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While there’s more to love with your plump pet’s extra size, the added weight can cause serious health issues. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 35 percent of pets are obese or overweight. Obesity is linked to diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Habits that contribute to obesity in pets are lack of exercise and overeating.

Pets with poor eating habits can also face the consequences of nutritional deficiencies. Poor diets can even result in an excessive amount of nutrients. For example, protein can promote muscle growth but too much can stunt your pet’s growth. It is important to have the correct balance of nutrients to keep your pet happy and healthy. The good news is that your pet’s health can improve by incorporating an active routine into its lifestyle. Here are some fun, useful ways to help your pet lose weight.

Chuckit! Classic Ball Launcher

This toy is great for wide, open spaces. You and your dog can have hours of fun with the Chuckit! Classic Ball Launcher. You will be able to throw balls farther compared to other toys. Your dog will get a workout and have fun too. What makes this toy even better is that it is hands-free, so you won’t have to deal with touching doggy drool. The Chuckit! Ball Launcher is for outdoor use only.

KONG Classic Flyer Frisbee

The KONG Flyer Frisbee has a durable rubber formula for long-lasting use. You and your dog can enjoy a game of catch and fetch. The frisbee is available in small and large sizes, so you can find the right match for your furry friend. The KONG Flyer supports healthy exercise by tapping into your dog’s instinctual needs like to hunt and chase. The KONG Flyer can travel long distances making your dog run farther and faster. Your dog will want to catch the frisbee repeatedly, which can help boost weight management.

Dog Treadmill

The dog treadmill allows your dog to exercise when the weather is either too hot or cold to go outside. Dog treadmills are great for owners who live in city apartments. Your dog will have unlimited walking/running time with the treadmill. At first, your dog may be confused with this new form of exercise, so take some time to get your furry friend familiar with the treadmill.

Our feline friends are also subject to obesity and other related health conditions. According to a 2008 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 57 percent of household cats in the U.S are overweight or obese. However, there is hope when it comes to getting your tubby tabby back to a healthy weight. Here are some cat toys that promote an active lifestyle.

Mouse Hunter Cat Toy

The Mouse Hunter cat toy is interactive and entertaining for your cat. The toy appeals to your cat’s natural instinct to hunt. Playing with this toy can serve as a workout for your cat. The Mouse Hunter cat toy benefits your cat mentally by relieving stress and anxiety. Another great benefit of the Mouse Hunter cat toy is that it contains catnip. When you use catnip, it stimulates a playful reaction in cats that keeps them active.

Cat Wand Toy

Cat wands are lightweight and come in various shapes and sizes. Some cat wands come with a toy mouse attached to the end that acts as its prey. The movements of the wand allow your cat to run and jump to catch the faux mouse. The variety of movements help your cat maintain interest and stay active. Another perk is that you can stay at a safe distance while your cat is moving about.

Cat Laser Toy

Your cat will have hours of fun with a laser toy. You can point the laser at the surface to transform your home into a playground. Your cat will do its best to catch this peculiar “bug.”

When using this toy laser, shine it in a clear and open space. Your cat will stay active and mentally stimulated with this toy.


It is your responsibility as a pet owner to help your pet maintain a healthy weight. Not all toys will be a success. It takes trial and error to find a toy that promotes an active lifestyle for your pet. Diet and nutrition in combination with exercise can help your furry friend lose weight and feel great.

Longview Animal Hospital has been in veterinary practice for over 50 years. We take the time to address any needs or questions you may have. To make an appointment, contact Longview Animal Hospital today!

Like humans, dogs can also get cataracts. Most dog owners assume that cataracts are just a part of the aging process. While this is sometimes true, cataracts can also be a sign of other health issues such as diabetes. Cataracts can cause inflammation in your dog’s eyes which can lead to pain. Pain and poor eye health can ruin the quality of your dog’s life. Therefore, it is important to monitor cataracts to prevent pain, vision loss or complete blindness in your furry friend.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts occur in the lens and make the center of the eye look cloudy or completely white.  The size of a cataract can range from a small dot or cover the entire lens. Small, or immature, cataracts are usually harmless, causing little disturbance to your dog. On the other hand, cataracts that cover the entire lens can cause the lens to become opaque. When this occurs, light cannot reach the retina, resulting in vision loss.

What Causes Cataracts?

Toxin exposure, old age, trauma, and genetic factors are common causes of cataracts in dogs. Cataracts can occur early in life, between the ages of one and three. There are over 100 dog breeds that are prone to cataracts, but some of the more common ones are Boston Terriers, Poodles, German Shepard’s, Siberian Huskies, and Golden Retrievers.

