This time of year it’s fun to head out on the water with our pets in tow. If you’re planning to take your dog boating, rafting or paddle boarding, take the safe route and make sure your pet is wearing a floatation device like those made by Ezy Dog. We have these in the store and can help you with sizes and fit, but here’s a video from Ezy Dog to explain it too:
This recent Denver Post story reminded us that it is definitely rattlesnake season and that your pets are just as likely, if not more so, to encounter these cold blooded beasts as you are.
Here in Grand Junction only the pygmy rattler is usually seen, and it’s, well, small as its name implies. Still, not wanting anyone’s dog to get bitten by it or any other rattlesnake, we’ve added these tips for you:
- The first tip is to get the Rattlesnake Vaccine for your pet. It’s made by Red Rocks Biologics and is available for both dogs and horses. This is a great preventative measure since, according to their website, approximately 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten by rattlesnakes each year.
- Keep your dog on a leash – preferably a short one. If you’re going to be out in the wilderness on a trail with Fido, then keep him on a short leash. This way if you see a snake ahead of you on the trail, you can pull back and keep you both safe. If Fido is off leash or on a longer leash, he may be too close to the snake before he realizes what it is.
- Don’t go wandering. Maybe this isn’t the time of year to take off across an Arizona prairie. Stick to the trail so that it’s easier to see what’s around you.
- There are some ways to protect your backyard too. A chain-link fence won’t keep a snake out, but a solid wood one, with no gaps, will go a long way towards fortifying your yard. You can also add a concrete barrier around the yard as part of your fencing.
- If you think your dog HAS been bitten, here are the symptoms to watch for:
- puncture wounds (obviously)
- the dog is in pain
- swelling and redness
- restlessness or panting
- If you DO see a snake ahead of you on the trail, back away slowly with your dog. Once you’re a safe distance away (the length of the snake is as far as it can strike) turn and walk back the way you came.
- If your dog is bitten, get it to the vet immediately! Here in Grand Junction if this happens outside of your vet’s normal office hours, there are 2 emergency centers you can go to: Grand Valley Veterinary Emergency Center and Orchard Mesa Veterinary Hospital.
It seems like once or twice a month friends of ours say, “You should get a dog! You guys have the perfect life for a dog!” It’s true we backpack and camp and bike and do lots of things an active dog would enjoy, but no matter how much our friends think we should get a dog, we always have to stop and ask ourselves a few questions:
- Could it go everywhere with us? And if it couldn’t, what would we do then? Sure, we have friend who could watch a pet for a weekend, but we wouldn’t want to leave it with other people for longer than that.
- Do we want to deal with pet hair? We’re very neat people…almost fastidiously so, and we have a friend who has 2 dogs who is not so neat. Her house has lots of dog hair and it drives us crazy. So we always have to consider this when we begin to think about dogs.
- We love going barefoot in the backyard…do we want to have to deal with dog poop? If we were to get a dog I’d do my best to train it to go in one spot so that the rest of the yard remained poop free.
- We like being carefree. Having pets is a big responsibility. It requires dedication from owners and sometimes we just aren’t sure we want that. It’s much better for us to know this about ourselves than to get a dog and find out too late.
Still…then we get videos from our friends of these cute little guys and we have to start all over with the questions!