Prevention is the best way to avoid expensive emergencies. Responsible pet ownership goes beyond the basics of house training. For a new pet to survive and thrive, they need high-quality food in the right amount, plenty of exercise, and quality medical care. I have the chance to share these tips courtesy of Whistle, a GPS tracking device that attaches to your dog's collar, delivers its location and activity information directly to your smartphone.
Monitoring a pet’s activity and rest can help pet parents notice ailments before symptoms are displayed, and is the best way to ensure that a new pet’s needs are being met, even when the owner can’t be at home. As the most robust and economical GPS Tracker on the market, Whistle is a great gift idea for all pet owners who care about their furry domestic companions. And for every GPS tracker purchased for a new pet adopted from an animal shelter, Whistle will donate 50% back to the shelter.
Whistle’s Tips for New Pet Parents
- Dog-proof your house before you bring your new four-legged family member home. Sixty-six percent of dog owners interviewed by Whistle said they were surprised by something their dog ate. Top casualties included: Walls, underwear, dead things and poop (the top answer). Seal food in plastic containers and put them up high – above the fridge, on the shelf, in the laundry room – anywhere the pooch will definitely not be able to reach. Make sure you have a designated place that's too high for your pup to reach for your guests to put jackets and purses – remember even the little dogs can jump a few feet high.
“My dog ate three $100 bills that we had to fish out later, tape to a piece of paper, send to Dept. of Treasury to get refunded $300.” - Anonymous Dog Owner
- Pay attention to anything new you use on your dog. New shampoo, flea medicine, or even a new collar can cause unexpected reactions. If you notice any skin rashes, swelling or anything out of the ordinary, you'll know what the likely culprit could be. The more you know about your pet's usual habits and products, the easier it will be for your vet to understand the problem. Talking to other dog owners can give you peace of mind and give you context for what's "normal." It's also important to find a veterinarian that you like and feel comfortable calling on a regular basis to ask any questions that arise.
“I thought dogs were just a product of evolution, that they didn't need that much. But he (the dog) caught a parasite from something, and then proceeded to swell up because it turns out he was allergic to the antibiotics that they gave him for the parasite! Now I carry Benadryl for my dog, my dog who has allergies…” - Golden Retriever Owner
3. Be proactive about housetraining. You have to make sure that you're taking your pup out frequently enough to minimize the chance of an accident in the house. Once a dog starts peeing in the house, it's harder to break them of the habit. If your dog is sniffing or walking around the house instead of relaxing, it probably means it's time to take him out for a walk. Make it clear where you want your dog to relieve himself, and always reinforce the same spot to avoid confusion. A regular walk schedule with times that work for both you and your pup is helpful for some dog owners.
"Buster had all of his accidents when I didn't take him out after playing. I learned that if he had an accident in the house, it was usually my fault.” - Golden Retriever Owner
4. Note your dog's triggers early on. Pay attention to the things that draw his attention away from you more than usual. The more you know about your dog's triggers, the more prepared you'll be to prevent or react to them. Make sure your dog has his Whistle on, so if he runs after a trigger and can't find his way back, you'll know where to look for him.
“Molli had an unhealthy obsession with lizards. If she saw one, she took off and there was no stopping her. She really couldn't see or hear anything else while she was on a lizard pursuit.” - Pomchi Owner
5. Make sure you lock doors and gates. Always secure the perimeter in a way that your dog won't be able to push or pull down on, preferably with a key. Check-in with neighbors to ask if your pup has been up to anything while you're away. Dogs are capable of finding creative hiding places, turning into professional escape artists and figuring out how to open and close a whole array of doors, cupboards and fences (see Tip 1). A ‘nanny cam’ is a good way to see what your pup does when he's home alone. Your Whistle GPS Tracker is going to come in handy anytime your dog transforms into his escape artist alter ego.
“My dog was always a Houdini… escape artist. One day I got a call from the neighbor asking me, ‘Why is your dog on the roof?’ My dog bit through a screen, crawled out a window and onto the roof.” - Anonymous Dog Owner