Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is 5 minutes of your time worth saving your pet's life? Learn these basics before you are in a panicky first aid situation.

What would you do if:

...your dog ate the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips that was left out on the kitchen counter?

...your cat had a seizure right in front of you?

...your dog fell down the stairs and started limping?

...your cat was overheating on a hot summer day?

...your dog was choking on a chew toy or piece of food?

Preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among our pets, and according to the American Veterinary Association (AVMA), 9 out of 10 dogs and cats can expect to have an emergency during their lifetime. The good news is that 25% more animals can be saved if humans perform first aid BEFORE getting to their Vet (American Animal Hospital Association AAHA statistic).

Read this article on basic first aid procedures written by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Don't wait until you are in a panic. Only 5 minutes of your time right now could make the difference of life or death for your pet. There are simple techniques in this article for all of the following - bleeding (internal and external), choking, seizures, fractures, burns, heatstroke, not breathing, no heartbeat.

It is well worth the read BEFORE something happens so you are prepared if something does happen. You will learn quickly how to:
  • Lower your pet’s body temperature if he suffers from heat stroke and prevent brain damage or death.
  • Stop bleeding until you can get your dog to the vet.
  • Prevent your pet from losing consciousness by alleviating choking.
  • Expel poison from your pet’s system by properly inducing vomiting.
  • Be the pump your pet’s heart can’t be until you can get him to professional medical help.

Here is a great check list for a Pet First Aid Kit. Have these items on hand before an emergency happens and know what each item is used for.

Or you can purchase full first aid kits online - check out Sunny Dog Ink

Finally - know how to take you dog's vitals. This is a great 5 minute video on taking your pet's vitals with Denise Fleck, an expert on Pet First Aid and CPR.

Pet First-Aid is by no means a replacement for veterinary care, but reacting at the moment injury occurs and then getting to professional medical help can make a big difference in your pet's surviving an accident.

So what would you do if your dog ate a bag of chocolate?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fragrant Friday: Learn about the Benefits of Niaouli, Ravensare and Frankincense

Dogs encounter a wide variety of irritants as part of their daily lives. Exposure to lawn or pool chemicals, pollens, viruses and bacteria, long-term use of medications, and the cold dry air of winter or the hot humid weather of the summer can wreak havoc with your dog’s natural immunity, and cause them to suffer from itching, swelling, and other minor illnesses.

Fortunately, there are a number of essential oils that are safe for canine use, and can help bolster the immune system, and support the lungs, liver and skin. Three essential oils that strike a balance between powerful and gentle are niaouli, ravensare and frankincense.

Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora) is an Australian tree related to the tea tree. It has a more pleasant scent, is gentler to the skin and mucous membranes than tea tree, and it has powerful anti-bacterial properties. Niaouli has been used in remedies for first aid, and to soothe skin disorders such as herpes, roundworm, sores and abscesses. It is helpful with viral, fungal and bacterial infections, including those that affect the ears and throat. Niaouli can help relieve allergic reactions, especially those affecting the skin and ears.


Ravensare (Ravensara aromatica) is a tree native to Madagascar that is related to the bay laurel. It is a gentle yet powerful antiviral, and has been used in remedies to relieve flu, sore throat, bronchitis, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, chronic fatigue and shingles. Canine practitioners sometimes use ravensare to help dogs with compromised immune systems or until the vaccination schedule is complete.

Frankincense Tree

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) has been used in incense, perfumes and embalming agents, and more recently has been studied for its antitumoral activity. Frankincense is nontoxic and nonirritating to tissues, used in preparations for wounds, acne and boils, and to relieve dry, chapped or maturing skin. It can help support the lungs and immune system to relieve colds, flu, bronchitis and asthma. Frankincense has shown an ability to slow and deepen respiration, and so inhaling its scent can bring feelings of calmness, comfort and serenity during unsettling times.

Essential oils are the volatile oils produced within the seed, flower, leaf, bark, root or resin of aromatic plants. Scientific studies in Germany and France regarding the medical effects of essential oils on animals and humans were quite advanced by the mid-1800s. Due to positive clinical results, the practice of veterinary aromatherapy was not uncommon in these countries by the mid-1900s.

Clinical studies over many decades have shown essential oils to have a variety of medicinal properties including analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, antiseptic, detoxifying, expectorant, immunostimulant, regenerative, and sedative actions. When used correctly, remedies containing pure essential oils can be a safe and effective natural alternative to conventional remedies.

