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How is Fur Still a Thing?

No Fur sign     By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

According to reporters covering Fashion Week in New York City, fur is making a comeback. From full-length fur coats to brightly dyed fur trims, the terms “fun,” “playful,” and “fresh” were used to describe these new designs.

I thought we were enlightened about not wearing fur. For the past 20 years, fur coats fell out of favor thanks to public relations campaigns highlighting the cruelty associated with the fur trade. Now, fur is back on the runways because fur industry manufacturers gave designers pelts at greatly reduced prices so that they could experiment.

Pair that with celebrities such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez who flaunt their fur coats. They are well-educated women who, I believe, understand the cruelty behind the fur trade. Wearing fur and knowing the viciousness tells me that they are uncaring and selfish.

I know the readers of Pet News and Views would not wear fur. You understand the sorrow that is associated with the fur trade. What I don’t understand is why is fur still a thing? Let’s be fashion forward and make our own statement by not wearing fur. Let’s Tweet #I’mFurFree.

The Humane Society of the United States has a list of fur-free retailers, designers, and brands. Please share it with your family and friends. And don’t forget to Tweet #I’mFurFree.

 

 

Charitable Deductions for Animal Rescue Volunteers

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By Julian Block for Pet News and Views

Millions of individuals volunteer to help raise funds or perform other tasks on behalf of charitable organizations. When the annual reckoning with the IRS rolls around, the reward for their willingness to help out can take the form of write-offs for unreimbursed expenses incurred while they do volunteer work.

But what’s in store at tax time for animal rescue volunteers who work on behalf of organizations like the Humane Society of the U.S. and the ASPCA? Are they also entitled to claim charitable deductions for their unreimbursed expenses?

The IRS says such outlays are nondeductible personal expenditures, unless the rescuers establish that they incur the expenses to further the efforts of charitable organizations—for instance, foster care for stray animals.  Continue reading Charitable Deductions for Animal Rescue Volunteers

Wildlife Protection Legislation Hits and Misses for 2014

 

 

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Our friends at Born Free USA shares its list of successes from 2014, and what still needs to be done in 2015.

1) Federal Bill: Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 2856/S. 1463)

Purpose: To prohibit the interstate commerce in nonhuman primates for the exotic pet trade.

History: In 2003, the Captive Wildlife Safety Act was signed into law to prohibit interstate commerce in lions, tigers, and other big cats as pets. Because primates face similar inhumane treatment and pose similar threats to public health and safety, advocates seek to add them to the list of species prohibited in commercial trade.

Progress in 2014: Born Free USA, along with partners, worked to attract more attention to this bill. The list of cosponsors soared to more than 150, and members of Congress spoke out in passionate support of the bill at a press conference highlighting Charla Nash: a woman who was severely injured in an attack by her neighbor’s pet chimpanzee, and who lent her voice to highlight the importance of this measure.

Outcome: While the bill had strong bipartisan support and passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, it was ultimately overlooked due to other Congressional priorities. Born Free USA will capitalize on the favor it accrued to start strong in the next Congress.

2) Federal Bill: Humane Care for Primates Act (H.R. 3556)

Purpose: To change CDC regulations to allow sanctuaries to import primates into the country for the purpose of providing humane lifetime care.

History: Current CDC regulations allow the importation of primates for “bona fide scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes,” which excludes sanctuaries and prevents needy primates overseas from being rescued by U.S. organizations, such as the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.

Progress in 2014: After securing introduction of the bill in 2013 with Rep. Ellmers (R-NC) as a sponsor, Born Free USA worked to raise awareness and build support for the bill in Congress. With more than 40 cosponsors, this bill was well-received.

Outcome: While it did not pass, the awareness raised ensures that the bill is well-poised to be reintroduced in the House in 2015, and to find a Senate champion.

3) West Virginia Bill (S.B. 428/H.B. 4393)

Purpose: To prohibit private ownership of exotic species, with that list to be defined by the Department of Natural Resources.

History: West Virginia was one of only six states left lacking restriction or oversight for the private possession of exotic animals. This historic bill was initiated by Born Free USA in 2012, though it failed to pass that year.

2014 SUCCESS: This bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by the governor.

Trapping:

Born Free USA is addressing this cruel, unregulated industry. Tens of thousands of targeted and non-targeted animals are caught in traps that leave them injured, maimed, or dead. To prevent further harm, Born Free USA worked on the following bills:

1) Federal Bill: Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 3513)

Purpose: To ban trapping in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The bill aims to restore the original intent of the National Wildlife Refuge System to create havens for wildlife that are safe and free from unnatural intrusion. The bill would also protect people and companion animals incidentally caught by brutal traps.

