Pet Care Information

I think my pet has ear mites. How can I tell?

Nasty little buggers, they are. Ear mites resemble teeny-tiny ticks, only these little monsters live in your pet’s ears. Not just dogs and cats but hamsters, rabbits, ferrets and other house pets can also suffer from ear mites. They are easily passed from one pet to the other so all pets need to be examined. Fortunately, it is very unlikely that mites would migrate to humans, they much prefer 4-legged critters. Can you imagine the torment of having thousands of little bugs crawling around, biting and generally setting up house in your ear? Euuuu! So, how’s a human to know if their beloved pet has an ear mite problem? Lots of ear scratching and vigorous head shaking is a big hint. Does your pet run its head and ears on the ground and furniture? Take a peek in that ear. No, you’re not looking for the mites, they are way to small to see. You’re looking for clues. Is there a dry black discharge that looks like coffee grounds or wax that may be reddish brown? If the answer is yes, your pet probably has ear mites. One more important question to ask. Is there a strong rancid, rotten or yeasty foul odor? If so, your pet probably has an ear infection, not mites. Ear infection or ear mites, your pet needs to see your veterinarian right away. Both maladies can be easily treated but only an examination by your veterinarian will determine for sure what’s going on in that ear. There are many medications available to treat and prevent ear mites. Your veterinarian will know what to do to put your pet on the road to relief and recovery.

Can you give me some information on Spay and Neuter programs?

Dallas has several low cost spay/neuter facilities. There are even free spay/neuter programs available! email Richardson Humane for more information o­n our assistance and sponsorship programs, or call the vets or programs below!  If you’re not sure why to spay or neuter your pets, keep reading the next topic too.  There are many health and behavioral reasons other than the added benefit of preventing pet overpopulation.

Buckingham Animal Hospital: 972 485-8660 Dr. Glen Campbell. Not a Low Cost Clinic, but a reasonably priced clinic, and local to Richardson area. Contact us for a $10 off coupon, or for financial assistance if needed.

HSUS 214-372-9999 HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) provides exams, vaccinations, heartworm and flea/tick preventative in addition to neutering for $30 and sometimes less. Can’t beat the price! And great care..

S.N.Y.P 214-349-7697 SNYP (Spay Neuter Your Pet) offers very low cost spay and neuter advantages for patrons. Also, vaccinations are given at a reduced charge. Coupons are mailed to your home, please call the number above.

North Texas Spay Neuter Assoc. 1-877-Fix-Spot.

KittiCo Cat Rescue (Cats Only)..

SPCA of Texas

Texas Coalition for Animal Protection

Kaufman County Animal Awareness Project

Why should I spay or Neuter my pets?

Health Benefits of Spay/Neuter: Other than the fact that an average of well over 100 pets are euthanized daily in the DFW area, here is some medical information that may help you make the right decision.

Spaying Females:

  • decreases the incidence of breast cancer (the rate goes down to almost zero if the spaying is done before the first heat cycle!).
  • completely eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian cancer and a uterine infection called pyometra, (potentially fatal), which are all common occurrences in unaltered females.
  • completely eliminates the heat cycle and undesirable associated behaviors, messy spotting (in dogs) and the attraction of all available males to your yard.

Neutering Males :

  • completely eliminates the chances of developing testicular cancer.
  • decreases the chances of developing prostatic disease and hernias, commonly observed in older, unaltered dogs, both Females and Males
  • decreases problems with territorial and sexual aggression and the desire to roam and breed, which reduces:
    • the chance of contracting contagious diseases,
    • abscesses caused by bites and diseases transmitted by fighting .
    • the risk of traumatic accidents such as being hit by a car.
    • reduces the desire of inappropriate urination (spraying) your landscaping, your walls, your furniture, (get the picture?) and other undesirable behaviors.

The simple fact is that spaying and neutering greatly increases the lifespan of your pet and increases quality of life as well!

Why does my dog bark?

Dogs bark for many reasons. Here’s a few of them:

  • they hear something
  • it gets them what they want
  • it’s natural
  • they’re warning that they’re going to do something

In almost all instances, though, the barking gets your attention, which is ultimately what your dog wants.

How do I stop barking?

