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Yes, we’re moving! Our online website will remain the same, but our home base is moving from Lawrence, Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa. Why, you wonder? My husband is moving for a new job. And since my job is with a virtual online company, I can move with him quite easily. And, of course, we are moving with our dogs too. Moving a family is a challenge, but put dogs in the mix and there are a few more challenges to add to our list. Here is what we’ve encountered so far.
LOOKING FOR A PET FRIENDLY PLACE
Since we have discovered that we are not good home owners when it comes to home repair and routine home maintenance, we’ve decided to rent instead of buy. And finding a pet friendly place to rent has not been easy. Over 80% of the places I called either said no pets or only allowed pets under 25 pounds. Pierson is 50 pounds and Maya is almost 70 pounds. I also found that a lot of places in Des Moines have breed restrictions. Maya is a Lab and Pierson is an Australian Shepherd / Border Collie, so there was no trouble there. But if I still had my Chow mix, Sephi, we might have had more trouble. So unfair, but it is the reality.
We finally found a great house to rent that is very pet friendly. Our landlord is our neighbor and she has a gorgeous Mastiff girl named Bella that she rescued, as well as a cute older Jack Russell. Our landlord is charging neither an extra pet deposit, nor an extra monthly rental fee for the pets. This is different than many of the pet friendly apartment we looked at, who charged an extra $25 per month per pet, plus a non-refundable pet deposit.
Some dogs and cats might get stressed from all changes going on with packing. Stuff is being moved around. Boxes are piling up in the corners. Things are getting a good scrubbing. And there is more noise than usual because of all the cleaning and packing. If you have time, get started early and take it slow. Introduce boxes and packing slowly. And try not to change your pet’s normal routine.
Luckily, Maya and Pierson have not been affected at all by the changes. Maya is very curious about what I’m doing and is constantly sticking her nose in the boxes I’m packing. Pierson has been a little more cautious than Maya. Loud noises scare him and he has been a little intimidated when we move big stuff around. But he is doing really well for the most part.
STRANGERS IN AND OUT
Because we need to sell our current home, we have had people in and out of our house doing estimates and repairs. So when strangers come over, I generally put Maya and Pierson outside. I could say, “This is my house and if you want to come in you are going to have to accept the dogs.” But there are two very big reasons why I don’t.
Safety for Visitors
Although Maya and Pierson are friendly, some people are afraid of dogs. Allowing my dogs to approach someone who is afraid of them opens the door to trouble and it is also unkind. Also, despite my efforts to keep Maya from jumping on people, I still have trouble. She just gets so darned excited that she forgets her manners. She’s scratched a friend of ours who came to visit because of her crazy jumping antics. And she has also caused someone to bite their tongue because she jumped up and hit them in the chin.
Perhaps your dogs are better behaved than my Maya when it comes to jumping, but just because your dog doesn’t jump on you, doesn’t mean he won’t jump on strangers. And another thought, just because your dog likes most people doesn’t mean he will like everyone.
Safety for My Dogs
If you have a dog that likes to sneak or squeeze out the door at the first opportunity, then you have to be especially careful about visitors. I believe that it is unfair to expect a visitor to my house to be careful about not letting the dogs out. They don’t know my dogs or what they will do. Yes, visitors should be considerate and take care to close doors behind them. But ultimately my dogs are not their responsibility.
If your dog doesn’t travel much, it will be very helpful if you can get them used to traveling before the big move. Start out by taking them on short road trips. And take them somewhere fun so that they learn the rewards of traveling. If you have a dog that gets car sick, consider a natural pet remedy like Travel Calm, which has ginger to help with car sickness as well as calming ingredients to help with anxiousness.
Don’t forget your pet’s safety when you travel on the road. Thankfully, Maya and Pierson are used to wearing a dog seat belt. If your dog isn’t used to a dog car harness or a traveling crate, be sure to help them get used to these devices as well as used to car rides. Check out these additional tips for helping your dog get used to riding in the car and used to a dog car harness.
