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5 Ways to Boost Your Pet's Happiness and Help Prevent Bad Behavior

- Provided by VetStreet.com
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Everyone needs appropriate opportunities to release stress, expend energy and give boredom the boot. That includes people, dogs, cats and, yes, even rabbits and ferrets. Such actions offer physical and mental enrichment while helping to keep unwanted behaviors at bay.

Here are some ways you can enrich your pet's life and help prevent him from acting destructive because he's bored.

Bring on the Food Hunt

Home in on that natural hunter in your dog or cat by placing a portion of his daily kibble in a food puzzle toy or hiding it in a couple of locations in your house for him to sniff and find. You may need to assist your pet the first few times to show him how to play this food game. Call out his name and point to the food. Praise him each time he finds another tasty nugget.

Give Common Household Items a New Purpose

A paper bag — with the handles cut off — placed open on the floor can become a neat hiding place for an indoor cat, especially if you sprinkle some organic catnip inside. A small piece of drainage pipe (clean and dry, of course) left over from a plumbing job can convert into an exploratory tunnel for your ferret or pet mouse. A twig from a nonpoisonous tree makes for an ideal chew stick for a rabbit or bird. 

Rotate Toys

Instead of having all of your pet’s toys scattered throughout the house, purposely stash two-thirds of them in a toy chest or location inaccessible to him. Each week, rotate toys from the chest. Watch your pet’s eyes light up when he gets reacquainted with a favorite toy that "disappeared" a couple of weeks ago.

Mix It Up on Daily Walks

Don’t get into a rut when it comes to walking your dog. Vary the time of day, the location and the pace. Bring some treats and reward your dog for acing a variety of cues and tricks during the walk.

Think Bigger

Instead of using a small ball that your dog can grab in his mouth during a game of fetch, introduce him to a large ball that he must learn to nose and paw to move.

When providing environmental enrichment, always inspect items for safety. Make sure that the toy or object does not contain any small parts that can be swallowed. And remember to have fun interacting with your pet — it will put both of you in a good mood.

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General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.

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