<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.comen-usThu, 26 May 2016 10:36:18 -0400Thu, 26 May 2016 10:36:18 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 20:31:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Carlo.jpg Check out the animals available for adoption in Broward County!]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 20:21:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Alee+A1787419.JPG Check out the furry friends available for adoption at Miami-Dade County Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[South Florida Animal Hospital Gives Free Eye Exams to Service Dogs]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 12:28:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000023686074_1200x675_691071555799.jpg Service dogs receive free eye exams at VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Thor]]> Sun, 22 May 2016 11:28:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+thor.jpg

Our pet of the week is Thor, a 4-year-old Pit Bull mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Tracy Calvino with Pooches in Pines stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Thor. She said he is very playful and sweet. He loves to run and play.

Calvino said Thor is doesn't like other dogs, but loves playing. Thor loves to be around people.

If you're interested in Thor, contact Pooches in Pines at (954) 431-2200 or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Lucky]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 10:48:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+lucky.jpg

Our pet of the week is Lucky, a 1 1/2-year-old Dotson mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Laurie Wax with Humane Society of Greater Miami stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Lucky. She said Lucky is energetic, playful, and friendly.

Lucky would make a great pet for a family with kids.

If you're interested in Lucky or other animals up for adoption, contact Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305)-696-0800.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Miami's African Elephants Debut]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 18:16:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000023660572_1200x675_689911875510.jpg The Golden Girl Aftrican elephants make their grand debut at Zoo Miami.]]> <![CDATA[Dog Meets Baby: Part 2]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 15:35:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Dog+Meet+Baby+1.jpg

Last year, one of our nurses welcomed a baby boy named Liam into her family.  When he was two weeks old, she brought him to our home for a visit. I came in from outdoors to find our older dog, Grendel, half-heartedly sniffing Baby Liam’s toes. Our younger dog, Zohan, however, was being held by my wife on a very short leash. I started to ask why, then looked at his body language. He was staring intently at Baby Liam, with his mouth closed, ears up, not moving so much as a muscle. Such body language in dogs is a huge red flag, and I made a mental note to call our trainer.

As the visit progressed, and Zohan relaxed, we began to reward him whenever he looked away from Liam. As he became calmer and more at ease, we were gradually able to move him closer. Soon, it was time to let him follow Grendel’s lead and approach little Liam for a sniff.

At the touch of Zohan’s nose, Liam stretched, squirmed, and spat his pacifier onto the floor. In less than a second, Zohan had snatched the pacifier, and bolted into another room. It was not, in fact Baby Liam who was the object of my dachshund’s obsession, but rather, the super awesome chew toy which Liam had finally offered to share.

If you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to do what my wife and I did not have the luxury of doing: preparing said dog for a known event, before the event is upon you. Last week, we talked about introducing the family dog to the sights, sounds, and smells of a new baby before the big day arrives. This week, we’ll go over how to properly introduce Rover to the newest member of your family.

While mother and child are in the hospital, bring home a blanket or article of clothing that carries the baby’s scent. Let Rover sniff it in a calm, respectful manner. If he becomes overly excited or attempts to play with the item, calmly remove it and try again later. Do not leave the item within the dog’s reach. He must learn that you control access to this scent, and that he is not allowed to chew it, play with it or carry it around.

Many dogs injure babies accidentally, so while this may seem legalistic, it’s important. Curiosity regarding the scent is fine, but restraint is imperative.  Praise and reward your dog for polite behavior, and do not punish or shout at him if he disappoints. You don’t want to inadvertently teach him to associate the baby’s scent with anything negative, so stay calm and keep trying until you get the results you want.

On the day the baby is scheduled to come home, enlist the help of friends with whom the dog is familiar. Have them enter the house first so that if your dog is overly excited, he will expend his energy by jumping on someone other than the new baby. Once he is calm, have a friend attach a leash so that Rover can be controlled during the initial introduction. Like Zohan, Rover likely means the baby no harm, but an overly exuberant greeting can be injurious to a newborn.

Allow closer access only when the dog is calm, and close the distance between baby and dog gradually. Be sure to continually reward Rover’s calm behavior with treats and/or praise. When everyone is calm, allow Rover to sniff the baby’s feet. Make sure a parent is holding the baby for this initial introduction, as parents will be the ones to hold the baby the most. If you have more than one dog, allow each dog to greet the baby separately, rather than as a pack.

Monitor any dog carefully for signs of threatening or fearful behavior. As was the case with our own dog, it may be nothing, but it is always better to be safe as opposed to sorry. For a refresher course on potentially dangerous canine body language, click here.

