Dog Safety

How to Get Your Senior Dog Moving Again...Safely

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 12.18.51 PMAccording to the Dog Aging Project, "Decreased mobility can be a huge factor in decreased quality of life for our senior dogs." In a recent blog post, the Dog Aging Project offers some valuable tips and tricks to get your senior dog moving again...safely. The post addresses these two common questions:

  1. My dog has a lot of trouble getting up and walking on hardwood or tile floors. What can be done to help her?
  2. My senior dog can no longer jump into the car or up on the couch. How can I help him?

Of course, you should speak with your veterinarian -- but this post shares some excellent, specific tips and tricks in answer to each of these questions. If you have a senior dog who is having any kind of mobility issues, this information is well worth reading. You can find the post here: https://dogagingproject.org/mobility-tips-and-tricks-for-senior-dogs/?

Image: Dog Aging Project


Do You Live in an "Animal-Friendly" Community?

Shane-QBzYEojdNB8-unsplashThere are any number of ways to define "animal-friendly" -- among them, how a community views the relationship between humans and animals and whether or not the community believes in protecting the rights of animals. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), public policy and, specifically, local ordinances can set apart any community as animal-friendly. Check out the five ordinance types suggested by HSUS below and see if your community has implemented any of them:

  1. Establish a funding mechanism for low-cost or free veterinary care and remove barriers for nonprofit clinics
  2. Remove barriers to pet-inclusive housing
  3. Prohibit lethal trapping or poisoning of wildlife
  4. Establish comprehensive, breed-neutral dangerous dog laws and eliminate breed-specific regulations
  5. Protect pets who live outdoors by strengthening care standards

The HSUS also cites five additional ordinances that "may seem to help, but can hurt." You can see which those are, as well as read more about the ordinance types above, here: https://humanepro.org/magazine/articles/creating-animal-friendly-communities

Photo by Shane on Unsplash


Top Pet Toxins According to the ASPCA

CautionEach year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) releases a list of the leading pet toxins. These substances are commonly found in most every home so, as a dog owner, you should be aware of their danger. The following information is from the ASPCA.

For the third year in a row, human over-the-counter (OTC) medications lead the top toxins list, making up nearly 17 percent of APCC’s total case volume. The most common items in this category include cold medications, vitamins, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen, which can all cause life-threatening medical issues. Because these items are easily accessible to pets in homes, purses, and backpacks, the ASPCA urges pet owners to take extra precautions and keep all toxic items, especially medications, securely locked in a cabinet.

The remaining nine items on the 2020 list, making up nearly 80 percent of all APCC cases, include the following:

  1. Human Prescription Medications remained at number two in 2020 with antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and cardiac medication ingestions being the most common cases. Like OTC medications, many of these prescriptions can cause gastrointestinal issues and may even lead to kidney failure.
  2. Food Products continue to occupy the third spot, making up 13 percent of total cases in 2020. This year, protein and snack bar exposures along with grapes, raisins, xylitol, onions, and garlic made up most food toxicity cases.
  3. Chocolate ingestion cases continue to increase year after year. APCC handles almost 76 cases of chocolate exposure each day. It’s important for pet owners to remember that the higher the cocoa content, the more dangerous the chocolate will be for your pet.
  4. Plants, both indoor and outdoor, moved up three spots to number five in 2020, with the APCC seeing 9,000 more plant-related calls compared to the previous year. At the start of the pandemic, more people found themselves decorating with plants, especially succulents, or sending bouquets to friends and family. While many plants pose a serious threat to pets, there are also many pet friendly houseplants to consider.
  5. The last five toxins on the list include household items such as cleaning products and paint; rodenticides; veterinary products such as pet medications; insecticides and gardening products including fertilizer.

For more information about the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.  


Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week - Feb. 7 - 14

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 1.24.20 PMFebruary 7 - 14 is designated "Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week." It's a time when all dog lovers should be advocating for dogs who are left chained and unattended, even during the harsh weather of winter. You've probably seen your share of chained dogs all around our area.

