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Monday, October 28th, 2013, 12:46 PM | Updated: 10/28/2013, 12:50:43 PM | (Anonymous) [1 Comments]

In my last blog post, I offered some pet safety tips with regard to human Halloween treats and holiday decorations.  Let"s consider some other scary thoughts.

Haunted Houses
Halloween night is full of all kinds of sights and sounds, everything from doorbells ringing with trick-or-treaters shouting out to lights flashing.   Follow your pet intuition closely.  If your pet is timid or easily frightened by loud or repetitive noise and shies away from unfamiliar people, it is best to secure your cat or dog in another part of your home.  Likewise, if your pet has a history of trying to escape from your home, do not leave them unattended as they make dart outside when you go to answer the doorbell.  Under these circumstances, place your furry friend in a closed-off bedroom with music playing or the television on at a volume that drowns out the festivities going on elsewhere in your home.  

Pet Costumes
If your pet is a social butterfly and likes to dress up in costume, go for it.  If you’re unsure (especially if you have a new puppy or kitten), it’s highly recommended that you test the costume out before Halloween night.  Any costume should fit with ease and your pet’s movement should not be constricted or hindered.  He/she should be able to breathe freely, and have no obstructions in front of their eyes or by their ears that could impede their vision or hearing.  Excess cloth or material should not dangle from the outfit as your pet may get twisted or caught up in it, which poses a safety threat.

Upon trying on the costume, if your pet looks uncomfortable and/or tries to wiggle out of it, consider something simpler instead, like a colorful hat with a bandana for some flair.

Whether your Superhero will present himself as the Dog of Steel or your cat poses as Kitty Perry with a promise to Roar out loud, have fun creating their Halloween persona. To maximize both their and your own enjoyment, put some thought into what your pet’s Halloween experience will be prior to October 31.  It should prove to keep them safe so you can enjoy their company for many days to come.

Have a safe and happy Halloween with your pets!

Thursday, October 24th, 2013, 07:15 PM | Updated: 10/24/2013, 07:15 PM | (Anonymous) [0 Comments]

On the surface, Halloween is a holiday centered on our kids.  However more and more, it is an evening the entire family (including our pets) participates in and enjoys.

Whether you plan to host/attend a Halloween party or venture out trick-or-treating, the following are some tips to consider to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being.  With thoughtful planning, you and your family can prepare your pet for this most ghoulish night so that all of you have a safe and memorable time.

Sweets, Treats & More
Candy is for people, not for cats and dogs.   Always keep bowls of sweets away from your animals.  This includes foods containing chocolate, especially dark chocolate and chocolate used for baking.  Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is commonly found in sugar-free candies and chewing gum, is also harmful to dogs.  Some popular Halloween plants and vegetables, primarily pumpkins and corn, can present problems if eaten by pets.  While they are not toxic, they can cause tummy upset.

Scary Decorations
Many of us take our pumpkin carving very seriously, creating awesome jack-o-lanterns.  Keep all carved pumpkins with candles burning inside away from your pet’s reach.  This will help avoid accidents that can start as overturned pumpkins and end up as a larger fire.  

Also give thought to the location of any decorations containing wires and electrical cords.  It’s easy for a pet to pull on or trip over an electrical cord and accidentally knock something over.  If your pet has a habit of chewing wires and cords, be especially careful where you plug things into the wall as a pet may accidentally receive a burn or electric shock if they chew into something with a live current.  Glass or plastic decorations also pose a potential hazard as they sometimes contain sharp edges and may break should they fall.  

Check back in a couple of days for more on this topic.  I"ll address Haunted Houses and Pet Costumes.

Friday, August 2nd, 2013, 04:11 PM | Updated: 08/02/2013, 04:11:17 PM | (Anonymous) [0 Comments]

As I provide dog-walking services around UTC/La Jolla and nearby neighborhoods of San Diego, I have observed a disturbing trend.  The pattern doesn’t originate with my four-legged clients, but rather with motorists on our local roads.  I’ll get right to the point.  A substantial number of motorists in the neighborhoods I frequent disregard the electronic walk signs for pedestrians and do not yield the right of way to individuals in the roadway.  Specifically, an increasing number of motorists seem to think it is okay to drive around a pedestrian who is in a marked crosswalk with the electronic “white hand” sign flashing.   It should be common knowledge that this walk sign indicates that it is safe for pedestrians to cross the street.  Furthermore, when this walk sign flashes, drivers are expected to come to a complete stop and allow pedestrians to pass. 

What I see happen more often than not is that when I step off the curb with one or more dogs by my side, motorists do not completely stop.  Rather they tend to slow down or coast, edging forward in order to make the light before it turns red.  If they think they can make their turn prior to me getting close, they go for it.  So often, I’ve had cars skirt in front of me, behind me or take some other creative path around me just so they can get through the intersection.   On one occasion, a motorist actually honked his horn as a call that I should pick up my dog-walking pace [let it be known that I am not a slow pedestrian].  It is disappointing to admit it, but I’ve even seen San Diego police cruisers (clearly not in an emergency situation) engage in these around-about-the-dog-walker maneuvers.

Let me shift gears for a minute!  Pedestrians walking dogs have to be especially careful; not only do we have to look out for ourselves, but we also have to hold onto our dogs’ leashes and be cognizant of the dogs’ exact positions as we cross the street.  Imagine having to factor in another variable to this equation: that of moving vehicles.  The situation immediately becomes fraught with potential danger. 

In my dog-walking experience, there are some pets that get frightened by all the sounds and activity around them as they walk across a busy street.  It can be challenging for a dog-walker to respond to (and help manage) a pet’s emotions and reactions under these circumstances.

And so I urge our local motorists to not only follow traffic laws but also practice common courtesy while on the road.  When you see a pedestrian with dogs crossing the street, please allow the person and his/her pets to make it safely across before accelerating forward.  Kindly put down your cell phones and wait to have your conversations at another time when you can them give your full attention.   If you arrive at your destination a few minutes later than anticipated, your life will go on.  But if you cut corners and try to get around pedestrians, you may injure a human and/or a pet.  I hope that we can all still agree that there is nothing more precious than life.  This includes human life and the lives of our pets.

Thank you!

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