Our pets can get Heart Disease, too!

IAH Pet HeartsIn honor of American Heart Month, we wanted to remind our readers that Heart Disease not only affects people, but our pets, too. In fact, Heart Disease is common in dogs and cats and illnesses are either acquired – due to age, infection, and normal wear and tear on the heart – or they develop them from genetic disposition. Continue reading

Tips to help you train your dog

IAH dog and ownerDogs are loyal, smart and obedient creatures by nature. While some display these characteristics more than others, dog training can be – and usually is – a rewarding, bonding experience between you and your pooch. (And by the way, you really can teach old dogs new tricks!)

Contrary to popular belief, your dog’s age is irrelevant when it comes to dog training. There are varied training methods – and ultimately you’ll have to find what works best for both you and your dog – but we must encourage that dog training ultimately boils down to how consequences are handled for both desired and undesired behaviors.

Dog Training Tip 1
When you train your dog a new command, action or trick, it’s really important to remember that consistency matters. Your dog is eager to please you, but remember, dogs “live in the moment,” and learn from positive and negative consequences. So when you develop a positive and negative consequence system – stick with it! However, never yell or hit your dog – this will only make them fear you!

Dog Training Tip 2
Use simple phrases and gestures to train your dog
. For example, when teaching your dog to “sit,” speak the “sit” command and ease your puppy/dog’s butt to the floor. When he accomplishes your task – with or without your help – reward him with an affectionate pat or treat. After a few tries he’ll associate the command word and action together – understanding the completion of the task earns the reward. This method should be applied to learning any new skill or expectation, including housebreaking (link to blog post.)

Dog training Tip 3
Use a different tones of voice to train your dog. For positive behaviors, use a positive, upbeat tone of voice. For negative behaviors, a firm and sharp “NO!” will suffice. This is especially useful if you catch your dog having a potty accident or chewing on your favorite shoes. Your dog senses satisfaction and disappointment based on your voice tone!

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The undeniable importance of spaying and neutering pets

IAH SpayNeuter DogCatSpaying and neutering your pet is one of the most highly recommended and proactive steps pet owners should take to help control the unwanted pet population. According to the ASPCA, approximately 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are humanely euthanized every year simply because shelters cannot find homes for them. But are you aware pet sterilization provides multiple health benefits, too?

What is Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying and neutering refers to the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of your pet. Spaying is the removal of the ovaries and uterus of your female pet; and neutering is the removal of the testicles of your male pet. The process involves minimal hospitalization time – in fact, pets are usually in and out of your veterinary clinic the same day!

1. Spaying and neutering reduces the unwanted pet population

Spaying and neutering your cat or dog helps control the number of unwanted pets in already overcrowded shelters. Each year, millions of unwanted cats and dogs suffer from horrible lives as strays or are euthanized in shelters. Spaying and neutering also controls unwanted litters and added stress mother animals.

2. Spaying and neutering help reduce Cancers

Spaying and neutering your cat or dog drastically reduces your pet’s likelihood of developing cancer later in their lives. In fact, having your female kitten spayed before her first heat cycle virtually eliminates the threat of mammary tumors and Ovarian and Uterine cancers. In males, neutering before six months of age actually prevents pet testicular cancer!

3. Spaying and neutering eliminates roaming, spraying and marking

Having pets spayed or neutered helps prevent female “marking” and male “spraying” around your home. In addition, typical “roaming” behaviors exhibited by males searching for females in heat are subdued, which results in fewer vehicle accidents and lost pets.

We’ve highlighted only a few benefits of spaying and neutering your pets. Have a question or comment? Please share with us below! And don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and “follow” our blog to get new posts delivered right to your inbox!

How to brush your dog’s teeth

BrushingDogTeethWe know great oral care of our teeth and gums helps us prevent cavities and gum disease, but did you know dedicated brushing of your dog’s teeth also helps prevent him from developing tooth abscesses, oral infections and canine periodontal disease? Check out our tips for brushing your dog’s teeth below!

Article Disclaimer: This tutorial assumes you have handled your dog’s muzzle/mouth and/or have brushed his/her teeth before, and that he/she is used to the sensations of your hands in his/her mouth. Brushing your dog’s teeth is a good bonding opportunity and trust exercise you should practice with your dog, BUT never rush the experience.

Tools you need to brush your dog’s teeth:

  • Dog toothbrush or gauze
  • Dog toothpaste – there are lots of flavors, choose one that your dog loves most!
  • Treats
  • Patience

How to brush your dog’s teeth

1. Take your dog someplace quiet. Try to minimize noise and distractions for your dog. It will help the process go much smoother if both you and Fido are focused and calm.

2. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush or gauze.

3. Carefully lift the top of the lips on your dog’s muzzle and expose his teeth. His jaws can stay closed if this makes him more comfortable.

4. While his teeth are exposed in your one hand, take your other hand and gently brush/rub the exterior parts of his teeth and gums with the toothbrush or gauze for approximately 2-5 seconds. Release. Give your pooch a treat and pat yourself on the back!Muzzle

5. Repeat 2-3 times daily in small intervals for a week or two, gradually increasing the amount of time to 1-2 minutes daily.

6. Following the same technique as above, gradually begin to open your dog’s jaws to access his inner gum-line and tops of teeth.

You should aim to brush your dog’s teeth up to 5 minutes daily if possible!

Have a question or comment? Please share with us below! And don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and “follow” our blog to get new posts delivered right to your inbox!

How do I care for a pregnant pet?

IAH-mother-and-kittenAhhh, babies! Puppies and kittens sure are sweet, aren’t they? And while it’s tempting to want to be surrounded by them, please remember prompt spaying and neutering of adult pets reduces the number of unwanted and surrendered pet babies, and reduces adult health issues later in life, too. But, if you find yourself caring for a pregnant pet, read on for important tips. Continue reading