What to Do About Doggy-Do

Who would have guessed that dog excrement would become a topic of concern for local governments around the world, but indeed it has!

In Vancouver, there is a bitter debate raging about dog-do:  Dog owners claim they are cleaning up, while local officials say otherwise. A city in Taiwan is offering financial incentives for dog excrement collected and turned in. In the U.K., closed circuit television surveillance is being used to nab “dog fouling offenders.” In Spain, one city now has mandatory DNA testing and registration for dogs. Any found feces are tested and the offending owner pays lab costs and a fine. Cities in Ireland, Germany, Israel and the U.S .are considering similar measures.

Online, there are endless resources offering advice on the best ways to clean up dog pooh. Run-of-the-mill plastic bags are most common but you can choose scented or self-sealing bags. One website displays photos of celebrities doing the job with plastic bags, including one stylish woman tottering on 4-inch pink heels. Poop-scooping devices prevent the need to bend over and eliminate any risk of accidental exposure (the gal in the heels really could have used one of these). The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (apaws.org) offers a handy guide to find a clean-up service near you.

Experts do not see eye to eye on optimal disposal methods, but the most recommend burying, flushing, or putting it in the trash.

You can also find helpful advice online on how to confront “dog poop rebels” who fail to clean up. But I’d suggest a subtler method used by one of our staff members. She carries extra bags and sweetly offers them to fellow dog walkers who fail to notice or seem on the verge of walking away.

Psychology Today recently featured an article about Matthew Mazzotta at MIT who has created an art installation powered by, you guessed it, doggy-do. Park Spark—Transforming Dog Waste Into Energy to Power Public Art is an interactive installation at a dog park. Dog owners deposit feces which powers an attractive old-fashioned gas street lamp. Mazzotta hopes this will inspire others to come up with positive solutions to the dog poop dilemma.

While we wait for other creative minds to come up with ideas, those of us who love dogs can set a positive example by picking up after our own pets.  

Events that Help Homeless Pets.

Fees Waived for Veterans’ Pet Adoptions in honor of Memorial Day through Nevada Humane Society’s G.I.DOGS program through May 28 Special rates for non-veterans, too. Visit NevadaHumaneSociety.org or call 775-856-2000for more information.

Walk for Animals June 2 at Sparks Marina. Register today to help homeless pets.Brochures available at area businesses or download online at NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

Is Bigger Better?

In the five years I have lived in Reno, I have seen Nevada get labeled in many not-so-flattering ways. Some related to the economy—highest unemployment and foreclosure rates. Others related to life-style—most drunk and lowest volunteerism. But the newest one hit close to home for me as an animal welfare professional—Nevada is now among the worst in the nation for cat and dog obesity.

A report, published by Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), concluded that one in four pets in Nevada is obese. Only three states in the United States had a worse record. Seems doubly troubling to me when it comes to dogs since we have moderate weather and a community filled with dog parks and dog-friendly businesses.

As in people, overweight pets face a higher rate of arthritis, kidney, thyroid, heart disease and also have a higher early mortality rate. We certainly want our pets to live healthy long lives and one way to get the ball rolling is to participate in the Nevada Humane Society’s Walk for Animals on June 2 at the Sparks Marina. You can help raise money to save homeless pets while at the same time creating a new habit of exercise for you and your dog (other pets are also welcome in enclosed strollers or proper restraints).

Nevada Humane Society is also putting a new twist to the concept and saying bigger (not obese) is better in our current Size Does Matter adoption promotion where you can give a larger animal a home at reduced adoption fees. Puppies, kittens, and small breed dogs are among some of the most popular animals at the shelter, but Nevada Humane Society wants to prove that big animals have many benefits over cute but sometimes challenging smaller animals.

First, compared to puppies and kittens, adult pets are calmer and usually make an easy transition into your home. Next, larger breeds of dogs often make the best family dogs as they are less nervous than smaller breed dogs. Large dogs are also great for people with an active lifestyle, keeping you company on those scenic outdoor hikes. And of course, bigger animals are easier to find when you’re looking to cuddle.

So help turn around another negative thorn in Nevada’s side—start your new pet exercise program at the NHS Walk for Animals or give a big homeless pet a new, happy and long life—or BOTH!

Events that Help Homeless Pets.

Size Does Matter at Nevada Humane Society. Adult pets are calmer and easier to introduce to your household. Adopt any cat that weighs 10 lbs or more for $10 and any dog 40 lbs or more for just $40 now through May 20. More info at nevadahumanesociety.org or 775-856-2000.

Charity Poker Tournament to Benefit NHS G.I. Dogs Program, May 18, 7:00pm at the Peppermill at 7:00pm. Call 775-689-7275 for more info.

Free Spay/Neuter for Cats in Zip Codes 89502, 89506, and 89433 for a limited time. To make an appointment, call the NHS Clinic at 775-856-2000 extension 312.

Walk for Animals June 2 at Sparks Marina. Register today to help raise $100,000 for homeless pets.Brochures available at area businesses or download one from http://www.NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

Safe Travel with Your Dog

Perhaps you love to take your dog wherever you go.  That’s understandable; after all, very few people express the sheer joy a dog does at the prospect of going for a ride with us. Dogs pass no judgment on our driving nor do they fret that we may overspend on a shopping spree. 

Given the delight their company gives us, we need to be aware of the risks of leaving a dog in the car, even for short periods of time, as temperatures climb.

On a pleasant 72 degree day, the temperature inside a car can be 20 degrees higher. When it is 85 degrees outside, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees, even when the windows are left open two inches.  Within 30 minutes, a car’s interior can reach 120 degrees.  Shade does not help much and it moves with the sun.

While any animal can overheat and suffer heat stroke or death, young animals, elderly animals, overweight animals, and those with short muzzles or thick coats are most at risk.

If you need to make a stop where your dog will have to stay in the car on a warm day, you may want to consider leaving your pal at home. While you may only plan to be gone for a few minutes, unplanned delays can occur that could put your canine friend at risk.

If you do opt to bring your dog, plan to frequent businesses and restaurants where pets are welcome or use the drive-through offered at most banks and many restaurants and pharmacies.

Keep in mind that asphalt absorbs the heat of the sun and can burn sensitive paws. Walk your pet on grass or dirt whenever possible. Your pet will need more water when it’s hot out too, so be sure to bring a bowl and water along for the ride.

What to do if you see a dog in a car on a hot day? Note the car’s color, make, model and license plate; go into the store and ask management to page the owner. If the owner cannot be reached, you can call animal services for assistance. Washoe County Regional Animal Services dispatch phone # is 322-3647 (DOGS).

Only the most devoted animal lovers take their dogs wherever they go, but when it’s hot out, home may be the safest place for our canine friends.  

Events that Help Homeless Pets.

Size Does Matter: Adult pets are calmer and easier to introduce to your household. Adopt any cat that weighs 10 lbs or more for $10 and any dog 40 lbs or more for just $40 now through May 20. More information: nevadahumanesociety.org or 775-856-2000.

Create a Legacy for the Animals: Free Charitable Estate Planning Workshop, May 12 (10 am) and 17 (5:30 pm), at Nevada Humane Society presented by Heidi Foster of American Wealth Management.

Free Spay/Neuter for Cats in Zip Codes 89502, 89506, and 89433 for a limited time. To make an appointment, call the NHS Clinic at 775-856-2000 extension 312.

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