Tag: safety

The Importance of Keeping Toxic Chemicals Away from Your Dog

Like young children, dogs and puppies are forever curious. They never tire of sniffing objects in their environment, as well as eating or rolling in them. Endless sights and scents mean adventure and exercise for your furry friend, and it’s a joy to witness this kind of carefree enthusiasm for life. Along with the healthy benefits of curious energy come certain dangers, however, including the risk of overexposure or poisoning by harmful chemicals. Fortunately, your dog can avoid exposure or ingestion of toxic chemicals – with a little help from you, his beloved human.

Know the Culprits

Before you can be effective at keeping toxic chemicals away from your dog, you have to know what these chemicals are. Educate yourself about common household products that can be harmful to your pet, as well as any chemicals your dog may be exposed to when the two of you take your walks. Anything your dog is exposed to will be carried into your home – and into your bed, too, if you allow co-sleeping with your dog.

Not only do you need to know which chemicals to avoid, but also what specific products and materials contain them. Often, a toxic chemical isn’t obvious by the name or stated purpose of a product but could still contain harmful chemicals that might attract your dog in some way and cause him harm in the process. Read labels carefully and consider switching to all-natural products.

Garages and sheds, in particular, are common storage places for hazardous chemicals such as gasoline, oil, paint, fertilizer, and antifreeze. Unfortunately, these areas of your property usually contain products with toxic chemicals that can’t be replaced with natural alternatives. Although your dog may rarely be in the garage or shed, it’s still a good idea to store harmful chemicals high up where your dog can’t get to them.

Common Household Poisoning Hazards

In addition to chemical hazards, there other common household items that can cause harm to your dog if inhaled or eaten, including certain medications and foods. Even if you are diligent about protecting your dog from toxic exposure, accidents still happen. Ensure that you have a poison helpline number saved on your cell phone, as well as the number of the nearest emergency vet clinic. In any case of poisoning, time is of the essence.

Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil and Aleve are commonly found in medicine cabinets, but it’s also common for a bottle to be floating around on the kitchen counter or a nightstand where a dog could easily get to it. These products contain non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. If NSAIDs are eaten in toxic amounts, it can result in acute kidney failure in both dogs and cats. Signs of toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, black-tarry stools, and seizures.

Other medications commonly found in the home that are harmful to dogs if ingested in toxic amounts are acetaminophen (found in Tylenol and cold/cough medications) and amphetamines used to treat ADD and ADHD, such as Adderall and Concerta.

Foods

Certain foods that humans can generally enjoy without risk can be deadly to dogs. Chocolate, for example, contains a relative of caffeine known as theobromine that is highly toxic to canines. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the higher the danger. Another potential poisoning culprit is xylitol, a sugar replacement found in many sugarless gums and candy. Xylitol can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar, and even liver failure. Unfortunately, dogs can’t safely enjoy grapes or raisins either, as these foods can cause kidney failure.

Mycotoxins

It’s not just human food that may contain toxins. There are certain ingredients found in dog food that may be contaminated with mycotoxins, which are produced by molds that grow on crops of grains. These ingredients include corn, barley, rye, wheat, cottonseed, peanuts, and corn. Good nutrition is of utmost importance for your furry companion, so opt for high-quality natural ingredients and leave the cheapest food on the shelf behind. It will generally contain lots of grain fillers.

Modern lifestyles commonly involve the use of chemicals. Between cleaning agents, insecticides, rodenticides and much more, potential danger can lurk in your home and other areas of your property. In the case of accidental ingestion, inhalation, or direct skin contact, contact a pet poison hotline or emergency vet clinic, and provide any immediate treatment possible. Remember that danger can be avoided with some careful research and cautious storage.

 

Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

Staying Healthy in the Heat – Summer Pet Edition

the dirt and sniff new smells! We’re talking about your dog of course, not you! But as the season moves on the heat can start to be dangerous to you and your pet. No body is in the mood for another month or two of being shut up indoors. So how can you make sure that you and your pet are staying healthy and active? Here are our top tips!

Staying Healthy in the Heat

  • Stay Active, Safely – It’s important that your pet still gets their exercise, even as the temperature soar. There are several ways you can do this without too much threat of heat exhaustion. The first is to make sure that you or your dog walker time the walks to take place early in the morning or late in the evening when the heat is less intense. Another way is to spend your outdoor time next to bodies of water. This gives your pet the opportunity to cool off when they need to. Who doesn’t love a game of water fetch, anyways?
  • Lots of water – Make sure your pet is getting lots of water. A well hydrated pet can regulate their body temperature better than a dehydrated one. They will need more water than they do in the winter so be prepared for this. Get a larger water dish if you or a Pet Nanny won’t be available to keep an eye on and refill the water throughout the day. When you take your pet out, it’s also a good idea to bring a bowl and bottle of water with you as well.
  • Stop traveling with them – It might be no big deal to take your pup with you while you run errands in the cooler months. They likely benefit from the outings. In the summer though, it is NEVER okay to leave your pet in the car while you run in – even for a second, and even if you leave the window cracked. It can take less than 10 minutes for a parked car to reach deadly temperatures. Leave your pets at home unless you are exclusively going to a pet friendly destination where they can join you.

