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Puppy training while practicing social distancing

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Have a New Puppy?
Here’s how to Socialize Your Dog While Social Distancing.

It may seem like the middle of a coronavirus crisis is not the time to take your pup out, but we found ways you can be social while keeping your distance.
Are you locked inside your house with your new puppy who is bouncing off the wall? Are you hunkered down with your adult dog, who needs training, but you never had the time?

It may seem like the middle of a coronavirus crisis is not the time to take your pup out to socialize or enroll in a group training class; staying 6 feet away from people would be tough.
But there are ways you can be social while keeping your distance.

Socializing while social distancing
If you just got a puppy, experts say socializing them properly with new people and dogs is vital to their development, especially when they are under 16-weeks-old.
“While in an ideal world your puppy would meet many, kind, tolerant adult dogs, and yes, certainly some new people along the way too, socialization just means exposing your puppy to all sorts of new things,” Jenny Wyffels, a certified professional dog trainer says.

But how do you do that while social distancing? To keep germs at bay, Jenny suggests you can assume some multiple personalities, or get all the old (not scary) Halloween costumes out of your closet. “Wearing different perfumes and colognes along with new, unusual, or interesting attire can help puppies learn from a young age that humans don’t all look and smell the same, and that is OK,” she says.

Car rides can be an excellent way for your pup to see the world, and while you’re glued to the TV sheltering in place, try turning on different shows, so your puppy hears different sounds and voices.
You can also enlist the help of a pal who will keep their distance. “They could play a game of cookie toss with a friend or neighbor. A puppy seeing a stranger, even from across the street on a separate driveway, is beneficial. More so if they are getting treats,” Jenny recommends.

Socialize your dog through virtual training virtual training

Use some of this extra time constructively and take virtual dog training classes.

Certified trainer Adrienne Liddle just launched purely positive online puppy group training classes. You and your pooch get the know-how, without the germs.
“Being quarantined can cause cabin fever for our dogs and us,” Adrienne says. “I want to offer something that’s not only educational but also a source of entertainment and community. My group classes are interactive, and people are meeting other dog lovers and connecting over dog training while getting help and guidance from me. I love it!”
Adrienne says sheltering in place is what sparked her to create these creative classes; she worried dogs would not get the training they need.

She’s offering online courses for adult dogs, too, because having a well-behaved dog makes everyone happier in the end. Especially now when pooches and their people are spending 24/7 together.
“When you teach a dog new things and reward them, they love spending time engaging with you,” she says. “When you help a dog through difficult things using clear criteria and communication, they learn to trust and believe in you. When you help a dog build problem-solving skills, they become more balanced and less reactive to their environment. I’ve seen some amazing change and growth in dogs and their humans through the training process.” And Jenny recommends using some of this solitude to teach your dog a lifetime of good habits. “Some of us may temporarily have schedules that allow us to devote more time to consistent day to day training, or behavior modification plans. Why not make the most out of a challenging situation by devoting that time to our dogs?”

Both Jenny and Adrienne also offer individual training sessions remotely using Skype, Facetime, Zoom and video-conferencing programs to dog owners anywhere in the world. Contact them through their websites.

Westmount Animal Hospital Updated Covid-19 Protocols

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COVID – 19 PROTOCOL IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

 

We have had to institute some changes to keep both our clients and staff safe.
Effective Immediately we will be only offering curb-side appointments with the exception of Final Goodbye Euthanasia appointment (call the clinic for more information).

What does this mean to a pet owner?
• Please call the clinic when you arrive and we will come out to retrieve your pet. The doctor will examine your pet and call you on your cell to discuss the findings and/or treatment options.
• Payments are ideally taken by credit card over the phone. If this is not possible; we will have you come into the clinic to do your payment.
• We will bring your pet back to your vehicle along with any medications and your invoice.
• Food and medication pick-ups: payment ideally over the phone and we will place your pet’s medication and/or food outside the front door along with your receipt. We can have you do payment inside if absolutely necessary but only one person in the clinic at a time.
• Please knock on the front door for entrance as it will be locked during regular business hours.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes you and ask for your understanding as we all deal with this unique situation. We care and want to continue to provide the high-quality care for your pets as we have always done.

https://www.westmountanimalhospital.c

Westmount Animal Hospital’s online Vet Store is now open!

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We are excited to let all of our client’s know that you may now order your pet’s supplies from the comfort of your home.

Simply click on the “Shop now” link  located in the upper right corner to be redirected to Westmount Animal Hospital’s webstore. You can register there to enjoy the convenience of online ordering for your pet’s food, supplements and more.

Have your order shipped right to your front door!

Westmount Animal Hospital online vet store

Westmount Cares – Covid-19 Protocols

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Westmount Animal Hospital COVID-19 protocols

We are still open and taking proactive steps to make sure our clients and patients continue to get the care they need. We know that these are trying times for everyone as we go through this uncharted territory together.

