Keep Your Pet Safe on New Year’s Eve!

It’s New Year’s Eve, and as you prepare to celebrate another year shot to hell (only kidding – celebrate the incoming year filled with hope and promise!), PetravelR™ wants to remind you of these important tips to keep your pet safe -

San Antonio Humane

Be Prepared – Plan ahead to keep your pet safe, secure, and comfortable:

  • Keep your pets on their normal diet because any change can cause severe indigestion and diarrhea,
  • Lavish some extra attention on your pets before the festivities begin,
  • Give them plenty of exercise during the day, so that they will be less agitated and sleep more restfully,
  • Create a comfortable, quiet refuge for your pet with his/her favorite toys, and with doors, windows and blinds closed,
  • Ask your veterinarian for tranquilizers if your pet has a history of extreme uneasiness around loud noises or crowds,
  • If you will be out New Years Eve, consider having a neighbor keep a close watch on your pet during the New Year activities.


Fireworks – Exposure to fireworks can can severe burns and trauma to pets (as well as people), and exploding fireworks frighten many animals:

  • Keep your pets aware from all fireworks, even unexploded ones, because they often contain toxic substances,
  • If you are going out to watch fireworks, be sure to leave your pets at home,
  • Keep your pets indoors for the evening, in a comfortable and secure area,
  • White noise or soothing music can mask the sound of fireworks,
  • Turn on the TV or radio to distract your pets from outside noise,
  • If your pet is particularly sensitive to loud noise, consider a Thundershirt or Calming Collar. new years eve

Parties – Crowds, party food, alcoholic drinks, and open doors can pose a risk to pets:

  • Consider keeping pets in a room with plenty of water and pet food that’s off-limits to guests,
  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them because they can be poisonous to pets,
  • Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals,
  • Make sure every guest agrees NO HUMAN FOOD FOR PETS; the #1 reason for trips to the emergency vet on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day is because a pet is sick from too much or the wrong people food,
  • Keep pets away from snack tables and garbage cans,
  • Be careful with party favors because a pet can easily choke on Hawaiian plastic leis, the blower attachment of party horns or parts of party hats,
  • Don’t put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it because, if ingested — though not highly toxic — they can still cause excessive drooling, gastrointestinal irritation, or intestinal blockage,
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center is (888) 426-4435.

dog-tagsDon’t Lose Your Pet – The number of lost and runaway pets increases on New Year’s Eve:

  • Make sure all fences and gates are secure, so if pets escape through an open door or screen, they are confined to the yard,
  • Be sure that your dogs and cats are wearing collars and ID tags with up-to-date contact information,
  • Microchipping is the best way to insure that your pet can be identified if he/she slips a collar or loses ID tags,
  • Keep outside visits to a minimum, but if your pet needs to go out for a “relief” call, make sure to use a leash with a snug fitting collar or harness.
  • Whether you are going out, throwing a party, or staying at home to enjoy the evening with your pets, PetravelR™ wishes you a safe and fun-filled New Year’s celebration!

Elsie Happy New YearWhether you are going out, throwing a party, or staying at home to enjoy the evening with your pets, PetravelR™ wishes you a safe and fun-filled New Year’s celebration!

This article was originally published by PetravelR™ on December 30, 2014.

Sources: Adopt a Pet, Tampa Bay Animal Hospitals,, and the San Antonio Humane Society,

Are Your Decorations Pet-Safe?

Holiday decorations can be beautiful, but be sure to keep your pet safe with these important tips from the ASPCA, American Humane Association, and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) -

ASPCA holiday-safety-tips_main-image

  • Anchor your Christmas tree securely so that climbing cats and wagging tails don’t knock it over, possibly injuring your pets. Consider tying your tree to the ceiling or a doorframe with using fishing line.
  • Prevent your pets from drinking the tree water.  Fertilizers and preservative chemicals in the water can be poisonous to pets.  Stagnant water is also a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
  • Clean up tree needles frequently. They can be toxic if eaten by your pet.
  • Don’t use tinsel, ribbons and garland anywhere that pets can access. Cats are particularly attracted to tinsel and may chew on it. If swallowed, tinsel can  become lodged in their digestive tract, causing severe vomiting and dehydration, as well as intestinal obstructions requiring emergency surgery.
  • Hang breakable glass and hard plastic ornaments well out of reach. The small glass and metal fastenings can be stepped on or even swallowed by your pet. Shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.
  • Keep lights, wires, extension cords, and batteries safely secured or covered to deter chewing. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. Invest in pet-proof extension cords or spray with products such as Bitter Apple or Chew Stop.
  • Flowers and festive plants can result in an emergency veterinary visit. Mistletoe, holly, lilies, amaryllis, ivy, hibiscus, balsam, pine, and cedar and are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them. Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic, can cause stomach upset, and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems; holly, when ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; many varieties of lilies can lead to kidney failure in cats if ingested; amaryllis can cause vomiting and diarrhea; certain types of ivy, such as English ivy, can also cause severe harm to pets; hibiscus can cause diarrhea. (Poinsettias, although not as toxic as people often think, can still upset your pet’s digestive system.)
  • Don’t leave lighted candles unattended (This is a good safety tip, even if you don’t have pets!).  The flames and fragrance may be enticing to pets, who may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over.  The fumes from some candles can also be harmful to birds.
  • Potpourris and sachets can be very dangerous and should be kept out of reach of inquisitive pets. Exposure to the essential oils and cationic detergents in liquid potpourris can severely damage your pet’s mouth, eyes and skin and may cause illness or death. Solid potpourris can be toxic if ingested.


