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Summer in the City

July 23rd 2017

Health Matters! 10 Tips for Making Sure Your Pet is Festival Ready


Taking your dog to community events can be a lot of fun and exciting but these events can be very crowded, not only with people but also with other pets! Be sure your dog is in good health to attend. Immune compromised pets should not be exposed to other animals.

Know your Dog and his Temperament

While Calgarians may love the excitement of the summer festival season with the throngs of people, food, entertainment and music, your dog may not. It’s important to consider what creates stress for your dog and know how he or she responds to crowds, changes to his or her environment, other animals and loud noises. Fearful, reactive or dogs with behavioural issues, will likely be happiest in the comfort of their own home or familiar setting. Shy or timid dogs, or the senior dog who tires easily may find festivals too demanding.

• Ensure your dog is Vaccinated

Young puppies are most susceptible to infectious viral diseases, but unvaccinated older and immune compromised dogs are at risk as well. A properly vaccinated dog is a must when considering attending your favourite festival, for everyone's safety!

• ID your Dog

Microchip and license your dog with the City of Calgary. Licenses need to be worn when out in public. Give yourself peace of mind, by ensuring that your dog’s information is up to date and to have a way to identify them should they become separated from you!

• Water - Keep it Cool!

Remember, outdoor events can cause our pets to become overheated and dehydrated with the sun and hot asphalt. Seek shady areas and provide lots of water for your pet. Dogs too can suffer from a heat stroke. Warning signs to be on the lookout for: heavy panting, thick drool, bright red gums, vomiting, diarrhea, wobbly legs, weakness.

• Keep them Leashed!

Unless you are in an off leash area, the City of Calgary requires all dogs in public places to be leashed. Dog harnesses can also be a great idea for the festival dog.

• Ride in Style -Get a Carrier

Smaller dogs are often hard to see amongst the crowds of people, and could easily be kicked or stepped on. Carriers, doggie backpacks or strollers are a great way for them to participate with their owners so they can remain safe and not be under foot. Carriers also provide the senior dog with mobility issues a chance to be part of the fun while being mobile and safe.

• Block the Bugs

Even Fido can suffer from those pesky insects. Ensure you have a safe repellant for your pooch.

• Bring on the Treats

Make sure to bring some of your dogs own favourite treats for your dog and to avoid tummy troubles.  Be sure to be on the lookout that he or she doesn’t pick up those dropped on the ground!

• Scoop the Poop!

No one likes to smell or step in it!  Always be prepared to pick up after your pet to ensure everyone can have a good time and to be a responsible pet owner. Don’t forget those poop bags!

By Dr Dirk Dekens, DVM
Dekens Housecall Veterinary Services


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Summer Holidays and Your Pets

June 30th 2017

While we enjoy our pets and love spending time with them, there may be some occasions where taking our 4 legged friend on holidays with us may be too stressful or difficult. This is the time where, as a family, you need to weigh the pros and cons of pet care such as boarding facilities or having a pet sitter care for your pet. Just as we research and plan our holidays, we need to apply the same effort to finding good care for our pet.

When considering a boarding kennel there are some key points to consider:

- Do you know others who have used this facility and had a positive experience? Are there reviews you can read?
- Are they a registered and licenced facility? Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau?
- Visit in advance to determine its cleanliness, its use of space and staffing
- Are there areas for senior or smaller dogs? a separate area for cats? What does the outdoor space for exercise look like?
- Do the staff have specialized training in animal behaviour?
- Is there 24 hr supervision?
- Are they able to administer medication?
- How do they handle pet emergencies? Do they have a veterinarian on-call?
- How are the pets fed and can they accommodate special diets?
- What are the sleeping arrangements? Do they have both open areas for sleep as well as kenneled space? - If your pet is not crate-trained, having to do so in a kennel could be stressful if not prepared!
Does the facility offer other services such as grooming, or training on-site?
- Do they complete a pre-stay screening assessment to understand your pets’ behaviours and special needs?
- Do they offer webcam viewing?
While boarding may work well for some pets who enjoy the socialization, others do better with more personalized attention of a pet sitter who either comes into the home or checks in frequently on your pet. Often pet sitters come with a background in animal care. It is important to check credentials and references carefully. While a pet sitter may cost more than a boarding kennel, it can offer peace of mind to know your pet is able to maintain its routine in a familiar environment.

So, now you have found the boarding facility/pet sitter you want to use. Now what? Book early to avoid disappointment! Be sure to have a list of instructions for your pet, their medications, special food, leashes, veterinary information and emergency contact numbers ready. It is also advisable to have a Delegation of Authority provided to your pet’s caregivers in your absence, to act on your  behalf in the case of a medical emergency, and to verify that your pet was in good health prior to your leaving.

When planning holidays, make sure to put as much care and attention into your pet’s arrangements as you do your own. Prior to leaving, be sure to check with your veterinarian that your four-legged friend has sufficient medications for the duration of the holiday and vaccinations are up to date. Always leave instructions for your pet’s care and your emergency contact numbers. With good planning, everyone can enjoy a relaxing holiday season!

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