While it seems counterintuitive, never punish or scold a dog for growling at the baby! A growl is a warning sign which tells you that your dog is feeling frightened or anxious.  It is your cue to calmly separate the two parties and seek help from a certified professional dog trainer immediately. A dog who is punished for growling quickly learns that growling is bad, which leads to unpleasant consequences. This may cause a fearful dog to skip the growl and go straight for the bite the next time he is feeling uncomfortable. For a newborn, this can have disastrous consequences.

Be mindful of the fact that canine behaviors are not always what they appear to be. The Internet is awash with videos of the family dog covering the new baby with a blanket, sometimes yawning or stretching throughout the process. While lauded as examples of extreme cuteness, these dogs may or may not be expressing parental instincts.

Dogs may cover items they find offensive in an attempt to keep them at a distance. Some behaviorists warn that this can be a form of "food caching," a behavior in which food items (yes, you read that correctly) are buried to be eaten later. While other behaviorists may have differing views, I believe this is potentially dangerous behavior and always recommend redirecting it. Yawning or stretching outside the context of sleep is a sign of anxiety that further worries me when I see it displayed near young babies.

Regardless of your position on the issue, do not allow your dog to place anything on your baby. In addition to posing a risk of accidental suffocation, it may be a sign that your dog is not properly adjusting to the new addition. Call a trainer immediately and do not leave the two parties unattended.

As a general rule, babies should not be left on the floor with dogs. Do not leave them alone together, not even for a brief moment. Remember the rules you trained Rover to obey during the pregnancy, and enforce them consistently.  Finally, keep baby items out of Rover’s reach. Some of the items most commonly ingested by dogs include diapers, baby toys, and as Zohan can attest, pacifiers! The last thing you need is an emergency trip to the vet while trying to settle in with a newborn.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, growing up with dogs can provide a child with lasting impressions of friendship and loyalty, and an appreciation of the human-animal bond. With a little preparation and forward planning, parents-to-be can help their children grow into the role of steward and guardian to man’s — and woman’s — best friend.


Dr. Ian Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email here.

Special deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 viewers are available here.

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<![CDATA[Hyperbaric Chambers Helping Animals Across South Florida]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 23:37:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/051816+dog+chambers.jpg

Once the locks are tight and oxygen is flowing, 13-year-old Kona pants quietly, ready for her treatment to begin.

The German Shepard mix sits safely inside a hyperbaric chamber at the Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton. For Kona and many other pets, the chamber may be their best remedy.

"He's beating the odds right now. Normally it's three months. He's doing well, he's tough," said Anthony Lasala, dog owner.

Lasala said it's worked for his 3-year-old German Shepard, Garner. His pup suffers from a deadly fungal infection that is hard to diagnose.

Lasala said 60 hyperbaric treatments have kept Garner alive.

"There is no cure for it. We've seen it go up and down, he gets good oxygen flow to his tissue and it turns pink and looks healthier after a session. That's certainly helped and it hasn't spread," he explained.

Dr. Andrew Turkell built the chamber five years ago. This is how it works: inside the animals breathe 100 percent oxygen under pressure, that pressure forces the oxygen into the liquids of its body through plasma.

"There is a higher concentration of oxygen in the plasma. It is delivered to tissues in the entire body that might not be able to get a blood supply because there is a blockage or a wound," Dr. Turkell said.

Injuries like burns, cuts, swelling and even stroke can start to heal through multiple sessions. The chamber essentially turns oxygen into a drug that can save lives. Each treatment costs about $185.

There are 50 hyperbaric chambers in the United States, with the highest concentration in Florida. This was one of the first ones, and it's getting a lot of use.

7 to 8 dogs suffering from different diseases can be treated there every day, 45 minutes at a time.

"They're all very different, same treatment, and they'll all benefit the same way," Dr. Turkell said.

The science behind it is 1,000 years old, but quickly becoming a popular antidote for our furry friends.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 20:18:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Adore.jpg There are plenty of animals in need of a good home in Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[2 Gators Found Roaming Pinecrest Neighborhood]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 18:55:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/051816+pinecrest+alligator.jpg

A Pinecrest resident said she and her dogs awoke to find a pair of large alligators in her backyard Wednesday.

"And they all ran for that corner over here and immediately started barking. All of a sudden I heard this huge splash," Rita Schwartz said. "I saw that there were two huge heads of alligators and one of them went after my dogs. Of course I'm hysterically calling them in."

Pinecrest Police say a seven-and-a-half-foot gator was discovered and trapped in the 7100 block of 133rd Street. The second gator remains on the loose.

