Behavior Problems – How Medical Problems Can Contribute

Aggression and anxiety are caused by stress. Pain/ discomfort are major stressors. If your pet is suddenly or progressively showing signs of aggression & anxiety, you should bring it in for an exam. Some examples of problems that cause pain are arthritis, intestinal infections, urinary bladder infections, skin infections, fleas, and even ear infections, which can be very painful. Hypothyroidism by itself can cause anxiety in some dogs. For your pet’s happiness & well-being, it should be evaluated right away. The sooner these problems are treated, the easier it will be to correct the anxiety & aggression. Please call us at 408-264-3550 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

How to teach your dog to stop barking when on a walk

This is a common problem many of us have when walking our dogs on a leash.

First, you need to identify your dog’s “triggers” – other animals, children, skateboarders, bikes etc – and be on the lookout for them before your dog notices them. You will need to carry lots of your dog’s super favorite treats with you & have them readily available as you walk.

As soon as your dog “alerts” (ears up, staring, body tenses), but BEFORE it barks or pulls on leash, start feeding your dog treats one by one, making sure the dog is looking at you. Don’t say anything to the dog – just let the treats do the “talking”. If the dog starts barking, turn around immediately, and walk away from the “trigger”. When the dog calms down, turn around & slowly walk back towards the “trigger” and try again to give your dog treats as soon as it alerts but before it barks.

The object of this training exercise is to have the dog associate the “trigger” with something positive (lots of favorite treats), rather that something negative. Dogs bark usually because of fear or aggressiveness.

Gradually, when your dog has stopped reacting to the triggers, you can decrease the number (&/or quality) of the treats.

It’s the season for hotspots

A hotspot is a red, moist, oozing sore on your dogs’s skin. It is often surrounded by matted fur and some fur may be missing. These occur when a dog is persistently licking, biting, chewing, or a scratching an area of skin. They can be caused by anything that causes your dog to itch. This includes flea bites, skin allergies, and, if the skin underneath the ears has a hotspot, ear infections. These are very painful and if left untreated for even a short time, they will become much larger & can get infested with maggots. If you think your dog has a hotspot, you should call us at 408-264-3550 right away. The treatment is for us to clip & thoroughly clean the hotspot – this is very painful so most dogs require some sedation. We will check the dog all over for other hotspots, since they are often multiple. Hotspots are often much larger than you think, so they can require a lot of clipping & cleaning. Your dog will probably receive some cortisone (either injection and/or tablets depending on the severity of the skin lesion. Also you will need an E-collar to keep the dog away from the hot spots. Cold compresses can also help with the pain.

Keeping your dog on monthly flea preventative and watching your dog for excessive licking or scratching can help prevent hotspots. However, dogs can get hotspots very quickly and it is not unusual for the dog to look fine in the morning and then have a huge hotspot in the afternoon.

ALERT!!! Cat distemper outbreak

Local shelters, humane societies, and cat rescue groups are reporting a serious cat distemper outbreak. Many of the shelters & groups will not accept cats at this time. This is a deadly disease that causes vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory signs, dehydration, & loss of appetite. It is easily prevented by the FVRCP vaccine. If your cat has never been vaccinated or it has been a long time since the last vaccine, PLEASE get your cat vaccinated right away. Only healthy cats can be vaccinated. If you have any questions or to schedule an appointment please call us at 408-264-3550 . Not cat should die or suffer from this preventable disease.