Saturday, April 16, 2016

Keep your dog safe as the weather gets warmer

As the weather warms, get out there with your dog and enjoy yourself. Here are a few reminders to help keep your four-legged friend safe.
  1. Don't leave your dog in the car while you run errands or do anything else. What about if you park your car in the shade? No. Why? Because heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and death can happen. Fast. If you see a dog (or a child) in a car alone during warm months, call the police.
  2. Is your dog afraid of thunderstorms? A dog who is anxious about thunderstorms can become afraid of other things, too. How can you help your dog cope? Dr. Karen Becker sums up a variety of possible solutions in this article.  
  3. Working in your yard? Plant food, fertilizer, insecticides and lots of other things can be fatal if your dog ingests them. Some plants are also toxic. Learn more here.
  4. Does your dog have an ID tag on his collar? If he has a microchip, does the microchip provider have your current contact information, especially your cell phone number? If your dog gets lost, you are likely to get him back sooner if he has these two forms of identification.
  5. Check with your veterinarian to see if your dog should be on heartworm preventative. Heartworms - transmitted by mosquitoes - can kill your dog.
  6. Another summertime threat: fleas and ticks. You can use a commercial flea and tick product or go natural. Here are a few options to consider.
  7. Dogs can drown in swimming pools, so make sure your dog doesn't have access to a pool without your supervision.
  8. Protect your dog's paws from hot pavement and sand. If a surface is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then it's likely too hot for your dog as well. Consider booties or a product like Musher's Secret. Puppy's pads are especially susceptible to burns from hot surfaces.
  9. Dogs can get sunburned. Yours may require sunscreen, especially if he has a light colored nose, which can make him vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. Ask your vet what to use to prevent sunburn.
  10. Hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Both are dangerous and can kill your dog. Signs of heat-related stress include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, and a deep red or purple tongue. If your dog becomes overheated, you have to start lowering his body temperature. If possible, move him into an air-conditioned car or building or at least into the shade. Apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to his head, neck, and chest only. Encourage him to drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Get him to a veterinarian immediately. Learn more here.
Provide plenty of water and shade for your dog while he's enjoying the great outdoors with you. And this is a great time of year to take a pet first aid class. Also make sure you have a doggy first aid kit that goes with you everywhere you and your dog go.

Woofs, wags and happy trails!

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