Meet The Vet – Tips For Moving Your Furry Friend Home

PART 1 of 2

Did you know you can move into Merrill Gardens and bring your pet along with you? From puppy dogs to parakeets, you can find many furry friends living at Merrill Gardens with their owners.

Today, meet veterinarian Mark Freiberg, who is here to share a few tips for moving your pet into a new home. This is Part 1 of this series. If you have additional questions, email us or leave a comment below, and we’ll get the answers for Part 2.

Dr. Mark Freiberg

Dr. Mark Freiberg graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Zoology. He attended Washington State University and added a degree in Animal Science and graduated from Washington State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1977. After briefly practicing he founded the hospital now known as Veterinary Specialty Center in Lynnwood, WA. He later founded Animal Emergency Service of Kirkland, WA.

He became the owner of Rose Hill Animal Hospital in 1992. In 1996, he merged his two practices and was a founder of Pet’s Choice, Inc. He obtained board certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2001. He has remained as medical director of VCA Rose Hill Animal Hospital after Pet’s Choice, Inc. merged with Veterinary Centers of America.

What Are Some Benefits Of Pet Ownership?

Pet ownership is fantastic for people of all ages.  They give us love, physical companionship (as well as training challenges!), and do not ask anything in return. Pets allow us to focus on things different from our daily stresses and worries by helping us release our own endorphins so we feel happier without even knowing why.  They ask nearly nothing in return.

What Is The Best Way To Introduce a New Pet Into a New Home?

Thirty percent of a dog’s cognitive ability is dedicated to sense of smell. Introduce them to the home one room at a time. A dog can tell what has been in each room as well as when it was there. Their sense of smell is tens of thousands of times more acute than ours and you can bet they’ll have a lot of sniffing around to do in your new digs! A cat’s sense of smell  is not nearly as good as a dog’s, but it’s still much better than ours.

Is There Anything Specific We Should Do When Introducing a Pet Into a Home With Other Pets?

If you’re adding another pet to the pack, the best way to introduce them to the new environment is to keep them separate from other pets as best you can for the first few days. This is the best way to help get everyone acquainted, learn boundaries and acclimate to the new environment.

Anything Specific About Introducing a Dog Into a Home That Already Has Other Dogs?

Well, both dogs and cats have more of their brains devoted to olfactory recognition – that means both have great senses of smell.  But dogs tend to make mistakes when they are anxious and new odors make them anxious.  It is a protective physiologic action and once they realize that the new odor doesn’t represent a threat they can get on with the real work of finding out who is alpha.  Dogs don’t care who alpha is, they simply need to know. They get confused and anxious when they do not know.  Therefore after a week or so of introducing the new smell they could be encouraged to interact under supervision.  It might take a few “conversations” to determine the pecking order.  That is not bad or good, it simply is something that needs to happen.

What Does Your Typical Day Look Like?

I have a busy schedule with appointments all day long.  It’s not unusual for me to see over twenty pets and their owners in one day!

Can You Tell Us About Your Pets? 

My wife and I are both suckers for rescue animals. We have two German shepherds, Rose and Pippa. Rose is a rescue that my wife found on the side of the road after receiving what was an incredibly devastating blow to the snout from a previous owner.  My team and I were able to put her back together and she hasn’t left my side ever since. Pippa is a retired bomb sniffing dog that was awarded a purple heart after coming home from Afghanistan.

We also have six (technically five and three quarters) cats, Art, Carl, Snoop, Sarah, Jane and Riley. Riley only has three legs, but we round up!

Do you have questions about moving your pet into Merrill Gardens? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook Page. Dr. Freiberg will answer your questions for Part 2 of this series.

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