Staying Safe Outdoors This Summer: Tips for Your Pup

Summer safety is a topic that’s regularly discussed as the season kicks off this time of year. We’ve all heard the standard rules of safety around pools and the need to apply sunblock. But when it comes to our four-legged family members there are additional hazards to consider as you spend more of your time outside.

Here are some tips for staying safe while outdoors with your dog this summer.

1.      Stay in Clean, Dry and Well Shaded Areas

Whether you’re heading to a beach or going for a long walk to enjoy the weather, it’s important to protect your pet along the way. Not only does the hot asphalt cause issues for their paws, but stay clear of damp areas where leaked antifreeze or broken glass shards from a dropped bottle might be present. Since heat exhaustion is very common in dogs, choose days when it’s not so hot out to take them for an adventure, or always keep fresh, cold water nearby so they can cool off and hydrate.

2.      Not All Dogs Can Swim

Summer is the perfect season to sit by a pool and relax. Whether you have one in your very own backyard or are visiting a home that does, keep in mind that if your pup hasn’t been in the water before there is a drowning risk. While there is a natural instinct to paddle in the water to stay afloat, dogs aren’t able to swim at an advanced level if they haven’t been taught or had exposure to the element before. Certain breeds are also not built to swim and will require a life vest to stay afloat.

3.      Know Your Surroundings

While traveling to new places comes with its own host of possible hazards, there could be problems creeping around in your own backyard. It’s best to do your research and know what’s outside that has the potential to harm your pet. Either blocking off their access to that area of getting it off of your property is the best bet. For example, there are many forms of fungi that might grow and lead to accidental ingestion by a dog. Some can be fatal. Other grasses and flowers can also make them ill. If you see your dog sniffing and chewing it’s worth investigating.

DogWatch of Western Mass services the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas offering years of professional experience in installation, training and customer service for in-ground pet containment systems. Our solutions help pet owners feel confident that their furry friends are safe even with the freedom to roam around.

Get in touch today!

Beware These Toxic Household Cleaners When Spring Cleaning

With the spring season and warmer weather finally making its way to New England, now’s the time when most homeowners are taking the opportunity to open the windows, let in the fresh air and finally clean up some of the dust and clutter that’s settled indoors over the winter months.

While doing some deep cleaning each season is beneficial there are things to be aware of when it comes to the types of cleaning products you use. Both for your family and your pet’s safety.

Harsh chemicals used in many cleaners actually do more harm than good when they’re released into the air. Everything from asthma to other respiratory conditions and even some cancers has been linked to these toxins.

When it comes time to clean your house, be sure to do your research and use environmentally safe products so you’re still cleaning the house without putting yourself or your pets at risk. For this post, we’re specifically looking at those products that pose risks to your four-legged friends in your home and that, while safe for humans, can be poisonous to pets.

Swap to Natural Alternatives

Thanks to the power of the Internet today it’s only a search away to locate the natural, DIY alternatives for all kinds of cleaners for the home. From polishing pastes, to shower cleaners and even fragrances for the home, there is a way to mix common and safe household items to create a product that will work and is much healthier for everyone who comes in contact with it. Doing this will also lessen the incidences of residue causing allergic reactions or illnesses.

Keep Everything Locked Away

Like children, pets can be curious and get into anything within their reach. It’s important in a home with pets or children that these dangerous chemicals are always tucked away in a safe and locked cabinet where they won’t mistakenly be ingested.

Even with everything locked away, it’s important to set-up safe perimeters around your home for your dog or cat that you feel comfortable with them having access to and blocking from traveling to other hazardous areas of the house. This is achieved by setting up a wireless containment system for your pet.

If you’re in Massachusetts and surrounding areas let DogWatch of Western Mass come help you gain peace of mind while giving your pet freedom.

Contact us today!

Fight Obesity in Dogs – 3 Tips to Get Healthy this Spring

Obesity rates present a growing epidemic for the American population today. The problem with excess weight is that it can lead to other health complications and put a toll on one’s overall wellbeing.

And it’s not just the increasingly high-calorie foods and low activity amounts that are causing humans to gain excessive weight, it’s also impacting our pets.

One recent USA Today report uncovered that most American pets (dogs and cats) are overweight and even obese – 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs to be exact.

We care about you and the health of your four-legged family members so we’ve put together 3 tips to help you both get more active and make better meal choices this spring.

Tip #1: Consume Better Quality Foods

Choosing the right types of food to feed your pet is important. Low-quality foods with grains and other fillers are never a good option. Not only can they lead to weight gain, but they can also bring other health issues. Instead, opt for wholesome, quality sources and that contain balanced nutrients needed for their bodies to continue functioning optimally.

Tip #2 Eat Appropriate Portions

One of the most important factors in weight loss and health is not only the quality of the food we eat but the amount. The same is true for our pets. While each breed will have a differing requirement on how much to eat and how frequently (depending on their lifestyle) it’s important to get familiar with the recommended guidelines for your pet and stick with it. That means not going over portion sizes, choosing only wholesome and nutritious, quality food and forgoing extra snacking in between meals (save those treats for the big praising occasions).

Tips #3: Get Outdoors and Commit to More Activity Time

Now’s the perfect time to make sure you’re holding up to your own fitness goals and walking more too. While you’re at it, you can add an extra walk for the dog at night or even set-up pet containment systems indoors, or outside that give your pet the freedom to roam and run around while keeping them out of harm’s way.

The weather’s starting to get nicer here in New England, so it’s a great time to get outdoors with the family and your pets and enjoy the fresh air.

Lace up your sneakers and grab the leash!

Celebrating Puppies & Keeping Pets Healthy this March

The month of March is swiftly passing by and for those of us who live here in New England, that means warm weather is right around the corner. Our four-legged friends will also be pleasantly surprised to find that they can soon spend more time outdoors and maybe even take an extra walk each night.

The month of March is also a health-focused month filled with prevention awareness and lots of days dedicated to reminding the public about health and safety concerns.

When it comes to dogs, nothing’s more important than caring for their health.

Getting active outdoors goes a long way to help improve dexterity, use up extra energy and even improve temperament. Another critical element to a dog’s health is nutrition.

Be sure you’re feeding your dog only quality foods that are safe for their digestive system and that are made of good ingredients and void of fillers.

While you’re using the extra daylight hours to get out there and be active with your dog, and focused on eating better, it’s also a great time review poison prevention tips.

With National Poison Prevention month also going on in March, here 3 things to keep your dog safe:
1. Keep all human prescriptions and OTC drugs far out of reach and in a locked cabinet if possible to stop accidental ingestion.
2. Do not give your dog table scraps. There are far too many dangers with possible ingredients added to these foods to risk poisoning. Stick to foods either prepared specifically for them (with no additional seasonings) or their own usual kibble and treats.
3. Gardening stuff can present a big problem in terms of possible poising for your pet. If they get into toxic plants themselves or ingest things like insecticide it can have fatal consequences. Do not leave anything laying around or leave your pet unsupervised around it.

Celebrating Puppies

Finally, the end of the month, March 23, brings a fun day to celebrate our little four-legged friends with National Puppy Day. Who doesn’t love a good puppy cuddle? These pets are bringing so much joy to households across the globe and we’ll be dedicating the day in their honor.

One recent study looking at why puppies are so cute found that the peak of their cuteness actually happens at around 8 weeks. This is perfect timing as it’s also a prime time for when most people are looking to adopt.

Have a wonderful rest of the month and as always, if you need assistance with pet containment so you can give your dog some freedom and gain peace of mind, we’re here to help!

Tips for National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and we’re celebrating by going over some of the best ways to ensure your dog or cat are getting the best care for their oral health.

The American Dental Association recommends adults and children brush at least twice a day after meals and floss regularly. They also recommend regular visits to the dentist and provide guidelines on healthy eating habits and foods and drinks to avoid to keep teeth healthy.

For pets, it can be easy to forget that they too need some routine and attention when it comes to oral care. The month of February serves as a great reminder to put a plan in action for your pet’s dental care.

Here are some of our top tips.

Brushing at Home is a Good First Step

While there are many products on the market that claim to help keep your dog’s breath fresh and clean their teeth, there’s really nothing that can match the benefits of a good old toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure to use a small brush and veterinary-grade paste and reward them with a treat once you’re done. This positive reinforcement will help train them so they are willing to sit through the cleanings each time. It is recommended that teeth are brushed every 1-3 days for the best results. Cats can also benefit from regular cleaning of their teeth and specially designed paste and gauze on your fingertips to clean their choppers.

Hard Chew Toys Won’t Help

Just like treats and toys won’t work to clean the teeth, they should also be avoided because some can actually do more harm to the integrity of the teeth and gums. Especially super hard toys that scrape against the tooth, there is an increased risk of cracking a tooth while biting down or even tearing into the gum line and loosening the teeth unnecessarily. As with all toys and treats, never leave your pet unsupervised and if they’re extreme chewers and have started to break apart the toy, it’s time toss it in the garbage.

Treat Your Pet’s Dental Visits Seriously

Both cats and dogs should be taken for regular dental check-ups just like their human owners. Whether an exam is done while at their vet check-ups or you set aside some time for actual dental cleanings and procedures, this is the best way to protect them from future health issues. Maintaining a quality diet and taking your pet to be checked out at the first sign of discomfort are also great ways to keep their teeth clean and safe.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass, we care deeply about your pets and want to be sure they’re always safe and healthy. Happy cleaning!

Tips to Protect Your Special Furry Valentine

February is the month for love. Whether you’re taking someone special out for a dinner and sending chocolate and flowers, or if you’re spending the day with friends sharing in each other’s companionship, don’t forget about your furry Valentine at home.

The one who’s there waiting for you each day to get home and snuggle. These special Valentine’s deserve some appreciation for Cupid’s holiday too. In addition to being an important day to fill them up with kisses and affection, it can also be a dangerous day for pets.

With all of the chocolate and other hazards lying around the house, there’s an increased chance your pet will ingest something dangerous.

Follow these tips to keep your special four-legged, love-bug safe this holiday.

Keep all chocolate high-up and safely tucked away.

You’re likely already aware that chocolate is a no-no for dogs. On Valentine’s Day, when you or your kids are coming home with cardboard hearts filled with these treats, you might easily place it on the kitchen counter or forget it’s sitting in your open bag that you put down.

To your dog, it smells sweet and they’d like to check things out, but the problem is that chocolate contains theobromine which works much the same as caffeine in our systems, causing their hearts to race and could lead to seizures and death. All kinds of chocolates from cheap to expensive, dark to sugar-free are all of extreme danger. Exercise caution when you bring them into a home with pets.

Clean-up any candies that fall to the floor.

While most people are aware that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, other candies less commonly talked about being toxic include low sugar gummies and hardened fruit candies. These are very dangerous and could easily be missed if they fall to the floor and your pet eats them. The problem is that many have artificial sugar in them (xylitol) that increases insulin in the pancreas and can lead to liver damage and blood clots if consumed. If your child eats candy around the house or you hear a piece fall to the floor when you’re picking at your Valentine loot, move quickly to clean it up before your pet eats it to keep them safe.

Understand which plants and flowers are toxic.

Just behind candies as a gift on Valentine’s Day, are flowers. Some lovers might deliver a bouquet of traditional roses, but others might be unique and choose a bouquet with an arrangement of different blooms. It’s important to know which might be harmful to your pets before you bring them into your home. When it comes to cats, lily’s are toxic; for dogs daffodils, azalea’s and tulips are a few that can cause problems.

The best way to protect your pet from these unintended harmful situations is to be vigilant about creating a safe home for this furry member of the family to enjoy.

Setting indoor boundaries that allow pet’s access to only certain parts of the house can also help curb concerns.

DogWatch Hidden Fences of Western Massachusetts can come in and guide you through the process of setting up a containment system that gives your pet ultimate freedom. The indoor hidden fence system includes safe wireless technology so you don’t need to put up baby gates or worry what your pet is getting into when you’re not home.

Get in touch today to get started!

Summer Hot Weather Advisory for Dogs

We’ve had our share of extremely hot temps this summer in New England. Like each year, the warnings about spending time outdoors have been made. And while it’s important to care for workers tasked to be out in the heat and the children and elderly who are especially susceptible to the rising temps, it’s just as important to remember our four-legged friends who too can become seriously ill – or worse in scorching temps.

Here are some hot weather tips to keep your dog safe.

Keep Water On Hand

Like humans, the increased heat outdoors can cause issues from sweating to sunburn and even dehydration in dogs. It’s important if you’ll be taking your dog out for activities on these extremely hot days that you keep a clean source of water available in regular supply to help keep them dehydrated and their body cool.

Understand Heatstroke in Dogs

While extreme heat may feel like a condition easily resolved by cooling off with a cold water hose down, that’s not how heat stroke works at all. It’s best to learn the signs of heatstroke and how to best address the risks to improve the situation as quickly as possible should your dog become a victim. Heavy panting and sluggishness are a few of the signs to watch for.

Add Freedom Indoors

One of the best tips dog owners can take, especially on hot summer days, is to leave their dog behind at home. Not only will they be more comfortable in their usual habitat, but the extra heat and work they will need to do to withstand that heat can take a real toll on them. Walking on burning hot asphalt, for example, isn’t exactly enjoyable. That’s not to say crating them is the best choice either.

And thanks to DogWatch it doesn’t have to be.

Enjoy some time outdoors with the kids in the yard while giving your dog the freedom and cool temps he’ll appreciate.

With an indoor pet containment system, you can set-up a perimeter around the house that is safe for your dog to be in and limits their access to those areas of your home that can be dangerous or you’d prefer he not get his curious paws into.

DogWatch of Western MA offers Hidden Dog Fence systems as well as training programs to help families take the best care of their pets. If you’re in need of indoor or outdoor hidden fences or training and are located in the Hampden, Hampshire or Franklin counties as well as the Sturbridge to Sutton Area, we’d be happy to help you and your pet gain that freedom and you some peace of mind.

Contact us today!

Doggy Diet: Tips to Increase Activity Time and Keep Your Pup Fit

The benefits of staying healthy and fit is something most of us are aware of today as we fight the obesity epidemic and associated health risks of carrying excessive weight and limiting physical movement. Just as this is dangerous for humans, it also puts our four-legged friends in danger.

Pet obesity rates are rising today as we spend more time at the office and less time doing outdoor activities.

Just like humans, being obese increases your pets risk for developing diabetes, blood pressure or even cancer.

While positive reinforcement certainly goes a long way to train your pets, treats can easily increase caloric intake and add to excessive weight gain in dogs. Add to this the less frequent walks and time spent outdoors in general today, and the threat increases.

Here are some tips on increasing activity time to help keep your pup fit.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

For anyone looking to get in shape and provide their body with proper cardiovascular health, creating a schedule is the best way to work fitness into their daily routine. Just like a doctor’s appointment or business meeting, this dedicated time slot should be honored. Be sure to take your dog along for the outing so he is also getting recommended daily exercise. Depending on the breed and type of dog they may need up to two long walks per day to receive enough activity.

Give Your Dog More Freedom

Another way to increase the time your dog is up and moving about is to give them more freedom. Both indoors and outside.

Keeping your dog in a crate for the long workday is an option many people frown up. Once you build up trust in your canine companion you may find that you can leave them out of the cage for the day and provide them with some time to get up and move around.

Running free outdoors is also something most dogs love to do. Even if you don’t have a physical fence up, you can allow them freedom in both scenarios by installing invisible fencing.

Invisible Fencing Options

Setting up a safe barrier that allows your pet freedom to roam and stretch as needed while keeping them your personal property safe is a top benefit of invisible fencing.

Using wireless technology and a dog collar you can set up dedicated perimeters for the dog to stay within. Keep them out of the kitchen, your flower beds and away from danger without putting up obstructing and bulky gates.

DogWatch of Western Mass is your source for user-friendly containment systems for your dog or cat to give them freedom while keeping them safe.

Learn more about hidden dog fencing products from DogWatch.

Can Dogs Get Colds? Flu Season Isn’t Just for Humans

sick dogHumans aren’t the only ones that can catch a cold. Your dog can also feel under the weather, especially when it’s colder outside. Now, we’re taking a closer look at what may cause your dog to catch a cold, and what sort of things you can do to help your pup when they’re sick. Continue reading “Can Dogs Get Colds? Flu Season Isn’t Just for Humans”