Friday, January 19, 2018
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
When we take or companions for a walk, in most cases the elements only come into play with how hot or how cold the air is. Most owners do not stop to consider there are other factors that impact your JRT that may not come to mind when you go on your walks.
In this article, we will examine some of the issues that arise when you take your JRT for a walk in the elements, from season to season.
The first season we will examine is summer.
There are several things to keep in mind when enjoying the outdoors with your JRT during this time.
Best time for activity is early morning or late at night—these are the best times of the day for the coolest weather. Keep this in mind, especially during the hottest part of the season, and take advantage of the cooler hours so that both you and your JRT can better enjoy your outside activities.
Use doggie boots—JRT’s, like most canines, absorb and expel heat through their feet. If they are walking on the hot pavement or sidewalks, they are at risk of absorbing significant amounts of heat, which and lead to all kinds of health problems. The use of doggie booties will add a layer of insulation and protection when walking on hot surfaces.
Watch for signs of dehydration—make sure you keep an eye on your JRT for signs of dehydration. Dehydration is a serious problem and in some case become a matter of life and death. Always have water available during the hot months, and make sure to take some along on your walks in case you do not have access to any. Better to be safe than sorry.
Keep your JRT cool—other than having water readily available, other methods of keeping your JRT cool are: walking during the cooler hours, letting your JRT take a swim, or taking a walk break and sitting under a shade tree.
Let your JRT dig—in nature canines dig for a multitude of reasons: for fun, for exercise, for hunting, for making a den to give birth—but they also dig so that they can use the earth to keep cool. So, on your next walk, if your JRT indicates a need to dig, allow them too. It is their nature, and they know it is a way of cooling them off.
Stay close to home—when the temperature is high, it is best to take a route that keeps you close to home. Short, little walks are much better in hot weather rather than long, strenuous walks. If you stay close to home, then when you and your JRT begin to feel tired, and even overheated, you will not have as far to go to get into a much cooler, relaxed environment.
The winter season can pose various problems for your JRT as well.
Trim their nails—make sure that you keep your JRT’s nails trimmed. When walking well-trimmed nails will give your JRT more traction, and thus make their walking experience safer.
Use a backpack—a very un-thought of but useful trick is to put a backpack on your JRT. This will provide a slight bit of extra added incentive to not dawdle and goof off during potty breaks. It will also help to *burn off* some of that extra energy that the winter time months seem to produce.
Check their paws—make sure that you check all four paws very often. With the winter dry months they have a tendency crack and become tender just like our hands and fingers do. Also, when walking avoid areas that have been salted, as this will aid in the drying out and cracking of the paws.
Prevent pulling—anytime you walk your JRT you want to prevent the habit of them pulling on the leash. However, during the winter time walks, this is even more important. If your JRT is pulling on the leash and hits a patch of ice, the result could prove painful for them, as well as possibly to you. Avoid pulling to begin with, for safety sake.
Wear a sweater—many JRT’s tend to get cold easy and as result may rush their potty break to get in out of the cold. The use of a pet sweater may help to prevent the shortening of outside jaunts, and on your winter walks will more than aid in keeping the chilly weather out.
Don’t push—know your JRT’s limits. It is best not to push them and try to get them to do more than they are comfortable with. They will let you know when they have reached their limit, and it is best to know the signs and abide by them
As long as you follow the above suggestions and allow common sense to prevail, your walks with your JRT should be a pleasurable and enjoyable experience for you both.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Spending time with your companion as you do, it is possible to take it for granted whether or not your JRT is healthy. However, this is very important part of being your companion’s caregiver and should be one of the questions that you think about more often than not. There are signs, symptoms and subtle tells that will let you know if they are healthy or if a problem is brewing. A few of them are listed below:
JRT’s can be finicky eaters—any JRT owner can attest to that. However, your companion is usually a big eater, or is finicky more so than usual there may be cause for concern. Also, if your JRT has gone of their food or water for more than 24 hours it is definitely time to contact your veterinarian. This is usually a good indication of a problem.
Full Body Checks
Once a month, while grooming or just loving on your JRT, you should run your hands over every part of their body. You are checking for any noticeable changes such as cuts, lumps, growths or displays of discomfort when a certain area is touch or rubbed.
Changes in their Gait
When you and your JRT are out for a walk, watch and notice how your companion carries themselves. Do they walk stiff? Drag their toes? Limp? Also, do you notice more panting than usual or perhaps a cough? If so then there is definitely a need to see your veterinarian and follow up.
