In America, the 4th of July is a day full of celebration. With cookouts, parades, sparklers, crowds, fireworks, noise, activity, events and chaos galore, Independence Day can be difficult not only for pets, but also for working K-9s, Service Dogs, and their handlers. Before joining a holiday celebration with your canine partner, here are some points to consider.
When temperatures soar, keeping your Service Dog cool, comfortable, and safe often proves challenging. Here are 6 ways to help your Service Dog beat the heat this summer. Cool Treats Dog ice cream offers tons of options to help cool your dog down. It's easy to make at home and there's a recipe for everyone and every need. At its simplest, you can freeze kibble and water into cubes or into Kongs. You can bend peanut butter and bananas into a cream or purchase pre-made ice creams that are dog safe. However, you do it, have fun! Frozen Busy Buckets What do you get when you put stuffed kongs, swirls of peanut butter kibble, chunks of fruit and veggies, cloth strips, and other durable toys into a bucket, fill the bucket with water, and then freeze it? A ton of fun, that's what! These fun DIY enrichment toys are often called "busy buckets" and they keep dogs happy for hours! Stick a rope into the bucket through the middle with 2-3 feet sticking out the top before you freeze it. When it's frozen, pull it out of the bucket and hang it up. Your dog will work to get the goodies as the water melts, revealing them bit by bit. Pool Swimming provides great exercise and a good way to cool down! From a baby pool full of water or a bag of ice to creeks to full-size swimming pools, lots of dogs enjoy taking a dip. Be safe while swimming. Take appropriate breaks, use a life jacket in unfamiliar water, and don't make a scared dog get in the water. Paw Protection Hot pavement, asphalt, and other surfaces burn paws. Boots, eye protection, cooling coats, and other tools help keep your Service Dog more comfortable while out and about during the summer. Read more about summer safety for Service Dogs. Vehicle Safety Dogs should never be left in a hot vehicle. Many tools exist, though, to make vehicles safer for dogs who need to stay in one. Wifi dongles allow visual monitoring of your vehicle and dog while you're indoors. Specialize crate fans and nozzles that pull cold air from the front into the back of the vehicle help prevent hot spots and lack of circulation. Temperature regulation units keep your A/C running and alert you if the internal temp of the vehicle rises beyond a certain level. If you use a temperature regulation system, purchase one that alerts
In America, parades, fireworks, food and fun-filled gatherings on the 4th of July are a time-honored tradition. For some Americans, particularly combat veterans, Independence Day is anything but fun. When deciding how to celebrate America's birthday this year, keep our veterans and active military members in mind.
At first glance, a snuffle mat looks like a rug. Made by tying strips of fleece onto a rubber safety mat, snuffle mats create layers of fabric that cascade across each other. Some showcase bright colors and intricate patterns, whereas other snuffle mats are very simple. No matter how they look, though, a snuffle mat is designed for one thing: to offer dogs a chance to use their nose and problem solve. These unique puzzle toys can be bought online or handmade. Making them is straight forward, although time intensive. Keep reading for instructions on making a snuffle mat at home! Once you have a snuffle mat, just sift kibble or treats down into the mountain of fleece and let your dog go to work! These puzzle toys offer plenty of fun and exercise at all times but are especially useful during super hot or cold days when walks may be limited. How to Make a Snuffle Mat First, gather your supplies. You're going to need an appropriate rubber safety mat, cutting utensils, and lots of anti-pill fleece. Home Depot has large anti-fatigue mats that can be easily cut to the right size. They come in 3ft by 3ft squares, with 9 sections per mat. Each section makes one snuffle mat. You'll need a utility knife for cutting the mat and scissors for cutting fleece. It's not a bad idea to put on a good movie or audiobook before beginning, since cutting the fleece is time-consuming and repetitive. You'll need 2 to 3 yards of fleece for each 12" by 12" snuffle mat. Walmart has inexpensive fleece and major art stores commonly run mega sales. Joann's Fabrics has an extensive online clearance section for fleece, so have fun picking! Once you have your fleece, cut it into strips. The longer the strips, the more challenging the mat. You don't need precision cutting, but each strip should be 1" to 1.5" wide and 8" to 10" long. Again, it doesn't need to be perfect! Cut all your fleece at once -- it's frustrating to have to start and stop to cut more. You can start in the middle or at the edge of your mat. It's usually easier to begin in the middle and work out, but whatever works for you is fine! Turn your rubber safety mat over to the back and poke both ends of a fleece strip through the mat. Tie a tight knot
