Download the New, Free ASPCA Harmful Substances App!

We wanted to share with all of you that the ASPCA has just launched a very useful free app for smartphones and tablets which quickly and easily allows you to gather critical information on substances that may be harmful to your pet(s) based off their species!

With just a few swipes, you can:

  • Lookup, by species, substances of all sorts to determine if they may or may not be harmful to your pet(s).
  • Easily select which item you are searching for in based on their quick selection menu.
  • Gain access to colorful images for easy identification, level of toxicity, side effects, and actions to take for each item listed.
  • Complete access to their “chocolate wheel” and “rodentislide”, quickly helping you determine the level of severity for your pet if these substances are consumed.
  • Quickly contact the ASPCA 24/7/365 hotline number, with full access to their specially trained staff and toxicologists in a click of a button.

Below are some screen shots of this new free app which is available for download:

smartphone screenshots

To download the app based on your device- click on either one of these links:

DOWNLOAD NOW

Downloadicon-Apple

Downloadicon-Android


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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Dental Cleanings for Cats and Dogs- Importance and Benefits

Professional dental cleaning performed by a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian is often indicated when periodontal disease is present.  Our own teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist – we sit in the chair and open our mouth when requested, letting the professional do their work. While the principles of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as for people, there are some significant differences. Humans understand why the procedure is important, and we typically do not need sedation or restraint. Neither is true for our pets.

Here are some very interesting statistics and facts:

  • Eighty-five percent of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age.
  • Dental disease can result in bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss.
  • Bacteria under the gum can travel to the heart, kidneys, and liver.
  • A professional dental cleaning is required to remove plaque and tartar from a pet’s teeth and to assess the health of the mouth.
  • A thorough dental cleaning requires that the pet be under anesthesia.
  • Regular at-home dental care can help improve the health of your pet’s mouth and lengthen the intervals between professional dental cleanings.

Another important difference between human and veterinary dental practice is that we tell the dentist when there is discomfort; to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require a thorough oral examination as part of a dental scaling procedure. Additionally, bloodwork is required in advance of a dental cleaning to ensure your pet is not experiencing any other health concerns.  Occasionally, a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian may recommend dental radiographs as well.

Dental


Every professional dental cleaning starts with a review of the patient’s general health and any previous dental history. For a thorough, safe dental cleaning in veterinary patients, anesthesia is essential, as this permits a comprehensive assessment of the tissues, allows dental radiographs to be made when indicated, keeps the pet immobile during the process, and eliminates pain or discomfort- followed by the cleaning (scaling and polishing procedure) itself above and below the gum-line. “Non-anesthetic or Anesthesia-free dental scaling” is not recommended by American Veterinary Dental Council (AVDC).

Depending on the overall health of the teeth, there may need to be tooth extractions for those where periodontal disease have severely damaged them.  This process is performed during the cleaning and we do our best to communicate this to our clients in advance of the dental cleaning procedure.  However, once we are actually able to get under the gum line we may, from time to time, discover the roots of a tooth is damaged to the point it should be removed.

Overall, dental cleaning for dogs and cats is a very important treatment that should be performed.  Your pet will feel better afterwards and the quality of life will be improved.


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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Recommended Diets for Companion Birds

Domestic birds as pets

There are many different types of companion birds, and there are specific rules for the nutritional well-being of each species. The following list is a basic guideline as recommended by the veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic. For more specific feeding recommendations, please consult our very own Dr. Kourtney Grimm.

