Pet Poison Awareness Month

March 2nd, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Pet Poison Awareness Month)
By: Lisa Malkin, Director of Veterinary Services for Humane Veterinary Hospitals

Each year, more than 100,000 pets are accidentally exposed to toxins, resulting in emergency trips to the veterinarian or phone calls to Pet Poison Control hotlines.

What are the most common poisons and toxins ingested by pets, and where are they found?

Not surprisingly, the greatest risks to pets are found around the home. Plants, foods, human medications, cleaning supplies, and automotive products are responsible for the vast majority of pet poisoning cases reported to veterinarians and poison control centers.

Here are a few of the most common, as reported by the Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:

  • More than 1,000 common plants can be toxic to pets. While not all toxic exposures are life-threatening, it is important to take any potentially harmful exposure seriously.

Lilies, azaleas, aloe vera, sago palm, English ivy, philodendron, hydrangea, poinsettia, dieffenbachia, and oleander are among the leading causes of poisoning among pets and should be avoided.

  • Many foods that we commonly eat can also present a poisoning risk to pets. Highest on the list are products containing alcohol or caffeine. Caffeine-containing products such as coffee, coffee beans, and chocolate can result in life-threatening conditions, including tremors, arrhythmias, seizures, and death.

Other common foods pets should avoid include avocado, citrus fruits, grapes, raisins, coconut, nuts,  garlic, onions, yeast dough, and any processed foods containing the sweetener Xylitol.

If you believe your pet has ingested any of these substances, contact your vet or local animal poison control center.

  • Household & Automotive Products. Many household and automotive products also pose a poisoning risk to pets. Bleach, ammonia, household cleansers, jewelry cleaner, and antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol are highly dangerous to pets and should be stored in sealed containers where pets cannot access them.

Many common cosmetic products — such as soap, mouthwash, deodorant, nail polish, nail polish remover, nail glue, sunscreen, toothpaste, and shampoo — also present a poisoning risk to pets and should be stored away from places your dog or cat (or rabbit, ferret, or other furry friends) can reach.

  • Human Medications. Many of these drugs are not appropriate for use by animals. Human doses of medications are often too potent to be safely ingested by pets.

In Case of a Pet Poisoning Emergency

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Immediately call your veterinarian, the local vet emergency hospital, the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

To ensure your pet’s overall health, visit hvhospitals.org and schedule a routine checkup, today!

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Why Rabbits Make Great Pets!

February 2nd, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Why Rabbits Make Great Pets!)
By: Laura Gibbs, Humane Pennsylvania Customer Care Representative

February is National Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. At Humane Pennsylvania, we’re excited to shine the spotlight on these fuzzy little friends!

Rabbits have been in our lives since the 5th century, when these adorable creatures won the hearts of humans and were domesticated to be pets. Did you know rabbits are currently the second-most popular pet, after goldfish? And according to insider.com*, other than cats and dogs, rabbits are one of the most popular pets in the U.S. — second only to goldfish. It’s no wonder these critters get a whole month dedicated to finding their forever homes.

Aside from cats and dogs, rabbits are the animal we most see being surrendered. And they’re typically surrendered for the same reasons — a lack of space, the children lost interest in them, or they’re too much work.

I had rabbits when I was growing up. They had a hutch outside, and to be honest, I didn’t do much with them. And I never saw myself as a rabbit person. Until recently, that is. I am now getting close to the end of my adventure with a mama rabbit who had been abandoned. When I brought her into my home, I ended up being blessed with a total of seven very happy bunnies, each of which changed my outlook on rabbits.

Mama bun and her babies’ daddy were abandoned at the end of October. I took mom home for a pregnancy watch and, sure enough, a couple weeks later she gave birth to six healthy buns. I still have mom at home while waiting to get her spayed, but the babies are back and ready for adoption!

