Feel the Heat: 10 Potentially Hazardous Summer Hotspots for Pets

“Having your furry family members tag along on summer vacation is becoming more popular with pet owners, but it also adds an extra level of responsibility,” says Dr. Jennifer Maniet, DVM. “Just be sure to prioritize your pets’ needs when making your plans. Make sure they will have access to plenty of clean water, shady places to cool down, and above all else, constant supervision. Summer goes by quickly and the last thing you want is to spend time and money treating potentially avoidable medical emergencies.”

Here are some common summertime risks to help pets and their parents surf safely through the season.

Fetching The Waves
The dog days of summer are best spent on the beach, but don’t let your guard down. Snacking on sand can cause intestinal blockages in pets, and lapping up too much salt water can lead to dehydration, disorientation and seizures related to salt toxicity. 

Heading For The Hills
The mountains offer a multitude of possible mishaps for pets, from tiny ticks to run ins with the local wildlife. Be prepared for cuts, scrapes, and possible broken bones that can come with pawing through uncharted territory. 

Lapping The Lake
While pets may love a leap in the lake, many standing water sources harbor a host of intestinal parasites and bacteria that can cause illnesses like giardiasis, algae poisoning and skin rashes, and infections like leptospirosis. 

Hitting The Pool
Some pups love a dip in the pool, but too much chlorine can irritate pets’ sensitive eyes and skin. Also, watch out for dry drowning, where pets unknowingly inhale water, and later develop life-threatening issues such as pulmonary edema.

On The Road
There’s nothing cool about leaving pet in a hot car. Temperatures in cars can climb quickly, putting your pets in serious jeopardy — and turning your carefree summer into a deadly dilemma. 

Look Out: Cookout
A backyard barbecue is heaven to hungry pets; just be sure to keep them away from onions, chocolate, grapes and other harmful eats, or nonfoods like charcoal briquettes. And no gnawing on bones: They can do serious damage to your pet’s intestinal tract. 

Barking About The Park
Dog parks were made for playful puppers, but watch out for overly aggressive biting behavior. Remember, it’s all fun and games until someone tears a cruciate ligament — so take plenty of breaks and don’t let doggo overdo it. 

Playing With Fire
Fur and fire are not a good mix, so keep pets away from campfire sparks; a bad burn can require immediate first aid. Tasty tip: don’t forget to keep those s’mores ingredients (especially chocolate) where hungry pets can’t find them! 

Festing With Furry Friends
Street festivals present a plethora of potential pitfalls, like ground scrounging and noise anxiety from fireworks and music, along with the risk of losing your pet in the crowd. The cost for that? Priceless. 

Dining Outdoors
Food that isn’t a normal part of your pet’s diet can cause serious tummy troubles — and booze is always bad news. Avoid trash and litter, which can be abundant when refreshments are nearby. 

Courtesy of Petplan

Your Dog Has Ringworm: What To Do Now

Although the name often misleads pet owners into thinking a worm has invaded their pet’s bodies, ringworm is actually a fungus that can affect the hair, skin and nails. This fungus can lead to circular patterns of hair loss and red, scabby bumps. Before you introduce another pet into your home, knowing the facts about ringworm and how to prevent the skin condition from spreading is crucial. 

Dermatophytes, fungi that feeds on protein in the skin, hair and claws, is the agent of ringworm. Infections are transmitted by contact with infected hairs from another infected pet in the environment, or through bedding, grooming tools, and even fleas. The fungus can be passed between animals and humans, but young and elderly people are more susceptible to developing the infection. Those with weak immune systems are also more prone to ringworm.

Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor and chief of dermatology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains the signs of ringworm. “Clinical signs of ringworm may include excessive shedding, broken hairs, patchy or circular areas of hair loss, dander, scabs, red bumps and occasionally deep-seated nodules,” he said. “Some animals, especially cats, may be carriers of ringworm with no clinical signs. Diagnosis is based on history, clinical signs, fungal culture, and possibly skin biopsy. Fungal culture is the gold standard in making a diagnosis, but it may take up to three weeks for fungal growth to appear.”

Although the name often misleads pet owners into thinking a worm has invaded their pet’s bodies, ringworm is actually a fungus.
Treatment for infected animals includes limiting their exposure to other animals and people. Since it is common for some pets to be asymptomatic, all animals in an infected household should be treated and tested for the skin condition. “Therapy is directed at killing fungus on the animal(s) and decontaminating the environment. Unfortunately, dermatophyte-infected hairs can remain infective for up to several months, necessitating environmental clean-up of shed hairs,” Patterson explained. “If people in the household have ringworm-suspicious lesions, then consultation with a physician is recommended.”

