Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



Off to a Good 2012




The Pickle Gift
First Puppy Exams - It's about Training as Much as Shots
Care to Share Card
Helping Needy Pets
New Years Resolutions for You and your Pet 


The Pickle Gift

Have you ever hung a pickle ornament on your tree? The person who sees the pickle ornament gets to open the extra present under the tree.  Now this pickle would be a great present for your chew crazy doggie friend.

Rachael, one of the veterinary behavior technicians at my clinic, has been very resourceful at asking companies for samples of food puzzles, and other items to try out.  The Pickle Pocket treat dispensing toy from Starmark company was one that came in and has been under Bella trial for the past month. I wanted to give the toy some time, and various abuses before reporting on it.

At first, I thought that this won't last because it is so soft.  Bella is a voracious chewer on her food puzzle toys.  Anything with some give to it, and she wants to really chew it up.  So this soft feeling, almost firm jelly like toy was not going to stand up to her teeth. I am happy to say I am wrong. Bella has bounced it, chewed on it, I have flung it down the stairs as a part of play and this toy is showing almost no wear!  I have not had time to research the materials,  but I suspect it is a strong silicone that has that soft feel but is durable.

loading the Pickle

So here is how it works - this puzzle is for the advanced food puzzler.  All Shepard type dogs will likely love this.  The smarter your dog, the better they will enjoy this.  You put the kibble in the wavy grooves cut into the sides of the pickle.  The groves go deep, so the farther you push in the kibble, the harder the dog has to chew or bounce the pickle around to get the kibble out. It may be frustrating at first but over time you dog will devise a way to get the kibble out. You can be nice and load kibble near the top surface of the groove making it easier for your dog, then push it deeper as your dog learns how to get the kibble out. 

Bella chomping on her Pickle

Some great features about the Pickle - it is easily washed.  I imagine you could put it through the dishwasher - I have not.  It easily rinses clean and has some kind of scent of it's own , like a vanilla scent. No stinky dog toy here.   Some puzzles have a  vinyl smell at first, but not this one.  The shape is easy for a dog to hold between the paws or any other angle.  You could put your dog's regular food kibble in it  as a way to feed breakfast or dinner to keep them occupied. Granted it will take a few refillings  but it could get you up to an hour of peace and quiet as you want to drink your morning coffee or make some Christmas cookies without some little doggie under foot.

I looked at the website and saw that the Pickle Pocket floats in water, so if you are near a lake, or a pool it won't get lost.  Here is a link to a catalog that has it for sale  http://www.carealotpets.com/Products/Starmark-Pickle-Pocket-Treat-Dispensing-Toy__36814.aspx which would make a great Christmas pickle present for your pet!

Try out a Pickle pocket toy and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!




First Puppy Exams - It's about Training as much as Shots

A new puppy is so much fun. You want to have them be healthy and well mannered. Getting the best information about care and training comes from your veterinarian and staff that are trained to help you. Knowing the accurate facts about the best way to train you new friend where to potty, have fun meeting and greeting people are as important as the proper diet and vaccinations. Actually, socializing your puppy will help to build their immune system and health. Socialization must be done in a way that builds on the puppy's curious nature in a positive way, and done at the right stages of life.

Puppies are open to the world, curious and not usually afraid of much until the age of 14 weeks. If your puppy is timid or shy, seek help from your veterinarian staff that is trained in puppy behavior. Get that check up and ask for advice on how to positively promote your pup to be friendly. Use the food kibble as rewards and take your puppy everywhere you can. Give your pup a kibble one by one as you have the pup in the car, go on walks, visit the bank and other places. Have strangers give your pup one of the kibbles you carry around. If your puppy is too shy to take it from someone's hand, toss the kibble to the pup. They may take a while but soon they will make the connection that good things come from all sorts of people.