Dogs Deserve Better is a national nonprofit organization that concentrates on helping chained dogs. Here is some information from the Dogs Deserve Better website:

"Dogs Deserve Better, a national and award-winning nonprofit organization, is a voice for chained and penned, abused and neglected dogs. We rescue dogs of all breeds, all ages, all medical issues, and provide the love, medical care, socialization and training they need to be happy, healthy and loving companions. 

"In 2011, Dogs Deserve Better was able to purchase our current headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia.  The property was once the home of the Bad Newz Kennels, the dog-fighting compound owned by Michael Vick. Thanks to an outpouring of support from supporters and donors, we were able to purchase the property and transform it into the a fully functioning rehabilitation center for abused and neglected canines. Every year, we are able to assist more dogs in need and in 2015, we were able to make significant changes to the living space. The area, which comfortably housed 12 dogs, now supports 20 dogs, and even more when puppies arrive.

"In addition to our center in Smithfield, we have volunteers all across the country working to free dogs from life on a chain or living outside. Our National Rescue Coordinator helps individuals and rescues every day. Our DDB branch reps also serve as adoption/foster facilitators, fence builders, and advocates for our mission. It takes a village to be successful and show positive results - the DDB Village is growing in numbers and determination. Join us and help us continue to grow!"

Check out Dogs Deserve Better here: https://dogsdeservebetter.org/


Winter Safety for Your Dog

This information is being provided as a public service from the Watauga Humane Society:

Dog-1144641_1920Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
  • Check your car! During the cold winter months, cats can climb into the wheel wells of cars to keep warm. Check your car before you start it by banging loudly on the hood or honking your horn. This gives any snoozing cats a chance to run away before you start driving.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay


ReTail Scene: January Sale for Handicapped Pets

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Walkin' Pets specializes in equipment for handicapped dogs. During their January sale, you'll find special prices on the Walkin' Scooter, Walkin' Ski Attachment, Walkin' Dog Boots, Walkin' Splint, Walkin' Wheels Rear Wheelchair and more.

If your pet is handicapped, elderly or has any trouble walking, you'll find the right stuff for him or her at Walkin' Pets -- on sale in January. Check out the sale here: https://www.handicappedpets.com/on-sale/


The Danger of Xylitol for Your Dog

CautionEver feed your dog peanut butter? Did you check the label first? It may shock you to learn that some peanut butters contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. According to veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Silberstang, writing for PetPlace, "Although xylitol is safe for human consumption... it can be fatal when ingested by dogs. ...although dogs can tolerate regular sugar, xylitol is absorbed rapidly and can cause a spike in insulin. Because xylitol is not sugar, a spike in insulin causes severe hypoglycemia that can result in weakness, collapse, and seizures."

Xylitol is also commonly found in such ordinary items as mints, toothpaste, dietary supplements, gum and even baked goods. It's important to read the ingredients on any product label before giving your dog any food intended for humans. If one of those ingredients is xylitol, keep it away from your dog.

For more information about xylitol's dangers and how to treat xylitol toxicity, read Silberstang's article here: https://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-health/xylitol-toxicity-dogs/?


Kitchen Safety for Your Dog (and Cat)

Screen Shot 2020-11-20 at 4.44.34 PMYou may not realize it, but your kitchen can be a dangerous place for your dog -- and cat.

That's why you'll want to take a look at this handy infographic: https://kitchencabinetkings.com/infographics/kitchen-safety-for-pets. In it you'll find some important information, including:

  • Dangers lurking in the kitchen for your dog, including toxic foods
  • How to safely keep your cat off of your kitchen counters
  • Helpful kitchen safety tips for all animals.

Check it out!


Fall Hiking and Ticks

Tick-1465065_1920Fall is a great time for hiking with your dog in the Carolina mountains, but one of the nuisances, and sometimes health risks for dogs is ticks. It is very easy for a tick to embed itself in your dog's coat and attach to its skin. Dogs and humans barely notice the tiny tick, but it can be far more than an inconvenience and do more damage than you may think.

This comprehensive article on PetPlace.com discusses one of the more serious diseases that ticks carry, anaplasmosis. According to PetPlace, anaplasmosis is similar to Lyme disease, also transmitted by ticks, and is most often reported from June through November, when people are outside hiking with their dogs. Most cases of anaplasmosis are transmitted by the black-legged dear tick, often found in the midwest and northeastern states, so it is probably little cause for worry in our area. Still, the article has some solid information about how ticks transmit the disease.

