Make Sure Your Backyard Barbeque is Safe for Your Pet

Backyard Barbeque'
Summer and backyard barbeques go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you haven’t grilled out yet this summer or received an invitation to someone else’s barbeque, there’s a good chance you will before the end of the warm weather season. For dogs and cats, the smell of forbidden food and the excitement of having different people around can make them behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise. That means careful supervision on your part if your pet will be anywhere near the food or grill.
Hot Grills and Pets Are Not a Good Combination
A backyard grill, like an oven, can quickly reach a temperature of several hundred degrees. It only takes a second for your dog or cat to sniff at the food, lose her footing, and end up with a severe burn. Grilling tools like spatulas and meat thermometers can be a problem as well since they present a choking hazard. It’s best to keep your pet far away from the grill while it’s in use to avoid a serious injury. Also, make sure the grill master puts equipment away afterwards and that the grill is no longer hot before allowing your pet near it.

Make Sure No One Else Feeds Your Pet
You have worked hard to thwart your pet’s begging behavior, so the last thing you need is for someone else to give into the sad eyes performance. If you think it might be a problem, don’t be shy about asking people before the grilling gets started not to give your pet any food. Onions, garlic, and dairy products like cheese can be especially toxic for dogs and cats and are typical condiments for barbequed food.
Meat is generally safe, but only if it doesn’t contain bones that could cause your pet to choke. You should be the only one to give your pet meat. If you choose to do so, be sure to cut it into smaller pieces and give it to your dog or cat away from everyone else. This lets her know that begging just won’t work.
Beware of the Garbage Can
Your pet can still smell leftover food and bones in the garbage, so make sure that he can’t gain access to them. One way to do this is to place food scraps and bones in a sealed bag before putting them in a trash receptacle. You can also put a lock on the lid to ensure that he can’t knock the can down and eat what’s inside. Consuming food or bones from the garbage could cause stomach upset, an airway obstruction, tooth fracture, and several other problems.

Be Mindful of Sun Exposure
Cats and dogs can’t eliminate heat from their bodies the same way that people do. They lack the ability to sweat and only release heat through their paw pads and by panting. To avoid heatstroke, make sure your pet has constant access to clean, cool drinking water and doesn’t spend too long in direct sunlight. You should plan to keep your pet inside your air-conditioned home or at least let him in periodically if you’re the host. If you’re a guest at someone else’s home, ask him or her to point out the shady areas and have your pet stay there.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us in an emergency. Our answering service takes calls after hours and will direct you to immediate help.
Photo Credit: wip-studiolublin / Getty Images

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Don't Let Your Pet Become a Fire Statistic

Become a Fire Statistic

The statistics on pets and fires are heartbreaking. Every year, approximately 1,000 pets accidentally start a fire in the home. Whether it’s knocking over a space heater or bumping a knob on a stove, these incidents happen more often than they should. Even more troubling, 40,000 pets succumb to injuries from a fire and more than 500,000 receive serious injuries every year. This is what prompted the American Kennel Club (AKC) and ADT Security Services to come together to create National Pet Fire Safety Day. It takes place annually on July 15, which falls on a Saturday this year.

Prevent Fires and Burn Injuries to Keep Your Pet Safe
Part of being a responsible pet owner is eliminating unnecessary risks, including the possibility of a house fire or your pet getting burned some other way. If you don’t have a smoke detector or only have one, be sure to install one on each floor of your home. Test the batteries often and change them before they have no power left at all. 
When it comes to preventing fires and burn injuries, you need to think like a dog or cat and pet-proof your home accordingly. That mean you need to look up from the floor and not down from your usual perspective. 
Stoves are a common area for pets to start fires, especially dogs. This is easy to understand when you consider that dogs have a strong sense of smell and just want to see what they’re missing. Unfortunately, they can bump a knob in the process with no one noticing until it’s too late. Pet-proofing also involves keeping hot items, like a clothes iron, out of your pet’s reach and putting them away immediately when you’re done with them.
If you have a fireplace in your home, never allow your pet near it unsupervised. This is true whether you’re currently burning logs or not, since your pet could injure herself on equipment you use for the fireplace. Additionally, keep your pet away from burning candles and blow them out before leaving the room. 
Placing your pets near the front of your home when you leave makes it easier for firefighters to find them. You may also want to consider placing a notification on your front door letting emergency responders know the types of animals you have and how many. This alerts them to look for pets when responding to an emergency. Lastly, make sure that you do a quick check for fire hazards whenever you leave your pet home alone. 
Develop a Fire Escape Plan That Includes Your Pet 
Every second counts when it comes to fires. You don’t want to waste precious time searching for your pet’s belongings when trying to get out of the house. We recommend placing food, medication, fresh bottled water, bedding, and toys into a sturdy bag and keeping it near the front door. If you have a large pet or you think he might run the other way in the stress of an emergency, place a collar and leash at the front of the house as well. It’s also a good idea to get a microchip for your pet ahead of time in case you do become separated in the chaos of a fire. 
Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images

