October 22, 2017

Keep the Whole Family Safe During Disasters

ImageEvery year we hear concerns about “an active hurricane season” or “perfect” conditions for wildfires.  These natural disasters can devastate families, including our pets.  But, legislation, along with a national campaign to proactively prepare for disasters, has not only provided needed relief and comfort, it’s helped keep families together!

No one will ever forget the images of a hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast or the bleak desolation of a wildfire.   Media inundates us with pictures of human misery and also the suffering and plight of the animals.  Abandoned pets, forcible separations, and video of dogs and cats desperate to survive have now been etched deeply into our memories.

After the disastrous 2005 hurricane season, new legislation mandating the accounting for people’s pets in disaster plans was proposed and enacted.   The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act) was signed into law in 2006.   This bi-partisan initiative insures that any state asking for federal assistance in emergency situations must have plans for accommodating pets and service animals during evacuations.

Hybrid Breeds – Designer Dogs Or Disaster in the Making?

ImageThey are all the rage across the United States and beyond.   Cross-breed dogs such as cock-a-poos have been around for many years, while newer crosses, such as labradoodles and puggles keep rising in popularity.  So, are these dogs a new “hot” breed or just a designer mutt?

Some historians and dog enthusiasts have traced certain breeds of dogs back almost 8,000 years.   This lineage may show that humans began selective breeding of dogs soon after first domesticating the wild ancestors of our family pet.  The American Kennel Club officially recognizes more than 160 breeds with almost 60 listed as Foundation Stock.  With all these breeds to choose from, why would anyone want to create another?

The current rage of “new” breeds probably began in the late 1970s by an Australian trying to help find a seeing-eye dog for a woman whose husband was allergic to most dogs.  According to the International Labradoodle Association, www.ilainc.com, a member of the Royal Guide Dogs, suggested mating a Labrador to a Standard Poodle and thus the first “Labradoodles” were born.  One of the three pups born in the litter, Sultan, eventually made his way to Hawaii and the vision-impaired woman with the allergic husband.  Since that time, more than 3500 dogs have been registered with the ILA.  Miniature labradoodles have even been bred!

Top Summertime Tips for Pet Safety

ImageSummertime!  Finally, your chance to relax and unwind!  With your sunblock, sunglasses and a good book, you plan to enjoy the day at the pool! Suddenly, you remember your dog is in the yard – unsupervised …surely he will be okay for a couple hours.  Or will he?

Summer temperatures might be great for tan lines and boating trips, but the excessive heat and increased outdoor activities could spell disaster for your pets.  As the mercury rises, take just a few moments to insure that your pets are safe and prevent an urgent trip to the animal ER with a summertime emergency!

The most common heat related problem for pets is heat stroke.  Also known as heat stress or hyperpyrexia, heat stroke is a real emergency for dogs.  Even on moderately warm days, an excited dog might show a body temperature increase of 2-5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Since dogs don’t sweat like we do, they are unable to dissipate the excess heat and heat stroke may soon follow.