Seasonal Tips

Halloween Safety Tips 2014

Its that time of year again.

The sooner the kids come and relieve me of the candy in the house, the happier I will be. While I am more concerned with my candy consumption, there are real dangers for your pets.

1. Provide a safe place for your pet away from the door. It can be very confusing for them. The constant ringing of the doorbell, all the strange looking people, along with the screaming for candy, can be confusing and scary to your pet. Under these circumstances, your frightened pet may pose a bite risk.

2. Make sure that your pet is identified with readable tags and update your microchip company with current information. Many pets escape out the ever opening front door. Shelters see an increase in their numbers during Halloween.

3. Veterinarians and Animal Poison Control also see an increase in the number of pets as a result of poisoning and intestinal obstructions because the pet helped themselves to the Halloween candy you left within their reach. Most Halloween candy contains chocolate, artificial sugars, and wrappers.

4. Pets can knock over the lit candles in pumpkins causing a fire, chew on strung lights, choke on small ghoulish decorations, and poison themselves with fake blood and glowsticks.

5. If you must put a costume on your pet, remove all chocking hazards. In adition, watch for discomfort and blocked vision.

6. If you must take them trick or treating, put flashing LED's or lighted collars so cars can see them too. Look for signs of stress and exhaustion. They are not nearly as excited as the children are to go door to door.

Halloween is my favorite time of year. I do not want to ruin my holiday because my pet was injured, lost, or caused injury to another.

Written by Mary Oquendo, www.handsandpawsreiki.com


Fall Safety Tips 2014

Fall is my favorite time of the year.

Air is crisp, apples on the trees, leaves are changing color, and the weather is in transition. We’re leaving behind the heat and humidity of summer, but the cold, frigid air of winter is not yet upon us.

But with that transition comes the potential for hurricanes, tornados, and other massive storms. While tornados sneak up on us, hurricanes do not. The key to weathering (Ha Ha) these storms is preparation. Education is key. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of survival becomes. I highly recommend Community Emergency Response Training. (CERT) It is a free, but 20 hour class that is taught by your local Emergency Management Office or Fire Department. If you are going to Groom Expo at Hershey this September, I will be teaching a two hour program.

These storms can be quite ferocious and may scare your pets. Keep them on a leash when walking them, so they do not run off when a crack of thunder booms.

Loss of power is a concern for those who have refrigerated medicines such as insulin. In addition, if you lose power, your electronic fences will not work. This is a good time to make sure your microchip company has updated information as well as a photograph of your pet. If your pet becomes lost, you want their picture, not the generic one being circulated. Make sure collar tags are readable with updated cell and landline numbers.

Now is the time to prepare gardens and lawns for winterWhen using fertilizers and pesticides restrict your pet’s access to the treated areas. The poison is absorbed through the pads or ingested when licking their paws. Most Fall bulbs are poisonous. Check with your local garden nursery or click on this link for a list of common poisonous plants.

As local wildlife is preparing for winter, they become more active in their search for food. Be aware of the dangers they present to keep your pets from becoming a causality.

Halloween hazards include:

  • Chocolate contains theobromine. Pets cannot metabolize it, so it builds up in their bodies. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. The smaller the pet, the less chocolate it can withstand.
  • Artificial sugars, such as might be found in Halloween candy causes a deadly drop in blood sugar. It doesn’t matter how small or large your pet is.
  • Candy wrappers can cause intestinal blockages.
  • Candles in pumpkins can get knocked over and start a fire.
  • Secure your pet when trick or treaters come to your door. Don’t give your pets an opportunity to escape out the front door.

Thanksgiving hazards include:

  • Turkey bones can pose a choking hazard or splinter causing intestinal damage.
  • Turkey trimmings have a high fat content and can cause pancreatitis.
  • Alcohol can fatally accelerate your pets’ heartbeat.
  • Stuffing may contain both onions and/or raisins.
  • Too many guests, especially small children; can overexcite or annoy your pets. Make sure they have a place to get away from the ruckus. Keep in mind, that for some pets one guest is too many. Inform your guests not to feed your pets without your permission.As always, take a pet first aid class. It can be the difference between life and death and is the best gift you can give them.

 

As always, take a pet first aid class. It can be the difference between life and death and is the best gift you can give them.

 

Written by Mary Oquendo www.handsandpawsreiki.com                   mary@handsandpawsreiki.com

 


Winter Safety Tips 2013

We have two new puppies! This will be their first winter with us. Probably the only reason I am looking forward to it. I want to keep them safe, while they are having fun.

Car Safety

Watch for antifreeze leaks. Its sweet taste attracts dogs and cats, very poisonous, and the bright green color is a DEAD giveaway. It cleans up easily with soap and water.

Outdoor cats looking for warmth frequently sleep on car engines. Banging loudly on the hood before starting your engine should rouse them.

