Top Ten Pet Poisons (from Janet)

Here’s a Top Ten List you wouldn’t want associated with your pet.

APCC =  Animal Poison Control Center

1. Prescription Human Medications

The APCC handled 24,673 cases regarding human prescription medications in 2013. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to include: heart medications (blood pressure pills), antidepressants and pain medications (opioids and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Many of these exposures were due to people dropping their medication when preparing to take it, and before they knew it, Fido had gobbled the pill off the floor.

2. Insecticides

Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals. While 15.7% of all calls to the APCC are about insecticides, more than half of the calls involving cats pertain to felines exposed to insecticides. Always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications

Over-the-counter human products accounted for 14.7% of calls to APCC in 2013. This group contains acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (fish oil, joint supplements). Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested.

4. Household Products

There were nearly 17,000 calls to the APCC about household products in 2013. Household toxins can range from fire logs to cleaning products. Some items can be corrosive, while other can cause obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract requiring surgical intervention.

5. People Food

Human foods are especially appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions/garlic, grapes/raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals.

6. Veterinary Products and Medications

Veterinary products slid down two spots in 2013. Both OTC and prescription veterinary products are included in this group. Flavored tablets make it easy to give your pet pain or joint medication, but it also makes it more likely for them to ingest the entire bottle if given the chance.

7. Chocolate

Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (APCC received an average of 26 calls a day last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures.

8. Rodenticides

When putting out baits to kill mice and rats, never underestimate the resourcefulness of your pet. Approximately 5.5% of calls to the APCC in 2013 were related to baits. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure or seizures.

9. Plants

More than 9,000 cases in 2013 were pet parents calling about their animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Please see the list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information. 

10. Lawn and Garden Products

Fertilizers, which can be made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, so it is not surprising that APCC receives many calls (over 5,000 in 2013) on lawn and garden items.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet, or any animal, has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Keeping your eyes and ears open can help save a life. 


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How to Workout With Your Dog Safely!

As most of you know, building a workout routine with your mutts can be extremely beneficial. A lot of people find it fun and motivating to workout with your dogs. However, there are certain cautionary steps pet owners should take when exercising with your mutts. Here are some tips:


  • Evaluate your mutts’ physicality – Don’t just dive into an intense workout session with your dog; build up to it. Make sure you know what your dog is capable of and consider its breed and age for certain exercises. It would be good to consult your trusted vet before you start a workout regiment with your mutts.
  • Environmental Considerations – Running, hiking, biking, or walking in cold or hot weather may not be the best times for you or your mutt. If you’re exercising outside during the summer, try to go early or late evening when the pavement is not hot on your mutt’s feet. During the cold winter, consider walking or running your dog on a treadmill.
  • Prep Yourself with Food & Water – Make sure you bring some food and water for both you and your mutt, especially if you plan on doing a lengthy or intense workout. Dog treats and an energy bar may help boost you and your mutt’s energy and water will help prevent heat stroke.


  • Train Your Dog – Properly train your mutts to walk or run the same side of you every time to avoid tripping each other. Teach them not to pull on the leash or not to run ahead of you unexpectedly to avoid throwing you off balance.
  • Safety Comes First -Make sure you wear a helmet, knee pads, and other protection when appropriate. Don’t tie the leash to your wrist in case your dog pulls and jerks you off balance. Don’t push you or your mutt too hard. If either of you are starting to show signs of exhaustion, pain, or trouble breathing, then that’s a good indication to stop the workout and rest.
  • Again Stay Hydrated – Allow you and your mutt to drink plenty of water throughout the exercise and a little bit of food here and there to boost your energy (but don’t exercise on a full stomach either).


  • Cool Down & Body Check – After your workout, make sure to cool your body down and stretch out your muscles. Also take some time to check your mutt’s leg and paws for any cuts, bruises, ticks, and other foreign objects. You may also reward your dog with a treat for working hard.
  • Once Again, Hydrate You and Your Dog – Also be sure to allow the proper amount of rest for you and your mutt in between workouts for your bodies to recoup.

