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Bringing Home (Another) Doggy or Kitty

In our monthly magazine we send out to our clients called Healthy Pet we found another great article we would like to share with you about bringing home a new pet. The article was written by Alicea Schaeffer, RVT, VTS (Behavior), KPA CTP.

Most people reasearch major decisions, and adding a family pet-especially when there’s already a dog or cat at home-is a major decision. It’s important to look into the type of pet that’s right for your two-and four-legged family members before your purchase or rescue a new cat or dog. Doing so can save you time and heartache.

Ask A Trusted Source

The best way to start your pet-finding mission is to talk with your veterinarian or credential technician. They’re well educated or not only the benefits of certain breeds but also their predilection to problems. For example, if you’re leaning toward a purebread cat or dog, the veterinary team can help you find out which breeds are prone to allergies, orthopedic issues, or behavior problems. They can counsel you on the dogs that are best with children, cats, or other animal family members. If you’re considering pet adoption, your veterinary team can direct you to reputable rescue groups. You should also talk to your veterinary team about the pets that are already living with you. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so he or she can examine these pets to make sure they’re healthy and up to date on vaccines. What’s more, the veterinarian can warn you about any potential “sibling” rivalries. Sometimes older pets deal with arthritis issues, for example, and a new friend jumping on them could create discomfort and lead to spats.

At Home With Dogs

After learning all you can from your veterinarian, it’s time to think about how to bring the new pet into your family. Remember that introducing a new pet can be a stressful time for people and pets. When bring a new dog into a home where there’s already a canine family member, you must plan and prepare for every step of the introduction to avoid conflict and make the transition go smoothly. Think about first impressions. As you know, they’re very important. If the first few minutes of a dog meeting are stressful, this can make the introduction process take much longer. One way to prevent undue stress is to prepare your home before the new dog arrives. If possible, set up a special area of the house for the new dog. A laundry room or other small room where the dog can see the main living area is ideal. Accoutrements should include a food bowl, water bowl, and a toy that can be stuffed with food. Also give your new dog a kennel and leave it out and accessible in the special area. It’s best to keep your new dog, especially puppies, in the kennel while you’re not at home. Not to play favorites, your established dog also needs his own place-set up in advance of the new dog’s arrival-that’s outfitted in the same way: with food, water, a bed, and toys. Speaking of toys, it’s important that you pick up all your current dog’s valuables-such as food, bones, and toys. Leaving out desirable items invites guarding. Newly introduced dogs often find sharing difficult.

No Dog-Eat-Dog World

When you pick up your new dog, it’s best to bring along any other dogs already in your family. Introduce the “new” and “old” dogs in a neutral location on leashes with at least two people present. Keep the leashes loose and let the dogs sniff each other. Lure them apart with treats and praise to give them breaks. Also offer treats and praise when they act appropriately towards one another. Watch for growls or lip raises. This behavior is not unusual and often can be trained away. If it persists or escalates, you might want to seek help from a professional. Most of the time you’ll see milder signs of stress, such as raised hair behind the neck or the dogs may ignore eachother at first. Work through this with patience and praise when things go right. When the dogs seem mostly comfortable, load each into its kennel for the ride home. Once at home, keep your dogs seperated by a baby gate when you cannot monitor their interactions. This may only be necessary for the first week. When the dogs are together, play with them, pet them, take them on walks, and give them special treats. If they discover that great things happen when “that other dog” is around, they’ll soon enjoy eachother’s company.

The Cats Meow

There’s a process for dog meets and greets and the same is true for cats. When adding a cat to a houselhold with an existing cat, you must prepare. The new cat, even if it’s a kitten, will not be comfortable passing by the resident cat to access a litter box or food. Why? The established cat might be nervous and try to intimidate the new cat. So, before bringing the new cat home, purchase two extra litter boxes. Keeping at least one more litter box than there are cats-two cats, equals three litter boxes-decrease the chances of inappropriate elimination from cat-to-cat stres, which undoubtedly will decrease your stress as well. As with dogs, the new cat would benefit from her own space, with her own food, water, and litter box. Your current feline friend also needs her own place and accessories. If your introducing a new kitten to an older cat, it’s even more important to give the mature cat a place to escape. Ideally, this would be a room where you can close her off. If that’s not possible, provide a vertical space the young cat cannot access. If you live in a smaller house, try increasing the vertical living space. Adding cat trees or ledges by windows allows cats to cross eachother’s paths without getting to close.

Foster Feline Fondness

When the new cat arrives, leave her in her carrier. Let the esablished cat approach and sniff. Cats are scent oriented, so try rubbing the new cat with a towl and letting the other cat sniff it. Once the cats sniff and show no signs of aggression, it’s safe to let the new cat out of the carrier for supervised interaction. If problems arise, keep the cats seperate a bit longer. If you’ll be out of the house, keep the new cat seperated from others. When you’re home, supervise the cats’ interactions, giving them extra attention and treats as described earlier for dogs. Do this until the cats seem comfortable together (about a week), which means no hissing, hitting, stalking, or blocking the otehr cat’s path.

Take It Easy

Don’t force new cats or new dogs into interacting. Usually, new pets just need a little time to become acclimated to their new life and family, both people and pets. Consider this personal example: A retired greyhound came to live with my family, which included to jack russell terriers and a lab mix. She wanted to live behind the recliner for the first few days. So we moved her food, water, and bed behind the chair. When she ventured out we reinforced her decision with treats. After a few days, she started spending time in the living area with the other dogs. When she got nervou, she went back to her spot and I distracted the other dogs away. It took only about two weeks before she was completely comfortable. As you grow your pet family, hopefully the introductions will go well. Always remember that, if you need it, help awaits at your veterinary clinic. Never hesitate to contact the qualified people there for assistance and advice.


July 13, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Vet, AV Best Veterinary, AV Best Veterinary Clinic, Lancaster Veterinary, Palmdale Veterinary, Quartz Hill Veterinary, Rosamond Veterinary | , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Questions Your Veterinarian Wishes You’d Ask

Every Month we send out a magazine called Healthy Pet to all our clients to let them know if their pet’s vaccinations are due. In this month’s issue there was a magazine article titled “6 Questions Your Veterinarian Wishes You’d Ask” and we completely agree, so we thought we would share with all you pet owners out there.


Owning a pet seems simple: feed, walk, play, cuddle, repeat. Of course, the responsabilities of pet ownership are more involved. To keep dogs and cats health, you need a veterinarians help. And your pets doctor is eager to answer your questions-even one’s you might not think to ask. When you head to the clinic for the pet’s next visit, bring these quaries with you. Your pet-and your vet-will be glad you did.


1. What will my pet cost?

“The sad fact is two out of three puppies will not be with their original owner in two years,” says Andy Rollo, DVM, with Madison Veterinary Hospital in Madison Heights, Mich. “Behavior and cost are the top two reasons for this. So we want to make a dent in that statistic by preparing owners.” So ask your veterinarian what financial aspects to exprect over your pet’s lifetime. “In my clinic, we have a plan that spells everything out for the first year, including spay or neuter surgery, vaccines, and parasite prevention costs,” Dr. Rollo says. “We give it to owners during their first visit to try to avoid some of the sticker shock that can occur.”


We would like to add to this: Here at QHVC we do offer puppy packages so owners of new puppies will pay a discounted one time price and will be set up for all the first year vaccinations, a fecal test, an exam with the same doctor at each appt, the first dose of heartworm medication, toe nail trimes each time, and lots of new puppy information. This package also gives owners discounts on the spays and neuters and microchipping. This puppy package helps take the stress off the owner of worrying when the pet has to come in for the next vaccines and saves the owner money.


2. What identification does my pet need?

Sandy Block, DVM, With Bollinger Canyon Animal Hospital in San Ramon, Calif., recommends that every cat and dog get a microchip. Collars and tags also are important for all pets to wear, but these forms of identification can fall off. So microchips are the only sure-fire way your pet can be identified. However, microchips are only useful if you keep your information-name, contact information, and microchip ID number- up to date in the datebase, so be sure to speak with your veterinarian about the best identification strategy for your pet.


