Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fourth of July Safety Tips!

Fourth of July is a holiday full of so many wonderful things – warm weather, pools, barbecues, and fireworks. But many of these same things can be dangerous for our pets. Here are ten safety tips that will help you and your pet have a fun and accident-free Independence Day.

1. Leave Your Pet at Home

The safest place for your pet is safely inside your home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar park or a noisy backyard. The resulting panic due to fireworks or other loud noises may make them run away or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer heat stroke, secondary clotting problems, organ failure, and even brain injury.

2. Provide a Safe Spot from Loud Noises

Whether it’s a closet or a crate, it’s good for pets to have a go-to place for relaxing or hiding away. Such a space can provide a safe and secure feeling, much like a den. However, if a crate or closet creates more anxiety — or if your pet isn’t acclimated to it — it should not be used. Very often, a crate is more effective is your dog has grown up using a crate since he or she was young.

3. Use Pet-Friendly Insect Repellants and Sunscreens

Never apply the same sunscreen or insect repellant you use for yourself onto a pet, as it can potentially be toxic, causing untoward side effects such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and neurological issues. Fortunately, there are pet-friendly sunscreens and insect repellants available. Consult with your veterinarian about which product would serve your pet the best.

4. Pass on the Beer

Alcohol, even beer, is poisonous to dogs and cats. If ingested, signs of poisoning include weakness, depression, difficulty breathing, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or in severe cases, coma or death from respiratory failure. Never leave alcoholic beverages where pets can reach them.

5. Leave Scraps on the Table

If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Corn-on-the cob (which results in a severe foreign body obstruction), fatty table scraps (which results in pancreatitis), onions, garlic, baked goods containing xylitol, caffeine, grapes and raisins are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.

6. Forgo the Glow Sticks and Jewelry

It might look cute to adorn your pet in glow sticks or jewelry, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments and glowing chemical inside. This may result in excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation, as well as intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.

7. Have Your Pet Properly Identified

Proper identification may be the only way to retrieve your pet should he or she manage to break loose and become lost. Consider fitting your pet with a microchip, ID tag or other popular method of identification. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pet in case you have to put up “lost pet” signs.

8. Beware of Lighter Fluid and Matches

There’s certainly nothing wrong with barbecues, but be attentive if lighter fluid and matches are being used around pets. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which, if ingested, can cause difficulty breathing or blood cell damage in pets. Lighter fluid, meanwhile, can be irritating to your pet’s skin, and, if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression, and severe pneumonia.

9. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets

While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, unused fireworks can be hazardous too. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

10. Keep Emergency Contact Info Handy

Keep the contact information for your veterinarian or the nearest animal hospital handy just in case your dog or cat has a medical emergency. You can also contact Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis, at 1-855-213-6680 if you are unsure your dog or cat has been poisoned.

 

Pets in the Office?

Most American households have at least one pet. There are myriad reasons for having a pet, not the least of which being that they offer significant health benefits to people. But have you ever considered the possible benefits of bringing pets into the workplace? Here are three reasons why you may want to bring it up to your boss at the next office meeting.

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1. Help Reduce Stress

Dogs and cats are frequently recognized as great stress-relievers. Look into the eyes of a pet and suddenly your worries and deadlines seem to melt away. In fact, according to a 2012 research study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, on-the-job stress levels fell among a group of Greensboro, N.C., employees when they had their dogs by their side. Conversely, stress levels grew for their co-workers who either left their animals at home or who had no pet at all.

2. Encourages Longer Work Hours

Few of us would willingly work longer days. But put a pet in the office and suddenly you have a reason to stick around and finish that TPS report. According to a 2008 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association of 50 small and large companies, companies that allow pets in the workplace not only have employees who are more willing to work longer hours, but also a lower rate of employee absenteeism.

3. Increased Camaraderie

Let’s face it, everyone has a co-worker that they just can’t stand. But what if that person had a cute Labrador Retriever or Coupari with them in their cubicle? You’d be over there in a flash just like everyone else in the office. Suddenly you are all having conversations that strengthen work relationships beyond what any cheesy team-building exercise might do. Mission accomplished, dogs and cats.

How to Inspect for Ticks

    

1. Start with the Coat

So, how do you go about checking your dog over for ticks? Some dogs are easier to check than others. Longer hair coats tend to give ticks a better opportunity to hide deep in the fur where they can stay for a long time undiscovered, while shorter hair coats leave the surface of the skin more visible and easy to finger comb.

2. Pay Careful Attention

That said, ticks are a bit easier to spot on a dog’s body than smaller parasites; fleas, for example. They are usually dark and large enough to see easily (unless your dog’s hair is very long and/or full). Ticks do not move around much once they find a location on the body and bury their head into the skin to feed. The longer they feed, the larger their bodies become as they fill with blood.

