Autumn Safety Tips for your pets

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

There’s nothing like crisp, cool air, the first months of school and luscious foliage to get you excited for the changing seasons. Your pet, too, is probably welcoming the break from hot, sticky weather. But pet parents, beware—fall is also a time of lurking dangers for our furry friends. From household poisons to cold weather hazards, the season is a minefield! Here are some tips to keep your pet snug and healthy during the autumn months.

  • The use of rodenticides increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.
  • It’s back-to-school time, and those of you with young children know that means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paw’s reach.
  • Training tip: If you and your pooch haven’t been active outdoors in a while because of the summer heat, do some remedial recall training. Dogs, like people, get rusty on their skills if they aren’t using them.
  • Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.
  • In order to generate body heat, pets who exercise heavily outdoors, or who live outdoors, should be given more food during colder seasons. Make sure horses and other outdoor animals have access to clean, fresh water that is not frozen.
  • Autumn is the season when snakes who are preparing for hibernation may be particularly “grumpy,” increasing the possibility of severe bites to those unlucky pups who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pet owners should know what kinds of venomous snakes may be in their environment—and where these snakes are most likely to be found—so they can keep pets out of those areas.
  • Many people choose Fall as the time to change their car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.

What do you do to add to the safety and well-being of your pet? Let us know, and we’ll share it! Your tip may be the life-saving tip for someone’s pet!

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Leave Those Leaves! (from Janet)

 

Fall has arrived—which means leaves are changing color and beginning to fall to the ground.

Did you know that leaving the leaves in your yard or garden not only saves you time and energy but also benefits wildlife? 

Here are a few good reasons to put down the rake:

  • Provide habitat for wildlife: frogs, turtles and salamanders rely on fallen leaves to provide cover and hibernation places; many moth and butterfly caterpillars overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in spring
  • Provide food for wildlife: creatures like earthworms and millipedes reside in and decompose leaf litter, and also are themselves a source of food for bigger wildlife like birds and toads
  • Increase fertility of your soil: as the leaves decompose, nutrients are added to your soil, and also allows for greater water retention

So, the next time you would rather be doing something else than raking leaves – you’re in luck! Remember there are GOOD reasons not to rake, and forgo your raking in favor of doing something more fun this Fall. You’ll be doing wildlife, and yourself, a favor!

PS:

  • Think twice about cutting back all your bushes and branches before the cold weather hits. Wildlife NEED protection from the wintry elements as well as their natural predators. Protection from the winter weather is hard to come by, so make it easier on ALL wildlife and curb the urge to cut and trim everything on your property.
  • Don’t toss your fallen pine cones! Go HERE to find out why!

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

 

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

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Save Those Pine Cones This Fall! (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org

Have you ever come across a pile of pine cone scales?  Usually you will find them under the Pine tree itself, close to the trunk.  Most times, the culprit are squirrels.  The scales (outer layer) of the pine cone are removed by both Grey and Red squirrels, so they can get to the pine nuts underneath, which are a natural part of a squirrels’ diet. 

If you are lucky enough to watch a Red Squirrel go about gathering pine cones, it’s something to watch. The Red Squirrel, being so tiny, has a hard time pulling the larger pine cones off the tree and then carrying them away to eat the pine nuts.  Instead, s/he will crawl to the end of the branches where the pine cones grow, and chew the end of off pine cone, severing it from the tree, so that it falls to the ground. Then it’s easier to grab the pine cone that way. Remember, this is a learned behavior handed down from adult squirrels to juveniles. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, many home owners find squirrels, as well as the pile of pine cone scales, a nuisance.

But many others delight in watching squirrel behavior, and even are able to feed them by hand with time and patience.

Between the squirrels severing pine cones, and the trees naturally dropping them, in no time during the Fall, your lawn may have many pine cones lying around! But for squirrels and other wildlife, this is a wonderful thing. 

