If you’re like me and love the outdoors, one of the perks of having a dog is taking them hiking. Although my dogs no longer go hiking with me due to their age and various orthopedic problems, I frequently hike with client dogs along horse trails in some of our “nature” areas.
While spring can be a great time to get out and enjoy nature’s finest, it can also pose some hazards to your dog.
Spring is the start of tick season, as ticks start emerging with the warmer weather. Combine that with the lush growth of green grass and they have a perfect place to wait for a host to come by. After a morning hike this weekend, I pulled four ticks off one of the dogs. Your best defense is to keep your dogs on a flea and tick preventive.
Spring is also the time when snakes become more active and baby snakes start hatching. Fortunately in my area there’s only one kind of snake we need to worry about, the rattlesnake.
One day last spring, I was out hiking with Bentley along the horse trails when I noticed a rattlesnake stretched across the trail. Fortunately Bentley was on leash and I was able to pull him back just before he walked on top of it. It was a scary reminder to always keep your eyes open, even in the middle of the city. If you spend a lot of time hiking in rural areas you may want to consider an anti venom vaccine. Although it’s not a cure if your dog gets bit, it will buy you some time before you can get to the vet.
While I was hiking this weekend, I noticed that the fox tails are starting to come to head. Although they are green now, it won’t be long before they dry out and become a real danger to your pet.
Whenever possible, avoid areas that contain fox tails. If you can’t avoid them, be sure to inspect your dog thoroughly after your hike. Dogs with longer or thicker fur are more likely to pick up fox tails, but all dogs are in danger. Be especially vigilant about checking their ears and nose. If your dog starts sneezing after hiking through an area with fox tails, it’s a good chance he may have one up his nose.
The added dangers of hiking in the spring doesn’t mean you should stop altogether. Use caution on the trails, and inspect your dogs afterward for ticks and fox tails. Most importantly, go out and enjoy some quality time together!
As my business has grown over the past year, I have discovered that the amount of free time available, as well as my motivation to blog has quickly waned. Conversely, I have discovered it is much quicker and easier for me to post a photo and a quick comment to my Facebook page on the fly. However, there will be times when I feel inspired to write an article I feel may be helpful or inspiring to my clients or the general public, not something which can be easily done on Facebook. So, for those of you who have been following along, do not fear. I am not completely abandoning this blog; however, my posts will likely be even less than they have been in the past months. If you would like to follow along and stay updated on The Jogging Dog current events, be sure to like my Facebook page.
Thank you all for your support!
It happens to many of us… we see a dog running loose in the street, or a “stray” cat starts hanging around our house. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the animal has been abandoned, but it could simply be the case of a runaway or lost pet. I admit, when I found Samson a couple years ago, I didn’t do everything I’m going to recommend because 1) I didn’t know as much as I do now and 2) It was pretty clear he had been dumped. I found him near a trail head miles from any houses and he was skinny and tick-infested… it was obvious he had been out there a while. In any case, the steps you take when you find a lost animal could make the difference for someone who is looking for a beloved family member.
If the dog or cat is wearing tags, returning it to it’s owner is often as simple as calling the contact number listed. However, sometimes people fail to keep their contact information current, or the pet is not wearing tags at all. In that case, finding the owner may take a little more detective work on your part.
The first thing I recommend is to take the animal to your nearest vet or shelter to have it scanned for a microchip. If you find the animal after hours, bring it inside for the night (or at least the garage with some blankets) so it can stay warm and safe. If it’s not microchipped, and you’re able to hold on to it for a few days, put up fliers and notify local shelters and veterinarians that you’ve found someone’s pet. Many shelters have a Found Animal Form that you can fill out and keep on file at the shelter. This is especially important since many people who have lost a pet will check their local shelters. You should also post ads in your local paper and on Craigslist, as well as your social media sites. You may also want to consider driving your neighborhood looking for lost pet flyers the owner may have put up.
If all else fails and you can’t keep the animal at your place, your best bet is to take it to the shelter. In California, all shelters are currently required to put the animal on a 72 hour “stray hold” before evaluating it for possible adoption. Some shelters may even have a longer waiting period.
Although it may be tempting to keep an animal you’ve found, especially if it’s cute or well-behaved, you should make every effort to find its owner first. Someone may be out there desperately searching for their best friend.
Spade is grinning from ear to ear because he’s finally reached 250 miles! Unfortunately with my busy schedule it’s taken him a bit longer to reach this achievement since he doesn’t get to run with me as much as he used to. Even though he only has three legs, he doesn’t let it slow him down. He loves to run, whether it’s with me or next to the bike, and it’s a great outlet for all his cattle dog energy. He is now featured on my website next to the other Gold Level Athletes.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of when I started jogging with Maxie, a beautiful Siberian Husky with two different colored eyes. To make the day even more special, her owner even remembered our anniversary and gave me a beautiful card in honor of our first year together. During our first year together, Maxie has become the first dog to run 250 miles with me making her a Gold level athlete. She is also on track to become the first Platinum level member of The Jogging Dog Fit Club.
Celebrating their one year anniversary today are Jack & Ricky. During their first year Ricky has become a Silver level athlete, and Jack is almost there. Although the two of them started out enjoying jogging together, it soon became clear that Jack preferred a more leisurely pace than Ricky. Not to worry though, Ricky has a new running buddy named… Buddy who is staying with them for a while. Meanwhile Jack and I tend to take more leisurely strolls through the neighborhood. I look forward to another year with these cutie pies!
To learn more about The Jogging Dog and the services I provide, please visit my website.
Milo is a 3 year old Viszla who is one of the most laid back dogs I’ve met. He’s super sweet and gives great doggy kisses every time I pick him up for our run. Last week Milo became the newest dog to run at least 50 miles with me, earning him a spot in The Jogging Fit Club as a Bronze level athlete. I look forward to the next 50 miles with him!
For more information about The Jogging Dog, please visit my website.
Despite our best efforts to keep our pets safe, unfortunately accidents happen. Anyone who has a pet dreads the thought of their pet becoming lost. But, if the unthinkable happens, what do you do?
The first thing you’ll want to do is search the area where your dog was last seen. Get people your dog knows to help you if you can. Depending on your dog’s personality, they may stay in the area or run a long distance. Some dogs are friendly and may run right up to anyone, but others may be more shy and likely to hide. However, even the most friendly dog may hide if scared. If your pet disappeared in your neighborhood, go door to door and ask your neighbors if they’ve seen your pet.
Contact the local shelters in your area; often people who find a lost pet without identification will take it to the shelter. Most shelters have a lost animal form that you can fill out and keep on file at the shelter. This will help shelter staff identify and return your pet should it end up there. This is especially important if your pet is not microchipped or wearing ID tags. If you can, visit the shelter every day to see if your pet has been brought in. You can also register your lost pet at PetHarbor.com, The Center for Lost Pets and Fido Finder.
Create a flyer and post it within a mile radius of where your pet was last seen. Take them to veterinary offices, stores, churches and schools in your area. Give them to your neighbors when you go door to door looking for your pet. Give flyers to your local delivery people and mail carriers, since they spend a lot of time driving and walking your nearby neighborhoods.
Place an ad in the lost and found section of your local newspapers and Craigslist. Don’t forget the power of social media… post a copy of your flyer on your Facebook or Twitter pages and ask your friends to share it. Contact local rescue groups in the area and ask them to share your flyer on their social media pages. Many pets have safely made their way home thanks to social media.
Most importantly, don’t give up! Many times pets who have been lost for months, even years have been reunited with their families.