Dog Blog

S is for Safety

Posted by Michelle Allen on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 05:24 PM

As we near finalizing the details of our NEW FACILITY I thought this was the perfect time for us to share how one of our priorities has been focused on enhancing our safety systems.
 
Here are a few of the most important things for you to understand about how and why Gemini Dogs will keep your doggie safer than ever in our new home:
 
- At drop-off, you will notice that there are now two doors; an exit door and an entry door. This was a must for us. Gone are the days of happening upon a dog coming out the same door you are entering! The "in" door is on the right. You'll notice a lighted awning over the entrance, to assist with safety.
 
- You will see that we've installed a window in the entry/exit doors. This is the second stage of our new safety system. By providing you with the ability to see through the door, you can ensure that there is not a "traffic jam" on the other side. Once you can see that the entry vestibule is clear, you'll be able to enter the facility with the confidence that you won't be setting your dog up for an unplanned greeting.
 
- When you step inside, you and your dog(s) will be in a secondary enclosed space (think airlock). This space is equally important to safety. It provides a safe space between the outside world and the Gemini Dogs lobby, for those slippery pups that drag the leash from your hands running to greet us! ;-)
 
- We train our staff (and our family members) from day one: "Close every single gate, every single time; even if you are planning to come right back through it." You will step beyond that "airlock" gate, and close it behind you, as you step up to the check-in counter.
 
- Once you have scanned your card (if you do not already have a membership card, please ask us for one immediately), you will hand your dog to a staff member at the entry to the doggie area. These membership scanning cards are required to be scanned at our new facility. This is perhaps the most important safety measure we are implementing. Anyone who drops off or picks up a dog will scan their card to check in and out. If we would not recognize the person who is picking up your dog, they should have that card. That card lets us know that you approve of us releasing your dog to that person. (Don't worry though...we have a backup method that you can use; just tell us the person's name, and we will request a photo ID.)
 
- Once we take possession of your dog's leash, he/she will enter the doggie zone; the main entrance to which is a door which swings in; this ensures that if your industrious pup gets loose within the doggie zone, he/she cannot push open that door to get into the front lobby area.
 
- Inside the doggie zone, we have a multitude of doors, gates, and locks that provide a layer of backup security. When moving your dog from play areas to crates, all dogs are on leash, and our staff announces every move over a walkie talkie. This provides the added layer of security for those moments when two staff members are moving dogs who may not know each other, so that they do not meet around a blind corner or in a doorway. 
 
Additional Safety Features (inside and outside of the new facility)
 
- Out in the yard, we have installed a 6-foot fence with a 2-foot angled top, which foils even the most industrious climbers/jumpers. 
 
- Surveillance cameras record every area of the facility as well as display to a live monitor, so that we have eyes on your dog at all times.
 
- All dog-to-dog introductions, as always, will be done under the watchful eye of at least three staff members, and often more!
 
- Groups are monitored by a trained Kennel Tech, even if there are only two docile dogs just hanging out together. Your dog will never ever be left unsupervised, regardless of how well he/she behaves. It is simply that strict of a rule. The moment two dogs are in a play area together, we are physically in the same space (not just watching, but physically present), and actively monitoring their every move.
 
- One of the most interesting changes in the new facility is the level of security regarding medications. We have purchased a locked, password-protected medication cart, which only certain staff members will have access to...managers and senior staff. Even then, all meds and accompanying instructions will be visually verified by a second person before being administered to your dog.
 
These are just a handful of the policies, processes, and procedures that we use every day here at Gemini Dogs, to keep your dog safe, healthy, and happy. Learn more by asking for a tour!
 

Topics: safety, Pet Safety, gemini dogs

Holiday Safety Tips

Posted by Michelle Allen on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 @ 08:34 AM

The Holiday season brings a lot of changes to your dog's normal routine. These changes will have an impact on your dog's behavior, so you want to try your best to keep your dog's schedule as close to normal as possible. Dogs are creatures of habit, and can be very upset by changes to their routine.
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There are other things that may have an impact on your dog's health and well-being, so as we get into that crazy mode of holiday shopping and parties, we could all use some little reminders:
  • Make sure that your Christmas tree is sturdy enough that a curious dog won't be able to knock it over, or pull it down as they grab at branches and bulbs. To your dog, this tree may look like a giant tree full of toys, or a big scary thing to be avoided at all costs. Either way, be mindful of your dog's reaction.
  • If your dog is curious, erect a little barrier of sorts, using a folding baby gate or by positioning a long table to block the path.
  • Tinsel can lead to an obstruction and possible surgery, it is best avoided.
  • Shards of breakable ornaments can damage your dog's mouth and digestive tract, so be sure to keep them out of reach.
  • Decorative lights are all powered by wires, which can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock should your dog chew through one of them. Be sure to position them out of reach.
  • Make sure that your dog cannot access the tree water. Drinking from this standing water can cause stomach upset, and it's a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Watch that curling ribbon, too, as it can get stuck in your dog's intestines, often necessitating surgery.
Plants to Avoid:
  • Holly can cause dogs to suffer from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 
  • Mistletoe can cause dogs some tummy upset and cardiovascular problems. 
  • Poinsettias are toxic for dogs.
 
