Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winter Health for Dogs

Does your dog love the winter wonderland or would he rather cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket? Either way, you must be prepared to protect him when he ventures out into the elements.

Don't over-feed your dog during the winter. Although dogs are in need of an extra layer during the winter season…make sure it comes from a coat, and not fat.. Be attentive to your dog's activity level and adjust his calories accordingly. Always feed your dog a high quality natural dog food to insure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.
Keep your dog hydrated. Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in the winter as summer. Many dogs eat snow, but it is not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog has a water bowl outdoors, check it often and break ice that may form on top.
Let's talk temperature! If it is too cold for you to stand at the door without your coat, it is probably too cold for your dog to be out without a coat. Some dog breeds have dense undercoats that help protect them against cold temperatures, but most dogs should have a coat to help them deal with Jack Frost. Coats are not just about fashion, they are also functional! Coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail…don't keep your dog out too long in freezing temperatures.
Provide extra bedding and warmth for your dog. Limit your dog's time outdoors on cold days and provide warm indoor shelter. Place your dog's bed in a warm spot; away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors.
Protect your dog from burns. Dogs will often seek heat during the cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and lamps and place baseboard radiator covers to avoid unnecessary burns. Fireplaces also pose a major threat and a pet-proof system should be used to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harms way!
Groom your dog. A clean, well-groomed coat will keep your dog properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog lives outdoors. Choose natural, detergent-free grooming products that will not strip your dog's skin and coat of essential oils that help protect them against the winter elements. After bathing, dry your dog adequately before allowing him outdoors.
Protect your dog's feet. Dogs walk through snow, slush, salt and chemicals.  Although doggie booties  sound corny, they can prevent painful injuries.  Or clean your dog's feet every time he comes into the house. Use warm water and clean between the toes to remove all debris and salt. Apply a small amount of a natural salve every day to keep  pads from cracking. Avoid using any chemical ice-melting compounds or rock salt on your sidewalks or driveways that your dog may contact.
Avoid toxin exposure. With winter comes antifreeze which is sweet in taste and dogs will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and a small amount can be fatal for dogs. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where they may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.
Dogs should NEVER be left in cars unattended, no matter what season. Freezing cold temperatures are the main concern during winter. If the car is left running during the winter (especially in a garage), carbon monoxide poisoning is a threat.
Special medical needs. Cold weather can aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. Maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft resting area to recuperate after activity. Try the addition of a natural glucosamine supplement to lubricate the joints. Contact your vet if you detect any unusual symptoms in your dog. Never use over the counter medication without the advice of your veterinarian.
 Paying special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season will insure that you both enjoy the Winter Wonderland to its fullest.  ◊

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist, an active AVMA and AVHMA member, and leading speaker and writer on pet health and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets and her TV appearances with Halo co-owner Ellen DeGeneres. Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service,

As 2016 Draws to A Close...

Happy Holidays and heartfelt thanks for your support this past year.

I cannot say this enough: “Philanthropy makes the heart grow!”

I have been blessed with wonderful rescue dogs throughout my life. Sadly, we lost our darling, light of our life, Bichon boy, Finnigan, on September 25th of this year.  He was just shy of 18 years old when we said goodbye to him.  We adopted him on November 7th, 2009, at the ripe old age of 11, and never dreamed we’d have this sweet, gentle happy soul, with us this long.  We are thankful for every day we had together and miss him with all our hearts. We gave our precious boy almost seven years of an affectionate, playful and loving home with us and miss him terribly.

Lily and Tilly are still with us and turned seven and eight this year! We are blessed with so much dog love in our house. Please know that you will never regret adopting an older dog and encourage everyone to open your heart and go for it. You will not be disappointed. They have so much love to give and years of life to share with you. ‘Tis the season to make a donation to a rescue organization near and dear to your heart.

It’s so important to support organizations that save dogs from kill shelters and abusive or neglectful homes and work to help rehabilitate them so they can be adopted by loving, caring families. All dogs deserve to live out their lives in a safe environment with love and affection. This year we have added Dhana Metta Rescue Society to our list of charities to support. Many of these groups, such as Paws for Hope, also work tirelessly to stop the retail sale of animals in pet stores, all of which come from puppy mills.

Shelters and groups do such wonderful, heartwarming work and are in need of your help. Donations of dog food, blankets and towels are always needed and if you can find it in your heart, and your wallet, to make a cash donation, it will be gratefully accepted.

If you are looking for an organization to support and want a recommendation, please call or e-mail us for further information and suggestions.  We have several organizations listed on our Community Links page on our website.

Happy holidays -- give your doggies a big hug and kiss and tell them how much you love them every day.

Tammy Preast -- Alpha Dog
Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SANTA PAWS 2016 — Looking Back at Another Great Event!

As always, Santa Paws Comes to Town was a lot of fun. It was wonderfully heart-warming to see familiar faces come back year after year because they love our seasonal display and the quality of our photos, plus our totally pawsh doggy and cat gift bags, chockfull of goodies thanks to Tisol Pet Supply & Nutrition, Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care, Modern Dog magazine and The Sequoia Restaurant Group. Siegel’s Bagels provided lots of scrumptious goodies for the humans to enjoy along with their hot mulled cider and RubyC and her amazing team at Modern Romance Photography once again did a fabulous job with their on-site photography and printing of the photos.

Our amazing volunteers went above and beyond the call of duty, taking great care of the hundreds of dogs, numerous cats, and five bunnies that came through to help us celebrate the true meaning of the holiday this season...GIVING! Our own adorable rescue Bichon gals, Tilly and Lily, made it out for a visit with Santa Paws again this year and helped us donate over $2,000 to Dhana Metta Rescue after the event.

The 16 raffle prize winners were:

  • Tisol Dog Gift Baskets:
  • Ailsa Brown & Penny the Yorkie, Brussels Griffon, Bichon Mix
  • Selma Smith & Bart the Yorkie  
  • Cherry Yeung & Ginger the ShihTzu  
  • Ruth Huber & Walter the Bassett Hound
  • Randy Jarvis & Ginger the Cockapoo
  • Michelle Mansinho & Monster the Bulldog & Sarah the Retriever
  • Shirley Earle & Molly the Golden Retriever 
  • Cole Machlachlan & Daisy the Pitbull
  • Christina Barbossa & Quintin the Pointer & Lilith the Saluki

Tisol Cat Gift Baskets:

  • Jenn Cutnam & kitty
  • Dave & Deb Eithier & Zoey
  • Kate Rattray & kitty
  • Jenn Lundgren & Mirch & Chance

Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Prize Winners:

  • Raquel Marek & Maggie the Multipoo won the $240 small dog basket, donated courtesy of Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services
  • Teisha Focker & Max the Goldendoodle won the $270 large dog basket, donated courtesy of Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services 
  • Vancouver Canucks Tickets Prize Winner:
  • Mike Beck was the lucky winner of the Vancouver Canucks vs Arizona Coyotes Hockey Game tickets, generously donated by R.B. Logging Corporation.

See all the fun on our Love on a Leash Facebook page where you’ll see all the photos by Modern Romance who just knocked it right out of the park once again. They are an award-winning, full-time photo and video studio based in Vancouver, BC. “A team of passionate photographers and videographers; we shoot in photojournalist style with a traditional touch and love to capture anything from pets to weddings.”

Ruby is a photographer who loves dogs. Cedric loves them too, along with all kinds of other animals, and bugs. Both are avid scuba divers who love the aquatic flora and fauna. Having trained with military dogs, worked at a pet store, and volunteered for animal-welfare activities, they then embarked on the exciting and fulfilling world of pets and animal photography.

They not only have the patience to work with animals, but also an understanding of how to develop a connection with them, capturing their special moments in a good light.

Together with their devoted team, keen instincts, and an impeccable eye(s) for detail, they will ensure that you and your beloved pets look fabulous.

Monday, December 26, 2016

DID YOU KNOW… Size Matters?

If you have a small dog, you should know that more than a 50% size difference in dogs can lead to serious issues with “predatory drift” which is an instinctive situation in which a small dog suddenly seems like prey to a larger dog.  And, as is too awful to imagine, the results can be disastrous. We’ve all heard the stories.

An excellent, reputable daycare, pet sitter or dog walker will always avoid such problems by setting up separate play spaces and grouping similarly sized dogs so that all sizes and play styles are safe.