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Canine Flu – Be Aware and Protect Your Dog

canine fluRecently, there’s been a “bug” circulating around the neighborhood dogs and it was believed to be kennel cough (i.e. bordetella). However, with the number of dogs it affected in such a short amount of time, tests were made and the “bug” is kennel cough caused by canine flu (aka canine influenza), which is highly infectious. According to Dr. Kristin Lester, DVM, kennel cough can be caused by numerous organisms and frequently occur concurrently (e.g. bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus, advenovirus type 2 and canine influenza, distemper, reovirus).

canine fluIf your dog has not been vaccinated against canine flu, then your dog will have zero immunity towards this virus. Of course, no flu vaccine is a 100% guarantee you won’t get the flu (just like the human flu vaccine), but it’s better than zero defense. While this might not be going on in your neighborhood (yet), we thought it would be good to update everyone to help keep your dogs safe and healthy.

If your dog frequents doggie daycares, dog parks, or any other locations where dogs play and hang out, you might want to have a discussion with your vet and consider getting your dog vaccinated. I just made an appointment today to get my dog, Kobi, vaccinated and apparently it’s a two shot treatment. Kobi will get a flu shot today and then we’ll go back in 3 weeks for the next round.

sick dogUnfortunately, a friend’s dog caught the canine flu. We thought it would be helpful to let you know how it ran its course. They first had their dog (we’ll call her Bella) on antibiotics, which was possibly more preventative than reactive, but was suggested by their vet. Bella’s parents kept her away from other dogs to prevent spreading the virus. To be safe, if your dog catches the flu, they should not be in contact with other dogs for at least 7 days after symptoms have resolved. The flu virus can also take up to 10 days to gestate and your dog may not show symptoms for over a week.

sick dogBella had a nasty cough (sounded like choking), which lasted about a week. The cough got worse before it got better and it was horrible sounding. Bella’s parents gave her honey, to try and coat the throat a bit (mixed reviews on this, but regardless she loved it) and gave her a couple of spoons of coconut oil with her food (a natural anti-viral). They also gave her lots of water, including luke-warm chamomile tea as it apparently reduces stomach spasms from the cough and made her drink lots. They also cut back on the length of Bella’s walks, much to Bella’s annoyance.

After 7-8 days from presenting signs, Bella was no longer coughing and had a lot more energy. She is back to playing, chasing and chewing her toy duck and was bouncing around on their walks. We’re so happy Bella’s feeling better!!!

Thanks to Dr. Kristin Lester, DVM, Fetch Club and Downtown Dog NYC for keeping us up-to-date on canine health issues in the NYC area!

Top 5 Tips to Create a Pet Friendly Home

In honor of National Puppy Day, we’re bringing you our Top 5 Tips to Create a Pet Friendly Home. We would highly advise them if you have a new puppy, but they could even help your relationship with your fully grown dog.

pet friendly home1. If it’s on the floor – consider it fair game

Dogs are literally living at a lower level than us, so they really notice first what’s on the floor. They particularly like it when there’s something tasty or smells good. Real leather fits the bill perfectly. Puppies that tend to chew a lot, will find your shoes and handbags on the floor irresistible. Even my dog, who’s trained quite well, went through at least 4 pairs of shoes and almost a handbag (I quickly rescued it before major damage was done) when he was a puppy. So just don’t tempt them, if you like it, keep it off the floor.

2. If they can reach it – it’s also fair game

Pappy

Pappy

When creating a pet friendly home, you need to take into consideration how tall your dog is – including how tall he is on his hind legs and stretching. Dogs will use all their efforts to get to something they really want. Did you read our post on how Pappy nabbed the family rotisserie chicken? Pappy was 8 years old when this happened, so this isn’t just a puppy problem.

There’s also the issue of the coffee table – your dog reaching it from the front with his mouth or from the back with his tail. You’ve got to be the responsible pet parent here and realize the coffee table is a potential disaster zone. Keep and eye out or make sure your dog can’t get near it.

bad foods for dogs Did you know it’s National Poison Prevention Week? As a reminder, please make sure those potentially dangerous human foods are out of reach of your best friend. A friend of mine had some chocolates on the dining room table and while she was away at work, her puppy dachshund jumped on the chair and then up on the table and ate all the chocolates – which very sadly resulted in her puppy’s passing. If in doubt, put it away!

3. Give your dog his own personal space

While most of us would agree that a dog’s life is quite nice, they still need some personal space. At times they’re going to want to escape from the family chaos and retreat into their own little spot. Perhaps it’s a special spot in your home or your dog’s crate (read more about crates at: The Dog Crate – An Essential Part of Your Home). Make sure it’s comfortable, cozy and preferably den-like.

4. Baby-proofing is not just for babies

pet friendly homeWhen you start to look at some things in the pet and baby departments, you’ll notice some cross-overs. For example, there are baby gates which are useful not just for babies but also for dogs. There are play pens for babies and also for dogs. You’ve got diapers for babies and pee pads (which are essentially flat diapers) for puppies.

Most importantly, you want to make sure your babies and doggies cannot get to harmful chemicals or drugs. Babies and doggies also tend to have their mouths on a lot of things you would prefer they avoid, so store things appropriately and avoid harsh chemical which they could potentially come in contact with.

5. Clean up – your dog will appreciate it

Pet friendly homeLet’s say you’ve abided by tips 1 & 2 and have stored all those things away that you don’t want eaten or chewed. Next is to reduce the dirt and dust in your dog’s life. Certain allergens, dirt and mold can affect your dog’s health and greatly decrease their quality of life. It’s probably not healthy for you either.
Not to mention, if you keep the toilet seat up and you have a lab (or similarly larger breed) – they’re probably going to try to drink out of the toilet a some point when you’re not looking – let’s keep the bowl clean if not for you, then for your best friend.

