Post-Pandemic Pet Strategies

As many people return to the office, pets will be left at home alone for extended periods. Whether you got your pet during the pandemic or had them beforehand, your pet will likely need to adjust to you going back to the office.
At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, we’ve put together some tips to help you ease the separation anxiety that may occur in your pet when you head back into the office.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Travel CrateSeparation anxiety is sued to describe dogs that are overly attached or dependent on family members. They will become extremely anxious and show distress when separated from their owner in ways such as:
  • Vocalization
  • Destruction
  • House soiling
Dogs who have separation anxiety will typically try to stay close to their owners, follow them around the home, and will rarely spend time outdoors alone. Signs of anxiety will begin as their owner prepares to leave home. During separation, the dog may experience shaking, shivering, restlessness, refusal to eat, excess salivation, or quietness/acting withdrawn.

Ways to Ease Post-Pandemic Separation Anxiety in Your Pet

There are several ways you can prepare your pet for your return to the office, including:

Depart the Home Quickly

When you are getting ready to leave home, do so quickly. Prolonged goodbyes with your pet can increase their anxiety. By keeping goodbyes low-key, you can help your pet stay calm and teach them to worry less while you are gone.

Create a Place in the Home Where They Feel Safe

Dedicated a place in your home as a safe space for your pet, such as a utility room or crate. Make the area comfy with a bed, water, and their favorite toys. You can also practice leaving your pet for a brief amount of time by giving them a treat while you go to another room. Return to the room and release your pet with no fuss. Allow your pet to adjust and gradually stay away for longer periods as they get used to their safe space.

Keep Your Pet Active in Both Mind and Body

When you exercise your pet, they will find it easier to relax when you are away. Make sure to play fetch and take a long walk each day to help them burn off some energy. You can also set up food dispensing toys or puzzle toys that they can play with while you’re gone.

Turn on the TV or the Radio

Background noise like the TV or the radio can help soothe our pets. For added peace of mind, you can install a pet camera to monitor your pet while you are away.

Maintain a Consistent Routine

When you go back into the office, it is crucial to establish a routine with your pet. This will help them relax as restrictions lift, and you are out of the home more often. Be sure to take regualr walks, playtime, meals, and alone time now before you return to work.

Leave Your Scent Behind

Leave a blanket or shirt with your pet in their crate or safe space. This can help comfort your pet while you are away.

Want to Learn More About Separation Anxiety? We Can Help!

The expert team at the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro can help you better understand and treat separation anxiety in your pet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Tips to Calculate Your Dog’s Meal Portions Properly

Pet obesity can cause serious health issues such as cancer, arthritis, breathing difficulties, and skin disorders and can shorten your pet’s lifespan. While feeding your dogs too little food can leave them malnourished, feeding them too much can lead to obesity, which is why understanding the correct portion sizes is crucial when feeding your dog.
At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, we’ve put together some tips for properly portioning your dog’s food:

Figure Out Your Dog’s Conditioning Score

Obese DogThe body conditioning score or BCS is a way of evaluating your dog’s body fat. Once your veterinarian has visualized and palpated your pet, they will assign your pet a score from one to 9. One is extremely emaciated, and nine is extremely obese. Scoring is as follows:
Emaciated- 1
You can see the ribs, pelvic bone, lumbar vertebrae, and bony prominences, even from a distance. An emaciated dog will have no discernable body fat, and their muscle loss is obvious.
Very Thin- 2
You can easily see the ribs, pelvic bone, lumbar vertebrae, and bony prominences. Minimal muscle loss and no palpable fat are present.
Thin- 3
You can easily palpate their ribs, and the ribs may be easy to see. They have prominent lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones. Their waist is also easily visible.
Ideal Weight- 4
They have palpable ribs with no excess fat. They have a waist that is evident, and their abdominal tuck is discernable.
Ideal Weight- 5
The dog has palpable ribs with no excess fat. When viewed from above, their waist is evident, and from the side, their abdomen is tucked up.
Overweight- 6
The ribs are palpable but under a slight fat covering with a discernable waist and abdominal tuck.
Heavy- 7
The ribs are under a heavy covering of fat and are difficult to palpate. You can see noticeable fat deposits on their lumbar area and at the base of the tail. Their waist is absent or hard to see. They have slight abdominal tuck.
Obese- 8
You cannot palpate the ribs, and they are underneath a heavy fat covering. You can see heavy fat deposits on the lumbar area and the base of the tail. The waist and abdominal tuck are not visible. You will also see obvious abdominal distention.
Severely Obese- 9
You will see major fat deposits across the dog’s body, tail, and spine. You may even see them on the neck and limbs, with an absent abdominal tuck and waist and abdominal distention.

