by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month!

Not only is June a great time to celebrate cat adoptions because, well, cats are amazing, but also because kitten season has officially commenced. Kitten season means shelters are overflowing with cats and kittens who need help.

Let’s discuss why cats are simply purrfect creatures, and end with some ways you can support your local shelter during this busy feline time.

What is not to love about cats?

Most people see a kitten and will melt on the spot. Adult cats will charm you with their unique personalities, whether they are goofy and loving or confident and independent. But, if you aren’t someone who is automatically impressed by the feline species and you need further convincing as to why cats are so wonderful, here are some reasons cats can make your life immensely better.

  • A huge advantage to having a cat is that you don’t need to go outside when it is hot, cold, raining, or snowing just so they can relieve themselves.
  • They can use the litterbox on their own and generally require little to no training to use the litterbox. No soggy slippers trying to do a late night bathroom break in a thunderstorm for these creatures.
  • They don’t need fancy toys to be happy and are very resourceful. Order a super cool treat feeder online and put the toy and box it came in on the floor and see which one your cat is more interested in. Most cats enjoy a good box to climb into for playtime or a snooze. That pen you dropped (or they knocked off the table) will become their new favorite toy to bat around, which means it will end up under the couch with the rest of the fun “toys” your cat discovered. This doesn’t mean your cat won’t love those silly mice filled with cat nip, but you will enjoy seeing the things you didn’t intend for them to play with become their new obsessions. You can provide you cat lots of fun for relatively low-cost. Three words, ping pong balls.
  • Your health can improve. When people envision therapy animals they generally think of dogs first, but cats can also be fantastic healers and increase mental and physical benefits. From lowering blood pressure to relieving the feelings of loneliness or depression, cats can make you feel better!
  • Many cats are natural hunters, even if they never set foot outside. Rodent or bug problem? Your feline may be able to help with that whether they catch them for you or simply let you know you have a pest problem and might need to contact a professional pest control company. While a natural hunter can be great to keep the pests at bay, remember that all cats are individuals and I know many cats who would prefer their midday catnap to a game of catch the mouse.
  • We all know laughter is one of the great joys in life. Cats absolutely bring more laughter into your home. From smelling your face (cats are curious little things), fitting in the smallest of spaces (I will never understand how my cat fits in my shoes), to making odd chirping noises, cats are weird and wonderful all at the same time. They provide regular amusement that brightens our day.

Maybe you absolutely can’t adopt right now because of medical reasons, landlord policies, or roommates. There are other things you can do to support Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month.

You can donate so that your local shelter can continue to buy the resources needed to care for cats during their stay in the shelter. Fostering is a lifesaving effort and is a great way to help socialize young kittens to become more adoptable when they return to the shelter. We are always looking for fosters, so if you are interested please contact our Lifesaving Programs Coordinator, Tawny Kissinger.

Donate supplies or your time. This time of year we are always in need of cat litter, wet cat food, and kitten formula. You can find a full version of our wish list items here on our website.

There are so many ways you can help. If you are already the wonderful adopter of a cat from a shelter, thank you! This month is to celebrate you and what you did to save a cat from the shelter and give him or her the home they deserve.

Basically, cats are fascinating creatures who believe they are tiny, wild, lions that rule the home. They make you laugh and make you feel like you have a purpose in caring for another life (you will never feel more popular than when you shake a cat treat bag).

They come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. So, visit us today and find out for yourself why the Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats.

*Also, it only seemed fitting to dedicate this to one of the most famous felines who passed away last month. RIP Grumpy Cat. This one goes out to you.

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Hot Weather Pet Care Tips

June 5th, 2019 | Posted by marketing in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

by Lindsay High, Director of Marketing, Humane Pennsylvania

As sweltering summer temps arrive, your pets face increased risks and potential health related issues associated with managing the heat. Keep your pets cool and safe during the summer months with these useful tips.

