Stow Kent Animal Hospital
4559 Kent Road Kent, OH 44240 330-673-0049

Portage Animal Clinic
4148 Ohio 43 Kent, OH 44240
330-673-7387

Are Dog Parks Right For My Dog?

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Annie here and I would like to talk to you about the topic on dog parks which is sometimes a controversial one…are they good, are they bad, are they unhealthy, are they dangerous? There are many dog parks that are opening up and they are growing in popularity amongst dog owners. We have a whole list of things to consider ensuring that your dog(s) has a safe visit to the dog park if you attend. There are risks and dangers to consider before attending but there can be benefits from dog parks such as socialization and lots of exercise. Consider visiting an array of different dog parks before attending with your dog. Pay attention to the safety and cleanliness of the park.

It is important to be sure that your dog is current on vaccines (yes, protection against kennel cough too) and that your dog is on proper parasite preventative. Preventative is very important because they will be around many other unfamiliar dogs, therefore your parents need to be responsible and take preventative measures to ensure your health and well being. Do not take puppies to dog parks until they are fully vaccinated!

Be sure that your pet has the appropriate personality to go to a dog park. Make sure that your pet doesn’t mind making new friends and being in groups of other dogs. Also, that it doesn’t mind being around all of the people at the park as well who may try to pet and befriend your dog.

It is also important that you can recall your dog and keep him/her away from dangerous or harmful situations if they arise. Be cognizant of other people and don’t let strangers feed your dog at the local parks. Consider slowly introducing your dog to the park. Keep your dog on a leash and let him/her investigate as he or she is safely by your side. If they act nervous, fearful, or want to leave then take the cues from your dog and consider that the park is not the place for them or they may require additional training and time.

Once you trust that your pet is comfortable and will enjoy the dog park then let them off the leash. Dog parks should have a double door system which is built for your pet’s safety. One set of doors should only be opened at a time to ensure that dogs will not escape the park. Make sure that your pets have proper identification with current information (and/or a microchip) to ensure that if they were to escape they can be reunited with you quickly and easily. Most parks have a designated small dog area of the park, for small dog’s safety. Be sure to take advantage of these areas and individuals with big dogs should be respectful and keep their large dogs out of this area.

If the dog parks have swimming holes then you should take clean water with you and encourage your pet to drink from the clean water source rather than the swimming water. On hot days make sure your pet has access to water, and has shady spots to relax and cool off. You may want to consider visiting parks in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler.

Don’t forget to clean up after your dog- pick up your poop! Be sure that you and your children in the park, wear your shoes and practice proper hygiene after cleaning up poop. Remember some intestinal parasites are zoonotic (transmitted between humans and animals) and therefore we want you to be safe too!

Lastly, be sure to keep your veterinarians phone number or an emergency hospitals number on hand in case of an emergency. We hope that you will never need it but it’s better to be prepared.

Dog parks have their risks but if you are a responsible dog owner and you have a social dog that enjoys the parks, then it can be a great place to socialize and receive a lot of exercise! Use your head, if you see a dog there that makes you or your dog uncomfortable or one that is bullying other dogs then consider staying away from those dogs or leaving the park all together. Go back when the park has a different variety of dogs. If the park is too crowded or busy then consider visiting another day.

Overall the benefits of your dog’s social well being outweigh the risks of going to the dog park. Exercise is a great benefit and can play a role in your pet’s longevity.

The take home message is make sure your pet is current on vaccinations and preventatives before attending, and also that your dog has the attitude and personality to enjoy the park. Be sure to introduce them slowly and weigh the cost and benefits to find out if it’s the right place for you before you attend. If you’re not sure then consult with your veterinarian, they know your dog well and they know their health status. So if you’re doubtful, ask.

Until next time,

Annie the lab with the help of Dr. Carlson

Stow Kent Animal Hospital

Portage Animal Clinic

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Got Kittens?

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Hello, William and Harry here, we all know it’s officially kitten season and many of you may have contact with a kitten or kittens this summer. So we would like to give you some important advice that can help you make those kittens more adoptable or help your cat to be well rounded and accepting to change.

