Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

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16 Apr 11

by Susan Chamberlain of 14KaratParrot

Traveling or Moving, with pet birds?

Planning to travel with your bird? Whether it’s a vacation or relocation, the trip can be a positive experience for both of you. My first long-distance move with a carload of parrots was a revelation. In spite of my insecurities (Would the birds eat? Would they be traumatized?), my flock traveled extremely well. I had even believed the Amazons would be stressed to the point of silence during the trip. At the first bridge plaza they proved me wrong and gave the toll collector an earful. Four moves and 15 years later, the “green gang” is still thriving.

Okay, you’ve got the travel cage or carrier, cover, portable T-stand and first aid kit. Now it’s time to think about food and water. Tailor my “Top Ten” list to you specific needs:

#1. Resist the urge to share “fast food”, or even restaurant food with your birds! Sure, that burger you got at the drive-through is delicious, but it may be contaminated with enough e-coli to make your bird desperately ill. Tasty tacos, embellished with cheese and salsa may be loaded with enough sodium to cause salt toxicity. You’re miles from a familiar veterinarian. What now? Tempt your pet with tasty avian snacks at meal stops instead.

#2. Bring along a supply of bottled water for your bird to drink. Water supplies along your route may be ’safe’ to drink, but may upset the system of a possibly stressed bird. You’ll rarely know in advance if the water along your route is well water or reservoir supplied. If you plan to use commercially bottled water, get your bird accustomed to it before your departure date. Alternatively, you can boil, then bottle your regular drinking water in clean jugs or smaller water bottles for use along the way. Once at your destination, you can gradually introduce your bird to the local water. I’ve done this by mixing increasing quantities of local water with water brought from home.

Portable water filters are available at variety and home improvement stores. Consider taking one of these along if you’ll be on an extended trip.

Did you know? You can kill bacteria by boiling water, but a filter is required to remove heavy metals and
other paniculate matter.

#3. Substitute juicy produce for water while in motion. Most birds drink little, if any water while actually in transit, or the water provided may be spilled. Spillage can be reduced somewhat by using a drinking water bottle, mounted to the travel cage or carrier, but do be aware that birds or the motion of a vehicle can cause these to drain as well. To provide necessary hydration, install a dish of juicy fruit and vegetables inside the travel home. This is especially important when your bird is traveling separately, perhaps in the cargo hold of an airplane.

When traveling by car, offer your pet water from a cup or dish at rest stops…inside your securely closed vehicle, of course! My budgies weren’t inclined to drink or eat produce on our trip, so I misted them with water from a spray bottle several times throughout the day. They preened the moisture from their feathers and licked it from the cage bars. A large, wet lettuce leaf, clipped to the cage bars got their attention on the second day of our journey.

#4. Pack a sufficient supply of seed and pellets in non-breakable containers. Those with screw-on tops are best, as they will not pop off if the container is dropped. Place containers where they will not be subjected to direct sunlight streaming through car windows.

#5. Store perishable food, fruit and vegetables in containers inside a cooler. I seal ice cubes inside resealable plastic bags so the food doesn’t end up under water at day’s end. (I don’t use re-freezable ‘blue ice’ on long trips because after it melts, it’s just excess baggage.) Replenish the ice at the hotel when you stop for the night.

#6. Allow plenty of time for your trip. Check into your motel early in the evening so your bird will have time to settle down, eat and spend a little tune out of its cage. Some birds, like my Senegal parrots, will refuse to eat a morsel of food while inside a car, so it’s important to schedule overnight stops on long trips.

#7. Feed fresh food sparingly before departure. Go easy on the eggs and table food, as a bird with a tendency toward motion sickness may vomit the contents of the full crop. When traveling, I like to awaken early, prepare my birds’ breakfast and allow them tune to eat while I shower and re-pack the car.

You may further reduce the risk of carsickness by covering carriers or cages with a white or light colored cloth while in transit. Birds will be able to perceive daylight, but will not be subjected to the sights of the road. Take your pet on several short drives prior to departing on a long trip so you can observe its reaction. Consult your avian veterinarian for specific advice regarding motion sickness.

