Beach Safety Tips for Dogs

With a heatwave upon us here in New England and stay at home orders not completely lifted yet, there are many people taking trips to the beach for some relief from the hot weather. While there aren’t many places you can take your dog during the summer months in Western Mass as far as beaches (dogs are welcome October 1st -April 30th as long as they are leashed) if you’re planning a trip to a nearby location where your pet will be accompanying you by the water, it’s important to know some of the key safety protocols to follow so your pet is safe. Here are some important things to keep in mind

Not All Dogs Can Swim 

You should always use a safety vest for your dog while at the beach. There is no telling when a current will get too strong or if your dog can handle the water depth. Not all dogs can innately swim so if you’re unsure if your furry friend has swimming agility, do not take the chance and allow them to go out into the water. 

Dogs Should Drink Only Fresh Water 

Your pet should always stay hydrated and have plenty of fresh water to drink. Do not allow them to drink any other water while you’re out and about. Sitting puddles, salty ocean water and anything other than clean, fresh water can be toxic. 

Baths Should Always Follow 

The first thing we do when we get home from the beach is shower to get off all the sand and salt from the day. Don’t leave your dog behind. He too should be showered after incase there is sand within his fur or other mites and sand insects on his coat. 

Dogs Get Very Hot

While we can wear a swimsuit and light clothing at the beach to stay cool, keep in mind that your dog has lots of fur and they will get hot much more easily than you do. Especially if you have a large bread with long hair – they can have a quick increase in body temperature while being outdoors in extreme heat. It’s always best to leave your dog home during the hottest times of the day where they can stay relaxed and in a familiar setting. They can also burn their delicate paws on hot sand, so there is a lot of consideration prior to a trip to the beach with your dog.

Provide your four-legged friend with ample space to roam about safely indoors while you venture to the beach. Set-up wireless pet containment systems around the home. 

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Pets Top of Mind During COVID-19

We love to talk about your pets here on our blog. We have a giant part of our hearts that belong to your four-legged friends. After all, it’s why we do what we do! Helping you to create a safe place for both your pet and your family to enjoy time with each other indoors and outside. 

Our wireless pet containment systems are great for both cats and dogs and create the boundaries you define as safe and okay for them to stay within. We also provide perimeter training where we come out and interact with your dog or cat and help them to understand what those boundaries mean so they can feel comfortable using your new DogWatch system. 

With a global pandemic still underway, it’s important to take extra precautions for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. In fact, social media image site Pinterest found recently that pet-related searches are topping the list of what people are doing while online. 

We already talked about how shelters are getting emptied out across the globe thanks to the companionship pets bring with stay at home orders. This brings to light some more interesting points about our beloved furry friends. 

People are searching for things like how to best care for your pet, doing research on different breeds and even getting suggestions from the Internet on unique pet names. 

What else are people looking for? DIY tips for creating special toys for their new friends as well as easy homemade food options and treats and even grooming and training tips to help keep their pets safe and clean. 

We love this new movement to love your pets even more and are here for all of your needs. Call DogWatch of Western Mass and give them a safe and spacious area to run around and play around your home! 

Get in touch today! 

Don’t Let Fleas & Ticks Ruin Your Pet’s Summer

The summer months are arriving here in New England, and with temps fully warmed now there is a giant concern for ticks on our pets if they travel outdoors. Both fleas and ticks can be bothersome and risky to your dog and cat’s health.

Here are some tips for treating and preventing these pesky parasites from invading this summer’s fun.

Take Steps for Prevention

Flea and tick medications specially formulated to help ward off the insects are critical in the line of defense for your pet. Whether you choose an oral tablet, collar or special spray or shampoo, it’s important to follow up with daily checks of your pet’s coat to ensure the medication is working and no ticks have attached to them.

Treat the Spaces They Frequent

You can also be proactive about prevention by treating the areas of your home inside and outside where your pet frequents. Special non-toxic sprays can be purchased for application to your lawn or your pet’s bedding. You should also ensure you are combing and bathing your pet regularly as well as washing and dusting areas around the home where they typically lay.

Set-up Safe Perimeters

If you want your pet to enjoy more freedoms while outdoors but are worried about a key area in the yard – such as pine trees where ticks might be in greater frequency, you can set-up a hidden wireless fence around your yard that dictates specifically the areas you feel safe letting your pet roam. Total control and peace of mind.

DogWatch Western Mass serves the Pioneer Valley and provides installation, training, and great customer service for all DogWatch Hidden Fence products. 

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Pet Behavior Problems? Try This

Anyone who has pets knows that sometimes there can be a little adjusting to get them used to their new dwelling when you bring them home. Sometimes, older dogs, or those pets that know better will still have a behavior problem or act out of character and you may come home to torn couch cushions or chewed up shoes.

There are many reasons why a pet may have behavioral issues but some of the more common ones can be a sign of boredom, anxiety, or another issue that is important to know about.

Here are some common behavior issues pet owners are always seeking solutions for and what your dog or cat might be trying to tell you.

Barking that is Uninterrupted

While most dogs will bark from time to time to get their owner’s attention or for other reasons when it is a consistent, uninterrupted barking that seems excessive or even a nuisance your pet might be in danger of trying to tell you something important. Always be sure to give them attention to ensure they or someone else is not in immediate danger. To help teach them to stop barking using the command “quiet” or try to hold your hand quickly over the mouth like a muzzle to indicate quiet time.

Chewing Everything They Can

As we mentioned earlier, destructive chewing – especially of pricey items around the house or dangerous materials can be a very hard situation to deal with. If you find your pup is always reverting back to this behavior (even if they let it go for a while) they could be bored or in need of more exercise. Try to take them on an additional walk, provide chew toys to occupy them, or spend some more cuddle time easing their anxieties.  

Constant Licking or Scratching

Besides the unnerving sound of your dog licking and scratching at himself, they could be dealing with allergies that are also uncomfortable for them. Skin irritations are common in dogs or bacterial infections could be present as well. Try diverting their attention from the habit, but if it gets to be out of control talking with a professional may be warranted.

Dogwatch Western Mass provides perimeter training for your pet to help them better understand commands and get accustomed to having a hidden fence for protection around your home and yard.  We love your animals just as much as you do. Give us a call today to learn more about our products and services.

Stay Home with Your Pet & De-Stress Together

With social distancing orders still in place for much of the nation and even as we slowly begin to open up some of the businesses, it’s important that we all do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. What that looks like is a summer 2020 season that is spent more at home then out and about.

If you have a backyard and children maybe it means more time poolside or grilling together in the yard. Whatever it means for you, be sure to call and utilize technology to check in on those you love who may be alone or have less human contact.

 Our pets are a great resource for de-stressing and maintaining a critical social and emotional bond. Many four-legged friends can also sense when we are worried or stressed and could begin showing behaviors of that anxiety. It’s worth it to spend some time cuddling together as we navigate this new normal for all of society. 

Here are some things you can do with your pet to help you both stay at ease and decompress. 

Clean and Create a Cozy Place 

You may not realize it but all of the clutter in your living space could be adding to your stress levels. One of the best ways to relax is to clean up all of that mess and then decorate, minimize, and make a cozy space that you can sit in and enjoy. Cuddle with your pet, a warm cup of coffee or a good book and forget about the outside for just a bit. 

Start a Workout Regimen 

They say movement is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Take some time during this quarantine to set yourself a regular workout regimen. One that involves your pet will be mutually beneficial. Plan a walking route and aim to go twice a day for the best cardiovascular health and stress reduction benefit.

Treat Yourselves 

Rewarding good behavior isn’t the only time to think about treats. Sometimes a taste good treat can change the mood or make the last few hours of the day unwinding on the couch a little more pleasurable. Don’t overindulge but allow yourself a little extra something nice once in a while.

Caring for Your Pet’s Skin

We all know the furry and cuddly feeling of snuggle with our pet. Cats and dogs can be great comfort givers and they surely love having their coats combed and fur rubbed. One thing to also consider when it comes to your pet’s health is the condition of their skin underneath the fur.

Skin conditions are common in both cats and dogs and sometimes they can signal a larger issue. It’s important to recognize the difference between a regular itch and something that’s irritating your pet – or worse.

Here are some tips for caring for your pet’s skin and what signs to look out for.

Allergic Reactions

It can be difficult to spot an allergy to your pet. Unlike humans who may sneeze or sniffle during allergy season, our pets could display signs they’re also suffering from allergies by obsessively scratching or even nibbling at their own fur. In addition to dander, mold, and other common allergens, your pet could also be having a reaction to a food such as soy or wheat. If this is happening to your pet you will need to have a professional look further into it and perhaps start a regimen of allergy shots.

Infected Skin

Another common skin condition you should know about in pets is commonly referred to as “hot spots” and they appear in the form of red lesion-like inflammation. What starts as a small cut can quickly grow into these painful spots and antibiotic and medicated topical will be needed to aide your pet in clearing up the condition.

Facial Acne

Yes, you read that right. Our four-legged friends share in our human experience of zits on the face! They too can end up with small pimples on their chin area if they become too stressed (sound familiar) or are not being properly groomed. Similar to treating human acne, benzoyl peroxide or other topical will be needed to treat the pimples.

Here’s The Most Poisonous & Deadly Plants For Dogs

As a general safety rule, you shouldn’t let your dogs eat plants at all, especially during regular walking sessions. Not all plants are poisonous to them; nor will all ingested poisonous plants kill them either. In most cases, poisonous plants will only prove fatal to dogs if they consume a large amount of it. Remember: if your dog becomes ill after consuming plant matter, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.  Regardless of how poisonous a particular plant may be to your pup, it’s important to be aware of the deadliest ones. These are some of the most deadliest plants for dogs.

Castor Beans

castor bean leaf

Even the tiniest amount of a castor oil plant–such as a single seed–can kill dogs.

Azaleas

azaleas

All parts of azaleas and rhododendrons will cause nausea, depression, difficulty breathing, and even coma. Azaleas can kill dogs if they eat a large quantity of them.

Apricots

apricot tree

Apricot kernels contain cyanide, which can be fatal to dogs.

Daffodils

daffodils

Daffodils can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and death.

Grapes & Grape Vines

grapes hanging from a grape vine

Grapes and raisins can cause serious kidney failure in dogs, which will result in death.

Wild Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms

Eating wild cherry twigs and/or leaves can be lethal to dogs.

Yew

yew

Eating yew berries and/or foliage can kill dogs even without them showing signs of prior illness. 

Mistletoe

mistletoe

Here’s a friendly holiday warning: keep mistletoe away from dogs. Mistletoe berries can wreck havoc on a dog’s stomach; just a few berries can kill puppies. 

Don’t Stress About It Too Much

Dogs will usually avoid poisonous plants by instinct; therefore you should not stress yourself about this too much. When walking and playing outside with them, just do your best to prevent them from eating plants, and they’ll be fine.

COVID-19 Creates Spike in Pet Adoption

We’ve all continued to likely read the headlines as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, but even amongst all of the uncertainty and unknowing, there are some stories emerging that show the goodness of humankind.

Our focus here is to protect and help you incorporate your furry friends into your home life so w were especially touched when we saw headlines break that the pet adoption world was booming as Americans shelter in place at home.

The reports indicate an increase of up to 90 percent in pet fostering during COVID-19 in some cities in the U.S. Others who cannot adopt are donating food and blankets to help shelters as well.

Speaking to WIRED, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Folks who don’t have animals for one reason or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, that’s all changed right now.”

“In the midst of all these things that are so challenging and so hard, communities are really stepping up for these animals,” Block told Wired.

What to Do to Welcome a New Pet Home

If you’re one of the many who have helped to find a new home for an animal in the shelters across the U.S. – Thank You! Now that you have your cuddly furry friend home with you it’s important to help welcome them into their new space. Here are a few tips we’d like to share and how DogWatch can help!

Give Them Time

The important thing to remember about shelter animals is that they will need some time to come around and get used to their new living spaces. Some may have never had a home setting before and others may have come from not so great pasts. It’s key to get to know your pet before you adopt and then treat them accordingly as they adjust.

Make Them Comfortable

The best thing you can do during this transition phase is to help your pet to get comfortable. Set-up a permanent food and sleep area. Something soft and warm that they can get to know as “their space”. If you have a few toys for them it will also be a nice welcome gift and of course, some good quality time with the family can be comforting for all.

Create Boundaries & Freedom

Welcoming a new pet into your home comes with some challenges too. If you’ve never had a curious pet in the home you might discover that things are chewed or misplaced if you’re not careful. The best way to protect your pet and your belongings is to set up boundaries for them. Both areas where they may roam freely and those off-limits.

DogWatch of Western Mass. Can Help

We offer a way for you to effectively keep your pet off the couch, away from the trash and out of the dining room or kitchen! Our pet containment systems allow your pet to roam and play freely within the boundaries you set – indoors and outdoors. We also offer training to help with getting them to safely obey the new boundaries you’ve put in place.

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Consider a Pet-Friendly Office to Recruit and Retain Employees

Many employers today are discovering that their workforces don’t look the same as they did 10 or 20 years ago. A new generation of workers – mostly millennials – now staff the nation’s retail employers as well as healthcare organizations. In veterinary practices, owners and managers are discovering that younger employees want very different things from their employers. An opportunity for advancement and higher pay are desirable, but so too are quality-of-life elements.

Pets play a larger role in people’s lives than they did with older generations. Sixty-seven percent of American households now own pets, and they are part of the family more than ever before. Gone are the outdoor doghouse and leaving the cat outside. Americans love their “fur babies” more than ever before, and they’re spending time and money to ensure their health and happiness. Some employers are beginning to recognize that animals are fundamental to workers’ happiness and employee engagement.

Pets in the Workplace

“Several companies including Petco, Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon all allow their employees to bring their dogs into work, while other companies like Trupanion, Zogics, and Ceros offer employees pet benefits like insurance and bereavement days,” according to the web site Employee Benefits Advisor. “More companies are jumping on the pet insurance bandwagon as they realize employees will spend thousands of dollars on pet care, and often forgo making a payment on another bill in order to ensure their animal is taken care of.”

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, about 15 percent of American employers now offer a health insurance benefit for pets. Seven percent of workplaces have made their premises pet-friendly. As companies strive to recruit, hire and retain workers, making some pet-friendly accommodations can help attract workers and reduce turnover. A survey of workers by Mars Petcare found that 59 percent of respondents would choose to work for a dog-friendly employer over one that is not.

If you’re thinking of opening your workplace to animals, put some rules in place to ensure it doesn’t become a distraction.  These might include:

  • Making accommodations for anyone with pet allergies by designating certain areas animal-free.
  • Allowing only well trained, non-disruptive animals in the office.
  • Making clear “no animals on the furniture” rules.
  • Installing “indoor boundary” technology for any areas animals are not allowed in.

Consult with Professionals

For more information and solutions for controlling pet access to indoor and outdoor areas, contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts. We proudly serve the Pioneer Valley and the surrounding area. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep customers happy! Visit our web site or call 888-749-2657 for more information.

Pampered Pets Get More Than Just Treats and Belly Rubs

Confession time. How many of you splurge more on your pet than on yourself? If you had to choose between a pricey, organic treat that was good for your dog’s health over yourself would you? You’re not alone. People across the nation are investing heavily in their pets not only for their health but because they’re now more a part of the family unit than ever before.

One recent survey conducted by Bigeye found that there are growing opportunities for those who market products and services for pets today as consumers are now spending $74B on their pets annually.

Another study released by social image site Pinterest has found more people are caring for their pets just as humans than ever before. With searches on the rise for things like “outdoor cat playgrounds” and “dog toilets” it’s no wonder the lines are getting blurred.

Over in the UK, they said over 50 percent of pet parents ages 19-38 said they’d rather cut expenses for themselves than cut back for their pets.

If you love your dog, cat or other pet and want to treat them to some splurge items make sure they’re worth every cent and promote wellness and comfort for your furry friend.

Here are our top suggestions for pampering your pet in ways they’ll actually be grateful for.

Bedding

Nothing beats a soft, comfortable and dedicated area that’s all their own. Choose a high-end dog bed, one with a Tempurpedic foam inside to really support joints and make laying around as comfortable as possible for your pet.  

Toys

You can never go wrong with toys. Since some of the lower end chew toys can end up destroyed quickly, lost or dirty then it’s worth it to get some high quality, pricier items to add to the collection. Today’s connected toys even give pet parents a way to interact with their fur babies while they’re away.

Treats

Snacks are the way to just about anyone’s heart. When your pet behaves well or snuggles up for a treat let that delicious item be as healthy as it can be. Choose organic or homemade items cooked with love and much better for your pet’s palette and wellbeing.