Animal Preparedness

Animal Preparedness: Summertime by Fred the Preparedness Dog

We have made it to SUMMER! The time of year for vacations, baseball and other kinds of summer fun. It’s also the time to make sure that we and our furry friends continue to be safe and prepared. Let’s look at some things that we can do together as pets and people to make sure everyone has the best summer yet.

Eating right: I love summer because summer means cook-outs and picnics and we all know how I LOVE hotdogs and ice cream (dog style). While we’re enjoying these summertime treats we need to remember the importance of a balanced diet. For people that means still getting your fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas and that summer favorite watermelon. Carrots, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes and others are also beginning to show up in gardens. For us animals, we need to still keep our main diets that we have all year long. A sudden change or too much “junk food” can really upset our stomachs and maybe be the cause to a rush trip to the vet. So, I have to keep my hotdog lunches to a few.

Playing outside: We’re also spending a lot more time outside playing summer games like ball, Frisbee, going swimming, and the like. Make sure that you and your pets drink a lot of fresh cool water. Water is the best because it not only keeps us cool but also keeps us really healthy and out there playing. Even when I’m at the pool or lake playing in the water, lots of fresh drinking water is what I need (and you too) to keep going. While we’re outside playing we need to make sure and take plenty of breaks to cool off. As kids, elderly and sometimes pets sometime have a more difficult time regulating our body heat, we need to make sure that we get inside and rest in the cool air to make sure we don’t make ourselves very sick. We also need to watch each other and go inside so no one gets hurt this summer season.

Firework safety: Finally, our country’s birthday is coming up on July 4th. I love Independence Day and celebrating our rich national history and heritage. We need to make sure and do it safely both for people and pets. If you are having fireworks, make sure to follow the directions and listen to the adults watching you so that you stay safe. If you have pets, make sure that they are comfortable when fireworks are going off anywhere in the neighborhood. Those unexpected loud booms can be very scary. This could be a good time to take your pet into the storm shelter of your home with all their preparedness stuff including their favorite toy and blanket. Get them in the storm area before the fireworks are going and spend some time with them so they know it’s safe. Let them go outside before the big ones start in the evening so they can stay in the safe area. Independence Day is the number one time of year for pets to go missing and that’s because they get scared. Do your part for your pets by getting them holiday ready.

As always, take a few minutes to make sure that the emergency kit is ready and that your family has everything needed in case of an emergency. Severe weather and other emergencies can happen at any time so we have to always be prepared. Thanks for doing your part in making this a safe and prepared summer. Take care. –Fred the Preparedness Dog.


Animal Preparedness: Microchips by Fred the Preparedness Dog

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you got lost? As a person you know your name, address, phone number, and your parent’s name. You can also tell someone like a police officer, firefighter, or other adult this information so that they can help you because you can talk. For me, as a dog, it’s a lot more difficult because even if I do talk, not many people speak German Shepherd. So what can I do to be ready in case I get lost?

In my last article, Collars, I mentioned that one of the nice things about collars was that it was a place to keep my tags and that those tags could help me get back to my family in case I got lost. But what if I lose my collar? It could get stuck in a fence, or tree, or otherwise fall off. In that case, I have a microchip. What’s a microchip? Well, let me tell you, it is a neat little thing that will help me get back to my family. How?

The microchip is small, about the size of a grain of rice. The vet or vet’s assistant puts the microchip into a needle and then ever so gently puts it right beneath my skin, just between my two front shoulder blades. It doesn’t hurt at all and it’s like getting a little shot when they put it in. My caregivers are given a website and password so that they can keep their information up to date so if I ever do get lost and found, those that found me can use that information to contact them and get us back together. When someone wants to “read” the microchip, they simply pass a special scanner over the area where the microchip is. The scanner picks up the unique code of the microchip that has been assigned to me. Because the microchip is under my skin it is mine forever.

Today many animal welfare groups and animal control departments use microchip scanners as part of their everyday work. They scan all the animals that they get in hopes of that animal having been microchipped. When they read that microchip number, they log into the website, enter the animal code and get the information to contact the animal’s caregiver. This helps get families back together and helps keep the animals from having to stay in the shelter.

My brothers and I all have our microchips and we recommend that all of our pet friends get one too. You never know what may happen and there is always a chance that our collar could get stuck on something and pull off. Our microchips are always going to be with us and will always be there to help us get back to the family. Think about getting one for your furry family member as well. Thanks for reading. – Fred the Preparedness Dog


Animal Preparedness: Collars by Fred the Preparedness Dog

The other day I was laying on the floor thinking, "Why do I have to wear this collar all the time?" It's true, every day I have this collar around my neck. It's with me day and night. But what is it for? Well, I think I've come up with some answers.

First, it keeps my tags. Did you know that in some cities, having a city license tag is required? Every year, my family has to go to the Animal Control Office and get a license for me and my brothers. One reason that we do this is to help prevent disease in the animals in the city. That happens because it is required that before I can get my license, I have to make sure everyone knows I have had my rabies shot. Another reason is to make sure that the city has a description of what I look like and who my family is. This way, if I get lost, the police or the animal shelter can look at the number on my city license and call my family so we can get back together.

I also keep my rabies shot tag on there. It's important that we as pets, just like you as people, stay up to date with the shots that we need. This helps us all stay healthy so we can play. Dogs and cats wear these tags to show that they are up to date with their shots in case we were to get lost. This way, if Animal Control or someone else picks us up, they know that we should be protected against those diseases.

The second reason I have my collar on is for safety. Have you ever noticed that there is almost always a metal loop built into pet collars? It's a handy place to attach a leash. I have to wear a leash anytime I'm outside and not in my back yard. The leash attached to my collar or harness helps keep me safe by keeping me with my family. Some collars are also reflective: they are either made with a material that makes them shiny or they have attachments that are shiny. This helps keep me safe if the power goes off or I'm outside at night. When lights shine on the collar, it reflects some of the light back so the person with the flashlight or driving the car can see me.

So having a collar isn't such a bad thing. It's kind of fun in a way. When I walk I can hear my tags bounce against each other sort of like a little bell. In a way I'm taking music with me wherever I go. My family also keeps a very reflective, bright orange, collar in our family emergency kit. When we take shelter, they put this collar on too with my standard collar to help me be seen. I'm glad my family takes the time to make sure I'm safe and ready with my collars. Thanks for reading. – Fred the Preparedness Dog