May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month!
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Tick season is here! The month of May is Lyme Disease awareness month, and we want you to protect your pet, and yourself, from these blood-sucking pests. Tick season occurs mainly during the warmer months of the year, typically from April to September.

Not only do ticks feed on blood, they are capable of transmitting diseases as well. Lyme disease is spread by the black-legged tick, Ixodes Scapularis, also known as the Deer Tick. An affected tick carries around a spirochete bacteria called the Borrelia Burgdorferi, and is transmitted when the tick feeds on the surface of the dog’s skin. The bacteria then enters the bloodstream and is carried throughout different parts of the dog’s body. When the tick latches onto the pet for more than 24 hours, they are in risk of contracting Lyme Disease.

If you happen to spot a tick on your dog, click here to learn how to safely remove the tick.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease may not appear until months later and can be difficult to determine. Loss of appetite, painful joints, lameness, fevers, or lethargic behaviors are all symptoms of this disease. If you notice any behavioral changes in your pet, please consult your veterinarian. Your vet will perform screening tests to determine whether it is caused by Lyme disease. If your pet comes out to be positive, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Amoxicillin.

Prevention
The best way of prevention is to keep your dog away from areas where ticks live. Generally, ticks are found in woody, grassy areas with tall leaves. If you are taking your dog out on a walk, be sure to stay on the trail and avoid walking over grassy areas. After taking your pet outdoors, it is best to perform daily checks on your dog’s coat to scout for any ticks.

Another way to prevent your dog from contracting Lyme Disease is to use a flea and tick treatment such as Advantix or Frontline. These are topical applications used to kill all living ticks and to break the life cycle of the parasitic pests. This should be reapplied every 30 days for maximum protection, and is strongly recommended to keep your pet parasite-free. Read more about flea and tick control in one of our previous blog posts.

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Adopting a Dog with a Traumatic Past
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You plan an adopting a dog, and you make a trip to your local shelter. The lonesome white fluffy dog sitting in the corner of the kennel catches your attention. She wants to approach you, but she lowers her head and has a hard time making eye contact. The description says she was brought into the shelter with no information of her past.

When it comes to adopting a dog from a rescue organization, it is difficult to determine the history of animal. You never know, the dog could have been rescued from a hoarding situation, puppy mill, or from an abusive owner. Adopting a dog with a traumatic past is a challenging task, and can potentially take months or even years for them to fully come out of their shell. In more severe cases, the past traumas can permanently affect them. 

Abuse can be seen in many ways such as physical or verbal punishment, horrific living conditions with very little food and water, being chained up to a pole or small space, or living outdoors with extreme weather conditions. No matter what traumatic events that has occurred in the dog’s life, the future owner of an abused dog will have to understand and be patient as they adjust to their new home and family members.

As their past remains a mystery, there are several signs to look for if they have been previously mistreated, such as being fearful to the outdoors and human interaction. If a dog is in a situation where they are scared, they will show submissive behaviors such as a lowered head, little to no eye contact, and a tucked tail between the hind legs. A dog who was starved may show aggression towards others who try to take its food away. An abused dog will have a hard time trusting people, and every dog will learn to trust another and his or her own pace. Do not try to force interactions they are not willing to do. Always make them feel safe and protect them from what they are fearful of.

If you decide on adopting a dog with an abusive past, here are some survival tips:

  • Make the dog feel loved and safe. Use soft, high pitched tones when speaking to the dog. Never use loud voices around them, and never yell at them if they make a mistake. Always use positive reinforcement such as ‘good girl/ boy’ and ‘come here’.
  • Create a comfortable environment for the dog. Sudden movements and loud noises can stress them out. Spend quiet, quality time with them. It will take time for them to adjust to other people and pets, so start with slow interaction to get them familiar with them.
  • A great way to bond with your new pet is to hand feed meals. This is an opportunity for them to trust you, and soon they will learn that you will not hurt them. Treats are always fun too!
  • Understand what the dog is comfortable and uncomfortable with. For example, taking a dog who is fearful of the outdoors will not be an easy task. Start your dog off in environments with less people and noises, such as the local park or your front yard. This can help your dog to trust the outdoors, before heading to areas with more people and louder noises.

