Back to school separation anxiety

In households with school-aged kids, summers are typically full of fun for everyone in the family – including the dog. But what happens when the kids head back to school in the late summer and the house is suddenly quiet and lonely?

With this sudden change in daily routine, your dog  may experience depression or separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from the people they’re attached to.

Signs your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety include destructive or anxious behaviors like:

Attempting to escape from the house or yard
The good news is there are things you can do to help relieve your pup’s distress. Here are some tips to help your dog overcome the “back-to-school blues.”

1. Schedule an appointment with your vet. Your dog’s anxiety might have an underlying medical cause or your vet might have some additional ideas to help relieve your dog’s stress.
2. Consider preparing Kongs stuffed with peanut butter or some other favorite treat. Working to get the treat out will provide your dog a distraction from his stress and hours of enjoyment and mental stimulation while you’re gone.
3. Check out some doggie day cares in your area. A day or two of supervised play and exercise may be beneficial to your lonely dog.
4. Take your pooch for long morning walks to get him plenty of exercise and tire him out.
Spend quality time with your dog when you are at home; include him in family activities to assure him he’s still an important part of the family.


Keep your outdoor cats cool

It is hard to believe that we are posting about heat in September but since we live in Southern California, this is a legitimate concern – we are having a HOT week.
Here are some tips on how to keep outdoor cats cool:
  • Supply cats with a constant supply of fresh, clean water. Alley Cat Allies recommends using a narrow bowl with more depth to reduce the rate of evaporation during hot summer months. Offer several bowls in various locations on your property.
  • Freeze a bowl of water the night before and place it outside during the heat. Ice is a treat for any cat, but the frozen water keeps the bowl and water cool as it melts.
  • Offer shady spaces for your cat to escape the direct sunlight. Creating shady areas can be as temporary and simple as placing a cardboard box on its side or as long-lasting as constructing a dog house or planting a tree.
  • Avoid tethering or confining your cat on hot days. The spot where your cat is confined may start off shady, but the change in light can render the spot in full sun during another part of the day. Afford your cat the ability to seek out a cooler spot during the heat of the day.
  • Groom your cat on a regular basis. Remove dead fur and matted clumps that trap heat against the cat’s body. Speak to your veterinarian to find out if trimming or shaving the cat’s coat is a viable option.
  • Wet down your cat. Some cats will allow you to rub them with a wet towel or soak them with a hose, however most domestic cats are averse to water. Dampen your hands before petting your cats. As the water evaporates, it cools the cat.
  • Apply a pet safe sunscreen to outdoor cats who are out and about during the hottest parts of the day. Sunburn not only poses a long-term cancer risk, but burns trap in heat and make temperatures seem worse than they are. A pet safe sunburn can keep your cat from feeling too warm.

Happy Responsible Dog Ownership Month

This month, in honor of responsible dog ownership month, we feature some guidelines for responsible pet ownership.
Owning a pet is a privilege and should result in a mutually beneficial relationship. However, the benefits of pet ownership come with obligations. Responsible pet ownership includes:

– Committing to the relationship for the life of the pet(s).
– Avoiding impulsive decisions about obtaining pet(s), and carefully selecting pet(s) suited to your home and lifestyle.
– Recognizing that ownership of pet(s) requires an investment of time and money.
– Keeping only the type and number of pets for which an appropriate and safe environment can be provided, including appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
– Ensuring pets are properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and that registration information in associated databases is kept up-to-date
– Adherence to local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements.
– Controlling pet(s)’ reproduction through managed breeding, containment, or spay/neuter thereby helping to address animal control and overpopulation problems.
– Establishing and maintaining a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
– Providing preventive (e.g., vaccinations, parasite control) and therapeutic health care for the life of pet(s) in consultation with, and as recommended by, its veterinarian.
– Socialization and appropriate training for pet(s), which facilitates their well-being and the well-being of other animals and people.
– Preventing pet(s) from negatively impacting other people, animals and the environment, including proper waste disposal, noise control, and not allowing pet(s) to stray or become feral.
– Providing exercise and mental stimulation appropriate to the pet(s)’ age, breed, and health status.
– Advance preparation to ensure the pet(s)’ well-being in the case of an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
– Making alternative arrangements if caring for the pet is no longer possible.
– Recognizing declines in the pet(s)’ quality of life and making decisions in consultation with a veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (e.g., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia)


Wildlife and pets

Today, on national wildlife day, we would like to give you some tips on keeping your pets safe during hikes, camping trips, or even in your back yard!

Behavior Modification

Option 1: Keep pets indoors.  The fact is keeping pets indoors is the best way to protect your animal from the dangers posed by wildlife and cars. Your pet will be protected from not only injury but also contracting potential diseases.
Option 2: Keep pets inside yard.  This method isn’t as secure as option 1 as wildlife can often approach your animal. There are some ways to increase the protection.
Pets can be kept inside yards by a variety of means.

Electronic-invisible (normally for dogs)
Leashes–normally for dogs
Fences–both dogs and cats. Search the Internet for “pet fences”

Physical Barriers (to keep wildlife out)

Sometimes, fences have to be able to not only keep pets on your property, but also to keep other wildlife from entering your property.

Fence type is determined by the kinds of species you are seeking to protect your pet against.

Coyotes. Fence should be at least 6 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. Some claim a device known as the “coyote roller” is effective in making smaller fences coyote proof by preventing the coyote from gaining a foothold and pulling himself over. However, the fence should be at least 5 feet high before installing this device. Fences must also be secure to the ground (better to have them buried in the ground) to prevent coyotes from crawling under the fence.

Skunks and similar animals. Install a 4 foot fence with 12 inches of the fence buried one inch below the ground surface, bent away from the property at a 90 degree angle. This fence skirt will stop an animal from digging underneath the fence to gain entry into the property.
Raccoons.  See skunks.  Fence should be as tall as possible. To prevent climbing, install an electrical wire near the top of the fence (if legal) or angle the top portion of the fence to prevent further climbing.  Pay special attention to corners of the fence as these are often neglected.

Out and about

Dogs off leash can disturb nesting ground birds, chase, injure or kill small mammals, deer, etc – keep your dog on a leash!

– Keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.
– Always supervise pets when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
– Avoid going near den sites and thick vegetation.
– If you find an animal carcass, leave the area, it could be a kill that a cougar is guarding or will be returning to.
– Make noise while hiking.
– Do not allow dogs to play with or chase wildlife.
IF YOU ENCOUNTER WILDLIFE: Keep your dog leashed and under control.
Always give the animal a clear escape route. Do not crowd the animal; doing so could make it stressed and unpredictable.

– Stay calm, do not run.
– Pick up small pets and children.
– Appear as big and as loud as possible.
– Stomp your feet, and clap your hands.
– Shout in a loud, authoritative voice.
– Throw sticks or rocks at the animal if it approaches.
– Do not turn your back. Face the animal and back away slowly.
– If attacked, fight back!
– Rattlesnakes: stop and listen to where the rattle sound is coming from. Don’t jump or run. Slowly back away.
– If a deer knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your head and lie still until the animal retreats.

House Cats and Wildlife

House cats, due to their predatory nature, do pose a threat to wildlife populations such as songbirds and small mammals. Free-roaming house cats can be an attractant to bring wildlife, like coyotes, into a neighborhood. The cats themselves are often at risk of being preyed upon by larger predators like coyotes, foxes, raccoons, cougars, skunks, raptors and domestic dogs. The human safety risk is higher once wild animals find a food source close to urban areas. Cats can also contract diseases like rabies, from coming in contact with wildlife.

Training Your Cat to Become an Indoor Cat
To protect our pets and wildlife, here are some tips to turn an outdoor cat into a happy indoor cat.

– When acquiring a new cat, keep it inside from the start.
– Gradually decrease the amount of time your cat spends outdoors and increase the time indoors. This may be easiest to do during the winter months.
– Provide indoor activities such as cat condos, window perches, interactive toys, and scratch posts.
– Offer fresh cat greens often.
– Provide an outdoor enclosed and covered room, patio or run. The cat can access the safe outdoor area through a cat door or window door. There are several commercial cat runs and outdoor cat exploring cages available at pet supply companies.
– Consider leash training to supervise the cat’s time outside.

Protecting Pets:
– Keep vaccinations current.
– Spay and neuter.
– Do not let pets outside at night.
– Provide a reflective collar with identification and a bell to warn wildlife of the cat’s presence.
– Keep cats indoors during the spring baby bird season.
– Trim your cat’s nails every one to two weeks