Is a Solar Eclipse Safe For Your Dog?

On August 21st, a Great American Total Eclipse will occur, darkening the skies and causing temperatures to drop.  Looking at such an event could burn up your eyes, permanently blinding you.  As my humans were talking about going into a room with closed shades during the eclipse, it occurred to them that such an event could be dangerous for pets also.  While dogs rarely look up at the sun, a certain turning of the head or just a curious glance at the darkening skies could lead to blindness.  It’s probably unlikely that your dog will go blind from being outside during an eclipse, but it is always better to play it safe and not take unnecessary risks.  Look up what time and for how long the eclipse will occur in your area, and keep your dog in a room with the shades drawn during it.  Your dog might just nap during that time, or, if he gets bored, you could give him a bone or play an indoor game of fetch with him.  If he gets too rowdy for the confined space, you can always put him in his cage.  A few hours of cage time won’t hurt him; his eyesight is more important!

My human was researching eclipses and dogs and saw a picture of a dog wearing special eye-protecting glasses for an eclipse.  This, however, is not a good idea.  Dogs will shake off glasses or not keep them on their faces properly.  Please don’t take your dog to see the eclipse!  He doesn’t understand or care about it, and it could be very dangerous!

Stay safe during the 2017 eclipse!

*Don’t forget about other pets such as cats!  Bring them inside also during the eclipse to protect their eyes.

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost

A hole in the fence, a door left ajar, an open window, a terrific jump over the fence.  There are so many ways your dog can get loose.  And, once your dog gets out, his nose leads him on rabbit trails and into unknown territory.  We love our pets and hope that them running away is never possible, but it can happen to the best of us.  What does one do when his or her dog gets lost?

Search

Comb your neighborhood as well as surrounding ones.  Also, carry your dog’s favorite treats and toys to lure him to you if you should spot him.  If your dog is accustomed to and likes it, you could bring a dog whistle or even a squeaker to attract his attention if he’s farther away.

Get Out Posters

Make out lost posters and post them all over – at the vet’s, library, local shops, telephone poles, etc.  Put a current, clear picture of your in color along with any needed description and your phone number.  Also, put that there is a reward being offered.  People are nice and often pick up strays, but an unspecified reward will make them very eager to keep their eyes open.  Also, run ads in various newspapers about your lost dog.

Set Traps

Set traps for your lost dog in places he would likely go to sleep (shy dogs will most likely seek out areas where they could easily hide like woods, under cars, and in bushes).  Pick out some old T-shirts you don’t care about and wear them for a day.  Then, put them into the live trap along with your dog’s favorite smelly food and toy.  The scent of you on your shirt will attract your dog if he is near.

Get the Word Out

Knock on your neighbor’s doors and tell them about your lost dog, asking them to tell their friends also.  Put posters about your lost dog in mailboxes and give them to your friends to pass out.  Also, give a poster to the UPS and mailman; their routes may go right by your lost dog.  The more people you tell, the more likely it is that someone will spot and save your dog.

Get Online

Get on your social media and get the word out.  Post about it on lost and found sites.  Ask your Facebook friends to like the post about your lost dog in order to reach more people.

Notify Shelters and Rescue Groups

Definitely tell your local animal shelter about your lost dog, but also tell shelters that are even in different counties.  Your dog could surprise you by his traveling, or someone could have picked him up in your county and then dropped him off at a shelter in his county.  Also, check animal shelters often in case your dog is picked up, and notify different veterinarian clinics of your lost pet in case someone brings him in.

Pay for a Phone Alert to Spread the Word

PetAmberAlert.com allows you to submit your lost dog’s appearance and your contact information, and then they alert the surrounding people via phone of your lost dog.  The phone alert, which will tell hundreds of neighbors about your lost dog, costs $50.

Prepare for and Prevent an Escape

It is always better to prevent an escape before it happens, but even a very cautious owner can lose his or her dog, so preparation is necessary.  Here are a few tips:

  • Keep current ID tags on your dog at all times.  In addition, a microchip could help your dog if he ends up in a shelter or someone takes him to the vet.  Many shelters and vets now scan found animals to see if the animals has a little chip in his skin which will give them the owner’s information.
  • Plug up holes in the fence, keep doors and windows closed, and put a lock on your outside gate.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car with the windows rolled down or in the back of a pickup truck.  Not only is it dangerous to leave your dog unsupervised in a car, he could escape from a door left ajar or an open window.  Also, a dog in the back of your pickup is dangerous in many ways.  Even a tethered dog could get loose and jump out of a (possibly moving) car, and smoke and debris could get into his eyes, mouth, and nose.

