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Archive for the 'Pet Safety (General)' Category
I love playing outside with my dogs, Maya and Pierson. And my dogs enjoy being outside. But the weather is warming up amazingly fast so I need to be aware of the effect that heat may have on my dogs. After doing a little research, here are some things I’ve found to help my dogs with pet safety under the sun.
The best way to avoid heat exhaustion or a heat stroke is to take preventative action.
* Don’t leave your dog in the car!
* Don’t leave your dog outside without shade and cool water.
* Be careful about overdoing the play, walks, and runs.
* Take cool-down breaks.
* Avoid concrete. Dark pavements get very hot.
* Use a cooling harness, cooling dog collar, or a cooling mat.
* Make sure your dog is able to pant (no muzzles).
Sometimes we get so carried away with our fun, we may not be aware that heat exhaustion is coming on. Here are some things to look out for:
* Excessive and/or heavy panting.
* Excessive drool.
* Bright red tongue.
* Lack of coordination, disorientation, and/or unable to stand.
The above symptoms are the beginning stages of heat exhaustion. If left unnoticed or disregarded, the symptoms could progress into a deadly heat stroke. Your dog could collapse and go into shock or have seizures. Get them to the veterinarian immediately.
For mild symptoms, get your dog cooled down by trying some of the following methods.
* Move inside to the a/c.
* Move your dog to the shade.
* Allow your dog to lie down in cool water (not ice water).
* Hose your dog down in cool water.
* Put your wet dog in front of a fan.
* Put cool water on his feet.
* Allow him to drink cool water; or if he won’t, put cool water on his tongue.
* Give him ice cubes to lick.
* Put ice packs on his groin area.
If the symptoms of heat exhaustion do not go away within 10 minutes or so, take them to the veterinarian. You may even want to call your veterinarian while you are trying to cool your dog down. Your vet can give you more ideas and can advise you on whether you need to bring your dog in.
Remember, prevention is the best remedy. Be aware of the signs so that you can treat your dog before the symptoms get deadly. And be aware when you see other dogs. Someone else at the park may not know to look out for heat exhaustion in their dog and may miss the signs. You could help prevent a disaster.
If you read yesterday’s post, you know my Aussie mix dog Pierson has recently had another seizure. No worries, though. He is fine. Most dogs that have problems with seizures have what is called idiopathic epilepsy. This sounds terrible, and it can be for a few. But in most cases, it is mild enough and infrequent enough that medication is not even needed. Most dogs with canine epilepsy live long healthy lives.
I’ve never had a dog with seizures before Pierson. But thanks to the internet and all my dog blog friends, I’ve known about canine epilepsy for some time. Because I had foreknowledge, I was able to remain calm when Pierson had his first episode in January. So that you can have foreknowledge too, read through the following facts:
What Can Cause a Seizure in Dogs:
* Brain injury
* Heat stroke
* Brain tumor
* Kidney or liver failure
* Low blood sugar
** All these sound scary. But the most common reason for a seizure is idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by none of the above. In fact, the cause is not known at all. Veterinarians generally label a dog with seizures as having idiopathic epilepsy when all of the above possible causes for the seizure have been eliminated.
While it may seem frustrating to not know what is causing your dog’s seizure, at least with a diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy you will know your dog wasn’t poisoned and that he doesn’t have a brain injury. It may also help to know that it is unlikely your dog feels any pain while seizing.
What To Do If Your Dog is having a Seizure:
* Move stuff out of the way so your dog doesn’t hurt themselves on something.
* Don’t put anything in your dog’s mouth.
* Try not to touch your dog while he is seizing.
* Remain calm.
* Call your veterinarian.
* Go to the vet after you have called them. Don’t talk on your phone while driving and remember to drive safe.
To read about Pierson’s first seizure, check out this article of Pierson’s Seizure on my American Dog Blog. Click the links in that article for more detailed information about canine epilepsy.
Last year, Maya stole a lot of cherry tomatoes from the garden. I thought it was funny. But later I found out that tomatoes can be bad for dogs. Too much tomato and it could actually be toxic. So this year, we are going to be a bit more careful about our garden. Here are some things to think about:
If you have dogs, don’t use cocoa mulch in your flower garden. Cocoa mulch contains a chemical in the cocoa called theobromine. This chemical is poisonous do dogs. And because the mulch smells so good, dogs want to eat it.
