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Training Tips For Your Dog

December 27, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 9:52 pm

Pet Talk

Training tips for your Dog

By dr. Norette L. Underwood


January is National Train your Dog Month. Many of you probably received pets for Christmas, so this month I will discuss training for your dog.  Below are some wonderful tips to help make your puppy a wonderful companion.


. Learn to listen to your dog. If your dog appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or person, don’t insist that he say hello. He’s telling you that he isn’t comfortable.
Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but they often ignore the good stuff. Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing.  That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise.
 Just because the bag says “a treat all dogs love” doesn’t mean your dog will automatically love it. Some dogs are very selective about what they like to eat. Soft and chewy treats are usually more exciting for the dog than hard crunchy treats.
.  Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell him what you want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize well, so if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello and you say no, he may jump higher or he may jump to the left side instead of the right. A better alternative would be to ask him to “sit.” Tell him what you want him to do in order to avoid confusion.
Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.
Changing behavior takes time.  Often behaviors, which are “normal” doggie behaviors, will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.
  • DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BENEFITS OF FEEDING A HIGH QUALITY FOOD. Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level for an athlete.  I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.
  • YOU GET WHAT YOU REINFORCE – NOT NECESSARILY WHAT YOU WANT. If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.
. The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.

 .Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.


If you have questions about dog training please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Twas The Night Before Petmas

December 19, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:23 pm

T’was the night before Petmas, when all through house,

we were all stirring and chasing a mouse.

The paw bobs were hung by the window with care.

In hopes that St. Puss soon would be there.


The patients were kenneled all warm in their beds.

While visions of Temptations and Ora-vet chews danced in their heads.

And Doc in her coat and staff in their scrubs,

Had just settled down for a soft short scrub.


When out in treatment arose such a clatter.

We sprang from our stations to see what was the matter.

Away to the waiting room I flew like a flash,

Tore open treatment doors and made a big crash.


The moon on the top of the paw printed snow.

Gave the look of treat time to the figures below.

When, what to my fuzzy nose should I smell

But a can of Science Diet that opened then fell.


With a little old can opener, so slow and fair.

I knew in a moment it must be St. Puss out there.

More rapid than hamsters his coursers they came,

And he yelped, and meowed, and called them by name.


“Now, Richard! Now, Barney! Now Jasmine and Bo!

On, Gladys! On Tiger, on Louie and Mo!

To the top of the kennel! To the top of the wall!
Meow away, woof away! Bark away all!”


As the kittens with toys and wild puppies that play

When they meet with an owner It becomes time to spay.

So up to the top of the cabinet Richard did fly

With a mouth, full of treats, That St. Puss could not try.


And then with a squeak, I heard in the back

The whining and barking of Doc’s terrier pack

As I called on the phone and was looking around

Out of the back, St. Puss came around.


He was covered in drool from nose to tail

And his hair was all ruffled and he left a fur trail.

A bag of treats he had flung on the floor

He looked like a robber as he went back for more.


His eyes how they glowed, his tail flicking away

His nose was like a button on a cold winters day.

His treat covered mouth was slathered in crumbs,

And the whiskers on his face was as soft as a bum.


The pipette Richard stole he held tight in his teeth,

And he chased it round the clinic like a good little thief.

He had a cute smooshed up face and a furry lil butt

That shook when he ran like a cute lil mutt.


He was fluffy and round, a cross eyed ole cat

And I died when I saw him ‘cause I tripped over his fat.

A flick of his tail and a twitch of his ear

Told me there must be an open treat jar near.


He made not a meow but went straight to the treats.

He filled all the bowls, with all types of meats.

And laying his ear flat atop his head

He gave a slight nod knowing everyone was fed.


He curled up in his bed, to his kennel mates gave a growl

And then all of a sudden, he smelled something foul.

But as his head laid down and he was all tucked in tight

He whispered Merry Petmas to Y’all and to y’all a ruff night.

Written by: Amy Hurst of TACpets-love-christmas-too-christmas-32853327-500-315 images

Holiday Hazards in Your Home

| Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:19 pm


Pet Talk

Holiday Hazards in your Home!

By Norette L. Underwood, DVM



When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.



If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.



Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe.“Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.” Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.



Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat.



With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems:

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.

Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.



Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.



Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.

When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.


If you have questions about holiday hazards and your pet contact Dr. Norette L Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service and Trumann Animal Clinic at

Don’t Give Pets As Gifts

December 12, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:01 pm

Pet Talk

Please Don’t Give Pets As Gifts

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Christmas Pets: Holiday Impulse Shoppers Beware!

