1 07, 2019

The Most Common Summer Dangers for Pets

By |2019-06-25T19:50:26-06:00July 1st, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

For most, summer is the best time of the year. Rainy spring gives way to sparkling, sunny summer, bringing cook-outs, vacations, pool parties, and more. That said, when temperatures spike, new, seasonal dangers arrive for pets. Whether you’re staying at home or taking a week-long trip to the mountains, keep these common summer dangers for pets in mind whenever your beloved animal is by your side.

Ticks– Ticks are some of the worst dangers for pets who spend a lot of time outside. Ticks can carry a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, but the symptoms are often very hard to spot. Talk to your veterinarian to get an effective tick medication. We recommend that you or your dog walker check your pet for ticks at least once every day and look thoroughly after walks or trips through wooded areas. Ticks are a threat around the country, even in cities. If you have an extra few minutes after work or before going to sleep, spend them searching for these pesky insects.

Water – Remember: not all dogs have mastered the doggy paddle. Some like water, while others don’t. Some dogs are great swimmers, while others struggle to stay afloat. Before you bring Fido to the beach or pool, buy a flotation device to keep them safe. If your pup loves the water, be sure to always rinse off after a swim. Chlorine, salt and bacteria in pools and lakes can be harmful.

Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion– These threats are very dangerous during the summer. Animals should always have fresh, clean water, but summertime necessitates portable water bowls on walks, vacations, and long car rides. Watch out for common symptoms, including lethargy, decreased urination, dry gums, and a refusal to eat, and read our hot weather safety tips post for tips on reducing this threat.

Sidewalks We’ve all heard the phrase: If you’re cold, they’re cold. The truth is, the same applies to hot temperatures. Surfaces like black pavement can get very hot in the summer sun, resulting in burnt or damaged paw pads. Whenever possible, stay away from asphalt or rough pavement, and try to schedule your walks for cooler times of day. Common sense tricks, like walking in the shade or on the grass, will also help.

Bee StingsDogs and cats love to play with other wild things, especially if they buzz. Some of those buzzing insects, though, can have a painful effect. There’s not much you can do if your pet is stung, but severe swelling merits a trip to the vet. They may prescribe an over-the-counter medication. The best solution? Keep Fido and Fluffy as far away from these stingers as possible.

CookoutsSummer is measured in the time between barbeques and cookouts. For many of us, it’s the best part of warm weather – sitting outside with friends with a few hamburgers on the grill. Unfortunately, those grilled hamburgers may be dangerous for your dog. Some surprising foods, like grapes, onions, garlic, and raisins, can be toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities. Furthermore, meat with bones should be avoided at all costs, as overexcited dogs tend to swallow morsels whole. In general, table scraps and treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your dog’s total diet, and you should communicate these dangers to hosts ahead of time.

25 06, 2019

WalletHub’s Pet-Friendly Airline Rankings

By |2019-06-25T19:18:19-06:00June 25th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Earlier this month, WalletHub published their annual airline rankings across several categories including pet-friendly airlines. We were reviewing these rankings as well as the methodology used, and several things jumped out to us. We wanted to discuss these results and process with our audience in case you come across these rankings and statistics online, or if you’re just generally interested in which airlines are most pet-friendly as part of making plans for your next trip.

Notes about Pet-Friendly Airline Rankings

  • Based on the number of animal fatalities, injuries, and lost animals (prorated for the total number of animals transported by the airline), the rankings are volatile from one year to the next. It’s hard to tell whether there’s any discernible pattern at all. Many airlines bounce around in their pet safety performance, but Delta has seemed uncannily consistent from one year to the next.
  • Speaking of Delta’s consistency, it will be interested to see if its long-term partnership with Carepod to monitor and make real-time reports of a pet’s travel status. Another major airline, United Airlines has no ranking at all from 2018, presumably from the period when it suspended its pet travel program to audit and overhaul their safety policies.
  • Envoy Air shows that airlines don’t necessarily need a lot of experience or a long track record to get things right. New this year, the airline ranks second. In fact, the top scorers from this year are all regional airlines. It’s also interesting to us that Alaska Airlines ranks third. While this airline serves plenty of other places than Alaska, it’s concentration of more northernly locations would seem to present clear pet travel dangers. But, apparently, this isn’t the case.
  • The rankings also indicate that four major airlines (Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit) do not transport animals at all. This, however, is not entirely true. These airlines do not allow for pet travel with cats and small dogs that can fit under the seat in front of you in the cabin of the plane. Thus, these rankings would seem to only apply to larger animals traveling as cargo or as checked baggage.

Big-picture, these types of airline rankings can be interesting to cite and mildly useful, but they’re based on limited information and specific applications. Depending on your situation and particular pet travel plans, these rankings and information may not be relevant. And certainly, you shouldn’t base your travel plans solely on these rankings. Moreover, choosing a pet-friendly airline known for safety doesn’t relieve pet owners of their responsibility to know and follow all the applicable pet travel rules.

