Plastic in your seafood

So, just in case you haven’t heard, the ocean is filled with plastic.  According to a publication of the World Economic Forum in January 2016, at least 8 million tons of plastics are leaked into the oceans.  Most of this leakage is a result of plastic packaging.

Each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.

By 2050, it is expected that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

There are videos going viral on social media showing miles and miles of floating plastic islands, beaches on remote islands covered in plastic.  These videos put a face to the danger, and yet we’re still not doing enough to slow it down.

As a child of the 80’s, I grew up in a time of major environmental concern.  As a species, we finally saw what we were doing to our planet and we were committed to making a difference.  Of course, we wanted a better world for ourselves, but our environment and the animals we share this planet with needed immediate action.  I can clearly remember watching Captain Planet every Saturday and I organized a few clean-ups around my neighborhood (and I may or may not have been the only participant in those cleanups…).  Recycle-Reduce-Reuse posters were plastered all around my school and I carefully cut the plastic beverage holders so that no animals would become stuck with one around their body.  This wasn’t enough.

Now, as an adult, I’m paying $44/year for recycling service through my waste service, and in some places like the City of Portage and the City of Kalamazoo offer city-wide, single-stream recycling.

If you aren’t already taking advantage of the recycling services around you, please take a moment to find out what is holding you back.  Single-stream services have made it so easy to do the right thing for the planet, and $12 every 3 months is not a lot to pay for a better future.

Even though you may not live near a visibly polluted body of water, there are plastic fibers, invisible to the naked eye contaminating our rivers and lakes.  And, if you’re eating seafood from the ocean or our Great Lakes, you can bet you’re ingesting plastics.

During a 2013 sample of Lake Michigan, researchers found 19,000 micro-fibers per kilometer when the surface water was strained with mesh netting.  The plastic fibers are coming from fleece items being laundered.  The washing machine water then enters the environment along with these micro-fibers that are too small to be filtered out in water treatment facilities.

Microbeads, like those found in face washes, toothpaste and other home and healthcare products are also causing problems for marine life.  These microbeads have been phased out of health care products with the last production being in July of 2017, but they are still causing problems for our environment.

The World Economic Forum report states that only about 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.  This means that all of us can do a lot better.

Want more info?  Check out these sources.

$20 surgeries for Pit Bull-type dogs!

Kalamazoo Humane Society Receives More Than $30,000 from PetSmart Charities® to fund Fix-A-Pit program

Local pet parents can get their Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes spayed or neutered for $20

KALAMAZOO, MI (February 21, 2017) – Pit bull terriers end up in shelters in large numbers due to myths and misperceptions, which impact public opinions of the breed and reduce the adoption rates of these dogs in local animal shelters.

That’s why the Kalamazoo Humane Society, with funding support from PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, is offering the Fix-A-Pit program. Thanks to a generous grant for more than $30,000 from PetSmart Charities, the Kalamazoo Humane Society will provide a special $20 spay/neuter surgery and free nail trim for pit bull terriers and pit bull terrier mixes throughout 2017.

“Spaying/neutering a pet is the most effective thing a pet parent can do to prevent unwanted litters from being born that will ultimately end up in local shelters,” says Aaron Winters, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Humane Society.

Some pet parents may be hesitant to get their young puppies sterilized. But the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) endorses spaying and neutering puppies as young as eight to 10 weeks old. Research also shows that the procedure may improve the behavior and health of the pet, including reducing the risk of certain reproductive cancers and infections.

“At PetSmart Charities, we are committed to ending pet homelessness,” said Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities.  “By supporting the Kalamazoo Humane Society in their effort to make spay and neuter services more accessible and affordable for all pet parents, we hope to reduce unwanted litters and pet overpopulation and end pet homelessness across the state of Michigan.”

This special $20 rate is even less than the organization’s normal low-cost price and is available to the public.  This program is based on availability.

Thanks to the PetSmart Charities grant, the Kalamazoo Humane Society will provide 350 Fix-A-Pit sterilizations for $20 in 2017. Please visit or call 269-345-1181 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

About the Kalamazoo Humane Society:

Founded in 1897, the Kalamazoo Humane Society is a non-sheltering animal welfare organization that provides pet population control, humane education and emergency response services to pets, pet owners and other animal agencies throughout southwest Michigan.  Find out more at, or follow KHS on Facebook.

