When it comes to your pet, you want the best care for them that is available. That begins with your choice for a veterinarian. Here are a few things to ask to make sure you are getting the best person for the job.
It is the job of the veterinarian to work with the pet owner to keep their beloved animal in great health. While we treat our pets like members of the family, they are first and foremost, animals. This means that they have different health needs and concerns than we do. In order to meet all of their needs, we need the help of someone who knows all about pets.
When do you choose a veterinarian? Well, this process begins before you even adopt or buy a pet. As soon as you acquire a new family member you will want them to see a vet right away to make sure that they are okay. Even if you don’t have one at the beginning, waiting until your pet is sick is not a good idea.
Finding the Right Person for the Job
So, what are the criteria for choosing a good vet? That depends on the type of pet that you have and their unique needs. Keep reading to find out a good place to start.
1. Ask for referrals – If you have friends who own pets, they more than likely have a veterinarian. Pick their brains to see who they would recommend for your pet.
2. Call around – If you don’t know anyone who can help, look in the phone book. Start with vets in your immediate area. Ask about the types of animals they see in their practice. Some vets, believe it or not, may specialize in a certain type of animal or large animals as opposed to everyday house pets.
3. Make a few visits – Before signing up with someone, check them out. Visit the office and look around. Is the waiting room clean? Do they require cages for certain pets to avoid commotion? Is the staff pleasant and friendly? Do they take drop-in appointments?
4. Schedule a time when you can take a tour – Ask to have a tour of the facility. Visit the kennels and the wards where they would care for your pet. Are they clean? If pets are there, are their cages clean?
5. Ask for credentials – What type of schooling does your vet have? Ask them about any professional organizations that they belong to and if they are board certified. It is not necessary that your vet be board certified but if they are it says that they have taken the extra steps to specialize in a certain area of veterinary medicine.
6. Ask questions – If you have any concerns about your pet’s needs, ask. This is the time. Don’t be afraid to get the information that you need. It’s for your pet.
A veterinarian is your partner in the care of your pet. Make the right choice by being informed.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Shih Tzu!
Shih Tzus are a toy dog breed, and a cute one at that! My father and mother-in-law have a Shih Tzu, named Max. They got him as a puppy and he is now 4 years old. Max is absolutely adorable and he is a playful and personable little dog! He is small and loves to hang out on everyone’s laps during family gatherings. You really couldn’t ask for a sweeter dog.
Shih Tzus are actually ornamental toy dogs and are one of the oldest small dog breeds around. Other names for these dogs are the Chinese Lion Dog, the Chinese Shih Tzu, and the Chrysanthemum Dog. They make wonderful pets and are great show dogs. Because they are small they don’t need a lot of room they make good indoor dogs (especially good for apartment dwellers). They are happy, energetic little dogs who simply love their human companions! They have long beautiful fur coats. The one initial drawback of these dogs is that they can be quite expensive to purchase up-front. They range from around $300 to $1,000 depending on the area and the breeder.
Shih Tzu Background. It is known that these dogs came from China originally, and is agreed upon that they probably date back to the 7th century. Possible ancestors for the Shih Tzu include the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. The Chinese were quite proud of this breed and they did not start exporting them to other countries until the 20th century. Many people today will create mixes with the Shih Tzu by breeding them with other dogs. Common dogs they are crossbred with include the Maltese, the Poodle, and the Bichon Frise.
These dogs only reach about 11 inches in height and weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. They are often shown at dog shows, where you can see a large variety of colors they are available in. As I said before – they are happy and generally love human companions! They can make a good childrens dogs as long as the child is responsible and knows not to be too rough. They also usually get along well with almost any other pet! Because of their long hair they do not do well in hot temperatures. This makes it essential that they be allowed indoors if you live in a hot climate.
The Shih Tzu can be a stubborn dog. Anything you want to train them will have to be done consistently and you will need patience. I remember first-hand how difficult it was for everyone during the house-training of Max. It seemed like he was always having accidents! But now, he is fully trained and a great house dog. So don’t despair! Make sure to walk your dog regularly. That can be a great time to work on training them as well.
