Pet Summer Safety

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Keep Your Pets Safe and Healthy This Summer

Summer is here! That means backyard BBQ’s, spending time on the water, 4th of July and many other outdoor recreation activities. But that also means summer dangers for pets.

You wouldn’t want an unexpected injury or illness of your pet to spoil summer fun, so check out these summertime hazards:


Summer Travel
Most people would agree that leaving your pet in the car on a 90 degree day would be bad for your pet. Cars can heat up fast, even with the windows cracked. But it’s those spring days that may be perfect to you, that can be deadly to pets left in the car. You should also make sure you have contact information for veterinarian offices in the area you are traveling to.

Heat Stroke
If you leave your pet outside during the day, make sure they have shade and fresh water. Also, if they are tied up, make sure there is nothing they can get their rope stuck on that prevents them from getting to shade and water.

shutterstock_111485450Water Safety
Not all dogs are good swimmers. If by chance your dog falls in the water or is hurt in the process, a life preserver can save their life. If your pet has any health problems or the water is cold and choppy, it can make the situation even worse. Don’t allow your pet to drink pool water, since the chemicals can cause an upset stomach and make sure you rinse your pet to get the chlorine and salt off their fur.

A New Doo
Giving your pet a short haircut in the summer can help them from overheating. But don’t cut it too short to the skin so they still have some protection from the hot sun. If you are using sunscreen or insect repellent, make sure it is approved for use on your pet.

BBQ’s & Parties
Food and drink may be the most common threat to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as alcohol has the potential to poison them. Many food items can also be toxic to pets. While you shouldn’t feed your pet any “people food”, keep an extra lookout for these items: grapes, onions, garlic, raisins, rhubarb, gum, nuts and chocolate.


4th of July
Who doesn’t love watching fireworks on the 4th of July? Well, Fido may be one of them. Keep pets away from all fireworks to prevent burns or even catching their hair on fire. Even if they aren’t lit, fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium nitrate, arsenic and heavy metals. The noise can also be something your pet doesn’t like, so make sure there is a safe place your pet can go that is sheltered and escape-proof.

Antifreeze is a year-round hazard to pets. That bright green liquid is sweet tasting to pets and can be very toxic even in small amounts.

While it may be tempting to involve your pets with the summer activities and festivities, some foods, products and activities can be very hazardous to your pets. If you suspect any problem from these summer activities, take your pet to the vet immediately.

{Published in v1i1 of fetch! Sioux Falls Pet Magazine, June/July 2010}

Including Your Dog in Your Wedding

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Pets are becoming more and more part of the family, so including your dog in your wedding makes sense!

Lucky Pup Adventures is a full-service pet sitter who not only does dog walking and pet sitting, but also provides pet attendant services for your wedding.

How do we involve the pets/dogs in the rehearsal, and who will take them home during the dinner?

Dogs do best when they know what is expected of them, and when they feel comfortable with their surroundings.  We highly recommend your dog attend your rehearsal so they, and you, can practice their role during the wedding.  I was at a wedding once where the flower girl refused to go down the aisle, because, through her tears, she revealed “You didn’t tell me all these people were going to be here!!”  It is best to be prepared!  You don’t want to find out your pup doesn’t want to sit nicely at your side for the entire wedding service when they start to wander during your vows.

We can assist you in planning their role, practice their role, then test it out at the rehearsal.  They will become more comfortable, and, if something isn’t working there is still time to adjust the plan.

We are available to provide transportation for your pup before, during, and after the rehearsal or any event you would like your pet at.

Who will care for our dog(s) while we are getting ready for the wedding? Who will get them into their wedding attire and clean up after them?

We highly recommend your pup(s) be bathed or fully groomed before your wedding.  A bath will remove the dirt, add shine, and a professional dryer will fluff their coat nicely. We are available to take your pup to the groomer if needed.  We also can get your pup brushed, fluffed, dressed in pet-appropriate duds, and looking their absolute best on the big day.  We will ensure they are hydrated with a potty break before the service.  We always bring plenty of clean up supplies and will dispose of it property.

