How Safe Is Your Dog in the Car?

Bravo, Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety.

Breaking pet safety news, via USA Today:

As just about any motorist knows by now, the federal government has laid down stringent requirements regarding auto crash safety — whether it’s seat belts, air bags or dashboard materials. But what about the safety of dogs in auto accidents?

There are no requirement on the strength of safety of pet restraints in cars, says the Center for Pet Safety, a non-profit service which has been conducting crash tests with dog dummies to test the effectiveness of dog restraints.

So far, the results aren’t encouraging. The initial test using the same kind of sled used for crash test dummies showed every restraint for pets failed. The tests showed the likelihood of serious injuries or deaths to the animals. Moreover, pets can become “missiles” in accidents and injure people as well. Not only were many restraints not strong enough, but dogs could be choked by them in an accident.

The center’s testing is financially backed by Subaru, which says the research is important to its owners. Subaru spokesman Kevin McHale says the automaker was “appalled” to find out about the lack of pet restraint standards. “Half our owners have dogs so we really want to make sure they know what they are buying when they buy a pet harness,” he says.

Heat Stroke Signs in Dogs

It’s important for pet owners to consider hot weather safety during the summer months. Heat stroke, paw pad burns from hot asphalt, and sunburns are all potential risks for pets during the summer. Short-nosed dogs, like bulldogs and pugs, and dogs with a heavy coat are at an elevated risk for heat stroke. VetDepot’s Summertime Safety for Your Pet infographic provides important information on recognizing the signs of heatstroke and tips for keeping pets safe.

Do you know how to recognize the signs of heat stroke in your dog?

Summertime Safety for Your Pet

Fireworks Tips for Dogs

fireworks

We all look forward to celebrating the 4th with fireworks… but for your dog, this week could be full of fear and anxiety. Here are some great fireworks tips for keeping your dog calm from Caesar’s Way:

1.) Go for a long walk before celebrating. If you normally take your dog out for thirty minutes, take a two-hour hike instead! You want your dog to be completely exhausted. This way his brain will be so tired that he won’t be able to concentrate on the fireworks.

2.) Use canine-safe ear plugs. It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous system, and they may become nervous, afraid, unsure, or shy. Running away from the noise is a survival mechanism. If you can block the noise, it may curb the “flight” response.

3.) Distract your dog. Once the fireworks go off, ask him to do obedience behavior, put him on the treadmill, or strap on his backpack. This helps him focus on something other than the noise.

4.) Involve your dog’s nose. Scents such as lavender or pine can help encourage your dog to relax.

5.) Maintain calm and assertive energy. Don’t feel sorry or frustrated. Don’t blame the fireworks or the people setting them off. These negative emotions will just feed your dog’s anxiety; it won’t help the situation!

6.) Keep your dog on a leash. This will give you more control and help you prevent your dog from running off.

7.) Make sure your dog has I.D. If your dog does become lost, tags and microchips can get him back to you safely. You may also want to consider investing in a device that allows you to locate your dog immediately, like Global Pet Finder.

8.) Be proactive! If you learn that your dog is nervous around fireworks, start preparing now for next year. I recommend that you begin conditioning your dog to be comfortable with these loud sounds at least three months in advance. Don’t wait until Independence Day to introduce your dog to the loud sounds associated with fireworks. Download the sounds of firecrackers, pistols, and other loud noises, and allow your dog to hear them at a low volume while he’s eating, walking, sleeping, and watching TV with you. Gradually increase the volume each day until your dog is comfortable with the sounds at the highest level. I also recommend that you introduce the scent of fireworks to your dog, so he becomes comfortable with that. It’s a simple process, but it takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute to do something about it, and next year it will be a walk in the park!