Category Archives: Dog Health and Safety

Dog Car Safety: Help – An Escapee!

 

by Louise Stapleton-Frappell

Recently, my nephew and I saw a dog running down a busy main road. She was very lucky as between us we managed to redirect her down an alleyway away from all the traffic and eventually I got her to come near enough to me so that I could take hold of her collar. She was obviously very frightened and stressed. A scared dog may well bite so my approach was very slow, low, friendly and unthreatening in order to gain some trust and not put either of us in a risky situation.

She was wearing a rabies tag with the name of a local vet on the back. I held her collar and soothed her while my nephew ran to our car to fetch a leash and some tasty treats.  As there was no sign of her owner, I walked her to my car which she happily jumped into. We took her to the vet’s office where they scanned her chip to retrieve her name and owner’s phone number.

It turned out that the dog’s owner was searching for her in a supermarket car park. She had opened the car door and her dog had jumped out and run away. The area we found her in was quite a distance from that supermarket! She was very lucky not to have been runover or lost forever.

Thankfully this story had a happy ending and Princesa was reunited with her owner but not all dogs are as lucky as she was.

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Choke Collar Pathology

 

by Daniel Antolec

Recently I persuaded a local pet supply store owner to sell me all his choke collars (at cost) and refrain from restocking them, in return for recommendations for safe body harnesses such as Perfect Fit and Balance. He was persuaded by data I presented to him about the pathology of choke collars.“I never knew they hurt dogs, and only carried them because people asked for them.”

Credit: Anne Corless and Dog Games Ltd. (UK)

Credit: Anne Corless and Dog Games Ltd. (UK)

I never knew either, years ago when I went to a trainer seeking help with my Labrador, Jake.  She told me to use a choke collar. Neither Jake or I liked the choke collar, it never helped in any way, and I quickly put it away.

Pet owners cannot be expected to know about the harmful consequences of using equipment unless they are informed.

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Agility equipment safety

 

When it comes to dog agility training it is important to pay attention to some details to keep our dogs safe. This article by the Agility Nerd highlights some potential issues. Always check agility equipment for safety prior to letting your dog play on it.


Contact Equipment Safety in Photos

by Steve Schwarz
I’m always concerned about our dog’s safety on course and I’m collecting photos of dog agility contact equipment and highlighting unsafe situations of which folks might be unaware. If you have photos to help us be safer please share them with me and I’ll update this article and credit you for your contribution!

Sharp Hinge Pin Retaining Clips

A rotated hinge pin can put it’s cotter pin/retaining clip in a position where a dog could snag their foot on it as they cross the obstacle.

Rotated Dog Walk Cotter Pin

Rotated Dog Walk Hinge retaining pin sticking up

Depending on the diameter of the hinge rod hole you might be able to find “O-Ring” style cotter pins/retaining clips that fit. FWIW I’ve never seen a hinge rod come out with the weight of a Dog Walk plank on it so it is likely these pins aren’t necessary.

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Dog Training’s Dirty Little Secret: Anyone Can Legally Do It

Dog training is an unregulated industry although dogs need to be licensed.

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D.

Dogs and humans beware

During the past year I’ve had a number of emails from people both lauding and severely criticizing the dog trainers to whom they went to help them teach their dog to live with them in their homes and elsewhere. Of course, different people have different needs and dogs are unique individuals, so it’s essential that a dog trainer/teacher be well versed in dog behavior and various principles of ethology/animal behavior and psychology. They also need to be able to assess the nature of dog-human interactions.

usernetsite free images

Source: usernetsite free images

In her scholarly and well researched law review article called “OCCUPATIONAL LICENSURE FOR PET DOG TRAINERS: DOGS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO SHOULD BE LICENSED,” Elizabeth Foubert notes, “In the United States anyone can work as a dog trainer, regardless of the person’s qualifications. Scientific research in animal behavior and canine ethology indicate how to humanely train dogs, but nothing in the law requires that dog trainers apply these proven methods in practice. Dog trainers may use training techniques that bring harm to dogs and deceive consumers as to its efficacy. The onus is on consumers to educate themselves to these dangers when selecting a ‘qualified dog trainer.'”

There’s a lot at stake when a person entrusts their dog’s life to a trainer. Thus, I was shocked to learn that in the United States anyone can call themself a “dog trainer.” I went online and did many different searches, and while there are many excellent certification programs, it is the case that anyone can legally hang up a shingle that says “Dog Trainer” and begin to work with dogs and their humans. I also queried a number of trainers and they also agreed that there really is a “dirty little secret” about which many, perhaps most, people are unaware, as I was. And, if course, it’s not a little secret at all, but rather a huge one, because of the incredible damage that can be done by someone who isn’t trained to be a dog trainer. Of course, certified dog trainers also can cause harm but that goes beyond what I want to write about here.

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Holiday Safety for Dogs

By Brenna Fender

No 1.The holiday season is filled with food, guests, and excitement. While these things are fun for the people in your life, they can be dangerous for your dog. But don’t worry, there are some simple things to you can do in order to keep your furry friends safe during the holidays.

Food
Holiday food is delicious, fattening, and not appropriate for your pets. Sweet treats can contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs. Fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis or other illnesses. Bones can cause blockages or choking. Overeating even healthy foods can cause stomach upset or other problems. So, during the holiday season, be especially aware of potential food hazards. That counter you don’t think your dog can reach might be more accessible than you think if the prize is worth it!

Escape
With all the holiday comings and goings, dogs have more opportunities to become lost. Doors may be left open and yard gates unlatched or you may be distracted by holiday activities when you are supposed to be watching the dog. Crate your pet during confusing moments to avoid potential tragedies. Microchip dogs in order to help them be more easily returned home if they do get out.

Guests
Friends and family can cause problems with both food and escape, by deliberately giving food to begging dogs or leaving food in an accessible spot, or accidentally leaving a door open. Tell guests the family rules that help keep your dog safe but be aware that they might not follow them. You may have to confine your dog more often than usual or directly supervise interactions.

Children
Some of your guests might be children, and if your dog doesn’t normally interact with children, he may be frightened by their odd movements and erratic behaviors. But even if your dog is usually very good with children, do not trust that things will go smoothly. Holiday stress may inspire different behaviors in both your dog and the children. It’s never a good practice to leave dog unsupervised with any children, but that is especially true under these circumstances.

Decorations
Tinsel, candles, and other holiday decorations may be harmful to your dog if ingested. Keep decorations up high and in safe places. Be particularly aware of your Christmas tree (if you have one) as it can be easily knocked over and onto a curious pup.

The holiday season can be filled with fun and joy. With some planning, your dog can safely enjoy the season as well!