2019 ushered in frigid weather and extreme cold across the United States. In late January and early February, the Midwestern states experienced subzero temperatures lasting days. Experts say staying in offers the most safety for humans and dogs alike, but for many Service Dog teams, particularly those that rely on public transportation, that's just not feasible. Keep reading to learn more about extreme cold weather safety for Service Dogs. Dangers of Extreme Cold Weather Whether or not there's snow on the ground, dangers of extreme cold abound. First, there's the cold itself. Exposure to cold for long enough results in a dangerous condition called "hypothermia." Hypothermia occurs when the body cannot keep itself warm. It most frequently occurs in those exposed to the elements or in those who are inappropriately dressed for the weather. When the cold is extreme enough, even a few minutes is enough to cause damage. Wind compounds the problem by making it feel colder than the actual temperature. Humidity and water cause the body to lose heat even quicker. Fun Fact: "According to physics experts, the freezing point of saliva is typically between -30 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit." Staying warm in extreme weather requires lots of energy. The body needs quality fuel in order to maintain its core body temperature. A core body temperature of 101 - 102.5F requires a dog's metabolism to work harder than a human's to stay warm. As such, a lack of calories can be a danger of extremely cold weather. On a similar note, biting winds and below freezing temps create a lack of available drinking water. Contrary to popular belief, it's very difficult to eat enough snow to meet a body's daily water needs. Additionally, melting that snow and heating it to body temp wastes valuable calories and energy. Finally, extreme weather brings lots of chemical use, especially in cities. Salt helps control ice. Antifreeze is everywhere. Businesses cover sidewalks in silt or sand to increase traction. Antifreeze is deadly to most animals, including dogs, and salt can cause digestive upsets and chemical burns. Factors That Affect Cold Tolerance Many people believe that dogs are adapted to survive outdoors. While that may have once been true, for many of today's domesticated canines, things have changed. In contrast with their wolfy ancestors, many dog breeds now have a short, thin coat and are more adapted to chilling on the living room floor than to running in the forest hunting down food.
Every reputable Service Dog organization and program worldwide recommends or requires alteration of working Service Dogs and Service Dogs in Training. With all the conflicting reports, myths, and misconceptions surrounding spaying and neutering, though, many find it difficult to know when the ideal time is to spay or neuter a growing dog. Read on for a scientific overview! Veterinarians across the world perform thousands of routine alteration surgeries a day. In the United States, spaying and neutering has become commonplace. Spaying or neutering a dog is supposed to provide behavior and health benefits, while also preventing contributing to the overpopulation of shelters and rescues. However, this routine surgery has come under intense scrutiny, especially when performed on very young dogs. Working Service Dogs are typically altered to provide easier care for the handler. Neutered male dogs often showcase fewer temperament issues. Spayed female dogs don't require intense supervision twice a year and special hygiene practices. Additionally, working Service Dogs shouldn't be benched to have puppies, as their handlers need them. Male Service Dogs shouldn't have to face the distraction of females in heat or the urge to breed. Assistance Dog programs utilizing in-house breeding programs usually have breeding stock with the proper aptitude and temperament for producing excellent Service Dog candidates. However, these dogs very, very, very rarely work as Service Dogs. Instead, they usually live on site at the program facility or in off-site guardian homes. Occasionally, a program or breeder may take a semen collection from an exceptional male prior to neutering him. Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Spaying and neutering provide multiple health and behavior benefits. Most notably, surgical alteration reduces the chances of various types of cancers found only in intact dogs and bitches. Alteration also helps prevent reproduction-related behaviors many people find offensive, like marking, humping, or flagging. Many veterinarians believe spaying or neutering at the right time plays a part in reducing aggression or territorial behavior. Finally, multiple studies demonstrate that spaying and neutering often prolong lifespan. In females, spaying before the first heat cycle results in drastically reduced chances of breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs frequently in intact bitches, with over 50% of cases malignant. Altering a female during adolescence reduces the chances of mammory tumors to .5%, whereas spaying after the first or second heat cycle results in an 8% and 26% chance. For males, neutering eliminates testicular cancers and age-related prostate problems. By 6 years of age, 70 to 80% of
We can’t control disasters but we can control how we respond to them. Our animals, pets, working and Service dogs are all part of our families and having a plan will make responding easier and less stressful. Most plans often overlook these important points. Therefore, preparing a disaster kit, having safe place to stay, having insurance all are important parts of ensuring your well-being in times of catastrophes. Make sure your pet, working dog or Service Dog are safe whatever the circumstances are. Create an emergency plan. For more detailed information on how to create a disaster plan, please click here. Infographic courtesy of mikesgearreviews.co
You recycle. You turn of lights you're not using. Maybe you even adjust your thermostat to help conserve energy. You may think you’re on top of things, being eco-conscious and making sure you’re taking steps to reduce your own carbon footprint.
Retiring a Service Dog is a hard decision, particularly after years of partnership, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s hard to know when the time is right or how to go about it, but here are some points to consider before taking the leap.
Escalators and moving sidewalks are everywhere in today’s convenience driven-world. Today’s Service Dog teams are likely to regularly encounter them, especially teams that travel, work in a large or multi-story office building or those that enjoy frequenting the mall. For humans, getting on an escalator or moving sidewalk is simple: step on. For Service Dogs, though, there are some additional considerations for safety.
While everyone should have a well thought out disaster plan, those with disabilities often have special concerns, such as having extra supplies, medications or other provisions.
Everyone is talking about the upcoming eclipse, but for many people, there are lots of questions left unanswered. What’s going to happen during the eclipse? How can you prepare for the eclipse? Are there any special considerations for people with a disability? How will the eclipse affect your Service Dog? Does your location alter the type of planning you should do? Learn the answers to all of these questions and more.
While many appreciate the beauty of fall colors, from the leaves on trees to potted mums and carved pumpkins, there are seasonal hazards for Service Dogs and their owners to be aware of, no matter what part of the country you live in.