Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy and Happy Throughout Their Lifetime

Keeping your cat healthy and happy can be easy and painless if you follow a few simple guidelines. Consistent daily habits are a great start to your felines best life.

First things first, find a veterinarian that’s a good fit for your kitty and your family.

It’s generally recommended to have a vet that’s close by in case of emergency, and willing to receive phone calls for advice when needed. It’s so important to have a great vet that is happy to receive a call when you’re not sure if something is serious or even when it comes to thoughts on food choices and grooming. Be sure to get all recommended vaccinations and please spay or neuter your kitty. This is important for their health and wellbeing as well as helping by not adding kittens to a world that already has more cats than homes.

Pay attention to the food you chose for your kitty. Cats, unlike dogs, cannot be vegetarians, even for short periods of time. They have adapted to rely on meat as the foundation of their diets. Too much dry food gives your cat too many carbs and can cause your cat to become obese and even develop type two diabetes. It is recommended to feed your cat at least one meal of meat per day and keep dry food to a minimum. Check labels and be sure that the food you choose is high in protein and low in carbs. A can of tuna or other canned meat can also be a great dietary choice in combination with small amounts of high quality dry food.

Pay attention to your cat’s hydration. Cats don’t have the same thirst drive as most other mammals as they have evolved from desert dwelling ancestors. They are most comfortable getting most of their hydration from foods, wet food generally contains 70% or more water while dry food is generally 5% to 10% water. Even though you may not see much water being consumed, it’s so important to keep a clean full bowl of water available for your feline all of the time. Pay attention to signs of dehydration such as sunken eyes, panting or lethargy. This is especially important in nursing kittens and elderly cats. As always, if something seems wrong call your vet immediately.

Be sure you give your kitty enough litter boxes. The rule of thumb is one per cat, plus one extra. So one cat needs two but five cats should have six. Many cats feel vulnerable when using the litter box, so if you notice that your kitty is having trouble using the litter box, try putting it in a place where he has a view of all that’s around him. In the wild they developed the strategy of being in the open where they could watch for predators around them when they were in this compromised state. For the same reason, a litter box with a top may be difficult for some cats. If having the kitty box out in the open is not good for you then you can move it a little each day until it is where you want to keep it. If you are having trouble with your cat peeing outside of the box, even when doing the right thing with placement, it could potentially be a medical issue like a urinary tract infection or other illnesses, so check with your vet.

Do yourself a favor and train your cat to use the scratching post. Start with it in the middle of the room and sprinkle with catnip to make it extra appealing. As your cat gets used to using the post you can skip the catnip and slowly move it to a more out of the way place. If you notice scratching on the furniture in the future repeat the steps over again to remind your kitty of the correct place to scratch.

As gross as it seems, it’s really important for cats to be able to adorn their loved ones with gifts. So if you are presented with a dead lizard or some other gruesome gift, try to be thankful and give your kitty positive attention. This is her way of showing love and feeling autonomy. You may be surprised by her reaction as you will get lots of snuggles and purrs. You can discard the “gift” after she has received her desired attention.

Cats love the outdoors, but having free reign outdoors can be quite dangerous. Cats do especially well with a Hale Pet Door exiting into an enclosed outdoor area such as a catio or cat run. These outdoor areas can be quite inexpensive and give your cat the happiness and freedom of the outdoors without the dangers of being an outdoor cat.

Bathing isn’t generally necessary for cats, but daily brushing goes a long way towards a healthy kitty. This keeps his coat clean and removes dead hairs before your cat ingests them while self cleaning. Removing the dead hairs through daily brushing will cut down on furballs as well as keep that coat soft and shiny. It’s a great way for your cat to get used to daily handling and feel love. It’s also a good habit to be in because you will notice lumps, bumps or irregularities right away.

