We all adore our little furry friends – but do you know how to keep them safe? Here’s our handy guide
We’re a nation of pet lovers – but how many of us know exactly what to do if our beloved pet gets into danger? Whether it’s eating the wrong things, getting ill or going missing, it’s important to know the ins and outs.
Thanks to the Blue Cross, we’ve put together this handy guide to making sure your furry friends stay as safe as possible.
Cats are nosy creatures, and will get into all sorts of scrapes if you let them. There are also a surprising number of dangers in and around your home.
Poisons and toxins
A number of things are toxic to cats – some of which you’re no doubt aware of, but some less obvious too.
- Antifreeze – it may sound obvious but if you spill it, clean it up immediately and avoid using it in water features
- Disinfectant, especially those which contain phenols
- Slug and rodent bait, insect killers and weed killers
- Dog flea treatments
- Human medications including paracetamol
- Some food such as raisins, onion and chocolate
- Lilies and foxgloves. Even rubbing against them then licking their fur can be dangerous
Cats may be able to jump great heights for their size, but high windows and balconies can still be dangerous if they fall. If you’re worried, cover high windows with wire mesh, or keep them open on the latch.
Washing machines and tumble dryers may seem like warm, enticing places for cats to curl up, but if you don’t notice they’re in there, these machines are lethal. Keep doors shut when not in use, restrict access to rooms with them in and always check before using.
They’re covered in fur so you may not think about it, but cats can suffer from sunburn and, if it happens regularly, it can cause skin cancer. White fur with pink skin underneath is particularly susceptible. Ask your vet for animal sunscreen and apply it regularly.
One of the main dangers to dogs is heatstroke because, unlike humans, they don’t lose body heat through their skin. They cool down by panting and heat loss through their paws and nose. Take these precautions to avoid heatstroke:
- Ensure they have clean water to drink
- Walk them in the cooler part of the day – paws can burn on hot pavements
- NEVER leave a dog in a car, even with the window open
- Give them ice cubes with their favourite treats inside
Protect against theft
According to the Missing Pets Bureau, 38% of animals reported lost have actually been stolen. Here’s how to protect your pet from thieves.
- Never leave them unattended in vehicles or outside shops. They’re vulnerable to opportunist thieves
- Keep microchip details up-to-date
- Take photos of you with your pet to prove ownership
- Take photos of your pet from different angles to make them easier to identify
- Train your dog to come when called, and think about an extendable lead in unfamiliar places
- Make sure your garden is secure and attach a bell to gates
- Keep your dog in sight when he’s in the garden
- Vary times and routes of your daily dog walk
What to do if it’s too late
If your pet has already gone missing, or you suspect it’s been stolen, here’s what you should do:
- Report it to Dacorum Borough Council’s dog warden on 01442 228418
- Consider contacting neighbouring dog wardens too
- Visit places such as local parks and ask people to keep an eye out
- If you’re sure your pet’s been stolen, report it to the police and ask for a crime reference number
- Report it to the microchip database so you’ll be informed if someone tries to re-register them
- Make and distribute posters
- Tell local vets
- Report on local community websites and Facebook pages
- Contact animal shelters and rescue charities
With thanks to the Hertfordshire rehoming centre of the Blue Cross. They’re currently trying to raise money to improve their outdated facilities. Please go to https://www.bluecross.org.uk/hertfordshirerehoming-centre-appeal for more details.
Real life success story!
No doubt you’ll remember back in April when Sprocket the Westie went missing from her Berkhamsted home φollowing a burglary. Her owners, James and Daniela, put up ‘missing’ posters on local Facebook sites, had 1,200 posters distributed and set up a Facebook page. Sprocket’s story even made an appearance on BBC Breakfast, featured in The Sun and on the radio – she was famous!
‘Sprocket was stolen during a burglary,’ says James. ‘We were heartbroken but we hoped that by making her too hot to handle we’d eventually get her home.’
The next five weeks were tough as they waited for news, searching for Sprocket day and night. They were beginning to fear they’d never see her again.
But then, five weeks and three days after she’d gone missing, they received a phone call from Battersea Dogs’ Home – Sprocket had been found!
Now they’re reunited, and they couldn’t be happier.