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Posts Tagged ‘pet safety’

The Top 15 Blog Posts of 2015

December 30, 2015 11 comments

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It’s become an annual tradition for me to end the year by sharing those blog posts I thought were most touching, interesting, or emotionally powerful throughout the past year. This year I have decided not to limit my selection to just blog posts. Among those included in my list are articles, Craigslist postings and other pieces.

The hardest part was whittling down my list. You may not have the same ones on your list, but I hope you will find them worth reading and sharing.

Do you have one that you want to share? Feel free to share!

  1. Heartfelt Open Letter To Dog Owner On Craigslist Moved Me To Tears – This powerful post is actually a posting on Craigslist. It is an adopted dog owner’s letter to the original owner of a stray dog, named Laurel, who showed up outside an animal shelter one day.

  2. Tails: Let’s focus on getting them back home, not adopted. – This piece is a particularly important one to me. Too many lost dogs are ending up in our shelters as strays. We need to do a better job trying to reunite them with their owners.

  3. Rescue Decisions: The Dog, or the Community? – Sara Reusche is an amazing dog trainer and a great writer. Her blogs posts are relevant, thought-provoking and well written. This one is no different. Borderline dogs are something we should all be talking about.

  4. 10 Things To Do If Your Adult Dog Bites – This post was written by my friend, Nancy Freedman-Smith, who is a dog trainer and a wonderful writer. This time of year is particularly hard for dog trainers because it is when people start calling them asking for help after their dog bit a child or adult or another dog over the holidays. This piece may help them as the grapple with what most likely was a preventable situation.

  5. 4 Things Dog Trainers DON’T Do – This is a great piece by Laurie Luck. I first shared this on my Facebook page back in June of this year, but it is worth sharing again. I can vouch for the 4 things on her list.

  6. I Rejected The Perfect Pet Adoption Family For The Wrong Reasons – This post was penned by Julie LeRoy in place of Cuda the Pit Bull, who passed away earlier this year. I thought it had a powerful message for those of us in animal rescue. it certainly gave me food for thought.

  7. You Can Survive Burnout: How To Regroup When Your Year Really Sucked – This post came in under the wire (it was just written this week), but it was so impactful that it made me want to share it far and wide.  The author is Dr. Jessica Vogelsang DVM. who is a veterinarian I really respect, not only for her brevity and wisdom, but also for her honesty and reflection. She always leaves me thinking.

  8. The Biggest Mistake Pet Owners Make at the End – This is another post penned by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang DVM. I shared this on my Facebook page earlier this year and was disappointed to see that many people had not only NOT read it, but left comments that clearly showed they hadn’t read it. We need to stop telling people that our pets will tell us when it is time, because more often than not, they won’t. Please read and share. Another great post is by Jessica Dolce, How to Talk to Your Gynecologist About Euthanasia. Definitely worth the read.

  9. What’s Important to You? – I don’t know about you, but it seems like the pet owner world has become more and more like the mommy wars over the years. What I mean is that just like the competitive mommy world where judgement about how you raise your children is at an all time high, the same is seems to be the case in the dog world. Trainer and writer, Sara Reusche, shares her perspective. I like it.

  10. Training “Calm?” – I love this piece of Denise Fenzi. Training “calm” is not something that is often discussed amongst dog owners, but maybe it should. It could go a long way towards helping the dog/human bond.

  11. Pet Safety: How Safe Are Pet Products? – Blogger Mary Haight’s, piece on pet safety was an eye-opener for me. If you think your pet is safe in a crate, in a car seat or with the toys that you buy, you may want to thin again. Very little safety testing is done on those items that you think will keep your pet safe. If you really want to learn more about the dangers that lie in the pet product industry, listen to her podcast interview with Linsey Wolko, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Center For Pet Safety.

  12. Comforting an Old Dog – A powerful piece by Shirley Zindler highlights the important role Animal Control Officers have with the animals they capture. Sometimes just being there is the most important part.

  13. Screw Finding Your Passion –  This second to last one has nothing to do with dogs, but has a powerful message nonetheless. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

  14. That thing others are shaming you for? Do it anyway. – Crystal Paine’s post on being your authentic self is one worth reading. If you have ever felt like hiding your true self or worried about criticisms by others about how you look or how you speak or write, then this piece is worth reading.

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Lost Dogs – Is your dog at risk?

