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.

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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!

National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day – (Second Saturday of May)

How to Create an Emergency Plan for your Pet

It’s not always pleasant to think about having to go through a natural disaster or an evacuation order. In fact, it’s downright scary to even consider it! But, it’s never a bad idea to have a plan in place for your family just in case a natural disaster were to strike – but does your plan include your pets? Sometimes we forget to include our furry family members in our natural disaster plans and so we’ve compiled a list of important things to have in order for your fur babies!

Keep updated pictures handy. Take regular pictures (Well, hello! Of course!) and keep them in various locations. Keep them on your phone, keep some in your car. And if you have a bug out bag (more about this later!), stash a few in there as well. Should your little guy or gal go missing, having updated pictures of them is so incredibly important and will help you get reunited with them as soon as possible.

Get them microchipped. Just in case you get separated from your pet, having them microchipped is extremely helpful in them getting identified and back to you sooner. It’s a very easy procedure that your vet can do at your next visit and takes almost no time at all.

Have a bug out bag packed. Alright, about those bug out bags. What are they? They are basically handy bags packed with all the supplies you might need in an emergency. There are a lot of supplies you can pack ahead of time, like food bowls, leashes, blankets, bottled water, and freeze-dried food. Another important item is a good first aid kit, one that contains not only things for wound care, but also electrolyte powers, flea and tick treatment and repellent, and antihistamine. Don’t forget an extra collar that has ID tags on it.

Take your pets with you. If you ever suspect you might be needing to evacuate, take your pets with you when you leave. Even if you’re not positive, don’t count on being able to come back for them. Put them in your car, grab as many supplies as you can, and get out of there. If it’s too dangerous for you to stay, it’s certainly too dangerous for your pets to stay.

If you stay, make it as safe as possible. Just as you feel stressed during a disaster, your pets are surely going to be feeling very fearful. Pets are known for running away when they feel frightened, so it is vitally important that you keep your home as secure as possible to ensure they cannot escape. Loud noises, big storms, and the like might make your pooch want to bolt, so be sure to keep a close eye on him and make sure there is no way he can get out. Keep them on a leash and keep food and water close by. And if you’re instructed to barricade yourself against something like a tornado, keep your pets right by your side. If needed, put them in a crate with a warm blanket and their favorite toy to keep them calm. And remember, even when the storm is over, pets are likely to be on edge for a while, so be sure to keep them leashed and close to you.

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.

July Is Pet Loss Prevention Month

July is National Pet Loss Prevention Month, and even though the majority of us are responsible pet owners who care deeply for our furry family members, 1 out of 3 family pets will go missing at least once in their lifetime, potentially ending up as one of the 7.6 million dogs and cats who enter shelters every year.

July is an especially risky month for lost pets, because of the 4th of July holiday. More pets go missing on and around the 4th of July than any other day of the year, due to anxiety caused by fireworks. A mild-mannered dog might panic and claw its way out of a crate or crash through a glass door or fence, and could be running on the streets within moments. But it doesn’t have to take something dramatic – there are many reasons well-behaved pets might wander, even if it’s simple curiosity.

You can help reduce the stress of a lost-pet situation by taking a few steps ahead of time:

  1. Make sure your pet has up to date ID tags and a secure collar. This goes for cats, as well as dogs. A pet with a collar will be more easily identified as a pet, as opposed to a stray, and having your pet’s name and your identifying info clear to the person who finds your pet will help immensely with getting your pet home.
  1. Have your pet microchipped. Because collars can come off, another important step is to have your vet microchip your pet. If your pet were to be found and turned in to a shelter, they will be scanned for a microchip. Make sure you keep your info up to date at your microchip registry so that you can be reunited with your pet quickly.
  1. Get a GPS tracker for your pet. To help you track your pet if he or she does get out, there are several brands of GPS devices that are designed to attach to a pet’s collar.
  1. Be prepared for riskier times for pet loss. Make sure you have a plan to keep your pet safe and secure during holidays like the 4th of July. It is best to keep your pet home from 4th of July events, and it might even be a good idea for you to stay home with them. For more information on keeping your pets safe during 4th of July, the ASPCA has some great tips in this article.

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.

Be sure to Thank your local Animal Care & Control Officers this week!

A12353062 - angry dog biting a african american dog catcherpril 8-14, 2018 is Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week, do something special for your ACOs this week. Send them balloons, flowers or a nice card, letting them know that you appreciate all they do for their and your community.

Do you know all that they do and are responsible for? Here are some highlights:

  • ACOs are public safety officers dealing with dangerous situations on a regular basis to protect your community.
  • ACOs help all kinds of animals (domestic and wild) in all kinds of situations – they may be lost, sick, injured, starved, misused or need transportation.
  • ACOs apprehend and impound loose dogs and/or livestock.
  • They assist citizens with the removal of nuisance wildlife (skunks, raccoons, and squirrels) by setting up and maintaining live traps.
  • ACOs also care for and adopt out homeless pets who need shelter and new families.
  • As one of your community’s animal welfare organizations, your city or county animal control collaborates with private non-profit animal groups to pull together all available resources for homeless pets.
  • Rabies is under control in the United States because of ACOs . They enforce the laws and statutes which protect people and animals from rabies and other life-threatening diseases.
  • ACOs will mediate neighborhood disputes over animal issues/concerns through communication, education, and enforcement
  • ACOs cooperate with other agencies/officers, such as Police Officers, Wildlife Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies when necessary.

To reiterate – in a given week (or even a single day), an ACO may rescue a kitten trapped in a wall, catch and relocate a possum or native snake, work with local police on a drug raid, help a lost dog find his people (and vice versa), retrieve a scared or confused horse or cow from morning traffic, adopt a homeless cat to her new family, and testify in court against an abusive pet owner. Whew!

