Ah, springtime. Warmer weather, blooms bursting forth from the ground and trees – it’s earth’s ways of celebrating new life. Springtime also brings traditional Easter celebrations.
There’s one tradition associated with Easter that needs to end.
Animals should not be Easter gifts.
A few weeks from now, shelters will be bursting with thousands of abandoned animals. In addition to spring litters from unaltered cats and dogs, all those baby chicks, ducklings, or bunnies that were going to be the cutest Easter gift EVER will be vying for space.
In fact, around 80 percent of rabbits found in shelters were Easter gifts. Most will end up being euthanized. Not a very good message to send, is it?
While rabbits can be wonderful pets, they require mature, responsible owners. They are NOT good with children, and they require almost as much work as a dog. They must be house-trained. Rabbits also love to chew things, so the house must be bunny-proofed or they will chew through electrical cords, furniture, baseboards, books, rugs and other items. They must also be spayed or neutered lest they mark the house with urine and feces, or worse – give birth to another litter of little ones. Chicks and ducklings also grow quickly and require a lot of care.
If you are certain you want and can care for a new pet bunny, chicken or duck, that’s wonderful – but please, please, wait until after Easter – remember, there is never a shortage of adoptable pets. In the meantime, go for the stuffed variety. (And don’t forget to keep chocolate ones away from your pets – chocolate is toxic for them.) Hoppy Easter!
It’s National Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a great time to review the signs of poisoning. Knowledge is power, and recognizing the signs of poisoning in pets can literally be a lifesaver. The sooner you can act, the more likely a good outcome.
If your pet exhibits any of the following signs or symptoms, call your vet immediately!
Black or bloody stool
HOW TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL POISONING
Lock away toxic chemicals. Cleaning fluids, weed killer, antifreeze, pesticides, and fertilizers are just a few of the items you probably have around your home and garage. Keep them out of reach of pets and little hands.
Keep medications out of reach. Medications are meant to heal, however, they can also harm. Blood pressure, heart meds, antidepressants, and pain killers like NSAIDs and acetaminophen are some of the common medications that are very toxic to animals (and children!). Best to keep them in a high cabinet.
Restrict access to foods and plants that are harmful to dogs and cats. While it’s tempting to slip your pets treats from your plate, many foods can be toxic to animals. Don’t forget, many plants can be hazardous too!
Be prepared in case of a pet poisoning emergency. Keep hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal on hand in case of an emergency. Post the numbers for your preferred vet clinic and other emergency numbers near your phone. Don’t forget to program them into your phone to save valuable time. Speaking of phones, there are many pet health and emergency apps available for free download at the Google Play Store and Apple Store.
Outside of your vet, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435
National K-9 Veterans Day commemorates the service and sacrifice of American military and working dogs. While military working dogs date back as far as World War 1, it’s celebrated on March 13th as it is the anniversary of the founding of the official U. S. Army K-9 Corps in 1942.
Today, there are approximately 2500 active Military Working Dogs, with around 700 currently deployed overseas with American troops. Their jobs are important ones – sentry dogs, scout and patrol dogs, messenger dogs, casualty dogs tasked with finding injured soldiers, and explosive detection dogs that turn their keen sense of smell to sniff out IEDs and other chemical weapons. Our troops rely on the dogs and their handlers to help keep them safe.
All Military Working Dogs are classified as Non-Commissioned Officers, which places them one rank higher than their handlers, to show respect for the dogs and their work.
The majority of Military Working Dogs are German or Dutch Shepherds or the Belgian Malinois breeds. Additional breeds like Labrador, Golden, or Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are often chosen for specialized roles because they are loyal, smart, and athletic. We are thankful for their service.
Recently we’ve seen a few videos making the rounds featuring pets with food bags or other items stuck on their heads. While many people find these videos cute or funny because the animals are seeking treats or people food, the truth is these animals are in serious danger!
Cats and dogs who forage for food can easily get their head stuck in a bag. As they breathe in, the bag will quickly form a vacuum-like seal around their head. The pet will begin to panic from being stuck and not being able to breathe normally. Without immediate intervention, it will die from asphyxiation in just a few short minutes.
Sadly, pets of all ages, strengths, and sizes die from asphyxiation more often than you might think, and it’s completely preventable.
Chips, cereal, crackers, pet treats and other tasty foods are usually packaged in plastic, Mylar™ or foil-lined bags. These bags can be deadly for pets and children, too! Other common suffocation hazards include bread bags, cheese bags, and hard plastic/cardboard containers.
Biggest Suffocation Hazards Snack (e.g., cracker, popcorn, etc.) or chip bags (69%) Cereal bags (8%) Pet Food bags (8%) Pet Treat bags (5%)
Where Pets Find These Bags In or near the home trash can or recycling (32%) Grabbed off a coffee table or side table (21%) Grabbed off a counter (11%) Found under a bed (7%)
Safety Precautions to Protect Your Pet Store all snacks and foods contained in bags safely away from pets and kids Serve your snacks in bowls instead of eating out of the bag Make sure your trash cans are sealed tightly and your pets can’t get into them Keep a close eye on pets during parties or gatherings where snack foods are served Cut or tear food bags along the bottom and sides before discarding
Remember, ANY pet could get ahold of a snack bag and get stuck – without help, your beloved pet could suffocate within 3-5 minutes. Take the time, rip the bags, and save the heartache.