Down Cujo! Why Is My Small Dog Aggressive?

A potentially aggressive small dog barks.

While the image of a slobbering rottweiler or a menacing pack of pit bulls might be what comes to mind for most when aggressive dogs are discussed, our smaller canine companions are not exempt from this description. They may not have quite the bad rap that dobermans or German Shepherds can have, but pint-sized pups can carry quite the pugnacity as well. 

Understanding why the aggressive small dog has so much attitude can help pet owners to better train and enjoy their pets. No judgement here from the staff at Androscoggin Animal Hospital, we are here to help. 

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What Do Pet Vaccines Really Protect Your Dog From?

Dog tilting head to the side wondering if pet vaccines help her.

Most of us know that our pets should be vaccinated, but few really understand what pet vaccines are needed and why. Vaccines are an essential part of your pet’s preventative care. Even a little indoor lap dog needs some vaccinations, and Androscoggin Animal Hospital wants to help you to better understand why we recommend them.

Pet Vaccines as Part of Preventive Care

Similarly to human medicine, our veterinary team recommends pet vaccines in order to prevent serious disease in our dog (and cat) patients. 

A vaccination allows the body to learn how to mount an effective immune response against a particular virus or bacteria so that if it is exposed at some time down the line, it is better able to defend itself.

Some vaccinations provide complete or near complete protection against the disease while others just help to decrease the risk of serious infection. Regardless, pet vaccines are a powerful tool when it comes to keeping our furry friends happy and healthy and are a cornerstone of pet wellness care

Not all pets need all vaccinations, and not all vaccinations are created equal. Our veterinary team takes pride in assessing each patient to determine what vaccinations are necessary. We also utilize quality vaccinations that are stored and administered appropriately to ensure effectiveness.  

Understanding Your Dog’s Vaccinations

So what are all these vaccinations that you see in your pet’s reminders? When it comes to dog vaccinations, we can divide them into core (necessary for all dogs) and non-core (to be given based on risk factors).

Core Dog Vaccinations

  • Rabies—Rabies is a serious disease that is almost 100 percent fatal when contracted. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning humans can contract it from infected animals. Due to its serious nature, Maine requires all dogs to be vaccinated between 12 and 16 weeks of age and then again annually. Triennial vaccinations may be given with an appropriate vaccine and after the first annual booster is administered. 
  • DHPP (Distemper combination)—The distemper vaccine is actually composed of four different vaccinations in combination. Canine distemper, canine hepatitis (also called adenovirus 2), canine influenza, and parvovirus are all very serious diseases. Vaccination of puppies several times until they reach four months of age is recommended. Boosters are typically given annually thereafter.

Non Core Dog Vaccinations

  • Leptospirosis—Another zoonotic disease, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is found in wild animal urine. Infection can cause serious liver and kidney problems in both pets and people, which makes this vaccine a frequently recommended one for most dogs. 
  • Bordetella —One of the primary offending bugs in canine kennel cough, Bordetella can cause upper respiratory issues including a very persistent and very contagious cough. This vaccination is typically recommended for social dogs who will spend time around other pets in grooming, training, boarding, or play scenarios. 
  • Canine influenza —Another very contagious and potentially serious respiratory bug, the canine influenza virus is a little newer on the scene, but this is definitely a vaccination to consider for social butterflies. 
  • Lyme disease—Carried by ticks, Lyme disease is a serious bacterial disease that can cause fever, joint pain, and kidney problems in our canine companions. In Maine, this disease is endemic, and the vaccination is often recommended in conjunction with good tick prevention in at-risk pets. 

Pet vaccines are an important part of keeping your animals and human family healthy and thriving. If you have questions about our recommendations for your pet or vaccines in general, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

A Hairy Situation: Tips To Reduce How Much Your Dog Sheds

A dog looks at a pile of his hair that has been brushed out.

One of the biggest complaints from dog owners everywhere is how much dogs shed. The struggle to keep fur from flying and coating our homes and clothes from being covered in a mini Fido is definitely real. Most dogs shed, and anything from a change in the season to stress, and coat quality can affect how much. So, what can a dog owner do about it to avoid living in a sheen of hair?

