Vol. 13, No. 20 – July 1 – July 14, 2020 – The Pet Page

∙4th of July pet safety

by Amy King

Summer is here and the 4th of July is just around the corner! While you may be celebrating the holiday a little differently this year, it is still very important to remember these dos and don’ts to keep your pets safe.

Fireworks. Keep your pets away from any and all fireworks! These noises can terrify animals and will cause them to run away. The safest place for your pet during this time is in a secure room indoors. Remember that animals can hear things that we can’t, so be mindful of your animal’s behavior. Make sure that your pets are in a safe enclosed area like a crate or bedroom. Leave a TV or radio on for them and tune it to a channel or station that is soothing.

Heat Stroke. Temperatures in the summer can easily reach the triple digits. Provide all animals attending your holiday festivities with access to the same comforts as your human guests. Remember that your pets don’t wear shoes, so make sure they stay off the pavement, concrete, and sand as it can reach over 130 degrees. Make sure there is a shaded area and plenty of fresh water available at all times. Adding a few ice cubes to a bowl of water can make drinking more enticing to help pets stay hydrated.

Identification & Collar. Make sure your animal is always wearing an ID tag and a secure collar. We highly recommend that you have your pet microchipped. Microchips make it much easier to reunite lost pets with their owners. Make sure you have a recent photo of your animal handy in case they do escape to help identify them.

Food & Drinks. Keeping your pet on their normal diet is the safest way to keep them from suffering from any type of food-related illness. Dogs left unsupervised can easily get into things that are potentially hazardous such as bones, twine, and toothpicks. Foods like onions, avocados, grapes, and yeast dough can be very dangerous to your animal’s health. Don’t forget to keep alcoholic drinks away from your pets!

Insect Repellant & Sunscreen. Do not apply any insect repellant or sunscreen on your animal that is not specifically made for pets! Animals may lick off these topical lotions and become very sick. Insect repellant with the ingredient DEET can cause neurological problems in your animal. Signs that your pet may have ingested one of these include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Products such as Citronella candles and insect coils should be kept away from animals at all times. If ingested, it can affect their nervous system and even result in death.

Applying these safety precautions throughout the long weekend will help ensure that you and pets have a fun and safe holiday! The HSVC will be closed on July 4th in observance of the holiday.

∙More people than ever before are opening their hearts and homes to puppies during the coronavirus pandemic. For those who are self-isolating, puppies provide welcome wagging tails and comforting cuddles. Plus, many puppy seekers are discovering they now have the crucial element needed to raise a good dog: time.

So, is now the right time to get a puppy? The answer to that question depends on each person and family. Were you prepared to get a puppy before COVID-19? Do you have the financial stability and resources? Do you have access to a vet? After you return to your normal schedule, are you prepared to continue caring for your dog? Make sure you are prepared to socialize your puppy during social distancing.

For those who are fully prepared for the responsibility puppyhood brings, it’s a perfect time to help a new pet adjust to their home and work on essential training skills. ∙

If you decide to get a puppy, make sure you wash your hands, clothes, and shoes before and after picking up your new dog. Stay at least 6-12 feet from any breeder or person. Do not make any stops on the way to the breeder, and complete payment and paperwork ahead of time. While dogs are not currently at risk of contracting COVID-19, it is possible an infected person could transmit it from their mouth to the dog’s fur or face, and you could pick it up from touching the dog then touching your face.

Curious about what it’s really like to get a puppy right now?

Brian Goldberg, Sam Busa, and Barkley: “He brings a lot of joy to people.”

Brian Goldberg and his wife, Sam Busa, spoke for months before the pandemic about bringing home a puppy. But between careers and commutes, these new homeowners couldn’t get the timing right. When their jobs transitioned to remote, they realized they had a unique opportunity.

That’s when Goldberg began reaching out to breeders within a 250-mile radius in search of the perfect pup. The couple knew what they wanted: an 8- to 10-week-old male Golden Retriever puppy.

Goldberg began by sorting through breeders on the AKC Marketplace. He found a breeder in Vermont, three hours away, that had one available.

Since the breeder was far away, most communication was virtual. They traded questions, videos, and photos over the phone before meeting.

The couple knew they wanted to make the final decision in person. When they met the breeder, they stayed six feet apart and weren’t allowed to enter any buildings. The puppy walked toward Goldberg and Busa, and they knew this was the one they wanted. They scooped the puppy off the ground without ever coming closer to the breeder.

“It felt pretty weird not to shake hands with the guy who just gave you a pup but we took all the precautions we could,” said Goldberg, “and then we brought him home.”

In the span of a week, they went from talking about puppyhood to welcoming 8-week-old Barkley to their home.

Even taking Barkley to his first veterinarian visit was different during the coronavirus. Goldberg had to determine which veterinarians were open. He then did a curbside appointment with a veterinarian dressed in full PPE gear. Though Goldberg was sad he couldn’t go inside with his new puppy, he understood the importance of safety. Goldberg and Busa ordered every puppy necessity online instead of shopping for supplies.

Barkley is now an honorary staff member as he entertains their colleagues during Zoom meetings.

“I think he brings a lot of joy to people who are otherwise kind of down these days,” said Goldberg. “It’s wonderful to have him at home. He’s been a very pleasant distraction. Our moods have 100 percent improved since having him. Now it’s much more pleasurable to be stuck in the house.”

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