Weather Affects Our Pets

The Change in weather affects our pets just as much as it does us.  As the weather warms,  we put away our heavy winter coats and clothes, and bring out our summer stuff.  We bring out our patio furniture and beach equipment and picnic baskets.  As the temperatures cool, we start to batten down the hatches make sure the furnace is in top working order!

The heat and cold effect our pets.  Make sure you are aware of what the changes do.  Rule of thumb is, the smaller the body, the more changes in temperature effect them.

Summer

In the summer, move fish tanks away from windows with direct sunlight, In the yard, make sure there is plenty of fresh, cool water and a place in the shade. Don’t forget the local yard creatures, such as lizards and birds – they need shade and water too. Move food out of direct sunlight as well, especially moist or canned. It can spoil easily.

Never, ever leave your animals in a car – both heat and cold can and does kill. If you notice an animal in a locked car, try to locate the owner. If that is not possible, and the pet is in distress, call 911 for assistance.

Watch dogs and cats for signs of heat stroke which may include panting, wobbliness, dark red tongue, glazed eyes and vomiting. If overheating occurs, cool them down as soon as possible, move to a cooler area, Starting at the paws, use cool (not cold!) water then legs and finally the body. Cooling down too quickly can send them into shock, which only makes matter worse!

Winter

Don’t assume just because our pet has a fur coat that they cannot be affected by the cold. Hypothermia and frostbite can and does occur in animals as well as in humans. Severe shivering is the first sign, and it is important to get the animal warmed as soon as possible. The warming must be gradual otherwise shock will occur. Again, start with the paws and legs, as the body will conserve the warm blood in the body’s core protecting internal organs.

Our pets are important to us. It is our responsibility to make sure they are not effected by the elements, whether it be heat, cold, rain or snow. We need to be watchful to changes in our pets’ demeanor and activities to make sure they are as happy out in the weather as we are!

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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety comes in several forms, but there are several common denominators.

Generally, dogs that behave badly when the owners go away do so as a result of poor training or simply boredom.  Any dog that is pretty much ok with being left alone but acts out occasionally by chewing things for example, does not suffer from separation anxiety.  This is more a training or lack of exercise issue.

A dog with true separation anxiety absolutely cannot bear to be separated from their owner for even one minute. These dogs will whine and scratch at a closed bathroom door or bark incessantly if the owner steps outside for just a moment. This behavior intensifies the longer the owner is out of sight. They bark, pant, hyperventilate, and howl continuously until the owner returns. They often urinate and defecate in the house, tear up things that smell like the owner such as shoes or socks. They will even destroy things the owner has recently touched, such as a TV remote, or even a telephone. They are so anxiety ridden they cannot function normally or calm themselves down. Even after the owner returns, the dog is overly happy to see the owner and still cannot settle. Jumping and running in circles, and even proudly displaying the destroyed items is common.

Mild or Moderate Cases

Dogs with mild or moderate separation anxiety display the same type of behaviors to a lesser degree. There are several things an owner can do to lessen the anxiety in these cases. Start by not making a fuss over the dog before leaving. Make a plan to reassure the dog by leaving the house for a moment or two, and then returning. Pet the dog only when he is calm. Repeat this process, slowly making the “away” intervals longer. Soon the dog will understand that you will, in fact, return.

Increase exercise and play times as well. Also consider teaching additional tricks and commands. This focuses the dog’s attention on the owner.dogs with plenty of exercise and “owner” time will happily sleep while the owner is away.

Vet Intervention

In severe cases, vet intervention is needed. There are medications that can be prescribed to help calm the dog. There are also many natural or herbal remedies available. Your vet may even suggest a behaviorist to help in training or retraining. In this case, active participation by the owner is highly recommended.

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Natural Remedies for Dogs

A lot of dog owners are uncomfortable using prescription drugs to treat their pet’s ailments, especially when it comes to skin or coat issues.  The reason for this is mainly because the owner prefers something more natural and less chemical.

Holistic vets are very popular for the same reasons.  They usually try other homeopathic, or natural, herbal remedies before moving on to the prescription medications only when the chosen alternative fails.  Side effects are another consideration in choosing natural remedies.

Natural dog shampoos and conditioners contain the same ingredients that natural human shampoos and conditioners do. The same hold true for skin care. natural products are primarily herbal, containing such things as oatmeal, chamomile, lavender oil, aloe vera, olive oil, and grape seed extracts. They often contain Echinacea and natural forms of Vitamins C, D and E. These natural products are usually far superior to traditional over the counter products and medications in that they leave the skin and coat soft and supple. They also rinse easily, leaving no soapy residue which can dry the skin and cause itching or even allergic reactions.

Many of the natural remedies also cause a natural calming or soothing effect, not only for hot spots for example, but for the general overall effect it has on relieving stress or anxiety the dog feels during bath or treatment. They are also very popular in stress reducing aromatherapies and come in sprays, topical creams and ointments as well as shampoos cleansers and conditioners.

You can even find flea, tick, dewormers and heartworm remedies in natural forms. These treatments are safe for puppies as well as adult dogs. One thing to remember when using these products in their natural form is that it is on a continual basis, as opposed to the more traditional remedies that are only used every two to three months. The more natural approach is gentler and easier on a dog’s digestive tract.

A very popular herbal remedy for high strung or over stressed dogs is the Bach flower. While not all emotional or stress issues are completely controlled by the flower, it is a very safe remedy and there is no concern about accidental overdose or injury. The easiest and most commonly used form of the Bach flower is liquid.

There are herbal remedies for ear infections, especially in those dogs with long droopy ears where chronic ear infections are a fact of life. For some dogs, the treatment may span a few months, but even the most troublesome are eventually cleared.

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