December 18, 2014
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

Oldest Living Dog Cancer Free and Kicking Tail

dog-cancer-blog

As dog owners, we all wish our furry friends would live as long as we do and keep us company throughout our lives. But it’s an unfortunate truth that dog life spans are much shorter than human ones.

However, that doesn’t mean our four-legged pals don’t have moments when their lives extend beyond the usual limitations. Continue Reading →

December 11, 2014
by Sam Bourne
18 Comments

Pittsburgh Aims to Protect Dogs From Extreme Weather

outdoor-dogs-blog

The extreme weather that hits during the winter can be grueling, as temperatures plummet and cold rain and snow fall to the frozen ground. While we can bundle up inside underneath heated blankets sipping hot cocoa, some pets are sadly left to fend for themselves.

That’s why the city of Pittsburgh is considering passing new laws to protect pooches during awful weather conditions. The City Council will vote on a pair of regulations that would prevent tethering dogs outside in the extreme heat or cold.

Keeping canines safe from the weather
The ordinances were presented by Councilwoman Darlene Harris following reports last winter of a dog being left out on a second-story deck during a deep freeze. In addition to tethering, she discussed making it unlawful for people to leave pooches unattended while outside for longer than a half-hour if the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

“It’s very sad when people abuse animals,” Harris said, quoted by the source. “They’re here for us to love and take care of.”

Under the proposal, violations would incur a $500 fine and any costs associated with shelters and court proceedings. When it comes to tethering dogs, owners must use a non-choke collar that’s attached by “swivel anchors, latches or similar devices” that prevent pooches from getting tangled up in their leashes.

The City Council has yet to review the ordinances and hasn’t commented on the proposal.

Protecting your pet in the winter
Because winter weather is hard on everyone, owners need to take extra care with their pets under extreme conditions. This is especially true for people with outdoor dogs and cats. To protect the entire family from the cold and keep everyone safe, the American Red Cross offered several reminders for pet owners during the winter:

  1. During extreme cold, bring your pets inside or provide them with warm, sheltered areas.
  2. Make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
  3. Clear out any snow, ice or other obstacles that may prevent access to food and water outside.
  4. Provide them with draft-free enclosures that are large enough for sitting and lying down, but also small enough to allow them to hold in their body heat.
  5. Wipe off paws with a damp towel to remove any salt before they lick their paws and irritate their mouths.

Join PetPlus to have access to hundreds of winter accessories that keep your furry friends safe and healthy this winter.

December 4, 2014
by Sam Bourne
4 Comments

Avoid the Dog Flu This Winter

dog-flu-blog

Once winter rolls into town, many parents will take their kids to the doctor to get the flu vaccine. No one wants to spend long days shivering under a blanket, but are dog owners neglecting to protect their furry friends?

The story of dog flu
According to Dogster, the pooch version of the influenza virus – called H3N8 – was first identified in 2004. The canine strain is highly contagious among dogs, but has never affected veterinarians or pet parents. Infection risks increase in places with a large number of dogs and high turnover rates, such as animal shelters and kennels. There’s an optional vaccine for canines who don’t frequent these facilities, too.

The dog flu affects their respiratory systems and results in symptoms that are similar to kennel cough, which is considered to be the common cold for pooches. The virus spreads both through the air and infected objects that have come into contact with carriers. Like other diseases, young puppies and senior dogs are at the greatest risk due to weakened immune systems.

Because it’s relatively new, canines don’t have a natural immunity to the virus like humans do. Therefore, their symptoms can fluctuate anywhere from mild to severe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infected pooches might start coughing, sneezing, or even develop a slight fever.

If pooches are sick with the flu, their treatment usually involves the same protocols as humans – lots of rest and water. However, any severe cases will require a visit to the vet’s office for professional treatment.

Manage dog health care in the winter
The extreme cold is on its way, and with it comes the risk of disease. But the right precautions allow owners to practice optimal dog health care to ensure that their furry friends avoid canine flu and other diseases.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers explained that one of the hazards that pups face during the winter is paw damage from the harsh weather conditions. Salt is usually poured onto roads and sidewalks to prevent slips, but the material can cause severe irritation to the paw pads. The source recommended pet parents purchase boots to protect their pooches from salt and chafing.

Signing up for PetPlus grants owners access to countless accessories and supplements at discounted prices that can make dog health care easy to maintain.

December 3, 2014
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

Reading Therapy Dogs Boost Confidence, Improve Grades

reading-therapy-dogs-blog

Pooches have been used for therapeutic reasons before, whether it was lying down with sick children or comforting elderly adults living in nursing homes. But did you know that reading therapy dogs can help children improve their literacy skills?

According to LancasterOnline, the Milanof-Schock Library in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, has launched its own children’s reading program complete with therapy pooches, such as border collie Widget. Third-grader Abigal Horst has been reading to Widget for the last few months and has since become quite the bookworm.

The library’s Reading with Dogs program involves one-on-one time between pooches and kids, who take a book of their choice into a quiet area and read to their furry pals. Jan Betty, Milanof-Schock’s children and youth coordinator, explained that approximately 16 children come in weekly to participate.

“We get a lot of positive feedback from reading specialists and the parents,” Betty told LancasterOnline. “The concept behind it is that it takes the pressure off of the child. They’re not going to bark if you get a word wrong.”

Kids can struggle with their confidence when it comes to learning how to read, and having a friend to help them goes a long way. Psychology professor Debra Verdenburg-Rudy, Ph.D., stated that having a dog present lowers the children’s heart rates and blood pressure, improving their focus and determination to read.

New Dog Friendly Activities to Try

If you’ve made it this far in the article, it is clear that you are not in dire need of a reading therapy dog. However, if reading about reading therapy dogs made you yearn for a fun new activity for you and your pooch to try out, you might consider one of the following, as suggested by Active magazine:

  • Kayaking: If you live near some accessible lakes and ponds, take your pooch out for a trip on the water (assuming they can swim). They can enjoy the new scenery and watch fish and other creatures swim under the kayak. Not to mention, you’ll get a nice arm and back workout from paddling around the water.
  • Yoga: Deep breaths and long stretches aren’t strictly reserved for people, as dogs can get involved in yoga, too. Called Doga, it uses many of the same movements from traditional yoga, but tweaks them to include your four-legged pal. It can help you both feel very relaxed and even bring you closer together.
  • Hiking: Long jaunts through hilly trails can be a great bonding experience for you and Fido. You’ll get to walk through the scenic mountains as your furry friend picks up new smells along the way.

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