Do you remember your dog’s first experience with snow? Like a curious, boundless child, your dog discovered a whole, new winter wonderland filled with fresh smells. Bouncing into snow piles, rolling around in a yard newly dusted with white powder – what a thrill! For dogs, snow ranks right up there with fallen leaves.
Enjoy the change of seasons with your dog. But beware of winter hazards that can harm his health. First, don’t allow your dog to eat snow. He’ll be tempted to stick his licker into a snow pile for a taste. Sure, it looks clean and pure. But snow is frozen rain, and you wouldn’t put a bucket outdoors before a storm and collect drinking water for your dog. (Plants, maybe – but animals, absolutely not.) Snow can cause spasms in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause diarrhea, stomachache, and colds.
As you clear walkways, choose sidewalk de-icer that is safe for dogs. Or, avoid using salts in areas where you will walk your dog. After using de-icer, sweep and collect excess pebbles. If you must sprinkle a dose of salt on your porch for safety purposes, lead your dog out the back door. Salt will irritate paws and cause sickness if your dog ingests it. Prepare your dog for outdoor play by ensuring he will keep warm and dry. Heavy-coated dogs do not need extra insulation, but smaller dogs and those with short hair (or a fresh haircut) may need a sweater to stay toasty during walks. You may also consider protective do boots if ice between paw pads is a concern.
Health and Safety
- Health Checks. Bring your dog to the vet’s for a check up before going on an extended trip. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date; shot records with you. Health certifications are required for airline travel.
- To keep your dog healthy as you travel, bring along a supply of his regular food and some local, or bottled, water. Be sure to bring any medications he needs.
- A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car, and is required for airline travel. It can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Look for these features when purchasing:
- Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down.
- Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
- Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material.
- Ventilation on opposing sides, with exterior rims or knobs to prevent blocked airflow.
- “Live Animal” label, arrows upright, with owner’s name, address and phone number.
- Stock the crate with a comfortable mat, your dog’s favorite toy, and a water bottle, and your dog is ready to go.
- In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of recovery by making sure he can be properly identified.
- Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your home phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots.
- Consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip (see CAR).
- Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.
Traveling by Car
- Get your dog used to the car by letting him sit in it with you without leaving the driveway, and then going for short rides.
- Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times.
- Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
- Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.
- Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.
- Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
- Car rides are boring for everyone, so instruct your children not to tease or annoy the dog in the car.
- Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer. See Summer Safety Tips for more information. If you must leave the car, designate a member of the family to stay with the dog.
- Each airline has its own set of rules for canine air travel. You should call for information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip.
- All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.
- Some airlines will not transport animals when it is extremely hot or cold.
- Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo. Small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or carrier.
By Train, Bus and Boat
- If you plan to travel by train or bus, you may be disappointed. Dogs are not permitted on Amtrak trains or on buses operated by Greyhound and other interstate bus companies. (Service dogs are permitted.) Local rail and bus companies have their own policies.
- You may fare better if you’re taking a cruise. The QE2 luxury cruiser, which sails from New York to England/France, provides special lodging and free meals for your dog. However, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your dog on a cruise with you.
- Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size or breed restrictions.
- If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property.
- Keep your dog as quiet as possible.
- Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
- Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after him. Do not leave any mess behind.
- Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.
Holiday Ornaments: When decorating for the season, consider your pets, Old Fashion bubble lights may contain a poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside them could be dangerous to their health.
Tinsel: If you own a cat toss the tinsel! What look like a shiny cat toys could prove deadly if ingested.
Liquid Potpourri: Filling your home with holiday smells may seem inviting – but if your scenting your home with oils in a simmer pot they can cause serious harm to your cat. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but still better to be safe than sorry.
Antifreeze: It can be found in numerous sources, snow globes, in the toilets of cabins as we winterize them for the year. Since the weather is cold the radiators of our cars are being check more often, try not to spill it! As little as one teaspoon for a cat and two teaspoons for a dog depending on the size can be fatal.
Plants: Though they have a bad rap, poinsettias are only mildly toxic. Other holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe and lilies are more toxic especially to cats. Some florists have been known to add Japanese Yews to the wreathsall parts of this plat are very poisonous.
Alcohol: Most people know to keep alcohol away from their pets; however, alcohol poisoning in pets is more common than you think.
Holiday Foods: Tis the season for Holiday Goodies. Grapes, raisins and currents – can result in kidney failure in dogs.
