Happy pets and busy schedules can be managed | VailDaily.com

Happy pets and busy schedules can be managed

Nadine Lober

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? These are a few questions that are valid and need to be addressed. 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. Some dogs may start dribbling urine or leave a little puddle after lying down and this may be a medical problem that should be addressed. 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. Another alternative that is becoming more popular is hiring dog walkers or putting your dog in day care while you are gone. Gett ing mad at your dog will only make matters worse when all he wants is for you to take him with you or stay at home and play with him all day. If you do happen to take your dog with you during the day, remember that it is summer, hot and dry, and cars do heat up quickly. Always bring water for your dog and if there is a stream nearby, let him soak his feet or his body in it to cool off. Dogs can overheat quickly, especially when excited about the car ride.Thunderstorms can scare some dogs and lead to unusual behavior. Scared dogs may urinate, hide, chew on doors or other objects and act clingy. Being there to calm them down – or sometimes giving them a relaxant or sedative – can help. Ultimately, we don’t really know what goes on in the house during our absence, but we sure hope that our pets are good and behave till we get home. They are always happy to see us and we should spend as much time as possible with them.Dr. Nadine Lober can be reac hed at 949-7972 Dr. Nadine Lober can be reac hed at 949-7972