Friday, September 20, 2013

Dr. Burns and Dr. Zarif appear in a new book about pets!

Two of VACC's doctors appear in a new book, Unconditional Love: Pet Tales to Warm the Heart by local author Brian J. Lowney.  Dr. Zarif talks about the importance of dental health for your pet, and Dr. Burns discusses the dangers of summer heat.  Find the book here on Amazon!
Stay tuned for a book release event.

Friday, September 13, 2013

National Guide Dog Month

September is National Guide Dog Month.  Have you ever wondered what to do when your pet meets a guide dog? Here are some tips, courtesy of The Seeing Eye:

10 Ways to Protect Dog Guide Teams:
  • Learn about and obey your state and local leash laws. In many states it's a criminal offense to permit your dog to attack or interfere with a dog guide.
  • Never let your pet near a dog guide, even if your dog is leashed. Dog guides are working animals and must never be distracted from their duties.
  • Alert the blind person of your dog’s presence when passing by the team. A simple greeting of “Hi, I have a dog with me” is often appreciated.
  • Keep your dog under good control at all times. Using a retractable leash in populated areas and leaving your dog tied up outside unattended in a public place endanger both the dog guide team and your own dog.
  • Never allow a child or anyone unable to control your dog to walk it on a leash.
  • Learn as much as possible about your family pet and its breed characteristics, especially relating to temperament.
  • Enroll your dog in obedience classes. Properly socialized and trained dogs make better pets.
  • Immunize against rabies and spay or neuter all dogs.
  • Report any loose dogs roaming about in your neighborhood to the local police and animal control offices. Unsupervised pets in unfenced yards should also be reported.
  • Offer assistance to a blind handler if you witness an attack or interference on a dog guide. If it is your dog that causes harm, take responsibility for its actions.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Feline Agility

Feline agility can be a fun way to help your cat shed those unwanted pounds. The obstacles for a feline agility course are similar to those used in canine agility, only they are smaller.
Here are a few pointers on getting your cat started:
  • Many people use toys such as feathers or laser pointers to lure their cat through the obstacle. 
  • Treats can be used as rewards during training, but if your cat is overweight don't use too many!
  • Remember to use baby steps. If you are teaching your cat to jump through a hoop, Start with the hoop on the ground, so she can just walk through the first few times. You may even need to reward her for just sniffing the hoop at first.
  • There are organizations that hold feline agility competitions. Their websites are a good place to look whether you would like your cat to travel to agility competitions, or just perform some tricks on a home made living room course.
  • Many agility obstacles can be made at home using inexpensive items, like PVC tubing or cardboard boxes.
  • Don't forget the point is to have fun! If you start to feel frustrated with your cat, move on to something else.