Getting your pets ready for back to school

August 31, 2009 Transitioning from the lazy days of summer to the hectic school year can be tough on you, your kids and the family pet!

For the last couple of months, kids have enjoyed relaxed days and tons of time outdoors. And so has the family dog!

But just as you start adjusting your kids to the back to school schedule you also need to do the same for your dog!

"There's some things you can do to help your dog adjust without so much anxiety," said Dr. Ernie Ward.

The first is weaning them off the number of hours people are at home.

"Instead of maybe playing with them all the time, if you're going to step out for 10, 15, 20 minutes start to leave your dog behind."

Also when you do leave them during the day, put on some soft music or talk radio.

"Environmentally it's soothing to the dogs."

Another good tip is to leave a piece of clothing, like a t-shirt, with your scent on it.

If you leave them in a room, some experts say do not leave out a potty pad.

"I say no because basically what you're teaching the dog is that it's okay to go in the house some place sometime and other times it's not. It's very confusing for your dog."

If you worry about bathroom accidents, have a neighbor or dog walker stop by to break up the day. Just like you, breakfast is important for your pet. Make sure to feed them a good wholesome nutritious diet and leave out plenty of fresh water. Interactive toys will also help your pet keep busy during the day.

If your dog gets too anxious left in a large space, try using a crate.

"We're trying to confine them to an area where they can't injure themselves or something else."

And remember, once you come home it's time for the entire family to exercise!

"As soon as you come home you need to make PE not only for your kids but for your dogs as well."

The exercise will help your pet behave better and begin a calm evening perfect for homework time.

This is also the time of year to update your pets immunizations and check it's overall health, for more tips see below:

#1: Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
• Nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your pet is where is all starts. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 45% of all U.S. dogs and 54% of all U.S. cats were overweight or obese.
• That's roughly 70 million dogs and cats at increased risk for diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and various forms of cancer.
• Diseases = high cost to you and your pet. Avoid these high medical expenses, by keeping your pet on a healthy diet or rewarding them with low-calorie treats. Avoid the unhealthy table foods like breads and meats!

#2: Use Nutritional Supplements
• Yes, they work for dogs too! Nutritional support in addition to a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important elements of human and pet healthcare.
• Vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids helps to promote your pet's immune system and keep them as healthy as they can be.
• Strong immune systems = minimal infections.

#3: Use a Premium Dog Food
• Some of the most common reasons for vet visits include vomiting and diarrhea, due largely in part to poor diet and food. Poor quality pet food can cause these messy and unpleasant for you and your pet and unnecessary vet bills on your plate.
• Make proper choices if giving your dog human food – any vegetable/fish/Salmon and Tuna/Buffalo

#4: Keep Up With Annual Examinations
• While at first this may seem like an unnecessary expenditure, a thorough physical examination by your vet can save you money in the long run. Early detection of diseases and conditions can save you thousands of dollars in medical bills in the end!
• *Pets aged 1-6: a standard physical examination, yearly *Pets aged 7+: a standard physical examination + simple blood/urine tests, yearly Once a year for adults, and twice a year for senior dog – a senior dog is over 7 years old.

#5: 3 Year Vaccinations – They Work!
• In 2005, the USDA approved the first 3-year distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis vaccine for dogs and in 2006, they approved it for cats.
• These specific vaccines are used to help reduce the risk of vaccine-associated adverse events and save you money. Some vets often offer discounted vaccine procedures, just talk it over with your vet!

#6: Think about Pet Insurance
• Insurance is primarily used for 2 reasons: the unexpected and the expensive. This proactive solution to avoiding your favorite pet's unexpected medical conditions can end up saving you thousands of dollars in vet/surgical bills.

More money-related links:
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