Archives for June, 2012

Fireworks and Furry Family Members

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Hello to All from hot and humid San Antonio,

This article from Dr. Karen Becker of Mercola Healthy Pets caught my eye, as the Fourth of July holiday is upon us, and our little twelve-year-old dog Roxie is terrified of fireworks (and thunder, and gunshots, …)

We have an Anxiety Wrap for her, and we have used Rescue Remedy with some success. The key for us is remembering to put the wrap on her and administer the Rescue Remedy well before the start of the noise-causing event.

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Fireworks and Furry Family Members

By Dr. Becker

Every July 4th there are pet casualties, so I thought I’d take this opportunity well in advance of Independence Day celebrations to remind dog and cat owners of the dangers associated with this particular holiday.

Many Pets Fear Fireworks Displays

Fireworks displays can be stressful and frightening for pets, so if you’re planning to take your pet along, I recommend you rethink that idea. Even normally calm dogs can get spooked and disoriented by the noise, lights and crowds involved in a fireworks display. You certainly don’t want to frighten your pet or put him in a situation where he might bolt or become aggressive due to fear.

Even pets left at home can be frightened of the loud noises that seem to go on and on the evening of July 4th. Your dog or cat has a much better sense of hearing than you do, so loud, unfamiliar sounds can be especially unsettling. And this goes double if your pet is getting up in years.

Even small firecracker or sparkler displays by neighbors or family members can upset your pet.

Signs your pet is afraid of fireworks or other loud noises include shaking, vocalizing (barking or howling), excessive drooling, looking for a place to hide, or escape attempts.

Keeping Your Pet Safe on July 4th

With a little advance planning, you can prevent problems with your pet over the July 4th holiday. It will be much easier for you and your family to relax and enjoy the celebrations if you’re not worrying about your pet’s health and safety.

Insure your pet has a current ID tag. Every year on July 5th many dogs turn up miles from home — afraid, disoriented, exhausted and dehydrated. And animal shelters across the U.S. get an influx of ‘July 4th dogs’ who escaped during fireworks celebrations and are found by animal control agents and concerned citizens who drop them off at the nearest shelter.
Remember to feed and walk your dog in the late afternoon or early evening, well before the fireworks displays begin.
Don’t leave your pet alone outside on the 4th. If she becomes frightened and panicked, even a fenced yard may not keep her safe. She could injure herself trying to escape. If she gets out she could run away, be hit by a car, or stolen by a stranger.
Keep your pet inside the house, preferably in an inside room without windows. Create a little safe haven for your dog or cat with bedding, a toy or two, and a few treats. Turn on a TV, radio or other music to help muffle the noise from outside. If possible, leave someone at home with your pet.
If you bring your pet along to the celebration (which I don’t recommend unless you have an unusually laid back dog or cat, or you just have no other choice), don’t leave him unattended in your car. It’s apt to be hot enough to bring on heatstroke even if you crack your windows, not to mention if your pet panics, he could hurt himself or cause damage to your vehicle.
Keep your dog or cat a nice safe distance from any backyard or neighborhood fireworks displays, and make sure to store personal fireworks where your pet can’t get them. Pets have been known to ingest unexploded fireworks as well as debris lying around after the display is over. Also keep in mind your pet is covered in fur that can easily catch fire.

Do What’s Best for Your Furry Companion

Some pets aren’t bothered at all by fireworks. Others may get a bit jumpy, but are generally fine as long as their owner is nearby to soothe them as necessary.
Other pets become extremely frightened, especially dogs with noise phobia.

As a general rule, most dogs and cats are more comfortable left at home with their normal routine during July 4th celebrations. But you can still include your pet in festivities like picnics, trips to the beach or lake, or family gatherings. Just make sure your four-legged family member is tucked snugly inside your home, with access to a safe haven, before the fireworks begin.

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Here is the link to the original article:
Mercola Healthy Pets: Fireworks and Furry Family Members

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Take Care Everyone,

Jean

Jun 28, 2012 | 0 | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs

Ten Most Toxic Foods to Dogs

Hello to All,

We have all seen lists of foods that our dogs should not eat, but this is a great visual reminder. I would add macademia nuts, caffeine, moldy food, Xylitol (an artificial sweetener used in gum and toothpaste), other artificial sweeteners, and MSG to the list of no-nos, and I have given Roxie and Gypsy small amounts of garlic without a problem. Thanks to Lea Ann Goettsch of Green Dog Delicacies for posting this on Facebook:

Take care, and give your dogs a hug for me!

