Tips for Great Fall Hikes With Your Dog

Fall can be a great time to set out on outdoor adventures with your dog.  The weather is crisp and cool to keep you and your dog comfortable, and all that beautiful fall foliage is definitely an added benefit.

We’ve gathered some of the best fall hiking tips for dog owners.  Keep in mind that many experts recommend keeping your dog on leash at all times for her safety, so go off leash with caution.

Check out these helpful tips and enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend!

  • A walk in the woods, even in fall, means that your dog could be vulnerable to flea and tick bites. Use a deterrent and check your dog for ticks after a hike.
  • Consider using a harness specifically designed for hiking or running. Experts report that v-neck harnesses distribute force evenly to keep you and your dog steady.  Some also have a handle on the back so you can quickly grab your dog in an emergency.

  • While it may not be as hot as summer, your dog still needs plenty of fresh clean water to stay hydrated on a fall hike. Bring water and a collapsible bowl along with you on hikes.
  • Challenging uphill trails can lead to some great views of fall foliage, but long distance/high elevation hikes are not for all dogs…or all people. Know the level of difficulty before you set off on a hike.

  • Sometimes the weather can change quickly in the fall. Dress in layers and consider a jacket and booties for your dog in case the weather gets nasty.  Booties or paw pad balm are always a good idea for rugged trail hikes.

 

The Health Risks of Too Much Topical Flea and Tick Medication in Pets

As responsible pet parents, we want to do what’s best for our dogs and cats, including protecting them from harmful parasites like fleas and ticks.

But did you know that it’s possible to “overdose” your pets on too much topical flea and tick medication?  Veterinarians have seen many cases of pet poisoning caused by the over-application of these meds. We’ve even seen a few of these cases here at FACE.

What can you do to ensure that your pet gets the right amount—and the right type—of topical flea and tick medication?  Here’s what the experts say.

According to veterinary toxicology experts, most topical flea and tick treatments contain plant-derived insecticidal drugs known as pyrethrins (natural) or pyrethroids (synthetic).  Pyrethrin acts as a neurotoxin.

Over-application of pyrethrins/pyrethroids can cause serious adverse reactions in dogs and cats.  The Animal Poison Control Center lists these common symptoms of poisoning:

  • Profuse drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Tremoring
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing

The effects can be life-threatening if left untreated.  Be sure to read and carefully follow all dosage information listed on the package and talk to your veterinarian if you have questions.

Treatment for pyrethrin poisoning includes immediate removal of the product by bathing and emergency veterinary care.

One other important point to remember:  cats are very sensitive to pyrethrin, and spot treatments made for dogs should never be used on cats.  Canine treatments contain more of the drug than cats can safely metabolize.

Be sure to always use flea and tick medications made exclusively for cats if you choose to treat your cat.  This is especially important if you have dogs in the home and treat them with canine meds.

A little prevention can go a long way in keeping your pets both safe and protected!

 

Keeping Your Dog Safe from Toxic Blue-Green Algae

Veterinarians around the country are warning dog owners about the hazards of exposing your dog to bodies of standing water that have algae containing a poisonous bacterium known as cyanobacteria.

Toxic blue-green algae was responsible for the deaths of several dogs in the US and Canada this summer.

Veterinarians report that the algae itself is not harmful, but if your dog ingests water with algae containing the bacteria, she could be at risk for serious health problems.

The Animal Poison Control Center’s Pet Poison Helpline lists the following symptoms to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool or black, tarry stool
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Jaundice
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Shock
  • Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.)
  • Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.)
  • Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes
  • Difficulty breathing

There is no antidote for cyanobacteria poisoning, so prevention and immediate veterinary care are essential.

Keep your dog away from bodies of standing water that contain algae blooms.  If you suspect that your dog has ingested water containing this toxin, seek veterinary care right away.

For more information on blue-green algae poisoning, check out this post, including a video, on the Today Show website.

 

New Poisonous Plants List for Pet Owners

The folks at the rover.com website have created a very useful new list of poisonous plants for dog and cat owners.

The list includes photographs of each plant to help in identification, as well as the plant’s common name and scientific name.

You can find plants that are toxic to dogs and/or cats, as well as review the list by toxicity level and whether the plant is a garden, house, or wild species.

The entry for each plant also includes a quick reference list of common symptoms to watch out for.

Be sure to check it out, and as always, keep the web address and phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center’s Pet Poison Helpline handy:

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/

(855) 764-7661

Thanks, Rover!