Thursday, May 28, 2015

Your Best New Workout Buddy...Your Dog!

Compared to their scavenging ancestors, most dogs today are couch potatoes! They get their food for free and are often home alone and inactive for most of the day. This lack of purpose leaves dogs no outlet for their naturally active tendencies—physical and mental—and it can contribute to the development of behavior problems.

Problems that may result from lack of exercise and play:
  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching
  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people
  • Excessive predatory and social play
  • Play biting and rough play
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining
Daily exercise will:
  • Help to reduce or eliminate the common behavior problems listed above, such as digging, excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity
  • Help to keep dogs healthy, agile and limber
  • Help to reduce digestive problems and constipation
  • Help timid or fearful dogs build confidence and trust
  • Help dogs feel sleepy, rather than restless, at bedtime or when you’re relaxing
Exercise has so many benefits for you and your dog! Looking to be more active this summer? Your dog can be your best work-out buddy. It's a win-win for the both of you! Unlike a friend who might bail at the last second, you pup is always eager to get outside and be active with you. Studies show that dog owners are almost 40% more active than non-dog owners. Just be sure to not push your work-out buddy too hard, especially in the summer heat!

To honor the Women's World Cup, Morris Animal Inn will be hosting a FIFA Fit Camp June 8-12,2015 for dogs who are looking to increase their fitness endurance or just looking to burn off that extra energy during the work week. Activities will include warm-up cardio activities like stair work-outs, treadmill trots and trail runs, a championship soccer game in group or private dog play, and cool-down activities like swimming or a nice massage. Find out more information here

Lastly, PetMD offers many ways to be active summer and have fun with your dog! Whether your dog prefers a nice long walk or splashing and swimming, there are endless options to enjoy together. Be sure to consult your veterinarian for more ways to keep your pup safe and in shape. Happy exercising!

Source: ASPCA

Thursday, May 21, 2015

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and while we touch upon the subject a few times a year, it is very important!

Many people claim that dog bites are unpredictable, but the truth is that dogs give many warning signals before they bite. As a responsible dog owner, you must know the signs -- no matter how subtle!

Dog Bite Facts:
  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. 
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
  • Children are the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

Growling & Snapping. Growling and snapping are probably the most obvious signs that a dog is about to bite. Dogs growl or snap to let you know they are unhappy or uncomfortable. 

Raised Fur. When dogs are afraid or overly stimulated, you may see the hair on their backs stand up. If you notice a dog has his hackles raised, it's a signal that he needs you to back off.

Tail Wagging. Did you know a dog doesn't just wag it's tail when happy?  Notice the way your dog wags their tail. A happy dog may wag their tail and get the whole body involved. A dog who is about to bite is usually fairly rigid, and the tail will be pointed high and move quickly back and forth.

Stiff Body Posture or Freezing. Watch out! Freezing is often a last-ditch attempt to tell you to back off. Dogs typically freeze right before they snap or bite. 

Lip Licking, Yawning and Averting Gaze. When dogs are a little anxious, they will often quickly stick out their tongue and lick their lips. It’s usually just a fast, little flick. Watch your dog; this is one of the most common signals.

Yawning is often mistaken for contentment.  The dog is surrounded by kids, and he lets out a big yawn. Isn’t that sweet?  Nope, it’s a sign that he’s in a little over his head and would appreciate your help.

Dogs engage in these behaviors, including turning their head to advert their gaze, to let you know they are uncomfortable with something going on around them. A dog who is uncomfortable, afraid, or stressed is more likely to bite.

Cowering and Tail Tucking. Cowering and tail tucking are signs of fear. While fearful dogs don't always bite, fear does increase the likelihood. If you encounter a dog who cowers away from you with their tail tucked between their legs, back off. Let the dog approach you in his or her own time, and they will be less likely to feel the need to bite to defend themselves.

Seeing the Whites of the Eyes. Also known as "whale eye," this is a sign of anxiety in dogs. Again, this doesn't necessarily mean that a dog is about to bite, but anxious dogs are more likely. If you see a dog showing the whites of his or her eyes, it's a good idea to give the pup some space until they feel more relaxed.


