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Dogs And Squirrels

January 15 2022

There’s a pretty cute pet holiday around the corner, one we suspect our canine friends will be quite happy to partake in. January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day! Fido may not wax poetic about his tiny, fluffy adversaries, but he definitely enjoys chasing after them. A Haddon Township, NJ vet looks into Fido’s relationship with squirrels in this article.


Lunging

Does your furry buddy yank on his leash whenever he spots a squirrel? To break this habit, immediately turn and start walking in the other direction when your pup does this. Fido will soon get tired of this little game. More importantly, he’ll realize that pulling is actually counter-productive.


Parks

Even if Fido has a yard to chase squirrels in, he’ll still benefit from changes of scenery. Take your pooch to parks every now and then, and give unfamiliar squirrels a chance to taunt him. The fresh air, exercise, and exploration will be good for both of you!


Parasite Control

Squirrels are very cute, but, just like any other wild animal, they can carry parasites and diseases. Make sure that your furry buddy is up to date on his vaccinations and parasite control.


Training

It’s probably safe to say that at least some of our canine patients have jerked their leashes out of their owners’ hands when attempting to run after squirrels. This can actually be very dangerous. You don’t want Fido tearing off into the woods or running into the road. Make sure your four-legged buddy knows and obeys basic doggy obedience commands, such as Sit, Stay, and Come.


Prey Drive

Watching Fido chasing squirrels can be cute, but it’s also a good reminder of the fact that our four-legged friends are descended from wolves, and still have very strong hunting instincts. That prey drive is very powerful in some dogs. In some cases, squirrel chasing can escalate. If you notice your pooch acting more aggressive around squirrels, consult your vet or a professional behaviorist.


Toys

What better way is there to celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day than to get Fido a new squirrel toy? Just stick with toys that were specifically made for dogs. If you get your canine buddy a stuffed animal that was made for kids, you’ll need to remove any small pieces, such as buttons.


Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local animal hospital, anytime!

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