Posts Tagged ‘dog dangers’

Once again: Dog + Hot Car = Dead… Get It?

June 3, 2012 20 comments

I know. We dog people say it over and over again…Dogs do not belong in hot cars. Dogs do not belong in cars on hot days. Dogs do not belong in a car while you go shopping or out to eat, especially on hot days.

Last night my friend Kristin posted this story on Facebook:

What is wrong with people? I was walking Woodstock (a dog Kristin is caring for) earlier and saw two dogs inside a car in the direct sunlight. The driver’s side window was cracked open about 2 inches, and that was it. After I walked Woodstock back home, I got in the car and drove past. They were still there, panting away. It was just down the block from (name omitted) and Cafe Ena, so I knew the owners were most likely enjoying a nice, leisurely meal while their dogs were getting possible heat exhaustion. I talked to a server at (name omitted), who was kind enough to ask at the tables who owned a white Prius. When she told me that the family told her “oh, we have the window cracked,” I asked if I could talk to them. She wasn’t comfortable having me confront her customers, so I said loudly “Well, could you tell them that I’m going to call 311?” Suddenly a young woman sprang up and came to me, saying “I’m the owner and they have a window open.” I explained that they could die inside, because they were in the sun and the window was hardly opened and cars heat up FAST (up to 150 degrees within minutes). She said “We’re volunteers and we got our dogs from a rescue in Israel.” and I said “I’m sure you love them a lot, but this is still a dangerous situation.” She got in the car, opened all of the windows, and I left. I still wasn’t satisfied, but the sun was starting to go down and I’m hopeful that they learned something.

Yes. Volunteers caring for dogs rescued from Israel. I hate to think that a dog who had been rescued and brought here all the way from Israel would end up dying in a hot car because someone thought cracking one window would be sufficient for them. How sad.

Two years ago, I had my own sort of intervention with an owner who left her elderly Beagle in her car in the hot sun while she and her daughter went grocery shopping ay Byerly’s. Luckily, the dog was fine, but I was prepared to call police if she had stayed inside much longer.

That incident, and a few stories that appeared in the news around the same time, prompted me to consult a couple of awesome veterinarians before writing this piece – DOG + HOT CAR = DEAD… Get It?

At the time, I thought adding a little bit of shock value would be just the reality check some people needed to better understand the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. Maybe it’s time to pass it around again.

I hope you will read it and pass it on.

A side note to my friend Kristin:  Kudos Kristin. As always, I am impressed with your tenacity. I am not surprised that you would go out of your way to help an animal in need or distress. You have always been an animal’s best advocate. I think that’s why so many of them have sought you out over the years. They know you care about them. You are my hero.

Lost Dogs Found. My Scary Moment.

August 24, 2011 31 comments

Have you ever had that scary moment with your dog(s)? You know the one where you (or they) do something that puts their life in jeopardy? Or something happens and you wonder if you’ve lost them forever?

Tonight, I came home from work only to discover that my garage door was wide open. At first, I was mad. “That damn door!” I thought, “It’s constantly going back up after I drive away from the house!” Usually, I wait around to make sure it is down for good before leaving, but today I must have forgotten.

As I pulled into the garage, it suddenly occurred to me that it was really windy outside today. I looked at the closed kitchen door and breathed a sigh of relief. “Whew!Still closed.” I thought. Although that door is always locked, it often blows open when there is a strong wind and the garage door is open (it only stays closed when the deadbolt is engaged). The fact that it had remained shut was truly a miracle.

Instead of stopping to gather my work bag and purse out of the car, I headed immediately inside to check on Daisy, Jasper, and my cat, Nick. I opened the door but no dogs greeted me. I called their names. Nothing. Panic started to set in as I ran from room to room calling their names, “Daisy! Jasper! Nick!” Finally, Nick made an appearance and promptly voiced his concerns about food. What did he care about missing dogs?