January 4, 2015 22 comments

IMG_6838I’m often brought to tears by stories of lost dogs that have been found.

Just this past weekend, a ten-year-old dog was found after being lost and out on her own for several days in frigid temps. As I read her owner’s teary and thankful response to all those who helped her get her dog back, I wept.

I remember the powerful waves of emotion that swept over me when I finally had Cupcake back in my arms again – relief, gratitude, and extreme happiness. Even though it has been three years since Cupcake went missing, I have never forgotten those twelve days she was gone. I have only to read another lost dog story or see another missing dog posting, to feel all the fear, worry and sadness all over again.

Losing a dog (no matter how long) changes you. It makes you more cautious, and more attentive. It also makes you less likely to take risks with their safety.

IMG_6569I used to be so ignorant about all the risks I took with my dogs. Jasper was allowed off-leash all of the time. Both Daisy and Jasper were allowed to hop up into the car (and out) while out in the driveway. Neither were leashed in those moments. My first Sheltie went with me to watch the our local fireworks at the park near our house (my mother tells me now that Alicia was very nervous and scared of the sounds back then). My last dog, Aspen, was a runner, but I often forgot to keep her away from the front door when people came for a visit. I can’t count how many times I chased her down the street with a bag of pepperoni in my hands.

My guess is that every dog owner engages in some type of risky behavior where their pets are concerned. We are all one mistake away from losing our best friends.

So how much risk do you take with your dog? Do you engage in risky behavior in regards to your pets’ safety?

Here are some frequent ways in which owners have lost their pets. Check all that apply.

If you selected 10 or more, you have a extremely high risk for losing your dog. Take action to minimize your risks as soon as possible (today would not be soon enough). Also, study up on the Lost Dog Action Plan from Lost Dogs-MN so you know what to do when your dog does go missing, because chances are high that they will. (In addition, if you selected “I let my dog outside to go to the bathroom without making sure he/she is on a tether or in a fenced yard.” , count yourself in the “extremely high risk” category  no matter how many others you selected. This is the number one explanation given when a pet goes missing. The common response is “they have always come back before”.)

If you selected 5 or more, you are at a higher risk for losing your dog. Try to find ways you can reduce the number of items on the list as soon as you possibly can. Ensuring you have a high recall with your dog is highly recommended. I would also recommend you read the the Lost Dog Action Plan from Lost Dogs-MN so you know what to do if your dog does go missing.

If you selected 2 or more, you are at a medium risk level for losing your dog. Consider what items on the list you can change and take action now to minimize the risk.

If you selected 1 or did not select any of the items on the list, consider yourself a dog owner who knows how to keep their dog safe. Your dogs are in the lowest risk group for being lost. This does not mean he/she will not get lost through some weird set of circumstances, but you have done all you can to reduce the chances of it happening. Congratulations!

The hidden dangers of entering a dog park

January 6, 2014 23 comments

DSC05342If there is one thing that drives me nuts at the dog park it’s dogs mobbing the front gate, the gate through which dogs enter and exit. There is so much energy at that front gate. The dog coming in is excited and amped up and the ones inside are excited and amped up and become even more so when they see another dog coming in who is in the same state.

When there is a mob by the front gate, I wait for the other dogs to leave. If they don’t, I ask their owners to come and get them. If that doesn’t happen, I leave and go to another gate or leave altogether. I won’t put my dogs at risk for an attack.

Last week I witnessed two dogs start to fight after an excited setter entered the park and several dogs mobbed the gate. The owner really should have waited until the dogs had moved away or until the owners moved their dogs away physically, but she didn’t. She probably wasn’t aware of the dangers in not waiting. As was expected, the excited setter was attacked by one of the dogs on the inside of the gate as soon he entered. And as the two wrangled a bit, several other dogs decided to join in. Fortunately for the dogs, the owners were close enough to intervene and did so quickly, but for a second there I thought it was going to devolve into something more.

Entering a dog park can be dangerous if an owner is not aware and does not plan ahead on what they will do if there is a mob at the gate. Given my recent experience, I thought it might be good to share another video from Great Dog Productions showing just such a situation at a dog park. I am also including the slow motion version of the same video so you can see how quickly things can turn ugly. Watch as some of the other dogs join in after a black and white dog jumps the doodle that is entering the park.

