Jun 16 2015

Beat the heat! Keep your pet cool this summer.

Spending summer days with your furry friend can be a lot of fun but the weather conditions aren’t always suitable for your pet. The rising temperatures and extreme humidity that the summer brings can be fatal for your animal if you aren’t aware of the dangers they can bring. On a really hot day your pet probably prefers a cool, air conditioned environment, but if you take on the outdoors with them there are a few things to remember.

Keeping your pet hydrated is crucial. Make sure you provide fresh, clean water that your pet can access at any time.  Also, if you’re unable to keep them indoors make sure that they have a shaded area they can go to when they need to get out of the sun.  If they are outdoors in the sun for too long, your pet can become overheated.  If you are transporting them in a vehicle be sure to never leave them in the car while it’s parked. A parked car can quickly become way too hot for your pet, whether the windows are down or not. Leaving an animal unattended in a parked vehicle can be fatal for your pet so make sure you are able to keep them with you when you’ve reached your destination or just leave them at home so they can stay cool.

Another way to keep your pet cool is to trim their fur. If you have a breed that grows long hair, it can be beneficial to get their hair trimmed short in the summer time. This can keep them much cooler on hot, summer days. It also helps to brush your animal’s fur more often than usual.

Be sure to pay attention to the heat of the asphalt. If it is a hot day, chances are the concrete and asphalt have reached temperatures that can potentially burn your pet’s paws.  Don’t let your pet stand or walk where the ground might be too hot for their paws.

Taking your pet swimming is a great idea for the both of you to cool off.  If you decide to let your pet splash around in a pool, lake, or other body of water do not leave them unsupervised! Not all dogs are natural swimmers and may need help. Don’t just assume that they will be able to swim and take care of themselves while in the water.

It is important to know the symptoms of overheating so that you can know when there is a problem and when you need to take action. Some symptoms of overheating are excessive panting or difficulty breathing, an increased heart rate, excessive drooling, or mild weakness. When body temperatures get too high they can also experience seizures, diarrhea, or vomiting. Pay attention to the weather and be aware of the potential danger that the hot summers can bring. By doing this you can beat the heat and have a fun but safe summer with your furry friend!

 


Oct 24 2014

Halloween Pet Safety

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Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time to talk pet safety. Whether you and your fur babies are gearing up for a full fledged trick-or-treat session in the neighborhood or you are spending the night inside, passing out candy, you need to take some precautions. In our first Halloween blog, we’ll discuss safety measures you need to make as you prepare for trick-or-treaters at home.

Important Safety Tips: Halloween Edition

1. Decorations – For many, Halloween is the unofficial start of the holiday season. This means that for the months ahead, there will be lots of decorations in and around the house. The key? Just make sure you keep you furry friend’s safety in mind as you string lights, carve pumpkins, and display baskets of maze. The main thing you will want to consider is making sure your dog or cat cannot chew on any exposed wires, pumpkins, or other potentially harmful decorations.

2. Candy – It wouldn’t be Halloween season without a big bowl of candy by the front door. And while it may sound redundant, dogs and “people food” don’t go well together. More specifically, chocolate. While dogs’ sensitivity to this delicious treat varies, its best to err on the side of caution. Skip the indigestion or visits to the pet emergency room altogether, and put the candy bowl out of their reach.

3. Safe Zone – Whether you have an outdoor pet or just like let them out occasionally, take extra caution on the night of and those leading up to Halloween. Everything from the increase in foot traffic to cruel Halloween pranks could give your pooch a scare. And let’s face it, scares are for people – not dogs!

Although it is smart to take extra safety measures as we approach Halloween, that does not mean your pet can’t get into the spirit of things. IN our next blog, you will find tips about how your pet can safely participate in upcoming Halloween events!

Thinking about adding a furry friend to your family.

If you are looking for a pooch that can accompany you through the upcoming holiday season, and for many to come, be sure to visit Wayside Waifs. You can also “meet” our Waifs on our website.


Aug 8 2014

Canine Atopy

Canine AtopyEveryone has a concept of what allergies are in people, but while pets can suffer from allergies too they look and are usually managed quite differently.  An allergy is an abnormal immune response the body has to something that is harmless. The immune system basically overreacts and mistakenly perceives this harmless thing as being a threat to the body.  Animals can have allergic reactions to vaccinations, bee stings, a particular food, or things in the environment. In the context of this article we are going to just address environmental allergies in dogs, which the proper term for is canine atopic dermatitis or atopy.  Atopy is a fairly common type of allergic condition that is estimated to affect anywhere from 3-15% of the dog population (MacDonald) and can be very challenging to manage.

