Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's Summer Time!

I know, I have been so bad with updating this blog. Work has been so busy the past month that I would just come home at night and pass out. So I am hoping things will slow down soon. But in the meantime, I thought this was a hewlpful reminder for Summer time safety for our pets. Enjoy and I'll get some pictures posted of my house projects soon!

1. Water Safety

a. If you are on the water use a life jacket on your pet.
b. Watch for signs of hypothermia if your pet falls into a cold pool or lake. Signs are, shivering, lethargy, and trouble breathing.
c. If you suspect hypothermia, contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately.
d. Keep your pet out of algae covered ponds. Algae blooms can contain harmful toxins. Don't allow your pet to consume dead fish or mussels.
e. Make sure the pool area is secure. Pets may not be able to get to the ladder or the steps.

2. Summer Guests

a. Put a blanket in the shade for your pet to relax on. Keep him away from matches, charcoal, lighter fluid, citronella candles, insect coils, onions, avocados, chocolate, grapes, raisins, and fresh garlic.
b. Put locks on gates. During parties appoint a family member to monitor doors, windows, and gates. If this is not realistic, confine the pet.
c. Ask overnight guests to stow away all medications. Common drugs like acetaminophen, diet pills, anti-depressants and cold medicines are toxic to pets if ingested.
d. Keep garbage out of reach. Rotting food can contain mold or bacteria and overly fatty foods may lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal.
e. Take your dog on a tiring walk before the guests arrive. If he's anxious, he will appreciate a quiet room all to himself during visits.

3. Sizzling Heat

a. Keep pets inside during the hottest part of the day in an air conditioned room.
b. If your pet stays outside, provide plenty of shade and fresh water. Try not to use stainless steel bowls as they can speed up evaporation. Place a children's wadding pool in the yard for another cooling place for your pets.
c. Pay special attention to the snub or short nosed breeds. They have more difficulties breathing especially in warm weather.
d. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling, and mild weakness. If you suspect heatstroke, call your veterinarian or emergency clinic right away. If you can't get to your veterinarian immediately, put the pet in a cool, NOT COLD, bath. Offer ice chips to lick while you wait for further instructions.
e. Hot asphalt, sidewalks and sand can burn your pets pads. If the surface burns your bare feet, it can burn your pet's. f. Give your long haired pet a summer shearing. Keep the hair about an inch long. Cutting the hair too short robs him of the sun and insect protection.
g. Use pet sunscreen only. Human sunscreen can cause vomiting, excessive thirst, and lethargy.
h. Avoid insect repellents containing DEETS. Dogs are very sensitive to this substance and may develop nervous systems problems if it is applied to their skin.
i. Plan walks early in the morning or late in the evening.

4. On the Road

a. NEVER leave your dog in a vehicle. Even with the windows open a parked car can quickly become a deadly furnace. On a mild 73 degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in 30 minutes. On a 90 degree day the interior of a vehicle can reach 160 degrees in just 10 minutes.
b. Pay attention to your vacation destination's climate. Most heat related incidents involving dogs happen to travelers who don't realize how hot it can get and how quickly.
c. Think parking a car in the shade offers protection? Think again. Your dog cools his body mainly through panting which can't keep pace with a vehicle's spiking temperatures.
d. The same goes for open truck beds, which offers a dog zero protection from the hot sun. Metal beds can also burn paw pads when the surface heats up.
e. If you must travel with your pets, carry a large thermos filled with cool, fresh water.
f. Keep your pet's collar and ID tag on him at all times. You may want to have your cell phone number on his ID tag, rather than your home number. Consider micro-chipping your pet as well.
g. Don't allow your pets to hang their heads out of the open windows while you are driving. Dirt and debris can fly into their eyes and ears. This can also lead to corneal ulcers and ear infections.

5. Toxic Chemicals

a. Poison-proof your house and garage. Store toxic substances such as fertilizers, weed killers, rat poisons, ice melting products, and gasoline in a safe place and make sure they don't leak. Products used to keep the lawns healthy are fine for yards with pets as long as you follow instructions and confine your pet to the house while using the items.
b. Stay alert for leaked coolant which has a sweet taste that attracts animals. Ethylene Glycol containing anti-freeze and coolants, even in small quantities, can be fatal. Switch to antifreeze products made with Propylene Glycol which are considered less toxic to pets, or products that contain a bittering agent.

6. Vaccinations

a. Visit your veterinarian now if your pet needs his annual checkup. It's wise to start the summer with up to date heart worm and flea and tick preventatives as well as vaccines.
b. Check your pet daily for ticks, even if you are using a preventative. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers using a steady and firm pressure to draw the tick away from the skin.
c. It is wise to have your pet's feces (bowel movement) checked at least twice yearly for parasites. With wild critters and even stray animals outside, your pet could be exposed to parasites without you realizing it. Call your veterinarian, you may be able to just drop a sample off to be tested and they can call you with the results. Remember some of these parasites are contagious to humans.
d. Remember, stray cats and other animals may use a sandbox, at home or in a park, for their personal potty. Many of them may have parasites. Try to cover your children's sandboxes when they are not playing in them. Make sure your children wash their hands thoroughly after playing in any sand box.

7. Travel Plans

a. Make sure hotels, campgrounds, etc. accept pets. Take a bed, food and toys for your pets. b. Take your pet's vaccination records with you in case of a problem or if the place you are staying requires them.
c. Always scout for a veterinary clinic or pet emergency facility in the town where you are staying or visiting. Travel ChecklistOur veterinary team wants you and your pet to have a safe and happy trip, but there is a lot to remember when traveling with your pet.

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