Diabetic dogs have a higher risk of developing cataracts. One study reports that 80% of diabetic dogs develop cataracts after a year. High blood sugar levels change the balance of water in the eye, resulting in cataracts. Diabetic cataracts can form quickly, even overnight. Urinating frequently, increased thirst and weight loss are signs of diabetes. Progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma can also cause cataracts to form. Both conditions are painful and can lead to blindness.

Signs of Cataracts in Dogs

As a dog owner, you can tell if something seems unusual about your pet. A simple walk in the park becomes strenuous for your dog. Perhaps your dog isn’t as playful as they used to be. In the early stages of cataracts, you may see very few symptoms. Look out for any of these symptoms of cataracts:

  • Changes in pupil shape or size.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Trouble navigating through dimly lit areas.
  • High-stepping walk.
  • Clumsiness or bumping into objects.
  • Scratching or rubbing the eyes.
  • Trouble judging distance.

The Difference Between Nuclear Sclerosis and Cataracts

Another condition that results in a cloudy appearance in a dog’s eyes is lenticular sclerosis. Lenticular sclerosis occurs when the inner layers of the eyes become dense.  Unlike cataracts, lenticular sclerosis does not impact vision significantly. 

Dogs with lenticular  sclerosis do not require treatment. Lenticular sclerosis occurs naturally with age. The condition usually presents itself in middle-aged dogs, between 7 and 8 years old. 

Also, lenticular sclerosis occurs in both eyes with a blue-gray appearance. While there is no cure for nuclear sclerosis, dogs can still live a normal, healthy lifestyle.

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed in Dogs?

A veterinarian will check to see if the cloudiness in your dog’s eye is cataracts, lenticular sclerosis or another condition. First, a blood and urine test is conducted to check for any underlying causes of cataracts, like diabetes. Then, a magnifying lens and a bright light would be used to detect cataract formation.  If cataracts are present, then your veterinarian will refer you to an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist will check the structure in your dog’s eye to screen for inflammation and glaucoma.

Treatment of Dog Cataracts

Unfortunately, the damage done by cataracts is irreversible. However, dog cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens which will restore sight. Dog cataract surgery is highly effective, with a 90% success rate. The surgery is usually outpatient, meaning your dog can go home the same on the same day. Your dog’s vision will continue to improve in the following weeks.

If your dog has inflammation in their eyes or glaucoma, surgery may not be the best option. Glaucoma is painful and can cause complete vision loss, meaning surgery will be unsuccessful.  Luckily, there are prescription eye drops that are available to help control inflammation. Glaucoma is manageable but can become difficult to control long-term.

What You Can Do

Dr. Foye and our team at Longview Animal Hospital can help you determine the best treatment for your dog. Although there is no cure for cataracts unless your dog undergoes surgery, there are some things you can do to prevent cataracts in your furry friend:

  1. Schedule routine eye exams.
  2. Check for abnormal behavior.
  3. Look out for injuries.
  4. Incorporate supplements that support eye health.
  5. Keep your dog physically active.

We all want our dogs to live happy, healthy lives. At Longview Animal Hospital, we make your pet a priority. Contact Longview Animal Hospital today for more information.

If you’re a dog owner, you know that hearing a rumble of thunder or fireworks can mean increased anxiety and distress in your dog. Nothing is worse than seeing your dog cry, pant and shake because they’re scared and anxious. Car rides, vet visits, and separation anxiety can also cause your dog to become nervous and upset. While minor anxiety is relatively harmless for your pet and can be dealt with on a day to day basis, chronic anxiety and stress can lead to more serious health problems. In the last few years, the Thundershirt by Thunderworks has provided dog owners with a natural, long-lasting solution to their dog’s anxiety. Here is some information and customer testimonials about the Thundershirt.

What is a Thundershirt?

A Thundershirt is a slightly weighted vest worn by your dog to help them feel calm and comforted, similar to swaddling a baby or wrapping yourself in a weighted blanket. The vest is designed to apply constant, light pressure on your dog’s torso to provide relief from anxiety caused by thunderstorms, fireworks, travel, vet visits or separation anxiety. According to the company’s website, the Thundershirt has helped millions of dogs combat anxiety and comes recommended by trainers and veterinarians. The Thundershirt has also been featured on tv and in magazines.  

Dalmation in ThunderShirt; Image from products page.

A Natural Anxiety Reducer

If your dog suffers from chronic anxiety, some veterinarians may suggest anxiety medication. Common anxiety medications that are given to dogs include Prozac, Sileo, Amitriptyline or Trazadone.   However, these medications can have side effects such as lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting but are still used commonly when anxiety issues are severe.  Thundershirt is a natural alternative and won’t disrupt your dog’s cognitive abilities or eating habits. Many veterinarians recommend Thundershirts or other natural remedies over medication, depending on the cause and severity of the anxiety.  

