Archive

March 2018

Browsing

Generally, tick season doesn’t “start” until early spring, but with the ever changing weather, experts are predicting that the flea and tick season may begin earlier than the normal May start date. In fact, according to the CDC, this upcoming tick season is slated to be the worst seen to date. While nobody likes to find bugs on their dogs, ticks are much worse than fleas in that they are carriers of Lyme disease. And, while death is not common in dogs diagnosed from Lyme disease, treating Lyme disease is often a costly and lengthy process.

Before you remove a tick, there are some do’s and don’ts that you should be aware of. For instance, do not assume that water will remove a tick. If you return home from your walk and put your dog into the bathtub for a bath, the water, even in warm to hot, will not kill the tick. Just as ticks survive in the outdoors through rain storms, it will live on your dog through a bath.

Photo Credit: @alaup46

Do not “wash” ticks down the drain. Just as they can survive baths, ticks can survive the water you wash down the drain and can crawl back up the drain and into your home.

As soon as you are home, you should remove any of your dog’s clothing (and yours) and immediately put them into the dryer. Ticks cannot survive the heat of the dryer. Run the dryer for a bit, then you can throw them into the washer. After hikes, it’s always important to dry first, wash later.

Photo Credit: Dr. Marty Becker

Tick Removal Kit

First, before you leave your house for your walk or hike, you should have your “tick removal kit” handy and ready to go as soon as you return home. It is better to have your kit ready then coming home and running wild in your house trying to find all your materials. The items in your kit are relatively inexpensive so leaving them near your home’s entrance at all times shouldn’t pose any problems. And, yes, you should keep your tick removal kit ready at all times throughout the year. Even if you have one warm day in winter, you can be exposed to ticks, as evidenced by my wife finding a tick on her during the month of February in our home of upstate, New York.

Within your kit, you should have a white sheet or blanket. This can be a cheap, even used, sheet or blanket. The key is that it needs to be white in order to easily see any ticks that may happen to crawl off your dog and onto the floor.

Photo Credit: @terraglenanimalhospital

Next, you will need a lint roller. Simply tear off a sheet and place it on the blanket near your dog sticky side up. This will be used to “hold” any ticks you may find on your dog. Since you only use a sheet at a time, this lint roller should last you for years to come!

The next item, a pair of tweezers, will be the item that you may want to invest the most money into, rather than buying the cheapest on the shelf. This is your most important tool when removing a tick. You need to have tweezer that both provides a good grip for your hand, but also provide a good grip on what they are being used to grab.

Finally, you will need a pair of scissors to cut up the lint roller sheet when you are finished. No matter the price of your scissors, as long as they cut easily, they will work!

How to Remove A Tick

As soon as you return home from your walk or hike, remove any and all clothing, harnesses or collars from your dog and throw them immediately into the dryer immediately. Again, the heat from your dryer will kill any ticks that may have clung onto your dog’s accessories.

Lay your white sheet or blanket on the floor and have your dog lay on the sheet. If you have a dog with high energy levels or a dog that doesn’t like to lay still for a period of time, you many need to ask a family member or friend to help keep your dog still. Pro Tip: Try giving your dog a chew toy (perhaps a Benebone) to help keep him occupied as you search for ticks.

Once your dog is laying on the sheet, you can begin to look for ticks. Begin by running your hands throughout the fur over the entire body of your dog. Often, you can feel a tick right away on your dog, as it will feel like a small bump on their skin. Once you’ve completed a initial check of your dog, you will want to go back though for a more detailed check. This should include separating the fur on your dog so that you can directly see his skin. Key areas to check are around the neck and belly areas of your dog.

 

If you happen to find a tick on your dog, do not panic! Stay calm so that your dog also stays calm, as dogs often pick up on the emotions that their humans are experiencing. Once you have the tick in clear sight, with the fur pulled back, grab your tweezers to begin removing the tick.

Photo Credit: @islandlassie

You will want to get the tweezers as close to the skin as possible so that you can remove the head of the tick with the body. Do not twist or rock the tweezers back and forth. Doing this will likely separate the body from the head of the tick. Once your have a deep, firm grip on the tick, you should pull straight up to remove it.

Sometimes, the body will separate from the head when removing the tick. Again, do not panic. If you are able to go back to the site and remove more of the head, begin to do so. If you cannot get any more of the head out of your dog’s skin, leave it be and let nature takes its course. Your dog’s skin will push the rest of the head out, however, if you ever have any concerns, it is best to call your Veterinarian for further instructions.

Once you have the tick removed, place it directly onto the sticky side of the lint roller sheet. This will keep the tick from crawling away while you finish checking over your dog. Please be aware that this will not kill the tick(s). Ticks can eventually unstick themselves and crawl off the paper. If you have questions about any ticks you found on your dog, you can put the lint roller sheet into a ziploc bag and take them to your Veterinarian for further inspection.

Otherwise, you can now grab your scissors and being cutting the lint roller sheet into pieces. Be sure to cut directly through any ticks contained on the lint roller sheet.