Common clinical signs of atopy include rubbing, licking, biting or scratching at their feet, muzzle, ears, armpit and belly areas. The skin in these areas may be red and inflamed and some dogs will also develop secondary skin infections due to all the self trauma they’re causing. Many dogs may also have frequent ear infections or anal gland problems.  Dogs may be itchy year round or seasonally.

As with anything, it’s important to rule out other medical conditions first since there are other causes for itchy skin.  If your vet is starting to think your dog may have an allergic condition, one of the first things he or she will do is make sure your dog doesn’t have external parasites like fleas or skin mites.  Your vet may also do bloodwork to rule out common internal diseases that can cause skin issues.  An additional test may be a diet trial to rule out food allergies. This involves feeding a special prescription diet only for 8-12 weeks and monitoring for improvement of symptoms.  If your dog responds favorably then that may mean he or she has a food allergy instead of environmental allergies.

Through out this entire process your vet may prescribe different medications to help alleviate the symptoms and make your dog more comfortable.  The goal of most treatment plans is to manage the symptoms, rather than treat the allergy, similar to people who take allergy medication when they are especially sneezy or sniffly.  Some types of medication that your vet may prescribe include antihistamines, oral steroids, topical steroids, immunosuppressive drugs, medicated baths or wipes and fatty acid supplements.  If there are any signs of a secondary bacterial or yeast skin infection then antibiotics or antifungals may also be prescribed.  As with any medication there can be side effects so ask your vet what side effects you should be monitoring for and notify them if you see any.

If your dog does not respond to the diet trial and is still miserable despite frequent attempts to manage the symptoms with medications your vet may recommend allergy testing and allergy shots by a veterinary dermatologist. This will help provide answers as to what your dog is allergic to so that specific injections can be given on a schedule to help desensitize your dog’s immune system to allergens.  It can often take a long time for dogs to respond and not all of them do.

Now if that all seems complicated and confusing that’s because it usually is!  Most of these dogs are challenging to diagnose and treat.  And because it can often take a long time (weeks to months) to achieve an acceptable degree of relief from the itchiness and discomfort pet parents can get easily discouraged.

While the most important thing is to develop a good relationship with a vet you trust, YOU as a pet parent will be a key component in helping your dog through this.  If your vet suspects your dog may have atopy here are some helpful things you can do:

1. Keep track of what you’re seeing.  Write it down and bring it to your vet appointments so that you can provide your vet the most accurate information.

2. Pay particular attention to:

  • What signs are you seeing and how severe are they?
  • When are you seeing them? All the time during particular months?
  • How long do they last?
  • Is there any improvement with any type of treatment?
  • At what age was your dog when you started noticing clinical signs?

3. Follow your vet’s treatment directions
There may be a greater number of medications with specific treatment instructions.  Following the treatment plan will not only ensure the best chance for your dog to improve but provide good information to your vet.  If you are unable to follow all of your vet’s directions be honest with them.

4. Discuss the goals of treatment with your vet, and understand that in many cases the treatment plan may be to manage the symptoms, rather than treat the underlying cause.

5. Understand that diagnostics and treatment may be financially more than you might expect. Be honest about what you can do and what you can’t do.

6. Be prepared to be a frequent visitor of your vet’s practice!

7. Be prepared that your vet may recommend your dog see a dermatologist.  They are experts in skin conditions and may be able to better help your dog.

Written by Alison Liu. DVM
Wayside Waifs

 

 

Citations:

MacDonald, John M. Western Veterinary Conference. 2012. Las Vegas, NV. n.p. n.d. Web.


Jun 15 2014

Taking Care of Older Dogs

older-dogsMost dog owners arrive at a point where it is difficult for their dog to do the simplest tasks, like getting up a set of stairs or going for a spin around the block. As a dog owner, this is heartbreaking. The hard fact of life is that, like people, dogs age and require assistance doing otherwise routine things. Although it can be difficult seeing your best friend go through these changes, there are some things you can do to ease the transition.

How You Can Help

By making some simple changes to the way you care for your dog, you can greatly enhance their day-to-day quality of life.

