Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Hazards Part 4 - Seasonal Plants

Holiday Hazards - Seasonal Plants

Lilies, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias have all been associated with toxic reactions in pets.  While many scholars disagree on which parts of the plants are dangerous and the types of levels that are toxic, it is best to keep your pets away from seasonal plants while the scientists slug it out.

Pine needles can cause mouth sores and digestive problems, so keep pets away from the Christmas tree, and don’t let them drink from the water in which the tree is placed.

Most importantly...HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Hazards Part 3 - Fatty or Toxic Foods

Holiday Hazards - Fatty or Toxic Foods

While many of us grew up giving bones and scraps to dogs, these are actually very dangerous for our pets.  Fatty foods can cause a serious medical condition called pancreatitis.  Bones cause problems for pets by impacting in the intestines or perforating them.  Secure trash that has been in contact with food.  Tinfoil, twine, and grease-soaked paper towels are just a few of the holiday mishaps that routinely darken our door.

Many common holiday goodies are toxic to pets.  The  two main culprits are nuts and chocolate. While some nuts, such as peanuts, do not contain toxins, they are difficult to digest, and can lodge in the intestines of smaller pets.  Dark chocolate, particularly baking chocolate, is especially dangerous, and can cause seizures and death.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Hazards Part 2

Lights and Candles

Shiny, dangly lights are lots of fun for our pets, but carry risks of choking, burns, and electrocution.  Teach pets that the Christmas tree and lights are off limits, and spray cords with a foul tasting product such as Bitter Yuck to reinforce the message.  Place burning candles where pets cannot be burned by them or knock them over.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our December Pet of the Month is Owen!

December Pet of the Month

Our December Pet of the Month is Owen the Wonder Pug! Owen is 4 years old and a frequent guest here at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic. He is the star of his own Facebook page at

Owen lives life to the fullest, enjoying every single holiday! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Hazards Part 1

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is very easy to overlook some of the hidden dangers to our pets.  Here are some of the most common hazards that can potentially spoil the most wonderful time of the year.

Tinsel and Ribbon

While not toxic, tinsel is very appealing to pets, especially cats.  If swallowed, it can wrap around the intestines, causing a life threatening injury.  The same is true of decorative ribbons and bows.  If you see your pet trying to pass tinsel or ribbon during the course of a “nature break”,  DO NOT pull it out, as this can cause further complications.  Seek veterinary care immediately.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I've Selected A Breed. Now What?

I’ve Selected a Breed.  Now What?

For the past few years, roughly 25% percent of dogs in shelters have been purebreds.  While the numbers are lower for cats, it is not at all unusual to find a Siamese, Himalayan, Persian or Manx in a shelter.  Consider a visit to Miami Dade Animal Services or the Humane Society of Greater Miami, or visit their websites ( or to view pictures of the pets that are available for adoption.  There are also many breed specific rescues that operate as a series of foster homes.  A simple Google search such as “German Shepherd rescue, Miami” is a great place to start.  Our office has a list of breed specific rescues within Florida as well.

If you would rather purchase a puppy from a breeder, be sure to choose one that is reputable.  Such breeders are registered with the AKC and can provide references upon request.  They should be licensed and compliant with local ordinances (, and willing to consent to a home visit. In Miami Dade County, it is the law for all breeders to be licensed and for all dogs and cats sold to have a microchip and a health certificate signed by a veterinarian.  It is strongly recommended that you find a breeder who provides health testing for their animals.  These are genetic screenings that test for breed specific problems on animals that are used for breeding.  While the cost of these tests is ultimately passed on to the purchaser, it is well worth the money, as well as the peace of mind to know that your pet comes from a line devoid of common genetic problems.  In other words, more money spent at the time of purchase equals less money spent at the vet!

The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) has all of the information on what congential diseases the breed you are interested in should be tested for. You can visit their website and look up that information at

Tiffany has an Australian Shepherd she purchased from a breeder 8 years ago. She has never had to worry about Soleil getting hip dysplasia as Soleil’s parents were OFA tested for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and CERF eye examined to ensure her parents do not have any hereditary eye diseases. Soleil has been in perfect health her whole life with the exception of an occasional skin allergy.

Soleil enjoying some pool fun. 

