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.

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. 

Five Ways to Protect Your Pet

A dog friendly neighborhood is not just one that is close to a dog park.  It is a neighborhood where the neighbors consider your dog a member of the family.  Like children it takes a village to care for a dog.  If for any reason your pet ever escapes or gets lost, you need to be connected to your community in order to get help. 

When a pet goes missing, the first moments are the most crucial in getting them back safely. If at all possible, you want as much support in place to ensure they can be returned before they become traumatized or taken to an establishment where traditional identification methods take time to process.

I recently discovered a wonderful service for pet owners called My Pet Street.  The My Pet Street PetAlertz community is a free neighborhood watch service to help prevent lost or stolen pets.  Connie Weiss, CEO and Founder of My Pet Street, suggests the following five tips for keeping your pets safe. 

  1. Always have identification tags attached to collars and harnesses. Use split rings or snap hooks so they stay on securely. “S” and “O” rings open easily and tags fall off.
  2. If you are in pursuit of a dog, don’t run after it – instead, get into their view and squat down – calling them to you.
  3. Carry a squeaky toy, ball, or treats – whatever will be the most attractive to the dog.
  4. Pet theft is on the rise. Keep your animals indoors if you are not at home, and don’t tether them in public areas unless you have a clear line of sight at all times.
  5. If your pet is lost, never give up! We have stories of pets coming home long after most people feared for the worst. Your drive and energy will keep hope alive for the rest of the community and they will help you!

Connie reminds us that as a community, we know that if you agree to help me, and I agree to help you, we significantly increase the chances of reuniting lost pets quickly. She and her team look forward to seeing you in the neighborhood!

Thanks, Connie.

Canine Profiling: 11 dogs that could raise your insurance costs

Beware of Dog

It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on sex, age, race, religion, family status, national origin, military status, or disability. However, it is acceptable to discriminate against someone based on the breed of their dog. In most states it is legal for insurance companies to charge homeowners higher premiums or refuse to renew a policy based solely on the owner’s breed of dog. Insurers say that canine profiling helps bring down the cost of homeowner policies. Dog bites cost home insurers more than $300 million annually. As a result, some insurance companies are refusing to issue property policies to owners of “biting breeds” or increasing the premiums for those dog owners. Will your beloved pooch cost you more in insurance premiums?  Below is a list of 11 dogs that regularly make insurance companies “bad dog” lists.

  1. Akita
  2. Alaskan Malamute
  3. Chow Chow
  4. Doberman Pinscher
  5. German Shepherd
  6. Pit Bull
  7. Presa Canario
  8. Rottweiler
  9. Siberian Husky
  10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  11. Wolf Hybrid

The best way to take a bite out of your insurance costs is to train and spay/neuter your dog.  Insurance companies also like to see that your pet is secured on your property.  For more information on homeowners insurance for dog owners go to the American Kennel Club’s Homeowners’ Insurance Resource Center.

Divorcing with a dog?

1155 Merrill St. Menlo Park


There are two condos that came on the market this week in Menlo Park that are a good fit for a single person with a dog.  They both have three bedrooms so there is ample room for your pooch and visitors.


Pictured above is 1155 Merrill Street #202.  Although this is a second story unit, there is a rather large patio area for a dog.  This condo is ideal for enjoying the downtown Menlo Park lifestyle.  It is close to shops and restaurants and is across the street from the CalTrain station.
580 Sand Hill Circle is a spacious, end unit, townhome with a golf course view (along with a view of 280.)  It is a little noisy but as the listing agent said you can think of it as a stream in your backyard (nice spin.)  Sand Hill Circle is a common destination for divorcees so if you are separating you will be in good company in this area.  I noticed quite a few people walking their dogs in the neighborhood when I previewed the property today.  One of the neighbors has a King Charles Cavalier and another one had what sounded like a large dog barking in the garage.  

For more information on these and other dog friendly homes on the Peninsula, go to www.peninsulahousehound.comor email me at dwoods@peninsulahousehound.com.

Published in: on March 5, 2008 at 6:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Featured Palo Alto Dog Friendly Homes of the Week

355 Channing Avenue

355 Channing is a beautiful, two story single family home in Channing Park.  It is less than four years old and looks like the owner has hardly lived in it.  The downstairs has lovely hardwood floors which makes cleaning so much easier when there are dirty paws.  The home is walking distance to downtown Palo Alto and the best part is that it has two small parks on either side where dogs are allowed on leash.  After a long day at the office, having a park a few steps away where you can take Fido is worth its weight in gold.  There is also a legal rental unit in back with its own parking space.

A few steps away at 325 Channing is a townhome which backs up to a park where dogs are allowed on leash.  It has Walnut hardwood flooring downstairs and a gourmet granite kitchen.  With a location that is walking distance to downtown and local parks, this unit makes a good dog friendly home.

For information on other dog friendly homes in Palo Alto, contact me at dwoods@peninsulahousehound.com.