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August Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

Summer Tips for August

  • Keep your best friend hydrated this summer, have multiple water bowls inside and out. Change the water frequently to keep it fresh.
  • Limit exercise, especially in the heat of the day. Take your walks early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • If it’s over 85o leave your dog at home. They don’t need to be in a hot car or on a run with you, remember they are wearing a fur coat!
  • Use air conditioning if it’s sweltering and humid. No A/C? Keep the blinds down, windows open, and fans on.
  • Consider a haircut. Talk to your groomer about it, but most long-haired dogs will benefit from a new shorter summer hairdo!
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car, not even for a few minutes.
  • If your dog likes sunbathing be sure they move to the shade every 15 minutes so they don’t overheat! If they are in a deep snooze they may not move to a shady spot on their own.
  • Buy frozen dog treats or make your own. Take a Kong and put yogurt and nut butter in it and freeze it. Give it to your pooch for a delicious cooling treat.
  • If your dog loves water go for a swim (and read last months article about swimming).
  • Here is a twist on an old favorite – play a game of ice cube fetch.
  • Asphalt and concrete are boiling HOT on your pup’s pads (see the graphic at the end of the newsletter).
  • Look into cooling dog beds as an option if your dog can’t take the heat, or get a raised dog cot to allow for air circulation on the underside.
  • If your dog is overheated offer an ice pack or wet towels to lay on. Dogs cool down more with cool water on their feet and tummy than on their back.
  • Be extra careful with “at risk” dogs. Dogs that have short snouts, breathing issues, heart disease or are seniors have a higher chance of heat issues.

Keep your cool and have fun this summer!


How Much Water Should My Dog Drink?

Most dogs are hit or miss drinkers; many end up with more water on the floor than in their tummy. Did you know that over or under drinking can be a sign of a health problem? It’s a good idea to keep an eye on Fido’s water dish. Most people feel that if their pup is healthy, he will instinctively drink the correct amount of water he needs. However, that isn’t always true. Just like their people, some dogs are busy, bored, or just forget to hydrate.

Of course how much H2O your pooch needs depends on their size, diet, age, activity level, and the time of year. As a general rule, healthy dogs need about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated because water helps them regulate body temperature, flush toxins, keep their metabolic process functioning, and actually helps their sniffing power!

Here are a few ways to gauge your pupper’s hydration. Do their eyes look dry? Try pulling up some skin on the top of their neck, does it snap right back in place or does it stay “tented” for a few seconds? Check if their gums are sticky and dry (they should be moist and slippery). These are all signs that your dog is probably dehydrated. Check how much they are drinking by measuring how many ounces they drink each day.

Over drinking can be a sign of diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or a fever. Too much water could lead to bloat, a deadly health issue. Under drinking can indicate pancreatitis, parvo, or a bladder infection. It’s a dynamite dog parent that keeps an eye on water consumption.

How do you help your dog drink the proper amount?

Under Drinkers – Make sure there are a couple of water bowls available with clean, fresh water. When an under drinker does drink praise him and give him a treat. Up the flavor by mixing in low-sodium, chicken, beef, or bone broth with his water. If you have a dog that refuses to drink much (and you know they are not ill) start with pure low-sodium broth and over time dilute it with water. Add some water to their meals to get a little extra in them.

Over Drinkers – You could try a “lick and flow waterer” (like bunnies or gerbils use), that way you’ll know exactly how much water they drink. Additionally, it is a little harder for your pooch to access water from one of these devices, which will keep their water intake lower. Or, ration their water by measuring out the amount needed for the entire day and filling their bowl periodically. Just be sure to spread it out so you don’t give it to them all at once.

This summer keep both you and your pets hydrated, the health of the whole family depends on it!


How To Tell If Your Buddy Is Lonely

Dogs are highly social pack animals who thrive on companionship; they love hanging out with their family members (people or other pets in your home). Most of us 9-to-5ers feel guilty leaving Fido home alone all day, and for good reason! Pets do get lonely and bored, so keep an eye out for these behaviors.

  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Destructive behavior
  • Separation anxiety
  • Inside accidents
  • Low energy or appetite levels
  • Aggression

If your dog is alone all day take steps to keep them happy, even if you’re not met with any of the above behaviors. It’s easier to nip this problem in the bud before it gets serious. So what can you do?

Make sure your dog has an enriching environment. Supply some puzzle-type toys to keep them busy. Try a Kong toy with food and peanut butter frozen in it. Dogs and cats are very visual so keep the shades open so they can look outside and watch the world go by. Put on music or the TV. Consider getting them a friend, another dog or cat to hang out with.

Better yet, schedule a mid-day walk with us; it will break up your pet’s day; we’ll make sure they have some fun and some treats.

On your days off or in the evening be sure to schedule a hike in the woods with your buddy, a play time, or an energetic game of fetch. Remember your pet wants to spend time with you, so take them out and get them doggone tired.

Use some of these suggestions to keep your best friend entertained!


A Hairy Problem For Cats  :(

We love our cats, but hairballs? Not so much. Every cat person knows more than they’d like to about the mass of wet fur cats occasionally barf up. As disconcerting as they are, know that they are a completely normal part of cat behavior.

Hairballs are a result of your cat’s healthy grooming habits. As a cat grooms herself, her rough tongue catches the dead hair in her coat, and she swallows it. Most of the time this fur goes through her digestive tract with no problems. Occasionally, some accumulates in her tummy and turn into the dreaded hairball. Of course, you know what happens next – up it comes, usually on the most beautiful rug in your home!

Some cats are more prone to them due to their fastidious grooming or long hair. Maine Coons and Persians are far more at risk than short-haired breeds. Seasonally, when cats are shedding, it happens more often.

Much of the time hairballs aren’t anything to worry about, for some cats a hairball a week is normal. However, if your cat is lethargic, uninterested in eating, has a change in potty habits, or has unproductive retching for more than a day or two, it’s time to go see the vet. It’s possible that the hairball caused a blockage along their digestive tract.

You can help manage your cat’s hairball problems by daily grooming, feeding a fiber-rich diet, and discouraging excessive grooming (cats often do this when they are bored) by playing with your cat.

Keep your cat’s hairballs from turning into a hairy situation by monitoring your feline friend closely!


Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.

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