Category Archives: Pet Safety

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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Filed under Dogs, Pet Safety

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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Filed under Cats, Dogs, pet, Pet Safety

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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Filed under Cats, Dogs, pet, Pet Safety

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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Filed under Pet Safety

Keep Your Pet Safe Over Easter

Are the members of your household bunny-hopping into Easter—and fluttering like butterflies with preparations? Amid the hubbub, make sure your pet doesn’t frolic its way into any springtime hazards. Check out these Easter pet safety tips from PetMD and the ASPCA.

1. Choco-no-no
Keep chocolates, raisins, and artificially sweetened treats away from your pets. Chocolate is potentially toxic to dogs and cats; according to PetMD, dark chocolate and unsweetened chocolate are the most toxic. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate.

2. “Fill”-ing like trouble?
If you’re looking for another reason to dislike Easter grass, here it is: This filler can pose choking and digestive hazards to pets. Keep pets out of baskets—candy wrappers, foil, plastic eggs, and toys can also be dangerous.

3. Not so egg-cellent
Pets shouldn’t eat raw eggs due to possible salmonella contamination. While you’re on the egg lookout, make sure the dye you use is nontoxic.

4. Food blues

PetMD cautions that you shouldn’t give fatty foods, onions, or garlic to your pet. Fatty foods like ham can upset your pet’s stomach (or cause more serious issues), while onions and garlic can be toxic, depending on the amount.

5. Flower away
All parts of the lily plant are highly toxic to cats. Consider other decorations if you share your home with a feline. View the ASPCA’s entire plant list here.

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, pet, Pet Safety

February Is Responsible Pet Owners Month

February is the perfect month to show your pet a little extra love—not only is Valentine’s Day just around the corner, but it’s also Responsible Pet Owners Month. Take some time to review these great suggestions from the AVMA on how to be a responsible pet parent. Click here to read more.

❤️ Thinking of welcoming a new pet? Select a pet that fits your lifestyle.
❤️ Remember that your pet needs exercise and mental stimulation.
❤️ Be sure your pet receives preventative health care.
❤️ Clean up after your pet.
❤️ Check that your pet has proper, up-to-date identification.
❤️ Obey local ordinances that pertain to your pet.
❤️ Have an evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency.

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, pet, Pet Health, Pet Safety

No Scaredy-Cats Here! Stay Safe with Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Is your favorite energetic canine sporting a pet-sized superhero cape this year? And what about your precious feline—is she ready to meow-roar in her new identity as a lion? Even the bravest of pets will need some protection from the occasional hazards of Halloween. Here are several tips for keeping pets safe during this happy (and just-a-little haunted) time of year.

1. If your pet will be wearing a costume this year, test it on him ahead of time. Look for signs of discomfort or constriction. Make sure your pet can move freely, and check that his costume won’t cause him to stumble. Even that brilliant Taco Cat costume isn’t worth it if Whiskers feels miserable.

2. Reconsider a mask—your pet’s adorable face will get plenty of attention on its own! Common sense dictates that a pet should be able to breathe, bark, or meow normally.

3. Avoid pet costumes with small parts that could be chewed off or any accessories that would present a choking hazard.

4. Keep Fido in mind, and opt for LED candles instead of real ones. You can get the same spooky effect with flameless candles, and you won’t have to worry about injury or damage due to a fire.

5. Let your pet play with his own toys, and keep him away from decorations like fake cobwebs, light strands, plastic spiders, and strings.

6. Make sure your pet’s identification tags and microchip information are up to date.

7. Leave candy duty to the adults. Even though you might like to have your furry pal at your side, it’s a good idea to keep your pet away from the front door (especially if there’s a chance he’ll become territorial or frightened and run outdoors).

8. If that sweet face seems to say “trick or treat,” let him have a pet-safe treat, as long as it isn’t out of your loot. Items on the no-list include raisins, chocolate/candy, and treats with artificial sweeteners. (And keep those candy wrappers away too.) Before Fright Night, check out these dangerous foods for dogs at Halloween, compiled by PetMD.

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Halloween, pet, Pet Safety