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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.

 

 

Is Sidewalk Salt Bad for My Dog?

 

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

So 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
  2. Wipe your dog’s paws right away after each walk; this will prevent your dog from licking the salt off of his paws
  3. Do not allow your dog to lick water off the ground
  4. Walk your dog is winter booties (available at most pet stores)
  5. Use pet-safe ice melt (this is made of urea)

While sidewalk salt can be a winter risk, it shouldn’t prevent you and your dog from having an awesome walk.

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.

Colorado Heartworm Cases on the Rise

 

Local veterinarians in Colorado have begun routinely testing their pet patients for heartworms, due to an increase of the parasites found in our beloved pets.

Although still relatively uncommon in our state, over 75 percent of vets in Colorado have seen cases of heartworm disease in the pets they treat. The escalation has been linked to adopted “imports” of dogs and cats originating from the Caribbean and U.S. states with a high mosquito population.  For example, in the Bahamas, nearly 90 percent of the street dogs are infected.  When an infected animal is rescued and relocated, the disease can be introduced to the local mosquito population, boosting the odds of then-infected mosquitos biting a local animal and injecting the infected blood. From there, heartworms – which can reach up to one foot in length – can develop and, left untreated, will continue to grow within the animal’s heart and lungs, resulting in a fatal infestation.

A simple test can detect the presence of heartworms, which can be treated with a series of injections that kill the worms in dogs; unfortunately, there is no treatment for infected cats. However, since cats aren’t typical hosts for the parasites, most of the worms in a cat won’t survive to adulthood. Be that as it may, the key for keeping your pets healthy is prevention.

Have your pet tested annually, ideally during the spring season, and speak with your vet about which heartworm preventative is best for your cuddly companion.  The preventatives also combat roundworms and hookworms.

The Danger of Tobacco Smoke

 

We all know secondhand smoke is a health threat to humans, but did you know it can affect your pet as well? Studies have concluded that exposure to tobacco smoke can cause lung and nasal cancer, as well as allergies, in dogs; oral cancer and malignant lymphoma in cats; lung cancer, eye and skin diseases in birds; and respiratory issues for all.

 

Are you familiar with the newly termed “third hand” smoke? It is the residue that remains on skin, fur, furniture, clothing and other objects, even after the smoke has cleared the air. This can be just as dangerous to both you and your four-legged friend, especially your furry feline. Cats are known to groom themselves regularly. As they lick their fur, they ingest the toxins tobacco smoke leaves behind, which can damage the tissues within the mouth and lead to oral cancer.

Research shows dogs living with pet parents who smoke are more likely to suffer from respiratory diseases and lung cancer than dogs who live in a smoke-free home. The risk of nasal passage cancer increases 250% in long-nosed dog breeds with exposure to high levels of tobacco smoke, as the numerous poisons within the smoke build up in the nasal passages. However, the poisons are more likely to make their way to the lungs of short-nosed breeds.

 

Symptoms of cancer in animals include weight loss, difficulty eating and/or breathing, drooling, vomiting, nasal discharge, coughing, bleeding and sneezing. If your pet displays any of these symptoms, please seek advice from your vet.

 

Many smokers, upon realizing the negative affects their habit can have on their beloved pet, become more motivated to quit smoking. Others make a concerted effort to smoke away from their pet, usually outdoors. In a study published by Tobacco Control, researchers found 28.4% of smokers said learning the impact of second and third hand smoke on their pets motivated them to drop the habit.

 

It is no secret that smoking cigarettes is dangerous to a person’s health. Now we know it can also be detrimental to our beloved pets.

What is Tularemia?

 

This has been a hot topic in northern Colorado lately, but what risk does it pose to your pet? Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is caused by a bacteria which can be transmitted to many animals including dogs, cats, and humans.

How is Tularemia transmitted to pets?

  • By eating an infected animal
  • Tick and deer fly bites
  • Drinking contaminated water

So what are the signs of Tularemia in dogs and cats?

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Listlessness
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Abscesses

If your pet is acting abnormal, take him or her to the vet for further testing.

What is the risk to your pets?

Overall, the condition is fairly rare. Public health officials routinely test wildlife found dead for the disease. If you notice a large amount of dead rabbits or other animals in your area, you can contact the Larimer County Health Department at (970) 498-6775.

How can you prevent your pets from getting it?

  • Use flea and tick repellant
  • Keep pets away from dead wildlife
  • Do not let pets drink from puddles, streams and ponds

More information can be found at http://www.larimer.org/health/tularemia.asp#pets