Where can I Find a Thundershirt?

Thunderworks has their own website where you can purchase specific sizes, colors and styles. They offer a classic vest that can be worn anywhere, a breathable “sport” model and a “polo” model. They can also be purchased at other online retailers and stores such as Petsmart.

Things to Keep in Mind Before you Buy

Before you buy a Thundershirt for your dog, here are some things to keep in mind,

  • Make sure you’re buying the right size to fit your dog securely.
  • Look at different Thundershirt styles to see which one will be best for your dog.
  • Read over the fitting and sizing information before fitting the vest. 
  • Thunderworks offers a money-back guarantee if the Thundershirt doesn’t work for you.

Customer Testimonials

Looking at customer reviews for the Thundershirt on Thunderworks, Amazon or any pet blog, you’ll see that the response is overwhelmingly positive. The company website claims the Thundershirt is proven to be at least 80% effective in calming your dog and preventing anxiety.  Here are some customer testimonials taken from the Thundershirt review page,

“Both our dogs LOVE their Thundershirts. We ask them if they want it and they run to where we put them. They sit there waiting for us to put them on and their tails are wagging like crazy. They bark less, are less restless and sleep better! I wish I would have tried the shirt a long time ago!!”

“Anytime during a thunderstorm my Yorkie would hide. After I saw your ad I purchased a ThunderShirt for her. WOW…now with the shirt on, she will stay on the sofa with me, or in her bed. No more running around trying to get away from the noise!”

In addition to customer reviews, most  veterinarians are fans of the Thundershirt too. In an experiment conducted by licensed veterinarian Dr. Debra Primoiv, the Thundershirt and a similar product called the Anxiety Wrap were tested on various dogs and cats and the vests were very successful. Dr. Primoiv explains that Thundershirts and Anxiety Wraps are a great alternative to drug therapy and they generally work for most dog breeds. 

Ask Your Veterinarian

When it comes to the health of your dog, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before treating your dog’s anxiety. Here at Longview Animal Hospital, your pet’s well-being is our highest priority. If your dog is having anxiety issues and you aren’t sure if the Thundershirt is right for you, we can help you find the best remedy for your dog or cat and help them feel more calm and safe. Contact us today at Longview Animal Hospital, we’ve been serving the area for over 70 years (475 dog years!). 

Bringing a new cat home is a tall order for everyone involved. Cats are notoriously shy when they first meet new people or fellow pets. The different socialization strategies depend on whether you are bringing in an adult cat with pre-existing habits or a kitten just beginning to learn about interacting with others. If a cat is not properly socialized with other animals in the house, it can mean a terrifying life in hiding. 

how to properly socialize your new cat or kitten

The goal is to integrate and socialize everyone, so the animals are both cute and happy. Your pets may not all become BFFs, but if they understand each other’s boundaries, they will learn to share the living space. What are the best methods to give your pets the best opportunity to be comfortable in your house? 

Introducing a Kitten

Elevation and Isolation

Set a pet crate up off the floor. Kittens feel safer when elevated. Allow a couple of days in isolation before bringing them out to meet the family. A big change of scenery can be overwhelming and difficult to process. 

Loud Noises

At first, keep your new kitten or cat shielded from loud noises. Speak softly and maintain a positive tone. After a few days, try leaving the TV on so they can get used to human voices and sounds. 

Early Rewards

Early positive experiences go a long way in determining the kitty’s perception of the world. Try to avoid scolding but do provide snuggles. 

If you have a litter of kittens that are slow to socialize, separate them so they learn to depend on people. Spend one-on-one time with the kitties. This will create a bridge of trust between kitty and human.


Like human babies, kittens love food. Use wet food as a special treat, but only feed them when you are present. This allows the kittens to associate you with the treat. Keep the food close so they must be near you while they eat. 

Don’t let the kittens eat food off your fingers. Do not let the kitten bite or scratch your hands, even in a playful manner. This teaches the kittens that not only is it okay to be rough with humans, but it is fun. 

Play with the Kitties

We know this one is difficult to do, but you need to spend time playing with the kitten (or kittens)! Plan to spend about two hours per day interacting with your kitten. Once the kitten is comfortable enough to snooze on your lap, it is time to take them out of isolation and into the open house.

Meeting Other Pets

The kitten must be comfortable around every person and pet in the house. If a kitten is not properly socialized with other household pets, the cat could grow up living in fear of a fellow pet. 

