Mouthing Off

Mouthing Off: Getting your puppy to stop biting

Every new puppy owner goes through the same frustrating few months when no matter what you do you cannot get them to stop biting. Their teeny-tiny puppy teeth are like little razor bits chomping down on your hands and feet. Questioning why you got this biting monster, it is time to start looking at how to make him stop.

Why puppies bite:

Even the cutest puppies learn about their world by biting

Puppies bite as a way to investigate the world around them. Similar to a toddler who puts everything in their mouth, your puppy is trying to figure out what is edible, what is not, and what is just flat out fun to play with. Unfortunately, many of the things they are investigating do not look good with bite marks.

Tips to stop the biting

  1. Become a puppy –Every time your pet bites you, in a high pitched voice, yelp loudly and pull your hand away. The puppy will realize that, like a sibling, you don’t like to be bitten and their “friend” no longer wants to play. After a moment or two return to petting or playing, praising them for no longer biting. Progressively work from yelping at hard bites, to when they just bite at a medium rate, to barely biting, to not biting at all. Over time your puppy will realize that no biting is fun and will stop. If your puppy moves on to bite other body parts of yours, get up and move away, again wait and come back a moment or two later.
  2. Replacement therapy –Sometimes you just don’t have time to train. If that is the case and you just need to them to stop and want to work with them later. Have readily available a host of chew-friendly toys. When they begin to nibble at you, or items that shouldn’t be chewed, quickly put a toy in their mouth. Use it to move them in another direction, so that they don’t see the object they were just chewing on.
  3. Make real friends –Although you may hate to be your puppies play toy, fellow puppies are happy to teach each other this valuable lesson. Find other vaccinated and healthy puppies or gentle adult dogs for your puppy to play with. This will give them a chance to learn excellent socialization skills and stop chewing on you.
  4. Patience, it’s all about patience –No matter what approach you take, the most important tool you have is your patience. Your puppy will make the same mistake a dozen times before they stop. It is your job to guide them and help them develop and this means you will have to be kind and patient with them.

If you are struggling to train your puppy or have questions about owning a new puppy give us a call! Our technicians and doctors are very knowledgeable in how to manage a new puppy so that you can live in harmony!

This summer’s must have for your pet

“I could have what crawling on me this summer?!”

Along with looking for that perfect summer bathing suit, or debating which summer camp your kids will have the most fun at, it’s time to start looking at which parasite preventative will be best for your pet. In the summer time, preventative care for your pet is really all about fleas and ticks. These nasty critters can make your pet and family’s summer fun turn into summer misery as everyone itches and scratches their way through activities.

Why do I need to worry about fleas and ticks?

Although it has been a long time since fleas have played a part in any major plagues or natural disasters, fleas can be extremely bothersome to your pets and to you. The biggest problem with fleas is that most pets (and humans) are allergic to their saliva. Through scratching and biting, pets can go from one small flea bite to hair loss and bleeding in a matter of days. If you bring your pet in because they’ve scratched themselves raw, your doctor may tell you your pet has “flea allergy dermatitis.”

Ticks are also of concern because they are living off your pet’s blood. In some instances, enough ticks can make a pet anemic, especially with puppies or kittens. There are also over a dozen diseases that are carried by ticks that can be transmitted to your pet (remember lyme disease? It’s on the list still). Some of these diseases are treatable, and sadly, some are not.

What can I do about fleas and ticks?

Although Googling “remedies for fleas and ticks” will give you a dozen websites with “holistic” options to kill fleas and ticks, these tiny little pests could likely survive a nuclear holocaust. As such, a topical or chewable preventative medication is needed to keep your pet flea and tick free. Many of the medications offered these days will help prevent multiple parasites (fleas, ticks, heartworm, internal parasites, to name a few), saving you a few dollars by only needing one medication to prevent a host of problems. If your pet goes to the beach or lake a lot, it may also be important to look for a medication that is not topical. Although rapid absorption is on the list of touted qualities, topical medications do stand the risk of washing off. There are several preventative medicines that are chewable, in case your pup is a fan of water.

In addition to treating the fleas and ticks already on your pet, keeping weeds and brush in the yard to a minimum will help. Indoors, carpet is also a known safe haven to fleas and ticks as they can burrow in far enough to avoid the vacuum. If you have carpet, regularly vacuuming and washing the carpet will help reduce the likelihood of pests living in it.

My pet is “indoors only,” are they still at risk?

Pets who live strictly indoors are less likely to have fleas than those that go outside regularly. That being said, all it takes is one flea inside and you may have a thousand in a matter of a month. Fleas can also live a year without eating, so it is important to treat all pets, regardless of their indoor or outdoor activity.  This will help keep you and your pets bite free.

Similarly, ticks can go for extended periods of time without a meal, and will come inside on your pants, then find nice, warm places to live while they wait for their next meal. Your pet, folded up blankets, or the carpet are all on the list of their favorite places to hide out.

Once the summer is over, can I stop giving flea medication?

It is true that fleas are more prevalent in hotter months. Unfortunately, living in San Diego our winter does not last long enough to stop giving a flea/tick preventative. Veterinarians across the US generally recommend yearlong flea medications, as very few places get cold enough, long enough, to warrant stopping the preventative medication.



By Megan Roberts

No need to be on pins and needles about your pet’s pain

May is acupuncture month! As such we wanted to revisit the topic and chat a little bit more about what acupuncture is and how it works. We know the idea of your pet being stuck with needles can be very nerve racking, but we want to calm your nerves. In a nutshell acupuncture involves placing a series of needles into acupuncture points on your pet’s body to help alleviate pain or discomfort. As mentioned in our previous blog, acupuncture came to us from Eastern medicine principles, and is generally seen as complementary to more common forms of western medicine.

What acupuncture can treat? 

Acupuncture is for pets of all ages and sizes! Your pet will leave happier and thanking you for trying something different.

Acupuncture can treat a host of ailments that your pet may be facing. The most common reason to receive acupuncture is arthritis. This often very painful and debilitating bone disorder has been proven time and again to respond very well to acupuncture. In addition to arthritis, acupuncture can also help treat intervertebral disk disease, traumatic nerve injuries, respiratory problems, some skin issues, gastrointestinal problems, and some reproductive problems.

Where are acupuncture points?

They are found all over your pets body, but are found mainly on the head, legs and feet, and along the spine. If you ever give your pet a massage, you are likely hitting their acupuncture points inadvertently!

What happens when you stimulate an acupuncture point?

When the point is stimulated, it causes a series of things to happen, including:

  • stimulating the nerves,
  • increasing blood circulation,
  • relieves muscle spasms,
  • can cause the body to release hormones (such as pain relieving endorphins)

Does acupuncture hurt?

In general, acupuncture does not hurt. The needles used in small animal acupuncture are extremely thin (thinner than a sewing needle) and go almost completely unnoticed when pressed into the skin. Your pet may experience some tingling at the site but most pets relax and seem to enjoy the treatment.  When you bring your pet in for acupuncture at PAH, you can stay with your pet while the treatment is administered.

If you are interested in acupuncture for your pet, please contact us by email at or by phone at 760-757-2442.



by Megan Roberts