#8. One dish filled with seed/pellets and another stocked with fruit and vegetables is all most birds require while on the road. My Amazons followed their regular eating patterns on the road: breakfast at the motel in the morning, then toward dusk, I’d hear the crunching of seed and pellets from the back seat of the car.

#9. Use a mess-containment device to reduce cage fall-out and spillage in your car and in hotels. I use the Mess Catcherfrom Pet Butler (call 800-452-9340 for local retailer or visit a lightweight, clear tray type container for my Amazon’s travel cages, and the wrap-around Birdcage Barrier from Birdbrains™ (888-779-4999 for info) for the smaller birds’ cages. Both are available in a variety of sizes and come in handy at home and away.

#10. Remove hanging toys, treats, swings and other accessories from cages and carriers while traveling. Install dishes securely. Allow your bird to spend time in and on its travel home well before your departure date. Offer a favorite treat or two so your pet will associate the temporary home with something pleasant. My Amazons are still so attached to their travel cages that they insist on spending some time in them every day!

Bon voyage!


Bird Food

Supply of bird’s regular food, seed, pellets and treats.

Fresh food, packed in containers inside cooler.


Box or carrier for bird food and supplies


Re-closeable plastic bags for ice cubes

Sharp knife for cutting fruit & veggies Plastic spoons Small cutting board Vegetable washing solution Anti-microbial soap Unbreakable food containers Bottled water

Electrolyte replacement beverage for birds that suffer from stress while traveling (Pedialyte™ or similar product; consult your avian vet for specific advice)

Portable water filter

Extra dishes for stands or travel cages

Mess containment device for cage or portable stand

Paper towels

Immersion heater or ‘hot pot’ to heat water or baby food.

Thermometer, if you’re feeding baby birds

Small trash bags

Hand-held vacuum

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08 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Pet Products and Celebrities

Once again Charlotte Reed, celebrity and pet product expert of Pet Socialite Events hosted a fabulous event on Tuesday, April 5th in New York City.  The Better Health and Wellness Pet Product Showcase event not only included some of the coolest new pet products this pet professional has seen in a long time, it was also host to many celebrities in attendance.  “I decided to do this showcase on Better Health and Wellness, because as more and more people are concerned with their own health and wellness, they are now looking for healthier, better, more organic and green products for their pets,” stated Charlotte Reed.

Charlotte Reed and Beth Stern

Charlotte Reed and Beth Stern

One of the first new products, I was really wishing had been invented while my other dog was still living since she always seemed to get minor cuts and scraps while playing, running, or on hikes is the PawFlex™ Bandages. I used to have to keep rolls of bandage, tape and gauze in the medicine cabinet – just in case – and this will solve that in an all-in-one simple solution, fantastic!  PawFlex is the first disposable, non adhesive stretch duel hook fastener bandage system designed specifically for our pets. Based in Brooklyn, and created by Jennifer DiGrazia, CEO of PawFlex – because of their beloved blind dog Maddy that she rescued, read more about it here.

PawFlex bandage2

Each bandage design has been specially created for a specific problem area regarding wound care as well as for distinct characteristics that has made past bandages less than adequate.  Also, each individually wrapped PawFlex bandage has a wound pad already attached, making it the first and only “ALL IN ONE” bandage for dogs.

There are currently four PawFlex designs ready for market with several more designs waiting to follow. Each design ranges from sizes XSmall to XLarge.  They will be soon available in local pet retail stores and vet offices.  Jennifer said, “they would also like to eventually be able to donate to small rescue groups and shelters.”

To prevent a little dog or puppy from falling off a balcony, your deck, through a slotted fence or baby gate – this next product is not only for safety, but pretty cute and very functional too.  Puppy Bumpers® originally called “Condo Collars” were invented by Ann Price in order to keep her own dog from getting through a baby gate.  The patented Puppy Bumpers® have been endorsed by dog trainers, veterinarians and other dog professionals as a non-aversive way to keep dogs safely inside a fence.

Puppy Bumpers

Ann Price of Puppy Bumpers showing Sonja Morgan of The Real Housewives of NYC

Did your pet just have surgery and is now a wearing a dreaded plastic e-collar and bumping into everything with it?  There is a better solution, the Trimline™ Recovery Collar.  Made from a specially designed fabric that is water resistant, non-allergenic and non-toxic, the Trimline collar easily slips over a pet’s head stays in place thanks to a drawstring design and is strong enough to withstand chewing and clawing. You also don’t have to worry about your pet bumping into things with the hard plastic e-collar with this new Trimline Collar – my dog would sometimes get stuck in doorways with the old big plastic e-collar on and scratch and dent furniture or walls – this won’t happen with the Trimline Collar.

My dog Max modeling the collar!

It is also folds, which is great to keep in a first aid kit in your car and one in your home.

The collar is an effective, flexible, collar for use with cats and dogs during grooming sessions or experiencing injury, surgery and trauma restraint conditions. It allows the animal to eat, drink and sleep in comfort while providing a barrier to the treatment area for licking and biting. It is soft, lightweight and easily applied with a simple drawstring design.

Then there was gym equipment made specifically for pets call FitPAWS which are like human fitness balls.  By looking at these you could see why they would be beneficial for pets with arthritis, that need physical therapy, and for pet enrichment and fun!  One may think a dog wouldn’t know what to do with the products, but all the dogs that were there hopped right on and seemed to instinctively know what to do, it was quite amazing.  One pit bull mix was having a blast it was very cute to see him on the equipment.  There was also a pet gym set up, that Charlotte Reed designed with pet health, activity and stimulus in mind and had FitPAWS equipment a doggie treadmill and more.

FitPAWS Gym Equipment

Going green – there were also a few different pet products that are honoring the green, holistic, organic and keeping local movement.  From very cool, unique and fantastic designed cat scratch posts, bed by Imperial Cat; to green dog beds by Molly Mutt – a dog bed duvet using your own old laundry for the stuffing of the bed; a brand new line of interactive pet toys and products that are safety tested to children’s toy standards by SafeMadePet™ and a local Long Island company; to lavender scented, made from corn, clumping cat litter by World’s Best Cat Litter; and grain free pet treats and raw pet food made from locally farmed products ingredients by Pawgevity™.

There will be a few other pet product reviews on products that were at the event coming up, right here on – look for them soon!

Cubby, celebrity dog from Doggie Moms!

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23 Mar 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Springtime and Dog Owner Amnesia

It’s springtime on Long Island, what a beautiful thing!  We can walk our dogs more often now and not worry about slipping and falling on the ice or climbing over huge snow piles.  This past week especially I have personally seen a lot more dogs being walked than I have throughout the winter.  But I have also noticed many dog owners seem to forget the basics of walking their dog or maybe their spring fever has given them dog owner amnesia.

Or maybe you just got a new puppy or adopted a dog and haven’t had a dog in what seems like 100 years, and laws and park rules may have changed.  Maybe this is your first dog ever and you are learning the ropes, here are a few dog walking tips to help you along the way (for both new and old dog owners alike!):

Proper leashes and collars – The best leash is a 6-foot cotton or leather leash; which come in different widths and styles for your type and size of dog. Retractable leashes do not give you any control of your dog or dogs and can cause injury to people and dogs alike.  Most county and state parks require your dog to be on a 6-foot leash by law.  Your dog should have a flat collar with ID and NYS dog license on it, and if you are using a training collar to walk your dog, be sure to get it fitted properly by a professional dog trainer.  Most big box pet stores selling choke, prong, harnesses and other training apparatus do not fit your dog (or know how to) and will sell you wrong size for your dog. Smaller mom & pop pet stores or dog training facilities will have a better idea what to sell you and help you fit your dog in the store.

Greeting another person with a dogASK! Can your dog say hello?  Is your dog friendly? Many dog owners inadvertently just walk up to another dog owner without asking if their dog is friendly or can say hello. While most dogs are friendly and social with other dogs, not all dogs are dog friendly.  Maybe their dog was attacked before and is now terrified of dogs (or the owner is terrified), or maybe the dog is dog aggressive – and now you’re wandering over to the dog without asking.  Maybe they are just working on training techniques or just beginning to socialize their dog.  Ask! And don’t be offended if their dog can’t say hello to yours.

Watching other people’s body language – Did a dog owner you were approaching just cross the street with their dog?  (Maybe to avoid you and your dog).  Are they pulling their dog closer into them, putting the dog into a “heel” position?  Walking closer to the side of the trail at the park to give you more room to pass by?  These could be very easy body language signals that you can look out for – for tell ‘tail’ signs that they don’t want to or cannot greet your dog with theirs.  Pay attention!  Pull you dog closer to you if you see this happening, and for dog’s sake don’t cross the street for your dog to say ‘hi’ after the person just crossed to get away from you and your dog! Again, not all dogs are dog friendly – but those dog owners have the right to enjoy a dog walk in the park just as much as you do.

Don’t over do it the first walk out there, if you have only been walking your dog 10 minutes for the past 5 months, gradually get your dog back into a walking routine. Increase your time and distance a little each day and before you know you and your dog could be walking a few miles a day.  A tired dog is a good dog!

Off Leash parks – are popping up across LI, so there is no need to let you’re dog run loose and out of control where you’re not supposed to because you think he should be free.  An easy rule of thumb to remember is if you can not verbally control your dog off leash, i.e. having the dog ‘come’ on command or recall your dog to you. Your dog should not be running off leash where they are not supposed to!  Go to an off-leash enclosed dog park.  You can find many listed here.

Walking in your town of village – If your dog is out 20-feet ahead of you on a retractable leash and you’re walking through a village of busy town – pull that dog in!  If you see another person coming towards you with a dog or children, retract your dog in to walk next to you – how do you know that person’s dog is dog friendly or if the person is dog savvy?  Some kids are really scared of dogs, so don’t let your dog jump up or run up to a child.

Kids – Parents please teach your children to ask to pet a dog, not to run up to a dog (a bunch of charging children can be very scary to a dog that is not used to it!), and monitor your children around all pets at all times.  If you are teaching your child how to walk the family dog – this is a great idea, just be sure to have control of the situation.  Many times I have seen a kid holding the leash and running with the dog – it may look cute and seem fun, but if that dog decides to run after something or up to an unfriendly dog, it won’t be so cute anymore.  So just make sure you are controlling the situation as the parent, aunt, uncle, guardian, etc.  You want to have fun while out with your kids and dog and educate them at the same time about dog safety.

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17 Mar 11

Paws for Japan ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Paws for Japan

This St. Patrick’s Day, my favorite green holiday, instead of talking about “kissing the blarney stone” or drinking so much green beer you forgot you kissed the blarney stone -  I would ask anyone reading this to turn their attention to the disaster in Japan.  We have seen the most horrendous and unimaginable footage on CNN, GMA and other new sources and of course we think of how this has affected all the people of Japan.  But what about the pets and animals?  As many people are displaced and missing so are many beloved pets.  Pets that are injured, lost and in desperate need of medical attention, shelter, food and water – just like their human counterparts.

So this St. Patrick’s Day the pet blog community is uniting to bring attention to the wonderful organization of WorldVets who is currently organizing groups to deploy to Japan to help all the animals.  As of March 16th their first deployment is enroute to meet up with Animal Friends Niigata. They will be headed toward the disaster area for an overnight trip to help any animals they find.

Thank dog for this organization, and if you don’t want to spend your green on green beer or bagels why not chip in a few bucks towards WorldVets so they can help as many animals as possible.   You can also donate veterinary supplies and/or medicines that are being requested from are the following: De-worming medicines, vaccinations, fluid replacements, wound treatments, and cages. Donations of these items can be shipped to: World Vets headquarters, 802 1st Ave N, Fargo ND  58102.

Maybe you can play the “unicorn song” while your are making a contribution, spread the word and help the pets of Japan.  

Paws for Japan

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02 Mar 11

Found a lost dog… ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Found a lost dog…Now what?