Shih Tzu Care and Feeding. These are typical dogs and so need mostly animal fats and some protein in their diets. Purchase a good quality dog food for them or make your own with poultry, rice, and soy. Keep their teeth clean as they are prone to dental problems. Just giving them teeth cleaning chews can help out in that regard. They also have long hair that should be brushed regularly to keep it free from tangles and mats. If you have a show dog this is especially true. If you don’t plan on showing your dog feel free to have your dogs hair groomed and cut for easier care!
Health problems can be common with the Shih Tzu. They are prone to respiratory diseases, eye and ear problems, spinal disc disease, and dental problems. First of all, make sure your dog or puppy appears healthy before purchasing him. Next, make sure to give all of the recommended vaccinations on time and to give the appropriate boosters. Bring your dog to the veterinarian for yearly check-ups and this would also be a good time to have his teeth checked and cleaned if necessary. One last note. They don’t do well in dusty areas because of their proneness to respiratory problems. So just make sure to keep the area they are living in as clean and dust-free as possible!
The Shih Tzu really is a great dog. More information is available on Shih Tzus if you have any questions or would like more details!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Want a dog that reminds you of your favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal? Then a Chow Chow may be the right breed for you. Here is some information you might find helpful before you buy your next pet companion.
Chow Chows are an old breed of dog. It is believed that they originated in Asia millions of years ago. Many fossils from that time show bone structures similar to the modern species. One thing that makes them distinctive is their blue or black mouth. This is a quality that is shared with the Chinese Shar-Pei, leading to the conclusion that they are somehow related.
Originally, this dog was put to work in many areas. They made great hunting dogs, finding sables, wolves and pheasants. Because of their muscular build, they were also used to pull carts and sleds. It was also not unusual to find them herding other animals or protecting an owner’s property and family.
In a good environment, a Chow Chow displays obedience and manners. They get along well with other animals in the household as long as they are socialized from pups.
This dog can have behavior issues if he sees that his or her master is not behaving as an alpha in the family. In order for the dog to know his place, he has to recognize that all humans in the pack are higher up than he.
A Chow Chow will readily challenge and usurp power in the pack if they see that their master is faltering. These dogs are strong willed and will become stubborn to a fault in these situations. Their actions will come off as mean to their owners but is their way of showing that they decide what to do and not the humans.
A Chow Chow is a large thick dog. Their most common colors are black, cream, blue, red, and cinnamon. It is also not uncommon to see them in tan or gray coats. Their telltale feature is that they have a blue-black tongue in a black mouth.
They maintain a dense coat that can either be coarse or smooth. Regular brushing is important to maintain the coat, especially in the seasons when they shed heavily.
This dog is also prone to a few health issues. They have eye irritation due to entropion, a condition where their eyelids roll inward and their eyelashes end up scratching the surface of the eye. You will also find that they deal with hip dysplasia, cancer, and ear infections.
A Chow Chow needs a firm hand in order to be trainable. They can be difficult and require a strong dominant owner. For this reason, many people give up this breed, because they were not able to handle him in that regard.
When properly trained, these dogs are quite intelligent. Given a task, they will continue to perform it until they have pleased their owners. It is not unheard of for Chow Chows to learn to “shake hands” with people, jump around on their hind legs, and perform other tricks.
These gentle lion-like dogs are playful and obedient when trained well. If you have a firm strong personality, a Chow Chow may find a home in your household.
It sounds like a disease but it is a condition that pertains to dogs and the human perception of them. If you have a small or toy dog, keep reading to find out how detrimental this syndrome can be.
“Aren’t they cute?”
You hear this all the time when people are describing puppies and small dogs. We are used to seeing big dogs and other animals but the small ones just make us gush. In human language, this is adorable and endears us to our pets even more. In dog language, however, it means something totally different.
As dogs become older they grow larger, unless they are of the small or toy varieties. This can cause some problems in the dog’s behavior that many owners ignore. Here are some examples.
Small dogs allowed to jump on people
Small dogs allowed to nip at family and visitors
Small dogs allowed to sleep where they want to
Small dogs allowed to lead on the leash
Small dogs allowed to sit in owner’s lap when they want to
Be truthful – if a large dog did any of these things, you would not be pleased, would you? Well, in the animal world, size doesn’t matter. The same way that you discipline a large dog is the same way that a small dog needs to be treated. In fact, they demand it. And, when we don’t give it to them, they rebel and can become a problem.
Small Dog Mentality
Dogs are not humans. We often forget that. Dogs have a pack mentality much like their distant relative, the wolf. This means that someone in the group has to be the leader.
Having a leader brings order to the pack. They know who to follow so that the pressure is off of them to make all of the decisions. In the home, the dog is the follower and the human is the leader. Anything less is seen as weakness by your dog.
The reason that small dogs do some of the things mentioned above is that they have begun to act like the pack leader. They have taken charge.
One way to overcome this pattern of behavior is to regain the alpha position with your dog. Here are some suggestions:
1. Don’t allow your dog to walk in front of you on the leash
2. Use a negative command like “No” when the dog nips at someone or jumps up on your legs
3. Wait until the dog displays a submissive posture before allowing them to sit in your lap or jump on the bed
Remember that dogs respond better to firm but calm instruction. Avoid yelling at your dog or pushing them around. Poke them with your fingers until they decide to move off your lap or your bed. Displaying your alpha position can avoid such things as separation anxiety as well.
Small dogs or toy dogs may be cuter but they need the same things as larger dogs.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Dalmatian!
Have you ever seen the movie or heard the story of 101 Dalmatians? Most likely, the answer is yes! Almost everyone is familiar with it. The every day person probably has a love for Dalmatians simply because of the popularity of the story – I mean who couldn’t love a hyper and super cute white and black-spotted dog!
Dalmatians are actually a very old breed and are also known as a symbol for firemen. They have traditionally helped firemen fight fires and are very good at it due to their nature. These dogs have tons of energy, love people, are very playful, and are extremely intelligent. Because of this they can make very good companions for a variety of different people. As well as good fire dogs, they can also often make good guard dogs, hound dogs, carriage dogs, and war dogs! Other names the Dalmatian goes by include Firehouse Dog, Dalmatiner, Carriage Dog, and many others.
As for the history of this dog, it is not known for sure exactly where it originated. It is definitely a very old breed of dog, but whether or not the Dalmatian started out in Dalmatia, a section of Croatia, is debated. It has made appearances in ancient Egyptian art as well. They are a non-sporting dog breed with a very unique spotted coat. When they are born they are completely white, but as they grow they develop spots. These spots are often black, but can also be brindle, blue, or lemon colored. There are also several Dalmatian hybrids. Two popular ones are the Sharmatian (Dalmatian and Shar-Pei mix) and the Chimation (Dalmatian and Chihuahua mix).
The care and feeding of these dogs is what is expected of any dog, but should be taken seriously. Taking them to their regular annual check-ups and giving them their shots is a must in order to keep them at their best health-wise. Their diet should actually not be too heavy on protein because they are prone to urinary problems and too much protein can facilitate these. Dog foods that are mostly rice, poultry, and lamb are the best choice. Dalmatians can be kept both indoors and outdoors. However, if they are kept indoors they should be allowed out regularly to play and taken on walks because they are very energetic dogs. Also, they shed heavily twice a year, and so must be regularly brushed and the house should be vacuumed frequently. Baths should be infrequent.
Socially, these dogs make pretty good companions overall. They get along with most people, including children, as well as with other pets. Males (especially if not neutered) may be more aggressive towards other male dogs, so take caution if you have more than one male dog. Very small children may also not be the best companions for them because these dogs are so hyper.
The Dalmatian is quite intelligent, which makes them an ideal dog for obedience training, housebreaking, and learning tricks. This is why they are used for many important jobs such as firehouse dogs and guard dogs.
The two main health problems for these dogs are urinary problems and skin allergies. As I mentioned before, limiting protein and watching their diet can generally help with their urinary problems. They may still need medication however. If your Dalmatian develops skin problems, check out their living conditions and consult your veterinarian. Sometimes indoor carpet and furniture can contribute to skin allergies, so it is important to determine what is causing them. Deafness can also run in the family, so check for a family history of deafness before purchasing a particular dog.
