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                    [post_date] => 2018-07-20 15:46:20
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                    [post_content] => IMG_0497So, you are about to adopt a puppy or adult dog and give them a forever home. This decision to adopt will reward you in so many ways, but at times, may have you looking back and asking, “why did I do this again?”.

Maybe you are new to pet ownership. You sat down on a bench at your local park or went for a weekend hike when you stumbled upon beautiful, well-behaved pups alongside their humans oozing a visible bond and adoration between the two. You think, “I want that”. And rightfully so!

There is nothing quite like the bond you build with a pet. It truly fulfills your life and gives you an added family member you never knew you needed. However, the bond you build is just that, built from nothing. That picture-perfect dog and human duo you saw hiking probably had many months, if not years, of training and frustrating moments. Just know that this is completely normal! It is that hard work and training that creates the foundation of your happily ever after.

Is now the right time?

No one knows your lifestyle better than you. This is the time to look at your day to day schedule and determine if you have the time.IMG_0493
Do you have a yard?

Or the ability to go for walks daily? Every dog will have a different requirement for exercise, but all will need something. What can you provide?

What breed is right for you?

Although many rescue pups are mixes, their breeds can sometimes give us information on what kind of energy they will have and what type of lifestyle they need.

Do you have the savings?

We don’t like to think about worst case scenarios, but if there was an emergency with your new dog, could you manage the emergency veterinary bill? Have you done research on Pet Health Insurance. The small monthly payment for pet insurance is worth every penny when it gives you peace of mind and takes the financial stress away from the entire experience of adopting.

After you think everything through and decide that now is a perfect time, you can check your local shelters and rescues until you find your future best friend. Now the adventure begins.

It is going to be hardIMG_0499

There may be a short period of pure bliss when you bring you pup home for the first time. They are sure to be tired from such an exciting day. It is in the first week, especially with a young dog, that you may first ask that question, “did I make a mistake?”. No dog comes fully trained to your lifestyle. Even senior dogs need some adjusting and training to get them to where you need them to be. That perfect dog you saw hiking might have started their new home with a bang: breaking into the trash, or chewing your favorite shirt to pieces. Just know that you are not alone. Every dog owner has gone through this phase, and sometimes, this phase can last longer or shorter than others. Adopting a puppy is not too unlike having a toddler running around. You must always have an eye on them and ‘quiet’ is the most terrifying noise. In some rare cases the dog you adopted may not be the right fit. More and more we have out of state rescues or fosters rehoming dogs in state. Although this can work wonderfully in many instances, sometimes you find the description or attributes of a dog may not be what they seem. In these situations, it is best to be honest and open with your rescue to make sure the dog gets what is best for them. Meeting a dog in person before deciding to adopt may be a good option for first time dog owners, or if you have a full household to begin with: cats, other dogs, kids.

Training ClassesIMG_0165

All rescues, veterinarians, and breeders will recommend some type of training class for your new dog. Besides the obvious obedience skills they can learn there, they will obtain much needed socialization with other dogs and humans. There are many levels of training classes and facilities to choose from. Talk to your family veterinarian about the best options for your dog.

It’s only been a month?

It may start to feel like you are getting gray hairs and it has been an eternity since making the major life decision to adopt. There is no straight answer or mathematical formula to tell you when it will get easier, or when your dog will be trotting beside you keeping you in their sights, ready to obey every single word you utter. For me, it was two years.

The Reward

IMG_0498Luka came to me at 4 months old from a rescue. He did actually tear apart my favorite shirt, shred a photograph print I had developed, and chewed through my MacBook power cord. We attended two obedience classes and I chose to crate train him for his safety. That in itself was extremely hard in the beginning as he cried for a solid 20 minutes after I left. I would sit on the steps outside listening to him, heartbroken, but knowing this was the safest way for me to leave him. Then all the sudden, it got better. Several months in he seemed to not mind his crate, and sauntered in there on his own. At two years of age I decided I could trust him and gave him free range of the bedroom while I went to work (making sure everything was cleaned up and no cords were in his reach of course). IMG_0505Today Luka is 8 years old and we share a bond stronger than I ever thought possible with a pet. I can feel when he is anxious or upset and he can do the same for me. He has free range of my home and knows our schedule better than I do. I am happy to say that WE are that duo hiking in the woods and kayaking down a river, making it look easy, but I promise you, it was not always so- and still has it's moments. It will be hard and at times you will think this lifestyle change was a mistake or you can’t do it. Reach out to your veterinarian when you are feeling overwhelmed. They are there to care for you and your pet in any circumstance and they may have the piece of advice you need. Besides the constant training, your dog just needs you. Give them the time and attention and let them adjust to your life as you are adjusting to them. Giving your time and home to a pet is, in my opinion, one of the best things we can do in our lifetime. The hard work and effort does not go unrewarded. Good luck and enjoy.
  IMG_0346   Lauren and Luka. Luka, a German Wire-haired Pointer mix, was adopted from Dixie Pet Underground Rescue in 2010. [post_title] => Adopting a Dog: Did I Make a Mistake? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => adopting-a-dog-did-i-make-a-mistake [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-20 16:05:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-20 20:05:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10275 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10240 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2018-07-20 10:08:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-20 14:08:45 [post_content] => This time of year has always been difficult for my family. Between the thunderstorms, fireworks, and parades, we have a hard time keeping our household calm. We have four beloved dogs that are all sensitive to loud noises and popping sounds. Each one of them has a varying degree of terror and anxiety associated with these events and we have worked tirelessly to find solutions. Fear of loud noises is common in dogs, but there are solutions that pet owners can try to help them feel more calm and safe. Like most dog parents, we have tried everything. Here’s what works for each of our fur kids!  

