Summer has arrived! You can imagine yourself sitting in a lounge
chair, watching the waves, and sipping a cool drink. While you
are kicking back and enjoying the hot weather, you might want to give
a few thoughts to your four-footed friends. They really don't
see what all the fuss is about. As far as your pets are concerned,
summer time is hot weather, hot cars, and long, anxious stays in kennels
while you are away on vacation.
So, can you balance the joys of summer with the guilt of pet
ownership? Of course you can! All it takes is a little forethought,
some attention to details, and knowledge of your pet's needs.
Hot weather safety
The warm sun may feel great
to you, but dogs are not designed to tolerate the heat. Dogs do
not sweat; they only cool off by panting. As soon as the outside
temperature reaches the dog's internal temperature of about 99 degrees,
panting no longer works to cool the animal. So, dogs rapidly overheat
on summer days. Overheated pets start to look uncomfortable and
drool. If not cooled down, heat stroke may occur. At
this point, the dog is so overheated that organ failure and even
death can occur.
You can prevent heat stroke by making sure your pet stays cool. Provide
shelter from the sun and hot weather. Keep pets indoors, in the
air conditioning. Leave your pet at home when you decide to spend
the day at the beach unless you can bring shade and plenty of fresh
water. Avoid leaving a pet under a tree. The tree's shade
will rapidly disappear as the sun moves across the sky. And never
leave your pet in a parked car.
Even a car parked in the shade
with partially opened windows can become a furnace in a matter
of minutes. The
interior can rapidly heat up to 40 degrees above the outside temperature. On
an 80-degree day, the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees
within minutes. No pet can survive that heat.
Dogs should have access to cold, fresh water at all times. A dog
on a walk or a hike should be rested and offered water every 15 minutes. Dogs
will literally run with you until they drop from heatstroke. They
do not have the common sense to stop when you are moving, even if they
are hot, so you must monitor the animals and stop as needed. This
is also true for boisterous dogs playing with their owners and friends.
sure you limit the dog's play during the hottest times of day. Watch
your pet for signs of fatigue and overheating to prevent heatstroke.
Do not allow your children to play in the heat of the day with the
dog without adult supervision. Children may not be able
to tell when the dog is overheating.
Preventing heat stroke
Heatstroke is easier to prevent than treat. If you see your dog
drooling, panting excessively, or acting worried, fatigued, or wobbly,
he may be overheating. As the pet gets hotter, signs of impending
heatstroke may occur. These include a rapid heart rate, nose,
legs, and ears that are hot to the touch, diarrhea, and a swollen tongue. If
your pet shows any signs of overheating, immediately stop all exertion,
offer cool water, and find a cool place to rest. If not treated
immediately, an animal that is overheating can suffer from heatstroke. A
pet with heatstroke can lapse into a coma and die.
Treating heat stroke
Heatstroke must be treated immediately. It is a dire emergency. Stop
whatever you are doing and move the animal to a cool, shaded place. Offer
tiny amounts of cold water if the animal is conscious and can swallow. Do
not try to force the dog to drink and do not try to give water to an
unconscious pet. Cover the dog's body with cool water and use
ice packs around the body and head. Wrap the ice or ice packs
in towels so that they are not directly against the animal's body. Placing
ice directly against an overheated dog can confuse the dog's
internal thermostat and may actually delay cooling.
Once the initial treatment is completed, the dog must be taken
immediately to a veterinary hospital. Emergency veterinary care
is necessary for recovery. Keeping the dog cool, well rested, and
with access to water can prevent the need for this type of treatment.
So, the next time you decide to picnic all day and bring the
dog with, do not just tie him to a picnic table and leave him
there. Make sure the dog has shade, cold water, a chance to exercise,
proper food, and plenty of time with you. Meeting the dog's needs keeps
the dog healthy and happy. If you do this, both of you will enjoy
Vacations and your dog
Whether you are heading to the beach for the week or vacationing
in the mountains, you cannot leave home without making arrangements
for your pets. Bringing them with you is an option, but
only works when you are willing to put the pets' health needs
ahead of your need for fun.
Being crated in a hotel room
for hours on end is not your pet's idea of vacation. And
you cannot leave any pets in a parked car. So, before you
commit to bringing a pet with you....
- Decide how you will travel
and what will happen when you arrive Is
there room in the car or on the plane for the pet?
- Can you
bring your cat into the passenger cabin or must she go in the
non-air conditioned baggage compartment of the plane?
the dog travel with ease or is motion sickness a perpetual problem?
there be time to play with and walk the dog?
- Can the pet
come with you into your vacation home?
You must answer these
and many more questions before deciding that it is wise to travel
with your pet.