Overall, Dalmatians are considered great pets! You should look for a reputable breeder before purchasing one and keep in mind that prices can vary greatly. Read more about these dogs on Animal-World’s Dalmatian page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Animals bring something special to your life. If you are looking for a dog why not consider a rescue dog? Here are some things to know about adopting one.
There are advantages to a rescue dog. First, you are saving a life. For whatever reason, this dog has been taken to the pound. Sometimes owners get more than they bargain for but it is their pet that pays the ultimate price.
Second you are giving a dog a loving home. Dogs are some of the most loving creatures on earth. Even if you treat them in an unkind way they will remain loyal, giving you chance after chance to make it right. Abused dogs need someone who will return that love and you are now it.
Third, you are getting a great bargain. It doesn’t cost as much to adopt a shelter dog so you can secure a canine companion without too much of an initial cash layout.
What to Know about a Rescue Dog
It is a good thing to give a home to a dog that needs one, but know what you are getting into before you make that decision. One reason is that you could do the animal more harm than good. Pets that are returned to the shelter over and over don’t have a very long life expectancy there. They are labeled troublesome and usually the first to be put down.
These dogs could have physical problems. The shelter or rescue group will do their best to identify any physical issues resulting from the abuse. But there is a chance that these things won’t show up for months or years to come.
Rescue dogs can have emotional problems. With the cycle of abuse or abandonment, can come a fear of humans. It may take some time to get this under control but you can do it with the help of a dog trainer and some TLC.
You probably won’t get any pedigree papers. These dogs can be of any breed or mix. So, be ready for the unexpected. They might be small now but grow to become a medium or large size dog.
Taking your Dog Home
Allow your new dog to smell and get to know you first. Don’t put fingers through the bars of the cage. Stand to the side, avoiding direct eye contact and then hold your hand in front so they can sniff it at will and see that you are not a threat.
Then, take them for a long walk. This dog has been caged for a long time and needs to burn off some energy. If not, they won’t be able to focus and obey when you get them home. Try walking around your neighborhood so they can become familiar with the area of their new home.
Teach him to heel on the leash from the beginning. Your dog is looking for you to be their pack leader. Don’t allow them to walk in front of you even when exercising. Keep them at your side or behind you, demonstrating that you are the alpha.
It may take a few weeks for your dog to learn their place in the order of your home. Be patient with your rescue animal and you will have a true companion for life.
We may treat our dogs like humans at times but that doesn’t mean that they need to be fed like them. Feeding your dog properly is important to their overall health and well-being. Here are some pointers about feeding them in the right way.
Dogs are not people. They have a different diet and have different nutritional requirements. For instance, dogs are pack animals. They are descended from wolves which are pack animals. In the wild, animals eat what they have in their surroundings and that doesn’t include certain foods that we have at our disposal in the domesticated environment. To understand your dog, take a good look at him or her and learn about their needs versus what we think they should have.
The Puppy Years
It is unwise to take a pup from its mother before it is eight weeks of age. Just like human babies, pups get proper nourishment and immunity from their mother’s milk. Weaning them too soon can lead to health issues.
Puppies need to be fed three or four times a day. After about four weeks this can consist of mother’s milk and also some solid food. After eight weeks, the puppy can eat solid food with very little milk. This begins the weaning period. And, it is safe to take them from their moms when they are more interested in your company than their mother’s.
As the puppy gets older, feed them less frequently, about twice a day. For dogs that are prone to weight problems, you don’t want to start a bad habit at a young age. Also, feeding them at regular intervals makes it easier to housebreak them.
A Few Food Facts
If you have ever looked in a dog’s mouth, you will notice that they have sharp incisors. Humans have a couple of them too but dogs have a whole mouth of them. They are used for ripping and tearing meat.
Dogs need a lot of protein in their diet but very little, if any, grains. Many commercial dog foods contain grain products as filler in their dry foods. Avoid these as much as possible.
