Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tags Posts tagged with "Dog Safety"

Dog Safety

crash test dog dummy

When I’m setting out for a drive with Fido in the car, guilt climbs into the passenger seat beside me.

Guilt because Fido is riding around unrestrained in the back seat where he could easily go flying and get hurt if I brake suddenly or we (God forbid!) get into an accident.

We tried a seat belt harness, but Fido slithered right out of it. We often drive with a friend and her dog, Red, a 50-pound Jindo mix, who has to be restrained or he’d try to hijack the car. When we tried a seat belt harness with him, he managed repeatedly to step on the seat belt locking mechanism and free himself. Currently, we’re using a Kurgo zip line with him.  The zip line attaches to the hand holds above the back doors. It runs through the loop in his seat belt harness, allowing him movement but keeping him safely in the back seat.

It isn’t perfect and we’ll tell you why — and it doesn’t hold a candle against some of the restraints that have undergone the most strict testing recently.

Hidden treats, new bunnies and chicks and savory smells of the dinner to come, what’s a dog not to like about Easter?

A dog, with a sense of smell 1,000 to 10 million times better than ours, will beat out a child on a Easter egg hunt paws down. But if the hidden treat is a foil-wrapped chocolate egg, the dog is in danger of poisoning. Edible — but dangerous — temptations for a dog abound on social holidays like Easter.

JJ the American Street Dog

Diane Rose-Solomon’s book, JJ the American Street Dog and How He Came to Live in Our House, is the delightful story of a found dog and the family who welcomed him into their home.

The book has received applause from readers and reviewers as well as a Mom’s Choice Award.

The original JJ the street dog

When her own family decided to get their first dog, Rose-Solomon recalled, she imagined getting a golden retriever from a well-researched breeder.

The best thing to know during these dog days of summer are the signs of heat stroke. The best thing to do is make sure your dog never reaches that point.

One of the best ways to keep dogs cool in summer is to use a cool pad, vest or collar. Such aides are used by military or other working dogs, sporting dogs, show dogs or even pets to stay cool — or to cool down after exercise.

How Cool Pads Keep Dogs Cool

The pads get cool in a variety of ways:

  • Evaporation. This works like a swamp cooler. Polymer material inside the pad quickly absorbs water and slowly releases it for evaporation making the pad cool.
  • Heat transfer to water. This works like a water bed. Water absorbs heat well, helping to bring the dog’s temperature down. One variation on this is having a device to pump water across or through ice for more intense cooling.
  • Gel pads. These use a gel rather than water to transfer heat from the dog.  Some gel pads require cooling or freezing; some don’t.

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Veterinarian Ernie Ward put his passion for dogs where it really matters when he climbed into his parked car with a timer and a thermometer.

He recorded his reactions to the experience for a half hour, showing the rising temperatures every 10 minutes.

Once you’ve seen this video, you’ll never leave your dog in the car on a hot day with the windows cracked again.

Here’s another perspective with tips for what to do if you see a dog that has been left in a car:

If you see a dog left in a car on a warm day, consider some of the following actions:

  • Carry a supply of simple “Don’t Leave Me in Here — It’s Hot!” flyers to leave on the car’s windshield. Red Rover has a variety of flyers that can be downloaded or purchased for this purpose.
  • If the car is parked in a store parking lot, take down the license plate number, color, make and model of the car and ask the manager to make an announcement that the pet needs to be rescued from the hot car.
  • Call animal control and report the situation to them.  Be sure to have the location, license plate number, color, make and model of the car ready before you call.

I’ll confess: the thought of learning mouth-to-snout resuscitation was almost a deal-breaker.

I don’t even know human first aid, so the fact that I took on this class first shows how much value I put on Fido. My own cuts, scrapes and stomach upsets are easy to deal with, but faced with fur, fangs and a creature a fraction of my size, I’m left wringing my hands.

Or rather, I used to be. As a recent graduate of Denise Fleck’s Sunny-dog Ink Pet First Aid and CPR class, I now have the basic know-how and tools to respond for Joey’s sake.