Make sure you supervise the introduction of the kitten to its brother or sister. Many grown cats (especially if neutered) will take on the role of protector for a kitten. If things do not go as planned during the initial meeting, be patient. Do not force the friendship. It can take time for one to warm up to the other. Sometimes they simply tolerate one another. Forcing the issue can cause unnecessary conflict. 

Adopting a Grown Cat

Adopting a grown cat means socializing a cat with an established perception of people and other animals. You do not have the luxury of working with the cat from its formidable days. Here are tips for properly acclimating an adopted adult cat to your home. 

Let it Explore

Let the cat get familiar with its surroundings. Let it get used to all of the nooks and crannies of its new home before you introduce it to any other pets. Keep any other pets, especially dogs, isolated to another room while the newest addition settles in. 

Introducing Your Dogs

Keep control over the dog in case it thinks an aggressive game of tag is the ideal way to meet the new cat. As with kittens, forcing this relationship could damage any chances of them getting along. If the animals are slow to take to one another, respect that. 

Keep a cheery voice and positively reinforce all pets involved. Show them all that getting along is a rewarding experience. It can put them in a better mood and help them take to each other. 

Preventing Territorial Issues

If you have multiple cats, give them separate food and water bowls to prevent any disputes. Some experts even suggest you provide separate litter boxes for individual cats. Cats do not just use their litter box for relieving themselves, they also find refuge in their personal space, and sharing makes them uncomfortable. 

If you have any questions about proper steps to acclimate your new family member, contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital. We are happy to help lend guidance. And don’t forget, if you have a new puppy or kitten in your household, use our coupon for 50% off your pet’s first annual wellness visit (a $24.75 value).

As a caring pet owner, your dog and cat companions are an important part of your life. Watching your pet shake his or her head in distress, combined with frequent scratching, should not be taken lightly. It can be a sign of ear mites or other more serious conditions.

Ear mites in dogs and cats

Though ear mites aren’t necessarily life threatening, they can lead to ear disease and complications like hearing loss.  Obviously, being able to hear helps keep pets safe from possible danger.  If you’re not familiar with ear mites or have concerns about them with your dog or cat, we’ll attempt to answer some of the more common questions.

What Are Ear Mites? 

First of all, ear mites are very common, especially in cats.  They’re actually tiny parasites that take up residence inside your pet’s ear canal. Once inside the ear, the mites lay eggs and the reproduction cycle begins. An adult female ear mite continues to reproduce throughout her life, which is usually around two months.

The mite population in your pet’s ear grows, typically causing severe itchiness and discomfort for your dog or cat. On occasion, ear mites migrate outside of the ear and onto the skin. The result is the same — considerable itchiness and irritation — on your pet’s skin. 

Since they’re tiny parasites, it’s very difficult to see mites. They survive by feeding on dead skin. Ear mites easily spread from animal to animal by casual contact. In addition to significant inflammation and pain for your dog or cat, mites can also contribute to ear infections.

It’s not typical for mites to cause problems for humans, but they can.  If you do have sensitive skin, you may experience some temporary itching if you come into contact with ear mites.

Common Symptoms of Ear Mites in Pets 

One of the most telltale sign of ear mites is head shaking or scratching furiously around the ears. Your dog or cat may also develop a head tilt.   In severe cases with significant scratching, blood blisters can appear on or around the ear. If the mites have spread onto other areas of your pet, you may notice lesions there as well.

If you look inside the ear, you may see black, chalky debris consistent with ear mites.  Yeast and bacteria may cause debris as well, but it typically has a different look and/or smell.  

Puppies and kittens are more vulnerable to infestations though pets of all ages can contract mites.

Diagnosing Ear Mites

Though your pet may show signs of the common symptoms of ear mites, other ear diseases or issues can present with similar behaviors. As stated earlier, yeast and bacteria are common In ears, and are usually associated with allergies.  Anotherxexanple of other issues is a foxtail (grass seed cluster) lodged in your dog’s ear that can cause many of the same symptoms — head shaking, discomfort and scratching. 

To diagnose ear mites, your veterinarian will examine the ear with an instrument called an otoscope. If you’ve ever had your ears examined by your doctor, you’re familiar with this device. Your veterinarian may also decide to diagnose by a microscopic examination and collect ear discharge.

As part of the diagnosis, your veterinarian will also get a history of your pet’s activities, such as contact with water, or contact with other pets who might have ear mite infestations. Pets that spend time outside, especially cats, are at a higher risk for an ear mite infestation.

Treatment of Ear Mites

Once the diagnosis is made, your veterinarian will review treatment options with you based on your pet, the severity of the infestation and your preferences. Since the mites are parasites, the products for treatment are usually insecticidal in nature. Topical medications in the ear usually work best.  

After treatment, it’s always best to schedule a follow-up visit with your pet. This is to ensure that the treatment was effective. Further treatment may be necessary to completely eradicate the mites.