"I used to take my dog out back and now I don't anymore. I just found at last night and I'm like freaking out," neighbor Evette Gutierrez said.

Schwartz said she put flyers on neighbors' doors to put them on alert.



Photo Credit: Pinecrest Police]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Nonprofit Rescues Den of Baby Coyotes]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 18:20:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/051816+baby+coyotes.jpg

A den of baby coyotes was rescued after their mother went missing, but now their new caretakers are worried they may not be able to keep them. The Everglades Outpost Wildlife Rescue is hoping to raise enough funds to rehab and release the pups.

Meet Axle and Beckett: the baby coyotes are bouncing around with energy now, but they were found in pretty bad shape a few days ago.

"The pups were just very weak, they hadn't been fed. They were very skinny and you could just tell their condition," said Jeffrey Rivera with the Everglades Outpost Wildlife Rescue.

The den of coyotes was found abandoned near the Homestead Airport. Their mother is either missing or dead.

"They have no mother whatsoever," Rivera said.

Seeing the dire situation, the rescue group stepped in to help the furry creatures.

"We decided to take them in and start caring for them because if not, they would have just died," Rivera explained.

The caretakers are hoping they can rehab and then release the coyote pups into the wild.

"We dug them out from the barrel and just started hand feeding them. Just kind of dropping them into the cage with less human contact to see if we can rehab and release them," Rivera said.

The nonprofit rescue facility cares for all sorts of animals that have been injured or abandoned, but they need some assistance building a large, specialized enclosure for the coyotes.

"We're trying to get the funding to make a rehab enclosure. The rehab enclosure would be about 10-feet-tall because they're great climbers and the materials alone are about $8,000," Rivera explained.

They hope they'll be able to raise enough money from donations to care for the coyotes and eventually release them.

If you're interested in helping, click here.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 19:44:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/166*120/Aj+A1783115.jpg Check out the adorable, furry friends available for adoption at Miami-Dade Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Live in an Apartment? Here Are the Best Pet Options for You]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 13:47:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-80608641.jpg

Apartment living may not seem ideal for pet owners, but don't be deterred — there are ways to make it work. Some cats, dogs and reptiles do well in smaller spaces.

Cats

About 85 million people in the U.S. own cats, according to PetMD. Cats groom themselves, don't need to be walked and make use of vertical space. This means they find creative ways to entertain themselves indoors, like climbing on windowsills or shelves — but don't forget, claws can damage furniture.

Because cats are solitary creatures, "generally speaking, they do better being alone" than other animals, said Michael Rueb, associate director of adoptions and resident care at Bideawee, a pet welfare organization and adoption center with locations in Manhattan, Westhampton and Long Island, New York. Cats also sleep a lot.

Trainers like Rueb serve as matchmakers for soon-to-be pet parents looking to adopt cats and dogs. Websites like OptimumPet.com and Purina.com offer surveys to help potential cat owners to find out which breed may be best for them.

Dogs

When it comes to indoor dogs, size isn't the only thing that matters.

"I think sociability and the energy characteristics of the dog are more important than the size," Rueb said.

Rueb gathers a wealth of information when meeting prospective dog owners at Bideawee, such as how often the owners are home during the day, the length of their work hours, if they want a high-energy or low-energy dog and if their new pup will be sharing the home with other pets.

"It's a pretty comprehensive process," Rueb said.

Before bringing a dog into your apartment, it's important to consider how much attention your furry friend will need. Puppies demand more time than older dogs. Also, "small dogs may take up less space, but some can be quite noisy," according to PetMD. 

Other important factors include dogs' needs for mental and physical exercise and their interest in socializing. Some pet owners who work long hours may consider hiring dog-walkers to ensure their pups get a healthy amount of exercise.

Owners should also take into account in the environment in which the dog will live.

"Noise sensitivity isn’t often mentioned as a factor in choosing an apartment dog. But how a dog reacts to noises from the building’s hallway or the sidewalk out front hugely affects his quality of life and yours," dog trainer Jolanta Benal explains on Quick and Dirty Tips.

Rueb recommends cleaning the apartment before introducing a new pup into your home and making sure valuables are tucked out of reach.

"The shelter environment, for the most part, is a very sterile environment. We don't have couches and slippers and eyeglasses laying around," said Rueb. "I always recommend that people go under the assumption that your dog is going to chew something up."

Fish and Reptiles

Fish occupy minimal space and are a low-maintenance choice for apartment dwellers. According to PetMD, there are also health benefits to owning a fish.

"For adults, just watching fish swim around in an aquarium has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress," PetMD says on its website. "For the kids, doing the same has been shown to improve hyperactivity disorders."

Other tank pets, like snakes and geckos, "are excellent pets for kids and apartment dwellers alike," according to ForRent.com. But think twice before choosing a turtle, which can carry salmonella and generally requires a larger tank, the site warns.

Pet-Friendly Apartments

Before city dwellers bring home their furry friends, Rueb checks with landlords to ensure residents are permitted to have pets. Many buildings either prohibit animals or impose restrictions on the breeds and sizes of pets allowed to live there.

For those seeking pet-friendly apartments, PetFinder.com suggests preparing documents to show you're a serious pet owner.

"Gather proof that you’re responsible," the site recommends. "The more documentation you can provide attesting to your conscientiousness as a pet owner, the more convincing your appeal will be to your future landlord."

Helpful documents include a letter of reference from a current landlord, proof that your dog has attended training classes and veterinary papers showing that your pet has been vaccinated, spayed or neutered. 

Other available resources include companies such as Pet Friendly Realty NYC, which connects clients with mental health clinicians to determine if they are candidates for emotional support animals.

Those who qualify receive help from real estate agents in finding suitable homes — not only in pet-friendly buildings, but also those that don't traditionally accept animals.

The service allows people to have an "advocate" throughout the process, said Matt Sutton, a spokesperson for Pet Friendly Realty.

For those seeking a home through more traditional means, rental sites such as rent.com and streeteasy.com allow users to search specifically for pet-friendly apartments.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Uppercut RF]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Trap Gator Outside Country Walk Home]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 18:33:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/050616+gator+country+walk.JPG

Authorities trapped a large alligator that found its way into a neighborhood in the County Walk neighborhood of southwest Miami-Dade early Monday.

Security officers noticed the gator in the backyard of a home in the 14000 block of Southwest 149 Terrace around 4 a.m.

Resident Laura Saoud says she was woken up after security guards came knocking to warn residents of the scaly intruder.

The Baltimore native says she didn't mind being inconvenienced and actually hoped her preteen son would get a chance to see the gator.

"I think it's cool, I like it," she says. "I mean, he's not doing anything. I'm just making sure my cat stays inside."

Resident Abdallah Saoud says that waking up to police lights was a scary sight.

"I thought maybe there was a criminal in my back yard," he said. "It was pretty scary."

Security guards called Miami-Dade Police who then brought in an animal trapper. The trapper managed to lasso the creature before it was shot and killed.

The residential neighborhood is just steps away from a canal. The close encounter has residents saying they'll be more cautious in the future.

"It's just one of those things now, we'll be more cautious when we get out of the house, especially if it's early in the morning," Abdallah Saoud says.

Mating season for alligators occurs from mid-April through May, making sightings fairly common this time of year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Tiffany]]> Sat, 14 May 2016 11:02:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+tiffany.jpg

Our pet of the week is Tiffany, a Pit Bull mix who is looking for her forever home. Tiffany is 2-3 years old and weighs around 45 pounds.

Tracy Calvino with Pooches in Pines stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Tiffany. She said she is very playful and gentle. She loves to run and play.

Calvino said Tiffany is doesn't like cats, but loves to give kisses and cuddle. Tiffany loves to be around people.

If you're interested in Tiffany, contact Pooches in Pines at (954) 431-2200 or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Puppy Thrown From Car in Need of Forever Home]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 18:29:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/051316+puppy+rescued.jpg

Things are looking up for a malnourished puppy that was tossed from a car and abandoned in Fort Lauderdale a few weeks ago, thanks to a group of workers at a nonprofit art gallery.

At the Girls' Club Foundation art gallery in Fort Lauderdale, the rescued eight-month-old red Pit Bull mix is making new friends.

"He's worth saving and that's why I named him Rebel," said Shirley Cardona.

Cardona and Sarah Michelle Rupert each take turns taking care of Rebel, making sure he gets the medical attention, training and puppy play time he deserves. They're sharing his story in hopes of preventing another dog from being thrown from a moving car.

"The car must have been going 10 or 15 miles per hour and slowly continued at that pace down the block, before I really realized the dog was being dumped out of the car," Rupert explained.

Animal lovers at the nonprofit organization felt it was only right to help Rebel find his forever home. They've reached out rescue shelters in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach.

"Every animal shelter that we came across, they were full or they didn't have space for him or they didn't have the resources for him," Cardona said.

The women believe Rebel deserves the best.

