Keeping Your Pet Safe and Happy in Summer

One of the things I’ve found over the past couple of years is that pet wellness and human wellness isn’t really all that different.  Pets now suffer from many of the same lifestyle-based diseases as us, including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and more.

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That also goes for summer-time dangers. Many of the things from which we need to protect our children–heat stroke, allergies, water dangers, insects–are the very things we should protect our pets from.

Julie Winton, a writer and mother-of-two, wrote this guest post.  By the way, she wants everyone to know what, when not busy raising her kids, she’s badgering her husband for a dog.

Here are some guidelines for helping your pet through summer:

  • Talking about Temperature

Heat stroke is one of the leading causes of canine death in the USA during summer months, and the temperature in your car can rocket very quickly even when parked up in a shaded area. Dogs cannot sweat from anywhere but the pads of their feet, so overheating can become a problem from which your pet may never recover.

Walk your dog first thing in the morning or in the evening–and never leave it–even for a few minutes. . Heat stroke isn’t entirely preventable, but by watching for symptoms and reacting quickly you could prevent a disaster during the hottest months of the year.

  • All about Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from hay fever. In early summer, pollen and spores can cause dogs to suffer discomfort although this tends to take the form of itching rather than watery eyes and sneezing. Regular grooming, oatmeal shampoo in cool water and avoiding heavily wooded areas should alleviate the majority of the symptoms but, in some cases, your vet may choose to prescribe antihistamines or steroid-based medication to further aid the healing process.

  • Vacation Precautions

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A lot of families will choose to vacation in a place which will benefit the whole family, including members with four legs! This is great for socializing a young dog so long as you remember you are not in your home environment, and as such need to put paperwork in order before leaving.

One of the major factors in vacationing with your dog is remembering that your local vet is unlikely to be reachable in the event of an emergency – as such, researching local practices and noting the number and address of a few is advisable. Ensuring that your pet insurance will cover you away from home is also essential, especially if your pet has a pre-existing condition which could require urgent attention during your vacation. Should your trip consist of any strenuous activity, keeping in mind the above tips about temperature awareness is the first step, while owners of brachycephalic – or short faced – dogs should keep an eye out for signs of over-exertion. A new environment is exciting and can cause your dog to run around for much longer than they would in a familiar setting.

  • Water Safetycanstockphoto14353911dogswimming

If you have an exuberant breed like a Labrador or Dalmatian, chances are they leap into lakes and rivers before you can blink! While this is an excellent form of exercise and can help keep them cool on hot days, caution should always be exercised around deep water. If possible, you should teach your dog to swim in a body of water you know well, and encourage them to join you by playing with a tennis ball – this is best in a backyard pool or using a child’s pool for smaller breeds. Never throw a dog into the water, as this could scare them off the idea for life!

After your swim, carefully rinse your dog off using fresh, clean water. This is because pool water contains chlorine, which can dry out sensitive skin and cause a stomach upset if ingested during routine cleaning.

As President of the California Veterinary Medical Association, Dr Dean Henricks, points out that, “We find more injuries with dogs during the summer months as more dogs are in the back of pickup trucks and fall out, and in the wild they get bitten by rattlesnakes.”

By remaining vigilant and preparing for all situations, whether this is a walk or a vacation, you can keep your dog safe this summer.

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ABOUT IRENE:

Irene Ross also works with humans–as an integrative nutrition and holistic wellness coach. She helps people alter unhealthy habits with her easy, 7-step system–so they can balance their lives and ignite that spark that everyone has.

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:  www.irenefross.com.

We Know Pets Can Help Keep Us Youthful, But Do They Also Keep Us Healthier?

There has been a lot of research as to how animals can help keep us youthful, but a study from Finland recently found that children who are around pets the first years of their lives are less prone to illnesses, especially ones like the ear infections for which kids are so known.

Although those around cats were still protected, they were a little less so than infants who were around dogs.

No one really knows for sure why and, although officials readily acknowledge that more research is needed, one thought is perhaps that the more time a dog spends outside, the more dirt he or she drags in–and that somehow stimulates the child’s immune response.

This story was reported on CNN; to read the entire story, click here.

What do you think about this?

 

What Dog Breeds Are Good With Kids?

In his mind, my cousin’s dog Logan–a pitbull mix–just sees himself as one of the boys, constantly playing and protecting his two little brothers.  In fact, not so long ago, the dog chased a bear (!) off the property to protect the kids (who were safely inside and nowhere near the animal)

My own dog, a westhighland terrier, never made the list of “best breeds for kids.”  Yet, he loved children and would pull at the leash whenever he saw any kid–so he could go over to greet him or her..  “He has the sweetest, kindest eyes,” a mother once told me. Baxter (the dog) was small, but strudy so he could withstand any rough play.

Some insist that mixed-breeds are the way to go–that makes sense, espdecially if it has genes from a kid-friendly breed (Logan’s is part Pitbull–which has made the list–but we don’t know his other breed is.)

The point is that, while certain breeds are always highlighted as the best for kids, breed-alone isn’t always a true indicator.  Sometimes environmental factors come into play.  I’m sure in Logan’s case, he’s always been treated as an integral part of the family so he knows no other way.  I know Baxter’s breeder had several young kids–who I’m sure always played with him.

In these cases, the dogs make positive associations.

That said, these breeds are also considered good with kids.

1.  Bulldog.  This dog is really sturdy, quiet, friendly and loyal.

2.  Beagle.  This breed does shed a lot–but it’s sturdy and cheerful.

3.  Bull Terrier.  This one is very active and needs a lot of play–so it’s especially good for large families.

4.  Collie.  The collie’s long hair does require a lot of brushing and grooming–but this is a very gentle breed.

5.  Newfoundland.  This one does have a tendancy to drool (a lot), but it’s gentle, patient and kind.

6.  Pit Bull.  The American Pit Bull, especially, is known for its love of children–the dog is loyal, protective and devoted.

7.  Labrador.  This breed has consistently been ranked as the #1 favorite in America.  it’s protective, playful and loyal.

8.  Poodle.  They don’t shed, so they’re good for kids with allergies.  Smart and gentle.

9.  irish Setter.  Playful, energetic, loves being around people.

10.  Golden Retriever.  Kind and smart.