3 Tips for Biking With Your Dog

There’s nothing quite like a leisurely cruise on a bike. And if you own a dog, you might like to take them along for the ride. It’s not as easy, however, as simply tying your dog’s leash to your handlebars and peddling off (in fact, don’t do that!) Biking with your dog requires preparation and an awareness of potential safety hazards.

So how can you get your dog ready to ride? Here are 3 tips for biking with your dog.

1. Know Your Dog Before Biking With Your Dog

Not all dogs are cut out for running alongside a bike. Older dogs, dogs with health conditions, dogs with short legs, and brachycephalic breeds might not be as capable as young, healthy dogs who have speed and stamina. Take your dog out for a cruise around the block and see how they do, and keep an eye on them the following day. If your dog can’t keep up or seems particularly wiped out, they might not be built for biking. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

2. Gear Up for Biking With Your Dog

If your dog takes to biking, it’s time to gear up. What will you need?

  • A body harness instead of a collar

Attaching a leash to a neck collar can be extremely dangerous for a dog running alongside a bike, and you should especially avoid using tightening collars like prongs or martingales. Instead, use a padded body harness that will evenly distribute pressure around their body.

  • A Springer leash attachment

Many people use their dog’s regular leash and simply tie it to their seat post (note: you should never tie the lead to your handlebars as it can throw off your balance). However, you may also want to consider purchasing a Springer attachment. The Springer is a steel device that connects your dog’s leash to your bike and has a special coil spring that absorbs tugs and lunges.

RELATED STORY: Get Your Cheap Pet Supplies

  • Dog booties

Running can be hard on your pal’s paw pads, so consider protecting them with dog booties. Dog booties not only offer your dog support as they run, they also protect your dog’s feet from cuts, scratches, and foreign objects stuck between the toes. Some dogs take to dog booties well while others are less easily convinced. Before heading out for a ride, have your dog wear the booties around the house, on short walks, etc., to build up their comfort level. And don’t skimp on the treats.

  • Water

Take frequent breaks to offer your dog fresh water, especially when it’s warm out. You shouldn’t let your dog drink from rivers, lakes, ponds, or other natural sources of water as they could contain harmful parasites.

3. Build Up to Biking With Your Dog

A dog running steadily alongside you on a bike won’t happen overnight, especially if the dog isn’t used to running at all. Before biking with your dog, get them in good shape with regular walks and runs (if your vet says it’s OK). Then, you can slowly introduce your dog to the bike. Start with short trips around the neighborhood then build up to longer outings. Use treats at first to keep your dog motivated and away from distractions. Eventually, you should be able to phase out treats and look down to see your dog trotting safely by your side.

Do you bike with your dog? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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How to Bring Your Dog to the Beach

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Here’s the first, most important step to planning a beach day for your dog: find out if the beach is pet-friendly, since many prohibit dogs. If dogs are allowed, review the beach’s guidelines — dogs may be required to stay in restricted areas, or be on a leash for their visit — and follow some simple safety steps to ensure that your dog’s day of sand, waves, and sunshine is safe as well as fun.

Beware of Heatstroke

A long day in the sun poses some risks for your dog, with heatstroke and dehydration as the biggest potential problems. Watch for an inordinate amount of panting, trouble breathing, and disorientation. If the water is particularly chilly, or if your visit occurs during the wintertime, hypothermia can be a concern, particularly with smaller breeds. Keep an eye out for shivering, disorientation, slow breathing, and stiff muscles.

Related Story: How to Identify Signs of Heatstroke in Your Dog

Water Safety: Does Your Dog Need a Life Vest?

Is your dog a swimmer? Many dogs love to swim, taking to the waves confidently. If that’s not the case for your dog, be cautious about allowing your dog in the water. Some breeds are skittish by the ocean; other breeds are simply not capable of swimming. If you’re at all in doubt about how your dog will respond, put a dog life vest on your pet.

Related Story: 4 Safety Tips for Dressing Your Pet

Keep an Eye On Your Dog

While you’re at the beach, make sure you’re always watching your dog. Many beaches require pets to stay on a leash; even if the one you’re visiting does not, make sure to keep dogs on a leash if they don’t respond well to voice commands. Your dog should have a good time, but not impede the fun of other beachgoers — curtail rampages across the beach that might lead to sand being flung on sunbathers.

Shop: Leashes for Your Dog

Bring Dog-Friendly Beach Supplies

Load up your beach bag with supplies for your dog. Some of the most important things to bring to the beach for your dog’s fun and safety are:

  • A water bowl and water: Provide your dog plenty of fresh water to ensure hydration. You’ll also want to avoid having your dog slurp down salt water, which can lead to sickness.
  • An umbrella: Make sure there’s some source of shade for when your dog needs a break from the sunshine.
  • A blanket or towel: The heat of the sand can be painful on your dog’s paws. A blanket or towel will allow a break from the exposure, and a comfy place for a nap.
  • Sunscreen: Only use dog-friendly sunscreen on your pet; sunscreen intended for people may have chemicals, scents, or other problematic ingredients which dogs could easily ingest while licking their fur.
  • Toys!: Don’t forget, you’re here for fun. Safety is important, but also make sure to bring a Frisbee, floating toy, and fun toys for your dog to fetch.

In general, use your common sense; like you, your dog should avoid too much time in the sun, especially during the hottest part of the day, hydrate frequently, reapply sunscreen after being in the water, and take breaks in the shade.

Shop: Balls and Other Fetching Toys

 Be Respectful of the Beach

Don’t leave any of your dog’s waste behind — it could be an unpleasant surprise for other beach-goers. Prevent dogs from entering areas that are marked as off limits, which may often be environmentally protected areas.

When it’s time to take off for the day, use an outdoor shower, or a bucket or bottle of fresh water, to rinse off the sand, sunscreen, and saltwater from your dog. Use a towel (or the sunshine!) to dry off your dog. If you’re traveling by car, put down a blanket in the backseat to keep the car dry and tidy.

What are your tips for a trip to the beach with your dog? Try PetPlus, a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more, for all your doggy beach supply needs.  

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Steven the Dog Survives Coyote Attack

Helena Lazaro didn’t think she had any reason to be concerned when she heard her dog Steven barking from her hillside yard back in July 2012.

“He always barked at other animals and dogs that passed by,” says Helena. “So, when I heard him and another animal barking, I didn’t think anything of it.”

Following her usual routine, she called Steven back inside after several minutes, and when he didn’t come right away, she decided to give him some extra time.stevencrosspaws

“Lots of times when he would go out, he would ignore me and not come back. That night, when I went out and called him back in, he wouldn’t come,” Helena says. “Thinking that he was just ignoring me again, I decided to give him more time–something I’ll never forgive myself for.”

After a little while Helena became frustrated and went outside with a flashlight to find Steven and bring him back inside. But rather than finding her dog exploring the hillside terrain, she discovered him in a terrible state.

“[He was] torn to shreds and barely alive, leaning against a tree,” Helena says. “I’ll never forget his face as he turned to look at me, like he had really been doing his best to try to listen to me and come home, but couldn’t.”

Steven had been attacked by a coyote. He had broken eight of his ribs, his body was torn open in three places, and he had a piece of tree bark embedded in his hind leg.

“The vet said that during the attack, the coyote had probably picked Steve up from overhead, shaken him several times, and thrown him into the tree with such force that the bark became embedded in his leg,” Helena says. “They were not hopeful for his survival and recommended we let him go, but I wasn’t prepared to do that.”stevenbandaged

It was the 4th of July weekend, and Helena had a difficult time finding facilities that could offer the life support services that Steven needed until surgeons became available. But with persistence and determination she was able to locate a suitable place for Steven to rest and begin to recover, and once a surgeon became available, Steven underwent several operations.

“All with a very bleak prognosis,” Helena adds.

It was a stressful time for Helena, as it would be for any pet parent. Steven’s recovery was difficult, and he required around-the-clock care for over a month. Helena stayed home from work to care for Steven during that time and when her sister returned from her bartending job each morning, she would take over so that Helena could get some sleep. The sisters alternated this way throughout Steven’s long rehabilitation.

