The Official Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog

Teaching us about our animal friends


Houston Dog Park Directory

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A healthy and active lifestyle promotes not only our own quality of life, but that of our animal companions. With National Parks & Recreation Month underway in July, there is no time like the present to grab your dog and head out to your neighborhood parks.

Many parks in the Houston area offer separate or adjacent parks designed just for dogs, where they can run, jump, play and exercise. Check out these great options in your community, and make sure to observe safe practices to avoid heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses (link) while out this summer. And don’t forget, each dog park has their own rules for people and the animals they bring. For more information on dog park etiquette, check out our post on dog park manners: https://houstonspca.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/houston-spcas-dog-park-manners/

Houston

Alexander Deussen Dog Park

Harris County Precinct 1 opened the 5.25-acre Alexander Deussen Dog Park, 12303 Sonnier St., in Houston in July 2010 with separate areas for small and large dogs, plenty of shade, benches and drinking fountains for the entire family to enjoy. The park is fenced for your safety and security.

Congressman Bill Archer Bark Park

This summer, the dogs can have a blast while taking a splash at Congressman Bill Archer Bark Park, 3201 Hwy. 6, across from Bear Creek Park in West Houston. The Harris County Precinct 3 park boasts doggie swimming ponds, water fountains and plenty of shade to keep your animals cool. Open daily from dawn until dusk.

Danny Jackson Bark Park

Another Harris County Precinct 3 property, Danny Jackson Bark Park, 4700 Westpark, offers fun for you and man’s best friend inside the loop, and features separate areas for large and small dogs, each with their own pond, shade trees and a walking path.

Discovery Green Dog Runs

Two dog parks await you at the City of Houston’s lush green space downtown known as Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. The Kinder Large Dog Run and Harriet and Joe Foster Small Dog Run offer your pets their own space for off-leash adventures in the middle of the city’s abundant people park. Crushed gravel ground cover, shade, fountains and seating areas help make an exciting experience for all members of the family.

Ervan Chew Dog Park

Ervan Chew Dog Park, 4502 Dunlavy, was the City of Houston’s first neighborhood park to allow dogs to legally run off leash and provides a fenced-in space of approximately 9,000 square feet from which dogs can exercise without restriction. The park features a small neighborhood park adjacent to the space for the kids, plus a water fountain, large shade trees and benches for the family.

Gene Green Dog Park

Gene Green Dog Park, 6500 E. Sam Houston Parkway, is one of the area’s larger dog parks, and features a pond and plenty of greenery to enjoy with the entire member of your family. A neighboring skate and splash park will have the kids enjoying some outdoor time too at this park operated by Harris County Precinct 2.

Johnny Steele Dog Park

Johnny Steele Dog Park, 2929 Allen Pkwy., sits adjacent to Buffalo Bayou on two beautiful acres near Allen Parkway and Montrose Blvd. The park features large and small dog ponds, large shade structures, water play features, a dog wash station, and drinking fountains for people and dogs. There is limited parking available alongside the Allen Parkway frontage road. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Levy Park

Looking for a small dog park inside the loop? Leave it to Levy Park’s dog park, 3801 Eastside, in Houston, which offers a little shade, ample parking, and a dog water fountain. The park is operated by the City of Houston.

Maxey Bark and Run Park

The approximately 13-acre Maxey Bark and Run Park, 601 Maxey Rd., features separate areas for small and large dogs, a dog shower area, waste disposal stations, and plenty of shade trees to enjoy with your favorite animals.

Millie Bush Bark Park

The 13-acre Harris County Precinct 3 park, 16756 Westheimer Parkway, named after the beloved pet English Springer Spaniel of President George H.W. and Barbara Bush features a double-gated and fenced area for small and large dogs, several swimming ponds, water fountains for people and dogs, and an abundance of shade trees.

Tanglewood Bark Park

Nestled at the corner of Bering and Woodway in Houston lies Tanglewood Bark Park, 5801 Woodway Dr., a small neighborhood park offering off-leash access for you and your dogs. Operated by the City of Houston.

TC Jester Bark Park

This City of Houston park in the city’s northwest side, 4201 TC Jester Blvd., offers separate small and large dog areas, double-gated entrances, a variety of drinking fountains for man and dog, and ample shade trees and benches to rest. Located behind the baseball fields at TC Jester swimming pool.

Tom Bass Regional Dog Park

Operated by Harris County Precinct 1, the Tom Bass Regional Dog Park is located at 3452 Fellows Rd.

West Webster Bark Park

Montrose’s pocket park, West Webster, 1501 W. Webster St., boasts a 5,000 square-foot dog park within that includes a drinking fountain and a dog wash area. Operated by the City of Houston.

Baytown

A Bounty of Fun Awaits at Baytown Bark Park

Large dogs can find a variety of agility equipment only steps from the neighboring skate park at Baytown Bark Park, 4334 Crosby Cedar Bayou, in Baytown. This 5-acre park features tree-lined walking paths, areas for large and small breeds, covered awning and benches, and wooded trails that connect the parks together in the vicinity.

Conroe

Canine Fun in Conroe

When the Wiggins Village Park (565 Bryant Rd., Conroe, TX 77303) opened in 1998, it boasted three baseball practice fields that eventually gave way a decade later to one of the area’s largest dog parks after two of those fields were repurposed for you and man’s best friend. Conroe residents can also enjoy access to off-leash playtime at Kasmiersky Park, 889 Old Magnolia Rd.

Deer Park

Enjoy Man’s Best Friend at Ela and Friends

The City of Deer Park features a two-acre dog park next to the Jimmy Burke Activity Center, 500 W. 13th St., constructed by Deer Park Rotary Club and the city.

Katy

Plan on a Trip to Mary Jo Peckham Park

The City of Katy offers a 14-acre park near Mary Jo Peckham Park, 5414 Franz Rd., created for both people and dog use, and includes access to lots of shade and trees, a paved walking trail and two water fountains. Dogs will find use of the park’s attractive agility equipment, and you’ll like the abundance of benches and washing areas available.

Kingwood

Aaby Dog Park

A joint initiative between Kingwood Kennels and the Aaby Foundation, the Kingwood Aaby Dog Park, 619 Lakeville Dr., offers residents the opportunity to enjoy off-leash exercise and socialization in a safe and fun environment. Residents must complete a registration form and show proof of updated vaccinations to receive access to the park, good for one year. Open daily from dusk until dawn.

Pasadena

Take in the Shade at Bay Area Bark Park

Pasadena’s five-acre Bay Area Bark Park, 7500 Bay Area Blvd.,  has an abundance of shade with a variety of trees and covered awnings, and features benches, picnic tables, a walking path, dog and people water fountains, a waste bag station, dog showers and separate areas for large and small dogs.

Pearland

Stroll on Down to Southdown

The City of Pearland offers dogs and their owners a place made just for them, with shade, benches and a variety of brightly-colored agility equipment to enjoy. Southdown Dog Park is located at 2150 County Rd. 94 (Smith Ranch Road).

Sugarland

Pack Your Bags for Pawn Springs

The City of Sugarland operates an exquisite, tropical retreat at Pawn Springs Bark Park, 15300 University Blvd., where dogs and their owners can enjoy a resort-style pond, a beach area, a misting palm tree feature and tropical plants and trees.

The Woodlands

Wet and Wild Fun at Bear Beach Dog Park

Residents and visitors of The Woodlands will enjoy a splash of fun with their dogs at Bear Branch Dog Park, 5200 Research Forest Dr., where visitors will find more than two acres of bark-covered play areas for dogs big and small. A “water play station” provides ample relief from these hot summer months, and amenities including dog waste bag stations and plenty of shade. Please note, children 9 and under are not permitted in the dog park.

Catch Sun and Fun at the Cattail Dog Park

Across from the Palmer Gold Club house in Cattail Park, 9323 Cochrans Crossing Dr., lies a quaint dog park where visitors can enjoy a space to play with their dogs. The park features a double gated and fenced area with doggie bags, a water fountain and cool-off station, and bulletin board for community events.

Small Dogs Rule at Terramont Dog Park

Neighboring the Village of Sterling Ridge, the Terramont Dog Park offers a small park for dogs of 25 lbs. or less.  The park is located at 8500 Terramont Ln.

