Pet Care for the Cold

A blast of Arctic air has blown into the southeast.  Overnight temperatures are forecast for the low teens Wednesday and Thursday nights in the metro Atlanta area.  This frigid air mass will make it all the way down to Florida, with temperatures forecast to get to the mid 20s in central Florida on Thursday. Payton in Jacket With wind chills around zero, that can be dangerous not only for you, but for your pets.  The thing about animals, as all owners know, is that they have to do their business, regardless of the conditions outside.

Animals can get frostbite and other cold weather injuries just like humans.  You will be bundling up before you go outside, so you want to do what you can to prepare your pets as well.  Smaller dogs and cats are much more venerable to the cold.  SAMSUNG If you let your cats outside, don’t until things warm up.  As for the dogs, use a sweater or other jacket for them if you have one.  I can’t offer a suggestion on getting them on dogs that won’t want to wear a sweater.  Once they do their business, come in as quick as possible.  The areas that are at most risk are the ears, paws, scrotum and tail.  Tissue can freeze if their body temperature drops to 4 degrees below their normal temperature.  Give your dog a quick exam when you get back in to see if anything looks different.  If the dog is still shivering when you get back in, wrap it up in a towel that has been warmed in the dryer.  If your grass has frost on it, you may want to wipe the paws in a warm towel to make sure there aren’t any ice or frost crystals stuck in the pads.

Skin will become swollen, red and painful if your dog has been affected.  If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, the affected body parts should be slowly warmed with wet towels.  Get it to your vet or an emergency vet clinic as soon as possible to prevent long term damage and ward off infection.  Don’t rub or squeeze the affected area because it will be painful for the pet.  As with any first aid you provide to your dog, muzzle it to make sure it won’t lick the affected areas or bite you as you tend to it.

It’s important for you and your pet to stay hydrated in cold temperatures and that will help ward off cold weather injuries. SAMSUNG

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you park your car outside outdoor cats like to climb in the engine to try and stay warm.  Tap your hood a few times before you start your car to make sure there isn’t one in there.

Just remember to use common sense and if you don’t want to do something because of the cold, your pet likely won’t want to do it either.

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 checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

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Heat Safety Awareness Day

    Regardless of your opinion of weather forecasters, the National Weather Service got this one right.  The day that could be the hottest day of 2014 is Heat Safety Awareness Day.   You can follow that link to a lot of great information about heat, how it affects you, and what advisories and warnings the NWS issues.  Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, too.  ImageYou probably have outdoor plans for the holiday weekend.  If you are including your pets in those plans, I have some suggestions to keep the weekend enjoyable for everyone.  

     It’s important for you to take care of yourself on a hot day because if you begin to succumb to heat when you are walking your dog, you are putting your dog in jeopardy.  Many of these things involve common sense.  You shouldn’t take your dog on extended walks during the hottest times of the day.  Not only can the sun get to them, but the hot asphalt can damage their paws.  Try and stay on grass or concrete sidewalks.  Of course, grass can be dangerous if it’s been treated with fertilizer or pesticide.   If you are lucky enough to have a shady trail available to you, great. Image You shouldn’t be running during the hottest part of the day, but you want to run then, don’t take the dog.  I’m sure you know that dogs cool off by panting because they don’t sweat.  When they are breathing hard because they’re tired, it’s even harder for them to cool off.  Other than that your dog is pretty much like you and it needs a lot of water.  Portable bowls are available that can fold up in your pocket or attach to your belt.  You can share a bottle of water this way. 

      I hope I don’t have to tell you not to leave your pet in the car, Imagebut I took this picture in early September last year, on a very warm day.  The NWS has some great information about how quickly temperatures can rise in a parked car.  You can’t do it, even for a short time.  Another important thing to realize is that breeds with pug faces, bulldogs, pugs, etc. are even more susceptible for heatstroke and even in moderate temperatures.

