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National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Save A Life!

April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month.  I have for the last 26 years taken CPR and First Aid Classes as part of being a Certified Group Fitness Instructor.  When the subject came up to get training for Pet CPR and First Aid, it just seemed like the right thing to do as a pet business owner.  After I took the course I saw how valuable it was and felt that everyone who has a pet should want to be able to help that pet in an emergency.  In that emergency situation sometimes what you do before you get to the Vet can be the difference between a favorable outcome and a tragic outcome.  Along with learning about taking the pet’s vital signs, you will learn what to do if your pet is choking, bleeding protocol and CPR.  You’ll also learn what not to do – such as don’t put your fingers in a conscious dog’s throat to dislodge something. You could lose a finger!  Most of the programs (if not all) will show you how to do a Snout to Tail Assessment.  This is an invaluable tool.  You will learn what is normal for your pet.  If you do this regularly (once a month), you may be able to detect a lump or discover an area of discomfort for your pet.  Our pets can’t tell us if something is wrong.  This assessment is the closest thing to them telling you where it hurts.  If you are interested in taking a Pet CPR and First Aid course, you can Google for some options.  Or check out the American Red Cross, Pet Tech or PetFirstAidOnline.com.  Your furry pal will thank you!

April Showers, Bring May Flowers or is it Just More Rain!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Maybe that’s how you feel when it’s raining in South Florida but if you own a dog, you know you’re going to have to get wet.  Or maybe hire someone to do it!  You may have a dog or dogs, as I do, who really don’t like going out in the rain and getting wet.  Now I’m not that kind of dog owner who dresses my dog in matching outfits.  Other than their collars, the occasional bandana is as much as they’ll tolerate. Well I never thought I would suggest this (or be pro-this) but how about a raincoat for your dog?  Hold on give me a chance to explain.  I had a client with a pug, Charlie, a few years back and his owner had left a raincoat out for him.  It was rainy season and sure enough it was raining for one of Charlie’s walks. I said to myself let’s try this out.  Charlie (see picture) seemed to be a little confused by the raincoat but allowed me to get it on him.  I put on his raincoat and to my surprise I was sold! We got back to the house and no need to towel him off, the raincoat had kept him dry! I took a picture of him to send to his owner and that’s when I found out Charlie had never worn it, which explains his confusion! So, if you see me walking my dogs in raincoats, laugh all you want.  My dogs will be dry and my house will be clean (well, sort of, after all, I live with dogs!)  Who has raincoats for their dogs? Now let’s talk boots! Almost better than raincoats, image no muddy footprints!  Now that’s an outfit I’m all for and my dogs like that they don’t get their feet wet.  Don’t knock it, till you try it!

Poison Prevention Room-by-Room

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month.  Most pet owners know that chocolate is a no-no for all pets, but there are many more substances maybe you didn’t think would be a problem.  We are going to encourage pet owners to go room-by-room to create a pet-friendly environment.

  • Kitchen:  Be sure to put all food in secure containers, and only feed pet food to your pet. Even small amounts of grapes, raisons, macadamia nuts, xylitol (artificial sweetener found in gum and other foods) can be dangerous to your pet.  Purchase a garbage can with a heavy, secure lid.
  • Living Area: Plants may seem harmless, but some plants contain toxic substances.  Consult with your Veterinarian before purchasing a new household plant.  Here are a few plants that are toxic to pets:  Aloe Vera, Azalea, Boxwood, Calla Lilly, Chrysanthemum, Easter lily, and Philodendron.
  • Bathroom:  Keep all medications in original, safety top containers, personal care products in a medicine cabinet and cleaning supplies in a secure location.  Install child-proof cabinet devices to prevent pets from opening cabinet doors.
  • Bedroom: Under-the-bed storage space can be great for keeping last season’s sweaters out of sight, but do not use the space to store toxic substances.  Examine the room for perfume, medicine or personal care items and store them in drawers or boxes.
  • Laundry Room:  Keep laundry detergent and supplies in tightly closed, original containers.
  • Garage:  Bug spray, weed killer, paint, charcoal, car coolant and gasoline can be fatal for your pet.  Store these items in a locked cabinet or box to prevent your pet from accidental ingestion.  Be careful on your walks for coolant that has leaked out of your car or a neighbor’s car as it is an attractive substances for your dog but extremely toxic.

Potpourri and tobacco products left out can be toxic to pets.  For a more complete list visit the ASPCA website.  If you know your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline 1-888-426-4435 or 1-800-548-2423.  They will charge $50 but this is considered the most up to date database on toxic substances.