Archive for April, 2015

Prevent Your Dog From Being Stolen

According to the AKC, dog thefts are at an all-time high today. Dogs are stolen for all kinds of reasons: because they’re cute; to resell them, especially if they’re puppies or Toy dogs; for dog fighting; and the list goes on. There’s a surprising trade in dogs stolen out of people’s yards and sent to rescues today, then sold to the public as rescue dogs. These dogs might end up hundreds or thousands of miles from home because of rescue transports. It can be very hard to find your dog if he’s stolen.

Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to help prevent your dog from being stolen.

At Home

Don’t let your dog off leash or leave him unattended. Keep an eye on your dog at all times. Know where he is and what he’s doing. Of course, it’s not possible to watch your dog every minute. None of us can do that. But don’t let your dog off leash unless you can watch him. Otherwise he might wander away or take off running out of sight. Even when your dog is at home in your yard, check on him frequently. Put a lock on your gate. Make sure that your fences are secure so your dog is less likely to escape. Do keep your dog contained at home and don’t let him wander or roam.

Use Identification. If your dog does get out, make sure he’s wearing a collar with his identification and rabies tags. While a collar can be removed if your dog is stolen, a microchip is permanent. Use a microchip ID for your dog. If your dog is found by an animal shelter or taken to the vet, they have scanners that can pick up the microchip and you can be notified that your dog has been found. You can also use a tattoo for permanent identification.

Breeders should be cautious of buyers visiting their homes. People posing as potential buyers in various cities have stolen dogs and puppies. Be cautious when allowing someone to come to your home. In other cases, homes have been robbed when the breeder was away.

 

When Traveling

Never leave your dog unattended in the car. Dogs have been stolen out of vehicles even if the vehicle is locked.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store or other building. This is a common practice in some big cities like New York but many dogs are stolen this way.

Be watchful. Even when you are in dog-friendly places, keep an eye out for the people and things around you. And watch your dog.

Recovering Your Dog

Make sure you keep your Microchip ID information current. Contact your ID carrier to let them know your dog is missing.

Contact animal control and the police. Contact other pet shelters and rescues in your area.

Have a current photo of your dog. Make fliers and have them ready to go so you can paper the area.

Talk to postal carriers, Fedex, UPS people, school bus drivers, and anyone who knows the neighborhood. They see more than anyone else. Go door to door and talk to neighbors. Talk to convenience store clerks. Talk to everyone.

Check with shelters and rescues everyday. Visit in person. Calling is ineffective.

If you follow these precautions and take these steps, you can prevent your dog from being stolen.

Whether your dog’s ears are long, shaped like a rosebud or bat ears, or they stand up in prick-eared fashion, it’s important to keep them clean. In extreme cases, dogs with dirty, infected ears can lose their hearing. Infected ears can lead to other health problems as well. Fortunately, regular ear cleaning is easy to do and it doesn’t require much in the way of accessories.

What you will need

You only need a few things to clean your dog’s ears:

 

  • Ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls or cloth

If you have a Terrier breed or a dog that has a lot of hair inside the ear, you may need a hemostat. This is a pair of tweezers with a small clamp-shaped end and handles so you can easily remove hair from inside the ears. This will allow air to get inside the ear and prevent ear infections. You can use a little ear powder sprinkled in the ear to make this hair easier to grip.

With most dogs you can simply use the ear cleaner and the cotton balls or cloth. You can buy ear cleaner from your veterinarian or from a good pet store or a pet retailer online. There are many good brands.

Cleaning your dog’s ears

To clean your dog’s ears you should make sure the ear cleaning solution is at room temperature. Nothing will make a dog squeamish about his ears faster than if you squirt cold liquid into them so make sure the cleaner is a pleasant temperature.

Try to clean your dog’s ears when you’re both relaxed. Your dog should be in front of you. It’s good if you have some treats with you so you can reward him for his cooperation.

Start by putting a few drops of the cleaner in one of your dog’s ears. Then gently massage the base of your dog’s ear. Slowly move your fingers over the base of the ear to loosen any wax and dirt that have accumulated. This should feel good to your dog. Then gently take one of the cotton balls or the cloth and stroke the inside of the ear to remove the loosened wax and dirt. Keep wiping the inside of the ear until the cotton ball or cloth comes away clean. You may have to put in a few more drops in your dog’s ear and massage a little more if the ear is very dirty.

You should not hold the bottle up and pour it into your dog’s ear. Not only is this unpleasant for your dog but that’s far too much liquid to put in your dog’s ear. It only takes a few drops of the cleaner each time to loosen the wax and dirt.

Once you have cleaned the first ear you can move over and clean the other ear. Make sure you give your dog some treats while you’re working to keep him cooperating.

Mites and infections

If your dog has ears that are no more than normally dirty, it should just take you a few minutes to clean them. However, if your dog’s ears are very gunky with brown or black wax, cleaning may take longer. This might indicate that your dog has had some mites or an infection at some time. Look for signs that your dog has any current infection or parasites. If you see anything that looks suspicious you should contact your veterinarian. Your vet can provide you with a miticide to get rid of ear mites. A yeast infection can be harder to eliminate. If you see signs of an infection you should talk to your vet and let him or her examine your dog’s ears.

In most cases you can clean your dog’s ears and be finished in just a few minutes. If you practice cleaning your dog’s ears each week then you will quickly spot any potential problems before they become something to be concerned about.

If you clean your dog’s ears gently and give him some treats while you clean, most dogs won’t mind having their ears cleaned. It also helps if you start cleaning ears when your dog is young so they know that it’s no big deal. Take care of your dog’s ears and you’ll never have a problem.

