Category Archives: Pet Safety

Have A Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe Holiday!

Have a Safe Holiday Season

Walking in a winter wonderland of waving Santas, prancing reindeer and swirling snow globes may seem like paradise to us but it can feel like a battleground to a nervous pooch. Remember when dealing with a Nervous-Nellie introduce new, scary, stimuli slowly and with a lot of patience and praise.  To keep your dog under the threshold of having a freak-out, we want to start changing your dog’s association to new the items.  The secret: start well in advance of his anxiety, try to anticipate things that will be stressful, and reward and praise your dog profusely as you approach and pass the item.  You should be as jolly as a little elf yourself, praising your dog for bravery as you pass. Your happy body language is key to building your dogs confidence.  Remember if you are tense yourself that communication transmits down the leash and only feeds your dogs anxiety. My rule of thumb is if I don’t feel silly and over the top I’m not doing it right!

Ultimately if your pet ever starts to really react negatively to an item and you can’t divert their attention, do the emergency u-turn and give them some space.  Let them sniff the object while you praise like crazy, and never force your pet or drag them over to “meet” something scary.

Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities,  but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And to keep your pet safe and decking the halls for years to come,  the ASPCA has the following great tips for pet holiday safety:

O Christmas Tree Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he decide to drink it, so discourage this behavior.  You may even have to barricade the bottom of the tree area so that curious pets don’t make the tree dish their own personal drinking fountain. Or worse yet, decide you brought the outhouse into your house, and mark the tree!

Tinsel-less Town
Some pups love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pooch will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.

  • Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. I recommend staying away from un-processed rawhide.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

That Festival of Lights
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

House Rules
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pet a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session. Keep  a lot of fun toys on hand so that dogs can be encouraged to fetch a toy and not mouth a guest. Go-get-the-toy is a great distraction for a dog that loves to jump on guests as they enter and hasn’t perfected his sit-to-greet.

Put the Meds Away
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own
Remember your normally quiet home may have a lot more hustle and bustle than usual. Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a dog’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

Take into consideration all these tips and your holiday season is sure to be merry and bright for all the members of your family!!!

This article taken directly from the ASPCA website at : http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/holiday-safety-tips.aspx

Welcome to the Family: How to Introduce Cats and Dogs

Animals are wonderful creatures and it is always fun to have at least a couple in the house. Despite what you may think, you can teach your kitty and pooch to live harmoniously together in one household. The key to getting your feline and canine to get along has to do with the introduction. The following are tips to help train your cat and dog to get along without attacking each other

Things to consider before the introduction:

When you add a new pet to your household, there are several things to remember. Your older pet is the king or queen of the castle. Your new pet will be an intruder. You need to treat them that way for a little while. For example, if you have had your cat for awhile, then your cat will see the dog as an unwelcome guest. You should not let the new dog have the run of the household for at least a while. Give your cat and dog time to adjust to each other slowly. Keep the new pets separated in other rooms for a couple of weeks and allow the introductions to happen over a few days. Let them get used to each others new smells and all the new stuff before you start introductions.

You will have better chance of success if your dog is a puppy. A puppy who grows up with a cat is likely to see the cat as part of the pack. Puppies can meet older assertive cats (cats who stand their ground and don’t flee) very successfully.  It is more difficult to introduce a young fearless kitten to a high energy prey-driven dog.

Combinations that will definitely clash:

  • If our dog has an aggressive or predatory nature. An aggressive dog can seriously injure or kill a cat. Dogs with intense prey drive are tough to counter condition in this case, the chase instinct can be too hard-wired.
  • If your cat is a small kitten, or is declawed, handicapped, or elderly. A kitten can be injured by an overly playful dog., older, or handicapped cats are less equipped to defend themselves so they will usually bite a dog as a first line of defense since they have no other weapons. This is not good for cat or dog.
  • If your cat is very skittish and prone to fleeing. This makes they cat appear like prey and can induce the chase instinct in the dog. Remember most dogs will chase rapidly moving objects. So if a cat gets frightened and runs, a dog often feels honor-bound to chase it. It’s important to nip that in the bud. If you don’t, the result can be injury, and even death, for the cat.

Two Basic Rules

Here are the top two rules to follow when you introduce a new cat to a dog household, or add a dog when you already have a cat:

  • Make sure your cat has total freedom, and can run and hide if desired.
  • Make sure your puppy or dog is well restrained and can’t follow a fleeing cat.

