Among Pet-Friendly States, Oregon is Top Dog

Organizations like Best Friends Animal Society and Humane Society of the United States often give Oregon top grades for animal-friendly legislation, pet-friendly communities, and humane-minded lawmakers. Now, the security technology company Safewise is joining the chorus of praise.

In a report that ranks all US states, the company says, “Oregon has it all—thousands of pet-friendly properties to visit, strict anti-abuse laws, and lots of no-kill shelters where you can meet new friends. Portland alone has over 350 pet-friendly restaurants.”

The top pet-friendly states, according to rankings by Safewise and major animal welfare organizations

The top pet-friendly states, according to rankings by Safewise and major animal welfare organizations

While more than two-thirds of all US households have pets, many areas of the country lag behind in pet-friendly status, as ranked by Animal Legal Defense Fund and NoKill Network. In its report released today, Safewise says some of the rankings may surprise readers. The company leads its information release with, “New York isn’t that safe for pets.” New York ranks fourth on the list of least-pet-friendly states.

“Iowa is the least pet-friendly state in the US, with weak animal protection laws, a high number of puppy mills, and not many pet-friendly destinations,” Safewise reports.

Iowa’s weak animal protection laws and high number of puppy mills earned it the lowest ranking among all states.

Iowa’s weak animal protection laws and high number of puppy mills earned it the lowest ranking among all states.

Other findings, as compiled from rankings published by major animal welfare organizations:

Iowa is the least pet-friendly state, based on shelter euthanasia rates, number of puppy mills, and the relative weakness of animal welfare laws.

California is the state with the most veterinarians, but Montana — with its much smaller population — has the most veterinarians per capita.

Illinois is the state with the strictest animal protection legislation, but animal-friendly Oregon claims the number-two ranking.

The security provider released safety rankings to coincide with the release of the animated film, Secret Life of Pets 2.

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Spring Pet Safety Tips: Mushroom Toxicity

By Dr. Wendy Merideth

Mushrooms play an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter. They are fundamental in nutrient cycling and exchange within ecosystems. Unfortunately, though, many of the mushrooms in Oregon are toxic to pets.

In late spring and early summer, Sunriver Veterinary Clinic in Central Oregon treats many patients for mushroom toxicity. These animals may present with profuse drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or they may be in a coma. Apart from such obvious symptoms, bear in mind that toxic mushrooms can also injure your pet’s liver.

Treatment involves the induction of vomiting (if the animal is conscious) to empty the stomach of remaining mushrooms. Intravenous fluids are then initiated to help flush toxins from the bloodstream. Activated charcoal, given by mouth, binds the toxins within the gastrointestinal tract and the toxins that circulate through the liver and bile. Pets may also need supportive liver medications and supplements. With treatment, the prognosis is good.
 
Please inspect your yard for mushrooms and watch your dogs closely on the trail this time of year. Unless you are a mushroom expert, please assume all mushrooms are toxic to pets! Wear gloves when removing them from your yard and throw them away in a place your pet can’t reach.
 
If your pet ever ingests a mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately.  

Dr. Merideth incorporates both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine in the care of pets at her  Sunriver Veterinary Clinic  in Central Oregon. She especially likes helping older pets feel better through acupuncture.

Dr. Merideth incorporates both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine in the care of pets at her Sunriver Veterinary Clinic in Central Oregon. She especially likes helping older pets feel better through acupuncture.

Tips for a safe Halloween

  1. Keep candy out of reach, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (common in sugar-free candies and gum);

  2. Make sure your pet has a microchip, collar and ID tag in case of escape;

  3. Keep lit candles/jack-o-lanterns and glow sticks/jewelry out of reach

  4. If putting your pet in costume, make sure it fits properly, is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces easily chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Give your pet time to get accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your him or her unsupervised while in costume;

  5. If your pet is wary of strangers or might bite from stress or fear, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours;

  6. Keep your pet inside. 

Excepted from a public service courtesy of the AVMA.

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Fear & Loathing on the 4th

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4th of July fireworks can sound like the end of the world to pets. Managing a fraidy-cat or jittery dog can mean a long and trying holiday for you, too. Every year, countless panicked pets get hurt or lost trying to flee the terrifying sights and sounds, but these coping strategies will keep you and yours happy and safe until the skies clear.

Give dogs a good walk or playtime early in the day so they’re happily tired before nightfall.

Keep pets at home and indoors. You might need to do this for several nights, depending on how many days of revelry your neighbors observe.

Close the drapes and turn on soothing music to drown out the scary stuff.

Consider a fun distracting game. Coax a mildly nervous cat into a stress-relieving game with a laser or toy. Or fire up the hot-air popcorn popper for an entertaining, chase-worthy dog snack that also makes a distracting white noise.

If you know your kiddos get seriously worked up, your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety meds.

Talk to a good pet supply store: many can recommend over-the-counter treatments.

If — Dog forbid — a pet escapes and goes missing, get in touch with nearby shelters ASAP. Shelter staff work hard before, on, and after the holiday reuniting panicked pets with their worried people.

Hot New Lifesaving Law

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Oregon’s “Good Samaritan Law” — which allows bystanders to free children or pets from overheated parked cars — is one year old. It’s always advisable to call authorities and wait for help, but the law now protects you if you break a window or pry open a door because it’s too dangerous to wait, and:

You have a reasonable belief that a pet or child is in immediate danger

You call police before or immediately after entering the car

You use minimum force needed to get into the car

You stay with the child or pet until police or rescue crews arrive

Even on a mild 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can reach a miserable 104 degrees in 20 minutes, and a deadly 118 degrees in an hour. 

