And they called it… Puppy Love….

Kit: How are you today, Kapoodle?

 

Kapoodle: I’m great Kit, how about you?

 

Kit: Well I am a little worried today, Kapoodle. My owners are talking about getting a new puppy! I am the only pet in the house right now and it’s not just that I like having all the attention, I’m worried because my owners have never had a dog.

 

Kapoodle: Oh my, that is big news and it’s normal to be worried – a new puppy comes with a lot of responsibility but can be a great addition to a family!

 

Kit: I guess it would be nice to have another pet to hang out with. But how will they know what breed to get and how to train it? I sure don’t want to step in dog pee! And what if the puppy gets sick? I know when I got sick once, my family found it hard to fit the cost into their budget.  What if the puppy doesn’t like cats and chases me around the house, oh no! I’m getting more stressed all the time… what should I do, Kapoodle?

 

Kapoodle: Take a deep breath.  There is a lot of good information out there to help your family pick out a wonderful puppy that will fit just right and maybe even become your friend! I can help answer some of your questions if you want, after all, I do know a few things about dogs 😉

 

Kit: Oh would you!? That would be great Kapoodle, then maybe I can stop worrying and get back to playing with my toys and watching birds through the window.

 

Kapoodle: First of all, picking the right breed of dog is one of the most important things to consider! Every family is different and some breeds may fit into a family much better than others. For example, if your family has lots of time and loves to hike and play outdoors, or you live on a large property or farm, a larger breed or more active breed might be best. On the other hand, if you have a family that lives in a small apartment and works long shifts, a smaller, less active dog might be best. There are dogs that shed less for people with allergies or who are bothered by dog hair too! Some families have young kids and if so, it would be important to pick a breed that is known for being wonderful with kids – gentle and calm.

 

This website might be helpful in choosing a breed:

www.pawclub.ca/preparing-puppy/traits-common-breeds

 

Does the family have any pets already living in the home? This is very important to consider, as everyone wants his or her family members to get along! If getting a puppy from an SPCA or shelter, it would be important to make sure they get along with any pets in the home before deciding to adopt. Some places will allow a home visit to see how the pets get along and other shelters might already know if a certain dog does not get along with cats. I am sure your family will make sure they get a dog that enjoys the company of a cat, Kit J

 

As you mentioned Kit, pets can be costly to care for sometimes so it’s important to be sure a new puppy will fit into your family budget. Even puppies that are adopted for “free” are never really free. Puppies in their first year of life can be quite costly as they require frequent deworming, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, food, dishes, and of course, lots of toys to play with! New puppy owners should also consider long term costs as well, such as health issues that may pop up. There is nothing more sad for an owner or a veterinarian then when a pet is very ill and the cost of care is too great for the owner to afford. Pet Insurance is something that new puppy owners should strongly consider. When a pet is ill, it can ease a lot of stress from an already stressful situation for the owner and the veterinarian. The pet is able to get their care they need and deserve without breaking the family budget or putting a family in a very difficult financial situation.

 

Kit: Thanks Kapoodle, I feel better already. Is there anything else they should know?

 

Kapoodle: Well Kit, training can be a challenging issue for some owners. A well behaved dog, like myself, doesn’t just happen, it takes work! I remember chewing up many of my owner’s favourite things when I was a puppy! I got in big trouble and learned quickly that when I was good, I got lots of snuggles and treats! Kit, did you know that many pets are surrendered to shelters because of bad behaviour that could have been avoided and corrected with proper training!

 

PetFocus offers puppy socialization classes and obedience classes at many of their locations! These can be very helpful for new puppies to learn proper behaviour and manners. It is also a great way for them to be properly socialized and be mentally stimulated.  Obedience classes are great for older dogs too, I have gone to a couple with my owner and had a ton of fun, and I got lots of treats too!

 

Where should you look for a new puppy?  Once you decide what breed or size of dog might suit your family, you then need to find that new puppy! There are many breeders out there; ask your vet for a recommendation. They often know many good breeders. You can also check out your local shelters and SPCA. There are always lots of nice puppies and mature dogs looking for a loving forever home. A mixed breed dog can be just as great as a purebred and many times have fewer health issues too. When choosing a breeder, it is important to see the mom and dad, ask for health certificates and be sure they are well bred and well cared for. You may want to see what kind of personality the parents have or how big they are.  Be careful purchasing pets online; you want to make sure the pet is healthy.  Never get a puppy from someone who won’t give you all the information you want – or who wants to meet you in a parking lot!

 

Always remember that pets are forever – families should look into the future and decide if it’s the right time to get a new puppy. Our futures are never predictable but a family should consider what they have planned such as changes in career, a move, financial changes, marital or parental status changes. Pets are sometimes surrendered to shelters because of a divorce or because a family is moving and cannot take the pet. It’s something to think about – your home should be a forever home for a new pet.

