Preparing Your Pets for Evacuation
By Stacy Mantle
We never think it will happen to us, but the truth is a disaster can strike anywhere at any time. From hurricanes and fires, to gas leaks and terrorist threats, there are hundreds of reasons why you and your pets may need to evacuate your home. The important thing is to be prepared and to be certain your pets are, too. Here are some guidelines on getting your pets ready for evacuation.
Microchip Your Pets: This is the best way to ensure you and your pet are reunited. Be sure to register the tag (or change ownership if you adopted a dog or cat from a rescue). If you move, be sure to update your pet’s microchip information. Always keep a recent photo of you and your pets on you. You never know when this information will be needed in case of separation. In addition to microchipping, your pets should always be wearing a collar with ID tags.
QR-coded tags are handy if you have a pet with a medical condition as you can store the information needed in one simple app. You decide how much of the information a stranger who finds your pet needs to know.
Know Where to Go: You should be certain you have a place to go in case of emergency. Search in advance for pet-friendly hotels in your area. In the event of long-term evacuation, you should have a plan in place with family or friends where you can take your pets. You might also want to make prior arrangements with a kennel (for dogs or cats), a ranch (for large animals) or an animal rescue (for exotics).
Know Your Emergency Veterinarian Hospitals: Even if you don’t think you’ll need a veterinarian, you should know where your nearest 24-hour hospital is for your pets. This is particularly important if you have large animals who are more likely to injure themselves due to the stress of evacuation.
Make a Plan: You should have several ways to get out of your home with your pets, know how you will gather them safely in a timely period and identify a “meet place” with other family members. Map out your area and know where the nearest 24-hr veterinarian clinic is located so you can ensure your pets receive prompt attention in case of emergency. Verify that your veterinarian, pet sitter, trainer or daycare facility has an emergency plan in place if anything happens while your pets are under their care.
Create a “Go Bag”: Every household should have a single backpack that you can “grab and go” on the way out the door. This is a perfect bag for quick evacuations (gas leak, police evacuation or other temporary threat).
This bag includes a three-day supply of whatever your pets need for longer-term evacuations. Larger animals can carry their own packs if you plan well. You should have a go-bag in place for each animal and teach them ahead of time how to carry a pack. Smaller pets may need you to do the carrying.
- Documentation: This includes an updated photo of you with your pet, microchip numbers, ID tag numbers and any emergency contact information in case anything happens to you.
- Water: You and your pet need water. Keep a three-day supply of water for you and your pets in your go-bag. Plan on keeping 1 to 3 ounces of water per pound of body weight for each animal, each day.
- Food: Keep at least three days of food for each pet in an airtight, waterproof container. Rotate these out on a monthly basis to ensure freshness. You may want to consider feeding your pets moist or canned food to assist in preventing dehydration. You can also consider purchasing premade emergency meal kits. (See resources below.)
- Medicine: Keep an extra week of medicine on hand for pets who are on prescription medication.
- Collar, Leash, ID Tags: Your pets should always be wearing a collar and ID tags, but it’s also a good idea to have an extra set stored in your “go bag.”
- Dishes: Be sure you have at least one dish for feeding and watering your pets.
Crate: Be sure you have a way of transporting your pet securely. Conduct training exercises on a regular basis so that pets know the crate is a safe place. The goal is to have the crate be their location to run if anything frightens them. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a cat that has hidden in fear during an emergency situation.
Sanitation: Be sure you have a way to clean up after your pet. For cats, this means a spare litterbox and litter (these are premade and easy to dispose of). For dogs, this means plastic doggy bags. Your sanitation bags should also include paper towels, a disinfectant and wipes.
Use the Buddy System: A buddy system can be incredibly beneficial in saving your pets lives. Particularly if you work away from the home or have large animals (like horses), larger dogs who may be considered threatening (shepherds, pit bulls, etc.), or exotics (reptiles, ferrets, birds, etc.). Proper handling of these animals often means the difference between life and death. Work out an agreement between three and four families to learn how to handle one another’s animals. That way, you have back up if you’re out of town and emergency strikes at home.
