Category: “Training”

Travel Tips for Pets

Travel Tips for Pets

By Air – Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with your airlines for specific rules.

If you do ship a dog, put icepacks or an ice blanket in the dog’s crate. (Two-liter soft drink bottles filled with water and frozen work well.) Provide a container of fresh water, as well as a container of frozen water that will thaw over the course of the trip.

By Car – Keep your dog cool in the car by putting icepacks in his crate. Make sure the crate is well ventilated.

Put a sunshade on your car windows.

Bring along fresh water and a bowl, and a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. Keep a spray bottle filled with water to spritz on your dog to cool him down.

By RV – A dog’s safety should not depend on the air conditioning and generator systems in an RV or motor home. These devices can malfunction, with tragic results.

If you leave your dog in an RV with the generator running, check it often or have a neighbor monitor it. Some manufacturers have devices that will notify you if the generator should malfunction.

Never leave an RV or motor home completely shut up, even if the generator and AC are running. Crack a window or door or run the exhaust fan.

The Importance of Pet ID Tags

tagsDid you know that nearly one out of every three pets will get lost at some point during their lifetime? Without proper identification, 90% of lost pets never return home.

No one really expects their pet to get lost–even when you take the best of precautions. Accidents can happen–gardeners leave gates open, natural disasters separate pets from their owners, and some resourceful pets will often find a way out of even the most secure yard.

All pet owners are encouraged to ensure that their pets have proper identification at all times. Providing your pet with proper identification is the most important precaution you can take to dramatically maximize your chances of being reunited with a lost pet. Recommended forms of identification are: an ID tag a license from your local animal control or municipality a microchip.

We all know that an ID tag is a small metallic or plastic tag affixed to your pet’s collar that can be personalized with your contact information. A basic pet ID tag should contain a pet’s name and contact phone number. It’s also equally important that the information on the ID tag remains up-to-date. After all, how can you expect to be reunited with your pet if you haven’t kept your information on the tag current? Pet ID tags are available at most pet supply stores and can also be purchased through a number of online vendors.

One should also consider the durability and readability of the pet ID tag. A readable tag is critical for a lost pet. Consider getting an engraved tag as it is often easier to read and will last longer than ink-printed tags. Also, a pet may be able to chew through a plastic tag and render it unreadable.

A pet license is proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies and is registered with the jurisdiction where you reside. Pet licenses are similar to ID tags; they are generally small metallic or plastic tags that should be affixed to your pet’s collar at all times. Licensing a pet is another safeguard against having a lost pet stay lost. There are many times that only the license tag remains on a collar; and, if the license is current, the owner’s name and phone number can be obtained.

Lastly, a microchip is a device implanted beneath an animal’s skin which contains a unique series of numbers and letters that would be used to identify the lost animal. These same numbers and letters are also printed on a microchip tag that should also go on your pet’s collar. The microchip tag alerts someone that your pet is microchipped and contact information may be available. Even if a pet isn’t wearing a mircochip, a lost pet may be brought to a vet’s office or an animal shelter and that animal will be “scanned” to see if it has a microchip. If an owner’s current contact information is registered with the microchip company, the owner can be contacted regarding the lost dog. If an owner doesn’t keep the information current, there the possibility that no contact could be made and the dog remains lost.

It is important that all pets have both permanent and visible forms of ID. Lost pets often lose their collar and ID tag/license and can only be identified by their microchip. Conversely, since microchips are embedded under the skin, ID tags and licenses serve as physical proof of ownership that alerts someone who has found your pet that he or she has an owner. Multiple forms of ID drastically increases the likelihood that you will be reunited with your lost pet.

It is vital that each pet owner takes the time to put some form of ID on their pet and checks often to make sure the ID remains on the collar. It takes such a short time to ID your pet–can you think of any excuse for you not taking the time to do so? So many animals are put to sleep each year because the pet owner didn’t take the time to place an ID tag on them. Imagine the pain and suffering that can be avoided by doing this one small task that makes the difference between losing your pet forever or you and your pet remaining together for life!

Remember: Proper and current identification is your lost pet’s path home to you!


How Should I Choose a Vet?

vetMost people like to choose a vet or pet clinic close to their home. Not only is this more convenient, but it’s also important to have a vet or animal hospital nearby should your pet experience a medical emergency. Most cats don’t like to be confined for a car ride so a shorter trip to the vet is less stressful for your feline friends.

If you’re choosing a vet for the first time, a personal recommendation is probably the best way to get started. Ask your pet-owning friends, relatives, and neighbors if they can recommend a local vet that they’ve used or heard good things about. If you don’t know anyone in the area, a groomer, dog trainer, or animal shelter professional should be able to give you some tips. If you contact a veterinary school, they’ll also be able to provide you with a list of vets in your area.

