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Ticks, snakes and fox tails, oh my!

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.

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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.

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Look closely…

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.

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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!

A new direction

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!

Lost and Found, Part 3: Finding a lost pet

Handsome Samson

Samson a few months after I found him

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 finally reaches Gold!

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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.

Celebrating two more anniversaries

Maxie enjoying the beautiful weather on our anniversary walk.

Maxie enjoying the beautiful weather on our anniversary walk.

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.

Jack and Ricky

Ricky and Jack

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 runs 50 miles!

Milo

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.

Lost and Found, Part 2: Your pet is lost, now what?

Having current clear photos of your pet(s) can help others identify them if they ever become lost.

Having current clear photos of your pet(s) can help others identify them if they ever become lost.

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.comThe 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.

Example lost pet flyer

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.

The Jogging Dog is expanding!

Paulo and Mattie

I’m pleased to announce the addition of Paulo Medina to The Jogging Dog team!

Paulo is originally from Lima, Peru but has been calling California his home since 2002. He is an active runner, and is currently preparing for a 100 mile race in June 2013. Running has become more than just a hobby for him, but a lifestyle. Paulo believes that proper exercise and nutrition is one of the paths needed for a happy life, including our pets. He is the proud owner of two cats (Sophie and Diego), and two turtles (Boogie and Salomon).

In the past Paulo has worked in grooming, giving him needed experience with dog behavior. In Paulo’s words: “I like running with dogs because it gives more to my runs. They are always alert of their surroundings and they are always eager to get outside regardless of the weather; they always wait for us with a big smile.”

Paulo is available for running, walking and pet sitting services in the Carmichael and Citrus Heights area. If you are interested in learning more about The Jogging Dog, please visit my website.

Happy Anniversary Kanu

Kanu at the lake last summer

Kanu at the lake last summer

A year ago today Kanu and I went for our first run together. He had just moved to the area with his family and needed someone to keep him company while his family got settled into their new lifestyle. In his first year with me he ran at least 250 miles, becoming a Gold level athlete. Kanu gets along well with other dogs and has spent plenty of time running, swimming and playing with my dogs, along with his regular runs with me.  I look forward to another year of fun times with this guy!

For more information about The Jogging Dog, please visit my website.

Lost and Found, Part 1: Prevention

It has been on my mind to write this post for quite some time, ever since my cousin and my sister both lost their dogs in the same weekend this summer. Fortunately through the kindness of strangers, both dogs made their way home within 24 hours. However, not everyone is so lucky. Since then some of my friends have had experiences both losing their dogs and finding someone else’s lost pet. Every time, they all turned to me for help. In this post I will focus on preventive steps to take before your dog is lost. In part 2, I will discuss what to do if your pet is lost, and in part 3, I will cover what to do if you find a lost pet.

Identification

Dog tags

As the saying goes, “prevention is the best medicine.” However, we can’t always prevent accidents, and sometimes dogs get out without our knowledge. Therefore, it’s important that your dog has the proper identification to help those who may find him get him back home. There are three forms of identification that your dog should have: ID tags, a city or county license, and a microchip.

ID Tags

ID tags are relatively inexpensive and can be customized with as little or as much information as you want. You can buy them at almost any pet supply store. If you want something a little more “fancy” Dog Tag Art is a great place to order custom dog tags. You can choose from a large selection of existing designs, or you can create your own like I did with Spade’s tag above. They even offer you the option to create a virtual profile online for your pet that can be accessed by anyone who finds your pet and enters the information from the back of the tag. In my cousin’s case, the person who found his dog wasn’t able to get a hold of him or his wife by phone, so they drove the dog to his house and put her in his back yard.

City or County License

A lot of people complain about having to license their dog or cat. However, a city or county license is your dog’s best defense if they somehow end up at the shelter. If your dog is wearing its license when it shows up at the shelter, shelter staff can contact you right away to let you know they have your dog, making your reunion much quicker. Plus, licensing your dog will save you a lot of money if it ends up at the shelter. In the city of Sacramento, a 1-year license for an altered dog is $15. Compare that to the cost of reclaiming an altered, unlicensed dog from the city shelter: $60 plus a boarding fee of $15 per day that your dog is at the shelter.

Microchips

I confess, it was several years before I finally decided to microchip my dogs. When the technology first came out I was skeptical if it was safe or even effective. But after having a scare of my own a couple years ago, I decided it was the best thing I could do to help get them home if they ever got out. A microchip is painless and inexpensive. Most dogs adopted from shelters are already microchipped, but if your dog isn’t you can usually get one done at your local shelter or vet. You can also find mobile clinics at your local pet supply store. Microchips are important because your dog may not be wearing its tags when it’s found. If a dog is microchipped, it can be scanned at any shelter or vet clinic, making it more likely your dog will be returned to you. Although there are many microchip registries out there where you can register your dog’s microchip for a small fee, when you purchase your microchip it should come with automatic registration with that company at no charge. The most important thing to remember is to keep your contact information current with whomever you register your dog’s microchip.

I hope you have found this information helpful. Although none of us ever expect our dogs to run away or get lost, accidents happen. Making sure your dog has the proper identification can make the difference between bringing your dog home safely or never seeing them again.