Hot Dogs!

July 5, 2010 - Leave a Response

There is nothing better, or worse, than a hot dog!  A good dog, grilled just right, covered in mustard and sour kraut is the best.  A dog that’s over heated is, you guessed it, the worst!

So, while I’m sure you all know what to do with the first kind, I’ve set up a few reminders on the second…

  1. NO dog likes the heat.  NO dog…. So the best place for them is obviously in a cool place, like an air-conditioned room or a shady spot under a tree.  Remember, though, that the sun moves so keep an eye on your pooch so that he’s not in the shade in the morning and the sun by mid day. ALWAYS make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water available.
  1. Cars are not a place to keep ANY animal!  A car parked on hot pavement heats up VERY quickly and pets left inside can be overcome and die before you know it.
  1. Speaking of becoming over heated…. IF your pet becomes over heated, move it to a cool place immediately.  Put cold bottles (soda, etc) between the dog’s front and back legs (if the dog is lying down) or pour water over the dog to cool it down.  Immediately contact your veterinarian and keep cooling the dog down on the way if he does not respond appropriately.  Dogs can die of heat stroke.
  1. Remember, too, that walking your dog on hot pavement can actually burn the pads of their feet. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot on the pavement, it’s too hot for your dog as well.  And try to walk him first thing in the morning or after dinner, when the pavement isn’t as hot.
  1. If your dog is of the long hair variety and you’ve chosen to shave him, make sure to keep him out of the sun!  Dogs can get sunburn and dogs with shaved fur have less protection against the sun’s rays.

Fido And Fireworks

June 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz; I know the 4th of July is coming up and my brother-in-law always brings his dog to our picnic and then to the fireworks, much to the dog’s terror.  How do I tell him NOT to?

Signed, Tortured in Terryville.


Dear Tortured:  I’m thrilled that you’re concerned!  And you have every right to be!  Remembering that dogs have hearing that is about 700 times as sensitive as ours, you can see why subjecting the pooch to the noises of fireworks is SUCH a bad idea!

Dogs (or any pets) and fireworks do NOT mix.  Sparklers held at eye level to dogs can injure them (not to mention the kids!).  Cherry bombs or other fireworks can, when set off, damage sensitive hearing.

Pets will often flee (or attempt to) from noises this loud and can be struck by cars or become disoriented and lost.  A panicked dog, still attached to a leash or chain, can also become a biting dog as it struggles to get away from the noise.

Cats, as well as other pets, do not like the noises either, or the smell of the discharged firework.

As well as the firework end of things, cook-outs can be dangerous as well.  Dogs (and kids) like to see what’s cooking on the grill and may jump up, landing tender feet (or fingers) in contact with the grill surface.  Obviously if this happens, have ice and the nearest hospital (vet or regular) number on hand.

People food is also a stomach-upsetting experience for the family pet so make sure to keep all food out of reach.

Pets should be kept in a safe, dark area if they fear the noise.  If your pet runs into the closet or down into the basement, let them stay there.  They feel safe and secure there.

If you usually crate your dog, cover the crate with a dark blanket to make them feel more secure.
So the long and short of it is this:  Tell your brother-in-law that his dog is welcome to stay at your home (have him bring a crate!) while the fireworks are on display but that he is not to bring the dog TO the fireworks.

Good luck and thank you from Fido’s everywhere!!!!

Vectra D

June 11, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz; I’ve heard about a new flea and tick treatment that also helps with mosquitoes.  Can you tell me about it?


Wondering in Woodstock

Dear Wondering; The new treatment on the market is called “Vectra 3D”…  It’s a topically applied liquid for dogs that targets fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

It’s applied monthly, like other topical treatments.  It’s reported to kill fleas within 2 hours of application, repels four species of ticks and repels and kills three species of mosquitoes.

Check with your vet on availability and remember it’s for dogs only.

Also, as a reminder, low cost Rabies clinics are being held all over the state this month!  Check with your animal control officer to find out when one is being held in your area.

