Posts from June, 2015

Do this, not that for dog anxiety! 4th of July noise phobia

dog anxiety

Firework stands are popping up everywhere.  Loud noises, primarily thunderstorms and fireworks, cause lots of dog anxiety.  Dr. Anna Coffin will share tips to help keep your dog safe and a new medication she is using with success.

Do not ignore dog anxiety due to noise phobia as this only leads to worsening symptoms each time they go through a traumatic experience.  Dr. Anna Coffin shares some tips that can help soothe your dog’s soul and will share a new medication she has found helpful.[Tweet “Do not ignore dog anxiety due to noise phobia as this only leads to worsening symptoms “]

Don’t do this for dog anxiety!

  • Don’t punish your dog when it is scared.  This behavior reinforces that there is something to fear.
  • Don’t reassure your dog when it is scared.  This behavior rewards your dog’s behavior and may cause worsening of symptoms.
  • Don’t sedate your dog.  Sedation prevents your dog from being able to do anything about their fear but does nothing to remove the anxiety.  Dog anxiety can increase with use of these drugs.

Do this for dog anxiety!

  • Locate a safe place in your house where the noise of thunderstorms and fireworks will be less obvious.  An interior room without windows is preferred.
  • Train your dog to settle and focal on commands using rewards.  Doing this in your dog’s safe place can help reduce dog anxiety during a thunderstorm or fireworks show.
  • Provide toys and treats that will help distract your dog
  • Provide background noise, such as music, television or white noise, during these stressful times.  Rap music or any music with strong beats help block the outside noise.
  • Use behavior modification techniques to desensitize and counter condition your dog.  Behavior modification is the ideal way to treat noise phobia and relieve dog anxiety.
  • Reduce your dog’s anxiety by using a Thundershirt, Adaptil collar or anti-anxiety medication provided by your veterinarian.

Thundershirt

Dr. Anna Coffin has seen several cases of dog’s escaping and injuring themselves due to anxiety.  Make sure your dog has permanent identification such as a collar with tags and microchip just in case they do escape.

Medication is necessary in many cases.  As stated previously, it’s important to use anti-anxiety medication instead of sedatives.  Dr. Anna Coffin currently prescribes trazodone.  Trazodone is an antidepressant that is used to treat anxiety and phobia disorders in dogs.  This drug differs from Valium and Xanax because it is not a controlled substance and has fewer side effects.  It is important to give any of these drugs at least an hour before desired effect so that the drug can be absorbed and active in your dog’s body when the noise begins.

Reptiles make great pets! #Reptile Care

reptile care

Believe it or not, reptiles make great pets, especially for apartment dwellers.  Dr. Anna Coffin has cared and loved a variety of reptiles over the last 20 years.  She will be sharing a series of four posts relating to reptile care.[Tweet “Believe it or not, reptiles make great pets, especially for apartment dwellers.”]

Have you always wanted a dog or cat, but don’t have the time or space?  Maybe you should consider a reptile for a pet?  There are a variety of reptile pets to choose from including lizards, frogs, turtles, tortoises, and snakes.  The most common reptile pets are turtles, snakes, and bearded dragons.  Some reptiles live very long lives, often out living their humans, so reptile care is a long-term commitment.

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Anna Coffin has lived, loved and cared for an iguana, a Red Tail Boa Constrictor, a Tropical Chicken snake, a Sulcata African Grassland Tortoise and a Ball Python.  reptile care

Meet Scooter, my Sulcata Tortoise.  I acquired him from a client.  She had purchased him as a baby for her son.  Her son was moving off to college, and he needed a new home.  Scooter has lived with me and my husband for about eight years.  He was about 10 pounds when we got him, and he is currently about 55 pounds.

Interesting turtle facts:

  • Water turtles live an average of 30-40 years while box turtles and tortoises live an average of 5-100 years.
  • They have thin flaps of skin covering internal ear bones. The skin flaps allow vibrations and low-frequency sounds in the ear canal
  • According to the American Pet Products Association, Turtles are the #1 reptile pet.

reptile careMeet Peter, my Ball Python.  He was relinquished to the local animal shelter.  They didn’t have the capacity to care for him, so I adopted him. 

