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A PET SAFE HALLOWEEN IS A HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on October 24, 2015 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

A PET SAFE HALLOWEEN IS A HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 

It’s that time again. For goblins and ghosts, pumpkins and pranks, and things that go bump in the night. But as responsible pet owners, please ensure that your dogs and cats aren’t innocent victims of Halloween’s fun and frolics.

 

Consider the following suggestions to keep your pets safe not sorry.

 

1. Keep candy out of reach of your pet. Chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, can prove toxic for both dogs and cats. Candy containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol, can also cause problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

 

2. Although pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively non-toxic, they can still produce an upset stomach if nibbled on by your pet.

 

3. Keep wires and cords from lights and other decorations out of reach of your pet. If chewed, your pet might be cut or burned or receive a potentially life-threatening electric shock.

 

4. Although festive, carved pumpkins with candles inside can be easily knocked over by your pet and a fire started. Curious kittens in particular run the risk of being singed or burned by a candle flame.

 

5. Keep costumes for your children and away from your pets unless you’re certain they’re comfortable being decked out, not stressed out, by putting on the “glitz”. Or opt for a Halloween-themed bandana draped round your pet’s neck.

 

6. Keep all but the most social dogs and cats in a separate room when “trick or treaters” come to call. Even then, take care that your pet doesn’t dart outside when the door first opens.

 

7. Should your pet “pull a Houdini” and vanish, ensure that he/she has either been micro chipped or is wearing a collar and tags for proper identification and a swift return to your anxious arms.

 

With some strategic planning beforehand, you and your pet can be assured of spending the safest and happiest of Halloweens together.

Bloat in Coonhounds

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on August 14, 2015 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

BLOAT IN COONHOUNDS

 

 

 

Coonhounds, like other deep-chested breeds, are at the greatest risk for bloat or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), which is second only to cancer as the main killer of dogs.

 

 

There are many theories as to why GDV happens, but there are still no clearly defined causes for the condition, which can occur in two stages: the first being gastric dilatation and the second being gastric torsion. Dilatation occurs when the stomach suddenly fills with air, placing severe pressure on the diaphragm and surrounding organs. Not every episode of stomach bloating automatically results in gastric torsion or volvulus– a twisting of the stomach. Your coonhound’s stomach can fill up with gas and air and yet remain in position.

 

 

In bloat, gas or food stretches the stomach beyond its normal size, pinching off both sides of it, causing your dog excruciating pain and leaving no room for the trapped gas to escape.

 

 

The earliest signs of bloat include a hard and swollen abdomen; repeated unsuccessful efforts to belch, retch or vomit; restlessness, pacing, and increasing anxiety. In full GDV, your dog can rapidly go into shock. His gums will be pale, his breathing rapid and shallow, and he can lose consciousness. All within 20 to 60 minutes.

 

 

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, transport him IMMEDIATELY to your vet or to an emergency animal clinic. Every minute is crucial and none can be wasted. If your dog has been suffering for an hour or more, the damage may be so severe that he CANNOT be saved. Even with timely surgery, up to one-third of all dogs will die.

 

 

As soon as your dog is seen, an IV line will be established in an effort to both regulate his blood pressure and administer medications to combat the pain and shock. A vet will then try to release the air in your dog’s stomach -- either with an esophageal tube inserted through into his mouth, or with a long, sharp needle inserted into his stomach to relieve the pressure and keep the stomach from rupturing.

 

 

X-rays will determine whether your dog’s stomach is simply bloated or if there’s full GDV. If his stomach is indeed twisted, once he’s stable, he’ll require surgery to repair the twist and attach his stomach to the body wall (a procedure called gastroplexy) to prevent a recurrence of the condition. Studies show that, without this procedure, over 50 percent of dogs with bloat will bloat again within three months, while 76 percent will bloat again in their lifetime.

 

 

As a preventive measure, many owners of predisposed dog breeds such as coonhounds will opt to have gastroplexy performed when their dog is either spayed or neutered.

 

 

Other preventive measures include feeding your dog two or three smaller meals a day, training him not to gulp his food, giving him small amounts of water afterward, and only allowing him to exercise an hour after eating. Providing him with fresh water throughout the day or pre-soaking his kibble can help to prevent bloat as well.