Sink or Swim! Water Safety for Your Dog

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If you have a water-loving dog, you know there are few things more inviting than cool water on a warm day. There are risks such as overexertion and toxic algae, so it’s important to take precautions to help keep things fun and safe.

Don’t push a scared or reluctant swimmer — not all dogs are natural swimmers.

Take along: Ear cleaning/drying solution if your pup’s floppy ears are vulnerable to infection, a dog flotation vest, and knowledge of pet first aid.

Water-crazy dogs don’t automatically rest when they’re cold or tired. Watch for signs of fatigue, and get your dog on dry land for regular rest breaks.

Safe fencing to prevent unsupervised swims by pets or kids in pools and ponds.

Watch the waves. They can be deadly to tired or distracted swimmers.

Heed all warnings and advisories about toxic algae. Get help right away if you see signs of illness (lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea) as toxic algae poisoning can be fatal in under 24 hours. Check for affected areas at by searching "Algae Bloom Advisories" at oregon.gov.

That rule about swimming right after eating applies to dogs, too. Avoid any heavy physical activity for several hours after a meal. 

Bone Up on winter pet safety

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While it’s been a mild winter in the Northwest this year, some chilly days and weeks still lie ahead.

Despite their fur coats, pets feel the cold just as humans do. The follow safety tips are offered by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

  • Know your pet.  Pets’ tolerance for cold varies. When out for walks, provide a jacket for short-haired, elderly or frail dogs.
  • Forgo haircuts.  Save shearing for warmer months.
  • Check ears, paws and tails regularly.  Check for signs of frostbite, raw spots or debris.
  • Wipe your pet’s belly, legs and paws. Have a clean towel ready for when your dog comes inside to remove ice-melting chemicals, which can irritate and cause serious illness if licked or swallowed.
  • Clean antifreeze spills. Attracted to the sweet smell and taste, pets will lick or drink antifreeze, which is toxic to cats and dogs. Clean spills and consider using a brand made from propylene glycol, which is less toxic.
  • Keep water flowing. Dry winter weather can be dehydrating. Keep fresh water free of ice inside and out.
  • Provide a warm bed. Give your pet a warm, cozy bed and plenty of elevated places inside to warm up.
  • Leave Fido at home. You know the dangers of leaving a pet in a hot car, but did you know the practice can be just as hazardous in winter? When running errands, it’s always best to leave dogs at home.

Roadside 
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You know those pithy bits of wisdom we love to hate when we’re having a bad day? Like the saying about a silver lining on every cloud? Three Portland felines don work vests and traverse area highways every day to prove those sayings true.

The feline siblings, Pixie Cat, Dixie Belle, and Sylvan Jinx, show local motorists that a flat on I-205 or a dead battery in the Gorge needn’t ruin a day. They roll with Jesse Dorsett, owner of Jesse’s Roadside Rescue, whose job is changing tires and jump-starting batteries. The cats’ job is cheering the sidelined motorists.

“They really are part of the team,” says Jesse, who has taken his cats along since they were kittens. They were just a few weeks old when he moved to Portland from California. “On that road trip, I realized they do really well in a car,” he says. By the time he’d started his business, Jesse’s cats were pros on the road. “I decided it was my business and I could take them along if I want.” The cats wear yellow vests and leashes on the job, and their images grace the company’s logo and advertising.

Originally an accountant, Jesse’s roadside business follows a long family history. “The Dorsett men working in the transportation business goes back to my great-great-grandfather who, with his brother, ran and operated a stagecoach in South Texas. I am an accountant who likes to rebuild cars.  I studied the double entry system of accounting about the same time I studied ignition systems.”

Dixie Belle posing in front of the Bridge of the Gods

Dixie Belle posing in front of the Bridge of the Gods

Early on, Jesse found the cats helped do more than pass the time on the road. “There was one lady with a flat near the fast lane on I-205, by the grass median, and traffic was heavy,” he recalls. “She was crying and really stressed out. I said, ‘Hey, do you want to meet my cat?’” Sylvan Jinx visited with the frazzled driver, comforting her with his slinky black feline coolness. Soon the woman’s spirits were repaired, right along with her tire.

Mr. Jinx enjoying the ride on the dash

Mr. Jinx enjoying the ride on the dash

Dixie Belle, a gray and white patched Tabby, performed a service miracle for another customer. “She had a flat tire, and she expected a tow truck,” says Jesse. “I didn’t come to tow her; I just came to change her tire. She was a little grumpy about that.” But Jesse says the woman’s mood changed when he asked if she wanted to visit with his cat. “She was happy right away,” he laughs.

For customers who find themselves stranded, Jesse’s cats immediately lighten the mood. Sometimes people have waited an hour or more, growing more frustrated by the minute, and when cats come to their rescue, “it can really make their day,” he says.

Customers agree, posting reviews like: "Best roadside service cat ever!"

Pixie and Mr. Jinx (Haylee holding him) at the Casino in Warm Springs during the eclipse.

Pixie and Mr. Jinx (Haylee holding him) at the Casino in Warm Springs during the eclipse.

For Jesse, who’s on call 24 hours a day, his feline coworkers keep him healthy and sane. “They know what’s up,” he says. “They know when I have people sign their paperwork and I give them a copy, the job is done. And then they know we get to go for a walk. We find a place with trees and we go for a walk.”

Few tales of businesses give so many reasons to smile. “My predilection for auto mechanics, driving, helping people in need, and spending quality time with my fur babies have all come together very conveniently in this business I have worked my way into. Needless to say, I keep good detailed books and do my own taxes.”


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Michelle Blake is a Salem, OR-based massage therapist and freelance writer whose work has appeared in national publications. Her husband wants you to know she's a REALLY crazy dog lady too.