Sunday, 20 April 2014

Every Dog's Legal Guide

Every Dog's Legal Guide - A Must-Have Book for Your Owner Mary Randolph, J.D. 20127th Ed.

Get the nose-to-tail guide to barking, biting, leash laws, traveling regulations and more. Every Dog's Legal Guide is a newly revised, up-to-date practical guide to the legal issues that affect dogs, their owners and their neighbors every day, including:

 - dog owners’ liability for injuries
 - your rights when buying or selling a dog
 - vaccinations, licenses and other local law

Everything you need to keep your pooch (or the neighbor's) on a legal leash!

America's estimated 50 million dogs are governed by many things: the stomach, the nose and the law - laws that you as a dog owner, or as the neighbor of a dog, need to know.

Every Dog's Legal Guide is a newly revised, up-to-date practical guide to the legal issues that affect dogs, their owners and their neighbors every day, including:

  • dog owners’ liability for injuries
  • dogs that bite or create a nuisance
  • animal cruelty
  • landlords, tenants and dogs
  • traveling with dogs
  • providing for pets at death
  • dealing with veterinarians
  • your rights when buying or selling a dog
  • restrictions on dangerous dogs
  • vaccinations, licenses and other local laws
  • guide, signal, service and therapy dogs

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

RSPCA Programs

1. Safe Beds for Pets Program

The Safe Beds for Pets Program was established to provide temporary housing for pets of people who are seeking refuge from domestic violence and to address the link between animal and human abuse and child protection.

The Safe Beds Program is not a long-term solution to the housing of the pet, but it gives domestic violence victims peace of mind and allows them to secure their own safety and make arrangements for the future. 

The RSPCA strongly believes in the mental, emotional and physical benefits of the relationships between people and pets. In the case of a person who finds themselves homeless, their pet is often the only positive thing in their lives during a time of uncertainty and disadvantage.

It’s research has found that people facing homelessness place great value on the relationships they have with their animals, and that the idea of having to “give up” their pet/s is a cause of major distress to people who are already suffering hardship. 

The RSPCA wants to provide a range of community outreach services for homeless pets and their people to help them remain together while they get back on their feet, and to be as healthy and happy as they can be.
  • Access to Food for Pets
  • Emergency Boarding and Foster Care
  • Access to Veterinary Services
  • Education
  • Outreach Services

For more information on this program visit:
  • Temporary foster accommodation and/or emergency boarding of the pet should the owner require medical treatment, respite or other assistance
  • Assistance with veterinary treatment at the RSPCA Sydney Vet Hospital
  • Assistance with pet grooming
  • Home visits to assist the elderly with basic pet care

It's common practice for the perpetrator of domestic violence to lure family members back home by threatening to harm the pet.

With the Safe Beds for Pets Program families can now leave domestic violence situations and not fear for the safety of their pets.

Who’s eligible for Safe Beds for Pets?

Safe Beds for Pets is specifically designed to help victims of domestic violence. In most cases, these animals are referred through to the RSPCA from a domestic violence counselling service.

For further information on this innovative program visit:

2. Living Ruff Program

Every day, right around Australia, there are people with pets without a place to call “home”. Often, this is through unexpected circumstances and for reasons beyond their control that may be very stressful and traumatic.

Living Ruff Initiatives

3. Pets of Older Persons

The Pets of Older Persons Program (POOPs) assists socially isolated elderly people by offering assistance with their pets in times of crisis. The POOPs Program aims to keep pets and their elderly owners happy, healthy and together in their own homes for as long as possible.

POOPs was established by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) at St Joseph’s Hospital Auburn in 2003 to temporarily care for the pets of elderly people who were admitted to hospital. The RSPCA became involved to provide assistance with veterinary care and emergency boarding.

POOPs is based in Sydney but assists clients throughout NSW whenever possible through RSPCA NSW Shelters and Branches.

Monday, 14 April 2014

6 Ways Dogs Relieve Depression

1. Dogs offer a soothing presence

Patting a dog can help to lower blood pressure. Pet owners have significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate both before and while performing stressful mental tasks. People recovering from heart attacks recover more quickly and survive longer when there is a pet at home. It seems as though their mere presence is beneficial.

