Summer Dangers for Dogs

Summer is a time for cookouts, pool parties, and fun vacations, but it is also a time when dangers to pets increase, so pet caregivers need to take special precautions.

Unlike humans, dogs cannot regulate their body temperature by sweating, so they are more prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke include weakness, rapid panting, and thick sticky saliva. It is important to check on your pet often on hot days and keep him cool, as heatstroke doesn’t take long to develop, and quick response is necessary. Get him into a cool place immediately, and, if available, provide a fan to provide a breeze. Apply a cold towel or an ice pack to the head, neck and chest, or immerse him in tepid (not ice cold) water. Don’t discourage your dog from panting…It’s the canine air-conditioning system, and no matter how labored it is, it means that your dog is working to expel heat from his body.

YouTube videos may show us dogs having great fun in the water, and many dogs love water, and water play is a great way for dogs to stay cool in summer and wear themselves out at the same time, but bodies of water often hold hazards that are not immediately visible. One water-borne risk is from giardia, a microscopic protozoal parasite that infects the intestines, often through drinking contaminated water. Giardia is one of the most common intestinal infections that attack dogs, and the best way to help prevent this problem is to ensure that your dog doesn’t drink potentially contaminated water. If you are camping or hiking, carry fresh water, or filter, or boil it before giving it to your dog. Blue-green algae is a toxic bacterial mix that can cause respiratory problems, affect the liver and neurological system, or cause death if he drinks it. Dogs can ingest the bacteria when they drink lake water or lick themselves after swimming in contaminated water. Keep your dog out of any water that you suspect has a harmful algae bloom, and if he hops in, rinse him thoroughly with fresh water as soon as possible.

Ear infections are especially common during summertime, especially among dogs that swim frequently. These infections are often caused by water entering dogs’ ears while swimming. Help prevent this by using a vet-prescribed ear leaner to clean and dry their ears after swimming.

The buzzing of bees and wasps seem to motivate your dog to investigate, and while curiosity may not kill him, it can result in a painful sting. Watch how your dog responds to the sting. If there is a lot of swelling, and she becomes irritated and scratches at the stung area, you should call your vet.

Everyone loves barbecues and cookouts, especially your dog who will usually get a little of this and a taste of that, but many barbeque favorites can pose problems for your dog. Many meats are seasoned with garlic and onions, both of which are toxic to dogs. Food with bones can be very dangerous, as they may splinter and injure their GI system, sometimes even piercing their bowels. Corn on the cob is a grilling staple, but digesting corn cobs is difficult and may be a choking hazard. An overlooked toothpick or skewer can pierce or make a hole in the intestines.

As a pet caregiver, you can reduce the risks of summer dangers by monitoring your dog closely, and being aware of the dangers that may be present. Take the right precautions, and you and your companion can relax and enjoy the summer in comfort and safety.

Summer Fun & Safety

This really hot, humid weather can make anyone feel uncomfortable, including our four-footed friends. Responsible pet caregivers understand basic safety rules:

  •  Do NOT leave your dog in a car….even a few moments in the heat can turn your car into an oven.
  • Do NOT shave your dog down to the skin because shaving him down inhibits his ability to deal with temperature changes. Leave the hair length at least an inch long to protect his skin .
  • Ticks are thriving right now……Check regularly for ticks, especially under the tail, on the stomach, in the ears, and between the toes.
  • Always make sure to have cool, clean available water available at all times.
  • Keep your exercise routines in early mornings or evenings when it is cooler.
  • We disapprove of tying a dog outside in any weather, but it can be fatal in this kind of weather. Find a place where he can be comfortable and out of the sun.
  • When walking your dog, steer clear of all areas that may have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaks which can be fatal if ingested.
  • Stay alert for signs of overheating, which include excessive panting, drooling and mild weakness.
  • It it’s too hot for you outside, it’s too hot for your dog!!!

Everyone enjoys a summer treat, and your dog is no exception. If you want to make summertime frozen dog treats, just remember these basic steps:

  1. Start with a liquid base
  2. Mix in a favorite ingredient (blueberries, apples, bananas, peas….the options are endless)
  3. Freeze and serve.

