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October is National Animal Safety and Prevention Month; a month dedicated to promoting the safe practices of handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals. Today we’re going to discuss how to properly handle the most popular domestic pets.
First, we’ll discuss some of the most harmful myths that surround cats and dogs. Cats and dogs are unsurprisingly the most popular animals that people keep as pets, but there are some troubling rumors out there that can be hurtful to our furry friends. Knowing the difference between fact and fiction is one way to prevent injury and keep your pet safe.
Next, we’ll take a look at some of the most common pet injuries. Knowing what these injuries are can better prepare you for pet ownership. It also gives you the advantage of potentially planning ahead. Some of these injuries can be quite costly; you may want to investigate ways of helping with these costs, such as pet insurance, while your pet is still healthy. We also recommend that you find a local vet and emergency vet so that if the worst happens, you know where to go to get your pet the help it needs.
Lastly, we’ll discuss wild animals. From handling animals you meet in the wild to determining if an animal is lost, it can be hard to know the best course of action to take. We usually want to help all of the animals we see outside, but do they really need our help? How can you tell if an animal is truly “wild?”
Top Cat Myths
- All cats prefer canned food.
- Some cats do, but some cats will only eat dry food.
- Cats cannot be trained.
- This is not true. Cats are very smart and can be trained to do tricks.
- Cats don’t need heartworm prevention.
- This is not true. Cats can get heartworm disease, even indoor cats. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes, which can come inside.
- Cats don’t need litter box trained – they naturally know where to go.
- There is a natural instinct for many cats; however, not all cats understand the litter box concept.
Top Dog Myths
- Dogs are sick when their noses are warm.
- The temperature of a dog’s nose does not indicate health or illness. It also does not indicate if they have a fever. There is an “old wives tale” that cold, wet noses indicate good health and that warm or dry noses indicate a fever or illness. The only accurate method to access a dog’s temperature is to take it with a thermometer. Normal dog temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F.
- Only male dogs will ‘hump” or lift their leg to urinate.
- This is not true. Female dogs, especially dominant female dogs, will lift their leg to urinate and “hump” other dogs or objects. This can be true even in spayed female dogs.
- Table scraps are good for dogs.
- Some table scraps such as bones and pieces of fat can be dangerous to some pets. Dogs may not digest the bones, and the fat may cause gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis.
- Dogs should have a litter before they are spayed.
- This is not true. Dogs that have a litter before they are spayed are not better for it in any way. In fact, spayed dogs are at lower risk for breast cancer and uterine infections.
The Most Common Cause of Pet Injuries
The most common causes of pet injury won’t surprise you. Most of them include trauma, lack of essential needs such as water, or the ingestion of a foreign body or substance. Pets are like children; they have to be taught what to do and not to do, they won’t always have an animal instinct that warns them away from everyday dangers such as cars or anti-freeze. Except for traumatic accidents, you are your pet’s first line of defense when it comes to these common injuries.
- Foreign Body Ingestion
- Hit by a car
- Dog Bites
- Cat Bite Abscess
- Cruciate Ligament Rupture
- Torn Nail
- Heat Stroke
Handling Wild Animals
It can be heartbreaking to find a tiny bird that has been separated from its mother. All kinds of questions run through your head. Should you return the bird to its nest? Should you try to find the mother? Should you touch the bird at all? Here are the questions you’ll need to answer before you decide what to do about a baby bird that you’ve encountered in the wild.
One of the hardest questions when it comes to stray or feral cats in whether or not you should feed them. First, let’s explain the difference between a “feral” and a “stray” cat. A feral cat is one that has had little or no human contact and is usually unapproachable by people. Stray cats are cats that once had owners and were abandoned or became lost. This topic is long and involved, we recommend you read this blog to receive all the information you need.
Handling stray dogs can be tricky. You need to be careful to keep both you and the dog safe. The RSPCA has a fantastic guide to following when dealing with lost, found, and stray dogs. Always be safe and call in an expert when possible.
Keep Your Pet Safe With PetPlace
We hope that this blog has given you a starting point when it comes to animal safety and preventative care. But this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Each animal has it’s own set of guidelines when it comes to proper care and handling, both domestic and wild. Check out our online archive of over 10,000 articles to find the information you need in a pinch. From cats to cockatiels, we have all the information you need to keep your pet and the animals around you healthy this October and beyond.