Leaving your pet in your car while you shop at the mall is like leaving them in a refrigerator. The car retains the cold and your pet could suffer from hypothermia. A great way to gauge the interior temperature of your vehicle is with a Too Hot For Spotã window cling. It is a thermometer that tells you if it is too hot OR too cold for your pet. You can source them at www.toohotforspot.com. On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling. A couple of years back,  a Long Island, NY man went into a Cool Beans for a cup of coffee and left his car running. His dog knocked the gearshift into drive and proceeded to go for a ride. He ended up IN the business next door. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Great Outdoors

Animals that spend a lot of time outside need more food. In particular, a higher protein diet is required.

The very young and the very old have little tolerance for the cold weather. Provide them with outerwear for both body and feet.

According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost during snowstorms than at any other time. They can lose their scent, become disoriented and lost. Remember, a well-identified dog has a greater chance of returning home.

Use pet safe ice melt. When that is not possible, or you are unsure of what is being used; wash their feet BEFORE they get a chance to lick them.

Indoors

Insects will be coming into our homes for the winter. Watch for spider and insect bites and familiarize yourself with the signs of anaphylactic shock. Insect traps are baited with something tasty, so keep them out of your pet's reach.

The Holiday Season is in full swing.

Decorations

The most common holiday plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets. Both Pet Poison Helpline (www.petpoisonhelpline.com) and the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) has a database of toxic plants and phone apps.

Chewing on electrical cords can cause cardiac arrest. Tripping on electrical cords can cause broken body parts and sudden blunt force trauma. (OK, maybe more of an issue for me.) Dogs chasing after something have been known to be dragging a Christmas tree behind them after a cord was snagged on a paw.

Glass ornaments pose a problem for those pets that confuse them with tennis balls.

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember; never pull it out of your cat, as there may be an ornament hook at the other end.

Pine water is poisonous to pets. Fertilizers and pesticides will leach out into the water bowl.

Holiday Food and Drinks

Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Coffee, tea and other caffeine products contain theobromine. It is toxic and affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and lacerations of the digestive system.

 

Stuffings may contain sage, onions, mushrooms and raisins.

Too many sweets can cause obesity and diabetes. Artificial sugars cause a fatal drop in blood sugar, especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macadamia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

A list of the most common people foods that cause problems for pets is found at both Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA’s website.

TIP: Broccoli can cause digestive upset and VERY gassy pets. You may want to keep that to a minimum unless you want your guests running for cover. Of course, if your guests have overstayed their welcome, then broccoli is the way to go.

You also want to provide your pets with a quiet place during the holiday parties. Even small gatherings can be stressful for them.

Cold Injuries

Cold injuries are caused by extreme or prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The most common areas affected are the tail, ears, paws and scrotum. A snout to tail assessment is always a good idea after coming in from the outdoors. Check for ice and salt in the pads and for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

The skin can become swollen, red and very painful. In later stages, it can become hard and pale. Additional signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow breathing, lethargy, decreased heart rate and gums either pale or bluish in color.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should first make sure the pet is out of the cold. DO NOT RUB THE AFFECTED AREA. The frozen ice crystals in the skin can lacerate the skin cells. Contact your vet for rewarming instructions. This is very important so that you can prevent further pain, stave off infection and minimize the possible tissue damage.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.


Spring Safety Tip 2013

After this past winter, which is still not ready to give it up, I am very excited to present SPRING SAFETY TIPS!!! 

 

 1. SNAKES

 

Poisonous snakebites are extremely painful. Keep a muzzle handy. The bite may not be immediately noticeable due to hair coverage. Signs include redness and swelling at the site, nervousness, weakness, disorientation, excessive salivating, vomiting, respiratory distress, and seizures. In the case of respiratory distress, remove the muzzle. Since the symptoms of snakebite and anaphylactic shock are so similar, check for possible wound sites. Pay particular attention to areas where they are licking. When we become overwrought our bodies give off specific pheromones. Your pets, in turn, becomes more excited and stressed. As their heart beats faster, the poison works that much quicker. Remaining calm helps. Remove all collars and clothing (from your pet, not you!) as body swelling may occur. Call you veterinarian FIRST and then transport ASAP.

 

There are two ways to treat a poisonous snakebite. The first is with antivenin. Many vets do not stock this as it is very expensive and has an expiration date. The second is to treat it as an allergic reaction with antibiotics, steroids, fluid replacement, and pain relief. The sooner it is treated, the better the chance of recovery. If you live in an area with poisonous snakes, keep a constricting band in you pet first aid kit. Additionally, discussing options with your vet before a snakebite is a good idea.

 

Treat nonpoisonous snakebites as wounds. Inform your vet, as they may want to prescribe a round of antibiotics.

 

A poisonous snakebite has two clear fang marks. A nonpoisonous snakebite has two semicircles of teethmarks. 

 

 2. COYOTES

 

Though coyotes hunt mainly from dusk to dawn, females will hunt during the day to feed hungry pups. Do not think your 90lb. golden is safe. They hunt in packs and are highly intelligent, aggressive, and fast. Leash walk your pet and keep cats indoors during peak hunting times. I walk my dogs with an air horn. Most hardware stores carry them and are small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. The loud noise tends to scare them off if they are not rabid.

