Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Fall!

There are many great festivities that you, your family and your pets can do in the fall. However, there are also a few things pet parents should be aware of to protect their four legged family members. This article will go over some of the fun festivities available and some of the dangers to be aware of.

Living on Long Island I grew up with the tradition of going apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall. All you have to do is drive out east and you will find a plethora of farms that host various kinds of “Pick Your Own.” Many of them have websites and you can find out if they are having any special events. A number of them do allow leashed dogs, plus your dog can enjoy a healthy snack of apple slices and fresh pumpkin! (Just make sure there are no spices on it)

As the weather begins to cool, it’ll be easier to take your dog on longer walks without worry of heat exhaustion or burning asphalt. On Long Island we have a number of dog friendly parks that offer hiking trails where you can take in the sights of the leaves changing colors. I frequently take my dog to Blydenburgh County Park, where there are many trails following the lake, it is a beautiful place to go especially during the changing season. This is a great way to get you and your family out for exercise and your dog will most certainly enjoy it.

Speaking of trails… Long Island is all around a historical area and many of the towns host a slew of events geared towards this. From Ghost Tours to festivals it feels like every town has something unique to offer and a lot of them are outside. Call ahead and see if they allow dogs to join in the fun!

As the leaves fall off the trees, we start raking them into piles for fall clean up. However, these piles can also lead to a lot more fun and photographic opportunity! Many dogs enjoy running through piles of leaves just as much as children. Just make sure the leaves are dry! 

As people begin to prepare for fall and for winter, there become a number of things that loving pet owners should be aware of for the safety of their animals:

  • Not to contradict the fun of playing in leaf piles but, if it’s rained or very humid, leaves can start to decompose and become host to a number of bacteria and mold that are not safe for pets or children.  Besides these dangers, also watch your yard for the growth of mushrooms and remove them quickly! Most mushrooms are toxic to ingest and now is the time of year they start to appear more frequently.
  • Watch were your pets go! Pay attention to public announcements of spraying for insects as pesticides are not pet (or human) friendly. Many people put down fertilizer and other chemicals on their lawn during this time of year so make sure to keep your pets off unfamiliar yards or walking in the brush along maintained trails that have notices of chemical spray. 
  • In addition to outside sprays for insects, some people still use moth balls in their closet to prevent moth damage to clothing or moth balls in storage bins. These are toxic for cats and dogs who might try to play with them or ingest them. A safer alternative is to use cedar wood hangers, or to place/hang cedar in pouches and keep it above animal height in the closet. Many local retailers now sell this alternative such as Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart.
  • Also during this time of year many families spray rodentcidies or put down bait traps that are toxic if our pets ingest. Pets can also become ill in the event they catch a poisoned rodent and ingest it.

  • With people doing their fall yard clean up and prepping their vehicles for winter, keep an eye on your pets to prevent them from drinking out of random puddles. This time of year we have to be careful of poisoning due to engine coolant, oil and other toxic spills.
  • Daylight hours are currently decreasing more and more, consider getting your pet a reflective collar or vest or one that lights up. They are not very expensive and can be purchased on most online websites for pets and amazon. These can be real life savers for your animals as in low lighting your pet might not be visible to a driver. If you are walking your dog on the road, stand between your dog and the traffic. A driver is more likely to see a human but your furry friend might be below their field of sight from the vehicle.
  • Heartworm! Make sure you dog is up to date on their heartworm, if they need a blood test now is the time to get it done and many of the preventative medications are a once a month chewable. It’s a simple way to protect your pet.
  • From now the temperature is going to only get cooler to cold out. If your dog normally gets shaved in the summer, it’s now time to let their coat grow in so they will have their full coat by winter. If you have a short hair dog, consider getting them a sweater or jacket just in case.  Our pets don’t enjoy being cold any more than we do.

Little Shelter does always encourages keeping cats indoors, they will live longer healthier lives and not be put at risk of getting hit by a car or attacked by wild predators. We do have Coyotes on Long Island as well as foxes. 

During this time of year these animals can present more of a threat for kitty as they try to bulk up a bit more before the coming cold. In addition cats are less likely to be seen by passing cars and accident rates go up around this time of year as the hours of darkness increase. Consider keeping your cat inside until late spring, or at least from dusk to dawn if you’re not ready to switch kitty to living indoors only.

There are many great opportunities to get out with your furry friends this season and create some wonderful memories. Just because the summer is over, doesn't mean the fun has to be and with these helpful tips we can keep our four legged loved ones safe. In the comments, post some of your favorite fall past times that your pet partakes in. We would love to see some photos! Or links to fur friendly activities to promote getting out there with your pet.

See you soon!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Storm Safety and Preparedness...

As quickly changing weather patterns on Long Island can suddenly turn a severe storm to an emergency situation, we at Little Shelter would like to provide our friends and families with some helpful tips to keep our furry loved ones safe. With better preparedness we can help keep our four legged family members safe from harm and prevent families from becoming separated.

Keep your eyes on the weather reports, this is the time of year that storms can pop up quickly and can suddenly change from rain to a hurricane overnight. Stay alert to what’s going on around you so you do not get caught by surprise.

If a storm is predicted in your area, here are some ways you can help prepare your family:

1.       Always make sure you have plenty of food, if the pet food is down to half a bag it is recommended to grab another in case shipments get delayed or you are stuck for a few days.

2.       Buy gallon jugs of water, you will not only need them for yourself, but your pets will need access to fresh water as well.

3.       If your pets are on medication, make sure you have enough to last a couple of weeks in case you can’t get it refilled for a while. Keep them stored in air/liquid proof containers.
4.       Create an animal emergency supply kit that is always quickly accessible, it should have extra collars and id tags, medications, treats, medical records in a waterproof container, emergency contacts, supply of baggies, toys and any other special supplies your pet may need. Also keep photos of your pets in case you get separated.

5.       Consider getting all your pets micro chipped, should you ever get separated or one looses their collar you will still have a chance of your pet being returned to you.

6.       For cats, if their indoor/outdoor, bring them in and get them situated in a room a few days prior to the bad weather hitting. Cats will seek shelter prior to the storm and you may not be able to find them when the storm starts. Make sure you have plenty of clean kitty litter to last you a few weeks just in case.

7.       Cats are known for their ability to hide, especially if they sense something is not right. Make sure that whatever room they are in you can easily find them, should you need to relocate for safety.

8.      Have a carrier for each individual animal that is easily accessible.
9.       For cats and small dogs: If there is space in your home, keep the carriers around and put a blanket with their scent on it into the carrier. This will encourage the cats to use the carrier and become accustomed to it, making it a lot less of a struggle if you need to get them in there later on.

10.   If you live in an evacuation area, pre-pack your vehicle. If you have a large dog, put a carrier in the vehicle along with food, water, leash, and baggies. Then pack the rest of supplies you might need if you must go to a shelter or otherwise leave your home. If you have cats or small dogs (small carriers) make sure you leave designated space in the vehicle for their carriers and pack the rest of the car around it. During a storm if possible small pets should not be transported unless in a carrier, large dogs should be taken to the vehicle on a leash and loaded securely.

11.   Check with local emergency shelters in advance to see if your pets are welcomed with you. Some local shelters are now allowing pet owners to bring their furry family members with them. (But remember a shelter should be your last resort)

12.   Keep a list at home of hotels and motels in surrounding areas that are either pet friendly or otherwise would agree to waiver the “no pet” policy under emergence circumstances. Also have a list of friends and family that would be willing to house your pets should an emergency situation ever happen. In addition you should also find animal boarding facilities outside the emergency areas and know what their policies are for boarding an animal.

13.   Make a contingency plan with neighbors or close by friends/family. You might not be home when an evacuation order comes. Make sure there is someone you trust who can get your animals out of danger and meet up with you at a per-designated location.

Most importantly, comfort your pet during a disaster! They are counting on you to make sure they are safe and that everything is going to be okay. Make sure you have some of their favorite treats/toys on hand so they feel more secure, or a favorite blanket. Give them praise and affection so they are less afraid.

Little Shelter
33 Warner Rd
Huntington, NY 11743

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Reasons Why A Senior Dog Should Be Your New Best Friend

A senior dog can be one of the best friends you will ever have in your life. There are many reasons to adopt a senior dog. Here are just some of the reasons you might want to consider adding the love of a senior dog to your life!

Senior dogs can make for some of the best snugglers! Most of the time a senior dog spends their days (and nights) curled up somewhere comfortable. Of course there is nothing more comfortable than mom or dad’s bed! Gentle and mellow, a senior dog is great to lie in bed with and watch movies or snuggle up on a cold night to keep warm. 

The advantage to a senior dog is that in behavior, what you see is what you get. Rather than worry about behavior issues with a young dog, a senior dog shows pretty much who they are when you meet them. There are no surprises with a senior dog and when adopting you will already know what kind of temperament they have. There is also no guessing what size the dog will grow up to be as they are already full grown. Many times seniors are already house broken and have settled down from their puppy behaviors such as the infamous “chewing” phase.

Another advantage many senior dogs have over puppies is there is no getting up every couple of hours throughout the night to let the dog out. A senior dog loves their sleep and will sleep throughout the night without a problem. This means you get a better night’s sleep too.  Being most senior dogs are already house broken and don’t have to go as frequently as a puppy, they allow for more flexibility with your daily schedule as well.

Also don’t forget that picture perfect face! There is just something about a grey muzzle that screams adorable and senior dogs are some of the most photogenic pets you can have. Not to mention, a senior dog will be less distracted and more likely to stay put while you capture that perfect image.
All that said…

Meet Blanche the super sweet senior Pointer. She is definitely one of the good ol’ gals and takes life at her own pace. She loves going on short walks or spend time trotting around the yard. However, she does tire quickly and will spend the rest of her day sleeping. We can tell she dreams, often when you pass her kennel you will see her hind legs quivering and her front legs pawing at something only she can see. 
Maybe she’s dreaming of running through a meadow with her new family?

Blanche is very sweet and enjoys being able to spend time with the staff and volunteers, her face lights up anytime someone comes in to sit with her. She loves getting her head scratched, her favorite spot is under the chin! She is very food motivated and will follow you anywhere for a treat. 

The girl is looking for a loving family that will be with her through her golden years. She has a lot of love to give and is waiting for the right person to share it with. Come to Little Shelter and meet Blanche today!

 Little Shelter
 33 Warner Rd
Huntington, NY 11743