Pet Safety Tips for Dog and Cat Families of Newport News, VA

One of the most important things about sharing your home and life with a pet is keeping your companion protected from a variety of dangers. October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month, a time for spreading awareness about the importance of animal safety and providing helpful information to pet parents so they can take an active role in giving their companions a healthy, happy life. It is not just about preventing emergencies, but about committing to a routine that prioritizes your pet’s health, and gives you the ability to look at your pet and know when something isn’t quite right.

Portrait of young woman holding cute siberian cat with green eyes. Female hugging her cute long hair kitty. Background, copy space, close up. Adorable domestic pet concept.

Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthier and Safer

Here are some of the things you can do to proactively prevent emergencies, maintain your pet’s health, and keep them sufficiently protected from a variety of internal and external risks.

Preventative and Wellness Care

Is your pet seeing their veterinarian on an annual basis? Yearly checkups make it easier for your veterinarian (and you) to keep track of your pet’s health, monitor any chronic issues, and catch developing problems when they’re still easily treatable. In addition, your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate vaccines, parasite preventatives, and any other treatments or services that could maximize your pet’s health and increase their resistance to illness.

Updated Identification

Every pet should have up-to-date ID tags on their collar or harness. And for extra insurance, we recommend microchipping your pet, too. A microchip is a permanent ID that, when properly registered, can be scanned and almost immediately traced directly to you and your contact information. Nobody wants to think about having their pet go missing, but in the even that such a thing happens, it can give you peace of mind about your pet’s safety, and give your pet greater odds at being found and returned to you.

Pet-Proofing Their Environment

Having a dog or cat is similar in some ways to having a small child. They’re insatiably curious and will get into anything that strikes their fancy. While pets generally go through life without any serious mishaps, it’s best to think ahead and optimize your home and any other spaces your pet may frequent to best suit their needs, while also minimizing any risks.

  • Make sure all doors to the outside are kept shut
  • If necessary, place baby gates at certain doorways to keep your pet out of rooms that are off-limits
  • Store toxins such as cleaning supplies, perfumes, and medications in secure cabinets or drawers that are well out of reach
  • Invest in a garbage can that closes securely to keep nosy pets at bay
  • If you use potpourri or essential oils, make sure the oils you use are safe for pets and place potpourri on a high shelf or on top of a cabinet so your pet can’t get to it
  • Does your dog like to chew? Bitter apple spray on table and chair legs could help to deter them from gnawing on the furniture
  • Polished wood floors and tiles can be slippery for dogs; consider investing in non-slip mats or runners in hallways to help your pet stay on their feet
chihuahua dog as a medical veterinary doctor with stethoscope and first aid kit ,isolated on white background

First Aid Kit

You never know when an accident might happen. In the event that your pet suffers a minor injury or needs to be taken to the emergency vet, having a first aid kit nearby can help you provide much- needed care to your pet. Pet first aid kids should include:

  • Clean gauze
  • Non-stick bandages
  • The phone numbers for your veterinarian and emergency vet
  • An updated copy of your pet’s medical records
  • Adhesive bandage tape (for animal use only)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • A digital thermometer
  • A syringe or eye dropper
  • Muzzle (some dogs may bite if they are injured and in pain)

Being Observant

When you know how your pet looks and behaves when they’re at their best, it’s easier to tell when something changes. Be attentive to your pet and always keep an eye out of anything unusual in their appearance or how they’re acting. We recommend taking notes of abnormalities, and taking pictures and/or videos if possible. You can then present this information to your veterinarian so they can help you figure out a solution.

If your pet is behaving differently, don’t automatically write it off--while it may not be cause for panic, it could indicate a problem that could, over time, become more serious. Your pet relies on you for everything, and their health is the most important thing they have. If something seems wrong, contact your veterinarian as soon as you can.