Water Safety Tips for Dogs

Summer is finally here and you and your pup are ready to hit the water together for some quality fun in the sun time! But before you and Fido dive in – there’s a few things you need to know to keep your pup safe this summer.

shutterstock_193662557Don’t forget the sunscreen!

This may surprise you, but dogs are vulnerable to getting sunburns, too! Especially those with lighter colored coats. There are even some amazing sunblock brands out there that are made specifically for dogs! So remember to throw a bottle in your bag before you head out the door.

Are you sure your dog can swim?

Before you even venture out into the water, it’s pretty important to know whether or not your dog can even swim. Some breeds flourish in the water. Other breeds not only don’t enjoy being in the water, but really struggle to swim well at all. So before you take your pooch for dip, let him explore some shallow areas first to see if it’s something he’ll enjoy or not.

Invest in a life vest

Whether your dog is a seasoned swimmer or a little nervous to even be near the water, a life vest is a smart item to purchase. No matter if you’re taking your dog out on a boat, or going to play fetch in the nearby river, a vest can be a valuable safety tool to keep your four legged swimmer safe no matter what happens. Just make sure that you measure him and pick out a vest that will fit him appropriately.

shutterstock_533592607Don’t forget that dog’s are not allowed everywhere

As much as we adore our little fur babys, they’re not always allowed everywhere we go. Some places are just not safe places for dogs to play. So be sure to check before you head out with your dog.

shutterstock_594205211Be on the lookout for blue-green algae

You may have heard about it on the news. There is a bacteria known as cyanobacteria that’s usually found in still waters like ponds and lakes. Although it’s not always easy to spot, you can often see it as a blue or green film sitting on the water. Sometimes it will look like brown or green flakes sitting on the shore. Unfortunately this bacteria is often fatal to dogs, so if you see anything unusual in the water, keep your dog away.

Bring fresh water for your pooch to drink

Although your pooch may be tempted to drink from the water he’s playing in, it’s not always a good idea. If it’s fresh water, it’s probably fine, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring some bottles of water along for the trip just in case you encounter some water that looks a little less than safe. And if you’ll be hanging out around the ocean, you’ll most definitely want to bring water as drinking ocean water can make your dog very sick. Don’t forget the collapsable bowls!

Don’t forget to rinse!

After your dog is all finished playing in the water, don’t forget to give him a good rinse to get any bacteria, chlorine, or debris out of his coat. If he decides to groom himself, you don’t want him to ingest anything harmful off his skin and coat. Giving your dog a wash will also help keep his skin from feeling irritated from the water, sand, and debris he may have encountered. And don’t forget to clean his ears – especially those breeds with floppy ears!

Have fun this summer and be safe!

Pet Poison Awareness Month

Did you know that March is Pet Poison Awareness Month? It may not always be obvious, but potentially harmful, even fatal, poisons could be lurking around your home or yard without you even realizing it. It only takes one accident for a tragic outcome. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common, but not always thought of, poisons that could be in or around your home.

Human Foods

Most of us are probably guilty of occasionally sneaking a little treat of human food to our pets. We all know that it’s really not that great of a thing to do, but darn it, sometimes it’s hard to resist those big eyes! And while, yes, human food is really not that great for the waistline of our dogs and cats, sometimes it can truly be dangerous. Chocolate is famously dangerous for dogs and it can easily be fatal. It contains something called theobromine, which is related to caffeine. But have you heard of how deadly Xylitol is? It’s a sugar substitute that is in lots of things. This is seriously one you need to watch out for. It’s found in gums, drinks, candies, snack foods, and plenty of other prepacked foods. Not to mention a lot of us keep bags of the stuff in the pantry to use in our baking. So, make sure to check your cupboards and if you find anything containing this sweetener, please keep it well out of reach of your pooch! There are also produce items that can be harmful such as onions, and garlic, that can cause anemia in both dogs and cats. So before you decide to make any homemade foods for your dog or cat, please research the ingredients to ensure that they are healthy for them.

