My name is Justine Biondi. I grew up in New Jersey, but I have been living in Los Angeles for over eight years now! I’m a real estate agent serving all of Los Angeles. I also love writing, and published a poetry book last December called Seasons of a Beating Heart. Recently, I have been looking for meaningful organizations to volunteer with, and I am so happy I found Paws/LA.
I heard about Paws/LA through a simple google search. I love helping both animals and elderly people, so this organization popped up right away in my search. Paws/LA is such a kindhearted organization with a meaningful cause. Everyone deserves to stay with their fluffy family members for as long as possible, so it is an honor to help facilitate that bond between older people and their pets.
My first experience delivering food was seamless! I called the client, Lora, who answered right away and let me know when was a good time to deliver her cat’s food. She is an extremely sweet person who was very grateful as well. I was happy to help her!
The human-animal bond is important on so many levels. I actually wrote a blog post recently called “The Magical and Emotional Bond Between Humans and their Animals.” Our animals are our family, through and through. They provide us with deep and meaningful companionship rooted in unconditional love. I know from experience that life becomes much brighter when you have a fluffy animal to share it with. They remain by our side through all of the highs and all of the lows, and they remind us that we are not alone. Sometimes even the people in our lives can’t do that. To be able to help elderly people continue to care for their beloved animals is an honor and a joy.
Your Animal’s Diet Matters!
As one of the fundamental conditions needed to sustain life, nutrition drives every aspect of our biological functioning, either fortifying or weakening body and mind. A good diet will fend off illness and disease, ensure that we have enough energy to live a productive life, and toughen our bodies against injury. A poor diet leaves us vulnerable to every kind of physical harm, and can exacerbate, or even cause, mental health disorders, leading to increased levels of depression and anxiety. In other words, food matters. A lot. As humans we have access to a wealth of information on good nutrition, as well as a market saturated with healthy food offerings. Our understanding continues to grow steadily, with new diets and nutritional strategies entering our cultural consciousness on what feels like a daily basis.
What we sometimes overlook, however, is that proper nutrition is just as important for our pets. Without realizing it, we might subscribe to the idea that our pets will function just as well no matter what they eat—that as long as they’re fed, and protected from allergens and poisons, they’ll be healthy. This simply isn’t true. Animals are complex organisms just as we are. Their age, sex, genetic makeup and evolutionary habits dictate the specific combination of nutrients that are optimal for their health. A pet might be exceptionally well-fed, and cared for in every aspect, and yet be lacking vital sources of nutrition, simply because the owner doesn’t know what they should be providing.
Luckily, we’re increasingly recalibrating our knowledge of human nutrition to meet the specific needs of our pets, acknowledging that every organism has different requirements, and that what works for us might not work for our furry friends. Gone are the days when pets were expected to eat whatever surplus scraps their owners had left after a meal. Now, pet parents are eager to feed their beloved animals well, and to give to significant consideration to their nutritional intake. For this reason, pet health food is a growing market with both big brands and smaller companies diversifying their offerings to appeal to a variety of species, ages and body types. Of course, dogs and cats remain the most catered to demographics in the pet food market, which gives us even more reason to understand their diet; when faced with an abundance of options, we need at least a minimum amount of knowledge to ensure that we make the right choice.
Throughout a continuing series of posts, we’ll be digging into all the available information, and exploring various aspect of your pet’s dietary needs. In this article specifically, we consider the unique nutritional requirements of cats, and cover some of the ways in which you can ensure your favorite feline stays fit and happy. Many of the following tips, however, could apply to any animal you care for. Look out for more posts about pet nutrition, including information specific to our canine companions.