And remember – hot weather is here.  In no specific order: Know your dog’s limitations, don’t push him or her if they don’t want to engage, always have water available, rest in the cool and in the shade, and be familiar with signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke.

Have fun!

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25 Ways to Help an Animal Caregiver (from Janet)

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Does this sound familiar: your friend or loved one is caring for an ill animal. Your heart breaks for them and you really want to be helpful, but you don’t know how?

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Usually, even the most heartfelt, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” falls on deaf ears. Already overwhelmed with care-taking, your loved one can’t figure out what they need or how you fit into the puzzle.

Instead of a general offer, you can help your loved one much more by suggesting something concrete that you can do, something perhaps they wouldn’t have even considered. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Spend time with them, even if you don’t know what to say or do.

2. Send a quick note to let them know you are thinking of them.

3. Lend an ear. Almost everyone in crisis needs a sympathetic friend to listen.

4. A check in regularly. After the initial crisis is over, the wave of support may dry up leaving your friend feeling very alone. Let him or her know you are there for the long term.

5. Raise funds for veterinary and other care expenses ( is an excellent site for this).

6. Organize meals for the family using or

7. Use to create meaningful memories. You and other loved ones can record what they love about the animal, then you can download the finished product and send it to your friend.

8. Loan a baby monitor.

9. Offer to care of their other pets – walk the other dog, clean litter boxes, etc.

10. Give or arrange for home massage, acupuncture or Reiki session for the caregiver or the pet.

11. Offer to watch the animal while they take a nap.

12. Offer to grocery shop or run errands.

13. Prepare meals for the pet (such as stew or boiled rice and chicken).

14. Bring flowers.

15. If the animal is in the hospital and your friend is spending a lot of time there, bring a care basket to the hospital with drinks, snacks, magazines, puzzle books, a cell phone charger.

16. Give hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.

17. Be silly and make jokes; laughter is healing.

18. Bring pictures and talk about your favorite memories.

19. Offer to drive.

20. Help with the kids.

21. Do the laundry.

22. Give your frequent flier miles so family can come visit.

23. Send loving messages.

24. Arrange for an artist to draw or paint a picture of the animal. You can find talented artists in many places – you may even know one! Try for a quick and inexpensive option.

25. Let them cry – without trying to cheer them up. Some things can’t be fixed and truly are sad. Crying is therapeutic. Be a safe place where they can express their real feelings.

Sometimes, the simplest gesture makes the most impact. 

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
~ John Wooden

Is there something you have done for an animal caregiver, or that you have been on the receiving end of, that helped make a difference, eased the burden, or given comfort?  Share it with us, and we’ll let others know. 

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Donating Doesn’t Have To Break Your Bank (from Janet)

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By this time, most of us have been bombarded and overloaded with commercials, calls, mailings and e-mails – all asking you to give money to this cause or that.

And let’s be honest. Some of the methods organizations and individuals use to get  you to donate are pretty awful.

If they’re not guilting you, they’re tugging at your heart strings, and making you feel like crap if you truly don’t have the funds to donate.

Granted, the majority of the causes being highlighted are worthy. But, it’s up to you how much money you want to give, and where you want that money to go (meaning, do your homework before you write that check).

What so many people may not realize, or may not care think about, is that many times, charity does begin at (or closer to) home.

Not everyone has the money, or inclination, to financially donate.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t JUST DO SOMETHING to make a difference.

And you don’t always have to give money to make a lasting impact.

Here are some things you can do that won’t break your bank account:

  • Offer to walk an outdoor dog chained in the same place every day
  • Volunteer at your local shelter
  • Start a drive for dry dog and cat food that you can bring to your local church
  • Finally make that call to 911 about the dog you see outside without proper shelter every day on the way to work
  • Foster a dog that temporarily needs a home 
  • Offer to help feed a local feral cat colony (yes, they’re in your town, also)
  • Help network for an animal that needs help
  • Get educated on a cause and spread the word

Literally, making an honest effort to help save or better the life of even ONE animal in need, makes a difference.  All it takes is a willingness to help – and whether you have money or not doesn’t matter. Money doesn’t walk that outside dog – WE do.