 

 

Choose your coonhound’s food very carefully. Most commercial dry dog foods contain carbohydrates like corn, wheat, rice, soy and oatmeal, which are highly fermentable. And because fermentation produces gas, the more carbohydrates your dog consumes, the more gas will be produced.

 

 

To slow down your dog’s eating, spread his food out on a cookie sheet or purchase a bowl designed specifically for that purpose. A slower, more even rate of food consumption will help reduce the amount of air your dog swallows and reduce the chance of bloat occurring.

 

 

Two other preventive measures? Minimize your dog’s stress level by ensuring he gets enough daily physical exercise, and reduce the amount of chemicals you put INTO and ONTO your dog.

 

 

By taking these risk factors into consideration and modifying your coonhound’s diet and lifestyle, you and the dog you love can, hopefully, be spared the nightmare scenario of GDV.

 

Hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on August 7, 2015 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers

 

 

Hemangiosarcoma, a common form of cancer arising from the lining of blood vessels, mainly affects older, large breed dogs, with Golden Retrievers being one of the more vulnerable. Of the three basic forms of hemangiosarcoma: dermal (skin), hypodermal (under the skin) and visceral (splenic or cardiac), visceral is the most common and the most deadly.

 

 

A disproportionate number of Goldens suffer from hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, and because this highly malignant cancer develops slowly and without symptoms in its early stages, by the time Goldens are symptomatic, they are usually in an advanced stage of the disease. Unknown to either pets or pet owners, small ruptures in the tumors can develop, allowing blood to escape into the abdomen, chest or the sac around the heart. This blood loss causes some dogs to show intermittent symptoms uncluding: lethargy and weakness; decrease in appetite; mild anemia, and if tested, a slight elevation of liver enzymes. Signs of a life-threatening internal hemorrhage may include: weakness; pale colour to the tongue; panting; rapid heart rate and a weak pulse; distended, fluid-filled abdomen and finally, collapse.

 

 

Sadly, there has been no significant advancement in the treatment of splenic hemangiosarcoma in decades, and the standard treatments only moderately extend the affected Golden’s life. Removing a healthy spleen to prevent the development of the disease is unlikely to provide any benefits, because this type of cancer cell originates in the bone marrow, and it will simply find another organ to invade. And although dogs can function without a spleen, removing it will have other, negative impacts on their health.

 

 

Once the disease is diagnosed, the standard treatment is surgery to remove the infected spleen, followed by aggressive chemotherapy -- providing the cancer has not spread. The average survival time for dogs undergoing surgery alone: 1 to 3 months. The average survival time for dogs both undergoing surgery and receiving chemotherapy: 8 to 9 months. Chemotherapy slows the growth of new tumors and, despite the silent progression of the disease, affords the Golden a high quality of life during those added months.

 

 

Some veterinary experts find that one of the most important tools in the early detection of splenic hemangiosarcoma is an ultrasound, because of how easily the spleen can be seen. They recommend starting regular ultrasounds on Goldens at 5 years of age, with testing repeated at least once a year. However, ultrasound equipment is expensive and not all veterinary offices offer the procedure, and for those that do, the cost to Goldens’ owners can be significant.

 

 

Other tools in the preventative arsenal are vet checks on older Goldens every six months for careful palpation of their abdomen to check for any abnormalities or changes. Complete blood counts should also be done every 6 months, because mild

 

anemia often points to a more serious underlying issue that may require further exploration.

 

 

In their search for ways to make their beloved Goldens as comfortable as possible, many owners will add alternative treatments to conventional ones. But they must first find an experienced holistic veterinarian or a western vet who is open to alternative medicine. Along with various high potency vitamins, supplements and natural herbs prescribed in the appropriate amounts, a specific cancer diet is recommended, as are ongoing sessions of acupuncture.

 

 

Although nothing can alter the inevitable outcome of this dread disease, if Goldens can enjoy the time left to them with a minimum of discomfort, that is what matters most – for them and for the people who love them.

 

DO YOU KNOW YOUR SHIH TZU?

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 27, 2015 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 

DO YOU KNOW YOUR SHIH TZU?

 

 The Shih Tzu may have several names, including Chinese Lion Dog, Lion Dog and Chrysanthemum Dog, but they all add up to the same thing. One very adorable, personable, often stubborn but always loyal and loving companion.

 

 With his sweet-natured temperament, the Shih Tzu is less demanding and less yappy than most toy breeds. Although solidly built and lively, his exercise needs are few – some short walks each day or some brief romps in the yard. Primarily a lover of comfort and attention, what this breed enjoys most is cuddling on laps and snuggling into soft pillows.

 

 Friendly and feisty, these small, flat-faced, silky coated sweethearts are usually trustworthy around older children, but their small size puts them at risk for unintentional injury around toddlers and very young children.

 

 Shih Tzu are generally healthy dogs, living to 15 years or more, but like every dog breed, they have their own distinct temperament and are prone to certain conditions and diseases.

 

Because a Shih Tzu is difficult to housebreak, consistency is key, and crate training an essential aid. Never let a puppy roam your place unsupervised until completely housetrained. 

 

A Shih Tzu seems particularly prone to eating his or other dogs’ feces. Monitoring your dog’s behavior and cleaning up his poop promptly will prevent this from becoming a habit. 

 

The dense, double coat of a Shih Tzu should be combed or brushed daily to keep shedding and matting to a minimum.

 

 The Shih Tzu tends to snore, wheeze and reverse sneeze, and the flatness of his face makes him susceptible to heat stroke (the air entering his lungs isn't cooled as efficiently as in longer-nosed breeds). It’s wise to keep your Shih Tzu indoors in air-conditioned rooms during hot weather. And walk him in a Y-shaped harness that wraps around his chest, not his throat. A collar puts pressure on his windpipe and makes it harder for him to breathe.

 

 Reverse sneezing can occur when a Shih Tzu suffers from allergies, becomes overly excited, or gulps food too quickly. Nasal secretions drop onto the soft palate, causing it to close over the windpipe, creating that wheezing sound. Some experts suggest the fastest way to stop this is to pinch your dog’s nostrils closed, thereby forcing him to breathe through his mouth.

 

Because of their undershot jaws, Shih Tzu are prone to dental and gum problems, such as retained baby teeth, missing and misaligned teeth, and must have their teeth brushed and vet checked regularly.

 

The drop ears of the Shih Tzu create a dark and warm ear canal, leaving them prone to infection. To help prevent this, check and clean your dog’s ears weekly and keep him on a grain-free diet. 

 

 Eye problems are not uncommon among Shih Tzu because of their large, bulging eyes. These disorders include keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye (a dryness of the cornea and the conjunctiva), distichiasis (abnormal growth of eyelashes on the margin of the eye, resulting in the eyelashes rubbing against it), proptosis (the eyeball is dislodged from the eye socket and the eyelids clamp shut behind the eyeball), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea that can lead to a corneal ulcer and blindness), and progressive retinal atrophy (degenerative disease of the retinal visual cells leading to blindness). 

 

 Also common are bladder stones and bladder infections, hip dysplasia (abnormal formation of the hip socket possibly causing pain and lameness) and patellar luxation, (dislocation of the kneecap), in which the knee joint slides in and out of place, causing pain and again, possible lameness.

 

 Health concerns aside, the Shih Tzu simply doesn't care where he lives, as long as he's with you. A highly adaptable dog, he can be equally comfortable in a small city apartment, a large suburban home or a cozy country cottage.

 

 If you want a dog who lives to love and be loved, whose primary characteristic is affection, and whose favorite destination is your lap, look no further than the Shih Tzu cuddled next to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Cautious is Cool This Summer

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 15, 2015 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Picture yourself on a sweltering summer day wearing a long winter coat.

 

Are you hot yet? Itchy? Thirsty? Looking for shade?

 

Now picture your dogs on that same summer day. And you’ll have some idea of how THEY feel.

 

Protecting them from the hot sun, air and ground is essential to keeping them safe outside. All it requires is common sense and some advance planning.

 

Here are some suggestions:

 

For dogs with particularly thick or heavy coats, have a groomer lightly trim them back.

 

Guard against sunburn by applying either a child’s SPF 45 sun block or a specially formulated animal sunscreen to the tips of your dog’s ears, the nose and the belly.

 

Whether on a porch, patio or lawn, create a shaded area using planters or shrubbery.

 

Set up a makeshift canopy using a blanket draped across two chairs.

 

Limit your dog’s outdoor exercise. Take your walks early in the morning or when the sun is setting. If the day’s particularly hot and humid, forego your walks altogether.

 

Turn on a garden sprinkler and let your dog run through it or fill a small wading pool with water

 

Keep your dog’s water bowl filled, cool, and free of floating debris.

 

Avoid hot asphalt, which can quickly burn the pads of your dog’s paws. Place the back of your hand to the sidewalk or pavement. If you can’t keep it there for seven seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog. If possible, walk your dog on the grass instead.

 

Never leave your dog unattended in the car. Whether in the shade with the windows cracked or with the motor running and the air conditioning on, your car can become a deathtrap within minutes.

 

Watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion. Because dogs don’t sweat, their only way of cooling down is by panting or releasing heat through their paws. Warning signs include exaggerated panting, excessive salivation, a vacant expression, restlessness or listlessness, trembling and skin that’s hot to the touch.

 

If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, get him into the shade as quickly as possible. Give him cool water to drink and either hose him down, cover him with cool, damp cloths or put him in a bathtub filled with cool water. If your dog’s condition worsens, seek immediate medical attention.

 

To be a responsible pet owner is to be an informed pet owner.

 

The list of safety rules may seem long, but the hot days of summer are even longer.

Tick Alert: Pet Owners Beware

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on June 1, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

With the arrival of summer comes the arrival of an annoying and possibly fatal pest: the tick.

 

What was once considered a nuisance found only in the wooded countryside has been persistently and increasingly invading cities both large and small. Now ticks can be as close as your neighbourhood park or your neighbour’s backyard.

 

What, precisely, is a tick? A tick is a fairly common, external parasite that embeds itself in the skin of both animals and humans. Once it lands, it inserts its mouthparts into the skin and feeds on the blood. And that single tick has the potential to pass on multiple diseases.

 

Deer ticks and Western Blacklegged ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which animals (and humans) can contract.

 

Prevention and early detection are the best ways of protecting your pets against Lyme disease. The intent is to stop it before any symptoms appear. Should the disease progress, symptoms can include stiff, painful and swollen joints, and a limp that comes and goes, often appearing to switch sides. Some dogs have an arched back and a stiff walk. More serious, however, are fever, difficulty breathing and kidney failure. Heart and neurological problems are rarer.

 

To help protect your pet, there are several preventatives available – such as K9 Advantix – which stops ticks BEFORE they bite, killing, not only all of the major tick species, but acting as a flea treatment as well. A product meant only for dogs, K9 Advantix must NOT be applied to cats.

 

Such preventatives are particularly important for high-risk animals such as hunting dogs, cottage dogs, and dogs hiking through fields. But it’s important to remember that dogs (and cats) can pick up ticks in the city as well.

 

When bitten, the skin of some pets may become red and irritated around the site, while others may not even notice the parasite attached to them. It is imperative then, that you inspect your pet thoroughly when returning from areas known for ticks.

 

Should you find a tick on your pet, it must be removed very carefully to ensure that the mouthparts are fully removed. If left behind, they can abscess and cause infection. Kill the tick by placing it in a zip-lock bag and pouring rubbing alcohol over it. For the uncertain owner, special tick removal devices are available, while the squeamish can have their vet remove the tick instead.

 

Some experts now advise that when your pet is tested annually for heartworm, the same test include screening for Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis (both bacterial infections). A positive test result enables you to start treating your pet early -- before the onset of any symptoms.

 

Never was the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

CONSIDER THE PET SITTER

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on April 1, 2015 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 Are you hesitant about planning a vacation because of your dog? Are you stopped by images of your cherished family companion in a boarding kennel run by well-meaning strangers? 

 

Consider another possibility: your dog, safe and snug at home, cared for by someone who’s qualified and experienced.

 

Consider a pet sitter.

 

Pet sitters are paid professionals who come to your home and spend quality time with your pet. The best ones are those who not only feed and play with them, but hold certificates in First Aid and CPR.

 

Consider the benefits.

 

Your dog remains at home, with the same diet and daily routine, and receives both attention and exercise while you’re away.

 

You can feel more secure knowing that, not only is your dog safe, but your home is too. Pet sitters can take in your newspapers and mail, water your plants and provide your place with that lived-in look.

 

To begin, ask your vet, trainer or groomer for recommendations. Ask your friends and neighbors for the names of their own pet sitters.

 

Interview each candidate over the phone, then in person, and ask the following questions: Can they provide written proof that they’re bonded and carry commercial liability insurance? What formal training have they received? Are contingency plans in place if an accident or emergency prevents them from fulfilling their duties? Will they provide extra services like grooming, dog walking or playtime with other dogs? If they provide live-in services, what are the specific times they agree to be with your dog? Will they give you a written contract listing their services and fees? Will they provide you with the phone numbers of clients who have agreed to be references?

