4th of July Pet Safety: Think Twice Before You Light

4th of July Pet Safety: Think Twice Before You Light

Pets and 4th of July fireworks don’t mix!

Did you know:  Animal control officers across the country have reported up to a 60% increase in shelter intakes between July 4 – July 6? The most they see all year!

Many animals get very frightened and stressed at the sight and sound of fireworks!

So what should you do to keep your pets safe?

  • Designate a safe place in your home your pets can retreat to during the festivities. Put on the TV or soft, calming music.
  • Make sure they get plenty of exercise IN THE MORNING while it’s still cool to help them relax more.
  • Make sure they are wearing tags and their microchips are up to date. ** If you don’t have tags, go to your local pet store and get one printed. Need a microchip? Go to your vet or ask a local rescue organization if they can help.
  • Take a recent photo in the unfortunate event your pet does freak out and take off so you can make flyers to put up around your neighborhood and at your local vet offices. Make sure to check the shelters if your pet goes missing. Give them a photo and description of your pet along with a couple of good contact numbers in case your pet in brought in by a good samaritan or animal control officer.
  • Keep them at home. They don’t need to join you in the fun. They are actually happier at home anyway.
  • Consider boarding at your vet overnight to ensure they are safe.
  • Try calming products such as a Thunder Shirt calming vest, CBD oil, Benadryl, or essential oils.
  • If your pets get extra stressed and the over-the-counter remedies don’t work, speak with your vet about a prescription.

ALSO be mindful of other 4th of July factors such as BBQs and toxic foods, firework debris, and the heat (hot concrete, heatstroke, hot cars, etc.) Make sure they have access to cool shade and plenty of water.

Finally, make sure to keep the contact information for your Emergency Vet or your Veterinarian handy in case of an emergency.

We want the 4th of July holiday to be just as enjoyable for your pets as it is for you. These tips will help!



The 4th of July holiday is upon us, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with friends and family. You’ll want to include your pet too. With heat, sun, lots of greasy food, alcohol and fireworks, you need to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. Paw Prints in the Sand offers the following tips:

Grilling and picnics – It may be a treat for your pet to get some yummy, greasy table scraps, it is never a good idea to do so. Keeping your pet’s diet consistent can help avoid and digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea or food poisoning. Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, salt, anything sweetened with sweetener (xylitol especially), and yeast products can be potentially toxic to companion animals.

Sunscreen – yes, dogs can get sunburned too, but make sure any sunscreen indicates that it is safe to use on pets. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Also, be cautious when using citronella as it contains irritating toxins and insect repellent that contains DEET as it can lead to neurological problems.

Alcoholic Beverages – While it’s fun to have a few drinks to celebrate our independence, Fido doesn’t need to partake. Like humans, if alcohol is ingested, it could lead to intoxication, weakness, depression or even death from respiratory failure. But, if you really want them to join in the party, there are products specifically made for dogs that you may want to try such as Bowser Beer.

Fireworks – Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. However, it’s best to leave your pet at home where she is safe from the noise and crowds, which can cause severe anxiety and distress.  Shelters need to make room for the influx of lost animals this holiday, which means MANY of the pets there now will be put down to make room for those lost in the noise and confusion. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma for curious pets. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals. If your pet is fearful of fireworks, consider talking to your veterinarian about easing their stress with medication or use calming supplements that will help your pets with the anxiety and distress from the noise.

ID’s Please! – Did you know that that 30% of all lost pet incidents each year occur on the evening of the 4th of July? Independence Day is upon us. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags at all times. Also, make sure your pet has a microchip that includes your contact information. Should your pet get lost in the scuffle, tags and/or a microchip are the best ways to ensure they make it home safely.

Security! –  Ensuring that your dogs are kept away from the noise in a secured area or in a crate during the fireworks will minimize runaway dogs. Make sure to leave the TV or  radio on in a louder setting than usual to help muffle the fireworks and keep your dog more relaxed while you are away.

We know you want to include your pet in the holiday festivities, but our best advice is to leave them out of it. Find a secure spot in your home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the noise, lights, food, and crowds. You’ll come home to a safe, happy and healthy pet, which is definitely something to celebrate.

Miss Animal Rights Awareness Week? No Problem! There is Always Time to Help Animals in Need

Miss Animal Rights Awareness Week? No Problem! There is Always Time to Help Animals in Need

Animal Rights Awareness Week might have been last week, but there is still time to get involved. We thing every day should be dedicated to animals and give a voice to the voiceless!