As always, Hale Pet Door wants you and your family to have a rich and wonderful life with your furbabies. Please log onto www.halepetdoor.com for the highest quality pet doors, pet ramps and security barriers as well as info about our Rescue Rewards Program and tips on how to help your pet live its best life.

Have a Safe and Happy Easter for You and Your Pets

Easter is a favorite holiday for a lot of us. A day spent with time with the familiar, delicious food and treats, and fun activities. However, it also brings items into your home that can be very hazardous to your pets. We’ve compiled a list of some of the dangerous Easter items that your pet may come in contact with this holiday so you can feel more knowledgeable about what to keep out of reach!

Chocolate

This is probably something most of us already know about – chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs. Not only does it contain caffeine, but it also has a chemical in it called theobromine. Cats are most likely affected by it as well, but typically wouldn’t be interested in eating something sweet like chocolate. All types of chocolate are dangers, so it’s very important to always keep it safe and out of reach at all times. If you suspect your pet has consumed any chocolate, or is showing signs of illness such as breathing problems, diarrhea, or vomiting, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Egg Dye

A lot of the egg dye you’ll find in stores are non-toxic, since they’re usually made to be used by children. However, that’s not always the case and you always check the packaging before you choose a product. And although consumption of a non-toxic food dye is not likely to cause harm, our pet’s stomachs can be very sensitive and their system’s can sometimes react in unexpected ways so it’s best to avoid sharing anything with your pet that contains food dye.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener that is prevalent in many, many foods including peanut butter. This ingredient is highly toxic to dogs and can easily cause death. Even a small amount can make your dog extremely ill. Xylitol causes a rapid release of insulin into a dog’s bloodstream which causes a huge drop in blood sugar. Be sure to read the label of everything you bring into the house and if anything contains this ingredient, keep it safe and impossible for your pooch to reach.

Easter Basket Fillers

The plastic eggs, plastic grass, and other enticing items that often go in baskets can be quite tempting to both dogs and cats. These items can easily cause obstructions in your pet’s digestive tract and can be extremely dangerous. Keep a close on eye on all your pets so that they don’t chew on these things and become sick. If you see any signs of ingestion of these items, such as vomiting, lack of appetite, dehydration, or any other unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you and all your four-legged friends all have a fun, happy, and above all safe Easter celebration.

Tips to Keep your Pet’s Skin, Coat and Paws Healthy During Cold Weather

First things first! Please do not leave your pets outside in the cold. Most pets do not have a much higher tolerance for cold than we do. Pets can experience hypothermia as well as frostbite to their ears, noses and paws. It is just as important that they have a warm and comfortable place to spend their time as it is for us. Provide them with a warm area away from drafts and cold floors. A pet bed and a cozy blanket are perfect.


Keep your pet’s hair longer during the winter months. It goes without saying that an animal’s fur is their natural coat, so keep it as effective as possible. If your pet is of the short hair or sparse hair variety, then a pet sweater is a great idea. Animals can wear a comfortable sweater all winter long. Just be sure it’s not too tight or too loose.


Keep your pup’s paws healthy. Bring a towel with you on walks and wipe down his feet and underbelly to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Don’t forget in between the toes.  

Check your dog and cat’s paws regularly, especially during colder months. Look for dry, rough or cracked skin. Contact with snow, salts and cold ground can be very damaging to skin, even on the tough pads of the paws. It’s helpful to rub petroleum jelly into the pads of their feet before leaving the house.This will create a barrier between their skin and the elements and keep moisture in their skin. 

Booties are another great option, if your pet tolerates having them on their feet. Keep in mind that they will need some time to adjust to the feel of shoes, so give them enough time to get used to the idea.

Bathe your pet as little as possible during the winter months.

Just like us, their skin can become dry, irritated and flaky during cold weather. Keeping their natural oils on their skin and coat is the best protection their body has. When you must bathe them, use a moisturizing shampoo. A quick call to your vet for a brand recommendation may be in order. 