 

If you’re satisfied with the person’s answers and if the references have checked out, it's imperative that your dog first meet and interact with prospective sitter. Monitor them closely. Does your dog seem comfortable with the person? Are they a good fit? Are there any issues that need addressing?

 

Once your decision has been made and you, yourself, are comfortable, you can begin to plan that long-delayed vacation: whether for a weekend, a week or longer. Then, before your date of departure: Walk the sitter through your home, pointing out all the essentials needed to make the agreed-upon routine run smoothly and well. Prepare a comprehensive list of emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your vet. Store all of your dog’s food and other supplies in one place, along with extras in case you're away longer than originally planned. Give a trustworthy neighbor copies of your keys and have that neighbor and the pet sitter exchange phone numbers. Show the pet sitter any important safety features, such as fuse boxes, circuit breakers and security systems.

 

With everything firmly in place, all you have to do now is leave. Secure in the knowledge that your precious dog is in good hands and is, after all, a mere phone call away.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

MICROCHIPPING IS A MUST

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on March 9, 2015 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Millions of dogs go missing each year. Unfortunately, very few of them are ever reunited with their owners. Many of them become and remain strays. Others are taken to pounds or shelters, where they are either adopted out to new homes or, all too often, euthanized. Now protective pet parents, no longer content with relying on collars and tags alone, have begun microchipping their dogs.

 

It’s a simple and safe procedure. A veterinarian injects a microchip designed especially for animals -- the size of a grain of rice -- beneath the surface of a dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine shot, it takes only a few seconds and most dogs don’t even seem to feel the implantation. Unlike other forms of identification, a microchip is permanent and, with no internal energy source, will last the life of the dog. Once it’s implanted, the dog must immediately be registered with the microchip company (usually for a one-time fee), thus storing his unique, alpha-numeric code in the company’s database.

 

Whenever a lost dog appears at a shelter, humane society or veterinary clinic, he/she will automatically be scanned for a microchip. If there is one, the screen of the handheld scanner will display that dog’s specific code. A simple call to the recovery database using a toll free 800 number enables the code to be traced back to the dog’s owner. But in order for the system to work efficiently, all owners are cautioned to keep their contact information up-to-date.

 

The most complete microchips comply with International Standards Organization (ISO) Standards. These standards define the structure of the microchip’s information content and determine the protocol for scanner-microchip communication. They also include the assignment of a 15-digit numeric identification code to each microchip; 3 digits either for the code of the country in which the dog was implanted or for the manufacturer’s code; one digit for the dog’s category (optional), and the remaining 8 or 9 digits for that dog’s unique ID number.

 

As with anything else, however, problems can and do arise. Not all shelters, humane societies, and veterinary offices have scanners. Although rare, microchips can fail, and even universal scanners may not be able to detect every microchip. Accurate detection can also be hampered if dogs struggle too much while being scanned or if either long, matted hair or excess fat deposits cover the implantation site. And because there are an ever-increasing number of pet recovery services, there is, as yet, no single database that links one to the other.

 

Since no method of identification is perfect, the best way owners can protect their dogs is by being responsible owners. By always keeping current identification tags on their dogs, never allowing them to roam free and microchipping them for added protection.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

MAKE MOVING EASIER FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on February 17, 2015 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit. Once comfortable in their surroundings, they are unnerved by change. And trading a familiar home for an unfamiliar one can cause fearfulness and stress. Unless you, the conscientious dog guardian, plan ahead with all the precision of a successful military campaign. Logically, then, moving from one place to another should consist of three stages: preparing for the move; moving day itself; and settling into your new home.

 

PREPARING FOR THE MOVE

Purchase a large, comfortable carrier and give your dog sufficient time to adjust to being in it. Leave it on the floor with the door open and some treats inside. Keep replacing the treats after your dog has retrieved them.

Set out your cardboard, moving boxes a few days before you actually begin to pack so that your dog can get used to the sight and scent of them.

Maintain your dog’s regular routine for feeding, walking and playing, and quality together time.

If your dog becomes anxious as you start packing, place him/her in a quiet room with some toys and treats and keep the door closed. On the other hand, if yours is an especially nervous dog, boarding him/her in a professional kennel the day before and after the move may be the best solution -- for all of you.

