Introducing A New Pet

Introducing a new pet to your already established pack can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming. Whether it be a pet that you’re keeping long-term or just interacting with another pet while you’re out and about, the key is to remain calm and be observant of the situation.

If you and your dog are out on a walk or in a store and encounter another dog, always make sure the encounter between your pets is mutually acceptable. Some dogs may be working, timid, or not great with close, social interactions. Once the interaction has been agreed upon with the other owner, watch for initial behaviors to gauge the pets’ willingness to interact cordially. If they seem to be tense, are turning their tails down, growling, yawning, and/or their hackles are raised, this is a sign that they are not comfortable with the interaction and should be separated before the situation escalates. Again, it is always important to know your dog’s behavior and watch for signs that do not seem friendly toward the other party.

Another way you may encounter this type of situation is if you are introducing a new pet to your home. While it can be a big task to take on, always remember to first do your research, remain calm, and know when to call in the experts if needed.

Every instance of introducing a new dog to your home can be different. Pets have different personalities just like humans. For example, puppies are developing skills and learning boundaries that adult dogs already have. If you are introducing a puppy to an established pack, keep this in mind and watch for those uncomfortable, tense behaviors. Don’t scold your adult dog for these behaviors. Instead, take a step back and give the adult dog a break or breaks as needed. If you’re introducing an adult dog to your home remember that each dog has had different experiences in life and may not approach an interaction the same way. Take the interaction slowly and if need be, change your approach. Your established dog may feel more comfortable at first with the new addition on a leash outside versus both being loose inside. Pay attention to your intuition and seek experienced help if needed.

Don’t give up on your furry friends if introducing them is not going well and don’t let a bad first impression sway you to make a rash decision. I’ve been there and experienced vastly different meetings within my own pack. You will never regret the time and patience that you give to bringing in a new pet to your home.

If you need help, reach out to your local training community for tips and/or training. I also found some helpful tips in this article from OSU:

If you’re introducing a new dog to your home through adoption or foster, we wish you the best and hope you found this information helpful!

Nicole Bolin, Interim Board Secretary 

Keeping Pets Comfortable, Happy & Healthy As They Age

As our pets age, we have to make some adjustments to keep them comfortable, happy, and healthy.  These adjustments may be as small as adding a supplement (as guided by your Vet).  But they can be bigger things too.  At our house, we have primarily older or sick dogs as I am sure everyone has guessed.  Some of these dogs find it hard to go up and down steps because of aching joints.  Because of this when it came time for us to move we specifically bought a house that is one story.  We also installed a ramp from the back porch down to the yard rather than them having to go up and down even those three steps.  I can definitely say that the ramp not only helps the dogs but it helps my back too – I don’t have to carry anyone up and down!  I’m not saying sell your house to make it easier for your aging pets, that’s just something we did because we knew we would have older pets at our house all the time with what we do.

There are a lot of small ways that you can help.  Pet ramps are amazing – for both indoors and outdoors.  They can help your pets get on and off the couch so that they can still be with you and are comfortable.  They can be used for the bed as well if your pets sleep with you.  A ramp can be a lifesaver for the car too!  You can buy them online or at your local pet store, or if you are handy you can make your own.

As our pets age, their nutritional needs change as well.  At your annual visit be sure to talk to your vet about diet.  There are foods designed especially for senior pets, and there are supplements and vitamins that can be added to get the right balance for your pet.  Your Vet would be happy to advise you on what is best for your situation.

Hopefully the better we take care of our aging pets, the longer they will be with us!  For more ways, you can help your aging pet be comfortable, happy, and healthy check out this article:

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer 

Toenail Care

As a dog owner keeping my dog’s toenails trimmed was always recommended to be a priority. It wasn’t until I started taking in homeless senior dogs that I realized why toenail care was such an important part of a dog’s healthy life. For whatever reason, these dogs will typically come to us with overgrown toenails that are causing them pain in their feet and even up into their joints. Then once you try to relieve the pain by trimming their toenails they are confused as to why you are touching their feet and causing them more discomfort. 

