Navigation

Our Furry Friends in Summer Heat

Our Furry Friends in Summer Heat

Sunscreen and sunblock should be a staple of summer. But, our furry family is at just as much of a risk from the sun as us! Sunburns on dogs are similar to those on humans. Oftentimes, these consist of red, sensitive, cracked, or dry skin. All dogs are at risk to sunburns but many, such as dalmations, pitbulls, and greyhounds are more susceptible considering their light colors and less protection from fur. A slight degree of sunburn on pets can cause discomfort, but severe cases may require veterinary treatment. If you suspect your pet could be suffering, make sure to contact a veterinary professional.
If your dog will be outside for longer than 20 minutes, it is important to consider their access to shade. Always make sure that they have the option to stay cool with sufficient protection and water. As we have sunscreen, many similar products also exist for our animals! Make sure to utilize products for dogs as human sunscreen can be an irritant. Many places such as the nose are extremely vulnerable but products can be licked off or consumed here so all-natural and safe products are highly recommended.
If you are taking your dogs on walks this summer, take into consideration the temperature of the asphalt. There are many protections that can be used to minimize the risks of these surfaces such as PawSoother and PawTection. Keep an eye on the pads of your furry friend to make sure they are staying healthy and happy this summer!

K-9 or Cow? Dogs Eating Grass

K-9 or Cow Dogs Eating Grass.

Pica is the general term for the disorder of eating objects that are not food items. Many dogs exhibit pica in grazing on our lawns or plants. This behavior is mostly agreed upon by veterinarians to be not harmful, but the exact cause is unknown. Some professionals propose that it is the pet’s conscious reaction to an illness, but this is not widely accepted. In contrast, it is most likely that our pets eat grass out of boredom. If you want to stop your dog from destroying your lawn, it could be beneficial to engage them in another form of exercise outside such as Frisbee or fetch. This would also be great bonding time with your dog!
Other professionals suggest that pica is a behavior resulting from nutritional deficiencies. If you don’t believe your pet is consuming other materials out of boredom, be sure to check with a veterinary professional to see if another food source could be more suited for your pet. Additionally, if your yard is treated with herbicides, pesticides, or any other chemicals it is important to monitor your pets outside because they can be quite toxic, especially if ingested. Similarly, some plants can be toxic to animals as well. To make sure the plants that your pets are around are safe, check the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control web site.

What are the Most Effective Ways to Break Up a Dog Fight?

Dog fight

Body language is used by our pets as much as in humans. While around other dogs, make sure to pay attention to their communication. Oftentimes, a stiff body, direct eye contact, and dilated pupils can indicate aggression towards another dog. If you witness your dog or believe them to be showing this aggressive manner, it is important to remain calm. By preventing panic, you will be much more effective in preventing or stopping fighting dogs.

If possible, preventing the dogs fighting is the most desired outcome. It is often recommended to distract the dogs. Separating them with an object so that they cannot see each other before a fight can allow a diffusion of stress and an avoided altercation. Another possibility is throwing a towel or a large blanket over the dogs. Similarly, this method prevents the animals from seeing one another which will stop some dogs from fighting. It is also possible that spraying the pets with water can distract them enough to end the fight.

If a fight does break out that involves your dog, and you cannot distract the animals, it is recommended that you physically separate them. Make sure to keep in mind that many dogs are powerful so it is important to assess the situation and the pets’ sizes to determine what level of protection you will need to separate them and stay safe. If separating the dogs, it is best to remove them at the same time by using the top of the hind legs. Grabbing them on the lower hind legs risks serious injury. Once separated, it is important to keep the dogs from seeing one another so removal of one or both dogs is the best course of action.

Suffering from Allergies? Your Pet May Be Too.

Dog

With Georgia coated in yellow pollen again, we are reminded of our allergies. But, keep in mind that your furry family members could also be allergic. Unlike humans, pollen is absorbed through the skin of animals so watch out for licking, biting, and scratching. The ASPCA recommends also looking for itchy or runny eyes, sneezing, and snoring due to an inflamed throat. If you find any symptoms in your pets, a trip to the vet will be the most effective solution. If you cannot make it to the vet, the ASPCA suggests some home remedies; wiping the coat several times a day with a damp towel to remove pollen, bathing them in hypo-allergenic shampoo, or administering allergy medication such as Benadryl. It is important to note that medication should only be given to pets under the counsel of a trained professional because of the possible dangers of differing doses and effects.

