Safety Tips

Accidental Falls


Household Chemicals

Older Dogs

Animals in Distress

Dogs & Exercise

I.D. Tags

Reporting Cruelty

Beach Safety

Finding Lost Pets

"Pet Alert"


Bird Emergencies

Flying With Pets

Plastic Hazards

Truck Safety

Car Safety

Holiday Dangers

Poisonous Plants

Wild Animals

Cat Longevity

Horse Emergencies

Pool Safety

Halloween Hazards

Cold Weather

Hot Weather

Preventing Sunburn


#1- Household Chemicals
Pesticides, fertilizers, paints, antifreeze, household cleaners, and other chemicals can pose real dangers to your pet. It’s best to prevent poisonings from happening in the first place by keeping containers tightly capped and stored out of reach, but if your pet should become poisoned despite your efforts to protect him, keep him warm and quiet, look for clues to what type of poison it was, when it was swallowed, and how much was swallowed, and call your veterinarian or nearest poison control center immediately. If you take the animal to your vet, remember to take along the container so your vet can treat him effectively.  (Back to top)
#2- Poisonous Plants
There are more than 700 kinds of plants that may be poisonous to your pet– mistletoe, daffodils, larkspur, hydrangea, Lily of the Valley, and foxglove are highly toxic. Rhododendron and azaleas can be harmful to an animal’s heart, intestines, and nervous system. Philodendron and dieffenbachia are common houseplants which can prove fatal. And even leaves and stems from tomato plants can be harmful. It’s best to keep pets out of vegetable and flower gardens altogether, but if you suspect your pet may have eaten a poisonous plant, watch for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, mouth swelling, and salivation. Take the animal to your vet and take along a leaf from the plant that was eaten. Treatment is based on the type of plant and amount swallowed.  (Back to top)
#3- Disasters
Don’t wait for disaster to strike to think about saving your pet. Be prepared to take care of your pet in an emergency. Create a portable pet disaster supply kit. That kit should include first-aid supplies, along with medications, and medical records stored in a waterproof container, heavy-duty gloves to administer to an injured or distressed pet, leashes, harnesses, or carriers to transport pets safely, food, drinking water, bowls, a litter box and litter for cats, and a can opener, the name and number of your veterinarian, current photos of your pets, in case they get lost, and pet beds and toys to make pets as comfortable as possible during the crisis.  (Back to top)
#4- Snakebites
Wilderness areas pose hidden dangers to your pet, dangers like snakebites. Avoid bites by keeping your pet on a leash and by your side while in the woods, and staying on trails in wilderness areas. But if your pet gets bitten, don’t panic. Try to determine if the bite came from a poisonous snake, taking care not to get bitten yourself. If you think the snake is poisonous, check for signs of shock. Keep your pet calm and still, and carry him to the car, since any movement may cause the venom to spread faster. Put on gloves and wash the wound with mild soap and water, and immediately transport him to the closest animal hospital. Even bites from non-poisonous snakes should be checked out by a veterinarian for allergic reactions or infection. (Back to top)
#5- Car Safety
Most of us wouldn’t think of traveling by car without buckling our safety belts or those of our children, but what about our pets? In a car accident, even a minor one, your pet can become injured. Should a window break or a door open, your frightened pet can bolt from the car into oncoming traffic. Always confine your pet in a crate during car travel, or use a pet safety harness which attaches to your car’s seat-belt system. The harnesses are available in a variety of sizes at many pet supply stores. Don’t take a chance with your pet’s life. Make buckling up a priority for every member of the family.  (Back to top)
#6- Accidental Falls
Did you know that each year thousands of animals die or suffer injuries in accidental falls from high places? Terraces and window-ledges, in particular, can be very dangerous, especially in warm climates where doors and windows are often left open for long periods. Keep your pets safe. Never leave your animal unattended on a balcony, and install tight-fitting screens on all open windows. Even with screens, windows should only be left partially open in case your pet manages to push against the screen and knock it out. (Back to top)
#7- I.D. Tags
Countless animals are lost each year and are never reunited with their owners because of one tragic oversight– they were not wearing pet I.D. tags. An animal who is kept in the yard during the day can easily dig under or jump over a fence, or escape through an open gate. If you allow your pet outside, keep him or her in a completely secured yard with ample fencing. Make sure to affix a tag to your pet’s collar which carries your name and address, as well as home and office numbers. Most cities require dog licenses, so do your dog a favor, and support your city at the same time by licensing your animal. Should your pet become lost, it’s license will provide another ticket home.   (Back to top)
#8- "Pet Alert" Decals
We need to protect our pets should a fire break out at home while we’re away. Give your pets and firefighters a fighting chance by affixing brightly-colored "Pet Alert" decals to your front, back, and side doors. You can purchase them through pet supply catalogues and at pet stores. The decals let firefighters know how many and what kind of pets are inside. Make sure to note each pet’s name and description on each sticker. To protect your pet in the event of a fire which breaks out while you’re at home, routinely hold fire drills for the entire family, including plans for getting your pets out too.  (Back to top)
#9- Hot Weather
Hot weather can be deadly to your pet, especially if you take your best friend in the car with you on errands or shopping trips. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve parked the car in the shade, or cracked the window, or both. The temperature inside a parked car can rise dangerously high– as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few minutes, causing heatstroke, irreparable brain damage, and even death. When the mercury in your thermometer starts to rise, do your pet a favor and leave him home where he’s safe and comfortable, and if you see an animal suffering in a parked car in the heat, summon the police to help you find the owner, or help you find a way to rescue the critter from jeopardy.  (Back to top)
#10- Cold Weather
