Vaccinations and Their Importance for Our Pets’ Health

Puppy Vaccination

Lucky for us, there are vaccines to help prevent many illnesses that affect dogs and cats and cats. Vaccinating your dog or cat has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, there are different types and combinations of vaccines.

Although vaccination has the potential to protect pets against life-threatening diseases, vaccination is not without its risks. Our veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic have heard been some controversy regarding the duration of protection and timing of vaccination, as well as the safety and necessity of certain vaccines. What does this all mean for your dog or cat? Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and benefits that must be weighed for every dog relative to his lifestyle and health.  Any of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians can determine a vaccination regime that will provide the safest and best protection for your individual pet. Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:

What Exactly Are Vaccines?

Vaccines help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don’t actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If a dog or cat is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

How Important Are Vaccines to the Health of My Dog or Cat?

Bottom line—vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog or cat. That said, not every dog or cat needs to be vaccinated against every disease. It is very important to discuss with one of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians a vaccination protocol that’s right for your dog. Factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs and cats.

What Are Core Vaccines for dogs?

Recently, the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force published a revised version of guidelines regarding canine vaccinations. The guidelines divide vaccines into three categories—core, non-core and not recommended.

– Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans. Canine parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines by the Task Force.
– Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk. These include vaccines against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

What Are Core Vaccines for cats?

The American Association of Feline Practitioners divided vaccines into two categories-core and non-core. Core vaccines are considered vital to all cats and protect against panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calici virus, feline herpes virus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle; these include vaccines for feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chylamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus.

One of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians can assist with questions regarding core vaccinations for your dog or cat.

Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?

Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some areas require yearly rabies vaccination. Other areas call for vaccines every three years. An up-to-date canine rabies vaccination is a legal requirement. Be sure to keep proof of your dog’s rabies vaccines with his medical records.

How Often Should My Adult Dog or Cat Be Vaccinated?

Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians can best determine a vaccination schedule for your dog or cat. This will depend on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, environment and lifestyle. Some adult dogs and cats might receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every 3 years or longer.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaccines?

Immunizations mildly stimulate an animal’s immune system in order to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This stimulation can create mild symptoms, ranging from soreness at the injection site to fever and allergic reactions. Another less common side effect is the development of immune mediated disease following vaccination.

That said, it is important to realize that vaccines have saved countless lives, and play a vital role in the battle against canine infectious disease. Additionally, rabies vaccinations have saved the lives of countless dogs and cats—and many humans as well. In some developing countries, hundreds of people die each year due to rabies contracted from dog or cat bites.

As with any medical procedure, there is a small chance of side effects. In most cases, the risks are much smaller than the risks of disease itself. But it is important to talk to your veterinarian about your dog or cat’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

Most dogs and cats show no ill effect from vaccination. Vaccine reactions may be minor and short-lived or require immediate care from a veterinarian. Clinical signs include:

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

It is best to schedule your dog or cat’s appointment so that you can monitor him for any side effects following administration of the vaccine.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog or Cat Is Having an Adverse Reaction to a Vaccine?

If you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine, call one of the Lange Animal Clinic’s veterinarians immediately.

Aggression Between Cats

Aggression between Cats

Your cat’s best friend may not be another cat. Cats are very territorial creatures and often vehemently defend their turf. And even cats who have gotten along in the past may start to rub one another the wrong way. But you can help get their relationship back on track and the veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL 61554 recommends some techniques to reduce aggression with cats.

Adding a another cat in the household

Many people adopt a second cat thinking that the resident cat will be appreciate the companionship. This can be a risky move. The fact that your cat is sweet and loving with you doesn’t mean he’s going to be sweet to another cat. Because cats are territorial, it’s not uncommon for the addition of a new cat to the household to create some inter-cat strife.

Although you can increase the chances that they will get along or at least tolerate one another by making proper introductions, there’s no way to predict whether cats will get along with each other. Unfortunately, there’s no training method that can guarantee that they ever will. It’s very important to negotiate a truce.

Types of aggressive behaviors

First, let’s understand the different types of aggression and what causes them.

Territorial aggression

This occurs when a cat feels that an intruder has invaded her territory.

