• Vet's First Choice


New Client Information The veterinarians and staff at the Brookfield Veterinary Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Picking the Right Dog For You

Picking the right dog for your and your family is more than just a preference to breed, there are several factors to take into account. A high-energy husky might not be the best choice for someone who lives in a small city apartment for example. Or maybe you adore an English bulldog but was unaware of the health problems commonly associated with the breed. When searching for your new companion, consider finding a dog that fits your personality and lifestyle, in addition to their personalities and needs.

• Temperament - There are particular breed temperaments among dogs, though there is definitely latitude for individuality. Thus Akitas are declared to be tough animals who are loyal, aloof, dominant, aggressive to other animals and often challenging. However, many Akitas are sweet and cuddly, love small critters, will climb in laps if allowed and are anything but aloof and dominant.

Terriers are scrappy, yippy, tough and independent, but Airedale Terriers bond very closely to their humans and are somewhat protective. Hounds follow their eyes or noses and are often oblivious to human presence, but Dachshunds bond closely with their families and Greyhounds and Whippets are sweet, gentle pets.

• Coat (Fur) - Long-coated and double-coated dogs shed, shed and shed some more, leaving tufts of hair to float about the house and cover everything. Meticulous housekeepers and folks with little or no time for grooming will be happier with dogs that don't accessorize the living room with dog hair dust bunnies. Brushing is needed to remove the dead hair from wire-coated terriers and poodles, and professional grooming is necessary to maintain texture and color in wirehaired terriers. These breeds are generally better than heavily shedding breeds for owners with allergies. Dogs with oily outer coats can develop a doggy odor that can be unpleasant, and dogs with short coats may not do well in northern climates.

• Need for exercise - Some dogs are calm and others are very energetic. Active families would be happier with a pet that can jog, hike and play ball. More sedate folks would most likely prefer a quieter animal. Cute as they are, Basset hounds, Dachshunds and corgis are not jogging companions. Airedales, German shepherds and border collies are not typical couch potatoes.

• Potential health problems- Large and medium breeds are subject to several joint problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia. Many breeds have eye problems, skin diseases and inherent health problems (such as breathing problems in pugs, bulldogs and boxers). Dalmatians are susceptible to bladder stones, several breeds carry a bleeding disorder and Newfoundlands are vulnerable to certain heart defects. Giant breeds tend to have a shorter life span than medium or small-size breeds.

• Ease of training - Some breeds are fairly easy to train, and some are quite difficult. The breeds that were designed to work independently of man require more persistence and firmness in training, while those that work closely with their owners are easier to teach. If you lack time and patience to deal with a dog that is difficult to train, then an older dog from a rescue service may fit your bill as well as a pup of a breed that is traditionally easier to train. Intelligence is not necessarily an indicator of trainability; smart dogs often have their own agenda and require firmness on the part of their owners. As a rule, terriers, hounds and northern dogs are tough to train because of their intelligence and independent natures. Sporting and herding dogs are easier to train. The sharpest-working obedience breeds are golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, border collies, German shepherds and Shetland sheepdogs. These dogs traditionally work well with humans.

Deciding on a breed of dog is important. A dog is a family member for a dozen or more years; the commitment to feed, shelter and nurture a member of the family for that amount of time should be based on rigorous analysis of an appropriate breed for the family circumstances.

You, Your Cat, and Their Body Language

You're petting your cat when suddenly, they grab your hand and bite down. It's not a case of being a fair weather companion, it's more likely you missed your cat's signs of having enough attention merely moments before.In fact, these "out of the blue" attacks rarely are. Before the bite or clawing, a cat usually gives out subtle (to us, anyway) signs of diminished tolerance. Usually, they might stiffen or maybe they begin twitching their tails.

If your cat has grown tired of petting, he or she may exhibit some of the following signs:

• Restlessness

• Twitches tail

• Turns ears back or flicks them back and forth

• Turns head toward your hand


The problem often begins with petting your cat's tummy, a vulnerable area for any animal. Watch your cat's body signs. If the cat shows any of these signals, immediately stop petting them. This not only keeps teeth and claws from entering your skin, it also builds up his trust in you and his tolerance for physical attention. Do not impose any sort of physical punishment on the cat - this may prompt him or her to bite, and will make future interactions with your cat more difficult.

Cats may also display similar body language when they are afraid. Though their body posture - crouching low to the floor, ears back, tail tucked, rolling slightly to the side - may be similar to a dog's submissive postures, cats in these positions are fearful and defensive and may attack if touched.