About PetSmart Charities:

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets.  Each year nearly 500,000 dogs and cats find homes through our adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and sponsored adoption events.  Each year millions of PetSmart shoppers contribute to PetSmart Charities to help pets in need by making donations on a pin pad at the register.  PetSmart Charities efficiently uses 90 cents of every dollar to support its mission of finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets.  PetSmart Charities grants more money to directly help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America, with a focus on funding adoption and spay/neuter programs that help communities solve pet overpopulation.  PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization, independent from PetSmart, Inc.  PetSmart Charities has received the Four Star Rating for the past 13 years from Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization.

Pets Left in Vehicles Pose Deadly Combination

Kalamazoo Humane Society Educates Owners: Extreme Heat Puts Pets at Risk

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This summer’s high temperatures have sparked an explosion of calls to local law enforcement about animals being left in cars. The Kalamazoo Humane Society warns that leaving a pet alone in a vehicle for any length of time can be deadly.

“It’s not enough to leave the car running or to crack open the windows,” said Aaron Winters, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Humane Society (KHS). “Cracking a window makes no significant difference in the internal temperature of a vehicle. Even leaving the vehicle and its air conditioning running might not be enough to keep a pet safe.”

The temperature inside a car left in the sun on a 70-degree day can reach 104 degrees in half an hour. On a 90-degree day, that temperature can reach 124 degrees that quickly.
Stephen Lawrence, Director of Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement, said KCASE is receiving up to five calls a day this summer. “As the temperatures increase, so do the number of calls we get about dogs being left in hot cars,” he said.

In many of these cases, the vehicles are either no longer there when the officers arrive or the dog is not showing signs of distress. If a dog is in distress, it is removed. According to Lawrence, so far this summer three dog owners face neglect-related charges after leaving their dogs in hot vehicles.

Even leaving a vehicle and its air conditioning running is no guarantee. In late July, 14 dogs left for two hours in a transport vehicle died after its air conditioner failed.

According to Winters, there is no magic temperature that makes it safe to leave pets in vehicles. Heat can rise to deadly temperatures inside a car even when the outside temperature is relatively cool. “The sun shining through the windows works like a greenhouse, raising the temperature substantially,” Winters said. “This can happen at any time of year.”

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety encourages citizens to dial 9-1-1 if they believe a pet in a vehicle is in distress. KPS does not condone or recommend anyone attempt to remove pets from vehicles themselves. Winters added that trying to rescue a pet from a vehicle can leave a would-be rescuer facing an aggressive animal, a runaway animal or an angry owner. “Leaving these situations to trained law enforcement is the best thing to do,” Winters said.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society has vehicle sun shades available for sale to help spread awareness for pets trapped in hot cars. These shields urge concerned citizens to call 9-1-1 if they spot a pet in distress.

Windshield Sun Shades

Windshield Sun Shades $20, available online and in our office. $10 is donated back to the Kalamazoo Humane Society!


  • Every year in the US, dogs die in cars that are running due to mechanical failures
  • A normal body temperature for a dog is 101°-102.5°; heatstroke occurs when body temps are at 108°-109° and higher.
  • A dog can experience heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes in a hot vehicle
  • All dogs are at risk for heatstroke, but certain dogs are considered to be at an even higher risk such as flat-faced dogs like bulldogs and boston terriers, very old dogs, very young dogs, dogs with existing medical conditions and dogs that are extra-active or don’t know when to  quit
  • Signs of heatstroke and respiratory distress include excessive panting and drooling, bright red tongue and/or gums or very pale gums, thick saliva, dizziness, vomiting with or without blood, diarrhea and loss of consciousness
  • Dogs are unable to sweat and release excess body heat through their paw pads and by panting
  • Owners can face charges for neglect, torture or inadequate care for dogs left to suffer in hot cars

More Info:

Conquering the Carrier and Other Feline Veterinary Visit Barriers

We can tell from the support of our community members and the care they show their pets that they do not intend to neglect the health of their pets by not seeking preventative veterinary care. Actually we know that many owners feel that these visits can do more harm than good by placing unnecessary stress on their pet and choose to keep them home for these reasons. In order to keep both you and your pet happy we have compiled a list of suggestions that may aide in decreasing the stress of veterinary visits.

