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Archive for the ‘Canine Dog Obedience’ Category

Dominant Dogs

Monday, September 14th, 2015


Dominant dog behavior usually develops over a period of time. Dominant dogs will often growl or bark at their owners when the dog’s demands aren’t being met.

If there are two or more dogs living in the same household, the dominant dog will be considered by the other dogs as the alpha dog, or leader of the pack. Such dominating dogs often try to gain leadership over their owners also.

To prevent this type of unwanted behavior you must learn how to recognize dominant dog behaviors and take steps to change those behaviors if you want to have an obedient and loving companion rather than a terrorizing monster running around your house.

Some of the symptoms of dominant behavior in dogs are similar to the symptoms of separation anxiety so it is important to distinguish between the two. To determine if your dog is really showing signs of dominating behavior you’ll have to find a way to monitor its behavior to see if it behaves in a dominating manner around other dogs or only when left alone.

If you notice any of the following symptoms of dominating dog behavior you may want to seek the assistance of a professional trainer who can train your dog to be more obedient. If you find that your dog’s disobedience and dominant behavior is resulting in biting and aggression, most trainers won’t work with your dog.

Some of the signs of dominant dogs are:
Always acting stubborn, barking loudly, consistently ignoring your commands, pushing ahead of you whenever you open a door in the house or to the outside, resistance to being walked with a leash, growling and barking when it doesn’t get its way or when corrected for doing something wrong.

It isn’t easy dealing with dominant dogs. If your dog disobeys you and growls at you when you try to correct it, don’t shout or express frustration. You have to remain calm and speak to it in a firm commanding tone.

Although it can be a daunting and challenging task to permanently change the behavior of a dominant dog, it is possible to successfully change your pet’s behavior if you remain calm and persistent at all times during any training sessions.

Potty Training a Puppy

Monday, August 24th, 2015


Potty training a puppy or housebreaking a puppy can be an easy task if you know how to do it properly. It can be easy, but also requires a lot of patience, constant monitoring of the puppy, and dedication to getting the job done while remaining loving and supportive of your new puppy.

Puppies don’t have complete control of their bladder until they reach at least 6 months of age. The more time you can spend with your new puppy, the faster your puppy will be housebroken.

Here are some things to consider when you start potty training a puppy:

Most puppies will let you know when they need to go. Obviously they can’t talk and are not mature enough to understand that they need to give you a “distinctive signal” when it’s time to take care of business, but if you pay close attention to your puppy you’ll learn to recognize the warning signs.

When you see your puppy repeatedly making the signs it uses when it has to go outside, act fast and immediately take your puppy to wherever you’ve chosen as the place to “do it.” When your puppy does eliminate itself, praise it and reward it with a doggy treat. The puppy will then learn to expect praise and a treat when it eliminates outside at its “toilet”.

When you’re not available to supervise your puppy, you can limit it to a specific area of your house by installing childproof “gates” to keep it confined to that area.

Try to keep your new puppy on a regular bathroom schedule. Take the puppy outside as soon as it awakens every morning and do the same every night before putting it down to bed.

Most puppies, since they still have small bladders, will have to relieve themselves about 15-20 minutes after eating and drinking water. Puppies will usually have to go potty immediately after playing or walking for exercise, and almost always after waking up from a nap. If you set a routine schedule for exercise, walks, and mealtimes, the potty training will become embedded in the puppy’s brain, and as each day passes, your potty training job becomes easier.

If your puppy doesn’t relieve itself within 10 minutes or so after going to its designated “potty spot”, take the puppy back in the house and watch it closely for 10 to 15 minutes. When you feel it’s ready to go, then take it to the “potty spot” again. Your puppy should take care of its business the second time around.

Potty training a puppy doesn’t mean you’ll never have to clean up its mess inside your house. Should this happen, immediately pick up the puppy and take it to its designated spot. Never punish your puppy for going potty in your house, and never, never yell or rub its nose in the soiled spot, or the puppy will be afraid of going potty whenever you’re around.

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Monday, June 29th, 2015


Pet sitters do a lot more than just provide your dog with food and water while you’re away from home. A good pet sitter will spend time with your dog, exercise it, and know when it needs veterinary attention.

Some pet sitters will offer to do additional things for you like bring in your mail and newspaper, water your plants, and turn lights on and off so your house looks occupied.

But just because someone says they are a pet sitter doesn’t mean they are qualified to do the job

When you have to be away from home for travel, or if an unexpected emergency arises and you don’t want to board your dog in a kennel, who can you depend on to take care of your dog?

Many pet owners will ask a friend or neighbor to stop in every day to feed their dog and give it fresh water. But will this limited amount of attention be enough?