Before putting any pesticides in your garden, check the label to make sure it is not harmful to pets. Consider natural remedies such as non-toxic soapy water sprayed on your plants.
As with pesticides, check the label of plant fertilizers to make sure it is not harmful to pets.
Plants that can Cause Allergic Reactions
There are several plants that can make dogs itch or have other allergic reactions. Some of these plants include the purple leaf velvet plant, a male juniper bush, and daylilies.
Plants Toxic to Dogs
The ASPCA has a very comprehensive list of toxic plants. It even has tomatoes on it. There are 392 entries so far. So rather than go through one by one, know what you want to plant and search the list for that specific plant - ASPCS Plants Toxic to Dogs
It’s no secret that dogs love garbage! Make sure your dogs can’t get into the compost. Even if you are careful about what you put in the compost pile, you really don’t want your dog to eat it. Make sure your compost is out of reach of your dogs.
Fleas and Ticks
Since we have wild rabbits living under our shed, it is likely that they carry fleas and ticks too. So I make sure my dogs are protected.
Put Tools Away
Keep your tools put away so your dog can’t get to them. Not only do you not want them to step on them and cut themselves on sharp edges, but you also don’t want them to chew on them.
The easiest way to keep your dog out of your garden is to prevent him from being able to get into the garden in the first place. This year, I am having a fence put around our vegetable garden. Are you going to plant a flower or vegetable garden this year? What does your dog think about it?
My Maya loves the snow but she is super-excited that spring is here again. Spring means more trips to the dog park! Before we went for a visit yesterday, I considered some pet safety tips that I needed to keep in mind.
I considered bringing Maya some goodies for training, but decided against it. If it turned out to be too many dogs there, I didn’t want envious dogs jumping in me and trying to search my pockets. Nor did I want to start a fight, as some dogs may try to fight over food.
This same logic applies to toys. Some dogs are possessive of toys so it usually is not a good idea to bring toys for them to fight over. Even though Maya is not possessive, bringing toys might also mean her toys getting stolen.
Vaccinations Up to Date
A lot of dogs visit the park, so there is a greater chance of spreading sicknesses. Not only is Maya vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and the parvovirus, but she also has a vaccination for bordetella. Bordetella is not as dangerous as the other, but it is more common.
No Running with Sticks
Maya loves sticks and she always finds one. And I always get so worried. I’ve heard first hand of dogs running with a stick, the stick getting caught in the ground as they run, and the other end of the stick getting jammed into the back of the dog’s throat. Luckily, the dog I heard of this happening to was okay (after hundreds of dollars at the vet), but it could have been far worse. I know our dogs love sticks, but please be careful.
The only dog park in my area is unfenced. Luckily, Maya sticks around close so I don’t worry about her too much. But anything can happen. What if she sees a wild rabbit at the dog park? Will she run after it and out of my sight? Or will her training kick in? Maya is trained well when it comes to the recall, but she’s never been tested to this extent. If you’re not sure how your dog will do, find a fenced dog park. And always work on your dog’s recall. Coming when called should be something you always work on your dog with, even if it seems as though they’ve mastered it.
How to Handle Dog Fights
This is a tough one. Our instinct is to step in and break it up. But there are ways to break it up without endangering yourself. Here is a great article at ModernDogMagaine.com.
Watch Your Dog
Watching your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If your dog looks uncomfortable or showing signs of getting agitated, it is your responsibility to remove your dog from the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s nice meeting other dog people, but don’t let your conversations distract you.
Keep Away from the Gate
If you’re at a fenced dog park, try to stay away from the entrances. There are two reasons for this. One, your dog will be less likely to get out and escape when other people go in and out. Two, consider the state of mind of the other dogs coming in. They are excited and tensions are high. When a dog in that state comes in and is immediately confronted by another dog, it might aggravate the situation. Keep your distance. Let other dogs come in and settle down.
Aggressive Dogs Should Stay Home
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention Pierson going to the dog park. Pierson does not do well around other dogs, so I am not taking any chances. The last thing I want is for some small dog to get hurt or some person to get bitten. You might think that bringing such a dog and keeping him on the leash will help, but it doesn’t. In fact, keeping him on a leash might make him feel even more insecure and make him more aggressive.
