Halloween is a Nightmare for your Dog!

Scary costumes, spooky music, and chocolate treats all make Halloween lots of fun—for people, but those same things can create frightening and stressful experiences for your animal companions. The noises, trick-or-treaters at the door, and people in weird costumes can stimulate even the calmest dog to become fearful or aggressive.

Halloween dress-up for your dog has given pet stores and on-line pet supply sites another lucrative opportunity to make money, and every year I remind people that this is a commercial venture targeted to humans, not for the enjoyment of the dogs who prefer their birthday suits rather than cutesy costumes. Dogs are dogs; they do not need to be dressed up– most are not thrilled about wearing a costume and , however adorable they may be, most are uncomfortable, annoying, and potentially dangerous. It is easy for her to get tangled up, or become frantic, while all dressed up. My advice is always to FORGET DOG COSTUMES , and spend a few bucks on a safe toy–maybe a new Kong– that your dog will enjoy for months to come. If, however, you are determined to see your dog in a Halloween outfit , please consider these tips for keeping him safe , and hopefully stress free.

  • Make sure the outfit doesn’t restrict his movements in any way. Tightness around your dog’s neck, paws, legs, and torso, or tight elastics can pinch his body and be very uncomfortable. He’ll have to walk, run, and take potty breaks, so the costume needs room in the legs, and not get in the way when nature calls.
  • Keep in mind that your dog is probably not used to a costume, so don’t leave him dressed up for an extended period of time. He could get uncomfortable and irritated enough to shred the costume or even lash out with a bite or scratch.
  • The costume should not restrict his sight or hearing, and should not impede his ability to breathe or bark.
  • As cute as they might be, some elaborate costumes can cause your dog to overheat. Consider the temperature, and your dog’s coat to be sure that the outfit is not too heavy for the weather.
  • I browsed through a costume section, and it was obvious that many of them would most likely hinder a dog’s vision which could be very dangerous. Many of them also had small dangling accessories that the dog might chew of and swallow. Buttons, ribbons and tassels could cause intestinal blockage or choking if swallowed.
  • Most costumes are made from cheap, scratchy material to which your dog could have an adverse reaction, possibly causing an itchy rash, and possible infection. If your dog tries to scratch and rub the outfit off, please forget it.

It is important to have a couple dress rehearsals prior to the big night. Let your dog examine the outfit before you put it on him. Place the costume one the floor, and allow your dog sniff it…then drape part of the costume over his back, repeating this process several times before your actually put it on him. Take it on and off several times, and if your dog is distressed, allergic or shows abnormal anxiety, please don’t force him to wear it. Animals want desperately to please their caregivers, but we need to be concerned about their feelings, rather than our amusement. It is up to us to make sure that our dog’s Halloween doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the air now… time to .say good-by to summer. Birds are migrating; trees are changing garb, with leaves transforming from golden to brown. Hopefully fall will bring calm after all the summer storms, but fall also brings many hazards for your pets:

  • Antifreeze—antifreeze typically contains ethylene glycol, an odorless but sweet-tasting chemical that is toxic to pets Ingesting just a small amount can potentially lead to kidney failure, seizures, and even death for your animals. The ASPCA Poison Control Center reports that every year thousands of dogs die from ingesting traditional ethylene glycol-based antifreeze. Do not keep antifreeze where dogs (or children) can reach it, and remember than antifreeze sometimes collects on driveways and roadways. We recommend that you check out propylene glycol-based antifreeze. It is more expensive, but is less toxic and tastes somewhat bitter, making it less attractive to dogs.
  • Rodenticides—the use of mouse and rat poisons increases in the fall, so it is imperative to make sure that none remain within reach of your pets. Many common products such as grain-based pellets or wax blocks are highly toxic to pets and can be fatal if even a small amount is ingested.
  • Mushrooms—mushrooms have been abundant this fall because of the wetter weather. It is difficult to differentiate between poisonous and nonpoisonous…they look very much alike and often grow together. Make sure that your pet is kept away from all mushrooms, and if you think your pet may have eaten one, contact your veterinarian right away.
  • School items—school backpacks are filled with pet dangers—glue sticks, crayons, and markers, and although they may not be extremely toxic, they can cause stomach distress and pose choking hazards. Lunch leftovers, medications, and sugar-free gum (which may contain zylitol) are also potentially dangerous items that a curious pet my find in an open backpack. Keep all school items in closed backpacks or areas where pets do not have access.
  • Decorations—fall decorations with corncobs can cause intestinal blockage, and if your dog has access to an outdoor play yard, be sure to check for any corncobs that the squirrels may have carried into the pet area. Your decorations may look like toys to your pets, so be cautious with the types of decorations you use. Avoid strings or ribbons dangling enticingly from the decorations.
  • Outdoor grilling—Barbecues can be a dangerous place for your pets. They may ingest skewers, or they may get into potentially toxic foods or alcohol Most pet caregivers are aware that chocolate is toxic to pets, but bones, raw bread dough, grapes, raisins, and onions can also present health problems. Hard candies, candy wrappers, lollipop sticks also pose choking or intestinal blockage threats.
  • Fatty foods can lead not only to an upset stomach but also to inflammation of the pancreas which can be quite dangerous. Pancreatitis can cause severe pain, lethargy, and vomiting, and in some cases can be life-threatening. If your dog shows these signs, you need to call your veterinarian right away.
  • Household medications—Be sure to keep medications out of reach of your pet’s reach. Acetaminophen can be toxic, and decongestants can cause elevated heart rate, possibly leading to seizures. Many pets will happily lap up any pills that may be dropped, and if a pet has ingested medication meant for humans, or something potentially toxic, don’t spend time trying to decide what to do. Call your vet right away.

Prevention is always the best approach. Be alert to dangers that may be encountered, and pet-proof your home from these hazards, so that you can safely enjoy the fall season with your dog. Vigilance is the key to keeping your pet safe this season and all year round.

 

Beat the Back to School Blues

As we enjoy the last days of summer, and prepare for fall changes, it is possible that pet caregivers may not think about what it means to the family dog. Dogs thrive on routine; it makes them feel secure, and they don’t understand why the kids go back to school, and aren’t around for playing and giving extra love and snuggles. College students leave, and older adults may be preoccupied with missing the kids and reorganizing their own lives. The result can be a lonely dog who just mopes around and sleeps more than usual, or becomes destructive. A little planning can forestall most problems.

  • Maintain routine as much as possible. Although your dog’s caregiver may change, her routine shouldn’t. Plan to eat, walk, and play at the same times, but avoid spending all your time with the dog. Gradually accustom her to your absence by leaving her alone for short periods, and then work on up to being gone for several hours If your dog has been clingy to the kids all summer, regularly interrupt her shadowing them around the house by baby-gating her into another room for brief periods.
  • Keep comings and goings low key. No huggy/kissy, “I’ll miss you” scenes that will often fuel anxiety in your dog. Ignore your dog for a few minutes before you leave and after you return to help lower his excitement level, and reduce the tension level he feels.
  • Those old T-shirts you were planning to throw out can serve a new purpose—leave an item of your clothing in your pet’s bed while you are away. Your familiar scent may comfort her.
  • EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. A tired dog is a good dog—for good reason. A dog who has gotten some serious exercise will seldom get into much trouble.
  • Leave the television or radio on, or better yet, play the heartbeat music therapy CD, Canine Lullabies, which is available from Terry Woodford. For more information, visit www.caninelullabies. This amazing CD actually does reduce anxiety and settles hyperactivity.
  • Provide diversions. Every dog deserves at least a couple Kongs. These toys are uniquely shaped of durable rubber and have hollow centers which can be filled with “good stuff.” Unstuffing Kongs can keep dogs busy for hours as they go for the nuggets stuffed inside. A simple stuffing can be just a little peanut butter rubbed inside the Kong, some kibble, a few doggie treats, and maybe a couple small chunks of cheese. If your dog has never had a stuffed Kong, make it easy to remove the stuffing at first, so they succeed at their removal work. Gradually make their job more challenging by packing the stuffing tighter. For creative ways to stuff your Kong, go to www.kongcompany.com. Most dogs love raw baby carrots, so you might hide a few around the house for him to play “Find It.”

