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Keeping your dog safe and healthy

Keeping your dog safe and healthy

by Diane on September 30, 2013 · 4 comments

labinstreetLast night I was driving my son Zander and his friend, Dylan to soccer practice. On the way, a very large blonde Labrador retriever was lumbering across the road in front of my car. I didn’t see anyone with the dog, so I pulled over. I heard Zander say to Dylan, “She does this all the time- we might be late to practice…”

The sweet dog came right over to me and I checked the tags on his collar while calling out to see if any of the neighbors were missing their dog. Fortunately a neighbor heard me calling, knew where the dog belonged and was able to take him home across the street.

Here’s why I decided to write about this:

First of all, the dog was wearing tags. Good. If the neighbor hadn’t been there to help, I could have called the owner. Dogs get out. It is our job to keep them inside and safe, but it happens. At least we can try to minimize any potential harm by getting them home as quickly as possible. Making sure they are micro-chipped is equally as important since collars fall off, and if they find themselves at Animal Control or at a vet, the chip can be scanned.

Second, when I say the dog was large, I mean he was really overweight. Maybe he has a medical condition, but even if we have trouble controlling our own weight, we owe it to our pets to help them maintain a healthy weight. Many pure bred dogs (like retrievers) are already prone to joint issues. Adding all of that weight is extra stress on their joints. I know that Dr. Jessica Waldman at California Animal Rehab CARE sees many overweight dogs with limited movement and improving their diet is one of the easiest ways to help put more spring in their step.

Third, I encourage everyone to have their local Animal Control phone number in their cell phone. I do, and when I see a dog running in the streets that I can’t lure, or a loose dog that doesn’t look approachable, I call and have them help get the dog out of harms way. At least the dog will be at the shelter and not getting hit by a car. The shelter will then attempt to contact the owner (assuming they have tags or ideally micro-chipped) so the dog can return home. Preferably there is a local no-kill shelter you can call to help. But if a family dog gets out and the family is diligently looking, then odds are the dog is better off in a shelter than running on the streets. You can always call and follow up with the shelter to make sure the dog’s owner has come to claim him (or get help through a local rescue organization if no one is claiming him and it’s a high kill shelter.)

I guess my kids know me by now, that yep, I’m going to stop and help the dogs get home safely when I can. It got me bitten in the rear end a couple of years ago, but I learned from that too. (That’s why I now call Animal Control if I don’t trust the dog.) I just can’t drive away knowing that a dog is roaming the streets and not safe at home. There are many neighborhoods, towns and countries where dogs running in the street is commonplace. We can make a difference by spaying and neutering our pets, micro-chipping them, keeping them at a healthy weight and looking out for our neighbor’s pet. Maybe someday they will be looking out for yours!

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jessica October 4, 2013 at 1:13 am

love it!

michelle October 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Agree, agree, agree. Such good points. All common sense and easy to do! Thanks Diane!

Diane October 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Thanks Michelle!

Jamie October 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Once again, you nailed it Diane!! Thanks for the story (and for stopping for the big guy in the street!) and reminding everyone how easy it is to make a difference. And thank Zander for understanding the important work his mom is always doing!!

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