There are over 170 million pet owners in the United States alone; most of these are domesticated animals like dogs and cats! Can you imagine that (link worldwide statistics via www.petsecure.com) Americans spend up to $50 billion a year caring for them?! Imagine how much is spent on perfectly avoidable veterinary bills. While regular veterinary check-ups and routine care are essential for any domestic animal, many emergency and rescue expenses occur because of exposure to unsafe conditions and outdoor dangers.
The most common advice is to become more aware of the internal and external home environment and wise up on the potential risks they might pose. We often don’t realize what might be dangerous to animals in an enclosed garden; for example, the reality is that many common plants and herbs are harmful when consumed by small, domesticated pets.
Statistics show that animals who spend their lives predominantly inside live longer than those who live more ‘outdoor’ lives. Pet owners are also more likely to be familiar with an indoor cat’s health patterns and be able to identify any imbalances when they arise immediately. Keeping indoor versus outdoor pets
When it comes to keeping pets safe outdoors, your animal’s age will also determine its susceptibility to dangers. For instance, younger, inexperienced, and untrained animals run into more complications outdoors than older, trained pets do. It would help if you waited at least one week after the final vaccinations had been administered to take the puppy outside for extended periods. This is simply to protect young and vulnerable puppies from contracting potentially deadly diseases from external sources and allow their immune systems time to adapt to the new, preventative medicine. The downside to keeping them indoors is that little social interaction with other dogs is significant for young animals. It can significantly speed up their development and ability to respond to training.
Rainstorms, thunder, and lightning can be particularly terrifying to dogs, cats, and domestic pets who are used to being kept safe and warm indoors. Therefore, you’ll often see them behave oddly in the immediate lead-up to a big storm.
Tips in the rainy season
– Always keep a private kennel or area of the yard open for your pet during unpredictable rainfall.
– After a wet period, wash and treat your pet’s coat and allow time to dry properly. Observe your pet for signs of cold or flu-like symptoms, and immediately take them to the nearest vet if they become lethargic
– Consider using a thunder coat during storms to help your dog feel safe
-Natural anti-anxiety herbs such as CBD, passionflower, chamomile, and valerian are helpful during this time
Impact climate change is having on animals
Pets and fireworks are disastrous; there is simply no way around this. Loud noises naturally trigger dogs. Their nervous systems respond immediately by entering fight-or-flight mode and often become anxious and afraid. This also happens with any natural loud noises, such as thunder or heavy rainfall. Dogs interpret the low grumble of fireworks as akin to the growls of a more giant predator, which in the wild would mean immediate and life-threatening danger – hence the fight-or-flight response and urge to run. As a pet owner, protect your pet by keeping them safely indoors and sheltered from any noise pollution associated with celebratory fireworks.
Here are some ways to protect a dog from firework-induced terror
1. When backyards or free-reign within the house is not enough, the most effective protective measure for a concerned pet during fireworks is to prepare a safe, enclosed, and insulated space – ideally somewhere they are already familiar with.
2. If possible, stay with your pet during their bout of anxiety. Studies have shown that pets benefit from the presence of one another in times of need, just like humans thrive off one another’s energy. A reassuring hand can make all the difference and comfort them through difficult times.
3. Distracting your pet by providing their favorite food and toys to play with inside this space can help tremendously. If you’re still unconvinced about just how much care must be taken around fireworks with pets, check out this article Fear and Anxiety can impact your pup’s lifespan
4. Consider natural anti-anxiety herbs, such as chamomile, passionflower, valerian, oat, and skullcap. Check out Charlotte’s web Calming Chews for https://bit.ly/ 2CA5uMJDogs
Pesticides & Toxic Plants
Another major threat to domestic animals outdoors is the toxins and damaging substances regularly used as weed killers and pesticides. Up to ten thousand dogs are poisoned annually, and the study linked below from the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory states that 13.9% of all emergency pet-poison calls made were due to the ingestion of pesticides!
Common garden plants such as hibiscus, azalea, oleander, and rhododendron are harmful to pets when chewed or ingested accidentally. Herbicides, insecticides, and ant and roach baits were other toxins that proved deadly to domestic animals. Look at this surprising study Dog and Cat Exposures to Hazardous Substances.
Some other things you can do to prevent contact
– Keep pet bowls and all food-related items away from known areas where pesticides are used.
– For pesticides containing food-related items that may appeal to pets, keep them out of reach and off-limits.
– Always read the labels of any chemicals or pest-related items before using them in an area known to your pet. – Remove pets from the area before using any pesticides and keep them well away until the air has cleared and the pesticide has run its course.
– The safest (and easiest) action plan is to avoid using toxic plants and chemicals in your yard. Consider organic fertilizer and pest killer for your yard and garden to keep your pets safe.
Summer Heat and Activities
Sweltering weather conditions can lead to your pet overheating and becoming dehydrated.
Symptoms of this include:
– Panting, loss of breath, or difficulty breathing
– Increased heart rate
– Drooling and weakness
If you live in a warm climate or traveling to a friendly environment that your animal is not used to, a bit of awareness goes a long way when it comes to protecting your pet from the sun and making sure a sheltered space is available to them along with plenty of cool, clean water. In most US climates, this weather condition will only occur for part of the year, so it’s even more important to be wary when it does and ensure the correct environment is in place for your pet.
It’s common to think that trimming your pet’s hair during hot weather will be helpful, but be wary of how long it’s trimmed if the weather is sweltering. Trimming down to the skin can put pets at further risk of sunburning and damaging their health. Check with your vet about the best fur length for your particular breed and the pet’s age. Groomers should be wary of this, too, and they should be informed if you know that your pet will be spending lengthy amounts of time outdoors.
Depending on the climate and immediate environment you live in, the wildlife your pet will encounter will vary greatly. While many snakes are harmless, many others are not. Snakes that may not pose much danger to humans can be potentially lethal to domesticated animals. So, it would help if you made it a priority to identify the creatures that pose the most threat in your area. One way to combat this is to make your outdoor environment as unappealing to the unwanted animals as possible. In the case of snakes, for example, high grassy areas and areas with available food and water sources will be more likely to attract snakes in addition to your pets. Investing in snake-proof fences and ensuring your pet stays firmly on a leash when walking in bushland or forested areas is vital to this, too. Tips on how to snake-proof your yard
Unknown depths and riverbanks not allowing for easy escape mean that inexperienced or younger animals can often get stranded in the water and succumb to their struggles if left alone. Always supervise your pet, especially in a new environment with younger pets! With household swimming pools, it’s best to avoid letting your pet swim for extended periods, as chlorine and salt are not suitable for your dog’s eyes, skin, fur, eyes, nose, or stomach. It’s best to give your pet a good rinse immediately after swimming in this kind of water. Never leave pets unattended around in-ground pools or deep bodies of water they may have access to.
Signs of Stress – Be Observant
Knowing how to identify when your pup is feeling stressed is essential. This is often overlooked and, when ignored, can lead to signs of aggression.
- You should remove your dog from the situation when you notice the following signs:
Previously open mouth suddenly closes
- Ears go back
- The tail rises above the body
- Yawning begins
- Tongue flicks as if licking his lips
- Turns entirely away from the approaching dog or averts just the eyes or head
- Starts scratching or sniffing
Part 2 of this series will focus on traveling with your pet, including pre-travel planning, a pet travel kit, and helpful pet travel apps.