Expert Pet Safety Tips

        The last thing anyone wants is seeing their precious pup getting lost or hurt. But good news, there are ways we can prevent that from happening! Read on for 20 ways you can keep your dog safe. 


The Basics


Make sure your collar fits correctly

When your pet’s collar is too loose there is the risk of them slipping out of it. And if they get lost it can be dangerous when a dog doesn’t have a collar or any identification on them. Lowering their chances of being found significantly. Additionally, when an animal is found with no identification they are considered “abandoned property” and become the property of the state, making getting your pet back a lot more complicated. On the other side, when a pet’s collar is too tight it can cause skin irritation and discomfort breathing. This is why it’s important to make sure you check companies' size charts when buying a collar and pay attention when adjusting it on your pet. 


Make sure your dog will be returned if ever lost. 

When you search for ways to keep your pet safe, the first two things that pop up are always keep a collar and ID tag on them and get them microchipped at the veterinarian. All are smart choices that will increase your chances of your pet being safely returned to you. However, there are a lot of new products that make things a lot easier for pet owners in recent years. SmartBuckle collars have an embedded ID tag that links to an online pet recovery profile that stores more information than a microchip, without the trip to the vet. Not to mention overall, it is a much cheaper option. 


Licensing your pet

This may seem like common sense considering it’s the law, but there are a lot of pet owners who don’t license their pet. But in some states, animal authorities can impound an unlicensed dog for an extended amount of time, much longer than if licensed. 

Link important medical information

Ensuring your pet has their medical information linked to them is EXTREMELY important, especially if they have an existing medical issue. In SmartBuckle’s pet recovery profile, whoever finds your pet will be linked right to their medical information in addition to your contact info. For example, if your dog takes medication or has any dangerous allergies, the person will be able to take the necessary precautions. Or if you want to let them know something else important about your pet that will aid in a peaceful recovery, for example, your dog may be afraid of men, you can also put that on their profile. 


Make sure your information is updated

Whether it’s printing multiple ID tags every time you move or change your number or making sure your most recent information is on your SmartBuckle pet recovery profile, keeping your information updated is very important. A good thing with SmartBuckle is even if it slips your mind to update their information you can still update it after they’re missing. There are also multiple contact slots you can fill out in case you can’t always be reached. 


Always have a picture of them 

Make sure you have a recent picture of your pet lying around! Lost pet flyers/lost pet social media posts are much more effective when a photo is included. Additionally, you can upload it to your online pet profile so people can be 100% sure they found the right dog.

Check leash and collar quality

Make sure both your pet’s leash and collar have not worn down over time or any clips have broken. Leashes and collars can break resulting in your pet running away. 

 Recognize when your pet is stressed

Sometimes dogs will flee if they are stressed. That’s why it’s a smart idea to be able to recognize the indicators of stress in dogs: shaking, pacing, panting, whining, barking, licking, drooling, dilated pupils or wide eyes, pinned back ears, changes in body posture, etc. Once you recognize your dog is stressed the next step is to remove them from the stressor. Relocate them to a quiet, more comforting place. Routines/distractions may also help try getting your dog to sit, lay down, etc. on command. If your dog is constantly stressed it may be worthwhile to see a veterinarian or consider purchasing a SmartBuckle collar to put details about their behavior in their pet recovery profile to help the rescuer handle them more safely.

Preparing Your Home for Your Pet

Keep toxic foods away from your pet. 

For dogs, chocolate, grapes, caffeine, onion, garlic, and chives to name a few. It’s a smart idea to look up a full list of foods that could be potentially poisonous to your pet. Make sure these items aren’t stored low on shelves, be watchful if you drop anything in the kitchen, let your whole family, especially children, know that these foods can be poisonous to your pet so no one unknowingly feeds them it.

Keep a list of shelters in your area

Keeping a list of shelters in your area might seem excessive when we have google. But sometimes quick action is the only thing that will save your pet. At some overrun shelters, you may only have a few days before your dog is sold or euthanized if there is no way to contact the owner.  

Never leave your dog unattended outside

It might seem like your only option is to tie up your dog outside a shop when you can’t bring them inside, but there are many reasons you should avoid doing so. First off being in an unfamiliar place without their owner can severely stress out a dog. Your dog could also become frightened by something and try to escape. The leash could also become tangled or wrapped too far around a pole and your dog could get injured. There’s also the chance strangers or children may try to pet your dog and the stressful environment may cause your normally friendly pup to bite out of fear. There’s also the risk of heatstroke or your pet being stolen.

Take Advantage of Local Resources


Obedience training can be crucial to making sure your dog doesn’t get lost. Being able to call them back to you at a keyword or training them to never stray too far can be very helpful. Socialization training is also important for dogs. Exposing them to other dogs and people will prevent dog fights, biting, and aggression. 

Benefits of having your dog spayed or neutered

Spaying or neutering your dog is really totally up to the owner but it’s good to know the benefits of doing so. Spaying your dog prevents uterine infections and breast tumors which are often malignant in pets. Neutering your dog can prevent testicular cancer and prostate problems. Spayed/neutered dogs are also known as less likely to roam. If your pet has not been spayed or neutered it would be smart to put this on their SmartBuckle pet profile in case someone would not want to bring an unfixed pet into their home if their pets happen to not be fixed too.


Regular vet visits

Some people only bring their pets to the vet when they are sick but visiting the vet regularly is critical. They can advise you on how your dog is progressing through their life and they can detect problems and diseases early on, even potential diseases. Preventing a disease is much easier, and more likely to be successful, than curing a disease.


When Nature Strikes

Thunderstorm or fireworks scare

During a thunderstorm or a time you know there will be fireworks such as the 4thof July, it’s important to make sure you make your pup as comfortable as they can be. Some dogs' first instinct may be to run so it is best to make sure there is no way they can escape. Besides that, it is best to try to lower their anxiety by putting them in a safe room with minimal windows and having someone with them. Keep the room stocked with water, they tend to pant when scared, and comforting items like their favorite toy or blanket. There are also many anxiety-reducing products on the market such as weighted thunder jackets. 

Weather safety

In the summer, be vigilant of signs of heatstroke if out for a long time (panting, drooling, restlessness, and more). Make sure your dog always has access to water in the summer no matter where you are. And never leave your pet in the car even if your windows are rolled down and always double-check your car so you never leave your pet in there accidentally.

In the winter, make sure your dog is not out too long in the cold – just like humans they can get hypothermia and frostbite. Some dogs may need extra garments such as boots and jackets if they are smaller, have less fur, or don’t have much body fat. Salt for melting ice can irritate your dog’s paws, and prolonged contact can lead to chemical burns. Another winter concern is the presence of antifreeze. Make sure this is stored safely and out of reach because dogs and cats can find antifreeze tasty and it can result in serious injuries even death.     

Regular tick checks

It’s a good idea to give your pet regular tick checks. After a walk in a particularly grassy area, during a bath, or even set a time once a week is all great times to check. Be extremely vigilant during the spring and summer. Ticks can result in Lyme disease, canine ehrlichiosis, canine anaplasmosis, and numerous other diseases that can be detrimental to your dog. 


Special Circumstances


Car safety

Keeping dogs restrained in the car is important for two reasons. Allowing your dog to move freely in your car or even sitting in your lap can cause distraction possibly resulting in a car accident. Secondly, if your dog is unrestrained they will be thrown around the car or even thrown from the car.  A car harness or crate will seriously lower the risk of injury.


Travel safety

We’ve already covered car safety, but there are other types of travel that require you to take safety precautions as well.  When traveling with a pet the car is the safest option but it’s not always possible. If you must take air travel with a pet there are a few things you should know. Air travel is dangerous for animals with “pushed in faces” such as bulldogs, pugs, and Persian cats. They have shorter nasal passages that can lead to oxygen deprivation. If you do decide to fly with your pet, you should do what you can to have them fly in the cabin. Before making a reservation ask the airline what their specific guidelines are for pet travel because most animals that have flown in the cargo hold are okay but some have ended up killed, lost, or injured. While traveling it also might be a good idea to consider a smart collar. With SmartBuckle you can update rescue phone numbers such as hotel phone numbers in case the pet escapes in a foreign location.


The truth that not many people know is that not all dogs can instinctively swim. Many can like retrievers and labs, but not all. In this case, it might be a good idea to purchase a life jacket for your pup. Also if your dog is ever on a boat, it’s a very smart idea for them to be wearing a life vest at all times in case of an accident or in case they jump off. Additionally, when around water, watch what they drink. Ocean water can cause dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. And a lot of lake water, pond water, and river water can be extremely unsafe for dogs due to parasites and bacteria and can result in sickness or even death. In this case, keep fresh water on hand for when they are thirsty and keep a strict eye on them near bodies of water.


         As much as we try to prevent accidents, sometimes they still happen. It’s important to know what to do when your dog is in danger and you won’t always have the time to look up how to do something. So do some extra research or purchase a book on how to prepare yourself if your dog experiences a common medical injury such as choking, toxin exposure, heat stroke, seizures, and more.


-Written by Alye Chaisson

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