Though the time commitment and worry about Steven’s prognosis were already a lot to handle, Steven’s medical bills also loomed in the background. His treatments cost nearly $5,000.

Helena depleted her savings account, applied for a grant through RedRover, and her sister set up a tip jar at work.stevenhome

“But the real saving grace was the fundraising page,” Helena says.

This was before fundraising sites had become as popular as they are now, and Helena was amazed to see the response from the animal-loving community who saw the page she set up on FundRazr.

“Money poured in from family, friends, and total strangers,” Helena says. “Their messages of hope were deeply inspiring and their support made it possible to bring Steven home, get the medication he needed, and make sure we didn’t go into debt.”

Ultimately, Steven recovered and regained his ability to walk. And when he began disobeying Helena again, she knew everything was going to be OK.

Helena and her sister clearly went above and beyond to save Steven’s life. But for Helena — who has a history of depression — she was simply doing for Steven what Steven had done for her so many times.

“Steven saved my life on more than one occasion,” Helena says. “In my times of deepest despair, he gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. He made sure I got sunshine and exercise, and that I felt loved. Taking care of him mattered even when I had stopped taking care of myself, and so it was that he pulled me through the years-long chronic depression that no medicine could remedy.”

Today both Helena and Steven are doing well. Several of Steven’s ribs were not able to be put back into place, so his midsection is misshapen and he walks a little funny. But despite those issues, Helena says that he is as bold and as spirited as ever.

“This June, we went for a picnic at the Santa Fe Dam and he saw a horse for the first time. He actually dragged me across the ground with his force as he tried to take down an animal twenty times his size,” Helena says. “He hasn’t learned his lesson at all. But now I know it’s my job to make sure he stays out of danger, to make sure I have a plan in case of emergencies, and to always exercise caution in areas with unfamiliar animals.”

To thank Helena for all that she’s done for Steven, we are giving her a free trial of PetPlus so that she can save on Steven’s medications, food, supplies, vet visits, and more.

Thanks, Helena!

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Have a story you’d like to share or know a pet-family deserving of a complimentary trial of PetPlus? Contact the Pet Savvy editors at content [at] petplus {dot} com or leave a note in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During Home Remodeling

Many people use their summer vacations to remodel their homes, and if you’re planning to spruce up anytime soon, don’t forget to think about your four-legged friend. Depending on the project, remodeling can be stressful for a pet and even dangerous. So how can you keep your pet safe and comfortable while you rejuvenate your space?

1. Have Your Home Inspected First

Before doing any serious remodeling, you should have your home inspected to check for lead-based paint, mold, and asbestos insulation. These things require special handling and removal as they can really irritate a pet’s respiratory system.

2. Supervise or Contain Your Pet

If you plan to have workers in your home, don’t expect them to look after your pet, keep doors closed, or be aware of safety hazards, such as loose nails or open paint cans. Supervise your pet when you can and contain them when you can’t. For very busy or loud days, you may also want to consider taking your pet to daycare or dropping them off with a responsible friend or family member.

3. Ask Workers to Alert You When Using Hazardous Materials

Remodeling may involve sprays, fumes, paints, and other toxic or irritating substances that could harm your pet. Ask workers to tell you if they are using anything dangerous, and if they are, remove your pet from the house for the day. If you’ll be doing projects yourself, try to select products that are natural and pet-safe.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips for Pet Safety Around the Home

4. Work Outside When Possible

Is there cutting, spraying, or painting that can happen outside of the house? This will help to reduce dust and irritants inside.

5. Offer a Safe Space For Your Pet

If your pet will be home while work is taking place, offer them a safe and quiet place to rest, such as a private room with a closed door. Move your pet’s essentials (such as crate, food, water, and toys) inside of the room, and place a sign on the door indicating that it should stay closed. This not only provides your pet with a place to escape loud noises and commotion, it will also protect your pet from dust and odors that could irritate them or cause an allergic reaction.

6. Alleviate Your Pet’s Stress

A safe space is one way to alleviate the stress that can appear during remodeling, but there are other things you can do to help calm your pet:

  • Try to keep to your pet’s regular schedule as much as possible, with walks and meals happening at the same times that they normally do.
  • Visit with your pet throughout the day. Check in and give them a scratch, or take a few moments to toss a toy.
  • Consider putting on soothing music or the television. This can help to drown out construction noise and distract your pet from the activity.

