Halloween Treats and Tips for Your Pet!

 

FrenchieHalloween is just a few days away!  And that means candy, knocks at the door, families and children in outrageous costumes and of course, Pets dressed as superheroes, hot dogs, butterflies and cows.

 

Nothing is quite as cute as a pug dressed as a princess.  Or a Bassett hound in Yoda ears.  But with the fun and surprises that the evening is sure to provide, there are a few very important reminders, which every Pet parent should keep in mind as they prepare to stock up on sweets and welcome the neighborhood kids to the door with tricks and treats.

 

-          The key to any frightfully sweet Halloween are the sweets themselves.  While a sugar is good for the soul, it’s essential that sweets (most importantly, chocolate) are kept far from the reach of our Pets.  Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and can even be fatal.

 

-          Does your dog go nuts every time the doorbell rings?  If so, Halloween can be particularly stressful for you and your furry family member.  Maybe sit outside to greet your trick-or-treaters.  To cold?  Put your furry family member in a back room where s/he will be more comfortable.  If the problem is so severe that he may hurt himself or cause damage, consult your Hannah behavior team for expert advice.

 

-          While we all love the costumes, it’s important to take into consideration how your Pet is handling the situation.  Certain costume accessories, such as masks and head adornments, can cause anxiety.  Choose a costume that does not restrict vision, hearing or range of motion.  Remember, that Batman mask might be super adorable to you, but it could be causing a great deal of stress or discomfort in your Pet.

 

Holidays and events such as Halloween, Independence Day and New Years are fun for all, but they could be having unexpected effects on our Pets.  Hannah members always have a partner in dealing with these concerns.  As part of Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, our behavior team is always available to answer questions and provide guidance.

 

But we don’t stop there.  In addition to valuable behavioral training and support, Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program provides 100% of your Pet’s veterinary care (including vaccinations, dentals, parasite controls, emergency care and surgeries) and high quality Pet food delivered right to your door!

 

To learn more about Hannah’s TLC program, visit one of our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center or Washingto

n Square Mall.

Tricks, Treats, Doorbells and Barking

Frenchie There are certain times of year that can drive a dog (and a Pet parent) absolutely crazy!  With so many loud bangs and cracks, one of those times is Independence Day, which can cause severe anxiety in dogs.  Another is New Year’s Eve for the same reason.

Another is Halloween, which is nearly upon us.

Many dogs have a bad habit of barking uncontrollably when the doorbell rings or someone knocks.  This can be particularly troublesome when you have multiple visitors approaching your home, offering a trick or a treat!

If your dog is particularly sensitive to the summoning of the door, you may be in for a long, noisy evening, come October 31st.  Here are a few tips for dealing with this kind of extreme behavior:

  • Many puppies don’t start out barking at the door.  If you’re the lucky parent of one of these Pets, it’s important to encourage this behavior early and often.  When someone comes to the door, praise your silent pup with encouragement and a treat, causing a welcome distraction.
  • If you’re not a member of this fortunate group, other measures may be necessary.  This will take some work on your part, but the benefits could be immeasurable!  Does he lunge at the door when there is a knock or ring?  If so, try this exercise: stand inside the door while your dog is not paying attention to you.  Ok, now discretely knock.  When he barks or pushes forward, calmly and quietly stand between him and the door.  Don’t yell or acknowledge the barking.  Instead, patiently wait until he stops and sits.  Reward the settled behavior with praise and a treat.  And repeat.
  • Practice makes perfect!  Try this exercise a few minutes a day, every day, until the barking is under control.  Follow these same steps when a real visitor comes to the door.
  • Don’t mimic the behavior.  Remember, dogs do not learn from negative reinforcement.  Yelling at a dog to stop barking is counterproductive.  To the dog, you’re joining in.  You’re barking, too, and thus encouraging the behavior.
  • Hannah can help!  Members of Hannah the Pet Society benefit from a highly-skilled staff of behavior specialists who are available for classes, one-on-one behavior consultations or telephone advice.

Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program provides members with 100% of their veterinary care (including vaccinations, dentals, parasite controls, emergency care and surgeries), high quality Pet food and the best behavioral training available!

To learn more about Hannah’s TLC program, visit one of our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center or Washington Square Mall.

 

The Importance of Preventative Care

He's a big healthy boy!

We all want what’s best for our families.  For our children, that means the best diet, the highest levels of nutrition, regular medical and dental check-ups, the best education possible and regular exercise.  We want the same for our Pets!  We want them to live long, happy, healthy lives.

We can help make this happen by practicing a few preventative care habits that will have immeasurable benefits for our Pets and the relationship we have with them.