Watch their Weight
Obesity and being overweight can cause a multitude of physical as well as health problems for your JRT. Although most JRT’s are very active, a lot can have to do with their environment and their exposure to the chance to exercise. Make it a priority to keep your JRT on a well-balance, healthy diet, and if things begin to get out of control it is better to handle them sooner than later.
Monitor their Potty Habits
This is one area that is helpful in detecting a problem with your JRT. There are several warning signs to be on the lookout for such as: diarrhea, constipation, blood or even mucus are the four top warning indicators that may be in your companions stool. Their urine can be a signal as well if it is dark, cloudy or contains blood. The key word to remember is that everything is consistent. If not, then see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Check their Teeth
As with us, your JRT’s teeth can tell you a lot about how they are doing health-wise. You should make it a routine to check your companion’s teeth at least every month. If you notice any change in their teeth and make sure none are loose or cracked. Check their breath noting if there is an odor. An odor can indicate anything from digestive issues to tooth and gum infection. Finally check their gums as healthy gums should appear pink; if they appear dark red or dark in general make sure to have them looked over by a veterinarian.
Look them in the Eyes
Look your JRT directly in the eyes and make sure they are clear and the pupils are round and even. Also, check for any ingrown eyelashes that may come to pose a problem, and make there is no excessive discharge or signs of redness or irritation. If any of these symptoms are visible, make sure to get them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Don’t forget the Nose
In most cases your JRT’s nose should be moist and cool, will be free of visible discharge, no evidence of sneezing and no sounds of obstructed breathing.
Check out those Feet
Make sure when you do our monthly checks that you include your companions feet in that routing check. Make sure there are no cuts, scrapes, or sores either on the pads of the feet or between the toes. Also make sure that your companions toenails are kept as short as possible as long nails can cause problems and discomfort. Caution: when trimming the nails make sure to be extra careful because if they are trimmed too short, you may hit the quick causing both pain and bleeding.
Lastly, check their Ears
Look in your JRT’s ears and make sure there is no wax build-up or swelling. Smell them as well, because if there is an infection starting you will smell it before you see physical signs of it. You may clean around the outer area of your companion’s ears, but at no time do you insert anything into the ear canal itself. If you find anything unusual make sure you see the veterinarian to have it checked out.
If you make sure to do a monthly routine checking these areas, if a problem were to crop up you will notice it well in advance of it becoming a major problem. It is all about being diligent and keeping the best interest of your JRT in mind. A healthy companion is a healthy and long living companion which is a win-win situation all the way around.
Friday, September 16, 2016
In the canine world your JRT has a very limited means to express when they are not comfortable or pleased with a situation, unlike in the human world. It is because of this gap in communication that from time to time you may misread or misunderstand your JRT’s actual meaning or intentions. Many times in fact when a JRT shows displeasure or discomfort in a situation they are mistaken as being aggressive, when really that is not the case at all.
The one thing to keep in mind is that your JRT can snap and growl and still be a good companion. This behavior does not point to aggressive tendencies, and should not be treated in that manner. The underlying cause of the behavior is what needs to be scrutinized, not the automatic jump to a conclusion of aggression.
With a normal, what we will call a good JRT from here on out, there are steps, or warnings, that are issued in a sequence. With an aggressive JRT, there are no warnings, just the head long leap into the aggressive behavior.
The warnings may be basic, such as low growling, pulling away, raised hackles, or even a snip here and there. These are your JRT’s way of letting you know in the best manner they know how, that they are unpleased or uncomfortable about a situation or action.
Now, by no means think that these are the only warnings, or that they will end there. It may very well end up that your JRT is in a situation that makes them so uncomfortable or uneasy that they will become more forthright in their objection. It is usually when they are pushed to this point that they are seen as aggressive in nature, even though they tried to give you adequate warning of their feelings.
When your JRT does issue these warnings, and others that may be more specific to your companion themselves, it is best not to confront or push the issue. It is by pushing your JRT, and confronting them, that the situation can escalate into aggression. Keep in mind that most aggression is caused by stress. If you stress your JRT, there is a good chance that the will present with aggression tendencies or responses. Responses that could have been prevented had you headed the warning signs.
Snapping and growling are two different types of warning. As such we will need to look at how to deal with them separately. First, lets take a look at how to deal with your JRT growling.
-First and foremost, it is essential to figure out WHAT is causing your JRT to growl. Is the growl one of warning, or is it sign of something else? Is your JRT is stressed? Uncomfortable? Or maybe even in a fearful situation? You need to know WHY your JRT is growling, in order to better understand them.
