Wednesday, May 2, 2012

 Pet Disaster Preparedness Day

May 12th is Pet Disaster Preparedness Day. In addition to making a disaster plan for you and your family, please consider making one for your pets. Many public shelters and Red Cross disaster shelters do not accept pets, so now is a good time to think of a plan in the event of an emergency evacuation. Remember if it is not safe enough for you to stay in your home it is not safe for your pets. Below are a few tips to get your emergency plan started.

Arrange for a safe haven and make an evacuation plan
  • Ask friends/family members outside of your immediate area if they would be willing to provide temporary shelter for your pets. Ask a friend who lives near you to be your designated caregiver. If you were unable to get home in the event of an emergency, this person would go to your home, take your pets and keep them safe until you were able to be reunited with them.
  • Look for pet friendly hotels/motels outside of your immediate area where you and your pets can stay.
  • Ask your vet for a list of kennels/boarding facilities outside of your immediate area where your pets can stay if you are forced to evacuate.
  • Contact your local animal shelter to see if they provide assistance during an emergency. Some shelters will arrange for foster care.
  • Once you have decided where you and your pets will go in an emergency, decide how your family members will contact each other and who will be responsible for bringing your pets and their supplies.
Prepare an evacuation pack for your pets
This pack should be easy to carry and readily accessible. Make sure all members of your household know where it is kept. Listed below are items your pack should contain. It is a good idea to discuss other possible items with your vet.
  • Pet 1st aid kit. Here's a good list of 1st aid supplies you should have for your pet.
  •  A week’s worth of your pet’s food (stored in a water-proof/air-tight container)
  • A week’s worth of water
  • Disposable litter trays and litter (if you have a cat or pet that uses a litter box) 
  • Food/water bowls
  • An extra collar with ID tags and a leash
  • A 2 week supply of any medication your pet takes (stored in a water-proof container)
  •  A crate or carrier
  • A blanket and toys 
  •  A recent photo of your pet
Some pets, such as birds, reptiles and small mammals require special evacuation plans.
Birds should be transported in their cage and covered with a sheet to keep them warm and to reduce any stress. Birds should wear ID bands on their legs. Purchase a timed feeder in advance for your bird. This will insure you pet is fed regularly in the event you cannot evacuate with it. Your bird’s evacuation pack should include a catch net, extra cage liner, a towel and a sheet.
Reptiles will need secure housing once you arrive at your destination. Lizards can be transported just like birds. Snakes can travel in a pillowcase. Your reptile’s evacuation pack should contain a bowl that is large enough for the animal to soak in and a heating pad or other warming device.
Small mammal should be transported in a secure carrier with food, water and bedding materials. Your small mammal’s evacuation pack should contain a hide box or tube, an extra water bottle and a week’s worth of extra bedding materials.

Stay Informed
This is probably the most important thing you can do, after locating pet-friendly shelter for your pets. After last year’s hurricane and earthquake, any sort of emergency seems possible in the DC metropolitan area. It’s important for you to stay informed about any emergencies that could affect you and your pets. Bring your pets indoors at the first threat of inclement weather. Animals can easily become disorientated and stray from home in severe weather. Staying informed will enable you to follow the emergency guidelines put in place by the local, state and federal government. If you take the time now to develop an emergency plan for you and your pets, an emergency situation will be a little less stressful and reduce your worry!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Meet Our Pet of the Month!!

Runner is a 9 year old, Male Brown Tabby. This handsome guy has been with Fetch! since January 2008. Runner loves it when his sitter, Jim comes to visit. They hang out on the back porch where they play. Runner is a very accomplished cat - he can eat treats using his paws! You can tell Runner's owner, Susie loves him very much because she had the back porch built just for him!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month

April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty month. Sadly, animal cruelty is still prevalent in the United States. Only 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws making animal cruelty a felony. Animals can’t speak up for themselves so it’s our responsibility to come forward when we suspect abuse. Animal cruelty can manifest itself in many ways. It is important to know what constitutes as animal cruelty. Neglect is the failure to provide for an animal’s basic needs (i.e. food, shelter, water and veterinary care). Intentional cruelty is purposely inflicting physical harm or injury on an animal.

Keep an eye out for animals in need of help and get to know the animals in your neighborhood. If you notice an animal losing a significant amount of weight, missing fur or the presence of burns, cuts or parasites the animal may be the victim of abuse. If you see an animal chained up outside for long periods of time or kept in in an enclosure that is too small or unsanitary, you should report the situation to Animal Control. In Montgomery County, a tethered animal must be on a harness and cannot be left outside for more than 2 hours at a time between the hours of 8am and 8pm. The tether should be at least 5 times the length of the animal and weigh no more than 1/8 of the animal’s weight.
If you suspect an animal is being abused it is important that you gather as much information as possible before contacting animal control authorities and if you can, take a picture of the animal. Montgomery County residents should report animal abuse to Animal Control.

Hopefully, none of us will witness animal cruelty in our neighborhoods but there are actions we can take in our personal lives to reduce violence against animals:
  • Teach children to respect and be kind towards animals.
  •  Make responsible choices regarding the products we buy, eat and wear.
  • Adopt a shelter pet. Puppy mills and backyard breeds are some of the worst offenders when it comes to animal cruelty.  
  • Contact and become active in your area’s local SPCA, humane society or animal advocacy group.
Remember your vigilance may be what saves an animal from a life of abuse and neglect.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month. It’s amazing how many things can be poisonous to pets. Not all exposure/ingestion of poisonous materials requires an immediate trip to the vet, so if you suspect your pet ate something it shouldn’t have, don’t panic!  Try to determine what and how much your pet ate and assess its condition. A pet that is unconscious, losing consciousness, having difficulty breathing or has a seizure needs immediate medical care. Keep the name and number of your local veterinarian on file. It is also a good idea to keep the name and number of an afterhours/emergency animal clinic handy. There are two in the DC-metro area:

Friendship Hospital for Animals - located in Northwest DC. Phone number: 202-591-3575

VCA Veterinary Referral Associates  - located in Gaithersburg, MD. Phone number: 240-813-8079

Even if your pet seems fine, it’s still a good idea to call your vet or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). The APCC is open 24 hours, 365 days a year. There is a $65 fee to use the service. The phone number is 888-426-4435. The APCC is staffed by veterinary health professionals who have received special training in veterinary toxicology.

When calling your local vet or the APCC hotline have the following information ready:
  •   The species, breed, age, weight and gender of the animal
  •   The animal’s symptoms 
  •    Information about what and how much was ingested or what the animal was exposed to    
  •   How long since the poison was ingested
·         If possible, have the product's container/packaging available. If needed, collect any materials the animal may have vomited or chewed to take to the vet.

As we mentioned before, it’s incredible how many things we have in our homes that are harmful to pets. Who would have thought pennies minted after 1982 could harm your pet? Or that eating macadamia nuts can cause a dog to be depressed, vomit, have tremors and/or hyperthermia. Many of these items are foods we eat on a daily basis or products we use to clean our homes. As a pet owner it’s very important to remember that just because it’s safe for humans doesn’t mean it’s safe for our pets. The ASPCA has compiled a great list of tips for creating a poison safe home for your pets. Be sure to check out their list of toxic and non-toxic flowers and plants. Before you banish all unsafe foods and products from your home, remember prevention is the best thing we pet owners can do to keep our furry friends safe.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

 Cold Weather Tips for Your Pets
Maryland winters are notoriously erratic. As we saw this past week, it can be 30 degrees one day and 70 the next. Keeping your pets safe and comfortable during the winter months can be quite a challenge. Here are a few tips to help your pets make it through winter.

  •       Keep cats indoors – cats can easily get hurt or freeze to death in colder temperatures. 
  •       Don’t leave your pets in the car unattended.
  •     When you come back inside after an icy and snowy walk remember to wipe your dog’s paws and stomach thoroughly. Snow can get trapped in between your dog’s paws and cause the pads to crack and bleed. Rock salt and other chemicals used to treat roads can make your pets sick if ingested.
  •      Use only pet-friendly rock salt to melt ice on your sidewalks and driveway.
  •    Consider buying your dog a coat and set of boots. Coats are a necessity for short-haired breeds and smaller dogs. Boots help protect dogs’ feet from ice and snow and provide traction in slippery conditions.
  •    If your dog won’t wear boots (or you think they are too goofy) try applying a barrier cream to your dog’s paws. The cream only needs to be applied once a week and helps protect your dog’s paw pads from chemicals and ice. You can even use Crisco! 
  •    Don’t allow your dog to run around off leash in the snow (except in the dog park). A dog can easily lose their scent and not be able to find their way home. More dogs are lost in winter than during any other time of year.
  •    Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep. It should be off the floor and away from any drafts.
  •   Keep anti-freeze out of pets’ reach and clean up any spills. Pets enjoy anti-freeze’s sweet taste but even ingesting a small amount can kill a pet.