  1. Pellets for a good diet
    Although seed has been the traditional staple of a bird’s diet, these days most experts recommend a high-quality pelleted food that’s formulated for your bird’s species. Seed mixes provide variety, but they do not always provide optimum nutrition. If you want to feed seeds, offer them only in small quantities as treats.
  2. Mix it Up
    Pellets and seeds should not be the only foods your bird eats. Birds love variety, and enjoy searching to obtain food, just as they would in the wild. Otherwise, they can become bored and develop bad habits, such as overeating, feather picking and tearing up their surroundings. “Fun” foods such as corn on the cob, leafy greens, broccoli, and oranges can provide distraction and entertainment for your bird. Because birds have to “work” to get these foods—i.e. pull kernels off the cob and tear bites off of greens, broccoli and oranges—they stay occupied longer than when feeding on ready-to-eat foods.For added variety, play with the placement of these treats—hang food from the top or sides of the cage, weave through bars, or stuff pieces of food into toys.
  3. Fruits and veggies for key nutrients
    Fruits and vegetables should be given twice daily. Appropriate fruits and vegetables for your bird include: corn, carrots, potatoes, squash, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cooked sweet potatoes, melons, apples, oranges, berries, bananas, pears and peaches. It is safe to use a powdered fruit preservative, such as “Fruit Fresh” so that you can put this produce in the refrigerator for storage without food spoilage. Different types of birds require different amounts of food. A Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian will be able to give you specific feeding recommendations based on the type of bird you have and your bird’s individual characteristics.
  4. Grains to support a healthy diet
    Breads and cereals should be given twice a day. Appropriate breads and cereals include the following: whole grain breads, unsweetened breakfast cereals, unsweetened granola, tortillas and pasta. Ask one of our veterinarians about specific feeding recommendations based on the type of bird you have and your bird’s individual characteristics.
  5. Important proteins
    Protein should be given twice daily. Appropriate sources of protein include:  cooked lean meats, tofu, low-fat cottage cheese, other firm light-colored cheeses, yogurt and cooked eggs. Yogurt may contain friendly bacteria like acidophilus, which can help keep the ratio of good and bad bacteria in check. Be sure to read the label to make sure it contains live cultures and is low in fat.
  6. Specialized diets to keep in mind
    Birds such as lories and lorikeets require specialized diets that are sugary liquids made from fresh fruit or formulated compounds. Soft-billed birds may require mealworms, blossoms and leaves, diced fruit and nectar. Please note, these diets attract insects, and the feces of these birds are very messy.
  7. Fresh water in abundance
    Fresh, cold water should be available to your bird at all times. Change it at least once a day, preferably twice, and clean the water bowls at least daily. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is not necessary unless recommended by one of our veterinarians.
  8. Keep an eye on foods that spoil
    Food that can spoil, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, should be left in the cage for no longer than 30-45 minutes at a time.
  9. Weight Matters
    Like other companion pets such as cats and dogs, birds may become overweight. It’s a good idea to monitor your bird’s weight closely. Obesity can lead to health problems, including fatty liver disease and pancreas problems.In addition to weighing your bird, you can perform the following checks to determine if he or she is overweight:
    — Looking at your bird from the front, you should see a bone running down his midline (the keel). There should be a rounded muscle to either side of the bone.
    — If your bird is too fat, bone won’t be the most prominent part of his chest.
    — If your bird is too thin, he or she will feel bony to the side of the keel; alongside the keel will feel concave (curved in).

    You can also check the non-feathered areas alongside the neck and at the base of the jaw:

— You should be able to see the jugular vein.
— If you cannot see the vein, it is likely that your bird is overweight.

Please note, if your bird is either under- or overweight, a diet change may be necessary. Ask a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian about the correct way to gradually make this change.

Proper feeding schedules

  1. In the wild, birds eat about a half hour after sunrise and again at 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Sticking close to these feeding times will be most natural for your companion bird. Larger breeds should have vegetables or fruits throughout the day for snacking and entertainment. Smaller breeds can typically have seed/pellets left in the cage throughout the day. They need to eat more frequently due to their higher metabolic rate and energy needs.

Birds are wonderful pets to have and naturally beautiful to watch and observe.  Dr. Grimm can help answer any other questions you may have regarding avian pets and exotics.  Feel free to contact her at 309-347-4679 ext. 1003 for any questions you may have.


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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The Severe Dangers of Lilies to Cats

No Lillies

Plants and flowers can be toxic to pets and we find that most pet parents are fully aware of that. In fact, pet owners are so aware of certain toxicities that it’s not uncommon come December for Lange Animal Clinic to start receiving calls from our clients who are worried because their cat was seen nibbling on the leaf of a poinsettia plant.

The truth is that there are other plants and flowers that are more common and more dangerous to pets than poinsettias. One such flower is the lily.  Bottom line… cats and lilies don’t mix!

It only takes a nibble or a lick:

  • Lilies are one of the most dangerous flowers to have around cats. It takes only a nibble or lick to send a cat into acute kidney failure, which can be fatal.
  • If you live with cats, never have lilies in the home. When sending flower bouquets to friends or family members with cats, specifically request no lilies.

