Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tips to Protect Your Pet from the Summer Heat

McKenna, cvt

Summer is finally upon us. It is time to spend time outside and enjoy the weather.  However, during these fun times please remember our four legged friends.   Just like us, pets are susceptible to heat. Here are some tips keep your pet safe. 

1.  Water. Always have fresh water available for your pet. It sounds simple but dehydration and other issues such as heat stroke can occur fast on hot days and can lead to many problems. Setting up a kid’s pool in the yard or a sprinkler is a great way for dogs to keep cool.

2.  Walking. Our pet’s feet are sensitive.  Touch your hand to the pavement; if it is too hot for your hand then it is too hot for a walk. Try to avoid asphalt and walk on the grass.  Best times for a walk are early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are down. 

3.  The Car. Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. It does not matter if you are gone for a few minutes or park in the shade. Dogs overheat easily, their normal body temperature ranges from 100-102.5. The slightest increase in temperature can cause many problems such as heat stroke, seizures, brain damage, or death.

4.  Breeds. Some dogs are more prone to heat than others. Specific breeds are the brachycephalic dogs (short noses) like pugs and bulldogs. It is harder for them to intake oxygen due to the facial structuring. Also dogs who have heart disease or are overweight have a harder time in the heat. Take extreme caution with them and limit exercise.

5. Cooling. Make sure to keep your pet cool inside and outside. A cool area with shade is a must both inside and outside. If your pet has long hair, consider a haircut.  Try making some doggy popsicles (see recipe below) they are cooling and delicious. 

How to make peanut butter popsicles

1 cup peanut butter, preferably unsalted and unsweetened (Check your peanut butter's label to make sure it doesn't contain any kind of xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.)
Half of a ripe banana, mashed
Water as needed
In a small mixing bowl, combine peanut butter with a little water or half of a mashed banana. (The water and banana aren't essential, but they help with freezing consistency.)
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, or use Kong-style rubber toys that have a cavity you can fill.
Spoon the mixture onto the tray just like you would cookie dough, or stuff it into the toys. Freeze the tray or toys for several hours or overnight. If you need to reuse the tray right away, pop out the cubes and store them in a bag or container in the freezer.

Watch for signs of overheating. Contact your Veterinarian if you see these signs:
            -Trouble breathing
            -Dark red gums or tongue
            - Heavy panting/Drooling

Follow these basic tips to help your pet keep cool and enjoy the summer. 

Click on the link below for more information about the dangers of pets in hot cars
My Dog is Cool


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