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Mutt Mail

The Difference You Make!

November 11, 2013 | General

The Animal Keeper and Pet Suites support pet adoptions. There are approximately 3 to 4 million cats and dogs euthanized annually due to overpopulation. When you adopt an animal you are potentially saving a life.

From time to time we have the privilege of boarding some of these very special creatures as they transition from foster to permanent home. The really beautiful part is once they have been adopted many come back and stay with us or go to camp and play groups. It is amazing the transition we see. The haunted, longing look they have when they first come in amazingly gets replaced when they are adopted, with these shining eyes and open mouthed smiles that you know only comes from an abundance of love and affection.

This past summer we had the unique opportunity to have a guest stay with us in one of our San Diego locations that had experienced a few brief moments of fame about a year ago, when all the local TV stations covered his story. He was found severely wounded and near death because someone had cut his ears off with a pair of scissors. Fortunately, there was a happy ending. He was adopted and rehabilitated to this wonderfully happy, loving dog that loved camp and all the play and activity it had to offer. His owners named him Vincent Van Gogh after the famous artist, who during a bout with depression cut off the lower part of his own ear with a straight razor.

Animals are incredibly resilient creatures capable of giving so much love, affection, devotion and companionship and yet ask so little in return. Many of our employees have the privilege of owning a rescue dog. I haven’t spoken to any of them who regretted their decision. Many of our clients who have rescued dogs did so because their previous pet passed and they felt they were honoring that pet by adopting another one and giving it a loving home and possibly saving its life.

We would just like to say thank you to all of you who have adopted a rescue pet, work in that field, or work tirelessly to find them new homes. You are doing a great job!

Christie Ferris – Chief Operating Officer

One “Suite” House-Call!

Let us Introduce Dr. Randall Bondurant: Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Randall Bondurant began working for veterinarians while still in high school as he considered a career in Veterinary Medicine. After completing his Doctorate Degree at the University of Auburn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, he and his wife Mindy moved to the Atlanta area in 1985. He worked for other veterinarians as he developed an idea for a full service, high quality animal hospital.

He successfully opened his first practice in the Atlanta area in 1988 and continued to grow and develop the practice into an extensive and thriving business. After 23 years of managing this prosperous clinic and sending two of his daughters off to school in California, Dr. Bondurant and his wife entertained the idea of opening a new practice out West. He is now focused on spreading his knowledge and expertise to South Orange County with OC Animal Medical Center, located in Laguna Beach (949-464-1000). He is a member of the AVMA, CVMA, SCVMA, AAHA. and is active in continuing education.

And now providing Concierge Pet Care at Pet Suites Pet Resort. That’s right! If your pet needs medical care while staying with us Dr. Bondurant will make a house-call to check out your pet and make sure it gets the medical attention needed in the most expedient and professional manner. This does not mean that your pet cannot be taken to your vet if that is your wish, it simply means that he doesn’t have to be transported unnecessarily, which many times adds more stress and discomfort for the pet. Dr. Bondurant’s years of experience will allow for a professional assessment and allow him to advocate for your pet, with your veterinarian, should the need arise, or treat your pet in an emergency situation.

Holiday Season Hints from Penny

Do you approach the holiday season with a mixture of delight and dread? I bet the thought of your bouncy canine companion meeting your grandmother at the front door really reduces your anxiety, right? Way less stress when you think about him and party platters of food set out around your family room? No? That actually makes you a little bit concerned? Not to worry- here are some helpful holiday hints.

Solutions for behavior issues fall into two categories—Management – how we tweak the dog’s schedule and environment so it’s easy and fun for him to make the right choice, and hard for him to make the wrong choice—and Training – teaching your dog new skills that act as problem solvers or problem preventives.

The great thing about management is it’s a get-it-done-right-now solution! Training is our long-term solution, of course – great for your bond with your pet, and, what’s more, it’s fun! But, it does take time, so, in this article, we will focus on the quickies—management to get you through the holidays. In January—make sure to schedule that training!

Let’s take a look at some typical holiday hassles and some management based solutions.

Pets can injure the Christmas tree and the Christmas tree can injure pets!

The simplest possible game plan is to keep the dog and tree separated. Choose a tabletop tree, especially if you have young critters in the household. When they are sober middle-aged animals, the risk will be less; opt for a less spectacular tree, for now. Another option, if you really do need to have an 8 ft tall Blue Spruce in the family room, is to gate off the tree from the pets. Use an exercise pen with garlands woven through it as your gate to make it look more festive and less “prison-camp”.

If you don’t want to put your tree in a pen— you might consider gating off the dogs. Of course, we don’t want the dogs unduly restricted or isolated, so maybe the tree will be in the living room, and the dogs will be gated into the family room and kitchen area, where the family spends most of their time. Do check that the set up will work for your dog before leaving him unsupervised—some dogs will sail right over gates into trouble. (Call Penny at 949 497-7050 for more individualized tips.)