To conclude, we’re not recommending you to become some sort of neat freak. Having a dog (or babies) definitely makes life a bit messier, but with that comes a lot of laughter and love.

Hot Weather Tips for Your Dog

summer dog

It’s great to spend time with your dog outside. Just remember to take some simple precautions to help prevent your dog from overheating during the hot weather. Here are our Hot Weather Tips for Your Dog:

Hydrate

Make sure to bring water with you – not just for yourself, but also for your dog. Check out these water bottles for dogs.

Shade

Look for a shady place for your dog so they can get out of the sun and cool down.
water bottle

Street Smarts

When the temperature is high, don’t let your dog walk on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly, and its sensitive paw pads can burn.

Not sure if it’s hot? Well if it’s too hot for your foot, it’s probably too hot for your dogs. Press the back of your hand firmly against the asphalt for 7 seconds to verify it will be comfortable for your dog. The last thing anyone wants is for your dog to burn his paws.

ruffwear cooling coat

cooling coat

If you live in an area where the ground is always scorching hot, consider getting your dog some dog booties for hot weather.

Exercise

Try to exercise dogs in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are lower. If your dog quickly overheats, you might want to try out a cooling coat.

Water Activities

Dogs, like people, often love to get wet when it’s hot outside. Make sure to introduce your dog to water gradually and don’t leave them unsupervised around a pool as not all dogs are good swimmers and they should not drink pool water, which can be toxic.

Summer dogDogs should wear a flotation device when on boats (just like us humans do). Never take your dog to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for them to drink. Consider having your dog wear doggles to protect their eyes.

Remember to rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from their coat.

Sunscreen

sunscreen for dogsSunburn is a hazard for pets who spend time outdoors. Use a pet-safe sunscreen to protect your dog from the sun’s harming rays, which can cause skin cancer especially of the ears and nose. Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog – the layers of dogs coats can protect them from sunburn.

Warning Signs

If you find your dog excessively panting or just not wanting to exercise or walk as they normally would, your dog might be overheating. Try to get them out of the sun and preferably in an air conditioned room asap.

Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car!!!

NEVER leave your animals (or children) alone in a parked vehicle. A parked car can become an oven and easily lead to fatal heat stroke for pets and children. Please keep them at home if you can’t bring them with you.

Now that you have the tips – go outside with your best friend and enjoy a great, safe summer!

Top 2 LED Dog Collars – easily see your dog at night

LED Dog Collars

Orvis Safety Light & Glowdoggie

As the days are getting shorter, we thought it was a good time to update our LED Dog Collar recommendations.  The LED Dog Collar is a must have for any dog owner that takes their dog out at night. Not only can you better see your dog, but so can others! Wearing a dog collar light can be a great safety device and life saver.

Based on our tests, these are the Top 2 LED Dog Collars on the market that we think you’ll love. We tried to get better pictures of our own dogs with the LED Dog Collars on, but it was a challenge with it being dark outside and the dogs’ non-compliance in staying still.

Orvis Safety Light

Orvis LED Dog CollarThe Orvis Safety Light is waterproof, impact resistant, and visible up to 3 miles away. Best of all, the Orvis LED safety light fastens anywhere on your dog’s collar via a clip or hook-and-loop strap (both included). It’s like a mini flashlight on your dog’s collar. We’ll not only use this on dog walks at night, but also when we have power outages (like during Hurricane Sandy). We might even take it on a late night run.

Orvis Safety LightThe light is easily turned on by simply rotating the lens. It has both steady and flash modes. To switch from steady light to flash, just flip the battery to change the function. Allegedly, this is the light that Danish search-and-rescue teams rely on to keep their dogs visible in dark and dangerous conditions.

The light comes in clear (white), red and amber colors. It is a 100,000-hour bulb with a 250-hour battery life and weighs less than 1 oz. Being small and compact, it’s great for travel, especially since you can easily take it on and off.

Glowdoggie LED Dog Collar

Glowdoggie in green

Glowdoggie LED Dog Collar

We were impressed how bright the Glowdoggie Classic is! It’s the brightest all-around dog collar we’ve seen on the market and it’s not annoyingly bright either. Glowdoggie also makes an Ultra version which is about 50% brighter and can also run on rechargeable AAAs if desired.

The Glowdoggie (aka Leuchtie) is made and engineered in Germany. You can immediately tell it is made of robust, durable, quality components. It’s also 100% waterproof (your dog can go swimming in it) and comes with a 2 year warranty. The Glowdoggie has been tested in all types of extreme climates, from the Arctic Circle to the Western Australian Desert, and it’s used by many SAR teams around the U.S..

Glowdoggie

Fiesta tests the Glowdoggie

The Glowdoggie is unique in that it’s not actually a collar. It’s a flexible ring that you slip over your dog’s head and as such you need to order it in a specific size for it to fit your dog, i.e. there’s no way to adjust the size of the ring. There is no need to open the ring, except for changing the AAA batteries. The Glowdoggie should be used in addition to your dog’s normal collar. A nylon strap is included if you prefer to attach the Glowdoggie to your dog’s collar.

Fiesta has been using the Glowdoggie for over a year and loves it (so does her “daddy”, Luis).

Glowdoggie LED Dog CollarThere is no on/off switch on the Glowdoggie, instead, it’s turned on when the battery portion is facing down (as it is in the photo on the right) and gradually turns off when it is in the up position. Luckily there are plenty of instructional and product demonstration videos on the Glowdoggie website. The battery life is 100 hours. The Glowdoggie Classic + comes in six different colors (green, blue, aqua, red, white and pink).