Puppies purchased from pet stores are more likely to suffer from both behavioral and medical problems.  Our little Grendel is a three-time rescue who originally came from a low cost, high volume puppy store.  While we love her dearly, her medical record is a litany of congenital problems that never should have been passed along to another generation.  Such stores are often breeding grounds for highly contagious, often deadly diseases such as parvo, distemper and canine influenza.  If you need assistance finding a reputable breeder please call our office or contact the American Kennel Club before visiting a puppy or pet store.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What Do You Want From Your Pet?

What Do You Want From Your Puppy? 

When choosing a pet, temperament and drive are often more important considerations than breed. Do you want a sassy cat that keeps you on your toes?  Consider a Siamese.  Do you want a dog who will be your running partner?  Consider a working or herding breed.  Are you looking for a “couch potato” dog?  Consider a pug.  

Bear in mind that certain breeds of dogs are not designed for intense physical activities.  Bulldogs, pugs, and other “smushy faced” breeds overheat easily and do not make suitable running partners. They are also top heavy, which makes them naturally poor swimmers.  Similarly, dachshunds are not well suited for agility, due to their genetic predisposal to back problems.  Ask yourself what you want life with your new pet to look like before selecting a pet that could fall short of your expectations. 

A certified behaviorist can be of great assistance in assessing an individual animal’s drive. Animal Planet has a great quiz to help you choose the right breed of dog for you: The American Kennel Club’s website,, can give you detailed information on the breed you are intersted in, links to the National Breed Club, and local breeder information.

Max,, while very sweet, will never make a good agility dog.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Youngsters or Adults?

Youngsters or Adults?

If you have decided you are ready for a pet, decide if you would like to adopt an adult, or bring home a puppy or kitten.  Puppies and kittens (especially puppies), whilst adorable, require a tremendous amount of patience and work.  They cry throughout the night.  They need to be potty trained.  They need to be socialized, and are constantly learning.  They chew, they jump, they make mistakes.  And just when you think the puppy nonsense is over, they morph into rebellious adolescents.  Our young Zohan was an easy puppy, but his adolescence was a nightmare.  Raising him from eight weeks was rewarding and fun, and was he ever cute!  But make no mistake - it was a *lot* of work.  Ask yourself if you have the patience for a puppy and be honest.  Don’t worry, we won’t judge you!

Zohan at 6 weeks old

The other option is to adopt an older pet.  The down side is that you miss out on the puppy/kitten phase.  The upside is that you miss out on the puppy/kitten phase!  While adopting an older pet can mean adopting a pet with an uncertain medical or behavioral history, reputable rescues do a great job of maintaining histories when possible.  A certified trainer or behaviorist will often offer pet selection services that can help you to assess an older pet’s temperament.  Their trained eyes can easily spot behaviors and character traits that can help you to choose a pet with the right temperament for your family.  It is always wise to consult these caring professionals when bringing home a new addition, whether it be a puppy or an adult.  We recommend Edel Miedes of K9 Advisors ( and Dee Hoult of Applause Your Paws (.  Please call our office for any additional information.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pets as Presents?

Pets as Presents?

As the holiday season approaches, many families decide to surprise their loved ones by giving them a pet as a gift.  While the sight of a puppy under the Christmas tree may be adorable, there are many things to consider before giving the gift of a sentient being that will live for roughly 15 years.  Here are just a few things to consider:

Does the recipient want a pet?  If you are shopping for an adult, don’t be afraid to ruin a potential surprise.  Many people love animals and gush profusely over them, yet lack the desire or the ability to keep a pet of their own.  Pet ownership requires time, effort, energy and commitment.  If your loved one cannot provide a suitable environment for a pet, or simply does not want to, please do not give them one as a gift.  Do not assume they will change their mind or make adjustments when they see that cuddly kitten in their Christmas stocking.  If they tell you they do not want a pet, respect their wishes.

Do the children understand that a pet is a responsibility?  Children tire of new things quickly, and younger kids may be frightened of a nipping puppy or a kitten’s sharp claws.  Be certain that your children have had enough exposure to animals for you to assess whether or not they are ready to live with one. New pets come with new rules - the chaotic holiday season is probably not the best time for rolling out a new set of expectations.  Make sure your children are not allergic to pet hair or dander before considering adding a pet to your family.  Most importantly, be sure you are ready to care for the new pet yourself, and that *your* lifestyle is compatible with a new pet.  While bringing home a pet is a great opportunity to teach kids responsibility, prepare for the worst case scenario of having to pick up their slack, just in case.

If this all sounds like a lot to think about, is.  The busy holiday season may not be the best time to do a lifestyle assessment, and help a new pet acclimate.  It is always our recommendation to add a pet to the family either before or after the holiday hustle and bustle.  For the next few weeks, we’ll discuss how to pick the right pet for you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Pet of the Month

This November, our pet of the month is Eddie!

Eddie is a four year old orange tabby who suffered an orthopedic injury when he was only two years old.  He developed joint pain and arthritis by the time he was three, and it became difficult for him to move about freely. 

This year, Dr. Kupkee began treating Eddie with Adequan, an injectable nutraceutical that that helps to rebuild joints and cartilage.  It also acts as an anti-inflammatory.  It's been five months since the start of treatment, and his mom reports that he's a brand new kitty.  

Congratulations, Eddie - share with all your Facebook friends!  You're November's Pet of the Month!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fact or Fiction? Only criminals own pit bulls.

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month!

Here is our last attempt to separate fact from fiction.
Fact or Fiction? Only criminals, drug dealers, gun nuts, and thugs own pit bulls. (Yes, I actually had a client tell me this!)

We thought we would let our readers decide for themselves.  Check out the list of nefarious characters below for a list of pit bill owners, both past and present.

Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, General George Patton, The Little Rascals Gang (Petey was a pit bull!), Jessica Biel, Alicia Silverstone, Fiona Apple, Pink, Linda Blair, Dr. Phil, Ken Howard (his pit bull saved his life), Teddy Roosevelt, NPR radio personality Ira Glass, Rachel Ray, Jamie Foxx, Jon Stewart, Cesar Milan, Woodrow Wilson, John Steinbeck, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Mel Brooks, Mary Tyler Moore, Madonna, Michael J. Fox, Brad Pitt, Bernadette Peters, Usher, Eliza Dushku, Anthony Robbins, Ashley Olsen, Orlando Bloom, Serena Williams, Giselle Bunschen, James Gandolfini, James Caan, Vin Deisel, Jack Dempsey, Barbara Eden,Frankie Muniz, Judd Nelson, Rosie Perez, Sinbad, Sir Walter Scott, David Spade, Rick Springfield, Edward Norton, Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Steve Irwin the Croc Hunter, Shaquille O' Neal, Jimmy Carter, Tom Brady, Jennifer Aniston....

Did you find any criminals in that list?  Neither did we....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fact or Fiction? Pit Bull bites are reported more than those by other breeds.

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month!
Let's continue to get to know these dogs by separating fact from fiction!
Fact or fiction? Pit Bull bites and attacks are reported more than those carried out by other breeds of dogs.

Fact. Pit bull attacks receive 85% more coverage than attacks by any other breed of dog. A 2008 report by the National Canine Research Council  compared the types of media coverage given for dog attacks that occurred during a four day period in 2007.  The results are as follows:

Day 1: A Labrador Retriever attacked an elderly man, sending him to the hospital.  One article appeared in the local paper.

Day 2: A mixed breed dog attacked and killed a child.  The local newspaper ran two stories.

Day 3: A mixed breed dog attacked a child, sending the child to the hospital.  One article ran in the local paper.

Day 4: Two tethered pit bulls broke from their chains and attacked a woman trying to protect her small dog.  The woman was hospitalized. Her dog was uninjured.  The attack was reported in more than 230 articles in national and international newspapers, as well as on all of the major cable news networks.

For reasons unknown, our media machine feels pit bull attacks are great stories.  In a survey of people who described themselves as having negative opinions of pit bulls, 60% of the respondents cited media coverage as their sole source of information about the breed.  This type of sensationalist reporting frightens the public, and influences the call for policies and laws that take the lives of thousands of innocent dogs.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ask the Veterinarian!

Ask the Veterinarian! 

Check out Dr. Kupkee's new weekly segment at Local 10
 as he answers your questions on pet health. 

See this week's article on Senior Pets at

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fact or Fiction? Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous?

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month!

Fact or Fiction? Pit bulls are inherently dangerous and have naturally aggressive temperaments.

Fiction.  Aggression in dogs is caused by many factors, including, but not limited to, inbreeding, lack of socialization, poor health, poor diet and nutrition, and abusive handling. A recent study of fatal dog attacks on humans found that 90% of the dogs that attacked were intact males, 36% of attacks occurred near a litter of puppies, and 19% of dogs that attacked were tethered or chained.

The American Temperament Test Society, as of February 2012 found American Pit Bull Terriers had a passing score of 86.8%.  This is a VERY challenging test, and 839 pit bulls were tested.  By comparison, they scored higher than Collies (80.1%), Golden Retrievers (85.2%), Malteses (81.3%), and Schnauzers (78.9%).  They scored exactly the same as Standard Poodles.

When Michael Vick's 51 pit bulls were seized from his illegal dogfighting operation, only one dog was euthanized after being deemed to dangerous to be re-introduced into society.  A cream colored pit bull named Hector currently works as a service dog. These dogs were all subjected to unthinkable cruelty, in addition to the factors mentioned above.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fact or Fiction? Pit Bulls Have Locking Jaws?

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month!
Fact or Fiction? Pit bulls have locking jaws, so once they bite down, they don't let go.

Fiction.  A study out of Presbyterian College by Jesse M. Bridgers III titled "Mechanical Advantage in the Pit Bull Jaw" examined 49 skulls of varying breeds of domestic dogs, three of which were from pit bulls.  Conclusion: "After graphing and analyzing the derived ratios, I have found no evidence of mechanical advantage in the pit bull compared to other domestic breeds of dogs".  A 2003 study by T.E. Houston titled "Bite Force and Bite Pressure Comparisons of Humans and Dogs found " There is nothing out of the ordinary in the jaw structure or anatomy of the bull breeds".  Dr. I.Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia has stated under oath "There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier".  The Houston study also disproved the myth that pit bulls have 1600 pounds per square inch of bite pressure.  Both Rottweilers and German Shepherds were shown to bite with greater force that pit bulls.

Nearly all dogs of all breeds are capable of biting and holding on with surprising tenacity.  For a free demonstration, stop by the clinic and try to extract a Greenie from Grendel's mouth.  You will tire long before our geriatric dachshund does!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pit Bull Awareness Month

October is Pit Bull Awareness Month!

We've all heard the news reports and urban legends that surround this misunderstood breed. So what exactly IS a pit bull anyway?

Used correctly, the term "pit bull" refers to the American Pit Bull Terrier, however the term is also used to describe Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. Additionally, many other breeds that are not pit bulls are often referred to as "pit bull type dogs"! If you're thinking this sounds like a recipe for confusion, you're right.  In a recent study by the Matrix Canine Research Council, 600 people, 100 of whom were canine professionals, were asked to identify pit bulls.  Thirty percent of the participants misidentified boxers, 45% mis-identified mastiffs, and 44% misidentified Presa Canarios.  Only 2% of the survey's  participants correctly identified pit bulls without first mistaking them for another breed!

Another peer reviewed study published this year by the American Journal of Sociological Research asked veterinarians, shelter workers, and other animal professionals to identify dog breeds based on video images.  Our scores were similarly appalling.  If animal care professionals find pit bull identification this difficult, what hope is there for the reporters, journalists, and eyewitnesses who provide the general public with information about this breed?

This month, our blog will discuss facts vs. fiction as we get to know the pit bull.  But before you get to know them, first try to FIND them!  Take this test to see if you can correctly identify a pit bull.  If you tell us YOUR score, we'll tell you ours. :-)

Monday, September 30, 2013

October Pet of the Month

Our October Pet of the Month is Lady! 

Lady is 7 years old and was adopted from an animal clinic in Wisconsin when she was 2 years old. You would never know she was brought in to be euthanized for aggression! Moo, her declawed kitty sister, was not impressed and quickly beat her up! 

Luckily, Moo and Lady became fast friends and play constantly. 

In Wisconsin she loved to chase squirrels, but once moving to Florida she discovered anole chasing is much more fun! 

Congratulations Lady! Tell all your friends that you are Our October Pet of the Month! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Do Cats Do That? Rubbing up against everything.

Why Do Cats Rub Up Against Everything - Including Me?!

Cats have scent glands on their lips, chins, and tails.  Additionally, scent glands are present on each side of their heads, and between their front paws.  They use these glands to mark their territory with their scent.  

When your cat rubs you, she is marking you with her scent, thus claiming you as "hers".  In the process of doing so, she picks up your scent as well.  Cats rub up against furniture and doorways as well - to mark the objects and places as "hers".

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Do Cats Do That? Drawn To People Who Don't Like Them.

Why Are Cats Drawn to People Who Don't Like Them?

When cats threaten or challenge each other, they stare boldly and intently while moving towards one another. 

People who do not like cats will often avoid eye contact with the cat. Rather than talk to the cat or attempt to engage it, they prefer to sit quietly, hoping the cat will ignore them.  Cats associate this body language with neutrality and passivity.  It tells them the person is safe to approach.  

Additionally, if the cat is accustomed to being the center of his human's attention, an aloof visitor can easily pique his natural curiosity!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Do Cats Do That? Making Biscuits.

Why Do Cats "Make Biscuits" With Their Paws?

When a cat "makes biscuits", she stretches out the digits on her front paws and pushes them downward as if she were kneading dough.  

When kittens are nursing, they knead their paws against Mom, either as a sign of contentment, or to encourage milk flow.  When they mature, they may knead against humans, toys, beds, blankets - anything is fair game.  

This behavior shows contentment and pleasure, and is often accompanied by purring.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September's Pet of the Month

September's Pet of the Month is Toby, an adopted 2 year old German Shepherd. Toby is easy going, happy, loves to play - and is super cute! 

Congratulations Toby! Share with all of your friends - You are our Pet of the Month! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Bugs...Ugh

Summertime Safety Tips - Bugs...Ugh

Thanks to warm winters across North America, entomologists are predicting an explosion in flea and tick populations this summer.  Mosquitoes carry deadly heartworm disease, and intestinal parasites thrive in humid conditions.  

Make sure your dogs and cats are up to date on heartworm, flea, and tick prevention, even if they never go outdoors.  The creepy critters can easily enter our homes when we open our doors, and often hitch rides on shoes, socks, and clothing.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Coach the Kids

Summertime Safety Tips - Coach the Kids

They're called "the dog days of summer" for a reason.  Rising temperatures can make dogs grumpy, and a curious child can easily push them to the boiling point.  

Children between the ages of 5-9 are the most common victims of provoked dog bites, and most of these incidents occur during summer months. Make sure all the youngsters in your home have been briefed on the do's and don'ts of dog interaction.  

Click here for a downloadable coloring book that teaches kids these valuable tips.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Beach Bummers

Summertime Safety Tips - Beach Bummers

Everybody loves a day at the beach - and our dogs are no exception.  Never allow your dogs to drink salt water!  This causes a dangerous imbalance in electrolytes that can be toxic for our pets.  Heed any warnings of rip currents, jellyfish or any other hazards, and consider getting Fluffy a doggie lifejacket.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Beat the Burn

Summertime Safety Tips - Beat the Burn

Did you know dogs could get sunburn too?  Breeds with short, white coats, and/or pink noses are especially susceptible.  Hairless breeds such as Chinese Cresteds and certain types of Chihuahuas should not be exposed to prolonged sun without wearing doggie sunscreen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips- Swimming Safely

Summertime Safety Tips - Swimming Safely

While technically, dogs know how to swim, many are not very good at it.  This is especially true of bracheacephalic or "smushed face" breeds such as bulldogs and pugs.  In addition to the challenges posed by their short snouts, these breeds are top heavy, and not well suited for extended romps in the pool.  

Many small dogs (like Grendel!) have trouble pacing themselves, and will run out of steam in the middle of the deep end.  Never leave dogs unattended in or around a pool or lake. Teach them how to get out of the pool, and consider investing in a dog safe pool ramp.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August's Pet of the Month

August Pet of the Month

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic's August Pet of the Month is Missy! Missy is a 14 year old Maltese with a big heart and a fighting spirit. Not even Cushing's Disease could slow down this sassy senior. Congratulations Missy! Tell all your friends - you're our Pet of the Month! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Summer Storms

Summertime Safety Tips - Summer Storms

Many pets suffer from thunder and storm anxiety.  This is a complex problem, and solutions will vary with each pet.  

Many pet parents have reported great success with the Thundershirt, a garment that uses pressure points to help pets stay calm throughout the storm.  

For more information on storm anxiety, click here

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Safety Tips - Firing up the Grill

Summertime Safety Tips - Firing up the Grill

Everyone loves a barbecue - especially our dogs!  But grilled goodies such as hot dogs, burgers and rib bones can make our pets very sick.  

Keep pets away from open flames, lighter fluid, and food scraps.  Do not leave dogs unattended around hot grills - even when the lids are closed, the smell of food can compel them to jump onto these dangerously hot surfaces.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Heatstroke

Summertime Safety Tips - Heatstroke

Summertime means summer temps, and that can spell trouble for our four legged friends.  

Make sure you monitor Fido's outdoor activities to avoid overheating and heatstroke. When playing outside with your dog, make sure he has easy access to plenty of fresh, clean water.  Provide access to shade, and allow him to go inside as needed.  

A child's wading pool can provide loads of fun, as well as a safe way for Fido to cool down!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summertime Safety Tips - Travel Time!

