1. 8 Winter Tips for You and Your Pet

    December 4, 2012 by admin

    Our pets are important to most of us and we want to take great care of them. As winter weather worsens, here are 8 tips to ensure health and safety for beloved canine or feline companions. 

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #1: Protect Your Dog or Cat from the Elements

    Although the best method of protection for most dogs is to keep them indoors in cold weather, a dry, draft-free shelter can be used for outdoor type dogs. If your dog is housed outside, take extra care to make certain he is comfortable and can get into and out of his housing easily. A dog house that is too large, however, will not retain enough heat. Several major pet stores carry heated floor mats and warm bedding. A thick layer of straw or hay can also be a good insulator. Blankets are not recommended, as they tend to get wet and freeze. You should designate an area where they can come inside to warm up, such as a garage or laundry room. That could work well for animals that don’t normally come inside.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #2: Keep Adequate Water

    Water remains an important issue in extremely cold weather. It can freeze within an hour outside when the temperatures drop below freezing. Many pet stores have heated bowls for water and food. Plastic tends to be the best, and deeper bowls usually retain fresh water longer before freezing occurs.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #3: Maintain Grooming for the Season

    It makes sense; if you normally have their hair rather short, allow them to grow it a little longer during the winter for extra protection. Snow can get lodged between dogs’ toes and freeze, causing pain and discomfort Trim the hair between the toes and keep the nails cut short to make it easier for dogs to walk in icy areas and to prevent accidents. Be mindful of roadways that might have been salted and wash dogs’ paws when retuning home. Salt has a drying effect and can irritate the paws.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #4: Remove Chemical Hazards

    Ethylene glycol based antifreeze is deadly to dogs, cats and other creatures. Make sure that it’s not left out in the open and keep containers tightly capped. Wipe up any spills right away and you can also use products made with propylene glycol as an alternative.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #5: Be Aware of Dangerous Resting Places

    Many cats will look for convenient warm spots to rest. Some have discovered that vehicles provide comfortable areas, particularly wheel-wells or engine compartments. Banging on the hood before you start the car is not a bad idea.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #6: Be Mindful of Existing Pet Ailments that Could be Exacerbated

    Cold, damp weather aggravates existing conditions in pets, such as arthritis, especially in older or overweight animals. Pet stores and veterinarians can provide natural and medicinal treatments for a number of conditions.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #7: Animal Clothing

    If it is extraordinarily cold, animal coats or sweaters can help. These items, of course, can be purchased in pet stores, and there are different styles and varieties that would be sure to suit your furry companion. Remember, however, to remove the animal’s garment in the house, especially if your house is warm. Otherwise, the pet may become too hot and this would become evident by panting. There are also boots available for animals, but they can be difficult to keep on.

    Winter Pet Safety Tip #8: Use Reminders, Check on Them, Don’t Leave Them Unattended

    Many local TV news and radio media fortunately notify the public when the weather is so cold that it would be recommended to bring your pets indoors. At least, check for signs of hypothermia or frost bite. Pets are like children, and should not be left unattended, especially in cold weather when unexpected dangers can arise.

  2. 8 Fall Health Tips for You and Your Dog

    September 17, 2012 by admin

    As summer winds down, dogs and their owners look to enjoy the festive holidays, the cooler weather, and the changing sights and sounds of the fall season. Fall offers lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures and family gatherings before the winter. In fact, many dog owners look forward to the last weeks of outdoor activity before cold weather. We often discuss our dog’s health and safety risks during the frigid winter or hot summers, but fall and spring seasons also pose risks. What are some tips to remember about keeping your dog safe this fall?

    1. Fall hunting season poses serious risks to dogs and owners. Fall weather is perfect for hiking through the woods, exploring fallen leaf covered trails, and enjoying the bright colors of nature. Hunting is also popular in many wooded areas during those same fall months. Protect your dog by wearing bright colors when hiking near possible hunting areas, and take precautions to keep him on the trail by your side. It would be tragic for a hunter to mistaken your dog, or you, for his target.

    2. Protect your dog during Halloween festivities. Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. From costumes and candy to parties and trick-or-treating; Halloween celebrators go all out for the October holiday. The sights, sounds and smells of Halloween interest many dogs. Unfortunately, Halloween treats and events pose dangers. Keep candy and treats away from dogs as many contain chocolate or other harmful ingredients. Be sure to protect them from the scary sights and sounds, as well as from tricksters with ill-intentions.

    3. Watch the Thanksgiving buffet. There are foods on the Thanksgiving dinner table that are harmful to your dog. He could also get burned or have something dropped on him when dining with guests unused to his presence. Even non-begging dogs become enticed by the presence of platters and dishes of yummy food. Keep an eye out and warn holiday guests about your pets.

    4. Be careful of camouflage during outings with your dog. Fallen leaves make an impressive ground cover. In fact, they cover from sight the things that your dog’s nose may not miss. Poisonous mushrooms, snakes and small rodents preparing for winter, hazards such as glass or sharp rocks all pose risks on leaf covered grounds. Supervise your dog when outdoors during the fall months, especially in new, unsecured areas.

    5. Prepare for back-to-school pet dangers. Even if you do not have in-home risks, like crayons and markers, from children of your own, there are still other back to school pet dangers. You may need to adjust your dog’s walk schedule to avoid busy bus stops and opportunities for him to bite or scratch a child. School buses may also frighten dogs after months of bus-free, outdoor times.

    6. Keep your dog away from burn hazards. Fall months bring cooler temperatures and the need for heat. A fun, outdoor bonfire, or indoor fireplace or space heaters all pose burn risks for your curious dog.

    7. Protect your dog from parasites year around. Many dog owners think that September marks the end of flea and tick protection, but veterinarians suggest year-around treatment in most situations. Fall is also the time when fleas seek out satisfying, warm, winter homes, so be sure to protect your home and your dog.

    8. Remember that dogs may experience extreme temperatures in the fall. In many parts of the county, the fall season is actually a combination of the other three seasons, sometimes presented all in one day. Temperatures may vary dramatically overnight or throughout the afternoon. Take care to provide adequate water and shelter for outdoor dogs for all of the weather possibilities of fall.

  3. Interesting Yorkshire Terrier Facts

    August 24, 2012 by admin

    Yorkshire terriers were originally bred by the English working class for their ratting, or vermin hunting, skills. It wasn’t until later that they were recognized for their beauty and began gracing the laps of wealthy dog owners.

    Interestingly, Yorkies weren’t always the petite dogs they are today. Prior to 1900, they weighed up to 15 pounds! Today’s breed standard says Yorkies shouldn’t exceed seven pounds.

    Top 5 Yorkie names:


  4. 10 Tips to keep your k9 cool during the dog days of summer.

    August 15, 2012 by admin

    Ten Tips To Keep Your Dog Cool, Happy and Healthy

    The dog days of summer can be dangerous for your dog. Warm weather brings a lot of problems for dogs because furry coats hold the heat. Left outside in the sun, dogs can suffer heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Because dogs have no sweat glands distributed throughout their bodies, they are more susceptible to heat-related discomforts and must rely on panting or sweating by their footpads to deal with the heat and humidity. Like you, your dog will appreciate some help battling hot or humid weather.

    1. To prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke (possibly death) never leave your dog in a car in the summer heat. Your car is an oven. Temperatures can reach over 120 degrees F. Cracking a window will not help.

    2. Air conditioning is the best way to help your dog stay cool in the warm weather, but if you don’t have that luxury, place fans in places where your dog likes to sleep. Window fans set on exhaust will help circulate the air inside your home and keep your dog from heating up.

    3. When taking walks on very hot days limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Pavements get very hot and can burn your pet’s paws. If the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Bring along water and make frequent water stops for the dog. Don’t take long walks or over-exert in the summer. Consider these walks light exercise.

    4. Allow your dog access to cooler rooms of the house, such as the basement, the garage, or a screened porch where there’s a breeze.

    5. Buy a kiddie or dog swimming pool and fill it with water for your dog to get into, wet down your dog with a garden hose, place a cool wet towel on your dog for evaporative cooling.

    6. Keep your dog’s water dish filled with cool, fresh water. Place ice cubes in the water during the hottest periods of the day. If you have water outside, pound a stake in the ground in his outdoor area. Place an angel food or bun cake pan with an opening in the center over the stake to keep your dog from tipping over the pan. Fill the pan with water.

    7. Older and overweight dogs are more at risk from the heat, so be more sensitive to them in warm weather. Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, overweight dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats.

    8. Attach a dog licker to an outdoor faucet or hose in your dog’s run. When he’s thirsty, he licks the device to get fresh water. The licker can be attached to a hose and extended into your dog’s run.

    9. If your dog stays outside in a dog house, make certain the house is placed in the shade. A dog house heated by the summer sun can be almost as deadly as a closed car. Cover the floor with cedar shaving to help retain the moisture in his skin.

