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July 19, 2015

The Challenges of Summer*** Dog Overheating and Treating Tick Bites***

Love you, Ernestine!

Ernie thank you card (1)

 

Dog Overheating:  5 Signs You Must Know

Sara Chase DVM

Dog overheating.

Every summer dog overheating claims the lives of beloved companions simply because their people didn’t know the signs.

To understand this,  you have to understand your dog’s cooling system. Think of your dog’s tongue, mouth and nose as his Air Conditioning. He does not sweat as we do but rather runs air over those damp areas, using evaporation to cool down.

It is not an efficient system.

Any dog with a short nose has an even less efficient system. And any dog who has a stocky build. whether by genetics or generosity, has more that needs cooling. Combine the two, as you do in pugs, pekingese, boxers and any bulldog, and you have a dog who can overheat dangerously in minutes.

I don’t want that to happen to you, so here are five signs to watch for in your dog. These are the early signs because catching this early means faster and safer cooling for your friend.

1) Mouth Wide
The wider the mouth, the higher the AC is “turned up” in your dog. When it is wide open there will be wrinkling at the back of the lips and you’ll practically see his tonsils; he’s hot!

2) Tongue Long
The more tongue hangs out of his mouth, the more air is being pulled over it with every breath and more cooling is possible. When your dog’s tongue starts hanging down well past his teeth, chances are he’s hot.

3) Tongue Wide
As your dog heats up, his tongue widens and thins. The wider and thinner it is, the more surface area there is for cooling. In the picture above, you can see the tongue starting to broaden. I call that “bologna tongue” since that’s what it starts to look like.

4) Tongue Dark
The hotter the dog, the more blood is sent to the tongue in an attempt to cool it. That increased blood flow darkens the tongue.

5) Fast Panting
Makes sense, right? Faster panting is another way to up his AC. It’s his best way to try to cool himself.

Dog overheating can be serious. Every dog lover should speak to your dog’s veterinarian about symptoms to watch for and what to do. People with high risk breeds—short nosed and/or heavy set—need to know these symptoms by heart, have the local ER hospital on speed dial, and handle their dog cautiously during the hot months.

If you even think your dog might be overheating: Stop what you are doing, seek shade, a cooling dog bed or air conditioning, provide plenty of cool water (not ice) and call the vet!

 

Treating Tick Bites

Whole Dog Journal

A dog in the wrong place at the wrong time can be bit by dozens or even hundreds of ticks. Deer ticks go through three stages of life (larva, nymph, and adult), and feed only once in each of these stages; a blood meal ends each stage.

Larval ticks dine on mice and other small rodents, but nymphs and adults are a threat to dogs.

Because they are small and their bites don’t itch, ticks are easily overlooked, especially adult deer ticks and the nymphs of any species. Ticks prefer warm, moist conditions, so double-check under collars and around ears. If you aren’t sure what a lump or bump is, inspect it with a magnifying glass. Warts, similar skin growths, and nipples can feel like feeding ticks.

Be careful when removing a tick to grasp it with tweezers firmly at the head, as close to the dog’s skin as possible, and slowly pull straight back. Never twist, press, burn, or apply irritating substances like kerosene to an attachedtick because doing so can cause the parasite to expel the contents of its digestive tract, creating an unwanted hypodermic effect.

Three-percent hydrogen peroxide, the common disinfectant, is recommended for tick bites because the oxygen it contains destroys the Lyme disease bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide can be liberally poured over bites on light-haired dogs (keep away from eyes and apply directly to the skin) but because it’s a bleach, this method is not recommended for black or dark-haired dogs.

Using an eyedropper to apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the bite helps prevent unwanted bleaching.

 

July 8, 2015

Amazing Art/ Museum Project to Honor/ Help Homeless Dogs plus Dog Swimming Tips

We miss you every day, Ernie!

