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Pool Safety for Your Dogs
Why It’s Better to Keep Cats Exclusively Indoors
Valley Fever in Dogs and What You Should Know

Pool Safety for Your Dogs

The weather is heating up and that means everyone is in the pool. It’s great to get cooled off and have some water fun. But does your dog know how to swim? Do you know how to keep your dog safe around the pool?

It’s a myth that all dogs can swim when in reality many cannot. “This common misconception can be life threatening to your pet,” according to the article, “Pool Safety for Dogs” at Modern Dog, which also points to brachycephalic dogs, such as English bulldogs, American bulldogs, and French bulldogs, all of whom are not good swimmers. “Therefore, it is smart to teach these and all dogs how to swim and exit the pool safely to prevent drowning.”

Keep your dog from drinking pool water, the article said. “It is also important that your pool’s chemical balance is correct, as algae can be disruptive to pets’ health.”

Introduce your dog to the pool by showing her the basics, according to the article, “Dogs and Water Safety,” at Fetch by WebMD. Have a positive attitude and make sure there’s no stress when teaching basics, including:

• Find a shallow, quiet place in the pool.
• Keep your dog on a leash while she learns.
• Be in the water with your dog.
• Don’t force your dog into the pool.
• “When your dog begins to paddle with their front legs, lift their hind legs to show them how to float,” the Fetch by WebMD article said.

Be sure to put a fence around your pool, keep a strong cover over it when it’s not in use, teach your dog how to get in and out of the pool, ensure the water is not too cold, and never leave your dog alone in the pool, the Fetch by WebMD article said.

Why It’s Better to Keep Cats Exclusively Indoors

Do you have a cat that’s an indoor cat, but you feel he should have a chance to be outdoors? Or maybe you have a cat who you think doesn’t want to be indoors and is missing out on something.

“A lot of cat owners feel guilty about keeping their cat inside and worry that they are depriving their cat of natural instincts or fresh air and sunshine,” according to the article, “Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats” at American Humane.

Ensure you do research so you can make the right choice for the benefit of your cat’s health and life in general.

When your cat is outdoors, he will encounter other cats, from your neighbors’ cats to feral cats, who can have diseases that they could pass to your cat. These include feline leukemia, feline AIDS (FIV), feline distemper, upper respiratory infections, and others, according to the article. Your cat can also pick up parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites, ringworm, and more that will be harmful to your cat as well as to you and your home.

Your cat’s safety is also at risk when outdoors, the American Humane article said. Concerns include:

• Getting hit by a car
• Wild animals and loose dogs
• Poisons and toxins, such as antifreeze and rodent poison

Cats can be happy indoors, and they will be healthier and safer as well, according to the article, “10 Reasons Why Your Cat Should Be an Indoor-Only Cat” at Your cat can enjoy fresh air if you buy a harness. Or you can get a stroller designed for cats, according to the article. “Be sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and flea prevention before taking them outside, even with a harness and leash or inside a pet stroller,” said.

Valley Fever in Dogs and What You Should Know

If you live in the Southwest, you’ve probably heard of Valley Fever. Humans and dogs (and other animals) can contract it. If you plan to travel to the Southwest or plan to move there, you should know about the disease that can be severe in dogs.

The disease is most prevalent in south-central Arizona and “is caused by infection with a type of fungus called Coccidiodes immitis” according to the article, “Valley Fever in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know,” at “The condition may also be called coccidioidomycosis, California disease, desert rheumatism, or San Joaquin Valley Fever.”

According to the article, “Coccidiodes organisms live in desert soils and produce long filaments that contain infectious spores.” When dogs dig or when there is construction going on, soil is disturbed, and that is when the spores are airborne and inhaled, the article said. Dogs are often diagnosed with Valley Fever because they play, mess around, and sniff dirt.

The PetMD article points to symptoms limited to the lungs, including:

• Coughing
• Lethargy
• Fever
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss

If Valley Fever spreads, it is the disseminated form of the disease. According to the article, “What to Know About Valley Fever in Dogs” at Fetch by WebMD, those symptoms include:

• Back or neck pain
• Eye inflammation
• Lameness
• Seizures

After diagnoses, treatment includes antifungal medications. Treatment depends on what type of Valley Fever your dog has, so it’s best to discuss it with your veterinarian.

