Traveling Tips for Cats and Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

If you have ever traveled with your cat or dog you must know that it isn’t the easiest endeavor. Besides finding an airline that is pet friendly there is often paperwork and several hoops that must be jumped through that are necessary in order to board the plane without issue. If you are flying internationally then there’s a whole assortment of steps you have to take in order to cover your bases. If you have not traveled with your pet before then hopefully these dog and cat traveling tips will prepare you for any potential issues that can arise.

The first thing to consider is if it is worth the effort to take your pet on your trip with you. Factor in the length of your trip and what will be required in order to bring your fuzzy child along. Most importantly consider the effect it will have on your pet. Does he/she travel well? Will the three days apart be easier than going through all the motions? If it’s a long trip maybe it would be worth it to bring them along for the adventure.

If you’re traveling domestically with your pet you should immediately contact your airline and ask what their specific requirements are. Most often the airline has rules specific to them. Almost every major airline will require a domestic health certificate, signed by your veterinarian, that states that your pet has been examined within a certain period (usually 30 days) and is fit for travel.

Many of them require your pet be in a certain sized carrier. They have to be certain that your pet, in the carrier, will fit under the seat. I learned the hard way that the size of this space can alter depending on the size of the plane your flight is scheduled for. I spent at least an hour on the phone with Delta Airlines customer care team having my flight changed to ensure that the plane I would be flying on would have the appropriate sized space under the seat to fit my cat (Maggie Rooneymara Nilbog-Ackerman IV) in her carrier.

Should I get my pet micro-chipped before I travel?

Consider the possibility that your pet could be lost at some point during your trip and make sure that your pet has a collar and ID tag with your contact information (address and phone number) clearly visible. It’s also a very good idea to have a microchip implanted into your pet (if you haven’t already) which can help locate your pet if he/she is lost at any point during your trip. It’s a quick injection, non-invasive, that can be done when your pet is awake.

If your pet is a nervous traveler discuss with your veterinarian any supplements or medications they might suggest to help keep your pet calm during travel. There are calming supplements that can help your pet without actually having to medicate them. In some cases your pet might need a sedative but this should always be something you discuss with your veterinarian first. Do not attempt to administer medications without discussing with your vet beforehand.

Pack some water if it’s a long flight. You don’t want your dog or cat to get dehydrated. A few treats to reward good behavior couldn’t hurt either. A chew toy or something to keep him or her distracted is always helpful. Don’t forget to pack a leash, some toys, extra water/food bowls, poopy bags, any necessary medications, etc.

If you’re staying at a hotel make sure it is a pet-friendly establishment. A little bit of research goes a long way and you’d rather have things set up in advance than be scrambling to figure them out in a crisis.

Remember that emergencies can happen so it’s also very important to do some research on emergency veterinary hospitals where you’ll be staying just in case your pet begins experiencing symptoms of illness. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s medical history on hand for this very reason. Save it to your e-mail as a PDF file so it can be easily accessed in an emergency.

How hard is it to traveling internationally?

If you are traveling internationally things get a little more complicated. The rules for international travel are not standard. They vary from country to country and change on a semi-regular basis. In almost every case you will need an international health certificate issued by a USDA certified veterinarian that proves your pet was examined and found fit for travel. Most often this needs to be done within ten days of arrival in your destination country. The vets at University Animal Hospital are USDA certified and fully capable of filling out any documentation required to travel. They are familiar with paperwork necessary and can inform you what you’ll need when trying to get into the country of your destination.

If you are planning on traveling with your pet set up an appointment with one of our doctors to get the process moving and to answer any questions you might have. Let them handle the details and the nightmare of paperwork so you can focus on your trip and the fun things you plan to do, with your dog or cat in tow.

The Importance of Pet Teeth Cleaning

Dogs and cats need pet teeth cleaning to keep them healthy both inside of the mouth and in other areas that contribute to the total overall health of your pet. Your veternarian will check inside your pet’s mouth on his or her annual exam. However, a pet dentist at your animal hospital will take x-rays to evaluate any beginning problems below the gum line to better access your pet’s dental condition and keep him or her healthy.