So, maybe the next time you see that commercial, or get that e-mail, instead of focusing on what you can’t donate, think about all the ways you CAN, and then do it.  Animals are waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Let’s make it a good Summer season for animals, because WE can.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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You Don’t Have To Be Like That (From Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

“Something’s different about Linda”, an acquaintance mentioned in casual conversation this past week.

“What do you mean?”, I asked.

“Well, I don’t want to sound weird or corny or anything”, this person went on, “but she’s changed – in a good way. She’s been really devoting herself lately to some animal welfare issues”.

“That’s a beautiful thing. Why would that be weird of you to say?” Now I am curious.

Pause. “I think it IS a good thing.  But, you know, no-one really talks about stuff like this too much.  People might it’s weird because she’s talking about it more. To everyone. What if she turns into an animal hoarder or a crazy cat lady now?’

I got the feeling that this acquaintance was asking my permission to be accepting of Linda’s increased openness about the things she was doing to help make a difference in the lives of animals in need.  It’s no secret: You don’t need permission to embrace Animal Advocacy.

Regardless, I had to stop her right there.  And initially I stopped her with “You know, you don’t have to be like that”.

“Like what?”, she asked.

Sometimes (sighing here), you really DO need to spell it out to someone else.

Being an animal advocate doesn’t mean you hoard animals.

It doesn’t mean that you will suddenly become “that woman” down the street who takes in every stray cat that comes along.

It doesn’t mean that you will become closed to everyone else or everything else.

Being an Animal Advocate means that:

  • You care – and you let that show
  • You  know compassion matters – and you give it freely wherever there is a need
  • You understand the importance of speaking up and speaking out – and you speak up and out even if it’s hard
  • You get that education and awareness make a difference – so you share what you know
  • You take initiative when and where you can (and even when you might fail) to better and save the lives of animals – because you can
  • You JUST DO SOMETHING every day – because it matters

At some point, you may be put in the path of someone whose ignorance about Animal Advocacy has them fooled into stereo-typed thinking (believe it or not, MANY people think like that).

Do them, and us – the Animal Advocates – a favor; start a conversation with “You Don’t Have To Be Like That”.

Because you know what, you don’t.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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Because Cruelty is Everywhere (from Janet)

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My husband and I were taking the scenic route to our destination, so we opted for the winding back-road lined with trees, and with the windows rolled down, accompanied by at least a dozen different bird songs to lead the way.

The road was quiet, except for the white rental van in front of us.

Big huge nature lovers, up ahead, on the shoulder, we were happy to see a baby skunk, slowly making his or her way from the shoulder back to the wooded area off the road.  Another two feet or so, and baby skunk would be off the road and under the safe cover of brush and trees.

In two horrible, awful seconds, however, peace turned to horror.

The white van in front of us actually changed direction, deliberately driving to that shoulder of the road, and hit that baby skunk.  They sped UP to do it.

The van took off, too fast to get a license plate.

We pulled over to baby skunk to see if there was something we could do, but the light in his/her eyes was no more. 

By the time we got back in the car, and sped up ourselves to look for the white van, it was gone. Too many turns-offs and places to stop. They could have been anywhere.  

We called 911, but all we could provide was the description of the van, and the direction we saw it last go. Sigh.

Such a wonderful, tiny life, snuffed out because of the cruel whim of someone in a vehicle – doing something unthinkable just because they could.

Even if you can’t prevent something awful from happening ALL the time, there will be many times that you WILL be able to JUST DO SOMETHING about it.

  • So please, a reminder to keep your eyes  and ears open, and never for one moment think that someone else will take the time to stop to help. One day it might just be YOU to come to the aid of an animal in need, and in that moment, you are the ONLY hope for that one animal. 
  • That includes animals left in hot cars, and/or those tied outside without shelter or water. Speak UP, and DON’T LEAVE until help comes.
  • It matters to that animal.

Such a sad, short story, that hopefully makes you stop and think, and remember.

