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Dog Expert Offers Pet Safety Advice

Dog trainer and pet behaviorist Jody Rosengarten has advice for pet owners when facing a potential health emergency, because it can never hurt a dog's human to be reminded of dangers particular to their pets. "When in doubt," says Jody, "Always call your veterinarian first."

Following are Jody's tips for protecting your pet from some hazards:

Dogs, especially the brachycephalic (short-nosed), overheat easily. Never leave any dog in a hot car or in full-sun outdoors.

Ping pong-sized balls, electrical chords and empty chip or cereal bags pose choking/electrocution/suffocation hazards.

Supervise your dogs around swimming pools and show them where the steps are and how to use them.

With an increase in coyote sightings, small dogs and cats should never be allowed outside unattended.

A partial list of potentially deadly poisons dogs commonly ingest includes the following: grapes and raisins, dark chocolate, Xylitol (an artificial sweetener used in many sugarless gums and other products), medications, antifreeze, cocoa mulch, cleaning products, insecticides and rodenticides. The Poison Control website is an invaluable resource, says Jody.

Here are two seven-day per week pet emergency contacts for Fairfield County residents.

In Norwalk, the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center (VREC) (203) 854-9960.

The ASPCA Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 (There is a $65 charge).

"A safe pet is a happy pet," says Jody. A safe pet also makes a happy owner.

These days, few pet owners allow their dogs or cats to roam free in their neighborhoods. Most animals are either contained with electric systems, such as the Invisible Fence, or are kept in fenced-in yards or on leashes. What about you? Do you let your pets roam? Let me know here .

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