Post by Category : Pet Safety

Do You have a Dog Friendly Garden?  0

Dog Friendly Garden | Fairhaven MassachusettsWe love our dogs and our gardens, but for many of us the two don’t mix well in the backyard. Since our season is limited, we try and make the most of our garden in New England. We have shared some simple tips for balancing the needs of pets and plants.

Garden Training. Start training right away. Let your dog know what parts of the garden are off limits.

Don’t leave your dog unattended. Don’t leave your dog alone outside if they can get access to your garden.

Protect your borders with a low fence. You will be surprised at how even the smallest fence can be an effective visual barrier for your dog. Raised beds are also great at rerouting your dog’s path.

Include your dog. As you garden, provide your dog with an activity. Gracie loves to play with her “outdoor” toys while we work in the garden. We also talk to her while working in the garden to keep her engaged with us.

Have fun. Enjoy your dog’s company and don’t get too upset if your dog knocks over a pot or kills a plant. Plants always grow back.

There are many plants that are toxic to dogs. Be mindful of what you buy and plant in your garden if you have a pet. Some of the more common toxic plants for dogs include: Autumn Crocus, American Holly, Azaleas, Bleeding Hearts, Daffodils, Hosta, Lilies, Rhubarb, Grapes, and Mushrooms. For a comprehensive list and photos of pet-safe garden plants, visit the Animal Poison Control Center at

Don’t forget that insecticides and herbicides can pose problems too. Research on phenoxy-type herbicides shows they increase the incidence of cancer. Be cautious when treating your lawns and gardens this summer. Keep in mind that you will need to create a dog friendly garden and backyard if you want your dog to live a long healthy life.

We encourage you to share photos with Gracie of your dogs working in the garden this summer. Please email Tammi at with your photo and we will share it. Don’t forget to include a couple of sentences about your pup in the garden!

Teaching Children How to Greet Dogs  0

Have you heard of the Yellow Dog Project? Does your child know how to greet a dog?

The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for parents of dogs that need space ( The goal of this movement is to raise awareness about dogs who may be overly excitable when children, people, and other dogs are around. The use of a yellow ribbon on the dog’s leash or collar is to identify yellow dogs who are are in need of extra space.

The color yellow is used as a symbol of caution to others (especially children) who may approach your dog while you are engaged in an outdoor activity.

Yellow Dog Project | Fairhaven MassachusettsAs dog parents of an excitable herding dog, we are thrilled to hear of this global movement. There have been occasions where children have run toward us to pet Gracie. While it’s important to train your dog, it is also important to teach children how to greet a dog. To avoid miscommunication during greetings it is critical for parents to teach children safe methods of approaching and greeting dogs, and to avoid them at certain times.

We encourage teaching your children three simple rules:

  • Children should always ask the owner first if it is okay to pet their dog;
  • The dog should be pet on the back from collar to tail, never on the head;
  • Leave dogs that are sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies alone.

Additional basic child safety tips around dogs:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog and scream.
  • Remain motionless (“be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“be still like a log”).
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Do not disturb a dog when it is eating, on its bed, in a car, behind a fence, or tied up.

We recently had first hand experience with an adult, not a child, tapping on our car window with Gracie in the car barking. This man continued to antagonize her while I had my hands full standing next to my car door waiting to get in. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I had ever been through as a dog owner. What many people may not understand is that training your dog takes a great deal of time, patience and consistency. One experience like this can not only set your training back quite a bit, but also put your dog through unnecessary stress and anxiety.

When we heard of the Yellow Dog Project, we immediately thought it was a great movement toward safe dog encounters and pet education. Next time you see a “yellow dog”, we hope you will take a moment to recognize that the dog may need some extra space. We encourage you to spread the word and educate others, especially children, on what the yellow ribbon symbolizes.


13 Tips for Safe Car Travel with Your Pet  0

Pet SafetyAt Berry Insurance, our human clients aren’t the only ones we’re concerned for! And with January 2nd being National Pet Safety Day, we are thrilled to help Gracie’s Bark share a few tips for safely traveling with your pet in the car.







  1. To minimize any potential stress on your pet, start with short trips and work your way up to longer trips.
  2. Feed your pet 3-4 hours before you’ll be leaving.
  3. Your pet should always ride in the backseat for both their safety and yours.
  4. Be sure your pet has tags/identification, and up-to-date vaccines just in case the animal were to get loose during the car ride.
  5. If you plan to harness or crate your animal in the car, practice with your animal in the days leading up to travel day.
  6. If you’re traveling out of state, have your pet’s health records with you.
  7. If your pet is traveling in a crate, put your name, destination address, and cell phone number on the crate in the event of an emergency.
  8. Don’t forget small first aid items like nail clippers or a wrap/bandage.
  9. Stick with water. Unless this is a LONG trip, try and limit your pet to water and do not give food.
  10. Having an extra leash in your car, waste bags and your pet’s favorite toy for comfort is a great idea.
  11. Do not allow your dog to hang their head out of your car window. This can be very dangerous. Instead, bring along their favorite chew toy.
  12. Stop often to allow your pet to go to the bathroom, stretch their legs and burn off some energy.
  13. Always park in the shade and do not leave your animal unattended in the car.

One more tip – don’t forget pet insurance! Inquire with your Massachusetts auto insurance agent as to whether your policy will provide pet insurance. Some insurance companies will extend a limited amount of coverage to injuries sustained in your car, and we know you’ll want to protect man’s best friend as much as we would!

For more great travel tips, check out Animal Planet. We wish you and your furry friend safe travels!

For more information on Massachusetts Auto Insurance, or to get some answers about your current insurance situation, please visit our virtual insurance agency at, stop our office in Franklin, Massachusetts or give us a call at (800) 941-3317.

You can also find us on all your favorite social networking sites!