Category Archives: Pet Safety

Bound Into Spring! How to Get Your Pet Ready

Spring is coming! Soon you’ll be cleaning and organizing, or finally hauling those Christmas decorations back into storage. During this time where happiness spreads with warmer and sunnier weather, remember that your pet needs some help with spring cleaning, too.

In the spring, you can help your pet shed its winter coat so hair isn’t trailing throughout your home. Your pet relies on you to be aware of how the coming season can affect it: from bugs carrying parasites, to lawn chemicals or plants that can cause harm, to seasonal allergies. Here are a few ways you can help your pet get ready for the season.

1) As your pet begins to shed more than usual in preparation for warmer temps, help her out. Give her a bath and regular brushings to remove loose hair. Not only will this keep her cooler, but it will help keep your home clean and your furniture fur free. And while you’re spring cleaning, wash up her bedding and toys so they smell fresh.

2) Pets can have seasonal allergies, too, although they often show via skin irritation. Watch out for excessive scratching, biting, or licking and contact your vet for how to best treat him. Keep an eye out for grass munching, as well, since some yard treatment chemicals will make him sick. According to Project Pawsitivity, some common seasonal plants like daisies are also toxic to pets. Check out a full plant list here.

3) Warmer weather brings those pesky bugs: fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. As if bites from these bugs weren’t bad enough, they can also carry parasites that could affect your pet’s health. So, before the warmth really sets in, ensure that she has preventative medication for heartworms, fleas, and ticks.

4) Before taking your pet out to enjoy sunny days, make sure his shots are up to date. According to Petcube, having his shots recently updated will cause him less problems if he encounters animals who haven’t had their shots. Also check that his tags and microchip have current information and are readable, and that leashes and collars still fit and aren’t fraying.

5) While humans can exercise throughout the winter in gyms, that’s not always true for our pets. As warm weather rolls in, give her time to adjust to a more active lifestyle. Start with short walks and don’t force her to play if she looks tired. Just like us, your pet’s muscles take time to strengthen.

Pets are just as happy as the rest of us that the sun is shining brighter and the temperature is climbing. But just as we have preventative measures against bugs and allergies, so should our pets. Give them love, care, attention, and help as they prepare for sun-filled days in the ways only they can.

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Make These Pet Resolutions for the New Year

Include your pet in your New Year’s resolutions. Improve your pet’s life alongside your own and find some stress relief along the way. Once there’s a new established routine with your pet, keeping those resolutions will be a little easier!

• Add more playtime or walks to your daily routine. Use feathers on strings to keep your feline’s hunting instincts sharp, or take longer walks to give your dog more socialization time.

• Help your pet with her hygiene—trim her nails, brush her fur, and give her regular baths. Aside from keeping your pet healthy, this gives you a chance to spot any skin or fur issues early on.

• Strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend by showing him more affection. By petting him often and giving him more belly rubs, both of you will benefit emotionally.

• We always want our pets to stay safe, so make sure your pet has a collar and updated ID tags. Get her microchipped in case she wanders off, and avoid anything that might be toxic to her.

This year, think about that little (or big) friend you keep near and make his or her life a little better along with your own. Happy New Year!

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How to Keep Pets Safe During the Holiday Season

With all of the activity over the holiday season—buying gifts, decorating the tree, and baking—it’s easy to forget that some of our favorite things about this festive season can be hazardous to our pets. Even though there’s that long to-do list before the big day, take some extra time to look out for your pet’s comfort and safety.

Baby, it’s cold outside. The weather this time of year is just as cold for pets as it is for us. Leave your pet’s natural coat long and well-groomed so she stays warm. Brushing your pet not only removes dead hair, but it helps with blood circulation so she stays toasty on frostier days. Cut back on her baths during this time so she retains oils that help her skin stay smooth and moisturized.

Let it snow! Snow can easily cover up scents, and walking your dog on a leash will prevent him from getting lost. Consider a jacket and booties to help short-haired breeds conserve warmth. Give outdoor pets a waterproof, insulated house they can keep warm in and provide them with plenty of fresh water. And remember to always bang on the hood before starting your car to keep sheltering outdoor kitties safe.

Deck the halls. Christmas decorations make the season merry and bright, but some of those crafting and decorating items can be dangerous for pets. Secure the Christmas tree so it won’t topple, cover the water tray on real trees, and avoid tinsel and low-hanging ornaments pets can break or choke on. Consider artificial alternatives for holly and mistletoe so your pet doesn’t chew on them. If you’re a crafter, keep an eye on pets and supplies. Curious animals can ingest craft supplies that are harmful to them.

Careful with sweet treats! Many sweets, including chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol, can make your pet sick. Begging eyes aren’t easy to ignore, but before giving your pet any special treats, check this list from the ASPCA for what to avoid. Keep those cups out of reach, too, since alcohol has deadly effects for four-legged family members.