History: Born Free USA played a key role in drafting the bill when it was originally introduced in the 2009/2010 Congress.

Progress in 2014: Born Free USA lobbied to gain support for this bill in the House, and engaged our Members in a grassroots effort to emphasize the need for this ban.

Outcome: This bill failed to gain traction in the 2013-2014 Congress. However, Born Free USA will continue its efforts to educate members of Congress about trapping.

2) Illinois Bill (S.B. 3049)

Purpose: To add the gray wolf, American black bear, and cougar to the list of protected species under the Illinois Wildlife Act.

History: Under Illinois law, it is unlawful for any person at any time to take, possess, sell, offer for sale, propagate, or release into the wild any “protected species,” with exemptions for scientific, educational, or zoological institutions. The gray wolf, American black bear, and cougar populations are in need of these protections afforded to the other threatened species protected under the Illinois Wildlife Act.

2014 SUCCESS: Born Free USA lobbied in support of this bill through grassroots outreach and by submitting testimony to the legislature. The legislature recognized the importance of these wildlife protections, passed the bill, and the governor signed it into law.

3) Virginia Bill (S.B. 42)

Purpose: To prohibit the construction of new fox penning enclosures, although current fox pens may continue to operate until 2054.

History: There has been an ongoing battle to ban fox penning, a cruel “sport” in which organizers force dozens of dogs to compete in a fenced-in area to chase—and sometimes rip apart—foxes and coyotes. The wild animals are caught in leghold traps that cause anguish through broken bones or other wounds, and are transported in cages to the pen. With dogs tearing apart the captive animals, there is a constant demand for fresh wildlife for the fox pens.

2014 SUCCESS: Born Free USA worked closely with a coalition of groups to usher this bill through the legislature, where it ultimately passed and was then signed by the governor. While it is not an outright ban, it is a positive step in a state in which the practice is so entrenched.

Wildlife trade:

Illegal wildlife trade is ranked among the top five global crimes in terms of profitability. The trade in bear gallbladders, sport-hunted wildlife trophies, and other animals—including threatened and endangered species—could drive some populations or species to the brink of extinction. In particular, Born Free USA’s two groundbreaking reports, Ivory’s Curse and Out of Africa, revealed the insidious links between terrorist networks and the ivory trade. To address this crisis, Born Free USA worked on the following bills:

1) Federal Bill: Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants in their Range (TUSKER) Act (H.R. 5454)

Purpose: To require certain nations to work with the U.S. on anti-poaching efforts, or face sanctions if they fail to cooperate.

History: As Born Free USA’s Ivory’s Curse report revealed, African nations must play a significant role in cracking down on corruption within governments and poaching within their boundaries. This bill is designed to incentivize African nations to make the poaching crisis a priority.

Progress in 2014: Born Free USA assisted sponsor Rep. DeFazio (D-OR) with crafting the language of the bill. It contributed to the ongoing discussion in Congress about how to best tackle the poaching crisis, and demonstrated that the U.S. is serious about finding a solution.

Outcome: This bill did not make any progress in 2014, but Born Free USA will continue to promote it, as well as other Congressional efforts to end the ivory trade, in 2015.

2) Federal Bill: Rare Cats and Canids Act (H.R. 5836)

Purpose: To provide a source of funding for projects to enhance conservation of international felids and canids.

History: This bill was previously introduced in 2007 and 2009, and it passed the House of Representatives both times. Wild cats and dogs desperately need these conservation efforts. Of the 37 wild felid species worldwide, all but three are currently recognized as species in need of protection. Of the 36 wild canid species worldwide, 20 are recognized as being in need of protection.

Progress in 2014: Born Free USA worked with sponsor Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ) to update the language, find original cosponsors, and recruit the support of other groups before it was introduced.

Outcome: This bill was introduced too late in the session to make progress, but will be reintroduced in 2015.

3) Massachusetts Bill: Shark Fin Ban (H.B. 4088)

Purpose: To prohibit the possession and sale of shark fins, with exemptions for certain species and purposes.

History: Shark finning is a cruel practice in which people cut the fins off of live sharks and return their bodies to the water, where the sharks inevitably die. Similar laws exist in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

2014 SUCCESS: Born Free USA worked closely with a coalition to usher this bill through the legislature, where it ultimately passed and was signed by the governor. While it is not an outright ban, it is a positive step in a state with a large fishing industry.

