Posts from June, 2012
Most people have heard that you should not leave a pet alone in the car in the summer. But what if you just have to run into the store? A few minutes don’t really matter, does it? Think again. Remember the following when the temptation strikes:
- On a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can reach over 90 degrees in minutes. In direct sun, temperatures could easily exceed 160 degrees!
- Cracking the window does not provide adequate protection, and rolling the window down further increases the odds of your pet jumping out the window or being bothered by passersby.
- Even leaving the air conditioning running can be dangerous. Stories of untimely malfunctions of the cooling system are not uncommon.
- Animals cannot sweat to cool themselves like humans can. Just a few minutes of being overheated can be enough to cause irreversible organ damage or death.
If you see an animal or child sitting alone in a car on a hot day with no adult near, call 9-1-1. It could save their lives. As always, please feel free to call us with questions.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and what better time to double check that you are ready. If you should experience a tornado, flood, fire, or other unfortunate event you need to have a plan in place. Go through the following checklist to be sure your animals are cared for in case of an emergency.
Put together a pet preparedness kit. This should include food for your pet, water, a leash & collar, bowls, any medications, and a basic first-aid kit. Also include a photo of your pet and immunization/vet records. You should also have a pet carrier for smaller dogs, cats, and pocket pets.
Make sure your pet’s identification is current. No one plans on becoming separated from their pet, but it happens. Be sure collars and tags bear the correct information. Double check that your pet’s microchip is registered to the correct address and telephone number. Consider having your pet microchipped if it is not already.
Have a plan. Where will you go if you need to evacuate your home? Know local boarding facilities and hotels that will take pets. Make a contact list that includes these places as well as veterinarian information and numbers for non-local family and friends, the American Red Cross, and American Humane Society.
Spring is here and things are warming up outside, which means there are many more opportunities for outdoor fun! Long walks, hiking trails, play groups, swimming… It gets my tail wagging just thinking about it! As with any activity that you participate in with your pup, there are tips to remember when heading into the great outdoors to keep you both safe and happy.
- Let your dog carry his own weight. If you have a dog that doesn’t tire easily, get him a dog backpack to help boost his workout a little. Keep in mind that if you just slap the bag on, throw in some weights, and head out for your walk, Sparky might not be too keen the next time he sees the pack come out. The key is to make it fun. Put the pack on empty the first time and let your dog walk around in it while you offer him treats. The next time keep it on a little longer. Once he seems like he’s tolerating it, try it with a couple of water bottles in it to add some weight. As soon as he’s comfortable with it, try going for a walk with it on. The extra weight should help to tire him out faster so he’ll get more out of your walk.
- Help your dog to play nice with others. When the weather gets warmer the number of dog bites and dog fights increase due to the number of outdoor activities available to people, dogs, and dog owners. Keep this increased number in mind if you bring your dog to a location where there is the potential for other dogs. Be sure you always ask the owner before initiating contact with a new dog. If the owner is nowhere to be found, avoid any contact with the dog as best you can. Dog parks tend to be more crowded as well, which can sometimes lead to stress and aggressive behavior. Evaluate the situation and pay attention to your pup. If he seems stressed at all, a nice long walk alone with you may be a better option that day.
- Throw another shrimp on the barbie. Spring and summer are times for family gatherings, barbecues and parties galore! Keep in mind though, that your dog may not be as excited about these social gatherings as you and may prefer to be kept indoors, away from the festivities. Loud noises, lots of strangers, and a break from their normal routine may be stressful for your pal. If your dog is a party animal who loves these gatherings as much as you, you should still be sure he is always supervised throughout his visit with other guests, kids, and other animals, especially if food is present. Also be sure that your guests are aware of foods that could be poisonous to dogs such as raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and any product containing artificial sweeteners such as xylitol. To play it safe, it’s best to just request your guests not feed him any table scraps at all.
- Learn to recognize heat stress. Heat stress is a serious medical condition that can lead to other issues such as stroke, brain damage, or even death. It’s important to learn to recognize the signs that your dog may be suffering. Remember that dogs can’t sweat the way we do. They regulate their temperature by panting and are much more susceptible to overheating than we are. Signs of heat stress include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red/purple tongue. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms you should apply cool (not cold) water gradually to your dog to decrease his temperature. Make sure to move them to a cooler, shady location and remember that dogs cool themselves from the bottom up, so using cold ice packs and applying them to your dog’s head, neck, and chest will help.
- Cowabunga! Most dogs love to swim, but some just can’t do it and others just don’t want to. If you’re going swimming be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before making him swim. If you’re swimming for the first time with your dog, start off in shallow water and coax him by calling his name and encouraging him with treats or toys. Never throw your dog into the water. If you’re lucky enough to be vacationing near the ocean keep a close eye on your pal to make sure he stays safe in any strong tides. If you’re swimming in a pool make sure your dog knows where the stairs are located, and give him a good rinse once he comes out. Otherwise the chlorine will dry on his fur and it may make him sick if he licks it off later.
Most importantly, enjoy your outdoors time with your furry friend. It’s easy to have a great time if you keep these few safety tips in mind. As always, feel free to call us with any questions.