Tomball

Burroughs Park Brings Man and Dog Together

The 320-acre Burroughs Park, 9738 Hufsmith Rd., in Tomball lines a beautiful expanse of land, a seven-acre fishing lake and even boasts a dog park to enjoy with your pets. The park, operated by Harris County Precinct 4, includes plenty of shade and eight miles of nature trails.

For more information about the Houston SPCA or to support our life-saving efforts, visit www.HoustonSPCA.org.


Heat Stroke in Pets: Signs and Prevention Tips

heat-safety-weekSummertime is here and so are the scorching hot temperatures that make us all reach for that extra glass of water. Did you know that, like humans, your pets can suffer from heatstroke? In fact, being outside all day or in a warm environment can affect an animal’s health just as much as it can affect ours.

Here are some signs and symptoms of heatstroke in cats and dogs, as well as ways to prevent it happening to your pet.

If your pets have any of the following signs or symptoms, take them to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately!

Signs of Heat Stroke in Cats and Dogs

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Bright or dark red gums
  • Vomiting
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Weakness/difficultly moving
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

How to Keep Your Pets Cool this Summer

  • Keep your pets inside the house while you’re away. Your pets love the air conditioning as much as you do.
  • Always find a shaded area for your pet — keeping them out of the sun will help cool their body.
  • Avoid heavy exercise with your pets during the hottest hours of the day. Exercise with your pets outside during the early morning or late evening hours to keep them from overheating.
  • Have fresh water available for your pet at all times.
  • Be sure to use cool water, since ice water may constrict blood vessels and impedes the cooling process.
  • Place cool, wet cloths around your pet’s paws. This helps with the heat that is being released through the pads of their paws.

If you think your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, call your veterinarian immediately. It’s always important to watch your pet for any behaviors that seem abnormal. At the first sign of abnormal behavior, it’s time to act.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated this summer along with your pets!

Houston SPCA Summer Heat Safety Week

Founded in 1924, the Houston SPCA provides the most comprehensive array of animal adoption, shelter, rescue, rehabilitation and other programs and services in the Gulf Coast area. Check out all of our adoptable animals and consider the adoption option this summer.

Thank You for Supporting the Houston SPCA’s Mission – Make a Donation!

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any ailment or disease, and is provided for reference. Please consult with your veterinarian with questions or concerns related to heat safety.


Looking for some Summer FUN? How about the Houston SPCA Critter Camp!

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Never heard of Critter Camp? 

Critter Camp is the Houston SPCA’s day camp available during summer, winter and spring break. Each day from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, campers ages 8-15 can come to the Houston SPCA to learn all about animals, hear from the Houston SPCA’s amazing staff, play fun animal games, create arts and crafts, and, last but not least, spend time playing with our adoptable shelter pets!

Let’s jump in and see what a typical Critter Camp day looks like!

9:00 am – Campers arrive at the Houston SPCA and begin meeting new friends, playing fun games and learning about animals.

Foster ProgramFoster care coordinator shows campers a foster kitten

9:30 am – Our first guest speaker session! Our guest speakers are staff that work in a variety of departments at the Houston SPCA. Some of our amazing guest speakers include our animal behavior specialists, animal cruelty investigators, rescue ambulance team members, foster care coordinators, and veterinarians. Each guest talks about what they do for the Houston SPCA, the educational background needed to obtain their position, stories about their favorite animal experiences, and why they love to help animals every day.

10:00 am – Lesson about animals. We have a variety of themes for our camps that include lessons about many topics relating to animals. These topics include animal behavior, basic animal care, anatomy and physiology of pets, Texas wildlife, and much more. These lessons include fun games or activities to keep our campers interacting and engaged.

Easter Seals Petting HorseTommy the Llama 110:30 am – Barn Visit! Did you know that the Houston SPCA has its very own barn where we house many equines and farm animals? Our campers get to visit the barn and meet some of our horses, pigs, goats and any other animals that might be residing there at the time. Many of these animals have been rescued from cruel situations and campers learn about the rehabilitation process the animals will go through before they can be adopted into a new family.

SPCA TShirt Toy

11:00 am – DIY craft time. At Critter Camp we love to teach our campers how to create items that can help animals. Every day we create items that can be donated to our animals (or taken home for their family pet) or that teaches them more about animals. Some of my favorites include T-Shirt Tug Toys for dogs, birdseed feeders for our native wildlife and decorated savings banks for campers to save money to donate to their favorite charity.

11:30 am – Lunch time. During lunch we put on fun animal-related movies for our campers to watch. This gives everyone a chance to relax as the day goes by so fast!

Camper getting kissesCritter Camp Chronicle Pic

12:00 pm – SHELTER VISIT!!  This is our campers favorite part of the day. Everyone in camp goes over to the Houston SPCA animal shelter and gets to play with our large dogs, small dogs and cats. Our animal interactions are in a group setting so that each animal we play with gets lots of campers to love on.

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METRO Houston Police Canine Program visits Critter Camp

1:30 pm – Second guest speaker session. We have another guest speaker join us in the afternoon. They will either be another Houston SPCA staff member or a very special visitor! We work with local service animal organizations who love visiting our camps to show our campers how amazing animals can be.

Oil Spill Art

Campers create ‘oil paint art’ while learning about oil spill clean-up 

2:15 pm – More DIY crafts or game time. Our campers can decide if they would like to learn how to create new DIY crafts or if they would like to play games, play with puzzles, visit our arts stations they can do so.

2:45 pm – Snack time and parent pick-up. Campers are given a bottle of water and a healthy snack in the afternoon. Campers can choose if they would like to watch an animal video or play games / do craft activities while waiting for their parents to come.

3:00 pm – End of our busy Critter Camp day!

Sign up today for our Summer Critter Camp!

Register here: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/humane_education_critter_camp

Looking for our Summer Critter Camp schedule? Look no further: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/DocServer/2015_Camp_Flyer__schedule_and_registration_info_.pdf?docID=3961 

Have questions about Critter Camp? Check out our FAQ’s: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/DocServer/Critter_Camp_Frequently_Asked_Questions_Updated.pdf?docID=3701 

Summer Critter Camp registration begins March 25, 2015!

 


Brushing up on Your Pet’s Dental Health

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February is pet dental health awareness month. To celebrate we have some of our very own smiling pups here to tell you all about keeping your pet’s teeth healthy!

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You know your dentist’s orders: Brush and floss twice a day to keep your human teeth nice and healthy. But what about your pet’s teeth?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three! Dental care is not always a priority at a vet’s office, but as a pet owner you can make it one. Having your pet’s teeth cleaned properly by a veterinarian can help prevent infections and prolong your pet’s life.

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Let’s discuss ways to keep your pet’s teeth nice and healthy:

1. Take your pet to get a dental exam at your veterinarian’s office at least once a year.

2. Start a dental-care regimen at home – ask your vet for appropriate methods to help keep your pet’s teeth clean on a daily basis.

3. Schedule a yearly dental cleaning with your veterinarian. You have to go to the dentist once a year for a full dental cleaning – your pet should too!

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Common signs of dental disease (if your pet exhibits any of these, please take them to your veterinarian):

  • Consistently stinky breath
  • Loose or discolored teeth or teeth covered in tartar
  • Your pet is not comfortable with you touching their mouth
  • Abnormal drooling or dropping food from the mouth
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight

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To find out more about pet dental health, visit these sites:

https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/February-is-National-Pet-Dental-Health-Month.aspx

https://community.petco.com/t5/animal-care/How-to-Brush-Your-Dog-s-Teeth/ba-p/54644

http://www.vetstreet.com/care/dental-health

For more information about the Houston SPCA, visit our website: www.HoustonSPCA.org


Animal Welfare Today: Why do some people hoard animals?

The Houston SPCA was recently called in to assist with the rescue of more than 70 animals from an apparent hoarding situation in an elderly couple’s South Houston home. When the pictures of animals in poor health flash across television screens and social media the natural human response is to ask why? One answer is “Hoarding Disorder.”