Don’t Rely on the Label.

Dog Diet and NutritionWhile you may think the label on your dog’s food for recommended food amounts is accurate, they are actually just estimates, and they typically overestimate your dog’s food needs. The general estimates on your dog’s food bag do not consider your dog’s individual needs, which are based on breed, age, activity level, weight, and whether they are spayed or neutered.
While you can use the label as a starting point, you don’t want to assume the label recommendations are completely accurate. Speak with your veterinarian for the correct serving size for your dog’s unique needs.

Determine Your Dog’s Daily Energy Requirements

With your dog’s specification, you can calculate their daily required energy. We recommend an online calculator to make this easier to do. The specification you need includes your pet’s:
  • Weight
  • Body Conditioning Score
  • Species
  • Spay or neuter status
With the caloric needs determined, you can then determine how much food they need daily. You can reference the dog food label to determine how many calories you feed your dog.

Be Sure to Measure Out Their Portions

While it may be easier to eyeball the portion, you need to make sure that you are using a measuring cup or kitchen scale for the most accurate portion size. Eyeballing the portion can lead to overfeeding or not feeding enough.

Keep An Eye on Your Dog’s Weight

You want to be sure that you are weighing your dog every two to four weeks and assessing their BCS. Use a notebook to track the results. This will give you a guide to notice weight changes and adjust their food intake as needed.

Don’t Forget About The Treats

When feeding your dog treats, we recommend keeping the treat at 10% of their caloric intake per day. You must ensure you include these calories in your dog’s overall energy requirements.

Call Your Veterinarian at Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your dog’s weight or diet, be sure to talk to your veterinarian. We will use our knowledge and expertise to guide you in the right direction to meet your dog’s needs.

What Should I Do If Another Dog Bites My Dog?

Dog bites are among the most common veterinary emergencies. Your dog could experience a dog fight at a dog park, doggy daycare, a walk, or at a friend’s house. If your dog is attacked by another dog, it can be a scary and chaotic experience for you and your dog.
To help you respond appropriately, the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro has put together a guide on what to do if your dog is bitten.

Continue reading

Is Your Pet Afraid of the Vet? What You Can Do To Calm their Nerves

Although regular vet visits for exams and vaccines are essential to your dog’s health, going to the vet can be stressful for your dog. At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, we’ve put together a guide to help you ease your pet’s anxiety prior to their next vet visit.

Tips for Preparing Them Before the Appointment

Help Them Get Comfortable with Touch
Nervous DogYour dog is not naturally comfortable with their ears, belly, feet, or nails being touched, so they need time to get comfortable. Take time each day to practice these actions with your pet. This will help them get accustomed to these actions and make them more at ease when they go to the veterinarian.
Get Them Used to the Car
If your dog is not already used to car rides, it’s important to take them on several short car rides before their appointment to prevent them from being anxious about the car ride on top of the vet visit. You should also make sure that they are comfortable with their crate if you plan on using one for travel.
Take Them for a Visit to the Vet’s Office Ahead of Time
If you are able to, bring your dog to our office ahead of your appointment to allow them to become familiar with the sounds, scents, staff, and other animals. This will help your dog form a positive association with our office.
Try an Anxiety Aid
There is a variety of anxiety aids on the market that you can use to help calm your dog, including:
  • CBD oil
  • Calming supplements
  • Pheromone sprays
  • Pressure wraps
  • Herbal supplements
  • Calming collar
Try some different aids for your dog before their vet visit to see what works best for them.
Keep an Eye on Any Symptoms
Since your dog can’t talk, be sure to pay close attention to them and make a note of any issues or symptoms you’ve seen so you can relay the information to your veterinarian.

How Can I Prepare Them for the Day of the Appointment?

