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Hurricane Katrina Pet Remembrance Day – 8/29

August 28, 2007

In an effort to remember all the pets that were left behind after Hurricane Katrina made landfall two years ago, I would like to share several disaster readiness tips for pet parents that I found beneficial to follow. I hope these assist you when setting a plan for coping with the effects of disasters of any kind to remember to provide for your beloved pets’ health and safety needs, in addition to any you have in place for your human family members.

Emergency and Disaster Animal Preparedness

As a conscientious animal owner you probably consider your pets as members of the family. In the event that a natural disaster hits your neck of the woods, are you prepared to take your pets with you and provide for all their needs during the evacuation time? If not, here are some guidelines:

Food and Water: Stock up on dry or canned food, being sure to include a mechanical can opener.  When putting down a water supply, remember to have plenty available or your pet as well as a drinking bowl.  A good rule is to pack a 5-7 day supply.

Medications: Be certain to have a sufficient supply on hand. Keep a photocopy of essential or life-supporting pet prescriptions in your emergency kit.

Identification: Microchipping your dog or cat will increase your chances of reuniting in case of separation during an emergency. By embedding a microchip with your contact information under your pet’s skin, a veterinarian or animal facility, with a simple scan, will be able to identify an animal’s owners.  In some evacuation cases, a pet may have to go to a separate shelter or veterinary kennel since human shelters frequently prohibit animals for health and space reasons. If you reside in an area where evacuations are likely, be informed about pet shelter options before disaster strikes. In addition to microchipping, if you and your animals must be separated, be certain you also have your pets securely tagged and keep photocopies of the tags (and rabies tags as well) in your emergency kit. Also, have recent photos of your pets to make identifications easy and swift.

Transporting: If you must evacuate, make every effort to bring your pet.  To ensure safe evacuation for a pet who may be stressed or agitated by the situation, use tagged leashes, collars and/or harnesses and keep the animal close by family members for both comfort and security. Smaller pets, especially felines, are best transported in well-ventilated wire crates or carriers.

Sanitation, First Aid: Pads, paper towels, rags, a litter supply, and pet-safe disinfectant will come in handy.  Add some over-sized bandages and gauze strips to your family first aid kit if you have a larger animal. 

Comfort Zone: A favorite blanket or chew toy can be just the thing to provide a sense of security for an animal under stress. In such times, take a moment to reassure your best friend that you are there, protecting him or her.

Credit: North Shore Animal League

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So Cal Pet Adoption Festival

March 16, 2007

Best Friends Adoption Festival - March '07

Yay! It’s that time again! Best Friends Animal Society is hosting a spring Super Pet Adoption Festival on Sunday, March 18th (that’s this Sunday, folks!) from 11am to 4pm at Johnny Carson Park in Burbank. Admission is free – you can just park in the nearby lot and walk right in. Of course, I will be there, doing what I love best – volunteering for the animals.

Bring the whole family to the largest pet adoption in California where over 1,000 dogs, cats, bunnies, puppies and kittens will be available for adoption. Check out all the fun events and attractions:

  • Celebrity Guests
  • All Day Dog Agility Shows
  • Pet Psychics
  • Food & Refreshments
  • Children’s Activities
  • Pet Products

Here’s all the info again:

When: Sunday, March 18th, 11am – 4pm
Where: Johnny Carson Park in Burbank
400 Bob Hope Dr., Burbank, CA 90045
Map/Directions: Johnny Carson Park

For more information, please call: 310-202-4336 or visit the Best Friends Network – Los Angeles site. Be there!

PS – Thanks for the reminder to post the info, Mystery Guest! 🙂

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Today is Spay Day!

February 27, 2007

Thousands of kittens and puppies are born every hour in the United States. While these baby animals are adorable, the fate of most of them is tragic. Spaying or neutering our pets and feral cats is the most effective way to reduce the vast numbers of animals who are born only to die prematurely and without a family who loves them.

This national campaign to promotes spaying/neutering as a simple, humane and effective way to end the tragedy of euthanizing homeless pets. You can learn more about Spay Day by visiting the HSUS site.

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Be Aware of Potential Holiday Pet Hazards

December 20, 2006

Just a couple of things to remember for protecting your pets during the holiday season!

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Holiday decorations and seasonal household items can create new hazards for your pet. Extra time spent indoors, lack of activity and shiny holiday decorations can often lead to mischief during the winter months. Many everyday products found around your home can pose a real danger to curious cats or mischievous dogs.

Below you will find some helpful tips and reminders to keep your pet safe this winter season.

Christmas Trees – Christmas trees bring holiday cheer but also potential hazards for pets. Water for fresh trees may contain fertilizer and bacteria that if ingested can upset a pet’s stomach. Make sure your tree is well-secured. A climbing cat or a dog with a happy tail can cause disaster for a tree that is not anchored to the wall.

Electrical Cords – A teething puppy will chew on electrical cords and can be shocked or electrocuted. Secure electrical cords, Christmas lights and extension cords and tuck the extra cord behind furniture.

Ribbons and Tinsel – Cats and kittens love to play with string objects, therefore ribbons and tinsel can be very dangerous, even fatal. Tinsel is very enticing to cats because of its sparkling reflection and string- like attributes. Unfortunately, it can get stuck on your cat’s tongue and become ingested. This causes excruciating intestinal agony for your cat and life-threatening gastrointestinal blockages.

Batteries– Alkaline batteries are used in a wide variety of gadgets and contain corrosives, which if chewed or punctured, can result in the development of oral and gastrointestinal (GI) ulcers, or even perforation of the GI tract. Due to their corrosive nature, pet owners should never attempt to induce vomiting if their pet is suspected of having chewed and ingested an alkaline battery. These batteries also contain zinc, and while zinc poisoning is uncommon from battery ingestions, the possibility still exists if enough zinc leaks from the battery casing.

Mistletoe – There is a downside to this fun plant. Dogs that manage to eat mistletoe berries experience vomiting and abdominal pain. If ingested in large enough quantities, mistletoe berries have the potential to produce gastrointestinal irritation, excessive thirst and urination, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, seizures, coma and even death.

Ice Melt – Ice melt salt and other chemicals used to melt ice can irritate your dog’s paws. They are also toxic if ingested. If such chemicals are used where you walk, wash your dog’s paws when you get home, or have him wear booties. Use a nontoxic ice melt on your own walks and driveway.

Antifreeze – Antifreeze is an odorless fluid with a sweet taste that dogs in particular have a fondness for. Poisoning is swift; around a tablespoon is deadly to an average-sized dog, and the mortality rate is about 88 percent. The dog’s liver actually turns against itself breaking down th e antifreeze and changing it into oxalic acid. A dog cannot metabolize this substance, and this is what leads to health problems and often death. Always mop up any spills the instant they happen and be aware of puddles near parked cars. Sprinkling the area with an absorbent material such as sand, cat litter, wood shavings or sawdust will prevent the dog from licking the spot where the spill or leak occurred.

Chocolate – Think twice before leaving a bowl of chocolates on the table for guests since it is poisonous to many animals. The less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it could be due to the caffeine and theobromine it contains. Chocolate poisoning may cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Mothballs – If you pack your stockings and decorations away with mothballs, be sure to keep your pets out of the area when you are unpa cking. Nap hthalene found in mothballs can cause muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, liver, kidney and blood cell damage, swelling of the brain tissues, seizures, coma and death if ingested – and respiratory tract damage, if inhaled. Just one mothball can potentially produce significant illness.

Bones – You may think you are giving your dog a treat, but the reality is that leftover meat bones are dangerous. Meat bones are easily chewed into sharp splinters that can lodge in the GI tract and may cause esophageal or intestinal lacerations, or partial or complete obstructions. Never induce vomiting if your pet has swallowed any bone that can splinter because it may cause an esophageal laceration. Some substances such as poinsettia plants, kitty litter, glue traps and glow jewelry are considered non-toxic for dogs and cats but can still cause an upset stomach if ingested.

Credit: North Shore Animal League America

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