10 Surprising (and Helpful!) Secrets Excerpted From "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual"

Dog shaking off water

When I say my book offers "hundreds of secrets, surprises and solutions for raising a happy, healthy dog," I'm not kidding. In my work, I balance decades of real-world experience as a practicing veterinarian with insights gained from access to the leaders in the veterinary and pet care world. The result: an insider's view of what's tried and true.

Here are 10 of my top insider's secrets from "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual." Surprises? You bet. Solutions? Absolutely.

Secret No. 1: Shedding is a top complaint of dog lovers, but when people choose a low-shed pet, they're usually barking up the wrong tree. The kind of dog who sheds the least? A small one (less dog, less fur) with long fur (long fur stays in longer than short fur) who's kept clipped short (less left on to clean up when it does eventually fall out).

Secret No. 2: Preventing accidents can save more than your pet — it saves money, too. By keeping all human and pet prescriptions as well as all over-the-counters safely locked away, you'll protect your pet from the No. 1 poisoning hazard.

Secret No. 3: Stop the post-bath shake from getting water all over your bathroom — and you. It's simple: That water-spraying shake starts at the nose, and if you hold your dog's muzzle until you can get a towel over him, you'll prevent him from shaking.

Secret No. 4: New training tools like head halters and front-clip leashes make walking your dog a pleasure. These tools are like power-steering for your dog. (In the book, I also share how to develop an exercise program that will improve health for human and animal alike.)

Secret No. 5: Getting old doesn't have to be a miserable time for your dog. Working with your veterinarian to provide an old dog "neutraceuticals" such as omega-3 oil and glucosamine, along with prescription pain medications, can put the bounce back in an old dog's step.

Secret No. 6: Learn why every pet owner needs to keep several over-the-counter remedies on hand, such as hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting), and when your veterinarian may direct you to use them. Never give your dog any medication unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.

Secret No. 7: Most people want to take advantage of the incredible advances in veterinary medicine, but some simply can't afford it. The solution for many is pet health insurance. The surprise? While there are several credible companies offering pet insurance, fewer than 2 percent of dog lovers protect their pets this way.

Secret No. 8: Your dog doesn't have to hate going to the veterinarian. If you work with your veterinarian to keep early experiences pleasant — such as not having nails trimmed at your vet's place and having your pet given pats and treats on every visit — your dog will love going to the hospital.

Secret No. 9: It's easy to save money on care without short-changing your pet. You can save money by price-shopping for prescription medications, buying in bulk, keeping your pet thin and even bartering for your pet's needs.

Secret No. 10: Many veterinarians now recommend vaccinating dogs every one to three years. There is no longer any "one size fits all" when it comes to vaccines. Talk to your veterinarian about the right vaccinations for your dog.

These 10 secrets? They're just the beginning of what you'll find in "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual." And if you're a cat lover, I have great news for you, too: "Your Cat: The Owner's Manual" hits shelves next spring.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.


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