pet safety Archives - Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC

How to Keep Your Cats and Dogs Safe During the Holidays

How To Keep Your Cats and Dogs Safe During the Holidays

Pet Safety is important year round. The extra decorations, rich foods and company in and out of the house make the holidays a time to be extra vigilant to keep your cats and dogs safe. With that in mind we offer these seasonal tips to keep your cats and dogs safe during the holidays.

cats and dogs safe

  • Stabilize your Christmas tree so it’s not easily tipped over
  • Don’t decorate with plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs including lillies, holly, mistletoe and poinsettia
  • Don’t use tinsel on your tree…it can cause an intestinal blockage
  • Don’t leave lights on the bottom branches of your tree…pets can be burned and can also bite through the electrical wires
  • Keep ornaments out of your pets’ reach…they can cause an intestinal blockage, choking and cuts on paws
  • Don’t let your pet drink from the Christmas tree water…the preservatives can harm your pets
  • Use lighted candles only on shelves high enough your pets cannot knock them over
  • Don’t use edible decorations on your tree
  • Keep ribbons and strings on your packages out of your pets’ reach
  • Consider putting a baby gate or pet gate around your tree
  • Don’t feed your pets rich and fatty goodies…they can cause pancreatitis
  • Don’t give your pets uncooked dough…it can expand in their stomachs and create bloat
  • Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts can lead to organ failure
  • Alcohol, chocolate and foods sweetened with xylitol are poisonous to pets
  • When entertaining guests caution them not to feed your pets tidbits from the holiday table and to keep their plates and glasses out of reach of your pets
  • Consider confining your pets in another room when guests are present
  • At New Year’s remember that most pets are frightened by loud noises such as fireworks
  • Perhaps most important, don’t give pets as gifts…instead give the bowls, beds and toys needed and adopt your pet after the holidays

We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season!

xylitol your cats and dogs safe

Pet Poison Prevention and Intervention

Pet Poison Prevention Tips

Our pets are not able to distinguish between safe objects and non safe objects so it’s up to us to keep them safe. March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month and March 15 – 21 is Poison Prevention Week, so there is no better time to talk about this subject than now.

There is a great deal we can do to prevent our pets from being poisoned. First and foremost, be diligent about putting all medications out of sight and out of reach of your pets.  A bored and determined dog can accomplish feats we would never dream of, so better to be safe than sorry.  Make sure household cleaners are safely stored too.

Think about how you might keep a human toddler safe and you have the right idea.  Just remember that although you would not leave a toddler unsupervised, most pets spend a great deal of time every day unsupervised. That means the garbage needs to be empty or made inaccesible to your dog.  For some strange reason the Harwell family dogs like to eat tissues not to mention food wrappers that smell yummy. So we have learned to put a heavy coaster on top of the tissue box and to keep our bathroom doors shut.  We reommend that you keep your toilet lids down or close the bathroom door if your pets like to drink from the toilet.  This is especially true if you use bleach tablets in your toilet tank.  Learn the foods and beverages, houseplants and garden plants  that are off limits for dogs and cats and keep those out of sight and out of reach of your pets. We have tragically read about dogs and cats that have been poisoned by houseplants.      poisonous plants 8648213_f520

It’s much better to be safe than sorry.  Prevention is always preferred to assessment and treatment.  Calls to the  Pet Poison Helpline cost $49.00 not to mention the damage your pet may have already suffered and the worry you may feel.  Calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control cost $65.00.

Pet Poison Helpline

Pet Poison Helpline

As professional pet sitters we review safey tips with pet parents when go on our consultation visit. We recommend that all non safe items be out of reach of your pets.  Although they may be fine when you are home on your normal schedule, your cats and dogs sense the difference when you are away several days or more.  Even though we are making frequent visits to your home, your pets may become bored, so we recommend placing all medications in a cupboard your pets cannot access.

 What To Do If You Suspect Your Pet Has Ingested A Poinsonous Substance

Possible signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, trouble breathing, over excitement, loss of consciousness or seizures. It’s important to get veterinarian help quickly, and remember information is powerful.

  • First and foremost, stay calm and keep your pet as calm as possible.
  • Try to determine what the poisonus substance may have been, gather up any suspicious wrappers and if your pet has vomited or had diarrhea gather some of the fluids in a clean container.
  • Try to determine the approximate time your pet ingested the poison.
  • Call the veterinarian or poison control center for first aid instructions.  Never induce vomiting without being instructed to do so by a veterinarian or animal poison control expert. (If the substance is acid or a strong alkali or petroleum based, you should not induce vomiting).
  • If the substance is toxic or corrosive and on the pet’s body, brush it off and then rinse with lots of cold water.
  • Transport to the nearest veterinary hospital for veterinary assessment and treatment.

