Back to School Might Mean Separation Anxiety for your Pup

It’s that time of year again; kids are saying goodbye to the lazy days of summer and returning to the classroom. But children aren’t the only ones adjusting to the back-to-school routine. Many dogs experience some form of separation anxiety when kids return to school, especially pets in homes where parents are at work during the day.

Hours alone in an empty house will seem unfamiliar and maybe even a little scary for a dog who has spent the entire summer with plenty of human interaction. This unfamiliarity may cause anxiety for your dog, which can sometimes lead to destructive behavior around the house. Luckily for you and your pup, there are a few things you can do to combat this situation.

  • Don’t make a big deal out of the morning goodbye. An elongated goodbye may clue your furry friend into thinking something is up, so try to act like the first day of school is no different than any other day.
  • Make sure your dog is supplied with as much comfort as possible when left alone. Leaving the television or music on at a low volume might help ease separation. Familiar toys, blankets, or pet beds are also an excellent source of comfort.
  • Keep your dog occupied! Toys and chew treats are a good way to avoid destructive behavior and keep your dog entertained while you’re away.
  • Make the time your dog does get to spend with your family count. Regular walks, play time, and lounge time together will make for an all-around healthier, happier pooch.

In some cases, separation anxiety is severe enough for your veterinarian to prescribe medication available from retailers like http://www.vetdepot.com. Contact your pet’s vet with any questions or concerns.

A Pet Owner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Hurricane season is upon us and it’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan for you and your family in case disaster strikes. When facing the possibility of a hurricane or any other natural disaster, don’t forget to include your furry family members in your evacuation plan. According to the American Red Cross, “if it’s not safe for you to stay behind, it’s not safe to leave pets behind either.”

Here are a few things for responsible pet owners to keep in mind when planning ahead:

Know where to go: If evacuation becomes necessary, remember that many evacuation shelters don’t allow pets. If you don’t have family or friends in the vicinity, it’s a good idea to make a list of pet-friendly hotels and motels in your area ahead of time and keep that list in an easily accessible place. Some veterinarians and boarding facilities also offer shelter to pets in the event of an emergency.

Make sure pets are wearing identification: Having your pet wear proper identification is a good idea at all times, but during emergency situations it’s even more crucial. In the event that you and your pet do become separated, ID with up-to-date contact info is the best way to become reacquainted.

Pack an emergency kit: Along with your family’s emergency kit, have supplies packed and ready to go for your pets. According to the American Red Cross, your pet’s emergency kit should include:

  • Medications
  • Sturdy leash and harness
  • Muzzle (if necessary)
  • Pet food
  • Drinkable water
  • Plastic bags or kitty litter/pan for waste
  • Pet carrier large enough for your pet to sit and lay down in
  • Current photos in the event that a pet does get lost

 If space allows, comfort items such as treats, blankets, beds, and toys are a good thing to have on hand as well.  These items might soothe a pet who’s experiencing fear or stress due to an unfamiliar situation.

For more information about preparing for a disaster, visit http://www.redcross.org/.

Smart Shopping for your Senior Pooch

Your senior dog may not be as quick to chow down on that bowl of food as the old days or as lightning fast when playing a game of fetch as he used to be, but there are still plenty of tail-wagging memories to be made during your pup’s golden years. To help your dog live those years to the fullest, there are many products specifically designed for senior canines to ensure good nutrition and comfort as your dog matures in age.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for an aging dog:

•When selecting treats and food, look for labels on packaging that indicate use for senior dogs. Most senior dog foods are lower in fat and higher in fiber to support the nutritional needs of older dogs. Sometimes, you can even combine the tastiness of a treat with healthy benefits by using  products like Greenies Senior Treats, which support good dental and joint health for aging dogs.

•There are several nutritional supplements at vetdepot available to help combat health problems commonly seen in older dogs. There are supplements to support everything from good joint health to bladder control. Consult with your pet’s veterinarian with any questions about which supplements may be beneficial for your aging dog.

•Many canines end up taking some sort of medication during their lifetime, especially during their later years. Trying to get your stubborn pooch to swallow a pill isn’t always easy, but luckily there are a couple of easy solutions. A pill pocket can be used to hide medication and allow for easy pet med administration. A pill shaver can also be used to grind up medication to be mixed in with pet food.

•Just because Fido is getting up there in years doesn’t mean he’s done playing. Your dog probably still gets plenty of joy out of playtime and an appropriate level of exercise is essential to good health at any age. Kong makes a specially designed version of their classic toy for seniors, made with a softer rubber. Look for toys like this one that are gentler on the teeth and jaw. Plush toys might also be a smart choice for aging dogs that may need a little extra comfort.

Dogs offer us years of loyal companionship and in return, we want to keep them healthy and happy for as long as possible. Whatever products you choose to buy for your aging canine companion, just remember to keep your dog’s changing needs in mind.

Deadly Danger of Leaving Your Dog in a Parked Car

The Associated Press recently reported on an incredible story about a dog who took matters into his own paws.  Max, an 11-year-old chocolate Lab, was accidentally left in the car after running some errands with his owner on a 90 degree day in Pennsylvania.  Max honked the horn multiple times until his owner finally realized he had been left in the car. Max was immediately given water and rushed to the vet, where he fully recovered from the ordeal.

Unfortunately, many stories about dogs being left in cars don’t have happy endings.  Max was a lucky pooch because it only takes a few minutes for an animal to collapse of heatstroke in an enclosed vehicle.  According to PETA, a car can exceed 160 degrees in just minutes on a 78 degree day.  Much of the time, parking in the shade or cracking a window slightly is not enough. Heatstroke is very dangerous and can cause irreversible brain damage and death. To avoid this tragedy, it’s best to leave pets at home on warm days.

If you see an animal in distress in a parking lot, have the owner paged inside the store. If there is not a prompt response, call the police because they can unlock a car door. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy panting, glazed eyes, dizziness, lack of coordination and vomiting.