PetravelR™ wishes you and your pets a safe and joyous holiday season!

Photos courtesy of the ASPCA and AVMA.

Concert to Benefit Sweetpea For Animals!

The Unity Center of Central Massachusetts is having a Holiday Concert on Sunday December 20, 2015 to benefit Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals. The concert will be held from 1:00 to 6:00 pm at The Ranch & Saloon and will feature many of the Unity Center’s talented musicians.


One of Sweetpea’s bulidings burned down on Sunday November 22, 2015 tragically taking with it the lives of many of their precious animals. UCCM wants to support Sweetpea in its recovery and rebuilding journey.  There will be a table of crafts for sale, another table of baked goods as well as some raffle baskets. The Concert is open to everyone and is being offered on a Donation basis. All proceeds will be given to Sweetpea.


Sweetpea FOR Animals is a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue organization. Sweetpea takes in animals who are on “death row” at other shelters, or whose owners can’t keep them but don’t want to surrender them to a kill shelter. They rely on donations, plus any revenue raised from boarding dogs and cats at their kennels, to run the rescue.  Unfortunately, expenses from the November fire have exhausted most of Sweetpea’s operating budget and they will need to raise significant funds to rebuild their facilities.

PetravelR™ hopes that everyone in the Paxton, MA area will support this event!

Atlanta Pizza Wars Animal Fundraiser

The 1st Annual Atlanta Pizza Wars will be held Saturday November 28, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Wills Park Equestrian Center in Alpharetta, Georgia.


PetravelR™ likes how this unique event combines a love for pizza and for pets. Your ticket will include an unlimited sampling of pies from more than a dozen participating pizzeria’s. In addition, there will be fun dog demonstrations and kids activities.  There will also be live music from some great bands throughout the day.

Pizza war Bands

The culmination of the day will include a head-to-head battle for pizza supremacy! Each pizzeria will be competing in the following 3 categories:

  • Best Specialty
  • Best Cheese
  • Fan Vote

A panel of celebrity judges will determine the out come of Best Specialty & Best Cheese.  Celebrity Judges: Victoria Stillwell, Blake Rashad, Ashley Daniele Carestia & Phipps, and Bob Otis!


Your paid admission includes 1 fan vote per adult on the day of the event. The champions in each division will be awarded a custom engraved wrestling belt for bragging rights and to proudly display in their pizzeria!

Tickets:  Adults $15, Kids 12 & under free. Leashed pets welcome!  Proceeds benefit a number of animal charities and rescue groups.







Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

This week’s Tuesday Tips is all about keeping your pet safe of Thanksgiving. Whether you’re traveling across the country, across town, or staying at home, here’s some important advice from the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA.


Photo courtesy of and Google images

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has these recommendations for keeping your pets safe and healthy at Thanksgiving:

  • Carefully consider whether to take your pet with you on a trip (air travel can be dangerous).
  • If Fluffy and Fido are staying home while you travel, be sure to choose a pet sitter or boarding kennel wisely.
  • Wherever your pets spend Thanksgiving, dogs and cats should all have collars and tags with ID giving a way to reach you.
  • Keep your pets well during cold weather.
  • The excitement of a party may overwhelm some pets, so provide your cat or dog with a quiet, out-of-the-way room during holiday parties.
  • Avoid the urge to give your pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems, even death.


The ASPCA offers this advice about sharing Thanksgiving food with your pet:

  • Turkey: Do not feed your pet raw or undercooked turkey, which could contain salmonella. If you offer a nibble of turkey, be sure that it is well-cooked and that all bones have been removed.
  • Stuffing or Dressing: Sage and many other herbs can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities, because they contain certain essential oils and resins. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.
  • Bread Dough: When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.
  • Cake Batter: Raw cake batter — especially if it includes raw eggs — could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
  • Overfeeding: A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. But overindulgence in holiday foods can cause your pet stomach upset, diarrhea, or a serious case of pancreatitis. The ASPCA recommends that you keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays, but provide them with some extra treats, like doggie chew bones or a Kong toy stuffed with their regular food with a few added tidbits of turkey, sweet potato or green beans, and dribbles of gravy.


PetravelR™ wishes you and your pets a safe and happy holiday!


Harris County TX: VOTE YES ON PROP 3!

This week’s Tuesday tip is a special Election Day shout out to Harris County, Texas!

Harris County Shelter Bond banner

Today Harris County Texas voters have the opportunity to vote “for or against” issuing bonds to build a new Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston.

Harris County, PROPOSITION NO. THREE designates $24,000,000 in bonds for a Veterinary Public Health Adoption and Care Center. The proposed new Veterinary Public Health Adoption and Care Center will have five times more kennel space than the current shelter.

Harris County Bond fact sheet

As an open admission facility, the current shelter is terribly overcrowded and so small that they are forced to euthanize dozens of adoptable pets every week. The additional space will allow sheltered animals to be held longer which will provide more time to find them forever homes.

Harris County Bond truth

Harris County Bond dogHarris County bond cat





PetravelR™ urges all Harris County voters to get to the polls tomorrow and vote YES on Prop 3!

Harris County Bond - vote

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Whether you’re traveling with your pets this Halloween, taking your dog trick or treating, hosting a spooky party, or just staying at home and handing out candy, be sure to keep your pet safe.


PetravelR™ has some important Halloween safety tips from the ASPCA -

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.


For more advice on keeping your pet safe this Halloween, please watch this Animal Tracks podcast from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

PetravelR™ wishes you a scary, but safe Halloween!

Help Firefighters Save Pets!

Yesterday PetravelR™ blogged about keeping your pets safe from fires by minimizing risks in your home and creating a fire escape plan.  Today we want to tell you how you can help firefighters save pets from dying of asphyxiation in house fires.

SMpix_masksSpecially-designed oxygen masks for animals can be used on conscious pets suffering from smoke inhalation and on pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness from exposure to toxic fumes. Here is a description of how these special masks work, courtesy of the Emma Zen Foundation:

Pet oxygen masks are oxygen masks specifically designed in a cone shape to fit the muzzles and snouts of dogs, cats, and other household pets. They have a large rubber seal at the base of each mask, allowing them a snug fit on any size household pet while keeping the jowls closed. This is an important feature of Pet CPR. In Pet CPR we close the mouth and deliver breaths directly into the nostrils, and the pet oxygen masks simulate that action. These masks offer a continuous, accurately-directed flow of health oxygen, making recovery much more efficient and effective.

Many fire departments are unable to purchase these masks themselves, due to insufficient resources or because local laws or regulations prohibit them from using allocated funds to purchase equipment not intended for humans.  But there are several programs that provide first responders with these life-saving oxygen masks -

Project Breathe

Project Breathe is a Pet Oxygen Mask Donation Program started by the Invisible Fence® Brand.  The Project Breathe program provides oxygen mask kits to first responders. Fire departments are eligible to receive one kit per firehouse, and each kit includes three masks (1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large mask). To date, they have donated more than 10,000 masks to fire stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. If your local fire department hasn’t received these pet saving kits yet, they can complete a request form online.

PPA_Logo_rgb_72dpi2Paws Alive cat






Project Paws Alive is a 501(c) non-profit organization that provides specialized Pet Oxygen Recovery Mask kits to first responder agencies throughout the U.S., as well as K9 stab & bullet proof protective vests and other vital K9 equipment to Law Enforcement, Fire, Search and Rescue, and Military K-9 units nationwide. Each Pet Oxygen Recovery Mask Kit provided by Project Paws Alive includes three masks (1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large) with oxygen air tubes, plus a carry bag, kennel lead, and “Pet Oxygen Masks On Board” decals. Project Paws Alive depends solely on tax-deductible donations to purchase these kits and supply them to first responders.

Emma Zen Team O2

Team O2, a project of the a 501(c) non-profit Emma Zen Foundationraises funds for pet oxygen masks and donates them to fire departments and other first responders. Team O2 focuses on “standardization,” meaning the “the same piece of equipment, in the same place, on every like vehicle.” They make sure that the number of kits sent to your local emergency responders matches the number of front line vehicles within that department. In addition, all kits come with a training video that has been produced by a Pet First Aid & CPR instructor, to ensure that first responders know how to use the pet oxygen masks properly in the field.  Kits costs $75 each and are purchased with tax-deductible donations.


Wag’N O2 Fur Life® is an educational and public safety company dedicated to providing pet oxygen masks to first responders across North America to help them save animal lives following structural fires. Each Wag’N O2 Fur Life® oxygen mask kit contains three masks (1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large) with oxygen air tubes, a carry bag, a kennel lead, two “Pet Oxygen Masks On Board” decals, first responder forms, laminated instruction CPR sheet, instructional DVD and powerpoint presentation. (Note: Unlike the other pet oxygen mask programs listed above, this is not a non-profit organization or charitable program; however, if you can purchase kits from Wag’N O2 Fur Life® online to be donated to your local fire department.)

Paws Alive masks

PetravelR™ asks you to consider donating to an organization that provides pet oxygen masks to help firefighters save pets, and/or helping your local first responders obtain these lifesaving kits from Project Breathe.™  Remember – the pet’s life they save may be your own!


National Fire Prevention Week

This is National Fire Prevention Week – in fact, the entire month of October is designated as Fire Prevention Month.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sponsors Fire Prevention Week in observance of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that burned from October 8th to 9th, killing more than 250 people, destroying over 17,400 structures, and leaving 100,000 people homeless.

Trupanion Fire Safety

According to the NFPA, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires and approximately 40,000 of them die from smoke asphyxiation.  Furthermore, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets!

PetravelR™ is observing Fire Prevention Week by sharing some important safety tips with our readers.  The Public Education Committee of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association recommends that you take these steps to minimize the risk of your pet starting a fire:

  • Pet proof your house: look for areas where pets might be able to start fires accidentally. Make sure electrical cords are secured and out of your pets’ reach.
  • Remove or cover stove knobs when not cooking. This is the number one way a pet can start a fire in your house.
  • Keep flammable cleaners out of pets’ reach by securing them in protected cabinets. This also prevents your pet from eating potentially poisonous substances.
  • Confine young pets when you can’t watch them closely. This will keep them away from hazards that might start a fire (such as knocking over a lit candle onto carpet). Never leave pets unattended around an open flame.

lovecatsworld fire safety

The OVMA also urges you to create a fire escape plan that includes your pets. Planning ahead will help you remain calm and avoid panicking in a real emergency.

  • Create an escape plan, with at least two ways out of every room. Have practice fire drills that are as realistic as possible to help prevent your pets from becoming confused in a real fire.
  • Know your pets’ hiding places so you know where to find them if they get scared when a fire occurs.
  • Assemble an evacuation kit for your pets, including leashes, carriers for small animals, and basic first aid items.. Make sure it’s easily accessible.
  • Invest in a fire-proof safe for important documents, including your pets’ veterinary records.
  • Post stickers to alert firefighters that pets are in the home. Include how many and what type of pets you have and place the stickers on your front door and/or window.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order and test your smoke detectors regularly, replacing batteries twice a year.
  • Check with your local fire department to find out if they are equipped with pet oxygen mask kits.
  • Microchip your pets so they may be identified in the event they run away during a fire emergency.

Here are some examples of emergency pet stickers:

Pet Fire StickerASPCA fire-sticker







Local fire departments, animal shelters, veterinarians, and pet care providers can often provide you with these stickers, or you can obtain them online from the ASPCA and other animal welfare organizations.  Be sure to list the types and number of your pets, as well as their locations if they are caged, crated, or otherwise restricted to a specific area of your home.  Without that information, rescuers won’t know where to look for your pets or whether they’ve gotten them all out.  And remember that it is important to post a sticker at each entry point, not just the front door, because firefighters may need to enter your home via the back door or an upstairs window.

For additional tips on emergency preparation for your pets, see the PetravelR™ blog on disaster planning and preparedness.

Sources: Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, National Fire Protection Association, ASPCA. Pet Fire Safety Dog photo courtesy of Trupanion Pet Insurance; Pet Fire Safety Chart courtesy of  

ASPCA Autumn Pet Safety Tips

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, so we thought this would be a good time to share some important seasonal safety tips from the ASPCA.

Shenandoah leaves

It’s a lovely time of year to get outside with your pets and enjoy the cooler, comfortable weather.  But beware of these potential hazards:

  • Be on the lookout for snakes who are preparing for hibernation season.  Learn what kinds of snakes are found in your region and where they are most likely to be found in your local area, so that you can avoid them.  Also learn how to identify the poisonous ones, just in case your pet gets bitten.
  • Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best thing you can do is to keep your pets away from all areas with wild mushrooms.  Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.
  • The use of rodenticides increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal.
  • When the temperature drops, many people change their car’s engine coolant (aka antifreeze).  Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.
  • Although children’s school supplies, like crayons, markers, and glue are considered “low toxicity,” they can still cause gastrointestinal upset and blockages if ingested.  So be sure to keep those supplies out of the reach of pets who might want think they’re new chew toys.
  • If your pet has been pretty sedentary during the hot summer months, enjoy the outdoors but don’t overdo (good advice for you, as well as for your pet!).  Ease back into an exercise routine with long walks before trying anything too ambitious!

Shenandoah Couple Hiking w:Dogs

For more information on keeping your pet safe this autumn, read the entire ASPCA article.

PetravelR™ wishes you a happy autumnal equinox!