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National Animal Safety and Prevention Month

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October is National Animal Safety and Prevention Month; a month dedicated to promoting the safe practices of handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals. Animals play an important part in our everyday lives, even if we don’t personally have pets. So it’s vital to make sure that they are treated kindly and with the respect and care they deserve.

There are several ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Prevention Month. Some of them are as simple as being aware of the needs of your own household pets. For example, make sure they are micro-chipped so if they are ever lost, they can be easily found and returned; collars with identification tags are also just as important. Pet proof your home against the possibility of your animals coming in contact with any dangerous poisons or toxins. Put together a disaster escape plan in case you ever need to evacuate your pets quickly from the home. There are plenty of things you can do to take that extra step in making sure your pets are protected in all circumstances.
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Winter Pet Care Tips

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Pets should be brought inside when the temperature drops. If that is not possible, then shelter—a dog house, shed or barn—should be used to protect your pet from the wind, low temperatures, and inclement weather. Supply warm bedding material and make sure the doorway has at least a flap covering to keep out the wind.

Make sure pets have a clean and ice-free supply of water outside. Eating snow can cause diarrhea, so you want to have fresh water available. Just like people, dogs lose moisture when breathing in cold air—they can see their breath, too!—and although dehydration is more common during summer months, it can happen in cold weather as well.

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Top Summer Safety Tips

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Our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be out, about, and enjoying all that the season has to offer. 

While there is certainly nothing wrong with taking your pet out for hikes, swimming, or running, keep in mind that warm weather can be dangerous. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and animals don’t sweat like people do. Dogs do sweat, but not very much, and it does little to cool them off. As you probably know, dogs more commonly cool themselves down through panting. When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it’s a lot harder for that dog to keep cool. Read on to learn some important summer safety tips for dogs:

1. Never, ever, EVER leave your dog in a hot car 

Okay, you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important that we still decided to list it first. It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don’t realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your dog home on warm days. If you’re driving around with your dog in the car, bring water and a water dish and take your dog with you when you leave the car.

2. Make sure your dog is protected from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes

If not protected, your dog is at risk for heartworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other nasty and dangerous conditions. And don’t forget, many of these diseases can be caught by people too!

3. Keep your dog’s paws cool

When the sun is blazing, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out to be injured or killed in an accident).

4. Your dog should always have access to fresh drinking water and shade

Our dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, and other than panting and drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down. Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and can cause heat exhaustion or stroke.

5. Give your dog his very own “kiddy pool”

Dogs who love the water, naturally love it even more during the hot months, and getting wet keeps them cool. Providing a small, kid-sized pool will go over big.

6. Don’t assume your dog can swim well

Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim, doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers. And if your dog jumps in your swimming pool, he might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Make sure your dog can’t get into your swimming pool without you around.

7. Dogs get sunburns too!

Believe it or not, dogs can sunburn, especially those with short or light-colored coats. And just like with people, sunburns can be painful for a dog and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog (don’t assume a sunscreen for people is appropriate for your dog).

Perhaps the most important tip is to pay attention to your dog – you’ll know when he seems uncomfortable. Summer can be a great time to spend with your dog, but it’s important to keep these tips in mind!

Source of content: The Pet Health Network

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.

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!

Dogs and Water Safety

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canstockphoto13323722

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

It’s Allergy Season for Humans AND Dogs!

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dog-scratch

Spring brings blooming flowers and beautiful green trees – which in turn, bring plenty of pollen, molds, and other allergens. You may find it frustrating to deal with seasonal allergies, but you aren’t alone in your struggle! Both dogs and people can suffer from environmental allergies, but despite being associated with many of the same triggers (pollen, molds, dust mites, etc.), there is one key difference.

If you have allergies, you are all too familiar with the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes that accompany the condition. While some dogs are affected in a similar manner, the most common clinical sign associated with canine allergies is itchiness. Any part of the body may be affected, but the face, feet, and sparsely haired parts of the body are often prime targets. This is because direct contact between the allergen and the skin is what sets off allergic reactions in many dogs, and these are the parts of the body that are most likely to come in contact with allergens.

Allergic reactions in dogs can go unnoticed because to the untrained eye, it may just seem as though your dog is licking themselves as they usually do. While many itch-related issues are solved  by scratching, many of them are alleviated (and sometimes exacerbated) by licking – especially when it comes to their paws. As stated in the above paragraph, the area affected by allergens is usually the skin that comes in direct contact with the offending substance and/or isn’t shielded by hair or fur. If you see your dog licking/biting/scratching themselves a lot, they are probably itchy because of some kind of allergen exposure. If you check the area(s) that they are paying a lot of attention to, you’ll usually see that it’s pink or red – which is a sure sign that they are dealing with an allergy problem.

Since skin to allergen contact plays such an important role in canine allergies, it shouldn’t be too surprising that topical therapy plays a vital role in treating the condition. Frequent baths (twice a week or more) are the usual recommendation, serve to physically remove allergens that are trapped within a dog’s coat and on the surface of the skin. Any gentle, non-drying shampoo will perform this function, but medicated shampoos can serve a dual purpose of allergen removal and topical anti-allergy therapy. In between baths, use unscented baby wipes on a dog’s face, feet, or other problem areas after he or she comes in from outdoors. If you’d like there are wet wipes for dogs that are specifically for this purpose.

dog-allergies

Products are now available that also help strengthen the skin’s natural barriers against allergens. Research has shown that dogs with allergic skin disease have altered proportions of certain types of fatty acids and other skin components, and these changes have an adverse affect on the ability of the skin to function normally. Regular use of such topical treatments can stop allergic dogs from scratching, licking, and chewing on themselves. Many ointments or dermatologic creams also exist over-the-counter and by prescription. In addition, there are some over-the-counter oral remedies you could try like Chlorpheniramine Maleate or Clemastine Fumarate tablets. You may have to try a few different options (or combinations of options) to find one that works for you. Obviously if anything you use has unpleasant side-effects like diarrhea, nausea, or extreme drowsiness, cease using it immediately.

Sometimes, severe cases of allergies often require more aggressive treatment, so you will have to consult a veterinarian. When topical therapy alone cannot keep a dog comfortable, systemic treatment becomes necessary. Veterinarians typically prescribe corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) or other immune modulating medications like cyclosporine (Atopica) for severe allergies, but continuing topical therapy is still important even in these cases. The goal is to use the lowest effective dose of the systemic medications to try to avoid side effects. Routine bathing and spot-on products often reduce the amount of drugs needed to keep a dog’s symptoms under control.

Please stay aware of possible allergens in your dogs’ lives, and what you can do to prevent, treat, and alleviate their suffering. We humans know that suffering from allergies is absolutely dreadful, so it can’t be that great for our fur children either. Let us know which products or methods you have had success with, so we can help other pets find relief as well!

Article Source:Vetdepot

Spring Garden Safety for Pets

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doxie-garden

Spring is here, and for many families this means getting out in the yard and planting that beautiful spring garden! If your family includes a four-legged member, it’s important to keep their safety in mind as the seasons change.There are not only numerous dangerous plants and flowers that are toxic for pets, but there are other things you need to be aware of if you want to have a safe and happy spring.

tulip-dog

This dog should NOT be biting this toxic Tulip!

Choose plants wisely: As you’re coming up with plans for your beautiful new garden, steer clear of plants that are known to be toxic to pets. A few popular spring choices to avoid include the Azalea, Tiger Lily (and most Lilies in general, like Calla Lilies), Crocus, Amarylis, Carnations, Cresanthemums, and the Tulip. Other plants to watch out for include most types of Aloe, select palms such as the Sago, Begonias, most types of Laurel, select Ivy and Fern varieties, and even most Pine trees!

