Labor day picnicking with family, friends and pets is the classic way to savor the last days of summer. Our pets certainly love this ritual just as much as us as it means more quality time spent in the great outdoors. Amid all the fun and activity it can be easy to lose sight of the lurking dangers to our pets. After all, who would think a potato chip bag could kill a pet? Pets love to lick the crumbs from chip bags, but in doing so their heads may get stuck in the bag, the pet then panics depleting the oxygen in the bag, and then quickly suffocates. This problem is far more common than you think. Watch this video from The Preventive Vet on pet suffocation and how you can take easy steps to prevent pet suffocation.
There are many other unexpected pet picnic dangers like corn cobs and cocoa mulch. The Animal Medical Center in New York has a brief but informative slideshow outlining Pet Picnic Perils at http://amcny.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/pet-picnic-perils/.
Last week, the Department of Transportation (DOT) expanded air carrier reporting requirements for incidents involving animals during air transport. Now 27 airlines, instead of only 14, face stricter reporting requirements effective January 1, 2015. What this means for the consumer: the consumer can make more informed decisions on air travel with pets because an airline’s safety record is more transparent.
The final rule: (1) Expands the reporting requirement to U.S. carriers that operate scheduled service with at least one aircraft with a design capacity of more than 60 seats (“covered carriers”); (2) expands the definition of “animal” to any warm- or cold-blooded animal which, at the time of transportation, is being kept as a pet in a family household in the United States and any dog or cat which, at the time of transportation, is shipped as part of a commercial shipment on a scheduled passenger flight, including shipments by trainers and breeders; (3) requires covered carriers to file a calendar-year report for December, even if the carrier did not have any reportable incidents during the calendar year; (4) requires covered carriers to provide in their December reports the total number of animals that were lost, injured, or died during air transport in the calendar year; (5) requires covered carriers to provide in their December reports the total number of animals transported in the calendar year; and (6) requires covered carriers to provide in their December reports a certification signed by an authorized carrier representative affirming that the report is true, correct, and complete. (Source: Office of the Federal Register)
Earlier this month the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released its annual Humane State Ranking Report, a comprehensive analysis of animal protection laws in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. Among the 75 animal protection laws and policies examined, the report takes a look at emergency response plans that include pets. Find out where your state stands on the inclusion of pets in emergency response plans by going to the “companion animal” category in the HSUS detailed rankings.
In the event of an emergency, do you have your own plan and does it include your pet? If your answer is “no,” below are links to two Pet Travel Experts posts to help you get started on your pet inclusive emergency plan. -(Jane Skuta)
New Pet First Aid App by American Red Cross
You can’t plan if your pet will ever have an accident but you can certainly be prepared whenever or wherever it may happen. The new Red Cross Pet First Aid app provides pet owners with resources in the event an emergency should the accident occur at home or on the road. The 99 cent app for iPhone and Android smart phone users provides:
- Convenient toggle between cat and dog content.
- Simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand.
- Prepare and protect your pet’s health with advice on administering medication, time to say goodbye, behavioral help and how to act in a disaster situation.
- Early warning sign checker for preventive care.
- Programmable veterinary contact number to be available when needed throughout the app.
- Learn first aide steps for over 25 common pet situations through a combination of text, video and images, in addition to identifying common toxic substances.
- Locate your nearest emergency pet hospital or pet-friendly hotels.
- Respond to pet emergencies with “how to” videos for the common and stressful emergency situations inclusive of size specific CPR techniques.
- Customize multiple pet profiles and set veterinary appointments.
- Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends along with a picture of your pet. -(Jane Skuta)
Vetstreet just published a handy “8 Steps to Walking Your Dog in Winter” infographic to help you protect your dog (and yourself) when walking in punishing winter conditions. Superfluous information for the seasoned dog owner? Actually no, not at all. Sometimes when you’ve done the same thing so many times it’s easy to overlook the obvious or even a better way to do it. The Vetstreet experts provide great tips like:
- put a jacket on your dog, especially puppies, senior dogs, small breeds, and short-haired dogs
- use a solid leash rather than a retractable leash should you slip and lose your grip
- use a secure, front-clip harness to prevent pulling
The infographic is a very quick read and time well invested for you and your pup! -(Jane Skuta)
The Virginia Legislature today begins debate on 300 proposed laws, among which is House Bill 212 banning drivers from holding a pet behind a wheel. Delegate Daniel W. Marshall III, who represents Virginia’s 14th district, is the bill’s patron. -(Jane Skuta)
Keep pets in mind when severe weather strikes. Bring pets indoors!
Some winter weather tips:
- Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
- Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. Keep pets indoors in possible, especially if they are sensitive to the cold weather due to age, illness or breed type.
In honor of National Pet Travel Safety Day, Pet Travel Experts blog is reprinting the article, “Travel Training for You and Your Pets.” After all, pet travel safety begins with training! -(JS)
Travel Training for You and Your Pets
by Ashley Steel, Contributing Writer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
With the winter months rapidly approaching, holiday travel season will soon be here. We all need a little time away from the monotony of an everyday routine, so as you get ready to retreat, it’s important to know how to care for your four-legged friends traveling with you. Most of us travel by car or plane, but each option brings certain drawbacks for pets.
Car travel is usually less stressful on pets because it allows Freckles and Champ to be close to you, so you can monitor their well-being and come to their aid when needed. If you choose to drive to your destination, here are a few helpful hints to make the trip more enjoyable.
Motion sickness: It’s common for pets to experience motion sickness while traveling in a car. To help avoid an upset stomach, don’t feed your pet a large meal before travel. Cracking a window to allow fresh air to circulate through your vehicle also helps. If Champ is prone to motion sickness or if Freckles’ sensitive stomach acts up again, you may want to put them in the front seat next to you. Riding up front helps because less motion is felt in the front of the vehicle.
Bathroom breaks: While Champ may snooze for the majority of the trip, it’s still important to give him frequent bathroom breaks. Traffic is unpredictable, so if it has been more than a couple of hours, stop and give your dog a chance to relieve himself and stretch his legs.
Sedatives: While sedatives may make your pet seem less stressed during car trips, these medications also have a tendency to dull the senses and lessen your pet’s ability to react to the environment, which can be dangerous in an emergency. When traveling by car or by plane, avoid giving your pet any type of sedative. If you think Champ or Freckles really needs a sedative to travel, talk to your pet’s veterinarian before your trip.
For people, flying is often quicker and easier than driving, but flying can be a more stressful experience for your pet. If you decide to travel by air, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
Cargo travel: While you’re snacking, reading, and sleeping in relative comfort up in economy seating, Champ is usually traveling in the cargo area below, subjected to temperature fluctuations and loud noises. A cat or small dog may be allowed to travel in the plane’s cabin, as long as the pet is kept in a crate and the crate fits underneath the seat. Check with specific airlines for more information about cabin travel for your pet.
Check on your pet: Make sure to tell the plane’s Captain or flight attendant that you have a pet on board. If the flight staff knows about Champ in cargo, they are better able to check on him for you, especially if an unusual situation occurs, such as an unscheduled landing, extended taxi time, or long layover.
Walk your dog: If you and Champ have a connecting flight, try to walk him before that connecting flight departs. Many airports provide dog parks just outside the terminal. A bathroom break and a short walk will help Champ relax and stay calm during the remainder of his journey.
Crate your pet: During flights, most pets are housed in pet crates provided by their owners. It’s important to prepare your pet’s crate with safety in mind. Pet crates should provide ample space for your pet to move around and should also meet the requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) and the International Air Transportation Association (IATA).
When your pet is crated, remember to include:
- A bowl of dry food;
- A bowl or other container of frozen water that will melt over the course of the trip, giving your pet constant access to cold water;
- Appropriate bedding, such as a soft towel or blanket, or shredded newspaper or wood chips if the traveling pet is a hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig; and
- A label on the outside of the crate that is clearly marked with your pet’s name and your contact information. You should include both your home contact information and your destination contact information.
Be prepared: If you plan to stay in a hotel while traveling, contact the hotel ahead of time to make sure it is pet friendly. Before your trip, research veterinary hospitals in the city or town of your destination in case of a pet emergency during the vacation. Traveling outside the continental United States with your pet requires advanced planning. For international travel, contact the appropriate country’s embassy or consulate at least 4 weeks before your trip. Different countries may require different documentation for your pet’s entry. The state of Hawaii also has entry requirements for arriving pets.
Harness tests conducted by Australia’s NRMA Insurance revealed many popular pet harnesses were not effective in restraining pets in common low-speed collisions; however, the Clickit Utility was a high performer.
“We are encouraged by NRMA Insurance’s dog safety harness testing,” says Michael Leung, a Sleepypod co-owner and product designer. “NRMA Insurance has determined through its test methods that our Clickit Utility dog safety harness can safely restrain test dogs more than 35 kilograms (77.16 pounds).
“Sleepypod independently tested Clickit Utility in dynamic, frontal crash tests at the speed of 30 miles per hour (51.33 kilometers per hour), the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213 for child safety restraints,” Leung continues. “Crash test dog ‘dummies’ ranging in weight from 20 to 75 pounds (9.07 to 34.02 kilograms) successfully passed these tests.” View videos of Sleepypod’s research and testing at http://sleepypod.com/safety.
NRMA Insurance tested a variety of dog safety harnesses using life-size and correctly weighted dog “dummies.” Testing was conducted by dropping harnesses at speeds of 35 kilometers per hour (21.48 miles per hour). In-car testing was conducted using a specially modified crash test car at speeds of 20 kilometers per hour (or 12.43 miles per hour). The tests were completed at the NRMA Insurance Research Centre (http://www.iagresearch.com.au) in Sydney, Australia.
Testing of 25 popular pet harnesses across a range of manufacturers revealed that most were not effective in restraining pets in common, low speed conditions. Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility was one of two harnesses that did not fail NRMA Insurance’s testing. Clickit Utility’s adjusting buckles and webbing stood up to both types of testing. View NRMA Insurance harness test information at http://www .iagresearch.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=226&Itemid=618.
Unlike typical pet safety harnesses which are one-point in design, Clickit Utility is the world’s first three-point dog safety harness. Similar in concept to the three-point seatbelt required in all vehicles by the U.S. government, Clickit Utility’s three points of attachment absorb force in a frontal collision by dissipating energy and keeps the dog in the car seat during impact. For more information about Clickit Utility dog safety harness, go to http://sleepypod.com/clickit.
Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility dog safety harnesses are available in the U.S. and will be offered in Australia and New Zealand in February 2014 through Sleepypod’s Australia importer at http://www.sleepypod.com.au.