Here are a few recipes for quick and easy treats for your favorite canine:

FROZEN YOGURT-PEANUT BUTTER BITS

An easy two ingredient dog treat can be quickly made with just two ingredients:

  • Combine 1 cup creamy peanut butter (softened)
  • 32 ounces of plain yogurt until combined and smooth
  • Drop 2 tablespoon mounds of the mixture onto a greased baking sheet,
  • Place in the freezer until completely frozen.
  • Transfer the treats to a freezer-safe container or zip top bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 FROZEN PUMPKIN TREATS

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Pour mixture into mini molds or ice cube trays and freeze.

Celebrate the season and keep your dog happy and healthy by taking just a few precautions, and offering a few cooling treats!

 

Summer Hazards

Because hot humid summer weather brings potential problems to our four-footed friends, we have been limiting our walks to leisurely strolls in the shade. Under the hot summer sun, asphalt on sidewalks and streets can heat to a temperature that can burn a dog’s paws. Always put your hand down on the asphalt for about thirty seconds—if you need to pull your hand away after about 30 seconds because it is so hot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on without hurting his paws. Walk your dog early in the morning or in the late evening when the streets have cooled off.

Because a dog perspires very little, hot weather creates many problems, and it is the responsibility of the humans to keep her safe by providing lots of cool, clean, fresh water. Consider preparing low sodium chicken broth or yogurt ice cubes to increase the moisture content of your dog’s diet. Doggie Fro-Yo is a quick and easy summer-time treat: Just blend 2 cups of low fat yogurt, 1 banana, 1/3 cup peanut butter and 1 tablespoon honey. Mix until smooth, poor into an oiled mini-muffin tin, place in the freezer and freeze for at least an hour.

Summer is the season for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes…pests that present discomfort to your dog, and may be life-threatening or cause self-mutilating behaviors There are many preventatives on the market, but we recommend that you do NOT by over the counter products. Check with your vet and see what he recommends for your dog….and don’t wait until you see a flea; prevention is much easier than treatment! Heartworm infection is a serious problem, and it takes only one infected mosquito to infect a dog, so it is extremely important to be consistent with preventive treatment for these dangers.

Heat prostration is a common cause of illness that kills many beloved pets each year. Some of the worst summer tragedies involve pets that are left in vehicles. NEVER leave your animal in a car—temperatures inside can rapidly climb to more than l00 degrees and can cause death in as little as ten minutes. (If it is 95 degrees and you leave your windows cracked, the temperature may rise as high as 113 degrees. This is a recipe for disaster for your dog.

Your dog may be allergic to seasonal items such as grass, various plants, and mold. If you suspect your dog may have seasonal allergies, is scratching and perhaps losing fur, a visit to your vet is recommended.

Many of our lawn care products and pesticides are potentially toxic to pets. After treating lawns, be sure to restrict pets from those areas until the product has TOTALLY dried. Remember too, that many types of summer foliage such as hydrangea, wisteria, foxglove, privet hedge, and delphiniums, can be toxic to pets.

Freshwater ponds, lakes and streams can be deadly to your dog if they contain toxins borne by blue-green algae. If the water looks cloudy, with a green or blue-green case, it is very possible that there is a dangerous overgrowth of blue-green algae, and it is important to prevent your dog from ingesting this contaminated water. Although some of the algae blooms are not toxic, it is difficult to determine which ones are poisonous, so it is wise to keep children or pets out of any water that appears to have the blue-green algae.

Another warning is regarding cocoa bean shell mulch, which is a by-product of chocolate production and is becoming a popular mulch for landscaping. However many dogs find the mulch attractive and will eat it, which will result in gastrointestinal upset, muscle tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea. If large amounts are ingested, life threatening problems may develop. The ASPCA Poison Control Center recommends that cocoa bean shell mulch never be used in landscaping around unsupervised dogs.

By following common sense rules, you will be able to help your dogs beat the heat and stay safe and comfortable in hot weather.

 

 

Not a Fun Day for Dogs!

