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The Fourth of July is a time of celebration…all about family, fun, food…and fireworks. However, animal welfare groups assert that it is the most dangerous day of the year for your dog, and rescues and shelters are inundated in the days following the Fourth with pets who, panicked at the noise of firecrackers , simply bolted and ran, winding up lost, injured, or killed. The truth is that fireworks and dogs simply do not mix well! Even the bravest dogs can become terrified by the explosions of fireworks, which are loud to the human ear, and your dog’s hearing is more sensitive than the human ear can even register. The most important thing you can do is to keep her away from fireworks displays!
*Do NOT leave your dog outside. Many otherwise calm dogs have broken their restraint or jumped a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. If you have friends or neighbors who leave their dogs outdoors, please visit with them about the dangers involved.
*Be sure your pet’s information is up-to-date. Often fireworks are set off ahead of the official scheduled time, by well meaning neighbors or friends, and your dog can escape if he is startled by the fire and thunder shattering the night! If your pet doesn’t have a collar with current info on it, as well as a microchip with your current information, now is the time to get them. Identification is the best way to be reunited with a lost dog.
*Never use fireworks around your pets. While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns or trauma, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.
*Exercise your dog early in the day before the fireworks begin, and take him outside to relieve himself a few hours before the fireworks begin. Then confine him to a quiet area of your home that is somewhat sheltered from outside noise. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure to remove items that they might destroy or be harmful to them if chewed. Create a safe haven with a cozy, inviting bed, favorite toys, and maybe a Kong or two.
*Turn on a fan, the radio, or the television (or maybe all three) to drown out the popping and the booming, and close the curtains or blinds We have a shelf full of CD’s promising to calm dogs, and most of them are what I call “snake oil,” but we did find one that works…itreally calms frightened or traumatized dogs. Canine Lullabies is amazing; we have used it for years at the TLC Canine Center. For information on this CD, go to www.caninelullabies.com, or call toll free, 1-800-537-7748. Actually I suggest you check out the website to get basic info, and then call and visit with Terry.
*Bach Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic natural relief for any stressful situation, and this blend of 5 of the 38 Bach Original Flower Essences, developed by Dr. Edward Bach, has been used by humans for more than 70 years. It has also been found helpful in creating calming effect when your pet needs help overcoming a variety of emotional or behavioral problems. I have found it to be very effective on some dogs. Check it out at www.rescueremedy.com
*We have also successfully used a commercial product, the Thundershirt. Created by behavioral experts, this item often calms dogs in a manner similar to swaddling an infant. It uses gentle hugging to lessen anxiety or fear. How does it work? I don’t know, and it doesn’t work on every dog, but for those who have anxious or traumatized dogs, it is worth a try. It is believed that the pressure possibly releases a calming hormone like endorphins, and certainly using pressure to relieve anxiety in both people and animals has been a common practice for years. Many medical professionals today routinely teach swaddling to new parents, and families and friends have been passing down this wisdom for centuries. Go to www.thundershirt.com for info.
Please do yourself (and your dog) a favor this holiday and keep her safely inside, away from dangerous, toxic, hot, frightening items. By just taking a few precautions, everyone…canine and human… will have a safe, happy, Fourth of July.
Larsen can be contacted at Paw Prints, Box 373, Newell, Iowa 50568 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Give LOCAL Missoula is going on RIGHT NOW and ends at midnight tonight! Follow this link to donate to AniMeals in this 24 hour online donation campaign. So far we only have one donation, lets see if we can increase the number of gifts to 10 by 10am! Lets feed some hungry animals!
Spring is finally bringing more pleasant weather, and gardening season is here! It’s time to prepare your garden…or at least your outdoor flower pots, for the bountiful time ahead, but if you have a dog, you need to know that gardens can be hazardous to their health. The ASPCA reminds animal caregivers to be mindful of the well-being of their pets as April showers bring May flowers. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received more than 60,000 calls last year involving pets who had been exposed to toxic plants, insecticides, and weed killers.
While plants found in our gardens are beautiful to look at, I was naively unaware that these same plants can cause serious problems for our animals. Lilies are one of the most common poisonous plants found both in gardens and in indoor bouquets, but there are many other types of plants that can be poisonous. Rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese ewe, foxglove, tulips, hyacinth, daffodils, crocus, lily of the valley, oleanders, caster beans, sago palms, amaryllis, English ivy, chrysanthemums, (and marijuana J), are among those that can cause serious health problems for your dog.
Tulips and hyacinths contain allergenic lactones that contain concentrated amounts in the bulbs, so make sure your dog isn’t digging up the bulbs in your garden. When the plant parts or bulbs are ingested , it can result in tissue irritation, and cause vomiting or diarrhea, depending on the amount consumed. With large ingestions of the bulb, increase in heart rate and changes in respiration can occur, and should be treated by a veterinarian.
Ingestion of daffodil bulbs, plants, or flowers can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias, and again, veterinary care is recommended.
There are dangerous and benign lilies out there, with the Peace, and Calla lilies just causing minor irritations. More dangerous, potentially fatal ones include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show lilies.