As always, Hale Pet Door encourages the use of our pet doors, especially during the winter. Your pet knows when their feet are too cold or when they can comfortably go out to play or potty. Freedom of choice between indoors and outdoors is a great way to keep your pet healthy during cold weather.

HALE PET DOOR wants you and your family to have a safe and happy winter. Enjoy your loved ones, including your four-legged kids. The winter is a beautiful time of year. Get out and enjoy the snow in a safe and comfortable way, and enjoy plenty of time inside snuggled up. Have an amazing winter season and please stay safe and healthy! 

Go to www.halepetdoor.com for selection, sizing and options for a new HALE PET DOOR 

Tips for Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Tips for Keeping your Pet Happy and Healthy During the Holidays.

Secure your Christmas Tree. Be sure to make certain that your tree is stable enough that your pets cannot knock it over, potentially causing injury. It’s also dangerous for the tree water to spill out as it can contain fertilizers and bacteria that can harm your pet if ingested.

Mind your candles. Lit candles can be a major hazard when you have mischievous animals running around. They could knock a candle over and start a fire or simply burn themselves playing near one. Please keep them out of reach of your pets and never leave them unattended.

Tinsel is a no-no. This sparkly, fun, light-catching decoration is just as attractive to kittens and sometimes puppies. If eaten, tinsel can cause severe stomach distress and even a GI obstruction. It’s really not worth taking a chance.

Avoid Mistletoe and Holly. Both of these plants can cause major gastrointestinal distress, including nausea and vomiting. Mistletoe, especially, can be very lethal, causing cardiac problems. Be mindful of all seasonal plants, as well. Lilies can cause renal failure if consumed and there are countless other flowers and plants that can be toxic.

During festivities, have a quiet place that is only for your pet. Loud guests and merry gatherings can be overwhelming for some animals. It’s always best practice to have a room or area that they can retreat to where others won’t follow. This is their space where they know they can feel safe and comfortable. This way they can come and go as they feel comfortable.

Having guests over? Do yourself a favor and make sure they know your house pet rules. They need to know if your animals are at risk for running if the door is left open, if your pet needs more space and less attention, and to follow your instructions when giving your pets any treats. It’s also important to stress the need for any luggage to be zipped up and any medication to be stored properly.

Be mindful of food. As we know, chocolate is a no-no for both cats and dogs; but, fatty and spicy foods are bad for them as well. Be sure if you do share some meat with your pet, it is lean and there are no bones in it. Carrots and sweet potatoes with lean meat are great options if you want your pet to have a holiday plate of their own.

Consider the temperature. Please don’t leave your pets outdoors during cold weather. It’s nearly as hard on them as it is on us. Of course, we recommend our Hale Pet Door so they have access to the outside as well as the warmth of the indoors. If your pet is easily chilled, a sweater is a nice option for indoors. Just be sure it fits snugly enough that it can’t catch on things, but also not too tight, as this can cause painful rashes under the arms.

Here at HALE PET DOOR we hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Omisoka! Please be safe, be blessed and enjoy your family, human and four-legged alike.

www.halepetdoor.com

Thanksgiving Tips for Pet Parents

Thanksgiving is nearly here and it’s time to prepare for the big day. Hale Pet Door has some tips to help make it a stress-free holiday for you and your pets.

  • Prepare a dish just for your pet to enjoy during the festivities

Many foods that we eat as humans are toxic to dogs and cats. Fatty foods are hard to digest, chocolate and grapes are toxic, and bird bones are terribly dangerous. It’s a good idea to plan ahead about the foods you will allow your best buddy to eat. It’s ok to let your dog have some fun foods without compromising his health. You may want to put aside some foods that you know are safe and flavorful, while you are cooking, for you to share during dinner. For dogs, things like fully cooked turkey cubes, pumpkin, small amounts of potatoes, sweet potatoes and veggies, or carrot bites can be perfect. Skip turkey skin, meat with bones still in it and stuffing. For your cat, pumpkin, turkey cubes and squash are great choices.

