Holiday Pet Safety

Trojan with bow Crop

Gitli with bow

The Holidays are upon us and these events can be rather hectic for our pets.  We need to stay alert to possible dangers to them.  These threats can be things like consuming an excessive amount of rich and harmful foods, inappropriate or even toxic items which can be the seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting and plants.

While having fun with family and friends, don’t forget your companion animals and have  fun with and protect them during the holidays festivals.

“Watch this month’s yuletide episode of Pet Talk and find out what holiday trimmings are on the nice list and which ones are on the naughty. Your heightened awareness could help prevent everything from unintentional fire hazards to unwanted ingestion of plants that are safe for humans but poisonous to pets. Simply by following these helpful guidelines, your pet kid could avoid gastric upset and serious injury.”

Please watch the video of Dr. Sarah, you can advice you on how to make sure your pet’s holidays are safe as well as jolly.

Merry Christmas and have a Safe and Happy Holiday!

Understanding The Dangers Of Using Toxins Around Pets

Gig in is younger years

As I am contemplating the words to use in informing pet owners about toxins effecting cats and dogs, I am thinking of my golden retriever, Gig.  In 2000 he came through is initial pet checkup with no problems.  A week later he stopped breathing and my pet CPR training brought him back.  I took him to Vet ER Clinic and they diagnosed him with lung cancer.  It was an advanced cancer, which means it was there when the primary vet did his yearly exam.

 

Gig only had a few more weeks to live and to be humane I put him to sleep after coming home from work and smelling that death smell starting to come from him.  I am tears writing this portion and to this day, I still miss him so much.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have fought with my now ex and his insistence in using so much toxins to maintain the yard.  There is a lot of substances that we use in our yards from compost pile to fertilizers, and other various poisons we use that can cause serious problem if ingested, breathed in, and even absorbed by our pets.  I found out years later that the use of frequent fertilizers can cause lung cancer because they breath in that substance.

Even the frequent use of spraying in a house or around a house for bugs can be deadly to pets.  I recently found this out.  A family member started having bug problems after a flood so she paid for bug spraying to get control of them.  A few months later the bugs came back and she paid for spraying again.  A few months later she had the bugs back and found out that it was the whole block being invaded.  She was forced to have her home sprayed for a third time within a few months.  All spraying was done by the same company.  The company told her to wait two hours before bringing the pets back in, she waited three hours and cleaned only the flooring that the dogs would be on.  Within a few days of being back into the house, they all had respiratory problems.  About a week ago she took one of them back because it was having problems and the vet told her that the liver was responding to poison, it died a few nights ago.  Her landlady who is not a trained vet has been mentally abusing her by telling her that the dog died from being overweight and contradicting the trained medical advice of a vet.

It is illegal in the US to be giving medical advice to anyone or to anyone’s pets, if the person giving the advice is not trained or licensed and this includes the new age and the holistic peopleAs well there are some things that should or should never be said to someone who has lost a loved one, even if it has fur.

After doing some research on professional bug spray, I find that the recommended spraying guidelines states to not spray more than twice a year or every six months that doing so could be hazardous to pets health.  This relative had sprayed three times within a six month period.

The Pet Poison Helpline has a lot of good information.  I am reading a nice article now on Things In Your Yard That Are Poisonous To Dogs And Cats.

Before using toxins in our homes and on our pets, do some research and learn about the products first.

I am not trained medical professional and I do not give medical advice so if your pet is sick please take them to a trained medical professional.

To Stay Active Outside During Winter Select Proper Clothing

Trojan dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Trojan dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Many of us have seen Christmas Story and the scene that Ralphie is so well insulated that his arms are stuck up as he has been bundled for his walk to school.  He whines “I can’t put my arms down” and his mom comments “Well..you can put your arms down when you get to school.” When I work in locations that require walking dogs in snow and ice, I can’t be bundled up like Ralphie.  When we are out playing with our dogs in winter areas that has snow and ice, we need to be able to move about safely and stay warm.

I lived in Alaska for two years and really had to prepare for travel in subzero temperatures.  Part of that ritual was having my own traveling winter emergency kit available.  It includes extra warm clothing, blankets, dry shoes, a candle, a lighter or water-proof matches, food that doesn’t freeze, access to water, emergency flares, a first aid kit, and the list goes on.  The biggest challenge was dressing for winter.  I had to learn to layer so that I wouldn’t be walking around like Ralphie.  One of the important layers is two pairs of breathable socks or a pair of heavier breathable or insulated socks, if your feet got cold or wet there can be problems.  Then the first layer was the layer closest to the skin after the undergarments and socks.

Trojan hiding behind pole

In Alaska that first layer was a polypropylene top and bottom, this is also called long johns, long underwear, or a base layer. From that I would put on the normal outerwear garments: pants, blouse, or sweater.  I got into the habit of wearing two tops one being a turtle neck and then something on top of that.  That way if I got to hot inside I could remove a layer of clothing.  From there came the coat (my coat in Alaska was gauged for minus weather) or a jacket that covers the butt.  I sometimes will double layer under the coat with a fleece vest.  To protect myself from the wind a light weight pair of ski pants to cover the bottom.  I like to double layer my hands, head, and neck.  For the hands my first layer would be a light weight pair of contact gloves and either another set of heavier gloves on top or a pair of mittens.  There are also gloves out where the wearer can remove the top to expose the fingers just in case one can’t use the fingers with gloves on.  For the neck/chest area I would put a scarf under the jacket and a neck gator that would cover a portion of the neck, mouth and nose.  I use to double layer the head gear as well, using a warm hat and either on or under the hat I would wear ear mittens.

The final dress wear before going out in snow and ice is the shoes.  Your type of shoes will determine how warm and dry your feet are and wearing normal tennis shoes in snow or ice will maintain this goal and will be slip resistant.  Using waterproof shoes or boots that are lightweight will help.  Coating those with a water repellent fabric treatment can help waterproof shoes.  Traction is very important on ice and snow, I keep a pair of slip-on cleats to put on the bottom of my boots, these are similar to the ice shoes worn by those who climb glaciers.  Don’t forget polarized sun glasses to block the glare of ice or snow, it’s important that you see where you going.

In 2013 Southern Illinois got a lot of negative weather temperatures and I actually layered well enough that my main layer was a hunter’s jacket (camouflage on one side and orange on the other) all winter long.

Gitli dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Gitli dressed for negative temperatures in Southern Illinois 2014

Take care of dog paws, some dogs won’t put up with dog boots on their feet so using a petroleum jell on their feet will help protect the paws just be sure to wipe off when your back from walks.  Do your best to protect the paws form getting cut by ice or the salt while out walking.  Rinse the paws in warm water to remove ice pellets and other ice melt products, so not to send the body into shock.

Winter can be a wonderful season to be out in about walking dogs and taking care of pets. Take care of yourself and dress appropriately during the winter to protect yourself.  Don’t forget to take care of pet’s paws when out walking.

Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer, and the author of Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters and Disaster Plans: Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.

Tips on Improving Kitty Behavior

DSCN0006Did you know that when you make simple changes to enrich your cat’s life you reap the benefits as well? From eliminating outside the litter box to aggression, even inappropriate scratching, these and other behavioral disorders of indoor cats can be treated simply by making improvements to your cat’s environment.  Watch this month’s episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah shares her surprisingly simple tips.

REVIEW: Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan Family Edition

Not at all an interesting show and no real substance to it.

Attribution: Author is Raven Underwood.  Originally posted to Flickr.com, uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 21:26, 20 May 2007 (UTC) by  Pharaoh Hound (talk).

Attribution: Author is Raven Underwood. Originally posted to Flickr.com, uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 21:26, 20 May 2007 (UTC) by Pharaoh Hound (talk).

 

In this episode, actor Kelsey Grammer and his wife have two miniature dachshunds, George and Elvis, who have no manners and call all the shots in the home.  They have no real structure and no consistency in training or stopping bad behaviors.  The dogs bark, get on the table, pull when walking and won’t give way when the door is being answered.

 

 

If he is still using those scientifically dis-proven outdated techniques – his dominance theory techniques of hitting, kicking, hanging and other abusive methods to train dogs – it appears they editing it out before broadcast.

I did hear Cesar’s ignorant bull over-generalizing modern dogs and children:  “Modern dogs don’t know how to wait, Modern children and dogs don’t know how to wait.”  He’s playing off something that the older generation believes, despite the fact that, yes, some modern dogs and children do know how to wait, but the trainers/parents must be consistent in remind them that waiting is expected.

 

He is totally correct about there being no structure and consistency in the house when it comes to training the dogs.  I did notice that they did have pinch collars on the dogs before replacing them with a slip leash prior to  taking the dogs for a walk.  I also notice that he is still using that worthless and annoying “shh” noise.  He used it at the door once or twice and then again when they approach the geese instead of providing a better distraction that interested dog over the geese.

When you stay calm and assertive (not dominant) everyone does benefit.  I mentioned above that the dominance theory is outdated and scientifically proven to be a dangerous training technique.  Positive techniques have been proven to be more successful and increases the bond between the pet parent and animal.  I use to use the dominance theory when I first started training dog’s in the middle 80’s but switched to the positive reinforcement in the early 90’s and found that the positive training was more effective.

