Doggone Orlando

News, views and reviews for Orlando pet parents from the mom of a menagerie of cats, dogs, birds, horses, fish, and guinea pigs who stays just one step ahead of the "Animal Hoarders" TV crew

Tidy Cats partners with Glade, packs a punch against litter box odor

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

I’m a long-time fan of Tidy Cats cat litter. I remember the old days of clay, when fighting odor pretty much meant cleaning the box after every kitty visit. Now there are many great litters on the market that keep your home smelling fresh even if you’re not quite as diligent about litter box cleaning as you should be. I try not to neglect it, but I’m glad that Tidy Cats came out with Glade Tough Odor Solutions litter. I use Glade plug-ins to add a touch of freshness to my bathrooms, and now the cats’ facilities get the same treatment, with no plugging required.

Pleasant Scent

tcgIf I had to describe this litter’s scent, I would say that it’s clean and almost reminiscent of shampoo. It’s apparent but not overwhelming, which is good because I didn’t want to scare off my cats. Tidy Cats send me a jug to try out, and the cats gathered ’round as soon as they saw me trying something new in their litter boxes. They had no trouble at all adapting to it. It was basically a mad rush to see which of my four felines could christen it first.

I believe in the “one litter box for each cat” rule, and I have two boxes on each floor with Tidy Cats and two with World’s Best Cat Litter, which you can read about in this review. The Tidy Cats boxes are both in high traffic areas because I know the pleasant scent keeps odors at bay, so I don’t have to worry about visitors wrinkling their noses as if to say, “Whew! You obviously own cats.”

As you can see in the photo at right, even my cat, Farquaad, was willing to take a nice, deep sniff. Of course, he thinks anything new that comes into the house should be for the pets.

Strong Clumping

Another thing I like about Tidy Cats with Glade Tough Odor Solutions, in addition to its scent, is the fact that it’s a strong clumper. That makes life so much easier when topping out the litter box. The more I can get out during the cursory morning and evening cleanings, the less I have to strip down and scrub the entire boxes.

Tidy Cats is easy to find at pet shops and big box stores, so I never have any trouble replenishing my supply. I love the version with Glade, but I have to confess that living in a two story house has made me into an even bigger fan of a different type. See what it is in this review. Interested in this product? Find it on Amazon:

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

No more hauling heavy cat litter with Tidy Cats LightWeight

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

As a fan of Tidy Cats cat litter, I’m always thrilled when they come out with a new innovation. Still, just how much can you improve on the basics of cat litter? You want it to clump strongly and control odor, and Tidy Cats already accomplishes those two things. I’m a big fan of Tidy Cats with Glade, which you can read about in this review, so I was surprised to receive a sample of yet another new and improved version. Could it really impress me?

Yes, it could!

Problem Solved

228It turns out that I had a cat litter need that I didn’t even know about until I found the solution. I have four cats, and therefore have four litter boxes to encourage them to keep good habits. Two of those boxes are upstairs, and my house is pretty big in general, so it gets to be quite a chore to lug cat litter all around. I like to buy it in bulk, which makes that even more of a challenge.

Enter Tidy Cats LightWeight, which really lives up to its name. It actually took some getting used to, as my eyes would see the big, almost full jug and my brain would register “Heavy.” Then, when I’d go to pick it up, the jug would practically fly up because it was so much lighter than expected.

At first I was a little worried that the litter might have lost some of its effectiveness along with the pounds, but that definitely wasn’t the case. If it weren’t for the weight, there’s be no difference between this variety and run-of-the-mill Tidy Cats litter. It controls odors, clumps solidly, and doesn’t get a lot of dust all over my floors. I thought light weight might mean more dust problems, but that issue never materialized either.

