Summer Lovin’ And Your Pooch

photoSummer has arrived, and that means plenty of fun in the sun with your dog. However, the heat of the day can be harmful to your pet’s health. Since dogs have a higher internal temperature than humans, they can get hot really fast. So while you would love to do some summer outdoor activities together with your dog, it’s important to remember to protect him from the heat. Not being careful can lead to heat exhaustion for your canine companion.

So what are some of the things you can do to keep your dog safe during the summer?

Never in the car

For starters, never leave your dog in your car. More dogs have died of heat exhaustion in parked vehicles than from any other situation. Cars can get extremely hot in a short amount of time, so leave your pooch at home instead.

Of course, you will still have to take your dog out to exercise, but pick cooler times of the day to do so. People love running with their pets and usually think that canines have no difficulty dealing with the heat, which is completely untrue. Decrease the risk of heat exhaustion by running during the cooler times of the morning or evening. Avoid hot pavements as well as they can burn your dog’s paw pads.

No chaining

Always bring water and a collapsible water bowl on walks and hikes to keep your dog hydrated. You can also wrap a wet bandanna or cool pad around his neck before going outside to help him stay cooler and prevent heat exhaustion. If you’re going to be out in the sun with your dog, apply sunscreen to his nose. Since this part of the body is not protected by hair, it is very vulnerable to sunburn.

Another way to keep heat exhaustion at bay is to brush your pet on a regular basis, especially if he has a thick coat. Also, when the temperature peaks, keep your dog in a cool and safe place. Give him lots of water, and see to it that there is always a fresh supply at home which he can easily access.

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Memorial Day For Man’s Best Friend

Did you know that thousands of dogs have served alongside our country’s military forces for many, many years? The United States began training canines for combat not long after the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Dogs for Defense, a civilian volunteer group which was later officially recognized by the military, established a reception and training center in Fort Royal, Virginia.

Red Cross dogs

photoOver ten thousand dogs from the US and thousands more Red Cross dogs from different nations were in action during World War II. Dogs in battle continued to serve through the Vietnam War, and at the end of the conflict, our military left in Vietnam about 2,800 of the 3,000 canines that served.

Prior to being deployed overseas, dogs were stationed in army camps and underwent an intensive 12-week training period, often as patrol and sentry “soldiers”. It has been found that the best breeds for war dogs are German shepherds, Belgian shepherds, Airedales, Rottweilers, Dobermans, giant schnauzers, and collies.

Dogs have been used in battles since the beginning of time, with Assyrian temple carvings showing great dogs in combat. Canines were also present at fights in the Middle Ages as well as the Siege of Corinth.

In modern times, France trained dogs to search for injured men during World War I, and soon other countries followed suit. The British used dogs as messengers while the Italians had them deliver food to mountainous areas. By 1915, the Germans’ 6,000 dogs had rescued over 4,000 wounded men. Between 1914 and 1918, more than 7,000 canines were killed in action.

Deployed dogs

Currently, there are dogs serving in the War in Iraq, with several in the Gulf assisting American and British soldiers. Most are guard dogs that help protect the British military, though they may also be used to guard Iraqi prisoners of war. Other canines are tasked to look for bombs and weapons.

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Your Dog Has Allergies, Too

Is your dog itching? It could be allergies. But what’s causing it? There are several possibilities, but once you know the cause, you can take action to give your pooch some relief.

Year-round canine allergies

photoFood. Food allergies are actually rare in dogs, with only about 15 percent of canines being allergic to food. A dog may be sensitive to a protein source in his food or the protein of grains like wheat, soy, or corn. Try feeding your pet food with a different grain content or protein source for six weeks and see if there’s any improvement.

Mold. If you live in a humid place or if your kitchen and bathroom are unventilated, mold spores could be the culprit. Where moisture is present, so is mold. To prevent mold from growing, decrease the humidity in your house by turning on the air conditioner on a regular basis, repairing any leaks, running the exhaust fan after showering, and using the one over the stove when cooking.

Other animals. Male and long-haired cats produce more of the allergen FelD1 than female and short-haired felines. This protein is present in cat saliva and their anal sacs. Cat allergen, which sticks to walls and furniture, stays active for at least 10 years. The best solution is to bathe your cats regularly.

People. Just like cats, humans put out allergen. It can be found in our skin, which flakes off all the time. Your dog may be allergic to you or another family member. The remedy for this is allergy shots.

Other dogs. Dogs that spend plenty of time outdoors can carry pollen on their fur. A shake is all it takes for it to spread around the house. Again, keep everybody clean.

Seasonal canine allergies

Seasonal allergies are the most common cause of dog itching and scratching. A scratch test at your vet’s clinic, which normally costs a few hundred dollars, is the best way to figure out what’s behind your dog’s seasonal allergies. You can also ask yourself what you’re allergic to. For some reason, people and pets are usually allergic to the same things.

Otherwise, you can do some detective work by watching your local TV news’ weather segment. An allergy report will tell you which pollens or mold are a problem that day. Track the daily pollen count and observe when your dog is scratching to get a good idea of what’s to blame for the allergy.

In general, the earliest spring pollens come from trees, followed by grass pollen. Flower pollen and large pollen are typically not an issue, but insects are a seasonal problem as well.

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