Pets and the Cold

     The Atlanta area will be seeing some temperatures dropping down to close to all time record lows over the next few days, so it will be important for pet owners to take some precautions for not only their pets, but themselves.  ImageOur sitters are preparing for these conditions as well.  As every pet owner knows, regardless of what else is going on, nature will call your pets so you’re going to have to go outside for at least a little bit. 

    Tuesday morning temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits with wind chills below zero.  If you keep your dog outside, you should really considering bringing him in for the night.  If there is no way for that to happen, you should consider boarding it for that night.  Make sure the boarding facility is taking precautions for the cold and make sure your dog has a warm bed at least.  If the dog will be staying outside, make sure the doghouse has been wind proofed and insulated.  Take some extra blankets out there to keep it warm.  And don’t forget water.  There are water dishes available that won’t freeze, but you may not be able to find them around Atlanta on this short notice. 

     If your dog spends most of its time inside, you will need to make sure you are dressed warmly as well.  Even if you are convinced you will only be out for a few minutes it’s dangerous to have any exposed skin when temperatures and wind chills are that low.  And as every dog owner knows, when you want your pet  to go quickly, it won’t regardless of how cold it is.  Be sure and wear layers, gloves, and a hat.  There’s a chance of some icy conditions over the next few days as well.  If you come across ice, try your best to avoid it.  The ice  can cause damage to your dog’s pads, plus the obvious reason, you don’t want to slip on it.  If you walk in an area when you see that salt or other chemicals have been used on the ice, make sure you wipe off your dog’s paws very carefully when you get back home.  The chemicals will burn and it will start licking them and that can lead to a lot of problems. 

    After you get back in, keep a close eye on your dog.  Make sure it drinks water to stay hydrated.  Dogs can show signs of shivering.  If you see that outside, get it back in, regardless of if it has done its business.  ImageIdeally you should snuggle up with your dog so both of you can warm back up together.  If that’s not possible, move your dog’s bed into a warm spot and make sure it gets in it.  You can tell when dogs and cats are cold.  They will curl up more and want to snuggle with you.  You may want to give them an extra blanket or towel to curl up with.  If they look lethargic that’s an early warning signal that there could be a problem.  Contact your vet. 

   I’m sure most of you know all this stuff already, but this will be a cold snap that’s not seen much in the Atlanta area, so taking some time and precautions can help you and your pets make it through the first part of the week safely. 

       Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

Dealing with a Bad Dog

   I found a link to this story in a review of some of the best journalism of 2013.  Thank you Rachel Maizes for sharing your experiences.  A lot of dog owners can relate to this.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/booming/bad-dog.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1&

    Does this sound familiar to you?  

       Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

Guest Post – Fostering a Pet…Make Your Own Holiday Story

   This post is provided by Alana, one of the Pet Sitters at Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta and the owner of ABJ Photography.  She shares some of her experiences working with a pet fostering program and how you may be inspired to get involved and give a pet a very happy new year!

 

In 2009 ABJ Photography was born out of a love for photography.  Little did I know that in just a few years my business would take on another level of passion and dedication for capturing life’s memories. 

Image

 In 2012 after losing our amazing black lab Tess I turned to the Atlanta Lab Rescue looking for some healing through giving back.   My Tess was a black lab, and I was drawn to this rescue group for that reason.  In the beginning it was simply to use my profession of photography to help their dogs look better in online profiles.  I was guided a few years ago to use my talents to help others. 

Image

As you will see above our involvement quickly grew, and soon we opened our home to other labs and lab mixes who were in need of homes.  During the course of the year, we even ended up adopting one of our own!  The process of bring a dog in need of a home into yours temporarily is called fostering.  Over the course of the last year David and I have fostered six dogs.  Some dogs come from shelters, some are surrendered by their owners due to life altering circumstances, and some have literally been rescued from unkind owners. 

Image 

Fostering is very important in the rescue process.  This is an opportunity for a loving pet owner to share their knowledge and kindness to an animal that may not have been shown that love or respect their entire lives.  It also keeps them out of overwhelmed shelters that can cause psychological damage.  This Holiday season we have more than 20 dogs living in homes with volunteer foster families!  And, the Atlanta Lab Rescue is close to saving the lives of 2000 dogs over the past six years. 

Image 

There are so many great rescue groups out there, and many dogs still needing foster families and forever homes.  To get involved with fostering you can connect with your local shelter or rescue group and inquire about foster applications.

 

As you can see through the eyes of some of our foster dogs above fostering can be a lot of fun.  It is also through those experiences that I transitioned my business to specialize in pet and family photography. Pets are our confidants, our family, our friends. We are lucky enough to share our lives with these incredible beings for a short time, and it is my passion to capture images that are true to life and lasting memories. 

Image

www.abjphoto.com

Twitter: abjphoto

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ABJPhotography

Shopping For Pets and Pet Owners

       If you’re not very far along with your Christmas shopping, I hope that you have at least been thinking about the presents you are going to get for your friends and family.  I also want to remind you not to forget your pet.  And if you have pet owners on your list, I have some ideas for you.

