Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Bites Worse than Barks



Does your Dog have Thunderstorm Phobia?
Bites Worse than Barks
Top 7 Ways to Avoid being Bitten by a Dog
They're Baaaaaccck! Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes


Does your Dog have Thunderstorm Phobia? 

Unsure?  Take the quiz and find out!

Treating thunderstorm anxiety has changed a lot in recent years ? it?s not all about drugs. You need a veterinarian trained in treating fear problems in dogs to help you and your dog out.

All yes answers are worth 1 point

  1. I can tell a storm is coming hours ahead of time because my dog starts to act differently ? hangs close, paces, lays in a special place (closet, under the bed or table) or whines
  2. My dog is very reluctant to go outside for the bathroom when a storm is approaching (not raining or high winds yet)                                                            
  3. My dog trembles while just sitting or laying - no whining, panting or anything
  4. I can?t sleep when a storm hits because my dog is panting, pawing, jumping on the bed or digging to get out of his or her crate
  5. My dog will start unstuffing or digging around in toys, pillows or blankets before or during a storm
  6. My dog will be a ?Houdini? breaking out of his or her crate sometimes when I leave during the spring and summer months                                                                                                         
  7. My dog won?t eat well on storm days  I have to bribe him/her
  8. My dog will only settle when he or she can be in contact with me ? laying right next to me, on me, or over my feet. It?s like he/she has to be velcro?ed to me            

Scores 0 - 2   - Yes your dog has storm fear, it may hurting your dog more than you realize

Scores 3 - 5  - Fear is here, and there is help that is not all about drugs

Scores 6 or more -  Come in for a thunderstorm  fear consult to have a plan to help you and your dog be able to be calm through storms.  It is not all about drugs anymore.          

Treating thunderstorm fears involves identifying when your pet first starts to get upset so anti anxiety techniques such as going to a safe area, wearing calming products (Thundershirt, Adaptil collar), music therapy or using proper medication to calm but not sedate for hours and customizing this plan for your pet, in your home. Call us today to set up a phone or in office consult. A plan will be given to you to immediately start. 

Learn more about thunderstorm phobia at Dr. Foote's talk on June 24th from 2 - 3 pm at Prairieland Feeds in Savoy.



Bites Worse than Barks

Recently I have been seeing  behavior cases of aggressive dogs with different types of aggression. Huh? Isn't all aggression the same - the dog bites right? No - not all aggression is the same. There are different types and any dog is capable of biting for some reason. What I am realizing is that few dog owners seem to understand  that all dogs, no matter how sweet, calm, tolerant or affectionate are possible biters. For the dog, biting is just the final straw of aggression - not the whole expression of it.

bed fighting - resource guarding

First of all, let's define aggression. Aggression is  threatening behavior (growling, lunging,snarling, biting) directed at an object commonly the dog perceives this object as a threat. Did you notice that aggression includes lots of behaviors beyond just biting and breaking skin? Dogs that are barking combined with, growling, lip lifting and lunging are aggressing. All of these actions are to warn the object - person or other animal that they had better stay away or worse is going to come. Predatory aggression is the one form that lacks many warning signs. This instinctive type aggression needs to be very focused and silent - hence the danger. 

This crouched posture is common with predatory aggression - beware!

All aggression is not the same. There are many different diagnostic categories of aggression. Some of the most common but each an individual type of aggression are inter dog ,territorial, food (resource guarding), hierarchy (used to be called dominant), pain induced, unknown people, unknown places, conflict, irritability, sleep, play, and redirected to name a few. So the sweetest dog in the world may bite when in a lot of pain, or when a food dish is nearby. If a dog is presented for aggression screening, it must take place in many situations with various stimuli to really screen for the various types. An exam in a veterinary hospital or shelter is not a complete screen. It is a partial one, and important at that, but if a dog has growled, lunged, chased, attempted to bite at all the situation must be reviewed for in that lies the triggers for that dog.

reward your dog as they get shots

Many dog owners seem to think of the teeth as tools for eating only. Few owners realize all dogs have their most effective tool handy 100% of the time, ready for use - the teeth. Veterinary staff will acknowledge that any dog can bite at any time. It is really impressive that dogs don't bite humans more often when you consider all the ways we confuse, stress and force our dogs into things.  Veterinary examinations and grooming are 2 places where it is really stressful for the dogs. Especially in veterinary clinics, we have to use rewards and ways of handling the pet to make the experience good for the pet. At my office we only use rewarding handling for patient care. This has dramatically reduced bites and aggression at the office. Most importantly it is a way to show the client how to handle their pet safely and positively. I have videos on youtube to see this in action video.