On the day of the appointment, there are several measures you can take to keep your dog calm, including:

Let Your Dog Exercise 

Allowing your dog to exercise before the visit can help them with a variety of behavioral issues. Exercising your dog before the visit can help tire them out and relax them before their appointment.

Avoid Petting Your Dog

If you notice that your dog is nervous at their visit, try to avoid petting them or talking to them. This will reinforce their anxiety because it will appear as if you are rewarding their anxious behavior.

Bring Along Their Favorite Treats

By having their favorite treats on hand, you can use them to encourage your pet. Be sure to avoid feeding your pet right before their office visit.

Ready to Make An Appointment? We Can Help!

If you have questions about anxiety in pets or would like to schedule an appointment for a check-up, contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today!

Treating Your Pet’s Allergies

While you can’t avoid allergies for pets, you can control a variety of environmental factors that can affect your pet and aggravate their allergies.
Pets will experience discomfort in different areas depending on their allergies. In many cases, your pet’s skin will be the primary indication of an allergy.

What Types of Allergies Can My Pet Have?

There are several different kinds of allergies in pets, including, but not limited to:
  • Flea or insect allergy– Some dogs can have an allergic reaction when bit by an arachnid such as a spider or tick and insects such as bees, fleas, flies, ants, hornets, mosquitoes, etc. Flea saliva is the most common insect allergen for dogs and causes flea allergy dermatitis, which causes minor irritation in the area of the bite. Dogs will experience severe itching that could result in loss of hair, particularly near the base of their tail. The broken skin may also result in a bacterial infection.
  • Inhalant allergies– This refers to tree pollens, weed pollens, grass pollens, dust mites, mildew, and mold. Dogs can show signs of allergic rhinitis or bronchitis, but those affected will typically have skin irritation.
  • Food allergy– A food allergy or food hypersensitivity typically develops in response to dairy, protein (beef, chicken, lamb), gluten, wheat gluten, chicken eggs, and soy. This allergy can present with itching, digestive problems, and respiratory issues.

How Can I Tell My Pet has an Allergy?

Dog AllergiesYour pet reacts differently to allergies than humans do and will often show skin irritation. Here are some signs your pet may be suffering from an allergy:
  • Ear Infections– While not all ear infections are caused by allergies, this is a common sign your pet is having a reaction to an allergen. Since the inside of the ear contains skin, it can become infected and inflamed due to allergens. If your pet has been rubbing or scratching their ears, they may have an ear infection caused by allergies.
  • Itchy Skin– If your dog is itching more than usual, it may have allergies. In some cases, they may just be itchy in one spot, whereas in other cases, they could be itchy in multiple areas such as the groin, armpits, face, ears, rump, and paws. You may notice your dog licking these areas excessively if they have allergies.
  • Asthma– While not common, some pets may experience coughing or asthma due to allergies. Wheezing may also show up, but typically skin issues are more prominent.
  • Rashes/Hot Spots– Inflamed areas on the skin called hot spots can show up due to allergies which are caused by infection from bacteria penetrating the skin. These spots may lose hair and become sensitive to the touch; You will typically see these spots in the chest or hip area, and your pet may lick or itch them due to discomfort.
  • Stomach Issues– You may notice that your pet’s anal area is red and itchy due to allergies. You may also notice diarrhea, flatulence, and vomiting that could be caused by allergies. Additionally, your pet may lose its appetite if suffering from allergies.
  • Sneezing/Watery Eyes– You may notice redness on the face, tears, and sneezing caused by allergies in your pet. Typically, you will see redness in the body and paws, indicating allergies.

How Are Allergies in Pets Treated?

