Tag 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

Fireworks and Pets: An Explosive Mix

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

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