Besides the ocean, there are many other dangers that your dog can encounter at the beach. Being alert and attentive and following some of these rules will make your beach getaway proceed without problems! First, make sure to adhere to the beach’s specific rules as these are actually laws and you can be given a citation or fine. Some common laws include cleaning up after your dog, requiring your dog to wear a collar and ID tags and be up-to-date on vaccinations, be on a leash, and so on. Make sure to check prior to leaving to see if your beach destination is pet friendly! Just like people, dogs can only handle so much sun. Sunscreen that is safe for your dog is available at pet stores or online. Do not use a sunscreen unless it is specifically labeled safe for animal use. Make sure there is a shady spot for your dog to retreat to like an umbrella, picnic table, or tree and bring plenty of fresh, cool water and a dog bowl. Offer water refills often, making sure that the water does not get hot in the sun. Watch for signs of overheating, which can include: excessive panting or drooling, vomiting or diarrhea, collapse, and loss of consciousness. If you start to see any of these signs immediately move your dog to a cooler environment. While staying calm and speaking in a soothing voice, wrap the dog in cool, wet towels. A fan can be used to help blow air over the animal to speed up the cooling and applying isopropyl alcohol to the paw pads will facilitate cooling and should be repeated as the alcohol dries. It is important to never fully immerse your overheated pet in water as it may increase their anxiety. Hot sand is also a very real concern. Foot pad burns can occur when the sand is too hot. If a person cannot walk barefoot, their dog cannot either. While on the sand, lead the way for your dog to make sure they won’t step on anything sharp. Broken glass and shells are only two of many things that can hurt your pet’s paws. If your dog’s paw gets cut, apply pressure to the wound to ease the bleeding. If it’s severe, seek veterinary attention immediately. Once in the water, jellyfish and rocks start to potentially pose problems. If your dog gets stung by a jellyfish, douse the affected area in vinegar to ease the pain and kill off the stinging barbs before trying to remove the tentacles. If your dog does not come to you every time you call them, keep them on a leash. You can buy a long-reaching leash (20-30 feet) which will still allow you and your dog to play with a ball or Frisbee without worrying about the possibility of them running away. Pay close attention to your dog’s swimming habits. Fitness level, experience, and even breed of dog can influence how well your dog can swim. Poor swimmers and brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Boxers should probably not spend much time on the beach. When in doubt, put a life vest on your dog and keep an eye out. If your pet does go in the water, make sure to remove them if they start to drink the water. Instead offer fresh, clean water since salt water is bad for dogs and can cause gastrointestinal problems. Salt water may also cause some irritation to their skin and paws. Rinsing your dog off with fresh water before you leave or shortly after getting home will help him or her stay comfortable and happy. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, have fun!
I went for a walk with my pet. Now what? The warm summer months means spending more time outside and unfortunately, ticks. Many ticks are co-infected, meaning that they carry more than one disease, including Lyme disease. Did you know that only about 5% of dogs exposed will develop symptoms that are attributed to Lyme disease? But with all this said, you’re still going to go for walks with your dog and your outdoor cat will still want to be outdoors. You can prevent Lyme disease by making sure you thoroughly check your pet’s body after they’ve been outside and removing ticks before they attach themselves. Even if your dog or cat wears a tick and/or flea preventative collar or is given a spot-on medication, it is a good idea to do a quick body check. Keeping your pet’s fur short is an easy first step. Breeds with shorter hair are easier to check than those with long hair. Shorter coats make the ticks easier to see by keeping them close to the surface while longer hair allows a tick to hide deep in the fur and avoid being discovered for long periods of time. Brush or run your hands over your pet’s whole body, applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps or something the size of a pea. You may also use a brush or flea comb, stopping if you hit a bump or a snag to investigate. Most attachments occur in front of the shoulder blades, which includes the head, neck, and front legs. Make sure to also feel under the collar, under their armpits, between their toes, behind the ears, and around the tail. Ticks are attracted to dark, hidden areas and when attached can range in size from the size of a pinhead to a grape. If you find an unattached tick, place it in alcohol and dispose of it. Flushing a tick down the toilet will not kill it. If the tick is embedded, you must remove it carefully so you extract the whole tick. If you are uncomfortable removing the tick yourself then call your vet. While wearing gloves to protect yourself, use fine-tipped tweezers to grip the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, slowly and steadily, without squeezing the body. After removing the tick, place it in alcohol and clean the bitten area with soap and warm water. Keep an eye on the bitten area to see if an infection arises or if your pet starts to act abnormally. It is very typical for a small nodule to occur at the site of the attachment and persist for up to three weeks. Signs of Lyme disease typically occur one to three weeks following a bite and may include limping, poor appetite, and fever. A very small percentage of dogs may also develop a fatal form that affects their kidneys. If the skin remains irritated or infected or you suspect something might be wrong, call us at 717-697-4481.