9 06, 2019

What’s Weekend Warrior Syndrome?

By |2019-05-06T11:26:24-06:00June 9th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

We’ve all experienced it: You spend your winter inside, curled up on the couch, but when the sun comes out, you have the urge to go for a run. You were in pretty good shape last fall, so you head out for a few miles when the temperature rises above 45 degrees. As it turns out, you are decidedly not in shape. This is called Weekend Warrior Syndrome, and it can impact both you and Fido.

Weekend Warrior Syndrome is what happens when you don’t exercise at all during the week, then overdo your exercise on the weekend. This is exacerbated in the spring, when you may not have exercised intensely for several months. Weekend warriors may exercise for several hours without properly stretching, and over-exercising can often lead to injury, dehydration, and other ailments.

While you should be aware of your own propensity for Weekend Warrior Syndrome, be sure to keep a close eye on your pet as the temperatures get warmer. After several months of inactivity, your dog may have gained weight and lost muscle tone, and he could be a little stiff in the joints. On hot pavement or rough hiking terrain, cuts and sores on paw pads are a common danger. If you want to bring him on runs and long walks as soon as the weather gets nicer, be sure to do it in environments that are friendly to your dog. Even then, be sure to be on the lookout for signs of over-exercising in your pet.

It’s important to start reintroducing your outdoor pets to favorite activities slowly. This prevents exhaustion and injury. Start with shorter runs, walks, and hikes, the increase to longer stretches or games of fetch and Frisbee. Remember that dogs aren’t always in shape, and they’re not always ready to run. Like us, they need gradual conditioning through incremental increases in exercise frequency, intensity, and duration.

If you’re ready to bring Fido outside, you should also know about breed-specific risks. Labrador Retrievers, for example, can suffer from cranial cruciate ligament ruptures if they aren’t conditioned slowly. Herding and agility dogs can suffer ligament damage from frequent direction changes, and certain types of Retriever can experience patellar luxation. Before embarking on a high-energy activity, see what your pet might be genetically predisposed to and be sure to keep a close eye on discomfort.

21 05, 2019

Can Pets have Seasonal Allergies?

By |2019-05-06T11:26:12-06:00May 21st, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Cats and dogs can experience most health ailments that plague humans. That means seasonal allergies, the great equalizer, can affect cats and dogs, sometimes more intensely than they do humans. If you’re worried about Fido or Fluffy having an allergic reaction – either at home or while on a trip – there are a few things you can do to prevent catastrophe.

To start, dust, mold, and pollen are among the most common triggers of seasonal allergies in pets. All of these can result in sneezing, coughing, excessive scratching, licking, and chewing. If you suspect your pet may have an allergy to one or more of these triggers, make an appointment with your veterinarian to figure out a treatment that works for you and Fluffy. That said, most symptoms of seasonal allergies, in both cats and dogs, are frequently skin-related. Your pet can experience extreme itchiness, inflammation, and hot spots. Animals who have stronger allergies can also experience ear and respiratory issues.

Luckily, pet parents can control the presence of these triggers in their homes. While spring cleaning, inspect all moist cracks and crevices for signs of mold. If you find any, remove your pet from the room, don a breathing mask, and get to work scrubbing the spores away. To prevent accumulation of dust and pollen, dust your home frequently, keep fans running to circulate the air, and keep your windows closed as much as possible – at least until allergy season has passed.

Pet dermatologists recommend taking a similar approach to pet allergies as you would your own. Give cats and dogs frequent baths to provide immediate relief from itchiness and wash away allergens that may coat their fur and skin. If you’re worried Fido is tracking in pollen from outside, clean their feet whenever they enter the house. You may also want to consider an allergy-fighting supplement, like pet Benadryl. You can get this medication through your veterinarian or a pet supply website. In most cases, you will not need a prescription to get these medications and they will rarely cost more than $10.

If you plan to travel at peak allergy season, be sure to research the allergens that may be present at your destination. There’s nothing worse than having an allergy-ridden pup on what’s supposed to be a relaxing weekend away. If you suspect your pet has an allergy, buy a medication or supplement prior to travel – just to ensure you have something handy in case of disaster. If allergies strike while you’re away and you’re unprepared, take a quick visit to the nearest pet store and see what they have.

If you don’t take steps to address seasonal allergies, they can turn into a year-round problem. If you suspect your pet has environmental allergies, do what you can to aggressively manage their symptoms. This keeps Fido and Fluffy comfortable and ensures their immune systems stay strong and resilient, even in the face of pollen, dust, and mold.

6 05, 2019

Get to Know Your Airport Animal Ambassador

By |2019-05-06T11:35:12-06:00May 6th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Most of the time, animals in airports mean one of three things: people traveling with pets, people traveling with service animals, and security dogs. But there’s a new animal roaming the concourse in more and more airports around the country: The airport animal ambassador, also known as an airport therapy dog. Unlike emotional support animals that help individual passengers with a specific mental health condition, therapy animals stay in the airport and provide a measure of comfort to any airline passengers who may need it. Don’t dismiss

Be it a fear of flying or irritability due to extended travel delays, these animals don’t care about your bad mood. And they’re not responsible for mechanical issues or reduced legroom on planes. They demand you take a moment, or two, and shower them with love. Their cuteness cannot be resisted, but most importantly, it can be an emotional salve during a trying time. It may feel like a simple trick at first, but it ends up being quite effective.