Letting your dog explore the new place is great. But depending on your pet’s personality, you may want to take it a little slow. Go through one room at a time. Reward them with treats, if needed. Set some of their belongings like toys and bedding in place before they explore in order to help them familiarize themselves to the new surroundings. Supervise them as they explore, especially in the yard area. Your dog might find a hole in the fence that you didn’t see or there may be wild animals living in the yard that you weren’t aware of.
At this moment, I am still in Kansas with Maya and Pierson. They have not yet made the road trip to Iowa or seen their new house. For them, the road trip should be no problem. Maya will have no trouble getting used to her new surroundings. I have no doubt she will be very excited about it. Pierson may be a little more wary about the new place, but he will adjust easily when he sees Maya do it. Our official move date is May 10th.
Have you ever had to move with your pets? Are there some concerns you had that I forgot to mention here? How did your dog adjust to the move?
Welcome to 2014! A new year means getting a fresh start. It means resolving to do what you’ve been putting off. You and your dog are going to get fit, you’re going to eat better, and you’re going to do more fun activities together. When making all these resolutions, don’t forget to include the safety of your best furry friend.
Use a Pet Travel Safety Device
You know, I can’t mention pet safety without mentioning dog seat belts or pet travel carriers. If your dog rides in the car, it is a good idea to make sure he rides safe. If he won’t wear a car harness or ride in a crate, at least consider covering the floor of the back seat or putting up a barrier to separate the front and the back of the vehicle. The Backseat Bridge is a great way to do both. By putting this in your car, you can help keep your dog from getting thrown onto the floor or into the front seat. The barrier might even keep him from trying to climb in the front.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
Resolve to never go anywhere with your dog where you have to leave him alone in the car. In spring and summer, you have to worry about the vehicle trapping heat. In the fall and winter, you have to worry about the car acting as a freezer. Plus, there is a danger of theft. And don’t even tell me about the sorts of people who hate animals and like to maliciously tease them.
Keep Head and Paws Inside the Vehicle
Also, make sure when your pet rides in the car that he doesn’t put his head or paws out the window. If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, your dog could choke or get thrown out of the vehicle. It’s happened, people. It really has. Flying road debris could also hurt your best friend’s eyes or nose. Not only are there small pebbles to worry about, but also trash that people toss out their windows.
Don’t Ride in the Back of a Pickup
And for goodness sake, don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pickup. This is becoming illegal in more and more places. And for a very good reason.
Wear a Dog Life Jacket
Besides protection in cars, there are other safety things to consider for your pet. If your dog likes to swim or ride in a boat, make sure he wears a safety vest. Even though my Maya can swim, I generally have her wear a life jacket when she swims in a lake. This is because she loves swimming so much that I worry about her swimming too far after a stick or a ball. I worry about her getting too tired in the water.
Protect From Weather
Keep your dog safe then they are outdoors in adverse weather. Adverse weather includes rain, sleet, snow, and even the sun. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure he has shelter. Shelter can help protect him against all sorts of weather. Always make sure he has fresh water. This is vital, but even more so in the heat. Protect paws from hot pavements and icy sidewalks, have short-coated dogs wear coats or sunscreen, and if hiking in nature watch out for wild animals and insects.
Wear a Lighted Collar
If you walk your dog at night, be sure your dog wears a lighted collar or reflective safety vest. If not your dog, at least yourself. Well, don’t wear a collar but at least carry some sort of light with you. You may see a car coming because of their headlights, but they can’t always see you.
Get Safe Chew Toys
If your dog is a chewer, resolve to find more dog toys that are indestructible. Resolve to supervise your dog whenever he plays with certain toys. Keep things that are unsafe to chew or eat out of his reach.
There are a lot of other pet safety things to consider, but I can hardly think of them all. Besides, pet car safety is my specialty.
What do you do to protect your best friend’s safety?
Every year we have a dozen holiday tips for pets to share. But since every pet blogger seems to be doing the exact same thing, we thought we’d share their tips with you. After all, how can we possibly top these other great posts?
