Category Archives: For The Dogs

Small Dog Aggression: Is it Real?

If you’re the proud owner of a small dog, you know that big personalities often come in the tiniest packages. There are plenty of memes, YouTube videos, and other anecdotal evidence that shows tiny dogs bossing around bigger dogs, cats, and people.

However, while this may be funny to watch online, small dog aggression can cause real problems for both pets and their owners.

The team at West Park Animal Hospital wants all dogs to live in harmony with their families, regardless of size. That’s why we’re tackling the issue of small dog aggression head-on!

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Tips and Tricks for Pet Ear Cleaning

The special anatomy of cat and dog ears can create certain challenges. Infection and inflammation are common ailments that affect multiple parts of the ear, but injury can also occur. All problems in and around the ear have the potential for intense discomfort and should be properly addressed. Pet ear cleaning is just one way to promote overall health of this part of the body, and we’ve got some tips to help you get started!

A Closer Look

The outer ear is called the pinna. Dog breeds with long, floppy ears, those with a lot of hair around the ear, and swimmers are more prone to suffering ear infections. The pinna is also susceptible to bites, scratches, or abrasions.

The middle ear contains the fragile eardrum (tympanic membrane), small bones, an air-filled cavity, and a thin tube that leads to the back of the mouth.

The inner ear contains nerves and is comprised of the centers for hearing and balance. It also connects to the brain.

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Beneath the Surface: Common Skin Conditions in Dogs

Just like in humans, a dog’s skin is their largest organ, and it plays an incredible role in their overall health. Whether it’s regulating body temperature, creating vitamin D, or providing a critical line of defense against pathogens, the skin is truly an amazing thing!

That’s why when the skin is impacted by health issues, major problems can arise. According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, skin conditions in dogs are among the top reasons they’re seen by a veterinarian, so it’s important to take the health of your pet’s skin seriously. After all, when the skin suffers, your dog suffers, too!

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Happy Tail Syndrome in Dogs

A dog’s tail is their “stamp” on the world. It can communicate joy, fear, uncertainty, or confidence. It is part of their identity.

So what’s a pet to do when their tail is hurt? Tail injuries can be difficult and frustrating to manage. West Park Animal Hospital is happy to help fix tails whenever we can, but happy tail syndrome in dogs can be quite the conundrum.

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Adopting the Oddballs: Special Needs Pets

If you’ve ever gone to the shelter looking for a new pet, you have probably been overwhelmed with the number of animals that need to be adopted. Statistics show that over 2 million pets are adopted from animal shelters each year. That’s an astounding number!

When looking for a new pet, did you ever consider the pet with 3 legs? Or the deaf or blind pet? Pets with physical challenges are also looking for forever homes, some of them through shelters and some through rescue organizations. Special needs pets can make amazing companions, too, and we’re here to tell you how.

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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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