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Cruisin' Canines

Dogs with Important Jobs

When you get home from the office, a hard day of work under your belt, ready to kick back, you can always count on your dog to be a great couch partner. While most dogs are happy to be lounging, some of them spend their time working just as hard as the rest of us—at least, that’s what they want us to think, anyway. Check out these dogs who have important or unique day jobs. Lucy Lou, the Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky Lucy Lou is a border collie who is not the first dog to hold office in this town. In fact, she’s the THIRD canine to hold this office. Rabbit Hash first gained notoriety in 1998 when they first elected a dog to be the mayor, and since then, all mayoral elections have been won by dogs—though that’s not to say they’ve run uncontested. In this small town, cats, goats and other animals have also run for office. Lucy Lou was elected in 2008, and spends her time in “office” at the town’s General Store, where she poses for pictures and greets visitors. Charlie, the Security Dog Charlie is a security officer at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He’s even got an ID card—looks pretty official to us. We wouldn’t want to try any funny business around this serious pooch, would you? Tucker, the Orca-Finder Dogs love sniffing butts, so it stands to reason that Tucker has a job sniffing out poop. Tucker is a rescue dog, and he’s nicknamed “The Pooper Snooper” for his ability to spot orca poop floating in the water from up to a mile away. His sightings help researchers track pods of whales, collecting vital information about whale diets, including what and where the whale has eaten as well as tracing poisons and toxins that may be affecting local whale pods. Ilsa, the Foodie Forager If you’ve heard of truffles—and not the chocolate kind—you know that they’re pricey, rare, and hard to find. Enter Ilsa, a Belgian malinois. She and her trainer/business partner lead truffle-hunting expeditions in the Oregon wilderness, searching out these delicate mushrooms. Previously, pigs were the hunting partner of choice for these specialties, but nowadays, dogs of all breeds have been helping out. Just make sure they don’t eat the treasure before it can be served up in a 5-star restaurant. Yuki and Shooter, the Rescuers Yuki is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever who works at the Aleyska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, and Shooter is a golden retriever who works in Squaw Valley, California at the Alpine Meadows Resort. Both dogs are avalanche rescue dogs, relying on regular practice finding people, clothing and scent-laden toys in burial scenarios to help them do their jobs successfully. These pooches can ride chair lifts, too—but they don’t have to pay for a lift ticket! Sinatra, the Doorman Sinatra is a sleepy-looking, yet ready-to-work French bulldog who mans the door of the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in a Greenwich Village, NYC landmark building. Do you want to try your fake ID with Ol Blue…er, Ol’ Brown Eyes?

Springtime Dog Safety

If you’re loving the warmer weather as much as we are, chances are you’ve been taking every chance you can to get outside and enjoy it—and your dog probably loves it too! But like any other time of year, Spring brings some unique safety concerns for dogs outside. Follow our safety tips to make sure your dog stays in the best shape possible this Spring. Be Careful of Sticks and Unknown Plants Playing fetch is great, but if your dog has a knack for chewing on sticks, you’ll want to monitor their chewing to ensure they don’t swallow shards of a stick (which can damage the esophagus or intestines) or eat the entire, which can cause severe problems. Instead of sticks, consider getting your pup a tennis ball or rubber stick to chase. In the same vein, make sure your pet doesn’t make an afternoon snack of a plant you’re unfamiliar with. Many dogs like to eat grass, but be sure to be aware that some native plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat them. Spring Cleaning Safety If you’re deep-cleaning your home, making sure to go over every nook and cranny to get rid of dust and grime, double check that the cleaning products you’re using are safe for dogs to be around. Particularly in the case of some pest-deterrents, you’ll need to be sure that it’s okay for dogs to walk on the chemical or breathe it in—toxic chemicals can make your dog very ill, and can cause expensive vet visits. If your dog does accidentally ingest cleaning products, don’t call Poison Control—they deal with people and won’t have the information you need for an animal. Instead, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435. Allergies and What to Do About Them Seasonal allergies come and go for people, and the same can happen for dogs. However, where we experience things like sneezing or watery, itchy eyes, dog allergies usually present as skin problems. Dogs are often allergic to pollens and grasses, and their skin can appear red or irritated if they’re experiencing a flare-up. If you notice your pet scratching a certain area more than usual, check on their skin. Talk to your vet about what to do about skin allergies—they will be able to help you pinpoint what the dog is allergic to and find a remedy. Flea and Tick Prevention Fleas and ticks can pose serious risks to your pet, as well as you—if your dog gets fleas, they can hop off in your home and bite you and your family as well—no fun! Make sure you have a regimen in place for pest prevention—flea treatments or medications from the vet work well, as do flea shampoos. If you spend time in a wooded area, be sure to check your pet for ticks, as tick bites can lead to disease. If your dog gets a tick and you aren’t sure how to get it out, you can call your vet for help. Dog Fights at the Park Anytime multiple dogs are in the same area, there’s a chance for confrontation and aggression. Keep your pooch safe at the dog park by being attentive and engaged—too often, dog owners sit on the sidelines, looking at their phones or talking to friends and aren’t watching what their dogs are doing. When you don’t know what your dog is up to at the park, it can be difficult to jump into a dog-fight situation quick enough and you may not even notice your dog is involved. Pay attention and stay present when you’re at the park to prevent fights and injuries. Let us know what your favorite tips are for keeping your pets safe as the seasons change.