A happy and safe summer to all!

 

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Flood Tips To Protect Your Pet This Spring

While the saying is “April showers bring May flowers,” sometimes those rains get here a little sooner than expected. Melting snow and ice from winter mixed with heavy spring rains make this time of year a flood risk for most. Whether its spring rains or you live in an area effected by hurricane season, you need a flood plan for you and your pet. Every time this kind of disaster strikes shelters are filled with abandoned or lost pets. Don’t let this happen to you and your pet – have an action plan!

Flood Tips For You & Your Pet

  • Evacuation Plans – Have an evacuation plan. That means both knowing how to get out and where you are going. Ensure that the “where” is pet friendly, as are your travel accommodations. This is the best way to ensure you and your pet’s safety. Expect evacuation to move slowly and be chaotic. Don’t wait till the last minute to get to safety.
  • Watch Weather Reports – Many areas will be in a flash flood watch for several days before a flood. This usually means that the ground is already saturated and heavy rains are predicted. If you stay aware of the weather reports and know how water builds around your home, you should have a good radar about when you need to take action.
  • Have An Emergency Pet Kit – Keep an emergency bag packed for your pet. This should include things like leashes, food, water, medicine, comfort items or treats, and anything else your specific pet may require. First aid kits are always a good idea too!
  • Ask Kennels About Emergency Plans – If you’re traveling out of town and have to board your pet be sure to ask about emergency plans. Good pet borders should have reasonable plans for protecting your pets in case of a natural disaster.
  • Tag Your Pet – If you and your pet do become separated speed up your reunion by making sure they have a collar with your contact information on it. Microchips are also a great idea in case they end up in a shelter.

The best plan is to have a plan and stay aware of your conditions!

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Heroic Cats – Small in Stature, Big in Deed

Dogs are well known for their heroic behavior. Their valor is sung by everyday pet owners all the way to those on the battlefield! Cats on the other hand have an established reputation for being self-consumed and having little genuine interest in anything beyond getting fed and petted. It turns out though that while cats may not have the strength to drag someone to safety, they do some pretty heroic things too! Cats are very attune to medical emergencies and on multiple occasions have alerted their owners to internal threats that they themselves didn’t know where occurring! Take a look at our list of five kitties due some recognition!

Heroic Cats to the Rescue!

  • Schnautize and the Gas Leak – A Montana couple fast asleep, were awakened by Schnautzie’s persistent paw tapping on their sleeping faces. Once awake they became aware of the sound of gas hissing! Upon evacuating the home and calling the fire department they were told their basement had been filling with gas from a leak while they slept! One spark from their furnace igniting would have sent the house to pieces!
  • Pudding and the Diabetic – Pudding was a shelter kitty who hadn’t even been in her new home for 24 hours when the woman who adopted her began to fall into a diabetic coma while asleep. Pudding, sensing something was wrong, tried to keep her new owner awake. When that failed she ran to the woman’s son’s room, waking and alerting him to action.
  • Leo and the Burglar – A robber breaking into a home one night encountered a cat named Leo. Leo was so upset by the burglars presence he began yowling and making such a racket that the surprised crook abandoned his pursuit.
  • Baby and the Fire – A grey tabby named Baby sprung into action when a fire broke out in his owners apartment and their fire alarm failed to notify them. Baby awoke the couple in time to get to safety, saving the couple and their unborn baby!
  • Masha and the Baby in the Box – An infant who had been left on a street in a box in Russia owes his life to a passing cat named Masha. Masha hopped in the box with the baby and laid on top of him to keep him from freezing. Not only did she keep him warm, she yowled at passerby’s to attract attention until the baby was discovered and taken into care.

Cats might be small in stature but their gestures and efforts are certainly heroic. Do you have a story about you cat alerting you to danger? Share it with us!

Runaway Pet? Here’s How To Find Them Quick!

Did you know that pets are more likely to run away in the summer? Runaway may not always be the appropriate term. Many pets simply wander off or get lost. Un-neutered males will frequently run off looking for mates. Either way, do you know the best steps to take to ensure you get them back home FAST? These quick tips can help!

