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Top Ten Strategies for Preventing Veterinary-Related Fear in Pets

Posted on: August 18th, 2009 by

1. Kennel Train – Kennel train your pet and make being in the car for short, fun rides a part of life. Incorrectly, many pets are only put in kennels and cars to go to the veterinary hospital.

2. Fun Visits – Go to the veterinary hospital for fun visits during errands. Go in, weigh your pet, give a treat and leave. Bring your pet when you go in to purchase food, prescriptions or other products. Participate in puppy or kitten socialization classes if offered at the veterinary hospital.

3. Hungry Pet – Always skip the meal before the veterinary visit so your pet is hungry. Food tastes better when you are hungry. Bring in a special food for small treats that your pet only gets for these visits. Ask each veterinary staff person you meet to offer your pet one of your treats. Ask the DVM to give your pet a treat when he or she first enters the exam room.

4. Pheromones – Put a fresh new dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) collar on your dog or spray Feliway in the cat carrier the night before the visit. Both these pheromone products have a mild calming effect on the pet.

5. Extended Exams – Ask your veterinarian if you can separate out the exam from the vaccine visit for the same fee. Or ask if you can pay for an extended exam to avoid a rushed physical exam so the DVM can go slowly to avoid a negative experience.

6. Medications – For panic prone pets, ask your veterinarian about options to lower anxiety similar to what dentists offer to fearful patients. Be willing to pay for anti-anxiety and pain medications to protect your pet from both emotional and physical pain. Tell your veterinarian that your goal is for your pet to enjoy visiting the veterinary hospital.

7. Hiding Place – Bring cats in kennels covered with a towel or in pillowcases. Cats are less stressed if they can hide. If your cat needs to stay for a procedure, bring in a brown grocery bag and ask the veterinary staff to put the bag in the kennel, BEFORE they put the cat in.

8. Exercise -Take dogs on long walks before the veterinary visit to empty out and reduce stress. Engage your cat in a long session of interactive play. Being tired helps to reduce anxiety.

9. Be Relaxed – Resist the temptation to soothe your pet in ways that may reinforce fearful behaviors. What gets rewarded gets repeated. Instead, act happy and relaxed to provide your pet emotional leadership. Your pet is more likely to relax if you are relaxed.

10. Wait Outside – If your pet is fearful of other pets, especially cats who fear dogs, ask to wait in your car with your cat until an exam room is ready. Cover the kennel with a big, fluffy towel. For dogs, let the vet staff know the plan, then instead waiting inside, go for a short walk or wait outside while giving treats and practicing obedience cues.

Authored by: Rolan Tripp, DVM

Rolan Tripp, DVM is a Veterinary Behavior Consultant and founder of www.AnimalBehavior.Net. He helps pet owners nationwide solving pet behavior problems by working with the local attending veterinarian who handles all medical issues. He can be reached at (800) 372-3706 x82 or RTripp@AnimalBehavior.Net.

ChaseHealthAdvance and Pets Best Insurance Team up to Give Pets a Chance at Healthy Full Lives

Posted on: August 18th, 2009 by

When pet owners are deciding on treatments for their pets, oftentimes cost can be a deciding factor. ChaseHealthAdvance, part of Chase Card Services, of division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Pets Best have teamed up so more people can afford to keep their pets healthy throughout their entire lifetime.

ChasHealthAdvance helps cover expenses for pets without insurance or treatments not covered by insurance – such as pre-existing conditions. Pet owners can have 3 to 24 months no interest payment plans or extended payment plans with interest to help make treatment for their pets more affordable.

“I think everyone is feeling the strain due to our economy and is being careful in terms of how they are managing their financial situation,” said Barry Trexler, senior vice president, ChaseHealthAdvance. “Now more than ever is when financing can play a positive role in enabling pet owners to get the necessary care for their pets. Instead of being confronted with a bill that requires them to pay all of it up front, pet owners have the opportunity to pay it over time.”

Jack Stephens, DVM and co-founder of Pets Best Insurance, started the pet insurance industry after he noticed that pet owners often had to base their pet care decisions on economics.