Rodenticides

We cannot stress enough how much we recommend using a different method to control rodents than rodenticide. Obviously, most users would be very responsible in keeping this stuff well out of reach of both pets and children, but it doesn’t end there. Have you ever considered what happens to the target animal after it ingests the poison? Sometimes they wander away and end up dying somewhere where your dog, cat, or even a wild animal such as a hawk, can find it. Unfortunately, when an animal eats another animal that has ingested rodenticide, it can very easily become quite severe, even fatal. This type of poison causes internal bleeding, kidney failure, and seizures. It is truly nasty stuff and for the sake of your pets, the pets living near your home, and the wildlife, we strongly suggest using other methods to control the population of rodents if you’re having issues with them.

Human Medications

This is one of those ones that a lot of people may not immediately think of! But just as you keep medications out of reach of kids, you’re definitely going to want to keep them out of reach of pets, too. There are tons of different medications that can have various harmful effects on both dogs and cats, even over the counter medications, so just don’t risk it by keeping anything out in reach. Always keep them locked up in a medicine cabinet, or you can purchase a small medication lockbox in many pharmacies and online.

Household Plants

Many houseplants are perfectly safe for cats and dogs, but there are a few that you need to look out for. Some common plants are Lillies, Aloe, Elephant Ears, Asparagus Fern, and Sago Palm, just to name a few. Before you purchase your plant from the nursery, look it up and double-check to make sure it is safe to have in your home. And remember, often times the tag from the nursery will not say if it is poisonous or not, but typically a quick internet search will help you determine it.

This list was just a few possibilities of poisonous items you could have around your home. If you’re ever questioning, it’s always best to double-check! And if you’re concerned that your pet has ingested something poisonous, don’t wait! Call the Animal Poison Helpline right away at (855) 764-7661 (FYI, there is usually a fee involved for consultations), or contact your veterinarian. Remember, when it comes to poison, time is of the essence and it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.

How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer Heat

Summer is such a fun time of year. The weather is beautiful and we can finally get outside to play. But with the fun comes heat – and sometimes, that can mean danger for our four-legged family members. Dog’s can’t sweat or cool themselves like we can and the summer heat can spell trouble really quick for our pups. That’s why we’ve compiled a list with a few tips on how to keep your dog cool this summer.

Plan Your Outings:
Try to plan your walks and park time for the coolest parts of the day. Usually, mornings and evenings are some of the best times to go outside with your pooch. Being outside during the summer months in the heat of the day is often just too much for dogs to handle. Adjusting your schedule a little to accommodate for the weather will make all the difference in the world for your little guy.

Find Shade:
Sometimes going outside during the heat is unavoidable, so do what you can to make the best of it. Try to find shade wherever you are. If you’re on a walk or a hike, keep an eye out for good shade spots and take frequent breaks. If you’re going someplace where there isn’t going to be a lot of shade, consider bringing along a travel canopy. There are many available that are very compact and can fold down to a portable size.

Don’t Forget the Water:
Always bring plenty of water. One of the best ways to keep your dog safe and cool during the hot weather is to always carry water with you. Bring a collapsible bowl and a jug of water and it’ll make all the difference for your pup. Try adding some ice cubes for added coolness!

 

Watch Out for Hot Pavement
Since we are always wearing shoes, sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that the pavement gets very hot and that can really burn a dog’s feet. One of the easiest ways to avoid injuries is to invest in a set of booties for your doggy. It may take a little time for him to get the hang of wearing them, but he’ll get used to it in no time and they’ll really protect his footsies! If your dog is not wearing booties while you’re out and about, be sure to be continuously checking the pavement with your hand to make sure it’s not too hot. If it is, make sure you find some shade ASAP.

Make Some Cool Treats
There are tons of quick and easy recipes online for making easy and yummy cold treats for your doggy this summer. One example is to blend together water, peanut butter, and bananas and freeze in an ice cream tray. Your pup will go bonkers for these sweet and healthy snacks, not to mention they’ll help him cool down.

Get the Hose Out!
One of the easiest – and most fun – ways to keep your pooch cool is to break out of the garden hose and let your dog go to town. Not all dogs are into this activity, but if yours is a fan of playing in the water, set it up! Turn the hose on and let your pup run through the spray! He’ll have the time of his life while he’s getting cooled down. Set up a baby pool for even more fun!

 

Protect Your Pets During Independence Day Celebrations

While the Fourth of July brings fond traditions like picnics, barbecues, concerts, and fireworks, it isn’t such a fun holiday for the four-legged members of the family.

Photo from Friends of the GCARC via Facebook

Many animals are extremely frightened by the noise from firecrackers and can even be stressed by the sight of fireworks. This leads to a 30-60% increase in lost pets every year between July 4 and July 6. July 5th is typically the busiest day of the year in humane societies and shelters across the country as people try to find their lost and scared pets. But don’t forget that fireworks and firecrackers don’t just happen on July 4th. They are already happening as people build up to the big celebration.

So what can you do to make things less stressful for your pets?

  • Make a safe space for them in your home where they can retreat and hide but where they can’t easily escape. Even the most mild-mannered dog might panic and claw their way out of a crate or run through a glass window or a fence in their panicked state and can run away and be lost or hit by cars.
  • Playing calming music in the area can help block out some of the noise from outside and keeping curtains closed helps block out the flashes of light from fireworks.
  • If your dog or cat is pacing, cowering, hiding, or displaying nervous behavior, try to distract them with a favorite bone or toy but don’t distress them further.
  • Consider skipping leaving home to go to the big celebration and stay home with your pets to protect and comfort them during this traumatic time.
  • Above all else, make sure that if something does happen you have the best shot of getting your pet returned to you by following these suggestions:
    • Make sure your pets are wearing their collars and that they are secure and have up-to-date ID tags on them with your name and contact info readable.
    • Add a GPS tracker to your pet’s collar to make it easier to track and reunite with your pet if they should escape.
    • For extra security, get your pet microchipped. Pets are little magicians and can get out of their collars on the best of days much less when they are panicked or stressed by the sights and sounds of fireworks. Getting your pet microchipped gives an added layer of protection that if they escape and make it to a shelter, they can be scanned and reunited with you. Make sure your contact information for the microchip registration is up to date.

There’s a reason that July is considered “Pet Loss Prevention Month” and by using a few common sense tips you can keep your pets happier and safer during this and other holidays.

Creating a Pet-Safe Garden This Summer

It’s that time of year again to get the yard and garden ready for summer! Warm weather is coming, and soon you and your pooch or kitty will be able to frolic together outside. Nothing is better than getting to hang out and be outside in the fresh air, and if you’re like me, you absolutely love adding beautiful plants to your yard! But before you begin planting this year, it’s very important to ensure that you’re not planting anything that could pose a danger to your pets. There are many plants that may look beautiful but are poisonous to our four-legged friends. So, we’ve compiled a list of some popular plants that are not healthy for pets to come in contact with.

Unsafe plants for cats and dogs:

-Amaryllis

-Autumn Crocus

-Azaleas and Rhododendrons

-Castor Bean

-Chrysanthemum

-Convallaria majalis

-Cyclamen

-Daffodils

-Dieffenbachia

-English Ivy

-Kalanchoe

-Lilies

-Marijuana

-Oleander

-Peace Lily

-Pothos

-Sago Palm

-Spanish thyme

-Tulip and Narcissus bulbs

-Yew

Thankfully, there are also a lot of wonderful plants that you can add to your yard and garden that are not only safe for your pets, but that your pets will love! Here are some ideas:

-Barley grass is safe and may even help an upset stomach.

-Catnip. Although your cat may love it because it’s a stimulant for them, it actually does the opposite for Fido. Catnip makes dogs feel very relaxed, but it’s not harmful to them.

-Chamomile is calming.

-Lavender is a calming and soothing choice as well.

