Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Breaking Bad Habits

Every January,  we ask ourselves how we can do better in the New Year. While often daunting, and not always kept, New Year’s resolutions can encourage us to embrace good habits, and break the bad ones. For pet owners, the New Year can also be a time to take an honest look at some of our pet’s bad habits!

A trainer once told me that his favorite challenges for new clients was “Name something your pet does that you know is naughty, but you let him get away with because it’s cute.” His favorite example was the owner of a West Highland Terrier who growled at her whenever she got into bed with her husband. She thought it was funny. The behavior escalated until the night the dog bared his teeth and lunged at her face. The end result was $10,000 worth of reconstructive surgery. If you don’t think your pet has any bad habits, examining those naughty, but “funny” or “cute” behaviors is a great place to start.

Unwanted behaviors nearly always escalate. Anxious barking can become destruction. Poor leash etiquette can cause injury to humans. Nipping can turn into biting. Now is the time to take an honest look at your pet’s behavior, and don’t despair if you don’t like what you see.  A Certified Professional Dog Trainer can help you get your dog’s behavior on track - and most of them are great with cat behavior as well!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shedding The Holiday Pounds

Each year, the average American gains roughly six pounds during the holiday season.  And every January, my clients guiltily confess that their round hounds and festive felines were included in the feasts. It should therefore come as no surprise to hear that our pets tend to gain weight during the holidays as well.

If your New Year’s resolutions include getting in shape or shedding a few pounds, why not include your pets? Most of us could stand to be a bit more active. Our dogs would love nothing more than to join us on a walk or a bike ride. Classes in agility or nosework, and trips to dog-friendly parks are fun and inexpensive ways for the whole family to get out and get moving. If healthier eating is on your agenda, be sure to review your pet’s diet as well. It may be time to switch to a better, or more age-appropriate diet. Most importantly, throw away those commercial dog and cat treats. Treats are the caloric equivalent of candy bars, and most of my patients get several of these goodies every day! When you’re tempted to give your pet a treat, think of the treat as a king sized Snickers bar.  It’s a fast and effective way of changing the way we humans think about pet treats.