Below are five basic steps that every Pet parent can follow to provide the best and healthiest life for their Pets:

  • Your Pet’s diet is the most important contributor to your Pet’s long-term health.  A consistent diet of nutritious food, containing high-quality ingredients and free of excessive fillers is the start of any healthy lifestyle, whether for Pets or humans.  Feeding your Pet low-quality food is similar to giving your family a steady diet of junk food and could lead to major health risks later in life, such as diabetes, heart disease and digestive problems, among many other concerns.
  • A regiment of steady exercise to get the blood pumping will ensure your Pet gets the physical and mental stimulation they want and need.  Daily walks, runs, playtime and regular games of fetch are not only great for the health of Pets but also for their Pet parents.
  • Ensuring your Pets receive timely vaccinations and, when necessary, parasite controls can help your Pet avoid harmful and even deadly viruses and infections.
  • Regular check-ups and dental cleanings are essential in preventing harmful infections or ailments before they can cause serious illness or damage to your pet’s long-term health.
  • A well-trained Pet is more sociable, interactive and well-adjusted to the community around her.  As a result, early and consistent behavioral training can help your Pet live a more stress-free life.
  • By enrolling in Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, we can provide Pet parents the tools needed to give their furry family members the best life possible.  Under the TLC program, Hannah members receive all-inclusive veterinary care (including vaccinations, parasite controls, dental care, emergency care, surgeries and medications), food delivered directly to our members’ homes, and lifetime behavioral training and support.  We’ll even give you tips on exercise, playtime activities, treats and other Pet care needs.

To learn more about Hannah’s TLC program or to talk to a counselor about how to choose the right Pet for you, visit our Placement Centers at Washington Square Mall or Clackamas Town Center.

Your Cat wants Play Time Too!

She's my best friend!We love our dogs.  And our rabbits and Guinea pigs!  But this week, we thought we’d take some time to focus on those other furry members of that Hannah family, our cats!

There was a time when cat parents allowed their feline Pets to prowl the neighborhood freely during the day, coming in at night to eat and seek shelter, only to return to wilds of Main Street in the morning. These days most of us know that cats are safer, healthier and happier indoors; free from the dangers of dogs, cars, poisonous plants & berries and getting lost or stolen.

At Hannah, we encourage all of our Pet parents to keep their dogs and cats indoors where it’s safe.

The problem is, cats need a lot of mental stimulation, which in many cases they may not be getting indoors.  As hunters, getting outdoors can give cats the exercise and stimulation they so badly want and need.  But there are steps that Pet parents can take to keep their Pets safe and happy, while indoors and without sacrificing playtime and exercise.

-          Cats need their Pet parents to play and socialize with them! If you only have one cat, s/he will rely on you to provide most of the interaction they would normally experience with a second cat in the house.

-          Cats love toys!  Feather toys, balls, string toys, etc. can help to satisfy a cat’s need for exercise, socialization and stimulation.

-          Stairs, shelves and scratching posts, specifically designed for your cat to jump on, play on and hide in are also fun.

-          Laser pointers are a great toy for you and your cat!  They’re also a fun and useful tool to help your cat exercise those hunting and prowling instincts.

-          Hannah’s behavior team is one of the many exclusive tools that members have at their disposal to help them learn more about how to raise, train and care for their cat.

In addition to exercise and socialization, cats also need regular veterinary care, specifically preventative care such as vaccinations and parasite controls.  Pet parents should always be mindful that heartworm is a very real risk for their dogs and cats.  Through Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, members receive all veterinary care (including vaccinations, parasite control, emergency care, dental care, spaying/neutering and medications), behavioral training and food for one low monthly fee!

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care Program, or if you’ve been thinking of adding a new Pet to your family, please visit one of our Placement Centers in Washington Square Mall or the Clackamas Town Center.

Hannah’s Pet Aptitude Test Helps Prevent Dog Bites

iStock_000005170943Small
 The Pet Aptitude Test (PAT) is an innovative Pet screening process developed by Hannah the Pet Society to learn specific characteristics of each Hannah Pet.  Every Pet who joins the Hannah family is tested for aggression and sociability with other Pets, strangers, and little ones.  They are also tested for object and food guarding, cooperativity and training motivation.  According to Hannah’s Chief Behaviorist Dr. Tripp, “the PAT is patterned after the S.A.T. (Scholastic Aptitude Test), measuring the aptitude of the Pet to be compatible with the new Pet parent.  It tests friendliness and education and provides situations that will show aggressive characteristics in potentially dangerous dogs.”  No other Pet care organization goes so far to ensure the safety and compatibility for both Pets and families as Hannah!

