Duncan’s dad shared a wonderful photo of Duncan wearing his new Bergan dog car harness. Don’t you just love that sweet face! And what a beautiful color Duncan’s coat is.
Duncan’s owner had this to say, “We drove 910 miles on Friday and he was great. He did manage to slip out of the front of the harness twice but I don’t think I had it tight enough.”
Yes, that can happen. Unfortunately, the tighter you make the harness, the more likely a dog will try to get out of it. And if you make it too tight, the dog could hurt himself trying to get out of it. Duncan’s owner believes Duncan will not try to get out of it once he gets used to it. That’s right. It just takes a little practice.
Thank you, Duncan’s dad for sharing!!!
For more Wordless Wednesday pet photos, check out the blog hop below:
I love playing outside with my dogs, Maya and Pierson. And my dogs enjoy being outside. But the weather is warming up amazingly fast so I need to be aware of the effect that heat may have on my dogs. After doing a little research, here are some things I’ve found to help my dogs with pet safety under the sun.
The best way to avoid heat exhaustion or a heat stroke is to take preventative action.
* Don’t leave your dog in the car!
* Don’t leave your dog outside without shade and cool water.
* Be careful about overdoing the play, walks, and runs.
* Take cool-down breaks.
* Avoid concrete. Dark pavements get very hot.
* Use a cooling harness, cooling dog collar, or a cooling mat.
* Make sure your dog is able to pant (no muzzles).
Sometimes we get so carried away with our fun, we may not be aware that heat exhaustion is coming on. Here are some things to look out for:
* Excessive and/or heavy panting.
* Excessive drool.
* Bright red tongue.
* Lack of coordination, disorientation, and/or unable to stand.
The above symptoms are the beginning stages of heat exhaustion. If left unnoticed or disregarded, the symptoms could progress into a deadly heat stroke. Your dog could collapse and go into shock or have seizures. Get them to the veterinarian immediately.
For mild symptoms, get your dog cooled down by trying some of the following methods.
* Move inside to the a/c.
* Move your dog to the shade.
* Allow your dog to lie down in cool water (not ice water).
* Hose your dog down in cool water.
* Put your wet dog in front of a fan.
* Put cool water on his feet.
* Allow him to drink cool water; or if he won’t, put cool water on his tongue.
* Give him ice cubes to lick.
* Put ice packs on his groin area.
If the symptoms of heat exhaustion do not go away within 10 minutes or so, take them to the veterinarian. You may even want to call your veterinarian while you are trying to cool your dog down. Your vet can give you more ideas and can advise you on whether you need to bring your dog in.
Remember, prevention is the best remedy. Be aware of the signs so that you can treat your dog before the symptoms get deadly. And be aware when you see other dogs. Someone else at the park may not know to look out for heat exhaustion in their dog and may miss the signs. You could help prevent a disaster.
Our contest winner for the month of April has shared a photo of her Dachshund dog Daffy with her new prize.
Isn’t Daffy absolutely adorable!?! I just love that look on her face. It’s like she’s saying, “You seriously expect me to wear this… in public?” LOL!
The prize was actually a Bergan pet car barrier, but we saw in the comments that Daffy’s mom Amy made and thought perhaps she could use another prize instead. In Amy’s comments, she said her dogs rode in crates and that they bark and whine in the car. Since they are already riding safely in crates and can’t get to the front seats, what use is a pet car barrier? Perhaps the Thundershirt will help keep her dogs calm and quiet when they ride in the car.
Important note: Our winner Amy did not ask us to exchange the prize. It was an offer that we made. In general, the prize in the contest is the one that is given away. It is solely at our discretion to offer an exchange for another product of comparable value. This month’s contest giveaway will likely be a dog car harness. If there is a different prize that you’d like to win, please let us know in comments here. We will be hosting the giveaway soon, so stop by again soon!
For other great pet photos, visit the blog hop below. Be sure to specifically check out the one of Pierson’s New Agility Kit. That’s my boy and he is showing off his new agility skills.
If you read yesterday’s post, you know my Aussie mix dog Pierson has recently had another seizure. No worries, though. He is fine. Most dogs that have problems with seizures have what is called idiopathic epilepsy. This sounds terrible, and it can be for a few. But in most cases, it is mild enough and infrequent enough that medication is not even needed. Most dogs with canine epilepsy live long healthy lives.
I’ve never had a dog with seizures before Pierson. But thanks to the internet and all my dog blog friends, I’ve known about canine epilepsy for some time. Because I had foreknowledge, I was able to remain calm when Pierson had his first episode in January. So that you can have foreknowledge too, read through the following facts:
What Can Cause a Seizure in Dogs:
* Brain injury
* Heat stroke
* Brain tumor
* Kidney or liver failure
* Low blood sugar
** All these sound scary. But the most common reason for a seizure is idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by none of the above. In fact, the cause is not known at all. Veterinarians generally label a dog with seizures as having idiopathic epilepsy when all of the above possible causes for the seizure have been eliminated.