In my opinion, rabbits are the perfect blend of cat and dog — in a truly awesome, cuddly package. These small creatures bond with their people, just like cats and dogs do. And they love playing with toys. Chew toys, batting toys, hanging toys, crinkly toys, puzzle toys, cardboard boxes, things they can jump on or climb onto or dig in — all are AMAZING in the eyes of a bun. You can teach them anything you can teach a dog: sit, stay, jumping through hoops, jump up, etc. There’s simply no end to what you can fill their little heads with.

The big thing to remember when bringing home a bun is space. Rabbits’ personalities flourish when they’re allowed to free roam in a rabbit-proofed room or area, or even the whole house. When they’re able to free roam, they have plenty of space to be as happy as they can be. And rabbits do a special little thing all their own when they’re happy — it’s called binkying.

Basically, binkying is a bunny happy dance where they jump up and twist around in the air, sometimes in both directions, before they land. Imagine being so incredibly happy that the only thing you can do is jump as high as you can and wiggle your entire body while in the air — which can be more than a little challenging to do in a cramped rabbit cage. If you’ve never seen a rabbit binky, you are missing out on one of life’s most adorable animal-related activities.

Now, I know you are probably thinking, “But what about all the poop? I can’t have a rabbit free roam with all that poop!” There’s a very simple solution. Remember I mentioned all those super cool things you can teach your bunny? Well, one of those things is litter training! That’s right, you can teach your bun to use a litterbox just like you would a feline friend. Amazing, right?

And with plenty of toys and encouragement, you can even teach your bun what is and isn’t appropriate to chew on. Like I said, they’re the perfect blend of cat and dog.

You do have to keep in mind, however, that owning a rabbit (just like any other pet) isn’t always all fun and games. You need to be prepared for the inevitable vet bills, and establishing a relationship with an exotics vet will ease some of your worries if an emergency should one day occur.

Rabbits should also be spayed or neutered, even if you plan on only housing one bunny. There are many benefits to spaying or neutering your rabbit, which makes it almost silly not to. Like cats, rabbits tend to spray when they are not sterilized, and unaltered rabbits can be a little testy. Altered rabbits are less destructive (with chewing and digging), and female rabbits that aren’t spayed have an 85% chance of developing reproductive cancers. Rabbits can live up to 10 years, and wouldn’t you want your bun to live as happily and be as healthy as they can?

I hope I’ve convinced you that rabbits are pretty amazing creatures and make wonderful pets. Both Humane Pennsylvania adoption centers are almost always overflowing with buns, so be sure to skip the pet store and celebrate Adopt a Rabbit month with us!

To adopt a shelter critter today, please visit humanepa.org!

*SOURCE: https://www.insider.com/most-popular-pets-in-the-us-2018-7#poultry-is-a-very-popular-choice-4

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Humane Pennsylvania 2021 Year in Review: Muscle Memory

December 31st, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Humane Pennsylvania 2021 Year in Review: Muscle Memory)
Written by: Humane Pennsylvania CEO & President, Karel Minor

In the interest of full disclosure, I must share that this is a complete rewrite of my first draft of this blog post. After I completed writing the initial version and read it, all I could think was, “Good Lord, what a depressing and miserable update!”

I’d shared many incredible accomplishments, but it had come out in a woeful, beaten-down tone rather than an upbeat one. I realized at that moment that my writing had been affected by the muscle memory of working under COVID conditions for nearly two years. For almost two years, everything that could go wrong seemed to do so.

There was constant uncertainty. And even when things worked out, it felt like more of a struggle than it should, and we all just got worn down and tired. I suppose it makes sense that after working and living like that, even great news could come out like Eeyore’s shopping list. Even now, my weary self wants to groan, “Oh. My. Gawd. Now it’s freaking Omicron?”

The thing is, we had some great news and accomplished some remarkable things this past year. So it’s time to shake those muscles loose and take a second swing at this. This time I want to express the enthusiasm, gratitude, and joy my heart and mind feel for all the positive outcomes we’ve experienced this year.