Chocolate and Cocoa: Ingested in small amounts can cause vomiting & Diarrhea and in large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
Leftover, fatty meat scraps: Can produce inflammation of the pancreas.
Pet Poison Hotline: 1-800-213-6680
(A $35.00 consultation fee applies)
“Veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to digestive problems after the holidays because humans invite their animals to celebrate with high fat meals (ham, gravy, turkey skin), chocolates, bones, etc.,” warned Casandria Smith, L.A. Animal Services chief veterinarian.
“Turkey bones are hollow and can easily break and splinter into sharp pieces, causing blockage and perforation of the intestinal tract. A pet who has a turkey bone lodged in the digestive system may not exhibit any symptoms for one or two days. However, when they do occur, symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting or diarrhea,” Dr. Smith added.
Dr. Lila Miller of the ASPCA adds: “Know your pet’s temperament. If lots of people are coming over and your pet is not used to parties and lots of noise or is food aggressive, consider placing, them in a quiet part of the house until the guests leave. Conversely, if your pet is a party animal and loves to mix and mingle, be sure to ask your guests not to slip them table scraps or treats without permission.”
Companion animals who are given leftover turkey to eat can also suffer from salmonella food poisoning. Salmonella is an organism that lives in the turkey’s intestinal tract. Meat that sits out at room temperature for too long can cause salmonella organisms to multiply and cause contamination. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, a high temperature, loss of appetite and listlessness.
Consult a veterinarian immediately should a companion animal exhibit any symptoms for salmonella poisoning or turkey bone ingestion.
It is also important for animal caregivers who will be out of town for the holidays to make arrangements for the care of their companion animals by providing food, water, appropriate care and a secure environment.
“In providing for our companion animals, it is equally important to make sure they wear proper identification. Licensing our dogs, for example, greatly increases the chances of reuniting a lost pet with its owner,” reminds L.A. Animal Services General Manager Dan Knapp.
For information or assistance, look in the yellow pages under animal shelter, SPCA, humane society or animal protection league. City of Los Angeles residents can reach their nearest Animal Care and Control Center by calling 1-888-4LA-PET1 or 1-888-452-7381 (TTY Hearing Impaired: 877-875-8205). Consult your veterinarian for medical advice.
L.A. Animal Services houses and cares for some 70,000 lost and abandoned animals annually, enforces animal-related laws and acts to prevent cruelty to animals.
City of Los Angeles Animal Services
419 South Spring Street, 14th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90013
Thanksgiving is a great time of the year filled with the first chills of winter and the warm relief of fabulous feasts. It is hard enough to show self control during this eating frenzy, so Go All Natural Pet is offering some great advice to keep you and your pet on the safe and happy Thanksgiving trail. Here are the top 8 Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts, they are great reminders and rules to live by.
1. Packing on the pounds is a Thanksgiving tradition for most of us, but it can be as dangerous for our animals as it can be for us. A diet high in fat can be extremely harmful to your pet’s health, and even though it’s only once a year, the change in diet can not only lead to obesity but some digestive issues. Feed your pet their normal pet food and refrain from over indulging them with table scraps!
2. Watch the table! Whether you have a little jumper or a long legged love bug, an unsupervised table of food can be more then just eye candy to your pets. Keep food covered and away from table edges. An easier solution might also be to keep the animal out of the dining room during dinner time. This can also help curb the urge to feed them Thanksgiving treats!
3. Secure your trash! Keep your trash cans out of reach of your animals, or better yet, take it out right after you’re done with it. This will insure that your animals don’t jump inside the canister or knock it over to get to those juicy Turkey bones! Even a vegetarian house wants to keep an eye out, onions and chocolate can do just as much damage!
4. Don’t give your pet’s animal bones! Cooked turkey, duck, geese and other bird bones are dangerous to your pet. They are hollow and break and splinter easily. Also, because they are so easily breakable, dogs usually won’t chew them thoroughly. The results are sharp pieces that can choke the dog or block, tear the intestines.
5. Keep your animal calm and unstressed while people are over. Most of our houses are filled with running children, the happy chatter of relatives and a football game in the background. Though cheerful for people, pets can get overwhelmed from these events and may become snappy or stressed. To insure that your pets have a great time too, consider giving them their own space away from people, feed them out of reach of children, strangers or loud noises and take them for a nice long walk before guests arrive to help spend that energy and get them calm.
