Tips to Prepare for Adopting a Cat or Dog

Tips to Prepare for Adopting a Cat or Dog

Adopting a cat or dog requires much more than providing water, food, and shelter. To properly care and provide for a companion animal, you should research and carefully plan to ensure their lifestyle and needs match your availability and commitment.

Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, is here to help you properly prepare for your pet adoption. Pets bring immense happiness to their owners, which is why over 1.6 billion are adopted each year. We have come up with a list of tips to guide you through this exciting and love-filled time. Please contact us today if you have any questions or concerns for your pet!

Readiness

Puppies and kittens sound adorable to have by your side through the tough times and daily life, but you must realize they are living, breathing animals who grow and need a lot of attention and care. Dogs and cats could be a 15-20 year commitment, and you must be willing to dedicate your life to them for that time.

As life has its ups and downs throughout the years, you have to remember that your pet is your priority and responsibility to keep safe, healthy, and happy. This includes ensuring they receive enough exercise, companionship, and supervision.

Please consider your time, flexibility, finances, and living conditions before committing to adopting a cat or dog.

Finding The Right Pet

There are plenty of options when it comes to adopting the perfect pet for you. Rescues and shelters are experts at helping find the dog or cat that suits your lifestyle best. If you are looking for a specific breed and are looking to go through a breeder, you must research the breed and breeder.

You should consider your household, how many people live with you (children and adults), and if your space and time have room for a pet. Cats are known to be graceful, independent, playful, and sensitive, while dogs are very social animals who need quality companionship and attention from their owners.

Make sure to do your research and ensure you are adopting your pet from a reliable source that is true regarding their health and necessities.

When adopting a cat or dog, please examine the following to ensure they are in good health:

  • Clean, soft coat with no external parasites
  • Clear eyes with no redness or discharge
  • Clean, odor-free ears
  • Healthy skin with no sores
  • Solid-body structure
  • No signs of coughing, congestion, or diarrhea
  • Vaccinations up to date

Adopting a Cat or Dog & Preparing Your Home

Many household items may not seem dangerous to us, but they can be very harmful to pets or small children. If your garbage is open or there are toxic plants in reach, your pet can get into something they aren’t supposed to and become very ill.

We encourage all owners to keep their house pet-friendly and protect all animals from getting stuck in wires, harmed in prohibited areas, or eating unknown materials. We have developed a list of things you can check in your home to ensure the safety for your new furry family member.

  • Ensure all plants are out of reach and not poisonous to pets.
  • Hide all hazardous wires that are in your pet’s reach.
  • Avoid long cords or tassels on blinds and curtains that can strangle or choke a pet.
  • Ensure your pet has a comfortable area in each room, so you can avoid them ruining any furniture.
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of chew items to prevent nibbling on your furniture and other possessions.
  • Provide a crate for training purposes.

Let Us Help You Welcome Your Furry Family Member

Millions of pets out there need homes, and if you believe you are ready to have your own, you can find the perfect one for you. We encourage you to address each of our tips and ensure you are prepared to take on the commitment of a dog or cat.

Adopting a cat or dog isn’t easy, but you can make the process run smoothly with love, dedication, and proper care. Bush Animal Clinic is here to guide you through each stage of your pet’s life, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. If you’re a pet owner in Albany, GA, Dougherty County, or the surrounding areas, contact us today!

National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices

National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices

Happy National Train Your Dog Month!

While training your dog should be a consistent, lifelong responsibility, commit to making this January the month you get your canine companion refreshed and back on track to being a “good boy” / “good girl.”

At Bush Animal Clinic in Albany, GA, we celebrate all dog personalities and welcome the opportunity to help our dogs behave better for a healthier, safer, and happier life. To help you celebrate National Train Your Dog Month, we’re bringing you these effectively pawsome dog training tips and practices.

Let’s get started!

Why We Celebrate National Train Your Dog Month

Training our dogs is not only for show. The extra help can go a long way to maintain their health and well-being.

Following the holiday season, January is traditionally a peak time of year where families adopt or bring home dogs. Sadly, humans give away hundreds of dogs per year due to behavioral and training challenges.

In 2010, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers started National Train Your Dog Month to raise awareness about the significance of training, socializing, and providing our dogs with a nurturing and loving home environment.

