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Tis the season for gift giving, but there is never a good time of year to give a puppy as a surprise present.  The American Kennel Club (AKC®) reminds those considering giving a puppy as a gift to think twice.

“A dog is a serious commitment, and you should never surprise someone with a puppy they aren’t ready to keep for a lifetime,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “A dog needs to suit your lifestyle, and it’s important to consider the energy level, size, coat and temperament of a puppy – as well as your own readiness – before you make a decision.”

Consider wrapping dog supplies such as a leash or bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come – this will give the recipient time to do their research and prepare for the commitment.

During their critical first weeks at home, puppies require a great deal of time, love, and attention. Therefore, every prospective owner should carefully consider their schedule and circumstances before bringing a new pet into their home. This is especially true during the holidays when parties, travel, or out-of-town visitors might adversely affect your ability to give a new puppy all the attention he or she deserves. If your holidays will be hectic, wait until after the hustle and bustle.

The AKC also reminds dog owners of the following tips to keep their four-legged friends safe and happy this holiday season:

– Holiday Dangers Facing Dogs & Puppies – 

  • Avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands as holiday decorations. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove. Puppies are notorious chewers when young and will look to get anything they can.
  • Place ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where he can’t reach them. Ornaments can cause major problems for your dog or puppy if ingested.
  • Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, so keep them out of your dog’s reach.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure your dog doesn’t swallow the pine needles or drink the tree water which can cause stomach irritation, or contain poisonous plant food. Try putting a gate around the tree to keep your dog away, or consider getting an artificial tree.
  • Puppies like to chew and explore, and exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your curious little friend – if he chews on them, he could be electrocuted. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Be careful with candles around your house, as a wagging tail can knock them over and cause serious burns or even start a house fire.
  • Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat, and candy can make your dog very ill. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.

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Havahart® Wireless, the market leader in wireless electronic devices for dog containment, announces recent updates to its wireless fence collars. These changes take the collars from water resistant to waterproof, and include improvements to the battery terminal. With two sizes available, the collars can accommodate dogs with neck sizes from 12-26 inches, and are better equipped to handle water, though it is recommended to remove the collar prior to your dog entering a body of water.

RadialSelect_clipped

The waterproof collar strap is constructed with heavy gauge nylon webbing that encloses the patented antennas with a 3/4 inch snap buckle closure. In addition, Havahart Wireless enhanced the collar’s battery cap. Now easier to open and close, the cap features an icon to ensure it is locked into place.

“Havahart Wireless recognized the need for our collars to endure water exposure beyond a splash,” states Malory Spisak, category development associate for Havahart Wireless. “Our product engineers incorporated consumer feedback to help homeowners and their dogs enjoy their yards and water zones worry-free.”

The collar also continues to include a safety time-out feature that stops the correction cycle after 30 seconds. Additionally, an alert is still delivered inside the home, notifying the owner of a fence boundary breach. Once the dog returns to the containment area, the collars revert to normal operating mode.

Backed by a limited warranty and 30-day return policy, all new Havahart Wireless Radial-Shape Select dog fence systems come equipped with two waterproof collars. To learn more, visit www.havahartwireless.com/shop.

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PetHub.com announced today a breakthrough in pet safety and companion animal protection with the launch of its new, evolutionary PetHub Signal™ electronic ID tag.

PetHub Signal Tag Front

The electronic device is the size of a standard pet ID tag and includes up to 2 years of battery life (battery is replaceable). Through both a mobile application and access to the Internet cloud, the PetHub Signal is able to alert an owner immediately to an animal leaving their side. This is especially critical to those looking to protect their animals from theft — a problem that happens to 2 million family dogs annually — as well as for pet owners who have adventurous dogs always looking to go on unauthorized escapades.