Dogs do not have the proper teeth to grind up and digest grains. All they will do is eliminate it from their system. Feeding too much grain can leave your dog hungry and undernourished.
Read the labels. Be sure that the ingredients say “meat meal” (chicken, pork, beef, turkey, etc) as the first ingredient so you know that in the concentrated dry food, you are getting more meat by weight than if it read “meat” alone. Watch out if it names a grain as the second or third ingredient as that means that there are a lot of non-nutritive fillers involved. Mix wet with dry food so that your dog gets that crunch and a lot of needed protein.
Feeding your dog properly leads to a long happy life with very few health and developmental problems.
Want a medium sized to small dog that has long luxurious hair? You would probably like a Cocker Spaniel. It is good for more than just looking beautiful though.
The American Cocker Spaniel, which we are talking about here, is originally of the English Spaniel breed. If you looked at an English Spaniel you would notice many differences. For one, the American was bred to be a smaller dog with a shorter muzzle.
Both Spaniels are gun dogs. They are known for flushing out game on a hunt and bringing it back to its owner. It is named after the woodcock, a bird that it was commonly known to flush out. Traditionally they are not only retrievers, but watchdogs and trackers known for their obedience and agility. They were first recognized by the AKC in the 1870s.
This dog is great as a gun dog and also a household pet. As long as they are socialized well and trained from an early age they are good with children. They have average intelligence and are very trustworthy and charming to be around.
This dog loves to work. As they are used to being outside, this dog can perform tasks on dry or wet ground with ease. If not socialized well they are likely to become shy.
Some people have problems with Cocker Spaniels. They are thought to be discipline problems. That is usually the case when the pack order has not been established in the family. It is where most owners go wrong.
Avoid the small dog syndrome. This is the belief that small dogs are cute and do not need the same rules as bigger dogs. It is important for all dogs to establish a pack order. The human family is the dog’s new pack. They must know that all humans in the house are higher in the order than they are to avoid any type of discipline problems.
Temperament will stay social and gentle as long as you give your dog what he needs. That includes a daily long walk. This burns off nervous energy and satisfies their mental need to migrate. You don’t need a large yard. A small one will do or access to a park where you can properly exercise your dog each day.
When pack leadership is not established, your dog may engage in various unsavory behaviors. These include:
- Viciousness brought on by fear and dominant behavior
- Submissive urinating
- Obsessive barking
This dog has a medium length coat that is flat and wavy. It is shorter on the head. The ears, abdomen and legs have feathering. Some will cut the coat short so that it is better managed on a daily basis. He will need regular brushing, being careful not to pull out the silky hairs underneath. For showing, they can have any solid color coat.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to many different health problems. Regular visits to the vet can head off any issues that could be a problem. Regular feedings of highly nutritious foods can avoid weight problems.
These dogs are relatively easy to train but can become a problem when pack order is not established. Housebreaking will be more of a challenge. With a gentle positive feedback system, they will learn and become good dogs for your home and outdoor life.
The Cocker Spaniel is pretty, intelligent, and trustworthy. For the total package, think about bringing home a Cocker Spaniel.
Author: Liam Condit
For us, beds are an important and comforting entity that we just couldn’t live without, and the same goes for dogs. Besides food and water, a dog bed is a necessity for the life and well-being of your pet. Not only do they provide security and private space for the dog, but also a good dog bed can provide elderly dogs with support for their joints and bones, especially those that may have arthritis. Dog beds are also a very useful tool for keeping your house clean, with all the hair being concentrated in one place. What’s important is that although every dog needs a bed, it should also the right bed for your dog.
Danish Design Rambla Bed Nest
This dog bed serves as the king of dog beds, with its classic horseshoe shape, and luxuriously padded cushioning, it is a dog bed fit for royalty. After a hard days walk or a day in the field, the nest offers your pet the maximum possible amount of comfort and relaxation. Available either in a chic lime design for the most fashionable of dog, or a classic beige design for a dog with traditional tastes, this is a dog bed that is not to be missed.