We would like to add to this: In the LA area it’s also very important that you register your pets with the Lancaster Animal Shelter, and keep in mind it is cheaper if the pet is neutered and spayed, and legally it is required that every pet have a current rabies vaccination. We offer a vaccine clinic every Thursday from 5-7 pm walk in and cash only and it’s ten dollars for the shot.


3. What food should my cat or dog eat?

Nutrition is as important for pets as it is for people. The type of diet recommended for cats or dogs depends on a number of factors, such as your pet’s age, breed, lifestyle, and health condition. “Whether it is food, vitamins, or supplements, or natural products, ask your veterinarian what is appropriate for your pet,” Dr. Block says. Sometimes veterinarians prescribe specially formulated therapeutic foods to help manage certain diseases. Some people want to be their pets’ personal chefs. “Owners who want to home-cook food should weigh the pros and cons with the doctor,” Dr. Rollo says. The overall message: There are a lot of pet food options out there and your veterinarian will help you make the right nutritional choices for your pet.


4. Which Vaccines does my pet need?

Veterinarians usually divide vaccines into two categories: core and noncore. Core vaccines are recommended-or even required like in the case of rabies-for every pet. Veterinarians might recommend additional noncore vaccines based on your pet and the life it leads. “It will depend on the pets lifestyle: whether it is a house dog, a big Lab in the backyard, or a hunting dog,” Dr. Block says. “It also depends on the area of the country you live in because diseases vary and the frequency required for vaccinations varies by area.” Indoor and outdoor cats usually require different vacccinations, as do puppies and kittens. Therefore, it’s vitally important that you visit your veterinarian to find out which vaccines your pet needs.


We would like to add to this: In the Antelope valley legally the Rabies vaccination is required. However, we also recommend your dogs get their combo shots which include things like Distemper and Parvo, we have seen many cases of Parvo so this vaccine is extremely important especially for puppies. They should get there first Parvo vaccine at 6 weeks and ever three to four weeks after that until theyre at least five months old. We also highly recommend your pet get the Bordatella vaccination as well, since we have seen many cases of Kennel cough, which dogs can get from being around other dogs not just at a kennel. This vaccine should be given at 8 weeks and they should be given at least one booster and like the Parvo vaccine should be update yearly. Again we do have a vaccine clinic every Thursday or you can call to set up an appointment.


5. What does my pet’s behavior mean?

A lot of people forget to mention behavioral issues-even seemingly smallones- to their veterinarians. “Whether it’s that a dog jumps up on grandma when she visits or growls at a child for taking its bone, those things are important to the family,” Dr. Block says. “Behavioral issues are one if the main reasons pets end up at shelters, so we try to fix it so they can stay happy and healthy in their home.” Also tell your veterinarian about changes in your pet’s behavior. For example, if your cat starts urinating outside the box, the behavior could signal an underlying illness. Cats are notorious for hiding illness, and small behavior differences like this might be the only sign you’ll see.


6. How do I carry out the treatment plan?

When your veterinarian is working to diagnose your pet’s illness, be sure you understand all the steps. For example, ask why the doctor is running blood work or taking a radiograph. Also be sure you completely understand any healthcare you’re to give at home. “Sometimes it’s easy for veterinarians to overlook explaining the therapy that’s been recommended,” Dr. Rollo says, “Whether it is giving a medication or restricting activity.” If you have questions, veterinarians always want you to ask for clarification. They also want you to share any concerns you may have. For example: “If the doctor puts your dog on a canned food diet, but your dog doesn’t like canned food, say so,” Dr, Rollo says. Also feel free to call the practice if problems arise after you get home. Regardless of the situation, remember this: When in doubt, always ask your veterinarian for more information. Your pet is the main priority,and veterinarians and their team members welcome the chance to spend and extra minute or two with you to make sure your cats and dogs healthy and safe.


Hope this helps all pet owners and the next time you come into Quartz Hill Veterinary Clinic keep these questions in mind!

Silly group photo such a great place to work : )

July 13, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Veterinary, Lancaster Veterinary, Palmdale Veterinary, Quartz Hill Veterinary, Rosamond Veterinary | , , , , | Leave a comment