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10 Warm-Weather Survival Tips for Your Pet

10 Warm-Weather Survival Tips for Your Pet
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By    |   Wednesday, 20 April 2016 11:47 AM

Summer is just around the corner and with the warmer weather, folks will be spending more time outdoors. So will their pets, and this can present many health hazards for our four-legged friends.

“We see more emergency veterinary visits as the hotter weather approaches because pets haven’t become acclimatized to the heat and their owners may be more laid back about keeping tabs on their four-legged charges,” Dr. Deborah Mandell, a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and a staff member at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

She tells Newsmax Health the following 10 ways to safeguard your pet:

Never leave your pet in a parked car. The interior temperature can rise to above 120 degrees in minutes causing potentially deadly heat stroke. “Heavy panting, brick red gums, drooling, and accelerated heart rate are some of the symptoms of heat stroke,” says Mandell.

“They may become unsteady on their feet and collapse and have seizures.” Cool any overheated pet immediately using bags on ice on their bellies, pads and top of the nose. Use a cool garden hose and bring the animal immediately to the vet to determine if there has been any internal damage to the organs.

Use sunscreen. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and the second most common in cats. Apply a pet-specific sunscreen recommended by your vet to your dog’s abdomen and belly, as well as the ears. Zinc oxide is toxic to pets if ingested so read the ingredients carefully.

Do not exercise in the heat.
Take your dog for a walk or run early in the morning and late in the evening. Avoid walking on hot asphalt as this can burn the animal’s paw pads. Dogs with short noses, like bulldogs, are especially sensitive to the heat and may suffer respiratory distress.

Practice water safety. Always use a lifejacket when boating. The incidence of drowning definitely increases in the summer months, says Mandell. Owners sometimes take their pets to lakes and oceans and presume they will be able to swim against rough currents. Never leave a dog unsupervised in your swimming pool. Make sure the pet knows how to exit safely and install pet-friendly ramps if necessary. One option: the Gamma Scamper Ramp available at Petco.com.

Avoid “high-rise syndrome.”
Owners open the windows in summer and curious pets may push out the screen and leap out the window to an unfortunate fall. Secure screens and never leave your pet alone on the balcony.

Use flea and tick protection. Summer is the time when these critters run rampant infecting your pet and may ultimately transmit diseases, like Lyme disease, to humans. Monthly heart worm protection is also essential to prevent diseases transmitted by mosquito bites. Never give your cat a flea and tick preventative that’s designated for dogs. That can be toxic quickly, says Mandell. Check your pet daily for ticks if you live or travel in a heavily wooded area.

Use caution at picnics. Mandell says one of the most common veterinary surgical emergencies during the summer months is caused by dogs swallowing corn on the cob. “The cobs get stuck in their throat and that’s potentially deadly,” she explains. Make sure others do not feed your dog picnic food.

Guard your garden. Azaleas can be toxic to both dogs and cats if ingested. The pollen from lilies can also cause acute kidney failure in cats and ingesting just two of their leaves may be fatal. Lock up plant food containing insecticides that may contain potentially fatal compounds.

Stay clear of fireworks. Fireworks are made with chemicals like potassium nitrate and parts like a fuse that could get stuck in their stomachs. Clear your yard of debris after you set off your display. Ask your vet for strategies if your pet is terrified of fireworks.

Consider a pet safety app. The American Red Cross offers a downloadable Pet First Aid App that offers essential information on pet health and safety. The free app contains features that help pet owners identify danger signs in their pet’s health or behavior. It also offers a “click to call” feature to contact their veterinarian and include items that should be a part of your emergency first aid kit. In addition, the application can help you locate pet-friendly hotels as well as step-by-step instructions for 25 common first aid emergencies. For more information: Go to redcross.org/apps.



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Veterinarians seen an increase in emergency pet visits during summer months for a variety of reasons. Chief among them: Pets suffering heat stroke after being locked into parked cars. Here are 10 potential pet hazards — and tips — to help you keep our four-legged friends safe.
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Wednesday, 20 April 2016 11:47 AM
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