RELATED STORY: What’s Wrong Here? 6 Common Pet Safety Hazards

7. Remove Paint From Fur

Even if you try your best to avoid it, your pet may still end up with a spot of paint here or there. It is important to remove it right away, as ingested paint can be harmful to a pet, and many pets are prone to licking unfamiliar substances on their fur. If the paint is latex-based and not fully dry, use soap and water. If the paint is fully dry, the best thing you can do is clip off the area of fur. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.

8.  Check The House at The End of The Day

After work is done for the day, check around the house for items that could harm your pet (such as nails, staples, and toxic substances) or escape routes (such as open doors or windows).

Have you recently remodeled your home? How did your pet handle it? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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Tips for Camping With a Dog

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Summer is the perfect time to dust off your camping gear and explore the great outdoors. And if you have a furry friend, you might be thinking about taking them along. Camping can be a great experience for many dogs, with lots of new sights, sounds, smells, and adventures. However, bringing a dog on a camping trip requires some preparation and understanding of potential hazards. Read on to learn how to safely enjoy Mother Nature with your best friend.

Before You Go Camping With Your Dog

If you’re planning to take your dog on a camping trip, there are certain things you will need to do before you can pitch a tent.

Pre-Camping Check-Up

Take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up to ensure that they are both physically and behaviorally prepared for a camping trip. Camping can be physically taxing, especially if you plan on hiking or being in hot weather, and certain dogs (like senior dogs or those with ailments) may not be up for it.

In addition, you should consider your dog’s behavior. Will they be barking excessively while you and other campers are trying to sleep? Do they become aggressive or fearful in new situations? If you aren’t sure if your dog will have a good time while camping, it may be better to leave them behind.

RELATED STORY: The Annual Vet Visit Cost: What to Expect

Vaccinations and Parasite Protection

Make sure that your dog is up to date on all of their vaccinations. Tell your veterinarian where you and your dog will be going so that they can recommend any additional vaccines that may be useful. For example, if you’ll be camping in the desert, your vet may recommend the rattlesnake vaccine.

Your dog should also be protected from fleas and ticks, as these pests can be found in abundance in certain camp areas and may carry life-threatening diseases.

ID Tag and Microchip

Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag at all times, and if your dog has a microchip, check to make sure that their contact info is up to date before you leave for your trip. Also bring a recent photo of your dog that you can show to other campers or a park ranger if your pal wanders off.

Prepare a Pet First-Aid Kit

Having a pet first-aid kit on hand can help you treat superficial wounds while you’re off the grid. You may also want to consider taking a pet first-aid class such as the one offered by the American Red Cross.

Pack Your Pet’s Supplies

What will your dog need while camping? Everything they need at home, plus some. This includes a leash, food, fresh water (never let your dog drink from lakes, rivers, or ponds), bowls, poop bags, a bed or blanket, a brush or comb (so you can check for ticks), any medications they might need, and if you’ll be in the sun, pet sunscreen and a place for your dog to find shade (such as a large umbrella or a covered crate).

RELATED STORY: Made in the USA Pet Supplies Showcase

Locate the Nearest Veterinarian

Before leaving civilization, locate the nearest vet to your campground and write down their address and telephone number. In case of an emergency, you’ll know where to go right away.

While Camping With Your Dog

Your dog passed their physical with flying colors, they have their vaccinations and flea and tick protection, their ID tag and microchip are up to date, and their supplies are packed. You’re ready to start your adventure! So how can you keep your dog safe once you reach the campsite?

Never Leave Your Dog Alone, and Use a Leash When Necessary

Leaving your dog alone in nature puts them at risk for injury or getting lost. Keep an eye on your dog at all times, and if you’re near other campers or in an area with less-than-friendly wildlife, keep them on a leash.

Check For Ticks

Ticks abound in forest areas and tall grass. Check your dog at least once a day. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers or a tick removal device. Never attempt to “drown” the tick with dish soap or burn it with a match; these homespun methods can actually increase the likelihood of infection.

