|Gibson's checking the clock. He knows it's meal time!|
- If your pets are on specifically timed medications, i.e. seizure meds (like our boy Gibson), at least for the first day of the new time change, stagger the dosage times. If your pet typically takes his medications at 8 AM and 7 PM, for today, give the AM dosage at the new fall-back time of 7:30 (true time would be 8:30, a half hour later than usual), and give the 7 PM dosage at 6:30 (true time would be 7:30). That way, while their internal clock says it's a bit late, their system can adjust to the "new" time and won't be going too long without the meds. Getting back on schedule is very quick, but I like to ease my boy in and keep those seizure meds as close to on-time (according to Gibson's clock) as possible.
- It's also a great time to remember to check your emergency pet window clings.(You can order a free Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA online, which includes a window cling and Poison Control Center magnet. ADT also offers free Pet Alert Window Clings that you can order online as well as a list of fire departments in your area that carries them. You can also search the Internet for other clings if you'd like.) When checking your window cling, is it still afixed to the window? Is it legible? Did the sun fade the info? Are the number of pets and location still accurate? This is critical information for the Fire Department emergency personnel that could save your pet's life in case of a fire.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Update your pet's emergency first aid kit.
- Check your supply of cold/snow season items. Be sure you have pet-friendly sidewalk ice dissolvers (not salt), natural paw de-icers (we use a nice oil- and lanolin-based protectant for the Sibes' paws before they go out into the snow and ice to prevent balling in between the paws and on leg and underbelly fur), clean towels for drying them off or removing ice balls from longer fur, and an outdoor dish that can withstand the cold and not freeze up their outdoor source of water.
- Inspect all bedding, crates, blankets, doghouses, etc. to be sure they are all clean, functional, and protective. (Stop by the AKC website and take their quick poll on winterizing for your pets.)
- Pets will seek out shelters when outside. Be sure all leftover summer pool chemicals, BBQ gas tanks, pesticides, and sharp tools have been put away from their reach. Winter 'tis the season for outdoor hot tubs, so do a check to be sure the chemicals and fragrances are stored out of the pet areas. These areas may be OK where they are located in the summer, but in the winter pets can climb and dig through snow, giving them a different reach. So please, use a critical eye when winterizing their areas.
- As with people, this is also the perfect time to review your pet's meds and be sure they are all up-to-date. Toss away any that are expired.
- Update your home and cell phones with your vet, emergency vet clinic, and Poison Control Center numbers. Also be sure they are posted by your phone and are accurate.