You can help prevent Valley Fever by keeping your dog inside most of the time. “Prevent your dog from digging when they are outside, and try to stay away from areas where the soil is loose and dusty, such as construction sites or spaces with limited ground-cover plants,” according to the Fetch by WebMD article.

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Outdoor Activity Ideas for You and Your Pet
Safe Collars and Harnesses for Your Dog
Traveling with Your Pet and How to Properly Restrain Them in the Car

Outdoor Activity Ideas for You and Your Pet

March is a great time to get out with your dogs. There are so many great outdoor activities from which to choose, so make a list before heading out with your dog.

Head over to the park. “Taking your dog to various parks on his dog harness and 6′ dog leash is great exercise both physically and mentally,” according to the article, “4 Fun Things To Do with Your Dog Outside | Outdoor Activities With Your Dog” at Raising Your Pets Naturally. Bring high-value dog treats, the article said. You’ll be able to squeeze in dog training and keep your dog’s attention on you.

Go bike riding and take your dog. Use a dog bicycle trailer, which hooks directly onto your own bike. It’s also great for puppies, senior dogs, and for dogs who have medical conditions.

Dogs need stimulation, which helps them all around. “Walking, hiking and other outdoor activities will not only provide your pup with exciting new things to look at and to smell, but will also tucker them out, according to the article, “41 Fun Things To Do With Your Dog Outside,” at Outdoor Dog Fun. “And a tired pup is less likely to display bad behaviors, such as digging and excessive barking.”

Some ideas according to Outdoor Dog Fun include:

• Flyball, which is great for high-energy dogs. This team relay race has “dogs jump over hurdles to reach a box where they hit a spring-loaded pad to release a tennis ball,” the Outdoor Dog Fun article said. After catching the ball, it is returned to the owner.
• Try a picnic. Pack everything you need, go out and hike to a favorite spot.
• Find a yappy hour that is welcoming to pups.

So, get out there with your pup.

Safe Collars and Harnesses for Your Dog

All dog collars are not created equal. Do your research to ensure your dog has the correct and safe collar.

While you’d love to let your dog roam free, unless it’s in an enclosed area, it’s not a good idea and not a risk you want to take. “The keyword here being risk, because no matter how well-behaved your pup is, there’s always the chance that they won’t heel when hollered for, or come when called,” according to the article, “How To Pick The Best Dog Collars And Leashes For Your Dog,” at Canine Journal.

Your dog should always wear a collar, which should include up-to-date tags, including proof of rabies in case your dog is lost.

According to the article, make sure to get the correct size collar for your dog according to weight and size. Remember that “Dog collars should be snug enough to fit two fingers between the dog’s neck & their collar,” the article said.

Martingale collars are a good choice, and “are recommended by trainers for dogs who slip out of traditional buckle collars,” according to the article, “Harnesses, Leashes, & Collars” at PetSafe. If your dog starts pulling, the martingale tightens. “When your dog stops pulling, the collar loosens automatically, so the collar is only tight when it needs to be,” the PetSafe article said.

Along with a martingale collar, a no-pull dog harness is a good idea for dogs who pull. “Too much pulling can turn a pleasant and relaxing walk into a stressful slog – but you don’t have to put up with it!” according to the article, “8 Best No-Pull Dog Harnesses – Stop Your Dog from Pulling” at World Animal Foundation. “Designed to discourage pulling, no-pull dog harnesses have a font-clip leash attachment that pivots the dog towards you whenever they pull.”

Traveling with Your Pet and How to Properly Restrain Them in the Car

If you are traveling either for vacation or just to the vet, your pet should be properly restrained in your vehicle. It can be dangerous for an unrestrained pet who could fly around the car if there is an accident, or you stop short.

To be sure your pet is safe when riding in your car, place your pet in a well-ventilated carrier or crate, according to the ASPCA article, “Travel Safety Tips.” Your pet should have enough room to turn around, sit, stand, and lie down. “Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop,” the article said. Use a seat belt to secure the crate.

It is very important that your dog does not roam freely while the car is in motion. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. “Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash,” according to the article, “Travel safely with your pet” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Cats also belong in carriers and should never be allowed to roam freely in the car, not to mention that most cats are not thrilled about traveling in the car anyway. “It’s important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don’t bounce around and hurt your cat,” the HSUS article said. You can secure the carrier with a seat belt around the front of it.

Don’t allow your pet to stick his head out the window of a moving vehicle as it’s dangerous. Your pet “can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs,” the HSUS article said.

