Dog Parks Pros & Cons

There are several options to make sure your pup gets the proper amount of exercise and socialization they need each day. There are dog parks, doggie daycares and professional dog walkers that can assist with helping your dog achieve exercise and socialization bliss! Lets take a look at dog parks; the pros and cons.

Dog Parks are a great way to make sure your dog gets a proper amount of exercise and socialization in a fun and typically safe environment.

 

Dog Park Positives:

Dog parks typically are sectioned off according to size and can provide an amazing amount of space for your pup to really stretch there legs. It is also a great way to get out and meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Most dog owners are social and looking to meet new friends. Not to mention on a beautiful day, it gives you the opportunity to catch up on some much needed time outside.

After an hour or two at the dog park, depending on the age and fitness level of your pup, they could be exhausted for the rest of the day. Giving you a happy, cuddly pup for you to enjoy!

Make sure to NEVER schedule dog park playtime in the heat of the day.  Just at dawn or after the sun goes down completely are the safest summer times to play here in our climate.  Some dogs, especially those with short faces (Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, etc.) overheat VERY quickly in the mid-day heat.  Hot dirt, asphalt, or artifical turf can burn paw pads too!

Some draw backs of dog parks:

Who are the dogs at the park?

There is a true lack of predictability of the other dogs there. Some parents can be in denial that there dog does not play well with others, and is poorly trained. This could be dangerous for the other dogs playing, even the owners if a fight breaks out. Always make sure to keep your eye on your pup at all times. It only takes a second for things to get out of control. There are also no guarantees that dogs interacting with your pup have their proper vaccinations, which safely allows them to be interacting in a setting such as a dog park.

It is crucial that dogs be let OFF-LEASH in an enclosed, off-leash dog area.  Leashes and confinement cause frustration and pent-up energy to sky-rocket in stressful situations.  It may also make some dogs feel “trapped” and unable to escape incoming threats.

Are the grounds safe? 

The safety of the grounds can sometimes be questionable. It only takes one irresponsible person to break a glass bottle on the grounds, which could cause major damage to your pups paw pads. You will also see areas in some dog parks where there are exposed rocks. If your dog slides on these surfaces, they could damage their paws as well.

Would you drink out of that?

Community water bowls can become a cesspool of germs and bacteria. Make sure to bring your own bowl and water to be safe. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pups health. Some unwanted sicknesses that can all be spread through water are roundworms, hookworms, giardia, and coccidia.

Dog parks are a fun, great way to socialize and exercise your pup. There are many positives and negatives that we have covered. The most important thing you can do as an owner, is research your location and make sure to always keep a watchful eye on your pup.

Source: clubfetch.com

Cabin Fever: The Importance of Exercise

 

Nothing is better after a long hard day at work, than coming home to a warm and affectionate greeting from your dog. After sitting at home all day with no exercise your pup is geared up for exercise and socialization. Chances are after a long day at the office and a trip to the gym you would like to just kick back and enjoy some calm time with your pup.

Your dog is like you, without enough exercise your pup runs the risk of developing health issues like obesity, heart disease and arthritis. Not only does your pup risk the physical issues previously stated, there also can be social issues that begin to develop.

When your pup becomes discontent and bored, their frustration could soon lead to the following:

1. Excessive Barking: This causes issues like frustrated neighbors, visits from animal control and possible eviction.

2. Chewing: This can lead to loss of important property costs into the hundreds and in extreme cases thousands of dollars. Examples of pups favorite things to chew: Shoes, clothing, furniture doors, carpets and molding trim.

3. Aggressive Tendencies: Leash agression and snappiness around people and other dogs can lead to embarrassing situations and in extreme cases financial repercussions for damages.

There are several options like dog parks, doggie daycares and professional dog walkers that can assist with helping your dog achieve exercise and socialization bliss.

Source: clubfetch.com

Catnip Crazy!

Few things stimulate a cat’s pleasure faster than catnip. Exposure to this simple herb can reveal a new side to their feline personality. Many cats will go crazy at the smell of this plant.

Catnip has a reputation of being a feline drug and many cat owners wonder if it is safe to give it to their pet. Giving catnip in small doses does no harm. Using it as a treat can be quite good for your cat’s emotional health. It relieves stress and can help them get rid of nervous energy.

 

What Is Catnip?

Catnip is a type of mint plant found  in many countries throughout the world. It can grow up to three feet high and has many branches filled with purple flowers and heart shaped leaves.

The catnip plant has an aromatic oil called nepetalactone. When cats smell this compound, it triggers the part of the feline brain that responds to happy pheromones. This is why cats react the way they do.