3. Perform Full Body Check

Starting at the head, run your hands over the dog’s body, checking under the collar, and use your fingers like the teeth of a comb. You are feeling for something about the size of a small pea. Thoroughly check all of the body, making sure to look under the tail and around the anus. Ticks are drawn to the dark, hidden areas on the body, so be sure to check between the toes, as well as inside the groin and front legs (armpits). You will also want to check the skin for areas that appear red or irritated, and watch your dog for any signs of excessive scratching or licking in any particular areas. This can be a sign that a tick has attached itself to the skin in this spot.

4. Don’t Forget the Ears

The ears are another particularly attractive area for ticks to lodge, as they are dark, moist, and hidden. Check the ears thoroughly, inside and out, during every inspection. If your dog is shaking his head continuously and you can’t see anything in the outer ear canal, your veterinarian can inspect the inner canal of the ear more closely with a special instrument (otoscope).

5. Tick Removal

Removal of any embedded ticks should be done carefully to be sure you get the entire tick out. You may wish to wear a pair of disposable gloves or use a paper towel when handling ticks. Using tweezers or a special tick removal tool, you want to grip the tick by the head, as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out slowly and firmly without squeezing the body. Do not twist the tweezers when pulling out the tick, do not try to burn the tick with matches, and do not apply anything to the dog’s skin to try to get the tick to “back out,” as these methods do not work.

6. Tick Disposal

After removing the tick, place the entire tick in a small amount of rubbing alcohol to kill it. Do not squash the tick with your fingers. The site where the tick was attached will leave a small wound. You may want to clean your dog’s skin with a disinfectant or apply a dab of triple antibiotic ointment once the tick has been removed.

Pet Profile: Saint Bernard

Gentle and dignified, the Saint Bernard is one of the most popular giant breeds. Its powerful and muscular build contrasts the wise, calm expression. The breed has either long or short hair, ranging in color from a deep to a more yellowed brown, with white markings always present.

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 Physical Characteristics

 Being powerful and well muscled, the Saint Bernard has the qualities required to travel through deep snow for miles. This tall and strong breed has an imposing stature. Its expression makes it look intelligent. The St. Bernard’s coat, meanwhile, can be one of two varieties: one is smooth with dense and tough short hair and the other is longer with slightly wavy or straight medium-length hair.

 Personality and Temperament

Even though the Saint Bernard is not very playful, it is patient, gentle, and easy-going with children. It is willing to please and shows true devotion to its family. Sometimes the dog displays its stubborn streak.

Care

 The daily exercise requirements of the Saint Bernard are met with short runs and moderate walks. The dog is best when raised outdoors, keeping it away from smooth surfaces. Oversized puppies, which are brought up indoors, are susceptible to hip problems.

 The Saint Bernard is not tolerant of heat; in fact, it loves cold weather. It does best when given access to the yard and the house. The coat requires weekly brushing and more frequently during shedding season. In addition, many St. Bernards have a tendency to drool.

Dealing with Your Loss

When you lose a pet it can be a very difficult time in your life.  There are many ways you can remember and cherish the memories you had with your animal.  Here are some tips on how to honor the memory of your beloved pet.

Hold a Memorial Service

Gathering friends and family who knew your pet and laying him to rest is a wonderful way to say goodbye. Everyone can share stories from your pet’s life and mourn the loss together. A memorial service can be a great reminder that you’re not going through this pain alone.

Create a Memorial Spot

Create a spot — such as a gravestone or a living memorial like a plant or tree — where you can visit whenever you miss your pet.

Visit Online Memorials

Sometimes friends and family members just can’t grasp what you’re feeling after the loss of your pet. If they have never lost one of their own this may be the case. If that’s true, there are many online pet bereavement sites where fellow pet owners have come together to remember their lost pets and comfort one another.

Create a Scrapbook

Pretty much every parent makes a baby book for their child right? Create one for your pet so you always have something to look back on when you’re remembering him.

Keep a Symbol

Keep your pet’s favorite toy or his collar as a symbol of remembrance.

Donate

A way to pass on the legacy of your pet is to donate to a good cause in your pet’s name. Be it your local Humane Society, shelter, or rescue, you’ll be preserving your pet’s memory and helping other would-be pets at the same time.

Volunteer

If you rescued your pet from a local animal shelter, rescue, or Humane Society, why not volunteer there after your pet passes on? It was thanks to volunteers who initially rescued your pet and took care of him that he and you got all that time to spend together anyhow. Think of it as passing on the favor.

