Monday, December 28, 2015

The Spirit of Giving

It seems the holiday spirit is infectious this time of year.  It’s the time when people are nicer, more compassionate, more giving, and usually happier.  

The spirit of giving is an interesting component of the overall holiday spirit.  It can be loosely defined by the Webster dictionary as an inclination, impulse, or tendency to give.  How can you not be intrigued by an invisible force that mystically inspires people to give more than any other time of year?  Don’t believe it? This concept is reinforced with the fact that almost all non-profit organizations receive 40% of their yearly donations in the last six weeks of the year, despite the need for donations all year long. (

Instead of trying to solve the world’s great mysteries, we will embrace the spirit of giving and let ourselves be inspired to give as well.  As we consider our approach to giving we are faced with two main possibilities.  1. Give donations or 2. Give time.  

1. Give donations:

Animal shelters have always had a rough time caring for the large influx of animals that come in each year. “Approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States serve the estimated 6-8 million homeless animals who need refuge each year.  Many more animals find themselves in need of the services provided by local rescue groups….Shelters and rescues are always in need of towels, food, toys, and other supplies for the animals, often specified in a “wish list” on their website. Give what you can, ask family, friends and colleagues to do so as well.” – Humane Society.

Dachs 2 Danes will be accepting donations for the OC Animal Care Center at the daycare facility through the month of December.  Please drop off any unwanted towels, dog toys, blankets, food, newspaper, brushes, bedding, treats, or other item on the shelter's wish list

2. Give time:

Volunteering is a great activity for the whole family and it teaches children the true meaning of giving as well as a greater understanding and appreciation for the things they have.  Volunteering helps build character through humility, kindness, compassion, understanding, generosity, caring, and serving someone regardless their own problems or needs.  Cities are always looking for volunteers to help keep communities beautiful and community programs available. The chance to make a difference in an animal’s life is a gift in itself.  

When thinking about how your family can make the most of giving this season, consider extending your commitment to providing charitable acts throughout the year.  Many organizations have plenty of volunteers over the holidays but lack sufficient volunteer resources the remainder of the year.  

There is really no substitute for the feeling you get after giving your time to help someone else in need.  Open your heart this holiday season (and for the rest of the year) to an animal in need and watch the positive impact blossom in your life.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Did you ever have a stroke of genius only to discover later that it wasn’t such a good idea after all?  While we all make those bad choices at least once in our lives we should not be so careless when it comes to another living being.  Here are a couple of helpful tips to get you and your dog though this holiday season without an ‘oops’ or a visit to the vet.  
Good Idea: Hanging the stockings by the chimney with care.
Bad Idea: Hanging treats (like candy canes) within reach of the dog.
We all know dogs (and cats) can be mischievous, and like toddlers, they like to stick things in their mouths.  Any holiday can be a dangerous time for a pet but Christmas time tends to have more sharp and toxic items for them to get a hold of. 
  • Keep all candy canes and sweets out of reach from your pup. 
  • Make sure all the electrical cords are tucked away or tapped down to keep your pup from chewing on them and getting shocked (or worse). 
  • Don’t let them drink the Christmas tree water as it can contain fertilizer or even bacteria. 
  • Keep holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, and lilies out of reach as these plants can be toxic to pets. 
  • And lastly, try to buy non-toxic decorations because we know that pets can’t resist playing with them.   
Good Idea: Enjoying holiday cheer with family and friends.
Bad Idea: Over-sharing Holiday Cheer with the dog.
We all know how stressful it can be having a ton of house guests over for the holidays.  Imagine how stressful it can be for your dog.  If you plan on having  a lot of company over at your house this holiday, give your dog a quiet and safe retreat somewhere in the house (as far from the commotion as you can) and turn on soothing music (like classical).  Of course, don’t forget to give her potty breaks.  If your dog is out mingling with guests, make sure your guests know the rules you have with your dog:  
  • No feeding scraps from the table (even if you do it normally)
  • No sharing drinks (alcoholic or not)
  • No pulling tails or ears
  • Watch for the dog when the door is open
  • No jumping on people (that rule is for the dog)  
Regardless of where your dog is in your home this holiday season, keep in mind that when dogs are stressed they tend to pant more and therefore require more water.  Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for her to drink.
Good Idea: Giving a gift card to your niece for Christmas.
Bad Idea: Giving a puppy to your niece for Christmas.
Animal shelters and rescue organizations know all too well that about half of all animals at the shelters (and nationwide) are owner surrenders.  The majority of pet owners say they got their pet from a friend or family member.  And while these pets are often acquired with the best of intentions, for one reason or another it doesn’t work out and the animal ends up in the ‘system’.  This is a big reason why organizations like ASPCA urge people not to buy pets as gifts.  
Picking out the perfect pet has to be a personal decision.  Believe it or not, every dog (and cat) has a unique personality, so it is best to find a companion that you feel a connection with and fits your lifestyle.  For example, a person who enjoys staying indoors and watching a movie rather than going on a hike would not be a good owner for a husky, as they require a lot of exercise.  Additionally, your friend or family member may say they want a pet but may not actually be ready for one.  In short, when deciding on what gift to give this year, go with the gift card and not a pet.   