“Our PetHub Signal™ tag not only alerts a pet caretaker when their animal strays from their side, it shows which way they went,” said Tom Arnold, Founder & CEO of PetHub, Inc. “Through a mobile application on your iPhone or Android device, you can also cause the tag to ‘chirp’ and flash its LED light to help in the location of your four-legged loved one, especially critical in a low visibility setting. It’s like having a virtual fence surrounding you and your pet, with you at the center.”

The water-resistant PetHub Signal tag — which links to a free online PetHub.com profile — uses Bluetooth™ technology to pair with a caretaker’s mobile device. In addition, the Signal tag also has a speaker, LED, and accelerometers to track an animal’s motion and level of activity. The Signal tag also includes an internal thermometer that can be used to send an alert if the temperature is measuring too high or too low.

“We foresee this not only being used by pet owners, but also by pet sitters, pet hotels, and anyone else who has an animal entrusted to their care,” said Lorien Clemens, Director of Marketing at PetHub, Inc.

The PetHub Signal™ tag debuts at the Super Zoo 2014 tradeshow taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, from July 22 – 24. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $69.95 and includes a 1-year warranty.  The mobile application that accompanies the product is free and includes a lifetime free basic subscription to PetHub.com which includes PetHub’s 24×7 “Found Pet Hotline.”

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To ensure that the 4th of July holiday is a positive experience for everyone, Petco is sharing some simple ways to keep pets safe, drastically reduce their stress and lower their risk of running away.

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ThunderShirt for Dogs

Here’s how you can help keep your pets comfortable during fireworks or other noisy activities:

  • Create a quiet place so pets have a restful room or area to retreat to. Firecrackers, loud party voices and booming music can make pets anxious.
  • Proactively attend Petco’s free Anxiety & Calming Seminar, which takes place at stores nationwide June 28-29, 2014 at 2 p.m. Pet parents will learn how to recognize their dog’s stress signals, learn techniques to help settle pets down and understand the importance of mental and physical exercise as ways to keep dogs calm.
  • Be sure all pets, including indoor cats, wear current ID tags. Clear identification can be a pet’s ticket back home.
  • If you haven’t had your pets microchipped yet, talk to your vet about this important form of identification.
  • Avoid taking pets to see fireworks. Secure all potential escape routes and leave them in a quiet, sheltered area. A television or radio left playing at a normal volume can be reassuring.
  • If it is necessary to be outside with dogs during fireworks, make sure each dog is secure on a leash and harness. Frightened dogs commonly manage to slip out of their collars, and harnesses allow pet parents to stay in full control.
  • Don’t leave dogs outside unattended. Even tethered pups will struggle to get away if startled by noise. Dogs who aren’t tethered may try to dig out of an enclosed yard.
  • Comfort pets with their favorite toy or blanket. Also, Thundershirts will dramatically help reduce the fear dogs and cats may experience. Hire a pet-sitter for the day or evening or ask a friend who knows the pet well to pay a visit.

thundershirt-cats

ThunderShirt for Cats

If bringing pets along for a July 4th road trip, consider the following precautions:

  • Always think safety first. Traveling with an unrestrained pet is not only dangerous for the pet and driver, but for every car on the road. Keep the pet comfortably restrained with an auto safety harness or in a traveling crate at all times. Be sure to secure the crate inside the vehicle to prevent it from tipping over.
  • Don’t allow dogs to stick their head out of open windows while driving.
  • Give smaller dogs a boost up to enjoy a clear view of the journey with the Petco Booster Seat.
  • Keep small animals safe by securing them in the vehicle in a proper carrier. The Caitec Perch N Go Bird Carrier and the Petco Pet Keeper for Small Animals both allow their passengers to be transported safely and comfortably while in the car and also acts as a safe habitat for them while they are out and about with their pet parent.

For more information on creating a safe and fun summer experience, please visit www.petco.com/summer.

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In the coming months, thousands of families will pile into their cars and vans and head down the road for their summer vacations—and many of these families will bring their pets along for the ride.

