The heat in Arizona is ON, and pets can easily become affected by the heat just as much as humans. AZPetVet’s Dr. Amy Schomburg shares a little bit about what to look for, and what you should do if you suspect your pet has been affected by the heat.
It’s the time of year when heat can be extremely dangerous for everyone, especially pets. Here are some quick tips to help keep your pets safe and healthy this summer.
Beware of Swimming Pools: The temptation of sparkling water can be deadly for children and animals, so it’s always critical to keep a close eye on everyone around water. Make sure to pool-proof your pets by teaching them how to swim to the stairs or find the edge. Childproof fencing is a must if you have small children, but can also help keep pets safer, too.
Protect the Paws: If you can’t stand on the sidewalk comfortably in bare feet, then neither can your pet! 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.
Remember the Sunscreen: Even pets can get sunburned or develop skin cancer, so it’s important to take some precautions. Breeds like Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers are very vulnerable to sunburn and possible skin cancers. Any cats that have white ears, eyelids and noses should be protected as well. Severe burns may also cause skin infections. Look for pet safe products that contain NO ZINC OXIDE (a common ingredient in many sunscreens) – it’s toxic to animals.
Barbecue Grill Safety: There’s nothing quite so summery-delicious as food cooked outdoors on the grill, but remember your pets will be sniffing around with interest, too! Make sure they’re kept at a safe distance so they don’t get burned or worse, knock over the grill. Be careful of scraps and trash – they can cause some serious gastrointestinal problems in pets. Watch out for meat drippings as well, as your pet could burn their mouth, or develop vomiting, diarrhea or pancreatitis. Don’t give your pet cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause damage to the stomach and intestines, or even death.
The Arizona summer is here. Dogs that spend time outdoors are in danger of hyperthermia, commonly known as heat stroke. Hyperthermia occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal (103°F), putting them in danger of multiple organ failure or death. Early recognition and treatment of heat stroke improves your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery.
While people can tell us when they aren’t feeling well, it’s a little harder for pets. We have to pay close attention to their behavior. Here are the signs and symptoms to watch for:
Reduced urine production
Rapid/irregular heart rate
Vomiting blood/ black, tarry stools
Changes in mental status (ie, confusion)
Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
Unconsciousness / Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)
Panting is how dogs naturally cool themselves. Rapid, continual panting is a sign your pet is overheating and stressed. Bring them inside out of the heat, and call your vet to alert them of the situation. They can provide guidance for your next steps.
Next, take steps to gradually cool your pet down. Do NOT use ice or extremely cold water as it can cause shock and other undesirable reactions. Lightly spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cool, wet towels and use a fan for convection cooling.
Evaporative cooling can also be achieved by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on foot pads, groin, and under the forelegs. When their temperature reaches 103° F, stop cooling to avoid dropping below normal body temperature, then seek veterinary care to be certain they’re out of danger.
June is the American Humane Society’s Adopt a Cat month and the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat month, so if you’ve been thinking about adding a feline friend (or two) to your family, hooray! There are thousands of beautiful cats of all ages in shelters – all are just waiting for a good home.
If it’s been a while since you adopted a new cat, it’s also a great time to review tips that can help east the stress of bringing a new kitty into your home. Cats are territorial animals, so they’re most likely going to be confused and scared until they settle in. It’s definitely a process, but it’s well worth the effort.
Here are a few tips for helping new kitties settle in:
Consider Adopting Two: If you don’t already have a cat at home, oddly enough you’ll find things to be easier if you adopt a pair. Obviously, it’s important that they get along – with the shelter full of Spring litters, finding bonded pairs is much easier. Cats need stimulation and exercise, and having two provides exactly that – someone to play with when you’re not around. Trust us, they’ll provide plenty of laughs and love for you along the way.
Provide a Safe, Confined Space: New kitties need safe space like a laundry room, spare bedroom or bathroom to live in while they’re adjusting to their new surroundings. A cozy bed, cardboard box or cat carrier can provide a sense of safety for your new friend, but remember, your kitty needs to be able to stand up and turn around easily. Give them access to plenty of food, fresh water and a clean litter box with an inch or two of litter inside their room , but be sure to keep the litter box away from their food. Nobody wants to have dinner next to their toilet, no matter how clean it’s kept.
Patience is Key: It might take a week or two for your new cat or kitten to feel safe enough to come out and explore. if you have other pets in the home, keep them separated from the newcomer and introduce them slowly. They will be very aware of each other’s presence – a baby gate can help keep boundaries intact.Don’t push things. Always keep dogs leashed when they’re meeting the newest family member. Correct them immediately with a command like “Sit!” or “Stay!” if they show any signs of jealousy or threatening behavior. Be extra careful with small children – they can get overexcited and squeeze or pet too roughly, causing the cat to struggle, scratch or bite out of fear.
Book a Wellness Visit: Your vet will carefully examine your new pet, give them any vaccinations, and advise you on good preventive care routine, including regular dental cleanings. We would be honored to help you keep your new pet healthy and happy longer. Find an AZPetVet location near you. Be sure to ask about our new kitten packages and FREE Vaccines for Life program!