September is National Preparedness Month, and we’re busy helping pet parents get ready to face a natural disaster or emergency before it strikes. Here are three things you can do this month to help your pets weather a storm:
1. Download the ASPCA Mobile App. Our new app allows users to store critical pet records required to board pets at evacuation shelters, provides customized steps to search for lost pets, and includes a check-list of actions to take before, during and after a storm.
2. Microchip your pet! Microchipping could be your pet’s best ticket home if he becomes lost. The chip contains owner contact information and can be read by scanner at most animal shelters. Ask your veterinarian about microchipping your pet asap.
3. Attend our Google+ Hangout on September 18 at 7:00 P.M. ET. We’re bringing together experts from the ASPCA, FEMA and the USDA for a Google+ Hangout moderated by Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee. Topics will include how to prepare for a disaster with pets, what to do if a disaster strikes, and how to find pet-friendly evacuation locations. Join us!
If your dog uses his time alone in the house to bark endlessly, pee on the carpet, or tear up the sofa—and those behaviors are accompanied by depression or stress—your pooch may be suffering from separation anxiety, a very common behavior problem.
Overcoming disorders like separation anxiety takes time, patience and consistency, but it can be done! Just take the following steps, and you’re already on your way.
Make sure the problem is separation anxiety. The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing your pet’s misbehavior. Next, rule out other behavior problems. For example, consider whether your dog’s inappropriate elimination is due to incomplete housetraining.
Take action. So you’re sure the problem is separation anxiety? Try these strategies to address the issue:
Keep all greetings relaxed. When leaving, give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then don’t pay any more attention to him until he’s calm and relaxed.
Give your dog a workout. Giving your dog lots of mental and physical stimulation goes a long way toward quelling behavior problems—especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal behavior. And once she’s all tuckered out, your pal won’t have much energy left to get into trouble.
Reward your pooch! Teach your dog to associate your departure with a reward, like a delicious stuffed Kong or other food-dispensing toy. This positive association can help resolve the problem, as well as distract your dog for the first few minutes you’re gone!
A few weeks ago, we shared an Urgent Alert about the dangers of leaving dogs in parked cars on hot days. What we didn’t know at the time, though, was just how urgent the situation truly is.
According to a new poll conducted by the ASPCA, an overwhelming majority of adults—93 percent—who have never encountered a dog in a car on a hot day said they would do something to help, but of those adults who actually faced such a situation, only 63 percent took action.
“Taking decisive action when you see a dog left in a hot car is critical during these warm months,” said Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “There is a startling gap between those who state they would act and those who actually did something when faced with the reality of a dog at risk.”
The nationwide telephone survey also revealed the following findings:
51 percent of those who saw or heard a dog in a hot car made attempts to look for the owner, making it the most common action taken
24 percent said they made attempts to rescue the dog themselves and 23 percent called the police
Women were much more likely than men to have taken action (75 percent versus 58 percent) after seeing a dog in a hot car
When an animal is in danger of overheating, your actions can literally mean the difference between life and death. We hope that you will make a commitment to act whenever you encounter a dog alone in a hot car—and you can start by taking our pledge today.
The lovely warm weather brings out the nature lover in many of us, including our pets! If you’re taking your pet along for some outdoor adventures, such as an overnight camp trip, you’ll want to read our expert tips from the folks at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
1. Bring a pet first aid kit. It is always better to be prepared and often remote campsites will not have quick access to veterinary care.
2. Be sure to locate the closest animal emergency clinic and add its contact information to your phone.
3. Pet proof! Before you let your pet out on your campsite, thoroughly inspect the area to make sure other campers haven’t left anything behind.
4. Don’t let your pet roam. Because your pet is not familiar with the area, he could get lost, fall into a river, or become stuck. Other well-meaning campers may feed him something toxic or may have rat poison out in their campsite. He also may have a run in with some not-so-well meaning wildlife. (Your pet first aid kit will have everything you’ll need to make a de-skunking bath that really works).
5. Make sure that your pet has proper ID on her collar at all times and a reflective collar if she will be out on the campsite at night.