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October 27th, 2013

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The Newly Adopted Pet Part 3 – Introducing a New Canine to a Resident Canine

January 26th, 2013

Canines are genetically programmed to be pack animals, which can facilitate the introduction of a new dog or puppy into a family with an existing dog. Canines are also territorial and hierarchal, both of which can complicate matters if introductions are not handled properly.

First, know your breeds. Some dog breeds are known for same-sex aggression, especially if the animals are intact. Avoid adopting the same sex of those particular breeds, or even the same sex of different breeds if one of the animals is known to be dog-aggressive. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with two dogs who must be kept permanently separated to avoid fighting. Also, don’t count on spay/neuter to necessarily cure same-sex aggression. Desexing the animals may be helpful in promoting non-combative cohabitation, especially with males, but it won’t guarantee peaceful coexistence.

Puppies are often more easily blended into an existing canine family than are adult dogs. Adults usually don’t consider young puppies to be rivals for territories or mates, so they’re more willing to accept them into their homes without fuss. Aggressive adults, however, can kill puppies, either intentionally or accidentally.

Introductions of one canine to another are best done away from each canine’s established territory. Before bringing a new dog or puppy into a home with an existing dog, allow the animals to meet each other and spend some time together on neutral territory, like a park, beach, or friend’s house. This way, neither animal will feel the need to defend territory. Similarly, if a dog is closely bonded to a particular human being, have someone else handle that dog during introductions so that dog won’t feel the need to protect that person.

Once the canines have met and spent time getting to know each other on neutral territory, you can bring the new canine home and have another controlled (on-leash) meeting in the yard of the home. If all goes well there, both dogs can be brought inside on-leash, with the resident dog coming in first. It’s important for the people handing the animals to remain relaxed and low-key during this process. The more matter-of-fact the humans behave, the more likely the canines will respond the same way. Depending on the attitudes and behaviors of the animals, leashes can be removed, when appropriate. Supervision should continue until reliable peace has been established between the canines.

It’s very important, especially during this introductory phase, to reinforce the resident dog’s position by offering everything to that animal first – first to go in and out of the house, first to be petted, first to be fed, etc. In that way, you can avoid having the resident dog feel displaced and defensive, and you will establish the initial hierarchy for the new canine. It is possible that as the canines develop their own relationship, their social hierarchy may change. But in the beginning, it is the resident animal’s standing that must be reinforced to facilitate the introduction.

Tempest

Pet Discussion on Twitter

January 25th, 2013

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The Newly Adopted Pet Part 2 – Guidelines for Introducing a New Animal Companion into your Household

January 15th, 2013

There are certain general guidelines and considerations to keep in mind when introducing a new animal companion into an existing household. It’s important to note, however, that generalizations don’t apply equally to all animals or situations. Regardless of species, breed, gender, size, age, or other variables, each animal is, first and foremost, an individual. Whereas most animals are likely to be stressed to some degree when entering a new living situation, there are individuals who won’t appear to experience any stress at all – individuals who will immediately relax into their new home and demonstrate nothing but joy in their new family. Read these guidelines knowing that there will always be exceptions and that your new companion’s successful integration into your family will be largely influenced by your own ability to observe and be flexible in your handling of the integration process.

The first step to successful integration is to learn as much as possible about your new pet and his/her history. Spend time with the animal before bringing him/her home so that you have an idea of his/her basic personality. Is the animal bold or timid, active or sedentary, friendly or solitary, noisy or quiet, dominant or submissive, goofy or intense? How does the animal deal with men, women, children, crowds, loud noises, other animals, new situations, car travel, the vet? Does the animal have any problem behaviors such as aggression, house soiling, destructiveness, separation anxiety, etc.? The more you know about the animal, the better prepared you will be to establish a successful integration procedure.

Next, take the animal to the vet for a checkup and any necessary veterinary care before bringing him/her home. Not only will this insure that your new family member is healthy, but it will also protect the health of your resident pets. Even with this precaution, it’s important to keep an eye on all household pets for any signs of illness during the integration period, since stress can trigger illness in some animals. An ailing animal may exhibit behaviors that make integration difficult, such as aggression, reclusiveness, house soiling, etc.

