Environmental Hazards

Appreciating Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes fill most of us with fear and anxiety. For many, the only good snake is a dead snake.

How to Prevent or Treat Bites from Poisonous Snakes

Thousands of dogs are bitten in the U.S. each year by venomous snakes. Ninety-nine percent of the snakes that bite them are pit vipers, whose Crotalidae family includes Copperheads, Cottonmouths (Water Moccasins), and more than a dozen species of rattlesnake. The remaining one percent are Coral snakes, native to the American Southeast and Mexican border.

How to Protect Your Dog From Foxtails

trailing awns that are covered with microscopic "scales" that permit movement in one direction only. This makes them dig ever deeper into flesh

Snake Avoidance Training for Dogs

Positive training methods focus on rewarding activities, and they're fun for dogs and handlers. But mention rattlesnakes and many dog owners worry that positive reinforcement isn't enough. In order to remain safe around rattlesnakes, some say, your dog may need aversion training with an electronic (shock) collar.

Patrol Your Property For Wasps

The insects we encountered on our walk were likely yellowjacket wasps, as they are the most likely to build ground nests. It would explain why we didn't find any stingers on our dogs. Yellowjackets, bumblebees, paper wasps, and hornets can all sting multiple times without hurting themselves. A honey-bee stinger, however, remains in the victim's skin, tearing out of the bee's body when it flies away, and causing its death a short time later.

Be Prepared for Bee Stings

Late one summer, my sister and I were walking our dogs along a groomed trail in a state park. It was the same path we had taken the day before on our vacation camping trip, but it was such a relaxing, warm afternoon that we thought we'd enjoy it again. We had stopped to take in the scenery and watch her Labrador play in the water. My Papillon was eagerly exploring whatever was within the reach of his leash. Then, without warning, my Pap began leaping up in the air and shrieking. It was horrifying! I reached for him as he continued to jump, screeching and clearly terrified. I thought he was having a neurologic fit.

Heart of the Matter

Heartworms might more accurately be called heart-and-lung-worms; these life-threatening parasites are almost as frequently found in the lungs of infected dogs as their hearts. But perhaps the term also references the owners of infected dogs, because when we learn our beloved dog has been diagnosed with these horrid parasites, our hearts are very much affected, if only figuratively. Treatment for heartworm can be risky, expensive, and inconvenient – altogether, quite a source of fear and anxiety for dog owners. The more information you have before initiating treatment, though, the better you will be able to support your dog through the process.

An Alternative Heartworm Approach

The position of the American Heartworm Association is crystal clear: The group believes that a fast-kill approach using Immiticide is the only medically responsible action for treating the parasite.
Black labrador

What To Do If Your Dog Has Worms

Deworming agents are present in any number of prescription and over-the-counter treatments for dogs and puppies. If your dog shows signs of a gastrointestinal worm infestation, there are all sorts of products available that are made exclusively to rid dogs of various types of worms. But there are also deworming agents included – whether they are needed or not – in many flea and tick treatments and in most heartworm preventive drugs; in fact, it's sometimes hard to find a minimalist flea treatment or heartworm preventive drug that does not contain dewormers. The question is, is this really necessary? Are intestinal parasites that much of an ongoing threat to most dogs – and their owners?

Water Intoxication in Dogs

Listen to Susan Paulsen's story, and you'll never look the same way again at your dog diving into your swimming pool or a glistening lake, or biting playfully at jets of water from your lawn sprinklers or garden hose.

Preparing Your Dog for Airplane Travel

The ability to carry a little dog onto an airplane with you is one of the greatest advantages of owning a small dog that can't be shared by owners of medium or large dogs. Most (though not all) of the risks of flying a dog on a commercial flight are posed by the dog's handling by airport employees behind the scenes and by the dog's unattended experience in the cargo hold of the plane; in contrast, the risks to a dog who is with you at every moment of your flight are very slight – and under your control. That said, there are a lot of things you need to know and contingencies for which to prepare if you are going to subject your dog to air travel. Here's how to make the carried-on dog's flight as enjoyable and stress free (for both of you) as possible.

Raccoon Attack Update

As I described in WDJ’s July issue, on the night of June 1st, my dog Ella, an 11-pound Norwich Terrier, was attacked by a raccoon in my backyard. Fortunately, I was able to fight off the raccoon myself, and Ella escaped with only puncture wounds, which healed quickly after being treated at the emergency vet. Emotionally, however, she was a wreck, terrified to go into the backyard, and showing signs of anxiety in the evenings when she saw or heard anything outside. I started her on anti-anxiety medications to help her cope with the aftermath of the attack, and to prevent her anxiety from escalating.

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