for coyotes and repel small animals that may attract coyotes.

– Lock pet doors. Coyotes are very intelligent and bold. If you keep pet doors unlocked, they won’t hesitate to enter your home and attack your pet.

– Walk your dog with other people (and dogs) if coyote sightings are common in your community. Groups of people and dogs are less likely to be attacked.

What to Do if You Encounter a Coyote?

If you run into a coyote when walking your dog, you should never run or turn your back to the animal. Instead, make a lot of noise, wave your arms, etc. The goal is to appear as big and intimidating as possible to scare the coyote away.