Monday, July 21, 2014

Talk to the Paw: Summer Foot Care Tips for your Pooch

Blistering 90 to 100 degree temperatures not only put people at risk, but also our animal companions. Be extra mindful of your pets’ changing needs during these dog days of summer days, especially their paws. The potential for paw pad injuries and burns is commonly overlooked. Use these simple tips to keep your dog enjoying walks this summer!
Know the Common Culprits: Asphalt, metal boat docks, beach sand, leather seats, and car and truck surfaces can often be too hot for your dog's paws.
Easy Tip #1: Remember the 7-second rule! Place the back of your hand on the surface for 7 seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog.
Easy Tip #2: Walk your dog in the shade or on grass. Consider walking in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler.
Easy Tip #3: Use a towel or blanket, preferably wet, for your dog to sit on while loading your car or enjoying the outdoors on hot days. 
Know the Signs: Darkened skin, refusal to walk, licking and chewing, reddened skin, blisters, and limping are all indications that your dog's paws are burned or injured See your veternarian for treatment as soon as possible. 

And Remember... Never put booties on your dog during hot weather months. Dogs cool themselves down by panting and my cooling down their paws. Booties keep the heat in!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pet Travel Tips

Gearing up for a Summer vacation? Make it more fun for everyone and bring your dog along! Here are a few pet travel tips to keep everyone safe and happy.

  • When planning your trip, check to see if there are pet-friendly hotels at your destination. Also, keep in mind that many state and national parks do not allow dogs in cabins, some campsites, or on trails. Do your research to make sure that your dog will be allowed where you are going!
  • Before your trip, make sure your pet is healthy and up for the journey. Make a trip to your vet to get a clean bill of health and get them updated on necessary vaccinations, heartworm preventative, and flea and tick preventative.
  • Take precautions that will help you should your pet get lost during your trip. Make sure they have a collar and ID tags with your most current contact information. Attach a temporary tag with the information of where you will be staying on your trip. You can also ensure a permanent form of identification by getting your pet microchipped.
  • When packing for your trip, make sure to bring a generous supply of your pet's regular food. Other essentials include: food and water bowls, litter and litter box, crate and bedding, leash and harness, grooming supplies, dog poop bags, toys, treats, pet first aid kit, and any necessary medications.
  • When traveling by car, it's safest to have your dog in a crate or secured with a seat belt harness in the back seat. This keeps your dog safe if you suddenly need to hit the brakes and it keeps your eyes focused on the road while driving.
  • Some dogs are sensitive to motion sickness while riding the car. To avoid an upset stomach, don't feed a large meal right before the car ride and don't feed snacks while the car is in motion.
  • Take frequent breaks on long road trips to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, get a drink and use the bathroom (but always on-leash!).
  • Bring some kind of entertainment for your dog during the trip, a chew toy or other favorite toy to help alleviate boredom.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car, even for a quick stop. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach over 100 degrees in only 10 minutes. A dog left alone in a car also poses a risk for your dog to be stolen.
  • Don't allow your dog to stick their heads out of the window. It may look fun, but they could be injured from flying debris.
  • If you are flying to your destination, your pet should ride with you in the cabin of the airplane. Check with your airline in advance of your trips for the regulations and fees associated with this. Animals flown in the cargo area of airplanes are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights each year. It may be the safest option to leave your pet at home with a pet sitter or boarded.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Preparing Your Pets for an Emergency

Do you have a preparedness plan in case of an emergency, like a fire, flood, or tornado? Your family's plan for emergency safety should include plans for your pets as well. With tornado season about to start in Texas, take some time to make sure you are ready and prepared.