In short, the PAT provides an insight into potentially dangerous behaviors and mitigates the possibility that a dog will bite.  What does all of this mean?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.  Of those, well over half are children and about one in five require medical attention.  While many dog bites occur outside the home and are caused by an unfamiliar dog, most are caused by the family Pet.  Problem: People pick Pets that are not best for their family and lifestyle and Pets that have not been tested for behavior.

Good news: most bites are preventable!  But it takes effort and a little bit of research.  Taking on the responsibility of a new Pet is a decision that should not be made lightly and one for which you should seek professional assistance.  There are many factors to consider.  First, what do you know about this Pet?  Hannah’s Pet parents can rest assured that each Pet we place has passed our PAT screening.  Another question is, do you have the time, energy and dedication to commit to this new family member?  Responsible Pet parenting and training is key to raising a healthy, happy Pet who is free of aggressive tendencies.

Here are some helpful tips to preventing bites and other inappropriate behaviors in Pets:

  • Let Hannah help you find your Perfect Pet Match. Hannah will help you determine the best breed to fit your personality, lifestyle and financial resources. Every Hannah Pet is screened medically and behaviorally and guaranteed healthy and safe.
  • Training!  Enrolling your puppy/dog into behavior classes early and sticking to a consistent training regimen may be the best way to ensure your Pet steers clear of aggression and other unwanted behaviors. Unlimited puppy, obedience, adult Good Citizenship classes, and private behavior consultations are all included in Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program.
  • Spaying and Neutering your pup (included in your Hannah membership) can help reduce aggressive tendencies in addition to addressing over-population and health concerns.
  • Practice “gentling” to teach your Pet to submit to human handling, and regularly remove his/her bowl and toys to prevent object and food guarding.
  • Socialize your Pet with friends, family, neighbors and other Pets.  Taking your Pet to the dog park or on walks to heavily populated streets can be a great way to get them used to the fact that there are other friendly people and Pets in the world!
  • Enroll your Pets in Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program to receive all food, vet care (including spaying/neutering, vaccinations, dental care, parasite controls, medications, surgeries and emergency care) and of course, all the behavioral support your Pets need to become healthy, happy and safe Pet citizens!

Because of our exclusive PAT screening process and our extensive training programs, Hannah guarantees each and every Pet that we place!  In addition, we have developed a program we call Hannah’s B.E.S.T. (Behavior, Education, Support and Training) to help our valued Hannah members train their Pet to be the best they can be.  Our support staff is available 24-hours a day and is ready to help!

To learn more about the Total Lifetime Care program and Hannah’s B.E.S.T., stop by one of our Placement Centers in Washington Square Mall or Clackamas Town Center.

Preventing Cat Scratch Fever

iStock_000000504161Small

Rare is the cat parent who has furniture that is unscratched and unscathed.  In fact, some have simply given up on that old sofa with the shredded arm and decided it now belongs to the cat!

But addressing cat behavior at a young age can help Pet parents avoid much of the destruction that can occur when scratching and other unwanted habits go unchecked.  Hannah members who have a cat enrolled in our Total Lifetime Care program can call for behavioral support 24-hours a day.  But there are a few things you can do before calling for that behavior consult.

  • First, before bringing a cat home, or at least when he or she is still young, invest in a scratching post, or better yet, 3!  Place one anywhere your cat spends the most time playing or napping.  Rubbing a little catnip on the post or dangling a favorite toy in front of it will help attract and encourage your new cat to “scratch here”!  Hannah members who have been placed with one of Hannah’s wonderful cats or kittens take home a brand new scratching post (along with a litter tray, scoop, collar, treats, toys and everything else they need to get started!) as a part of our Welcome Home Kit.
  • Already running into scratching problems?  Try making the scratching spot (or spots) less inviting by securing plastic or tape over the area.  There are also herbal deterrents that can be sprayed on the favored scratch-spot to make the area less attractive and less tempting.
  • Finally, for your cat’s least favorite solution: trim those claws!  Warning: your cat will hate it and, more than likely, you will, too.  But getting them into the habit of receiving nail trims at a young age will make it easier as they get older.  But if it’s just too much trouble, Hannah members can bring their Pets in for free nail trims anytime by our professional groomers, nurses and care team!

Add your current cat to Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care. Been thinking about a new cat or kitten?  Hannah can help!  Just contact one of our placement centers in Clackamas at 503-905-5200 or in Tigard at 503-924-6850.  Not only do Hannah members get the best Pet for their family, they’ll also receive 100%, all-inclusive veterinary care, Pet food delivered right to your front door, and Pet training and behavior support, all for one low monthly fee.

