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September 21, 2014

8 Autumn Dog Myths Debunked, and Why are You Grateful for Your Dog?

Ernestine

I have been a little under the weather lately. I have a coldsorelike thing on my lip that is kind of uncomfortable and sometimes causes people to comment. I tell them it’s a coldsorelike thing.

That doesn’t stop me from enjoying time with my family, and being my feisty self. And, I would enjoy a cheap rubber toy (my favorite!) if anyone feels the urge.

A couple of great articles below. One, reminding you of fall assumptions and watch outs! And Sunday, 9/21 was Gratitude Day. What better time to talk about why you are so grateful for us, (we?) canines!

Enjoy these beautiful days!

erniefall

Later, Ernestine

 

8 Dog Myths for the Autumn Season Debunked

Does my dog need flea treatment in the autumn months?

Pumpkins are seen everywhere in the fall— can I feed my dog pumpkin for tummy upset?

These are questions dog parents start thinking about as the seasons change. Separating the fact from the fiction can be a lot of work, so Dog Appeal takes the guesswork out of it all for you. Here are eight myths and the hard-core facts to keep your dogs happy, healthy, and falling into the season without any issues:

Myth: My dog is safe in the car during cooler months.

Fact: Do not, repeat: Do not leave your dog in a car unattended. Cars act like a refrigerator in the winter months and not only that, but a dog alone in a car is subject to theft. During the fall months, a sitting dog alone is subject to a variety of dangers. I read and research a lot in the dog world and news related to dogs, and I have read more stories about dog theft in the last 30 days than ever before. Please do not think “five minutes” is okay while running into a store or just for a quick “pit stop to see a friend.” From California to Maine, dogs are going missing and being stolen from cars. Worse yet, leaving a dog tied to a pole outside of a store while you run in is like asking for sharks not to bite a rump roast while you tap dance across town.

Myth: Fleas and ticks go away in the fall and winter.

Fact: Fall and winter months do not eradicate fleas and ticks. In fact, last winter a hiking friend of mine found two ticks on her dog in February. Fleas and ticks will make a home beneath piles of leaves, so proceed with caution. Although fleas may not survive in brutal winter temperatures outside, the warmth of home means fleas gravitate towards indoor comfort where they can affect pets. I am a fan of non-chemical ways to prevent nasty ticks and fleas.

Myth: A dog’s pads protect them from all elements of weather.

Fact: Though a dog’s pads contain much fatty tissue that does not freeze as easily as other tissues, protection against scuffing, scraping, cutting, and ice damage is crucial in fall and winter months. Ice cubes and “snowballing” may occur in the delicate areas between toes and pads. Protective booties or a product like Musher’s Secret, which is used on sledding dogs, can help ease extreme conditions on sensitive pads.

Myth: Though a humidifier may help people, it does not do much for our pets during winter heating season.

Fact: Dry air in the home can make pets itchier, cause dry noses, upper respiratory infections, more dander, and dry throats. Consider a humidifier, talk to the veterinarian about skin conditioners and fatty acid supplements for healthy skin.

Myth: I can slack off on cleaning my dog’s teeth as we get into the fall and winter months.

Fact: According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. If pet parents don’t attend to the dog’s teeth, oral disease can hit the kidneys, liver and heart, and seriously affect a dog’s quality of life. None of us want that.

My rule of thumb and paw: Brush my dog’s teeth as I would my own; so two times a day works famously. If you can only do it once, you just hit tartar where it counts. Be sure the toothpaste is made for dogs.  Dogs cannot spit, and the enzymes that make human toothpaste foam are bad for them. Smile and woof it up with Fido!

Myth: I don’t need to check my dog’s food since I store it properly.

Fact: Do a double check and ensure the dog’s food is fresh and properly stored. Just as we wouldn’t want to eat stale food (nor is it safe), the same holds true for our pooches. Here’s a go-to list for reference and guidelines:

Wet or Dry Dog Food: ALWAYS look for “best used by” or “sell by” date to ensure freshness.

Dry food: Store in sturdy plastic containers with a lid or in a clean, galvanized metal garbage can with a lid or even a large popcorn tin with lid. Make sure containers are sealed and airtight.

Unopened Cans of Wet Food: Store in a cool, dry place

Opened Can of Wet Food: Purchase plastic lids that fit over the can and store in refrigerator. Do not reuse after two or three days. Another option: Depending upon the amount of food Fido eats, the remainder of wet food can be divided into scoops in a ice cube tray and frozen. Before using it, scoop out needed portions and place each serving in a zip-lock bag and thaw in the refrigerator.

Uneaten Dehydrated Food: Store in an enamel or other airtight container with resealable plastic lid. Treat as you would fresh food. Store in zip-lock bags in the freezer or in the refrigerator for shorter periods of time. Most dog treats and snacks should be stored in ceramic jars or stainless steel containers with lids. Look for expiration dates, and throw away any expired treats. They can and do make dogs sick or worse.

Myth: I can feed my dog pumpkin pie filling for an upset tummy.