  • A cat may be aggressive toward one cat (usually the most passive), yet friendly and tolerant with another.
  • Problems often occur when a new cat is brought home, a young kitten reaches maturity, or a cat sees or encounters neighborhood cats outside.
  • Typical behavior includes stalking, chasing, ambushing, hissing, loud meowing, swatting, and preventing access to places (such as the litter box, bedroom, etc.)
  • Female cats can be just as territorial as males.

Inter-male aggression

Adult male cats may threaten, and sometimes fight with, other males. This is more common among unneutered cats. They may fight over a female, for a higher place in the pecking order, or to defend territory.

Cats stalk, stare, yowl, howl, and puff up their fur (picture the arched back of the Halloween cat) to threaten each other. If one does back down and walk away, the aggressor, having made his point, will usually walk away as well.

If no one backs down, cats may actually fight. They may roll around biting, kicking, swatting, and screaming, suddenly stop, resume posturing, fight again, or walk away. If you see signs that a fight may occur, distract the cats by clapping loudly, tossing a pillow nearby, or squirting them with water. These actions can also be used to break up a fight. Keep your distance, and never put body parts in the middle of a fight; you could be injured.

Defensive aggression in cats

Defensive aggression occurs when a cat tries to protect himself from an animal or human attacker he believes he can’t escape. Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians suggest this can happen in response to the following:

  • Punishment or the threat of punishment from a person
  • An attack or attempted attack from another cat
  • Any incident that makes the animal feel threatened or afraid

Defensive postures

  • Crouching with the legs and tail pulled in under the body
  • Flattening the ears against the head
  • Rolling slightly to the side

Approaching a cat in this posture is likely to cause an attack.

Redirected aggression

Cats direct this type of aggression toward another animal, or even a person, who didn’t initially provoke the behavior.For example, your cat is sitting in the window and sees an outdoor cat walk across the front yard. He gets very agitated because that cat is in his territory. You pet him; he turns and bites you. He doesn’t even know who you are at that point—he’s so worked up about the cat outside that he attacks the first thing that crosses his path. It’s important to respond to this redirected aggression in a way that will keep both you and your upset cat safe.

Consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian

Your first step should always be to contact one of our veterinarians for a thorough health examination. Cats often hide symptoms of illness until they’re seriously ill; your aggressive cat may be feeling sick and taking out his misery on others.

If your cat gets a clean bill of health, consult with one of our veterinarians or an animal behavior specialist for help. A behaviorist will advise you on what can be done. You may need to start the introduction process all over again, keep the cats in separate areas of your home, or even find one of the cats a new home if the aggression is extreme and can’t be resolved.

Consult with one of our veterinarians about dietary products that may help reduce stress or anxiety in your cat.  Or, one of our veterinarians may provide a recommendation for a prescription that may help.   Never medicate your cat on your own.

What to avoid

  • Don’t count on the cats to “work things out.” The more they fight, the worse the problem is likely to become. To stop a fight in progress, make a loud noise (like blowing a whistle), squirt the cats with water, or throw something soft at them.
  • Don’t touch them, or you might get seriously scratched or bitten. Seek medical attention if you’re injured.
  • Don’t punish the cats involved. Punishment could cause further aggression and fearful responses, which will only make the problem worse. You could even become a target for redirected aggression.
  • Don’t add more cats. Some cats are willing to share their house and territory with multiple cats, but the more cats who share the same territory, the more likely it is that some of your cats will not get along with each other.

Cat friendship is a feline mystery

Many factors determine how well cats will get along with one another, but even animal behavior experts don’t fully understand them.

We do know that cats who are well-socialized (those who had pleasant experiences with other cats during their younger years) will likely be more sociable than those who haven’t been around many other cats.

On the other hand, “street cats,” who are in the habit of fighting with other cats to defend their territory and food, might not do well in a multi-cat household.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the upmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Helpful Tips for Keeping Your Exotic Pet Safe During Cold Weather

Lange Animal Clinic provides care and treatment for exotic pets.
Lange Animal Clinic provides care and treatment for exotic pets.

Storms and cold temperatures are never fun to deal with, but if you live any place where the seasons change, you will undoubtedly have to face inclement weather at some point this winter. How do you keep your bird or exotic pet healthy when the temperature plummets? Here are a few tips that Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians in Pekin, IL suggest to help keep your bird or other exotic pet safe.

