Summer can mean lots of fun outside with your dog. But when the temps soar, take steps to protect your pet. Whether you take him for a walk down the street, a ride in the car, or just out in the yard to play, the heat can be hard on him. Here's how to keep your furry best friend safe.
Never leave your dog in the car. No, not even if you think you’ll only be a few minutes. Even when it isn’t that hot outside, the temp can soar inside a closed car. On an 85-degree day, it can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. And that's with a window cracked. After 30 minutes, it could be up to 120. Leave your dog at home, or go places where he can come with you.
Keep your house cool. If Fido’s home alone, make sure he can truly chill. Leave the air conditioner on and close the drapes. If you don't have AC, open the windows and turn on a fan. You may want to try a cooling vest or mat to see if they help.
Watch when you exercise. Limit when and how much you do when it's hot and humid. Take walks in the cooler part of the day, in the early morning and evening hours. Carry water, too -- enough for both of you.
Check the pavement. Before you head out for a walk, touch the pavement. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paw pads. Walk on the grass and stay off the asphalt. You also might want to try booties for your dog so his paws don’t burn.
Offer plenty of water and shade. Don't leave your pooch alone outside for long. And when he is there, make sure he has shade and lots of fresh, cool water. Add ice cubes when you can. Trees are better than doghouses for shade. They let air flow through. Doghouses can trap the heat and make it worse. Think about a kiddie pool or a sprinkler to help your pal cool off in the yard.
Make cool treats. Help your canine chill from the inside out. For puppy popsicles, make ice cubes with tasty treats inside. Or fill and freeze a chew toy to make a chilly snack.
Keep an eye on the humidity, too. When the air is full of moisture, your dog may not be able to pant enough to cool himself off. That can raise his temperature, which can lead to heatstroke. Stay inside, and limit exercise, too.
Take care of at-risk dogs. Be watchful if you have a snub-nosed pet like a pug or bulldog. Their smaller airways make it harder for them to release heat when they pant. It's also easy for old and overweight dogs, or those with heart and breathing problems, to get heatstroke.
Groom your pet. If your dog has long hair, get rid of any mats and tangles. It will help keep him cool. Don't shave or clip his coat before you talk to your vet or groomer. The extra fur that keeps him warm in winter may also keep him cool in summer.
Few people are happy to endure the the sounds of a severe thunderstorm, complete with darkening skies, strong winds, flashes of lightning and crashing thunder. Some become extremely anxious, and for some, the fear of thunderstorms turns into a full-blown phobia.
Some pets, especially dogs, are also affected by thunderstorm anxiety to varying degrees. While some pets may tremble, whine, pace or hide under the bed during storms, in more severe cases, panicking dogs have been known to destroy furniture, jump through windows or otherwise harm themselves during storms. In either case, this type of behavior is the sign of a very unhappy pet.
Fear is a normal response to a fear-inducing situation, whereas phobias are irrational, extreme reactions in which the fearful response is magnified to the point of dysfunction. Behaviorists are not sure which part of the storm frightens pets the most – the lightning flashes and thunder, the winds blowing around the house or the sound of rain hitting the roof. Some dogs even show signs of anxiety an hour or more before a storm hits, leading to the theory that they are reacting to changes in barometric pressure.
Many cats become nervous during storms and generally hide from the disturbance under beds or in dark, quiet corners. Unlike dogs, they tend to not progress to the phobic stage – they simply wait out the storm in their safe place and come out of hiding when the storm has passed.
So what can you do to help your pet deal with thunderstorm anxiety?
Probably the best treatment is avoidance. If there’s a place where your pet feels safe, be it a kennel or crate or a finished basement that is relatively light and sound proof, you can have your pet ride out the storm in his safe place.
Another option is desensitization. This approach gradually retrains your pet by exposing her to gentle reminders of a thunderstorm such as a recording of distant thunder, and rewarding her for staying calm. The idea is that over time, the response to the stimulus decreases.
It is important that you are calm when your pet is afraid. Our pets pick up on our emotions, and if we’re anxious, they’ll be anxious as well. While it’s tempting to cuddle and comfort your pet during a storm, in your pet’s mind, this rewards the fearful behavior. It’s much better to provide your pet with a safe, familiar place where he can ride out the storm.
In severe cases, a visit to your veterinarian is in order. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication to help keep your pet calm during storms.
By Ingrid King
Remember it's HOT out there! They will walk on the hot pavement just for the love of being with you! If your going to walk your furry family members do so in the early morning, late afternoon or early evening when the pavement is at a cooler temperature.
June marks the official start of summertime, and while it may be a season when “the livin’ is easy,” June has also been deemed the month for dog devotees to ready their four-legged loved ones for the possibility of days when living is rough due to a natural disaster. Start preparing now don't wait till the last minute.
BOLO...Be on the look out!!! The Bufo Toad also know as the marine toad, giant toad and cane toad. They are brownish to grayish-brown with a creamy yellow belly. They do not have any ridges or knobs on their head and have a deeply pitted parotoid glands on their side extending down their back. When confronted by a predator these glands areable to shoot a toxin for them in the form of a white venom. The secretions are highly toxic to dogs, cats and other animals. It can cause skin irritations of humans. Fortunately toad venom toxicity is rare in cats.