This fun and festive holiday will be here again before we know it. A July 4th of several years ago is a memorable one for me.
I had just finished up a cook-out with the family and was on my way to visit aclient’s pets in Gilbert, Arizona. I really love this client’s pets! They are absolute sweethearts.
As such, I was totally shocked when I opened one of the dog’s kennels and she growled and nipped at me! This was completely out of character for her.
The client had warned me of her dog’s fear of thunderstorms but the weather was clear that day. Something else was bothering her. Then I realized; she was frightened from the sounds of fireworks. The poor girl was too afraid to even go outside.
I know there are plenty of pet owners and pet sitters who can relate to this story.
To help make this 4th a little easier for some of you, we’ve put together these tips for July 4th Pet Safety:
1) Keep your pets in a safe, controlled environment away from fireworks on the 4th of July.
The pet owner in the story above did exactly the right thing by keeping her pets safe in kennels inside the house during the firework festivities. Don’t make the mistake of taking your pet out to enjoy the holiday fun if fireworks are on the agenda. Loud noises and large groups of people can make your pet anxious, afraid, and/or nervous. When animals are in this state of mind, they can become aggressive.
2) Keep the alcoholic drinks, fireworks, matches, lighter fluid, and glow sticks out of reach.
These items can make for a very enjoyable 4th of July for you, but if your pet ingests any of them, they could be toxic.
3) Watch your pets around the food table
Keep an eye on your pet around the food table. This is especially true if any of the following items are included: chicken bones, onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, and salt. These foods could be dangerous to your pet if eaten.
4) If you plan to be out of town during the 4th of July holiday, make sure your pet sitter knows that your pet is afraid of loud noises.
Discuss a plan to make your pet feel safe and secure away from the fireworks. Some animals respond well to treats made specifically for stress. Other pets prefer what’s called a thunder jacket. Both of these can be found at your local pet supply store.
5) More pets run away on this day than any other
Sadly, many pets make a mad dash for any open door or gate at the sound of fireworks. Some animals may never make their way back home for a number of reasons.
To keep your pet safe, and at home, watch them during fireworks. If you have a fenced yard, ensure that the gates are properly secured. If your home has a screened porch, keep your pet inside to resist the temptation of jumping through the screens. Having a party with people coming in and out? Keep your dog in a room with the door closed or in a kennel. As always with your pet, safety first.
Please keep your pet’s safety and well-being in mind this 4th of July holiday. And, since we’re in the Gilbert, AZ area, we hope you and your pets enjoy the local fireworks festivities this year!
When we think about taking our dog to a dog park we begin to conjure ideas of our pet frolicking with other dogs. We tend to believe that this will be a great experience for them and that they’ll be a happier dog for having had the experience. This couldn’t be more untrue. Furthermore, we warn against taking your dog – and especially a puppy – to a dog park!
Hazards and Risks at a Dog Park Outweigh the Benefits
In March of 2018, in California, a small dog was attacked by two larger dogs at Lodi park and was fatally wounded. While this is an extreme example, it is not uncommon for injuries to occur to dogs at dog parks. Injuries can sometimes occur because of the co-mingling of large and small dogs. In other cases, dog fights erupt between same-sized dogs as they try to assert themselves. If your pet is not well trained for the type of interaction that occurs in a dog park, altercations will occur.
Like People, Not All Dogs Want to Be Social with Everyone They Meet
For some dogs, taking them to a dog park can make them extremely anxious. It is like being afraid of the water and being pushed into the pool for them.
Like people, some dogs prefer the comfort of familiar faces or only in small numbers. Just as we do not chat with everyone we meet, our dogs do not have to play with every dog they meet. The pressure to do so can make them uncomfortable or aggressive. Rather than place our pups in this position, find a more suitable alternative. For instance, schedule a few minutes with the neighbor’s dog every week. This may be all the socialization your dog needs- or wants. Older dogs, especially, tend to prefer to go without playful interaction with other dogs.
The goal is to ensure that your dog feels relaxed and can leave at any time they start to feel uncomfortable. Other options include pet socialization classes where the number of dogs is limited and it is monitored in a controlled environment by pet professionals.
