Independence day has come and gone with all its’ accompanying festivities. I know some people plan for this holiday for weeks, if not months; BBQs, fireworks, camping trips etc., but what about their pets? Did they plan to keep the family pets safe? This is such an important question because every Fourth of July thousands of pets are lost and killed because of a lack of planning on their owners’ part.
On the fourth I was coming back from an ambulance transport when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very young dog by the side of the road. He was obviously searching for food on the ground, but at the same time he appeared desperately scared. I knew I’d have to be extremely careful both because of his skittishness and his proximity to the road. He traveled a little way down a side road, so I followed and got out of the ambulance when he was about 100 yards away from me and I was between him and the road. Listening to my gut instinct, I didn’t even try to approach him and instead called him, patted my leg and started off in another direction, hoping to have him follow which could be easier for him to handle. Sadly, he ran almost instantly, luckily in the direction of the nearby woods, not the highway. Several fireworks went off about that time and he just took off. I followed slowly for about a quarter of a mile, hoping to find him holed up, but was seriously disappointed. I called our 911-dispatch center and asked if they had any reports of a dog that matched his description (since it was July 4th, they get a lot of those), but no one had called. After waiting quietly for about 20 minutes, I had to get back to work and reluctantly left. The next day, I found that he had been sighted running across the highway a few times and again the next day. I haven’t been able to catch up with him again and it’s breaking my heart.
My plan is to hope that he’ll be safe until we can get a trap into place: I just think he’s too skittish to coax into a car, although I will try again with my dogs. Hopefully, I can work with animal control and we can be successful, but hope is not a plan. This sorrowful dog could be safe at home, snuggled in a cozy pet bed instead of searching for food and water if only his owners had cared enough to plan ahead.
The Fourth of July isn’t a surprise to us humans, but it certainly is to our animals, both large and small and we need to be prepared to keep them safe. Until you know how they’ll react to fireworks, both the big displays and the poppers that are everywhere, you need to get them into a controlled environment where they can’t escape and where you can buffer the impact of what must appear to them to be the end of the world.
I’ve had great success with fireworks shy dogs simply by keeping them inside (windows almost completely closed, I knew a dog that pushed out a window screen on the third floor) and by letting them hide in a closet. Some dogs do well with a little tranquilizer prescribed by the vet, others need some music or even the shower running.
I had a wonderful dog that was reduced to a shaking, panting mess around fireworks if he was inside or out, but if I drove him around in the car, he was just fine!
Cats are usually OK with just about anything, but I always close them up in the house too. As for my horses, each one is different, but so far they’ve been only mildly startled for a minute or two and then they settle back in.
The bad news is that thousands of dogs are lost every year due to poor planning and fireworks. The good news is that with a little care, your holiday can start and end on the happiest of notes. Happy Independence Day and stay safe all year long!
What’s your dogs’ favorite treat? We’d love to hear from our readers about this so please comment and let us know.
With such an enormous selection of commercially available dog treats, how does a good dog owner make a delicious, healthy choice for their pup? Here’s the thing and I can’t stress this enough. You’ve got to read the labels. Sorry, if you were looking for a simple recommendation, that’s just not happening here today. Yes, I will name a few of the manufacturers that I trust, but in the end my goal is for you to be able to make the right choices based on what you learn about the bag of treats in front of you at the store.
First thing you do need to know, and this is the simplest rule you’ll ever follow; don’t buy anything for your dog to eat, sleep on or play with that was made in China. Ever. There, that’s pretty easy right? Well guess what? It’s a lot harder than you think, because so much of what you’ll find in the supermarket, the pet store chain and yes, even in the chic pet boutique around the block, is made in China. If you haven’t been in the loop, the problem with pet stuff (and human stuff) that is made or assembled in China is that it’s not regulated and safety standards are at best, minimal. Many beloved family pets have suffered and died from toxic food and badly made products; according to the FDA in an October 2013 report, over 3600 dogs and 10 cats have become ill from jerky pet treats made in China with almost 600 proven deaths. However those numbers require veterinarians having reported cause of death or illness and in many cases, I’m sure they couldn’t have known.