Bringing a Runaway Pet Home

  • Get your pet microchipped! Microchipping your pet ensures that if they become lost and are turned over to or picked up by an animal shelter, you’ll be notified! Have questions about what microchipping is and how it works? Check out our FAQ article about them here!
  • Get a tracking collar! There are numerous GPS collars now that can be invaluable for finding runaway pets. These collars will allow you to find your pet’s exact location. That is, provided the collar remains on the animal.
  • Check out PetFBI.org. This is a great national database of missing pets. It is used by individuals and pet shelters to post about animals they find. You can browse through it to see if your runaway pet is listed.
  • Walk the perimeter. Most pets won’t go further than 2 miles from home. Large dogs may roam as far as 5. Be sure to canvas your neighborhood and talk to people. Check the dog park or other areas you and your pet may frequent.
  • Don’t give up hope! Your pet may simply be being cared for by someone who found it, sans collar, and lovingly took it in. Be sure to let your neighborhood know what your pet looks like. Post photos in community pages, on poles and in the post office. Ask people at the dog park and notify your local vet’s offices. All places someone who may have picked your pet up will likely frequent.

photo credit: Castro Camilo Liquor store’s helper via photopin (license)

Pet Insurance – What You Need To Know!

It’s no secret that vet bills can be costly. When deciding to get a pet many pet parents only consider the basics – spaying/neutering, shots, annual check-ups. What if your pet it injured though? Or if has special needs? Becomes elderly? All these examples can cause those vet bills to soar out of control and leave owners feeling like they are compromising the quality care a loved one needs. Enter pet insurance. We’ve dug up some of the quick facts about pet insurance to help you learn a little more about ensuring your pet’s health and keeping those medical bills at bay!

Pet Insurance 101

  • Why? – Everyone needs this. If you’re serious about your pet it’s your responsibility to be serious about their health. Even pet parent’s blessed with healthy pets run the risk of accidents (snake bite? accidental poisoning?) and the inevitability of aging. It’s the best way to protect yourself financially and make sure your pet always has the care they need!
  • How Does It Work? – Most Pet Insurance reimburses you. If you don’t feel like you can pay the upfront cost with savings, credit card, or other emergency funds, talk with your veterinarian first about payment plan options that will work with your insurance.
  • Cost? – Pet Insurance can cost anywhere from around $10/month up to $40/month. Just like with health insurance for yourself, be sure to look at how much is covered, deductibles, and if there are any add-on options you may need like dental. Check out this site for a nice comprehensive comparison between some of the leading pet insurance companies.

Be sure to ask your vet what their experiences are with insurance and if they think it would be a good idea for you and your pet!

photo credit: GregHounslow Puppy with Cast via photopin (license)

Teach Your Kids To Respect Animals – Top Tips!

Animals all have their own unique “languages”. Just like learning to talk it’s important to teach children how to communicate with all the critters they may meet. Why is this important? Because animals are awesome and being good to them makes you pretty awesome too; among many other good reasons far too numerous to mention! So, how do you go about teaching your kid about the language of animals? Here are some top tips!

How to Teach Your Kids to Respect Animals

  • Teach them to be humble. Kids have a way of seeing something they want and just grabbing it for their own purpose and amusement. When around another living creature, encourage them to control that urge. Some animals are crazy and will bounce all around a kid scaring them, but sometimes it’s the kid doing the bouncing and grabbing. Teach your kid to be patient and let the animal approach them on their own terms.
  • Teach them to be gentle. Soft touching and no grabbing is key to animal respect. Sure, there will always be amazing pets out there that don’t mind your toddler dragging them around by their tail, but do they really enjoy it? Best to advise your child how to stroke them gently and carry them comfortably.
  • Teach them to be calm. Pets can be just as rambunctious as kids sometimes. It’s important that your kid learns not to lash if they get annoyed with them. No hitting, kicking, or biting!
  • Learn more! Find a full list of awesome ways to teach your child to respect animals here.  From visiting animals shelters to reading books about them there are a million (or at least 21) ways that you can increase your child’s empathy and ensure they have lots of happy relationships with pets in their future!

Chocolate, Candies, and Flowers – Keep Your Pet Safe!

Whether this Valentines Day finds you committed or single, your pet loves you unconditionally! The way they are always happy to see you, always up for snuggles, and the affectionate ways they bring you gifts or help you out with your grooming make up for not sending you chocolate once a year.  All the more reason to ensure your celebrations aren’t putting them at risk.

The Chocolate Factor and Others

  • If there is a holiday more associated with chocolate, we don’t know what it could be! You may know that chocolate can kill your dog, did you also know it’s bad for cats too? Chocolate causes abnormally high heart rates in animals. It’s super important to make sure your pet never has access to it! Since chocolate can cause cardiac arrest, make sure you know how to perform CPR!