1. Provide heat!
Many birds and reptiles, in particular, need to be kept warm to remain healthy. Birds (especially  larger parrots) can generally tolerate temperatures as low as the 50s, but once the thermometer drops below that, they may get fluffed up (expending all of their energy trying to trap warm air between their feathers and their bodies to keep warm) and stop eating. Pets burn extra calories trying to stay warm, so it is essential that they keep eating. Reptiles are “cold-blooded;” their body temperatures are determined by their environmental temperatures. If their environments get very cold, their body temperatures drop in turn. Their immune systems do not function well at suboptimal temperatures, and their digestive systems and metabolism also slows down – typically what occurs during hibernation or brumation. Reptiles can safely tolerate living at less-than-ideal temperatures for a few days, but over time, hibernating reptiles can get sick.

Other exotic pets may suffer in the cold, too. Hedgehogs, for example, can go into a state of sluggishness or torpor and stop eating when the temperature falls. Thus, if you own an exotic pet, and your home is cold because you have lost electric power, you should do all that you can to keep your pet warm by wrapping his or her cage with a blanket or towel to minimize air flow, moving the cage near a sunlit window (as long as there are no drafts blowing through it), and placing plastic bottles, bags, or even rubber gloves filled with warm water (if you have access to warm water) wrapped in towels directly underneath the reptile (or under the cage, if you have a bird or small mammal such as a rabbit or rodent that might chew on the plastic or rubber).

2. Offer water!
In bad storms, if you lose electric power or if your pipes freeze, you may also lose your water supply. Given the fact that many exotic pets have very high water requirements due to their small sizes and fast metabolism, these pets can become dehydrated quickly. Thus, if you are trying to keep your bird or other exotic pet healthy during a blackout or severe cold snap, be sure to provide fresh water daily, and monitor his or her water consumption carefully. Stressed exotic pets may pant and may lose moisture through their mouths as a result, plus they may not eat or drink normally and are consequently at high risk of dehydration. Dehydrated pets quickly become sick pets, so ensuring exotic pets drink water during cold weather is very important to try to prevent illness.

3. Prevent trauma!
Many birds and non-nocturnal exotic pets are not accustomed to being in the dark for prolonged periods and may become nervous and stressed if they are without light during a power outage. Birds may flail around in their cages, potentially hurting themselves, breaking feathers or injuring their wings. Worse, they may escape their cages into dark rooms where, if they are able to fly, they can smash into objects or fly out doors. Small mammals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas may get scared, curl up, and hide in tight spaces, making them very hard to find in the dark. If you are trying to keep your exotic pet calm in the darkness, keep a small flashlight near your pet’s cage so that he or she can see you and familiar surroundings; this may keep him or her calmer and less likely to get injured.

4. Avoid fumes!
When faced with power outages, cold, and long periods of darkness, many of us are tempted to burn candles or to keep a propane stove running. However, if you have a bird or other exotic pet and are going to light candles or turn on the stove, you must take special precautions. Several exotic species (birds in particular) are exquisitely sensitive to any kind of fumes, so if you burn candles that emit smoke (or worse, have lead in the wick, which many do), you must keep these far away from these animals, or they are at risk of inhaling potentially toxic fumes and dying. The same is true for propane and other gases; if you can smell it, your pets could inhale it and collapse. So, don’t take chances; move your birds and exotics far away (ideally in a separate room) from the source of any potential fumes.

5. Feed! Feed! Feed!
Nervous birds and other exotic pets, like stressed people, may have a decreased appetite or may not want to eat at all. This is especially a problem when these pets are in cold temperatures, expending lots of extra calories trying to stay warm and alert and potentially sleeping less than normal. In these situations, small exotic pets with normally high metabolisms actually need additional calories to stay healthy. Thus, when exotic pets are exposed to the cold, it’s especially important to monitor their appetites to ensure that they are eating. Tempt your bird or other exotic pet to eat during inclement weather by offering his or her favorite foods frequently in small quantities. Exotic pets that eat less may need to be hand-fed or encouraged to eat, even through syringe-fed special formulas meant for particular species if necessary. It’s great to have these formulas on hand ahead of time in case of emergency. One of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians can provide these items to you so you’ll have them ready in a pinch in case you need them.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the upmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients.  Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Enhancing Your Cat’s Life