Remember that there are many cruel people, doing many cruel things, every day. Because sadly, cruelty IS everywhere.

Do your part, where and when you can. It really matters.

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4th of July – Not So Happy for Pets (from Janet)


Days before July 4th makes an appearance, fireworks and partying begins. And if July 4th falls early on that long holiday weekend, fireworks and partying continues until it’s time to go back to work.

Fun – mostly – for humans. Misery – mostly – for animals.

Did you know that the one day a year where domestic animals (think cats and dogs) are lost more than any other is the 4th of July?!

This ALSO means that shelters are extra-crowded the next day, and Animal Control’s phones are ringing off the hook.  And sadly, many animals die from getting lost (and becoming strays), and/or being hit by cars.

Many well meaning pet owners think it’s nice or ‘cool’ to bring the WHOLE family out together for fireworks and celebrating this holiday in large crowds.  Let’s face it, dogs hanging out with people is fun, a conversation starter, a very cool thing to do.  But actually, it can be a horrible and tragic experience for your four-legged family members.

It doesn’t take a lot of sense to figure out that the 4th of July is for HUMANS.  WE “get” the reason for the loud noises and huge crowds. WE understand that it’s “just noise” and that the parties are for OUR enjoyment.

However pets, although we humanize them to the point of feeling they understand our every thought, action and motive, do NOT “get” or understand anything about the 4th of July, which makes it a very scary and dangerous time for them.

There are many awesome blogs and reminders going around about ways to keep YOUR pet safe and comfortable during this celebration weekend.  Below are a few quick, common sense highlights that you can share and keep a look out for – because, yes, even if YOU are keeping YOUR furry friend safe and sound, MANY are NOT.  Remember : It’s always okay to speak up and JUST DO SOMETHING if you see an animal in need or in distress.  The 4th of July is no different – if YOU see something, take a moment to see how you can help that animal.

Short and sweet – how we can ALL help our pets (or someone else’s) during the 4th of July:


  • NEVER bring your pet with you to loud, crowded and unfamiliar functions unless you are 100% prepared for his/her comfort and distress.
  • NEVER deliberately expose ANY animal to loud noises, bright lights, and/or huge crowds.
  • NEVER play with or light fireworks or fire around an animal.
  • NEVER chain your pet near a bonfire.
  • NEVER let your pet around strangers – especially if they have been partying.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a confined situation for prolonged periods without checking on them every half hour.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a car alone for ANY length of time.
  • NEVER light fireworks or light fire during drought or too-dry places. It only takes a spark to start a deadly fire.

The DO’S:

  • DO keep your pets inside and away from celebrations in a familiar place.  This means that even animals regularly kept outside should be brought in.
  • DO provide food, water, air circulation and background (moderate) noise in that safe, familiar place.
  • DO keep pictures of your pet handy in case they accidentally run off (many animals run when frightened).
  • DO make sure that your pet has identifying tags on secure collars (not too tight).
  • DO make sure your pets are put out earlier in the evening, so they are safely inside before the bulk of celebrating begins.
  • DO accompany your pet to go outside when fireworks are going off, so they can potty and stretch feeling safe and less afraid.

PS – Two good articles on what to do if you lose your pet, from PetFinder and from Lost Pet FBI.

The 4th of July is for HUMANS, not animals.  If we keep that in mind, then having a safe, fun time for EVERYONE is easy to attain.  HUMANS = Yes.  Animals = No.  It’s that easy; it’s that simple.

And now a word about holidays:

Even on holidays, we are on social media – signing and sharing, spreading awareness, replying to e-mails and endeavoring to make the world a better place, if even for a DAY, for animals in need.

Unfortunately, during holidays (and the nicer weather), many people become MIA when it comes to Animal Advocacy. Sunshine, yard work, pool parties and the like become the highlight, while the sometimes unpleasant “task” of championing for the voiceless takes a back burner.

There is nothing wrong in celebrating holidays and long weekends with friends and family, taking a break from the computer to enjoy warm weather and all the fun that comes with that. But imagine if EVERYONE took a break from advocating during the nice weather or holiday seasons? What then?