2. Dogs offer unconditional love and acceptance

In a Johns Hopkins Depression & Anxiety Bulletin, Karen Swartz, M.D. quotes a recent study where nursing home residents in St. Louis felt less lonely with some quiet time with a dog alone than a visit with both a dog and other residents. People often prefer four-legged friends to two-legged ones because we can divulge our innermost thoughts and not be judged or quoted…

3. Dogs alter our behavior

When agitated dogs can help people alter their behavior. We calm down when we are with our dogs. We slow our breath, our speech and our minds. We don’t hit as much at others or remain annoyed at ourselves.

4. Dogs distract

Pets are like great movies or books. They take us out of our heads and into another reality, one that involves food, water and affection; being less in your own head and thoughts.

5. Dogs promote touch

The healing power of touch is undisputed. Research indicates a 45-minute massage can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and optimize your immune system by building white blood cells. Hugging floods our bodies with oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and heart rates. And, according to a University of Virginia study, holding hands can reduce the stress-related activity in the hypothalamus region of the brain, part of our emotional center. The touch can actually stop certain regions of the brain from responding to threat clues. It’s not surprising, then, that stroking a dog can lower blood pressure and heart rate and boost levels of serotonin and dopamine.

6. Dogs make us responsible

With pets come great responsibility, and responsibility and promotes mental health. Positive psychologists assert that we build our self-esteem by taking ownership of a task, by applying our skills to a job. When we succeed, for example, looking after your dog’s needs, we reinforce to ourselves that we are capable of caring for another creature, as well as ourselves. That’s why chores are so important in teaching adolescent’s self-mastery and independence.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Whiskey the Deaf Therapy Dog

Meet Whiskey, an Australian Shepherd, who is a certified therapy dog AND he's deaf!

“My name is Whiskey. They found me at the dog pound almost 3 years ago. I was going to be put to sleep because no one wanted a deaf dog. Now I am a Therapy Dog, who volunteers at different places – from children that are hurt and injured to children & adults with special needs.”
You can follow all of Whiskey’s adventure on his dedicated facebook page:
Whiskey the Deaf Therapy Dog, a Page for Special Needs Animals 

Funeral home dogs help comfort grieving families

The dog has become an invaluable tool for the funeral home in helping local families deal with their grief. Some people even ask to bring the dogs with them to the cemetery, providing them with some comfort while they visit the burial site of a loved one.

"Our experience has shown that people can let go totally when they interact with a dog. The dogs are just there, to pet, to hug and to cry on," said Ursula Kempe, president of Therapy Dogs International. 

"Their calming, loving presence can help during times of extreme grief. There is no need to talk, just to feel. The dogs can give what humans cannot."
While therapy dogs have become common in hospitals, mental health facilities and schools, G.H. Herrmann is unique in using certified therapy dogs in its funeral homes.

Herrmann came up with the idea about using therapy dogs in his funeral homes after a discussion with a long-time friend. Kevin Knartzer, director of training and canine development at Bargersville Veterinary Hospital, trains service dogs for the disabled.

One afternoon, Knartzer stopped by the funeral home to see Herrmann. He had brought Lady, a golden retriever he was training. A family was planning the funeral of their father and grandfather who had died. But once the dog stepped into the room, the small children stopped crying and focused their attention on Lady.

"They're planning for their grandfather's funeral, and they're crying. Then all of a sudden they see a dog, and they smile, their eyes light up and they felt better," Herrmann said.

He and Knartzer immediately seized on the potential good that a therapy dog could provide.
"It lifts people's spirits. Dogs give people a chance to take a break from their biggest worry and really have a moment to think of something else," Knartzer said. "People almost transfer their feelings to the dog. It gives them that respite for a moment."

The program at G.H. Herrmann started tentatively. Herrmann was concerned that while some people might enjoy having a dog present while they planned a funeral, others would complain. But after three years, he has yet to hear anything negative about the program. G.H. Herrmann now features four dogs, which split time between the three Herrmann locations.
  • Jax a laid-back black Labrador
  • Lady is the diva of the group
  • Birch loves to catch the Frisbee 
  • Gracie is the latest arrival
Each dog has a handler who takes him or her home at night, feeds them and cares for them. All of them work for the funeral home. Each of the dogs has become a celebrity inside the funeral homes. Funeral director April Williams has seen how people have latched onto the dogs, coming back months and even years after a funeral to see the dog that comforted them.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Do you know your dog's welfare needs