Many cats seem to go crazy when they smell catnip by rolling, rubbing and running around. Eating catnip seems to produce the opposite effect. Cats often become mellow when they ingest the plant. This response to catnip usually lasts up to 10 minutes before the cat loses interest.

Catnip as a Training Tool

Creative cat owners can use catnip as a reward or incentive to promote good behavior in their felines. Rubbing dried catnip on a scratching post or cat tree can entice your cat to go there when they need to sharpen their claws instead of tearing your couch to shreds.

Lacing a cat toy with some catnip can be beneficial for inducing an indoor cat to exercise. It will encourage them to be more active and play and prevent obesity. These cat toys should be stored in an airtight container when not in use, so the catnip stays fresh longer.

Growing Catnip

You can grow your own catnip plants in a home garden. You can buy more mature plants from a nursery or plant the seeds after the last major frost of the season. It is important to put the plant in an area where it has plenty of room to grow. Take steps to protect the growing plant from your cat so they don’t tear it out of the soil before it is fully mature.

Sources:

“Catnip Confidential,” Veterinary Practice News. February 1, 2012.

Allergies Can Make Your Pet Miserable!

DID YOU KNOW pets suffer from allergies?  Their symptoms are a little different, but they are often allergic to many of the same things we are!

 

In the home, environmental allergies may be triggered by mold, dust mites or chemicals in cleaning products. You may consider an air purifier to control mold and dust mites and switch to natural cleaning products if you suspect indoor environmental allergens are upsetting your pet’s immune system.

 

Outside environmental allergens pose a different problem. Skin allergies that are seasonal and crop up only in the summer months are probably triggered by pollens, ragweed and grasses.

High pollen levels that send some humans into an allergic tizzy can cause your dog’s immune system to respond with skin allergies.

Your pup may roll in the grass all winter without a problem, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to do the same in the summer.

 

Flowers, trees and grasses send pollen far and wide on breezes. The grass in your lawn that seemed so innocuous all winter long can teem with pollens, dust, mites and weeds that can upset your pup’s immune system and trigger itchy, irritable skin. Frequent bathing can be helpful. You may also want to try foot washes or soaks. Your pet can carry lots of unwanted allergens in and on its feet and spread them in his living area. A dip of the paws when returning from outside may be quite helpful.

Some inexpensive and easy ways to help your pet…

  •  Wipe your pet off daily with a wet cloth.  This helps to remove allergens, pollens, and dry skin from the coat.  No need to use fancy pet wipes, just a washcloth with warm water works just fine!  If applicable, use medicated shampoos/lotions as directed by your doctor.
  • Give antihistamines as directed. For instance, Benadryl (diphenhydramine only) 25mg Tablets are inexpensive and available over-the-counter. Give 1mg per pound of dog.  For instance, a 40lb dog would get 40mg (or 1 & 1/2 tablets).  This can be given up to every 8 hours.  It may cause some drowsiness.  Many antihistames (including Benadryl) should NOT be given to pets with a history of seizures.  Check with your vet to make sure antihistamines are safe to give to your pet.
  •  Omega-3 Fatty Acids are an amazing and inexpensive supplement.  They benefit your pet’s skin, coat, heart, & joints.  They should be given daily LIFELONG to improve your pet’s health and comfort.

If your pet has repeated allergy signs or ear infections despite following your doctor’s recommendations, it may be time to pursue Allergy Testing.  Call our office or ask your doctor for more information.  You can also view some information on allergy testing in the link above.

Why should I give HeartGard in Arizona?

Heartworms really aren’t that common around here. Why should my dog take heartworm preventive?

 

While heartworm disease isn’t as common here as it is in other parts of the U.S., the fact is that heartworm has been diagnosed in every state in the country. Mosquitoes transmit heartworms, and they’re a lot smarter and tougher than you think.

In parts of the nation that stay cold for six months or more, there are lots of warm, protected spots where mosquitoes live. In urban areas, radiated heat is stored in concrete and asphalt and is released at night when mosquitoes are active. In rural areas, mosquitoes may find a warm spot in a hollow log or animal burrow to ride out the winter. So, even cold areas have mosquitoes.  And in dry areas like the desert, thanks to sprinkler systems, birdbaths, and watering cans, there are pockets of standing water everywhere where mosquitoes can breed.

So it boils down to this…no matter where you live, is it worth putting your dog at risk? Or do you want to give a single medication once a month or an injection every six months to keep him safe? Think about it this way. You may never have been in a car wreck, but you still put on your seat belt. Would you risk your life by not wearing one? Likewise, why would you risk your dog’s life by not giving him heartworm medicine?