Separating dogs and tree will also protect your Christmas presents from premature unwrapping and ingestion!

Regular Exercise

To help your dog deal with general holiday chaos -the excitement of visitors, lots of food at dog eye level, staying home alone while you shop, etc – make sure that your dog gets his regular exercise, to the greatest degree possible, even if you don’t get yours! That may mean scheduling additional days at “Camp”, or visits from a dog walker.

A great stress buster for dogs (and therefore for dog parents)

Give your pup his food in puzzle toys—such as the Kong, or Kong Wobbler, or the Buster Cube. (Visit www.kongcompany.com for recipes and tips for Kong stuffing.) Not only is the pup too busy to spare any time for naughtiness, he is also having fun! Even more significantly, his potential stress is significantly reduced by the engagement of his mind and body in a (dog) soul-satisfying predatory task. (Seek, shred, ingest.) If you are going to be leaving your dog alone more than he is used to, as you work through your holiday to-do list, do leave him with a food-stuffed toy. (Or if he needs more support than that, bring him over to spend the day with his friends in Camp or day boarding.)

Tether Line

Another simple strategy that helps the pet parent—consider using a tether line so your dog can hang out where you are, not isolated, but not being a pest. Tether lines (sometimes called tie-downs) are short; chew proof leashes (often made of plastic-wrapped wire). (www.pettethers.com) You might attach a tether line a few feet from the front door, so that you can call your dog over and attach him before opening the door to guests. (This is a helpful part of our training solution, too—since he can’t come forward to bounce on the guests, and we can then require that the dog be four on the floor before guests greet him.)

A second tether line might be in the family room, either attached to a heavy piece of furniture, or perhaps to an eye screwed into the molding. Choose a location in which your dog will be out of the way, but physically and behaviorally comfortable. Give him his bed, and a food-stuffed toy, and he is good to go—sharing space, without being a pest! (Note-use tethering ONLY when you are around to supervise.)

If your dog is fearful, avoiding or growling and barking at visitors

While fear is usually treatable, fitting behavior mode into a jam-packed holiday is probably not the best choice. Protect your pet, your visitors and yourself by separation. Teach your dog to enjoy his crate, or other quiet space, and escort him there – leaving him with a yummy food-stuffed toy – before visitors arrive. Do not be talked into allowing dangerous contact, even by well-meaning, dog-loving guests. Once holiday craziness is over, let’s begin work on getting your dog more comfortable.

Calming Aids

Take advantage of calming aids such as Adaptil (also sold as Comfort Zone), and the Through a Dog’s Ear DVD.

Adaptil is sold with a diffuser, so you can fill the air with a comfort giving synthetic pheromone that mimics the one secreted by mother dog as she nurses her puppies. Adaptil helps most dogs to feel more comfortable.

The music in Through a Dog’s Ear has been scientifically designed to help dogs stay calm (or calmer, anyway!).

With just a little planning and preparation, you and your dog can enjoy Happy Holidays!

Have a Hazard-Free Holiday Season!

Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations. Help keep your pet safe by following a few of these suggestions from the ASPCA, and have a safe, happy holiday season for the entire family.

O Christmas Tree

Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Tinsel-less Town

Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for the Furries

By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans. Make sure guest purses, bags and coats which might contain gum, candy or other human treats are stored up off the floor and out of reach.

Toy Joy

Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.

  • Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
  • Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together. Check out our retail section for some fun gift giving ideas.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly

Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Leave the Leftovers

Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

That Holiday Glow-Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up

Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

House Rules 
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

Put the Meds Away

Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

Careful with Cocktails

If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own

Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year’s Noise

As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

Training Time Isn’t Always for the Dogs

Penny-in-ClassNLSomeone spins the wheel, answers a question correctly and wins a prize. A team builds a structure concept model with our furry friends in mind. A puzzle serves to foster creativity and teamwork. No this isn’t a game show or science fair, but rather one of our monthly training sessions. In addition to the training received in the play yards, runs and various aspects of our facility, our team spends time in the classroom preparing to provide the best care possible for our guests. From first aid to breeds and behavior, there are many aspects of quality care which are reviewed and studied every month. To learn more about our staff’s training and qualifications, please ask our manager upon your next visit. We are proud of the care we provide for your pets and appreciative of the trust you have placed in us for OVER 40 years!

Playful paws welcome new turf

New-Turf-imageNLThese pictures of happy campers were shot in our Oceanside and Encenitas locations, where the play yards received new turf. Whether your pet is relaxing or in the middle of the fun, it’s a great place to spend some time. Our separate areas for Big Dog camp and Tiny Tots see a lot of action from our guests, and we like it that way! So bring in your pal and let ‘em wear down our new turf. We’ll make more!