Safety Tips

JULY 4th
Loud noises can scare a dog who is as young as three weeks of age.  The conditions and your behavior when your dog first hears a loud sound can dictate how your dog will react to future loud noises.

The fireworks during the July 4th holidays are harmful because they can burn the curious dog, cause hearing loss, and even eye damage.  Serious injuries or digestive problems may result if your dog decides to eat leftover fragments of the fireworks.  Your dog might become frightened and run away or just become extremely stressed by the loud noises and bright lights.

It is best to keep your dog in the house and away from all fireworks displays.

The loud noises associated with thunder or fireworks can frighten your dog.  When your dog acts afraid, it is normal for you to want to go over and physically comfort your dog, and talk softly and reassuringly to him.  Your dog misinterprets your action as praise, and then looks forward to the opportunity to act afraid in order to receive all the attention.  What you should do is react to his fearful behavior by distracting him with his favorite toy or game.  By doing this, he will look to play when he hears a loud sound and will discontinue his fearful behavior.

Your dog can become frightened by the events of Halloween.  The costumes are scary, the flashlight and noises are unusual, and mischievous kids all add to the horrors of the holiday.

Trick-or-treaters are fun, but your dog's constant barking every time the bell rings is annoying.  Before long you are yelling at your dog, and nobody is enjoying the fun of the holiday.

Then there is the chance your dog might get frightened while in the yard.  His fear might be so great that he runs away.  He also might get all excited and wrapped up in the festivities to the point that he digs out or jumps a fence to play and follow the children.

Carved pumpkins with lit candles look nice to us at night.  Did you ever think how dangerous they could be to a curious dog or how dangerous they could be if your dog was running wildly through the house?

Here are a few simple ideas you can use to make your Halloween safe for your pet:

1.  Don't give your dog chocolate candy because it is toxic.

2,  Make sure your dog has a readable I.D. tag.  If you need to make a temporary one, just put your first name and telephone number on a piece of paper and  then enclose the paper in scotch tape, which will make the I.D. tag waterproof.  Then secure the I.D. tag with scotch tape to your pet's collar.

3.  Keep your dog in your house and keep his leash on.  This will make it easy for you to keep track of your dog's whereabouts, and you will also be able to step on the end of the leash if your dog attempts to run out of the front door.

4.  Keep pumpkins with candles in them in a secure place that is also high up and out of reach of the pets.  That way a curious dog or cat will not stick its nose into the pumpkin and get burned, or an excited pet won't knock over the pumpkin and start a fire.

With a few precautions, you can have a fun and safe Halloween.

Winter can be a dangerous time for your dog.

Just two spoons of antifreeze can kill a large dog.  The liquid smells good to your dog, and he starts licking on the droppings on your garage floor.  There is antifreeze available that is not harmful to pets.  If your dog is ever in the area of your parked car, it would be wise to use the non-toxic antifreeze in your vehicles.  There are many holiday plants that are poisonous.  Check with your veterinarian as to which ones are commonly sold in your area.

Keep uncooked meat and poultry away from your dog.  If eaten, they could cause salmonella (food) poisoning.  To prevent accidents, thaw your food in the refrigerator.  No bones should be given to your dog.  Soft beef bones and poultry bones can sliver and cause damage to your pet's mouth, irritate the stomach, or puncture the intestines.  Bones can be deadly.  Hard beef bones are not recommended because they take enamel off of your dog's teeth.  Fatty pieces of beef, ham or poultry can become lodged in your dog's throat or, if eaten, might cause your dog to get an upset stomach or even trigger a pancreas inflammation.

When your guests arrive, let them know that your dog is not to be fed by them.  Be especially watchful of children.  They have a tendency to want to feed candy and nuts to the dog.  Both can be harmful.  Chocolate is especially toxic to dogs.  After the meal, discard food scraps in a trash can that your dog cannot open.

During the holidays we get to see old friends and family.  Sometimes we get so excited that we forget about our dog.  Make sure to look around whenever someone comes in or leaves to insure your dog is still in the house.  It is a good idea, if you are having a lot of company, or if you are going to be very busy, to assign one adult the task of keeping track of your dog.  This task should also include making sure that nobody improperly feeds the dog and making sure the dog is let out to relieve himself and brought back into the house when he is finished.

Put an identification collar on your dog.  You can make a temporary one by writing your dog's first name and your telephone number on a piece of paper.  Over the paper with scotch tape, and then secure the paper to your dog's collar with some more tape.  If you are visiting someone with your dog, put your first name and their telephone number on a temporary identification tag.  If your dog gets lost, the finder will be able to contact you immediately.

After a snow, there are chemicals used on the roads to melt the snow that can burn your dog's paws.  These chemicals an also burn your dog's tongue and skin when he licks or scratches the burned area.  If you suspect your dog has been exposed to chemicals, wash his feet and underbody as soon as he comes into the house.

When your dog runs around in the snow putting his nose into the snow and digging and sniffing, he can easily cause cuts and abrasions on his nose.  To prevent these cuts and abrasions, put petroleum jelly on your dog's nose before letting him out.

If your dog gets his food and water outside, use plastic instead of metal bowls for food and water.  Your dog's tongue could stick to the cold metal surface.  When you leave water for your dog, leave it in a plastic bowl and put a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the inside lip of the bowl.  If the water should freeze, the ice will not stick to the top of the bowl.  Your dog will be able to push the ice out of the bowl and drink the water.

Your dog's ability to see, smell, hear, and maneuver are greatly diminished during and after a snowfall.  Your dog has a difficult time seeing because of the glare of the snow.  All the familiar smells are covered with snow, so your dog could have some difficulty finding his way home.  Sounds are absorbed in the snow and distorted by bouncing off of snow banks.  And worst of all, your dog doesn't know how to anticipate slippery, icy conditions.  As an example, your dog might be wandering around trying to find his way home.  He boldly walks out into the street, and because of the glare, he doesn't see the approaching vehicle.  He might hear some distorted automobile sounds, but before he can react, the car is upon him.  The driver of the vehicle sees your dog but is unable to stop or take evasive action because the road is too slippery.  Your dog sees the vehicle, but the road is also too slippery for him to get out of the way.  This horrible scenario can be avoided, if you keep your dog in the house, and only take him out when he needs to relieve himself.  Then stand outside with your dog or walk your dog on a leash.  If you have a fenced yard, listen for your dog wanting to come back into the house after being left out.

Your Christmas tree should be put up early.  Make sure you firmly anchor your tree by using heavy plywood.  Then secure the tree to the wall or ceiling using two hundred-pound test fishing line.  If you put water in the container that holds the tree, use screening over the top of the pot to keep your dog out of the water.  The sap and tar from the tree mixes with the water, and if your dog drinks the water, he can become very sick.

Once the tree is up, let it stand for a few days without ornaments.  This way your dog can get over his curiosity and learn how to behave around the tree.  Once you begin decorating the tree, start from the top and stop in the middle.  Give your dog time to adjust to this and then continue your decorating until completed.  Do not use glass ornaments.  If they fall and break, they can cut your dog's feet or mouth.  Do not put food ornaments on your tree.  They can be too great of a temptation to your dog.  Consider using ribbon instead of metal hooks to hold your ornaments.  If your dog puts a metal hook in his mouth, the behavior of the hook is similar to that of a fishhook.  If you have a young dog who might be attracted to electric cords, you can tuck the cord under the cloth that is under the tree or you can run the electric cords through the cardboard tubes that your gift wrapping paper came on.