There are five key welfare needs for dogs:


The need for a suitable environment (place to live)


The need for a suitable diet


The need to express normal behaviour


The need for to live with, or apart from, other animals


The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and diseas

Dog icon

Welfare worries for dogs

  • Loneliness - dogs are highly social animals, yet 8% of dogs are regularly left alone for more than 12 hours at a time. Another 15% are regularly left alone for eight to 12 hours. And 39% of dogs have no other animals to keep them company while owners are out.
  • Lack of exercise and socialisation - dogs need daily walks outside the property, and regular socialisation with people and other animals. This ensures they remain physically and mentally healthy. Yet 63% of dogs do not get walked daily. 62% of dogs didn't attend 'puppy preschool' socialisation classes.
  • Obesity - up to 40% of dogs are overweight. 48% of owners feed their dogs treats at least once a day. Obesity can cause major health problems such as diabetes, and can reduce quality of life and shorten lifespan.
  • Lack of preventative vet care - 15% of dogs are not vaccinated against common diseases, 6% aren't treated for fleas and 7% aren't wormed.
  • Toxic treats - 3% of owners feed their dogs chocolate as a treat, 3% feed them grapes, and 17% them cooked bones as a treat.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Human Foods to Avoid for Dogs

There are a number of human foods that you should avoid feeding to dogs as they can have an adverse effect on their health.

Alcohol: affects dogs in the same way it affects humans. High levels of alcohol consumption can cause intoxication, gastrointestinal irritation, respiratory distress, coma and death.

Avocado: contains persin which is in all parts of the avocado. Ingestion causes gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death.

Chocolate: contains theobromine (a methlyzanthine) which is toxic to dogs. Toxicity is dose related meaning that the overall effect of chocolate ingestions depends on the size of the dog, the amount eaten and the type of chocolate. 

Symptoms include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and urination, increased heart rate and seizures. 

Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Beloved dog ate entire jar of coffee
Coffee or caffeine products: In large enough doses, caffeine can be fatal for a dog and there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors. This also includes tea.

MOLLY, the beloved chocolate Labrador (maybe she should be called Mocha) scoffed an entire jar of coffee and didn’t sleep for three nights.

Cooked bones: can splinter and cause gastrointestinal obstruction or laceration.

Fat trimmings: Fat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause intestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhoea. It can also lead to your pet to developing pancreatitis.

Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas & Currants: The toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown but it can lead to kidney failure.

Onions, Garlic & Chives: These contain a substance that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and lead to red blood cell damage and a form of anaemia. Garlic and chives contain the same substance but at a lesser volume.

Salt: Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning. Signs that your dog may have eaten too many salty foods include depression, tremors, elevated body temperature and seizures.

Tomatoes and Potatoes: These contain a substance that causes violent gastro-intestinal problems.

Xylitol (Artificial Sweetener): Causes insulin release in dogs which can lead to liver failure. Initial signs of toxicity include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. This sweetener is used in candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods and some diet foods.

Yeast dough: can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your dog's digestive system. This can be painful and cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. The risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen.

Not all fruits and veggies are good for dogs but carrots are!

Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene for dogs. While many dogs love to just chew on carrots, it’s easier on their digestion if they eat shredded carrots instead of chunks. I have Labs and they think shredded carrots are a treat that they work for. But, if yours won’t eat it directly from your hand, you can take a handful of shredded carrots and sprinkle it on their kibble.

Dogs ‘n’ Kids Information Resource Kit

A resource kit for health professionals promoting dog bite prevention and 
socially responsible dog ownership - 3rd edition

Dogs ‘n’ Kids began in 1997 as one of the first initiatives in Australia to specifically address injuries to small children from dogs. 

It was developed by The Safety Centre at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in conjunction with other child safety units, the Children’s Injury Prevention Working Party, local government authorities and maternal and child health services with information and funding from Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS).

Now in its 3rd edition, dogs ‘n’ kids has twice been extensively reviewed in 2001 and 2009 with the assistance of child injury, safety and dog behaviour experts. 

The Dogs ‘n’ Kids Information Resource Kit is part of an overall strategy to empower health professionals, parents and children with information to reduce the incidence and severity of dog bites to children and to manage safe, close and enjoyable interactions between children and pet dogs.

Download this free resource here...
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