Tips for Giving Your Dog a Bath

With the snow melting and weather warming up, your dog is probably happy to spend more time outside now. While this is great for getting your pooch a bit more exercise and play time, as well as perhaps some socialization if you go to the dog park, it can also mean your dog getting smelly sooner and more frequently, or dirty from running through puddles of melted snow and mud. Giving your dog a bath can be a messy experience, but you can make it less of a hassle by following these tips. How Often Should You Do It? How often you’ll need to wash your dog will be largely dependent on your pup’s habits—some dogs seem magnetically attracted to mud, it seems, and they’ll need to be bathed more frequently, as you might imagine. A good general rule, though, is if your dog isn’t too dirty or messy outside, every six weeks or so is a good frequency for baths. If your dog doesn’t really get dirty at all and has a double coat, many groomers say that only bathing the dog every 3 or 4 months is fine. Smooth-coated dogs may be able to go even longer between baths. If you’re unsure, talk to your groomer or vet about what they recommend. Before-Bath Maintenance Before you get your dog wet, it’s ideal to brush their coat thoroughly to remove any tangles or mats. If you use a Furminator or de-shedding tool, you can use it before the bath too—after all, it’s kind of silly to wash dog hair that’s about to be shed. Gather all of your necessary supplies, like the dog shampoo, towels and brushes, before you begin. Change into clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, since there’s no way to avoid getting wet while doing this chore. Make sure you close the door of the room you’re bathing the dog in so that if he jumps out of the tub or shower, he can’t track water and dirt all over your home. How to Bathe Be sure to buy a shampoo formulated for dogs—human shampoo may be too harsh or not the right pH for dog skin and hair, and can cause irritation. Oatmeal shampoo can be good for dogs with sensitive, dry, or itchy skin, while flea shampoo can be good for killing and preventing fleas on your pooch. Get your dog wet, then lather the shampoo all over, taking care to avoid the insides of their ears, nose, mouth, and eyes. Rinse with warm water, and make sure to dry thoroughly—including inside the dog’s ears in case water got inside. Make Sure to Dry Be sure to dry your dog thoroughly, including possibly using a hair dryer if Fido will allow it. If it’s still a bit chilly outside, make sure they stay inside until they’re totally dry—the wet hair plus cool air can make them get too cold. There are special towels sold that are very absorbent and that can speed up the drying process, but the most important thing is to make sure your dog stays warm while drying! Do you have any helpful tips for washing your dogs? Let us know in the comments!

What to Know about Rescuing a Dog

Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue can be truly rewarding. Too many dogs are in shelters, and high numbers of euthanization in cities all over lead to many people choosing to adopt rather than buy their next pet. Rescuing dogs is great for many people, but it’s important to be fully informed about what you can expect when doing so. When you’re prepared for the unexpected and know what you’re getting into, the potential for stress is much lower. Rescuing a Dog Means Getting The Dog’s History, Too When you get a puppy, you’re starting fresh with a new dog. While many shelters do adopt out puppies, the vast majority of shelter dogs are full-grown. Adopting an adult dog means you’re going to have to adapt to whatever the dog’s established demeanor is and work with it. For instance, if the dog was abused as a puppy, it may be afraid of or aggressive toward humans.  You’ll need to commit to training a dog from a shelter and giving it a lot of attention. Be a leader for the dog, and give it a new home where they can learn to trust again. Likewise, if you adopt a senior dog who was given up by a deceased owner or someone who could no longer afford to take care of their pet, you may be dealing with a dog who has abandonment issues or separation anxiety. No matter what the issues, rescuing a dog means you have to be up for the challenge of getting a dog that some may consider to be less-than-ideal. Just Because It’s a Rescue, Doesn’t Mean It’s Free Rescues and shelters need money to keep doing the work they do—the cheapest option for getting rid of homeless animals is, sadly, euthanizing them. To keep them alive and get them adopted into homes, rescue groups need space to shelter them, food to feed them, toys to entertain them, workers or volunteers to care for them, veterinary care—basically everything you’ll need when you adopt a dog, but multiplied for dozens of homeless hounds. So don’t be surprised when the cost to adopt or rescue a dog isn’t just a few dollars—most adoptions fall somewhere between $50 and $400, depending on where you live, how old the dog is (some charge more for puppies as they are in higher demand), etc.  If you’re looking at a specific-breed rescue, the price will likely be on the higher end. You’ll Need to Prove Your Living Situation Thankfully, most shelters have fairly rigid adoption guidelines. This is to prevent impulsive adopters from bringing home the first cooing beagle or pit mix they find, only to return the pooch when it pees on their carpet the first time or their landlord finds out they got a dog in a no-pets building. Shelters and rescues will typically require you to provide proof of the pet-friendly status in your building if you rent, and if you own, they’ll want to know that everyone in your family gets along with the dog. If you have kids, they don’t want to risk you adopting a dog that your toddler is terrified of. Generally, these guidelines are not in place to prevent you from finding a furry friend. Rather, they’re there to prevent that dog from being bounced around from shelter to house to shelter again. The purpose of shelters and rescues is finding a “forever home” for each animal, and ensuring the adoptive family is a good fit is key. Their Behavior May Be Inconsistent Playing with the dog at the shelter might make you think that he’s the one for you. As hard as it might be, try to remind yourself that there may be the potential for the dog to act differently when you bring it home. For instance, maybe it’s tired or a little under the weather when you meet it at the shelter, and acts very calm and collected, only to turn into a rambunctious little devil once it’s in your home.  On the flip side, it might be stressed out and reactive in the shelter or when you first bring it home, but may mellow out over the first few weeks or months you have the dog. Keep in mind that when you rescue a dog, again, you’re adopting all of its qualities, not just the nice, fun ones. The Dog’s Health Status Might Be Unclear/Unresolved In that same vein, it’s important to get detailed health information about the dog before you bring it home, as well as advice about what to do or who to bring the dog to in the event that a sickness develops shortly after bringing the pet home. For instance, kennel cough is a common ailment among shelter dogs, and should be attended to. You should also be prepared to plan for any unexpected health issues that the shelter may not know about—arthritis, allergies, hip problems, etc. Adopting a dog is a great experience for most people who do it—the key is being prepared and knowing what to expect. Did you adopt your dog? Let us know about what you think people should know about adopting pets!

APRIL Dog of the Month is

OLIVER! Breed – Jack Russell Terrier mix Age – 1 year Where I live – Logan Square Joys in life – Chasing balls, birds and squirrels. Eating cheese and peanut butter. Playing puppy in the middle with parents. Cuddling and giving kisses. Dog walker – Blanca Walking buddies – Finn the neighbor-pup

Dog Flu Outbreak in Chicago: What You Need to Know

If you’re a dog owner in Chicago, you’ve probably been hearing some buzz about canine influenza, or dog flu, that’s going around. If you’re concerned about how you can keep your dog from getting the flu, look no further: we’ve compiled a list of things you need to know about this outbreak and how you can keep your pets safe. How Dogs Are Exposed In the past week or two, more and more reports have been broadcast notifying dog owners about the risks of dog flu. Dogs have been exposed at dog day care facilities, dog parks and other group facilities for dogs, like training centers. Some dogs are even exposed when they stop and “converse” with another dog on their daily walks, if that other dog is infected. Essentially, the hard reality is that any dog that is around other dogs is at risk of contracting dog flu. The virus can be spread from contaminated objects to uninfected dogs, and by moving contaminated objects between infected and uninfected dogs. Symptoms to Watch For Dog flu symptoms typically show up in 80 percent of infected dogs, and include a cough that lasts from 10 to 30 days, and perhaps greenish snot or nasal discharge. Dogs with a more severe form of the illness may exhibit a fever or develop pneumonia—though not caused by the influenza virus itself but by secondary bacterial infections as a result of the flu-weakened immune system. Watch out for your dog acting lethargic, a loss of appetite, or if they are acting much differently than they usually do, like not wanting to play. If your pooch is exhibiting these symptoms, you may want to bring them to your vet just to be safe. Prevention and Treatment The best prevention is to keep your dog away from any place where they might contract the virus. If you typically keep your dog in doggy daycare, consider pulling them for a week or two. If your dog is not sick, you can bring him or her to the vet for the dog flu vaccine, which is given twice with a two-week break—the vaccine can only be given to dogs that do not already have the virus though, so if your pup’s already sick, treatment is the only solution. Treatment is largely supportive care, including medication to make your dog more comfortable, fluids to ensure that your pooch stays well-hydrated, and some extra TLC. Antibiotics may be needed if your dog develops a secondary bacterial infection, as well. When walking your dog, make sure that you avoid other dogs, which may require you to take alternate routes. Keep a good eye on your dog and you’ll be able to catch symptoms early if you notice them. Dog flu can be dangerous, but there are ways to help keep your dog safe.

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