How to Teach your Pet to Love the Vet

How to Teach your Pet to Love the Vet

Tips and tricks to help make vet visits easier for you and your fur baby

Do you dread having to take your dog or cat to the vet? Is just getting them in the car or down the driveway enough to make them shake and whine? For many owners, vet visits can be a big problem. Unfortunately, you can’t just stop taking your animal to the veterinarian. Making sure they go to all of their required check-ups and vaccinations is important to keeping them happy and healthy. What you can do, though (through some smart training and treats), is teach your pet these visits can be super fun and pleasant.

First things first…

Before starting this training journey make sure the problem isn’t the vet itself. Does your veterinarian and vet staff safely handle your pet? Do they give your pet lots of positive attention and love? A good veterinarian should know how to properly handle more anxious pets and have ways of alleviating the stress. If you the vet doesn’t seem to be doing any above when you visit, it may be time to switch vets.

Food is fun!

If your dog is relatively healthy and only needs to see their veterinarian for occasional visits and annuals, use food to your advantage! Food is one of the best motivators of dogs and cats alike. To increase motivation, try giving your cat or dog a smaller breakfast the day of an appointment. That way, they will be hungrier and more likely to accept food rewards for positive behaviors once they are there.

Plan social visits

Start teaching your dog how fun the vet is before they even need to see them. You can help your pet become acquainted with the office by taking short visits where they get to say hi to the staff and get lots of yummy treats. Take a few of these visits a year and you might end up seeing tails wagging before you even get into the lobby.

Schedule accordingly

If your pet isn’t swayed by food then then try scheduling the appointment at the most opportune time. Ask your vet when the office is the quietest and schedule the appointment for that time. Not only will your pet have fewer stressors to deal with, but the staff will have more time to work with your nervous animal.

Being consistent with these methods will help your pet become more familiar and comfortable going to the vet. However, there are a handful of pets who are too naturally nervous to learn this. In these situations, it may be in both of your interests to find a good vet that does house calls. The familiar home environment will make it easier for your vet to complete any exams or necessary tests.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Cat

Christmas Gift Ideas for your Cat

Us cat lovers know that cats appreciate a new toy, treat or gift  just as much as their canine counterparts do. If you’re anything like my cats, you’ll also know that any small toys, like mice or springs, go missing within a week of purchase, so you might as well buy some more! Let’s be real, though, we’ll use any excuse to spoil our favorite kitties. Here’s a list of some of cool, fun, and practical gifts to give them!

4CLAWS Wall Mounted Scratching Post  

This is a sleek and modern alternative to the typical scratching post. It could also be used as a training tool for the cats that prefer to use the wall as their designated stretching/scratching areas.

The Natural Pet Company Cat Toys Collection

If you are into a more natural lifestyle for you and your pet, this box set gives you an awesome variety to choose from. The box set includes a number of different natural cat toys to entertain your pet, while giving you peace of mind about their health!

Aspen Pet Self Warming Beds

Everyone knows that cats are obsessed with finding the warmest and cosiest places to nap. This bed will be heaven for any nap-crazy cat. The bed has the same heat creating technology that space blankets use, where the heat that the body creates is reflected back from the material. It’s like a heating pad without the dangers of electricity and cords.

Catit Flower Fountain

For those picky water drinkers out there that seem to only want to drink from the faucet, this might be a fun solution to this common problem. Unlike water bowls, the flower fountain pushes only freshly filtered water out of the spouts. There’s also 3 different water flow settings to perfectly match your kitty’s needs.

PetLuv Soothing “Happy Cat” Premium Soft Sided Cat Carrier & Travel Crate

This is another gift that makes you and your cat happy! So goodbye to traditional plastic cat carriers! This carrier is safe and comforting to your cat. It has 3 privacy settings to cater to your cats needs: fully opened, mesh paneling surrounding to allow your cat to check out their environment, and fully closed to offer a stimuli-free environment. It also has seat belt loops so you can safely transport your cat to wherever you need to go! Then when you’re both home, the carrier completely collapses for easy storage.

Make sure to check some of these cool products out! Your cats will be purring all day knowing you thought about them this holiday season.

Already bought your gifts? What did you get for your favorite cat? Leave a comment below 🙂

How to Tell if my Senior Dog has Cataracts

How to Tell if your Senior Dog has Cataracts

Telltale signs and symptoms that your dog may be developing cataracts

As much as we don’t like to think about it, our dogs will become seniors one day. Although senior dogs can be just as lovable and playful as younger dogs, old age does bring along some new health issues.