Beware of baits and fertilizers: Snail and rodent baits may be helpful in keeping unwanted pests out of your yard, but these products are also extremely dangerous for pets. Bait toxicity can be fatal, causing blood clotting disorders, brain swelling, or kidney failure. Herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, weed killers, and other garden substances (even if they are all-natural) could cause pet poisoning – especially if your pet licks its paws very often. Depending on the ingredients, ingestion of fertilizers can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from gastrointestinal irritation to seizures and death. Fish fertilizer, blood/bone meal and cocoa mulch are highly toxic to pets, so seek immediate veterinary care of you suspect your pet has ingested a dangerous substance.

Protect against fleas and ticks: Pets should be protected against parasites all year long, but it’s especially important during the warmer months when pets are likely to spend time outside in the yard. Monthly flea and tick preventatives can be applied directly to your pet and for extra protection, you might consider using a yard spray as well.

Watch out for unexpected guests and visitors: There are a bunch of other random and unexpected yard hazards to look out for, especially due to the ensuing rainstorms and increasing moisture that spring brings along with it. One of these dangers is fungi, such as mushrooms or toadstools, that love wet/damp conditions – especially after a fresh rainfall. Not all mushrooms are poisonous for your pet to eat, but you might as well be safe rather than sorry! For that matter, any kind of mold or mildew – whether it’s inside or outside – can prove to be harmful so make sure that you aren’t growing anything that you aren’t aware of! If you need to reduce the moisture in your home, a dehumidifier may be of great use to you.

Re-think your lawn and garden ornaments: If your pets love to chew, be careful about what kind of decorations you display in your garden or lawn. Dogs are known to try and eat or chew anything they can get their paws on, and NOTHING is exempt from this rule. Dogs have been seen eating light fixtures, gnomes, stones, pinwheels, statues, flags, and also chewing/eating parts of fences and enclosures! Assume that your dog could and would eat anything, and then plan your lawn or garden display accordingly.
As long as you’re aware and alert about all of the possible hazards that your garden and yard could entail, you’ll be able to relax and be worry-free about your pet enjoying the yard.

dog-garden-hosePets should be supervised when they are in your yard anyway, even if you have a fence – you never know what or WHO could sneak up on your dog when they least expect it!

Article source: vetdepot.com

Protect Your Dog from These 5 Dangerous BBQ Foods!

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dog-grill

When the sun’s out and the days are long, there’s nothing better than a backyard barbeque with family and friends. While sharing a bite or two of grilled chicken breast or watermelon with your dog is usually fine in moderation, there are some barbeque foods that can be downright dangerous. Be sure to keep the following 5 foods away from Fido:

1. Ribs: Any meat on a bone is a recipe for disaster for dogs. It’s likely your dog will want to chew on that bone when the rib meat is gone, which can cause choking or severe injury if the bone splinters and punctures the digestive track.

2. Corn on the cob: Dogs don’t know to chew the kernels of corn off and leave the rest. The large cob can cause a dangerous intestinal blockage if swallowed in big pieces.

3. Too much fatty meat: While hamburger meat and steak isn’t toxic for dogs, ingestion of too much of these fatty meats can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

4. Onion: Whether it’s being used as a burger garnish or chopped up in that guacamole, onion is a “no” for dogs. Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal upset, an elevated heart rate, and even red blood cell damage.

5. Dessert: From fruit salad to brownies, there are a lot of doggie dangers lurking on the dessert table. It’s not known exactly why, but the ingestion of grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Most pet parents are also aware that anything chocolatey poses a danger because of the harmful compound, theobromine, which can lead to muscle tremors and heart arrhythmia. Sugar-free desserts containing xylitol are extremely dangerous for dogs and can have fatal consequences.

If you want to make sure your pup has a safe snack while everyone else is digging in, be sure to have some healthy dog treats on hand.

Article from VetDepot

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