Dog and Cat Oral Health

According to VetStreet, “Eighty-five percent of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age.” This is why it is so important to have dental exams starting at about the age of 2 years old. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the tissue around the teeth and it can cause early tooth loss in your pet. Bacteria combines with food particles and then minerals from saliva to form a hard substance of plaque on your pet’s teeth. The bacteria works itself under the gums and causes gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. The bacteria then destroys tissue around the teeth and causes tooth loss. If this dental disease is not corrected, it can travel through the bloodstream, infect the kidneys and heart, and possibly cause organ failure of the kidneys or heart in your pet.

Signs That You Need a Pet Dentist

Your pet should see your veterinarian at your pet hospital sooner than one year if you notice any signs of dental issues including broken or loose teeth, retained baby teeth, bad breath, teeth covered with a hard discolored substance, excessive chewing, drooling or dropping food when eating, pain or swelling in the region of the mouth, decreased appetite or mouth bleeding. Each of these problems point to some sort of dental disease in your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association  suggests that you take your pet to a dentist if they have changes in behavior and act irritable. This is often how they display the pain of dental problems.

Pet Teeth Cleaning

When you take your pet to have his or her teeth cleaned, they will be put under anesthesia. Our pets do not understand that they must remain still to have a thorough teeth examination and cleaning as humans do. The anesthesia keeps them still and quiet so your pet dentist can expertly clean their teeth after taking x-rays, where your dog or cat needs to remain still for them to display under the gum health issues. After your pet wakes up from anesthesia, he or she will be very groggy and will likely spend the night at your vet’s office for safety so that he or she doesn’t injure himself or herself by falling.

Pet Parents Role in Teeth Cleaning

There are several things that you as a pet parent can do to help your dog or cat have great oral health. Pet toothpaste and a pet toothbrush is a great way to start. Vet’s recommend brushing your pet’s teeth once a day. The toothpaste’s are flavored and most pets love the taste of chicken. Dental chews are available for pets to clean their teeth while they enjoy them. Dental chews usually have a nice scent and can alleviate bad breath at the same time. WebMD recommends checking dental chew packaging for the statement “Approved by The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)” This organization evaluates pet products to make certain they meet certain standards for reduction of tartar or plaque for good oral pet health. Taking care of your pet’s teeth is as important as pet grooming, dog grooming or cat grooming to keep their pearly whites clean and healthy.

Veterinarian Advice: Pets and Winter Weather

Winter brings cold temperatures, drizzle, and snow. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not think about how cold temperatures affects dogs and cats. To keep your pets warm and healthy this winter, follow these veterinarian tips.

Veterinarian Recommends Plenty of Food and Water During Winter Temperatures.

Cold temperatures can be deadly, but dehydration causes a drop in body temperature to occur much faster. Furthermore, pets require additional nutrients to keep their metabolism up during the winter, explains the Human Society.  

Provide Shelter While Pets Are Outdoors.

If your pets go outdoors to use the bathroom, your pets may spend more time outdoors than necessary. Being outside for short periods of time is not an excuse to not provide draft-free shelter for your pets. Make sure your pets have a place to get out of rain, snow, and the cold when going outside, regardless of the amount of time spent outdoors.

Bring Pets Indoors.

Unless your pets cannot be brought indoors, always bring pets indoors during cold temperatures. If nothing else, provide an additional source of heat for your pets, such as a heat lamp. However, the heat lamp should be positioned away from flammable materials, and your pets should be able to get out of the direct heat if need be.

Avoid Antifreeze.

Antifreeze contains chemicals that may cause kidney failure and death in pets, wild animals, and humans. Avoid leaving antifreeze in areas where your pet may come into contact with it. Antifreeze is naturally sweet and attracts thirsty animals. If you notice antifreeze on the ground, clean it up immediately, and keep your pet away from the area. If your pet ingests antifreeze, get him to your veterinarian immediately.

Maintain Supervision Over Your Pet.

Indoor heaters are commonly used to provide additional warmth inside homes across the country. However, heaters can pose a significant danger to pets. Pets may knock over electric heaters, become burned, or become otherwise injured from indoor heaters. While using such heaters, keep an eye on your pet. Never leave your pet unattended while portable heaters or open-flame heaters are on.

