Archive for November, 2011

Give Thanks for Dogs!

Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be grateful for in life including our wonderful dogs. Yes, they’re loyal, funny and lovable. But dogs help us in so many ways. On this holiday, let’s not forget to thank our dogs for:

Lowering our cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Bringing down our blood pressure and reducing stress.

Increasing our survival after heart attacks.  The odds for surviving following a heart attack is 1 in 87. If you have a dog, your survival rate jumps to 1 in 15.

Increasing our physical activity.

Comforting us in times of illness and death.

Calming us and reducing anxiety.

Lifting our mood and loneliness.

Providing us with a routine and something to care for.

• Helping us meet new friends.

• Providing us with non-judgmental, unconditional love.

Give your dog a hug from us and enjoy your day!

 

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Cold Weather Tips for Dogs

Did you know that more dogs are lost during the winter than any other season? According to the ASPCA, dogs can lose their scent on ice or snow and can’t find their way home, especially in a snowstorm. As winter nears, make sure your dog has the proper I.D. tags and follow these tips to keep your furry one safe this season.

1. Keep your dog warm when going outdoors. A longer coat provides more warmth so never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter. When bathing your pooch during cold weather, completely dry him before he goes outside. Short-haired breeds may appreciate a high-collared, long coat or sweater during cold temperatures.

2. Don’t leave your dog in the car during cold weather. Cars hold in the cold like a refrigerator and can freeze your dog to death.

3. If your dog is outside a lot, increase his food, especially protein, to keep his fur in good shape.

4. Wipe off your dog’s feet, legs and  stomach after he’s been out in ice, snow or sleet. This will protect him from ingesting antifreeze, salt or other chemicals when he licks his paws. Encrusted ice or snow can also make his paw pads bleed.

5. Clean up any any spilled antifreeze. It is poisonous to both dogs and cats and only a few licks can be toxic. Consider replacing  ethylene glycol antifreeze with a less toxic antifreeze made from propylene glycol.

6. Give your dog a warm place to sleep.  A warm bed, blanket or pillow that’s off the floor and away from drafts will keep your pup cozy during the winter.

7. Protect cold-sensitive dogs. Some fur friends can’t tolerate cold temperatures due to age, illness or breed. Keep them indoors and only let them out for potty breaks. Puppies don’t handle low temperatures as easily as adults and may resist potty training. You might need to paper train your puppy if the temperature is too low.

Parvo in the Park?

Signs have been posted at the Los Altos Dog Park, located at Eubank and Wyoming, warning owners that parvo cases have been traced back to the park. Many people have misconceptions about parvo and jump to the conclusion that any episode of diarrhea must mean their dog has the disease. While parvo is a serious, highly contagious viral infection, your dog will not be at risk if he has been properly vaccinated. If you have a young dog that has not finished his shots, however, keep him away from other dogs until he is cleared by your vet.

What Is Parvo?

Canine Parvovirus, known simply as parvo, is a contagious virus that mainly affects young dogs and puppies. There are two types of parvo–intestinal and cardiac. The most common form attacks the intestinal lining causing vomiting and diarrhea. The cardiac form of parvo attacks the heart muscle in very young puppies and usually leads to death.

Which Dogs Are At Risk?

Parvo is seen mostly in puppies between 6 weeks and 6 months old but can also be found in older, unvaccinated dogs.  Certain breeds such as rottweilers, dobermans, pit bulls, labs, German sheperds, English springer spaniels and Alaskan sled dogs are more vulnerable to the disease.

How Does It Spread?

This virus spreads when a dog has contact with an infected dog or through an infected dog’s feces. The virus is so concentrated in feces that if a healthy dog sniffs an infected dog’s stool, he will be infected. Parvo can be brought into your dog’s environment on shoes, tires or even by rodents. The virus is hardy and can live in the ground for up to a year. The only disinfectant known to kill parvo is bleach.

What Are The Symptoms of Parvo?

Signs of intestinal parvo include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy and fever. The virus prevents your dog from absorbing nutrients and fluid and leads to severe dehydration. Many dogs have no symptoms but are carriers of parvo and are shedding the virus in their feces. Dogs with parvo will usually become ill within 7 to 10 days of the initial infection.

Can Parvo Be Treated?

Since parvo is a virus, there is no cure for it. Instead, vets focus on treating the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections. Dogs with parvo are usually treated in a hospital where than can receive intravenous fluid and nutrition therapy and have their proteins and electrolytes monitored. Survival rate for dogs is 70 percent when treated; it’s much lower for young puppies because they frequently suffer shock followed by sudden death.

How Can I Protect My Dog?

The best parvo prevention is to properly vaccinate your dog. Young puppies should be vaccinated at 6, 9 and 12 weeks and should not be socialized with outside dogs until 2 weeks after their final shots. High risk breeds may require a longer vaccination period.

What to Know About Doggie Day Care and Boarding Facilities

With the holidays approaching, many of us will be busier than ever and may be traveling to visit friends and family. If you don’t have as much time for your dog or can’t take him with you, what to do? Doggie day care can help when your cooped-up dog needs to play and socialize with other dogs. For overnight stays, a professional boarding kennel will care for your dog when pet sitters aren’t available. Since we all love our fur babies, we want to find a place where they will be safe and happy. Ask your vet, dog park friends and pet store owners for recommendations. Also, don’t forget that you can park your pooch at Dawg Gone Good’s relaxation area while you shop or dine in Nob Hill.

Doggie Day Care

With these business popping up all over, how do you know if a doggie day care facility is reputable and that your dog will be safe?  Consider the following to help you find a day care that suits the needs of your dog.

Screening: A responsible facility only accepts well-socialized dogs and will assess your dog to ensure he’s a good candidate for doggie day care. You may be asked to bring your dog for a play session so that the staff can observe his personality and energy level.

Vaccinations: To ensure the health and safety of all dogs, the day care center should ask you for proof of current vaccinations that includes rabies, distemper/parvovirus, parainfluenza  and bordetella. Your dog will also need to be parasite-free and in good general health. If you’re not asked for vaccination records, don’t leave your dog at the facility.

Cleanliness: The day care facility should be clean and relatively odor free with a good indoor ventilation system. When considering a facility, ask for a tour. If the staff is reluctant to show you around or keeps you out of certain areas, be wary.

Experience: Ask about the staff’s experience. They should be trained to administer canine CPR and handle emergencies. You’re also looking for knowledge of dog and pack behavior, discipline and positive reinforcement and sanitation.

Supervision. Dogs at a day care facility should never be left alone. A staff member should be monitoring them at all times. Look for a facility that has a staff-to-dog ratio of 15 or lower.

Safety. Your dog may be placed in a play group, either with dogs his own size or with those with compatible energy levels. The facility shouldn’t feel cramped and should have a secure outdoor area.

Boarding

When leaving your dog overnight at a kennel, follow the tips above and also consider:

Availability. During the holidays, boarding kennels can fill up quickly. Call to see if openings are available and plan to visit the kennel before you leave.

Comfort. The temperature, lighting, bedding and sleeping quarters and exercise areas should all be comfortable for your pup.

Schedule. Find out when your dog will be fed, exercised and put to bed. Let the staff know of any concerns you have. Keep in mind that boarded pets should be checked on regularly throughout the day by a staff member trained to recognize signs of distress.

Your initial impression. Listen to your gut as you form your opinion about the facility. Is everything clean and orderly? Is the staff eager to assist you? Is the business running smoothly? You can also ask for referrals and speak to other owners who have boarded their pets there.