By Rachel Johnson, Executive Director, National Safe Boating Council

Warm weather always brings out opportunities to head out on the water with family and friends, even with your dog too! It may be tempting not to wear a life jacket while on the water – you want to get some sun, you think you’ll get too hot, or you think you’re a strong swimmer. And, you may assume since your dog can swim, they’ll be safe during your boating trip.

According to recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of all boating fatalities in 2014. Of those, 84 percent were reported as not wearing their life jackets. While there are no confirmed statistics on exactly how many pets drown each year, through informal surveys we do know pets are injured or drown because they don’t wear life jackets when their owners take them boating.

Take a moment to watch and share the Wear It! campaign’s video PSA “Love the Life!” It shares the experience of two families and a dog as they spend the day boating and fishing. They have fun on the water while choosing to always wear a life jacket and boat responsibly.

Share a photo with us why you love to take your dog boating with you by July 10, 2015 for a chance to win free life jackets for you and your pet. Don’t forget the cute factor! You and your dog wearing life jackets is definitely ‘social media-worthy’! Follow the campaign on Twitter and Instagram, and share your photo with the hashtag #wearit. Also, submit a written story before Labor Day for a chance to win our summer prize pack.

The National Safe Boating Council is a lead organization for the Wear It! campaign, produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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New and improved animal welfare laws are not to be taken for granted—and neither should elected officials, like Washington Governor Jay Inslee and State Senator Joe Fain, who championed new legislation to benefit our state’s animals.

This legislative session, Senator Fain stepped up to sponsor important new legislation that will make Washington a more humane state by enhancing several of the state’s most critical anti-cruelty laws. The bill was signed into law by Governor Inslee this past Monday, May 11.

The new law ushers in a host of new protections for animals:

It empowers law enforcement to come to the rescue of animals left unattended in vehicles in extreme temperatures and expands the state’s animal fighting ban beyond dogs and roosters to include all animals. The new law also increases charges for killing or stealing pets.

Our friends at the ASPCA partnered with Senator Fain, the Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies and the larger coalition of animal welfare organizations to ensure the bill’s passage—and it passed!

If you’re a Washington resident, please join us in thanking Senator Fain and Governor Inslee on their Facebook pages for their work on this important law.

If you have a Twitter account, please send a tweet of thanks to Senator Fain and Governor Inslee—and be sure to mention the bill number, SB5501. You could tweet something like: Thank you @SenatorFain and @GovInslee for improving animal welfare in Washington! #SB5501 #ASPCA.

Even if you don’t live in Washington, you can still help animals! Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to get updates on animal-protection legislation and how you can make a difference for the animals in your state.

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Americans are choosing to adopt furry friends now more than ever and since today is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, help spread the word with #adoptdontshop then check out where your state ranks when it comes to pet adoptions below…

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Portland, Oregon's Doggie Dash hosted by the Oregon Humane Society

Imagine a day when the streets are closed to cars, and open to … dogs!

That’s exactly what happens on May 9, when an estimated 3,000 dogs will walk, trot, amble and run in the 28th annual Oregon Humane Society Doggie Dash. The event is largest gathering of canines on the West Coast and the biggest fundraiser of the year for OHS.

Naito Parkway will be closed to cars so people and their furry friends can enjoy a 2.5 mile run/walk over the Hawthorne and Steel bridges, or take a relaxing stroll around Waterfront Park. The park itself will be turned into a blocks-long pet-festival. Everyone is welcome to register for the Dash (with or without a dog) and to enjoy a pancake breakfast, live music, vendor booths and more.

“One of the best things about Doggie Dash is dog-watching,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. You’ll never see so many dogs having a great time together.” Funds from Doggie Dash — which has a goal of raising $550,000 — will help OHS find homes for 11,000 pets this year. All proceeds from the event benefit OHS, which never puts a time limit on how long pets stay available for adoption.

Registration for Doggie Dash is $30 before the event and $35 the day of the event. To register in advance, visit the OHS Website at oregonhumane.org/doggiedash or call (503) 285-7722 ext. 412. The online discounted registration ends at midnight May 7.

When: Saturday May 9, 2015

Time: On-site registration opens at 7:30 am; all runners, plus the first wave of walkers, start at 9:00 am; final group of walkers leaves at 9:45 am.

Place: Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland (SW Naito Parkway and SW Stark)

Cost: $30 online by May 7; $35 the day of the event. Children 10 and under free with  articipating adult.

Contact: oregonhumane.org/doggiedash or call (503) 285-7722 ext. 412

Road Closure: Naito Parkway will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8:30 am to 11:00 am between NW Everett St. and SW Jefferson St.

To read more about pooch-friendly Portland, including where to sit, stay and play, check out the Spring 2015 issue of CityDog Magazine!

Photo: Doggie Dashers along the Eastbank Esplanade, courtesy of Oregon Humane Society.

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Marijuana is a frequently debated subject, with recent votes legalizing recreational marijuana in Alaska and Oregon, and discussions about the growing popularity of cannabis-infused pet products like Canna-Pet and Canna Companion. For almost every human marketplace there is a pet equivalence—including the marijuana market.