COVID: Okay, so there was COVID — and it has been awful for us, along with the rest of the world. However, our staff, volunteers, and supporters came through like champs. We started getting our staff vaccinated as early as last March, which allowed us to open back up sooner and more safely than most places. Our team handled the ever-changing protocols and rules imposed on us with grace and understanding. Through hard work (and some good luck), I am proud to be able to say that none of our staff faced layoffs. They worked hard, and even when they (and I!) contracted COVID, we recuperated and got back to work helping animals and people.

During the past year, we distributed about a quarter-million pounds of food and supplies via HPA’s Spike’s Pet Food Pantry, through our partner organizations, and as the organization tapped by the PA State Animal Response Team to coordinate pandemic pet food distribution. That’s on top of nearly three-quarters of a million pounds the prior year.  Thanks to a second-round PPP grant, we were able to make up financial shortfalls that resulted from our inability to hold regular fundraising events. COVID has undoubtedly proved to be pretty crummy, but all our folks stepped up to help others, even as they had to cope with the pandemic personally. I could not be prouder of our entire team.

The Freedom Center Opens: Filed under “Better Late Than Never,” after a construction delay that lasted more than nine months due to COVID, HPA’s brand spanking new Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving finally opened to the public in July! Named by an anonymous donor who wanted the name to reflect his belief in the concept of freedom for animals and people, it’s more than just a better version of our old Reading shelter.

The Freedom Center offers upgraded traditional sheltering and adoption spaces to allow us to help more animals than ever before. And those conventional programs are merged and intertwined into medical, counseling, and education spaces that support HPA’s Healthy Pets Initiative. Healthy Pets aims to give everyone the support they need to be great caretakers, from accessible and affordable veterinary care to a wide range of pet-and-people-first programs that keep pets at home. If you haven’t visited the Freedom Center, it’s worth the trip!

We are grateful for all the folks who supported this project at all financial levels, from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. COVID put the brakes on our campaign halfway through, but supporters have been steadily contributing to Spike’s 700 and Tilly’s 200 Giving Clubs to make up for lost time. We hope you will, too!

Neighborhood Clinics: COVID made it more challenging, but it didn’t stop us from going into neighborhoods to connect with pets directly and provide critical vaccines, microchip identification, and other vital healthcare services. Our specially trained teams of staff and volunteer veterinarians, technicians, and assistants provided services week in and week out to thousands of people in 2021. We partnered with the Animal Rescue League to share data to allow us to map parvo outbreaks in Reading and then work together at community clinics held at Amanda E. Stout Elementary School. This partnership let us help more than we could have alone, and the data sharing allowed us to deliver that help where it was needed most.

Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinics: One of the most exciting aspects of the Healthy Pets Initiative and the Freedom Center is opening one of the nation’s first “walk-in” vet clinics. Sponsored by Jay Rosenson in memory of Elaine Rosenson, the clinic began providing service hours to the community in 2021. It expects to open full time once veterinary staff is entirely in place. Modeled on human quick-clinics, which offer limited services at a lower cost with faster access, the Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic fills the gap between our neighborhood clinics and our public Humane Veterinary Hospitals.

Best of Berks Veterinary Hospital: Speaking of Humane Veterinary Hospitals Reading (HVH Reading), we are excited and proud to have been named Best of Berks Veterinary Hospital by Berks County Living readers this year! While it may have been a far-off goal when we first opened for public veterinary services in our cramped quarters of the old Berks Humane Scholar Center shelter in 2006, it’s lovely to have it become a reality. Both HVH Reading and Lancaster are American Animal Hospital accredited and open to the public. Our hospitals were the first non-profit hospitals in Pennsylvania to achieve accreditation — and among fewer than 30 in the country. Less than 15% of the 36,000 for-profit vet practices are accredited.

With the motto “For pets, not for profit,” our little shelter-that-could has led the nation in recognizing the barriers to access to vet care for large portions of our communities and then finding ways to deliver affordable, high-quality care sustainably. I was recently one of only about 50 people nationwide to participate in an ASPCA “Access to Care” Conference, which sought to find ways to expand access and remove barriers to vet care. It’s an exciting effort, and HPA is a recognized national leader and voice in this vital work. If you aren’t already a client of one of our two public hospitals, check us out.

