Why You Should Brush Your Pet

Brushing isn’t just about removing tangles and matted fur from your pet’s coat. It also promotes good health and overall wellness in your dog or cat and will help strengthen the bond between pet and owner.

Brushing needs to start early and often. Puppies will need to be introduced to the brush slowly, so let them sniff it before your first few brushing sessions. They may try to chew on it so be ready to pull it away if they try.

Let your first few brushing sessions be light and brief. Make sure it feels like a positive experience for your pet, and not a chore or an unpleasant task. Stop if you find yourself getting frustrated to avoid making it unpleasant.

Reward your pet with praise and gentle strokes to reinforce good behavior during brushing and gradually make the grooming sessions longer. Brush every few days and consider setting up a regular brushing schedule, like every Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening.

Not only will routine brushing help you and your pet grow closer, but the activity is beneficial for your pet’s fur and skin. It pulls off dead fur and skin cells, spreads the pet’s natural oils around its coat to improve the shine and luster and it stimulates the blood supply to the skin.

With a firm but gentle stroke your dog or cat will grow to love your regular brushing sessions.

Kong Recipes for Your Dog

These Kong toy recipes feature unique combos of your dog’s own kibble, dog treats, and other pet-friendly foods.

Put some Kong Stuff’n product in the small hole first.  Then put dry dog food or small dog treats in next.  Top with some canned dog food.  Place a biscuit into the large opening, leaving only about 1/3 sticking out.  Freeze!

Cram a small piece of dog biscuit or freeze-dried liver into the small hole.  Smear a little honey (or Kong Stuff’n product) around the inside.  Fill it up with dry dog food.  Then block the big hole with dog biscuits placed sideways inside.

Other tasty Kong recipes to try…

(The following recipes are made with one of more human ingredients)

Cheesy Elvis – combine a ripe banana, a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, and a slice of cheese.  Mix until blended well.  Fill the Kong and freeze.

Monster Mash – Instant mashed potatoes (without the salt) – or leftover mashed potatoes from dinner – mixed with crushed dog biscuits.

Doggie Omelet – Combine a scrambled egg, some beef, yogurt, cheese, & mashed potatoes all together.

Fiber Crunch – Combine bran cereal with some peanut butter.

Kongsicle Jerky Pops – Seal the small hole of the Kong toy with peanut butter.  Fill to the rim with chicken broth.  Place a small stick of beef jerky inside.  Freeze until solid!  This one gets messy fast, we recommend it for outdoor use.

Fruit Kitty Noodles – Mix together some dried fruit, cooked pasta, a banana, and dry cat food.

Banana Yogurt – Plain yogurt and mashed bananas, you can also add a little peanut butter or other low-sugar fruits.  Then freeze it.

Peanut Butter Glue – Fill Kong 1/3 full of dog kibbles.  Pour in melted peanut butter (after it has cooled from microwaving).  Add more dog kibbles and peanut butter until full.  Freeze until solid.

Rock-Hard Kibble – Combine some of your dog’s kibble with cream cheese which acts as “cement” keeping everything inside.

Apple Pie – Squeeze a small piece ofapple into the small hole.  Fill Kong with plain yogurt.  Add a few slices of banana, more apply, yogurt, banana.  End with a chunk of peanut butter.

Crunch n’ Munch – Combine crumbled plain rice cakes and dried fruit with some cream cheese.

Pumpkin Pieces – Combine plain yogurt, canned pumpkin, and cooked rice in a small baggie.  Mix well and then snip off a corner and squeeze it into the toy.

Frozen Bonez – Mix up some bananas, unsweetened apple sauce, oatmeal, peanut butter, and plain yogurt.  Freeze!

Fruitopia – Combine applesauce with chunks of fruit and freeze.

IMPORTANT: While a Kong toy right out of the freezer is okay, please allow any microwave-heated items to cool completely before giving them to your pet.

Remember, to feed a little less at your pet’s regular meals if they get calories from their Kong or other enrichment toys.


Source: hssaz.org

Is Your Pet “Stiff” In the Winter?

Arthritis is a degenerative and painful condition that affects millions of people in the US. It is even more prevalent in dogs: 1 in 5 adult dogs have it and that number doubles once the dog is older than 7.  Up to 90% of all cats aged 12 years and older have radiographic (x-ray) evidence of arthritis!  What pet owners should realize is that arthritis in dogs and cats is just as painful as it is in humans.

