Category Archives: For The Dogs

The Low Down on Mellow Dogs for Mellow People

Mellow dogs are great for mellow people.

The world of dog breeds is amazing. Canine companions come in every shape, size, and color, with different personalities to match. And whether you’re interested in a furry companion for your kids, a protective guard dog, or a running partner for yourself, chances are you can find a breed personality that matches your lifestyle.

What about another trait that many people are looking for? Mellowness (or calmness) in dogs is a highly desired trait, especially for families with children or elderly people. And, according to the American Kennel Club, there are several breeds out there with that particular characteristic.

West Park Animal Hospital explores the wide, wonderful world of mellow dogs…

Mellow Dogs: Breeds and Basics

Bulldog – The bulldog is a bit too big to be a lapdog, but he would like to be! Mellow and laid back, the bulldog is a good choice for those who are wanting a dog happy to laze around inside. They do need regular walks to prevent obesity, but a jogger this dog is not. They are known as great family dogs due to their tendency to bond with children.

Mastiff – Mastiffs of all types (Bull, English, Neapolitan) don’t need a great deal of exercise and are gentle, sweet tempered dogs. They are considered to be great family dogs but will need thoughtful socialization and training in order to behave properly around children and other dogs, as they sometimes don’t know their own strength.

Great Dane – In spite of their size, Great Danes are known as couch potatoes, and even great apartment dogs. Mellow and gentle, their loving nature has helped coin the phrase “gentle giants”. They also make great family pets.

Saint Bernard – Friendly and patient, the Saint Bernard is another of the mellow dog breeds. Their large size and hairy coat mean they need regular grooming to stay healthy. They have the reputation of being happy to go with the flow, so to speak.

Greyhound – As a sighthound, or coursing breed, you may think of greyhounds as hyperactive runners, but nothing could be further from the truth. The greyhound is a calm dog and happy to lounge around the house all day. They do need exercise opportunities to (safely) run full out, but at home are generally mild and placid.

Pug – Who doesn’t love a pug? These mellow dogs are even tempered and calm, and they fit into almost any household. It’s easy to see why they’ve been companion dogs to humans since ancient times.

Bernese Mountain Dog – Their calm, confident natures made Bernese Mountain Dogs ideal for farm work, including pulling carts to market and driving dairy cattle. Their gentle and easygoing manner again make them a good family dog. They have a strong need to be near their people.

Xoloitzcuintli – Known as the Mexican hairless dog, the “Xolo” is a relatively little-known breed. These dogs are described as loyal, calm and alert. The Xolo is also known to make an excellent companion dog. The breed was used as a healer, as it’s warm skin was put to use in remote Mexican and Central American villages to remedy ailments such as rheumatism, insomnia, and asthma.

Mellow dogs abound, it seems! Each breed is different, and of course each individual dog has his or her own personality traits within the breed. Research is a wonderful place to start, but can’t substitute for in person visits with a potential new dog for your family. Remember too that every dog does need daily exercise to be their healthiest.

The following ideas are not exhaustive, and if you would like more ideas about a great breed for your family, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are experts in breed knowledge, and have the opportunity to see and work with many different breed of dog throughout the year. We’re here to help!

New to Pet Ownership? These Helpful Hacks Will Get You on Track

Pet ownership is rewarding and wonderful

Pet owners are very lucky people. They get a daily dose of unconditional love, entertainment, and oodles of cuddles (not to mention the health benefits that stem from this special relationship, as well!). To be sure, the perks are great, but if you’re new to pet ownership, caring for an animal can sometimes be a guessing game. In other words, the learning curve can be a little steep.

To get you over the hump, the team at West Park Animal Hospital has gathered some real-life hacks to help you fully embrace the wonderful joys of pet ownership.

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Halloween Fun: Best Pet Costumes for 2018

The best pet costumes are the ones your dog will wear happily.

Halloween is right around the corner, and we can’t wait for pumpkin  carving, bobbing for apples, and costumes! This year, we’ve put together a fun list of the best pet costumes, and we’re excited to share with you.