How to Reduce Doggy Odor

Cuddly, soft, and cute, your dog is just asking for a hug.  However, there is a problem: he stinks.  Most dogs carry around a doggy odor far from delightful.  It’s no surprise that they smell, however.  Rolling in the dirt, licking themselves, and walking through high grass are just a few of the doggy odor causing activities dogs do.  While some dogs will nearly always carry that smell, there are things you can do to greatly reduce it.  Try the tips below!

Wash Your Dog

Naturally, if you don’t wash your dog, he’s going to stink.  You probably wash your dog whenever he gets very smelly, but, with the case of reducing doggy odor, you might want to consider a weekly bath.  If you think your dog needs a bath more than once a week, consult your vet first.  Too much shampooing can dry out your dog’s skin.

Clean Your Dog’s Ears

My humans have had a lot of experience with cleaning dog ears thanks to me.  I’m prone to ear infections, and, when my ears aren’t cleaned, they stink.  The smell from your dog might be from dirty or infected ears.  In the case of infected ears, go to the vet to get medicine to cure it.  Cleaning your dog’s ears, though, should be regular.  Dirt and wax can stop them up, so buy some ear cleaning liquid at a pet store or the vet’s and give your dog’s ears a cleaning maybe once a month.  If you own a dog breed with real hair (like a Poodle, for example), bring him regularly to a groomer to get his ear hair plucked.  I know it sounds painful (and it is!), but it’s necessary for these dogs.  Our hair grows continuously, and ear hair must be plucked or it will keep growing until it stops up your dog’s ears.

Clean Dog Bedding Regularly

Lying in a dirty bed will, of course, make your dog stink.  Wash your dog’s bedding about once a month to help reduce doggy odor.

Brush Your Dog’s Hair

Your dog’s dead hair needs to be removed, and a brushing will do just that!  Also, dirt will be removed during the brushing, keeping your dog cleaner and happier.

Brush Those Teeth

A big part of doggy odor comes from your dog’s mouth. Fresher breath (your dog will always have an element of bad breath, but brushing can help reduce it; yours wouldn’t smell minty either if you ate dog food!) and less tartar buildup are the wonderful results of regular brushing.  If you open up your dog’s mouth, you may see little specks of brown, orange, and yellow on his teeth.  This is tartar, and too much of it can cause teeth to rot.  If you let the tartar build up, a veterinarian may have to professionally remove it, which can be expensive.  Save your dog the discomfort and you the money by investing in a dog toothbrush and special doggy toothpaste.  Read more about oral care for dogs here.

With Warmer Weather, try Bathing Your Dog Outdoors

It’s hot outside, and you and your dog are sweating.  And, to top it off, your dog stinks.  With summery weather, why not try giving your dog an outdoor bath?  While some dogs will never like baths, getting wet outside is really fun for others.  Here are some tips to make your dog’s outdoor bath the best!

  • Tie your dog up to a tree, fence, or other heavy, unmovable object.  Don’t tie your dog to a leg of a lawn chair; your dog will easily drag that down.  Also, never leave your dog unsupervised while tethered, as he could easily choke or get his legs tangled, causing panic.
  • As long as he isn’t a senior, your dog shouldn’t have a problem with cold hose water.  My older joints don’t like chilly water, but Rosie really likes it on a hot day.
  • Summer and warm spring days are good for outdoor baths; winter days are obviously not!

Beat the Heat!

Summer is here and swimming, camping, and spending time outdoors with family and friends is on many people’s minds.  What about your dog, though?  It’s hot outside, and special care and attention needs to be given to him to keep him cool and comfortable.

Water is a Mustheat dogs drinking

You need to give your canine lots of water this summer to assure that he stays hydrated and cool.  Keep a dish of cool water in a corner of your home for your dog constantly to have or, if your dog lives or often is outside, make sure you fill his bowl up about a couple of times a day.  Also, place your doggy’s bowl in the shade.  It will keep the water cooler and encourage your dog to stay in the shade, too.  If you notice your dog spilling his water dish, buy a heavy-duty water bowl.  Without water, your dog could quickly die.

Provide Lots of Shade

It can get very hot for your dog outside, so make sure that he has constant shade.  Remember, if part of your yard is shaded at a certain time of the day, it might not be a few hours later when the sun moves.  This can be especially dangerous for dogs who live outdoors.  Sure, dog houses are shady, but it can get super hot in such a small space.  Put up a beach umbrella or small canopy for your dog to lounge under.  You certainly don’t want your dog to get overheated!