In order to limit unnecessary contact and maintain essential social distancing we are asking that only one family member attend with each patient when possible.

In the best interest of both clients and staff, we are implementing the following:

• Longer appointment times – comply with Social Distancing (Public Health)
• Drop off/Pick up’s
• Curbside appointments
• Phone consultations
• Video conferencing
• Online Food and Prescriptions available

We apologize for any inconvenience the above listed measures may cause, but please know we are doing everything we can in order to ensure the safety of those who work at, or visit, our hospital while also working to continue to provide the services and care that you have come to rely on us for.

Please call/speak our Client Service Team if you have any immediate questions or concerns.

Stayed tuned for more communication on how to utilize any of our on-line sources.

https://www.myvetstore.ca/westmount

 

MARCH IS TICK AWARENESS MONTH

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We believe by educating pet owners, you can help protect both yourself and your pets. Ticks can travel up to 46 km per  year can be found almost anywhere due to migratory birds and animals. Below is a short video we think you will enjoy. Please visit ticktalkcanada.com for more information.

Please contact the clinic for more information and book your 4dx parasite blood screen test and pick up your pet’s parasite prevention.

 

Dental Health For your Dogs and Cats

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February is Dental Health Month in the Veterinary World;  we believe that dental health is important year round!

We believe that dental care is an important part of an animal’s overall well being, for that reason we offer free dental examinations with one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians year around, not just one month of the year.

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. 

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Oral health in dogs and cats
Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
bad breath
broken or loose teeth
extra teeth or retained baby teeth
teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
reduced appetite or refusal to eat
pain in or around the mouth
bleeding from the mouth
swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems:

broken teeth and roots
periodontal disease
abscesses or infected teeth
cysts or tumors in the mouth
malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
broken (fractured) jaw
palate defects (such as cleft palate)

 

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?
When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.
Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.
Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day. We follow strict protocols to ensure the safest anesthesia for you pet.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

 

Related resources:
Veterinary toolkit: Pet dental health – Available exclusively to AVMA members

Obesity Awareness: Is Your Pet at a Healthy Weight?

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Although it may seem like a few extra pounds is no big deal for our pets, being overweight is unfortunately a serious problem. And in fact, as many as 50% to 60% of cats and dogs in Canada may be overweight or obese.*

The reason this is concerning is because carrying extra weight can cause many health issues for both dogs and cats. Overweight pets are at increased risk of developing:
• Arthritis and other joint issues
• Cancer
• Constipation
• Decreased immune function
• Diabetes
• Gastrointestinal issues
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Kidney disease
• Liver disease
• Respiratory problems
• Skin issues

Even scarier, cats and dogs carrying extra weight may not live as long as those at a healthy weight.

The good news is that if your pet is at a healthy weight or gets back to an ideal BCS, you’ll be giving your pet the gift of a better quality of life, less risk for certain diseases, and quite possibly a better chance of living longer.

So how do I know if my pet is overweight or just right?
Take a moment to do this quick check:
• You should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs if you run your fingers across your pet’s abdomen.
• From the side, you should also be able to see a “tuck-in” or upward slope from the belly toward your pet’s hind end.
• From the top view, your pet should have a visible waist behind the ribs.
• If you can see your pet’s ribs, though, then your pet may be too thin.

Body condition score (or BCS) is another way we determine your pet’s ideal size and shape. We assign a score of 1 to 9, with 1 being too thin and 9 being obese. The ideal weight we’re aiming for is in the middle, at a 4 or 5.

Check out these charts from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association that show ideal body condition for healthy dogs and cats. Ideal weight varies, even among similarly sized dogs or cats. When you bring your pet in to Westmount Animal Hospital for a visit, we’ll show you how to gauge your pet’s weight and BCS.

Could my pet just have an underactive thyroid or some other medical condition?
It is possible, which is why your Westmount veterinarian will check your pet to rule out any medical causes that could be contributing to weight gain. However, most pets who are overweight have simply been eating more calories than they’ve burned.

How can we help your pet lose weight or keep weight off?
After we confirm that your pet doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions, together we’ll come up with a weight management plan that includes practical and achievable nutrition and exercise goals for your pet. We can also give you advice on helping to keep your pet feeling full while shedding pounds.

If your pet is carrying extra weight, you’re not on your own. We’ll work with you to help get your pet trimmed down and healthier.