Sebastian

SebastianAge: 13 years Breed: PeekaChi Fear: Thunderstorms Reaction: Crying, howling, pacing, panting, shaking, self-injury (chewing on leg/paw) His best solution: Close cuddles and white noise Sebastian (a.k.a Sebi) is severely stressed by upcoming thunderstorms. His anxiety reaches its peak right before the storm arrives and once the lightning and thunder commence, he is nearly inconsolable. We have found that closely cuddling him and turning on white noise (box fan and a nature audio selection) provide him with some comfort. He also has a history of self-injury which has included chewing his leg/paw to the point of drawing blood. If your pet has anxiety that results in self-injury, consult your veterinarian for a possible pharmaceutical solution. We had to bring Sebi to the ER several years ago for the self-injury and we were provided with several non-habit-forming options for pharmaceutical stress management. With time, Sebi has thankfully ceased the self-injury behavior, but some pets will continue this extreme stress reaction so it’s best to monitor your pets closely.  

Smeagol

SmeagolAge: 5 years Breed: Chihuahua x Rat Terrier x Dachshund Fear: Fireworks (especially poppers) Reaction:  Shaking, hiding, whimpering His best solution: Blanket wrapping, a dark room, and white noise Smeagol has always been a bit of a worry-wart. He most notably has difficulty handling popping noises and fireworks. He has a habit of running to hide in very inconvenient places and so he is a flight risk if a door should open. We have found that providing a dark room with white noise (he likes crickets and nature sounds) and wrapping him in his favorite blanket are his best solution. Sometimes pets feel insecure during these times, especially if they feel they can’t protect their owners. Providing security with things like blankets and distracting noises to cancel out the loud noises help them feel more safe and protected.  

Miss Piggy

Miss PiggyAge: 5 years Breed: English Bulldog Fears: Everything out of the ordinary Reaction: Fear aggression, excessive barking, biting at the air Her best solution: Her bathroom safe spot and a distraction toy Miss Piggy has always been very fear aggressive, but loud unexpected noises really turn her into a monster. She is a completely different dog when she is dealing with loud noises of any kind. We noticed that she often ventured into the bathroom during thunderstorms specifically and this became her safe spot. Now for all loud events, we make sure her cozy spot is prepared; this includes her favorite blanket and her beloved “boney”. We place peanut butter and her favorite cookies in the boney so she has something to occupy her mind during the events. Once she is settled in her cozy spot, she goes back to her normal loving self. We have been lucky that her fear aggression is not directed toward us or the other pets, but if your pet should ever develop aggression towards you or your family (including pets!) please consult your veterinarian for advice.  

CoCo Bean

CoCo BeanAge: 5 years Breed: Longhaired miniature dachshund Fears: None – she believes she’s invincible Reaction: CoCo feeds off the stress of our other dogs and becomes an antagonist CoCo Bean is a fearless pup. She may be small, but she is mighty and the smallest one of our crew fears the least. Like many dachshunds, she feels she is totally immune to all happenings around her. This becomes problematic for our family during the storms, fireworks, and parades because she often turns into a bully. Our solution for this behavior is to separate her from the other dogs while ensuring that she thinks she made that decision. We often allow her the option to spend time on the porch, which she never turns down, and this provides the distance between her and the others that we need during times like these.   I hope this glimpse into our family has been helpful, but remember - every family is different, and every pet is different. Please always consult your veterinarian if you have questions before starting a new routine. If you feel your pet may need pharmaceutical intervention, please write a detailed list of your pet’s reactions during specific events so that the doctor may provide you with the most complete option for you and your family. The Portillo Pups [post_title] => Did You Hear That!? How to Help Your Pets Feel Calm During Loud Noises [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => did-you-hear-that-how-to-help-your-pets-feel-calm-during-loud-noises [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-20 10:09:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-20 14:09:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10240 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10217 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2018-07-20 08:33:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-20 12:33:25 [post_content] => Let’s face it: cats are weird. Or at least, cats do weird things. From the noises they make, to the risks that they take, to the stuff that they break – they never fail to keep us entertained. But not everything cats do is senseless. In fact, most of the strange things they do can be explained, or at least theorized, based on behavioral norms and instinctual patterns dating back to their wild days. Because cats were domesticated at least 5,000 years after dogs, we see a lot of these behaviors still shining through in everyday life. They may be neurotic, proud, bipolar, and independent, but they’re also beautiful, intelligent, loving, and to me, they’re just purrfect. Here are some of those weird things cats do explained:  

1. What Was That Noise?

What: Cute meows, long and sorrowful howls, and playful chirrups; there’s a different noise for every occasion. And if you’re familiar with Maine Coons, you know the true meaning of a chatterbox! IMG_0696 Why: Cats possess one of the widest ranges of vocalizations in domestic pets. The classic “meow” is used mostly to communicate with humans to let us know when they need something or if they’re lonely or ill. The “chatter” or “chirp” are often used when a cat’s predatory excitement gets the best of him/her while bird watching or bug hunting. A long, drawn-out “yowl” can indicate worry, discomfort, or just boredom. We love it because: This is how our cats try to talk to us, and we all know communication is key in any good relationship.  

2. Professional Mind Changers

What: We’ve all been there. One minute you’re petting your cat and everything is fine. Completely normal. Then suddenly four sets of claws and matching teeth are sinking into your arm. So why do cats bite the hand they love? IMG_0694 Why: It has been theorized that cats suddenly turn on you for a few different reasons. One may be that cats seek to control the situation. Another is that there is some neurological stimulation caused by being pet for too long. There’s also the idea that we just don’t read our cats very well and so when they no longer want attention, their change in attitude appears to be more sudden than it actually was. In some cases, increased aggression can also mean lack of exercise or something going on internally that’s making your cat uncomfortable. We love it because: You get to explain to everyone why your arm looks like you battled Edward Scissor Hands, which is always answered with “that’s why I’m a dog person.”  

3. The Look

What: You haven’t felt true fear until you’ve looked over the side of your bed and you see the enlarged pupils of a wiggling cat that’s about to attack. black and white cat with white mustache Why: Thankfully, cats usually do this as a form of play and attention; they’re not actually trying to hunt and kill you. Phew. Sometimes they even learn from your reaction, so when you cry out and chase after them they think it’s even more fun! This is just normal behavior that they are used to from playing with fellow cats. We love it because: It’s like a fun, though dangerous, game.  

4. “Oops, did I do that?”

