Watch Tip: Restraining Pets in Automobiles

Posted on August 1st, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoThis morning, as I drove to work, I passed a car with a medium-sized dog with at least half of his or her body hanging out a half-open window, completely unrestrained.  As the car made a left turn, I watched from my rear-view mirror, worried that the pooch was going to fly out of the window as the vehicle careened around the corner.  The dog did not, and I was grateful, but it is an example of the need for pet restraint and/or containment in a vehicle.

Loose Pets in Vehicles Pose Many Risks

There are many dangers in letting pets roam freely in automobiles, to them and to others.  The group, Bark Buckle UP, has a detailed and thorough website that includes not only why pets should be safe, but all types of pet travel tips and product reviews.  From their site: Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: What to do if you find a dog

Posted on July 2nd, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWe’ve all been there – a dog is running loose in the neighborhood, or you see a dog sitting on the side of road, all alone. Most of us are inclined to help in those situations, and this week’s Watch Tip focuses on how to do so safely, thoroughly, and conscientiously, increasing the chances of your found dog being reunited with their owner.

Play it safe

Assuming the found dog is not aggressive or injured, and you can safely get the dog into your car or home, you will want to collar and leash them, so that they will not be able to escape you as well; it is very helpful to have extra leashes that can quickly be looped into a slip-leash.  If you have an appropriately-sized crate for transporting them, even better!  A special trick I learned from a long-time dog rescuer, is to close your car door on the leash, after putting the pup in the car – leaving only the handle portion of the leash extending from the car.  That way, you can grasp the end of the leash in your hand before opening the door, and the dog does not have an opportunity to escape. Read the rest of this entry »

Pedigree – Recall Notice

Posted on July 2nd, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Please click on the link below to read important recall information from Pedigree, a widely distributed brand of dog food, and please share the information with neighbors, friends, and family.

Pedigree – Recall Notice.

Watch Tip: Keep Pets Safe Around Water

Posted on June 3rd, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWarm weather is here, bringing increased activity in and around bodies of water; coupled with the common misconceptions that animals inherently know how to swim and that all dogs enjoy being in the water, this increases risk of tragic accidents.  Please be sure that you are taking the same care and concern with your pets that you would with small children, as the dangers are quite similar, and please kindly educate any family, neighbors, and friends on the proper pet water safety precautions, as outlined here.

Water Safety Tips for Pets

These tips are geared towards canine care, but could be used with those special felines that are offered closely supervised exposure to the outdoors, as we do not encourage allowing cats to roam freely. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Dog Park Tips & Warnings

Posted on April 16th, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoDog parks have become extremely popular with dog owners for a variety of different reasons, including exercise, opportunities for socializing dogs, and just plain canine fun.  But there are problems to consider, and precautions to be taken, so that “fun” trip to the dog park doesn’t turn into a tragedy.   Following are ten tips and warnings to take heed of, and to distribute to any dog parents you may know!

1.         Do your research first.

Check out the dog park before taking your dog for his or her first outing.  Whether it’s Fido’s first time at this particular park, or visiting a park away from home, it pays to know the “lay of the land” before the first outing, and see what amenities are available (drinking water? separate play areas for small and large dogs?).  Know what the rules of the park are – they will have signs posted, and often a website that goes over the rules in more detail. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Reducing Stress in Rescued Dogs

Posted on April 1st, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoRescuing a dog from the street or adopting one from a shelter or rescue organization is a very rewarding experience. Often, rescued dogs may initially be stressed from their prior situation – kennel stress from the pound, anxiety from having lost the only family and routine they know, or sometimes they have been neglected and/or abused in their former lives. This means that more than likely one of the first things you will want to do when they arrive in your home, or need to do in some cases, is reduce their stress and anxiety levels, so that they can successfully and happily acclimate to their new environment and life. There are many different methods that can be utilized to attain this.

Signs of Stress.

First, understand the signs of canine stress.  Physiologically, the stress hormones released can cause an elevated heart-rate, dilated pupils, rapid breathing. A dog that is under stress or anxiety may have difficulty learning new behaviors (the stress hormones initiate a “fight or flight” reaction that overtakes them and does not allow for new behaviors to be learned) and may also exhibit behavioral issues because of that stress – lapses in housetraining, reactivity on leash, overly-aggressive barking, snapping, growling, shyness, escaping, destructiveness, to name just a few. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Integrating a New Dog into a Household

Posted on March 11th, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoAdding a new dog to the family, especially when there is already a resident dog or dogs, should be a thoughtful process, and should incorporate several crucial tenets:

  • Preparation
  • Patience
  • Pack Management

Many humans require time and guidance to acclimate to new situations, learn new rules, understand each other’s ways of communicating, and to form bonds…why wouldn’t a new dog require the same kind of courtesies? (When deciding to bring a new dog into the family, proper introductions to a resident dog are a must – please read these tips and make sure your new addition will be compatible with your resident dog). Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip Classic: Cold Snaps Down South

Posted on December 11th, 2011 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoThis Watch tip was originally written and posted by Anna Nirva.