We’ll focus on creating specific steps to decrease your pet’s caloric intake and increase his or her energy expenditure through activity and exercise. This may mean:
• Switching your dog or cat to a weight loss diet that will provide your pet with complete and balanced nutrition but fewer calories.
• Reducing the number of treats your pet gets (while making sure your pet doesn’t feel deprived).
• Having regular weigh-ins to ensure that your pet is losing an appropriate amount of weight (we don’t want pets to lose weight too quickly).
• Making sure your pet is getting enough exercise, either through walks or playtime. Combined with a diet change, many dogs can start losing weight by walking twice a day for 10 to 20 minutes, and cats can successfully shed pounds by playing actively for 5 or 10 minutes two or three times a day. Of course, every pet is unique, and we’ll give you personalized recommendations just for your pet.

When your pet comes into Westmount for a check-in, we’ll make sure your pet is staying on track and help keep you motivated. Together, we can get your pet back on track.

Call or schedule an appointment today to start your pet on a healthier path!

Reference
*According to an estimate from Dr. Jim Berry, past president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. From Korducki K. Weight watchers: Canada’s pet obesity problem. Readers Digest Canada. https://www.readersdigest.ca/home-garden/pets/weight-watchers-canada-s-pet-obesity-problem. Accessed January 19, 2020.

Puppies!

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Puppies: What They Need From the Vet in Their First Year

Congratulations on your new furry bundle of joy! This first year is an important one in your dog’s life. It’s a time of great mental and physical growth, and veterinary care is crucial.

Your Puppy’s First Veterinary Visit

Within a few days of bringing your puppy home, plan a veterinary checkup with us. This first look at your new pet will provide us with an overall picture of his or her health.

When you visit, please bring:

  • Any health records from the rescue, shelter, or breeder.
  • A stool sample from your puppy, which we’ll test for intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms (Echinococcus multilocularis). It may seem gross, but most puppies have intestinal parasites, and testing shows us which ones we need to deworm your pet against.

Your Westmount veterinarian will perform a complete nose to tail exam of your puppy to check for anything abnormal, such as lumps or bumps. During this physical exam, we’ll listen to your puppy’s heart and lungs, look inside the ears, and examine the eyes. We’ll also record your puppy’s temperature and weight.

In addition, we’ll give your puppy vaccinations to help protect him or her against common contagious diseases, some of which can be deadly. Your puppy may benefit from additional lifestyle vaccines, which we will discuss with you.

Based on seasonal risks in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, we will recommend parasite control to protect your puppy against fleas and ticks, as well as heartworm disease:

  • Fleas—It’s far easier to prevent than to treat flea infestations, which is why we recommend seasonal flea control for puppies at risk.
  • Ticks—We have had cases of Lyme disease in our area, so we do recommend tick control for your puppy.
  • Heartworms—We recommend a heartworm disease preventive for your puppy as well.

It is also crucial to ensure your puppy receives proper nutrition. There have been recent developments in dog nutrition which assist in improving your puppy’s health. We can recommend a high-quality puppy food and a feeding schedule to help give your puppy the right nutritional start.

The Next Several Puppy Visits

When dogs are young, visiting the veterinarian several times is in their best interest. We need to make sure they’re adequately protected by vaccinations, which set them up for a healthier life down the road. Puppies need vaccinations every 3 to 4 weeks until about 16 or 20 weeks of age. They will then have their vaccines boostered in 1 year. Afterward, when your puppy comes in for his or her annual health examination, we will start rotating the core vaccines. This ensures that your dog is protected against potentially life-threatening diseases while not being over-vaccinated.

Once your puppy has received enough protection from vaccinations, your Westmount veterinarian will let you know when your puppy is ready to start socializing with other dogs.

Having your puppy seen by the doctor several times over that first crucial year helps ensure that the dog’s heart and other organs are healthy, he or she is gaining weight and body mass as expected, and the teeth and bones are developing normally.

We will also ask for another stool sample during this time, to ensure that your puppy’s deworming is effective. Puppies need to be dewormed several times during their first year.

At around 6 months of age (5 months for larger breeds), your Westmount veterinarian will typically recommend a spay or neuter procedure for your pet. Spaying/neutering can help reduce some undesirable behaviors in dogs. The procedure can also help protect your pet against certain cancers and prostate/urinary infections. In females, it also protects them against a potentially life-threatening type of uterine infection, known as pyometra.

How Wellness Exams Help You

Besides playing a crucial role in helping to keep your puppy healthy for life, regular wellness exams give you the opportunity to talk with us about any questions you might have. These visits are also the perfect time to bring up anything you’ve noticed that seems different with your pet, like a new behavior or symptom or a lump you hadn’t noticed before.

If you have any concerns, though, don’t wait until your puppy’s next exam. Contact us right away!

Stress-Free Visits

Here at Westmount Animal Hospital, we strive to make veterinary visits as stress free and as fun as possible for both you and your puppy.

Ask us if there’s anything else we can do to help keep your puppy’s first year as safe and healthy as possible.