Oct 27 2011

No Tricks this Halloween- Keeping Your Pets Safe!

Thinking about what costume you don this Halloween?  Perhaps a member of the Dancing With The Stars  show or maybe just keep it simple and go with the hottest Hollywood couple ?  Halloween is always fun for the little goblins and witches in your house, but it can be a dangerous time of year for our furry friends.  While some things may seem like common sense, others are things we might not even think about! 

Here are some tips to keeping your furry family members safe!

1.  No treats!  Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous to dogs and cats.  Symptoms of ingesting significant amounts of chocolate may include: vomiting, hyperactivity, drinking excessive amounts of water, increased or frequent urination, and heart rate.  Your pet may also have seizures. 

Candies that contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs.  This sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.  Significant low blood sugar can also cause liver failure.

Watch those wrappers!  Ingesting the foil or cellophane wrappers can be a choking hazard or intestinal blockage.

2. Pumpkins and decorative corn can cause gastrointestinal upset and can even cause intestinal blockage.  Also watch carved pumpkins with lit candles inside!  Pets can easily knock over pumpkins and cause a fire.  Curious cats are especially at risk or getting burned by lit candles.  My curious calico actually burnt her whiskers when she got too curious about a lit candle.  Needless to say she now steers clear and we have taken to using reed diffusers instead of candles.   

3.  Keep all wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach from your pets.  If your pet chews the cords, they could have damage in the mouth or electrical shock.

4. Everyone loves to dress up for Halloween and it can be fun to get your pet a costume too.  Please don’t put your pet in a costume unless you know he or she loves it.  My poodle loves to wear clothes, but some pets find it extremely stressful.  Be mindful of how your pet is feeling.

If you do dress your pet in a costume, make sure it isn’t constricting their movements, hearing or ability to breathe, bark or meow.  I would also recommend trying on costumes prior to the big night, that way if  your pet is stressed, uncomfortable or allergic you know before the big night. 

Also check the costume for buttons, dangling accessories/accents or pieces that could be chewed off easily.  These all pose not only choking hazards but could also cause intestinal blockages. 

5. Not all dogs and cats are social and excessive knocks on the door, or doorbell can be stressful.  It is recommended that you put your pet in another room, away from trick or treating during peak hours.  The first year we had our toy poodle I thought it would be good to let her run around the house and see the kids when they came to the door.  I mean, she LOVES kids.  Unfortunately every time she heard the doorbell she went into a barking/attack mode.  To this day every time she hears a doorbell, even if it’s on the television, she goes berserk!  It was a big mistake to let her be around this commotion before she was ready.

Also be careful of opening the door- this is a prime opportunity for your pet to dart off or scare small children who are unaware you have a pet. 

6.  As always, make sure your pet has identification and is micro-chipped.  If your pet should escape or become lost this will increase the chances that you will be able to find them.

7.  Consider keeping your pet indoors.  Halloween is a prime time for pranksters who might taunt, injure or even take your pet. 

Halloween can be a fun time for the entire family, just be extra mindful of your furry family members and what tricks or treats they are enjoying!

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs

Oct 14 2011

K9 Advocate: A new way to speak for the dogs

Bridgett is one of many dogs benefitting from our K9 Enrichment program

Bridgett is one of many dogs benefiting from our K9 Enrichment program

There are a lot of things that make Wayside amazing, one of my favorite things is walking out on the dog adoption floor at that “perfect” time when all the dogs are napping or just hanging out quietly.  You can hear a pin drop.  Ok, this doesn’t happen a lot but at least once a shift I notice a quiet lull and the look on our customer’s faces is awesome.  “How do you keep the dogs so quiet,” they ask.  Well, we have our dedicated staff and volunteers who walk our dogs to keep them sane.  Another way we work with our dogs is keeping them busy with something stimulating.  Wayside now has a new team of K9 advocates looking for ways to enrich the lives of the dogs while they are staying in our shelter.  

What does a K9 advocate do?  Well like everyone at Wayside, we try to speak for the animals.  They need us to help them with their stress and overstimulation here at the shelter.  During open hours, our floor is very busy.  For some dogs this gets them aroused and barky.  Through enrichment we can help get their mind off of the stress and focused on other things.  We use Auditory, Mental, Olfactory, Oral, Social, Tactile and Visual enrichment.  

The most popular and well know enrichment activity is the frozen peanut butter Kong.  This is oral stimulation.  The dog will be so involved with licking and chewing of the Kong that they will relax and focus on the toy.  We also make ice cube treats out of broth along with soaking rope toys in broth and then freezing them.  

