With soaring Sonoran temperatures upon us, it’s time to think about pet safety. Here are a few simple steps to help you and your pet stay cool this summer.
Check their Records
Summer safety starts with making sure your pet is up-to-date on all their recommended vaccinations and that you are regularly administering preventative heartworm, flea and tick protection, and any other veterinary-prescribed medications. Need help remembering when it’s time for their next pill? Visit remindmypet.com for free e-mail and text reminder services and smartphone apps.
The biggest warm weather risk is heat stroke, especially in dogs. Proper planning and prevention are key to eliminating the deadly risks of overheating. First, get your daily walks in first thing in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures aren’t quite as high.
Secondly, make sure you provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your pet. Remember to keep your car stocked with extra water and a bowl if you and your pet travel together. If you’re an avid walker, hiker, or camper, Guardian Gear makes a portable handheld water bottle dispenser that snaps on your belt—a great option for on-the-go hydration.
Lastly, never, ever leave your pet in the car—even for a minute. The enclosed area can cause temperatures to quickly spike to dangerous levels.
It doesn’t take long for heat stroke to affect your pet so be diligent about keeping them cool throughout these warmer months. Early signs of heat stroke may include restlessness, agitation, and unusual whining and meowing or barking. As their body temperature continues to rise, you may observe heavy panting, lethargy, bright red gums, and excessive drooling. If your pet is showing any of these signs, seek veterinary treatment right away.
Walking across hot pavement can quickly burn your pet’s sensitive little paws. Stick to grassy areas or invest in protective footwear to keep them cool. If you want your pet to be stepping out in style, check out the trendy Converse-style shoes by Barko Booties or the Neopaws orthopedic water and hiking shoes.
Get them Groomed
Pets with thick, long hair will appreciate a new, shorter look for the summer. Visit your groomer for a style that will help them stay comfortable on even the hottest days.
Slather the Sunscreen
The same advice that applies to you goes for your pet: keep out of direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. If you do venture out during peak hours, make sure you bring the sunscreen! Pets who are shaved or who have areas with little or no fur coverage benefit from using sunscreen. Just make sure to select one specially formulated for pets and avoid any product with zinc oxide. You may also want to check into fun accessories like hats and even sunglasses made for your dog or cat.
Stick to these tips to stay cool, safe, and sunburn-free and make this summer a breeze for both you and your pet!
4.7 million people are bitten by a dog each year. In America, 400,000 of them are children, especially those between the ages of 5-9, who are bitten by familiar dogs during everyday activities. Senior citizens account for the second largest victim population, followed by US Postal Workers. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the majority of these bites are preventable, which is why they have joined with the US Postal Service and Center for Disease Control to raise awareness and prevent dog bites through National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 19-25, 2013).
Here are some things you can do to help prevent dog bites from occurring:
• Never leave young children or babies alone with any dog. Remember that every dog, no matter how sweet they are, can bite.
• Properly train and socialize your dog from a young age, teaching it to respond to promptly to basic commands to sit, stay, and come. Talk to your vet for recommendations on trainers in your area.
• Keep your dog healthy with up-to-date on their vaccinations and recommended health checkups. When visiting your vet, allow the staff to take control of your dog during their examination. As trained professionals, they are better equipped to handle your pet during those visits; if they need your help, they will ask.
• Always use a leash when walking your dog or visiting public places.
• Pay attention to your pet’s behavior. If they are acting nervous, afraid, or uncomfortable, remove them from the environment or change whatever element is causing distress.
• Do not wrestle or play aggressively with your dog; this can unwittingly teach your dog that aggressive behavior is okay.
• If your pet begins to display destructive behavior, ask your vet for professional advice on how to respond.
• Spay or neuter your dog; this eliminates or reduces aggressive tendencies in many pets.
• Do not approach a dog you don’t know. If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, remain still and allow it to see and sniff you. Never run away from a dog or scream.
• Always ask the dog owner before you or your children pet a dog. If they give you permission, gently pet their mid-back, keeping your hands away from their tail, face, and head. If their owner says no, or if the dog is without their owner, slowly and quietly walk away.
• If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and lie completely still, covering your face completely.