A handy aid with these instructions can be found in the Pet Tech PetSaver App  for your smart phone. The app includes a handy link to nearby veterinary hospitals and emergecny veterinary hospitals in case you are traveling or the pet poisoning occurs after typical hospital hours.

Want to Know More About Care for Your Pets

We don’t know any pet parent that doesn’t want to protect his or her four legged family members.  It’s a great idea to take a pet first aid and CPR class so you can feel and be prepared in an emergency situation.  That’s why we both took the Pet Tech PetSaver class when we had an opportunity. We were so impressed with all we learned that Billy took a three day class to become an instructor.  If you want to know about Pet Tech, click here.  If you want to register for the next class click here.  Classes are scheduled for March 21, April 18, and June 6, 2015.

 

 

Related Articles

Do You Know 11 Steps to Responsible Pet Ownership?

February is Responsible Pet Owners’ Month

We love to look at special days, weeks and months for ideas about celebrations.  And we are delighted to learn that February is Responsible Pet Owners’ Month. Really, every day should be responsible pet owners’ day and we are sharing the 11 qualities we believe demonstrate responsible pet ownership.

Beau joined us at our fav restaurant during his final week

Beau joined us at our fav restaurant during his final week

 

11 Steps to Responsible Pet Ownership

  1. Learn all you can about the dog or cat breed you are considering adopting.
  2. Make a commitment to your pet for life.
  3. Have your pet micro-chipped and affix current ID tags to your pets’ collars.  Always make sure they are wearing their ID tags when they go outside of your home.
  4. Get your dog or cat spayed or neutered.
  5. Train your pet.
  6. Exercise your pet’s body and mind every day.
  7. Feed your pet the best quality food you can afford.
  8. Get regular veterinary care for your pet.
  9. Brush your pet’s teeth every day.
  10. Make adequate arrangements for your pets’ care when you go out of town.
  11. Learn pet first aid and CPR.

 

How These Steps Contribute to Responsible Pet Ownership

Learn all you can about the dog or cat breed you are considering adopting.

Knowledge of the needs of the pet you want will help to assure a good match between the pet and your household. You need to know the most typical health conditions of the breed, how much exercise is required and if you are able to provide that type and frequency of exercise. For instance, you need to select a veterinarian that can provide care for the pet you want. If you are considering adopting a bird, is there an avian specialist veterinarian nearby? What are the nutritional needs of the pet you want? What type of training is needed? And remember, it is really you who needs the training!!!

We strongly support pet adoption.  According to the US Humane Society, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year.  These are pets that were surrendered by owners, dumped, or found stray.  If you adopt a pet, you save his or her life and make room in the shelter for another pet. If you buy a pet from an on line ad you are contributing to puppy mills.  We adopted our Daisy Mae through National Brittany and Adoption Network (NBRAN).  She helped our hearts to heal after Beau went over the Rainbow Bridge from lymphoma.   Yes, adopting a pet can put a smile on your face.

Frightened Daisy Mae at the shelter

Frightened Daisy Mae at the shelter

 

One Happy Daisy Mae on a boat ride

One Happy Daisy Mae on a boat ride

Don’t worry, her life jacket was in the boat!!

Make a commitment to your pet for life.
Enough Said

Enough Said

Rita Reimers, noted cat analyst has written a heartfelt blog about people dumping their cats.

Have your pet micro-chipped and affix current ID tags to your pets’ collars.  Always make sure they are wearing their ID tags when they go outside of your home.

Approximately 15% of pet owners report having lost a pet within a five year period of time according to a recent ASPCA study.  ID tags and microchips were important in getting 15% of the lost dogs home.  It’s important for ID tags to have the owners’ cell phone number as well as the number of another emergency contact.  If there is enough room on the tag you can add the land line number and if comfortable with it the home address.  Be sure to update the information if you move or get a new phone number. And, please register the microchip information with the microchip company….otherwise it is useless!

Get your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

Train your pets.

A study done by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) and published on PetFinder’s website indicated that 96% of the dogs relinquished to shelters had received no training.  There are some basics that are essential to a happy relationship between you and your dog.  These include potty and crate training, and the cues for sit, stay, down, off, drop it, leave it and come.  For fun you can always add in tricks such as roll over and high five! We heartily recommend positive reinforcement training. If you need a trainer locally we are pleased to recommend Donna Rogers with K-9 Capers Dog Training Academy in Concord and Sara Higgins with Positive Pups Dog Training, LLC in Cornelius.

What about training for your cat or bird?  Yes, you read right.  Pets Web MD offers great tips for training your kitten or cat to use the litter box. The Partnership for Animal Welfare offers tips on teaching your cat to use a scratching post. Many years ago while still working as a social worker one of my clients told me he had trained his cat to walk on a leash. I was pretty astounded at the time, but have since learned it is a valuable skill.  Mother Nature Network offers some tips on helping you and kitty acquire this skill.

