Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

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29 Jun 11

Pets & the 4th of July ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

While we may love the 4th of July and all the pomp and circumstance – it may be a very different story for our four legged and feathered friends. Sudden loud fireworks going off nearby, loud parties, or just having more friends and family over can very easily stress out your otherwise well behaved pets. To enjoy the 4th, here are some simple tips to help your pet and family make it through the weekend!

  • Make sure you have a collar with ID tags on your pets at all times during this weekend.  Some owners like to take their pet’s flat collar off when they are in the house – but the first block buster that goes off could scare your pet so much they may bolt out your front door and take off.
  • If you know your pet is terrified of loud noises, try using products like Rescue Remedy® or Canine Calm™ or in extreme cases contact your veterinarian for tranquilizer/valium pills ahead of time.
  • Leave your pets home in a secured house.  Pets do not need to be at firework shows, it’s almost inhumane if you are not sure of how your dog may react.  Know your dog, some dogs don’t seem to mind, but think about their sensitive hearing.
  • Having a 4th BBQ? Friends and family tend to want to feed your dog or cat while at a party, to avoid this ask them not to or have your pet in a safe cool room away from all the guests.  Check on the pet often, make sure he has fresh water and a comfy place to sleep away from the crowd.  (Lock the door if you can!) Guests that are not pet savvy could accidentally open or leave the door open and the pet could escape.
  • Parades and pets.  Some dogs, horses, and yes even cats are fine while attending a parade with you.  Again, know your pet – if you see the animal shaking, panting, drooling, pulling on the leash – those are all signs of stress.  Some pets do not do well in large crowds, people, kids petting poking at them, loud sirens from fire trucks going by, etc.  If you see your dog is stressed – leave the parade – don’t comfort the dog with, “It’s ok” while petting the panicked animal – that will just make it worse.
  • Bringing your dog out on your boat or too the beach? Bring plenty of cold bottled water, pet safe bug spray and sunscreen, extra leash and collar with ID, treats, doggie life jacket, and monitor them for overheating, bug bites, ticks and make sure their paws are not on hot surfaces for a long time -concrete and sand can be scorching- and of course bring poop pick up bags!
  • Traveling for the 4th and bringing your pet?  Find out where the nearest 24hour emergency clinic is at your destination.  Make sure there are no Breed Restrictions at your location.  While en route use a safety harness that clips into the seatbelt of your car, or crate your pet while traveling. Have a first aid kit in your car especially for pets and bring extra pet food and water – you never know if your car breaks down you get stuck somewhere.

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14 Jun 11

by Robyn Elman, In Home Pet Services, Inc.

Pet Sitter Summer Safety Tips

Pet Sitters and dog walkers typically enjoy the warmer weather that spring and summer bring, and this is especially true this year, after a harsh, cold, snowy winter that seemed like it would never end. New York is definitely a place with extreme temperatures on either side of the mercury, and this spring has already seen temperatures reaching above 95 degrees.

On these extreme days with high heat and humidity, it’s important to make some changes in your pet’s daily routine with your pet sitter. For example, if you’re high energy dog usually gets an hour walk or run at the dog park, consider splitting the visit between inside and outside time, allowing your pet, and walker, to cool down from the heat. Keep a doggie water bottle next to the leash for your walker to take with them on the walk, and feel free to leave a bottle for the human as well.

Consider leaving the air conditioner on for your pet during the day, which your sitter will also surely enjoy after being in the heat all day. It’s also important to leave instructions on how to use an air conditioner in your house or apartment, and what settings you prefer. You should leave it up to your sitter’s discretion if the air needs to be left on for your pet.

If you are leaving for vacation, keep an eye on the expected weather for the day. Just because it’s a nice cool morning, doesn’t mean you can leave your pets outside until the sitter comes for the next visit. (Also note that NYS law requires any pet left outside to have proper shelter, fresh water and in some areas cannot be tied up for more than 3 hours at a time). Several years ago, on a particularly humid day, I was informed that the client left her dogs (English & French Bulldogs) in an outside enclosure, and I would find them there when I arrived for the first visit of a pet sitting that I was doing for the week. When I arrived, I was horrified to see that one the English bulldogs lying down, not moving, and upon closer examination not breathing either. He had died from heatstroke. This case was also the impetus for me becoming a Pet First Aid & CPR instructor so I could help teach people how to prevent death and injury to their pets. After all, preventable accidents are the leading cause of death in pre-senior dogs and cats, and this was certainly one of those cases.

