Daily Walrus - Helping People Help Animals

Natural Disasters – Oh My!

April 9, 2008
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Staff here at the Daily Walrus are on our death beds from presumably the plague.  But we did not want to leave you, our loyal readers, without a tip for helping animals.  Scientists at Colorado State University have predicted an above-average hurricane season this year with at least one major hurricane hitting the United States.  In addition to this, it seems that tornados are a daily occurrence (or that could just be in my nightmares).  Whether you live in an area that is high-risk or low-risk (Atlanta got struck with tornados, nowhere is safe) you need to have an evacuation plan.

Your plan should include several necessary components.  First, figure out where you will go if you need to evacuate – find out now which places will allow you to bring your beloved animals.  Second, make sure that you have crates/carriers for the animals to be transported in.  This means that if you have ten cats but only one carrier (because you only take one to the vet at a time) you need to get at least four more!  I know that storage can be a pain, especially if you live in a tiny New York City apartment, but get creative – put a sheet over your carrier and it can be an end table, or you can just hide it in your closet or car like we do.  Finally, always have your pets’ medication available.  If your pet takes medicine regularly, do not wait until there is only one dose left before refilling – make sure you always have at least a weeks supply on hand.  The same goes for food.


Join animalattraction.com and Support Homeless Animals

March 7, 2008
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Animal Attractionis an online community for animal lovers and their pets.  It is kind of like myspace, but in addition to having your own profile you can create ones for your pets as well.  There are member profiles, articles about pet health care, blogs, photo galleries, and more.  The best part is that when you sign up, you get to select either the ASPCA, North Shore Animal League, Best Friends Animal Society, or the Petfinder Foundation as your charity of choice.  For simply signing up, your choice gets a one dollar donation.  For each day you log in to your profile, your charity of choice will get one cent.  It doesn’t sound like much, but its a couple of bucks that group didn’t have before.  You can also earn additional money for your charity by encouraging your friends to join.

 For more information, click here.

Wally and Tito are considering sharing a page with this as their main picture.  What do you think?

Wally & Tito

It’s Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2008
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This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to send a little love to your neighborhood animal shelter. You can always send a card with a monetary donation, but here are a few other ideas that will make you the sweetheart of both the animals and volunteers. Drop off a few boxes of dog and cat treats for the animals. Whip up a batch of cookies for the staff and volunteers and bring those along as well.

Many shelters have “wish lists” of items they are in need of on their websites. Often listed are common items like towels, cleaning supplies, leashes and kibble. Some shelters are in need of larger items like pet carriers, used laptops, or monitors. I know we have an old PC in the closet taking up space. Maybe it could be put to good use by the good folks at Ollie’s Place. I think I’ll call and find out!

If you’ve adopted a pet from a shelter, send a card and a pic of your pet with a brief update on how they’re doing (along with a donation). The volunteers will love to hear a success story, and will be encouraged by the fact that the work they’re doing is making a difference in the lives of animals.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

National Canine Weight Check Month

February 13, 2008
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According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 40% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.  That is why many vets across the nation are teaming up this February for the National Canine Weight Check.  You can take your dog, possibly without an appointment, to the vet’s office to for a free weigh-in.  They will give you some info on canine obesity and a card to help you keep an eye on your dog’s weight.  Call your local vet to see if they are participating.  If not, ask if you can swing by to get your dog (or cat) wieghed for free anyway.  

Everyone loves their pets and wants to make them as happy as possible.  Often, we express this by giving them treat after treat or overfeeding.  While your pets (and you) may enjoy this feeling, you may be “loving your pet to death.”  Give your pets the right amount of food, limit their intake of unhealthy treats, and be sure they get plenty of exercise.  If you know of someone with a pet that is overweight, let them know about the National Canine Weight Check.  It may save their best friend’s life!        

For more info, check out stopcanineobesity.com.

Preparing for an Animal-Friendly Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2008
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Hey folks! Hope you had a great weekend. Here at Daily Walrus HQ we are gearing up for another busy week – one that happens to include a pet-friendly Valentine’s Day celebration.  No, we aren’t buying Wally, Tito and Luigi any candy or flowers.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  We’re making sure that none of the gifts we give each other contain any toxins that could harm the little guys.

That means chocolates (even delicious vegan chocolates) are off the list, as they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, an elevated heart rate, or worse in dogs and cats.  Also certain flowers, including lilies, are a no-go because they are poisonous.  Click here to see a list of other flowers and plants that are poisonous to pets from the ASPCA.  Additionally, they have a list of the 10 most common hazardous plants for pets.

Remember that even if your favorite flowers aren’t on the list, pets can still get an upset stomach from ingesting the petals, so keep them out of reach.  Also remember that roses may have thorns that can be dangerous if stepped on, chewed, or swallowed. 

If you think your pet may have eaten something poisonous, give the ASPCA’s poison control center a call at (888) 426-4435. Remember that there is a $60 fee for this service so your first option may be to call your vet during normal business hours.  Also, many communities have 24-hour pet clinics that may be able to answer your questions. 

If you need recommendations for Valentine’s Day gifts, the ASPCA also offers a few suggestions in collaboration with 1-800-FLOWERS here.  They also get to keep 10% of the purchase price so it’s a win-win-win-win for you, your sweetheart, the ASPCA, and your pets. 

Click here for more info on keeping your pets safe from poisonous substances. 

Click here if you think your pet has been poisoned. 

Click here for the ASPCA’s Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s Day. 

I Love NYC Pets!

February 6, 2008
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February is “I Love NYC Pets Month” throughout the 5 boroughs.  If you have been considering adopting a new friend, there is no better time than now.  Pet adoption agencies and animal shelters will be hitting the streets offering over 50 events showcasing some of the many pets in need of good homes.