4) New York Bill: Restrict the Sale of Ivory and Rhino Horn (A. 10143/S. 7890)

Purpose: To prohibit the sale, purchase, trade, barter, and distribution of ivory and rhino horn articles, but with certain exemptions.

History: New York had a much weaker law regulating the sale of ivory, but it was not sufficient to ensure that no illegal ivory was sold in the state. As the elephant and rhino poaching crisis grows, New York was one of the first states to recognize the need to crack down on the trafficking of these products.

2014 SUCCESS: Born Free USA worked with partners to provide grassroots support of the bill. The legislature recognized the urgency of this matter and passed the bill, allowing the governor to sign it into law.

5) New Jersey Bill: Ban the Sale of Ivory and Rhino Horn (S. 2012/A. 3128)

Purpose: To prohibit the sale, purchase, or barter of ivory or rhino horn.

History: This bill passed the first year it was introduced, establishing New Jersey as the state with the strongest prohibition on ivory and rhino horn.

2014 SUCCESS: Born Free USA worked closely with partners to secure this bill’s passage, including testifying before a committee, engaging with media, and providing grassroots support. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by the governor.

Click here to find out more about these bills, and how to take action.

 

Reduce demand for ivory

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By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

This is important news from WildAid that I want to share with you:

WildAid is calling on the public to do its part to end the ivory poaching crisis by taking the Ivory Free pledge at ivoryfree.org. The new campaign asks consumers to pledge to never buy, own or accept ivory as gifts, and to support stronger government bans and actions to tackle the illegal ivory trade.

Ivory Free is a partnership between WildAid, Animal Planet, African Wildlife Foundation and Save The Elephants, and has been launched in conjunction with the premiere of “Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming” – a new program that follows WildAid ambassador and former NBA star Yao Ming on a journey to Africa to see its natural beauty and witness the devastating elephant and rhino poaching crises.

“We all share this planet with each other and with these majestic animals. We all have a responsibility to do something to save Africa’s elephants. We all have to do our part. I’m doing mine, and you can do yours by going to ivoryfree.org and taking the pledge,” says WildAid Ambassador Yao Ming.

“This is a global problem that requires global solutions, from both individuals and governments. That’s why we’re asking people to take the pledge at ivoryfree.org to never buy or accept ivory, and to encourage their governments to enact stronger domestic bans on the ivory trade,” says WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights.

“Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming” premieres on Animal Planet in the U.S. tonight at 10 PM/9 Central and in the U.K. on November 21 at 9 PM. Throughout the broadcasts, viewers will be prompted to take action by visiting ivoryfree.org. Those who take the pledge prior to the November 18 U.S. broadcast will have the option of having their names appear on screen during the broadcast. The program was co-produced by WildAid, Natural History New Zealand, and Animal Planet. The film features the work of WildAid, Save the Elephants, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Daphne Sheldrick and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Dr. Will Fowlds, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, African Wildlife Foundation, Tusk Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, and South African National Parks.

Healthy Halloween treats for your cats and dogs

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by Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

We all enjoy a treat every now and then. Our pets do too. The trick (this Halloween and always) is not to overdo it, and to give your pets healthy options. Avoid Halloween candy, which can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Following are healthy treats that you can make for your pets.

Cookies for Cats
1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 6-ounce can tuna in oil (do not drain)

1 tablespoon oil

1 egg

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, adding a little water if dough is too stiff. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutter, or use a pizza cutter to cross-cut into small diamond shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until firm. Store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Cookies for Dogs
1½ cups whole wheat flour

1½ cups unbleached flour

2 tablespoons dry milk

1/2 cup oatmeal

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Use your bread machine to mix the dough, your mixer with a dough hook, or mix by hand. Place all the ingredients in your mixer and set it for the dough cycle. When the dough is done, remove it and roll it into 1/4-inch thick sheets.

Use bone-shaped cookie cutters, or a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares or diamonds. Place the dog cookies on a lightly greased pan, and let them rise for an hour. Bake the dog treats for 45 minutes to an hour, at 275 degrees F.

Turn off the oven, and let the cookies continue to dry overnight in the oven. In the morning, they will be hard and crisp. And they will keep well, stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 30 days.

Warning
If you pet ingests chocolate or other dangerous substances, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison at 888-426-4435.

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

It's important to keep your pets away from the ghosts and goblins that knock on your door. This is Karma, my black cat.