To begin, we suggest finding a veterinarian that is best suited to the needs of you and your cat. There are a wide variety of veterinary services and specialties and finding a veterinarian who fits the specific needs of your cat may help ease some of your pet’s anxiety. Cats who are particularly nervous about interacting with dogs may benefit from a feline only practice where they will not risk the smells and sights of encountering another species. However, if you’d like the ease of being able to take both your cat and dog to the same clinic, many now offer separate waiting and exam rooms for dogs and cats in order to decrease these scents and interactions. Additionally, a handful of area vets have taken additional steps to demonstrate their dedication to improving the quality of feline care by becoming approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. A list of these veterinarians can be found by visiting

Once you have made your appointment you can start laying the groundwork for a successful vet visit.

One of the biggest mistakes we make as cat owners is only bringing out our cat’s carrier when it is time to go to the vet. This may cause our cat to associate and develop a strong aversion to their carrier. In order to make the carrier a positive place for your cat, you can bring it out several weeks before your scheduled visit and allow them to acclimate themselves to the carrier on their terms. Placing a blanket they like or an item of clothing with your scent on it may help to entice your cat to enter the carrier on their own. Another option is to spray these items with a synthetic feline pheromone spray such as Feliway, which can be found in most major pet stores. This pheromone helps produce a calming effect on most cats and may aide in decreasing anxiety associated with the carrier. Additionally, your pet’s favorite toys, treats, or catnip may help entice them into the carrier and help them to feel safe and comfortable while inside the carrier.

Once your pet has learned that they are safe inside their carrier you can start taking them for practice drives in your car to get them used to the routine of leaving the house in their carrier. At first this may only be a trip around the block but as your cat’s comfort level increases, so can your travel time. These trail runs will also help your cat associate riding in the car with positive experiences as well as veterinary visits.

Now that you have successfully carrier and car trained your cat you are finally ready for your veterinary visit. To help acclimate your pet to these new surroundings it is best to leave them inside the carrier while in the waiting room to help limit the stimuli they are receiving. Cats naturally instinct is to run and hide and this could be a very dangerous situation if they are in an unfamiliar location and escape the office. It is best to comfort them through the door of their carrier until you enter the exam room. Once you are in the exam room, per the veterinary staff’s instruction you may remove your cat from it’s carrier and allow them to acclimate to their new environment. In order to ease any anxiety felt by your pet at this time you may bring their favorite treats or brushes if they enjoy being groomed and allow the veterinary staff to meet your pet using these items. This will ensure that your pet is getting positive reinforcement that they will accept throughout this interaction and will increase the likelihood that your veterinary visit will be successful.

These tips may also prove to be useful to owners attempting to make the trip with their pet to our low cost spay and neuter clinic. Pets undergoing surgery should not consume any food, including treats, prior to surgery per the instructions received regarding your pet’s spay or neuter surgery.

If you need help finding a veterinarian in greater Kalamazoo, try the new Resource Directory on our website!

Did Winter catch you unprepared?

With shopping, travel and the holidays having an extended Fall season was great!  No bad hair days on Christmas morning, no white-knuckled drives to Grandma’s house, and no house-full of guests dragging in snowy boots!  All-in-all, this was a fantastic end to a year.

With the New Year came new weather; snow, ice and blustery cold winds.  This weather was inevitable, and if you procrastinated in prepping for another Michigan winter, you’ll want to make sure to catch up quickly!  Here’s our best tips for getting your home ready for whatever this winter has to bring.

Outdoor Pets

We’d love for every pet to be indoors, safe and warm and cozied up by a fire but there are a number of outdoor pets that for whatever reason aren’t brought inside during bad weather.  If you are the owner of an outdoor pet, you need to be aware that you are responsible for providing adequate shelter and provisions to keep your pet healthy during the winter months.

Dogs are required by law to have clean, dry bedding and an area free from feces and debris.  Many dog owners will use old blankets or comforters and change or wash them as they become dirty.  Many others use straw.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s dry and can be replaced as needed.  When snow melts and the area around your dog house gets muddy, your dog will be bringing all that dampness and dirt into his shelter.  Keep up on removing any feces build-up, and keep food and water dishes away from areas where your dog will be going to the bathroom.

If you haven’t already done it, take the time to check out the structure of your dog house, rabbit hutch, or other outdoor structure.  Does it leak?  Can you see daylight from the inside?  Does the roof need patching?  Your pet will be spending a significant amount of time inside whatever you have provided, and it needs to be in a state of good repair.  Write out a list of repairs or updates that need to be made and head over to your local hardware store.  Discounted building supplies can often be found at Habitat for Humanity Re-store’s, or even online using Craigslist.