While it may seem frustrating to not know what is causing your dog’s seizure, at least with a diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy you will know your dog wasn’t poisoned and that he doesn’t have a brain injury. It may also help to know that it is unlikely your dog feels any pain while seizing.
What To Do If Your Dog is having a Seizure:
* Move stuff out of the way so your dog doesn’t hurt themselves on something.
* Don’t put anything in your dog’s mouth.
* Try not to touch your dog while he is seizing.
* Remain calm.
* Call your veterinarian.
* Go to the vet after you have called them. Don’t talk on your phone while driving and remember to drive safe.
To read about Pierson’s first seizure, check out this article of Pierson’s Seizure on my American Dog Blog. Click the links in that article for more detailed information about canine epilepsy.
Now that spring is here, I bet you want to be outdoors more. I bet your dog does too. Perhaps now that the sun is shining and the weather is warmer, you and your dog can go somewhere for a nature hike, visit the lake for a picnic or a swim, or go to that dog park you really love but didn’t go before because it was too cold outside and all the way across town. But before you and your dog head out the door, let me make one very important reminder about dogs in cars. And also, let me introduce a new product that is perfect for pet travel in warm weather.
I want to introduce the new pet travel product first. I’m excited about it because I think it is a great pet product for when we travel long distances with the dogs. See, the a/c of my car doesn’t get to the back of the car where Maya and Pierson are as easily as it blasts us in the front. So if I want my dogs to stay cool, I have to wear a coat and have the a/c on full blast. The new product we found is a pet cooling mat and it allows my dogs to stay cooler without me freezing my you-know-what off.
The Slumber Pet cooling mat is very easy to use. Simply put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down. And then take it out for your dog to lie on. Your dog can lie on it directly, or you can put it in their pet bed. Your dog can lie on it inside the house, outside, or in the car for pet travel in warm weather. (If you use the pet cooling mat outside, use it in the shade so that the coolness lasts longer.)
This pet travel product brings me to the point about safety I wanted to make. This product does not mean that you are allowed to leave your dog alone in the car while you run inside to get groceries and such. Never ever ever leave your dog alone in the car. The pet cooling mat can stay cool for long periods, but not if it is exposed to extreme heat (such as the extreme heat that builds up in a car).
Even though the weather is not hot yet, it is warm enough to make the inside of your car hot, even if the windows are down. Don’t believe me? Go to the grocery store in the afternoon when the sun is out on a 60 degree day. I did that yesterday (without my dogs, of course) and by the time I got back to my car 30 minutes later, it was super-hot inside. If Maya or Pierson had been left in there, they might have had a heat stroke.
Heat is not the only danger of leaving your dog in the car. Someone could steal your dog. Trust me, this happens all the time. People take dogs from cars because they believe you are cruel for leaving them in there, because they want to use your dog as a bait dog, or for a multitude of other unsavory reasons.
Don’t leave your dog vulnerable to theft or to heat stroke. Always make sure someone can stay with your dog in the car, or just leave your dog at home. Plan trips to the park and such separately from your grocery trips and other errands. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water for your dog to drink!
You might think I’m going to talk about a seat belt for dogs or a pet travel crate, but I’m not. Sure, these things most certainly can help, especially for safety, but a dog that doesn’t ride well in the car is not going to do much better in a restraint. They might try to escape the seat belt (and succeed) or they will absolutely hate riding in the carrier. So what is the number one way to help a dog ride well in the car? Training!
In order to ride well in the car, your dog has to learn how to ride well. This takes time and it can be difficult. I should know. I am still working with my crazy Labrador Maya. It is taking me even longer to teach Maya to ride well in the car because I am not consistent. I know that in order to train Maya, I need to work with her nearly every day. If I can just do that, riding with Maya would be so much more pleasant and less distracting.
There are different reasons why dogs don’t ride well in the car. Sometimes they tend to get car sick, like my Pierson. Sometimes they are really nervous about riding in the car. And some, like Maya, just go absolutely bananas in the car. So how does training help a dog ride well in the car? Visit our website for a great article titled, How to Travel with a Dog in a Car.
Thanks for stopping by! Visit us again next Pet Safety Saturday.
How to Get Your Dog to go into the Car Willingly
Cesar makes it look so easy. Doesn’t he always? But how did he do it, really? Many would like to think that he just has a magical touch. But I promise that this probably took a lot longer than his video conveyed. Listed below are our steps on how to get your dog to go into the car.
Before I list those steps, however, let me just point out that these steps are not meant to all be done in a single day. They can be, depending on your dog. Each step can take as long as a few minutes, to a few minutes every day for a week or more. So if your dog has no problem with step 1, you can move on to step 2 right away. But if he hesitates at that step, you may have to spend more time on it. Keep training sessions short and positive, but do it daily as needed until getting your dog to go into the car is easy.
Step 1 – Walk with your dog around the car. Get as close to the car as you can without making your dog uncomfortable. As soon as the dog reacts negatively to the car, back off. Encourage him with soft words, use kissy noises, and feel free to bribe with treats.
Step 2 – When your dog has no trouble going all the way up to the car, allow him to sniff it on his own. Let him investigate.
Step 3 – Open the car door and have your dog approach you while you are standing by the open door. If your dog is intimidated by the open door, squat down and coax him to you. I noticed that when I am down on my dog Pierson’s level, he is more likely to approach me. Use treats to bribe.
Step 4 – After your dog passes step 3 comfortably, sit in the car and coax your dog to you. Over a period of time as your dog gets used to approaching you while you are in the car, move further back inside the car so that your dog has to stretch or step in to reach you. You may use the leash to give a quick and slight tug, but do not pull on the leash.
Step 5 – The very first time your dog gets into the car, celebrate with lots of treats, love, and a happy voice. Repeat the same excitement every time your dog gets in on his own until he is comfortable doing it without coaxing.
Step 6 – By the time your dog is comfortable getting in the car with you, try to coax him inside without you actually being in the car too.
As stated above, some dogs will move through these steps quicker than others. But if you need to take your dog somewhere in the car and he is not through all these steps yet, gently pick him up and put him inside. Give lots of praise. Try to make the car ride as pleasant as possible. Here is a great article we wrote back in August 2010 about how to help your dog learn to enjoy riding in the car – http://www.petautosafetyblog.com/?p=542.
Maya and Pierson are very special to me. They may not be children, but they are more than just my pets. I don’t just feed them, play with them, and take them to the vet annually or as needed. I also take on other responsible roles such as making sure they eat healthy food, get enough exercise, train them, brush their teeth, clip their toenails, brush out their coat, etc. And I have them wear a dog safety seat belt when they ride in the car.
Some people think this is over-the-top for “just a dog”. But if you’re reading this, then you know that your dog is an integral part of the family. If your four-legged family member doesn’t currently buckle up in the car or isn’t safely restrained in the vehicle in any way, here are some reasons to consider it:
Reduce Driver Distractions
When I brought Maya home for the first time, she didn’t have a dog seatbelt yet. So, on the ride home she kept trying to climb in my lap. It was a big distraction which caused me to run a red light. I got honked at but thankfully did not get into or cause a car accident. But it taught me to always be prepared. Perhaps your dog paces in the car or keeps trying to climb from the back to the front seat or tries to stick his face in your face while you’re driving.
Protect Your Pet
Perhaps your dog rides well in the car and doesn’t distract you in any way. My dog Pierson is like that. He just sits there quietly the whole ride. But what if I have to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of another car or something in the road? Or worse, what if I get in a car accident? Car accidents or even simple emergency vehicle maneuvers can cause a dog to be ejected from the vehicle or cause serious injury to your dog if they hit the dash or the windshield. A dog isn’t going to understand why your car suddenly went crazy on the road. They are going to be terrified and may try to escape. What then? More often than not, the dog will run as fast as they can to get away from what caused their fear. They could run into traffic or run away and get lost.
I don’t know about you, but if I get in a car accident I prefer not to be struck by a 50+ pound flying projectile (i.e. my dog). I also do not want my dogs to stick their head out the window. Before I realized the danger of this, my dog Sephi did it all the time. But then my vet told me about one of his client’s dog that had to have his eye removed because of flying road debris. When your dog wears a dog safety seat belt, it is more difficult for them to put their head out the window. They can still get the nice breeze, but at least they can’t be hurt from things on the road and they can’t jump or get thrown out of the car.
It’s not yet a law in my state but New Jersey has a law stating that animals inside the vehicle must be restrained. I have no doubt that other states will soon follow. Even states that hesitate to make such a law will have or may already have laws that allow police officers to issue a ticket to anyone who is driving unsafely due to a distraction.
Maya and Pierson do not suffer in the least because they wear a dog seatbelt in the car. They might not be able to move around much or put their heads out the window but trust me when I say they still love to ride. With a little practice and perhaps a little time, your best friend can get used to his safety restraint and love the ride just as much as before.
This post is part of the Pet Blogger Awareness Day for pet travel safety.
We have a guest post today from our friend in the UK. Here is some great information about your dog’s food and overall health.
All pet dog owners will clearly tell you of the love and pleasure the dogs give to them and their families. It’s for this reason that these pets deserve various kind of care in return. Many of these pets require such care several times a day, but this should not scare you as with time it becomes part of your familiar routine. The better you care for your pet, the more pleasure you will derive from your relationship.
