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Cold Weather Tips from the Denver Dumb Friends League

YBFF Pet Tips - Cold Weather Tips from the Denver Dumb Friends League

The following tips were found at the Denver Dumb Friends League Website - Click Here

During cold weather months, itís always a good idea to take extra precautions when it comes to the well-being of your pets. Here are some guidelines for when the temperature drops:

  • Make sure all pets have a warm place to sleep in the house, off the floor and away from drafts. Kittens and older cats will appreciate a heated pad or bed (readily available at pet supply stores).
  • Donít leave tiny, short-haired, or very young or old dogs outside without supervision. Warm sweaters or doggy coats will keep them comfortable on walks. Long-haired, larger dogs and those with double coats (like the Nordic breeds) may enjoy the cold and snow, but they, too, should live primarily indoors with the family.
  • Dogs that spend time outdoors need plenty of fresh water available. They canít burn calories without water, and if they canít burn calories, they canít keep warm. Also, use a tip-resistant, ceramic or hard plastic water bowl rather than a metal one; when the temperature is low, a dogís tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
  • Keep your dogís coat well groomed. Matted fur wonít protect her from the cold.
  • After a walk, wipe her feet, legs and stomach area to prevent ingestion of salt or dangerous chemicals. For your own walkways, use a pet-friendly ice-melt product.
  • Never let dogs off leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Make sure they are always wearing ID tags and are microchipped for an extra measure of protection.
  • Check your garage and driveway for antifreeze and other chemicals. Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that attracts animals. Wipe up any spills right away. Better yet, use pet-safe antifreeze, which is made with propylene glycol. If ingested in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife or your family.
  • Never leave a pet alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on your car hood or honk the horn before starting the engine. In their search to stay warm, outdoor cats often take refuge next to a warm car engine or tire.
  • Keep snow from piling up high next to your fence. A packed snowdrift will provide a boost for dogs to escape the confines of your yard.
  • Consider the amount of exercise your dogs receive during colder weather, and adjust their food supply accordingly. Inside and lazy? Less food. Outside and active? More food may be needed to produce more body heat. Consult your veterinarian to be sure.

The Denver Dumb Friends League is the largest community-based animal sheltering organization in the Rocky Mountain region. They are a leader in providing shelter and humane care to companion animals and horses; rescuing sick, injured, abused and neglected animals; adopting pets and horses to new homes; offering training and advice to help pets stay in homes; reducing pet overpopulation; and educating the public about animals and their needs.


Making the Holidays Safe for Your Dogs

YBFF Holiday TipsThe holidays can be a hectic time of year for people, but all the hustle and bustle can affect your dog, too.

Holiday guests, travel plans or even just a change to the daily routine can be stressful for your dogs, sometimes causing them to act out of sorts. Some can shy away and hide in fear, where others can even show signs of aggression.

But donít worry; there are some things you can to help ease the stress Fido may be experiencing at this time of year. Here are some things you can do:

Maintain a Regular Schedule: Keep your daily routine the same as much as possible. That means feeding, walking and playing with your dog at the usual times.

Provide them a Comfort Zone: Provide a safe place for your dog to escape to. A quiet bedroom where your dog can go to get away from the commotion and be alone may help to alleviate anxiety.

Allow Meet and Greets on your Dogís Terms: Donít force your dog to interact with new people or unfamiliar pets. Allow your dog to initiate the contact.

Animals as Gifts

YBFF Pet Tips - Animals As GiftsThe holidays are a popular time for welcoming a new furry friend into your family. There may not be a greater gift for homeless animals than to open your heart and home to them. As they do year-round, animal shelters have thousands of wonderful companions available for adoption.

But whether you are considering a new friend for you or someone else, remember that choosing an animal is a big decision. Instead of bringing home an animal right away, consider putting together and wrapping an ďadoption kit.Ē Fill a box with toys, a bed, a leash, a collar, food, treats and a gift certificate for adoption fees at your local shelter. Then, make an event of visiting the shelter to find your next best friend!

Remember, millions of homeless animals wait for a home each year! Give the gift of life this year and choose to adopt!

Animals and Christmas Decorations

YBFF Pet Tips - Animals and Decorations 

Holidays bring special cards, gifts decorated with ribbons, tinsel or yarn, and special decorations like Christmas trees. Unfortunately, animals appreciate these items, as well -- and many of them can cause serious damage.


Safety Considerations for Christmas Trees

  • Anchor trees securely...climbing cats and dogs with wagging tails can knock
    over your tree.
  • Hang breakable, glass ornaments well out of reach. The small glass and metal fastenings can be stepped on or even swallowed by your pet.
  • Keep tinsel, ribbons and garland out of petsí reach, especially cats that are
    intrigued by them. These can become lodged in their intestines, cause
    obstructions and lead to surgery or death.
  • Clean up pine needles frequently. They can be toxic when eaten by your pet.
  • Prevent your pet from drinking water in the tree stand if you have added
    preservative chemicals. These can be poisonous to pets. Also, stagnant
    water can contain bacteria, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

Animals and Holiday House Plants

Although they add a warm touch, many plants can harm your pets. Keep these potentially dangerous bloomers well out of reach.

  • YBFF Pet Tips - Animals and House PlantsLilies can be deadly to cats, and many types can cause cats to have kidney failure.
  • Poinsettias, although not as toxic as people often think, can upset your pet's digestive system.
  • Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic, can cause stomach upset and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems.
  • Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and lethargy.
  • Certain types of ivy, such as English ivy, can also cause severe harm.
  • Amaryllis can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Hibiscus can cause diarrhea.

Animals and Holiday Food Hazards

YBFF Pet Tips - Animals and Food HazardsBefore you give in to those gorgeous, pleading eyes and feed your pet that leftover turkey leg or Halloween candy bar, be aware of the harmful and even deadly consequences of feeding ďpeopleĒ food to any companion animal.

One way to reduce this temptation is to feed your pet before guests arrive, so your pet will be less likely to beg and steal food. Inform your guests of the house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding him scraps from the table. Also, if your guests smoke, be extra vigilant and keep nicotine and alcohol out of your petís reach. These can be highly toxic -- even deadly!

Below are some foods that can be harmful to your pet on holidays and year-round:

  • Rich, fatty foods, such as turkey skins or gravy can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of a digestive gland, and can be very painful and serious, leading to hospitalization. Stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur if pets consume these items. Limit table scraps, and let your guests know as well.
  • Any kind of bone can tear or obstruct your pet's intestinal tract. Make certain all bones are disposed of properly. Poultry bones can be especially dangerous or even fatal to animals.
  • Often used to tie the turkey during roasting, strings can tie up your pet's insides, too.
  • Found in abundance in turkey stuffing, onions are toxic and can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. Foods containing high amounts of onion powder should also be avoided.
  • Grapes and raisins are beautiful to look at but harmful to pets. Keep that cornucopia filled with fresh fruits out of reach. Grapes especially contain toxins that can cause kidney failure.
  • Chocolate -- especially baking chocolate -- can actually kill your dog, so keep all such goodies well out of reach. Chocolate can affect the nervous system and cause urinary system and heart muscle damage in your pet. It also contains theobromine, which can be especially harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities.
  • Coffee is also dangerous to animals. Watch out for grounds and whole beans.
  • Nicotine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate leading to collapse, and in the worst case, even death.
  • Alcoholic beverages should be kept away from animals year-round.
  • Watch the string that ties up the turkey or roast, as well as the little red "pop-up" thermometers. Dogs and cats often eat these tasty things, causing intestinal blockage.

In addition, keep all leftover food out of reach in a closed container. Any garbage can contain toxins such as e-coli that can affect your pet's organs. This includes leftover tinfoil that, when chewed, can obstruct your petís intestinal tract.

If you suspect your pet has gotten into a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian immediately! Have the telephone number to your local emergency animal hospital readily available, as well as the number for the national animal poison control center.

General Pet Tips

Be sure to use pet restraints when traveling in a car

YBFF Pet Tips - Pet Safety While DrivingOne of the many things everyone at YBFF is very conscientious about is pet safety when traveling in a car, for example when taking a cat to the vet, or a dog to the groomer. You buckle up for safety when you're in the car, so should your pet. Unrestrained pets in a car are a distraction to the driver, and can put driver and pet at risk for serious injury, or worse!

To keep pets safe in transit:

  • Never allow pets to travel in the front seat because they are at risk of severe injury, or death if the airbag deploys.
  • Even though it looks like they are loving it don't let dogs ride with their head out the window, or untethered in the back of a truck bed. Both practices put them at risk of being thrown from the vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • To keep pets safe, confine cats to carriers, then secure the carrier with a seatbelt. For dogs, there's the option of a special harness attached to a seat belt, or a well-secured kennel.

Hot Weather Tips

YBFF Pet Tips - Dogs in Hot WeatherSummer is here, and with that you know we'll get some pretty hot days! Please make sure all of your pets are well taken care of and are happy & healthy during those scorching days.

YBFF wants your pets to be safe this Summer. Everyone knows how dangerous it is to leave your dog in a hot car while you pop into the shops, but with temperatures probably hitting 90 + degrees, it can be just as dangerous outside in the sun!

The Doctors Foster and Smith website provides the following list of the tell tale signs of Heatstroke:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased salivation
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Diarrhea

So what should you do if your dog does show signs of heatstroke? 

  • Remove your dog from the hot area immediately
  • Before you take your dog to a veterinarian: gradually lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool water (or lukewarm for smaller dogs); then increase air movement around him with a fan. But be careful not to cool your dog too quickly.
  • Allow free access to water if your dog can drink on his own. But do not force-feed cold water as this could cause choking if he inhales the water.
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian.

How can you prevent heat stroke in the first place?

  • Try to keep your dog in cooler, shaded areas, especially those with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems.
  • Provide access to water at all times.
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A CAR! Even if you are in the shade, crack the window, or will not be gone for long!
  • If you leave your dogs outside, make sure they have access to shaded areas.
  • If the day is hotter than normal, try to limit the normal exercise you provide, instead of jogging, just walk.
  • Do not muzzle your dog.
  • Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
  • Wetting your dog with cool water, or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Keep your dogs in a cool area of the house making use of air conditioning is the best way to keep your dog cool at home while you are away. A great tip to provide a cooler environment, is to freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your pet to lay on.

To read Doctors Foster and Smith's article in full, Click Here...

Remember if it is a hot day and you have to leave your dog in a hot environment, give YBFF a call to arrange a time for one of our team members to visit your pets to make sure they are OK. 

Spring Time Gardening Tips

YBFF Pet Tips - Spring Time GardeningI know it's hard to believe with all the snow we have been getting, but Spring is here! Spring time means it's time to get out and work on the garden after another Winter.

YBFF wants you to Let Your Garden GrowóBut do so With Care.

A good thing to remember, as you work in your garden with your furry friends: fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren't meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them. Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. If your pet ever comes in contact with a poisonous plant or product contact your local vet or always call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

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