It’s important to keep your pets away from the ghosts and goblins that knock on your door. This is Karma, my black cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Halloween is my son’s favorite holiday. However, it’s not the best holiday for household pets. Following are tips to make sure your pets stay safe on this haunted holiday.

No Sweets for Your 4-Legged Sweetie

Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate can also be potentially poisonous to animals, especially dogs. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures.

Watch out for those wrappers

Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.

Careful with costumes

If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark or drink. Also check the costume for choking hazards. A smart alternative to dressing your pet from head-to-paw? A simple, festive Halloween bandana.

Decorations can be dangerous

Re-think putting candles in Jack-O-Lanterns. Pets can easily knock these over and start a fire, and curious kittens are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Also take care to prevent your pets from having access to wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.

Out of sight

During trick-or-treating hours it is best to keep pets in a room away from your front door. Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags and/or is micro-chipped.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies).

Safe and Tasty Treats for Dogs, Cats, and Horses
If you want to give your cat or dog a healthy and special treat, see the recipes here.

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Environmentalist Writes Children’s Book

By Jan “Gramma” Golden for Pet News and Views

Dogs love to roll in the grass, lick their paws, shower us with kisses, and sleep on our beds. So, if you apply fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, or pesticides to your lawn, can your pets get sick and can they carry residue from these applications indoors?

The answer is yes. Also residue on shoes, in air currents, on our children playing in our yards, and their toys and sports gear can pick up residue from these chemicals.  Once inside, they linger in carpets, toys, dust and circulating air.  Pesticides have been found to persist indoors for several months away from light and moisture.

The Effects of Outdoor Chemicals

For starters, research shows that human exposure to these chemicals has been associated with brain defects, immune system problems, infertility, cancer and Parkinson’s Disease.

So, why risk the health of your household pet, loved ones and yourself?  After all, the suffix cide  means destruction or killing. It’s interesting that all of these products have cide as their suffix.

Alternatives

I recommend you convert part of your lawn to wildlife friendly habitats inclusive of hardy native plants, deer-resistant shrubs, wildflowers, prairie grasses and ground covers.  A recent study done by the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicated grassland fields supported more than three times as many bird species.  Converting part of your yard to areas that attract wildlife is definitely worth the effort.

The benefits are plentiful. Watching birds, bees, butterflies and other animals thrive in these areas provide hours of enjoyment for you and your dog.

Jan “Gramma” Golden is a passionate environmentalist who maintains a garden that is a certified National Wildlife Federation habitat, an Audubon Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary, and a Registered Monarch Waystation. Inspired by her own passions, Golden wrote the children’s book Bird Lady Meets Mort and Ort in It’s a Great Day for Pulling Weeds.

The Real Facts: Ebola and Your Pet

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  By Dr. Doug Aspros for the  American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)  for Pet News and Views

Dangerous. That’s the only word to describe the news coverage surrounding the Ebola outbreak. It’s easier for audiences to panic than learn the facts. Between hazmat suits and reporters’ spin tactics for ratings it’s no surprise that Ebola is the top online search; and now the focus has turned from humans to pets.

Today this disease seems to be creeping from somewhere far away to the foot of our beds. The coverage of the quarantine of Nina Pham’s King Charles Spaniel was painfully dramatized. Newscasters aren’t doctors. Former AVMA President Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, DVM, is here to set the record straight. Let’s take a step back from the 30 second hype to look at the facts:

 

Ebola Transmission only comes from Direct Contact with an Infected Individual

Dr. Aspros wants to make sure people understand the basics: the disease is spread through physical contact with an infected person. That means you must have close physical contact with someone showing signs of infection. Unless your pet was in close personal contact with an individual who was recently working in West Africa, they are not in any danger of potentially contracting the virus.

Dogs have not developed the disease, even in West Africa

Dr. Aspros points to the research and says, “There is evidence that dogs in Africa exposed to animals who died from Ebola infections generated antibodies to the virus…There have been no human cases of Ebola associated with dogs…all dogs that were tested remained asymptomatic, there was no evidence of transmission. “

Any Ebola patient’s pet in the US will be quarantined; NOT euthanized

Dr. Aspros says, “The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has called for quarantine and not euthanasia for dogs exposed to human cases, and that further studies be done…It is inhumane to automatically euthanize dogs that have been in contact with an infected human patient.”

It’s hard to make out the facts in the flood of media coverage. The AVMA and Dr. Aspros are helping get the truth out about our canine family members, and arm pet owners with facts instead of fears. For more information about keeping your pet safe and healthy visit the AVMA question and answer page HERE.

