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Helpful Hints

Hiking With Your Dog by hiking expert Wendy Pope
Indoor Hazards for Cats adapted from an article on

Hiking With Your Dog
Here are some K9 tips adapted from hiking expert Wendy Pope, founder of Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa in Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia:

Doggy 411: Whether you are day hiking or planning a longer excursion, make sure your pet is fit, vaccinated and has identification.

Call in advance to see if the trail you are planning to hike will allow dogs. This will save time and disappointment if you get to the park only to find out that dogs are not allowed.

Dogs get dehydrated faster than humans, because they expend more energy in a short amount of time. The higher the altitude, the drier they get. You must carry enough water for your dog (and yourself), as well as a bowl - dogs can't drinks from cupped hands very easily. There are light-weight fabric bowls and dog canteens available in pet supply catalogs.

Dogs get the munchies too! Bring a small amount of kibble even if you only plan to be out for a couple of hours - there could be an emergency and your time on the trail extended. If you train your dog to wear a light pack, he can carry his own supplies.

Be prepared for common injuries such as cut paws and bites. Bring a tensor (ACE) bandage, gauze bandage, adhesive tape, small towel and antiseptic lotion. Also carry tweezers (for ticks), small nail scissors, a razor, and a SAM splint. This is also for human first aid response! A first aid kit for your dog should include: gauze sponges, roll gauze, hydrogen peroxide, muzzle, styptic powder, diphenhydramine (benadryc), sterile eye wash, antibiotic ointment.

Don't allow your dog to harass wildlife, other dogs, or people. Keep your dog on leash. It is the only way to prevent his sense of adventure from getting him into trouble.

In case of emergency: Always carry a cell phone, if within the range, or a telephone-equipped radio.

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Indoor Hazards for Cats
adapted from an article on

Your cat could get hurt right in your home.
This pet-proofing guide explains to how recognize and take care of pitfalls.

Living with a cat is a lot like living with a child. Even if you adopt an older, less mischievous cat, it's still important to pet-proof your home. Take preventive steps to keep your cat healthy and happy, and you'll also save time, money, and stress in emergency trips to the veterinarian.

Watch for these dangers:

Electrical Cords
Stalking and jumping on imaginary prey is one of a cat's favorite pastimes. Dangling electrical cords present tempting - and dangerous - opportunities to play. Gather and tie long cords and tuck them out of sight, or buy metal covers from a lighting store to enclose cords. And give your pet a pleasing substitute to chase and bite, like her own squeak toy or catnip-filled mouse.

Extreme Temperatures
Keep your house at a cat-friendly climate year-round; a moderate temperature between 65 and 75 degrees works best. Be aware of drafts, which can exacerbate arthritis in older cats, and be mindful that extreme heat and humidity can cause heatstroke.

Food and Trash
Rooting around in the trash might be one of your cat's favorite diversions, but it's messy and it's dangerous - and let's not forget the stinky breath she ends up with! Spoiled, bacteria-harboring foods and fatty foods can make your cat ill, while sharp items like discarded chicken bones can cause internal injuries. The best solution: Buy a container with a tight-fitting lid or keep your trashcan out of little paws' reach.

A few more tips for the kitchen:
- Clear off your counters as you cook. An opened and forgotten can of sardines on the kitchen counter is a tempting treat for your cat, but the serrated edge of the container can tear her mouth.

- Turn pot handles in toward the stove. Like a small child, a cat might tip and spill the hot contents of a pan, burning herself.
- Chocolate is a fine treat for you - but not her. This goody contains caffeine and another stimulant called theobromine that can make your cat seriously ill. Keep all chocolate out of your cat's reach.

Chemical Products
Cleaning products, paints, insecticides, and toiletries pose a threat to your pet. Keep all toxic products that your cat could eat or lick tightly sealed and out of reach. Consider using childproof locks on cabinets; cats can be pretty resourceful when it comes to opening doors that interest them.

Don't forget about the products you keep in the garage! Antifreeze can be life threatening, whether your pet drinks it from a bottle or licks it off the floor. Slug bait and rat poison are also extremely dangerous.

Your furry friend could even swallow or step on small items like nails and splinters. Your best bet: Keep the garage off-limits.

Cats are especially sensitive to medications: A harmless dose for a child could be an overdose for a cat. For example, relatively small doses of analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, and ibuprofen (Advil) can be fatal.

Don't use flea and tick products unless they're specifically labeled for use on cats. Some products made for dogs can be toxic to cats. And be sure to use the correct dosage.

Many plants can be poisonous to cats, including a holiday favorite - Easter lilies. These and other types of lilies can cause acute renal failure and death in cats who nibble on the blossoms, leaves, or plant stems. Make sure the plants you do bring home are nontoxic because, after all, there is no place in your home that is absolutely off-limits for your curious cat. A good reference: The ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center Web site.

Slippery Floors
Joint pain and muscle stiffness can make it difficult for older cats to get around. Place nonslip rugs on wood or vinyl flooring to prevent injury and ease navigation.

Small Objects
Houses are full of small objects that can cause severe intestinal problems if your pet swallows them. For example, string, needles, ribbon, small children's toys, and coins can cause intestinal obstruction, perforation, or poisoning. The best approach: Pick up these little hazards before your cat does.

Adult cats may be less energetic and sleep more than kittens, but they still need protection from potentially harmful items. All it takes to cat-proof your home is a little time and some common sense, then everyone in your household can rest easy.

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