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How to Stop Your Dog From Counter Surfing


Counter surfing can be one of the most frustrating behaviors for dog owners to deal with — you might have spent hours on that perfect pot roast, only to have your pup sneak into the kitchen behind your back and pilfer it off the counter.

Not only is this annoying, but it can be dangerous for your dog if they steal food that is toxic or contains xylitol (which is highly toxic to dogs!) Some dogs scarf the item down so quickly that they choke or it causes an obstruction in their gastrointestinal system.

Let's look at why dogs counter surf in the first place, and what you can do to stop it.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Dog, counter surfing

Teach Your Dog the Automatic Sit


Imagine walking with your dog around town and coming up to a crosswalk at a busy intersection. Your dog sits automatically with no verbal cue or prompting from you when you stop at the curb — not only do you and your pup look like obedience rockstars, but your dog is safe since they aren’t walking straight out into traffic.

Now imagine you encounter a friend while on your walk around town. Instead of rushing up to them and jumping, your dog sits politely at your side and waits while you two humans stop and chat. This can be your reality with some easy and consistent training!

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Topics: Dog Training, Dog Safety, Loose-leash Walking, Behavior & Training, Puppy Training, Puppy, Training, Walking on a Leash, Dog, Benefits of training, Sit & Stay

Puppy Versus Paper Shredder: The Tale of Henri's Tail


Henri was just 10 months old when he encountered a powerful enemy that changed him and his owners forever.

The day of the accident, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was visiting a Tipp City, Ohio-based business where his mom and dad worked. With his charming personality, adorable puppy face, and handsome black-and-tan coat, Henri was the star of the show.

After making the rounds, he stretched out on a chair with his plumed tail draped over the edge of the seat — right in the path of the office’s paper shredder. Unfortunately, the machine was plugged in and set to “standby” mode.

Sensing a nearby object, the sharp teeth started turning and grabbed onto Henri’s fur. In seconds, his tail disappeared into the fierce mouth of the paper shredder.  

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Pet emergency, office safety, 101 Tips

Press Pause: How to Manage Dog Play


Dog play can seem overwhelming to us humans — dogs will wrestle, chase, and many pups make lots of noise during play time. Not to mention there’s lots of play biting and teeth-jousting!

If your dog has been well socialized and learned how to communicate clearly during play with other dogs, they'll likely be able to enjoy playtime with their dog friends without any issues. But, just like humans, dogs can be unpredictable, and we need to be prepared to step in to keep play safe for all dogs involved, by having them take a quick break from the fun.

When and how do we do this? You have to know how to recognize proper dog play in order to know when it’s escalating into inappropriate play and getting closer to a fight, so you can press pause and allow the dogs to reset.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Puppy, Dog, Dog Tips, Dog Body Language, Multi-dog household, how to play with your dog, Dog communication

Does Your Doggie Paddle?


Swimming can be great exercise and entertainment for dogs that love to get in the water! From overweight or arthritic dogs that need some low-impact exercise to shed the pounds while protecting their painful joints, to high-energy dogs that benefit from the extra resistance of the water in helping to wear them out, water play can provide a lot of benefits for pooches.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Swimming, Playing Fetch, Hot spots, Water hazards, Ear Infections, Dry Drowning, Dehydration

How to Set Up a Safe Space for Your Dog


Sometimes your dog just needs a break! Your dog might be naturally shy or nervous around different kinds of people, be fearful of loud noises or events, or dealing with anxiety. Creating a place your dog can escape to for some alone time reduces that anxiety and helps your dog cope with stressful situations. Even if your dog doesn’t suffer from fear or anxiety, it’s reassuring to have their own safe haven where they can go when they just want to relax for a bit.

By giving your dog the choice to leave a situation, you increase their confidence in dealing with uncertain or stressful situations. Your dog’s safe space is also a wonderful tool to teach your children boundaries when it comes to interacting with your dog — if the dog is in their safe space, the dog is wanting to be alone and not pet or played with. This can help prevent unfortunate bite incidents between the family dog and children.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Puppy Training, Puppy, Dog, Crate training dogs, Crate training your dog, Pet safety and houseguests, Noise Phobias, new puppy, puppy tips

What to Put (and Not Put) in Your Dog's Crate


Outfitting Your Dog’s Crate Safely

What is and isn’t safe or OK to put in your dog’s crate is a pretty common question we get asked here at Preventive Vet. People often want to know … Is it ok to leave food or water in my dog’s crate? Should I leave one of my t-shirts in my puppy’s crate? What about towels and other bedding? Chews and other toys? 

Of course, every dog and every situation is different. Young puppies are different than adult dogs (in many ways!). Similarly, a dog just beginning their crate training is a different situation than a dog that’s already acclimated to and in love with their crate. All that said, there are some general insights and recommendations we can provide to help you as you ponder the safest and most comfortable “interior design” of your dog’s crate.

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Topics: Dog Safety, poisonous plants for dogs, Crate Training, Crate training puppies, Crate training tips, Potty Training, puppy tips

5 Pet Hazards People on Keto Diets Need to Know


Have you decided to start living a healthier lifestyle? If you’re contemplating the ketogenic or “keto” diet to accomplish your goals, or are already on it, there are some things you should be aware of to best ensure that you don’t endanger the health and safety of your pets while you’re improving your own.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Xylitol, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Dog Food, Foods that aren't good for cats, Cat food

Is Feeding a Grain-Free Food Hurting Your Dog's Heart?


Grain-free diets for dogs have become all the buzz in recent years with lots of dog food companies, bloggers, and pet lovers extolling them as the cure for all that ails dogs. Now, I’m not going to get into all of my thoughts on this trend. (The board-certified veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine have already done that in these articles on their petfoodology blog.) What I will say though is that it tends to be (emotional) marketing that's driving the grain-free pet food craze, rather than science and an actual medical need for excluding grains from the diets of dogs — even those with food allergies. But again, that discussion is outside the scope of this particular article. 

The purpose of this article is to ensure that, if you have chosen to feed your dog a grain-free diet, and especially if it's a food that contains peas, chickpeas, lentils, or potatoes in place of the grains, you are aware of the newly recognized possible link between the feeding of a grain-free diet and the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a very serious form of heart disease in dogs. DCM is characterized by a distention and thinning out of the muscular walls of the heart, causing it to be a less effective pump to move blood throughout the body. As you might imagine, that’s not a good thing! Dogs with DCM are at great risk of progressing to heart failure. You can learn more about the condition in this article from the good folks in the cardiology department at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

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Topics: Dog Safety, Heart Murmurs, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Foods that are good for dogs, Dog Food, Heart Problems, Heart Failure, Food Allergies

How to Keep Your Dog Cool When It's Hot Outside


Tips to help your dog keep their cool

When the temperatures rise, you may be able to stay cool by sweating or drinking a nice glass of iced tea, but your dog isn't so lucky. Not only should your dog not drink tea :) — or any caffeinated beverage, for that matter — but they also really don't have the ability to sweat very well. Dogs mostly cool themselves off by panting.

So, how can you help keep your pup comfortable and safe when the mercury starts to rise? Fret not, this article contains some tips, tricks, and cool (pun intended) product suggestions that can help.

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, Summer Pet Safety Tips, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Heat Stroke Risk Factors

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.