Jackson Galaxy wants his new book to change the way we live with our cats

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By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Years ago, I was invited to the home of a well known cat behaviorist. I had read all of her books, and was a fan. I couldn’t wait to meet her and her cats.

When she led me inside of her spacious home, my heart sank. It was the perfect place for well cared for cats. Almost every inch of her home was filled with cat trees, scratching posts, and in the living room, she built a climbing apparatus where cats could jump from one place to the next without touching the floor. The cats found their Eden.

I looked around and couldn’t find a place to sit. So, I sat on the floor and was greeted by several cats in all colors, shapes, and sizes. I enjoyed the attention. Still, it felt strange.

In the kitchen was a tiny table with two chairs, which were next to more climbing posts. The bedroom had an assortment of cat toys, and–you guessed it—more climbing trees and shelving units, and a bed.

In truth, I’m a minimalist, and can live with few objects. However, this home was too one sided. It was great for the cats, but not for the human.

So, interviewing Jackson Galaxy  about his new book, “Catification, Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!),”  which he co-wrote with Kate Benjamin, founder of the cat design website Hauspanther,  brought me back to the time when I visited the home of the cat behaviorist.

Jokingly, the star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” said “that successfully living with cats is about your ability to compromise.”

Thankfully, Jackson strongly believes that a home must be equally appealing to the two- and four-legged inhabitants. “What we really want,” Galaxy, explains, “is to live in a home that shows you care about your own comfort as well as the comfort and safety of your cats.”

His decorating talent comes from years of visiting and observing the homes of clients while trying to broker the peace between cats and their humans. His desire to create happy spaces is really about his love for cats.

Jackson has done a lot of volunteer work at numerous animal shelters. He is a spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society,  and supports their Save Them All campaign.   He believes that good décor is akin to a happy home, and a happy home translates to people enjoying life with their cats.

You can meet Jackson and Kate on Wednesday, October 22, at 7 p.m. at the Union Square Barnes and Noble in NY.

To read a few of their decorating tips, check out my NY Post article.

Keeping Your Horse Healthy as Temperatures Climb

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By Mike James for Pet News and Views

We just welcomed autumn, and while we look forward to cooler temperatures, it’s important to note that those hot humid days are not behind us. Summer weather hasn’t left. When it comes to the hot weather, it can be uncomfortable and stressful for you and your horse.

With hotter weather occurring later on in the year, horses may experience a heightened sense of discomfort.  The stress of hot days and biting insects makes it a smart idea to be watchful and to take careful steps to ensure your horse stays healthy.

Staying Hydrated
Make sure your horse always has fresh water available. Check on the water regularly as it will quickly warm up in the heat. If your horse is reluctant to drink a lot of water, water down his feed to ensure that he stays hydrated, or provide a salt lick to encourage him to drink more.

Sometimes your horse may benefit from a cool hosing down or by using a fine mister. Take care not to leave the mister on as dusk approaches; this could cause your horse to get a chill. A misting machine is generally more effective than simply hosing down your horse once every few hours.

Insect Repellent
With the hot weather come pests and insects. Make sure to use insect repellents and fly sheets to prevent insects from biting your horse. If your horse has a longer hair coat, try to clip it to reduce heat and to prevent insects from nesting in the long hairs.

Ventilation and Gentle Exercise
You can also set up fans in the barn to create an air flow that will disrupt flying insects from coming into contact with your horse. Many biting insects aren’t very good at flying, so creating an air flow will both cool down the barn and repel insects.

If you work your horse every day, it is common sense to assume that a horse will not be able to handle the same amount of work in high heat. Try to lighten the work or spread the work out over the course of a few hours to give your horse enough time to rest and cool down. Take extra care in high humidity as this will make your horse tired much faster than normal.

Providing Shade and Shelter
For horses that live outdoors, it is important to provide a shelter or place of rest from the sun. A run-in shed is ideal for providing shade. Trees can provide ample shade, too, but if your horse is tied up remember that the shade will change depending on the position of the sun. Ensure that your horse has access to ample shade throughout the whole day.

Take care and observe your horse’s behaviour. Every horse is different. You should know what he needs better than anyone. On those hot days, it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful to ensure that he stays in good health.

Mike James has been passionate about horses and ponies from a young age and is privileged to be a member of an active amateur equestrian team. He also writes about relevant issues for Dollar Bedding, suppliers of natural animal bedding. 

This is a sponsored post.