-Under no circumstances do you punish your JRT for growling. In their world, growling is a form of both warning and expressing their feelings. If you punish them for growling, then there is no precursor to the next warning, snapping. And in some cases punishing for growling will move your JRT into full blown aggression, since they no longer feel comfortable with their warning system.
-When your JRT begins to growl stop what you are doing immediately. If there is usually a very short span of time between their growl and their snap, step back a safe distance. If there is usually a decent span between one warning and another, just stand by your JRT until they are calmed down and more relaxed. It is then that you may move away, showing this action as a reward for relaxing rather than one for growling.
-After your JRT has calmed down take a moment to analyze the situation. What act or action might have elicited the growl? Were you grooming them? Did you take a toy or such away from them? If you know what caused the growl, you will be better served to deal with if not prevent the same response in the future.
-Plan out a method to accomplish the same action you were attempting before without initiating a growl again. This will undoubtedly take some planning, and might involve the help of another individual, but make sure that, unless you can convince your JRT that the action is a good thing, that you do not repeat it because you will only serve to achieve the same end results.
-Here is the most important of them all…identify those things in your JRT’s environment that are causing them stress, and triggering their warnings, and eliminate them if at all possible. If you cannot eliminate them all, eliminate as many as possible. The less stressed your JRT is, the less the chance they will feel the need to issue warnings.
Now that we have looked at why your JRT might be growling at you, lets look at possible reasons why they may be snapping as well.
-The number one reason your JRT might snap at you is out of fear. Keep in mind that any situation that is deemed uncomfortable or unpleasant may trigger a sense of fear in your JRT, that then in turn may trigger a response of snapping. Also, the snapping may or may not be preceded by a warning growl.
-The next most common reason a JRT might snap is over possessiveness. In the canine world, the need to protect what they feel is theirs can cause a JRT to snap. This possessiveness may involve a beloved toy, treats, food and in some cases their human companion. It is your JRT’s way of indicating what is theirs will remain theirs…period.
-If your JRT is experiencing pain that is worse than usual, this may provoke them to snap at you. It is important to either determine what is causing your companion pain, or take them to a veterinarian and have them evaluated. Anytime pain is the cause of the snapping, there is cause for concern.
-If your JRT is female, she may be experiencing maternal feelings and believe it or not this can lead to snapping. When you are around her puppies, handle them with care, and in full sight of your JRT. Also, try to keep young children away from both mother and babies, and make sure they have a place where they can be together at any and all times that gives them a feeling of safety and security.
If you look at the warnings signs, and the possible reasons that might trigger your JRT to growl and snap at you, then you will be better prepared with how to treat the underlying causes. Do not automatically jump to the conclusion of aggressive tendencies, and make the mistake of handling each situation in this manner. If you do it will only aid in straining your relationship with your JRT and possibly cause long term irreparable damage as well.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Like most canines, whether wild or domesticated, Jack Russell Terrier’s tend to mark their territory.
Most achieve this method of ownership through their barking. They will bark at strangers or interlopers making sure that it is understood that they claim a specific area. However, some JRT’s male and female alike will take this claiming of territory to the next level by urinating on what they perceive to be their “turf”.
It is very important to understand that this type of urination habit is not one of a lapse in housebreaking. Your JRT is doing this action on purpose. To begin to take control of this annoying habit, you must first figure out what is triggering it to begin with.
To help in determining if your JRT is, in fact, marking its territory you will need to figure out if one of the symptoms below matches what is going on with your canine companion:
-The issue is solely with urination. Although some JRT’s have been known to mark with feces, more often than not this is not the issue.
-You are finding the urine on walls, cabinets or other vertical surfaces. This is from leg lifting which believe it or not females are known to do just as well as males in some cases. And, even if your female is not a leg lifter then she will still be squatting to mark her territory. The moral here is do not rule out your female from marking.
-Have you spayed or neutered your JRT? If not, more than likely you are experiencing a marking problem as intact males and females are more prone to marking than their spayed or neutered counterparts.
-Finding that your JRT may be urinating on new items brought into the house, such as furniture is also a symptom of marking. Also, if you find they are urinating on items with an unusual odor or might have the smell of another canine or feline, then they are most probably marking in this instance as well.
-If your JRT is not getting along particularly well with another animal in the household they may be resorting to what they would do in the wild. When one canine wants to exert dominance over another “pack” member, they will urinate and mark what they are claiming as their own.
