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Preparing your dog for a new baby

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First off, congratulations! What an exciting time preparing for a new baby in your expanding home. Many owners worry about what their fur babies will think of their new human babies. Will they become anxious? Be jealous? Become fearful or aggressive? We can never predict how your dog will react, but there are many ways to prepare.

Start preparing early. Training should start WAY before you bring your new baby home. There are 3 main things that will be changing in your dogs’ life:

  • The “stuff”: Start setting up the nursery and baby stuff early. Have your dog used to the nursery being gated off. Set up family room toys, cribs, high chairs, etc so your dog is used to the extra furniture before the baby arrives.
  • The noise: Babies are loud! It may sound silly but play short clips of babies crying and talking to start exposing your dog to the noise. For noise sensitive dogs, start counter-conditioning by tossing them a treat when the baby cries. Reward the dog when they are calm and relaxed during the noise.
  • The time: Your fur baby will not longer be the center of your universe. Practice hanging out in the nursery, with your dog receiving a chew toy or special treat while you are preoccupied. This will help create a positive association while you are in the nursery, and also train your dog to entertain themselves while you are away. If your dog sleeps with you, have them sleep in their crate a few nights a week. Frozen stuffed Kong toys and Busy Buddy toys are great tools to keep your dog occupied.

Also step up your general training. Make sure your dog does not jump onto people, quickly goes into their crate when instructed, sits on command, etc.

Bite awareness. Any dog can bite with the right stimulus. Never leave your baby or toddler alone with your dog, no matter how trustworthy. Over 800,000 people are treated for dog bites per year, and over half of those are children, mostly under the age of 7. Bites are more likely to the face. 75% of kids bitten are familiar with the dog (i.e. family or friend’s dog).

Your dogs’ history. Has your dog been around babies or children before? How did they respond? How does your dog do with change? How does your dog react when disturbed while sleeping? If your dog has shown aggression or anxiety in the past, crate training, training with a basket muzzle, and creating safe stations for your dog with gated off areas or tethered areas are important for bite prevention. Also, do not hesitate to work with a veterinary trainer/behaviorist if your dog has aggressive triggers.

The first day. Have Mom greet the dog first when arriving home without the baby in hand. Once calm, have Dad or another adult come in with the baby. Do not force an interaction between your new baby and dog. Allow your dog to come up and sniff if they desire or be curious from afar. If your dog starts to become agitated, too excited, or aggressive, toss some treats or a toy toward them but away from the baby.  Your dog may need breaks with short supervised times of interaction at first.

Resources:

www.Familypaws.com

http://www.americanhumane.org/publication/pet-meets-baby/

Good luck, and as always, lets us know how we can help!

Dr. Coil

Indoor cats want to play too!

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It’s spring!

Finally time when most of us want to venture outside again. Tempting to our indoor kitties too!

Life’s not safe out there for our feline friends with the threats of cars and predators.  Keeping cats indoors helps keep them safe.

Outdoor though life is full adventures that cats seek. Cats love to play, climb and hunt!  Transferring some of the outdoor fun indoors will help keep your feline friend mentally and physically stimulated. This will help keep them healthy and avoid medical issues like obesity and inappropriate urination that afflicts many bored, overweight, indoor cats

Check out the Ohio state feline enrichment program at https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats for some great ideas on how to enrich your kitties home environment.

Dr. Stacy Chartrand

Lost and Found

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Eastside Veterinary Associates and Renton Animal Control have been working together this past year to care for stray and neglected animals found in the City of Renton. We provide a warm bed, meal and veterinary care for all the pets that come in. It’s been great to establish a relationship with the caring Animal Control Officers and local humane society/rescues where the pets go to if their owners are not found. After creating this new relationship, a few pet ownership reminders have been brought to light:

  • Make sure your pet has a ID tag on and is microchipped to give your pet the best chance to be reunited with you. Bonus points if your pet has a license as they get a free ride home!

Unfortunately, many stray pets get loose in situations that can happen to all of us, like a recent storm creating a hole in your fenced yard. Or your dog getting scared by thunder, fireworks, or Halloween,  and running out the door. Life happens! You never think your pet will get loose, but it happens to many of us including me! If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, don’t wait!

  • Fleas, fleas and more fleas! The vast majority of these pets come in with flea infestations. Fleas are very prevalent in our area, even in December. Flea control is soooo important year-round. And don’t forget that fleas transmit tapeworms. Yuk!
  • All pets deserve TLC. Some of these animals have been neglected and are very scared when they come to us. It’s amazing what a good meal, treats, and extra petting can do to have a scared animal feel at home.
  • The image of a big scary animal pound is not reality. The Animal Control Officers truly care about helping these animals. They will come in just to check on the pets and ask how they are doing!

