Pet Safety

Disaster Preparedness for Your Animals

Fireworks Hazards

Deadly Heat in Cars

Halloween Horrors

Free to Good(?) Home

Holiday Hazards

Poison Cautions

Pets and Pickup Trucks


Keeping Cats Inside

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...Proverbs 31:8

Halloween Horrors

It is sad but true that there are many dangers in this world for our pets. It is also true that there are people who do not love animals, but instead abuse them or even kill them. Halloween always brings out the kooks, crazies and would-be witches, who get a kick out of doing away with cats and dogs in all kinds of vicious ways.

Every year, a week or two before October 31, these individuals start stealing pets or looking for strays to use in their unspeakable acts. Although black cats are preferred, all dogs and cats and other animals as well, are at risk.

Keep an extra close eye on your pets at this time of year and be alert to strangers in your neighborhood.

On Halloween, it is important to keep your pets indoors. Being outside can expose them to pranks or accidents, and with all the noise and confusion from trick or treating and other activities, animals can become frightened and run off. Sometimes they will follow children going from house to house and thus become lost.

So why take chances with the safety of your four-legged friends? Exercise good judgment and err on the side of caution.


The Wisdom of Keeping Your Cat Indoors

For years I have tried to find the time to write an article on the reasons why you should keep your pets indoors - or at least behind a sturdy fence. Meanwhile I have discovered an excellent article on keeping your cats indoors, and almost everything in it can pertain to dogs as well. It was written by a wonderful professional author named Niki Behrikis Shanahan. Please visit her website and read this most informative and thoughtful article. While there take a look at the superb books she has written as well.
Click on 
Eternal Animals


"Free To Good (?) Home"

For those of you needing to place an animal, be advised that offering to give the pet free of charge to someone you don't know is a very bad idea. Unbelievable as it seems, and more often than you would guess, people respond to "free to good home" offers for reasons other than wanting a pet.

Some turn right around and sell the animal to research labs; others use young or small animals as "bait" for training dogs for illegal fighting, or even feed them to pet snakes!

Sadly, these and other gruesome activities are not at all uncommon nowadays, so please - if you are unable to find the animal a place with someone whom you can be sure will treat it well - take it to a local animal shelter.

Don't take a chance on condemning a helpless creatures to possible abuse and torture. It isn't fair, and it isn't necessary.


Help Control the pet population.

Have your pet neutered or spayed.



Holiday Hazards 

During busy and festive times of the year, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, pet owners need to be alert to the potential dangers that exist for their animals. A few precautions will prevent unnecessary grief.

DECORATIONS: Sharp or breakable ornaments, ribbons, yarn, angel hair, icicles, and tinsel are all very real hazards to dogs and cats, who often ingest these items when attempting to play with them. These are NOT appropriate toys.
TREE: Pine tar from needles, sprayed on preservatives, and flocking are all poisonous – as is the water in the tree pan which animals might drink. Electrical cords and strings of lights can give a deadly shock when chewed on,. Instead of sharp “fish-hook” hangers, use green or red pipe cleaners for attaching ornaments; twist tightly and they won’t fall off. Also, be sure to secure tree from falling over onto pets.
PLANTS: Poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are very poisonous to pets. Keep them out of reach.
FOOD: All that rich, fatty dressing and gravy can make your pet sick. Turkey bones can splinter and lodge in an animal’s throat or intestines. The string used while cooking the turkey is tempting and hazardous; dispose of carefully. Chocolate is poisonous to animals, and alcohol is equally fatal. Keep all these away from your pet.
OTHER dangers are lighted candles, ribbons tied around a pet’s neck, and open doors through which your pet can dash (often unnoticed) and become lost. Keep collars and I.D. on all cats and dogs in case they escape from your home or yard. When expecting guests, confine animals in a quiet room and keep door closed.
Remember, your pets will be curious and excited by all the activities, and more likely than usual to get into trouble. By taking the proper steps ahead of time, and using a little caution, you can insure that your holiday season is joyful, and not marred by needless tragedy.


Poison Cautions 

The list of poison hazards to your pet is almost endless; cats and dogs are even susceptible to being poisoned by substances that are usually harmless to humans - such as aspirin, Tylenol, caffeine and chocolate. Almost two-thirds of poisonings are from pesticides or baits. About one-fifth are from household items like antifreeze (very common), kerosene, motor oil, cleaners, and disinfectants.

Pets are frequently poisoned by lead paint, paint removers, mothballs, pesticides, insecticides, and weed killers. Other sources of chemical hazards are health and beauty products like rubbing alcohol, shampoo, nail polish remember, shaving lotions, deodorants, and various ointments.

Human medications such as anticoagulants, barbiturates, diuretics, hormones, and antibiotics can be fatal to cats and dogs. Many kinds of plants are toxic to animals – including but by no means limited to : mistletoe, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), English ivy, holly iris, Eater lily, oleander, philodendron, an rhododendron.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, you should seek help immediately. Call your local hospital for the phone number of a poison control center.

