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Monday, October 29, 2018

How to Clean-up your Pet After a Hurricane

Hurricanes leave behind scenes of disaster and devastation. The cleanup effort after a natural disaster is a massive process, depending on the damage done by the storm it can take months, even years to clean up. During such devastating times it is very important not to forget about your pets. Just like the rest of their surroundings they also need to get cleaned up after a hurricane. Going through a hurricane is a very traumatic experience and the thought of having to figure out how to clean up your pet can seem very daunting at that point in time.

Let’s look at some basic tips that will help pet owners clean up their pets easy and effectively after a hurricane.

A.Higgins Photo
2 poodles groomed

Vaccinate your pet
Stagnant water left behind after flooding from a hurricane is a breeding ground for bacteria. Dogs in particular come in contact with wet soil when flooding occurs. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that lives in such wet areas, Not only is your dog at risk of getting infected by the bacteria, but the dog’s owners are also at risk since the bacteria can be transferred to them from their pet.

Puppies get vaccinated against leptospirosis, but in order to guarantee protection it is recommended to get your dog vaccinated against it annually. It is especially recommended if you live in areas that are prone to hurricanes and flooding.  

Give your pet a good scrub

Emma Bulldog photo by A. Higgins

Angela G. Clendenin, Ph.D., M.A., is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Public Health Department of Texas A&M University. She suggests that the first thing pet owners should do after a hurricane is to decontaminate their pet

Pet owners might think that veterinary products are needed for this, but in reality Dawn dish washing soap is the best product to bath your pet with post hurricane. Dawn breaks down the chemical components on your pet’s fur and skin leaving them clean and decontaminated.

Protect your pet against parasites

Standing water from flooding attracts mosquitoes and other insects. It is important to protect your pet against these insects. Mosquitoes carry diseases such as West Nile Disease and Heartworm which can be very costly to treat. Ensure that your pets get treated against parasites, and try to keep them indoors away from standing water after flooding has occurred.

Max Bulldog photo by A.Higgins

Keep your pet’s fur clean post hurricane

A deshedding tool is a must have item for pet owners in areas that are prone to hurricanes. Pets and dogs in particular with long fur that get exposed to mud etc. from flooding will need to have their fur cleaned properly. Must pet owners will be used to using a deshedding pet shampoo but actually a deshedding brush might be more appropriate in some scenarios. Not only will a deshedding tool get rid of tangled fur, it will also clean out their coats to protect them from diseases post hurricane.

Pet owners have a responsibility towards their pets, and during a natural disaster these animals need all the help that they can get in order to secure their safety. Cleaning up your pet after a hurricane is a must in order to protect them and yourself from diseases.

Thank you to Jenny for the great information!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Disaster Preparedness- the Moment the World Turns Upside Down

Are you prepared with your pets and family for the moment of Disaster?

open source graphic

With hurricanes, floods and fires ravaging the countrysides of both the USA and UK, plus Indonesia and other parts of the world having their share of  weather related events. Its a good time to look at what your family would do in the event of a local disaster.

Disasters come in may forms and are suddenly are upon us or they would not be called disasters.

Most of these events are not in our human control but in Mother Nature's hands. In that moment when disasters hit, we humans have no choice but to attempt to survive. Pray and hold on, run and pray some more or hunker down praying. Each person and pet will do the best they can at that moment.

In that moment, no matter how much forecasters and weather stations have warned us to be ready we really do not know what will happen or what to be ready for until the event is over. Usually within a short time, maybe a few hours or in the daylight when the sun comes will we be able to see what is left in the neighborhood or town we live in. Destruction or a normal day.  

Many storms, tornadoes, fires and floods occur at night often waking people from sleep to find out they have lost the lights or electric. Stumbling around in the dark is no fun when danger is on the doorstep. That is the moment we need to prepare for. 

Evacuation is the last resort to get out of the way and when the authorities announce that it is time to evacuation they mean a serious life changing moment is heading your way and move it..Now ! 

Move over out of the way or get hit full force. 

When we chose not to evacuate we are choosing to face the moment of impact, just like letting somebody punch us in the face with our hands tied behind our back because we cannot fight Mother Nature. We cannot punch a tornado or stand up to a hurricane and the best thing to do is duck the punch. Sidestep and get out of the way.

Ready to go with our belongings copyright A.Higgins

What will you do? 

Leave us a comment and share your plan for that moment when the world turns upside down and the lights go out. Somebody may learn something from you that can save a life. 

If you would not evacuate, why not?

Read more about what you can do click the page links below for more articles from Family Disaster Dogs.