Pet Check

  • During the summer, many pets…and people spend more time outdoors. Schedule a check-up appointment with your vet prior to the dog days of summer to ensure your pets have a comprehensive protection plan to help safeguard against increased risks of exposure to fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Our caring veterinarians would be happy to help get your pet summer ready! Visit hvhospitals.org to learn more about our veterinary services.o These are year-round issues but in the summer months, with much more outdoor time, it’s especially important to monitor them. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees, pets can become more susceptible to heat related risks, such as overheating. When pets are outdoors, be sure to provide adequate shade and fresh water. During sweltering days, its best to limit the time your pets spend outdoors, including reducing the duration of daily walks.

DO NOT Leave Your Pets in the Car

  • On warm summer days, it only takes a few minutes for the inside of a vehicle to reach dangerously high temperatures. The result of which could lead to a fatal heatstroke for your pet. Never, ever leave your pets in the vehicle on a warm summer day, it’s the law.o This new law raises awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars and empowers law enforcement to make decisions on behalf of an animal’s welfare by:
    Allowing a police office, humane officer, animal control officer or other public safety professionals to remove a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle if they believe the dog or cat is in imminent danger or harm after a reasonable search for the operator of the vehicle.
    Protecting a police officer, humane officer, or public safety professional who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle from liability for any damages.
    Requiring that an officer who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle must leave a conspicuous note for the owner stating the officer’s information and the information for where to pick up the pet.
    Updating the definition of neglect, prohibiting the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well-being of the animal.
    PA House Bill 1216, the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, Hot Car Law

Hydration is Key

  • When it’s hot and sticky outside, pets are more susceptible to becoming dehydrated. Be sure to give them plenty of clean, fresh water.o Also, when your pets are outdoors, make sure they have a shady spot to seek refuge from sun’s glaring rays. This will help them stay cool and comfortable all summer long.

Keep an Eye on their Paws

  • As the summer sun beats down, common surfaces such asphalt or metal can become extremely hot. Be mindful of these surfaces and keep your pets off them during peak day time hours of 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.o Exposure to these hot surfaces, including hot asphalt and truck beds, can burn your pet’s paws. Exposure may also increase their body temperature, which could lead to overheating. For added protection, shorten walks to prevent overheating and plan them for off-peak times of the day, such as early morning or evenings when asphalt is cooler.

Barbeque Boundaries

  • Barbeques are a lot of fun, full of delicious foods and drinks…for humans. However, some of these items can be deadly to your pets. Be sure your pets can not get in to any alcoholic beverages and human snacks are not pet treats. They can cause severe digestive issues for pets.o Be sure to avoid avocado, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.
    o If your pet ingest a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your pet unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian.

Window Safety

  • Cats love windowsills, it’s an ideal place to perch and observe their surroundings. Keep your cats safe by making sure that window screens are securely placed in each window in our home.o When your windows are open, the screen will help keep cats’ safe inside and ensure they don’t fall out of the window.
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by Chelsea Cappellano, Donor & Alumni Relations Coordinator, Humane Pennsylvania

You may recall Doug, now Milo, a year old Shiba Inu, was found by a local police officer and brought to Humane Pennsylvania. He was in poor condition and suffering from an extreme case of mange. To give him the best chance at a full recovery, Milo was placed on an intensive treatment plan. After months of care he showed improvement and was cleared for adoption. Thankfully within a few days of becoming available, he was adopted.

Since finding his forever home, his family has discovered just how smart, curious, and lovable he is. He enjoys long walks around the neighborhood, playing hide and go seek around the house, and socializing with any new dog friends. He also really enjoys playing with toys – his favorite being his “foxy,” which his family believes he likes it because it looks like him.

We are so grateful to the police officer who saved him from deplorable conditions and to Milo’s new family, for giving him a second chance at life. Visit our website to learn more about ways that you can help save pets like Milo.

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by Tawny Kissinger, Lifesaving Programs Coordinator, Humane Pennsylvania

Humane Pennsylvania provides several focused lifesaving programs. One of these programs is our Bottle Baby Kitten Program. The program was developed to provide resources to care takers that are caring for orphaned kittens that are too you to be adopted. Young kittens that are separated from their mother sadly are unlikely to survive on their own without assistance.

Did you know?