The reason for these rules is simple: In any cat-dog introduction, there’s more potential danger to the cat than to the dog. If there’s going to be a problem during cat and dog introductions, it’s usually caused by the dog, says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, PhD, James Law Professor of Behavior Medicine – Emeritus at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Preparation steps – Important!

  • Get to know your dog and cat well. Be able to interpret their body language and sense their moods.
  • Your dog should have some training, and respond to commands to come, stay, and sit. Leave-it (turn away and make eye contact with you) is also a good one to have on board and should be heavily rewarded.
  • You should also know how to blend mild discipline and positive redirection to gently influence both pets behavior.

Do not proceed with the introduction until you have completed the steps in this section.

The Introduction

  • Beforehand, exercise your dog and feed him a nice meal; put him in a relaxed mood. Put your dog on a short leash or in his crate.
  • Put your cat in her carrier if she’s a scaredy-cat by nature; otherwise let her walk around. Be armed with lots of treats for good behavior.
  • Let dog and cat check each other out at a distance. Pet and talk to your dog soothingly. It’s not time for dog to approach cat just yet. Give your dog and cat some treats and praise as rewards for calm behavior.
  • Encourage your dog to do the sit/stay or down/stay while being HEAVILY rewarded for being calm around kitty.
  • If your dog bolts toward your cat, correct him with the leash. If he shows any signs of excessive excitability, calm him. If this doesn’t do the trick, cut the visit short and try again later when the dog is calmer.
  • Repeat these short visits several times a day, gradually giving your dog more leash as appropriate.

Do not move to the next phase until you have several consecutive days of incident-free visits in which both animals demonstrate to your satisfaction that they are comfortable with each other.

Helpful Gear

To keep all the pets in your home safe during introductions, the experts recommend using this gear:

  • Cat trees or perches. Whether your cat is the newbie or the senior pet in the house, before making cat and dog introductions, be sure your cat can move freely. Make sure there are “perches or cubbies for hiding, someplace where the cat can get off the floor and settle in somewhere,” says Christopher Pachel, DVM, a Portland, Ore. veterinarian who focuses on animal behavior issues. “You basically want an elevated resting place” for the cat.
  • A dog leash. Make sure your dog is safely restrained so it’s not able to chase, even if the cat darts away. This is a bigger issue with herding breed dogs, who have a prey instinct, but it’s really a hardwired response in all dogs to chase small fluffy things running away quickly.
  • Baby gates can help you gradually introduce dogs and cats, and the barrier minimizes danger to the cat. A baby gate is often better than a cat carrier because it gives the cat much-needed freedom.

Providing hiding space and perches for your cat, and finding a way to restrain your dog — and doing these things before anything is expected of the pets — sets the stage for a calmer introduction. Just make sure the dog is comfortable, the cat is comfortable, the dog can’t chase, and the cat can get away.

The Next Phase

Once your dog and cat consistently get along during leashed visits, you’re ready for the next step. Take your dog off the leash, and supervise the two closely. If you see problems, and they don’t abate with a few simple voice commands, back up to the previous phase for a few days. Gradually make the no-leash sessions longer. Do not leave the cat and dog alone until you’re sure they’re both fully comfortable with each other and there will be no trouble. Make sure your cat has places she can jump to for safety. Make some private space in your home for each animal. Use cat doors or baby gates if practical, as well as gentle discipline and rewards to enforce the rules. Keep kitty’s litter box and food bowl out of your dog’s reach.

Now relax and give these guys some hugs.

Don’t Do This

Here are common mistakes that people make when introducing cats and dogs:

  • Just throw them together and let them work it out! Not only is this dangerous, but it sets the stage for disaster. First impressions are everything to a cat and a bad experience makes it nearly impossible to get them to want to participate again.
  • Forcing physical proximity: Picking up your cat and holding him or her in your dog’s face by way of introduction will tempt your cat to scratch the dog and encourage the dog to really not like the cat. Always let kitty decide when or if it will approach the dog.
  • Not knowing the background of the dog you adopt. Adopting a dog from a shelter is often a wonderful idea, especially if you don’t have other pets, but Houpt notes that people rarely know a shelter dog’s background. “If a 2-year-old dog is looking for a home, there’s usually a good reason,” says Houpt, who also professionally consults on animal behavior issues. In some cases the dog may be aggressive, destructive, or have other problems. If you want to bring a canine into a feline household, Houpt usually recommends getting a puppy.
  • Not preparing your pet for change: Pachel suggests making changes — like moving your cat’s litter box, putting up a baby gate, or closing certain doors — before you bring your new pet home. That way, your long-time pet has a chance to get used to the changes before the new pet shows up.
  • Not thinking about your pet’s reaction. Try to think about the changes you’re making in your home from your pet’s perspective. For example, be aware that if you move the litter box and the cat has to walk past the dog’s kennel to get to it — and the dog is barking — that’s stressful for the cat.