"We really need to find him a home. He's been living at the gallery for a couple of weeks and doing really well, but he needs a family," Cardona said.

If you or someone you know would like to give Rebel a forever home, call the gallery at (954) 828-9151 or email sarah@girlsclubcollection.org.

To read about more animals that are in need of good homes, visit our All About Animals section.



Photo Credit: Girls' Club Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[It’s Dog Bite Prevention Week! Preparing For A Baby]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 13:35:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/178*120/Grendel+and+Pregnant+woman2.jpg

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

Monday marks the beginning of Dog Bite Bite Prevention Week.  Each year, more that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. Children are the most common victims, and are most likely to be severely injured.  Contrary to popular belief, these incidents do not happen “without warning” or “out of the blue.”  Most pediatric dog bites are preventable, provided the dog knows what is expected of him from day one.  And if you can start before day one, that’s even better.

If you’re expecting a baby, you don’t need me to tell you that big changes are on the horizon.  Every member of your family will be affected by said changes, and the family dog is no exception.  Many expectant parents want to shelter their dogs from this reality, and may even spend the pregnancy heaping lavish amounts of attention onto the dog.  While it might seem logical to make the most of those last stretches of quality time, this is actually one of the worst things a parent-to-be can do.

Through a dog’s eyes

Make no mistake - your dog knows something is up.

Our older dog Grendel is fiercely protective of any of our employees who might be pregnant.  Like clockwork, the obsession with the mother-to-be begins about five weeks into the pregnancy.  This is  not a learned behavior.  My wife has never been pregnant, and babies who visit our home do not hold our little dog’s interest. (Unless they drop Cheerios. Cheerio droppers are the most awesome creatures on the planet, fully worthy of a dachshund’s undying devotion and fealty.) Perhaps her nose alerts her to the presence of pregnancy hormones.  Perhaps she is able to hear the fetal heartbeat.  But she figures it out long before the blessed event is announced to family or posted on Facebook.  When a team member is expecting, Grendel is jokingly referred to as the fetal monitor. She knows exactly what is going on, which means chances are, your dog knows too.

If you spend the tail end of your pregnancy making Rover think the impending event is all about him, he is going to have a rude awakening when the baby arrives with the usual and customary chaos.  He may demand the same amount of attention he was given prior to the birth by resorting to pushy behaviors like jumping on you, barking, or scratching at the door.  These behaviors can frazzle the nerves of a sleep-deprived new parent.  Despite their best efforts to keep their cool, new parents often guiltily confess to shouting at their dogs, usually while in the baby’s presence.  This can cause the dog to associate the little one with negative experiences, which can make him feel wary, suspicious, or fearful of the baby. Such associations are a recipe for danger.

Additionally, it’s important to think about how a dog might see a newborn baby.  While it’s fun to refer to our dogs as our fur-kids or fur-babies, they are animals - and predators at that.  Imagine what a dog might see when being presented with a newborn.  It’s wrapped in a blanket. It smells like a mammal. It gurgles and squeals and flails around, flapping its tiny little limbs in sporadic motions. It is warm.  It is helpless.  How might a predator mentally classify a creature that behaves in such a manner?

You guessed it: prey.

Sadly, many babies are injured or killed by dogs who have no idea what babies are, or how they are expected to behave in their presence.  And please do not think only large dogs are capable of such behavior.  Some of the more harrowing incidents between dogs and babies have involved   Pomeranians, Dachshunds, and Jack Russell Terriers. All dogs must be prepared in advance for the arrival of a new baby and the accompanying changes before the big day arrives. So let’s get started!

Decide what your dog’s boundaries will be

Once the baby comes home, you may not want to allow your dog into the nursery.  You may not want him on the furniture with you while you are feeding or holding the baby.  These are not necessarily universal rules, but rather a matter of personal preference.  Think about what life is going to look like once the baby arrives.  Do you want your dog to be underfoot while you are changing diapers? Do you want him to snuggle next to you on the sofa while you are trying to nurse a fussy infant? Do you want your dog to sleep in your bed during a phase when you are likely to be sleep-deprived as it is? If the answer is no to any or all of these questions, start setting the expectations and teaching appropriate behaviors now.  You will not have the time, energy or patience once the baby comes home, and this will only lead to frustration for both you and your dog.  Use only positive, reward-based training techniques.  If you need help, enlist the services of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.

Introduce Rover to the sights, sounds and smells of a new baby.