We can take your pup for a morning walk or run, and help them stick to their daily schedule. Often, change can effect a pup’s standard of behavior, and you want a calm, happy pup.  We recommend having Lucky Pup establish a repoire by walking or running your pup before the actual day.


Photo by Greg & LaRae Photography

Who will bring them to take photos with us, but occupy them while the rest of the wedding party is taking photos?

Our services are designed for you to enjoy the presence of your pup and we will take care of the rest!  We can provide transportation for your pup(s), getting them to their portion of the photography session on time and entertaining them during the rest.

Do you have any tips for taking photos with your dog or do you work closely with the photographer?

We will work with you and your photographer to have them at the right place at the right time.  A photographer only has so many hands, so we assist them to focus the dog with squeaky balls, treats or attention.  It allows the photographer to do what they do best (capturing your day!).  Most pups like to be active, and long periods of stillness can be hard for them.  Playing tug, tossing the ball or doing tricks during short breaks can help keep them focused and attentive with a smile on their face.

Who will care for them and make sure they aren’t bored (or getting into the cake) during the reception?

I think we all have an Aunt, cousin or friend who loves to, shall we say, overindulge, your pup.  If you would like your pup to be at your reception, we will attend to them and keep them away from any off-limits food or alcohol.  We will also ensure they are allowed to relieve themselves out of sight and clean up appropriately.  No one wants a pup to do their business next to the dance floor or in the background of your family photos.


Photo courtesy of

If we are staying at a hotel for the night, who will be checking in on them and feed/potty break them?

We offer a combination discount for our wedding attendant clients who also choose Lucky Pup Adventures to care for their pets while they are staying at a hotel or are away on their honeymoon.  Our services are tailored to your needs.  We can take your pup to your or a friend’s home after a long day of excitement.  We are available to provide in-your-home evening and morning care, as well.

What should pet parents consider before including their pet in their wedding?

They should honestly assess their pup’s personality and plan their role accordingly.  If your pup doesn’t like large crowds they might not like walking down the aisle.  Do they have the attention span or patience to stay with you at the front?  If not, perhaps they walk down the aisle, we quietly attend to them off to the side until you are ready to walk back up the aisle.  You want their role to be comfortable and easy so you can focus on getting married!  We can help assess and plan an appropriate role for your pup that honors your and your pup’s relationship.

What other considerations should pet parents plan for?

Make sure your rehearsal, wedding, and reception locations allow dogs; as well as know and follow any rules or regulations. Check with your officiant, photographer, and wedding party to ensure they are OK with and prepared for your pup’s involvement. Don’t leave these items to the last minute!  Also, make and distribute a timetable or plan for the day (who goes where, when).  The fewer surprises, the better when it comes to your wedding.


Photo courtesy of

After the wedding, do you stay with the pet and socialize them with the guests?

If the reception or wedding venue allows for it; yes!  Many pups love greeting guests as much as, if not more than, their parents.  We will have met your pup at least once, if not more, before your wedding day and will learn their likes and dislikes.  If they aren’t particularly fond of children, walking canes, or any other particulars, we will monitor and minimize such interactions.  Our mission is to make pups and their humans happy, and we will do whatever we can to achieve that.

How far in advance does the bride and groom need to make arrangements for your services?

Just like everything else you would arrange for your wedding, the sooner arrangements are made the better.  We require all Lucky Pup clients to attend a one-time, complimentary meet-and-greet session with them and their pet/s to learn about and become friendly with the pet/s.  It can be helpful to have us take them on a walk or two alone so everyone becomes more comfortable together.  We also require a deposit when one reserves the date/s of service, and payment before the end of our services.


Photo courtesy of WeddingWire

Do you do destination weddings?

Love knows no bounds, so we provide complimentary travel within 20 miles of central Sioux Falls.  After the first 20 miles, we add a traveling fee for each additional 20 miles.  We are always looking for new adventures, though, so please contact us for any unique requests!

What service can you provide while the bride and groom are on their honeymoon?

We offer a combination discount for our wedding attendant clients who also choose Lucky Pup Adventures to care for their pets while they are staying at a hotel or are away on their honeymoon.  Our services can be anything from full in-your-home pet care, a daily walk/run, or an exciting Outdoor Adventure.

Do you provide any extras for your clients?

Yes, we provide several!  Treats are always provided and used as a positive behavior reinforcement tool. (Waste disposal and supplies are also always provided.)  We also love to have “action” photos of our pets, so we will text or email you photos of your pet throughout our stay or adventures.  Lastly, we leave a little “thank you” for you and your pet on the last day of service.

Why should we hire Lucky Pup Adventures?

Our Lucky Pup mission is to enhance the lives of pets and their humans.  We achieve this through proper mental & physical exercise, along with loving and compassionate care.

We help add activity and variety to a pet’s life to increase their mental & physical health, happiness, socialization, & contentment.  When your pet is content, your home is also content.

Austin is a certified dog trainer teaching classes in Sioux Falls, and Morgan also loves training and educating all pups and their humans.  Together they are Lucky Pup Adventures.  They have a passion for pets and want to enhance the human-pet relationship.

Submitted by Lucky Pup Adventures


Dog Park Etiquette

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If you’ve been to the dog park and have etiquette concerns regarding your own dog or someone else’s dog, make sure you read Pause & Paws next article in our Summer Edition of fetch! Sioux Falls Pet Magazine.

“We used to live out of town and had never been to a dog park. But now that we live in town, I want to be able to start taking my dog Lucy. There’s only one problem, Lucy is not aggressive, but it seems she always gets into fights at the dog park. The other dogs seem to pick on her. Help.” – Margaret (Sioux Falls, SD)

Margaret, it sounds like your dog may simply need some socializing and some leadership from you. Knowing proper dog park etiquette and how dog fights start will give you and Lucy a good foundation on which to start. Feel free to email me for more information.

Taking your dog to the dog park is very important for socialization and exercise. Even though the dog park is a great place for exercise, it should never be a substitute for the walk. Actually, you should take your dog for a walk before going to the dog park to drain some energy.

There are a few very important things dog owners must know to prevent any behavioral issues while visiting a dog park. Being accountable for your dog’s behavior and knowing dog park etiquette are part of being a responsible dog owner. If your dog is not aggressive, yet is too excited or too timid, they will attract the attention of other dogs which can lead to a dog fight. Other balanced dogs are going to see the excited or timid dog as unbalanced and try to correct this dog’s behavior.

Believe it or not, the majority of the time when dog fights start, it is not only the aggressor dog that is to blame but it is also the other dogs involved that are to blame. If your dog is not aggressive, yet is too excited or too timid, they will attract other dogs. This can mean you are as responsible for the fight as the other dog owner(s).

See COMMON DOG PARK ETIQUETTE EVERY RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER SHOULD KNOW in the Summer Edition of fetch! Sioux Falls Pet Magazine on stands this week!

I realize there are some exceptions to this as some people teach their dogs to be aggressive and are simply not responsible enough to make sure their dog is balanced before entering the dog park. A good rule of thumb is that if a dog owner is not disciplining their dog or paying attention to his behavior you may want to consider leaving and coming back at a later time.

Also, try to find other responsible dog owners with which to hang around. Irresponsible dog owners should not be allowed to ruin everyone else’s playtime. Feel free to contact Animal Control if anything gets out of hand at the dog park.

Good luck Margaret! Thanks for your question. Readers, if you have a dog behavior related question, please feel free to email I will use some readers’ questions in upcoming articles of “Pause & Paws” in fetch! Sioux Falls Pet Magazine.

Pause & Paws is fetch!’s contributing writer for dog behavior and training tips.