What Airports have Therapy Dogs?

Most major airports have these ambassadors nowadays, but many of the airports only have the animal available for a few hours a day. Nevertheless, these animals are also becoming more common with each passing year, in no small part, because they haven’t created major problems in airports to date. They can’t make everything all right when it comes to a bad airport experience, but they really do make a positive difference. Here are some of the airports we know have some type of therapy animal program in place:

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

Denver International Airport (DEN)

San José International Airport (SJC)

Sacramento International Airport (SAC)

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

San Antonio International Airport (SAT)

Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR)

The Recent History of Airport Therapy Animals

The existence of airport therapy animal programs can be traced back to San José International Airport (SJC) around 2011. The interfaith chaplain volunteer brought her therapy dog to the airport on the anniversary of 9/11, hoping it would calm people’s anxieties about flying. It was so successful the airport started bring the animals into the airport seven days a week. Many different dogs breed can serve as therapy animals including spaniels, terriers, retrievers, and even rottweilers. Any dog serving at an airport will be certified by Therapy Dogs International (TDI). That said, the animal doesn’t even have to be a dog. Pigs are another popular animal that can serve as an ambassador.

Airport Animal Ambassadors making Names for Themselves

Many of these airports brand their therapy animal programs with clever names. LAX has

LAX has Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP)

DEN has the Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS)

SAC has the Boarding Area Relaxation Corp (BARC)

The best example may not be a dog at all but Lilou, the world’s first airport therapy pig. She has her own website. She’s a member of SFO’s therapy animal program, the Wag Brigade.

23 04, 2019

Springtime Safety Tips for Pets

By |2019-03-26T18:56:37-06:00April 23rd, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Spring has, officially, sprung. For many pet owners, this means long walks outside, patio season, and basking in the sunlight we’ve been deprived of for months. Unfortunately, this warm weather and seasonal change could spell danger for beloved pets, whether they’re indoor-only, outdoor enthusiasts, or travelling with you on vacation. Before embarking on trips and home improvement projects (see what we did there?), take a moment to read through these helpful springtime safety tips. This knowledge could save you a costly trip to the vet.

Don’t Bug Out – Spring means warmer weather, longer days, and a slew of new creepy crawly creatures to entertain Fido and Fluffy. It’s important to keep your pets on prescription heartworm medication, as well as flea and tick treatments, year-round, but this is especially important in the spring months. If Fido enjoys long walks in the woods, or if you’re bringing your pets on an outdoor vacation, be sure to check them for ticks immediately.

Stay Safe with Spring Cleaning – Annual spring cleaning can expose pets to a bunch of harmful chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and chlorine. Even natural cleaning products, in large amounts, can cause stomach problems. If you can, hitch Fido to the tree in your backyard (with some shade, please!) while you’re cleaning. If this isn’t possible, put your pets in a separate room as you work through the house, and be sure to keep them there until all recently cleaned surfaces are dry.

Check Your Screens – Warm weather means tons of sunlight and open windows. However, before throwing open the windows, be sure to inspect your screens and sashes to ensure cats and dogs can’t fall out or escape. Push lightly on your screens to make sure they don’t give, and be sure to check screen doors for holes.

Beware of Poison – Spring marks the official beginning of pest season, and cities, towns, and neighbors like to stay on top of bug and rat control. Unfortunately, this means hidden poisons lurk everywhere. Anything designed to kill a pest can also prove fatal to your pet. Be sure to monitor your pet closely while outside. If you suspect they have ingested something, contact the veterinarian immediately.

Leash Up – When the weather gets nicer, you and Fido will want to spend as much time outside as possible. This is a great opportunity to ensure your leash, collar, and/or harness are all in good shape. Winter weather can wreak havoc on these tough fabrics, so be sure to carefully inspect everything before you head out on that first long walk of the season. It could mean the difference between a safe pup and a lost dog.

Protect from Puddles – Puddles may be fun for splashing, but they can also lead to issues for curious dogs. Don’t let your pup drink from stagnant water sources, like puddles or ponds. This can lead to gastrointestinal issues or, in the most extreme cases, serious health concerns, like Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can cause damage to the kidneys or liver.

Overexposure Dangers – As the days get longer and you spend more time outside, there’s a heightened risk of overexposure to U.V. rays. Even if the temperature is brisk, this sunlight can seriously harm animals – even indoor cats who enjoy sitting in sunny windows. Animals with white coats are ore susceptible to this danger, but no pet is safe from sun damage. Do your best to ensure your pet doesn’t spend too much time in the sun. If necessary, invest in protective clothing to keep them safe during long walks outside.

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