Animal suffering doesn’t stop on holidays. Or when the weather warms up (in fact, many animals suffer MORE in the warmer weather for obvious reasons like lack of shade, lack of water, and being left in hot cars). But sometimes, people want to “forget” that and rather, enjoy the summer months without “thinking” about “that kind of thing”.

How wonderful if, during the nicer weather and the warmer long holiday weekends, that we all still made the decision to JUST DO SOMETHING, every day, to better or save the lives of animals in need.

Yep, this means that you may have to actually carve out time from your nice day off work or long holiday weekend to plan for that. My laptop is never far from me when I travel out of town, because even on MY vacations, I always take the time to champion for animals. The great thing about being an Animal Advocate is that a dedicated person can advocate from ANY place, you just have to make the time.

This holiday, have FUN. Enjoy the sunshine, those cold glasses of iced tea on the deck, and special times with friends and family. And, while you’re at it, take a moment or two to enjoy your blessings during your long holiday weekend and remember those who aren’t as blessed. Then take that thought, and do something with it, to positively impact a four-legged someone who is quietly waiting in misery for a better life to come along.

Because they are out there, every day – even on a holiday.

If you have another quick tip for keeping your pet safe and comfortable on a holiday, please let us know!  We’ll be happy to share it.

Here’s wishing EVERYONE – two and four-legged alike – a safe and a very Happy 4th of July!

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur




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Here’s Your Summer Reminders – Share ‘Em! (from Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

First, we have to say it: Did you know?

  • There are roughly 7 million stray dogs and cats in the U.S. at any given time.
  • Many people will not take in a stray dog or cat, especially during mild weather, because they feel strays can fend for themselves if it’s nice out.
  • There are many people who will not even call to report an injured animal in the mild weather for the same reason.

When talking about stray (homeless, ownerless) animals, the majority of people take this to mean dogs and cats.  But common stray animals are not the only animals to be negatively impacted by their circumstance.  ANY animal (including wild animals and birds) can have a difficult time, depending on their environment and their health.

Never turn your back on any animal in distress or in danger. The type of animal and the situation should always be taken into thoughtful consideration before you make the decision to aide that animal yourself.  Even a stray dog or cat can be a possible risk to you if that animal is ill or becomes frightened when trying to approach it.  Not sure? Call your local authority.

Onto Summer. Here’s our first blog of the Summer Season!

Ah, Summer!  The sunshine, the flowers, the rainbows.

But for many (MANY) animals, summer is anything but relaxing, peaceful and safe.

All living beings in general require food, water and a shelter source.  In the wild, the majority of healthy, non-domesticated animals do well on their own.  You can help out local wildlife by offering a ground-based clean water source, like a shallow birdbath that allows both birds and four-legged critters to drink from.  Just be sure to keep the water clean and change it daily. Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

A great way to help birds in the Summer – let your water spigot slow drip!

Domestic animals have it harder in the Summer, especially if they are kept outdoors 24/7 (chained, roped or in kennels) in neglectful environments. Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

Tethering is still legal in most states. Do you know of a dog tied to a tree 24/7?

Sadly, many people think that leaving pets outside day and night in the summer months without basic care and attention is enough.  Summer days and nights can be rough on animals in general, and here’s a few important reasons why:

  • Hunger.  Believe it or not, leaving a pet outside day and night makes it easy to forget about them. This leads to forgetting to refresh water bowls, and forgetting regular, steady meal times.
  • Lack of always-available clean, fresh, cold water – think about warm water in an unclean bowl that sits out all day – would YOU drink that?
  • Lack of shade from the sunshine
  • Lack of shelter from the elements – days and nights can be dewy, rainy, muggy and humid – resulting in muddy, damp, soggy ground
  • Lack of protection from biting and stinging insects – and this includes those bugs that make homes in dog houses – remember animals can have severe allergic reactions to bites.
  • Lack of alleviation for allergy symptoms – yep, animals suffer from environmental (and food) allergies also
  • Lack of boredom alleviation from being kept in the same spot every day
  • Food (and dish bowls with uneaten food) that sits out all day runs risk of becoming spoiled and infested with bugs. Spoiled food also attracts other animals into that space
  • Unhygienic environments when an animal is forced to void, sleep, eat, sit, lie and live in the same area
  • Lack of light – once the sun goes down, that outdoor animal is left in the dark, chained or penned outside, without being able to see his/her surroundings. That can be very scary to any animal that is left alone at night, outside, every night.

Summer sun and heat can cause a bunch of misery for animals.  Even with shade, animals are subject to the same discomfort in hot weather that humans experience. To name an obvious few:

  • Dehydration
  • Heat Exhaustion
  • Heat Stroke
  • Sun Stroke
  • Heart Attacks
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Sunburn
  • Blisters and sensitive spots on paws from hot pavement

And, social media is buzzing with warnings about the importance of NEVER leaving ANY animal in a closed car.  A cracked window on an 80 degree day will NOT keep an animal safe from interior heat.   Remember, if YOU see ANY animal in an unhealthy, unsafe situation, JUST DO SOMETHING.  Your action may be THE action to save a life.

  • Even well meaning pet owners may not realize they should not simply put their animal outside for prolonged periods of time during Summer. This is especially true for new pet owners who may not yet be well educated on environmental pet care and for elderly pet owners who may forget from time to time the importance of routinely checking on their pets once they are outside.
  • Take the time to speak up if you see a domestic animal staying outside for too long. Especially those that are routinely chained in one place.
    It matters to that animal.
  • Domestic pets that are in-door animals, should be limited in the amount of time spent outside in the heat.
  • If it’s still warm enough for you to be affected by the heat, then chances are you pet is being affected too.  Invite your pet inside for some air conditioning time.
  • Humans have sandals; animals have paws.  Although the bottom of your pet’s paws may feel rough, they are sensitive to hot (and cold).  Hot surfaces like pavement and  tarred driveways can burn and blister, stones can tear and scrape, and other rough surfaces can do damage – AS CAN PESTICIDES (and make you pet sick if s/he licks their paws after they come indoors).  Most domestic animals dislike “booties”, so simply pay attention to the amount of time your pet is walking on surfaces that can burn or injure, and take the time to gently wipe off  paws after being outdoors.  Especially if your pet has environmental allergies.  A quick paw-soak or bath after playing on cut grass can be a very soothing allergy-symptom reliever.  NOTE:  If your pet appears to be dealing with more allergy symptoms or insect bites causing licking, itching, and/or causing your pet to act unlike him or herself, a vet visit is in store.
  • Is it a Summer rainy day? No-one likes to sit around and be soggy. Any soft, clean absorbent towel is great for drying off your pet after outdoor time.  Be sure to routinely wash any toweling used to dry your pet.
  • Speaking of drying off, if you plan on taking your pet to a dog park or swimming area, watch for signs of stress and/or infection. Dogs can pass sickness between each other, and unclean water can cause your pet to get sick internally or externally.
  • Keep Benadryl handy for allergic reactions, and know the recommended dosage for your pet. Always check with your vet for guidance on medical issues, and don’t self-medicate your pet without consulting with your vet first.

Do you keep your pet outside 24/7, or know someone that does?

  • Remember, a pet is a domestic animal that requires care, consideration, companionship, stimulation and protection.
  • If you own a pet, is it your responsibility to provide that  care, consideration, companionship, stimulation and protection.
  • Think about changing YOUR idea of what it means to be a pet owner, and instead, think about the needs of that living animal.
  • If you know of an animal kept outside 24/7  in a neglectful situation, now that you know, you are obligated to JUST DO SOMETHING about it.
  • No animal should be left outside in misery, no matter what the reason.

