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Archive for the 'Pet Safety (General)' Category

April 27, 2013
Maya by Tulips

My dog Maya stole tomatoes out of our garden last year. Thank goodness she doesn’t like to eat tulips.

Last year, Maya stole a lot of cherry tomatoes from the garden. I thought it was funny. But later I found out that tomatoes can be bad for dogs. Too much tomato and it could actually be toxic. So this year, we are going to be a bit more careful about our garden. Here are some things to think about:

Cocoa Mulch
If you have dogs, don’t use cocoa mulch in your flower garden. Cocoa mulch contains a chemical in the cocoa called theobromine. This chemical is poisonous do dogs. And because the mulch smells so good, dogs want to eat it.

Before putting any pesticides in your garden, check the label to make sure it is not harmful to pets. Consider natural remedies such as non-toxic soapy water sprayed on your plants.

As with pesticides, check the label of plant fertilizers to make sure it is not harmful to pets.

Plants that can Cause Allergic Reactions
There are several plants that can make dogs itch or have other allergic reactions. Some of these plants include the purple leaf velvet plant, a male juniper bush, and daylilies.

Plants Toxic to Dogs
The ASPCA has a very comprehensive list of toxic plants. It even has tomatoes on it. There are 392 entries so far. So rather than go through one by one, know what you want to plant and search the list for that specific plant – ASPCS Plants Toxic to Dogs

It’s no secret that dogs love garbage! Make sure your dogs can’t get into the compost. Even if you are careful about what you put in the compost pile, you really don’t want your dog to eat it. Make sure your compost is out of reach of your dogs.

Fleas and Ticks
Since we have wild rabbits living under our shed, it is likely that they carry fleas and ticks too. So I make sure my dogs are protected.

Put Tools Away
Keep your tools put away so your dog can’t get to them. Not only do you not want them to step on them and cut themselves on sharp edges, but you also don’t want them to chew on them.

The easiest way to keep your dog out of your garden is to prevent him from being able to get into the garden in the first place. This year, I am having a fence put around our vegetable garden. Are you going to plant a flower or vegetable garden this year? What does your dog think about it?


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March 30, 2013
Maya & Friends @ Dog Park

My dog Maya makes lots of new friends at the dog park.

My Maya loves the snow but she is super-excited that spring is here again. Spring means more trips to the dog park! Before we went for a visit yesterday, I considered some pet safety tips that I needed to keep in mind.

No Food
I considered bringing Maya some goodies for training, but decided against it. If it turned out to be too many dogs there, I didn’t want envious dogs jumping in me and trying to search my pockets. Nor did I want to start a fight, as some dogs may try to fight over food.

No Toys
This same logic applies to toys. Some dogs are possessive of toys so it usually is not a good idea to bring toys for them to fight over. Even though Maya is not possessive, bringing toys might also mean her toys getting stolen.

Maya @ Dog Park with Frisbee

I broke my own rule when I brought a frisbee to the dog park for my dog Maya.

Vaccinations Up to Date
A lot of dogs visit the park, so there is a greater chance of spreading sicknesses. Not only is Maya vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and the parvovirus, but she also has a vaccination for bordetella. Bordetella is not as dangerous as the other, but it is more common.

No Running with Sticks
Maya loves sticks and she always finds one. And I always get so worried. I’ve heard first hand of dogs running with a stick, the stick getting caught in the ground as they run, and the other end of the stick getting jammed into the back of the dog’s throat. Luckily, the dog I heard of this happening to was okay (after hundreds of dollars at the vet), but it could have been far worse. I know our dogs love sticks, but please be careful.

The only dog park in my area is unfenced. Luckily, Maya sticks around close so I don’t worry about her too much. But anything can happen. What if she sees a wild rabbit at the dog park? Will she run after it and out of my sight? Or will her training kick in? Maya is trained well when it comes to the recall, but she’s never been tested to this extent. If you’re not sure how your dog will do, find a fenced dog park. And always work on your dog’s recall. Coming when called should be something you always work on your dog with, even if it seems as though they’ve mastered it.

Maya @ Unfenced Dog Park

The dog park my dog Maya goes to is not fenced. There’s lots of wilderness to explore.

How to Handle Dog Fights
This is a tough one. Our instinct is to step in and break it up. But there are ways to break it up without endangering yourself. Here is a great article at

Watch Your Dog
Watching your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If your dog looks uncomfortable or showing signs of getting agitated, it is your responsibility to remove your dog from the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s nice meeting other dog people, but don’t let your conversations distract you.