To prevent future ear mite infestations, your veterinarian may give you tips on keeping your pet’s mite free.  Some flea and tick medications control ear mites, but keeping the ear canals clean is the best first step. Avoiding contact with other dogs or cats with known infestations is also recommended.

When to See a Veterinarian

If you’re concerned about your pet — and you’ve noticed behaviors that might indicate ear issues — it’s important to take your dog or cat for an examination. A proper diagnosis is necessary to determine the best treatment. If your pet has an untreated ear issue, such as an infection, it can lead to deafness or other serious complications. Proper veterinarian care can prevent more severe consequences from an ear mite infestation. 

For more information about ear care for your pets or to make an appointment, contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital. Our team of dedicated professionals would be happy to help you care for your furry friends.

Dealing with a sick cat is just like dealing with one of our kids. We can sense when something isn’t right. We don’t rest until our beloved pet is well again.

Cats often face problems with their urinary tract systems. While there can be a host of culprits, one cause to be considered is a urinary tract infection (UTI). Educate yourself about this painful yet treatable condition.

What is a UTI in Cats?

A UTI in cats is very similar to that of humans. It is an infection of the urinary tract system that occurs when bacteria are present in the bladder where they reproduce and grow in numbers.  They can change the pH of the urine which can lead to the formation of crystals, and if not treated soon enough, these crystals can form stones tgat can lead to blockage.  The stones need to be dissolved with diet or removed surgically as soon V as possible.

How are UTIs in Cats Caused?

Stress is the most common reason cats get UTI’s.  However, dirty surroundings, including soiled litter boxes, bedding, or general habitat, either inside or outside the home can also lead to a UTI.  Conditions such as advanced age, obesity or diabetes can also contribute. 

What are the Signs of UTIs in Cats?

When you first suspect that something is amiss with your favorite feline, look for these telltale signs:

  • Straining to urinate: If you notice that your cat is having trouble urinating and is under duress, pay attention. He or she may be experiencing pain and decreased flow due to inflammation.
  • Crying or mewing when urinating: Crying or excessive vocalization when urinating is an obvious sign that something is not right.
  • Increasing frequency: If your cat seems to always be in the litter box, UTI, or diabetes, are the most common causes.  Because the bladder is not emptying normally, there is a constant urge to go.
  • Leaving traces of blood in the urine: Blood is an immediate cause for alarm, as blood in the urine is a red flag for many health conditions.
  • Licking the opening of the urinary tract: A cat that is licking the genital area is trying to self-soothe irritated and burning tissue. 
  • Urinating outside the litter box: Urinating in places outside of the designated area is a cry for help. Pay attention.

How are UTIs in Cats Treated? 

If you see only a couple of signs that are listed above, you may have caught a UTI in its beginning stages which makes it easier to treat.  If your cat is showing any signs of a UTI, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. You can anticipate a veterinarian to take the following steps:

  • Collecting a urine sample: Your vet will need to gather much information from your cat’s urine.  It is always preferable to collect a sample in the office by cystocentesis, which is a quick, non-invasive way to obtain a sample using a needle and a syringe and extracting urine directly from the bladder. This way, the vet eliminates any possible contamination from the lower urinary tract when the cat urinates normally .
  • Running a urinalysis: This procedure will be done with the sample to test for bacteria, abnormal pH levels, glucose, etc. A urine culture will identify the type of bacteria so that a specific antibiotic can be prescribed.

How Can a UTI in Cats be Prevented?

If at all possible, you want to help your cat avoid this terrible experience altogether. Observe these following safety practices:

  • Reducing stress: There are several products, such as pheromones, and medicines we have at Longview Animal Hospital that can help you achieve this.
  • Keeping it clean: Make sure to clean the litter box, bedding and any lounging areas frequently. An overweight or elderly cat may not be able to keep the urethra area clean and may need to be wiped down with a clean cloth.
  • Staying hydrated: Encourage your cat to drink often by keeping a bowl of water both inside and outside, and changing and filling the water frequently.
  • Supplying urinary support pills:Pills made of natural ingredients such as horsetail, cranberry and parsley are widely available. You can also consider adding a probiotic to your cat’s diet.

You are your cat’s best ally. Stay alert, respond to anything out of the ordinary, and be proactive. All of these steps will help your cat avoid the ill-effects of UTI’s.

When you require medical attention for your pet, turn to the compassionate professionals of Longview Animal Hospital. We will partner with you to find just the right treatment for all of your cat’s needs. 

When it comes to a new dog, there are many supplies you need to make sure to get. A key one is a collar so you have somewhere to attach a leash, license, identification tags and rabies vaccination tag. There are so many choices out there for collars and it can be difficult to figure out where to start. 