Premium Memory Foam Dog Mattress
Shaped like a regular mattress, the bed offers an unbeatable experience every time your dog goes to sleep. Quite often used for medicinal purposes, memory foam is great for circulation and joints, keeping the body properly supported, prioritizing not one part of the body over another. This means that the Premium Memory Foam Dog Mattress is an excellent choice for elderly dogs and those who suffer from arthritis. The lining of the bed is also waterproof meaning that those occasional accidents aren’t a problem, with the lining being fully machine washable. The bed is also available in light and dark tan, making it a perfect bed for a dog of any breed or age.
Premium Oval Faux Suede Softee Bed
With 360 degrees of cushioning, the oval bed provides your furry friend the perfect armchair experience, all from his own private bed space. Hard-wearing and practical, the bed also offers a luxurious memory foam base, perfect for the dog that is looking for that ultimate nights sleep. Available in a range of different sizes and two different colours, the bed is the perfect product for a dog who takes nothing less than the best.
Rectangular Heavy Duty Basket Weave Softee Bed
With its ultra soft walled covering, the Soft bed is probably the best dog bed available for under £100. The intricately crafted material ensures that the bed is one of the strongest and most durable within its range, whilst at the same time, offering your dog the highest possible comfort and quality that necessitates a good nights sleep. The thick yet superbly soft base offers your dog the cushioning that it needs, whilst being machine washable and offering the long lasting protection that you need. Like all the others, the bed is available in a variety of sizes and two different colours, suiting not only your dog, but also the home in which your dog lives.
Rectangular Faux Suede Softee Bed
Similar to the Basket Weave Softee bed, the Faux Suede Softee Bed is a product designed primarily for making your pet happy and comfortable. With its thickly cushioned walls and brilliantly soft base, the bed is a high quality product that is made to last night after night with your dog. Also, the entirety of the bed can be machine washed, making hygiene a top priority for you and your dog.
Want a small dog that also has a superior sense of smell? You could be in the market for that dog breed that represents fine shoes everywhere. We are talking about a Basset Hound.
Though they are short in stature, this dog has been highly prized on the European continent. It is related to the bloodhound which is known for its hunting ability and better than average sniffer. This dog was bred early as a hunting dog. Some wanted it to be used as a companion dog. There was a big argument amongst breeders who wanted one but not all of these traits for their dogs.
When the Basset Hound finally came to America, breeders decided that it could be a show dog, a companion dog and a hunting dog all in one. In fact, as a hunting dog, it was a better retriever for those who were on foot since it was slower than dogs with longer legs. Even President George Washington owned Basset Hounds.
This small dog has a sweet disposition and is generally well-behaved. If you ever encounter a Basset Hound that is vicious with you or others, it could be a sign of a problem at home. Basset Hounds are pack dogs like many other breeds. It is important for them to know who the pack leader in the home is. When the pack leader is not clearly defined, this can lead the dog to try and assume the position.
Basset Hounds are stubborn. Housebreaking is often difficult with them. When they latch onto a smell, especially of a small animal, it is hard to refocus them to the task at hand. Early on, teach them the rules of the house. Offer positive reinforcement for good behavior and a proper training environment.
They are quite affectionate when they feel that things are as they should be in the home. Sometimes they do tricks for food.
You have seen these dogs on shoe boxes and in commercials for years. They have a low body that is short and heavy. They are prone to bloat and also weight gain that can lead to problems with their hips and legs.
Their features remind you of a sad puppy dog. Their eyes are large and sunken in a rounded well-proportioned skull. Ears are soft and hang almost to the ground. Skin is loose on their body. They have large paws and a well rounded body. In show, there are no real rules on color. Most Basset Hounds are white, red, white and chestnut, black or tan.
Their coat is dense and shiny. Regular brushing will keep it under control. Only wash the dog if it is warranted. Wipe the ears and trim claws regularly.
Basset Hounds are stubborn. A firm but gentle hand is needed. To satisfy their migratory instinct, take him on long daily walks. You don’t need a big yard or even a yard at all for this. You can use the park so that he can get rid of nervous energy.
Want a loving dog that is both companion and hunter? Think about owning a Basset Hound.