Is Your Dog A Wolf

Trojan and Gitli near the fireplaceVictoria Stilwell recent article is Dogs vs. Wolves  and discusses the importance of getting away from comparing dogs to wolves.  Victoria Stilwell  “Many people assume that since dogs evolved from their wolf-like ancestors, we can and should easily draw parallels between the two species and use what we see in wolf behavior to help explain how to understand our domesticated dogs. Bad idea.”

Her article was timed well with another article Dog Behavior and Training – Dominance, Alpha, and Pack Leadership – What Does It Really Mean?

I have had experiences working with wolves and dogs.  I do see a lot of similar behavior between the two.  I have even gotten away from comparing dogs and wolves.  I don’t like the dominance theory training where animals are hit, kicked, hanged, etc just to break their spirit and force them into submission.  First off anyone knows that wolves don’t do this.  As well anyone who is trained well knows that a wolf pack is a family containing a father, a mother, and their siblings.  The Alpha and the Beta theory are long gone and is commonly used in the dominance theory on training dogs.

There is a lot of scientific proof that this type of training does more harm then good.  The other reason why I have gotten away from this theory is because some raw feeders try to justify given only raw meat to their dogs by comparing them to wolves by claiming wolves only eat meat.  YEA RIGHT! I have seen wolves eat vegetables, roots, and fruit.

There is a good article on Science Daily called Genomes of modern dogs and wolves provide new insights on domestication, which does mention that dogs and wolves did evolve from a common ancestor between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.  According to this article the genetic overlap with wolves and dogs is because of the interbreeding after the dog domestication not because of a direct line of descent from a one group of wolves.

It’s time to learn more about canine behavior especially within a family grouping and stop focusing on outdated information and theories.

Tick Born Diseases Are On The Rise

Trojan on a tree stumpSummer arrived quickly approached is just about done, September is a few weeks away. With the rise in temperatures come the increase in ticks.  But we are in the height of summer and this means that mountain trails, bucolic meadows and forested thickets, and even your own backyard beckons you and your dog to romp and explore. Depending on your area, Heartworm Disease, Lyme Disease,  Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis are on the rise due to the increase population of ticks.

At the beginning of spring I heard reports of Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis we already on the rise.  I know a family whose dog picked up Ehrlichiosis despite all their attempts to keep the dog tick free.  It was sick for weeks and they were not sure if the dog was going to pull through, but he did.  Last year we had a friend whose spouse had died from Ehrlichiosis despite their attempts to keep ticks away.

This year as my own dogs went to the vet for their check up, Trojan and Gitli had their heartworm tests and I noticed these test were more expensive this year.  I found out that vets can now check for Heartworm, Lyme Disease, several type of  Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.  Except for the Heartworm the others are all tick borne diseases.  Their test results were all negative.

To learn more about these diseases click on Heartworm Disease/Lyme Disease/Ehrlichiosis/Anaplasmosis “SNAP” Testing in Dogs from Vet Street Your Pet Your Vet.

To learn how to better protect yourself and your pet click on Lyme Disease – An Emerging Problem.

Did you know humans can get Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever even if they have never been to the Rocky Mountains?  This disease is named after the location it was first found but Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is carried by the Lone Star Tick.  So anywhere a Lone Star Tick, could be that it might be carrying the disease.

Don’t let the ticks ruin your fun outdoors, educate yourself on what species of ticks are in your area, what they carry that could affect you and your pets, how to get tested for it, what remedies are available and how to protect yourself and your pets.

There Is An Alternative Therapy For Pets With Joint Problems

cropped-Trojan_stairs.jpg

 

There Is An Alternative Therapy For Pets With Joint Problems.  Recent estimates put the number of dogs suffering from joint disease and chronic pain at nearly ten million, a significant percentage of the population. And, with more and more senior pet kids in American homes, those numbers are likely to remain high. Please click here to learn what alternatives there are.

 

The Loss Of A Pet is Heartbreaking

 

cropped-Trojan_stairs.jpgGrieving for a pet comes in cycles but the “Heartbreak heals and our memories remain, the edges softening with time making them more gentle, less apt to pierce us.  We remember every loss but also every homecoming. I know some of my friends will be quick to adopt as their homes will seem empty, the silence too vast.  Others will take a longer more contemplative journey.  Neither is more correct, just befitting the person that walks the path. We are blessed and refreshed by each individually as a new life enters our own.  When the time comes, I’ll be happy to celebrate with them”  To Learn more about cycles. 

Top Toxins That Can Poison Our Pets, Do You Know What Is Or Is Not Toxic?

Trojan and Gitli near the fireplace

 

“Happy National Poison Prevention Week! In 2013, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois, handled nearly 180,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which are everyday household items.”

 

Read this great article from the ASPCA and learn more about common household items that results in frequent calls to APCC.