First Aid Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Summer

Check out these great summer-themed first aid tips from the website PetMD.  Your pets can face all sorts of warm weather hazards like hot pavements on soft paws, an unexpected dip in the pool, insect bites and stings, and heatstroke.  Help keep your dogs, cats, and other companion animals safe this summer with these tips.

Know the signs of heatstroke and how to treat it.

Your pet can get overheated in the hot summer months.  Symptoms of heatstroke include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, fast pulse, red gums, and collapse.  If your pet’s temperature is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, take her to a cool place immediately and begin treating with cool water (not ice water).  Bring your pet to the vet for a thorough exam, as heatstroke can cause organ damage.

Protect your pet from insect pests.

If you live in a place with a high incidence of Lyme Disease, consider having your pet vaccinated for it.  Use flea and tick prevention for dogs and cats but never administer dog treatments to your cat.  Cats are sensitive to these treatments and ones intended for dogs can be toxic to them.  You can give antihistamines for insect bites, just talk to your vet about dosage.

Be aware of the dangers of snake bites.

Bites from rattlesnakes and other venomous critters can be a hazard to your pet in the warm weather months.  Take your pet to the vet ASAP if she has been bitten by a snake or other animal.  Vets recommend not putting any topical medicines on the bite until it has been examined by an expert.

Open windows can be hazardous to your pet.

If you open your windows during the warm weather, make sure your screens are undamaged and securely in place before you let your pet sit on the windowsill.  Cats are especially likely to suffer trauma injuries from falling out of a window.   Your pet can get internal injuries as well as broken bones from a fall, so be sure to get to the vet as soon as possible.

Keep pets safe around the water.

Don’t assume your dog is an expert swimmer when you allow him to romp around the pool or take her for a boat ride.  Make sure your pet can swim and knows his way out of the pool in an emergency.  Get a pet life jacket for boat rides.  Be aware of the hazards of parasites and bacterial infections if your dog swims in a pond or river.  Pool chemicals can also irritate your pet’s eyes…and stomach, if swallowed.

Protect paw pads from hot surfaces.

Your pet can get burns on her paw pads if she walks on a hot surface like cement, or even beach sand.  Put booties on your dog’s feet for a long walk in the summer heat.  Soak your pet’s paws in cool water and talk to your vet about topical medicines to apply to the feet.  Also, pets with light colored fur can get sunburn, so keep them out of the midday sun or get them sun protection products made just for pets.

Summer foods can pose a risk to your pets.

Your pets may love the idea of hanging around your backyard barbecue, but be sure to keep an eye on them when the food is served.  Summertime favorites like corn on the cob (dogs may swallow cobs whole) and barbecue sauce (contains onion, garlic, and salt) can pose a real danger to your pet, as can alcoholic beverages.

Beware of pesticides and poisonous plants.

Keep pets off lawns that have been freshly treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.  Certain pesticides like rodent and snail bait can be very harmful, or even fatal, to your pet if ingested.  Remove mushrooms from your yard as many can be toxic to pets.

 

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

The July 4th holiday is coming soon!  Are you prepared to keep your patriotic pets healthy and happy while you celebrate with backyard barbecues and fireworks displays?  Here’s a great infographic with some key reminders to help keep your dogs and cats safe during the 4th of July…and all summer long.  There’s still time to talk to your vet about microchipping and ways to relieve your pet’s anxiety before the fireworks start!

 

10 Essential Pet Travel Tips

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Are you hitting the road with your dog or cat this summer? Whether your vacation plans include travel by car, motor home, plane, or rail, bringing your pet along for the ride always takes a little extra planning and preparation. Here are a few basic pet travel tips to be aware of before you and your best friend make tracks!

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1. Make sure your pet’s ID info and vaccinations are current and up-to-date. Carrying proof of vaccinations with you is also a good idea.

2. For dogs, bring along both a short leash and a long leash so that you are prepared for all situations and local leash regulations.

3. Check for any breed-specific legislation at your destination if you are bringing along a dog breed that is impacted by BSLs.

4. Use secure crates, carriers, and harnesses for safe pet auto travel. Pets and car air bags don’t mix, so deactivate airbags for any seats your pet will be in.

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5. Bring along a pet first aid kit for road trips, especially if your pet will be spending a lot of time in the great outdoors.

6. For air travel, cats and small dogs do best when they are in the cabin tucked under the seat in front of you.

7. Clearly label the carrier with your pet’s ID information. Remove collars before placing your pet in a carrier to avoid choking.

8. Bring portable, spill-proof water bowls and bottles of fresh water with you so your pet stays hydrated.

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9. Remember to keep a close eye on your pet when camping or hiking to avoid him getting lost or having a run-in with a not so domestic animal.

10. For vacations to the beach, be sure to pack a life vest and sunscreen so your pet can safely enjoy the sand and sea.

 

 

What to Do if You See a Dog in a Hot Car this Summer

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We’ve all seen it…a dog left alone in a parked car on a hot summer day. Even if the window is cracked and the car is parked in the shade, a dog is at risk of heat-related illness and even death when left in a hot (or not so hot) car. Did you know that even when it’s 70 degrees outside, the interior temperature of a closed car can reach 90 degrees in just a few minutes?

What should you do to rescue a dog you see left in a hot car…without getting in trouble for breaking someone’s car window? The Animal Legal Defense Fund has some very helpful advice for concerned animal lovers across the US. Here’s a rundown of their expert tips:

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  • Call 911 so that the police can come and break into the car if necessary.
  • Know your state’s “hot car” laws. Many states have different variations of this type of law, with more being enacted all the time. Some states have “good Samaritan” laws which allow citizens to break windows to save pets. In other states, only official personnel like law enforcement or animal welfare officers can do this. Some states have made it illegal to leave an animal in a hot car, although the penalties tend to be on the lenient side.
  • Speak up. When you see someone walk away from a dog left in a car, politely inform them of the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot car.

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  • Get a sunshade and flyers to spread the word. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sells sunshades (all proceeds benefit the ALDF) with a message warning of the dangers of dogs in hot cars in bold letters that can be seen from a distance. You can also download printable flyers with the warning message.  Get them HERE!