Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tips to Prepare your Pet for Warm Weather

Warmer weather for humans means new clothes, new haircuts, spring cleaning and some sniffing and sneezing. But what does it mean for your pet? published a list of the top 9 tips for preparing you pet for warm weather and you might be surprised; a lot of pet tips sound just like human ones!
Read on for the list, and check off as you prepare your pet for the months ahead:

  1. Visit your Vet – Bi-annual exams are important for your pet’s general health. This time of year is good for updating vaccinations, getting tested for heartworm, and doing an overall health check.
  1. Visit the Salon – While you might get a haircut or wear lighter clothes to keep cool, your pet’s fur coat will trap in heat all year round. Get your pet groomed to help them stay cool as the weather heats up. Morris Animal Inn offers full grooming services to keep your pet fresh, clean, and cool.
  1. Protect from Fleas and Ticks – You have bug spray and citronella candles, your pet has flea and tick treatment. Look to your vet, a superstore, local pharmacy or pet care facility (check our lobby!) to save money on this important part of your pet’s preventive health.
  1. Get a Green Thumb – Pet-proofing your yard after a long winter can protect your pet from insects, other animals, and injury. Make sure your fence is secure, mulch any garden areas, plant flowers and other plants, and secure any pool areas or other open spaces.
  1. Spring Cleaning Safety – As you clean your home, remember to use non-toxic pet-friendly products to create a healthy environment for you, your family and your furry friend.
  1. Stop Sniffling and Sneezing – Your pet can suffer from seasonal allergies just like you can. Spend time with your pet outside in the early morning and late evening when pollen counts are down to alleviate symptoms, and speak with your vet about additional treatments. For more tips on fighting pet allergies, read our blog post “Itch They Can’t Scratch?” from last month.
  1. Get Moving – After a winter of resting indoors, your pet needs exercise! Get outside with your pet for walks and playtime that can help you burn off some calories as well. For extra fitness, schedule your dog a spot in our upcoming daycare fit camp: A Week at the Races!
  1. Fight the Fur – Once spring starts, pets begin shedding their winter coats, leaving hair and fur balls spread around your freshly-cleaned house. Do what you can to lessen shedding by getting your pet bathed and groomed regularly and asking your vet about supplements for a shiny coat. Morris Animal Inn also offers a shed-less treatment for pets prone to shedding that helps to remove excess fur. Ask about it when scheduling your next grooming appointment!
  1. Update their Wardrobe – With the promise of more outdoor activity, spring is the perfect time to purchase your four-legged friend a new collar, harness and leash, especially ones that have become worn out over time. Stop by our lobby for the latest selection of gear. Also make sure you update your pet’s ID tags for safety in case they get lost.
For more tips, to schedule and appointment, or to inquire about any of the above purchases, give Morris Animal Inn a call at 973-539-0377. We’re gearing up our staff and guests for warmer weather, and would love to help you and your pet do the same!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dog Park Fun and Safety

Warm days are slowly approaching and that means it’s time to stockpile the car with Frisbees and tennis balls and take a trip to the dog park with your best canine. There is nothing better than a sun-filled day of fun at the dog park, watching your pup make all kinds of new friends. Dog parks provide a great environment for dogs that enjoy releasing some energy with other dogs. Great for socializing, these parks can also help shy dogs break out of their shells in a controlled setting.

But before you get TOO excited and run for the door, let’s first take a look at some really important safety tips and precautions that will make both you and your dog’s time at the park more enjoyable. and Morris K9 Campus both have excellent tips for dog owners who may or may not be familiar with dog parks. Here are just a few highlights:

·        Take an overview of the other dogs at the park before you enter. If you feel like it is a fun, safe environment, then go on and join the party. But if the other dogs seem rough or aggressive, it is probably best to skip the park and come back another time.

·         Be careful entering the park and introduce your dog gradually to the other dogs. Dogs already in the park get excited for the arrival of a new dog, so try to calm the situation by taking it slow. Allow the dogs to sniff each other through the gate and let your dog in when you feel they are ready.

·        And most of all, know your dog and be aware. The best thing you can do as an owner at a dog park is to pay close attention to your dog’s behavior for any signs of stress, aggression, fear, etc. You are at the park for your dog, not to just socialize with other owners, so keep your eye on your dog and make sure they are safe at all times.

Please take a look at other great safety tips for you and your dog located at the dog park to enjoy safe quality time with your best friend!

We are pleased to have Vin, as a contributing writer for If They Could Talk. Vin is a passionate dog owner. We look forward to sharing his contribution on interesting and educational pet topics.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Does Your Dog Need More Exercise?