Did you know? Pine cones are a food source not only for squirrels, but for woodpeckers and deer. Deer will eat almost anything during times when food is scarce even though pine cones are not part of their main diet and not their first choice. Woodpeckers will pull the scales apart to get at the pine nuts. Even wild rabbits benefit from pine cones, because the scale of the cone can be hard, which, when chewed on by rabbits, helps to wear down their teeth which grow constantly.  Note: do NOT feed pine cones to domestic pets without first checking with your veterinarian.

With Fall here and Winter on it’s way, you can help keep squirrels, woodpeckers and deer fed during the colder months when food is scarce simply by relocating those fallen pine cones to another spot on your property that is clean and quiet.

We did:

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org

We keep a few spots on our property wild and natural for our wildlife year around, and one of these spots is the perfect place for us to relocate our pine cones.

Now, all these pine cones probably looks messy to you, but it’s actually organized chaos! The majority of these pine cones will have been eaten by the end of the cold weather, and for anything left over, it’s easy enough to rake them up (along with the scale piles) to get ready for a new year.  And, I love that we are able to help wildlife in this little way that will have a positive big impact during the winter months.  

Speaking of pine cone scales, they are a good natural fertilizer, and a perfect way to add “mulch” cover to your gardens. We put down the pine cone scales first, and then top it off with regular mulch.  

So, maybe the next time you are getting ready to do a Fall clean-up, you’ll think twice about tossing those very useful pine cones, and relocating them instead. It will make a world of difference to hungry wildlife this Fall and Winter.

P.S. – And, think twice before you rake up all your leaves and prune everything for the Fall Season! Find out why, HERE!

pine_cone_png13361

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

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PS – I Actually Like Zucchini Bread (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org

It’s very hard for me to be neutral when it comes to Animal Welfare, and most times, with people in general.

I have always been a tolerant person, but the more involved I became and the more knowledgeable I got when it came to helping animals in need, the less I began to saw people as humane.  

It’s not to say I dislike everyone I meet, but rather, I find myself on the outside of their circles simply because I don’t care about the things they care about. I find it amazing, still, that a person can take the time to write an entire paragraph on what they are making for dinner on Facebook (but pick any social media platform here), but choose to pass by posts pertaining to relevant and life impacting issues such as Animal Welfare. Seriously? 15 likes for your homemade zucchini bread, and then on the SAME home page, right underneath THAT, three posts to sign and share for something worthy – and all is quiet.

I get it. I know VERY well that Animal Welfare is either a very touchy and/or heart wrenching topic, or – sadly – it’s not as important for some as what’s for dinner tonight. It can be very black and white, or invisible.

And that is where my tolerance stops. I just can’t be bothered with the whole “zucchini bread” mentality, when animals are suffering and dying right now, here and there, every damn day. 

However, there is a fine line between tolerating and ignoring the human race completely.  For, if you self-isolate based on your feelings of ill will towards the ignorant, the selfish, the self-absorbed, and the zucchini breads of the world, or even in your corner of life, you may lose an opportunity to open someone’s else’s eyes to the plight of animals in need.

This doesn’t mean that I am always preaching about Animal Welfare – because most times it’s someone else who brings up my name at a party or gathering, with a “you should talk to Janet about (insert subject)”.  I’m not quiet about my passions, but I can carry a conversation about other things, and never bring up the subject. 

But – but – if the situation arises where I can educate or share awareness, I will and I do. So if you find yourself at a place surrounded by lots of zucchini bread, keep in mind that you may just have the chance to impact change.  And, you just never know when you will have an opportunity to actually get someone else to post something productive on their social media pages.

PS – I actually like Zucchini bread.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

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YOU can make a difference (from Janet)

Just-Do-Something.org Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

It’s interesting the way some peoples’ minds work. Some people figure that if they can’t “go big”, there’s no point in doing anything at all.

So not true.

There are ALL kinds of heroes and champions when it comes to Animal Welfare. And yes, some of those heroes and champions have big backing attached to them.

But just watch ANY animal whose life has been changed by one single act of kindness and compassion. That animal in need doesn’t care if you’re the CEO of a not-for-profit, or if your name is plastered all over the news.

