Hot Diggity Dog! Keep Fido Fire Safe

Just as you would protect children from dangers around the home, you have to be just as cautious with animals, especially new (and untrained) puppies. Fire sources present a real hazard to small, curious pups who want to explore new areas and are unaware of the risks associated with their nosiness.

So, in honor of Fire Safety Awareness Day, please take the following prevention measures to not only protect your home, but also protect your precious pooch.

1. Use Flameless Candles
The romantic mood of a lit candle can be achieved just the same with a battery-operated candle. And, that way, you don’t have to worry about open flames in the presence of unattended pets. The same goes for lanterns.

2. Beware The Stove
If your dog is tall enough to reach the stove top, you must either section the dog off in another room of the home, or remove the stove knobs before you leave the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, stoves and cooktops are the leading cause of fires started by pets.

3. Ditch The Outdoor Glass Bowls
On a hot day, a fire can be started simply from the reflection of the sun’s rays igniting wood beneath a glass bowl. To avoid this happening, use stainless steel or ceramic dishes on a wooden deck, which focus light in a different way.

4. Secure Fireplace and BBQ
The fireplace and BBQ are two common, widely used fire sources especially during the winter and summer respectively, so make sure pets are far away from the open flames during use – either safely enclosed in another space, or constantly watched by a dedicated helper.

5. Double-Check Your Pet Proofing
Regardless of fire safety, loose electrical wires and appliances that pose a risk should always be secured and/or removed. Even piles of paper or other rubbish could pose a fire hazard if in the wrong environment.

6. Keep Collars On and Leashes Accessible
In the event of a fire or other emergency, you’ll want to be able to grab your dog in a hurry. A collar and easily reached leash are musts for transporting your dog to safety. And if your dog gets loose or a first responder has to bust into your home to retrieve your pet, these items are absolutely necessary.

7. Provide An Escape Route
If you keep your dog in a confined space, make sure to keep them in a room with an easily accessed entry door or train them to be stay in a crate with the door open, so firefighters can find them easily. Installing a doggy door is another safe exit with the added benefit of giving your dog independence to go in and out when he needs. Pets are most likely to perish or be seriously injured in a fire when they’re locked in a kennel or room.

8. Install Monitored Smoke Detectors
Especially if you live in a fire-prone area, you may want to consider installing smoke detectors that automatically alert the fire department if they go off. That way, even if you’re not home, firefighters will be notified to respond and go to your home.

9. Post Pet Stickers in Windows
An effective way to alert emergency responders that there are pets residing within the home are to post signs or stickers like these in visible windows, and make sure all of the information including how many pets are inside, is current. Free stickers should be available at local firehouses nationwide. This simple tip will save firefighters crucial time when searching your home and locating your pets.

Reining in Dogs with Wanderlust

We’ve all seen the infamous “Lost Dog” posters from distraught owners longing to see their furry loved one again. Unfortunately, having a dog run away is a reality many dog-owners face at one point or another. But if your dog bolts from the home, then it might take some extra training to keep him from getting hurt, stolen or worse. Your pup belongs home and safe in your loving arms.

Understanding the Behavior
We all know that dogs like to run. But, why? Is your warm, loving home not good enough? On the contrary, the problem typically has nothing to do with the owner, but rather with the dog’s own natural instincts. Dogs may run away for a number of reasons including boredom, predatory drive or distraction. For example, a dog left alone in the yard for hours without anyone to play with might escape out of boredom, curious of what the outside world has to offer. Like humans, dogs are creatures with social needs, and thus might seek out social stimulation if that need cannot be fulfilled at home. A dog ready to mate, especially a male, un-neutered dog, is prone to roaming as well. After all, he’s got to spread those doggy genes somehow! Lastly, another common reason dogs run away is they have too much energy to contain. Oftentimes owners leave their dogs alone in the yard thinking that they’re doing them a favor, but really, without a companion, dogs will soon grow bored. Especially for dogs who require exercise, being alone in the yard can be frustrating and therefore, a jog around the block can be a much more attractive option. Keep a watchful eye on breeds that are especially prone to wanderlust, including the Siberian Husky, Afghan Hound, terriers, Basset Hound, Great Pyrenees, Puggle, Weimaraner, Schnauzer, Vizsla, shepherds, Alaskan Malamute, Dachshund, Samoyed and Beagle.

Corrective Training
For the owners whose dogs have a taste for wanderlust, there is hope and help. One of the easiest ways to stop your dog from running away is to identify the cause of the behavior. Is he bored or lonely? Then, schedule plenty of playtime every day (the duration depends on the breed, individual personality and physical needs of the dog) and give him tasks to keep mentally and physically alert. Hormonal? Have him neutered to reduce the urge to roam for mating. Or, if your dog is female, have her spayed so that she doesn’t attract male dogs while in heat. Too much energy? Make sure your dog gets the appropriate amount of daily exercise for his type. The following tips can further help your dog stay safe:

• Train your dog to not leave without permission by holding him on a leash and repeatedly giving him the “sit-stay” command when you open the gate or door.
• Take your dog on visits to a local dog park to give him the socialization he needs, both with dogs and other humans.
• Secure your yard with a high fence or gate (ensure the fence extends a few feet underground if you have a digger such as a Husky).
• Make home an ideal place for your dog to be, with his own designated comfort spots and a bowl of clean water throughout the day.
• If you must leave him alone, give your dog a few toys to keep him busy, rotating them periodically to give the impression of something new and exciting every time. Or even better, drop him off at a trusted friend’s house or doggy daycare if you’re away from the house for extended periods of time.
• Finally, do not punish your dog once he returns from his excursion. This will only teach him to dread rather than look forward to his return home.

Having a dog that constantly runs away can be a real cause for anxiety in owners, and it’s not something that can be changed overnight. But, rest assured that with consistent training and positive reinforcement, your dog will see you as a loving parent and his home as a comfort zone, from whom he wouldn’t want to stray.

Keeping Your Dog Calm During 4th of July Fireworks

American Independence Day is a time of national pride and celebration alongside friends and family, including our furry friends. One of the classic ways of celebrating the 4th of July—with fireworks—can also be a startling experience for your pup pal. To a sensitive pooch, the popping of the fireworks sounds like major explosions, the flashes are blindingly bright and the smoke that comes with it is irritating at first whiff. For these reasons, it’s best to leave him at home if you’re planning to go see fireworks during this busy summer holiday. If you do decide to bring Fido along for the fun, make sure you’re well prepared so you can all enjoy the festivities together.

Put a Tag on It
Did you know that more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day? It’s true, and this fact alone should make you aware of how serious of an issue 4th of July safety is when it concerns your precious pup. In the event of a runaway case, make sure to equip your pup with updated ID tags and better yet, a microchip.

Give Off Good Vibes
You may not notice it, but your pup picks up on your emotions enough to know when you are stressed, excited, fearful, etc. Therefore, to keep your dog calm in a stressful situation, you must start by appearing calm yourself. Take a deep breath, slow down your movements and speak to your pup in a happy, relaxed tone. Your reaction to the situation will have an impact on your pup’s response to a slightly scary event.

Tire Him Out
Before the July 4th events, give your pup a nice, long walk to let out all his energy. By the time the festivities begin, he’ll be pooped, and therefore less likely to become excitable. If you’re lucky, he’ll nap right through the night!

Reduce Stimulation

If you and your pup are indoors for the night, which is recommended during 4th of July displays, but are still near enough the fireworks, your pup could still get startled. Reduce the noise level by closing all the doors and pulling down the blinds.

Provide Distractions

If the noise of the fireworks is loud enough to upset your pup, distract him from the sound by turning on the TV, playing some relaxing music or giving him his favorite toy. You may also be able to divert him with treats or a bone to chew on. Crate training your dog is also a helpful way to provide him comfort from a distressing situation in his own safe space.

Try a Thundershirt
Some people swear by Thundershirt to calm their agitated pup. By putting a Thundershirt on your dog before the fireworks start, he will feel greater peace of mind as the soft pressure from the vest helps to relax your pup. They also work great during thunderstorms, hence the product name.

As you celebrate America with patriotism this holiday, remember to keep the wellbeing of your precious pup in mind. With our tips at your disposal, both you and your pup can have a comfortable holiday celebration.