Georgetown Animal Services

Safety for Your Pet

No matter what kind of pet you have, it will depend on you to keep it safe. Each kind of animal has special safety needs that you should find out about and be aware of. Here are some of the most common safety tips for dogs and cats.

►Keep your dog on a leash when you are out for a walk to keep it safe from being hit by a car or running off and getting lost.

►Do not let your dog ride in the back of a pickup truck. Dogs can’t hold on the way humans can and any sudden start, stop, or turn can toss your pet onto the highway. If hitting the road at a high speed doesn’t kill your dog, the oncoming traffic probably will. Grit could blow into the eyes or nasal passages and cause damage. It is safest to allow your dog to ride inside the truck cab, or leave it at home. If it 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, and tie the crate to the walls of the truck bed so it cannot slide about or be tossed out of the truck.

►Leaving your pet in a parked car can be a deadly mistake. Do not leave your dog in a parked car. On a warm day, the temperature in a parked car can heat up like an oven (it can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes), even with the windows cracked! Open windows, shaded parking areas or air conditioned cars with the motor off won’t save your pet’s life. Dogs don’t sweat through their skin as people do. They use their lungs to cool off. With only hot air to breathe, your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke. In addition, be sure you know these signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse rate, dizziness, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. If your dog becomes overheated, get him into the shade and take these emergency steps: ● Apply ice packs or cold towels to head, neck and chest. ● Don’t give an unlimited amount of cold water. Let him lick ice cubes or even ice cream. ● Get the dog to a veterinarian immediately. It could save your pet’s life.

►Chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Chocolate contains a chemical that can make a dog very sick and even cause death.

►Cats are safer indoors. Cats may love to go outside, but to keep them safe and save their lives, keep them inside. The average indoor-only cat lives up to three times longer than the cat who goes outside. Cats who go outside can be injured, hit by a car, poisoned, attacked by other animals, exposed to disease, caught in traps, infested with parasites such as worms or fleas, or hurt by cruel people. Cats can be completely happy inside if you provide them with a clean litter box, toys, good care and lots of love and attention.

►Your pet should wear a collar and tag. One of the most important things to do to keep your pet safe is to identify your pet with a collar and tag. If your pet accidentally strays or becomes lost, the tag will let people know that the animal belongs to you.

►Don’t leave pets alone with small children. Your pet can get hurt or scared by a small child because small children do not always know how or understand the need to be gentle with an animal. Keep your pet and the child safe by not leaving them alone, and by teaching the child how to be kind, gentle and not to tease.

►Keep household cleaners, electrical cords, garbage and fragile objects safely away from your pet.

►Many plants are poisonous to your pet – check to see if the plants around your home are dangerous.

► Do not let your dog hang its head out the window of a car as well. Debris could damage eyes and nasal passages.

Medicines and Poisons

• Consult a veterinarian about using any over-the-counter or prescription medication.
• Make sure your dog does not have access to rat poison or other rodenticides.
• Call your veterinarian or The ASPCA National Animal Control Center (ASPCA/NAPCC) for 24-hour animal poison information if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance. The numbers are: 1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435); or 1-900-680-0000. A consultation fee applies.


Rev. 9/13/12

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