When it Doesn’t Work Out

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it wasn’t meant to be. Some dogs are simply too dangerous to be around cats (occasionally the reverse is true). If your gut is telling you that this isn’t working out, respect that message. The humane thing to do in this case is  find a good cat-free home for the dog or dog-free home for the cat. In the interim, keep dog and cat separated and give them both lots of love.

Dogs and cats can usually live together peacefully, although creating a harmonious “blended family” requires some planning, patience, and careful guidance on your part. In some cases your dog and cat will become best friends. Some dogs unfortunately will be too dangerous for your cat, and one of the most important points of this article is that you need to recognize when this is the case. Like any love affair, you shouldn’t force a relationship that just isn’t working.

Excerpted from Introducing Cats and Dogs Without Re-Writing the Movie By Gary Loewenthal
and When Dog and Cat Meet By Wendy Fries

Fireworks and Pets: An Explosive Mix

Originally posted at BestFriends.org on June 30, 2009 : 12:17 PM
Image

At almost every fireworks display, you see someone who has brought their beloved pooch with them. That is almost never a good idea. Fireworks displays can be stressful, disorienting and frightening for dogs. Your normally calm pooch might get spooked and confused by the noise, crowds and bright lights and become afraid or aggressive or run off. Even if you leave your dog at home, dogs who are not normally frightened by loud noises may panic from the cumulative effects of fireworks, noisy crowds outside the house and being left alone. Please keep your pets indoors. Remember, the 5th of July is the busiest day of the year for animal control officers and shelters!

Dogs and cats have an acute sense of hearing and fireworks will be particularly loud and frightening to them. Pets frequently become more sensitive to loud noises as they grow older. Even if they have not reacted in the past they may become unexpectedly or uncharacteristically fearful.

Pets, children and fireworks can create a particularly dangerous situation as frightened animals can unintentionally hurt a child. Children may not realize that waving sparklers or setting off firecrackers could upset the family pet. Educate your children on the dangers of fireworks around pets.

Some pets don’t even seem to notice fireworks. Others do well simply by having their owner nearby, talking to them and petting or holding them. Others cannot be calmed by anything because they are simply too frightened.

Common signs of noise phobia:

Some of the normal signs that you pet is afraid of fireworks or other loud noises include shaking and trembling, barking and howling, excessive drooling, frantic pacing, attempting to hide, not eating and trying to escape from the house, car or enclosed yard.

The signs noted above are general signs and could be related to diseases or conditions unrelated to noise phobia. Contact your veterinarian if these signs continue after the fireworks are over or if you suspect that your pet has been injured or poisoned during the holiday celebrations.

Tips for keeping your pets safe over the Fourth of July holiday

Preventing pet problems during holiday celebrations is easy by simply planning ahead, practicing safety and taking some basic precautions. You and your human family can enjoy the excitement of the Fourth of July and know that your animal companions are safe and enjoying peace and quiet in the safety of familiar surroundings.

• Never leave your pets alone outside where they can become frightened and panic. Even in a fenced yard, a frightened pet can escape and get lost, injure himself or get hit by a car while trying to seek refuge.
• If you must have your pet outside, keep him on a leash or in a carrier.
• Walk your dog early in the evening before the fireworks begin.
• Keep your pets inside your house preferably in a room without any outside exposure or in a room with windows that are covered by curtains or blinds. Create a safe, secure sanctuary for them with a favorite blanket or toy and special treats. Be sure you have removed any items that could be destroyed by your pet or be harmful to them. Leave a TV or radio on to provide a distraction from the noise – preferably calming sounds or classical music. If possible, leave someone at home to comfort them if they become afraid.

• Don’t leave your pet unattended in your car – panic may cause them to damage your car and hurt themselves. With only hot air to breath, your pet can suffer serious injury in a short period of time. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air for your pet and can provide an invitation for your pet to be stolen.