• Remember the adage to let sleeping dogs lie? It’s good advice! Keep your distance from dogs that are eating, sleeping, or taking care of puppies.
• Teach your children to tell you if they see stray dogs or dogs behaving strangely. Contact the local animal authorities should such a situation arise.
• If you or your child is bitten by a dog, seek immediate medical attention and report the bite to the proper authorities.
You can learn more about National Dog Bite Prevention Week by following the AVMA’s Facebook page and joining the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Facebook event.
The month of May plays host to National Pet Week, a time to celebrate the remarkable pets in our lives and the vets who help us take care of them. On the heels of a great week, here are some way you can still get involved all month long!
Nominate your favorite veterinarian! Visit the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Facebook page to enter your vet’s info, upload a photo of your vet or your pet (or even better, a photo of your vet with your pet!), and write a short entry about why your vet should be America’s Favorite Veterinarian. Nominations are due by June 1st.
Check your pet’s health records. Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that they have current prescriptions for heartworm pills, flea medications, and other preventative care items.
Schedule an annual checkup. If your pet hasn’t been in to see their veterinarian lately, it’s time for a checkup. Regular examinations are an important step in maintaining a pet’s health. Want to read more about the importance of wellness exams? Click here.
Volunteer at your local animal shelter. From administrative support to helping care for animals, shelters rely on volunteers to help keep their programs running smoothly. The Arizona Humane Society has regular volunteer orientations to help you learn more. Visit http://www.azhumane.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/help-at-one-of-our-sites/ to learn more or to reserve your spot at an upcoming session.
Open your home. Foster Care programs provide temporary homes for animals that can’t be in a shelter due to injury, illness, or age. Nursing an animal back to health in your home is a great way to help a hurting animal get back on their feet again. Talk to your vet or your local shelter to find out if fostering is right for you.
Thank your vet! Send your vet a card, an e-mail, or an in-person greeting to thank them for being a valued member of your pet’s life.
Visit www.petweek.org for online games, classroom activities, and additional ideas for celebrating National Pet Week.
Beat the Heat! Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 18th and head up north for the first annual Prescott Pup Crawl in Prescott, AZ. Hosted by Wildhorse Ranch Rescue in Gilbert, this event raises funds to help their Havasupai Grand Canyon Hiking Dogs, also known as the HavusuPups program. Every three months a team visits the Havasupai Village to provide food, medical care, and spay/neuter services to dogs, cats, horses, and livestock in the area. Each visit they bring home numerous animals that need homes. The HavusuPups program provides veterinary care, food, and shelter for dogs until they can be placed in a permanent home.
The Crawl begins at 4pm at The Beastro (117 N. McCormick Street, Prescott), a venue dedicated to raising money for Wildhorse Ranch Rescue, Inc. At 8pm, musician Larry Kantor kicks off the after party. The $10.00 donation includes a Prescott Pup Crawl Lanyard, a map of the crawl stops, special discounts from the nine participating shops and drinking establishments, and admission to the after party, including raffle prizes and gifts for your pet. Bring your pup for an evening of fun! Dog watering stations, provided by Hensley Company and Budweiser, are located throughout the event. Register or learn more at www.pup-crawl.com.
Do you know a teenager with a heart for animals? If so, they won’t want to miss this weekend’s teen leadership intensive put on by the Arizona Humane Society. Teens will spend the afternoon brainstorming solutions to prevalent issues animals face in our community. They will also have an opportunity to talk with a local animal rescue organization, tour the beautiful Nina Mason Pulliam Campus for Compassion facility, and participate in a hands-on service project to raise awareness of animal homelessness.
This intense, half-day program runs from 12-4pm on Saturday, May 11 and will be held at the Arizona Humane Society’s South Mountain Campus located at 1521 West Dobbins Road in Phoenix. All teenagers between the ages 13-16 are invited to attend. Tickets are $35.00 and can be purchased online at the Arizona Humane Society’s website.
In addition to this weekend’s event, the AHS is offering teen leadership intensives throughout the summer to help teens understand animal body language and behavior. The flexible camp schedule offers two rotating sessions and coincides with AHS’ Summer Camp Compassion for children ages 8-12, providing options for animal lovers of all ages. More details are available at www.azhumane.org. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 602.997.7586 x1015 for more information.