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

  • Before treating your lawn, before they arrive, remove water sources and ground feeding stations.  Pesticide poisoning HURTS.
  • Try to keep your pet off treated lawns for the first 24-hours.
  • Do not put out any food or water to entice other critters to your yard for 24-hours.
  • Have an “out” plan in place if you treat your entire lawn, so your pet can still get out for exercise and relief.
  • Be aware of neighbors who treat their lawns – stay away!
  • Wipe off paws any time your pet walks on treated ground.
  • Never let your pet lie or roll on treated ground.
  • As a courtesy to other pet owners, leave your lawn treatment signs up at least two days to make others aware.

Animals are VERY active in the Summer!

Wild Animals

  • Wildlife is everywhere, and so many of them are babies learning the ropes!  Drive Slow.  Mow Carefully.  Keep tree removals to a minimum.  Prune Bushes with care.  Keep active fire-pits away from low hanging trees.  We’ll say it again: Wildlife is everywhere!
  • More wild animals will be killed or injured by cars as they become more mobile.  Warm weather means more animals roaming about. This is a good time to talk about what to do if you see ANY injured animal.
    • Click HERE for helpful information on what you can do.
  • Come across any baby birds or animals? Leave them alone unless it’s clear they are abandoned or in distress. Not sure? Call your local rescue or wildlife rehabilitators to find out what you may need to do.
  • If you have a dog that loves to chase, make sure wild animals (think squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, and their babies) are protected as best as you can, before you let your dog out.

Outdoor Pets

  • Think about bringing your outdoor pet inside on occasion, especially during poor weather.
  • Keep the area in which your pet lives in, clean of waste, debris, garbage, and old food.
  • Check your pet faithfully for ticks, bug bites, fleas, and for good health in general.
  • Get Wet For Your Pet!
  • Change your pet’s environment regularly by moving his/her living space around the yard.  Don’t move your pet so far from your house that you cannot easily see him/her or get to him/her fast if you need to.
  • Some pet owners do not use flea and tick medicine in the Spring.  If you are one of those owners, it’s time to start!
  • If your pet is an outside pet, clean out the pethouse, wash the bedding, clean up the area around the pethouse, and clean out the water bowl.  Routinely check pethouses and bedding for spiders, mites and other bugs that love to nest inside them.  Some bites can be painful, and can become quickly infected without an owner knowing right away.


  • Birds are fun to watch, but if you bother a nesting site too much, the parents may abandon it – along with any living chicks.  So enjoy from a distance.
  • To feed or not to feed in the summer – that’s up to you.  Keep feeding stations clean.  Dirty feeders invite illness and disease.  
  • Don’t overfill your feeders.   Uneaten and/or left out seed and food items will spoil, and start to smell.
  •  Always offer fresh, clean water.  Clean out your bird baths every week. This includes Hummingbird and Oriole feeders.
  • Let your water spigot slow drip (drops of water can make a difference to a thirsty bird).
  • Do you like to feed the ducks? A bag of corn works better than bread.


  • Provide shelter.
    • If bringing the animal inside your home is not an option, help him/her survive the Summer heat and elements by providing shelter such as a sturdy cardboard box lined with a good amount of clean, dry straw (straw is the main insulator that rescuers use when helping out strays or domestic outdoor animals who stay outside).
      • Straw provides a soft but effective barrier against the cold and damp, keeps warmth in (if you pile it in a good amount), is pliable enough so animals can burrow and surround themselves with it, and does not mold quickly.
      • Don’t bother with towels and blankets as these will get wet in a storm and stay damp.
    • Enticing the animal into your garage will also work.  
      • Ensure proper bedding for warmth and comfort, as garages usually are not heated.
      • Make sure that harmful products normally stored in the garage are completely out of the way.
      • Cars should never be running in the garage at any time if there is an animal in there!
  • Are you already providing shelter to a stray?
    • Reach out to local entities about spay and neuter for those strays that you are taking care of; don’t allow strays to birth more strays.
    • Time to change the straw or bedding!  
    • Just like a human, animals can develop sores and sensitive skins from dirty, unwashed bedding.
    • Replace straw and/or  wash bedding!  
    • A stray’s life can be pretty miserable. Don’t add to it by overlooking this simple necessity.
  • Provide food and water.
    • Always ensure that there is a daily supply of fresh, clean water easily available.  
    • Providing stray animals with fresh, clean food and water can help them survive better because they will need to use less energy to scrounge up their dinner.
    • A well-fed, well hydrated animal is also better prepared to fight off illness and infection.
    • Steer clear of canned food as it is more likely to spoil when the temperatures climb.