Because they are highly concentrated, it is advisable to dilute essential oils before use to avoid problems such as skin irritation or overwhelming the sense of smell. This is especially important with remedies for dogs, because they have a much stronger sense of smell than humans. As with any home remedy, it is important to know the use and safety guidelines, and to recognize when it is time for professional help from your veterinarian.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

At 86 degrees outside temperature, asphalt is 135 degrees - hot enough to fry an egg and your pet's paws!


Outdoor Temperatures are No Indication of Surface Temperatures

Asphalt, concrete, wood decks and metal can easily burn your dog's paws at temperatures that seem totally fine outside. Don't be fooled!! An egg will fry at 131 degrees and severe skin damage happens at 140 degrees to vulnerable areas in only 5 seconds.

We all know what it's like to walk on hot sand in bare feet and how quickly we run to find a cool safe place for our scorching feet. A dog's paws are not any thicker than our feet so what's hot to us is hot to them, and for puppies with tender paws it's far more dangerous.  So imagine what it's like when you bringing your dog along to an outdoor event in the summer and he can't go running for the nearest cool spot at the end of his leash. Dogs who refuse to walk at an event are not necessarily being stubborn - scorching paws is more likely the culprit.

Summer Safety Tips - Use the 5 Second Rule:
  • Place the back of your hand against the pavement and hold it there for 5-7 seconds. If it's uncomfortable to you then it's too hot for your dog to walk on.
  • You really aren't doing your dog a favor taking him out in the middle of the day to events or for a long walk. Leave them at home in the air conditioning when you can.
  • It takes hours for pavement to cool off after the temperature goes down. Asphalt soaks up heat all day long and only cools down at a certain rate after the sun retreats. The very best time to go out for a walk is in the morning. What's safe at 9 am is likely not safe at 2 pm or even 6 pm.
  • The air temperature is not a reflection of the ground temperature at all! See the above information from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • If you have to walk your dog or go to an event, find cool grass or walk along the water's edge or consider booties or paw pads.
  • Most important check your dogs paws daily for any damage, soreness and cracking. 

Check out Sunny Dog's "Dog About Town" First Aid Kit. It has Musher's Secret Paw Protection, highly regarded for protecting and healing dog's paws.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

It Only Takes Minutes For A Pet To Get Incapacitating Heatstroke

In just 15 Minutes, the Temperature Inside a Car Rises from 83 to 109 Degrees!

When the outside temperature is 83° F, even with the window rolled down 2 inches, the temperature inside the car can reach 109° F in only 15 minutes. “Within the first 10 minutes the temperature in an enclosed vehicle will rise an average of 19 degrees or 82 percent of its eventual one hour rise.”

It has been scientifically proven that cracking windows open does not decrease the rate of temperature rise in the vehicle!

Check out the data below in terms of how hot a car becomes in <30 minutes even on a relatively cool day.
Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University


Why do Hot Cars Affect Dogs so Quickly?


Dogs do not perspire the way humans do; the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to exchange cooler outside air with the warm humid air in their lungs.

If the outside air isn’t cooler than their body temperature, an animal can succumb to heatstroke which can cause brain damage, kidney failure, cardiac arrest and death.

Old and overweight pets as well as short-nosed breeds are at the greatest risk but any dog can succumb to heatstroke in less than 30 minutes.

According to PetMD here are symptoms of heatstroke:
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased salivation
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Diarrhea 


What Should I do if My Dog gets Heatstroke?


Remove your dog from the hot area immediately.

While transporting him immediately to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, under the forelimbs, and in the groin area.

If possible, increase air movement around him with a fan. Be careful, however, as using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. CAUTION: Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions.

Mix a clean spray bottle with 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol and spray on skin (pads of paws, inner flaps of ears -- but don't get inside ears, belly skin). Avoid eyes, nose and mouth. As alcohol evaporates, pet will cool.

The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and your dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat.

Allow free access to water if your dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; as he may inhale it and could choke.

Even if your dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible, he should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.


 photo credit: 0298 via photopin (license)

How can Heatstroke be Prevented?

  • Make sure outside dogs have access to shade and provide access to water at all times.
  • Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you're in the shade or will only be gone a short time.
  • On a hot day, restrict exercise and don't take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
  • Do not muzzle your dog. They must be able to pant.
  • Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade. Asphalt and hot beach sand will burn their pads.
  • Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your pet to lay on.