Type of true lilies include the Stargazer lily, Tiger lily, Easter lily, Day lily, Japanese show lily, Asiatic lily, Rubrum lily, and others – are beautiful, sweet-smelling flowers that are so common, you’ll find them everywhere from your own backyard to bouquets.  The unfortunate reality is that they are one of the most dangerous flowers to have around cats. It takes only a nibble on one leaf or stem, or the ingestion of a small amount of lily pollen (easy to do when a cat grooms itself) to send a cat into acute kidney failure and you rushing to the emergency vet.

Acute kidney (renal) failure is always debilitating to your pet and is expensive for you. The outlook for cats with acute kidney failure resulting from eating lilies can be good, so long as early and aggressive treatment is pursued by a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian. But if too much time passes before ingestion is recognized and appropriate treatment is started, the outlook becomes much worse and death from the disease or from euthanasia is more likely. The harsh truth is that without proper treatment, acute kidney failure is going to be fatal.

Treatment for lily-induced acute kidney failure involves aggressive IV fluids, injectable medications, nutritional support, and very close monitoring by Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians. If such treatment is proving unsuccessful, advanced options, such as peritoneal dialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy, or renal dialysis are also considered.  Referrals to specialists may be necessary for these types of treatments and they are quite costly to perform

Hospitalization and treatment costs for this condition will depend on the severity of the case and the cat’s response to therapy. It can safely be assumed, though, that a hospital bill will likely start at $2,000, and could increase to $4,000 or more. This is not a condition that can be conservatively treated – delay in starting the appropriate treatment both worsens the cat’s prognosis and increases treatment costs.

As you are hopefully appreciating, preventing your cat’s exposure to lilies is truly of the utmost importance, and there are several easy ways you can help prevent this toxicity.

  •  If you live with cats, never have lilies in the home. Regardless of how out of reach you think they may be, it’s just not worth the risk. Cats jump, dead leaves fall, vases spill, and pollen travels on breezes – any of these scenarios can kill your cat.
  • Keep your cats indoors. Many people have lilies in their garden. If your cat is outdoors, unless they are in a secure outdoor enclosure, there is no guarentee to ensure that they will not eat or rub up against those lilies.
  • When sending flower bouquets to friends or family members with cats, specifically request no lilies to be sent. To make sure they listen to your request, tell them that the recipient is deathly allergic to the flowers. Some florists may not be aware of the dangers of lilies to cats, and they don’t need to know that the ‘recipient’ you are referring to is your friend’s cat.
  • Inform your friends and family members of the dangers of lilies to cats through social media or by simply in conversation. The more people that know about the risk, the more cats we can save from lily toxicity and possible death.

Again, take every precaution necessary to avoid any exposure to lilies with all of your furry felines!


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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Proper Care for Guinea Pigs as Household Pets

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs, or cavies, are small mammals native to South America. They first came to Europe about 400 years ago, and have been cherished as pets ever since. Guinea pigs are often calm and docile, but still make lively pets. They are vocal when excited and will make a variety of sounds when they see their favorite people or when the fridge door is opened (they love treats!).

Housing

Guinea pigs need a minimum of eight square feet of floor space in their cages. They are very social and will be happier if housed with another guinea pig, but this doubles the amount of space that they will need in their cages. Guinea pigs have sensitive paw pads and need solid flooring. They cannot be housed in a wire-bottomed cage.

Furnishings the Housing Area

When guinea pigs are frightened, they either freeze in place or run away, and they prefer to have a hiding place in their cage. Plastic tubes and wooden or woven hay boxes are available in pet supply stores. A good, free alternative is using a cardboard box with the bottom cut out of it. Many guinea pigs love to chew on cardboard boxes and, while you may need to replace it regularly, this chewing will help keep their teeth worn down to a good length. Small pieces of untreated wood can also be provided to help satisfy your guinea pig’s need to chew and keep their teeth from getting overgrown as well.

Paper or pine bedding should be several inches thick and should be changed twice weekly. Cedar shavings should not be used as bedding, as they contain phenols, which can be harmful to guinea pigs. Remove soiled bedding, droppings and stale food from the cage daily. Clean the cage completely once a week by replacing dirty bedding and scrubbing the bottom of the cage with warm water. Be sure everything’s dry before adding fresh bedding.

Comfortable Temperature for Good Health

Make sure that your guinea pig doesn’t get overheated or chilled, as they are susceptible to both. In general, if you are comfortable, they are probably at a safe and comfortable temperature. If you need to venture out with your guinea pig in cold weather, make sure to cover the carrier with a warm blanket. On hot days, the car should be pre-cooled for them. Remember to never, ever leave your guinea pig unattended in a car for any reason even for just a few minutes, especially if it is a hot or cold day.