What: It’s that infamous moment you hear something gently scraping across a surface as your cat paws it across the table, and then KURPLUNK onto the floor. And your cat just looks down at it with an un-guilty look of satisfaction. IMG_0537 Why: Your cat isn’t just being a jerk. I know I know, that’s hard to believe. One possibility for this behavior is that they instinctually use their paws to explore objects and feel things out, especially while hunting. Furthermore, just like when they pounce on you they learn from your reaction and they realize that knocking stuff over gets their owner’s attention (even if it’s not positive attention.) Sometimes, though, they may just do it for fun. We love it because: It’s really quite funny to watch, unless something breaks. Then it’s only funny later.  

5. Begging Like a Dog

What: Turns out, cats can be beggars too and they would prefer if you would share that slice of pizza with them, please. IMG_0697 Why: This has been found to simply be a bad habit. Once a cat gets a taste of human food, they will sometimes go to great lengths to get some more. This can be very bad, as an average 10-pound cat eating just one ounce of cheese is the caloric equivalent to a human eating 2 ½ hamburgers! Yikes! Moral of the story: don’t start feeding your kitty table scraps. You won’t have to stop what you never start! We love it because: For a moment, your cat becomes really interested in you!  

6. The Midnight Crazies

What: An eruption of sheer madness and utter chaos across your entire living space. In the wee hours of the morning, your cat has decided to rampage through the house whilst yowling at every stop. May include: tipping stuff over, scratching things they’re not supposed to, and trampling your face. Lucky you. IMG_7124 copy Why: Nocturnal hyperactivity can be caused by too much energy buildup without appropriate release. Since much of the day is spent snoozing and they’re already instinctually hardwired to hunt prey at night, the result is the midnight crazies. So play with your cat before bedtime! We love it because: We don’t.  

7. On This Episode of Hoarders

What: Do your bobby pins and hair ties mysteriously go missing? Have you ever lifted something up and there’s a little stash of cat toys and various other junk underneath it? Or perhaps there’s cat toys suddenly appearing in their water dishes or in your shoes? Welcome to cat hoarding 101! IMG_8269 Why: Gathering and stashing is not something cats are known for in the wild. So, it has been thought that domestic cats collect and hide things because it simulates bringing food back to the home base to eat in peace and safety after hunting and capturing it. Others have suggested it goes back to their days of tending to their young, where even though that is not the role of the male cat they still learn and know how to do it. We love it because: Once you find their “spot”, you’ll know where to go to find all your missing stuff! Plus, you never know what you’re going to find!  

8. Sitting on Things

What: Got a nice sheet of paper lying around? Perfect place to sit. An empty cardboard box? Even better. Trying to do some work on your laptop? I don’t think so, I’ll just sit right on your keyboard thank you! IMG_0521 Why: Cats like to sit on things, especially if you’re using it. One explanation is that cats are extremely scent-driven and if the object smells like you it makes them happy (aw cute, huh?) They also may do it as territorial behavior, where rubbing or laying on something transfers their pheromones to establish ownership. Another theory is that it has to do with their body temperature and they’re just trying to find a warm place to sit. And again, they may just want attention. We love it because: It is an awfully cute distraction, though not the best excuse to tell your boss.   And there you have it! Do you feel at least a little more confident that your cat isn’t a disturbed, crazy, evil genius now? [post_title] => The Weird Things My Cat Does: Explained [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-weird-things-my-cat-does-explained [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-20 08:33:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-20 12:33:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10217 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10183 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2018-07-13 12:47:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-13 16:47:12 [post_content] => One of the most harrowing experiences a pet-parent can face is waiting in the lobby of a veterinary emergency hospital. Every day, we see folks on some of the worst days they’ve had and can understand the toll it takes on a person. The waiting game can be frustrating, and in the event of a pet emergency it's unlikely you had time to grab your favorite novel or book of puzzles to keep your mind busy. With the tips and tricks below, we hope that your experience waiting for your precious pet while in the ER becomes a bit more tolerable.  

Tip #1: Friends & Family Support

hands_JP Call friends or family members for support. A half-hour can feel like an eternity while waiting for your beloved to have a diagnostic test or exam performed; talking with people you love can make this wait feel like less of a burden. No one should have to go through an experience like a Vet ER alone so we highly recommend reaching out.  

Tip #2: Social Media Support

646224594 Log into your social media and ask for support from your online communities – this is often a great way to build the support system you may need. There are countless online communities with members that are eager to shower you with support and comfort in your time of need. Talking with people who have gone through the same or similar situations can make you feel better, and give you an idea of what’s to come.  

Tip #3: Keep the Kids Busy

Tabby kitten on table with pencils If you have small children with you, we all know things become more complicated. Most of our Ethos hospitals have dedicated children’s books and toys to occupy those active minds. Even when times get pretty scary, asking our client service team for crayons and a coloring book can be just what your little one needs to make it through the wait.  

Tip #4: Get Some Air

Image-3 2 Get some fresh air. Nature is inherently soothing and relaxing so getting outside to take a short walk down our tree-lined street may be just what you need to ease your nerves. There’s even a small walking path through a wooded area in our immediate vicinity that we would be happy to direct you to if you want to be immersed in nature.  

Tip #5: Food, Drinks, & Television

IMG_8430 After your walk outside, you may want to rest in our comfortable television room where you have easy access to our coffee machine and tea station. We know that more serious cases may take some extra time so additional caffeine might be just what you need to stay alert. We have extended cable access at Boston West and invite you to watch some of your favorite programs, although we know Animal Planet is almost always the number one choice. At our other Ethos hospitals, we have similar setups with coffee stations, snacks, and quiet areas with TVs to keep your mind off of your stress and waiting.     These tips are meant to provide you with ideas to utilize during your visit with us. We know that emergencies can be very difficult to handle both emotionally and physically. If there is anything that we can do for you, please ask. We are a family of pet-parents here at Boston West and our other hospitals and we know what you’re going through. Our caring team of animal lovers will be happy to assist you with anything you need. Take a deep breath, we’re here for you. [post_title] => 5 Tips for the Waiting Room of a Veterinary Emergency Hospital [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-for-the-waiting-room-of-a-veterinary-emergency-hospital [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-13 12:49:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-13 16:49:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10183 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10156 [post_author] => 26 [post_date] => 2018-07-12 10:00:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-12 14:00:11 [post_content] => Planning a weekend trip to Cape Cod? Good news! You don’t have to leave your pet behind. We’ve designed the perfect mid-Cape (Barnstable, Hyannis, Dennis and Yarmouth) day for you and your pooch to enjoy. Just picture this:

Accommodations

After a beautiful drive through Barnstable you arrive at the homey Lamb and Lion Inn, where you’ve managed to secure one of the three available pet-friendly rooms. You head to your room and find pet sheets, towels, and water bowls are available free of charge. After unpacking, you decide to head out and explore the area.  

Activities

Barnstable is home to a number of outdoor activities, the front desk explains. You settle on the well-known Sandy Neck Beach, just a fifteen minute drive from the inn. As you drive through the gate the attendant explains that during the summer season, dogs are only allowed on the Off Road Vehicle Beach. You’re happy to learn, however, that there is also hiking trail-The Great Marsh Hiking Trail-where dogs are also allowed.  After spending the day relaxing on the beach and hiking the trails, it’s time for dinner.

Dinner

After packing up the car you set out for the Sesuit Harbor Cafe, a quaint, mainly seafood restaurant featuring outdoor seating that overlooks the marina and is open to dogs.  You enjoy your meal as the sun goes down, then head back to the inn for a well deserved sleep.  

More Resources for Dog-Friendly Hotels, Activities, and Vet Care

Hyannis

Marston Family Bed and Breakfast - both dogs and cats are allowed at a charge of $10/day/pet and a $50 damage deposit.  All pets must be on flea preventative. 508-775-3334  |  70 Marston Ave. Box 458, Hyannis Port Simmons Homestead Inn - pets of any kind, except cats, are allowed at a $25 charge. Dogs of any size are allowed, and you may bring more than one. All dogs must be on flea and tick medication. 508-778-4999  |  288 Scudder Ave., Hyannis Cape Cod Beer - on the second Tuesday of each month from 4-6 p.m., the brewery holds a “Yappy Hour”, a social hour for dogs and their owners. 508-790-4200  |  1336 Phinneys Lane, Hyannis Schooner’s Restaurant 508-779-7588  |  372 Main St., Hyannis Barnstable Animal Hospital - Emergency and Critical Care & grooming 508-779-6555  |  157 Airport Rd., Hyannis  

Dennis

Glendon Beach Cottages 781-608-2463  |  91 Glendon Rd., Dennisport Kingfisher Lodging - pet-friendly for a one-time charge of $30 and complimentary food/water bowls are available. 508-385-5883  |  177 Main St. Rt. 6A, Dennis Cape Cod Rail Trail - the Rail Trail is busy with bikers during the summer season, so be careful to avoid collisions. Chapin Beach Conservation Area - the beach does not allow dogs during the summer season, but the conservation area is open year round to leashed dogs and a beach parking sticker is required during summer hours. Crowe’s Pasture Conservation Area and Beach - dogs must be on a leash at all times. Fresh Pond Dog Park Indian Lands Conservation Area - there is privately owned land to the left of the power lines, so be sure to stay on the marked paths. *Information about locating each of these areas can be found at http://www.town.dennis.ma.us/Pages/DennisMA_AnimalControl/ Dennis Veterinary Hospital - Emergency and Critical Care, boarding for cats, grooming 508-385-8323  |  425 Main St., Dennis Port

 

Yarmouth

Blue Rock Resort 844-611-8936  |  39 Todd Rd., South Yarmouth Blue Water on the Ocean 855-488-3520  |  291 South Shore Dr., South Yarmouth Yarmouth Country Cabins 617-640-3054  |  878 Rt. 28, South Yarmouth Historical Society of Old Yarmouth Trail - dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. *Trail guides can be found at http://www.hsoy.org/home-page-1-2-3/ Yarmouth Dog Park Dairy Queen 508-394-9535  |  917 Rt. 28, South Yarmouth Hyannis Animal Hospital Inc. - Emergency and Critical Care 508-775-4521  |   102 Ansel Hallet Rd., West Yarmouth  

Barnstable

Bridge Creek Conservation Area  Crocker Neck Conservation Area Hathaways Pond Conservation Area Long Pond Nature Trail Old Jail Lane Conservation Area Otis Atwood Conservation Area Santuit Trail Reserve West Barnstable Conservation Area Whelan Conservation Area *Trail guides are available for all of the aforementioned locations at http://www.townofbarnstable.us/Conservation/TrailGuides/  Cape Cod Animal Hospital - Emergency and Critical Care 508-428-6393  |  1415 Osterville West Barnstable Rd., West Barnstable   [post_title] => Take a Trip to Pet-Friendly Cape Cod [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => take-a-trip-to-pet-friendly-cape-cod [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-13 09:38:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-13 13:38:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10156 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10125 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2018-06-29 15:04:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-29 19:04:23 [post_content] => We’ve all been there. You walk in the room and your cat is chewing up the last bits of something stringy. Or your dog steals something off the floor and by the time you catch him and pry his mouth open it’s gone. Either at home or at the local park, our pets really enjoy checking things out and eating them if they get the chance. It doesn’t matter if it’s appetizing or not, and I’m sure most times it isn’t. Sometimes pets think it’s great to “just” get a taste of whatever they can find! Any seasoned emergency veterinarian or internist will have endless stories of weird things dogs and cats have eaten and had to be removed: socks, underwear, acorns, rocks, hair ties, coins, bones, pine cones and much more. It’s more common than you may think. Emergency clinics see pets that have eaten things they shouldn’t all the time. As a veterinarian, we need to find out what it was, how long ago it happened, and can it come out without doing damage. Foreign bodies should be taken seriously and must be acted on quickly.  

Can’t You Just Make Them Vomit It Up?

The answer is sometimes – among other factors, it depends on what it is, if it has sharp edges, if it is caustic (corrosive) and just how many foreign bodies we’re dealing with. Another important question is if you witnessed the foreign body ingestion or if you just suspect it.  

Imaging is Needed

To get more information on the possible foreign body, imaging is needed. Abdominal (belly) x-rays are usually the first step and in some cases the only necessary imaging needed. However, in other cases, a combination of x-rays and ultrasound imaging is needed to get information on how to adequately manage the case. [gallery ids="10127,10128"] Ultimately, we’re trying to find out if a foreign body is present, what its location is within the animal, and what the chances of it passing without causing a problem are. These factors (and others) will determine if emesis (the act of vomiting) is an appropriate next step or if endoscopy and/or surgery are needed.  

Endoscopy vs. Surgery

As a rule of thumb, if the foreign material is past the stomach then endoscopy is not an option and surgery is needed if concerns for intestinal obstruction exist. Below is an x-ray image of a sock in a large breed dog's small intestine which required surgery:   It’s also important to know that not all foreign bodies/material are amenable to endoscopic removal despite being in the stomach. It’s not common but it can happen that we’ll start with endoscopy (as it is less invasive) and end up needing to move to surgery if we see that removal is not possible. If foreign bodies get stuck in the pylorus (exit point from stomach into small intestine), surgery is needed because they can create an obstruction in the small intestine. Check out these examples of gastric (stomach) foreign bodies and their imaging: [gallery ids="10134,10135,10136,10137,10138,10139"]

Prevention is Key

The goal is to always have patients seen as soon as possible after ingestion. This way, the chances of the foreign material still being in the stomach are higher. This can lead to less invasive ways of removal (if possible), meaning your furry friend can go home sooner and with less complications. Additionally, any dog or cat with an intestinal obstruction can have life threatening complications. Unfortunately, if we are unaware that our pets ate something they shouldn’t have, clinical signs might not show up until their gastrointestinal tract is obstructed. Prevention is the way to go!   [post_title] => Going, Going, Gone: When Your Pet Eats Something They Shouldn’t [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => going-going-gone-when-your-pet-eats-something-heshe-shouldnt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-02 10:55:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-02 14:55:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10125 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10079 [post_author] => 26 [post_date] => 2018-06-08 13:41:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-08 17:41:07 [post_content] => With its legalization, marijuana use has become a more frequently discussed topic amongst the veterinary community.  There are potential health benefits, but little has been proven or even studied for use in animals in the veterinary industry. When ingested by pets, marijuana can cause some concerning symptoms. Pet owners should be vigilant of possible instances of exposure, and always express their suspicions with their veterinarian if they suspect ingestion. Support and treatment can be administered much quicker if the doctor knows the cause of a patient's symptoms.

What’s the buzz with marijuana?

Marijuana and hemp are the two most common products of the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana is derived from the leaves and flowers of the plant, whereas hemp comes from the seeds and fibrous stalks. The major difference between marijuana and hemp is the concentration of chemicals called cannabinoids within each product. Although there are many chemical compounds within the cannabis plant, THC and CBD are the cannabinoids that are most studied. In human and animal bodies, there are 2 main receptors for cannabinoids called CB1 and CB2. When stimulated, the CB1 receptors in the brain alter body posture, muscle control, and the sensations of hunger, memory and fear. Compared to humans, dogs have a higher concentration of receptors in the brain in areas that control body posture and balance or coordination. THC and CBD bind the receptors differently, leading to diverse effects within the body. Typically, it is THC that causes the classic psychoactive symptoms of marijuana exposure (“the munchies,” incoordination, the “high” feeling, etc.) CBD, on the other hand, works by different mechanisms and causes more medicinal marijuana effects (pain relief, anti-anxiety, anti-oxidant, etc.) The concentrations of THC and CBD can be altered in cultivated cannabis plants so that the desired effects can be maximized. By definition, hemp products contain a higher concentration of CBD compared to THC. Legally, hemp cannot contain more that 0.3% THC concentration. Alternatively, marijuana products have a higher concentration of THC compared to CBD, though the ratio varies. Marijuana may contain up to 25% THC. Synthetic cannabinoid products also contain variable levels of THC and CBD, often in much higher concentrations than plant-derived products.

What are the benefits of marijuana?

Proven Health Benefits in Humans:

Medical marijuana has many proven and suspected benefits in humans. These may include, but are not limited to: Routes of administration can include capsules, edibles, inhalation of smoke or vapors, mucosal sprays, and liquids. Currently, there are no FDA-approved plant-based cannabinoid products in the United States, though several are in the process of testing for approval. There are three synthetic cannabis (THC) products that have been approved by the FDA for specific uses in humans. Cannabis products are all labelled as controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Naturally-derived THC products are classified as Class I drugs, along with heroin and LSD, which are considered the most dangerous substances by the DEA. Human medical doctors practicing in states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana are not permitted to prescribe or dispense natural THC products, but they may recommend or offer a referral to a medicinal marijuana program or dispensary. Despite individual state laws regarding natural marijuana use, the Federal government does NOT recognize legal marijuana use and the Department of Justice is legally able to pursue prosecution in any state. As of writing, there are no legal provisions for veterinarians regarding the use, discussion, or recommendation of cannabis products of any kind.

Potential Health Benefits in Pets:

As in people, there is interest in cannabis products for medical uses in companion animals. Some reported benefits may include: [caption id="attachment_10082" align="alignright" width="269"] AP Photo/David Zalubowski[/caption] A recent safety study of a CBD product intended for seizure control in dogs was complete, showing measurable blood levels of CBD and an acceptable safety profile. Several clinical studies are currently underway at Colorado State University for dogs with seizure disorders and arthritis. A recent pilot study at Cornell, that has not yet been published, evaluated a specific CBD oil product for the management of arthritis pain in dogs.  In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, dogs treated with CBD oil showed improvement in their pain and mobility scores.  An elevation in liver values was documented.  The authors are clear in stating that more research needs to be done to determine the usefulness and safety of CBD in dogs and cats.  Despite lack of scientific evidence, there is likely value in cannabis products, specifically CBD, in the management of a number of veterinary disease processes. The most important aspect of intentional marijuana use in dogs is that CBD is considerably safer compared to THC, but many products intended for humans have high concentrations of THC. If choosing to treat a pet with cannabis, it’s strongly recommended to pick a product that discloses the concentration of CBD and is intended for animals rather than people. As of yet, there are no studies that determine the proper dose or frequency of any cannabis-product for treatment of any particular condition. Until we have more supportive literature, veterinarians can’t effectively guide therapy with cannabis products.