Veterinary care should be a routine part of your dog or cat’s life. It’s always best to see a vet for a routine examination or vaccines first–if you have a future, serious pet illness or emergency, you’ll know that you have a medical professional with whom you feel comfortable. Finding a vet who relates well to the human owner is just as important as finding one who works well with your pet. During a medical event, the pet owner is often just as nervous and upset (if not more) than the dog or cat.

If you can’t afford a veterinary clinic, there are sometimes more economical options through a local pet shelter or animal rescue group. With costs for pet medical care increasing, there are many different types of pet insurance available now too.

Veterinary medicine is a highly-specialized field. Veterinarians have to complete the same number of years in medical school as human physicians and the competition to get into a top veterinary college is extremely intense in North America. Top vet schools in the U.S. include the University of California at Davis and Cornell. Some veterinarians are board certified in particular areas of medicine, such as cardiology or ophthalmology. They have studied an additional two to four years to get this specialized degree.

Veterinary offices may be small, single-doctor operations or very large animal clinics. Services will vary according to size. Many of the larger operations offer boarding facilities as well as pet grooming in addition to medical care.

What are some details I should look for when choosing a vet?

•Is the facility clean and comfortable?

•Are the technicians and front office and other clinic employees friendly and professional?

•How many veterinarians are available at the clinic?

•Are you able to choose one as your permanent vet so that you can see the same individual each time you come in?

•You should be able to see the degrees and credentials of your veterinarian posted on the walls of the clinic.

•Are tests such as blood work, X-Rays, and ultrasound done on the premises or sent out to other clinics?

•Are services such as grooming, nail clipping, and dental cleaning available?

•Ask to visit the kennel area. If your pet has to spend the night, you want to make sure the cages are clean and odor free. Cat cages are usually separated from dogs to minimize stress for the animals.

•Most veterinarians and animal clinics are open during regular office hours Monday through Saturday. Some

•larger clinics are open on Sundays too, but most are not available after hours. It is very important to ask your vet

•for the name, location, and telephone number of the nearest 24-hour animal emergency clinic. If a medical

•emergency occurs in the middle of the night, you will not want to waste valuable time hunting for an open clinic.

It’s also very important that you have your regular vet’s number as well as the emergency after-hours number listed in a prominent spot (such as the refrigerator door) for easy location–especially if someone other than the pet owner needs it quickly. It’s also a good idea to have your vet’s number programmed into your phone so one doesn’t have to first start looking for the number in case of an emergency.

If anyone is wondering which veterinary service the Pet Rescue Center would recommend, we recommend “Desert Dunes Animal Hospital” located on Washington and Ave. of the States in Palm Desert. Their phone number is 760-345-8227. All of our animals are taken care of there and a number of our volunteers’ animals are taken care of there too. We’ve been using Desert Dunes Animal Hospital for many years.

The Importance of Crate Training

crateDid you know that crate training uses a dog’s natural instincts as a den animal? A wild dog’s den is his home, a place to sleep, hide from danger, and raise a family. The crate becomes your dog’s den– an ideal spot to snooze, get away from it all, or take refuge during a thunderstorm.

The primary use for a crate is housetraining–the main concept being that dogs don’t like to soil their dens. A crate aids greatly in housetraining and keeping a puppy out of things when it can’t be watched. The crate can also limit access to the rest of the house while your dog learns other rules, such as not to chew on furniture. It also gives adult dogs a safe place to go and relax when needed. Crates are also great when traveling as it’s a little piece of home for them and a safe way to transport your dog in the car.

However, as good as crates can be, we must remember that a crate isn’t a magical solution to everything. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. One should never use the crate as a punishment. Your dog will come to fear the crate and refuse to enter it if it’s used in that way.

Also, a dog shouldn’t be left in a crate for too long a period of time. A dog that’s crated day and night doesn’t get enough exercise or human interaction and can become depressed or anxious. You may have to change your schedule, hire a pet sitter, or take your dog to a doggie daycare facility to reduce the amount of time he must spend in his crate every day.

Selecting a crate:

The first step in crate training is purchasing an appropriate crate for your dog. Several types of crates are available: plastic (often called “flight kennels”), fabric on a collapsible, rigid frame, and collapsible metal pens. Crates come in different sizes and can be purchased at most pet supply stores or pet supply catalogs. Here are some do’s and don’ts about selecting a crate:

DO: Select a crate that’s big enough for your dog to enter standing, turn around in comfortably, and lie down in.

DON’T: Buy a crate that is too large for your dog if you are using the crate for house training. If you have a puppy and want to purchase a crate that will be an appropriate size when he is an adult, DO purchase a crate that has dividers so you can adjust crate space as the dog grows.