Although you want to keep your home and pet warm this winter, you need to take a few factors into consideration. By following these tips, you can keep your pets safe and warm without risking a trip to the veterinarian due to an emergency. If you will be leaving your home for a few days, consider boarding your pets at a veterinarian’s office, such as University Animal Hospital.

Chances are you’re probably spending time with your furry children this holiday season. With that in mind there are always precautions that should be taken. Here are some holiday pet safety tips to factor into the festivities.

Christmas trees are beautiful but make sure you keep your pet away from the tree stand. The water in the stand can house fertilizers from the tree itself and bacteria can also grow in the stagnant water. There’s also the concern of the tree itself. It should be secured well enough that you don’t run the risk of it tipping over on a curious cat or dog. Perhaps place it in the corner where tipping is less likely. Tend to the area frequently to remove any possible pine needles which can cause intestinal problems if swallowed.

Holly and mistletoe are poisonous to pets and can cause serious health problems. I suggest going artificial with these. Lilies, poinsettias, amaryllis, hibiscus and certain types of ivy can cause problems for pets so those should be avoided as well.

Avoid tinsel around the house. It’s pretty to look at but there’s nothing pretty about an obstructed digestive tract or emergency surgery — which can be a possibility if your pet ingests the sparkly decoration.

Stick with twinkle lights instead of candles. Unattended candles around your pets is just asking for trouble. If you must go with candles be sure they are in solid protective holders and that you blow them out when you leave the room.

If you go with those twinkle lights make sure the wires are out of reach. Keep from off of the lower branches of your tree. The ornaments hanging from your tree or around the house could also be dangerous if ingested or stepped on by your furry child.

Be cautious when wrapping gifts. String and scissors should be kept off of floors or low tables where they are less likely to be touched by your pets.

Be careful with the human food. During the holidays there are an assortment of goodies that can be dangerous is consumed by your fuzzy children. The obvious chocolates and artificially sweetened items should be kept away and in a safe place. Keep in mind any fatty or spicy foods and especially anything with bones. Keep any alcoholic beverages away from your pet’s roaming tongue as well. Any of these people-friendly items can be issues for your pet. Do yourself a favor and ensure that the lid to your garbage can is also secure.

If you’re planning on gifting your pet any toys be sure to stick with pet-friendly chew toys. Kong toys are safe and can be safely filled with treats. For your cat try to avoid stringy toys. Ribbons, yarn and little pieces can cause digestive issues and potential obstructions. Spare yourself the inevitable grief and don’t even bother with these toys. Stick with a new ball (that’s too big to swallow) and consider a stuffed catnip toy or interactive cat dancer.

 

Tell your house guests to keep their medications carefully zipped up and packed away. Consider giving your pet a private space somewhere quiet they can retreat to away from all the noise and commotion. New Year’s is the next major holiday on the agenda and with that comes noisy poppers and fireworks.

 

 

Avoid giving pets as gifts to those not in your immediate family. A pet is not like caring for a plant. It’s a full-time job. Gifting a living being to someone who may not be prepared to handle everything that comes with that is not a good idea. This is what often results in animals being given up for adoption a few weeks into the new year. If you plan on giving someone a pet as a gift make sure they’re aware and have told you they are okay with that.

There are always unforeseeable incidents that can occur so make sure you have some emergency numbers easily accessible should anything happen. Remember that our doctors are only a phone call away and can be reached if you have any concerns or questions. I’ll never forget a dog we saw a few years ago suffering from lethargy and diarrhea. After having X-rays done we saw a perfectly centered metal “Star of David” in the dog’s stomach. It had been in the cup-holder of a client’s car. The client has placed a cupcake on top. Left alone for just a moment in the car resulted in the dog swallowing the cupcake and the star. Luckily the dog was okay after some surgery but the issue could have been easily avoided with some easy pet-proofing. That was just a dog in a car. Imagine a home filled with visiting guests and holiday chaos. Safe yourself the headache and take a little time to ensure your holiday festivities are joyous and relaxing.

 

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Despite what you might believe or have heard – IT IS IMPORTANT to spay and neuter your pets.

There are quite a few reasons why this is true. First and foremost there are the obvious health reasons that one should consider. Neutered dogs live an average of 18% longer than un-neutered dogs. Spayed dogs lives 23% longer than un-spayed dogs. The reduced lifespan for these unaltered pets often has to do with an increased urge in unfixed animals to roam. This leads to increased likelihood of being struck by cars, fighting with other animals and a wealth of other potential mishaps.

