Happy pets and busy schedules can be managed
Note: This column appeared initially in July, 2004.Most of us in this valley have a slightly different life style than city folks.A lot of us have pets – many of us, dogs – and we love to have them accompany us everywhere. We try to sneak them in restaurants, tie them up as we do our shopping or leave them in the cars while we run our errands.Some of us, fortunately, can take our dogs to work and some of us work out of our homes, so we have the constant pleasure of our pet’s company.But, what if you are the few that have to leave your dog at home for long periods of time? How long is safe? Does he get upset? Does he destroy the house?Do you have to lock him in a kennel? Does he urinate in the house? Does he bark constantly? Do you feel guilty?First of all, we all know that puppies need to be walked more frequently than older dogs. Puppies have a higher metabolism and need to be fed and let out to go potty every few hours.Smaller breed dogs seem to have the urgency more frequently than larger breeds. Be sure to always praise a puppy that does his deed outside when you let him out of the kennel.A puppy, as part of its training, may be kenneled during your absence, but try not to kennel puppies longer than five or six hours during the day. If your puppy tends to destroy the house during your absence, kenneling him is in order, at least for a while.Adult dogs can stay indoors longer while you are gone all day, but if you can come home at lunch or have a friend let him out during the day, it would be ideal.As dogs age, their urine-holding times decrease and he will have to be let out during the day and sometimes at night, too. If a well-trained dog is forced to hold back from urinating for a long period of time it can lead to physiological problems, such as bladder stretching, dribbling and infection.There are a lot of larger breed dogs in the Vail Valley: labs, goldens, etc., and these dogs require a certain amount of activity. They need it to maintain healthy muscles, joints and bones, but mostly for their mental status.Dogs need to get out to play and exercise. Large dogs need long walks or runs to stay healthy. They also need plenty of attention and discipline if ill-mannered.When a dog is neglected, he might behavior irregularly to get attention or to demonstrate his unhappiness. Some dogs might urinate or defecate in the house, destroy belongings and furniture, or bark excessively while some dogs might just mope around.Begin by getting your dog out more and spending more time with him. If the bad habits do not stop, it is time to try and correct them with either behavior modification, training or professional help.Dr. Nadine Lober can be reac hed at (9700 949-7972.Vail Colorado
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