Tag Archives: pet safety tips

Bring on Spring! (While Keeping Your Pet Safe)

Spring is officially here! While those cooped-up days of cabin fever might be waning, it’s important to keep a few things in mind before you and your pet savor spring in all its glory. Here are a few springtime pet safety tips from PetMD and the ASPCA.

  1. Keep spring-cleaning chemicals out of pets’ reach. Follow all labels regarding use and ventilation, and don’t forget to store cleaning products properly.
  2. Before you fling open those windows to let the spring air waft into your home, be sure that your windows are snugly screened and that no screens are in need of repair.
  3. Inspect your dog’s leash and collar for tears.
  4. Make sure your pet’s ID information is up to date.
  5. Reintroduce more vigorous exercise slowly so that your pet can acclimate to it.
  6. Keep pets away from recently fertilized lawns and consider pet-safe alternatives. Likewise, keep lawn-care products out of pets’ reach.
  7. Check to see if your pet is up to date on its medications and preventatives.
  8. Keep those Easter staples out of pets’ reach (especially the ubiquitous Easter grass!). Chocolate and artificial sweeteners are harmful to pets; lilies are toxic to cats.
  9. Take your furry pal to the vet if he seems to be suffering from spring allergies.

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Pet Safety Tips for Fourth of July Fireworks

Can you guess the busiest day of the year for many animal shelters in the United States? According to the American Humane Association, it is July 5th—that’s right; the day after the Fourth of July. This year, make a “pledge” that your pet will not be among the many that flee their homes in a panic after unsettling firework celebrations begin. Here are just a few tips, including some from the AVMA and the Humane Society, to keep your pet safe this Independence Day.

1. Make sure that your pet has a properly fitting collar with an attached ID tag and that all the information is up to date; likewise, check that all microchip information is current.

2. Take a picture of your pet so that you have a current photo just in case.

3. Earlier in the day, take your dog for a walk or run (but be vigilant about the summer’s heat and don’t overdo it). Exercise will help calm him and tire him out before the fireworks start.

4. Don’t take your pet to firework festivities or set off fireworks around your pet. Keep your pet indoors where he is safe; if possible, bring your outdoor pet indoors.

5. Keep exterior doors, pet doors, and windows shut to prevent a terrified pet from escaping outdoors and running away from the fireworks.

6. Lower blinds and cover windows so the bright lights of the fireworks don’t distress your pet.

7. Make sure your pet has a safe place in an interior room where he can retreat. Your pet may prefer a small, enclosed area to “hide” when he’s scared.

8. Place your pet’s favorite toys or familiar blankets nearby for comfort.

9. Turn on a calming television show, soothing music, or even a fan to help block out some of the firework noise.

10. Provide your dog with a safe chew toy to distract him and ease anxiety (and make sure cords are out of the way so they don’t become chew toys).

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Christmas Decorations and Pet Safety

Do you love digging out the Christmas decorations and turning your home into a holiday wonderland? Do you wrap presents like an origami master? If the holiday season is your time to shine, then enjoy every moment to the fullest—just remember that you might need to make a few alterations and substitutions if you have a furry friend in the house.

Here are a few seasonal decorations and accessories to avoid or to keep out of your pet’s reach, according to the ASPCA and PetMD. Together, you and your pet can have a safe and paw-some holiday!

Harmful or toxic plants:

  • Amaryllis
  • Holly
  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe

Poinsettias are not as harmful as people often think; however, they can still make your pet mildly sick.

Fire or burn hazards:

  • Electrical cords
  • Lighted candles (try LED flameless candles instead)
  • Lights on the lower branches of your tree

Choking risks or dangers to the digestive tract:

  • Breakable ornaments
  • Edible tree decorations like cranberry and popcorn
  • Liquid potpourri and sachets
  • Pine needles
  • Ribbons
  • String
  • Tinsel
  • Wire hooks
  • Wrapping paper

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Pet Safety: Avoiding Autumn Seasonal Hazards

Does it feel like languid summer where you live, or is there a cool fall nip in the air? Perhaps you and your pet are taking advantage of the break in the heat to get active outdoors, or maybe you’re curled up inside, indulging in a new season of television. Autumn poses its particular challenges to pets, just like any season, but with a few precautions, you’ll still have plenty of fall fun. Take a look at these reminders from PetMD and the ASPCA.

