Protect your Pets

max-webIt’s summer again and it’s easy to forget the safety measures we all need to take to keep our pets healthy and happy all summer. Arizona’s heat is hard for our furry friends, but taking extra care will help ensure that they have a good summer. Here are a few reminders.

Don’t leave any living creature in a car in the summer heat. Temperatures in a car can quickly reach slow-cooker level, and even a five-minute trip can do permanent damage to a small body like a pet’s. Leave your pets at home when running errands.

Make sure your pet has plenty of water and shade. If you ever leave your pets outside, make sure they have shade to protect them from the sun – pets can get sunburned too – and plenty of fresh water in a non-spill bowl. If possible, don’t leave pets outside any longer than it takes them to do their business.

Don’t walk your pet on hot sidewalks. Most people don’t realize that dog paws are as sensitive to heat as our bare feet. One easy way to find out if a sidewalk is too hot is to put the back of your hand on the sidewalk in the sun. If you can’t leave it there for 10 seconds comfortably, it’s too hot for your pet. Walking your dog on those sidewalks can do irreparable damage in a short period of time.

Make sure your pet knows how to get out of your pool. It may seem like dogs know how to swim automatically, but if they fall in your pool and don’t know the way out, they can end up drowning as they tire from constant swimming. Either keep your pool gate closed when your dogs are outside or work with your pets so that they know how to get out of the pool. Of course, some dogs love to swim and you may have to plan on including them in your family’s pool activities.

Pay attention to pet safety in the summer and you, your family, and your pets can have a great time even in the heat.

Rescue dogs

6025341_MMost people know that the humane society does it’s best to save as many animals as they can, but they’re not the only ones out there helping to turn once-abandoned animals into someone’s loved pet.

Rescue groups throughout the Valley and nationwide do their part to save animals in trouble and find them good homes with their “forever families,” as they describe it.

When you’re ready to introduce a pet into your life, consider a rescue animal. Often rescue groups specialize in a certain breed, so you can track down your preference. Rescue groups also have pets of all ages, and many are totally house and obedience-trained, so you don’t have to go through that process yourself.

When you bring a rescue animal into your life, you are giving a pet another chance at a good home. These animals are often dumped because people move, don’t care, or simply no longer have the money to support a pet. They are sweet and loving and waiting for a new home. Most rescue groups work hard to make sure the adoption is a good one for both pets and owners.

Start by checking out adoption events on the website of PACC911, the Phoenix Animal Care Coalition, Uniting the Pet Rescue Committee. They bring together over 100 animal welfare organizations throughout Arizona. Visit Phoenix Animal Care Coalition, Uniting the Pet Rescue Committee’s website to find information on rescue organizations and upcoming adoption events.

By choosing a rescue dog, you’re allowing a stray to essentially win the pet lottery, and letting an animal into your life will enrich it and make every day more fun and loving for all of you.

Bringing a puppy home

13355005_MAre your children begging for a puppy? Or maybe now that you’re settled in your new Fulton home you are ready to introduce a pet into your life. Before you make your choice among the many cute and cuter options, you might want to consider these suggestions.

Determine if you are puppy-ready: Is there someone at home for a good part of the day? Are you prepared to house- and obedience-train your pet? Are you willing to introduce mess and chaos to your home? Do all adult members of your family agree on getting a puppy? Puppies are wonderful and can be an amazing addition to your life. Puppies are also a great deal of work. If you’re not sure, consider fostering a puppy for a rescue organization so you have a good understanding of the needs involved. But be prepared, a foster puppy may turn into a member of your family before you know it!

Choose your breed carefully: Size is important, but also temperament. If you want a lively dog that always wants to play, a Terrier is a great choice. On the other hand, this breed gets bored easily and can become destructive if left alone too much. Most Labradors are very gentle with small children. Every breed has different characteristics, and even mixed-breed dogs will often emulate the breed they’re most related to. Take the time to do your homework on the different breeds to get one that matches your family’s needs.

Prepare your home: Messes are a natural part of house-training your puppy. Plan on a specific area in your home for the puppy all or most of the day with tile or some kind of flooring that allows for easy clean-up, and take him or her out for frequent breaks. It’s best to have a grassy spot for an outdoor bathroom, particularly in the summer. (See the blog “Cause for Paws earlier this week for the reasons why.) It’s worth the time to pick up a book or review suggestions on the Internet and make a plan to housebreak your puppy. Remember, their main goal is to please you and once they understand what you want, they’ll gladly do it.

Any pet can make your life richer with friendship, company and unconditional love. That’s why you want to make sure you choose the right pet and create an environment to welcome your new family member.

Perfect Pet Presents

Whether you have pets yourself or friends and family have pets, the holiday season is a great time to remember to shower your furry buddies with gifts. As you contemplate the right options for the kitten or puppy in your life, here are some ideas and safety factors to consider.

Toys: If you want to give something such as a stuffed toy, stick to those made for animals. That little Santa at a discount store may be tempting, but the fabric, stuffing or trim may not be pet-friendly. You would also miss out on that all-important squeaky factor, disappointing some dogs that actively look for the squeaker when given a new toy.

Treats: A nice box or stocking filled with treats is almost always a welcome gift. Be sure to check with the owner to avoid food allergy issues. If you’re feeling adventurous, how about making homemade dog biscuits or cat crackers? There are numerous recipes available on the Internet, and people and pets appreciate something you bake yourself.

Unlike cookies for people, dogs and cats are not fussy about how their treats look. If they smell like peanut butter, bacon, or tuna and salmon for a cat, they will be thrilled with your gift.

Wrapping for pet gifts is also casual. Most pets don’t care about ribbon or tags, with the possible exception of kittens that see them as a fun extension of the gift. The best option is plain tissue paper with a minimum of tape. This enables even the least adventurous to open their own presents.

One last tip: Don’t put pet presents under the tree until just before it’s time to unwrap. Animals are not at all good about waiting and may dive into the celebration a bit early.