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.

 

Rethinking Treats

We all love treats, and our dogs look forward to them, but before you make a decision on what type of dog treat to buy, do a little research. Many popular treats are full of artificial ingredients, fillers, and other harmful additives that are not good for your dog. Treats in all shapes, sizes, and colors fill entire aisles at pet stores. Marketing these treats has become big business, and since dogs are indiscriminate eaters, who will devour just about anything, so it is the responsibility of the humans to choose treats that are healthy for their pooches. Some people foods are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Chocolate and dogs don’t mix. Just an ounce of dark chocolate can be a serious problem for a small dog. Dogs are also sensitive to a chemical in grapes and raisins that induces kidney failure. Chicken, turkey, or ham bones can cause gastritis and perforate the small intestine. Macadamia nuts can cause fever, diarrhea, and neurological problems! Other foods to avoid are avocados which can cause heart damage, and onions which can damage red blood cells.

To take the guesswork out of what’s a good treat, and more importantly, what is not, you can check the website of the ASPCA at www.aspca.org where they give a comprehensive list of treats to avoid. Some people foods are great treats. Most dogs love raw carrots, and they are good for the animal’s teeth. Beef knuckle bones, or large, sturdy leg bones are usually safe if you trim off excess fat that could trigger diarrhea. (In a multi-dog household, be aware that even normally gentle dogs may decide a bone is worth a fight). Animal based chews are hits with most dogs, but rawhide, hooves, and pig ears can all cause problems, especially with aggressive chewers. If big hunks of rawhide are chewed off and swallowed, serious internal problems can result. Never give these treats to your dog unless you are there to supervise! If you buy commercial packaged treats, check the ingredient list on the package BEFORE you buy. (You will probably be horrified to find out what is really in those cute little tidbits!)

Good treats should NOT contain:

  • animal by-products …this term can mean almost anything
  • artificial preservatives such as BHT, BHA, or Ethoxyquin
  • artificial colors…your dog doesn’t care what color his food is. He doesn’t need exposure to unnecessary chemicals, and green, red, and yellow treats contain dyes
  • propylene glycol, a chemical which is added to some “chewy” treats to keep them moist.

If you are serious about giving your dog healthy treats, the best solution is to make homemade ones. Remember, the dogs don’t care about appearance. They go for taste, and there are many simple recipes to satisfy the most finicky dog! Here are two, guaranteed to please, easy to make, recipes from our TLC Canine Cookbook. ENJOY!

SSS BISCUITS (Simply Scrumptious Simple Biscuits)

  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 6 Tablespoons oil
  • 2/3 cup meat broth
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Mix ingredients well. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

 

CORNMEAL TREATS

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1/ ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup oatmeal

Mix thoroughly. Drop walnut sized pieces on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Tony Buffington, professor in veterinary clinical services at Ohio State University stresses that treats do not have to be food…”Treats are things that bring joy….if you want to provide your dog with a good treat, take him for a walk, and give him extra attention. He appreciates your time more than a snack.”

 

Life Threatening Medicines are Everywhere

Nearly half of the calls received by the Pet Poison Helpline involve either over-the-counter or prescriptions medications for humans. Often the culprit is a curious canine who has chewed into a bottle of pills that has been left on the counter within paw’s reach. According to Dr. Karen Mercola, Pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the number one cause of pet poisonings. It is also important to remember that certain OTC drugs won’t have the same effect on all pets…for example, even aspirin can be dangerous.

  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug including Advil, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, and Aleve. Never give an NSAID meant for humans to your pet. A drug that relieves a human’s pain can cause serious problems for a pet. Don’t leave these medications lying around the house—on a nightstand, or kitchen or bathroom counter. For an inquisitive dog, these drugs can be a deadly temptation. NSAIDS metabolize slowly, which increases the likelihood that toxic levels will build up. Symptoms of poisonings include digestive upset, increased thirst and frequency of urination, bloody stools, staggering and seizures.
  • ACETAMINOPHEN is another commonly used painkiller that can mean serious danger to our pets. Acetaminophen brand names include Tylenol, Paracetamol, and Panadol. Other drugs, including some types of Excedrin, and several sinus and cold preparations, also contain this ingredient that is not safe for your pet. If your dog ingests acetaminophen, liver damage can result, and the higher the dose, the more likelihood of red blood cell damage. Symptoms of this poisoning include lethargy, trouble breathing, dark-colored urine, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • PSEUDOEPHEDRINE is a decongestant compound found in many cold and sinus medications, and even a small amount can prove fatal to a dog. There are literally dozens of over-the-counter and prescription drugs which contain pseudoephedrine, but a few common ones are Sudafed, Comtrex, Contac, Tylenol Cold, Theraflu, Sinarest, Triaminicin, Drixoral, and Nyquil.
  • ANTIDEPRESSANTS can cause listlessness, vomiting and in some cases, a syndrome causing agitation, disorientation, elevated heart rate,, blood pressure, tremors, and seizures.
  • DIABETES MEDICATIONS can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels of a dog, bringing on disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures If you or a family member takes an oral medication for diabetes, including glipizide and glyburide, be sure to keep these drugs out of reach of your pets.
  • ADHD MEDICATIONS are commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in humans, but these are stimulants to pets. If your dog or cat ingests methylphenidate, it can result in elevated body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. There is also a danger of seizures. Brand names for methylphenidate include Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin, and Daytrana.

The best way to keep you’re your pet out of danger of ingesting drugs intended for humans is to always keep your medication in sealed containers, in a place well out of reach of your curious pet. Call your veterinarian, an emergency clinic, or a pet poison hot line immediately if you suspect that your pet has ingested a human medication. Be prepared to offer as much information as possible, including the weight of your pet, name of the suspected drug, and signs of poisoning that you have observed.

