Disaster Preparedness for your Dog: 8 things to do before disaster strikes

The State of California, Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health and Food Safety Services department has developed a brochure which outlines steps that pet owners should take to prepare for an emergency situation.  The following are their suggestions:
1.  PLAN AHEAD. In the event of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters. Determine the best place to leave your pet in case of a disaster. Identify an off-site location as well as a place in your home.

2.  IDENTIFICATION AND PHOTOGRAPHS. Dogs and cats should always wear properly fitting collars, personal identification, rabies, and license tags. Make sure all the information on the tags is current. Keep a current photo of each pet. Make sure any distinguishing markings are visible. You will need proof of ownership to retrieve your pet from a shelter.

3.  DISASTER KIT. Maintain a disaster preparedness supply kit for each of your pets.

4.  PAPERWORK AND RECORDS. Store important animal documents in a ziplock or waterproof plastic bag. These should include vaccination and medical records.

5.  VACCINATIONS. Your pets need to be current on vaccinations. You will be required to show proof of vaccination if you need to board your pet.

6.  TRANSPORTATION. Each animal should have their own pet carrier. Familiarize your pet with the carrier or cage before an emergency.

7.  LEASHES AND COLLARS. Keep a leash handy for each dog and cat in your home. Consider using a harness.

8.  BUDDY SYSTEM. In case you are not home when disaster strikes, ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals. Exchange veterinary information and file a permission slip with your veterinarian authorizing them to get emergency treatment for your pet if you can’t be located.

The last step could be the most critical.  You may not be around when disaster strikes and that is why it is important to live in a dog friendly neighborhood.  It takes a village to care for a dog and having a dog friendly support system in your neighborhood could save your dog’s life. 


Pet Profiling at PetSmart

I was alerted that PetSmart is now banning “bully breeds” from their PetsHotel program which includes their Doggy Day Care. PetSmart is not basing this on an evaluation of individual pets but rather discriminating against the entire breed. According to the PetSmart website only the following dogs will be considered for their program:

  • Dogs at least five months of age
  • Dogs who have been socialized with other dogs but are not of the “bully breed” classification or wolves/wolfhybrids
  • Dogs who are in good health (no fleas, ticks, or contagious illnesses)
  • No intact (unneutered) male dogs, pregnant females or females in heat
  • Dogs who have the following vaccinations: Bordetella, Rabies, Distemper, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus

The “bully breed” classification is defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers or mixed breeds that have the appearance or characteristics of one of these breeds. You can see the pet requirements on the PetSmart PetsHotel page.  

Is PetSmart being discerning or just discriminating? 

New on the market in Menlo Park: Dog friendly pick of the litter

345 Claremont Way, Menlo Park

There is a new listing on the market in Linfield Oaks at 345 Claremont Way in Menlo Park.  The home is located on a quiet, tree lined street perfect for a peaceful stroll with your pooch.  It is within walking distance of Burgess Park, the Menlo Park Civic Center and downtown Menlo Park. 

The home itself has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, hardwood floors and an enclosed backyard with a pool and spa.  It is in the Menlo Park school district so you get good schools and good dog parks with this home.

For more information about this and other dog friendly properties go to http://www.peninsulahousehound.com.

Beware of Bark Park

My neighbors just returned from a week in Hawaii.  I saw them walking their two year old Golden Retriever today and asked them about their trip.  They said the beach was lovely but the bliss was busted when they picked up their dog from Bark Park.  The poor dog smelled like urine, had poop caked on her fur and couldn’t wait to leave.  

My neighbors said Bark Park is under new management and they will never take their dog back there again.  I am warning all of my clients to stay away.  The best place I have found is PetSmart in Mountain View.

Finding Paws: Bay Area Pet Detective

In the San Francisco Chronicle today there is an article about a local pet detective, Donna Holsten, who launched a pet recovery service called Finding Paws. The article Lost Pet? Hire a Pet Detective describes a day in the life of Donna as she hunts down a lost Jack Russell terrier mix named Wesley that’s been missing for two weeks.

