Many foods we eat and products we use in our homes can be dangerous for our four-legged family members. According to the national ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center the most common pet toxin reported in 2017 was human prescription medications. More than 35,000 cases of pets ingesting human prescription medications were reported to the APCC last year.

According to Northeast Indiana Veterinary Emergency Specialty Hospital (NIVES) in Fort Wayne – the national trend is also a local trend. Emergency and critical care veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Stresemann told Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control prescription medications are commonly treated at the hospital which is open 24/7.

Other common pet toxins reported to the APCC are over-the-counter medications, human foods, medications prescribed by a veterinarian, chocolate, household items, insecticides, rodenticides, plants and garden supplies.

About 10 percent of calls to the APCC are about human foods that are not safe for pets. Here is a list of foods you should never give your pets.

  • Chocolate
  • Uncooked Yeast Dough
  • Grapes, raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Xylitol (found in sugar-free gum, baked goods and some peanut butters)

You can help prevent your pet from coming into contact with a toxin by keeping all food, household products, house plants and other harmful items secured in an area of your help that your pet can not access them. If you carry medication in a book bag or purse be sure to lock your bag in a closet or drawer.

If you believe your pet has ingested a toxin it’s important to call your veterinarian immediately. You can also contact the Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435.

ADVOCATING SAFETY LESSONS TO PREVENT DOG BITES

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Almost 1 out of 5 bites becomes infected. Don't be a victim. 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites each year; half of which are children. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest – nationally - for children ages five to nine years, and men are more likely than women to be bitten by a dog.

It may surprise you to know that 77 percent of dog-bite injuries occur from the family dog or friends’ dogs. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home.

It’s important to understand that dogs may bite for many different reasons. The best way to prevent a bite is educating yourself and your children to understand when an animal is feeling uncomfortable and needs to be left alone.

Animal Care & Control strongly advocates bite prevention to keep kids safe by providing bite free materials to schools, tour groups and community events. Children are taught what to do when they see a stray animal, how to approach a dog accompanied by an owner and to understand their own pet’s behavior to prevent bites.

HOW TO AVOID BEING BITTEN BY A DOG

  • Be cautious around dogs you don’t know.
  • Treat your own pets with respect and gentle handling.
  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Avoid unfamiliar dogs. If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
  • Don’t pet a dog by reaching through a fence.
  • Always ask permission before petting someone’s dog.
  • Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
  • Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.

PREVENT YOUR DOG FROM BITING

  • Socialize your dog or young puppy, so it feels at ease around people and other animals. Gradually expose your dog to a variety of situations under controlled circumstances; continue that exposure on a regular basis.
  • Don’t allow your dog to be in places where it might feel threatened or be teased.
  • Attend a dog training class. The basic commands “sit,” “stay,” “off,” and “come” can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of obedience and trustbetween pets and people.
  • Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
  • Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
  • Keep your dog healthy with yearly vaccinations. How your dog feels directly affects how it behaves.
  • Spay or neuter your pet. Altered dogs are less likely to bite.
  • Don’t chain your dog. Chaining increases aggression in dogs.

What Should I Do If My Dog Bites Someone?

Even if the bite can be explained (e.g., someone stepped on your dog’s tail), it’s important to take responsibility for your dog’s actions.

Did you know that Indiana law requires a biting animal (dog, cat or ferret) be placed in ten (10) day rabies quarantine even if it’s vaccinated?

Many people are hesitant to report bites because they are afraid of the outcome. Once a report is filed, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control must determine the severity of the bite, where the bite occurred (at home or off property) and how many times the animal has bitten. Those factors will determine whether or not the animal will be placed in the home for the quarantine period or housed at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control for the ten (10) days required by state law. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control does not automatically put biting animals to sleep. Owners that report bites are doing the responsible thing for the safety of other animals and the bite victim(s), human or animal. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control wants nothing more than for the people and animals to be safe and healthy.

Our goal, whenever possible, is to keep your animal at home where it belongs.

After a bite occurs, the following steps should be taken:

  • Confine your dog away from the scene of the bite.
  • Check on the victim’s condition. Wash wounds with soap and water. Professional medical advice should be sought.
  • Report the bite. Call Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control inside the city and the sheriffs department in the county.
  • Consult your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior that will help prevent similar problems in the future.
  • If someone else’s dog bites you, seek medical treatment, and then call authorities with everything you know about the dog to help animal control officers locate the dog.

Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries, but also enhance the relationship they have with their dogs.

For more information on how to prevent dog bites or to schedule an educational program - visit fwacc.org.

 

Pet owners should exercise caution and be aware of an illegal trend called Pet Flipping.

In a typical pet-flipping situation, a criminal will get hold of a dog or cat either by finding it or by stealing it, and then turning around and selling it for a quick profit.

Another aspect of the crime is when someone claims to be the owner of a dog or cat that someone has found and publicly advertised. By falsely claiming the found pet, the criminal can then sell it for profit.

Pet Flipping is a serious cause for concern for all pet owners, but also for anyone looking to buy a dog or cat. It could end up being someone else’s stolen pet.

Pet owners in Allen County are cautioned to supervise pets carefully whenever they are outside and invest in a microchip for permanent identification. You can currently get a microchip implanted at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control for $15.00. You do not need an appointment; you simply need to bring your dog or cat to 3020 Hillegas Road during regular business hours along with proof of rabies and your legal I.D.

Have your pet’s spayed or neutered so that can’t be stolen and used for breeding. Keep your cats inside and your dog on a leash when walking through neighborhoods and city parks. Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle or tied outside of a business.

If your pet is lost, be sure to fill out a lost report in person at FWACC or over the phone. You can also notify Lost Dogs/Lost Cats of Fort Wayne.

Don’t let your dog or cat become a victim of Pet Flipping.

When you make your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget about your pets! Resolutions are a great way to stay connected to your pet and make sure that they are receiving the care they need. Here are few resolutions to consider for your furry friends:

Meal-time: Measure your pet’s food every time! By taking the time to give them the exact amount of food appropriate for their size you will help them to stay trim and healthy. Companion pets can often find themselves with a few more pounds than they need which can be hard on their joints and could lead to other health problems. Don’t know how much to feed them? All pet foods have guides on the packages to help you determine the correct amount!

More playtime: Just like humans – animals benefit from being more active. If you are making a New Year’s resolution to get moving more include your pet. Take your dog on more walks, play with your cat indoors or let your small animal roam around outside of their cage more. Keeping your pet’s mind stimulated helps their cognitive health!

Visit the vet: Visiting your veterinarian at least once a year for an annual check-up and vaccines is crucial to keep your pet healthy. Animals can’t tell us when something is wrong, so visiting your vet is a vital part of being a responsible pet owner.

Update information: Take the time at the beginning of the year to make sure your pet’s registration is up to date if you live within city limits. You can visit fwacc.org to register your pet online or stop by the shelter during normal business hours. If your pet is microchipped, check to make sure all the information on file is current in case your pet were to go missing.

Give back: Consider volunteering or fostering at FWACC this year. We are always in need of people passionate about helping animals and getting involved is an excellent way to make a difference in an animal’s life. There are many opportunities available at the shelter. We are always in need of donations as well. Check out website to see what we are in need of the most. 

Most importantly – shower your pets with love every day! Pets are truly a part of the family and crave attention from us. Taking step to ensure they are healthy and happy will strengthen your bond. If you are considering adding a new pet to your family remember - adoption is always the best option.

Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control wants everyone, including your pets, to have a fun and safe Halloween. Here are several tips to have a howling good time:

Costumes: While many children look forward to dressing up in costumes, your pet might not be crazy about the idea. If you do decide to dress your pet up, make sure their eyes, nose and mouth are not covered. Don’t force a costume on them and if they are uncomfortable, don’t make them stay in it. If you will be dressing your pet up this year, make sure they are wearing a collar and their identification tag is visible.

Candy: Make sure your bowl of candy is kept in an area where your animals cannot reach it. Make sure your children’s candy is also kept in a safe place. Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs and wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.

Trick-or-Treat: It’s likely your doorbell will be ringing a lot during trick-or-treating hours, but your dog might not like all of the visitors. If your dog is easily excited by the doorbell, a good tip is to put a sign on your front door asking kids to lightly knock. It’s a smart idea to keep your dog in another room with the television or radio on to drown out the noise of children coming and going. This will help them feel more comfortable and less anxious. Never leave your dog outside when children will be walking around. Costumes and large groups of children can be frightening for pets.

Jack-o-lanterns: A glowing jack-o-lantern is a common sight during Halloween, but open flames and animals do not mix. Consider using a battery powered candle for your fall decorations to prevent fires and burns.

Decorations: Some fall and Halloween décor can be toxic to pets. Make sure all decorations and wires are in areas where animals can’t chew or get caught in them.

If your pet does run away, you can visit the shelter at 3020 Hillegas Road to search for your animal. If your animal is picked up by an Animal Control Officer and is wearing identification or a microchip is found during scanning, attempts will be made immediately to contact owners. In many cases, an Animal Control Officer might be able to return a pet directly to the owner's home without bringing it into the shelter. Since collars can be removed and microchips can be missed, you should still look for your pet in person at the shelter. You can learn more at fwacc.org.

Disaster can strike in an instant. That’s why it’s so crucial to be prepared so you can act quickly to keep your family and pets safe. September is National Preparedness Month and there are several steps you can take to prepare your pets for emergencies.

Prepare: Ensure your pets are always wearing collars with ID tags. Also make sure your pet is microchipped and that information is up to date. Keep current photos of your pets in case they go missing. It’s also a good idea to include a photo of the pet with you to help prove ownership. Always have a list of pet-friendly hotels and establishments in case you need to travel in a hurry. It’s also a good idea to have a list of friends and family who can care for your pets in an emergency.

Organize: Just like how you prepared a care kit for your family – it’s essential to do the same for your pets. The following are items to include in a kit. Be sure to regularly check the kit to ensure the contents stay fresh.

Food: Keep at least three days worth of food in an airtight, waterproof container.

Water: Store three days worth of water specifically for your pets in addition to the water you will need for your family.

Medicines and Medical Records: Keep a copy of current vaccine and medical records along with any medications your pets need in an airtight container.

First Aid Kit: Most kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Talk to your veterinarian about any specific needs for your pets. A guide on animal first aid would also be handy to include.

Crate or Pet Carrier: A crate or carrier will be essential if you need to stay in a busy location.

Sanitation: Include litter (if applicable), newspapers, plastic bags, paper towels and trash bags in your kit to clean up after your pets.

Plan: During an emergency you will be faced with the decision to stay put or get away – it’s important to plan ahead to prepare for both scenarios.

Create a Plan to Get Away: Think about how you will assemble your animals and anticipate where you will go. If you must evacuate your home, take your pets with you if practical. Keep in mind that some animals may not be allowed to stay at some public shelters. If possible, secure lodging in advance. Think about whether or not friends and family will be available to help house you or watch your pets.

Develop a Buddy System: Communicate with friends, neighbors and family members to see who might be able to help care for or evacuate your animals if you are unable to. Share important information about your pet’s with them and show them where the pet emergency kit is located. Have a plan in place about where you will meet in case of an emergency.

Stay Informed: Watch local television, listen to the radio and check emergency agency’s websites to stay up to date on the emergency. Also make sure you understand what could happen depending on the type of emergency you are facing. Listen to authorities and make every effort to follow evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions.

While we can’t always prevent disasters from happening, we can prepare for them. These steps will help you, your family and your pets to act quickly and effectively in the event of a disaster. It’s always better to plan ahead then try and do these steps while an emergency is unfolding.

The dog days of summer are coming to an end and that means the kids will soon be back in school and schedules will start filling up quickly. It’s a busy time of year and the change in your routine means a change in your pet’s routine too. Your pets are creatures of habit, and the change from long days playing outside to long days away from their companions can be stressful and even lead to bad habits.

Here are some tips to start the school year on the right foot for you and your pet:

Take the following steps to be sure YOUR pet makes the back to school transition with all A’s:

  1. Routine, Routine, Routine – A week before school starts, start developing a routine for your four-legged friends to help them make the adjustment. Just like kids, pets become acclimated to the extra sleep, attention and fun over summer vacation. Work with them on specific times for food, walks, bathroom breaks and “free time” play with the family. You can incorporate these changes over the course of a week so it is familiar to them before your kids start school. This will help your pet know what to expect daily and minimize their anxiety.

  2. Separation – If your pet suffers from excessive separation anxiety, you may want to consider a local Doggy Daycare. Or if your pet may be used to being left alone for long periods throughout the day, but remember, if you’ve been home, this new separation from their family can be very stressful. Be sure to create a safe place for your pet; cats can be kept in a room they are familiar with along with their litter, food and water available at all times with plenty of hiding places that are cozy. A dog, if it’s used to a crate, would be the safest place while you are gone. If your dog is used to having free reign, be sure to provide your dog with a blanket that smells like home (or you) and create a comfortable space for them.

  3. Toys – Pets get bored too! Be sure to provide your pet some fun interactive toys to provide mental stimulation throughout the day or they may become destructive.

  4. Exercise – Since they will be spending more time alone during the day exercise is extremely important. Schedule 15-30 minutes in the morning to be sure your pet gets plenty of time outside or playtime inside (for cats think about a laser toy or simply a ball on the end of a string). Getting them moving early in the morning also helps them rest during the day. A sleepy pet and one who has burned off extra energy first thing is less likely to bark / meow while you are away, and less likely to present with other behavioral issues. Not only will your pet benefit, but it will enjoy their ‘special’ time with you.

  5. Schedule Veterinarian Appointments - Schedule your veterinarian appointments well in advance for annual vaccinations and routine care. This will help you avoid the stress on your entire family as you plan around meal times, after school activities and by placing them on your calendar you will be less likely to feel anxious about fitting them in.

Dogs and cats are part of the family too, so make sure you focus extra attention on them when their world has suddenly been turned upside down. You may decide Doggy Daycare is a great option for your busy dog or having a neighbor who can check in on your cat throughout the day.

You may even find it’s time to add a family member through adoption at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control to keep your current pet company. Whatever you decide, be sure it is the right choice for your pet and your family and remember to be patient as your pet makes this big transition with you!

Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control is pleased to be part of a grant awarded through Best Friends Animal Society. The grant will help FWACC and its coalition partners HOPE for Animals and Allen County SPCA to humanely manage the area’s free roaming community cats through Operation Cat Action Team. Operation C.A.T. will work to reduce illness, over population and euthanasia of cats in the community. Community Cats are unowned and generally do not appreciate human interaction, but are likely being cared for by someone in your neighborhood. Through the grant, the coalition will be able to spay and neuter hundreds of cats. Cats dropped off at Animal Care & Control without identification will be assessed to become a Community Cat. If healthy, we will transport to HOPE for Animals to be altered, micro chipped to the area it was found, rabies vaccinated and ear-tipped. Once recovered, the Allen County SPCA or FWACC will return it to the area in which it was found. You may call us at 427-1244, option 1 if you have questions about Operation C.A.T. or visit our website at fwacc.org.

Pet Registrations are required for all dogs and cats over the age of five months. Those dogs and cats that have been spayed or neutered are able to be registered for $5 every year. A pet that is spayed or neutered and microchipped is eligible for a lifetime registration for $30. Those pet owners who choose to keep their pet intact may purchase their unaltered pet registration for $100 every year. Pet owners over the age of 62 that own a spayed or neutered pet are able to register their pet free of charge every year. Pet registrations can be purchased online at www.fwacc.org, during business hours at Animal Care and Control, or at most veterinary clinics in Fort Wayne. Animal Care and Control provides free identification tags for pet owners during business hours.  The name of the pet along with up to two phone numbers is able to be engraved on the tag. Make your pet's trip back home quick by ensuring their identification is up to date and current every year.  

It is nearly springtime again and along with hearing the birds singing and the bees buzzing it is a busy time for animal shelters to have many puppies and kittens brought in. The nice weather and warmer temperatures after a long winter encourage many owners to let their animals outside. This is wonderful for the animal too, unless they are not spayed or neutered.

Unfortunately, an estimated 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year due to overpopulation according to the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Even being a purebred dog does not give that animal a safe ticket to a new home as 25% of the 55% of dogs and puppies being put down are purebreds. 71% of cats and kittens entering shelters are put down each year. In the U.S. 70,000 puppies and kittens are born each day compared to the 10,000 human babies born daily. There simply are not enough homes for each animal.

Spaying or neutering is the solution to this overpopulation problem. Consult your veterinarian to determine the age at which the spay or neuter process for your pet can occur. Spaying is for the female and it is the removal of both ovaries and the uterine horns. Neuter is for males and it is the removal of both testicles. These operations are not painful because the animal is under anesthesia. When the animal wakes up it is usually back to its normal activity within 24-72 hours.

There are many benefits to your pet’s health when you spay or neuter. For the female there will not be the heat cycles twice a year that can leave bloodstains on the floor and it will reduce shedding. There will be no chance of her developing Pyometra-a uterine infection that causes many deaths in unspayed females. Also her chances of developing breast cancer and mammary tumors will be minimal. For males, neutering keeps him from developing testicular cancer. This means less money could be spent on medical bills for your pet. There is also a reduced city pet registration fee for sterilized animals ($5 annual fee for spayed or neutered pet OR $100 not fixed) and the behavior modifications are rewarding.

Sterilization does not change your pet’s personality or cause weight gain as many myths suggest. Any changes brought about by spaying or neutering are generally positive. There is a reduction of many behavioral issues. Neutered male cats usually stop territorial spraying. This leads to a reduction of roaming and finding females in heat. Research shows that 80% of dogs hit by cars are un-neutered males. The idea that males do not need neutered because they do not give birth is misleading. While females can only have one litter at a time, male animals can impregnate many females each day. Males being neutered leads to less aggression and they are less likely to bite. Spayed and neutered animals make better pets and are more loyal to their families. Spaying and neutering also saves taxpayer dollars. It costs over $100 dollars to capture, house, feed, and euthanize a homeless animal and when your looking at over 7.5 million animals a year, it all ads up.

Spaying and neutering is not as expensive as many pet owners think. There are many communities with sterilization programs and one can usually find a low cost spay and neuter clinic in their area. Including SNAP, which stands for Spay Neuter Assistance Program. Asking your veterinarian about programs that provide aid is a good place to start. Encouraging friends and neighbors to spay or neuter their pets is beneficial to their animals and will also keep your pets safe.

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