 

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!

 

The Connection between Animal Abuse and Human Violence

Animal abuse is a daily occurrence in today’s world, and sadly, violence against humans is also all too common. It is sometimes thought that when children are cruel to animals, it is just an exploratory stage of development, but researchers have connected children’s acts of animal abuse with bullying, corporal punishment, school shootings, sexual abuse and developmental psychopathic behaviors. . Young children need to be taught that animals have feelings and are not to be treated as toys, explaining that it is not okay to hit or mistreat an animal, just as it is not okay to mistreat another child. Most children learn the importance of being kind, caring and nurturing , but if they are in homes where there is domestic violence, they may learn about abuse by being its victim….Dad hits mom….mom hits the child….the child hits the dog. Documentation shows that most violent and aggressive criminals have abused animals as children, with cruelty to animals being one of the traits that regularly appear in records of serial rapists and murderers.

All children who abuse animal certainly do not grow up to become serial killers, but a child who displays unusual or continual fascination with harming animals is in need of professional help Regardless of the cause, animal cruelty in children should not be taken lightly . Killing a hamster or torturing a dog is usually a precursor to more serious violent actions. Children who harm family pets are at risk for other kinds of inappropriate behavior and need help. (What goes along with torturing animals is often setting fires, which should also be taken seriously) ALL animal abuse situations should be taken seriously

  • Animal abuse may indicate that a deeper problem exists. Children who abuse animals may be living in an abusive situation, and may be the only visible sign of an abusive family. While child and spousal abuse usually occur behind closed doors, animal abuse is more often committed in the open.
  • Acts of cruelty to animals may be a child’s cry for help…..before the violence escalates to include human victims. Many animal welfare advocates say that children who harm animals are usually victims themselves. An abused child will often lash out, and an animal often is the closest, most vulnerable target.

What can be done?

  • Support legislation: Learn about the animal abuse laws in your state and advocate for stronger, appropriate legislation.
  • Report animal cruelty: If you witness an act of animal cruelty taking place, report it to the authorities, giving as many specific details as possible. Doing so may save both animals and human lives, and gives a voice to someone in need.
  • Educate others: Encourage others to show kindness toward animals. Without being judgmental, you can often improve living conditions of animals (and humans) by showing you care.
  • Increase public awareness: Work with your local animal shelters and domestic abuse shelters to raise awareness of the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Violence is violence, whether it is done against a two-legged or a four-legged being. When you hear about someone being cruel to an animal, your next thoughts should be, “Who else will be harmed?” and “How can I help?”

The cycle of violence can be broken only if caring, concerned people have the courage and empathy to act. If you suspect either domestic abuse or animal abuse, don’t ignore it. Animal abuse in families often is one of the first indicators that the family needs help. Paying attention to animal abuse provides an important tool with which to guard children from abuse and neglect, provide needed support to families, and protect animals.

 

Red Flags That your Dog May Be Sick!

Sadly, your dog can’t tell you when he is sick. He may yelp in pain when you touch an injured paw or sore back, but it’s likely that he will suffer in silence. It is scary to consider that many pets who appear healthy to their caregivers have underlying diseases. Awareness of the signs of the most common diseases is one way to help reduce your pet’s risk of being affected by them. Physical changes are often the most noticeable, and lumps and bumps should be carefully monitored, and if there are sudden changes in old lumps and bumps or sores that are bloody or oozing, call your vet. Hair loss, rash, persistent itch or continual shaking of the head or scratching at ears are outward signs of problems.

Dogs can have trouble breathing, and the signs of respiratory illness include a honking cough,wheezing or noisy breathing, or a cough that disrupts sleep or lasts more than 24 hours. If your dog is struggling to breathe, check the color of the gums and tongue. They should be pink, and if you notice a bluish tint, seek emergency care immediately. Pay attention to any persistent nasal discharge, especially with mucus or blood. If you notice your dog has trouble passing urine or pooping, or if she starts having frequent accidents even though she is previously housetrained, check with your vet.

Top signs that your dog may be ill, according to the Pet Health Network include:

  1. Excessive drinking or urination
  2. Bad breath or drooling
  3. Change in appetite associated with weight loss or gain
  4. Difficulty or stiffness in getting up or climbing stairs.
  5. Change in activity level and loss of interest in doing things they once enjoyed
  6. Sleeping more than normal, or other behavior or attitude changes
  7. Coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, or labored breathing
  8. Frequent digestive upsets with vomiting or changes in bowel movements
  9. Dry or itchy skin, sores, lumps, or shaking of the head
  10. Dry, red, or cloudy eyes

Preventive care screening helps detect disease in its earlier stages, when it is most likely to respond to treatment. It can also help you avoid significant medical expense and risk to your dog’s health if an illness goes undetected. By establishing your individual pet’s normal baseline lab values during health, your vet can more easily see when something is wrong with your pet. Regular screening is the best preventive medicine because signs of specific problems are sometimes overlooked. It is wise to give your dog preventive care testing including:

  1. Tests to identify if your pet may have heartworm, tick-borne, or other infectious diseases
  2. A complete blood count to rule out blood-related conditions.
  3. Chemistry and electrolyte tests to evaluate internal organ status to ensure your dog isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance.
  4. Thyroid test to determine if the thyroid gland is producing too little thyroid hormone
  5. Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other disease, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the kidneys.
  6. An ECG to screen for an abnormal heart rhythm which may indicate underlying heart disease.

Your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your dog is your veterinarian, and although some of the tests are costly, prevention is always better than cure. Keeping your dog healthy will make life better for both human and canine!