Help your dog beat the back to school blues, and if problems arise, remember punishment for anxiety or inappropriate behavior is NEVER appropriate. A dog misbehaves because he is anxious or upset, not out of spite or to get even. No matter what he does while you are gone, punishment will only intensify the problems. Good caregivers know that positive reinforcement, persistence, and patience can correct just about any difficulty.

Thunder & Lightning, Lightning & Thunder

There’s a flash of lightning lighting up the clouds…then the thunder sounds and the rain falls…the earth quakes again…..thunder and lightning can be terrifying to dogs. Dogs sense an imminent storm before humans see or hear anything, and many dogs will simply go to a place they have established as a safe haven, but some dogs will become hysterical with fear and anxiety. It is important to understand that if you have a dog with severe thunder phobia, there is no single quick fix effective for all dogs.

Try to create a safe place for your dog to go when she hears noises that frighten her…this must be a safe location from her perspective, not yours. Notice where she tries to go when she is frightened, and if at all possible, give her access to that place. NEVER keep her tied up outdoor, and NEVER punish a dog who has destroyed something in a panic.

Some of the most self-confident dogs may begin to pant and pace around the house, hiding or behaving erratically when the lightning flashes and the thunder rolls. Do not coddle or scold your dog for his fears. Try distracting him by engaging him in play or some activity that will refocus his attention.

  • Don’t do anything that will reinforce the idea that there is something to fear…Remain cool and indifferent to bad weather, talking in a calm, reassuring voice, acting as though you enjoy the storm.
  • Don’t pull a fearful dog from his hiding place. If he wants to retreat to a corner or closet, it is because he feels it is a safe haven….let him venture out on his own, and then try to refocus his attention. If you massage his ears, or give him a body massage, he may relax (or maybe not!)
  • A fan, radio, or television turned on may help block out storm sounds. Soft classical music often helps, and although there are many CD’s that claim to “calm dogs down”, I consider most of them “snake oil.” One CD that we use at the shelter has proven to be successful with many dogs. If you have a dog that is fearful, or exhibits other inappropriate behavior, go to www.caninelullabies.com for information on Canine Lullabies, a unique program that incorporates the background of an actual human heartbeat.
  • Holistic veterinarians often suggest Bach flower remedies. Odorless and tasteless, they come in liquid form, and can be given regularly for as long as needed. If you know a storm is coming, you can place a few drops in the dog’s water bowl, and even if the storm comes six hours later, as he drinks all day, it gets into his system. For information, go to www.bachflower.com or call 800-214-2860.
  • Peppermint oil can be purchased at health food stores, and while no one knows why it works, sometimes putting a drop or two of the oil on the bottom of each foot, right on the pad has a calming effect.
  • Anxiety wraps are very effective in calming dogs, using gentle, constant pressure, similar to parents’ swaddling their babies to act as a security blanket. For more information on the Thundershirt Anxiety Wrap, go to www.thundershirt.com or call toll free 866-892-2078.
  • NEVER give your dog any over-the counter or prescription medication without consulting your veterinarian. Drugs should always be a last resort solution, and should be prescribed by your vet.
  • Sometimes nothing seems to work. Behavioral treatment takes two different approaches: desensitization, and counter-conditioning, and neither technique is very effective. Consult with an animal behaviorist, or your vet to discuss your options. This noise phobia is something that your dog cannot control….A dog afraid of storms requires plenty of extra patience and love from the caregiver.

 

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!