While there are many tick preventatives on the market for dogs, it is best to discuss these options with your Veterinarian to find what is best specifically for your dog. Even if your dog is on a preventative, it does not always repel the tick. The tick must bite your dog in order for the tick to die, but in order for Lyme disease to be passed onto your dog, the tick must bite your dog. Therefore, it is always better to be safe and err on the side of caution.

We would love to hear any tricks or tips you have for removing ticks from your dog. Please share your comments below on this blog post or post to Benebone’s Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.

Ryan Crossett is the owner of @fen_the_aussie. You can read more of Ryan’s work here.

 

Being the largest dog shelter in a state comes with its benefits, but also requires a lot of donations, hard workers and extraordinary volunteers. That’s exactly what we found when we visited the Maryland SPCA, “MD SPCA”, located in Baltimore, Maryland. The MD SPCA currently adopts out an average of 3,500 dogs and cats per year throughout the Maryland region and likes to be referred to as an adoption center, as opposed to a shelter. With this being a no-kill adoption center, you can imagine the amount of love, time and effort that is put in by all.

Like most rescue organizations, the MD SPCA relies solely on the donations it receives throughout the year to keep their doors open and running for the dogs and cats throughout Maryland. Director of Communications and Media Relations, Tina Regester, says that all to often, people assume that since the MD SPCA contains the word “Maryland” in their name, that they receive governmental grants and/or funding. In fact, the MD SPCA is a private, non-profit organization and receives no government funding or grants. Another misconception of the MD SPCA is that they are tied to the ASPCA and the infamous “Sarah McLachlan commercials”. While the ASPCA is another great organization for animals, they are based out of New York and have no connection with the MD SPCA. The MD SPCA receives no money from the ASPCA.

When asked if there was any certain breed of dogs the staff at the MD SPCA sees most often, Nichole Miller, Director of Operations, says that they mostly rescue and adopt out dogs whom they call “Baltimore Big Dogs”, which are larger breeds, usually pitbulls or pit bull mixes. During our visit, we were lucky enough to meet a “Baltimore big dog” named Duke. Despite Duke’s loving and fun personality, he is one of MD SPCA’s longest residing residents having been at the shelter since January.

Wellness Clinic

Photo Credit: MD SPCA

The MD SPCA isn’t your average adoption center. Here, on their premises, the MD SPCA is also home to a Wellness Clinic. This Wellness Clinic completes on average about 7,000 spay and neuter surgeries a year, making it the state leader in spay and neuters. The MD SPCA provides this crucial service to not only the pets it rescues and adopts out, but also to other rescue organizations around the region, low income pet parents and feral cats within the community. And, if performing thousands of surgeries a year wasn’t enough, the MD SPCA Wellness Clinic also opens its doors to the community providing affordable routine wellness exams, vaccinations, microchipping and dental procedures.

The rescue and adoption center itself takes in over 1,000 dogs and cats a year from various nearby shelters in addition to the owner surrenders that are brought into the shelter. At any given time, the MD SPCA can have up to 200 dogs and cats in their care and they wouldn’t be able to house all these homeless pets without the housing and support of their foster care home network.

Foster Care

Photo Credit: MD SPCA

According to Nichole, Director of Operations, the MD SPCA wouldn’t be able to do what it does if it were not for all the foster homes within the community. Approximately, 1,000 dogs and cats are placed within the MD SPCA foster care program throughout the year. Foster parents are the backbone of the MD SPCA, as they are responsible for some of the hardest cases that require the most attention. Foster parents provide temporary care for kittens and puppies under 8 weeks of age, very sick or injured pets, and/or pets that require additional training or socialization. Foster homes provide a quieter and stress-free “shelter” option for pets looking for their forever home.

Once a individual or family has applied and been approved to foster, the MD SPCA provides training, supplies, and 24-hour support for foster families. A foster families only expense is their time. The MD SPCA strives to make it as easy and stress-free for foster families as possible.

Volunteers

Like many other shelters and rescues, the MD SPCA heavily relies on the kindness of their volunteers time and energy to help with the daily caretaking of the dogs and cats in need. Volunteering at the MD SPCA goes above and beyond cleaning crates and runs for the pets. Volunteers are trained how to properly handle dogs and cats at all levels.

Along with meeting the pitbull rescue, Duke, another highlight of our visit to the MD SPCA was meeting volunteer, Evan. When Evan came into the room to meet us, he immediately pulled out a can of treats that he carries around in his pocket before he sat down. That right there is a sign of a dedicated volunteer. Evan explained that while he has a Master’s Degree and had a career job at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, he wasn’t enjoying the 9-5 corporate life. After doing some self reflection, Evan decided to leave his job to pursue veterinary school. Last April, Evan began volunteering at the MD SPCA. Since the MD SPCA has a busy spay and neuter clinic and Evan wanted to attend veterinary school, he thought starting his volunteer services there would be the perfect fit and started as an exam room helper.

After a while, Evan decided to make the transition to becoming a dog walker volunteer after seeing the lack of tier 3 dog walkers that were available. If there are not many qualified tier 3 dog walkers, the tier 3 dogs do not get nearly as many walks, which was disheartening to Evan.

At the MD SPCA, dog walkers are identified by 3 tiers. Each tier is achieved after hours of training, which includes behavioral training, leash walking and safety procedures. Tier 1 is your entry level dog walker and while you still receive training, the tier 1 dog walkers will walk the calmest dogs that have a working knowledge of leash walking etiquette. After 12 hours of work and training, a dog walker can be promoted to a tier 2 dog walker. As a dog walker goes higher in tiers so does the “aggressiveness” of the dog they are walking. Currently, Evan is 1 of only a few tier 3 dog walkers, as tier 3 dog walkers are required to have 70 hours of training and are responsible for walking the most difficult dogs in the adoption center. Evan’s theory is that he looks to turn every moment for a level 3 dog into a teachable moment. Any shelter would be lucky to have Evan on their volunteer roster!

Ways YOU Can Help Too!

Like most non-profits, the MD SPCA’s most requested item is monetary donations! The MD SPCA relies on individual and corporate donations of all amounts. No donation is “too small”. All donations can be made directly through the MD SPCA website. There, you can make a one-time donation or recurring monthly donations in any denomination amount. The MD SPCA also has a Amazon Wish List to make giving easy and accessible for all.

If you live within the Baltimore/Washington D.C. or neighboring region, please consider attending the MD SPCA Festival for the Animals on May 5, 2018. This is by far the MD SPCA’s biggest fundraiser and they depend on every dollar raised to help them continue their rescue efforts throughout the year. You can register as an individual or form a pack with family and friends. This festival is different than years past in that this year it is a day long festival packed with contests, food trucks, beer gardens, live music, vendors and more.

And, of course, adopting your next best friend from the MD SPCA is always welcomed and appreciated! You can find a list of adoptable dogs and cats on their website or through their Petfinder page. And be sure to follow the MD SPCA’s Instagram and Facebook accounts to learn more about their adoptable dogs as they become available for adoption. You can also see all the wonderful dogs that find their forever homes!

Photo Credit: MD SPCA Instagram

One of America’s most popular and regal dog breeds is the German Shepherd and our next Fan Feature is a prime example of why this breed is so beloved! Met Rex Von Deutsch, a 2 year-old purebred German Shepherd living in South Carolina.

If you are intrigued about Rex Von Deutsch’s name, you’re not alone, so were we and had to get the details behind this fabulous name. Rex Von Deutsch’s mom, Maria, watched a show when she was younger called “Commissary Rex” that featured a German Shepherd who became a police dog. “Von Deutsch” is German for “from Germany”. Translated, “Rex Von Deutsch” means “Rex from Germany”. What a fun and creative meaning behind a name.

Since Maria was a young girl, she knew that she wanted a German Shepherd, but had been searching for the right puppy to bring home into the family. When Marie went to meet Rex Von Deutsch, his litter mates and parents a little over 2 years ago, it was love at first sight! Out of all the puppies, Rex Von Deutsch came right over to Marie and she knew he was the one for her and her family. After that, they made the 3 hour drive back home, which might be where Rex Von Deutsch’s love for car rides started.

Rex Von Deutsch is always the first one in the car, anxious to see where their next adventure will take them. As soon as Rex Von Deutsch sees Marie putting on her “adventure” shoes and grabbing her bag, he knows that they are going somewhere fun and special. Rex Von Deutsch is always extra excited to go to the dog park, go hiking and play some soccer.

As you may have guessed, being a German Shepherd, Rex Von Deutsch certainly has the protective trait in him, as he is very protective over Maria, however, he turns into a super sweetheart when he wants attention. Rex Von Deutsch will lay his head on Maria’s lap and give his best puppy eyes until he gets her full attention. This desire for love and attention is the main reason why Rex Von Deutsch stays with Maria’s mom when she is at the University.

When Rex Von Deutsch sees the mailman or UPS delivery man, he will go into his super protective mode barking and yelling at the “intruder”, however, once he sees that there is a package being brought to the door, his barks quickly turn into tail wags. Because, more than likely the packages are for him!

While a typical day for Rex Von Deutsch may start out like most dog’s days, it certainly doesn’t stay that way. Rex Von Deutsch starts most days with a few naps and some outdoor playtime, but then he does his daily training …. in 3 different languages! Yes, that’s right, 3 different languages. Rex Von Deutsch understands English, Spanish and French! Just when you thought you were having a productive day, Rex Von Deutsch comes strolling by, performing tricks in various languages!

If you haven’t checked out this handsome boy’s Instagram page yet, you should do yourself a favor and do so! Marie created Rex Von Deutsch’s Instagram page to showcase her love for dogs and in particular, how much Rex Von Deutsch is loved. But, what she didn’t realize is how much Instagram would connect her with fellow pet loving parents. Marie has turned her Instagram account into a community place for dog parents to share thoughts, ideas and see what products Rex Von Deutsch is currently loving.

And while Rex Von Deutsch is a only child for now, keep an eye on his Instagram account. You never know when Rex Von Deutsch may get a fur brother. Maria is in total love with the breed and has been on the hunt looking for a German Shepherd to adopt. If you happen to see a German Shepherd in need of a loving home, be sure to tag Marie and keep Rex Von Deutsch in mind.

All Photos: @rex_von_deutsch