Friday, February 15, 2019
Tags Posts tagged with "Summer"



Spike looks debonair wearing his amber flea collar.  We got it at Healing TouchVets in Sherman Oaks. His vet there, Audra MacCorkle, DVM, wears an amber bracelet, as do many of her vet techs and patients.

Baltic amber collars are the latest “thing” in flea control. We aren’t talking about golden globs of transparent resin with insects trapped inside. We’re talking about small, irregular, milky gold and toast brown pebbles. The amber strung on cotton thread and attached to an adjustable leather strap and buckle. Reportedly, the longer the dog wears the collar, the better it works.

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Dog scratching fleas
Photo credit: © Luzpower |

The higher the temperature gets, the more anxious I get about fleas. Once the temperature hits the 70 to 90 degree range, conditions are ripe for fleas to hatch.

When you have a dog who is itchy, scratchy and licky in the best of times, fleas make life so much more complicated. Fleas are the most common source of itchiness in a dog, and thus what a vet will zoom in on first. Visit after visit last year, I debated with Spike’s vet what to do about his constant paw-licking, rump-chewing and scratching. I was leaning heavily toward allergy testing.

Our vet focused on flea control. We would turn Spike over and, sure enough, a flea or two could be seen. She pointed out that even if Spike had allergies, we’d still have to deal with the fleas.

Dogs and heat

Ugh! It’s going to be a hot day in L.A.!

For starters, today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. We’re going to get 15 hours of sunshine. With temperatures of 110 degrees or more predicted, it could be a day of record-breaking heat. Dogs and heat can be a fatal mix.

I’m rethinking our routines before taking Spike outdoors today.

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It’s hotter than an Elvis Presley hound dawg these days.

Bobbing for hot dogs is just the kind of cool dog games to fight summer heat. All it takes is a tub, some cool water and package of hot dogs, cut up.

The size of the tub and the amount of water should vary with the size of your dog. Sporting dogs — retrievers and spaniels, for example — take to this like ducks to water.  You can make the water deeper for them. Small dogs will need shallower water. If your tub has see-through sides, all the better.


Oh, say can you see that lost and terrified dog? Please make sure it’s not yours.

More dogs get loose and lost on the Fourth of July than any other holiday of the year. The boom and flash of fireworks make it terrifying. The festivities and coming and going of guests make it easy to miss your dog getting out a door or gate.

Here are our suggestions for keeping your dog safe on July 4:

  • Check your dog’s ID tags and collar. It’s easy to think, “My dog’s tags are fine.  I hear them clink all the time.” Tags come loose. Metal fasteners get pulled and strained. Collars age and get loose. It takes a minute or less to check — and it saves a lot of heartache later if your dog gets loose. Making sure that your dog’s license and identification tags are still attached and in good shape is something you should do at least monthly. Checking that his or her micro chip is in place between the shoulder blades is something that you should do every time you go to the vet. Lastly, be sure that your dog’s microchip is registered to your current address and has your current phone. It does no good if your lost dog is found, the microchip is checked and you can’t be reached.
  • Keep your dog in a safe space that he or she can’t escape from. This is especially important for dogs that get anxious about the loud noises of fireworks. Keeping your dog in a crate when fireworks start can be helpful. Other options are in a quiet room with the door shut. Put a sign on the door warning guests and family members not to open the door. Having a radio or stereo on playing soothing music can also be helpful.  Just be sure that you’re not tuned into the “1812 Overture” or other holiday-focused music.
  • Take your dog on a long walk. The exercise is calming. Being tired will help your dog sleep through the festivities or be less bothered by them.

These tips are quick and don’t take a lot of work or preparation. Your dog has no understanding of why the home front seems to be turning into a war zone. Whatever you can do will be a step to prevent your dog from becoming another holiday lost dog statistic.


The best thing to know during these dog days of summer are the signs of heat stroke. The best thing to do is make sure your dog never reaches that point.

One of the best ways to keep dogs cool in summer is to use a cool pad, vest or collar. Such aides are used by military or other working dogs, sporting dogs, show dogs or even pets to stay cool — or to cool down after exercise.

How Cool Pads Keep Dogs Cool

The pads get cool in a variety of ways:

  • Evaporation. This works like a swamp cooler. Polymer material inside the pad quickly absorbs water and slowly releases it for evaporation making the pad cool.
  • Heat transfer to water. This works like a water bed. Water absorbs heat well, helping to bring the dog’s temperature down. One variation on this is having a device to pump water across or through ice for more intense cooling.
  • Gel pads. These use a gel rather than water to transfer heat from the dog.  Some gel pads require cooling or freezing; some don’t.

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National Dog Day was this week. It’s made me think of all the things I celebrate about Joey every day. When I adopted him from the Amanda Foundation in July of 2004, I had no idea how much I was about to blessed with.

Here are just a few of the things I celebrate on National Dog Day:

  • A cold wet nose that can smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than I can, according to the scientists. For Joey, every scent is a story. (On some walks, it seems like the story is War and Peace rather than O Henry’s “Gift of the Magi.”)

It’s officially summer. Let the beach fun begin.

If you’re a dog looking for leashless freedom and frolic, there’s only one place in Los Angeles County to go:  Rosie’s Beach.

The 2.9-acre zone was established in 2003 and named “Rosie’s Beach” in 2010 in honor of Rosie the Bulldog, who inspired its creation. Justin Rudd, the founder of The Haute Dog (prounounced “hot”), pushed for the creation of the beach on behalf of his two bulldogs, Rosie and Riley.

If you do bring your dog here, remember that at the end of your visit you will have a wet, salty and sandy dog, so be prepared.  Dogs that run and play in the surf or chase toys will ingest a lot of salt water.  Be sure you bring plenty of fresh water for them to drink.  Salt water can also make some dogs nauseous.

After your romp in the surf, take a break at Chuck’s “Home of the Weasel,” a tiny coffee shop.  There’s even a groomer next door if you want to take your dog home clean. And the Weasel? That’s two scrambled eggs smothered in Chuck’s famous chili and topped with chopped onions and shredded cheese. Bring Tums.

Keep your eye out for special events that are scheduled at the beach such as So Cal Corgi Beach Day.

The Details:

Location: Along Oean Boulevard between Roycroft and Argonne avenues.  Metered parking is available in a lot at Bennett Avenue.  This is actually closest to the dog beach area. Be sure to bring lots and lots of quarters.

Hours: Daily from 6 an, to 8 p.m. except during special events or during poor beach conditions.  Note that in the afternoons, wind blows sand inland.

Dining options: Chuck’s Coffee Shop, 4120 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90803.  Telephone: (562) 433-9317. Casual dining at bargain prices from 630 a.m. to 2:30 p.m..  No credit cards accepted. Outdoor patio for patrons with dogs.

All the normal rules of a dog park apply — pick up your pooch’s poop, don’t leave your dog unsupervised and be sure your dog is legal in terms of licensing and shots.


The dog days of summer begin today, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and run until Aug. 11. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, it was a time of heat, illness and discord among people.

But why are these dog days?

Well, the answer begins with a dog — Orion’s big hunting dog, the Romans believed. Laelaps, the dog that never failed to catch what it hunted, the Greeks believed. No matter the name, the brightest star of the night sky marks the dog’s nose or shoulder, depending on the illustration. The star is Sirius, the dog star. The 40 days that follow the sighting of Sirius rising near sunrise is the start of the dog days of summer.

The combination of bright star, bright sun and hot summer days lead to this portion of the summer being called the “dog days” of summer. It is a time of unstable, malevolent forces.  The Greeks described anyone suffering from the ill effects of Sirius as “star-struck.”

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