A common health issue in senior dogs is the development of cataracts, which almost always causes vision impairment. They are caused by change in the makeup or arrangement of proteins in the eyes. If left untreated by a veterinary professional, cataracts can lead to more serious ocular health issues, including blindness. How can you tell if your dog is developing cataracts, and what can you do about it? Let us shed some light on this.

Causes

The vast majority of cataract cases are due to genetics. There are a handful of other causes besides genetics. These include nutritional deficiencies, low blood calcium levels, exposure to toxins, diabetes mellitus, radiation, electric shock and blunt/penetrating trauma.

Prevention

Unfortunately, because development is so strongly linked to genetics, there’s no way to directly prevent it. For the few other non-genetic causes, things like making sure your dog is getting the proper nutrition on a daily basis is all you can do to prevent cataracts. In the case of cataracts caused by diabetes mellitus, their development can be easily prevented by early detection and treatment of diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign of cataracts is noticing cloudy, white- or blue-ish pupils. They may also look like cloudy spots in your dog’s pupil, rather than a film covering the whole area. Because cataracts almost always affect your dog’s vision, keep an eye out for any behavioral changes indicating that they are struggling to see. Some of these behaviors include, a high-stepped walk, unsure footing, tripping over or bumping into objects, walking into walls, misjudging distances and not recognizing people.

Treatment

As always, for any changes in health, take your dog to the veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis. From there, the both of you can discuss the best treatment options for you and your dog, which range from topical medications to surgery. Cataract treatment, when done promptly and correctly, has a very high success rate and the vast majority of dogs (90-95%) will have their vision fully restored. If their owner is knowledgeable and aware, senior dogs can truly call these years their golden years.

How did you first notice your dog developing cataracts? How were they treated? Leave a comment and let us know!

Top Cold Weather Tips for your Dog

Top Cold Weather Tips for your Dog

Help keep them warm from their nose to their tail!

As much as we don’t want to admit it, cold weather in Michigan is here to stay. Days are short, nights are long, and those daily dog walks turn into a battle with the wind and snow. Don’t let the your own brain freeze let you forget to keep your 4-legged walking partner protected from the cold, though! Despite their fur, dogs experience cold and can suffer the consequences of not being properly protected from it. We’ve compiled a list of cold weather tips from pet experts to help you and your dog get through these long winter months!

Fighting itchy, dry skin

During the winter season, the air becomes much drier. Cranking up the thermostat only worsens this. To combat the dry air, make sure to keep your house humidified. Coming in from the cold outdoors to a warm, dry home can make your dog’s skin dry, itchy and flakey. You can also help keep dry skin at bay by making sure to towel them off as soon as you’re done with the walk.

You may also want to consider giving your pooch fewer baths during the winter. Too many baths can strip their skin of essential oils. While in the summer a few extra baths can be counteracted by increased sweat output, in the winter your dog sweats much less. Too little oil will exacerbate any dryness or itchiness they might have, so spread those baths out a little farther than usual.

Keep them warm

Even though dogs are furrier than us, keep their grooming visits to a minimum. Keeping their coat longer will help them stay warm on their daily walks. Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter. For dogs with longer hair, simply stick to minor trims. This will help keep ice balls from clinging and minimize exposure to salted snow. For naturally short-haired dogs, it may be in their best interest to wear a coat or sweater that covers their body from neck to base of tail.

Protect their paws

It’s not hard for snow balls to get stuck between your dog’s toes. Pay close attention to those easily missed areas when you get back from walks. De-icing salts and antifreeze chemicals are harsh on unprotected paws. Massaging a protectant, like vaseline, on them before walks creates a barrier between cold snow and irritating chemicals. If your dog will tolerate them, put booties on their paws for even better protection during winter walks.

Make sure to keep these tips in mind this winter to help protect your furry family members. Even more important, though, is to follow the golden rule: If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet. On those days, get some indoor excersize and keep potty breaks to just enough time for them to do their business.