“That motivated me to work towards taking economics out of the decision to provide comprehensive pet care,” said Dr. Stephens. “Our alliance with ChaseHealthAdvance means we can help more pet owners with those unexpected veterinary costs. Together we simply want to help more pet owners in financial need today in the hopes that they will see the value of pet health insurance for future veterinary care tomorrow.”

ChaseHealthAdvance is conveniently offered by veterinarians throughout the United States. Ask your veterinarian for more information or visit

How Often Should I Bathe My Pet?

Posted on: August 18th, 2009 by

Pet owners often ask how often they should bathe their pets. Unfortunately, many people still believe the old wives tale that says you shouldn’t bathe your pet more than once or twice a month. According to some, more frequent bathing might harm your pet’s skin or coat.

However, this old wives tale is nothing more than an urban legend, and is not based upon any medical fact. While some shampoos, typically those made of harsh chemicals, can dry out your pet’s skin or coat if used too frequently, organic shampoos containing natural oils are safe to use whenever needed.

And how do you know if your pet’s shampoo fits the bill? Simply read the label. Organic shampoos contain organic (not “natural,” which is not a legally recognized term) oils (such as coconut, olive, and jojoba) and extracts of organic essences which have healing properties (lavender, peppermint, etc.) Chemical based shampoos contain a variety of chemical names describing additives such as artificial fragrances, colors, foaming agents, and bulking agents. These are not ideal for your pet’s skin health and should be avoided in favor of the milder, organic shampoos.

I recommend bathing your pet at a minimum whenever the pet gets dirty or smelly, on average at least weekly.

Some pets should be bathed more frequently. For example, those pets with skin diseases (allergies, infections, ringworm, mange, etc.) should be bathed more often, even daily if necessary. I have discovered that when my patients with skin diseases are bathed frequently, they usually do not require conventional medications in the treatment of their skin diseases. When they do require conventional medications, they usually require much less medication due to their frequent bathing schedule using a high quality organic shampoo.

And don’t forget about the important health benefits to you and your family members when you bathe your pets frequently….Pets that are bathed frequently are cleaner and less likely to cause you and other members of your family to suffer unnecessarily from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.

Think of it this way. Your pet’s hair acts like a rug, trapping dirt, bacteria, fungi, and allergens. Allergens are foreign proteins such as dander, house dust mites, saliva, bug droppings, molds, and tree and grass pollens. These allergens stay on your pet’s skin and hair until they are washed away.

The longer they stay on your pet’s skin and hair, the more likely they are to cause your pet to itch. And if you or any family members suffer from allergies or chronic respiratory problems, your pet’s skin and hair serve as an important source of your discomfort until these allergens are washed away. Therefore, I recommend bathing your pet frequently if your pet or any of your family members suffers from allergies or respiratory problems.

Finally, don’t forget your pet’s ears. Regular use of an organic ear wash will keep ears clean, healthy, and smelling great and can reduce the incidence of ear infections. And an organic ear wash can often be used in place of traditional medicated ear drops to treat bacterial, yeast, and ear mite infections.


Dr. Shawn Messonnier
Author, Unexpected Miracles-Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets

Is Your Dog Home Alone? Find out if Doggy Daycare is right for you.

Posted on: August 18th, 2009 by

Friendly, loyal and lovable, dogs are truly man’s best friend. Yet so often our best friend is left home alone for 8 hours a day while we are at work. Lack of interaction for long periods of time like this may lead to excessive barking, disobedience and stress in dogs. An alternative to leaving your dog at home during the day is to enroll him or her in Doggy Daycare. Today’s Doggy Daycares are more than just pet sitting services. They also provide an opportunity for your dog to improve on many key skills including:

Interaction: Alone no more!
In the care of trained dog personnel, dogs are able to continue interacting with people while their owner is away. Having the opportunity to be in constant contact with people is a great benefit of Doggy Daycare.

Socialization: Doggy Friends for Life
Unique to Doggy Daycare, is the ability for dogs to meet and play with other dogs. This can be beneficial to young dogs as it will allow them to develop their social skills. Also, since dogs are social animals by nature, they will love having the opportunity to play with other dogs.

Exercise: Fit as a Fiddle
Most Doggy Daycare centers have activities scheduled throughout the day that will help keep your dog stimulated. Activities may include ball-fetching, chasing games, wrestling and tunnel running. Depending upon the facility, dogs may rotate between indoor and outdoor activities. There are also rest times built into each day to ensure that your dog regains his/her energy.