We’ll even clip your cat’s nails!

Tips for Preventing Separation Anxiety

iStock_000009095793anex

Hannah’s team of Pet behavior specialists deal with any number of concerns on a weekly basis, ranging from jumping to licking/mouthing to leash-pulling to any number of other issues.  One of the most common complaints among Pet parents is destructive or worrisome behaviors resulting from separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a disorder characterized by distress a Pet suffers when left alone and which leads to unwanted or destructive behaviors such as chewing, urinating/defecating indoors, howling, barking or attempting to escape.  In extreme cases, Pets could actually hurt themselves attempting to get through windows or chewing dangerous materials.

Not every Pet is prone to separation anxiety.  But for those who are, it can cause extreme suffering and depression.  How can you prevent this disorder in your Pets?  Like all other training, the key is to start early and be consistent!

-          If your Pet suffers from mild separation anxiety, it is possible to change his perception of separation.  Currently, they may see separation as a negative.  Providing a tasty distraction can help your Pet to associate your departure as a time for a treat or at least desensitize them.  Try a puzzle toy filled with treats or a Kong stuffed with something tasty like peanut butter or cheese (freezing the stuffed Kong overnight will provide a more long-lasting distraction).

-          We all love the companionship our Pets provide at home.  But creating a small amount of consistent separation while you’re home can ease the anxiety felt by your Pet when you leave.  Kenneling your Pet at night or providing a comfy, separate sleeping space, outside of the bedroom, can be one such solution.

-          What NOT to do: never scold or punish your Pet for pacing, barking or displaying other signs of separation anxiety.  Remember, this is a disorder and your Pet is struggling.  A punishment could compound the issue and cause your Pet more anxiety.

-          Wear him out!  Take him for a run, a long walk or have a long game of fetch that requires a good deal of running before you leave the house.  If he’s sleeping, he’s not worried about being alone!

-          In extreme cases, which could result in Pets hurting themselves or others, medication may be the only option.  Consult your veterinary professional if you feel your Pet’s separation anxiety poses such a risk.

Hannah’s behavior team has provided guidance and instruction to countless Pets and their Pet parents through classes and consultations.   Hannah members enjoy all of the benefits of complete Pet care with none of the stress.  Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program not only provides lifetime behavioral training, but also all-inclusive veterinary care and high quality food, delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Traveling with Your Pets

Happy Children and Dog in Minivan
As the summer months come to a close and we enjoy a final vacation or road trip, and as we begin to make holiday travel plans (yes, it’s approaching quickly), let’s take a moment to think about best practices when traveling with our furry family members!

Traveling with Pets can be a stressful endeavor if the Pet parent is unprepared.  Planning is key to any great vacation, but this element is absolutely essential if you want to enjoy a vacation with your Pets.  Fortunately, most hotels, airlines and campgrounds have websites that specify their individual Pet policies and restrictions.  It’s always advisable to check before solidifying any plans.

A few other important tips to keep in mind:

-          If planning a hotel stay, be sure to call the front desk well in advance to reserve a Pet-friendly room and ask about extra fees.  Many hotels require a Pet deposit, which is usually fully refundable upon check-out.

-          Air travel can be tricky.  Different airlines have different policies.  Some will allow travelers with small dogs to ride with their Pet parent in a small carrier, while others require Pets to ride in cargo.  However, nearly every airline requires veterinary certification of all major vaccinations (such as those provided by Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program).

-          Many people prefer road trips to just about any other form of travel.  Hitting the road with your dog can be a wonderful adventure for you both, as long as you have a dog who is comfortable with car travel.  Many dogs suffer from severe anxiety while traveling.  If this is your Pet, it may be best to consult with your Hannah behavioral specialist about the best way to plan for your trip.

-          If you do take that long road trip, remember to bring plenty of food, water, waste bags and treats, and prepare a comfortable space for your Pet to travel in comfort.  If you’re on a schedule, remember to plan for frequent bathroom stops.

Hannah members enjoy the convenience of knowing that we are here when they need us.  Need vaccination records for that flight?  Or help in making the flight less stressful?  Or maybe you can’t travel with your Pet and need a trusted partner to board and care for your Pet.  Hannah is here to help!

Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program is the perfect support for Pet parents who travel and those who don’t.  Not only does Hannah’s TLC program provide all of the veterinary care you need for your furry family member (including spaying/neutering, vaccinations, emergencies, medications, dentals and surgeries), we also provide food delivered right to your door and lifetime behavioral training and support!

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Portland Dog Park’s: Hannah’s Top Pick

 

Labrador and Trainer with Dog Chew Toy at ParkCompared to other areas in the continental U.S., Portland doesn’t get a lot of sunshine or clear skies.  But when we do see that big yellow ball in the sky, we know better than most how to take advantage of it!  On any given sunny weekend, you’ll see open-air street fairs, food and drink festivals, city-wide river floats, and even pet-centered activities.

 

We’re lucky here in Portland.  Considered by many to be the most pet-friendly city in the country, our Pets enjoy the luxury of accompanying us to the farmers market, the pub and of course, the dog park!

Portland has more dog parks per capita than any other U.S. City.  Many of these are off-leash parks, for the best-behaved Pets among us.  Here is a short list of some of our favorites:

-          Council Crest Park in Southwest PDX offers some amazing views of the city and the surrounding area.  Council Crest also offers a large unfenced dog area.  For getting the heart-rate up, there is also a network of beautiful hiking trails that weave throughout the park.

-          One of the most popular parks in the city is Mount Tabor, with its impressive views, paved and unpaved bike-n-hike trails and the fenced dog park on the western base of the park.

-          Chimney Park in North Portland may be the most popular dog park for those “in the know”.  At 5.5 acres, your furry family members can really stretch their legs!

-          For the water dogs in our lives, Sellwood Riverfront Park can’t be beat!  Situated in the middle of a great neighborhood filled with shops, cafes and pubs (many of which have pet-friendly outdoor seating areas), this is a great place to spend an hour or a day.

-          Some smaller, neighborhood parks that we really enjoy include:

  • Wallace Park in the Alphabet District, with its fenced in dog yard and shady environs.
  • Normandale Park on NE Halsey is great for those with small dogs, as they have separate play areas for the little guys and the larger dogs.
  • Laurelhurst Park, one of Portland’s best known, has it all: trails, sporting courts, outdoor movies, ponds.  And of course, a breathtaking dog play area!

While we love playing and running with our pets, it’s important to know your furry family member’s behavior level before introducing them to the dog park.  If your Pet tends to run and you’re seeking an off-leash park, try a fenced option as opposed to an un-fenced park.  Does your Pet play rough?  Maybe take him/her to the park when it’s a bit less populated.

Behavior is the key.  Training is key and Hannah can help!  Hannah’s behavior team has provided guidance and instruction to countless Pets and their Pet parents through classes and consultations.   Hannah members enjoy all of the benefits of complete Pet care with none of the stress.  Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program not only provides lifetime behavioral training, but also all-inclusive veterinary care and high quality food, delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

 

Who’s in Charge Here?

Couple in bedCompetition is a natural element of canine society.  Dogs, like other animals both wild and domestic, compete for food, mating partners, resting spots, toys, etc.  Dominance and submission is a way to determine these things through what is essentially a hierarchical ranking system.  As social creatures, dogs tend to organize themselves in their packs and social groups.  In play or work, some dogs will behave in a somewhat supervisory role, controlling the play and leading the charge, while others will often submit and follow the leader.

Some Pet parents tend to see dominance as a negative.  But it’s important to understand that dominance and aggression are not synonymous.  A dominant dog can seem stubborn and want to be in control.  What does this mean to the Pet parent?  Simply put, since there is a significant personality difference between submissive and dominant dogs, it means that training will need to be adjusted if it’s going to be effective.

The first step, of course, is to identify if your Pet is indeed dominant.  Clear signs of dominance include:

-          Barking when receiving commands

-          Jumping on people and furniture

-          Marking

-          Disobeying simple commands

Once you have determined that you indeed have a dominant Pet on your hands, training should begin immediately.  While training is extensive and should include classes and consultations, such as those provided by Hannah’s behavior professionals, here are a few tips to get started:

-          Establish yourself as the boss.  As a member of “the pack”, your dog should see you as the leader.

-          Commands should be firm, but not mean or aggressive.  Don’t give up on a command.  Repeat it if necessary until it is obeyed.

-          Since dominant dogs will often eat first, the Pet parent (or pack leader) should always eat before feeding the Pet.  When it’s time for your dog to eat, make him/her sit and wait patiently as you prepare the meal.

-          Dominant dogs will bristle against commands.  As a result, start with simple commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “lay down” to establish your dominance.

Some Pets are easier to train than others.  Hannah’s behavior team have provided guidance and instruction to countless Pets and their Pet parents through classes and consultations.   Hannah members enjoy all of the benefits of complete Pet care with none of the stress.  Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program not only provides lifetime behavioral training, but also all-inclusive veterinary care and high quality food, delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.