It’s the season for giving, and we all have good intentions when shopping for truly special gifts for our loved ones. Sometimes, we have visions of them opening a beautiful box with an adorable kitten inside, or of covering their eyes and leading them into a room where a puppy or a cat wearing a big bow is waiting. With a pet, it seems we can give the gift of unconditional love, especially to a child.

Now, here’s a dose of reality: in years spent working with animals  I noticed a significant spike in animal surrenders right after the holiday season. The happy surprise became just a surprise—not necessarily a pleasant one—for all concerned, and the solution to the problem for many families is to get rid of the unwanted pet. What are the factors?

  • The one presented with the “gift” didn’t want an extra commitment (average 15 years) in an already-busy life, or a household member had an allergy where short-term exposure was not problematic, but the person could not live with a pet.
  • Some children, especially those not exposed to animals previously, became frightened of the strange new creature, and in turn spooked pet, which created an air of distrust for all involved. Although the previous guardian’s paperwork might say that the pet was good with their kids, their actual socialization might not have included what the next child wanted from a pet when they begged for a live Christmas present (playing dress-up, putting in a stroller, etc.).
  • Resident animals in the home also got the short end of the stick. If any significant holiday activity was going on in the home, i.e., family staying over, holiday parties, etc., resident pets (especially cats) were already having tough time adapting their sense of “stable-sameness” to the unusual activities. Now throw in another animal, especially of the same species, and—more often than not—disaster is imminent. Once again, the paperwork at the shelter may have assured the adoptive family that the new pet would play well with others.


Many animal shelters have gift certificates you can buy to place in a box instead of an animal. (You won’t have to poke air holes in the box either!) These generally cover the cost of adoption, and you may be able to add the cost of basic supplies such as a collar, leash, brush, bowl, or litterbox. If your local shelter doesn’t offer gift certificates, make one yourself. That way, the next day or next week, you and your loved one can find the perfect new companion.

Nowadays, many shelters have websites with pictures of their adoptable animals, so the whole family can go online and check out the choices. (Check out, where you can search all shelters in your area.) There is also empowerment in a child in going to a shelter and picking out his or her own companion. It’s also a perfect time to let them know that caring for a living thing requires responsibility. It’s never too early to instill the concept of stewardship.

It is essential to introduce everyone who lives in the home, from children to housemates to other pets, to the new pet before adoption. In fact, many shelters require this. There’s nothing to lose, but important lessons to gain. For instance, the adoptive family may discover that the dog requires a bit more training in the “down-stay” so that he or she doesn’t relentlessly pursue the new addition. A housemate’s allergy may or may not act up in the presence of specific animals.

Remember, no surprises are good surprises when it comes to animals this holiday season. Have a great one, and congratulations to all of you who will adopt and bring a homeless pet into your heart and home!


If you have questions about giving pets as gifts contact Dr. Norette Underwood of Trumann Animal clinic and Best friends Vet Mobile service at

Pets and Ice Melting Products

December 7, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:50 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood
1) During cold winter months, pets can come into close contact with a variety of ice melting compounds during walks and even in their owner’s driveway.

2) Rock salt is simple sodium chloride, the same chemical as table salt. It is commonly used due to its inexpensive cost.

3) Rock salt can be harmful to metal, concrete and plants and is generally only helpful at temperatures above 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

4) Rock salt is unlikely to harm pets unless large amounts are eaten. A dog can die by ingesting more than 10 grams per pound of body weight, but that would be equivalent to a 10 lb dog eating quarter pound of salt.

5) Symptoms of sodium toxicosis include neurological signs, vomiting, polydipsia/polyuria, and seizures.

6) Calcium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride are used as ice melts in colder temperatures (down to minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit).

7) Prolonged skin contact or ingesting large amounts of these other salts can be harmful to pets.

8) Urea, a common fertilizer, is also used in some areas to melt ice. It is useful in temperatures down to minus 21 degrees. Urea can cause environmental problems due to the fact it adds nitrates to runoff water.

9) Safe Paws is an ice melting product that combines the best of all of these products. It contains an amide/glycol mixture. It’s not corrosive to metal nor does it contaminate water with nitrates.

10) This new product will work on ice down to minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit and does not cause skin irritation like other ice melting products. The company does mention that it could cause stomach irritation if ingested.

11) When ice melt products are used, it’s a good idea to wipe down your pet’s feet after returning inside. This will lessen the amount of salt he carries in with him.

12) If your pet has a large amount of any ice-melting product on his fur (from rolling or walking through it), bathe the pet and monitor for skin irritations.

13) Consider the use of cat litter or sand for traction and also try combing sand with ice melt products for the best of both worlds.

If you have questions please contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at