Helpful Hints

 Extreme weather reminders

 

The winter months are not only dangerous for people, but for pets too. There are many hidden dangers when it comes to your dog’s health in winter. Read on to keep your dog healthy during the cold temperatures.

Do not leave dogs outside longer than 10 minutes when freezing outside. Dogs are very susceptible to frostbite during cold temperatures in winter, particularly their ears, paws and tail. Reduce time outside to ten minutes or less, especially if your dog has short or coarse hair because they get especially cold. Be especially cautious when there is snow on the ground. Your dog may resist to a sweater or dog coat, but it will help protect him from freezing temperatures and harsh winds. Many dogs do not like going outside to eliminate when it is so cold, so protective gear is necessary.

Consider boots when salt is present. Not only will boots protect against hypothermia, but they will prevent your dog from getting salt stuck under his paws. Dogs can have stomach problems if they lick the salt off their paws. Snowy weather is therefore very dangerous to dogs in addition to cold temperatures.

Dogs get easily dehydrated in winter. Be sure to have plenty of fresh water for your dogs, particularly after exercise, play and coming in from cold temperatures.

Be very careful about wet hair. If your dog romps in the snow, be very careful that you dry him off when he comes back inside. Use an absorbent towel and even blow-dry him. Blow-drying tends to dry out the coat, but it is important to do to prevent hypothermia or pneumonia for your dog. You may want to turn on a space heater to help speed the process along.

Be careful about antifreeze on driveways. Antifreeze is often needed for cars in winter, so be careful your dog does not lick it up from the driveway. Antifreeze tastes delightful to dogs but it is extremely poisonous and can be fatal. If you find your dog has ingested some antifreeze, do not delay. Take them to the vet immediately.

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Summer is a fun time of year for humans and dogs alike. Many dogs (and people) love to play outdoors despite the heat. Some homes do not have air-conditioning, so alternative cooling methods must be used. If your dog does not wish to stay indoors with the air-conditioner, or if you do not have air-conditioning, there are still plenty of ways to keep your dog cool as temperatures rise.

Remember that dogs cannot cool themselves by sweating like humans. They might sweat a small amount through their pads, but the main way a dog cools off is by panting. Unfortunately, panting is not enough when it is extremely hot and humid.

Fresh, Cool Water

It is essential that you keep fresh, cool water available to your dog at all times. In hot weather, this is even more crucial. Make sure you keep the water dish in a shady location and change the water frequently. To constantly keep fresh water available outdoors, consider installing a watering system that hooks up to a faucet. These systems are designed to provide water as needed and are usually triggered by motion or a specific action.

Shelter from the Sun

Your dog might enjoy a little sunbathing, but she ultimately needs a cool, shady spot to relax. Prolonged sun exposure not only leads to heat exhaustion, it can also cause sunburn. Yes, dogs can get sunburned too. While sunscreen is available for dogs, it is not ideal. The best thing is to offer shelter. Shade from trees is nice, but not perfect. An actual structure is better. Consider getting an insulated dog house, but make sure it is large and well-ventilated. Alternatively, you might put up an open-air tent or canopy. The addition of a fan will help further cool things down. If possible, put the shelter in a shady area to keep it extra-cool. Of course, the most ideal shelter is in your home. If possible, install a doggie door to allow indoor access.

Pools for Cooling

If your dog loves water, then a large tub or kiddy pool (molded plastic, not inflatable) might be a great addition to your yard. You can find tubs or pools at most home stores. Many dogs enjoy playing and lounging in the cool water. Just make sure you supervise your dog at all times. Also, keep the pool in a shady spot and change the water frequently. Do not leave the pool full when not in use, as it may attract mosquitos.Instead of a pool, you might also try running a sprinkler to see if your dog likes it. However, most dogs prefer a pool to a sprinkler

 

Cooling Dog Beds

As mentioned before, your dog needs a cool, shady place to relax. While a dog bed is nice and soft, it might also be too warm. This is why many people notice their dogs prefer to lie on tile or concrete floors when it’s hot out. However, a cooling dog bed can offer the comfort and softness of a typical dog bed with the coolness your dog craves. Cooling dog beds often use a gel-like material or simply water to keep the bed feeling cool. These beds are especially great for senior dogs as an alternative for hard floors

Remember that dogs cool themselves primarily by panting, so cooler air is the best way to prevent and relieve overheating. No matter what you do to keep your dog cool, the best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on her. When in doubt, get her to a cooler area. Be sure to contact your vet immediately if you notice signs of heat stroke. Summer safety is no joke, and it’s up to you to make sure your dog stays cool and comfortable.

One more item and it’s a big one, DO NOT LEAVE PETS in a parked car without shade and open windows on warm days!