• Make sure your pets have current ID tags in case they do run away during the festivities. On July 5, many dogs are found miles from their homes – disoriented and exhausted. Animal shelters across the country will receive “July 4th Dogs” – dogs who escape during celebrations and are rescued by animal control personnel and good Samaritans who take them to shelters.

• Never use fireworks around your pets, even on your own property. Keep your personal fireworks stored in an area inaccessible to them. Pets may try to eat fireworks and pet hair can easily catch fire if they are too close to the fireworks. If you do use fireworks on your property, pick up the fireworks debris, including used sparklers, which can be dangerous if ingested.

Ways for your pets to celebrate with you

Many people want to include their pets in their holiday celebrations. However, most cats and dogs are much more comfortable if they stay at home and maintain their normal routine during fireworks displays.

There are many safe ways to include your pet in your Fourth of July festivities. Bring them along on your picnic, take them with you to the lake or beach, or include them in your family gatherings at home. Just make sure they are safely inside with a safe place to relax before the fireworks begin.

“Each year on the 4th of July pets panic and run away from the people they love. Please keep your pets safe inside your home,” urges Sherry Woodard, Best Friends’ animal behavior consultant.

Originally posted at BestFriends.org on June 30, 2009 : 12:17 PM
Tips for keeping your pets safe on the Fourth of July
by Barbara J. Koll, Best Friends Network voluntee

Dog Days of Summer Part II : Pool Safety

Yippee, Pool Party!

Whether your dog loves to swim, or would happily sun bathe instead, if you are around a pool teaching your dog pool safety is a must.  Water safety tips are important because even a dog that doesn’t like to swim can fall into the pool and drown trying to get out.  Also not all dogs are seaworthy, stubby legged, heavy bodied breeds like English Bulldogs and Basset Hounds shouldn’t swim, as buoyancy is near impossible. Dogs, just like people, can panic in the water and try to climb on top of a rescuer, so it is safer to throw them something that floats, like a life preserver on a rope, they can “grab.”Image

Although not all dogs are fond of water, they should be exposed to it for their own safety. With some simple training and safety devices, you can ease your mind and protect your dog this summer.

Some Water Safety Training Tips to Keep in Mind (courtesy of APDT)

  • Give him a gradual introduction into the pool or lake by holding him snugly and slowly walking into the water. Let him get wet a little at a time and eventually let him swim to the exit. Make it a positive experience with lots of encouragement and praise.
  • Teach proper swimming technique. All dogs will instinctively paddle when submerged in water, but as inexperienced swimmers, many dogs try to rely on their front legs and do little with their rear legs. This results in an almost vertical swim technique with lots of splashing. It’s exhausting and very easy for a dog to become over-tired this way. With proper training, the most vertical of swimmers can learn to use their rear legs, evening out their performance and swimming much more effectively and safely. Keep a close eye on your dog – if you see them become over-stimulated or fatigued, it’s time to call them out. If you see your accomplished swimmer dog lowering his rear, this is a sign that he is getting tired.
  • Dogs have poor depth perception so if the pool has steps, mark them with a big potted plant and make sure he associates the plant as the exit marker. If there are no steps, provide a non-slip ramp for getting out. Spend sufficient time training him to go up the ramp if he’s alone.
  • If your dog plays in a lake, make sure to stand at the place on the shore where he can easily walk out.
  • Always use a life jacket on your dog in ponds, lakes, rivers, or the open water. Just like with people, it’s easy for a dog to develop a cramp in a leg, become exhausted too far from shore, or in the case of rivers or oceans, overwhelmed by tides. Life jackets give your dog the extra protection to stay buoyant.
  • Keep safety floatation devices nearby, just in the case of an emergency. If your dog gets into trouble, a life preserver attached to a long line is the best course of action to take. Dogs panic easily in the water when trouble hits, and a panicked, flailing dog can accidentally drown any person trying to assist it. Get the dog to grab out to the preserver first and try to reel it in closer to shore before physically trying to help it out.
  • Training polite pool manners is a must. A big Golden Retriever sailing through the air in her excitement to get in the water is a no-no. Train the canine to “Wait” at pool’s edge or to always use the steps or the ramp.
  • Also teach her that the “Come” command applies to the pool as much as it does to dry land.
  • Be mindful of the specific needs of your dog’s breed. Each dog’s physical structure and body-type will greatly impact his swimming ability. Heavily muscled bully breeds exert more energy while swimming due to their increased body mass. Consider using a lifejacket with such dogs for added protection.
  • Watch your dog’s nails! Dogs can quickly wear their nails down to the point of bleeding as they excitedly race around the pool’s exterior. Keep a watchful eye on the pads of their feet as well. Repeated launching from pool steps can tear up paw pads; especially for dogs who spend most of their time on grass.
  • Unless your pool cover is solid and strong enough to support your weight, do not leave it on when your dog is unattended near the pool. Countless dogs, even accomplished swimmers, have lost their lives following an unexpected tumble into a covered pool. Once they’re in, the cover is disorienting and it’s almost always impossible for a dog to find his way out. If your dog needs to spend time in the yard unsupervised, consider erecting a pool safety fence.
  • Avoid letting your dog drink pool water. Always keep an ample supply of fresh water around so your dog can drink without attempting to drink from the pool. Also make sure you give your dog many opportunities to relieve himself after a swim as he is likely to ingest water from wherever he is swimming (pool, pond, lake or ocean) and may need to urinate more often.
  • Make sure you rinse your dog off after a swim to get chlorine and other pool chemicals, as well as bacteria or dirt he might get on him from a pond or lake. Don’t let your dog sit in a wet collar as hot spots can develop. Be mindful of areas where water can collect, like ears, groin, and armpits, where moisture-induced infections can occur.
  • If your dog is overweight or a senior, check with your veterinarian first before allowing him to swim. This is also important for dogs who are generally sedentary. Dogs, like people, experience muscle soreness and stiffness and they’re counting on us to lookout for their best interests.

