Leash up bozo! It could be the difference between life and death for your dog.

dogonleashOkay so here we are in the summer months and as I do every summer I find myself sitting down to berate those idiot owners that don’t seem to understand that leash laws exist for a reason.

Yesterday I attended a street yard sale in my neighborhood. I took along my smallest rescue, a five pound Chihuahua named Peanut. When I travel with Peanut I use a sling carrier bag and carry her close to my body. As I was perusing garage sale tables a large mastiff approached me. He came right up and stuck his big head in Peanut’s carrier bag absolutely terrifying the tiny Chihuahua. I looked around for the dog’s owner but since he was apparently shopping sans leash I was unable to locate him right away. “Whose dog is this?” I asked those around me. “He’s mine” the owner spoke up from about ten feet away. “We have leash laws in this city.” was my response to his claim on the dog. “Your dog should be leashed.” He said nothing just glared at me as if I had two heads and was suggesting he jump off a cliff and commit suicide. He moved on without saying a word, the unleashed mastiff trailing behind him.

Now this guy is obviously one of those people who think that others are impressed by an off leash dog, he obviously thinks it makes him looks like a master dog owner. What it really makes him look like is a complete idiot! Leash laws are not put in place for the fun of it, they exist to protect society from free running dogs, and to protect dogs from accident.

There is no glory in being able to walk your dog offleash, there is only stupidity. Let’s look at it this way, a couple of years ago I was out driving around town. I was traveling at the posted speed limit along a residential street when a big dog ran out in front of my tracker and I was forced to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting the dog. As I got out of the car to make sure this offleash dog hadn’t been injured, his owner came running up the sidewalk screaming “you stupid bitch you almost killed my dog!” I looked at him barely able to believe that he was attempting to blame ME for the near accident. “Are you serious?” I said “your dog would not have come so close to being run over by my car had you put him on a leash as the law requires!” His answer? “My dog don’t need no freakin leash he is well trained!”

“Yep, he is so well trained he runs away from you and crosses busy roads in traffic” I replied, wow was this guy delusional? He just didn’t seem to understand that the leash laws apply no matter how well trained your dog is! They are not suggestions, they are bylaws that state it is not legal to take your dog out in public without a leash. They apply to every dog owner, not just the ones who aren’t arrogant enough to think they are God’s gift to dog training.

Leash up bozo! It could be the difference between life and death for your dog.

Until Next Time Remember



Keeping Dogs Cool in the Heat: Summer Tips for Dogs

February-18-2012-15-55-14-Selection007Summer is a fun time of year for humans and dogs alike. Many dogs (and people) love to play outdoors despite the heat. Some homes do not have air-conditioning, so alternative cooling methods must be used. If your dog does not wish to stay indoors with the air-conditioner, or if you do not have air-conditioning, there are still plenty of ways to keep your dog cool as temperatures rise.

Remember that dogs cannot cool themselves by sweating like humans. They might sweat a small amount through their pads, but the main way a dog cools off is by panting. Unfortunately, panting is not enough when it is extremely hot and humid.

Summer safety is no joke, and it’s up to you to make sure your dog stays cool and comfortable. Here are some ways to help your dog cool off in the heat of summer.

Fresh, Cool Water

It is essential that you keep fresh, cool water available to your dog at all times. In hot weather, this is even more crucial. Make sure you keep the water dish in a shady location and change the water frequently. To constantly keep fresh water available outdoors, consider installing a watering system that hooks up to a faucet. These systems are designed to provide water as needed and are usually triggered by motion or a specific action.

Shop Outdoor Watering Systems:

In addition to cool, fresh water, you can try feeding your dog some delicious homemade chilled treats.

Shelter from the Sun

Your dog might enjoy a little sunbathing, but she ultimately needs a cool, shady spot to relax. Prolonged sun exposure not only leads to heat exhaustion, it can also cause sunburn. Yes,dogs can get sunburned too. While sunscreen is available for dogs, it is not ideal. The best thing is to offer shelter. Shade from trees is nice, but not perfect. An actual structure is better. Consider getting an insulated dog house, but make sure it is large and well-ventilated. Alternatively, you might put up an open-air tent or canopy. The addition of a fan will help further cool things down. If possible, put the shelter in a shady area to keep it extra-cool. Of course, the most ideal shelter is in your home. If possible, install a doggie door to allow indoor access.

Shop Insulated Dog Houses
Shop Doggie Doors

Pools for Cooling

If your dog loves water, then a large tub or kiddie pool (molded plastic, not inflatable) might be a great addition to your yard. You can find tubs or pools at most home stores. Many dogs enjoy playing and lounging in the cool water. Just make sure you supervise your dog at all times. Also, keep the pool in a shady spot and change the water frequently. Do not leave the pool full when not in use, as it may attract mosquitos.Instead of a pool, you might also try running a sprinkler to see if your dog likes it. however, most dogs prefer a pool to a sprinkler.

Shop Dog Swimming Pools

Cooling Dog Beds

As mentioned before, your dog needs a cool, shady place to relax. While a dog bed is nice and soft, it might also be too warm. this is why many people notice their dogs prefer to lie on tile or concrete floors when it’s hot out. However, a cooling dog bed can offer the comfort and softness of a typical dog bed with the coolness your dog craves. Cooling dog beds often use a gel-like material or simply water to keep the bed feeling cool. These beds are especially great for senior dogs as an alternative for hard floors.