Understanding Your Cat's Dietary Needs
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are designed to thrive on a diet primarily consisting of animal-based proteins. Cats cannot be vegetarian, and need fatty acids, vitamins and minerals found only in natural tissue. Their nutritional requirements differ significantly from humans and even other pets. Consult your veterinarian to understand the specific dietary needs of your cat based on its breed, age, weight, and any medical conditions they might have. Remember, one of the most dominant myths in the pet care world is that cats love cow's milk. Neither kittens nor adult cats require significant amounts of milk or cream. These dairy products have no useful place within a cat’s nutritional system and often cause digestion problems.
High-Quality Protein is Key
Protein is the foundation of your cat's diet. Look for cat foods with meat or fish listed as the primary ingredient. These proteins provide essential amino acids that support muscle maintenance, organ function, and overall energy levels. Unlike humans, who enjoy variety in what they eat, pets in general can find it difficult digesting foods they aren’t accustomed to. Sticking with a single kind of protein can help avoid gastrointestinal problems.
Balance the Nutrients
A balanced diet includes not only protein but also fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Too much or too little of any nutrient can lead to health issues. Consult with your vet to determine the optimal nutrient ratio for your cat's age and activity level. These days, you may come across “prescription foods”, dishes that are specifically tailored to help treat a specific condition. While, these foods can only be purchased through a veterinarian, they rarely contain any actual medicine and are not prescriptions in the usual sense of the word. There is some debate over prescription pet food, as it is often considerably more expensive than normal pet food, and its overall benefits have been contested by a number of studies. Make sure you’re working with a veterinarian you trust, and always check the label before you shell out cash for a product that may well be no better than what you usually buy from your local pet store.
Cats often have a low thirst drive, which can lead to dehydration, especially if they're on a dry kibble diet. Always provide fresh water and consider incorporating wet cat food into their diet. The moisture content helps maintain their hydration levels. This becomes especially important when you live in a hot climate, or during unexpected heat waves. It also pays to learn the signs of dehydration in your cat, so that you can catch the problem early on and hydrate accordingly.
Obesity is a growing concern among cats, leading to various health problems like diabetes and joint issues. Follow feeding guidelines on the cat food packaging and adjust portions based on your cat's activity level and weight. Regularly monitor their weight and consult the vet if necessary. Generally, an adult domestic cat eats little and often, anywhere from 12 – 24 small meals over the course of a 24-hour period, which they spread relatively evenly across both daylight and night time hours. If your cat is free to roam and visit other houses, consider politely asking you neighbors to refrain from giving out treats.
Avoid Toxic Foods
Some human foods are toxic to cats and should be strictly avoided. These include chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. Make sure to keep these substances out of your cat's reach. A less obvious danger can come from the kinds of trendy “raw diets” that have popped up over the past few years. As with prescription food, there is some debate over the safety and effectiveness of such diets, but whatever your final opinion, you should be careful any time you provide raw meat, as the risk for bacterial infection is considerably higher. Make sure any raw products you provide for your pet have been safely stored in a freezer.
Consider Age-Appropriate Diets
Kittens, adult cats, and senior cats have different nutritional requirements. Kittens need more calories and nutrients to support their growth, while senior cats might need diets that support joint health and manage age-related issues. Again, this is a case of doing a little research and consulting your vet. Remember, nobody knows your cat like you.
While treats can be a way to bond with your cat, excessive treats can lead to nutritional imbalances. Choose high-quality cat treats and use them sparingly, preferably as rewards for training or special occasions. Try to resist feeding your pet from your dinner plate. It is difficult to resist pleading kitty-cat eyes, but encouraging random feeding can have a detrimental effect on your portion control strategy.
Monitor for Food Allergies
Some cats may develop food allergies or sensitivities over time. If you notice signs like gastrointestinal upset, skin problems, or excessive scratching, consult your vet to explore potential allergies and adjust their diet accordingly.
Gradual Diet Changes
If you're switching your cat's diet, do it gradually to avoid digestive upset. Mix the new food with the old one over several days until your cat is fully accustomed to the change.