Fact: You can feed your dog canned pumpkin for stomach upset and discomfort but not the sugary, raw, spicy pumpkin pie filling. Generally speaking, a dog with soft or loose stool may find comfort in having a teaspoon to tablespoon (depending on size/weight) of canned pumpkin with their meal. A tablespoon or two of canned pumpkin added to food is a good source of fiber yet is low in calories.

Myth: My dog should gain some extra pounds in the cooler months to help keep warm.

Fact: Not all dogs are created equally and not all dogs should gain weight to “stay warm.” An overweight dog is more prone to heart disease, cancers, diabetes and a host of ailments, not to mention a decrease in metabolism. Dogs should stay active with indoor games, brisk walks, and activities to stimulate their bodies and minds all year long, despite the season.

 

For World Gratitude Day: Why We’re Grateful for Our Dogs

Dogster 9/2014

Sunday is World Gratitude Day, and like any self-respecting pup-centric publication, we’re taking it as our cue to talk about why we’re grateful to have dogs. I invited our writers to share the many reasons they’re grateful for their dogs (both past and present), and they sent me some of the sweetest notes I’ve received in my inbox in ages. We’ll get to those in a little bit — one of the perks of being the one tasked with compiling a roundup like this is I get to go first! And I could write a bloody novel about why I’m grateful for my dog this year.

Last November, I wrote a Thanksgiving post detailing the reasons why I was thankful to have my own pup, Mr. Moxie, in my life. I didn’t think I could get more grateful, having been given the chance to keep him when my then-partner and I called it quits. But then Mox had to go and throw himself out a third story window in May. And now, seeing him dance around the apartment with what was a completely mangled leg four months ago, I have new reasons to be grateful. He’s finishing his rehab program, and his leg is finally out of the splint it was in for months. He’s gone from limping to putting weight on his limb, and though he’ll have to wear a brace from now on when he runs at the park, I know I’m going to bawl the day he’s ready for that. I will sometimes pick him up and press his forehead into mine and tell him how thankful and how terribly relieved I am. He is a ridiculous, sweet, one-woman dog, and I am so happy to be that woman.

From Dogster Writer Daisy Barringer:

Monkey is my first-ever dog. Yes, I got a Saint Bernard as my first dog. I live large. So does he. (Literally and metaphorically.) I knew that bringing a dog into my home would be a lot of work, but I don’t think I realized quite how much work. Still, it’s all worth it. The drool, the snoring, the tumbleweeds of hair. I wouldn’t trade any of it, because it’s all part of what makes Monkey, well, Monkey: a goofy, loving, stubborn, clumsy, lazy, loyal pup. Who just so happens to give me purpose every single day. (Even if sometimes that purpose is figuring out how to scoop a massive pile of poop into one tiny plastic bag.) But that face and those kisses … they make it all worth it. Discovering my heart is so much bigger than I ever thought? That’s the biggest gift anyone’s ever given me. I never would have thought it would come from a dog. I’m so lucky to have him in my life and I tell him every day. Via belly rubs, of course.

From Dogster Writer Crystal Gibson:

As an expat in France who has moved around quite a bit, I’m so grateful for my little dog, Pinch. At times, he’s been my only friend, my only company, and the only one I’ve let see me cry when the homesickness got really bad (and I’m grateful to him for licking the tears off my face). I don’t think I could have braved this expat life nearly as well without my little sausage-shaped sidekick, and my love for Pinch is matched only by the gratitude I have for him being in my life.

 

From Dogster Training Columnist Annie Phenix:

A reporter recently asked me to describe why we have dogs in one word. The word came to me easily: joy. There is no greater reason to have a dog than for the joy they bring to our lives, and they do so with no words -– just tail wags and happy feet. Dogs are joyous about things we have forgotten to be happy about: running outside at full speed or playing with our friends. Something as simple as a small piece of a hot dog makes a dog’s day. Dogs remind me to be in the present moment, to play, to be silly, and to give and accept love freely, without reservations or conditions.

From Dogster Writer Pam Mitchell:

I can’t imagine life without Dolly and Spot. My best friends for more than a decade, they make me smile and laugh and feel unconditionally loved. I am grateful for the excited greeting sweet D. gives me whenever I walk through the front door. I am thankful for the nightly scratchies for which Spotty crawls into my lap. I appreciate every sigh and snuggle, each wet kiss and stinky fart. Dolly and Spot are my loves.

 

From Dogster Writer Heather Marcoux:

A couple of weeks ago I was really sick. I ended up curling up in a ball on my kitchen floor waiting for my husband to come home. GhostBuster did not leave my side during this time. He stayed with me and licked the back of my head for 20 minutes. I know that’s gross, but I am grateful for my boy’s incredible love and loyalty. Even if it is gross.

From Dogster Writer Melvin Pena:

My last dog, Tina, and I had a comfortable, established routine when she passed away in April. I’ve had my new dog, Idris, for five of her 10 months on Earth, and we still don’t quite mesh; we still haven’t developed a routine that works for both of us. I’m grateful for her all the same. Why? Because Idris teaches me that any relationship worth committing to is worth patient investment.

 

 

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