-When you take your JRT for a walk and find that they are stopping frequently to lift their leg or squat, then rest assured they are marking. The thing about this is they will bring that behavior home with them and will be re-marking their own territory just to reassert their ownership.
Okay, so you are pretty sure, from the list above, that you have determined that your JRT is territorial marking. Now the question is how do you stop the behavior?
-Spay or neuter your JRT as the earliest time your veterinarian suggests because by doing so you decrease the possibility of territory making to occur. However, if you wait until too late in life, the very action may be ingrained in your JRT and spaying or neutering may not make a difference.
-Clean previously soiled areas and make them inaccessible and unattractive to your JRT. If the latter two are not possible, then recondition your companion to see that particular area in a new light. Love on them, play with them, and give them treats so that they may see it as a positive area and not one to mark in the future.
-Any articles that are of particular interest to your JRT to mark on, such as guest’s belongings or new purchases, keep these items inaccessible to your companion. Either place them up out of your JRT’s reach or stored in a closet or closed off room.
-If there is a new pet in the home, and they are not getting along with your JRT, try to mediate a truce. Also, keep your JRT away from doors and windows. If they are able to see other canines or animals they may feel compelled to territory mark as a result.
-Watch your JRT closely while indoors for signs they may be getting ready to urinate and mark. If for some reason you cannot watch them, consider confining them to a crate.
-If none of the above proves effective, then it may be that your JRT is marking out of anxiety. Consult with your veterinarian about the possibility of this being the cause, and a short term dose of anxiety prevention medication may help in clearing up the issue.
Territorial marking in JRT’s, as with most canine, is common and not unheard of. There are multiple reasons for the condition, and by determining the root of the problem you may better deter the annoying behavior. Just keep in mind that most times your JRT is not aware they are doing something you do not like, and it will take time, patience, and understanding on your part to help them to move past this condition.
Monday, August 29, 2016
In the previous article, we looked at how to choose a veterinarian for your JRT. In this article we will take a look at the different things you can do to make your JRT’s first veterinarian visit less stressful for them, and for you. Keep in mind that next to you your JRT’s veterinarian is the next most important human in their life. Also important to keep in mind is that the earlier in your JRT’s life that they begin going to a veterinarian, the sooner a type of bond of trust will form. There will always be some level of anxiety for your JRT, but not as much as there could be.
A few things to think about, before your first visit are:
Call head and see if there are any special instructions that need to be followed before your visit. One of these may be no food or water within 12 hours of the visit. It is important to have an open line of communication with the veterinarian from day one. Remember, this is someone who will be handling a very important part of you JRT’s health and well-being for the remainder of their life.
On the day of the visit, make sure to make it just like any other day in your JRT’s life. Do not make over or bring excess attention to the fact that they will be going. If you get your JRT all worked up, that will only serve to ramp up their anxiety when they actually realize where they are going. Then, when they get there, you and your JRT both will be miserable.
Do not forget to take your collar/harness and leash when you go to the veterinarian office. It will be crucial in helping to control your JRT, and maintain some sense of familiarity when they are there. Also, it is worth noting that many offices require that JRT’s be on a leash, just do to their overactive temperaments which will be heightened due to their anxiety.
If you get to your appointment and find that your veterinarian is running late, be patient. For the first thing, any anxiety or stress that you are experiencing will be picked up on and sensed by your JRT and will only serve to heighten theirs. Also, may times what was originally presumed to be a routine appointment may very well turn into something that needs a more in-depth approach. So, relax and hang tight knowing that the veterinarian will get to your JRT as soon as possible.
When you do attend your appointment make sure to bring along something to keep both you and your JRT occupied during your wait. This day in age most people bring their cell phones or tablets for entertainment, which is fine. But your JRT is going to need some distractions as well. Bring along a toy or two, or even some of their favorite treats (if permitted). Anything that will help to avert your JRT’s attention from the current situation and keep their anxiety levels as low as possible.
Keep in mind that when you arrive at the veterinarian’s office that your JRT is going to exposed to an explosion of new and strange smells, sounds, and sights. This will most assuredly kick their anxiety into high gear. You need to be patient and supportive at this time. You JRT’s whole impression of the veterinarians office visit is established during this first visit. If the visit is a stressful and fearful one, then that is what your JRT will associate each and every visit after that with…fear and stress. Make sure to arrive a few minutes before your appointment time, so that you may take the opportunity to allow your JRT to acclimate to the new surroundings on their own terms. This will more than prove beneficial in future visits.