See the list of survival supplies a family and pets need to evacuate and live for three days waiting for help to arrive if your home is destroyed.

Learn how your pet dogs can find you and friends or family members who are missing after disasters or wandered from home.  

Emergency Links to Organizations and site about preparing and the aftermath.

Books Recommended Reading

Teach you dog to fetch items by name, find the car keys, bring the first aid kit and get water bottle if you are hurt !

Free lessons show you what to do and to teach your dogs what to do to help you in disasters


Available as a eBook too

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Unhealthy, But Happy: Making The Most Of Quality Time Together When Your Dog Is Very Old

As their health deteriorates, we will naturally want to spend more time with our dog as they get older. But as time goes on, the idea of what can constitute as quality time can be quite a head-scratcher. We need to find good ways to spend time with our dog, and in some respects, we can overthink it, but how can we ensure that they are getting the best from us?

If They Want To Sleep…

Let them sleep! They are going to spend more time sleeping now than they were years ago, so make it a bit more comfortable for them. Give them some extra blankets to lie on, or give them a space on the couch. It's at this point where the rules of them staying off the couch might not apply, especially if you want to give them your all.
Helping Them Walk

Yes, they will still want to go for walks, but it will be few and far between. As they get older, their mobility will naturally decrease because of stiff joints, but they will still want to accompany us wherever we go. In which case, do your best to help them get up or down stairs, or if you want to take them out for a walk, make sure it's on terrain that isn't too difficult for them.
Getting Them Outside

They will want to stay active, and there are going to be parts of their body that will not do what they want. As they get older, their bladder will be quite weak, but you can purchase a dog belly wrap to help with this so that they can get outside a bit more. And if you were used to going out for hours on end, playing Frisbee, or hiking up and down mountains, you need to pull this back and make sure the time outside is nice and active, but not overly so. Ultimately, the more active they are, the better they will feel, but there has to be a limit.
Getting More Home Comforts

They will be more sensitive to the changes in the seasons, and we have to be ready to adapt to these changes. Keeping some home comforts to hand will ensure that they are a bit happier despite their failing body. They are going to be more sensitive, not just in terms of their body, but their mind also, so think about the home comforts that they usually like, and get a few more ready!
Providing Extra Nutrition

In their senior years, they will need more in their diet to keep the feeling healthy. Not only will they need different types of nutrients, but they will also need an adequate amount of calories. Fluctuations in weight are very common for dogs in old age, and it can be a struggle to find the right balance. 

Ensuring that they have adequate supplements is something you need to provide for them at the very least, but you may want to think about other approaches to ensure they have healthier functions, such as the gut. 

A lot of dog owners give their dog kefir grains, as the good bacteria benefits their gut in many ways, but be careful not to overdo this, and ensure that their stomach can take this influx of good bacteria. On the other hand, bone broth has been shown to be a great way to improve digestive health as it is very light on the stomach and provides many nutrients.

Taking Those Opportunities To Bond

Even if it's not like it used to be, you can still bond over old activities. Even if they don't get out much, something as basic as grooming time is your opportunity to bond with them. It's the two of you, together, and it's a very simple way to show them how much you care.
Take Each Day As It Comes

It can be very upsetting when your dog isn't able to move around as they once did, and they may not want to do anything anymore, but you need to judge each day on its own merit. As long as you are keeping them as healthy as possible, and you are doing everything in your power to ensure they are comfortable, then there's no telling how they will be tomorrow. They may be sprightly and full of energy, but they might not, and this is something you have to take on a day by day basis.
Keeping Your Medical Knowledge Up-To-Date

Something as simple as keeping in touch with the vets during this difficult time will make sure that you are doing everything you can for them. Old age is one of those things that happen to each and every one of us, and while your vet will tell you that they need to be comfortable and healthy, it doesn't hurt to know the signs and symptoms of a certain illness, so you can act quickly if there is an emergency.
Have Some Fun!

You may feel sad, and understandably so, but you have a lifetime of memories together, and they wouldn't want you to be sad for them, and instead of dreading the worst, give yourself the opportunity to relive some old times. They need you more now than ever, but you can still do the things that you used to do, albeit with a little more care and attention. Enjoy some fun time together, and talk to them. 

They don't want to feel scared or upset, and this is why you should spend quality time with each other. It can be incredibly heartbreaking to see your dog give into old age, and while everyone will say it's a part of life, it can hurt. But it's not helpful at this point in time to dwell on the negative aspects, because they may still have a lot of life in them yet, and it's your responsibility to make the most of their twilight years, and you can still make new memories. 

Your dog is your best friend, so treat them accordingly, and make the most of your quality time together.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Why Does A Dog Bite?