Flea/Insect Allergies
Strict flea control is recommended for dogs with flea allergy dermatitis. Using monthly flea preventatives and home treatments can help keep them at bay. At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, your veterinarian can provide you with tips on protecting your pets from fleas. If your pet is experiencing severe itching, we can prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids to provide immediate relief.
Inhalant Allergies
Treatment for inhalant allergies will depend on the specific allergy season. Typically treatment will involve one of these three therapies for your pet:
Shampoo therapy– We recommend frequent bathing in hypoallergenic shampoo to help soothe your pet’s inflamed, itchy skin. This will also help to rinse allergens out of the fur before they can be absorbed through the skin.
Hyposensitization/Desensitization– With this treatment, we will inject a small amount of the antigen into your pet. This dosing will allow us to reprogram or desensitize your pet’s immune system. Keep in mind that success with this treatment may vary.
Anit-Inflammatory therapy- This includes treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs such as antihistamines or corticosteroids. We may also recommend fatty acid supplementation in their diets to help them respond better to medications. These medications work to block the chemical signals associated with itching.
Food Allergies
With food allergies, the main treatment is to identify the allergy and eliminate it from your pet’s diet. We will instruct you on how to perform a hypoallergenic diet to begin the process of elimination. It can take at least eight weeks for all food products to exit the body, so your dog will need to eat an exclusive diet for anywhere from eight to twelve weeks.
During this time, your pet cannot eat any table scraps, treats, or vitamins. Our team will work with you to help you with specific diets and restrictions we recommend for your pet.

Worried Your Pet Has Allergies? Call us Today!

If you suspect your pet is dealing with allergies, contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today to make an appointment!

Traveling With Your Pets – Best Practices and Safety Tips

If you plan to be traveling with your pet this summer, the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro has put together some tips and tricks to help keep traveling with your pet safe and stress-free.

Make Sure Your Pet Has Proper Identification

Dog Identification tagNo matter where you are traveling to or how you travel there, you need to make sure your pet is microchipped for identification. You also want to make sure that your pet is wearing their collar with your name, phone number, and any other relevant contact information.

We also recommend that you place a temporary tag on their collar with your destination phone number and cell phone number for the length of your trip.

Tips for Traveling By Plane With Your Pet

Unless your pet is small enough to ride underneath your seat, we recommend avoiding air travel with your pets. If it is necessary to bring them along while flying, you will want to follow these tips:

Schedule a Veterinary Checkup

Before your trip, we recommend that you make an appointment for a routine checkup for your pet. This will ensure they are updated on all vaccinations and will allow you to obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian that will be dated within ten days of your trip.

During this appointment, our veterinarian can discuss ways that you can calm your pet before the flight in case they become anxious or afraid. If you are traveling outside of the U.S., be sure to check with the foreign office of the country where you are traveling for any additional planning or health care requirements.

Use a USDA-approved Shipping Crate

Travel CrateMake sure the crate is large enough for your pet to comfortably stand, sit, and turn around. You will also need to place some type of bedding in the crate, such as towels or shredded paper, to absorb any accidents.

You also want to tape a plastic bag of dried food into the crate, which will allow airline staff to feed your pet in case of a layover. You should also freeze a small water dish full of water. This will thaw out by the time they are thirsty during the flight. Keep the door securely closed, but do not lock it. Airline personnel needs to be able to access the crate if there is an emergency.

You also want to make sure the crate has proper identification. Be sure to make the crate with the words “Live Animal.” We also recommend you put your name, a photo of your pet, as well as your cell phone and destination phone number. We also recommend you keep a photo of your pet on hand while traveling in case they escape their crate.

Book A Direct Flight

Whenever possible, we recommend you book a direct flight when traveling with your pet. With a direct flight, you can reduce the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather or is mishandled by baggage staff during a layover.

Tips for Traveling With Your Pet By Car

If you are driving a long distance, there is more to traveling with your pet than just loading them into your backseat. Here are some tips to help you keep your pet safe out on the road:

Help Your Dog Get Used to The Car

Before a long trip, start by taking your pet on short drives and gradually increase the time they spend in the car. If you plan to travel across state lines, make sure you have your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states require proof at their interstate crossings.

Use Pet Carrier or Crate to Keep Your Pet Safe

Make sure the crate is large enough for the pet to stand, sit, and lie down. They should also be able to turn around in the crate. Secure the crate in the vehicle, so it doesn’t move when driving or coming to an abrupt stop. If you choose not to crate them, make sure your pet is secure by attaching their harness to the seat buckle. Do not allow them to ride with their head outside the window, as this could lead to injury.

Pack Your Pet a Travel Kit

When packing for your pet, make sure that you have a bowl, leash, food, waste bags and a scoop, medications, first aid, grooming supplies, and any important travel documents. You should also make sure to pack their favorite toy, blanket, or pillow. We recommend starting their feeding schedule a few hours prior to leaving with a light meal. Make sure to only give your pet bottled water as water from an unfamiliar area could cause an upset stomach.

Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended in the Vehicle

Even if you leave the windows open, a vehicle can become as hot as a furnace on a hot day. When it comes to cold weather, the car can become like a freezer. Don’t put your pet at risk of heat stroke or freezing to death by leaving them in your vehicle unattended.

Schedule Your Pet’s Checkup Today!

At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, we can help you prepare your pet for travel. Contact us today to learn more!

When Should I Spay/Neuter My Dog?

When you get a new puppy, there are various things you need to do, from puppy-proofing your house to getting them their shots. In addition, you also need to make sure that your spay or neuter your pet to keep them healthy. Having your pet spayed or neutered can prevent various health issues, lower their risk for cancer, and overall increase their lifespan.

What is Spaying?

Spaying or Neutering Your PuppySpaying, also called ovariohysterectomy, is a surgical procedure where the ovaries and uterus are removed to sterilize a female dog. This will prevent the dog from being able to reproduce.

When Should I Spay My Female Dog?

For female dogs that weigh less than 45lbs, it is recommended that you spay them at 8 months of age. Female dogs weighing more than 45lbs should be spayed at 8-18 months depending on breed and mature size.

Why Should I Spay My Female Dog?

When you spay your dog, you can prevent unwanted litters and lower the dog’s risk of breast cancer.

If you spay them after growth stops, but after their first heat cycle, there is an increased risk of breast cancer and a decreased risk of certain cancers as well as bone, ligament, and joint problems. It can also lower the risk of urinary incontinence.

What is Neutering?

Neutering, also called castration, is a surgical procedure where both testicles are removed. This procedure sterilizes or makes the dog infertile and stops its ability to reproduce.

When Should I Neuter My Male Dog?

For male dogs that weigh less than 45lbs, it is recommended that you neuter them at 8 months of age. Male dogs weighing more than 45lbs should be neutered at 8-18 months depending on breed and mature size.

Why Should I Neuter My Male Dog?

When you neuter your dog at the recommended age, you may decrease the risk of certain cancers and bone, ligament, and joint issues common in some male dog breeds.

Schedule an Appointment for Spaying or Neutering Today!

We recommend speaking with your veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today to determine the best time to spay or neuter your puppy! Contact us to learn more.

3 Most Common Allergies in Dogs and How You Can Tell If They Are Allergic

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a variety of allergies. From skin allergies to food allergies, your dog may experience some type of allergy in its lifetime. Three of the most common allergies dogs suffer from are food allergies, skin allergies, and environmental allergens.
Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies are not as common as you may think. A true food allergy causes an immune response in your dog, with symptoms such as:
  • Skin conditions- Hives, itchiness, and facial swelling.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms- Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Combination of both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms.
In severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur.
What most people mean when they say their dog has a food allergy is that they have a food sensitivity or food intolerance. A food sensitivity will not elicit an immune response but rather a gradual reaction to an offending food ingredient in their daily meals. Common food intolerances include:
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Beef
Food sensitivities can cause reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, chronic foot or ear infections, etc. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, be sure to discuss their symptoms with your veterinarian.
Skin Allergies in Dogs
Skin allergies are one the most common allergic reactions in dogs. Also called allergic dermatitis, skin allergies are often caused by food allergies, environmental allergens, and flea allergy dermatitis. Flea dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites due to an allergic reaction to the flea’s saliva. Symptoms of this condition include:
  • Extreme itching, especially near the base of the tail
  • Red, inflamed, scabbed skin.
  • Fleas/flea dirt
Skin Treatment for DogsYou will also notice itchy skin with food allergies. Dogs will typically itch their paws or ears and may experience gastrointestinal symptoms with a food allergy. When it comes to environmental allergens such as mold, pollen, or dust, your dog may suffer from an atopic allergic reaction or dermatitis. Typically, these are seasonal allergic reactions where you may notice your dog itching their paws, ears, ankles, muzzle, underarms, around the eyes, etc.
The biggest risk of skin allergies is a secondary infection due to scratching. Your dog may scratch open their skin, bite or lick it, putting themselves at risk for bacterial or yeast infections.
 Acute Allergic Reactions in Dogs
Much like humans, dogs can go into anaphylactic shock caused by a severe reaction to a certain allergen. This type of allergic reaction is very serious and can be fatal if not treated. Anaphylactic shock can be caused by things such as vaccines, medications, or bee stings. When your dog receives a new medication, food, or vaccine, be sure to keep a close eye on them. Look for symptoms such as:
  • Hives
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling of the throat, lips, eyelids, or ear flaps.
These symptoms can often be treated with an antihistamine from your veterinarian. Anaphylactic reactions rarely occur in dogs, but it is always better to keep a watchful eye when trying new food, medication, or vaccine.
How Are Allergies Treated in Dogs?
Your veterinarian will recommend that you avoid the cause and allergen that is causing your dog to react. Treatment will depend on the type of allergy your dog suffers from. If it is a food allergy or sensitivity, you will need to change their diet, whereas if it is a flea allergy, your dog will need to be treated for fleas.
In addition to changing their diet or lifestyle, you may also need to administer them an allergy relief medication that will help control symptoms such as itchiness.
If your dog suffers from a severe allergic reaction, be sure to immediately take them to an emergency veterinarian for treatment.
To learn more about allergies in dogs or to make an appointment, contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today!

