Q: My dog hates riding in her carrier, and it’s a struggle to get her inside it. Is there any way to make it a better experience for both of us?
A: Yes! That’s such a common problem for dogs and catsÂ â not to mention their humans. But learning to enter and ride in a carrier comfortably is the first step toward Fear Free veterinary visits and other excursions in the car. It can take some preparation and practice beforehand, but it pays off when your pet stops being afraid.
To start, make the carrier a special place. Place it in an area where your dog likes to hang out, such as the bedroom, living room or kitchen. Spray or wipe it with calming canine pheromones. Put treats in it for your dog to find, or feed meals inside it with the door open. Give praise and treats when you see your dog resting in the carrier. (These techniques work with cats, too; just use a calming feline pheromone product instead.)
When she starts to enjoy being in the carrier, transfer training to the car. Spray the interior with the pheromone product. Have your dog hang out inside the car without starting the engine. Gradually take some test drives, from backing out of and pulling back into the driveway to longer excursions, like to the drive-up bank teller or the drive-through window at your favorite fast-food place. Have treats on hand to reward your pet during the stop.
Tips: Lay a treat trail to guide your dog into the carrier. Choose a carrier with both top and side entry; many pets prefer being placed into the carrier from above. Hold the carrier in both arms instead of letting it swing at your side.
Natural Life Pet Products, Nutrisca and Lidl US recalled certain dry dog foods this month. The recalled products, which contained excess vitamin D, include 4-, 15- and 28-pound bags of Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food, 17.5-pound bags of Natural Life Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food and Orlando Chicken and Chickpea Dog Food. Vitamin D has a reputation for being beneficial, but dogs who take in too much can experience vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss. Extremely high levels of the vitamin can cause kidney disease. Consumers can return affected bags for a full refund.
Paws of War, which trains service dogs for veterans, has launched a customized mobile veterinary unit on Long Island, New York, to help treat pets and service dogs of veterans and first responders who may have difficulty getting veterinary care for their animals. Staffed by veterinarians and veterinary technicians, the mobile clinic will travel throughout Long Island, providing physical exams, vaccinations, dental checkups, testing for feline leukemia virus and feline infectious peritonitis, flea and tick preventives, grooming, nail trims, heartworm testing and preventives, as well as microchipping. For more information, visit www.pawsofwar.org.
If you have a dog who barks ferociously at the sound of the doorbell, then wags his tail happily to greet guests, you probably tell people “His bark is worse than his bite.” The saying dates to Roman times and is attributed to historian Quintus Curtius Rufus, who is said to have written, “A cowardly dog barks more savagely than he bites.” According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, the phraseÂ â which came to mean that a person was less unfriendly than he or she appearedÂ â was in common usage by the mid-17th century. Just remember: Never rely on proverbs when deciding how a dog may respond.
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and journalist Kim Campbell Thornton of Vetstreet.com. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Send pet questions to askpetconnection@gmail.