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Dog Safety for Summer Parties

We hope you enjoy all the summer parties this season with your best friend and wanted to share a few dog safety tips.

Food at the Party

I’m sure your dog will be enjoying the party as much as you will,bad foods for dogs but they’ll also be using their cute brown eyes and charm to entice your guest to give them food. Clearly you need to be watching your dog, but also politely inform friends what your dog food rules are.
Make sure your dog doesn’t eat these human foods (see our list) and if your hosting the party, we would advise you don’t have grapes or chocolate finger food snacks just to be on the safe side. If you think your dog has eaten something dangerous, contact your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline.

Grass

dog_in_grassWhile many dogs love to roll around on the grass (and eat it too), many people do spray their lawns and grass with insecticides. Unfortunately, these can also be toxic to your dog.

Fireworks

It’s best to leave your pet at home (or indoors) during fireworks displays. Many dogs are very frightened of the noise. If your dog has a lot of anxiety from the sound of fireworks, you might want to consider getting a Thunder Shirt.
ThunderShirt

If you have fireworks at your home, be extra careful. Curious pets can easily get traumatized &/or burned if they are too close to a firework. Unlit fireworks can contain toxic ingredients if eaten or chewed on by your dog.

Heat

You definitely also want to check out our our “Hot Weather Tips for Dogs” which will get you the latest on keeping your dog cool while it’s hot!

Bugs

All the creepy crawlers come out to play in the warm summer months. Be sure your dog is receiving monthly preventatives to protect against fleas, ticks and heartworm disease. See also our category of Anti-Itch and Anti-Insect products.

Now that we’ve got that all covered – go out there and enjoy those amazing summer parties!!!

Urban Dogs – You’re Not Safe From Coyotes

CoyoteFrom January 15th to March 15th, coyotes from Canada to Mexico go through their mating cycle. While coyotes can be a year round concern, they become more territorial and aggressive during mating season. Coyotes can jump fences and have no respect for human territory. Smaller breeds such as Yorkies are more susceptible to being attacked.

Many of you might be thinking – hey, I live in a city, there’s no wildlife here, so this coyote issue doesn’t apply to me. Unfortunately, things are changing. in 2014 woman was attacked by a coyote walking her dog in Rockland County, New York.

01coyoteonroof.aptA friend of Dogsized also lost their dog to a coyote when she was walking in her gated community with both her child and her dog when the coyote attacked and took their dog. We’ve also heard about celebrities (e.g. Jessica Simpson and Ozzy Osbourne) that have lost their dogs to coyotes.

Attacks are on the rise in urban areas. In 2015, within two weeks, there were 6 sightings of coyotes in NYC!

What can you do to keep your dogs safe?
Top priority is awareness. As scavengers, coyotes are looking for food. They hunt most actively at night and they will raid your garbage. They emerge from their dens in the early evening to begin their hunt for food and return in the early morning.

coyote on trainCoyotes are opportunists, so it’s important to take cautions not to give them an opportunity. For example:

  • Keep small dogs and other pets indoors from dusk until dawn.
  • Feed your pets indoors or if you feed them outdoors do so during the day and never leave pet food out at night.
  • Make sure trash is not left outside in bags and that all trash cans have secure lids with locking mechanisms. Secure the cans to a fence or wall with rope or elastic cord so the trash cannot be tipped over.
  • Install motion sensitive lights in your back yard and around your house
  • Remove your bird feeders and outdoor pet food containers – coyotes will prey upon the small mammals that are attracted to them.
  • Remember – coyotes can jump fences and walls. They are also good diggers and will dig under fences. So even if you have a tall fence around your backyard might not keep your dog safe outside. You need to take steps to make your fence “coyote proof”
  • For more information on Coyotes, please visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife page on Coyotes.

We’re not anti-coyote, but want to inform you that this really is an issue. Don’t think that because you and your dog are in an urban environment that you’re safe. Definitely be more aware during January – March, especially at night. More questions? Check out these FAQs.

Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs

lyme disease
April is Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. (Don’t you ever wonder who assigns all these special days and months?) Anyhow, Lyme disease is a major problem, especially if you live in the Northeast. As it looks like spring is finally here and we’re spending more time outdoors, it’s time to think about ticks and Lyme disease prevention.

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted (bacterial) diseases in the world. It’s typically transmitted to dogs via a tick bite. Apparently ticks must feed for at least 12 hours before transmitting the bacteria causing Lyme disease.