Dogs can become overwhelmed and fearful when presented with too many big changes all at once.  Thankfully, the American retail beast has plenty of remedies for this dilemma! Dog training CDs and downloads can help dogs become desensitized and non-reactive to the many sounds made by babies.  Play them often, and reward your dog lavishly for remaining calm while they are playing. If he reacts to the sounds, reward him the moment he disengages, and continue to praise him as long as he remains calm.

He should also become accustomed to seeing you carry, wear, and hold an infant.  A baby doll works wonders, and thanks once again to the marketing machine, there are many that look shockingly realistic. Start carrying the doll around the house, and get him used to waiting patiently for your attention while you tend to the “stunt baby”.  This is a great tool for teaching your dog not to jump on your lap while you are holding or feeding the baby, or to only approach the baby when you are nearby.

If you have started to accumulate baby gear, set it up now. Get cracking on that nursery.  Let Rover see and smell all the new things that will be sharing his space before the baby comes home.  If you want him to stay away from it, teach him to do so now.  Slather the doll, your hands, and the baby gear with whatever lotion you plan to use.  If you plan to switch laundry detergents, do this now as well. This will introduce some important new smells into Rover’s environment before baby chaos ensues.

Take an honest look at your dog’s behavior

As your pregnancy progresses, start jotting down the things Rover does that drive you crazy - even if they are funny or cute.  Now multiply them them by a million and subtract sleep, free time and silence.  This is how you will feel when dealing with slightly annoying behaviors (which are likely to escalate), combined with the demands of caring for a newborn baby.  Does he bark at the slightest breeze? This will wake the baby.  Does he jump on people? He can scratch the baby.  Does he pounce on your lap without permission? This can injure your baby. Does he relentlessly pester you for treats or attention? You get the picture.  Be honest with yourself.  No dog is perfect, and the spirit of the exercise is to nip nuisance behaviors in the bud before they spiral into potentially dangerous situations.  It’s also about keeping your sanity down the road.  Parenting is a marathon, and while marathons are grueling, there is time to prepare and train.  If you can figure out which behaviors are likely to make you crazy, you can work on fixing them before life is turned upside down. Think of it as a behavioral tune-up that will save you aggravation down the road.  Fine tune your dog’s basic obedience commands, and make sure he will respond to your voice, as opposed to your stance.  Review behaviors like “out” “off” “sit” “stay” and “down” while you are sitting or lying down.  You may not have the luxury of getting up to show Rover you are serious when your baby is demanding your undivided attention.

Give Rover his own space

With all these new rules and boundaries, it may help Rover to have a space of his own full of toys, blankets, and all  his favorite things.  Whether it’s a crate, a bed, or a baby proofed nook, this is where he gets to go when he needs to get away from baby madness. When the baby becomes ambulatory, Rover’s space is off-limits. Dogs are far less likely to be fazed by babies if they have a safe space to which they can retreat when they are feeling overwhelmed. 

Chances are, Rover won’t be the only one feeling overwhelmed.  Dogs tend to take their behavioral cues from us, so do not underestimate the importance of self care. Call in some favors, find a babysitter and treat yourself to a spa day or a date night.  Plan to be nice to yourself. You’ll be thankful for the break in the long run.

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Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee?

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

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<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 19:50:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Jennifer+A1782698+Maggie+A1783189.jpg Check out the animals up for adoption at Miami-Dade Animals Services.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 19:44:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Miley.jpg Check out the furry friends available for adoption in Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Pro Golfer Strips Down to Save Baby Blue Jay at Fla. Golf Course]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 13:05:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-505053038.jpg

English pro golfer Greg Owen is the real MVP.

During Monday's practice round at THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, he and fellow pro golfer Brandt Snedeker were walking off the 16th tee when they saw a baby blue jay fall from a tree. The little guy attempted to fly across the pond only to make it about halfway before falling in.

Proving that his heart is as big as his 6 foot 5, 210 pound frame, Owen does what any animal lover would do. He strips down to his skivvies, hops in the water and scoops the blue jay up, carrying him to safety.

"Never thought an Englishman would get so concerned about a blue jay," a voice is heard saying off-camera.

Since the video was uploaded Monday to Ziegler Golf School's Facebook page, it's racked up more than 150,000 views and has been shared more than 1,300 times.

Greg Owen. Pro Golfer. Saver of birds. Hero to animal lovers worldwide.

We salute you.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Aspen]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 10:27:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/paet+of+the+week+aspen.jpg

Our pet of the week is Aspen, a 9-year-old Jack Russel mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Alison Nash- Zelkowitz with Humane Society of Greater Miami stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Aspen. She said Aspen is very sweet, easygoing, and friendly.