Lastly, create a suitable “safe haven” in your home where your new pet can gradually become acquainted with your household without having to immediately interact with other family pets. This may be a separate cage, crate, or room supplied with any necessary bedding, food, water, and toys to keep the new pet happy while (s)he is adjusting to a new home and family.

The remainder of this series will deal with specific integration scenarios related to adding a new canine or feline to an existing family.

Tempest

The Newly Adopted Pet Part 1 – Elimination Issues

January 4th, 2013

So, you decided to celebrate the holidays by adding a new 4-legged member to your family. Great! But things are off to a bit of a rocky start. Not so great. This next series of blog posts will address problems that may occur when a new animal is added to a household. Let’s start with the ever-popular, “They told me (s)he was housebroken/litter trained, but this canine/feline is having accidents in my house!”

New pets can have accidents in a new living environment for a variety of reasons. Moving into a new home with a new family and a new schedule can be very disorienting for cats and dogs – even moreso for young kittens and puppies who may not be reliably litter or house trained to begin with. The excitement and stress of all of this “newness” can throw even a well-trained animal off of their game. In some cases, it can even trigger illness in the animal. If your new pet is having more than occasional accidents in the house, take him/her to your vet for a checkup to make sure there isn’t a physical cause. If the pet checks out healthy, use the following tips to help your new pet make the adjustment, relax into his/her new home, and reestablish reliable elimination habits.

Newly adopted felines should be kept in a single room with a clean litterbox, food, and water for a day or two until the animal is reliably using the litterbox. Once the litterbox is being used regularly, allow the feline into the rest of the house under supervision. Be sure to take him/her to the litterbox repeatedly throughout the day as a reminder of the box’s location. Place additional litterboxes around the house (at least one box on each level of the home, placed where the feline likes to spend most of his/her time). The additional boxes can be gradually moved or removed once the feline has settled into the home comfortably and is reliably using the litterbox(es).

For new canines, it’s very important to take them outside frequently and to stay outside with them until necessary eliminations have been completed. Be sure to praise proper eliminations enthusiastically. This will help canines of all ages adjust to their new living arrangements, but it is critically important for puppies who can’t control their bowels and bladder for very long. It’s also very important and helpful to provide abundant interactive playtime or exercise. Canines who are under-exercised or under-stimulated with interesting activities may express their stress and boredom with inappropriate eliminations indoors.

If your new pet does have an accident indoors, don’t fuss about it, and don’t punish the animal. Calmly clean up the mess, and be more consistent about placing the feline in a litterbox or taking the canine outdoors more frequently to avoid future accidents. Patience, consistency, and understanding will sort things out in time.

Tempest

Symptoms of Illness or Injury in Pets

December 17th, 2012

As noted in my last blog entry, Holiday Hazards for Pets, this can be a treacherous season in terms of pet health. Illnesses and injuries occurring during this busy time may be more easily overlooked or discounted as merely “holiday stress”, when in fact they may be serious health concerns requiring immediate veterinary attention. The following list identifies symptoms that warrant a call to your vet:

  • diminished appetite (this is especially worrisome in cats, who are at increased risk of developing potentially fatal liver disease if they don’t eat regularly)
  • vomiting
  • choking/coughing
  • white, yellow, or green discharge from nose and/or eyes
  • pale gums
  • lethargy
  • excessive drooling
  • straining to urinate, urinating small amounts frequently, or blood in urine (any pet who tries but cannot produce urine should be taken to a vet immediately – urinary blockage can quickly cause permanent kidney damage and/or death)
  • changes in appearance or volume of urine and/or feces
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • weight loss
  • hair loss, hair pulling, and/or overgrooming
  • excessive scratching of body or ears
  • foot licking/chewing
  • dehydration
  • foul smell from the mouth, ears, or hind end
  • scooting
  • trembling/seizures
  • weakness/loss of balance
  • sudden blindness or disorientation
  • jaundice (yellow tinge to the skin, inside of ears, and gums)
  • fever
  • pain
  • lameness
  • bleeding
  • swellings/lumps

In addition to the previous symptoms, the following behaviors may be triggered either by the stress and activity of the holiday season or by illness or injury:

  • hiding or avoidance
  • clinginess
  • aggression
  • destructive behaviors
  • noisiness (barking, whining, meowing, howling, growling, etc.)
  • inappropriate elimination

If you notice any of these symptoms or behaviors, or other symptoms or behaviors that are contrary to your pet’s norms, give your vet a call and schedule a checkup for your pet. What appears to be a minor health issue may develop into a more serious concern if left untreated. Remember that vets may have limited office hours over the holidays and be unavailable for emergency services if a seemingly minor problem gets worse. Let’s make sure our pets enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tempest

Holiday Hazards for Pets

December 10th, 2012

As we engage in holiday festivities, it’s important that we take special care to keep our pets safe and happy into the New Year. Many of us are aware of the potential pet hazards present during the holidays: toxic plants (mistletoe, holly, poinsettia), toxic or dangerous foods (chocolate, raisins, alcohol, onion/garlic, cooked bones), Christmas tree water containing potentially toxic chemicals to preserve the tree, and holiday decorations that pets may chew or ingest (lights, tinsel/ribbon, glass ornaments, etc.). Also among the hazards pets and their humans face during this season are lit candles, which can be easily overturned by rambunctious pets and children, and toys with small parts that may be broken or chewed off and swallowed.

Less frequently considered issues relate to existing, visiting, or new pets. Existing pets can be easily stressed by all of the activity, noise, and unfamiliar people around their households during the holidays. It’s important to keep an eye on pets to make sure that they are eating and behaving normally. Any changes in appetite or behavior should be discussed with your vet, since pets can suffer stress-related illnesses that can easily be overlooked during this busy season.

Friends and relatives sometimes like to travel with their pets, but this can cause problems for host families with pets of their own. Make sure you know if any friends or relatives wish to bring their own pets into your home so that you can make arrangements to minimize stress and eliminate potential spats between your pets and visiting pets. It’s often best to help your friends and relatives make other arrangements for their pets to eliminate any potential problems before they occur.

Lastly, if you decide to adopt a new pet over the holidays, be sure to take the pet to your vet for a thorough physical exam and any necessary veterinary care before bringing him or her into your home. Fleas, ear mites, and communicable diseases are not the types of accessories you want to bring home with your new family member.

Have a joyous, safe, and healthy holiday season!

Tempest

Pets as gifts

December 7th, 2012

Are you thinking of adopting or giving a pet as a gift during the holidays? As wonderful a thought as gracing a home with the unconditional love of a pet may be, it’s important to present this gift in a manner that promotes joy for all involved, including the pet.

The opening of gifts on a holiday is full of excitement and activity. Young children scream and jump with delight. Older kids busily show off their new treasures. Parents are always on the move trying to keep activities under some semblance of control. This is no time to have a new, and perhaps unexpected, 4-legged family member under foot. New pets are likely to be stressed and frightened by such boisterous activity, especially in a new home with unfamiliar people.

But this doesn’t mean that pets can’t be given as gifts or adopted over the holiday season. If giving a dog or puppy, place a leash inside a nice gift box along with a gift certificate for a dog of the recipient’s choice to be adopted after the holiday. If giving a cat, put a catnip toy inside that gift box, instead, along with a gift certificate for the feline. If giving another type of pet, choose an appropriate item related to that pet for the gift box. In this way, the pet will be spared the stress and potential fear of being presented during the busy holiday itself, and the recipient will have the opportunity to choose the pet who makes that very special “connection” with them.

Tempest

Buying pet medications online?

March 2nd, 2011

A good place I found is 1-800 Pet Meds. They are a nice company with a wide range of pet medication products for your pets, particularly for dogs, cats and horses. They have the major, most popular brands, like Frontline and Heartgard at good prices and have weekly sprecials. PetMeds also has pet food and pet dental products.

You can find pet medication products under Pet Symptoms like:
allergies, anxiety, joint health, bites, diabetes, ear infections, ear mites, fleas, hair loss, heartworms, hot spots, itching, lyme disease, mange, pain, shedding, skin infections, thyroid, urinary tract, vomiting, and weight loss.

You can also find on their web site under Pet Education information on pet health.
There is also great pets information on their blog Pet Meds Blog

1-800 Pet Meds

*note. Med meds did NOT pay for this blog post. I find them to be an interesting company. We do have affiliate ads of theirs on our site.