Cases of Lyme disease have been reported to the Center for Disease Control in the Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina areas, so Lyme disease may be more of a concern. You can learn more about lyme disease and its signs and symptoms from the Lyme Disease Association.

It is always a good idea to check your dog for ticks when returning from outside activities. What appears to be a very small bump may in fact be a tick, so spread your dog's coat and examine it carefully. This article from American Humane explains how to prevent ticks and safely remove them.

Image by Elionas from Pixabay


Do You Sleep with Your Dog?

Sad-1930479_1920Some dog owners may not admit it, but in the privacy of their own homes, they allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them. That means your dog is spending lots of time in your bedroom -- and that could cause some interesting challenges.

The folks at Slumber Yard have put together a handy guide to "Pet Safety for the Bedroom." It includes pros vs. cons for sleeping with your pet, tips to make sleeping with your pet safe and comfortable, and a very helpful list of seven specific suggestions for how to pet-proof your bedroom.

You'll find the free guide here: https://myslumberyard.com/blog/pet-safety-for-the-bedroom/

Image by Renato Laky from Pixabay


Your Dog at Work - Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Dog-2467149_1920If your employer allows dogs, is it a good idea to bring your dog to work with you?  Having dogs at work is something of a growing trend, with such major employers as Amazon, Google, Salesforce and Ticketmaster allowing it.

These days, you may have been spending a lot of time at home, so it could be tough for your dog to see you go off to work. Maybe you can take him or her with you!

According to PetPlace, "Companies that have tried experimenting with dog-friendly workplaces have reported positive feedback, stating that pets in the office allow them to get through long workdays happily, improving overall morale, employee attendance, and a better work-life balance."

Still, allowing dogs at work takes some preparation and getting used to. For example, employees must be asked if they have allergies or a fear of dogs. In addition, behavior and hygiene are two primary concerns. The employee who owns a dog must be confident the dog will react well to strangers and be able to acclimate to an office environment. Dogs must also be vaccinated and free of fleas, ticks and any contagious conditions. An evaluation period to see whether your dog can be a good canine citizen at work is a good idea. But imagine how cool it would be to work in a dog-friendly office!

Read more about the pros and cons of dogs at work here:
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/bring-your-dog-to-work-pros-and-cons/

Image: Pixabay.com


Pandemic Causes New Emphasis on Dogs and Homeowners Insurance

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One good thing that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic is animal rescue shelters have seen a spike in dog adoptions. In a happy turn of events, “foster fails” account for many of these adoptions — when pets who were to be temporarily fostered are bonded with and become a long-term member of the family. 

People are finding themselves spending more time at home with their dogs — all day, every day. However, one thing these pet owners may not have considered is: What happens when they return to work, and their dog is suddenly left alone at home for extended periods of time? People’s social lives will also return to normal, meaning their dog will suddenly be exposed to house guests and visitors for the first time. How will their dog behave in these new situations?

You may think your dog is predictable, but how sure are you they will be on their best behavior when they are confronted with new people, places and situations? Dogs are not always as predictable as people may think. If your dog happens to bite someone or damage another person’s property, do you know whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the damage?

Here's an informative guide for dog owners about dog behavior and homeowners insurance: https://www.coverage.com/insurance/home/new-pet-owners-guide/

Here's additional information about whether pets are covered by homeowners insurance:
 https://www.thezebra.com/homeowners-insurance/coverage/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-pets/

Image: Coverage.com 


Your Dog... Home Alone

This information is provided as a public service and reproduced from https://avltoday.6amcity.com/helping-dogs-adjust-home-alone-asheville/?

By Brook Bolen for AVL TODAY

Home-office-5091293_1920As we get further along into Phase 2 of the Governor’s three-phase plan to reopen the state, more of us will be venturing outside the home more frequently, and many of us will be returning to the office. How can we best help our dogs avoid the “Back to Work” blues and prepare for added solo time?