      One of the main ways I promote my company, Fetch! Pet Care, is by attending networking groups around the area I serve.  RuthE Levy is one of the people I met early on and her newest venture is a must stop for animal lovers. ImageThe website is bowwowmews.com.   She has a wide selection of animal products. If you like to dress up your dogs, she has some handmade dog scarfs available, even some for Thanksgiving.  She has scarves available from most area colleges so you can dress up your dog to match your gameday outfits.  Personalized products are available as well.  Under the link pet tales, she has must-reads for every animal lover. 

      One other idea for pet lovers is a professional photo of your pet.  Every animal owner has hundreds of cell phone pictures of their pet, but nothing will preserve the long term memory of your pet better than a professional photograph. Image Just because it’s professional doesn’t mean in a studio.  But a professional photographer like Alana from ABJ photography can capture the proper light for the best possible picture of your loved one.  Alana is one of our sitters and is very involved with the Atlanta Lab Rescue.  She has some holiday specials that you can take advantage of and help that great organization by going to her Facebook page. 

     Another great way to spread holiday cheer to animals is to make a donation of cash or merchandise to a shelter or rescue organization in your area.  ImageMost of these facilities operate strictly on donations and welcome anything.  You can also volunteer your time with them as well.  That doesn’t cost as much but can provide you with that great feeling of doing something for these animals that are longing for love and attention. 

       Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

Dog Days (and wet days) of Summer

Image

from David Dickinson

        Do you know where the term, “The Dog Days of Summer” comes from?  The Romans associated the hottest time of the year with Sirrius, the brightest star in the night sky.  Sirius is the brightest start in the constellation Canius Major (which means Large Dog…it’s also featured in the logo for Sirius satellite radio ).  The time of year when Sirius rises just before the sun is commonly referred as the dog days.  The ancients blamed the heat on the bright star.  Now, different cultures use different methods to determine when the dog days end.  In the US, the Old Time Farmer’s Almanac lists the Dog Days as lasting from July 3rd to August 11 in 2013.  Several European countries list the dog days as a little later, from July 24 through August 24.  Climatologically speaking in Atlanta, the average high temperature is 89 degrees from June 30 through August 13.  It’s 88 from August 14-25.  So the days are a little cooler by mid-August.  We’ve hit the end of the Dog Days this year with a screeching halt.  Atlanta’s high on Friday was in the 60s!  That was the lowest high temperature on record in Atlanta on August 16 and broke the record set in 1892. 

      The end of the hot temperatures does not mean an end to the rain we’ve had this year. The weekend forecast is wet. Vets expect an increase in heartworm cases because of the wet summer.  Standing water puddles leads to mosquitoes, more heartworm.  Heartworm is easily treated with medication, but can be deadly.  This is something that is much easier to prevent than treat.  Make sure your pet is taking its medication.  Here are some other problems that wet weather can cause for your pets. If you notice anything unusual with your pet’s behavior, make sure you get it to the vet. 

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

Deuce has been found!

   Good news to report: Deuce, the baserunning dog with the Durham Bulls baseball team has been found.  He was spooked by a fireworks show over the weekend and ran off.  He has been returned to his owner, who has trained dogs to perform at the ball park for several years.  

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2013-07-17/durham-bulls-dog-deuce-found-base-running-border-collie-photo

 

Fireworks Spook Base Running Dog

   I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.  I doubt very seriously that anyone from the Durham Bulls baseball team has ever read my blog, but maybe they should have.  I posted a story last month about how many dogs get spooked by fireworks and run off around the 4th of July.  Many of these dogs never make it back home and wind up in shelters or worse. Image

     Today I came across this story about Deuce, a 1 year-old border collie that runs the bases during Bulls games along with his brother Ace.  After the game, the dog’s owner, Gene Lonsway, was putting the dogs in his van when the fireworks show started.  Ace was in the van okay, but Deuce was spooked and ran off.  As of Tuesday morning he still hadn’t been found.  Lonsway says he hopes Deuce ran into one of the nearby neighborhoods and was picked up by a family.  The story has gotten a lot of attention in the Durham area, so hopefully it will have a happy ending.  I’ll keep you posted.  Please be careful if you’re using fireworks around your pets.  You never know how it will act when it is exposed to a new situation, especially if it’s stressful.  Lonsway is apparently an experienced dog trainer who has been providing dogs for the Bulls for several years, so it can happen to anyone.  Here’s a link to Deuce and Ace in action.

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

National Pet Fire Safety Day

    Today (July 15) is National Pet Fire Safety Day.  The American Kennel Club started the day 3 years ago to spread awareness about how pets can start fires and how to prevent them.  Pets can also be victims of fires they didn’t start and preparation can help firefighters to save them.  The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires each year.  Nearly 1000 house fires are accidentally started by pets inside the home.

      The AKC website has some tips to try and reduce the risk of your pet starting a house fire.  Most of them are pretty obvious and the first is to not have your pet unsupervised around an open flame.  ImageOne other thing today does is to increase the awareness of the importance to have cling signs at the entrance ways to your home letting fire fighters know how many pets are in your home.  It’s best if you can put how many of each type, like 3 cats and 1 dog.  If you don’t have these on your home already, they are available at most pet stores.  Two links in the AKC article on Pet Fire Safety Day that said you could get free signs from the National Volunteer Fire Council and ADT did not provide that info.  If you are served by a volunteer fire department the signs may be available at your local firehouse, but you may want to call them in advance.

