Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spring is Pet Awareness Time

Happy Mother's Day to all the fine Moms out there, both Hu- and Sibe Moms alike. Hope today was a fun, relaxing day for all!

Spring is a busy time for pets and pet parents. May is not only Pet Cancer Awareness Month, but the first week of May also recognizes National Pet Awareness. As part of being a Sibe (or any pet) parent, it is our responsibility to have fun, but to also be in tune with them as a parent; to know when they are feeling good and are healthy, as well as being able to detect from their actions when there may be something wrong. Sometimes the latter is easy, sometimes not so much. The key is awareness, and knowing our Sibes and their dispositions and body language. My personal opinion is if something does not seem right with your Sibes, don't wait. Naturally, it can be costly to run to the vet for every small thing, but it is our responsibility - the same as with our own Hu-children - to know when it is time to seek professional help. Keep them under a watchful eye, give a full body check for ticks, lumps, bumps, bites, bruises, cuts, etc. Don't forget to check the eyes, personal areas, paws, and be sure not to overlook ears, teeth, and gums. Are they lethargic? Grumpy? Snarly? Scared? Were they eating any grasses, plants, trees, or mushrooms? Were there any critters in the yard? Is there any change in appetite? 

While there are many great websites to peruse for symptoms and causes, it can sometimes be overwhelming and daunting. Instinct is usually the best detector. No one knows our pets better than we do. If you feel something is not right, give your vet a call. In some cases, time is critical. This time of year, in the warmer regions, there are many additional things to worry about ranging from bees to snakes to overheating. If the region you live in is hot, be sure to use judgment on when and where to exercise your Sibe. For example, first thing in the AM when it's cool before the sun is up and warm, or later in the evening, when it the air has cooled down. When walking (or jogging), definitely don't stroll near rock walls and overgrown fields where snakes, bees, and other nasties may live. And always, always keep lots of fresh, cool water available. 

With reference to bees, some of our Sibes' favorite past times include chasing the darned buzzing bugs and catching them in their mouths. Ouch! One time in particular, our alpha queen Harley was just a pup when she was busy having fun romping around the yard, when suddenly she began yelping, running in circles, and then finally just sat down, whimpering. Her ears were tipping and she looked...strange. Rushing over to her, my daughter noticed that a swarm of yellow jacket bees were around her...and I do mean a swarm. To make matters worse, she had plopped her little butt down right on top of an in-ground hive. I ran to grab a towel and tossed it to my daughter to wrap around the pup as she grabbed her and ran as fast as I think I've ever seen her run...and yes, there were some very angry bees in tow. Once safely inside, we had to pick live bees out of her undercoat and kill them as quickly as possible. Her eyes swelled shut, her face blew up, and her butt was extremely sore. We were en route to the emergency vet hospital before you could say, "damn bees." Although we were fortunate that she had no serious allergic reaction, the poor baby was so swollen and scared. After a shot of Benadryl and some ice packs, we were sent back on our way and our pup quickly mended. Needless to say, Benadryl is a staple in our house ever since that frightening day five years ago!

While the warmer climate brings out such hidden dangers, it is also a very fun time of year when Sibes can enjoy swimming, romping through sprinklers, attending or competing in dog shows, frolicking in dog parks, feeling the wind in their faces during car rides, and going boating and enjoying ice cream with the Hu-family. The key to fun and safety is to be alert and aware of our pets' surroundings. When off your own property, keep your Sibe on a leash and be sure he/she has up-to-date ID tags on. I typically take a "pet bag" (similar to a baby's diaper bag!) along with me on trips. It contains things such as pet meds, Benadryl, bandages, some Bag Balm (great for rashes, cuts, etc.), antiseptic, kibble, treats, rawhides, toys, water, a collapsible dish, towel, a cooler bed or scarf, and any emergency info, including that of the local vet and emergency clinic. If in a moving vehicle, we use safety belts attached to our pets' collars, but crates are also good to keep our pets safe in case of an accident. 

That's it for now, so let's be alert and aware, and go out and have some great outdoor fun with our furry "kids!" Happy Spring!


  1. Happy Mother's Day to woo!

    Mom shakes her head at me - I have a bizzybuzzbuzz thing too!

    I haven't gotten one...yet -


  2. I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day and gave your mommy lots of hugs! Thanks for all the info on Pet Awarenss. I took notes and am going to tell Beth right now! Thanks!