    10. Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on the nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. If you choose to clip your dog, keep in mind that shearing the hair close can leave your dog susceptible to sunburn.  

    August Tip of the Month ~

    Have a heart to heart.
    The most important way to keep dogs and cats healthy is to give them lots of love.
    Spending time with them and including them in activities strengthens the bond you share.
    Remember, in order to be truly healthy, your dog or cat needs to be happy.







  5. Service Dog Etiquette

    June 13, 2012 by admin

    Allie Smiles is proud to support a number of organizations that provide assistance dogs to people with disabilities.  Some of these organizations even give inmates and veterans returning from combat with PTSD and other emotional scars the healing opportunity to train these dogs which in turn is very therapeutic in their own lives.

    Most people may not know how to behave around an assistance dog.  Currently, there are hundreds of puppies being raised to eventually become service, skilled companion, hearing or facility dogs. Part of their training involves going out to grocery stores, libraries and other public places.  The Americans With Disabilities Act guarantees people with disabilities the right to be accompanied by a service animal in all areas open to the general public. These service dogs perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability and provide invaluable companionship.

    Here are some tips to follow when meeting or approaching a working assistance dog and his or her partner:

    - Don’t touch the dog without asking permission first! This is a distraction and may prevent the dog from tending to the human partner. Be  sensitive to the fact the dog is working and may be in the middle of a command or direction from it’s human partner. Most dogs need to be told to be “released” from work mode to interact with someone.

    - Never feed the dog. It may be on a special diet. These dogs are generally on a feeding schedule as well. Food is the ultimate distraction to the working dog and can jeopardize the working assistance dog team.

    - Speak to the person, not the assistance dog. Most handlers do not mind talking about assistance dogs and their dog specifically if they have the time.

    - Do not whistle or make sounds to the dog as this again may provide a dangerous distraction.

    - Never make assumptions about the individual’s intelligence, feelings or capabilities. Offers of help are appreciated, but ask first. Usually, the human/dog team can get the task done by themselves.

    - Don’t be afraid of the dog. There is no need to be afraid of a dog in training.  These dogs are carefully tested and selected for appropriate temperament. They have been professionally trained to have excellent manners. Always approach an assistance dog calmly and speak to their human partner before touching or addressing the dog.

    Business owners: Some customers and employees may be anxious or nervous about an assistance dog in your establishment. Reassure them that the dog is thoroughly trained and has a legal right to be there under the ADA. People with assistance dogs deserve the same respect as any other customer. You do have the right to ask the dog to leave if it is not behaving.
    If you would like to support one of these assistance dog groups, please go to http://www.alliesmiles.com/yoursupport.asp  to see our current campaigns.

  6. Canine Arthritis

    June 11, 2012 by admin

    Arthritis is a painful condition that affects about one in five adult dogs.  It is the number one source of chronic pain that veterinarians treat every year. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints that occurs when the protective cartilage or lubrication of the joints breaks down.

    There are two types of arthritis – degenerative and inflammatory. They are diagnosed by their causes but both have the same basic symptoms. Some common causes of arthritis include poor nutrition, obesity, trauma to the bones or joints and malformation of the dog’s bone structure.
    Since dog arthritis can be very debilitating and it is important that you keep an eye on your dog and watch for these early signs:
    Decreased interest in activity – Since your dog is in pain he may not get very excited about playing and running around. You may notice your dog wanting to stop and turn around during a walk.

    Weight gain/loss – Your dog may gain weight from sleeping more and playing less or he may lose weight because he experiences pain from bending down to eat his food.  Dogs may become depressed when dealing with arthritis which is a common cause of under/overeating.

    Sleeping more – Lethargy often comes with arthritis. Your dog may sleep to ease the pain in his joints.

    Difficulty sitting or standing – It may be harder for your dog hard to get up.  The first few steps may be painful and he appear stiff. He may become uncomfortable and start to shift while sitting or standing. Your dog may not want to jump up and sit with you as much anymore.  He may also be hesitant to climb any stairs.

    Favoring a leg – Your dog may experience ‘limb lameness’ which can come and go, and even affect different legs at different times. Your dog may limp.

    Mood Changes – Your dog may not want to play, he may become easily irritated or not listen when he is called. Keep an eye out for noises when you touch him as well.

    What you can do to help:

    Control Their Weight – A healthy diet is important for your dog during arthritis. Less weight will ease help his joints. Fat tissues secrete hormones that can cause pain.

