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Tag: safety

3 ways to keep dog safe from haze

Are you walking your dog in the haze when you shouldn't?
Haze is in the air again. You smell it’s smoky presence. You feel the dryness in your throat.  And all the while, the dog seems unconcerned. He happily sniffs the all but dried up grass that has spread across our landscape.

1. Know the signs of smoke haze effects on dogs

Is your dog affected by the smoke haze already?
Here are some of the symptoms you should be looking out for:

  • Skin irritation, rashes
  • Eye irritation – redness or abnormal eye discharge, squinting, eye rubbing
  • Increased mucus production
  • Respiratory problems – sneezing, coughing, wheezing, harsh or laboured breathing sounds.

See the vet if you notice these above symptoms are prolonged or excessive.

You will need IMMEDIATE medical assistance if your pet displays the following:

  • collapse, unconscious
  • uncoordinated movement
  • blue/pale gums
  • gasping for air

2. Help your dog feel better

These are some of the tips shared by vets during the haze last year to help your dog/pet:

  1. Forget the long walk.
    • Go out more often for short toilet breaks only especially if PSI is unhealthy and PM2.5 is above 40.
    • Wipe down face, body and paws thoroughly with damp cloth after walks.
  2. Keep pets indoors.
    • Keep your home dust-free! Vaccuum and mop often.
    • Turn on air conditioner/air purifier/fan where possible
    • Keep the air moist! A cool mist humidifier is a great resource. Otherwise, try these tricks:
      • Lay out damp laundry or a wet towel to dry over night
      • Houseplants can add water in the air through transpiration. Easy to maintain plants like the sansevieria or snake plant and the money plant are great options before they clean the air naturally as well.
  3. Use artificial tears 2-3x daily to flush away possible eye irritants
  4. Increase water intake of your dog
    • Increase water intake by making meat or fish broth for your dog. While no single food can boost immunity, meat and fish can be significant sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which may help respiratory infections.
    • Plenty of cooled water will soothe the irritated and dehydrated mucous membrane.
      The immune system can protect the lungs and respiratory tract efficiently by produce a good amount of phlegm to trap the dust particles and then subsequently force them out through coughing.
    • Change water bowls often.
  5. Pay more attention to the following pets with higher risks:
    • pets with heart/lung disease
    • pets with debilitating conditions, e.g. kidney, liver problems
    • pets with eye conditions
    • young pets less than 1 year old
    • geriatric pets above 6-7 years old

3. Walk your dog when the air is healthy for him

Are you walking your dog in the haze when you shouldn’t?
Here’s a quick checklist to decide,

1. What is the latest reported PSI?

The new PSI incorporates PM2.5 into the PSI, along with the existing five pollutant parameters – SO2, PM10, , NO2, CO and O3. The 3-hour PSI is calculated based on PM2.5 concentration levels, as the PSI incorporates PM2.5 and PM2.5 is the main pollutant of concern during periods of smoke haze. – source

PSI Value  Can you and the dog go out?
0-100  Healthy to Moderate range
– dog walking is OK ;)
– at home: remember to air your rooms!
101-200  Unhealthy,
– go for short loo breaks only
– humans should wear the N95 face mask if outside for a long time
– at home: close doors/windows; circulate the air with a fan or air conditioner
200 and above  Very unhealthy
– best for dog to stay indoors
– at home: close doors/windows; circulate the air with a fan or air conditioner

2. What is the latest reported PM2.5?
(PM2.5 concentrations measure smaller particles that can settle in the lungs, which means it is more harmful than PM10.)

PM2.5 Value  Can you and the dog go out?
0-39  Safe
– dog walking is OK ;)
– at home: remember to air your rooms!
40 and above  Unsafe
– best for dog to stay indoors
– at home: close doors/windows; circulate the air with a fan or air conditioner
Note:  It is possible for the PM2.5 to be at Unsafe levels, even when the PSI is reported in the healthy to moderate range. PM2.5 is more harmful, which is why I always check both values to be safe. I have an updated article here on more about the PSI and PM2.5 information.

Updated 13 Sep 2015:
You can  find the 1 hr  PM2.5 concentrations can be found here.
You can find the 24-hr PSI charts here. You can find historical PSI readings here.

Keep all pets indoors during the haze and if your rabbits or small pets are kept in balconies, bring them in. They are especially at risk for smoke inhalation due to their small lung capacity. Smoke inhalation can cause chronic pneumonia and can be fatal if the animal is no longer able to compensate. Note any signs of breathing difficulty and bring them to your vet immediately.

stay safe stay healthy




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Apartment dog killer danger: Dog hanged by lift

donna the dog standing to one side in the liftNews broke yesterday that a dog (NOT my dog pictured left) was hanged by the lift when its leash was caught by the lift doors. The human was in the lift and the dog was outside when the doors closed. When the lift proceeded to move up, the dog was dragged upwards on its lead and hanged.

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Balcony safety for dogs

dog on balconyA man has been fined S$5,000 for keeping his pet dog in the balcony of his apartment, and exposing it to the sun and rain for long periods of time… Ling had said he was not aware of causing any suffering to his pet as it was healthy. – 3 Sep, 2013 channelnewsasia – The balcony is not a safe environment for dogs when unsupervised.

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Donna has standards when it comes to picking up sticks

I remember there was a blog post I commented on some time back. Writer was writing about dogs that like to pick up sticks on walks. I replied that Donna doesn’t seem to have the propensity to do that, at the same time I was thinking that was just as well since there is always the potential of not so cute injuries resulting with dogs playing with sticks. Here’s another post at Team Unruly on Sticks – Not fun anymore.

Days later, I learnt that Donna did not have a disdain for sticks. It was just that her highness was more selective about the sticks she deigned to pick up. We were running down the stairs as her leash suddenly jerked taut. I turned my head back to find my dog with a stick of half-eaten satay in her mouth. @_@

In case you are not familiar with satay, it’s basically a yummy dish comprising of meat barbecued on stick/bamboo skewer and eaten with a spicy peanut dip.

Our dog doesn’t realise it, but she just gave a different spin on satay as a street food. But no, you are to leave it, Donna.

Leave it.

Here she is with a safer, soft toy in her mouth. 

Donna and the poisonous leaf

Even before the fish and the dog came along, we had the plants. My very blighted wrightia religiosa, my blighted by association dracaena frangrans on one end of the balcony and on the other end, my water sucking hydrangea.

The hydrangea is not a very common or popular houseplant in my country, I don’t think. Except over Chinese New Year, when households will buy for decorative purposes and then throw away. So it is probably not common knowledge over here at least that the hydrangea is poisonous to dogs.

Hydrangeas are one of those interesting plants with cyanogenic glycosides. Basically, this means that under times of stress, the plant can have available CYANIDE, which is extremely toxic…The plant does contain irritants that can cause Gastrointestinal irritation (GI), and most of the time mild self-limiting GI upset can be seen – mild vomiting and diarrhea. In larger ingestion, you can see more severe vomiting and diarrhea, and hyperthermia has been reported. Some cases can develop vomiting or diarrhea with blood. The treatment for hydrangea toxicity is supportive / symptomatic care. – via justanswer.com

I love the large bushels of flowers that the plant produces, so we never really considered getting rid of the plant for the dog’s safety. And Donna had scant curiosity for the plant anyway, she spent most of her time in the living room and I can count on one hand the number of times she ventured onto the balcony by herself.

And so we thought we could trust her to leave the plant alone.

Aigh… our complacency had its downfall.

I suppose it was inevitable Donna eventually decided to sample a leaf.

I was in the kitchen at the time but could hear her bell and tag clanking from the balcony. As usual, I went to check because we don’t really think the balcony is the safest place for the dog considering the posionous plant and the potential for free fall down more than 20 floors to smack on the landscape garden below.

I was too late to witness anything but the circumstantial evidence.

A quarter of a leaf torn off. Half of it spat on the floor. The other half not in her mouth, but one can smell the zesty scent of greenery hurriedly swallowed in that recalcitrant maw of hers.

I was vexed. I didn’t know what to do, or what was going to happen. Perhaps she could detect I was vexed, she gave me gentle licks on my leg as I stood watching the bit of leaf lying limply on the floor.

She was lively still, hardly dying.

Should I make her drink lots of water? Not that I know how to do that. She drank at her own time, her own discretion.

Should I still feed her her dinner that was already on the kitchen counter.

The vet’s reception was always busy. They didn’t pick up my phone call. I sent an email. I googled.

I found an answer here.

Since she seems fine now, she’s probably going to be ok, although is she’s showing any signs of respiratory distress, take her immediately to your veterinarian.

For now, I would not feed her for 12 hours to allow her GI tract to settle. You can offer her small amounts of water beginning 2 hours after her last vomiting episode – if she can hold down the water, you can slowly allow her to have more at 1 time, until you can leave the bowl down for her.

When you do feed her, I would recommend a bland diet for 1-2 days of boiled chicken and rice – fat free, and a little broth, just to be on the safe side. She could have a very irritated or even ulcerated stomach lining. No treats or human food for 3-5 days.

You can also administer 1/2 of a 10 mg pepcid (if you have one) when you begin offering water. This may help with stomach upset, and can be repeated every 12-24 hours.

If she continues to vomit, or develops other symptoms, please see your vet.

Since it didn’t seem advisable to feed her and the rain had stopped, I took her out for a slow leisurely walk, which is something that we usually do at that time of day anyway. Perhaps fifteen minutes later, Donna started to vomit. A small round pile of yellowish muck about the size of a mug. And she would continue to hurl five times more. When she ran out of yellowish muck, she puked white foam.

Apart from the times she sat down and threw up, she was still very active and spent no time wasted inspecting the grass.

But by the sixth time, we decided enough is enough and took her to the vet.

Like the last time we were there as a walk in, we were the last to see the vet. The vet tech recommended no water for Donna while we waited. A patch of hair on her neck was shaved off, a blood test was done.

The results, the levels for her liver was slightly high, about 10points higher than normal. Otherwise, she wasn’t in any pain or discomfort, being still lively and frankly recalcitrant and perhaps unaware of her misadventure.

But oh is she serving her penance now, in the form of regular doses of disgusting gut protecting pills and supplements containing milkthistle among other things. She hates the minty taste and snorts her disgust every time I shoot the liquid down her throat with a syringe. What to do? Doctor’s orders.

Another blood test two days later found her liver levels normal again.

And we are now vigilantly closing balcony doors whenever we are not in the living room with her!

Pictured left: Donna at the vet looking at the cleaner vacuuming the floor on the other end after closing time. We were still waiting to pay vet bills and to get her medication. It wasn’t too bad since we could laugh at “The Noose” which was playing on TV.

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