      You also want to know where your pet’s safe haven in your house is.  This is where your pet goes when it’s scared.  If you don’t know, or want to double check, test your smoke alarm and watch where it goes.  If you can put this on the cling sign, it gives the rescue workers a place to go and they won’t waste time looking for your pets.  These seconds could make a difference in them being able to save your pets. 

       Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

 

Pets and Fireworks

      We have a holiday week coming up and many of you may be getting an early start on things by taking next week off.  While time off, cookouts and swimming trips may be a lot of fun for you; the week of July 4th can be very stressful on your pets, Imageespecially your dogs.  In my last blog post I talked about ways to keep your dog safe in the sun and heat of summer.  In addition to the heat and sun of Independence Day, many dogs are afraid of fireworks.  More dogs are lost around the 4th of July than any other time of the year.  People leave their dogs unattended in the back yard, and when the dogs hear the explosions, they get spooked, jump the fence and run off. 

      Most of the dogs that are affected by the fireworks are also scared of thunderstorms.  If your dog is anxious and nervous during thunderstorms, you can handle the fireworks situation in much the same way you do thunderstorms.  I talked to Xalina Babunovic, an animal behaviorist at the Dog School 101 in Marietta.  She said if you crate your dog during storms you should crate him when there are fireworks going off.  ImageAlso if you are leaving your dog alone and it’s usually crated when you are gone, crate it when you leave.  Regardless of if the dog is left crated, she advises you to leave some sort of loud background noise on, like music or the TV.   The room should be kept dark as well.  If you use a thundershirt, go ahead and put it on the dog.  Xalina doesn’t recommend leaving the pet with the thundershirt  on because if the dog get agitated it may try and get out of the shirt

     If you haven’t tried a thundershirt for your pet you can find information here.  I’ve also linked a video that shows how easy it is to put them on. 

    It’s best if you will be at home to be with your pet.  Having you in the room will help put your pet at ease as well.  If you’re playing with it, that may be able to keep it distracted and it won’t focus as much on the fireworks. Image

     Another thing to remember if you are hosting a cook out and animals will be around is that you want to make sure the food is kept away from the animals, and any alcoholic beverages. 

     Make sure to have your pet’s chip information handy. In case it does get away, you’ll be able to identify it quickly.  I know most people have plenty of pictures of their pets, but you want to make sure you have a good one that shows its face and could be used on social media or flyers around the neighborhood.  Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with that situation, but you must be prepared.  Hopefully your preparations and responsible actions will mean a 4th of July holiday that will be enjoyed by everyone, your family, your friends, and most of all your pets.   Here is a link that the ASPCA provides on things to help ensure your pets have a happy and safe 4th of July.

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

 

    

Summer and Your Pets

 Today is the Summer Solstice and that means it’s the longest day of the year, but also the official beginning of summer.  If you live in the South, it’s already been hot, when it hasn’t been raining, so today just means it won’t be dark until after 9.  ImageYou’re used to the heat.  I thought this would be a good time for a reminder of some things to do to provide the best pet care for your dogs and cats this summer.

    Many of these are things you’ve heard before and are fairly common sense.  I hope I don’t have to tell you not to leave your pet in a car, ever, especially not now, even if the windows are down.  It’s too hot, even if it’s cloudy.  Even if it’s just for a second – don’t do it.   Try and avoid longer walks in the middle of the day.  ImageDo them in the morning or evening when it’s cooler and the sun isn’t as high.  Make sure they have plenty of clean, cool water.  Your pet supply shop or outdoor store should have a portable water bowl.  Make sure you take plenty of water, for you and the dog. 

     If they stay outside, make sure they have an area to be out of the sun.  Be careful with their paws on asphalt as well.  If that’s too hot for them, they will usually let you know.  Panting is normal for dogs.  That’s how they cool off.  If you have a dog that has a shorter snoot, it’s harder for them to breathe when they are very hot or tired.  Be sure and keep an eye on them and make sure they are okay, especially if you are going to be leaving them alone.  If you hear your dog making funny noises like wheezing or something, it may mean they are not getting enough air.  In that case cut the exercise short and get it to a vet. 

    Another thing to be careful of with your pets, especially dogs, is sunburn.  Pets can get sunburned.  Puppies, light colored dogs and dogs with shorter hair are Imagemore susceptible.  So that haircut you’ve gotten your dog, thinking that will keep them cooler, may put them at risk for sunburn.  The nose, ears, belly and groin are more likely to get sunburned because there is less hair there.  You shouldn’t be surprised that there is a pet sunscreen available.  Most people don’t recommend using the sunscreen you would use because it could contain toxins that they may lick off.  Check with your vet about what they think is best.

    The summer is a time for fun in the sun and it’s even more fun when the pets are included in the activities.  Just take a little time to prepare for the heat and the sun and you and your pets can make the most of the extra hours of sunlight!  

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/