Bigger names who have access to available funding does go a long way in helping animals in need – no doubt about it.

But there is so much ANYONE and EVERYONE can do to save or better a life, even if it’s just you, without benefit of being part of a bigger organization; even if you’re not made of money.

The recent devastation from the current hurricane situations has called to so many caring and compassion animal lovers. Volunteers from different backgrounds and experiences are coming together in wonderful ways, all to help animals – domestic, farm AND wild – affected by these brutal storms.  Some ARE not-for-profits, and many (many) are not.  

Sometimes, sadly, there is a line between where you are in the “helping animals in need chain”.  Animal advocates know exactly what I am talking about. 

It’s great to see that line blurred in favor of just helping out where and when someone can, as we are seeing right now – everyone is working hard together to save, aide and comfort as many animals as possible during this tragic circumstance, without regard to where they are in the “chain”.

If you think you can’t help make a difference – change your thinking.

And, if you can’t travel to help, if you can’t donate to help, then look around right in your own town.  Somewhere, an animal is waiting for help, for rescue, for food, for water, for shelter, for kindness, to be noticed, to be helped, to be freed, to be less afraid.

An animal is waiting for someone, anyone, to JUST DO SOMETHING. Maybe it’s YOU.

It matters. 

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

 

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Holiday Forgetfulness (From Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

“Holiday forgetfulness” strikes too many people when it comes to animals.

Despite the many warnings and articles highlighted in social media when it comes to animal safety  and the “do’s & don’ts” of holidays events – there are still those who might feel they and their pets are above all that, and continue to do dumb things that put our four-legged friends (and birds) at risk.

Sometimes, luckily for an animal, a person who keeps their eyes and ears open are not only quick to spot something that needs attention, but they are also quick to speak up and take action about it.

But what if there wasn’t a champion around? Or what if someone didn’t say anything?

My point is that many people are wonderful animal owners.  But sometimes, when it comes to a three-day weekend, or a special holiday, stupid finds them and sticks with them.  So caught up are they in their socializing and their excitement in having that special day or extra day off (which includes showing off their beloved pet), that their choices become poor ones when it comes to the animals they are responsible for.

It’s not a difficult thing for an animal owner to put some thought and consideration into how they will be celebrating a holiday event while making sure their pet is taken into consideration.  It takes MORE time to deal with the results of a scared, sick or run-away pet.

With so many animals WITHOUT owners, how blessed are those that have a family.  But it’s up to that family to take care of them, and plan for them.

If YOU’RE hot, they’re hot.

If YOU’RE tired of walking in the heat, they’re tired of walking in the heat.

If YOU’RE getting bitten by bugs, they are getting bitten by bugs.

If the pavement is too hot for your YOUR bare feet, the pavement is too hot for their paws.

If YOU hate being locked or chained away from your “pack”, so do they.

AND SO ON.

Common sense goes a long way, if you are not in the throws of Holiday Forgetfulness.

If you see someone where stupid has found them and stuck to them this Labor day holiday, please speak up.   An animal’s life, and certainly their comfort, may depend on that.

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Make Changes to Accommodate Your Aging Dog

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org

At first you notice more grey around their muzzle. They eyes have lost that sparkle and appear to have sunk a bit deeper.

For most owners, the process begins with their dog appearing less interested in the activities they once thrived on. They are no longer interested in chasing a ball or Frisbee for what seemed to you, like hours! They hesitate before jumping into or out of the car. It takes a little longer for them to get to you when called.

dog arthritis

Basic routines are becoming more strenuous. They have to go out more often, or have “accidents” in the house. Walks are slower and shorter. They may begin to limp more. They get out of breath quicker. Their breathing, even when resting, is more labored. They are more prone to injuries.

You notice they now eat to live, rather than how they were jokingly known to live to eat. They have lost their taste for certain foods.

They appear to have lost their “sense of humor.” Some are less tolerant of other animals and children. They growl or retreat to a private space more often. They appear depressed.