Around the Home:
  • Lighted candles can be knocked over if left on an unstable surface. And watch out for curious noses around low tables!
  • Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause serious issues with your dog's digestion and be dangerous for smaller dogs.
  • Avoid anything sweetened with Xylitol - this is usually found in sugar-free gum and similar products. It is toxic for dogs.
  • Be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans, as lots of new and interesting things will be showing up in there!
  • Leftovers are best saved for humans, as fatty, spicy foods can cause issues for your dog. Lean un-flavored meat and (especially raw) veggies are usually fine, if you want to share.
  • Dogs can digest raw bones, but any type of cooked bones are a big no-no!
  • Watch that alcoholic drinks are not left where your dog can get to them.
  • Always ask guests to refrain from offering yummy nibbles off their plates; there are a lot of human foods that are not okay for doggies to eat, so a friendly guest may inadvertently cause your dog some serious GI trouble if they slip scraps to him! Sometimes its best to just give your dog his own quiet space to retreat to—especially if crowds make him nervous.

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Topics: Dog, Holiday, safety

Cold Weather Questions - Antifreeze Poisoning

Posted by Michelle Allen on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 @ 09:46 AM

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Q: My dog was licking a spot of antifreeze that spilled on the ground; should I be worried?
A: Yes, VERY! If you have any inkling of a thought that your dog might have ingested even a small amount of antifreeze, call your vet immediately. Grab some hydrogen peroxide, too1 If the vet is more than a few minutes away, you will likely need to induce vomiting right now!!!
 
Let me tell you about Smokey's story. This goes way back to when I was married to John. We had just recently brought home a new addition, Smokey the Golden Retriever. Smokey was a curious pup, and one day John came inside from the yard and casually said, "I think Smokey might have licked up some antifreeze. Is that bad?" I almost had a heart attack right there. Yes, indeed, he had. John had stored the bottle inside an enclosed area of the yard with some gardening tools and supplies, and Smokey decided to hop the fence and grab ahold of the bottle, puncturing it, and carry it around for a bit, prancing happily.
 
I immediately ran for the hydrogen peroxide, because thankfully I knew that the best thing we could do was to make Smokey throw up right away, and start the drive to the emergency vet. We mixed the peroxide with an equal amount of milk, and it went down the hatch. Nothing happened at first, so we prepared to leave and gave him another dose. Thankfully that one did the trick, and he starting puking. That was probably the only time I've ever said, "Oh awesome, he's getting sick!" We drove furiously to the vet, wondering how stupid it was that we would leave that poison in a spot that was so accessible to a determined dog.
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When we got Smokey to the vet, they whisked him away, shoved charcoal down his throat to absorb as much of the poison as possible, and desperately tried to flush his system with fluids to help get the poison out. They finally came back into the exam room and told us that we should prepare ourselves, because he might not make it. I was shocked and so upset...he was our new puppy and they were telling us that he might not live! And what was worse was that when they brought him in to say what could be a final goodbye, his tail was just wagging away and he was prancing around like nothing was wrong! Antifreeze poisoning gives dogs the appearance of being "drunk" and that was what we were seeing then.
 
We were so lucky...we saved our puppy with some quick action and a good vet, and thank the stars that I had known about how poisonous antifreeze is for dogs.
Now, where is your antifreeze? Is it in a safe location, where an industrious dog cannot reach it? Consider that dogs can jump fences and dig under things, and knock over boxes, and make sure that yours is stored in a place where it is completely inaccessible. Do not store it in the back of your SUV and then put your dog in there with it! Antifreeze is sweet and smells good and dogs seek it out. Better yet, use antifreeze that does not contain ethylene glycol
 
And be sure to watch out for it on your walks. People often spill a little when filling their cars, and it lands on the ground in a little puddle. Tiny dogs could lick that up and it could be fatal. Keep your eye out and watch for bottles of antifreeze and try to educate people about the extreme danger of leaving even a trace of it where a dog might get to it. (All the more reason for dogs not to be roaming the neighborhood.
If you liked this Q&A please share with your friends and family. Message us {woof@geminidogs.comand let us know what Question we can answer for you!
WOOF!
 

Topics: Puppy, dogs, cold weather, antifreeze, safety