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Trekking the Trails - Recreation

July 6, 2016

With summer upon us, the timing couldn't be better to go hiking. But don't think that you have to leave your furry friend at home while you are enjoying all that nature has to offer. If you are considering taking your pet along for the ride, here are some smart rules and safety guidelines to follow.

1. Keep control of your pet at all times. Consider the potential dangers your pet could encounter and always keep her leashed. You'll avoid unexpected dashes through poison ivy, darts into the woods after small wildlife and she won't look like lunch to larger animals such as coyotes, mountain lions and birds of prey.

2. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important, and you never know when you'll be able to find a good, clean source of drinking water, so bring plenty along for both of you. Avoid letting your dog drink from standing water, no matter how inviting it may look.

3. Take snack breaks. In addition to stopping for hydration breaks, consider packing some tasty treats for your pet to enjoy. Because who doesn't like a snack?

4. Pay attention to the weather. Remember, pets who are usually housebound during the day may have a harder time acclimating to heat and humidity, so take that into consideration when planning your hike. If it is hot and humid, choose a flat, shaded route to a lake rather than a steep, rocky climb.

5. Use Leave No Trace principles and clean up after your pet just as you would yourself. Carry waste out with you or bury it in a hole that is at least 6 to 8 inches deep and disguise the spot. Be sure the hole is at least 200 feet from water sources, trails, shelters and campsites.

6. Don't bother wildlife or plant life. This is an easy one--just keep your pet on a leash and on the trail. Staying on the trail means you won't harm fragile and possibly threatened or endangered plant life. You'll also help prevent erosion, which will keep the trail open for others to enjoy hiking it longer.

By planning ahead and making sure that you are prepared for the hike, you and your four-legged friend can both enjoy exploring the great outdoors!

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A Risk-Free Independence Day

July 3, 2016

While the Fourth of July means great fun and celebrations for you, it's not all fun and games for your pet. In fact, many of the items we associate with the celebration can derail your fun if your pet gets hold of them.

- Food. Many of the foods we associate with the Fourth are not so good for our pets, and some are downright dangerous. Your pet's digestive system is not well equipped to handle the rich, spicy foods that come off the grill, and items such as grapes and onions are toxic to her. It's best to avoid sharing.

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Fireworks Fear

July 2, 2016

As many pet owners may have experienced, loud noises, such as those from fireworks or thunderstorms, can be a cause of great anxiety for our four-legged friends. This fear of loud sounds is called noise phobia. For pets affected by loud noises, this can be a very trying time for both the pet and pet parent. Learning to recognize the signs of noise phobias and some tips to reduce fears can go a long way to having a pleasant, stress-free celebration.

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Curb Potomac Horse Fever

June 29, 2016

Once considered a regional disease upon its discovery in 1979, Potomac horse fever has re-emerged during recent years in the equine community. 

Potomac horse fever (PHF) originated near the Potomac River in the eastern United States but has been identified in various other regions of the United States and Canada.

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Duking Digital Dermatitis

June 27, 2016

What was once thought to only be an issue in European dairy cattle has had an increased prevalence in American feedlot beef cattle in recent years. Digital dermatitis (DD) is known by a number of names, including footwarts, hairy heel warts, strawberry foot or raspberry heel. While several of the names sound harmless, the condition can bring about severe discomfort and lameness in the animal. 

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