There are two Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring and the other in the autumn. The spring plants are more common and can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe problems, including liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure. If you are like me, you may not be sure what plant you have, so it is best to consult your vet for care. (Signs of ingestion may be seen immediately, but can also be delayed for several days)
I love Lily of the Valley, but this plant can cause symptoms similar to foxglove ingestion, including vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures, and will need to be professionally treated.
. It is important to remember that all dogs are different. An older dog might not be as likely to get into dangerous toxins, but a curious puppy could be a different story. Puppies chew on just about anything, so it is imperative to sure that these unintentional “chew toys” aren’t available to them. Also, consider the activity level of your individual pet…some breeds are known for high-level curiosity.
Dr. Tina Wismer, at the ASPCA’s poison control center, asserts, “Our number one phone call to poison control is about Labrador Retrievers. They are big dogs that can get on the table or counter, and they are retrievers, so everything goes into their mouths, but Labs aren’t the only breed at risk. Gardeners need to be aware that insecticides and mold growing on compost pile can be deadly to any dog, and fertilizers , and cocoa mulch, often used in landscaping, also pose health risks when large amounts are consumed. Garden tools, including rakes, tillers, hoes, and trowels can be hazardous, and rusty, sharp tools caked in dirt pose a risk for tetanus, so be sure all tools are stored in a safe place. Prevention is always to best approach, so it is best to keep your dog restricted from any potentially harmful section of your garden. Both you and your dog will benefit!”
For a complete list of plants that are toxic to dogs, go to www.aspca.org/toxicplants.
Larsen can be contacted at Paw Prints, Box 373, Newell, Iowa 50568 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The calendar officially proclaims that IT’S SPRING, and hopefully the long, bitter weather is behind us. Spring is a great time of the year, and both humans and canines are ready to feel the warm sunshine, with grass on the ground instead of ice and snow. However, spring brings hazards for our companion animals, who are restless from being cooped up, and are eager to shake off the blahs of winter.
- There are new smells and new places to explore which means that normally well-behaved dogs will suddenly become escape artists and dig or climb their way out of their safe yards to find themselves lost with no clue about returning home. Please be sure that you have up-to-date identification on your dog. We also recommend micro-chipping your animal.
- In spring, depending on your dog’s breed, you can expect more shedding as the coat changes. Consistent daily brushing is necessary, and remember, in a pet lover’s home, a few dog hairs can be classified as condiments! (I doubt anyone ever died from a dog hair in his soup!)
- If you have an intact pet, he will really become restless. The alarming statistics of unwanted offspring and animal overpopulation should convince you to spay or neuter, and it is also important to do it for the health and safety of your pet.
- Spring is a good time to schedule a wellness check. Hopefully the vet will give her a clean bill of health, but if something suspicious is found, perhaps it can be treated in the early stages. Most dogs have teeth problems by the time they are three years old, and since tooth and gum disease can lead to more serious problems, be sure to include a dental checkup for your canine.
- We used to believe that heartworm was a problem only in the Southern states. Not true. This mosquito-borne parasite is a definite threat to your animals, and while it is true that heartworm can be treated if caught early enough, the treatment is harsh and is also expensive. Get your dog tested for heartworm and on a preventative provided by your veterinarian.
- Don’t wait until you see a flea to begin treatment…fleas are more than a nuisance, and bother your dog with more than allergies and itchy skin, and by the time you see one, you have an invasion of these nasty little creatures. If a flea swallowed by your dog contains tapeworm larvae, the dog may get tapeworms, and other diseases may also be transmitted by the fleas. Once your dog is infested, the problem extends to the home and yard, and is more difficult to treat. The smart thing to do is to treat your animals BEFORE fleas are present. There are many safe products that will eliminate flea problems. DO NOT use over-the-counter products…many are toxic. Discuss your options with your veterinarian.
- It is equally important to protect your dog (and you) from ticks, which can carry and transmit several diseases including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Fever. Again prevention is much easier than treatment. Some products are effective against both fleas and ticks. Again talk to your vet about preventative measures, and how, by consistent implementation of relatively easy strategies, you can protect both humans and canines in your household from these unwelcome parasites. Controlling and eliminating fleas, ticks, and parasites require energy, time, and money. The best control is always prevention.
- If you use herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, be sure to restrict your pets from the treated areas for at least 24 hours, preferably longer. These chemicals are toxic to your pet.
- By taking just a few precautions, spring will be a fabulous time for both you and your dog!
A day in spring is one thing, but a spring day is another. The difference between the two is sometimes great!—Henry Van Dyke
Larsen can be contacted at Paw Prints, Box 373, Newell, Iowa 50568 , or by e-mail at email@example.com
Cats are given nine lives for a reason. They need each and every one of those lives to ensure their survival. Nothing illustrates this better than Fiona’s story. She came perilously close to losing one of them at the hands of a madman. He was going to shoot her. Look at this face…how could that thought ever cross anyone’s mind? Lucky for her she was saved just in the nick of time. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, she is as sweet as they come. She doesn’t know how close she came to meeting her maker. We never told her. So she goes about her life in blissful ignorance waiting for that special family that will value her and keep her safe from the evils that lurk in dark corners.
(Photo by Anna Schreck Photography; Written by Karyn Moltzen)