Jean

Jun 19, 2012 | 3 | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs, Homemade Dog Food

An Alternative to Boarding: Vacation Homes for Dogs

Hi Everyone,

I was so glad to read this article from Dr. Karen Becker of Mercola Healthy Pets about an alternative to boarding your dogs which is similar to a vacation share for humans. Rick and I always hesitate to travel, and most often end up staying at home, because we don’t want to put Roxie and Gypsy in a boarding situation. Plus, they no longer get a full regime of vaccines as they are both 12 years old, so I doubt they would be accepted in a boarding facility.

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By Dr. Karen Becker

More and more dog owners these days are reluctant to take vacations that require leaving their fuzzy family members in someone else’s care. The more a pet feels like a member of the family, the less willing the family is to ‘park’ their dog like they park their car in the long-term lot at the airport.

Limited Options for Dog Care for Vacationing Families

Boarding kennels almost seem like cruel and unusual punishment for dogs accustomed to having the run of the house, getting lots of daily exercise, and sleeping in bed at night with their humans. Some pet owners report their dog’s personality seems different after being boarded.

And then there are contagious diseases to consider whenever your dog is sharing an institutional-type facility for several days with strange (unfamiliar) dogs. Bordetella bronchiseptica is called ‘kennel cough’ for a reason. (The bordetella vaccine, by the way, while required by many kennels, grooming shops and other pet care facilities, is ineffective and I don’t recommend it.)

The other side of this coin is that the vast majority of boarding kennels require “up-to-date” vaccinations – often several of them. If you don’t believe in submitting your dog to unnecessary re-vaccinations, your pet won’t be accepted at most boarding facilities anyway.

Hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to stop in twice a day for short visits also isn’t an option for many pet owners. Canines are pack animals and require more human interaction on a daily basis than pet sitters are typically able to provide. Some professional sitters will stay in your home with your dog while you’re away, but the cost can be prohibitive.

What If You Could Leave Your Dog in Another Dog Lover’s Home While You’re Away?

The owners of a new website called DogVacay.com have set up a system to bring people willing to provide ‘vacation homes’ (called hosts) for other people’s dogs, and vacationing pet owners together.

According to co-founder Aaron Hirschhorn, who launched the start-up with his wife earlier this year, “We want this to be very different than finding a stranger on Craigslist.”

Toward that end, there are certain guarantees provided through DogVacay.com for pet owners, including:

Up to $25,000 in insurance coverage for dog emergencies
A method for handling last-minute cancellations by hosts
Emergency veterinary care if required
Photo updates of your dog delivered either by email or via text message
100 percent money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with the host you selected

How It Works

DogVacay.com invites anyone who is interested to apply for a listing to host ‘vacationing’ dogs in their homes. Hosts set their own prices, availability and other preferences such as what types of dogs they are willing to take.

Dog owners can search for hosts in their area, ask questions of potential hosts, request a meeting, and make reservations and payments directly through the DogVacay.com website. The site takes a 5 to 10 percent fee from the host’s earnings depending on the amount of activity he or she generates.

In order to make themselves more appealing to potential dog owner clients, hosts can agree to be phone interviewed by DogVacay.com owners, verify their addresses and phone numbers, and list certifications like training in canine CPR. Most hosts post pictures of their home and yard with their profile so dog parents can see the actual environment their pet will be staying in.

Prices vary widely, but the average seems to be $30 to $35 a night.

DogVacay.com was officially re-launched around the first of March 2012, and some locations around the country already have hundreds of hosts signed up. So if you’re in one of those areas and think you might want to give your pet a little “vacay” while you take your own, it would seem you’ll have plenty of host homes to choose from.

My advice is to choose carefully. Look for someone with a background in animal care or a professional pet sitter who has been doing it for years. If your pet has special medical needs, insure potential hosts can care for him adequately.

Check out the pictures of the host’s home and make sure it feels comfortable to you. I also recommend requesting a meet-n-greet at the host’s home, with your dog, before you make your selection.
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Here is the link to the original article:
Mercola Healthy Pets: An Alternative to Boarding

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Jean

Jun 18, 2012 | 0 | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Home Health Care for Dogs

Breaking Up (A Dog Fight) Is Hard to Do!

Hello Everyone,

Here is a great article from The Dog Training Secret about breaking up a dog fight. I have used the wheelbarrow approach myself when Roxie and Gypsy have gotten into fights and it has worked for me. The couple of times I’ve used the method I was by myself, and I didn’t know to leash one of the dogs, so I was picking up Gypsy by the hind legs, and then fending off Roxie by kicking at her, (not the best strategy). Fortunately, that has not happened in a long time and they seem to be peacefully coexisting.