RELATED STORY: Types of Ticks in the US

Offer Exercise Breaks

Camping often involves hiking or long walks. Give your dog plenty of breaks to avoid straining their muscles and joints, and if the weather is hot, take steps to prevent heat stroke. Find shady areas to rest and keep fresh water on you at all times. If your dog is showing signs of exhaustion, let them sit out activities for the remainder of the day.

Try Dog Boots

Consider outfitting your dog with a pair of dog boots. Dog boots protect your dog’s paws from cuts, scrapes, and foreign objects between the toes. They also keep feet warmer in cold weather and cool when the weather heats up. Most dogs aren’t too fond of dog boots the first time they wear them, so practice with your pal before you go camping.

Do you take your dog camping? Leave us a comment and let us know how you keep your pup safe. Another way to protect your pet? Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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How to Identify Heat Stroke in Dogs

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Heat stroke is a serious emergency that occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises to a dangerous level. When the weather heats up in the summer months, your four-legged friend is especially at risk. So just what is heat stroke, and how can you protect your pal?

What is Heat Stroke?

A dog’s fur serves them well in the winter months by providing a cozy layer of insulation. However when warm weather rolls around, this fuzzy feature soaks up the heat. Additionally, dogs don’t sweat (except minimally through their paws), so the primary way that they cool down is through panting. When the temperature outside gets close to the temperature of your dog’s body, panting usually isn’t enough, and heat stroke can set in.

What Causes Heat Stroke?

Any situation that raises your dog’s body temperature can set them up for heat stroke. Common situations include:

RELATED STORY:The 7 Breeds Most Likely to Become Fat Dogs

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke generally starts with panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue will appear bright red and the saliva will be thick. Oftentimes, a dog will vomit. As the condition progresses, the dog will become unbalanced and have bloody diarrhea. Without treatment, the lips and mucous membranes will turn gray and then the dog will collapse, suffer seizures, go into a coma, and die. RELATED STORY: The Dog Symptom Checker

What to Do About Heat Stroke

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, take steps to begin cooling them down right away:

  • Move your dog into the shade, away from the heat, and into an air-conditioned area if possible.
  • Take your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer. If it is above 103°F, you will need to start cooling them down with water.
  • Spray your dog with cool (not cold) water from a hose or place them in a cool bathtub.
  • Offer your dog cool water to drink.
  • Apply an ice pack to their groin area or the top of their head.
  • Do not attempt to give your dog aspirin to lower their temperature; this could result in other problems.
  • Check their temperature every few minutes and continue cooling until it drops to 103°F or below. Do not continue cooling for too long or the dog could suffer from hypothermia.

Once your dog is stable, take them to the veterinarian for an examination and further treatment if necessary.

Want to learn how to keep your dog cool as a cucumber even on the hottest days? Check out our article 5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Has your dog ever suffered from heat stroke? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.  

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4 Tips For Taking a Dog to a Party

If you’re a dog owner, one of the decisions you’ll have to make when heading off to a BBQ, birthday party, or dinner is whether or not you should bring your four-legged friend along. While in some cases it may not be appropriate to make Fido your plus-one, there are times your pal might be a welcome guest. Taking your dog to social occasions can aid in socialization, zap their energy, and stimulate their active minds.

So how can you decide if you should take your dog to a party, and if you do, how can you ensure that they’ll be invited to the next event?

1. RSVP

If you’re thinking about taking your dog to a party, first make sure they will be gladly received. Ask the host if they would be willing to have a dog at their event, and if they say yes, follow up with questions to determine if it makes sense to take your dog along. Are there any venue rules? Do any attendees have serious allergies? Will there be small children? Other dogs? Any potential safety hazards? Doing your homework before you go can save you from trouble (or even having to leave) once you get there.

2. Teach Your Dog Manners

Even if a gathering sounds dog-friendly, you need to decide if your dog is party-ready. A dog who runs around like a bull in a china shop, steals food off tables, plays rough with children, or otherwise misbehaves will be a nuisance to guests and to you, and could cause serious damage or even injuries. Before taking your dog to a party, make sure they know some basic commands like “sit” “stay” and “come”. If your dog is prone to being fearful, aggressive, destructive, rough with children, or hyperactive in new situations, deal with those issues before subjecting a party to their furry presence. If you need help, contact a trainer or animal behaviorist.