Exercise is the most common New Year’s resolution for humans and there is no reason why it can’t be for your pet too! Indoor games can keep your pet active while giving them some quality one on one time. For dogs, try some new toys like a rope to play tug with. Fetch is also a great game to play indoors with small stuffed animals. To increase the activity level try tossing the toy up stairs (make sure the stairs have carpeting or a runner to prevent slipping). If your dog likes to chase, try attaching a stuffed animal to the end of a rope. Even though going outside is difficult this time of year, indoor open areas work well too. For cats try to mix up their toys and introduce some feathery or fur-like toys on “fishing poles” that will encourage stalking, leaping and pouncing- especially right before mealtime when your cat is hungry. Interactive toys are enjoyed by both dogs and cats especially ones that dispense treats!
It’s getting cold in Mechanicsburg! Don’t leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.
Certain foods can be highly toxic for dogs and cats. In some cases they can actually lead to death. The following foods may be dangerous to your pet: •Alcoholic beverages •Apple seeds •Apricot pits •Avocados •Cherry pits •Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol) •Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans) •Garlic •Grapes •Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol) •Hops (used in home beer brewing) •Macadamia nuts •Moldy foods •Mushroom plants •Mustard seeds •Onions and onion powder •Peach pits •Potato leaves and stems (green parts) •Raisins •Rhubarb leaves •Salt •Tea (because it contains caffeine) •Tomato leaves and stems (green parts) •Walnuts •Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets) •Yeast dough
One of our friends lost their dog yesterday near the Brentwater Rd. area of Camp Hill “Sydney” is a female Italian Greyhound. If you have any information, please contact Ken McGarvey at 717-943-7021 Please help us spread the word
Today these adorable labradoodles visited Winding Hill Vets for the first time. They are two years old and brother and sister. They have been together since the beginning. Chances are they do everything together – go out together – eat together – play together etc. My thoughts turned to friends of mine that have two adorable mixed terriers that have been soul mates for years. One was just diagnosed with Lymphoma. My friends could not help but wonder how the one left behind was going to fare when the other took the journey across the Rainbow Bridge. They asked “do pets mourn? – “do they grieve”? I do not know if they grieve as we do. What I do know is that they display many behaviors which make me think they do. The change in routine, the change in the pack and in structure can be powerful. Pets feed off of our emotions as well. I have seen dogs and cats go off their food, become restless, agitated, depressed or aloof. Changes in bladder and bowel habits are often noted. Searching behavior for the lost pet can be exhibited. To my friends I offer this advice. Today, while they are still together, allow them plenty of time to enjoy each other. At the same time start some separate “just you” activity with each dog. This will give you some special moments with your special boy while he is still here with us. Most importantly it will be the basis of your little girl’s life without him. A walk around the block with you, special play time with you or grooming and massage will be most appreciated. When a pet is experiencing the loss of another pet try to keep routine as normal as possible. Resist the urge to allow bad behavior if it begins. Structure is important at this time. Add to the normal routine some additional exercise. Exercise is, in my opinion, the universal answer to many “pet issues”. Increased walks for dogs with varying venues can be mentally, physically and emotionally beneficial. Tailor the length of the walk to the dog’s physical condition. Dogs that socialize well with others may enjoy play dates. Interactive toys for dogs and cats are brimming over at pet shops everywhere. Some cats learn to walk outside with their owners as well. There are many indoor games that one can enjoy with our feline friends. Chasing beams of light is a favorite. Flavored and safe for pets bubbles are a huge hit. In summation: Losing a pet is very difficult for us and for other pets in the family. Keeping a routine supplemented by some new activity can so assist in healing for us and for them. Start from the beginning doing some activities with the pets individually. Increased human-animal bonding is very likely to happen and this can make the loss of a pet down the road less traumatic for all. – Terri Heck CVT