Do you know when to consider a pet injury or ailment an emergency? On November 4th, SOS Pets hosted a clinic to explore pet first aid and the basics of trapping safety at the Seward Volunteer Fire Department. The class was well attended by about 20 local folks and lasted about two hours.
One of the first thoughts shared by our presenters was, “If you’re thinking ‘Is this bad enough to go to the vet?’ the answer is probably yes.” The next question was, “What constitutes an emergency?” We learned the basics of what is normal body function for dogs and cats and when to worry.
We also covered toxic foods and found out a few foods many didn’t know were toxic to dogs and cats. Everyone knows chocolate and grapes can be toxic, but did you know onions and garlic are bad for dogs as well? Garlic and other members of the allium family, including onions, contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs but not to humans.
Another lesser known fact was that some peanut butter types are very bad for dogs as they contain Xylitol, a naturally occurring substance which is often used as a sugar substitute. While safe for humans, Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death. Our presenters recommended pet parents only use all natural peanut butter which does not contain Xylitol. Grapes, xylitol, chocolate, onions, and garlic are also toxic to your cat.
Our session also covered pet safety and trapping. Most of the attendees assumed there are regulations in place when it comes to trapping locations and areas commonly used by the public and their pets. We soon learned that the Eastern Kenai Peninsula has very few regulations and that trapping is allowed virtually everywhere except for Seward City limits. Our presenter mentioned an ethical, well-versed hunter will place their traps in places very unlikely to capture a pet but new trappers may not know any better.
Our next topic covered how to release a pet from a trap. These situations can be stressful and it’s recommended to muzzle or cover the head of a trapped dog so as not to accidentally get bit. We reviewed how each trap functioned and how to release it before heading outside to practice with each trap.
There are several online resources for learning about Alaska Trapping and what to do should you find yourself dealing with a trapped pet.
Should you find a trap while out with your pet it’s best to leave it alone. Alaska Law forbids springing a trap. However, if it’s near a trail and potentially a hazard to others you can report it to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s Soldotna office at Phone (907) 262-9368.