Arthritis can affect any age, size, or breed of dog and cat. However those most at risk are senior pets (age 7 year and older), large breed dogs, overweight pets, and those with inherited joint abnormalities such as elbow or hip dysplasia.

Because dogs and cats by nature hide their pain, it is often difficult to tell when they  have arthritis. Frequently, dog owners overlook the signs of arthritis, calling it simply “old age” or “slowing down.”  Signs of arthritis in dogs can include tiring easily on walks, limping, appearing stiff after activity, reluctance to climb steps or jump up, and being slow to rise from a resting position. Cat owners will often misinterpret arthritis as “slowing down” with age. Cats may be reluctant to jump up or down and, because arthritis in cats often affects the same joint on both sides of the body, they may appear to slow down, not groom as much, and seem more grouchy or irritable.

There are ways for you to help your arthritic pet that can be done right at home. Help your pet shed those extra pounds through increased exercise and diet (your vet at Rita Ranch Pet Hospital can help with diet recommendations). A warm soft bed helps soothe aches and pains. A ramp for helping the dog in/out of the car or upstairs will help make a difficult climb easier.  For cats it can be as simple as buying or making some steps for cats to reach her favorite perch or the bed.  Make sure to buy litterboxes with lower edges and bring food and water bowls down to ground level.

There are excellent treatments available to help manage arthritis. These include joint supplements, anti-inflammatories (never give your pet over the counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen/Tylenol/Aleve as they can be toxic to your pet), acupuncture, even laser and physical therapy.

Your pet doesn’t have to suffer in silence. Arthritis can’t be cured, but it can be managed, environmental changes to ease discomfort, and TLC.  Call to set up an appointment with your veterinarian at Rita Ranch Pet Hospital — your pet will get a full physical exam so that the doctor can consult with you.  Then, we will make a custom treatment plan to help your pet start feeling better right away!

Why Should I Crate-Train My Dog?

Pomeranian puppy in a cage at the park

Dog crates can serve several functions. For dogs, crates can act as a home within a home where they can take refuge when they’re tired, overwhelmed, or in need of a quiet place to themselves. For dog owners, crates can be used as a familiar space for your dog while traveling and as a useful training tool for housebreaking or preventing destructive behavior.

While there are several benefits to crate training, crates can also be easily misused. Crates should be used as a short-term management tool and not a long-term solution to behavioral or training issues.

If you’re crate training your dog, here are some helpful tips to make sure the process is a success:

  • Keep the crate close to you: Try to keep the crate somewhere near you while you’re home, like the living room, next to your bed at night, or in a central room of the house. This will encourage your dog to go into its crate without feeling isolated or lonely.
  • Give your dog some incentive: If your pup is hesitant about setting foot in its crate, leave some treats inside throughout the day and praise your pet when it goes inside the crate. It’s important to build a positive association with the crate, which is why you should never push or force your dog inside.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in its crate before it’s ready: Leaving your dog alone in its crate before it’s comfortable can build a negative association. The first time you close the crate door, you should stay in the same room. Eventually you can work your way up to leaving the room and eventually leaving the house. Introduce each step gradually and for short periods of time.
  • The crate is your dog’s space: Explain to everyone – young children and adults alike,  that the dog’s crate is its private space. Children should not be allowed to play in the crate. No one should be allowed to handle the dog while it’s inside the crate.
  • Start your training with a break: Taking a walk or having a play period before starting your crate training will help burn off some excess energy and make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom beforehand—that way you don’t have to interrupt your training with a bathroom break.
  • Watch for anxiety: If your dog shows signs of anxiety, let it out of the crate immediately. Crate training should not be used as a way to treat separation anxiety. Your dog will simply exhibit the same signs of separation anxiety inside the crate—signs such as howling, soiling the crate, or trying to damage the crate to get out. Your dog could even injure themselves trying to get out.
  • Make the crate comfortable: Most dogs will eventually enter and leave their crate voluntarily throughout the day, because it’s become just another place to sit or lie down. When you start to crate train your dog, you can promote this behavior by placing a favorite blanket or toy inside the crate and leaving the door open.

Remember, your dog’s crate should be seen as a positive, safe space and should never be used as a form of punishment. The key to successful crate training is to stay calm and to work gradually within your dog’s comfort level. While the crate may be intimidating at first, with proper training your dog will see it as a place to go for security, safety and comfort.

source: ontariospca.ca