Unfortunately, unless your friends and neighbors are dedicated dog lovers, they may not understand proper pet care and could leave your dog susceptible to injury or stress from separation anxiety. Many friends and family members won’t tell you, but they often resent having to look after your pet and make frequent visits to your house – especially if they are young or have busy schedules in their lives.

To satisfy your own fears, you may want to consider hiring a professional pet sitter to care for your dog while you’re away.

A pet sitter can offer both you and your pet many benefits. Your pet will be able to stay in the environment it is most familiar with; will have its same diet and routine; and won’t have to stay in a boarding kennel with other unfamiliar dogs.

The benefits for you are numerous also. Keeping your family, friends and neighbors happy because they won’t be burdened with caring for your dog; the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional; having someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so burglars don’t know that no one is home; plus other errands or chores a sitter can do for you while you’re away.

The best way to choose a pet sitter is to ask for a recommendation from your family and friends, or you can check your Yellow Pages under “Pet Sitting Services.”

It is very important that you learn all you can about any potential pet sitters. Interviewing prospects on the phone or at your home can reveal a lot about a the qualifications of a pet sitter.

Whether on the phone or in person, you should ask the prospective pet sitter if he or she has any medical conditions that might interfere with taking care of your dog; whether he or she has a backup person to care for your dog in the event of a personal or family emergency; will your dog be taken on regular walks to get its exercise, and are there other services that can be handled like picking up your mail and newspaper.

If you find a pet sitter that provides live-in services in your home, find out the specific times that person will be home with your pet; for example, do they work, or do they have appointments scheduled with a doctor or dentist during your absence? Will the pet sitter provide you phone numbers of other clients as references?

It is of vital importance to have any prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your dog before deciding on who to hire as a pet-sitter. During this in-person interview, observe how the person interacts with your dog and whether your dog is comfortable with that person.

You have responsibilities to the pet sitter also. You should make reservations with your pet sitter early enough for them to plan their life around your departure and return. Be sure your dog has current identification tags and is up-to-date with its vaccinations. Leave clear instructions for the pet sitter detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.

Be sure your dog has sufficient pet food and any necessary medications. Leave an extra key with a neighbor as a backup.

A pet sitter will be spending a lot of time alone in your home, so you want to choose a pet sitter who is the most reliable and trustworthy person. Ask them about their past work history and be sure to check references with their former clients.

Thunderstorms and Dogs

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Thunderstorms and dogs make a bad combination. It’s common for dogs to suffer from thunderstorm phobia or anxiety if they live in a part of the country subject to summer storms with thunder and lightning.

Dogs with thunderstorm phobia become extremely panicky and overwhelmed with fear during loud thunderstorms. The technical term for this is Astraphobia: the fear of thunder and lightning. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated.

Causes of a dog’s phobia of Thunderstorms
There is no way to be certain what causes a dog to be afraid of thunderstorms. There are probably multiple reasons for thunderstorm phobia, and the reasons may even vary from dog to dog. The most obvious reason is the loud noise of the thunder and the bright flashes of lightning. Many dogs suffer from noise phobia, and the thunder is just one of several frightening noises besides fireworks and gunshots that can cause panic in dogs.

It’s also possible that the cause of a dog’s fear may not be limited to noise. Changes in barometric pressure and humidity can affect your dog’s senses and even cause discomfort in its ears. Arthritic dogs or those with other degenerative joint diseases like hip dysplasia, may experience more pain during thunderstorms than they normally do at other times.

Another possible reason for thunderstorm phobia is that the dog associates the thunder and lightning with a traumatic experience it has had. It is possible that something very stressful or frightening occurred in your dog’s past during a thunderstorm.

Signs of Thunderstorm Phobia
If your dog seems anxious, hyperactive, destructive or withdrawn during thunderstorms, it’s probably suffering from thunderstorm phobia. The signs of Astraphobia are fairly obvious and easy to spot in a dog with this phobia. Many dogs will pace, pant or begin whining. Some will stay right by your side seeking your attention. Other dogs may hide and become frozen with fear. Your dog’s fearful behavior may be subtle at first but can become worse with time, eventually becoming full-blown panic attacks that are very dangerous for your dog.

Thunderstorm phobia can cause a dog to urinate and sometimes defecate inside the house out of fear during a storm. Telltale signs of anxiety and fear may begin long before the storm arrives, so take note of any of these signs you may see in your dog during normal weather when the forecast is for stormy weather ahead. Your dog is probably a better weather forecaster than the meteorologist on TV.

Preventing and Treating Dogs With Thunderstorm Phobias
If your dog has a thunderstorm phobia, there are some things you can do to protect it during thunderstorms, or at least minimize its responses to the thunder and lightning.

The most important of course is never leave your dog outside during storms.