The reason that there are so many choices is because they may have other functions in addition to identification and decoration. Not every collar out there is a good choice for every dog. Depending on your goals with your dog and his or her personality, you may consider certain types of collars. 

Baseline collars

These are the regularly used collars and the ones you should consider first. 

Flat collar.

The flat collar is the standard one for dogs. These come in many different colors and designs. They are characterized by a plastic snap or buckle closure that allows for a quick release. This type also has a ring where you’re able to attach the leash and identification tags.

This type of collar should be snug, but still comfortable around your dog’s neck. You should be able to get two fingers underneath the collar. This is loose enough that your dog won’t choke, but tight enough so it doesn’t slip off.

Martingale or limited-slip collar. 

This type of collar is designed for dogs with narrow heads. It would be for something like a greyhound or whippet. It can also be used for other breeds that easily slip out of their collars. 

The collar itself has two metal rings on reach end of a strip of material. There is then a separate loop of material that goes through these two rings. The leash attaches to this separate loop. The collar will tighten if the dog tries to back out of it. It will not choke them as long as the collar is adjusted properly. 

Head collar.

This collar has two straps. One of them fits around the dog’s neck and sits just behind the ears. The other forms a loop around your dog’s muzzle. If your dog jumps or pulls while walking, this collar is a great choice. Your dog won’t have as much leverage because it’s around the muzzle instead of neck. 

You need to understand how to work with your dog when using a head collar. There is the potential for injury if not done correctly. It needs to be fitted properly and you should not yank on it to get your dog’s attention. Patience is key with a head collar because your dog will need some time to get used to it. 


You could also consider a harness instead of a traditional collar. If you have a miniature poodle or a dog with a short nose, they are prone to their trachea collapsing. A harness is ideal in these situations to avoid pressure on your dog’s throat. A front-attaching harness is best. Your dog will be able to ignore you easily with one that attaches a leash to the back. 

Behavior modification collars

These collars can be controversial because they rely on discomfort or pain to correct your dog. They won’t teach the dog the proper behavior and just suppress the unwanted behavior. Consider positive training methods first. 

Choke collar. 

This collar is designed to control the dog by tightening around the neck. There are serious problems to consider with this method. You are choking your dog and you cannot control the amount. You can cause severe injuries to the trachea and even end up strangling your dog. 

If you insist on using one, work with a trainer to make sure it fits properly and that you are using it correctly. Make sure to only use it during walks. If you leave a choke collar on your dog, it could get caught on something and you may not be there to help. 

Pinch or prong collar. 

This type of collar had prongs with blunted points that rest all around your dog’s neck. It should sit just behind the ears and needs to be properly fitted. It actually pinches the skin on your dog’s neck.

Shock collars. 

These collars are designed to discourage barking. It is the least humane approach to these collars and could be easily abused or misused. It can also lead to aggressive or fearful behavior because your dog could associate this pain with certain people or experiences. 

How to choose

– Start with a regular collar.

A regular collar or harness is a good place to start. Depending on your type of dog, you may need a limited-slip collar or you could try a harness. 

– Get your dog proper training. 

Problems with your dog pulling can be helped by getting your dog professional training. Don’t resort to choke or shock collars early on. These can cause more damage than good. Working with a professional trainer will help also with fitting different collars. 

There are many different types of collars to choose from and it really comes down to the type of dog you have. Training will be key in getting your dog to behave during walks. When you start there, you will have a better experience and success with your dog. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to our team at Longview Animal Hospital – we will provide some basic guidance and can also refer you to some of our local trainers.

When it comes to our dogs, we want to be sure we are giving them the best we can. Treats are a valuable tool in training and showing our dogs that we love them. There are many choices out there when it comes to treating our dogs. It is important to know which are the healthiest and the safest in order to protect our pets. 

Bones tend to be a go-to item when considering treats, but they need to be picked out carefully. There are also other options out there that can be beneficial to your dog’s health. It comes down to deciding what is the best for your pet. You may want to try a few of the better options below and then decide. Your pet may react differently to different treats or certain ones may cause problems. Some trial and error may be necessary, but there are a lot of options. 

Natural Raw Bones 


Natural bones are very attractive to dogs. If the cartilage is still attached, they will be even more interested. Our dogs’ ancestors were hunters. This instinct is still in them. They could also be missing nutrients in their diet. Natural bone marrow is full of nutrients your dog may not be getting otherwise. 

Natural bones are also easy on dogs’ digestive system. The products of good quality have no added preservatives. 


Depending on your dog, there could be digestive issues. Even though the bones are natural, vomiting or diarrhea could occur. Natural, raw bones are also prone to contamination. 