We usually think of our dogs’ paws as tough and able to take everything in stride, if you’ll pardon the pun. And most of the time that’s true. Under normal conditions, such as running and playing in the grass or on dirt, your dog’s paws can do their job. They can support his body and help him go from one place to another without any difficulty. But dogs live all over the earth with their human partners which means they can encounter some adverse conditions. Sometimes it’s necessary to protect your dog’s paws from bad weather, chemicals, and harsh environments.

Weather

One of the most most frequent problems related to a dog’s paws are bad weather conditions. Both extreme heat and icy cold can cause problems for your dog’s paws. In both cases the problem is often made worse by walking on pavement and other city surfaces. Hot pavement can hurt your dog’s paw pads, especially if he has to walk on excessively hot pavement for long periods of time. Your dog’s paws are not as sensitive as your feet, but you should definitely try to avoid hot pavement with your dog if possible.

In the winter, pavement can become icy and it’s hard for dogs to walk on the ice, just as it is for you. In addition, many cities put down de-icing chemicals on pavements and roads which are harmful to dogs if ingested. This means that if your dog licks his paws when he gets home, the chemicals can hurt him. So, if you take your dog for a walk on icy pavements or roads in the winter, be sure to rinse or wash his paws off with warm water when you get home so he won’t lick off these dangerous chemicals.

In both cases – hot and cold pavements – a dog’s paws can become chafed and cracked from walking on these less than ideal surfaces. Fortunately, there are some good products you can use to put on your dog’s paws which will help prevent this kind of chafing and cracking. Look for products for paws that say they toughen or protect a dog’s paws. They usually contain wax or petroleum jelly type ingredients.

Snow

Snow can pose a special problem for longhaired dogs and their paws. It will make little frozen balls between your dog’s toes and paw pads when he walks or plays in it. You can prevent this with some breeds by keeping the hair between the toes and pads trimmed. Or, you can be sure to rinse the paws with warm water when your dog comes in from being out in the snow to make sure the little snow balls melt away.

Paw care

You can also keep your dog’s paws in good shape by trimming the nails regularly. Nails that are allowed to grow too long can ultimately cause your dog problems. There are nail trimmers, clippers, and scissor-style cutters so you can trim your dog’s nails yourself at home. If you start when your dog is young and take off just a small portion each week, most dogs will tolerate the procedure well. If you or your dog hate doing nails, you can have your vet or a pet groomer trim the nails for you.

Booties

Besides bad weather and city living, some dogs live in places where walking can be difficult. Rocky landscapes, lots of snow, and other issues may present problems for a dog’s paws. Old age can also make it hard for a dog to get a good grip with his paws. In these cases, dog booties are often a good idea. You can buy sets of four booties or sets of two and use them only on the back paws. Booties with gore-tex soles are often recommended for better gripping. Booties for dogs can work the same way they do for humans – they protect the dog’s paws and give him added gripping ability. They’re especially good if the dog has to do any climbing and they can help with elderly dogs who sometimes have problems getting their balance on slippery floors.

Even dogs who live in the city can benefit from wearing booties to protect them from hot pavement, ice, and rain.

Keep in mind that some dogs have very tough pads and they probably don’t need to wear booties and only need to have sensible precautions taken to keep their paws safe. Every dog is different. But if you have a dog who does have more sensitive paws, there are some good ways to protect his paws no matter where you live or what the two of you face.

Many of us love to take our dog with us when we shop or run errands. Everybody knows that dogs love to go for a ride. It’s hard to say no when your dog is hopping up and down at the door, begging to go with you. But if your trip involves leaving your dog alone in your vehicle you should stop and think twice before taking him with you. There are dangers in leaving your dog in your vehicle and they can be serious for your dog.

Cars get too hot

Even on cloudy days a warm vehicle can quickly become too hot for your dog when you leave him unattended. Even if you leave the windows cracked your dog won’t get enough air or ventilation. And if the sun is out, your dog can die from the heat. Don’t leave your dog in a vehicle if there is even the slightest chance of overheating. Some people leave their air conditioning running but even this isn’t foolproof – air conditioning dies or dogs accidentally bump against buttons and switches to turn it off, leaving them without enough air.

Dogs play with things

Yes, dogs play with door locks, steering wheels, and put cars in reverse. They hit the gas pedal. Dogs seem to think they can drive. The result is usually an expensive driving lesson for your dog and something you have to pay. One poor owner paid $80 for a locksmith when his Collie locked him out of the car with the engine running. The dog rolled down all the windows just as the owner was paying the locksmith. Don’t leave your dog in the car.

Someone could steal your dog

According to the American Kennel Club, dog thefts are at an all-time high. And dogs aren’t just stolen out of people’s yards. Thieves are very happy to steal a nice dog out of your vehicle if you leave your dog unattended. Stolen dogs are often sold as “rescues” and could be transported hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.

Good Samaritans

If you leave your dog in your car, even on a cool day, even if your dog is fine, you’re likely to encounter some Good Samaritan who thinks your dog is in distress. Your dog might be sleeping comfortably in your vehicle, waiting for you to return, but this person might break out your window or call the police trying to be helpful. And, if you have a cute Toy dog who stands at the window making sad eyes at people or barking, your dog will attract lots of attention. Chances are that you will return to your vehicle and there will be a mob hanging around thinking that you are a monster for leaving your little dog alone. A few people might even give you dirty looks or chew you out for leaving your dog in the car. This is a minor danger compared to your dog being injured or stolen, but it’s still unpleasant.

It’s fun to take your dog with you when you go places but it’s best if you can stay in the vehicle with your dog at all times