The best way to avoid infection is prevention. Make sure your dog is taking a monthly parasite preventatives (e.g. Advantix – see also our article on Advantix vs Frontline). If you’re going out into the woods or elsewhere outside where you believe there are ticks, consider another layer of prevention via a tick collar (e.g. Preventic). Not sure if your area has a risk of Lyme disease from ticks? Check out this great map from the ALDF.

After you’ve gone outside in a possible tick zone, make sure to check your dog for ticks. You can easily combine this with your dog’s grooming routine.

How Do You Remove a Tick?

According to VCA Hospitals, if you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed (whew!). Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces.
If you find a tick attached to your pet, remain calm. Then get a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick with tweezers near the dog’s skin and firmly pull it straight out. Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove.

lyme disease

Ticks can be small!

If you crush the tick, do not get the tick’s contents, including blood, on your skin. The spirochete that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin. Before you toss out the tick, consider keeping the dead tick (i.e. very well wrapped up and in a safe place) so you can take it to your vet (or your doctor if you were possibly also bitten). The tick can be tested for diseases. While it won’t necessarily rule out if you or your dog contracted Lyme disease (you could have been bitten by another tick), it doesn’t hurt to have more information. The University of Massachusetts Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ) has a two minute video that explains their tick testing service and a bit of background about their “Save the Ticks” campaign.

lyme disease

Prevention – the first line of defense

According to Erika de Papp, DVM, DACVIM in New England 50-75% of dogs tested may be positive for Lyme disease. Most dogs that test positive are not clinically ill, which makes it difficult to determine which dogs should be treated. Apparently only about 10% of dogs that have tested positive will ever develop clinical illness from infection with the Lyme organism, so many veterinarians argue that treatment is not necessary for seemingly healthy dogs. There are two Lyme tests that assist vets in determining if the infection is active / recent. If your dog tests positive on a screening test, you should discuss additional testing with your veterinarian to determine if treatment is warranted. The most common signs of illness from Lyme disease are lameness, fever, lethargy and enlarged lymph nodes. The majority of dogs respond very well to antibiotic treatment.

For more information about tick-bite protection for tick-borne disease prevention check out the TickEncounter Resource Center (TERC) at the University of Rhode Island. Remember to also discuss these important topics and issues with your veterinarian.

Dog First Aid – Helpful Items to Keep at Home

firstaiddogIt’s National Pet First Aid Awareness Month – an effort started by the American Red Cross to draw attention to the need to know dog first aid. We’ve recently highlighted the American Red Cross’s guide for CPR for your dog, but thought it was important to highlight a few other dog first aid items that’s good to have around the home in case your dog has an accident or emergency.

dog first aidGimborn makes a number of great first aid products, several have been on the market for over 40 years and used by professional groomers and breeders:

  • Kwik-Stop Styptic Gel which forms an instant gel barrier to stop bleeding fast, especially for bleeding caused by clipping nails and minor cuts.
  • R-7 Antiseptic Spray specifically formulated to help speed the healing process of cuts, scrapes, and minor abrasions. It’s a gentle, cleansing formula does not contain alcohol and will not sting.
dog first aid

PawFlex

Need a band-aid for your dog, but it’s hard to find one that fits? Well PawFlex Bandages has created a line of bandages just for dogs. PawFlex bandages are a disposable non adhesive fur friendly super stretch all in one bandage that maintains a secure comfortable natural fit. The PawFlex sizes and designs are created for specific sized dogs and specific wound-care areas. Check out their website for more information: http://www.pawflex.com/

If your dog has skin issues/infections, hot spots, minor abrasions, and any other skin problems, povidone iodine is a great solution and you can buy it at any pharmacy or drug store. Dr. Karen Becker wrote a great article on the Huffington Post about the advantage of using povidone iodine for dog’s skin issues, “The solution I use will take care of staph, yeast, and pretty much any common bacteria but doesn’t sting or irritate the dog’s skin at all. And it’s safe if dogs lick the area after cleaning.”

You should also have a pair of tweezers at home in case your dog gets a tick. See our post on Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs which shows how to use the tweezers to pull out a tick.

dog first aid

ProCollar

Make sure you have the list of bad food for dogs. If you think your dog has eaten a dangerous food or been poisoned, call your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline immediately.

Last but not least is the dreaded dog cone. You probably already have one from your vet when your dog was spayed or neutered. The vet typically has them in clear plastic or a soft collar version. Last time we needed a collar for our dog Kobi, a Havanese, we used a different kind of collar – an inflatable collar from ProCollar. It seemed to fit our dog much better and he was less annoyed with it than the other collars we tried.

We hope your pet says safe and in case of an accident, remember to call your vet asap!