Pets are a part of our families. They ride in our cars with us, they eat our food, and they protect us. But it’s easy to forget that even playtime can be dangerous if unsupervised. Even riding in a car improperly can be the difference between life and death for our four-legged furry friends. Here are safety tips you might need a refresher on, brought to you by the American Humane Society:
DON’T LET YOUR DOG RIDE IN AN OPEN TRUCK BED
Any sudden start, stop, or turn may toss your pet onto the highway where it can get hit by oncoming traffic. It is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die this way each year.
Open truck beds do not provide any protection from the weather. Hot sun can heat the metal floor of a truck bed enough to burn a pet’s paw pads. A dog left sitting in the broiling sun without water or shade may suffer from heat stroke before long.
Do not leash your pet inside the truck bed — many dogs have been strangled when tossed or bumped over the side of the truck and been left helplessly dangling.
If your dog must ride in the back of the truck, put the pet inside a crate that will give it some protection from the wind and weather. Tie the crate securely to the walls of the truck bed, so it cannot slide about or be tossed out of the truck.
KEEP HEAD AND PAWS INSIDE THE CAR
Although most dogs love to stick their heads out open windows, wind can seriously irritate mucous membranes and blow pieces of grit into their eyes.
Insects or flying debris can also lodge in the nasal passages or get sucked into the windpipe.
It may require veterinary attention to remove the foreign material, which could cause permanent damage.
CHECK YOUR PET’S COLLAR REGULARLY
Collars do not expand, but puppies and kittens grow quickly! If not loosened, collars can literally grow right into your pet’s neck, creating an excruciating, constant pain. Check your pet’s collars at least every week until it is full-grown (that can be more than a year for really large breeds of dog). You should be able to easily slip two or three fingers between the pet’s collar and their neck.
It’s vital that you put a collar and an ID on your young pet, just in case he slips by you and gets lost. Get tips on choosing a cat collar and choosing dog collar.
DON’T LET YOUR CAT PLAY WITH A STRING
Although a cat playing with yarn can be cute to watch, it can cause serious problems for the health of your cat! Why are cats attracted to string?
Cats have an instinctual desire to stalk anything that moves. They like string, thread, yam, Christmas tree tinsel, ribbon, even shoelaces. This can be great fun to encourage if you supervise their play.
HOW TO AVOID DEATH THROUGH PLAY
Supervise the cat’s play with items it can choke on.
Put all tinsel and string out of the reach of your pet.
Both dogs and cats can choke on small toys, toys that have items that can fall off such as eyes, or string that has been used to tie meat for cooking.
WHAT TO DO IF THE STRING HAS BEEN SWALLOWED
If you see the string hanging from the animal’s mouth, do not pull it out. The pulling could cause the taut string to saw through an intestinal wall, possibly subjecting the animal to peritonitis.
Immediately take your pet to a veterinarian!
KEEP YOUR CAT INDOORS
It’s a fact that an inside cat lives a longer, healthier life than the kitty that puts paws to the pavement. Outdoor cats face dozens of dangers, including cars, other cats ready to fight for love or territory, and exposure to fleas, ticks, worms, as well as sickness or death from eating spoiled food or household poisons.
MORE VISITS TO THE VETERINARIAN
Outdoor cats need to see the veterinarian more often than indoor cats, and that means higher vet bills. Fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, cuts, diarrhea, a dull coat, and weight loss are all signs of trouble and are most often seen in outdoor cats.
OUTDOOR CATS ARE MORE PRONE TO GET LOST
Not all outdoor cats can find their way home. It just takes one time to get lost.
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