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Breaking Up (A Dog Fight) Is Hard to Do!

Ever wonder how to break up a dog fight?

My best advice is NOT TO!

Most of the time people incur serious injury when they try to break up a dog fight. But, I also know that it is instinct for most people to want to save their dog or dogs once a dog fight breaks out.
So here is my best advice….

Don’t do it! Risking your life and your ability to do simple things like holding a fork, spoon or your toothbrush can be more important than saving your dog.
Let me Explain

Most people see two dogs fighting and their instinct is to run in the middle and take both dogs by the collar and try to separate them.

Frequently, this only irritates the fighting dogs and one or both of them may spin around and bite you in the hand or arm and then resume fighting.

Even your own dog is likely to bite you because he is caught up in the moment and doesn’t even realize he is biting you.

Getting bit in the hand or forearm commonly requires reconstructive surgery. The bones and tendons in the hand and forearm are very sensitive and it takes what seems like very little damage to do permanent impairment to your hand and your ability to grasp and hold onto things.

Various people rely on their hands to help them make a living, whether you are a dog groomer, computer programmer, or even a writer or cook your living could depend on your ability to utilize your hands normally.

I once had a friend that was a K9 officer in the Air Force, one of the guys that recently converted to K9 had dropped his hand while catching a dog (on a bite suit) and the dog locked onto his hand ripping and tearing and then jumped up to his forearm. He needed reconstructive surgeries and would require a lifetime of physical therapy. He was only in his 20s. I have always worried about how he would be able to make a living and support his family but I am thankful he was in the military as most of it will be covered in some way.

Even if you are lucky, when you are bitten and don’t require a lifetime of surgeries and physical therapy; you will still incur the pain and trauma of a dog bite neither of which is fun!
But I Know You Are Going to Do it Anyway….

I can tell you horror story after horror story and some people will still get involved.

So I will give you the tricks of the trade that I have learned over the years.

The first is to weigh your danger. Don’t just jump into any dog fight! And, sometimes the fights between family member dogs can be worse than those between previously unknown dogs; because of the pent up hostility and previous knowledge of behavior.

Don’t waste your breath yelling. The two dogs that are fighting almost can’t hear or don’t care about anything else going on in their environment. They won’t even hear or acknowledge you.

Adding pain in the form of hitting or shocking the dogs will often escalate the fight and make it worse, so don’t hit them with anything or expect a shock collar to work.

Be Careful at Dog Parks
Breaking up a dog fight usually requires two calm people…

If you are not as calm as possible the dogs can feed off of your fear and energy.

Take a breath and be as calm as possible before jumping into the situation.

Next each person should get behind each dog (hopefully their own dog) and lift up the dogs’ hind legs and begin to circle the dogs backwards and hopefully out of the fight.

The picking up of the back legs usually throws both dogs off balance and they release their grips on one another for a brief moment.

Do Not let them go once they release their grips!! They will just run back together and fight again.

Continue circling with their back legs lifted toward an exit, a fence or a kennel area where you and the dog can be safe.

This continued circling keeps you safer; if you don’t let go because the dog will have trouble getting a grip on you, because if he swings around backwards he is likely to fall on his face, if he is still worked up from the fight. Once in the secured area the dog can be released as long as you are not going to be bitten.

If this is not your dog and/or he is still agitated make sure you can enlist the help of another person to leash or utilize a rabies pole to keep the dog at a distance.
If You Are Alone…

You will Have to Secure the Dog Yourself if You are Alone

If you are alone you will have to tie a leash around one dog’s mid section or back leg securely and then drag both dogs (still fighting) with that leash toward a place where you can securely fasten the leash..a tree or a fence. Next you will have to go to the unleashed dog, lift his back legs and begin circling him out of the fight.

There is a chance for significant more damage to you when you are alone! Be very, very cautious!

Once the dogs are safely secured you may begin to assess the damage.

I recommend wrapping their snouts with their leashes because a dog in pain, even your own dog, will bite. This will allow you to assess any damage stop the bleeding and get the dogs to a vet.

Apply pressure to wounds to stop the bleeding.

Always keep a list of veterinarians and emergency vets handy, either marked in your phone or listed in your car, just in case.

Arm yourself with knowledge, but always take your own safety into consideration FIRST!

click here to see the original article and pictures

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Take Care,

Jean

Jun 12, 2012 | 0 | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior