The Latest News for Miramar Pet Owners

The veterinarian and staff at the Flamingo Road Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis. Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on Flamingo Road Animal Hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine. Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Basic Dog Obedience Training

So you have a cute furry companion who loves to play fetch and go to the dog park. But are they well-behaved? It really doesn't matter whether your canine is a four-pound Chihuahua or a 104-pound Rottweiler. An untrained dog is an invitation to disaster. And a dog that won't come when called is always in danger.

As a pet owner, you should be committed to training your dog. So if your adorable companion has the tendency to bark to get your attention or to run away when you call for them, it's time to do something about ending that poor behavior.

Now for the good news: dogs are easily trained. That's probably the reason why dogs have long been America's favorite pet. Despite the fact that they train relatively easily, however, you still have to do the job. One way to make training simple is to get a breed that readily adapts to your lifestyle and that corresponds to what you want in a canine companion. Serious breeders can help you with this decision. They should tell you about their breed's inherent trainability—advice you should heed before making your final decision.


Rest assured that training does not strip a dog of natural instincts or "joie de vivre." After all, these are the things that attract people to dogs in the first place. We want you to celebrate the canine spirit, not abuse it.

What training does, however, is structure the dog's responses, giving you a good companion. Training gives you an animal you can trust, rely on, even flaunt. In fact, it establishes a channel of communication between you and your dog that significantly enhances your mutual respect and friendship.

Every civilized dog should know at least five basic commands: heel, sit, down, stay and come. These commands form the core of the exercises required for a Companion Dog degree in an American Kennel Club Novice Obedience competition. Even if you don't take your dog beyond these beginning lessons, they are absolutely essential in making every dog a true companion.

Incidentally, you train your dog to understand its name in much the same way you train it to do anything—by simple, repetitive action. As far as the name goes, make sure everyone in the household is using the same name. And, you can teach an older dog a new name, if you must.

How to Measure Your Pet's Quality of Life

Veterinarians take many things into consideration before recommending humane euthanasia for a sick, injured or elderly pet. When it comes to setting your own mind at ease, there are ways to rate or measure your pet's overall well-being.

The Veterinary Medical Center at Ohio State University published a survey designed to illustrate your pet's quality of life which was adapted from several other common methods. The survey asks you, the pet owner, to rate 25 different prompts on a scale from one to five. A score of one indicates strong agreement or a condition that is present all the time or is severe; a score of five indicates strong disagreement or a condition that is never present and nonexistent. Thus, higher scores indicate a better quality of life.



The Survey

Scale

1: Strongly Agree / All the Time / Severe

2: Agree / Most of the Time / Significant

3: Neutral / Sometimes / Mild

4: Disagree / Occasionally / Slight

5: Strongly Disagree / Never / None

My pet...

1. Does not want to play

2. Does not respond to my presence or doesn't interact with me in the same way as before

3. Does not enjoy the same activities as before

4. Is hiding

5. Demeanor/behavior is not the same as it was prior to diagnosis/illness

6. Does not seem to enjoy life

7. Has more bad days than good days

8. Is sleeping more than usual

9. Seems dull and depressed

10. Seems to be or is experiencing pain

11. Is panting (even while resting)

12. Is trembling or shaking

13. Is vomiting and/or seems nauseous

14. Is not eating well (may only be eating treats or if fed by hand)

15. Is not drinking well

16. Is losing weight

17. Is having diarrhea often

18. Is not urinating well

19. Is not moving normally

20. Is not as active as normal

21. Does not move around as needed

22. Needs my help to move around normally

23. Is unable to keep self clean after soiling

24. Has coat that is greasy, matted or rough-looking

25. How is my pet's overall health compared to the initial diagnosis/illness?

Once you have rated each prompt, tally up the number of responses for each number and then place an 'X' on a "Quality of Life line" labeled "Good" at one end and "Poor" at the other according to your most frequent response.

The purpose of this exercise is to help you better visualize your pet's general well-being. Of course, not all pets are the same and what is rated poorly for one may not be so bad for another. For pets currently undergoing treatment, some poor ratings may be liked to symptoms and side effects which will subside. It is always important to discuss your concerns and your pet's overall demeanor with your veterinarian, especially when considering humane euthanasia.