Be Safe: Water Safety Pet Tips

Before hitting the water with your pet, it’s important to plan ahead. Boating with your pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience.

Be sure to take these necessary precautions to ensure that your pet’s boating experience is fun and safe:

• Identification tag: Make sure your pet has a collar with an identification tag.

• Familiarization with the boat: It is best to gradually introduce your pet to your boat and the water. Let your pet explore the boat while it is docked before going out on the water. Turn on the engine and let them get used to its sound, smell, and feel while the boat is docked. Finally, take your pet out on small cruises and gradually build up to longer cruise.

• Safe and easy boat access: Provide a pet ramp for your pet to get on and off the boat. This not only includes from the dock to the boat but also from the water to the boat. Pets weigh more wet than dry and it can be very difficult to lift them back into your boat after a swim.

• Flotation device: A pet life jacket can also ensure safety while on the water. Even if your pet is a good swimmer, getting tossed overboard can put any animal into a panic. Having your pet equipped with a flotation device with a lifting handle makes retrieving your pet much easier and safer.

• Proper hydration and staying cool: Protect pets from heat by providing some shade on the boat, providing plenty of water and keeping the deck cool to protect paw pads. Bring along a pet travel bowl and fresh water. It is critical to hydrate pets before they get into the water. Otherwise, they will drink the sea water and may get sick.

• Going potty: A big challenge of boating with your pet is making provisions so that they can go to the bathroom. If your boat trip does not allow for regular land stops for your dog to do their business, then provisions must be made so that they can relieve themselves on the boat. A portable dog potty that simulates grass is an excellent solution.

• Health records: If your boating destination is a marina or place that you’re not familiar with, be sure to bring along a copy of vaccination and health records. Some places may require proof of immunization before letting pets explore on land.

• Call ahead: While most marinas and parks welcome pets, there are some that aren’t pet friendly. Be sure to call ahead before arriving on shore. Wishing you and your pet safe and happy travels on the water this season!

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6 Spring Flowers That Are Toxic For Dogs

Springtime is here. It’s time to replant some flowers in the yard. When planting, remember some plants are toxic to dogs and other pets. You may want to opt for some other safer flowers when planting this spring.

Here’s 6 kinds of flowers that are toxic to dogs

  • Oleander – It can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation and abnormal heart beats if ingested.
  • Lilies – They are toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney damage.
  • Tulips – The bulbs contain toxins that cause depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and heart abnormalities.
  • Cocoa mulch – Reacts like chocolate to dogs causing vomiting, hyperactivity, and seizures.
  • Aloe – Can cause diarrhea and tremors.
  • Azalea – May cause vomiting.
  • Stay safe this spring and for more information about toxins in plants, visit the ASPCA.

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Winter Pet Tips

The gang at PetsWelcome is preparing for winter and that means we are pulling out our long sleeve shirts, coats, and putting away all the summer and fall clothing. Our pets are also noticing the temperature changes and have been snuggling a little closer to us.

Every season brings with it fun places to travel and activities to do with our pets, but it also brings about new things to be aware of such as chemicals that are harmful to our pets, weather changes that can be harsh on them, and decorations and plants that could be dangerous.

We love our pets and know you do too. As we all prepare for winter weather and frosty mornings, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Keep pets indoors as much as possible in cold weather. When they go out, stay with them. When you’re cold enough to go in, your pet is probably ready to return inside too.
  2. Make sure that your pet always has fresh, non-frozen drinking water.
  3. If you live near a pond or lake, be especially careful of ice. Keep your pet on a leash and stay with them when outdoors so they don’t run across the ice and risk falling through.
  4. Pets who go outdoors can pick up rock salt, ice, and chemical ice melts in their foot pads. Keep your pet’s pads from getting chapped and raw by wiping their feet with a washcloth when they come inside.
  5. Check under your car hood, honk, or rap on the hood before you start your car or truck engine. A cold cat will curl up against almost anything–including engines–to stay warm.

For more tips check out these articles:

Nicotine Poisoning And Pets

Recently, an article in the Huffington Post told the story of a little puppy who got a hold of her owner’s e-cigarette and punctured the plastic part that housed the liquid nicotine. The puppy received a dose of nicotine that was lethal and she did not survive.

It’s been known for quite some time that second hand smoke, cigarettes, and other products that contained nicotine aren’t safe for pets but now with more people using nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, and e-cigarettes, it’s a good reminder to make sure these items are also out of your pet’s reach. Especially since many of the quit smoking products are easier for pets to swallow, chew up, and contain concentrated amounts of nicotine.

Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Incoordination
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

Nicotine is a toxin with the estimated dose being between .5 and 1mg per pound of the pet’s body weight. So for example, a lethal dose for 10 pound cat might be 10 mg or 4 or 5 of the lower dose 2mg lozenges, 1 loss dose patch, or 1 unsmoked cigarette. Cigarettes contain anywhere from 9 to 30 mg of nicotine but when smoked, only about 2 to 4 mg become absorbed into the body. Regardless, one thing is clear, keep all nicotine products out of reach from your pets.

Accidents happen and the owner of the dog who died did not intend for his puppy to get a hold of his e-cigarette. He did the right thing and rushed his dog to the vet. If your pet ingests any poison, always call and get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

For more information about nicotine poisoning and pets, check out the Veterinary Partner website.

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How to protect your pets if you live near Mountain Lions

Earlier this month, a family in Sun Valley California reported that a mountain lion attacked and killed their pet dog. Their dog, along with another family, have lost their pets to a mountain lion. There have also been several other residents who have heard animals scream or howl at night and believe that mountain lions are the reason. To read the rest of the article, you can find it on CBS News’s website, here.

If you live in an area where mountain lions are known to roam, the California Department of Fish and Game advises the following tips:

  • Do not feed deer
  • Trim brush to reduce the hiding places for mountain lions
  • Don’t let your pets out at night, dusk, and dawn. These are times mountain lions are the most active.
  • Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting wild animals to your yard
  • If you hike or jog think about finding a friend to accompany you
  • If you come face to face with a mountain lion, do not run, try to make yourself look bigger by waving your arms
  • Throw rocks and other objects if you encounter a mountain lion to scare it away
  • If attacked, fight back
  • If you witness an attack, immediately call 911

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NYC Creates an Animal Abuse Registry

The City Council of NYC overrode a veto from Mayor Bloomberg earlier in 2014 and has approved the creation of a registry that listing anyone who is convicted of animal abuse or cruelty. All the names that are entered onto the registry are prohibited from owning an animal. The registry will be an electronic database that will be available to all law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, and humane societies, as well as shelters and other pet associations.

NYC now is the biggest jurisdiction to implement such a registry and it’s not the only place. Michigan is also moving forward to pass a registry where shelters and animal control agencies will have to check it and do a criminal background check on anyone seeking to adopt an animal.

On a larger scale, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is working hard to create a national Do Not Adopt registry that will be open to anyone but searchable only by name and date of birth. If there is a match the database will provide information necessary for shelters and other humane societies to assist in their approval or denial of adopting an animal to someone, if that person’s name appears on the database. An obvious target of this kind of identification for the ALDF is to stop dog fight owners from obtaining more dogs and those who may have a problem and hoard animals.

To read more about these groundbreaking new laws, check out the full article on ALDF’s site.
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Fire Safety Tips for Pets

October is National Fire Safety Month and you may have seen or participated in some local fire safety events in your city this past month. Events can include instructional seminars to create an evacuation plan for your house, classes in CPR, or even fundraisers to buy oxygen masks for fire departments.

These educational opportunities are great for learning about the potential of fire danger and how to prevent it – but, as we all know, fire safety is an issue that we should be aware of year-round, not just during October. With that in mind, here are few things you can do to help prevent accidental fires in your house – and, in case of emergency, how to make sure your four-legged family members are included in your evacuation plans.

Fire Safety Tips for Households with Pets

  1. Always put out and turn off open flames such as candles, gas stoves, and fireplaces before leaving or going to bed.
  2. Never leave your pet unattended around an open flame.
  3. Pet-proof areas where your pet could accidentally start a fire such as around propane tanks, loose live wires, or cooking appliances.
  4. Keep pet evacuation gear (such as a leash or carrier) near the doorway.
  5. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors on a regular basis.
  6. Affix a window cling to alert rescue workers to any pets left in the home in case there is an emergency.
  7. Keep the information on your window cling updated.

Subaru Looking To Create A Safer Ride For Pets

Subaru of America announced that they are partnering up with the Center for Pet Safety to make vehicles safer for pets who ride in them. In a crash test using a fake dog, it found that most of the safety restraints on the market today did not safely keep a pet from being hurt.

