Watch for poorly-sited dog or cat houses—those without shade or shelter from winds, or those set in low-lying areas, or those set too far from household entrances. To maintain health, outside pets need protection from extreme weather, lingering dampness, and insect pests. They need social interaction too. Seasonal moves of the pet’s house might make the most sense.
Savvy outside dog or cat owners could move pet houses seasonally if needed
Be thoughtful about placement of dog and cat houses, especially if the pet lives outdoors continuously. Climate, seasonal weathers, landscape and home features, and neighbors should all be considered. Don’t shy away from moving the house seasonally to optimize features of the yard; the turf will have an opportunity to heal too.
Read the rest of this entry »
Watch Tip for week of Feb. 20:
Watch for overweight and obese cats and dogs; obesity in pets is common in developed countries. Pets can develop arthritis and heart disease in addition to frequent digestive and intestinal upsets. For extremely obese animals, owners can even be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
Pets often “train” their owners to overfeed
Cats and dogs can become excellent manipulators of their people! By pleading for more food and treats, they can train their unwitting owners to overfeed, just to quiet them. Over time, the pets can become overweight and even obese. Sometimes pets will become “picky” about food, encouraging the owner to provide more and tastier food choices. In some households, one person might secretly feed an overweight pet, to earn more affection and attention from the pet. In any of these situations, the cat or dog looks so very cute in the act of charming their people to produce food. Who can resist?
Read the rest of this entry »
Watch Tip for week of Feb. 13:
Listen and watch for dogs and cats accidentally trapped in sheds, garages, and even homes, when families leave for winter vacations. Preparing for travel is distracting and mistakes happen. If you know that a petsitter is scheduled, keep an eye out to make sure visits are occurring. Be a good neighbor to the pets!
Watch for winter’s trio of common hazardous chemicals that can sicken or even kill dogs and cats when they lick their feet: antifreeze from leaks, ice-melt crystals, and road salt. Avoid walking in them when possible and be sure to clean paws after exposure. Consider using dog boots or coating pads with protective balms. Spread the word!
In the wake of the huge winter storm affecting our nation’s temperate zone, many pet owners will purchase some of these chemicals for the first time. And their curious pets will encounter these curious new substances and smells.
Antifreeze is lethal. Even a teaspoon of the sweet substance licked from paws or a garage floor will kill. Many states now require manufacturers to add bittering agents to repel ingestion by companion animals and children. Wipe up any spills and drips and scrub residue with strong detergent.
Homeowners spread ice melt chemicals on sidewalks and driveways to keep families and vehicles safe from accidents. Then the pets and little ones rush out to play in the new snow. Walk around these chemicals when you can safely. Back at home, be prepared with bucket and towel. Dip furry paws in a bucket of water when returning indoors and towel dry. Wipe a damp towel around the bottom of human boots and shoes to prevent these chemicals from getting on your carpets and floors (store them on plastic boot trays).
Road salt might be spread on your community’s roadways to help keep drivers safe from accidents. When taking your pet for a walk, avoid the roads or walk on clean snow if it isn’t too deep. If your pet strayed into the road, be sure to dip paws into warm water, swish around, and then towel dry.
Keep your dog’s nails trimmed so that toes aren’t forced apart by splayed nails, which could allow cold snow or slush to reach tender skin. For long haired dogs, trim the hairs between the pads to prevent cold, painful ice balls from forming.
Consider coating your dog’s pads with protective balms such as “Mushers Secret” or “Bag Balm” or even Vaseline is helpful.