Another major factor is the decreased risk of certain types of cancers. Female cats and dogs who are unspayed run a greater chance of developing uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system, as well as pyrometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection.

Male cats and dogs who are not neutered have a greater chance of getting testicular cancer and it’s believed they have higher rates of prostate cancer as well.

The most absurd justification for choosing to not neuter male dogs is the owner’s concern that their male dog will feel less “masculine” if neutered. Animals do not have any concept of sexual identity or ego. These are human constructs. Neutered male dogs do not feel lesser than their un-neutered counterparts. They are, however, less assertive and less prone to “marking” than unneutered dogs. Would you prefer your pet urinate everywhere that he smells another dog’s scent? Fixing animals solves 90% of marking issues — even in cats that have been doing it for a while. In cats it can also minimize howling, fighting with other males, and the urge to roam.

While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality. Their protective instinct, for example, will remain intact.

Beyond the health concerns there is the matter of homeless animals. The United States is overrun with them. There are estimated to be anywhere from 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Less than half of these animals are adopted — the rest of them are euthanized. These are healthy and lovable pets who are put to sleep primarily because of a lack of resources. These are not all “street” animals. Many of these pets are puppies/kittens (some even purebreds) who have been abandoned or lost. Healthy and loving pets that simply do not have homes.

 

I’m amazed that many people are completely unaware that more than 2.7 million healthy and adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year. I have known about this since I was a pre-teen and considered it to be common knowledge. Still, again and again, I find myself explaining this fact to people only to be met with wide-eyed surprise. Few seem to be aware just how big of a problem this is. Even people who do not intend to breed their pets often don’t consider the possibility that their pet could be lost at some point. Suppose your male or female dog/cat got loose and came across another unfixed dog or cat in the wild. Their interaction could very easily result in a litter of unwanted pets. It happens every day and it’s a big part of why shelters are overrun with unwanted animals.

Believe it or not it is also more cost-effective to care for a spayed or neutered animal. When weighed against the potential medical costs that are common in unfixed pets, spaying and neutering procedures are far less expensive in the long-run. Do you know how expensive it is to treat a dog or cat with cancer? Even the cost of a renewing a pet license is cheaper for fixed animals. The reality is that it’s just less expensive to have your pet fixed.

If you’re still not sure this is the best thing you can do for your pet you should discuss this with one of our amazing veterinarians who can discuss all of the options and help you to make an informed decision about your pet and his or her health.

 

 

What NOT to Feed Your Pet This Thanksgiving | University Animal Hospital NYC

I grew up in a household where human food was regularly offered to the family dog. Passing a scrap of food to the family dog isn’t the most absurd thing for any pet owner to have considered at one time or another. My mom used to let our dog lick the plates clean after many of our family dinners. Though she always told us not to give our dog chocolate (something she’d heard from her veterinarian) she was oblivious to some of the other foods that are quite toxic for our fuzzy children if consumed. I distinctly recall her feeding our dog Corky grapes on several occasions. She was completely oblivious to the damage that can cause. Thankfully, Corky still lived a long and healthy life despite his dietary missteps. Fred (the one with the horrendous teeth, remember?) has to settle for getting the occasional bit of boiled chicken mixed in with this dry food.

With Thanksgiving approaching I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of foods and substances you should definitely not be feeding your pets. With the gatherings that tend to happen around holidays we often find our homes flooded with visitors and the family pets have many opportunities to beg their way into receiving sneaky treats from unknowing relatives. Before you let Aunt Helen pass the remaining bite of her raisin-filled banana bread to your precious pooch consider reminding your guests what not to gift your fuzzy child. Should you ever be worried that your pet has consumed something they should not have call Animal Poison Control immediately.

Alcohol is a toxic substance and can cause an assortment of health issues for your pets. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, damage to the central nervous system, tremors or even death.

Avocado contains an ingredient that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Caffeine, Chocolate and Coffee all contain methylxanthines, found in cacao seeds. If you pet ingests this it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, excessive thirst/urination and death. Darker chocolate is worse than milk chocolate. Baking chocolate is easily the worst. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxantines.

