How responsible of a dog owner are you?

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relaxing with the dogSeptember is Responsible Pet Ownership Month. Sounds boring, right? But it’s important!

It’s easy to think of your furry friend as part of the family, one of the kids, (a holy terror… ), but it’s also easy to forget that they are totally dependent on you. For everything. So make the most of it and go above and beyond for Fido! Here are some of the topics of our fact sheets for pet owners that can help you keep on top of things.

Dog Licensing – As they say, it’s not just bling, it’s the law! All dogs three months or older must be licensed by January 1 of each year. If you’ve ever walked or driven your neighborhood calling out your lost dog’s name with the hope you’ll see him running toward you or visited your local animal shelter and registered your pet as missing, you know the importance of a dog license.

Dog Bite Prevention –  Nothing goes better together than kids and dogs but unfortunately, kids are also more likely to get bitten. Often it’s just a matter of not understanding how to interact safely with a dog, especially one that isn’t yours.
We have to be able to read body language and understand nuances that tell us what the dog might be thinking.

Preventive Care – Think your dog only needs to go to the vet when something is wrong? Think again. Prevent it from happening in the first place by scheduling regular annual appointments. Regular check ups can prevent bigger problems later which could be much more expensive.

Dental Health – Dog breath? It could be the sign of something more serious. Periodontal disease in our pets is the most common health problem that veterinarians see, yet many pet owners are still in the dark about preventing it or treating it. Don’t think that because your pet isn’t showing signs of oral discomfort that everything is fine. Untreated oral disease can be dangerous to your pet’s health and much more expensive to correct down the road than paying for preventive measures now.

Canine Influenza – Like many viruses, canine influenza is spread through respiratory secretions and contaminated surfaces of everything from food and water bowls to leashes to toys. What’s more, it can stay alive up to 48 hours on surfaces, 24 hours on clothing, and up to 12 hours on hands. If a dog comes in contact with the virus, it can be 2-4 days before it exhibits signs of feeling ill, and the dog is also most contagious during this time.

And there are many more, so check out our fact sheets for yourself and see how else you can keep your dogs happy and healthy.

Now, go ahead. Put your feet up and do a little relaxing with Rover.

It’s Dog Bite Prevention Week

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Brush up on some tips of interacting with dogs to avoid being bitten.

A dog. Man’s best friend. A loyal companion. Provider of unconditional love.

A biter? Could be.

A study found there were 70 million dogs in the United States, and the truth is, any one of them could bite. Even yours. Dogs don’t always bite because they’re mean. They could have food aggression, have been sleeping and been startled, or maybe they are hurt or scared. Many things besides a nasty disposition can make even the sweetest dog react with a bite.

Most bites that happen in the US happen to children and could have been prevented. That’s why it’s important for children and adults alike to have some basic dog etiquette. Here are a few tips:

  1. When meeting a new dog, ask permission from the owner. They will be able to tell you if the dog is friendly with strangers.
  2. Ask the owner the dog’s name. Calling it by name can help relax it.
  3. Never hug a dog you have just met. Many dogs don’t like to be hugged period, let alone by a stranger.
  4. Don’t reach for the dog’s face. Pet a new dog on it’s side, chest or back.

For more information, here are some additional resources that we like:

PVMA Dog Bite Prevention Fact Sheet
http://www.pavma.org/images/fact_sheets/Dog_Bite_Prevention.pdf
This downloadable fact sheet

Puppies’n Dogs
www.puppiesndogs.com
This site is a wealth of information about dog breeds and their temperaments, size, grooming needs, and more. Find out which breed would be a good fit for your family or to add to a dog you already have. You can view breeders, search for available puppies, place an ad, or buy dog supplies. The blog section also has a wealth of information on a variety of topics, including dog bite prevention.

Dog Bite Prevention and Children
http://www.vet.utk.edu/dogbiteprevention/
This colorful, interactive website is designed to make learning about dog bite prevention fun. With games, puzzles, word searches, and printable items such as puppets and coloring books, kids won’t even realize they’re learning while they’re having fun.

Doggone Safe
http://www.doggonesafe.com 
This site is dedicated to dog bite prevention with categories for pet owners, bite victims, seasonal tips, and a section for kids with activities.

April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

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Ok, so April has quite a few things attached to it (Prevent of cruelty to animals, Pet first aid awareness, etc.), but for today’s purposes, we’re preventing lyme disease! Or trying to. As this week – here in Central PA anyway – is the first week that’s had any hint of spring to it at all. Your dogs are likely itching to get outside and play, and unfortunately, so are the ticks.

So what is Lyme Disease anyway?
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi (boar-ELL-ee-uh burg-dorf-ERR-eye). Within 1 to 2 weeks of being infected, people may have a “bull’s-eye” rash with fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain. Some people have Lyme disease and do not have any early symptoms. Other people have a fever and other “flu-like” symptoms without a rash.

After several days or weeks, the bacteria may spread throughout the body of an infected person. These people can get symptoms such as rashes in other parts of the body, pain that seems to move from joint to joint, and signs of inflammation of the heart or nerves. If the disease is not treated, a few patients can get additional symptoms, such as swelling and pain in major joints or mental changes, months after getting infected.

How can I protect myself from Lyme disease?

  • Whenever possible, you should avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer when nymphal ticks feed.
  • If you are in an area with ticks, you should wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily and removed before becoming attached.
  • If you are in an area with ticks, wear long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your pants into socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots (since ticks are usually located close to the ground).

For more information on protecting yourself and your pets from Lyme disease, download our PVMA Lyme Disease fact sheet with more precautions and information. Learn more about Lyme disease, including answers to frequently asked questions, the natural history of Lyme disease and a narrated documentary at CDC’s Lyme disease website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme.