Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year! Family is gathered around the table, younger children making a fuss, your weird uncle telling the same story he does every year, and your puppy, the cat, and your cousins dogs are all gathered around just waiting for someone to drop a piece of turkey or spill a drink. Sound familiar? Some of it should for pet a owner, who’s most beloved pets during the holiday feasts turn into little, (or not so little) scavengers! We’ve all heard the stories of the dog that jumped up on the counter and ate the entire turkey; which raises the question which foods are okay to ‘accidently’ let fall to the floor to share with your four legged Hoover?
The German Shepherd originated in Karlshune, Germany in 1899 due to the efforts of Captain Maz von Stephanitz and others crossing old breeds of herding and farm dogs. The very first German Shepherd was exhibited in the United Stated in 1907. Famous German Shepherds such as Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart shot the popularity of the breed sky high.
Sure, everyone and their mother has always hears “don’t feed a dog chocolate, it’ll kill them.” But what other foods are dangerous to our companions? With summer cook outs right around the corner, you may want to inform your guests not to give your furry friend any of the ‘people food’ that is on this list. Some of them might surprise you!
Just like when kids are getting ready to go off to school, our furry kids need to be vaccinated before they come to daycare to stay the night. But why? They play an important role of preventative healthcare for our pets. Just like with human vaccines, a modified bacteria, parasite or virus is administered by injection or intra-nasally. The vaccine triggers an immune response within your pet’s body to protect them from diseases.
But, what vaccinations are necessary? For puppies and kittens, a series of vaccinations is given very early on, since the natural immunity in their mothers’ milk wears off. These vaccinations are usually scheduled 3-4 weeks apart, with the final series being administered when they are 12-16 weeks old.
For dogs and cats alike, vaccines can be placed into two groups; core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are recommended for pets with an unknown vaccination history. Non-core vaccines are optional, but should be considered depending on your pet’s lifestyle.
Core Vaccines for Puppies and Dogs:
Non-Core Vaccines for Puppies and Dogs:
Core Vaccines for Kittens and Cats:
Non-Core Vaccines for Kittens and Cats:
At Fieldstone, we require for dogs: rabies, bordetella and distemper. For cats, only rabies and feline distemper is required. There is also a 2 week grace period we allow after the expiration date of the vaccine. However, if the grace period has passed, if by chance your pet becomes ill, we cannot be held liable.
Remember: not all vaccines are 100% effective. Even if your pet has been vaccinated against a disease, they may not have developed adequate immunity. However, benefits outweigh the risks.
We know vaccinations can be costly, but there are resources available for you, such as Veterinary Pet Insurance Care Guard Coverage, which reimburses you for pet wellness services, including vaccinations, with no deductible.
Also, be sure to remember having your pet’s rabies up to date is a legal requirement in every state! Be sure to keep proof of this with their medical records! (Md. HEALTH-GENERAL Code Ann. § 18-318;Md. HEALTH-GENERAL Code Ann. § 18-319)
The weather is getting warmer, the birds are starting to come back, singing their songs, and it’s almost spring time. Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, and mating season for many animals, including our pets. That’s not so bad, and we shouldn’t mess with nature, right?
Well, not necessarily.
Spaying and neutering your pets (also referred to as getting “fixed” or “altered”), is one of the best things you can do for them.
Excellent question, so glad you asked.
Spaying Your Female:
One of the most obvious benefits of having your female spayed is that she will not go into heat. For dogs, it’s twice a year, and once a month for cats. When you spay your female, you’re saving your carpets from the mess that can come along with it, and also, if you’re a cat owner, it eliminates the yowling and nervous pacing cats in heat do.
Spaying also prevents uterine infections, as well as breast cancer, which is fatal in approximately 50% of dogs, and 90% of cats!
Spaying your female before her first heat cycle offers the best chance of protection from these issues.
Neutering Your Male:
The reasons for having your male neutered are also fairly obvious. Health wise, neutering prevents testicular cancer and the enlargement of the prostate. Neutering also helps to greatly reduce the risk of perianal tumors.
Also, unneutered males will do anything to go after a female in heat. They will dig, climb, whatever it takes to get out and go after her. When this happens there is a risk of injury due to traffic, or getting into fights with other males going after the same mate.
Generally, a neutered male is better behaved. Many aggression problems can be avoided or even solved, and they also won’t mark their territory (aka the inside of your house) by spraying.
It’s cost effective. A spay or neuter operation costs much less that the potential costs of caring for an unwanted litter. It’s also cheaper than the potential cost of treatment if your male escapes and gets into a scrap or hit by a car.
Spaying and neutering helps to prevent overpopulation. Each year approximately 3.7 million animals are put down; that’s an animal about every 8 seconds. That’s not counting the number of strays that are the results of unplanned litters.
“My pet will get fat!”
No, spaying or neutering your pet does not make them fat. Too much food and a lack of exercise makes them fat. As long as you provide exercise and monitor their food intake they should remain fit and trim.
“S/he’s a purebred, they can’t be fixed.”