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The Importance of Dental Care for Your Pet
Doggy Day Care: What You Need to Know to Find the Right One
What to Know About Dog Parks and Safety Tips

The Importance of Dental Care for Your Pet

It’s important to take good care of your teeth. If you don’t, it can bring on other health issues. The same is true for your family pets.
“Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems,” according to the article, “Pet dental care” at American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). To keep your pet’s teeth and gums in good shape, have your veterinarian check him once a year, the article said.
If you see any of the following signs, the AVMA article suggests you bring your pet to the veterinarian before his yearly dental checkup:
• Bad breath
• Loose or broken teeth
• Discolored teeth or teeth with tartar
• Pain in/around the mouth
• Bleeding from the mouth
• Swelling in the mouth area
Pets can experience similar dental problems as humans, the AVMA article said, including:
• Broken teeth and roots
• Periodontal disease
• Tumors or cysts in the mouth
Since February is Pet Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to get your pet’s teeth checked. “According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), after they reach the age of three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will manifest some form of dental disease,” according to the article, “Get Amped for Pet Dental Health Month – February” at I Love Veterinary. “Pet Dental Health Month is an important annual event that helps pet owners learn about the importance of pet oral hygiene.”
It’s the perfect time for pet parents to learn about their pet’s dental health and help keep their pet’s teeth and gums healthy, including brushing your pet’s teeth and scheduling cleanings with your vet. “Good oral hygiene is essential for pet health, as pet dental problems can lead to serious health issues,” the I Love Veterinary article said.

Doggy Day Care: What You Need to Know to Find the Right One

Doggy Day Care centers are all the rage these days. They have become very important over the years for pet parents who work or need to let their dogs socialize and expend some energy. With so many facilities out there, how do you choose the right one?
“The dog daycare and boarding industry is under-regulated, so it’s important you find a daycare where your dog will be safe, happy, and well cared for,” according to the article, “Choosing the Best Daycare for Your Dog” at Preventive Vet. Consider the following when checking out doggy day cares including “the style of daycare, staff-to-dog ratio, staff experience and training, cleaning procedures, dog handling and training methods,” the article said.
The Preventive Vet article suggests the following when choosing a doggy day care;
• Ensure staff is transparent and discusses their protocols and gives a tour of the facility.
• Choose the type of facility, from dog park style, separated play area style, and home style.
• Ask questions including vaccination requirements, spay/neuter requirements, daycare trial process, ratio of staff to dogs, how many dogs in each group, fencing/safety features, any certifications and training they have at the day care.
It’s very important that staff watch dogs as they play together as you never know what might happen. “A good doggy day care should always have at least one or two staff members on duty in each play area to intervene if necessary,” according to the article, “What to Look for in a Doggy Day Care” at “Fights can occur even among well-socialized dogs, and trained staff should be on duty to break up disputes or attend to medical needs in an emergency.”
A doggy day care should inform pet parents on their dog’s day and how they did with the other dogs.

What to Know About Dog Parks and Safety Tips

If you’re thinking of taking your dog to a dog park, make sure to do some important research before you go. Not all dog parks are created equal. And not all dogs are made for dog parks.
First be sure your dog is safe at all times. Check out any dog park you are interested in to see if you like what you see, according to the article, “Dog Park Safety: What to Know Before You Go,” at Fetch by WebMD. If you see aggressive dogs and owners who are not minding their dogs, that is probably not the place for you and your dog.
“Understand too that dog parks are meant for pets that are well-socialized,” the Fetch by WebMD article said. “If your buddy is aggressive or has issues that could make him hostile toward another dog playing with a ball or Frisbee, the dog park is not the place to teach him to make friends or share his toys.”
According to the article, “10 Dog Park Safety Tips” at PetHub, there are some safety precautions to take before heading to that dog park, including:
• Ensure your dog is vaccinated.
• Be sure to open and close the gate to the park.
• Know your dog and his personality. Leave him home if he’s aggressive or fearful.
• Make sure your dog is healthy and feels OK to play with other dogs.
• Your dog should always wear ID tags as dogs can escape or get lost.
• Have your cellphone and make sure it’s charged. Accidents sometimes happen, so be prepared.
• Always watch your dog and be responsible
• “Pick up your pooch’s poo,” the PetHub article said.
If you follow the rules and your instincts, your dog can have lots of fun. Just keep a watchful eye on him at all times.