Best choices

Only give your dog raw bones. Cooked bones are dangerous. They can break and splinter when your dog chews on them. These shards can cause cuts to the mouth and tongue, choking, broken teeth, vomiting, diarrhea or an intestinal blockage. The cooking process strips them of many nutrients as well. Never give pork bones, rib bones or bones smaller than your dog’s mouth. 

The best place to get raw bones for your dog is directly from a butcher. Raw bones from cows and bison are generally safe for dogs. You can store them in the freezer and thaw them out one at a time for your dog. Pick bones that are about the size of the dog’s head. Doing this will reduce the chance of them breaking off and swallowing a dangerous piece. 

Raw bones should be discarded at the end of the day as they are prone to food-borne bacteria.

Synthetic Bones


Since these are synthetic, you will not need to worry about any natural bacteria. They are  also designed specifically to help support healthy teeth and gums and will not stain your carpets or furniture.

Synthetic bones come in a variety of flavors and sizes, so you will be able to experiment to see what your dog may like best. They are calorie-free, so you will not need to worry about weight gain. 


There are some drawbacks to synthetic bones. They do not provide the nutrients and same flavoring that natural bones do. To make up for these weaknesses, they may include artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. 

It is very important to supervise dogs when they are chewing on any type of bone. This awareness is especially crucial when dogs are chewing on a synthetic bone. Pieces can break off and dogs could swallow them. They could get stuck in the throat, stomach or intestine and cause serious damage and problems. 

Best choices

Greenie dental chews are a good choice and approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. They are easy to digest and also support dental health. 

You could also consider a non-edible chew toy. These will help satisfy your dog’s desire to chew. 

Alternatives to bones


There are a variety of fruits that are safe to feed dogs. Apples are a great source of fiber, vitamin C and calcium. Make sure to remove the seeds and core. Blueberries are another good choice. They offer vitamin C and healthy antioxidants. 


Certain vegetables can also be good treats for dogs. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A and fiber. Cooked or cut-up raw carrots are both good options. Cooked sweet potato’s high in dietary fiber and helps with digestion. Pumpkin puree is good for food transitions because it helps with both diarrhea and constipation.

Bully sticks 

Bully sticks look like dried pieces of meat. They are high-protein beef muscle made from steer or bull penis. They are a natural source of protein and do not break down too quickly. They are a good choice because they are easy to digest, will not splinter and they will help clean your dog’s teeth. 

Pig ears

Pig ears can be a controversial choice and may cause more harm than good. The coating used can cause your dog to have an upset stomach and it can stain your carpet. There are better options. 

There are many great choices out there when looking for treats for our dogs. Make sure to supervise and monitor for different reactions. Contact us at Longview Animal Hospital with any questions about your pet’s needs. 

Did you know that your pet’s teeth should be brushed just like yours? Unfortunately they can’t do that for themselves, but you can be involved in your pet’s dental health in a way that isn’t time consuming and is painless if you go about it the right way. Here are some tips to consider when you’re about to brush their teeth. 

1. Pick a right time. 

You actually don’t have to brush your pet’s teeth every single day of the week. It is ideal, but not completely necessary. A good routine to work yourselves into would be brushing two or three times a week. Don’t randomly decide to brush, you should designate a time of day such as the end of the day. Begin a routine with your pet so that they begin to recognize when it is time to brush their teeth. 

2. Get the correct brushing tools. 

Human dental care isn’t the same as pet dental care. First and foremost, don’t use any human toothpaste with your dog or cat. The ingredients in human toothpaste may irritate their mouths or stomach if ingested. There are many toothpastes on the market that are made with pets in mind with flavors that they will find appealing. 

Also, don’t use a human tooth brush with them either. The bristles may be too tough and abrasive for their teeth and gum lines. Instead, opt for a pet friendly toothbrush with softer bristles and specialized angles to fit into your pet’s mouth. There are even pet toothbrushes that come with longer handles so that you can reach farther places in the mouth of a big dog. For small dogs, there are finger brushes that are small enough to fit on your finger and are small enough to cover all the teeth in a pet under 30 pounds. 

3. Ease into it. 

When you establish your routine of brushing, make it a comforting experience for your pet rather than a frightening one. Sit at their level instead of standing and stooping down to their level. They will recognize that this is not an aggressive stance, rather, a familiar one. They will be more open to being vulnerable with you. 

Then, start opening your pet’s mouth with your fingers and begin to rub gently on their teeth and gum line. Again, ease into it by using your fingers at first and then work your way up to a toothbrush. Your pet will have to be comfortable with a foreign object that isn’t food or a toy entering their mouth, and that may take some getting used to. 

