Although June is drawing to a close, this week is still a great time to remind pet parents that the month highlights the importance of being prepared for an emergency, not only for you and your human family, but also for your four-footed family members. June is Pet Preparedness Month, and whether the disaster is flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, or other natural calamities, being prepared is critical.
The federal government provides a website regarding preparedness and pets. Visit https://www.ready.gov/animals to learn about making an emergency plan for you and your pet, creating a shelter for your animal, and caring for your furry friend after an emergency.
The primary tip to get you started with emergency pet preparedness is to create a bag or pack (known as an “evac-pack"). Here are some of the things you should have in that “go-bag:”
The ASPCA provides further information on evac-packs as well as gives more disaster preparedness information. Visit their website at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness to learn more.
Additionally, AKC Reunite offers opportunity for county emergency management officials to obtain trailers to help pets during a disaster. Sadly, many states do not have a disaster relief trailer yet, especially those west of the Mississippi. Last year, my community received one of these important vehicles, the first and only one in the state; read the story here: http://casperjournal.com/community/article_02aad1db-1ae5-53d5-a5b8-b0822782a248.html
As rain falls, tornadoes and hurricanes break out, and wildland fires begin to crop up, let all of us who are pet parents think of our furry children as we plan for emergency situations.
Last week a friend of mine lost her dog. The black pug escaped out of a backyard gate that hadn’t been latched correctly. Her case is not unusual. Dogs frequently escape. Some dig. Some jump. Some look for those unlatched gates. And some dogs are just prone to wander. For example, the working breeds, from hunters like retrievers to herders like heelers, these types of dogs are bred for different jobs… and they may go looking for that work.
Cats also are known to roam. Many people don’t like to keep their cat “cooped up,” recognizing a feline’s instinct for hunting. However, whether cat or dog, a loose pet can be a dead pet. Every day, dogs and cats are hit by cars. Sometimes they’re caught in traps. Maybe shot, stolen, or fall prey to predators like owls, hawks, foxes, and coyotes. Therefore, the best idea is keep your pet at home. Cats can easily become indoor pets. Between carpeted towers, windows to look out of, toys that engage their stalking and hunting instincts, and healthy food, a cat will find contentment inside her home.
However, should your pet escape the house or yard, there are ways to increase its chances of returning home. A collar with id tags is very helpful. For those concerned that a collar will hang up on a fence, or for some other reason not a collar on your pet, then please consider a microchip. It's an easy procedure done by your vet; and sometimes shelters offer microchip clinics for reduced fees. iThat way, no matter what happens to the collar (perhaps someone takes it off or the pet slips out of it), you have another way for someone to help your pet get home. Many animal shelters have a microchip scanner and will check stray animals for a chip. Both id tags and microchips need to have up-to-date information – people can’t return your pet if the address and phone number are no longer valid.
To help find your lost pet, here are a few other ideas to consider:
Before you find yourself in my friend’s situation with a lost pet, take proactive steps, such as collar and id tags, microchip, and regularly checking your gates and fences for closure and holes. Also, be vigilant when opening the doors of your home as well as the gates in your yard. And, if your pet does go missing, do everything you can, employ all types of actions, to get your furry friend back home.
For many people, pets are family, and when the holiday season rolls around, they purchase Christmas gifts for their furry companions. So, what gifts can you give your furry family members? Here are four ideas:
“Stockings hung by the chimney with care…” Treats, toys, collars, and other items can be slipped into a stocking for Fido and Fluffy just like candy is given to human children. Even wrapped gifts, like sweaters, beds, books, or large rawhide bones, can be found under Christmas trees with the pet’s name on the gift tag. I had a dog more than 20 years ago who loved tearing into his Christmas present under the tree – it was fun to watch him “open” his special gift!
A recent article in Woman's Day provided gift ideas under $50 for the pet in your life. Read the article by clicking on this link: http://www.womansday.com/life/pet-care/g946/pet-gifts/.
Most pet-lovers I know give their furry friends Christmas gifts (some also provide birthday presents and parties for their special fur-balls) -- how about you? Do you give gifts to your animals during the holiday season?
In about a week the goblins and zombies will take to the streets. It’s the spookiest of holidays, and Americans love to spend money on their kids – including their furry ones. According to the National Retail Federation, the average amount spent on Halloween is about $75, on candy, decorations, and costumes.
Halloween Express lists the top 10 pet costumes. Those include Superman, Ghostbusters, bees, spiders, and lions. The NRF estimates people spend about $350 million on pet costumes, spending $1 for every $3 spent on children’s outfits.
According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $60 billion on their furry friends last year, and will likely spend more than that in 2016. From sweaters and raincoats to sporting team t-shirts and holiday costumes, pet clothing is big business. Practical wear is just as important as fashionista statement, maybe more so. Booties to keep paws clear of snow and ice and life jackets for outings on the boat, clothing and outdoor wear
For a fun, informative article on pet fashion, visit http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/dog-fashion-moves-novelty-sweaters-practical-outfits-article-1.2048335.
For a look at some cute pets in interesting Halloween costumes, see http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/halloween-ideas/g1784/popular-pet-halloween-costumes/.
The ASPCA offers some important Halloween holiday pet safety tips. See this list at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/halloween-safety-tips.
I once dressed my cocker spaniel as a fireman for Halloween, complete with a red hat. He wasn’t terribly thrilled, but he sure looked cute!
Pets may not be very cooperative for playing dress-up. If you plan to take your dog trick-or-treating or have your cat participate in your Halloween party, make sure you “practice” prior to the big night. Also, make sure the costume properly fits your pet, and consider breed, weight, and measurements before purchasing, and ensure your pet can see, breathe, and drink normally with the outfit on.
Some people create their own pet costumes. For ideas, visit this HGTV website: http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/15-diy-pet-costumes-for-halloween-pictures.
Have you ever dressed your pet for Halloween? Do your furry friends regularly wear clothing?
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.