A Staple in My Household

I review a lot of pet products, but only a few become staples in my household, and Tidy Cats LightWeight is one of them. I go through a lot of cat litter and am constantly lugging it up and down, but now it’s not as much of an effort. It’s even nice when I pick up a month or two’s supply at Target, where I have to load it into the car and then haul it into the house. It’s also easy to find at other big box stores and pet shops, so I can quickly replenish my stock at any time (four cats go through a lot of litter). Rather than buying the jugs, I often just grab a pail because I can actually handle it without pretending that I’m a weight lifter.

The other cat litter staple in my household is World’s Best. You can read my review of World’s Best Cat Litter here. Interesting in a pail of Tidy Cats LightWeight for yourself? Compare prices on Amazon:

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

What breed is your adopted dog? Find out with Wisdom Panel DNA test

Did you add a puppy or dog to your household this Christmas? If so, hopefully you went by the mantra of “don’t shop, adopt” and got your new friend at a shelter. Plenty of purebred dogs end up at shelters, so you might know exactly what type of dog you’ve welcomed into your home. However, you might have fallen in love with a mixed breed and wonder exactly what’s in your new furry friend’s background.

If you’re in the latter category, did you know that you can get your dog a DNA test? Wisdom Panel lets you collect a sample from your dog’s mouth with the swabs they provide, mail it in to the lab, and get a comprehensive report on his or her genetic makeup. You’ll find full details on their website.

A Big Surprise

b4I had my own dog, Bolt, tested, despite feeling pretty confident that animal control’s assessment of “Chiweenie” was probably correct. After all, the T-rex legs and sonar dish ears were dead giveaways, right?


As you can read in this blog post, Bolt turned out to be a Jack Russell/rat terrier mix. Now it’s pretty obvious, and it explains a lot about his behavior, but it’s something I never would have guessed. I’m so pleased the kind folks at Wisdom Panel offered to let me try out the test so I know my pup’s true terror…er, terrier heritage.

Being fooled isn’t uncommon. After Bolt’s DNA test, I talked to Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM. She’s a veterinary geneticist, and even she was surprised when she had her adopted dog’s test done. The shelter had called him a border collie, but he was actually a cocker spaniel/maltese mix.

The More You Know

temp1I personally wasn’t too fussy about adopting a particular breed when I visited the dog pound. I mainly wanted a small but durable dog that would act as an alarm system and act as my exercise buddy on long walks. However, I’m glad I know Bolt’s breeding now because it gives me insights into his behavior and also alerts me to potential health problems. Thankfully, terriers are generally healthy dogs, along Dr. Hughes warned me that some may have eye problems. But some breeds are prone to major issues, and if you know your dog has one of those breeds’ genetics, you can stay on the alert and catch any problems early.

DNA testing also gives you some helpful information if you’re adopted a mystery breed puppy. How big will that adorable bundle of joy grow to be? Know the breeds of its parents can give you a good idea of what to expect.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m all about adoption, and the Wisdom Panel test is a great resource for those of us who want to give shelter dogs a home but who’d like to know a bit about our mystery companions’ backgrounds. I could have gone on for years thinking Bolt was the illicit product of a dachshund/chihuahua liaison, but now I know the truth: he’s a terrier through and through.

You can order your own Wisdom Panel test kit via Amazon:

Pet Product Reviews Main Menu

Dog + Basis Peak step and heart rate monitor = set-up for New Years fitness success

card2I’ve always owned animals, primarily for their companionship, but you can’t deny the fact that dogs make great fitness coaches and exercise buddies too. No matter how lazy I might be feeling, Bolt’s always there to budge me with his cold, wet nose and give a little whine of encouragement that means, “It’s time to get off your butt and take me out for a walk!”

A Basis Peak Review

I’m a fan of other types of encouragement, too, particularly step monitors like Fitbit. Unfortunately, I lost my Fitbit Flex and was without the encouragement on my wrist for quite a long while. I was very excited when I heard that a new Fitbit with a wrist-based heart rate monitor was coming out, as I hate wearing a chest strap HRM but would really like to know where my pulse rate is at during workouts and rest.

