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How To Keep Your Pets Safe While Driving
(New resource link suggested by Kiel...Thank You!)


Common Sense Tips for Boarding Your Dog

Trust your senses (as well as your common sense) when visiting a kennel as a possible “vacation” spot for your dog.  Make sure that the whole kennel, outdoor and indoor runs included, is clean and orderly.

Make sure there are no offensive odors. There should be adequate ventilation. A well-run kennel should not stink of doggy odors.

Make sure that the temperature is adequate, not too warm and not too cold.

Ask to see the outdoor running area.  It should be close to spotless and made of gravel or concrete.

Ask how frequently the areas are cleaned.

All responsible kennel owners and operators will ask you about your dog’s vaccinations and will require proof of certain shots. 

All responsible kennel owners and operators will show you each area in which the dogs are kept.

The outdoor runs- and the whole kennel should be very secure.  Many dogs will attempt to break out, so talk to the kennel owners about this if you are worried.

Some last tips.

Bring along your dog’s bed or favorite toys.  When you leave, be positive and upbeat.  Tell your dog “Here we are Fido—it’s your summer vacation.  Good boy / girl!!” Do not apologize to your dog, he will sense your discomfort and become upset himself.  Keep the goodbyes short and sweet.

To find a kennel in your area, ask friends, call the Better Business Bureau, or ask your vet or groomer.

For more information about kennels, you should visit the American Boarding Kennels Association.

Canine Health and Safety Tips

Health Tips

We may know our canine companions better than anyone else, but it is important to remember most of us are not medical professionals. If you are uncertain how to treat your dog’s medical needs or if you have any questions, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Listed below is some important information to keep in mind with the arrival of the summer:

Have your dog’s vaccinations updated if necessary. Diseases such as rabies, distemper, and parvo are ever-present dangers and necessary precautions should be taken.

Beware of insect bites. If your dog is bitten or stung, remove the stinger and watch the site for an allergic reaction. If this occurs, or if there have been multiple wasp, bee, or mosquito bites, take the animal to the vet.

Check your dog daily for fleas and ticks. 

Heartworm is a common problem for dogs. Take your dog to the vet for a heartworm check every spring and follow your vet’s advice for heartworm precautions.

Many lawn and garden products are hazardous. Make sure that plants and fertilizers within the dog’s reach are not toxic.

The outdoors exposes dogs to the elements. Dogs may need extra brushing and bathing to stay clean and healthy.

No matter how careful and responsible you may be, accidents can happen. Make sure your vet’s phone number is close at hand and available to all family members.

General Summer Safety Concerns

Hot weather can make anyone feel uncomfortable, especially your dog. Here are some safety concerns for responsible dog owners:

Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death.

Signs of heatstroke are panting, drooling, rapid pulse, and fever. Immediately immerse the dog in cool water and seek emergency veterinary assistance.

Although AKC advises against it, if you absolutely must leave your dog in the car, make sure your car windows are slightly ajar so he can get air, and leave some fresh water for him.

Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water. 

All dogs should have proper identification at all times.  The AKC suggests a collar with an ID tag, a tattoo, and/or a microchip.

Keep your dog on a leash when he is outdoors to prevent accidents and injuries.

Try to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on extremely hot days and refrain from physical activity when the sun’s heat is the most intense.

Beach Tips

Taking your dog to the beach can be a great way to spend a beautiful summer day. However, as a responsible dog owner there are certain precautions you should take:

Provide plenty of fresh water and shade for your dog.

Dogs can get sunburn, especially short-haired dogs and dogs with pink skin and white hair.  Limit your dog’s exposure when the sun is usually strong, and apply sun block to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.

Check with the lifeguard for daily water conditions – dogs are easy targets for jelly fish and sea lice. 

If your dog is out of shape, don’t encourage him to run on the sand. Running on the beach is strenuous exercise and a dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament. 

Cool ocean water is tempting to your dog. Do not allow him to drink too much sea water. Salt in the water will make him sick.

Salt and other minerals found in the ocean can damage your dog’s coat. So, when you are ready to leave for the day, rinse him off 

Not all beaches permit dogs. Make sure you are informed before you begin your excursion to the beach.

Does Your Doggy Paddle?

The majority of dogs can swim and love it, but dogs entering the water for the first time should be tested.  Here are some important tips for teaching your dog how to swim:

Never throw your dog into the water.

