Posts tagged with "animal welfare"

3 Steps to Peaceful Living in Multi-Pet Homes

Hi everyone!

If there is one thing for sure about animal lover’s, it’s that cats (or insert animal species of your choice here______) are like potato chips, you can’t have just one!

Invariably this can cause some tension now and then between animals within a household, and even between one animal and several people in a household.

We have boiled it down to two things the people need, and three things the animals need, to help minimize the stress, and help everyone stay younger, longer!

For the people it’s really just two things:

  1. The willingness to believe that animals are  trying to tell you something, and you are trying to understand what it is,

and

  1. The willingness to put ego aside and really listen and respond to what they are ‘saying’, even if it we don’t really like what it is! Allow them to have their own opinion, so to say.

That’s it! That is all you have to do! Not that hard, right?

 

Now for the animals, they need three things:

  1. Enough space, including a bed, of their very own. Make sure each animal has enough space relative to its species (a rat needs a big enclosure but a dog needs an even bigger one!).  Animals need a safe space they can feel safe in and call their own.  How many beds? Always aim for at least one more than animals, so they can have a choice of where to spend their time.
  2. A secure, feeding place and dish of their own. No one wants to feel like they have to share if they don’t want to. Each animal in the family is entitled to their own food dish, and to be safe and secure while eating meals so they can’t be bullied by anyone else during meal times.
  3. Play time! This is your daily bonding time! Take a moment to look them over from top to bottom each day (grooming too is even better), have some loving eye contact, and get a little exercise. Even if it’s only for a minute, this is the reason why we have animals in the first place. So take time to enjoy them each day. Exercise helps keep them, and us, young!

For more in depth on this, check out my LIVE broadcast above.

Thanks so much for tuning in! On that note, I’m DrQ, here to help you both, stay younger, longer. If you find this helpful, please like, follow, and share on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. AND have a great day! 🙂

 

An Update from the Resqranch!

Sox and ZenRhoen, Donkey, Katie and JianCute Zen, DrQ, Alexzee and SoxHeart shaped rain puddle!Getting Sox into the pondWe have had a busy summer so far here at the Resqranch. From caring to Oliver who severely injured his front left hoof, to retraining Dominic the Donkey to be safe and reliable. We are so pleased and delighted to have Katie with us. She is in an intensive one-on-one advanced HORSES 101! program, where she is learning everything about feeding and safe knot tying, to saddles and force free training methods. We still have a few slots available to offer FREE classes to your group or at your facility, either beginner or advanced. If this would be of interest to you or someone you know, please contact us or pass it on. For those of you unfamiliar with our animal rescue efforts, here is a link with some more information. Please check it out and donate or sponsor.

Thank you so much for taking the time to click through!

https://www.gofundme.com/w96q4v9w

Free Positive Pet Advice on Facebook!

Do you ever notice how pets seem to start acting strangely, or come up with new unwanted behaviors, right after most business office hours? How many times has that happened to you? Many times that is when we make a quick visit to  Google to see what the world has to say about what might be happening with your pet. The GREAT news is, we do have the internet! Although people often make negative remarks about it, with a little common sense and due diligence, it’s not usually too difficult to figure out what makes good sense, versus that which is a bunch of malarkey, or just people trying to sound bigger and more important than they are. (Aren’t you glad you don’t walk in that guy’s shoes).

Just as most veterinarians,  I can’t always answer every message on Facebook or text at certain times such as,  the middle of a surgery, or during a behavior consultation.  This leaves people looking for answers needing  to contact an emergency hospital, or surf the internet and hope to find good information. For real medical emergencies it is still best to get to the nearest after hours emergency vet right away. However for good, quick answers to behavior, training, and basic health care questions, a really great group on Facebook, one that I have come to know and love, is called  Positive Pet Advice. PPA

Positive Pet Advice was created October 12, 2014, by Louis Walton, a dog professional who was tired of the same old dog training groups where people spent as much time talking about their credentials, than they did actually trying to use their experience and knowledge to help others looking for answers. Young people today don’t go to the library anymore to research the answers, they go on the internet and hope to find the same information. This is mostly a blessing, since now we have more good information available faster than ever before. However, as with all things, sometimes you get what you pay for, and free advice must always be taken with a dose of caution.

However, armed with that knowledge, pet groups on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites do often have some knowledgeable people participating when they can, so when the work is split up among a group, you often can get nearly 24 hour 7 day a week free advice which more often than not is likely to be of some use to you, and fairly accurate. Getting that advice from a group such as Positive Pet Advice is even better, since most of the time the comments are very helpful, and monitored fairly closely by the administrators of the site to ensure it sounds reasonable, and just as importantly, polite. Thus the name POSITIVE Pet Advice.   Some groups on the internet criticize others for asking questions some might feel is treating an animal ‘wrong’ or ‘bad”. In this group that sort of criticism is not allowed, however, discussions are encouraged which center around certain standards of care, and training methods, as a means to educate and enlighten those interested and willing.

Speaking of the admin, or administrators of the site, they are lovely group of dog trainers and animal behaviorists, some even having experience with zoo animals, and highly recognized speakers in their fields.  Not to mention they are all a selfless bunch of people who donate hours of their time every single day, week after week,  to make sure the group runs smoothly, provides members with helpful pet information, and without a single thought of compensation, only because they know it is the right to do. Now often do you find that in the world anymore?

So, if you find yourself searching on line for some sort of health, behavior, or training advice, and it is NOT a medical emergency, then I encourage you to ask to join the closed group Positive Pet Advice on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/767055476662599/.  I have been working remotely with this group for over a year, and it is one of the most rewarding part of my work week. It is so encouraging to work hand in hand with such a talented group of animals experts in their respective fields, who give so freely of themselves, really just for the sake of helping the animals and their people. They do great live videos, give gifts to members, and other fun things, too!

Just to be clear, for any medical emergency or serious health concerns, please contact your nearest veterinarian as soon as possible. If you are just wondering about a product, a practice, or fun ways to make new toys or games for your animals, then Positive Pet Advice is a safe, welcome place, I recommend and support, to all my clients and friends.

On that note, I am DrQ, here to help you, and your animals live happier and healthier, longer. If you are on Facebook, like Dr. Q and join Positive Pet Advice! Thanks for reading!

Should You Keep Your Current Vet? An acupuncture story…

Recently I had the opportunity to spend time in a veterinary practice to which I had never been before. It was fairly exciting, as  I had heard the gentleman had been in practice for many years, and was especially knowledgeable in eastern medicine as well as traditional veterinary medicine.  I was eager to have the honor to get to spend some time with someone of his magnitude, and just knew I would be able to pick up a few tips to helps my patients, too.

That is exactly what happened! He was gracious enough to give me not only a tour of his clinic, but also shared with me his best tips for how to build my own vet clinic one day, pitfalls to avoid, and even down to the best kind of drainage system in the kennels.

The best part was yet to come when I saw the vast array of herbal remedies he had on the shelves of his pharmacy, it was amazing! The antibiotics and steroid type medicines took up only a very small amount of space on the shelf, the rest was all homeopathic remedies, herbals tinctures, and acupuncture needles. I was certainly inspired to acknowledge all my previous training in holistic medicine, and resigned myself to do a better job in 2016 of recommending more natural remedies to my clients and their pets.

He had a wonderful bedside manner, the staff all seemed on-task and good at their jobs, and it was interesting to observe how they managed multiple acupuncture patients at one time.  I observed both dogs and cats getting acupuncture treatments, and noted the extra steps they took to keep the rooms quiet, and dark, during the treatments, for the animals comfort.

I love acupuncture. I do it on my patients, my kids, and myself.  I believe in it so much  I never travel without needles.  They are such a useful tool, and I can treat such a variety of issues with only one or two tiny needles, it’s great! I have treated everything from allergies, to sunburn, to arthritis, and joint pain, with great success using only acupuncture.

 

Josephina after an acupuncture treatment.

Josephina after an acupuncture treatment.

This got me think about how I do to my own acupuncture treatments, in my house call practice.  I find I only recommend it on select patients, and not because they couldn’t all benefit from it. I don’t recommend it more, because, the more I have learned over the past about the science of behavior and training, I have come to a profound realization. That is, nothing, other than life or death safety,  should cause the animals to be afraid, uncomfortable, anxious, or hurt.  They are our friends, and in many cases, family members.

As they say in kindergarten, never hurt someone on the outside, or the inside. When we force anything other than potentially life or death, painful procedures, on animals, we are holding down and hurting those we love, without thought to their opinion on the matter.  I am very cognizant of each and every interaction I have with all my animal patients. I would rather leave the home visit on a good note, and come back to do a follow up a few days later, than hold the animals down to do something that only ‘might’ help. For many it is the first time in their lives they have a stress free,  thorough physical exam with a veterinarian.  This helps me do a better job, and we all have less stress and live longer.