 

 3. ANIMAL BITES

 

Bats, raccoons, skunks, and other animals are out in full force. If bitten, your pet will need veterinarian treatment as well as receive a rabies booster. If your pet is not current, they will be quarantined. You can rinse wounds with a surgical scrub. You can find it in the first aid supplies aisle of most stores.

 

 4. SKUNKS

 

You have a short window to de-skunk your pet. Their spray is oil based. The longer you wait, the more is absorbed into your pet’s skin. Have your de-skunking ready. My kit contains a plastic bucket, scrubber, small box of baking soda, small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, eyewash, and a small bottle of pet degreasing shampoo. It works better on a dry coat. I rinse the eyes both before and after the bath. Combine the rest of the ingredients with warm water, scrub and rinse will. Throw away any cloth collars, as they are not salvageable.

 

 5. INSECT BITES

 

Insect, bee and spider bites can cause your pet to go into anaphylactic shock. This is life threatening. Do not use tweezers to remove bee stingers as this will squeeze more venom into your pets body. Use a credit card instead. Place the card under the stinger to lift it up and then flick it out.

 

Symptoms include pain, redness and swelling at site, unconsciousness, seizures, excessive salivation, vomiting, and respiratory distress. This is very similar to snakebite. Keeping calm helps your pet to stay calm. It is a good idea to investigate whenever your pet is licking at an area as it may be the first sign of a bite. Your pet first aid kit should contain an antihistamine dosed for your pet by your veterinarian. If you suspect anaphylactic shock, contact your veterinarian for instructions prior to your arrival at their office.

 

 6. TICKS, MOSQUITOS, AND FLEAS

 

They spread disease and severe illnesses. Every year there seems to be another new tick borne disease. Use a preventative. I. personally, do not use topical spot on products. I feel that the cons far outweigh the pros. In it’s place I use essential oil based products. The biggest drawback is they need daily application. Aromapaws, Aromadog, Halo, and Pet Naturals of Vermont make repellants I have used with success. 

 

 7. GARDENING

 

Know which plants, bulbs, and shrubs are hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA’s website; www.aspca.org, has a comprehensive list of poisonous plantings. Many commercially prepared mulches are treated with chemicals that are toxic and cocoa mulches contains cocoa, AKA chocolate. Store fertilizers and pesticides in their original containers and away from your pets. Keep pets away from treated areas as they will absorb toxins through the skin or pads. In addition, they may lick their paws and ingest the poison.

 

 8. POISONING

 

Poison Controls number is 888-426-4435 and their website is www.aspca.org. Pet Poison Helplines number is 1-800-213-6680 and their website is www.petpoisonhelpline.com. This is not a free service, but will be the best money ever spent as minutes matter in poisonings. Both hotlines are staffed with pharmacology trained veterinarians. What is free is the refrigerator magnets from their websites and Pet Poison Helpline has an app for the smart phones.  

 

Frontline is fatal for rabbits. As with any product, use it in its intended manner. The label must indicate it is safe for your pet.

 

Keep holiday candy out of reach. Chocolate contains Theobromine. It affects the heart and circulatory systems. Even small amounts are dangerous. Pets cannot process Theobromine and it builds up in their bodies. Sugar free candies contain xylitol. It is fatal. Wrappers can cause intestinal obstructions and know where you hide the Easter Eggs. You don’t want your pet to eat a rotten one.

 

 9. WEATHER

 

Spring storms bring thunder and lightning. It can be fearful for some pets causing them to run off. Make sure your pet is well identified. A well identified pet has a better chance of returning home. Thundershirts,www.thundershirt.com; is a snug fitting jacket that helps alleviate anxiety during storms. Herbal remedies, from Bach’s and Alaskan Essences; may offer some relief.

 

We are transitioning from cold to heat related injuries. A pet can suffer a heatstroke in a parked car when the temperature exceeds 78 degrees in as little as 15 minutes. A pet suffering from heatstroke needs immediate attention. Cool them off gradually with lukewarm water. DO NOT USE COLD WATER OR ICE as it will create a thermal barrier. This thermal barrier will hinder your pets’ ability to cool down. Call your veterinarian ASAP for instructions.

 

 10. TRAVELING

 

As nicer weather comes our way, thoughts of dog parks, hiking and other travel destinations come to mind. Are you prepared to travel with your pet? A good resource guide is Let’s Go Fido by yours truly. Visit my website at www.pawsitivelypretty.com for details on how to order this invaluable guide.

 

 11. MISCELLANEOUS

 

Do you know where your after hours emergency pet hospital is? Is their phone number handy? Calling them before you leave gives them time to prepare for your arrival as well as give you any life saving instructions. Make a practice run, so you will know exactly where they are. It is not a good idea to try to locate them in a state of panic.

 

Is your pet first aid kit and hiking kit stocked with what you need? Here is a link to my blog article detailing my personal pet first aid kits: www.groomwise.typepad.com/pet_first_aid_care/kits/.

