It might seem a bit early, but it’s good to be prepared if your pet will experience any changes to the household dynamic this coming school year. During the summer months, the house may be absolutely brimming with squeals of laughter, blobs of peanut butter and honey, and a never-ending parade of activity. But what happens when the school year starts?
Confusing quiet, discomforting boredom, and pet anxiety are normal at the launch of the academic year, but these anxieties can be prevented – and the team at Animal Kind can help you prepare.
We begin each summer poised to have fun and maybe even get away for a bit. What’s not to love? However, sky-high temperatures, extreme humidity, and diminishing breezes can drain all of our collective can-do spirits. And we’re not alone. Our pets are right alongside us, enduring the ups and downs of the season. Luckily, there are many ways to keep a pet cool.
Avoid Heat Stroke
Dogs and cats pant and sweat through their paw pads in an attempt to regulate internal body temperature. While helpful, these methods aren’t entirely effective, and body temperature can quickly climb to dangerous degrees. Heatstroke is characterized by a temperature of 104 degrees or higher. With these ideas to keep a pet cool, you can protect against devastating consequences:
- Provide ample shade.
- Always have a fresh supply of cool, clean water inside and outside the home. Also be sure to bring water and a collapsible bowl along when out for a walk.
- Reduce exposure to the heat by enforcing dawn and dusk exercise times.
- Make ice packs that your pet can lick or lay down on.
- Encourage your pet to walk on the grass instead of hot asphalt or concrete.
- Install a shallow wading pool or sprinkler for your pet to test out throughout the day.
- Airflow is just as important as shade. If your pet prefers an enclosure or pet house, be sure that air can flow over him or her. Likewise, setting up fans on the porch and throughout the house will help.
A Word on Fur
Perhaps counterintuitively, your pet’s fur actually helps protect him or her from the sun’s harsh rays. However, you should definitely keep a pet cool by grooming regularly. This will reduce the buildup of loose fur without exposing the skin to dangerous UV rays.
We are always here to offer your pet a refreshingly light summer trim. Pet grooming is just one of our specialties, and we’re happy to help.
Keep a Pet Cool
A critical component of summer pet safety is knowing that pets should never be left in a parked vehicle. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, temperatures inside the car can rise to lethal temps. Keep a pet cool by leaving him or her at home while you run your errands.
Know the Signs
Another way to keep your pet cool and safe this summer is to simply recognize the signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Be on the outlook for dark red or dry gums, lethargy, depression, and odd behaviors.
Please give us a call if you suspect your pet needs immediate care or if you have additional questions about ways to keep a pet cool.
We have all seen owners and/or trainers who have taught their dog, bird, horse or cat to do amazing things. Birds with huge vocabularies, bike riding dogs and dancing horses. So how hard should it really be to teach our dog to tolerate a visit to the vet?? If you’re willing to invest a little time, you can train your dog to be a happier patient.
It’s all about practice, practice, practice. The first place your new puppy should visit is the veterinary office. The very first visit should just be to say hello and get some treats. Use the second visit to make sure they are healthy…
Get your puppy used to having his/her feet handled at home. Start by holding a paw then move on to grasping a toenail. Even if you never plan on clipping nails at home, get your pup accustomed to the clipper around their feet. Remember to use lots of treats and praise!
Teach your puppy how to take pills before they actually need to. Have your puppy sit sideways next to you or on your lap if they are small. Place one hand around the top jaw with your thumb and middle finger behind the canines. Use your other thumb and forefinger to gently open the lower jaw. Now just place a small treat or piece of cheese in the mouth on the tongue. Do this a few times and you shouldn’t have any trouble when the time to actually medicate comes along. Today there are even specially made products to hide pills in that most dogs love!
Handle your puppy’s ears, clean the area around their eyes, lift their tail and run your hands along their abdomen. Desensitizing your pup to handling is one of the kindest things you can do for them.
Teach your dog to stand quietly. Much of a veterinary exam is done with the pet standing. If your dog is accustomed to standing calmly beforehand the stress level will go way down. Again, use treats and gentle praise to let your dog know they are doing the correct thing.