Just because your pet has a fur coat doesn’t mean he or she is protected in freezing weather. If the animal is very young, very old, or ill, keep it inside when the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t laugh, but your pet may need a coat when you take him or her outside. If the animal gets wet from snow or ice, dry your pet off when you return home. To avoid a skin reaction, or accidental poisoning, wipe the paws thoroughly to remove salt, road chemicals, and ice particles from the footpads. Check the tail, tips of ears, and pads of feet for signs of frostbite, which include pale blue, or, in later stages, black skin discoloration. If you suspect frostbite, apply warm compresses to the affected area, and take your pet to the vet at once.  (Back to top)
#11- Holiday Dangers
Holidays and special gatherings can be a stressful time for the entire family. You can keep your pets safe and stress-free during any holiday season by following these do’s and don’ts. Don’t let your pets near holiday plants, such as poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly berries. They can be deadly if swallowed. Don’t allow them to play with decorations, such as glass ornaments, ribbon, and tinsel, which can cause choking and intestinal injury. Don’t allow your pet to chew on strands of holiday lights. It only takes a second for a curious animal to get electrocuted. Don’t feed your pet holiday candy, especially chocolate, which can poison the animal, or poultry bones which can splinter, causing intestinal blockage or internal injury, and do exercise caution and common sense to make the holidays safe and happy for the entire family.  (Back to top)
#12- Wild Animals
As undeveloped areas become more urbanized, the phrase "it’s a jungle out there" takes on new meaning. You may see wildlife, such as coyotes, mountain lions, and bears, in your own backyard. We must learn to coexist with these animals while protecting our pets and small children from harm. Here are some tips. Feed pets indoors, and store their bags of food inside as well. Clear brush and dense foliage from around your property, and install durable fencing to keep unwanted animals out. Place trash in strong containers with tight-fitting lids. Keep your pets indoors at night, and never approach a wild animal, no matter how tame it may seem. Above all, never leave a small child or pet in your backyard unattended.  (Back to top)
#13- Animals in Distress
Would you know how to help an animal in distress? Wait. Before you break out the bandages, there are some things you need to know to help effectively. First, restrain the frightened animal. The friendliest of pets can act unpredictably when hurt, and you won’t be able to help it if you get hurt yourself. Wrap cats in a towel or jacket to protect yourself from their sharp claws. If possible, wear thick gloves. Muzzle dogs with a scarf or a commercial muzzle, but don’t use narrow pieces of string or shoelaces. They could cut into an animal’s nose. Remember, never muzzle an animal that is unconscious, vomiting, or having seizures, or you could make matters worse. Contact the American Red Cross or your local Vet for more information.  (Back to top)
#14- Finding Lost Pets
Sometimes even responsible owners can lose their pets. Here are some tips on finding lost animals. First, post colorful flyers describing your pet at street corners and outside busy stores in the area. Show neighbors, postmen, and even joggers a photo of your pet and ask them to watch for it. Immediately locate your nearest animal shelter, and go there every 24 hours for at least two weeks to see if your pet has come in. Place an ad in the lost and found section of your local newspaper after your pet has been lost for 12 hours. Search your neighborhood several times a day. Call area vets. Injured pets are often brought directly to a vet for care before being taken to a shelter. And if you’re lucky enough to be reunited with your pet, immediately license the animal and place a collar, I.D. tag, and a license on him or her. That’s your pet’s ticket home.  (Back to top)
#15- Pool Safety
We’ve all heard about the danger to small children of having a swimming pool in your backyard, but animals are at risk for drowning, too. Many pets drown each year in backyard swimming pools, especially puppies and kittens. If you have a pool, or if you live alongside a body of water, it’s best to put up a fence to keep animals out. If that’s not possible, teach your dog how to get out of your pool by placing the dog in the pool with you, and guiding it to the steps. Do this repeatedly until the dog can find its way out of the pool unassisted. And review the lesson twice a year. Remember, too, that not all dogs are natural swimmers. If you take your dog to the lake or out on a boat, consider getting it a doggy life vest. They’re available in a variety of sizes and can save your dog’s life.  (Back to top)
#16- Truck Safety
In many states, it’s illegal for dogs or other animals to ride unsecured in the bed of an open truck. Worse yet–it’s unsafe. Imagine how dangerous it would be for your dog, as well as other drivers, should your pet be thrown from the truck during a sudden stop or accident, or if it jumped from a moving vehicle. If you must transport your animal in the bed of an open truck, it’s best to crate or cage the critter and secure the crate so it cannot move. If no crate is available, the animal should be positioned in the middle of the bed, and either cross-tethered, or restrained on a short leash of four feet. This will enable it to stand or sit comfortably, but prevent the animal from jumping or being thrown from the vehicle.  (Back to top)
#17- Reporting Cruelty
Cruelty to animals, domestic or wild, is prohibited by law and punishable by stiff fines, prosecution, and, in some cases, jail. But humane laws have a long way to go before fully protecting our animal friends, so at times, we must intervene on their behalf. If you observe or suspect an act of animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect, something can be done. Contact your local animal control office, police, or sheriff’s department to file a complaint immediately. Try to obtain photographic or videotaped evidence to support your claim. If no action is taken, notify your city or county government representative, and insist they direct law enforcement officers to enforce the laws and stop cruelty.  (Back to top)
#18- Cat Longevity
Want to help your cat live a healthier, longer life? Well, keep him or her indoors. Many cats are content to live inside, provided they have a wonderful window to watch the world from, scratching posts, toys, and, of course, your love and attention. Keeping your cat indoors protects your pet from predators, and reduces the likelihood that it will contract and spread serious diseases. Indoor cats are also protected from cat fights, cars, accidental poisoning, and rabid wild animals, and the risk of your cat becoming lost or stolen is eliminated if it’s kept inside, so keep kitty in the home for his or her well-being, and for your peace of mind.  (Back to top)
#19- Plastic Hazards
Plastics pose a severe threat to animals, especially those who live at the water’s edge. Sea turtles, seals, pelicans, dolphins and other animals can’t free themselves when they get tangled. As they struggle to get free, they tighten the grip, injuring themselves in the process. Properly disposing of hazards like fishing line, plastic soda-can rings, fishing nets, and plastic or net bags, can literally mean life or death for these animals. So recycle plastics whenever possible. Cut soda rings and plastic bags before disposing of them. Pick up plastics at the beach, and properly dispose of litter whenever recycling isn’t available. Let’s do our part to protect our beaches and the animals who live there.  (Back to top)
#20- Beach Safety
Each year when the weather heats up, it’s time to head for beach. But if you bring your dog along, you’ll need to be mindful of a few things. Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for your pet to drink, and don’t let him drink sea water, which can make him sick. Arrange for a shady, protected place for your dog to rest after a romp in the sun, and use sunscreen on exposed areas, like his nose and ears, and don’t throw sticks or Frisbees far out into the water and expect your dog to retrieve them. The surf is strong, treacherous, and unpredictable, capable of carrying your pet out to sea before you know it, so play on the sand and not in the water.  (Back to top)
#21- Preventing Sunburn
When the sun comes out, your pet’s skin needs special protection. If your pet’s nose has more pink areas than black, it’s especially susceptible to burning, and, over the long term, even skin cancer. Light pets and pets with short, cropped fur are also at risk. The answer: frequently apply a waterproof, non-toxic sunscreen with a maximum SPF of 15 to exposed areas on your pet. Make sure to rub it in. Even if he or she licks it off, some will have already penetrated to protect your loved one from the sun’s harmful rays.  (Back to top)
#22- Older Dogs
Your senior dog suddenly starts destroying things around the house when you’re not at home. Experts say he may be suffering from separation anxiety, which often develops in older dogs due to the ill effects of aging. The behavior may cause him to chew inappropriate objects, scratch himself uncontrollably, relieve himself indoors, or exhibit distress upon your departure. Behavior modification can be used to treat the problem, and in some cases, so can drug therapy. If you and your dog are experiencing this problem, don’t assume there’s nothing you can do. Consult your veterinarian for treatment.  (Back to top)
#23- Dogs & Exercise
Dogs need exercise, just like people do. Here are some tips on exercising with your pet. Take your dog to your vet for a complete checkup before starting him on any new exercise program. Start slowly with exercises suited to beginners, such as walking. Begin with a workout of 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day, increasing to one hour per day as time allows. When walking with your dog, use a short leash for maximum control. Avoid walking in the dark if possible, but if you must, wear light-colored clothing and get a reflective collar for your dog. Keep your pet’s diet and weight in check to avoid the likelihood of torn joints and worn ligaments, and don’t push your dog to make up for the inactive week by doing double duty on the weekend. Just like humans, canine weekend warriors can suffer leg injuries too.  (Back to top)
#24- Flying With Pets
Flying with pets can provoke fear and anxiety, but if you must take to the skies with your pet, pay attention to the following. Contact the airlines well in advance to make reservations and check regulations, such as the type of crate required for travel. Try to book a direct midweek flight or one with a minimum of stops. Reduce the risk of heat exhaustion by choosing early morning or late evening flights. Never sedate your pet for a flight. The change in altitude can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems for pets who have been sedated. Your pet also must remain alert to brace himself in his cage to avoid injury. Place your pet in his cage yourself, and pick him up promptly on arrival, and if possible, watch baggage handlers load him onto the aircraft before boarding yourself.  (Back to top)
#25- Bird Emergencies
Companion birds need special care in a disaster. Here are some helpful tips… in an emergency, birds can get confused between day and night. If a bird spends too much time in darkness, especially if its cage must remain covered for warmth and safety, you can calm it by using a flashlight to provide artificial light. When birds become extremely frightened, their flight instinct is activated, causing them to panic and sometimes injure themselves. This thrashing around can cause them to break blood feathers, cause flight feathers to be lost, and the delicate flesh under their wings to tear. Once you’ve calmed the bird down long enough to safely tend to its injuries, you’ll need to stop any bleeding right away. If you apply cornstarch or flour to its wounds, it will mix with the blood to form a protective cast-like shell and stop the bleeding. Then you’ll need to transport the bird to a vet at once.  (Back to top)
#26- Horse Emergencies
If you’re a horse owner, it’s important to consider your animal’s special needs in an emergency. The best protection for your horse is proper training before an emergency strikes. Horses easily sense panic and fear, so the first order of business is to remain calm. The second is to teach your horse that the human is the herd leader. Since not all emergencies occur during the day, take your horse out at night and practice with flashlights or glowsticks, so your horse gets accustomed to them. Keep at least one halter and lead ready to use at all times. Know several methods of restraint, and make sure you have the proper equipment on hand to restrain your animal if necessary. If you own multiple horses, learn how to safely tie a group of them together in a straight line. And if you padlock your corrals, make sure your neighbors know the lock combination.  (Back to top)
#27 Halloween Hazards
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Offers Poison Safety Tips For Pet Owners The arrival of Halloween brings fun parties, trick-or-treaters, and lots of delicious candies. However, some of the same goodies and decorations we humans are fond of can be potentially hazardous to our pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is offering pet owners some helpful hints to keep their pets healthy and safe during Halloween.
  • Halloween treats with chocolate are not appropriate for pets. Depending on the dose ingested, chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk and dark) can be potentially poisonous to many animals. In general, the less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it could be. In fact, unsweetened baking chocolate contains almost seven times more theobromine as milk chocolate. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog.

  • Candies and gum containing large amounts of the sweetener xylitol can also be toxic to pets, as ingestions of significant quantities can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures. Be sure to keep such products well out of the reach of your pets.

  • Keep aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers away from pets. They can cause vomiting and could even produce intestinal blockage.

  • Keep your pet on its normal diet. Any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe indigestion and diarrhea.  This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements.

  • Never offer or allow your pets to access alcoholic beverages. Place unattended drinks where pets cannot reach them. If ingested, the animal could become very ill and weak and may go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

  • Halloween decorative plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively non-toxic, yet they can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset and may even result in intestinal blockage as well if large pieces are ingested.

  • Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of the reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to its mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

  • Liquid potpourri, commonly used to add pleasant scent to the home during certain holidays, can be hazardous to pets. Potentially severe damage to the mouth, skin and eyes could result from exposure to both heated and cool liquid product.

  • If you suspect your pet may have become exposed to a potentially toxic product or substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately for assistance.

About the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Since 1978, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has been the premier animal poison control center in North America. The center, an allied agency of the University of Illinois, is the only facility of its kind staffed by 25 veterinarians including 9 board-certified toxicologists and 14 certified veterinary technicians. Located in Urbana, Ill., the specially trained staff provides assistance to pet owners and specific analysis and treatment recommendations to veterinarians pertaining to toxic chemicals and dangerous plants, products or substances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 2005, the center handled more than 100,000 cases. In addition, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides extensive veterinary toxicology consulting on a wide array of subjects including legal cases, formulation issues, product liability, regulatory reporting and bio surveillance. To reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, call 1-888-426-4435. For more information on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center visit .

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