After 14 weeks, puppies go into a normal fear period. This is like the toddler child who is now shy of the photographer, or your aunt Mary. The purpose of the fear is to help the puppy learn to avoid things they do not know if they seem scary. So, if a 10 week puppy is not exposed to lots of things, like car rides, trains going by, or strangers they will often be fearful when they get around that at 5 months. They missed the opportunity to learn that those things were not scary at a young age. The older pup can still learn, it will take more rewards and exposure to loud noises and things to help them learn all is okay.

Some pups are easy going, and calm natured. Some pups are timid or shy no matter how much you try to reward them. They need more than the rewards to help calm them. There is help for these pups. Often these puppies need some D.A.P. pheromone to help make that transition from mom to growing up. D.A.P. is a pheromone spray that imitates the calming pheromone the mother dog makes to calm her pups. Even adult dogs still have the brain receptors for this product. So spraying a bandana with D.A.P. or using a D.A.P. collar on these pups for a few months can help them take rewards and become less timid (more social!)

Good health care is of course important. A puppies first check up should be within the first few days of getting your puppy even they have already been vaccinated. At the first exam, your puppy should be screened  for hereditary conditions, parasites, and at least half the time should be covering house training and socialization of your puppy. A positive exam filled will lots of gentle handling and rewards is important for your puppy to like veterinary visits. Our staff has seen a tremendous improvement in the attitudes of dogs visiting the office since we only use rewarding and positive handling at Okaw Veterinary Clinic.

For more information, see our website and check out the pet library and articles online.




Care to Share Card

Check out our new Care to Share Card. Print it off, give it to a friend and get a reward. Your friend brings the card to their first appointment and receives $10 off that day's visit. You will receive a $10 credit towards your next visit. 



Helping Needy Pets

Thank you to everyone who brought in food during our Dog and Cat Food Drive for SAM Food Pantry. We collected 380 pounds of food. We also received donations of money. The money will be used to purchase more dog and cat food.

SAM Food Pantry is open every Wednesday and Friday morning from 8:30 - 11:00 am. The pantry is located at the Tuscola United Methodist Church, 901 N. Prairie Street. Betsy Stuerke is the main contact for the food pantry. She can be reached by phone at 253-4390 or email at baileysgran@hotmail.com. You can also call the church office at 253-4232.

Food can be dropped off at any time at the Tuscola Methodist Church weekdays from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm. They prefer donations not being dropped off when they are serving people on Wednesday and Friday mornings. They are so busy during these times and don't have time to put the donations away. Monetary donations are also accepted.

The SAM Food Pantry is always accepting volunteers. They can always use people to help re-stock the shelves during the pantry sessions. There is no training needed for this - just a willingness to move canned goods from the storage area at the back of the pantry into the serving area, and it is all "behind the scenes" and not involved with the public at all. For the other positions, such as the signing-in process and the actual food distribution, there is a brief training session (25 minutes or so) at your convenience. Betsy tries to schedule people to work once a month. Right now the  regular positions are all filled, but they are always needing additional substitutes.

During the month of November they served 220 households, encompassing 818 individuals (of which 331 of those were children under 18). From January - November they served 1993 households, encompassing 7317 individuals. They didn't start keeping figures on children served until July, but from July through November, they have served 1506 children.

The donated dog and cat food was transported to the food pantry in the middle of December. Over half of the food we collected has already been distributed to pet owners who come to the pantry. 



New Years Resolutions for You and Your Pet

  1. Get more exercise. Walk your pet twice a day. Walking keeps your pet's joints and muscles healthy. Walking also keeps your pet's mind sharp.
  2. Start on a healthier diet. Give your pet a few treats a day. You can break the treats in half to make them last longer. You can also give your pet some fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots and green beans.
  3. Play more with your pet. Your pet enjoys playing with you. You can play fetch, hide and seek and other games are fun for you and your pet.
  4. Train your pet. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. Teach your pet to sit, lay down, roll over and other tricks. Learning helps keep your pet's mind sharp.



Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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