Good Idea: Giving your dog a belly rub.
Bad Idea: Giving a perfect stranger a belly rub.
...For obvious reasons. ;-)  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Dinner for your Dog

Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry, sweet rolls, pumpkin pie;  With thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s almost impossible not to think about all the delicious food we’ll get to eat.  It’s hard not to feel bad for the dog who sits quietly under the table waiting for a meager scrap of food to fall for him.  But what do you do when you know it’s bad for him to get table scraps?  Well, you make him his own Thanksgiving feast.

Don’t know where to start?  There are hundreds of recipes available online that can help you create the best Thanksgiving meal for your dog.  

This recipe makes a large serving, making it easy to feed multiple dogs. Or  you could even refrigerate the left over servings and treat your dog to a homemade meal for the rest of the week.

What You'll Need:

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 8 oz. peas
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

How to Prepared:

        1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
        2. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well by hand. 
        3. On baking sheet, form into the shape of a large dog bone (or smaller dog bones if you have more than 1 dog or you plan on saving the leftovers).  
        4. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. 
        5. Let cool and serve.  

It's as simple as that!  So why not treat your dog to a Thanksgiving feast this year.  He will thank you by letting you eat your feast in peace. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Watching Weight


The holiday season is the time where most of us are blowing our diet on sweet treats and over-indulgent meals.  While you may obsess over your own diet on the regular (or maybe you don't), have you given much thought to your dog's diet? Specifically, how much he/she is getting to eat? 

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.7 percent of dogs are overweight or obese.  That's a little more than half of all the dogs in the U. S.  So whether or not you have asked yourself the question, "How much should I be feeding my dog?", the odds are you're feeding him/her too much.   

Excessive weight not only adds health issues that will keep you at the vets office, it also shortens the life of your fur baby.  So, if you haven't asked the question, there's no time like the present.  

How much should I feed my dog?

1. Food Label Recommendations -

A good starting point is the recommended feeding amount provided by the manufacturer. Of course, this recommendations are just that, recommendations, since the food company does not know your dog's specific calorie needs which can vary greatly depending on their level of activity, metabolism, and other factors. But, its a good starting point. Monitor how much you feed her, track her weight closely, and adjust accordingly. 

2. Appropriate Measurements -

If you measure your dogs food out in cups, be sure to use a measuring cup, not just any cup. Or use a measuring scale to be even more accurate. This will ensure you are giving your dog precisely the right amount of food, especially for small dogs, where one or two extra kibbles can actually make a difference.

3. Homemade Math - 

If you make homemade meals for your dog, calculate the amount of food as a percentage of your dog's body weight. Keep in mind smaller dogs eat a larger percentage of their body weight than bigger dogs do. Its best to feed most non-athlete pets only lean meats with less than 10% fat. And dogs fed grains and other strachy carbs will eat more food by weight than those fed primarily meat. 

4. Adding Up Extras -

Don't forget to include extra treats you give your dog throughout the day.  Those treats add up in calories and may undermine your efforts to slim your dog down. Unfortunately, many treats do not say how many calories each treat contains. One little treat can easily put your dog over their calorie count for the day.  For example: Greenies have about 272 calories each (depending on the size) while Bully sticks may contain 29 calories per inch. Simple Milk Bone Biscuits can have 10 to 225 calories each and Rawhides can have 80 calories per ounce. If you would like to know the calorie count for your dog's favorite treat, and it's not on the packaging, you can always contact the company.

5. Adding in the Right Foods - 

If you are trying to help your dog slim down but their sad portion of kibble doesn't satisfy them, you can try adding human food; as long as it's the right human food.  Adding in non-starchy vegetables, which are low in calories and provide valuable antioxidants and phytonutrients, may help your dog feel fuller. Some examples are carrots, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, and other leafy greens. While you can give these veggies as raw snacks, they need to be cooked in order for your dog to digest them.  Other beneficial human foods you can add include skinless chicken breast, low-fat or non-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, as well as sardines (packed in water, not oil).

If you are unsure if your dog (or cat) needs to slim down, consult your vet. They can help you figure out your pet's ideal weight, and you can go from there.

For more on Pet Obesity Prevention, visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website.

For dog food advice, reviews, and tools, including a food calculator, check out

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall's Simple Solution for Tummy Troubles

Fall is the season of the pumpkin.  Pumpkin treats are everywhere from desserts to coffee, and of course pumpkin carving for Halloween.  But did you also know it serves as a great remedy for dogs with upset stomachs?

Diarrhea and constipation are common ailments that plague dogs regularly, and there isn’t a whole lot they can do about it when it happens.

Diarrhea can happen for many reasons, such as a food allergy, a bacterial or viral infection, or a parasite problem (worms or Giardia); but most commonly it happens from a sudden change in diet or eating something that didn’t agree with them, and they simply need to pass it.

Constipation can also occur for many reason, such as from a lack of exercise or a blocked passage (i.e. enlarged gland; ate something that won't pass easily; matted hair around the anus; etc.). But most commonly it happens from getting too much or too little fiber in their diet. 

In those more common cases of diarrhea and constipation, where there is no serious underlying issue, there is a simple solution. Canned pumpkin.

Canned pumpkin, found at your neighborhood grocer, is a great source of fiber as well as Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.  It is also a healthy supplement low in Saturated Fat, Sodium and Cholesterol. These characteristics make pumpkin an excellent source of natural relief in the digestion process, helping cure an upset stomach, solidify runny stool, and also soften stool causing constipation.  

Some vets even recommend pumpkin for help with weight loss because the high fiber content will make your dog feel fuller despite any reduction in the amount they eating. But always consult your vet before making that sort of dietary change for your dog.

If you are going to give your dog pumpkin to help stop diarrhea or constipation, here’s what you need to know:

Use only canned pumpkin (which can be found in the baking section of the grocery store) or cooked pumpkin.  Do Not use Pumpkin pie filling or mix – It’s not the same thing.

·         For a small dog: Give 1 – 2 teaspoons of pumpkin (mixed in with their food, if they’ll eat. Otherwise just a treat to lick).
·         For a larger dog: Give 1 - 2 tablespoons of pumpkin mixed in with their food, if they’ll eat. Otherwise just a treat to lick).
·         For medium sized dogs, which can be a broad measurement in the dog world, give them an amount between the two options, depending on if they are closer to a small size dog or a larger dog.

Normal diarrhea and constipation are usually cured quickly with pumpkin, so you don’t typically need to give them very many servings.  But, pumpkin is still a beneficial supplement for a dog and worth hanging on to, so if you find yourself with leftover pumpkin you have 2 options:
1.    You can split the remaining pumpkin up into baggies of 1 - 2 tablespoons and keep them in the freezer for future use.


2.    Continue to add pumpkin to your dog’s food until you finish the can.  Or, if you like, continue to give pumpkin even after that, to aid in healthy digestion.   This can be a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs who tend to have loose stool regularly.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Enjoy the Outdoors without Getting Snakes

Hearing the word Snake fills many people with fear and anxiety.  Even the brave and daring Indiana Jones hated snakes.  While snakes can be a pest, we should keep in mind how important they are to our ecosystem. As one of the Earth’s most efficient predators, snakes help keep the rodent population in check.  Without that, we would have a serious pest problem.
Rattlesnakes, while helpful maintaining balance in nature, can also be a big problem for humans and their pets – especially dogs.
According to the Animal Medical Center of Southern California, dogs are 20 times more likely to be bitten by a venomous snake than humans, and 25 times more likely to die as a result. Snake bites are life-threatening, painful, expensive to treat, and can cause permanent damage – even when the dog survives.
99% of snakes that bite are Pit Vipers – Copperheads, Cottonmouths (Water Moccasins), and Rattlesnakes (which have a dozen different species). The remaining 1% are Coral Snake bites in the American Southeast and Mexican border.  Pit Vipers are called Hemotoxic, which means their venom disrupts the integrity of blood vessels.  Dramatic swelling, blood loss, and uncontrolled bleeding can occur, which can quickly lead to shock and death.
Because snake bites can go from bad to worse in very little time, it is not recommended that one spends time on first aid.  Snake bites need immediate medical attention and treatment, whether your dog is showing signs of distress or not.
What to do if your dog has been bitten by a snake:
  1. Stay calm
  2. Wash the bite with clean water and soap
  3. Keep your dog quiet
  4. Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart
  5. Seek immediate veterinary help, even if you are not certain that it is a Rattlesnake bite
  6. Call an emergency vet clinic ahead so (a.)You can see if they have necessary treatment available and (b.) They can prepare for your arrival
  1. Remove any restrictive collars, choke chains, etc. before swelling begins.
  2. Unless the bite is on the head or face, consider using a muzzle on your dog to protect anyone handling her, since extreme pain can cause any dog to bite.
There are antivenom solutions for snake bites that can saves a dog’s life, but they are very expensive ($300 - $1000 per vile, and multiple doses are needed for treatment), and not all veterinarians carry them.  
Antivenom, which has been created for dozens of poisonous snakes, spiders, and scorpions around the world, is considered the most effective if administered within 4 hours of the bite, and less effective if administered after 8 hours. The anitvenom is still recommended as a treatment within 24 hours of severe symptoms. However, a lot depends on the bite’s location, the dog’s size and overall health, and the snake bite’s toxicity.
Not all snake bites are equally toxic.  Baby rattlesnakes are more potent than adults because when they bite they release all of their venom.  Whereas, adults snakes release venom according to the size of their prey. 
An estimated 20-25% of rattlesnake bites to dogs don’t contain venom.  But still 30% cause mild symptoms of pain and swelling, 40% are severe, and about 5% are fatal.
To avoid the emotional and financial nightmare, do your best to avoid the whole situation. 
Things to know to help you avoid snakes:
  1. Rattlesnakes are most likely to be seen while hiking, camping, climbing, or walking on a trail. In Orange County there are several regional parks that are home to snakes.
  2. Rattlesnakes tend to be more active in the summer months, but with pretty mild weather in Southern California all year long, Rattlesnakes can be active here all year long. Their favorite temperatures are 70°F- 90°F.
  3. Encounters are most likely to happen around rocks, bushes, brush, woodpiles, and wherever snakes can hide. So when walking in potential snake zones, keep your dog on a short leash – avoiding any potential hiding place for a snake.
  4. Don’t let your dog explore holes, dig under rocks, or investigate a dead snake (as they can still be poisonous).
  5. If you notice a snake, back away quickly and quietly. A snake can strike at a distance of 2/3 its body length, and at a speed the human eye cannot follow. So keep a good distance if you can.
  6. Be careful around water because Rattlesnakes can swim. And anything that looks like a long stick could be a snake.
  7. Keep your property rodent free to avoid inviting snakes around. Block and plug any holes or cracks under doorways that a snake might use to find a hiding place. And store firewood away from your house.  
  8. It is not recommended that you use caustic Lye (or products such as gels, powders, and ropes) that advertise to deter snakes, since they are ineffective and potentially harmful to children and pets.
Don’t let snakes, bees, or other biting insects deter you from enjoying the outdoors.  Just be aware of your surroundings and you and your dog are sure to have a great time.

Enjoy the Outdoors without Getting Bit...By Bees

Fall is here, and with that tends to come more camping and outdoor adventures. Spending more time outdoors this fall will expose you and your dog to more natural elements, some of which can pose a serious threat that your dog might be completely oblivious to. 

If your dog is like mine, they like to chase flying objects. There is no regard for the difference between a harmless flying object and one that bites. Even when we had a hive in our backyard (that we were told was not removable) our dog, Maui, got stung pretty regularly because she wouldn’t stop chasing and biting at bees. Unfortunately, dogs don’t seem to know any better.

When walking dogs, I’ve walked by many shrubs that were dancing with pollinating bees.  I have come across hives, in trees and on the ground.  I’ve even been in the park when a hive was swarming.  In each instance, I steer clear and pay attention to any possibly angry bees that might happen upon us.  Why? Because bee stings can cause serious damage if your dog has an allergic reaction. 

Even if your dog only has a minor reaction to 1 bee sting, any dog can have a severe reaction to multiple stings. So what should you do when bees attack?

What to do when bees or wasps attack:
  1. Avoid making loud noises, such as shouting.
  2. Do not disturb the hive/nest, or get close to it.
  3. Take warning if a few bees or wasps come out and dive bomb you. This means leave immediately.
  4. Don’t swat or attempt to kill the bees or wasps, as that will only aggravate them.
  5. Run if bees or wasps come after you (if possible, run into the wind, which will slow the insect down). Make your dog run with you or carry her.  It is possible to outrun bees and wasps, but they are very determined, so you will probably have to run again.
  6. Protect your face. If your dog is in your arms, cuddle him as you run.
  7. Do not attempt to hide from bees and wasps in water. Swarms can hover over and wait for you.  (You can get into water after you are sure the bees or wasps are no longer chasing you. Getting in water would help ensure the insects are off of you and not hiding in your dog’s coat or somewhere on you).
  8. Do not stop running until you are certain the bees or wasps have retreated.

How to know if your dog has been stung:
  1. Your dog may leap up, cry out, run in circles, rub his face, and/or scratch at the sting site.
  2. You will notice swelling at the sting site, which may spread and become more severe depending on the reaction.
If your dog has been stung, the severity of the situation will depend on how many stings, the degree of swelling, and whether your dog has any reactions that might indicate anaphylactic shock (an allergic reaction).
If severe, the symptoms will usually appear right away, in the first 5 minutes, or 30 minutes at the most.

Signs of a severe reaction include:
  1. Excessive salivation (drooling)
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Difficulty breathing
  5. Trembling
  6. Fainting or Collapsing (reactions can sometimes mimic seizures)
  7. Pale gums
  8. Hives
  9. Mental change, such as unresponsiveness, confusion, or abnormal behavior
In severe cases such as these, you should seek immediate veterinary care. If you learn your dog is allergic to bee or wasp stings, you may consider carrying an EpiPen (injectable epinephrine) to counteract anaphylactic shock.  Consult your veterinarian first.

What to do if your dog has been stung (or bitten by another insect):
  1. If there is still a stinger in your dog’s skin, scrape it off (using a credit card or the like). Using tweezers can cause you to squeeze more venom into the skin, so best not to use them.
  2. Use a cold pack to help reduce swelling. Hold the cold pack on for 20 minutes at a time. In a pinch, a cold wash cloth or towel can be soothing enough.
  3. And/or you can make a baking soda paste to help soothe and reduce swelling in the area. Simply add enough water to baking soda to get a paste-like consistency, and apply the paste to the bite or sting site.
  4. Monitor your dog for severe swelling (especially on the head and neck area, as that can be dangerous). Most likely the swelling will stay localized at the bite or sting site, with redness and pain.
  5. Administer Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCI) – as long as you are confident your dog won’t have a reaction to that.
Benadryl/antihistamine:   1 mg per pound of your pet’s body weight
  1. Stings in the mouth may make it difficult and uncomfortable for your dog to eat. In these cases, giving your dog ice water and soft food would be best.(Either wet food or soften her dry food with water.)
Symptoms may be visible for several days.  If they worsen, take your dog to the vet.

Don’t let bees, or other biting insects deter you from enjoying the outdoors.  Just be aware of your surroundings and you and your dog are sure to have a great time.

Friday, August 14, 2015

13 Weeks of Summer: Week 8

Even though school is starting back again, and it may seem like summer is over, it is not. You still have long summer days to enjoy adventures with your dog.  

Week 8: Get Prepping

Ever heard of SCART - SoCal Animal Response Team? SCART is an organization that responds to animal needs and assist other agencies during a disaster or crisis. They also work to educate the public on disaster preparedness and animal abuse.  This Saturday, August 15th, SCART is hosting their 10thAnnual Pet Fair; an Emergency Preparedness Fair for Pets and People. This event will host several disaster information vendors, food trucks, and raffles. And while they ask that you have your pets stay home for this event, you can still attend the fair, get the useful information, and then return home to get prepared with the help of your dog.  

Ways to let your dog help you get prepared:

1.       Put an emergency pack together (one for humans and one for pets).  This may require a special trip to the dog store, which your dog would love.
2.       Come up with an emergency evacuation plan that includes a couple of safe places.  Safe places may include a boarding facility for your dog (in case you have to go to a shelter that doesn’t allow pets), a friend or family member in another city, and a dog-friendly hotel in another city, county or even state.

3.       Practice that emergency evacuation with your dog.  The more familiar he/she is with your escape route, the easier it will be to evacuate in a stressful situation. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Concert Series

If it’s too hot to enjoy the day with your pup, spend an evening with him or her instead.  Most cities have summer concert series in the park as well as a few family movie nights.  Not all music line ups are the same.  From classical to classic rock, country and more; you and your pup are bound to find music that you enjoy.

Nearly every city in SoCal has a summer concert series from now through August.  Buena Park, Corona, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, Riverside, and Tustin (just to name a few) have concerts on various nights of the week, and admission is free.

This month you can catch Symphonic winds of the Pacific (Pops & Patriotic) or The Fenians (Celtic Rock) in concert at the Brea City Hall Park, on a Wednesday night. 

Or Perhaps you want to watch Memphis Kings featuring Kid Ramos (Rockabilly) or Woodies and the Longboards (Beach Boys Tribute) in Fullerton on a Wednesday night.  

In Placentia you can see Upstream (Reggae, Calypso) or Mariachi Divas (Award Winning Female Ensemble) on a Thursday night at the Tri-City Park

The city of Orange will be hosting bands like Knyght Ryder (80’s Flashback) and Smokin’ Cobras (Rocking Oldies) at the Hart Park Bandshell on Wednesday nights. 

And Anaheim will be hosting tribute bands all month (U2, Journey, Fleetwood Mac) at the Ronald Reagan Park in Anaheim Hills on Thursday nights. 

There are different bands every week, and some bands play in multiple cities, so check your city for a free summer concert series or attend one of the shows mentioned above.  And if you missed a band you wanted to see, check other cities to see if they are playing on another night.

When you go, don’t forget a blanket and or lawn chair for you and your pup to sit on.  And most importantly, don’t forget your petiquette while enjoying the concert.  Remind your pup to be on his best doggy behavior at all times.  Keep him on his leash, be sure to pick up any messes he leaves, and bring plenty of fresh water for him.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

4th of July with your Dog

The second week of summer happens to host the 4th of July, which makes attending a 4th of July parade an excellent activity.

Enjoy the festivities of 4th of July this year in Anaheim Hills, with the Firecracker 5k/10k Run, a pancake breakfast, a Yankee Doodle Dog show, a parade, and then fun in the park. The day is filled with 4th of July fun, which you can enjoy with your dog, including their annual parade as it marches down Santa Ana Canyon Blvd. at 1 p.m. 

Orange Park Acres (in Orange Hills) is hosting a 5k Walk/Run Race & 10k Epic Challenge Cross-Country Race, followed by a parade. The day begins at 6:45 a.m., and the Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. 

The Huntington Beach 4thof July Parade is said to be “the largest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi River” with more than 300 entries, from bands and floats to celebrities and community groups.  The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway and will end at Main Street and Yorktown Avenue.  

The Newport Beach Harbor OldGlory Boat Parade is a festive spectacle of boats, decorated in red, white, and blue, cruising around the harbor.  The fun filled day begins at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast, followed by a buffet lunch, dancing, the boat parade, and fireworks. The boat parade starts at 2:30 p.m.

There will plenty of patriotic parades throughout Southern California this Independence Day, so check your local city calendar to see if your city will be hosting a parade this year.  And remember that fireworks can be very upsetting for a dog, so please leave them at home for the fireworks.  Have a safe and fun 4th of July!  