We would like to talk with you about the importance of conditioning and socializing your cat, this is always told to be so important for puppies and sometimes we cats are forgotten. But we know that conditioning a cat is just as important as conditioning or training your dog. Socialization in kittens is usually between two-seven weeks of age. We need to be exposed to things when we are young and more likely to approve of them. If socialized appropriately then later on down the road when we are older we are more likely to approve of different things or changes in our environment. This may seem like it is not a big deal now, however, it can make the world of difference later in our life. So if you’re thinking about adopting a kitten for June’s Adopt-a-Cat month or that litter of kittens shows up on your porch this summer, please consider the following tips.

As many of you may know already, as cats we are a quit picky species. We like to have things done our way. If it is not done our way we have a tendency to make your life (and the veterinarians life) more difficult.

If we are not use to simple items like; bathing, tooth brushing, eating different kinds of foods, traveling, brushing, and being use to a set of clippers then this can lead to traumatic experiences for us or for you in a fight between human and cat when we are adults. When we are young you should give us a bath because if we ever acquire a medical condition that requires bathing we need to be accepting of this. Bathing could be used to aid in some skin conditions or even be used to help clean up a bit of messy diarrhea. If we are not exposed to bathing in our younger years then this is not going to be acceptable in our later years. Who do you think will win if we have all our claws and we hate baths?

Being exposed to and eating all types of food is also an important concept. There are many older cat diseases that eating a special diet can improve that illness dramatically and is part of the doctor’s treatment plan. Therefore, it is important to incorporate wet and dry food into our diet during all life stages. Getting us use to having moisture added to our diet or changing to a prescription diet can be necessary if we acquire some diseases/ailments such as; diabetes, cystitis, allergies, pancreatitis, irritable bowel disease or kidney disease. Some cats have never been exposed to wet food and later they have no interest in eating a moist diet or prescription diet in general and this can impact our health. So you see the dilemma, expose us to different textures and varieties of canned and dry food so that we will be more accepting of diets down the road that may be needed to improve our health and well being.

Hygiene is next on our list and is very important. Therefore, our next helpful hint is to trim our nails, brush us, and use clippers on us while we are at a young age. When you are younger and exposed to these they are a lot less scary when these procedures are used on us throughout our life. We know that brushing cats (especially cats with long hair) can dramatically reduce hairballs. If you are use to being brushed/groomed then when you are an older cat and need assistance from your parents you will be more accepting of their help. The groomer will also appreciate that we are accepting of these things. The veterinarian will also recommend that tooth brushing will improve our dental health and reduce our need for professional interference at an earlier age; therefore if you expose us to tooth brushing at a younger age then you may be able to brush our teeth for the rest of our life!

Remember that just like puppies having many different people young and old play with us, hold us, pick us up and carry us around is important. We will then be more well rounded and use to being held and petted. This may also lead to us being more accepting and social when company is around.

Lastly, exposing us to a carrier and allowing us to go in and out on our own terms will make trips in the car and to the vet less scary. We suggest leaving the carrier available to us and place treats in the carrier or some of our favorite toys, this will make it a happy place and not a scary box that we are afraid and fight to go into.

We hope now that you understand that socializing and conditioning your kitten is just as important as it is in dogs. Remember to get us use to anything you possibly can in the two-seven week period or if this isn’t possible then the younger the better!

Thanks for listening,

William and Harry

Stow Kent Animal Hospital & Portage Animal Clinic

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For more information please visit:

http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-articles/socializing-your-kitten

http://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/

Stow Kent Animal Hospital

Mon. – Thurs. 7am to 9:30pm
Fri. & Sat. 7am to 6pm
Sun. Closed
Call for emergency instruction
Sundays and after hours.

Portage Animal Clinic

Mon. – Thurs. 8am to 7pm
Fri. & Sat. 8am to 6pm
Sun. Closed
Call for emergency instruction
Sundays and after hours.