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Back to work and school? Tips to help your pet adjust

Back to work and school? Tips to help your pet adjust

Are you headed back to work? Kids going back to in-person school? Your dog may be anxious and have issues when you’re suddenly gone for hours at a time again.

Most dogs thrive on routine and live for the time they spend with you, so it’s important you know the signs of separation anxiety. Upset dogs can not only do damage to your home and property, but to themselves as well. Having accidents in the house, crate destruction, pacing, howling, as well as chewing walls, doors and furniture are common signs of severe separation anxiety. Some dogs even get anxious when they notice the signals of their owner’s impending departure such as putting on a coat and grabbing keys.

One great solution is doggy day school to keep pups of all ages busy and happy while you’re away. At Sheabel Veterinary Hospital, we offer both day school for dogs over 6 months and puppy pre-school for puppies up to 6 to 12 months of age. These classes are like enhanced daycare for dogs, where they will get plenty of exercise, some basic training, snacks, nap time, and lots of love! Give us a call at (859) 269-7387 for details.

Here are a few other suggestions to help your dog adjust:

  • Start as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the day before you return to your work routine. Ease super-attached dogs into it by telling your pet to “stay” and then going to another room for a minute before calling them to you. Putting your pet in a separate room—with a favorite toy or long-lasting treat for 10-20 minutes may help as well.
  • Let your dog practice being alone. After starting with going to another room for a few minutes, try to work for few hours each day in a different room.
  • Leave the house. Leave the house for short periods of time, but don’t go far. If your pooch begins to bark, howl, whine or scratch at the door while you’re away for those few minutes, wait until it’s quiet before going back in. Gradually increase the time you are gone.
  • Make leaving a non-event. Don’t acknowledge your dog or say goodbye when you go. Yes, it’s hard not to tell them you love them, to be a good dog and that you’ll be home soon—but it’s necessary.
  • Take your dog for a walk, run or some other energy-burning exercise before you leave. This is extremely helpful in reducing stress. A tired dog has a much greater chance of being a calm dog.
  • Enrich your dog’s environment. Try interactive games, puzzles and toys to keep your dog occupied. These toys and games don’t have to be expensive, and there’s plenty of more advanced canine entertainment available.
  • Long-lasting treats. Give your dog a stuffed Kong every time you leave, and your dog will soon look forward to your leaving! Try freezing them for a longer-lasting treat.
  • Leave music or the television on. Find something soothing to keep your dog company while you are gone.
  • Try a comfort vest like a ThunderShirt, which helps calm a lot of dogs when used properly.
  • Try herbal solutions and pheromonesRescue Remedy or Adaptil products can help create a calm environment.
  • Be patient. It may just take time for your dog to adjust to your new schedule.

We’re here to help. If you’ve tried these tips but your pet is still exhibiting anxiety or destructiveness, we can prescribe medications such as Trazodone, Clomicalm, and Sileo. Give us a call at (859) 269-7387 to schedule an appointment.

National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, created to remind people how important it is to keep their vaccinations up to date. But that advice isn’t just for humans—it’s vital for pets as well.

Vaccinating your pet is a relatively inexpensive but very important way to protect his or her health. In addition to preventing many life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can keep your pet and family safe from diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans.

Here are the answers to three of the most frequently asked questions we get about vaccinations:

Q: Why is it important to vaccinate?

A: Vaccinations are your pet’s first line of defense and can also keep them from transmitting some diseases to your family. Scientific evidence proves that the widespread use of vaccines in the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even diseases that have become uncommon can still be present in the environment and if pets aren’t protected, they can initiate an outbreak.

Q: Which vaccines does my pet need?

A: “Core” vaccines are those recommended—and possibly mandated by law—for most pets. Core vaccines include:

  • Rabies (dogs and cats)
  • DA2PPV – Distemper, Hepatitis, Adenovirus 2, Parvo and Parainfluenza (dogs)
  • FVRCP – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (cats)
  • Leptospirosis (dogs)
  • Other non-core, but highly suggested vaccinations for outdoor cats include FIV for feline immunodeficiency virus and FeLV to protect against feline leukemia. For dogs, bordetella and canine influenza (CIV) shots are a must if they frequent dog parks, boarding kennels, or any place where they’re socializing with other canines. Your Sheabel doctor may also recommend Lyme disease vaccination depending on your dog’s lifestyle.