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June is Social PETworking Month

Social PET working
As a pet lover, it’s sad to think that millions of healthy animals must be euthanized every year because shelters simply don’t have the space to keep them indefinitely. Not all dogs and cats are lucky enough to have a responsible animal guardian who provides them with a loving home. In fact, many people surrender pets to shelters because they underestimated the responsibility involved with having a pet. Rescue organizations take animals from shelters and put them into volunteer foster homes until someone comes along to adopt them. 
Suggestions from
Even if you’re not able to adopt a new pet right now, you can use the power of social media to help shelter pets find their forever home during Social PETworking Month. The organization Adopt-a-Pet currently shares a photo and brief biography of a dog, cat, or other domestic pet each day on its Facebook page. It encourages followers to like or share the post to help that pet find a home and to call attention to the many other pets who need homes as well. 
During the month of June, Adopt-a-Pet is asking people to find a dog, cat, or other adoptable animal on its website and share the photo and biography on their own social media platforms. It is also asking people to share information about the Social PETworking challenge so the idea gains traction.
Those who really want to challenge themselves to help homeless pets can step things up by sharing information each day about animals waiting for new homes. For those who use Pinterest, another idea is to start a board of adoptable pets in the local area. If you have your own blog or website, consider adding search tools from Adopt-a-Pet to allow people to search for a new pet without having to leave your site.
How to Adopt from a Shelter or Rescue
If you locate a shelter pet online that you’re interested in adopting, the first step is to go to the shelter and ask to meet the pet. A worker will take him or her out of the cage and allow you to spend some time together. If you decide that this is the pet for you, you need to go to the front desk to pay the adoption fee and obtain the medical records. It’s especially important to have details about vaccines and the pet’s spay or neuter status. According to Adopt-a-Pet, adoption fees at shelters range from $25 to $125.
To adopt a rescue pet, send an email to the current foster care provider to express interest. You can also attend an adoption event. These normally take place on weekends at pet stores. Each rescue organization has its own adoption requirements, so be sure to read the instructions carefully before you proceed. This may include filling out an application and going through a phone interview before meeting the pet. Adoption fees typically range from $100 to $300 and may require you to sign a contract.
We would love to meet your new pet once you get him or her home. Please schedule a preventive care exam at Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic to get your new pet off to a great start.
Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images

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Understanding Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough

You may not have heard of Bordetella, but there’s a good chance you have heard of kennel cough. Both refer to an extremely contagious illness that dogs and cats can transmit to each other at boarding kennels, dog parks, or any other place where animals are in close quarters. Your pet can also pick it up through contact with sneeze droplets, saliva, or other types of discharge from another infected animal.

A bacterium called Bordetella Bronchoseptica combined with the canine parainfluenza virus are the primary causes of illness in dogs. When only one of these factors causes symptoms, veterinarians refer to it as Bordetellosis.
How to Recognize Kennel Cough
The first thing you’re likely to notice in your dog is a dry, hacking cough. It might sound like he just has something stuck in his throat at first. The cough is caused by micro-organisms attached to your dog or cat’s respiratory cells. With cats, the earliest and most common symptoms of Bordetella are sneezing and nasal discharge. The virus weakens your pet’s immune system so he can’t fight off the effects of Bordetella. A prolonged, untreated case can cause significant respiratory distress for both cats and dogs.
It typically takes two to 14 days for dogs and cats to develop and display symptoms of Bordetella. The virus can remain in their body for up to three weeks. As mentioned above, it can spread quickly among unvaccinated pets in places like boarding kennels. For this reason, professional boarding facilities require proof of Bordetella vaccination. We encourage you to make sure your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date before boarding or going to the dog park.
Treating the Bordetella Virus
Uncomplicated cases of kennel cough normally revolve on their own within about two weeks, much like the common cold in people. Although we don’t normally prescribe antibiotics at this stage, we may be able to provide an over-the-counter medication to help your pet feel more comfortable.
Dogs and cats can develop bronchitis or pneumonia when they acquire a serious case of Bordetella. The best treatment at this point is an antibiotic or a bronchodilator. You should monitor your pet closely during treatment and contact us immediately is she seems worse or develops any new complications. If your pet has regular contact with other pets in a small or enclosed space, please speak to our staff about the most appropriate Bordetella vaccine schedule.
Photo Credit: igorr1 / Getty Images

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