            If you recognize that your pet is experiencing symptoms out of pollen season, it is possible that they have another form of allergy. Some of the most common seasonal allergies for dogs are; dust, dust mites, grass, and flea bites. It is highly recommended that you visit your vet if allergy symptoms persist in your pets.

To visit the Georgia Public Broadcast article to learn more, visit:

http://www.gpb.org/blogs/tails-of-the-city/2013/04/12/how-to-help-your-pet-cope-with-pollen-allergies

What is the Best Way to Train my Dog?

What is the Best Way to Train my Dog.

There are many different opinions on the most effective dog training techniques but all of them come back to rewarding ideal behaviors and making sure behaviors that are not ideal are not rewarded. Therefore, you need to be consistent in your training efforts because dogs learn through immediate reward or consequence.

            The two most prevalent teaching efforts are; (1) teaching your dog what you want them to do and (2) discouraging your dog what you do not want them to do. While both can impact behavior, teaching your dog positive behavior through positive reinforcement is usually much more effective and can also be enjoyable for yourself and your companion. Rewards such as food, games, and praise will help them learn but also grow your relationship with your pet. In contrast, punishments are likely to produce fear which is not a positive environment for the animal or owner.

            While you need to maintain the rewarding of positive behavior the discouraging of negative behavior needs to occur but this does not need to come as punishment! Simply, your dog needs to understand that unwanted behavior will not receive reward. For example, if a dog jumps on you and you pet them, you are rewarding the jumping behavior. But, if a dog jumps on you and you ignore them, they will learn not to continue the behavior. In any training, make sure to stay consistent and keep consequences immediate for your companion to elicit any learned response.

Copperhead Snakes and Your Pets

Copperhead Snakes and Your Pets

Anthony DeVingo, owner of Ever Green Landscape Management says that, “In Georgia, you’re only about 10 feet away from a snake at any given time.” Luckily, this is not a bad thing! Most of these snakes are harmless and can even be helpful. Rat snakes and corn snakes are extremely common but have no interest in harming you or your pet.

            Copperheads are the exception. While they are not likely to seek out and attack your pet, there have been increasingly prevalent cases of bitten companions. A bite may cause only swelling or pain in humans, but can be deadly in pets. The size of the bitten animal is extremely important. The smaller the pet, the more critical the situation.

If your pet experiences a copperhead bite, it is most important to get them immediately to a veterinarian who will be qualified to assess the situation and determine if the animal requires anti venom or other treatment. If in this situation, call ahead to the practice so you can be redirected if no anti venom is on hand at that office. If more than one person is present to care for the animal on the way to the veterinarian, it is recommended that they keep the animal calm to prevent a rapid heart rate that could transport venom quickly. A trained veterinarian will be able to help your pet best.

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month

Many toxins that are harmful to our pets are extremely common so it is vital that all pet owners know what to do in case of an emergency. The ASPCA has released their free Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) Mobile App for iPhones and Androids to raise awareness. The app features information on substances that can be harmful for many species of pets as well as the actions that need to be taken if ingested by a pet. The app also has quick access to the hotline for immediate access to a toxicologist.

            To best protect your pet, make sure that your animals cannot access chemicals such as cleaners, rodent bait, and anti-freeze. In addition, some of the most common poisons to both cats and dogs include; vitamins, mouse or rat poison, and medications. Some of our foods can be dangerous to our pets such as alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, and citrus. Knowing what is dangerous to your pets is the best way to protect them! For more information and full lists of what can be harmful for your pet, visit the Animal Poison Control website at:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

Cat Litter Explained

Cat

Ever wonder why there are so many types of cat litter? Like us, most of our cats have preferences including toward their litter! Keep in mind that most cats are not a huge fan of change so unless there is a problem, there should not be a big rush to change litter. If you’re not sure what type of your cat would like best, it is recommended to try multiple types and let your pet decide.

Until now, clay litter has been most popular. They are most cost efficient and come in two types; clumping and non-clumping. One reason for their recent decline is that they can cause respiratory issues in cats. Clumping clay litter is not biodegradable. While non-clumping clay litter is biodegradable, it poses a higher risk of respiratory issues and is less odor-absorbing.

Corn or Pine litter is biodegradable, does not pose respiratory problems, is cheaper, and typically lasts longer than clay litters. Although, some cats do not prefer the added or natural scents common in these litters.

Paper is less commonly used but environmentally friendly! Recycled paper litters are extremely absorbent, biodegradable and have no dust – aka no respiratory issues. It is reviewed as very easy scooping.

Crystals are costlier. These litters last the longest. Made of gel crystals, they are highly absorbent, keeping smells down, but are harder to scoop because they do not form clumps.