What really struck me about the article is that Wesley’s grieving owner admitted that Wesley is a serial escape artist.  He likes to burrow underneath the fence and run around the grassy hills around the house which happens to be prime coyote territory.  An ounce of prevention really goes a long way in keeping your pets safe.  If you know your dog has a tendency to burrow underneath a fence, the responsible thing to do is to make sure the dog is not in a position to do so.  Whether that is reinforcing the fence, containing the dog in a separate area of the yard or keeping the dog in the house, the first priority is the dog’s safety. 

These are the kind of things I discuss with my clients when they are considering buying a home.  It must be safe for all members of the family.  Although a pet detective is a valuable service, it is a last ditch effort.  There are many preventative steps that can be taken before getting to that point.

Some of the steps I recommend to my clients are as follows:

  1. Buy a home in a dog friendly neighborhood where there are neighbors who will help you locate your dog if your dog goes missing.
  2. Participate in a neighborhood watch program for missing pets such as PetAlertz.
  3. Microchip your pet.
  4. If your dog has a tendency to bolt, buy a GPS collar for your pet.  They are pricey but the peace of mind is priceless.  There are many products to choose from.  One popular GPS leash is RoamEO GPS Pet Location System, Medium Collar.
  5. Create a safe space for your dog in your home where you can leave the dog when you are not home.  This can be inside or outside the house.  It just needs to be completely contained.

Composting Canine Waste

I spoke with someone yesterday who had built a dog waste compost in her backyard.  Although I have never considered doing this, I thought perhaps some of you might be interested. Not being a do-it-yourself kind of gal I had to borrow the information from an expert.  The folks at City Farmer have developed an easy method using an old plastic garbage can which allows the waste to slowly decompose in the yard in an environmentally safe manner. Here’s a step-by-step description:

  1. Take an old garbage can and drill a dozen or so holes in the side.
  2. Cut out the bottom.
  3. Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough for the garbage can.
  4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it’s a little higher than the soil level.
  5. Place the lid on top (you might want to paint it with something like Dog Waste Composter.)
  6. When you scoop some poop, put it in the hole and sprinkle in some septic starter (available at hardware stores) and add some water.

Buy a Pad for your Pooch near Peet’s and a Park

1001 University Drive, Menlo Park, CA 

What’s better than living near Peet’s and a park?  How about living across the street from Draeger’s?  There is a home new on the market at 1001 University Drive in Menlo Park that has it all.  It is is steps from Peet’s, Draeger’s and a park where they have concerts during the summer.  This home has great schools, good dog parks and excellent restaurants within blocks. 

The home is not only in a great location.  It is beautiful as well.  It has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.  There are beautiful hardwood floors, a living room with a fireplace, fenced in front yard and a private backyard with deck.  The front yard is fenced but a large dog could easily scale the fence.  The backyard has a high fence so any size dog would be safe.  The fenced in front yard is a nice feature for dog owners who have dogs who like to bolt out the front door. 

For more information about this and other dog friendly homes on the Peninsula, go to www.PeninsulaHouseHound.com or contact me directly at Djuna Woods at (650) 450-0724. 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Woofs

Bucky at the beach

Bucky and I met with a pet photographer at Fort Funston.  His name is Mark Rogers and he is based in San Francisco.  Although I have thousands of pictures of Bucky I have taken myself, they don’t quite capture his spirit the way Mark’s pictures do.  Mark took some action shots of Bucky with his foot long lense that I could have never captured on my digital camera.  The shot below is a good example.

Bucky mid-shake

I have noticed that many of my clients, who are dog owners, have had professional photos of their dogs taken in order to remember their dogs when they are gone.  Although this is a very sad thought, the clients who have actually planned ahead are so grateful they have the photos when the time comes. 