Be aware of your own behavior and that of other people in your home. Your dog will react to human anxiety, fear and stress, even if it is not related to the storm. Do your best to remain relaxed. Go about your usual duties. Don’t pay special attention to your dog when it is exhibiting signs of fear or anxiety. Even though your natural instinct is to want to comfort your dog, coddling and praising it only reinforces and rewards the unwanted behavior.

There are ways you can indirectly comfort your dog during thunderstorms. Find a comfortable hiding place for your dog in the quietest part of the house. If you have a dog crate, place the dog’s bed inside and cover the crate with a blanket or sheet to make your dog feel safer.
If your dog does calm down and stops reacting to the storm, respond with calm praise and rewards.

Dogs with severe thunderstorm phobia may benefit from prescription medication used in conjunction with desensitization or conditioning training. Your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax (alprazolam) or Valium (diazepam) that can be given at the first sign of a storm.

Because thunderstorm phobia is likely to become worse over time, it’s important to take action when you first notice the signs. Don’t wait to address your dog’s phobia until it is very severe. That simply makes it that much harder to reverse the phobia.

Just as stress is a health risk for humans, the same applies for thunderstorms and dogs. Thunderstorm phobia can become a very serious problem that will adversely affect your dog’s health and quality of life.

When to Spay or Neuter a Dog

Monday, March 9th, 2015


If you’re like most new dog owners who adopt a puppy or a very young dog, you’re probably not sure when is the best time to spay or neuter the new dog in the house. For male dogs the best time for neutering is between 6 and 8 months of age.

This is a fairly common time frame to have your dog neutered, but it’s not a mandatory time frame that works for every dog. The most important thing to consider before scheduling an appointment with the vet to neuter or spay the new addition to your family is the dog’s overall health condition.

The vet will examine your new male puppy to determine if it’s a safe time to neuter the dog. He or she will need to examine it closely to determine if the puppy’s testicles have descended. It usually takes about seven weeks for a puppy’s testicles to drop into the scrotum, after which time the surgery can be safely performed. This examination by your vet is critical to assure that the puppy’s testicles have dropped by that period of time. If the exam takes place within the time frame of 6 to 8 months and the testicles have not yet dropped, the puppy may have a condition called cryptorchidism, which simply means that one or both of the dog’s testicles haven’t descended from the abdomen.

When adopting your new dog from a local animal shelter, early neutering has usually been completed before a dog is ready to be adopted. It’s pretty standard procedure for a puppy to be neutered or spayed before reaching puberty between 8 and 16 weeks old. It has become important for shelters to neuter or spay pets to help in controlling the dog population in a city. One of the reasons so many dogs end up in shelters, or worse, abandoned, is because the owners never had the new dog neutered or spayed. One would expect, that with all the information on neutering and spaying dogs readily available on the internet these days, every dog would be neutered or spayed. But what sometimes happens when a female dog gives birth to several puppies in its owners home, it will depend on what the owner intends to do with the new arrivals. If the new pups are put up for sale most buyers would not want the puppy spayed or neutered in case they wanted to have offspring from the pup in the future. Puppy mills do not neuter or spay for the same reason.

Some male dogs will need to be neutered before they are six months of age due to testosterone level concerns and they will then grow to be a little larger than a dog that is neutered after puberty.

The timing for neutering or spaying is not the same for all breeds. For small breed dogs, puberty usually occurs around 6 months of age. Larger breed dogs take longer to mature, which means you should delay neutering or spaying until the dog is one year old at the minimum.

    Spaying

Spaying a female dog is not important only to prevent the female from becoming pregnant during heat and getting connected with a different breed dog that an owner would not appreciate, but spaying at the proper time is also beneficial for the female dog to help its long term health. One common misconception that still manages to be portrayed as true about spaying is that it will change the dog’s personality and make it less likely to exhibit unwanted behavior during heat cycles such as the urge to mate. Contrary to this kind of misinformation that dog owner’s often receive, spaying will not cause a female dog to gain weight or result in the dog becoming lazy or lethargic its entire life.

It’s important that a female dog be spayed around the age of 6 months before having its first heat cycle. This helps eliminate the risk of mammary tumors developing as the dog ages. Most veterinarians agree that a female dog can also be spayed as early as 8 weeks of age if desired. The surgery is painless and is performed under anesthesia. The vet will remove the dog’s uterus and ovaries. After surgery a female dog will not go into heat or experience the problems of cystic ovaries, false pregnancy, or uterine cancer.

Neutering and spaying your new pet dog is a responsibility you should take seriously. The Humane Society of America estimates that there are between 6 to 8 million dogs and cats euthanized in shelters every year. Please consider neutering or spaying your pet and don’t contribute to the unintentional deaths of our beloved companion animals.

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