Learning is a precious opportunity for humans to bond with their canine companions, and even just a little bit of work each day can go a long way for your dog’s well-being. Without further ado, let’s dive into the ultimutt dog training tips and tricks!

Daily Walks

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and if your dog tends to act out after being cooped up all day, it may be time to integrate more brisk and intentional walks into their daily routine.

Taking your dog for a walk provides them with the physical activity and mental stimulation they need for strong mental health. Bored dogs are more prone to destructive behaviors. Walking helps them release pent-up energy, burn calories, and regulate their digestive and musculoskeletal health.

It’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk before a training session. Your dog will listen and focus better when they’re already stimulated and tired.

Don’t treat your dog’s walk as a glorified potty break. Your dog loves your attention, so what better way to make an hour all about them by joining them for an adventure in the great outdoors?

Calling Your Dog to Come

Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to your dog’s safety. Otherwise known as “reliable recall”, teaching your dog to come when called can protect them from getting injured, lost, hit by a car, or engaging in abrasive behavior with other dogs and animals.

If your dog can’t go off-leash right away, that’s okay. Start small by working with your dog in a fenced-in area or with a long leash.

Treat reliable recall like a game. Let your dog run around, explore, and keep distractions to a minimum.

Anytime your dog makes eye contact with you or starts to move towards you, give them the verbal cue to come or verbally praise them using a high and positive inflection in your voice. You can also incorporate direct verbal cues to “come” and reward your pup with treats or their favorite toy.

Even if your dog takes their time to come when called, you should still praise them ‒ not show your frustration.

Don’t repeat yourself if your dog doesn’t immediately come when called. There may be too many distractions, or they haven’t yet learned the skill.

Remember: It can take time for dogs to develop trust in their owners and to reliably come when called. The best way to earn their trust and build your confidence in them is to work at this skill every day and always make their training environment happy and positive.

How to Stop Dog Jumping

Even though a jumping dog can be a nuisance, it is a common behavior problem as it is a natural way for dogs to greet those they love and are excited to see. So, even if your dog is a jumper, you are not alone. And luckily, this is a behavior that is relatively easy to fix.

The first thing to stop jumping is to remove the emotional stimulation causing the behavior. Refrain from getting your dog excited when you walk through the door by changing your tone and using a quiet and low inflection in your voice.

Don’t greet your dog until they are fully calm and have all four paws on the floor. Be consistent with this. The more repetition, the more your dog will come to control their excitement and understand the proper way to greet you and others.

Establish the House Rules & Stay Consistent

Every dog owner is different when setting off-limits areas of the home or letting their canine companions up on the bed or couch.

Early on, establish what your dog can and cannot do and where they can and cannot go. Whatever you decide the house rules are with your dog, ward off any confusion and stay consistent. By doing so, your dog will come to understand and obey the rules, preventing them from getting scolded unnecessarily.

With all that said, designate a part of your home as your dog’s special area. Make this environment as calm and comfortable as possible and place their bed here or incorporate their toys and blanket. You want your dog to feel like this is their safe place. Choose a location where you can also be nearby.

Pawsome Tips & Practices for a Healthier & Happier Pup

There’s nothing better than the loving look your dog gives you when you commend them for being a “good boy” or “good girl.” As National Train Your Dog Month comes to a close, stay consistent and keep practicing these tips and tricks so you can instill healthy behavior in your dog for years to come.

If you’re struggling to train your aggressive or impulsive dog, pet anxiety may be to blame. The team at Bush Animal Clinic is happy to guide you on how to train your dog, alleviate their anxiety, and help them improve their behavior and well-being. We encourage you to contact us today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a behavior consultation with a veterinarian.

Foods to Not Feed Feed Your Pets

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets This Halloween Season

Spooky season is upon us. Between the ghouls and goblins, candy and costumes – households are getting ready for trick or treating and other traditions. But if you’re a pet owner, Halloween can be frightening in more ways than one.

Halloween, while fun, can present some dangers to your pet, and we’re not talking about monsters or skeletons. We’re talking about harmful treats, foods to not feed your pets, and other hazards. Thankfully, Northside Animal Hospital in Valdosta, GA is here to help you understand potential risks your cat or dog may run into.