Here is the slow motion version of the same video. Notice how the Lab is pushed away from the gate, but quickly comes back when the black and white dog goes after the doodle. Also notice the little Westie who started to join in. Watch the body language of the doodle. How is he feeling right about now? Scared? Nervous? You bet.

Four-pawed trick-or-treaters and Halloween pet safety

October 31, 2013 6 comments

IMG_9700It’s all Hallows Eve and the neighborhood kiddies are all excited to put on their costumes and make their annual trek through town to fill their plastic pumpkins with stashes of candy.

Jasper and Cupcake, my four-pawed trick-or-treaters, decided they wanted to have a little Halloween fun too. So while I was away, they went shopping and came home with some costumes of their own.

Even though they can’t go out for treats (chocolate is bad for dogs you know) they decided today would be a good day to spread the message about pet safety.

So many pets get lost on Halloween because they get frightened by the scary costumes and strangers at the door. With doors opening and closing to hand out treats, the chances that a dog will bolt out the door and get lost increase.

Jasper and Cupcake, along with their friends Enya, Maxwell and Riley, ask that you please keep your pets safe by following these simple rules from Lost Shelties MN:

PLEASE…Know where your best friend is before you open any doors. Use a baby gate to block their any access to the door that will be used to pass out candy or put them in their kennels away from all the commotion.

Put locks on your yard gates. The goblins don’t always go up and down the street. Place a lock on your gates to avoid anyone from leaving them open. Then when the porch light goes off and you’re putting things away, you let your best friend out you won’t have to worry was a gate opened.

IMG_9682Have the candy dish up and out of your best friends reach. They can be very determined. Chocolate is a big no-no for them. Be careful of the wrappers too.

If you have a lost dog, I like this tip from Lost Cats MNMake up 1/2 sheet flyers, post cards or business cards for your Lost Cat and hand them out to all the Trick or Treaters that come by! Most Lost Cats do not wander very far and are usually found within a few blocks of home, so this is another good way to get the word out to your neighborhood again. Also, always keep a sign up in your yard so that anyone going by will see it and if they do notice your cat they will know that it is LOST and it’s not just out roaming around. (Insert “dog” for “cat”

Please…Please…Please – know where they are when the door is opening. So many Shelties bolt out an opening door. Don’t have the next one be yours. It really is preventable.

When you’re out with your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids & friends please think of all the missing Shelties and keep an eye out for them if you are in their areas. These beautiful Shelties are still missing from 2013. If you click on the link to missing Shelties it will show you the ones still missing from previous years also.

Other links to check out. Please look at all of them. Each containing some VERY good information.

Jasper and Cupcake wish you all a safe and happy Halloween!

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The Ninja and the Fairy

The Ninja and the Fairy

Do you know which states have laws against leaving a dog in a hot car?

April 21, 2013 35 comments

oven_new1Even though it may not feel like it here in Minnesota, spring is coming, and with it comes warmer temperatures. Many of us already know that leaving a dog in a hot car is dangerous. We have all seen the stories that usually accompany this time a year… “Two dogs dead after being left in hot car“, “Police sergeant rescues dog locked in hot car“, “Police Are Cracking Down on Dumb Dog Owners in Heatwave.”

But did you know that in several states it is illegal to leave your dog in a car?  There are 14 states – Arizona, California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia, that currently have statutes “that specifically prohibit leaving an animal in confined vehicle“.

The penalties range from monetary fines to being charged with a misdemeanor, and in some states, it even includes imprisonment. The Animal Legal and Historical Center website contains a list of the states with laws and what penalties apply. They even lay out what is allowed/not allowed in those states when it comes to rescuing an animal left in a car.

For instance, in Minnesota, the statute states:

“A peace officer, a humane agent, a dog warden, or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle and remove a dog or cat which has been left in the vehicle in violation.

 A person removing a dog or a cat under this subdivision shall use reasonable means to contact the owner.

 If the person is unable to contact the owner, the person may take the dog or cat to an animal shelter.”

Don’t see your state on the list? That doesn’t mean there are no laws in your state. Many local city and county governments have ordinances covering this issue. Owners may want to know this information, not only for their own benefit, but also for those situations in which they see another owner’s dog in distress and don’t know what to do. You can read more on this issue here.

Just as a reminder on how hot a car can get, I am sharing this blog post by my friend by Julie at The Daily Dog Blog. She has a cool infographic that you can print out and share with your friends. I’m thinking I just may make a few copies and keep them in my car so I can hand them out when I see a dog left in a car.

Frontline for Pets – Which is the truth and which is the lie?

August 26, 2011 28 comments

Okay. So I admit it. I have purchased Frontline from a big box store. It’s cheaper than buying it from my vet and it’s more convenient (I can buy it while grocery shopping). Same box. Same name. What’s the harm?

What I didn’t know was how much danger I was putting my dogs in by purchasing it from someplace other than my vet. Or was I?

When I first saw this story on Truth About Pet Food I was afraid. The opening sentence read “A veterinarian has evidence of counterfeit Frontline flea treatment believed to be responsible for a pets death.” The story goes on to report on that there may have been as many as 17 dog deaths related to this counterfeit Frontline. Scary? Yes! “I could have killed my dogs!” I thought. I immediately posted the story on my Facebook fan page and then shared it on my personal page.

But then, as I was working on this blog post, I came across a post following up on the original story. It expanded upon the original story about counterfeit Frontline by saying that the real issue was regarding “…a Frontline product that is supposed to be sold outside the US (is) being sold inside the US.” In other words, a Frontline product manufactured to be sold in the UK could “be re-packaged and sold to a US petsumer. Merial told me there have been no reports – to their knowledge – of the flea and tick treatment itself being counterfeit; only the packaging.” Since dosage instructions and weight guidelines are measured differently in the United States than in the United Kingdom (i.e., oz./lbs vs. mg/kg), if a pet were to receive the wrong dosage this could be a problem. The EPA has already reported that many adverse reactions to flea and tick medications are due to improper use.

Susan, from Truth About Pet Food, goes on to say “Merial told me Frontline is ‘only sold to practicing veterinarians’. So I asked…’If Frontline is only sold to practicing veterinarians, then how is the product available on so many online sites?’ They responded ‘we don’t have a direct answer on this, we don’t really know how these sites receive the product’. (My thought was – you have to sell it to them; that’s how.)” So why the company line saying consumers should “only buy it from a vet?”

I was further confused when I saw a comment on this post referencing a piece on VIN News Service. (VIN is a news media arm of the Veterinary Information Network, the largest online information service devoted to veterinary medicine.)

Suddenly, the truth got even murkier. It shared stories of veterinarians being solicited by unknown individuals, asking them to sell their stocks of Frontline to them or to order more than they normally order, so they could sell the product to these “vendors’ for a profit. It also included assertions that drug companies knowingly or “unknowingly” divert their stocks of pet meds to other vendors despite having “long-standing policies of selling their products only through licensed veterinarians, even for medications that don’t require a prescription.”

Since the “path of distribution is a tightly held secret” among the big box stores and online vendors, like 1-800-PetMeds, you have to wonder which is the truth and which is the lie? If Frontline is really only safest if purchased from a vet why are pharmaceutical companies failing to control distribution of their product? Or, at the very least, why aren’t they ensuring that anyone who sells their product, other than veterinarians, is stopped immediately?

As a dog owner it is really frustrating to know what to do to keep my pets safe. Do I only purchase from a veterinarian? Or, is it safe to buy online or from a big box store? If pharmaceutical companies really are selling this stuff through other channels (on the gray market) why don’t they just come clean and admit it?

Pet food companies used to be really great at hiding the truth too… until 2007 when pets started dying across the country. Owners suddenly became much more educated about their pet’s food and a LOT more cautious about which food they fed their beloved pets. Organic, corn-free, wheat-free, all natural – these are the labels we see now, and for those pet food companies who choose to use these labels to try and deceive the public about their ingredients or processing operations, lawsuits are becoming the norm.

So what’s it going to take for pharmaceutical companies to come clean too? Another incident like 2007? God help us and our pets. I certainly hope not.


Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Lap Dog? Not in MY car!

November 2, 2010 3 comments

As a pet sitter and pet owner, I always cringe when I see someone driving with their pet in their lap. Not only is it dangerous for those of us driving on the road with these owners, but it is dangerous for the owners and their pets.

When I first started my business, I would run across the occasional boarding client who insisted on riding in my lap. It always scared me because I happen to know that driving with a pet on my lap is not something I can do.

Now, all my clients are secured in my vehicle to ensure my safety… and theirs.

There is a new study out that backs up the dangers of allowing your pet to ride on your lap. Think “air bag” and you’ve got the gist of it. Here is a summary.

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