Citrus. The stems, leaves, peels, seeds and fruit of various citrus plants contain citric acid and essential oils can cause irritation and depression to the central nervous system and stomach upsets.

Coconut, coconut oil and coconut water can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.

Grapes/Raisins can cause kidney failure.

Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, tremors, weakness and depression in dogs. Almonds, pecans and walnuts contain high amounts of oils and fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea and pancreatitis in pets.

Dairy can cause issues because pets lack significant amounts of lactase (an enzyme that breaks down lactose). Diarrhea and digestive upset can occur.

Onions, Chives and Garlic cause gastrointestinal irritation and can lead to red blood cell damage. While cats are more susceptible dogs can be at risk if large amounts are consumed.

Undercooked/Raw Meat and eggs contain bacteria that can be harmful to pets if consumed.

Bones can cause pets to choke or sustain internal injuries if bone splinters are lodged in your pet’s digestive tract.

Salt and Snack Foods can result in excessive thirst/urination or even sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, elevated temperature, tremors, depression, seizures and death. This means no potato chips, popcorn or pretzels.

Xylitol, a sweetener used in many products (candy, gum and toothpaste) can cause insulin release which can lead to liver failure.

While most people would obviously not jump at giving many of these foods to their pets there are a handful mentioned above that many wouldn’t think twice about. So think twice about it. Think a few dozen times. Your dog can be happy and healthy with the occasional dog treat and their regular diet. A hug or some physical affection is a much better way to show your love than with food, anyway.

Puppy Care 101: Caring for a New Puppy

Puppy Care 101

Puppy Supplies

Preparation for bringing a new puppy home begins before the day you pick him up. He needs supplies in advance of his arrival at your home so he will be comfortable. You should make a shopping list and purchase, water and food bowls, a variety of chew toys, his grooming supplies, a bed, a collar and leash, an identification tag, a crate, a baby gate and an odor neutralizer. Some house training mistakes will most likely be made in the process to get your puppy potty trained and an odor neutralizer can help eliminate odors to help your puppy in his training.

 

Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Puppies explore the world with their sense of smell and taste. You will need to pick up rugs or pillows to keep your puppy from “tasting” them. Pick up any shoes or clothes in the area where your puppy will spend most of his time and don’t leave any items on the floor except for an assortment of toys. Cover all electrical cords with duct tape on the baseboards near the electrical outlets. This keeps your little furry bundle from receiving a shock while exploring electric cords. Put all cleaning materials and chemicals on shelves up high. Puppies can sometimes get into bottom cabinet doors. Remove any plants from your puppy’s environment as part of your puppy care. Some plants are poisonous to dogs.

 

Questions for the Breeder or Shelter

Ask the person you are getting your new puppy from what type of food he is currently eating and what his feeding schedule is at that time. Purchase the same type of food to start your puppy on without digestive disorders. If you choose to change his food, mix one part of the new food to three parts of the old food for several days. Then, feed equal parts of the two foods for several days and then one part old food to three parts new food. The transition should last about a week to protect your puppy’s sensitive digestive system.

Ask questions to find out your puppy’s exact age, if he has had any puppy vaccines yet, and if he has been dewormed. You will need the dates of each procedure so you can tell your veterinarian when you bring your pup to him for a well puppy checkup at your animal hospital.

 

Veterinarian Appointments

It is best for your organization to get a calendar to post all of your puppy’s appointments for vaccines and boosters. You can do dog grooming if your dog’s breed has short hair that is easy to keep up. If you have a dog with long hair, you may want to check into a professional dog grooming salon. Write your puppy’s appointments on his calendar for his scheduled animal teeth cleaningand keep the phone number of your pet hospital on the calendar in case you need them in an emergency. Take note of your puppy’s normal habits and call your veterinarian if he seems to be feeling bad in any way.

Pet Costumes and Halloween Pet Tips | University Animal Hospital NYC

The Halloween spirit brings along more than just candy and carving jack o’ lanterns. The ringing of the doorbell and constant knocking from inevitable trick or treating children (or opportunistic adults with extra time on their hands…) can cause stress for more anxious pets. The swarm of people wearing grotesque and disturbing costumes and the heightened noise levels can likely be alarming for your fuzzy children. Don’t fret. It’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of fantastic pet costumes for your dogs and cats these days that make the holiday madness worth it. The National Retail Federation estimates that over 22 million Americans will be dressing up their animals for Halloween this year. They will be spending upwards of $330 million dollars on costumes for their fuzzy children. The most popular costume? A pumpkin.