Start in shallow water and call your dog’s name.  You can also try to coax him in with a treat or a toy – but always keep your dog within reach. 

Another way to introduce your dog to the water is with a dog that already swims and is friendly with your dog.  Let your dog follow his friend.

If your dog begins to doggy paddle with his front legs only, lift his hind legs and help him float.   He should quickly catch on and will then keep his back end up.

Swimming is a great form of exercise, but don’t let your dog overdo it.  He will be using new muscles and may tire quickly.

Be careful of strong tides that are hazardous for even the best swimmers.

Never leave your dog unattended!  You should always be in a position to help get him out of the water.


With the mergence of spring flowers, budding trees, and green lawns, thoughts automatically turn to those parasites that play havoc with our dogs.  One parasite, in particular, that is especially troublesome not only to the dog, but the environment in which he lives, is the flea.  The “American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training” book contains some valuable information about fleas and how to get rid of them.

What are Fleas?

Fleas are tiny wingless insects that feed on dogs, among other animals. Flea bites make some dogs, who are allergic to flea saliva, so miserable that they bite and scratch themselves raw. Other dogs do not seem to respond to flea bites with the same intensity. No matter. If you see evidence of fleas on your dog, it is essential to eradicate them as quickly as possible, before their population grows. Hungry fleas sometimes bite humans too, leaving small, red, itchy bumps most commonly observed on the wrists and ankles.

How Can You Tell if Your Dog has Fleas?

You may actually see the dark fleas, about the size of sesame seeds, scurrying about on the skin. Their favorite haunts include the base of the ears and the rump  Look closely in sparsely haired places like the groin for telltale signs. A more accurate way to diagnose the fleas, however, when live ones aren’t observed, is to part the fur in several places and look for tiny black specks about the size of poppy seeds.  These specks are flea feces, composed of digested blood. If you’re not sure whether you’re looking at “flea dirt” or just plain dirt, place it on a damp piece of white tissue. After a minute or so, a small red spot or halo will become apparent if it’s flea feces, since the blood rehydrates and diffuses into the tissue.

Getting Rid of the Fleas on Your Dog

The flea comb is a handy item which helps you determine if your dog had fleas. The teeth are set very close together and snare flea evidence when the comb is drawn through the dog’s coat. If you trap flea, crush it immediately.  Though wingless, fleas can jump so fast and so far that they practically disappear the second you see them.

Getting Rid of Fleas Entails Killing Them on the Dog
as Well as in the Environment

For this, you may need an armament of products best purchased from a veterinarian. There are many products on the market today that help eradicate fleas – some contain poisons, others are homeopathic in nature. Dog owners should always be aware of the fact that they need to be constantly vigilant of their animal’s health and well-being when any from of medical treatment is being administered for whatever reason. 

It is necessary to treat not only a dog for fleas, but also the environment in which it lives. If spray or flea bombs are used, care should be taken to remove all food, exposed dishes, utensils, and house wares from the area being sprayed or bombed. Humans and animals should also not be exposed to the chemicals according to the instructions listed with the spray or bomb.

In Your Home 

As for your home, a flea bomb set off in each room or living area is an effective way to kill fleas. Premise sprays can also be applied throughout the house. Thorough vacuuming before home treatment is recommended; discard the vacuum clean bag once this job is finished. It is important to treat all areas where the dog has travelled, since flea eggs may be present on the floor or furniture. In desperate situations, a yard or kennel spray may be necessary to kill outside fleas.

In Your Environment 

You must understand that just killing fleas on your dog is not enough to prevent the infestation from repeating itself. The environment must also be treated, as well as any other dogs or cats that live in the household. Also, flea eggs may survive several weeks after live adults have been eliminated. Repeat treatments may be necessary.   

Fortunately, in many parts of the United States, freezing weather goes a long way toward putting an end to outside fleas. In temperature areas, the flea battle may rage year-round. Sometimes it’s best to consult a professional exterminator if the infestation in your house is severe.”

The above is an excerpt from the American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training Book.

Choosing a Veterinarian

The following is an excerpt form the American Kennel Club "Puppies Spring – Summer 1999" magazine.  This magazine is distributed to each individual that registers a new puppy with the AKC.

Next to you and your family, a veterinarian is the most important person involved your puppy’s well-being.  You will rely on the vet to establish a regimen of vaccinations and regular checkups and you will certainly expect her / him to be available when unexpected or emergency situations occur.

