Weekly family briefs rail.

Tip of the Week

The dark, cold days of winter are nearly behind us, and many people are looking forward to warmer weather and outdoor activities. Dogs also appreciate their time in the sun, so it's important to keep in mind what you need to do to make sure your dog is ready to enjoy summer activities.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides important summertime pet care tips, including:

* Provide adequate water and shade.

* Never leave your dog in the car.

* Take walks and play outside during cooler hours of the day.

* Avoid walking on hot pavement that can hurt your dog's paws.

* Provide regular flea and tick protection.

And, if your dog isn't on a regular schedule of heartworm preventive, now is a good time to start. Many people don't realize that while mosquito bites are usually a minor irritation for most people, for dogs, just one mosquito bite can be life-threatening. This is because mosquitoes carry heartworm. Heartworm disease may exhibit few symptoms. When diagnosed, it is difficult and expensive to treat and, if not caught in time, can be fatal.

If you don't live in an area with a heavy concentration of mosquitoes, or if your dog doesn't spend a lot of time outside, you may think that your dog is not at risk. According to the American Heartworm Society (AHS), "Heartworm disease is spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves and foxes can be carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas all contribute to the spread of heartworm disease." The AHS recommends year-round protection because it is "an easy thing to do and is much less expensive than treating serious, sometimes deadly, heartworm disease." Leading veterinary organizations including the Companion Animal Parasite Council, the American Animal Hospital Association and the AVMA also support year-round protection.

As with any medication, it's critical to consult with your dog's veterinarian before giving the medicine.

- Brandpoint

Family Movie Night

“Muppets Most Wanted”

Rated: PG

Length: 107 minutes

Synopsis: While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

Violence/scary rating: 2

Sexual-content rating: 1

Profanity rating: 2

Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5

Family Time rating: 2. A great film for the whole family. And it’s good, too!

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report

“Edgar Gets Ready for Bed,” by Jennifer Adams (author) and Ron Stucki (illustrator)

Ages: 1 and up

Pages: 32

Synopsis: Meet the plucky toddler Edgar the Raven. He's mischievous, disobedient, and contrary. Dinnertime, cleanup-time and bedtime are all met with one word: NEVERMORE! But as the evening winds to a close, Edgar’s mom knows just what to do to get her son into bed — a bedtime story. Jennifer Adam’s charming story gives a sly wink to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and will have little literature lovers saying, “MORE! MORE!” - Gibbs Smith

Did You Know

According to a British study published in the International Journal of Obesity, toddlers who don’t get enough sleep generally eat more than their well-rested counterparts, and they are at an increased risk for obesity.

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