Fidose of Reality has some great dog travel tips Dog Travel Dos and Don’ts
They also have some great tips on how to make sure holiday visits are comfortable and safe for your pet 8 Ways to Help Your Dog Survive Holiday Visits
My Brown Newfies talks about how to protect your dog’s paws in winter Keeping Pawtstic Paws Protected in Winter
That Mutt talks about giving cats as Christmas presents
And Wag the Dog reminds us of some holiday pet hazards Top 5 Holiday Pet Hazards
What are your holiday traditions and how do you make sure the holidays are both fun and safe for your furry friends?
Some of you may have heard of this already, but if you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on their leash, it means the dog needs his space and you should not approach him. A dog can need extra space for a variety of reasons. Perhaps he is shy, is frightened of certain people or young children, just had surgery, has a tendency to snap, is working on obedience, or has leash reactive issues.
I only just recently heard of using a yellow ribbon for such dogs and can’t believe I haven’t heard of it before. Most people who read my personal blog know that my dog Pierson has leash reactive issues. He does not do well when he sees other dogs. A yellow ribbon might be a useful tool if more people knew what it meant.
If I am walking Pierson and we come across someone else walking their dog, I cross the street and I divert his attention with the “look” command and a treat in hopes that he will learn to associate seeing the other dog with good stuff.
I also take Pierson on group walks where everyone in the group has a dog with a similar problem and we have all agreed to certain rules regarding our dogs’ interactions. While we walk together as a group, we walk spaced apart to whatever our own dog’s threshold level is. In Pierson’s case, he has to be at the end of the line. At first he had to be several yards behind but over time he has been able to get within a few feet of the dog in front.
But what about cases where another person still let’s their dog approach Pierson? This has happened to me a few times. In two of the situations, the other dogs were not on leashes. In one situation, the person did not understand why I was crossing the street away from her and her dog and she really wanted to meet Pierson.
If more people knew about the yellow ribbons, perhaps the yellow ribbon could have given them advance notice. Some people are concerned about the negative view a yellow caution ribbon might mean. But if we help people understand it could be for a variety of reasons, not just aggression, I think it is a good idea. What do you think?
Keep in mind, however, that the yellow ribbon should not be used as an excuse to not do proper training. Pierson’s issue is being worked with and it will be much easier for me to alleviate his leash reactive behavior if I have complete control over who does and who doesn’t approach him. Another thing the yellow ribbon should not be used for is as a waiver of liability. If Pierson has a yellow ribbon on his leash and he still ends up hurting another dog, I am still liable.
The top infographic was found on http://gulahund.se/. Incidentally, gulahund means yellow dog in Swedish.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be relatively inactive in the summer because it is so darned hot. I still take the dogs out for walks in the morning or evenings, but nature hikes are no fun in the summer. So now that the weather is getting cooler, I’m excited about taking the dogs on an outdoor hiking expedition again.
Here are some outdoor hiking safety factors I think about for Maya and Pierson:
Leashes or Harnesses
I admit, I don’t always keep Maya on a leash when we hike. Maya is very good at staying by my side and has a very good recall. Pierson, on the other hand, has never been off leash except in our backyard. So I don’t trust him to come when he is called if he sees an animal to chase. Know your dogs. If you are not sure if they will come to you in various scenarios, then keep them on a leash. Also, be considerate to other people when hiking in areas frequented by others. Some people don’t like dogs and are even afraid of them. Furthermore, some hiking trails are also frequented by bicyclists or people riding horses. Loose dogs do not always get along well with bicycles and horses.
Maya and Pierson always wear their collar and tags. Plus, they are both microchipped. Even though I am confident in Maya’s recall and that I have a good grip on Pierson’s leash, the unexpected could happen. What if there is a loud noise that scares them? It might catch me unawares and make me lose my grip on their leash when they bolt. It’s unlikely but if the worst does happen, at least you have a better chance of being reunited with your best friend.
Beware of wild animals. Small animals like rabbits and squirrels can be very tempting for your dog to chase. Your dog getting lost because he chased an animal is not the only concern. There are many harmful wild animals to watch out for such as alligators (BrownDogCBR has to look out for these), porcupines, poisonous snakes, skunks, raccoons, etc. By the way, another good reason to keep your dog on a leash is so that they don’t eat wild animal feces. Raccoon poop, for one, can be infected with worms or even canine distemper.
