Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pink Lemonade Cats and Irish Green Dogs?

The latest craze in pet grooming is the use of colored dyes to change the color of your cat’s or dog’s coat.  In China, one owner of a white chow-chow dyed his fur to look just like a big panda bear. Another cat lover dyed her cat pink to match her bedroom colors. The use of dyes should be approached with caution.  Animals, unlike humans, have hair/fur all over their bodies and not just their heads. Dye is absorbed into the skin of your pet. Like humans, if you are trying dye for the first time, it is best to test it on a small patch of fur first to check for allergic reactions. Cats, who like to groom their fur may injest the dye.  Pet dyes have not been studied long-term to see how safe they really are.

If you decide to dye your pet, use non-toxic, made for pet dyes. Human dyes are much too harsh with the chemicals they contain. There are even recipes out there for homemade dyes. However, these can also be harmful. Talk to a groomer who specializes in pet dye services. The groomer can recommend pet-safe products.

There are also chalk-based paints for use on animals.  They work best on short-to-medium coats and wash or fade out over time. Some people use stencils to emblazon the name of their favorite sports team on their pets. Now that’s a real “dye-hard” fan!

For many of us we love the natural beauty and appearance of our dogs and cats. But for those who are enamored with the idea of a color change, such as green for St. Patrick’s Day or Red, white and blue for the Fourth of July, keep these tips in mind. Have a colorful summer!

Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Now that summer is here, many of us flock to the beaches for fun in the sand and surf. We often would like to treat our dogs to the same enjoyment. However, not all dogs swim naturally and breeds like corgis and pugs do not swim at all. In order to find out if your dog will swim, find a gentle lake or calm day on the ocean. See if your dog will come in the water after you. Never force the issue.

In order to insure that your dog has a safe and enjoyable day, there are several things to keep in mind:

1. Dogs may like to drink salt water. It should be discouraged as it can lead to stomach upset. So keep plenty of fresh drinking water with you to provide for your dog frequently during your romp at the beach.

2. Believe it or not, dogs need sunscreen just like you do. Ask you pet supply store for one made for dogs.  Apply to the nose and ears ahead of time. Repeat after swimming or strenuous exercise.

3. There are certain situations that can put your dog in danger such as high waves, currents and rip tides.  it would behoove you to invest in a life jacket made for dogs. The best ones are those with 3 latch points and a handle on the back in case you need to get your dog out of a dangerous situation.

4. Watch out for underwater hazards like coral, sharp rocks and even jellyfish. Keep an eye out for cuts or scrapes after a swim. Beach hazards such as seashells can also hurt your dogs paws.

5. Loud noises from motor boats or jet skis can be scary to your pet. Find a dog-friendly beach where these power craft are not allowed if your dog is sensitive to loud noise.

6. Really cold water is not good for a dog with arthritis or joint problems. Shallow water and bays or inlets tend to be warmer and more comfortable.

7. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Symptoms may include excess panting, drooling, enlarged hanging tongue, pale gums and general lethargy. You and your pet should have a cool place out of the sun to rest after running on the sand or swimming in the surf. These activities can really tire your dog out. Portable beach cabanas are a good investment.

8. When you shower off, let your dog shower too. This gets the sand out from between his paw pads and the salt off his fur. Dry his ears thoroughly so moisture does not lead to ear problems.

9. You can find out which beaches at your destination allow dogs. One website is [Pet Friendly]. It also includes pet-friendly campgrounds, off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly shopping malls.

Enjoy a fun-filled day at the beach with your dog with these suggestions in mind. And don’t forget the poop bags!

dogs and cats and fertilizer

Summer is here and our pets are enjoying romps in the yard and long naps on the grass. It is a time for feeding and weeding the yard to obtain that lush green look. However,  we need to be careful about  what we put on our grass.  Some lawn fertilizers are generally low in toxic additives. But some contain toxic ingredients like high concentrations of iron, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.  Cocoa mulch contains the compound theobromine which is enticing to pets but quite toxic. Certain types of organic products can be just as poisonous. These include blood meal, bone meal or fish meal.  They are designed to increase nitrogen content in our lawns and gardens but can be very palatable to dogs and cats. Meal based fertilizers can create bowel obstructions or severe inflammation of the pancreas. Even small ingestions of these many products can result in stomach upset or even bladder cancer.

After a walk or romp in the grass,  watch your pet for signs of poisoning. These include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing or muddy colored gums. Remember that dogs and cats like to lick their fur and that can lead to ingestion of unwanted substances. Call your vet if you suspect poisoning.

Take care that your pet does his business in an area away from a recently fertilized lawn or garden. If you use fertilizers, be sure to put a sign on your lawn to let other neighbors know to keep their pets away from the area. After treating an area with fertilizers or pesticides, wait until the substance dries or, if recommended, water the lawn after fertilizing to allow the chemicals to wash into the grass.

The best rule of thumb is to look for pet-friendly fertilizers that keep your lawn and pets healthy!


New Babies and Your Pets

A new baby is on the way and your pets will need to adjust. After all, they were the new babies first. It is a lot like preparing a sibling for a new family member. Pets, like children, may feel resentful that they are no longer the center of your attention. Work on this by gradually pulling back on the amount of time you spend with your pet before the new baby arrives. Have another family member become closer and more engaged with your pet, especially if he is very attached to you. Invite friends over with their babies so your pet can get used to the sights and sounds of a little one. You can even play recordings of baby’s crying and let them hear the sounds of the baby swing or crib toys.

Before you come home with the new baby, have a family member bring home a blanket with the baby’s scent for your pet to become accustomed to. Give your pet lots of exercise on the day the newborn will arrive so he is relaxed and tired out. When you arrive, have another family member take the baby so you can calmly give your pet a warm welcome. You can help your pet associate the baby with something positive by giving a treat for good behavior as you sit by him with the new baby. Always supervise the pet and baby interactions and never force them on your pet. Maintain your regular routines as much as possible and spend quality time with your pet each day.

Your calm demeanor and positive rewards will go a long way in helping your pet know this new family member is one more person to love!

(Photo courtesy of William Beil)