Summers are wonderful – although in some areas of our state, the heat can get to be overwhelming. That’s the time many Arizonans take the boat out and head for the lake. Whether it’s a day trip or longer, if you plan to take your pooch with you, there are some things you need to do first.
1/ Plan, Plan, Plan! You’ll need to pack all the basics for your pet as well as yourself. Don’t forget puppy pads for potty breaks, toys, treats and food, a water bowl, any medications they might need, and health records in case of an emergency, especially if your trip is an extended one. If you haven’t chipped your pet, now is a great time to do it.
2/ Invest in a Doggy Life Jacket. State law requires a life jacket for everyone on board a vessel. While it doesn’t specifically mention dogs, your pet is a member of your family, so why wouldn’t you protect them, too? It’s tempting to just order a life vest online to save time and money. Problem is – dogs come in so many shapes, weights and sizes, you’d be better served by making a trip to a sporting good or pet store to test it out for size and fit. Make the trip – it’ll save you lots of hassle in the long run, and it might even save your pet’s life! Another great tip is to introduce them to wearing the life vest before you go on the boat. That way, your pet won’t be overwhelmed by too many new things happening.
3/ Make a Test Run. Not all dogs are going to be comfortable on a boat, so it’s wise to keep the first outing a short one. Allow your dog to get acclimated on the boat BEFORE you head for water, or while you are still docked. Once you’re on the water, watch your dog carefully for signs of sea/motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness include:
4/ The Heat is a Hazard! Be sure your pet has access to shade on the boat and plenty of clean, fresh water. Dogs are more prone to heatstroke and will need to stay hydrated, so know the signs. More information on heat stroke in pets.
Arizona is the home to more species of rattlesnakes than any other state in the country. In fact, it’s a haven for critters that bite or sting, but everyone dreads rattlesnake season because of the deadly risk to pets and people, plus the high cost of treatment.
Snakes are designed to blend in with their surroundings, so you may not realize you and pet are in danger before it is too late. Here are some important tips to help protect you and your pet from rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes.
CONSIDER RATTLESNAKE AVOIDANCE TRAINING
For frequent hikers, or if you live in an area with lots of desert around, we recommend you and your pet attend Rattlesnake Avoidance Training with a professional trainer. There are different methods involved in this type of training, including use of shock collars, so be sure to ask a lot of questions before you decide on a trainer and training system. We also recommend repeating training annually – as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
SYMPTOMS OF RATTLESNAKE BITE
When a rattlesnake bites a dog, it’s most commonly found on the muzzle or leg. Symptoms will be evident quite quickly, so it’s important to know them and to seek veterinary attention ASAP.
All rattlesnake bites should be considered severe. Keep your pet calm and head to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Exercise caution when moving your pet, as they are likely to be in a great amount of pain and may snap or bite.
Do you protect the paws? If not, you could be in for some trouble. Summer in Arizona presents some severe challenges for pet owners – especially when it comes to getting regular walks. Our excessive heat can put pets at risk for severe burns, especially during the daytime. Here’s what you need to watch for:
BURNS ON PAW PADS Concrete, asphalt and metal surfaces can all cause serious burns. If you can’t stand on the sidewalk comfortably in bare feet, then neither can your pet! A sidewalk temperature of 118° is hot enough to cause first degree burns.
WHAT TO DO During summer months, take walks early in the morning when it’s cooler, or later in the evening after the cement has had time to cool down. There are also wonderful protective pet shoe options for pets of all sizes. While pets will need to adjust to the strange sensation of not only wearing shoes, but also walking in them, they can help prevent severe burns on tender paws and pads that will require veterinary care.
TREATMENT Minor burns can be cared for at home using an antibiotic ointment, and by keeping the burned areas clean and protected, and avoiding walking except when necessary. If there are open wounds or blisters, best to head to AZPetVet for expert care. Find a location near you.
Fourth of July means fireworks, family picnics, and festive parades. Unfortunately, losing a pet is another common occurrence. More pets run away around Independence Day than any other time of year, largely due to anxiety over the booming, flickering firework shows so prevalent in early July.
With a little planning and preparation, the 4th of July can be an enjoyable time for both you and your pets. Happy Independence Day!
Leave your Pets at Home. While furry Fido may love joining you at the Farmer’s Market each weekend, he’s not going to have the same enthusiasm about the Independence Day celebrations going on throughout the area. There are a number of elements that can compromise your pet’s health and safety, from large crowds, hot pavement, and discarded trash, bones, and food to loud noises, alcohol, and fireworks. Remember, never leave your pet in a vehicle for any length of time. Home is the safest place for your pet on the 4th of July.
Create a Safe Haven. Your crate-trained pet will feel much more secure within the confines of their kennel. If that’s not an option, secure your pet into an area where they will be most comfortable, away from the bright flashing lights and noises or any nearby fireworks displays. Many pets will panic at the continuous sound of fireworks and may go to extreme lengths to escape the noise. Some have gone so far as to jump through glass windows, chew through screens, dig under fences, or leap over constructs, following their instincts to flee from the threatening situation.
Get Some Exercise. Spend a portion of the day walking, hiking, and playing so that your pet is tired out by the time all the evening revelries begin.
Lock Up Explosives. If you have personal fireworks, make sure to keep them in a safe location that your pet cannot access. Curious cats and dogs may be tempted by the fancy streamers, decorations, and scents of fireworks. Most fireworks are toxic to pets, containing harmful substances like potassium nitrate, charcoal, sulfur, and coloring agents. If your pet has ingested a firework, contact your vet or emergency animal hotline to get help immediately.
Check ID. Make sure that your pet is wearing their identification tag and that all your contact information is up-to-date. Even inside pets should wear a collar and ID—the loud noises can trigger a flight response that prompts them to escape however they can.
Try the Mozart Effect. Play some soothing classical music to create some comforting background noises for your pet. The music doesn’t need to drown out the fireworks; aim for a distracting and continuous melody at a regular listening volume. If classical music isn’t your forte, try a white noise machine, fan, or television program, all of which can provide a welcome diversion.
Under Pressure. A Thundershirt for your dog or cat may provide some additional relief. Designed to exert constant pressure on your pet’s torso, these wraps are designed to relieve anxiety much in the same way that swaddling a newborn baby creates a sense of security and comfort.
Enlist Help. If your pet shows extreme anxiety, talk to your vet to find out whether anti-anxiety medications may help them get through the noisy holiday season with minimal stress.