Antifreeze leaks can happen any time of the year. They clean up easily with soap and water. Antifreeze is fatal.

 

 

Trust me, It's coming, so take a few minutes to Spring-proof your pets’ life. They will thank you for it.

 

 


Winter Safety Tips 2012

We have a new puppy! This will be his first winter with us. Probably the only reason I am looking forward to it. I want to keep him safe, while he is having fun.

Car Safety

Watch for antifreeze leaks. Its sweet taste attracts dogs and cats, very poisonous, and the bright green color is a DEAD giveaway. It cleans up easily with soap and water.

Outdoor cats looking for warmth frequently sleep on car engines. Banging loudly on the hood before starting your engine should rouse them.

Leaving your pet in your car while you shop at the mall is like leaving them in a refrigerator. The car retains the cold and your pet could suffer from hypothermia. A great way to gauge the interior temperature of your vehicle is with a Too Hot For Spotã window cling. It is a thermometer that tells you if it is too hot OR too cold for your pet. You can source them at www.toohotforspot.com. On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling. A couple of years back,  a Long Island, NY man went into a Cool Beans for a cup of coffee and left his car running. His dog knocked the gearshift into drive and proceeded to go for a ride. He ended up IN the business next door. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Great Outdoors

Animals that spend a lot of time outside need more food. In particular, a higher protein diet is required.

The very young and the very old have little tolerance for the cold weather. Provide them with outerwear for both body and feet.

According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost during snowstorms than at any other time. They can lose their scent, become disoriented and lost. Remember, a well-identified dog has a greater chance of returning home.

Use pet safe ice melt. When that is not possible, or you are unsure of what is being used; wash their feet BEFORE they get a chance to lick them.

Indoors

Insects will be coming into our homes for the winter. Watch for spider and insect bites and familiarize yourself with the signs of anaphylactic shock. Insect traps are baited with something tasty, so keep them out of your pet's reach.

The Holiday Season is in full swing.

Decorations

The most common holiday plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets. Both Pet Poison Helpline (www.petpoisonhelpline.com) and the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) has a database of toxic plants and phone apps.

Chewing on electrical cords can cause cardiac arrest. Tripping on electrical cords can cause broken body parts and sudden blunt force trauma. (OK, maybe more of an issue for me.) Dogs chasing after something have been known to be dragging a Christmas tree behind them after a cord was snagged on a paw.

Glass ornaments pose a problem for those pets that confuse them with tennis balls.

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember; never pull it out of your cat, as there may be an ornament hook at the other end.

Pine water is poisonous to pets. Fertilizers and pesticides will leach out into the water bowl.

Holiday Food and Drinks

Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Coffee, tea and other caffeine products contain theobromine. It is toxic and affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and lacerations of the digestive system.

 

Stuffings may contain sage, onions, mushrooms and raisins.

Too many sweets can cause obesity and diabetes. Artificial sugars cause a fatal drop in blood sugar, especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macadamia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

A list of the most common people foods that cause problems for pets is found at both Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA’s website.

TIP: Broccoli can cause digestive upset and VERY gassy pets. You may want to keep that to a minimum unless you want your guests running for cover. Of course, if your guests have overstayed their welcome, then broccoli is the way to go.

You also want to provide your pets with a quiet place during the holiday parties. Even small gatherings can be stressful for them.

Cold Injuries

Cold injuries are caused by extreme or prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The most common areas affected are the tail, ears, paws and scrotum. A snout to tail assessment is always a good idea after coming in from the outdoors. Check for ice and salt in the pads and for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

The skin can become swollen, red and very painful. In later stages, it can become hard and pale. Additional signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow breathing, lethargy, decreased heart rate and gums either pale or bluish in color.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should first make sure the pet is out of the cold. DO NOT RUB THE AFFECTED AREA. The frozen ice crystals in the skin can lacerate the skin cells. Contact your vet for rewarming instructions. This is very important so that you can prevent further pain, stave off infection and minimize the possible tissue damage.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.


Fall Pet Safety Tips

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Air is crisp, apples on the trees, leaves are changing color, and the weather is in transition. We’re leaving behind the heat and humidity of summer, but the cold, frigid air of winter is not yet upon us. 

 

But with that transition comes the potential for hurricanes, tornados, and other massive storms. While tornados sneak up on us, hurricanes do not. The key to weathering (Ha Ha) these storms is preparation. Education is key. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of survival becomes. One of the webinars I teach is called “Emergency and Disaster Planning With Your Pets.” It can be found in the On Demand Library at www.pawsitiveducationaltraining.com. Might be the best hour and half you spend.

 

These storms can be quite ferocious and may scare your pets. Keep them on a leash when walking them, so they do not run off when a crack of thunder booms. Loss of power is a concern for those who have refrigerated medicines such as insulin. In addition, if you lose power, your electronic fences will not work.

 

This is a good time to make sure your microchip company has updated information as well as a photograph of your pet. If your pet becomes lost, you want their picture, not the generic one being circulated. Make sure collar tags are readable with updated cell and landline numbers.