There are a number of easy and inexpensive ways to help your dog pass through this critical stage of their life, with less pain and more dignity. They include:

  • First, take them to your veterinarian for a check up and assessment of their current condition. Your vet may recommend supplements that will help relieve pain.
  • To manage arthritis in dogs, veterinarians recommend controlling the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis with medication. This should also be accompanied by a suitable diet and exercise and supplements.
  • Get a ramp, so they can get into and out of the car on their own.
  • Raise their food and water bowl, so they do not have to bend down to far to eat or drink comfortably.
  • Change their diet. Their sense of smell may no longer be as keen. This often makes food seem less appealing or palatable.
  • If they are having problems with their teeth, switch to smaller kibbles or softer food.
  • Feed less, but more often.
  • Soak their food in salt-free broths.
  • If you allow your dog on the sofa or bed, there are “stairs” available in pet stores and on line, to help them get up and down, without causing pain.
  • Get them a softer bed. Tile and wood floors are tough on their old bone.
  • Keep physically stressful activities short, but interesting and fun.
  • Have a short new adventure together every now and them. Go some place different! Try something different. Many dog owners have found, the canine social interaction from joining a dog training class, often piques their dog’s interest in life again.
  • Take them out more often. Give them more time to take care of “business.”
  • If they are losing their hearing, get a whistle, to get their attention.
  • If their vision is failing, they may be nervous going outside alone in the dark. Keep them company…light up the yard, or carry a flashlight.
  • Be tolerant of “accidents.” They may not have the bladder or bowel control they once had. Don’t expect them to be able to “hold it” as long as they once could.
  • Keep the walks short, but do it more often.
  • Give them a private place to retreat to…and respect it.
  • If there are other dogs in the house, do not tolerate bullying. It often happens as a senior alpha dog transitions to a lower pack status.
  • Massage your dog, or have them professionally massaged. It makes a huge difference!
  • Be patient if they appear “needy.” They cannot explain it to you, but something physical may be happening, and they feel safer with you.
  • Expect less from them. Appreciate and praise any efforts they make. Positive reinforcement is an amazing motivator!

Bottom line: Your dog may no longer be what they once were. Nonetheless, that doesn’t change how much they love, respect, and need you. Make this ultimate stage of their life as vital as possible. Give them the dignity they have earned and deserve. You owe it to them.

By Karen A. Soukiasian

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And All It Took Was To Use My Voice (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org

Jump back five years. I am at one of our local wildlife rehabilitation centers, and I notice a large Bard Owl sitting in a cage behind the door to the center.

The cage isn’t clean, and it’s too small for the owl, so he can’t even stretch his wings.

When I ask about Bard Owl, I am told that he is blind and has been with this center for a while now.  If you look at some of the other bird cages in this center, they too are dirty and messy, many times simply because the birds can poop at a surprisingly fast and often rate.  

As the majority of the other wild animals that find their way to this center, I am feeling assured that Bard Owl was being taken care of and would be out of that cage shortly once recovery progressed.

NOT true.

Five years later, May 2017.

This past May, I found myself at the same local wildlife rehabilitation center, when I  brought in a turtle that had been hit by a vehicle, and left for dead on the side of the road.  

While there, I asked if I could drop in on the rehab center.

And there, behind the door, was same poor Bard Owl. Same too-small cage, same dirty environment.

When I asked about Bard Owl, I was told that Bard Owl had been blind for some years, and he just sat perched in the same cage, 24/7.

You mean no-one took him out? No.

You mean no-one offered him a bigger cage? No.

You mean he wasn’t able to even stretch out his wings? No.

First thought: OMG.  Maybe I should have known and said something five years ago.

Second thought: Hm.

And then, here I go again.

Immediately, I called the owner of this center.  My calls were never returned.  

Then, I reached out to a local organization that houses and cares for permanently injured birds of prey on our area (Wild Wings) to see if they would be able to help. They were supportive and interested, but this issue needed escalating first.