Choosing the right vet is a serious process. Here are some steps you should take in reaching your decision.

Ask your breeder, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and nearby relatives who have dogs to tell you who their vet is and why they chose that person.

Ask your local kennel club for a list of vets who regularly work with purebred dogs. Another option is to contact your local or state veterinary association.

Once you have compiled a list of the possible candidates, call their offices; as for basic information regarding office hours and fees for routine procedures such as annual checkup or vaccinations.  Do they accept credit cards or must payments be made in cash? What is the procedure if there is an after hours emergency? Does the vet have 24 hour coverage on site, and if not, how often are overnight patients checked?

Approximately what percentage of clients have dogs? How many of them are your breed?  Does the doctor specialize in any are (e.g. surgery, dental care, eye care, orthopedics, allergies)? Does the doctor make house calls? What provisions are in place for veterinary care when the doctor is not available?

Pay attention to how the receptionists (or doctors) listen to and answer your questions.  Are they pleasant and helpful, or bored and rushed? How you are treated on the phone might be a good indication of how you and your dog will be treated in person.

Narrow down your list to conveniently located vets with office hours, payment policies, and emergency procedures that meet your needs. 

Plan to visit each office, and check to see that it is clean, well-lit, and free of strong odors. Ask to see where overnight patients are housed and how they are supervised “after hours”. It is common to ask about a vet’s schooling and of advanced and continuing education.

Ask each vet how he or she would treat a specific condition that may affect your breed (e.g. hip dysplasia, deafness, skin disorders, or kidney disease).  Listen carefully to the answer, paying attention not only to what is said, but how it is said.  Remember, the vet you choose will be responsible for the well-being of your beloved dog, so it is important to find a vet who keeps current with the latest advances in veterinary medicine and who can communicate with you in a helpful, clear manner.  In other words, you should choose a vet as carefully as you would choose your own doctor or your child’s pediatrician.

If you don’t like a vet’s answer or the way you are treated by the vet or any staff member, it is probably best to remove that vet from your list.

After you have narrowed down your choices, schedule a routine visit for your dog with the vet at the top of the list.  It is better not learn about a vet before there is an emergency. This time, take note of how the staff and the vet relate to your dog.

If they seem friendly, helpful, and caring, you’ve found the right vet. It is now up to you and your vet to work as a team and provide the best possible care for your dog.  If things don’t go as well as you expect, consider the next vet on your list, and so on until you are comfortable with your choice!

Canine Travel Tips 

Taking your dog on the family vacation can make for a great trip, if you plan carefully.

Are you travelling by car, plane, train, bus, or boat?  How long will the trip take? Will you be staying with family or friends, or at a hotel or motel?  Is your dog in good health?

These are some of the questions you will need to start asking to make your trip safe and fun.


A crate should be used for your dog’s safety when travelling. Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Make sure to provide plenty of water and a favorite toy to make your dog as comfortable as possible. Check the crate for the following:

• Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn, and lie down

• Strong, with handles or grips, and free of interior protrusions

• Leak-proof bottom covered with plenty of absorbent material

• “Live Animal” label, arrows upright, with owner’s name, address, and phone number

By Car

When travelling by car, be sure to keep your dog comfortable.  Bring along a favorite toy to make your dog secure.   

If it’s hot, open the car windows to provide sufficient ventilation. Do not let your dog stick its head out of the window – this may lead to eye or ear injuries.  Also, do not let your dog travel in the back of an open pickup truck – your dog could be injured in an accident.

To help your dog overcome motion sickness, take several short trips in the car before your journey. Also, feed your dog lightly before the trip, about one-third the normal amount.

By Plane

When travelling by plane, plan to visit your veterinarian before your trip. Certification of health must be provided no more than 10 days before travel. Rabies and vaccination certificates are also required.  Your dog should be at least 8 weeks old, and weaned.

Airlines make it clear that it is the owner’s responsibility to verify the dog’s health and ability to fly. Ask your veterinarian whether it would be best for your dog to be tranquilized for the trip. Also be sure to check the temperature of the flight’s starting point and destination; it may be too hot or too cold for your dog. Remember that each airline has its own variations on regulations and services… For example, if your crate doesn’t meet their requirements, the airline may not allow you to use it. They may, however, allow your dog in the passenger cabin if your crate fits under the seat in front of you.

When making your reservations, you must make reservations for your dog. There are restrictions on the number of animals permitted – they are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

By Train, Bus, and Boat 

If you decide to travel by train, you may be disappointed — Amtrak does not allow pets of any kind, including dogs. (Seeing Eye dogs are permitted). Local and commuter trains have their own policies.

Travel by bus may be equally disappointing — Greyhound and other bus companies that travel interstate are not allowed to carry live animals, including dogs. (Seeing Eye dogs are permitted). Local bus companies have their own policies.

If you’re taking a cruise, you may be in luck. For example, the QE2 luxury cruiser, which sails from New York to England / France, provides special lodging and free meals for your dog. Check with the cruise line or ship that you are planning to use for their policies. Smaller ships will usually not be able to accommodate your dog.


If you plan to stay at a hotel or motel, be sure to find out in advance if it allows dogs — many do not.

If your dog is allowed to stay at your hotel or motel, respect the privacy of other guests. Keep your dog as quiet as possible.

Do not leave your dog unattended. Many dogs bark or destroy property in a strange place.

Prevent any possibility of unwanted messes. You may want to keep your dog in its crate at night. Also, ask where you should walk your dog. The hotel or motel may not appreciate its grounds being used for this purpose. 

Remember: to continue to have hotels and motels accept guests with dogs, it is important to respect hotel property, staff, and fellow guests.


International travel is much more involved than interstate travel. Each country has its own rules and regulations.

Many countries have a quarantine period – the United Kingdom quarantines dogs for six months.

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of your destination for details.

Other Helpful Tips

How ever you travel, keep these tips in mind:

• Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar.  The collar should have identification tags, a license, and proof of rabies shots.  Your home phone number should be on the tags as well.

• You may want to consider a permanent form of ID – such as a microchip – which can increase the likelihood of reuniting you with your dog if he gets lost far from home.

• Have recent pictures of your dog with you.  If you are accidentally separated, these pictures will help local authorities find your dog.

• Take a phone number of your veterinarian and any special medication your dog is needs.  Some dogs can’t adjust to abrupt changes in diet, so pack your dog’s regular foods, bowls, and a cooler of water.

• If you think you might need to board your dog at some point during your travels, be sure to bring your dog’s complete shot records.

Directories / Books

The “Pets Allowed” Directory, by Modern Systems

Pets R Permitted, Hotel, Motel, and Kennel Directory: The Travel Resource for Pet Owners Who Travel, by Annenberg Communications Institute

The Portable Pet, How to Travel Anywhere With Your Dog or Cat, by Barbara Nicholas, The Harvard Common Press

Take Your Pet USA, by Artco Publishing

Vacationing With Your Pet, by Eileen Barish, Pet – Friendly Publications

The above information was taken from the official web page of the American Kennel Club.

Poisonous Plants

Possible Vomiting and Diarrhea:

Castor Bean

Soap Berry

Ground Cherry

Skunk Cabbage

Daffodil Delphinium

Foxglove Larkspur

Indian Tobacco

Indian Turnip

Poke Week

Bittersweet Woody



May Cause Vomiting, Abdominal Pain, or Diarrhea

Almond Apricot

Wild Cherry Balsam Pear

Japanese Plum

Horse Chestnut

English Holly

Black Locust

Mock Orange


Rain Tree (Monkey Pod)

American Yew

English Yew

Western Yew

Varied Toxic Effects

Mescal bean

Mushrooms (some)

Sunburned Potatoes



Tomato Vine



Poison Hemlock

Water Hemlock


Loco Week


Martimony Vine

May Apple



Angela's Trumpet



Morning Glory




Loco Weed




China Berry



Nix Vomica

Water Hemlock




Pet Rules

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door – nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run. 

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed.  I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats actually curl up in a ball when they sleep.  It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years – canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat’s butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don’t.

2. If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That’s why they call it ‘fur’niture).

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you it’s an animal.  To me he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours, and doesn’t speak clearly.


In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1.      Eat less.
2.      Don’t ask for money all the time.
3.      Are easier to train.
4.      Normally come when called.
5.      Never ask to drive the car.
6.      Don’t hang out with drug-using friends.
7.      Don’t smoke or drink.
8.      Don’t have to buy the latest fashion.
9.      Don’t want to wear your clothes.
10.  Don’t need a ‘gazillion’ dollars for college.

And Finally,
11.  If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.