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season brings joy and celebrations with family and friends. The last thing anyone wants is for our pets to be harmed during this happy time of year. Rather than take a trip to the emergency vet this holiday season, follow these tips to keep your pet safe.

What Holiday Foods and Drinks Are Harmful to My Pet?

holiday hazards for your petThe holidays are full of tasty treats for humans, but many of them can be harmful to your pet. If you plan to give your pet treats over the holidays, make sure that they are formulated just for them. Some common holiday foods to avoid:
  • Sweets and baked goods- These treats are often too rich for pets, and worse, they are typically sweetened with xylitol. This artificial sweetener is commonly used in baked goods, and chewing gum has been known to cause liver failure and death in dogs.
  • Chocolate- The toxicity of chocolate for dogs and cats can depend on how much they ingest, what type of they ingest, and the size of your pet. In any case, it’s safer to keep chocolate out of reach for your pets.
  • Alcohol- This can be poisonous to pets and can lead to coma or death. Even the smallest amounts can be lethal. A small dog or cat can die from ingesting as little as one ounce of alcohol. Keep in mind alcohol can be used in baked goods, so be sure to keep them away from your pets as well.
  • Bread/Yeast dough- This can cause painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating in pets.
  • Turkey/turkey skin- Even in smaller amounts, pets who ingest turkey or turkey skin can develop pancreatitis.
  • Holiday dinner scraps- Onions, grapes, and raisins can all be poisonous to pets. Table scraps of rich foods such as meat fat, and gravy can result in your dog developing pancreatitis.

What Decorations are Dangerous for My Pet?

 While we love to decorate for the holidays with greenery, Christmas trees, and twinkling lights, without the proper precautions, these decorations can be harmful to your pets.
  • Christmas trees- Your pet could tip over your tree if they try to play with the ornaments or climb up the tree. Take the time to secure the tree with fishing line by tying it to a door frame or the ceiling. You should also avoid adding any aspirin, sugar, or other water additives to the water for your tree.
  • Lights- Electric lights can cause burns to pets who chew up the cords, so be sure they are out of reach of your pet.
  • Ornaments- If broken, ornaments can cause injuries, whereas ingested ornament can be toxic or lead to intestinal blockage. Any ornaments made of salt dough should be placed out of reach of your pets. Tinsel should also be kept away from pets as it can cause intestinal blockages if ingested.
  • Festive flowers and plants- Common festive plants such as mistletoe, balsam, poinsettias, pine, holly, and cedar can all be potentially poisonous to pets if they ingest them. Avoid buying them for the inside of the home or make sure they are out of reach of your pets.
Other items to keep away from pets include:
  • Small toys and batteries
  • Anti-freeze and ice melt
  • Pet sweaters with dangling parts

Have any Questions about Making Your Home Pet Safe?

Contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today to learn more or to schedule your pet’s next check-up!

