Tag: pet safety
I can still remember clear as day the afternoon we brought Kaiser home: we had driven from the Baltimore area out into the Pennsylvania countryside, and it was a beautiful, crystal clear day. We’d already been to the farm where Kaiser was born, so the terrain, the family, and even the home were familiar to us. Everything seemed so simple; we picked him up, finalized a few details, and within a short time we were back on the road and I had a yellow bundle of fur sleeping on my lap. As the road shot by, I started to think about getting him all set up once we were home. As he was our first puppy I had done research on training, temperament, food, you name it. And perhaps most fortunately, had already sought the advice of a local trainer on sleeping arrangements.
For a first time pet parent the puppy stage can be somewhat alarming. One knows on some level that it is going to be demanding. House breaking, setting up a new routine, and managing your pup’s angry little chewing habit while he or she is teething. It’s genuinely a matter of taking a completely unsocialized little guy and teaching him what is and what is not acceptable behavior, and that can be a daunting process. And on top of all of that, new pet parents are also likely struggling with sleep deprivation. Puppies need lots of potty breaks, even at night, and initially may have trouble adjusting to a conventional sleep schedule. But in order to maintain one’s responsibilities and just for the health of you, your family, and your new puppy, getting on a sleep schedule is highly important.
WHY A CRATE?
Of course as a pet parent we all ultimately find what works best for us and for our puppies. That being said, a crate may be a good way to get on a sleep schedule and establish a safe place in your home that is your puppy’s special space. According to the Humane Society, as natural den animals having a crate in the home can serve as a his “own personal den where he can find comfort and solitude while you know he's safe and secure—and not shredding your house while you're out running errands”. When attempting to get your puppy used to her crate, try to focus on the theme of safe and comfortable – pick out a soft, safe puppy bed made for use in a crate, or perhaps a soft blanket that can be folded and laid in the bottom. You can even consider draping a blanket or large towel over the top to make it more den-like, and tuck the crate in a corner or along a wall where it won’t be in the way and generating traffic. Your puppy will likely be more comfortable if she feels tucked out of the way and snug when she’s in her crate. If she’s hesitant to go in, remember: never force it. Hide a couple of treats inside as a special reward for when she does go in and check it out. Pick a cue and work on reinforcing that command, such as “go to your bed” or “go to your house”. Consistency is key, as your puppy will learn quickly that listening to your cue and doing the expected behavior leads to ear scratches, a cookie, or whatever reward you set for the behavior. On their website, the Humane Society lists several chronological steps for crate training your pup. Once he’s okay with going in and out, you can start to lengthen the time he spends inside, gradually working up to leaving him in it for periods during the day and eventually at night. With patience and lots of love, the end goal will benefit everyone in the home: a puppy that happily snuggles up in her crate for a good night’s sleep!!
Images courtesy John Star5115 and Moxkyr
We don’t have snow everywhere in the nation just yet, but one thing is certain: it feels like winter! The seasons are simply a part of life, so even though it may be more appealing to cozy up under a blanket and stay inside, the reality is we have to go out in it! So why not embrace the chill, and instead of rushed, uncomfortable potty breaks take the proper precautions so we can enjoy the season?
LOOK OUT FOR THOSE FEET
As early morning walks get colder and frostier, we may simply switch to boots and not give it too much additional thought. But what about our pups’ feet? In addition to colder temperatures that lead to colder concrete and asphalt, depending on your region winter may also mean deicer (salt mixes) spread on sidewalks, frost on the grass, and even snow on all surfaces. Similar to the fertilizers that are used on lawns periodically during the year, deicer formulas contain harsh chemicals that can wreak havoc on our dog’s footpads. Even simple rock salt can do damage to our dog’s feet. And unfortunately, while professional companies often place small flags to indicate fertilized areas, deicer is spread directly on the sidewalks that we use with our dogs and it is tougher to avoid. However, we do have a couple of options to prevent chapping, chemical burns, and other winter foot injuries. The first step is to maintain good grooming practices: trim your dog’s nails regularly, and if necessary very carefully trim any excess fur that may trap frost and snow around his footpads. Additionally, there are several balms on the market that can be used as a protectant on your dog’s pads. Check with your veterinarian or a pet store that you trust to find one with ingredients that are suitable for your dog, and then coat his feet each time you go out. And although they make take some adjustment, for longer walks or if a balm is not sufficient, you may consider weatherproof dog booties. They are a simple boot and typically have a Velcro cinch around the ankle to keep them snug but not too tight.
On chilly days, think through all of your plans with the weather in mind. Going to run errands? Make sure you won’t be parked for excessive amounts of time, thus leaving your dog out in the car. The temp will drop, and she is susceptible to hypothermia just like we are. And leaving the engine running is not a better option – this may expose your dog to dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. Does he want to go play in the backyard? Of course, let him out – but keep in mind how long he is out there and bring him back to warm up if it’s been too long. He can always go back out to run around later! And for sleeping arrangements: please, please think about the temps where your dog sleeps! Wood floors, tile, and other non-carpeted areas can be very cold. If your dog doesn’t already have a bed (or beds!) in the house, consider purchasing one or more. Or set up a nice little nest for him with blankets and towels so he can stay cozy at night. And please keep in mind that your dog needs adequate shelter – according to the American Kennel Society, our dogs can be at risk for frostbite even if simply left outside to play for too long. So imagine the damage that sleeping in an unheated or damp area outside could do!! The simplest formula for winter success is to remember your pup wants (and needs!) to be warm and dry. So by all means, take her out to play, and go get wet in the snow! But get her back to warm and dry with towel drying and a dry place to snuggle as soon as possible, and you will be able to weather the winter season just fine.
Images courtesy the author.
Halloween is quickly approaching, and while it can be a festive, enjoyable time of year for pets and their parents (see our previous article on Funny Dog Costumes for some great ideas!), the somewhat hectic nature of trick treating and Halloween celebrations can also prove to be stressful and even dangerous for our furry friends. Keeping both fun and safety in mind, we’ve put together a few suggestions for maximizing the holiday celebrations while also keeping your dog(s) safe and happy.
No matter how cute your little guy or gal may look on Halloween, the most important thing you can do as a pet parent is keep him or her safe on the holiday. Changes in routine and different foods and home décor can pose hazards for your dog. For example, certain foods that are okay for humans can be quite dangerous. According to Pet Poison Helpline’s website, chocolate, grapes, raisins, too many sweets, and even candy wrappers can pose hazards to your dog. Keep treats out of reach and keep in mind that with lots of activity and noise, your dog may be more anxious and therefore more creative in finding ways to access hazardous snacks. If your pet will be unsupervised, take the time to put people food and drinks away.
Speaking of pet supervision, it may be helpful to come up with a plan ahead of time on how you’ll navigate Halloween with your pet. For example, if you are planning to stay in and hand out candy, will your pet be okay with the constant opening and closing of the door? Or will he or she possibly try and get out? You may want to set up baby gates or other boundaries indoors to keep your pet in a secure area. If your dog is highly excitable you could even leave a bowl of treats on the porch for the little goblins with a friendly sign to avoid constant knocking and/or doorbell ringing. Or if you will be going trick or treating or out to a Halloween event, you might consider either taking your pet with you or setting up pet sitting so she’s not all alone and subject to noise, commotion, or any other mischief on Halloween night. Just to be on the safe side, you can also make sure you have your vet’s contact info on hand and that your dog’s ID tag is updated with a current address and phone number.
Additionally, when decorating for the holiday keep your pup in mind. Candles can easily be tipped over by a curious dog and a jack-o’-lantern may be no match for your dog’s wagging tail. A little planning when placing décor can go a long way. Also, Pet Poison Helpline notes that even glow sticks and glow jewelry can cause trouble for a dog that likes to chew (let’s be honest… what dog doesn’t like to chew?).
HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Once you have the important safety pieces in place, why not consider ways to enjoy Halloween with your pet? As mentioned above, you can include him by choosing a fun costume; if he’s comfortable with crowds he can even go trick or treating or to other holiday celebrations with you. Another option is to set up on the porch or in the front yard with your pet to welcome trick or treaters so she feels included and gets to socialize, too. Holidays are about recreation, celebration, and enjoying time with loved ones, and with a little planning you and your pup can have a great, safe time no matter what your plans are on Halloween!
Images courtesy KOMUnews
Written by Noelle L Published by Maggie B
Summer can be great fun for you and your dog with activities like hiking, swimming, boating and more, but it also brings some seasonal health hazards and risks pet parents need to remember. Among them are dehydration, burned pads and heat stroke. Here are some tips for a safe summer with your dog in the season ahead.
Auto Travel - Be very careful about leaving your pet in the car in the summer. Temperatures can rise quickly causing your dog to overheat, get heat stroke or worse, die.
Dehydration - Provide lots of cool fresh water to your pet both inside your home and outside. You can treat your dog to pupsicles or other frozen treats to increase the liquid intake of your pet each day.
Burned Pads - With the summer sun pounding down on asphalt, sidewalks and streets can become hot enough to burn your dog's feet. Test the surface with you hand before you go for a walk to be sure the temperature is not so hot it will hurt your dog. You can also buy booties, specifically designed to protect your pet's feet on hot surfaces.