How can I stop my dog from barking?!

fleas release meFish gotta swim, bird gotta fly – and yes, dogs gotta bark…but not constantly from morning to dark! With a little patience and consistency, you can train your dog to stop on command.

Take a look at these methods to help your dog bark less and help you keep your sanity:

1. Exercise first. If your dog hasn’t been walked or played with, she has loads of energy to bark at the mail man, the doorbell, or any other slight stimulus. A routine of walking or training exercises can use up some of that excess energy. A high energy dog may require more than one walk daily. A bored, energetic dog especially loves to bark.
2. Stop that! You can choose from many possible methods. Pick one and consistently use it. Probably the most difficult thing for anyone training a dog is the follow through. When you signal ‘stop’ and your dog stops barking for 10 seconds, but then starts again. Don’t give up. Keep going! Wait for your dog to submit.
3. Find your calm. If you’re angry and frustrated, you dog will be the same way — and he won’t follow your commands.
4. Strategically manage movement. If your dog gets excited by anyone walking by your living room window, close the curtains – or move your dog to another room. You can sidestep certain triggers and slowly re-introduce them to de-sensitive your pet to them.
5. Ask a professional. If despite your best efforts, you’re still faced with a very noisy dog, you might want to hire a professional to help your dog break this habit. Often an objective third party can suggest slight adjustments that make huge differences.

Barking may come naturally to your dog, but the habit doesn’t need to dominate your life. If you would like to discuss your pet or behavioral issues, give us a call.

Does Your Dog Have the Stormy Weather Blues?

Stormy weather with loud thunder, rain and wind can initiate all sorts of undesirable behaviors in your dog. When the tempest brews, does your dog exhibit any of these symptoms – excessive panting, trembling, hiding, pacing, vocalizing, or being destructive?

dogs and thunderstorms However, stormy weather doesn’t have to mean your pup can’t pull her poor old self together. Take a look at these solutions that can help even the most timid dogs cope:

1. Thundershirts. For many of our clients, the gentle pressure of Thundershirts can calm and give relief in stressful situations.
2. Desensitization. Playing recordings of thunderstorms quietly for your dog can help desensitize her. Every few days, play the recording a little louder. Reassure your dog with a routine that might comfort, like going to his kennel or bed.
3. Short term medicines. When you know a storm is predicted or brewing, a short-acting sedative can bring your pet quick relief.
4. Longer term anti-anxiety medicines. If it’s the season for storms, you may want to consider anti-anxiety meds for a month or so rather than administering sedatives every day or two. With this sort of medicine, you won’t worry about not being home when a storm hits.

Don’t let these stormy weather blues blind any hope you had or drive you mad. Before you start singing the blues about the next storm, give us a call, and let’s talk about what’s best for your pupster. And don’t worry, you both will walk in the sun once more.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Calm

fourth of july and dogIt’s just after dark on the fourth. Do you know where your dog is?

Does the fireworks show send your furry baby skidding into the nearest open closet or under a large piece of furniture? Or does your dog bark incessantly when the first firecracker pops? Take a look at these five calming strategies that could help your pet keep his cool on a hot, noisy night, coming to you very soon:

1. Follow the leader. Your dog watches you closely every day and night. Carry on as usual when the fireworks start, and your dog may do the same. Try not to make the mistake of comforting a scared dog. You can reinforce her skittish behavior and jumpstart a pattern of being frightened of many things.

2. Roll over, Beethoven! Classical or other types of soothing music can truly calm your pet. Turn your music up a little to mask the fireworks’ snapping and popping.

3. Tired dogs don’t jump. July 4th is a great day for exercise and lots of it. Wear your dog out with an extra long walk or a little longer time playing fetch. By the time the sun goes down, your dog may be more focused on settling down to sleep than on jumping up to hide.

4. And the thunder rolled. With the premise that thunder and loud noises in general can start a less than desired behavior in your pet, the Thundershirt has been introduced as an affordable solution. The idea of gentle constant pressure is similar to that of swaddling a cranky human baby – and it works for 80% of the pets that try it.

5. Zen around the collar. Nothing’s happier than a fed, warm puppy. That’s the idea behind AdaptilTM products; you can choose a spray, diffuser or collar to distribute a synthetic copy of pheromones or mama dog hormones meant to soothe nursing puppies, the hormones released by a lactating mama dog for her puppies. Works well for adult dogs as well as puppies. Click here for more information about AdaptilTM.

6. Lend me your ears. Your dog’s ears are much more sensitive than yours. Many dogs benefit from wearing specially designed Mutt Muffs that can block some levels of the noise.

7. Don’t be a pill. When you’ve tried a host of ideas and your pet’s still a quivering bundle of nerves, talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medications and your dog’s usual patterns. A fast- acting variety might be the perfect solution for one rowdy summer night.

Give us a call if would like to discuss your dog’s case with us. Three cheers for the red, white and blue – and a calm, stress-free dog! And both of you have a safe, happy fourth!

Photo Credit: Randy Son Of Robert via Compfight cc

Take it Easy: Seven Ways to Prevent Carsickness in Your Pet

car sickness in dogDoes the sound of your car’s wheels drive your pet crazy? Carsickness is a world of trouble for many dogs, cats, their owners – and their vehicles.

