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How to Keep Your Pet Safe in the Heat

 

August can be the hottest month of the year. To avoid heat stroke follow these tips and keep your pet safe during the dog days of summer.

Leave your dog at home if you’re running errands

Grabbing your keys can be an instant sign to your dog that it’s time for trip. It’s hard to say no to those pleading eyes, but for safety’s sake, leave them at home. Just a quick trip to the store can turn deadly for a dog left in the car.

As you can see, it does not take much for a car too hot. Even on cool days, it can quickly become dangerous. A simple delay in the store could be all it takes.

Limit exercise and outings on extremely hot days

You don’t have to be a hermit in the AC during the summer months, but it’s good to limit your dogs time outside. Some dogs can’t help but run and jump. When the temperature is rising, this could spell trouble and cause them to overheat. Taking care to limit the time they have in the sun will help stop overheating before it starts.

Avoid parks with a lot of asphalt

Enjoying a sunny day is great. When you take your dog out, avoid parks with tracks or lots of asphalt. Choose shady parks with dirt paths. The asphalt is hot and can easily burn their pads. You can also get some Dog Booties to protect their feet from hot roads and sand.

When you do go out bring plenty of water

Take a travel water bowl for your dog and plenty of water. To keep water cool on a hot day, fill up the bottle half way. Put the bottle on its side in the freezer. This will freeze the water on one side of the bottle, basically making a giant ice cube. Fill up the other side with water and you’ll have ice cold water for hours.

We are always here to help you if you need a pet sitter or dog walker during the day. Make sure to contact us! Your pets safety is our priority.

 

 

5 Ways to Decrease the Chances of Your Dog Being Hit by a Car

 

It can be the worst thing imaginable, but your dog getting hit by a car is a real possibility. This is especially true in the summer when activities are at their peak. So, what can you do to decrease the chances of your dog being hit by a car?

1. Get your dog spayed or neutered

Not only is spaying and neutering important for population control, it also helps keep your dog close to home. Once a dog reaches sexual maturity the likelihood of them trying to escape to seek out mates is greater. Studies have shown that sexual roaming can decrease almost 90% after your dog has been fixed.

2. Make sure you have your dog on the proper leash and collar during walks

If you have the wrong size collar or leash, it is possible that your dog could slip out or yank free from your grasp. It’s important you choose the right collar for your dog to make sure they stay safe.

3. Check fences for holes or weak spots

Summertime is notorious for storms and falling tree limbs can damage fences. Check your fence after storms for any damage that could allow your dog to escape. You never know when your dog may get spooked by a storm or fireworks and try to hightail it out of the yard.

4. Teach your dog safety commands

Teaching your dog commands like “come” or “stay” are the most important commands they need.  This can help avoid them running out of the door or across the street to catch a squirrel or rabbit.

5. Go over dog safety techniques with the whole family

Summer can be a busy time for your front door. With cookouts and the kid’s being out of school, it is likely that your home sees more guests than ever during the summer months. Make sure everyone in the home knows some basic safety tips, like “The Doggy Doorknob Rule.” That’s when all members of the family and guests make sure to check for the dog before turning the doorknob. This will help avoid them escaping when people are coming in and out.

 

Keeping our pets safe is a main priority and anything you can do to decrease the chances of your dog being hit by a car is key. Don’t forget to read our blog on How to Teach Your Dog to Cross the Street for even more safety tips to keep your dog safe while enjoy the sunny days of summer! 

 

Is Sidewalk Salt Bad for My Dog?

 

Taking your dog for a walk is great and has many health benefits for both of you. Yet, as the temperature drops and ice become more of a threat, homeowners will begin applying sidewalk salt to melt the ice. But is all sidewalk salt bad for your pets? While there are many pet-safe salt options, not all homeowners will use them. So what are the risks of sidewalk salt and how can you keep your pet safe.

Sidewalk ice salt is made of a variety of ingredients such as sodium chloride (table salt), magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride. While sodium chloride is safe for pets many of these other ingredients are not.

Possible risks of sidewalk salt

  1. Sidewalk salt is irritating to dog paws (and human skin).
  2. Sidewalk salt is poisonous when ingested and can cause kidney problems.
  3. Sidewalk salt can irritate the respiratory tract when inhaled.

What can you do to reduce the risk to your dog?

1. Try to avoid walking your dog in areas where unsafe salt may have been used.

Many public places, such as parks, don’t use pet-safe ice melt. Avoiding these areas can help reduce the risk of your pet getting non pet-safe ice melt on their paws.

