Breeding

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Most animals give #birth without any complications, however, mothers occasionally need help with delivery. #StaffordAnimalHospital #Stafford

 

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Feedback

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Let us know how you & your #pet are loving #StaffordAnimalHospital! Please take a moment to leave us a #review >> ow.ly/Yz37308M2eV

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Protecting Pets from Predators

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Lions, and tigers, and bears… Oh my! Well, you may not have tigers to contend with, but mountain lions could be an issue. Check with your local wildlife department for tips on animals that are in your area. Even the cute fuzzy ones could pose a problem to your pet, so make sure your pets’ vaccinations are up to date. Incidents of rabies outbreaks have been noted in certain parts of the country. To make things more complex, urbanization has created a unique situation of habitat encroachment, and wildlife view domesticated pets as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Foxes and coyotes have become increasingly bold with wildlife officials issuing warnings against feeding wild animals, which brings us to our tips:


  • Feed your pet indoors. Don’t leave food outside to attract rodents and raccoons, which also attract other predators. Pets that are eating outdoors will be distracted and less aware of threats.
  • If you spot hawks or eagles in the area, don’t leave your dog unsupervised. Keep kitty indoors.
  • If you must leave your dog outdoors, invest in a dog run with a cover. This is effective against raptors and mountain lions.
  • Coyotes are clever hunters. They will send out a single coyote to bait a dog into chasing it and the pack will ambush a dog. Keep your dog leashed or fenced with tall privacy fences.
  • Owls hunt at dusk and in the dark. The great horned owls can lift animals several times their weight, up to 20 pounds. Keep an eye out for these aerial predators swooping under street lamps as they sometimes eat moths attracted there. If they live in your neighborhood, do not let your dog out at night without a leash. Make nighttime potty breaks very brief.
  • Dog Clothing. Yes folks, dog clothing can save your pet’s life. I encountered a Yorkie on a walk several years back (before BaxterBoo even existed) and commented on her attire. Her owner said her vet advised her to dress her dog in flamboyant, non-natural attire as it would make the dog appear less like a natural prey menu item to hawks and eagles. If that doesn’t convince you, I read a story on a chihuahua web site with photographs of a brave little chi with a puncture wound that would have been much worse had the dog not been wearing a heavy coat and been leashed.
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Dog Nutrition

 

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A dog is a dog is a dog, right? Not quite – at least when we’re talking nutrition. While dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes do have similar nutritional needs, there are some subtle but important differences that owners should be aware of.

I’ve talked before about the importance of lifestage feeding. In other words, puppies should eat puppy food, adults should eat adult food, and so on. Today, I’d like to touch on some of the differing nutritional needs of small versus large breeds of dogs.


First, the puppies. Large breed puppies are prone to developmental orthopedic diseases like hip dysplasia. Feeding these individuals diets that are a little less energy dense, contain slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorous, and have a very carefully balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio has been proven to reduce the incidence of developmental orthopedic diseases in large and giant breeds of dogs.

Small breed puppies have their own unique concerns. They have extremely high metabolic rates and can burn through a meal in just a matter of hours. If a small breed puppy doesn’t take in sufficient numbers of calories on a frequent basis, it can develop hypoglycemia resulting in weakness, lethargy, muscle tremors, seizures, and sometimes even death. Young, small breed puppies should be fed a calorie-dense food three or four times a day.

The differing metabolic rate of small versus large breed dogs continues into adulthood, which means that small dogs need to take in more calories per pound than large dogs. For example, a ten pound dog may need 400 calories (kcal) per day to maintain a healthy weight, while a 100 pound dog could require 2,250 calories per day.

A little math reveals that the small dog requires 40 calories/pound, while his large breed friend needs only 22.5 calories/pound. Combine this with the fact that small dogs have tiny stomachs and you’ll see why most foods designed for small breeds are somewhat more calorie rich than large breed diets.

Dogs of differing sizes also have special needs when they reach their senior years. Small breeds of dogs can live a very long time and high dietary levels of antioxidants can help prevent free radical damage over such a long life span. On the other hand, it seems like almost every older, large breed dog suffers from some degree of arthritis. For this reason, diets formulated especially for big, senior dogs typically contain ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate that promote joint health. Of course, small dogs can also benefit from glucosamine and large dogs need antioxidants, but their diets can be tweaked to address their most common health concerns.

