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Your Pets are in Qualified Hands at Paws & Pals!

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We know, more than ever, pets are considered part of the family and their “parents” want assurances they’re getting the very best care. Therefore we’re very proud to be the first pet care company in Minnesota to have staff achieve certification from the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC)! We’re also an early sponsor and active member. These credentials help clearly identify those professionals who are committed to and can provide excellent pet care.

What is PACCC and why should pet parents care?
The fact is, there is virtually no regulation or education required to open a pet care services business. PACCC was created to turn the tide! The Professional Animal Care Certification Council is dedicated to independent certification to help you identify premier animal care providers.

What does the independent certification mean to you?
Pet care business owners, management teams and individuals with this certification are qualified, knowledgeable, and committed professionals. They understand animal health and prioritize safe care practices. If your pet care team is certified through PACCC, you can rest easy knowing your furry family is in good hands.

What can you do to help?
As a pet parent, you can help us raise the standards for entry into the pet care industry by choosing pet care professionals that hold PACCC certification.

Where can you learn more?
Check out www.paccert.org to learn more about PACCC’s efforts to recognize high quality providers in the pet care industry.

 

CPACP Certification: Congratulations Jenna!

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CPACP Certification: Congratulations Jenna!

Congratulations to Jenna for being the first person in Minnesota to achieve certification from the Professional Animal Certification Council (PACCC)!

The CPACP exam is for those in charge of the daily handling of the animals of a professional pet care business, overseeing every aspect of an animal’s well-being while in their care. To initially qualify to take the CPACP exam, the applicant must meet minimum education requirements, have a minimum of 500 hours of experience, and provide letters of reference from veterinarians and other pet care industry professionals.

The in-depth examination covers animal care topics including health, nutrition, dog fight and bite protocol, on-leash and off-leash interaction, sanitation, dog behavior and temperament, dog body language, dog training, animal and handler safety, vaccination protocol, workflow management, pathogen control, emergency and quarantine protocols, air quality standards, staff management expectations, and much more.

We know, more than ever, pets are considered part of the family and their “parents” want assurances they’re getting the very best care. CPACP credentials help clearly identify those professionals who can provide it. We’re proud to have Jenna on our team!

Avoiding Springtime Hazards

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By the time the cold winter winds and snowstorms are replaced by pleasant sun-warmed spring days, pets are more than ready to return outdoors. Although spring is probably one of the most welcomed seasons, pet owners need to keep in mind that with the change in weather and increase of outdoor activity comes an increase of dangers for their beloved animal friends. Owners should be aware of these springtime hazards some of which might seem trivial, but can have fatal consequences.

Fertilizer – The first thing many people like to do when they are sure winter is gone for good is get their yards back in shape. It’s common knowledge that many fertilizer products can cause serious problems if ingested by animals or humans. It is still important to pay close attention to what the product labels say. Just because you see the term “natural” does not mean the product is nontoxic. There are also less-obvious problems lurking in gardens and lawns of which pet owners might not be aware.

Mulch – Many people use mulch to complete their landscaping projects. However, there are certain types of mulch that pet owners should avoid. Cocoa bean mulch, for example, is known to poison dogs. Because this mulch is made from the hulls of cacao beans, it has a rich chocolate aroma that entices animals to eat it. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is a caffeine derivative toxic to animals and can even kill them if they ingest enough.

Insects – With the yard free of toxic fertilizer, there is still the increase of insects and other pests to think about. Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme’s, may hospitalize your pet. And some fleaborne diseases, such as Bartonella, can also be detrimental to your pet’s health. There are many different products on the market to help control these little bugs. Pet owners should be sure to consult with their veterinarians before using these products.

Pesticide products are often a popular combatant to pest problems, but it is important that pet owners keep pets indoors for as long as the instructions suggest. If a dog or cat accidentally gets outdoors during pesticide treatment and eats the grass or even walks on it and then licks its paws, they could begin convulsing, vomiting, having diarrhea or internal bleeding and could even become unconscious.