Caring for your cat's diet is a cornerstone of responsible pet ownership. Each cat has unique needs, and so careful research, observation and the professional expertise of your veterinarian should be your primary tools. Don’t assume your cat is like every other. Be attentive to how they react to certain foods, and make sure that they’re getting the right amount of each specific nutrient--protein, carbs, fats, and vitamins. Consider keeping a notebook or planner in which to track the foods you provide, and record any observations you make about your cat's responses to various dishes. Remember to share your nutritional strategy with your cat's other caretakers, so that they can maintain the consistency of your approach. A good diet will not completely protect your beloved pet from sickness and injury, but by making an effort, you ensure you have done everything possible to give your cat the life it deserves.
Service animals play a crucial role in providing assistance, companionship, and support to individuals with disabilities. They are highly trained to perform specific tasks that help mitigate their owner's limitations. While dogs are the most common type of service animals, other animals such as miniature horses can also serve in this capacity. If you have a beloved pet that you believe can be trained to assist you or someone else with a disability, registering them as a service animal might be an option worth exploring. In this blog post, we'll delve into the process of registering your pet as a service animal, the benefits it brings, the legal aspects involved, and the steps you need to take.
Understanding the Concept of Service Animals
Service animals are not the same as therapy animals or emotional support animals. The key distinction lies in their specific training and the tasks they are trained to perform. Service animals are trained to perform tasks that directly assist an individual with a disability. These tasks could include alerting someone with hearing loss to sounds, guiding visually impaired individuals, pulling a wheelchair, or even detecting impending medical issues such as seizures or changes in blood sugar levels. The primary focus of a service animal is to enable its owner to lead a more independent and fulfilling life by providing essential assistance.
Benefits of Registering a Service Animal
Legal Considerations: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law in the United States that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Under the ADA, service animals are defined as dogs (and in some cases, miniature horses) that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. This definition is crucial, as it outlines the requirements for a pet to be considered a service animal:
Steps to Register Your Pet as a Service Animal
Assess Your Pet's Suitability: Not all pets are suitable candidates for becoming service animals. Assess your pet's temperament, trainability, and willingness to learn. Consider consulting with a professional dog trainer experienced in service animal training to gauge your pet's potential.
Identify Specific Tasks: Determine the tasks that your pet can be trained to perform that will directly assist you or the individual with a disability. These tasks should be related to the disability and go beyond the basic functions of a pet.
Training and Socialization: Enroll your pet in a comprehensive training program with a focus on task-specific training, public behavior, and socialization. This training should be conducted by a qualified professional who has experience in service animal training.
Legal Understanding: Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and protections provided by the ADA or the equivalent law in your country. Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a service animal handler is essential.
No Formal Registration: It's important to note that there is no official or formal registration process for service animals in the United States. Websites that claim to offer "official" registration for service animals are often scams. A service animal is defined by its training and tasks, not by a registration certificate.
Public Behavior and Etiquette: Your service animal should be well-behaved and not disrupt public spaces. Proper behavior includes staying calm around people and other animals, not begging for food, and not causing damage to property.
Communicate Clearly: While service animals are not required to wear special vests or identification, having a clear and polite explanation ready for situations where questions arise can be helpful. Focus on describing the trained tasks your service animal performs.
Be Prepared to Demonstrate Tasks: In situations where there might be doubts about your service animal's purpose, be prepared to demonstrate the specific tasks your animal is trained to perform.
Registering your pet as a service animal can be a life-changing decision for both you and the individual with a disability you are assisting. The process requires careful consideration, proper training, and a thorough understanding of legal requirements. Service animals contribute to a more inclusive and accessible society, empowering individuals to lead independent lives with the support and companionship of their dedicated and trained four-legged companions. If you believe your pet has the potential to become a service animal, take the necessary steps to ensure they receive the proper training and care to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.
