The veterinarians and staff at the University Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

“Back-To-School Blues” For Your Dog

Parents and youngsters aren’t the only ones who have to adjust to a new schedule every fall. Just as kids grow accustomed to the care-free days of summer, dogs get used to the constant attention and play time that a child’s constant presence brings. Many dogs will adjust quickly to the change, but those prone to separation anxiety may look for ways to lash out.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Nick Dodman of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recommended the following tips to help ease the transition between summer and the school year:

  • Make departure time happy using toys and treats
  • Create a place in the house where the dog feels safe
  • Try starting the routine before school begins
  • Do not indulge with baby talk or sympathy
  • See a veterinarian if the dog’s disposition doesn’t improve

With a little advanced planning and a few tweaks to you and your dog’s morning routine, you can keep your dog relaxed and content while his favorite playmate is gone for the day. Before you know it, your dog’s “back-to-school blues” will be a thing of the past.

Petition Launched To Ban Unattended Animals In Cars

A pet insurance company has launched a petition to encourage legislation prohibiting animals being left unattended in cars. Petplan Insurance posted the petition on We The People, the Obama administration’s petition site. Like all petitions posted to the website, a White House staff member will review it and provide an official response if the petition reaches 100,000 signatures within 30 days.

The initiative, called “Driven to Bark,” aims to have all states adopt statutes that do not allow pet owners to leave animals unattended in cars. Currently, only 15 states have laws against the practice, which Petplan says causes “countless” deaths every year.

Preparing Your Pet for Baby's Arrival

An infant brings many changes to a household, and it's best for your pet if you can make many of these changes during your pregnancy. Cats and dogs are sensitive to routines, and by making changes before the baby arrives, you minimize the chances of your pet resenting the baby when she arrives.

New friends

You should assume that you are going have less time for your pet after baby is born. Start by decreasing the number of hours you spend with your dog or cat in the weeks before your due date.

Consider whether your pet's walking, exercise, or feeding schedules are going to change, and adjust them now.

Evaluate your dog's obedience training. If he doesn't respond to commands such as "Sit," "Stay," "Heel," and "No," can't walk obediently on a leash, has a jumping problem, or exhibits any aggressive behavior, seek professional help immediately.

Greeting a new member of the family

If you have a cat, make sure her claws are trimmed regularly.

Children can seem very strange creatures to animals. They are loud and fast, erratic and unpredictable, characteristics that can startle or frighten a cat or dog. If your pet has had little or no contact with children, it's important to begin the socialization process as soon as possible.

As you prepare your home for your newborn (setting up the crib, buying baby powder, lotion, and diapers), allow your pet to see and smell these items so he can get used to them.

Don't allow your pet to climb onto baby's furniture or blankets. Cats especially like curling up in the crib or bassinet. If your cat does this, remove him or her and keep the door to the nursery closed.

Big No-No!

Get a sealed container for soiled diapers. Cats and dogs are very attracted to odors. Dogs, particularly, love dirty diapers and may drag them around the house.

Create a place for the pet that is off-limits to the baby. Pets, too, need to get away from the baby from time to time.

VIDEO: Therapy Dogs and Cats Relieve Stress in Hospitals

Everyone knows how beneficial pets can be in our lives. But now, recent scientific evidence has actually proven what pet owners already knew. Heart failure patients who spent 12 minutes with a dog or cat had lower stress hormone levels, lower blood pressure levels, and a general brighter outlook about their recovery. Therapy dogs, and cats, have now started their rounds, under "doctor's orders". Watch this video to learn more.


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Puppies From Birth To 9 Months Old

This is one of the most exciting times for you as a proud new puppy owner! Now that you've chosen your puppy and brought him or her home, you're starting one of the most satisfying relationships in your life.

Your New Puppy - From birth to 3 months

A puppy at birth.

A Puppy At Birth

He's round, he's soft and very cute, but don't let looks deceive you. Inside even a very young puppy - from birth to 12 weeks - there are already important social developments taking place. According to top breeders, there are two distinct stages for a puppy: socialization with dogs and then socialization with humans.

Stage One

The first phase, from roughly four to six weeks of age, is when interaction between your puppy and other dogs is of greatest importance. During this time, puppies learn how to socialize with dogs, as well as learn not to soil where they play, sleep or eat. Your puppy will also be weaned and moved from mothers milk to a quality brand puppy food.

Stage Two

From five to 12 weeks, your puppy begins to socialize with humans, so he should be handled by different people everyday and groomed weekly to become familiar with human touch. House and basic "manners" training can also begin during this period. Your puppy may also experience "fear/avoidance" behaviors between eight and 10 weeks. Even happy puppies may temporarily react to you with caution or alarm and react strongly to stressful situations, so don't let your puppy's fear scare you.

Your puppy's fear is a natural part of socialization and lasts for several weeks. By treating your puppy with patience and protecting him from stressful experiences, your puppy will emerge from the fear state to a trusting relationship with you.

Puppy Adolescence - 3 to 6 months old

Puppies From 3-6 Months.