The Fourth of July is an exciting, fun holiday for humans, but unfortunately, this holiday holds a plethora of danger for your dogs who do not understand the loud noises, and flashes of light.. Just put yourself in your dog’s place: it is getting dark and you are relaxing on the back patio, when suddenly the sky explodes…fire and thunder shattering the night.

No dog should be left outdoors, especially on the Fourth of July, and do not take her along to any fireworks show. . The Humane Society of the United States recommends leaving your pet INDOORS in a safe, quiet room. Make sure the room is dog- proofed, and provide safe toys for him. (maybe this is a good time to give him a couple new toys!). Frightened dogs can become destructive, so remove any breakable objects or things that could be harmful to your dog if chewed.

Turn on a radio or television (or both), set at a low volume, to create a soothing noise. We have found one of the best calming tools is a CD, Canine Lullabies: heartbeat music therapy especially for dogs. Most of the CD’s that claim to “make dogs happy or calm” are simply people-pleasers, but Canine Lullabies is different. It was tested by humane societies and members of the American Boarding Kennels Association. However, personal experience is always the best teacher, so I tested it on our own shelter dogs. Several of them were so distraught that they would bark for hours; another one licked himself until his skin was raw. Amazingly, this music calmed and relaxed them. If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, barks excessively, or exhibits other inappropriate behavior, I recommend trying it, and there is no better time than the Fourth of July weekend. For whimpering puppies, sick or injured dogs, or just hyperactive pets, it is a life saver. For more information go to www.caninelullabies.com or check out Terry Woodford on Face Book.

You can also stream these from Spotify using these links (https://open.spotify.com/album/720unplZaQChtc1bTf2sEe) and (https://open.spotify.com/album/0QXGxWJyMtWqVfSqZtJseH) for free with commercials or without commercials if you already pay for a Spotify account.

A commercial product, ThunderShirt, has been used with great success by thousands of individuals and shelters. An effective deterrent to anxiety and stress, this product was developed out of sheer frustration. ThunderWorks founder, Phil Blizzard’s fifty pound dog was terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks, and Blizzard could find no solution other than medications and desensitization training programs. One day a friend recommended trying a snug wrap…like swaddling an infant, and during one bad storm, he wrestled the dog into an old t-shirt and used packing tape to create mild pressure. It worked and the taped T-shirt evolved into a ThunderShirt, which has had an insanely calming effect on millions of dogs, and effectively provides an effective solution for common problems of anxieties, over-excitement, pulling, jumping and much more.

Rescue Remedy Pet is an alcohol- free variation of the original stress relieving formula, Rescue Remedy, that has been available for more than 70 years. It can be used to create a calming effect in any stressful situation, or when your dog needs help overcoming a variety of emotional or behavioral problems.

It is a good idea to make sure your pet is well-exercised well before any fireworks displays begin. A tired pet will be calmer and less likely to engage in anxious or disruptive behavior. The safest option for celebrating the holiday is to exclude them from all of the festivities, but make sure they are wearing ID tags …just in case. According to Dogs Deserve Better, more animals are lost on July 4th than any other time of the year Two forms of identification are always best…if your dog gets loose, and is found, the first thing that will be looked for is an ID tag. If he is taken to a shelter, he will be scanned for a microchip.

By using common sense precautions, both you and your pet can enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer bring sweltering waves of heat, so we languish, and so do our dogs, longing for cooling, refreshing relief from these hot, muggy days. Many believe that the phrase “dog days of summer” stems from the fact that dogs tend to be a bit on the lazy side during the hottest days of the year, and who can blame them.? Covered with fur, dogs can overheat easily, but the phrase doesn’t refer to lethargic dogs lying around on hot humid days. It actually refers to the summer sky, and a time when Romans called the hottest, most humid days of summer to “Dog Days” because they associated the hottest days with the brightest star in the constellation which was known as the “dog star.” The fact is that although the dog days of summer are usually the hottest, they don’t have anything to do with either dogs, or the star Sirius. Instead, the tilt of the earth explains why these days tend to be the summer’s hottest.

