My Dog Didn't Know Sit

Tips From a Dog Trainer and Her Dog


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Should I Shave My Pet For the Summer?

Shaved To those who have long-haired cats or dogs and are considering shaving your pet’s coat for the summer to help him “cool down”, DON’T DO IT! Although dogs and cats only have sweat glands on their footpads (hence why they can leave footprints all over a shiny wood floor if stressed out or overly excited), they have their own super-effective way to cool down. Cats lick their fur and paws, and when the saliva evaporates, it cools them down; dogs keep themselves cool by vaporizing large amounts of water from their lungs and airways when they pant, expelling body heat in the process.

Although they have a warm thick double coat, long-haired cats and dogs are actually kept COOL from this. The coat acts as insulation against the sun’s UV rays and its effects. It regulates the animal’s body temperature, so when it’s hot, it keeps the cool in, and when it’s cold, it keeps the warm in. Shaving your pet’s fur off is like removing the walls of your home and then wondering why it’s scorching hot even though the AC’s on or freezing cold even though the heat’s on.

shaved_catThe best way to keep your pet cool is to keep your pet’s coat mat-free, well-brushed, and clean. Dogs have almost no pigment in their skin to ward off harmful UV rays and are very prone to sunburn and skin cancer, so the best way to protect your dog is to save the longer walks for evenings, and consider applying pet-specific sun block to thinly covered areas, such as the bridge of your dog’s nose, the tips of his ears, and his belly. You can also use a FURminator (or an off brand brush that does the same thing) to keep tangles to a minimum, remove loose fur, and lighten the coat a little bit. Keeping the coat healthy is the first and easiest step to keeping your pet cool in the Summer heat!

8d72e47ba7aac41439d8759a1515bf84If you feel that you HAVE to give your cat or dog a trim, try to leave at least two inches of fur to protect your pet from the elements. Be aware that once shaved, a double-coated pet’s coat will never grow back the same. It can end up patchy, discolored, thinner, and will shed even more than before! The rough top coat may never grow back as well, and your pet’s natural defenses from heat and cold will be gone for the rest of its life.

For dogs who want to play in the back yard, be sure to provide lots of shade, water, and breaks, even if your dog’s eager to keep playing; your dog probably doesn’t know what heat stroke is, but when it happens, you’re going to have a very big vet bill all because Fido wanted to play Frisbee for ten more minutes.

UnknownHopefully this helps, and your pets keep cool in this Summer blaze. Remember that the moment you start to feel thirsty and gross, your pet may be too! Be sure to offer lots of water (and pee breaks) and keep that coat healthy and non-shaven!

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Poisonous Plants and Flowers Your Pet Should Avoid

The weather’s (finally) getting nicer as Spring is approaching, so as expected, everyone’s taking advantage of this and buying new flowers to make their garden look nice. Dogs are able to romp around the yard more often, people are more willing to walk their dog for further, and everyone’s able to enjoy the outside without shivering and sniffling noses. Even the outside kitties can finally enjoy the lack of snow and slush on their paws as they scale the roofs and fences of the neighborhood. Best of all, there’s finally long green grass available for both pets to munch on like fat cows! Ahhh… the smell of fresh-cut grass, the shining sun, and the poisonous flowers; how enjoyable! Wait, “poisonous flowers”?! That’s right! Here’s a quick list of some of the common not very pet-friendly, flowers your neighbors may decorate their yard with and that your dog and cat should avoid!

DaylilyEaster-Lily Day Lily & Easter Lily – It’s hard to believe that these spring beauties are deadly to cats! Ingestion of any part of this plant, even the early green shoots, can cause kidney failure, so prevent your cat from having any access to these plants. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, kidney failure, and possible death. Although they’re harmful to cats, they’re non-toxic to dogs and horses.

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 10.12.34 PMcastorbean-leaf Castor Bean Plant – This tropical plant is often grown as an ornamental plant and as a crop in North America. In my opinion, this plant doesn’t look very friendly anyway, and as expected, ingestion of either the beans or the foliage is lethal to both cats and dogs. Signs of ingestion usually develop within 12 to 48 hours; the nasty list of symptoms include burning of mouth and throat, increase in thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, stomach pains, trembling, sweating, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, progressive central nervous system depression, fever, coma, and death.

english-ivy.ashxEnglishIvyplantEnglish Ivy – This is a very common decorative plant, and unfortunately, it’s toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Be aware that cats are often drawn to displays of this plant as it often drapes and dangles from its planter. 

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 10.29.01 PM P3205552Garden Hyacinth – These beautiful and colorful spring bulbs are toxic to cats and dogs. The actual bulbs themselves are highly toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to triggering dermatologic and allergic reactions as well.

 

 

buttercup.ashxScreen shot 2013-04-13 at 10.35.43 PM

Buttercup – These little yellow flowers may sound yummy, but are toxic to horses, cats, and dogs. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, hyper-salivation, and wobbly gait.

 

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Begonia – This common houseplant is toxic to both cats and dogs, and although it’s not necessarily deadly, eating this plant will cause intense burning of the mouth, tongue, lips, and gums, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, and vomiting. The tubers of the plant are the most toxic. Interesting note: Although the rootstock, tubers, and roots are poisonous, the flowers of the begonia are edible, and are used in some cultures for their tart flavor.

Of course, this isn’t a complete list of all the flowers and plants that can make your pet sick. Unfortunately, there are many many plants out there that can be dangerous to your pet, so for a complete list of what you should keep out of your garden this Spring, and want to avoid during your walks in the park and through the neighborhood, feel free to check ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants list just to be safe! And remember: If you think that your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance, be it a plant or something from under the sink, contact your local veterinarian or ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435. Although your garden may be lacking in a few pretty flowers this Spring, at least you can be 100% sure that Fido, Kitty, and Mr. Ed are safe!