How To Protect Paws on Icy Sidewalks

Protect your dog's paws on icy sidewalks

Photo credit: MyDogLikes

With an extended cold wave across the Northeast and other parts of the country, dogs have their own particular challenges when going outside. A recent New York Times article on the subject called “Don’t Make Me Go Out There” with some fun photos – described how city dogs have the added burden of dealing with the ice-melting substances sprinkled on sidewalks. When it’s really cold underfoot, you’ll see even country dogs hold up their paws after only a few minutes outside because the frozen ground is that painful. Beyond that, de-icers pose a health challenge to city-dwelling dogs.

De-Icing Materials Can Hurt
Some big buildings use chemical de-icers on their front pavement, substances which are good at removing the ice (and the possibility of a lawsuit from pedestrians who might otherwise slip and fall), however they are not pet-friendly. Many of them contain ethylene glycol – the antifreeze liquid, which is known to be fatal to dogs who lick it up.  Some urban buildings use rock salt, which has rough edges that can cut a dog’s paws and also cause a burning sensation.  In both cases, contact with your dog’s paws is painful – and then if she licks her paws back at home, she can get sick from swallowing either one.

Blue Pellets Are the Dog Safe Ice-Melter
If you’re able to see the residue of any ice-melting substances on the melted sidewalk, look for salt that has a bluish tint. This paw-safe de-icing substance is one of the ways to de-ice the sidewalk, while keeping dogs safe.  If you live in an apartment building, try to convince the powers-that-be to switch to this dog-friendly product, which usually contains propylene glycol, (rather than the potentially deadly ethylene glycol).  It can be costlier than the other chemicals de-icers but your dog (and those in the neighborhood) will thank you for lobbying for it!

Remedies for City Walking

  • Get your dog to wear booties, if you can – ones that have a rubber tread on the bottom so they give her some traction. Try the boots indoors at first since most dogs have a hard time accepting boots. Use positive reinforcement and encourage your dog to walk without looking down at her feet. Get her used to the boots by giving lots of top notch treats while she’s wearing them.
  • Before you go out, spread a generous layer of a thick cream called Musher’s Secret all over the underside of your dog’s paws. This will form a protective layer. Petroleum jelly can also work but not as effectively.
  • As soon as you come back indoors, wipe your dog’s feet and chest and belly area with a warm, wet towel.
  • You can also use a deep bowl and fill it halfway with warm water and dip your dog’s paws in one at a time, to rinse them off – then towel dry.
  • Check the paw pads for any cuts or reddened areas.

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Posted in Bloggers, Pet Health, Pet Tips, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Saves Woman from House Fire in Texas

Mikey the dog from Texas

Jonene Burton loved her adorable dog Mickey, but never imagined the small pup would one day save her life. According to 12News, she had lived in her two-story home in Mauriceville, TX for around 18 years. Her house had withstood hurricanes, most recently Hurricane Harvey less than a year ago. Mauriceville is a small town, not far from Beaumont, whose director of Animal Services headed out with rescuers from the Humane Society of the United States in the aftermath of Harvey to save pets.

Unfortunately, even when there aren’t hurricanes, devastation can happen. Although investigators are not yet certain what caused the fire, Jonene told reporters that she believes it began in the room right next to where she was sleeping on the ground floor! She did not notice the fire and continued to sleep deeply until her beloved Mickey began licking her face.

The determined dog’s licking woke Jonene who quickly realized the situation. She grabbed Mickey and escaped through a window. Both were unharmed. However, although her home survived Hurricane Harvey, it didn’t survive the fire. When firefighters arrived shortly after 3 a.m. that night, the house was completely engulfed in flames.

Jonene’s brother-in-law, Phillip Labarbera, has worked in emergency medical services for 20 years. He has hurried to many calls like Jonene’s and hoped for the best, but never has a call hit so close to home. He told reporters that he hurried over as soon as he heard about the fire because he wanted to see that Jonene was safe.

Phillip told reporters that he was grateful Jonene and Mickey weren’t hurt in the fire, “You know the things in the house can be replaced, but thank goodness there wasn’t any personal injury. It was very relieving to see that everybody turned out okay.”

We’re also grateful for Mickey’s quick thinking that woke up Jonene so that both were able to get out safely. We bet that as Jonene rebuilds, she’ll be giving Mickey lots of praise and treats for saving her life.

Posted in Bethany Meissner, Bloggers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

7 Ways to Protect Your Pets in an Emergency

Here’s some good advice from some animal-loving friends Down Under, about managing risks to our pets during emergencies. With all the weather-related emergencies around the United States, and beyond, I found good information in this article in “The Conversation,” about ways to prepare for emergencies with our pets.

While the details of Australian emergency situations might differ from those in America, even in the U.S. every community has its own risks and geography and emergency services (or lack of them), which means we pet lovers should prepare to take full responsibility for the animals in our care.

Some of the best tips for taking care of your animals in an emergency:

  • Create an emergency plan for your whole household that includes pets.  Consider a range of potential emergencies: heat waves, prolonged loss of power, floods, tornadoes and fires. Consider every creature in your household, including birds and small mammals.
  • Plan to leave early. Evacuating with animals can take longer, especially when you have multiple types of animals or need to make multiple journeys. It is not safe to leave animals behind, or to leave a household member behind to take care of the animals.
  • Stay aware of emerging weather conditions and emergency warnings by tuning into the radio or television news.
  • Have an emergency kit for your animals: fill a “go bag” (or box) with items you’ll need if you need to leave in a hurry. If you have essentials (like medications) you can’t leave in a box, make a checklist and know where they are.
  • Plan where you will take your animals. Emergency services can’t help evacuate your pets or larger animals in emergency situations, and not all evacuation centers will accept them (although this is changing). The responsibility is entirely yours, so  you need to know where you’ll take your animals and how you’ll get them there. Most people rely on taking them to friends or family, but this can sometimes mean that different animals need to go to different places.
  • Plan for what will happen if you’re not at home, or can’t get back home. No one likes considering this situation, but it is often a reality. Speak to neighbors or nearby friends about what you would like them to do if you’re not home (and offer them your support if they’re away). Make sure you have contact numbers for neighbors and those who might be able to help in these situations.
  • Practice your plan. Nobody likes to embrace the possible reality of an emergency, but all professional preparedness advice recommends practicing your plan – which is particularly important with pets. It’s better to find out early that your ideal plan actually doesn’t work so you can find alternatives  and make a plan B and C. This is much easier if you aren’t in a panicked situation with the threat of imminent danger.

Remember, your animals depend on you. Plan for all the human and non-human animals in your household, and stay safe.

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Posted in Bloggers, Pet Tips, Pet Travel, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Afflicted Puppy Perseveres to Become Magnificent Pet

Bellatrix from Forsyth County

Photo Credit: Humane Society of Forsyth County

One day a four-month-old puppy was brought into the shelter that the Humane Society of Forsyth County operates in the town of Cumming, Georgia. Vicki Rennick remembers meeting that little dog. “I was there when she came in,” shared Vicki. “Here was this puppy in horrific condition, yet her tail was wagging and she was so happy to meet new people. She had the heart of pure love.”

The shelter decided to name the puppy Bellatrix and give her a second chance. It quickly became obvious that Bellatrix had a severe case of mange. Vicki shared that Bellatrix’s “skin was raw and bleeding” from the condition on the day she arrived at the humane society. Sadly, the shelter is used to helping animals with problems. Vicki elaborated, “We get many dogs who are in bad physical condition. Between living hard lives with poor nutrition and parasites, they need extra help to recover.” According to their Facebook page, the volunteer organization works to rehome abandoned cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies.

The Humane Society of Forsyth County was ready to help Bellatrix. A foster home stepped forward to care for Bellatrix as she started her recovery. While there, according to Vicki, Bellatrix “was loving and accepting of their dogs [and] all people.” Plus, Bellatrix “took her treatments with grace and patience.” Despite the discomfort she was feeling, Bellatrix “never acted out during the process,” from what Vicki told us.

To add to Bellatrix’s good fortune in ending up at the Humane Society of Forsyth County, through Freekibble.com the group had recently received a donation of Halo pet food. Vicki also told us that in addition to her treatments, “Halo’s great nutrition” was a big part of why Bellatrix “recovered quickly and grew to be a magnificent dog.” Since then, Vicki shared that “Bellatrix has grown into a beautiful adult and her loving personality has never changed.” Bellaltrix has been adopted and lives in a loving forever home. We have to agree with Vicki that Bellatrix is “proof positive in the resilience of animals.”

Posted in #HaloFeeditForward, Bethany Meissner, Bloggers, Donations, Pet Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community Rallies Around Heroic Pit Bull

Ossifer the pit bull hero

Photo Credit: The Happy Pet Vet

Gun violence is terrifying and often deadly. Thankfully, one dog in Chiloquin, Oregon saved the day when there was a shooting in late October. Because of his heroic actions, although one man was sent to the hospital, there were no fatalities from the dangerous attack.

According to the Herald and News, around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 27 a suspect aimed a gun at the son of Bridgett Glenn. The shooter hit the man once before Ossifer, Bridgett’s loyal pit bull, lunged at the shooter to prevent him from hurting additional victims. Ossifer protected the people, but received three shots in return – including in his torso. A representative told the paper that “It is extremely rare for a dog to survive that.”

Ossifer the dog who survived three bullet shots

Bridgett described her dog’s actions as “an amazing thing.” Thankfully, Ossifer had an amazing surgeon to help him. Dr. Tawnia Shaw, at The Happy Pet Vet, spent five hours operating on the heroic pup. Although he had to be resuscitated once during the operation after a cardiac and pulmonary arrest, Ossifer miraculously survived. In addition to an incredible medical team, the clinic said that Ossifer’s great health before the shooting was a reason he pulled through. A representative for the clinic told the Herald and News, “That dog was fit,” adding that Ossifer “was in athlete-type condition.” We all know how important exercise and proper nutrition are for helping a pet live their best life – it’s heartwarming to know that it can help heroes survive, too. According to The Happy Pet Vet, Ossifer had to stay at the hospital for two days after his surgery before going home on October 29.

Because of how extensive Ossifer’s injuries were and how much care was required, a local State Farm agent, Chris Watkins, started a fund to help Bridgett and her family cover his care. The community has also joined in and rallied around this canine hero. As of the last update, over $3,000 has been collected to help Ossifer. The community has helped in other ways, too. A commenter on Facebook shared that The Chiloquilters made a new, beautiful blue bed for Ossifer so that he has a comfy place to rest while he recovers. According to the veterinarian, Ossifer “is loving it.” There was even a Meet and Greet Silent Auction Fundraiser hosted at a local church where people could greet their local celebrity in person and bid on items donated by local businesses and individuals to help care for the hero. The event’s Facebook page noted that Ossifer wanted to thank his many supporters at the event.

Ossifer the Pit Bull play with his toy

Posted in Bethany Meissner, Bloggers, Pet Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment