Thursday, July 15, 2010

Road warrior survival guide

By Susan Sims of Fido Friendly magazine

What to pack for a road trip with your dog

Vaccination records
Keep a copy of all vaccination records in your doggy's duffel bag. Should an emergency arise once you are on the road, you will have the important information you need. You will also need these records when boarding Fido for the day or overnight if you take in an excursion where your furry companion is not allowed.
Collar and leash
Remember that taking Fido out of the car for potty breaks must include his collar being secured and him being leashed (don't forget the poop bags). A foreign territory brings unique smells that are oh so hard to resist, and your little darling can escape before you can say, "Sit, stay."
Fido won't want to get lost, so be sure that he has a current tag with an emergency phone number firmly attached to his collar or harness. Most people travel with a cell phone, making this the perfect number for your dog's tag.
First aid kit
There are a number of doggy first aid kits on the market, and if you have the time, you can even put together your own. Some essentials to include are:
  • Tweezers to remove ticks
  • Stypic powder to stop toenail bleeding
  • Eye wash to flush wounds
  • Gauze bandage
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic moist wipes
Food and water
Be sure to bring along Fido's favorite food so as not to upset his stomach. There are great road-worthy foods and treats on the market. If you will be cooking for Fido, make the food ahead of time, and pack it along with your own goodies.
Your dog is used to drinking water from your hometown, and when traveling it's a good idea to bring along as much of Fido's drinking water as you can, and rely on bottled water as back-up.
Seat covers and blankets
Vacations are supposed to be fun, and nothing says fun like four muddy paws...not! Protect your seats with covers and blankets made especially for your type of automobile. Be proactive: Always carry additional towels and wipes to clean off your rambunctious Rover.
Safety restraints
Did you know that in some states seatbelts are now mandatory for Fido? When you think of your best friend as a projectile in case of an accident, you understand the wisdom of securing Fido to keep both of you safe.
Beds and crate
Don't leave home without Fido's favorite blankey or bed. You don't want him sleeping on the guest bed...or do you? Bring sheets, too, so if your furry companion is accustomed to sleeping on the furniture, he won't leave any tell-tail signs.
If Fido calls his crate his den, then bring it along for a good night sleep during your vacation.
Fun stuff
Don't forget the toys! If Fido is a nervous Nelly when staying away from home, help ease his discomfort by bringing as many toys from home as you can. Familiar smells and chew toys will help calm even the most anxious pet.
If Rocky is a Rock Monanoff aficionado, by all means pack his favorite CD for his and your listening pleasure. 
Double-check hotel reservations
You are ready to go--but before you back the mini-van out of the driveway, call your hotel to confirm your reservation and that they are expecting Fido. Nothing says bummer like a newly implemented "no pets allowed" policy since you made your reservation.
Now you are prepared to hit the road with Fido knowing you have thought of everything. Safe travels are in store--and don't forget to pack your copy of Fido Friendly magazine for more great travel ideas.

©2009 DogTime Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Voluntary Recall of Pro-Pet Vitamins for Dogs

United Pet Group Voluntarily Recalls Pro-Pet Adult Daily Vitamin Supplement for Dogs Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- June 22, 2010 - United Pet Group, Cincinnati, Ohio is voluntarily recalling all unexpired lots of its PRO-PET ADULT DAILY VITAMIN Supplement tablets for Dogs due to possible Salmonella contamination.  The Food and Drug Administration is aware of this recall.
The product was sold nationally at various retailers.  The product comes in 100-count white plastic bottles with a light blue label, and UPC code 26851-01800.  These products are being removed from retail stores and consumers should immediately stop feeding these supplements to their pets.  The affected products are those with expiration dates on or before "06/13". The expiration date can be found imprinted vertically on the right side of the product label.
 Laboratory testing has revealed that one Lot of this vitamin product was contaminated with Salmonella.  The company is recalling all unexpired Lots of the product out of an abundance of caution.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
People who handle dry pet food and/or treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to contact United Pet Group or the place of purchase for further direction. Consumers may contact United Pet Group at 1-800-645-5154 ext. 3, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they're left alone. The most common behaviors include:
  • Digging and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to reunite with their owners
  • Destructive chewing
  • Howling, barking, and whining
  • Urination and defecation (even with an otherwise housetrained dog)

Is it separation anxiety?

If most, or all, of the following statements are true about your dog, he may have a separation anxiety problem:
  • The behavior occurs primarily when he's left alone and typically begins soon after you leave.
  • He follows you from room to room whenever you're home.
  • He displays frantic, over-the-top greeting behaviors.
  • The behavior occurs whether he's left alone for short or long periods.
  • He reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to your preparations to leave the house.

What causes separation anxiety

It's not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don't. But it's important to realize that the destruction and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety are part of a panic response. Your dog isn't trying to punish you for leaving him alone.
Following are some common scenarios that can trigger separation anxiety:
  • A dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the first time.
  • A dog suffers a traumatic event, such as time at a shelter or boarding kennel.
  • There's a change in the family's routine or structure or the loss of a family member or other pet.
How to treat minor separation anxiety
  • Don't make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes then calmly pet him.
    Leave with your dog an article of clothing that smells like you, such as an old T-shirt that you've slept in recently.
  • Establish a safety cue—a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you'll be back.
  • Consider using an over-the-counter calming product that may reduce fearfulness in dogs.
How to handle a more severe problem
Use the techniques outlined above along with desensitization training. Teach your dog the sit-stay and down-stay commands using positive reinforcement. This training will help him learn that he can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another room.
Create a "safe place" to limit your dog's ability to be destructive. A safe place should:
  • Confine loosely rather than strictly (a room with a window and distractions rather than total isolation)
  • Contain busy toys for distraction. Kongs with peanut butter or kibble inside can provide something to chew.
  • Leave one of your worn T-shirts that will have your scent on it
In the Meantime

It can take time for your dog to unlearn his panic response to your departures. To help you and your dog cope in the meantime:
  • Ask your veterinarian about drug therapy. A good anti-anxiety drug shouldn't sedate your dog but will reduce his overall anxiety.
  • Take your dog to a doggie day care facility or kennel when you have to be away. Caveat:  the group setting can make SOME anxious dogs worse.
  • Leave your dog with a friend, family member, or neighbor when you're away.
  • Take your dog to work with you, if possible.
  • Hire an overnight petsitter when you are away for longer periods of time.
What won't help
  • Punishment. Punishment isn't effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse. The destruction and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety aren't your dog's revenge for being left alone: they're part of a panic response.
  • Another dog. Getting your dog a companion usually doesn't help an anxious dog because his anxiety is the result of his separation from you, not just the result of being alone.
  • Crating. Your anxious dog may still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate. He may urinate, defecate, howl, or even injure himself in an attempt to escape. Instead, create other kinds of "safe places" as described above.
  • Radio/TV noise. Leaving the radio or television on will only help if you have conditioned your dog to radio or TV as a safety cue.  See above.
  • Obedience training. While formal training is always a good idea, separation anxiety isn't the result of disobedience or lack of training; therefore, it won't solve this particular problem.

Adapted from The Humane Society of the United States