Kong wobblers are a food dispensing toy that makes dogs work to get the food.  They have to knock around the toy until it wobbles and dispenses the kibble.  This is mental stimulation for the dog making them learn and problem solve.  You may also see Gatorade bottles being used for this too. 

For the auditory (hearing) sense, Wayside plays classical or calming music for our pooches.  Tactile sensory works with the animal’s stimulation to touch.  Grooming our dogs or doing T-touch type massages are great for this. 

The olfactory sense deals with smell.  We have spray bottles with different scents such as vanilla, berry, almond, banana, caramel, peppermint and cinnamon.  This helps give dogs new smells other than the norm while relaxing them and stimulating there brains.

Comfort Crew and volunteer dog walkers help us with the social enrichment part of the plan.  Play groups, walking, positive reinforcement and in kennel reading time give our dogs the doggy and human interaction they need. 

The last sensory area is visual and right now we are brainstorming ideas for this.  If you have any suggestions please email spugh@waysidewaifs.org

Wayside needs your help getting the enrichment program going.  So what do you say?  Want to help the Waifs?  Here are the items we are looking for:

  • Empty Gatorade bottles
  • Easy Cheese
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cube trays
  • Sugar free Kool-aid
  • Broths of all flavors
  • Extracts or spices for scent enrichment
  • Kongs
  • Kong Wobblers
  • Spray Bottles
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rubber dog brushes (found in the grooming isle) 

These are the items we need most for the enrichment program.  You can drop off your donations at Wayside Waifs Mon & Tues 8am – 5pm, Wed-Fri 8am – 8am, Sat & Sun Noon – 6pm.  Please mark them as donations for the enrichment program. 

Help us, help the dogs to be the best pets they can be and together we are making a big difference. 

Written by Stephanie Pugh and Kathi Bassett
Wayside K9 Advocates

Oct 6 2011

Meet Dozer!

Dozer is looking for a forever family.

Dozer is looking for a forever family.

Dozer here, and I’m anything but…at least I’m anything but a dozer that is. I’m 3 years old and weigh in at about 55 pounds or so, and I’m energetic, fun lovin’ super duper handsome, and just an all around great guy. I was brought to Wayside by a rescue group, so there isn’t a whole lot of official information on me and my background. I do know lots of commands, and I understand that I have to earn them by doing something for you. I’ve been learning to play a new game – it is called ZEN, and I have to punch the open palm of your right hand to get you to open up your fisted left hand to give me the treat. You can switch hands on me and everything! I like the game because I get the treat once I do the trick. I really am a super smart boy. I’ve got a volunteer friend working with me, and she just can’t believe her eyes. I currently know ‘sit’, down’, ‘touch’, and I can jump through a hula hoop! I play fetch, too, and I love to play with toys! Plus, I have a ‘sit/stay’ that is awesome. You can put me in one, and I can hold my position for up to 10 seconds at least – and, you can move at least 10 feet away from me! I’m stay in my position until you tell me we are ‘all done’.

The best way for us to walk together is if you are using an easy walk harness. Hey, I’m working on loose leash walking, but, I’m still a work in progress. With a harness on, I am the best of boys. I also think that I would make a great agility dog or even a great frisbee dog! I am so incredibly athletic, and I have such an abundance of energy and smarts – well, put it all together, and I might possibly make a fantastic partner in one of these sports.

I bet I would make a great jogging partner for the right family, too. Walks are great because I get to explore, and sometimes the walk ends at the off leash park for a game of fetch or a romp in the pool, so I’m always up for a long one! I really love squeaky toys, too; but I can tear them up playing with them, so maybe you’ll need to get me some indestructible toys, ok? I have a bit of a hard mouth, but, you can work with me on that, and I can learn to take treats gently. It just takes some practice, that’s all.

I’m sweet, friendly, good natured and just so happy to be alive. I’ve been vacationing recently at Man’s Best Friend (that’s why it says I’m In Foster on my picture), and I’ve found a new friend in Judy, who owns the place with her husband, Mike. She likes to watch TV with me in the evenings! We’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars and the X Factor. I love to snuggle up next to her and fall asleep. Being away from all the noise from the other dogs makes me so happy and so relaxed. It also makes me feel special – and very loved. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time in my life.

I’ve got to find a home and a wonderful family like you so that I can leave all this homelessness behind me. I’ve got a lot of love in me, and I’m just sure I can be a great companion for someone very special. Are you my special someone? Please come and meet me, ok?

Love from Dozer

Ps. Watch my video!  Dozer is currently on vacation at Man’s Best Friend Pet Resort in Belton, Missouri. If you are interested in meeting him, please contact Wayside Waifs Adoptions at 816-986-4426 to arrange a time to meet.

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