With acupuncture sometimes it takes a little patience. You have to build the animals trust, first. So maybe the first time we just do a little massage and laser treatment, and do the acupuncture next time. Using only the smallest of needles on the fearful or highly anxious patients. Again, nothing is worth their discomfort (unless their life is on the line). And I have found that frightened animals with high endorphin release often do not respond well to acupuncture, anyway. While the calm, trusting patience who receive it with a deep breath, often get complete and total relief of many ailments and pain in just one treatment. One, well done, treatment.

Bringing the science of using primarily positive reinforcement in each interactions we have with animals,  will soon be essential knowledge for each and every veterinarian, veterinary technician, and every other kind of animal professional (from dog trainers to zoo keepers) trained in the world today, and into the future. Understanding what positive reinforcement is, and is not, is of paramount importance for everyone who cares about the well being of any animal. The principles are all the same, and they work across species. In the world of those trained in the science of behavior it’s known as R+.

This is why I have in the past not recommend acupuncture more often to my patients. I was not sure I would be fully able to explain that mostly I just don’t want to hurt their animal or cause it anxiety towards me.  I felt over the long term life of the pet with me as their vet, better they trust me and allow good exams all the time, than learn to fear me because sometimes I hurt them. My preference is to only do acupuncture treatments, well all examinations for that matter,  on patients that will allow me to with little to no restraint, and while handling the animal as if their made of fine china. These tend to be the ones with the highest rate of success.

Yes of course sometimes I might have to hurt animals a tiny bit, such as to get a blood sample, but only to help make their lives much, much better. In that case, I do it with as much dignity and grace as possible, taking all the time it takes, to keep the procedure as stress free as humanly possible. And ask their forgiveness afterwards. I usually get luckily!  If only people were as forgiving and accommodating as most animals!

So, should you keep your current vet? Bottom line, I am not sure, you have to decide. Does the doctor and all their staff,NEW HOLISTIC VETERINARY CLINIC IN DENVER, CO. treat you, and your animal, like an individual? Do you feel like they really listen, understand you, and care? Can you talk to them about how you really feel, and use that to guide your pets care? Then you are likely at the right place!

I am DrQ, here to help you, and your pets live longer, healthier, and happier, together, than you ever thought possible!  Thanks for reading! Share if you agree!

My Dog Ate My Shoes; Now What?

You adopted an adorable puppy who was in need of a good home. The puppy has become like another member of the family, and is loved and adored by all! All of the things you love about a new pet are there, the love, the cuddles, the house training is no problem, the pup is great in the house, and likes to go everywhere with you. It is a perfect love affair, until the one day you rush out the door,  and your adorable ball of fuzz, normally perfectly well behaved in the house,  decides for some unexpected reason, to express herself by targeting and destroying some personal item of yours. In this case, maybe your personal notebook which holds many of of your important documents. Or maybe it’s your new favorite pair of shoes…

You come home,  exasperated by the finding of the shredded, difficult if not impossible to replace, item. You are understandably angry! And hurt! How could she do this to you? Why did he did this to you? “What did I do wrong?”, you ask yourself. And what do I do now? You don’t have time for this! This is what I wanted to avoid when I chose to get a dog…

You know from reading books and reading on line about dog training, that dogs need a certain amount of exercise, play time, and toys.   You have provided those, yet you still find yourself frustrated. And what about that lag time between when the action happens and you come home to find it? Do they understand why for once you are NOT happy to see them when you got home?

As the Life Coach for People with Pets, let me help you sort through the human aspect of this first, and there in you may find the answers you seek, without spending a lot more time and money.

First of all, it is OK, and natural, to be angry. Yes there are some who say, that if you don’t catch the dog IN THE ACT of destroying something (or peeing on something), they are not “smart” enough to make the association between you being angry now, and what they did perhaps hours ago.  So what are you supposed to do? Come in, see the mess, ignore it and move on? Well then how in the world can you set the odds in your favor it will never happen again?

Let me ask you this, if you came home from work one day, and your roommate who does not speak much English  had taken scissors and cut all your sheets into shreds, would you just come in, and smile and act like nothing is wrong? Of course not! And so therefore I plead the case that yes, you should ‘tell’ your dogs that you are not pleased, when you come home.

No this does not mean it is ok  to rub their nose in it, ever. No more than you would grab your roommate by the back of the neck and throw him down and rub his nose in it. Yet it is natural and normal to put your hands on your hips, look at your roommate, or your dog in this case,  look at the mess, and sadly shake your head in despair. Violence is never the answer.  Simple communication is enough.