Limiting the infected pet to other animals and people can be effective in preventing the spread of ringworm, but anti-ringworm treatments are required to eliminate the infection at its source. Shampoos, lotions, sprays, dips and systematic therapy can all be prescribed to a ringworm-infected pet. If the animal is long-haired, clipping the coat can allow better contact with topical medicine and will remove infected hairs before they shed into the environment.

Besides treating your pet for ringworm, decontamination of the environment is essential to prevent further spreading of the fungus. Isolating your pet in an easily cleaned room (no carpet) is the first step in decontaminating your home. Wash all clothing that has touched the animal, as well as destroy or thoroughly disinfect all collars, bedding, blankets, scratching posts, cat trees and grooming aids, if possible. Disposable dusting sheets and lint rollers can be effective in capturing loose hairs in the environment, and it is also recommended to launder exposed fabrics and pet bedding by washing twice in cold water with detergent. Thoroughly vacuuming rugs and draperies every one to two days will also prevent the buildup of infected hair. Disinfectants like Lysol and a Clorox mixture can be sprayed on tile floors, windowsills, vehicles the infected pet rode in, countertops and any other non-porous surface.

“The goal of therapy is to achieve two to three negative consecutive fungal cultures one to two weeks apart. Unfortunately, this usually requires at least several weeks of therapy,” said Patterson. “The risk of re-infection for a single pet is relatively low if they live indoors and the environment is cleaned thoroughly. When adding a new pet to the household (especially cats), one should have the animal examined by a veterinarian and consider having a ringworm culture performed before bringing the pet into the family’s living quarters.”

Ringworm is contagious to both owners and pets, but the fungus can be treated through multiple methods. If you think your pet may be infected with ringworm, have your veterinarian examine him/her since several other skin diseases can mimic ringworm.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. 

House Hunting and Moving With Your Dog

Finding a new place to live when you have a dog can be quite an undertaking. It's definitely doable, but requires some  work. And moving is stressful, no matter when or how you do it. Moving with a dog can certainly add to the day's hassles but a little preparation can make the transition a little more smoother. This guest post from Bernie The Boxer filled with tips on finding a home and prepping for moving day!

 Your lovable, tail-wagging, slobbery dog might not look like a human, but she’s a member of your family. Until you perfect your "Doggese," you’ll have to do your best anticipating her needs when house hunting, and especially on moving day itself. Here are some tips for what to look for in a new home and how to keep your dog calm on moving day:

When Home Hunting
Check Local Ordinances: When mulling the purchase of a potential home, get acquainted with county and city ordinances and regulations that guard the health and safety of pets and humans alike. Typically, under threat of a fine, they will require you to keep your dog on a leash and to clean up after your furry pal in public areas.

Fortunately, it’s becoming standard for communities to create and maintain pet-friendly parks. Check with your local parks and recreation department for information on where pet playgrounds and parks are located in the neighborhood of a potential home.

Find Out HOA or Apartment Building Rules: A house with a backyard is the ideal layout for a dog, but when an apartment or townhouse is what fits the budget, you make do. When the latter is the option, check the condo board or townhouse rules regarding pets. FYI: Homeowners associations (HOAs) usually dictate the rules and bylaws for what is tolerated and required of the animal.

Consider the Home Layout: Check the layout of the properties you evaluate and think about creature comforts inside and outside the house or apartment. Will your dog have enough yard or living room space? Would tiled floors or carpeting be better for your animal? Consider the difficulties that may arise in the future. Today, your spry puppy dog may have no problem climbing stairs but as the years go by, she might not be able to. Take her age and health status into account. 

Inspect the outside of the property as well. Is there proper fencing of the yard? Is there space for a dog house? Will the neighbor’s dogs be a problem? These are all questions you should find answers for before moving forward with purchasing the house.

How to Prepare for Moving Day
Dogs are sensitive to changes in their routine or environment, so as you prepare to move, make sure you’ve given a lot of thought to how the dog will be treated before and during your move to your new home. Follow these guidelines for stress-free results:

Before the Move: If you have a puppy, make sure the new home is puppy-proofed before it arrives. The last thing you want is chew marks on your new furniture, or it trampling on your new garden’s flowers. With a clean bill of health, per the veterinarian, work on sticking to the dog’s routine as much as possible before moving. Consider finding a pet sitter (friend or hired) to take in your dog while you move for a moving day with few dog-related hassles.

During the Move: On moving day, make sure you have taken your dog out for an extra-long walk so that she is more tired than usual. This will help reduce her anxiety level when she is transported to the new home. Once you reach the place, keep your dog in a reserved room for her as you move forward with the unpacking. Keep familiar treats and toys near her at all times so that she is reminded of your old home’s scents.

Let a day or two go by until you feel she is ready to explore your new digs. If she is adjusting well to the new space, then congratulations! You’ve found a home that she can live in with apparent canine contentment. What a treat for her and your family. 

Click here to learn more about Bernie The Boxer!

We Love You Hayley Girl

Our sweet Hayley girl
We lost our Hayley girl yesterday.

Many of you know the trials that Hayley has gone through over the years: her diabetes diagnosis, Cushing's disease, canine blindness. She also had a severe hypoglycemic attack a few months ago and extreme pancreatitis two years before that.

Each time we were warned that her prognosis was not good and she may not survive. Each time, we worried and prayed, and each time, she recovered.

She was the amazing Hayley, and literally nothing would keep her down. She would come home with her energy renewed and right back to her old self, lapping up her food with delight. Even after she lost most of her teeth, she still loved her food. Always in a happy mood, always running around in a quick pace, Hayley was the literal example of living life to its fullest.

At the park

This time everything was different. She started displaying neurological symptoms and all signs pointed to a brain tumor. And still, she tried her absolute best to push through and eat and walk, and there came a point when we had to let her go because Hayley, the incredibly strong and incredibly sweet girl deserved to be happy again and pain free.

I can't begin to explain how empty the house feels without her. Django is acting quite sullen and slightly nervous. She knows something is just not quite right.

Django stayed by her side for the last few days
All of you who have ever cared for a senior or a chronically dog knows how much work goes into their daily routine. For three years, I have given her twice daily insulin injections, oral medication, and special meals (with her always storing a kibble or two in her cheek for late night snacks!).

We have put her out in the yard countless times a day carefully watching so didn't get hurt since losing her sight, cleaning up after her potty accidents indoors.

The past few months she even sported doggie diapers —  rather proudly I might add — nothing got Hayley down!
Being a clown

Hayley girl was with us for 11 years. We adopted her from a North Shore Adoption van that conveniently parked outside our building in 2003. She was matted, not potty trained (although she was 3 or 4 years old), and was completely afraid of everything and everyone. She has an inch long scar at the top of her head and I shudder to think of what she lived through before we found her. 

In the beginning, we couldn't even scratch our heads without her screeching in fear thinking we were going to hit her.  She locked eyes with Kate inside that van and that was the start of our lives together. She and Kate had an unbreakable, sustaining bond, and I know they always will.

This past weekend, we spoiled her with everything we could, special meals, stroking and cuddling sessions, and tons of love. I had a conversation with her last week and told her she had been a very good girl and it was OK, she could go, she had done so well here with us but it was time for her to be free.

Hayley valued her sleep time!
Making this decision was the most difficult one I have ever had to make but I know it was the right thing to do for her.

I told the kids how there would be a point when we would get a sign from her telling us she was OK. I don't know when but I firmly believe it will happen, and maybe it already has. We got two small and funny indications yesterday.

We stayed with her until the very end and the vet gave us some time with her afterwards. I wrapped her in the blankie, gave her a final kiss and moved her head toward the side, and then I noticed one solitary kibble that fell out of her mouth (even at the end she took one for the road!). Later on in the day, we noticed a small puddle in the dining room, a place we had walked by several times earlier that day. but not noticed.... one last and final 'gift' from Hayley! Is that a sign from her that she's OK up there, and happy? I can't say for sure but I do know bigger signs will come.

In the meantime, I hope she is running around up there, super fast the way she did years ago, with full sight and strong legs, no pain and no constraints. I hope she is eating everything that there is — and has a full set of teeth to chomp down with. As I sat in the vet office yesterday, I told my late uncle Richard yesterday to be waiting, ready to catch her, and I know he would.
This past spring sporting new products for the shop

The pain runs so deep that we almost question ever getting another dog. But then we consider how these beautiful furry beings will be here on earth anyway, so if we can help them live a good life and take care of them while they are here, it is not only our duty but an incredible privilege.

Living with Hayley was an absolute privilege. She taught us so much about strength and unbreakable love.

Thank you to all of you who got to know her. While we are heartbroken, we are relieved that she is now pain free in heaven.

We love you Hayley girl — be free and fly high!

Best friends forever



Beautiful Hayley