Lastly, June is the month to renew your dog licenses!  A dog license is not the same thing as a Rabies vaccination.  You must go to your town clerk’s office, with a valid Rabies certificate in hand, and get your dog licensed.  Dogs over 6 months of age are required to be licensed.  If it’s the first time, make sure you bring your spay or neuter certificate as well.

Puppy Training

June 4, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz;  We recently got a new, 8 week old puppy and are wondering when she’s old enough to get into training?

Signed, Excited in Essex


Dear Excited!

Congrats on the new baby!!!

As far as training goes, she can start right away, as long as it’s at home with you!  It is not, however, recommended that she even be allowed to touch the ground where other dogs have been until she’s fully vaccinated.  There are a LOT of germs out there and being so young, it’s very easy for her to pick them up while out walking in the park or other places where dogs tend to be, so keep her at your home until the vet says it’s ok.

Now, as for training at home, here are a few pointers!

  1. Decide on names for commands and make sure everyone uses the SAME words.  Telling your pup to “down” can mean get down, lie down or go down the stairs.  Decide which one it means and make sure EVERYONE uses the same terms.

  1. Decide which type of training you want for your puppy.  There is “clicker training”, food based reward training, praise training, etc., so figure out which one you’d like to use.  Not sure?  Ask around to see what opinions you get…
  1. Decide on a trainer!  You checked out pre-schools for your kids, so why wouldn’t you check out trainers?  Go see a few classes (without your pup) and see who you like.  If you’re going to spend the money to properly train your dog and you HATE the trainer, no one is going to benefit.
  1. Start training now!  Get basic commands started with your puppy.  It’s very easy to do, but don’t expect your puppy to have a long attention span.  Maybe 5 minutes at a time, several times a day.  Or better yet, every time you interact with your puppy, try a command!  Don’t expect a genius at first – puppies just don’t have that ability yet.  Make it a fun time and your puppy will love it.

Remember that training doesn’t just end when the class ends.  It’s an ongoing experience for both you and your puppy.  But make SURE that your pup is fully vaccinated and vetted before you start anything.

Have a blast!!!

Mourning Dogs

May 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

Dear Liz;  We recently lost one of our two dogs and are thinking about getting one to replace the one we lost.  Is it too soon for the other dog or can we go ahead?


Mourning in Madison

Dear Mourning:

Too many times we jump on getting another pet once one has passed and label it “for the sake of “ the remaining pet.  I’m not sure, though, who “for the sake of” is actually for the sake of; the remaining pet or the grieving owner.

When we lose something like a pet, sometimes we jump at trying to fill that void rather than deal with the loss.  But I’m getting too psychiatric at the moment…  Back to Fido.
Well, actually, Fido kind of falls into the same description.  Your pet needs to be able to grieve the loss of his buddy before he can accept another pet into your home (his home).  This can take weeks or even months and is especially hard when the deceased pet did not die at home.

The remaining pet knew that his friend left (in the car, etc) and may wait at the door for that friend to return, not understanding that his friend is gone.  It’s easier if the surviving pet can actually see (as morbid as this is) that his friend has passed.

You will know when your dog is ready for a new companion, but you have to really watch.  At first, after the loss of the companion, your dog might sit by the door, not eat, wander around the house, sleep in his companion’s bed, etc.  Eventually these symptoms will lessen and then disappear completely.  At that point, you and your dog can start looking for a new companion.
Now, be prepared that this might take a few months and it might never happen.  Your dog may decide that being the only dog is fine and may never accept another dog into your home.  And it won’t matter if the new dog is a puppy or an adult.

Bringing your dog to the dog park or to daycare might or might not help, so if you do decide to try this, watch for any aggression your dog might show.  It is just his way of telling you he’s not quite ready to be social yet.

Believe it or not, dogs are extremely intelligent and extremely sensitive.  They love as deeply as we humans do and they grieve as deeply as well.  Give your dog the time he deserves and needs in order to deal with his loss.

Memorial Day!

May 21, 2010 - Leave a Response

Well it’s here!  Memorial Day Weekend!  Ok, so it’s not HERE yet but it’s coming up!  So I wanted to remind everyone of a few safety tips regarding your pets for any picnics or parades you might have planned.

