Photo by Martin Hernandez

Hi I’m Indy! A 2-year-old female Beagle Mix, ID#A063686.  You know how there’s those dogs you meet that seem to have that certain kinda something that just screams “pet me now?”  Shamelessly, I’m a no-nonsense diva.  Barring my invitation to approach me, assume that there is no fast friend to be made here!  But!  Those that can mind their manners, respect my space, and patiently earn my trust, can anticipate my transformation from diva to delightful.  From my gleeful jumps on you (I could use some pointers in obedience with a concentration in the “off” cue), the ridiculously adorable way I wiggle and jiggle my hips, to zooming around in an overflowing excitement to see you, I am bound to leap straight into your heart. Leaving no pup behind, I accommodate an open-door policy for my kin.  Anytime spent loving, walking, romping, chasing, and jumping up, down, and all around with them is a never-ending day at Disneyland!  Needless to say, if you manage your expectations when you meet me, and you give me plenty of happy hours with dogs, I just might be your next best friend. The Santa Monica Animal Shelter is located at 1640 9th Street in Santa Monica.  Walk-in adoptions are accommodated, but appointments are preferred and can be made by calling (310) 458-8595, Tuesday through Saturday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For a full list of their adoptables, and more information about the shelter and animal control, visit santamonica.gov, and search Animal Services. 

PET TIP OF THE WEEK: Keeping the Trick out of the Treat This Halloween for Dogs and Cats

For many, Halloween is that time of the year when getting spooked is splendid! But this frightful holiday can create scary circumstances for dogs and cats.  There are many ways to keep Halloween’s trick out of the treat for them!

Keep decorations out of reach. Tipped over pumpkins with candles can cause burns. Decorations with sharp edges, wires, and nets can cause injury.  

Corn plant decor and candy can cause stomach issues and be toxic to dogs and cats. Stash the candy, and give them pet safe pumpkin treats instead! Chocolate and xylitol are toxic to dogs and cats. If they are consumed, call your veterinarian, and look for symptoms of illness like foaming at the mouth, difficulty breathing, vomiting, hiding, disorientation, lethargy, and agitation.  

Not all pets find costumes amusing!  If your dog or cat is sensitive to handling, prefers their space, or shows any signs of stress, let them wear their birthday suit instead.

For those that pay no mind, keep costumes simple.  Avoid fabrics that can cause skin allergies, and accessories that can be choking hazards. Costumes should not restrict movement, eyes, mouth, or nose, as it can limit their ability to see, smell, breathe, eat, and drink.

Desensitize them to their costumes to create a positive association to the experience.  Prior to Halloween, place the costumes in an area they frequent so they can become accustomed to them on their own terms.  Then, fit them with the costume for a few minutes a day, while praising them lavishly and giving them high value rewards.  Increase the time as they become more comfortable. If at any time they show signs of distress, skip the costumes all together! For those that take to the Halloween couture, wearing them should always be supervised.  

If you are planning a holiday cat or dog photo or video shoot, avoid bright lights and camera flashes as they may startle them causing them to cower, freeze in fear, turn away, and even run for cover.  This can create a lasting fear of the sight of cameras.  Elaborate sets can be overwhelming, and unfamiliar confined spaces can make them feel cornered.  Use open spaced sets with pet safe decorations and props, and keep wires covered. Never force your dog or cat to strike a pose.  Allow them to engage at their own pace while showering them with praise and offering high value rewards. If you observe any signs of stress, end your shoot immediately.

Halloween night can increase traffic outside which can cause anxiety, increasing you’re their chances of escape.  If you stay home, close windows and doors, and restrict them from high traffic areas. If you are opening your door frequently to trick-or-treaters, restrict access to the front door with a pet gate, or by keeping them in another room with the door closed.  Their ID tags should be worn at all times.  Keep them calm by playing familiar noises and soothing music to drown out outside noises.  Occupy them with toys and activities, cuddles, and a calming bed for them to nap.  If your dog or cat has an increased level of anxiety, contact your veterinarian for alternate ways to keep them calm.

If you are trick-or-treating with your dog in toe, keep their microchip and dog license up-to-date, dog license and ID tags should be visible and worn at all times, and keep them on leash. Reflective collars and leashes make it easier for cars to see them.  A shorter leash can prevent your dog from consuming potentially poisonous candy on the ground, and encounters with people in the dark who might frighten them.

By using caution, practicing safety, and providing your dog or cat with their own safe treats and activities, you can turn a night with fright into pure delight for them!

Pet of the Week is provided by Carmen Molinari.  A longtime volunteer at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter and founder and CEO of Love At First Sit®, a pet care and dog behavior & training company in Santa Monica. Learn more at loveatfirstsit.net and Instagram.com/loveatfirstsit.