Have you ever thought about what you need to do should your dog – or another dog – ever suffer a serious, life-threatening injury? What if they have a severe allergy to an insect bite or a bee sting? It’s great to know your vet’s phone number, but what if something happens during off hours? What if you don’t know where the closest emergency animal clinic is located?
Augh! Enough with the questions already, right? Any emergency is stressful and scary, and one involving that furry little four-legged member of your family is no exception. The toughest of owners can be instantly reduced to helpless balls of mush if something’s wrong with their dogs and they can’t figure out what to do.
1. Preparation is key.
The key to getting through a veterinary emergency is preparation. You may think you have that covered with a first aid kit and having the phone number to your vet handy, but what if there isn’t enough time to move your dog? You need to be well-versed in some of the more common animal emergencies just in case a situation ever arises. And hey, if a situation never arises, you’ll still feel more confident knowing that you have the ability to deal with one.
2. Know how to care for wounds.
Did you know that you shouldn’t use hydrogen peroxide on a bleeding wound? Nope. It slows clotting to the area, which means your dog could actually lose more blood than he would if you didn’t use the peroxide at all. In fact, the best way to treat a deep, severely bleeding wound is to apply a clean cloth and hold it in place for five minutes, then tape the cloth to the wound. That original cloth should never be removed – that also slows clotting – and should instead be layered with more clean cloths if blood soaks through.
3. Know what to do about poisoning.
Did you know that certain varieties of toads, salamanders, newts, and other amphibians are poisonous if licked? Hey, guess who loves to hold little woodland critters in his mouth! Your dog. If you notice your pup drooling, whining, and wiping at his mouth after a trip into the forest, get him to a clean water source and rinse his mouth thoroughly. While the poison can be fatal if left in the mouth, it’s fairly easy to cleanse from the tongue and glands.
Now imagine all of the scenarios that can happen to your dog, from fractured limbs to choking and everything in between. Do you really want to risk not knowing how to handle them? You don’t have to anymore, since I’ve written Secrets to a Healthy and Happy Pooch to help you learn how to cope with nearly any emergency as well as have the basis for handling all of the everyday and lifelong problems and situations you’ll face with your dog. From choosing toys to cancer and everything in between, it’s all in the book… as well as how to create the most effective first aid kit and handle the most common emergencies. Listen, even the most experienced dog owner needs a little help and advice now and then. Secrets to a Healthy and Happy Pooch is that constant source of help and advice.
1. Preparation: Don't wait for the last minute! When you put it all together at the last minute that creates more anxiety and tension for your dog as well as you! When you are prepared your dog will have a more normal experience. If you planning to make hotel reservations there many pet-friendly hotels to choose from.
2. Car Safety: Items to consider having depending on your pet's size and ability to ride in the car staying safe for both them, passengers and you: Pet Carriers, Car Barriers, Car Seats, Car Seat Belts. If you need to order any item on line, make sure you do it in plenty of time. If you are planning on going to a local pet store, again do it in plenty of time...for if they don't have it and your pressing the clock, the anxiety is already high and you haven't even left for your trip!
3. Take a long walk before driving off! A recently exercised dog will be in a more relaxed state during any long trip.
4. If your pet needs extra calming, instead of drugs from your pet's vet, you may want to consider Lavender Scent. Any health food store has that and will not make him/her disoriented or feel uncertain during the trip.
5. Make sure your dog has access to water – enough to keep hydrated but not full. Bottled water is perfect. If you need feeders there are many to choose from that are effective and very low cost.
6. Don't forget to bring your dog's food, favorite toy and blanket to keep them happy and balanced.
7. Make sure your dog has clear and effective identification. Be sure that the identification has your contact information while you are still away from home.
8. Put together a doggy first aid kit for the trip. If you are not sure what that may include it's best to call your vet for he or she knows your dog!
9. Always use a leash and stay with your pet at all times. Dogs are very curious and in new places may try to run off and explore. If you have trouble walking your dog any time you may want to consider mastering how to control your dog.
10. Never ever leave your dog or any other pet or child in a hot car even if you roll the windows down. A car in the sun can reach temperatures of near 200 degrees causing heat stroke and even death to pets & humans left in them.
11. Never leave your dog alone and unattended in his or her carrier. Unfortunately kidnapping of your dog is a very real possibility. You may want to consider a GPS system to ensure your pet's safety.
12. Ensure your dog has the chance to potty every few hours. We have noticed when the owner is calm and relaxed throughout the trip (and that includes the preparation!) the dog will also maintain a calmness. It is common in unfamiliar places like this your dog's regular potty schedule will be interrupted and you don't want any embarrassing issues. If traveling to a theme park check with employees about places setup for your dog to potty in. Most will have areas around the park for you to use.
13. Take a break every hour. This will allow them to not only relieve themselves but keep the circulation on all vital organs. Plus, they will learn by smell that they are going to a different environment. It is important for a dog to experience the different temperatures, smells, and feelings that come with a new environment. This will help make them feel that they are part of the process of moving to a new area. Once the sun goes down, you can go eight hours non-stop!
14. Once you arrive at your hotel, or family/friends home, take your dog for a walk! If you are not sure where to go, ask the pet friendly hotel.
If you are driving to the beach:
1. Know the local laws. Not all beaches allow dogs! If they do, make sure you know if you have to keep them on a leash at all times or not.
2. Sunscreen: it's not just for people. Pups need protection too! Talk with your veterinarian about protective goggles and canine sunblock.
3. Protect your dog from fleas. Sand fleas are abundant!
4. Get a Condition Check on the weather and ocean tides, undercurrents and Sea lice, jellyfish. All of these factors can pose just as much of a threat to dogs as they do to humans. Before you let your dog roam, verify with a lifeguard that the environment is safe.
5. Never let your dog drink the ocean Salt /bay / or lake water! Keep your dog hydrated with fresh water. Salt water can make them sick. Please watch for signs of dehydration. You may be use to being out in the sun and water, but your dog may not. Watch for signs. Sand and heat can make a normal exercise routine more strenuous. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, call your dog back to rest in a shady spot.
6. Watch them at all times, for you don't want them to eat things that wash ashore, like dead fish, fishing lines, plant life.
7. Be prepard to pick up after your dog! Keep the water and beach area clean for others. Respect goes both ways and it is noticed.
8. When you and your dog are done for the day give him/her a bath with fresh water. Find out if the beach has an area to do exactly that before going back to the car or hotel. If not, find out from the hotel where the best place is. The chemicals and sea water can be harmful to your dogs coat and general well being.
These pet safety tips will help you and your best friend in having a safer, happy and balanced trip. Just remember to stay calm and positive with your dog and everyone will benefit. Stay safe and have an awesome trip!
We know that obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. Thirty percent of American adults – that's 60 million people – are obese. But there's another statistic that is even more startling and concerning to pet owners and veterinarians: according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, approximately half of all dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. That's 84 million animals that weigh more than they should for optimal health. Just as with people, obesity in pets is associated with many health risks, including osteoarthritis, Type 2 diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, and many forms of cancer.
What causes obesity in pets? It generally comes down to consuming more calories than the pet needs. According to veterinarian Susan Nelson, assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University, “Pets are overeating and under-exercising, and they're eating too many high-fat foods and treats.” Dr. Nelson suggests a number of factors to consider when feeding your pet, including paying attention to the nutritional information and calorie content of what your pet eats. While we often think to at least glance at the nutritional information and calorie content marked on our own food, we may not think to do the same for our pets.
Is my pet overweight?
It's relatively easy to determine yourself if your dog or cat is overweight. First, take a look at your pet's ribs. If your animal is a healthy weight, the ribs shouldn't be seen but should be easy to feel. They should be covered with a thin layer of fat – if they are difficult to feel under a large layer of fat, that is a sign your pet is overweight. Next, take a look at the animal's stomach. A sagging stomach, where you can grab a handful of fat, is also a sign of excess weight. Finally, take a look at your pet's general body shape. When looking at the animal from above, you should be able to easily make out a waistline. A dog should be an hourglass shape – broader at the shoulders and hips and narrow at the waist. A broad, flat back is a sign your pet is overweight.
How much should I be feeding my pet?
Figuring out how much you should be feeding your pet is not as straightforward as it may initially seem. Amounts vary based on the type of food, your pet's metabolism, and the amount of exercise it gets. If your pet is a healthy weight, a good place to start is with the amount suggested by the guidelines on the pet food packaging. If your pet is just a bit overweight, look at the guidelines and feed it the amount suggested for its ideal weight, rather than the weight it currently is.
The typical domestic cat should weigh about 10 pounds, and needs about 275 calories per day. Unlike cats, the caloric needs of dogs vary greatly depending on breed – a variance expected when dogs can range in weight from under 5 pounds to over 100. A 10-pound dog needs about 300 calories per day, while a 50-pound dog needs 1,200. Feeding guidelines on your pet's food bag will take into account approximate caloric needs, but it's important to realize that food amounts may change if you change the type of food you're feeding your dog or cat. Since pet foods can vary greatly in fat and calorie content, one cup of Type A food will not necessarily equal one cup of Type B food.
What about treats?
Just as we sometimes don't realize (or don't want to realize!) how many calories snack foods can contribute to our diet, it's easy to forget to consider the number of calories contained in the treats we give our pets. Luckily, it is becoming more common for pet food manufacturers to list nutritional information, including calorie content, on packaged pet treats. Nutrition and calorie information is also often available online, so try visiting the company's website if you can't find what you're looking for on the packaging. It is fine to include treats in your pet's diet, but calories from treats should account for 10% or less of your pet's overall caloric intake.