Pick up Poop
Dog poop is gross so pick it up. It is not just a common courtesy; it is a safety issue because poop carries bacteria and other germs.
Consider Your Small Children
If you have a small child, be aware of their safety too. Be on the lookout for big or rowdy dogs that might accidentally knock your child down. And be careful of your child being around dogs that are playing. Your child could be accidentally bitten or scratched.
Wear Outdoor Clothes
This isn’t so much as a safety issue as it is a reminder. A dog might jump on you. A dog might accidentally run into you and knock you over. A dog with muddy feet might step on your shoes. A big dog might come along and slobber all over your pants leg as he walks by. Know and expect this, and dress accordingly.
Maya had a great time at the dog park. Being a Lab, the first thing she did was find a body of water (which also happened to be a mud puddle). So we even walked a distance to the river so she could go swimming. At the area of the water, I also had to be careful of garbage. While swimming, Maya found a plastic bottle full of liquid. Unfortunately, trash is common at almost every park. So if you see it, perhaps for pet safety and for the consideration of others you can pick it up like Maya did and throw it away.
What else can you think of for dog park safety? Enjoy the spring weather and be safe!
We recently read a blog post on Fidose of Reality.com about the top ten pet safe vehicles, which they got from a 2009 report from Edmunds.com. Some of the pet safe features included climate control in the back area, side curtain airbags, anchor points so you can secure your pet or pet’s carrier, custom-installed crash-tested pet barriers, and so on. (Most of these features sound great but a few made little sense in regards to ‘pet safety’, such as extra storage compartments for your pet’s things and extra cargo space in the back for large dogs.) Check out these articles and read more details about the features of the top ten pet safe vehicles. Whether or not these really are the best are really dependent on your needs. If you are looking to buy a new (or used) vehicle, consider how important the following features are:
Custom-Installed Crash Tested Pet Barrier
This is, by far, my favorite feature. Most of the pet barriers we sell are strong and designed to stay in place, but they stay in place with pressure mounts while the pet barrier in the Volvo XC70 is bolted in. Plus it has been crash tested along with the vehicle itself!
Metal Anchor Points in the Cargo Area of an SUV
This one is very important to me since my dogs wear seat belts. After looking at a few SUVs I was really surprised that most did not have any anchor points or cargo rings. And most of those few that did were plastic, not metal. One salesman tried to tell me that the plastic cargo ring was really strong. Strong enough to hold a 70lb dog in a car accident? I think not. Without metal cargo rings, I have to find a way to connect my dogs’ seat belt tethers to the seat belt housing from the back cargo area.
Climate Control in the Back Area of the Car or SUV
This is another fantastic feature. I remember renting an SUV for a trip with our dogs once and the a/c froze us in the front while the dogs in the back were very warm. This is one reason our retail website will soon be selling pet cooling pads. It is a temporary solution until one can buy a vehicle that has decent climate control in the back area of the car or SUV.
Curtain Side Airbags
The front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs, but curtain side airbags might be helpful in a car accident.
Plenty of Room for Large Dogs or Large Dog Crates
This feature is not as important if you have small dogs. But if you have big dogs like me, space is definitely important. And if I decide to have my dogs ride in a secured pet crate rather than wear seat belts, I will need even more room. Big dogs need bigger dog crates.
Rearview Camera so You Can Make Sure You Don’t Hit Your Dog When Backing Up
This is one of the features mentioned in the top 10. However, I just don’t see the importance for pet safety. I see the benefit. I don’t want to back up and hit an animal or a person. But I live in the suburbs so neither my dogs nor my neighbor’s dogs are out running around. Safety issue in general – yes; specifically as a pet safety issue – not really.
Privacy Glass to Help Limit Extreme Temperatures in the Vehicle
This can be helpful for long road trips, especially if your vehicle doesn’t have climate control in the back. But for everyday driving, it is probably not a big deal for pet safety. For one, I don’t want anyone to think that just because the windows are tinted that you can leave the dog unattended in the car. It will still get hot in your car in warm weather no matter how dark your windows are tinted. I, personally, see tinted windows more as a deterrent against thieves than as a pet safety benefit.
