Is your pet safe? Now’s a great time to show some love to our furry, four-legged friends or to consider opening your home to a new pet. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, an event sponsored by ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to promote the adoption of dogs from local shelters. With more than 54 million households owning a dog, these faithful watchdogs and walk companions have earned our love and protection and make sweet additions to our families.
While certainly cute, pets require a serious commitment, and once you give a cuddly canine a home, it’s important to be a responsible pet owner. With such a large community of pet owners and caregivers, advice, help and resources abound. From pet sitters to wireless, remote video monitoring, it’s easy to keep a close eye on and provide comfort to our dogs, keeping them safe throughout their lifetime.
Keeping your Pet Secure Year-Round
Consider your dog a member of your family? You’re not alone. More than 66 percent of dog owners do the same. With that in mind, when you consider overall home security and the safety of your family, follow these tips for keeping your pooch protected too:
When you bring a new dog home, have him checked by a vet who will be available if your pet becomes ill or you need advice, boarding or routine medical care.
Have your dog vaccinated to protect him and any people or other animals he comes in contact with.
Keep your pet’s vaccinations and ID tags up to date. If your pet becomes lost, current identification will ensure that he or she is returned home safely and quickly. Including your cell phone number on the tag is a good idea especially if you travel with your pet or you go out of town occasionally. Ask your vet or shelter about a microchip as well. Some shelters host special clinics where low-cost microchips are offered.
Provide shelter from cold or heat and a safe place if your pet is outdoors. Make sure your yard also has a high enough fence for your breed and any gates are securely latched or locked.
Many pet owners find great peace of mind when they have the ability to check in and see that all is safe while they’re not home. Is it your pup or cat stealing your socks? Is your elderly dog getting up and around during the day? Has the pet sitter been to visit? Use your wireless security camera to peek in using live streaming video, set notification alerts that you choose, or check your recorded video clips to know what’s happening.
Take a close look around your home and remove any items that can cause injury or make an animal ill, such as small items that might cause choking.
To prevent poisoning, securely store cleaners, chemicals and medications. Paints, mineral spirits, solvents and some cleaning products can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Be sure to read and follow directions for using and storing these items with your pets in mind. Also, prevent or clean spilled or leaking antifreeze, which can be fatal for pets.
Keep your pet away from any home improvement areas. Sharp items, such as nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools pose a threat especially to dogs that like to chew.
Be aware that certain foods, such as chocolate, can cause illness or death for a pet.
Our pets can suffer from allergies too – from food, plants, and pollens. Symptoms can vary from minor to severe, such as anaphylactic shock. Watch your pet for allergic reactions and consult your veterinarian if needed.
Secure pets properly when traveling, with a harness or in a pet carrier. As part of your emergency preparedness planning, keep handy a carrier, pet supplies, and a list of hotels that accept pets in the event you need to evacuate your home with little notice.
Pet Safety Tips During Halloween Season
Halloween poses specific threats to our beloved pets, and we recommend the following tips especially this time of year:
For the safety of your pet and neighborhood visitors, keep your pets indoors on Halloween. Unfortunately, pets can be taunted, stolen or harmed (especially black cats). Your pet also could become nervous with all the noise and visitors and act out inappropriately.
Along with chocolate, some artificial sweeteners can be a risk to your pet, causing a rapid drop in blood sugar, vomiting, muscle tension or seizures. Hide your kids’ trick-or-treating bounty so your pet is not able to dig in. If you suspect your pet has ingested a treat, contact your vet for guidance.
Holiday porch decorations, such as pumpkins, candles, hay bales, fake cobwebs and more can be lots of fun for a roaming, curious pup. When you’re out strolling this month, keep your dog on a leash and watch closely where she explores or what she attempts to nibble.
Provide Care for Pets When you’re not Home and During an Emergency
Your home security service or smart home automation system also can help keep your beloved pet safe and comfortable. If you own a monitored alarm system, keep in mind these ways for supervising and protecting your pet around the clock:
A monitored smoke sensor can alert you and your alarm monitoring center, which will contact emergency personnel if there is smoke or fire in your home when you’re not there.
Monitored carbon monoxide detectors also ensure help can be sent if levels of this dangerous gas become high in your home.
Ensure your pet is warm or cool enough with smart thermostat with automated control or remote energy management, using your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, from anywhere.
For pets that prefer daytime talk shows or classical music, use your home automation system to remotely control your entertainment system.
A sad reality is that pets can be harmed during a break in, and some breeds are even targeted for theft. Your security system and wireless cameras with video monitoring can help deter and catch any would-be criminals who might threaten your pet.
Our pets provide unconditional love and rely on us to keep them safe. These tips, along with help from a sitter or security system – plus lots of love – will keep your buddy healthy and happy for a long, long time.
If your family doesn’t include a four-legged friend but you love the thought of helping animals in need, spread the word about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month on social media using #AdoptAShelterDogMonth or share our tips with a friend who has brought home a new dog.