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Red Rover – Bringing animals from crisis to care
- American Red Cross
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Premade Meal Kits and Bottled Water for Pets:
- My Buddy Meals
- Barkem’s Portable pet meals
- Troff Water
- Costco – Emergency Dog Food Bucket
First Aid Kit for Pets
- Lixit First Aid Kit for Dogs and Pets
- Canine Friendly Pet First Aid Kit
- Alcott Emergency First Aid Kit
- ASPCA Emergency Ready Deluxe Pet First Aid Kit
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
Tasty Frozen Snacks for Dogs
By Lisa King
Hot weather is dangerous to humans and animals alike, and climate change means that longer and hotter summers are on the way. Keeping pets cool is an owner’s responsibility, but confining a dog to an air-conditioned house all day just isn’t feasible. Both you and your dog are going to want to spend time outdoors, so while you’re enjoying the pool, barbecuing or working in the garden, make sure your dog has a way to stay cool and be near you.
We have all seen photos of lions and tigers in zoos licking giant “bloodsicles” during heat waves. These effectively cool down the animals’ bodies so they don’t suffer as much from the heat. You can do the same for your dog without resorting to freezing blood.
If you have a large dog or multiple dogs, freeze water or salt-free chicken stock in layers in a large plastic container and drop in small toys and treats as each layer freezes. Once it’s fully frozen, run a little hot water over the container and slide the block of ice out onto a flat pan or plate. Set it in the shade where your dog can reach it. He will be able to see the treats and toys and will happily lick away the ice to get to them.
Commercial frozen dog treats are available at pet supply stores and some supermarkets. These are handy, but can be pricey. If you want to save money and be certain of what your dog is consuming, make healthy frozen treats for him at home.
The principles behind making frozen treats are simple: Use foods your dog likes and that are safe for him and combine them in imaginative ways, and then freeze them in ice cube trays (the silicon ones make popping out the treats easy). There are even trays designed for dog treats in which the holes are bone-shaped. You can also freeze treats in small Dixie cups, disposable plastic cups or cupcake liners.
Never add salt or sugar to your dog’s treats. Don’t use grapes, onions, avocados, chocolate, macadamia nuts or anything else on the ASPCA list of foods hazardous to dogs.
Give your dog his frozen treats outside; he is bound to make a mess as the treat melts. Keep in mind that these treats do have calories, so don’t overdo it.
Here is a list of suggested ingredients for frozen dog treats:
- Plain nonfat yogurt
- Peanut butter (the natural kind without sweeteners or salt)
- Chopped apples or applesauce
- Canned pumpkin purée (avoid pumpkin pie filling)
- Grated carrots
- Cooked ground or shredded meat or poultry
- Salt-free chicken stock or beef stock
- Grated cheese (low salt)
The easiest treats to make involve putting a few berries or pieces of chopped fruit (such as banana, melon or apple) in the bottom of each section of an ice cube tray and then filling the tray with yogurt or one of the combinations below. This gives your dog a sweet and healthy treat. For a low-fat savory treat, put a little leftover unseasoned meat or chicken and a pinch of cheese in each section and fill with salt-free stock.
Here are some ideas for combinations your dog will like. If the mixture seems too thick, thin with a little stock or water.
- Combine peanut butter with a little yogurt or applesauce.
- Mix pumpkin purée with peanut butter.
- Pumpkin is also tasty mixed with plain yogurt.
- Mashed bananas are delicious mixed with yogurt, peanut butter, or a combination.
This isn’t gourmet cooking. Keep the combinations simple and appealing to your dog. While you and your guests are enjoying frozen margaritas on the deck, he’ll feel as if he’s joined the party.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”
Animal Behavior College celebrated its third graduation class during a commencement ceremony on June 13 honoring the many achievements of its Dog Trainer In-Classroom Program students. The late morning event took place on the grounds of the school’s headquarters located at 25104 Rye Canyon Loop in Mann Biomedical Park, Santa Clarita, Calif.