2. Wipe your dog’s paws right away after each walk; this will prevent your dog from licking the salt off of his paws.

You can either use a damp cloth or a pet-safe wipe of your choice. These Earth Rated wipes also come in unscented.

 

Earth Rated Dog Wipes on Amazon @ $29.99

3. Do not allow your dog to lick water off the ground.

Ground water can contain a variety of things, not to mention remnants of ice melt which is toxic if ingested.

4. Walk your dog is winter booties.

There’s many different brands out there but if you’re looking for a sturdy pair to invest in, RUFFWEAR makes durable boots that are not only designed for the winter but also hiking and outdoors. You can find pet booties online and at most local pet retailers.


RUFFWEAR, Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots on Amazon @ $37.50

5. Use pet-safe ice melt.

The best thing you can do to help yourself and other pet parents is to use pet-safe ice melt. Pet-safe ice melt is commonly made out of urea. Here are two brands of pet-safe ice melt you can pick up either online or in store.

 

Safe Paw Ice Melt on Amazon @ $19.91

 

https://img.smartpak.com/images/product/highres/26205_12lbjug.jpg

Pestell Paw Thaw Pet Friendly Ice Melter, Bag, 25 lbs on PetCo @ $24.99

Dangers of Sidewalk Salt Infographic

While sidewalk salt can be a winter risk, it shouldn’t prevent you and your dog from having an awesome walk. Do you have a favorite pet-safe ice melt or other cold weather precautions we should know? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting

Clicker Training Tips

 

There are many different positive reinforcement training methods available to both cat and dog owners. One of my favorite methods is clicker training, it is a good way to quickly train your pet with less treats than traditional training.

Clicker training is used by thousands of animal trainers to teach all types of animals. It can be used to teach dogs obedience, leash manners, agility and many other things. It can also be used to teach tricks and other positive behaviors to cats.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is using a sound (generally a clicker) to positively reinforce your pet for a behavior he or she is doing. In clicker training, a click is used every time a good behavior happens and treats are given later (which means fewer treats).

 

Why should I clicker train my pet? 

Clicker training has a couple of cool benefits. Clicker training allows you to reward positive behavior more quickly than giving your pet a treat. Depending on your reaction time, you could be clicking 10-15 seconds after your pet does the positive behavior. Giving a treat to your pet generally takes a longer time, which may cause your pet to forget the positive behavior he or she did. This helps your pet learn what the behavior you want to see, and learn it more quickly.

Because you click for each behavior rather than give your pet a treat, you feed less treats per training session. This is really helpful if you are working with an overweight pet or do not want your pet to gain weight.

 

How do I get started clicker training? 

Clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward, so start by picking a sound. Pick a sound that is easy to make and distinct (will not be heard outside of training). For example, it is not recommended you use a clap because your pet will hear clapping outside of the training session and may get confused. This is the reason many people use the clicker. It is a very distinct sound, and it may be quicker to make than any sound you can make on your own. Clickers are easy to find at pet stores and generally cost around $2.

 

Next get started with your first sessions of training. These sessions will be very treat heavy, so pick a treat that your dog likes. Because clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward (like a treat) you will be clicking and giving your dog a treat per click. Start by getting your dog’s attention, and simply clicking the clicker. After each click, quickly give your dog a treat. Do this for a few 5-10 minute sessions. After a few sessions, start mixing in simple behaviors with clicking. For example, have your dog sit, then click and treat. Do this for a few sessions and slowly wean down to only treating for every 10 clicks. Be sure to give your pet some treats after each session to tell him that he did a good job.

Next move on to the first behavior you want to teach, do so slowly. Because your dog is new to training, still give treats pretty frequently during the sessions. If you are teaching a complicated behavior, like how to walk nicely on a leash, use multiple steps to teach this. For simple behaviors you can use one step. An example I am going to use is teaching a pet how to come. Have someone hold your pet at the other end of the room and use your come signal. Only when your pet comes to you, give a click and give a treat. Repeat this behavior, give a click and treat the second and third times. The next time your pet comes, give only a click. Repeat this for the remainder of your session, mixing in a few treats with clicks. At the end of the session give your pet treats to tell him he did a good job. At each training session, reduce the amount of treats given during the session to only treating at the end. Do this until your pet masters the behavior.

 

Clicker training is a great way to teach pets positive behaviors. Be sure to use treats your pet likes and keep training sessions short for success!

 

Fun Fall Games for Your Dog

 

Fall is an exciting of year for people and pets. It is also a great time of year to play with your pooch outside before it gets too cold outside. The following are fantastic fall games you can play with Fido this season.