The primary choice among dachshund lovers appears to be a hot-dog costume.

One suggestion I can give is make sure whatever costume you decide to put your pet into is comfortable for them. Something extravagant might look really amazing but your biggest concern should be that your pet isn’t miserable for the evening. It is also worth considering the overwhelming nature of the holiday and the effect this could have on your pet. The festivities might be a little too much for your fuzzy child given how many people will undoubtedly be dressed up as extras from “The Walking Dead” or “Donald Trump.”

Personally, I feel this would be insulting to your pet despite how hilarious it might look. There are far better costumes you can dress them as. Bill Murray? Dorothy? Freddy Kruger? School-Girl? A shark?

The costumes available for pets has completely overshadowed what was available for human children was I was young enough to trick or treat. In 2015 there are some truly clever options for your pet to be a part of the holiday.

For pets that get a little anxious in large crowds or with too much noise consider a few options to increase their comfort level. For example, if nonstop doorbells and constant knocking might result in excess barking consider giving your dog a closed off area with puzzle toys or chewing treats to keep him or her occupied. Close the shades and turn on some calming music. Many pets are also lost on Halloween due to the constant opening and closing of front doors.

If your pet is not currently micro-chipped perhaps that is something you should consider. It can be done easily by making an appointment to see one of our amazing staff veterinarians.

Many pets rely on our facial expressions to know how we are feeling and having masks on can make it scary for a lot of them. When addressing your fuzzy children let them see your face without a mask, if possible.

Take steps to ensure your pets do not have access to any candy or treats that might be left around the house. Even on the upper east side you’re likely to get some foot traffic outside your apartment from child-sized ghosts and ghouls demanding sugary treats and these can be easily dropped on the floor or left at the edge of a table within reach of your pet’s awaiting mouth. When food is involved fuzzy children can get very resourceful.

Above everything else just remember that Halloween in New York City is a fun and festive time and even your dog and cat deserve to share in the celebration. There are plenty of ways to get them to join in the fun.

 

 

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MEL and tigers and bears… Oh my! Hospital Dog and Superstar Mel shows off his amazing Lion Costume

 

 

6 Ways to Address Vets’ Most Common Complaints

Every pet parent deals with, or has heard about, separation anxiety. Pet parents may fear their pets have some sort of physical illness causing these problems and rush to the vets office for a full checkup. According to the ASPCA, the symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive barking and howling, escape attempts, pacing, eating of feces, chewing and destruction, and unusual defecation and urination. Separation anxiety occurs when pet parents begin preparing to leave, or while pet owners are away. Unfortunately, separation anxiety can cause serious injury and illness to a pet, especially during dramatic escape attempts. After an initial trip to the veterinarian to rule out possible health problems, pet parents need to take action to correct the problems of separation anxiety.

Keep Your Attitude and Actions Calm Before Leaving.

Getting ready to leave involves a host of typical actions, such as getting dressed, grabbing the keys, and turning off electronic devices. When in a hurry, pets recognize the urgency and react appropriately. Ultimately, the rush of leaving contributes to the pet’s building anxiety.

Install Video and Audio Communication Devices.

Hearing your voice, or seeing your image, will typically calm your pet. Some pet owners have created digital recordings of themselves to play on the television while away. Others opt to leave the TV on, and some will call the home phone and speak to the dogs. These options reassure pets that you haven’t forgotten about them, and the opportunities for symptomatic separation anxiety problems and subsequent trips to the animal hospital, will slowly subside.

Train Your Pet to Become Accustomed to Spending Time Alone.

Separation anxiety behaviors do not develop overnight, so correcting the problem with counterconditioning will take time as well. Begin by leaving your pet for short periods of time, such as during a trip to the mailbox, and gradually increase the separation time over the course of several months. Slipping up and checking on your pet in-person during this process will eradicate all of your previous work, so avoid the temptation to run home midday when reaching lengthy away periods.