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According to the Mayo Clinic, “hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.” It is easy to look at the filthy conditions that these people find themselves in and accuse them of horrible things. But it is important to remember that hoarding is caused by a very real and very tragic mental illness and that those who suffer from it believe that what they are doing is right and good.

The Houston SPCA takes its job very seriously. Our mission is to promote commitment to and respect for all animals and free them from suffering, abuse and exploitation. But we would be remiss if we ignored the people who are suffering alongside the animals. Those with hoarding disorder need as much help as their pets. They are living in the same squalid conditions, usually suffering from severe physical ailments. That is why we frequently work closely with Adult Protective Services to ensure that when we remove animals, the owners of these pets receive the care that they so desperately need.

Most of these people never intend to hoard animals. They often start with just one or two that they’ve rescued or taken in. Sometimes neighbors and friends will find animals and bring them to the house. Sometimes they’ll open their home to strays. Due to the mental state of a person with hoarding disorder, they will rarely turn down or give up animals. They frequently go without food and medication for themselves in an attempt to care for their pets. But usually a lack of resources prevents them from providing proper veterinary care, including spaying and neutering. As numbers multiply they try their best to keep up, but a combination of being overwhelmed and physically unable to attend to all their animals leads to the miserable conditions we so often see.

One of the benefits of social media is that it spreads information quickly to a huge audience. But the audience can often react without fully understanding the situation, leading to quick and sometimes brutal judgment. When we share our stories of animal cruelty and neglect, it is not to invite public ridicule and scorn, but rather to educate and prevent it from happening again. We hope that by sharing pictures from  hoarding rescues, we can educate people to see the early signs of hoarding disorder and intervene on behalf of both humans and animals.

These people will rarely, if ever, ask for help because they are ashamed of what they’ve become and they’re afraid of what might happen to their pets if they stop caring for them. While they may not ask for help, you can. If you suspect a hoarding situation, report it. The Houston SPCA and its partners in law enforcement and social services stand ready to help.

Donate. Foster. Adopt. Report Abuse.  www.HoustonSPCA.org

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Further reading:

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/basics/definition/con-20031337

Tufts University: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/hoarding/abthoard.htm#A3

 


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A cold front is on its way to Houston – Are your pets prepared?

The forecast is looking chilly for the Houston area! With temperatures expected to drop we all want to make sure our pets are prepared for the cold weather.

Housing

Provide proper shelter for your pet whether indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts.

Outdoor pets should have a well insulated house that is wind AND waterproof as well as elevated off the ground so wind and moisture cannot find a way inside.

Extra blankets and straw will also help increase your pet’s warmth.

Make sure to keep room and floor heaters away from your pets as they are an obvious fire hazard and could cause serious injuries.

Food & Water

Make sure to provide fresh , clean water for your pets every day. Each pet should always have a fresh water source.


Outdoor pets need to consume 25 – 50% more calories than usual during the winter because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian to find the right food for your pet.

Cars

Never leave your pet inside of a car! Cars can act like a refrigerator in the winter and your pet could potentially freeze to death if left alone inside a car during the winter months. Even if you are just going out for a little bit to run errands, leave your pets safely at home.

Also – check under the hood! A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor cats. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage those hiding kitties to abandon their spot under the hood.

When taking care of your car’s winter needs, please remember to store all chemicals properly. Dogs and cats are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol. A tiny lick can kill your dog or cat, so make sure to check your car for leaks on your driveway and in your garage. Keep containers tightly closed and clean up spills immediately.

Pet Protection

If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him/her outdoors only to relieve himself/herself. Check with your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s tolerance of the cold weather.

For more information about the Houston SPCA, please visit www.HoustonSPCA.org today!


Valentine’s Day Throwback: Houston SPCA tips for a pet safe Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and the Houston SPCA has the best tips on how to keep your pets safe during this loving holiday!

Head over to our Valentine’s Day pet tips by clicking here: https://houstonspca.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/houston-spca-tips-for-a-pet-safe-valentines-day/

If you want to add a little bit of extra love to your Valentine’s Day, take a trip to the Houston SPCA to find a new furry friend for your family.

You can see all of our adoptable animals by clicking this link: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/adopt_main