Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Puppy Potty Problems



Potty Primer for Puppies
Cabin Fever
Keep your Pet's Breath Fresh
Brushing your Pet's Teeth



Potty Primers for Puppies

Getting a puppy to learn to use the bathroom outside or on a special place in the house can be a little challenging, and for some puppies it seems impossible. There is good information from the major pet food companies on how to train a puppy to go outside. Often on your first veterinary visit you will get a kit with a puppy care book that has these instructions in it. If you missed that, ask your veterinarian for a puppy kit.

Here are the most important factors to potty train your puppy:

1. Feed only meals. Do not leave the food out. Two times a day, food down for 20 minutes maximum will result in the puppy having a bowel movement in about 10-30 minutes. So scheduled feedings leads to scheduled poops. If you puppy is not eating well, be sure that your pup has been wormed and is on a high quality major brand food. Cheap food equals lots of stools.

2. Water is a drink. Offer about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water every 2-3 hours. Some puppies just love to drink so they will drink a lot and then you know what a lot leading to accidents in the house. Ice cubes are okay if they seem thirsty a lot.

3. Use a leash, go out the same door to the same spot every time. The puppy sees the leash and learns that this is potty time. Off the leash after the first week the pup gets distracted and does not finish all the business. With you on the end of the leash you praise as the puppy is going. Do not wait until you are in the house - otherwise the puppy thinks they are good to come in and will not finish up outside.

4. When the puppy is awake, take them out every hour. Set the kitchen timer for an hour right after you come in. They need to go more often when active and the repetition of all the steps to going outside is what teaches the puppy overtime to go to the door, or come to you and bark to go out.

5. Do not punish your pup for accidents in the house. They don't understand, they cannot help it and it creates a lot of fear and anxiety problems later. If the pup has had an accident, clean it up and take the pup out. What did you miss? Get busy and not take the pup out as soon as they started to pace or whine? Puppies have a literal 5 second warning for you so follow the prompt no matter how cold and get them out!

6. Avoid problems by using a crate positively and baby gates to keep the pup in the room you are in. When a pup is out of sight, how can you know they need to go? If a puppy passes stool or urine on a surface 4 times or more they think that is a toilet even if it is your oriental carpet or hardwood floor.

If you are having frustrating potty problems after following this advice, give our office a call and we can go through a potty plan for you and your pup. Having a specific plan for you and your pup, addressing any early weaning distress or bowel problems can help speed up puppy potty training and decrease a lot of frustration for you. We have a 14 days to the perfect puppy program as part of our puppy potty consults (yes in 14 days you can have a trained puppy)  and we offer a lot of support to you.

House training is the first thing a puppy needs to learn well. There are a number of steps and it does take time. As is often said, sometimes it is training the human to be consistent and observant to the puppy. Good luck with your new friend, and please go to our website for helpful behavior videos, blog, and articles.



Cabin Fever in Pets  

When the weather gets horribly cold, it is really difficult to give our pets as much exercise and play outside. Both dogs and cats that go outside may act up due to boredom. Feet freeze, making in painful to walk very far. It is harder to find the ball in the snow or chase mice and birds that are hunkering down in the shrubbery. Sometimes dogs may have accidents in the house because it is too hard on their feet to get "in position" to potty. Their toilet area may  be covered with snow or just frozen, making it hard to smell the area. Accidents are forgivable; they are also very aggravating. Other ways that pets may act up in the winter is being more mischievous in the home. Cats may be knocking more items off your dresser or getting on the counters. Dogs may be pulling things off shelves to get your attention. You may hear more barking at squirrels out the window, or your cats may be swatting at each other more. 

What to do? First of all, try to understand why your pets are behaving badly. The house is no where nearly as fun as the great outdoors. There are not as many places to sniff out, dig out or climb on top of. So, to help cure cabin fever, make the indoors more interesting. First be sure to keep the routines regular such as feeding and going outside. When you do feed make feeding time more interesting by using food puzzles rather than just feeding out of a bowl. Both dogs and cats get a lot of mental stimulation figuring out how the heck to get the food out of the toy. Meals in the puzzle, not just treats. You can see some videos starring Bella and Ranger using  food puzzles on my website.

To avoid accidents in the house, keep your dog on a feeding schedule. They will typically need to toilet about a half an hour after eating. You can now predict when they will need to go and not have to spend so much time outside. Take your pet out for short but more frequent breaks and praise praise praise when they get it right. You may give them the first chance to eliminate, come in for 5 minutes (keeping them confined) then go on out again to finish up. Outside cats may still demand to toilet outside. If you let them out, give them some super yummy canned food just inside the house door to reward them for coming home. 

Offering a potty pad in the home may be another way to help out the toy breeds. Reward the dog when they use the pad. Shoveling off some snow or making a path can also help the small dog go outside. For the housebound cat, reward them after using the box and keep the box absolutely clean. As soon as it is used, scoop it. 

Increasing exercise cuts down on boredom and can help pets get along. Walking, even limited, is still good in the cold. Booties and coats help and there are sizes for the large to small pets. More frequent short walks going in different areas can help to minimize the frozen paws and still provide variety and some outside time.  Head halters and front attaching harnesses can make walking easier and safer for the humans as well. Premier and other makers have various halter models that are easy to use.