Your friends at Androscoggin Animal Hospital are ready with some tips and tricks to minimize those fur tumbleweeds on your floor and clothes. Read on to learn all about how to reduce how much your dog sheds:

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What the Heck is a Reverse Sneeze?

A small dog gets ready to sneeze.

Many people who love trivia may be stumped by the phrase inspiratory paroxysmal respiration. We can easily infer that this phenomenon has something to do with breathing, and maybe some kind of spasm, but otherwise the general public might be stumped by the meaning of this one. 

Inspiratory paroxysmal is,In fact, the medical term for a reverse sneeze, a common occurrence in some pets. But what exactly is it and how do you know if your pet’s okay?

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A Closer Look at Your Cat’s Hairballs

A cat stares at a hairball on the couch.

When your cat isn’t eating, sleeping, or playing, they’re probably grooming themselves. Indeed, they are an exquisite keeper of their coat and simply won’t stand for any dirt, debris, tangles or, you guessed, dead or loose hair. As a result of their fastidiousness, they swallow a great deal of hair. Most of it passes through their digestive system without incident. But sometimes, it comes back up. 

If you’ve wondered about your cat’s hairballs from time to time (and if they really are something to worry about), we’ve got the basics for you.

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We Have Arrived! Androscoggin Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Blogs of 2020

Well, that happened. 2020 will forever be remembered for oh-so-many things. But for all that hit hard and hit home, there was one undeniable silver lining: Our pets.

Whether they’ve been trusty, longtime companions or new additions to your family, our cats, dogs, guinea pigs, and all the rest not only kept us (mostly) sane and laughing, but also reaped the benefits of life slowing down and our being home more as Covid wore on.

Not surprisingly, as folks began to spend more time with their pets, they started to have more and more questions on both what they were doing and why they were doing it; and we are so grateful that you included our blogs in your pursuit of answers. And so, we offer you our top 5 most-read blogs of 2020, just in case you missed something!

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Our Top Winter Activities for Pets

Two dogs wearing knitted hats enjoying some winter activities in the snow.

Here in the Northeast, people and pets are no strangers to winter. Figuring out how to stay active during the long months of snow, ice, wind, and cold temperatures looks different for everyone. Our pets must rely on us for their daily dose of play and exercise, however, and that means coming up with creative ways to keep them busy, regardless of what’s going on outside.

The team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital has plenty of ideas for winter activities for pets that will be sure to keep your furry guy or gal happy, even if you get snowed in!

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Nosh, Nom and Nibble: Thanksgiving Pet Safety

A grey dog eyes a Thanksgiving turkey. Ensure a safe Thanksgiving for your pet.

Whether your holiday celebration is a grand gathering or an intimate affair, chances are there will be at least one or two pets on the guest list. It’s only natural that we would want to give thanks with those we are grateful for; and, let’s face it, we are certainly grateful for our pets.

Celebrating this cozy holiday with furry family members doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you’re mindful of which Thanksgiving foods a pet can eat, and what they need to stay away from. Thanksgiving pet safety comes in many forms, and the doctors and staff at Androscoggin Animal Hospital want to share our tips with you for a pet-friendly Thanksgiving!

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Woof! Woof! What? The Meaning Behind Dog Barks

A tan dog trying to get across the meaning of his barks.
What is your barking dog trying to tell you?

Most loving dog owners are sure they know what their dog is thinking and feeling at all times. The problem is that our furry friends don’t come with a bark dictionary, so we are left wondering what each sound actually means. 

If your dog is the chatty type, we can help decipher those barks into a relatable vocabulary. The team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital is here to explain the meaning behind dog barks.

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Should You Leash Your Pet?

In Maine it is “unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting.”

Of course, “at large” refers to a dog not under the immediate control of an owner in public places. Sure, there are many dogs that don’t get into any trouble while away from home. But to ensure their own health and safety – not to mention the wellbeing of the public – it is imperative to leash your pet dog while outdoors.

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