  • Kittens under 4 weeks of age need kitten formula. Our Bottle Baby Kitten Kits come complete with a can of kitten formula. Never feed your kitten cow’s milk! Cow’s milk can cause diarrhea, which could quickly dehydrate a kitten.
  • The greatest single danger to bottle baby kittens is hypothermia or getting cold. Between 0-4 weeks kittens are unable to control their body temperature. This is why we include a rice sock in our Bottle Baby Kitten Kits. Having a warm rice sock in the kitten’s enclosure will help them stay warm.
  • Handling kittens regularly is important to socialize them. Kittens under 4 weeks of age should only be handled for 5-10 minutes at a time. Too much handling at one time can be stressful.

As part of Humane Pennsylvania’s Bottle Baby Kitten Program, we offer care takers of unweaned kittens a helpful kitten kit. This free Bottle Baby Kitten Kit is available to any community members that are seeking insights for how to best nurse and care for unweaned kittens.

Bottle Baby Kitten Kit: Unboxing Video

Visit HumanePA.org to learn more about this and other lifesaving programs, or contact Lifesaving Programs Coordinator, Tawny Kissinger at tkissinger@humanepa.org.

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by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

Last week, Deb Dreisbach won the American Red Cross Animal Rescue Hero award. Each year the American Red Cross awards this honor to either an animal who protected a human in a time of need, or an individual who protected an animal from pain or suffering. This year the award went to an amazing individual and we want to take the time to congratulate this beautiful person who has helped our organization to save numerous lives, and is continuing to save more and more lives in our community.

Deb, or Debbie as many of us refer to her by, worked at the Humane Society of Berks County in 2007 and assisted as a front office employee. As an employee, Debbie was able to get a full view of what went on in an animal shelter. Over a decade ago, I can tell you that it wasn’t a pretty place. Debbie was upset to see that many animals were being euthanized at that time and there was just not enough space for the ones that kept coming in and needed help, especially cats. Being the compassionate and intelligent person she is, Deb knew that more needed to be done to stop the flow of animals from entering the shelter in the first place.

Knowing the importance of spay and neuter, Debbie worked with No Nonsense Neutering and found a location in Reading, at 1500 Frush Valley Road, for a high-volume spay and neuter clinic. She became a board member for No Nonsense Neutering and played an active role to make sure they helped become a part of the solution to increase spay and neuter in Berks County and decrease animal intakes in the shelters.

Debbie became the go-to person for feral and kitten assistance and advice. She created a barn home program that helped relocate numerous feral cats escape euthanasia and find their way out of the shelter and into alternative placement housing. Although she is no longer a Humane Pennsylvania employee, Debbie is frequently a friendly and welcoming face we still see around our veterinary hospital and shelter in Berks.

Whether she is at a vet appointment, picking up a three legged foster, transporting a feral to their new home, or performing feral cat workshops with our staff, Debbie is still an integral part of our organization. As someone who has had the pleasure of knowing Debbie for over a decade, I can attest that Debbie is beautiful inside and out. She always has a story about her adventures with trapping that will make you laugh until your side hurts, but the next minute she can have you in tears with how she managed to save an animal that anyone else would have thought was not able to be saved.

She is purely a good human.

I was fortunate to attended two different conferences over the past few months, which allowed me to be in the same room as hundreds of other animal welfare professionals, people with similar passions and dreams. It made me realize how important it is to appreciate those around you, fighting the same fight. At these conferences I watched connections happen between complete strangers who knew nothing about the other person, yet knowing that one of them had a specific need to help animals, and the other person had a solution to that problem, was enough to bring the two together.

The great relationship between Debbie Dreisbach and our organization has created so many lifesaving opportunities for animals of all sorts. A shared goal and innate desire to help others is what sets a foundation to move forward together.

Jim Stovall said,

“You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.”

This is a very moving statement, because in animal welfare we all share many of the same goals and too often we forget we are all in it for the same reason. If we can lift each other up, support one another, and work together, then we can do more and better things.

Debbie Dreisbach, you have been an employee, rescue partner, foster, and best of all, friend to Humane Pennsylvania for over a decade. We are so thankful to have someone like you in the community to help the people and animals have better lives. We are so proud of you and want to congratulate you on your well-deserved American Red Cross Animal Rescue Hero award.