For hotline help, call the National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-800-548-2423. The service costs $45 per case, payable by major credit card only. Try to have any information on the suspected poison available to inform the expert you are talking to. Also be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.


Neuter - Spay

Don't let them stray.

Have you hugged your pet today?



Pets And Pickup Trucks 

Every year, thousands of dogs are injured, and dozens more are killed, from riding unrestrained in the back of open-bed pickup trucks. They frequently fall, jump or are thrown from the vehicle. Flying debris and insects often hurt delicate eye-tissue, ears, and noses.

If at all possible, let your pets ride up front with you or leave them at home. If you must carry your animals in the back of your truck, please use a secured crate or restraining harness to help protect your pet. The harness needs to be tethered on both sides of the truck so that the dog is held in the center of the truck-bed and can’t be thrown over the side and dragged along the road.

Remember, when the sun heats up the metal truck-bed, the bottom of your pet’s feet can be easily burned; a rubber mat can prevent this and help provide traction for the animal. Be aware that without shade, your pet can become over-heated even on days with moderate temperatures.

Deadly Heat in Cars

On hot summer days, the temperature inside a car will climb more rapidly than you would possibly imagine.

On an 85° day for example, the temperature inside of a car (even with the windows down) will reach 120°. On hotter days it will go even higher.

A dog's normal body temperature is 101.5° to 102.2° Farenheit. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107°-108° for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

Obviously, the same goes for cats as well.

Don't leave any animal in a car for any reason. Even when you think you will be gone for "only a minute." Dozens of pets needlessly die this tragic way every summer.

If for any reason, an animal should be overcome by heat exhaustion, immediately soak it down with cool water and take to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

One female CAT and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in 7 years. Approximately 75% of all cats entering shelters are killed. One female DOG and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in 6 years. Approximately 61% of all dogs entering shelters are killed.



If ever there is an opportunity to confirm the validity of Murphy’s Law, it is when a new pet is brought into a home. When an animal, be it gerbil or giraffe, is introduced to a new environment, it will want to become familiar with its’ surroundings as soon as possible. It is normal and necessary for the animal to investigate everything. There are however, potential hazard in all households that the curious creatures must be protected against. Puppies, kittens, and other small animals are most at risk, but precautions should be taken to insure the safety of even adult cats and dogs. 

Pet-proofing a home is much like child-proofing one. Begin by trying to put yourself in your pet’s place. Look around the premises while keeping in mind the animal’s desire to discover and check out all the nooks and crannies - and every object in the house. Keep Murphy’s Law in mind: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. If the animal can climb, be sure to look up as well as around and down. The list of possible problems includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Plastic bags of all kinds – especially those which have contained food; these often attract and then suffocate animals, as can containers where little heads might get stuck.
    Any utensil, string, or container which has food, or even the smell of food on it, is an attraction.
  • Cords of every variety; electrical ones can deliver a lethal shock, and all (telephone, drapery, Venetian blinds, appliance, etc.) can strangle an animal.
  • Open commodes, mop buckets, bathtubs, swimming and wading pools; many pets drown or are poisoned by chemicals used in the water.
  • Any object smaller than the animal’s mouth; paperclips, thumbtacks, rubber bands, needles and thread, buttons, staples, erasers, jewelry, marbles, fish-hooks, etc. to name just a few of these items.
  • Heavy objects on the edges of counters, shelves, or tables which can fall or be pulled down by a cord.
  • Fireplaces, lighted candles, humidifiers, space hearers, barbecue grills, open ovens, and stovetops; all are trouble spots.
  • Open doors on washers, dryers, cabinets, and even refrigerators; all are particularly inviting to cats.
  • Unscreened windows and balconies; many pets fall from these and die each year.
    Electrical outlets, running appliances, fans motorized tools, and automatic garage doors.
  • Poorly made toys which can be torn into pieces, have small parts that come off, or elastic string which breaks off.
  • Potential poisons from a variety of sources that abound in a typical house and yard.

With a little common sense and imagination, the problem areas can be identified and corrected. Taking this small amount of trouble ahead of time can prevent a ton of trouble and grief for you and your pet in the future.




Disaster Preparedness For Your Animals 

No animal left behind.” That phrase should ring in your ears whenever you contemplate the need to evacuate your home due to or during an impending disaster – whether natural or manmade. The “unexpected” can happen to anyone – at anytime. Fires, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, floods, train derailments resulting in toxic spills, and factory or pipeline explosions, can all precipitate mandatory evacuation. 

By thinking about what you would need to do, and planning ahead, you will be able to mitigate problems and provide protection and care for your entire family - including your pets. Organizing and gathering your supplies ahead of time means you won’t be caught without what you need in an emergency. 

Never leave your animals behind thinking “they will be fine” until you return. You have no way of knowing when you will be able to get back to them. It could be days or weeks. Even a few hours of leaving them in harm’s way could put their lives at risk. Local authorities will not allow you back once they have ordered evacuation from an area. 