 

Now is the time to prepare gardens and lawns for winter. When using fertilizers and pesticides restrict your pet’s access to the treated areas. The poison is absorbed through the pads or ingested when licking their paws. Most Fall bulbs are poisonous. Check with your local garden nursery or click on this link for a list of common poisonous plants: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/

 

As local wildlife is preparing for winter, they become more active in their search for food. Be aware of the dangers they present to keep your pets from becoming a causality. 

 

Halloween hazards include:

 

Chocolate contains theobromine. Pets cannot metabolize it, so it builds up in their bodies. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. The smaller the pet, the less chocolate it can withstand.

 

Artificial sugars, such as might be found in Halloween candy causes a deadly drop in blood sugar. It doesn’t matter how small or large your pet is. 

 

Candy wrappers can cause intestinal blockages.

 

Candles in pumpkins can get knocked over and start a fire.

 

Secure your pet when trick or treaters come to your door. Don’t give your pets an opportunity to escape out the front door.

 

Thanksgiving hazards include:

 

Turkey bones can pose a choking hazard or splinter causing intestinal damage.

 

Turkey trimmings have a high fat content and can cause pancreatitis.

 

Alcohol can fatally accelerate your pets’ heartbeat.

 

Stuffing may contain both onions and/or raisins.

 

Too many guests, especially small children; can overexcite or annoy your pets. Make sure they have a place to get away from the ruckus. Keep in mind, that for some pets one guest is too many.

 

Inform your guests not to feed your pets without your permission.

 

As always, take a pet first aid class. It can be the difference between life and death and is the best gift you can give them.

 


Summer Safety Tips

Summer should be a fun time for all, but according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) preventable accidents are the number one cause of death of pre-senior dogs and cats. The approaching summer will present its’ own set of challenges.

BARBEQUE GRILLS RECIPE FOR DISASTER

1. Start with a hot, unattended grill.

2. Mix in meat of your choice.

3. Add the family dog.

Grills are very hot! Furthermore, cooked bones are not an appropriate treat. They can splinter causing intestinal damage as well as present a choking hazard. Likewise, corncobs cause the same problems. You should be aware of the seasoning used on the leftovers you give your pets. For example, onion is poisonous.

BEACH

Shells can cut and hot sand may burn pads. Provide fresh drinking water because salt water as well as discarded food will cause gastro-intestinal distress or worse!

CAR SAFETY

More injuries and fatalities occur in the interior rather than the exterior of the vehicle. We have all seen what a pebble can do to a windshield. Imagine the damage that pebble could do the soft corneal tissue of an eye. Keep your pets’ head in the car. A kicked up object travels at twice the speed of the vehicle. Pet restraints are widely available. In the event of an accident, an unrestrained pet can face or cause serious injuries. Airbags deploy at more than 200mph. A pet in the front seat risks having its’ tongue amputated by a deployed airbag. They can bleed out in 20 minutes. EMS protocol is “people over pets”. They are equipped and have the option to put down your pet if your pet will not allow access to you. Do not put EMS in a position to make a decision regarding your pet. Cats should always be in carriers to prevent unauthorized escapes.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN YOUR CAR FOR ANY REASON. It doesn’t matter if you leave the A/C on, as it is a mechanical device. Mechanical devices are subject to breakdown. The interior temperature of a car in 78 degrees can reach 150 degrees in 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter if it is parked in the shade, the color of the car or if the windows are open or closed. It doesn’t matter because those factors are not influenced by the suns’ shortwave radiation. Rather, the interior components of the vehicle such as seats and dashboard are heated. They give off the long-wave radiation that heats the interior of the car. This could result in heatstroke. In turn, this could result in your pets’ death. I covered this topic in greater detail here.

POOLS AND BOATING

Pool chemicals are caustic and can cause burns; make sure to store them properly. In addition, pets need an easy exit from the pool or onto a boat. There are ramps readily available designed specifically for this purpose. Life vests are lifesavers, but ensure it is a proper fit.

VACATIONS

Vacationing and traveling with your pet can be a fun and relaxing experience if you plan and prepare first. A good resource is a book titled, “Let’s Go Fido’ or it’s companion webinar. The book is a 43-page guide to safe traveling vacationing and boarding your pet and can be sourced by contacting me directly. The half hour webinar is always available in the On Demand Library at www.pawsitiveeducationaltraining.com.

YARDS AND OTHER OUTDOOR AREAS

Pesticide and fertilizer applications are poisonous to your pet; either by absorption or ingestion. They should not have access to treated areas. Additionally, pest traps use very yummy stuff as bait. Remember, what poisons the pest will also poison the pets. Topical pesticide treatments should be species appropriate. This is a serious issue for cats and small mammals.

Many commercially prepared types of mulch are chemically treated and can pose a health risk for your pet. Furthermore, you should not use cocoa mulch in pet areas. Check with your local garden center or www.petpoisonhelpline.com before planting shrubs and plants to check for their possible toxicity.

Familiarize yourself with local wildlife and the dangers they present to your pets. This includes coyotes, bats, snakes, insects etc.