The problems have been reported since 2007, but the identification of 6 unapproved antibiotics in some treats was ultimately the only reason several well-known brands were taken off the market. The real problems seem to have been melamine contamination, salmonella and even arsenic in some cases. Most of the contaminated treats were chicken, duck or turkey, along with some sweet potato and some dried fruits. Most were also jerky type treats. The point here is most of these treats were made in China, the ones made in the USA are usually a salmonella issue and get recalled quickly. How can you find out more about these? Just check out the FDA website here. http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm371450.htm
Also the Humane Society has excellent links on their website http://www.humanesociety.org.
The other, more salient point that I can make here is that your diligence as a pet owner is of key importance; read labels, check out the websites regularly because it’s unlikely that you’ll see recalls on mainstream media and remember, cheap brands, fancy name brands even brads sold at vet clinics can all be affected. Also keep in mind that the big picture has much more effect on you and your pet’s life; factory farming, pesticides, herbicides, irresponsible antibiotic use, all of these factors are changing your life everyday, and not for the better.
Next time we’ll talk about dog food, not just treats.
With cold weather sweeping a good part of our nation, it’s time for pet owners to step up to their responsibilities. But wait, I’m not done yet, it’s also time for neighbors, passers by and everyone else to step up as well.
Many of you may have read the tragic story from Indiana. During the last cold spell, a resident of North Preston Indiana recalls hearing a “weird howling” from a neighbors’ dog, shortly before it was found frozen to death. The owner was charged with animal cruelty, which is appropriate. The neighbor got some attention from the media but no one asked him why he didn’t do something before the poor dog had suffered and died, which is inappropriate. We’re aware that a lot of Americans dislike government regulations, but if we can’t uphold common decency in our actions or make sure that our neighbors do so as well, then what we need is some government involvement. In fact, animal control agencies across the mid-west and east coast made considerable attempts to warn pet owners about the dangers of cold weather, unfortunately, not everyone paid attention. The skills needed for animal care aren’t rocket science, although they do require a working brain and soul, something very obviously lacking in a significant portion of our population. Dogs found frozen onto doghouse floors, horses dead of dehydration (hint, water freezes) and cat’s left to die in the elements. Every state has different animal cruelty laws; many of them are practically non-existent, (For more information on your state, check out the Humane Society’s report card), but humanity isn’t something we as a species, seem to have been able to master. After perusing the ASPCA & Humane Society websites, I came up with a few good tips for animal cold weather care; I suggest that you check out those and other great information sources for your specific concerns or animals.
Keep pets indoors and warm.
Cold can be deadly, especially to the very young or old. If you have pets that can’t come inside, then you HAVE to provide safe, warm shelter. Look at it this way, if you couldn’t stay where they stay, then move them or fix up their shelter. For pets who are outside for the day, be sure to provide a dry, draft free shelter that’s big enough for them to lie down in, but small enough to not get so cold. Cover the floor with straw or wood shavings; add an inexpensive but well made pet bed. Make sure it’s insulated and cover the doorway with heavy burlap AND plastic. Then bring them inside at night.
Make sure they have water and food, a lot of both.
Being outside in the cold can dehydrate an animal and make them expend a lot more energy just staying warm. Check their food and water several times a day and makes sure the water isn’t frozen. Use plastic bowls, not metal.
Help strays, feral and “community” cats.
Easy to construct shelters made out of Styrofoam coolers with blankets in them and a small hole cut out for a door work well. Spend a little on some extra food and help them through the tough winter. If you are really motivated, trap them and take them to the shelter to get spayed and neutered and then release the un-adoptable (wild) ones back into their neighborhood. Most shelters have great deals for strays.
Make sure horses and other livestock have effective shelter and around the clock food and water. Also, be sure to check under your car’s hood for cats and wild animals.
Please pass on this information and be kind!
We have a contest winner for the Diesel DNA Contest and I have to tell you, it was the toughest one to date. (Even as I write this, we’re gearing up for another).
When the results came in we were all flabbergasted, well, that and confused. That’s because none of us had ever heard of one of the breeds, which immediately started up a flurry of research. I’m happy to say that not only did we achieve one of our goals here at adogslifereview.com, pet rescue awareness, we also had our generous dog-parent and contest voter Donna, donate the dog bed she won to a needy dog.
So, here was the issue; we had a TON of great votes, but we had a truly unique DNA result, so in order to designate a winner, we had to get down to the more obscure bits of DNA. This is because the ancestry of the main breed is also a little up in the air. Diesel came back as mostly Australian Koolie and a Kuvasz with a smaller percentage as “mixed breed”. Now you may remember that we received a lot of Australian Cattle dog & Heeler votes and it took a while to break down the Koolie heritage before we could determine that the Cattle Dog connection wasn’t strong enough for a wining vote, in addition, not a single vote even came close to the Kuvasz connection, so that meant we had to go to the “mixed breed” portion of the Diesel dog’s test results. You see, if you order up one of these awesome fun tests, you get back an enormous amount of information. This includes not only the main breeds related to your dog, but the smaller DNA hits that are bunched into the “mixed breed” section. In Diesel’s case, those results came back as Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Papillion, Doberman, Australian Cattle Dog and, wait for it…..Boxer! And it was the boxer vote that put our girl Donna in the winner’s circle! She voted Australian Cattle Dog, Aussie Shepherd, Dalmatian and Boxer! Donna wrote in her vote that if she won, she wanted the bed to go to a cold, needy dog in Idaho, since her pampered pooch Molly lives in the temperate climes of Arizona and snoozes with the best of the on her Tempur-Pedic bed.
The story of the Koolie is an interesting one; a talented and intelligent working dog whose ancestors came to Australia with the sheep they were herding. The story of whether they came from England or Germany remains a bit of a mystery. One thing that isn’t a mystery however, is the good science our dog loving friends down under use to keep the breed strong, smart and healthy; responsible breeding without ridiculous standards for appearance. Something American breeders and the AKC could learn from.
The other side to Diesel’s relatives is the Kuvasz; a large and very old breed from Hungary, by way of Tibet, the Kuvasz was used as a guard dog and large game hunter, some traits that Diesel had shown too. The Kuvasz is related to the Great Pyrenees, a very popular sheep guard dog out here in Idaho. Diesel has exhibited a lot of Koolie traits as well, high energy, excellent mental stimulation, agile and able to develop strong family relationships.
Anyway you look at it Diesel is a great example of a rescue success story as well as the countless benefits that come with mixed breed dogs and adoption. Stay tuned for our search for a chilly, needy dog in our area, I’ll be enlisting the help of the Animal Shelter of The Wood River Valley as well as local law enforcement to help me find a dog who could use a bed…..anyone want to donate a dog house? J
Diesel’s DNA test results are in and we’re excitedly waiting to tally the results. So if you haven’t voted yet, get to work, because the contest closes at midnight December 20th and you still have a chance to win an awesome, planet friendly and gorgeous dog bed for your pet AND for the animal charity of your choice! That’s right, not one but two beds. The results came in yesterday and they were enlightening, to say the least. Looking back on Junebug’s DNA contest (check the blog archives) it was really up in the air and people’s guesses reflected that, this time around however, we’re seeing more similar guesses, so it’s going to be down to who guessed the closest match and then entered their vote the soonest.
These DNA contests are really fun for everyone at adogslifereview.com and allahilthedog.com, but they also highlight the cause nearest and dearest to our hearts; animal rescue and adoption. It’s a cause we never tire of educating our readers about, advocating for and promoting on our sites. This time of year, when people’s thoughts are a little more focused on doing good things for those around them, we want to remind our readers to Adopt, Don’t Shop. And while we all know the joys of pet ownership, please don’t give pets as gifts; animal ownership is an endeavor best entered into as a well thought out plan, not as a spur-of-the-moment surprise. Shelters are full of once cuddly puppies and kittens grown into everyday responsibilities, in fact that’s very likely how we came to have the dear Junebug in our lives. As many of you know, two years ago, and just a few weeks after Christmas, Juno was dumped at a farmhouse in rural Idaho. Miles from any other houses and in the freezing cold, she sat shivering out there for hours. It was quickly apparent that she had been fed and sheltered up until that day, but also traumatized by someone’s’ ignorant and brutal attempts at “training”. Today, you wouldn’t know it to look at her; confident and excessively cheerful, she know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is loved and cherished, but she’s one of the lucky ones. Diesel is also one of the lucky ones, thanks to the caring and professional law enforcement personnel in our town and his new and loving family. Please keep making these innocent animals “lucky”. And get in your vote to win one of the best dog beds ever!
Enter the contest in “reply” area below. Good luck!
We have been receiving requests for some more Diesel info to help with your contest guesses. If you’re just joining us now, let me get you up to speed. Periodically, we run a “guess the ancestry” kind of contest on one of the dogs who has been DNA tested. This isn’t just for fun, it also allows our readers a chance to win a FREE luxury dog bed! The rules are as follows; look at the photos, take your best guess, enter your guess in the “reply” section of this blog site (adogslifereview.com) & the first, most correct answer gets to pick a designer, earth-friendly dog bed from Allhailthedog.com! How easy is that?
Anyway, we’ve had some comments that people would like some more info on the Dog Himself; otherwise know as Diesel. First of all, you can read up on his incredible story right here at adogslifereview.com, as well as hearing about Juno’s adventure into DNA land, (a very interesting story as well). Second, you can read up on some Diesel stats; Diesel is approximately 11 months old, weighs 37 pounds and is just about a perfect square with a ground to shoulder height of 20” as well as a shoulder to butt measurement of 20”. Cute huh? He’s an amazing athlete like his owners and has the super powers of adoration. Literally. Everyone who meets him falls in love with him, not kidding.
So join in on the fun and win your pet the best dog bed he or she will ever have (cats love them too)!
Well it’s that time again! For all you fans of #Dailydiesel, the DNA test has been done and the results should be back in around 2 weeks. If you’ve been following the story of one very lucky dog you’ll already know that Diesel was found wandering around our town this summer while a massive wildfire consumed a little under 100 thousand acres of beautiful forests around us. From the dense smoke and underlying tension, a story of hope and love emerged; first, law enforcement found the little guy before he was injured in traffic and brought him to our local shelter ( a very nice no-kill place), but shortly after that they started to miss the pup and actually took him back and started sending him home with fellow officers as babysitters. Now in order to understand how unusual this is and what a remarkable effect this one young dog had on so many people, you have to understand that our local law officers do this job all the time, find the wandering dog and take him to the shelter that is. Yes, they scan for microchips and if the dog has a collar with tags, they call any numbers they find. They’ll also check with all of the local vets, kennels and so on. In other words, they do a really good job of trying to reunite pets and their families, but sometimes, sadly enough, families don’t want to be found. Diesel had a collar (1 point) with his name and a phone number (2 points), but no microchip (minus 3 points). So they called and called and called, without an answer back. When Diesel entered our lives, one of the law enforcement officers and a good friend, showed up while I was on shift with Diesel on a rope. Just be aware, this act showed intention and planning, if I were to put it in legal terms. She figured that if anyone would adopt an adorable herding dog, it would be this sucker right here. She wasn’t far off since I assumed that this was the “my dog” my husband was looking for, however one of my partners literally fell to his knees, hugged the little guy to his chest and practically said “can I”? Who could resist? Apparently his better half couldn’t either and, as they say, history was made. What followed was nothing short of a miraculous change in two reasonably unsentimental, professional and very successful adults into mushy, love struck pet parents. In other words, one of us! So they went to allhailthedog.com and ordered up a DNA test and let the contest begin! Let’s all give a shot at guessing what Diesel is, that is, of what breeds. This one is a lot easier than our first contest with Juno, a little easier than Izzy’s contest, so have at it! Send your guesses in to adogslifereview.com. The first entered, most correct guess wins a luxury dog bed of their choice and a blog right here at adogslifereview.com. You can also find the blog on the allhailthedog.com.
Good luck and let the games begin! Follow us on Twitter, just send FOLLOW@AllHailTheDog and like us on Facebook.
TO ENTER THE CONTEST PLEASE REPLY IN “COMMENTS” SECTION BELOW!