Marijuana Toxicosis

Accidental or intentional exposure to marijuana products high in THC can have serious adverse effects in dogs. Compared to people, dogs show symptoms of toxicity even with relatively low doses of THC. Symptoms of marijuana (THC) toxicosis in dogs can include: Affected dogs may also be hyperreactive to sounds and being touched or restrained. Severe symptoms can mimic much more serious neurologic diseases, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Although most cases are mild and self-limiting, higher doses lead to more severe symptoms and deaths have been reported after ingestion of very large amounts of THC-containing oils or butters (ex. brownies or cookies). Since chocolate is commonly used as a flavoring in marijuana edibles, dogs are at risk for both THC and chocolate poisoning after ingestion. Synthetic marijuana drugs or medications are likely the most dangerous to animals because of the high concentration of THC.

What do you do if your pet has been exposed?

If an animal is known or suspected to be exposed to THC-containing products, immediate veterinary attention is recommended. It’s very important to be honest with the veterinary team evaluating your pet. Since marijuana toxicosis can mimic very serious neurologic diseases, it’s possible that costly tests and a poor prognosis would be discussed, unless an owner is honest about the possibility of exposure. The diagnosis of marijuana toxicosis is usually based on owner-reported exposure, symptoms, and clinical suspicion. There are urinary drug tests that may be accurate in dogs, but differences in drug metabolism in dogs compared to people can lead to falsely negative results. Treatment of marijuana toxicosis is usually supportive care with fluids and, if indicated, antinausea medication. Sometimes treatment with an IV lipid emulsion can help reduce the severity of symptoms and hasten recovery. Most dogs admitted to the hospital for care are fully recovered within 24 hours of exposure.   In summary, while there is potential for medicinal use of marijuana in animal patients, it is a possibility that requires further exploration.  There have been multiple instances of marijuana-induced harm in animals, and thus pet owners should be careful to avoid any accidental exposure.  If your pet is exposed, it is recommended that you seek veterinary help immediately.   [post_title] => Marijuana and Pets [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => marijuana-and-pets [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-22 13:30:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-22 17:30:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10079 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10060 [post_author] => 21 [post_date] => 2018-06-06 12:54:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-06 16:54:34 [post_content] => It’s that time of year again, the weather is warmer and the trees are blooming.  It’s also the time of year where we encounter young wildlife.

What do I do if I find a baby bird?baby-bird_eric-schmuttenmaer-660x441

Baby birds (fledglings) are learning to fly. They will often leap from the nest and fall to the ground. It sounds scary, but this is their way of learning.  If you see a baby bird on the ground and it has feathers, leave it where it is. Don’t worry, mama and papa bird are around and watching. Wait a couple of hours. If the bird is still on the ground, or if it does not have any feathers yet, you can pick it up and put it back in it’s nest (if it is visible and if you are able to safely reach it). Contrary to popular belief, your smell will not cause the parents to shun the baby bird. If it’s been a few hours, there is no sign of the parents, and you can not find the nest, you should call a local wild life rehabilitator prior to bringing it to a wildlife center.

What do I do if I find a baby bunny nest?Rabbit Outside on Grass

Rabbits often build their nests into the ground. It is usually covered by grass or brush. If you accidentally uncover one, just cover them back up and leave the site. Rabbits tend to their young around dusk and dawn.  They do not live in the nest with their young.  They do this to try and keep predators away from finding their young.

What do I do if I find a baby bunny alone?

Leave it where it is! Mom is always around. Often times the mother rabbit is moving her young to a new nest, but she can only do this one bunny at a time. She will be back. If she sees you hovering around, she will wait until you are gone.

Can I feed wild geese and ducks?

Ideally, you would not feed the local wildlife.  Young geese and ducks are learning to forage. If they have a constant supply of food during the nice weather, they will not learn the skills they need to survive during the colder months when people are not around to supply them with food.  Breads and potato chips are empty calories and will not provide the nutrients necessary for a sustainable life, especially during a young water fowl’s development. Young birds grow at an exponential rate (especially compared to humans).  Each meal for them is an important one. An inappropriate diet for young or adult birds can lead to a condition known as “Angel Wing” where the wing does not lie properly against the body. This prohibits the birds from flying. As you probably know, flying is essential for foraging, avoiding predators, avoiding cars/traffic, but also migration.

How can I contact a wildlife rehabilitation facility if I have questions?

Please refer to the Mass.gov website for a directory of rehabilitators near you.    [post_title] => Encountering Young Wildlife [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => encountering-young-wildlife [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-06 13:16:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-06 17:16:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10060 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10049 [post_author] => 21 [post_date] => 2018-06-01 10:54:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-01 14:54:09 [post_content] => Rodents, rats in particular, are becoming a popular pet option for pet-parents looking for an interesting addition to their families. Rats have always had a strong presence in our household and we have rescued many over the years. New rat-parents often feel intimidated by the many health and husbandry differences that these pets require in comparison to a cat or ferret. It is important to understand the basic needs for these pets before bringing them into your home. Having the proper knowledge and items for your new family member will make their homecoming a happy and stress-free experience for you both.

Housing Options

There are many housing options available for the new critters. I am a strong proponent of multi-level condo style housing units. These spacious designs allow for rats to be themselves while providing a secure environment away from area hazards. Although they can be a bit on the pricey side when compared to single-level options, they offer rats a home that encourages their natural climbing and foraging behavior.

Bedding

Another topic of discussion when it comes to providing a safe home for your rats is the type of bedding you choose. Looking for a low-dust bedding is incredibly important as rats can develop eye irritation if a bedding produces too much dust. A wonderful option would be a low-dust paper pulp product like CareFresh. This product also allows your rats to forage naturally and manipulate their environment in a safe way.