Aspen would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Aspen or other animals up for adoption, contact Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305)-696-0800.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Last Chance Dogs at Broward Animal Care]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 13:54:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Pearl-A1809821.jpg Last Chance Dogs at Broward Animal Care]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 17:06:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Baloo.jpg Check out the animals available for adoption in Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Unique Animal Farm Located on Stock Island]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 10:07:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/050316+mcso+animal+farm.jpg

An animal farm on Stock Island in Key West has a very uncommon set of caretakers.

From a pig named Wilbur to an alpaca named Snowflake, those are just some of the welcoming faces you'll see at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Children's Animal Farm.

But this isn't your every day petting zoo. In true Key West style, there is something a little different. The animals are taken care of by inmates.

"It is very unique to actually be in jail and at the same time be out in the open, in the air, enjoying. So it's kinda like a positive alternative to a negative consequence," said Seth Beckman, inmate.

"This is a unique, unusual situation at the jail and it's really the only one in the country that has a petting zoo," said Jeanne Selander, animal farm supervisor.

The sprawling farm is located underneath the Stock Island Detention Center which is elevated 11-feet above the ground to withstand hurricanes.

"We take in animals which have been abandoned, abused, confiscated or donated and we provide a forever home and one of the unique things about this farm is that the inmates actually provide the labor to care for the animals," Selander explained.

All the inmates who volunteer in the program are serving time for non-violent offenses. They leave their cells daily to feed and tend to the animals and even build and improve their enclosures. They say it's a win-win, with benefits for the animals and the inmates.

"You could say it's therapeutic in a way. It's peaceful. It's actually a cool feeling. When a bull runs up to you because he knows you're bringing him food, so it is a pretty cool feeling," said Adam Korzen, inmate.

"I feel free. I feel like I can escape without technically escaping. So it's always a plus to get outdoors, interact with animals," Beckman said.

"Animals give unconditional love and you can really see the changes in the inmates from when they start working on the farm until they leave," Selander said.

The farm started in 1994 with just a few ducks and now it's expanded to over 150 animals.

"We have a ring tailed lemur, we have two kinkajous, we have a sloth named Mo who is our famous animal on the farm," Selander said.

The South Florida SPCA has donated some of the animals. But the cuddly creatures have had some tough lives too, either being abandoned, rescued or confiscated, so they live out their days in these forever homes, a life sentence of sorts.

As for the inmates, they say they are grateful for this time with the wildlife which helps get their minds off being behind bars. Some inmates even want to come back after they've served their time, wearing different clothes of course.

"I'll come down and visit the animals not wearing orange," Korzen said.

"They bring their kids back to the farm which is amazing because who wants to come back to the jail? And I love an open house day where I see inmates come back in regular clothes with their families and they're proud of what they did," Selander said.

Selander wants to keep improving the farm and hopes to inspire more programs like this one, "You don't feel like you're at a jail when you come here. You do see razor wire, you do see a couple of inmates in orange, but they're very respectful."

The animal farm relies completely on donations. If you are interested in checking out the animals, the farm is open to the public every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month from 1-3 p.m.

For more information, call (305) 293-7300 or click here. The farm is located at 5501 College Road.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 17:08:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Milo+A1774739.JPG Check out the furry friends available for adoption at Miami-Dade Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Vic]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 11:04:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week1.jpg

Our pet of the week is Vic. Vic is two years old and is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Vic. She said Vic is very smart and loving, and friendly.

Vic is delightful and would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Vic or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Abused Dog Shows Signs of Improvements at Hollywood Vet]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:55:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042916+tucker.jpg

Tucker, a German Shepherd who arrived at a Hollywood veterinary hospital severely emaciated and badly abused last week, is showing signs of improvement on his road to recovery.

New photos of Tucker show that the sores on his skin are healing and that overall, he's coming along very well.

Veterinarians with VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital are working to determine the best way to treat deep wounds to Tucker's hips.

Miami-Dade Animals Services contacted Shepherd Help and Rescue Effort (SHARE) ealy last week after an owner surrender of the starving, sick dog.

Officials called for an immediate rescue and SHARE picked Tucker up the next day. Miami-Dade Police informed SHARE that Tucker's case will be pursued as a felony animal cruelty case.

Tucker came to the hospital suffering from inflammation in all four paws, skin that was cracked and bleeding, peridontal disease and two large open wounds on his hips, both of which are infected and will require intense wound care.

Tucker is now on antibiotics, they've dressed his wounds and he's responding well. He's in good spirits, although his injuries were some of the worst these volunteers have ever seen.