Having a structure isn’t enough.  You’ll need to make sure your dog house, hutch or shelter is well protected from the wind, snow and cold.  Placing your shelter alongside an existing building that can protect it from some of the elements is helpful, but you might also consider using tarps, plastic sheeting,  or wood panels to further block out the wind and snow.

Elevating your shelter is also an effective way to keep out dirt and debris, and hold in heat.  If you can get your shelter on a palette or other platform and insulate beneath the shelter, you reduce heat loss and moisture from seeping in.

Peeling paint and faded stains on wood surfaces will speed up the decay of your structure.  This is going to be a Spring or indoor project, but make sure you get to it as soon as possible to avoid health hazards to your pet and to extend the life of your shelter.

Your pet can also be bulked up to help withstand winter conditions!  Just like humans, animals are made up of mostly water.  Making sure your pets nutrition is ideal for building a healthy later of fat and a hair coat that is in good condition will help to retain body heat.  Check with your veterinarian about a proper winter diet.  Pets will burn an increased number of calories to produce heat and stay warm.  You’ll need to make sure the diet your pet is on has enough calories to maintain a healthy body mass.

Even if your shelter is in great shape and your pet is beefy and fluffy, there will be days that are just too cold and dangerous for any domesticated animal to remain outside.  In these cases, it’s best to bring your pet inside.  If for any reason you cannot bring the pet into the living spaces of your home, try to allow access to the basement, a laundry room, or the garage.  There are some pets that cannot withstand a typical Michigan winter, even with a good shelter due to age, health or breed related reasons.

Use your best judgement or the opinion of your veterinarian to determine if your pet can be kept comfortably outdoors.  If you’re looking to get a new pet and you have no plans to bring it inside, look closely at your reasons for wanting a pet before adding an animal to that lifestyle.  At all times, your decisions need to be made in the best interest of the people and pets in your care. If you need to make sacrifices to your pet in order to keep the people in your home healthy and safe, you may want to consider re-homing your pet where it can receive a higher standard of care.

In the event of severe weather, power outages or evacuations, make sure to have enough pet food on hand to last a week, including water for your pet.  You may also want to keep an emergency kit handy that includes supplies for first aid, enough transport carriers for your pets and dry bedding.

One year ago, on Friday, January 9th, 2015, a 193-vehicle crash on I-94 created a hazmat situation that resulted in a police-mandated evacuation of residents in a 3-mile radius of the accident.  If you were asked to evacuate your home right now, would you be prepared?  Having a “Go-Kit” prepared and a plan of where to go could mean the difference between life and death for your outdoor pet(s).

It is not illegal to have outdoor pets.  If you’re seeing an outdoor dog that appears to be without essential shelter, food, or water, contact your local animal services department right away and have them check it out.  They will be able to bring the owner up to compliance and offer tips to improve the living conditions of the dog or outdoor pet.  Animal welfare professionals cannot remove an animal without cause.  If an outdoor pet is in a state of good health and has the minimum required provisions, they will not be able to legally remove the pet or charge the owner with neglect.

If an animal is not moving and does not seem alert, call your local animal authorities right away.  Outdoor dogs, cats and rabbits do not hibernate.  Aside from sleeping and napping, they should be alert and active throughout the winter months.

Straw can be found at retail stores, farm and garden centers, and local farms.  If you need help finding straw, here is a list of places you can try:

Brown Hay & Grain (269) 628-4426
26366 M-40 Gobles 49055
Standard Bale $5.00

Family Farm & Home (269) 927-1983
1391 Cinema Way Benton Harbor 49022
Standard Bale $5.75

Family Farm & Home (269) 278-2222
1326 W Broadway Three Rivers 49093
Standard Bale $5.99

Family Farm & Home (269) 686-9309
1596 Lincoln Road Allegan 49010
Standard Bale $7.00

Farm N Garden, Inc (269) 381-0596
1003 Staples Ave Kalamazoo 49007
Standard Bale $6.95

Kalamazoo Landscape (269) 375-8000
5111 S 9th St Kalamazoo 49009
Standard Bale $5.50

Mulder Landscape (269) 345-6900
3333 Ravine Rd Kalamazoo 49006
Standard Bale $6.00

Oak Ridge Feed (269) 353-3332
7035 Stadium Dr Kalamazoo 49009
Standard Bale $6.00

Prudential Nursey (269) 649-1610
13038 S 24th St Schoolcraft 49087
Standard Bale $5.00

Romence Gardens (269) 323-8310
9660 Shaver Rd Portage 49024
Standard Bale $5.99

Southwestern MI Feed (269) 674-3720
231 S Paw Paw St Lawrence 49064
Standard Bale $5.50