Teach your dog to walk on a leash. If your dog is out of control in the waiting area things will only go downhill in the exam room.
Once your pet is protected by vaccines, schedule a puppy class and/or doggie daycare. A well socialized dog is a stable dog. No kidding…our happiest patients are campers and Puppy Class alumni.
It’s OK to bring something from home. A toy or blanket work fine and pets find the familiar odor of home calming .
If you‘re nervous your dog will be too. Whatever you feel telegraphs directly to your pet. Some people can’t actually be in the room with their dog and that’s OK. Just don’t let your limitations make things more difficult for your pet.
There is possibly nothing as discouraging as meeting Mr. or Ms. Right only to have your pet loathe your new crush. After all, you adore that little fur snookum and have been waiting to introduce the new love interest to your family-member pet.
Unfortunately, that ideal meeting goes south when your pet runs for cover, shaking, or worse – growls and snaps at your new sweetheart.
For some pet owners, the immediate response is, “Ugh oh, what’s wrong with this person?” However, sometimes your pet’s keen intuition on character isn’t so reliable and has more to do with behavioral challenges than psychic powers.
Wow! It’s getting hot out there! Temperatures are already hitting the 80’s on some days and the humidity has increased as well. At our house, we cope by switching to shorts and light t-shirts, drinking lots of water and taking breaks indoors or in the shade. We produce quite a bit of sweat and take extra showers. That works for us but what about our pets? Read our summer safety tips to help keep your best friend healthy.
What can you do to make summer more comfortable and safer for your pet?
- Provide lots of fresh water. Make sure it is in a container that can’t be overturned by mistake and that there is enough to last all day. In addition, if you use a zip line or some other type of tether you need to make double sure your pet can’t become entangled and unable to reach either shade or his or her water source.
- Indoors or out. Is there a place where your pet can stay cool and out of the sun? That may mean keeping your pet indoors in the air conditioning in the summer. However, there is nothing wrong with a dog run or backyard shelter providing there is access to shade, water and hopefully a cooling breeze.
- Jogging – maybe not. I know that your dog is in good shape. He jogs with you all winter long. However, that doesn’t mean that it is safe to continue jogging with Rover in the summer heat. Remember, dogs can’t cool themselves like we do. Add that to the fact that your loyal companion will keep going no matter how hot he/she gets and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless you run early in the day, long, before the heat sets in, please leave your dog at home.
- Never leave your pet in the car! Want to know why? Check out this data compiled by the Animal Protection Institute. If your car is closed with no open windows and it is 82 degrees outdoors, in no time at all, the temperature in your car is 109. At 91 degrees, it’s 115 in the car. Think cracking the windows help? If it is 84 degrees outside the temperature in the car is still 98 degrees. At 90 degrees, it is 108 in the car. Got the picture? Even leaving your pet in the car while you run in for a short errand can be deadly.
- What are the signs of heat stroke? You may see excessive panting, stumbling, weakness, stupor and bright red gums. Body temperatures of 104 degrees or more can occur. As heat stroke progresses, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coma and death may follow. “Parked car” or brachycephalic breeds such as Bull Dogs, Pugs, Boxers and others are much more susceptible to heat related problems. Even your bunny, chinchilla or reptiles can suffer from heat related problems. If the weather is warm, think shade and water.
- If you suspect heat stroke – it’s an emergency! Hose your pet down and bring him/her to the clinic immediately! Don’t try to treat heatstroke on your own. Heatstroke can literally cook internal organs. Pets who have suffered heat stoke may also experience swelling and edema of the trachea making it difficult for them to breathe. Too much cooling can make your pet even sicker. It’s a balance of IV fluids, supportive care and monitoring. Leave it to the professionals.
- Pet pools – are great for helping your buddy cool down in the summer heat but remember to change the water frequently. If you are lucky enough to have a people sized pool, treat your pets just like your children. Protect them from accidental drowning by never leaving them in the pool area unsupervised.