DietUnknown-2

When it comes to the appropriate feed for your pet rats, there are dozens of commercially available brands. Always be sure to seek out feed that is filled with nutrition and not simply mixed seeds and artificially colored kibble. Although the more colorful feed may be attractive, it is not as nutritionally complete as other food options. If ever in doubt, contacting your veterinarian for recommendations is an excellent first step in picking a diet. It is a great idea to supplement your rat's diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. My rats go bananas for apples and carrots as well as various nuts like almonds and cashews. High fat items like nuts and seeds should be given sparingly as they can cause rapid weight gain in rats. Although these items are delicious and nutritious, it is important to keep your rats weight in a healthy range to avoid obesity related diseases and conditions.

Exercise and SocializationUnknown-3

Active rats are happy rats. Lots of activity and play can help your rats maintain a healthy weight and a healthy mind. It is crucial for rats to have playtime outside of their primary enclosure. I like to utilize a spare bedroom to allow for safe play in a controlled environment. Always rat-proof your play area before allowing your pets to roam freely. They have an affinity for chewing things, including wires, so be cautious of the risk of electrocution. I love to use play-time as an opportunity to clean their primary enclosure.

Grooming and Husbandry

Grooming

As far as routine bathing for your rats, each rat is different and will require a personalized care routine. My rats enjoy regular baths and they use this time to swim and play with each other. The safest way to bathe your rats: You will be amazed with how much fun they can have in the water!

Husbandry

As for keeping their homes clean, most cages or condos will require weekly or bi-weekly cleaning. This should consist of a full bedding change as well as sanitation of surfaces with mild soap and warm water. Avoid harsh cleansers as they can irritate your rats skin and eyes.

Veterinary Care

Primary veterinary care for rats is recommended. Once to twice yearly visits can help you ensure that your pet is in tip-top shape. These visits can also help catch early signs of disease and may help you make dietary or activity based adjustments to give your rats years of healthy/happy life.

 Enjoy

There are tons of resources available online for pet-parents considering rats. Remember, we are always available to answer any questions you may have. Enjoy your new family member!       [post_title] => So, You're Thinking of Adopting a Rat [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => so-youre-thinking-of-adopting-a-rat [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-01 10:54:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-01 14:54:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10049 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10018 [post_author] => 21 [post_date] => 2018-05-18 13:54:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-18 17:54:54 [post_content] => Medical conditions affecting the eye are common in companion animals, especially in middle-aged and geriatric pets. Recognizing the symptoms of ophthalmic disease and seeking treatment early on can help avoid potentially blinding complications of some of the most common eye diseases. Maintaining your pet’s ocular health is an important part of their overall health and quality of life.

Is my pet at risk for ophthalmic problems?iStock_000012054214Medium

Although eye problems can arise in any breed of dog or cat at any age, ocular disease is most common in certain subsets of individuals. Those among the highest risk are brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds. Prominent eyes and lower sensitivity of the cornea (the surface of the eye) in these breeds predisposes them to ocular injury. Additionally, ocular injuries in these breeds can progress more quickly to potentially vision-threatening complications compared to other breeds. In addition to brachycephalic breeds, geriatric pets generally have a higher incidence of eye problems compared to younger pets.

What are some of the most common eye diseases in companion animals?

In dogs, common ophthalmic problems include dry eye, corneal ulcers (scratches on the eye), cataracts, and glaucoma. In cats, feline herpesvirus commonly leads to recurrent conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers.

What are the symptoms of ophthalmic disease

Although there are a wide variety of conditions that can affect the eye, often the symptoms noted are very similar. anatomy-of-the-eye-veterinary-dog-canine-drawing-sketch-image-illustrationSome of the common symptoms of an ophthalmic problem are squinting and discomfort, redness, tearing or excessive discharge, cloudiness, or vision loss. Certain symptoms (e.g., sudden vision loss) should prompt you to bring your pet to a veterinarian for evaluation as soon as possible. Other symptoms (rubbing at the eye, increase in discharge from the eye) may indicate a mild self-limiting problem, however a veterinarian should evaluate your pet if these symptoms persist for more than 12-24 hours or if the symptoms are becoming progressively worse. Ultimately, while some ophthalmic conditions may not require specific treatment others may be serious and require aggressive therapy from the outset. If you notice any concerning symptoms with your pet’s eyes, contact your veterinarian to discuss the nature of the problem. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend that you bring your pet in for evaluation right away.

What is evaluated during an ophthalmic exam?

Your veterinarian will first evaluate your pet’s vision with a series of simple tests. Other routine diagnostic tests include measurement of tear production and measurement of the pressure inside the eye. Your vet will check for corneal ulcers (scratches on the eye) by applying fluorescein stain, a green dye that can help to identify the presence of a corneal ulcer. Your vet will also examine the inside of the eye to look for any evidence of problems such as inflammation or cataracts. Take a look at our video of an ophthalmology consult here. In most cases of common eye problems, diagnosis and treatment can be performed by your primary care veterinarian. In some cases of more severe disease or when the diagnosis is uncertain, your vet may recommend referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist. A vet ophthalmologist has received additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and is also able to perform specialized eye surgeries when necessary. [gallery ids="10020,10021,10019"]

What can I do to maintain the health of my pet’s eyes?

The most important factor in managing the health of your pet’s eyes is simply paying close attention to your pet so that any problems are identified in a timely manner. Especially in at risk patients (geriatric and brachycephalic patients), make regular note of the appearance of your pet’s eyes. This will help you to identify any changes that may prompt you to contact your veterinarian. In breeds with long hairs around the eyes or prominent skin folds on the face, maintaining periocular (around the eye) and facial hygiene can help to reduce the risk of ocular problems. Hairs near the eyes should be kept cut short if possible. Any discharge from the eyes should be cleaned on a regular basis. You can use a soft cloth and warm tap water to clean around your pets’ eyes. If you pet has problems with dermatitis (inflamed skin) around the eyes or face, speak with your veterinarian about what steps can be taken to treat the inflamed skin.Close up of unrecognizable vet putting medical drops into dog's eye. In flat-faced breeds with prominent eyes, regular once to twice daily (or more) use of artificial tear eyedrops can be used to give some added protection to the surface of the eyes and potentially reduce the risk of eye injury. Artificial tear gel drops are recommended since they are long-lasting and can be purchased over the counter or online without a prescription. If you have any concerns regarding your pet's eyes, it is always best to discuss your questions with you veterinarian. Jumping in front of any issue or disease is the best thing you can do for your pet. As always, we are always here and available if you need us. [caption id="attachment_9343" align="alignleft" width="150"]gervais web Dr. Kristen Gervais, DVM, Practice Limited to Diseases of the Eye[/caption]  