Allergies – The change in the weather, pollination of plants, and toxic particles that sneak from yard to yard, could all be the cause of allergic reactions in household pets. Scratching, sneezing, losing excess amounts of fur, red or dry skin, constant licking and nasal discharge all are signs that the animal is having an allergic reaction to something. Pet owners should visit their vet for the allergy medicine or shampoo that will work best for their particular problem.

Springtime is a time for sunny days, beautiful blooms and enjoying the outdoors. Just remember that along with the warmer weather come some potential hazards for your furry friend. Your knowledge and awareness of these dangers will help keep your beloved pet healthy and happy.

Puppy Love – Do Dog’s really have emotions?

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Yes, of course they do. Every dog owner comes to recognize their dog’s moods from body language and facial expressions, from the noises their pet makes and from the very way their dog moves. We instinctively know whether our dogs are excited, happy, sad, frustrated or anxious.

Nonetheless, it has long been a topic of hot debate amongst behavioral experts largely because it’s very hard to quantify or measure emotions. While it’s clear that your dog has a rich emotional life, scientists cannot measure exactly how happy or fearful he may be. Thus, many have chosen to ignore emotions and the fact that they play any role in how a dog learns to behave or express himself.

Recent research has demonstrated that all mammals, dogs included, have seven fundamental, basic, emotional systems that provide the ability to react to information about what enters the brain via the senses. These “magnificent seven” include a seeking system to look for food, a fear system to respond to unfamiliar events that may be dangerous, a play system and a care system to raise offspring and form vital social attachments.

Recognizing that dogs have emotions is helping to drive progress in other fields, such as dealing with behavioral problems, like aggression, excessive grooming, and nervousness. Typically assessment is in three stages;

  • An emotional assessment of the dog at the time the problem is observed
  • A mood state assessment of how the dog feels and behaves generally
  • A reinforcement assessment of exactly which factors, external and internal, are maintaining the problem behavior, often in spite of many varied attempts to remove it.

 

By taking into account the emotions dogs feel, rather than simply looking at how they behave, animal behaviorists are now learning to get to grip with solving these problems much more effectively.  One of our expert trainers should be able to assist you with your dog’s behavioral issues. For more information please visit Training.

Tips for Grooming Your Dog In Winter

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During winter, pet owners will sometimes neglect the regular grooming schedule used during warmer months. Regular grooming isn’t always top-of-mind when it’s cold outside, it gets dark earlier and when pets tend to spend more time indoors. But it’s just as important to groom your pets during the winter months as it is the rest of the year.

Skin & Coat Care
Winter weather can be harsh on your pets, especially on their skin and coat. Dry air which is common during winter can dry out your pet’s skin. Dry, itchy skin leads to scratching which in turn can lead to hot spots or infections. It’s important to continue to bathe your pet on a regular basis, and the quality and type of the shampoo you choose is critical. Some shampoos can remove too many of the essential oils in your pet’s skin which contributes to dry skin problems. Consider using a shampoo that contains oatmeal or other moisturizers. Make sure your dog is completely dry before going outside, because a wet dog is more likely to become chilled. This is especially true of small breeds or those with short hair. Prolonged exposure to cold results in hypothermia, and it is most likely to occur when a dog is wet.

Winter Haircuts
Some owners believe giving a dog a haircut during cold weather compromises the dog because it needs its coat to keep warm. While dogs need to keep warm, it’s also true most pets don’t live outdoors all the time. House dogs don’t need to rely on long fur and a thick undercoat for warmth as wild animals or sled dogs do. It’s absolutely okay to give your dog a haircut in winter. If you’re concerned about your dog’s being cold outside, consider a longer trim or a doggie sweater.

Regular Brushing
It’s important to maintain regular brushing during the winter months. Keeping your pet’s coat free of tangles and loose hair will keep it healthy and able to properly insulate your pet.

Nail Trimming
Often neglected in colder months, nail trimming is an important part of your pet’s health and well being. In some areas dogs, tend to spend less time on abrasive surfaces like sidewalks. Therefore they do not experience the wear and tear on their nails like they do in warmer weather which leads to longer nail growth. Be sure to trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis throughout winter.

Paw Protection
Your dog’s paws are designed to protect their feet, especially in the elements of winter. But, ice and snow can damage the pads on your dog’s paws. So can sand, ice melt and other de-icing chemicals. Under these conditions paw pads can become hard, cracked and even infected. You can protect your pet’s paws and pads by using a protectant like Musher’s Secret or pad wax. For dry or cracked pads use a moisturizing lubricant such as Bag Balm and for maximum protection consider using dog boots.

Regular grooming is essential care for the long term health of your pet. It’s just as important to groom your dog during the cold winter months as it is in the heat of summer.

10 Gratitude Lessons to Learn from Your Dog

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As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, many people are trying to cultivate the value of gratitude. The problem is that Thanksgiving is arriving at an inconvenient time this year when a number of things seem to be going wrong with health, finances, blah blah . . . you know the details. But when it’s a challenge to be thankful, try turning to the most thankful person you know.

Who is not actually a person. He or she is your dog.

1.  Today is going to be the best day EVER! Just remember that, OK? So in the morning before your people get up, go right next to their heads and breathe heavily with excitement so that they, too, will catch your enthusiasm about this being the best day EVER. It will be even better than yesterday, which was the best day to date.

2.  After eating breakfast, be sure to always go find the person who fixed your meal for you and nuzzle their hand in gratitude. They always remember to feed you. They are therefore the best humans ever. And isn’t food just amazing?

3.  Be grateful all morning that you can work like a dog. This often involves working with your eyes closed — whether you’re on the couch, the dog bed, or the regular bed that you’re not actually supposed to jump on. Work is so important.

4.  During the lunch hour, paw your human insistently so that she understands it’s time to stop working and enjoy the neighborhood. Drag her to the front door. Isn’t it great when people understand what you’re telling them? Communication is so important.

5.  When you get outside, run around in circles a few times and bark with joy. You love your yard! You love your life!

6.  In the neighborhood, take time to greet your friends and sniff their butts. Smelling their butts indicates that you think they are wonderful and interesting. And they are. They are the best friends you’ve ever had!

7.  When you walk around and read your pee-mail, savor the moment. Someone took the time to leave you a message: “Rover was here!” So leave a message back and be grateful for friends and smells and this fabulous world.

8.  OMG, did we mention that this is the best day EVER? Are you having fun yet?

9.  If, during the course of your day, you come across any humans who seem to not quite understand that this is actually the best day EVER, it is your job to cheer them up. As a hint, butt-sniffing is not as effective at communicating love to humans as it is to fellow dogs. But a well-timed cuddle is always appropriate. Which leads us to the most important gratitude rule:

10.  When the people you love walk in the front door, drop everything in your excitement. Rush to them, jump up and down, slather them with kisses. They are the most remarkable and beautiful creatures in your world, and you have to let them know that every single day — especially this, your best day EVER.

Halloween Safety for Your Pet

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dog-halloween

Very soon costumes and Jack-O’-Lanterns will fill our neighborhoods with an endless parade of trick-or-treaters heading for our doorsteps. This year, be prepared to make the season a safe one for all members of the family. Here are seven important tips to keep your pets safe:

•    Halloween season is a time of mischief and pranks, and too often dogs and cats become unwilling participants. Keep your pets well supervised in the yard or, better yet, keep them indoors and safe from neighborhood shenanigans at night.
•    If your dog has the personality and temperament to accompany the kids while trick-or-treating, just make sure the costume doesn’t interfere with his ability to breathe, see, hear, move, or bark. Always make sure the fit isn’t constricting, and keep an eye out for signs your dog may be getting stressed out.
•    Like any other night you take your dog for a stroll, make sure he’s wearing his collar and nametag/ID. And with so many other people on the street, it’s important to keep him on a controlled/short lead or leash. Many styles are now offered with reflective or lighted features.
•    Just as you’d make sure your kids aren’t eating unsafe candy, never let your dog get a hold of any bite-size sweets. Candy and wrappers are potential choking hazards, and chocolate is particularly dangerous for dogs – a toxin. Instead, have a container of your pet’s favorite biscuits or treats readily available at home or along with you while trick-or-treating.
•    No other time of year will so many strange kids (in even stranger costumes) be knocking on your door. This can be especially nerve-wracking for the territorial dog. With the door opening and closing all night, be careful of him darting out. You may even want to put up a temporary gate in the entranceway, or even better keep your pup in a separate room.
•    For nervous animals, the haunting screams of kids and the endless chiming of doorbells can become overwhelming. You may want to consider a calming product designed for storm- and travel-shy pets and they are also useful on Halloween.
•    Finally, decorations and Jack-O’-Lanterns are tempting for pets. Needless to say, it’s too easy for them to get hurt if left unsupervised, whether it’s in a tangle of crepe paper or a singed coat from an open flame. Always keep these Halloween favors out of your pet’s reach!

5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Pet’s Health

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In today’s fast paced world, many pet owners find themselves without the amount of time they would like to spend caring for their pets. Between work, chores around the house, kids, school, sports, etc. there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a short list of five simple things you can do to improve the health of your pet.

Better Quality Food
Yes, it’s easier and probably cheaper to simply pick up a bag of dog food at the grocery store or buy some big retailer’s store brand. But is that necessarily the best food for your pet? And in the long run is it really cheaper? You might be surprised at what you find if you read the ingredient lists on your favorite name brand or store brand pet foods. Many of them contain fillers, unnecessary ingredients and by products that can be very unhealthy for your pet and can lead to long term health problems and increased costs.  Switching to an all-natural or holistic brand name can help maintain your pet’s health and keep your overall expenditures on pet care to a minimum.

Supplements
Supplementing your pet’s diet can be a simple way to help improve their health and well-being. There are many supplements available for joint support, digestive support, skin care, immunity, weight control, heart health, liver support, muscle support and more.  Consult with your veterinarian to make the best choices for your pet.

Regular Exercise
Okay, so you may not have time to walk your pet every single day or take them to the dog park. But there are ways to ensure your pet gets regular exercise. Be sure to provide a variety of toys for them to play with. Make sure you let your pet outside for a while every day or if you have an inside pet, give some space for daily play time. Of course you should take the time to walk your pet as often as possible. There are retractable leashes and even hands free leashes that make it easy to exercise your pet at the same time you are exercising.  Doggie daycare is another great option if you simply don’t have the time to give your pet regular exercise.

Dental Care
Proper dental care is essential for the health of your pet. Routine veterinary dental checkups are vital to your pet’s good health, but there are some simple things you can do to help your pet maintain healthy teeth. Avoid giving your dog sweet, soft or sticky foods. Regular PlaqClnz treatments done at Paws & Pals will freshen your pet’s breath and help eliminate plaque. Dental chews or treats designed to help control plaque and tartar build-up also promote fresh breath.

Flea, Tick & Insect Control
Fleas, Ticks and other insects like flies are some of the major carriers of diseases in pets. Controlling these pests is simple with the many flea, tick and pest control products available. There are several flea & tick spot-ons and collars that make protecting your pet easy. Plus, there are easy-to-use indoor and outdoor pest control products that can help break the reproductive cycle of pests like fleas which will ultimately make insect control even easier.

Dogs and Water Safety

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Swimming is a great exercise for dogs, and can also be the perfect relief from summer heat. Whether you’re boating with your dog or simply letting him have a dip in the pool, there are many safety precautions pet owners should take while swimming with their dogs. First and foremost, make sure that your dog can swim. Most dogs can be taught to swim, but others are not made for it or are simply too afraid.
Other dangers are less about the dog, and more about the place they’re swimming.  For example, 18 dogs in Minnesota to have died from suspected blue-green algae poisoning since the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency started tracking the issue a little more than a decade ago. Health officials have known about blue-green algae for years, but until the recent past there has been little documentation regarding pets. Owners may not see the animal ingest the material, so they may not make the connection. However, now there is more attention about the harmful effects of algae blooms in people, so it’s beginning to transfer to dogs. The best rule to follow is, when in doubt stay out of the water.

Swimming is great exercise for dogs but each body of water where pets can cavort – ponds, lakes or pools – has its own dangers. Pet owners can minimize risk by knowing what they are and how to prevent or avoid them.

Ponds and Lakes
Other than the blue-green algae, ponds and lakes can be good places for dogs to swim because they don’t have tides or currents, but owners should watch the water carefully, no matter how clean it looks. For example, many parks, golf courses or subdivisions that have lakes or ponds treat them with chemicals to prevent algae. The chemicals can cause skin irritation or worse issues such as liver damage.
Also, ponds and lakes in the country may contain materials toxic to dogs such as fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides that are “run-off” from area farms. Larger lakes where motor-boating is allowed might have higher concentrations of motor oil. If you are on a boat and your dog jumps from it, make sure there is a logical way to get the dog back in.
Never let a dog drink from a pond or lake, so take fresh water for drinking as well as for bathing the dog after a swim. If you fear that your dog has ingested bad water or has swam in water that may be toxic, call for help immediately

canstockphoto21425563Swimming Pool Safety
The most important thing about pools, says Paula Patton, professional dog trainer at The Gray Dog Lodge in Lenoir City, Tenn., is that they have steps and dogs should know where they are. “Dogs should never be allowed to swim alone,” she said. “When pools are not in use, they should be covered. But most importantly, your pet should know how to get out of the pool without struggle.”

She also recommends the following:
•    Make sure your pet is wearing a pet flotation device while swimming.
•    Monitor your pet to make sure the chlorinated water in the pool is not irritating. Watch especially your pet’s eyes for irritation.
•    Don’t let your pet drink the chlorinated water.
•    After a dip in the pool, most pets should be hosed or bathed to remove chlorine that can dry the coat and be ingested when the pet is grooming.

Safe and Fun Options
An easy way to skirt a lot of the danger of swimming is to purchase a “kiddie pool” for pets. Sprinklers and kiddie pools are effective and safer for dogs that are older or impaired, or for breeds that don’t swim. Water from the hose is sufficient, and chlorine isn’t necessary. Wading or splashing is fun for dogs, and has the same cooling effect as a large body of water.

Preventing Heatstroke in Dogs

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dog-in-hot-carOn a sunny day with temperatures at or above 70° Fahrenheit, most people know that the temperature inside their car can soar to intolerable levels for their dog. But even outdoors in a non-shaded area, the heat can quickly get to your pooch and cause serious complications.
Dogs do not perspire the way humans do; in fact, the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to cool themselves and also use a temperature exchange called convection to cool their skin. Both panting and convection cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperatures for the cooler air outside. If the surrounding air is not considerably cooler than the animals’ body temperature – as in the case of a hot, stuffy automobile – the cooling system will not work and heatstroke can occur.

What are the signs of heatstroke?

Signs of heatstroke include:

• Increased heart rate
• Excessive panting
• Increased salivation
• Bright red tongue
• Red or pale gums
• Thick, sticky saliva
• Depression
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
• Diarrhea

As heatstroke progresses, it can cause seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and death.

What should I do if my dog gets heatstroke?dog-hot-day

Remove your dog from the hot area immediately. While transporting him immediately to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, under the forelimbs, and in the groin area. If possible, increase air movement around him with a fan. Be careful, however, as using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. CAUTION: Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and your dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if your dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible, he should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications. Allow free access to water if your dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; as he may inhale it and could choke.

How can heatstroke be prevented?

• Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
Provide access to water at all times.

• Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you’re in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to 140 degrees.
Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.

• On a hot day, restrict exercise and don’t take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.

• Do not muzzle your dog.

• Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.

• Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.

• Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your pet to lay on.

You can prevent your pet from suffering heatstroke. Use common sense and think of what it might feel like to wear a fur jacket (that cannot be removed) on a hot summer day.

 

Article source: Doctors Foster and Smith

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