Pet MD offers tips for training your pet bird.  Multiple issues are also common to other species: biting, screaming (barking), grooming, using treats, chewing on furniture and traveling.  We got a laugh about talking birds and their sometimes unsavory vocabularies!

Exercise your pet’s body and mind every day.

All pets need physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis.  You can play games indoors with your kitties to engage them and keep them on the move. Of course, we know that dogs need time for sniffing walks when they can check and deposit “pee mail.”  A good generalization is that most dogs need at least 2 walks of 15 minutes duration every day.  The specifics will depend on your dog’s breed, general health and temperament and age.  If you don’t have time to walk with your dog on a regular basis, consider hiring a professional dog walker several days per week or even daily if your budget allows.  Having a variety of places to walk with a variety of sights and smells will enrich your dog’s life.  On those days that the weather makes long walks out of doors unsafe, play some mental games inside. Nose work inside is particularly effective.

Feed your pet the best quality food you can afford.

Remember not to overfeed your pets either. Pet obesity has become a huge problem in the US. It’s best to feed your pets at certain times of the day so you can easily assess how much they are eating.  An added benefit is if they eat on a regular schedule they will be more likely to eliminate on a regular schedule. Leaving dry kibble down for cats is discouraged too because they benefit from eating canned food.  Cats tend not to drink enough water so they need the hydration from canned or “wet” foods.  Lisa A. Pierson, DVM offers an excellent explanation of these facts.

Get regular veterinary care for your pet.

In general pets need to be assessed by their veterinarian on at least a yearly basis.  Puppies and kittens as well as senior pets need to be evaluated more frequently.  And of course, pets with chronic medical conditions need more frequent monitoring.

Regular checkups include examining the ears, eyes, nose, abdominal organs, skin and fur and heart and lungs.  This is also the time for vaccination protocols, heartworm preventative medications and lab work. It is much easier on the pet to prevent a problem than to treat a problem.  And we might add, less expensive. We fostered to adopt Trooper through English Springer Spaniel Rescue America (ESRA) and he came to us Heartworm positive.  It was heartbreaking having to keep him quiet during the months of treatment.

Trooper

Trooper

 Brush your pet’s teeth every day.

Yes, you can and should do this.  It’s easier if you start when a puppy, but they can learn to accept it at any age.  just be sure to use toothpaste made for dogs and cats, not the human kind.  Human toothpaste has soap in it to make it sudsy and that’s not good for our pets because they can’t spit it out. Experiment until you find the flavor they like (vanilla, mint, chicken, beef).  There are a variety of types of toothbrushes too, so keep at it until you find the right one.  I brush our dogs’ teeth multiple times per week and we are going to be able to skip dental cleanings this year.  That is not only a financial savings but we’re so relieved not to have anyone put under anesthesia.

Just as with humans, there is a link between good oral health and good general health.  Dogs with proper dental care live on average two years longer than those without proper dental care. Luke is almost 9 years old and is an old hand at getting his teeth brushed.  Daisy Mae and Trooper are mildly resistant (we adopted them) but they are getting better at accepting it.

Luke

Luke

Make adequate arrangements for your pets’ care when you go out of town.

In today’s world we have numerous options for pet care when we are unavailable.  Options include friends or family members, in home pet boarding, pet kenneling and professional pet sitting in your home. We recommend against the use of the kid next door at any time.  While family and friends may work out some of the time, it can become an awkward situation if you ask them too often.  It’s important to avoid the “hobby sitters” who do this to pick up “pin money.”  They are extremely unlikely to be bonded, to carry professional business liability insurance, to have a criminal background check, to be trained in pet first aid and CPR and to be available long term when the novelty of “playing” with dogs and cats has worn off.

If the cost is an issue and you only have one pet you may be well served with a good boarding or kenneling facility.  If you have two pets your costs between a professional pet sitter and a facility will be similar.  If you have three or more pets or pets of multiple species you will most likely find a professional pet sitter who provides care in your home to be most cost effective.  While many pets do well in a boarding facility, most thrive in their own familiar homes.  A professional pet sitter will be able to give your home that lived in look with rotation of lights and draperies, mail and newspaper collection, roll out of garbage and recycle containers and watering a few houseplants.

Two professional pet sitters organizations offer user friendly pet sitter locator services: Pet Sitters International (PSI) and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).

Learn pet first aid and CPR.

No one wants to encounter an emergency, but we all know urgent issues happen every day.  It’s a good idea to take a class in pet first aid and CPR. There are numerous options available.  Billy has been trained by two organizations.  After we were both trained in the PetSaver program by Pet Tech last October we were both so impressed with the program that he took the training to become a trainer. He offers the courses approximately 8 times per year.

Learn about PetTech at this link.  See Billy’s instructor profile at this link.



 

Thanks for taking the necessary steps toward responsible pet ownership!!!

Doggie Doggie, Are You OK?

Pet Saver, Pet First Aid and CPR

Over a year ago Billy took the Red Cross Dog & Cat First Aid course because we value the safety of your pets as well as the safety of our own pets. In October of this year we attended the Petsitting-ology conference in Las Vegas.  While there we both had the opportunity to take the Pet Saver, Pet First Aid and CPR classes offered by by Pet Tech, Inc.  The Pet Safety Guy himself, Thom Somes taught much of our eight hour course. http://www.pettech.net/index.php     1022141115

As professional pet sitters it is important to us to not only provide proper care for our own three dogs but also to provide proper care for your cats and dogs and keep them safe while in our care.  Pet Tech’s Pet Saver Program includes 6 components:  Caring for your Pet, Pet First Aid and CPR, Snout-to-Tail Assessment, Poisonous Items, Essentials and Dental Care.

We learned the importance of doing a Snout-to-Tail assessment of your pet at least weekly.  You too can do this valuable assessment by downloading the Pet Tech Pet Saver app on your smart phone.  Just go to the Play Store on your Android phone or the App Store on your iphone and type in “pet saver.” The Pet Tech Pet Saver app has a small fee but is worth its’ weight in gold.  You can record the results of your pet’s weekly snout-to-tail assessment for starters but the app is loaded with other useful wellness and injury information.  We encourage you to go download that app right now!

We wish we had known about this several years ago before our beloved Beau became ill with lymphoma.  Had we been assessing his basic health indicators on a weekly basis we are confident the changes would have led us to seek medical attention sooner.  He could have had palliative care to resolve his discomfort and to keep him with us longer.  Now  we feel armed with information and that is a great feeling.

While in the class we had an opportunity to practice restraining and muzzling, CPR,  rescue breathing, and first aid bleeding protocols.  Despite the “excitement” of these hands on skills we know that fortunately we will use the wellness information on a daily basis and through prevention plan to avoid the need for urgent care.

In January Billy will take the 3 day training course to become an instructor in the Pet Tech Pet Saver, Pet First Aid and CPR program. We are excited to be able to offer this valuable resource to our community in the near future. Stay tuned for details regarding when he will teach the first series of classes here in Coddle Creek!!

iStock_000014826755XSmall-283x300_edited

Pet Safety Tips

We love our three dogs, two male English Springer Spaniels and a female Brittany. Nothing is more important than keeping them happy, healthy and safe. As professional pet sitters we visit with multiple pets on a daily basis. Their welfare is important to us too.   In that spirit we offer these pet safety tips.

  • If your dogs eat kibble (ours eat Taste of the Wild) be sure to store the food in a safe manner.  It’s important to retain the bag in
    Kibble

    Kibble

    case of recalls. If your dog becomes ill you will also want to check the lot number in the event there was a problem with that batch of dog food that resulted in a recall.  If you dump the dog food into a plastic container without cleaning it between new bags the food can become contaminated and rancid. That’s why we store the entire bag of dog food inside an airtight plastic container. We close the bag to help keep it fresh and store it in the plastic container in our “dog palace.” 

  • Our  “dog palace” is an over sized laundry/storage/dog shower/dog crate room that is heated and air conditioned. Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper enter and exit our house here, eat in this room, get their paws wiped down and chill out when they are dirty.

 

hot-car-hot-oven2

No pet is safe in the car alone.

  • Although the temps have gone down, on any given day of the spring, summer or fall it’s still too hot to leave your dog in the car. Even if the top temp is only 78 degrees the temps in a closed car will rise to 90 degrees in five minutes and 110 degrees in 25 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to get in and out of any store in five minutes.  Even in the shade and with windows cracked it will get waaayyy too hot.

 

  • It only takes 15 minutes for an animal to get heat stroke and die in a hot car!  Please leave Fido at home to chill out in the AC. If you see a dog (or child) left alone in a car please check with the store manager and if the parent does not return soon, call law enforcement.

 

This Mom is teaching her son how to interact safely with a dog.

This Mom is teaching her son how to interact safely with a dog.

 

  • Teach your children that dogs and cats are living beings with feelings.  For safety also let them know to always ask permission before petting a dog or cat. Let your child know they must leave the dog alone when he is in his crate because the crate is the dog’s safe space. Focus on teaching your child to use gentle behavior when interacting with dogs. Make sure your children know not to tease a dog by taking his toys or treats. Only by teaching empathy can we assure the safety of our children and our pets.
article-2714759-2039370500000578-495_306x337

If his parents knew these pet safety tips, these injuries could have been prevented.

When we fail to teach basic safety and empathy we risk injury to children and euthanasia to someone’s pet.