FIREWORKS ALERT! Before you leave for the night to enjoy fireworks, make sure your dog is taken care of.  Most, if not all dogs, hate loud and startling noises; and fireworks are at the top of that list.  Fireworks can make the perfect dog turn into the most neurotic dog you’ve ever seen.  To help keep your dog’s sanity and your property in tack I suggest the following:  

1.       Make sure your dog is inside the house before leaving for the night.  If you have an outside dog, then put them in the garage (after the sun goes down so they don’t suffer a heat stoke).  If your dog is allowed inside the house, put them in a room furthest from where you think the firework noise will be coming from (for example, if the fireworks show is at a local school just east of your house then put your dog in the furthest room to the west).

2.       Turn on soothing music.  Classical music is best in my opinion, but anything will do as long as it isn’t angry or harsh music that would cause your dog further anxiety. (FYI: the classical FM station is 91.5). You don’t want to turn the volume all the way up, making your dog deaf or causing more anxiety, but make it loud enough to distract them from outside noises.

No matter what you decide to do this holiday weekend, please keep your dog’s health, happiness, and safety in mind.  Don’t become a statistic.  If you take them to the river, please remember that life jacket while on the water.  If you take them on a road trip, please remember that seat belt harness.  Lots of water, shade, and sun block will keep your dog happy and healthy as well.  Enjoy your Independence Day with your whole family, four-legged family members included!     

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Take Your Dog to Work Day

This year, Take Your Dog to Work Day is this Friday, June 26th.  Take your dog to work day was first celebrated in 1999.  It was created by Pet Sitters International to celebrate great companion dogs and to help encourage their adoption. 
Want to participate by taking your dog to work this year? Here are a few tips to help make that day a success...

6 Basic Tips for making 'Take Your Dog to Work Day' work:

1. Do an Office Check
Check with bosses and co-workers to find out and address any potential problems with bringing dogs to the office.  Be respectful of allergies, fears, and objections. 

2. Puppy-Proof your Work Space
Any office items should be out of reach from your dog.  Also be sure to remove any poisonous plants, hide electrical cords/wires, and secure any toxic items and hazardous products.

3. Be Sure Fido is Fit for Work
You only get 1 chance at a first impression.  So if you want to be able to bring your dog to work next year then you best put be ready to shine. Make sure your dog is current on vaccinations, freshly groomed, as well as friendly and sociable.  If your dog is aggressive, shy, or just not ready, that's alright. It's best to let them stay home. Maybe just bring your favorite picture of them instead.    

4. Prepare a Doggie Bag
You may want to bring items that will make your dog feel comfortable, as well as a few essentials.  You might pack food, treats, bowls, toys, a leash, paper towels, clean-up bags, and pet-safe disinfectant.  Also consider a portable crate and baby gate for your work space; for your dog's comfort and your peace of mind. 

5. Plan Feeding Times Carefully
If you are going to feed your dog while at work, plan your dog's feeding time around your work schedule to ensure a good time for potty breaks.  And choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself. 

6. Avoid Forcing Co-workers to Interact with your Dog
Some co-workers may not want to meet or play with your dog.  So, be mindful and respectful of their space and time.   Also, monitor the amount and type of treats co-workers give to your dog.  Too many dog treats or consumption of human treats (like chocolate and candy) are likely to make your dog sick. 

4 Rules All Participants Should Adhere to:
1. Dogs should be kept on leash whenever outside an employee's office or cubicle.
2. Participating employees should use a baby gate to prevent dogs from leaving their office space unattended.
3. Specific areas, such as the bathroom or dining hall, should be dog-free zones.

4. Participating employees should have a back-up plan for getting their dog home or out of the office if the dog is not comfortable being there.

3 Activity Ideas to Make the Day More Festive:
1. Pet Care "Lunch & Learn"
Invite a professional pet sitter, dog trainer, vet, etc. to give a pet-care presentation during lunch. 
2. Fido Fundraiser
Host a silent auction, pet photo contest, or hot dog luncheon and donate the proceeds to a local shelter or rescue organization. 
3. Canine Contest
Hold a Best Trick, Best Outfit, or even Pet/Owner Look-a-Like contest to add fun and increase interaction among participants. 
For more information or to help you start ‘Take your dog to work Day’ in your office, visit the official website and download the TYDTWDay Action Pack