June is almost here and Summer is just around the corner. Depending on where you live, temperatures are probably rising. While this means longer days for outdoor activities, it can also spell trouble if you are not careful. Every year, we hear tragic stories of pets (and even children) left in hot cars that suffer heat stroke. We saw our first heat stroke case of the season today at the vet clinic where I work. Fortunately, the dog survived and we hope he will continue to do well in the coming days. Vet clinics see an overwhelming number of dogs with heat stroke or, at the very least, exhaustion after a long day of outdoor activities. Have fun in the sun, but remember to keep it safe.
Before summer is underway, get prepared. Brush up on your summer safety knowledge with these basic summer safety tips. They can help you prevent potentially harmful conditions like heat stroke and allow you and your dog to enjoy the summer safely. There are many ways to help keep your dog cool all Summer long. Do you have any tips of your own to add? How do you keep your dog cool?
Photo © Kimberly Zwaagstra
Take just about any subject and look it up (or ask people about it). Most likely, you will find a bunch of so-called facts circulating about the subject (some true, some false). After a while, people have heard the "facts" so many times that they might accept them as truth. The subject of dogs is no exception.
Perhaps the biggest whopper is the old saying that a dog is sick if its nose is dry and/or warm. As a vet tech, I am constantly hearing this one. It often goes something like this: "My dog has been lethargic/vomiting/having diarrhea/other symptom for a couple of weeks now, but his nose is cold and wet so I figured he was fine." I cannot tell you how much it floors me that a myth like this has persisted so well. And that's not the only one. What about the tall tale that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's mouth? I remember that one as a child. Knowing what I know today, I can hardly understand how people ever believed that one!
In an effort to clear up confusion and set the record straight, I have gathered some of the most common dog myths and misconceptions and given the real facts. Most of you seasoned dog owners have heard these old yarns and know they are not true, but these are some things the novice dog owners need to know.
What's the tallest tale about dogs you have ever heard?
Photo © Cristin Leader
Happy Memorial Day! Before you light up the grill or pop open a beer, take a moment to remember the brave men and women who have lost their lives serving the United States of America. Then, take a moment to honor the dogs who serve the country, too.
What does Memorial Day have to do with dogs? Well, I am first reminded of the courageous military working dogs serving the United States government. There is even a website to honor them. Another noble canine feat: dogs helping those who have served our country. Consider the Dog Tags program, which places trained service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). These dogs are doing their part to honor the injured soldiers returning from military service by helping them get accustomed to civilian life again, despite disabilities.
Remember why we observe Memorial Day and thank a veteran (or a service dog). Enjoy your holiday and stay safe!Photo William Thomas Cain/Stringer / Getty Images
Deafness is not uncommon in dogs. Some dogs are born deaf, while others become deaf due to injury or illness. Many senior dogs develop deafness as they age. If you find that your dog is losing his hearing, you should see your vet as soon as possible to rule out health problems. If your dog is a senior, it is likely that your vet will say the hearing loss is a part of the aging process. However, deafness is not the end of your dog's world. Just like deaf humans live normal lives, so too can dogs. In fact, most people cannot immediately tell the difference between a deaf dog and a hearing dog.
Whether your deaf dog is a senior, was born deaf, or developed deafness in another way, there is no reason he cannot enjoy life as much as any dog. Dogs can adapt to deafness with ease. People with deaf dogs need to learn to adapt as well. Training deaf dogs is actually not that difficult. It simply requires a different approach. One of the keys to training deaf dogs is the use of hand signals. In fact, many dog owners find that even their hearing dogs learn better from hand signals than through verbal cues.
Have you lived with a deaf dog? Tell us about your experience.
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2014-05-18T20:01:54ZMay 18-24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. A collaborative effort among the AVMA, the AAP and the USPS, Dog Bite Prevention Week aims to promote responsible dog ownership and increase awareness of dog bite risks. According to the AVMA, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and 800,000 of those dog bites results in injuries that require medical attention (half of these being children). What can you do to help prevent dog bites? Plenty. Here are some ways to get started: Learn how to prevent dog bites. It is important to understand that ANY dog is capable of biting, regardless of breed or size. These tips for dog owners and potential dog bite victims can help prevent dog bites. Recognize the signs that a dog may bite. In the majority of cases, a dog will give plenty of warning before biting. Unfortunately, many people are unable to see the signs before it is too late. Once you know what to look for, the signs are very clear. Train your dog to prevent biting. There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your dog doesn't contribute to the dog bite statistics. Proper training and socialization are absolutely essential. Learn how to address aggression issues in your dog. If you have noticed aggressive behavior in your dog, the time to act is NOW. It may not be easy, but it is essential that you do whatever is possible in order to reverse your dog's aggressive tendencies. Be a responsible dog owner. The best thing you can do for your dog, yourself and your community is to act responsibly when it comes to your dog. Know what it takes to be a responsible dog owner and do it! Remember that it is up to you to do everything in your power to prevent your dog from biting someone. If your dog does bite someone, the consequences to you and your dog can be severe. This is on top of the guilt you will feel over the injuries to the bite victim. Unfortunately, even with the best of plans, bad things can still happen. That's why it's so important to know what to do if a dog bite occurs. If your dog bites someone, your first reaction might be shock or panic. However, it is important to take swift action after a dog bite. Dog bites require prompt medical attention because of the damage they can do (even if they appear minor on the surface). Hopefully, you will never be in this situation. Remember that prevention is the key. You want your dog to be your companion, not a public safety risk. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/cunfekDog Bite Prevention Week originally appeared on About.com Dogs on Sunday, May 18th, 2014 at 20:01:54.Permalink | Comment | Email this[...]
A few weeks ago my dog got sick. First, she had a little diarrhea in the afternoon and was quite gassy all day. That night, she vomited several times. The next morning, she had stopped eating and was still vomiting. Of course, I rushed her to the clinic where I work and did lab work, x-rays, etc. By then, she was having having watery, bloody diarrhea. As part of the routine testing we always do, I sent a stool sample to the lab. I was still waiting for those results, but the other test results were pretty normal. Meanwhile, I began some basic treatments to help with the nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The next day, my dog started feeling much better. When her stool sample came back, I was surprised to see she had Giardia. I shouldn't have really be surprised though, because we see this a lot in my area. So here I am, worrying that my dog has a GI obstruction or something equally serious. Imagine my relief to hear it was a curable parasite. Don't get me wrong, Giardia is no walk in the park. As you can see, it makes some dogs very, very sick. Fortunately, with treatment, my dog was back to normal in just a few days. I'll never know for sure where my dog picked up this parasite, but I'm so glad we caught it. Giardia is all over the environment, so infection is a real risk for dogs.
Giardia is a protozoan parasite that usually lives in water, but can also be found in soil. This microscopic, one-celled organism infects its host after being ingested. The parasite lives in the host's intestinal tract, causing diarrhea. Giardia can be difficult to diagnose if the proper tests are not run. Though the treatment is a little more involved than treatment for other, more common intestinal parasites, Giardia can be cured. One important thig to know is that humans can get Giardia too, although the chance of you getting it from your dog is rare. As a dog owner, it's a good idea to educate yourself about the Giardia parasite now so you will be prepared if you or your dog is exposed.
Has your dog ever had the Giardia parasite? Tell us about your experience.
Photo © Jenna Stregowski
Are you expecting? Congratulations! As are a dog owner, you may be wondering how it is all going to work out - especially if this is your first child. Having a baby does not mean you have to give up your dog, but it also means you have some preparation to do. No matter how sweet your dog, do not assume she will accept the new baby's arrival with open paws. However, many dogs simply fall in love with the household's newest human addition.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can get your dog ready for the arrival of your new baby. These tips on preparing your dog for the new baby can get you started. With the right training and socialization, your dog is more likely to accept your new baby and continue to be a happy member of your growing family.
Hug your dog, because May 4-10 is all about pets! First of all, this week is National Pet Week. Created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), National Pet Week is intended to help reinforce the human-animal bond, encourage responsible pet ownership, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine. Next, this week is also Be Kind to Animals Week. American Humane Association founded this event to help make a better world for animals. It's about helping animals in need, adopting homeless pets and taking good care of your pets. Finally, this Thursday, May 8th is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.
Here's how you can celebrate these events this week and all year. Start by being a responsible owner. Also, focus on your relationship with your veterinarian. Next, if you decide to get a new pet, consider adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group. Can't adopt but still want to help animals in need? Make a charitable donation to a reputable animal advocacy group. Also, this week is a great time to look into emergency and disaster preparedness for pets.
No matter what you do, remember to always spend time reinforcing the special bond you share with your dog. Enjoy this pet-themed week! What will you do to celebrate?
Photo: Cavan Images/Stone/Getty Images
I know we are "all about dogs" here, but I'm sure plenty of you have cats as well. Though I consider myself a dog person first, I definitely love cats! I actually have two kitties of my own at home. Luckily, my dog has always been good with cats. While some dogs will never get along with cats, I think most can at least learn to respect felines. Proper socialization (for puppies as well as adult dogs) can make all the difference in the way your dog responds to things throughout his lifetime.
The other thing I have always done when getting a new kitty: proper introductions. Obviously, one cannot expect all animals to get along instantly, and throwing them together right away can lead to disaster. Are you thinking about adding a feline to your dog's environment? Learn how to introduce dogs and cats so they can (hopefully) coexist peacefully. They may even become friends. Can dogs and cats actually be friends? Yes! Read stories from pet lovers about cats and dogs that do more than just get along - they actually love one another.
Ready to find out all about caring for cats? Visit Cats on About.com and learn from your Guide, Franny Syufy.
Are you all about dogs? Or, do you prefer the feline? Either way, have some fun and check out 10 Reasons Dogs Are Better Than Cats.
Photo © Sue Patterson. From Sue: "This is Bella the dog and Tony the cat. They found a truce to get a good cuddle in. Bella is a rescue so all details are unknown, she is approximate one year old. Chasing a ball, agility and horse following are among her favorite hobbies."
Memorial Day weekend is less than a month away, and it kicks off the summer travel season. I know many of you are looking forward to getting away. But what is the plan for your dog? Planning ahead for your canine companion is just as important as making your own travel arrangements. Bringing your dog along on trips can be lots of fun if you do it right. If you've decided to travel with your dog, make sure you plan accordingly to ensure a fun and safe trip.
Sometimes you simply can't bring your dog along on your travels. Though you will miss her, you will both have a much better time if she is in good hands. If you have not made arrangements yet, you should jump on it before options become scarce. Considering a boarding kennel? Educate yourself before you board your dog so you know what to look for. Personally, I like to hire a pet sitter if my dog can't come with me. I just prefer that extra-special personal touch.
What are your travel plans this summer? Will your dog come along or stay back home?
Photo © Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images