     Okay, you’re following directions; you’ve moved the long walks to the cooler times of day, you’re getting your dog plenty of water, but being out in hot temperatures is unavoidable.  How will you know if it’s getting heatstroke?  The most obvious symptom is uncontrollable panting.  It may also start to foam at the mouth, become agitated or lethargic and even vomit.  First Aid for heatstroke in your pet is to reduce its body temperature.  Typically the first thing you do when performing first aid on a dog is to muzzle it, so it won’t bite you.  However, when a dog is muzzled, he can’t pant, so only use that as a last resort.  Ideally you want to give it cool water to drink, spray it with a hose, and get it in a wading pool or something. Image You don’t want the water to be too cold, because it could shock the system.  You can also wrap it in a cool, wet sheet or towel.  You should get it to your vet as soon as possible. 

     This doesn’t have anything to do with the temperature, but dogs can get sunburned.  White skinned dogs or dogs with thinning hair are most susceptible to sunburn.  Keep these dogs under cover.   

      One of the great things about owning a dog is being outside with it in the nice weather.  Just be aware of the conditions, use common sense and keep a close eye on your pet and you won’t have your afternoon ruined by an emergency trip 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/  

Animal Lovers Guide to Super Bowl Commercials

     Unless you’ve been stuck in a frozen snow drift or on an Atlanta interstate for the past few days you know this weekend is the big, huge event that everyone looks forward to and spends all day Monday breaking down:  The annual Pets and Product Placement Presentation known as Super Bowl Commercials.  I post a lot of things on my Facebook page about how people use animals toImage promote their business or product, so I think it’s neat how the commercials do this.  When I was researching this, I found several groups that have their own top 10 lists for Super Bowl commercials involving animals.

    I’m not going to bore with you my top 10 list because I don’t think I could even name 10 Super Bowl commercials with animals.  I will say that my favorite one from last year is the one with the Clydesdale trainer reunited with the horse he raised as a foal.  I’m a big sports fan, so I’m watching the game and using the commercials to get another drink or fill up my plate with more food.  But there have been some memorable animals that have debuted during the Super Bowl.

    I did come up with a few memorable spot, all from Anheuser-Busch: Image Spuds McKenzie from the 1987 Super Bowl, the Budweiser Frogs from 1995, and of course the Clydesdale’s football game

   However animal lovers may be a little disappointed on Sunday.  Variety magazine says that celebrities will be the stars of most of the commercials this year.  You may have already seen the Bud Light commercials promoting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commercial.  That’s what we’ve come to, promos for commercials.  Animal lovers shouldn’t stay away from the game.  After all there are 2 animal teams playing.  Audi is going the celebrity and animal route in their commercial.  There will also be a sequel to the Budweiser commercial I mentioned earlier.  This one has a puppy in it and you can get a preview hereImage.

    One reason these commercials are so popular is because we love animals so much and can relate to many of these experiences.  And let’s face it, some of these animals are just cute and you can’t take your eyes off them.  I think that animals will always have a place in commercials because so many people love animals and marketers want to have their products associated with them.  Enjoy the game and let me know what your favorite commercials have been in the past and what you think about this year’s commercials after the game. 

           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/  

Pet Gadgets

     The annual consumer electronics show wrapped up over the weekend in Las Vegas.  This show is usually where the latest in TVs and other gadgets are released to the public.  I’m not a big gadget guy, but I’ve learned since doing this job that many things for humans are getting turned into things for pets.  So I decided to see if there was anything at this year’s show that can make a pet owner’s life or the pet’s life any better or easier.  As it turns out, one of the top rated items at the show is for pets.

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Voyce from i4C Innovations

     It’s called Voyce, and it’s a device that worn around your dog’s neck and measures all sorts of things, including activity, rest, calories burned and other things.  The information can be used to track the dog’s overall health and well-being.  I see more and more humans wearing monitors of some sort at the gym and this is something similar for your dog.  The information can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device and shared with a vet to develop or track programs for your dog.  The heart rate monitor is one way to determine if your dog is feeling pain, which it may not visibly show.   

   It will be available for pre-order this spring and will be shipped in the summer.  The cost is slated to be $299 for the device itself with a $15 a month subscription for the data.   Voyce was developed by i4C Innovations in collaboration with a group of bio-medical engineers, dog experts and Cornell University, one of the leading veterinary institutions.  I4C Innovations describes itself as a company that loves dogs and aims to understand dogs like never before.  If Voyce takes off, there are plans for a smaller unit for toy breeds and cats, as well as an equine version. 

           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 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/  

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. 

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 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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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/