Not many people realize that there is more than one way to report abuse and neglect.  For a wild animal in the care of a rehab environment, a good place to start if you have questions or concerns about the treatment and care of that animal is your local chapter of the DEC (Department of Conservation).

The DEC has the power to investigate and go where other entities (like myself or another wildlife rehabber) cannot. They can request records, certificates and licenses, and all things related to the animal in question.

My calls to the New York State Department of Conservation (our local chapter) began. Concerned citizens can make a complaint anonymously or not.  My contact at the DEC laughed when I told him he could have all of my information, and even tell the rehab center who was making the complaint – because they receive so many people who want to remain invisible.  I am NEVER anonymous when it comes to Animal Welfare, in fact, I am proudly, quite the opposite.

It didn’t take long for the DEC to update me with the information I already knew in my heart – that this center should not have been keeping this Bard Owl.  

Why? First, licensing. Rehabbers need specific licenses for specific services. Second, when a wild animal is proven to be unrelease-able (back in the wild), a rehabber is permitted to care for that animal based on licensing and criteria based on that animal. If the animal cannot be properly cared for and maintained according to guidelines set by licensing, then that animal would need to relocated or be euthanized for quality of life reasons.

In the case of Bard Owl, permanent blindness obviously made him unable to ever be released into the wild.  There was no licensing in place to maintain him, and there was nothing being done to expand his quality of life. 

Such a sad, lonely, tiny life this Bard Owl was living, and it. made. me. very. mad.

It took some weeks for the DEC to organize transfer of this Bard Owl to Wild Wings, but it did happen.   And a few weeks ago, I received a call stating that Bard Owl was in a new home.

I went to visit  Bard Owl at Wild Wings the first weekend he was there.  In speaking with the Director of Wild Wings, Bard Owl was renamed “Archer” and was put in a lovely outdoor enclosure with a roommate Bard Owl named Hunter (also blind). 

Injured Turtle May 2017 just-do-something.org
Archer’s wings had atrophied because he was in such a tiny cage without room to stretch or use them for so long, and no-one is sure (yet) whether he will be able to move his wings as well because of that. As soon as Archer has been given time to adjust to his new digs, and once is it observed that he is eating well (a must and a priority), he will be taken out for walks and socialization.

Sometimes the DEC will fine or take away licensing for a rehabber not doing what they are licensed to do. It came out during the course of conversations that the owner of the rehab center didn’t have the heart to euthanize Archer because he was so beautiful, so he made the decision to keep him instead.

A beautiful thought in theory, but a horrible decision for Archer, who spent at least five years in a tiny, cramped, dirty cage – alone. Frankly, the decision was selfish, and the owner knew better.

The DEC did not fine the center because overall, they do great things for injured wild animals in our area. There aren’t many wildlife rehab centers, period, so it would be shameful to close down or fine a center that usually does so much good for animals in our city. 

But now they are aware that there ARE eyes on the outside, and now they are on DEC radar. Can’t hurt.

After Archer was safely in his new home, I called the owner of the rehab center again. This time he took my call. I told him who I was, and why I had made the complaint.  I just wanted him to know that **I** knew.  He didn’t have much to say, and that’s okay. Having Archer removed said everything.

Wild Wings took the high road by not mentioning the name of wildlife rehab center or the owner, so we will also.  But sometimes it’s hard to bite my tongue (still biting).

To see how Archer is doing, follow him (and the other permanent residents of Wind Wings) on their Facebook page.

Thank you to the NYS DEC (our local chapter) and Wild Wings for helping to make a difference.

Saving or bettering the life of an animal in need is my heart. And all it took to JUST DO SOMETHING for Archer was to use my voice.

Hopefully we ALL are using our voices in the same way. It matters.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

 

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Top Ten Pet Poisons (from Janet)

Here’s a Top Ten List you wouldn’t want associated with your pet.

APCC =  Animal Poison Control Center

1. Prescription Human Medications

The APCC handled 24,673 cases regarding human prescription medications in 2013. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to include: heart medications (blood pressure pills), antidepressants and pain medications (opioids and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Many of these exposures were due to people dropping their medication when preparing to take it, and before they knew it, Fido had gobbled the pill off the floor.