According to the Center for Pet Safety’s website, the study showed “a 100 percent failure rate.” None of the harnesses were safe enough in a crash test to protect the dogs and the people in the event of an accident.

With funding from Subaru, the Center will move forward to develop standards that can be used to create pet products that are more effective at ensuring the safety of the pets in cars, which is turn, is also safer for us. Dogs can become projectile objects when stopping short or in a collision. Restraining them with the car harnesses on the market now prevents some of that, but according to the tests, your pet may still throttle around the car and could choke or become a missile.

To read more about the new initiative, check out Edmunds.come.

This isn’t the first time Subaru has thought about the welfare of pets. They often sponsor pet events in various cities and adoption drives. They even had a campaign that featured dogs with the tagline, “Once you sit in a Subaru, you’ll stay.”

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Pet Flipping: Old Trick, New Scam

In an article released by Business Week, there is a new scam on the rise which has roots in old tricks. It’s called “pet flipping” and involves selling pets that are either stolen or claimed to be the person’s personal pet on internet sites like Craigslist.

Typical scenario may be something like this:

Someone posts finding a pet in their neighborhood on Craigslist. The scam artist calls or emails and claims that the pet is his/hers. Once the pet is in the scam artist’s possession then a new post may go online with a request to find a new home for the pet. Something like, “moving cannot take my pure bred mini poodle” along with information about the dog that is completely inaccurate and false and an adoption fee or sale price. Someone looking to buy a pet or adopt one may see this ad and respond. Then the scammer makes a profit and does it again. This is an extension of dog napping, where someone would steal a dog that was tied to a pole or in a car and then sell it.

If you are looking to get a new pet, the best route is to adopt and head to your local shelters and rescue groups to find a new friend. A good rescue group will have a well detailed questionnaire and some history on the pet such as former owner information, behavior traits, and veterinarian. This means you could always call the vet and validate that the dog, in fact, went there. Local animal shelters will have some basic information such as vaccine history and reason for surrender.

If you do reply to an ad on the internet from an owner, arm yourself and be alert. Ask questions, question everything – from the vet used, to age of the pet, dog park they go to, to food, to routines. Then if you want to double check, call the vet and explain why you are calling and ask if they can validate that the pet and owner are clients. They may not be able to tell you more than that and that is due to their confidentiality and security that they promise to their clients. Also, ask to meet the pet and assess how it responds and reacts to the owner. Does the cat or dog seem to be bonded? Does the environment seem to be one that the pet has made a home in (toys, cat posts, dog bowls, etc)?

For those of us who own pets, micro-chipping can help discourage thieves and track our pets. Keep the information registered with the microchip company up to date and always make sure your pet has tags on the collar. When you go out to run errands think about leaving your pup home instead of tying it outside the store or leaving it in the car for a few minutes. Besides, being left in the car is not fun for pets, temperatures change in cars rapidly and cold days can make it a freezer and hot days make it an oven in a snap. Spay and neuter your pet to also discourage thieves from taking it to illegally breed it for profit.

It’s sad to think we have to execute such caution when looking to add some more love to our lives with a pet but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Hurricane Tips For Pet Owners

We’ve seen some incredibly horrible natural disasters on the news lately, from wildfires to floods, to tornadoes. June 1 marks the beginning of Hurricane Season in the U.S. and weather analysts have said this summer could be one of the toughest and extremely active seasons yet. They have predicted there could be as many as 20 storms to hit the U.S. in the next several months.

This is sobering news. As many of us have seen on the news and even experienced, being prepared for harsh weather conditions is the best thing we can do when we can’t control the weather. We can, however, control our response to the it and make sure our families (including our pets) are safe.

If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, here are 6 tips to keep the pets in your family safe!

  • Always bring pets indoors at the first signs of a storm or a weather watch warning.
  • Check that the ID tags on your pet are securely fastened to the collar, and if you haven’t do so, microchip your pet. Make sure all the information is current.
  • In the window of your home by the front door, place a pet alert sticker so rescue workers know if there are pets in the home and how many in case you evacuate but can’t take your pet.
  • Check your local shelters to see which ones allow pets in the event of an evacuation, this way you’ll be prepared and know where you are going if you are forced to leave your home.
  • In your home emergency kid, keep a pet supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet First Aid supplies along with supplies for you and your family.
  • Choose a designated caregiver who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable to do so, this could be a neighbor, friend, or relative who may be near by.

We hope you and your pets have a fun and safe summer!

Image from Torri