Germs, Illness, and Parasites
If that doesn’t get your attention, we’re not sure what will. Did you know that viruses can live in the soil of the dog park for an extended period of time? This is true for any soil. This makes dog parks a veritable breeding ground for all types of viruses and parasites. Because shot records are not required at the door, your pup could be mingling with unvaccinated or unhealthy animals. This is especially dangerous to a new pup who has not yet completed his full schedule of vaccinations. This pup is therefore more susceptible to the germs. Safer spaces for your pets include training classes, doggy day care, or boarding kennels where shot records are required prior to entry.
The energy in a dog park can often be frantic and chaotic. It doesn’t take long for a dog to get reinforcement from the experience that this behavior is acceptable. This teaches them that their owner has little or no control over them. If you’ve visited a dog park, you’ve noticed at least one frustrated owner trying to get their dogs attention. It is usually to no avail. This behavior can often carry over at home. Undoing what the dog park has taught your dog can be frustrating for both you and your dog.
Elevated Protective Behaviors
Does your dog guard their toys? Do they maybe even guard you a little? Does your pet tend to want to keep the water bowl to themselves? Is your dog the bully of the playground? Dogs can be instinctual when it comes to guarding their resources. If another animal tries to take what they believe is theirs it can result in a combative response.
A young dog may feel long-term affects of an unpleasant experience at a dog park. If they are attacked, especially unprovoked, your dog may begin exhibiting aggressive behavior of their own. As a human, you may witness what you believe to be a small event happening to your dog that unexpectedly has lasting affects. These incidents are likened to childhood trauma in humans. Similar to someone playfully jumping out from behind a corner and yelling “Boo” to a small child who is too young to understand that won’t always happen again, but feels forever as if it will.
All types of dogs come to a dog park. The same is true for the owners. There are some great dog owners who watch after their pets. They keep an eye on them, break up incidents before they escalate, pick-up their messes, watch for inappropriate play or behavior, and are simply aware of their animals. On the other hand, some owners spend more time on their phones or talking to other people to be bothered with their pet. In these cases, their dog is left unchecked and can often create the problems mentioned above that you and your dog are trying to avoid.
To be safe, we recommend that you skip the dog park altogether and find better, safer alternatives for your pet.
It’s almost Halloween time again. We humans may be looking forward to ghosts and ghouls, but it can be a stressful time for pets. There are many sights and sounds that can scare your pets during Halloween. Taking a few precautions to minimize the spooky factor for your pets can go a long way. With these tips, you can make this Halloween safe for everyone.
Keep the Candy Away from Furry Paws
For many, Halloween is mostly about the candy. Those masses of sugary treats are intended for human trick-or-treaters. Most commercial candy can be toxic to your cat or dog. Did you know that chocolate and pets are a dangerous combination as it can cause illness? Even candies without sugar, like sugar-free gum, can be harmful to your pets. These treats are often made with ingredients that can cause problems for animals. For a more complete list of harmful foods for pets, visit the ASPCA website.
To make sure that your holiday fun isn’t interrupted with a trip to the veterinarian’s office, it is best to keep those treats up and away from anything non-human. This includes zombies, scarecrows, and dragons. With all of those pets and non-pets roaming around this time of year, be sure to keep a close eye on the candy bowl. Pets especially love to grab things when you are distracted by the Princess trick-or-treater at the door. If you suspect your cat or dog did ingest candy or chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately.
If you absolutely have to treat your dog, there are a few non-candy alternatives that your pup will love. For instance, these Boo Bars from Blue Buffalo. They are made with pumpkin and cinnamon.
Limit Your Pet’s Costume Time
A cat or dog in a Halloween costume can be cute. However, most pets do not enjoy having their movements constricted by an awkward costume. That feeling may cause your pet to panic and become stressed. When your pet feels that stress it can cause a dog or cat to hide or run away in fear. If your pet will be wearing a costume for even a short time, be sure to inspect it. Check the costume for parts that may be a choking hazard. For instance, small parts can be easily chewed off. If you are looking for a simple costume, consider a festive bandana for your pet. Some companies even make personalized bandanas for Rover.
