Tag Archive for pet safety

National Preparedness Month

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Are you prepared for an emergency? In a Citizen Corps National Survey taken in September is National Preparedness Month2009, less than 50% of Americans surveyed reported having a household emergency plan. This month is the 10th annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security. September was chosen as National Preparedness Month, as the tragedies of September 11th, 2001 highlighted to the nation the importance of being prepared.

Disaster can strike at any time without warning but you can take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in your home. FEMA has identified four major steps to being prepared:

  1. Be informed
  2. Make a plan
  3. Build a kit
  4. Get involved

Building a Kit

Remember Your Pets in Your Plan

Make a plan that includes your pets during National Preparedness MonthWhen you are making your plan and building your kit, remember to include your pets. Leaving them behind in a disaster puts them and others at risk. 

Having proper identification on your pet is important every day but essential in a disaster. You may have a carrier to take pets to the vet or groomer but do you have one for each pet? Be sure each crate has identification on it. Familiarize your pets with the crates before they are needed. Know where you will go when you evacuate. Pets may not be allowed in human shelters so know where pet friendly hotels are or make arrangements to stay with a friend or relative outside of the disaster area.

Disaster Supplies for Pets

  • Food (in airtight waterproof containers or cans) and water for at Cats in cratesleast 2 weeks for each pet
  • Food and water bowls and a manual can opener
  • For cats: litter box and litter
  • For dogs: plastic bags for poop
  • Clean-up items for bathroom accidents (paper towels, plastic trash bags, bleach-containing cleaning agent)
  • Medications for at least 2 weeks, along with any treats used to give the medications and pharmacy contact for refills
  • Medical records
    • Rabies vaccination certificate
    • Current vaccination record
    • If your pet has a microchip, a record of the microchip number
    • Prescription for medication(s)
    • For cats, most recent FeLV/FIV test result or vaccination date
    • Summary of pertinent medical history; ask your veterinarian for a copy
  • Sturdy leashes or harnesses
  • Carrier or cage that is large enough for your pet to stand comfortably and turn around; towels or blankets
  • Pet toys and bed (familiar items to help the pet[s] feel more comfortable).
  • A handout containing identification Adobe PDF file information (in the event you get separated from your pet)
    • Current photo of pet
    • Pet’s descriptive features (age, sex, neutered/non-neutered status, color(s), and approximate weight)
    • Microchip number
    • Owner contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone)
    • Contact information of a close relative or friend,
  • A handout with boarding instructions, Adobe PDF file such as feeding schedule, medications, and any known allergies and behavior problems
  • Documents, medications, and food should be stored in waterproof containers

More Information for Pet Owners


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Foxtails — Danger is Not Just for Outdoor Pets

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Foxtailssneaker23As if there isn’t already enough to think about when you have a pet you love, there are things like ticks and foxtails. And believe it or not, it may not matter whether or not you have an indoor only pet. If you are a hiker, work in an outdoor environment or, like me, ride horses, you are potentially exposing your pet. Any time you walk into your home, you bring a little part of where you were with you. So don’t just write off this article thinking that it doesn’t pertain to you.

Foxtails, even though they are not as gross as ticks, can actually become more serious faster if not removed before it breaks the skin. If you find one, get it out of their coat as soon as possible. If it has broken the skin, it’s time for a trip to the vet. Here is what I found from Vetinfo.

Foxtails are grassy plants that usually grow only in states west of the Mississippi River. These plants are common weeds that have spiky barbs which can cause significant damage to a dog’s body. Not only can the sharp barb cause pain as it enters a paw, an ear or a nose, but this weed is particularly hard to remove due to barbs that resemble that of a fish hook. If the barb gets stuck in the skin, it can lead to infection and abscess, which can potentially be fatal.

Identifying Foxtails

Foxtails are appropriately named since the plant resembles the tail of a fox. A Foxtail seendsseed may be spiny with barbs and can easily embed itself into a dog’s paw. If your dog has been outside, carefully inspect the skin and especially the paws between the pads, for evidence of foxtails.

If you see a foxtail seed or spur, carefully pull it straight out making sure not to break off any portion. If a foxtail has become embedded in the paw, the dog may walk with a limp, cry, wince or whine from pain, or begin to show signs of an infected lump in the area. Dogs that appear to have entered a patch of foxtails may benefit from shaving of the hair. It’s important to remove all of the barbs, even those that are especially tiny.

Complications from Foxtails in Dog Paws.

Foxtails can cause serious infection if they aren’t removed or if they are left untreated. The best way to prevent problems is to keep dogs carefully groomed and possibly keep long-haired dogs trimmed in the summer. When hiking or walking, keep your dog away from weeded or wooded areas, and always carefully inspect the dog when it comes in from any outside exercise.

In most cases, a foxtail will push inward through the paw or other areas and create a localized abscess that may become infected. Untreated infections can spread throughout the body and cause significant problems with internal organ functioning and may cause death. In more severe cases, a foxtail spur may continue to travel through the body, as the dog maneuvers, and can tear tissue as it goes. It may move in such a way as to puncture organs, cause internal bleeding or even enter the brain.

Removal of Embedded Foxtails

Once foxtails have embedded themselves between the toes of a paw, in the eye, ear, nose or anywhere beneath the skin, it’s not recommended to attempt removal at home, especially if infection has set in. You may be able to purchase over-the-counter antibiotics, or use homeopathic or natural remedies to ease the pain and cut down on spread of infection, but you must have a professional attempt to remove the foxtail from beneath the skin.

Attempting to remove it on your own may cause even further damage and pain for the dog. A veterinarian may need to perform minor surgery or can take advantage of special tools for removal of foxtails.


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How to Safely Remove a Tick from Your Pet

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For the life of me, I can’t think of any reason in nature that ticks would be necessary, but they are here and carry diseases that can create another whole set of problems that I’m not going to cover this time. Suffice it to say that I check both myself and my dog every time we go for a walk on the trails.

When I first got Dieter, before I knew him as I do now, he got a tick on his muzzle. I felt so guilty for not noticing it there much earlier. It was already the size of a small peanut. I had heard in the past to put a hot match on them, or alcohol and a number of other methods which will not safely remove a tick. What I did find is that there is a lot of info out there on how to do it safely. I followed these simple instructions from Doctors Foster and Smith

Check your pets for ticks after a walk

To safely remove an attached tick, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or special tick removal instruments. These special devices allow one to remove the tick without squeezing the tick body. This is important as you do not want to crush the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter your pet’s bloodstream.

Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin.

Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body.

Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.

Safely remove a tick by pulling slowly straight out

Using methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol will NOT cause the tick to ‘back out.’ In fact, these irritants may cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.

After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Ticks are NOT killed by flushing them down the toilet.

Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant. If you want to, apply a small amount of a triple antibiotic ointment.

Wash your hands thoroughly.

Please do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick. We do not want you in contact with a potentially disease-carrying tick. Do NOT squash the tick with your fingers. The contents of the tick can transmit disease.

Once an embedded tick is manually removed, it is not uncommon for a welt and skin reaction to occur. A little hydrocortisone spray will help alleviate the irritation, but it may take a week or more for healing to take place. In some cases, the tick bite may permanently scar leaving a hairless area. This skin irritation is due to a reaction to tick saliva. Do not be worried about the tick head staying in; it rarely happens.


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Outdoor Cat Enclosures – Getting Cats Outdoors Safely

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Kelly’s article on pet doors inspired me to write an article about how to get yourlooking out window cat outdoors safely using an outdoor cat enclosure. Let’s face it, cats love to be outdoors but there are so many dangers out there for them. In the city, traffic is a major issue and in rural areas there are many predators looking for a meal. There are also some benefits of cats going outdoors, so which is more important?

Outdoor Dangers*

  • Cars
  • Dogs and other predators
  • Poisons
  • Inter-cat aggression
  • Communicable diseases
  • Theft
  • Inter-neighbor disputes
  • Wildlife predation
  • Skin cancer (especially in white cats)
  • UV light-related corneal lesions
  • Parasitism

Outdoor Benefits*

  • A lower risk of obesity and its related diseases (arthritis, diabetes, heart disease…)
  • A greater opportunity to exhibit natural behaviors and the myriad psycho-social benefits that confers
  • Fewer inappropriate elimination issues
  • Less inter-cat aggression among household members
  • Less litterbox cleaning (if any)

Outdoor Cat Enclosures

In my opinion, and I’m not alone on this, the dangers far outweigh the benefits, so outdoor cat enclosures seem to me to be the perfect compromise. Being an advocate of “indoor only” cats, I embarked on some research for enclosures for cats. There are some “prefab” enclosures that are great for small spaces, but I was amazed at the variety, creativity and beauty of some of the enclosures custom built by or for cat owners. They range from very simple spaces for cats only, to beautiful, functional spaces shared by humans.

outdoor cat enclosure

Outdoor cat enclosure

They are limited only by your imagination and the space you are willing to allocate to them.

piedmont-triad-cat-enclosure

Tunnels, on the ground or in the air, can be used to join multiple areas.

outdoor-cat-enclosure tunnel

There is cat fencing that you can use to enclose an area or an entire yard.

outdoor cat fencing

If you have an outdoor cat enclosure, please share it with us in the comments. If you are thinking of building an enclosure, click here for lots of samples and inspiration.

I live in a condominium where there are lots of rules so, as much as I’d like to enclose my patio, it is not an option. I will be looking into some of the prefab enclosures, so stay tuned to see what I do with that.

* From PedMD

Some updated, newly added links:
The Animal Rescue Site Ultimate Catio How-to Guide
Catio Showcase
Dream Catio from Catster
 



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4th of July Pet Safety Tips

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Are you aware that more companion animals go missing during the 4th of July4th of July pet safety tips than any other time of the year? It’s true, and as many as 75 percent of the pets that disappear during the 4th of July holiday are never found again by their pet guardians. The booms, bangs, lights and crowds common with fireworks are scary and stressful to pets. These unfamiliar noises can cause them to bolt, explaining why there are so many cats and dog disappearances during this particular holiday. 

Our 4th of July Pet Safety Tips

There are a few simple things we can do to protect our pets during the 4th of July.

  • First and foremost, make sure every pet has some kind of ID tag, and all identification on your pet’s collar and the information linked to the microchip are up to date.
  • Prepare ahead of time. Like keeping your dogs and cats inside the house, starting the day before when possible. That way you won’t be searching for them at the last minute. 
  • Keep windows and blinds closed during fireworks. Even small neighborhood fireworks, and those that can be set off in a backyard like Whistling Petes, can be extremely loud and even traumatic for animals.
  • If your pet is especially sensitive to loud noises, a good idea is to keep the television, radio or even air conditioners running to muffle the loud sounds from outside.
  • For outdoor pets, don’t leave your pets loose in the yard. Dogs and cats have been known to jump fences or dig underneath them when startled by the loud noises from fireworks. As long at the weather is cool enough, keeping your dog or cat secured in a garage will be the best way to keep them safe. 
  • Never bring pets to a fireworks display. Leashed dogs can easily get spooked and get away from their guardians. Even the most friendly dog in a panic can and will bite.
  • Never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can result in serious burns for curious pets and unlit fireworks may contain toxic substances.
  • Some dogs might respond to a product like the Thunder Shirt, which is a tight wrap that can make a dog feel more secure. If a dog is very afraid of loud noises, a veterinarian can prescribe a medication. Or you may choose one of many homeopathic remedies that can be found on line.

HAVING A BBQ OR PARTY?

During parties and barbecues, remind your guests to keep alcoholic beverages, chocolate, and items such as citronella candles and glow jewelry away from animals. When ingested, all these things can be highly toxic and cause stomach irritation, kidney or liver failure and possibly even central nervous system depression. 

Just remember to get your pets into a secure place like one of the suggestions above BEFORE the fireworks start. Make it a happy 4th for you and your pets!


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Wordless Wednesday – Pet Safety

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Wordless – from me at least!

Cats get into plenty of mischief on their own. Keep them safe on the 4th.

Cats get into plenty of mischief on their own. Keep them safe on the 4th.

”Keep


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