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by Karel Minor, President & CEO, Humane Pennsylvania

What’s the one thing that people could do that would save more animals’ live every year more than anything else? Microchip identification.

More animals die in animal shelters each year based on being unidentified strays than for any other reason. Fundamentally, any animal that enters a shelter as a stray and doesn’t get back into its owner’s arms swiftly faces a huge risk. No matter the reason it is ultimately killed – lack of space, illness, behavior – the original cause is that it didn’t go home.

Dogs are far more likely to be reclaimed as stray by their owners for two reasons:

  1. They are more likely to wear a collar with some form of ID or license.
  2. When your dog runs off, you are more likely to call the local shelter or police soon after.

Even with these two factors, shelters are lucky to have 20% of stray dogs claimed by their owners. So only 1 in 5 of the hundreds and thousands of stray dogs being picked up in Berks County each year get back to an original owner.

For cats it is even worse, with a typical owner claim rate of 1-2%. That’s because cats rarely have collars and ID (the old “I don’t want my cat strangled on a collar” line is darling, since apparently people would rather their cats die in an animal shelter) and because people tend to think a cat can wander off for a day or two, or seven, before calling a shelter or local police. In that time a stray cat has likely already faced death or been adopted in a shelter.

But cats and dogs who have identification have completely the opposite outcome, with 90% or more getting returned to owners. The simple act of giving your pet ID could save its life and save the lives of other animals in a shelter by not taking up precious space for days or weeks as an unidentified stray.

There is no easier way to identify your pet than with a tiny, safe, cheap microchip implanted under its skin and registering that chip with a national database. It can’t lose a chip like it can a collar. Every shelter, and most police departments, now have universal scanners. Most microchips come with free registration of your name and address. All vets and most shelters offer microchipping services.

Universal microchipping could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of pets each year in American shelters. We believe this is the single most important thing you can do to avoid preventable death of your pet. That’s why we incorporated it into our groundbreaking Healthy Pets, Healthy Communities initiative as a cornerstone of the program. It’s why we microchip every pet adopted from us.

In fact, we think it’s so important we have made it free to all. Humane Pennsylvania and our animal hospitals started providing all clients’ pets with free registered microchips. Zero charge.

All vet clients will be offered a free chip during a regularly scheduled exam, treatment or surgery. Any client utilizing our newly expanded ultra-low cost sterilization services gets a free chip during surgery.

At any of our Healthy Pets, Healthy Communities free microchip clinics, microchips are offered to all for no charge. When our new Berks County shelter is built and operating, we will be working on a program to allow for walk-ins to receive on demand microchip services.

Our goal is to implant an additional 20,000 microchips in Berks County pets (as part of our recent Giorgi Family Grant) in the next three years, with the greater goal of ensuring that 100% of Berks and Lancaster County eventually have microchip identification.We project that increased microchipping will result in fewer strays lingering in shelters because their owners can be identified.

The closer to universal we can get adoptions of this type of ID, the fewer and fewer the number of unclaimed strays will be. That will free up space for truly homeless animals. It will decrease the burden on animal control agencies. It will decrease costs for municipal and state governments.

And it will save lives. Lots and lots of lives.

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by Dr. Jackie Connolly, Humane Veterinary Hospitals Lancaster

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, and is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks. Not only is this disease one of the most common tick-borne illnesses in the United States, but it is also zoonotic – meaning it can infect both humans and animals. According to The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a large number of reported cases are in the northeast region, putting our furry family members in Pennsylvania at a greater risk.

Lyme disease is most commonly transmitted by the black legged tick (Ixodes species), after prolonged feeding (>24-28 hours). Over the span of 2-5 months, the bacteria will migrate to the skin, muscle, joints, lymph nodes and kidneys which can result in serious illness. Therefore, tick prevention is the key to keeping our pets protected and Lyme disease free.

Clinical Signs

Clinical Signs of Lyme disease vary with the patient and the stage of the disease. Initial infections may cause fever, lethargy, anorexia, lymph node enlargement, and muscle and joint pain. Many pet owners will notice limping, a reluctance to move, and joints that are warm to the touch. In more serious and chronic infections, the bacteria can infect the kidneys, causing ‘Lyme nephritis’ or kidney failure. Some studies suggest this may occur more often in Golden Retrievers and Labradors.

