Backyard Chats

Family Pet Care
June 24, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Pets

Routine maintenance for pets is commonly overlooked.

Brightly colored stickers placed on the household calendar are easy reminders to schedule  annual checkups,  grooming appointments, boarding dates, training classes, and administer monthly pet medications.

Indoor bedding should be attended to from time to time as well as any outdoor pet shelter.

Pets’ feeding bowls should be thoroughly cleaned on a routine basis. Hard water residue can be dissolved by soaking the bowl in vinegar overnight followed by a light scrubbing. Food bowls should also be routinely cleaned. Dry pet food kept in an airtight container will eliminate bug infestation. Pet food stored outside requires a rodent proof container (not made of plastic). If possible, avoid leaving unfinished pet food outside as it’s the perfect calling card for nighttime rodents!

Especially during hot summer months, pets should have access to plenty of fresh, clean water.

Dog identification tags should be checked from time to time for legibility. ID tags should include your name, address, and telephone number (optional, but advisable)  Check with your local animal shelter or humane society for legal information regarding vaccinations and tag requirements.

Collars should be checked for proper fit, especially on growing pets.   A collar should not be tight; it should fit so two fingers can slip easily underneath.  Leashes should also be evaluated and replaced,  if needed.

Purchasing quality toys specially designed for pets could mean avoiding an unnecessary vet visit.

Plans to board the family pet? Be sure to call in advance for reservations, required vaccinations, veterinary validation requirements of vaccinations, hours of operation, location, special holiday hours, drop off instructions, check in/out times and late pick up fees,  administration of any medications, bedding & feeding provisions, limitations on “luggage” such as special bedding and toys brought from home, cancellation policy, required deposits, emergency contact information (pet’s veterinarian and possibly a family member).  Many kennels offer free grooming with long-term boarding. Additional luxury services often include: upgraded accommodations, yard time, play time, pool time, snack time,  training, and pet taxi availability. Be sure to inquire about any ongoing specials or discounts. Friends and neighbors are a good source for recommendations.  An advance tour of  the facilities should be available; if not, consider other options.

Travel crates should be inspected prior to each use.  Ensure that crates are size appropriate before use. Veterinarians are a wealth of information on traveling with pets; be sure to seek their advice for a “pet safe” trip.

Remember: NEVER leave a pet alone in a car, even with the windows “cracked”. “With the vehicle windows left slightly open, an outside temperature of 85 degrees can cause a temperature of 102 degrees inside a vehicle within 10 minutes, and 120 degrees within half of an hour. A healthy pet, whose normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees, can withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 for only a short time before suffering brain damage or death.”

Please – spay or neuter your pet.  Between six and eight million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters every year. Many of these are offspring of well-meaning pet owners. Spay/neuter is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation (“The Humane Society of the United States”)


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