First and foremost, a parade is NOT the place to have your dog!  Remember that a dog’s hearing is MUCH more sensitive than a human’s and the sound of banging drums or horns are extremely painful for your dog and may actually cause it to panic.  A panicked dog can bite, so leave Fido at HOME while you enjoy the parade.

Keep any alcohol away from pets’ reach.  No need to go further on this one!!!
Same is true for dips, chips, salsa and other party foods.

Watch out for your hot dogs, hamburgers or anything else you might have around!  Dogs love them and if they get into them (especially raw ones) they can get really sick.

Watch out for your grill!  You use it to cook those juicy burgers on and, let’s face it, they smell GREAT.  But they also smell great to your dog, so watch that the family dog doesn’t try to jump up onto the grill to get those great burgers and burn their feet.

Should that happen, though, treat it like any other burn and ice it down while the vet is called.

After using the grill, make sure to close it so that accidents are less likely to happen!

Watch out for open doors as guests come and go.  Pets can often get nervous and escape.  Watch that you know where they are when it’s time for guests to leave so no one ends up as a party casualty.

Dog Seat Belts

April 23, 2010 - 2 Responses

Dear Liz – Please help settle an argument.  My co-worker thinks that seatbelts for dogs is stupid but I say it’s a great idea.  What are your thoughts?

Signed, Debating in Darien.

Dear Debating:  My thought is that any flying missile in your car is a baaaaad thing.  If you ever had to hit the brakes hard, anything that isn’t glued down or strapped in has the potential to become a flying missile.  Including your pet.

A friend of mine is an EMT and he has told me many times that PETS have actually CAUSED some severe injuries when they fly through the air during a car crash, EVEN a MINOR one.

Tell your co-worker that next time there is a “simulated crash” at a county fair; I want him to try that ride.  It’s usually run by the State Police and it has a person sit in a seat, much like a car seat, and it simulates a 10mph car crash by sending the person in the seat forward and then suddenly stopping them.  The person then feels what it’s like to have a crash at 10mph.  THEN have him tell you that an unrestrained passenger – whether it’s a child or a pet – is not a good idea!

So – how do you restrain them?  Some use pet seatbelts, which is great!  I’ve actually used one on Bandit, my dog of long ago.  However, I found that she sometimes had issue with it and fidgeted.

I’ve also used dog crates.  This method seems to work best, at least for me.  I use the wire crates as the Vari-Kennels (the plastic ones) tend to block my view out of the windows.  Wire kennels can either open on the end or on the side and I do find that these are the best.  I’ve also found that when my dogs are not with me, the crates make GREAT holders for grocery bags!!!  Keeps everything from spilling around the car!

So that’s that.  I do say you’re right and keep up the SAFE work!

Natural Fly Repellent

April 13, 2010 - 2 Responses

Dear Liz – I’ve been noticing that those tiny, black flies are out already and are biting my dog’s ears.  Is there anything natural I can use to help ward them off?

Signed, Bugged in Bolton.

Dear Bugged – I have the same problem where I live – both for me and for my dogs!  Those little, black, yucky, nasty flies are out and about again.  Does it seem like they come out earlier and earlier every year???

ANYWAY…. I did my research and found that there are a LOT of “natural” remedies and repellents for those nasty things.

Peppermint extract from the baking isle – Apparently you’re supposed to put a drop here and there but I’d be careful – Try only one drop and wait to see if there are any reactions.  Do NOT put this on freshly bathed skin as it might burn.  Check the reaction (put a drop in an area that you can see a reaction.) and make sure all’s ok before putting more on.

Vaseline or Neosporin in the ears.  Use this on the exposed areas of the ears – It pretty much makes those black things stick and unable to bite!

Horse sprays are often ok for dogs, too – just make sure the label says it’s ok.  “Swat” is supposed to be ok.
“Flies Off” is another product – check the label for reactions or precautions.

“Ultrashield” fly repellent – Ditto.  Spray on a gloved hand and then apply.

Fresh aloe (break a piece off the plant, and mush it) – put directly on ears.

Skin So Soft is great for people – I’ve read that applied to the bath water helps repel flies on dogs, but doesn’t it make the fur greasy??? Yuk.