If you just can't leave home without your four-legged companion,
make sure that your pet will be welcome on all stops of the journey. Purchase
a book that lists hotels and motels that allow pets in the areas that
you will travel through. Purchase pet tags that list phone numbers
where you can be reached while on vacation, not your home phone. Make
sure that all vaccinations and health certificates are up-to-date and
map out a pet friendly vacation.
If you are traveling by plane,
call the airline directly to make travel arrangements and find
out exactly which documents you will need to bring. If you are traveling
overseas, call the consulate of the country of destination to
find out which medical records are needed and when health examinations
need to be done. Then pack your pet its own travel bag, complete with
food, water (pets will not necessarily drink water from different areas),
medications, health certificates, favorite toys, and leashes.
In-home pet care
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of traveling with pets,
make arrangements in advance for home care. Most pets are better
off left at home for short trips. They find vacation travel disorienting
and stressful and are often content to be left in their own houses.
Pet sitters are often a great choice for home pet care. Pet sitters
will come to your home to take care of the pets, bring in the mail,
water the plants, and check the house on a daily basis. Pet sitters
work well for cats and older dogs. They allow the pets to stay
in their stable, safe environment and still be walked, fed, and interact
with humans each day.
Many sitters will come two or more time
per day to each house. When hiring a pet sitter, ask for references,
make sure the company is licensed, bonded, and insured, meet the employees,
and watch them interact with your pets.
It is a good idea to have
the pet sitter make a few visits while you are still in town so that
everyone can make sure they are happy with the situation.
Other pets do better in a kennel. Choose a kennel far in advance
of vacation time. Visit the kennel and ask for a tour. Do
not leave pets at any boarding facility that refuses to allow you to
see the runs. You must see the cages or runs and know where your
pet will stay before agreeing to the arrangement. Trust your instincts
and your nose when examining the facility. It should look and
smell clean. There should be water in every cage and run. There
should not be feces sitting in runs with dogs; it should be picked
up during the day.
Dog and cats should be in separate rooms or
facilities. Ideally, dogs should have access to outdoor exercise
yards, indoor-outdoor runs, or be walked during the day. It is
a good idea to leave the dog for a short stay before you make reservations
for the vacation trip. This will allow you to make sure that the
staff and the dog get along, that the dog can tolerate boarding, and
that you are satisfied with the experience. It is better to find
out before your trip that the dog gets sick while boarding than after
you get back!
There is a lot to do to make sure that your pets are safe, secure,
and reasonably happy while you are away. By planning weeks to
months in advance, and paying attention to details, you can make sure
that all arrangements are correctly made. It does take some work,
but is well worth it. This way, you really can enjoy your vacation.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace your regular
Veterinarian. Please seek treatment for your pets from them, as
they know your pet personally.
Ticks and Fleas
The best cure for ticks and fleas is your monthly heartworm medication. It
can also be purchased in monthly or 6-month doses.
remove themselves by rubbing Vapor Rub around the bite.
- Antifreeze, rodent bait
- Poinsettia, Ivy, Azaleas, Daffodils
- Many household plants
- Do not feed your dog coffee, onions, apple seeds, avocados, garlic,
yeast dough, grapes or raisins - even salt.
Any bones can be hazardous to your dog's health. Chicken bones
are the most deadly. Any bone can break and a sliver can
get caught in your dog's throat or stomach.
Never leave a choke chain on your dog when unsupervised. It can
become caught in an object and the dog can choke themselves to death.
HAVE A COLLAR ON YOUR DOG WHEN NOT TRAINING, WITH YOUR PHONE NUMBER
Scratching, biting, chewing, digging
Bitter Apple applied frequently to an area the dog is chewing
or biting (including leashes or yourself) will cause a bad taste
in the dog's mouth and teach them this is not acceptable.
can also be used for chewing and biting. Hot pepper sauce, pepper,
etc. can be placed on objects or areas, even to prevent digging.
Use a long line on the dog's collar - let the dog bolt away and
you turn and run the other way! Or just stand firm and let the
dog find out that bolting is not pleasant. If your dog gets loose,
never chase the dog - it thinks it is a game. If the dog is not
on a leash, call the dog, and YOU TURN AND RUN THE OPPOSITE WAY, stop,
and let the dog catch you. Use a treat or toy to call the dog,
open your car door and invite the dog to get in
Never let the
dog off leash on purpose unless they are trained to come to you
every time or in an enclosed area. ALWAYS keep a collar on your
dog (when you are not training) with a tag that has your phone number
- dogs are masters at getting loose.
Keep the dog indoors during holidays,
especially when there are fireworks. Most dogs do not like loud noises
and might try to escape the yard.