DO: Consider future uses of the crate when purchasing. Plan on flying with your dog? Purchase an airline-approved crate. If you plan on using your crate when you go camping, a collapsible, soft-sided crate may be preferable, but…

DON’T: Buy a soft-sided crate if your dog likes to chew on fabric!

The Crate Training Process:

The goal of crate training is to create an atmosphere where your dog is relaxed and happy while in the crate and will go in voluntarily for no other reason than to “get away from it all.” Here are some dos and don’ts of crating your dog.

DO: Keep the crate in a living area where the dog will not feel lonely. Place the crate in an easily accessible and comfortable place so your dog can associate it as their safety “den” or “cave.” Leave the door open when you’re home so your dog can go in and out as they please. Always praise him/her when they go in on their own and reward them with a treat.

DO: Acclimate your dog to the crate slowly and make experiences with the crate very positive for the dog. Start out with very short periods of time in the crate.

DO: Keep items that your dog associates as “security items” within the crate such as a blanket or a teddy bear. Give your dog something to do in the crate. Items that should only be given supervised: marrow bones (not for powerchewers!), stuffed toys, chew ropes, bully sticks, pressed rawhide, etc. Depending on your dog and how he handles toys, you may be able to leave stuffed Kongs or Nylabones with your dog in your absence.

DO: Leave the crate door open and reward him whenever he chooses to relax in his crate.

DO: Continue to praise the dog and reassure him/her that you’ll be back once it is time to leave and shut the crate door. It helps to turn on the radio or music in your absence. If you live in a quiet house without a lot of people, classical music is soothing. Or if your dog is used to a lot of talk/noise in the house, talk-radio is helpful. Also there are “doggie entertainment” videos which play on “loop” for them to watch if he/she has an interest in TV. This will help them realize that crate-time is just down-time and nothing to be feared.

DO: Consider feeding your dog in his crate to reinforce the positive aspects of the experience.

DO: Consider getting an extra crate for the bedroom, if you prefer not to share your bed with the dog!

DON’T: Make the crate a predictor of your absence (dog is only crated when you are leaving).

DON’T: Use the crate for long-term confinement. If your dog cannot hold it for as long as they will be alone for, you must provide some opportunity for him to relieve himself using potty pads, a dog door, or a dog walker/pet sitter. Crating him for longer than he can hold it is cruel and does not set your dog up for success. Puppies under six months of age shouldn’t stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time. They can’t control their bladders and bowels for that long. The same goes for adult dogs that are being house trained. Physically, they can hold it, but they don’t know they’re supposed to yet.

DON’T: Put a dog with destructive separation anxiety in a crate. Please consult a behavior professional for assistance, as dogs with severe separation anxiety can harm themselves if crating is done inappropriately.

DON’T: Let your dog out of his crate when he is whining or barking, as this will reinforce the behavior. Wait for quiet before letting your dog out of his crate.

DON’T: Put bedding in the crate until your dog is reliably house trained or if your dog will chew/ingest bedding. If the dog has earned the privilege of having bedding, make sure to wash the bedding frequently and thoroughly–especially during flea season.

Potential problems

Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether he’s whining to be let out of the crate or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you’ve followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn’t been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, he’ll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse.

If the whining continues after you’ve ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you’re convinced that your dog doesn’t need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Don’t give in; if you do, you’ll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If you’ve progressed gradually through the training steps and haven’t done too much too fast, you’ll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.

Separation Anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won’t solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but he may injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counter-conditioning and desensitization procedures. You may want to consult a professional animal-behavior specialist for help.

If you choose not to crate your dog, you should at the very least teach your dog to accept being crated to give positive experiences with a crate. While it is true that crates can be useful house training aids, it is advisable that even housetrained dogs are taught to enjoy time in the crate. At any point in his life, your dog could fall ill or require emergency veterinary care, which may require crate time. Since illness and injury are already very stressful to dogs, it is better if they are acclimated to enjoying being crated to avoid additional stress during times of trauma.

Also, if you travel with your dog or that you might ever need to board your dog, it is also helpful to crate train them in advance. Like illness and injury, travel or being separated from the owner are both stressful events–training now can prevent undue stress on your dog later.

If you follow the dos and don’ts of crate training, your dog will enjoy his own special place–his own sanctuary. Just like you and me, every dog deserves a happy and soothing place to relax!


Pool Safety for you Pets

poolPool safety issues for dogs are almost synonymous with those for children. As with a child, they go far beyond just careful supervision and one can’t assume that either a dog or a child can be watched all the time. It only takes a minute or less of distraction for either one to run out the door and into the pool.