6. Watch those four legged friends while cooking. Sometimes a little kitten under foot can create a disaster when carrying that large bowl of gravy. Keep all your pets out of the kitchen and away from the hustle and bustle. Also, watch cats around open oven doors. That warm hiding place can call to a cat and end your Thanksgiving celebration at the Animal Hospital.
7. Leave your pets at home when attending holiday parades and festivities. Though floats, large balloons and crowds can be a blast for your family, they can send your dog into an anxious or even aggressive state. Leave your dog at home and let them enjoy the festivities on TV while relaxing on their favorite blanket.
8. As always, make sure your pets are wearing their collars with tags. In case someone forgets to shut the door, you want to make sure your pets are easily identifiable.
Go All Natural Pet wishes you a happy, safe and cheerful Thanksgiving Holiday. May all the members of your family enjoy the celebrations and the festivities.
Dog lovers have a knack for figuring out ways to involve their dogs in every aspect of their lives. They certainly have with yoga for dogs – or doga. Doga means simply practicing yoga with your dog. Doga can be beneficial to your pooch because it increases muscle flexibility, decrease stiffness, and helps strengthen social bonds between your dog and you.
Some maneuvers common in yoga actually come naturally to dogs, so doga isn’t entirely foreign to them. For example, the downward-facing dog pose in yoga was actually borrowed from dogs.
TYPICAL DOGA POSES
- Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward-Facing Dog
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Upward-Facing Dog
- Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
- Sivasana: Corpse Pose
Ask your dog to “stay,” to hold poses. Then, ask him to assume his normal, relaxed position by saying “Okay” or your preferred release word. You may find that your dog has a shorter attention span and will be more apt to be distracted. Until your pup is four months old, limit his exercise to play and hold off on doga. Some doga classes even teach massage and acupuncture.
A game of fetch may bore a human after a few rounds of “Go get it!” and “Drop it!” Golden Retrievers are tireless fetchers, as are Border Collies and German Shepherds. For some dogs, there’s nothing better than racing after a flying ball or Frisbee, capturing it, and bouncing back to the owner, who really plays the role of a human catapult. Your dog isn’t shy about requesting a game of fetch. Usually, the “please” comes in the form of your dog’s producing his favorite ball and dropping it by your foot or in your lap.
Why do dogs go crazy for a game of fetch?
The fetch instinct is part of dogs’ DNA. In a pack, the alpha male dog would go out hunting with other senior, male dogs to collect food for the entire group. He would chase after prey, fetch and retrieve food, then return home with the bounty to share.
Fetch sparks dogs’ evolutionary prey instinct to find the most basic need: food. Today, dogs get all they can eat at home and fetch is playful and a way of pleasing their owners.
Now, about those dogs who love to fetch, but have no interest in dropping the ball or Frisbee? “Drop it” is a command you must teach to your dog. Again, dating back to dog instincts of the olden days, the top dog as the “hunter” got first refusal on the meat he retrieved for the pack. The one who fetched got first pick. Since your dog is fetching on item, you as the “pack member” get what’s left.
Train your dog to fetch by teaching “Go get it!” or “Go fetch!” and “Drop it,” so the game doesn’t turn into tug-of-war.
Picture this: As the skies darken overhead, an otherwise amiable dog is panting and pacing around the house with his tail tucked between his legs. When the first crash of thunder hits, he bolts into the bathroom and curls up tightly in the tub, where he remains, panting and trembling, until the storm passes. Sound familiar? Does your dog behave this way during storms? Not to worry, pet parents, here is some advice for helping your pooch overcome his fear.
Any dog can develop a fear of thunderstorms, but herding breeds seem more susceptible to developing noise phobias. Age is another risk factor: Dogs who are afraid of thunderstorms can become more distressed with each successive season, so it’s smart to start working with your dog as soon as you notice his fearful behavior. If your adult dog has suddenly become afraid of storms, please start with a visit to your vet. A sick dog may become more sensitive to sounds, and no amount of behavior modification will help if your dog’s fear is medically based.
Try the following strategies to reduce your dog’s anxiety during storms. For dogs with mild thunderstorm phobia, these tricks may get rid of the problem entirely.
- Let your dog take refuge inside. Storms aren’t as loud and scary with four walls around you! Bringing your dog into the house also ensures that he won’t try to escape from the yard.
- Having some human company often calms panicked dogs. If your calm, quiet touch brings him comfort or if he comes to you for security, it’s perfectly fine to pet and reassure him.