Plants & Biting Insects Harmful to Dogs
Some plants can be harmful for your dog too. Look out for poison ivy and poison oak. Also beware of thorned plants. Biting insects are what bothers me the most on our outdoor hiking adventures. Ticks here are really bad. We also need to be aware of mosquitos and fleas. My dogs use Frontline, but this only kills fleas and ticks when they get on the dog. It doesn’t prevent the little blood-suckers from getting on them in the first place. As a repellant, I am considering a new product from Earth Heart called Buzz Guard. Earth Heart is the same company that makes the Travel Calm that I use for Maya when she rides in the car.
Pet Water Safety – To Swim
If you are hiking near water and plan on letting your dog swim, consider a dog life jacket. Also, know the dangerous aquatic wild animals native to your area such as water moccasin snakes or alligators.
Pet Water Safety – To Drink
Water safety also includes making sure both you and your dog have plenty of fresh cool water to drink. If you can help it, don’t let your dog drink from the lake or river water. It can contain bacteria and parasites that will make your dog sick. I like using the Kurgo collapsible dog water bowl when I go hiking with the dogs. We also won the Frosty Paws travel pack sometime back and it has a fantastic dog water bottle.
Dog Travel Safety
Don’t forget to travel to your hiking destination in safety. Seat belts for dogs, pet travel carriers, or our new K9 Car Fence, are just a few of the options available to ensure your best friend is kept just as safe as every other member of your family.
I like to take Maya and Pierson to Clinton Lake. The Mutt Run off-leash dog park is nearby and even has a place for Maya to swim. And there are a lot of secluded trails around the lake for me to take my dog-aggressive fluffhead Pierson.
I hope I covered everything. Can you think of any other outdoor hiking safety tips? Where do you like to take your dog hiking?
Update – First Aid Kit
After reading another blog post on first aid supplies, I realized I didn’t have a first aid kit on my list. Shame, shame! It is a good idea to have one with supplies for both you and your pet when you go hiking. A complete list of ideal first aid supplies can be found on KeepTheTailWagging.com. Thanks Kimberly, for your great post and reminder.
We had someone from AT&T over the other day to see if they could fix our internet. We were told that our dogs had to be confined while they were here. Why? The AT&T guy that came told me one of his coworkers had recently been bitten in the face by a dog that was supposed to be friendly. Maybe the dog was. But dogs will be dogs. Maya will jump up on people if I am not careful. This can be very dangerous if someone is bending over when they pet her.
So no matter how friendly your dog is, be considerate of your guests. I have a tendency to think, “The dogs live here, you don’t.” But what if Maya jumps on someone and hurts them? It would be my fault. I would be responsible. It doesn’t matter whose house it is. So in order to protect the safety of my guests, here is what I do with Maya and Pierson:
Work on Sit / Stay
Maya gets really excited when people come over. So we’ve been working very hard on the sit and stay commands. I don’t just work with her at home with no distractions, I also work with her when people come over and out in public with other distractions.
Work on No Jumping
I’ve taught Maya not to jump on me, but it has been difficult to keep her from jumping on other people. People don’t know that they shouldn’t pet her unless she is sitting calmly, so it is my responsibility to tell them. When we are at home or on walks and someone wants to pet Maya, I make sure they know that if she gets up or starts to get anxious, back away or turn around and ignore her.
Keep on a Lead
This helps even at home. If Maya is on a leash when guests come over, it helps put her in “work” mode. It also enables me to grab the other end and restrain her if she gets too excited.
Make Sure Pets are Confined
Yes, it is my house. But there will be some cases where it is simply best to confine my dogs. The AT&T guy was just one example. Another situation I have to be careful of because of Maya’s exuberance is when small children come over. Maya is great with kids, but she tends to get so excited that she knocks them over.
What do your dogs do when people come over? Are they challenging like Maya or calm and well-mannered like Pierson? (Sephi was well-mannered too.)
It is almost celebration time, and that means fireworks. I love fireworks. They are beautiful and fun. It’s great being able to get together with family to enjoy this spectacular event. For me, family includes my dogs Maya & Pierson. But this is one family event where they are not allowed.