As it becomes more of a household topic, many pet owners may be asking, what does this mean for my pet?

With today being April 20 (aka “420”), Trupanion, a company that offers medical insurance for cats and dogs, looked into its database to find how marijuana—intended either for people or for pets—is impacting cats and dogs. In this case, Trupanion found the below:

Cats aren’t particularly interested in marijuana.

Dogs, on the other hand, have rolled in it, ingested it, and are much more likely to grab some special brownies off the counter top.

There are several cases of marijuana toxicity across the country and, not shockingly, the most marijuana claims per capita are in Washington and Colorado (the first states to legalize recreational marijuana), with three times more marijuana toxicity claims compared to the average in other U.S. states.

Trupanion has paid over $78,000 in suspected marijuana toxicity claims.

In 2014 alone, Trupanion paid over $20,000 specifically toward confirmed marijuana toxicity cases.

The average marijuana toxicity claim costs about $525 on average to treat.

Marijuana Pet Myths Busted

Trupanion’s on-staff veterinarian, Dr. Denise Petryk, debunks some common myths about marijuana and pets to shed some light on the subject below:

Do dogs get high? Can my dog get a secondhand high?
Dogs can show symptoms of marijuana toxicity within a few minutes of inhaling smoke or a couple hours after ingesting marijuana. They may experience impaired coordination, excessive urination and even loss of control of urination (incontinence), drooling, vomiting, lethargy, depression, dilated pupils, and light and sound sensitivity and in severe cases they may go into seizures or even a coma.

While some people may enjoy the effects of THC, the psychogenic component of marijuana, pets don’t understand it and its effects can be a confusing and stressful experience.

If pets can be prescribed medical marijuana, can I just give them some of my own stash?
Veterinarians do not recommend that you deliberately give your pet marijuana because the effects of THC on your pet can be harmful or unpredictable. Each strain of marijuana includes different compounds with varied psychogenic and medicinal effects.

Medical marijuana intended for pets can be different than the marijuana intended for people and you should keep your stash away from your pet.

While some anecdotal cases have shown very positive effects of pet-intended medical marijuana in dogs and cats, the reality is, very few studies have proven a beneficial effect for pets and the risks have not been completely investigated. If you are interested in treating your pet with cannabis products, do so under the supervision of a trusted veterinarian in a controlled environment.

Trupanion, a company that offers medical insurance for cats and dogs, will cover medicinal marijuana when specifically recommended by a veterinarian. The company has seen claims for medicinal marijuana primarily alongside cancer treatments.

Can my dog die from eating too much marijuana?
If your pet ingests marijuana, you should take them to the veterinarian for monitoring. While pets typically recover from marijuana intoxication with no long-term effects, complications and an especially potent strain or a large amount of THC can be fatal.

If I know my dog ingested marijuana, should I tell my veterinarian? Will I get in trouble?
Don’t hesitate to tell your veterinarian if your pet has had access to marijuana—the signs of marijuana intoxication among pets can be indications of far more serious conditions (see the effects of marijuana on dogs in the above graphic), so being open can help your veterinarian eliminate more serious conditions and prevent testing needed to rule out other causes.

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We definitely dig what this Utah-based shelter is doing…putting adoptable dogs in a photo booth and the result is…well, magic! Guinnevere Shuster, social media and photography coordinator at The Humane Society of Utah came up with the idea and happily, each dog you see below has been adopted!

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While there are no reported cases of canine influenza in the Seattle area, it continues to spread across the greater Chicago area. According to Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control in Illinois, more than 1,000 dogs have become sick and five have died as a result of canine influenza.

“The recent marked increase in canine respiratory disease in Chicago and the surrounding area is very concerning,” said Dr. Mark Ernst, the state veterinarian for Illinois with the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare.

At BluePearl Veterinary Partners three specialty and emergency hospitals in the greater Chicago area, 40 cases have been seen in the last week.

The disease starts out similar to kennel cough and spreads through interaction with other dogs. However, unlike kennel cough, the symptoms associated with canine influenza or canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) are much more severe.

The symptoms of CIRD include coughing, fever, lethargy and a general lack of appetite.

If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, take him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent your pup from being affected by the outbreak. Even if you don’t think your dog is at risk, please take these precautions until the outbreak of canine influenza comes to an end.

Most importantly, BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommends speaking with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is vaccinated against CIRD to prevent its spread in our region.

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Can I Interest you in a Pup Pop?

Pup Pops™ are refreshing, all-natural, low fat, frozen treats for dogs. They are small and tasty water-based freezer pops that provide an alternative way to rehydrate your dog. Pup Pops are infused with dog-friendly herbs to support health and enhance flavor.

I am looking for support through the dog community to raise funds to start manufacturing “Bowl Lickin’ Chicken and Ginger” as well as “Belly Rubbin’ Berry and Chamomile.”

Click here to support the Pup Pops Kickstarter campaign and get free samples.

Visit the Pup Pops website at coolpuppops.com.

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