Concentrate on what food you are giving your dog.

There are several considerations that are important to make when it comes to the diet of an older dog. Spending a little more money on the purchase of quality food is important, as it often helps ensure your furry friend is receiving the nutrients he or she needs. Better quality food does not equate to more food. Just like humans, being overweight takes a toll on your dog’s body frame, especially as they age. On the same token, you want to be certain your dog is not underweight, which brings us to our next point.

Maintain Fido’s Dental Health.

Try to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. This will help prevent some diseases and make sure they don’t lose teeth prematurely. Sometimes dental issues keep dogs from eating, causing them to be underweight. If you notice this happening, check their teeth to see if that’s the cause for weight loss.

Schedule regular veterinarian visits

Checkups once a year are fine for most mature dogs; however, it is your responsibility to take your dog to the vet if you notice any unusual or concerning changes. The goal? Prevention, not recovery. Listen to your instincts. If something seems wrong, it probably is.

Keep your dog active and engaged.

Exercise is crucial to the well-being of your aging dog. Just remember, though. Mental health is of equal importance.  Having toys around for your dog to play with will keep them engaged. Car rides and walks offer a great change of scenery, too. And with sensory stimulation playing a key role in your dog’s happiness, it must not be overlooked in everyday interactions.

Treat Your Dog How You Would Want to be Treated.

The simplest way to ensure your aging dog’s happiness? Treat your dog how you would want to be treated in your old age. It’s as simple as that. As man’s best friend, Fido deserves some extra T.L.C.

 

 

 


Apr 24 2014

The Dos & Don’ts of Dog Park Etiquette

dog-parkApril showers bring May flowersand lots of visits to the dog park, of course. As you leash up and head to your favorite dog park, be sure that you have reviewed this list of dog park dos and don’ts. You won’t regret it! By employing some basic precautions, you and Fido will have long days of fun in the sun all spring and summer long.

What to Avoid:

  • Visiting overly crowded dog parks
  • Bringing a young puppy – under 4 months of age – to the dog park
  • Providing treats & toys that could spur jealousy
  • Fraternization amongst unfixed (spade or neutered) dogs

What to Do:

  • Keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date – don’t forget flea and tick meds, too!
  • Bring poop bags to prevent spread of disease or any unwanted messes
  • Keep a close watch on Fido. It’s a new place with new dogs, so you will want to monitor for signs of aggression or agitation.
  • Don’t forget a back-up water supply – one for you and another for your pooch! A panting pup needs to stay hydrated, especially when it is warm outside.

Learn More

Wayside Waifs invites you and your four-legged friend to enjoy our Bark Park. Your membership fee earns you full access to our well-lit, fenced-in, off-leash dog park. It gets better! All the fees aid our adoptable pups in need of homes. And if you need some last-minute tick or flea meds, you can make a quick purchase at our Whisker’s & Wags shop, where all purchase proceeds benefit the shelter animals in their journey to find a forever home.

Shelter Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm


Mar 19 2014

Fido’s Spring Checklist

spring checklist As the grass begins to turn green, snowbells blossom, and the sun sets later in the evening, you and Fido may find yourselves developing a case of spring fever. The good news? With the right precautions taken, you and your pooch will be ready to spring into warmer days with a seamless transition. Employing the tips below is easy, and you’re sure to have some fun along the way.

Spring To-dos:

Up the Exercise

When it’s cold outside, many owners and canine companions get less exercise. Not to worry, though. Although your pooch doesn’t need to get in beach-worthy shape, he or she does need to get conditioned for long days of fun in the sun. The key? Like any exercise regimen, you should ease your way into full-fledged workout mode. In no time walks around the block will turn into 5-mile trail hikes.

Wash The Paws

Beds of green grass are fun for pups to roll around in, but during the spring, be careful of potentially harmful chemicals, such as herbicides, that are used for the removal of  unwanted vegetation.

Flee & Protection

Rolling around in the grass is all good fun until somebody gets a bad case of fleas or ticks. The solution? Monthly flea and tick preventative medication is best practice; however, you’ll also want to give your dog a thorough comb-through if you go for a hike in a heavily wooded area. You can purchase these products at Whiskers & Wags, Wayside’s Boutique. All proceeds from sales in the store benefit the animals at the shelter!