If you hire a sitter to care for your dog on the 4th of July, let them know how your pet may react to the loud noises, or where they may be hiding in the house. Limit the amount of time they stay outside, and allow your sitter to turn the radio or television on for your pet if they feel it will help. Keep a leash handy also if the dog is normally just let in the yard by your sitter – leashing the dog during a time of year that fireworks may be occurring nearby is a safety precaution. Some dogs can be so terrified they will find anyway to get out of the yard and run for cover – simply having the sitter leash the dog and “walk” him in the yard will really help the dog from bolting.

Keeping your pet sitter in mind, as well as your pet, can make for a happy, healthy, and safer summer for all. Enjoy the season!

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26 May 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Breath of Fresh Air

While many of our volunteer fire companies on Long Island have been struggling to keep our animal friends safe, they are unable to purchase pet oxygen masks and as a result animals from dogs to cats are being put in serious danger, with many dying from the effects of smoke asphyxiation.  Pets in Suffolk County will now be breathing easier, and so will some of our local fire departments all because of the efforts of two teenage boys in Dix Hills and their partnership with Canine Fence.    Matthew and Marc Klinger, 15 and 13, co-founders of the Paws4Air foundation wanted to change that.  They started Paws4Air when they found out that their fire department did not carry pet oxygen masks on any of their fire trucks. Fire departments cannot use their money to buy these masks, because they can only purchase equipment that is used to help humans. They quickly used their birthday money to purchase the sets needed for their fire department. “Our goal is to equip every first response truck in Suffolk County with the much needed pet oxygen masks.” said Matthew and Marc.

Paws4Air created pet oxygen awareness bands that they sell to raise funds and awareness. Bands can be purchased from their website . They have had great help in selling the bands to students in their school district, Half Hollow Hills from the Animal Friends and Advocates Clubs at both the high schools, East and West, and the Leaders Club at West Hollow Middle School.

With their good fortune to partner up with Canine Fence, Paws4Air will be able to obtain their goal much faster!  Canine Fence have generously pledged to donate 50 Project Breathe O2 pet masks to help in the effort to equip every first response fire truck in Suffolk County, Long Island. As well as match one set for every one set purchased through fundraising by Paws 4Air. With the donations from Canine Fence and the sales of awareness bands, Paws4Air were able to give the fire companies in Commack, East Northport, and Elwood pet oxygen masks. In the next few weeks, many more fire departments in the Suffolk county area will be getting their sets!

Thanks to the efforts of two young men, and their charitable organization Paws4Air along with the contributions of Canine Fence® steps are being taken in the right direction.

Photo (left to right) Maryflorence Brennan (Canine Fence), Kieran Keane (Commack Fire Department), Marc Klinger (Paws4Air), Matthew Klinger (Paws4Air)

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18 May 11

Preventing dog bites ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Preventing Dog Bites

As someone who has been working with dogs on nearly a daily basis since I was a kid, preventing a dog bite seems to come naturally to me, and by applying common sense to every situation with a dog in order not to get bit, has helped tremendously.  But not everyone is aware of dog body language, behavior, how to act around dogs, etc.  Recently a good friend of mine was bitten pretty badly on her hand by a Jack Russell Terrier, that flew off his property and was attacking, literally going for her Old English Bulldog’s throat.  Luckily for the Jack her bulldog didn’t react to the situation, (seriously that could have been his lunch), but my friend, the bulldog’s owner who was walking her leashed dog in a local LI neighborhood said she had to keep pushing the Jack away and got bit in the process. You can’t blame her wanting to protect her dog from being hurt in the process. This occurs more often that you would think – we only hear about attacks in the news when it involves a certain media sensationalized breed – but all and every type, size and breed of dog can bite.

This week being National Dog Bite Prevention Awareness Week, May 15 -21st, here are some tips to help the everyday dog owner:

  • Ask if you can pet the dog.  This seems like such an obvious thing to do – but not everyone asks.  How do you know the dog being walked towards you is friendly?
  • Teach your kids to ask you first if they can pet a dog – then have them ask the dog owner before they run up and pet the cute puppy coming along.  Dogs can get nervous (especially if they are not used to kids running up to them), and kids often times can be over zealous. A good rule of thumb, as the dog owner, is to instruct the kids approaching, ‘one at a time’ as they come up and pet the dog.  Also instruct them to let the dog sniff them first.  As the owner you need to watch your dogs body language – if he is backing away from the kids, trying to hide behind you, putting his hair up (hackles between should blades), or worse curls his lips or growls?  If this happens tell the children, ok thanks for petting him we are going to be on our way, and keep on walking.  Not all dogs like kids!
  • Don’t go up to strange dogs.  If you are not an expert, a dog trainer, and if you see a loose dog and want to help it, call your local animal control or animal shelter so they can send a professional out to help the dog.
  • Some dogs are food and toy guarders – meaning the may growl or lunge at you if you are near them while they are eating or playing with a toy.  This behavior can be corrected with a good dog trainer, (and that the owners actually listen to the trainers instructions!), but if you have a dog like this – the dog is warning you with that growl.  Take it seriously.  But seek out a trainer – many times an owner has helped the dog develop this bad habit unknowingly – it’s no reason to give up on a dog.
  • Teach your children and their friends not to tease or bully your dog.  They would not want to be teased, and either does a dog.  (A friend of mine years ago teased my friends dog relentlessly for years, not in a mean way, just what could be annoying to a dog and finally one day while we were all rollerblading with the dog – he was taunting her and I guess she finally had enough and chased him and bit him right in the butt! While we could not stop laughing at the time because frankly he may have deserved it, he was bleeding and she ripped his shorts.  If that was a child it would be a lot worse, needless to say he learned his lesson!)

  • A tired dog is a good dog. Many people don’t take their dogs for actual walks here on Long Island relying on just using their yard for the dog.  Dogs bond with us, learn better, get mental and much need physical exercise while on a walk.  Much more then just playing with them in your yard – try to start walking your dog more on a regular basis. You will see a huge difference.
  • Be sure to keep your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations (rabies is required by NYS law), license your dog and have regular check ups by their vet.
  • Take a dog education class.  Here on Long Island the Town of Islip offers this class for Free to anyone that wants to attend.  Dog Bite Prevention is one of the many topics covered.  More information can be found here on upcoming classes.

There are more tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website to help you and your family avoid dog bites.  Dogs are such a wonderful part of our lives, but learning how to understand them better, interact your dog (or your neighbors dog) can make a big difference in avoiding being bit and having fun with our dogs.  Dogs are not children – while we think of them as family members of course, they are still animals first, with teeth!

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21 Apr 11

by Robyn Elman,  In Home Pet Services, Inc.

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Would you know what to do if you pet was choking? What if your pet ate an onion, or worse, got hit by a car? According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 1 out of every 4 more pets would have survived if only one pet first aid technique was applied prior to them receiving emergency veterinary care. Every person that owns a pet or works with pets, especially pet professionals, should be trained in the lifesaving skills of Pet First Aid and CPR. April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and if there is not a pet first aid or CPR class near offered near you, here are important life saving tips that any pet owner should know:

1. Remember than many foods are poisonous to our pets. When cooking for a family get together, stress the importance to your guests to not feed your pet table food – no matter how cute they are or how much they beg! Common foods such as onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate and even some sugarless items (xylitol) are toxic to our pets.

2. As spring and summer approach and warm up the temperature, never leave your pet in a car unattended. On a 78 degree day, all cars can become deadly within 15 minutes – even with the windows open.

3. Put together a pet first aid kit and keep one in your house and one in the car with you when you travel. Some common items to keep in your kit should include: sterile gauze and bandages; triple antibiotic ointment; hydrogen peroxide, (in pre-measured doses of 1tbsp for every 15lbs in a dropper bottle), in case you need to induce vomiting; scissors; tweezers; and an emergency muzzle.

4. An injured pet that is in pain, or going to be moved while in pain, can and will bite; for your safety muzzle the pet before moving or treating it – but be sure never to muzzle any pet who it vomiting or having breathing problems.

5. If your pet is having a seizure, never place anything in their mouths, and reduce external stimuli like shutting off the lights, radio and TV.

6. Keep your pet up to date on their checkups and vaccinations. Cats should have a checkup once a year and senior pets every 6 months.

7. Take a pet first aid and CPR class by a certified Pet Tech. This can be life saving for your pet and teach you how to address a simple wound that could happen out on a walk with your pet.

8. Know the numbers of the nearest Animal Emergency Hospitals in your area along with pet poison control numbers. Have them programmed into your cell phone and place them on your frig.

9. Stay Calm. Your pets will pick up on your excited state.

10. Don’t let your pets drink out of streams or any water that you wouldn’t drink out of. Always carry fresh bottled water for them wherever you are taking them.

For more information on the next Pet CPR & First Aid Class offered on Long Island click here.

Robyn Elman, President, In Home Pet Services, Inc. teaching a recent Pet CPR & First Aid class.