Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tips to Protect Your Pet from the Summer Heat

McKenna, cvt

Summer is finally upon us. It is time to spend time outside and enjoy the weather.  However, during these fun times please remember our four legged friends.   Just like us, pets are susceptible to heat. Here are some tips keep your pet safe. 

1.  Water. Always have fresh water available for your pet. It sounds simple but dehydration and other issues such as heat stroke can occur fast on hot days and can lead to many problems. Setting up a kid’s pool in the yard or a sprinkler is a great way for dogs to keep cool.

2.  Walking. Our pet’s feet are sensitive.  Touch your hand to the pavement; if it is too hot for your hand then it is too hot for a walk. Try to avoid asphalt and walk on the grass.  Best times for a walk are early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are down. 

3.  The Car. Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. It does not matter if you are gone for a few minutes or park in the shade. Dogs overheat easily, their normal body temperature ranges from 100-102.5. The slightest increase in temperature can cause many problems such as heat stroke, seizures, brain damage, or death.

4.  Breeds. Some dogs are more prone to heat than others. Specific breeds are the brachycephalic dogs (short noses) like pugs and bulldogs. It is harder for them to intake oxygen due to the facial structuring. Also dogs who have heart disease or are overweight have a harder time in the heat. Take extreme caution with them and limit exercise.

5. Cooling. Make sure to keep your pet cool inside and outside. A cool area with shade is a must both inside and outside. If your pet has long hair, consider a haircut.  Try making some doggy popsicles (see recipe below) they are cooling and delicious. 

How to make peanut butter popsicles

1 cup peanut butter, preferably unsalted and unsweetened (Check your peanut butter's label to make sure it doesn't contain any kind of xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.)
Half of a ripe banana, mashed
Water as needed
In a small mixing bowl, combine peanut butter with a little water or half of a mashed banana. (The water and banana aren't essential, but they help with freezing consistency.)
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, or use Kong-style rubber toys that have a cavity you can fill.
Spoon the mixture onto the tray just like you would cookie dough, or stuff it into the toys. Freeze the tray or toys for several hours or overnight. If you need to reuse the tray right away, pop out the cubes and store them in a bag or container in the freezer.

Watch for signs of overheating. Contact your Veterinarian if you see these signs:
            -Trouble breathing
            -Dark red gums or tongue
            - Heavy panting/Drooling

Follow these basic tips to help your pet keep cool and enjoy the summer. 

Click on the link below for more information about the dangers of pets in hot cars
My Dog is Cool

Monday, June 19, 2017

Adopt-A-Cat Month

Mark, cvt

There are so many happy and lovable pets that are up for adoption all around the country.  This month, The American Humane Association and ASPCA are celebrating national "Adopt-A-Cat Month". Right now there are hundreds of thousands of adoptable cats waiting for their forever home. Based on a study done by ASPCA in 2011, it was determined that approximately 3.2 million cats are put into shelters annually¹. Just like dogs, cats can provide unconditional love and a lifetime of companionship. While they can be a big commitment and carry many responsibilities with them, they are not as intensively involved in most cases as dogs. Nothing can replace the friendship that can be made with an adopted pet.
Many people may be wondering if a cat is a good fit for their lifestyle. Whether you're a “cat” person or not, having a feline friend can be a very rewarding experience. Here are some things you may want to think about before adopting a pet, provided by the American Humane Association²:
Cats might be a good fit for you if you don’t mind...
       Having your ankles rubbed with affection when you get home.
       Spending some of your free time playing with your furry friend.
       Picking up some of your kitties messes every now and then.
       Getting your lap warmed whenever you sit down.
       Using some of your hard earned money to keep them happy and healthy.
       Being entertained randomly with their silly antics!
       Giving your best effort to provide a loving home which will be much appreciated!

 A year ago a friend of mine had a small litter of two kittens born on his farm. The mother took care of her babies well but we knew these kittens needed to find a home. While we could have brought them to a shelter we fell in love with this brother and sister duo and brought them home with us. Their personalities and habits have become a part of my home life and I couldn't imagine what it would be like without their love and companionship!

If you are looking to adopt I urge you to consider elderly pets. There are so many animals looking for a loving home where they can enjoy their remaining years. Kittens and puppies are adopted more easily for obvious reasons but you may find that rescuing an older pet or pets with illnesses may be even more rewarding in the end. 
So, if you are reading this and on-the-fence if cats would be good for you or not, go to the shelter and meet some furry friends they have there, you might fall in love with one!

 ¹Pet Statistics. (n.d.).”Facts about U.S. shelters”.  Retrieved June 13, 2017, from
²Is a Cat Right for You? (n.d.). Fact Sheet. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from


Sunday, April 9, 2017

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Dog Bite Prevention

Imagine, if you will, about 1,000 people are bit by a dog in the United States each and every day.  That amounts to over 350,000 people every year.  Of those, over 9,500 are hospitalized due to the serious nature of their injuries.  And, there are several people that will die from those injuries.  Of course, not all dog bites are preventable; however, with a little knowledge of dog behavior, dog owners can make a significant difference in their pet’s behavior to make them less likely to bite a human.  

Dog bites occur for many different reasons.  It’s not always due to true dominant aggressive dogs.  Dogs will bite most often out of fear, but dogs also bite a human to defend themselves or their territory, to guard a valuable resource like food or a toy, or because they feel threatened.  

The biggest mistake made by humans while training their dogs is to humanize them.  This means we treat them like they are human and part of the family.  For many dogs that will not be a problem.  However, we can, unknowingly, create separation anxiety, aggressive behavior and other behavior issues.  A dog sees us as a pack.  All members of the household need to be more dominant than their dog.  Then their pet will respect them and not feel the need to overstep their bounds.  In other words, your pet will bite a person to send the message that the person is acting inappropriately when they feel they are higher on the totem pole than their housemate.  How do we train our puppies to be subordinate to all house members?  That is the big question that has many answers with many books written on this subject.  This blog is not intended to teach you all there is to know about training dogs.  I do want you to understand that your dog will respond to you if you treat them like a dog and be in charge.  When you give them commands (like sit) firmly TELL them to sit.  Do NOT ASK them to sit.  As humans, we like to be polite.  Remember, they are not humans.  In addition, ideally your dog is not allowed on furniture which includes beds.  Yes, I said it.  I know that one of the reasons we get a pet is to cuddle, snuggle, and sleep with them often.  This puts them on your level literally and makes them feel equal to you and in some cases better than you.  This can promote aggression in some dogs with that aggressive tendency.  Also, it is ideal to give nothing to your dog for free.  That means any attention, treats and food should not be given unless your dog does something for it like sit or lay down.  If you do these things (command your dog, keep them off furniture and give nothing for free) you are well on your way to having a well- behaved dog that will have a much less tendency to bite. 
Fear biting dogs are a different story.  They often need professional help and antianxiety medication to help them be less fearful; and, therefore less likely to bite.   The important thing about fear aggressive dogs is to recognize it and don’t make excuses for the dog.   Get professional help when you recognize there is an issue, or at least contact a professional if you aren’t sure.

Dog bites will always be an issue so long as we choose to live our lives intertwined with a dog’s life.  Dogs provide us so much joy and fond memories, and through research we know that they give us many health benefits as well.  So, we need to figure out how to have a dog in our homes that we can trust.  I encourage anyone with a dog to seek information about how to train your dog, and to especially seek a professional at any signs of aggression.  Do not wait and do not make excuses for the dog’s behavior!!

Dr. Ron Biese
Kaukauna Veterinary Clinic