If you have not thought about the discomfort untrimmed toenails cause your dog please read the attached article. If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s toenails, check out your local pet store and see if they offer nail trims. Groomers would be happy to assist with this service and so would your Vet’s office. Keeping our pets comfortable and healthy has many different responsibilities so please consider regular nail trims as one of them. 
Chastity Crowder – Fospice Mom and Board President

Vestibular Disease

Question? So suddenly your senior K9 starts to tilt their head and then moments later they are stumbling around and going in circles. The behavior has come out of nowhere and the symptoms continue to add up rapidly right before your eyes. There is a look of confusion on their face as their eyes start to shift. See tell me which direction does your mind go? Seizure? We dealt with that with Daisy. Stroke? I have never experienced that with a dog and it seems frightening!
This is where we were with Jedi in September. I wasn’t ready for her decline although I know that is always a possibility with our Laber of Love fosters. So off to Stonyridge we go. No call just an early morning visit and we got right in. Dr. Young was quick to assure me that she quite possibly has Vestibular Disease which is common in senior dogs and is treatable. After Jedi’s blood work came back looking good, we were sent home with meds.
Jedi started improving almost right away and has no symptoms remaining. So, our girl is back to her ornery self that makes us smile every day!
Thank you all for your continued support. For more info and treatment options, click this link. 
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Differently Abled Pets – Blind or Deaf

Have you ever thought about adopting a blind or deaf dog and thought “that would just be too hard” or “I just don’t have it in me to take care of a disabled pet”? Or maybe you thought about it but just didn’t know enough to make an informed decision. Well, I didn’t know much either when I met an old, blind Shih-Tzu at the Shelter. The poor girl was terrified and completely shut down so I couldn’t leave her there (the dog warden knew me well and knew I wouldn’t after hearing about her either so she made sure I knew the little dog was there). All I had experience with was a one-eyed Shih-Tzu. And let me tell you, having only one eye definitely doesn’t slow a dog down!
We learned about blind dogs quickly after bringing Sweetie Pie home (and yes, the name fit her completely). I searched the internet and read as much as I could on how to help a blind dog acclimate to her surroundings. Keeping things all in the same place and not leaving things laying around was key for us. Thankfully we didn’t have stairs in the living space, and we were able to carry her down the steps into the yard. Most of the time she waited at the bottom of the steps for us to come get her when she was done with her business, but occasionally she would find her way up to them all on her own. Blind dogs learn their environment by smell and touch and they do great once they learn. Little Sweetie really didn’t run into very much when she was learning either. And that girl made the couch her throne. She only got up to use the potty or to get a drink. She may have been a little spoiled since I fed her on her throne. Having the pleasure of having Sweetie as a part of our family was a rewarding experience that was well worth the small sacrifices we made to keep her safe and secure.
Deaf dogs are just as resilient. I have met several and they are amazing too. Hand signals are lifesavers, and establishing a bond with the dog so that it keeps looking to you for direction is key.
There are many great articles online that can help you learn about blind or deaf dogs or dogs that are both blind and deaf – I recently met the sweetest little Shih-Tzu who was both deaf and blind; I was in love and would have brought her home if we didn’t already have a house full and foster even more. Here are just a couple that I found that explain things very well. Don’t be afraid or overwhelmed if you are thinking of adopting a differently-abled dog. Or if your beloved pet becomes deaf or blind later in life, don’t give up on them. There are many ways that you can help them make the transition with less stress on both of you!
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer 

Seasonal Allergies

August in Ohio. What a wonderful time for warm summer days, county fairs, bountiful harvests, and….allergies? Yep, you read that right: allergies. It is ragweed season, my friends! For some, that means runny noses, itchy eyes, and lots of sneezing. Guess what? If you’ve ever experienced seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. It turns out, seasonal allergies can also affect your pets.

When dogs experience these allergic reactions, you may notice them scratching between their legs, biting and licking their paws, and rubbing their face more frequently than normal. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to bacterial and yeast infections, so it is important to get your pet into the Vet to diagnose the problem and learn how to provide relief for them. After all, we all want our fur babies to be as happy and as comfortable as possible!

For more information on seasonal allergies, check out the articles below.

Cortney Ley, Fospice Mom and Board Secretary

Preventing Skin Issues

Many of the dogs that enter the Laber of Love Pet Rescue come into our homes with different skin conditions. These conditions leave our precious pets with itchiness, pain, and general discomfort. We do our best to alleviate that discomfort with better diets, ointments, special shampoos, and supplements. With my fospice dog, Patrick, I liked to use coconut oil for his dry skin. It provided moisture and relief for him while also giving me the chance to massage his arthritic back and legs (for our article on arthritis, click the link below).

One of the difficulties with skin problems is that they can emerge because of several different factors. Some of the most common causes include:

• Allergies
• Bacterial / Yeast infections
• Fleas & Ticks
• Mange
• Seborrheic dermatitis
• Dandruff

With so many potential causes, it is important that you consult your vet to help diagnose skin conditions that emerge with your pets. While the treatments discussed above are excellent for providing some comfort, occasionally medication is required to help clear up more serious cases. We all want the best for our furry friends and treating skin conditions will ensure that your pet lives a long, comfortable, happy life.  For a guide on the causes, symptoms, and treatments of skin conditions in dogs, check out the article below!

Cortney Ley, Fospice Mom and Board Secretary

Preventing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Just in the past year, I have seen 2 Chihuahuas come into our home with canine cognitive dysfunction, CCD. And we have had 2 of our personal dogs have CCD issues as well. CCD is an invisible but devastating disease that affects the minds of older dogs, similar to dementia in humans. It is heartbreaking to know that we can heal a dog’s body, but not their mind. While there are things that we can do as owners & fospice parents to help dogs we love to live with CCD, it is not something we can cure. There are both environmental and medicinal therapies that can help as I have discussed in an earlier blog post if you want to check it out on our website, But we can’t make it go away, and it will continue to worsen as the dog ages.
I have been thinking quite a bit lately about how we can prevent this terrible disease; is there something that we could do to stop it or slow it down from happening in the first place? Nothing has been proven to stop this disease from happening, but there has been some research into ways that may help to delay the devastating effects and give us longer with our beloved pets. I have started to incorporate some of the suggestions in this article already with our personal dogs and with our fospice dog, Chance.
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Crate Training

To crate train or not to crate train is a personal preference. The attached article states some benefits of crating your dog at any age. As a pet owner of 4 dogs and a constant foster, I could not imagine managing our k9’s without a crate set up in the house. Our household’s current dog’s ages are 14 yrs to 3 months and they are all crate trained. So, do they all use a crate? No. Each dog uses the crate according to its needs. Whether it is learning to be a calm, appropriate member of our household (puppy) or to help introduce and acclimate a new dog to our current pack(fosters). Also, a medical issue that requires a few days of rest and restrictions. These are just a few ways the crate helps create smooth transitions and comfort in a house (not quite) full of dogs.
I sometimes feel like a broken record when it comes to the benefits of crate training. This is a process that can produce calm, manageable dogs within a few months and will last a lifetime. I have explained it like this before, teaching a dog to relax on their own offers them the gift of being able to live a calm, enjoyable life. And isn’t that what we envy most about our dogs, napping when they feel like it and watching the world go by without a care in the world?
It is never too late to crate train a dog.
Some things to remember are:
*Crate training is not only putting your dog in a crate when you leave the house. This is a big reason dogs do not accept the crate when being introduced to this form of training.
*Using a crate for a reset or time out before you are fed up with a certain behavior is not a punishment, it is part of the training. Make it short and remember to redirect the correct choice when you let them out.
*Your dog will more likely have to be crated at some point in their life so why not set them up for a stress-free experience. This will also relieve some stress for you when having to leave your pet behind.
As always Laber of Love Pet Rescue thanks everyone for their continued support. Loving our furry family members is one of the greatest blessings we are given. Thank you LOL family for doing your part in saving lives and making a difference!

Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Protect Your Pet From Ticks

Enjoying the outdoors with your pet comes with taking some precautions and giving your pet some extra attention.
It seems like every year I am surprised by how early I experience my 1st tick. The reality of it is that tick season starts in the early spring. It is important to take the precautions necessary to ensure your pets’ safety as well as your own. I know those pesky parasites are not going to keep our pack from exploring so we will have to stay alert with our precautions and checking our pets over daily. Jedi loves to go for long walks sniffing and romping in the woods. So, I imagine we will be going out frequently to do just that.
This is another way to care for and support our animals to ensure they live a long happy, healthy life. As always, check with your Veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding what is best for you and your pet.
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President