I ran back out into the garage and then to the door that leads to the back yard. I pulled open the door and started to call their names “Daisy! Jasp…” Oh Thank God! And there they were, tails wagging, smiles on their faces, and both of them hopping around with excitement, just like they normally act when I come home. No big deal.

You have no idea the relief I felt!

Daisy was a little skittish, but Jasper seemed fine. “How did they end up there?” I wondered. Obviously, at some point the wind HAD blown the door open and they had escaped. “Where did they go?” I wondered, “How far did they get from home?” “Who made sure they were safe and sound?” “How did they get them into the backyard?”

All these questions are still running through my mind tonight. I have only spoken with two of my neighbors so far, but neither of them had even known that my garage door had been open. Nor had they seen some kind stranger herd Daisy and Jasper into the backyard. No one seemed to know anything. I still have one more neighbor to ask, but tonight I just can’t help but feel really, really lucky and extremely grateful. SO much could have gone wrong. I could have lost them forever and never known what had happened to them.

Oh. Did I mention? Neither Daisy nor Jasper had their collars on today when I left for work. Lucky? Yes. Indeed, I am.

Blue-Green Algae: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt Your Dog

May 8, 2011 8 comments

There is one local dog park in my area that I refuse to take my dogs to even though it wins the Best Dog Park of the Twin Cities award year after year. There are numerous reasons – irresponsible dog owners, the lack of poop pick up by its patrons, too many people in a small space, etc., but by far the main reason I refuse to take my dogs there is the little pond in the middle.

Oh it looks inviting all right. The dogs really love it. They jump and play in it. They retrieve the balls their owners throw into it. They race back and forth along the shoreline, chasing one another. Some dogs even swim out to the middle to chase a stray duck or muskrat.

But in the late spring and summer, this little pond also has something else in it. Algae. Blue-green algae to be exact.

Why is that such a concern for me? Because blue-green algae can lead to some NOT SO FUN moments for both you and your dog. In fact, it can kill your dog – and make you seriously ill. Veterinarian, Lorie Huston, recently wrote about this deadly, toxic substance in her blog Pet Health Care Gazette. It’s a quick read, but full of valuable information that every dog owner should know.

Do you let your dog swim or play in a lake? Do you know what blue-green algae looks like? If not, then I recommend reading Dr. Lorie’s post. I also recommend checking out the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s information on Blue-green Algae and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on their website.

And, if you see algae in your local lake think twice about letting your dog go into it, because what you don’t know about algae can hurt (or kill) your dog.

Dogs Chewing Gum – Not A Good Mix

April 28, 2011 4 comments

Thanks to my friend Carter (@Headrick) for sharing this story with me.

You may have seen a blurb in the past about the dangers of the sugar alcohol sweetener Xylitol. It’s in gum, throat lozenges, candy, and many other food products. Did you know it can also kill your dog? Luckily, this family did know that. They had seen a post on Facebook just a few months earlier about the dangers of Xylitol. It’s a good reminder for us all to be careful what we leave within reach of our pets.

Listen to the full story here.

Dogs: If they’re not cool, neither are you

May 30, 2010 6 comments

This past week I stopped at Petsmart to get a few things before heading home from my last dog walking appointment.

As I headed towards the store, I heard a distinct, but low, howl of a dog. “Oh no.” I thought, Please do not tell me someone left their dog in the car in 80 degree temperatures!” But sure enough, there sitting in a car (as it sat in the hot sun – no shade) was an elderly Beagle looking out the window for her mom or dad. I looked in to be sure she was okay. She seemed fine at the moment, but as I entered the store I kept eying the car and the dog through the store windows. Yes. All four windows were cracked, but despite what people think, this did not mean the dog was safe.

Immediately, I informed the clerk, who said she and her co-worker had noticed the dog as well, but had done nothing. I was so frustrated. How could someone leave a dog, especially an old one, in their car on a day that temperatures were so high? There’s so much information out there about the dangers of leaving a child or a pet in a hot car, and yet people continue to repeat the same mistakes.

I was in and out in a matter of minutes, and again stopped to check on the dog. She was now lying down, but did not appear to be in distress. Yet.

I wanted to leave. To go home and play with my own dogs, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t leave this dog with the soulful eyes to sit in a hot car with no one there to help her if she started to go into distress. So I stood there. Watching. Waiting. I watched the dog. I watched the people going in and out of the grocery store, Petsmart and other stores. I even called the grocery store (next door to the Petsmart) to tell them to inform their customers that a dog was sitting in a hot car, in the sun, and to please come and get it. Nothing happened. No one came out.

I had already decided that at the 30 minute mark I would be calling the police. The dog had been in the car when I arrived and it was now 20 minutes later. How long had this dog been in the car? I kept monitoring the dog. Was she breathing abnormally? Was she showing signs of distress?

Finally, after about 25 minutes of waiting, out comes mom and daughter, the owners of this beautiful dog. I asked the woman if this was her dog and she replied “Yes”. I also asked her if she realized the danger she had put her dog in by leaving her in the car. Her response, “No. I thought it was cooler out today.” Then, I informed her that older dogs suffer from heat exhaustion much easier than younger dogs. I also told her she had been in the store for over 20 minutes (while she was grocery shopping), and she should check out the website “My Dog Is Cool” to better understand how hot a car can get in the sun… even with all four windows cracked open. I hope that this woman did just that.

My intent was not to shame her. Just from speaking with her, I could hear the concern in her voice and could see that she never intended to put her dog in harm’s way. But, that is exactly what she did.

– She thought it was a much cooler day (than the day before) – What may seem cool to us is not cool to a dog, especially in a car sitting in the sun.
– She left all four windows open for ventilation – Unfortunately, this does not guarantee you won’t kill your dog from heatstroke. This page on the My Dog Is Cool website shows how hot this lady’s car got in the time I was out there. Look at the 2nd diagram labeled “Day 2” (this is Day 2 of the experiment when all 4 windows of the car were left cracked open). With an outside temp of 84 degrees, the inside of the car was already 98 degrees, at 9:15 AM in the morning. When I came upon the Beagle it was already late afternoon and the temp was about the same. The car was likely hotter than that since it was being hit by the afternoon sun. Not a good situation for this dog.
– She was only gone for 30-40 minutes. That is long enough to kill a dog. No joke.

Look, I hate confronting people. I am uncomfortable with it in every way, but if no one says anything, then what happens to the dog? Or, the child? I know we’ve become a society of conflict-avoiders. We don’t want to piss anyone off or risk getting hit or attacked, but perhaps by getting involved and educating those around us, we can make a difference.

It’s so easy to think you’re only leaving your dog for just a few minutes, but those few minutes really can be the difference between life and death. I encourage you to get involved. Educate. Share this website with all your friends and family, especially those who have children or pets. The more we can do to educate people, the less dogs or children that will need to die from something so simple as a lack of knowledge.


Rat Poison and Dogs Do Not Mix

February 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Today, I discovered that a friend’s dog tested positive for rat poison (click here to read her story). Luckily, Isis is okay right now, but it reminds me how few people understand the dangers of rat poison when it is ingested by a pet. It is a deadly killer if left untreated. But, if caught early enough, an antidote (Vitamin K) can be administered to stop the poison in its tracks.

What scares me most about Isis’ story is what the pest control company told her owner when she called them. Their response was to tell her to watch her dog for signs of discomfort or vomiting. That would be the WRONG answer o ye experts of all things pests. The reality is that rat poison doesn’t cause vomiting in most dogs AND the most serious symptoms often do not show up until it is too late. So, in honor of Isis, who is still receiving Vitamin K to prevent the rat poison from having further affect on her system (please pray for her full recovery), I would like to share a couple of links to websites containing more information about rat poison, its effects, and what you, the pet owner, can do if you suspect your pet has ingested the poison.

How to Tell if a Dog Has Eaten Rat Poison
Dog Rat Poison Symptoms
Rat Poisoning in Cats and Dogs
Rat Poison

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