An endearing characteristic of small dogs is that they often come with big dog attitudes. Convincing as their “big dog” behavior may be, our small dogs still have some unique small dog needs.
At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we see a lot of small dogs at our facility and are happy to share some interesting observations on what makes them different from their larger canine counterparts, and how this affects their behavior and care.Continue…
Colorado is full of majestic mountains and scenic trails that are hard to resist, especially, when sharing them with your canine hiking companion.
At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we believe that enjoying fun hikes with your dog involves proper training and preparation for a variety of conditions, including, varying elevations and weather conditions, such as heat, cold, rain and snow. Here are some tips to help your dog have a great time while out on the trails with you.Continue…
For many pet owners, working from home has become more commonplace. While this new dynamic may present many challenges for human families, there’s one family member that probably likes it—your pet, of course!
It’s no mystery that pet ownership sometimes has its challenges, but being around our pets 24 hours a day, every day, may provide new perspective on this relationship. Not only is there the unique companionship that a pet adds to the workday, you might be gaining new insight into your pet’s behavior and needs. You may also discover that you now have to strike a balance between showing your pet attention and getting your work done.Continue…
Dogs have a host of quirky behaviors, especially when it comes to eating odd things, and grass is definitely one of them. If your dog has a tendency to nibble on your lawn when outdoors, you probably want to know ‘why’ and if this habit is harmful. The team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center is happy to help you better understand why some dogs like to consume the green stuff.Continue…
Dogs are members of the canidae family, which also includes wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals and hyenas. Just as their wild counterparts, dogs communicate with other animals and with us through the sounds they make.
Most dogs have a variety of vocalizations that are associated with what they want and how they are feeling – from happy to fearful, content or excited, annoyed or agitated.
The meaning of a dog’s sounds are varied and sometimes curious. The team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center is here to decipher some of these barks, growls, mumbles, and yips into a discernible dictionary for us humans.Continue…
Anyone who’s ever suffered from vertigo or an inner ear problem understands the unsettling dizziness, loss of coordination and nausea that can accompany these types of conditions. Dogs can experience a similar condition known as canine vestibular disease.
There are several types of canine vestibular disease. Some may be due to serious causes, such as a brain tumor, neurological infection or other neurological disorder. However, there is a benign self-limiting type that affects mostly older dogs. Because of this, it is commonly referred to as ‘old dog vestibular disease’, which is the focus of this discussion.
The symptoms of old dog vestibular disease can be quite bewildering for any pet owner. At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we see this problem in many of our older patients, so we’d like to shed some light on this mostly benign form of canine vestibular disease.Continue…
Bringing home a new puppy is one of life’s great joys, but the prospect of potty training your newest family member can be daunting. Even adult dogs can experience some setbacks when it comes to proper elimination, whether they are recently adopted or you’ve raised them from puppyhood.
At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we’ve seen a lot when it comes to the challenges of house training our dogs. So, with the help of our on-staff professional dog trainer, we’ve put together a few tried and true tips to help you navigate a smooth and stress-free transition with your special companion.Continue…
Do people routinely tell you how wonderful your dog is? If you are used to hearing “You have the best dog in the world!”, and you’re interested in sharing your dog with others who may benefit from your dog’s sweetness, perhaps you should consider therapy dog training! After all, what better way to spread the happiness and comfort that your dog brings than taking your sweet pup into a hospital or to a senior center where there are people who would appreciate a visit from a special four-legged companion?
Anyone who owns a dog knows how much this special bond adds to their quality of life, and there’s science to back it up. Recently, therapy dogs have been recognized by the scientific community for the health and healing benefits that they offer. Studies show that simply petting a dog stimulates the release of “feel good” neurochemicals, and contributes to lowered blood pressure, less depression, and an overall reduction in stress. There are numerous ways that therapy dogs can provide support, companionship, hope, and other health benefits to help people heal from both physical and psychological ailments.
What is a Therapy Dog?
Unlike a service dog, which is specifically trained to provide a set of services for an individual with specific needs, therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and companionship for individuals who are in an institutionalized setting, such as a hospital or nursing home. Over the past several years, therapy dogs have become more common in other public places where people often need some cheering-up by a visit with a sweet and friendly canine.
Some examples of the amazing ways therapy dogs touch the lives of those they come into contact with include:
- Elevating the mood of patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
- Reducing anxious feelings in airports, schools, and other settings.
- Providing social and emotional support to individuals with a variety of ailments.
- Reducing the stress and anxiety that often accompany physical and mental disorders.
Therapy Dog Credentials
A dog of any breed or age can become a therapy dog, provided they have the right personality traits, are well trained, and consistently and reliably demonstrate exemplary behavior. Therapy dogs should be:
- Reliably friendly towards strangers
- Well-socialized around children and adults
- Highly responsive to basic obedience commands
- Highly adaptable to new environments, noise, smells, and other novel stimuli
Most therapy dog organizations also require that dogs be in excellent health, fully vaccinated and undergo routine physical examinations with their veterinarian. They must also be clean and well-groomed at the time of their visits.
If you think your dog has what it takes to become a therapy dog, your team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center has some suggestions on how to get started.
Since there’s a lot more to becoming a therapy dog than just knowing that you have a great dog, it’s important to understand the requirements and steps involved. Now comes the serious preparation and team training, as it’s not just your dog entering into a hospital, nursing home, library, or school – you’ll be there, too – so you both need to be a well-functioning team.
- The first step for most therapy dog training protocols is for the dog to have gone through a basic obedience training class and graduated with flying colors.
- Next, comes taking and passing the AKC Good Citizen Program, and lots of practice to make sure your dog has mastered its obedience skills in a variety of public settings and other real-life situations.
- Step three involves either enrolling in a therapy dog training course or a dedicated home training program. A therapy dog should be extremely responsive to its handler, and be able to stay calm and happy despite loud noises, abrupt movement, medical or other equipment, the attention of strangers, and any other distraction that may occur.
- In order to become an animal-assisted therapy team, you and your dog must successfully pass a final evaluation, be certified, and registered with a national therapy dog organization.
Finally, remember that our goal is to help your pet have a healthy and long life with you, so don’t forget the wellness examinations, vaccinations, and parasite prevention! As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns regarding your pet’s well-being.
You are minding your own business, when out of nowhere comes the odd, surprising, and utterly weird sound of honking or wheezy snorting from your dog. You run to your pet’s aid, only to discover that he or she is perfectly fine, standing there as though nothing has happened. But what did happen? Do you call us or drop everything and rush your pet in as an emergency?
It is likely that what your pet just experienced is known as paroxysmal respiration, more commonly called “reverse sneezing”. Hearing a reverse sneeze can certainly be alarming, but it’s often a normal occurrence for a dog or cat.Continue…
Was your dog running happily through the yard one minute, then limping and unable to put weight on one of its rear legs the next? Or, have you watched your older dog become less active due to a gradual deterioration in one of its knees, a problem that you know is affecting your dog’s quality of life?
A torn cranial cruciate ligament (called CCL in pets and ACL in humans) may be to blame. This is a common problem in dogs and, in many cases, requires surgery to correct and to prevent further damage to the knee joint as time goes on.
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery is one of the most widely used procedures for repairing a torn CCL in dogs (and sometimes cats). At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we are fortunate to have a skilled and certified TPLO surgeon on our medical team who has helped hundreds of dogs return to an active life through TPLO surgery. Since we have seen so many successful results with this procedure, we thought it important to explain what TPLO surgery is, why it’s so effective, and offer tips for supporting your dog’s orthopedic health after TPLO surgery.Continue…