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safety

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I was a lifeguard in college for a summer. Best tan I EVER had, hands down. All in all, it was an OK job and would have actually been kind of cool and relaxing had I not spent the entire summer stressing and silently praying that no one got hurt in the pool and required CPR, ’cause even though I passed the test and successfully revived the rubber and plastic practice dummy, I was fairly certain that I would totally mess it up if I ever had to do it, you know, for realsies.

It’s not a fun thing to think about, but sometime you might have to actually give CPR to your dog or to another dog, say at a the park or on the beach. I thought it’d be helpful to share this video by dog safety expert Melanie Monteiro on the proper techniques for giving canine CPR. (Her dummy, by the way, is way cuter than the hollow-eyed plastic guy I had to suck face with in class – and yet, a doggie CPR dummy is still a little creepy).

Watch and learn!

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Heyooo, pups! Today at phetched we’re participating in Blog the Change, which, in 25 words or less, is an effort by pet bloggers and Be the Change for Animals to spread the word about pet-helpful causes and organizations. (Is that less than 25 words? I didn’t count. But you can head to Be the Change to find out more.)

In thinking about what pet cause I’d like to pledge my support to, as I felt the welcome evening breeze blow into our non-air-conditioned house, the answer came quickly and easily:  I want to help you help me (thanks, Jerry Maguire) spread the word about the dangers to dogs and cats left inside hot cars. We all know the danger of leaving animals in cars on hot summer days, but apparently a lot of folks out there don’t, and they drive me to cussing on at least a weekly basis. And did you know that even temperatures that may be comfortable for you can become deadly for pets inside a parked car, even with the windows cracked? It’s true.

My Dog is Cool is a great resource with all kinds of information about the dangers to pets left in cars – including downloadable, printable flyers you can keep in your car to help spread the word.

I’m going to print some off for myself so I can spend less time cussing and more time Being the Change.

(P.S. – You can go to Blog the Change, scroll down the page, and find a list of links to other pet blogs that are blogging for change today.)

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Well, it’s 4th of July weekend here in America, when yet again we celebrate freedom and independence, sacrifice and political ideology with alcoholic beverages, grilled meats, and fireworks. I’m always a little depressed on the 4th ’cause to me it always signifies the fleeting passage of summertime, but that’s neither here nor there.

photo credit: kidicarus222

Please remember that, like me, dogs don’t enjoy every aspect of the 4th… particularly loud fireworks and raucous neighbors. Every year I hear horror stories of dogs who are spooked by fireworks or other celebrations and bolt, or hurt themselves or their homes out of fear. If you’re planning on going off and enjoying the 4th, please make appropriate plans for your pups as well. ‘Cause really, when it sounds to them like hell is raining down from the skies, they couldn’t really care less about freedom and independence and Lee Greenwood.

The ASPCA has more tips for keeping your pets safe on the 4th on their website. Check ‘em out — and have a great weekend. We’ll see you Monday!

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If you live in an area that’s been covered in a blanket of greenish-yellow pollen for the past week or so, you know it’s that time — time to blow the dust off the lawnmower, trowels and spades and get to work in the yard. As you plan and plant your garden this spring, be sure you take note of common plants that can be toxic to dogs and other pets.

There’s a very comprehensive list of plants toxic to dogs, cats, and horses on the ASPCA web site, complete with photos and descriptions of toxic effects. I’ve bookmarked it for reference as I head out to the garden center to purchase plants I will try my darndest to keep alive for the next few months.

Those pictures above? I took those in my very own yard. Do you believe me? Great. Let’s just go with that, then.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

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We get up early and take our dogs for a walk every morning before work (OK, OK… not every morning, but most mornings). It’s, of course, important to allow the dogs to expend some energy before leaving them cooped up all day, and it’s also a great way to get moving and get our daily exercise out of the way first thing. (I have to repeat that to myself as often as possible to convince myself it’s true. Ask me when that alarm goes off bright and early, and I’ll have a harder time articulating such, what with the grumbling and cursing and all.)

Honestly, though, the only times I really, really dislike our morning jaunts are those times of the year when it’s still dark for most of our walk… you know, like now. It’s creepy to walk around in the dark, and the flashlight we carry, which hardly illuminates the sidewalk under our feet, probably doesn’t illuminate us very well, either, for passing motorists.

The Beacon™ safety light from Ruff Wear is a pretty neat little product. It clips to a collar, leash, harness, or human and emits a red light in multiple directions to make you and your dog more visible to passing cars (or, in our case, speeding, careening school buses), and its four LEDs never need replacing.

ruffwearbeacon

Is it cool enough to motivate me to jump out of bed on a dark, cold morning? Indeed, no. But it’s still pretty cool.

Fetch The Beacon™ from Ruff Wear online or at a store near you.

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Ahh, Labor Day… the day on which we recognize the trials, tribulations, and contributions of the worker by, blissfully, not working. Did you know Americans actually borrowed the idea of Labor Day (or Labour Day) from the Canadians? I said a little prayer of thanks to all of Canada as I happily ignored my alarm clock this morning.

Here in America, Labor Day is often celebrated with grilled meat, beer, and, when applicable, water sports (which kind of makes it a lot like Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July, just without the patriotic overtones… or, really, like pretty much any American non-work day in the summertime).

Anytime you take your pup out on the water, it’s important, of course, to protect your pooch’s safety with a life jacket. Ruff Wear, Inc., purveyors of some of the best dog gear out there, offer the Portage and Big Eddy Float Coats for safe and happy doggy paddlin’.

ruffwearlifejackets

The Portage Float Coat™ (in green above) is designed for comfortable buoyancy for light, recreational water play (including what my dogs do… wading in about paw-deep and looking around stupidly), while the premium Big Eddy Float Coat™ (yellow) lives up to its name by providing safety and performance for serious water dogs (the kayakers, surfers, and rafters out there).

Check them out at ruffwear.com.

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One quality that’s so charming about dogs? They live in the moment. They seek happiness with every act, be it rooting for contraband in the garbage, sitting by your feet in the hopes of scoring a few head scritches, or arranging themselves just so in order to soak up the perfect amount of sunbeam on the floor. Generally, emotions like regret and embarrassment aren’t really part of a dog’s day.

There are exceptions, of course. The occasional dingleberry, for example, is a source of much consternation in our household.  And then there’s the ultimate shame and degradation known to dogs: the C-O-N-E (a word best not spoken aloud, that humiliating torture device placed by well-meaning vets and dog parents). I’ve seen the C-O-N-E drive even the most cheerful, everything-is-rainbows-and-sunshine golden retriever into the depths of doom and despair. It’s no laughing matter, but alas, we do laugh… and that only drives the dagger deeper.

The ProCollar offers a kinder, gentler alternative to the C-O-N-E.

procollar2

A cone? This guy’s not wearing a cone. He’s just, you know, gearing up for some fun watersports. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The inflatable ProCollar is made from durable, washable PVC and attaches to your dog’s collar. It comfortably keeps him from buggin’ wounds without breaking his spirit.

Fetch it from Drs. Foster & Smith.

(Image 1 credit: kittenonline.eu)

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My husband found these awesome little Coleman pet tags, and I’m about to order two. Not only are they perfect miniatures of the legendary Coleman lantern, they serve a cool safety function — the tag’s motion-activated LED lights up bright red whenever your pet moves, making Spot easy to, well, spot in the dark.

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It’s even water-resistant, and doesn’t require use of those @#&$% mantles. (If you own a classic Coleman, you understand.)

Fetch it at CampingStation.com.

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It’s basically a proven scientific fact that dogs will chew on things that are a) expensive, b) dangerous, or c) both. If you’ve lost at least one cell phone charger, stereo cord, or other electrical item to your dog’s chewing and felt both angry and sort of guilty for Fido’s almost frying himself, raise your hand. Go ahead, it’s OK. You’re not alone.

The Critter Cord wants to help. The heavy-gauge tubing wraps around cords and wires to protect them, and Critter Cord’s citrus scent and bitter taste help to deter Chewy McChewerson’s interest.

crittercord

Critter Cord is even available in mirco size for protecting smaller cords, like iPod chargers and USB cords. Huzzah!

Check out Critter Cord (also marketed as the Marshall Cord Protector) here.

(Online reviewers have suggested leaving the Critter Cord outside for a few days to “air out” when first unwrapping it, as the concentrated citrus scent might also be a bit offensive to two-leggers at first.)

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