I spoke with Pia Silvani, a pet behavioral specialist — also the Interim Director of the Asheville Humane Society’s Behavioral Department — to find out what pet parents can do to make the transition as painless as possible. Here’s what Pia suggests doing ASAP:

  • Stop taking your pets with you everywhere (even if that’s just inside your house). “If they’re clingy, and they follow you around from room to room, close the door and leave them alone,” she says. “If they’ve been sleeping in the bed with you throughout quarantine, put them back in their dog bed.”

  • Leave your furkids alone for a few hours each day. Now that we can leave home again, step outside and run some errands. “Little spurts of time away will help them get used to you leaving again,” Pia notes.

  • Stick with a routine. If you’ve been going on lots of walks in quarantine, keep them up, but get up early in the morning so you can fit them in. “It’s very important to make sure your pet gets adequate exercise,” says Pia. Similarly, if you keep music or the TV on during the day, be sure to leave it on for your pooch while you’re gone.

  • Start waking up earlier. If you’ve been sleeping in and lounging in bed, start getting up earlier so your dog gets used to it, too.

  • If you work remotely, then implement some distance at home. Start by shutting the door to the room where you’re working. Even seemingly small changes like this can help your pet acclimate to spending less time with you. 

  • Bring your dog along to the office if you can. Let your pooch join you for half a day and then take them home. 

  • Extend your lunch hour to run errands or other things you might do after work. That way, you can go directly home to see the one(s) who’ve been waiting for you all day long.

  • Talk to your neighbor and see if they can check in on your dog during the day (alternately, hire a pet sitter/walker). These folks can let your dog out to relieve themself and give a few belly rubs. 

  • Keep in touch with your veterinarian. If your dog shows signs of anxiety, there are lots of natural products to help pets feel more calm + comfortable, Pia says. In the event they need something stronger, your vet can prescribe the appropriate medication.

Image: Pixabay.com


Pet Safety Tips You May Not Have Thought About

Dog-portrait-1717848_1920Most dog lovers consider their pets part of the family. This is great -- until we realize that dogs, like humans, are exposed to real dangers from ordinary things in and around our own home. Of greater concern is that some of the things we as humans take for granted can present serious hazards to dogs.

Did you ever think about the fact, for example, that common household items such as string, rubber bands, electrical wire and the cords from your blinds or window shades could be dangerous to your dog? Have you made sure to secure household cleaners, insecticides, plant fertilizer and antifreeze so your dog doesn't get into them? Did you know some household plants can be toxic to dogs, and that some common drugs can be harmful to drugs?

A site called HomeGuides offers some valuable free advice about "Keeping Pets Safe in the Home," covering the above, as well as providing a room-by-room safety guide, Check it out here: https://homeguides.co.uk/pet-safety/

Image: Pixabay.com


Free Resource: "Fear Free Happy Homes"

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 4.21.32 PMHere's a free resource every dog owner should know about: It's called "Fear Free Happy Homes," a website that focuses on keeping pets happy and safe in their homes. It contains some great information, including videos and articles, and you can sign up for free to gain access to information and pet product discounts. Articles on the website's blog include:

Check out this cool resource at: https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/


How to Improve a Disabled Dog's Quality of Life

Guest Post by Lori Wade

German-shepherd-1077442_1920We all love our dogs, which is what makes it absolutely heartbreaking to see them struggle. There are few things more inherently awful than being forced to see any living creature struggle with pain or disability. That’s especially true for dogs, both because they are so loyal and lovable as well as the fact that they’re so innocent and helpless when it comes to maladies.

Dogs are absolutely heartwarming creatures, and their maladies are thus all the more heartbreaking. You never want that to be the fate of your dog. You want to make sure that they remain in good health and good spirits – even if they are disabled. Thankfully, these tips can help you do just that.

Dog Wheelchairs

From accidents and injuries to the ravages of old age, there are many reasons why your dog may be having trouble walking with comfort – if they can walk at all. If your dog finds themselves in this position or otherwise suffers from mobility issues, it might well be time to look into a dog wheelchair.

Dog wheelchairs are typically easily fitted around the dog’s waist and backside. They enable dogs to wheel themselves around in the event of bad hips or one or more legs not being up to walking. These wheelchairs feature openings at the bottom and back, allowing dogs to “do their business” unimpeded while wearing them.