When it comes to training a Service Dog, absolutely nothing is more important than exhaustive socialization. Socialization and exposure to the world is the foundation upon which all other training rests, and a Service Dog who hasn't gained real-world experience via systematic socialization is not fit for public access. With this list of oft-missed opportunities, you'll be able to ensure you're hitting all the bases while socializing Service Dogs in Training. Important Considerations Before Beginning Never, ever put a vest on a dog or claim it as a Service Dog in Training that is still displaying any behavior issues that would be eliminated during basic training — including leash pulling, inappropriate sniffing, etc. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize a dog in public at pet stores which allow animals, public parks and other areas which allow dogs. Remember, your behavior and that of your dog not only effects you but other Service Dog teams as well. Before bringing your Service Dog in Training (SDiT) home, you need to have a defined plan for socializing him. While many people decide to simply take the puppy with them and introduce him to everything and anything they can, utilizing that approach results in missed experiences and an uneven education. Unfortunately, more Service Dogs are released from training programs across the country for socialization concerns than any other reason. Protect your partnership by not only picking a puppy from a source that began socialization and stimulation at birth, but by also continuing socialization, exposure and training throughout your puppy's training. Use the attached checklist or prepare one of your own that includes everything your partner may encounter as both a puppy in training and as a working Service Dog adult. By keeping track of your Service Dog in Training's education, you'll better be able to spot and fill in holes before they become an issue. The most important rule of socializing Service Dogs in Training is to never, ever, ever, for any reason, force an SDiT to approach, interact with, touch or be on/near/with something that appears to frighten them. Forcing a puppy in training to engage when afraid ensures he'll never form positive associations with the object, person, place, surface, equipment or situation. Instead of forcing your SDiT, always keep high-value treats with you and use them to encourage a suspicious puppy to explore a situation of his own accord. If you lay a solid foundation of socialization
There has been a lot of talk about vaccinations lately. People are arguing whether or not they are necessary, questioning if they harm children and adults and what happens after you are vaccinated. It’s difficult because the facts are often treated as if they're up for debate. They are not. Vaccinations are overwhelmingly positive and extremely beneficial for our society. But how important is it to vaccinate your pet? Statistics are showing that not only are people refraining vaccinating themselves and their kids, they are choosing to keep their pets from being vaccinated as well. While it may be up to an individual whether or not they want to be vaccinated themselves, it is irresponsible when people don’t vaccinate their children and pets who cannot choose to make that decision for themselves. The Decline of Pet Vaccinations The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled the anti-vaccination movement the top threat to global health. This may seem like an over-exaggeration, but it it’s really not. Modern medicine and the health of our society has depended upon vaccinations to mitigate diseases like measles and polio, and this is at risk when people avoid vaccinations. The decline of vaccinations doesn’t just concern humans — now some pet owners are choosing not to vaccinate their animals either. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance has reported that the number of pet vaccinations have gone down, and they worry that this threat will continue to affect animals. Even the American Veterinary Medical Association has made a statement saying that vaccines prevent millions of animal diseases and deaths every year. The annual report from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals surveyed over 4,600 pet owners. The study found that about a quarter of dogs, or 2.2 million, were not vaccinated as puppies. The people said that the most common reason they did not vaccinate their dog was that it "isn’t necessary." This couldn’t be further from the truth. Vaccinations have already prevented the spread of disease and now that is being put at risk. It may be difficult to convince people to get vaccinations, but we can start by encouraging people to vaccinate their pets. Vaccines & Pet Insurance Many people avoid vaccinations because of the cost. If your pet is not insured, it can become very expensive according to MoneyPug, a site used to compare pet insurance. If you have pet insurance, you may be more inclined to visit the vet which
Although Service Dogs first emerged as a method of assisting those who were vision impaired, their roles have now expanded. In fact, many Service Dogs are now being trained to help those with an array of invisible disabilities from mental and psychiatric health struggles to seizures, epilepsy, autism, diabetes and more. Here are just 5 examples of Service Dogs for invisible disabilities.