Dogs find summer’s high temperatures challenging….they have sweat glands only in their paws, so they don’t sweat…a dog’s primary means of cooling himself is through panting, and as the temperature and humidity rise, the inefficiency of this system becomes apparent. A dog in warm weather need your special attention, and you need to enforce limits during hot weather. Some of the common causes of heat stress include:

  • leaving the dog in a car…even in the shade or with the windows open…or leaving her in a hot room or garage with insufficient air flow.
  • excessive exercise, or exercise when it is extremely hot outside. Paws can get burned on hot asphalt. When the air temperature is 77 degrees, asphalt temp will be 125 degrees; when air temperature is 86 degrees, asphalt temp will be 135 degrees, and when air temperature is 87 degrees, asphalt temp will be 143 degrees. At 125 degrees skin destruction can occur in just sixty seconds, and paws will get burned. It it’s too hot for your bare feet it is too hot for your dog’s paws.
  • lack of fresh water. Make sure your dog ALWAYS has fresh, cool water. On really hot days, toss a few ice cubes into the water. If you go for a walk, always carry along water and a bowl for your dog.
  • lack of shade….if you are going to be outside very long, he will need shade. If you can’t find a natural shady area, a pop-up tent or umbrella can provide temporary help.
  • sunburn. Despite their furry coats, dogs can still be exposed and damaged by UV rays. Coating their fur and skin with DOGGY UV protectant sunblock will help prevent burns.

A cool pool is always appreciated. Aside from panting, dogs cool down through the sweat glands in their paws. Most dogs love standing, sitting (or rolling around) in a pool of cool water.

Beating the heat is especially tough for backyard dogs ….baking in the summer sun in a barren yard, day after day, week after week, takes its toll and kills many of these poor animals. Sometimes, the owner is not aware of the dangers, and a tactful visit will improve the situation. If this approach does not work, you need to call animal control before it is too late.

A dog’s main weapons against the heat are water…..lots of cold, clean water, and lots of shade.

Summer pet safely isn’t difficult, but it requires some attention. Watch over your dog the way you would a small child…protect him from too much heat, too much sun, and other summer dangers, and both you and your four-footed friend will enjoy the dog days of summer.

 

It’s Finally Spring!

IT’S FINALLY SPRING

“Oh, when the bugs come out, it’s spring

I see some crawl, I see some fly

I can’t count how many bugs go marching by,

but when the bugs come out, I know it’s spring,

and today I met a mosquito which wasn’t fun

She bit me here, she nipped me there

she even bit my bum.

But I had the last laugh

I squashed her with my thumb”

A humorous poem by Jan Allison, but parasite season is not humorous for our companion animals. As the warmer weather of spring brings the outdoors back to life with flowers and shrubs, bugs and parasites also make their presence known, meaning that flea and tick season has arrived, and mosquitoes are also out and ready to pass on heartworm disease to your dogs (and cats.) Other parasites include roundworms, hook worms and whip worms.

Fleas are nasty little creatures that travel rapidly through animal hair and are extremely tough to eliminate, and they are more than just an irritation. If a flea swallowed by your dog contains tapeworm larvae, the dog may get tapeworms, and there are also other diseases which are transmitted by fleas. The average life span of a flea is about six weeks, and in that time, just one flea can produce more than 600 eggs. If you see just one flea, you can be sure that there are many more present, so the smart thing to do is to treat your animal BEFORE just one tiny critter is found. Talk to your vet about the best product to use. We discourage the use of flea collars, which may kill the fleas only in the neck area, and we are also uncomfortable with the thought of children touching and breathing the chemicals in flea collars. Do not buy over-the-counter products…..some are simply not effective, and others are downright dangerous.

Ticks are most often found in wooded areas, tall grass, brush, or woodpiles. They move onto a host as it passes by and then attach to the skin by using the mouthparts to embed their heads so they can feed on the host’s blood. Ticks carry and transmit several diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever….Again prevention is much easier than treatment, and many products are effective against both fleas and ticks. Your vet can help you implement strategies to protect both humans and canines in your household from these unwelcome parasites.