Shop Cooling Dog Beds

More Cool Gear for Hot Dogs

There are several other products out there designed to cool off your dog. Some work better than others, and often it just depends on the dog. If you decide to try out one of these products, just remember that nothing can substitute fresh water and shade. No dog should go for long without plenty of both.

Shop Cooling Dog Vests
Shop Cooling Dog Collars
Shop Crate/Kennel Cooling Fans

Remember that dogs cool themselves primarily by panting, so cooler air is the best way to prevent and relieve overheating. No matter what you do to keep your dog cool, the best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on her. When in doubt, get her to a cooler area. Be sure to contact your vet immediately if you notice signs of heat stroke.

Dog boarding kennels: how to find a safe facility for your dog

dog-in-suitcaseGoing away but can’t take your dog? Leaving your dog in the care of a stranger can be unsettling–for you and your dog. You have promised your dog you would always look out for his best interests but will others?

With the increasing number and styles of boarding kennels it is important to be proactive when making your selection. Finding a style that suits your comfort level can be time consuming. Once you speak to a handful of kennel facilities and start asking questions you may be surprised by the answers. The unsuspecting dog owner may be none the wiser and poor Sparky wishes he could tell all. There is no template for how to run a kennel and not all dog handling practices are respectable. There are many reputable kennels all over the world –and some that might appear to be on the surface. Do a little homework and you will be able to leave your four-legged family member in the safety and comfort of professionals.

Here a few questions to help you get the ball rolling:

Referrals are usually a good resource. Always try to get more than one.

Do they have indoor/outdoor runs? Does this mean your dog will be confined for the duration of his stay? Is the outdoor portion actually outdoors?

Is the kennel indoors only? Are dogs taken outside to eliminate or do they eliminate in their kennel?

If dogs are taken outside to eliminate, on what surface will your dog be offered an opportunity to eliminate? Grass? Concrete? Gravel?

Can you provide bedding or a blanket for your dog’s kennel? This may simply offer your dog some of the comforts of home but it is important to ask about the flooring of the dog’s kennel. Is it temperature controlled? Cement? Plastic? Metal?

Can you provide one or two toys for your dog? Will the toys be left in the kennel or taken out for socialization time with other dogs?

article-2083958-0F60515700000578-565_634x415How often will your dog be provided with meals? Is the schedule consistent with the schedule at home? Consistency is important for dogs. How long will your dog be left with his food? Is the time allotted enough? Will water be added to your dog’s dry food? If your dog is not used to this addition he may not eat. Will you be providing food for your dog? It is best to be consistent and not change your dog’s food while he is away from home.

Will your dog receive exercise or playtime? If your dog will be socializing with other dogs it is important to ask about supervision, regulation of temperaments and behaviors, mingling of sizes, and policy on altercations. Is the staff member who monitors the dogs trained to break up a dog fight? Is another staff member on hand to assist? It is also good to know the length of time dogs will be out for exercise and play. Extended periods of time outdoors in extreme heat or cold can be dangerous. What is the policy during inclement weather?

white picket fence keith scott morton country livingIf your dog will be outdoors and free to roam in a yard, what type of perimeter security do they offer? That three foot white picket fence may be cute but will it really prevent Sparky from jumping over it? Are there gaps or holes in the fence line for your little dog to duck underneath?

Will your dog be taken for a walk? Will the walk take place on the grounds of the facility or in a neighborhood? Does the walk consist of being chained to a fence? A walk in the neighborhood sounds nice but think about the safety of your dog. Is the person walking your dog trained to handle any situation? Is there a possibility of being approached by an unfamiliar dog who may be unfriendly? Are the roads heavily travelled? Are there sidewalks or will your dog be walked in the road? Is the path well lit for night time walks?

What is the policy during an emergency? Ask about fire, theft, and escape emergency plans.

72.1.400.400.FFFFFF.0Ask for a tour of the facility. Observe the dogs in their kennels. Do they look at ease and relaxed or are they panting, pacing, and stressed? If your dog bolts through open doors and can manipulate even the toughest of kennel doors, ask about precautionary measures. A small kennel facility may seem quaint but does your dog have a straight shot from his kennel to the front door of the building? Observe playtime, if possible. Do the dogs look like they are having a good time or do they look dirty or exhausted? How are the dogs monitored and handled when they see you approach? Ask to see the area where your dog will play and be walked. The tour guide should be able to describe safety features and precautionary measures.

dogs-build-large-group_637How many dogs is the facility equipped to handle? Is the facility staffed and trained to handle the number of dogs it takes in?

Pricing can get confusing. Do they charge per day, per night, or is it based on time? A high daily rate does not always translate into impeccable conditions or safety. A low rate does not always translate into inadequacy.

There are many styles of boarding facilities these days. At some point, we all need to leave our dog in the care of someone else. Do a little homework and find a caring and safe facility. You will have peace of mind. Your dog will be safe and well cared for.

Have a safe and happy summer everybody!

Until Next Time Remember,