 

 

Puppy Proofing your home!

Puppies also like to chew and eat things they shouldn’t! Its very important to “puppy proof” your home like you would for a baby. Keep clothes and socks off the floor, all food should be locked away or up on high counters where pets cannot reach. Did you know Kit, that veterinarians see many puppies every year for tummy troubles? Many times the puppies have eaten something they shouldn’t, sometimes the item even gets stuck in their tummies and they require costly surgery to remove it!

“Puppy proofing” your home and using a crate to contain your puppy while you are at work or away can greatly reduce the chances of a puppy ingesting something it shouldn’t. And always remember that chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions can be toxic to dogs! Yuck… I stay away from all of those things – and you should too!

 

Lastly Kit, there are a couple of health related things to know about puppies! Puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. Your veterinarian can help a family decide which vaccines are appropriate for their puppy. Puppies also tend to have worms! Ewww! They need to be dewormed every 2 weeks until they are 3 months of age, then monthly. Flea protection should be used monthly as well. It is recommended that puppies be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age. This prevents unwanted puppies. Many people do not know this Kit, but spaying and neutering is also important to prevent many health issues, some of which can be life threatening! It can also decrease behavioural issues such as marking areas with pee and roaming or running away for example.

 

Helpful websites:

www.petplace.com

www.wormsandgermsblog.com

 

Kit: Oh wow Kapoodle! You have given me so much helpful information! I feel so much better now. I will bring this information to my family to help them chose the right puppy and make sure it stays healthy and happy! Maybe they will contact our veterinarian at PetFocus as well to get some help!

 

Kapoodle: You never know Kit, you might think this new puppy is just as awesome as me!

 

Kit: Hang on now Kapoodle, you are my friend, but you will always be a DOG J

 

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The Tale of the Trials and Tribulations of Sir Labsalot on Howl’oween

Indiana Bones, a young beagle puppy, was peeking through the fence at his neighbour Sir Labsalot.  Labsalot was a 3 year old yellow Labrador retriever that was usually a bundle of energy but that day he was just laying down in the leaves – not rolling in the leaves like his usual goofball self but quietly resting.  Once in a while he would let out a big sigh and then go back to sleep.  Just then, Sigmeow Freud, the wisest cat in the whole neighbourhood, came sauntering along the top of the fence and gave a big long stretch and then settled into a comfortable perch just above Indiana.  When Indiana asked what was wrong with Labsalot, he began to explain what happened.  You see, Halloween had just passed, and with it, many dangers to cats and dogs like Sigmeow, Indiana and Labsalot.  This year was another close call.  The story of last night begins 3 years ago…

Stress from the frequent doorbell and costumes and lost pets – Oh My!

Sir Labsalot’s first Halloween was coming and he was so excited!  He couldn’t wait to see what all the commotion was about.  Then it started to get dark and then the doorbell kept ringing.  At first he thought it was the mailman and he ran to the door barking with his best tough boy voice!  But then when the door opened, it was all he could do to not pee on the floor, he was so scared!  That night, there was what appeared to be an endless stream of scary lurking figures stalking his front door.  The doorbell kept ringing and as it got darker and darker, the figures got even more frightening.  He didn’t know who these people were and why they were there.  He then was so upset and things were so busy he ended up running out the door during one the many times it was opening and closing.  He ran around the neighbourhood dodging between cars and then finally Labsalot hid behind an old shed until morning.  Boy, was his family scared that night and so was he!  Luckily he was found by Mr. Herman when we was out for his morning walk.  It is a good thing Labsalot had his collar with ID tag on and he was micro-chipped as well.  That made it a lot easier to find his home for sure!   Remember, Halloween can be a scary and confusing time for pets.  Did you know some pets become very fearful or aggressive at the sight of certain Halloween costumes?  These pets would much prefer to be kept in a safe, quiet place in the home away from the trick-or-treaters. Labsalot wasn’t the nervous type but he knew a dog named Bony Soprano that would not have responded to trick-or-treaters as well as he did. 

You are making me wear what?

The next year, Labsalot’s family decided to take him out with the kids as they went door to door – and they dressed Labsalot up! He did look very cute in his costume.  “Did I mention he was dressed up as a cat?”  Sigmeow lifted his head in obvious pride as he told Indiana about the costume.  People need to be careful dressing pets up on holidays. Sometimes costumes can make it hard to see and hear.  Moving becomes awkward too and boy, can it ever get hot in those suits.  Have you ever seen a dog trying to pant in a cat costume?  It isn’t pretty!  That night, Labsalot did think about chewing his way out of the cat suit but luckily his family stayed with him the entire time he had it on so he didn’t hurt himself or eat any parts of the costume.