Your Dog’s Coat

Wow! you think. My dog must be really hot wearing his fur coat!  Yes, it can get hot under there, but there are other reasons that we dogs were given such magnificent fur.  It actually helps us not get sunburned!  So, with that in mind, always consult your veterinarian before having your dog’s fur shaved.  Dogs such as Poodles, however, will always need a nice summer cut to keep them cool, as they have real hair that continually grows.

The Swimming Pool

heat poolSwimming is fun and a great way to cool off for your dog, but remember to never let your dog swim alone.  The edges of the pool are slippery, and your dog might not be able to get out.  Make sure your dog doesn’t drink the pool water either.  Also, if your pool is by a high surface, make sure your dog can’t jump in.  Once, when my humans’ pool was by the porch and I was very young, I jumped in.  Thankfully, one of my humans saw me and helped me out.  That was very scary!

Hot Feet, Hot Feet!

Before you bring your dog on a walk, feel the asphalt.  Does it burn your hand?  Imagine walking on that in your bare feet with little to no protection.  Ouch!  This can be the way your dog’s feet feel.  The steamy asphalt can seriously burn his paw pads, so always check to see if you would like to walk on it.  Another option is walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside or on the grass.

Another tip: When walking your dog, take frequent breaks to give your dog some time to cool down.  Carry some water with you and offer it to your dog.

Please Don’t Leave Me in the Car!!

Please, please don’t ever leave your dog in the car without any air conditioning!  Don’t even do it when the weather is in the 70s or with the windows rolled all of the way down.  The car, you see, acts like a refrigerator, only it traps in the heat.  It is a horribly cruel way for a dog to die, so please leave your dog behind when you have errands to run and he can’t come with you.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool 

  • A kiddie swimming pool, sprinkler, water hose, lake, or the ocean are great ways for your dog to splash around in the water and cool off.  If your dog is a little leery of entering the water, throw a few dog biscuits in for him to go after.
  • “Pupsicles” are basically popsicles made for dogs.  Your dog might like licking ice anyway but add a little flavoring (like chicken or vegetable broth), and you have a real treat!  Here’s a tip, though: have your dog devour this treat on your porch or lawn.  It can get really messy once it starts to melt!

Tips for a Safe 4th of July

July 4th is a holiday that many look forward to.  American flags fly over yards, people have parties, and dazzling explosions of fireworks adorn the sky.  For your dog, however, July 4th is a frightening time full of strange objects, new people, and deafening noises.  It is also a very dangerous time for your pets and is something you must prepare for.

For animal shelters, the 4th of July is one of their most busy times.  Many dogs panic when they hear the explosions from firecrackers, feeling as if they need to escape.  They dig under or jump fences and bolt out of open doors.  This might seem strange to you, as fireworks aren’t that loud, but, to your dog, they are deafening.  Dogs can hear almost twice as good as humans and from distances four times as far.  So, even if you live in a neighborhood where nobody shoots off fireworks, your dog can still hear the loud booms from far away.

If you notice your dog getting nervous when fireworks start to go off, try to distract him.  Give him a favorite bone or treat, play with his toys with him, and pet his favorite spot.  Don’t leave him unsupervised in the yard on the 4th of July; he could easily become scared and escape.  The safest place for your dog on this holiday is in your house in a quiet room or his cage.

Never bring your dog with you if you are going somewhere to watch fireworks.  This may seem obvious to you, but to some it isn’t.  Once, at a local high school my humans went to watch fireworks at, there were some people with their dogs.  I guess they wanted the dogs to enjoy the pretty explosions too, but the only thing it probably did for them was hurt their eardrums and cause fear.  Also, dogs who are scared are more likely to bolt off or bite, which can be very dangerous.  If you are shooting fireworks off at your house, put your dog in the house in his cage or a quiet room with a soft bed and favorite toys.  Go into the house frequently to check on your dog and, if he is afraid, stay with him and pet him, telling him what a good dog he is.  If your dog is afraid of fireworks, it probably is not a good idea to do them at your house.

If you have a party on this holiday, make sure not to forget your dog.  Parties can be confusing to dogs, and we tend to get underfoot.  Put your dog in his cage or in a room where it is quiet, and give him some toys and a bone to keep him company.  Also, make sure to follow these party safety rules:

  • Put all purses and bags on top of the counter or table, away from your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy or table scraps (learn why here).
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot so he doesn’t get stepped on.  Ouch!
  • If your dog gets very excited when company arrives, put on his leash so he won’t jump on anyone.
  • Before company arrives, take your dog for a long walk or play a game of fetch.  This way, your dog will be tired during the party and won’t jump on anyone.  He will be very happy to lie on his bed and chew on a bone or toy.

Fourth of July can be very frightening to dogs, but, if you take precautions and distract your dog, he will have a safe and stress-free holiday.

Happy 4th of July!