Friday, July 1, 2011

Fourth of July Safety Tips

Fourth of July Safety Tips

• Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where your dog can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.

• Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

• Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin and, if ingested, can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.

• Keep your dog on his normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pooch indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older dogs who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

• Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions. Intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

• Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

• Never use fireworks around pets! Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. Even unused fireworks can pose a danger; many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

• Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for your pets. Please resist the urge to take the furkids to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.



Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Safety for Your Dog

Summer is coming and “THE HEAT IS ON!” Helpful tips to keep your favorite Fido safe and comfortable when the mercury rises.

In summertime dogs (and cats) can suffer from the same problems that humans do - overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you can enjoy the season and keep your pooch happy and healthy.

- A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must; add to that a test for heartworm, if your dog isn't on year-round preventive medication.
- Do parasites pester your pooch? Ask your veterinarian to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
- NEVER leave your dog alone in a vehicle! Hyperthermia (overheating) can be fatal. A parked automobile becomes a furnace in hot weather. Even with the windows open, temperatures within the vehicle can soar to over 120 in no time. Parking in the shade is not the answer. While the shade of a nice tree may offer some protection, don’t forget, the sun shifts during the day and a car originally parked in the shade may end up in full sun.
- NEVER walk or play with Fido in the height of the sun. The right time for playtime is in the cooler early morning or evening but NOT after a meal or when the weather is humid.
- Street smarts: When the temperature is high or the sun is strong, don’t let your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum. An easy way to check the asphalt is with the back of your hand. If it’s uncomfortable for you, it’s too hot for Fido.
- Street smarts: When walking your dog, avoid areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals.
- Street smarts: Be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from vehicles and keep Rover away. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste but ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.
- Always carry a thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
- Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed & vented doghouse will serve well. Canopies and canopy tents are another way to offer shade for your pet. Add a small wading pool with 2-3 inches of water to give your dog another cooling option.
- Bring your dog (or cat) inside during the hotter part of the day to rest in a cool part of the house. Cellars and basements are excellent for a cool reprieve without air-conditioning.
- Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather.
- Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dogs such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Trimming the hair to a one-inch length helps prevent overheating. NEVER shave your pooch down to the skin - it robs Rover of his natural sun protection.
- Do NOT apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
- Having a backyard barbecue? Always keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of Rover’s reach.
- Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.

Stay alert for signs of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting and/or drooling, lethargy, weakness, red tongue and elevated body temperature.

For many families, summertime means swimming time. If your pooch will be joining you on your waterhole adventures, please follow these tips:

- A day at the beach is a no-no, unless you can guarantee a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion.
- Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.
- DON’T ASSUME all dogs can swim! Some dogs are NOT good swimmers and longhaired dogs may struggle against the weight of their soaked hair to keep afloat. If water sports are a big part of your family, please introduce your dog to water gradually and consider using canine flotation devices.
- Do NOT leave pets unsupervised around a pool. Too many unsupervised dogs have met with tragedy around the pool. Even the best swimmers are at risk if unsupervised.
- Rinse your pool-swimming pooch with fresh water after a dip – chlorine and other chemicals can irritate the skin if not thoroughly rinsed off.
- Try not to let your dog drink pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that can cause GI upset.
- Make sure all pets wear flotation devices on boats.

Be smart and consider your pet when making your summertime plans. Think ahead and be prepared by stocking a “doggy bag” with food, cool fresh water, bowls, flotation device, first-aid kit, towels, umbrella, leash and toys and you will be prepared for almost anything!



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Flea & Tick Season is Approaching!

Spring is in the Air! The Time to Protect is NOW!

Spring is here and with the warm weather you and your dog are likely to be outdoors more and more. Fresh air, sunshine, you and your dog – life just doesn’t get much better than that! You know what else is out there enjoying the warm weather with you? Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Oh, and let’s not forget about your lawn and garden.

Fleas & Ticks
Fleas and ticks will emerge from their dormant life cycles and begin their full life and breeding cycles. Fleas generally begin their optimal life cycle when the temperature is above 70°F and as the humidity increases. The full breeding cycle peaks with temperatures (70°F to 85°F) and high humidity (70%). An adult flea can lay 15 to 20 eggs per day and over 500 in her lifetime. One flea can become as many as 100,000 in just 30 days in ideal conditions! The best cure is prevention.

There are many preventive medications available on the market today. Speak to your vet about an appropriate preventive flea and tick medication for your dog. Although there are many brands of over-the-counter flea and tick products available at supermarkets and pet supply stores, it is critical to read their labels and consult with your veterinarian before using them on your dog. These products may contain ingredients that could harm pets and children. You can visit the HSUS website to learn more about flea & tick products.

Lawns & Gardens
Spring is often a time when people fertilize their lawns and work in their gardens. BEWARE! Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals. You can visit the HSUS or ASPCA websites for a list of common poisonous plants.

Mosquitoes transmit heartworm – a fatal disease. Heartworm is transmitted to animals through a bite from a mosquito containing the infected larval form of the heartworm. When an animal is infected, the heartworm larva can grow and develop into worms. These worms live inside blood vessels within and surrounding the heart and lungs. The adult worms mate inside the blood vessels, and their offspring—which are called microfilaria—circulate in the bloodstream. These microfilaria can be picked up by another biting mosquito, and then passed to another animal.
Once infected, animals with heartworm can be treated if the disease is caught in time, but there are several drawbacks. The treatment, although effective, is painful, expensive, and can have side effects. If the disease goes untreated, the results can be fatal. The best cure is prevention.

If your dog has not been on year-round heartworm preventive medication, NOW is the time to bring your dog to your veterinarian for a blood test and then start him on preventive medication. Dogs must be tested to ensure they don't have heartworm before putting them on preventive medication. If your dog has been on year-round medication but it has been 2 or more years since his last heartworm blood test, you should bring your dog to your veterinarian to be tested again before continuing medication. By federal law, heartworm preventive medicine is only available through a prescription.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Smarty Paws Dog Training - New Group Classes on Long Island Starting Soon!

Smarty Paws Dog Training Group Classes, New Hyde Park, Nassau County

Spring is a great time to take an outdoor group class with your pup/dog. Whether it be a basic or advanced or just a brush-up, group classes are a great way to socialize and work with your pup/dog around distractions. Remember, training is a lifetime commitment and a well-trained dog is a pleasant companion.

Smarty Paws has new group classes starting Saturday, 4/30/11 and Sunday 5/1/11:

Saturday, 9am, Basic Obedience
Saturday, 11am, Beyond Basics
Sunday, 3pm, Better Basics
Sunday, 5pm Basic Obedience

Classes are filling fast so send in your registration forms soon!

For a complete class schedule and registration forms check us out at

Looking forward to seeing you and your pup/dog - Happy Tails!!