    Ease Sore Joints with Heat – Apply a warm compress to your dog’s joints.  Heat will penetrate deep into the muscle to the joint for relief. Don’t make it too hot!

    Light Exercise – Exercise should be regular but not vigorous. Allow your dog to turn and go back home after a short distance if he wants. Try not to walk when it is too cold out. Treadmills or swimming can be therapeutic as well.

    Keep Them Warm, Dry and Comfortable – Add an extra blanket to his bed.  An extra pillow will also help make him more comfortable.

    Raise Food and Water Dishes – If your dog has arthritis in the neck or shoulders this is really important. Bending down may cause tension and pain.

    Watch the Floors – Hard wood floors or other smooth surfaces may become difficult for your dog to walk on. If you notice your dog slipping , consider getting a rug for those areas.

    Consider Massage or Acupuncture – You can learn to do this at home or take your dog to a professional. Massages and acupuncture provide relief for sore, inflamed joints and will help to loosen these areas up.

    Always talk to your veterinarian about treatment options and home remedy options for your dog’s specific case of arthritis.  Since a arthritis is a degenerative disease it can make your dog’s life miserable so look for ways to improve his quality of life.

  7. Top 10 Items for a Pet Preparedness Kit

    May 31, 2012 by admin

    June is National Pet Preparedness month.  It is also the first month of hurricane season so people with pets are reminded to make preparations in case they should be hit by a disaster.  When making plans, please include what you would do with your dog in case of a hurricane, tornado, flood or other natural disaster. Having a plan and gathering these items will go a long way to help in an emergency.  Please prepare yourself and all your loved ones, both human and animal. The list below contains items recommended by http://www.ready.gov/ and other experts.


    Food (your pet’s regular food)
    Leash and collar
    Photo of your pet/ID and a photo of you with your pet
    Medications your pet needs
    Immunization/vet records (keep both updated)
    Pet carrier
    First Aid Kit
    Contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, American Red Cross, American Humane Association and out-of-town friends/family

    Also: toys, rope, sanitation bags

    Following a tornado, hurricane, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster, we may think that the worst is past, but hazards remain, especially for the most vulnerable, namely children and animals. The American Humane Association has provided the following tips to help parents and other caregivers keep children and animals safe and help them cope with the physical and emotional aftermath of a disaster.

    For Children
    •    Even though the worst seems to be over, supervise children closely and inspect those areas in which they are playing. Gullies, downed electric wires, and sharp debris are just a few of the hazards children may encounter following a major disaster.
    •    Keep an eye on children’s emotional reaction to the crisis. Talk to children – and just as important – listen to them. Encourage kids to express how they feel and ask if anything is worrying them.
    •    Regardless of age, reassure them frequently that you, local officials, and their communities are all working to keep them safe and return life back to normal. Older children may seem more capable but may also be affected by the displacement in their lives.
    •    Watch for symptoms of stress, including clinginess, stomachaches, headaches, nightmares, trouble eating or sleeping, or changes in behavior.
    •    If you are concerned about the way your children are responding long after the crisis is over, consult your doctor, school counselor or local mental health professional.

    For Pets
    Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, too, presenting new stresses and dangers.
    •    Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers.
    •    Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
    •    Following a disaster, keep your pets on a leash.  Changes in the landscape may confuse them and fences and other landmarks may have changed, making it more likely for them to become lost.
    •    Be careful when allowing pets outside where they may encounter sharp or toxic debris.
    •    Animals may be at more risk to various diseases that accompany natural disasters.  Consult your veterinarian if your pet displays any unusual physical symptoms, and determine if any precautionary measures should be considered.
    Displacement, Loss, and Reunification
    If pets had to be temporarily housed away from their families, be sure and explain the reasons to children, letting them know that their animals will reunited with the family as soon as possible.  If a pet is lost and cannot be found, it is important to seek help for all family members who are grieving the loss of a best friend.  And once pets are reunified with their families, whether at home, a friend’s house, or a shelter, remember that animals, just like people, often do best with structure in their lives.  As the family reunites and rebuilds – structure will again emerge.  The best part is when everyone – pets and people – can once again find stability and normalcy in their lives.

  8. Dog Nail Trimming 101

    May 24, 2012 by admin

    Today I took my dog in for grooming which included an overdue nail trimming.  When I picked her up the groomer casually mentioned that he got too close on her back paw and that’s what the gold powder was about.  I paid and left stunned.  I didn’t know whether to drive straight to the vet or if it really was no big deal.