RELATED STORY: Try an Indoor Training Class With Your Dog

3. Bring a Dog Party Kit

If you decide to take your dog to a get-together, bring a dog party kit along. The kit should include items that will make your dog feel comfortable, keep them from becoming bored, keep them safe, and distract them if necessary. For example, bring your dog’s bed or a blanket and set it up in the corner of a quiet room. You could also bring their favorite toy, a new and engaging toy, or toys that guests can use to play with the dog (such as a tennis ball or frisbee if there is a backyard). If you want to distract your dog while the group eats dinner, bring a chew toy or Kong stuffed with peanut butter. And don’t forget a water dish, poop bags, and a dog first-aid kit.

RELATED STORY: Pet First Aid: How to Treat Dog Wounds

4. Supervise Your Dog

Your dog is your responsibility no matter where you go. When you arrive at a party, don’t let your dog off their leash and then forget about them for the rest of the evening. Remember that people who don’t own dogs may not be as tuned into their needs as you are, and may not know to let your dog out to use the bathroom, keep the garbage bin secured, or stop your dog from consuming poisonous foods left out on a table. Keep an eye on your dog, check on them regularly if they are hanging out with other guests, and when necessary, attach a loose leash to keep your pal by your side.

Do you take your dog to gatherings? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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ALERT: Don’t Leave You Dogs in Your Car This Summer

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Every summer we hear countless stories of dogs passing away due to heat. The majority of these cases come from people leaving their dogs in cars. As a pet parent, it is up to you to make sure that your pet is safe. By leaving dogs in cars for any period of time, you are shirking that responsibility.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps to a Safe Drive with Your Dog

WHY IT IS DANGEROUS

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In the span of 20 minutes, a car left outside in 70-degree weather will  reach an internal temperature of 99. Extrapolate that, on a 90 degree day (which we are only going to see more of) the temperature inside your car can hit 120 degrees in just over 20 minutes! That is more than hot enough to cause a heat stroke — especially if the subject in question is wearing a fur coat and cannot sweat.

RELATED STORY: 5 Remedies for Car Sickness in Dogs and Cats

And the internal temp only grows over time. At midday on a scorcher, the inside of a car can easily get up to 130 degrees. Also, despite what you may have heard, cracking the windows doesn’t help.

IT’S THE LAW

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Sure, it is nice to take them out for a drive, but at what cost? Every time you leave your pet in the car unattended, you run the risk of heat stroke. Also, in many places, you can receive a fine — or worse.

RELATED STORY: Buckle Up Pets – It’s The Law

Many states are now enacting laws regarding leaving a pet inside a car. Many of these laws give an officer the right to use “any means necessary” to free the pet languishing inside. So, if you leave your pet in the car and come back to find your left rear window smashed in, odds are it was done with the full blessing of the law.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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Simply put, leave your pet at home. You could also leave them tied to a post outside, but many people do not approve of that approach, as it leaves open the possibility that someone could mess with, or steal, your pet. Also, by leaving them unattended outside, there is a chance that they could nip at someone, which could result in a legal issue.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips for Dog Safety Around The Home

So this summer, please play it safe. When you are going out to run errands or anything of the sort, leave your pet at home. They will thank you for it.

Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

Sources:
Salisbury Post – Editorial: Don’t Make Pets Suffer In Hot Cars
Department of Geosciences – Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles

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Dog Life Jackets and Boat Safety Tips

Dog Life Jackets


Summer is the perfect time to get your dog involved in some outdoor activities. There’s hiking, swimming, trips to the dog beach, and even boat rides. If you plan to take your dog on board, be prepared for the voyage with these safety tips.

1. Check Laws and Regulations Before You Go

Before heading out on the open water, check your state’s laws and regulations to ensure that your dog is allowed on the boat and that you’re following all the rules. In addition, if your boat is in a marina, call the marina ahead of time to ensure that dogs are allowed on the property.