Keep Away from the Gate
If you’re at a fenced dog park, try to stay away from the entrances. There are two reasons for this. One, your dog will be less likely to get out and escape when other people go in and out. Two, consider the state of mind of the other dogs coming in. They are excited and tensions are high. When a dog in that state comes in and is immediately confronted by another dog, it might aggravate the situation. Keep your distance. Let other dogs come in and settle down.

Aggressive Dogs Should Stay Home
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention Pierson going to the dog park. Pierson does not do well around other dogs, so I am not taking any chances. The last thing I want is for some small dog to get hurt or some person to get bitten. You might think that bringing such a dog and keeping him on the leash will help, but it doesn’t. In fact, keeping him on a leash might make him feel even more insecure and make him more aggressive.

Pick up Poop
Dog poop is gross so pick it up. It is not just a common courtesy; it is a safety issue because poop carries bacteria and other germs.

Consider Your Small Children
If you have a small child, be aware of their safety too. Be on the lookout for big or rowdy dogs that might accidentally knock your child down. And be careful of your child being around dogs that are playing. Your child could be accidentally bitten or scratched.

Wear Outdoor Clothes
This isn’t so much as a safety issue as it is a reminder. A dog might jump on you. A dog might accidentally run into you and knock you over. A dog with muddy feet might step on your shoes. A big dog might come along and slobber all over your pants leg as he walks by. Know and expect this, and dress accordingly.

Maya had a great time at the dog park. Being a Lab, the first thing she did was find a body of water (which also happened to be a mud puddle). So we even walked a distance to the river so she could go swimming. At the area of the water, I also had to be careful of garbage. While swimming, Maya found a plastic bottle full of liquid. Unfortunately, trash is common at almost every park. So if you see it, perhaps for pet safety and for the consideration of others you can pick it up like Maya did and throw it away.

What else can you think of for dog park safety? Enjoy the spring weather and be safe!

Maya & Puddle of Mud @ Dog Park

Maya finds a big puddle of mud along one of the dog park nature trails.

Maya Goes for a Swim @ Dog Park

Maya gets to go swimming at the dog park so she can get all the mud washed off.

Maya Meets Dog Swimming @ Dog Park

Maya fetches her frisbee from the water and another dog at the park meets her at the edge.

Maya Finds Someting in the Water

What is that in the water, Maya?

Maya Finds a Bottle in the Water

Look what I found!

Maya Takes Away Garbage

Maya, that’s garbage. We have to go throw it away. Thanks for taking it out of the water.

Maya at Clinton Lake in Lawrence, KS

Maya really likes the stream at the dog park in Lawrence, Kansas. (Part of Clinton Lake)


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March 23, 2013
A Dog Gate in the Volvo XC70

The pet barrier of the Volvo XC70 can include a steel cargo compartment separator so that your dog can’t jump out when the tailgate is open.

We recently read a blog post on Fidose of about the top ten pet safe vehicles, which they got from a 2009 report from Some of the pet safe features included climate control in the back area, side curtain airbags, anchor points so you can secure your pet or pet’s carrier, custom-installed crash-tested pet barriers, and so on. (Most of these features sound great but a few made little sense in regards to ‘pet safety’, such as extra storage compartments for your pet’s things and extra cargo space in the back for large dogs.) Check out these articles and read more details about the features of the top ten pet safe vehicles. Whether or not these really are the best are really dependent on your needs. If you are looking to buy a new (or used) vehicle, consider how important the following features are:

Custom-Installed Crash Tested Pet Barrier
This is, by far, my favorite feature. Most of the pet barriers we sell are strong and designed to stay in place, but they stay in place with pressure mounts while the pet barrier in the Volvo XC70 is bolted in. Plus it has been crash tested along with the vehicle itself!

The Volvo XC70 with a Pet Barrier Installed

This dog rides in the cargo area of the Volvo XC70 where the pet barrier is bolted in for superior security.

Metal Anchor Points in the Cargo Area of an SUV
This one is very important to me since my dogs wear seat belts. After looking at a few SUVs I was really surprised that most did not have any anchor points or cargo rings. And most of those few that did were plastic, not metal. One salesman tried to tell me that the plastic cargo ring was really strong. Strong enough to hold a 70lb dog in a car accident? I think not. Without metal cargo rings, I have to find a way to connect my dogs’ seat belt tethers to the seat belt housing from the back cargo area.

Climate Control in the Back Area of the Car or SUV
This is another fantastic feature. I remember renting an SUV for a trip with our dogs once and the a/c froze us in the front while the dogs in the back were very warm. This is one reason our retail website will soon be selling pet cooling pads. It is a temporary solution until one can buy a vehicle that has decent climate control in the back area of the car or SUV.

Curtain Side Airbags
The front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs, but curtain side airbags might be helpful in a car accident.

Plenty of Room for Large Dogs or Large Dog Crates
This feature is not as important if you have small dogs. But if you have big dogs like me, space is definitely important. And if I decide to have my dogs ride in a secured pet crate rather than wear seat belts, I will need even more room. Big dogs need bigger dog crates.

Rearview Camera so You Can Make Sure You Don’t Hit Your Dog When Backing Up
This is one of the features mentioned in the top 10. However, I just don’t see the importance for pet safety. I see the benefit. I don’t want to back up and hit an animal or a person. But I live in the suburbs so neither my dogs nor my neighbor’s dogs are out running around. Safety issue in general – yes; specifically as a pet safety issue – not really.

Privacy Glass to Help Limit Extreme Temperatures in the Vehicle
This can be helpful for long road trips, especially if your vehicle doesn’t have climate control in the back. But for everyday driving, it is probably not a big deal for pet safety. For one, I don’t want anyone to think that just because the windows are tinted that you can leave the dog unattended in the car. It will still get hot in your car in warm weather no matter how dark your windows are tinted. I, personally, see tinted windows more as a deterrent against thieves than as a pet safety benefit.

Disable Passenger Side Airbags
If you have a small dog that you want to ride in the front seat with you, you want to make sure the passenger side airbags are not going to go off in a car accident if your dog is sitting there. Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Find out if the vehicle you are going to purchase is designed so that the airbags only go off if there is a certain amount of weight in the seat, or if the airbags can be disabled.

These are the major features I saw in the top ten list of pet safe vehicles. Aesthetic things you might also want to consider are the interior and whether there is enough storage space for your dog’s things. Are there any other features you can think of for pet safe vehicles?

(Above images courtesy of

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March 9, 2013
Dougie and his dog life jacket.

Our friend Dougie always wears a dog life jacket while on the boat.

I’m starting a new recurring blog posting event called Pet Safety Saturday! On most Saturdays, I will talk about dog car safety. But sometimes I will throw in some other pet safety issues. Like today, I am going to discuss the benefits of dog life jackets.

With spring on the horizon, you may be thinking of taking your dog to the lake for a swim or even boating. I think a life jacket for dogs would be great for either pet activity.

Maya and her dog life jacket.

Maya sometimes wears a dog life jacket while out swimming.

While Swimming
My Labrador Maya is a great swimmer. If I let her, she’d swim for hours and hours no matter how tired she got. I am so afraid that she’d wear herself out and drown that sometimes I have her wear a life jacket for dogs. There are other concerns too. Sometimes Maya will overlook the ball I threw and keep swimming. She could accidentally swim too far. Or she could get caught in a river (or ocean) undercurrent and be swept away. So before you take your dog swimming, consider these dangers and have your pets wear dog life jackets.

* Danger of drowning as a result of fatigue.
* Danger of swimming out too far.
* Danger of being swept away by undercurrents.

While Boating
Every person in the boat wears a life jacket, why not the dog? The same reasons a person should wear one in the boat applies for a dog too. Your boat could capsize and you could be left stranded in the middle of a huge body of water or knocked unconscious. You could fall off the boat. If you’re in the water wearing a colorful life jacket, it will be easier for someone to spot you. All of these things apply to your pet while wearing a colorful life jacket for dogs.

* Danger of the boat capsizing.
* Danger of being knocked unconscious after the boat is capsized.
* Danger of falling off the boat.
* Easier to spot your dog in the water if he falls out or is thrown out of the boat.

Be safe and have fun this spring! And come visit us next week on Pet Safety Saturday for another dog safety issue. 🙂

(Above photo of Dougie wearing a life jacket for dogs is courtesy of our friend Joanne in the UK.)

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November 10, 2012

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Today is Train Humane Day!

Author: MayaAndPierson
September 27, 2012

Use positive reinforcement to train your dog instead of harsh dominance methods, shock collars, pinch collars, etc. There are more benefits to humane training than there are to the other methods. Check out today’s blog post on our American Dog Blog about the cons of shock collars by clicking HERE.

For other positive training methods, check out these articles as well:

How to Get Your Dog Used to a Dog Car Harness

Fun Dog Game – Teach Your Dog to Find It

Gentle Leadership Exercises for a Good Dog

Dog Training – What Motivates Your Dog to Learn

Fundamental Dog Training Tips – Lots of TPPC

Clicker Training Your Dog – Is it For You?

Dog Training Tip – The First Command to Teach Your New Dog

How to Keep Your Dog from Chewing

How to Keep Your Dog from Digging

How to Teach Your Dog Not to Jump on You or Others

Teaching Your Dog Not to Beg While You are Eating

Learn more about Train Humane Day by clicking HERE.

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How Hot is the Car for Your Dog?

Author: MayaAndPierson
July 7, 2012

I saw this great chart on Facebook and had to share it. I think it came from a similar chart found on PetSavers in New Jersey. Based on our experience with getting into our cars on a relatively warm day, we know it is much hotter inside than outside. And this chart shows us how much hotter it gets and in such a short time. Knowing this, do you really want to leave your dog alone in the car for even five minutes?

Besides the facts in the chart above, a study by Stanford University shows that even on a day that is only 72 degrees, the inside of a car get as hot as 116 degrees in an hour. Check out their article HERE. (Their numbers in their article is written in Celsius so you will have to convert them to Fahrenheit.)

Another great site for information is called My Dog is Cool. Check it out HERE. This website is dedicated to educating the public about the danger of leaving dogs in cars.

What to do about it
First of all, don’t ever leave your dog alone in the car. Even on cool days, it can get hot in your car. And don’t forget about people being able to steal your dog. Plus, it can also be considered animal cruelty. If you see someone else who has left their dog in the car call the police or animal control. If you don’t have their number on hand, don’t hesitate to call 911. You can also get some really cool fliers that you can put in people’s car. The My Dog is Cool has a great flier that can be easily downloaded. It says, “A hot oven or a hot car, it’s the same thing.” One woman went so far as to break a car window to get the dog out. Her story can be read HERE. This is illegal and thankfully the other party did not press charges.

Another thing you can do is go inside the store where you believe the owner went into and ask the manager to make an announcement over the intercom. Some store managers won’t but it might be worth a try. And it might be worth mentioning that it is against the law to leave an animal alone in the car.

I know you love your dog. But love him by leaving him at home if you plan on going somewhere he can’t go. Please don’t leave him in the car.

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July 4, 2012

We’re taking our dogs on a 4th of July picnic but they are going back home before we watch the fireworks. Maya and Pierson are celebrating the picnic already!

Pierson says, "No, I do not think this is cute at all!"


Maya says, "I agree, Little Brother. If I wasn't getting a treat for this, I would greatly protest."

Happy 4th of July!!!

Enjoy more pet 4th of July photos from the Wordless Wednesday blog hop:

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Thanksgiving Food Safety for Your Dog

Author: MayaAndPierson
November 23, 2011


A couple years ago we write an article called “No Turkey Bones About It – Food Harmful to Dogs“. It is a good article to read every year around the holidays. Click the title above or the photo of the dog with the turkey and you will be directed to the article written on this blog in November 2009.

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Pet Safety on Labor Day

Author: MayaAndPierson
September 4, 2011


It is the last holiday of the summer so let’s go enjoy it!  Many of us will be hanging out at the lake this Labor Day weekend.  If you’re like me, you are going to take your dog.  Here are a few important pet safety tips to remember:

* When driving out to the lake, be sure everyone including your pet is safely restrained in the vehicle.  Your dog should use a pet safety device such as dog car harness, pet car seat, or pet crate.
* Be sure everyone wears sunscreen.  Consider sunscreen for your dog too – especially if your dog has short fur.
* Pet safety means keeping your dog on a leash unless he is in an off-leash area for dogs.  There are many reasons for keeping your pet on a leash.  You don’t want him wandering off and getting lost.  With so many people about, you do not want your dog getting into trouble with people or other dogs.  And you don’t want your dog wandering around picking up scraps of food or garbage.
* Bring plenty of water.  Don’t forget your dog’s water bowl so he can drink too.  Just because you are at the lake doesn’t mean your dog should be allowed to drink from it.
* Be aware of the dangers of heat stroke.  Watch for signs and if any person or pet exhibits signs, get them somewhere cool as soon as possible.  Signs of heat exhaustion include vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, and increased heart rate.  For dogs symptoms also include excessive panting, pale gums, and/or a bright red tongue.
* Stay away from pond scum.  As per our pet safety article on our American Dog Blog, blue-green algae can be harmful for both you and your pets.
* If you are going on a boat, be sure everyone including your pet wears a life jacket.  Boating accidents are common and should your dog fall or get tossed overboard, you want him to be able to keep afloat until help comes.

If there are any other pet safety issues you can think of, let us know.  And have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!!!

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