Dog Ramps

If your dog has a broken leg, hip dysplasia, or any number of other conditions that hurt their hips or legs, it can be incredibly difficult and painful for them to get upstairs. You don’t want that to be a problem, of course. While you can sometimes carry smaller dogs, this can get old fast, won’t always be convenient for either party and isn’t exactly an easy option with larger dogs.

That’s why you’ll want to look into installing a dog ramp instead. As with ramps for human wheelchair users, they enable dogs in wheelchairs to get up to an area that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. They also make it possible to avoid steps.

Ramps can be especially helpful for your outdoor area near the front and backyards. Your dogs may not be able to get up porch steps with ease, so these dog ramps can be essential to get to and from the doors in question as they go into and out of your home.

Addressing Dog Vision Problems

As your dog gets older, it’s possible that they may begin to suffer from vision problems. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that you keep the light on for them, ensuring that areas in which they are staying are bright. You’ll also want to be sure to ask your veterinarian about any potential treatment if these eyesight problems worsen.

Dog Medications

Ask your veterinarian before giving your dog any new medication. There are some medicines on the market, such as phenobarbital, which can treat the same issues in dogs (seizures) as they do in humans. In other cases, there are medicines that are more dog-specific, such as proin, which helps tighten the muscles around a dog’s urinary tract in the case of urinary incontinence.

Whatever the case, you’ll want to be sure that your dog is getting the right medication for them. Some dogs can have allergic reactions to some medicines, some do better with some options than others, and then, of course, you always need to be on the lookout for bad dog medicines which may be harmful. Your vet can be instrumental in determining all of this.

Ensure your dog gets the care they need when they need it most by accommodating their disability - and if you have a furry friend who is advancing in age, make the most of your dog’s golden years.

 Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. A content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of pet care and veterinary. You can find her on  Twitter & LinkedIn or on other social media, where you can read Lori’s useful insights!

Image: Pixabay.com


Is Your Dog Safe in Your Car?

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Cars have become more sophisticated, with many features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe. But how safe is your dog when you drive in your car? CarRentals.com conducted a survey of drivers who have their dogs with them and discovered some surprising things. For example:

  • 47 percent of pet owners acknowledge it's dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog in the car -- but they still do it
  • 71 percent of dog owners said they would use pet safety features -- if they were already built in to the car
  • 41 percent of dog owners who drive say their dog climbs into their lap while driving
  • 52 percent of drivers reach back to pet their dog while driving.

These are just some of the statistics -- but they clearly demonstrate that dog owners who drive with their dogs could stand to exercise more caution. Thankfully, CarRentals.com also provides very helpful information about how to drive safely with your dog. They discuss safety restraints, driving tips and what to do in case of an accident. Read their free guide here: https://www.carrentals.com/blog/car-safety-for-dogs/


Do You Have a Disaster Plan for Your Dog?

High-water-3063989_1920Hurricanes and floods are a reality of summer and fall in the Carolina mountains. The ASPCA offers some good advice about disaster planning for dog owners:

Ready Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with your most up-to-date contact information.
  • Microchip your dog as a more permanent form of identification—in case collars or tags come off.
  • Train your dog to feel comfortable going into a crate with regular in-crate sessions with treats.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.

Prepare Your Home

  • Ideally, you should evacuate with your pet, but if you are unable to do so, a rescue alert sticker placed near your front door will let first responders know that you have a dog inside your home.
  • If sheltering in place, consider these things when choosing your safe room:
    • Be aware of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
    • Utility rooms, bathrooms and unfinished basements may be easier to clean if your pet has an accident.
    • Having a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
    • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

Create an Emergency Kit

  • Obtain a crate that comfortably fits your dog, write your dog’s name and your contact information on a piece of duct tape and stick it on the outside of the crate in case you become separated from your dog.
  • Make a portable emergency kit that includes the following:
    • Medical records
    • Water (7 days’ worth of bottled)
    • Water bowls
    • Pet food (3-7 days’ worth of canned food with pop tops or dry food)
    • Pet’s medications
    • Pet first aid kit
    • Dish soap and disinfectant
    • Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
    • Extra collar, harness and leash
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Recent photos of your dog (hard copy in case your phone dies)
    • Toys

Consider putting the kit inside the crate and storing near an exit.

Image: Pixabay.com