Last year, a friend of ours found a dog that had run off from her owner’s yard because the neighbors were shooting fireworks. Her name was Shiera and she was lucky. She had run a long distance and crossed many streets in her haste to get away from the frightening noises of fireworks. Luckily, she didn’t get hit by a car. And thankfully, she found my friend who enlisted my help.
Shiera was not wearing any identification so we had no way of knowing where she belonged. The next morning I had her scanned for a microchip and found nothing. Thankfully, Shiera’s owner and I found each other through our posts on Craig’s List. You can read the full story HERE.
Shiera’s owner learned a valuable lesson about fireworks. Shiera’s fate could have been far worse. So to keep this from happening to you and your best friend, we suggest the following pet safety tips:
- Before the fireworks start, take your dog for a long walk to tire him out and let him do his business.
- Leave your dog at home, inside, and in a secure place. A secure place can be his dog crate or a room.
- Even if indoors, make sure your dog is wearing his tags. I’ve heard of dogs breaking out screens or even glass windows in order to get out and away.
- Turn on something loud to disguise the noise. Consider calming music like “Through a Dog’s Ear”. My dog Sephi liked to hide in the bathroom so I would turn on the fan in order to help cover the noise.
- If you are home, play with your dog while fireworks going on. This may help your dog associate fun with the noise.
- Talk to your veterinarian about a dog anxiety treatment.
Nothing will ruin the fun festivities of fireworks more than losing your best friend because of them. The above tips are simple things you can do to help your dog feel more comfortable and safe. So practice pet safety and go have some worry-free fun!
What do you do for your dog during these celebrations? We stay home. Maya, being a Lab, isn’t concerned about loud noises. Pierson barks, but he seems to take his cue from Maya that there is nothing to be concerned about. I will probably have him wear his Thundershirt.
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I am lucky in that my dogs Maya & Pierson don’t get into the trash. I don’t think it has ever occurred to them. My dog Sephi used to, but it did take some training and preventative measures. Not only is it annoying to have to clean up a trash mess, but there are all sorts of dangers to worry about. And it is a common problem. Look over these dangers, and then consider some pet safety training and prevention techniques.
Head Stuck – This one can be more funny than dangerous… funny for you but not your dog. Check out this hilarious video:
Tummy Ache – At the very least, your dog will get a tummy ache from the trash he ate.
Poison – Some foods are poisonous to dogs. Chocolate, for example, although who would put some perfectly good chocolate in the trash. Onions are not good for dogs either. Here is a larger list at HSUS. Food poisoning can also include salmonella. I sometimes take the skin off chicken before I bake it. If I throw that skin in the trash and my dogs get into it a day or so later, they are in great danger of getting salmonella poisoning. Salmonella poisoning can be deadly. And food poisoning is not the only danger. Have you ever thrown away an empty bottle of cleaner? Perhaps it wasn’t completely empty and there was some residue left over.
Gastrointestinal Obstruction – Also consider the danger of gastrointestinal blockage. This can happen from your dog eating bones, aluminum foil, corn on the cob, or other things that your dog’s stomach can’t digest. Gastrointestinal obstruction can cause your dog great distress and can even lead to death. Read more at PetMD.
SAFETY AND PREVENTION
The best way to keep your dogs out of the trash is to prevent them from getting into the trash in the first place. If you have a pantry where the door can close, put your trash can in there. If not, perhaps you can use a small trash can in the kitchen and put it under the kitchen sink. Put baby guards on the cupboard door too. If neither of those places are convenient for you, get a trash can with a lid. A lid that opens when you step on a pedal might work better than a lid where you push open (as evidenced in the above video).
Prevention may not always be easy. Sometimes there is just no good place to put your trash can and perhaps your dog is smart enough to open any trash can lid. Another alternative is to try training. This may not be easy to do and it is not foolproof, but anything you can do to keep your dog out of the trash benefits both you and your best friend.
Control the situation by leaving tempting but not dangerous items in the trash. Leave the room and listen closely. If you hear your dog trying to get in the trash, come out and say, “No!” in a firm voice. You must catch your dog in the act for this to work. It does little good to tell your dog no before or after the incident.