Bella hated nails before rewarding

If your dog is growling, avoiding a situation, barking harshly and lunging even on leash - your dog is aggressing to keep something away. Biting is just the icing on the cake so to speak. The dog is scared and is throwing out warning signs to try to get help for itself - get the scary thing away. Often it is a number of things that is leading the dog to become aggressive in that situation. It can be all of the place, sounds, people, children, food or toy items that is building up the anxiety leading to aggression. Learn how to change the experience to a more positive - pleasant one for your dog.    Be sure there is not any medical problem bringing out the aggression. Partner with your veterinarian to help your pet. Yes it is possible to manage aggression. This is much easier before any biting has happened.

not all dogs like hugs much!

Always be careful and considerate around any dog. Don't suddenly take a toy or food away. Avoid suddenly hugging your dog awake or asleep - this is startling!  If your dog has had ear infections, skin problems, teeth problems or arthritis they may feel grouchy if their problems and pain are not taken care of regularly. So if your dog's ear is sore, he may growl as you pull the leash to get out for a walk. It does not mean he is bad - it means he is in pain.

I will post more about specific types of aggression in the future. At least for now if everyone realizes even the best dog can bite it will be a better world for us and our dogs.

Thanks and please share this post to prevent dog bites!

I love these two, yet I still take care around other dogs, food and when Butter's arthritis flares


Top 7 Ways to Avoid being Bitten by a Dog - May 20 - 26 is Dog Bite Prevention Week

  1. Don't walk up to a strange dog and try to pet him or her. Ask first if the dog would like to be petted, then pet over the shoulder area avoiding the head.
  2. Before you pet a dog, ask an owner if their dog is friendly.
  3. Leave a sleeping dog alone. If you have wake a dog, first clap loudly, stomp your feet a bit to wake them fully before touching them. 
  4. Don't hug dogs. Most dogs don't like getting hugs. 
  5. Don't run up to a dog and surprise him or her. If a dog is backing away, leave them alone. 
  6. Pet a dog under the chin, not on top of the head. Petting on the head can scare some dogs.
  7. Don't lean over a dog to pet him or her. Crouch down to the dog's level, so you are less scary.


They're Baaaaaccck! Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes

The weather is warming up so our pets are spending more time outside. They enjoy running around and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. But, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are lurking out there. 

Fleas can hop on your pet when he or she is outside or when your pet is around another pet or wildlife with fleas. Fleas drink your pet's blood and can cause anemia, Flea Allergy Dermatitis, tapeworms and other diseases. Protecting your pet against fleas is easy. Frontline, Revolution and Trifexis protect pets from fleas. Trifexis is a pill that is given once a month. To learn more about fleas or how to get rid of them, visit our Fleas!!! page.

Ticks can crawl onto your pet when he or she is outside. Ticks drink your pet's blood and can cause Lyme Disease, Tick Paralysis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other diseases. Ticks can be killed by using Frontline or Revolution on your pet. Frontline and Revolution are applied to the skin once a month. To learn more about ticks or preventing ticks in your yard, read our Terrible Ticks article.

Mosquitoes fly around and find your pet. Mosquitoes drink your pet's blood. As they drink blood, baby heartworms can enter your pet's blood and cause Heartworm Disease. Revolution and Trifexis can protect your pet from getting Heartworm Disease. ProHeart, an injection given twice a year, will also protect your pet. To learn more about Heartworms, read our Worms and Other Internal Parasites article. 

You can purchase these products from us to protect your pet. You can also visit our online pharmacy to make your purchase and have your pet's medicine shipped directly to you. If you have any questions about Fleas, Ticks or Mosquitoes and the diseases they carry or about our online pharmacy, please email okawvetstaff@mchsi.com or call 217-253-3221. 

*Image of flea from www.capcvet.org

Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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