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.

 

Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Hot Pavement This Summer

We’ve all seen a lot of news stories about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car, but did you know that a simple stroll on the sidewalk can blister your pup’s paws when the weather is hot?

KUTV in Salt Lake City talked to a local veterinarian about the dangers of hot sidewalks.  He took a thermometer outside on a hot day and measured the temperature on a sunny sidewalk.  It registered 131 degrees!  In contrast, the shade temperature was just 80 degrees.

Paw blisters can happen in minutes, so to protect your dog, be sure to walk her on grass and in the shade.  Early morning is the safest time of day.

Click HERE for the story and video.

 

Dog-Friendly Restaurant Dos and Don’ts for You and Your Pup

With summer in full swing, many dog owners are looking forward to bringing their four-legged friends out and about with them.  One of the most popular destinations…dog-friendly outdoor dining patios at restaurants and bars!

Our friends at San Diego Pets Magazine put together a helpful list of tips for dining out with your dog.  Since we’re lucky enough here to bring our pups with us year-round, we’ve got the dog-friendly etiquette down!

  • Bring a chew toy or treat to keep your dog occupied while the humans are dining.
  • Know your dog before you go.  Not all dogs are comfortable in social situations.  If your dog is the shy type, she might be happier at home.
  • Barking and begging for food are definite “don’ts” at any dog-friendly dining establishment.
  • Most facilities don’t let dogs walk through the restaurant to get to the patio, so be sure to stop at the hostess stand and let folks know you’d like to access the patio with your dog.
  • Keep your dog (even very small ones) off the table and chairs when dining outside.

  • It’s safest to always keep your dog on leash while on the patio.  Make sure to keep the lead short so it doesn’t get tangled up or become a tripping hazard.
  • Be aware that there may be multiple dogs on the patio, so if your dog doesn’t play well with others, keep him home.
  • Feed your dog before you go to discourage begging, and take her on a walk to tire her out a bit and to make sure she relieves herself before heading to the restaurant.

  • Don’t assume the restaurant will have enough water bowls to go around during peak times.  Bring your own travel water bowl just in case.

Now you’re ready to enjoy some al fresco dining with your best friend!

 

Parasite Infection Risk Increases for Outdoor Cats

Cats allowed to roam outdoors face a variety of health risks, from getting hit by cars and attacked by other animals to an increased risk for infection by internal and external parasites.

A recent study of parasite infection rates for outdoor cats vs. indoor cats around the world has led to some interesting findings.

Cats allowed to roam outdoors are 2.77 times more likely to become infected with parasites than indoor only cats.  The surprise finding in this study relates to what parts of the globe parasite infection risks are highest.

You might think that cats in warmer climates have an increased risk of parasite infection because there tends to be a greater concentration of parasites in these warmer places.

In reality, the opposite was found to be true:  infection rates decrease with higher parasite diversity, and cats in northern climates are a greater risk for infection.  Risk of infection goes up a surprising 4% with each degree of increase in latitude.

Why is this?  The researchers note that rodents (a common feline prey animal) and other species of wildlife display similar increased infection rates.

Experts recommend that cat owners restrict access to the outdoors for their pets, both to preserve their cats’ overall health and well-being, and also to reduce the risk of parasite transmission to humans.