Step One: Make a Pet Emergency Supply Kit
  • Include 3 days worth of pet food in a waterproof, airtight container and at least 3 days worth of bottled water.
  • If your pet takes medication, keep an extra supply in a waterproof container.
  • Keep a copy of your pet's medical records, vaccination records, and adoption paperwork ready to go.
  • Include a first aid kit with bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, flea and tick preventative, heartworm preventative, gloves, rubbing alcohol, and saline solution.
  • Have an extra collar, leash and ID tags handy.
  • Keep your pet's crate or travel carrier in a convenient location that you could grab easily and go when time is of the essence.
  • Have extra bathroom supplies on hand and ready to go: litter, litter box, scoop, dog waste bags, newspaper or puppy pads, paper towels, etc.
Step Two: Plan for What to Do in an Emergency
  • Communicate with your family about what your plan is for various types of emergency, such as fire, flood, tornado, power outage, etc. Know where your nearest shelter is, and if they will allow pets, if you must evacuate there in case of emergency. If pets are not allowed, consider other friends or family that could shelter you or consider pet-friendly hotel lodging. Finding out where these places are located before an emergency can save precious time when it matters most.
  • Depending on your emergency, determine if you must evacuate or shelter in place. Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for instructions from the local authorities, if necessary. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Plan with neighbors, family, and friends on what your emergency plan is and if someone would be able to take care of your pets if you were unable to.
  • Consider microchipping your pet, which is a permanent form of identification, should your pet  become separated from you.  
  • Gather contact information on local emergency animal hospitals, should your pet need urgent care.
  • Obtain "Pets Inside" stickers for your home's front and back doors. In an emergency, rescue crews would know to check for your pets inside of the home.
Step Three: Stay Informed
  • Be aware of inclement weather conditions that could pose risks to your family and pets.
  • Keep batteries in your smoke detectors and test them regularly.
  • For more information about emergency preparedness, visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Catio Partitions are Complete!

A dream has come true for the cats at Operation Kindness! New partitions have been installed on both ends of our cat porch (also known as our "catio") that will enable some of our long-term residents to get out of their cages and stretch their legs.
Catio without partitions
Catio with closed partitions

Garfield enjoys the catio
Cats at Operation Kindness that are not free-roaming are kept in cages in the cat rooms. These cats are typically in their own private space because they are either on a special diet or do not enjoy the company of other cats. Unfortunately, this means they do not get to enjoy the fun of the free-roaming catio. But not anymore!
The partitions will allow private use by cat residents who are not free roaming. The partitions easily open and close to allow the staff and volunteers to place cats on the porch on a rotating basis. This enrichment of our cat area was made possible by a generous donation from Kathleen Bailey.

Garfield got some fresh air and play time for the first time in more than a year. He spent a few hours on the porch, laying in the sun and playing with the staff.
Garfield is a 2 year old, male domestic shorthair cat that is available for adoption. You can find out more about him at

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Story of Hope

Animals are amazingly resilient creatures, but it is a sad thing when dogs are abandoned to fend for themselves.  As animal caregivers, the staff and volunteers at Operation Kindness see this every single day.  Just when you think you have seen everything, something happens that gives you pause for concern. Luckily, our medical team is able to intervene and save animals.  

Hope upon arrival at Operation Kindness
On Saint Patrick’s Day, a man brought us a small, dirty, severely matted little two year old Shih Tzu mix that he had found in an alley near his home.  The little dog was not putting any weight on her rear legs and was having a very hard time foraging for food.  The kind man brought her to Operation Kindness hoping we could help her. Upon examination, we discovered that her hair was so badly matted it was cutting off the circulation to her rear legs and feet.  Our medical team could not even cut the mat out because the hair was so tightly wound around her foot. 

Vet technicians work to remove the painful mats from Hope's hair
Our veterinarian put her under anesthesia and one of the veterinarian technicians began working on the mat, shaving a hair at a time out of the mat.  Finally, the foot and lower leg were free, but the damage to her lower leg was a severe injury.  There was a deep cut caused by the hair digging into her leg. After working for over 2 hours, she was cleaned up and free from the mats that were causing her so much pain.
Hope during her treatment
Hope, as we named her, is now resting comfortably without the shackles of her own hair binding her legs.  She will need weeks of rehabilitation in our shelter before she is ready for adoption. We believe with medical attention and therapy, we will be able to save her leg and she will get to run and play like all dogs should be able to do. 

Hope enjoys a short trip outside

For the time being, she is enjoying all the love and attention she is receiving from staff and volunteers. We'll keep you updated on her recovery and when she is made available for adoption. Click here to donate to help animals like Hope.