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Pet Safety for Your Dog or Cat

Updated on November 6, 2014

Any healthy pet, whether dog or cat, can be effected by the sun and/or heat. It is our job to defend against it since they cannot talk to us to let us know there is something wrong. Remember that even you need to prevent dehydration, heat stroke/stress, or sunburn; why would your pet be any different? Following some helpful tips will keep your furry friend loving you more and more.

GROOMING:

DOG – A Summer haircut can keep your dog cooler. However, prior to a haircut, know your breed. Some breeds should not be cut since their fur acts as an insulator in summer and winter. If not sure ask your vet or local groomer.

CAT – Brush your cat more often to help shed that thick coat. It may just help with hairballs too.

Not only does grooming benefit your pets in the summer, but all year round. All pets need to moderate there body temperature just as a human. Most animals do so by their coat or fur. For instance, an American Eskimo needs to have it's fur long year round. In the summer it keeps the sun from hitting its dark skin and in the winter it will keep it warm. Cats are no different and will shed its winter coat to free itself of unwanted warmth during the summer.

SHADE/WATER:

Be sure your dog has plenty of water daily. Drinking water should be available all day every day. Shade is another key factor for your pet. If outside, make shade available for your pet to lie in and get out of the sun. If it is too hot to be outside, or if no shade to lie in, leave pets indoor with plenty of air circulation or conditioning. Also, refrain from excessive exercising your pet in the heat. This will help reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.

A dog will usually give you the hint they are warm by finding shade wherever they see fit, whether the little part of a fence, small bush, or larger trees. You may even notice that your dog will lay in the mulch more so than the grass. This is due to lower temperature in the mulch, maybe not noticeable to us, but to them a degree or two makes all the difference.

PARKING:

Never leave your vehicle unattended with your pet in the vehicle even if the windows are down. The inside temperature of a vehicle is going to be much hotter than the outside temp. This could still result in heat stroke even if the windows are down.

POOL SAFETY:

Pool water is not an efficient water source for your pet. Pools contain chemicals that could cause an upset stomach in your pet. After swimming it is usually beneficial to hose your pet off to remove it of chlorine and salt from the pool water.

If in open waters, flotation devices are essential to your dog especially when boating. You do not want your dog to jump overboard and then have to keep swimming until you get them back onboard. Sometimes even in a swimming pool they won't know their way back out. A frantic dog may not be the easiest to help. However, most dog life jackets have handles to help lift them when needed. So use them in the pool as well as open waters.

PREVENTION from the heat is key to developing a healthy pet and even in the best case scenario you should still know the warning signs. Seek immediate veterinary assistance right away if your furry friend has any of the following symptoms.

DOG or CAT

Excessive panting or difficulty breathing

Increased heart rate

Drooling

Mild weakness

Seizures

Bloody diarrhea

Vomiting

Elevated body temperature over 104 degrees

Of course these may be to the extreme, but your pet has needs as do you. Even keeping them inside can be too much for them if no air conditioning in the dead of summer. Especially for those dogs like Pugs and Persians, which have a flatter face causing them to be more susceptible to heat exhaustion or stroke since they cannot pant adequately. Imagine yourself in their paws, cooler air in the summer is more attractive than the heat of the sun.

Keep in mind that all animals are different, but share the same traits as humans when it comes to the heat or cold.

Another important factor to remember in keeping a healthy pet is visiting the vet especially coming into spring or summer. Ask your vet to recommend a safe flea/tick program to place your pet on. Even though fleas and ticks are more active in the summer or spring, use the treatment year round.

Our companion animals are very dependent on us even if we don’t think so. There are many items out there that are dangerous to our animals, like extension cords, vehicle fluids, or any household product. So Safety for your pet doesn’t stop at spring or summer heat. It continues into every day life. They use their paws or mouths to figure something out and to see if it tastes good. Be sure to properly train and maintain your home for your pets health and safety.

My dog has access to the outdoors to go in and out as he pleases.

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© 2013 MarleyOz

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