Monthly Archives: July 2012

Guest Post: Summer Pet Safety Tips

This summer we have had quite a few days of the mercury rising over 30 degrees Celsius. While it is easier for us humans to keep cool (after all, we have sweat glands and can go to the fridge or freezer to get a cool treat whenever we want), what about our fur babies?

Mulligan’s yearly appointment was in March, and since Chris and I are very active in the summer and we take Mulligan everywhere we can, I asked the vet for some summer safety and first aid tips so that Mulligan can have a great summer too! Here are some of the tips he gave us:*

1.      If your dog gets bit by a horsefly, deerfly, or mosquito and is prone to swelling, you can give your dog  1 mg of Benadryl (in capsule or tablet form) per pound of body weight. Liquid Benadryl contains alcohol, so you want to avoid that. Dogs with certain medical conditions shouldn’t be given Benadryl, though, so talk to your vet first.

2.      Just like in the winter, dogs’ paws can split or become cracked—they don’t get to wear shoes on the hot pavement! So keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort when walking with your dog.

Mulligan frolicking on the beach

3.      Swimming or being in the water frequently at a pool or in a lake does not necessarily cool dogs down. Watch for warning signs of panting, licking the lips, and a tongue that is practically on the floor. It may be time to let your dog have a well-deserved “time out” inside where it is cool.

4.      Keep fresh water available at all times!

5.      Use clear Polysporin to help keep a surface cut from becoming infected.

6.      Believe it or not, dogs can get sunburned. Make sure there is a shady spot for your dog to lie down in if he or she is going to spend the day out in the sun.

Above all, please do not leave your dog in the car with the window cracked open while you run into a store! If you can, leave your dog in a nice, cool place—like home. When leaving your dog at home is not an option, make sure you pull over every few hours to let your dog stretch and have some cold water. If you’re travelling with another person and have to make a quick stop, opt to have someone stay in the car with the dog.

Enjoying just being near water

Some of Mulligan’s favourite ways to beat the heat are

  • eating frozen watermelon cubes made by his mom (that would be me)
  • eating the waves at the cottage (I mean this literally—he will be frolicking in the water and see a wave coming, so he will open his mouth and go headfirst into it. He always looks quite happy that he has got some of the wave in his mouth!)
  • going on very early morning and late evening walks (5 to 6 a.m. with me and 9 to 10 p.m. with Chris)

* I am not a vet, so please contact your vet prior to administering any medication to your pet. Also, as a dog lover, I am very passionate and have strong opinions about leaving a dog in the car. These are just my thoughts.

Yes, We’ve Taught Our Dogs to Beg at the Table

Cora poking her head up to see what good stuff is on the table

It’s not at all what we’d planned. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. For the first six or eight months after adopting Cora and Dusty (it was two and a half months later that Hogan joined the family), we avoided feeding any of the dogs while we were eating. In fact, they don’t get table scraps at all, although we do put human food in their bowls at their meal times.

However, in our efforts to bring Cora out of hiding when guests visit—only so she can learn she is safe here no matter who is in the house—we have inadvertently created beggars at the table.

Hogan has no fear and will get right up on my chair to get a full view of the table if I leave my seat.

When guests come for a meal or to play cards (also at the dining room table), we keep a small bowl of dog kibble or dog treats on the table in case Cora feels safe enough to join us. Of course, what has happened is that all three dogs now sit beside or under the table in hopes of getting something. Occasionally, Cora will even get brave enough to poke her head up over the table so she can see just what is on it.

Although we wanted our dogs never to beg for food, rewarding Cora for her bravery takes precedence. When you have an anxious or fearful dog, sometimes other training goals have to go out the window. And frankly, I’d take Cora begging at the table over her hiding in a corner any day!

Bloopers, Part 1

People often ask how I manage to get all three of my dogs to pose so nicely for pictures. First of all, they typically respond well to treats, so bribes are a requisite. Second, the pictures worthy of showing you are never the first ones I take. Out of 15 or 20 shots, I’ll have one worth putting on the blog.

Today I am sharing some of the bloopers from Hogan’s birthday celebration. You can see the two “good” pictures by clicking here. And here are some of the other ones:

Dusty: “It’s a long way down.”
Cora: “Is that a dead bird? Mmm…dead birds.”

Dusty and Hogan: “Where’d Cora go? Do we still have to stay here?”

Hogan: “Hey, I can climb right up on the counter from here.”
Dusty: “There’s nothing on this plate. I thought all plates came with good stuff on them.”


Hogan: “Cora’s back. I must growl.”
Dusty: “I’d really like to pee on that cactus.”

Dusty “Is Cora bartending? Tequila for everyone!”
Hogan: “I’m just going to sit here till we get treats. Surely we’ll get treats for this!”

A Game of Nosework

Since getting Cora, Dusty, and Hogan, I have made efforts to learn how to keep them all mentally and physically stimulated. Of course we did basic obedience training with them, but since then I’ve also been taking Hogan to agility classes, and I took Dusty to a nosework course.

This past weekend, I introduced nosework to Cora and Hogan, too. All three dogs had fun taking turns finding the bin with the liver treats. Here’s a video of Cora taking her turn:

Nosework is supposed to help dogs gain confidence, so it’s something I definitely want to continue doing with Cora. And Dusty and Hogan thought “Find the Liver Treat” was a pretty fun game, too, so I may just have to drag out these bins more often!

After the game, the dogs all checked out the magic bins.


Picture Perfect, Part 2

As promised, here are my favourite outdoor shots of each of the dogs, taken by Jen of Gotcha! Photo Studio!

And here’s one of the whole family. (This is my mom’s favourite because she thinks it looks as though all five of us are laughing.)