Pet Talk

What makes a good dog?

Actually, researchers have looked at this question.

How cute am I?

How cute am I?

So many dogs are surrendered to animal shelters due to behavior problems that the question has been investigated in great detail.

A big part of the answer is proper socialization of puppies. If you opt for a puppy over a grown dog there is a lot about puppy socialization that is important to know.

There appears to be a critical socialization period that begins at about 3 to 5 weeks of age and ends between 9 and 14 weeks of age. During this period it is important for the puppy to socialize with it’s mother and litter mates, different people, be exposed to novel situations and new environments. Puppies should stay with their litters until 8 weeks of age.

Isolation during this critical period causes behavioral problems and decreases learning ability. Aversion to people of strange appearance (hats, sunglasses etc.), aggression toward strangers, excessive barking and fear on walks are all examples of problem behaviors in dogs that were poorly socialized as puppies.

Where do you find a well-socialized puppy? A recent study sought to answer this question. They looked at small registered (holding a permit to breed dogs) breeders and small unregistered (unpermitted) breeders and found some interesting conclusions.

Several interesting facts were uncovered. The first was that the puppies of registered breeders interacted with far more people than the puppies of unregistered breeders. Often, the puppies of unregistered breeders were kept in the backyard instead of the house. Out in the back yard the puppies had far fewer interactions with people.

The puppies of registered breeders also had more interactions with dogs other than their mother. This included other dogs on the premises as well as visiting dogs.

When selecting a puppy one of the most important things to consider outside of what breed to select is how the puppy was socialized. Look at where the puppy was raised, ask questions about socialization. A well-socialized puppy is the first step to having the perfect dog in your life.


blue bonnets in green field

Beautiful fields…

Scratching the Itch

Spring time in the hill country is a beautiful time of year. The wild flowers are out, the cypress trees turn leafy green again and everything is lovely. Except that allergies and skin conditions can run rampant at this time of year. There is nothing more irritating to an animal or it’s owner than a skin condition that causing itching. Incessant scratching can drive an owner to distraction and the poor animal is miserable with an itch that requires constant scratching.

This is where your veterinarian can save the day. Getting to the bottom of an itching problem can take a little work but the relief both the owner and the animal feel when the problem is solved is worth it. There are many different problems that can cause an animal to start scratching. Allergies (to fleas, to pollens, to food etc.) can cause itching, skin conditions can cause itching, your veterinarian will work with you to determine the likely cause of the problem.

There are now many options for treating itchy animals. Allergy treatment sets give animals measurable relief. Medicated shampoos can make the animal feel and smell better. There are some wonderful new medications that have come out that can stop itching almost immediately.

Pets, like people, should be able to enjoy the springtime. An itch-free spring is the best kind of spring. Contact Wimberley Veterinary Clinic if you have any questions on how we can help your pet scratch the itch of spring.


First puppy visit

First puppy visit

Welcome to Pet Talk. Pet Talk will focus on issues that concern all pets with an emphasis on issues for the Wimberley area. With that in mind our first topic will be rattlesnake bites. Rattlesnakes become active in the springtime. Dogs and horses both are susceptible to bites during the springtime activity of snakes. There are two courses of action a pet owner can take. Vaccinate your animal against the toxic venom or have your pet treated after a bite occurs. The better of these options is to vaccinate. The vaccine is safe and effective at neutralizing the toxins in the venom. Vaccinate animals recover from bites fast and with much less damage than unvaccinated animals.

Treating an unvaccinated animal for a rattlesnake bite can be quite expensive if antivenom is used. The survival rate of treatment for unvaccinated animals is much lower than it is for vaccinated animals.

Stop by Wimberley Veterinary Clinic for more information about rattlesnake vaccination. Late winter is the best time to boost vaccination status before the snakes become active.

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