Q: Does my indoor cat really need vaccinations?

Yes! It’s important to note that even pets who live primarily indoors should be vaccinated, as they can still be exposed to disease if they accidentally escape or are exposed to other animals in or outside the home. We can advise you about which vaccinations are right for your pet.

To update your pet’s vaccinations, call us at (859) 269-7387 to book an appointment.

National Lost Pet Prevention Month

National Lost Pet Prevention Month was created because of the epidemic of lost pets filling shelters—and the idea was to increase awareness so that fewer pets end up lost. The American Humane Association reports that more than 10 million pets are lost in the U.S. each year and that only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats in shelters without ID tags or microchips are reunited with their owners.

The most important way to prevent a heartbreaking loss is to make sure your pet is always wearing identification—or at the very least, microchipped. If your pet should become lost, here are some steps to take that will hopefully help get them back home to you sooner:

  • Call the microchip provider to verify they have current info on your pet.
  • Create lost pet posters with a clear, full-body picture of your pet. Share your pet’s picture on social media and ask your friends and family to share it. 
  • Call your local shelters, animal control and veterinary offices and inform them of your pet’s loss. Most shelters keep a running list of lost and found pets. 
  • Time is important—if your pet has only been missing for a short period of time, mobilize your friends and family to go looking on foot, which is more effective than in a vehicle.
  • Leave worn clothes and food at your door or any other entrances a pet might use so they can catch the scent if they’re nearby.

Never lose hope! Meet Moonshine (pictured below) – one of our clients was reunited with her after she had been missing for months!

National Lost Pet Prevention Month

Adopt-A-Cat Month

American Humane’s Adopt-A-Cat Month happens every June to create awareness of the millions of awesome adoptable felines looking for fur-ever homes in shelters and rescues across the country. Here’s 6 great reasons why you should consider adding a cat to your life (and lap)!

  1. 3.2 million carts enter shelters and rescues every year, so adopting one makes a difference!
  2. Most cats are very social—especially when you’re trying to work on the computer.
  3. Having a cat in the family can make your kids less likely to have allergies.
  4. You’ll never find any creature more appreciative of an empty box.
  5. They’re very clean and generally speaking, much lower maintenance than dogs.
  6. Catnip. Trust us on this one.

Looking to add a friendly feline to the family? Check out adoptable cats near you at!

Allergy and Asthma Awareness

It’s National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month

May is National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, and while you may already be perfectly aware of your own allergies, make sure you consider your pet’s reactions to the environment as well. Grass, dust and other environmental allergens are significantly more present this time of year, and our pets can be allergic to them, too. Symptoms of allergies in pets are similar to ours and may include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery, itchy and/or red eyes
  • Itchy, flaky and/or red skin
  • Licking paws
  • Ear infections

If your pet has environmental allergies, your Sheabel veterinarian may suggest allergy medication. Frequent baths can remove allergens from your pet’s coat, and wiping his feet before he comes inside can keep him from tracking allergens indoors. You should also vacuum and dust your home regularly to keep it allergen-free.

If you suspect your pet is suffering from seasonal allergies, call us at (859) 269-7387.

All About Heartworm

There’s a good reason the veterinary community devotes an entire month to raising awareness of heartworm disease. Heartworm is a nasty illness that is transmitted to our companion animals by mosquitoes. It only takes one bite for a dog or cat to be infected, and, as the name suggests, heartworms live in the heart. They can also thrive in the lungs and blood vessels. Because they constrict blood flow, they can damage internal organs and cause lung disease and heart failure. 

If your dog contracts heartworms, there is a treatment regimen, but it’s harsh and expensive. Currently, there is no treatment for cats. 

At Sheabel, we’ve seen the devastating impacts of heartworm up-close. That’s why we make an effort to carry the latest and most effective preventative products available. To order a supply of heartworm preventative for your pet, give us a call at today!