Veterans Say Trained Dogs Help With PTSD, But The VA Won’t Pay

by Sue on February 3, 2016

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At a warehouse near Dallas, a black Lab named Papi tugs on a rope to open a fridge and passes his trainer a plastic water bottle with his mouth.

Service dogs are often trained to help veterans with physical disabilities. Now, a growing number are being trained to meet the demand from vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Those dogs learn extra tricks — how to sweep a house for intruders, for example, so a veteran feels safe.

“We teach them something called perimeter, where they go into the house and they check, they just touch all the doors and all the windows,” says Cheryl Woolnough, training director at Patriot PAWS, a nonprofit in Rockwall, Texas, that provides service dogs.

These dogs also learn how to create personal space for a veteran by stepping in front or behind the owner to block people from approaching.

Most veterans who apply for a service dog have PTSD, often on top of physical disabilities, according to Terri Stringer, assistant executive director of Patriot PAWS. “We have 100 veterans on our list waiting for dogs, so we have to get more dogs,” Stringer says.

So far, though, the Department of Veterans Affairs won’t help pay for service dogs for PTSD, citing a lack of scientific evidence. But it’s launching a study to find out what effect specially trained service dogs can have on the lives of veterans with PTSD. Vets with PTSD who already rely on service dogs say the research should have been done years ago.

The training process for these service dogs is complex.

It starts with puppies — often Labs, poodles or Labradoodles. The little guys get their shots and learn simple commands first. Then they go either to a puppy raiser who teaches them to behave in public places or they go to prison, literally. Stringer calls it the “big doghouse.”

Jay Springstead, a Vietnam veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder, started working at Patriot PAWS after his youngest son, an Iraq combat vet who also had PTSD, took his own life.”

Jay Springstead, a Vietnam veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder, started working at Patriot PAWS after his youngest son, an Iraq combat vet who also had PTSD, took his own life.

The inmates teach the dogs dozens of commands. Patriot PAWS relies on three Texas prisons for the type of intensive training the dogs need to be paired with veterans. It takes more than two years and costs about $30,000 per dog. The few veterans lucky enough to make it to the top of the list each year get dogs at no charge.

Jay Springstead, who lives outside Dallas, still has nightmares from combat in Vietnam 40 years ago. “A service dog for post-traumatic stress can actually help you get out into the public and regain some of that independence that you’ve lost,” he says.

Springstead started volunteering at Patriot PAWS after his youngest son took his own life.

“Both my sons were Iraqi combat veterans; my youngest one had severe post-traumatic stress,” he says. “So I’m familiar with the symptoms and I also know how important dogs are to anyone’s recovery.”

Springstead and many others are frustrated that the VA is not providing financial assistance to veterans who use service dogs to cope with PTSD.

It’s a complaint Patricia Dorn, director of the VA’s Rehabilitation Research and Development Service in Washington, D.C., has heard repeatedly. She says that while there is plenty of scientific evidence of the benefits of service dogs for people with physical disabilities, there’s little in the area of ”We understand, veterans are not happy with the agency in that we’re not just providing this benefit,” Dorn says. “But for an agency with [over] 150 hospitals and millions of veterans we serve, we need to have the evidence base to make a determination.”

That’s why the VA is conducting a on service dogs with 200 veterans with PTSD from Atlanta; Iowa City, Iowa; and Portland, Ore.

Dorn says researchers will assess veterans’ quality of life over a three-year period.

This isn’t the first time the VA has tried to study service dogs and PTSD. An earlier effort was halted in 2011 after two service dogs bit children in veterans’ homes. The current study, Dorn says, has stricter standards for dog training and a more rigorous study design.

In the meantime, Springstead says veterans sometimes get tricked into buying dogs that aren’t properly trained. Patriot PAWS is one of a few dozen organizations in the country accredited through

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Should your dog wear clothes?

by Sue on January 28, 2016

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You’ve seen them at coffee shops, street corners, fire hydrants, jazzed up in sweaters, smoking jackets, ascots and sunglasses. Yes, dogs wearing clothes. It happens every single day; someone gets up and dresses up their dog in some hand-made or specially-ordered article of clothing. Maybe you dress your dog up too. If you do, maybe you already know why. If you don’t dress up your dog, you probably wonder “Is it really necessary?”

