Keeping your dog safe when out for a walk

Being a responsible pet owner means keeping your furry friend safe at all times, and this includes daily walks – something we do so regularly that it can become easy to overlook the more common dangers and risks out of habit. Have a think about your walking routine and whether you’re doing everything you should to ensure your dog’s safety while they enjoy their daily exercise, like some of these simple steps:

  • Always keep your dog within view so that you’re able to keep a close eye on them; if you can’t see them then you won’t know if anything happens which may put themselves, or others, in harm’s way.
  • Sniffing is natural for dogs, but make sure it doesn’t go any further – be careful not to allow your dog to eat or drink anything unfamiliar; it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
  • Make sure anytime you’re out of the house that your dog has proper identification on, this can be in the form of an ID tag or microchip. The Control of Dogs Order (1992) states that ‘any dog in a public place should wear the name and address of the owner either inscribed on the collar or a name plate or disc attached to it’, so be a responsible owner and follow this at all times.
  • Nice day? If the sun is out and you’re planning on going for a walk then check the temperature of the pavement before you set off. In summer, they can get very hot so if it’s too hot for your hand then it will also be too hot for your dog’s paws!
  • Take some water along with you. This way, should your dog become tired or dehydrated, or something happens which means you’re out for longer than expected, then you’ll be prepared. It also prevents them from being tempted to drink other unknown water sources which can cause an upset stomach.
  • Walks through parks or the countryside can be full of all sorts of objects your dog will come across. Some are prone to eat anything, regardless of any dangers, so be aware of their actions and look out for this. Sticks and rocks can be especially dangerous, causing intestinal blockages if swallowed. If this is a persistent problem then keeping your dog on the lead or making it wear a ‘basket’ muzzle can help you to spot and prevent this behaviour, or keep them busy with other activities such as playing with an interactive toy (our Busy Buddy range is ideal for this).
  • The warmer seasons mean higher pollen levels and also fleas, both of which dogs can have allergies to. Other irritants include grass and various plants, so if you notice your dog suffering from a reaction or symptoms such as scratching, sneezing or even losing fur that seem to be heightened by time spent outdoors then it’s likely they’re suffering from an allergy. Your vet will be able to help you identify what’s causing it and advise on any suitable treatments.
  • Dogs are more likely to pick up ticks on walks in the summer too, which can carry diseases that are transmitted to dogs when they are bitten. Using repellent sprays can prevent ticks from settling on your dog and biting them.

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How to help make moving house stress-free for your dog

Moving house can be both an exciting and stressful time for everyone, and that includes your dog too. Owners often worry about potential problems once in a new place but its important not to overlook the move itself. Think about the effect the process might have on your pet, then you can take steps to make it as hassle free as possible.

Dogs in particular get very attached to the familiar and so can become concerned or unsettled if this appears to be disrupted. This means that the days leading up to and the day of the move could potentially upset your dog, who will quickly pick up on changes in smells and surroundings and become aware that something big is happening. The best way to help tackle this is to keep their daily routine as normal as possible – take breaks from packing to go for your usual walk and maintain mealtimes, you may even find you’re glad for the time out too! No doubt your normal routine involves affectionate time and cuddles with your pet, so make sure this doesn’t get missed out. Your dog will need extra attention if they’re feeling anxious and ignoring them may only heighten their anxiety. If you think you might struggle to do this, then consider putting your dog into kennels or leaving them with a friend or family member for at least the day of the move itself, to give you peace of mind that they’re being looked after.

For those times in between walks and meals, when you’re busy sorting and packing, it’s a good idea to put your dog in one room of the house that they’ll be able to remain in safely without getting out. This way you won’t have to worry about them getting in people’s way or witnessing all the upheaval. Be mindful, however, not to choose a room they aren’t used to going in as this could alert them to the fact that something may be up. Why not put one person in charge of looking after your dog during the day of the move? Then you can rest assured they’re being looked after and that someone is regularly checking on them. What’s more, it might be a good job to delegate to keep someone busy and out of your hair!

During the journey to your new home, let your dog travel with someone familiar and maintain any usual routine you have for car journeys. Taking your dog in the moving van could be distressing for them, and make the journey stressful for you both. Once you arrive at your new house, try to keep your dog in one room again to prevent them from escaping or becoming overwhelmed by the new surroundings. Set them up with their bed, and any blanket or favourite toys as familiar objects and scents will help to reassure them and provide some comfort. Then, once you have things sorted, help introduce them to the new place. It will be a lot to take in, so it’s best to stay with them while they begin to explore and get used to the new environment, and before you know it they’ll feel settled and at home in no time!

Another way of managing your dog’s anxiety during stressful events like this is to consider a DAP diffuser or a DAP collar. DAP are ‘dog appeasing pheromones’ which are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations and can be a good option for more extreme cases.

2015 PetSafe Day 1-4846

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Filed under Dogs, Holiday, Pets

Safety around the home for indoor cats

Having an indoor cat means you don’t have to worry about the dangers the outdoors can bring to your feline, and it’s fast becoming a popular choice with lots of owners. However, lots of everyday things around the home can be hazardous for curious paws, in particular young kittens, so it’s important to make sure your home is cat-friendly to help keep them free from harm.

Just as parents will remember doing for small children, it’s a good idea to think about the different rooms around your house and any areas that small creatures could find their way into, on or under. Why not get on your hands and knees to make yourself on the same level as your cat to help see objects from their point of view? Cats love to climb, so be sure to consider high places too and, if there are any unsafe ones, use other objects to prevent easy access to these and look to provide alternatives for your cat to seek out. You’ll be surprised what spaces your cats may be drawn to, so if you notice this happening then try to work out any reasons behind it. For instance, cats have been known to sneak into the space at the back of ground level fridges or curl up in the bath or sink! In the case of baths and sinks this is temperature related due to the cool surface they provide, so think about whether your cat has enough cool spaces, shade from windows and water. Likewise, open washing machines or tumble dryers are a very tempting dark, warm space that can look like the perfect feline bed! So make sure any appliances have all doors closed and locked if possible, and always be sure to do a quick check before use.

Cats are naturally drawn to vegetation, so for those restricted to indoors this can make any plants or cut flowers around the home very tempting. Lots of household plants are, however, harmful for cats if ingested and have an irritating effect on cats’ gastrointestinal system. If your cat always remains inside then it’s best to remove all potentially hazardous plants or flowers, such as lilies, to prevent any health risks.

Most households these days have a well-stocked medicines supply that includes pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, and various flu and cold remedies. These can be toxic to pets, so should always be kept in an out of reach place and not lying around on any surfaces. Cats can be crafty, and have been known to get through packaging so don’t take the risk. This goes for any creams and lotions too, which can irritate their skin and cause a reaction, so store these away and keep them for your skin only! And never let your cat lick creams and lotions off your skin once applied to yourself as these can cause toxicity for catss, especially psoriasis creams.

The kitchen is an obvious place where there can be lots of potential dangers, and somewhere that cats are often drawn to due to the association with food! Be mindful of particularly harmful common food for cats (see some of these listed here) and avoid leaving any out wherever possible. Even at times when you’re rushing, keep leftovers stored away safely in the fridge or cupboard – that way you know they’ll still be there when you get back.

There’s a reason for the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’; our feline friends can be very inquisitive creatures so make sure when they’re home alone they won’t find themselves in harm’s way by cat-proofing your house to prevent any accidents and help keep them safe.

2014 PetSafe Day 3-2063

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Filed under Cats, Pets