Groom the Coat

Spring is a time for fresh starts, so be sure to send your pet for a day at the groomers, where he or she can get a fresh cut that keeps them cool and comfortable as the weather gets warmer outside. It also helps to get in the routine of brushing them at night.  This can not only help them relax but it keeps the tangles and dander to a minimum.  And, hey, it’s great quality time together. Need some more convincing? Think how cute your pooch will look with their new hairdo!

Learn More

Looking for a furry friend to take long strolls with on breezy spring evenings? Wayside Waifs of Kansas City is home to a number of adoptable dogs and cats that are looking for their forever home, so be sure to stop by the shelter today.

Shelter Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm


Mar 6 2014

How to Transition Your Dog’s Food

dog foodUnlike their human counterparts, dogs do not need to eat a rainbow (yes, keep those skittles to yourself on family movie night). Although eating food with a balanced spectrum of nutrients is important, owners should aim to consistently provide a healthy meal for their canine companions. However, as dogs mature or develop food allergies or sensitivities, you may come to a point when you need to switch dog food. Don’t panic; follow these simple steps to avoid post-breakfast or dinnertime discomfort.

Know Your Addition

In just five days, you can seamlessly transition your dog’s food. It’s simple: All you have to do is know some basic calculations for you and Fido to be on your way to a healthy new start. Begin by adding 20% of the new food in with 80% of the old. From here, you will up the new food in 20% increments each day, while simultaneously lowering the old mix by 20%. Easy, right?

See the chart below for details.

  • Day 1 – 80% Original food + 20% New
  • Day 2 – 60% Original food + 40% New
  • Day 3 – 40% Original food + 60% New
  • Day 4 – 20% Original food + 80% New
  • Day 5 – 100% New

While these proportions help most dogs make an easy transition to their new food, it is not a foolproof plan. Because of this, there are some telltale signs of irritation you’ll want to watch for throughout this process.

Red Flags:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

*If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, stop administering new food and visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

When it comes time to change your dog’s food, be sure to employ the following steps. And remember, there is no universal solution for all dogs. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to observe your dog for any unusual diet-related behavior as you make this transition.

Adopt Today

If you are looking to adopt a dog you can call your own, Wayside Waifs of Kansas City has a number of animals in need of permanent, loving homes.

 Adoption Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm

 

Proudly serving the Greater Kansas City community. 


Feb 25 2014

Fight the Winter Blues With Pet Exercise

snow playIt’s cold outside. Let’s face it: We are all dragging a little bit – even the dogs. As a pet owner, it is important to remember that while we are able to get outside throughout gloomy winter days, dogs often remain pent up indoors. Sofa snuggles and afternoon snoozes are great, but too much time on the dog bed can have a lot of canines feeling blue. Don’t wait for sunnier, warmer days to exercise your pooch! There are a number of great winter exercises you and your favorite companion can enjoy.

Winter Exercises for the Pooch:

Snow Angels

One of the things that makes dogs such great animals is that they still enjoy all the things we did in our youth – playing in the snow is no exception. In fact, many of these furballs relish the opportunity to run their paws through fluffy, white powder. While it’s still winter, bundle up and take your snow angel (yes, we know you call your dog “angel,” “sweets,” and other heart-melting nicknames) out for some good, old-fashioned playtime in the snow.

snow dog

Extra Training

What better way to get your pooch ready for warm park days than some additional training classes? These classes are fun for everyone, as they allow pets to socialize with their canine peers, all while learning new tricks and skill sets. After some winter classes, your furry friend will be the star of all his or her warm-weather park dates.

Sensory Stimulation

Just as we require mental stimulation, dogs have keen senses that need to be challenged to stay sharp. When your dog’s nose cannot keep busy sniffing freshly cut grass or blooming flowers, a fun game of sniff-and-eat will combat the winter blues and boredom. Something as simple as an impromptu food-driven obstacle course will do the trick, keeping your dog’s mind stimulated and its belly full.

Learn More 

Are you looking for a furry friend to roll around with in the snow? Wayside Waifs of Kansas City is home to a number of adoptable dogs and cats that are looking for their forever home, so be sure to stop by the shelter today.

Adoption Center Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm


Dec 19 2013

Grrr-eat Holiday Gifts for Your Canine Companion

holiday giftsYou made your holiday gift list, but have you checked it twice? Before you complete your holiday shopping, be sure to include something special for the four-legged friend on your gift list. Your furball has behaved all year, so be sure to reward him or her. At Wayside Waifs, we shopped around and have some grrr-eat holiday gift ideas for your canine friend.