The same way it is to us, a nutritious, balanced diet is very essential to your dog’s health. You should therefore learn what to feed your pet dog at various stages of its life. Dogs are remarkably able to adopt and survive on a variety of foods. Their digestive system can get nutrients from anything that is edible, unlike cats that needs nutrients found in meat-based diet only. Despite this, you still need to be equipped with various pet dog health tips. To start with, you should know that dogs are naturally meat eaters, therefore making meat protein an important part of a dog’s diet. However, an all-rounded balanced diet for dogs should include protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins, and water.
Fresh, clean water is very important to your pet dog than all other nutrients. Did you know that a dog can go for several days without food, but not without water? This is caused by the fact that 70 percent of a dog’s body is made up of water that is vital for its tissue lubrication and cell function.
In addition to clean water, you need to choose the right food for your pet. The main factors to consider when choosing the right food for your pet dog include a balanced nutrition (that we have mentioned above), taste, calorie level and digestibility. In terms of balanced nutrition, whatever you buy should be marked complete and balanced, to show that it has the right amount of nutrients needed by the dog. Give your dog natural, whole foods. You can also give a small portion of snacks, but avoid garlic, onions, raisins and grapes, which are toxic to dogs.
In addition to feeding your pet dog well, it will also require regular exams. Ensure a veterinarian examines your pet dog at least twice every year. This will ensure that any case of arthritis, heart problem, a toothache, among other conditions can be detected and treated early. Such visits to a veterinarian should also touch on weight control and nutrition, parasite control, vaccination, among other issues. Ensure your dog gets regular vaccinations.
Ensure that you spay and neuter your pet dog early enough. This can be done as early as six weeks of the dog’s age. Spaying and neutering has many benefits. Some of these benefits include lowering the risk of certain cancers, lowering the risk of getting lost as it decreases the tendency to roam, among other benefits.
Don’t forget to also provide your pet dog an enriched environment. This includes a daily walk. It also means some play time with you to keep the pet’s muscles toned as well as prevent boredom. To know more about health tips for pet dog you can also have live talk with certified veterinary surgeon or pharmacists on websites like Vet Medic and they also have wide range of pet products as well.
It never ceases to amaze me with how many people think it is silly to make your dog wear a seat belt in the car. This has been an especially hot topic lately since New Jersey passed the new law. Many people, including political officials, are calling it stupid. “Absolutely ridiculous…..like NJ doesn’t have other issues to deal with that are more important than SEAT BELTS FOR PETS!” or “Seriously? Do dogs really cause car accidents?” or “For a free country, we sure are losing a lot of freedoms of choice” or “Next thing you know they will make laws requiring us to strap in Kleenex boxes”.
While most people seem to be upset that New Jersey is wasting tax dollars to make such a law, it should be common sense. Unfortunately, many laws are made because people aren’t using common sense. Remember when states started making seat belt laws for people? There were nearly the same arguments. Today, I am going to give you real life examples of why dogs should wear seat belts in the car.
1. Do unrestrained dogs in cars really kill people? The answer is yes. On September 15th of this year in East Brunswick, New Jersey, it is suspected that a dog in the vehicle was a distraction which caused the driver to lose control, crash, kill two pedestrians, and injure three others. TWO people are dead. Read the article HERE.
2. Do car accidents kill dogs? Again, yes. While the answer to this question might seem obvious, consider this relatively minor accident in Lakewood, Washington where the two occupants suffered only minor injuries but the dog died. The Pomeranian was killed when it hit the windshield. This dog could have survived if he had been restrained in a pet car harness or pet carrier. Read the article HERE.
3. What happens to a dog after an accident? Consider the terror a dog feels after the car that it is in goes out of control. The instinct of a dog in a traumatic experience is to run. And if given half they chance, dogs WILL try to run away from the accident – even if it is just a fender-bender. Consider Bella in Clinton, Montana on August 5th of this year. She and her family were in a terrible accident, a fatal accident. Bella survived. But when someone opened the car door, Bella bolted. She was so scared that no amount of calling for her or looking for her would bring her out. She ran and hid for several days, only coming out at dusk or dawn. It took a community coming together and a live trap to capture Bella. She was finally caught on August 31st… 25 days later. Imagine her fate if the community hadn’t helped. Read her story HERE.
All these stories happened within the past couple of months. And these are just a few of the stories we have come across. Multiply these three by at least 10 more recent stories we’ve found. Then multiply that by how many stories we didn’t find and how many stories never made it to the web. I bet the number goes into the hundreds. Then multiply that again by several months and I bet you have well over a thousand per year. Since there is no formal reporting system for dogs in car accidents, this is just a guess.
We all think it will never happen to us. But if it does, let’s be prepared. Consider the many well-tested dog seat belt brands. If you don’t think your dog will tolerate a seat belt, consider training him to get used to it or consider a secured pet crate or pet vehicle barrier. Your pet is family. Treat him/her like family.