Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summertime and Pet Safety



With the start of the Summer season there's a lot to think of with regard to the safety of your pet.

Be very careful of fleas and ticks. Go over your pet daily and have your veterinarian show you how to safely remove ticks so the head it's left in the pet's body. Be sure you vacuum your house and every place your pet sits or sleep. Wash bedding and toys and check for flea eggs - those dark spots on your pet's skin. There are various safe treatments for fleas on your pet. Again, talk to your veterinarian. Some of the products you can buy over the counter or via e-mail can be poisonous to your pet and that is not anything you want to try!

More people are thinking about traveling with their four-legged family members and spending time in the great outdoors, whether on holiday or in their own backyard. But accidents can happen, some because owners don't know some of the facts of outdoor life with a pet.

On very hot days, your car can heat up like an oven. Even if it's only in the low 70s your car can quickly turn lethal even with the windows cracked open. To prove this to yourself, put a chocolate bar on your dashboard and see how long it takes for the candy to melt. Your pet can die of heatstroke.  Please leave your pet at home while you run errands.  If you're on the road traveling, either pack a meal or use a drive-through window.  Don't leave your pet unattended. 


Alana being walked on a harness by her owner, Claire Clayton


Walk your dog in the early morning and late afternoon.  The hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are when it is hottest. Avoid walking your dog during that time and don't ever put a pet out in the heat!  It's dangerous. If your dog begins to show signs of heatstroke turn fans on him and dunk him in a cold bath to try to bring down his temperature and then rush him to your veterinarian for emergency treatment.  This is no time to let your cat go outdoors into a cat enclosure. It's just as dangerous for kitty. 

Don't walk your dog on pavement or hot top or tar. The rule of thumb is that if it's too hot for the palm of your hand, it's too hot for the pads of your pet's paws. And tar or hot top can adhere to your pet's paws in the heat because it melts. That's dangerous. Don't try to peel it off because you'll peel off the pads of the paws at the same time!!  You can put some petroleum jelly on it but best to go to your veterinarian. Better yet, don't expose your pet to that in the first place.

No matter where you go, your pet should be protected by proper identification in case he gets lost. Dogs and cats have been known to bolt out of cars at rest stops and finding them again can be extremely difficult. You should always travel with recent pictures of your pet in case you have to make posters or show the picture at shelters and veterinary hospitals.  And you should have the name of a veterinarian in the place to which you're going. But you will also need identification for your pet!  I prefer two forms, a microchip that can be read and reunite you with your pet (don't forget to register it!), and an i.d. tag. You can have an extra tag made up if you are, for example, going away for a week or more and have the address of the place where you'll be staying so your pet can be returned to you there.
Aimee prefers to be safely indoors

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With the Fourth of July come firecrackers complete with loud noises that can give thunder a run for its money when it comes to frightening pets. Dogs and cats have far more sensitive hearing that we humans. If it sounds loud to us, imagine how it sounds to your pet!  Just like Thunderphobia, your pet can have the same reaction to fireworks. Many pet owners dread the fireworks, legal or illegal that cause havoc for pet owners with dogs panicking and running or just standing and shaking.  Keep your pet calm, distract him with games and don't react to the noise or he will believe it's even more scary and dangerous.You can use one of the snug-fitting shirts used for Thunderphobia, or adjust an old tee shirt to fit like swaddling on your pet. There are recordings to try to condition your pet to the sound.

If you have a white dog, one with a short hair coat and especially one who is hairless you will have to protect your pet from the sun. He'll need sunscreen. Seeing a sunburned dog is horrifying. And remember that all dogs need fresh cold water to drink.

Put some thought into what you're doing.  If you're going out on a boat, get your pet and appropriately sized lifejacket. 


Photo courtesy of Anne Hudson

And use all of this good weather to get outside with your dog and have fun!  

Happy Summer!



2 comments:

Images of Butterflies said...

My dog used to have fleas. It took a lot of flea baths but those did not work. What worked is that we cleaned his area. It seems that most of the fleas are living there.

Darlene said...

Fleas don't stay on the dog very long but do need to be removed. However, it is critical to clean the area the dog is in and the dog's toys. Your best friend can be the vacuum cleaner when dealing with fleas. They jump off the dog and will just as easily lay eggs in carpeting and on chairs, beds, etc., as they will on he dog.