But traveling with pets can be risky for motorists and their furry (or scaly) passengers. Unrestrained pets in a moving motor vehicle can create a dangerous distraction to drivers. In the event of an accident or a sudden stop, pets can act as projectiles injuring passengers and themselves. And dogs and cats may jump out of car windows, causing other motorists to brake suddenly to avoid hitting them.

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“Pet owners often view their pets as part of the family and include them in their summer travel plans,” saidChristie Alderman, vice president of Chubb Personal Insurance. “But when it comes to safety, too many neglect to take steps to ensure the safety of their pets and themselves. Many vacationers also may be unaware that their four-legged passengers are not insured.”

Many states now require motorists to restrain their pets inside moving cars. Harnessing a dog or cat inside the car can help keep it from moving around the passenger area, which can be distracting to the driver. The harness may also keep a pet from jumping out the window. And, like seatbelts for human passengers, the harness can reduce the chance of injury to the pet and other passengers.

Eight out of 10 pet owners will travel with their pets on vacation this year, according to Bark Buckle UP, an organization that promotes pet safety. With the rise in the number of pet-friendly hotels and resorts, it is now easier than ever to include Fido in holiday plans.

“We understand the desire of families to bring their pets with them on vacation, which is why Chubb includes coverage for pets in its auto policies,” Alderman said. “Still, it’s better to keep Pookie in a safety device than on your lap while driving.”

Chubb offers up to $2,000 in coverage to automobile policyholders for pets injured or killed in a crash or other covered loss. The policy will help pay to treat, board or replace domestic pets, even if, like horses, they were pulled in trailers.

Other features of Chubb’s Masterpiece™ Auto Preference policy include: Agreed value coverage so policyholders know the settlement amount up front; up to $15,000 for loss of use, with no daily limit; use of original equipment manufacturer parts; the right to choose repair shops; and no depreciation on parts.

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In an effort to keep pets and pet parents active and safe this summer, Petco is providing tips and advice for letting pets join in on outdoor water activities while keeping their health and safety top of mind.

PETCO LOGO

Get There Safely: Heading to a water adventure is exciting, but take precautions to make sure pets arrive at the destination safely.

  • Use a dog seatbelt or a barrier to help keep them contained and comfortable while traveling in a vehicle.
  • Keep pets out of the front seat unless they are secured in a booster seat that won’t trigger the front airbag in the event of an accident.
  • Never leave pets alone in a car. If it is 78 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 120 degrees in just 30 minutes. Also, 14 states currently have laws that prohibit leaving dogs confined in a vehicle.

Life’s a Beach: Once you’ve arrived, a day at the beach, lake, river or pool can be a blast for both pets and pet parents. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure all ends well.

  • Not all dogs are strong swimmers. Equip them with a lifejacket designed for dogs, like the Petco Dog Flotation Vest, which will keep them safe and easy to spot in the water.
  • If a dog doesn’t take to the water right away, don’t force them. Let them get used to it at their own pace and always evaluate conditions such as rough seas and water currents before letting pets take a dip.
  • Be observant of changes in a pet’s behavior and appearance.  A dog’s normal temperature is about 101.5 and when a dog’s internal temperature reaches 105 or above, his or her life is in danger. When a dog’s tongue hangs from the side of its mouth and is weighted at the end, or they are panting excessively, this can indicate they are overheating.
  • Always carry enough water and a portable bowl to help keep them hydrated.
  • Much like people, the sun can burn a pet’s skin, especially white dogs or pink areas of a dog’s body where there is little to no fur. Be sure to apply a sun protectant like Petkin Sunwipes specially made for dogs at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and continue to reapply throughout the day.

Clean up Afterwards: Protect pet’s skin and coat after water activities.

  • Always make sure to give dogs a freshwater bath to rid them of dirt, sand or other irritants.
  • For those who don’t have time for a complete bath, using a pet wipe like Petco Grooming Wipes can quickly rid pets of toxins until there’s time for a proper bath.
  • Taking pets to a groomer regularly will also ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. As an added bonus, the Petco Grooming Salon even offers a shedless treatment, which will greatly reduce shedding, especially during the warm summer months.

For more information on how to include pets in all the summer water activities visit www.petco.com/summer.

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As temperatures rise and spring showers give way to summer storms, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is taking the opportunity to highlight National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 10 by reminding pet owners of how they can prepare themselves and their pets in case of an emergency.

“When disaster strikes, there is often little time to think. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for yourselves and your family, including your pets,” said Kostas Kontopanos, President of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “While Hill’s is at the ready to do what we can to help when pets are in need, we also want to highlight actions owners can take to ensure the safety and care of their pets in a disaster.”

Hills Pet Nutrition Inc pet emergency kit

Hill’s recommends the following Seven Tips to Ensure Your Pet’s Safety in an Emergency:

  1. Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag and that contact information is up-to-date.
  2. Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is readily accessible in an emergency. Your Pet Go-Kit should include: first aid supplies and guide book; three-days’ supply of pet food (in a waterproof container) and bottled water; a safety harness and leash; waste clean-up supplies; medications and medical records; a contact list of veterinarian and pet care organizations; information on your pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues; comfort toys; and a blanket.
  3. Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.
  4. Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.
  5. Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.
  6. Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.
  7. If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.

When disaster does strike, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network is positioned to quickly respond with shipments of pet food to communities impacted by disaster. Hill’s established the first-of-its-kind national network in 2013 as an extension of its Food, Shelter & Love™ program that provides discounted Science Diet® pet food to more than 800 shelters. In its first year, the Hill’s network has delivered free pet food to 50 shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 11 major incidents – including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho andArizona, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas, and most recently, the mudslide in Washington and tornadoes in the central and south regions of the country.

“The responsibility for shelters during a disaster is overwhelming since we are not just caring for our own shelter animals, but also pets that have become separated from their owners,” said Katie Borremans of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado. “To handle the increased volume, we rely on contributions such as the food donations from Hill’s, which have been instrumental in supporting our organization during disaster.”

“We don’t know when and where the next disaster will hit, but the best we can do is to be ready,” Kontopanos said. “That’s our message to pet owners, and that’s exactly what we have tried to do with the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network, which has worked to get pet food into disaster sites as quickly as possible.”

Since 2002, the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love™ program has donated more than $275 million worth of Hill’s Science Diet® brand foods to over 1,000 shelters nationwide and helped more than 7 million pets find new homes. Every day, the program helps feed more than 100,000 homeless pets across the country. Through the Disaster Relief Network, Hill’s has increased the reach of its assistance to pets, pet owners and communities during natural disasters and emergencies.

A consumer resource page on disaster preparedness and safety is at the Hill’s web site, along with more information on the Disaster Relief Network. To request assistance during an emergency, shelters can contact DisasterRelief@hillspet.com.

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Summer travel season is almost here. Today ZUCA released a range of pet carrier designs just in time for all those family road trips. The innovative design of the ZUCA Pet Carrier doubles as a rolling carry-all and “car seat” for animals, enabling safe transport for your pet in the car or on the street.

zuca-pet-carrier

“Our customers have been asking for a ZUCA product to transport their pets and keep them safe,” said Bruce Kinnee, President of ZUCA. “We kept the strong frame and the easy navigation with our double wheels, and we added a new fabric specially tailored for pet use. Now pets can be transported—whether it be to the vet, to the park or on a family vacation—safely and easily and without the strain of lugging awkward pet carry cases.”

The ZUCA Pet Carrier is easily secured in your car with a standard seat belt for safety on the road. Research from Bark Buckle UP, leading researchers on pet travel safety, suggests that over 71 million American homes have pets and a whopping 82% of those pets travel on vacation with their owners. Bark Buckle UP advocates for restraining pets during travel to protect both the pet and its owners in the event of an accident.

The ZUCA Pet Carrier can be used in the car, outdoors and even in the house. The carriers provide a den-like atmosphere for cats or small dogs (up to 15 pounds) and can easily be rolled from place to place. The ZUCA Pet Carrier has a unique, smooth-gliding quad wheel system that easily climbs curbs and stairs, so pets can go anywhere you do.

Developed for your pet’s safety and comfort, the ZUCA Pet Carrier has an interior leash and a removable floor panel designed to hold disposable liners. The heavy-duty fabric insert is hand washable and has mesh panels for ventilation and visibility. Roomy side pockets can carry treats, leashes and more. And the super-sturdy, lightweight aluminum alloy frame even doubles as a mobile seat for pet owners.

Owners may build their own ZUCA Pet Carrier online at www.zuca.com by selecting different frame and insert colors, so there’s one sure to fit any personality. SRP is $157.50 and it comes in a variety of colorful personalities.

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Police Dogs Equipped with Temperature Monitoring System to Prevent Heat-Related Deaths

Law enforcement and military dogs (K9s) face unavoidable, life-threatening situations every day. While on the job, many experience heat related incidents such as heat stroke, often leading to death. To prevent unnecessary K9 deaths, law enforcement units from Massachusetts, Arizona and Texas have invested in a wireless monitoring system that communicates the K9’s internal body temperature to their human officer partners in real-time.

Data Sciences International (DSI) has partnered with Blueforce Development Corporation (Blueforce) to introduce a revolutionary system designed to ensure occupational health and safety for law enforcement and military K9’s while working in dangerous environmental conditions.

DATA SCIENCES INTERNATIONAL LOGO

“Our police dogs face challenging situations every day,” said Major Kenneth J. Ballinger, (ret), Plymouth County (MA) Sheriff’s Dept. “This technology will not only ensure our dogs stay healthy while in the field, but it will also help our officer’s keep their dogs in the best possible condition by continuously monitoring their overall health.”

With this system, the K9’s internal body temperature is continuously measured by a small implanted sensor that communicates to a receiver attached to the K9’s protective gear. The receiver relays the information to the K9 officer’s smart phone that will instantly alert the officer if the K9’s body temperature exceeds safe health limits.

“Our active involvement in public safety revealed that officers have serious K9 safety needs,” said Mike Helfrich, CEO, Blueforce. “We expect this solution to help save K9 lives by communicating real-time temperature.”

The system leverages DSI’s vast experience with manufacturing implantable telemetry. “Our company is built on a vision of providing the most humane methods for collecting physiologic information from animals,” said Bert Harman, CEO of DSI. “Improving the welfare of the working dogs that keep our communities safe is a natural extension for our business.”

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PetArmor®, a brand of Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc., is best known for flea and tick pet protection, but its mission extends beyond products. Building on the success of its 2013 partnership with Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., PetArmor is committed to funding up to 25 bullet- and stab-protective vests for law enforcement K-9s in 2014.

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Vested Interest in K9s. Inc., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing bullet- and stab-protective vests to police organizations nationwide.

“PetArmor has developed a partnership with Vested Interest in K9s because the companies share a common value: making canine protection our No. 1 focus,” said Caryn Stichler, VP of marketing for Sergeant’s Pet Care Products. “K-9s put their lives on the line every day to help protect us and keep our communities safe. Helping to protect them through this donation is our way of saying thank you.”

More often than not, law enforcement agencies do not have the budget to provide vests for their four-legged K-9 officers because each vest costs approximately $1,000.

“Law enforcement K-9s are usually the first officer to enter a dangerous situation,” said Sandy Marcal, founder of Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. “Our bullet- and stab-protective vests allow K-9s the same level of protection as their human counterpart. We’re thrilled that PetArmor is once again providing funding to help protect police K-9 officers across the country.”

In 2013, PetArmor donated 25 vests to police dogs in Austin, Texas; Jupiter, Fla.; Riviera Beach, Fla.; andBaltimore, Md. To learn more about the partnership, visit www.petarmor.com or www.vik9s.org.

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