Dog Days (and wet days) of Summer

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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/  

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/  

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/  

National Pet Month

   Now that we are getting weather in Atlanta that feels a little like the way spring is supposed to feel, I’ve noticed dogs out about as much as the pollen.  As I drive to my dog walking jobs with Fetch! Pet Care, Image I see all sorts of breeds out with their owners.  May is National Pet Month, and many organizations are promoting adoptions so you can have a new pet to give you another reason to be outside and enjoy the nice spring weather.

      It may be as easy as ever to see some of the pets that need homes.  The Cobb County Animal control is having a big adoption fair at Jim Miller Park on May 18.  On June 9, an animal rescue fair at Willis Equestrian Park in Alpharetta is being billed as the largest pet adoption event in the Southeastern United States.  The Georgia Homeless Pets has pets it is trying to find a home for at Pet Smarts stores in Smryna and Austell. every weekend.  Of course, most days the Humane society of Cobb County Imageis open for you to come in and look for a pet.  They mostly just have cats because of the limited space there.  The Atlanta Humane Society has two offices: one on Howell Mill Rd. and one on Mansell Rd. in Roswell.  Most breeds have a rescue group in the Atlanta area or somewhere in Georgia.  There are too many other rescue groups in the metro Atlanta area to mention all of them, but many will be represented at the event at Willis Park. 

    The first thing about adopting a pet is making sure that everyone in the family is on Imageboard.  You may want to contact trainers about what breeds fit in with your family’s lifestyle and personality.  They can also tell you about what breeds may work better with kids.  If you’re not sure about if a pet will work with your family, you can foster a dog.  Many of the organizations that put pets up for adoption need foster homes.  You can get a pet for a while and see how it works.  Sometimes the foster pet is available for long-term adoption.  If it’s not, but you realize a pet will work in your home, you can get another one.  If you have kids, it may be beneficial for you to scout a few possible pets without the kids around and once you have narrowed down the animals, have the kids check them out.

   Maybe you’ve thought it would be a great way to spend a nice spring evening, walking the dog.  Or perhaps your kids have made that suggestion.  Pet ownership is great, but it does take work.  Of course you can hire a professional pet sitting company like Fetch! Pet Care to stop by and give the dog a walk, or clean out the cat’s box and play with it, (sales pitch) but you will want to do most of it yourself.  If you have been seriously considering adding a pet to your family, take advantage of these opportunities available the next few weeks to save a pet’s life and bringing new life to your home!

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/

Injury Rehab for Pets

Could you imagine your dog rehabilitating with the same equipment used to rehab professional athletes who make millions of dollars a year?  It’s happening in Roswell.

When one of the Atlanta Hawks has a problem with an ankle or hamstring, they rehab in an underwater treadmill.  The one the Hawks have is one of only 3 underwater treadmills in Atlanta for human rehabilitation. 20130411_135902 There’s one for dogs at the Atlanta Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness Center in Roswell.   The center was opened in 2004 by Dr. David Flier, DVM, MS.  The center also houses the Veterinary referral surgical practice, where Dr. Flier performs surgery.  There is one other pet rehab center in the state, but this is the only one adjacent to a surgical clinic.  The company operates other surgical centers in Marietta and Woodstock.

Jonna Kanable20130411_140255 is one of the certified Canine rehabilitation practitioners on staff at the AARF and says the industry has been growing a lot over the past 10 years, but there are still a lot of pet owners that don’t realize what’s available to them.  She has plenty of equipment available to work with the dogs, but her favorite piece is the pool treadmill.  “It’s very effective,” Jonna said.  “It gets the most results over any other modality.”

This dog in the pool is Angel, a Golden Retriever with arthritis in her hips and has problems getting up. 20130411_140138 She has shown remarkable progress since she’s been coming to the pool.  “She comes in every week or so for a treatment and is doing a lot better.”  About 60% of their patients come in after surgery on their back, knees or other orthopedic condition.  The rest, like Angel are older dogs suffering from arthritis.

Allie is one of the dogs that had back surgery and needed to be sling walked to use the bathroom.  Her owner, Deb Baker, hired my dog walking and pet sitting service, Fetch! Pet Care to do that when she was at work.   Heather, our sitter, 20120802_101437would use a sling under her back legs to help her go outside.  Deb continued Allie’s rehab by going to the pool at the clinic.  “It was remarkable how she was able to recover from using the pool,” she said.  This was a more than a year ago and she doesn’t need us to do the visits anymore.

A friend of mine, Dee Hodges sent her French Bulldog, Sugar, to the clinic.  Sugar was paralyzed after suffering a ruptured disk.  She wasn’t aware of the clinic and didn’t get Sugar in there until several weeks after his surgery.  “I wish we started sooner,” Dee said.  “We saw some improvement.  The staff was very professional and very loving with Sugar.”  She used 6 underwater treatments and some cold laser as well.

The rehab for the dogs continues even after their therapy at the clinic concludes.  “We teach the owners things to do to increase the dog’s mobility, said Jonna.  She says the rehab is just like training a dog and consistency is very important.  20130411_140102

Technology and training are keeping athletes playing their sports longer and longer.  If you use a clinic like the Atlanta Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness Center and have a trainer like Jonna and her staff that has the latest in equipment and technique you’ll have your dog living a long, healthy, happy life.

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/

Is Your Pet Camera Shy?

       Is your pet camera shy?  Does it not like you to hide your face when you use a camera to take a picture of it? Image I take a lot of pictures of the pets my company cares for.  I love to get pictures of sitters when they are dog walking or pet sitting and I’ll use the pictures to let the clients know everything is fine with their pets.  I also use it to post on social media or in a blog post. 

     I’ve noticed that many pets will turn their heads even when I call their name.  The Lab I used to have did not like it when I would put a camera up to my face.  It’s a little easier with a camera phone because it’s not as big and you have a much bigger viewfinder.  I asked Xalina Labarge, an animal behaviorist and co-owner of the Dog School 101 about how dogs react when you have a camera covering your face. Image  She told that dogs become uncomfortable when they can’t see your eyes or your facial expression.  “Dogs react more to facial language than body language,” said Xalina.  “When they see something blocking your face, they don’t know how to react. “  It works the same way with sunglasses. When I’m meeting a new client and their dog for the first time, I make sure I take my sunglasses off so it can see me.  I want it to see me smiling and happy to be with the dog and it can read my face.

    So what can you do to get your pet to “smile” for the camera?  “Put the camera (lens cap on so it won’t get slurped) or the phone on the ground and let the dog smell it and determine that it’s okay,” said Xalina.  “Then when you hold it the dog won’t be worried about it and will let you take the picture.”  I hope this helps you getting some better pictures of your pet!

    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/

Spring and Snakes

    You may not believe it if you are outside very long today, but Atlanta is in store for a very pleasant weekend.  Many of you will be spending time with your pets outside or start working in the garden.  You may not be the only one looking to enjoy the warm temperatures and the sunshine.  Venomous Snakes of Georgia has sent out a notice that snake activity will be on the increase with the temperatures and the sun. Image

Pet owners should be careful when they walk their dogs through wooded areas and the dogs start to investigate away from the trails. 

    According to the group, the first snakes to emerge from hibernation are the smaller snakes because they can’t store as much as the larger snakes.  As you would expect, they say the most likely time to encounter a snake is in the afternoon, when the sun has warmed things up a bit.  They offer some great advice for reducing the likelihood of snakes around your home in their latest news release you can see here.

    Dogs are usually bitten on the head, neck and front legs because that’s what they investigate with.  Bites to the head and neck have a higher potential of being dangerous because they can affect the pet’s breathing. 

    If you do encounter a snake and you think your pet has been bitten, try and identify the snake.  DO NOT put yourself or anyone else in danger of a bite to do this.  If envenomization has occurred, the symptoms will be almost immediate.  A bitten dog will show signs of pain, swelling, bruising and oozing blood around two puncture wounds.  The dog may also appear nervous or depressed, weak and salivate or vomit.  The bite wounds may not be visible because of the dog’s coat.