 

  • How about those flowers delivered to your door? They look beautiful and smell great but could also be toxic to your pet! Lilies are especially toxic to cats and many other flower varieties can cause upset stomachs and vomiting. Even if the flower itself is not toxic to your pet, many floral arrangments are sprayed with chemicals to enhance their look and extend their life.
  • Sugar-free doesn’t mean pet-friendly. Xylitol is often found in sugar-free chocolate and candies (Gum too!). This ingredient is especially toxic to pets. It’s in you and your pets best interest to keep all sweets out of reach!
  • Ribbons, bows, and candles. You’ve done great making sure those chocolates are out of reach (or gone already…) but what about the box? Delicious smelling candy wrappers, bows, and ribbons can pose choking hazards for many pets, and potentially cause intestinal blockage if consumed. And how about those candles that set the mood for a romantic evening? Make sure their not where a pet can know them over!

photo credit: DaPuglet Valentine Pug via photopin (license)

Paws for Thought – Caring For Your Pet’s Feet

Pet paws, with their fuzzy and sometimes thick and leathery pads seem pretty tough to us. Our pets go tromping across terrain that we need a pair of hiking boots to even consider approaching! They might be tougher than our bare feet but they still need cared for properly. Do you know what threats, remedies, and precautions you need to take to protect your pet’s paws?

Caring For Your Pet’s Paws

  • Claws – Some people don’t realize how important keeping a pet’s claws trimmed is. It’s not just for your comfort or aesthetic reasons. In the wild, many animals claws will be worn down naturally by digging and making their way across rocks. In the domesticated world this natural “trimming” often doesn’t occur as often, or even at all. When trimming you have to be careful about trimming too short and cutting the “quick” in the nail. This can hurt your pet and cause bleeding. If you’re not comfortable regularly trimming your pet’s nails be sure to ask your vet at your next appointment!
  • Frostbite – Pets exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged periods of time can experience frostbite, which is a damaging of the tissue, often leading to the tissues “death”. It can be very painful, and also very dangerous if left unrecognized and treated. Paws are a common place to see frostbite on pets since they are less insulated and in direct contact with ice, snow, or water. Check out the common symptoms and treatments here.  If you’re taking your pet out in very cold weather, keep it brief and keep their paws dry – or consider a pair of booties!
  • Burns – Summertime can make your pet at risk for burns on the bottom of their paws. Asphalt that has baked in the summer sun all day and even rocks or sand can cause damage. When taking your pet for a walk ensure they have grass, dirt, or some other alternative to hot surfaces to walk. You can also plan your walks for early morning or late evening.
  • Thorns & Cuts – Never ignore your pet if they seem to be favoring a paw either by limping, or paying extra attention to it with their tongue. Outdoor adventures, even within an urban environment can lead to cuts, splinters, or even thorns. Left unattended these can fester and become a much bigger problem for your pet.
  • In Rabbits – Rabbits, especially those who have cages with wire bottoms or hop around on smooth surfaces frequently are prone to a special paw ailment – sore hocks. Sore hocks occur on the back feet of rabbits and can be very dangerous if left untreated. They begin as bald spots on the bottom of the foot that wear away to open sores and infections. Keep a sharp eye on your bunnies hind feet to spot the symptoms!

Neosporin is a great treatment for many mild foot ailments. It is safe for use on most pets (including rabbits). Remember to regularly pay attention to your pet’s paws and see your vet regularly!

photo credit: Mic the otter spotter, going slow Pixie paws via photopin (license)

Thanksgiving Cooking Dangers and Your Pets

Two days until Thanksgiving and in some households the cooking has already begun! As the pressures of the holidays mount be sure you’re not overlooking your pets safety! We’ve done some of the work for you and put together a handy list of new risks you should be aware of as you gear your kitchen up!

Thanksgiving Cooking Dangers

  • Exposing poisons – Be careful while you hunt for that turkey platter or electric knife you only use once a year. In your rummagings, things like mouse poison, household cleaners or toxins, or other things you try to keep out of your pets space may become exposed or spill. Be aware of your environment, making sure once you’ve succeeded in your quest that the floor or counter is free of new debris.
  • New cords – With the unusually high volume of cooking it’s pretty common to break out new appliances or set things up in places you normally don’t. Make sure these are pet-free zones!
  • Food exposure – All those yummy smells are going to attract more than just your human guests! It’s best during the flurry of meal preparation to keep your pets put up. They’ll have a keen eye for dropped morsels and will likely be faster than you at the clean-up! While many things are harmless, a splatter of chocolate from your pie or errant bone can be lethal.
  • Hot things – Yes, you have hot things in your kitchen every time you cook, but this time of year it’s the volume of hot things that pose the risk. As you try to multi-task the danger to your pet (and yourself!) goes up! Try to not have more than one burner going at a time so you’re not handling boiling water, hot grease, and pans from the oven all at once!

 

photo credit: Petteri Sulonen Stir Fry via photopin (license)

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