A 2-Month Rotwieler Puppy And A 3-Month Golden Retriever Puppy.

Puppies grow up fast. In fact, from the time you adopt your puppy to the time he is six months old, your puppy will complete 75 percent of his growth! As you can imagine, this is a critical time in puppy development and by knowing what to expect, you can relax and be certain that your puppy is growing up on schedule.

What to Expect

  • Many puppies become more independent and occasionally ignore their owner's calls during this period. It's wise to continue your established training routine; this will help your puppy grow through this phase.
  • Your puppy will get all new teeth and chewing will begin. Use appropriate chew toys in order to keep your property and puppy safe.
  • Establish yourself as the puppy's leader, mirroring wolf-pack behavior. Dogs are pack animals and need to know who's in charge. If you don't lead, they will.

Training the "Teenage" Puppy

A 9-month old border collie.

Border Collie At 9 Months

6 to 9 months old

A puppy's "teenage years" - the time between 6 and 9 months - can be quite a challenge to a dog owner, but with consistent and thoughtful training, you can build on your puppy's early experience to turn your young dog into a great companion.

Although your puppy will not physically grow as quickly as he did between three and six months, important developments are taking place. During this time, your puppy will probably achieve sexual maturity and breeding or pregnancy will be possible. If you don't plan to breed your puppy, have him neutered or her spayed as close to the six month mark as possible. Pet overpopulation is a major problem in the U.S., with only one in four dogs having a proper home.

By the age of 6 months, it's best if your puppy is able to "sit" and "stay" on command and "come" when called. If you're not there yet, it's important to instill these good manners immediately.

Correction and Praise

Reprimanding your adorable puppy is frequently a stumbling block to training for new puppy owners. But, correcting your puppy is the only way to get his attention for training. That's why leash correction is so important. Correctly used, a leash gets your puppy's undivided attention so he can respond to your request. Just pulling on the leash is not enough - it only results in a tug of war.

Proper leash correction includes the following elements, which must work together:

A training (slip) collar of soft braided nylon. It should be snug going over the puppy's head, rest high on his neck and be positioned so the leash clips to the live (moving) ring on the back of your puppy's neck.

A comfortably-held leash, with slack so your puppy has enough room to make a mistake. A taut leash creates constant pressure on your puppy's neck, which will make him resist and is counterproductive to what you're trying to do.

A three-part correction of 1) verbal "no"; 2) leash tug/release; and 3) verbal "no," plus praise. In all of this work, it's important to praise your puppy consistently and appropriately. Giving praise at the right time will reinforce good behavior. Do not confuse your puppy by trying to reason with him or explain things. Your puppy will truly be happiest with clear commands and loving praise.

Puppy Playtime - The Good Stuff

Play is important to your puppy's development - that's why he needs at least 20 minutes of it every day. It develops coordination, stimulates his brain and relaxes him in social situations. Without play, your puppy won't develop into a happy, well-adjusted companion. So, here are several ways to make playtime a rewarding experience:

  • Choose toys that stimulate active, entertaining play, like weighted balls that roll in unpredictable directions and rubber chew toys in various shapes.
  • Rotate your puppy's toys each day so he always has "new" toys.
  • If you have an enclosed outside run or yard, set up old tires or large clay conduit pipes for your puppy to explore and play in.
  • Puppies love clean, used plastic bottles, old tennis balls, cardboard boxes and squeaky toys made for dogs. Squeaky toys help desensitize puppies to unusual noises.
VIDEO: Pets Need Dental Care Too!

Dental disease is the most common diagnosis among adult dogs and cats, yet many pet owners know little to nothing about the best ways to treat and even prevent this serious problem. Like their owners, our pets can suffer from periodontal disease, serious gingivitis or a whole other host of dental abnormalities. The worst part of all of this is that most pets will suffer in silence as dental disease can be very painful! Watch this video to learn about a complete pet dental assessment, treatment and prevention and how your veterinarian can help you keep your pet's teeth and mouth healthy.

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The Cat’s Out of the Bag: Ten Toys Under $25 That Your Cat Will Love

Da Bird Feather Teaser

Play and exercise are an important part of pet health. For cats, toys are a great way to stimulate play, combat obesity, discourage unwanted behavior, and provide an outlet for unused energy and predatory instincts. Below are ten highly rated toys that at under $25—most under $10—will help keep your cat happy and healthy and won’t break the bank.