Even if your miniature pincher likes to take on the big boys and your mastiff thinks he’s a lap dog, they can benefit from eating a well-balanced, nutritionally complete food specifically designed for dogs their size.

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Proper Pet Exercise

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All animals need exercise — cats need to play, dogs need to run, even hamsters need to spin on their wheels. Here’s what you can do to make sure your cat or dog gets enough exercise and reaps the rewards of this healthy habit.

EXERCISE FOR CATS

Because cats don’t run up to their owners with balls in their mouths, many people assume that they don’t want or need to be played with at all. On the contrary, cats need exercise and a lot of mental stimulation. Without it, they can get bored and develop behavior problems.

Cats like to chase things because they are natural hunters. So why not challenge and excite them by inventing games in which they can hunt imaginary prey?

The best toy is a fishing pole-type apparatus that has feathers, streamers, or other items attached to it with a string. Make sure the object doesn’t have any loose parts that the cat can choke on. Mimic the movements of a bird or insect flying overhead or a small animal scurrying across the floor by moving the toy in short, jerky motions. Make sure you allow your cat to catch the “prey” now and again. Otherwise, they could lose interest in the game.

Play with your cat as often as you can for about ten minutes at a time, perhaps while you’re talking on the phone or watching TV. You’ll both enjoy this fun, silly time together; and it will help create an inseparable bond between you and your feline friend.

EXERCISE FOR DOGS

Although fenced yards provide a safe, handy place in which your dog can play and relax, every dog still deserves at least one walk a day outside the yard. Walks provide the following benefits.

BONDING TIME

Time together, especially active time, provides an opportunity for dog and guardian to interact and establish mutual communication and a strong bond of affection. Dogs on a walk also get to socialize with other dogs. This is especially beneficial for puppies, who learn the rules of canine social interaction from meeting older dogs.

EXERCISE

Most dogs won’t run around a fenced yard enough to get the exercise they need. If you and your dog walk a mile or more a day, you’ll both benefit by building strength and endurance, burning calories, breathing fresh air, and discovering what is new in the neighborhood.

BOREDOM

Yard-bound dogs get bored from lack of variety in their lives. Walk past a fenced yard and watch the resident dog race along the fence line, press its face through the links, bark, pant, whimper; and practically turn somersaults to get your attention. Imagine being able to see a park, alley, or vacant lot from your yard but never getting the chance to explore it. No wonder dogs get frustrated.

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Keeping Pets Cool During Summer

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Summer isn’t always just a walk in the park for pets.

Skyrocketing temperatures can make the world a harsh place for our animals, especially for dogs, who can be very sensitive to the heat.

Because dogs don’t have the convenient (smelly) sweating mechanism that humans do to stay cool, overheating can happen suddenly for them — and it can be deadly.

Luckily, there are some key signs of dog overheating to watch out for when taking your pup out of the A/C. Catching overheating early could literally save your dog’s life.

Watch out for:

  • Heavy panting.
  • Dry or pale gums.
  • Increased drooling.
  • Deep and rapid breathing.

Prevent these early signs of overheating from even happening by:

  • Being careful not to overexert your dog when enjoying the day.
  • Making sure your dog has a shady spot where he can rest.
  • Having a lot of drinking water handy if your dog shows any of the above signs of overheating or overexertion.
  • Putting cloths soaked in cold water around his paws, in his armpits and on his head and neck, as one veterinarian suggests.

Also, don’t assume that just because your dog is near a body of water that he can’t get overheated. And always watch him if he’s swimming — not all dogs are great at doggy paddling.

Watch out for:

  • Heavy panting.
  • Dry or pale gums.
  • Increased drooling.
  • Deep and rapid breathing.

Prevent these early signs of overheating from even happening by:

  • Being careful not to overexert your dog when enjoying the day.
  • Making sure your dog has a shady spot where he can rest.
  • Having a lot of drinking water handy if your dog shows any of the above signs of overheating or overexertion.
  • Putting cloths soaked in cold water around his paws, in his armpits and on his head and neck, as one veterinarian suggests.

Also, don’t assume that just because your dog is near a body of water that he can’t get overheated. And always watch him if he’s swimming — not all dogs are great at doggy paddling.

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Dog Behavioral Training

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