The Vets Will See You Now

AN­SWERS TO YOUR HAIRIE ST PET QUES­TIONS

Real Simple - - Contents - By Jen­nifer Chen

Pet prob­lems, solved

BIRDY TALK

I’m plan­ning to get an African gray par­rot. I’ve heard they’re usu­ally pretty chatty. Do I need to train my bird to talk, or will talk­ing come nat­u­rally?

African gray par­rots nat­u­rally mimic an­i­mal sounds in the wild and are known for pick­ing up hu­man­like sounds as well. With a lit­tle en­cour­age­ment from you, your par­rot may talk even more, says an­i­mal trainer Bar­bara Hei­den­re­ich. Talk to him daily, and play mu­sic you en­joy as soon as you bring him home. If you re­ally want to get him talk­ing, play record­ings of other African gray par­rots once a day for about 45 min­utes to en­cour­age him to repli­cate sim­i­lar sounds (search for “Ein­stein the Talk­ing Texan Par­rot” on YouTube). While there’s no guar­an­tee that a par­rot will copy these sounds, pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment—treats, head scratches, and toys—should in­crease the like­li­hood.

CROWD CON­TROL

My dog gets ner­vous when a lot of peo­ple are around. How can I keep him calm dur­ing hol­i­day gath­er­ings at home?

You can prob­a­bly tell when your dog is stressed, but if you’re not sure, look for cues such as lip lick­ing, drool­ing, and ex­ces­sive pant­ing, says an­i­mal trainer Melissa Munoz. Set up a sanc­tu­ary space, like a bed­room with a closed door, a crate, or a spot be­hind a baby gate. Start­ing a few weeks be­fore your party, give him a kib­ble-stuffed toy (such as the Kong Clas­sic Dog Toy,

$7; jet.com) once a day in this space. Let him hang out there for 10 min­utes, of­fer him praise and food-based re­wards, and play mu­sic or a movie in the back­ground to see if it soothes his nerves. Af­ter a few days, in­crease his time in the space to up to an hour. The day of your party, bring your dog to his com­fort zone 15 min­utes be­fore guests ar­rive and make par­ty­go­ers aware that your dog’s area is off-lim­its. Let him out once the guests have gone.

SPEED EAT­ING

My cat eats her food too quickly and gets sick. How can I teach her to slow down?

Some cats’ drive for food makes it nearly im­pos­si­ble to train them to eat more slowly, so the key is to re­duce the amount that’s avail­able at any given time, says Ann Ho­hen­haus, DVM. Cat-spe­cific slowfeed bowls (like the North­mate Catch In­ter­ac­tive Cat Feeder, $35; chewy.com) chal­lenge cats’ in­ner hun­ters by re­quir­ing them to drag food out with their paw. You can also feed your cat smaller por­tions mul­ti­ple times a day with an au­to­matic feeder (like the As­pen Pet Le­bistro Portion Con­trol Pro­grammable Pet Feeder, $48; ama­zon.com). Or place small amounts of wet and dry food in each cup of a muf­fin tin; mov­ing be­tween cups will force her to slow down. If she’s still vom­it­ing af­ter a week on a new feed­ing rou­tine, con­sult your vet.

OUR EX­PERTSBAR­BARA HEI­DEN­RE­ICH, BAR­BARA’S FORCE FREE AN­I­MAL TRAIN­ING, AUSTIN, TEXASANN HO­HEN­HAUS, DVM, AN­I­MAL MED­I­CAL CEN­TER, NEW YORK CITYMELISSA MUNOZ, PAWSITIVE PER­SPEC­TIVE, BUR­BANK, CAL­I­FOR­NIALISA RADOSTA, DVM, FLORIDA VE­TERI­NARY BE­HAV­IOR SER­VICE, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.