If you are a veterinarian or a veterinary tech, we’re hiring! You can join a practice that offers all the benefits and support of a “gold-standard” practice, and also lets you help animals and people and practice medicine like a vet — not according to a corporate checklist. You don’t know what you don’t know about Humane Veterinary Hospitals, so find out more today!

Back to Normal? Yes, please! We aren’t quite back to normal, but it’s great to be getting closer. We were able to hold our Walk for the Animals this year, and we’re psyched to be hosting it next year in its new springtime slot on Saturday, May 7! Despite much concern going into it, our Art for Arf’s Sake Auction was held in its new autumn time slot this past November and raised over $100,000 for the animals — our best performance in several years! While raising critical funds is pretty cool, we’ve missed connecting with our friends and supporters in real life. We are all looking forward to seeing your smiling, happy faces next year.

It’s too late to keep this short, but it would get too long if I thanked everyone who deserves it. So many people and businesses stepped up to help Humane Pennsylvania get through this tough year. With their help, we didn’t have to pull back. We leaned into the need in our community. Thank you. Thanks to everyone out there who helped us help animals and the people who love them.

I can’t wait to see what next year brings — I mean, it can’t be worse than the last couple, right? I know better days are ahead, but I still got to do some pretty incredible work in the days behind us.

All right, this is way better than my first draft. I need to keep exercising those positivity and optimism muscles, and everyone else does, too. Let’s get back to being happy and being together!

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Give Back This #GivingTuesday!

November 19th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Give Back This #GivingTuesday!)
By: Chelsea Cappellano, Humane Pennsylvania Events & Donor Relations Manager

Giving Tuesday isn’t just an average day, it’s a day that encourages people to do good. This #GivingTuesday, I invite you to do good and unleash your generosity by becoming a monthly donor!

Monthly contributions provide Humane Pennsylvania with an ongoing, reliable source of funding. These donations enable us to have a consistent stream of financial support, which helps care for the animals in our shelters and in our community. Donation levels start as low as $10, and each level offers exclusive Humane Pennsylvania perks and swag. When you sign up to be a monthly donor (this #GivingTuesday), you will also receive a complimentary thank you gift in addition to your Humane Pennsylvania welcome packet.

If you are unable to donate monthly but still want to make a difference in the life of an animal in need, making a one-time gift this #GivingTuesday is another great option! One-time donations help Humane Pennsylvania continue to build the best community anywhere to be an animal. Contributions can be designated by location or made in memory or honor a loved one, family member, friend, or pet. No donation amount is too big or too small. All of our funding comes from direct charitable gifts made by supporters, like YOU!

Simply put, your gifts save lives.

Sign up today by visiting https://support.humanepa.org/monthly-giving/ or contact our Events & Donor Relations Manager, Chelsea Cappellano, at [email protected] or (610) 750-6100 ext. 299.

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National Feral Cat Day: Here’s How You Can Get Involved

October 14th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on National Feral Cat Day: Here’s How You Can Get Involved)

Written by: Humane Pennsylvania Community Outreach Programs Manager, Alexandra Young

October 16 is National Feral Cat Day! Since I met my first feral cat over 20 years ago, almost every day has been a celebration of National Feral Cat Day for me. Luke was a 4-month-old feral kitten that was basically kit-napped from his familiar outdoor home as part of a grassroots effort to save his litter. Half a year later, he was still terrified of humans. He had no potential adopters, and he no longer had a safe outdoor home. He was really miserable — as were his caretakers.

Luke’s case alerted me to the plight of feral cats and the consequences when good intentions fail. Many outdoor “friendlies” can backslide after being adopted as an indoor pet when their familiar routine and environment disappear. Common pitfalls of failed rescue attempts are:

 

  • Litter box avoidance (indoors or outside)
  • Repeated escape attempts (or finally succeeding)
  • Aggression or shutting down

Stray or Feral?