If you see a loose dog, for most pet lovers our first instinct is to stop and see if we can help get the dog back to its owner and back home.  Does the dog have a collar with ID tags and a number to call to reunite the pet with its family?  Many times a dog gets loose with no visible ID, and no way to immediately get it back home.

Very recently a there was a sad story about a lost dog on Fox Five found in Nassau County. When a good samaritan saw the dog loose in the road, he wanted to help the dog out of harms way and get the dog back to its owners.   So the man stopped and coaxed the dog to him and brought him home.  He and his fiancé decided to post the dog in the Pets section of, and with in a few hours the “owner” contacted them claiming it was her dog.  They met the next day in a shopping center nearby so she could pick up ‘her’ dog.  A couple hours after the dog was reunited with the supposed owner, the real owner contacted them about the dog.  It turns out the real owner only lived five houses away from where the dog was picked up.  So unfortunately the dog was given to someone who is not the real owner.

What you can do if you do find a loose dog with no ID:

  • If you find a dog in a neighborhood, first and foremost, knock on some doors, it could be the dog was only a house or so away. (Which was the case here, the dog was only 5 houses away). This also goes hand in hand in getting to know your neighbors, and their pets.
  • If the dog has no collar or tags, call or go to your local town animal shelter – the dog may be microchipped and most shelters have scanners to see if the dog has a chip and can help relocating the dog.  If you are leaving the dog at the shelter as a stray, town animal shelters by law have to hold for a period of time (usually seven days) before the dog can be placed for adoption.  This will also give the owner a chance to look to see if there dog is in the local town shelter.
  • If the animal shelter is closed, go to your nearest veterinarian office, many vet offices also have scanners.
  • If you do post the dog to a community pet section of a website like craigslist or if you post to Facebook – make sure the person claiming the dog is theirs has proof i.e. clear photo’s of the dog, medical records, can identify markings on the dog, maybe a scar from a past injury, if the dog is spayed or neutered or other information that the person can just tell from a picture. (I would ask these questions over the phone before reuniting).
  • Watch the dog’s body language during the reuniting – the dog on the video didn’t look overly excited to see its ‘owner’ it almost seemed like it didn’t really know her.  The majority of dogs are so happy, excited, and ecstatic to see their owners again, even after just 5 minutes apart – so watch for that.  Over excitement is not a tell “tail” sign that the dog is theirs, but could help the rescuers spotting a fraud if the dog is acting shy or scared of the person claiming it is their dog.
  • Does the dog respond to the name?  The horrible person in the video stealing the dog called the dog “baby” and anyone can call a dog baby.

To prevent the above from happening, dog owners can follow these tips:

  • Have a collar or harness with ID tags on your dog at all times, with updated contact information. (Do not use a training collar for this purpose – a flat buckle collar is best.)
  • Have your dog licensed with the state (dog licenses are required by state law and can be acquired at your local town clerk’s office), this is another form of ID and easy for town shelters to identify the dog and its owner.
  • Does your dog escape, climb over or under your fence?  Be sure you have a secure yard if you know your dog is an escape artist.  Always check to see if your gate is securely closed, and teach your kids this as well.
  • If your dog is an escape artist and known for getting out, be sure to get the dog microchipped.
  • Is your dog spayed or neutered?  Dogs that are not “fixed” tend to want to get out and mate – so another good reason for spaying and neutering your pets.
  • Does your dog know where he or she lives?  This may sound really silly, but if you never walk your dog, and it’s only a house dog or dog that only goes in your yard, the neighborhood could be a whole new big world for your dog to explore, easily get lost, not recognize anything and if you never walk your dog – how does your dog know which house is theirs?  (People who walk their dogs on a regular basis know that their dog could lead them right back home!)
  • Get to know your neighbors!  If you know your neighbor has a German Shepherd and you see a loose German Shepherd in your neighborhood, chances are it is their dog.

We are hoping that the woman in the video tape is found comes forward and the dog Lilly is reunited with its owner very soon.  If you know who the person who stole the dog is, call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.