Click here to read more about the celebration or to get started finding your “furry Valentine.”  Not a New Yorker?  No problem!  Check out petfinder.com to find adoption centers near you. 


Spread your message when you aren’t home

January 28, 2008
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Getting people to listen to you talk about animal activism can be a challenge.  That’s why it’s always important to take advantage of any captive audiences you have (no matter how small).  Every time someone calls you and gets your answering machine, you have an audience-of-one while they wait for the beep.  After you yammer on about names and numbers, remind them to buy cruelty-free products, donate to their local animal shelters,  or spay or neuter their pet.  It only takes a few seconds, and it might be the spark someone needs to take action.   

Offer a Ride

January 27, 2008
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We live in a city where public transportation is the primary method of getting from point A to point B.  The subway and bus system here is fantastic, and it’s not uncommon to see people toting their smaller, furry friends in carriers on their way to the vet’s office. 

Since we have a car (Ryan has to drive to NJ a couple days each week for work), we always make it known to friends that, if needed, we can give them a lift to the vet.  This is especially helpful to those with larger dogs that can’t travel on the trains or buses.  Also, while there are plenty of vets in NYC, some are more difficult to access by train or bus without making numerous transfers.   Some pets also get super-stressed thanks to the noise on the subways, so a safely secured ride in the car makes the trip easier on them. 

If you know of friends or relatives (especially elderly or over-worked individuals) who may need a hand getting to the vet, let them know that you’re there.  We always offer a ride on the weekends or whenever we’re free so that nothing keeps their pets from their vet appointments.          


Car insurance for your pets?

January 24, 2008
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I saw a commercial today for Progressive Auto Insurance that advertised a pet-friendly feature of its Collision policy.  If your pet is injured in an accident while riding in your car, Progressive will cover vet bills up to $500.  The policy also entitles customers to a discount on pet health insurance. 

It sounds interesting, but always be sure to read the fine print if you are interested.  If you take your pets on the road as much as we do, this might be a policy worth checking out.  Unfortunately, this offer isn’t available in NC, NH, and NY.  To find out more, click here.       

One more thing – The picture on Progressive’s page features a dog riding shotgun with its head sticking out of the window.  If that car were to be in an accident, I’m not sure insurance or a vet could do much to help.  That’s why earlier this month we wrote about the importance of securing your pet while traveling.  The insurance policy is nice safety net to have, but there are plenty of simple things you can do to make sure your pet is safe while being chauffeured around town.   

Brushy brushy brushy

January 18, 2008

Ryan and I brush our teeth at least two times a day for two minutes.  I can’t imagine skipping a day – yuck!  Can you imagine brushing your teeth zero times daily?  How about once every six months?  Once in five years?  Not only would your breath kick harder than Bruce Lee, but you would surely develop gingivitis and eventually need to have teeth extracted.  Unfortunately, this is what pets often have to face as they grow older. 

Many people have their pet’s teeth cleaned at the vet’s office.  Some sources recommend doing this yearly (though after talking with our vet, I got the sense that few people actually do this).  The procedure begins with dropping your pet off at the vet’s office in the morning.  When they are ready, the pet is put under with anesthesia and the doctor uses tools to scrape off the tartar and plaque.  At the end of the day, you pick up your pup or kitty and return home to play play play.

This sounds easy enough, but remember that anesthesia can be risky for any animal – particularly elderly pets or those with heart conditions.  Unfortunately, it is usually elderly pets that need the most dental care (thanks to a life of poor dental hygiene).  This makes professional teeth cleaning too risky for some to consider. 

You can avoid unnecessary anesthesia by taking care of your pet’s teeth at home.  Every pet store from the big chains to the posh boutiques sell toothbrushes and toothpaste made for especially for your cats and dogs.  It comes in different flavors (our guys prefer chicken flavor) and isn’t harmful if swallowed.  Don’t use human toothpaste – it isn’t meant to be swallowed by humans, much less pets!     

Remember that some animals may need you to ease into full on brushing.  Start by rubbing your fingers on their teeth for a few consecutive nights to get them used to the sensation of having something in their mouth.  Give them a treat afterwards as a reward.  Gradually work your way up, covering your finger with a gauze pad and rubbing their teeth in a circular motion, trying to cover all areas of the mouth.  Again, reward them afterwards.  Eventually you can upgrade to the brush.  Start off slow, gradually increasing to several times a week.  We try to brush our guys’ teeth daily.  Here is a nice article with tips on brushing.     

Your pets may never like this activity, but do not let that stop you.  Around our house, Luigi doesn’t mind having his teeth brushed at all.  Tito struggles a little but is fairly indifferent.  Wally, on the other hand, turns into a claw-weilding wiggle worm.  Despite the struggle (it takes both of us to corall Wally), the effort is worth it.  All is forgiven when he gets his post-brush treat (dry treats are better for the teeth than wet) and starts to purr.  It can be a challenge, but it’s reassuring to know that healthy teeth can add years onto an animal’s life.   

Luigi was the only one awake as we typed this blog post, so he was the lucky model:

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About author

Hello - we are Jenny and Ryan, a couple living in Brooklyn, New York. We are both busy with school and work but try to take time to do something every day to make the world a better place for animals. Occasionally we may link to outside websites for additional resources, but we do not necessarily endorse all policies of these organizations. Despite the title of our blog, the focus is not only on walruses. So what's with the title? We named this blog after our cat, Wally, aka The Walrus. We are the proud parents of two cats (Wally and Tito) and one dog (Luigi).