Monitored, appropriately-sized treats and toys will prevent a choking hazard.

Hot pavement, like sand can burn pads. You can apply topical salves and ointments for protection. In addition, pets can sunburn. Make sure shade is always available, as pets can easily sunburn. Protect sensitive areas with appropriate sunscreen or clothing.

Preventing dehydration is as easy as always providing clean, fresh, cool water. Dehydration will lead to heatstroke in a very short period of time. The very young, elderly, immune suppressed, cats, and those dogs with pushed in faces such as Pugs and Shih Tzu’s are most susceptible. Do not allow pets to over exert themselves during the summer. I provide both cooling mats and cooling collars for my pets. 

Thunderstorms, lightening, and fireworks are frightening to some pets. Keep them indoors at such times. Check your electronic fences after a thunderstorm, as lightening can short-circuit a fence rendering it useless. There are products from such companies as Thundershirt, Happy Hoodies, flower essences from Alaskan Essences, herbal products from Herbsnmith Inc, botanicals from Earth Heart Inc, and essential oil products from Aroma Dog/Aroma Cat that may help. Use caution when using these products on cats. Look for the cat safe label.

Even though you have done your best to provide a safe environment for your pet, accidents can and do happen. The AAHA states that 25% more pets could have been saved if only one pet first aid technique was applied prior to veterinary treatment. Do you know what to do in an emergency? Do you know where the nearest animal emergency HOSPITAL is? Have you prepared yourself by taking a pet first aid class? To locate an instructor near you, contact me at mary@pawsitivelypretty.com.

Your pet would do it all for you.


Spring Safety Tips 2012

I’m writing this blog in the midst of a snowstorm. Nonetheless, Spring is around the corner. Given the mild winter weather many of us have been experiencing, Spring has already sprung.

 

 1. SNAKES

 

Poisonous snakebites are extremely painful. Keep a muzzle handy. The bite may not be immediately noticeable due to hair coverage. Signs include redness and swelling at the site, nervousness, weakness, disorientation, excessive salivating, vomiting, respiratory distress, and seizures. In the case of respiratory distress, remove the muzzle. Since the symptoms of snakebite and anaphylactic shock are so similar, check for possible wound sites. Pay particular attention to areas where they are licking. When we become overwrought our bodies give off specific pheromones. Your pets, in turn, becomes more excited and stressed. As their heart beats faster, the poison works that much quicker. Remaining calm helps. Remove all collars and clothing (from your pet, not you!) as body swelling may occur. Call you veterinarian FIRST and then transport ASAP.

 

There are two ways to treat a poisonous snakebite. The first is with antivenin. Many vets do not stock this as it is very expensive and has an expiration date. The second is to treat it as an allergic reaction with antibiotics, steroids, fluid replacement, and pain relief. The sooner it is treated, the better the chance of recovery. If you live in an area with poisonous snakes, keep a constricting band in you pet first aid kit. Additionally, discussing options with your vet before a snakebite is a good idea.

 

Treat nonpoisonous snakebites as wounds. Inform your vet, as they may want to prescribe a round of antibiotics.

 

A poisonous snakebite has two clear fang marks. A nonpoisonous snakebite has two semicircles of teethmarks. 

 

 2. COYOTES

 

Though coyotes hunt mainly from dusk to dawn, females will hunt during the day to feed hungry pups. Do not think your 90lb. golden is safe. They hunt in packs and are highly intelligent, aggressive, and fast. Leash walk your pet and keep cats indoors during peak hunting times. I walk my dogs with an air horn. Most hardware stores carry them and are small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. The loud noise tends to scare them off if they are not rabid.

 

 3. ANIMAL BITES

 

Bats, raccoons, skunks, and other animals are out in full force. If bitten, your pet will need veterinarian treatment as well as receive a rabies booster. If your pet is not current, they will be quarantined. You can rinse wounds with a surgical scrub. You can find it in the first aid supplies aisle of most stores.

 

 4. SKUNKS

 

You have a short window to de-skunk your pet. Their spray is oil based. The longer you wait, the more is absorbed into your pet’s skin. Have your de-skunking ready. My kit contains a plastic bucket, scrubber, small box of baking soda, small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, eyewash, and a small bottle of pet degreasing shampoo. It works better on a dry coat. I rinse the eyes both before and after the bath. Combine the rest of the ingredients with warm water, scrub and rinse will. Throw away any cloth collars, as they are not salvageable.

 

 5. INSECT BITES

 

Insect, bee and spider bites can cause your pet to go into anaphylactic shock. This is life threatening. Do not use tweezers to remove bee stingers as this will squeeze more venom into your pets body. Use a credit card instead. Place the card under the stinger to lift it up and then flick it out.

 

Symptoms include pain, redness and swelling at site, unconsciousness, seizures, excessive salivation, vomiting, and respiratory distress. This is very similar to snakebite. Keeping calm helps your pet to stay calm. It is a good idea to investigate whenever your pet is licking at an area as it may be the first sign of a bite. Your pet first aid kit should contain an antihistamine dosed for your pet by your veterinarian. If you suspect anaphylactic shock, contact your veterinarian for instructions prior to your arrival at their office.

