Pets and Pickup Trucks

Every year, thousands of dogs are injured, and dozens more are killed, from riding unrestrained in the back of open-bed pickup trucks. They frequently fall, jump or are thrown from the vehicle. Flying debris and insects often damage delicate eye-tissue, ears, and noses.

If at all possible, let your pets ride up front with you or leave them at home. If you must carry your animals in the back of your truck, please use a secured crate or restraining harness to help protect your pet. The harness needs to be tethered on both sides of the truck so that the dog is held in the center of the truck-bed and can’t be thrown over the side and dragged along the road.

Also remember, when the sun heats up the metal truck-bed, the bottom of your pet’s feet can be easily burned. A rubber mat can prevent this and help provide traction for the animal. Be aware that without shade, your pet can become over-heated – even on days with moderate temperatures.

Deadly Heat in Cars

On hot summer days, the temperature inside a car will climb more rapidly than you would possibly imagine.

On an 85° day for example, the temperature inside of a car (even with the windows down) will reach 120°. On hotter days it will go even higher.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5° to 102.2° Fahrenheit. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107°-108° for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or death. Obviously, the same goes for cats and other animals as well.

Don’t leave any animal in a car for any reason. Even when you think you will be gone for “only a minute.” Dozens of pets needlessly die this tragic way every summer.

If for any reason, an animal should be overcome by heat exhaustion, immediately soak it down with cool water and take to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Pet-Proofing Your Home

If ever there is an opportunity to confirm the validity of Murphy’s Law, it is when a new pet is brought into a home. When an animal – be it a gerbil, a cat, a dog, or whatever – is introduced to a new environment, it will want to become familiar with its surroundings as soon as possible. It is normal and necessary for the animal to investigate everything. There are however, potential hazards in all households that the curious creatures must be protected against. Puppies, kittens, and other small animals are most at risk, but precautions should be taken to insure the safety of even adult cats and dogs.

Pet-proofing a home is much like child-proofing one. Begin by trying to put yourself in your pet’s place. Look around the premises while keeping in mind the animal’s desire to discover and check out all the nooks, crannies, and every object in the house. Keep Murphy’s Law in mind; whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. If the animal can climb, be sure you look up as well as around and down.

The list of possible problems includes, but is not limited to:

  • Plastic bags of all kinds – especially those which have contained food; these often attract and then suffocate animals, as can containers where little heads might get stuck.
  • Any utensil, string, or container which has food, or even the smell of food on it, is an attraction.
  • Cords of every variety; electrical ones can deliver a lethal shock, and all (telephone, drapery, Venetian blinds, appliance, etc.) can strangle an animal.
  • Open commodes, mop buckets, bathtubs, swimming and wading pools; many pets drown or are poisoned by chemicals used in the water.
  • Any object smaller than the animal’s mouth; paperclips, thumbtacks, rubber bands, needles and thread, buttons, staples, erasers, jewelry, marbles, fish-hooks, etc. to name just a few of these items.
  • Heavy objects on the edges of counters, shelves, or tables which can fall or be pulled down by a cord.
  • Fireplaces, lighted candles, humidifiers, space hearers, barbecue grills, open ovens, and stovetops; all are trouble spots.
  • Open doors on washers, dryers, cabinets, and even refrigerators; all are particularly inviting to cats.
  • Unscreened windows and balconies; many pets fall from these and die each year.
    Electrical outlets, running appliances, fans motorized tools, and automatic garage doors.
  • Poorly made toys which can be torn into pieces, have small parts that come off, or elastic string which breaks off.
  • Potential poisons from a variety of sources that abound in a typical house and yard.

With a little common sense and imagination, the problem areas can be identified and corrected. Taking this small amount of trouble ahead of time can prevent a ton of trouble and grief for you and your pet in the future.

Breed Specific Adoptions: Why Buy When You Can Adopt?

Did you know that approximately 25% of all animals entering shelters each year are purebreds? If you are looking for a dog or cat, and you have your heart set on a specific breed of animal, there are rescue groups all over the country set up just to find homes for adoptable cats and dogs of specific breeds. Many of them come complete with pedigree papers. The same is true for horses and other large animals.

Please consider adopting one of these animals instead of contributing to the pet over-population by buying an animal from a breeder or a pet shop. Just contact one of the groups or ask at your local animal shelter. Not only will you be saving a life, but you will save money as well. Below are website links which take you to lists for specific breeds.

*Cat breed rescue groups list –

*Dog breed rescue groups list –

*Horse breed rescue groups list –

Heartworms in Texas: Not “If” But WHEN

Did you know that if you live in Texas and your dog stays outside or goes outside that he has a 100% chance of getting heartworms? In our climate, where it never gets cold enough to kill off all the mosquitoes, your dogs are at high-risk. In Texas, heartworms are not something your dog *may* get; heartworms are something your dog *will* get – it’s only a matter of time. And heartworms, if left untreated, will kill your beloved dog. Treatment is expensive: $400-600, so preventing heartworms is much less costly in the long run, not to mention healthy for your pet!

That is why it is essential to give your dog Heartworm preventative each and every month. It is not optional! Before starting your dog on a preventative program, you must have her tested for heartworms. Your vet will write out a prescription for Heartworm preventative which you can then have filled at your vet’s office or at low-cost on-line pet supply catalogs like . Use the stickers that come with the heartworm preventative and put them on your calendar, so your dog receives the medicine the same day every month. Now you can relax, knowing your dog is protected.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

During the Spring, and other times of the year as well, nature is remarkably abundant. Unfortunately, nature is overly abundant when it comes to the domestic pet population.

For decades now, shelters and pounds all over the nation have been literally overflowing with homeless animals. The numbers given vary somewhere between 6 to 8 million cats and dogs which enter shelters every year, and 3 to 4 million are put to death because they have no place to go. These are the “fortunate” ones. That 6 to 8 million figure does not include the uncounted millions who meet a far worse, lingering, death by starvation, disease, or roadside accident.

A recent survey revealed that more than 80 percent of the animals taken to shelters must be euthanized. The average cost of handling each animal is about $35. Millions of dollars are spent annually just to dispose of the bodies of euthanized animals.

It’s a tragic reality in our throw-away society that the lives of innocent creatures are held in such small regard, and many people fail to understand the urgency or extent of the problem – as well as the absolute necessity of spaying and neutering pets.

In addition to alleviating untold suffering to animals in general, having one’s cat or dog altered has many benefits for the individual pet and for the pet’s owner as well:

  • Neutering decreases and often eliminates diseases to which intact male dogs are prone later in life – including diseases of the prostate, testicles and other tissues influenced by male hormones. Testicular and perianal gland cancers are the second and third most frequently diagnosed tumors in older intact male dogs. Neutered male cats are much less prone to spraying.
  • Spaying female cats and dogs entirely eliminates diseases of the ovaries and uterus, and, if performed before their first or second heat, drastically decreases the chance of mammary gland cancer. Mammary cancer is very common in older intact females, and is the most common cancer to spread to the lungs.
  • Neutering greatly reduces the risk of injuries and illnesses to males. Unaltered males tend to roam, increasing their chances of being killed or injured. They also tend to fight more, which guarantees wounds and infections.
  • The monetary cost of altering a cat or dog is much less in the long run than maintaining the health of an older, unfixed pet.
  • Contrary to what some people think, it is a myth that an altered animal becomes fat and lazy after surgery. The only change in behavior is positive; generally, a pet will tend to be less aggressive and more loving.
  • In addition, there is great benefit to the community. Fewer strays running loose means less spreading of diseases to pets and to people, less danger of rabies outbreaks, and less annoyance over ripped up garbage bags, torn up gardens, noises at night, etc. There is also less cost in tax dollars to build, run, and maintain animal pounds.

This is everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility. The issue will not be resolved by trying to ignore it, or pretending it doesn’t exist. For every cat and dog that finds a good home, there are dozens which do not, and the cost in needless suffering to helpless animals is cruel and unconscionable. Have your pets neutered or spayed, and encourage others to do the same. Don’t put it off.

Related Link: Animal Spay and Neuter Assistance List