Help our pet loving community! What do you do when it’s too cold you let your dog outside? Leave a comment and let us know 🙂

How to Tell When Your Dog is in Pain

Keep your eye out for these subtle signals from your dog

Knowing whether or not a human is in pain is usually pretty easy to figure out. Humans cry, complain, and use a common language that other humans can understand. Dogs, however, can’t use these same mechanisms to tell us they are in pain. They don’t cry, they don’t complain (at least like humans do), and they don’t speak English. Dogs have entirely different communication systems and mechanisms for expressing distress. As dog owners and lovers, it’s up to us to be able to look for and decipher these messages from our canine companions. We’ve compiled some of the most common signs and signals that your dog may be in pain, to help you take better care of your pup!

Excessive vocalizations

Humans who are in distress will often let others know by crying or complaining. Dogs will also express pain through increased vocalizations but it’s not easy to pick up unless it’s accompanied with movement, like standing up or sitting down. Vocalizations to look out for include whining, whimpering, yelping, growling, and even howling.

Changes in appetite and drinking habits

It’s pretty common knowledge that when your pet has a sudden change in their food and water intake, it’s likely that there is a medical issue. From a pain standpoint, drastic changes in appetite are simply due to the fact that it hurts for your pet to move. It’s always a good idea to get in contact with your vet as soon as you notice eating/drinking changes.

Excessive grooming

Licking their paws is a normal behavior for dogs. It’s hygienic and calming. However, if your dog it constantly licking their paws it can indicate your dog is in distress. Dogs will over-groom their paws in an attempt to sooth themselves and distract from the pain. If your pup cuts themselves , they will often care for the wound by licking it. Dogs will lick themselves in a similar way for internal pain. If they’re stomach is hurting, they will sometimes start to groom their stomachs.

Altered breathing

Another indication of pain in your dog is increased breathing and heart rate. A dog in distress may breathe much faster and shallower, as if they had just gotten back from running around the backyard. If your pup has just been laying around, but is breathing as if he just exercised, it is very likely that they are in pain. Call your vet as soon as possible when you notice this.

Other signs of pain in your dog include:
  • Inability to rest
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in eyes
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Changes in body posture
  • Withdrawing or hiding
  • Seeking affection or comfort

Help our community of pet-lovers and share your experiences! What signs did your pet give when they were in pain?

Take Your Dog to Belle Isle Park!

Take your Dog to Belle Isle Park!

A Detroit historical landmark not to be missed by human or canine!
Belle Isle Park
2 Inselruhe Avenue
Detroit MI, 48207
844-235-5375
 
Becoming Michigan’s 102nd state park in 2014, Belle Isle Park in Detroit is a must-see for you and your pup! Not only is it beautiful with it’s views of the Detroit skyline, it is also rich with historical landmarks and cultural significance. While you’re learning about Detroit’s rich history, your dog will be learning important socialization skills! 
 
The 982-acre island park on the Detroit River between the United States and Canada is home to a wide assortment of educational and recreational opportunities. Among these include an aquarium, conservatory and the James Scott Memorial Fountain.  

 

Hiking

Belle Isle boasts both wooded, unpaved nature trails throughout the park, and a paved foot/bike path circling the island. If a more secluded walk with your dog is what you’re looking for, the nature trails will not disappoint. According the the Belle Isle Conservancy, Belle Isle features a rare wet-mesic forest containing specimens that mimic the Detroit ecosystem of hundreds of years ago. The trails will take you through the heart of the park and connect back to some the main attractions lining the perimeter of the park. 
 
The paved walking/running and bike path lining the perimeter creates a 6-mile loop. Being more populated than the nature trails, the paved path provides an excellent opportunity for working on leash training and working on obedience even in areas with lots of distractions. The paved path also provides year-round walking alternative to to the nature trails. 

 

Beach and Water Sports 

In the summer time, follow these paths to one of the beaches open to swimming! Dogs will have a blast running along the water and be able to cool off in the Detroit River waters. The beach stretches a half-mile and is a hot spot for visitors during the hot summer months. At the Flynn Pavilion you can even rent watercrafts, like kayaks, to enjoy the cityscapes directly from the water. In the fall when the beach is less busy, bring your younger dogs to enjoy the beach to work on obedience training. 

 

Main Attractions

You will be amazed to learn about all of the awesome and educational attractions the island has to offer! A short list includes the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Belle Isle Aquarium, and the Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse. The James Scott Memorial Fountain runs from June 11th to September 20th and, during the lighter visitor times, provides an excellent backdrop for puppy obedience training. Do not forget to check out the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory while you’re there. It is the country’s oldest continually running conservatory and boasts 13 acres of beautiful plant life. All are open year-round, except for the nature zoo (open from April to October), and have no admission fee! There’s practically no excuse to not go and check out these awesome Detroit landmarks. 