Dwindling Daylight

If only fall didn’t come with fewer hours of daylight! Take care when walking your pet, keeping in mind that the reduced light makes it more difficult for drivers to see the two of you. Wear reflective gear and bring along a flashlight; you might even consider a light-up collar for your pet. Ensure that your pet’s tag and/or microchip information is up to date.

School Supplies

You might feel like your dog needs a refresher on what he learned in obedience school, but he certainly doesn’t need any school supplies! Keep glue sticks, markers, and other school supplies out of pets’ reach. Even an item with low toxicity can be harmful in other ways (as a choking hazard or the cause of a blockage).

Antifreeze

Don’t let your pet be lured by the sweet taste of antifreeze. This temptation is extremely toxic to pets, even in small amounts. Check your car for leaks, clean up spills immediately, and keep your pet away from areas where antifreeze is stored. Seek veterinary attention if your pet ingests it.

Rodenticides

Likewise, rodenticides are toxic to pets and should be used with extreme caution. Place them in an area that is completely inaccessible to pets.

Mushrooms

Most mushrooms are not harmful to your pet, but a small percentage of them are toxic. It’s best to remove them from your yard and to keep your curious pet away from an area where mushrooms are growing. Consult your veterinarian immediately if your pet ingests a wild mushroom.

Fleas and Ticks

Just because temperatures dip doesn’t mean it’s safe to stop your pet’s preventative medication. In most areas, autumn is one of the worst seasons for fleas and ticks. Consult your veterinarian, who will probably suggest that you continue your pet’s flea and tick preventatives year round. Follow label instructions carefully, and use only the dosage that is appropriate for your pet.

Cold Weather

Be aware of cold snaps and drops in nighttime temperatures. Ensure outdoor pets have adequate food, water, and shelter. If you take your indoor pet outside, keep in mind that he may not be able to withstand cooler temperatures for long periods of time.

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New Year’s Eve Pet Safety Tips

You’re ready to ring in the New Year, but is your pet? Your four-legged friend will need some extra attention during this time; all the commotion and revelry might leave him feeling stressed or scared. Make sure you both have a fun, safe start to the New Year with these pet safety tips from the ASPCA and PetMD.

1. Ensure Proper Identification

Make sure your pet’s ID tags and microchip details are up to date. Fireworks or other loud noises might startle your pet, and though you hate to think of him lost, it’s best to be prepared.

2. Give Your Pet a Secure Space

Secure pet gates and provide your pet with a safe, enclosed space away from all the ruckus. This comfort zone should include fresh water and a place to snuggle or “hide” if he gets scared.

3. Avoid Confetti

Remember that those shiny, tempting confetti strings can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, so cross the confetti off your list. No kitty wants to start the New Year with surgery!

4. Provide Your Pet with Soothing Sounds

Give those sensitive ears something other than fireworks and party noise to listen to, such as soothing classical music or a favorite TV show (if your pet has one).

5. Exercise Beforehand If Possible

If the weather permits, take your dog for a walk before the party’s in full swing. Or, enjoy some indoor activities together. Exercise beforehand can help to tire your pet out, so he’ll be calmer before the New Year’s merriment.

6. Furnish Toys or Food Puzzles

Distract your pet from the hubbub with toys that he can play with safely or a food puzzle that will keep him engaged.

7. Remember the TLC!

Comfort your pet if he seems anxious. Speak in soothing tones and be gentle with your affection. You can even give him a few treats when he’s being calm.

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Preparing Your Home for a New Pet

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You might be thinking about selecting a heartwarming holiday gift this year – a new pet! As cute and irresistible as they are, new pets are not toys, and they’ll need your love and care for years to come. Make sure your home is ready for a new pet this Christmas, so that the transition is as smooth and joyful as possible.

Making a List (and Checking It Twice)

Stock up on supplies before you bring your new pet home, so you won’t have to make a frantic run to the pet store. The basics include a collar with a name tag, carrier, pet food, treats, food and water bowls, a scooper and bags, pet bed, toys, and grooming tools. Remember litter and a litter box for your cat, and a leash for your dog. The ASPCA recommends easing your pet into his new home by providing him with the food and litter he’s been used to, at least at first.

Before the First Day of Christmas

Take care of a few tasks before the Christmas frenzy hits. Make sure you have an identification tag ready with your phone number, and a secure carrier so your pet is safe while you travel home. Schedule a wellness visit; the Humane Society recommends taking your pet to the veterinarian within a week of adoption. Make sure other pets in the home are in good health and up-to-date on their shots. Do your research on feeding schedules, housetraining for dogs, and kitty litter training.

Our Troubles Will Be Out of Sight

Your pet’s safety is of the utmost importance, so pet-proof your home where needed. The ASPCA recommends removing stray items that your pet could chew or swallow, covering electrical outlets, putting away harsh chemicals, and moving any toxic houseplants. Remember that window cords can be a strangulation hazard to pets, so opt for pet-friendly alternatives. Keep washer, dryer, and toilet lids closed so small pets don’t climb inside. Move valuables to safe locations, and consider investing in furniture covers or pet gates to protect your furnishings.

All Is Calm

During your pet’s first days home, provide him with his own quiet, safe space and limit his access to other rooms. Place his food, water, and bed nearby, and let him explore his new surroundings. While it’s tempting for everyone in the family to lavish him with cuddles and attention, keep in mind that your pet is in a new home, and he’s still getting his bearings. Slowly introduce him to other rooms, children, and pets so he isn’t overwhelmed with all the excitement. According to the ASPCA, a cat may need up to 14 days to relax in a new environment.

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly

Busy pets are happy pets! A bored pet can wreck havoc on your furnishings, so set aside time for exercise and play. The ASPCA recommends giving your dog at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day. Furnish your pet with toys that allow him to chew or scratch, such as chew toys for a dog and a scratching post for a cat.

Peace on Earth

Make sure everyone in the family is ready to accept the responsibility of a pet. Do your best to divvy up pet chores ahead of time, and take turns feeding, grooming, cleaning, and walking your pet.

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Halloween Costume Pet Safety Tips

Fright Night is creeping closer! Is your four-legged friend joining the Halloween fun this year? Maybe your sweet-natured Golden Retriever will be transformed into a lion (who loves everyone and scares no one). Or perhaps your cat will stir up some buzz as the world’s cutest bee. Even if your pet doesn’t nab “Best in Show,” no matter; he’s already won your heart. Before the bewitching hours are upon us, be sure to review these Halloween costume pet safety tips.

  1. Preparation is key! Test the costume out on your pet before Halloween so he has time to get used to it.
  2. Comfort, above all: If your pet seems miserable in his Halloween garb, don’t force him to wear it. The Humane Society reminds pet owners to look for signs of discomfort: folded-down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail, and hunching over.
  3. No mask needed: Make sure the Halloween costume does not block your pet’s face or ears. The ASPCA cautions that your pet should be able to see, breathe, bark/meow, and hear as he would normally.
  4. Gotta dance: Check that your pet is able to move freely, and ensure that there are no dangling parts that could cause him to get tangled and trip.
  5. Simple is sometimes best: Avoid costumes with small, chewable parts or accessories that could come off and become a choking hazard.
  6. On the alert: Keep an eye on your furry pal throughout the night, and make sure that he still seems comfortable and safe in his Halloween costume.

Cat

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