Help prevent biting or lashing out by avoiding situations that often make dogs uncomfortable. Avoid surprising your dog, especially while they are asleep, as they may react instinctively and bite. Do not approach a tethered dog or a dog that is chewing on a bone; even if you know the dog well, they may become defensive.

By keeping your dog comfortable and watching for these warning signs, you can help prevent your dog and others' pets from biting. Though they may be subtle, these signs are a dog’s way of telling us how they are feeling. If you watch for them, you can become more in tune with your dog’s likes, dislikes and overall well-being!

Source: AVMA

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Getting Your Cat to the Vet with Less Stress

Regular vet visits for your cat are essential for a longer, healthier, and happier life! Many cats, however, do not travel as well as their canine companions! If you have a hard time getting your cat to the vet without a struggle, here are a few tips to make the trip to your veterinarian less stressful—for both you and your furry feline friend!

Happy carrier, happy cat. In order for you cat to be happy while in their carrier, they must associate the carrier with positive experiences! So, trips to the veterinarian should not be the only time your furry friend encounters the carrier. Leave it with the door or hatch open in a room where your cat spends lots of time. This will allow your cat to become familiar with it and enter and go as they please, making them more comfortable! Try adding some soft bedding inside for extra security.

Lure your kitty into the carrier. Placing treats, toys, or catnip inside the carrier will help to encourage your cat to enter. Be patient! It could take days, or maybe even weeks, for your cat to begin to trust the carrier. If your cat sits near or explores the carrier, give them a treat to continue to connect the carrier with happy things!

Pick the right carrier for your cat. There are a few factors you must consider to determine the right carrier: Your cat’s size, how well he or she tolerates handling, and which is easiest for your to transport. The carrier should be safe, secure, sturdy, and not too heavy for you to carry. Some of the best carriers are hard-sided and open from both the front and the top. An easily removable top allows a cat who is fearful, anxious, or in pain to stay in the bottom half for exams by your veterinarian.

Traveling to the vet. Your furry friend will be safest in the car if you secure the carrier using a seat belt. If your cat seems anxious, it sometimes helps to cover, either partially or completely, the carrier with a blanket or towel. There are many sprays and oils such as lavender that may help soothe your kitty on the way to the vet.

If you're still having a hard time traveling with your furry feline, don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian for more ideas on how to make your cat’s travel away from home, whether it’s to see the veterinarian or not, more calm and pleasant, especially if your cat is very stressed!

Source: American Animal Hospital Association

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Does your dog recognize you in pictures?

Has your dog ever reacted after you've shown them a picture of someone they know? Do dogs actually have the ability to recognize people in photographs?

There are two parts to this question: Can your dog tell the difference between different people and animals and can they recognize that information in a stationary, two-dimensional image such as a photo?

According to veterinarians, the answer to both of those questions, is yes -- under the right circumstances. Dogs can distinguish between different people based on appearance at that time. In other words, if you're sporting a drastically different hair style or are wearing a uniform instead of your everyday clothing, your dog may not be able to identify you in a picture.

Research does show that dogs can identify a familiar person in a photograph. In a study published in the Journal of Vision, 12 beagles and 12 cats were given individual handlers who worked with them two hours a day for six months. Afterwards, they were given a visual test to recognize the face of their handler versus a non-handler. The result? The dogs chose the face of their handlers 88% of the time, while the cats chose their handlers 55% of the time.

Additionally, these dogs were also able to identify the face of an animal that lived with them. In fact, they chose the familiar animal more often than an unfamiliar animal. The study found that dogs chose the face of a dog they knew 85% of the time, while the felines chose the face of a familiar feline 91% of the time.

Don't forget that most dogs do not just depend on their vision to recognize familiar people and other animals. Due to their well-developed senses, many rely more heavily on your scent and the sound of your voice to identify you, so don't be too upset if Fido doesn't recognize you in that picture on the mantle!

So what about video chatting with your dog while you're away on vacation? Interestingly enough, while they may recognize the sound of your voice, dogs don't have the same ability to blend the flickering light that makes a video image as humans do. Therefore, the image would appear very shaky!  So for now, stick to showing your dog pictures of their family members while they are away and see what happens!

Source: Animal Planet