Encourage Self-Play.

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and interaction with toys is beneficial to your pet’s body and mind. Furthermore, toys can provide a safe distraction while you’re away. Purchase interactive toys, such as those you fill with treats, to encourage pets to play alone.

Reward Your Pet When You Return.

After teaching your pet to become accustomed to being alone, it’s important to continue rewarding him, or her, with praise, affection, and treats for appropriate behavior. However, you must ensure you do not provide the treat immediately following inappropriate actions, such as jumping up on your legs upon your return.

Avoid Taking Your Pet With You on All Excursions.

When you have ample chances to take your pet with you, aside from the routine visits for dog grooming, cat grooming, or a checkup at the animal hospital, it’s tempting to bring him along every time. However, your pet will grow to expect you to take him with you. Sadly, this reinforces separation anxiety problem behaviors. Try to limit taking your pet with you on recreational trips to half of your total times away.

In severe cases of separation, a veterinarian may provide you with medications to help. However, you should take a proactive approach to preventing the development of separation anxiety and addressing it, if it occurs.

If your pet has exhibited the symptoms of separation anxiety, contact University Animal Hospital to schedule a consultation first. When all other causes of symptoms are eliminated, the veterinarian can advise you on which of these tips may work best for you pet.

 

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Dog Paws on the Snowy Streets | University Animal Hospital NYC

So I might be jumping the gun here just a little bit. I accept that the current rainy and humid mess that has become New York City is not yet the chilling winter nightmare that is just around the corner. Having said that, the chilling mess is just around the corner and that means a whole mess of issues fuzzy child’s feet. Dog paws run a great risk of falling victim to the elements when snow and ice are factored into their daily walk schedule.

 

What comes with chilling weather? Streets and sidewalks covered in snow and ice which inevitably leads to salt and de-icers all over the sidewalks.

This is potentially harmful for your pooch when going on even brief relief walks during these days. The salt and de-icers have chemicals in them that can be very harsh on dog paws (or specifically, the pads) causing dryness and cracking. The impulse to lick their paws after walking on the streets can lead to unintentional ingestion of said chemicals.

Fortunately, there are solutions to help during these harsh New York City cold months.

 

1. Consider picking up booties for your dog. There are a number of options here. There are ones with rubber on the bottom that can help with traction so your furry child doesn’t slip and slide — struggling to keep his footing. There are little ones that look like balloons that are very easy to get on and off their paws and can help with traction as well. Many of them are also waterproof to help in the rain. There are ones that velcro or slip on and off. The market for these has actually expanded quite a bit in recent years. Most pet stores carry these and finding ones that best meet your needs isn’t as difficult as it once may have been.

“But wait! My dog HATES wearing his booties! I have the hardest time getting them on and when they ARE on he/she does everything in his/her power to get them off!”

Try rewarding your pup with a treat immediately after getting the booties on. This works as both a positive reinforcement and also as a distraction. Immediately after the treat hurry them out on the walk. This distraction will also keep them focused on the new activity (the walk) versus the old activity (“put your shoes on!”)

2. Musher’s Secret. This is a gel that you rub onto your dog’s pads just prior to going out. It acts as a protective layer against the salt and ice while also allowing your dog traction. This is obviously not waterproof so your dog can still get wet feet if stepping in puddles or thick snow. The other downside is you need to wash it off immediately after getting home to ensure your pet does not lick the gel off.

Having said that, it’s a fantastic product for people who have issues getting booties on and off of their dog. I’ve also heard that petroleum jelly can be used in the same way. Obviously, the same rule for cleaning off the pads should be applied here. You don’t want your pet eating a lot of petroleum jelly. I can’t imagine that would be good.

“Oh hai! We has the same coat…”

3. Raincoats and Jackets. It’s probably helpful for most dogs to have some kind of jacket or coat in the cold weather but special consideration should be given for puppies, older dog, small-breed and short-haired dogs as well. These fuzzy friends all require more protection from the elements and even short periods outside without a coat can be difficult for them to handle.

Next time you’re coming in to see one of our fantastic doctors at University Animal Hospital ask them about options for protecting your furry child in the cold weather. They’ll have plenty of suggestions that pertain specifically to your pet.

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