Free-ranging and feral cats lead complex and busy lives. They explore, they hunt, they scavenge for food, and they might interact with other cats. In contrast, household cats, especially those who live exclusively indoors, have little to do and boredom may set in.  Our veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL have found the following trends:

  • Cats who lack enrichment can be aggressive in play, both with people and with other animals in the household.
  • Young cats without planned enrichment opportunities often pester their pet parents for play at inappropriate hours of the day and night. They may also interact destructively with furniture, plants or other objects in the house.
  • Cats lacking enrichment can become reclusive and are more likely to retreat from new people or objects that enter their homes than cats who are frequently exposed to a variety new sights and sounds.
  • Cats lacking regular play may be more attracted to perches by windows. When looking outside, they may overreact to the presence of outdoor cats they can see and become very distressed.

Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians suggest the following enrichment opportunities that can easily be provided for cats. Here are some ideas to try:

  •  Provide a variety of toys for your cat. Some cats prefer toys that they can throw around themselves. Other cats prefer toys that require owner participation, such as those you wiggle and dangle. Stimulating play for a cat involves opportunities to “hunt,” so move toys in such a way that they mimic the movements of a rodent or bird. Introduce new toys periodically to keep your cat from becoming bored with her toys. Please see our article, Cat Toys, for fun toy recommendations and tips on playing with your cat.
  • Provide objects for your cat to explore, such as cardboard boxes, paper shopping bags, packing paper and toys that encourage her to investigate various holes with her paws. A dripping water tap can provide hours of fun! An aquarium with real fish or even a bowl of fake fish that move around can fascinate your cat. Rotate playtime objects frequently so that your cat doesn’t become bored.
  • Some cats appreciate the commercially available “cat videos.” The most popular ones contain close-ups of birds and small rodents. Many cats can watch the same videotape for hours each day, tracking the animals’ movements, growling or chirruping and swatting at the screen. Your cat might even enjoy watching a lava lamp! (Take care that she can’t burn herself if she touches the lamp.)
  • Cats love to watch birds, squirrels and other small animals. Position bird and squirrel feeders outside windows where your cat can observe animals coming and going during the day. If you live in an apartment, you can attach bird feeders directly to the outside of your windows.
  • Provide several small meals per day rather than one or two large meals. Also avoid “free feeding” (keeping your cat’s bowl full all the time). If your schedule doesn’t permit giving multiple meals, you can purchase a feeder with a built-in timer, designed to open according to a preset schedule.
  • Teach your cat to walk on a leash with a harness!  Going on leashed walks is a safe way to take your indoor cat on outdoor adventures. To be safe, make sure your cat always wears ID tags on her collar when walking outside.
  • If you have the space, build an enclosed outdoor area where your cat can spend time when the weather is nice. Cats will spend hours watching leaves blow in the wind, birds flying and squirrels scampering around. If you can’t have an outdoor enclosure, try creating a window perch where your cat can easily sit and look out the window.
  • Training your cat can give her a great mental workout. Just like dogs, cats can learn a number of useful behaviors and fun tricks, like sit, come when called and shake.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the upmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients.  Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Grooming Your Dog Like a Professional

Dog Grooming

Ever watched your dog roll on the ground, lick her coat or chew at a mat on her fur? These are her ways of keeping clean. Sometimes, though, she’ll need a little extra help from her pet parent to look her best.

Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible—For the Both of You!

Our Veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic recommend grooming sessions that should always be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your dog is relaxed, especially if she’s the excitable type. Until your pet is used to being groomed, keep the sessions short—just 5 to 10 minutes. You can lengthen the time gradually until it becomes routine for your dog. You can help her get comfortable with being touched and handled by making a habit of petting every single part of your dog, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet.

And here’s one of our most important tips of all—pile on the praise and offer your pooch a treat when the session is finished!

Brushing

Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. And grooming time’s a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt–those little black specks that indicate your pet is playing host to a flea family.

If your dog has a smooth, short coat (like that of a chihuahua, boxer or basset hound), our veterinarians suggest you only need to brush once a week:
– First, use a rubber brush to loosen dead skin and dirt.
– Next, use a bristle brush to remove dead hair.
– Now, polish your low-maintenance pooch with a chamois cloth and she’s ready to shine!

If your dog has short, dense fur that’s prone to matting, like that of a retriever, here’s your weekly routine:
– Use a slicker brush to remove tangles.
– Next, catch dead hair with a bristle brush.
– Don’t forget to comb her tail.

