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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Strategies for the Arizona long hot summer.

As Arizona begins its long hot summer, please remember some simple strategies to help keep your pets cool, comfortable and fit during these sizzling summer months.

Water, water, water! Always have fresh cold water with you on walks, dog park visits, car rides, as well as inside and outside your home. Also, bear in mind the inside temperature of your vehicle when placing your pets inside. It is best practice to run the AC and to S a blanket, towel, or cloth cover on a scorching car seat. Again, bring extra water while traveling with your pet. NEVER leave your pet in your vehicle for any reason! The temperatures inside a parked car, even with a sun shade or parked in the garage, are extremely dangerous and can produce fatal consequences; always consider if your pet really needs to be in the vehicle during these summer months.

Throughout the year, many Arizona pets spend their days outside in relatively pleasant temperatures. However, the summer months can be particularly challenging due to the radiant heat from the patio, the house, or even the pool’s cool deck. If your pet must be left outside, it’s important to remember that the sun’s strength is much stronger during the summer and areas that are typically shaded in the cooler months no longer offer that same shade and/or relief to an outdoor pet. When leaving your pet outside ensure there are plenty of shaded spots available, outdoor bedding, towel, and shelter from the sun so that the pet can find relief, not only from the sun but from the heat of the ground. ALWAYS provide a fresh source of cold water. Water bowls left out in the sun become too hot to drink relatively quickly. Consider installing a misting system around the areas were your pets typically seeking refuge from the sun.

Remember, dogs need to continue their exercise even in the summer months. Consider going for walks early in the morning, before the sidewalks and streets heat up, or look to late evening. If this is not possible, invest in some ‘paw shoes/covers’ to protect your pets paws from the ‘fry an egg” sidewalk temperatures. It can be extremely painful and dangerous for your dog to have their paw pads burned. Bring extra drinking water for you and your dog to keep hydrated, but also to pour on your pet’s paws, should it appear the sidewalk is becoming too hot. Keep a close watch on your pet; you will see a noticeable change in their gait if the sidewalk is becoming too hot.

Taking these few precautions will ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy during the summer.

If the sidewalk is too hot for you, then it is also too hot for your dog.

It’s a beautiful summer day, so you lace up your shoes to go out and enjoy the day.  If your dog is going to join you during the heat of the day, you may want to consider doing the same for your dog.  The sidewalks and asphalt can heat up to 150 degrees in the Phoenix heat and can easily burn a dog’s paws. Remember to protect your dog’s paws from the scorching summer temperatures. Within a few seconds of contact, your dog could suffer third-degree burns.

The best advice is to take your dog out in the early morning, before it heats up.  And when at all possible, have the dog walk on the grass. If it is necessary to take the dog out during the day there are a few ways to shield the dog’s paws. If your dog can tolerate them, slip on a pair of booties or dog shoes.  Another alternative could be to apply paw wax before you head out, as it dries in seconds.  A third option could be felt pads that stick to the bottom of the dog’s paws.

Remember that a dog’s paws are one location that they release sweat. So, in order for the dog to cool off, it is important that you remove the booties, shoes, or pads whenever possible. Before you head out the door with your dog, think about whether or not you’d be comfortable barefoot…if the sidewalk is too hot for you, then it is also too hot for your dog too!

Take your dog to work day.

Make a date with your dog before we reach the dog days of summer. June 22 is “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” So, pack up some treats, a leash, and a bowl for water – grab your pooch and head to work! Take a day to show off your best friend and encourage others to adopt a new friend of their own. As a bonus, if your employer allows pets in the office, they will see the positive effects a canine can have on work productivity.

First celebrated in 1999, Pet Sitters International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day® (TYDTWDay®) was created to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. This annual event asks pet lovers to celebrate the humane-canine bond and promote pet adoption by encouraging their employers to support TYDTWDay. Employers are encouraged to open their workplace to employees’ four-legged friends on this one special day.

Travel safely with pets.

The peak of the summer months are nearly upon us, and that often translates into family vacation season. For many pet owners, a vacation feels incomplete without bringing along our four-legged family member. Preparing for a pet’s trip means more than packing their toothbrush…but with a bit of planning, here’s some top ideas on how to successfully bring the entire family along!

Before You Go

For any pet, feeling safe in a familiar environment is a top priority. We recommend familiarizing your pet with her carrier, since most transportation requires one. Leave it out and open for a few weeks before you depart, using positive reinforcement to establish the carrier as a safe and happy environment.

Just before travel, cut your pet’s nails so they won’t catch in the carrier. Make sure he/she wears their regular identification tag, plus a travel one with contacts at your destination listed. Since dangling tags can catch in the carrier grate, secure them to your pet’s collar with tape. (Label the carrier, too.)

Fly High

If you’re flying with a small pet, choose an airline that will let him/her ride in the cabin under the seat. If your pet is too large, consider driving or leaving them home with a family member or boarding service. “Cargo is unsafe and uncomfortable, plus frightening for the pet,” says Louise Murray, director of medicine at a New York animal hospital. Murray says. “Think of it as a last resort.”