Fun with pumpkins

Pumpkins are dog safe vegetables that you can have lots of fun with. There are many things you can do with pumpkins. One of my favorites is to clean the pumpkin out and put treats on the inside. I like to use precooked pieces of hot dog and put them inside the pumpkin. I recommend buying small pumpkin to use for this game. Here are directions:

  1. Clean the pumpkin out, removing all the seeds
  2. Cut multiple small holes in the pumpkin that are large enough for the treats to fit through
  3. Leave the top off and put your treats inside the pumpkin
  4. Give the pumpkin to your dog and watch him have fun

Tip: You may want to put peanut butter on the outside and inside of your pumpkin to get your dog interested.

Fun fact: Pumpkin puree (100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling) is a great treat for dogs. Just do not feed too much as it can act as a laxative.

Leaf pile scavenger hunt

Many dogs enjoy jumping into leaf piles as much as we do, this game capitalizes on that fact. It also allows your dog to use his nose to find things and do some non-destructive digging. Before you begin the game check your leaf piles for critters (snakes and mice) and any sharp or dangerous items. You can make some bigger piles and some smaller ones to provide your dog with an easier option. This game only works with dry leaves. Here are the directions:

  1. Rake your leaves into a pile
  2. Hide a favorite toy or some treats in the pile
  3. Let your dog outside to find his toy or treat in the pile

You can incorporate more than one leaf pile once your dog gets the hang of it.

As an alternative you could make the piles and play fetch with your dog, throwing the ball into the piles.

These games should make fall a fun time for you and your dog. Be sure to provide adequate water, even in the cooler weather, and read your dogs body language to see when he is done playing.

Does My Dog Lick Excessively?

 

Do you ever catch your pooch in the act of licking his feet, forearms, or other extremity so ferociously you think to yourself, “wow, that must really feel good”? While his licking may seem a non-issue, and one that provides him joy, that doesn’t mean it might not be his response to an underlying issue if they lick excessively.

Canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD) – also known as lick granulomas – is a lesion to the skin caused by chronic licking, resulting in skin inflammation. Over time, the skin thickens and the area can’t heal because they lick excessively. The licking and the inflammation cause itching, which causes your dog to lick even more, creating a vicious cycle of itching, licking, inflammation, and the inability to heal.

ALD can also result in secondary issues including bacterial infection, ruptured hair follicles and ruptured sweat glands. These issues just add fuel to the cycle, making the itching even worse which increases your dog’s need to lick.

The most common location for ALD is on the front side of a front leg between the elbow joint and paw, though they are often found on the ankle and between the toes. The condition is most often seen in middle-aged, large-breed dogs. Many veterinarians believe itchy skin triggers the excessive licking, although it is thought it can also be set off by a painful condition, such as trauma to the leg, a fracture, post-surgical discomfort, arthritis, or nerve damage. A fungal or bacterial infection, as well as skin mites, can also trigger itching in your pooch.

Not only is ALD rooted in health conditions, incessant licking is also a common obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs – yes, dogs can have OCD, too! Rover’s licking may trigger the release of endorphins (a chemical in the brain that leads to feelings of happiness) and once he learns licking brings about a pleasant feeling, he’ll likely continue to do it. As well, psychological factors such as boredom, stress and separation anxiety can result in excessive licking. To best determine how to treat the issue, it is important to determine the cause.

If you suspect your pooch has an ALD lesion, there will typically be a raised area of ulceration, hair loss, and thickened skin around the lesion. Your veterinarian should first rule out any potential allergies first, as a dog with recurrent skin or ear infections, hot spots, or itching in other areas may have an allergic condition that needs treatment. Several tests are needed to diagnose ALD, including skin scrapings and fungal cultures, and to look for infection.

If it is determined that your pooch is indeed suffering from ALD, once treated effectively, you’ll likely need to address any psychological or emotional factors that may have contributed to your pet’s obsessive licking. Try to refocus his energy with frequent walks, playtime, and other methods of physical activity. Make sure you and everyone in your family pays extra attention to Rover, stimulating his brain and keeping him happy and secure.

The best way to prevent ALD is to talk to your vet as soon as you notice you dog start to lick excessively. Make a habit of running your hands over Rover regularly to check for damp fur or sensitivity. If you notice him licking a particular spot but there’s no injury to the skin, wrap the area with an Ace bandage to discourage further licking. Anything you can do to prevent Rover from self-injury will be extremely beneficial.

While we associate licking with a dog’s natural instinct, sometimes it can serve as a sign of an underlying issue and, when done excessively, should never be ignored.

6 Common Myths About Your Dog

 

If you’re a pet parent to a canine, you’ve likely heard the old wives tales that have trickled down through the ages regarding our pooch’s health. Is your dog sick? “Check to see if his nose is dry!” Is Rover licking a wound? “Licking speeds up the healing process!” While there may be some truth behind statements like these, most are completely unfounded.

1. Dogs only eat grass when they’re sick.

While there is some truth to this claim, many scientists insist it’s normal for a dog to eat some grass from time to time as it’s in their genetics. There’s no need to worry if your dog enjoys a grass snack on occasion, however, if gulped down in large amounts it may indicate Rover has an upset stomach. If you find him chowing down on mouthfuls of grass and vomiting them up, it may be best to visit your vet.

2. Dogs eat non-food items because of a nutritional deficiency.

No one can say exactly why some dogs eat rocks, feces, lick carpet, and ingest things that are not meant to be ingested. Most vets believe dogs eat these things out of sheer boredom or as a method to gain attention. To prevent Rover from noshing on the non-edible, provide adequate exercise for him, along with ample outlets for his excess energy.

3. Garlic kills fleas.

Many pet parents claim garlic works to keep fleas at bay, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. While it is very possible that the smell acts as a deterrent, garlic does not kill them.

4. If Rover’s nose is warm, he is sick.

Not true! Your dog’s nose temperature cannot indicate illness or health. It also can’t verify whether or not Rover has a fever. The only way to accurately determine your dog’s temperature is by measuring it with a thermometer, with normal readings ranging between 101.5 to 102.5°F.

 

5. If your dog licks his wounds, it will help them heal faster.

Dogs naturally lick their wounds in an effort to clean them, but it actually slows down the healing process and can lead to serious infections. To prevent your pooch from licking his wound excessively, block access to the area with an Elizabethan collar (you know, the lampshade looking contraptions that go around Rover’s neck) or by applying a bandage. To aid in the healing process, clean the wound thoroughly and apply a dog-safe antiseptic.

6. Your pooch will let you know when he’s sick or in pain.

Definitely not true! In general, dogs are adept at hiding the signs that indicate they are sick or feeling pain. Behaviorists speculate this is instinctual, a behavior inherited from their ancestors who, in their drive to survive, hid any weakness. More often than not, by the time you notice your dog is sick, his condition has already progressed. Keep an eye on Rover’s typical behavior and make note of any differences you notice in the time he spends sleeping, if he’s slower in his movements (especially when getting up and lying down), if his appetite shrinks, if he seems more distant, or, on the contrary, becomes more clingy. It’s also a good idea to take a quick look at Rover’s poop every time he goes to identify any differences in its appearance.

 

It’s our mission as pet parents to provide the best possible care for our canine companions, and it can sometimes get confusing with the countless theories out there on dogs and their care. If you’re uncertain or just looking for advice, consult with Rover’s veterinarian.

Can a Pet Help with My Kid’s Autism?

 

One of my favorite parts of being a pet parent is the comfort I receive from my animals. Many people feel similarly, in fact animal assisted therapy has become significantly more common in the past five years.This positive effect is seen and well studied in children with autism.With the rate of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among children increasing worldwide, it’s comforting to know your family’s fuzzy friend can be of service to your diagnosed child.

A recent Purdue University study monitored the impact of Guinea pigs in classrooms. The new study took it a step further and studied the impact of interacting animals with ASD children; they wanted to prove playing with Guinea pigs would reduce the children’s social stress. Study groups included a mix of “typical” kids and ASD kids and monitored their reactions to multiple conditions, both with and without the Guinea pigs. The researchers believed the ASD kids would show high levels of anxiety when the Guinea pigs were not included in their activity, and they were right on! Activities that incorporated the pigs resulted in lower levels of stress and produced a remarkable calming effect.

Previous studies showed children with ASD demonstrated improved social skills after only a few months of interacting with Guinea pigs. And a separate study found the children talk, laugh and smile more and cry, whine and frown less in the presence of the playful pigs.

Any animal can have positive emotional affects on you and your child, but furry animals tend to work best.

If you are the parent of an ASD child as well as a furry one, be sure to give the furry one an extra treat and a nice cuddle as a “thank you” for his fortuitous friendship.

How to Find the Best Price for Pet Medications

 

Owning a pet is a rewarding but costly commitment. Veterinary care can be expensive and the medications used for treatments can really add up. In most cases buying the medication directly from your vet (if they carry it) is the most expensive option. However there are some good options to cut pet medication costs while getting the same quality medication.These options include human pharmacies, online pharmacies and compounding pharmacies.  Check out these tips on how to find the best price for pet medications.