  • Plan a safe drive if your heading out of town

If your plans include a long drive with your pet, plan ahead to keep you and your buddy safe and stress free. Think about pet car-harnesses or crates, it’s important to keep them safe and comfortable while you’re driving. It’s nice to give them a blanket for cuddling and a toy or chew to keep next to them while on the road. Plan for frequent potty breaks at pet friendly rest stops and always offer fresh water to your pets during breaks. As always, make sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations, has its tags and is microchipped in case of emergency.

  • Keep your pet safe from running away when friends and family come in and out.

It’s important to remember that having family and friends around that are not used to your household door routines can put your pets at risk. Some pets may be scared of strangers and make it easier to panic and run; other pets are always waiting for the opportunity to take off. If you use pet gates it’s important to have them up and secure. It is also ok to keep your dog on a leash even in your house. Just make sure that someone responsible is always in charge of your pooch. As always make sure that your pets are up to date on vaccinations, have their ID tags on and are microchipped in case of escape.

  • Protect your pets from getting into someone’s luggage

When there are friends and family over it usually involves bags and cluttered guest rooms. Please remind each guest to keep their purses and bags out of the reach of your pets. There are many things that can be very harmful to animals in personal belongings; medicine, gum, candy and choking hazards are all accidents waiting to happen if a pet finds their way into it.

  • Animal proof your garbage cans

Pets are masters at waiting until they have the perfect opportunity to get into the trash. Not only is this super annoying, but it’s really dangerous. Anytime of year it is a hazard, but during the holidays the risk multiplies. Turkey bones, turkey skin, raw dough and raw food are all potentially deadly items that will likely be in the garbage. Be sure that your kitchen bin has a secure lid and that it is emptied regularly before it overflows. Remember to not leave your pets alone with a full trash container and don’t neglect to secure the outdoor bin as well.

  • Protect pets from potentially dangerous decorative plants

Whether you are visiting family or they are visiting you, it’s likely that there will be some festive plants around. Many of these can be toxic, such as: amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, hydrangeas, Sweet William, some ferns and more. Be sure to keep these out of reach of your pets, even if it’s in the flower beds outside.

    • Keep anxious pets comfortable when strangers are around

We all have those loud and exuberant friends and relatives; while they are the life of our party, they may be terrifying to you pet. If you know your best friend is nervous in social situations, then make sure they have a comfortable and safe place to retreat to. It’s a nice idea to have a comfortable blanket and favorite toy in their safe place. This way they can enjoy the festivities when they feel comfortable or be happily alone if needed.

HALE PET DOOR wants you and your family to have a wonderful holiday! Please be safe, hug the people and animals that you love and remember to take those treasured photos!

HALE PET DOOR offers pet doors for all doors and windows and is always a beautiful addition to your home and your pets’ life. Find out more at www.halepetdoor.com

Hale Pet Door Road Trip Tips

Ready to take your pooch on a road trip?

Here are some tips to make your trip amazing.

First things first, plan your route. Look for routes with plenty of rest areas or toll plazas. Many rest stops and plazas have some walking trails and even dog friendly parks to stretch your legs.

Make pet friendly accommodations. Many hotels and motels have pet friendly rooms available. Be sure to reserve these in advance so that you don’t end up without a place to stop when you’re ready to call it a night.

Stop by your veterinarian’s office before your trip. Make sure that your pup is up to date on vaccinations, that their microchip is current, and that flea and tick prevention are on board. Request a copy of your pet’s vaccination record and keep this with you on your trip. In case of emergency, you may need these records at another veterinarian’s office, or to board your pet if another member of the family becomes ill or injured.

shutterstock_97846694Bring the essentials. Pack travel bowls for food and water, as well as bottles of clean drinking water for Fido. Remember to bring toys and treats, so you have something to reward good behavior with, or to keep him busy in the car. Don’t forget a comfortable collar or harness with up to date tags. Be sure that the pet tag includes a current cell phone number.

Protect your dog and your upholstery. Many veterinarians recommend using dog slings, seat belts and pet hammocks while in the car. These keep your pet safer in the event of a crash and keep your pet from wandering around the car and causing distractions. Put a liner or blanket under your pet’s seat to protect your upholstery. If you’re using a pet crate, then be sure it’s plenty roomy and add a comfy blanket or towel along with a beloved toy.

Give yourself plenty of time and take many breaks. Puppies will need to use the bathroom every hour or two; older dogs can stop every three to four hours. Be sure to give yourself and your pet plenty of exercise on your breaks. Get out and walk or run with your dog where you find trails and play tug of war or roll around in the grass. A tired pup is usually a well-behaved pup for the next leg of your journey. Before you get back in your vehicle, offer fresh water and maybe some food or a treat, check your dog’s coat and paws to be sure he didn’t pick up any burrs or pests.

Finally, have a great time! Road trips are often the most cherished of memories. Get out and see the sights, take lots of pictures and enjoy the adventure.

HALE PET DOOR wants every family to enjoy their pets when away or at home. Log onto www.halepetdoor.com to browse a selection of beautiful pet doors for all sized pets and for any door or wall or other location in your home, office, or even the motorhome or RV you take on your road trip.

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Tips for a Happy (and safe) Halloween for you and your pet

1. Only dress up your pets if you know they like it

Many pet parents love to dress up their pooch or kitty to join in with the festivities. If this is you, make sure that your pet is onboard with this idea. If your pet is happy to adorn a costume, skip the mask and make sure that the costume is not constricting or unsafe. Be sure that your pet can see and move unrestricted, as well as the costume is appropriate for the temperature.

2. Keep dogs and cats safe when opening the door

If you’re going to be opening the door to trick-or-treaters, keep any unsocial pets in a separate room and any “runner” personalities on a leash even in the house. It is just too easy for our little ones to run out of the door during the festivities creating a potential disaster. It may be best to designate one person to be responsible for the pet during trick-or-treat arrivals and make that person aware every time the door is opened.

3. Don’t leave you pets in the yard on the evening of Halloween

There can be pranksters that may tease or scare your furry kids, as well as noise and antics going on in the neighborhood that can be a stressor for them. Best to keep them indoors if you are away, in a place that is familiar and comforting.

4. Keep lit pumpkins out of reach

This one is a no-brainer but easy to overlook. Be extra careful with any lit jack-o-lanterns. This can be tempting for dogs and curious cats. It is too easy for them to knock it over and get burned or start a fire. If you have a dog it’s best to keep them out of reach and for cats the best placement may be outside.

5. Be sure your pets do not get into the candy

Keep your candy stashes away from your dog or cat. Chocolate is poisonous to many animals and the wrappers can be harmful if swallowed. Make sure that your kids and guests know where the appropriate place for their stash is and where to dispose of the wrappers. If you’re worried about your pets missing out, it may be nice to keep a treat that is designated just for them. If you like, you can allow your kids or guests to offer this to your little guy too.

6. Plan ahead before you take your pet trick-or-treating

If you’re taking your dog trick-or-treating make sure that you have doggie baggies for cleanup and plenty of fresh water to drink with a travel bowl for the walk. Be sure to have up to date tags on your pooch and a person that is always dedicated to minding the leash. If your dog is tiny or elderly it may be a good idea to take a stroller, carrier or wagon with you. This way when your little guy putters out he can ride in style and enjoy the festivities from a comfortable spot.

7. Stay safe

This year comes with concerns that many of us haven’t had to deal with before. Just as you will likely need to talk to your kids about safe practice and social distancing, it is important to make a plan to avoid unnecessary contact through your pet. Prepare to politely ask that others do not handle or pet your dog to avoid raising the risk of COVID-19 exposure. While the jury is out about transmission to animals, there is a risk of contamination through touch transfer.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday with your families, both the human members and the furry variety!

Tips to Help your Pets De-stress During Quarantine

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Most families have been impacted greatly by the coronavirus pandemic and all of the associated changes. It’s easy to forget that our pets have been impacted as well.

Pets are wonderful at adjusting to their human’s routines, however, experts warn that it is difficult for many pets to adjust to their pet parents being around so much more than before. It may be easy to assume that dogs will want their human around as much as possible while cats want their alone time. However, experts note that this need for personal space is much more specific to your pet’s individual personality. Here are some tips to help recognize the signs of stress and help your best friend navigate these uncharted waters.

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Watch for changes in level of activity. Many animals will display restlessness and pace back and forth. Other pets may stay in one place and seem very lethargic. Both of these extremes may indicate anxiousness and can easily be misinterpreted as a need for more attention rather than less.

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Keep your ears open. Listen for higher pitch and more frequent barking from your dog or vocalization from your cat. These can be your pet displaying signs of distress or hypervigilance due to anxiety.

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Keep an eye on body language and aggression. Some animals may feel stiffer to the touch or develop new obsessive behaviors, tics or spasms. For example they may over groom, bite themselves or lick their lips repeatedly. Some pets may show more aggression towards their owners in the form of nips or bites even when being handled or treated the same way as normal.

If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, don’t despair. This is a normal reaction to shifts in your pet’s family life. There are ways you can make this time a bit easier for your furry friend, however. Here are some tips to help your little one out.

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Give your pet their own space. If they have a corner of your home that they spend time in, just let them choose to come out and mingle as they please. Remember, your pet is used to having 8 or 10 hours a day of down time while the family is at work and school. They may be happy to have a place where no one will interact with them until they are ready.

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Stick to a routine. Your dog and cat thrive on routine. Things like when the family wakes up and scurries around, when the smell of food cooking fills the home, the hour before bed that the family sits together in front of the television or when they are walked and played with. Just like people, animals feel confident and comfortable when they know what to expect from day to day.

Finally, slowly reintroduce the change back to your regular routine. If you have been working from home and know that you’ll be going back soon, take a few steps to help your pet get ready too. Reinstitute the daily waking and feeding schedule that is their normal during the work week. Also, start leaving your pet at home for some errands and outings before you are gone for the entire day. This will help your pet to not be shocked when the door closes without them in tow.

Remember, pets and humans are great at adapting and overcoming changes and obstacles. Enjoy your family and your pets during this trying and unexpected time

Important Things You Need to Know Before Leaving Your Dog in a Hot Car

It can be tempting for all of us to leave our dog in the car from time to time. You’re simply trying to make a couple quick errands and need to run into the grocery store to grab a few things. Ten minutes tops. Or maybe trying to mail a package. Perhaps you just finished up an epic game of catch at the dog park, and now your pooch is riding shotgun. With just a couple small errands to do on the way home, you hate the thought of having to drop your dog off at home before making them. And although it can feel like a hassle to do just that, a beautiful, warm day could easily turn deadly for a dog locked in a car.

Hundreds of dogs die each year from being left in a hot car. Unfortunately, some owners with very good intentions simply do not understand how dangerous it can be to leave your dog in a car. Our hope is that if more people spread the word about the dangers of leaving dogs in cars, it will help educate owners and save a dog’s life. Here are some important things you need to know before leaving your dog in a hot car.

Did you know that cracking the windows does not help keep your dog cool? According to a study by San Francisco University, cracking windows had very little effect on the rising temperature inside the car. On a 70 degree day, the temperature inside the car can rise to 99 degrees within 20 minutes. On a 90 degree day, that temperature can reach almost 120 degrees in that same time. Scary, huh?

Although all dog breeds are susceptible to heat stroke, or hyperthermia, it’s important to note that some breeds are even more sensitive due to the shape of their skull. Breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs could suffer from heat stroke even faster than other breeds. When dogs are hot, they pant to help regulate their body temperature. But once panting becomes ineffective against the heat and their body temperature rises too drastically, heat stroke will occur. Once heat stroke has begun to set in, the dog’s health will quickly deteriorate and it can happen extremely fast. Unfortunately, if a dog’s body heat rises too much, permanent organ damage and death can happen. According to an article by Earnest Ward, DVM with the VCA Animal Hospital,The prognosis depends on how high the body temperature elevated, how long the hyperthermia persisted and what the physical condition of the pet was prior to the heat stroke.”

Some obvious signs of heat stroke include excessive drooling, feeling warm to the touch, and a dry nose. If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, it’s important to get him moved to a cooler environment immediately. An air conditioned room is ideal. You can apply room temperature water to his body, but do not use ice as this will lower his body temperature too quickly. Finally, make sure to get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. When it comes to hyperthermia, time is of the essence.

So, remember during these warm summer months, it may be convenient at times to let your pooch tag along on your errands, but don’t be tempted. It’s not worth risking your dog’s health to save a little time. Keep your dog happy and healthy by leaving him home when you have stops to make.

 

 

 

 

Water Safety Tips for Dogs

Summer is finally here and you and your pup are ready to hit the water together for some quality fun in the sun time! But before you and Fido dive in – there’s a few things you need to know to keep your pup safe this summer.

shutterstock_193662557Don’t forget the sunscreen!

This may surprise you, but dogs are vulnerable to getting sunburns, too! Especially those with lighter colored coats. There are even some amazing sunblock brands out there that are made specifically for dogs! So remember to throw a bottle in your bag before you head out the door.

Are you sure your dog can swim?

Before you even venture out into the water, it’s pretty important to know whether or not your dog can even swim. Some breeds flourish in the water. Other breeds not only don’t enjoy being in the water, but really struggle to swim well at all. So before you take your pooch for dip, let him explore some shallow areas first to see if it’s something he’ll enjoy or not.

Invest in a life vest

Whether your dog is a seasoned swimmer or a little nervous to even be near the water, a life vest is a smart item to purchase. No matter if you’re taking your dog out on a boat, or going to play fetch in the nearby river, a vest can be a valuable safety tool to keep your four legged swimmer safe no matter what happens. Just make sure that you measure him and pick out a vest that will fit him appropriately.

shutterstock_533592607Don’t forget that dog’s are not allowed everywhere

As much as we adore our little fur babys, they’re not always allowed everywhere we go. Some places are just not safe places for dogs to play. So be sure to check before you head out with your dog.

shutterstock_594205211Be on the lookout for blue-green algae

You may have heard about it on the news. There is a bacteria known as cyanobacteria that’s usually found in still waters like ponds and lakes. Although it’s not always easy to spot, you can often see it as a blue or green film sitting on the water. Sometimes it will look like brown or green flakes sitting on the shore. Unfortunately this bacteria is often fatal to dogs, so if you see anything unusual in the water, keep your dog away.

Bring fresh water for your pooch to drink

Although your pooch may be tempted to drink from the water he’s playing in, it’s not always a good idea. If it’s fresh water, it’s probably fine, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring some bottles of water along for the trip just in case you encounter some water that looks a little less than safe. And if you’ll be hanging out around the ocean, you’ll most definitely want to bring water as drinking ocean water can make your dog very sick. Don’t forget the collapsable bowls!

Don’t forget to rinse!

After your dog is all finished playing in the water, don’t forget to give him a good rinse to get any bacteria, chlorine, or debris out of his coat. If he decides to groom himself, you don’t want him to ingest anything harmful off his skin and coat. Giving your dog a wash will also help keep his skin from feeling irritated from the water, sand, and debris he may have encountered. And don’t forget to clean his ears – especially those breeds with floppy ears!

Have fun this summer and be safe!