With that said, having a pool and a dog can either be a lot of fun or a disaster. Here are just a few of the issues you should consider:

Don’t assume your dog will naturally know how to swim–even if it’s a Retriever. Never throw a dog into the pool as panic may set in and your dog may not be able to climb the pool’s wet and slick sides to get out. And, if your dog is a rescued dog, it may have had negative experiences with a pool that you don’t know about and may panic even more. Observe your dog’s first reaction to water and take it from there. Even if your dog knows how to swim, never leave your dog unsupervised around the pool. Always be there just in case.

Young puppies, senior dogs, overweight dogs, dogs who tend to overexert themselves, double-coated dogs, snub-nose dogs, short-legged dogs, dogs with large heads and barrel chests, dogs who are ill, have a medical problem, or are on medication are not great candidates for the water so consider that before putting any one of the above into a pool.

Wait at least an hour after your dog eats before putting him/her into the pool. Swimming is a physically taxing exercise, and your dog can easily become fatigued and overexerted. Take breaks and watch for signs of exhaustion.

Teach your dog that the pool steps, ramp, or ladder are the only entry and exit points. Put a large vertical marker that moves (such as a plant or a flag) by the steps, ramp, or ladder so your dog can associate that with entering and exiting the water. Make sure to reinforce this entry/exit procedure as many times as needed until you feel comfortable that your dog knows what to do.

You may want to maintain control of your dog in the water by using a leash or long line attached to a life jacket, a flat buckle collar, a swimming harness, or a regular harness with the leash attached from the front rather than the top. Even if you don’t use anything extra, make sure your dog is comfortable in the water and is never too far from you at any time.

After pool time is over, rinse or shampoo your dog and be sure to dry the ears thoroughly. Check your dog’s eyes because they may have been irritated by the chlorine or salt water and may need to be rinsed.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the unthinkable happens, and you find your dog motionless in the water. Once out of the water, if your dog is not breathing, hold his rear legs up to let water drain. Put him on his side and clear any debris from his mouth. Close his mouth with your hand, and apply mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions. Take him to the vet immediately even if he begins to breathe on his own. Hopefully, if you’ve taught him how to swim and where the steps are, this situation can be avoided.

Having access to a pool definitely has its advantages during these “dog days” of summer, but please remember that a pool also holds the potential for a family tragedy all year round if you are not careful. So please be careful, vigilant, and use common sense at all times!

How to Calm a Hyperactive Dog

hyperactive dogMany of us are surprised when the adorable and quiet dog we brought home turns out to be hyper! What can be done? The first thing we have to realize is that having a hyper dog is a dog problem that has many possible causes and many possible solutions. The majority of hyper dog problems stem from boredom and a lack of stimulation. Therefore, in order to try and resolve the dog problem, you have to examine the way you interact with your dog and the kind of activities your dog does on a daily basis.

Here are some suggestions you can try to calm your hyperactive dog.

Ignore the hyper dog behavior.

Realize that dogs are seeking attention from you. One has to learn to not pay attention to any hyper activity from your dog as you’ll reinforce the very dog problem you’re trying to eliminate. When your dog exhibits hyper activity such as jumping or nipping in a way you don’t want, do not touch, talk, or have any eye contact. Your dog may very well settle down soon if no attention is given.

Make your dog work for his food.

A great way to exercise your dog mentally, is through the use of interactive food toys. Some good ones include the Buster Cube, Premier Busy Buddy Collection, and, of course, Kongs.

Frozen Kongs are great for when a dog has to be left home alone. Put some wet food or peanut butter into a classic Kong and freeze it. Your dog will have fun licking and chewing at it, and his mind will be occupied.

Take your dog for a walk to redirect the high energy.

A vigorous walk is a great way to redirect a lot of your dog’s excessive energy. Exercising your dog regularly and vigorously should diminish that extra energy. By tiring your dog out, your dog should be able to relax more as he’ll be tuckered out and will find it easier to relax and calm down.

The best medicine for a hyper dog is calm energy.

One of the most important things to remember if we have a hyper dog is that we should always try to remain calm. Many times dogs reflect or mirror the energy we project and reflect it back to us. Are you calm and assertive most of the time? Do you project a confident packleader type of energy? Do you raise your voice often at everyday stresses? Nervous or anxious moods can translate into nervous or anxious body language or tones of voice and can affect the energy of your dog and make him even more hyper. Set an example for your dog and do your best to remain calm and project calm energy to him.

Try out aromatherapy.

Dogs experience the world primarily through their sense of smell. Just as the smell of lavender is said to relax human beings, a soothing smell can also have a very calming effect on your dog. Talk to your veterinarian or consult a holistic professional to find out which smells may work for your dog and which methods of dispersal are the best and safest for him.

“All dogs are created equal, but some dogs are created more hyper than others.” (apologies to George Orwell, Animal Farm). Hopefully, you have one of the less hyper ones; but, if you don’t, take the above information into consideration and see if it helps.