Mark does excellent work.  I am impressed with his photos.  You can see his gallery of pictures at Mark Rogers Photography.

I enjoy pet photography.  One of my favorite books of dog photography is Shelter Dogs by Traer Scott.  This collection of portraits of dogs living in American shelters is touching.

A Saturday Stroll through San Juan Canyon

San Juan Canyon Trail, Belmont, CA

If you are looking for a good, little hike on the Peninsula with your pooch, check out San Juan Canyon. It is located in the city of Belmont off of San Juan Boulevard.  The easiest way to get there is to take Ralston Avenue to Cipriani.  Go north on Cipriani and make an immediate left on San Juan Boulevard.  After about a mile, San Juan Boulevard dead-ends at Laurel Creek Road.  Turn left and park immediately along the road.  The trail starts at the unpaved continuation of East Laurel Creek Road.  Access is also available off Marsten Avenue.  For maps and more information go to the website for the San Juan Canyon Preservation Trust

View from the San Juan Canyon Trail
My dog, Bucky, and I hit the trail this afternoon and found it delightful.  It is an easy hike on a path shaded with trees.  You can make it into a more strenuous hike if you choose to climb the Sugarloaf Mountain path.  The hike is 1.5 miles and takes about an hour.  It will take significantly longer if you include the trail to Sugarloaf.  We strolled leisurely and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.  We only passed two other people on the trail so it seems it in a hidden gem in the city.  I would not feel safe going alone since there are so few people there. 
Sugarloaf Mountain, Belmont, CA

Above is a picture of the trail to Sugarloaf Mountain.  I chose not to push myself.  The path looked pretty steep and intense.  I am sure there are amazing views from the top.  All of the paths allow dogs on leash.  Although I didn’t see any, there was evidence of horses being on the trail and I saw some stables off one of the paths. 

Bucky and I had a great time today on the trail.  My only warning is that the trail is crawling with poison oak and Bucky came home crawling with ticks.  If you can deal with those two things, it is a great way to spend a day.

For more Bay Area hikes with your dog, check out Best Hikes with Dogs: Bay Area and Beyond

New on the Market: Menlo Park Pick of the Litter

971 Menlo Avenue, Menlo Park, CA
I was reminded today of why I love Menlo Park. While waiting for a parking space in the Draeger’s parking lot, I saw a blond, soccer mom type back out of a parking space in her huge Suburban and pull off the bumper of the neighboring car. The owner of the damaged car happened to be walking to her car at the time and saw the whole incident. She approached the woman driving the Suburban who immediately jumped out of her car and burst into tears. The woman whose bumper was dangling from her oversized SUV hugged the tearful woman and told her everything was going to be OK. It was so sweet. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy about my community.

The people in Menlo Park are for the most part good natured.  They are dog loving, good hearted people who help their neighbors and want to preserve a small town feeling in their city.  Of course there are exceptions but this has been my experience.  My dog and I get a lot of love when we walk the streets of Menlo Park and I feel lucky to live here.

If you would like to experience all this love yourself and are looking for a townhome for you and your small dog, there is an ideal property steps from Draegers.  971 Menlo Avenue is an inviting loft-like 1 bedroom, 1 bath townhouse located on a quiet cul-de-sac a block from downtown Menlo Park. The upstairs room features a central wood burning fireplace, high ceilings & oversized windows.  The bedroom downstairs leads to a private rear garden deck.  It is small but cozy.  The location is the major selling point of this unit. 

The HOA restricts dogs to less than 25 pounds which is probably a good idea because the backyard is small.  However, there is a deck and grass area that would meet the needs of most small dogs.  The condo is also walking distance to Nealon Park which is an off leash dog park in weekday mornings between 8:00-10:00am.   

For more information about this and other dog friendly properties, go to www.peninsulahousehound.com.  You can contact me directly at dwoods@peninsulahousehound.com or call me at (650) 450-0724.