Even for in-cabin travel, it’s best to exercise your dog for at least 15 minutes before boarding to quell his/her anxiety (avoid sedatives, which can slow breathing,
especially for dogs prone to respiratory issues). Since they’ll be confined awhile without breaks, don’t feed them for four to six hours before departure.
(Do freeze water in the tray inside the crate, so she’ll stay hydrated.)

If you need to fly but don’t want to risk cargo, Pet Airways flies animals in their main cabin. Or, you can hire a transport service to drive your pet to your vacation spot.

Chug Along

Trains tend to be a safe and comfortable travel option for short to medium distances – call ahead to make sure the train permits pets. Ask about crating rules, as well as any
break time en route. Don’t let your pet travel in cargo during the summer, since there may be no air-conditioning, and as always, avoid sedation.

Hit the Road

Car travel is ideal, since you can make frequent stops to exercise your pet (don’t forget the leash) and offer water. If he/she isn’t used to driving, take short rides in advance of your trip, gradually increasing their length.

Many states require that owners use pet-restraint systems such as harnesses, car seats, and mesh vehicle barriers. Roaming pets can distract drivers and, in an accident,
can become flying projectiles. Be sure to ensure your pets safety at all times, and review any state/local rules.

Just like people, some pets are prone to motion sickness. Calming a pet’s nerves with toys or treats, cracking a window for fresh air, and taking rest stops every few hours can help. For serious car sickness, your vet may be able to recommend an appropriate medication…(but the best option would be to leave your loved one home with a sitter).

Creature Comforts: What to Pack

  • Sturdy, well-ventilated carrier or crate (labeled with owner’s ID)
  • Leash, collar, and permanent and travel ID tags
  • Health certificate from a vet (often required when crossing state lines), medications, medical records, and a local vet contact near your destination
  • If traveling internationally, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s website offers terrific guidelines
  • Pet food and bowls
  • Favorite bedding and toys
  • Litter and litter pan for cats or training pads for dogs
  • Grooming supplies including a dental kit, pet wipes for spot cleaning, and nontoxic pet sunscreen
  • Pet flotation device if you’ll be near water
  • Current photo, in case your pet gets lost

Trouble housebreaking your puppy?

We’ve all been there…and it’s tough. Housetraining can be one of the most difficult tasks, but with patience and consistency it can absolutely be accomplished. One of the most important things to note is that there are a few reasons why a puppy/dog might not be housebroken.

First, there may be physical reasons, such as a UTI (urinary tract infection). If a dog backslides in training progress, or doesn’t seem to be learning when you have been consistent, a physical cause may be a consideration. See your vet and ask for a culture that could identify the presence of a UTI.

Second, many dogs do what’s called submissive urination, and it is actually (in dog language) a sign of respect. This is exhibited when the dog gets low to the ground or squats (especially when greeting you or scolded) and pees. An accredited animal trainer can help you establish proper individualized techniques to help your pet alter this behavior.

Third, unfortunately in some pet store or breeding environments the puppies are crated for significant blocks of time and thus have behaviorally learned to soil in an area of their crate. It will take patience and time to overcome this learned habit – and to help with the transition, alternatives such as papers, potty pads, and the like may be useful.

There are also several other reasons that may factor into the mix. For example, male dogs that have not been neutered (and even some who are) often lift their legs to mark their territory. (Female dogs have also been shown to exhibit this behavior). Neutering and proper training are the first recommended course of action. Additionally, you also might want to try some of the repelling sprays found at pet supply stores. Helpful tip: Be sure to

Sometimes dogs just don’t have the idea of what’s really expected of them – especially young ones, but sometimes even older ones. Often a puppy just doesn’t have the bladder control necessary to hold on for too long. For example, an 8-week old puppy can’t go much more than a couple of hours between needing to potty. (Yes, you will lose sleep…but it gets better!). They key to training is to provide praise and/or correction at the proper time. Correcting a dog after the fact has no real impact, as their concept of time is different and the cause-and-effect correlation is simply lost – they simply associate urine or feces on the carpet with your displeasure, and not that they caused it to occur. Real-time praise and correction is key.

As a primary methodology, sincere positive praise for your pet when they potty outside (or in their designated area) can have the most effective results. In making sure your pet has the chance to go out as often as necessary in the beginning, you establish a pattern of positive reinforcement. On the contrary, if you catch your pet having an accident, typically a single word (be consistent with your word) in a sharp tone of voice will surprise them into stopping momentarily, so that you can immediately escort your pet to a proper location so they can “finish” (followed by proper praise). Additionally, you may choose to associate consistent phrases such as ‘go potty’ or ‘get busy’, which may help your pet learn to go on command when possible.

Another option is crate training. While there are many differing opinions on this method, when properly executed in a safe and reassuring environment the results can be terrific. As such, you should seek the help of a trained professional to ensure proper techniques and the safety of your pet.

Praising the animal profusely when they go outside, or wherever their designated area is, can be very effective. Make sure they get the chance to go out as often as necessary.

In the end, the core of successful potty training lies in the proper investment of time you make with your pet, and the consistency of the behavior you exhibit during the training process. Happy training!