- Cool Ideas – Think about getting a pet fountain that provides a continuous stream of fresh, cool water to drink. Fans can help where air conditioning isn’t available. Recently, bandanas and body wraps made specifically for cooling have been developed. After soaking in cool water, these products can provide relief for a limited time. Frozen pop bottles are fun for pets to play with in the pool or on the ground. Even bunnies can benefit from a frozen pop bottle in their cage. Just make sure to wrap it in a cloth before placing it in with your rabbit but don’t let bunny start chewing on the cloth or bottle.
- Shaving?? – That’s up for debate but if you do, remember your pet will be much more likely to sunburn in the summer sun. Double coated breeds do best when their undercoat is brushed out leaving their guard hair. This allows trapped air to cool your pet.
- Exotic tips – Cold blooded pets need warm weather care too. Air conditioning can be TOO COLD for many exotics BUT a terrarium placed up against a hot window may become an oven. This applies to birds as well. Too much draft and cold will result in upper respiratory problems. Too much heat can cause heat stroke and death.
We live in a world of animal lovers – and dog owners never miss a chance to take their favorite pooches with them wherever they go. Fortunately, many business and public places are embracing our canine companions by providing dog friendly spaces for well-behaved Fidos.
If you plan on sipping a cold brew on a dog-welcoming patio, playing fetch at a local dog park, or going for a walk downtown with your four-legged, here are some tips to help you find those great dog friendly spots.
The practice of keeping a pet bird has been around for centuries. People the world over have brought birds into their homes to enjoy their lovely colors or perhaps, as with canaries, to revel in their beautiful songs or maybe just for companionship. We humans have benefited from birds in many ways. The key as an owner is to make sure our birds benefit as well.
Pet Bird ownership can be quite challenging. They can suffer from boredom, too little or too much food. Maybe it’s just the wrong foods. They are affected by stress, loneliness, allergies, arthritis, injuries, respiratory problems and more. The list is almost endless. On top of that, birds often mask their illnesses and often, by the time we notice things aren’t right, they are already very sick. New owners quickly learn that caring for a pet bird is not as easy as it seemed at first glance.
Below is a list of signs indicating that you need to call your veterinarian:
Sitting low on the perch
Sitting on the bottom of the cage
Hanging onto the side of the cage with his beak instead of sitting on a perch
Head tucked under wing and standing on two feet
Puffed up feathers (consistently)
Losing balance, teetering, or falling off of perch
Lumps or swelling of any portion of the body
Picking at his feathers or body
Harassed by other birds
Eyes dull, sunken, or abnormal color
Walking in circles
Unusual smell or change of color or consistency of bird or droppings
Drooped or elevated wing(s)
Not eating or eating much less
less interested in interaction with you
Discharge from eyes or nares ( nostrils)
Change in the appearance of the beak
Squinting of eyes
Bloody stool or blood anywhere
To explain any number of the great mysteries of the universe, one has to conduct extensive research and amass endless observations. Scientists have uncovered possible truths about the Easter island statues, dark matter, the lost city of Atlantis, and other fabulous head-scratchers. Among the list of unsolved enigmas is a very important topic for us: cat drooling. From the serious to the silly, this feline behavior can be explained through a variety of factors, and we’re happy to share them with you!
The liver may not be the most glamorous internal organ, but as far as function goes, it is the workhorse of the body. Having a happy liver is vital to good health. Unfortunately, liver issues are not uncommon to find in our pet patients. Animal Family Veterinary Care Center wants all of our pet parents to understand why the liver is so important and what to expect when we find pet liver problems.
Gone are the days when we used to throw Spot a bone and assume that keeps his canines in good shape. We now know that dental neglect can lead to systemic infections and many of the same problems you might see in people, such as heart, lung, and kidney disease.
Pet dental care is one of the most overlooked forms of care when it comes to our four-legged friends. The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center want to emphasize the importance of oral health and help you establish a good dental care routine for your furry little friend.