Dressed in royal blue academic regalia, the enthusiastic graduates, some accompanied by their canine friends, sat composed during the ceremony. Many of the graduates are former military personnel who decided to use the discipline, drive and determination skills they acquired while in the armed services to train dogs professionally, ensuring dogs and their owners enjoy a harmonious and mutually respectful relationship.
“You are professional dog trainers who will continue to make a difference in many lives,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College, to an audience of family, friends and employees of the college. “The road ahead is paved with many challenges. Challenges you are equipped and ready to handle. However, readiness is dependent on your willingness to keep an open mind by expanding beyond your comfort level and maintaining a passion for learning and aspiring to continue to grow professionally.”
Debbie Kendrick, vice president of operations for ABC, also praised the graduates’ accomplishments and joined Appelbaum in presenting award certificates giving special mention to students who graduated from the program with honors. Those students include, Brian Hastings, Irma “Toni” Medina Leitneberg, Breanna Rappleya and Angel Samano Jr.
“Five years ago we came to this school with different expectations,” Angel said during his address. “We have spent the last five months since then learning what it takes to train dogs and their owners and have been given a myriad of tools to use as professionals.”
Beth Harrison, the program’s course instructor, congratulated Angel and his fellow graduates. She provided remarks encouraging them to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to strive for excellence with the goal of “being the best dog trainer they could be.” Amanda Yocom of Best Friends’ Animal Society and Chris Gant, a former graduate of the college and professional dog trainer, thanked graduates for volunteering in the shelter and inspired them to stay compassionate about helping dogs and working with their owners to ensure a positive owner-to-dog relationship.
The students received certification for mastering various dog training tools and techniques using positive reinforcement for handling canine behaviors. The program covers everything from training basics and safety to effective problem solving and pet first aid. The hands-on portion of the program provides students with an opportunity to participate in an internship at shelters like Best Friends’ Animal Society with a mentor, giving them invaluable practical experience in real life situations.
“I have more knowledge and tools at my disposal to continue to serve people in a new way,” Angel said. With his dog, Bosco, at his side, the former Marine lance corporal credits the program with helping him embark on a new and exciting career. “If you had asked me a year ago what I would do (after the military), being a dog trainer wouldn’t have been on the list. ABC has not only helped to change my life, but has helped to change Bosco’s life.”
Pets today are living longer, eating healthier and receiving more services. In fact, the jobs forecast for dog trainers and other animal care and service workers in the U.S. appear promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment will grow 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. With more people in the U.S. owning dogs (35.5 percent or 43,346,000), ABC certified dog trainers have the option of working for an established company or building their own successful dog training business.
To learn more about the program visit Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program or call 800-795-3294.
Live Google Hangout – Talk with a Trainer Session #1
Dog Trainer, Fanna Easter joined us for a very special “Talk with a Trainer” Live Hangout event.
This event takes place at 11:00am (PST) on Google Hangouts.
If you need assistance setting up a Gmail Account to allow you to join Google Plus, please feel free to watch the video we have provided below:
Once you have signed into Gmail, you may find the Live Hangout by following the instructions found in the video below:
Dog Training School – School for Dog Trainers
Students Saving Lives was started by Debbie Kendrick, Vice President of Animal Behavior College, in 2004. Our mission is to train dogs in shelters in hopes of helping them become more adoptable and less likely to be returned to a shelter in their life. Obedience training for dogs is a key component to a happy and fruitful life.
At ABC we ask each student in the dog training certification program to volunteer ten hours at a local animal shelter or rescue to train shelter dogs. Since its inception in 2004, the Students Saving Lives program has collectively donated over 100,000 hours of time to training dogs in shelters.
We are passionate about helping dogs and cats find their forever homes. Please adopt a pet don’t buy one. Find out more about Animal Behavior College’s Dog Training program at www.animalbehaviorcollege.com
Living in an Electronic World
How to automate your home for pets.
By Stacy Mantle
There is no better evidence of our arrival in the golden age of computing than the introduction of electronics in the pet industry. Home automation is the name of the game in 2014 and it seems as though everyone is entering this field.