2. Acclimate Your Dog to the Boat

Being on a moving boat for the first time can be scary for a dog. It’s fast, it’s loud, and there’s lots of strange movement. Before taking the boat out to sea, acclimate your dog by visiting the boat when it’s on dry land or parked at the dock. Let your dog explore and sniff, and offer treats and praise. The goal is to help your dog form a positive association with the vessel.

3. Bring Safety Supplies

A first-aid kit, pee pads, a life jacket, sunscreen, and fresh water are all important things to bring along for the ride. Even if your dog is an excellent swimmer, they should still wear a life jacket (or have one nearby) in case conditions change and the water gets choppy, which could affect their ability to swim. Fresh water is important because sea water can be dangerous for dogs to drink, and dog-friendly sunscreen will keep your pal from getting burnt when the sun’s beating down. Also be sure to set up a cool and shady area for your dog to rest; perhaps in the cabin or under a large umbrella.

RELATED STORY: Be Prepared for Emergency Pet Care: Steps to Take Now

4. Develop a Safety Plan

What will you do if your dog goes overboard? Have a plan before you go so that everyone is on the same page. Maybe you’ll plan to turn off the engine, and one person will be assigned to jump into the water after the dog.

5. Build Up to Longer Outings

Even if you acclimate your dog to the boat, chances are they’ll still be a little freaked out the first time on board. Keep their first trip short and positive with plenty of treats and praise, and look out for signs of seasickness. If your dog suffers from seasickness, try these steps for dealing with car sickness. If the seasickness persists, ask your veterinarian if anti-nausea medication would be appropriate for future outings.

RELATED STORY: The Most Active Dog Breeds for Your Lifestyle

6. Keep Your Eyes on Your Dog

Just like you would with a small child, it’s important to keep your eyes on your dog when they’re on a boat. A wave or wake could cause your dog to lose their footing and fall off, and too much time in the sun could cause your dog to become dehydrated (and even develop heatstroke). Know where your dog is at all times and make sure they are secure and taking breaks in the shade.

Do you take your dog out on a boat? How do they like it? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

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4 Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy on the Fourth of July

independence-day
The Fourth is right around the corner, and with it all the good times we have come to expect. Fireworks, barbecues, hanging out with friends and family — Independence Day is certainly a celebration of what it means to be free.

To most people, everything about the holiday seems like a great time, but to our furry friends, the Fourth can be a stress-filled occasion.

Here are a few tips to keep your dog happy this Independence Day.

1. Food and Alcohol

party-food

Odds are, your celebration is going to have some tasty treats and icy beverages. Food and drink are all well and good, but in terms of our pets, human foods are best  avoided. While a nibble off a hot dog or a burger probably won’t hurt them, anything with onions, garlic, chocolate, or alcohol should be kept well out of their reach.

RELATED ARTICLE: Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs

2. Crowds

crowd

The Fourth is a big outdoor party day, and if your dog is in attendance, the stress of being around so many people could start to wear on them. If your dog doesn’t do well in crowds and you can’t leave them at home, first make sure everyone at the party knows to give your dog a break. Second, you should plan to stay by their side the entire time, so if things do get out of hand, you are there to offer cuddles and a calming treat (or two).

3. Heat

summer-dog

Staying outside all day in the sun is a perfect way to spend a holiday, but it is also a surefire way to dehydrate your dog. Imagine if you had to run around in a fur coat all day! To help your dog beat the heat, keep a steady supply of water on hand. And, if you can, try to find a shady spot for them to recharge their battery.

RELATED STORY: 7 Unsuspected Pet Dangers of Summer

4. Fireworks

fireworks

FIREWORKS! Everyone’s favorite part of the holiday — except for our pooches. The loud noises and dense crowds are essentially a perfect storm for an anxiety attack. The best way to avoid this is simple: leave your dog at home!

But if that is not possible, try to stay on the outskirts of the viewing area, making it possible to beat a quick retreat if it seems like Fido can’t take all the excitement. Stay by their side, pet them for reassurance, bring a toy to distract them — anything you can do to take their mind off the explosions. And, again, calming treats could be a life saver.

RELATED STORY: 4th of July Safety Kit for Pets

To keep your pet safe and healthy, sign up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.

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