     Muzzle your dog as soon as possible.  This is something you should keep in your pet first aid kit.  Keep an eye on its breathing and the muzzle may need to be loosened if it has a hard time breathing.  Get the dog to a vet right away so antivenin can be administered.  Snakebite kits don’t work, so don’t waste your time with that. 

     Enjoy the spring weather this weekend, but be sure to keep a close eye on your pets (and your family).  Remember that the best way to avoid problems is to be prepared and stay away from situations that could cause problems. 

    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/.

National Pet Adoption Weekend

    This weekend is National Pet Adoption weekend.  ImageTwo of the largest pet supply superstores are taking a lead role in this.  Petco is having centers at its stores.  In the Atlanta area, the Georgia Homeless Pets will be at Petsmart stores in Smyrna, Austell and at the Bark Ave. Pet Resort in Smyrna.  The Georgia Homeless Pets folks are at those stores every weekend. 

     If you can’t make it by one of those places this weekend, there are several places you can go all the time to take home a rescue pet.  ImageThe Humane Society of Cobb County is a place I do a lot of volunteer work and they have a few dogs, but a lot of great cats of all ages.  The Atlanta Humane Society in Midtown or on Mansell Rd in North Fulton has dogs and cats available.  There are also many groups, like Mostly Mutts in Kennesaw that have pets for adoption.  If you are looking for a specific breed, most of them have a rescue chapter in the Atlanta area. 

    You can make a difference in a pet’s life even if you don’t take a pet home.  ImagePerhaps you can’t decide if it’s right for you to adopt a pet.  Several groups have fostering programs, where you take a pet into your home for a predetermined period.  If that works out, you can decide to keep a pet permanently.  Be aware that many times, the pet you are fostering may not be available for adoption, so know that in advance, so you won’t get too attached. 

   Adoption agencies usually do background checks on the people who adopt animals, so it may take some time before you actually get to take the pet home. Image Many of these pets have been taken from a bad situation, so you can understand how the workers want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. 

     If you just don’t want to have a pet in your home for whatever reason, but you still love Imagespending time with animals, all of these organizations need volunteers and supplies.  You can donate some time to make a difference in these animals’ lives and you’ll be surprised how much better they make your life too!

 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/.

And The Winner is…

    Banana Joe, a five year old Affenpinscher, won Best In Show in the 137th Westminster Dog Show on Tuesday night.Image  I don’t know if this helped, but his owner, Mikeje Cooijmans, says he speaks 4 languages.  He lives in the Netherlands, so that may explain his multi-lingualism.  I’m not very good with exotic breeds and there were 187 breeds represented out of the 2721 entries, but I had never heard of an Affenpinscher.  I don’t have any as clients. Image

        There is an Affenpinscher Rescue group.  According to the American Kennel Club’s website, the Affenpinscher is one of the most ancient of the toy dogs and originated in Germany and France.  During the 17th century, they were used to kill rats in barns and homes.  They were actually bred down in size.   They are described as having a fun-loving, sometimes mischievous personality. They are very active indoors and most of their exercise needs can be met inside, but they like walks outside as well.  They range in size from 9 to 11 ½ inches at the shoulder.  For more information about the breed you can go the Affenpinscher Club of America’s website.

    Banana Joe had entered the show the previous two years, but he finished second in toy group judging each time.  However this win was the 86th Best In Show title for “Joe.”  The crowd favorite appeared to be Swagger, a 20 month old English Sheepdog.  Banana Joe’s full name is GCH Banana Joe V Tani Kazar.  The banana reference comes because of the breed’s monkey-like face.  Affenpinscher is translated from German as Monkey Terrier.  Here’s a link to a video of his appearance on the Today Show this morning.

    If you have any experience with an Affenpinscher, I’d love to see pictures and hear about them. 

 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/.