After that, try doing the same thing with the pet toothpaste on your finger. Let your pet taste it, and then see if they respond positively or negatively to the flavor. If they respond positively, start rubbing it along their teeth and gum line so that they will become used to the sensation. If they respond negatively, try again later with a different flavor. 

4. Brush gently while focusing on problem areas.

Once you’ve found a flavor that your pet likes and your pet is comfortable with you cleaning their mouth, it’s time to start brushing their teeth. Place a small amount on the toothbrush like you would for yourself. Lift their upper lips and begin to brush at their gum line gently. Don’t aggressively scrub, rather, gently massage the area and let the bristles and toothpaste do the work for you. 

Continue this for their entire set of teeth. If light bleeding occurs, that’s nothing to worry about. Heavy bleeding or bleeding that does not get any better over time is a cause for concern. Schedule a visit with your vet to see if gum disease is a problem that your pet is dealing with.  

Why brush? 

Much like humans, plaque from leftover food consumption can easily build up over time along the gum line. This plaque can put your pet at risk for painful tooth decay, severe gum disease and bad breath. More severe consequences could lead to life threatening bacterial infections that eat away at your pet’s mouth. 

If you’ve never had your pet’s teeth cleaned before or your pet just isn’t cooperating with your efforts, feel free to contact us at Longview Animal Hospital. We do offer professional pet teeth cleaning services. While there we could also assist you in specialized tips and tricks to have your pet cooperate with you at home. 

When you bring in a new pet to your home, it is a big adjustment for everyone. Not only do the humans in your family need to adjust, so too do any other pets you have. How they take to each other depends a lot on their personalities, but there are some things that you can do to make the transition easier. Some pets end up being best friends, while others may just be tolerant of each other. 

What you really need to worry about is making sure that they are able to live together. Even if they don’t become best friends, they need to be able to live harmoniously. You need to have realistic expectations and take care when you introduce them to each other.

Tips for introducing a new pet 

Let new pet explore alone.

The first thing you should do when bringing a new pet into your house is to let it get a feel for its new home. Confine your other pets in a different room and let the new one explore the rest of the house. This will allow the new pet to get familiar with its new surroundings before having to confront or deal with any other animals. 

Make the introductions indoors in a controlled environment. 

When you introduce your new pet to your existing pets, do it inside. This will allow you to control the situation and not have to deal with outside forces beyond your control. If you are introducing dogs to each other, have them each on a leash. This way you can help to prevent or immediately stop aggressive behavior. If you’re introducing a dog and a cat, make sure to maintain control of the dog. You don’t want the dog to chase or corner the cat. This could cause problems. Even if the dog is just playing, it will still stress out and scare the cat. 

Give your pets time to adjust to each other. 

You can’t expect your new and existing pets to get along right away. It could take some time for them to get comfortable around each other. Don’t force them together and let them adjust at their own pace. Some are more timid and unsure around other animals. If you try to push them together, you may cause more issues. They could view it as a negative experience and make the entire process take longer. 

The animals may just want to sniff each other through a gate at first. Let them get comfortable. They will gain confidence and decide when to face each other. 

Use plenty of positive reinforcement for all pets.

You want your pets to associate each other with good things. Make sure to praise and reward them when they do something good with the other. Even if it’s just a wag of the tail, anything positive is deserving of praise. This will help them further warm up to each other. 

Don’t hold a cat when introducing a dog.  

If you are introducing a new dog to your cat, you don’t want to hold the cat in your arms. This could further upset the cat if you’re trying to hold it back. If it becomes frightened or nervous, you’ll probably end up getting scratched. Instead, confine the dog to a kennel or behind a gate and let the cat approach when it’s ready. 

Prevent food and water conflicts. 

When you have more than one pet, make sure to give them both separate water and food bowls in different locations. This will help prevent fights over food or water. If you have more than one cat, they should also have separate liter boxes. 

Take extra precautions when introducing a dog or cat to caged pets. 

It is possible for caged pets, like rabbits and birds, to live in harmony with dogs and cats, but you do need to be careful. They should be introduced under controlled supervision. Don’t assume that placing a cage high will protect the caged pet. Cats are pretty agile and can usually get to high shelves. 

Supervision is key. 

Until you’re positive that your pets get along, make sure to keep supervising them whenever they’re together. You can put one of them in its own room if you’re not around or otherwise occupied. You don’t want to risk one of them getting injured until you’re sure they can behave together. 

It can take some time for your pets to completely adjust to each other. You need to be patient and maintain a positive attitude during this time of transition. Your attitude will go a long way to getting your home acclimated to a new pet. Contact our Team at Longview Animal Hospital with any questions or to make an appointment.