“Dedicated to providing gentle, compassionate care for companion animals”

 
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Dr. Carolyn Apker of Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove was recently featured in an article in Maple Grove Magazine discussing Fear-Free Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Apker explains the importance of establishing trust to help make pets not only feel more comfortable in their visits, but experience less stress, as well.  The Animal Wellness Center is on track to become one of the nation's first Fear-Free certified practices in 2016.
 
Read this article here and make an appointment at Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove to experience the gentle, positive and calm environment that we have to offer.
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Holidays are a wonderful time of year with the celebrations, family gatherings and festivities. However, for some four-legged family members, holidays can be a stressful, even frightening time of year.

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Just as in humans, stress can cause physical symptoms in our pets. “Stress can cause our pets to experience a variety of physical symptoms, the most common is diarrhea,” explains Dr. Elliott of Animal Wellness Center in Maple Grove, MN. “The week following Thanksgiving and Christmas, we see many patients with diarrhea from the stress of the holidays,” she said.

Preventing or minimizing stress for our pets

First, know your pet. Some pets are relaxed and have no cares or stresses around holiday activities. For other pets, the holiday festivities cause stress. For these pets, owners can take some simple steps to keep their pets stress free during this holiday season.

Planning ahead is perhaps the most important step owners can do to help pets, said Dr. Elliott. The first step is to create a “safe” zone for your pet. This “safe” zone may be in a bedroom, or some place in the home away from all the guests and holiday activities.

To make your pet comfortable in their “safe” place, be sure to have water, their food, and favorite toys. Toys such as “Kong” or the puzzle toys help entertain your pet.

“Our clinic also offers stress relieving homeopathic solutions to help calm pets experiencing anxiety,” said Dr. Elliott. Many pet owners prefer natural remedies over prescription drugs when treating mild cases of anxiety, especially if it is anxiety around a specific holiday or event. Pheromone-based products are an alternative to using drugs to treat anxiety in pets. Pheromones are a type of chemical communication between cats or dogs and certain calming pheromones can help reduce anxiety. Pet pheromone products mimic natural cat or dog pheromones and are available in various forms, including sprays, plug-in diffusers, and collars.

Feline pheromones

For cats, Feliway is a pheromone that mimic’s a cat’s facial pheromones. Dr. Elliott recommends using a plug-in diffuser with cats since it covers the entire room with the pheromone. “Since cats are more territorial, we recommend the room diffusers for cats,” said Dr. Elliott. Animal Wellness Center uses Feliway at the Center to help reduce the stress for visiting felines. “We have many clients bring their cats to Animal Wellness Center and comment that their cats have never been so relaxed,” said Dr. Elliott.

Canine pheromones

For dogs, D.A. P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) helps to calm dogs. “We recommend using a collar with D.A.P. to help reduce anxiety in dogs,” said Dr. Elliott.

Animal Wellness Center carries a full line of pheromone-based products for both cats and dogs. The team members are happy to answer your questions and help you to select the product that will keep your pet calm and stress free.

Thundershirts are also popular in reducing pet anxiety. These shirts are a snug fit, releasing stress relieving hormones in pets. If you are interested in a thundershirt, have an Animal Wellness Center team member help you with the proper fit since that is key for the shirt to work, said Dr. Elliott. “The thundershirts need to fit tightly to produce the desired results,” she added.

Other ways to reduce stress

  • Keep your pet’s routine. If you walk your pet daily, don’t let the business of the holidays break this habit. The exercise will help reduce your pet’s stress (and yours).
  • If you are having a family gathering at your home for the holidays and you know your pet will find this stressful, practice placing your pet in their safe zone before the event. This way your pet will be use to their “safe” place. Make it a positive experience for your pet.
  • The day of the event, keep the routine the same. Make sure your pet receives enough exercise before the gathering.
  • During the holidays, keep your stress level in check since our pets can tell when owners are under stress.

Be aware of holiday hazards

  • There is always more food and treats available during the holidays. Make sure these aren’t accessible to your pets. If your pet does eat chocolate, it is important to have your pet accessed by a veterinarian.
  • Keep holiday plants out of reach of pets. They can upset your pet if eaten.
  • Presents under the Christmas tree can be tempting toys for our pets. Wrapping string, ribbons, and other items can be dangerous if eaten.
  • Holiday lights, ornaments and all the decorations are beautiful, but can also pose health hazards to our pets if chewed or eaten. Take precaution when decorating.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday

If you have questions about your pet’s health, or if your pet has an anxiety issue, call the Animal Wellness Center today. There are many safe and effective ways to help reduce your pet’s anxiety and stress so your family can enjoy the holidays.

 

Photo credit:  © Johnruss | Dreamstime.com
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Best of '132013 Maple Grove "Best Veterinarian"

Exciting news! Animal Wellness Center was chosen the winner of the Best Veterinarian category in the Best of Maple Grove event! We are honored to be chosen, and will continue to help animals live the long, happy and healthy lives they deserve with their loving owners...

Image credit: Photographer photodeti--Photos.com

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