Sometimes Mother Nature can strike without warning, and not being prepared can become life threatening in certain situations. September is Disaster Preparedness Month, dedicated to bringing awareness to – you guessed it – being prepared in the event of a disaster. This means having everything your family needs (pets included!) in the event of an emergency. Below are a few tips to help properly prepare your pets.
Start by identifying potential threats in your area – from tornadoes to tidal waves, not every area is effected by the same types of disasters. This can help shape your preparedness kit and the items you need.
The general rule is to prepare enough of everything for three days – so while you’re stocking up on canned goods for the family, don’t forget to grab an extra bag or two of dog food. It’s also crucial to stock up on any medicines your pet may be on and an ample supply of water. Have a freshly stocked pet first aid kit (gauze pads, ice pack, blanket, antiseptic wipes, etc.), a leash & collar (or pet carrier for cat owners), and make sure your pet’s I.D. tag is completely up-to-date in case your pet gets lost amid the chaos. Depending on your area, a flotation device and/or sweater for pets may be a major necessity as well.
Don’t wait until the wind is howling and the power is completely out in your city – come up with a plan and practice your course of action with the family, including designating someone to be responsible for the family pet!
For a full checklist for the whole family, head here: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster-safety-library
Dogs can’t exactly speak up and tell you their bones are hurting or that their paw is throbbing – and while technology is getting closer to helping owners understand, here are 7 signs that your dog may be in pain.
- Limping – this is an obvious one, but sometimes limping doesn’t mean their paws are hurting, it can be a sign of arthritis which can effect a lot more than just their leg or paw.
- Excessive Salivating – this is a good indication of an upset stomach. If you notice this, vomiting, diarrhea, OR constipation, consult your veterinarian.
- Whimpering or Whining – this is the most vocal that your dog can get, so keep an open ear out!
- Aggression or withdrawal – Just like humans, dogs can get grumpy if they’re feeling sub-par. If your usually sweet furry friend is acting crabby, or overly needy, consult your veterinarian.
- Appetite – if your dog is eating less than normal, he might be in pain – particularly oral pain.
- Licking – if you see your pet licking a certain area constantly, examine the area and gauge their reaction. Whether you’re able to locate the issue or not, consider calling your vet.
- Panting – excessive panting, sometimes accompanied by trembling or an increased heart rate, are signs of pain. While this one is a little tricky, you should know when it’s appropriate for your pet to be panting. For example, if you notice them panting before bed or during the night.
Remember to never give your pet over-the-counter meds without first consulting your veterinarian.
You LOVE pets, but your house is already full or your kids are allergic. The good news is, adopting isn’t the only thing you can do to positively impact pets (and people) in your community. Here a few ideas on how to get your fill of furry pals outside the home!
- Volunteer at your local shelter – There are tons of ways to make yourself useful at the shelter from walking the dogs to washing towels and changing food and water bowls. Your time will certainly not be wasted.
- Start a pet food bank – See if there’s a food pantry-type program in your area and see if they’d be willing to start accepting pet food (if they don’t already.) From there, start spreading the word – you’ll be surprised at how many people will rally for the benefit of pets in need.
- Clean up – Wild animals need our help too. If you have a river, beach, or open field in your area that needs tending to, grab some friends and pick up any trash or brush that’s inhibiting their home.
Dog parks can be a great outlet for dogs to run off leash and socialize with other pets – but they’re also a bit of a gamble, as some people aren’t aware of dog park etiquette. While you can’t control every dog that approaches your pet, here are some dos and don’ts on basic dog park etiquette that can make both of your experiences better ones.
- Don’t bring puppies under 4 months of age – prime socialization happens between 4 and 6 months old, anything younger may result in fear.
- Don’t take sensitive pups to an enclosed dog park when it’s busy – you don’t want to overwhelm and frighten them.
- Don’t force your pet to engage or participate – he’ll come around. Or maybe he’s just there to sniff, either way: let him enjoy himself.
- Don’t bring an abundance of treats or toys – your dog may be okay with sharing, but other dogs might not.
- Don’t bring dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered or are in heat – while your unneutered male may be a sweetheart, having unneutered males makes other owners nervous and some dogs react differently to those who are still intact.
- Consult your veterinarian and obtain all necessary vaccinations prior to taking them around a group of other dogs.
- Take a look around the park if you can. If you see a dog acting like a bully or an unsupervised pet, make the best decision for you and your dog.
- Clean up after your dog – there’s nothing that irks other pet owners more than seeing a dog owner ignore their dog’s waste. Plus, it’s a health hazard.
- Stay close to your dog – sure, you may take three loops around the park, but staying ‘involved’ lets other dog owners know you’re in control of your pet while also letting you intervene if other dogs get too rough with yours.
For more detailed tips on dog park etiquette, head here: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dog-park-behavior-know-risks-rewards
For most parents, having the kids back in school is kind of exciting (it’s okay to admit it) – you’re getting your house back! But for pets, it’s a strange change in schedules that may cause confusion and possible anxiety. If your dog has back to school anxiety, you may want to buy them some new toys and or treats. Stuffed toys are a great way to keep your dog stimulated and entertained when everyone leaves the house and, eventually, will start to be the signifier to your dog that he’ll be alone for a little while. You can also leave the television or radio on for background noise and added stimulation. Puzzle toys are also a great way to keep them busy, but not all dogs stay engaged with those kinds of toys. Also consider our Raw Frozen Ground Bones, as a reward, once you return home. They’re a great treat that you can feel good about giving your dog – they’re good for oral health and maintain all the nutrition and flavor of beef bones with marrow!