“My dog won’t stop chewing on the furniture!”

“My dog can’t sleep through the night.”

“My dog goes crazy when we let him outside.”

Any of these sound familiar? People whose pets are apparent troublemakers can become easily frustrated with these hyperactive habits. But before you go crazy trying to train your pooch, ask yourself one question: is your dog getting enough exercise? 

In a recent blog, author Julie Seguss discusses the signs that could indicate that your dog needs more regular activity. It’s not just a dog being overweight, these signs include a lot of difficult behaviors like constant barking, destructive chewing, hyperactivity, lack of focus, leash pulling and trouble sleeping. Your dog may be doing more than intentionally causing trouble; he may be trying to tell you that he needs more exercise.

Although these behaviors are common in many dogs, especially puppies, if your dog exhibits one or more of these behaviors regularly, it may be because he is trying to get out excess energy. Try giving your dog some extra exercise and see if the behavior subsides.

The next question is: what kind of exercise? The answer depends on your dog’s regular activity. In most cases, leash walking is not enough to burn off your dog’s excess energy. Off-leash activities like playing fetch in a fenced-in backyard are more likely to satisfy your dog’s need to do something active. Training can also be an energy-expending activity, but your dog probably prefers to have some playtime as well. No one likes all work and no play!

Once your dog is tuckered out, you may look for him to fall asleep as a sign of a good workout. However, the most active times for dogs are dawn and dusk, so don’t be alarmed if your pup isn't ready for bed after an evening play session. Dogs are more inclined to nap during the afternoon; so alternatively, a pooch who seems tired at noon isn't necessarily getting enough exercise just because he is sleepy. If you get excited to play, he is sure to follow suit!  

Adding activity to your dog’s routine may help put a stop to those pesky behaviors, and help get your dog in shape for the spring season. From April 15 – 19, Morris Animal Inn is hosting a Spring Training Fit Camp for energetic dogs or even pooches looking to lose a few pounds. The week is complete with base running, aqua warm-ups, group play batting practice, treadmill training and homemade All-Star protein bars. Call 973-539-0377 to book your dog a spot in the line-up today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Why Do Dogs Beg? How to Train Your Mooching Pooch

As the saying goes: you want what you can’t have. Ever wonder if your dog feels that way about what’s on your dinner plate? Dogs are notorious for begging for human food, even dogs who have never tasted anything but kibble. Why?

According to a recent “Ask a Vet” post on 7x7SF, the answer can be summed up in a single word: optimism. Your furry friend is tempted by the delicious smells coming from your dining room table, whether they have tasted table scraps before or not. Think about it: if you had only eaten bran cereal all your life, and were suddenly shown a chicken sandwich, wouldn't you be intrigued? As innate scavengers, dogs can’t help tracking down human food and pleading for a taste.

Despite dog’s inbred need to mooch, begging is a fairly simple problem to correct. Veterinarian Dr. Jeannine Berger, who is quoted in the “Ask a Vet” post on, recommends using management techniques and training solutions to teach your dog not to beg.

For starters, never feed your dog scraps from the table. This will only reinforce the behavior that you are trying to stop. If you do feed your dog human food, be sure to only reward them with it when they are behaving properly. Presenting the food to them in their regular dog food dish can further distance the human food from your dinner table.

Restricting your dog’s access to the dining room while you eat is one way to stop begging for good. This prevention tactic can be applied by putting up a baby gate, tethering your dog to a nearby piece of furniture or putting them in a crate with a food stuffed toy to keep them occupied.

If you prefer to keep your dog close, remove some of the temptation by making sure they are not hungry during your dinner time. Make a habit out of feeding your pet before you eat dinner, or present them with a food puzzle toy during your meal. A full and otherwise occupied dog will be less inclined to beg for your food.

You can also teach your dog to go to a certain spot during dinner, and reward them with a treat for staying there. Whether it’s a mat, bed, or corner of the room, your dog will begin to associate the spot with a reward, and become motivated to stay.

Every dog owner will find different methods that work best for their pup. The key is to be persistent. Try one training method steadily for a few weeks. If you find it ineffective, try another, and stick to it. As another saying goes: practice makes perfect!

For extra practice, our manners daycare and lodging packages help reinforce behaviors that will make it much easier to stop your dog from begging. Our staff works diligently with dogs to help build sit, lie down, and stay skills that could mean the difference between a peaceful, patient pooch and a drooling, crying dinner-time dog. Call 973-539-0377 to book a manners session today!