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You ACOs for all that you do!

Winter Pet Safety: Top 7 Tips

80346687 - shih tzu dog in blue knitted sweater winter outdoors portrait

1. Get an energy efficient Hale Pet Door

When it’s cold and snowy outside, you may be tempted to leave your dog indoors where you know he’ll be safe from the tempestuous winter weather when you’re away from home. But it’s important that your dog has access to the outdoors to answer nature’s call when necessary. Having to ‘hold it’ can cause urinary tract and digestive issues that can result in much discomfort for your dog and extensive veterinarian bills for you.

2. Don’t leave your pet in a parked car

Your parked car can be a freezer – trapping the cold air inside. It can be just as dangerous to leave your pet in your unattended car in the winter as in the hot months.

3. Give your pet a warm bed

Just as you like a warm comfortable place to sleep, so does your cat or dog. Provide a bed – off the floor if possible – in an area away from drafts. A blanket can help trap your pet’s body heat, so she gets a good night’s sleep for optimal health and wellness.

4. Keep common poisons out of pets’ reach

All medications, antifreeze (just a few licks can cause death), rodent baits and poisons, and some houseplants can make your pets sick. Use only pet-friendly ice melting products that won’t irritate your pets when they lick their paws and stomachs.

5. Prevent hypothermia and frostbite

Let your dog’s coat grow longer for the winter months. If your dog has a short coat, get him a coat or sweater that covers him from the base of his head to his tail and around his belly. If your pet gets too cold and shows signs of hypothermia: disoriented, shivering, lethargic or hair standing on end, get her to the vet immediately. Frostbite can affect the tips of the ears, extremities and reproductive organs turning the skin bright red, pale or black.

6. Avoid electrocution and fire hazards

Chewing on heating pads wires can cause electrocution or shock. Heating pads’ iron oxide pads can cause poisoning. Portable heaters can be both a shock and fire hazard, so don’t leave your pet unattended with one in the room.

7. Bang on the hood

Feral cats and wildlife seek the warmth of vehicle engines. Give them a chance to escape by knocking on the hood before starting your car or truck.

Keep yourself and your best friends safe this winter season.

Enjoy a Safe Summer with Your Pets

fireworks

Celebrating with fireworks can be stressful for our pets

The glorious warm weather is time to get outdoors and have fun with your pets. However, outdoor activities can be detrimental to your pets’ health and welfare if you’re not aware of these common summertime hazards.

Exercise in the Heat of the Day

While it’s fun to get out and walk, run or bike with your dog, be sure to do so when the temperatures are moderate. If your small dog has to run while you walk and it’s hot, your dog can overheat. Also, your dog is walking ‘barefoot’ and is closer to the pavement which can make it much hotter for your dog than for you.

Brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds can have a hard time getting air, and breathing can be harder in hot humid weather. If you have a pug or bulldog type dog, be sure to get out in the early morning or late evening to avoid heatstroke or breathing problems.

Dog parks can be fun for you and your dog, but be aware that with all the stimulation of canine friends, your pup may overdo the running and playing in the hot summer sun. Watch your dog carefully and bring her into the shade to drink and cool off before she gets too hot and risks heatstroke. Dogs who love to retrieve or play Frisbee will keep running – risking heatstroke – so be sure to moderate their activity.

You may be tempted to run errands on your way home with your pet, but don’t leave your dog in the car when it’s hot. The heat in a car – even with the windows cracked can reach lethal temperatures in a very short time. If your dog is already hot from playing, heatstroke can occur quickly. Take your best friend home to rest before stopping at the store.

Boating and Water Sports

Some dogs love the water and will gladly go boating with you. Sporting breeds can be strong swimmers, but just like with you, the water poses hazards. When you take your dog on your boat, be sure to provide a life jacket or PFD appropriate for your dog’s size.

Take time to train your dog to stay in the boat, so he doesn’t jump off after wildlife. Depending on your location, your dog may be tempted to chase poisonous snakes or predatory wildlife – which could be disastrous for your pet. Giving your dog a designated space will decrease the likelihood of your dog getting underfoot or tangled in fishing lines.

River and ocean currents can pose special dangers to your pet, so be ready to help him out when swimming in these waters. This is when the flotation device can be a lifesaver because there’s usually a handle on the back of the PFD to grab and haul your pet to safety.

Insects, Snakes and Wildlife

When you’re out hiking the wilderness or taking a walk in the woods, you should be aware of the dangers lurking there. Besides the obvious insects: mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks there can be venomous snakes that are potentially hazardous to your dog’s health.

Wildlife usually run away when humans and dogs approach. But they might stand their ground if defending young, and they can hurt your dog. Depending where you’re enjoying the great outdoors, you could have a run-in with coyotes, wolves, lion, deer, elk and moose. Because skunks and porcupines can’t move too fast, they have defense mechanisms to deter attack that can cause your dog pain. If you have a small dog, keep him close to you as eagles have been known to attack small dogs.

Fireworks

More dogs are lost during the Fourth of July celebrations than any other time of year. If your dog or cat is reactive to the noise and lights of this festive time, be sure to create a safe haven in your home where your pets will not be bothered. Because the sensitivity can come on suddenly, be aware if your pet is bothered by thunder and lightning before she runs away in panic.

When you do take them out, be sure to keep them on a leash if there’s any chance they might bolt in fear. When you have a Hale Pet Door, you can securely lock them in the house with the security cover, so there’s no chance of losing them while you’re out celebrating our nation’s birthday.