Many families find it commonplace for their dog to be allowed to eat the scraps of food dropped from the table, or even handed over to the dog by the children. Not only does allowing a dog to eat from your table have the potential to become a lifelong habit of it begging for food, but it can be bad for your dog’s health as well. Here are but a few dangers to your dog should you decide to drop them under the table.
Caffeine and sugary foods, like coffee, tea, or chocolate, affect your pet’s heart and nervous system, an and a large amount of caffeine in any form could be deadly.
Onions and garlic, because of the sulfoxides, can be very toxic to dogs (and cats).
Dogs should not eat cat food, and vice versa. There are key differences in the proteins and fats between the two formulas. If you have both pets in your house, be sure to keep separate bowls of food in different areas of the kitchen to prevent this mix-up.
Dairy products and milk are a tricky topic. Depending on your breed of dog, some can break down the lactose in milk better than others. Be careful not to give too much dairy to any pet, as it can cause diarrhea. See if any of your local pet stores carry lactose-free items for your pets.
As with any other human or creature, do not give your dogs any spoiled or moldy food. There are too many potential toxins and consequences.
Do not make the mistake of assuming your dogs can eat your scraps and leftovers. Always keep an eye on any food that falls on the floor by mistake, and try to prevent your dog from eating it. It’s just as important for your pets to have a healthy and balanced meal as it is for you.
Animal shelters are very busy places, with new animals coming in all the time and low adoption rates affecting the number of animals they can keep. It is an unfortunate reality that there is more supply than demand of these pets in need of an owner, and there is only so much your local shelter can provide for these animals. According to the Humane Society of the United States, about 6-8 million cats and dogs find their way into animal shelters or humane societies per year, and they are forced to put down about half that number, 3-4 million, a year. Every shelter or organization operates on different regulations when it comes to euthanizing animals, but it is a terrible thought that it has to happen at all.
If you are considering adopting a pet, or know someone who is interested, do not hesitate to visit your local shelter and spend time with the animals there. Your future best friend may be there, waiting to be adopted, so don’t let too much time pass! You never can guarantee that the same pet will be there upon your next return.
For more information about euthanization or just general humane society regulations, click here to read about HSUS and animal shelters.
It is hurricane season. Do you have a plan for your pets?
I’d like to remind pet owners everywhere to think about your family’s disaster plans. Do they include what to do about your pets? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pets every year are abandoned, neglected, or lost when families have to evacuate their homes. Even if you think you may only be gone for a few hours during a storm or disaster, bringing your pets with you ensures their safety and well-being. If you think you will be gone for a while, talk to your veterinarian about assembling a travel pack of items needed for pet care. Also, make sure your pets can be identified, whether by collars or microchips or the like, just in case they are lost after a disaster.
The AVMA has a wonderful pamphlet about all of this information and more, downloadable for free at their website. Click here to read and inform yourself about the right choices you should make to ensure your pets’ safety.
Make no mistake- ringworm is not a worm but a fungus. And your cats, dogs, or even rabbits can contract it just as easily as humans. Take care to watch your pet carefully when it is exposed to other animals outside, as this fungus is carried by a host that may or may not be immune to the ringworm.
The signs of ringworm are simple enough, for it usually appears as circular patches of broken hair on your pet’s body. It is a circle of red and inflamed skin with little hair, and usually a darker center. If you suspect your pet has ringworm, check to see how your pet reacts to it. Usually the skin can be itchy, and if it appears crusty or bumpy, then you’re likely to be seeing ringworm. It most often appears on the face, ears, tail, or paws of your pet, but can appear anywhere that your pet has come in contact with the fungus. Depending on your pet, the ringworm could appear differently. It is more common for cats, especially long-haired cats, to have multiple patches of ringworm on their body, whereas dogs usually only contract it in one location.
If you suspect your pet has ringworm, first make sure that it is separated from any other pets of yours that could be susceptible to the fungus. There are many home treatments available, but if you are concerned with the appearance of the ringworm, you may want to take your pet to the veterinarian. Ringworm is not a severe threat, as almost all dogs and cats infected with ringworm can cure themselves even if untreated, but if you have become aware of your pet’s condition, you should seek to reverse the ailment.
My family is at the beach this week, and while we did not bring along our one year old puppy, there are many families that do bring their dogs to the beach. With the fresh air, warm sand, and cool ocean, it can be a fun environment for your dog and your family to all play together outside, but make sure you are aware of some of the dangers of the beach. Don’t ruin your family’s or someone else’s beach vacation by forgetting some beach tips and rules.
Is your beach a dog-friendly location? Some beaches have even banned dogs and other pets at this point due to past irresponsible pet owners. If your beach does not allow pets, consider leaving your dog at home or keeping your dog off the beach by walking it on safer back roads and neighborhoods.
If your dog is allowed on the beach, remember that a new location can either excite or intimidate your dog. The beach can be a very crowded place, and if your dog is not comfortable with many people, or perhaps gets too excited around strangers, you may want wait until the beach is less crowded before taking your dog outside.
Don’t be an irresponsible pet owner in a public place: remember simple courtesies that will make everyone happier. Always bring along a poop scooper with you, and clean up after your dog promptly. Also, check up on leash laws and make sure your dog has a proper leash just in case the beach is leash-only. Even if it isn’t, you should bring it with you just in case your dog gets too out of control.
Lastly, keep an eye on your dog’s health and happiness. Hot beach sand can burn your dog’s feet just as easily as it can burn your own feet. In addition, some dogs may enjoy the ocean while others may be afraid of swimming in the fast-moving surf, so don’t force your dogs to swim if they are not interested. And finally, whenever your dog shows signs of fatigue, call it a day and treat your dog to some fresh water and a nap indoors.
No matter how safe you can make your car for your traveling furry friend, chances are that your pet may still be uncomfortable and anxious about the car trip. Here are a few tips on how to keep your pet as comfortable as possible during the drive.
Safety always comes first. See our previous post about Travel Safety with pets in the car. Just like you secure all humans in your car, you need to secure your pets so that they do not get knocked around by all the turns and stops. Also, do not ever leave your pet inside of a parked car while you are away from it.
Try not to change any other part of your pets lifestyle besides the new location of your travels. This means keeping their same food, as well as trying to keep the same hours for feeding, walking and sleeping. Bring along their favorite toys to set in their crate. Also have plenty of water stored in a jug for a long journey, as water is expensive and sometimes difficult to come by when you are driving. Take a driving break every few hours to let your pet walk around and drink water.
Despite how calm your pets may normally be, the change of surroundings can easily make your pets anxious and scared. Don’t be sharp or rude if they are acting unusually, but try to comfort them as much as you can for a more enjoyable vacation for all.
Are you taking your pet on vacation with you? Have you taken your pets into your vehicle before? Now that it is summer, more and more people bring their pets with them for long car trips. If you are not careful, traveling with a pet can be dangerous for the driver, the pet, and anyone else in the vehicle. Make sure you know what is best for your car and your pet.
For smaller pets, putting them in a travel crate is the easiest way to travel. Don’t put them in the trunk because there is little air circulation, so either buckle up the crate into an empty seat or set the crate in the back of the car, never in the passenger seat with the airbags. Also, there are many pet booster seats on the market, so you can research these products to see if it would be a smart purchase for you and your pet.
If you have a bigger pet like a large dog, don’t let it roam freely around in the back of the car. Avoid putting them up in the passenger seat with the driver too. Any big animal can obstruct your view through through windows and mirrors, and be dangerous to your driving. Buckle the dog into a seat or get it to lay down on a bed in the back of the car and out of the driver’s way.
Never leave your pet in a stopped car for an extended amount of time. Even cracking the windows does not get much new air circulating in your car. If at all possible, take your pets with you when you leave the car. Otherwise, take your animal out of the car at least once while you are stopped so that it can get some fresh air.
It’s summertime, time to pack up and head for the beach! As you and your family may be leaving your home for a period of time, your pets will need to be taken care of. Making the right decisions for your pet while you are gone is important, and here are a few main issues to consider.
If you are going to be gone for a week or more, you should definitely try to hire a pet sitter, or even ask a neighbor or family member to come in and check on your pet. Ask them to drop by once or twice a day to fill food and water bowls and just to make sure your pets haven’t gotten into any trouble. Especially if you have very young or very old pets, separation anxiety can make them very upset with you if you leave them too long unaccounted for. Even cats, which people seem to think enjoy being alone more than with humans, still miss their owners and get lonely. It’s preferable to choose a person who has already met your pet or pets, and therefore, is another familiar face to your animals. If not, then before you leave for vacation you should invite the pet sitter over to meet your pets.
In addition, make sure the pet sitter or trusted person is equipped with all of the phone numbers for your veterinarian or another emergency contact in case they need someone else to check on your pet one day.
Try not to board your animals unless you are left with no other choice. The combination of your departure and a new environment with other strange animals can be very overwhelming to your pets. However, boarding your pets is a better choice than leaving them at your house alone for an extended period of time without any supervision. Making these decisions is never easy, but you should always keep your pets’ interests in mind when you plan your trip.
There are so many things to consider when watching out for your pets’ safety. Summertime and the outdoors poses other dangers to pets that some indoor pets may not encounter during the other seasons. Here are a few more tips to be safe during the summer, and be sure to check out the previous article on summer pet care.
Keep your pets indoors and away from any fertilizers, pesticides, or other lawn treatments if you are planning on having your lawn cared for. The chemicals in these treatments, if ingested, can make any animal very sick. Be sure to wait the appropriate amount of time before taking your pets back into that area of land to prevent accidental ingestion.
If your dog or cat is long-haired, consider taking them in to get a shorter trim. All of that fur keeps your animals warmer than any human during the summer, so giving them a bit of a relief with a hair cut is a great way to keep your animal cool and happy.
Pests like fleas and ticks are wildly abundant in the summertime, so you should research the local pests in your area. Consider purchasing a home cream treatment prevention for your animals or talk to your veterinarian about any medications. If your pet picks up any of these pests, it’s very likely they will carry them into your home and put you and your family in danger of the pests too.
As summertime swiftly approaches, the warm air and sunshine is a welcome change. Spending time outside with your dog or other pet is a great way for you to relax. However, if problems are to arise, you should be prepared for any summer emergencies. Keep in mind these few tips to ensure your pets safety so you can both enjoy the summer.
Always keep your pet cool. Make sure there is always plenty of shade and water for them to retreat to when the day is at its hottest. Freezing water in advance in their water bowls and letting it melt slowly is a great way to ensure that your pet’s water will be cool all day. In addition, perhaps go for walks in the early morning or late evening so it’s not during the hottest time of day. Dogs and other animals can get heat stroke, so don’t let it get to that point.
Always supervise your pet. Don’t leave your dog or other pet unattended in your car, or in a public place where there are many people. There are too many risks in situations like these for harm to happen to your pet or to other people. If your dog does not have a collar or other form of visual identification, you may want to consider purchasing something, as it is more common for dogs or other pets to be lost or separated from you when you are outdoors. Also, be wary of sand, asphalt, or other hot surfaces that your pet might be walking across.
Make sure your pet is up to date with medications, and take them to a vet if necessary. Especially if you are leaving at any point to go on vacation, you’ll want the reassurance that your pet is healthy.