Many veterinarians do not like the owners in the exam/treatment area with their JRT’s. This is on rule I never really understood. After years of not going back with mine, I finally asked my veterinarian if I could. He said that as long as it didn’t add to my JRT’s stress during their visit that it would be fine. What we found out was that my JRT’s seemed to be more at ease and less stressed than when I wasn’t there. It made me wish I had asked years ago to be with them in the treatment room. This is something you may want to ask your veterinarian. If not on every visit, then maybe just on the first few so that your JRT will know that the veterinarian is someone you approve of. It could go a long way in easing their anxiety.
Once your visit is over and you have returned home, allow your JRT to relax and decompress. They will most probably be in need of a nap, since anxiety can take a lot out of them. Allow them to rest, undisturbed, and get their emotions and feelings back in check. They need to get back to their *safe zone* in their emotions, and a nice nap can help achieve that.
If you take the time to properly prepare your JRT for their first veterinarian visit, then you are most assuredly both going to come out with much less stress and anxiety than if you had not prepared. Keep in mind, you are the main human in your JRT’s life, and they are looking up to you to make sure they are provided for and taken care of. Keeping their stress, anxiety, and fear levels at a minimum as much as possible is one of the best things you can do for them.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Choosing a vet for your JRT can be a very daunting task. You want to make sure you can trust the individual you choose with your JRT’s health and welfare. Because all the information out there can sometimes be a little overwhelming we thought we would present some of the criteria that you should consider in making your choice.
When looking at choosing a vet, it is of utmost importance to get the whole family involved. Gather everyone together for a family conference and go over what each of you are looking or and consider important to you in a good vet. Make sure everyone has a voice in the decision, and talk over any concerns that anyone might have.
When looking into a particular individual, it is always sound advice to look into which school they attended as well as the accreditation credentials of the school itself. As with most things in life, not all schools are created equal. There are those that the veterinarian major is lost in with other majors, and there are those better schools that are either geared more towards the animal medicine field, if not exclusively so.
Gives Back To The Community
Does the individual you are considering entrusting your JRT’s health and well-being to give back to the local community? By that, ask does the individual visit shelters to help with the animals housed there, while also maybe offering a small discount on their fees? Do they attend adopt-a-pet type outings, offering discounted general check-ups or pet care advice to new pet adopters? Is the individual there in wellness as well as when needed?
Don’t be afraid to ask the individual about their own personal beliefs. This is a very important step as it will give you the much needed insight you will need to know if your personalities will mesh, for the welfare of you JRT. If you are constantly in disagreement with, or butting heads with your veterinarian, it could result in poor judgement calls that could be detrimental to your JRT.
Ready Access To Medical Information
Whether the information comes from your veterinarian or their technician, you need to know that you are going to have ready access to any needed medical information. For instance if you JRT is hospitalized by the veterinarian would you be able to call and check on their progress as often as you feel you needed to? Will they answer any questions about your JRT’s health while in the veterinarians care?
Up To Date and Current Equipment
A successful veterinarian office will have the necessary and up to date equipment needed to provide top notch care for your JRT. Some of the equipment to inquire if they have is, but not limited to, x-ray machine, IV pumps, ultrasound, blood-pressure testing and lab equipment. Also to be checked is if, for the more time involved lab testing, that the individual has a reliable and timely testing facility that they use. The more timely the lab results, and the more accurate, the better the ability for accurate diagnosis.
Pride In Their Facility
Any veterinarian office worth its weight will be more than happy to give you a tour of their facility. You need to know that they are up to date and cleanly enough for your JRT. And, if they are up to snuff they will be more than accommodating.
Standard of Care
Take time to observe how the veterinarian and his technicians interact with the other animals in the office, and in their care. This casual observation will tell you multitudes about how they will care for and handle your own JRT.
Word of Mouth
Ask around about the veterinarian and see if maybe you know someone who either take their own pet to them or has in the past. Ask family, friends, co-workers and anyone who will offer some insight to help you in your decision making process. If you hear the information from someone you know, you are more likely to get more accurate, trusted and helpful information
Hours of Operation
The office hours, or even after hours, are crucial to know. You need to know if you can get your JRT to the new veterinarian at a time convenient to your schedule and in the case of emergencies after hours .
Choosing a veterinarian can be a major decision, and one that is of great importance. But, if you include all the family in the discussion, and you get all the information listed above, you will be able to make a more informed decision that will affect your JRT well into their older years.