Pet Safety Back to School Tips
Your Ultimate Guide to a Pet-Friendly Back-to-School Season
Heading back to school after a long summer break isn’t just stressful for our children, there’s a period of adjustment for everyone, even our pets. For adults, there’s so much to do and remember! That’s why at Happy Tails Emergency Veterinary Clinic, we want to help. Check out some tips to ensure that everyone in your home stays happy and healthy during this busy time.
Preventative Pet Care You Can’t Afford to Skip
If your pet is due for preventative care, reach out to your general veterinary practice to schedule an appointment today! You may not know this, but dental cleanings, regular examinations, obedience training, deworming, proper bathing and grooming, flea/ tick prevention and vaccinations help to prevent the spread of zoonotic disease from pets to any children in the household.
The Sneaky Dangers Lurking in Your Kid’s Lunchbox
Each fall, Pet Poison Control sees an uptick in calls related to toxic food ingestion. Can you guess the culprit? It’s lunch boxes! Some dogs are surprisingly good at unzipping or pulling Velcro apart to reveal a tasty treat. Couple this with children coming home exhausted and tossing their lunch bags on the floor or in a chair somewhere, and you have a recipe for disaster.
We recommend creating a dedicated space for lunch carriers to be returned to immediately upon re-entering your home. Know that this may need to be inside of a drawer, in a cabinet, or behind a door if you have a persistent dog. Common pet toxins that may be found in your child’s lunch box include grapes and raisins, gum containing xylitol, chocolate, macadamia nuts, molded food, and cold packs. Chip clips and Ziploc bags may post an obstruction or suffocation risk. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a pet can suffocate in less than 5 minutes. Make sure to tear any plastic bags before putting them into your trash can. Consider putting your trash can away or getting a can with a lid that is clamped shut or difficult to remove.
School Supplies & Medications: Safe for Kids, Risky for Pets
Keep your children’s backpacks out of reach as well. School supplies can be a threat to your pet’s safety. Though most manufacturers aim to create non-toxic products, not all art supplies are. If a pet gets into a backpack and pulls out art materials, a good place to start in assessing risk is to ask the owners about an ACMI seal. These seals will typically either read AP (approved product) or CL (cautionary label). If a product carries an AP seal, it is nontoxic. A few art products that are intended for use by adults (and none of the children’s products) may carry a CL seal. Products with CL may present a toxic risk, and some may contain heavy metals or other dangers, so additional information will be needed to assess risk. Even if a marker or colored pencil isn’t labeled as toxic, if swallowed by your pet, it can still be dangerous and pose a risk for obstruction. When in doubt, call your veterinarian.
Other common toxins that your pet could be exposed to through access to your child’s book bag include medications used at school like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication or inhalers.
Homework Time: Keeping Tech and Sharp Objects at Bay
Use caution during homework time if your child must plug in a school issued laptop or tablet. Cords from devices like these may electrocute your pet if they become tangled in them or chew on them. You’ll also want to make sure that your children don’t leave any sharp object like scissors, rulers or compasses unattended on any table, desk or counter surface that your pet can reach.
Ensure Safe Interactions Between Kids and Pets
If your child makes a new friend, be sure to supervise everyone the first time that the friend comes over to play or study after school. Not all children have had exposure to pets and may not know how to interact with them safely, and not all dogs warm up to strangers easily. Stay close by and ready to intervene or redirect the children or pets, if needed.
Prepare Your Pets for the School Run
Keep your pets in a safe and secure area when you leave the home for school drop off or pickup. Cats and dogs who are used to having family members at home with them throughout the day may escape when suddenly left alone or during the excitement of everyone arriving back at the home.
Preparing pets for your family’s new routine while also keeping an eye out for dangerous, new items in the home is a group effort. Make sure to talk to your children about potential safety hazards and about how changes in their life may impact your pets. If there’s one thing we’ve seen time and time again working in emergency medicine, it’s how much children love their pets and want to help care for and keep them safe.
Contact Happy Tails Emergency Veterinary Clinic
Even the most vigilant pet owners may find themselves at an emergency clinic during back-to-school season. If you have a curious pet that deals you an unfortunate surprise, give Happy Tails Emergency Veterinary Clinic a call at (336) 288-2688. We’re here on nights and weekends to help you through it.
At Happy Tails Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Greensboro, NC, our kind and knowledgeable team is available to provide gold standard emergency vet care for you and your pet. We’re available in the late night and early morning hours during the week, and 24/7 on weekends for your convenience.