November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

posted on November 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Senior pets in shelters are the least likely to find homes, sometimes making them most likely to be euthanized in crowding situations.  Many people think that if an older pet is at the shelter, it means that they were problematic.  This is not the case however.  Many older pets belonged to households that had changes in them such as children, new jobs, moving, or an elderly person who is no longer able to care for them.  This month we take a look at why adopting a senior pet is such a great thing!

Adult dogs tend to have had some training.  Most have been through obedience classes, may already have been taught simple commands and tricks, and have had time to become socialized and acclimated to living with humans.  This often means most dogs are already house trained, meaning you don’t have to wake up every two hours all night like you would with a puppy!  It also means that these pets tend to be less destructive, and are less likely to chew your favorite pair of shoes.

That being said, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  In fact, older dogs tend to be more able to focus than young puppies, meaning they may actually pick up on new tricks easier.  They tend to be eager to please, and are grateful to be given a second chance.

You know what you are getting when you adopt an older pet.  There is no guessing what the hair color will be or how big the pet will get when they are already full grown.  It is possible to get pure bred senior pets as well-most breeds have their own specific rescue organizations if you are looking for a purebred pet.

Senior pets tend to be a little more relaxed than the energetic puppy or kitty.  They make good companions for elderly people or families that have a more sedentary lifestyle.  However, many still have plenty of spunk left to go for a walk or play ball!

Lastly, adopting a senior pet will fill your life with love and will make you a hero in your pets’ eyes.  They often seem to know that you gave them a second chance and spend the rest of their life showing you how thankful they are.  You can take pride in opening your house and heart for an otherwise less likely to find it’s forever home pet.  So the next time you are looking to add to your fur family, give those senior pets a second look!

National Puppy Day

posted on March 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

March 23rd is national puppy day, and this couldn’t be more fitting this year.  Dr. Hartman recently got a new springer spaniel puppy named Afton!

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Puppies bring a lot of joy to the family, but are also work as well!  A puppy should never be a spur of the moment decision, breeds and breeders should be researched, and lifestyle should be evaluated before bringing home a new pet.  Different breeds have different energy levels, grooming requirements, and personalities.  Care should be used to avoid adopting from a puppy mill and rescues should be considered.  Many states also keep records of breeding facilities that they inspect.

Puppies usually can only hold their bladder for about 1-2 hours when they first come home.  It gradually increases as they get bigger (a rule of thumb is 1 hour per month of age), but some dogs are not able to go 8 hours until adulthood!  It is important to consider your lifestyle and schedule for this reason.

Puppies also require frequent visits to the vet in the first year for a number of reasons including to get booster vaccines, check weights, to make sure they are growing appropriately, and to be spayed or neutered.  Adopting from a shelter may alter some of these visits, but there is still more upkeep for puppies than for adult pets.

Puppies also should be well socialized.  Puppy classes are recommended for all dogs, even if you’ve been through a class with a previous dog.  It is a good interaction for the dogs to meet other dogs and people, and it’s always good to use the latest, proven training methods such as positive reinforcement.  Outside of class, puppies need to be introduced to a variety of things-car rides, people of various ages and appearances, stores, other dogs, water, grooming, etc.  A rule of thumb is to introduce the puppy to something new every day!  One option for puppy classes is held right here at Heritage Animal Hospital by Julie Humiston of Puppy Love Dog Training.

Lastly, puppies tend to chew and bite a lot.  This is a normal behavior, but must be trained to be appropriate.  Teaching the puppy what is acceptable to chew on, which toys are theirs, and how not to bite/nip at humans is your responsibility.  In the meantime, the house must be “puppy proofed”, removing items that are potentially dangerous to the pet if they chew on them such as electric cords, toxic plants, and potential foreign objects that could be ingested and cause an obstruction.

Despite a few inevitable relatively sleepless nights, a few accidents in the house, and maybe even a shoe or two being destroyed, puppies are a source of unconditional love and are a great joy.  If you have questions prior to adopting a puppy, please contact us, we are happy to help!

Posted in: Canine Health