Nutrition and Diet

Commercial guinea pig pellets should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. Nutritionally complete, they’re available at pet supply stores, and are made from plants, seeds and veggies. Feed your guinea pigs twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.

Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians recommend offering small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables to your guinea pigs every day. These pets need to a good supply of Vitamin C.  Try grapes, cucumbers, corn, peas, carrots and pears. Half a handful of veggies and a slice of fresh fruit per pig is plenty. Always make sure to clean up any leftover fresh food before it spoils. You’ll also need to make grass hay available to your pets at all times. It’s great for the digestive system, and will also satisfy your pet’s need to gnaw.  Guinea pigs can be very picky eaters. They will often decide which foods they like early in life, and it is often difficult to change their diets. It’s a good idea to expose young guinea pigs to a wide variety of foods, so that they will be more accepting of changes in diet when they’re older.

Adult guinea pigs should have access to good quality grass hay at all times. Alfalfa hay is generally not recommended, as it can lead to obesity. Pellets are typically limited to help prevent obesity as well. Pet parents can offer fresh, clean greens to their guinea pigs daily diet. Fruit can be offered in small amounts as treats, but shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your guinea pig’s diet. Growing, pregnant or nursing guinea pigs have higher calorie requirements and can be offered more fruit, pellets and alfalfa hay.

Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Use an inverted bottle with a drinking tube, and change the water daily.  Be certain to clean the water bottle to ensure good sanitary conditions.

General Care

It is important that you get your pets used to you—and used to being handled. Start by feeding them small treats. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick up one pig at a time, one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back.  Once you have hand-tamed them, you should let them run around in a small room or enclosed area to get some additional exercise every day. You will need to carefully check the room for any openings from which the guinea pigs can escape, get lost and possibly end up hurt. These animals must be supervised when they are loose because they will chew on anything in their paths—including electrical wires.

Guinea pigs that are on bedding will also need to have their nails trimmed. Typically trimming 1-2 times a month with a small cat nail trimmer will keep the nails at a good length.

Guinea pigs should see a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian once a year. We are here not only to heal your guinea pig when they are ill, but also to help keep them healthy and strong! Our veterinarians can spay or neuter your guinea pig, help ensure that your guinea pig’s teeth are wearing evenly, that his or her weight is appropriate, and that they are not showing any signs of disease or nutritional deficiencies.


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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Our Services
Setup an Appointment

The Incredibly Wonderful Benefits of Exercise for Dogs

Dog Exercise

With the nice warm weather here- Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL wants to promote the importance of exercising your dog(s).  Dogs are born to work for a living a very active lifestyle. They’ve worked alongside us for thousands of years, and most are bred for a particular purpose, like hunting, herding livestock or providing protection. Dogs’ wild relatives spend most of their waking hours scavenging and hunting for food, caring for offspring, defending territory and playing with each other. They lead busy, complex lives, interacting socially and solving simple problems necessary for their survival.

The most common job for our domesticated companion dogs today, however, being a lazy “couch potato”! They no longer have to earn their keep and instead have to adjust to our more laid back lifestyles.  They don’t have to seek out their own food as it is handed to them and are often confined, alone and inactive, for most of the day. This lack of purpose leaves dogs no outlet for their naturally active tendencies—physical and mental—and it contributes to the development of behavior problems.

Another problem modern dogs’ face because they rarely work anymore is a lack of opportunities to exercise. Some pet parents make the mistake of assuming that if a dog has access to a yard, she’s getting exercise. But your dog doesn’t run laps by herself in your yard—or do much of anything besides waiting for you to come outside or let her back inside. It’s the interaction with you that counts!

Problems That Result from Lack of Exercise and Play

Dogs can be like young children. If you don’t give them something constructive to do with their energy, they’ll find something to do on their own—and you may not like it! Some of the most common behavior problems seen in dogs who don’t get enough exercise and play are:

  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching
  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people
  • Excessive predatory and social play
  • Play biting and rough play
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining
  • Benefits of Exercise and Play

The good news is that keeping your dog healthy, happy and out of trouble with daily exercise is a lot of fun and provides many benefits, including:

  • Helps to reduce or eliminate the common behavior problems listed above, such as digging, excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity
  • Helps to keep dogs healthy, agile and limber
  • Helps to reduce digestive problems and constipation
  • Helps timid or fearful dogs build confidence and trust
  • Helps dogs feel sleepy, rather than restless, at bedtime or when you’re relaxing
  • Helps to keep dogs’ weight under control

Check with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian before beginning an exercise program. One of our veterinarians can check your dog for any health issues that may be aggravated by exercise and suggest safe activities. Some size, breed and age considerations are:

  • Breeds with short or flat noses (brachycephalic breeds) can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously, especially in warmer climates.
  • Exercise is great for energetic young dogs, but sustained jogging or running is not recommended for young dogs (under 18 months) whose bones haven’t finished growing.
  • Because large dogs are more prone to cruciate ligament injuries, arthritis and hip dysplasia, sustained jogging can be hard on their joints and bones, too. If you’ve got a large dog, make sure she’s well-conditioned before you start jogging together.
  • Once a dog reaches her golden years, osteoarthritis can cause pain and lameness after strenuous exercise. It’s much better to discover that your once-sprightly dog’s joints can no longer handle long hikes, for example, before you hit the trail.

Exercising Your Dog

With today’s more relaxed lifestyles, dog parents are often challenged to find enough outlets for their pets’ considerable natural energy. Dogs are more athletic than us. But take heart—there are a variety of ways to exercise your dog, from activities that don’t demand much energy on your part to activities that exercise both you and your dog.

Exercise that’s Easy on You

  • Giving your dog enough exercise doesn’t mean you have to be athletic yourself. If you’d rather not run around or take long, brisk walks, consider two approaches to exercising your dog:
    • Focus on brain, not brawn. Exercise your dog’s brain with food puzzle toys, hunting for dinner, obedience and trick training, and chew toys instead of excessive physical exercise.
    • Focus on games that make your dog run around while you mostly stand or sit still. Games that fit the bill include fetch with balls, Frisbees or sticks, Find It, Hide-and-Seek, catching bubbles (using a special bubble-blower toy made for dogs), chase (a toy on a rope or stick), and round-robin recalls for the whole family.
    • If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, other easy options include taking her to the dog park, organizing play groups with friends or neighbors who have dogs or signing her up for dog daycare a few days a week. These options give your dog a chance to experience invigorating social play with other dogs.

Exercise for Extra Playful or Active Guardians

On-leash walks
Did you know that dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week, whereas people without dogs walk only about 168 minutes?  On-leash walks give dogs lots of interesting sights and smells to investigate. They may provide enough exercise for some toy breeds, senior dogs and other inveterate couch potatoes. Use an extendable leash to give your dog more freedom to explore, and walk briskly for 30 minutes.  If your dog is old, not accustomed to exercise, overweight or has a health problems, start with a 10-minute walk each day and gradually increase the duration. For healthy young or middle-aged dogs, leashed walks alone probably won’t provide enough exercise.

On-leash running
Inline skating or bicycling are great ways to exercise a healthy dog and keep yourself fit, too. Teaching your dog how to walk without pulling on her leash is the first essential step to creating a safe and enjoyable on-leash jogging, inline skating or bicycling companion. If your dog forges ahead, pulls to the side or lags behind you when you walk, imagine the problems that could result when you’re moving faster! Constantly pulling on the leash can damage your dog’s throat, and it’s no fun for you either.

People are actually better suited for jogging or long-distance running than dogs are. Even when hunting or herding, dogs tend to move in short, intense bursts of speed with intermittent stops. Playing dogs do this as well, stopping to sniff around, eliminate and enjoy the scenery. If you jog with your dog on leash, be careful not to overestimate her abilities and go too far. If she seems stiff, sore and exhausted for hours afterward, scale back next time. Also, be careful to check your dog’s paws after a run. Dogs get blisters on their pads, just like people get blisters on their feet. Dogs with white or light-colored footpads and some breeds, such as border collies, can be prone to this problem. If you usually run, cycle or inline skate on paved roads, avoid doing so on very hot days.

If your dog normally gets to sniff around on your daily walks, she’ll probably try to do the same when the two of you are running, skating or cycling. You’ll have to teach her to pay attention to you during your outings. The best way to do this is by regularly rewarding her with small treats for not pulling. Pick the position you want her to run in and give her treats when she’s in that spot. Before you set off, give your dog ample time to relieve herself and sniff around. And after you finish your outing, you can give her another chance to eliminate and sniff before bringing her inside.