Take your Dog to Oakwood’s Metropark!

Take your Dog to Oakwood’s Metropark!

Run and Romp along the Huron River bank

Oakwoods Metropark

32911 Willow Road

New Boston, MI 48164

(734) 782-3956

The leaves are finally starting to change color here in Southwest Michigan. There’s few better ways to enjoy this change in seasons than heading on over to a park to spend time with your favorite dog.

Drive just about 35 minutes south of Detroit and you’ll find yourself along the Huron River. Nestled on it’s banks is the Oakwoods Metropark, located just outside Flat Rock, Michigan. Boasting 1,765 acres, this park is known for it’s scenic trails and nature center.

Hiking

With so many acres, Oakwoods Metropark has many options to choose from when it comes to hiking. You can discover 5 miles of self-guided trails past towering hardwood trees, an ancient sandbar, and scenic overlooks. You will also view a variety of wildlife when traversing any of the 5 nature trails that lead to stops like a butterfly garden and a scenic 3-acre pond. If you and your dog are more active, a paved 3-mile hike/bike trail, with flat terrain, extends all the way to a 15 mile paved, hike/bike trail at Lower Huron and Willow Metroparks. Making the round trip totals up to a 30 mile excursion!

For all our bird and dog lovers, while you’re out hiking, make sure to keep your eye out for bald eagles, osprey and other birds. At the Nature Center, you can also meet “Hawkeye,” the red-tailed hawk. There will also be plenty of waterfowl wading along the river.

Picnicking

After you and your furry friend are done with your hike, make sure to relax and take in the beautiful fall scenery with a nice picnic. The scenic woodlands, open meadows and backwaters of the Huron River serve as the perfect backdrop for your rest at the Cedar Knoll Picnic Area. Available to any picnickers are tables, grills, and vault latrines.

Nature Center

Even if you leave your dog at home for the day you can experience nature first hand at the Oakwoods Nature Center. The Nature Center and surrounding nature trails offer an “Up-North” escape in the heart of southeast Michigan. With over 350-acres of nature study area and lots of exhibits to learn about local wildlife and history, the Center has everything you need to get away. Be sure to check out the 700-gallon turtle tank while you’re there too! Their friendly interpretive staff is always eager to answer questions and offer any advice for what’s new and exciting to see and do in the parks

Upcoming Park Event: Evening Lantern Tour
Dates: October 20 – 21, & 27 – 28
Times: 7 PM, & 8:30 PM
Cost: $12

Overview: After a hayride, a lantern-bearing guide will lead you through the dark, pumpkin-lit woods to encounter various characters and uncanny situations. This tour showcases Michigan’s legends and local history. Advance ticket purchase only, (734) 782-3956.

What’s your favorite type of hiking trail to take your dog on? Let us know and leave a comment!

Kong Toys: Why We Love Them!

Chewing is natural; Kong makes it fun for your dog and stress-free for you!

Puppies and senior dogs alike should have Kong toys to play with. Seasoned dog owners are probably already aware of the numerous benefits these toys provide. If you’re new dog owner, or haven’t yet been introduced to the magic of Kong, this blog is for you! But before we dive head first into the toy benefits, let’s first learn about chewing benefits! [Read more…]

Halloween Pet Safety

Here’s a few tips to keep your pets safe this Halloween!

Halloween is meant to be a fun and silly holiday to eat candy and dress up. Unfortunately, it can end up being a scary trick, rather than a tasty treat, for our four-legged family members. But do not fear! We’ve gathered some helpful Halloween tips and advice to protect dogs and cats alike. With some precautionary prep-work and knowing what to look out for, this year’s Halloween can be stress and scare free.

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Can Dogs Get Colds?

Can Dogs Get Colds?

Does your dog have the sniffles? Watery eyes? Is he sneezing and coughing? Can dogs catch colds? Yes, they can, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the type of cold virus he’s caught (just as human colds can vary in severity). How do you know when your dog has a cold or something worse? How do you treat his symptoms? Not to worry — we’ll give you everything you need to know about dogs and colds so you can be sure you’re taking good care of your precious pup.

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