First we need to determine why your dog barks to make it stop. WARNING: in some breeds, barking (or baying) has been bred into them and is very difficult to stop in an older dog. If you have a beagle, basset, terrier or hound, eliminating barking is almost impossible. There is hope, however. For these breeds, you need to get control over the barking. We will discuss this a bit later. If your dog is primarily an outside dog, and your dog is barking at night, it is a good guess that he/she is barking to be let into the house (or the garage). Do not leave your dog outside at night if this occurs. If you do, several things will happen – your neighbors will complain, the dog will continue to bark, you’ll get no sleep and the dog will be headed for the shelter or death row. It is easier to bring the dog in and confine it rather than having any of those things occur. Once the dog is inside, we can now control the barking.

OK, so how do I get control over the barking?

There are three methods to control barking. NOTE: do not attempt these techniques if you are in a hurry or have important guests arriving.

Dogs that bark when they are on the ground, but stop when picked up (usually small dogs):

  • Put a leash on your dog and keep the dog by your side.
  • Do not pick the dog up when it starts to bark.
  • Ignore the dog. If this is difficult, go to the second method for bark control.
  • Do not touch the dog, pet the dog or look at the dog.
  • Continue doing the activity you were planning (i.e. greet your guests, keep walking, etc).
  • Once the dog is quiet for 10 seconds, reward the dog with praise, a toy, or food.
  • Stopping this type of barking will depend on the age of your dog and the length of time you have rewarded the barking by picking the dog up. From now on, NEVER pick your dog up when it is barking and always keep it on a leash when you think that barking might occur. A good trainer is always prepared!

Barking for barking sake!

When your dog begins to bark, give the command to “Speak!” in this manner: “Scruffy, speak! Good boy! Speak! Good boy! Speak!”.
Then take a big, chewy treat, pop it in his mouth, then say “Quiet! Good boy! Quiet! Good boy!”
Continue to do this over a week’s time every time your dog barks.

The result will be that, when you say “quiet”, your dog will look for that treat and be quiet. What you have done is created an on/off switch for barking that is useful in any situation.

Scare tactics!

This method is a conceptual one and has no definable steps. It is known that, when a dog is scared and that fearful behavior is reinforced, the action that caused the frightful experience will usually be extinguished. In the case of barking, you will need to startle your dog and reward the cessation of barking. One technique is to take a soda can, fill it with about 20 pennies, and tape the top shut. When your dog starts to bark (at the window or in a crate), toss the can in the dog’s direction, making sure your dog does not see you toss it. When the can lands and startles your dog, call the dog to you and/or praise the dog for stopping. DO NOT let your dog play with the can!

These methods are suggestions for controlling barking and do not work on all dogs. Also, consistency and patience are vital to controlling barking and you should not expect results overnight (keep in mind how long your dog has been doing this behavior and estimate that it will take at least half that time to fix it).

How about using those bark collars?

Bark collars have been effective when combined with other training methods (like the ones stated above). Many owners, however, use the bark collar as a crutch to stop the barking behavior. If you do that, you will never be able to stop using a bark collar. Consult an educated trainer for more advice on using a bark collar correctly. It is also suggested that, if you do plan on using a bark collar, that you purchase a “citronella” vs. a “shock” collar.

Webmaster’s Note: Shock Collars can hurt your pet physically and mentally and the long term effects are known to be damaging in many cases. Please don’t even start. There are many very effective methods other than bark collars listed here. Take the time to use a method that will benefit you and your pet over the long haul; after all, you’ll probably be with them for the rest of their life!

 I’d like to know more about Heartworms.  Do you have any information?

We could go on for quite some time on that subject, but the best information we have seen is available as a Word.doc file in our Downloads section. Please note that there is also a document that is a comparison of the various preventative medications and their approximate costs.

What does the City require that I do to own a pet?

Each city may differ. The ordinances for each city can be found by calling your local Animal Shelter (Richardson residents call Richardson Animal Services at 972-744-4480. Plano, Garland, Dallas and surrounding cities will find their local shelter number o­n the Resources page).

In Richardson we have to register pets (cost $1.00) which offers peace of mind in knowing that should the animal become lost or injured and the owner is unavailable the tag can be traced and the shelter employees will answer the call to help. Richardson residents are limited to four feline and four canine companion animals, with no set number o­n birds, fish, reptiles. Dogs are required to be on leash and all waste is required to be picked up and disposed of properly. Please contact the Richardson Animal Services skilled employees for further information or a copy of our city Ordinances. Additionally, please email Richardson Humane Society or the local shelter for a copy of the Texas Animal Cruelty Statutes. Or download a copy for your use from our website – see left sidebar/Document Downloads.

For links to local shelters, please click here.