Archive for Dog Safety

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

Benefits of Neutering

In the 1960s and early ’70s in the United States there was a serious problem with pet overpopulation. An estimated 20 million cats and dogs were euthanized in animal shelters each year. At that time most people did not spay or neuter their pets and it wasn’t unusual for pet owners to have unwanted litters of kittens or puppies.

Since that time there has been a great public education campaign to make pet owners more aware of their responsibility when it comes to containing their pets and stopping unwanted litters. Today it’s estimated that 2-3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in animal shelters each year and many of those animals are considered unadoptable because of age or illness. Great strides have been made toward reducing unwanted litters.

According to the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey 78 percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered and 88 percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered. The message about spaying and neutering pets has reached the vast majority of pet owners in the U.S.

Benefits of spaying and neutering
There are a number of benefits to spaying and neutering your dog. According to the Society for Theriogenology (animal reproductive veterinarians) spaying and neutering provide the following benefits:

Health
• Decreased risk of mammary, testicular, and ovarian neoplasia

• Decreased risk of pyometra

• Decreased risk of prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatic cysts and squamous metaplasia of the prostate

• Decreased incidence of perineal and inguinal hernia and perineal adenoma in neutered male dogs

Behavior
• Inter-dog aggression may be due to competition for available territory or availability of cycling animals

• There is a decreased risk of wandering and being hit by a car in neutered animals

• Sterilization prevents unwanted litters

On the other hand, there are also benefits to keeping your dog intact.

Benefits of keeping your dog intact
• There is a decreased incidence of hemangiosarcoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased incidence of osteosarcoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased risk of transitional cell carcinoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased risk of prostatic adenocarcinoma in intact male dogs compared to gonadectomized male dogs

• There is a decreased incidence of obesity in intact male and female dogs, which may be due at least partly to increased metabolic rate

• There is a decreased incidence of urinary incontinence in intact female dogs (equivocal if bitches are spayed after 5 months but before their first heat)

• There may be a reduced incidence of urinary tract infection in intact female dogs

• There may be a reduced incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism in intact male and female dogs

• There is a possibly reduced incidence in diabetes mellitus in intact male dogs

• There is a reduced incidence of cranial cruciate rupture in intact male and female dogs

• There may be a reduced incidence of hip dysplasia in male and female dogs that are not gonadectomized before 5 months of age

Behavior
• There may be less aggression towards people and animals in intact female dogs

• There may be a decreased incidence of cognitive dysfunction in intact male and female dogs

A new study from the University of California at Davis backs up these findings and emphasizes the negative effects of spaying and neutering on hip dysplasia and cancers. http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10498 According to this study, and others, it’s definitely advisable to wait until your dog is older to spay or neuter.

So, while there are definitely some benefits to spaying or neutering your dog and it makes sense for many pet owners, there are also health benefits to keeping a dog intact. You should always talk to your vet about spaying and neutering. Discuss your dog’s overall health, his age, his breed or mix, and any health conditions that might be affected by spaying and neutering. Your dog looks to you to make these decisions for him so find out all you can

Many people are under the impression that all dogs know how to swim, or dog paddle, but that’s not the case. While some breeds are natural swimmers, such as Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Portuguese Water Dogs, there are many other breeds and dogs that aren’t physically built for swimming. Many of the brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed) like Pugs and Bulldogs, can have difficulty keeping their head up out of the water or supporting their heavy bodies with their shorter legs. Some dogs need some help in learning to swim. And a life jacket/personal flotation device is a good idea for most dogs.

Fortunately, you can teach most dogs to swim. This is a good idea, especially if you have a pool or if your dog will be spending any time around the water. Knowing how to swim could save his life if he falls in the water. Plus, swimming is a lot of fun for many dogs and they like to be able to join you in the water.

Teaching your dog to swim

Here are some tips to help you teach your dog to swim.

  • Choose a small area. If you have a pool, use the shallow end for teaching your dog at first. If you are using a lake or pond, use an area that is not very deep. Your dog will feel more confident in a shallow area while he learns. You can move to a deeper part of the water as your dog gains confidence.
  • Use a life jacket or vest. Even if your dog is a natural swimmer, it’s usually a good idea to fit him with a colorful safety vest in the water. This is especially important when you are boating or in deeper waters, but it is also a good idea in a swimming pool or pond. Not only does a life jacket provide your dog with some buoyancy, but the colorful vest makes it easy to see your dog if you need to find him quickly in the water. Choose a vest that has a good handle on the back so you can grab your dog from above in case you are in a boat. Jackets come in all sizes and styles so choose one that fits your dog well.
  • Avoid a lot of noise. Work with your dog when it’s quiet and the two of you can focus. You can gently guide or coax your dog into the water. Use your arms to support his stomach and hold his head up in the water. His legs should begin to paddle. You can let him paddle around the shallow water while you guide him. You can gradually let him do more on his own. If he is wearing the life jacket it should help keep him afloat.
  • Be encouraging. Just as with any kind of training it’s important for you to be encouraging. Praise and reward your dog for his efforts. Take treats with you – preferably something that will be okay if it gets wet. Make your dog’s swimming lessons fun.
  • Don’t throw your dog in the water. Some dogs might be scared of the water. Never throw a dog into the water or force them in the water. If you scare your dog he won’t want to swim or get in the water. If your dog doesn’t want to get in the water then just play with him on the edge of the water and encourage him to get his paws wet. He may eventually want to get in the water. But don’t force him.

