Ensuring a Smooth Adjustment When Bringing a New Dog Home

New Dog

Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarians in Pekin, IL believe that it is very important to follow steps to make a successful adjustment for a new dog being brought into one’s home.  Patience is a very important facet for success as it can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your dog to adjust to each other. The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition.

Gather your dog’s supplies

Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and, of course, some toys. And don’t forget to order an identification tag right away.

Establish house rules in advance

Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed her at night? Will Bella be allowed on the couch, or won’t she? Where will she rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?

Plan your dog’s arrival

Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor—make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!

Be prepared for housetraining

Assume your new dog is not housetrained, and work from there. Read over the housetraining information given to you at the time of adoption and feel free to contact one of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians or technicians for ideas to help with housetraining. Be consistent, and maintain a routine. A little extra effort on your part to come home straight from work each day will pay off in easier, faster housetraining.

Make sure all your pets are healthy

Animal shelters take in animals with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom have not been previously vaccinated. Inevitably, despite the best efforts of shelter workers, viruses can be spread and may occasionally go home with adopted animals. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before introducing your new pet dog.

Take your new dog to one of our veterinarians within a week after adoption. Here, we will perform a new pet wellness exam and administer any necessary vaccinations. If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, make that appointment! There are already far too many homeless puppies and dogs; don’t let your new pet add to the problem. Most likely, the shelter will require that you have your pet spayed or neutered anyway. If you need more information about why it is so important to spay or neuter your dog, consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian.

Give your dog a crate

A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it’s a room of his own. It makes housetraining and obedience-training easier and saves your dog from the headache of being yelled at unnecessarily for problem behavior. Of course, you won’t want to crate your dog all day or all night, or he will consider it a jail cell. Just a few, regular hours a day should be sufficient.

The crate should not contain wire where his collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture. If a crate isn’t an option, consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well. (A baby gate works perfectly.)

Use training and discipline to create a happy home

Dogs need order. Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch him doing something he shouldn’t, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm, and let him know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that he has misbehaved. Reward him with praise when he does well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you’ll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog.

Games and Activities

Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along.

Be patient with Your New Dog

Finally, be reasonable in your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give him time to adjust. You’ll soon find out that you’ve made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.

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 utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Springtime Pet Safety and Tips

Spring Dog

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, it’s time to start spring cleaning and allowing the fresh outside air indoors.  But the new balmy weather can prove problematic for curious pets—or their parents. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your furry friends. To help you out, Veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent accidents or unfortunate situations.

Windows and Screens

Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.

Restrain in Car Rides!

While every pet owner knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or poke their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Spring Cleanup

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals away from your pets! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.

Home Improvements

Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care

Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Check out our full list of garden care tips.

Poisonous Plants 

Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.

Sneezing… Ah… Ah…. Achoo!

Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian as soon as possible.

Bugs and Little Critters

April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program.   Ask a Lange Animal Clinic to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.

Outdoor Activities

Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information.  Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.  Lange Animal Clinic can microchip your pet for the low cost of only $39 and it is painless and provides that added security you need.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

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 utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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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.  

About Us 
Our Services
Setup an Appointment