Again, sustained jogging or running is not recommended for young dogs whose bones haven’t finished growing. It can also be hard on large dogs’ joints and bones. If you have a young dog, check with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to find out when it’s safe for her to start running. If you have a large dog, ask one of our veterinarians if it’s safe for her to run with you.

It’s important that you monitor your dog’s physical exertion while you’re on a bike or inline skates. It’s easy to over-exert your dog when you’re on wheels while she’s running. To avoid this, start with short distances at first and gradually increase them as your dog’s endurance increases. If your dog starts to lag behind a lot, you may be pushing her too hard or she might not be enjoying your outings. Slow down or consider taking your dog with you only when you plan to skate or cycle for short distances.

Off-leash exercise
Off-leash walking, running, hiking or bicycling in a large, safe fenced property or park or in a forest are ideal activities. Your dog can set her own pace, sniff and investigate to her heart’s content, stop when she’s tired and burst into running whenever she likes. Be sure to have your dog well-trained to reliably come when called before you give her off-leash privileges. Dogs should be allowed off leash only in safe areas where regulations permit. As you would during on-leash activities, be careful not to overestimate your dog’s abilities. If she seems stiff, sore and exhausted for hours after exercising, you’ll want to scale back next time.

Swimming may also be a great off-leash and fun activity for your dog.  Some breeds are natural water dogs and require no training or acclimation to water, but even dogs who aren’t bred for water activities can learn to enjoy a swim now and then. Here are some tips for fun and safe swimming with your dog:

  • Introduce your dog to water as early as possible, preferably when she’s still a puppy. If you do, she’ll probably be more confident about swimming as an adult.
  • Regardless of your dog’s age, make sure her first experiences with water are pleasant ones. Look for a quiet place with shallow water. With your dog on a long leash (about 15 to 20 feet long), start your dog at the water’s edge. Wade in with her and encourage her with play and praise.
  • Never force your dog into the water, and don’t let her get in deep water over her head until you’re confident about her swimming abilities. Belly-deep is deep enough at first. As she becomes more comfortable, you can toss a ball a couple of feet to encourage her to venture in a little deeper.
  • If you swim with your dog, be careful that the two of you don’t get over your heads. Many dogs will try to climb on their guardian’s head or shoulders when they tire.
  • Bring fresh water for your dog to drink. Even freshwater streams and lakes can contain parasites and unhealthy bacteria.
  • Don’t allow your dog to jump into deep water in a pool or lake. A dog can panic and possibly drown. Without an easily accessible ramp, she may not be able to get out of a swimming pool or climb back onto a dock.

Exercise will help in so many ways in terms of maintaining proper health and weight for your dogs.  As well, it can help pet owners maintain and improve their health as well!


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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Our Services
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Arthritis Conditions in Pets- Managing a Painful Condition

Dog Arthritis

It is perfectly normal for our dogs and cats to slow down a bit as they age.  But when they begin having difficulty walking or even lowering their heads to eat, they may be exhibiting signs of arthritis, a disease that can be debilitating but one that can be managed.

Pets who suffer from arthritis generally walk stiffly, limp or favor certain legs. They may experience pain when touched in specific areas or be hesitate to jump, run or climb stairs.  Cats with arthritis may sometimes have difficulty grooming themselves; thus ratted fur can be an indication of arthritis.

While it can be painful, arthritis can also be managed.  One method to treat is by having one of our veterinarians prescribe medications to help ease pets’ discomfort. There are some risks associated with long-term use of these medications, however, so pet owners should talk to a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to make sure they understand how to administer the medications and what problems to look for.

In addition to medications, emphasis should be placed on having the pet perform low-level exercise. This can reduce the pain from arthritis, but be cautious as to allowing too little or too much movement or exercise.  Be sure to consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian regarding the amount of exercise that would be ideal and which type would work best for a particular pet.  Additionally, pet’s that are overweight may be able to lose some pounds leading to reduced pain and reducing the risks of diabetes and heart disease.  Some arthritic pets may even benefit from physical therapy, such as swimming or walking on underwater treadmills.

Along with a pain management plan from one of our veterinarians, a pet owner can comfort their pets using soft bedding, gentle play, massages, and by grooming areas that are hard for pets to reach.  If necessary, provide access ramps to make it easier for pets to get up or down from higher places.

If you suspect that your pet may be showing signs of arthritis- be sure to contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to be examined.


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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