If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably experienced the challenge of getting your feline companion into a carrier for a ride in the car. Not to mention, a visit to see the veterinarian! So, when the time comes for that annual exam or other check-up, it can be tempting to put it off or just forget it altogether. If this describes life with your cat, you are not alone.Continue…
Our dogs deal with a variety of experiences in their everyday lives. Some of them are pleasing and create a positive response, such as playtime and mealtime. Others are disturbing and create an alert response, such as loud noises or another dog barking. And then, there are those that are confusing, anxiety-inducing or threatening, such as being approached by strangers or going to a public place that has a multitude of unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells.Continue…
Just as humans, our pets can experience anxiety and for a variety of reasons. It affects dogs and cats, as well as birds and other small pets. If not addressed, a pet’s anxiety can develop into chronic, lifelong behavioral problems that have a negative impact on the pet’s ability to interact appropriately with people and other pets. It can also jeopardize the pet’s relationship with its human family and, ultimately, its own well-being.Continue…
One of the most important responsibilities of dog ownership is providing the preventive care your dog needs to avoid illness and disease. Regular check ups, parasite prevention and keeping your dog current on vaccinations all play a key role in its health and well-being.
Several years ago, we added the Leptospirosis vaccine to our core vaccine program for dogs because cases of this disease were being reported in Colorado. This was a concern, not only because of the risk it presents to dogs, but as a zoonotic disease, Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans and dog to human transmissions had also occurred.Continue…
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…
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 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…
Adopting a pet as a holiday gift can sound like a great idea. After all, the image of a fuzzy puppy or kitten popping out from under the Christmas tree is enough to melt the hearts of every Grinch and Scrooge out there.
Unfortunately, this heartwarming scene doesn’t always have a happy ending. Adopting a pet is a huge responsibility that should involve significant thought and planning.
Factors to Consider
Whether you are planning to surprise a loved one with a pet or adopting one for yourself, there are several important factors to consider:
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.
Dealing with a dog or cat that can’t make it outdoors or to the litter box in time can be incredibly frustrating. Following your pet around, encouraging it to go in the appropriate spot, only to turn around and see a new puddle on the floor can leave even the most patient pet owner at wit’s end.
There are many possible causes for incontinence in pets, ranging from an infection or disease to a simple lack of proper house training. Exploring the potential cause is part of good preventive care and should be pursued. In cases where the cause cannot be treated, pet diapers may be the solution.Continue…