Tag Archives: pet safety tips

June Is National Pet Preparedness Month

Your pet is a part of your family, and preparation for an emergency is important. As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to include your pet in your emergency and disaster plans. When making or revising your emergency and/or disaster plans, know where your pets are going and have anything they might need ready to go. For more details and a comprehensive list of emergency kit necessities, visit the CDC web site.

  • Plan ahead. If you live in a disaster-prone area, learn what kinds of problems those disasters can present for both you and your pets. If your pets can’t go with you during an evacuation, don’t just leave them at home. Pets need a safe place to stay in an emergency, so find out where they can go ahead of time, and be prepared for the possibility of multiple pets being unable to stay in the same place. Remember: if it’s not safe for you, then it’s not safe for your pet.
  • Create an emergency kit. You’ve made one for your family, but your pet needs one, too. Include food, water, bowls, medications, a litter tray/litter or disposable bags, extra leashes/harnesses, and toys that are easily transportable. Include veterinary information, medical records, and current pictures of your pet in a waterproof container.
  • Stay up-to-date. Make sure the information on your pet’s collar, carrier, and in the disaster kit is current. If your pet is microchipped, ensure that information is up-to-date as well, in case your pet gets lost. Have your pet’s vaccinations updated often, and check clasps on collars regularly.
  • Sheltering in place. Some emergencies require you to take shelter in your home, so establish ahead of time which room is the safest place for you, your family, and your pets to shelter in. The ideal room will have few or no windows and be free of anything that could be toxic to your pet. For small animals, make sure to block off any small spaces they could get stuck in.
  • Returning after an emergency. Changes in routine can make pets irritable, defensive, or aggressive, so keep a close eye on your pet when establishing the new normal. Tell family and any visitors that your pet isn’t his or her usual self so your pet has less reason to lash out, and be aware that the disaster may have disoriented your pet by destroying or changing scent markers.

Pets often mean as much to us as the rest of the family, so make sure you’re including them in your plans, kits, and drills. The more comfortable they are with the routine in case of emergency, the easier it will be to ensure their safety along with your own. For special considerations for animals such as horses or birds, check out the ASPCA web site.

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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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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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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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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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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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