January 25, 2011

Tips for Choosing a Dog Trainer

Filed under: training your dog — Dr. Amber Reed @ 5:07 pm

best dog trainersWhether trainingat home is not working out as well as you had expected or you just prefer professional training for your dog, you really need to take some time to make sure you choose a good dog trainer.  There are many dog training methodologies, some of which will not be compatible with how you choose to care for your dogs.  While most successful dog trainers use humane, science-based training methods, this is not always the case.  So, do your research and pick a trainer that will be effective using a positive training philosophy.

1.       Choose a trainer with real world dog experience.  Not all trainers have been in the business for very long so you’ll want to make sure your dog trainer has the necessary experience to effectively train your dog.  This is not to say that a novice trainer won’t be able to train your dog, but most dog owners want to get some references or recommendations from other customers.  Still, it’s more important that you choose a trainer with quality experience.

2.       Decide whether you prefer group classes or private training.  Obviously group classes are going to be less expensive but if your dog has had problems with aggression or is not very friendly with other dogs, private classes might be a better way to start.  Even if your dog is happy and social, private classes are considerably more effective.

3.       Don’t let price be the deciding factor.  Obviously the most experienced dog trainers are going to be the most expensive, especially if they have a good reputation.  Nevertheless, the price for training sessions should not be your deciding factor.  Narrow your results to a few trainers in your price range and then make your decision based on recommendations and experience.  Some dog trainers will even charge based on results rather than time.  In this case, you pay based on what your dog actually learns and if more sessions are required, they should be free of charge.

Ultimately, you want to choose a dog trainer that uses humane and proven training methods so that you know your dog will be treated respectfully but will also learn new behaviors.  Furthermore, if you develop some concerns about your trainers techniques, it’s never too late to ask for a refund.

January 13, 2011

Hormone Gels and the Risk to Kids and Pets

Filed under: Human Medications and Pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:54 pm

Hormone gels and creams are prescribed to men and women in order to help them maintain healthy hormone levels.  Menopausal women may use these creams to treat hot flashes and men suffering from low testosterone levels may also use them.  Unfortunately, with these creams we risk exposing children and pets whenever we engage in skin to skin contact.  While serious problems resulting from such contact are rare, there are some shocking symptoms associated with secondary exposure to these hormone gels.

hormone gelChildren exposed to hormone gels may show signs of puberty earlier than average and cases of enlarged genitalia, early pubic hair growth, and even breast development have been reported.  Dogs can cats may even ingest the cream when they lick your hand or skin leading to heat-like behavior even if they have been spayed.  In fact, in July of this year, the FDA went so far as to issue a warning to parents that children and pets need to be protected from exposure to Evamist, a commonly prescribed estrogen spray for menopausal women.  Furthermore, manufacturers AndroGel and Testim, two common topical testosterone gels, were required by the FDA to include warnings on the products’ labels.

While the risk to children and pets is increased when individuals are using topical hormone gels, these forms of replacement therapy seem to be healthier for the patient.  With oral hormone replacement therapy, specifically for women taking estrogen, there tends to be a higher risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack while transdermal hormone gels are significantly safer.  As a result, there has been a noticeable shift in treatment toward creams and gels.

Patients who use topical hormone gels and who also have close contact with children and animals should take special precautions.  Always wash your hands after applying the cream or gel to prevent secondary exposure.  Also, if you regularly hold pets or small children, you should be careful to prevent secondary exposure from contact with arms, legs, and the body.

January 5, 2011

Comparing Human and Animal Prescription Drugs

Filed under: Pet Pharmacy — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:49 pm

pet medsFrom time to time, pets and humans alike become ill and need treatment.  Animal prescription drugs are sometimes similar and sometimes different than the medications that humans take.  Furthermore, some human medications can be very dangerous for our four legged friends which is why you should only give veterinarian recommended pet drugs to animals.  Nowadays, a pet pharmacy will likely carry as many drugs as you would find in a regular drug store, and many of these will be recognizable to you.  In fact, humans and animals often suffer from the same diseases and in these cases we use pet medications that are very similar or the same as human medications.canine pill delivery

Lyme disease, mental health conditions, and various bacterial infections are just a few examples where human and pet medications are usually the same.  Commonly, antibiotics are the same regardless of the species of animal using them. This is because most bacterial infections across animals are caused by the same species of bacterial.  Nevertheless, even when pet meds are the same as human meds, the doses are not.  Typically, humans weigh more than our pets (since cats and dogs are the most common house pets) which means we would require a larger dose.

Contrarily, some pet drugs are not suitable for humans and vice versa.  Heartworm is a common condition affecting pet health but each species of animal will be treated with different animal prescription drugs.  For example, you cannot treat heartworm in a cat with pet drugs designed for dogs.  In addition, some pet meds can actually be dangerous for humans and they should not be shared.

So, while many human and animal prescription drugs are interchangeable, this is not always true.  Add to that the fact that doses for pets and humans will not be the same and we run the risk of causing illness when we give our pets human drugs.  As such, it is always recommended that you follow your veterinarians advice very explicitly when you administer drugs to your pet.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.