While I would never advocate spending less time with pets, those of you who must deal with long days at the office or a particularly bad rush hour will be relieved to know your pets are comfortable, fed and secure in the comfort of your home as they wait your arrival. Here is a look at a few of my favorite new electronic products available for pets and people.
Two of my favorites are the Samsung Pet Cam and the Motorola Scout 1500 Digital Wireless Video Pet Monitor. Both offer infrared monitoring for anytime viewingand can be used from your phone, computeror tablet. The Motorola Scout allows you to control the camera with nearly perfect 360® vision. The Samsung has slightly better night vision, but doesn’t allow you to move the camera around remotely. Both are excellent selections for any home monitoring. The apps are free and easy to download and use.
Automated Pet Feeders
You want to make sure your pets are fed at the proper time each day, but occasionally traffic or work makes that impossible. Your pets wont’ have to wait anymore; now you can control feeding time with your phone.
The Wireless Whiskers automatic feeder monitors the diets and feeding levels of up to eight pets. Each animal wears a small chip and the feeding doors automatically open or close, depending on the animal’s individual feeding requirements.
Automated Pet Doors
PetSafe is known for its excellent use of technology, and its automated pet doors are some of the best we’ve seen. This custom pet door essentially gives your pets the decision to come in or go out. Using RFID technology, the door reads the special chip on your pet’s collar and allows him to enter at will. This is especially valuable for dogs who “steal” food from other pets (or raid litterboxes). By installing an extra door flap in your cat’s room, you can offer full access to your cat while keeping your dog out of the room. The SmartKey™ can detect up to five programmed SmartKeys and operates in two locked or unlocked modes.
Remote Potty Training
Train ‘n Praise is another new product from PetSafe. Using a special treat dispenser and moisture-detecting “pee pad”,the automatic dispenser offers your pet a treat when it senses moisture on the pad—the moisture is trapped in the lowest layer. The remote training device protects your floors and rewards your dog for using the pad correctly.
Nearly anything in the home can be automated these days and as they become more advanced, so do pet products. A home’s ambient temperature can be controlled from your phone, energy consumption can be monitored, lights can be turned on and off, doors can be remotely locked or unlocked.
Security companies are now offering extra coverage for homes and special features for pets. Take some time to explore the many features available for even the oldest of homes. You’ll probably be surprised to learn what your smart phone is capable of doing!
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
This article was written by Steven Appelbaum and featured in the Professional Pet Sitter – Winter Publication 2013-2014 – Published by NAPPS.
Choosing the Right Breed of Dog for Your Family
The topic of which breeds of dogs are the best breeds is always guaranteed
to stir up healthy debate. Why? Most people have breed preferences. As
a dog trainer for more than 30 years, I can say without reservation that
it is important to remember that each dog is an individual, regardless of
its breed. I have seen some breeds not normally considered suitable for
small children act as perfect pets and companions, while others that are
very commonly considered great choices for kids were absolutely not okay
around them. I do not say this to cause confusion, but to educate all readers
about the necessity of taking a few other precautions when bringing a dog
into a family with small children.
Whenever possible, you should observe the puppy’s mother and father. Are they friendly and sociable around kids? Granted, temperament is also influenced by environment, but at least some of a puppy’s disposition is inherited. This is why it pays to see how mom and dad interact as well.
As a huge proponent of rescues, I feel it is very possible that you can adopt
a wonderful dog that turns out to be a fabulous companion for your children. Getting a puppy at 8- to 10-weeks of age enables you to create the experiences that will shape his personality. Although puppy-hood can be trying, getting a young dog is the best way to ensure (as much as anyone can ensure behavior) that his personality develops into the child-loving, good-natured companion you desire.
Remember that a dog’s breed is not a guarantee of the dog’s behavior. Whether you get a puppy or an older dog, it is important to observe his or her behavior prior to adoption or purchase. Is the dog fearful or skittish? Is the dog comfortable being handled? Is he/she friendly without being insanely rambunctious? You are looking for a dog that is very comfortable around people, one that is not fazed by sudden movements or being touched or hugged.