In any case, make SURE you use a SMALL amount of the product and wait a few hours to determine if your pet has an allergic reaction.   We used too much bug spray once on one of our dogs and the dog became very shaky and nervous.  We quickly got the dog into a bath and, after washing that stuff off (Actually it was “Off”), she was ok but it was a terribly frightening thing to see!

There are MANY “natural” remedies for repelling flies and mosquitoes and these can all be found on your computer (ain’t technology grand?)…

Easter Stuff!

April 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

Ok – here we go again with our annual Easter reminders!

  1. No chocolate, coffee, tea, caffeine, etc.  Remember, it can (in large doses) be lethal.  It’s the caffeine, not the chocolate, that does the damage.
  1. No Easter grass.  This, once consumed, can cause intestinal blockages and again, can be fatal.
  1. No Easter lilies or other plants!  Again, these can be fatal if ingested.  Don’t know which are bad?  Keep pets away from any of them!
  1. No foil wrappers!  What ever your Easter candy is wrapped in, make sure to keep it away from your pets. Aluminum foil can cause intestinal blockages.
  1. No sugar free stuff, either!  Some of the sugar free foods (like gum) have an ingredient that is VERY deadly to pets, so make SURE to keep these away from them!  It’s even more important than the chocolate rule!!!
  1. If you do the Easter egg hunt, make SURE to keep track of those little plastic eggs you’ve filled with goodies.  You DON’T want your pets to get into them!  The plastic can cut up your dog’s mouth and what ever is IN those eggs can be bad as well.  Make SURE ALL candy is out of reach of your pet at ALL times!
  1. If you decide to take your dog for a walk, make sure to watch out for glass on the roadways.  If the street sweepers haven’t been around yet, there may be glass on the roadway from over the winter.
  1. And if the roadway is too hot for you to walk barefoot on, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on, too.  Your dog’s pads haven’t toughened up yet from being inside all winter!
  1. No people food!  It’s really tempting, I know, to give your pets a “treat” of people food but it’s not good for them.  The spices in people food aren’t there in dog or cat food and it can cause diarrhea and vomiting – neither of which I’m sure you’d like to deal with on a holiday!

10.  Have fun with your pet!!!  Give them a hug and keep them safe.

Dog Park Etiquette

March 19, 2010 - One Response

Well, now that we’ve completely enjoyed the weather this past week, it’s time to remind everyone of a few rules of etiquette for our dog parks…..

  1. Keep puppies out!  It can be a very exciting thing to have your puppy socialize with other dogs or it can backfire and scare the boogers out of the little one.  So make sure your pup is ready for the onslaught of dogs.  AND make SURE your puppy is FULLY vaccinated.  There are lots of ugly things an unvaccinated pup can catch while socializing.
  1. Make sure your dog is up to date on its Rabies vaccination!  State law mandates that every dog over a certain age must be vaccinated against Rabies.  Not sure when your dog is due?  Here’s a hint – On the back of your dog’s tag, either scratch in or write (with permanent marker) the month the dog was vaccinated and the duration of the vaccination (either 1 year or 3). So the back of your tag will have 5 / 3 on it – May was the date of vaccination and it’s a 3 year vaccination.  It’s good for reference, especially if your dog tangles with anther one at the park (or a person!)…
  1. Keep your dog on a leash until it’s settled down.  Once in the park, your dog may become very excited over seeing other dogs.  Keep your dog on the leash until he calms down.  No one wants an unruly dog bouncing all over their dog, so make sure Fido is calm before releasing him off leash.
  1. Keep the bullies out!  If you know your dog is a bully, schedule a time when there are very few dogs (or none) at the park.  Again, no one wants their dog bullied so it’s a courtesy to refrain from letting him go.
  1. CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF (well, after your dog, that is!)… NO ONE wants to deal with your dog’s poop.  Nuff said? Hope so!

SO….  Just a few reminders about how to behave in the dog park.  Remember this – many people fought very hard to get the dog park in the first place.  It doesn’t take much to shut it down.  So enjoy it but don’t abuse it.