A car ride that runs too long can confuse a delicate sense of balance, upset young tummies and set up a pattern of negative association and sickness. Puppies and younger dogs are especially prone to carsickness due to the fact that their ears are not yet fully developed.

A little thoughtful prevention can help your pet ride contentedly and make your life easier. Before you start running down the road to loosen your load, keep these 7 tips on your mind:

1. Keep it short and sweet. A short ride gently introduces your pet to the open road. When the car goes to fun destinations like a dog park more often that it goes to the vet’s office, your pet’s a happy traveler.

2. Know signs of nausea. While you may easily identify an off color for a person who’s queasy, you might not recognize these symptoms in your dog or cat:

a. Yawning
b. Inactivity
c. Excessive drooling
d. Whining
e. Uneasiness

3. Face your pet forward. You can position the kennel accordingly, and rest assured that should she become ill, the clean-up chore will be simpler. Or you can use a seat belt specially designed to keep your dog facing forward. If you allow your dog to sit in the front, remember that an air bag presents the same dangers for your pet that it does for a small child.

4. Roll down the windows. Not only does fresh air feel great blowing in your pet’s fur, his ears will appreciate the difference in air pressure.

5. Make frequent stops.
If you’re taking a long trip, your pet will appreciate a stop every hour– to stretch legs, sip a little water and better enjoy the journey. (It won’t hurt you either.)

6. Stop a negative pattern. If your furry friend only associates a car with sickness, you can help establish new thought patterns. Start small – let him sit in your back seat a short while with the doors open. In another week, you two can take a ride around the block and eventually you can travel to a nearby park or other happy place. Laozi was right: the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

7. Get help when you need it. If your best efforts still leave you cleaning up your car, talk to your vet about a prescription medication to help your pet relax. AdaptilTM works well for many of our patients. And remember, your dog or cat’s idea of taking it easy may not involve the open road at all. Talk to us about boarding your pet with us for your next vacation. You can enjoy your trip, and our staff members will be happy to spend some quality time with your pet.

So whether you’re going to Winslow, Arizona, or just heading over to see us, we hope these sweet tips will save you – not to mention the upholstery on your flat bed Ford!

Into the Wild Blue Yonder With Your Pet

traveling with your petWhether travel inspires you to sing On the Road Again or Leaving on a Jet Plane, initiating travel with your pet can be an excellent adventure for all concerned. If you would like your next trip to include your pet, take a look at these 9 tips to ease the way.

1. Day Tripper. Start small with local jaunts. When your pet likes outings in the car to a local park or trail, your family’s ready for the next adventure.

2. Carry on, Dude. Consider carriers a little piece of home for your pet wherever you roam. Special snuggly toys or blankies may be optional but can be very much appreciated.

3. Do you know where you’re going to? Does your destination hotel or campground welcome pets? Get the details before you go with these resources for hotels and for camp grounds, parks and beaches.

4. Got a ticket to ride? Thoughtful preparations can make travel by plane, train or car feel familiar for your pet. A leash, special food, daily meds and a small first aid kid can help your pet handle the differences that each type of travel brings.

5. Going to Carolina in my mind. A microchip can help ensure your pet’s returned to you should she wander away in a new environment. This simple step can give you peace of mind before you go. Give us a call to set up an appointment.

6. Love that pink Cadillac. Play the radio, roll down the windows or enjoy the crushed velvet seats – but don’t leave your pet in any parked car. Even with the windows down, temperatures rise quickly, and your pet could be endangered by heat very quickly.

7. Under pressure? If your pet gets stressed over travel, AdaptilTM, available at Town N Country, can help. AdaptilTM collars and diffusers encourage diffusion of pheromones, hormones released by lactating mammals to comfort and soothe.

8. Eat, drink and be merry. Some pets may suffer with tummy troubles when they travel, but a few precautions may help you avoid such a scenario. Give only bottled water when you’re on the go since differences in tap water can upset your pet’s digestive system. Never feed an animal in a moving vehicle, and try to time a light feeding 3-4 hours prior to departure.

9. For the Record. More than likely, you won’t need it, but taking a copy of your pet’s immunization record is a prudent idea. Give us a call, and let us help you.

10. Doggie Daycare and Kitty Condo. Maybe your short jaunts or your experience with your pet’s car sickness has made you decide you do not want a traveling companion. Bring your fur babies to us for their own vacation! We’d love to have extended quality time with your pet, while you enjoy your time away.

So, pack your bags – and all of Farley’s gear, program your GPS and be off! Whether you decide to travel with or without your pet, have a great vacation, and a safe trip back from the wild blue yonder.

FortiFlora – Intestinal Fortitude for Fifi and Fido

labradoodleDogs and cats are notorious for having upset stomachs. They retch and hack and throw up, and if you follow them around, it’s no wonder! The stuff they eat and lick and sniff probably makes your stomach churn. Their stomachs react to every little emotional upset or environmental change. And things are worse when they have a virus, are on antibiotics, are getting vaccines, or are getting older.

We humans often use probiotics to promote intestinal health. And now there is a product that will do the same for your pet! FortiFlora is a probiotic supplement for dogs and for cats. It has live active cultures, and high levels of Vitamins A, E, and C. Believe it or not, most pets think it tastes great.

FortiFlora puts good bacteria into your pet’s body, the kind of bacteria that helps fight disease and make the whole digestive system work smoothly. It comes in little packets that you sprinkle onto your pet’s food, so administering it is a breeze. Patients have been very enthusiastic about the results!

If your pet has diarrhea, soft stools, gas, or other intestinal woes, talk to us about FortiFlora. Fortiflora could be the answer to their GI problems.

Photo Credit: vidalia_11 via Compfight cc

The Letters at the End of Our Page

tncIf you scroll down near the bottom of our webpage, you’ll see this collection of logos for the affiliations our practice belongs to. Just in case you’re wondering, here’s what they are:

AAHA. We’ve already told you about our AAHA Accreditation. AAHA stands for American Animal Hospital Association, the organization that sets the standard of Veterinary Excellence.

IVAPM. Whether your pet has been hit by a car, needs a dental procedure, or has chronic arthritis, we’re committed to providing the most appropriate pain relief possible. The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management brings veterinarians, researchers, teachers, and corporations together to share knowledge about the treatment, management, and the biology of animal pain.

NCVMA. Our membership in the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association gives us a great way to communicate with other practices in our state and to coordinate efforts on continuing education. The group also monitors veterinary legislative issues keeps us up to date on all recalls.

AVMA. We love being a member of The American Veterinary Medical Association. They provide us with timely information (like product recalls) and great continuing education opportunities. And they lobby congress for animal friendly legislation.

AND we just joined the

AAFP. That stands for the American Association of Feline Practitioners. We’re excited about this group, and are working on receiving their “Cat Friendly Practice” certification. We’ll keep you posted on this!

Our goal is to always provide the very best of care. Being a member of these organizations is just one of the ways that we ensure that we’re doing that for you and your pets.

So – What Do You Think?

pet typingWe’re always trying to make things better at Town N Country. That’s why we’re an AAHA hospital; by living up to their high standards, we’re making sure that we’re doing the very best for you and your pets.

But their standards aren’t yours. And we want to know what you think about us. What are we doing right? What things to you like about us? What things would you like for us to change?

Would you take a minute and tell us what you think on our new review page?

Thanks so much. We look forward to hearing from you, and to making Town N Country an even better place for you and your pets!

AAHA Re-Accredited! Celebrating Town N Country’s Push for Excellence

aaha 300Pour the lemonade and pass the kibble because Town N Country has been re-accredited with AAHA!

If you’re wondering what that means, you’ll be pleased to discover that Town N Country has once again successfully met a stringent set of evaluations set by the American Animal Hospital Association or AAHA. The organization itself was founded in the 1930’s when a group of veterinarians created standards for common guidelines, practices and procedures for veterinary hospitals.

Good for Us. Good for You. When a set of nearly 900 challenging benchmarks has been accomplished by an animal hospital like Town N Country, you can be assured of the best quality care and up-to-date procedures for your pets. The accreditation program assists veterinary hospitals so they can incorporate a high standard into everyday procedures.

Staff members from participant hospitals (like us!) perpetually improve their professional skills, and entire communities can benefit from the commitment to team-building and excellence.

AAHA Accreditation places Town N Country within the top hospitals in the United States and Canada. So if your dog wags her tail a bit harder and your kitty purrs just a bit louder, we’re going to assume that it’s their way of saying thanks for making sure that we’re giving them the upper echelon of care they’ve always deserved.

Finding a Solution:The Holistic Approach

terrier holistic medicineCustomers who ask for holistic methods usually fall into two categories- they already prefer the holistic method and want to avoid potential toxins for their pet or they’ve tried every traditional solution and nothing seems to work for their pet.

At times, we see patients that have exhausted all resources for pain management or other recurring symptoms, like allergies. For some patients, this may be a perfect time to try an alternative option.

The holistic approach takes a little more time than traditional western medicine. You need to allow a two-part appointment to get started. A pet owner fills out a detailed questionnaire that asks questions you might not expect – like your dog’s history, personality and environment.

Then an integrative exam is conducted on your pet, considering particulars like your pet’s tongue color as well as his pulse.

About a week later, you’re scheduled for a more lengthy appointment where we’ll discuss what’s needed – diet therapy, a Chinese herbal remedy or some other changes to come.

One example of a non-traditional approach to diet is the belief that each protein contains either heating or cooling elements – and each pet exhibits characteristics that would categorize him as either hot or cold. A pet that’s “cold” wouldn’t do well with a “cooling” protein.

Many times a simple solution brings relief while other solutions may require more effort. Probably the hardest thing to change can be the diet, but limiting certain ingredients can oftentimes relieve recurring symptoms.

If you’ve been looking for holistic care for your pet or your pet hasn’t responded well to traditional medicine, give Town N Country a call. Join the growing number of our patients and their families who have found amazing results with this ancient approach.