Keeping Your Pet Calm During the Halloween Festivities
Halloween brings a lot of visitors to your door. This can be a frightening time for your pet. The constant flow of strangers – looking unusual – can increase your pet’s anxiety levels. On this evening, you may want to consider keeping your pets in a separate room during trick-or-treating times. Pets kept in a separate room will also ensure that Mittens and Rover won’t try to run out the front door. Just in case, however, make sure that your dog or cat has updated identification tags. In general, having updated tags is a good safety tip any time of the year. It can help you be reunited with your pet if they decide to make a dash for the door.
For More Information
If you have questions about Halloween safety tips for pets or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your dog has been with you through thick and thin and it’s only natural to want to reward him with road trip fun or time at the beach. But when things outdoors get steamy, it’s easy for him to become dangerously overheated. Are you keeping your dog cool enough? These important tips will help you keep your best friend cool and safe all summer long.
Take It Easy
Leave the midday fetch games behind on hot, humid days. Enjoy exercising during cooler hours in the early morning or evening. Dogs are dependent on a steady supply of fresh water to stay cool, so pack a collapsible bowl and enough for both of you to stay well-hydrated.
Paws and Hot Pavement Don’t Mix
Asphalt and concrete pavement can reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit before the air temperature hits 80. This leaves your dog’s sensitive pads vulnerable to burns and encourages his body to absorb more heat. Try protective booties, or take a cue from your best friend and roll in the grass or pool instead!
Never Leave Your Dog in the Car
The temperature inside your car reaches dangerous levels within minutes on a warm day – even in the shade and with the windows cracked. Your dog is safest at home. If you hate leaving him behind, make it up to him by bringing back a special treat!
Signs of Overheating
Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate first aid and veterinary care. Senior dogs, puppies, snub-nosed breeds and those with serious medical conditions are at increased risk.
If not treated promptly, these symptoms can quickly lead to seizures, coma and death. Prevention is the best medicine, but if you suspect your dog is suffering heat-related symptoms, take measures to cool him on the way to the veterinarian. If he can drink, offer him water. Apply cool, wet towels to his abdomen, armpits and head.
Don’t be afraid to take your best friend on a warm-weather adventure, just take these simple precautions and both you and your dog will have a fun and safe summer!
Since emergencies don’t come with prior notice, the only way to handle them is to be prepared. One might think pets would require the same emergency care as humans. However, since animals are biologically different from us humans, there are different guidelines for emergency care. Here are some first aid tips for pet owners so that you’re prepared to properly handled emergencies at home before heading to the doctor.
Give Your Pets Space
If your pet is in distress, hurt or in pain, be sure to maintain a safe distance from them. Even the friendliest of animals tend to become aggressive when in pain and may bite anyone in close proximity. Keep a muzzle at home for such situations to minimize further injuries. If you do not have one, you can make one at home using a belt strap and tying it around your pet’s mouth.
Do not waste time deciding if you can treat the pet on your own. If you have even a slightest doubt about knowing what is wrong with your pet, call the doctor immediately. Quick thinking can be your biggest asset in such situations. Put vet’s number on speed dial.
What to Do If They are Vomiting or Experiencing Diarrhea
If your pet has been vomiting or has diarrhea, do not feed him for 24 hours except water. After 24 hours, start feeding them with light meals and see if their condition gets any better. If not, contact the doctor.
Do Not Self-Medicate
Often, people are tempted to treat their pet on their own by giving them medicines that they think are suitable or suggested by another pet owner. However, you never know which medicine might be toxic for your pet since every animal is different. Not every medicine will work. Some may cause harm.
Symptoms of heat stroke in animals may include bloody diarrhea, feebleness, excessive panting, vomiting, or excessive salvation. These can also be a sign of abnormally high body temperature. In extreme heat summer days, measure your pet’s temperature. If it is above 104oF take immediate precautionary measures. Do not put your pet in an ice bath in such condition; it will slow down the cooling process. Keep your pet in shady areas, where it is cool and they have access to water all the time. Contact your veterinarian.
If your pet is bitten or wounded, take them to a vet immediately to prevent infection. Have them checked for internal wounds. If your pet gets involved in a fight with another animal, never come in between them. Chances are you may be bitten too.
First Aid Emergency Kit
You should always keep an emergency first aid kit with you, especially if you are traveling. It should have gauze, plastic wraps, anti-septic, eye ointment, thermometer, tweezers and bandages. You never know what minor injury may happen.