-Mint provides something fun and interesting for your dog to sniff, and they may even enjoy munching on it.

-Rosemary is energizing.

But don’t forget:

Basil

Carrots

Catmint

Cilantro

Flowering Currant

Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, etc)

Marigolds

Radishes

Rosemary

Raspberries

Sage

Thyme

Zucchini

And remember to add some pet safe ornamentals to your outdoor haven! We’ve got some great ideas for you:

African violets

Alyssum

Aster

Black Eyed Susan

Hibiscus

Impatiens

Magnolia Bush

Pansies

Petunias

Snapdragons

Sweet Potato Vine

Zinnia

So, enjoy the outdoors this summer and don’t be afraid to share with your furry loved ones! There are so many wonderful plants to choose from that are perfectly safe for your pets and that they will thoroughly enjoy. Creating an environment that provides stimulation and interest for your dogs and cats is always fantastic. Experiment with different plants to see which ones your pets really enjoy. Just like people, pets also have favorites, so have fun with it!

And lastly, please don’t forget to check the labels of everything that you put in your yard and garden. Not all gardening products are pet safe, so be sure to always read those labels.

Have fun and enjoy the outdoors this summer!

Traveling with your Dog

Traveling with your dog can feel daunting, but sometimes, leaving Fido behind just isn’t an option. Luckily, if you do a little planning ahead of time, traveling with your dog can be a piece of cake.

Naturally, the first thing you want to consider before traveling with any pet is their health. Are they in good enough health to travel in the first place? If so, are they up to date with checkups and vaccinations? Most everywhere you travel with your dog will require that they are up to date with all of their shots. Take the time to pay your vet a visit and make sure they’re good to go. It’s also a good idea to have them groomed just before you leave and have their nails trimmed.

Make sure that your dog’s collar has an ID tag on it and that they are microchipped. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a copy of any paperwork that might come in handy if there was an emergency such as health records. Don’t forget to bring a leash!

Whether you are traveling by car or by plane, you may wish to take a crate. There are many reasons to pack the crate. If your dog is used to sleeping in his crate at night, taking his bed with you is a great way to help him feel more comfortable during your travels. But safety is another great reason to bring it with you. It’s a lot safer to not allow your dog to roam around in the car while you’re driving. Should you have to slam on your breaks or get into an accident, your dog could be seriously injured or could cause injury to other passengers in the car by being loose. Another option, if you’re not wanting to take a crate, is to purchase a special restraint that is made just for dogs that easily clips into your seats.

If you’re planning on taking an airplane to your destination, it’s important to do your research about taking your dog. Unfortunately, pets have been killed or injured on airplanes. This is much to do with the fact that they’re put in the cargo area of the plane and are subjected to extreme hot and cold temperatures, lack of ventilation, and rough handling by staff. Though the vast majority of the time, pets are unharmed during air travel, it is certainly not without risk, so please investigate before making this decision.

If you’re traveling by car, be sure to make frequent stops to let your dog use the bathroom and stretch his legs. But be careful not to ever leave your pooch alone in the car for long, especially if it’s hot out. What may feel like a warm day outside can quickly become a deadly temperature inside a car. So try to always stay with your dog. Get him out of the car as much as possible when you’re stopped, and bring plenty of fresh water so that he’ll stay nice and hydrated.

Winter Safety Tips for your Dogs

Winter is a fun and beautiful time of year. Many dogs enjoy the change in weather and love playing in the snow, some even are reluctant to come inside to warm up! While other dogs dislike the cold as much as some people do! Whichever opinion your dog has on the season, it’s important to keep them safe and healthy all winter long.

Protect Their Feet

The cold can be extremely hard on a dog’s paws. Too much cold can cause damage to their feet, just like it can ours. You wouldn’t want to walk around in the snow barefoot, would you? And although most days it’s probably no problem for your dog to run outside to use the bathroom, if you’re going for a longer walk and the temperatures are pretty cold, you might want to consider doggy booties. Even Alaskan Iditarod dogs have to protect their feet from the cold and terrain. During times when the weather is nasty, your dog will really appreciate having just a little bit more protection from the elements and will make your walks much more pleasant for them. And don’t forget to apply dog paw balm when you come inside to help moisturize those paws!

