Post by Category : Pet Care

Do You have a Dog Friendly Garden?  0

Dog Friendly Garden | Fairhaven MassachusettsWe love our dogs and our gardens, but for many of us the two don’t mix well in the backyard. Since our season is limited, we try and make the most of our garden in New England. We have shared some simple tips for balancing the needs of pets and plants.

Garden Training. Start training right away. Let your dog know what parts of the garden are off limits.

Don’t leave your dog unattended. Don’t leave your dog alone outside if they can get access to your garden.

Protect your borders with a low fence. You will be surprised at how even the smallest fence can be an effective visual barrier for your dog. Raised beds are also great at rerouting your dog’s path.

Include your dog. As you garden, provide your dog with an activity. Gracie loves to play with her “outdoor” toys while we work in the garden. We also talk to her while working in the garden to keep her engaged with us.

Have fun. Enjoy your dog’s company and don’t get too upset if your dog knocks over a pot or kills a plant. Plants always grow back.

There are many plants that are toxic to dogs. Be mindful of what you buy and plant in your garden if you have a pet. Some of the more common toxic plants for dogs include: Autumn Crocus, American Holly, Azaleas, Bleeding Hearts, Daffodils, Hosta, Lilies, Rhubarb, Grapes, and Mushrooms. For a comprehensive list and photos of pet-safe garden plants, visit the Animal Poison Control Center at www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants.

Don’t forget that insecticides and herbicides can pose problems too. Research on phenoxy-type herbicides shows they increase the incidence of cancer. Be cautious when treating your lawns and gardens this summer. Keep in mind that you will need to create a dog friendly garden and backyard if you want your dog to live a long healthy life.

We encourage you to share photos with Gracie of your dogs working in the garden this summer. Please email Tammi at tammi@graciesbark.org with your photo and we will share it. Don’t forget to include a couple of sentences about your pup in the garden!

Do you brush your dog’s teeth?  0

Dog Dental HealthPeriodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in dogs and cats even though it’s completely preventable. Teaching your pet to accept a regular dental regimen early in life is by far the easiest way to keep plaque at bay.

Starting a pet dental routine now can save on future veterinary bills. With your attention to a good health routine, your dog can enjoy healthy gums, fresh breath, and fewer visits to the veterinarian.

 

 

We recommend that pet owners follow five basic steps:

 

  1. Understand your pet’s oral health needs. Talk with your veterinarian. At your pet’s next annual checkup ask your veterinarian about preventative care for your pet’s teeth.
  2. Develop, then follow, a daily oral health routine with your pet. Gracie’s daily routine starts before she’s tucked into bed for the night. She is calm and relaxed during this time, which makes for the perfect opportunity to tend to her oral care needs.
  3. The best way to brush your dog’s teeth is to use a brush or wrap your finger in gauze and hold it at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. When we first introduced Gracie to home dental care, our veterinarian recommended we focus on the teeth located inside the cheek areas first.
  4. Bring a variety to brushing. We generally brush Gracie’s teeth daily, but on the days when we may not have the time to brush, we still always make sure we use an alternative dental option such as pet dental wipes or a pet dental spray.
  5. Feed your pet a balanced diet and consider safe and appropriate chew toys. Although not all safe products have Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approval, using products with the VOHC seal of acceptance is recommended as these products have successfully met pre-set requirements for veterinary dental efficacy and safety.

Did you know that 70-85% of pets over the age of 2 have some form of dental disease? Here are some signs that your pet may have dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Swollen mouth, jaws, or gums
  • Doesn’t play with chew toys as often
  • Pain when eating

Our senior cat Luke recently had four teeth removed because he was suffering from bad breath, inflamed gums and pain when eating.  It is important to have your pet checked for dental disease, as this disease can have major impacts on your pet’s organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys.

While February is National Pet Dental Month, dental health should be a daily ritual for pet owners all year long.  Help us spread the word about the importance of pet dental care. Send us a photo of your dog showing off their pearly whites!  Email us at tammi@graciesbark.org.

 

Did you know that a spayed or neutered animal will live a longer, healthier life?  0

Spay Neuter AwarenessEach year the month of February is declared Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. According to the Humane Society of the United States, every year between six million and eight million animals enter U.S. shelters, and between three million and four million of these animals are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them.

The thought of this many animals being euthanized in the United States alone is quite staggering.

Millions of dogs and cats of all ages and breeds are euthanized each year or suffer as strays. Many of these are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering your pet. In honor of Spay and Neuter Awareness month, we wanted to educate potential and existing pet owners of the benefits to spaying and neutering their pets.

  1. Spaying female dogs and cats prior to their first heat cycle, nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer, uterine infections and uterine cancer.
  2. Neutering male dogs and cats prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland. It can also help with some behavioral issues such as aggression, territory marking, and the tendency to roam away from home.
  3. A long-term benefit is overall improved health for both dogs and cats.

Although shelters do their best to place dogs and cats in loving homes, the number of homeless animals far exceeds the number of willing adopters. Spaying and neutering can help end the overpopulation problem.

Generally, it is safe to spay or neuter most puppies and kittens at 8 weeks of age. However, be sure to check with your veterinarian and have your pet evaluated before scheduling spay or neuter surgery.

As a pet owner, if you find yourself in need of financial assistance to spay or neuter your dog or cat, there are more options available than you think.

  1. Call your local humane society or animal shelter and tell them you are looking for low-cost spay/neuter services.
  2. Talk to your veterinarian. You might be able to work out payment arrangements.
  3. Contact Care Credit, which offers credit plans for veterinary services.

If you are still in need of financial assistance for your pet, the Humane Society of the United States has a Trouble Affording Your Pet Resource Guide containing a comprehensive list of pet financial aid-related organizations.

Below is a list of state resources for pet owners in New England:

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

Connecticut

Maine

New Hampshire

Vermont

In addition to living a longer, healthier life, a spayed or neutered animal will also be a happier, more behaved pet.

 

Winter Pet Care Tips from a New England Dog  0

Snow DogCold weather can be hard on pets, just like it can be hard on people. There are things you can do to keep your pet warm and safe. When temperatures dip into the single digits, we need to take the proper precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our pets. Below are some winter pet care tips from a New England dog.

 

Pets that go outside can pick up rock salt, ice, and chemical ice melts in their foot pads. To keep Gracie’s pads from getting chapped and raw, we wipe her feet with a washcloth when she comes inside. This also keeps her from licking the salt off her feet, which could cause an inflammation of her digestive tract.

Keep your pets inside as much as you can when the mercury drops. If you have to take them out, stay outside with them. We join Gracie outside every day. When we are cold enough to go inside, we know she probably is too.

Did you know that pets lose most of their body heat from the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract?

The best way to guard your animals against the cold is keeping a close eye on them to make sure they’re comfortable. We keep an eye on Gracie’s ears. They tend to “sting” when she’s exposed to the cold New England wind for a long period of time. We know this because she starts to shake her head more frequently than usual. We really need to invest in some doggie earmuffs for our outdoor winter excursions.

Pets, unfortunately, are attracted to antifreeze by its sweet taste. It can be fatal if ingested, so keep all anti-freeze bottles out of your pet’s reach. Also be sure to clean up any spills in your garage or driveway immediately. If your cat or dog should swallow anti-freeze or any poison contact your veterinarian immediately.

We hope all our furry friends in New England and beyond stay warm and safe this winter season. Don’t forget to share photos of your pets enjoying the snow this year. Email us anytime at Tammi@GraciesBark.org. We will be sure to share them on our pet friendly website.