There are a lot of scary stories about dogs attacking people these days. But the reality is that dog bites are a lot more common than you might think - it’s just the serious, terrible, and disastrous incidents we hear or read about in the news. In fact, there are over 4.5 million dog bites that occur every year, most of which are mild accidents - and almost all of them can be avoided.

The key to understanding how not to get bitten is to learn why dogs bite. Having covered what to do to avoid and deal with a bite from a dog, we thought it was time to explore the reasons why it happens so much. Let’s take a closer look.

Why do dogs bite?

The first thing to understand is that any dog can bite. Sure, there are aggressive strains and personalities out there in the world, but even a timid dog will snap at you in fear if you close off their escape route. Big, small, male, female, young, old, cuddly, scary: any dog will try to protect themselves the best way they know how when they find themselves in a stressful situation.

‘Stressful’ is the key word to understand, here. Almost every dog bite will occur as a reaction to something - they don’t just do it for the sake of it. It could be to protect something, or to ward you off from its territory. It might be because they feel threatened - or even that someone or something is threatening you. They can even bite when they feel unwell and just want to be left alone. But the key thing to remember is that in almost every scenario, it’s because your dog is stressed.

Understanding the issue

The trouble is that too few owners understand the signs that their dog is stressed. And unless you learn those signs yourself - as a dog owner or otherwise - it could spell trouble. For example, if you have a small child who loves pooches and sees one on the street, can you be sure that the dog they go up to and try and stroke isn’t afraid? And can you guarantee they will not bite? Educating yourself and your kids on how to approach - or not - any animal is wise.

That said, if you do ever receive a bite from someone else’s dog, it is the owner’s fault. Contact a lawyer to file a claim for canine bites and make sure you get the relevant medical attention - every owner has a responsibility to look after their animals. And if you know your dog is stressed, make sure you have full control over them and let the approaching party know to keep a good distance away.

What about play?

In their natural environment, dogs will play with other dogs - and they tend to nip at each other for fun. The trouble is that they nip and bite during play with humans, too. And while it’s fun for them, it’s dangerous for you - and especially for your kids.

You can avoid getting bitten by not wrestling with them, or playing tug-of-war. Ultimately, these are games that will overexcited your dog and accidents are more likely to occur.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How to Welcome a Rescue Dog to Your Home

Image Credit: Unsplash

Rescuing a dog is incredibly fulfilling. Just knowing that you are giving this pooch a second chance to be loved is a wonderful feeling. However, taking care of a pet who has a dark past can be quite challenging so before you bring your pup home, think carefully about how you are going to approach this transition.

When dogs are loved, they bring love to your household. Your kids will benefit from having a new furry friend and you can all benefit from a healthy lifestyle walking together. Here’s what you need to do to make sure that they settle in. Just remember, time and patience are key.

Take a Tour of Your Home

The first day is vital for laying down some ground rules but also for familiarizing your dog with your home. Keeping your pup on the leash for the time being, let them have a good sniff around the outside of your house first. Give them plenty of time to look around and don’t pull them around. 

Taking a tour of the house is a good way to establish their territory but also to create some rules. If they start chewing or scratching, be firm but fair. Say no clearly and then supply an appropriate toy instead. Praise all good behaviour with a treat.

Make Them Feel Safe

Dogs who have been abused in the past can be quite aggressive when they feel threatened so avoiding this is absolutely vital. The last thing you want is an animal attack so keep in mind your dog’s history and be patient with your homemaking. If you are really worried about this, you can view more here.
Making a dog feel safe is actually quite easy from your perspective - you just need to create a space they can call their own. It might be a crate or a pillow, or even a full room. When your dog is here, you won’t disturb or try to pet them - this is their personal space.

Lots of pets will want to hide from you when they first get home. They might run behind a sofa or dive under a blanket but the most important thing is that you let them hide. Your pet will come out when they are ready and then you can shower them with praise.

Establish a Routine

Dogs are big fans of routine; it keeps them grounded and makes them feel more secure. Think about it this way, we humans like to know that we are going to have dinner at a certain time and dogs are very similar. Putting down food at the same time each day, going for regular walks and spending playtime together are all ways of establishing a good routine.

Training is also very important as this teaches your dog which behaviours are okay and what they should stop doing. Following instructions is also a vital part of training as this will ensure that everyone knows you are in charge.

Just take your time and you will all be getting along perfectly in no time at all.