The Feed Bag (269) 629-9586
8532 N 32nd St Richland 49083
Standard Bale $5.25

Tractor Supply (269) 381-0904
6285 Gull Rd Kalamazoo 49048
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 323-3199
8610 Shaver Rd Portage 49024
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 685-1001
1221 M-89 Plainwell 49080
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 979-8372
6360 B Dr North Battle Creek 49014
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 657-2107
1000 S. Kalamazoo Ave Paw Paw 49079
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 279-5296
301 US 131 Three Rivers 49093
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Wedels (269) 345-1195
5020 Texas Dr Kalamazoo 49009
Standard Bale $6.99

As always, the Kalamazoo Humane Society is happy to provide shelter and straw to pets in need.  Straw can be picked up free of charge for those that can’t afford to purchase it at our office at 4239 S. Westnedge Ave during our regular open hours.  We can also work with owners to get a dog house.  If you know of an owner struggling with food, straw or shelter for a pet, please have them call us at 269-345-1181 or visit us on Westnedge.

Aaron Winters talks “Holiday Pet Hazards” on WKZO this morning

WKZO LogoPet hazards are a real danger at any time of year, but keeping an eye on Fluffy and Fido during the holiday season, and knowing what to keep an eye out for can be daunting to any pet owner.  Don’t sacrifice the safety of your pet for seasonal decorations.  Is your house pet-friendly this season?  Find out!

August Operation Fix-It Schedule Open; Pits Get Discount!

slider_pyp15 Pit bull terriers end up in shelters in large numbers due to myths and misconceptions , which impact public opinions of the breed and reduces the adoption rates of these dogs in local animal shelters.

That’s why the Kalamazoo Humane Society, with funding support from PetSmart Charities, the largest funder of animal welfare efforts in North America, is participating in the “Primp Your Pit ” spay/neuter campaign. Through the “Primp Your Pit” campaign, KHS will provide a special $20 spay/neuter surgery and free nail trim for pit bull terriers and pit bull terrier mixes during the month of August.

Some pet parents may be hesitant to get their young puppies and kittens sterilized, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) endorses spaying and neutering puppies as young as eight to 10 weeks old. Research also shows that the procedure may improve the behavior and health of the pet, including reducing the risk of certain reproductive cancers and infections.

This special $20 rate is even less than the organization’s normal low-cost $80 price and is available to anyone. Pet parents who wish to take advantage of this offer must mention the “Primp Your Pit” campaign when they call to schedule their appointment. The campaign is based on availability.

Thanks to the PetSmart Charities grant, KHS will provide 300 “Primp Your Pit” sterilizations for $20 in August.  To schedule an appointment, please download and complete the PYP Dog Registration Form and call or stop in with your payment.  All appointments are first-come-first-serve after your payment and registration form have been completed.

Petsmart Charities Logo 400x200PetSmart Charities’ “Primp Your Pit” campaign provides more than $328,764 to spay/neuter clinics to fund affordable, high-quality spay and neuter surgeries for more than 5,721 pit bull terrier-type dogs across the nation during the month of August.

  • For all other dogs needing to be scheduled, please fill out our regular Dog Registration Form and turn that in with your payment of $80.00.
  • Cats that need to be scheduled can call our office at 269-345-1181.
  • Feral cats are welcome without an appointment Monday-Wednesday for $40.00 from 9-10am, or Thursdays from 7:30-8am.  Feral cats must be brought in a live-trap and includes a 1 yr Rabies vaccine and ear-tip.  Socialized/friendly cats not permitted in the feral cat program and must be scheduled.

For a complete list of rates and services offered by Operation Fix-It, please go to our regular website at:

Shaving Your Dog in the Summer is Not Cool

Red ChowOwners of double-coated dogs (dogs with both a topcoat and an undercoat) don’t need to do anything drastic like shave your dog in the summer.  In fact, shaving your double-coated dog can have unintended negative consequences and lead to an even worse response to the warm weather.

(For a complete list of double-coated dogs, click here)

Top Coats:
The topcoat of a dog is the coat you see when you’re looking at the dog, and it gives the dog its unique and breed-specific look.  The topcoat hairs are the longest, and grow out and over any shorter undercoat hairs.  The top coat is course, glossy and straight.  Most of the color of your dog’s fur is in the top coat hairs.  These hairs protect your dog’s skin from water, UV rays, and insects among any number of other environmental debris.