If you notice your pet is not sleeping, eating or playing as it usually does get him checked to identify any underlying illness. Also, be aware if your animal is using the bathroom as they would normally. This too, can be a sign of abnormal behavior.
Short of your animal learning to speak, they cannot effectively communicate their problem. it is our responsibility as pet owners to remain attentive to any unusual behavior in our pets. Our watchful eye allows them to receive the care they need in a timely manner.
Halloween is a time of fun for us. However, we often forget to consider our furry little friends during our party-prep. Halloween safety for pets is often last on the list of to-do items. Pet owners tend to ignore how a simple night where everyone just seem to have fun, can affect their pets. Animals are sensitive and very receptive to vibes; they are easily stimulated and can get startled within an instant. Given the nature of Halloween, there is often too much going on for your pets to take in and still remain calm. As such, we’d like to offer some tips for Halloween safety for pets. We’d like to help you keep your pet happy and out of danger.
Candy Can Be Poison to Animals
Do not feed your dog or your cat any candy. It might seem like nothing but it can be poison for your pet. Feeding chocolate to your pet can give them diarrhea, disrupt their breathing, cause a seizure and in extreme cases, even cause death. Make sure you do not feed the treats to your pet, and let your friends and family know they should refrain from doing so. Make a tag with ‘no pet feeding’ written over it put it outside your door so the kids around the block would refrain from doing so.
Let’s Not Put a Tutu on Your Pet
We understand how you cannot wait to put on your Halloween costume on, but putting one on your pet should be reconsidered. Animals do not feel the same way about clothes as we do. They are more relaxed when they are how they naturally are, in their own skin. If you must dress them up, make sure the costume is loose, airy and breathable for your pet. Also, make sure the fabric is not irritating for their skin otherwise they would simply chew off the costume.
Do Not Let the Dog Out!
With all the noise and hoo-hah going on outside, it is very likely that your pet can get startled and spooked in between all that. Cats and dogs can go into shock if they see something uncomfortable. Moreover, there are always kids in your neighborhood who cannot seem to leave your pet alone. Keep your pet inside so the chances of your pet getting in their hands are reduced to none.
Keep the Lights Away from Your Pets
Keep the wires and decorative objects away from your pet’s reach or it is possible they can get tangled up in them, chew them off, or get electrocuted.
Make Sure Your Pet Can Return Home
No matter how careful you are, there are always chances of your pet getting loose or getting lost. Which is why having a pet i.d. along with your address around their neck is important. This way, even if such thing happens, they can always be returned home. You can also put a tracking chip inside the i.d. so they always remain on your watch.
Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents. However, as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Check out these pet safety tips and be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:
O Christmas Tree
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
Put the Meds Away
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surge
Leaving your pet in the car even just for a few minutes may not seem like a big deal, but it could actually be very dangerous for your pets!
The temperature inside a vehicle can actually rise to higher than that of the outside especially during spring and summer when the temperatures go far higher than they do throughout the rest of the year. Combined with the enclosed space inside the vehicle, what may seem like a simple five minute trip to the store for you, could become a stuffy oven for your pet very quickly. This can result in exhaustion, sickness, and in more extreme cases death.
Even when the weather is colder and the temperature drops, the car can still become a very dangerous place if left alone for too long. However, you also may not want to leave your pet alone at home making it understandably difficult to decide what to do when you have an upcoming trip or simply a routine errand that needs to get done as soon as possible.
Alternatives for leaving your companion alone in the car include a ton of options such as leaving them with a friend, putting a leash on your pet and taking them with you if possible, utilizing more convenient options like a drive-thru if possible, and plenty more!
Knowing this, be careful when taking your pet places and consider the risks when leaving them in a vehicle even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Description of the problem with the product. Examples include:
Foul odor, off color
Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
Foreign object found in the product.
It seems that we hear about Dog Food Recalls on a weekly basis, these are some of the recalls that we have heard of this year (2014). The information below comes from the FDA
Recalls – of which there are three types – are actions taken by a firm to remove a product from the market. Recalls may be conducted on a firm’s own initiative, by FDA request, or by FDA order under statutory authority.
How to Watch For and to Prevent Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke for your Pets
During the summer months in the valley, temperatures can be lethal for humans as well as our pets. While outside with your dog, please be mindful of the signs of heat exhaustion, which could lead to a potentially fatal heat stroke.
Heat Exhaustion Signs in Dogs
1. Heavy panting – The first sign of heat exhaustion is heavy panting. Since dogs are incapable of sweating, their only way to cool their internal temperature is through panting.
2. Pay close attention to certain breeds – Certain breeds with heavy coats (such as Shelties or Chow Chows) and other breeds with short snouts making it harder for them to breath (such as Boxers and Pugs) are much more susceptible to heat exhaustion and should be watched closely while in hot temperatures.
3. Weakness – Dogs may experience weakness in extreme heat.
4. Disorientation – You may notice that your dog is unaware of his/her surroundings while experiencing heat exhaustion.
5. Vomiting – This may also occur during heat exhaustion.
Heat Stroke Signs in Dogs
1. Heavy panting – This is also the first sign of heat stroke.
2. Disorientation – Another characteristic of heat stroke.
3. Diarrhea – This often occurs in the event of a heat stroke.
4. Seizures and/or coma – Another very serious symptom of heat stroke.
It is very important to spot the signs of heat exhaustion early before a heat stroke occurs, as heat strokes are often times fatal. Pet owners who observe serious signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion should seek help from a veterinarian immediately. In the mean time, there are some things that can be done to cool down a dog displaying signs of heat exhaustion:
1. Provide plenty of water
2. Keep the pet in a cool resting place
3. Place a cool, wet towel around the dog’s neck
4. Ice packs may be placed on the dog’s arm pit area or neck area
Some very simple steps can be taken to avoid the serious effects of heat stroke and heat exhaustion in pets.
1. Avoid taking your dog out during the middle of the day in the hot summer months.
2. Walk dogs only during the morning and evening hours when the temperature is cooler.
3. Provide plenty of fresh water at all times.
4. Never leave your pet outside, tied up, unattended, or in a vehicle during the summer months.
The beautiful spring weather may inspire you to enjoy the outdoors with your pets while working on the yard or garden. However, your pets may be in danger from hazardous contact with weed killers, insecticides, and poisonous plants.
Insecticides – Always store insecticides in a safe area, out of your pets’ reach. APCC warns specifically, “The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons.”
Fertilizer – If ingested in large amounts, your pet could get very sick. Keep fertilizer out of your pets’ reach.
Toxic Plants – Some of the most common toxic plants include: sago palm, rhododendron, and azalea. For a full list of toxic yet common plants, please visit the ASPCA website.
A Scottsdale client recently told me a story of how his indoor / outdoor cat came home with scratches and bite marks after spending the night outside. His cat really enjoyed the freedom and stimulation of being outdoors, but after several dangerous encounters, this client decided to keep his kitty indoors.
Many veterinarians agree that indoor cats live longer due to lower incidents of illness, accidents, and stress. For a happier, healthier pet, consider keeping your cat indoors.
Here are 10 reasons to keep your cat safely indoors:
Cat Parasites – Fleas, tapeworms, hookworms, and other parasites live outside.
Accidents – Car accidents are a common cause of injury and death for outdoor cats.
Feline Infection & Disease – Contact with other animals carrying infections and diseases such as: rabies, leukemia virus, and cat AIDS.
Poisoning – Ingestion or exposure of toxic chemicals and plants could occur.
Cat Fights – Fights with other animals such as: cats, dogs, raccoons, and skunks.
Cat Allergies – Some cats may develop allergy symptoms if outdoors for extended periods of time.
Early Detection – If kept indoors, you may quickly notice any changes in your pet’s health and behavior, in order to treat illnesses earlier.
Reduce Stress – The stable environment that only a pet owner can provide while indoors, results in less stress for your beloved cats.
Cleaner Home – By reducing your cats’ exposure to the outdoors, you are ridding your home of possibly harmful elements such as: dirt, disease, and bacteria.
Longer, Happier Life – The facts are simple. By reducing the exposure to risks and stresses of the outdoors, you are providing a longer and happier life for your cat.
Making the decision to keep your cat indoors for safety and health reasons is a very personal choice – for you and your cat. In Scottsdale, we have coyotes, feral cats and homeless dogs, raccoons and other hungry animals roaming about – not to mention the occasional rattlesnake! Give us a call at TLC Pet Sitter for tips and advice for keeping your cat safe.