Although most of us love the pyrotechnics (the bigger the better!) on the 4th of July, most of our canine companions (and some of our feline ones, too) get anxious, stressed, and just plain terrified.
With training we can remedy or prevent this stressful day for our loved ones.
But conditioning them to be relaxed while the sky suddenly explodes can take several months.
Here are some helpful tips for this year’s celebration to keep you, your house, and most importantly your pet safe.
1)- If they haven’t had a physical exam in a while- at least a week before the day you know fireworks will be set off- take your pet to the vet for a physical and discuss anxiety medications.
2) Stay home with your pet. If you are planning on leaving- don’t make a big production out of it, this may alert you pet that something is up and make them more stressed.
3) Stay inside.
4)If you are going out (and maybe even if you are staying in ) Crate your pet. In a panic your pet may try to escape and destroy any number of things in the house in their pursuit of safety. Also they may potentially escape the house.
5) Mask the noise by turning on the radio or t.v
6) Stay calm yourself. If you stay calm it will help reinforce the concept that everything is ok.
6)Give them a toy or a Kong filled with cheese or peanut butter (anything they love). This will keep them distracted (if you freeze the kong several hours before, it may even distract them longer).
7) You can also distract them by playing a game they love to play. Again, it’s best if this is an activity that can be done indoors.
Good luck and have a safe and wonderful Independence Day from all of us here at KAH!
Dr. Cardella examines a fawn for injuries. The fawn was found by herself and seemed wobbly. It turns out she was an uninjured newborn and was returned to the area she was found, where her mother was looking for her. At the last sighting, mother and fawn were doing well.
“Clover found a poster that she really liked today!!”
She’s finally here! Kaitlyn Jaeun Park arrived on Sunday, June 14th at 4:17 pm. She weighed 5 lb & 14 oz. Kaitlyn & Dr. Kim are both doing great. Dr. Kim’s husband, Sung, is still recovering…. (Dr. Davis can certainly relate!) What a beautiful baby!
Eileen, Allison Smith, Ranee and Ethel (the Cuban Rock Iguana) greet two and four-legged friends at the Frederick County Humane Society’s 2009 Walk-N-Wag.
Pictured above is Nora’s daughter Harmony holding Howard the duck.
This is the time of year when wildlife is reproducing and babies are abundant. The thing to remember is that housing and attempting to rehabilitate wildlife that is either injured or orphaned is illegal if you are not a certified rehabilitator. There are many helpful resources if you find yourself in a situation where you have an animal you feel is in danger in its present situation. Here are some numbers you can call if you need assistance:
Department of Natural Resources wildlife hotline 1-877-463-6497
Gimme Shelter Wildlife Rehab. Union Bridge 301-538-2488
Second Chance Gaithersburg 301-926-9453
Frederick County Animal Control 301-600-1546
“Laurie Luck of Smart Dog University has a new Service Dog puppy she is raising. He is a Great Dane named Talos. To see more pictures and stories about him, go to SmartDogUniversity.com”
Congratulations to our latest survey winner – Dannielle Snowden.
Dannielle is the winner of a $50.00 Giant gift card. Thanks to all our clients who participated in the survey.
Does your pooch bury his head into your side every time it thunders out? Does he dive under the bed whenever rain starts to fall? From your point of view, this may seem like cute and endearing behavior but it’s a sign that your dog is terrified of storms. Some owners are willing to simply put up with symptoms of storm phobias like hiding, trembling, whining, drooling and pacing. In more severe cases, panicking dogs have been known to chew furniture, tear drapes, break windows and cause themselves harm during thunderstorms. In either case, the behavior is a sign of a terrified, unhappy dog.
Storm phobias are one of the most common behavioral problems dog owners face but their cause is not entirely clear. Behaviorists are not yet sure what part of the storm frightens dogs most, whether they’re reacting to lightning flashes, the sound of thunder, wind blowing around the house or the sound of rain hitting the roof. Some dogs even start to pace and whine half an hour or more before a storm. They may be reacting to a sudden drop in air pressure, sounds of thunder that we can’t hear yet, or the electrical charge of the air.
What to do?
Talking to your veterinarian is the first step to helping your pup overcome his thunderstorm fears. Your veterinarian can help you develop a program to gradually retrain your dog by gradually and gently helping him adjust to storms through behavior modification. Technically called “systematic desensitization,” this procedure involves exposing the storm-phobic dog to some gentle reminders of a thunderstorm, such as a very soft tape recording of thunder or a flashing light. The dog is rewarded with lots of treats, attention and other positive reinforcement only if there is no evidence of anxiety. Over time, the intensity of the stimulus is increased and only calm behavior rewarded (get profession guidance, either from a veterinarian or a veterinary behavior specialist, before you begin this process). If you introduce frightening stimuli too quickly or don’t see signs of fear your dog may be showing, you could possibly end up making the phobia worse.
If gentle, patient retraining doesn’t help your pooch, there are some prescriptions that can. Your veterinarian can prescribe an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication to help your dog remain calm during storms. You can also make sure your dog has a warm, safe “den” to retreat to when the weather gets too scary. Try padding a crate with blankets or clearing a space underneath your bed. Just make sure that it’s somewhere your pup can get out of whenever he wants. A panicked dog can do a lot of damage to his crate and himself if he’s confined.It is very important that you remain calm when your dog is afraid. Don’t cuddle and reassure him, because it will reward his fearful behavior but don’t punish him for it either. Instead, just be calm and provide him with a safe, familiar place where he can feel secure and ride out the storm.
A good time was had by all at the Frederick County Humane Society’s Walk-N-Wag last Saturday. Above are two participants that look vagely famililar. The terrier is Eileen and she is most commonly seen, sans fur coat, at the reception desk. The pug is Ranee, one of our six registered veterinary technicians.