Basically, you need a dog that will not react negatively to the types of behavior the average small child will engage in with his or her dog. Here is a very short list (by no means complete) of some excellent breeds for small children.
Labs are wonderful, friendly dogs. They are usually eager to please and
tolerant of the sort of handling little tykes so often dole out. They are sturdy too, which is important with small kids. You will need to train the dog so he or she learns to be gentle and not knock the kids over out of sheer joy and exuberance.
They are very similar to Labs, although in my experience sometimes a bit calmer. They do shed a bit more than Labs.
I will admit to being a bit biased on the topic of Bassets. I have “been owned” by them for the past few decades. That said, my preference is based on experience. Bassets are often islands of calm, which is nice when the kids are bouncing off the walls. They tolerate the roughest treatment with a shrug and tail wag. They are goofy, friendly, wonderful dogs. A downside is they sometimes have a pretty distinctive hound smell, which is not for everyone. Still, these are amazing kid-friendly dogs. One other thing: they can get bigger than a lot of people realize. Males can weigh 85-plus pounds, making them a handful.
Strange choice? Not really. These gentle giants are great kid dogs. They are calm, loving, and infinitely tolerant. The only things to understand about the breed are 1) They often don’t live very long, only 8 to 11 years, and 2) they shed—and drool. Plus, well, they are huge, which poses its own challenges. Still, if you are looking for a lot of dog that is great with kids, this can be a very wise choice.
This is a good pick for children or parents with allergies. Poodles are highly intelligent and friendly, have good temperaments, and are good with children. Standard poodles are sturdy dogs who can withstand a fair amount of rough kiddie treatment. I have always liked this breed and over the years have seen numerous families with these dogs.
You will notice I did not pick any smaller breeds — bichon frise, cocker spaniels, etc. In my experience, the average one- to four-year-old child is, by his or her very nature, too rough for smaller breeds. It is better to choose a larger dog that can deal with small children’s normal behavior than delude yourself into thinking you will be able to monitor their interaction and thus keep everyone safe. Remember there is risk for the dog as well as the child.
Again, remember that every dog is an individual and if you are introducing a dog into a home with children, you should do research before you choose the right dog for your family.
Eliminating Your Pet’s Wintertime Blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs in dogs and cats, too.
By Stacy Mantle
People aren’t the only ones susceptible to wintertime blues. “PDSA (The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) found that approximately 40 percent of dog owners saw a considerable downturn in their pet’s moods during the winter months,” reported Psychology Today.
Symptoms in pets typically manifest as behavioral changes such as inappropriate soiling, aggression, lethargy and separation anxiety.
Pets are just as likely to become depressed during winter as their people, according to Mary Lee Nitschke, professor of psychology at Linfield College in Oregon,
“If your healthy dog or cat becomes lethargic or loses interest in everyday activities, [he or she]may be suffering from a simple lack of stimulation,” Nitschke said.
Melatonin and serotonin are the two hormones responsible for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
“The pineal gland is light sensitive and melatonin is usually secreted at night in darkness—the production of melatonin is actually inhibited when light hits the retina,” said Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C.“So in response to low-light conditions found in the winter more melatonin would be produced.This causes tiredness in people, which means it could likely cause the same in dogs or cats.”
If you find your dog is begging for extra treats in winter, it could well be due to a lack of serotonin. As humans, we “self-medicate” with foods such as chocolate or sugar-based snacks, all of which release serotonin in our brains.
“In the brain, serotonin affects appetite, mood and sleep,” Coren said. “Low levels of serotonin are also known to have a distinct effect on the mood of people and animals.”
Sunlight is necessary for the production of serotonin, which is why we often seek out warmer locales for our vacations and why a dog or cat may be found napping in a single ray of sunlight.
Shorter days mean less light and that can create problems for pets.
“Give pets extra light during the winter months,” Nitschke said. “Light is intimately tied to the functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands, and can stimulate the body to release hormones that have an uplifting effect on mood. Just a half hour a day on a sunny back porch or window perch may do the trick.”