Remember that not all pets like getting dressed up, so before you partake of this tradition, spend some time getting your pet acclimated to the process. If they still don’t like to wear a costume, don’t force it – enjoy other aspects of Halloween. A Halloween movie marathon under the covers with our pets sounds pretty good, too!

But, if your pet does like to dress up, you’ve come to the right place!

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Can Clicker Training Change Your Dog’s Life? Quite Simply, Yes.

Clicker training dogs is a great dog behavior system

Dogs usually know when they’ve done something wrong, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could convey to them exactly when they’ve done something right? With clicker training, your dog has a chance to learn the right ways to do things because you tell them. With the unique sound of a handheld clicker, there’s no second-guessing. Instead, you train your dog to remember the positive actions or behaviors that please you.

Let’s get clickin’!

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Xylitol and Pets: Reminders of a Not-so-Sweet Reality

Xylitol and pets don't mix!

With its claims of weight loss and improved health, the low-carb craze has everyone from teenagers to grandparents giving it a go. Because “low-carb” usually equates to “low-sugar,” sugar substitutes such as aspartame, erythritol, stevia, and xylitol seem to be in practically everything these days.

Meeting your health goals while still keeping your pet safe requires education, especially when it comes to xylitol toxicity. Xylitol and pets do not mix, and we want to make sure our readers are aware of the dangers associated with this particular substance.

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National Deaf Dog Awareness Week

Deaf dogs can be a challenge but can thrive with the right dog training and accommodations.

Dogs, like people, can be born deaf or experience varying degrees of hearing loss during their lifetimes. While this means that they require (and depend on) certain special arrangements to be made on their behalf, a deaf dog does not necessarily suffer a diminished quality of life. In fact, they can not only live a normal day-to-day existence, but they have a lot of love to give, as well.

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Subtle (and Not so Subtle) Signs of Animal Abuse

If you witness extreme animal abuse, contact pet rescue.

Animal lovers everywhere are understandably outraged by stories and photographs of abused or neglected animals. For loving pet owners, it’s inconceivable to think of harming an animal, but signs of abuse and neglect can be subtle; it could be happening right under our very noses. That’s why we want to take a moment to review the subtle and less subtle signs of animal abuse in the home.

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What to do if a Service Dog Approaches You Without Their Owner

If a service dog approaches you without its owner, there may be trouble.

Nowadays, most people know general guidelines when it comes to service dog etiquette. Refraining from petting a service dog while they’re working is an important rule, along with knowing that legitimate service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners nearly everywhere.  

However, one topic that’s rarely discussed is the very real possibility that one of these animals may approach you without their owner. Knowing what this means and how to respond appropriately may mean the difference between life and death for a service dog handler.

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Splish, Splash, Safe: Dog Water Safety 101

Even if your dog is a true beach bum or poolside pup, good dog water safety is a must.Summer may be halfway over, but that doesn’t mean we’re packing up the sunscreen or covering the grill just yet. Spending the day at the lake or pool is still on the agenda for many families, and bringing a water-loving dog along adds another layer of fun.

Even if your dog is a true beach bum or poolside pup, good dog water safety is a must. Keep the following tips in mind for a fun, safe, and successful day on the water with your four-legged family member. Continue reading

Heatstroke in Pets: Prevent, Recognize, and Intervene Immediately

Heatstroke in pets doesn't only happen on extremely hot days. The risks of heatstroke in pets are very real. Symptoms don’t always stem from over-exertion on a hot day. Instead, the prime culprit is usually plain and simple dehydration. Pets sweat a little bit through their noses and paw pads, but in an attempt to regulate internal body temperature, they pant. If access to shade and cool, clean water is restricted, organ dysfunction and even failure can occur on a hot and humid day. Prevention must remain a top priority, but being able to recognize the signs and know how to help are equally important.

The Basics

Heatstroke in pets, or hyperthermia, is characterized by an internal temperature greater than 103 degrees. Overexposure to environmental heat can lead to internal temperatures of 109 degrees, multiple organ failure, and even death. Continue reading