Here are the key lessons I learned:

It’s that magical time of year filled with food, festivity and friendship.

But many things we look forward to are hazardous to our furry friends.  For example, did you know:

  • Most emergency room visits for pets during Thanksgiving revolve around turkey?
  • Mistletoe berries are poisonous?
  • Those scarlet lovelies — poinsettias — can irrigate pets’ digestive systems?
  • The water used to keep Christmas trees fresh may contain sugar and toxic preservatives?

Turkey Hazards for Dogs

Turkey can be a tempting danger to a dog.

As tempting as it is to give your dog a treat of gravy or golden turkey skin, it can cause pancreatitis. This is a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas makes insulin and enzymes needed to digest food.

High fat foods can trigger the pancreas to release such large amounts of these enzymes they actually start to digest the pancreas itself. Your dog may get severe abdominal pain, a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and depression. If so, get your pet to the vet right away.

Pancreatitis can be a one-time event or a chronic condition. Overweight dogs are at higher risk for developing this condition.

Dogs love gnawing on bones.  Cooked turkey bones splinter. Slivers can lodge in a dog’s throat or digestive tract.

And don’t forget the temptations of counter surfing and trash can dumping. A turkey that has been carved and set aside on a counter for several hours may be nurturing salmonella. Salmonella is a bacterium found in the digestive tracts of chicken and turkey.  If it isn’t killed during cooking, it can infect the leftovers.  Salmonella infection causes vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness, fever and a loss of appetite.

Raw meat has another set of dangers contamination with E. coli bacteria and parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii. For both your own and your pet’s health, use good safety measures to avoid contact between raw turkey, counters, dishes, cooking tools or hands.

Packaging Temptations

Holiday goodies come wrapped in plastic, foil, cellophane and other materials that hold scents and flavors. Chewing on these materials can cause a pet to choke or have a blocked digestive tract that may require surgery.

Chocolates, Candies and Beverages

Chocolate — especially unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate — are poisonous to dogs.  Too often that box of See’s left for guests to help themselves too is irresistible to dogs as well, causing diarrhea, seizures or death.

Don’t forget that the sweet scents and flavors of holiday drinks such as eggnog can tempt a dog to toxic tastes of alcohol.

Sugar-free foods may contain xylitol, which can be very toxic to dogs.

Other Problem Foods

Uncooked yeast dough for rolls and breads can expand inside a dog’s stomach, causing pain and a possible rupture of stomach or intestines. Grapes and raisins have an unknown toxin that damages a pet’s kidneys. Macadamia nuts also contain an unknown toxin that affects dogs’ muscles, digestion and nervous system.

Poisonous Plants

Holly (both berries and leaves), mistletoe berries and poinsettia sap all pose dangers for pets. Be sure to keep them out of reach. Potpourri may contain oils that attract curious pets with deadly consequences. Pine needles can range from irritating to the stomach and digestion to toxic. Consider putting a Christmas tree on a scat mat to keep pets away.

Holiday Decorations

Shiny tinsel, rolling glass ornaments, angel hair, flocking and artificial snow all may draw a dog’s attention with dangerous results. Tinsel can block the digestive tract. Ornaments can break, cutting mouths and paws. Angel hair, flocking and artificial snow are all mildly toxic to animals. Christmas trees are often kept fresh with preservatives that have a sweet taste and scent.  Don’t let the dog drink from the Christmas tree stand.

Preventing Opportunities for the Great Escape

With lots of people coming and going, it’s easy for a dog to wander out a door or gate.  This puts the pet at risk of wandering into traffic or getting lost. Either keep the dog in another room or behind a pet gate to prevent escapes.

Protecting Your Dog’s Peace of Mind

Dogs are creatures of habit.  Holidays can turn routines upside down. Despite all the demands of preparing for feasting with guests, don’t neglect regular walks and play time for your dog.  Be sure the dog has a safe quiet place to retire to when the hubbub gets too much. Remember that holiday excitement can make a normally mellow pet edgy, so keep an eye on your dog’s responses.

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