Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Puppy Necessities

If you are thinking about bringing a dog into your family it can be absolutely overwhelming – and that is before your new friend steps one paw inside.  Here is a checklist of a few things you may not have thought of to have in place before you bring Puppy home:

  • Books – you may think you know how to raise a puppy into a well-behaved, happy dog but a little extra research never hurts.  The best comprehensive book for new puppy owners is Puppy’s First Steps by the Faculty at Tufts University Vet School.  Another favorite of mine is Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Dr. Sophia Yin.  This is a fun read with lots of pictures and step-by-step instructions.  Finally my new favorite book on dogs is the just released Decoding Your Dog by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.  I think that ALL dog owners should read this book to help strengthen the relationship between you and your dog.

  • A crate – In addition to the actual crate, you also need an understanding of how crate training works and why it is so important to housetraining your new dog.  You want a crate that is small enough so your dog can’t sleep in one corner and eliminate in another.  If your puppy is going to grow the crate will often come with a divider to help customize the size.  You also want a cozy bed to go into the crate to keep Puppy comfortable. 

  • A plan – The first three months of a dog’s life are called the critical socialization period.  This is where sociability outweighs fear and is the best time to get your puppy to adapt to new people, places and other dogs.  If puppies are not properly socialized this can lead to behavior problems down the road.  You don’t want to head off to the dog park as you won’t know the health status of the dogs there and your puppy could be exposed to dangerous diseases and icky parasites.  Instead, find a puppy class to attend as soon as you can to help get your dog started off on the right paw.  For more information on this please read the AVSAB Position Statement.

  • Puppy food – You need a food that is designed for growing puppies.  If you have a large breed puppy it is important to feed a large breed puppy food to ensure that the balance of nutrients is appropriate.  Many of the dog foods out there are actually dangerous, with super high protein levels and calcium phosphorus ratios that result in rapid bone growth.  When Puppy’s bones grow faster than they should, joint development is altered resulting in arthritis down the road.   

  • Toys – This is the fun part!  Puppy should have a variety of toys to satisfy his need to chew as well as stimulate his mind.  A Kong is essential for any dog as it is the only toy I would feel comfortable leaving alone with puppy in the crate. Plush toys and those made of softer rubber can be easily chewed up and swallowed resulting in an intestinal obstruction. You want to stuff the Kong with tasty treats and put it in the crate with puppy when you leave so he will associate the crate with happy things.  When you are home and can supervise Puppy’s playing my favorite toys are those that make him think a bit.  Two of the best are the BusyBuddy Waggle or Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball.
Interested in more puppy information?  Visit for all your puppy questions.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Friendship steps up to help out DC’s inured Snowy Owl

Last week two police officers rescued an injured Snowy Owl they found at 14th and K Streets after she was thought to have been hit by a Metrobus.  Initially she was brought into the National Zoo and examined by one of the staff veterinarians there before being placed in the care of DC’s only wildlife rehabilitation center City Wildlife.  Once at City Wildlife they collected blood to assess her general health and submitted a DNA to determine the sex - turns out she is a girl!

City Wildlife also wanted to take x-rays to confirm suspicion of a broken toe as well as take full body x-rays to look for any other abnormalities.   Unfortunately they didn’t have access to an x-ray machine – until Saturday when Friendship offered to let them use ours.  She was brought in and whisked back to x-ray where they were able to perform the necessary tests. 

The owl at Friendship waiting for her x-rays
City Wildlife reports that she is doing well and acting much more like an owl.  She has started eating and seems much more bright, alert and responsive.  Thankfully we have an organization like City Wildlife available to help out the wild animals who live among us here in DC.  They opened their doors less than a year ago and have been critical in caring for orphaned or injured birds, mammals and reptiles.  From the majestic Snowy Owl to the tiniest hummingbird we are luck to have City Wildlife caring for these animals!

In other news Friendship kicks off out free lecture series next week at the Tenly-Friendship Library.  Here is a list of upcoming dates and topics:

February 10th –Veterinary Toxicology

Dr. Kimberly Schultz will discuss common household items, foods and plants that can be toxic to your dog or cat and what effects they may have.  Learn how ingesting these items can alter your pet’s organ functions, and what kind of veterinary care you should seek.

March 17th – Managing Your Pet’s Lumps and Bumps

Dr. Dana Kuehn will talk about different types of lumps and bumps common in dogs and cats.  She will discuss diagnostic testing that can be performed, as well as the treatment options available.

April 21st – Canine behavior, Training and Enrichment

I will present a lecture on how to be your dog’s best friend!  From getting started early with proper training techniques, to engaging in activities that will challenge them both physically and mentally – come learn how to give your dog an enriched and happy life!

May 19th – Veterinary Oncology

Dr. Chand Khanna and Dr. Courtney Mallett will discuss the goal of The Oncology Service – to preserve, lengthen and improve the quality of life for dogs and cats that are afflicted with cancer.  Dr. Khanna travels the world giving lectures on cancer in our pets, this one is not to be missed!

June 16th – Pet Allergies and Common Skin Conditions

Dr. Nicole Cohen and Dr. Schuyler Matthiesen will present a lecture on common pet allergies and how to care for them.  From Spring and Fall allergies, to the persistent hot spots, join us for an overview on managing allergies and common skin conditions.

September 15th – Caring for Your Senior Pet

Dr. Lynn Logan and Dr. Becky Bolch will discuss how to care for your pets, as they enter into their senior years.  They will cover topics ranging from managing mobility to altering lifestyle and diet.  Join us for this talk about how to enhance your pet’s quality of life as they get older.

If you have any topics that you would like to see in upcoming lectures please post below in the comments.  We hope you can join us!