Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

pet safety tips on halloween

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy on Halloween:

1. Don't leave your pet outside. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your pet inside where it is safe. If your dog or cat is usually kept outside, bring him in a few times before the big night to get him used to being indoors. Your dog may be used to strangers, but so many little ghouls and goblins running about may be too much. Remember also that it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there will be no shortage of strangers. Cats meanwhile, especially black ones, face serious prejudice over the Halloween holiday!

2. Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, it is best to put him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.

3. Reassure your pet. The best thing you can do for your dog or cat when he is feeling unsettled by Halloween activities is to act as you normally would. By over-reassuring your pet or giving him an unusual amount of attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that because you are acting differently, there must be something to worry about.

4. Have your dog or cat get used to (human) costumes. Your pet may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your pet to scent the costumes. If your costume has a mask, keep the mask off when you are with your dog because dogs can become confused when they can't see our faces.

5. Check your pet's ID tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your pet's collar-just in case. If your cat refuses to wear a collar, make sure that there is no chance for an escape!

6. Keep candy away! Many candies-especially chocolate-are toxic to pets. The severity of the toxicity depends greatly on factors such as breed, age, size, and how much candy was ingested. Problems may range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. If you have any concerns at all, consult with a veterinarian immediately. If you want to keep your pet safe, make certain that sweets, including their wrappers, are kept well away from your pet.

7. Protect everyone from candles and pumpkins. Excited or agitated dogs can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Be sure those items are away from your dog's reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn

8. Think twice about dressing your dog or cat in a costume. While some dogs might enjoy being dressed up, many don't. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If so, fine-he'll most likely enjoy himself and the extra attention it brings. However, if he shows any resistance, don't do it. Dogs feel enough stress around Halloween without also having to endure the discomfort and peculiarity of wearing a strange costume. Cats are far more particular but some are able to get used to being dressed as long as it doesn't restrict their movement. Tips for dressing your dog!

9. Be prepared. If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, be prepared at all times. Do not let your dog approach the door of a house, and stay clear of possible gags or gangs of goblins who will gather at the door. Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you; they often think they can only help you by acting aggressively. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner's consent. Also, bring poop bags!

10. Have fun but think of your pet's safety. Finally, if you want your pet to be included in Halloween festivities, think about his safety much as you would the safety of a small child. Your pet does not understand Halloween, so he needs you to provide the guidance and safety that you always do.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pet Identification Options

Pet ID

Both dogs and cats need up to date identification. Even if your cat is a 100% indoor cat, she still needs ID - scared or excited pets can slip out the door before you can stop them!

Check with your city for any licensing or identification requirements for your pet. Here are three choices. A combination of them is best just in case one form of ID fails:
Pet ID
License tag: Usually purchased from the city, your pet is assigned a number which is tracked in a computer database. Tags are attached to your pet's collar. If your pet is found, the animal control officer can check the tag number, pull up your address, and call you to let you know they have your pet. It is important to keep this information up to date - for example, if you get a new phone number or move, make sure to update it in their system!

The disadvantages to using a tag are: the tag can fall off and get lost; it might not be readable; your pet may not always be wearing its collar; your pet may slip out of or lose its collar.

Tattoo: Tattoos are commonly etched into one of your pet's ears during spay/neuter surgery (pets must be under anesthetic for this procedure). Tattoos are a visible and somewhat permanent method of identification.

Unlike tags, tattoos are not reliant on your pet wearing its collar. However tattoos usually fade over time, making them illegible. They can be retraced ... but since pets must be under anesthetic and there is always a risk with anesthetic, retracing a tattoo should be done at the same time your pet is undergoing another procedure anyways.

A microchip is a small, electronic chip (approximately the size of a grain of rice) that is implanted just under your pet's skin. It is administered quickly and painlessly by a simple injection.

Microchips each have an identification number associated with them. Along with this ID number, your name, address, and phone number are entered into a computer database. If your pet gets lost, animal shelters or city pounds equipped with scanners will be able to scan your pet's body to quickly locate the ID number of the microchip along with the corresponding owner information. Many shelters and pounds these days are equipped to handle microchips.

IMPORTANT: When getting a microchip, make sure that you register your contact information! Many pets have a chip implanted with no corresponding information! Or when owners move/get new phone numbers they forget to update the contact information registered to the chip! Just like a license tag, it is a good practice to make sure the information is up to date annually.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October is "Adopt a Shelter Dog Month"

We would love to see this happen one day...soon!!  Every pet deserves a forever home and you can help that happen.

If you are looking to adopt or to be a foster home, these organizations are wonderful. And we know there are many others out there, so please let us know if you have others to share!


ACT V Rescue and Rehabilitation - A non profit, foster based organization dedicated to taking in and thoughtfully rehoming the most unwanted and neglected animals. They provide a healing and caring environment for their animals, where physical and mental rehabilitation is possible

Animal Humane Society of MN - As the leading animal welfare organization in the Upper Midwest, Animal Humane Society is committed to engaging and serving local communities of people and animals and providing comprehensive programs and services to compassionately serve all of the stages of an animal’s life.

Homeward Bound Rescue - A private, nonprofit organization concerned with the welfare of dogs and other animals, dedicated to the sheltering and fostering of homeless and unwanted animals.

Midwest Animal Rescue and Services™ (MARS) - A dedicated and passionate group who rescues dogs and cats that are at risk and homeless through no fault of their own. Once in our care, these companion animals are vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered. Special attention is provided for those animals that need additional time and medical care before going to a new home.

Minnesota Greyhound Rescue - A non-profit organization dedicated to finding responsible homes for Greyhounds who are no longer used by the racing industry. Our mission includes educating the public about the cruelty of Greyhound racing, and letting people know that these wonderful dogs make gentle, loving pets.

Northstar Shih Tzu Rescue (NSTR) - An all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu blend dogs. They are a no kill rescue that provides rescue and adoption services, out reach programs, and education in the community.

Pet Project Rescue - A local, non-profit organization that rescues homeless or abandoned dogs and cats and places them in volunteer foster homes until the animal is adopted by a forever family; focused on reducing the homeless-animal population by dedicating funds and volunteer efforts to provide spay/neuter services for animals in need.

Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) - A non profit organization rescuing and rehoming Golden Retrievers (serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota).

A Rotta Love Plus (ARLP) - A comprehensive and proactive all-volunteer advocacy organization that uses a “nose-to-tail” approach to address the issues faced by Rottweilers and pit bulls. ARLP's strategies include public outreach and awareness to repair the reputation of its breeds, community enrichment and education via its therapy dog program, spay/neuter initiatives, owner education and training, and foster-based dog rescue and rehoming. 

Second Hand Hounds rescues dogs from high kill shelters around the Midwest and from owners who can no longer provide care for their dogs.

Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota (SDR) - An all-volunteer group committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of dogs 20 pounds and under.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Secrets of Contented Living

Dogs may just be even smarter than we think!

And although many of us think we ‘work like a dog’, there may be some pearls of wisdom that we can actually learn from our canine friends!

Secrets of Contented Living:
  • Never pass up a chance to go for a ride
  • Always greet your loved ones enthusiastically – even if they've only been gone for 5 minutes
  • Sometimes, obedience IS the best strategy
  • Carve out your niche...and be sure to let others know when they have invaded your space
  • Find time to talk long walks and to play every day
  • Eat with gusto
  • Be a loyal, dependable BFF (Best Friend Forever)
  • Enjoy those naps
  • If you see someone who is having a bad day, stay close, nuzzle them and let them know you care
  • Don’t take an occasional scolding too personally…..you’ll forget it soon enough
  • When you are happy, show it!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thundershirts and your cat!

Thundershirts are often associated with dogs that may need calming during thunder storms.

They also have other uses for anxiety and can be really helpful for cats!

A Thundershirt provides a gentle ‘hugging’ that calms your cat with gentle, constant pressure.   This can have a dramatic calming effect for most anxious, fearful or overexcited cats…not just during a thunderstorm.   It is often compared to the effect ‘swaddling’ has on an infant and can be used for a visit to the vet, for grooming or even for a cat that is generally anxious.