Pets, particularly dogs, can be scavengers. While some dogs are very well-behaved, others go through the trash, beg at the table, and try to help themselves to anything that looks particularly tasty. In households with small children, often one of the first things a pet realizes is that children are an excellent source of table scraps. Everything the child drops – and children drop a lot! - will be devoured by a waiting animal. And it usually doesn't take long for children to discover that feeding their pet is a fun game, leading to even more shared calories. Adults are not completely innocent either – many people feed their pets table scraps, or allow them to eat food that drops on the floor. Rarely do we consider how many extra calories human food is adding to our pet's diet.
A Family Affair
As Dr. Nelson says, “It's important to count calories if your pet is overweight.” If you have a dog or cat that needs to lose a few pounds, counting calories can help you achieve that goal and help your pet stay healthy. But everyone in the family needs to be involved in this process, not just one person. No matter how careful you are about feeding your pet an appropriate diet, it won't be successful if other family members are slipping their beloved pet treats and table scraps. It's important that the entire family realizes the importance of helping their pet maintain a heathy weight. Giving food is a way to show love, but an even better way is to help your pet stay healthy and live a long life as a member of your family.
Your Pet's Weight Matters
Just like with humans, the primary cause of pet obesity is too much food and too little exercise. Obesity presents cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and digestive dangers to your pet's health while also increasing the risk for diabetes, arthritis, fatigue and heat intolerance. In all overweight dogs and cats, the body structure ages prematurely and can reduce the lifespan of your pet.
Checking Your Pet for Weight Gain
By monitoring changes in your pet's body, you can identify additional pounds early. Here are a few areas to check:
* Run your hand over your pet's hips. You should feel the bumps of two pelvic bones without applying pressure.
* Place your thumbs on your pet's back and run them along the backbone with your fingers over the ribs. You should be able to feel the bumps of the ribs without applying any pressure. If you can see the ribs or they are protruding, your pet is too thin.
* Push your thumb and index finger into the flesh at the side of the neck above the shoulder and pinch together. Your fingers should not be more than a half inch apart.
* When you look at your pet from the side, the abdomen should not be hanging down
* When looking at your pet from above, you should be able to see a waist behind the ribs
Making Changes to Reduce Obesity Risk
The first step is to consult your veterinarian. He or she will be able to provide you with a detailed feeding and exercise plan if necessary. Ask about regular follow-ups to ensure the plan is working. Here are other things to help reduce weight gain:
* Don't misinterpret an empty bowl as an empty stomach. Even if your dog or cat "cleans their plate", make sure you are controlling portions appropriately.
* Make time for extended exercise. Playtime alone or outside is not enough. Schedule a play session or a long walk to help keep your pet's muscles toned.
* Pay attention to the fat and calorie content in the food you buy. Fats are an energy source, but excess fat adds pound quickly. Similarly, look for low calorie diets that offer the same quality ingredients found in higher calorie foods.
* Don't let your pets snack on your table scraps.
To promote your own health along with the health of your pets, explore ways that you and your dog or cat can exercise together. Some canine breeds can be great company for a long walk or jog. Keep in mind, cats prefer frequent periods of intense activity rather than longer exercise sessions.
The Pom is a little dog with a big personality! This tiny fluffy creature has a wedge shaped head and looks like a little fox. With it’s bright eyes, it seems like it is always smiling and willing to please. It is intelligent and eager to learn, but a firm hand must be applied or this little darling can become yippy and demanding.
Along with all this cuteness and fluff, however, go some special grooming needs. While not excessively demanding, the Pomeranian does require some daily attention which you can use as a great excuse to bond with your pet!
It is important that your pet get good dental care. Pomeranians are prone to tooth loss and bacteria build up. If the bacteria is allowed to run unchecked, this can cause problems with your pets overall health. Luckily, maintaining good dental health is easy! Simply buy an enzymatic toothpaste that fights bacteria (your vet can recommend a good brand) and a small tooth brush (I use the one that has a loop that fits on my finger). Try to brush your dogs teeth every day. Have your vet do a dental exam once a year and scaling if necessary.
Brushing your Pomeranian every day is a good way to bond with your pet as well as insure his coat is healthy and looks good. Poms have a double coat that can easily become matted so brushing is necessary. A once a week – or every couple of weeks – bath is a nice way to keep your Pom smelling and looking good! Don’t forget to groom around his paws and tail area as well as clip his nails.
Like most small dogs, Poms can have a buildup of discharge from their eyes that can cause a lumpy mess. This buildup can stain the fur and, although my Pom’s never said anything, I’m sure it must be uncomfortable. To avoid this mess, simply clean the eye area each day with a Q-tip. Be sure not to get too close to the eye as you don’t want to accidentally poke your pet in the eye!