Remember, if you do take in a stray animal:

  • Make sure your first stop is with a licensed veterinarian who can assess the animal for diseases and make sure that it is immunized and safe to be around your children or other pets.
  • If you don’t want to bring the stray to a shelter, reach out to your local rescue groups to see if someone can take him/her.

And remember, for the SUMMER, or ANY time of year:

  • Always SPEAK UP.
    • Keep your eyes and ears open.  If you become aware of a situation where ANY animal is in distress or danger, DO SOMETHING about it.
    • Call local authorities and WAIT until someone comes to the animal’s aide.
    • You may be the ONLY witness and/or the ONLY one to help that animal in that situation.
    • Don’t be nervous or worried if you have to report an act of animal abuse or neglect.
      YOU are their voice.
    • If you are not sure about what you think you see, call for help anyway. You might be saving a life.

Whatever YOU are doing to help make an animal’s life better in the Summer heat, THANK YOU.  We need MORE of you, THEY need more of you.

What are your Summer tips? Share it with us, and we’ll pass it around! All efforts matter for ANY time of year, when it comes to helping out our animals.

Happy Safe Summer!

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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Happy Father’s Day (from Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

A parent doesn’t have to be human to be a great Dad to their kids.

Dads, in general, do the following:

  • They defend their family
  • They protect their young
  • They provide food and shelter
  • They stand guard
  • They stay close
  • They instill survival
  • They encourage independence
  • They teach by example
  • They comfort
  • They reprimand
  • They provide structure
  • They play with their children

Dad’s are role models.

They leave us their legacy, their DNA.

Without Dads, life could not be created.  We wouldn’t exist.

We need to protect Dad’s of ALL species – yep, they’re that important.

Here’s to being a Dad, and here’s to having a Dad – no matter WHOSE Dad we are talking about;
they ALL matter.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur


Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Be Careful Where You Blow and Throw! (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur

Most people know the basic no-no’s when it comes to be “animal aware”.

  • We shouldn’t leave animals in hot cars.
  • We shouldn’t keep driving if we hit an animal with a car if the animal is still alive but injured.
  • We shouldn’t leave animals outside in warm weather without water and shade.

The list goes on and on, and it should.

But here’s one no-no that may not be on your Animal Aware list, and it should be on your radar:

  • We shouldn’t toss our chewing gum any place but in the garbage can.

Many gum loving people are not aware that even a tiny piece of chewing gum can choke an animal, domestic AND wild. This is especially true for wild animals like bunnies, who may find a wad of chewing gum in the lawn. Gum, for animals, is too sticky and chewy and more difficult to manipulate in the mouth, causing choking and asphyxiation.  Sadly, some people chose to use chewing gum as a way of killing smaller animals who tend to eat or nibble in their gardens. Small animals will gravitate to chewing gum because of the smell and taste, without realizing before it’s too late that they can’t handle it once they put it in their mouths.

So chew away! But after you’re done (and teach your children and students and older folks this too), put it in a tissue and toss in the the can, NOT on the ground – not on any ground. Not ever.

And yes, it’s gross to pick up someone’s else wad of chewing gum on the street – but if it’s saves a life, then it’s worth it to carry that small box of tissue to do just that.

And, we have to say it: sometimes we grapple with these kinds of postings. We all know that there are all kinds of weirdos out there who get enjoyment and fulfillment out of hurting animals. Sometimes, posting a helpful hint about what NOT to do to help animals, is just the incentive for a weirdo to go do it, just because they can.  Remember that if you see ANYONE doing ANY harm to ANY animal for ANY reason, speak up and report it. That goes for reporting even the weirdo who wants to see if an animal can really choke to death from chewing gum. 

Here’s to responsible gum chewing!

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur


Animal Advocacy logo Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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