Welcome to our Safety Section! This page is designed to help address health, safety and preparedness issues that have not been mentioned elsewhere on our website. Please take a look around and let us know what you think. If you have a pet safety topic that you think should be covered here, let us know!
Foods, Toys & Toxins
What is safe to feed your pet? What toys have been recalled from the market? Do you need to be worried about that plant they just nibbled on during your walk? For the answers to these and other questions, we have provided links to the most up-to-date information that will enable you to make informed decisions about your pet’s health.
- Pet Food Recalls
- Pet Product Recalls
- Jerky Treat Safety Alert
- Toxic & Non-Toxic Plant Database (ASPCA)
- 17 Common Poisonous Plants (ASPCA)
- People Foods to Avoid Giving Your Pet (ASPCA)
- ASPCA Poison Control – Mobile App
Pets and Smoking
Is there a smoker living in your home? Secondhand smoke has long been discussed as a hazard to human health, but the truth is that it is also quite dangerous to pets of all shapes and sizes. Secondhand smoke has been linked to lymphoma and oral cancer in cats, and to nasal cancer, allergies, and heart disease in dogs – and it doesn’t end there! For more, please read the articles below:
For general tips for traveling with your pet, including air travel, the American Veterinary Medical Association has put together this terrific brochure.
Many of us worry about our pet’s safety and well-being while they are traveling in the car with us. Will our furry friend be protected in the event of a car accident? What’s the safest way to travel?
When it comes to dogs, while your pup may be an excellent traveling companion, allowing him to roam freely in the car is generally considered unwise. You should never drive with your dog on your lap, as this is a potentially major distraction for you while driving. Your dog may try to dive under your feet, or out the window. In the event of an accident, your dog could be severely injured or killed by the airbag, or by hitting the windshield. In some states, it’s even illegal to drive with your dog on your lap. The passenger seat is a no-go for your dog as well, given the potential for airbag or windshield injury. The backseat is preferable.
If you have a pickup truck, do not let your dog ride unsecured in the truck bed. Many dogs have been severely injured jumping out of pickup trucks, some at relatively high speeds. In some states, it’s actually illegal to let a dog ride loose in the back of a pickup.
Many pooches love to stick their head out the window, and we admit, it is fun to see.
However, if the window is rolled down too far, some dogs can escape. Dogs are also at risk of eye injury from flying gravel or other debris. If your pet just can’t travel without hanging his head out the window, consider a pair of protective glasses like Doggles (yes, they’re actually a thing).
Let’s say you’re interested in purchasing a car harness or crate for your dog, or a carrier for your cat. Which one to buy? There are many on the market, but they are not all created equal. Until very recently, there was no data on how well items sold for restraining a pet in the car actually worked. However, the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety has been conducting a series of studies including crash testing on the viability of various car restraint products. Here are some of their findings and recommendations:
- Some harnesses only prevented the dog becoming a distraction to the driver, while providing no actual protection to the dog itself in the event of a car accident.
- Do not buckle in a small carrier unless the manufacturer of said carrier has provided crash test video evidence illustrating its structural integrity. The CPS found that buckling in some carriers actually led them to be crushed in an accident.
- Products deemed Top-Performers by the Center for Pet Safety:
For more information about all the hard work the Center for Pet Safety is putting into protecting your pet, visit their website: http://www.centerforpetsafety.org/
The number one reason that people refuse to evacuate their homes during an emergency or natural disaster is that they are not willing to leave their pets behind. But with a little research and preparation, you can keep your entire family safe in the event of an emergency – even the four-legged members! When planning for an emergency, keep in mind that what is best for you is probably best for your pets as well.
The information below is from FEMA’s Ready.gov website, a useful resource for disaster preparedness.
1. Get a kit of pet emergency supplies.
Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, particularly food and water.
- Food: Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
- Water: Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets, in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.Medicines and medical records: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.
- First aid kit: Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. Most kits should include cotton balls, cotton bandage rolls, sterile non-stick bandage pads, bandage tape and blunt-end scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea, tick and heartworm prevention; a rectal thermometer and lubricant; latex gloves, an oral syringe, tweezers, isopropyl alcohol; artificial tear ointment and plain saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.
- Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit.
- Important documents:
Place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your kit. Free emergency contact cards are available from the AVMA by clicking here.
- Crate or other pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation take your pets and animals with you, provided that it is practical to do so.
- Sanitation: Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs. You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water, stir well and let it stand for 30 minutes before use. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches or those with added cleaners.
- A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
- Familiar items: Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet.
Consider two kits. In one, put everything your pets will need to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you and your pets have to get away.
2. Make a plan for what you will do in an emergency
- Evacuate. Plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will go. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you, if practical. If you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your pets may not be allowed inside. Secure appropriate lodging in advance depending on the number and type of animals in your care. Consider family or friends outside your immediate area who would be willing to take in you and your pets in an emergency. Other options may include: a hotel or motel that takes pets or some sort of boarding facility, such as a kennel or veterinary hospital that is near an evacuation facility or your family’s meeting place. Find out before an emergency happens if any of these facilities in your area might be viable options for you and your pets.
- Develop a buddy system. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet’s emergency supply kit. Also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and other farther away, where you will meet in an emergency.
- Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about emergency planning. Discuss the types of things you should include in your pet’s emergency first aid kit. Get the names of vets or veterinary hospitals in other cities where you might need to seek temporary shelter. Also talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. If you and your pet are separated, this permanent implant for your pet and corresponding enrollment in a recovery database can help a veterinarian or shelter identify your animal. If your pet is microchipped, keeping your emergency contact information up to date and listed with a reliable recovery database is essential to you and your pet being reunited.
- Gather contact information for emergency animal treatment. Make a list of contact information and addresses of area animal control agencies including the Humane Society or ASPCA and emergency veterinary hospitals. Keep one copy of these phone numbers with you, and one in your pet’s emergency supply kit. Obtain “Pets Inside” stickers and place them on your doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets in your home to alert firefighters and rescue workers. Consider putting a phone number on the sticker where you could be reached in an emergency. And, if time permits, remember to write the words “Evacuated with Pets” across the stickers, should you evacuate your home with your pets.
3. Be prepared for what might happen
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an emergency supply kit for yourself, your family and your pets, is the same regardless of the type of emergency. However, it’s important to say informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region.
Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected. Those who take the time to prepare themselves and their pets will likely encounter less difficulty, stress and worry. Take the time now to get yourself and your pet ready.