 

 6. TICKS, MOSQUITOS, AND FLEAS

 

They spread disease and severe illnesses. Every year there seems to be another new tick borne disease. Use a preventative. I. personally, do not use topical spot on products. I feel that the cons far outweigh the pros. In it’s place I use essential oil based products. The biggest drawback is they need daily application. Aromapaws, Aromadog, Halo, and Pet Naturals of Vermont make repellants I have used with success. 

 

 7. GARDENING

 

Know which plants, bulbs, and shrubs are hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA’s website; www.aspca.org, has a comprehensive list of poisonous plantings. Many commercially prepared mulches are treated with chemicals that are toxic and cocoa mulches contains cocoa, AKA chocolate. Store fertilizers and pesticides in their original containers and away from your pets. Keep pets away from treated areas as they will absorb toxins through the skin or pads. In addition, they may lick their paws and ingest the poison.

 

 8. POISONING

 

Poison Controls number is 888-426-4435 and their website is www.aspca.org. Pet Poison Helplines number is 1-800-213-6680 and their website is www.petpoisonhelpline.com. This is not a free service, but will be the best money ever spent as minutes matter in poisonings. Both hotlines are staffed with pharmacology trained veterinarians. What is free is the refrigerator magnets from their websites and Pet Poison Helpline has an app for the smart phones.  

 

Frontline is fatal for rabbits. As with any product, use it in its intended manner. The label must indicate it is safe for your pet.

 

Keep holiday candy out of reach. Chocolate contains Theobromine. It affects the heart and circulatory systems. Even small amounts are dangerous. Pets cannot process Theobromine and it builds up in their bodies. Sugar free candies contain xylitol. It is fatal. Wrappers can cause intestinal obstructions and know where you hide the Easter Eggs. You don’t want your pet to eat a rotten one.

 

 9. WEATHER

 

Spring storms bring thunder and lightning. It can be fearful for some pets causing them to run off. Make sure your pet is well identified. A well identified pet has a better chance of returning home. Thundershirts, www.thundershirt.com; is a snug fitting jacket that helps alleviate anxiety during storms. Herbal remedies, from Bach’s and Alaskan Essences; may offer some relief.

 

We are transitioning from cold to heat related injuries. A pet can suffer a heatstroke in a parked car when the temperature exceeds 78 degrees in as little as 15 minutes. A pet suffering from heatstroke needs immediate attention. Cool them off gradually with lukewarm water. DO NOT USE COLD WATER OR ICE as it will create a thermal barrier. This thermal barrier will hinder your pets’ ability to cool down. Call your veterinarian ASAP for instructions.

 

 10. TRAVELING

 

As nicer weather comes our way, thoughts of dog parks, hiking and other travel destinations come to mind. Are you prepared to travel with your pet? A good resource guide is Let’s Go Fido by yours truly. Visit my website at www.pawsitivelypretty.com for details on how to order this invaluable guide.

 

 11. MISCELLANEOUS

 

Do you know where your after hours emergency pet hospital is? Is their phone number handy? Calling them before you leave gives them time to prepare for your arrival as well as give you any life saving instructions. Make a practice run, so you will know exactly where they are. It is not a good idea to try to locate them in a state of panic.

 

Is your pet first aid kit and hiking kit stocked with what you need? Here is a link to my blog article detailing my personal pet first aid kits: www.groomwise.typepad.com/pet_first_aid_care/kits/.

Antifreeze leaks can happen any time of the year. They clean up easily with soap and water. Antifreeze is fatal.

 

 

As we wait for the snow to melt and the buds to bloom, take a few minutes to Spring-proof your pets’ life. They will thank you for it.

 

 


Winter Safety Tips

Sigh, another winter is upon us and here is a few tips to keep our pets safe during this time of year.

Car Safety

Watch for antifreeze leaks. It’s sweet taste attracts dogs and cats, very poisonous, and the bright green color is a DEAD giveaway. It cleans up easily with soap and water.

Outdoor cats looking for warmth frequently sleep on car engines. Banging loudly on the hood before starting your engine should rouse them.

Leaving your pet in your car while you shop at the mall is like leaving them in a refrigerator. The car retains the cold and your pet could suffer from hypothermia. A great way to gauge the interior temperature of your vehicle is with a Too Hot For Spotã window cling. It is a thermometer that tells you if it is too hot OR too cold for your pet. You can source them at www.toohotforspot.com. On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling. Last year a Long Island, NY man went into a Cool Beans for a cup of coffee and left his car running. His dog knocked the gearshift into drive and proceeded to go for a ride. He ended up IN the business next door. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Great Outdoors

Animals that spend a lot of time outside need more food. In particular, a higher protein diet is required.

The very young and the very old have little tolerance for the cold weather. Provide them with outerwear for both body and feet.