- Try turning on some calming music, a TV or radio, or a fan to muffle storm noises. Shutting the drapes may help if lightning also frightens your dog.
- More active distractions may help, too. See if your dog will eat from a food-filled toy, such as a stuffed Kong, scatter treats in the house for him to find, or try playing tug or fetch with his favorite toy.
If your dog’s quality of life is seriously impaired by thunderstorms, consider speaking with a vet about anti-anxiety medication. Medication can enhance the effectiveness of other efforts to help your dog cope with his fear. A technique called desensitization and counterconditioning can also help. This technique involves gradually increasing the volume of an audio recording of a thunderstorm to help your dog become accustomed to it, while at the same time associating the sound of thunder with good things, like treats and toys. Additionally, there are a number of products on the market that may help your dog remain calm during storms, including close-fitting body wraps, noise-reducing headphones and herbal remedies.
Some cats can’t get enough of catnip, but is too much dangerous? Find out the facts about this inspiring herb. A catnip toy may be one way of getting an overweight cat to engage in some much-needed exercise.
Fluffy sniffs the rug, shakes her head, then rubs her chin and cheeks on the carpet. Purring, she flops to the floor and rolls her body in figure eights. Springing to her feet, she dashes across the room, chasing an imaginary mouse. Has Fluffy gone mad?
No, it’s just that old cat magic at work – catnip. What is it in catnip that makes cats go crazy? The secret lies in the leaves which, when crushed, release a special oil.
Reactions to catnip range from excitement to relaxation to anxiety. No two cats react in the same way. When the substance’s scent is released, it triggers a pleasure center in the cat’s brain.
This chemical is what gives cats their catnip “high.” Not all felines respond to this fanciful feline flora, however. “Cats usually have a catnip gene,” says Dr. Carol Tice, DVM, of the Cat Clinic in Cary, North Carolina. “They are either born with the potential ability to recognize and react to catnip or they are not.” If your new kitten is ignoring her new catnip toy, there’s another potential reason: Catnip has no effect on very young cats. “The range in kittens is probably 3 to 8 months of age for it to work,” says Tice.
Catnip also is often called a feline aphrodisiac. “The behavior induced in some cats by catnip can resemble some of the behavior you would see when a female cat is in heat,” says Tice. Even if your cat does respond to catnip, not all reactions will be the same. “There’s no typical response to catnip, though it makes most cats goofy,” says Tice. “Catnip makes some cats roll, some nudge, some mellow, some hyper and some irritable – a normally placid cat may suddenly become aggressive with other cats. It may also stimulate the appetite or even reduce anxiety in some cats as it can have a calming effect.”
Is There a Limit?
Can your cat get too much of a good thing? Tice says no: “It’s perfectly safe and not addictive. I don’t know of any catnip hangover.’” How long the effect lasts will depend both on the individual cat and how much the cat has inhaled. The effect usually doesn’t last longer than 15 – 20 minutes. Catnip is so safe that it’s been prescribed for human use for many years. It’s also known to soothe, relax, and even relieve some digestive problems, sleeplessness, menstrual cramping, headaches and fevers.
Your dog periodically treats the yard as an all-you-can-eat salad bar, munching on the green grass like a cow. No, your dog is not having an identity crisis. Sometimes, dogs eat grass when they are sick to their stomach. If your pooch feels nauseated, her first instinct is to clear her belly of the “bad stuff”. That could be too many treats, or even pet food that just didn’t sit well. Grass acts like ipecac, helping your dog to vomit. So if you notice your dog eating grass, take away food and water and watch your pet’s behavior carefully. If you see her slink around with her tail between her legs, you should usher her outside. This is a clear sign that she is about to get sick. As you notice he activity returning to normal, allow small amounts of water throughout the day. Return to pet food once you are sure her stomach has stabilized.
Aside from indicating sickness, grass munching may indicate that your dog is not getting adequate fiber from her diet. However, if you are feeding your pet premium dog food, you can rest assured that nutrient deficiency is not the problem. Your dog probably just needs to throw up, and grass is a sure way to trigger the response.
If the need to eat grass or vomiting persists for more that a day, however, do check with your vet, as there may be some medical reason why your pet is feeling queasy.
Note: Not all dogs eat grass to vomit. Some breeds do this to add bulk to their diet.
Find quality dog food and treats at Go All Natural Pet!