Another aspect of your pet’s health care is protection from heartworm disease, a life-threatening illness that is spread by mosquito bites….every time your dog is bitten by a mosquito, she may be exposed to heartworms. Heartworms are identified using a simple blood test, and it is important to have your dog tested every spring. At the same time, it is a good idea to take in a fecal sample to be checked for tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, and protozoal parasites such as giardia and protozoa that can attack the gastrointestinal tract. We suggest a complete health check every spring. Hopefully your dog will get a clean bill of health, but if something suspicious is found, perhaps it can be treated in the early stages. Most dogs have teeth problems by the time they are three years old, and since tooth and gum disease can lead to more serious problems, be sure to include a dental checkup.

In spring, depending on your dog’s breed, more shedding can be expected, so daily brushing is encouraged. And remember: no outfit is complete without a few dog hairs!

The Powerful Influence of a Mother

Every life begins with a mom who accepts a long term, often stressful, job, and we celebrate Mother’s Day recognizing the awesomeness of mothers. They laugh with us, cry with us, and love us with unfailing love. Who is the queen of everything we cling to with all our hearts? It was, it is, and forever will be Mom. . A MOTHER MAKES LIFE SPECIAL was a Paw Prints piece published several years ago, and I was asked to repeat it at this special time of year. Enjoy!

“Most beautiful things in life come by two and threes, by dozens and even hundreds. Plenty of stars, sunsets, rainbows, flowers, and friends—but most of us are privileged to have only one mother in the whole world. There is no influence so powerful as a mother…with limitless patience, continual encouragement and unswerving love…and for those six little words that help us through so many trying times: “because I said so, that’s why.”

A mother makes life special….the moments of love and laughter, the traditions and memories we will carry with us throughout our lives, and most of all, a Mother shows the true meaning of love in everything she does.

As Mother’s Day approaches, a dog-lover friend recently browsed through her Mother’s memory album, and found this poem on which she had written, “How blessed I am to be a mother… even though I sometimes hide in the bathroom to be alone! I am learning to appreciate mud puddles, dandelions and hairy creatures called dogs, thanks to my wonderful children.”

MUD PUDDLES, DANDELIONS, AND DOGS

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my garden.

My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff to wish on.

When I see a bedraggled, old homeless guy, and he smiles at me, I figure he wants something.

Kids see someone smiling at them, and they smile back.

When I feel wind on my face, I worry about it messing up my hair.

My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall down laughing.

When I pray, I say ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and ‘grant me this, give me that’.

My youngest always says, “Hi, God! Thanks for all my toys and my friends,

and for my new puppy and especially for my Mom who puts up with the messes that we make.”.

When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.

My kids splash in it with the puppy, happily anticipating hours of fun.

When I see a starving, frightened dog standing by the side of the road,

I think of my clean car, and hope that “some Good Samaritan” will help him.

The kids see a wonderful, beautiful, loyal companion and insist that WE are the “Good Samaritans” sent to rescue him.

I wonder if Mothers are given kids to teach or learn from? No wonder God loves the little children!

I have learned to enjoy the little things in life, knowing that one day, I will look back and realize they were the big things.

I am so blessed to have learned and hopefully have taught my children:

  • Life is too short to waste it on petty things. And it is petty to think you have to win every argument. Forgive everyone everything.
  • Never compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about, and envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  • Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
  • Forgive everyone everything ..in five years it won’t matter that the puppy ruined your carpet, your couch, and half your shoes. He will grow up to become the love of your life.
  • Enjoy your family, both two legged and four legged. Miracles are waiting everywhere
  • ENJOY MUD PUDDLES, SUNNY YELLOW DANDELIONS, AND UNCONDITIONALLY LOYAL DOGS!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

 

Is it REALLY Spring?

IS IT REALLY SPRING?

According to the calendar, the first day of Spring, 2018, has come and gone, but as Henry Van Dyke said years ago, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.” Iowa has yet to see the first spring day of this year. Hopefully Spring will actually arrive before this piece hits the news stand, but more pleasant weather also presents dangers for pets which are not as prevalent in the colder months.