There is a difference between turning your dog into a hipster extension of your own style and simply protecting him or her from various weather conditions. If you have a tiny dog with little fur, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies, and you live, let’s say, in Minnesota, your dear dog might benefit from a well-made sweater or even a down-lined jacket in the middle of winter. With the right gear, you and your short coated dog can still hit the great outdoors during the winter months. Getting some much needed fresh air and exercise while staying warm and comfortable.

Dogs with such thin fur or thinner body types need some extra protection against the conditions. However a Siberian Husky,Saint Bernard or the like simply don’t require anything since they are well suited to such temperatures.

If you are an avid runner and you don’t mind dashing out in the rain, you can still take your dog with you if you put on their rain jacket. If it is a warm rain, you and your pet probably won’t mind, but those chillier drizzling runs can become quite uncomfortable for both of you, so you should both put on your rain gear. No matter what type of fur your dog has, in this case, it makes sense to suit up for the cold rains. Remember you both need to towel off and get warm upon return.

Whereas outdoor gear is a matter of protecting your pet from cold and damp or other uncomfortable conditions, dressing them up for other reasons is a matter of preference for human companions. While there is no harm in it, it certainly isn’t necessary, and it might even feel a bit confining for your pet to wear anything when it is perfectly comfortable in good weather.

If you want to dress your dog in clothes, monitor the response. If he or she behaves as if they don’t like it or get overheated, reconsider your plan to dress your dog.Even though your dog can’t let you know whether that costume is to their liking, an occasional dress up might not be too bad, as long as you find a costume that fits your dog comfortably and don’t keep them in it too long. Dogs can “dress up” as superheroes, bumblebees and pretty much anything that humans can, so it makes sense for die-hard Halloween fans to extend the holiday to their dogs.

NOTE: If you plan to take your dog someplace with hot and blistering asphalt, find some protective wear for his or her feet with some dog boots that are now available.

Under ideal climate conditions, your dog’s coat is beautiful, And as long as you keep it healthy and shiny, why not let it glow on its own? Sometimes just letting your dog be a dog is the best way to go, as long as the conditions are safe for you to do so.

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What do you think about dog clothes?

by Sue on January 26, 2016

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I have been noticing quite a trend as of late in dog clothes. Summer clothes. Winter clothes. Clothes that match the owner. Fancy collars. Lots of bling. Sunglasses. Booties. You name it and there is probably something like that made for a dog. The popularity of the dressing up of dogs as grown so quickly over the last few years, that what was once considered nonsense has now become the norm.

Gunny does have a Hawaiian shirt that he wears for special occasions. He also has a float coat and doggles for when we go sailing. But, other then a couple rain coats and winter coats (and a t-shirt I bought him once to keep his incision clean after the operation), he’s pretty much a clothes free weiner.

I have nothing against doggles or footwear on dogs. Doggles can prevent cataracts which can develop from long term exposure to the sun. There is also nothing wrong with footwear as pavements and sidewalks do become rather hot on a dogs feet in the summer. Not to mention the dangers of de-icer on them in the wintertime. However, personally, I do have a problem with fancy clothes on service dogs. Mainly because it draws attention to the dog and makes the dog look more like a pet than a service dog.

Emotional Support Dogs and some forms of Service Dogs that are allowed or encouraged to be petted, are fine dressed up. It has been proven that dogs which are “dressed up” tend to be more inviting and less threatening to the public than dogs which are not. A service dog which is mildly dressed would be less frightening to children as well as some adults who are wary of dogs, thus be more accepted. I call mildly dressed such as having a bandana on or maybe a snazzy collar or harness.

What do you readers think of them?

What do you readers think of dog clothes in general?

Comments please?

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Should you be in a panic over the new Canine Flu?

by Sue on January 20, 2016

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The answer is no.

There’s a new strain of canine flu in the U.S., and it has some pet owners worried about their dogs.

More than 1,000 dogs caught the illness during a recent outbreak in Chicago, and infections are reportedly emerging in other states, including California and Washington. But the H3N2 canine flu, not to be confused with the seasonal H3N2 human flu that sickened so many people last winter, is no cause for panic, experts say.

Most dogs won’t get seriously ill if they catch dog flu. What’s more, a contagious virus in dogs is unlikely to spread rapidly because dogs simply aren’t as mobile, or as social, as we are.

There are two types of dog flu. The first, H3N8, is nearly identical to a virus that has been known for more than 40 years to infect horses. The virus adapted to dogs,first infecting them in the U.S. in 2004, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The second dog flu, H3N2, is a mutated version of a virus that occurs in birds, and was first found in dogs in Asia in 2007. It appeared in the U.S. last month. Although it’s not fully known how it made its way here, Parrish said some believe that it may have been carried over during the rescue of dogs being raised for meat in South Korea.

The American Veterinary Medical Assn.reports that dogs that are sickened by canine flu fall into two categories: those with a mild form (coughing, lethargy and sometimes a nasal discharge) and those with a more severe version (high fever and pneumonia). Some dogs can catch the flu and not have symptoms at all.

Dogs that get sick from canine flu can be treated with supportive care such as antibiotics for secondary infections or fever-reducing medications, and most get better in two to three weeks. Fewer than 10% of dogs confirmed to have canine flu die as a result of the infection, the CDC says.

Although a vaccine is available for the H3N8 strain, scientists don’t know whether it would prevent H3N2 infections, doubting it would because of differences in the two flu types.

Dogs at the highest risk of contracting canine flu are those that have the most contact with other dogs, such locations like boarding kennels, doggy day care and animal shelters.

Crucially, canine influenza is not known to have ever infected people though it was reported to have sickened some cats in South Korea in 2010. The CDC calls the viruses “a low threat to humans” but will continue to monitor them both, in case either mutates and gains the ability to infect humans as the pandemic H1N1 swine flu and the deadly H5N1 bird flu did in the past.

To prevent infection in pets, owners should exercise caution before taking dogs to locations where other infected animals are likely to be. Hand washing can also help halt the spread of disease. And if dogs do develop symptoms, owners should keep them away from other dogs.

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No laser tag!

by Sue on January 13, 2016

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Many owners think it’s funny to watch their dog chase that little red dot of light, and they think it’s a bonus to burn off some of their dog’s energy. Unfortunately, a game of laser pointer chase can be very frustrating for a dog and can lead to behavioral issues.

The movement of the laser pointer triggers a dog’s prey drive, which means they want to chase it. It’s an unending game with no closure for the dog because they can never catch that beam of light, like they can when chasing a toy or food.

Many dogs continue looking for the light after the laser pointer has been put away; this is confusing for your dog because the prey has simply disappeared. This can create obsessive compulsive behaviors like frantically looking around for the light; staring at the last location they saw the light, and becoming reactive to flashes of light. Dogs that exhibit behavioral issues are frustrated, confused, and anxious.

If your dog loves to chase but you don’t always have the energy to run around with a toy, try a flirt pole. A flirt pole is like a fishing rod; it is a rigid stick section with a string or rope attached to the end. Commercially made flirt poles are sold by pet supply stores, but horse lunge whips also work well.

You tie a toy to the end of the rope and drag it around for your dog to chase and tug on once he/she’s caught it. The advantage of the rigid section is that you can fling the toy around without having to move much yourself. You can even sit in your recliner!

If your dog loves to chase a toy on a flirt pole, then give your dog the ultimate chance to exercise their prey drive at Lure Coursing.

This sport involves dogs chasing a “lure”, usually a white trash bag,attached to line set up around a field and controlled by a pulley system that moves the bag around the field. Dogs give chase and have a great time.

So please rethink the next time you pull out that laser pointer for your dog. The mind you save just might be his/her’s.

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To chew, or not to chew…that is the question.

by Sue on January 6, 2016

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It’s normal for puppies and dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. Chewing accomplishes a number of things for a dog. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by teething. For older dogs, it’s a way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom or relieves mild anxiety or frustration.

Some of the problems that can cause destructive chewing

Separation anxiety
Dogs who chew to relieve the stress of separation anxiety usually only chew most intensely when left alone. They also display other signs of anxiety like whining, barking, pacing, restlessness, urination and defecation

Fabric licking
Some dogs lick, suck and chew at fabrics. Some experts believe that this behavior results from having been weaned too early. If a dog’s fabric-sucking behavior occurs for long periods of time, and it’s difficult to distract them when they do it, it’s possible that the behavior has become compulsive.