Purebred dogs are just as likely to end up in shelters as a mixed breed. 25% of all dogs in shelters are purebred.
“The litter will go to good homes!”
If the homes offering to welcome your pets offspring into their home adopted from a shelter instead, you and them could potentially save the lives of deserving animals.
“My pet is special! I want one just like them!”
Just like with any kind of genetics, there is no guarantee the offspring will inherit their parent’s best traits and qualities. In fact, they can just as easily get the worst of them.
“I want my kids to experience the miracle of birth!”
Not exactly a myth, but something that is brought up a lot when this topic is discussed.
Your pet does not need to have a litter to teach your children about the miracle of birth.
Letting your pet produce offspring that you don’t intend to keep is a bad lesson for children, especially with so many unwanted animals in shelters. There are plenty of books and videos to teach children about birth the responsible way.
For some people, cost may be an issue, which is understandable. The ASPCA has an index of all the Low-Cost Spay/Neuter clinics and programs in the country. You can search your zip code here to find clinics and programs near you.
And remember; ask your vet if you have any questions or concerns about spaying or neutering your pets.
Winter is a wonderful time. You can snuggle up under a blanket with some hot coco or coffee, watch your favorite TV show, or read a nice book. You get to watch the snowfall, and if you’re a dog owner, you get the joy of wet and possibly muddy paws on the carpet. Our dogs like us, may or may not enjoy the snow. Some could stay out all day romping and playing; others want to get in as fast as possible.
I’ve gathered some information to make the winter, and the snow, more safe and enjoyable for everyone, canine or human.
One of the most important things is to never let your dog off leash on snow or ice. Dogs can lose their scent during a snowstorm and can easily get lost. More dogs are lost in winter than any other season, so make sure they have up to date ID tags on at all times.
When you come in from outside, wipe off their paws and stomach not just for the sake of your floors, but dogs can ingest salt, antifreeze or other deadly chemicals while licking their paws.
Never, ever, shave your dog to the skin during the winter. Also, when you bathe them, be sure to make sure that they are completely dry before you take them outside. If they are a small or a short haired breed, jackets and coats are highly recommended, since those breeds weren’t made to be in the cold for long periods of time.
On the subject of things you should never do, is leave your dog in the car, in the winter, summer, or ever. In the winter the car can actually act as a refrigerator and holds in the cold.
If you got a puppy for Christmas, or are thinking of giving someone for a winter holiday, take into consideration that puppies are more difficult to house break during the winter since they are so young and sensitive to the cold. You can try paper training, or waiting until the warmer months to add to your family. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to their age, illness or breed, they should only be taken out to relieve themselves.
Be sure to clean any spills from you or your families, or even your neighbor’s vehicles. Sure, it can be a pain, but it could be the difference between life and death for not only your pet, but others that may be on a walk, or wild/stray animals. Consider using propylene glycol as opposed to ethylene glycol.
Make sure your pet has a nice, warm bed somewhere in the house that is away from drafts. Maybe a bedroom, somewhere an outside door won’t be open and closed constantly.
Do not let your dog eat snow if you can help it. Sure, it seems harmless; it is just water after all. However, dangerous objects or chemicals can be hidden in the snow. Eating too much snow can cause an upset stomach or even hypothermia!
Here at Fieldstone, we follow a general rule of thumb when it comes to letting everyone out to relieve themselves, as well as how long we keep daycare out for in the colder months.
For the little guys, in below freezing weather, we keep them out for about 15-20 minutes and no longer than half an hour.
For medium and large breeds, we let them out for 25-40 minutes, but no longer than 45.
These times are just general and depend on the breed and the length of coat. If you take your dog out, and you see they are shivering and not enjoying themselves, it’s best to bring them in.
Some dogs are strictly outdoor dogs. There is a bare minimum required by law that keeps them protected.
According to Anne Arundel County Code Article 12, Title 4, Subtitle 8-801: Dogs Outdoors: For each dog confined or tied outdoors, and owner shall provide:
A shelter to protect the dog from wind, snow, rain, cold, and sunlight.
A chain, rope, or line used to tie the dog which must be at least 10 feet in length.
All animals with food and water daily.
If you see someone violating this law, call the proper authorities. It is possible the will be held responsible for the abuse or neglect of an animal according to Section 10-604 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, which states:
(a) Prohibited. — A person may not:
(1) overdrive or overload an animal;
(2) deprive an animal of necessary sustenance;
(3) inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal;
(4) cause, procure, or authorize an act prohibited under item (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection; or
(5) if the person has charge or custody of an animal, as owner or otherwise, unnecessarily fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter, or protection from the weather.
(b) Penalty. —
(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.
(2) As a condition of sentencing, the court may order a defendant convicted of violating this section to participate in and pay for psychological counseling.
(3) As a condition of probation, the court may prohibit a defendant from owning, possessing, or residing with an animal.
In layman’s terms, if they place the animal outside with no food, water or shelter (number 5), there is potential for jail, fines, or even psychiatric help.
Now, who’s up for a snowball fight?