Once infected with Lyme disease, dogs generally remain infected for life and can have continued flare-ups that require treatment. Others may never show clinical signs, or may even clear the infection on their own.

So when do we test and treat for Lyme? This has been a controversial subject in veterinary medicine.

Testing

If your pet has shown any of the clinical signs of Lyme disease your veterinarian will order a blood test to determine if he/she is Lyme positive. One of the commonly used tests is a SNAP 4DX, which also screens for heartworm disease and two other tick borne illnesses. This test is generally done at every annual exam to ensure your pet is healthy and on proper prevention.

If your dog is Lyme positive, a urine test and comprehensive blood test may be advised. This is an important step in making sure your pet does not have a more serious form of Lyme disease, Lyme nephritis.

To Treat or Not To Treat

Treatment is not always recommended for Lyme positive dogs. If your dog is showing clinical signs, your veterinarian will prescribe a 3-4 week course of an antibiotic such as Doxycycline. In more severe cases, your veterinarian may also prescribe medications for pain. Symptoms of Lyme disease should resolve within the first week of treatment.

In non-clinical cases, your veterinarian will recommend additional tests to determine kidney function. If your dog has protein in his/her urine, or evidence of kidney dysfunction, antibiotics will be prescribed. If laboratory tests are all normal, your veterinarian will continue monitoring with yearly physical examinations and bloodwork.

The general consensus at this time, is that treatment with antibiotics in pets that are asymptomatic is not necessary. Treatment may put your dog at risk of possible side effects from the antibiotic, such as vomiting and diarrhea, with little benefit. As medical professionals, we take antibiotic resistance very seriously, and do not want to overuse these medications when they are not needed.

Prevention

Keeping your dog protected from ticks year round is the best way to prevent Lyme disease. There are many products on the market including topical and chewable monthly preventatives and collars. Some products are more effective than others, which is why it is important to speak with your veterinarian about which products work best.

For patients at a greater risk of contracting the disease, your veterinarian will give a yearly Lyme vaccine. High risk patients include dogs that live in endemic areas (northeast region), those with outdoor lifestyles, and those who frequently visit wooded areas such as with hiking, camping, or hunting.

Checking your dog for ticks can help limit the amount of time a tick is on your pet, and therefore decreases the probability of transmission. Black legged ticks can be very small and hard to find especially if in the groin, between the toes, inside the ears, or under the tail. A thorough check of both yourself and your pet should be conducted when coming in from outside.

At our Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Lancaster and Reading, we understand your pet is a member of your family. Please make an appointment if you have any additional questions regarding your pet and Lyme disease. Click here to contact us.

It is our goal to keep your pet healthy and free from disease for many years to come.

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by Dr. Heather Lineaweaver

People brush, floss and receive regular dental cleanings to maintain healthy teeth and gums and to prevent tooth loss. Preventative dental care is just as important for our pets. Without appropriate care, plaque and bacteria will build up on the teeth and above the gum line. Over time, this plaque will harden into calculus (tartar). As the calculus becomes thicker, it will start to cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), and they will start to recede and pull away from the teeth. This allows bacteria and debris to move further above the gum line.

As periodontal disease progresses, the teeth can loosen and abscesses can develop. Chronic disease can even lead to weakening of the surrounding bone, making the jaw more prone to fractures. Periodontal disease is painful for pets and can interfere with eating, but the associated bacteria can also cause problems. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect internal organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Taking care of our pets’ teeth will help them live longer, healthier, happier lives.

So Fresh & So Clean

Regular brushing is the best way to maintain a healthy mouth. Daily brushing is ideal, but even doing it a few times a week is better than nothing. With dogs and cats, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be brushed, which makes it a little easier.

There are multiple types of brushes available, including one that slips over the finger. Only toothpaste specifically formulated for pets should be used. When first starting out, using only your finger to rub along the teeth and gums can help your pet get used to the feeling of have their teeth brushed. Starting when your pet is young also helps. There are treats designed to help prevent plaque build-up, but they should be used as a supplement to brushing rather than replacing it. Bones and hard chew toys for dogs should be avoided, as they can cause tooth fractures.

Regular Check Ups

A yearly physical exam is also very important to assess your pet’s dental and overall health. Your veterinarian will check the teeth, discuss any issues, and determine whether your pet will need a professional cleaning under anesthesia.

Some pets may need a cleaning every year or two, others only once or twice in their lifetime. Genetics play a role in dental health, so even with appropriate care, some pets will need more frequent professional cleanings.

It is never too late to get started with a dental hygiene regimen for your pet. Our veterinarians are happy to provide you with insights and additional guidance. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

It’s finally spring! To some people this might mean that all the snow melted and they now have lots of poop scooping to catch up on in the yard, but it also means nicer weather for more walks with your dog. Going on walks regularly with your dog provides many physical and mental health benefits that help to keep you and your dog loving and living the good life. Below are helpful pet safety tips we recommend to keep you and your dog safe on those beautiful spring strolls.

Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes

Make sure your dog is wearing an appropriate fitted collar or harness. You don’t want to find out the hard way that the collar was too big and your beloved pet slipped out while trying to chase a bicycle or squirrel.

  • Use the “two finger” rule by sliding two fingers between your dog’s neck and collar to make sure the collar is not fitted too snug or too loose.

You should not be able to pull the collar up and over the dog’s head. Remember that dogs grow, lose weight, and gain weight just like people do, so it is important to frequently check how your dog’s collar fits and also that it is in good condition.

Harnesses are also great options for smaller breeds and brachycephalic breeds (short nose dogs like pugs and bulldogs) with delicate windpipes. Harnesses can discourage pulling, provide better control, and prevent injury to the neck area. There are MANY different kinds of harnesses, so do your research or work with a professional trainer to identify which harness is best for you and your dog.

Retractable leashes are generally not safe and are not recommended. Retractable style leashes provide little control and often extend very far, which can be dangerous if you’re near roads or other animals who are not pet friendly. The cord on these leashes are not durable and can snap or easily tangle around the walker or dog and cause serious injury. Talk to your veterinarian or trainer before making the decision to purchase a retractable leash.

Head collars can be a good option for certain dogs who are having difficulty pulling on leash, but if you are looking into this option it is recommended to work with a trainer or veterinary professional to help you acclimate your dog to this style of head harness. Dogs tend to either respond really well or face challenges adjusting to the “funny thing” on their face.

Keep Your Dog on Leash

Most places have laws stating your dog needs to be on leash, and for your dog’s safety it is very important to follow this rule. Even if you have your dog well trained you never know what could scare or spark your dog’s interest and cause them to take off, which puts them at risk of getting hit by a car, in a fight with another animal, or lost. Use designated dog parks that are fenced in for off leash play.

Proper Identification

Not only should you have properly fitted collars and harnesses, but your dog should also have proper identification in the chance they do get loose on your walk. Identification tags with your pets name, your phone number, and city can increase the chance of you reuniting with your pet. In addition, it is highly recommended to get your pet microchipped, which involves a very small chip being inserted under the skin and between your pet’s shoulder blades. This chip has a unique number which is detected by a microchip scanner and entered into a database.

Most shelters, veterinary hospitals, and even police officers carry microchip scanners and can scan a stray animal brought to them. Having your pet’s current rabies tag, license tag, microchip tag, and identification tag are all beneficial and increase the chance of your dog being reunited to you.

Be Prepared with Supplies

Make sure you have poop pick-up bags ready because most cities will issue a fine if you do not clean up after your pet. If you are going on a longer walk or hike it may be good to bring water and treats with you so your dog can stay hydrated and energized.

Environment

Watch the weather and lighting when you go on your walk. Dogs can easily overheat and even moderate temperatures, like 70 degrees, can cause heat stroke depending on the circumstances. Be mindful of your dog’s coat and tolerance to heat. Check with your vet if you are not certain what temperatures you should avoid for walk days. If you are walking very early or very late, make sure you are seen. Put reflective gear and clip on lights that will make you and your dog stand out to a passersby. Play it safe and stay on sidewalks.

Get Cleared by a Veterinarian

Just like when you pop in that new Jillian Michaels DVD to tone in 30 days, Jillian recommends you consult with a doctor or medical professional to ensure you are healthy enough for exercise. The same goes for your pooch. Regular vet visits can make sure that your dog is in sound condition to accompany you on walks. Regular vet visits also mean getting routine vaccinations, which can protect your dog from catching diseases.

Ask Before Approaching

This goes both ways. If you are walking your dog and see another dog walking by, ask before approaching to let the dogs meet. The other dog may be dog aggressive or be working on their confidence with other dogs, but not quite ready to meet other dogs. Don’t ever assume. Be alert for people who do not practice the “ask before approaching” rule with or without dogs.

Over the weekend I had two very different interactions when my husband and I were walking our two dogs. The first involved a young child running full speed at my 8 year old pug mix in full Frankenstein fashion with arms stretched out far in front and wide eyes. She was clearly excited and had one goal in mind, to touch the dogs. The child’s parent was nearby and not once intervened. The child approached so quickly my dog snapped at her because he was terrified by the quick approach of a stranger. Thankfully there was no injury or contact. This was not the child’s fault, but the lack of supervision or interference from the parent.

In another situation three children were riding their bicycles and asked from across the street if they could pet my dogs. My dogs are friendly dogs, with the right approach, so I said yes and the children came over slowly and crouched down and offered a hand to sniff. Both dogs were presenting bellies and giving kisses galore. They welcomed this respectful approach. Two different approaches and two different outcomes. Supervise and teach your children appropriate interactions to avoid incidents. If you don’t know confidently how your dog will react in different situations, don’t chance it by allowing strangers to approach.

Walks are a great way to bond with your dog and get some fresh air. Follow these helpful tips to make sure you are protecting yourself and your dog every time you leash up. Next time you ask your dog, “Wanna go for a W.A.L.K?” remember to keep it S.A.F.E.

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by Karel Minor, President & CEO, Humane Pennsylvania

If you haven’t yet purchased your 2019 Art for Arf’s Sake Auction tickets yet, you really should. This year will be a blast. You just know our staff and auction committee are going to manage some magical surprises with our Harry Pawter theme (that’s right, Pawter. Not only is that cute, but we don’t want to find out how litigious J.K. is). Think of our Dogwarts as Hogwarts’ less prestigious party school alternative.

We are back at the old Rajah Theater, now the Santander Performing Arts Center, which is tailor made for this theme. We will have food, drink, and entertainment, featuring the Dogwarts House Student Band. You’ll get sorted or pick your own house, and if your house bids enough, maybe you’ll take home the Dogwarts Cup.

Through an unspeakable act of sorcery – or just because we have so much more room than we did at the last venue – we have cast a shrinking spell on the ticket price. It’s only $40 a person! You’d have to be crazier than a Bellatrix to think you can find a better deal for a night of food, open beer and wine bar, and the chance to see Humane Pennsylvania staff dressed up and making fools of themselves.

For just a little more, you can become a patron-us (get it?) and get a pair of VIP passes for both the art auction and the Portkey Preview Party at the home of honorary event co-chairs, John Herman and Lisa Tiger, in Wyomissing on Friday, April 12.

You will be joining local artists and luminaries in supporting the spectacular and unique work of Humane Pennsylvania. We’ve also got some better known folks, too: Betsy Lewin, Caldecott Honor winning illustrator of such books as “Click, Clack, Moo”, and legendary west coast punk icons Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), John Doe & DJ Bonebrake (X), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), and Dave Alvin (The Blasters), have personally donated pieces in support of this year’s auction!

So I need you to do something for us. If you haven’t yet bought your tickets, do it right now! If you have bought your tickets, help us reach our goal of 100 new recruits and bring two guests with you! The success of this event directly determines our ability to deliver critical life-saving animal welfare and medical service in Berks and Lancaster Counties.

Check out our website to see some of the awesome art, items, and experiences featured at the art auction the April 27.

Now, let’s see if this works. With tap of my wand and a flourish of my hand, I command, “Imperious!” Now go buy some tickets, you are under my control. 

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