I’ll be home for Christmas. Even if your pet is a happy-go-lucky people-loving soul, holiday celebrations can provide too much stimulation. Cozy up a small space for her to retreat to, complete with food, water, comfy blankets, and favorite toys. Each canine and feline has his or her own personality, so be sure to cater to your pet’s needs. And don’t forget to establish with guests the proper etiquette for interacting with your pet so everyone has a fun time.

Christmas is a time to enjoy, have fun, and see family—just remember to ensure that your pet has a safe, fun Christmas as well! Check out the ASPCA web site for more tips to keep your pet safe during the holidays.

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September Is National Service Dog Month + Proper Etiquette

September is National Service Dog Month! Have you seen a service dog team lately? Were you unsure of the proper etiquette? Service dogs provide valuable, sometimes life-saving assistance to their handlers, so “paws” before you’re tempted to interrupt them! Brush up with these helpful tips and reminders from PetMD and Canine Companions for Independence.

1. Always speak to the owner first.
Address the owner first, rather than the dog. Treat him or her with respect and sensitivity, and avoid asking personal questions about the nature of his or her disability.

2. Do not pet or touch the service dog without permission.
Refrain from whistling or making other sounds too. Keep in mind that the dog is working on behalf of the handler; confusing or distracting the dog may prevent it from carrying out commands or devoting its full attention to its handler and surroundings.

3. Don’t be insulted if you cannot pet the service dog.
The handler may choose not to “release” the dog from work mode so that you can pet it. Be sensitive to the fact that the dog is performing critical tasks, and it may not be a good time.

4. Do not feed the service dog.
The service dog is performing an honorable task, but don’t be tempted to intervene with a treat or snack as a reward. Food can distract even the most well-trained dog. In addition, the service dog may be on a particular diet or eating schedule.

5. Keep your dog away from the service dog.
To be on the safe side, keep your dog away from the service dog so that it can work without extra distractions. If you must approach them for some reason, speak to the handler first to make sure it’s okay.

6. Ask before offering help or assistance.
The service dog team is quite capable, but if you think they need help, be sure to ask first. Don’t attempt to grab the leash or harness away from the handler. If the owner rejects an offer of help, respect his or her wishes.

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August 15th Is Check the Chip Day

Perhaps just as important as Love Your Pet Day, Check the Chip Day is a reminder to make sure that your pet’s microchip information is up to date.

This pet “holiday” was created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). These two organizations encourage you to take time to verify that all of your pet’s microchip details (especially phone number and address) are correct.

You can read more about Check the Chip Day by clicking here.

If you’re interested in learning more about microchipping, the AVMA has an FAQ page here.

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July 15th Is National Pet Fire Safety Day

If you have a plan in place in case of a fire, give yourself a pat on the back—but make sure that plan includes your pet too! Today is National Pet Fire Safety Day, and it’s great time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your pet.

Here are a few tips from the American Red Cross and American Kennel Club.

  • Include your pet in your family plan.
  • When you practice your escape plan, include your pet.
  • Prepare a disaster supply kit for your pet.
  • Never leave pets unattended around open flames.
  • Use flameless candles instead of ones lit with real flames.
  • Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before you leave.
  • Use pet notification clings noting the number of pets in the house.

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Keep Cool! How to Protect Your Pets This Summer

Bring on the summer! What activity does your pet like best? Maybe it’s the simple pleasure of rolling around blissfully in the green grass, leaping into the air to capture a Frisbee in his teeth, or sprinting after a neon yellow tennis ball. Soak up the fun, but keep these summer pet safety tips in mind.

We’re Having a Heat Wave
Though a walk around the neighborhood can be relaxing for you and your pet, common sense dictates that it’s not always a possibility in the summer. Avoid the midday swelter, and opt for early morning or late evening strolls. Shorten your walk when necessary, and keep your pup hydrated. Remember that your pet’s feet aren’t protected by sneakers, so lead him away from scorching pavement that can burn his paw pads. In addition, never leave your pet alone in a parked car, no matter how short the errand.

“Paws” at the Pool
Splashing around poolside or taking a dip in the cool water might be the epitome of summer fun for you, but not necessarily for your pet. When possible, teach your dog to swim and consider outfitting him in a bright life vest. Even if your pet is wearing a life vest, stay vigilant.

Keep your furry pal from drinking chlorinated water, especially large amounts. The AKC recommends that you gently rinse him off after he exits the pool and then dab his ears with a dry towel. Remember that pool-time might be a challenge for puppies, short-legged dogs, arthritic or debilitated pets, and pups with vision loss, so consider spending quality time indoors.

Chemical Reaction
While you’re slathering yourself in sunscreen, keep in mind that the common zinc oxide formulation is only intended for you, the pet parent. PetMD recommends that you protect Fido’s ear tips and nose with a pet-safe sunscreen created specifically for dogs.

Where, Oh Where, Can He Be?
Summer brings with it all sorts of curiosities and even a few scares for your pet. Even calm or well-behaved pets might scamper after a taunting squirrel, or flee after a turbulent bout of thunder or fireworks. Bring your pet indoors before stormy weather or a pyrotechnic display that might cause him discomfort. Make sure his ID tags and microchip information are up-to-date.

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