Summertime Safety Tips - Travel Time!

Travel is exciting, but can also be hectic. This is especially true when traveling with a pet. There are many regulations associated with pet travel, and they vary greatly depending on your destination.  

If your summer travel plans include your pets, now is the time to research the requirements for doing so.  Since every airline, and every country has their own set of regulations for importing animals, this research can be time consuming and daunting.  International travel requires an international health certificate, which can only be obtained from a veterinarian. Health certificates can not be issued to pets with intestinal or external parasites, so make sure your pet is up to date on his heartworm, flea, and tick preventative. 

Additionally, many countries require a blood test to ensure your pet’s rabies vaccine efficacy is within the country’s pre-determined parameters.  This test has a three week turnaround time, and if the results are not within the required range, it will need to done again.  Many countries, including France, Israel, and the United Kingdom require this test.  Additionally, it is required by Hawaii, and most Caribbean nations.

Certificates are also required for interstate travel, and are required by many airlines.  When booking your trip, be sure to ask what types of paperwork and specific types of carriers are needed.  Since rules and regulations change frequently, it is wise to make these inquiries several times before your trip.  For more information on travelling with pets visit

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Preventing Dog Bites to Children (Part 12 of 12)

Preventing Dog Bites to Children (Part 12 of 12)

Every year, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Sadly, bites often happen to children.  While many dogs avoid aggressive behavior and pose low risks for biting, it is important to remember that any dog, regardless of age, breed or history, has the ability and the potential to bite.  Fortunately, dog bites can be both prevented and avoided.  We hope you have enjoyed our blogged tips to help your children stay safe around man’s best friend.

If you suspect your dog needs a behavioral adjustment, please contact us for more information.  You can find us online at and click the tab titled "Behavior". You can also "Like" us on Facebook, and ask Edel Miedes of K9 Advisors for advice on your dog's behavior.  We can be reached by phone at (305) 595-1450, or you can set up a consultation with K9 Advisors at (786) 419-3647.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July's Pet of the Month

July's Pet of the Month!

Benji is a four month old Sphinx cat.  The Sphinx is a hairless breed, known for their energy, intelligence, and affectionate nature.  Benji is no exception.  He's a sweetheart and we love him!  Congratulations Benji!  Tell all your friends - you're our Pet of the Month!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Firework Phobia Part 2

Why a Safe Space?

See how to make a Safe Space here:

Dear Edel,

Thanks for all the great tips!  I have one last question: if Zohan wants to be physically close to us during fireworks or a storm, should we allow that?  What if he wants to get in our laps, cuddle with us, or hide behind us?  Is he better off in his safe place?

Dear Doc and Lynn,

Zohan is definitely better off in the safe space.  Ultimately, we want him to learn to go there on his own when he feels frightened.  This will help him learn how to self soothe, and increase his confidence, as he begins to learn that he can do something to help himself when fear sets in. When we give our dogs affection during times of anxiety, the affection can be perceived by the dog as a reward.  We want Zohan to understand that fear is neither a good behavior nor a bad behavior, just something he has to learn how to deal with.  Training him to go to a place where he feels safe is the best way to accomplish this.

Zohan sleeping in his safe space.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Firework Phobia

Don't forget Edel Miedes of K9 Advisors is available to answer questions about behavior!  You can send your questions to  Here is a question from the Kupkees.

Dear Edel,

Last year Zohan had a tough time dealing with Fourth of July fireworks.  How can we better help him cope with his fear?

Dear Doc and Lynn,

The key to treating fireworks anxiety is teach the dog to be as calm as possible.  I like to create a safe space for Zohan, and condition him to go there when he is afraid.  Usually a plastic crate padded with a comforter and placed inside a closet works well.  The close walls and hanging clothes reduce the vibrations and expansions of the sounds.  

I would also provide a CD player, or some type of sound system to play the kind of relaxing, New Age style music you might hear in a spa.  Keep that in the closet as well, and be ready to turn on the music in anticipation of the fireworks.  Once set up, you can provide the sounds of Fireworks with a training CD (Legacy Canine Behavior and Training makes a good one).  Teach Zohan to go to the safe space when he is frightened. This also works well for dogs who are afraid of thunderstorms.

It's important to remember NOT to correct him for barking or having accidents on the floor when he is anxious. He is not being naughty, and any correction given at this time will only intensify the nervous, insecure feelings he is already having.  Good luck and Happy Fourth!