Monday, October 1, 2018

How To Keep Your Home Together When You Own A Dog

When you’re house proud, there’s often nothing that you love more than to have a home that looks great. If you know that you want a house that is well kept and clean, and incredibly beautiful, you will often do anything and everything to keep it that way. So much so, that you may be put off from owning a dog, because you’re worried about how the dog would fit into your home life. But when your family wants a dog, or you are actually a dog lover, this may be something that actually happens in your life. 

And then, you may worry that your perfect home won’t be so perfect after all. Because maybe you’re concerned that having a dog will mean that your house will get messed up so much more easily! But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Or maybe you aren’t super insanely house proud, but you just want to be able to keep your house together. Maybe you already own a dog and you’re realizing that your house seems so much harder to keep together because of the dog! 

It’s something that happens to a lot of families. But, just because you have a god, it doesn’t mean that your house has to be a mess. Instead, it just means that you need to work harder to make sure that your home looks great. With the right tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make it happen. So let’s take a look at what they are.

Set Boundaries

So the very first thing you need to do, is to make sure that you’re setting the right boundaries in place. And this is non-negotiable when you want a house that you love. If you let your dog run wild all over the house, it’s going to get messed up. Instead, set boundaries on what they can do and where they go. Maybe you want to keep them off of the couches or out of the formal living room to keep it a little more together.

Create A Cleaning Schedule

The next thing that’s really going to help you here, is to come up with a cleaning schedule. Because if you’re worried that you’re home is getting too messed up, a good routine can help. And if you already have a schedule in place, you may just need to tweak it a little to make sure that your home is just as clean now you have the dog.

Get Your Dog Groomed

It’s also going to help you if you get your dog groomed regularly. Dog grooming can be especially important when you have a dog with a long coat or a coat that tends to malt easily. Because this can minimize the shedding and keep them looking trim and tidy too!
Train Your Dog

Now, a super important thing, is often to train your dog! Because if your dog rules the roost, then you may have absolutely no chance at keeping your home in order. SO make sure that you work on training them as early as you can. Because when you have a well-behaved dog, they aren’t really going to have an impact on your home at all.
Use Super Strong Products

So from here, you’re going to find that using the best products help. Because if you know that your carpet needs more cleaning or that you need to make sure that there’s no smell around the house, take a look for strong but natural products that are pet-safe. That way, you will find that your home stays beautiful more easily.
Get A Cleaner

And, a really simple move, is to get a cleaner! That way, you don’t have to worry about doing things yourself (especially if you’re super busy). Here, even a dog waste removal service could be perfect for you. Even more so when you’re worried about taking care of that yourself. And when you know that your home is being cleaned professionally, it’s going to always look great.

Get A Dog-Friendly Vacuum

Next up, you definitely need to make sure that your vacuum is strong enough to pick up all of the dog hair around the home. Even if you have a cleaner, you will want to know that you can run the vacuum around and be able to keep things looking great when you want to. Plus, if you do vacuum daily, it’s so important to make sure that you invest in the best kind of vacuum - and they usually are super strong and pet-hair friendly.
Keep Things Organized

A huge thing for you to focus on is organization here. Because if you’re just all too chaotic with your stuff, it’s going to make your house look messy. And this is definitely the case with your dog-related stuff! So try to find a way of keeping their food and bed and everything else organized, so that they fit into your decor and lovely home, and nothing else.
Choose Durable Pieces

And if you really want to get smart about this, you need to make sure that you’re picking furniture that you know will withstand having a dog around. Don’t pick out pieces that will show dog hair or that can be scratched or marked easily. If you’re being tactical about what you bring into your home, then it will be so much easier for you to keep it looking great.
Let Go A Little

And finally, the last thing that you could think about doing, is just letting go a little bit. Because maybe you’re just being a bit too much of a control freak. And the thing is, when that’s your personality - it can be hard. But if you’re letting things get to you, even though they are beyond your control, you’re only hurting yourself. 

So let go a little. Don’t worry so much if there house isn’t perfect. It’s still clean and tidy! And that way, you and your family can enjoy a happier life with your dog.

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
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Welcome UK and Worldwide Visitors

Welcome UK and worldwide visitors and friends to Family Disaster Dogs online! Although I'm an American author and dog professional the worldwide web has given me the opportunity to connect with some wonderful folks who have contributed pictures for my books. The "Start Mantrailing" book features RRI K9 North Scotland trained Search and Rescue Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates training in the book, plus American dogs using my training methods. A portion of sales of the Start Mantrailing book or copies were donated to RRI North Scotland. The children's picture book "My Puppy Can Find Me" has my daughter and bloodhound as illustrations by UK cartoonist Scotty King. You can find the books on Amazon UK or use the contact page to order from me. When you click the links will take you to your own county pages of this site.

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