Keep in mind that change does not happen overnight. Depending on the dog, it may take weeks, months or even years for the dog to fully open up. However, always be patient when working with dogs with abusive pasts. Soon enough, you’ll start to see improvements as days go by. Watching your pet start to trust another can be one of the most rewarding feelings. They will thank you for giving them a second chance at life.

 

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Why is my dog scooting his behind across the floor?
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Something seems to be bothering your dog’s behind, and you can’t pinpoint it. He’s scooting his rear end across the floor and biting at the root of this tail. What is it?

While there are many reasons to why your dog is dragging his rear across the floor, a common reason is that your dog may have anal sac disease, typically known as anal glands. Regardless of age, breed, and size, all dogs are prone to have anal gland problems.

Every dog has a pair of anal glands (sacs) that are located inside the anus. Typically, when a dog defecates, the liquid inside the glands are secreted by the connected ducts for easier passage. This substance has a heavy foul smelling scent that is used to mark their territory. However, when the liquid is not expelled, the substance inside the glands can harden, which can cause inflammation in the ducts. The impaction of the anal glands make it painful and difficult for the dog to release their stool, which is why your dog is scooting across the floor.

Another sign to pay attention to is excessive licking or biting around the anus area. If you see any persistent signs of irritation or discomfort, it is best to consult your veterinarian. In minor situations, your vet will use a lubricated glove and put a finger through the anus to express the glands to release the excess substance. Your vet can teach you how to express your dog’s anal glands at home.

Your dog’s diet can also play a factor in anal glands. A fiber based diet can help prevent future recurrences. Another way is to regularly express the anal glands to help your dog’s feces pass through more easily. Be sure to pay attention to the symptoms, because if it is left untreated, infections and abscesses can develop and cause further problems. For more severe cases or reoccurring problems, surgery may be done to completely remove the anal glands.

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Be a Part of the Homeless Pet Clubs of America!
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We want children to learn to be kind to living things; be kind to animals and be kind to each other.” -Dr. Michael Good.

Through animal interaction, young children are able to develop a sense of empathy and care for the people around them, such as classmates, siblings, teachers, and relatives. A great way to get them started is to create a Homeless Pet Club on your school’s campus. The Homeless Pets Foundation was founded by a Georgia veterinarian, Dr. Michael Good in hopes to have students participate in engaging activities to help save the lives of abandoned animals.

Homeless Pet Clubs are currently expanding throughout the country with 103 partnered shelters and 719 pet clubs. Together, they have helped over 1,500 animals find their forever homes. Teachers reported that they have seen an increase in involvement and enthusiasm in school, improvement in social skills, and a decrease in absence.

Students can spread the word through social media campaigns, word-of-mouth, and displaying posters and flyers throughout their school. This is a great way for them to use teamwork by brainstorming ideas to help these animals find homes. The more exposure we get on the animals and rescue groups, the higher the chance that the animals get adopted out.

Creating this pet club on your school campus is completely free. Click here to register. If there are no participating shelters or rescues near your school’s location, Dr. Good will set your school up with animals through the Homeless Pet Club Foundation. Any animal that is set up with a new family will be transported over through the Underhound Railway for free, and he will meet with the new family in person.

The Homeless Pet Clubs are not only limited to schools, but can also be set up with businesses, military and community groups, and boy/ girl scouts as well. Visit their site for more information on how to start a club in your area.

If you are involved with a rescue group, click here to register. Partnering with the Homeless Pet Club Foundation is completely free, and Dr. Good will personally meet with your organization to see if your group meets the standards of becoming a potential partner group.

Join the movement and be the voice for homeless pets!
 For more information, visit http://homelesspetclubs.org/index.cfm.

Winnie Goh