Interesting snake facts:

  • Baby/juvenile snakes shed their skin more often than adults, as shedding is necessary to grow.
  • Snakes don’t eat often. They’ll typically consume a meal only once a week or once every two weeks, but some snakes can go longer between meals.
  • The longest snake in captivity was a reticulated python named Medusa. At more than 25 feet long, it takes 15 men to hold her at full length.

Another interesting reptile fact:  Reptiles pee and poop out of the same hole called a cloaca.  Their poop doesn’t smell much, but their pee (urates) is quite smelly!  reptile care

This post is sponsored by petMD Reptile Center, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network  Dr. Anna is being compensated for helping spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but Dr. Anna only shares information she feels is relevant to her readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.

Dr. Anna Coffin wants to spread the word about a great new resource available for new and current reptile pet owners from petMD®.  It is called the Reptile Care Center.  For those of you not familiar with petMD, all their content is written or approved by veterinarians for accuracy.  To be a successful reptile pet owner it’s important to get things right from the start, and this means researching about reptile care.

reptile care

The Reptile Care Center contains articles, quizzes, slideshows, and infographics.  It is a brand new section to petMD, and new content will continue to be added.  There are so many things to consider when choosing a reptile.  This infographic from petMD will help.

Now is a great time to get a reptile, because PetSmart® is hosting mega reptile month!  Check out the online sales and get all your reptile needs from the comfort of your home.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

Dog park safety tips

Dog park

Dog parks are a great place for your dog to get some exercise and socialize with their own kind.  However, without proper planning and forethought you could be putting your dog at risk for injury, infectious diseases, and fighting.  Dr. Anna Coffin wants to help you keep your dog safe with a few tips.

It’s important to know your dog because not all dogs are dog park material.  Fearful and aggressive dogs should not be taken to a dog park.  If you’re not sure, talk with your veterinarian about your dog’s temperament.

Dog park safety tips:

1.  Protect your pet from infectious disease.  Your pet should be current on vaccines, including kennel cough.  Protect your pet from flea and tick infestations with products from your veterinarian.  All dogs should be dewormed at least once a year for intestinal parasites.  Dog parks are a cesspool for many infectious diseases.dog park

2.  Make sure your dog can follow basic commands.  For your dog’s safety, it’s important to make sure your dog knows how to sit, stay, come, and leave it.  These simple commands can help get your dog out of trouble at the dog park.

3.  Search for the right dog park.  It’s important to find a dog park that is right for you and dog parkyour dog.  A good dog park will contain all of the following:

  • double gate entry
  • plenty of space for dogs to run
  • separate area for small breed dogs
  • secure fences
  • a safe, sheltered area
  • source of  drinking water
  • post rules of conduct

4.  Take these essential items with you to the dog park: 

  • poop bags
  • drinking water, in case the dog park doesn’t have any
  • dog leash
  • cell phone in case of emergency
  • dog deterrent spray or air horn in case you need to break up a fight

5.  Watch your dog and other dog’s body language.  If your dog starts getting fearful or overwhelmed, use your obedience commands to call him back to you.  Monitor your dog and other dogs for signs of aggression; which can include, growling, stiff posture, raised hackles, and raised tail.

With these simple tips, you and your dog are sure to stay healthy, happy and have a good time at the dog park.[Tweet “With these simple tips, you and your dog are sure to stay healthy, happy and have a good time at the dog park.”]

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

A new website for puppy advice #MyPuppyHood

puppy advice

Thinking about getting a puppy or already have a puppy?  Dr. Anna Coffin has great news and wants to share a new website that is loaded with all kinds of puppy advice.[Tweet “New website that is loaded with all kinds of puppy advice.”]

Dr. Anna Coffin and the staff at Guthrie Pet Hospital understand the importance of getting your puppy off to the right start, which is why we spend additional time during the first set of puppy vaccines.  We discuss puppy advice, including feeding, potty training, crate training, and socialization.

This post is sponsored by Purina and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. Dr. Anna is being compensated for helping spread the word about Puppyhood.com, but Dr. Anna only shares information she feels relevant to her readers. Nestle Purina is not responsible for the content of this article.

puppy advice

It’s hard to cram all the necessary information into a fifteen-minute appointment.  That’s why in addition to our puppy advice, Dr. Anna Coffin will be spreading the word about Puppyhood.com.  You only get one chance to get their first year right!  Thanks to the help of Purina Puppy Chow® and their new website, current and future puppy owners can get the puppy advice they need to navigate through puppyhood.