New Dog Owners Guide

Table of contents:

  • Preparing to bring your dog home
  • Securing your home for your new pet
  • Choosing the right veterinarian
  • Obtain your dog license
  • Training your new dog
  • Keeping your pet healthy
  • Selecting the right dog food

Adding a new puppy to your family can be an exciting moment. If you ask any dog owner, they will agree that having a loyal companion that loves them unconditionally brings great joy to their daily lives. While it is a fun and exciting experience, having a dog is a significant commitment and a decision that should not be taken lightly.

If you are a first-time dog owner, you need to know a variety of things before bringing your new pet home.

Preparing to Bring Your Dog Home

Before you bring your new pet home for the first time, there are a few things you will want to do to your home to help make it safer and more comfortable for your new pet.

Your first step will be to go shopping for all the supplies you will need to care for your pet daily. We’ve put together a list of some must-haves for your new pet:
  • Bed – To start, you can use some old blankets to give them a soft place to sleep, but once they’ve grown out of their chewing phase, you should consider getting them an actual dog bed.
  • Brush- For a puppy, you will not need a fancy brush. As their coat grows in, you can add additional grooming tools to suit their fur.
  • Bowls- Try to avoid plastic since some dogs can be allergic to it. Look for stainless or ceramic instead.
  • Pet or baby gates- These will help you block off areas of your home that your pet is restricted from as they are being trained.
  • Collar, tags, leash- You will want to have the identification tags, collar, and leash ready for your pet so you can take them with you when you pick them up to bring them home.
  • Nail Clippers- You may be able to use cat nail clippers at first, depending on the size of your puppy. You will want to make sure you purchase clippers based on your dog’s size as they grow.
  • Crate- Having a crate ready will make it much easier to begin crate training right away. You can choose from plastic, metal, heavy-duty, soft-side, and decorative crates. Each has its pros and cons, so be sure to research each type to see which best suits your needs.
  • Poop scoop and bags- An important part of pet ownership is cleaning up after your pet. You can get scoopers for either grass or concrete, and be sure to have bags ready, especially if you are leaving your property with your dog.
  • Toys- Puppies are full of energy and will want to play. Be sure to get them a variety of toys to keep them occupied. Avoid toys with anything that could come off and become a choking hazard.
  • Toothbrush- You can purchase a dog toothbrush or a kids-sized one as well. In addition to brushing, you can give your dog dental treats for days where you do not get a chance to brush their teeth.
  • Shampoo- You will want to buy shampoo specifically formulated for dogs, which is available at most pet supply stores and retailers such as Walmart.

Securing Your Home for Your Pet

Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary supplies for your dog, it’s important to evaluate your home and eliminate any hazards. You will need to go throughout the home and dog-proof everything. Start by tucking or taping any loose electrical cords to baseboards.

You also want to make sure any household cleaners are stored on high shelves or secured in cabinets. You should also move any small rugs, pack up your breakable items or place them up out of reach as your puppy navigates its new home. Make sure you have the gates set up as well as their crate. Set up their food and water dishes as well.

As you secure your home, you will also want to decide where your dog will spend most of its time. If you are working from home, you can take your dog out at regular intervals and supervise them. If you need to leave your dog at home alone, you need to decide if they will be crated indoors with a neighbor or friend taking them out for bathroom breaks or if they will spend their time in an exercise pen.

You should also research pet daycare pricing to see if that is an option for you. Be sure to determine which options are best for your dog and have arrangements in place before you bring your pet home. You also need to decide where the dog will sleep each night. You can have them in a crate in your room, give them their bed as they get older, or maybe even allow them to sleep in bed with you or another family member in the home. You may also decide to let them roam freely throughout the home at night once they have been potty trained.

Choosing the Right Veterinarian

When looking for a veterinarian, you can start by asking your friends or family for recommendations. Once you’ve found a few that you are interested in, take the time to visit the different offices and meet with the veterinarian and staff to get a better idea of what they are like. You should also ask for a tour of the facility to make sure that you are comfortable with their standards of cleanliness. Make a checklist of what matters to you most regarding veterinarian care, and make sure you look for those qualities as you do your research.

It’s crucial for your puppy’s first vet visit to be a good experience so your dog can learn to go to the vet without anxiety or fear. Once you’ve chosen a vet, schedule your dog’s first appointment so they can get a checkup and any vaccinations they may need.

