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Tag: tips

Postal service wants to stamp out dog bites

Happy National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Once again, the U.S. Postal Service — 2,863 of whose letter carriers were bitten last year — is launching its annual dog bite prevention campaign.

And that’s just part of a larger effort aimed at reducing the 4.7 million dog bites that occur each year,  mostly with youngsters as the victims.

Half of all U.S. children will be bitten by a dog by the time they’re high school seniors, says pediatrician Alison Tothy, chairwoman of the committee on injury and poison prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics Illinois chapter.

The academy, postal service, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and several other groups have joined in the National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 16 – 22) campaign, according to UPI.

Here are the tips the Postal Service provides on avoiding dog bites.

– Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.

– If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.

– Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.

– If you believe a dog is about to attack, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.

Dog owners, meanwhile, are encouraged to keep dogs inside and away from the door when the postal carrier comes, and to not let children take mail from the carrier in the presence of a dog.

(Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)

Dog soils set on “Live with Regis and Kelly”

Beth Ostrosky Stern, wife of Howard Stern, spokeswoman for the North Shore Animal League, and author of a new book that kind of swiped our website’s name, appeared on “Live with Regis and Kelly” yesterday morning.

The author of “Oh My Dog” brought along three dogs — her own, a bulldog named Bianca, and two others, Scooter and Ladybug, who were rescued from the recent Tennessee floods and are up for adoption.

About halfway through Ostrosky Stern’s recitation of summertime tips for dog owners, Scooter urinated on the set’s fake bushes; then a little later Scooter squatted on the artificial grass for his morning constitutional.

It made what was a pretty cut and dried segment a little livelier.

The book, described as a manual for dog owners, has no connection to ohmidog!, the website.

Most reviews of the book have been less than kind, but we won’t go so far as to suggest that what Scooter was expressing was an editorial opinion.

AKC offers tips on preventing dog theft

The American Kennel Club says dog thefts are on the rise.

The AKC says it has has tracked more than 115 missing pets via incidents reported by news media and customer reports through Nov. 30 of this year, compared to a total of 71 in 2008.

The AKC offers the following advice to lessen the chances of your dog being stolen:

– Don’t leave your dog off-leash or unattended in your yard. Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.

– Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked.

– Don’t tie your dog outside a store. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

– Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip.

– If you suspect your dog has been stolen. Immediately call the police / animal control officer in the area your pet was last seen and file a police report.

- Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is no way to verify where an animal purchased from any of these outlets came from.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club website.

Pennsylvania ups reward for dogfighting tips

Authorities in Pennsylvania are offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dogfighting.

The reward was announced Monday in Philadelphia by Attorney General Tom Corbett and The Humane Society of the United States. About 40,000 people are believed to be involved in dogfighting across the country, Corbett said.

The reward also applies to cockfighting.

The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) says it has received more than 400 complaints about dogfighting in the first six months of this year –  up from 245 complaints during all of 2008.

The announcement came the morning after convicted dogfighter Michael Vick played in his first regular season game as a Philadelphia Eagle.

Read more »

Getting your dog through thunderstorms

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With the thunder and lightning seeming to be nearly a daily occurence this week, here are some tips on helping your dog weather the storms.

Dogs’ fear of thunder can be a result of different factors. Some dogs may be genetically disposed to the problem, while others may have learned to be afraid of storms. Some may react mildly to them, some severely. Some — as with my dog Ace and fireworks — don’t develop the fear until they are 4 or 5 years old. As a result there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment, but here’s a look at some of them  remedies being touted on the marketplace.

For starters, good old fashion cotton stuffed in the ears helps some, but make sure you don’t stuff it in so tightly and deeply it becomes stuck.

Some veterinarians suggest trying to desensitize the dog to thunder by playing a tape or CD with storm sounds, turning it on for a few seconds at a time, then increasing the increments, until the dog becomes conditioned to it.

Many theorize that it’s the static electricity and changes in barometric pressure that disturbs some dogs, which explains why they might get upset before the storm actually starts, or why they might head for the bathtub.

The “Storm Defender” — one of the solutions featured in the video above — is a product that claims to keep your dog from becoming anxious and destructive during a storm by putting him in a cape made of metallic fabric. It’s makers say it disperses the static electricity that builds up before a storm and may make a dog feel unsettled.

Other versions of canine ”thunderwear” are available, ranging from earmuffs and head halters to swaddling attire that can help calm stressed-out dogs.

Other remedies include medication, such as anti-anxiety drugs — the canine versions of Xanax of Prozac — that are becoming increasingly prescribed by veterinarians. Some suggest the herbal form of Valium, valerian, or dog appeasing pheromones.

Beyond that, the advice is much the same as it is for the Fourth of July – turn on the television, stay home, play music, let the dog stay close, but don’t coddle , and above all, don’t scold.

For even more tips and background, check out this Associated Press story.

AKC launches Pet Fire Safety Day

Yesterday marked the first “National Pet Fire Safety Day,” proclaimed by the American Kennel Club to increase awareness about the risks pets face when left home alone.

To help reduce the estimated 500,000 pets affected by home fires each year, The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services released a series of prevention, escape and rescue tips for pet owners.

Pet proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes and alerting rescuers of your pets’ presence with window clings is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm, said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson.

Some tips:

– Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame.

– Pet Proof the Home – Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards.

– Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.

– Practice Escape Routes with Pets — Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.

– Use smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center, providing an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.

– Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling — Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window cling here. More details are available at the AKC website.

Keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July

fireworks

With the Fourth of July approaching, it’s time once again for a few reminders, most of which we all already know, but, as they say, better safe than sorry.

First off, make sure your dog is wearing identification tags — even if you’re both planning a quiet evening at home.

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) has issued a reminder that even animals not inclined to roam may uncharacteristically do so amid the bangs and booms. Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving a surge of “Independence Day” dogs — so make sure your’s is carrying the information needed to get him or her back to you.

Read more »

Take your dog to work (and more) on Friday

tydtwdAs a firm believer that every day should be “Take Your Dog to Work Day” — and having never worked for a company that would permit such a thing (even once the official day was proclaimed) — I don’t get too awfully excited by it.

Especially now that I work from home, Ace at my side.

On top of that, though, it has always struck me as strange that the day was created by Pet Sitters International, a group whose members, if everyone one took their dog to work, wouldn’t have much to do.

On the other hand, the day does get some employers to open their doors to dogs, and more important, it helps educate the public on the benefits of responsible pet ownership, raises the awareness of the human-animal bond, and supports the efforts of local animal shelters, rescues and humane societies.

So, with the 11th annual “Take Your Dog to Work Day”  approaching — it’s Friday — by all means, take your dog to work, if your employer is enlightened enough to play along.

And in either case, by all means drop by after work at the Maryland SPCA, which is celebrating the day with a “Wine & Wag” party of its own, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The SPCA, at 330 Falls Road in Baltimore, will be offering drinks, snacks and activities that include doggie musical chairs, paw painting, bobbing for hot dogs, a treasure hunt and plenty of free treats, courtesy of Dogma.

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the gate per person. (The event will be canceled and ticket prices will be refunded if the weather is bad.)

If you are taking your dog to work, Barkbusters offered the following tips in a press release.

– Recognize that this can be a stressful experience for your dog, and bring along a favorite pillow or blanket so he has something familiar to comfort him.

– Bring a leash to walk your dog from the car to the office, and to control him in the office.

– Bring food or treats and a water bowl.

– Help your dog pass the time by bringing along dog toys.

– Don’t leave your dog alone with other dogs. If you must leave for a meeting, isolate your dog in a closed office or have a dog-familiar friend sit in until you return.

– Watch for any signs of dog aggressiveness, such as growling, staring, raised hackles, and stiff body posture. Diffuse potential conflict by removing your dog from the area.

– Don’t try to force unfamiliar dogs to “become friends.”

– Check with your supervisor to get an okay to leave work early if your dog can’t handle the new environment. If he becomes too stressed, overexcited or inhibited, it’s best to just take him home. Do not  leave him in your vehicle while you continue to work.

– If a dog fight occurs, don’t try to break it up by hand. Use your dog’s blanket to throw over the heads of the fighting dogs. This will confuse the combatants long enough for you to defuse the situation.

(Photo: Mija, in accounts payable, from Takeyourdog.com)

Hey landlord, something to think about

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A study by Apartments.com has found that 80 percent of renters say a pet-friendly policy plays a major role in where they choose to live, and nearly one of every three seek out a home that is convenient to ameneties like dog parks and walking trails.

A whopping 90 percent of those responding to the survey said they had a pet, and half of the other 10 percent said they plan to get one within the next year.

While the majority of respondents experienced difficulty finding an apartment that allowed pets, 89 percent said they were not put in a position where they had to choose between their animal and a place to live.

For survey respondents who said they were forced to give up a pet, the two main causes were identified as not being able to find an apartment with a pet-friendly policy (65%) or not being able to afford the pet deposit (27%).

Apartments.com says more properties are welcoming pets. More than 11 million searches were conducted on the website in 2008 by people seeking pet-friendly apartments.

For tips on renting with pets, Apartments.com offers a special section on its website.

Week aims to take a bite out of bites

What do children, the elderly and postal workers have in common?

They are the most frequent victims of the estimated 4.7 million dog bites that occur a year — about  386,000 of which require a trip to the emergency room, and 16 of which prove fatal.

If you haven’t already figured it out, it’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week — time to roll out the sobering statistics, and make the point that, with nothing more than education and common sense, those numbers could be reduced dramatically.

Perhaps the most effective way to do so is by educating children — or educating parents to educate their children — on how to behave around dogs.

“Approximately half of the 800,000 Americans who receive medical attention for dog bites each year are children. And when a dog bites a child, the victim’s small size makes the bite more likely to result in a severe injury,” says Dr. James O. Cook, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Statistically, children ages 5 to 9 years old are at the highest risk of being bitten followed by adult males.

While many people are under the impression that certain breeds are more likely to bite, the American Veterinary Medical Association says there’s little scientific evidence to support that claim.

Here are some tips on preventing dog bites, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog and scream.
  • Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still.
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.
  • Customize your workspace, workspace.