Alas, Fitbit didn’t give a firm date for the Charge HR’s release and I got tired of waiting. I wanted a fitness monitor for the new year, so I started investigating other brands and settled on the Basis Peak. It’s a lot like the Fitbit in the fact that it monitors things like steps and sleep, in addition to your heart rate. It’s also truly waterproof and has a nice, large display and a band that clasps like a regular wristwatch, which means it’s not nearly as likely to disappear like my last Fitbit.

Tracking the Basics and More

cardI try to take Bolt on two to three long walks each day, the I found that the Basis Peak inspires me to make them even longer so I can get my step count up. I also like to watch my heart rate rise as Bolt pulls me along at his brisk terrier pace. Who’d know such short little legs could move so quickly? The band knows automatically when I’m in an activity period and registers it accordingly, although it sometimes breaks my walks down into two or three periods if I pause for longer than a few seconds to let Bolt investigate a particularly interesting smell.

People often mistake my Basis Peak for a smart watch, and indeed, it will eventually have some smart watch capabilities like letting me know about incoming calls. I have to admit, I’m not looking forward to that firmware update, as I’m not a big fan of taking calls right on my phone, let alone being bothered about them by my fitness advice, Instead, what I’d like it to do is to let me know exercise related things, like when I’ve been sitting idle too long or when I’m close to achieving a goal. It sends push notifications to my iPad, but why not right to my wrist?

Goals for the New Year

Speaking of goals, you can set some up with your Basis Peak, although the app calls them “habits.” You can set up a few to begin with, but then you have to earn future habits by doing well with your present ones. Right now, I have morning and evening walking habits set up to encourage me to get out with Bolt early and late, and I also have one set up to make sure I wear my band faithfully. I’m good at that one, although I wish the band were somewhat less obtrusive. Both the watch face and band are thick and somewhat unwieldy, especially since you have to keep it a bit tight to make sure the HRM works properly.

The band isn’t exactly sleek and feminine either. I have the black model, and I’m dying to buy a couple of the optional colored bands to dress things up, but I just can’t make the leap to pay $30 each for them.Don’t they look cool, and potentially more comfy too with the vent holes?


Still, $30 seems awfully excessive just for a band. I suppose I’ll have to pony up eventually, and until then I’m stuck with the clunky black chunk on my wrist. I opted for black over white as I was worried that the lighter color might get scuffed or start looking dingy since I wear it nearly 24/7 and have a very active lifestyle.

At least that clunky chunk is doing a great job of making me more aware of my activity level. It inspires me to hit my habits and to get out with Bolt more often. I love knowing my heart rate, and I’m having a lot of fun watching the sleep stats, too, although lately it seems to think I’m sleeping in two or three spurts during the night rather than just one eight hour stretch with a brief potty visit or two. It was tracking that correctly when I first got it, but now it just can’t seem to make the distinction.

It also has a very short battery life, but I blame that on the display. I really like having the big readout, so I can live with the frequent charging. I just put it on the handy magnetic charger when I’m in the shower or working on my laptop and it regains its battery power very quickly. I wish that it also synced with my laptop, but instead I have to use my phone or iPad for that via Bluetooth. The syncing can be a bit persnickety at times, but the band and my devices always eventually play nicely together.

Happy With My Choice

All in all, I’m glad that I didn’t wait for the FItbit Charge HR and instead tried something new.Granted, the Basis Peak is $199 vs. $149 for the Fitbit, but it has certain features, like the true water tightness, the big display, and the fact that it automatically knows when I’m asleep, that make it worth the extra $50. Heck, just being able to strap it to my wrist with a buckle that prevents me from losing it is a feature well worth the money right there, although the new Fitbit’s band looks more secure, too.

I would probably be happy with the Fitbit, since I’ve been a fan of their products for a long time. Fitbit is the company that got me into wearable fitness paraphernalia. But if the Basis Peak colored bands ever come down to a reasonable price, and if they ever make push notifications that come right to the watch, it will be practically perfect in my eyes. Bolt thinks it’s pretty darned cool already, since he loves anything that increases the number and length of his walks.

Zep Commercial products are great for pet loving households

tempEven though my blog is called Doggone Orlando, I’ll admit to having a house full of critters. In addition to the dog, I have four cats, a Quaker parrot, two guinea pigs, and a horse. The horse lives elsewhere, but the rest of my brood are all busily messing up the house every day.

I love trying new cleaning products, which is why I belong to sampling sites like Crowdtap. They send me free product samples to try and I get to review them and blog about their effectiveness. The latest campaign was just perfect for me: Zep Commercial cleaning products.

Zep actually has products you can use all around your house. There’s a great All-Around Oxy Cleaner and Degreaser that worked wonders in my kitchen. However, where the critters were concerned, I was all about the Quick Clean Disinfectant. I try to convince the cats that the counters and kitchen island are not feline perches, and they ignore me with typical kitty indifference. One of the cats like to drink directly out of the bathroom faucet, and bathrooms fixtures are places where you need a good disinfecting product anyway, so score another part of my house that benefited from the Zep Commercial products.

I’m also known to plop things like bags full of dirty guinea pig bedding or bird cage paper, or even litter box scoopings, onto a counter or sink in my hurry to get things done. Yuck! The Zep disinfectant allowed me to clean up those surfaces with confidence that I was actually disinfecting them.

This campaign actually piqued my interest in other Zep products. I’m new to stainless steel appliances, so their stainless steel polish caught my eye. It sounds like something I’m going to explore in the future. In the meantime, I have to say that the Zep Crowtap campaign was truly one of the most useful in which I’ve participated. I don’t really like housecleaning (who does?), but with my critter menagerie I don’t have much of a choice. Products like the Zep Commercial line that make things easier and make a visible difference are always welcome in my house.

Surprise! Bolt the “chiweenie” is a terrier through and through

b4A while back I posted that my dog, Bolt, had a Wisdom Panel DNA test done, and I was eagerly waiting for the results. Life intervened, as we recently went through a move, but now things have settled down and I can share the surprising results. My dog, who the shelter pegged as half dachshund and half chihuahua, is a Jack Russell and rat terrier mix!

A Surprise That Makes Sense

I was shocked when I read the results, yet when I really thought about it, I could see the terrier behaviors. Bolt is a very high energy, prey driven dog who’s intelligent and loyal but also stubborn. With a little research, I soon realized that the T-rex front legs that I always thought came from a dachshund parent were actually a characteristic of certain terriers.

After my big surprise, I chatted with Dr. Angela Hughes, a veterinary geneticist who explained how the short leg gene works and gave me some insights into the Wisdom Panel test. DNA testing your dog is a very easy process. You get a kit, swab your dogs gums, send the sample and await the results. Dr. Hughes explained that Wisdom Panel has a comprehensive database to which the sample is compared, thus mapping out your dog’s ancestry. The database has samples from 10,000 purebred dogs and 200 breed signatures. Depending on the quality of your dog’s DNA sample, the test is very accurate, especially at the first generation.

b7Some Good Reasons to Know Your Dog’s Breed

For me, knowing Bolt’s ancestry was a matter of curiosity, but it can also be useful in taking care of your dog and knowing what to expect if you adopt it as a puppy. For example, if you get a shelter puppy (the best kind, in my view), a DNA test that narrows down its genetics will give you an idea of how large it will grow. Depending on the breed, you’ll also know whether it’s prone to certain illnesses and have information on its likely personality traits.

I was happy to learn from Dr. Hughes that terriers are typically healthy, hearty dogs, since they’re bred to be working animals. Indeed, he’s a sturdy little fellow who probably would be very happy with a job. Since he lives a life of leisure, I make sure he gets plenty of playtime.

If you’d like to discover your own dog’s genetic background, visit the Wisdom Panel website for details.I promise you the process is very simple, as long as your dog cooperates with letting you do the gum swab. Thankfully, Bolt didn’t mind, and I’m sure most dogs would be at least halfway cooperative.

I’m a fan of mixed breed dogs, but I also love the fact that modern technically can give me insights into the background of a Heinz 54 mix. Solve the mystery of your mutt and you might just get a surprise.

Want to order a kit via Amazon? Here’s the link:

Pet Product Reviews Main Menu

Wisdom Panel DNA test takes the mystery out of mixed-breed mutts

b4When I adopted my dog, Bolt, the shelter’s best guess was Chiweenie, which makes him either a designer dog if you follow outcross trends or a plain old-fashioned mutt. It’s easy to see why he got that label, as he has Chihuahua satellite dish ears, but a longer face and body and T-rex front legs that give him a distinctive Dachshund flair.

I’ll admit, I’ve been very curious about his true heritage. Now I don’t have to wonder anymore, thanks to the Wisdom Panel. Just as DNA does everything these days, from finger criminals to let home owners associations ID dogs that do the dirty on neighbors’ lawns, it also reveals the mystery of your hound’s heritage.

Giving your dog a Wisdom Panel DNA test is as easy as swabbing a sample from his mouth, sending it off to the lab, and awaiting the results. I was able to experience this ease for myself, as the kind folks at Wisdom Panel sent me a kit to use on Bolt.

He was very tolerant of the swabbing process, and I left the swabs out to dry as I registered our kit online. Then I popped it into the mail and received an email confirmation of its arrival a couple of days later. Within the next two or three weeks I’ll know whether he’s the illicit love child of a fling between Taco Bell dog and a wiener hound or if there’s a wild card in the mix.

b5Wisdom Panel is actually in the middle of a cross-country Swab-A-Thon. They’ve already been to Florida, but you can track the progress and other locations on their website. As a big proponent of shelter dogs and mixed breeds, I love what they’re doing to allow adoptive pet parents to know a little more about their new pup’s background.

If you adopt a puppy, you’ll have some idea of just how large it might grow. For a dog of any age, you’ll know what personality traits your dog might be prone to display and use that knowledge to your advantage when training him. You’ll also be warned about possible breed-related health problems that could crop up.

I’ll be sure to share Bolt’s Wisdom Panel results as soon as they’re ready. (Update: find out the results here.) He definitely has the smart but stubborn personality of a Dachshund, and his size seems about right when that’s melded with a Chihuahua (not to mention the giveaway ears), but you never know. I might just be in for a surprise when the final result is in. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can learn more about the Wisdom Panel in the video below:

You can order your own Wisdom Panel kit via Amazon:

Pet Product Reviews Main Menu

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I also do pet tweets from that account. Email comments and story ideas to

My spoiled mutt has a Lazy Bonezz stroller and NYNE Cruiser speakers

b9Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

Bolt’s a very spoiled little mutt who’s forgotten his humble beginnings at Polk County Animal Control, where you’ll always find wonderful dogs for adoption. Not only does Bolt enjoy his walks on the leash, but he also loves having me do all the work as I push him around in a stroller.

I have a LazyBonezz Lazy Jogger, which lets him ride around in comfort if his little T-rex legs get too tired on long journeys. He watches the world through the mesh as he hands out on the comfy seat.

I like the stroller myself because it has room to carry leashes and other gear, as well as a nice, cold beverage. I can walk Bolt to the local Starbucks, which wears him out in the summer heat, get a nice iced latte, and use the cup holder as I push him home. It’s a lot better than carrying around 13 pounds of exhausted doggy, which I had to do a couple of times when I first adopted him last year and took him on walks that were just a bit too lengthy.

The stroller is also great for days when it’s so hot that a dog’s paw pads can only stand limited exposure, and that’s all too common here in Florida. I’m so glad the kind folks at LazyBonezz let me try out their product because it’s one of those review items that’s handy and practical enough to use regularly.

b8I didn’t know something was missing on our jaunts until I had another recent review opportunity, this time for the NYNE Cruiser Bluetooth Speaker. Its black and blue color scheme, while attractive, clashed against the pink of the stroller, but I was going to let a lack of color coordination get in the way of a full-scale test.

Although you can carry it around, the NYNE Cruiser Bluetooth Speaker easily mounts to bicycle handlebars or, in this case, the stroller handle. It pairs with devices via Bluetooth so you can blast your music from your iPod or other device while you’re out on your walk. It also has a built-in microphone, which lets you use it to make phone calls, but I didn’t try out that functionality. I was mainly interested in good quality speakers for my outdoor time, and the Cruiser delivered.

The speaker stayed mounted to my Lazy Jogger stroller, even on the bumpy boardwalk where I head to town and my Starbucks fix. It has an excellent battery life, so thus far I’ve never run out of juice on any of my journeys. I plan to bring it with me next time I go to the beach or any outdoor event where a portable speaker would come in handy. Since you can pair it to virtually any device, it’s also great for streaming services like Pandora (or Sirius XM if you subscribe) if you’re in a spot where you get WiFi.

b7For now, I mainly use it for my iPod play list, whether around the house, outside, or when we’re on a Mom and doggy jaunt around the neighborhood. Between his LazyBonezz stroller and his NYNE Cruiser speakers, Bolt is one of the best tricked-out doggies in town.

Lazy Bonezz has a variety of fashionable dog products. I love their throws like this one on Amazon:

Bolt also recently reviewed Pawstruck Bully Sticks. To see what he thought about these bull pizzle chews (yep, that’s what bully sticks are), check out his review here.

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I also do pet tweets from that account. Email comments and story ideas to

Bully for you! Bolt shows his approval of Pawstruck bully sticks

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

As I’ve shared previously, my dog Bolt loves bully sticks, bull pizzles, hooves, and all manner of other gross-sounding natural dog treats. It’s hard to find chew treats that stand up to his strong little teeth and jaws for any length of time, but it takes him a while to work his way through bully sticks. Thus I was thrilled when the kind folks at Pawstruck offered to send him some of their sticks to review.

1Previously, I picked up the standard long bully sticks at the store. Bolt loved them, and they held up reasonably well to his chewing. When I opened the package from Pawstruck, I found several fun varieties.Bolt’s nimble nose got wind of something dog-friendly in the package, and he was underfoot immediately and ready to start the review.

Pawstruck bully sticks are all natural, and they’re nice and thick to ensure longer doggy enjoyment time. I decided to start Bolt off with a linked bully stick “chain,” since it appeared to be very durable. I like to give him a chew snack in the late morning or early afternoon to keep him occupied while I work, and the longer it holds his attention, the better.

Happily, he danced for the bully chain and was thrilled when I finally gave it to him. He carried it off to his favorite spot on the couch (which is normally the one area that’s not covered by a dog-mess resistant throw) and promptly set to work on it. He finally fell asleep without managing to finish it, so it turned into a multi-day project, although he finally did manage to whittle it away to nothingness with his determined little fangs.

3I don’t give Bolt bully sticks every day because they’re a rather rich snack that I like to feed in moderation. I doled out the Pawstruck bully sticks at the rate of one per week, and he was just as enthusiastic each time as he was with the first “chain” treat. I really don’t know if dogs notice or care about the shape of their goodies, but I personally like a variety, so I got a kick out of all the options.

For Bolt, I know he likes something when it keeps his full attention, and also when he uses it to taunt and guard against the cats. Being regal felines, they have no interest in his lowbrow doggie treats, but he’s firmly convinced that they conspire to steal his favorites. He gave an annoyed growl and moved his Pawstruck bully sticks away whenever a cat was in the vicinity. Later, when he was trying to entice them to play, he waved the remnants of one of the chewed up raggedly bully sticks at them while desperately play bowing and trying to understand why cats never seem to understand the appeal of a bull’s private parts or the nuances of dog play.

Pawstruck actually has a number of dog chews, like filled bones and antlers, which you can find on their website. I know it’s a little early to think about Christmas, but really, it will be here before you can blink an eye, and the Pawstruck goodies would make great doggy stocking stuffers. Just don’t put them out too far ahead of time or you pup might raid his sock.

If you want to give your dog a more ironic goody, check out these alligator chews that Bolt reviewed previously. All too often, small dogs in Florida become gator snacks if they venture too close to a body of water, so the Whimzees chews are a great way for them to get a bit of symbolic vengeance.

You can buy Pawstruck bully sticks for your own dog on Amazon:

Return to Pet Product Reviews Menu

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I also do pet tweets from that account. Email comments and story ideas to

Don’t let summer pet emergencies catch you by surprise

Fourth of July is over, but summer’s still got a while to go. We’re not even into the Dog Days yet. And speaking of dogs (and cats), pets face many hot weather emergencies that can cost their lives if you don’t know what to do.

Dr. Heather Loenser is a busy E.R. veterinarian who sees certain types of emergencies repeatedly every summer. Here are the top problems she sees, along with ways to prevent them or handle them if they happen to your pet:


Like humans, pets can suffer with allergies in the summer. Often, this comes out as itchy skin. If you see your dog scratching wildly, try a soothing pet shampoo like Splash Plus, which contains salicylic acid for added benefits . Leave it on for at least five minutes, as it won’t be effective if you lather it up, then immediately rinse it off. Dr. Loenser uses the shampoo in the Today Show segment below, where she also chats about other emergencies discussed later in this article:

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is all too common, and so is the one big mistake that people make when trying to give first aid. DO NOT douse your pet with cold water! It might seem logical to aim for a fast cool-down, but that can actually be deadly. Instead, cool down your dog gradually with warm water and a fan. Resist the urge to turn on your car’s air conditioning if you need to take him to the vet.

In addition to limiting your pet’s exposure to the heat, you can use a cooling vest like Kumfy Tailz to help him stay safe and comfortable on the hottest days. Bolt appreciates it when the Florida sun is beating down on him. The video below tells more about the harness:

Bee Stings

Bee stings are particularly insidious because many pet owners don’t realize their animal has been stung. Suddenly your dog has hives, and you have no idea why. If it turns out she was stung, an antihistamine like Benadryl will offer relief.


When you’re barbequing outside, you might leave hazards around without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, bones, corn cobs, and even peach puts can be deadly to dogs. The number one surgery that Dr. Loenser does every summer is removing corn cobs from dogs’ intestines. Prevent these issues by disposing of edible trash securely so animals can’t break into it. If your dog is poisoned and you need to induce vomiting, you can use hydrogen peroxide.


Nasty critters like ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes love to attack pets in the summer. Use medications to protect your them, and be especially diligent about heart worm protection for dogs. Whatever you do, do not use a lit match to remove a tick. Removal with pointy tweezers is the proper method. I use Adams products on my pets because they have an easy applicator for their spot treatments and also make an excellent yard spray.

The video below shows proper tick removal:

The Red Cross has a helpful app for iPhones and Android devices. It costs 99 cents, but it’s a good investment to keep emergency information close at hand.

All too soon it will be back to school time, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Those holidays bring their own pet protection challenges, so I’ll have some tips when they get closer. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer and keep your furry family safe!

Follow me on Twitter via @themeparkwriter and stay tuned for tips, observations, comments, and rants from someone who lives close enough to Walt Disney World to hear the fireworks from her house every night. I also do pet tweets from that account. Email comments and story ideas to

Photo credit for image appearing on Facebook: Gatorgoon via photopin cc