Does your dog get into the trash? Do you think any of these ideas will help? Does anyone have any other ideas to keep your dog out of the trash?
Thank you for your comments and thanks for stopping by for Pet Safety Saturday!
I love playing outside with my dogs, Maya and Pierson. And my dogs enjoy being outside. But the weather is warming up amazingly fast so I need to be aware of the effect that heat may have on my dogs. After doing a little research, here are some things I’ve found to help my dogs with pet safety under the sun.
The best way to avoid heat exhaustion or a heat stroke is to take preventative action.
* Don’t leave your dog in the car!
* Don’t leave your dog outside without shade and cool water.
* Be careful about overdoing the play, walks, and runs.
* Take cool-down breaks.
* Avoid concrete. Dark pavements get very hot.
* Use a cooling harness, cooling dog collar, or a cooling mat.
* Make sure your dog is able to pant (no muzzles).
Sometimes we get so carried away with our fun, we may not be aware that heat exhaustion is coming on. Here are some things to look out for:
* Excessive and/or heavy panting.
* Excessive drool.
* Bright red tongue.
* Lack of coordination, disorientation, and/or unable to stand.
The above symptoms are the beginning stages of heat exhaustion. If left unnoticed or disregarded, the symptoms could progress into a deadly heat stroke. Your dog could collapse and go into shock or have seizures. Get them to the veterinarian immediately.
For mild symptoms, get your dog cooled down by trying some of the following methods.
* Move inside to the a/c.
* Move your dog to the shade.
* Allow your dog to lie down in cool water (not ice water).
* Hose your dog down in cool water.
* Put your wet dog in front of a fan.
* Put cool water on his feet.
* Allow him to drink cool water; or if he won’t, put cool water on his tongue.
* Give him ice cubes to lick.
* Put ice packs on his groin area.
If the symptoms of heat exhaustion do not go away within 10 minutes or so, take them to the veterinarian. You may even want to call your veterinarian while you are trying to cool your dog down. Your vet can give you more ideas and can advise you on whether you need to bring your dog in.
Remember, prevention is the best remedy. Be aware of the signs so that you can treat your dog before the symptoms get deadly. And be aware when you see other dogs. Someone else at the park may not know to look out for heat exhaustion in their dog and may miss the signs. You could help prevent a disaster.
If you read yesterday’s post, you know my Aussie mix dog Pierson has recently had another seizure. No worries, though. He is fine. Most dogs that have problems with seizures have what is called idiopathic epilepsy. This sounds terrible, and it can be for a few. But in most cases, it is mild enough and infrequent enough that medication is not even needed. Most dogs with canine epilepsy live long healthy lives.
I’ve never had a dog with seizures before Pierson. But thanks to the internet and all my dog blog friends, I’ve known about canine epilepsy for some time. Because I had foreknowledge, I was able to remain calm when Pierson had his first episode in January. So that you can have foreknowledge too, read through the following facts:
What Can Cause a Seizure in Dogs:
* Brain injury
* Heat stroke
* Brain tumor
* Kidney or liver failure
* Low blood sugar
** All these sound scary. But the most common reason for a seizure is idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by none of the above. In fact, the cause is not known at all. Veterinarians generally label a dog with seizures as having idiopathic epilepsy when all of the above possible causes for the seizure have been eliminated.
While it may seem frustrating to not know what is causing your dog’s seizure, at least with a diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy you will know your dog wasn’t poisoned and that he doesn’t have a brain injury. It may also help to know that it is unlikely your dog feels any pain while seizing.
What To Do If Your Dog is having a Seizure:
* Move stuff out of the way so your dog doesn’t hurt themselves on something.
* Don’t put anything in your dog’s mouth.
* Try not to touch your dog while he is seizing.
* Remain calm.
* Call your veterinarian.
* Go to the vet after you have called them. Don’t talk on your phone while driving and remember to drive safe.
To read about Pierson’s first seizure, check out this article of Pierson’s Seizure on my American Dog Blog. Click the links in that article for more detailed information about canine epilepsy.