Ernie thank you card (1)

 

Stunning Art Project Shines Light on the 5,500 Dogs Euthanized a Day

Museums work to conserve and commemorate the importance of a particular legacy. Bringing people together, viewers are offered the opportunity to revel in beauty and information, an experience which often sparks and encourages a perhaps otherwise unspoken dialog amongst peers. One couple is determined to have the beauty of art make a difference in the world of shelter dogs through a museum intended to spark just such a conversation.

Called the Museum of Compassion, the venue will house an installation of over 5,500 handpainted dog portraits created by Kentucky artist Mark Barone in what will be viewed as one sprawling, striking piece. The subjects of these portraits were real dogs, once alive and now gone, whose legacy will be honored and whose faces represent the approximate number of dogs euthanized every day in U.S. shelters.

act of dog4

“I decided to paint the approximate number of dogs destroyed everyday to illustrate and reflect the condition of our consciousness and help wake society up to the silent atrocities that are occurring in our very own neighborhoods,” says Barone.

The main area will house the 5,500 portraits on a “Wall of Compassion.” All the paintings will include a name of the dog that was euthanized (for those that were just assigned numbers, Barone and his wife Marina came up with a name).

act of a dog1

There also will be 11 much larger portraits to raise awareness in other animal-welfare areas including dog fighting, puppy mills, animal abuse and breed-specific legislation, to name a few.

The Museum of Compassion was created out of an An Act of Dog, a nonprofit conceived four years ago, following the loss of the couple’s beloved dog Santina, a 21-year-old German shepherd mix, whose likeness will grace the canvass of the eleventh larger, aforementioned piece. Looking to bring home a new pet, a grief-stricken online search for adoptable dogs eventually led to some chilling information the couple had previously been unaware of: the thousands of dogs being euthanized in the American shelter system every day. Determined to incite change, the couple decided to combine their resources with Barone’s professional background as an artist for the past 35 years and raise awareness in a way that felt both natural and effective through art.

“Art is a powerful medium for education, because it wakes us up and reminds us of who we are and what we are here for,” states Barone. Powerful it is, indeed. Capturing the soul of an animal now long gone, failed by a system it was never asked to be a part of, Barone’s work reaches viewers in a way that no graph, pie chart or percentages ever could. These works force us to look directly into the eyes of animals lost, some smiling, others pleading, yet all asking for a chance they never got. What would otherwise be regarded as a statistic takes on a life of its own.

When choosing which animals would be selected to be memorialized in this work of art, Barone stated that many rescue groups had contacted him to include animals they were unable to save and a trend was noticed immediately.

“We tried to get them from all over the country and as many different types of dogs as possible, he says. “That being said, the bully breeds are being destroyed at an alarming rate and too often misunderstood, misjudged and victimized.”

To shine a light on these “bully breeds” Barone painted a 64-square foot pit bull named Lennox. Emblazoned with stenciled text detailing in time, down to the exact minute of death, the painting of the black pit bull serves as the face of the ban breed-specific legislation, or BSL, Barone and the organization do not support.

BSL is a highly debated and emotionally fueled topic among the animal-welfare community and ultimately results in the destruction of many discriminated dogs in areas that outlaw certain breeds. The National Canine Research Council states that despite a lack of concrete evidence linking specific breeds to a higher rate of dog bites, as well as an outright lack of success in reducing the number of dog-bite related injuries, BSL is incredibly expensive for the communities affected by it, draining resources that could otherwise be used to promote more humane and effective forms of population control and in turn, reduce overcrowding in shelters.

With 5,495 of the paintings completed, Barone is saving the final five for filmmakers from PBS to include in an upcoming documentary about the organization. (A two-minute teaser provides a glimpse into what it takes to pull off such a big feat.)

With the completion of their project approaching, the couple is still on the search for the perfect location in which to house the museum.

“We are in talks with different cities but are yet to find that perfect partner for what will be the only museum of its kind in the world, and the only fund to support all of the life-saving rescue groups and shelters, Barone says.

An Act of Dog envisions the Museum of Compassion to be an epicenter for conferences and a platform for “Ted-like” talks regarding animal welfare, as well as a space for other artists to create new works in the names of the charities of their choice.

But in the meantime, An Act of Dog understands that aside from raising awareness in the form of visual imagery at its upcoming museum, the organization is looking to raise funds for rescue groups, fosters, transporters and no-kill shelters. With the aid of its online “rescue rewards” program, a considerable portion of the proceeds generated from the sales of prints and nightlights featuring images of shelter dogs on its ecommerce shop will go directly to the organization of the buyer’s choice by way of a drop down menu provided at the time of checkout.

The number of organizations benefitting from such incentives is always growing and applying is encouraged. “All rescue groups are welcome to contact us to be added. We do a background check on their nonprofit status, and then they can be added,” Barone says. If a rescue group gets approved, it must be willing to promote the products featured on An Act of Dog, as “the more they tell, the more they sell and the more money comes back to help them,” Barone explains.

The idea of building a community exceeds the monetary aspect, inviting supporters who have purchased a nightlight to participate in a permanent candle light vigil, keeping them glowing as a reminder of the millions more that are currently, or will soon be, in need of saving. The company hopes to have a map on their site soon, illuminated with lights marking all the cities around the world with nightlights glowing in their homes.

With An Act of Dog, the Barones are making big strides in raising awareness and compassion for underserved animals and to build a community of people interested in seeking and implementing solutions to the problems faced in the world of animal welfare.

“It is only when we are willing to face the world as it is and engage in honest, non-violent and solution-focused dialogue, can we change it,” says Barone.

Dog Swimming Safety Tips

 

 

Dog swimming in a pool

They didn’t coin the term “doggy paddle” because canines stay on shore. Many dogs enjoy swimming as much as people do, and cool times in the local swimming spot are irreplaceable summer experiences. But you have to look out for your pet around water, since even the strongest, most enthusiastic swimmers can get into trouble. The keys to water safety for dogs are prevention, preparedness and awareness.

Prevention

No dog should be given unsupervised access to a backyard pool, neighborhood pond or creek. Swimming pools are best fenced off for safety. If that’s not possible, they should be equipped with alarms that sound when the surface of the water is broken by a child or pet falling in and a ramp to help them find their way out.

Prevention also means teaching your pet what to do when he’s in the pool. Dogs don’t always understand that the steps are on a certain side, and they may tire while trying to crawl their way out. If your pet likes to swim, work with him in the pool to help him learn where the steps are so he can get out easily. Some breeds of dogs, such as bulldogs, pugs and basset hounds, do not have the body conformation to make them natural swimmers, and may need to be taught how to swim.

Obedience training is extremely important. Your dog should come when called, even when swimming. Emergency shortcut: Always carry extra retrieving toys. A dog who’s heading into a dangerous area after a ball or stick can often be lured back to shore with a second item. It’s no substitute for training, but it could save your dog’s life.

Preparedness

Before letting your dog swim in natural surroundings, survey the area for safety. Rivers and oceans can change frequently, and an area that was once safe for swimming can become treacherous. Consider currents, tides, underwater hazards and even the condition of the water. In the late summer, algae scum on the top of standing water can be toxic, producing substances that can kill a pet who swallows the water. When in doubt, treat it like you would a child: better safe than sorry.

One of the best things you can do is to take courses in pet first aid and CPR. Many local Red Cross chapters offer these classes, and some veterinarians in your community may teach them. A near-death dog rescued from the water may be saved by your prompt actions — if you know what to do.

If your dog isn’t much of a swimmer or is older or debilitated, get him a personal floatation device. These are especially great for family boating trips, because most have sturdy handles for rescue when a pet goes overboard.

Awareness

Be aware of your dog’s condition as he plays. Remember that even swimming dogs can get hot, so bring fresh water and offer it at every opportunity. When your dog is tiring, call it a day. A tired dog is a good dog, but an exhausted dog is in danger of drowning.

Be particularly careful with young and old dogs. Young dogs can panic in the water, and old dogs may not realize they aren’t as strong as they used to be. Keep them close to shore, and keep swimming sessions short.

 

 

 

 

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