“Go Orange for Animals” in April

Statistics show that in America, an animal is abused every 10 seconds.

And so, April has been designated “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” Month. A month during which everyone is urged to “Go Orange for Animals” to increase public awareness about these unconscionable, and usually unreported, incidents.

How YOU can help:

RAISE FUNDS

Using your personal Face Book account, create a fundraising page for a specific rescue group or shelter to celebrate an important occasion (birthday, graduation, anniversary, pet’s birthday, etc.) then share it with family and friends. Or instead of gifts, ask them to make a donation in your name to the rescue or shelter of your choice.

ORANGE, ORANGE EVERYWHERE

Show your support by wearing something orange all month. For young and old. Female and male. For her: barrettes and bows, scarves and shoelaces, brooches and bracelets, tank tops and teddies, necklaces and nail polish. For him: ties, tie tacks and tee shirts, bow ties and baseball caps, socks, suspenders and sneakers, pocket scarves and pins on lapels. Or go BIG! Tie a broad orange ribbon around a tree in your yard for everyone to see – and hopefully imitate.

SUPPORT A SHELTER OR RESCUE

Drawing on your own, personal contacts, team up with a local shelter or rescue group and assist them at a “Go Orange for Animals” event such as an adoption day or weekend. Or set up your own donation drive – from jars of pennies, animals toys and pet food, to garage, yard and bake sales — and give the proceeds and/or supplies you’ve collected to the shelter or rescue you’ve selected.

MAKE ADOPTION YOUR ONLY OPTION

Both shelters and rescue groups have loving animals of every breed and age, size and color, personality and temperament, desperate to find loving homes. By opting to adopt, not shop, you’re saving two lives: the life of the animal you adopt and the life of the animal taking its place. And please, spread the word!

IF YOU SEE IT, REPORT IT

Should you witness an act of cruelty towards an animal, report it the SPCA and the police in that area. The more information you have the better. If at all possible, photograph the act of abuse (cell phones and other devices will have the time and date stamped on each shot). If others have witnessed the same act of cruelty, ask for their cooperation by getting their names, contact information, and if possible, brief written statements. Make copies of everything for your own records before giving them to anyone else. Whether you report the abuse in person or call it in, keep a record of the person you contact, the date, and the content and outcome of your discussion. Make it clear that you are interested in pursuing the case, and that you will help in any way you can.

Remember. ONE person CAN make a difference. If YOU speak out and speak up, imagine how many other “YOU’S” are doing and will do the same. Imagine what an enormous impact the effect of your combined voices can and will have on the lives of imperiled animals everywhere.

SOS: Keeping Dogs Safe in Disasters

As unpleasant as the prospect may seem, planning for emergencies may mean the difference between life and death for the canine member(s) of your human family.

Simply put: if a situation is dire for you, it’s equally dire for your dog.

If you live in an area prone to such natural disasters as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, plan accordingly. Determine in advance which rooms are “safe” rooms — easily cleaned areas like utility rooms, bathrooms and basements. Because access to fresh water is critical, fill bathtubs and sinks ahead of time in case of power outages or other crises. In the event of flooding, take shelter in the highest part of your home, preferably in a room with high counters or shelves for your dog to lie on.

When first alerted to the approach of severe weather — and the possibility of eventual evacuation — ensure that your car’s tank is full, all essential fluids are topped off, and a high power flashlight (with fresh batteries) is in the glove compartment. If you must evacuate, prepare for the worst-case scenario: think weeks, not days.

And being prepared includes a canine emergency evacuation kit equipped with a first aid kit; two weeks worth of dry dog food; bottles of water; food and water bowls; disposable cage liners and/or paper toweling; plastic poop bags; brush, hand sanitizer, liquid dish soap and disinfectant; treats, toys and chew toys, towels and blankets.

Of critical importance are photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your dog requires (medications must be rotated out of the kit if close to their expiry dates); recent photos of your dog (should you be separated and have to print “Lost” posters); and an extra collar with updated ID tags, leash and harness, although microchipping your dog is the best precaution of all.

And, of course, a traveling crate or carrier (if more than one dog — ideally one for each) with complete contact information attached.

While ensuring your dog’s safety, ensure your safety and that of your family’s as well by putting your own emergency plan in place. Tailor your emergency “kit” to meet your own specific needs, but ensure that your car is equipped with: a first aid kit; several gallons of water; non perishable foods, protein bars, etc.; a cell phone with chargers; a battery operated radio; flashlights and batteries; a multi-purpose tool, duct tape, scissors and whistle; sanitation and personal hygiene items; hand sanitizers and baby wipes; protective clothing, footwear and emergency blankets; maps(s) of the area; extra money and medications; copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance

policies); extra house and car keys, and family and emergency contact information.

Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed. And planning ahead helps dog owners keep cool heads while keeping their dearest dogs safe at the same time.

 

Emergency Expenses: Ready or Not?

Every pet owner’s worst nightmare is a serious illness or medical emergency and inadequate funds to cover it.

With veterinary bills ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, what’s a caring but cash-strapped owner to do?

If paws-ible, don’t panic. Instead, be prepared. Plan ahead.

The easiest first step is to open an “emergency expenses” savings account even BEFORE your chosen companion puts one paw inside your home. Decide on a given amount to be set aside – whether daily or weekly – and build it into your budget. Example: By setting aside only $10 a week, you’ll save $520 a year. Within two years, you’ll have saved enough money to cover most medical procedures. But should your pet need a sudden and more costly procedure, you’re more likely to receive help from others when they know that YOU’RE paying most of the bill.

