Pet Emergencies – I have certification in pet CPR, which I obtained by attending a course taught by Lifesaving Enterprises, LLC. They teach a myriad of life-saving methods for both human and animal, and I am grateful to have that resource within blocks from my home. Here’s a link to their information if you’d like to learn more: CPR courses
NYC Ready for Evacuation Plans – Don’t forget to plan for your pets! We’ve all seen the terrifying footage of what extreme weather can do to your home and livelihood. We all like to be prepared for the worst, but we are often not. Here’s a link to prepare a “Go Bag” for your pet(s): NYC pet evacuation link
Know what is poison for your pets – We sometimes take for granted that if our pet is in pain, they can take the same medication that we do (i.e. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.). Don’t do it!! Their bodies cannot process these medications like their human can, and will often result in side effects as mild as stomach irritation to more deadly effects, such as kidney failure and death. There are a lot of household items that can be just as deadly, so brush up on your poisons to keep your fur babies safe (those aromatherapy oils can be a neurotoxin, so please be aware). **Please note that some poison control hotlines charge a consultation fee, so empower yourself with knowledge! Here’s some helpful websites: Pet Poisons ASPCA poison list
Know Before You Go – Did you know that there are some areas in the city that do not allow dogs at all? Playgrounds, fountains, and baseball fields are just a few. Some beaches allow dogs, but you have to know the rules (time of day, time of year). You could get a huge fine for non-compliance, so you better check it out first. Here’s a link to the city’s parks and rules regarding dogs: NYC Park Rules & Dogs
Puppy Preparedness – Thinking about getting a puppy for you and/or your kids? Please do your research on the breed first! Some dogs require A LOT of mental and physical stimulation to keep from destroying your favorite shoes or your new couch. If you cannot spare several hours per week to train your new pooch, maybe think it over before taking the plunge. It is a serious commitment of time, money & energy.
It also means that you have to revamp your living quarters to accommodate a crate, food dishes and other “off-limits” areas. Decisions about if the dog is allowed on the couch or bed must be made early and the whole family must be consistent in rule enforcement.
House breaking a puppy is a frustrating process, so don’t give up! Remember all the good things that your pup has done so far, and try not to think about the failures. That being said, if house breaking and puppy training isn’t your thing…
Pet Adoptions – Saving a furry life is just awesome, especially an older dog. I’m a bit biased, of course, because my older pittie was a rescue, but it’s just a cool thing to do. Here’s a link to NYCACC: Save a life here
Trainers – Take some time to get to know your new dog. Some trainers are strict about crate training, others are all about the positive reinforcement using treats. My youngest dog HATED the crate, and doesn’t respond to treats the way that my older dog did. The most important thing to remember about training your dog is that you are being trained as well. Dogs love routine and consistency, and they want someone to follow (so they don’t have to think about it). I like to read books by Alexandra Horowitz, as she discusses dog behavior and the evolution of their link to humans. If you still think you could benefit from the knowledge of a trainer, do some research about any trainer’s philosophy to make sure it matches with you & your approach as a pet parent.
Collar or harness? – Honestly, this is one of the toughest questions that clients ask me, but it all boils down to safety. You have to find equipment that is escape-proof, depending upon your dog’s personality and tendencies.
I find that if your dog pulls, or has a tendency to jerk away from you to smell that fire hydrant, martingale collars or freedom harnesses are best for control. Collars for walks are fine if your dog is a casual walker and is over his/her chasing squirrels phase. If a dog likes to go on play dates, or is a rough & tumble type, I would be sure to use a quick-release collar, to help avoid any choking hazards. When crate training, I leave their collar off, because it can get caught on the gate (or other portion of the crate), and choke them if you are not watching. Not to be alarmist, but I’ve heard the horror stories, and I always err on the side of caution when it comes to pet safety.