Despite his injuries, Tucker is said to have a sweet, calm demeanor which is noticed by everyone around him.

"Everyone we ran into at [VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital] always comments on what a great, loving spirit he has considering what he has been through," says Cindy Newton, a volunteer with SHARE. "He's such a great dog."

Vets are keeping Tucker for intensive treatment and observation, and they're hopeful he'll make a full recovery and soon be available for adoption.

An online fundraiser has been established on YouCaring.com to help cover the cost of Tucker's medical care.

As of Friday, the site had raised more than $9,500.



Photo Credit: SHARE]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - April 27, 2016]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:57:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/173*120/Bailey+A1776039.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - April 27, 2016]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 11:32:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/rsz_nbc6_jori.jpg Meet the animals in need of forever homes at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Rescued Sea Turtles Released Into Ocean]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 19:13:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000023269817_1200x675_673510979511.jpg Miami Seaquarium workers release sea turtles rescued near Cape Cod into the waters of South Florida.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 20:56:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Darla.jpg Check out the animals in need of a good home at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:02:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Tito+A1770651.jpg Check out the furry friends available for adoption through Miami-Dade County Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Virginia Zoo Elephants Arrive at Zoo Miami to Retire]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 18:46:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/041816+elephants+moving+to+miami.jpg

Zoo Miami received two new additions Tuesday. "Cita" and "Lisa" are African elephants that arrived from the Virginia Zoo as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommendation.

The recommendation is in line with an upcoming requirement by the AZA that accredited institutions exhibiting elephants maintain them in herds of three or more to support the complex and psychological health of the animals.

"We're very excited to be part of this partnership with Zoo Miami, delivering 18,000 pounds of African elephants to them," said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.

Lisa is 42, was born in the wild, and arrived at the Virginia Zoo in 1976. Cita is almost 48 and arrived at the Virginia Zoo from the Indianapolis Zoo in 2005.

Following a quarantine period, they will be joining Zoo Miami's resident African females, Peggy and Mabel, both of whom are 40.

"It was a long drive, but it's pretty exciting to be here and see our girls meet our new friends," Bockheim said.

All of these females are beyond their reproductive ages and therefore will not be part of any breeding program.

Zoo Miami is the only zoo in the continental United States that is located in a sub-tropical climate where the elephants can remain outdoors year-round while enjoying the exhibits that have gone through recent renovations.

South Florida, with its mild climate and abundant sunshine, offers the ideal retirement location for these elephants, zoo officials said.

"Elephants are very sensitive to cold, especially as they get older. So having these large exhibits that we have at Zoo Miami, having these elephants come down here to live out their lives, is really best for everybody involved," said Ron Magill, Communications Director of Zoo Miami.

"They need more social opportunities, social choice to live with more elephants and their friends. As they age they need an environment that's a little bit warmer, the substrate softer to walk on just like humans," Bockheim said.

The elephants will be officially presented to the public on May 20, 2016.



Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Salsa]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 11:24:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+salsa.jpg

Our pet of the week is Salsa, a two-year-old Pitbull mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Salsa. She said Salsa is very smart and loyal, and friendly.

Salsa is delightful and would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Salsa or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 17:04:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/ZeusHSBC.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Miramar K-9 Officers Receive New Bulletproof Vests]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 18:59:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/041316+k9+miramar+vests.jpg

Miramar Police dogs were treated with some new protective gear Wednesday. The K-9 officers are putting their best paw forward with a whole new wardrobe: bulletproof vests.

"It's important that we protect them because they don't know when they're going into danger, they just know they're going to work and doing what they're trained to do and if it's a dangerous situation, the dog should be protected just as much as any human should," said Sgt. Anthony Pacetti with Miramar Police.

Six dogs with the Miramar Police Department K-9 Unit got the safety gear, thanks to Protect the Paws, a K-9 Cause.

"The canines are a huge commitment to our community. They are vital for crime prevention and we just can't do it without them," said Kathleen Holmes and Ruthie Cusick with Protect the Paws.

The nonprofit raises funds to donate bulletproof vests to South Florida canine units. Since 2011, they've produced over 60 custom-fit vests for more than 16 local police departments.

"They're our officers as well and they deserve the same protection," Holmes and Cusick said.

It's protection needed for their risky job. Many of the canines deal with narcotics and explosive detection, finding missing persons and more.

Their handlers say these dogs are like family to them and they're extremely grateful to see them wearing this life-saving protection.

"They're our loved ones. I treat him just like I would my children, my sons. He will lay down his life for me and I would do the same for him," said Troy Montgomery with Miramar Police.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>