Remember, dogs are much better readers of body language, than us.  Without the benefit of complex words to convey a precise meaning, dogs have developed a very keen sense of reading body language. Your expressions, your tone of voice, even your odor, all of these things your dog uses to intimately care about you, the most important thing in their life, the giver of toys, food, leash walks, and love. Your dog probably knows you better than anyone, especially that roommate! And dogs are not encumbered by worrying about yesterday, or tomorrow, or a few hours ago, they have forgiven and forgotten, and are ready to enjoy the next moments of life with you. Which is something we can probably all learn from a little bit.

So, the first step is be yourself! Tell your dog how you feel! By literally verbalizing WHY what they did was so hurtful to you, right now as soon as you discover the situation. No of course they don’t understand your words. But don’t clean up the mess in silent anguish. The whole time “explain” to the dog exactly what what they did was such a big deal to you.  That was my homework I worked hours on. That was my grandmother’s antique rug you pooped on. I  worked for a whole month to pay for those shoes! You are not nearly as good at interpreting  body language as dogs are, however, when we as humans ‘verbalize’ what we are feeling, we cannot help but express ourselves in our body language, and our dogs CAN understand that.  So you will be teaching your dog something about you, while all the neighbors think your nuts because you are talking to a dog…

However, will that be enough to make sure it does not happen again? Maybe. This will vary by age, breed, and relationship. Some dogs (and people) are so sensitive and in-tune to each other, that just this one act, ‘talking’ about the problem, is enough to keep it from happening again. This is the however, the exception, and not the rule. With a puppy you have to assume, that although they will understand there is some momentary displeasure in your relationship, the motivation to chew that thing up at the time (my gums are itchy), the anguish they feel at the loss your presence (will you ever come back to me), their need to eliminate the pressure in their bladder, is more powerful than some nebulous repercussions in the future. Recall that whole ‘living in the now” thing they are so good at, and that we could all probably learn from a little.

So what can you do, besides clean up the mess and talk to yourself?

Remember one very simple principal in dog training,

if there is something that is happening, that you don’t want it to happen, then you can’t let it happen.

Ok brilliant, thanks a lot. How do I do that? Brainstorm and think of a realistic solution for your individual situation.  Put the pup in her crate with a favorite chew toy, install a camera system in the home and monitor them (rush in to catch them in the act), leave them out in the yard when you are not home, confine them to the kitchen, never leave them alone, install baby gates, clean up everything they could possibly want to tear up, hire a pet sitter, take them with you, etc.  One of these, or none of these and something else,  will be the right answer for you and your dog.

Puppies outgrow many of these behaviors in time, as they mature. The problem is that each and every time they pup makes a bad choice, and get some sort of reward for it (my bladder is less uncomfortable, my teeth itch less, my frustration is less because I took it out on your notebook), they usually have to be faced with,  and choose NOT to repeat that same behavior, at least 10 TIMES to unlearn what they learned was a pleasant thing! Imagine that you got free candy from a vending machine one time. You are likely to try to again, probably a few times, to see if it you might get that lucky again. Your pup is the same way. So, if  something happens, that you don’t want it to, again,  see the one and only rule above. If you are still frustrated, hire a positive dog trainer. Simple as that, results guaranteed.

Without a complex spoken language to communicate with our animals, and a strong sense of living in the now,  we have to keep it as simple and black and white as possible. This makes the for the easiest, fastest, least expensive (no need to buy new shoes), safest (no chewed up electric wires), healthiest and most positive type of training one can do (think, no negative consequences because the bad thing does not happen again).

You have treated your beloved family member with kindness and respect, you have preserved, and even enhanced, the bond that you share, and, you have tapped into the best science has to offer about how animals learn and think, and you can rest assured there is no better, kinder, gentler, faster way to teach your loved one.  It really is, just that simple.

On that note, I am DrQ, and the rest, is up to you!

 

 

 

Want New Fish? Read This!

Whether you have had huge tanks your whole life, or just want to get a little goldfish, there are a few important things to know to set you up for success.

1) Evaluate your current situation, and decide what you need.  If you have a small pond, then only plan to get another one or two small fish.  Remember, the more water + the less fish = higher chance of success, less work and costs for you (in general).  How much money do I have to spend on this new fish? How much more time do I want to spend caring for my fish? Is the tank or pond that I have now in good working order, or should it really get some upgrades before I commit to caring for a new life? Also ensure that what you want to get, will get along with the fish you have.