Special lighting, including “full spectrum” and “daylight” bulbs, are also encouraged for people and pets. Sun rooms, which help to focus the sun’s rays, are also popular among those in colder climates. Max Marvin, owner of Pawsitive Lighting, has even developed a light box to help conquer those wintertime blues.
Perhaps the best solution to SAD is exercise.
“Even a walk around the block releases endorphins,” Nitschkesaid
While walking is excellent for those who can get outdoors, it’s difficult if you’re snow-bound. There are other solutions, including treadmills specifically designed for pets, like those from PetZen. And adding a K9FITVest with weights helps tire a dog out more quickly.
It’s important to keep your pet mentally and physically engaged during winter. Even if it’s just selecting a new smart toy to implement at feeding time or taking a new route during walks, doing so can help stimulate your pet’s brain and result in increased activity levels.
Specialized toys and equipment can help you and your pet ramp up on endorphins during the cold winter. Try integrating instability training to keep dogs focused, balanced and flexible. You can view an entire line of products devoted to this type of training at DogTread.com, and it’s perfect for athletic dogs, too.
Balancing Acts: Teaching your dog to balance on specially designed exercise equipment can help focus him on the task at hand.
Doga: Master the relaxing art of dog and cat yoga by stretching with your four-legged friends. Yoga is a great way to relax yourself and your pets. Try downward facing dog, pigeon poses or anything that looks doable. Be sure to avoid overexertion and never try any complex poses without guidance from a qualified Doga instructor.
Scavenger Hunts:For some breeds, nothing gets their minds off the weather as a good hunt. Try placing small treats and favorite toys in various areas of the house that might not have been explored as actively as before. Start off easy with one placed under the bed and then move into more complex searches. You might just find you have a future search-and-rescue or scent dog on your hands.
Teach them a New Trick: Dogs love to learn and the lull between hurricane walls is a great time to encourage them with a simple task; Teach (or re-teach) your dog to shake or fetch. While disasters are not an optimal time for animals to learn, a simple activity can help them relax by getting their minds off the danger at hand—and it will prove distracting for you as well. Start with something simple (such as“Sit”) and then move into the more complex tricks that only time and willingness can conquer.
Spa-Day: Master the art of relaxation even while it’s storming outside. Massage is known to release endorphins and increases beta-endorphins in plasma, which encourages healing. Try some simple relaxation massages by sitting next to your pet and gently massaging his paws, neck and shoulders.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of Pets Weekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
Keep your pets warm, dry and healthy.
By Lisa King
Right now much of the East Coast and Midwest is suffering record cold. We’re all familiar with the dangers this kind of weather poses for people, but pets are even more vulnerable. A simple rule to follow in extreme cold is to keep your pets inside with you as much as possible. Here are some tips to keep dogs and cats safe.
- Cats should be kept inside all the time, but especially in very cold weather. They tend to seek shelter when it’s cold, and can crawl into dumpsters or other spaces and become trapped. They can also suffer frostbite or hypothermia, become lost or freeze to death.
- Your dog’s susceptibility to the cold depends on many factors, including age, health, length of coat, breed and weight. If you have a healthy Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky, he will love an occasional frolic in the snow. Small, thin or shorthaired dogs feel the cold much more acutely and should wear dry doggie coats or sweaters and possibly booties when venturing outside. These sorts of dogs should go out only to relieve themselves when temperatures fall below zero. Very young or very old pets and pets with chronic illnesses cannot regulate their body temperatures as well as healthy adult dogs. Hypothermia and frostbite on feet, ears or tailcan affect any pet.
- When you do take your dog outside in the cold, stay with him. On walks, keep him on leash at all times. Dogs can lose their way in the snow because scents they depend on to find their way home are muffled. Make sure your dog has a current ID tag on his collar and has been microchipped. Don’t let your dog walk on frozen water, such as a pond or lake. If he falls through the ice he might die of hypothermia.If he gets wet, use a blow dryer or towel to dry him.