Holiday Gifts for Your Best Friend:

Christmas PJs

As you gather around the Christmas tree and wait for Santa, be sure your pup has something snuggly to keep warm. No matter how your family is celebrating the holiday season, there are holiday PJs for everyone. Flannel, cotton, and fleece are all great materials that are sure to keep your dog warm. Hop online, or if you are up for a challenge, try making your pooch some homemade PJs. The great news? It’s in your dog’s DNA to unconditionally love whatever your create, so don’t let that stop you!

Stocking

If you are looking for a simple way to dress up your mantel over the holiday season, look no further than a dog stocking. A cute holiday stocking for your furry friend can complement your decor AND act as the perfect means for spoiling your family dog. When it comes to dog stocking stuffers, the options are plentiful. Squeaky toys make great gifts, and for just $5, you can purchase several toys from Whiskers and Wags, our in-store boutique that supports dogs in our care. Bones, chew toys, and dog accessories are other great stocking stuffers. As a rule of thumb, be sure to keep your dog’s stocking out of reach. We wouldn’t want your pooch to do anything to get on Santa’s naughty list.

Professional Grooming

Whether your pooch has a mane of high-maintenance tresses or could just use a fresh bath, a date at the groomers is a real treat. A day at the salon doesn’t have to be all nail polish and primping. A nice brushing, bath, or something more are all great ways to show the love to your canine, getting your pooch off to a great start for the New Year.

Give the Gift of Volunteering

Have a pooch of your own but want to really get in the holiday spirit? There are a number of dogs at Wayside Waifs who could benefit from your volunteer work. This holiday season, something as simple as your time could brighten the life of one of our on-site animals. At Wayside Waifs, there is something for everyone. Cat and dog socialization and fostering are both ways you can make a difference in the life of our animals.

To learn how you can get involved this holiday season, call (816) 761-8151 or contact us today.


Dec 18 2013

Paw-Lick’n Holiday Pet Treats

If you are looking for some paw-lickin’ holiday treats for your family pet, there is no need to head to the pet store. It only takes a few ingredients to make some of your own tail-waggin’ holiday treats. When it comes to pets, the little things can make a difference – holiday pet treats are no exception. So, next time you and your family pet are in the kitchen, be sure to try out one of these pet-friendly holiday treats. 

DIY Holiday Pet Treats:

For the Canine…

Dog Bark

If you have ever slipped your four-legged friend a morsel of cheese or let him or her lick your peanut butter-clad hands clean, you know how much pups love their people food.  This all-in-one treat is the real deal. With cheese, peanut butter, and bacon, what’s not to love? In less than forty minutes, your pooch could be enjoying some of their very own holiday Dog Bark.

Dog Nog

Add Dog Nog to the mix for some extra holiday cheer. Good news about this seasonal recipe? Your pooch doesn’t have to be 21 in dog years to enjoy it. Dog Nog is sure to keep your pup safely hydrated and happy. This holiday treat earned brownie points for its simplicity – something every pet owner can appreciate. By the time your pooch can say ”Dog Nog,” this delicious dog elixir will be ready to drink. All you need is baby food, low-fat, organic yogurt, eggs, water, and –for good measure—a banana slice.

For the Feline…

Tuna Crackers

If your kitten has behaved well all year, reward Santa’s little helper with something savory and nutritious. When you are leaving a special delight by the tree for the big man on the sleigh this year, prepare some goodies for your kitty, too. These tuna crackers are comprised of canned tuna, cornmeal, flour, and water. This holiday treat is cat-friendly and easy-to-make. In fact, these holiday treats are so simple to prepare that these kitty crackers can be enjoyed year round.

Cat Cakes

holiday gifts

Cats have always had a flair for the dramatic, which makes cat cakes the purr-fect treat for your kitten. This holiday season spoil your cat by preparing a truly fancy feast. The flour and tuna-filled cat cakes are delicious holiday gifts that your family feline can enjoy for days to come. For details about this one-of-a-kind holiday treat, reference the complete recipe.

At Wayside Waifs, we remain dedicated to helping you provide your family pets with quality care.  Want to shower your pup or cat with even more holiday love?

For more holiday treats, be sure to visit Whiskers & Wags, our pet boutique that helps support the rescue animals in our care.  


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