Dangerous Foods to Avoid

While kids love this time of year due to all the sugar and candy, (and let’s face it, adults enjoy it just as much) the treats we bring home can cause serious health problems if cats or dogs get their paws on them. We break down some of the most dangerous types of foods to not feed your pets:

Chocolate

Most pet owners know that while chocolate is delicious for us, they are toxic for dogs. It’s important to be extra cautious this time of year, as more chocolate is probably coming into the house. If eaten, chocolate can cause vomiting, seizures, and other health complications for dogs.

Raisins

Raisins and grapes are one of the most dangerous foods for cats and dogs. Eating them can cause sudden kidney failure. So if your child brings home any chocolate covered raisins from trick or treating, make sure to keep them out of sight, where your cat or dog can’t access them.

Candy Corn

If candy has one ingredient, and that one ingredient is sugar, you can bet it’s not good for your pet. Candies like candy corn and pixie sticks can cause painful stomach issues for cats and dogs and should be avoided.

Coconut Treats

The milk and coconuts used in candy may cause your pet to have an upset stomach. While your pet may like the sweet flavor, it’s important to avoid human candy with coconut in the ingredients.

Hard Candy

While they may not be considered as toxic as chocolate or raisins, hard candy presents a huge choking hazard to cats and dogs. This is especially true for lollipops, when you consider the stick could harm your pet’s stomach if ingested.

Pretzels & Chips

These goodies may not be as popular as chocolate and sugar, but if your child comes home from trick or treating with small bags of pretzels or chips, it’s important to keep them away from your pet. In this case, the issue is not so much with the food itself, but the plastic bags they’re packaged in. If eaten, these plastic bags can obstruct your pet’s intestines.

Sugar Free Candy

Pet owners may assume that sugar free candy must be better for pets than sugary treats, that’s not always the case. In fact, sugar-free candy can be even more hazardous. This is because a common alternative sweetener in these sugar free candies and gums is Xylitol. If eaten by a cat or dog, Xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar which can cause seizures or other complications including liver damage, and even death.

If your pet eats any of these foods, call or visit Northside Animal Hospital as soon as possible. Our treatments can help prevent further complications.

Other Halloween Frights For Pets

It’s not just candy that poses risks for your furry friend during Halloween season. There are other dangers that present themselves this time of year. We explore some potential hazards to be aware of.

Costumes

It’s hard to resist dressing up your pet in an adorable costume for Halloween. While dressing up your pet is fine, there are some factors you should consider when choosing the best costume for your cat or dog.
Make sure they are comfortable in their costume. If they are not, don’t force it on them. This can cause unnecessary stress. You should also avoid masks as it can impact their vision and breathing. No matter what costume you decide on, it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet to ensure that they are not chewing off pieces.

Dyes

If you choose to ditch the clothing, and dye your pet a festive color, make sure the dye you use will not cause irritation or an allergic reaction. You also want to make sure it is non-toxic, in case your pet decides to try licking it off. Always avoid applying dye around the eye and mouth area to avoid irritation.

Decorations

Decorations are fun, but as most pet owners know, your dog or cat may be curious about them. They may explore fake spider webs, rubber spiders, fake jewelry, or old jack-o-lanterns with their mouths. It’s important to keep these decorations out of reach, so your pet cannot ingest them, causing stomach issues that could lead to an emergency trip to the vet, or even surgery.

Door Dashing

If you are expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, it’s best to keep your cat or dog occupied in a place where they feel safe and comfortable, especially if you think the doorbell or knocking will bother them. If they get spooked or anxious, they may dash out the door as you hand out candy. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet contained in a crate during this time.

Foods to Not Feed Your Pets: It’s Not All Scary

While it may seem like there are a lot of hazards to avoid this Halloween season, the good news is, not all treats are bad! Your furry friend can still enjoy some Halloween fun. Just make sure whatever you feed them is meant for pets, not humans. If you choose to make your own pet-friendly Halloween treats, contact Northside Animal Hospital to make sure the ingredients you use are safe.

A safe pet is a happy pet, so just remember to keep their wellbeing in mind between all the Halloween fun, and there’s no need to be frightened!