The plants that begin to bloom are beautiful to look at, but some of these plants can cause serious problems for our pets. Lilies are one of the most common poisonous plants found both in gardens and in bouquets, and are poisonous to dogs. Rhododendrons, azaleas, foxglove, tulips, oleanders, caster beans, chrysanthemums, and many other familiar spring plants can be toxic to unsuspecting curious pets. (Check ASPCA for a complete list of dangerous plants.) Spiders, bees, and other little critters often hide in plants and can sting or bite a curious dog, and if your dog gets stung, it is wise to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Lawn herbicides or pesticides can poison pets. Keep your animals out of the yard while spraying and use caution for several days later. Be alert to your pet walking on these surfaces since cleaning or licking their paws later can contribute to ingestion of the poison. Also take care if you are poisoning rodents or other pests since your pets may ingest one of the dead critters and suffer from those consequences.

Stagnant water and rain puddles can provide great breeding places for mosquito larvae and other parasites, and dogs should not be allowed to drink out of these pools of water. Runoff with insecticides and other herbicides can result in horrible consequences, and you never know what else could be concentrated there.

Springtime is also fishing and hunting time. Be alert around water areas for fishing lines, hooks, discarded bait and other related items. If you are around wooded areas, there may be traps or poison bait left out by hunters or irritated neighbors. Predatory animals such as coyotes may pose some risk now too, since they may have litters of cubs that they need to feed and are looking for easy prey.

Spring house cleaning is an annual event in most households, and many household cleaners contain chlorine, ammonia, and foaming agents that are harmful to animals. Dogster.com lists specific products that are not pet safe, and are commonly found in most homes. According to studies measuring volatile organic compounds, three common cleaners– Pledge, Clorox Wipes, and Lysol Disinfecting Spray– registered close to a thousand times more vapor pressure than a natural cleaner. This means that even when the toxic cleaners are put away and closed, the vapors left behind can continue to harm both humans and pets. Pine Sol, Mr. Clean, 409, and even Windex are toxic products, as well as many laundry detergents. . Never use them when your pet is in the same room, and air out the house after cleaning with them. Make sure that all toxic products are stored out of reach of children and pets.

If you are uncertain as to the safety of a product, you will find a wealth of information about what’s toxic to dogs on Dogster.com. Check it out; I was certainly appalled at the toxic products I use on a daily basis, and I would guess you will be too. You and your dog will be healthier and safer if you use cleaning products that are pet safe!

Winter’s Icy Grip Affects Our Pets Too

We are definitely in winter’s frigid grip….with record breaking low temperatures, blizzards, and wild weather, meaning shoveling, snowblowing, dealing with bad roads, and sometimes unbearable cold. Eugene O’Neill describes the way most of us feel right now: “Blow, blow, thou winter wind, away, away from here…I do not love thy snow and sleet or icy flows. I am cold, no matter how I warm or clothe me.” Our companion animals do not appreciate this inclement weather either, and caregivers are responsible to keep them safe and healthy.

These below zero temps may be even worse than what the thermometer reads. The wind chill factor can drop the actual temperature by 20 or 30 degrees, so even if your dogs are used to being outside, they need to be brought inside in extreme cold snaps.

Nothing is more fun that cavorting in the snow with your dog, and regular exercise is important when you are both housebound much of the time, but take care to limit the time outdoors. Wipe snow and ice off your dog’s fee…even clean between the toes…after outdoor walks, and be sure to clean lime rock salt or calcium chloride salt off their paws, both of which can cause digestive problems if the dog licks it.

Your dog is smaller and thus more vulnerable to the chills you feel, so just a short exposure to sub-zero temperatures can produce frostbite of the feet, nose, or ears. Frost-bitten skin is usually red or gray and may peel off. It should be treated by applying warm, most washcloths to thaw the affected areas slowly, and if serious, a veterinarian should be contacted for further care. Prolonged exposure to cold weather, especially accompanied by high winds (the wind chill factor) can lower the body temperature. This condition, known as hypothermia, can interfere with normal bodily functions and result in injury or death.