The puppy planning section is one of Dr. Anna Coffin’s favorites because it’s always best to plan for a big decision, like getting a new puppy.  This section has a puppy selector, which allows you to choose answers from a drop down list about your family and lifestyle, and then selects a list of breeds that fits your needs.  Not only does this section help you choose the right dog for you and your family, it also has thought-provoking puppy advice to help you prepare and select the right puppy.    Articles include:puppy advice

  • Puppy checklist
  • Apartment dogs
  • Puppy proofing your house
  • Purebred vs. Mixed-breed puppies
  • The cost of owning a puppy
  • What to expect in your puppy’s first week home
  • Choosing the right breed for your family

There is a lot of great puppy advice to all who go to My Puppyhood but if you register as a member you can access special features:

  • Puppy milestone tracker that helps keep track of  your puppy’s growth
  • Expert access that allows you to ask questions
  • Puppy perks that include coupons
  • Puppy destinations and resources in your community

What are you waiting for?  Join My Puppyhood at puppyhood.com, so you and your puppy can get customized puppy advice, helpful tools and exclusive benefits and coupons on the journey to doghood.puppy advice

One of the keys to raising a healthy puppy is providing complete and balanced nutrition from the start.  Purina Puppy Chow offers a unique healthy-start blend made with high-quality protein, plus DHLA and essential nutrients also found in mother’s milk.

Dr. Anna Coffin has coupons that she will be giving to six readers who leave a comment about what they like about puppyhood.com.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

4 Tips To Find The Right Dog Trainer

dog trainer

It’s important for both you and your dog to have a good relationship with your trainer. Take your time to find the dog trainer who is the best fit for your individual dog and your specific needs.  Stefani Fortney, ABCDT, shares her advice to finding the right dog trainer.

You always dreamed of having the perfect dog—a best friend who could practically read your mind and who listened to your every command. In your dreams, you and your dog ran through fields of wildflowers while laughing. Then reality hit. You got your dog, only to find out that she has a mind of her own. When you say “sit”, she looks at you… then walks away. She drags you through fields of thorns and stickers as you cry and beg her to stop. It’s time to find a dog trainer.

Finding the right dog trainer can be intimidating. There are different schools of thought, different approaches, group classes, individual lessons, books, videos—the options go on and on. So, how do you find the dog trainer who’s right for you and, more importantly, for your best friend? Here are a couple of tips to help make finding the right dog trainer a bit easier:[Tweet “Finding the right dog trainer can be intimidating.”]

Tip #1

Ask for credentials. Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. Research the accreditation held by each dog trainer you interview. Find out about where they received their education and what they’ve done to continue learning.

Tip #2

Ask for references. A good trainer should have past clients who will tell you about their experience. They can tell you the good and the bad, what worked for them and what didn’t. They won’t be trying to sell you a training package or a service.

Tip #3

Watch a class. If you decide that group classes are the best choice for you, ask the dog trainer if you can observe a class before signing up with your pooch. You’ll be able to see for yourself if you think it’ll be a good match and working relationship. Watch to see if the trainer interacts with each student, listens to questions that students have, and takes the time to work through the rough patches with individuals.

Tip #4

Meet and greet. If working one-on-one with a dog trainer is the best way for your pup to learn, set up an appointment for an initial meeting between the two. Watch how the trainer interacts with your dog. Does the trainer seem to enjoy spending time with your dog? Does your dog seem comfortable with the trainer? Does the trainer listen to your questions and concerns—and offer answers that you understand?

dog trainerStefani Fortney has loved dogs for as long as long as she can remember. At the age of nine, she and her little Beagle mix, Puppy, learned obedience together for the first time in 4-H. As an adult, Stefani became a professional groomer, then later earned her accreditation (ABCDT) as a dog trainer from Animal Behavior College. She uses Positive Reinforcement training techniques exclusively. Stefani currently shares her home with her wife (Melissa), six dogs (Phaedra, Spectre, Mani, Fritter, Poppy, and Opus), and one cat (Pudge).

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

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