According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost during snowstorms than at any other time. They can lose their scent and become disoriented and lost. Remember, a well-identified dog has a greater chance of returning home.

Use pet safe ice melt. When that is not possible, or you are unsure of what is being used; wash their feet BEFORE they get a chance to lick them.

Indoors

Insects will be coming into our homes for the winter. Watch for spider and insect bites and familiarize yourself with the signs of anaphylactic shock. Insect traps are baited with something tasty, so keep them out of your pet's reach.

The Holiday Season is in full swing.

Decorations

The most common holiday plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets. The ASPCA has a database of toxic plants at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/.

Chewing on electrical cords can cause cardiac arrest. Tripping on electrical cords can cause broken body parts and sudden blunt force trauma. (OK, maybe more of an issue for me.) Dogs chasing after something have been known to be dragging a Christmas tree behind them after a cord was snagged on a paw.

Glass ornaments pose a problem for those pets that confuse them with tennis balls.

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember, never pull it out of your cat, as there may be an ornament hook at the other end.

Pine water is poisonous to pets. Fertilizers and pesticides will leach out into the water bowl.

Holiday Food and Drinks

Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Coffee, tea and other caffeine products contain theobromine. It is toxic and affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and lacerations of the digestive system.

 

Stuffings may contain sage, onions, mushrooms and raisins.

Too many sweets can cause obesity and diabetes. Artificial sugars are toxic especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macadamia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

A list of the most common people foods that cause problems for pets is found at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx.

TIP: Broccoli can cause digestive upset and VERY gassy pets. You may want to keep that to a minimum unless you want your guests running for cover. Of course, if your guests have overstayed their welcome, then broccoli is the way to go.

You also want to provide your pets with a quiet place during the holiday parties. Even small gatherings can be stressful for them.

Cold Injuries

Cold injuries are caused by extreme or prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The most common areas affected are the tail, ears, paws and scrotum. A snout to tail assessment is always a good idea after coming in from the outdoors. Check for ice and salt in the pads and for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

The skin can become swollen, red and very painful. In later stages, it can become hard and pale. Additional signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow breathing, lethargy, decreased heart rate and gums either pale or bluish in color.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should first make sure the pet is out of the cold. DO NOT RUB THE AFFECTED AREA. The frozen ice crystals in the skin can lacerate the skin cells. Contact your vet for rewarming instructions. This is very important so that you can prevent further pain, stave off infection and minimize the possible tissue damage.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.

 


Pet Fall Safety Tips

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Air is crisp, apples on the trees, leaves are changing color, and the weather is in transition. We’re leaving behind the heat and humidity of summer, but the cold, frigid air of winter is not yet upon us. 

 

But with that transition comes the potential for hurricanes, tornados, and other massive storms. I am writing this in the midst of Hurricane Irene by candlelight. While tornados sneak up on us, hurricanes do not. The key to weathering (Ha Ha) these storms is preparation. Education is key. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of survival becomes. One of the webinars I teach is called “Emergency and Disaster Planning With Your Pets.”  Might be the best hour and half you spend.

 

These storms can be quite ferocious and may scare your pets. Keep them on a leash when walking them, so they do not run off when a crack of thunder booms. Loss of power is a concern for those who have refrigerated medicines such as insulin. In addition, if you lose power, your electronic fences will not work.

 

This is a good time to make sure your microchip company has updated information as well as a photograph of your pet. If your pet becomes lost, you want their picture, not the generic one being circulated. Make sure collar tags are readable.

 

Now is the time to prepare gardens and lawns for winter. When using fertilizers and pesticides restrict your pet’s access to the treated areas. The poison is absorbed through the pads or ingested when licking their paws. Most Fall bulbs are poisonous. Check with your local garden nursery or click on this link for a list of common poisonous plants: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/

 

As wildlife is preparing for winter, they become more active in their search for food. Be aware of the dangers they present to keep your pets from becoming a causality. 

 

Halloween hazards include:

 

Chocolate contains theobromine. Pets cannot metabolize it, so it builds up in their bodies. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. The smaller the pet, the less chocolate it can withstand.

 

Artificial sugars, such as might be found in Halloween candy causes a deadly drop in blood sugar. It doesn’t matter how small or large your pet is. 

 

Candy wrappers can cause intestinal blockages.

 

Candles in pumpkins can get knocked over and start a fire.

 

Secure your pet when trick or treaters come to your door. Don’t give your pets an opportunity to escape out the front door.

 

Thanksgiving hazards include:

 

Turkey bones can pose a choking hazard or splinter causing intestinal damage.

 

Turkey trimmings have a high fat content and can cause pancreatitis.

 

Alcohol can fatally accelerate your pets’ heartbeat.

 

Stuffing may contain both onions and/or raisins.

 

Too many guests, especially small children; can overexcite or annoy your pets. Make sure they have a place to get away from the ruckus. Keep in mind, that for some pets one guest is too many.

 

Inform your guests not to feed your pets without your permission.

 

As always, take a pet first aid class. It can be the difference between life and death and is the best gift you can give them.