Limit Their Time Outside

Some dogs love to romp in the snow and so it can be easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to their safety outside. No matter how much your mutt loves to frolic in the snow piles – it’s important to always be keeping an eye on them and bring them inside after they’ve had a reasonable time outside to play. Forgetting them outside could lead to serious injuries such as frostbite. Every dog is different and it’s important to understand how your dog behaves in the cold. Some dogs enjoy a nice long play session in the backyard, and others simply prefer to rush outside to the nearest tree before retreating hastily inside. Know your dog’s limits!

Clean Their Paws

The winter can bring a different danger that we don’t always think about – what they’re tracking in! During the cold months, anti-freeze and similar products are often sprinkled on sidewalks and walkways that your dog may be walking on. They get stuck to their paws and then get tracked inside your house. They’re not safe to ingest and definitely a dangerous hazard in your home. So it’s vital to stop your dog as he comes in and give his paws a quick wipe down.

Don’t Leave Them in Cars

It goes without saying during the summer to never leave your dog alone in a hot car – but the same goes for the winter. The cold can be just as much of a danger to your pooch as the heat. So please, please never leave your dog alone in your car!

Be Cautious of Ice

Bodies of water are notoriously dangerous during the winter because sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether the ice is thick enough to stand or walk on. So, unless you’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s better to just not risk it and never try to cross a frozen body of water. So, keep a close eye on your pet and make sure they don’t try to, either.

Winter can be a wonderful and fun time for you and your pet to spend time together – but it’s important to be ever cognizant of the conditions and always be looking out for the safety and wellbeing of your dog. Enjoy the season!

Keep Your Furry Friends Safe this Halloween

While Halloween festivities can be fun for humans, they can be stressful and even dangerous for our four-legged friends. Follow these safety tips to have a fun and safe Halloween for everyone in your household.

  • Do not let pets eat trick or treat candies. They can be toxic to animals.
  • Kids and others in costumes can be stressful for pets so keep them away from the door when trick-or-treaters call. The loud noises of doorbells constantly ringing, kids screaming and more can set off the calmest dog. And people in costumes can be disorienting and frightening for any animal. If possible, shut them in a quiet room away from the action to keep them calm and prevent them from running away or possibly being aggressive towards one of your callers.
  • Don’t leave your pet out in the yard on Haloween. You wouldn’t want them to be the victim of a “trick”. Be especially careful if your pet is a black cat.
  • Be wary of keeping Halloween decorations out of reach of your pets. Pumpkins and corn can be dangerous especially if eaten uncooked or if moldy. Lit candles can burn your pets or get knocked over and cause a fire. Glow sticks can make a dog sick if chewed on. Electric cords to decorations can be chewed on causing a fire hazard or electric shock danger. Batteries from decorations can be swallowed.
  • Pets in costumes look cute but they don’t all love it. Make sure you try any costumes before the big night to get your pet used to it. Also, make sure your pet actually isn’t upset or annoyed with the costume or any part of it. Look for pieces of a costume that might restrict the animal’s movement, hearing, eyesight or breathing and remove them. Watch out for skin problems caused by the costume and remove immediately if any develop.
  • Most importantly for Halloween and every day: Make sure your pet has proper identification with the proper information on it. Collars and tags are a good start but these can fall off and get lost. Microchip your pet to make sure they can be identified if they do get separated from you.

Be Prepared to Care for Your Pets in a Disaster – National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is May 12

85018767_l cropPrior to 2005, not much official consideration had been given to the needs of pets in a disaster situation. But when more than 150,000 pets perished in Hurricane Katrina, largely as a result of there being no provisions for the rescue of animals, this critical concern was brought to national awareness. In addition to legal measures being passed to protect the rights of animals to be rescued by officials in disasters, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was established to help educate the public on the needs of animals in these situations.