Keep in mind all these great tips and you and your dog will have a fun safe summer!!

The Dog Days of Summer Part 1

The dog days of summer are upon us! It’s the perfect time of year to incorporate some extra activities into your pet’s schedule. The warmer weather and longer daylight hours offer additional time outside. When planning vacations, weekend getaways, or even weeknight outings, now’s a great time to include activities that are pet-friendly. Try these tips and share in an active summer with your four-legged friends.

DOG BEACHES/Water Play
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to the coastline this summer consider bringing your dog to the beach. Most dogs, particularly outgoing breeds like retrievers and spaniels love to swim in the ocean! If you’re nervous about letting Fido loose in the vast aquatic beyond that surrounds our country, start off with a short leash and let him wade in the baby waves and move slowly on to greater depths.  If you can’t get to the surf, a small plastic kiddie pool can be just as refreshing without the tumult of waves or the mess of sandy fur! Remember though, just because a dog is wet doesn’t mean he still won’t be thirsty. This much activity combined with the heat from the beach will necessitate for him larger amounts of drinking water.

Safety Tips:

  • ALWAYS supervise your dog. You can even find doggie life vests in most pet stores for some extra peace of mind!
  • If you are unsure how your dog will react to the water, make sure to bring him to a controlled environment first. An enclosed pool area can be great, and for smaller dogs, your bath tub can also provide a great training experience.
  • Chemicals and dirt in the water can be harmful to your dog’s coat and health, so you should always give your dog a bath after you return home. If there is a shower facility at the beach, pool or lake, you may even want to give him a good rinse before you leave.
  • Drying your dog’s ears after swimming can help prevent ear infections.

Websites which chronicle lists of many dog-friendly beaches in the US:
General US: http://www.petfriendlytravel.com/dog_beaches
California:  http://www.totalescape.com/active/animals/dogs/beaches.html
Life Jackets, etc. for your dog:  http://www.cabelas.com/vests-boots.shtml

 GO FOR A HIKE:

Getting out in the great outdoors is a thrill for dogs – everywhere they turn, there’s something to sniff, look at or maybe even chase. Hit the trails with him for an active outing that’s refreshing, healthy and fun. It’s important to be well-supplied for hikes. Be sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your canine companion. Hiking can be hard work, so be sure your dog is physically up to the task. If you have any doubts, contact your veterinarian. Remember to build up to long hikes, just like you would for yourself.If you are going on a long hike, you may want to bring a small first aid kit with you, just in case.Be aware that your dog has tender paws, so try to avoid rough terrain, such as sharp rocks or dense underbrush. Be sure to use precautions against ticks and fleas, and check your dog when you get home.Consider inviting other friends and their balanced dogs along. A group hike is safer and more fun!

There are a number of off leash dog parks and hiking areas.  Me and my dog Sam love Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon and Tree People for hiking.

Check here for a list of Los Angles off-leash Dog Parks:

TAKE YOUR DOG TO LUNCH OR TO COFFEE:

Explore new neighborhoods. Most people and pets have a well-worn path on their neighborhood walks, so why not switch up the scenery? Stray off the usual route, or drive somewhere different to go for a stroll. Try to find dog-friendly business districts that encourage visitors to bring pets along. Many restaurants and coffee shops with outdoor dining areas will let your dog join you as long as they don’t enter the restaurant and are well-behaved. Bring some treats along, this is a great opportunity to practice your down/stay!

TAKE YOUR DOG ON YOUR FAMILY VACATION:

A great way to include your pooch for a weekend away is to camp. Most campsites allow leashed dogs and just like you, your dog will be delighted and rejuvenated with the new scenery. He’ll want to spend plenty of time sniffing all the new smells around. Take him for a hike or swim during the days to help drain his energy so he’s ready to rest by the fire at night with you. Pack food and water for him to avoid upsetting his stomach or having him drink tainted water. If you have to hike into your camp, you can have him carry in his own supplies in a doggy backpack.

Not the outdoorsy type check out a pet friendly hotel at Pets Welcome.com

SPECIAL DOG EVENTS:

Another idea is to look into venues and events near you that cater to our four-legged companions. Ball fields, movie theaters, museums and other local places will sometimes hold special days they dedicate to allowing dog lovers and their dogs to enjoy the day together. During summer there are usually at least a few dog-related events like fairs or races in most areas.

Burbank for example has a special day when the public pool is open for dogs to swim check it out at : Doggie Splash

Petco Park also has a bring your dog to the game night. Check it out at: Petco Park

OTHER HOT WEATHER SAFETY TIPS:

Never leave a dog in a parked car on a warm day. It’s a simple message that every dog owner should remember. This past weekend a Chocolate Lab passed away after being left alone in a car for over two hours. A sad wake-up call to pet owners everywhere.

It only takes minutes for the temperature in a stationary car to climb above 100ºF  which would be uncomfortable for any human. Since most of us aren’t covered head to toe in fur – imagine yourself wrapped in a sweater, unable to sweat. The heat becomes unbearable.

Dogs don’t have the same temperature control functions that we have. They can’t sweat like we do. They can only alleviate warmth by panting or releasing small amounts of heat through their paws. Without air circulation or water, there’s no way to escape the heat. Again, never leave a dog in a parked car when the weather is warm, if your not sure if it is too warm don’t leave your dog!


To beat the heat, and to prevent distress, PETA has a few pointers:

  • If you see a dog in a car and in distress, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license-plate number, have the owner paged inside nearby stores, and call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. If police are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back your assessment, take steps to remove the suffering animal, and then wait for authorities to arrive.
  • Don’t carry your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. This is always dangerous, but the heat brings the added danger of burning the dog’s feet on the hot metal.
  • Don’t take your dog jogging—except on cool mornings or evenings—and don’t force exercise.
  • On long walks, rest often and take plenty of water. Hot pavement can burn dogs’ paws; choose shady, grassy routes.
  • Trim heavy-coated dogs’ fur, but leave an inch for protection against insects and sunburn. Keep an eye on areas where hair is thin, like eyelids, ears, and nose as they can get sunburned.
  • Keep your dog indoors. If he or she must stay outside for long, avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Provide shade, water, and a kiddie pool if possible. Keep drinking water in an anchored bucket or a heavy bowl that won’t tip over.
  • Be a watchdog for chained dogs. Make sure that they have food, water, and shelter. If you see a dog in distress, contact humane authorities. Give the dog immediate relief by providing water.

Have a safe and fun summer everyone!!!

Deadly Beauty – Hidden Poisons in Your Yard

As spring draws near many of us are drawn to planting beautiful gardens and hours of outdoor play with our pets.  This Month my posts will focus on backyard safety with your pet.  While your yard is a great place for your dog to hang out, many pet owners are unaware of the number of species of plants that are potentially poisonous to our dogs. This is also the time of year many of us decorate our homes with beautiful bouquets of cut flowers.  All species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat or dog—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora.

Dogs, especially puppies, love to chew on fun stuff they find in the yard! If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Here is a list of plants commonly found to be toxic to pets. Please note that the following is not a complete list. If you have a particular plant in mind for your home or yard, you should thoroughly research it first. Use the ASPCA’s online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets and gardens. If you suspect your pet has come into contact with a potential toxin, please contact your vet or poison control immediately.

US Poison Control Hotline (Human) 1-800-222-1222  Free

Pet Poison Control  888-232-8870 $35 fee

ASPCA Veterinary Poison Control   (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

Plants Poisonous to Dogs

One that really surprised me ·  Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)

COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME SYMPTOMS WHEN INGESTED
Aloe Aloe vera vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, tremors, change in urine color
Amaryllis Amaryllis sp. vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, tremors
Apple and Crabapple Malus sylvestrus seeds, stems and leaves can result in red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting and shock
Autumn Crocus/Meadow Saffron Colchicum autumnale oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, organ damage, bone marrow suppression
Azalea/Rhododendron Rhododendron spp. vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, weakness, coma, death
Calla Lily/Trumpet Lily/Arum Lily Zantedeschia aethiopica oral irritation and pain, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Castor Bean/Castor Oil Plant Ricinus communis oral irritation and burning, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, convulsions; Note: beans are highly toxic
Chrysanthemum/Mum/Daisy Chrysanthemum spp. vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, loss of coordination, dermatitis
Cyclamen Cyclamen spp. excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, seizures, death
Daffodil/Narcissus Narcissus spp. vomiting, salvation, diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, heart arrhythmias
Dumbcane Dieffenbachia oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Elephant Ears Caladium hortulanum and Colocasia esculenta oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
English Ivy Hedera helix vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, diarrhea
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea heart arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, death
Hosta Hosta plataginea vomiting, diarrhea, depression
Hyacinth Hyacinthus orientalis vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors
Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens vomiting, diarrhea, depression
Iris Iris species excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy
Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis vomiting, irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, seizures
Marijuana/Hashish Cannabis sativa depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, excessive salivation, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizure, coma
Mistletoe/American Mistletoe Phoradendron flavescens gastrointestinal complications, cardiovascular collapse, difficulty breathing, slow heart rate, behavior changes, vomiting, diarrhea
Oleander Nerium oleander vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, collapse, cardiac failure
Peace Lily Spathiphyllum oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Philodendron Philodendron spp oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Pothos/Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Sago Palm Cycas revoluta, zamia species vomiting, black (tarry) stools, jaundice, increased thirst, bruising, blood clotting problems, liver damage, death
Schefflera Schefflera oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Tobacco Nicotiana glauca hyperexcitability then depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, paralysis
Tulip Tulipa species vomiting, depression, diarrhea, excessive salivation
Yew/Japanese Yew Taxus sp. sudden death from acute cardiac failure (early signs include muscular tremors, difficulty breathing, seizures

Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides

It is very easy to reach for a chemical pesticide, fertilizer or fungicide when faced with a problem in the lawn or garden. Fortunately for the average home gardener, safer alternatives are available for most commonly encountered problems, reducing the risk of a toxic exposure for your pet. If you notice damaging insects on your plants such as aphids, spider mites or thrips, these insects can be eliminated or reduced by a simple spray of water. These soft-bodied insects are easily dislodged. Adjust the nozzle of your hose so a firm spray will not harm your plants and wash them away. If you have only a few plants, use a good stream of water from your watering can and a little hand washing. It may take a day or two but an infestation can be cleared by no more than a good shower!

Soap and Water

If your insect problem is more serious, add a teaspoon of dish soap to a gallon of water and use it in a garden sprayer. The soap is an irritant to a lot of insects and can help break down the protective barriers of their external skeleton. There are commercial insecticidal soaps available that are less toxic than most chemical alternatives.

And Don’t Forget

Sometimes we forget the simplest things! Put your pets inside when mowing the lawn. A lawn mower can make a projectile out of a stick or rock that can injure your pet. Paint your garden tools a bright color such as red or yellow so you can see them out in the yard. Many pets step or trip on sharp garden implements. Store your chemicals out of reach and in their original containers. Don’t assume your pet will not be interested in consuming these products. If there is a toxic exposure or consumption, call your veterinarian immediately with the information from the product label. Keep your pets inside when applying any chemicals to the lawn or garden. With a little planning you and your pet can enjoy a safe and beautiful garden.

Have a great spring!

* Info Taken from About.com  and ASPCA.org