A second option is purchasing pet insurance. An increasing number of insurance companies now offer specific plans for pets, ranging from the most basic to the most inclusive with monthly premiums to match each plan. Caution: Make certain to “read the fine print” and to learn whether or not the company will work with the vet of your choice.

For those unable to either save in advance or purchase pet insurance, being faced with the possibility of a medical bill they can’t pay is devastating. And this, sadly, is one of the reasons so many much-loved pets are euthanized. But there are solutions.

  1. Speak with your vet and discuss the arrangement of a payment schedule until the bill is paid in full. Many vets do offer payment plans to their regular and trusted clients.
  2. Contact local animal rescue organizations and ask for the names of any low-cost veterinary clinics they might know.
  3. Many veterinary schools offer medical services at discounted rates, and if you live near a college or university, contact them to see if they have just such a program.
  4. If it’s feasible, apply for a line of credit from your bank. There are also reputable companies that offer loans to help cover medical emergencies, including those of pets. (Note: Interest is charged in both cases and rates will vary).
  5. Ask your family members and friends for help.
  6. Use one of the more popular online fundraising platforms and start your own fundraiser, bearing in mind that the more people you reach in your own social, work and community circles, and the more original you are in drawing attention to your plight, the greater your chances of success.
  7. Apply for financial assistance from the specific funds, charities and pet assistance organizations across the country. While their organizations’ budgets are limited and their grants small, your chances of getting help increase if you’re disabled, a senior or a veteran, or are living solely on pensions or on a low, fixed income.

Does Your Dog Shed Everywhere?

Much like humans, dogs routinely shed their hair as part of their bodies’ “renewal” process.

If, however, your dog is suddenly and inexplicably shedding so much hair that his coat is thin, there may be a medical reason for it. Not only that, but you yourself may feel uncomfortable with the hair sticking to your clothes, your furniture, and scattered throughout your home.

Consider, then, the following suggestions:

Bring your dog to the vet: Only by thoroughly examining and running tests on your dog can your vet make a clear determination as to the cause of his sudden hair loss – from allergies and fungal infections to skin cancer.

Regularly brush your dog’s hair: Regular brushing lessens the amount of hair being shed here, there and everywhere, by removing the weakest ones, and allows you to spend some soothing “get closer” time with your pet. At first, he may not like being brushed, but don’t give up. Begin slowly, once a day, brushing several times, then gently stroking his back. If he seems uncomfortable, stop immediately. Repeat the process until he grows truly comfortable and allows you to brush the hair all over his body.

Feed your dog a balanced diet: Feeding your dog the most nutritious, properly balanced diet possible will help him stay healthy and keep his coat soft and shiny. Conversely, an improper diet will affect his overall health, make his skin dry and increase the amount of hair he sheds. To ensure your dog is on the right diet for him, ask your vet for advice, and carefully read each product’s listed ingredients before making an informed choice.

Use a vacuum cleaner: The most efficient way to clean a carpeted home bristling with dog hair is to use a vacuum cleaner. If bulky vacuum cleaners reduce your incentive to clean regularly, purchase a sturdy handheld one to remove the hair quickly and effectively.

Keep the water bowl filled: Without an adequate amount of water daily, your dog’s skin becomes dry, his hair grows weak, and is shed more easily. To avoid this problem, ensure his water bowl is always filled with fresh water and placed within easy reach.

Use a sticky roller: Sticky rollers not only remove dirt, they also remove pet hairs from your clothes. Assiduous “rolling” will leave your clothing happily hair-free before you yourself leave home.

Reduce Your Dachshund’s High Risk of Back Injury

As a breed, Dachshunds are highly prone to back problems. While the most common site is the thoracolumbar spine, the neck and cervical spine can also be affected. Known as Intervertebral Disc Disease, it involves an intervertebral disc that either protrudes to some degree or has prolapsed completely, resulting in compression of the spinal cord, causing acute pain and/or neurological dysfunction.  

As with many other medical issues, prevention is key. And that means controlling your dog’s activities. If possible, avoid high-impact ones like jumping and running at high speeds, along with any other activity that puts excessive force on your dog’s spine. Included on this list of “no no’s” are:

Jumping onto or off beds and couches, chairs and car seats, etc.

Going up and down stairs. Most staircases aren’t well suited to a Dachshund’s short legs and long body.

Chasing after a squirrel or a ball, another dog or a car.

Rough housing with other pets or with people.

Games of tug-o-war.

To minimize the risk of injury, there are numerous physical aids you can use, including:

A harness collar. Fitting around your dog’s entire upper body, it helps distribute the force of the attached leash over a larger area, compared with a traditional neck collar, where all of the pressure is applied to your dog’s neck. Particularly helpful if yours is an aggressive “leash puller,” it may also prevent some of the twisting and turning movements that invariably affect the rest of your dog’s spine.

A dog crate. This is the most effective way of keeping your dog from engaging in any of the above-mentioned, high-risk activities when you’re not home. A protective device not a punitive one, when implemented properly, it can actually provide your dog with the sense of being in a calming and cozy cocoon. Ensure the crate is roomy and comfortable, and with patient training accompanied by treats as a reward, your dog should soon consider that crate “home.”

Dog ramps. Whether bought or constructed, ramps can be strategically placed throughout your home, and your dog trained to use them instead of jumping onto and down from furniture or going up and down at least some stairs.

A measuring cup. With obesity identified as a major contributor to Intervertebral Disc Disease, it’s easily preventable by maintaining your Dachshund’s weight and measuring the amount of his food. To determine your dog’s optimum weight, first consult with your vet.

As the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”