Keeping Pets Safe!
- Check Your Fence – Often! Pets can easily escape the yard, to go off in search of an adventure, due to loose or damaged fencing. Each year, thousands of beloved pets are killed in animal shelters because they went missing and their family did not find them before their stray hold was up. Assure the safety of your pets by making it a routine habit to check the fencing often. High winds, ground movement, and age are just three factors that can make a fence a safety hazard for your pet.
- Assure Pet Collar ID and Rabies Tags Are Current – So often I see posts for missing pets and the parent states the pet was “not wearing their collar and tags when they got out.” We never know when a guest or repairman will inadvertently let our pet dart out the door. ID tags can become scratched, so it’s important to check and assure the information is easily readable. Our pets can’t talk, so we need to be extra cautious to ensure a finder will know they are loved and who to contact to help them return home.
- Assure Microchip Info is Current – the data on microchips can expire, so it’s important to check it with some frequency and update as needed. Also, if you move or change your phone number, remember to update your pet’s chip info with the manufacturer.
- Collars & Harnesses – When Maggie was a puppy, I hooked her leash to her collar for walks. One day she became very ill and for days that stretched into weeks, she progressively grew worse. She was in so much pain and the vets and specialists were having a hard time diagnosing her. I began to try and prepare to make a hard decision. Finally, a specialist suggested an MRI where they diagnosed a ruptured disc. Only one medical facility in Texas, at this time, had a doggy neurologist; when I called, they told me it would be several weeks before we could get in. I broke down and cried as I explained all that we had been through. They called me back and ask me to come the next day. The vet hospital was more than three hours away, so I took an emergency leave from work and made the long trip with my dear girl in my lap. Leaving her for surgery was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I began to cry as I told her I loved her and would see her soon; the vet had not been able to confirm she would survive surgery. I remembered how sensitive and instinctive dogs are, so I quickly began to try and compose myself so she would not be afraid and wonder why I was crying. When I looked up, my doggy neurologist and vet tech were both wiping tears. A calm came over me as I realized they understood how much Maggie was loved and would care for her to the best of their ability. Maggie did well with surgery and a few days later, I was able to bring her back home. The doggy neurologist said the injury could be genetics, it could be an injury, or something else. When I asked for precaution tips, she advised me to never walk Maggie with a just a collar, but to use a harness which more evenly distributes the weight. To this day, I will only use a harnesses for walks. Now, collars are for style and to sport ID tags; harnesses are for walks. I highly recommend a harness for walking your dog to assure their safety.
- Be Careful in the Kitchen – a couple of our dogs are very food curious. If we are in the kitchen, they are too. Forget the 5 second rule, if a food item is dropped while cooking, it is often caught mid-air. Our pets are family; they’re not banished to another room just because we’re cooking. But I have learned to be extra cautious in the kitchen as a dropped knife, bottle, or food item that is poisonous to dogs can be an unsuspected danger with tragic results.
- What’s In Your Garden? – While beautiful, some plants like Geranium, Jasmine, Oleander, and Perennial Pea, are toxic to dogs. Some are toxic only to cats. A few years ago Dave decided to plant a peach tree seed in our garden. The squirrels love him for it! They sit on our 8ft privacy fence chowing down on peaches, then pitch the pits at our dogs. Seriously, I’ve seen them throw the pits at the dogs. They’ve thrown them at me too! What the what?! But to the point, it’s very dangerous because peaches are also toxic to dogs. As much as I dislike cutting down trees and destroying life, the peach tree is being removed because the squirrel-tossed peaches are a safety hazard for our dogs. If you have plants, do due diligence and know if any plant in your home or yard is toxic to your pet!
- The Vehicle Can Be One of the Biggest Dangers – we pick up our keys to run an errand. Our beloved dogs gives us those pleading eyes, we give in and invite our best buddy to come along. Along the way, a phone call from a friend or relative asks us to stop and pick up something from the store. “Sure, no prob” we say. After all, we’re comfortable and in the zone; the ACs on high, the radio’s playing great tunes, and we have our buddy by our side. Life is great! So we stop, and with a kiss to the head, we tell our buddy we’ll be right back. Totally forgetting, or unaware, that even with the windows cracked open for air, the temps inside the auto can climb to a dangerous heat in an incredibly short period of time. A slow check out line, or other delay, and peril awaits. The danger is, we can return to find our dog stolen (by a thief or animal advocate intent on saving from imminent danger), in great distress, or worse. A totally innocent, but major bonehead moment has placed our beloved pet in extreme harm’s way. Never, ever leave a child, elderly person, or pet alone in an auto. It’s simply a gamble that is not worth placing our loved ones in great danger! Don’t forget that if you suddenly slam on your breaks, your pet can be injured by being slammed into a seat, the dashboard, or windshield. Always take precautions when traveling with your pet(s).
The Homeless Pet Project is a series of videos and resources to help increase pet adoptions, reduce shelter intake, find and recruit volunteers/fosters, advocate for pets in need, and build no kill animal shelter communities. There is something each of us can do to save the lives of these great pets; be inspired and find your spot in The Homeless Pet Project series!
Find dog/cat lover and animal advocate T-shirts at The Ultimutt Life shop (click here)! All purchases support animal rescue.