Disable Passenger Side Airbags
If you have a small dog that you want to ride in the front seat with you, you want to make sure the passenger side airbags are not going to go off in a car accident if your dog is sitting there. Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Find out if the vehicle you are going to purchase is designed so that the airbags only go off if there is a certain amount of weight in the seat, or if the airbags can be disabled.
These are the major features I saw in the top ten list of pet safe vehicles. Aesthetic things you might also want to consider are the interior and whether there is enough storage space for your dog’s things. Are there any other features you can think of for pet safe vehicles?
(Above images courtesy of VolvoCars.com)
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I’m starting a new recurring blog posting event called Pet Safety Saturday! On most Saturdays, I will talk about dog car safety. But sometimes I will throw in some other pet safety issues. Like today, I am going to discuss the benefits of dog life jackets.
With spring on the horizon, you may be thinking of taking your dog to the lake for a swim or even boating. I think a life jacket for dogs would be great for either pet activity.
My Labrador Maya is a great swimmer. If I let her, she’d swim for hours and hours no matter how tired she got. I am so afraid that she’d wear herself out and drown that sometimes I have her wear a life jacket for dogs. There are other concerns too. Sometimes Maya will overlook the ball I threw and keep swimming. She could accidentally swim too far. Or she could get caught in a river (or ocean) undercurrent and be swept away. So before you take your dog swimming, consider these dangers and have your pets wear dog life jackets.
* Danger of drowning as a result of fatigue.
* Danger of swimming out too far.
* Danger of being swept away by undercurrents.
Every person in the boat wears a life jacket, why not the dog? The same reasons a person should wear one in the boat applies for a dog too. Your boat could capsize and you could be left stranded in the middle of a huge body of water or knocked unconscious. You could fall off the boat. If you’re in the water wearing a colorful life jacket, it will be easier for someone to spot you. All of these things apply to your pet while wearing a colorful life jacket for dogs.
* Danger of the boat capsizing.
* Danger of being knocked unconscious after the boat is capsized.
* Danger of falling off the boat.
* Easier to spot your dog in the water if he falls out or is thrown out of the boat.
Be safe and have fun this spring! And come visit us next week on Pet Safety Saturday for another dog safety issue.
(Above photo of Dougie wearing a life jacket for dogs is courtesy of our friend Joanne in the UK.)
Use positive reinforcement to train your dog instead of harsh dominance methods, shock collars, pinch collars, etc. There are more benefits to humane training than there are to the other methods. Check out today’s blog post on our American Dog Blog about the cons of shock collars by clicking HERE.
For other positive training methods, check out these articles as well:
Learn more about Train Humane Day by clicking HERE.
I saw this great chart on Facebook and had to share it. I think it came from a similar chart found on PetSavers in New Jersey. Based on our experience with getting into our cars on a relatively warm day, we know it is much hotter inside than outside. And this chart shows us how much hotter it gets and in such a short time. Knowing this, do you really want to leave your dog alone in the car for even five minutes?
Besides the facts in the chart above, a study by Stanford University shows that even on a day that is only 72 degrees, the inside of a car get as hot as 116 degrees in an hour. Check out their article HERE. (Their numbers in their article is written in Celsius so you will have to convert them to Fahrenheit.)
Another great site for information is called My Dog is Cool. Check it out HERE. This website is dedicated to educating the public about the danger of leaving dogs in cars.
What to do about it
First of all, don’t ever leave your dog alone in the car. Even on cool days, it can get hot in your car. And don’t forget about people being able to steal your dog. Plus, it can also be considered animal cruelty. If you see someone else who has left their dog in the car call the police or animal control. If you don’t have their number on hand, don’t hesitate to call 911. You can also get some really cool fliers that you can put in people’s car. The My Dog is Cool has a great flier that can be easily downloaded. It says, “A hot oven or a hot car, it’s the same thing.” One woman went so far as to break a car window to get the dog out. Her story can be read HERE. This is illegal and thankfully the other party did not press charges.
Another thing you can do is go inside the store where you believe the owner went into and ask the manager to make an announcement over the intercom. Some store managers won’t but it might be worth a try. And it might be worth mentioning that it is against the law to leave an animal alone in the car.
I know you love your dog. But love him by leaving him at home if you plan on going somewhere he can’t go. Please don’t leave him in the car.