Stay Cool at the Dog Park This Summer

Your dog needs to get exercise and to socialize, and I think the dog park plays an important role in keeping your dog healthy, even when it’s hot outside. Do not make your pooch pant through the summer heat when you are trying to make your pet happy. A trip to the dog park will have your dog’s tail wagging, but the heat might make it droop quickly. Here are some tips to keep you and your dog cool and comfortable while enjoying the dog park this summer.

Plan ahead before you start your journey. Consider how far away the park is and how you will get there. If you are going a long distance, your dog will already be getting tired by the time you get there. Consider how long it takes for your dog to wear out and how much time you should spend at park. Remember, most dogs are like children. If they are having fun, they will not want to leave even if they are exhausted.

You can ensure your dog is cool and has enough energy to play by bringing water and doggy snacks. Make sure you have a bowl for the dog to drink from. Water breaks are the perfect time for a cool down. Lead your dog to a shady area for resting and water. Giving your pup a chance to re-energize will reduce the chances of overheating and will allow your dog to play longer.

Some dogs get hotter than others simply because of their fur. If your dog has a shaggy coat, the heat will always be an issue. Many owners shave their dogs in the summer. The fur grows back in time for winter, and dogs will be more comfortable on sunny, humid days. If you are not going to shave your dog, then do something small like tying a damp bandanna by the dog’s collar. This will give your dog some relief when it gets hot.

Your dog might be having a grand time, but it is easy for you to become miserable in the heat. Do not forget to take care of yourself. Bring plenty of water, wear light clothes and take sun protection. Bring sunscreen, a hat and anything else you need to beat the heat. If you are not a summer person but are trying to indulge your dog, consider buying a mister or a portable fan to stay cool while your dog plays.

If you both keep cool and have fun, then you and your dog will love the dog park this summer.

Photo: Flickr

Keeping Your Dog Safe During Fourth of July Fireworks

Dog Safety TipsMany 4th of July celebrations across the United States include the use of fireworks. Sometimes people go to watch an Independence Day fireworks show put on by professionals. Other times neighborhoods are alive with booming sounds and colorful light because homeowners are setting off their own fireworks. In either case, many dogs become very frightened at the sound and sight of fireworks. The following offers some tips for dog owners on how to keep their dogs safe and stress free during the upcoming fourth of July celebrations.

It’s fairly easy to tell when a dog is frightened of fireworks that going off nearby. Many dogs hide under a bed or a sofa when they hear these unfamiliar sounds. Some of them will whimper or yawn to express their discomfort. Most owners can tell when their dog is feeling distressed, and if there are fireworks or firecrackers, even if they are off in the distance, a dog might get scared.

An owner may try to coax his or her dog from its hiding place, but chances are it will not come out until the sounds have disappeared. In fact, if the owner tries to pull the dog out, it may growl or even snap at the person. This is a reaction brought on by the fear the dog is feeling and not a reflection on the owner. Other dogs hide in corners, tremble or wander aimlessly around the house when they’re afraid of the sights and sounds of fireworks. If an owner has no control over the fireworks or how long they will last, it’s best to put the dog in the quietest room in the home with a favorite toy until the light show is finished. Perhaps petting the dog gently will help comfort him or her. Try to keep as calm as possible (ie no kids running around screaming.

It is not advisable to let the dog outside if scared, especially if the fireworks are in close proximity. Additionally, it’s not advisable to let a dog off leash in an unfenced area, even if the dog is accustomed to being there (like a back yard for example). Scared dogs may take off, running right through an invisible fence.

Keeping a dog safe during a July 4th celebration begins with knowing whether the dog is scared of fireworks. If so, it’s best not to take the dog to a fireworks show even though it seems like a fun idea to include it in the celebrations. Alternatively, a dog that’s not afraid of fireworks must still be watched while the show is going on. For instance, if the fireworks are being lit nearby, an owner must make sure the dog stays several feet away. Dogs that are especially curious should be kept on a leash.

A final tip for keeping a dog safe while enjoying the fourth of July is to make sure the dog out of the path of any fireworks if the dog has to be around them. Fireworks don’t always go where they are supposed to go. It’s best for owners to keep their dogs a fair distance away from the area where the fireworks are being lit.

Photo: Flickr

Police Dogs Helping Our Communities

K9 UnitPolice dogs are an integral part of the law enforcement system even if we do not see them. In fact, K-9 units are used at the federal, state and local levels. A K-9 unit is composed of the police dog and the handler who is carefully chosen to work with the dog. A police dog’s career typically lasts about 6 years, and the handler must be dedicated to working with the dog for its entire career.

German Shepherds have been trusted police dogs over the years because of their intelligence, their trainability, their protection and their sense of smell. Another dog making an appearance as a police dog is the Belgian Malinois. This dog has many of the same characteristics of the German Shepherd, but is thought to be more reactive than the German Shepherd. Some agencies have begun to prefer the Belgian Malinois.

Because German Shepherd dogs are a popular pet in the United States, their natural aggressive and protective qualities have been diminished through breeding. Other breeds used for task specifics jobs include Giant Schnauzers, Blood Hounds, Rottweilers, Boxers and Doberman Pinschers.

