sexta-feira, 26 de junho de 2009
Billy Rafferty is worried about what your dog is chewing on.
The co-author of Happy Dog: Caring for Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit (New American Library, $16, available Sept. 1) began his crusade to educate dog owners about safety after the death of Gabriel, a beloved Portuguese water dog who swallowed part of a toy.
When Gabriel became sick in 2005, it wasn't apparent what was wrong. A specialist finally discovered a blockage using ultrasound. After surgery, the veterinarian told Rafferty that a small piece of a toy chew bone had caused the problem. Gabriel never recovered from the procedure and died four days later.
“Dogs don't know that they can hurt themselves. They think they can swallow this, and ‘I'm going to be OK,' ” Rafferty said.
He advises dog owners to give their canine pals only toys made for dogs and not to choose something because it is cute or cheap. It pays to know a dog's personality before buying a toy that could be harmful or ignored.
“You have to take into consideration how much of a chewer you dog is. If your dog loves to chew, then it's not ideal to get the little stuffed toys with the button eyes and little ears that can be chewed and possibly swallowed,” he said.
“When I buy toys now for the two dogs I have, I usually buy really hard rubber balls and the basic big, hard toys.”
Rafferty lives with Zeke, also a Portuguese water dog, and Arthur, a cocker spaniel, who have different needs.
Zeke can't be left in his crate with a towel or blanket because he shreds his bedding. Arthur is not a much of a chewer, but he likes to carry things, Rafferty said. “Arthur likes a rubber ball. He runs around the house with it and wags his tail.”
Rafferty, who acknowledges he is extremely cautious, says owners can make smart observations about their animals. If the dog is chewing something unsafe or too aggressively, take it away.
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON
Many pet experts recommend that dogs have a variety of toys to fetch, chew and cuddle. Choose the toys with care to avoid cuts, choking or intestinal blockages.
• For dogs only: Make sure anything you buy is specifically for dogs. Don't let them chew string, ribbon, rubber bands, children's toys or anything else that could be ingested.
• Size matters: Don't allow your dog to have a toy that it can close its mouth around because it may choke on it.
• Rawhide: Ask your veterinarian about the safety of items such as bones, hooves, pig's ears and rawhides. Hard rubber toys are safer and last longer.
• Squeakers: Some dogs must find and destroy the squeak source, possibly ingesting it.
• Softies: Soft toys are not indestructible, but some are sturdier than others. Soft toys should be machine washable.
• Hand-me-downs: Don't give your dog old shoes or handbags to play with because a chewer can ingest small pieces. Also don't give a dog toys shaped like items that you don't want it to chew because a dog won't differentiate between a toy cell phone and the real thing.
• Cleaning: Inspect for damage and wash the toys at least once a month in hot water and mild dish soap.
Postado por Sandra Régia em 26.6.09
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