 

  • Keep supporting your dog. Continue to support your dog’s middle and his hind legs until he starts paddling. Once your dog gets the hang of swimming he should be okay, but stay nearby
  • Show your dog how to get out. This is very important, especially if you have a swimming pool. Teach your dog where the steps are and how to get out of the pool. Many dogs drown each year because they fall into pools and they don’t know how to get out. Swim with your dog to the steps again and again and make sure that he knows where to exit the pool.
  • Watch your dog. Don’t leave your dog unattended. Don’t allow your dog to swim without you. Even if you are together, keep checking on your dog. A dog (or anyone) can drown quickly, so keep your eye on your dog when he’s in the water.

If you follow these suggestions you should be able to teach your dog to swim and keep him safe. Most dogs love to swim even if they aren’t natural swimmers. So, head to the water with your dog and have a great time!

Safety Tips for Your Dog on Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for people and for pets but there can also be some risks on this spooky night, especially for your dog. Here are some things to be aware of so your dog will have a good time, too.

Halloween parties. If you plan to have a party or any kind of gathering at your home on Halloween, don’t allow your dog to become stressed out. Not every dog enjoys being in the midst of a group of rowdy humans. Give your dog a quiet place to sleep, such as your bedroom, and close the door during the party. Leave him with lots of toys and safe things to chew on, and check on him often. If your dog enjoys being around people you should still keep an eye on him during the gathering to make sure he’s not becoming too tired or overly excited. Make sure guests don’t give your dog chocolate, candy, or other foods that are bad for dogs.

Chocolate. Most dog owners know that chocolate is a no-no for dogs. It contains a substance called theobromine which can be toxic to dogs if they eat enough of it – and it doesn’t take a lot to be harmful to a small dog. Theobromine is also found in coffee, tea, and cola beverages so you shouldn’t allow your dog to drink any of these beverages either. Halloween can be a dangerous time for dogs because of all the chocolate and other candies at hand. Be sure you don’t leave chocolate where your dog can get it. Non-chocolate candies can contain sugar which your dog doesn’t need, or xylitol, a sugar substitute which is bad for dogs. Raisins and grapes can also be toxic to dogs. So be very careful about giving any Halloween treats to dogs. Stick to doggy treats.

Doorbells and people at the door. On Halloween night your dog could become stressed out by the doorbell ringing constantly and people showing up at the door. If you have a lot of visitors at your door and your dog is becoming upset or too worked up, consider crating him or putting him in another part of the house where he won’t be near the door opening and closing.

Costumed strangers. Your dog might become upset at the sight of strangers in costume. Afterall, some costumes can be very surprising! Keep your dog calm. Remember to keep your dog leashed if you leave the house.

Jack o’ Lanterns. Jack o’ Lanterns and candles can be fire hazards if you have a dog. Even a happily wagging tail can knock over a candle and set things on fire. If you will be using a Jack o’ Lantern, consider using a flashlight inside. It’s safer, even if it’s less traditional.

Keep your dog inside. For his safety, keep your dog inside on Halloween. Unfortunately, there are people who like to play pranks on Halloween and some of them can be cruel. Keep your dog safely indoors on Halloween.

Halloween costumes
. Halloween costumes can be lots of fun but if your pet is going to wear one, make sure that it is comfortable for him and don’t leave him unattended. Many dogs will chew a costume or rip it off when you aren’t looking. It’s possible that your dog could hurt himself if you don’t supervise him.

Use these tips to have a happy and safe Halloween with your dog and he’ll have a howlingly fun time!

I was delighted when we got our new home, because it had a pool in the back yard. Our two black Labradors just love having that fun source of play so close. We didn’t have kids yet at the time, so pool safety wasn’t yet a big concern. But then I realized I needed to think about safety for the dogs. Here are some things I did:

Show them the way out. It’s easy for our dogs to get in the water. Jump, splash, and they’re happily paddling around. But with a new pool, I wanted to make sure they knew how to safely get out of the pool. I set two potted plants on either side of the pool steps so they would have something to focus on. I called the dogs out while I was standing just behind the steps. I did that several times, to make sure they got it. I walked back near the house when both dogs were in the water. I called them out, then watched with pleasure as they first looked at me, then swam over to the steps and came right out.

Here is an excellent resource about pool safety for dogs:

Install a safety pool cover. Even though our labs both know how to swim, we didn’t want to take chances. Plus, there was always the chance that a neighbor’s dog might get into our back yard. So we got a safety cover for the pool. It doesn’t take long to install, and in the winter, it’s wonderful for keeping the water warm with little circulation. Particularly in the winter, I didn’t want one of the dogs to jump in the really cold water, panic and get in trouble. With the pool cover, I don’t have that worry.

Add a fence. We were planning for a family later, so a pool fence was just a good investment, and another layer of protection for the dogs. We wanted a way to monitor and control when the dogs got in the water, and the fence was perfect. Now we can let the labs out into the yard to take care of business, and not have to deal with drying off a pet each time. Believe me, it would have been that way – these dogs are just that wild about playing in the water.

Always be watching. Even with the protection we have around the pool, we didn’t want to just open the gate to the fence, let the dogs into the pool area, and go back in the house. So when the dogs are in the pool, we are too. It gives us peace of mind that there won’t be an incident with one of the dogs, and we wouldn’t be around to help and take care of them.

Keep fresh water available. We make sure that the dogs have a bowl of fresh water available, so they won’t be as tempted to drink from the pool. The chlorine and chemicals in the water discourage them, but if they know where the fresh water is, they will use it.

Dog showers. We don’t want the dogs to get out of the pool and then be trying to lick chemicals out of their fur, so we give them a shower after they get out of the water. First they get a thorough rinsing, and then my husband turns it into a game, letting them chase the spray from the hose. They never try to avoid shower time.

Now that we have our pool safe for the dogs, I get to sit back and smile as I stand in the pool with the dogs happily swimming around me.

Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life