Saluting Veterinary Technicians

photoNational Veterinary Technician Week is the third week of every October. Founded by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, this event pays tribute to all the veterinary technicians across the country who play a significant role in the health of our pets.

Aside from taking care of animals, a veterinary technician’s day-to-day responsibilities include obtaining and recording patient histories, assisting in  procedures like surgery and x-rays, getting animals ready for surgery, preparing equipment and operating rooms, administering medications, inducing and monitoring anesthesia, taking radiographs, collecting specimens like urine and blood, performing laboratory duties, advising and educating owners, managing the clinic, instructing other clinic staff, and overseeing other clinic personnel like veterinary assistants. They also work in biomedical research, education, sales, and the military.

To become a veterinary technician, one must complete a two or three-year course from a school that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Many technicians take extra classes to specialize in an area of pet health. They must also acquire continuing education credits to stay updated on the most recent developments in veterinary medicine.

National Veterinary Technician Week has been celebrated every year since 1993 to recognize the important contributions of veterinary technicians to society. During this week, there are programs and activities intended to educate the public about the role of vet techs, provide an opportunity for technicians to applaud one another for outstanding performance in their work, and reinforce the professionalism and value of technicians to both veterinarians and the public.

If you work in an animal clinic with veterinary technicians or if you are a pet owner who knows a vet tech, here are some ways to salute them during National Veterinary Technician Week.

* Submit an article to your local newspaper honoring your vet tech.
* Bake them a homemade cake or cupcake with their name on top.
* Take them out to a nice dinner.
* Get them a vet tech T-shirt.
* Give them a new pair of scrubs with a funky pattern.
* Cook and bring them lunch at work.
* Give them a new pair of orthopedic shoes.

Categories Dog Blogs We Love, Special Dog DaysTags , ,

Leave a comment on Saluting Veterinary Technicians

Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

photoWhat if, one day, you get home and find your pet has stopped breathing, is in the middle of a seizure, or is injured and bleeding? These are scary scenarios, but possible. Would you know what to do in the event of an emergency? October is National Animal Protection Safety Month and National Pet Wellness Month, so there is no better time to learn what to do should disaster strike.

As a responsible dog owner, you need to know how to administer first aid and CPR, as well as have the numbers of your vet, poison control center, and emergency hospital saved on your phone or written on a piece of paper that can be easily seen. If your dog is a large breed, you should have a method of moving him in case he gets injured or unconscious.

If you would like to learn how to perform pet CPR, the American Red Cross and other organizations provide training on this practice. Mouth-to-snout resuscitation is very similar to the conventional mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for humans; the only difference is that the person administering the procedure will have to close the dog’s mouth and breathe into the dog’s nose. Some people may find this funny or even unpleasant, but mouth-to-snout resuscitation can actually save a pet’s life.

Aside from mouth-to-snout resuscitation, chest compressions can also be performed in case a dog’s heart stops. The importance of knowing how to do these procedures cannot be emphasized enough, and several organizations that previously taught traditional CPR only are now teaching pet CPR as well. Your local Red Cross may offer training on pet CPR, so give them a call if you’re interested and ask them when the next class will begin. You never know when this knowledge may be useful, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you haven’t developed a pet emergency plan yet, now is the best time to do so. Prepare a first aid kit and a notebook with essential information such as instructions on what to do in case of a seizure or injury, medicine dosage, and important phone numbers. If you have a big dog, a ramp is helpful for transporting purposes.

Categories Dog CareTags

Leave a comment on Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

Puppy Potty Training: How to Deal with Accidents

photoWhen toilet training your puppy, the most important rule that you need to remember is this: If you don’t catch him in the act, don’t punish him for it!

Should you come across a mess that was left while you were gone, just clean it up and let it go. Discipline is useless because unless you catch your pup doing it, he will not know what he is being punished for. He has peed and pooped many times before he met you, and nobody has ever made a fuss over it before. Therefore, he will not be able to associate the punishment with something that he has done without incident hundreds of times before, especially if he did it over 30 seconds ago!

Like children, puppies are not thinking about what they did before, unless it was really fun. They are thinking about what they can do next. Young puppies have very poor memory.

Moreover, you have to admit that it was your fault and not your pup’s. Had you been keeping an eye on him, you would have noticed that he suddenly started walking or running around in circles, sniffing for the right spot. Your puppy will display the same behavior every time he needs to go to the bathroom. The act may vary a bit from pup to pup, but they will always show their pre-potty pattern.

If you do catch your puppy in the act, don’t get mad. Again, it was your fault, as you were not paying attention to the signals. Quickly but calmly pick him up, and firmly say “no” without raising your voice. Carry him outside or to his papers. You can push his tail down while you are carrying your pup to keep him from peeing or pooping any more. He will get excited when you take him outside or to his papers, but stay with him for some time. If he finishes his business, reward him with simple praise such as “good boy.”

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction (remember Newton?), and this applies to dog potty training as well. If you overreact and harshly scold or scare your puppy for making what is in your mind a mistake, you will not be able to make much progress.

Some people believe that rubbing a puppy’s nose into his mess will teach him a lesson, but this isn’t the case. In the puppy’s mind, there is no difference between rubbing his nose in the accident he left in your living room an hour ago and rubbing his nose in the pile the neighbor’s dog left in the park a week ago.

Peeing and pooping are natural instincts, and punishment seldom speeds up the potty training process. Instead, it makes the dog nervous or fearful every time he has to relieve himself.

Punishing your puppy can cause long-term relationship problems. If you discipline your puppy for making a mess while you were away, he isn’t thinking about what he might have done a couple of hours ago. He isn’t thinking that he should not relieve himself inside the house. He isn’t even thinking about the messes.

If you get home and your puppy runs off and hides, he’s not doing it because he has had an accident. Instead, he has learned that when you first come home, you are always in a bad mood and he gets punished. Hence, your pup has decided to avoid you for a while and goes into hiding. Because discipline was misunderstood, your puppy becomes afraid of you, and this can have a lifelong impact on your relationship.

Regardless of the method you use, spend as much time as possible with your pup if you want to accelerate the housebreaking process. Always keep an eye on your puppy and be there when you’re needed. You’ll be surprised at how much progress can be made in just one week.

Categories Dog Care, Dog Training, Potty Training TipsTags , ,

Leave a comment on Puppy Potty Training: How to Deal with Accidents