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LifeLearn Administrator

Puppy Socialization

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Has anybody gotten a new family member recently? We have seen so many new puppies at the clinic lately that I thought we should talk a little bit about how important social interactions are for our furry friends.

The goal when socializing our puppies is to help them acclimate to all types of sights, sounds, and smells. By doing so, we can prevent our pets from being fearful of new situations or people, and help our puppy develop into a well-mannered, happy friend.

Here are a few things to keep in mind during the early stages of your puppy’s life:

  1. A whole new world: to a puppy, the world is a new, strange, and unusual place. The more places, people, sights, sounds and smells we expose our puppies to, the more familiarized they will be with these new things. You can find online a few comprehensive checklists for puppy socialization that you can use as a guide.
  2. Positive experiences: this is the most important aspect of any social interaction. Make sure you reward your friend for every single little accomplishment so they associate what they are being exposed to and the feeling of seeing something new as a fun rewarding experience.
  3. Involve family members and friends: the more people you have as part of the socialization process, the more comfortable your puppy will be with other people and experiences, no matter who they are with.
  4. Baby steps: make sure to not over-stimulate your puppy. Little positive interactions are much healthier than too many at once. Taking your puppy to a busy area to start the process may result in a fearful response.
  5. Vaccines, vaccines, vaccines: Remember to start the socialization process with other dogs once your puppy is vaccinated and dewormed to prevent infectious diseases! Always talk to you veterinarian for appropriate immunization protocols and the best time for dog park visits.

You know what’s a great option too? Bringing your furry friend for vaccines and deworming and making sure to mention to our sweet ladies at the front desk that your puppy needs some socialization time! I am sure I speak for all of us when I say that we won’t mind it at all!
Treats and cuddles on us!

COVID Restrictions

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Summer seems to be winding down, with some leaves already turning color. The season is changing but COVID-19 remains with us and probably will for the future.

Despite our province lifting restrictions (and very recently reinstating some of them) most veterinary facilities have maintained some level of protective measures throughout. I really would like to stress that these measures are not meant to make it difficult for our clients, or to inhibit the liberties of the people we serve. Our goal is to provide care for your animals, and to maintain safety for our co-workers and for everyone coming into our facility. If we were to have to close our doors because of workplace safety issues (and workplace safety is something the government requires from us) we could not continue to serve you and your animals.

Somehow the stress on the veterinary community has been overwhelming. I don’t even know why the workload has increased as much as it has within the last 15 months. I am sure it is multifactorial. There is an abundance of new pets which have been adopted by a lot of people, as well as the way we are working has changed with all these extra measures for safety slowing down workflow. And I do understand that this can be frustrating, as much for us as for you, our clients.

For us in the veterinary field the situation has had very surprising consequences. The work-stress has become very intense, and for some people it has become too much. Did you know that the suicide rate in veterinary medicine is one of the highest of all professions? And why is this? I believe the root of it is because veterinary professionals are caught in between the desire to help animals to the best of their ability, and the expectations that we can and should do everything in our power to help, but also often in the light of a misunderstanding for the cost for “everything possible”. (This is where pet insurance can come in handy).

From my perspective I have been blessed in my workplace with most clients being very understanding for the situation we have to work in. I wish for all of us, veterinary professionals and clients, that we can work together to help our beloved pets live the best life possible, and that requires patience from all of us and understanding for situations which can be stressful.

I hope we can continue to work well together to make our world a better place!

Secondary Drowning

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Summer is in full swing, and we all have been enjoying being outside and doing outside activities. We know not to expose our pets to extreme temperatures (e.g. heat), but another danger, which is not as common or well known, is secondary drowning or near drowning. It happens when a pet has been in water (pool, pond or river) and experienced distress, and came close to drowning (hence the name). The situation seems to be under control, the pet has been removed from the water, and has apparently recovered from the situation. Things have calmed down, and the pet is safe – or so we think.

Secondary drowning happens after water (from the pool or body of water) has entered the pets lungs, causing irritation and possibly infection to the lungs (pneumonia). This can happen well after the incident is over, even several days after the incident. This can be just as life threatening. Symptoms to watch for are lethargy, coughing, difficulty breathing, distress and anxiety. Lack of oxygen can lead to rapid progression of these symptoms, and it is important to seek medical help quickly, if symptoms like these are observed in an animal which has been in a dangerous situation in water.

Respiratory distress is a true emergency, and fortunately we have 24/7 emergency centres for pets if it is after hours at your regular veterinary office. Please do not wait to seek veterinary help in a situation like this! The quicker we get help, the better the outcome will be!

Just as important as knowing what to do in an emergency is to take measures to prevent a bad situation. A lot of dogs love to swim, and we have to know their ability as well as their limitations. For boating, life vests for pets are available. Pools can be covered or fenced off to avoid pets falling into them. Making sure we know where our pets are is also helpful, as well as knowing when the limits are reached. It is good to have fun, but it is also important to be aware of possible dangers.

Please contact us with any questions you might have! I hope summer will be enjoyable and safe!

Heat Stress

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How’s everybody’s summer going so far? I hope you had the greatest adventures out there! But hey, it’s not over yet, let’s make sure to enjoy the last few weeks we have!

With the high temperatures, we’re always worrying about heat stress in our pets. We know to not leave them in the car for long periods of time, but did you know that there are many other conditions that could lead to heatstroke as well? Leaving our pets outdoors in hot/humid condition with inadequate shade, exercise in hot/humid weather, and even leaving in a car on a relatively cool day… What you’ll initially notice is a distressed pet, panting excessively and restless. As the body temperature increases, the pet may drool excessively, may become unsteady on its feet, and in severe cases you may see the gums turning purple/blue or bright red due to lack of oxygen.

If you notice any of these signs please call us for assistance, but here’s a few Do’s and Dont’s while you get ahold of us.

DO: Move your pet to a shaded and cool environment with a direct fan on it, if possible take a rectal temperature. You can also place some cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, armpits, and groin region.

DON’T: prevent overcooling the pet, do not force water into your pet’s mouth but have fresh cool water for when they show interesting in drinking, and do not leave your pet unattended.

I hope that helps you guys enjoy the summer without major concerns!

If you have any questions, please give us a call! We’re always here for you.