|If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons. - James Thurber|
Seasonal Pet Care
SUMMER PET CARE
Keep Them Cool.
Keep your pets out of the sun on hot days. Be aware that the sun moves throughout the day. They may be in the shade now, but later be in the sun. It may be better to keep them indoors, especially if your house is air conditioned.
Hosing them down also helps.
Never Leave a Pet In a Car or Truck.
Even with the windows down, the temperature inside a car or truck can reach 120 degrees or higher in a matter of minutes. It is better to leave them at home.
Through panting, excess heat is expelled. Normally this is quite efficient. However, when the humidity is high, it is not as efficient. On those days, you may need to take extra precautions to be sure your pet does not suffer heat stroke.
If your pet loves to be active, you need to be careful they do not overexert themselves on hot days. Walks with them should be at a slower pace on those days. If they seem tired, it's time to quit.
Some Dogs Have a Harder Time With the Heat.
Older, younger, overweight and ill dogs are less able to deal with the heat. Dogs with short noses (pugs, bulldogs, Pekingese, for example) cannot pant efficiently and, therefore, have a harder time staying cool. Keep these dogs cool and out of the sun.
Heatstroke in Animals.
Heat stroke can be fatal. It must be treated immediately. (See the Signs below.) Call your veterinarian. In the meantime, apply cool, wet towels to the hairless areas of the body. The pet may respond and seem to recover, only to then have its body temperature soar back up or fall well below normal. You must, therefore, get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. He or she has the means to cool the body efficiently, apply intravenous fluids and medication. These may be necessary to prevent shock, brain damage or death.
Signs of Heatstroke.
Plenty of Water.
Be sure your pet has plenty of water. Check the bowl regularly. Take water along with you if you go on long walks.
Sunscreen for Pets?
Yes, pets need sunscreen, too. Apply it to the skin around the lips, tips of the ears and tip of the nose.
Antifreeze is Poison.
While walking your pet, be sure it does not drink from a puddle in the street as it may contain antifreeze which is highly toxic.
WINTER PET CARE
We can sometimes forget that domesticated animals are not adapted to live outside under any and all weather conditions. When it gets too cold outside, we need to take some precautions to keep our pets healthy.
Winter Pet Housing.
Of course, the best thing for the winter months would be to keep your pet inside. If that is not feasible, their winter home needs to be protected from the elements. It should be at least insulated. If you can have it heated, that is even better. It should also have some kind of door to protect it from the wind, rain, snow and sleet. And the floor needs to be off the ground or else it will be damp all the time. Provide plenty of thick bedding for them to snuggle into.
Space heaters or indoor fires.
If you pet is inside and you use a space heater or light a fire in the fireplace, there are some dangers to watch for. Watch that they do not have their tail or paw too close as they can easily get burned. Also be sure a space heater is one that cannot be knocked over since that could start your house on fire.
Do sweaters help?
Putting a sweater on your pet may help some, but probably not as much as you think. Pets loose a lot of heat through the pads of their feet, their ears and from breathing. So don't assume that your pet will be fine simply because you've provided them with a sweater.
Signs to watch for.
If you pet starts to whine, shake, shiver, become anxious, slow down or look for someplace to burrow into, they may be trying to tell you that they are cold and want to go inside.
Watch the water bowl.
Remember that your pet's outdoor water bowl can freeze quickly in the cold weather. Keep an eye on it and fill it with fresh water if it becomes frozen.
Check their foot pads.
Pets' foot pads can pick up all kinds of things, like ice chunks, rock salt or other chemicals used to melt ice. Check their feet when they come back inside and wipe them with a damp cloth if necessary. This will keep them from licking their feet.
Frostbitten skin may be red or gray. It may peel or loose its hair. Apply a warm, moist towel to the area until the skin looks normal. Contact your veterinarian for further instructions.
Ice crystals may have formed under the skin. For this reason, do not rub the skin as the ice crystals can do a lot of damage.
Your pet's health needs to be taken into consideration when the weather gets cold. Pets with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease or hormone imbalances may have difficulty staying warm. Any pet that is not in good health should not remain outside for long, neither should very young or old pets.
Arthritic pets need special consideration is the cold weather. Be sure they have a warm place to spend the night with plenty of blankets. If you walk them, be careful of icy areas. A fall may be very painful or cause injury.
Feed your pet more in the cold weather. They will burn calories more quickly. In order to stay warm they need more food.
Walking on ice.
If you live near a body of water, be careful that you pet does not venture onto ice that may be thin. If they fall through, they will have a difficult time getting out again.
Cats and cars.
Cats are resourceful. They may crawl under your car and up into the engine area to keep warm. Look under your car before you start it or, at least, honk the horn first.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pets body temperature falls below normal. Early signs are shivering, signs of depression or lethargy, and weakness. Signs of more progressed hyperthermia are stiff muscles, slow breathing and heart rate, no response to stimuli.
Immediately make your pet as warm as possible. Wrap it in a blanket. You may use as hot water bottle (not directly on the skin) or electric blanket. Then get to the vet as soon as possible.
Many of the things we commonly associate with the holidays can cause problems for our pets. Here's a list of poisonous items:
The following items could be swallowed, causing intestinal problems:
Dogs and fireworks or cats and fireworks do not mix well at all. Fireworks can be extremely distressing to them. Their ears are more sensitive than ours. They may become terrified and confused. They may run away. They may run into the street and get hit by a car. They may hide and not be found for days. Dogs have been known to become so upset that they have crashed through a window to get out of the house, which, of course, only puts them closer to the noise. If they are outside, they may be hit by falling, burning debris.
Be kind to your pet on the 4th of July and New Years. Keep them inside. Do not leave them alone. You may want to put them into their crate if they have one. You could put them in a room with someplace for them to hide like under a bed.
Some veterinarians will prescribe a tranquilizer for your dog or cat. In extreme case, you may consider giving them one.
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