This is the time of year when we are outside with our pets mowing the yard, working in the garden and doing numerous other around-the-house chores. Before you get the mower and fertilizer out, it is important to do a safety check of the plants and products you use in your home, yard and along your daily walks. Some of them are potentially life-threatening hazards for your pets.
What to do?
Here are steps you can take to prepare for these summertime hazards. Keep them in mind for your own pets, pass the information along to your clients and have a safe summer.
Step 1: Read the labels.
Read the labels on all products you use in and around the house. This includes directions for use and actions in case of poisoning. If you are not sure about a substance, you can easily check the Material Safety & Data Sheet (MSDS) for any chemical by going to Google and typing in “MSDS:” and then the chemical substance. This will give you toxicity, first aid protocols and much more (for humans).
Step 2: Keep an eye on your pet.
This is basic common sense. You wouldn’t let your 3-year-old child run loose in the yard unsupervised. You shouldn’t let you pet run loose unmonitored either. Preventable accidents are termed “preventable” for a reason. It only takes a minute for that accident to take place.
Step 3: Know how to induce vomiting.
Vomiting should only be induced when the substance ingested is known or upon the recommendation of your veterinarian. If the substance is caustic (bleach, pool cleaner, acids, etc.), it burned on the way down and can burn on the way back up. Another danger is the caustic substance getting into the airway, which can be deadly. If caustic, then it is best not induce vomiting but to get to the emergency animal hospital immediately so the pet’s stomach can be pumped. Hydrogen peroxide is recommended for inducing vomiting, so be sure to have it on hand in your pet first aid kit.
Step 4: Call your emergency animal hospital first, not Animal Poison Control.
I speak to this around the country and I always get flack until I explain the reasoning behind it. First of all, you must have a 24-hour emergency animal hospital with a veterinarian on staff nearby. Develop a relationship with these folks. Let them know who you and your pets are. Then when something happens, you call the emergency animal hospital. They have probably already seen or encountered whatever you are currently experiencing and will know how to immediately assist you with the correct response protocols. Time is your biggest enemy when it comes to first aid and saving your pet. The challenge with calling one of the 800/888 numbers is that they won’t even help you until you have given them the 16-digits on your credit card, with your name and the three digits on back. And then they have to process it. All this takes time and time is what your pet does not have.
Step 5: Stay trained and current in pet CPR and first aid.
Yep, that is what we do. Take Pet Tech PetSaver Training, the designated pet CPR, first aid and care training for PSI, at next year at Quest in New Orleans, or from one of our several hundred Pet Tech Instructors across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
Step 6: Think proactively.
In our classes we discuss the regular routine at the beginning of each month to identify the potential environmental and holiday dangers that could come up with your pet. We recommend that all pet care professionals do this for their clients as an added service and to become members of their clients’ packs. Some good examples this time of year are the mushrooms that grow so quickly in our yards after the rains; they can be extremely attractive and deadly to your pets. The cocoa mulch that is getting popular in the gardening section is attractive and toxic to our pets (and wildlife) and should not be used. Also, this time of year mouse, rat and snail poisons are frequently and liberally used. The list could go on. I think you can begin to see the many dangers that come up and change with the months and seasons.
Step 7: Help your clients, community and your world.
Use, store and recommend planet-safe products in the manner in which they were intended. So many times accidents occur because of owner-error; improperly using or storing pesticides, chemicals and products. Pet Tech’s programs are recommended by Pet Sitters International. Successful completion of Pet Tech trainings applies towards the renewal of the Pet Sitters International Accreditation Program. If you are interested in becoming an instructor or looking for an instructor in your area, visit www.PetTech.net, call (760) 930-0309 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to ask for the Pet Sitters International discount.
© Copyright 2010 by Pet Sitters International. All rights reserved. For reprint permission for this article, contact EllenPrice@petsit.com.