Remember that many emergency shelters will not allow animals inside. However, some will let you bring them in if contained in carriers. Some animal shelters and veterinary clinics will allow temporary housing during times of emergency. Also, many motels and hotels will temporarily suspend normal policies and allow animals during disasters. But if worse comes to worse, your animals are better off with you even if they must stay in the car, than left behind with no one to look after them. 

Some tips for being prepared in the event of a disaster: 

·        Have a backup plan in case you are not at home when evacuation is necessary. Have an agreement with a neighbor or friend who would have ready access to your animals, and discuss necessary plans of action ahead of time. Make sure they know where your evacuation kit and other needed items are stored, and if at all possible, try to get them acquainted with your animals ahead of time. Write out a detailed list of your animals’ names, behavior, needs, etc. and make several copies. Establish a meeting place outside of the likely evacuated area. Exchange phone, cell, pager numbers, etc.

·        Keep on hand a list of emergency phone numbers such as veterinarian, animal shelters, and other useful numbers such as weather reports, sheriff’s dept., highway patrol, etc.

·        Assemble a basic supply kit for your animals. It should include sufficient supplies for at least 72 hours for each animal. The kit should include: current ID and photos of you with your animals; a way to keep the animals confined or controlled; food and water, and the dishes to hold them; leashes, halters, etc.; sanitation items; shot records; pet first aid kit and medications; toys & familiar bedding.

·        Put collars with names & contact numbers on your animals if at all possible. If they get separated from you, it may make all the difference in reuniting them with you. Multiple copies of photos for handing out would also be very helpful if you are separated from your pets.

·        Blankets, warm clothing, and rain-gear for yourself are important if you must stay in your car or have no building to shelter in. Also useful is a portable radio and plenty of fresh batteries.

·        Keep your pre-packed kit in a handy place and be sure everyone in the family knows where it is. (Be sure to rotate foods and meds so they don’t get old). 

·        Be alert to possible disasters and emergencies by keeping up with news and weather reports. Consider buying a scanner – especially if you live in rural areas prone to regular problems such as wildfires, etc.

·        Decide ahead of time where you will go with your animals when you need to evacuate your home, and make sure it is out of the way of the disaster area.

·        Do not wait until the last possible minute to leave. As soon as danger seems like it is coming your way, as soon as the authorities recommend leaving the area – then take your animals and emergency kits and get going. Staying put too long will, at the very least, subject you to traffic jams on the highways, and it will give you fewer options about where you can stay once you get where you are going. Sometimes, your route will be cut off sooner than expected – leaving you without escape. 

These simple preparations could save your animals’ lives. Even if your home is destroyed, at least you won’t have the added heartbreak of losing your beloved pets. Every year hundreds of pets die or are lost needlessly because they have been left to fend for themselves. Don’t let this happen to your own four-legged friends. 

For more information and help on this subject, as well as current status of disaster areas, see the Noah’s Wish web site at . This website also has an extensive list of instructions for specific animals ranging from amphibians to horses to turtles, etc.

The Noah’s Wish organization also provides emergency assistance in major disasters. Contact them at:
P.O. Box 997 Placerville, CA 95667 
Business Number: (530) 622-9313
Emergency Pagers: 877-575-0128 or 800-746-9390


Fireworks Hazards 

To some people, fireworks are as American as apple pie. They find the sparks and pops and bangs exciting. However, what some people may find exciting and fun (since we know what is going on), is fearful and alarming to most animals. All that noise and confusion can create real chaos and terror among animals. As a result, every year during times when fireworks are commonly used (Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, etc.), many animals are lost, injured, or even killed as a result of their reactions to the commotion. 

It is very common for household pets to run away from home and become lost or hurt because they are frightened by fireworks nearby. And the danger is not only to cats and dogs. Large animals – particularly horses – also react unpredictably with sometimes disastrous results. Horses will often panic and run into fences or other obstacles. Every year there are reports of seriously injured horses and deaths of horses attributed directly to their response to the noise of fireworks.

 You can prevent these needless tragedies in two ways. If you have small animals, make every effort to keep them indoors during times when fireworks are being used in the neighborhood. At the very least, keep them behind a fence and keep an eye on them.

If you have horses or other large animals, try to pasture them away from the roadway and anywhere there might be fireworks going off. Try to stay with them and keep them calm. By being near at hand, you will be able to come to their aid more quickly if they get into trouble and need attention and help. 

Please consider not using fireworks at all. They are dangerous for people as well as animals. In addition to causing direct bodily injury, fire hazards are very real, and dozens of fires are started every year due to fireworks. Instead, plan on attending one of the professional fireworks displays in your area. 

If you do decide to use fireworks remember they are not toys, and use caution at all times. Be aware that most cities and many counties now ban the use of fireworks by individuals and you could be subject to fines and/or imprisonment for breaking the law. If you are using fireworks even in the country, be considerate of your neighbors and their animals. Don’t use fireworks near animals or children or during high winds or dry conditions. Ideally, notify your neighbors in advance of your plans to set off any fireworks.



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