 Related posts:

Ophthalmology Consults and Your Pet

Cataracts in Poodles

  [post_title] => Your Pet’s Ocular Health [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => your-pets-ocular-health [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-18 14:16:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-18 18:16:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10018 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10275 [post_author] => 21 [post_date] => 2018-07-20 15:46:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-20 19:46:20 [post_content] => IMG_0497So, you are about to adopt a puppy or adult dog and give them a forever home. This decision to adopt will reward you in so many ways, but at times, may have you looking back and asking, “why did I do this again?”. Maybe you are new to pet ownership. You sat down on a bench at your local park or went for a weekend hike when you stumbled upon beautiful, well-behaved pups alongside their humans oozing a visible bond and adoration between the two. You think, “I want that”. And rightfully so! There is nothing quite like the bond you build with a pet. It truly fulfills your life and gives you an added family member you never knew you needed. However, the bond you build is just that, built from nothing. That picture-perfect dog and human duo you saw hiking probably had many months, if not years, of training and frustrating moments. Just know that this is completely normal! It is that hard work and training that creates the foundation of your happily ever after.

Is now the right time?

No one knows your lifestyle better than you. This is the time to look at your day to day schedule and determine if you have the time.IMG_0493
Do you have a yard?

Or the ability to go for walks daily? Every dog will have a different requirement for exercise, but all will need something. What can you provide?

What breed is right for you?

Although many rescue pups are mixes, their breeds can sometimes give us information on what kind of energy they will have and what type of lifestyle they need.

Do you have the savings?

We don’t like to think about worst case scenarios, but if there was an emergency with your new dog, could you manage the emergency veterinary bill? Have you done research on Pet Health Insurance. The small monthly payment for pet insurance is worth every penny when it gives you peace of mind and takes the financial stress away from the entire experience of adopting.

After you think everything through and decide that now is a perfect time, you can check your local shelters and rescues until you find your future best friend. Now the adventure begins.

It is going to be hardIMG_0499

There may be a short period of pure bliss when you bring you pup home for the first time. They are sure to be tired from such an exciting day. It is in the first week, especially with a young dog, that you may first ask that question, “did I make a mistake?”. No dog comes fully trained to your lifestyle. Even senior dogs need some adjusting and training to get them to where you need them to be. That perfect dog you saw hiking might have started their new home with a bang: breaking into the trash, or chewing your favorite shirt to pieces. Just know that you are not alone. Every dog owner has gone through this phase, and sometimes, this phase can last longer or shorter than others. Adopting a puppy is not too unlike having a toddler running around. You must always have an eye on them and ‘quiet’ is the most terrifying noise. In some rare cases the dog you adopted may not be the right fit. More and more we have out of state rescues or fosters rehoming dogs in state. Although this can work wonderfully in many instances, sometimes you find the description or attributes of a dog may not be what they seem. In these situations, it is best to be honest and open with your rescue to make sure the dog gets what is best for them. Meeting a dog in person before deciding to adopt may be a good option for first time dog owners, or if you have a full household to begin with: cats, other dogs, kids.

Training ClassesIMG_0165

All rescues, veterinarians, and breeders will recommend some type of training class for your new dog. Besides the obvious obedience skills they can learn there, they will obtain much needed socialization with other dogs and humans. There are many levels of training classes and facilities to choose from. Talk to your family veterinarian about the best options for your dog.

It’s only been a month?

It may start to feel like you are getting gray hairs and it has been an eternity since making the major life decision to adopt. There is no straight answer or mathematical formula to tell you when it will get easier, or when your dog will be trotting beside you keeping you in their sights, ready to obey every single word you utter. For me, it was two years.

The Reward

IMG_0498Luka came to me at 4 months old from a rescue. He did actually tear apart my favorite shirt, shred a photograph print I had developed, and chewed through my MacBook power cord. We attended two obedience classes and I chose to crate train him for his safety. That in itself was extremely hard in the beginning as he cried for a solid 20 minutes after I left. I would sit on the steps outside listening to him, heartbroken, but knowing this was the safest way for me to leave him. Then all the sudden, it got better. Several months in he seemed to not mind his crate, and sauntered in there on his own. At two years of age I decided I could trust him and gave him free range of the bedroom while I went to work (making sure everything was cleaned up and no cords were in his reach of course). IMG_0505Today Luka is 8 years old and we share a bond stronger than I ever thought possible with a pet. I can feel when he is anxious or upset and he can do the same for me. He has free range of my home and knows our schedule better than I do. I am happy to say that WE are that duo hiking in the woods and kayaking down a river, making it look easy, but I promise you, it was not always so- and still has it's moments. It will be hard and at times you will think this lifestyle change was a mistake or you can’t do it. Reach out to your veterinarian when you are feeling overwhelmed. They are there to care for you and your pet in any circumstance and they may have the piece of advice you need. Besides the constant training, your dog just needs you. Give them the time and attention and let them adjust to your life as you are adjusting to them. Giving your time and home to a pet is, in my opinion, one of the best things we can do in our lifetime. The hard work and effort does not go unrewarded. Good luck and enjoy.
  IMG_0346   Lauren and Luka. Luka, a German Wire-haired Pointer mix, was adopted from Dixie Pet Underground Rescue in 2010. [post_title] => Adopting a Dog: Did I Make a Mistake? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => adopting-a-dog-did-i-make-a-mistake [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-20 16:05:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-20 20:05:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.ivghospitals.com/?p=10275 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 203 [max_num_pages] => 21 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => 1 [is_404] => [is_comments_popup] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash] => c705482ffbbc342a74d13ded980089e1 [query_vars_changed] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => )