Pet owners don’t have an emergency response system to call when accidents happen or they simply need advice. Fortunately, plenty of websites make it easy to find information quickly. Here are a few favorites that pet owners will find useful:
Singer Mariah Carey recently tweeted that her dog, Jill E. Beans, likes strawberries, and asked, “Should I be concerned?” Eliminate the guesswork and prevent potential health hazards by bookmarking the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Poison Control section. Along with detailed info about plants that are toxic to cats and toxic to dogs, the ASPCA lists common foods such as grapes and onions that can make pets very sick. It also helps to jot down the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center hotline: 1-888-426-4435.
Accidents typically happen long after your vet has closed shop for the evening. Fortunately, the American Animal Hospital Association offers a handy online search tool to help locate accredited facilities around the country, including those open 24 hours. If you are traveling with your pet, add this site to the list of essentials.
Consult your veterinarian if pets have chronic health issues and consider WebVet.com a good resource to help understand symptoms before scheduling that appointment. Experts verify the health information, so it’s a good place to start conducting research on topics such as holistic care or training. Since ferrets, hedgehogs and parrots need love too, the site also features vet-approved information for birds and small animals.
Avoid costly and life-threatening illnesses by keeping your pet’s vaccinations up to date. If you don’t have a regular veterinarian, scout out local festivals for low-cost shot clinics, and bookmark LuvMyPet.com for fast access to more than 600 weekend-only vaccination clinics located at Petco stores across the country. PawsPlus.com also offers deeply discounted vaccinations at clinics in 14 states.
A handful of manufacturing plants produce pet food for several companies, which means that recalls rarely affect just one brand. Once the news spreads about a recall, start scanning the “Animal & Veterinary” section of the FDA.gov website. Also, be sure to bookmark the company website for your pet’s favorite kibble and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to coupons and deals, many companies have become proactive about sharing recall information and instructions.
Hotels have gone to the dogs. If you are traveling this summer, check out the rapidly expanding network of pet-friendly bed and breakfasts, hotels, and vacation rentals across the globe. The site also lists dog parks, hiking trails and restaurants that welcome pets. Just don’t forget to bring the poop bags.
Questions like, “Is my dog defective?” show that this online forum serves as a judgment-free zone. Created by professional dog trainer Sarah Wilson, the site mixes expert advice with tips from other pet owners who feel your pain. I visit frequently for a little advice and encouragement.
Naughty dogs must have more fun. That’s why I love my Lulu and all her adventures. But I also take guilty pleasure hearing about other dogs’ exploits, particularly the precocious pup that inspired an occasionally off-color blog called “Text From Dog.” (Sample texts: “A bee got into the house.” “Where do you keep the guns?”) I’m just glad Lulu doesn’t have thumbs to wreak even more havoc.
— Share some of your favorite pet websites with Morieka Johnson @Soulpup
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