Lastly, find ways to play and get exercise in the house. Games of chase up and down the stairs, review obedience commands or teach them a new trick. This will decrease naughty behaviors that come from boredom.

For cats use laser pointers they can chase, stuffed toys they can pounce on or boxes they can investigate. Cats really need to have their toys rotated every day to keep it interesting. You don't need many; just keep most up taking one or 2 down a day. Be sure you have enough places for the cats to lay and perch on. A step ladder set up with towels on the tread can increase the space to the cats. Placing this near a window can relieve much boredom.

Make the home mischief proof at this time. Remember that both cats and dogs can smell much better than us. So even though you put the chocolate brownies way back on the counter, your dog or cat will be very interested in getting to them. Be sure your garbage has a closing lid as well. 

To learn more about pet behavior, tools to use and understanding your pet read my blog and look out for our events announced in our newsletter.

If your pet is driving you crazy, give us a call. Take a look at the behavior services we offer. 



Keep your Pet's Breath Fresh
Keeping your pet's mouth healthy is important. Your pet will be healthier and not have "doggy" or "kitty" breath. Here are a few tips you can do at home to help your pet's breath to stay fresh. If these tips don't work for your pet, call us and we will set up an appointment to look at your pet's teeth.
  • Encourage your pet to chew on rawhides, nylabones and other toys to help clean your pet's teeth. The chewing motion helps to clean teeth. Some nylabones and toys are designed to help clean teeth.
  • Use a water additive to help keep your pet's teeth clean. We sell an additive called Clenz-a-dent. We also have a cleaning rinse that can be squirted into your pet's mouth. If your pet doesn't like the rinse squirted into his or her mouth, you can squirt it onto a toy or rawhide and let your pet chew on that. 
  • Brush your pet's teeth. Use a pet tooth brush and tooth paste. Do NOT use people tooth paste. People tooth paste can make your pet sick. Read the next article to find out more about how to brush your pet's teeth.
If none of these are helping with your dog or cat's bad breath, call us to set up an appointment. Dr. Foote will look at your pet's teeth. We can set up an appointment to clean your pet's teeth.

We place your pet under anesthesia while we perform the dental. Dr. Foote cleans the teeth while one of the veterinary technicians or assistants monitor your pet. We look at your pet's gums for any abnormalities. We remove plaque and tartar from your pet's teeth and look for loose teeth. We will remove loose teeth. We will also remove teeth if they are damaged. We then polish your pet's teeth and apply a sealant to help prevent tartar build up. Here are a before and after picture of a dog we performed a dental cleaning on.
    Before               After           

Most adult dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. Tartar and plaque build up on your pet's teeth. Bacteria starts to live and reproduce around the plaque. Hair and pieces of food also can get stuck between your pet's teeth, allowing more bacteria to grow. The bacteria releases toxins that irritate the gum tissue. This causes inflammation, redness and pain. The toxins also attack the supporting structures, including the periodontal ligaments and bone, around the tooth. The loss of supporting structures makes the tooth loose. The bacteria can enter your pet's blood stream and travel to other organs, including the heart, kidney and liver. The bacteria can inflame these organs and cause health problems. The bacteria living in your pet's mouth also causes bad breath.

The progression of dental disease has four stages. During the first stage, the gums will be slightly red and swollen and teeth will have plaque on them. The first stage is reversible with a dental cleaning. During the second stage, the gums are red and swollen and painful, the teeth have chunks of plaque on them and the breath will smell. This stage is also reversible with a dental cleaning. During the third stage, the gums will also bleed and some teeth may be completely covered by tartar. The mouth is also very sore during this stage. This stage may be reversible with a dental cleaning. During the fourth stage, the gums may contain pus pockets and tooth roots may be visible. This stage is not reversible. We perform a dental cleaning to remove the tartar, loose teeth and any infected tissues.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to get your pet's teeth cleaned, please call us or send an email.



Brushing your Pet's Teeth

Brush your pet's teeth daily. Use a pet tooth brush and tooth paste. We sell a tooth brush that has a three sided head so it brushes each side of the tooth in one swipe. Pet tooth pastes come in chicken, liver, beef and other flavors. Do NOT use people tooth paste. It is poisonous to your pet. Read the next topic below to learn how to teach your pet to accept their teeth being brushed. 

You can teach your pet to accept having his or her teeth brushed. The best time to start brushing your pet's teeth is when they are a puppy or kitten. But you can teach your adult pet too. It just may take a little bit longer. Purchase a pet tooth brush and paste. Pet tooth pastes come in various flavors. Try a flavor you think your pet will like.

When you start, don't just shove the tooth brush into your pet's mouth. They can get scared. You need to slowly work your way up to brushing your pet's teeth over several days. Start by putting some of the tooth paste on your finger and let your pet lick it off. When your pet looks forward to getting the tooth paste, start sticking your finger in your pet's mouth and move in like a tooth brush a few times. Do this until your pet is comfortable. Then start putting it on the brush and let him or her lick it off. When your pet is comfortable with this, move the brush in and out of the mouth one time. Do this until your pet is comfortable. Then slowly add more swipes until you can brush your pet's mouth.

You can give your pet treats after you brush his or her teeth. This may seem strange. After all, you just cleaned their teeth. But giving your pet a treat lets them know, if they let you brush their teeth, then they get a treat.

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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