2) Be prepared to, and quarantine, the new fish, period.  Saying that the person, shop, auction, whatever, already quarantined the fish, defies the very definition of quarantine.  The fish has to be in YOUR environment, exposed to YOUR temperature changes, YOUR water source, etc. for a set period of time, ideally 4-6 weeks, before any decisions can be made about the health of that animal.  Diseases and parasites, (such as a herpes virus you or I might get as a fever blister when we work too many long hours), often lay dormant within the animal, even for years, but then overtake the fishes immune system and become a problem during times of stress i.e. moving to your house!  And then gives it to the fish you already have, and then, you have a big problem, which could have been avoided in a quarantine tank.  Have another set up, a tank from a garage sale (or I got my last one at the local thrift shop), get it cycling and have the water quality in it going great, and put your new fish in there.  Preferably your 2 new fish, as they really like to have a friend and will do better in at least a pair.   It’s a little more work, but so worth it, for so many reasons.  In fact, if everyone did this one important step, there would be almost be no need for me as a fish doctor!  So go ahead,  I dare you to try and put me out of business! Quarantine those new fish!  And no I do not recommend prophylactic treatment with a bunch of chemicals, dewormers, antibiotics, etc.  Just use this opportunity to bond with the new fish, up close and personal, before they are introduced into the main system.  Observe them and check their water quality carefully, every day, and then treat any problems as, or if, they arrive.

3) ONLY then should you begin to look for your new fish.  Of course if goes without saying to get fish from a reliable source with a great reputation.  Word of mouth is the best.  But also use your powers of observation.  Choose the fish that chooses YOU!  Not the little lonely one in the back corner with the torn fins who is all alone…he is for the shop owner to assume accountability for. Look carefully for torn fins, being interested in you and the surroundings, swimming strongly with the other fish, showing a strong interest in food, with a bright color and no visible marks, bumps, or other abnormal bulges or discolorations. You want the one (s) who can’t seem to want to swim over to you fast enough and say “Hey Buddy, What’s UP? YOU look awesome, want to hang out with me?”! And if your not lucky enough to have experience this with pet fish, and I hope you do, then at least pick one who seems the most vibrant, to you.

4) Safely transport the new fish home.  Proceed directly to already established quarantine tank.  Get the assistance of whoever you are getting the fish from, with the safe transport of your new friend. But if you want more help, I have an article for that which I can provide you with.

5) Feed, love, care for, and check temperature, ammonia, nitrites,  nitrates, and Ph, AT LEAST, on this new fish, every single day while in quarantine for the next 4-6 weeks.  If problems arise, consult me, right away.  I have seen Ph crashes kill thousands of dollars worth of fish in less than a day.  Don’t wait and see, this is what the quarantine period is all about. One month later and all is good? No problems or concerns whatsoever? Then congratulations on your new addition!  It is now safe to introduce the new arrival to the rest of the gang, of course ensuring that the water in the main tank matches what your new fish has been is, especially as far as temperature is concerned.   

So there you have it folks, everything you need to know about getting, and keeping, a new fish healthy and happy, in 5 simple steps!  And I remember, I am DrQ, here to help YOU, keep your animals happy, and healthy, years longer.  What other questions do you have?  Connect with me on Facebook #jenaquesten, Twitter @drquesten, Linkin, Google+, and almost everyone else you might like to hang out, and I will answer. Have a great day, and, best wishes for you and your fishes!Goldie

 

 

 

DrQ achieves CertAqV designation!

I am so excited, and blessed,  to share with you today  that I am the 21st person in the world, to achieve this designation!  This accomplishment comes after 8 years of applying myself to aquatic animal medicine, when I was not applying myself to many other things (such as caring for patients, keeping up with holistic  and behavior medicine, and caring for my family).  Although only 20 other people have achieved this designation so far,  in the future I know there will be many, many more, and hopefully some who accomplish it more quickly than me! This is all great news for fish medicine, since fish deserve to be treated like “regular” veterinary patients, too.

What it means is a worldwide program which identifies 9 core competency or subject matter areas needed to practice aquatic veterinary medicine, and recognizes those veterinarians that have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills and experience from a variety of sources (academic courses, CEPD, self-study, etc), to fulfill those competencies.  Applicants work with a mentor and have 2 years to provide evidence of basic understanding and competency in the 9 core subject areas.  After evaluated and approved, candidates will be entitled to use the “CertAqV” honorific to identify their competency.

Thanks for taking a moment out of your day to help me celebrate the achievement! And for those of you whom I have given lots of free advice over the years, and you would like to pay it forward, please take another moment to check out the updated #Reqranch page on my website.  Thanks in advance to those who do, and may your day end even better than you could possibly imagine! http://drquesten.com/our-charitys/