Human Pharmacies 

Many pet medications are human medications in different doses. I have had good luck with the King Soopers pharmacy, Walmart pharmacy and Costco pharmacy for pet medications. As a bonus Costco pharmacies usually carry pet specific medications like Frontline and Heartguard. When trying to find a medication at a human pharmacy make sure that they can give you a dose small enough for your pet. Check out GoodRx( http://www.goodrx.com/), this is a site that compares prices of a certian medication at pharmaices in your area.

Pros:

  • Prescriptions can be filled the same day (usually)
  • They are generally cheaper than the vet’s office
  • Some have membership deals

Cons:

  • The dose you need may not be available
  • Only human medications are carried

 

Online Pet Pharmacies 

There are over 20 online pet pharmacies that you can order from today, but not all are safe. Many of these fake or non-accredited pharmacies will provide expired medication, incorrect doses or the incorrect medication. These can all have negative consequences on your pet’s health. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has a list of certified and trusted online pharmacies to use (http://www.awarerx.org/get-informed/safe-acquisition/recommended-vet-vipps-online-pharmacies). Most of the time your vet will have you fill out a liability form before they will send prescriptions to an online pharmacy. This works if you have a pet with a chronic condition (like hypothyroidism) and are good at planning ahead.

Pros:

  • Usually the cheapest option
  • Medication is made specifically for pets

Cons:

  • Medication needs to be shipped after it is ordered ( there is a delay)
  • Requires planning ahead
  • Temperature sensitive medications could go bad in the mail

 

Compounding 

Compounding is done at special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies. They create medications at specific doses and in specific mediums. Many pet parents need drugs compounded when the dose they need is smaller than what is commonly offered.

Pros:

  • Specific dose to what your pet needs
  • More limited ingredients

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Compounding pharmacies can be hard to find

Finding inexpensive, effective and safe pet medications can be a challenge, but with the help of these tips it should be a breeze. Once you have gotten the medication you get to move on to the fun part, administering the medication to your pet. Don’t worry though, your Sidehill Sitter is a pro at giving medication to pets!

 

10 Plants to Avoid With Your Pets

 

Many people have homes filled with plants toxic to dogs and cats.  Because these plants commonly sold at the garden center, they are assumed to be safe. Many people never have an issue with a toxic plant and their pets. These issues tend to occur if the animal is bored or stressed and finds the plants to chew on. Here is a list of ten plants to avoid with your pets, or put out of reach of your pet.

  1. Aloe: aloe and its sap are both toxic to dogs and cats
  2. Lilies: they are very toxic even in small doses and can cause kidney problems
  3. Marijuana: this is pretty intuitive but Colorado has seen a rise in marijuana related pet poisoning in the recent years
  4. Amaryllis: ingestion can cause vomiting,GI distress and tremors
  5. Sago Plant: all parts of the prickly tree are poisonous but the seeds are the most toxic
  6. Tulip: the bulb is the most toxic portion of the plant, this poison can cause cardiac issues
  7. English Ivy: all parts of this plant are poisonous, and can cause GI issues
  8. Pathos: this common houseplant causes swelling on the mouth and tongue
  9. Chrysanthemum: these pretty flowers can skin issues if your pet comes in contact with it and its sap, and can cause vomiting if eaten
  10. Fruit trees: some part of the fruit tree can harm your pet (this includes citrus, apple seeds, and grapes)

 

What to do if you suspect poisoning?

Most toxic plants cause gastrointestinal issues when ingested. Be on the look out for any vomiting, diarrhea or not wanting to eat in your pet. Also check to see if your pet has chewed the plant or there is other evidence your pet got into the plant.

The ASPCA has a free pet poison control line.This line is open 24/7 and can advise on any type of poison. They will generally direct you to the vet once you figure out if what your pet ate is poisonous. Get to the vet as quickly as possible.

Poison control line (888) 426-4435 

What can I do to prevent pet poisoning? 

The best thing you can do is be aware. Be on the look out for signs your pet is interested in the plant, like sniffing and licking it. Also be aware of your pet’s mood. Many poisoning issues occur when your pet is bored or stressed.

If you have a particularly adventurous pet who likes to eat new things, try to avoid these plants in general.Choose plants that are pet safe, like most mint plants.

 

Pet poisoning turns fatally when treatment is not received quickly. Unfortunately it takes many owners too long to notice the symptoms and suspect poisoning, so it is too late by the time they seek treatment for their pet. Always be aware of the poison risks in your house and look for signs of plant ingestion if your animal is acting odd.