    I tend to overreact when it comes to my five pound Yorkie fur ball so I decided to observe her for a while once we got home and the adrenaline (in both of us) subsided!  She seemed to be moving around without limping but had no interest in going for a walk. Hmm…

    My vet assured me that cutting a little too much can happen to anyone and it is not uncommon especially if the nails are black. If the bleeding continues or the dog is limping you should seek medical attention. When in doubt, always call your vet for advice. There is plenty of information available for those choose to trim their pet’s nails at home. If you are not are not ready for that many veterinarians offer this service.  The average cost to have nails trimmed at a groomer is $5-$10.The cost to go to the veterinarian for nail trimming is $15.

    Here are some other ‘things to know’:

    - Nails should be inspected and/or trimmed on at least a monthly basis. If not, the quick tends to grow out with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly. It is very important not to cut the quick of a nail as this is rich in nerve endings and painful for the pet.

    - Since most dogs do not like having their claws trimmed start trimming claws in young animals so that they get used to the process.

    - If a pet’s nails are allowed to grow, they can split, break or bleed, causing soreness or infection in your pet’s feet and toes.

    - Long nails can get caught and tear, or grow so long that they can curl backwards into a spiral shape that can make walking very painful for dogs

    - If you do accidentally cut into the quick, pressing the nail into a bar of soap will effectively stop the bleeding.  It is also okay to use a little flour or cornstarch.

    - Always remember to trim the dew claws that are located on the inner surface of the paw unless they were removed as a puppy.

    - Cut the nail to within approximately 2 millimeters of the quick.  Below are some photos of what you should see.  The light tissue (1) is the curved bottom part of the nail. The mottled light and dark tissue (2) is the top part of the nail.As the nail is cut deeper, you will be able to see a homogeneous gray to pink oval (3) starting to appear at the top of the cut surface of the nail. Stop cutting the nail at this point as additional cutting will cut into the quick.

    A special thank you to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University and to Henry Moore for the photographs.

  9. Caring for a Pet with Cancer

    May 17, 2012 by admin

    It is upsetting to hear about a dog or cat getting cancer. Unfortunately, it happens all too often.   In fact, dogs and cats get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans do. More startling, cancer is the leading disease-related killer among dogs and cats, accounting for nearly 50% of these deaths. As the #1 disease-related killer of dogs and cats, cancer claims millions of pets every year.

    Special Care

    Cats and dogs with cancer who are undergoing treatment – whether chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation – are spending more time at home and less time in extended hospital stays thanks to advances in veterinary medicine. This is an emotional blessing for both pet and owner, but it also means that the owner of such a pet must take a more active role as caregiver.

    Practical ways to improve the quality of life of your pet with cancer:

    Proper nutrition is essential for optimal cancer care, so make sure to provide a diet that both appeals to your pet and is also nutritionally appropriate for the pet cancer patient. Your vet can recommend the dietary regimen that’s right for your pet’s particular needs.

    Try warming your pet’s food to just below body temperature before serving; this increases its aroma and may make it more appealing to a pet whose appetite may be less than optimal.

    Ask your vet about appetite stimulants if your pet is not eating enough and losing weight.

    Ask your vet about supplementing your pet’s diet with Omega-3 fatty acids. These may enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

    While some discomfort is to be expected, there is no reason for your dog or cat to suffer severe pain. Make sure to administer any prescribed pain relievers as directed.

    Nausea and diarrhea as side-effects of treatment can be very effectively managed with proper medication. Express any concern you may have about this to your vet. She or he will be able to advise you.

    Enhancing your pet’s comfort:

    Make sure your pet’s bed is well cushioned and away from drafts.

    A cat with cancer may have difficulty reaching that “special spot” that it likes so much; setting up a few boxes or other “stepping stones” will help.

    Most importantly, don’t forget that TLC is an essential part of any treatment regimen - and there is never a risk of overdose!

    Thank you to PRNewswire, Pet Cancer Awareness and Vetweb.com for offering these suggestions.

  10. The 10 Things Dogs Want Us to Know

    May 3, 2012 by admin

    1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years – any separation from you will be very painful.

    2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

    3. Place your trust in me – it is crucial for my well being.

    4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment but I HAVE ONLY YOU!

    5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when you’re speaking to me.

    6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll NEVER forget it.

    7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hands but I choose NOT to bite YOU.

    8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I’ve been out in the sun too long or my heart may be getting old and weak.

    9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old.

    10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch it” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember that I love you.

    Good reminders compiled by our friends at Dogsaver.org.