From hungry ticks to shish kabob sticks, from sweltering heat to booming fireworks, the trappings of the 4th of July hold more than a few perils for dogs.
So, before enjoying Independence Day, it’s a good idea to take a minute to remember that dogs — however independent they may be — are dependent on us, and can use a little help in avoiding the hazards that we, mostly, create.
Cookouts, hot weather and fireworks all pose a danger to dogs, says LizRozanski, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Here’s a list of tip offered by the school.
- Shish kabobs and other foods-on-a-stick pose a special danger to dogs, who can ingest them and wind up with fragments that can cause blockages or gastrointestinal perforations, says Dr. Rozanski, who is section head of emergency care at Tufts’ Foster Hospital for Small Animals
- Bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter inside a dog’s digestive tract. Keep pets clear of chicken wings and don’t give them bones from the meat you grill.
- Other foods can be toxic to dogs. The garlic in your favorite marinade, the grapes and raisins in your fruit salad, or the chocolate in your brownies can all cause harm. Keep them out of your dog’s reach.
- A little food at the cookout is fun for dogs, but “people” food adds up quickly, so have your guests, especially kids, check in with you before feeding Fido their scraps. Letting dogs overeat can cause vomiting or more serious problems.
- During the hot, humid months, heat stroke and exhaustion are a special concern for canines. Make sure they have plenty of water. Put some ice cubes in it for a special treat, and provide a shady spot to lie down. If your dog is panting excessively, shows signs of lethargy or has dry gums, call your veterinarian right away.
- Never leave pets in the car, particularly during warm weather.
- Dogs afraid of thunder are most certainly going to be fearful of fireworks. If you head out with your family to watch the fireworks, make sure your dog has a safe, quiet place to rest.
(Video: Comedian Louis CK posted this video on YouTube of his dog trying to drink from a park sprinkler)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bones, cars, chicken wings, cookouts, dangers, dog, dogs, exhaustion, fireworks, fourth of july, garlic, grapes, grills, hazards, heat, heat stroke, hydration, independence day, july 4, july 4th, july fourth, louis ck, noise, overeating, perils, pets, picnics, raisins, shade, shish kabob, sprinkler, toxic, video, water
Friendships — like rose bushes, newborns and wimpy dogs – need to be nurtured.
But it’s good to know that, even when you’ve done a piss poor job at that, friendships have a kudzu-like ability to survive.
When I reunited with two college roommates on a camping trip in the mountains of North Carolina last week — one I’ve seen every five or so years, one I haven’t so much as exchanged words with in probably 20 – we picked up right where we likely left off, with a beer.
My ex-roommate George and I were originally planning to rent an RV and drive to Missouri. It was to be one of the final treks in my year of dogging it across America for Travels with Ace – a visit to Warrrensburg, where the phrase “man’s best friend” is said to have originated.
(Actually, what lawyer George Graham Vest said, in an 1870 courtroom speech, was that a dog was “the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world.” Over the years, it was made more sound-bite friendly.)
Vest was representing Charles Burden, whose black and tan hound, Old Drum, had been shot by a neighboring farmer. Burden was seeking recompense, and won. He was awarded $50. There’s a statue of Old Drum in Warrensburg at the Johnson County Courthouse, and I figured Ace and I should see it.
After checking the mileage to Warrensburg, the rates to rent an RV, and my bank account, I decided against the trip, and George and I came up with an alternate plan — camping for a few days in the mountains, and inviting our friend John, who we had planned to visit, to join us at the campground instead.
George drove down from Fredericksburg, Va. — leaving his elderly dog Puck at home. Remembering the soggy camping experience Ace and I had in Provincetown, Mass., I persuaded George that we should stay in Winston-Salem for a day, waiting for the rain to leave the mountains.
On Wednesday, we loaded up my car, putting, in deference to Ace, as much as we could on the roof, including, once he was loaded into the backseat, the handicapped ramp he has been using to get in and out since he was diagnosed with a herniated disc.
Not fully over that, despite two rounds of drugs, Ace, up until we left, had still been emitting the occasional wimper, and was still being very careful whenever he shook his head.
George, Ace and I checked into the Davidson River Campground in Pisgah National Forest, which had been recommended by John, who lives in nearby Waynesville. We pitched, with some difficulty, my tent, sat back proudly to admire it despite some slight lopsidedness, then headed to nearby Brevard for provisions.
We picked up three steaks, some corn on the cob and, at George’s insistence, some make-your-own salads. To give you some idea of the kind of guy George is, he called John at work to ask him what ingredients he wanted in his salad. I would never have done that. Rather than ponder a friend’s salad preferences, I would have gotten macaroni and cheese.
I gave in to George’s carb-counting ways, built myself a salad and grabbed three different packets of salad dressing.
We got some charcoal, and beer, and a cherry pie, and bananas, and on our way back to the campground, where firewood was $5 a bundle, opted instead for some cheaper wood at a convenience store.
He went at it with great gusto and attention to detail, beginning a highly meticulous process of gathering kindling, and, much to Ace’s displeasure, snapping it into fire-pit-sized pieces.
Ace, who tends to get edgy when camping, freaked out about the noise of sticks being snapped and began seeking places to hide, jumping into the back of the car (without the aid of the ramp) and cowering in fear.
He’d have the same reaction every time the fire, once we got it burning, popped. His eyes would grow big, his curly upright tail would disappear between his legs and he’d slink back over to the car and hop in.
I attempted to reason with him, explaining he was in no danger, and he seemed to listen.
I told him to man up, or dog up, as the case may be — that we were tough and hearty campers, or at least pretending to be. But then the fire would crackle and he’d be back in the car again. He must have jumped in and out of the car 10 times, once squeezing through to sit in the front seat and be at a greater distance from the fire.
Eventually I gave up and let him rest there, figuring he would work up his courage and come out once the steaks hit the grill.
He brought his own firewood, which unlike that which we bought actually burned instead of just producing huge clouds of smoke. He brought a chair, an Arctic-rated sleeping bag, a bottle of wine, corkscrew and wineglasses. We discovered the next day that he had cloaked himself in long underwear as well — a wise decision, as it turned out.
On top of that, our campsite was located right next to a construction project. Crews were sandblasting an old pedestrian bridge that crossed over the Davidson River and will be returned there when work is complete.
We missed most of the sandblasting, being out on another excursion, and only had to put up with about 30 minutes of noise and dust.
That’s what they get for letting the non-planner do the planning.
As my steaks approached doneness — we’d splurged on filets — and the corn turned a golden brown, we turned to the question of salad dressing. I’d picked up a packet of raspberry vinaigrette, a red pepper vinaigrette and a sesame-ginger at the grocery store, the only choices at the salad bar.
We spent a good ten minutes deciding who should get which salad dressing — an unusually long time considering two of us really didn’t care at all, or at least pretended we didn’t, while George voiced a distinct preference for the raspberry vinaigrette.
Eventually, we got the matter settled — George got raspberry, John got red pepper vinaigrette and I got sesame ginger — and enjoyed a fine dinner. (I really wanted that red pepper vinaigrette.)
After dinner, we talked, sat around the fire and drank — once the wine was gone — more beer. We got caught up on each other’s children, and worked to figure out who lived with whom when back in our college days.
John seemed to have the best memory for that kind of detail, I the worst. Still, it’s amazing how, with a little push from friends, memories can return, and then, like dry wood tossed in a fire, spark yet more.
Once our firewood supply — and reminiscence supply — began running low, we headed into the tent, joining Ace who had chosen to seek refuge there, coming out only for some steak handouts. He seemed happy that everyone was finally settling down in one place, and that it was away from the fire.
Lined up in a row, Ace next to me with his paw on my hand, we all went to sleep. I was first up in the morning and started making coffee. Ace peeked out of the opening in the tent, but decided to say there, settling in between John and George.
After a breakfast of bananas and cherry pie, we took a short hike along the river. Later we went into Brevard for lunch. George’s cell phone and mine didn’t get a signal at the campground — not a good thing for a doctor (both John and George are of the medical persuasion), but no big deal for me.
Besides, it was the price one pays when one ventures deep (about a half mile) into the woods and leaves civilization behind. We were too busy being rugged to let that bother us.
Whenever we went into town, service would kick in and reveal our messages, and during lunch George did get an important phone call. It was his hairdresser, informing him that the salon had gotten in some of the product he uses — transforming gel.
That led to a brief round of making fun of George, led by George himself.
Later in afternoon, we decided to wash our dishes from the night before, even though the campground urges people not to do so. We went to the nearby bathroom and I assumed a lookout position while George washed our three plates.
I stopped in my tracks, then backed up, quaking in my sneakers and having visions of finding the snake in my sleeping bag later that night. Just as I had with Ace the night before, I was now telling myself to “man up,” which is surprising because I really dislike that phrase.
George didn’t seem alarmed at all. He seemed pretty sure it was — though exceedingly large — a harmless black snake. But I wasn’t about to let a guy who uses raspberry vinaigrette and transforming gel be my field guide to snakes in the wild.
We took the long way back to the campsite to get the camera and seek out John’s opinion — he being mountain-born and the most wilderness-savvy among us.
John agreed that it probably wasn’t a killer. He, too, wasn’t the least bit bothered by it. Then again, he was leaving that afternoon.
When George and I, after some card-playing and beer-drinking, went to sleep that night — in my case not before a subtle patting down of my sleeping bag — I can assure you that snake was the most distant thing from my mind.
Or at least I pretended it was.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, beer, brevard, camp, campfire, campground, camping, camping with dogs, college, davidson river, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, fears, fire, friends, friendship, man up, man's best friend, manliness, manly, memories, men, mountains, neurosis, noise, noises, north carolina, old drum, old freinds, pets, phobias, phrase, pisgah national forest, pretense, raspberry vinaigrette, reminiscing, road trip, roommates, salad, scary, sleeping bags, snakes, sticks, tent, transforming gel, travel, travels with ace, unc, university of north carolina, usa
After hanging out with David Love and his pit bull, Kitty — during which time my dog waited in the car — I owed Ace some fun, so I stopped at a smokehouse outside Brookings to pick up something to eat, then looked for a scenic place to eat it.
I toted my lunch — smoked salmon, a hunk of cheddar cheese and a bowl of clam chowder — to the beach and found a weathered and washed up tree trunk that was big enough to seat us both.
Smoked salmon is my new favorite thing. It may even be better than cigarettes.
I nibbled and sipped my soup, tossing hunks of cheese and pieces of salmon, including all the skin, to Ace. The ocean roared. A cool westerly wind made my food wrappers, and Ace’s ears, flutter. The sandy beach sprawled before us, empty except for pieces of wood washed grey. The sun, finally, was out.
Between the lulling surf, the warming sun and the full belly, I decided a few horizontal minutes might be nice — and the log was big enough to oblige. I stretched out atop it. Ace sat at the other end. And I fell asleep, just for 15 minutes or so. When I woke up, Ace was still sitting at the end of the log, staring out at the ocean.
Sometimes, I can’t tell whether Ace likes a place or not. If there are loud noises, big crowds, strange sights, he gets a little jumpy. But this one seemed to suit him just fine.
He seemed, almost, to be thinking — about what I have no idea, maybe when are we going to get home, how much longer do I have to spend in this car, what has become of my life. As we near the six-month mark on our road trip, I’m thinking more and more that, exciting as all these new sights and scents have been, he wants some familar surroundings, a routine.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if he’s enjoying himself as we cross America — does he give a whit, for instance, about the kind of scenic beauty that Oregon’s coast showed us? Does he care so much about where he is, or only who he is with, and when that person might come through with some dinner?
I don’t know. But there, on that beach, at that moment, he seemed perfectly content.
I was too, and could have easily fallen back asleep on my log bed. Instead we got up and walked a ways and played chase and danced at the edge of the surf, eluding the incoming waves. He darted around and took in mouthfuls of sand, as he does when he’s at the beach.
We stopped in the first town, Crescent City, and spent the night in a room with the most badly stained carpet I’ve ever seen. Ace sniffs out every new room, but he spent even more time on this one — going from spot to spot for a good 15 minutes.
Then he jumped up on the bed with me.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, beach, brookings, chrissey state park, coast, coastal, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, logs, noise, ocean, oregon, pets, photography, quiet, rest, road trip, rocks, shore, sleep, smoked salmon, surf, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, waves
Owners of dogs that make “excessive noise ” could face fines of up to $250 a day under an ordinance approved yesterday by a Chicago City Council committee.
Excessive noise is defined in the proposed ordinance as “repeated or habitual barking, whining, crying, howling (and) whimpering,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The law would apply to any animal, but the article doesn’t make clear whether that includes humans.
“It’s not an anti-dog thing,” said Alderman Patrick O’Connor, who co-sponsored the measure . “It’s not preventing dogs from being dogs. It just means that if you let your dog bark all day everyday, disturbing peace for people in the area, there’s a possibility now that police can do something.”
Under the law, the noise would have to occur continually for at least 10 minutes or intermittently for “a significant portion of the night.” It also would have to be louder than the average conversation at a distance of 100 feet or more. Complaints about a dog from three residents, from different addresses, could also trigger enforcement, leading to fines of $50 to $250.
O’Connor noted the two dogs who live at his home “could be the poster children for this ordinance — two small, little yappy dogs, but if I leave them out for hours on end, I’m an irresponsible dog owner.”
The ordinance still needs approval from the full City Council.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alderman, barking, barks, chicago, city council, complaints, crying, dogs, excessive, fines, howling, loud, noise, ordinance, patrick o'connor, proposal, proposed, whimpering, whining
With the thunder and lightning seeming to be nearly a daily occurence this week, here are some tips on helping your dog weather the storms.
Dogs’ fear of thunder can be a result of different factors. Some dogs may be genetically disposed to the problem, while others may have learned to be afraid of storms. Some may react mildly to them, some severely. Some — as with my dog Ace and fireworks — don’t develop the fear until they are 4 or 5 years old. As a result there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment, but here’s a look at some of them remedies being touted on the marketplace.
For starters, good old fashion cotton stuffed in the ears helps some, but make sure you don’t stuff it in so tightly and deeply it becomes stuck.
Some veterinarians suggest trying to desensitize the dog to thunder by playing a tape or CD with storm sounds, turning it on for a few seconds at a time, then increasing the increments, until the dog becomes conditioned to it.
Many theorize that it’s the static electricity and changes in barometric pressure that disturbs some dogs, which explains why they might get upset before the storm actually starts, or why they might head for the bathtub.
The “Storm Defender” — one of the solutions featured in the video above — is a product that claims to keep your dog from becoming anxious and destructive during a storm by putting him in a cape made of metallic fabric. It’s makers say it disperses the static electricity that builds up before a storm and may make a dog feel unsettled.
Other versions of canine ”thunderwear” are available, ranging from earmuffs and head halters to swaddling attire that can help calm stressed-out dogs.
Other remedies include medication, such as anti-anxiety drugs — the canine versions of Xanax of Prozac — that are becoming increasingly prescribed by veterinarians. Some suggest the herbal form of Valium, valerian, or dog appeasing pheromones.
Beyond that, the advice is much the same as it is for the Fourth of July – turn on the television, stay home, play music, let the dog stay close, but don’t coddle , and above all, don’t scold.
For even more tips and background, check out this Associated Press story.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: barometric pressure, care, cotton, desensitize, disturbed, dogs, drugs, electricity, fear, health, loud, medication, noise, remedies, safety, solutions, static, storm defender, storms, thunder, thunderwear, tips, treatment, upset
So, if there’s no deep meaning behind barks (not that we buy that study), how do you explain this?
Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy is coming out with a new “Bowlingual” gadget that can translate dog barks into the human language, AFP reports.
The new model analyzes six emotions, including joy, sadness and frustration, and speaks phrases such as “Play with me!” — an improvement on the original which just showed them on a screen.
The original version of the toy, which has a handset and a microphone attached to a dog collar, won the Ig Nobel Prize in 2002. The awards, a parody of the Nobel Prizes, celebrate achievements that make people laugh and think.
The new Bowlingual Voice, priced at about $212, will be launched in Japan next month, Yamada said.
Initially, it will be only available in Japanese. The original non-speaking version is also available in English and Korean.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bark, barking, barks, bowlingual, dog, dogs, gadget, human, language, meaning, noise, sounds, studies, takara tomy, toy, translate, translating, words
With the Fourth of July approaching, it’s time once again for a few reminders, most of which we all already know, but, as they say, better safe than sorry.
First off, make sure your dog is wearing identification tags — even if you’re both planning a quiet evening at home.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) has issued a reminder that even animals not inclined to roam may uncharacteristically do so amid the bangs and booms. Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving a surge of “Independence Day” dogs — so make sure your’s is carrying the information needed to get him or her back to you.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 4th, akc, american kennel club, dog, dogs, fear, fireworks, fourth, health, july, loud, noise, safe, safety, scare, startle, tips
The city Friday submitted plans that include broadcasting the sound of barking dogs for use if and when it is ordered to stop harbor seals from congregating at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool beach, where their numbers have raised health concerns and precluded children’s play.
A lawsuit against the city claims the seals’ presence violates the terms of the 1913 trust that established the beach as a safe wading area for children. Attorneys representing the plaintiff filed a motion last week asking that the seals be immediately dispersed. The lawsuit was filed not against the seals, or Mother Nature, but against the city.
If the order comes, according to the La Jolla Light, the city would use loudspeakers to broadcast the sound of barking dogs to attempt to disperse the seals. Other steps outlined include having employees or contractors harass the seals from afar, possibly spraying water at them.
The plan, at an estimated cost of $688,934, would require personnel to walk the beach from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week for a year, .
(Note to the city of San Diego: Ace and I hereby volunteer for that contract; for half that price, we’d even be willing to camp there at night. Ace would bark at seals and act intimidating, while I would patrol the shore, saying, “Move along now, seals, nothing to see here.”)
The plan submitted to the court also includes steps to protect the public, noting that dispersing the seals “has a high potential to create an environment requiring a police response.” It includes facilitating traffic flow, monitoring demonstrations, keeping the peace and responding to calls. Animal welfare activists have spoken out against evicting the seals.
For a closer look at the plan, you can find it on a council member’s website.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activists, animal welfare, bark, beach, california, case, childrens pool, court, disperse, environment, filed, harass, harbor seals, la jolla, lawsuit, loudspeaker, nature, noise, plan, san diego, seals, wildlife
The debate raging here on ohmidog! – and in the rest of the world, too — just had a little more fuel thrown on it: A new British study says dominance-based dog training techniques such as those espoused by Cesar Millan are a waste of time and may make dogs more aggressive.
Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, after studying dogs for six months, conclude that, contrary to popular belief, dogs are not trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack” and aren’t motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order.
One of the scientists behind the study, Dr. Rachel Casey, in an interview with ABC News, said the blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people or other dogs is “frankly ridiculous.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, behavior, behaviorists, british, cesar millan, critical, criticizes, debate, disagreement, dog, dog training, dog whisperer, dogs, dominance, leader, mentality, methods, noise, owners, pack, pinning, rewards, ridiculous, study, techniques, trainers, training
(Behave! is a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written for ohmidog! by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To see all of the columns, click on the Behave! tab on the rightside rail.)
While dogs bring lots of wonderful things to our lives, they can also bring muddy paws, dog breath and, sometimes, enough noise to drive you ,or worse yet your neighbors, crazy.
Incessantly barking dogs can, and have, led to full-fledged war between neighbors. But as with much bad behavior — not just canine — the key to stopping it is understanding why it’s taking place.
First, let’s debunk some myths: Barking is not the dog version of conversation. Dogs don’t communicate that way, they use body language for most of their “discussion” with us, and with other animals. Dogs don’t have a barked vocabulary. Nor do dogs speak English, so you can’t reason with your dog to be quiet.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alert, bark, barked, barking, behave!, behavior, boredom, canine, communication, dog, dogs, ignore, loud, neighbor, neighbors, noise, nuisance, over-stimulation, reward, rewards, separation anxiety, silence, startle, training, types, under stimulation