Urgent: Extreme cold kills outside tethered dogs and cats, especially those animals without heavy coats, the malnourished, the very young and the elderly. Tethered animals in southern regions are at higher risk for hypothermia because they have not grown heavier coats over time like they would have in cooler climates. Watch for animals that don’t have adequate shelter; speak with owners or call the authorities immediately.

Short-hair pets in the south need hay or straw bedding during cold snaps. Fur is not enough! While all dogs and cats have outer fur and inner fur, the quantity of outer hairs of the fur compared to the inner hairs of the fur (ratio) varies by breed and individual. The texture varies as well. Age matters: it takes six months on average for puppies to grow a complete fur covering of inner and outer fur, if they are healthy. Some breeds can tolerate extreme cold if individuals are healthy and shelter from freezing winds is available.

In addition to breed and health, environment matters too. Individual dogs and cats living outdoors in cooler northern climates will grow longer, fluffier inner fur as daylight shortens that will help hold body heat. But pets in the mid- and far south have not experienced wide swings of seasonal cooling. Their sparse, short inner fur is completely inadequate for sudden winter cold snaps, freezing winds, and snow storms. Short-hair dogs are very vulnerable to hypothermia.

In other words, during a cold snap in Mississippi, that bouncy little Boxer puppy down the street that is tied to a tree 24/7 could be found dead in the morning. Those skinny hunting hounds kept in tiny outdoor pens could suffer from hypothermia and frostbite and the old ones might die. And those skeletal, near-feral pit bulls tied to stakes that sleep in hard hollows dug in the earth? They have never known a kindness. They may be released from their long suffering.

Do you have access to bales of hay or straw? Can you give hay beds to short-hair outside dogs in your neighborhood when a cold snap is on the way? A simple bale of hay can mean the difference between life and death to a dog or cat down south when the cold winds blow. Owners probably will not object. Please help those outside animals.

Financial aid and assistance programs for pet parents suffering hard times

Posted on November 6th, 2011 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

The United States is still reeling from a recession so severe it’s been dubbed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and Arizona was one of several states hit especially hard with foreclosures and job loss.  This has translated into some dire consequences for pets and their parents.  Inability to keep up with vaccinations and routine care, much less emergency care, is widespread throughout the country.

There has been a decent amount of communication about options for aid and assistance for pets in need, but the subject bears repeating, as there are still masses of people out there suffering fiscal hardship, and their pets are suffering along with them.  Rescues are seeing a huge uptick in sick and injured animals being surrendered to the county shelters – because of the owner’s inability to provide medical care for them.

Please share these links with others, and keep them handy for the day that you might need assistance yourself – don’t hesitate to reach out for help for your furry friend; there is no reason that they should suffer because of man-made economic ills – they are relying on you to seek out solutions to their healthcare needs!

National resources for assistance with veterinary costs:

AAHA Helping Pets Fund
Red Rover Relief Grants
Breed Specific Assistance Programs
Angels 4 Animals
The Pet Fund
Cats in Crisis
Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance


Watch Tip: Pets in Costume

Posted on October 22nd, 2011 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWatch for pets out in costumes that constrict, restrict, or impair them in any way. Pets that are stressed out by their costume or the festivities should be removed to a quiet, safe place, and their costumes removed.  Set the example by making sure your own pet, if dressed in costume, is outfitted appropriately and is tolerating the ensemble well.

Halloween costumes on pets can be a hazard if care is not taken.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many a pet parent, and there are few things that are more adorable than your furry friend dressed up as a pirate, a clown, or Yoda.

But just as you would exercise caution while dressing two-legged children, you want to exercise caution dressing up four-legged ones. Some tips to keep your pet safe:

  • If your pet is participating in a costume contest or some other type of Halloween event, definitely have them try on the costume beforehand – check to see if your pet shows any signs of being distressed or allergic to their costume. A distressed pet can chew or tear at their costume, and ingest pieces of it, making them sick. If they do not respond well, or have an allergic reaction, maybe a festive collar or bandanna would be a better choice.
  • Costumes should not restrict your pet’s ability to move, see, breathe, or hear.
  • Ensure that the costume does not have temptingly small, dangling, or easily chewed pieces that could be a choking hazard, especially if they are prone to chewing.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits appropriately, and will not get twisted on external objects or your pet, possibly leading to injury.
  • If your pet has never worn a costume, teach them to enjoy it, the way you would teach them to enjoy anything new – by getting them used to it a little bit at a time, reinforced with yummy treats. Put it on them for short increments of time, praising them and treating them to make it a positive experience.
  • Always supervise your pet at all times while they are in costume – if you will not be able to do so, remove the costume.
  • No matter what they are wearing, do not remove their ID. If something spooks them and they get away from you, they will absolutely need their identification, and make sure your contact information is up-to-date.
  • Know your pet: does he or she have the temperament, patience, and personality for getting dressed up and actively participating in the craziness of Halloween? Be realistic, and don’t put your pet through the stress of dressing up if they are not up for it – no matter how fun you think it would be.

In addition to the above costume safety tips, remember to always keep candy out of your pet’s reach, keep stressed pets safely crated or in a quiet room away from the hubbub, and make sure they do not have the opportunity to escape during the constant flow of trick-or-treaters at the door. Happy Howl-o-ween!