If your dog has a long, luxurious coat, such as that of a Yorkshire terrier, she’ll need daily attention:
– Every day you’ll need to remove tangles with a slicker brush.
– Gently tease mats out with a slicker brush.
– Next, brush her coat with a bristle brush.
– If you have a long-haired dog with a coat like a collie’s or an Afghan hound’s, follow the steps above, and also be sure to comb through the fur and trim the hair around the hocks and feet.

 

Bathing

 

Lange Animal Clinic recommends bathing your dog every three months or so; your pet may require more frequent baths in the summertime if she spends lots of time with your outdoors. Always use a mild shampoo that’s safe to use on dogs, and follow these easy steps:
– First, give your pet a good brushing to remove all dead hair and mats.
– Place a rubber bath mat in the bathtub to provide secure footing, and fill the tub with about 3 to 4 inches of lukewarm water.
– Use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes or nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a large plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup will do.
– Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail.
– Thoroughly rinse with a spray hose or pitcher; again, avoid the ears, eyes and nose.
– Check the ears for any foul odors or excessive debris; if you choose to use a cleansing solution on a cotton ball, take care not to insert it into the ear canal.
– Dry your pet with a large towel or blow dryer, but carefully monitor the level of heat.

Please note: Some animals seem to think that bathtime is a perfect time to act goofy. Young puppies especially will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush them, and tend to nip at bathtime. If this sounds like your pet, put a toy that floats in the tub with her so she can focus on the toy rather than on mouthing you.

Nail Clipping

Most people really don’t handle their dog’s feet until they are about to clip the nails and then…watch out! Some animals can get very upset at this totally foreign feeling. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your dog used to having her feet touched before you attempt a nail trim. Rub your hand up and down her leg and then gently press each individual toe—and be sure to give her lots of praise and some food treats as you do this. Every animal is different, but chances are that within a week or two of daily foot massage, your dog will be better able to tolerate a trim. Here’s how to do it:
– Begin by spreading each of your dog’s feet to inspect for dirt and debris.
– Use sharp, guillotine-type nail clippers to cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to curve.
– Take care to avoid the quick, a vein that runs into the nail. This pink area can be seen through the nail. If your dog has black nails, however, the quick will not be as easily discernible, so be extra careful.
– If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed, in which case you can apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
– Once the nails have been cut, use an emery board to smooth any rough edges.

 

Special Breeds, Special Needs

Dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles—such as shar peis and pugs—will need special attention. To prevent dirt and bacteria from causing irritation and infection, clean the folds with damp cotton. Always thoroughly dry the areas between the folds.

If your dog has long or droopy ears, you should check them weekly. Remove wax and dirt from your pet’s ears with a cotton ball moistened with water or a little mineral oil. You may need to remove any excess hair leading into the ear canal; ask your pet’s vet or groomer to show you how before trying it at home. There are special hair removers that allow you to carefully pull one strand at a time.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Excessive Barking

Lange Animal Clinic’s veterinarians get this question more often than one may think.  How to get my dog to stop excessive barking.  Dogs bark for many reasons. Does your dog bark excessively? If so, consider covering windows to avoid stimulation by people and/or pets passing by. You can also try to redirect their behavior by engaging them in an activity such as throwing a ball. Still no luck? Click on the article below for six great ideas that may help.

Here are six great methods to try to help your dog reduce barking:

1. Remove the motivation

Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Example: barking at passersby

  • If he barks at people or animals passing by the living room window, manage his behavior by closing the curtains or putting your dog in another room.
  • If he barks at passersby when he’s in the yard, bring him into the house. Never leave your dog outside unsupervised all day and night.

2. Ignore the barking

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him any attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to him, don’t touch him, and don’t even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.

Lange Animal Clinic’s veterinarians state that to be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he’ll probably bark for an hour and a half. He learns that if he just barks long enough you’ll give him attention.

Example: barking when confined

  • When you put your dog in his crate or in a gated room, turn your back and ignore him.
  • Once he stops barking, turn around, praise him, and give him a treat.
  • As he catches on that being quiet gets him a treat, lengthen the amount of time he must remain quiet before being rewarded.
  • Remember to start small by rewarding him for being quiet for just a few seconds, then working up to longer periods of quiet.
  • Keep it fun by varying the amount of time. Sometimes reward him after 5 seconds, then 12 seconds, then 3 seconds, then 20 seconds, and so on.

3. Desensitize your dog to the stimulus

Gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever is causing him to bark. Start with the stimulus (the thing that makes him bark) at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things (treats!).

Example: barking at dogs

  • Have a friend with a dog stand out of sight or far enough away so your dog won’t bark at the other dog.
  • As your friend and her dog come into view, start feeding your dog lots of very yummy treats.
  • Stop feeding treats as soon as your friend and her dog disappear from view.
  • Repeat the process multiple times
  • Remember not to try to progress too quickly as it may take days or weeks before your dog can pay attention to you and the treats without barking at the other dog.

4. Teach your dog the “quiet” command

It may sound nonsensical, but Lange Animal Clinic staff all agree that the first step of this technique is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.”

Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

Example: someone at the door

  • When the doorbell rings, your dog alerts you to the presence of an “intruder” by barking wildly.
  • Once you’ve taught your dog the “quiet” command in a calm environment, practice in increasingly distracting situations until your dog can immediately stop barking when asked to, even when that “intruder” arrives at the door.

5. Ask your dog for an incompatible behavior

When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that’s incompatible with barking. Teaching your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.

Example: someone at the door

  • Toss a treat on his mat and tell him to “go to your place.”
  • When he’s reliably going to his mat to earn a treat, up the ante by opening the door while he’s on his mat. If he gets up, close the door immediately.
  • Repeat until he stays on his mat while the door opens.
  • Then increase the difficulty by having someone ring the doorbell while your dog is on his mat. Reward him if he stays in place.

6. Keep your dog tired

Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL offers great suggestions by our staff of experienced Veterinarians on many important pet care topics.  We are a small companion animal clinic that provides veterinary care for dogs, cats and exotic pets.  Visit us on the web at www.langeanimalclinic.com for more information.

Now Hiring- Veterinary Technician Position Available

Lange Animal Clinic is seeking a full or part time Veterinary Technician.  Click the image at the bottom of the page to apply and review the job description below to learn more about the opportunity and to apply via our Facebook page.  If you have veterinary assistant experience or are a Certified Veterinary Technician, than Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL may be the right spot for you in your next leap in your career!

Veterinary Technician/Assistant

Position Overview
Due to significant growth, Lange Animal Clinic is currently seeking two (2) full time Veterinary Technicians.  The ideal candidates will provide animal care by determining animal requirements; assisting with examinations and diagnostic procedures; assisting during operations; feeding and caring for animals; maintaining supplies and equipment; and maintaining records.

Primary Responsibilities

* Determines animal requirements by assisting with examinations and client discussions; reviewing care plans and records; completing laboratory tests and studies, and assisting with digital imaging.
* Cares for animals by taking vital signs; collecting samples; administering medications, drugs, and vaccines; bandaging and wrapping wounds.
* Supports operations by assembling required supplies and instruments; setting-up surgery table instruments; restraining animals;  operating and monitoring anesthetic machines; hooking-up ECG monitors; preparing surgical site; placing catheters; performing blood draws; cleaning-up post-surgical site; maintaining sterile conditions; obtaining and verifying medications.
* Maintains animals by feeding and watering animals; cleaning animals’ rooms, cages, and equipment; changing cages; observing for clinical signs of disease.
* Maintains safe, secure, healthy and humane environment by sterilizing and wrapping instruments; sanitizing and disinfecting boarding and operating areas; storing sterile supplies; verifying shelf life; following standards and procedures; complying with legal regulations.
* Maintains animal records by documenting animal conditions, reactions, and changes; updating database.
* Maintains equipment by following operating instructions; troubleshooting breakdowns; maintaining equipment supplies; performing preventive maintenance; calling for repairs.
* Enhances knowledge base by participating in continuing educational opportunities

Skills & Experience

* Certified Veterinary Technician preferred or at least 3+ years working as a Veterinary Assistant

* Bachelors Degree preferred, but not required

* Knowledge of Animal Behavior and Animal Husbandry

* Strong documentation and analytical skills

* Proven ability to mutli task in a fast paced environment

* Fosters safety and sterilization best practices

* Ability to assist with diagnostics, in-house lab testing and dental cleanings

* Strong Written and Verbal Communication Skills

* Basic computer and typing skills

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