Your car heats up quickly and even a 75* day can have a “real feel” of 90*+ to your dog. Breeds with shorter respiratory systems (pugs, boxers, bulldogs, shih tzu’s, boston terriers) are highly sensitive to extreme heat. Always have fresh cool water and damp wash cloths on hand to quickly cool down an overheated dog.

 

Challenges Of Back To School Separation Anxiety

Another summer is beginning to wind down and our thoughts turn to back to school purchases and autumn pleasures. Schedules will soon shift as we scurry to get our kids to and from school or off to college. For some, it means the return of our kids from summer camp, for others the return to work as area educators. Indeed there is a lot going on but what does all of this increased activity and time shifting mean to our canine pals? Over the years I have met quite a few dogs that had “the summertime blues” which meant an abrupt change in the summer rhythm and schedule hence, separation and fear anxiety. I always advise the following:

Don’t Let Dogs Get Bored

Boredom is a major cause of canine misbehavior (excessive barking, howling, chewing, soiling) when back to school time rolls around. You and your family may not have as much time to spend with your dog as everyone gets used to a new schedule.

You can stop behavior problems before they begin AND prevent dog boredom by ensuring that dogs get plenty of exercise and have a variety of interesting, mentally stimulating toys to play with. This is also an ideal time to call us for a FREE consultation and see if adding additional pet visits during the week is right for you and your schedule.

Establish a Routine

Dogs are also creatures of habit and routines are vital to their overall well being. In fact, part of the reason dogs become so stressed when the kids go back to school is that it causes major changes in their routines. Since they cannot express their anxiety verbally, it’s up to us to create a stress free environment before the behavioral issues begin. REMEMBER, those issues simply mean, I am bored, I am scared, I am confused, I am all alone!    You can ease a dog’s stress during this time by quickly establishing a new routine. While you’re scheduling carpools and after-school activities, you might also create regular times for your dog’s feeding time, play time, walks, and most importantly family time.

Prevent Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is a disorder that causes dogs to feel extreme anxious when left home alone especially if it’s an abrupt interruption of their normal schedule. Once everyone is back to school and your family schedule shifts, you may find that your dog soon becomes anxious and stressed when left alone.

“One of the biggest clues that a dog suffers from separation anxiety is destructive behavior. Dogs who suffer from this type of anxiety try to ease their stress by chewing, digging, and barking. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you can help to alleviate his stress through a process referred to as desensitization. This involves slowly getting him used to being left by himself. If you still have some time before the summer comes to an end, you can start working on preventing separation anxiety before everyone goes back to school.”

Dancing Paws has helped dozens of families over the years recognize, treat and overcome this very real and common canine behavior problem. Our job is to replicate your dog’s routine while you are away so that they remain safe, calm, stimulated and happy while you remain worry free and confident that they are receiving supreme and loving pet care and attention.

To learn more about Canine Anxiety and Remedies please bookmark or visit:

  1. http://dogs.about.com/od/guestauthors/a/backtoschool.htm
  2. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/tp/behaviorproblems.htm
  3. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/a/bust_boredom.htm
  4. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogandpuppyhealth/qt/exercise.htm
  5. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/a/obedience.htm
  6. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/qt/clickertraining.htm
  7. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/a/find_dog_trainer.htm
  8. http://dogs.about.com/od/caringfordogsandpuppies/qt/human_canine_bond.htm
  9. http://dogs.about.com/od/dogbehaviorproblems/a/sep_anxiety.htm

 

Trick-o-Treat Safety Tips From The ASPCA

The ASPCA has listed a few pet safety reminders appropriate for THE YEARLY CANDY FEAST!

I thought it worthwhile to share. No tricks, just a treat!

Happy Halloween from the Dancing Paws Team!

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au natural or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

 

 

 

 

 

Your New Pet Care Person

Your pet sitter needs to know you, your pets and your household routines in order to do the best possible job in caring for your pets while you are away. You can help out by providing detailed information to your pet sitter prior to the pet-sitting assignment. Provide written verification that your pet is up-to-date on its shots. Have your pet wear current vaccination tags on its collar.

If your pet is prone to chew, please leave “chew toys” and take proper precautions to guard your personal items and home furnishings from his teeth while you are away Make a list of your pet’s favorite hiding places. This will prevent the pet sitter from worrying if your pet is not where expected. Be sure to tell your pet sitter about any unusual habits your pet has; i.e., destructive behavior when left alone, change in bowel or eating habits, etc.

During the initial consultation, please try not to “force” your pet to like the pet sitter. Some pets are shy and can’t be expected to warm up to a stranger immediately. With time and patience, trust will build and a friendly relationship will be established. If you own both dogs and cats, please do not ask the sitter to “ignore” the cats (i.e., not charge) during the visits. It is impossible because the sitter’s conscience would not allow the oversight of a cat in need of food, medical care or human attention.