Pet Pals | Independence festivities no day for dogs |

Pet Pals | Independence festivities no day for dogs

Brooks Bloomfield, DVM
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Happy Fourth of July! Truckee is a wonderful place for people to enjoy the holiday. Itand#8217;s really not always a great time for dogs, though. If your dog is noise and or crowd phobic, the kindest solution is to avoid both. If you know your dog is going to be miserable for the day, speak with your veterinarian about getting medicine that will help reduce the stress. Just like with us, sometimes a little help gets us over the hump.

For many dogs, the problem is too much fun. You may start the day early with a run with your dog and then maybe walk in or watch a parade, while for others a hike may be in the cards or a day at the beach, with everything going until after the fireworks finale. We have to remember to keep our pooches hydrated throughout the day. Let your dog chill in the shade as much as he or she wants. If you are visiting from sea level, you and your dog have 20 percent less oxygen available to you in Tahoe. Dogs can get heatstroke and sun sick too, worsened by the altitude. Donand#8217;t over-do it. If you are going to be in a parade, run on asphalt, or hike on rocks, remember your dogs are barefoot. If their pads arenand#8217;t conditioned, the first hot day can peel the pads right off their feet. They heal, but will need care and are very painful.

If you are going to hike in the woods make sure you consider a tick preventative (talk to your vet), and at the very least, go over both you and your dog at the end of the day. Remember the ticks that transmit Lyme Disease are the size of a poppy seed and very hard to see. There are other creatures in the woods, too. Bears really donand#8217;t like dogs messing with them. Nor do raccoons or beavers. Porcupines donand#8217;t attack. Their quills are self defense. They cannot launch them like missiles despite what your dog tells you. The quills in your dogand#8217;s mouth, and everywhere else, are in direct relation to the effort he/she made to and#8220;investigateand#8221; the porcupine. It can be stunning to see a face full of quills for the first time. Please pause just long enough to consider the poor porcupine, even if he was waiting on your deck just ready to ruin your night. The occasional dog will let you pull quills yourself. If your dog is really mellow and only has a few, you may get away with it without getting bitten or impaled by a quill yourself. Otherwise let a veterinarian help you. The quills are not venomous so at least there is that relief.

Food is half the fun of the Fourth. The wonderful picnics and barbecues that go on all day long; ribs, corn, sausages, clams, crab, etc., ending with dessert, which may be something yummy and chocolate, or maybe a rum soaked and#8220;partyand#8221; watermelon, or perhaps a rich cheesecake. Your dog canand#8217;t resist the fun, and food-related problems are often the worst thing we see after the Fourth. Do not let your dog wander at picnics. Bring plenty of his/her favorite treats. If people are going to feed your dog, give them a treat to give instead. Corn cobs can easily obstruct your dog. Fatty foods can lead to painful pancreatitis. Assume that if you will eat it, so will your dog most likely, including the remains like bones and shells. They love ribs too, after all, even if they donand#8217;t know when to stop. Dogs also will eat firecrackers, cherry bombs, and all manner of other exciting things, as well as wild animal poop, dead animals, garbage, and of course drink anti-freeze dripping from an overheated old vehicle in the parade.

Unfortunately, the single best advice anyone can give is to keep your dog on a leash as much as possible; and if you are going to party enough to not feel comfortable caring for a 2-year-old child, then make other arrangements for your dog in advance.

and#8212; Brooks Bloomfield, DVM, owns Animal Outpatient Care Center of Truckee Tahoe,, 10939 Industrial Way, Truckee, 530-587-5144

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