Did you know that an estimated 500,000 pets are affected each year by home fires? Also, the National Fire Protection Association estimates about 1,000 house fires are accidentally started by family pets each year. Here are some fire safety tips for you and your pets:
Make sure to extinguish any open flames that are unattended. Pets are curious and will want to investigate candles, fireplaces, and especially cooking appliances.
Remove stove knobs or cover them when leaving the house. Pets like to explore when you aren't home and the stove top is very interesting to them.
Consider flameless candles, especially if you have cats. They are notorious for flicking their tails over lit candles.
Use metal or ceramic dishes outside, especially on a wood deck. The sun's rays filtered through a glass container can heat up and ignite.
Young puppies should be secured in a safe area when left home alone.
If you don't have a pet door, be sure to keep your pets in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
Practice escape routes with your pets. Be sure that leashes and carriers are easily accessible and that you have a plan.
Consider using a monitored smoke detection service as an added layer of protection. These smoke detectors are connected to a monitoring center and can help save pets when they're home alone.
Affix a pet alert window cling to your front window. These stickers tell firefighters how many of what types of pets are in the house and can save them critical time. We have these available here at Good Sam. Just come on by and ask a receptionist!
The hills are full of foxtails and now that the rains have stopped, they're drying up fast. We've already seen several patients for foxtail probes this spring. Foxtail-like clusters, seen on the stalks of certain grasses, are very dangerous for our pets once they dry and drop. These seed pods are not only barbed so that they stick tight to whatever they touch, they also contain an enzyme which breaks down cell matter. While this helps the seed to burrow into the ground it also allows them to stick to and burrow into our pets. Foxtails can work their way into your pet's skin, just as it does the soil, resulting in pain, discomfort, infection, and, in some cases, death.
Typical places for foxtails to embed are a pet's ears, nose, eyes, armpits, or between the toes, but they can work their way in wherever they attach. Depending on where and how deep it is, we may be able to remove a foxtail with tweezers or forceps. However, if it has migrated too far your pet will need to undergo surgery.
Obvious preventative measures are avoiding fields or trails where foxtails are prevalent and eradicating any from your yard. Since foxtails are designed to travel with the wind, they really can go anywhere. We recommend carefully examining pets after they've been outside to remove any rogue foxtails. If your pet has a long or thick coat, you may want to consider a body shave. Signs that your pet has an embedded foxtail include:
- rubbing eyes, squinting, discharge from eyes
- sneezing, pawing at nose, bleeding from nostril
- shaking head, pawing at ear, head tilt
- gagging, coughing, swallowing repeatedly
- licking or chewing at a specific area, redness or swelling, limping
If you suspect a foxtail, call us immediately for our first available appointment. The sooner we can act, the less opportunity there is for the foxtail to migrate.