Under Coats:
The undercoat is shorter, softer and may be a different color from the rest of your dog’s fur.  There are a lot more strands of undercoat than there are of topcoat.  This layer of fluffier fur serves as a natural heating and cooling system for your dog by maintaining a layer of air between your dog’s skin and the top coat.  This layer of air is what helps regulate your pet’s body temperature in cold and hot weather.  The undercoat “blows out” or sheds and regenerates several times a year, and especially during seasonal changes.  This layer may start sticking out in patches from underneath the top coat when it’s ready to blow out, and can be managed by using an appropriate dog brush to remove these soft, fine hairs.

Brushing Mountain DogWhen you shave your dog, you’re removing it’s natural defense against the heat.  You’re taking away the insulator of it’s fur and removing the layer of air that keeps your dog’s skin cooler.  You’re also exposing your pet’s skin to UV rays which can lead to severe sunburns.  Dog skin has significantly less layers than humans, which can result in more severe burning when exposed to the sun’s rays.  You’re also giving ‘skeeters, ticks and other insects direct access to your dog’s skin.  In short (no pun intended), leave the fur alone.

It’s easy to think that by shaving your dog he’ll be cooler in the summer, because after all, aren’t you cooler when you’re wearing “summer clothes”?  The problem here is that people get sweaty; dog’s don’t.  Humans release heat and control body temperature through their skin by sweating, but dogs rely on panting, the pads of their paws, and their fur to control their body temperatures.  Shaving your dog can actually speed up the over-heating process which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

Great PyreneesIt’s also not true that shaving a dog will reduce shedding.  Excessive shedding is a result of nutritional deficiencies, improper or irregular grooming, stress or another medical problem; it has nothing to do with the dog’s hair.  A shaved dog will shed just as much as an unshaved dog, with the only difference being the length of the dog hair.  It’s important to choose a breed that will fit into your lifestyle.  Choosing a double-coated breed may not be a good match for an owner with minimal time or patience for cleaning up and grooming needs.

Allergies to your dog is also not a valid reason to shave it.  If you’re allergies are a result of the dander, which are the microscopic skin flakes shed by your dog, shaving off the fur is allowing those allergens to escape the fur layer and increase your allergy.  If you have, or develop, allergies to your dog, you will find more ease in properly grooming and maintaining your dog’s skin and coat.

Shaving is different than a “summer cut”.  Giving trims here and there is acceptable as long as you aren’t actually using clippers to get down to remove undercoat.  Regular brushing will help keep your dog’s coat in optimal condition and reduce the loose hairs.  How much brushing needed depends on the breed and your dog.  Shaving your double-coated dog will do more harm than good.

Related Articles and Information:


Leptospirosis (LEP-toe-sp-ROW-sis) is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of infected animals.  Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be passed from animals to humans.  With Spring finally here, Leptospirosis is once again a concern as more people will be out with their pets, especially dogs.

From the CDC:

The bacteria that cause Leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Humans and animals can become infected through contact with this contaminated urine (or other body fluids, except saliva), water, or soil. The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection. Infected wild and domestic animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment continuously or every once in a while for a few months up to several years.

Making sure your pets are currently vaccinated is a big step in preventing this disease.  Vaccinations are not 100% effective due to the different strains of the bacteria that is circulating but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  Lepto is not always included in annual vaccines.  Please check with your vet to see if your dog is currently vaccinated.


Animals that carry Leptospirosis include rats, mice, moles, dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, raccoons, opossums, skunks and much less frequently, cats.  A large number of mammals carry the bacteria.  Leptospirosis affects many internal organs, however the prime targets are the liver and kidneys.  Without diagnosis and treatment, Leptospirosis can result in death.  The incubation period is 4-12 days from exposure and symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy/Depression
  • Fever
  • Kidney Failure
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Refusal to eat
  • Stiffness
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Inability to have puppies

According to the CDC, younger animals are more seriously affected than older animals.

From, managed by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., a recently published retrospective study showed that just over 18% of dogs admitted to a university with renal pathology had undiagnosed Leptospirosis. If the disease is not treated, some dogs become very ill and can even die. Lepto kills up to 1 in 5 clinically infected dogs. Even if the dog recovers, long-term consequences can include reduced kidney or liver function.


Before you hit the lakes and trails with your dog, do yourself a favor and make sure your dog is up to date on important annual vaccines, including Leptospirosis.

For more information about Leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian, or these websites:


KHS Blog Authors

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