Hot Weather Pet Safety Tips

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We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:

Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home

Rescue and Rehab – Field Response Volunteers Needed

The Rescue Department of New England Aquarium responds to reports of live and dead stranded seals, dolphins, whales and sea turtles. We rely on a network of trained volunteers to be first responders at stranding sites. Volunteers act as our “eyes and ears” on the beach, reporting information, including species and health of the animal, so that we can make decisions on the best course of action.

*We are looking for volunteers that live 30 minutes or less from the coast, ONLY in the following areas:*
• Swampscott/Lynn/Nahant/Marblehead
• Hull
• Scituate
• Marshfield
• Duxbury
• Plymouth
Responsibilities:
• Travel to stranding sites and identify species and location of stranded animals.
• Conduct health assessments of live animals to determine if they are injured, sick or in good health.
• Collect data, including measurements and sex, from dead animals.
• Provide photos and information about stranded animals to the Rescue Department.
• Interact with people at stranding sites to answer questions and maintain a perimeter around the animal.
Qualifications:
• Must be at least 18 years old.
• MUST have access to a car and camera.
• Must live within a 30 minute car ride of the ocean (bays, estuaries or coves included).
• Must be able to walk on uneven ground and lift moderate weight.
• Must be calm under pressure and be able to report situation objectively.
• Previous animal handling experience preferred.
** Due to the inherent risk in working with wild animals, which can carry diseases and bacteria, this position is not recommended for applicants who are immune-compromised or pregnant.

Successful applicants will complete two rounds of interviews and will be available to attend a full-day training on Saturday, May 6th.

To Apply, click here : New England Aquarium Volunteer Application Page

Pet First Aid ? Yeah there is an app for that !

the American Red Cross just launched it today!

The winter is young, and knowing how to care for your furry friend during an emergency is more important than ever.

The Pet First Aid App puts expert veterinary advice in the palm of your hand. Get the app and be prepared to act when called upon. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know Pet First Aid. rco_blog_img_petfirstaid

Other features include:

  • Convenient toggle between cat and dog content.
  • Simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand.
  • Prepare and protect your pet’s health with advice on administering medication, time to say goodbye, behavioral help and how to act in a disaster situation.
  • Early warning sign checker for preventive care.
  • Programmable veterinary contact number to be available when needed throughout the app.
  • Learn first aid steps for over 25 common pet situations through a combination of text, video and images, in addition to identifying common toxic substances.
  • Locate your nearest emergency vet hospital or pet-friendly hotels.
  • Respond to pet emergencies with “how to” videos for the common and stressful emergency situations inclusive of size specific CPR techniques.
  • Customize multiple pet profiles and set veterinary appointments.
  • Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends along with a picture of your pet.

How to Respond to Wildfires & Hurricanes

In two upcoming webinars, ASPCA disaster response experts Dr. Dick Green and Lacie Davis will discuss the need for all-hazard disaster planning and review critical components of response, including:
• Preparedness locally, regionally and statewide
• Equipment
• Training for responders
• Response team composition
• Hazards and team safety
• Assessment
• National and regional resources available to you

Animal welfare organizations, county and state response teams and emergency management professionals will especially benefit from these 60-minute webinars. If you’re an individual looking for opportunities to join disaster response efforts, be sure to join us, too.

Wednesday June 7th 3-4 PM
How to Respond to wildfires

Tuesday June 27th 3-4 PM
How to Respond to Hurricanes

Celebrating the passgae of Senate Bill 1172 which requires municipalities to include pets in their disaster plan!

S.M.A.R.T. helps celebrate the passage of Senate Bill 1172, an Act to ensure the safety of people with Pets in Disasters at the state house on June 4,2014.    S.1172 requires municipalities to include pets in their disaster planning, thereby protecting both pets and people. A sincere Thank you goes  Senator Karen Spilka, the sponsor of the bill, as well as to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in helping to get this bill passed.

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CORI checks now required for all members

During the sign up with SMART all members agree to get a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) check done. This is standard procedure for most volunteer organizations. Until recently SMART has not been able to fund the CORI checks. Now thanks to assistance from the statewide MA Responds program we are able to have the cost of the CORI checks covered. For directions on signing into the MA Responds website and getting a CORI form ready to print and mail to Boston please refer to the directions here SMART admin will follow our members who have signed onto MA Responds and update the SMART database as CORI form clearance is documented for our members. Please help SMART by getting this task done ASAP.

New Members

The new SMART online application is getting the kinks worked out. We have twenty new members that have joined SMART using the online application! The online application is a great resource for SMART and getting new members information and certificates into the database takes a fraction of the time it took in prior years. Our member and IT guru Frank Taylor continues to donate many hours a month to maintaining the SMART database.

Hurricane Preparation

As Hurricane Season Starts, Households in Coastal States Urged to Include Pets in Disaster Plans

With predictions for an active hurricane season this year, community leaders and residents in East Coast and Gulf Coast states should keep pets in mind when planning for natural disasters. People can take some simple – but critical – steps to keep their pets safe and healthy in severe weather and possible evacuations.

Legislators can help by sharing this information with local officials and including this information in Facebook posts, releases, newsletters and other avenues information is distributed to constituents.

The most important thing to remember when preparing for severe weather is, if it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets. Whether you shelter-in-place or evacuate, people should be prepared to keep your pets with you and make sure you have adequate supplies. AccuWeather forecasters predict an active and strong hurricane season from June to November, with the potential for three named storms to make landfall in the U.S. Pet owners can reduce their animals’ chances of being at risk during a disaster by following the suggestions below.

Things you can do right now:    

  • Put a collar with visible identification on your pets, including indoor-only pets.
  • Make sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations.
  • Keep pictures of your pets on hand for identification purposes. Ideally, you should also be in the photo.
  • Create a pet emergency kit (see below) and refresh the items every few months.
  • Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home when disaster strikes. Make a list of boarding facilities inland and know their vaccinations requirements.
  • Create a list of hotels that allow pets. Plan on evacuating about 100 miles inland.
  • Contact your city or town to see what plans they have in place for your locality.


Pet emergency kits should include: 

  • Minimum of a three-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof containers and drinking water.
  • Bowls for food and water.
  • Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings.
  • Medications, vaccination records and first aid pet supplies. Name and number for your veterinarian.
  • Comfort items such as a toy and blanket.
  • Small garbage bags.
  • For small dogs include: a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area and a leash and collar.
  • For large dogs include: a collar and leash.
  • For cats include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport and for your cat to use as a temporary “apartment” for several days.
  • For horses include: Coggins tests, veterinary papers, identification photographs and vital information such as medical history and emergency phone numbers.

 

For more information, visit: www.hsus.org/disaster, www.smart-ma.org (State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team) and www.mspca.org/disaster.

Meet our New SMART Board Member!

The SMART board is happy to welcome our newest board member, Ed Carlson.  Ed joined us and hit the ground running as if he had always been on the board!  He is a wonderful addition to the team and we are thrilled to have him!

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Ed has held multiple positions, over the past 13 years, with the IVG Network of Hospitals; Veterinary Technician in Internal Medicine, Emergency Critical Care, and General Practice, Hospital Manager,  Head Technician, and Technician Supervisor. He is currently the Technician Learning and Development Specialist for IVG Hospitals working to provide internal training programs, internal and external continuing education.  Ed is active in the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association, serving on the Executive Committee as the MVTA Treasurer. He and his partner Walker own and operate a small hobby farm where they breed and raise registered Dexter Cattle.

Disaster training at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

During the week of April 8, 2013, the Tufts Shelter Medicine Program at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine provided a week long course covering Emergency Response and Disaster Medicine. Instructors included representatives from the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), MSPCA, ASPCA, MVMA and Tufts faculty. The course featured an introduction to the incident command system, animal sheltering in disasters, large animal rescue and emergency medicine in disasters as well as recent man-made and natural disasters such as the Midwest flooding and a variety of cruelty response cases.  The course concluded with a table top drill to test the students’ abilities.  One day of the course included the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association’s program on Veterinary Practice Continuity, Planning and Recovery.  We, at SMART, look forward to seeing these new veterinarians join us as capable trained volunteers available when the need arises.