Welcoming a furry friend into your life can be an incredibly rewarding and transformative experience. The decision to adopt a pet is not to be taken lightly, as it involves a lifelong commitment to love, care, and provide for another living being. Whether you're considering adopting a cat, dog, bird, rabbit, or any other companion animal, there are several essential steps to ensure a smooth and responsible adoption process. In this blog post, we will walk you through the vital steps required to adopt a pet and provide insights into the journey of pet parenthood.
Step 1: Self-Reflection and Research
The first step on your path to pet parenthood is self-reflection. Ask yourself why you want to adopt a pet and what kind of pet would best suit your lifestyle, living situation, and preferences. Different pets have varying needs, personalities, and care requirements. Consider factors such as the amount of time you can dedicate to daily care, the size of your living space, the presence of allergies, and your family dynamics. Conduct thorough research about the specific needs, temperaments, and health considerations of different pet breeds or species.
Step 2: Choosing the Right Pet Shelter or Rescue
Once you have a clear idea of the type of pet you wish to adopt, find reputable shelters or rescues in your area. Look for organizations with a good track record of caring for animals and finding them suitable homes. Research their adoption policies, fees, and available pets. Visiting the shelter in person allows you to interact with the animals, assess their behavior, and make a connection.
Step 3: Preparing Your Home
Before bringing your new pet home, create a safe and welcoming environment for them. Remove any hazards that could harm or stress the animal. Purchase essential supplies like a comfortable bed, food and water bowls, appropriate toys, grooming tools, and a collar with an identification tag. Establish a designated area for feeding, sleeping, and litter box placement, if applicable.
Step 4: Meeting the Pet and Compatibility
When you visit the shelter or rescue, spend time getting to know the pet you are interested in adopting. Observe their behavior and temperament to ensure they align with your expectations and lifestyle. If you have other pets at home, arrange a meet-and-greet to determine compatibility between the animals. It's essential to ensure that all pets can coexist peacefully and harmoniously.
Step 5: The Adoption Process
The adoption process varies from one organization to another, but it typically involves completing an application, providing references, and possibly a home visit. Be prepared to answer questions about your lifestyle, previous pet ownership experiences, and your plans for the new pet. Some shelters may require an adoption fee, which often includes initial vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and a microchip.
Step 6: Veterinary Care and Microchipping
As a responsible pet owner, it's crucial to schedule a visit to the veterinarian shortly after adopting your pet. The veterinarian will conduct a thorough health examination, administer necessary vaccinations, and discuss a preventive care plan. Additionally, consider having your pet microchipped to increase the chances of a safe return if they ever get lost.
Step 7: Training and Socialization
Many adopted pets may have experienced trauma or neglect in their past. Patience and positive reinforcement are essential when training and socializing your new companion. Enroll in obedience classes or seek professional guidance to teach basic commands and proper behavior. Socialize your pet with other animals and people to build confidence and promote a well-adjusted temperament.
Step 8: Time, Love, and Commitment
Remember that adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment. Animals need time, attention, and love to thrive physically and emotionally. Establish a routine for feeding, exercise, grooming, and playtime. Develop a strong bond with your pet through quality time spent together.
The journey to pet parenthood can be both exciting and challenging. By following these essential steps, you will ensure a smooth and responsible adoption process, setting the foundation for a fulfilling and loving relationship with your new furry friend. The rewards of pet ownership are immeasurable, as you and your pet will undoubtedly enrich each other's lives for years to come. Embrace the joys and responsibilities that come with being a pet parent, and may this new chapter be filled with unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship.
At PAWS/LA it’s our mission to help support our clients with the financial and organizational challenges of pet ownership. Those we work with share an indelible bond with their pets and are committed to offering them the best possible life. The worst possible case is that somebody with this level of dedication and commitment would be forced to part with their companion animal due to difficulties that are beyond their control. We make sure these pet owners can meet their own high standards of pet ownership.
But it’s not always easy—even if you don’t face financial hardship or physical limitations.
Responsible pet ownership goes beyond providing food, shelter, and veterinary care; it encompasses a commitment to their well-being, behavior training, and environmental impact. In this blog post, we will delve into the core principles of responsible pet ownership, offering valuable insights and practical tips to help you become the kind of pet parent we see our clients, volunteers and other members of the PAWS/LA family try to be.
Meeting Basic Needs
The foundation of responsible pet ownership lies in meeting your pet's basic needs. These include proper nutrition, access to clean water, a safe and comfortable living environment, and regular veterinary care. Ensure you provide a balanced and appropriate diet based on your pet's species, age, and health requirements. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive treatments will keep your pet healthy and protect them from diseases.
Create a safe and secure environment for your pet by pet-proofing your home, removing hazards, and providing appropriate containment if necessary. Provide a cozy bed, toys for mental stimulation, and a designated area for them to retreat to when they need space. Regular grooming and hygiene practices, such as bathing and nail trimming, are essential to maintain your pet's well-being.
Responsible pet ownership involves investing time and effort in behavioral training. Proper training not only enhances your pet's quality of life but also promotes a harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend. Start with basic obedience training, including commands like sit, stay, and come. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work wonders in encouraging desired behavior.
Socialization is vital for pets to develop good manners and interact well with other animals and people. Gradually introduce your pet to new experiences, environments, and individuals, ensuring positive interactions throughout the process. Training should also address common behavioral issues like excessive barking, chewing, or aggression. Seek professional help if needed, as behavior problems can often be addressed effectively with guidance from a qualified trainer or behaviorist.
Physical and mental stimulation
Pets require regular exercise and mental stimulation to lead healthy and happy lives. Dogs, for instance, need daily walks, playtime, and opportunities for socializing with other dogs. Cats, on the other hand, benefit from interactive toys, scratching posts, and vertical spaces for climbing. Enrichment activities like puzzle toys, food-dispensing toys, and training sessions engage your pet's mind and prevent boredom.
Consider your pet's specific needs and energy levels when designing an exercise routine. Engaging in activities together not only strengthens the bond between you and your pet but also promotes their overall well-being. Remember, a tired pet is often a well-behaved pet!
Responsible pet ownership extends beyond the confines of your home. Consider the environmental impact of your pet and take steps to minimize it. Dispose of pet waste properly, preferably in designated areas or with biodegradable bags. Clean up after your pet during walks to ensure cleanliness and prevent the spread of diseases.
Choose eco-friendly pet products, including biodegradable poop bags, natural grooming supplies, and sustainable pet toys. Opt for eco-conscious pet food brands that use sustainable sourcing practices and packaging.
more than the essentials
Being a responsible pet owner entails more than just providing the essentials; it requires dedication, patience, and a genuine love for your pet. By meeting their basic needs, investing in training, providing stimulation, and considering the environmental impact, you can ensure your pet leads a happy and healthy life. Responsible pet ownership not only benefits your furry companion but also fosters a more compassionate and sustainable society. So, embrace the responsibilities of pet ownership and cherish the incredible bond you share with your beloved pet.
In the last week or so, we were incredibly lucky to have worked with Rebecca Charles and Zachary Goodman. They volunteered to deliver food to some of our clients. It was a big delivery, with multiple stops spread throughout the Los Angeles area, but they took to the task enthusiastically and did a great job. We always want to check in with our volunteers to see how their experience went. Rebecca offered us this testimonial:
Hi, my name is Rebecca Charles, and I am a volunteer with PAWS LA.
I found PAWS LA via a professor at UCLA, who recommended a few websites to find volunteer opportunities. Being someone that loves animals, when I saw that PAWS LA helped not only people, but their pets also, it made a lot of sense for me to reach out to them.
The process of signing up for an opportunity was incredibly easy. Once you contact PAWs, you provide a few details and choose a specific activity to help with. The organization provides so many options, from delivering pet food to senior citizens and veterans, to pet grooming, to fostering, and even helping with their social media. All the coordinators are very friendly and work with you to help find which volunteer opportunities fit best for you.
I figured I’d start with delivery so I could potentially meet some of those receiving the food and their pets. The food was previously packed by other volunteers, so we matched up which pets needed which food items, then loaded it into our vehicle with the help of the coordinators. After that we contacted the clients about when they would like the food delivered. The whole process was easy and fun. It was nice to get to meet the clients and even some of the pets. Seeing those in need’s appreciation for such a small act of kindness was amazing. One client even left me a very nice voicemail thanking me for the delivery.
Volunteering made me realize that many people, especially those with service animals, may struggle to get food for their pets as they are typically heavy and expensive. This really put into perspective how important an organization like PAWS LA is. The experience of volunteering was incredibly rewarding. It allowed me to connect with people from different backgrounds and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they face. It was heartwarming to see the joy on the clients’ faces’ as they received their food, and the happiness of their pets as they played and interacted with me.
It was also an opportunity to learn new skills, such as communication and problem-solving, as each delivery presented unique challenges.
I can’t wait to keep volunteering with PAWS LA in the future!
Thanks again Rebecca. Volunteers are the lifeblood of PAWS/LA and we hope to work with you again in the future!
To volunteer with us email email@example.com or check out our website for more info.
This is a companion piece to our Pet of the Week segment, where we profile a pet and their owner from our community. Usually, we get a little time with the pairing, and as much information as we can gather from a brief interview. This time, however, I was able to spend time with a dog who is very much part of my family, and this encouraged me to pause and think a little more carefully about why keeping pets and people together is important—not because it’s the mission statement of PAWS/LA, and our funding depends on it, but because there’s something in the relationship between human and animals that speaks to our better natures, our best selves.
The dog in this case, is named Clementine, a tiny pug-mutt bundle belonging to my brother, Ross, and his wife, Brooke. Clemmie was rescued during the pandemic and needed a lot of healing. Whatever had happened to her before she was adopted wasn’t pleasant. Physically, she was fine, but psychologically, she presented as frightened and skittish. There were clear signs that she’d suffered abuse of some kind, and her relationship with humans was clearly rooted in fear. Every noise would set her off barking, and she found it difficult to be left alone for even an hour. In fits of fear, she would behave maniacally, ripping apart shoes and eating furniture. She was hostile to other dogs, which was dangerous given her diminutive size, and the likelihood of her coming out poorly in a fight with a larger animal.
None of this was helped by the fact that my brother lives in a noisy neighborhood, where it isn’t unusual for fireworks to fire off randomly throughout the day and night. These sounds would send Clemmie darting beneath a chair where she would crouch for hours, shivering. When she saw humans interacting with each other, she would become fiercely defensive, mistaking affection for aggression; she was always trying to “save” us from hugs and embraces.
It was difficult, but I know that Ross and Brooke loved her from the start. They stepped up as every pet parent should, even when Clemmie often required more care and attention than a newborn baby. She was a significant presence that changed the way they lived. But instead of growing frustrated and abandoning her, they worked hard to help her process and adapt to her new life. In turn, her healing facilitated their growth. Of course, Clem’s personality remains skittish, and she still likes to pick fights with other dogs she meets on the street, but generally she is calmer, more at ease, and now capable of spending an hour alone in an apartment.
The bond she has with her owners is starkly evident. Last weekend, Ross and Brooke went out of town, and we took Clemmie to the desert to watch her while they were gone. For the first day or two, she appeared despondent and lethargic, lying around for hours, moving only to eat. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that dogs miss their owners as much as owners miss their dogs, and there is far more nuance to the relationship than an animal simply needing fed and sheltered. Watching Clemmie’s change in behavior, provided significant testament to the power of this bond. Even my brother, who is usually stoic to a fault, had to walk away quickly once he’d dropped her off, so that he wouldn’t start to cry.
After a day or so, Clemmie grew accustomed to her new environment, although it was interesting to see her connection to my brother and sister-in-law continue to play out indirectly. She was more drawn to my father and myself than to my mother, because as males in the family, we bear a closer resemblance to Ross. Certain smells also clearly reminded her of home, and she made her base of operation the spare bedroom that Ross and Brooke usually stay in when they visit, as if some comforting essence of them lingered there.
Besides all this, the human-animal bond finds maybe its fiercest expression in the way animals interact with children, in this case my son. Kids and animals love without reason, without thinking about it; they love simply because love is their nature, undisturbed by the hardening experiences of adult life. Watching them together was watching something pure, even when they tormented each other; even when Clemmie jumped up and accidentally scratched Isaac; when he splashed her with water, or she knocked him off a wall. Any slight or inconvenience was forgotten a second later, when they were lying together, and he was rubbing her belly.
I do not know what makes our bond with Clemmie any different from that shared between millions of owners and animals throughout LA and beyond. Really, it is something beyond expression, something that defies description. At the end of the day, it hardly matters. Just because something can’t be described, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The bond is real, and we see it everywhere. This is why we can’t allow hardship to separate animals from their owners. It is precisely at times of hardship that the bond is most powerful, and in the crucible of existence, with all its raw suffering and joy, animals and humans work in a way that ensures the growth of one becomes the growth of the other. It is not a linear, causal system, but a dynamic relationship of give and take, a dialectic of love and respect. At least, it should be.
Summer is here! We think. Maybe. It’s supposed to be, but who knows with the weather these days? Anyway, once the June gloom lifts, we’ll see sunshine, warmth, and plenty of outdoor activity. As pet owners, it's essential to prioritize the safety and well-being of our beloved companions during this time. The scorching heat can pose various risks to pets, such as dehydration, heatstroke, and burns. In this blog post, we will explore some crucial tips and guidelines to ensure the safety of your pets in the summer months.
Just like humans, pets need to stay properly hydrated to beat the summer heat. Ensure that your pets always have access to fresh, clean water. Consider placing multiple water bowls in different areas of your home and yard to encourage them to drink regularly. If you're heading out for a walk or a day trip, carry water and a portable bowl for your pet. This way, you can provide them with hydration whenever needed.
BEWARE OF SCORCHING SURFACES
Pavements and asphalt can become scorching hot during the summer, causing severe burns to your pet's paws. Before taking your dog for a walk, test the ground with the back of your hand. If it feels too hot for you, it's too hot for your furry companion. Opt for walks during cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening, when the pavement is less likely to be scalding. Alternatively, consider investing in protective booties for your dog's paws.
PROVIDE SHADE AND VENTILATION
Creating a cool and comfortable environment for your pet is crucial during the summer. Ensure that your pets have access to shaded areas in your yard, whether it's under a tree or with the help of a sunshade or umbrella. If your pet spends most of their time indoors, keep the curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day to prevent excess heat from entering your home. Use fans or air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Never, leave your pet in a parked car, even with the windows cracked, as the temperature can rise to dangerous levels within minutes.
be careful with exercise
While regular exercise is essential for your pet's well-being, it's crucial to be mindful of the intensity and duration of activities during hot summer days. Avoid rigorous exercise during peak hours and opt for shorter, more frequent walks instead. Consider taking your pet for a swim as a fun and refreshing way to keep them active without overheating. Remember to rinse off chlorine or saltwater after swimming, as it can irritate their skin.
watch for signs of heat stroke
Heatstroke is a severe condition that requires immediate attention. Be vigilant for symptoms such as excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these signs, move your pet to a cool area immediately, apply cool (not cold) water to their body, and contact your veterinarian right away.
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER
As pet owners, it's our responsibility to keep our furry friends safe and comfortable during the summer months. By following these essential tips, you can ensure that your pets enjoy the season while avoiding the risks associated with excessive heat. Remember to prioritize hydration, provide shade and ventilation, avoid hot surfaces, exercise with caution, and be aware of the signs of heatstroke. With these precautions in place, you and your pets can have a joyful and worry-free summer together.
We love our pets! They're precious companions, maybe even part of the family. It's essential that we ensure their well-being and safety, especially when a crisis strikes. Natural disasters or unexpected emergencies don't politely announce themselves. They can occur at any moment, leaving us with little time to react. This is especially true in California, with the ever-present threats of wildfires, earthquakes and flooding. Assembling and maintaining a well-prepared emergency kit for our pets helps ensures you're ready for anything, and provides peace of mind outside of a disaster scenario. In this blog post, the PAWS/LA team will discuss the essential items and steps required to assemble an effective emergency kit. You can also download a comprehensive and printable emergency kit checklist from the CDC website.
PAWS/LA Pet Alert Emergency Sticker
In case of disaster, it's important than emergency responders are aware that you are a pet owner, and that there may be an animal in your house. Check out our Pet Alert Emergency Sticker. You can display this on your front door or windows to let emergency workers know how many animals they need to account for, as well as their species. This enables them to act fast. In case you're not present, the sticker also includes your contact info. You can order your free sticker by clicking here.
Gather important documents
The first step in creating a pet emergency kit is to gather all the necessary documents related to your pet. These documents may include vaccination records, medical history, identification papers, and contact information for your veterinarian. Make sure to store them in a waterproof bag or folder and keep a digital copy as a backup.
FOOD AND WATER SUPPLIES
When disaster strikes, access to food and clean water may be limited. Ensure you have a sufficient supply of your pet's regular food stored in airtight containers to maintain its freshness. It is recommended to store at least a week's worth of food for your pet. Additionally, pack portable bowls for both food and water, and remember to rotate the food supply periodically to avoid expiration.
Medications and first aid
If your pet requires regular medication, ensure you have a sufficient supply in your emergency kit. Include a first aid supplies specifically designed for pets, which should contain items such as bandages, antiseptic solution, tweezers, and any necessary medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with basic pet first aid procedures or enroll in a pet first aid course to be well-prepared in case of an emergency.
Comfort and familiarity
Disasters can be stressful for pets, and having familiar items can provide them with comfort during uncertain times. Pack their favorite blanket, toys, and any other items that bring them comfort. These familiar objects can help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of security.
leashes collars and carriers
In an emergency, you may need to evacuate with your pet quickly. Ensure you have a sturdy leash and collar readily available for each pet. Additionally, invest in a secure and properly sized pet carrier that is easily transportable. Practice using the carrier with your pet beforehand to reduce stress during an actual emergency.
Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is essential for your pet's health. Pack a supply of poop bags, litter, litter trays (for cats), and cleaning supplies such as pet-friendly disinfectants. These items will help you keep your pet's environment clean and reduce the risk of diseases.
up to date identification info
In chaotic situations, it is common for pets to become separated from their owners. Ensure your pet's identification is up to date. A collar with identification tags and a securely fitted microchip with your contact information are vital in helping reunite you with your pet if you get separated.
you can never be too prepared
You can never be too prepared. Although we don't want to live our lives anticipating disaster, taking a little time to create an emergency kit for your pet allows you to relax in the knowledge that you're ready for anything. By being prepared, you can minimize stress and provide comfort to your beloved companion when it matters most. Remember to periodically check and replenish supplies, so your emergency kit remains up to date. Taking these proactive steps will help you face emergencies with confidence, knowing that you have everything you need to protect and care for your beloved animals. And who knows, maybe they'll end up protecting and taking care of you!
Our blog is managed by Ryan Hilary with additional contributions from the PAWS/LA team. Are you a member of our community and have a great idea for a post (or maybe want to write one yourself?). Reach out to Rhilary@pawsla.org.