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Help The SPCA Stop Puppy Mills!

Filed under: InspirationTwitterPetsAnimal RightsPuppyAnimal Cruelty

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Across the country, there are puppies in dire need of help at puppy mills.

At puppy mills, the poor pups are stacked on top of one another in poor conditions with no way out.

Luckily, the San Francisco SPCA is out to stop these businesses from continuing operation.

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Ask A Vet With Dr. Jennifer Scarlett On New Year's Resolutions With Pets

Filed under: Q&APetsDogCat

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And now we have a very relevant question that was asked to Dr. Jennifer Scarlett:

What are some new years' resolutions I can tackle with my pet? Are there any resolutions I should make for my dog/cat this year? (Maybe a list of 7? :)).

Dr. Jennifer Scarlett responded:

1) Happiness- why not? Dogs and cats have a secret they’ve been trying to share with us for eons—enjoy the moment. Next time your cats is curled up in a sun spot, go join him for a second. When you come in the door and your dog is smiling ear to ear at you, remember to put your cell phone down and smile right back at her. The devil may be in the details, but happiness is in these moments.

2) It’s OK to lose it. What human AND pet do you know that doesn’t need to lose a couple of those holiday pounds? Walk to the dog park, walk in the park and walk just a little longer along the beach with your pup. If you or your dog is arthritic look into water therapy. Moderate exercise not only helps to control weight but it just feels good (will help you achieve resolution 1.

3) Be Pawsitive. Animals have so much to teach us about being better humans and being better to each other. Positive reinforcement —it’s the only way you can successfully train your cat or dog. And, the lesson we learn here is that positive reinforcement is a great way to approach human relationships as well. What we sometimes forget is that our dogs are not mind readers and they don’t speak our language. Sometimes, it is the same case with people. If you find yourself yelling at your dog, using a prong collar or otherwise finding you and your dog’s communication at an impasse, sign up for a group class. They’re fun, educational and really useful.

4) Work Your Karma. Let’s start a movement in response to, well…movements. Carry 4 poop bags on every walk. One for expected, one for the unexpected, one for the person who wasn’t expecting and one for the Karma Pick Up. KPU will leave your spirit and your street in a more pure state than when you began.

5) More Kneading. It’s ok to knead and need. Cats do it unabashedly. So do dogs. You can too—go ahead! Take a cue from our four-leggeds who have no qualms about letting down their guard for a belly rub. Purr, knead and show your belly to those you love.

6) Bury it. Like an old rawhide or bone, put those stinking bygones in the ground once and for all. Grudges are so 2011.

7) Dream more. Be like you dog or cat and try sleeping a little more. More sleep=more time to dream big.

Happy new year from all of us at the San Francisco SPCA!

Jennifer Scarlett, DVM

Really really great advice for pet owners and non-pet owners alike!

Here's to a great 2012.

[Image via WENN.]

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Ask A Vet With Dr. Jennifer Scarlett On Doggy Pee Problems

Filed under: HealthDogTips

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Here we have another 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' with Dr. Jennifer Scarlett.

Some of us find that our dogs can be… "prissy" at times. Like refusing to go out in the rain. Someone with that exact problem wrote into Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, asking:

My one year old Havanese hates the rain. When it is raining he refuses to go outside, if you force him to he will not do his business. He waits to come back in and does it in the house. What can I do?

Dr. Jennifer responded:

Well, the driest place on earth is the Atacama desert but that’s no place for a dog.

We have a couple of options, but without question, forcing him to go outside will backfire. If your guy isn’t enthusiastic about going outside in inclimate weather, you may want to throw in the towel and go for indoor potty training, or at least offer a better option than the living room carpet.

You can find puppy pads at any pet store. They are basically flat diapers. There are also some fake grass options. If that doesn’t sound like a good plan, you’ll need to dedicate some time to train your pup’s opinion of a downpour. You’ll want to go with positive reinforcement training. So stock up on yummy treats and pick your cue word.

For example, let’s say “bidness” is your cue word. Every time you say it your dog gets a treat.

Then say it ever time you go outside—Let’s do bidness!—treat and happiness. Ideally you would start this training when the sun is shining but we can still get a lot of good work done now.

Remember, don’t force. The more cruddy experiences your dog has (being forced, pulled or unwillingly carried), the more stubborn the behavior will become. Also, if there’s any way to make a little shelter outside for your dog, that’d help—even a little tarp or tent will help on those downpour days.

Jennifer Scarlett, DVM
Co-President
The San Francisco SPCA

So remember, it's all about positive reinforcement.

Stay positive, and the pup will pee!

[Image via JDH/JCP/WENN.]

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Ask A Vet With Dr. Jennifer Scarlett On Fleas

Filed under: Q&AHealthDog

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Dr. Jennifer Scarlett has done another 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA'.

Someone wrote in:

We do not treat our 5-year old Maltipoo for fleas - and he never seems to have a problem. Recently though, we visited another household where there were two other dogs, both treated with flea medication. After a day-long visit, our pooch had fleas all over him and the other dogs were still flea-less. Why did that happen? What can we do to make sure he doesn't get fleas on his next visit?

Dr. Jennifer Scarlett responded:

Gotcha! As compared to days gone by when it was common to use organophosphates on pets the products available now to prevent and control fleas are great.

Even the best products like Advantage, Frontline and Comfortis are not perfect—so they may kill 95 to 99% of the fleas, but they don’t stop flea eggs from hatching. Many of the old pyrethrin based products are much less effective. The problem might not stem from the dogs themselves, but from the environment. Flea eggs can hang around in the nooks and crannies of a house and continue to hatch, develop and feed on pets and people.

Most likely some of the fleas that were newly hatched from the eggs in the house had a feeding frenzy on your virginal pup! I recommend one of the newer effective flea medications—the new long lasting oral product is my favorite. You’ll need to see your vet to get it, but it is really reasonably priced. Oh, and if your dog brought fleas home, then the bad news is that there still there. You’ll need to use a product that has an insect growth regulator to kill the eggs they laid in your house to get rid of them. You can call our pharmacy – we carry a really good, non-toxic powder. Fleas are tough little buggers. Good luck.

So remember, don't poison your pet with the wrong flea medicine but do talk to your vet about safe ways to protect them from fleas.

It's easier to prevent fleas from happening than it is to remove a flea infestation from your home.

Gross.

[Image via Michael Wright/WENN.]

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Holiday Tips For Family Pet Get Togethers

Filed under: Q&APetsDogCat

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The holidays are a great time for families and friends to get together.

Many of us consider our pets part of our families, and so they go with us to family parties.

But what if every attending family brings their pet?

The SPCA's Ask a Vet features that question:

Our family always gets together for the holidays, and all the pets come too! Any advice to bringing 4 dogs, 3 cats and a bird together under one roof for a few days?

The vet responded:

Wow-a family of animal lovers. I don’t know the low down on which dogs, bird and cats live together so I’m going to shoot from the hip and give you the basics. Cats generally despise change and that includes meeting new cats and new dogs, but they really want to meet the bird, but not in a good way.

So, keep cats in separate rooms—away from the unknown cats and dogs. If a dog and cat live together then it’ll be fine for them to hang out in a room but don’t mix and match. As for the dogs, introduce them to each other in a more neutral place like the local park or even the yard, especially if there is a resident dog. Having dogs meet nose to nose in the doorway or hallway is risky business.

I take it the bird that is visiting isn’t a turkey? Best bet is a quiet place for your avian guest. And remember even if all seems well, you may want to put everyone away come mealtime as tensions may get high when there are succulent turkey scraps to beg for.

Have a great holiday.

So if you follow these easy tips you'll have a happy and safe holiday for you and your pets!

[Image via AP Images.]

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