Keep Calm and Move On: Helping Pets “Behave” at the Vet With Vet Exam Training

March 28th, 2017 by DCAH Staff

Getting an anxious or fearful pet into the veterinarian’s office is no picnic. And even a friendly pet can be too excitable to make vet visits easy. In some cases managing him or her while you’re there can be so frustrating or painful that the pet ends up missing out on the regular wellness exams and care that he or she deserves.

Making sure your pet gets the important health care he or she needs is our top priority at Deer Creek Animal Hospital. Our vet exam training tips and tricks are aimed at helping you to navigate your pet’s vet anxiety, so he or she can come to see us!

Begin with the Car

For many pets, the anxiety associated with a trip to the vet begins with the car ride over. If your pet only gets in the car to go to the vet, this will only increase his or her car-related stress. To remedy this, begin taking your dog for car rides that end in a fun activity, such as a trip to a dog park, play date, or hiking trail. Load your cat into his or her crate and go for short drives, ending with lots of praise and treats.

The Value of Crate Training

Speaking of crates, it’s the rare cat who goes willingly into his or her carrier, whether you are preparing for a trip to the veterinarian or not. In fact, simply getting a cat into the crate can be the most difficult part of taking a cat to the vet.

It’s possible, and advisable, to crate train your cat, and here’s how to begin:

  • Leave the crate open in a room where your cat spends a lot of time. Fill the crate with your pet’s bedding, toys, and treats to encourage him or her to enter willingly.
  • As soon as your cat is comfortable in his or her crate, experiment with closing the door, leaving it closed for longer and longer periods of time as your cat becomes acclimated to it.
  • Eventually, pick up the carrier with your cat inside and carry it around the house. Once your cat is accustomed to this, you may move on to car rides.

Bring Treats!

Don’t underestimate the power of a tasty morsel! Help your pet create a positive association with the veterinarian’s office by providing delicious treats before, during, and after your pet’s exam.

Training Helps Exams go Smoothly

A few simple obedience commands can make a trip to the vet’s office significantly less stressful for you and your dog. Asking your dog to perform a command, such as come, sit, stay, lie down, etc., rather than having to struggle with or physically move him or her from one location to another, will relieve stress and redirect him or her to concentrate on something other than feeling either excitement or fear.

Practicing at Home

When your pet is calm and relaxed, mimic some of the most common veterinary exam procedures by touching and handling your pet’s belly, lifting his or her lips, looking in the mouth and ears, and holding each paw in your hand. Not only will this reduce some stress during an actual examination but it will also give you the opportunity to spot any lumps, bumps, or other potential issues your pet may have.

Sometimes, a little bit of exposure is all your pet needs to feel more comfortable. Feel free to bring your pet to the office any time for treats, snuggles, and a quick jump on the scale to check his or her weight.

If you are still struggling with your pet’s vet anxiety or over-excitement, please give us a call!

Purr-Fect Match: Choosing the Right Cat for Your Home and Family

March 20th, 2017 by beyond

Life is full of trial and error, but eliminating time-consuming guesswork can really go a long way toward achieving goals. When looking for a new addition to your home and lifestyle, it’s important to focus on what truly works for you and other household residents – human and animal alike. Choosing the right cat may seem easy, and when all the meaningful components are in place, it is!

Never Surrender

It’s not unheard of for people to dive headfirst into the role of animal guardian without thoroughly thinking through the details. Of course, an unplanned adoption can be enormously successful, but doubts and frustration may eventually cloud an otherwise “happily ever after.” Consequently, pets may be surrendered because they don’t fit into an owner’s lifestyle or living situation.

Stop the Cycle

With a focus on the long view, consider the following before deciding on the right cat for you:

  • Are you willing and able to commit to a cat’s care for life? Some cats can live two decades, with annual costs hovering around $1000.
  • What foreseeable life changes do you anticipate? How might a cat be affected?
  • Do you have the time to give a cat who deserves affection, exercise, and attention?

Age and Temperament

Some people want a cat who will snuggle or enjoy any available lap. Others look for a more independent feline. Having an understanding of breeds, personalities, and feline socialization will help you find the right cat.

While kittens must have the room and time to run and play freely, cats of all ages deserve access to exercise and mental stimulation. Adult or senior cats make fabulous companions for owners who don’t have the room, patience, or ability to play with younger cats. They can also be great for families with young children.

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How to Choose the Right Dog for Your Family

March 13th, 2017 by DCAH Staff

Adding a new family member pet to your life can be an incredibly heartwarming and exciting time. Anyone who’s ever adopted a new little furry friend can attest to this. When adding a new dog to your home sweet home, there are many considerations and important questions to ask before “em-BARK-ing” on this new adventure.

From lifestyle to personality preferences, choosing the right dog for your family (or just for yourself) relies on several different factors. To help you hone in on the perfect pooch for you, Deer Creek has created a list of important considerations that will make the choice easier, safer, and happier for all.

The Right Dog for Your Home and Lifestyle

While common sense tells you that a Great Dane isn’t well suited for a 400 square foot tiny home, the fact is, many of us have our favorite types of pets for a multitude of reasons. The questions around finding the right fit for you, however, should be more focused on the health, safety, and contentment of everyone, including your future furry friend.

Physical space, including home and yard, is a good place to start because there are some breeds that need more room to stay active and engaged than others. A super energetic dog will probably find the best match in an equally energetic owner, while lap dogs or senior pets may prefer to chill on the couch with someone who likes his or her downtime.

How much time you have to invest in training and socialization (which is necessary for all dogs) will also help inform your decision. If you’re a busy professional who works 60 hours a week, you may not be able to take on the task of caring for a puppy or adult dog who’s never received any training.

Choosing the Right Dog When Children are Involved

Although most dogs can be raised to be the very best friend of any child, there are some considerations when it comes to breed, size, and temperament. When adopting a pet, most rescues will require that all young family members be introduced to the dog prior to adoption. Certain dogs will also be listed as unsuitable for a home with kids due to background or temperament, such as issues with fear or anxiety.

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