Hunger
A dog on a calorie-restricted diet might chew and destroy things in an attempt to find food. Dogs usually do this kind of chewing on objects related to food or smell like food.

Puppy Teething
The discomfort of teething make puppies chew. Much like human infants, puppies go through a stage when they lose their baby teeth and experience pain as their adult teeth come in. This chewing phase usually ends by six months of age. Some recommend giving puppies ice cubes, special dog toys that can be frozen or frozen wet washcloths to chew. Although puppies do need to chew on things, gentle training can teach your puppy to restrict chewing to objects like his own toys.

Normal chewing behavior
Chewing is a perfectly normal behavior for dogs of all ages. Both wild and domestic dogs spend hours chewing bones. This activity keeps their jaws strong and their teeth clean. Dogs love to chew on bones, sticks and just about anything else available. They chew for fun, they chew for stimulation, and they chew to relieve anxiety. While chewing behavior is normal, dogs sometimes direct their chewing behavior toward items they should not chew on. Both puppies and adult dogs should have a variety of appropriate chew toys. However, just providing the right things to chew isn’t enough to prevent inappropriate chewing. Dogs need to learn what is okay to chew and what is not. They need to be taught in a gentle manner.

Lack of exercise or mental stimulation

Some dogs simply do not get enough physical and mental stimulation. Bored dogs tend look for ways to entertain themselves, and chewing is one option. To prevent destructive chewing, be sure to provide plenty of ways for your dog to exercise his mind and body.

Stress and frustration
Sometimes a dog will chew due to stress, such as being crated or getting teased by children when confined in a car. To reduce this kind of chewing, try to avoid exposing your dog to situations that are not normal for him.

Useful Tips

  • “Dog-proof” your house. Put valuable objects away until you’re confident that your dog is trained to chew on his own toys. Keep shoes and clothing, dirty laundry  and books out of reach. Without this temptation, training will go faster.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of his own toys and inedible chew bones. Pay attention to the types of toys that are is favorites and only offer him variations of those types. It’s a good idea to introduce something new, swap out the toys, every couple of days so that he doesn’t get bored with the same toys. Only give your dog natural bones that are sold specifically for chewing. Do not give him cooked bones of ANY kind as these can splinter and seriously injure your dog. Also keep in mind that  intense chewers can chip small pieces off of natural bones or chip their own teeth while chewing. So if your dog is an intense chewer it’s best to avoid natural bones altogether.
  • Offer your dog some edible things to chew, like bully sticks, pig ears, rawhide bones, pig skin rolls or other natural chews. However do this at times were you can monitor the chewing. Dog have been known to choke on these types of chews by trying to swallow that last bite whole.
  • Identify times of the day when your dog is most likely to chew and give him a puzzle toy filled with something he really likes.. You can include some of your dog’s daily amount of kibble in the toy.
  • Do your best to supervise your dog during all waking hours until you feel confident that his chewing behavior is under control. If you see him licking or chewing an item he shouldn’t, say “NO!”, remove the item from your dog’s mouth, and insert something that he CAN chew. Then praise him happily. When you can’t supervise your dog, you can find a way to prevent him from chewing on the wrong things. For example, if you work during the day, you can leave your dog at home in a confinement area for up to six hours. Use a crate or put your dog in a small room with the door or a baby gate closed. Be sure to remove all things that your dog shouldn’t chew from his confinement area, and give him a variety of  toys and chew things to enjoy instead. Keep in mind that if you confine your dog, you’ll need to give him plenty of exercise and quality time with you when he’s not confined.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If you have to leave your dog alone for more than a short period of time, make sure he goes out beforehand.
  • Never give your dog castoffs of something you would not normally allow him to chew. In other words. If you don’t want your dog chewing on your shoes, don’t give an old shoe to play with. He does not know the difference.

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A New Year ecard for our readers

by Sue on December 31, 2015

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Happy New Year!

http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=5951943113194&source=jl999&utm_medium=internal_email&utm_source=pickup&utm_campaign=receivercontent

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An e-card Holiday Greeting for our readers!

by Sue on December 23, 2015

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Thank you for your support!

 

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Safe and non-safe human foods for dogs

by Sue on December 17, 2015

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Before giving your dog foods that you crave, keep reading to learn which foods are safe and which can send your dog straight to the vet.