Watch that candle!

The following year, Labsalot was wagging his tail and it knocked over the candle in the pumpkin and the fire department had to be called!  No one was hurt but that pumpkin didn’t look very good after that… his tail was a bit singed too!

Don’t tell me you left out the chocolate and candy…

Just then, Indiana Bones looked over at Labsalot through the fence posts and saw him lift his head a little and reposition himself a little to get comfortable.  “Why does Labsalot seem so uncomfortable today?”  Sigmeow looked off into the distance for what seemed like a long time and then turned to the bright eyed Beagle pup and said, “Well that is because of what happened this past Halloween, Indiana…”  After a busy night of trick-or-treating, when the kids came home with all their chips, chocolates and candy, they all went to bed and didn’t put the treats away, out of Sir Labsalot’s reach.  Well if I know one thing, it is that you are hard pressed to keep a Labrador retriever from eating something as tempting as Halloween candy.  That night, Labsalot ate more chocolate, candy, wrappers and chips than one would think possible.  His family had to take him to the veterinary hospital to help him recover.  He had to stay in the hospital to help him get better from being so sick!  Luckily his family woke up in the middle of the night and caught him in the act and got help right away!  He was going to be okay but boy, did he have a belly ache!  And do you know what?  If you put a bag of candy in front of Labsalot again, he would probably do the same thing!  You see chocolate is really harmful to dogs – even just a little bit!  And when it comes to chips and candy – they can cause really bad belly aches! 

And with that Indiana realized he would have to wait and play with his friend Labsalot another day when he was feeling better. Hopefully next year his family will remember the previous years and do their best to keep him safe so he can have a wonderful time with his family and his friends Indiana and Sigmeow!! 

 

National Veterinary Technician Week

(Kapoodle) Hey Kit!  How’s it going? I’ve been a bit lonely lately, what with the kids back in school and all.  All this talk about homework and studying hard so that they can get a good job has got me to thinking…what is a “good” job?  I’m pretty happy with the work I do here so I guess I have a good job, it never hurts to consider your options though.

(Kit) A good job?  Please Kapoodle, tell me exactly what kind of “work” it is you do?  All I see is a bunch of laying around and knocking things over.  Why are dogs so clumsy anyway?  You could learn a lot from a cat you know!  The only time I knock things down is when I want to, usually when my humans are late with dinner.

(Kapoodle) What do ya mean, I don’t do any work?  I fertilize the yard, I help clear the table and wash the dishes when my family is finished eating, and…all that knocking stuff down gives them something to do so they don’t get bored.  I’ve often heard my people say “Thank goodness Kapoodle spread these tissues all around, I didn’t know what I was going to do with that extra 5 minutes!” Next week I’m going to do some gardening.  You wait and see how excited they’ll be?!

Anyway, I got to thinking about what other jobs are out there that might be fun and then I ran into my friend Hairy Pawter.  You know Hairy, he’s the Puli with the crazy dreadlocks.  Well, turns out Hairy was over at Harbour Cities Veterinary Hospital the other day for his yearly check up.  He said there was quite a commotion going on because one of his favourite people, Toni Martin, was receiving an award from the Eastern Veterinary Technician’s Association.  Toni is what they call an RVT, or Registered Veterinary Technician.  Now, you’re probably wondering what that means, I know I was.  The closest comparison I can give you is that an RVT is a lot like a human nurse.  The main difference is that RVTs need to be skilled in all aspects of patient care such as medicine, surgery, radiology, dentistry, diagnostic testing (like looking at poop, which doesn’t sound so bad to me), etc.  Hairy said that over the past few years Toni has taken blood from him, trimmed his nails, given him medication (that he really didn’t like), took pictures of his stomach that time he ate the corn cob and couldn’t stop throwing up, and lots of other things.  He said that Toni was responsible for carrying out a lot of the veterinarian’s treatment plan. 

It was starting to sound like an interesting and difficult job so I looked into what kind of education is needed.  It turns out there is a Veterinary Technician program right here in Nova Scotia through the Dalhousie Agricultural College.  The program takes two years to complete and involves spending some time at the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI as well as in a regular veterinary clinic.  Students who graduate from this, or any other accredited Veterinary Technician program, can write an exam to become “registered” and carry the title of RVT.  Then, every year they have to take some continuing education courses to stay current and maintain their registered status.  It’s great to know there are some standards in place to ensure those caring for us are well trained!

It sounds to me like technicians are the veterinarian’s right hand.  I bet it is a really challenging and rewarding career.  I guess that would make it a “good” job.  It also sounds like a lot more work than pulling up tulips and sorting through the garbage.  I think I’ll keep my job.  Afterall, what would my owners do with their extra time if I wasn’t here?