For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family ... including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets.

ASPCA experts offer the following tips:

* Stay fire-smart. Always keep fireworks, matches, citronella candles, and lighter fluid out of your pet's reach. Certain types of matches, for example, contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing.

* Use only pet-safe sunscreen and insect repellents. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Remember ... animals groom/lick themselves ... and ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Also, the misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems (scary stuff!).

* Be cool near the pool. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren’t large water bowls—they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach problems.

* Avoid scraps from the grill ... keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

* Flashing lights & big booms are NOT most pet's ideas of a good time.  Loud, crowded fireworks displays are not only no fun for pets, but they can be down-right scary ... pets do not understand what all the loud noises and explosions mean. So please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. July 4th is the number one day that pets take-off & get lost ... running far and fast from all the noise!

* Keep your pet on the wagon. Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws’ way.

* Finally, it is always a good idea to know the location, name, and phone number of the nearest Emergency Veterinary Clinic/Hospital. They usually require payment up-front, so having your credit card on-hand is a good idea too!


date Thursday, June 30, 2011


***** URGENT ... Please forward*****

Washington State University 

College of Veterinary Medicine

Certified Veterinary Hygienist - Large and Small Animal

Department of Equine Surgery

Veterinary Teaching Hospital - Room 1215

509-335-5374 office 509-595-0229 cell


I hate it when people forward bogus warnings,
and I have even done it myself a couple times unintentionally
but this one is real, and it's important.

Please send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are
checking for ticks, due to the warm weather,
and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up,

They only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid.


date Saturday, June 25, 2011


In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. What a neat idea, huh?!

Sooooo ... In honor of Aloha Friday a special blog hop has been set-up!

The way it works is you post a short question on your blog, and link up each week at An Island Life (the hostess of this event),  so others can come and visit your blog and answer your question.

So, here goes ... Our question for you today is:

As you may know, today is also Take Your Dog To Work Day (see post below) ... so inquiring minds want to know, did you take your dog with you to work today? How did it go?


date Friday, June 24, 2011


First celebrated in 1999, Pet Sitters International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day®  was created to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. This annual event asks pet lovers to celebrate the humane-canine bond and promote pet adoption by encouraging their employers to support TYDTWDay by opening their workplace to employees’ four-legged friends on this one special day. ♥

So pamper you well-behaved & friendly  pooch with a warm bath and paw-dicure tonight, so that he is all ready for his special day at work tomorrow.

To help make TYDTWDay a huge success, here are a few tips on "good work manners" for your doggie:

Introducing Your Dog to New People and Pets ...

* When you show up with your dog at the office on Take Your Dog to Work Day, make sure he is prepared to meet several new people and possibly other dogs. He should have lots of practice with polite greetings before the big day so that he knows what your expectations are.

* When your dog is greeting new people, have him sit politely until released for greetings. Not everyone in your office will want to meet him, and those who do will be especially pleased with his manners.

* A cute trick never hurts. Teach your dog to shake hands with people that he meets by holding your fist up to his nose. When he lifts his paw, even a little, praise him and give him a treat. Practice this until he can give up his paw on command. Then have him practice with different people so he is an expert.

* When greeting new dogs in the office, your dog should also be able to sit politely until asked. Ask permission before you allow your dog to greet another dog, in case that dog isn’t as friendly. You don’t want to cause an office squabble!

* Keep dog-dog interactions short or break them up periodically by calling your dog back to your side to calm down. Even friendly dogs can escalate if their playing styles don’t match so allow your dog a break and reward him for listening.

* Remember to always keep a loose-leash when allowing your dog to greet. If you are pulling tightly on the leash, your dog may think you’re nervous, which may cause him to growl or snap. Allow the dogs to greet in their own time. Don’t push them into a greeting or prevent normal interactions, such as rear sniffing. Even though your dog may be in your office, dogs will still be dogs! ♥

- Tips provided by the members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers:
- Photo courtesy of Take Your Dog To Work Day


date Thursday, June 23, 2011


With all the rain we have been getting this spring/summer, you can literally almost see the grass growing in front of your eyes.

Lots of grass, means lots of mowing. Then what ... what to do with all that thick green grass?

Rake it into soft, fragrant, tasty piles of clippings for your horse to nibble on, you say?

Actually, this should be the last thing you encourage your horse to eat.

It has to do with that extra step: raking.

Grass clippings that stay on the pasture after mowing, where they can dry in small amounts, are generally not a problem.

But never gather them into piles to feed them to your horse.

Why? - you say - when they eat green grass anyway? Because when animals graze, they have to tear off the blades of grass and chew them. With a pile of grass clippings, they simply gorge themselves, and eating large amounts at one time can lead to excess fermentation in the hind gut, potentially causing colic and laminitis.

Piles of clippings can also rapidly invite mold to form (especially prevalent in hot, humid environments), which can lead to colic.

Lastly, because there is no air inside a dense pile, botulism can develop, which turns this “treat” absolutely deadly.

If you want to "treat" your horse to some fresh green grass, tear-off a few handfuls and hand feed it to them ... or turn your horse out and let them mow-the-grass themselves for a half-hour , or so,  before you take the mower to it.


date Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We often hear about heroic warrior dogs that courageously go into battle alongside their human counterparts and assist in the most dangerous missions, including the most recent operation that took down Osama Bin Laden. But what about the everyday companion dogs that are left at home when their soldier owners go off to fight?  One organization is making sure that those dogs are not forgotten.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet was established in January 2005 by founders Linda Spurlin-Dominik and Carol Olmedo after they had learned that many soldiers were unable to find local caretakers for their pets and were relinquishing their dogs to local shelters due to a deployment.  Some get adopted, while others are euthanized due to age or overcrowding.

The two Arkansas residents decided that something had to be done to help these pet owners keep their animal companions safe and cared for while they were away serving their nation. Spurlin-Dominik  understood the needs, as the daughter of  the late Coy H. Spurlin, who served during World War II in the “Battle of the Bulge,” and the widow of John T. Dominik, a Vietnam Era Army Veteran. She has been involved with supporting the military community, veterans, their families, and their beloved pets for more than three decades.

As a result of their efforts, the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet foster program was born. The program offers current and former military service members the option of placing their pets in one of the more than 2800, pre-screened foster homes across the US for the duration of their deployment or medical leave. Guardian Angels works one-on-one with the military pet owners to find the best-suited pairing for the dog and foster families and ensures the continued care of these companion animals. While the pet owner is still financially responsible for supporting their pet’s food and medical needs, there are no additional costs for the foster care. The organization has also created a fund for those who cannot afford the continued care of their pet.  On average, pets remain at the designated foster homes for a period of three to eight months, with some situations lasting as long as nine months to a year. “We feel every pet we are able to foster in our program is one less pet in a shelter or rescue group,” said CEO Linda Spurlin-Dominik. “Military families run into the same issues as civilian pet owners do.”

Watch this report for how the organization helped one soldier and his dog:

Individuals and families that are interested in fostering must go through an extensive application process.  Once approved, the owner and pet from the specified region are introduced to the new foster home.  In an effort to help the organization educate potential foster families on the ins-and-outs of caring for another’s pet, the Millan Foundation recently contributed a “fostering tip sheet” to share with new volunteer foster homes and includes advice from Cesar on how to keep human emotions in check for the betterment of the dog in often very highly charged, stressful conditions.

"We are so grateful to all of you for offering your expertise as we assist our soldiers and their pets," said Megan Summers, the Tennessee Chapter Communications Coordinator. “I cannot thank you enough for it.  I know it will be an awesome tool for us.”

One dog and soldier at a time, Guardian Angels hopes to promote an alternative option for veterans and those currently serving in the military and defer the unwanted surrender of a beloved animal.  “Every pet we have fostered is touching and inspiring in our eyes,” said Linda.  “The reaction of the pets seeing their owners after a yearlong deployment in harm’s way is priceless and our heroes tell us being reunited with their beloved pets assures them that there is one thing that has not changed while they were gone: the unconditional love provided by an animal.”

Article credit: Cesar's Way

Read more on dogs and the military:
Cesar in Fort Hood
News: Military Hero Dogs Return Home
The HEROES Come Home


date Tuesday, June 21, 2011




When the lazy days of barbecues and swimming pools roll around, you can make them even better by sharing them with your Boxer.

By following a few summer pet safety tips, you can keep your furkids healthy and enjoy the months of sun and fun:

* Never leave your Boxer unattended in the parked car. Though it may seem cool outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down. Boxers are susceptible to heat stroke and possible death in these conditions. If you need to run some errands, leave your Boxers at home.

* As you're outside enjoying the warm weather, keep your Boxer leashed. It will keep her from getting lost, fighting other animals, and eating and drinking things that could make her sick.

* All dogs should have proper identification at all times. The AKC suggests a collar with an ID tag, along with a tattoo or a microchip.

* Water, water everywhere. Whether you're indoors or out, both you and your Boxer need access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so check their water bowl several times a day to be sure it's full. If you and your furkids venture forth for the afternoon, bring plenty of water for both of you.

* Beware of insect bites. If your Boxer is bitten or stung, remove the stinger and watch the site for an allergic reaction. If a reaction occurs or there have been multiple wasp, bee or mosquito bites, take your Boxer to the vet.

* When you are driving, do not let your Boxer stick its head out of the car window ... this may lead to eye or ear injuries. Also, do not let your Boxer travel in the back of an open pickup truck. Your Boxer could be injured in an accident. (My neighbor's dog was killed when he tried to jump out ... he had ridden in the truck bed many times before with no problems ... very sad.)

* Boxers need sunscreen too. Though they have fur to help protect them, your Boxer can get sunburned, particularly if they have light skin and hair (i.e. White Boxers). Sunburn in Boxers can cause problems similar to those that it can cause in people, including pain, peeling, and skin cancer. So keep your Boxer out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and when you do go out, rub a bit of sunblock (pet approved kind only) on unprotected areas like the tips of her ears, the skin around their lips, and the tip of their nose ... about 30 minutes before going outside.

* Talk with your veterinarian about Lyme disease, and flea & tick prevention medications.

* Heartworm is a common problem for dogs. Take your Boxer to a vet for a heartworm check every spring and follow your vet's advice for heartworm precautions.

* Watch out for antifreeze. Hot weather may tempt your Boxer to drink from puddles in the street, which can contain antifreeze and other chemicals. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like, but it's extremely toxic. When you're walking your Boxer, make sure he doesn't sneak a drink from the street.

* Most lawn and garden products may be hazardous. Make sure that plants and fertilizers within your Boxer's reach are not toxic. Coco mulch is poisonous, for example.

* Be cautious on humid days. Humidity interferes with a Boxer's ability to rid themselves of excess body heat. When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Our four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body. To rid themselves of excess heat, Boxers pant. Air moves through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body. As it is expelled through the mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. Although this is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas of high humidity or when your Boxer is in close quarters.

* Make sure your Boxer doesn't overexert themselves. Though exercise is an important part of keeping your dog at a healthy weight, which helps his body stay cool, overdoing it can cause him to overheat. Keep the walks to a gentle pace and make sure he has plenty of water. If your Boxer is panting a lot or seems exhausted, it's time to stop.

* If your Boxer is out of shape (or elderly), don't encourage him to run on the sand. Running on a beach is strenuous exercise, and a dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament.

* Elderly, very young, and ill Boxers have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on steamy summer days. Dogs with snub noses, such as Boxers, have a hard time staying cool because they can't pant efficiently, so they need to stay out of the heat. Otherwise, heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death.

* Overweight Boxers are also more prone to overheating, because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death.

* Try to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on extremely hot days and refrain from physical activity when the sun's heat is most intense.

* After a day in the lake, rinse your Boxer off with fresh water.

* The outdoors exposes dogs to the elements. Dogs may need extra brushing and bathing to stay clean and healthy.

* Bring them inside. Boxers shouldn't be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in the shade. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and dogs can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your Boxer in the backyard, keep a close eye on them and bring them in when you can.

* No matter how careful and responsible you may be, accidents can happen. Make sure your vet's phone number is close at hand and available to all family members.

Have fun & Be safe!

By-the-way, even though this post was written for Boxers,
many of the tips can be applied to all dogs (and cats).

~ Portions provided by the American Kennel Club ( and the American Animal Hospital Association ( ~ 


date Tuesday, June 14, 2011


In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. What a neat idea! Well ... in our neck-of-the-woods, Sunday is the day we relax, rejuvenate, and prepare for the following week. Soooo, in the spirit of Aloha Friday (and since we just found out about this fun blog hop today) we would love to join the hop.

The way it works is you post a short question on your blog, and link up each week at An Island Life (the hostess of this event),  so others can come and visit your blog and answer your question.

So, here goes ... Our question for you is:

If you could be any animal, what would you choose to be and why? 


date Sunday, June 12, 2011


Flea season is upon us. Flea prevention, however, does not always require the use of harmful chemicals. Below are some chemical-free ideas on flea management.

- Available in health food stores, citrus peel extract-based solutions can be used to wash floors and clean bedding of fleas.

- Cut orange chunks can be boiled in water to create a topical solution. Be sure to let the liquid cool and then pour it over your dog’s fur taking care to rub it into the skin.

- Diatomaceous earth is a dry powder that can occasionally be applied directly to your pet’s fur. This natural, organic product dehydrates fleas and helps rid your pet of these pests. This powder can also be applied in small quantities to dog food to help prevent fleas.

- Regular bathing with a mild, natural soap can also be very effective part of a chemical-free flea prevention program.

Do you have any more to add? What have YOU found to be most effective?
~ Zena ~
scratch ... scratch

date Thursday, June 9, 2011

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