The ASPCA offers these tips to keep your pet safe in cold weather:

  • Pets should NEVER be left outdoors for extended periods of time when it is extremely cold. IF IT IS TOO COLD FOR YOU, IT IS TOO COLD FOR YOUR DOG!
  • Never let your dog off-leash in the snow or ice. He can become disoriented and lost, even in a familiar area.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect them from the salt and chemical agents, but always take a minute to wipe your dog’s legs and stomach as well as his paws when he comes in from a walk. He might ingest salt or chemicals when grooming himself.
  • Never shave a dog down short during the winter. A longer coat offers warmth. Clothing for dogs has become a fashionable fad, but a high fashion garment is not necessary. Look for a simply styled, easy-on, easy-off coat that covers the underside of the dog as well as the back.
  • Animals like the sweet smell and taste of ethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze, but drinking even a small amount can cause fatal kidney damage. Stay safe, by stowing containers up away from your pet’s reach, and discard bottles that are cracked or leaking. Clean spills thoroughly , and if you think your dog has ingested dangerous chemicals, get him to the vet immediately.
  • All pets need a cozy dog bed with a warm blanket or pillow, and older pets may need a little extra attention in cold weather. Whether it is another orthopedic bed, or a ramp over the frozen steps, small acts of kindness can help your older friend feel fine this winter, and don’t ignore small changes in behavior that might signal a medical problem.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in a car. If the engine is left on, carbon monoxide may endanger his life, and if the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.
  • If you see or hear of an animal in distress, please contact your local humane society or law enforcement right away. You may mean the difference between life and death for her.

If you keep these precautions in mind, winter can be a fun, healthy time for both you and your dog!

 

Embrace the New Year

As we embrace the New Year and its promise of changes and improvement, don’t forget to include your pets in your 2018 resolutions. Need ideas? Her are a few resolutions to make sure the new year is your dog’s healthiest happiest year yet:

  • Update Pet ID info…A lot can change over a year’s time….people move, get new phone numbers, and change e-mail addresses. If any of your contact information has changed, updating tags and microchip information are the best ways to ensure a lost pet makes his way home safely.
  • Spend more time with your dog. We often get caught up in the daily responsibilities and working to improve our personal lives, but spending more time with our family, both two-legged and four-legged is a sure way to increase happiness in the new year. Try a new activity; a new exercise routine is a great way to bond, and it will get you both moving and you will reap the benefits of a healthy physical activity. Joining a group with like-minded pet owners might be fun for all.
  • Maintain a schedule. Pets thrive on routine. When meals, walks and playtime happen at relatively the same time daily, you will find your dog will be ready and anticipating what comes next.
  • Training. Well behaved dogs are well behaved because they have been trained. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to teach what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior. Most relinquished dogs are dogs that have not learned boundaries and limitations, which is sadly the human’s fault. Training for your dog often becomes training for you as you learn to be consistent, firm, clear, and patient in both commands and expectations.
  • Make a date with your vet. Yearly examinations by a veterinarian are vital to good preventative care. Many medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and obesity are easier to manage when detected in the early stages. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to have a dental exam….did you know that most dogs have serious dental problems by the age of three? Canine dental problems are not limited to the damage of the dog’s teeth and gums. They can also have adverse effects causing problems to major organs such as the lung, heart, and kidneys.
  • Guarantee your pet-related financial health by starting a pet savings fun. Stash away a few dollars every month, and then when a pet emergency comes up, you’ll have a reserve.
  • Evaluate your dog’s diet. Just because a dog food is highly advertised does not mean it is a healthy diet. Many of the highly touted foods are really not good for your dog. It is difficult to understand all the jargon used on dog food labels, but avoid products containing bad products like by-products and chemicals. If you are unsure, go to www.petfoodadvisor.com for an unbiased report on a particular food. You may be surprised at what you discover.
  • Measure your pet’s food—every time. Most of us just eye-ball their daily intake, which usually results in overfeeding and weight gain. It is important to use an actual measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t getting more food than she needs. Most professionals recommend twice daily feeding, and PLEASE don’t feed junk-food treats to your dog. There are many easy-to-make HEALTHY recipes available.

Start the New Year off on the right paw by following these simple guidelines:

Play more! Stress Less!

Love unconditionally

Go on relaxing walks

Smile more and laugh a lot

Live in the moment….NOW is a new beginning