Tips for pet safety, please use common sense

Puppy Love with Kate Whitney


By: Puppy Girl Kate Whitney – March, 2010

Hi Everyone!

A quick thank you to those of you who have sent in donation checks to help my rescue, One Tail at a Time! Also, don’t forget to check out Evenfall Restaurant in Haverhill.

They were kind enough to run that special ad in the paper (buy 2 entrees and get $10 off or donate it to One Tail at a Time). A big thank you to them and a huge thank you to everyone who chose to donate their $10 savings to the rescue!

This month I wanted to talk about pet safety.

I had a very unfortunate experience driving back from work a few weeks ago. It was nighttime and as I was traveling home through side streets I noticed some stopped cars and commotion up ahead. There was a lady standing in the middle of the road, I could tell immediately that something was not right. I suddenly saw a little dog running towards me and another, a black ball of fur, motionless in the middle of the road.

Whenever I see a dog running in the road, my reflexes take over and immediately put my car in park and I jump out.

I ran over to the frightened little dog and scooped him up. Thank god he was safe; unfortunately I couldn’t say the same for his little friend. I then had to tell the owner, a woman who came running down her driveway after the two dogs, that one of her dogs didn’t make it. Her sream sent chills through my body and stuck with me for the rest of the night. Having to tell someone that their dog has passed away is something I never want to have to do again, and I hope none of you ever have go through that. So why am I telling you this true story? I want to remind you how important safety is. It is something that always has to be in the front of your mind. If you have kids, you know you are always looking out for them, safety is first. Well the same should go for your dogs. Make sure they are secured each time you open the door. If you have a fenced yard, check and make sure all doors and gates are closed and locked. One mistake can lead to a terrible accident, like the one mentioned above. So please, remember safety at all times. Also, if you ever come across a situation like this, don’t panic. If you have a towel, blanket, or sheet in your car, put that over an injured dog before you pick it up. When dogs are scared, they might lash out so always remember to protect yourself first. If you are uncomfortable helping, call for help.

Make sure your home is safe place for a pet. Although your dog appears to be very smart, he is about as smart as a toddler. He’s going to be curious and explore, and he needs you to make sure that nothing he can get into will harm him. Something to think of: expect the unexpected. Something that has always made me nervous when I go to other people’s homes is when I see a dog jumping on a glass door. Maybe he wants to go out or come in, but jumping on a door, especially glass, could lead to trouble. Train your dog to not jump but instead ring a bell or bark if he wants to go out or come in.

Please make sure that your dog is prepared when he goes outside. He should always have on his collar and ID tag. In addition to wearing a collar, my dogs are microchipped. This is another great way to protect your dog. If he runs off or gets stolen, a microchip can’t fall off or be taken off by someone. If you take your dog for a walk, please make sure to put some type of reflector on him and on you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed people walking their dogs and I can barely see them! Wear reflecting clothing and carry a flashlight.

Some foods that you should NEVER feed your dog: chocolate, grapes, raisins, fruit pits, rotten/moldy food, chicken/fish bones, or fat. Keep an eye out for signs that a dog has eaten something poisonous. Signs include vomiting, drooling, difficulty standing, seizures, or having difficulty standing.

Make sure to keep certain flowers and plants away. Things like poinsettias, azalea, and daffodils should not come in contact with your dog. Of course don’t let your dog near antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides, paint, bleach, or medications. When you clean your toilet remember to put the seat down! You wouldn’t want to have cleaning solution in there and have your dog go take a drink.

Some dogs like to “counter surf.” This means they put their front paws on the counter and look around for anything they can grab. If your dog does this, be very careful about what you leave on the table. Pens, food, glass, etc. should all be kept in safe places. Also, be careful of the stove. If he smells something yummy cooking on the stove, make sure he doesn’t decide to “surf” up there or else he’s in for some very painful burns on his feet. To protect your dog, keep him out of the kitchen while you’re cooking. That is a sure way to avoid accidents.

Lots of dogs like to chew cords. Keep computers, lamps, vacuum cleaners, etc. unplugged when not in use. That way if your dog decides to chew the cord, they won’t get electrocuted. Dogs can choke on lots of things. The best idea is to make sure your floor is clear of “stuff” like toys, shoes, food, bags, cans, etc. I’ve decided that in the near future I am going to take a dog CPR class. Look online to find out when there is one near you. I want to be prepared if anything ever happens.

I hope you find these tips helpful! Safety is very important not only in our lives, but also for our dogs. I hope you and your four legged friends have a very happy and SAFE February and beyond.


Kate Whitney is a Boxford resident and owner of the Swingrite Corporation. If you are interested in adopting a puppy or becoming a foster parent to a puppy waiting for a home you can email Kate at