Fall Newsletter 2019
The Importance of Crate Training:
Crating training is a valuable resource for pet owners, but it can feel overwhelming to get started. Training your dog to love their crate not only helps with housetraining, but it also keeps your pet and household items safe when you aren’t home. The great part is, if done correctly and you are able to introduce the crate in a positive light, your dog will love their safe, comfortable, “den”.
When choosing a crate, we recommend using a collapsible metal crate with a plastic tray floor or a travel crate, depending on your dog’s size. The crate must be big enough for your pet to lay down, turn around, and stand up. The ideal location for the crate is in a room that the family frequents, since dogs are social animals. It is best to place the crate in the area your dog prefers to sleep in that room, if possible. Once you have found your crate, introduce your dog to it as early as possible. Help create a fun environment by placing various treats and toys in the crate, so that the dog wants to enter on their own. The door of the crate should be left open when you are home, so your dog can come and go as they please. When the dog enters the crate, start using the cue “Go kennel” or “Go to your house”, and reward your dog with praise. Throughout the training process you should encourage your dog to sleep & rest in the cage.
Once your pet is entering the crate willingly, you can start training for when you are gone. Every time you confine the dog in the crate, make sure it follows play, exercise, and elimination (when it is time for the dog to rest). Crating your dog without having done these steps can cause anxiety and/or attempts to escape. While you are still in the home, give the cue you have been using, place your dog in the crate, shut the door, and leave the room. Some degree of distress is to be expected during this stage of training. Don’t be tempted to let your dog out when they start fussing, this will only encourage vocalization. A mild interruption may be needed if the crying doesn’t subside, like shaking a can filled with coins. Make sure to stay out of sight when shaking the can so the dog doesn’t associate you with the interruption. After your pet quiets down, return to the room, let your pup out, and reward them with praise and a treat. Repeat this a few times a day until the dog is comfortable with being confined to the crate.
The crate should always remain positive and should never be used for punishment. If a “time out” is needed, place the dog in a different room, not in the crate. During the first stages of training, playing background music (Pet Acoustics) and/or using calming pheromones (Adaptil) may decrease your dog’s level of stress or anxiety. Dogs under 4 months old may not be able to make it through the night without a bathroom break, but you should still wait for your dog to be quiet to release the dog.
We recommend your dog shouldn’t be allowed out of the crate unsupervised until they are fully house broken, when they have gone 4-6 consecutive weeks without an accident, and they are no longer destroying household objects. Remember, consistency and positive reinforcement are the keys to successful crate training.
Prickly on top, but warm & fuzzy underneath:
This sweet mammal is a compact, quiet, and a virtually odor free pet, making them one of the easiest pets to keep. These adorable little guys, although small, have big personalities! Can you guess the animal I am describing? A hedgehog!
The African Pygmy hedgehog is a common household pet. They typically live an average lifespan of about 4-6 years. They are solitary creatures but may be kept in a small group as long as only 1 male is present. Each hedgehog has 5,000-7,000 quills. Hedgehogs are known for having poor eyesight, which suits them well as they are most active at dusk, night, and dawn.
Recommended preventative care for our prickly friends include: a thorough physical examination every 6 months, yearly fecal testing to check for parasites, and blood work annually to assess organ function. Minimal grooming upkeep is required. A toothbrush can then be used to gently scrub his/her quills from front to back. A few drops of baby shampoo may also be used. They will also need their nails trimmed regularly.
When exposed to pungent smells or tastes, it is normal behavior for hedgehogs to do what is known as “selfanointing”, in which they rub frothy saliva on their quills. Although hedgehogs will naturally hibernate in the wild, your pet should not be allowed to hibernate as it could be dangerous or even fatal. Although small, hedgehogs are very active animals and require a large cage. The cage should be at least 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. Enclosures with wire mesh bottoms are not recommended as these can cause foot and leg injuries. Aspen shavings or recycled newspaper bedding are recommended (AVOID pine, cedar, and cat litter). Average temperature should be kept around 70-85°F. The cage should also be placed where he/she will experience both day and night. A hide area is a place where your hedgehog can hide, feel safe, and relax. Wood boxes, pet igloos, tubing, half logs, or tunnels can all be used as a hide area.
Sometimes small children can be too affectionate, causing the hedgehog to become afraid and extend his quills, although their quills aren’t very sharp and rarely cause damage. Therefore, a hedgehog may not be a suitable pet for very small children. Overall, they make very good pets, are relatively easy to take for, and have an excellent demeanor.
Please Note Our Upcoming Holiday Hours:
November 28th Closed
December 24th Open 9a-12p
December 25th Closed
December 31st Open 9a-12p
January 1st Closed
Alexia (Lexi) Williamson
Lexi has been working with us, as a part-time receptionist, since December of 2018. Since starting at Caring Animal Hospital, Lexi has found that she is most interested the behavior cases. She finds the complexity of those cases fascinating to hear about. Prior to working with us, Lexi did have some previous animal care experience, but was shocked to learn how much dental health affects an animal’s overall well-being.
She lives in Lansing with her husband, Beck, and two pets: Mieke, the Siberian Husky, and Monkey, the betta fish. Lexi graduated from Western Michigan University in 2018 with a degree in General Studies, with emphases on Biology, Philosophy, and Math. She now attends Lansing Community College, working towards her certification in American Sign Language, and hopes to one day work with elementary school kids in the Deaf community. She enjoys watching movies, reading long books, playing outside with her dog, and traveling with her husband.
Lexi & her husband BeckMeiki Monkey