Keeping Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

It’s 4th of July week and that means you will probably have some fireworks going off around you, either in a big display or just some firecrackers being shot off in your neighborhood.  fireworksYou may love to watch fireworks, and who doesn’t, especially at Independence Day?  Your dog is who.  More dogs are lost around the 4th of the July than any other time of the year.  That’s because many of them are left alone at home, get agitated by the noise, and run off.  Last year in Durham, NC, a dog that runs the bases at the Durham Bulls games was being put in the car by his owner when the post-game fireworks started.  He was spooked and ran off.  Fortunately because of the media attention, he was returned to his owner.

It’s the loud, unpredictable sound that frightens them.  If you are going to a fireworks show, leave the dog at home.  Dogs can’t see the colors like we do and the noise could make them afraid.  Even though it’s at night, it’s still usually hot and humid, and there are crowds and strangers and those factors can make even the most docile dog agitated and will make sure you and the people around you won’t enjoy the show.

So what happens if you leave your dog at home, but you know there will be some firecrackers shot off around your house?  Dr. Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association has some tips for how to keep your dog calm.  “You want to keep them inside and as far away from the noise as possible,” says Dr. Beaver.scared  She says some background noise from the TV or radio works.  And your vet can prescribe something for it too.  Keeping the room dark also helps.

There are some over the counter products that are available to calm your dog also.  Dog City Bakery in East Cobb and in Sandy Springs has some products available.  completeCalm-productComplete Calm is a mixture of herbs in chewable form that can help keep your pet relaxed in any stressful situation, including separation, car rides, trips to the vet or groomer or moving into a new home.  You can also get a similar product, Herbsmith Calm Shen at Dog City.  It comes in powder or pill form.  An alternative to the oral medication is Rescue Remedy for Pets.  These are drops that you put in your pet’s water bowl.

If your dog gets scared during thunderstorms, it will likely be scared during fireworks.  If you have a Thundershirt for your dog, you may want to put it in it, but not if it will be left unattended.  If you typically crate your dog during thunderstorms, crate it during the fireworks.

AmyKcompr  If you are leaving your pet at home while you and the family attend the fireworks, you may want to have your pet sitter come over and stay with it.  The play time and being with a familiar face can help to relieve the stress and distract the dog from the noise.

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/

Preventing Pet Poisonings

    Now that all the green beer has been consumed and the green shirt you wear once a year has been restored in the mothballs, we can get down to the serious event of the week.  ImagePoison prevention week.  Pet owners may be surprised of all the items that are toxic to pets that are lying around the home.  You don’t have to throw everything away, or spend all day reading all the labels on everything you buy.  There is plenty of good information out there to make your home safe for your pets and maybe even the rest of your family. 

    I found this blog from the Oregonian in Portland, Oregon that has a list of many of the items that are dangerous to pets.  You may not even be aware that some of the most toxic items can be your houseplants.  I have a client that has a cat and dog, and when I’d go over there to walk the dog, I could tell the cat had eaten some of the leaves on plants and had gotten sick.  Lilies are especially dangerous.  Here’s a list of plants that are harmful to pets if ingested.

     There are many dangerous things in the kitchen too.  Dog owners know what spots on the counter are not safe from their dogs.  It’s harder to keep things away from cats because they can get almost anywhere.  That’s why it’s important to know what is dangerous and to keep it in the pantry or a cabinet and that those doors are kept closed.  If you smoke, it’s important to empty your ashtrays.  You don’t want to leave cigarettes lying around either.  Second hand smoke is toxic to pets just as it is to humans, so you may want to do your smoking in a place where your pets can’t go. 

    The Pet Poison Helpline has a great website with a lot of wonderful information about making your home a safe environment for your family and your pets.  If your pet does ingest something that you are afraid could be dangerous to it, they have a number to call for help.  There is a $39 fee for this, but it includes follow up calls.  You may want to put the number in your phone: 800-213-6680.  It is monitored 24/7.

    As you do your spring cleaning, keep some of these tips in mind and you may find some things that can be easily fixed.  Hopefully you’ll never need to call the hotline.  This is another instance that preparation can prevent a problem or at least make it less likely to happen. 

           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/  

Most Popular Dog Breeds in America

   The American Kennel Club announced the most popular breeds in the US for 2012 today and for the 22nd year in a row; the Labrador Retriever was atop the list. Image

The 22 years in a row as the most popular breed ties the Poodle as the longest run as #1 on the list.  Big breeds dominate the top of the list with German Shepherd coming in number two.  Golden Retrievers have moved up to number 3 and the Beagle is next.  The Beagle is the only breed to be in the top 10 every year the AKC has been compiling this list since 1885.  Bulldogs jump up to 5 and in the process knock the Yorkshire Terrier to number 6.  ImageBoxer, Poodle, Rottweiler and Dachshund make up the rest of the list.  All 10 of  these breeds were in the top 10 last year, just in a little different order. 

     This year the list of recognized breeds has grown to 177 breeds.  The list will be broken down into metro areas later on.  I posted the most popular breeds in Atlanta for 2011 last year. 

     There’s also a breed trivia quiz on the AKC site as well. 

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

Walking Your Dog in the Dark: Tips to Stay Safe

Now that we have had the autumnal equinox this morning, the days will be getting even shorter.  And with Daylight Saving ending on November 4, there will be even more darkness for you to walk your pet in.  Sunday morning the sunrise in Atlanta is at 7:45am, so you are likely walking your dog in the dark in the morning.   Here are a few reminders for things to be aware of when walking your dog in the dark.Image

   Wear reflective or light colored clothes.  You want to make sure others, especially drivers see you.  A reflective vest may be a good investment.  If most of your jackets are darker, slipping that vest over it is easier than buying a new, light colored coat. There are reflective jackets for pets too.  Plus there are a lot Imageof lighted leashes and collars.  These all work, but You’ll have to decide if your dog will wear the vest.

   I’m not a big fan of the retractable leashes at any time, but especially at night.  A car may see you, Imagebut if the dog is at the end of the leash, they may not see the dog.  A sitter in Phoenix was walking a dog at night in one of those situations.  The driver was looking out for the person and didn’t see the dog and hit it.  If you do use one of those leashes, you may want to use a collar that has reflective material on it.

Even if the area you walk your dog in is well-lit, you should carry a flashlight.  It’s easy to find a small, light flashlight that has a cord on it for you to loop around your wrist.  Not only will it help you see where you are going, you can make sure your dog is not doing something he shouldn’t.  Also, if a car approaches you, you can shine the light on the dog, to help the driver to see it.

Take your cellphone with you in case something happens, but don’t use it unless necessary.  It can be tempting to get on and check all the overnight emails and news, but you need to keep your focus on your dog when it’s dark.  There is a flashlight app for smart phones, but they tax the battery and a hand will have to be tied up holding the phone and your other phone will have the leash.  With the loop on the flashlight you won’t drop it if you need both of your hands for some reason.

Don’t wear headphones, for the same reasons as above.  Plus, you need to be listening for things because you may not be able to see them.  You may not see another dog out being walked and you may get to close to each other before you realize what has happened if you are distracted by headphones.

As I mentioned in my dog walking kit blog entry, it’s a good idea to carry a boat horn with you to scare off dogs that approach you and your dog.  Depending on the make up of your neighborhood, you may run into wild animals like a coyote.  A good  blast of the horn should send the animal on a quick retreat.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.