“Stray” cats usually refer to those that enjoy physical contact with us and know how to ask for food and attention. One may think the cheek rubs, belly rolls and purrs mean “Please save me!” but this may not be what the cat truly wants or needs. Strays are often lost or abandoned pets, but they may also be indoor/outdoor unsupervised pets.

A “feral” cat runs when approached and deliberately avoids interaction with people. They have had little or no exposure to human contact or confinement, and they will attack if they can’t escape when cornered or handled. They’re often born outside as descendants of multiple generations of ferals.

Many factors influence a cat’s behavior at any given moment, and without a complete history calling one stray or feral becomes subjective. Regardless of its label, there is a way to control the population that respects cats’ nature and virtually eliminates kit-napping scenarios. It’s called TNR, otherwise known as Trap-Neuter-Return.

TNR’d cats are humanely captured, surgically sterilized, vaccinated against rabies and ear-tipped (one-third of an ear cut straight across) before being released back to their original outdoor “home.” Ear tips are universal symbols that a cat:

  • Can’t reproduce
  • Is rabies vaccinated
  • Likely has a feeder (or a few!)
  • Is at “home” and should be left alone unless obviously sick or injured

Kittens as young as 2 months old can be safely sterilized by a trained veterinarian. Early sterilization is critical, because a kitten can have her first litter at 6 months old. Many ear-tipped cats are also microchipped so they can be returned home just like your own family pet. Although cats are instinctively solitary, TNR’d cats often live in groups (called colonies) to share resources. Scientifically proven* benefits of TNR include:

  • Reduces complaint-inducing behaviors, including fighting, spraying, and breeding
  • Stabilizes population
  • Frees up valuable shelter/rescue resources to needy pets
  • Promotes peaceful coexistence
  • Advocates humane treatment of all animals
  • Avoids needless euthanasia

Returning sterilized cats to areas where other cats live may seem counterintuitive. However, due to the vacuum effect, new cats move into voids created by the removal of existing cats to take advantage of food, water and shelter. On the other hand, the practice of trapping, removing and killing cats often results in increases in free-roaming cat populations.

Humane Pennsylvania, through its Healthy Pets Initiative, offers the following services to assist you with free-roaming cats:

  • Bottle Baby Kitten Kits
  • Low-cost or free TNR surgeries for free-roaming cats
  • “Pay-what-you-can” neighborhood vaccine and microchip clinics
  • Free cat food to community cat caregivers through Spike’s Pet Pantry
  • Free winter cat shelters made by volunteers
  • Community cat and TNR guidance and advice

Be the Change

Humane Pennsylvania is building the best community anywhere to be an animal — including a community cat. And every person can be a part of the solution. Here’s how you can help:

  • Become a foster parent for kittens, either on your own or through Humane Pennsylvania
  • Volunteer to distribute pet food, make cat shelters or help at vaccine clinics
  • If your municipality offers TNR services, thank your council and use the services!
  • Attend council meetings and encourage elected officials to support TNR, offer a trap loan program or set aside funding to subsidize TNR surgeries
  • Donate to Humane Pennsylvania to support our community cat programs

By working together as a community, we can improve the lives of free-roaming cats and the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Using the right approaches, we can save lives, decrease problems associated with unsupported community cats and have healthier, happier communities!

* Resources for scientifically validated benefits of TNR:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12523478/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26799109/

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August 22nd Is National Take Your Cat To The Vet Day!

August 18th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on August 22nd Is National Take Your Cat To The Vet Day!)
By Dr. Simoneau, Chief Veterinary Officer for Humane Pennsylvania 

Did you know that August 22nd is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day?

This is your friendly reminder to schedule your annual wellness exam if your kitty hasn’t been to the vet this year. Establishing a relationship with a vet for a wellness visit is essential; it helps ensure that your vet can see your cat should your cat ever have any urgent needs. If your cat is up-to-date with vaccines, a yearly exam is still an important step to make sure your cat remains healthy. A head-to-tail exam for every cat is necessary to assess dental health, monitor body weight, check lumps and bumps, and check lab work to detect early disease in senior cats.

On a head-to-tail exam, a veterinarian assesses the skin for common issues like ear and skin infections, as well as evidence of external parasites such as fleas and new lumps or masses. Mouth examinations help locate signs of dental diseases. A cat’s bodily condition, or fluctuation in weight, is a great way to signify that blood and urine tests should be ordered so that vets can screen for organ or endocrine dysfunction. In addition, fecal samples are recommended annually to screen for intestinal parasite eggs.

Common cat diseases to look out for:

  • External and internal parasites (i.e., fleas, ear mites, roundworms, tapeworms)
  • Skin and ear infections
  • Skin masses
  • Dental disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism

 

August 22nd is also National Be an Angel Day. If your cat has already been to the vet this year, be an angel and sign up for Spike and Tilly’s Giving Clubs at https://humanepa.org/donations/capital-campaign/ to help ensure other cats get vet care in honor of your cat(s)!

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Pet Loss Prevention Month – Tips to Keep Pets with Their Families

July 22nd, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Pet Loss Prevention Month – Tips to Keep Pets with Their Families)
By: Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations for Humane Pennsylvania 

If you ever had a pet go missing, for any length of time, you know how terrifying and stressful it can be.

The fear of never seeing them again sets in immediately. Or if they end up hours away – how will someone get in contact with you? What if they’re hurt and need help?

The thoughts, concerns, and anxieties can go on and on until your beloved pet is back in your care, safe and sound.

July is National Pet Loss Prevention Month, which is intended to bring awareness to the many animals that go missing every year. Animals are family – and they deserve to stay safe in their homes, by their owner’s side.

To help ensure your animals remain safe by your side, we are going to discuss some helpful pet loss prevention tips.

Microchip

What is a microchip? A microchip is a tiny radio-frequency identifier that is inserted under your pet’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades.

The chip has a unique identification number that appears when it’s scanned with an appropriate device (typically found at shelters and veterinary hospitals). Some police officers even carry microchip scanners now so they can immediately scan stray animals to see if they can get them back to their owners quickly.

If your dog or cat is not already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about setting up an appointment. Many shelters and rescue groups hold vaccine and microchip clinics, some of which you don’t even need an appointment to attend.

Throughout the year, Humane Pennsylvania offers pay-what-you-can vaccine and microchip clinics. You can find upcoming dates by going to humanepa.org.

Register and update the chip! Many people who have had their pet microchipped make the mistake of not keeping their information updated or even checking to make sure their pet’s microchip is registered. Contact your microchip company regularly to update addresses, phone numbers, and alternate contacts.

Not sure if your pet is microchipped? Many shelters and veterinarians will scan your pet at no cost. Call those in your local area to find one that can help.

Once you receive a microchip number, you can use AAHA’s microchip lookup at https://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ to determine whether the microchipped is registered, what company your pet’s chip is registered through, and how you can update necessary info. You can also find out how to get your pet’s chip registered if it isn’t already.

Report a Lost or Found Animal

If you find a lost pet, there are some important things you should do to play your part in helping that animal get back to its owner.

  • Check with neighbors to see if anyone recognizes the pet.
  • Take the animal to a local shelter or veterinary hospital to get scanned for a microchip.
  • Call your local shelter to complete a found report or to see if they have any lost reports that match the description of the pet you found.
  • Post to Facebook groups and websites created for helping owners find their lost pets.
  • If you are unable to keep the pet safe while you try to find the owner, call the municipality where you found the pet and see who they contract with to advise you on where to take the pet to safely stay while the owner is located.

Spay and Neuter

Spay and neuter isn’t just important for controlling the pet population; it can also prevent animals from going astray. Intact males are highly driven to roam and find a mate, so they are more likely to find ways out of the home.

Supervise

Don’t leave your pets unsupervised. Even in a fenced yard or enclosure, you should always be with your pet in case they find a faulty fence post, are a master digger, or have perfected the art of fence climbing.

Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes

Make sure your dog wears 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 of it while trying to chase a bicycle or squirrel.

Use the “two-finger” rule to check for a proper fit by sliding two fingers between your dog’s neck and collar to make sure the collar is not 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 you with 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 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 and your dog are walking near roads or encounter other animals that are not pet-friendly.

Additionally, the cord used in these leashes is 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.

Proper Identification

Not only should your pet have properly fitted collars and harnesses, but they should also have proper identification if they happen to get loose.

An identification tag with your pet’s name, along with your phone number and city, can increase the chances of you reuniting with your pet.

Having your pet’s current rabies tag, license tag, microchip tag, and identification tag on their collar is beneficial and increases the chance of your furry friend getting back home.

We hope you never have to experience the terrible stress of having a pet go missing, but hopefully, following these tips will result in a quick, healthy, and happy reunion!

 

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Lauren Henderson’s 5 Year Work Anniversary

July 14th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Lauren Henderson’s 5 Year Work Anniversary)

Today we celebrate Lauren Henderson, our Director of Development, who continuously perseveres and exceeds our expectations! Lauren truly puts the “L” in building the best community anywhere to be an animal or animal caretaker, and we are so happy to have her on our team! Learn more about Lauren and some of the fantastic things she’s done since her time with Humane Pennsylvania!

What do you love most about working for Humane Pennsylvania?
I genuinely enjoy connecting people to our organization, whether by attending an event or having their business partner with us for a fundraiser. It’s so lovely to see people really embrace our mission and have an understanding of what Humane Pennsylvania is all about.

What do you see as your most significant accomplishment since your start with Humane Pennsylvania?
My biggest accomplishment has been my ability to continue to grow and learn within the organization. When I started here five years ago, I was the Events/Donor Relations Manager. Now, to be Director of Development is very exciting and rewarding for my career.

What is one of your favorite Humane Pennsylvania memories from the past year?
A couple of months into the pandemic, we started selling mystery boxes to boost the Humane PA’s income. My coworker Chelsea and I would come into the office (with masks on, of course) for a few hours a day and stuff hundreds of boxes! It was a lot of work, but seeing the support still coming in was fantastic, and hanging out with Chelsea is pretty great too.

What part of your position do you enjoy most?
I love forming relationships with the donors and corporations I work with to become as passionate about supporting the animals we serve as we are.

What is one fun fact about you that we might not already know?
I am a HUGE Philadelphia sports fan; I love the Sixers, Phillies, Eagles & Flyers!

Thank you, Lauren, for all you do for Humane Pennsylvania and the animals in our care!

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Pet Fire Safety Tips

July 14th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Pet Fire Safety Tips)

In light of Pet Fire Safety Day, which takes place on July 15th this year, we took time to chat with Andy Gudinas – Berks County Suppression Instructor, Lieutenant and Paramedic, Samantha Kaag – Berks County EMT and Firefighter, and Chad Moyer – West Reading Fire Chief, about the different ways we can ensure the safety of our pets before and during a fire!

What are some common ways pets can start a fire?

Andy Gudinas (A.G.): Most common are kitchen fires, whether by bumping the knobs for the burners or knocking something onto the stove.

Samantha Kaag & Chad Moyer (S.K./C.M.): Stoves are the number one cause of fires by pets. Electrical cords are also a hazard because dogs, cats, mice, bunnies will sometimes chew on them. Unattended lit candles are not only dangerous on their own but can be easily knocked over by pets.

How can I prevent my pet from starting a fire?

A.G.: Prevention is not so easy when animals have free reign. Keeping them out of the kitchen unattended is best practice.

S.K./C.M.: You can remove stove knobs or use stove knob covers, block off access to the kitchen, and never leave an active stovetop or a lit candle unattended. Also, DO NOT leave food boxes, bags, or anything your pet may want to jump up to get in, on top of the stove. Keep pet-designated food/water bowls away from risky areas. Hide your plugged-in electrical cords appropriately and check on your pets (especially smaller ones), periodically, when left to roam.

What should I do with my pets during a fire?

A.G.: You would be surprised; the pets usually have a natural instinct to flee when there is a fire. A lot of the time the pets beat the humans out of the house.

S.K./C.M.: Try to evacuate the house with them; this can be made easier by keeping leashes and crates near an exit and having an escape plan in which someone is designated to grab the animal, if able to do so safely. If you cannot secure them get out and stay out.

What if I can’t take my pet with me when I escape from the fire?

A.G.: If you can’t get them out, DO NOT go back in to get them. Let the arriving responders know the last known location and a description of the animal.

S.K./C.M.: You should get yourself to safety and let the dispatcher and/or firefighters know that there are pets inside, upon arrival, and tell them about any potential hiding spots your pets may run to. When you get out, stay out, leave it to the firefighters on the scene.

How can I prepare myself, my family and my pet for a fire (in general)?

A.G.: Practice fire drills and establish escape routes. Designate a meeting place. If you do this often, it becomes muscle memory for your pet. Positive reinforcement is key. Lastly, post pet finders on or near the front door — they let responders know to keep pets in mind while performing primary and secondary searches.

S.K./C.M.: You can prepare by having a fire plan in place for your family that includes your pets; having a plan for a fire is important for any family to practice. There are also stickers you can put on your doors and windows to alert firefighters that there are pets inside.

In one year, there are nearly 360,000 house fires; pets cause over 1,000 of them. Unfortunately, almost 40,000 pets do not survive because of fires each year.* Awareness and having a fire plan can save the lives of not only you but your loved ones and your pets as well.

*These statistics were provided by Samantha Kaag, Berks County EMT and Firefighter.
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Summer Safety Tips For Your Pets

May 24th, 2021 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health - (Comments Off on Summer Safety Tips For Your Pets)

As summer slowly (but surely) approaches, many of us are getting ready to enjoy some family-friendly barbecues and lively firework shows to celebrate the season. While these traditions are just what we need for this summer, we also want to be mindful of how they might frighten and become a danger to our pets. Here are some useful tips to keep your pets safe during upcoming events.

NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets

  • Lit fireworks can be extremely dangerous to pets. Sparks from the fireworks can cause severe burns and/or trauma to the face, paws, and skin. Never use fireworks around your pets, as many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

Leave Pets at Home

  • While most humans enjoy summer parties, most pets do not. Loud noises, crowded areas, and unfamiliar settings can frighten pets and cause them to become stressed and disoriented. For your pet’s safety, refrain from taking them to firework festivities. Leave them at home instead, away from direct noises, in their own environment where they will feel safe.

Keep ID’s Current

  • Loud noises from fireworks and other festivities may scare your pet and cause them to escape from your yard or home if they are not safely enclosed. Be sure that your pet is always wearing a collar with an ID tag that includes: your name, current phone number, and any other relevant contact information.

Visit HumanePA.org to learn more about our Healthy Pets Initiative, which provides microchip services to keep pets safe and happy in their homes.

Beware of Hazardous Products

Create 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 cannot get into any alcoholic beverages.
  • Keep in mind that many human foods are not meant for pets; pet treats are always better to give your pets than human food, as human foods can cause severe digestive issues for pets. Be sure to avoid avocado, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and products with the sweetener xylitol.

No Glow Jewelry for Pets

  • While it might look cute to put glow jewelry or glow sticks on your pets, the plastic and chemicals inside the tube are hazardous to pets if ingested. If your pet chews and/or swallows the plastic attachments or chemicals, they can be at risk for excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation, as well as intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.

Safely Store Matches and Lighter Fluid

  • Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which, if ingested, can be hazardous to pets. Lighter fluid, meanwhile, can be irritating to your pet’s skin, and, if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and other issues.
  • Be sure to store all matches and lighter fluid in a safe place where pets cannot access the items by jumping or climbing.

If your pet(s) ingest a poisonous substance like the ones listed above, 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.

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