Fido. Fluffy. Max. Molly. When it comes to naming your pet, it’s kind of a big deal. Not only will this be what you’re yelling at the dog park and how you introduce your friends to your new furry family member, but it will also be the foundation for all of those crazy nicknames pet parents inevitably come up with. When adopting, you may find a pet who already answers to their name and, regardless of how you feel about the name, it’s best to leave it to avoid confusion. Here are some fun tips on finding the best name for your new pooch!
- Resemblance – Does your new dog remind you of a snuggly teddy bear or your favorite food? It doesn’t matter why he reminds you of these things, just roll with it! We’re sure Bear and Waffles won’t mind even a little bit.
- Get to Know Them – There’s no rule you have to name your dog as soon as you get him, so give it some time. Is he awily little Rascal? An inquisitive Sherlock? Does he get excited right along with you when Posey hits the ball out of the park? Take note of these little character traits, as they may yield your pups forever identity.
- NO Dedications – It comes recommended not to name your pup after someone, be it your favorite uncle or late grandmother. While you may see a positive association with naming your new love after someone, some may see it as offensive and you may eventually get tired of having your pet remind you of Uncle Ted.
- Pick a Name YOU Like – If you’ve always been a fan of the name Lucky then, by all means, name that new pooch Lucky. If you’ve always wanted a dog named Ravioli, then have at it. Just try to avoid names that may sound like other pets or family members in the house, as it can cause confusion and eventually a big ol’ headache. We hope you find the perfect way to dub your new dog!
Ah, the open road – sometimes it’s just what you need when you’re feeling a little restrained. And what could be better than looking in the rearview and seeing your best furry friend beaming in the backseat? Most dogs LOVE road trips – they’re new! They’re exciting! Things go so fast! All the foreign smells! But it’s important to be safe when traveling with pets, which means being prepared. If you’re like us and enjoy bringing the whole family along for some roadside sightseeing, we hope these road tips can be of use for you this summer!
- Buckle Up –There are a multitude of products out there to help minimize doggy distractions while driving, including harnesses that can clip right onto your vehicle’s seatbelt. It’s up to you to decide which product suits your pup’s travel style best, but it’s important to keep them safely in the backseat where they can’t jump into the front or become a projectile in the event of a short stop.
- Be Prepared – Make sure you have everything your dog needs for a couple nights away from home – food, water, bowls, treats, their leash, some chew toys, medicines (if applicable), and maybe even their bed if you have room. The more things your pet recognizes from home the more likely they’ll be able to comfortably relax while you navigate the roads.
- Plan Ahead – It doesn’t hurt to look up a few emergency clinics between points A and Z, just to be on the safe side. A first aid kit is also a small something that could make a big difference if a minor injury occurs and you don’t have cell service or a veterinarian in sight.
- I.D. – Make sure all information on your pup’s tags and microchips are up-to-date, as it could be the determining factor in you getting your pooch back in the event they wander away.
- Have fun! – This is wonderful bonding time for you and your pet, and seeing them next to you in the midst of unknown faces and places is a really heart-warming feeling. Let it be a reminder that they’re by your side anytime, anywhere.
The benefits of having a pet extend well beyond companionship, and sometimes our furry friends don’t receive the credit that’s due. Pets are a shoulder to cry on, alarm clock, exercise partner, and a true member of the family. There is over 25 years’ worth of research that show living with pets provides a bounty of health benefits! Learn more by checking out this news article: http://wqad.com/2014/06/20/how-pets-can-make-you-healthier/
The Fourth of July is a holiday many look forward to because, for some, it marks the true onset of summer fun – and it comes complete with delicious BBQs and fireworks! For others it marks an incredibly important time in our country’s history, which is still a cause for celebration. For our pets, however, Fourth of July may be a confusing hodgepodge of company and loud noises that they simply don’t understand. It’s important to take the proper precautions to ensure everyone has a blast this Independence Day. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Proper Identification – Fourth of July is one of the most popular days for pets to go missing, as it’s assumed they’re either trying to escape the loud noises or find you amid the chaos. Make sure they are wearing proper identification and their microchips and tags have the most up-to-date contact information!
- Give them a Safe Place – Whether it’s a bedroom or the whole house, give your pet a place where they can retreat and escape too many party guests, and loud booms and bangs! If your pet is showing severe anxiety, consider staying in with them or look into an anti-anxiety compression vest.
- Only Use Pet-Friendly Sprays – If you’re camping with your pet in tow, make sure any sunscreens or bug sprays are pet-specific, as the chemicals in those intended for humans can be toxic to canines.
Last Saturday, June 21, marked the first official day of summer and we couldn’t be happier! For us, winter is a time of reflection – being grateful for our warm homes and four-wheel drive. Summer, on the other hand, is a time to BBQ, hike, and splash the days away. Whether the whole family is in tow or just your furry friend, safely exploring the outdoors where you live is a great way to pass the time and enjoy the warm weather. Before you hit the trails, make sure you and your pets have plenty of fresh, clean water and that you take the proper steps for sun protection. Here’s a list of the Top Ten dog-friendly trails from across the country, http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/top-10-dog-friendly-hiking-trails.htm, but if you’re looking for a specific area, a quick Internet search should turn up some closer results. And when you grab yourself a cool treat when you get home, keep Fido included with our wholesome, delicious, frozen Healthy Licks!