Police dogs assist in the day-to-day work of a police officer; however, some dogs have specific training. There are search and rescue dogs that help to locate and find missing people or objects. There are cadaver dogs that are used to locate decaying bodies, their sense of smell so strong they can smell a cadaver underneath the water. Detection dogs and explosive searching dogs can locate drugs and explosives. Arson dogs can smell trances of accelerants that were used to start a fire.

Regardless of the specific task that the dog is trained for, all dogs must begin with basic obedience training. It is vital that a police dog obeys the commands of its handler above all else. After obedience training the dog is involved in agility and endurance training, which helps prepare the dog for obstacles it may encounter in a city or working environment. Finally, the dog is trained for its specific task like those mentioned above.

With a sense of smell 50 times stronger than a human’s sense of smell, a police dog is able to complete tasks that might be too dangerous or too time consuming for other police officers. Because of these great attributes, it is no surprise that a police dog is considered a member of the force.

Photo: Flickr

Tick Treatment for Dogs

Letting your dog run free without worrying about ticks invading their fur can give pet owners peace of mind. This common parasite can be found in a variety of places such as wooded forests, local dog parks, and your own backyard. Fortunately, the risks that a tick poses to your pet can be reduced through tick medications such as Frontline. There are also many natural remedies that some dog owners prefer over Frontline and other medications.

Ticks

It’s important to check your dog’s fur every day for ticks when you come in from a walk, especially during the spring, summer and fall seasons. You can do this easily by running your fingers through their fur and feeling for any lumps or bumps. Ticks can live up to one year without a host, and they are known to survive throughout the year. This especially holds true throughout the warmer climates and areas where the winter season has been significantly mild over the past few years.

Benefits of Tick Medication

Since symptoms of tick-borne diseases can be challenging to detect and many pet owners don’t comprehend that their untreated dog may be suffering until it’s too late, you want to protect your dog with a tick medication. Joint stiffness or difficulty in moving can be caused by a variety of tick illnesses such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. It could also include loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Medications such as Frontline can protect your dog for up to one month. Not only is it veterinarian recommended, it’s also easy to use, quick acting, waterproof and side effect free. Tick medications contain active ingredients such as Fipronil and Methoprene, which disrupts the nervous system of the tick and prevents them from further growth. It also lessens your dog’s risk from these disease seeking parasites such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme’s disease, canine anaplasmosis and other skin infections.

2013 PetSafe ‘Bark for Your Park’ Contest

PetSafe ContestThe 2013 PetSafe ‘Bark for Your Park’ contest launches May 1, prize money for local dog parks increases to $200,000

PetSafe, a leading innovator in pet behavior and lifestyle solutions, is offering its third annual “Bark for Your Park” nationwide contest with more prize money and more opportunity to win funding for a local dog park. The contest launches May 1, and by the end of summer, five U.S. cities will share in $200,000 in funding for local off-leash dog parks.

One U.S. city will be named the “top dog” and win a $100,000 PetSafe dog park, and four additional pet-passionate finalist cities will receive $25,000 to put toward their local dog park plans.

Last year, Texarkana, Ark., received the most votes of the 15 finalist cities, winning the $100,000 dog park. The city showed the importance of working together to win the nationwide contest, rallying support from citizens, elected officials, animal lovers, pet professionals and animal welfare groups, local media outlets and others.

“What began with a handful of passionate citizens grew into a community project of love for our animals, and it united both sides of our town,” said Wayne Smith, mayor of the Texarkana, Ark., side of the twin cities that span the Arkansas-Texas border. “And by working together, we succeeded in winning the 2012 PetSafe ‘Bark for Your Park’ contest! Our community was overjoyed and grateful to win the $100,000 grand prize so that Texarkana citizens – human and canine – can enjoy a safe place to play, exercise and socialize.”

Citizens and pet owners across the U.S. are encouraged to visit www.petsafe.net to nominate their hometown starting May 1 and to vote every day for their favorite city to move forward in the contest. Once the city has been nominated, PetSafe will review the availability of land and support from civic leaders. For the best chance to become a finalist, a city should excel in all three categories of land availability, civic leader support and community votes.

The nomination phase for the contest runs from May 1-May 31. On June 5, PetSafe will select 15 finalist communities to continue “barking” for their park. The finalist city with the most votes will receive $100,000 to build a PetSafe dog park. The city with the highest percentage of votes to its population will receive the “Bark from Your Heart” award and earn $25,000 toward building a local dog park.

This year, the finalist cities will also be broken into three categories according to city size based on population: large, medium and small. The top vote-earner in each size category will each receive $25,000 toward building a PetSafe dog park.  “Bark for Your Park” contest winners will be announced on July 31.

“We know that dog parks are a great addition to any town – large or small – for dogs and their owners to get outside, exercise, socialize and enjoy the pet-friendly offerings in their communities,” said Randy Boyd, CEO and president of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of the PetSafe brand. “We’re looking forward to cities across the nation whose residents love their pets as much as we do to jump at this opportunity; let’s hear you ‘bark’ for you park!”

For more information, visit www.petsafe.net or check out PetSafe on Facebook.