If your cat exhibits fearful behavior, closely observe the cat to determine the trigger for this behavior. It could be anything - a stranger, another animal, loud noises and so on. To help eliminate fearful behavior, try to desensitize your cat to the stimulus. First, introduce the stimulus at a distance while praising the cat and feeding him or her a treat. Slowly move the stimulus closer as you continue to praise and feed the cat. This process takes time; if at any point your cat shows fearful behavior, you have proceeded too quickly and must start again. If your attempts are not successful, you may need to call a animal behavior specialist.

Whether you are relaxing with your cat on the couch or watching your cat interact with friends and family, keep an eye on his or her body language. Your guests - and your cat - will thank you for it.

Winter Tips for Pets

It won't be long until the temperature drops off, the sky turns grey and the snow starts to fall. Winter can be a fun time for pets to explore, but as a pet owner, you should keep in mind a few things to make sure they stay healthy and safe during this time of year.

Don't Overestimate the Warmth of Fur

Pets with thicker coats can handle colder temperatures better than shorter-haired animals. But don't think that just because a pet's hair is long that they're completely insulated from the cold. If a pet's coat gets wet, the fur loses its insulating ability. Keep a towel handy to dry off your pet after a romp in the snow, and make sure that they have access to a dry and draft-free shelter on the cold days.

Dressing Your Pet with a Jacket Can Help…to a Degree

Dogs can be very cute dressed in their vest or jacket during the winter months. These fashionable items look great and can help keep your dog warm, but don’t consider them to be the equivalent of a parka. Keep a close eye on your dog and never assume because they have on a jacket, they're invincible to the frigid temperatures.

As for your cat: it's hard enough to get them in their travel carrier. Even if you are able to get a jacket or vest on them, it's very likely they're going to spend all their energy trying to get it off. You can probably skip this step.

Protecting your Puppy or Senior Pet Means keeping Them Indoors

As much as your new pet might want to go outside and run around on colder days, it's best to limit their time in the snow or cold. They don't have the fat, metabolism or full coat to handle frigid temperatures as adult pets do.

Your senior pet may have spent winters in the past enjoying the brisk temperatures and playing as the snow falls. But as they age, recognize that they aren't as strong as they once were. This doesn’t mean they can't be outside and play, just be conscientious of time and make sure they have plenty of warm blankets and treats when they come indoors.

Training Your Dog To Come

It will be to your benefit to start using this command when your puppy is seven weeks old. The earlier you start letting him know that when you say "come" and he does, the better. Always encourage your puppy to come with enthusiastic praise and lots of encouragement. Keep in mind that no two dogs or puppies are alike, so you will have to adjust your training methods according to the individual dog.

Here boy!

Coming to you when called is a very important command for your dog to learn. The “come” command can prevent your dog from getting hit by a car and allows him or her an opportunity for freedom. Once your dog learns this command, you know you can call him back—in the park, on hiking trails, or anywhere.

Training your dog to come to you every time when called is much more difficult than it sounds. You dog learns very quickly that he can outrun you and that it's more fun to run away. To train your dog, you have to convince him that you're more attractive than even temporary freedom. Training sessions should be short and rewards should always be given.

Until you are confident that your dog completely understands and obeys the come command, it's best to limit his off-leash experiences to places where you won't find it necessary to call him back. A fenced-in yard or small fenced-in park area is ideal, since there's no risk of escape or injury if your dog doesn't return when called.


It's best to begin training your dog at a very early age, before he becomes fimiliar with total freedom. Restraint and positive reinforcement are the keys to behavior modification.

Since you need something for capturing your dog, should he decide to run away, a lightweight check-type lead is useful and can be purchased at almost any pet supply shop.

Begin training at an early age

Food is an excellent positive reinforcement for most kinds of training. The treat should be given immediately, in order to reinforce the positive behavior. When you feel that your pet is reliable about coming to you, give the reward intermittently. There should, however, be some kind of reward each time your dog successfully completes the command, such as praise, hugs and food.

Gradual Training

Begin by kneeling on the ground and calling your dog's name. Call his name cheerfully, never shouting his name in a hostile manner. Try taking a few steps away from him and see if he follows.

Each time your dog comes, reward him, increase the distance, and start over. Keep these sessions short and fun. Sessions should last 5-10 minutes and they should end on a positive note. Don't get frustrated (your dog will pick up on this immediately) and don't expect too much for the first few days. If your dog seems to be losing interest, stop the session after an easy success. Eventually, when you feel your dog is doing well, try him out in the park or another new place. Remember, don't remove your dog's lead unless you know that he will definitely return to you.

Training Tip

If you scold your dog for not coming, he can associate your impatience with you losing your temper. You need to remain cheerful and enthusiastic because if you don't, coming to you is the last thing on his mind.

VIDEO - Choosing Between a Kitten and an Adult Cat

Cute, cuddly kittens are hard to resist. But an older cat may need a home more desperately--and may be a better fit for your lifestyle. Consider the factors outlined in this video before you make your final choice.