2. Insecticides

Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals. While 15.7% of all calls to the APCC are about insecticides, more than half of the calls involving cats pertain to felines exposed to insecticides. Always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications

Over-the-counter human products accounted for 14.7% of calls to APCC in 2013. This group contains acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (fish oil, joint supplements). Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested.

4. Household Products

There were nearly 17,000 calls to the APCC about household products in 2013. Household toxins can range from fire logs to cleaning products. Some items can be corrosive, while other can cause obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract requiring surgical intervention.

5. People Food

Human foods are especially appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions/garlic, grapes/raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals.

6. Veterinary Products and Medications

Veterinary products slid down two spots in 2013. Both OTC and prescription veterinary products are included in this group. Flavored tablets make it easy to give your pet pain or joint medication, but it also makes it more likely for them to ingest the entire bottle if given the chance.

7. Chocolate

Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (APCC received an average of 26 calls a day last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures.

8. Rodenticides

When putting out baits to kill mice and rats, never underestimate the resourcefulness of your pet. Approximately 5.5% of calls to the APCC in 2013 were related to baits. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure or seizures.

9. Plants

More than 9,000 cases in 2013 were pet parents calling about their animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Please see the list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information. 

10. Lawn and Garden Products

Fertilizers, which can be made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, so it is not surprising that APCC receives many calls (over 5,000 in 2013) on lawn and garden items.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet, or any animal, has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Keeping your eyes and ears open can help save a life. 

 

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How to Workout With Your Dog Safely!

As most of you know, building a workout routine with your mutts can be extremely beneficial. A lot of people find it fun and motivating to workout with your dogs. However, there are certain cautionary steps pet owners should take when exercising with your mutts. Here are some tips:

BEFORE THE WORKOUT

  • Evaluate your mutts’ physicality – Don’t just dive into an intense workout session with your dog; build up to it. Make sure you know what your dog is capable of and consider its breed and age for certain exercises. It would be good to consult your trusted vet before you start a workout regiment with your mutts.
  • Environmental Considerations – Running, hiking, biking, or walking in cold or hot weather may not be the best times for you or your mutt. If you’re exercising outside during the summer, try to go early or late evening when the pavement is not hot on your mutt’s feet. During the cold winter, consider walking or running your dog on a treadmill.
  • Prep Yourself with Food & Water – Make sure you bring some food and water for both you and your mutt, especially if you plan on doing a lengthy or intense workout. Dog treats and an energy bar may help boost you and your mutt’s energy and water will help prevent heat stroke.

DURING THE WORKOUT

  • Train Your Dog – Properly train your mutts to walk or run the same side of you every time to avoid tripping each other. Teach them not to pull on the leash or not to run ahead of you unexpectedly to avoid throwing you off balance.
  • Safety Comes First -Make sure you wear a helmet, knee pads, and other protection when appropriate. Don’t tie the leash to your wrist in case your dog pulls and jerks you off balance. Don’t push you or your mutt too hard. If either of you are starting to show signs of exhaustion, pain, or trouble breathing, then that’s a good indication to stop the workout and rest.
  • Again Stay Hydrated – Allow you and your mutt to drink plenty of water throughout the exercise and a little bit of food here and there to boost your energy (but don’t exercise on a full stomach either).

 AFTER THE WORKOUT

  • Cool Down & Body Check – After your workout, make sure to cool your body down and stretch out your muscles. Also take some time to check your mutt’s leg and paws for any cuts, bruises, ticks, and other foreign objects. You may also reward your dog with a treat for working hard.
  • Once Again, Hydrate You and Your Dog – Also be sure to allow the proper amount of rest for you and your mutt in between workouts for your bodies to recoup.

And remember – hot weather is here.  In no specific order: Know your dog’s limitations, don’t push him or her if they don’t want to engage, always have water available, rest in the cool and in the shade, and be familiar with signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke.

Have fun!

 
 
 
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