Obtain Your Dog License

In most places in the United States, it is legally required that you have a dog license. Your local law may be different, but a dog tag will help return them home if they ever get lost. You can also have your dog microchipped for additional insurance. Call your local animal care and control to learn more about how to get your dog licensed. In many cases, you should be able to apply online.

Training Your New Dog

When you first bring your dog home, keep things calm and laid back. Try not to overwhelm your puppy with a bunch of visitors and let them settle in for the first few days. You should also introduce your dog to their crate so you can get started on crate training. This is a great method for house training. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around easily but not so roomy they can go to the bathroom on one side and lay on the other.

Another helpful tip is to put a toy stuffed with treats in the crate and close the door. When your dog starts to sniff and paw at the crate, you can open the door, let them inside, and close the door. Give your dog about 10 to 15 seconds in the crate with the door closed and then remove the treats and close the door again. Reopen the crate, place the treats back in and repeat the process. This should be repeated three to four times in a row at least four times throughout the day.

Training your pup should start as soon as you bring them home. The earlier you train them with good habits, the easier and faster they will learn good manners. This will help them learn what they can and cannot do, where their water and food dishes are, where they are supposed to go to the bathroom, which toys are theirs, where they can and cannot go in the house, and what behaviors are restricted.

You may consider hiring a dog trainer to ensure that your dog receives the best training they can get. Whether you want basic obedience training or something more in-depth, a trainer can help you achieve your goals.

When researching trainers, look for one who shares the same ethics and philosophy about dog training. You will want to make sure that they use methods you support to ensure that you will carry the training at home. You can expect to be a part of the trainer process and work with the trainer closely to reinforce the skills at home.

Consider getting recommendations from friends and neighbors. You will also want to make sure your trainer is certified and that they have references they can give you from current or previous clients.

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

To keep your dog in good health, you will want to take your puppy to the vet for a checkup every three to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks old. During these checkups, they will receive their vaccines as well as heartworm and flea/tick medication. The vet will make sure your dog is growing normally and that they are healthy. At six months old, you will schedule your dog to be neutered or spayed. As your dog gets older, your veterinarian will be able to recommend a schedule for a visit to make sure your pet gets the exams and shots they need.

Another important part of their health is keeping a regular exercise schedule—the amount of exercise your pet needs will depend on their age, size, and breed. Get into the habit of exercising your dog around the same time of day for a consistent amount of time to keep them happy and healthy. Walking, running, or playing fetch are all great ways for your dog to exercise.

Selecting the Right Dog Food

There are various dog food types and brands out there, from soft to kibble (dry food), each with its benefits and drawbacks.

Canned/wet food – Canned dog food is shelf-stable and makes for a convenient food option for dog owners. Keep in mind that this type of food is not always nutritionally complete and can also be expensive. Look for canned food that is “100% nutritionally complete.”

Kibble/dry food – This is one of the most affordable options and helps with your dog’s oral health because chewing the crunchy kibble helps remove tartar.

Semi-moist – This food resembles “meaty food” and is commonly made up of preservatives as well as artificial colorings and flavors with little nutritional value. These are usually best suited as an occasional treat for your pup.

Raw – This diet comprises raw bones, raw meat, fruit, vegetables, and raw organs. This type of diet can be great for dogs, but it has its drawbacks. It can be time-consuming to prepare, poses a risk of imbalances in nutrition and the risk of broken teeth. Speak with your veterinarian before switching to this diet.

Veterinary diet – This is a diet specifically formulated to address your dog’s specific health needs for certain types of conditions. Your vet will recommend this type of diet if needed.

When choosing food for your dog, be sure to focus on the first five ingredients of the food. You also want to look for food with top-quality digestible proteins. Avoid foods with ingredients such as poultry or meat by-products, generic fat sources like animal fat, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and added sweeteners.

The amount of food and how often you feed your dog will depend on their size and how much exercise they get each day. You want to avoid overfeeding your dog. This can lead to skin disorders, oral disease, heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, skin disorders, arthritis, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

High-Quality Veterinary Care for Your Dog

At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, we will take great care of your pet! To schedule their first exam, contact us today!