Animal Rights Awareness Week was created to provide education and tools in the fight for animals’ rights. It also helps bring awareness to issues all animals face when it comes to animal abuse, abandonment and neglect, whether it’s domestic pets, farm animals, or wildlife.

While most people treat their pets with love and kindness, sadly so many animals don’t get to experience the same treatment. Many people are not aware of the horrors animals face, from puppy mills and neglect to cruel animal testing in labs, abuse on farms, and horrific conditions in animal shelters, zoos, and circuses. Just because an animal may be raised for consumption or was unwanted, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our respect and proper care.

In addition, there has been a direct correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence. In one survey, 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets. And while we know that animal abuse and neglect happens on a daily basis, it often goes unreported. It is considered one of the most egregious crimes with the least convictions. In addition, undercover investigations revealed that animal abuse runs rampant in the factory farming industry. With weak protections afforded to livestock under state cruelty laws, only the most shocking cases are reported, and very few are ever prosecuted.

Not only is it important to protect our animals and understand how people get away with animal abuse, it’s also key to know just how much animals enrich our lives. The therapeutic benefits of owning a pet have been proven time and again. Those benefits include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Animals also provide comfort and ease loneliness and can act as a catalyst for other therapy such as treatment for PTSD or a disability.  

So today, we want to share some ways you can continue to support animals and help fight for their right to live in a safe, cruelty-free environment.

  1. Buy cruelty-free products. Animal testing causes extreme pain and suffering. Often the abuse goes unnoticed as animals suffer and die behind closed doors. There are over 115 million animals who die annually in testing labs. Test animals are often blinded, burned, or forced to ingest or inhale harmful substances, along with many other painful procedures.

    Makers and brands of some of the most popular cosmetics, soaps, hair and skin care products practice animal testing methods.

    How do you go cruelty free? Look up your favorite brands and see if there are cruelty free alternatives. And, just because they say “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” on the packaging, that doesn’t mean animals haven’t been used for tests at other companies affiliated with the brand. Brands that feature the leaping bunny logo are guaranteed to be cruelty-free. If you want to know what brands feature this logo, go to: https://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping-guide

    You can also support the Humane Cosmetics Act, which is designed to end cruel animal testing by cosmetics companies and make it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or knowingly transport in interstate commerce any cosmetic that was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing.

    Finally, buy organic or free-range meat, chicken or dairy products, and don’t wear fur.

  2. Support spaying and neutering programs. Sadly, over 1.5 million animals are put to death in our nation’s shelter system due to shelter overcrowding. By helping to reduce unwanted litters, you would also help reduce shelter overpopulation, the number of stray animals that roam our streets, and feral populations.
  3. Spread the word. One of the main reasons animal abuse often goes unreported is due to lack of awareness.

    Social media is such a powerful tool to implement change. Stand up against animal cruelty by sharing this blog post on your social media channels and encourage your friends, family members, and followers to take a stand too. You may also share our Facebook and Instagram

  4. Stop the wildlife selfies. We understand just how adorable and photogenic animals can be, but please refrain from taking selfies with wild animals. Close contact with humans causes physical and emotional stress, and negatively impacts just about everything in their lives: from feeding and sleeping, to breeding and birth rates. There have even been two high-profile cases of dolphins dying after being mobbed by selfie-seeking tourists and a mountain goat seeking relief from a human crowd and dying.

    Just like you wouldn’t want some random person grabbing you and forcing you to take a selfie with them, wild animals are not our playthings. They are not toys. They are living, feeling creatures with their own lives and agendas, who would prefer to be left alone and not be coerced or forced into being involved in human lives.

    Plain and simple: Leave wild animals alone.

  5. Adopt, Don’t Shop. We know how cute puppies and kittens are, but when you buy from a breeder, you are giving an animal suffering in our kill shelters a death sentence. As has been proven, adopted pets are just as loving and deserving as pets from a breeder. And, not all breeders breed responsibly. You never know if that cute puppy came from a puppy and will likely have significant health issues. Your fees only go to support that puppy mill and its owners nefarious and abusive practices.

    Next time you are looking to add a furry friend to your family, visit your local shelter or nonprofit animal rescue organization.

  6. Get involved. Animal shelters and animal rescues like Paw Prints in the Sand are always looking for animal-loving volunteers to help save more lives. Not sure where to start? You can fill out our volunteer application at pawprintsinthesand.org/volunteer. On-site and remote volunteer opportunities are available.

    You may also want to consider fostering a pet. Fostering truly saves lives. Like most foster-based animal welfare organizations, we cannot save an animal in need unless we have a dedicated local foster home in place. For more information on our pet foster program, go to www.pawprintsinthesand.org/foster/. If you are not local to the Southern California area, look up animal rescues that are in your area and see how you can help make a difference.

    Another way to help prevent animal cruelty is to donate to your favorite animal welfare organization. Most rescues, such as PPITS, cover all medical and training costs and provide all supplies to our foster. We cannot help those who need us most without the generosity of our supporters. To donate any amount today, go to www.pawprintsinthesand.org/donate. Be mindful of who you donate to. Not all animal rescues are reputable.

    Furthermore, donations to help end animal cruelty isn’t just relegated for animal rescue organizations. Many are unaware of just how many medical charities fund animal testing. While we all want to find cures for human diseases, using animals as test subjects is cruel, inhumane, and unethical. Do your research to ensure whatever charity you chose to donate to is reputable and it treats animals with respect.

These are just a few ways  you can get involved and help fight for animals’ rights today and every day.

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

Memorial Day is the day Americans gather together to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is also considered the unofficial start of summer and with that, there’s the chance you will celebrate with friends and family members, both two-legged and four!

From barbecues and beach trips to camping, boating, and other fun outdoor activities, here are some Memorial Day safety tips for your pets that you can use throughout the summer!

BBQ Safety

Like children, pets are susceptible to risks when it comes to BBQs and outdoor grills. These include things like burns, eye and skin irritation, choking, interacting with grilling tools, and more. To keep your pets safe around the BBQ this summer, the National Fire Prevention Association says that pets and children should be kept at least three feet away from grills and grilling devices. Be careful with lighter fluid as well, as this can be toxic to pets if ingested.

If your pet does get burned, Dr. Kevin Windsor, DVM, of Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, recommends carefully cleaning the burn area. “Rinse the burn immediately with cold water, cover the area with a light bandage to prevent the animal from licking it, and take the pet to an emergency vet.”

Food Safety

We know Fido may like to beg, especially from guests who will gladly give him or her some table scraps, some foods may be harmful to your pets. Things like raw meats, bones, onions can be toxic to dogs and cats and can cause intestinal damage, or lead to stomach issues and anemia. Also, be mindful of foods like corn on the cob. While the corn itself is fine, eating an entire cob can cause choking or require surgical removal. Other foods that are toxic to pets include avocados, grapes, chocolate, chives, garlic, raw eggs, and alcohol, so these foods and drinks should be kept away from dogs and cats at all times.

If your pet ingests any harmful foods or grilling items, seek veterinary care immediately.

Water Safety

Whether you’re celebrating in your backyard or at the beach, water safety is just as important for your pets as it is for your human family. Dogs are not always naturally gifted swimmers like you might think. If they are still learning, make sure to keep them on a leash and under your control in case they get scared or a wave knocks them down. And don’t force them in if they are not interested in getting wet. At the beach, pay particular attention to any riptides or strong currents. Chat with the lifeguards if you’re unsure. And definitely do not let your pet drink ocean water! Make sure your pet is wearing a life vest as even the best swimmers can have difficulty with currents and waves- even in pools and lakes. Dogs should always wear a life vest when boating.

Sun Safety

Just like us, our pets need to be protected from sun exposure. To keep your pet safe from sunburn and the risk of developing certain skin issues such as skin cancer, consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen to your four-legged friend. Pets with light-colored fur or a thin coat are more likely to get burned, so protect them as best you can! This might mean using an old t-shirt to protect them from the elements, finding them a dog hat that slips over the ears and fastens under their snout, or just limiting their sun time altogether.

Also, make sure your pet has plenty of access to cool fresh water and shade. Click here to check out more tips on how to keep your pets cool in the summer.

ID’s and Microchipping

Summer holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day also include fireworks, which can spook your pets if they aren’t accustomed to loud noises. As you get ready for the summer, now is a great time to make sure their ID tags and microchips are up-to-date with your correct contact information. May is National Chip Your Pet Month, so if your pet is not microchipped, consider the importance of this noninvasive procedure that could help reunite you with your beloved pet if he or she gets out and lost in the frenzy of the holiday festivities.

Should you lose your pet, put signs up in the neighborhood and surrounding areas with a good, clear photo of your pet, some basic information, including temperament and any approachability notes as well as the best phone number to reach you. Also, make sure to check your local shelter as animal control agencies pick up more pets during the summer holidays than any other time of year. Sadly, many unclaimed pets end up being euthanized, so make sure your pets are contained, have proper identification, and ensure their safe return home.

Insect Repellant

Our pets are not immune from the insect annoyances that warmer weather can provide. Mosquitos, in particular, can be a real pest for pets and can cause heartworm, but there are natural insect repellants (some DIY) that you can use to help ward off the little buggers! Essential oils can be a huge help here when mixed with witch hazel or carrier oils like almond, grapeseed, or fractionated coconut oil. You can also buy a pet-friendly insect repellant if you don’t want to make your own.

We hope that you have a happy, healthy, and safe summer with your pets! If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile: Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).

What To Do If You Find Kittens

What To Do If You Find Kittens

In a recent blog post, we discussed “kitten season,” the time of year when the kitten population seems to explode and can be extremely overwhelming for rescues and shelters alike. Because we are right in the middle of kitten season now, we wanted to expand on what you should do if you find kittens.

You may be tempted to gather them up and bring them into your home, but sometimes, this can cause more harm than good. If you find a kindle (did you know that’s the name for a group of kittens?), here are some tips to keep in mind.

A Kitten Is Safest With Their Mom

Your instinct will likely be to bring the kitten(s) indoors, but kittens are definitely safest with their mom. For health reasons, if you find a mom and her kittens, please leave them be but keep an eye on them. Create a safe, comfortable haven for the mother cat to take care of her babies, and this should include warm bedding, as kittens require a tremendous amount of warmth.

Be sure to put out clean water and change it frequently, and both wet and dry kitten food is best so the mama cat can keep up her caloric intake while feeding the babies.

What About Kittens Without Their Mom?

It’s pretty common to come across kittens and the mother is nowhere to be found. If this happens to you, leave the kittens where they are, but plan to observe them every two to three hours to see if the mother cat materializes. This advice pertains to kittens who appear to be in good health, and are free from any obvious illnesses or suffering. If you do see the mother cat, leave the kittens alone and contact a local rescue to let them know what you have found. They can assist with safely trapping the family and providing them with the care they need.

What If The Mom Is Absent After 2-3 Hours?

If you have found a newborn kitten (even if their eyes are closed and the umbilical cord is still attached), wait a couple of hours to see if the mom returns. She may be busy finding food or relocating her litter, and you may have stumbled upon the lone kitten in the interim. However, if the mom is still absent after two or three hours, take the kitten(s) to safety.  

Keeping a Kitten Warm Is Your #1 Priority

Your first priority should be to keep the kitten warm or to help them regain a normal body temperature before you do anything else. This can be achieved by placing the kitten inside your shirt or creating a soft, warm environment inside a crate or carrier for them in your home. Fleece blankets are particularly effective, as are warming blankets and hot water bottles, but make sure to cover any warming objects to avoid burns. You are looking for a temperature of about 90F. A nearby heater is also a good idea.

Try To Help The Kitten Go Potty

After the kitten has regained their temperature, they will likely be more active and moving around. This is a good indication that you should feed them. But, before you do, help the kitten go potty by helping to stimulate them. Rub a paper towel on their genital and anal area, as kittens require assistance and can’t go potty on their own. Usually, their moms will help them with their tongues, so you don’t have to be super gentle. But know that this takes patience and practice, so don’t give up! They also may not have been fed for some time, and they naturally don’t have to go.

Feeding Time

Once you’re ready to feed the kitten, be sure that you have Kitten Meal Replacement (KMR) formula at the ready. The only suitable alternative is goat’s milk. Cow’s milk is not tolerated well by kittens and could cause them to have diarrhea and dehydration. You will need a kitten bottle, and you should follow the instructions on how to warm up the formula prior to feeding. Make sure you check the temperature before you feed, exactly as you would with a baby. Newborn kittens will need to eat every two hours if their eyes are closed, and every four hours if their eyes have opened.

Determining the Needs of a Kitten

A good rule of thumb is that if a kitten can walk on their own, they do not need to be kept warm as we discussed above. However, they can still be given warm formula if they are showing signs of hunger. Put down a saucer of formula to see if they will lap it up on their own, but you may need to feed them with a bottle too. Depending on their age, they may also be interested in dry kibble or wet food too. Be sure that water and food are available at all times for any kittens you take in. Also, kittens who can walk on their own will need a litter box to use, and you should use a soft litter for their sensitive paws.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind that many kittens who are in need of help will look for it and come to you. But others may be frightened and scared, hissing and spitting as you’re attempting to help them. Use a blanket, a towel, or gloves to assist you in handling the kitten if they are being a bit wild. Holding them close to your heart where they can feel it beating will help to calm them down. Be on the lookout for any signs of diarrhea that persist for 24 hours after you have started feeding. If you find this, it would be best to contact a veterinarian or rescue who can help you.

If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:

Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and pet mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).


Puppy Mill Awareness

Puppy Mill Awareness

Today marks the beginning of Puppy Mill Action Week. There aren’t many things that are cuter in the world than a puppy. That breath! Those eyes! And of course, all of the unconditional love they bring. Deciding to get a puppy is a big decision, but perhaps even more important is where you get your puppy from.

“Adopt don’t shop” holds a special place in our hearts as an animal rescue. There are so many wonderful puppies and young dogs around the world who are searching for their forever homes. So, we always encourage prospective pet parents to research this option before contacting a breeder.

On the topic of breeders, there are those who do practice responsible breeding. However, puppy mills are still a serious problem in the US, and if you’re an inexperienced pet owner, they may be tough to spot. So today, we wanted to share some of the benefits of adopting a rescue dog in addition to shedding some light on the issue of puppy mills.

What Is a Puppy Mill?

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities where the focus is always quantity over quality. The conditions are inhumane, and canine health takes a back seat to profits by unscrupulous breeders. Most of the time, dogs are kept in cages for their entire lives. They are bred over and over again without any care for their health or time for recovery between litters. Most of the puppies that are sold in pet stores around the country are sourced from puppy mills.

Signs It’s a Puppy Mill

There are several red flags when it comes to spotting a puppy mill, but these really only apply if you are dealing directly. Here are a few:

  • Puppies that have been separated from their mothers prematurely and are being sold at less than six weeks of age.
  • Sellers with many different types of purebred or hybrid breed dogs.
  • Local breeders won’t allow you to see their facility or grounds where their animals are bred, raised, and kept.
  • Out-of-state breeders who are quick to accept payment (click-and-pay), and will ship a dog to an owner without meeting them first.
  • Lack of commitment to the puppy and contact with you as their owner. Responsible breeders will want to know where their puppies are going and who they will be living with.

Puppy Mill Laws

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of laws governing puppy mills. They are legal, which surprises many people because of their cruel nature. The good news is that some states like California are making changes to laws that directly impact puppy mills. As of January 1, 2019, California pet stores can no longer sell certain animals sourced from anywhere other than animal rescues and shelters. Known as California Assembly Bill 485, commercial pet stores may only sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from these sources. Additionally, they are obligated to keep records of where the animal was obtained from in addition to their spay and neuter documents, and all of this information is required to be posted near the animal’s cage. It’s not a complete fix for the puppy mill issue, but it’s certainly a start.

Benefits of Adopting

Of course, one of the best ways to counteract puppy mills is to adopt your next puppy from a reputable animal rescue or shelter. There are millions of dogs who are looking for a loving forever home! Here are some of the benefits of adopting:

  • Breed-Specific Rescues Exist: If you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog, look for breed-specific rescues who can help! There is typically a rescue for every breed as often people buy a puppy from a breeder and change their minds. Example: If you are looking for a pug, simply Google ‘pug rescue’.
  • Shelter Dogs Aim To Please: Many shelter pups are ecstatic to finally have human contact! They want so much to be loved and will give that love back unconditionally!
  • Social Opportunities: Not only will your new shelter pup need to have the opportunity to socialize, but this will also give you the chance to meet other pet parents in your neighborhood, at the dog park, etc. Plus, when you mention your pup is a rescue, chances are, you are going to get the opportunity to share your pup’s story with other rescue pup parents.
  • Up-To-Date on Basic Vet Care: Adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter will almost always mean that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations (if they are old enough, of course). The same is true for spaying and neutering, as most rescues and shelters require the pet to be altered before they will adopt it out. Also, an adopted pet is microchipped too!
  • Shelter Pets Are Often Housebroken: Ask any puppy parent and they will tell you that the biggest challenge is often potty training! The good news about shelter dogs is that they are almost always housebroken when you bring them home. If you adopt a dog that isn’t house-trained, there are several resources available to help. Older dogs usually get the hang of things faster.
  • Puppies Aren’t For Everyone: In addition to potty training a puppy, there are many other behaviors that require tons of time, training, and attention. Not everyone is up to the task, or the time and energy a puppy requires. But that’s okay! Shelters are filled with adult dogs too who would love to come home with you, so you can skip the puppy phase if it’s too much.

We hope you found this article helpful. We are always available to answer any questions you might have about adding a puppy to your family. If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at info@pawprintsinthesand.org. We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight, and pet mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).