Microchipping your pet takes a matter of minutes and we register them for you with your current address and phone number, making it very easy! If you are a City of Renton resident, free microchipping is available for your pet(s), thanks to a private donor. No appointment is needed. You can bring your pet(s) in Monday-Friday from 11:30am-12:00pm to receive a free microchip! Please show your driver’s license with a Renton address for proof of residency. Please call us at (425) 276-4100 with any questions.

Dr. Rebecca Coil

Can your dog or cat get the flu?

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YES! Dogs and cats can get the canine flu, but not from you if you happen to have the flu. Although transmission is not occuring between human and dog, the canine flu can transmit easily between dogs.

Dog Flu Spreads Easier When They’re Social

  • Direct contact: when dogs kiss, lick or nuzzle each other
  • Through the air: from a cough or sneeze
  • Contaminated objects: doggie bowls, toys, doorknobs or clothing
  • Human touch: hands of pet owners or people helping to care for your dog.

The best way to prevent the canine flu is to vaccinate for it! We carry the canine influenza vaccine that contains BOTH strains of the flu virus H3N2 and H3N8.

You can determine your dog’s risk by answering this short risk quiz.

If you dog is at risk, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment for the Flu vaccine series to be started.

Dr. Judy Hung

 

Featured patient: Taz

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Taz is one of our inspiring rock star patients! He has gone through a tremendous amount of veterinary care for only being 5 years old. Taz had back surgery and was hospitalized for an Addison’s crisis both this past year.

Taz was rescued by his loving owners, Jaimi and Brian from another veterinary hospital a few years ago. Taz was overall a healthy, spunky little dog! Earlier this year, Taz develop a limp on one of his back legs. He lives with other larger dogs, so not much was initially thought of his limping. Then very quickly, Taz was unable to move his legs at all by the end of the day. Upon veterinary evaluation, Taz was suspected to have a ruptured disc in his back. There was so much inflammation around his spinal cord that he was unable to move or feel his back legs. He was taken to Seattle Veterinary Specialists for a consultation with a Neurologist. An MRI was performed and confirmed that Taz had a ruptured disc compressing his spinal cord. He was quickly taken to surgery where a hemilaminectomy was performed. In this back surgery, part of the vertebrae is removed to take out the ruptured disc material. Taz recovered from his surgery after months of physical rehabilitation and nursing care at home. He is able to move and feel his legs now, but isn’t quite able to walk without assistance. Taz kept trying to walk and developed sores in his back legs from scooting around on the floor. We helped Taz get fitted for a customized wheelchair made by a local company, K9 Carts. Taz is so happy to be fast and mobile again!

Taz was also diagnosed with Addison’s disease this year. This is a metabolic disease where the adrenal glands, a small gland located near the kidneys, is unable to produce proper hormones that the body needs. As a result, dogs with Addison’s disease develop abnormal levels of important electrolytes. They also do not have enough cortisol or stress hormone to respond to normal daily stresses. Taz developed vomiting, diarrhea and severe lethargy. He was hospitalized at Seattle Veterinary Specialists where emergency treatment was provided and further blood testing diagnosed him with Addison’s. Taz started treatment for this disease and was doing fine for several months until he had an Addison’s crisis. Taz’s electrolytes were severely out of range where is developed an abnormal heart rhythm, gastric ulcers, low blood sugar and was in a very critical state. The emergency team at Seattle Veterinary Specialists was able to stabilize Taz. The Internal Medicine team developed a plan for Taz long term to keep his Addison’s disease regulated. We help manage Taz’s Addison’s with regular exams, bloodwork monitoring, and by giving him a monthly injection to regulate his hormones. Taz has been doing great!

Taz inspires our veterinary team. Despite a difficult year for him and his family, Taz’s spirits have not been diminished and his family is Taz’s constant cheerleaders. He demonstrates the advanced veterinary care that can be performed in our furry family members. Needless to say, veterinary care like Taz’s can be overwhelming! We are here to help with the day-to-day care. With our medical boarding, we can help care for patients that need a variety of nursing care. It has been a pleasure to see Taz improve and to remind us to never give up!

Watch a video of Taz cruising around in his wheelchair on our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eastsidevetnewcastle

– Dr. Rebecca Coil