Your pets are a part of your family, and just like any other family member, planning and preparation for unexpected situations is important. Here are some ways you can prepare to care for your pet in a disaster:

Be Aware

  • While you can’t predict every potential problem, it is important to know what the most likely dangers are for your geographic area, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc.
  • Know what the local disaster evacuation plans and routes are for your area.

Find Safe Havens

  • Never leave your pet behind if you have to evacuate, as they will be unable to fend for themselves in a disaster situation. However,
  • It is important to have a Rescue Alert Sticker on your windows to alert rescuers to the presence of your pets, in the event that you were separated at the time of evacuation. If you evacuate with your pets, and there is time, write “Evacuated” on the stickers to let rescuers know that you are all out.
  • Some evacuation shelters do not accept pets, so it is very important to research where your pet could board in a disaster.
  • Know which hotels in the area would accept you and your pets together in a disaster.
  • Designate a trusted friend, neighbor or family member that can come into your home and help your pets if you are away in a disaster.

Pack an Emergency Kit

  • Make or purchase a first aid kit for your pet. If you make your own, ask your vet for advice on what to include for your pet to meet their individual needs.
  • Keep a 7 day supply of food (both canned and dry) and water for your pet in waterproof and airtight containers that are easy to transport. Rotate these every two months.
  • Make sure your pet’s tags are up to date and secure to their collar, and consider microchipping. It is also a good idea to include a recent photo of you with your pet for visual identification in case of separation.
  • Include a copy of recent health and immunization records in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Pack an extra leash and collar, along with their carrier. Dogs will need crate liners, and cats will need a disposable litter tray and a supply of cat litter.
  • Pack a few comfort items – blankets, a couple of toys.

Add to this list anything that is individual for your own situation, as you best know your own pets and their personal needs. For more information on how to keep your furry family members safe in a disaster, please see these helpful articles on the ASPCA and the Red Cross websites.

 

 

 

Responsible Animal Guardian Month

With Responsible Animal Guardian Month, Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Chip Your Pet Month, the month of May is here to remind you to be more aware of your pet’s health, surroundings and happiness. And it is also to help people understand that we are not just “owners” of our pets but rather “guardians” of another life. We would never want to treat pets simply like property to be treated however we want and discarded when we tire of them. When you are a Guardian, you have compassion, responsibility, consideration and love for your pet.

For their health, check them over for lumps, bumps, sores or anything unusual. Our pets are just as susceptible to cancer as we are, they are exposed to the same environmental risks as us. See the vet if you find something. Be sure to feed them a good quality food in the correct amount for them. Always have clean water available for them. Get lots of playtime in, both physical and mind challenging. Remember all of their needs: both physical and emotional.

Do proactive things too for your pet and your community.

  • Microchip your dog or cat. This tiny chip has a unique ID number that can make the difference between your pet finding their way home or being lost forever. Microchips are no bigger than a grain of rice, implanted under the skin at the shoulder blades. Almost all shelters and veterinarians have scanners.
  • Start or participate in a Trap – Neuter – Release program in your neighborhood. This helps keep stray cats healthy and helps to prevent the number from growing.
  • Encourage other pet parents to spay/neuter their pets.
  • Donate funds, supplies or your time to a local shelter.
  • Know the early warning signs of cancer, Learn the 10 L’s

There is so much wonderful information and ideas available that we couldn’t begin to share it all. But here are just a few links with more information:

https://www.puppyup.org/its-responsible-animal-guardian-month/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-traits-of-truly-loving-companion-animal-guardian/

https://www.idausa.org/campaign/guardian-initiative/latest-news/animal-guardian-month/

https://www.puppyup.org/canine-cancer/about-cancer/

https://positivelywoof.com/pet-calendar-may-is-national-chip-your-pet-month/

Don’t forget to consider a Hale Pet Door to give your furry companions a way to get outside for more playtime.