Adopt Again

When the time is right and you feel ready, consider adopting again. Remember how happy your life with your pet was. Don’t you think he would want to pass on the chance he was given to another pet in need?

Best Ways to Love Your Dog!

Always Greet Her with Energy

Does your dog always run to the door to greet you when you get home? Show her some love back! Make sure she gets lots of petting and ear scratches when you walk in so she knows you missed her too.

Don’t Skimp on the Games

Playing with your dog is an easy way to create some bonding time. Tug-of-war, fetch, you name it, your dog will love it. Your dog knows you’d rather be watching television, sitting in front of your computer, or doing whatever it is you like to do in your downtime – so taking some time to do an activity she loves will really show your appreciation.

Make Doggy Day Trips to the Park

Sure romps in the backyard or walks around the block are fun, but nothing shows you appreciate your dog more than a day trip to the dog park. Not only will she get an exciting car ride, but it’s a day with you and new territory to explore and friends to be made.

Schedule in Cuddle Time

You know the routine: you’re settling in to get your reality TV fix and your 80-pound pooch decides she’s a lap dog and climbs right up. Or you’re about to get into bed only to discover you have to remove a certain someone who has tried to steal your side of the bed. Instead of letting these minor inconveniences annoy you, schedule in some snuggle time with your canine pal. This way when she gets kicked out of the bed yet again, she’ll still know she’s appreciated.

Feed Her the Good Stuff

Prepare an extra special meal for your dog in order to show your appreciation. There are many different specialty sauces you can use on dog food to add flavoring, or you can prepare a home cooked meal. Table scraps aren’t recommended for dogs, but preparing her a nutritionally-sound meal of lean protein and vegetables will be a treat for her, and still healthy.

Get on Her Level

If an eight-foot tall person towered over you, it might be kind of intimidating, right? Well, that’s kind of how your dog feels looking up at you. Next time you want to show her some appreciation, get down on her level. Squat down next to her so you can look her in the eyes while petting her.

Pet Profile: Beagle

The Beagle is a medium-sized breed belonging to the hound sporting group. Though many variations of this breed have existed throughout history, the modern breed emerged in England in the early 1800s. The Beagle is a popular choice for pet owners because of its size and calm temperament, and is useful for hunters because of its sharp sense of smell.

Physical Characteristics

Having a solid structure, the Beagle resembles a Foxhound. Hunters can follow the dog on foot, and the tuneful bay of the Beagle aids hunters in locating the dog from a distance. Because of its moderate size, the Beagle can even be carried to the hunting site, where it can then scurry into the dense undergrowth to look for the target. The dog receives protection against the thick underbrush from its coarse and close coat. And being an amicable dog makes it a great pack hunter, mixing well with other dogs.

Personality and Temperament

Known to be among the most friendly of the hound breeds, the Beagle was developed to be a pack hunter. The best qualities in the Beagle are its fondness for exploring the outdoors and its enthusiasm for trailing. This independent breed barks, howls, and sometimes runs off on a trail on its own. Because it is also an incredibly tolerant, calm and adventurously playful dog, the Beagle also makes a perfect pet for families with children.

Care

The Beagle is a social dog that is particularly well suited to the company of humans and other dogs alike. It also needs to spend equal time in the yard as it does in the house. Regular exercise, such as a romp at the park or in a spacious yard area, along with regular leash-led walks are great outdoor activities for the Beagle. This breed can withstand temperate climates and live outdoors most seasons, as long as it has bedding and an enclosed, warm shelter. With its short, close coat, the Beagle does not require extensive grooming. An occasional brushing to encourage turnover of hair, and to minimize hair buildup in the house is all that is needed to keep your Beagle looking healthy and vibrant.

Is it a Dog or a Cat?

There are some (very few) breeds that share very similar aspects to those of cats.  If you are allergic to cats but really want one, maybe try your luck with these three cat like dog breeds.

The Manchester Terrier

This doggy came about from crossing a Whippet with a cross-breed terrier, and is, in fact, a great ratter. Like most cats, the “Rat Terrier” is not a good listener and must be taught from puppyhood that they are not rulers of the world or, at the very least, their domain. Also, remain vigilant. The Manchester is a very clever escape artist!

Bassenji

Do not confuse him for Benji, the famous Silky Terrier mix. The Basenji is a hunting dog from Central Africa. Like cats, this dog lacks an odor and is a fairly quiet dog. It also likes to climb and is known to clean itself just like cats!

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is also meant to be an odorless dog and can even be trained to use a litter box! This dog enjoys sunbathing like kitties, and really hates getting wet. And, just like cats, the Italian Greyhound loves being up on elevated surfaces, hates obeying commands, and can become the ruler of the roost if you’re not careful.