Chocolate – No. This isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Chocolate contains a very toxic substance called methylxanthines, which are stimulants that stop a dog’s metabolic process. Even just a little bit of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death.

Shrimp – Yes. A few shrimp every now and then is fine for your dog, but only if they are fully cooked and the shell (including the tail, head, and legs) is removed completely. Shrimp are high in antioxidants, vitamin B-12, and phosphorus, but also low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates.

Eggs – Yes. Eggs are safe for dogs as long as long as they are fully cooked. Cooked eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can help an upsetstomach. However, eating raw egg whites can give dogs biotin deficiency, so be sure to cook the eggs all the way through before giving them to your pet.

Turkey – Yes. Turkey is fine for dogs as long as it is not covered in garlic (which can be very toxic to dogs) and seasonings. Also be sure to remove excess fat and skin from the meat and don’t forget to check for bones; poultry bones can splinter during digestion, causing blockage or even tears in the intestines.

Cheese – Yes. As long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, which is rare but still possible in canines, cheese can be a great treat. Many cheeses can be high in fat, so go for low-fat varieties like cottage cheese or mozzarella.

Peanut butter – Yes. Just like whole peanuts, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein for dogs. It contains heart-healthy fats, vitamins B and E and niacin. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is the healthiest option because it doesn’t contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.

Popcorn – Yes. Unsalted, unbuttered, plain air-popped popcorn is OK for your dog in moderation. It contains riboflavin and thiamine, both of which promote eye health and digestion, as well as small amounts of iron and protein. Be sure to pop the kernels all the way before giving them to your dog, as unpopped kernels could become a choking hazard.

Cinnamon – No. Cinnamon and its oils can irritate the inside of pets’ mouths, making them uncomfortable and sick. It can lower a dog’s blood sugar too much and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, increased, or decreased heart rate and even liver disease. If they inhale it in powder form, cinnamon can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, and choking.

Pork / ham – No. There is a reason most dog foods contain beef, chicken, fish, and other meats, but not pork. Pigs are very prone to parasites because they’ll eat virtually anything they can find, and those parasites don’t always cook out properly. They’re also prone to the food-borne disease Trichinosis, which can be passed to the consumer (humans and dogs alike) if the meat isn’t fully cooked. Pork bones, both cooked and uncooked, are verydangerous, too, as they can easily splinter in a dog’s stomach and intestines.

Corn – No. A little bit of corn won’t exactly hurt your dog, but it should still be avoided. Most dry dog foods already contain fillers such as wheat and corn, so why give them more when they’re meant to be carnivores? Also, if a dog eats pieces of or a whole corncob, it can cause intestinal blockage.

Fish – Yes. Fish contains good fats and amino acids, giving your dog a nice health boost. Salmon and sardines are especially beneficial – salmon because it’s loaded with vitamins and protein, and sardines because they have soft, digestible bones for extra calcium. With the exception of sardines, be sure to pick out all the tiny bones, which can be tedious but is necessary. Never feed your dog uncooked or under-cooked fish, only fully cooked and cooled, and limit your dog’s fish intake to no more than twice a week.

Bread – Yes. Small amounts of plain bread (no spices and definitely no raisins) won’t hurt your dog, but it also won’t provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on the carbohydrates and calories, just like in people. Homemade breads are a better option than store-bought, as bread from the grocery store typically contains unnecessary preservatives, but it’s best to avoid it all together.

Yogurt – Yes. Plain yogurt is a perfectly acceptable snack for dogs. It is rich with protein and calcium. The active bacteria in yogurt can help strengthen the digestive system with probiotics. Be sure to skip over yogurts with added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Tuna – Yes. In moderation, cooked fresh tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart and eye health. As for canned tuna, it contains small amounts of mercury and sodium, which should be avoided in excess. A little bit of canned tuna and tuna juice here and there is fine – prepared only in water, not oil – as long as it doesn’t contain any spices.

Honey – Yes. Honey is packed with countless nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. Feeding dogs a tablespoon of local honey twice a day can help with allergies because it introduces small amounts of pollen to their systems, building up immunity to allergens in your area. In addition to consuming honey, the sticky spread can also be used as a topical treatment for burns and superficial cuts.