Make certain that your dog’s identification tags carry your new address and telephone number. But the best precaution -- and the wisest investment you can make -- is an updated microchip implant.

 

MOVING DAY ITSELF

Even before the movers take over the premises, tuck your dog safely away from the centre of the storm by closing him/her in a bathroom, together with food, water, some toys and his/her bed.

To ensure that your dog doesn’t panic and try to escape if the door is opened, put a sign on the door stating that it must remain shut.

Your dog should always travel with you, secure in the carrier, and not in the moving van.

 

SETTLING INTO YOUR NEW HOME

Put your dog in a room that will remain relatively quiet for awhile. Before opening the carrier, lay out your dog’s food, water bowl, toys and bed, and place some treats around the room.

Keep your dog in this one “safe” room for a few days, spending time together, soothing and cuddling, and sharing some low-key activities like reading, listening to music or watching TV.

Dog-proof your new home as soon as possible. Included in your “must do” list:

tuck drapery, blinds and electrical cords out of reach; ensure all windows and screens are secure; install child-proof latches on your cabinets – particularly those containing cleaning supplies; cover unused electrical outlets with special plastic caps, and keep all toilet seats down.

Begin gradually walking your dog through the rest of the place, one room at a time, constantly praising and reassuring him/her as you make the rounds. Over and over again.

Restore your dog’s former feeding, walking and playing routine so that, hopefully, it will seem that nothing has changed much at all.

 

Dogs may be creatures of habit, but they are highly adaptable as well. And so, whether familiar or unfamiliar, old or new, for them, there is still no place like home.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

INTRODUCING YOUR NEW DOG TO YOUR OTHER PETS

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on February 9, 2015 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Imagine handing out treats and name tags at the front door of your home for your new dog and your resident pets. Imagine happy munches and friendly woofs (and/or meows) as they blend and bond instantly and forever.

 

Then blink twice and remember that you are living in the world of reality and not in an ideal parallel universe. But armed with a set of realistic expectations, your reality may ultimately be just as ideal.

 

Introducing your new dog to the pets already in your home is a process. To succeed, you must start with a plan and a promise – to yourself -- to be patient. The process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (and in extreme cases, a few months).

 

To improve your chances of a happy blending of old and new, choose a dog as close as possible in temperament and activity level to the pets you already have. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and most dislike any disruptions in their daily lives and routines.

 

Some dogs are naturally more relaxed and more social than others. Some are more territorial and don't enjoy sharing at all. Unhappy with the arrival of a newcomer, they may demonstrate their disapproval by fighting with the perceived “intruder” or by marking.

 

Allow your new dog to adjust to you and to his/her new surroundings by keeping him/her in a separate room with his/her bed, food, water and toys for several days. Spend as much quality, comforting time with your new arrival as possible.

 

Maintain your other pets’ regular routines – from feeding and pottying to exercising, playing and together times – to reassure them that nothing has changed.

 

Since smells are of utmost importance to animals, get them used to each other’s scent as soon as possible. One way is through that most reliable standby: food. Feed your resident pets and your new dog on either side of the door to his/her room, encouraging them to associate something pleasurable with one another’s smell.

 

Once this has been successfully accomplished, walk your new dog slowly through your home, room by room, allowing him/her to become familiar with its sights, sounds and smells. Keep your other pets behind the closed door of his/her room to allow your new dog a sense of safety and privacy, while promoting a further exchange of scents between them. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.

 

Next, use two doorstoppers to keep the door to your new dog’s room propped open just enough for all of the animals to see each other. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.

BUT remember! Every time you leave your home, leave your new dog in his/her room with the door closed.

 

Hopefully, when you’re ready to make the “formal” introductions, your patience and your animals’ pre-preparations will have paid off. And they will not only recognize, but also start to accept one another by what they see and smell.

 

Armed with the tastiest treats and most tempting toys, you can expect sniffing, approaching and walking away. Reward good behavior with praise and treats, but discourage bad behavior by promptly separating the offending parties and gently, but firmly correcting them.

 

Once again, patience is key. This too is a process, which may take time until the blending is successful, and your family is calmly and contentedly one.

 

If, however, certain problems persist, speak to your vet or consult a recommended animal behaviorist.

Article written by Nomi Berger