Training: Supplemental Dog Education
Maybe your pup needs a bit more training. Some Doggy Daycares are able to supplement the training you do at home with additional lessons during the day. Continual reinforcement of behavior training can help your dog retain what they are taught. There are even daycares that will teach your dog new tricks!

Most importantly, Doggy Daycares can give you peace of mind knowing that your dog is well cared for during your working hours. From interaction with people to socializing with other dogs, you can be sure that there is never a dull moment for your lovable pup.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to choose the Doggy Daycare that is the best fit for you and your dog. So do a little research and ask around for referrals to the best Doggy Daycare in town.

Choosing Your Doggy Daycare

Finding the Doggy Daycare that is the best fit for you and your dog is important. Here are some points to consider before you enroll your pup:

Staff: Make sure that staff members are trained to work with dogs and that there are enough people to supervise the dogs. Ask about the amount and type of experience of the employees and the dog to staff ratio.

Maintenance: Find out how the daycare cleans and disinfects its facility throughout the day and at the end of the day. Look to see if the play areas and crates are in good condition, clean, and safe for your dog.
Dog Fights: Ask how the staff handles dog fights and what the policy is when a dog is playing a little too rough.

Emergency: Inquire about the daycare’s procedure for managing an emergency. Whether an emergency affects one dog or the daycare as a whole, you’ll want to know that there is a plan for your dog and that he or she will continue to be in good care.

Clientele: You may want to look into the process of how the daycare accepts a newcomer. An interview process of a potential newcomer assesses whether or not the daycare staff and current dog attendees are a good fit.

Credentials: Your dog deserves to be in a daycare that is in good standing. Ensure that the facility is insured, bonded and/or accredited by a national dog association.
The best way to determine if a particular daycare is a good fit for your dog is to pay them a visit. Making sure your dog is in a safe environment with friendly staff is most important and will ensure that your dog has a great home away from home.

Putting the ‘Care’ in Doggy Daycare

Some Doggy Daycares offer additional services for your dog. From grooming and massages to overnight boarding, be sure to ask what else is offered by your Doggy Daycare.
Source Thumbnail Category Newsletters Author Charlene Tan, ChaseHealthAdvance Summary Expiration Date 31 Dec 2099, 12:00:AM Publication Date 18 Aug 2009, 11:41:AM

Thinking about buying a puppy from a pet store? Think twice.

Posted on: July 20th, 2009 by

Before you buy a pet, you should know that many pet shops do not provide proper veterinary care to animals and often sell sick and injured animals.

I can’t tell you how many pet owners have told me about bad experiences with pet store puppies and kittens. The problem generally stems from the fact that these animals are a commodity, raised for money rather than love. Many come from puppy mills, where they endure inhumane, unhealthy conditions and receive little or no human interaction.

A friend of mine tells me she bought a beautiful Samoyed puppy and quickly discovered that the dog had a long list of fears and emotional problems. “She was afraid of human voice or the wind blowing her fur. She was so afraid of human touch she would fall to the floor and release her bladder and bowels if I touched her!”

My friend’s Samoyed was also found to have serious heart problems including a pansystolic murmur. Inborn health problems like these are often genetic and could be directly caused by inbreeding, a common practice at puppy mills. Worst of all, they can severely shorten the pet’s life span.

I’m not saying all pet stores are bad – of course there may be caring pet stores that sell dogs and cats. And, obviously, not all breeders run money-hungry puppy mills. But according to the information I’ve read, a reputable breeder probably wouldn’t sell their dogs to pet stores.

Also, you should consider the fact that each dog or cat bought at a store means one less adoption home for a shelter animal. Since U.S. animal shelters host up to 12 million homeless animals per year, they need all the caring, loving homes they can get.

If you decide to buy instead of adopting a pet, my advice is to go directly to a reputable breeder. Find out as much as you can about the breeder and their practices – a responsible breeder will be proud to tell you about their methods and take you on a tour of their facilities.

And to be safe, have the animal checked by a veterinarian before the transaction is final. This often-overlooked step could save you thousands of dollars and plenty of heartache down the road.