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Companion Animal Safety

girl children dog adoptionCompanion animal care goes far beyond providing the basic necessities. As guardians to our animal companions, we have a responsibility to protect our animals from harm. Read the following tips about ways you can keep your companion safe year-round.

Be Prepared

The old adage about an ounce of prevention certainly applies to companion animal ownership.                                                                          

  • Make sure you have your animal’s vaccinations and medical records up-to-date.
  • Make sure your animal wears a collar with proper identification, license tag, and rabies tag. Also, consider having your animal microchipped or tattooed as an additional means of identification.
  • Always know where your animal is. Do not allow your animals to roam your neighborhood.
  • If you have to evacuate your home, know in advance where you can go with your animal.
  • Create a disaster preparedness kit that includes an ample supply of food and water, blankets, a spare leash and collar, food bowls, garbage bags, any needed medication, and a recent photo of your companion animal. If you are evacuating for an extended period of time, you may need to take crates or carriers that your animal can stay in for the duration of your evacuation.
  • Create a basic pet first aid kit that includes gauze pads, gauze roll/ bandages, thermometer, tweezers, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, Q-tips, instant cold packs, and rags or rubber tubing for a tourniquet. Check the kit every so often to restock. For more pet first aid information, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s first aid page.

Indoor Safety                                                                           

Everyday household items can be dangerous to our companion animals. The following is a brief list of what you need to check to make sure your animal is safe:

  • Electrical outlets and cords can cause burns or electrocution.
  • Hanging cords of any kind (i.e., Venetian blind cords) can cause strangulation.
  • Keep the lids on trash cans and keep waste paper baskets out of reach.
  • Small objects that can be ingested such as coins, batteries, buttons, hair pins, twist ties, etc.
  • Close doors to electrical appliances.
  • Keep cleaning products out of reach.
  • Screens need to be checked for holes and locked to prevent an animal falling out.
  • Know about substances that can poison your pet. Keeping companion animals safely indoors reduces outdoor accidents and injuries. Here are ways to keep your animal safe while outside:

Outdoor Safety                                                                        

Welcoming companion animals indoors reduces the risk of outdoor accidents and injuries. Here are ways to keep your animal safe while outside.

  • Make sure to keep your animal safely contained in an indoor or fenced area.
  • Never chain your animals continuously.
  • Never leave an animal outdoors in extreme weather conditions.
  • Cats should be kept in enclosed porches or screened play yards.
  • Fences should be adequate in height and free of any escape places.
  • Choose pet-safe lawn care products.

Holiday Tips                                                                           

Holiday celebrations pose a myriad of risks and stressors to companion animals.

  • Have a safe, secure place for your animal to relax away from festivities.
  • Holiday decorations (such as ribbons, balloons, tinsel, etc.) can be ingested and cause internal injuries requiring surgery.
  • Do not use fireworks around companion animals. If ingested, fireworks can kill or injure; and if exploded near the animal, can cause injury or extreme stress.
  • Do not allow animals to chew on decorations, ornaments, or ornament hooks.
  • Do not allow houseguests to feed companion animals table scraps.

Summer/Winter Tips                                                               

Depending where you live, you may experience extremes in heat and cold. Animals need to be protected from both.

  • Always make sure your animals have access to clean drinking water indoors and outdoors.
  • Never leave a companion animal in a car unattended.
  • Keep your animal up-to-date on heartworm preventative.
  • Use pet-safe rock salt on driveways and sidewalks.
  • Always bring your animals inside at night and in extreme weather.
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