Garlic – No. Like onions, leeks, and chives, garlic is part of the Allium family, and it is five times more toxic to dogs than the rest of the Allium plants. Garlic can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapsing. Poisoning from garlic and onions may have delayed symptoms, so if you think your dog may have eaten some, monitor him or her for a few days, not just right after consumption.

Salmon – Yes. As mentioned above, fully cooked salmon is an excellent source of protein, good fats and amino acids. It promotes joint and brain health and gives their immune systems a nice boots. However, raw or undercooked salmon contains parasites that can make dogs very sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and, in extreme cases, even death. Be sure to cook salmon all the way through (the FDA recommends at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit) and the parasites should cook out.

Ice cream – No. As refreshing of a treat ice cream is, it’s best not to share it with your dog. Canines don’t digest dairy very well, and many even have a slight intolerance to lactose, a sugar found in milk products. Although it’s also a dairy product, frozen yogurt is a much better alternative. To avoid the milk altogether, freeze chunks of strawberries, raspberries, apples, and pineapples and give them to your dog as a sweet, icy treat.

Coconut – Yes. This funky fruit contain Lauric, which strengthens the immune system by fighting off viruses. It can also help with bad breath and clearing up skin conditions like hot spots, flea allergies, and itchy skin. Coconut milk and coconut oil are safe for dogs too. Just be sure your dog doesn’t get its paws on the furry outside of the shell, which can get lodged in the throat.

Almonds – No. Almonds may not necessarily be toxic to dogs like pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts are, but they can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed completely. Salted almonds are especially dangerous because they can increase water retention, which is potentially fatal to dogs prone to heart disease.

Peanuts – Yes. Unlike almonds, peanuts are safe for dogs to eat. They’re packed with good fats and proteins that will benefit your dog. Just be sure to give peanuts in moderation, as you don’t want your dog taking in too much fat, which can lead to pancreas issues in canines. Also, avoid salted peanuts.

Macadamia nuts – No. These are some of the most poisonous foods for dogs. Macadamia nuts, part of the Protaceae family, can cause vomiting, increased body temperature, inability to walk, lethargy, and vomiting. Even worse, they can affect the nervous system. Never feed your pets macadamia nuts.

Cashews – Yes. Cashews are OK for dogs, but only a few at a time. They’ve got calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins, but while these nuts contain less fat than walnuts, almonds, or pecans, too many can lead to weight gain and other fat-related conditions. A few cashews here and there is a nice treat, but only if they’re unsalted.

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TRAVELING WITH YOUR SERVICE DOG

by Sue on December 10, 2015

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Here are some trip tips to make traveling with your Service Dog enjoyable.

Bring your dog to the vet’s for a check up before going on an extended trip. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date and carry shot records and Health certifications with you.

To keep your dog healthy as you travel bring along a supply of his regular food. Be sure to bring any medications he needs.

In the event that your dog gets away from you on the trip, you can increase the chances of recovery by making sure he can be properly identified.

Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar, harness or vest harness combo. This should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your cell phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots. And consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip. Also bring a recent picture of your dog along with you. Just a note. Many people make the mistake of putting their home phone number on the dog’s ID tags rather than their cell phone number. The reason I suggest the cell phone number is that you will always have that with you in the event that your dog is found, no matter where you are.

If your dog is prone to car sickness, this can be avoided by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times.

Keep the car well-ventilated.

Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of a window. This can lead to eye injuries.

Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. And, please, clean up after your dog.

Each airline has to, by law, allow Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals board with proper identification and a letter from your personal Doctor stating the dog is needed. However when you make your reservation, you must tell the airlines that you will be bringing a Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal.

All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.

Small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or carrier. Dogs which cannot fit in a carrier must stay quietly at the owner’s feet.

Only Service dogs are permitted Amtrak trains or on buses operated by Greyhound and other interstate bus companies. Emotional Support Animals are not permitted. Local rail and bus companies have their own policies however so you will need to check with them first.

You may fare better if you’re taking a cruise. The QE2 luxury cruiser, which sails from New York to England/France, provides special lodging and free meals for your dog. However, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal on a cruise with you. Because some liners are not USA owned, they do not need to abide by our laws regarding Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals.

Have a safe holiday and happy traveling!

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