- If your dog must stay outside for any length of time, provide plenty of unfrozen fresh water. A heated water dish comes in handy. Also provide a sturdy shelter with soft bedding, such as straw. Make sure the floor is raised off the ground and that the door faces away from the wind. A door flap will help him retain heat.
- If your dog begins shivering or whining, or otherwise appears to be in distress, get him inside immediately and warm him up.If symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian.
- If you plug in a space heater or light a fire, don’t leave pets near them unattended. Use screens in front of all fireplaces.
- Antifreeze is very toxic to pets and de-icing salts and other chemicals can get on your dog’s feet and cause irritation. Clean his feet after he comes in from a walk.
- Cold weather is just as dangerous as hot weather to a dog left in a car. A parked car can turn into an icebox after too long in freezing temperatures.
- If you park your car outside, check under the hood and make plenty of noise before starting it to make sure no feral or other outdoor cats have sought out the warmth of the engine.
- Never shave a long-haired dog or cat in cold weather. It may be easier to groom a shaved Persian cat, but she needs her fur to keep warm. Brush your long-haired pet’s coat regularly to prevent mats. If your dog has longish hair between his paw pads, trim it to reduce snow and ice buildup.
- Make sure all your pets have warm, draft-free places to sleep. Pet supply stores carry heated mats and beds that your dog or cat will appreciate when temperatures are low. Arthritis is aggravated by the cold, so a warm, soft bed can help an arthritic pet stay comfortable.
As the arctic blast that is slamming most of the U.S. recedes and temperatures rise to a more typical winter range, you and your dog can spend more time outside enjoying the snowy landscape. But please leave Kitty indoors.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea.”
How to keep your canines happy during wintertime romps.
By Audrey Pavia
Snow has been plentiful so far this winter, which is good news for dogs who romp in the white stuff. Not only is playing in the snow fun for dogs, but it also helps get rid of excess energy.
Before you bring your dog outside to run in the snow, take some precautions. Snow and cold weather can be hazardous to your dog’s health if you’re not careful.Frostbite is a distinct danger for most dogs’ ears, and snow and ice can cause plenty of discomfort on bare paws. It can also reduce traction, causing your dog to slip and fall.
The best ways to protect your dog during snowy weather include the following:
• Keep nails clipped. The shorter your dog’s nails, the less likely he’ll be to slip on the snow and have ice buildup in his paws. You should have your dog’s nails clipped regularly anyway to help him maintain healthy paws. If his nails are overgrown, cut or grind them yourself, or have it done by your groomer or veterinarian.
• Trim paw hair. If your dog grows a lot of hair between the pads of his paws, take a pair of scissors and cut the hair so it’s even with his pads. This will help attract less snow and ice to his foot. Be careful not to cut your dog’s pads as you are trimming. Make sure your dog is comfortable having his feet handled before you attempt this. If your dog struggles, ask your groomer or veterinarian for assistance.
• Try dog boots. If your dog still has trouble with ice and snow building up in his paw pads, consider rubber or nylon dog boots. These will protect his feet while he walks through snow. If possible, take your dog with you to the pet store when you buy the boots so you can try them on to make sure they fit. It will also give you a chance to see if your dog will actually wear them. Some dogs won’t tolerate boots and will pull them off. Expect your dog to walk funny the first time he wears them. In time, he should get used to the feeling of having something on his feet.
•Dress him warmly. If you have a shorthaired dog, a toy breed with not much hair, an older dog, a young puppy or a dog with health issues, consider dressing him in a sweater or coat before you take him out to play in the snow. If your dog plays rough-and-tumble in the white stuff, check the garment periodically to make sure it’s not soaking wet.
• Give breaks.To avoid frostbite, give your dog plenty of breaks when he’s out in the snow. Have him come inside to warm up for a bit before you let him go back out to play. Keep an eye on the tips of his ears, since these are most sensitive to developing a problem. If your dog’s skin begins to turn pale and feel cold to the touch, get him indoors right away. If the skin becomes red and swollen after it warms up, take your dog to a veterinarian right away for treatment of frostbite.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visitwww.audreypavia.com