Sunday, May 29, 2011

Summer For You and Your Dog

It's that time of year that we all have waited for...summer! Pets are along for family vacations, outside during the day or walking with us as we go for a stroll.  But this time of year can be a dangerous time for our furry, four legged friends.  They can overheat just like people can so precautions must be taken. 

Walks:  Limit your dogs walks to either early in the morning or late at night.  Shorten the walks on extremely hot days.  Allow your dog to walk on grassy areas as cement and pavement can be hot enough to burn their pads.  If you stop to talk to someone on your walk, make sure your dog can stand on grass and not on the hot pavement.

Hikes:  Cancel your hikes on extremely hot days or at least don’t take the dog.

Car rides:  Even on a ‘warm’ day, the heat in a car can rise high enough to do serious damage to your dog.  A beautiful 85 degree day could raise the temperature in your car to over 100 degrees.  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave your dog in a car, even with the windows ‘cracked’ during summer days.  You are also risking your dog’s life if you leave the air conditioning running while you run into the store.  One woman learned her lesson the hard way by doing this and lost both of her dogs (one a Great Dane) because the air conditioner malfunctioned. 

Backyards:  Know the breed of your dog and how sensitive that breed is to the heat.  Chows, Huskies and other long haired breeds should be brought inside during the heat of the day.  Not only do you risk their lives, but they are MOST uncomfortable in heat.  This can affect their breathing and their overall health.  If you must leave your dog outside, make sure they have plenty of shade, air circulation and lots of FRESH water.  One suggestion is to freeze a container of water and give them one big ice cube (along with another bowl of water) so they can have something cold to lick or lay next to.  A small child’s pool filled with fresh water is also very soothing to certain dogs. 

If your dog gets overheated, hose them down.  Do not use cold water, use ‘cool’ water.  Also, put rubbing alcohol on their foot pads.  Soak paper towels or washcloths with rubbing alcohol and place them on their pads and leave them on for a while.  Get your dog to the vet immediately for fluids and other treatment.

Use common sense on hot days.  Some pets do well with the heat but many do not.  This includes small dogs too.  Be very careful and it’s best to just keep them at home inside when the weather is extreme. 

And remember that dog houses must be properly ventilated...if your dog is outside on a hot day in a dog house with no air holes for ventilation, they will over heat.  Be sure that a breeze of some sort can blow through or use other means to ensure that the dog is not sitting inside of a stifling hot dog house.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog

Miss Mona-senior dog and best friend
As any rescue operation has discovered, senior dogs are often harder to adopt than the younger, cuter, more energetic puppies but they also have  many reasons why they would make great additions to any family.  In fact, this blogger adopted a senior dog from Mostly Mutts and has loved every minute of being her "mom."  A big thanks to one of our tireless volunteers for providing us with this blog post and ten reasons why you should considering adopting a senior dog.

  1. Older dogs are usually house trained, keeping you from having to go through the difficult stages of teaching manners and mopping up after accidents.
  2. Older dogs won't go through a teething period chewing on furniture, shoes or other items.
  3. Since older dogs have mellowed out a bit, they are often more focused and able to learn quickly.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?!
  4. They know what "no" means.
  5. They settle in much easier than younger dogs because they have learned from experience that they need to "go along to get along." 
  6. Senior dogs are grateful for their new home and to be free to lay in their own bed without sharing space with lots of other dogs.  They are great at giving love and being a companion as a sign of their thankfulness.
  7. Ever heard the old adage "what you see is what you get?" Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality while puppies can still grow and end up quite different than what they seemed at first.
  8. Instant best friends-ready to hike, ride in the car or just sit in your lap and watch TV.
  9. They leave you time to yourself because they don't require the kind of demands on your time that pups do to be entertained, played with and constantly watched.
  10. Older dogs allow you to have a good nights sleep; they are more in tune with a schedule and most likely will not require nightly feedings, comforting or bathroom breaks.
Mostly Mutts has several senior dogs who are looking for their forever home.  Please consider them as your next pet.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Parvo, Puppies and Godiva

Godiva-We will miss you
Godiva came to Mostly Mutts on the 21st and was immediately put on antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection.  She was  adorable, bouncy and very cute.  She played hard and was a good little puppy, thought to be about three months old.  She slowly started getting sick and was given fluids last Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  She seemed better and even a vet who was visiting the shelter examined her and thought she was ‘okay’.  Friday, she was still sick so she was taken to the vet's office for the day to be treated.  The vet diagnosed it still as URI and nausea from the medication.  She was picked up Friday evening and had diarrhea; they tested it and it came back positive for Parvo.  So back to the vet she went on Saturday but Mostly Mutts received a call on Sunday that she had passed away.  Words can’t explain how much it hurts when a dog comes to MM and never gets a chance to find a home.

Godiva's passing will not be in vain because what happened to her can happen to any dog, especially puppies.  We want to use this blog post to educate on parvo, what it is, how it's contracted and what can be done to save your pet and family from this heartbreak.

Parvo is a virus that attacks the intestinal tract of puppies causing severe diarrhea and vomiting.  It's been around since the early '80's and is devastating because it is so highly contagious.  The virus can even live in areas for up to a year!  Parvo is spread through defecation of infected dogs and things must be bleached in order to kill the virus.  Often, both animal control and rescues deal with parvo cases and many times treatment is not successful.  Although there is a vaccine for parvo, there is no cure.  If you have a puppy, they should receive a series of shots starting as early as six weeks old and is most often referred to as a distemper vaccine.  Follow up the shot with a minimum of four booster shots in three week increments. ONLY at this time is the puppy able to safely be in areas where other dogs have defecated.

Godiva came to Mostly Mutts from an animal control facility happy and healthy.  What we didn't know was that she had been exposed to parvo at that facility and the virus was in incubation.  A week later she showed signs of the disease and within two day,s regardless of the treatment she received at the vet clinic, she passed away.

Adult dogs who have been exposed to parvo can show signs of vomiting and diarrhea but if they are vaccinated their immune system can fight the virus and they will recover without treatment.  Some puppies that get parvo can recover with fluid therapy and antibiotic treatment but it can cost well over $1000.00. Some pups are euthanized when diagnosed while some make a full recovery and won't get it again.  There is no pattern but the smaller and younger the puppy is, the more likely they will pass away.

Owners whose puppies have not completed the series of vaccines should never put their puppies on the ground where other dogs have defecated.  These areas include vet clinics, dog parks or private yards where a parvo pup has been within the last year.  Most folks aren't aware that their puppies can pick up the virus just walking into a vet clinic.  Make sure you carry your puppy whenever they are in a public area.

Parvo is a devastating disease and there are many different strains of the virus.  Some strains are mild and some are certain to lead to death.  Mostly Mutts recommends keeping puppies and adult dogs updated on vaccinations to protect them against parvo and preventing your puppy from being exposed by keeping them home or safe into fully vaccinated.