  1. Da Bird Feather Teaser, online from $7.49. This teaser simulates the motion of a bird at your control. A flick of the wrist and the brightly colored feathers dance and spin enticing your cat to play. Encourages instinctual behaviors and exercise to keep your cat healthy and alert.
  2. Mylar Crinkle Ball Cat Toys, online from $1.49, an inexpensive, sure-fire hit that your cat will love to bat and bobble around the house.
  3. Yeowww! Catnip Banana, online price from $4.13. These popular stuffed bananas are made in the USA and filled with organically grown catnip.
  4. Fat Cat Kitty Hoots Big Mama’s Scratchy Box, online from $8.37. An effective, economical way to satisfy your cat’s desire to scratch and save your furniture. Comes with a supply of "Zoom Around the Room Organic Catnip." The box is 100 percent recyclable. May need to be replaced every 1-2 months, depending on usage.
  5. PetSafe SlimCat, online from $4.69. PetSafe Slimcat is an interactive feeding ball that works by distributing your cat's food into smaller meals that can be fed at regular intervals. Slimcat can also satiate your cat's craving to hunt which results in a more peaceful pet.
  6. Petlinks System Dream Curl Curvy Two-Surface Scratcher

  7. Petlinks System Dream Curl Curvy Two-Surface Scratcher online from $20.99. Your cat will love the shapely contours of the Dream Curl and its enticing variety of scratching surfaces and angles. Made from Earth-friendly sisal and contains organic catnip. The scratcher core is made from recycled material.
  8. Tipsy Nip Ball, online from $5. This organic catnip infused non-toxic wooden ball is sure to be a hit with your cat. When not in use, store in the accompanying bottle of catnip to keep the ball catnipalicious.
  9. Cat Amazing Interactive Puzzle for Cats

  10. Cat Amazing Interactive Puzzle for Cats, from $14.95. This interactive puzzle game has three levels of difficulty to stimulate and challenge cats, and those who complete the puzzle are rewarded with a treat. It is the perfect test of your cat’s skill and ingenuity and is an instant hit wherever people and cats are gathered. Made from 30 percent recycled cardboard and is 100 percent recyclable, and printed with certified metal-free inks.
  11. The Cat Dancer, available online from $1.79. The Cat Dancer is the original interactive cat toy. Spring steel wire and rolled cardboard create an irresistible lure for cats and great fun for cat lovers. According to their website, The Cat Dancer has been "home-tested by over 8 million cats."
  12. Teddy for Kitty, $5.95, available online through EcoChoices Natural Living Store, is a teddy bear made from rugged corduroy and a colorful patch and filled with organically grown catnip. Made in the USA.

Don’t forget: Homemade cat toys can be just as entertaining as those that are store-bought. Cats love batting around a crumpled ball of paper, hiding in a large paper bag or cardboard box, or attacking an object, such as a feather, bell, or stocking stuffed with catnip, attached to a string or pole. Best of all, you probably have most or all of these items in your home already.

Colleges Opening their Doors to Pets

As enrollment figures are starting to drop, many colleges are welcoming pets. Administrators at Stevens College in Columbia, MO and State University of New York at Canton have seen enrollments increase and emotional problems, often associated with students leaving home for the first time, decrease since allowing pets on campus.

A survey of 1,400 colleges lists allergies and irresponsible students as the two main reasons for not allowing pets. Other objections include mess, noise, disease, biting, roommate issues and pet abandonment. Schools that allow pets solve these problems in a variety of ways, including special dorms for students with pets and extra security deposits and cleaning fees. Schools also require current veterinary records and waivers of liability.

A girl and her dog on the quad

Here are a few schools that allow students to bring their pets to college:

MIT – Cambridge, MA
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students may keep cats in “cat-friendly” areas of certain dormitories. The cat-friendly areas have a Pet Chair who is responsible for approving and keeping track of pets in the dorm, and the pet owner must have approval from his or her roommates.

Stetson University – DeLand, FL
Stetson University allows students to bring fish, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, mice, cats and dogs under 50 pounds to pet-friendly housing areas on campus. While several breeds of dogs including pit bulls and Rottweilers are prohibited, the college nonetheless won the Halifax Humane Society’s 2011 Wingate Award for encouraging responsible pet ownership.

Eckerd College – St. Petersburg, FL
Students with pet ducks are in luck at Eckerd College. In addition to cats, small dogs and rabbits, the college allows owners of waterfowl to cohabitate with their feathered friend in its pet friendly dormitories. All pets on the Eckerd campus must be registered with Eckerd’s pet council.

Stephens College – Columbia, MO
Stephens College is home to Searcy Hall, affectionately referred to by students as “Pet Central.” In addition to welcoming cats and small dogs, Stephens offers an on-campus doggie daycare and opportunities to foster pets through a nearby no-kill animal rescue organization.

Caltech – Pasadena, CA
Students housed in Caltech’s seven pet-friendly dorms are allowed to keep up to two indoor cats. Cats are provided with an ID tag by Caltech’s housing office, and students must remove cats if neighbors complain.

SUNY Canton – Canton, NY
State University of New York’s Canton campus has a designated pet wing where students are allowed to keep one cat or a small caged pet with the approval of the residence hall director. Pets in this area are allowed free reign in the hall, as the school’s pet wing community tries to promote a family-like atmosphere for its residents.

These are just a few of the colleges that currently allow pets on campus. In fact, a recent survey of college admissions officers found that 38% of schools have housing where some pets are permitted, with 10% of those schools allowing dogs and 8% allowing cats. Students who dread leaving Fido behind every fall might not have to if they choose a pet-friendly college.