The warmer weather brings out a variety of critters that enjoy basking in the sunshine, including snakes and other creepy crawlies. Since dogs love to sniff around and investigate all sorts of interesting sights and smells during walks, they may be at risk for meeting all sorts of potentially harmful desert dwellers. Here are some of the things you’ll need to watch out for when venturing outside or into the desert with your dog.
1. Arizona Rattlesnake Season:
While not all snakes are dangerous, pet owners need to be prepared for Arizona’s rattlesnake season. An encounter with one of these creatures can be deadly for your furry friend. Always be aware of your surroundings and where you step while on walks or hiking with your beloved pet. If your dog gets bitten by a snake, it’s important to get to an emergency veterinarian immediately! For the best chance of recovery, dogs must be treated for a snake bite within just a couple hours of the bite. Restrict your pet’s movement to slow the venom’s spread, and remove any collars and halters if any swelling is occurring near the head or limbs. Symptoms of snake bites can include:
Changes in gum color (Brick Red or Pale)
Rapid breathing & heart rate
Continuous licking of paws
Digging at ears
Oozing from a puncture wound
Collapse from shock
Snake training for dogs can help avoid a snake bite. Phoenix has a lot of frequent hikers and residential areas with lots of desert around. That’s why we recommend you and your pet attend Rattlesnake Avoidance Training with a professional trainer. There are several different methods involved in this type of training, 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.
2. Scorpions, scorpions, scorpions!:
Can scorpions hurt dogs? Oh, yes. Out of the more than 1,700 known types of scorpions, about 25 have sufficient amounts of venom to deliver a sting that could be fatal to pets. It’s no surprise that many poisonous scorpions make Arizona their home, including the deadly bark scorpion. During spring and summer months, our hospitals experience an increased number of calls about a dog stung by a scorpion on the nose or a scorpion bite on the dog’s paw. Symptoms of scorpion stings can include pain and localized swelling on the nose, face, paws or legs. Smaller dogs can even experience seizures. If you suspect your dog has been stung by a scorpion, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
3. Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia:
Heatstroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for both pets and people. Unlike humans, cats and dogs have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and noses. Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death. Early recognition, and treatment of heatstroke, can improve your pet’s chances of making a quick recovery. Seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as possible! Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs can include:
Reduced or no urine production
Rapid/irregular heart rate
Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
Changes in mental status (i.e. confusion and dizziness)
Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)
Are javelinas dangerous to dogs? Yes and no. While they can be a nuisance, according to Arizona Game & Fish, they rarely present any significant risk to dogs. Coyotes are a natural predator for javelinas, so they’ll tend to steer clear of you and your dog unless cornered or while trying to protect their young. If you encounter a javelina or a group of them while walking with your dog, immediately turn around and head in another direction.
5. Foxtails & Cactus:
While these native plants are pretty, they can have quite a sting. If your dog comes in contact with a cactus, call your vet or an emergency vet right away for guidance. Foxtail can be quite dangerous to pets, as the barbed seed heads can work their way into your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, paws or skin. Left untreated, they can cause serious infection.
6. Bugs & Mosquitoes:
Warmer weather also brings out an abundance of bugs, including mosquitoes. To help keep your pet safe, be sure to maintain your pet’s heartworm preventative medicine. Being outside and going on walks increase your pet’s chances of having bugs hitch a ride on them – including fleas and ticks. On top of using medications prescribed by your vet to help prevent fleas and ticks, be sure to regularly check your pup’s body for critters after being outdoors.
7. Cuts, Bites, & Burns:
Noses, paws, and legs are where most cuts, bites, and burns occur in dogs. Remember, the pads on your dog’s feet are NOT the same as shoes, so delicate paw pads can burn and blister very easily. Hiking, running, and other protective shoes that are made just for dogs can help prevent cuts, bites, and burns on tender paw pads that will require veterinary care.
Finally, during Arizona’s summer months, it’s best to take walks early in the morning when it’s cooler, or later in the evening after the cement or ground has had time to cool down. Remember, if you can’t walk barefoot, then neither should your pet! And if your pet does tangle with one of Arizona’s native snakes, scorpions. or other critters, act quickly and call your veterinarian for help.
[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.
With the summer fun comes the summer heat, and with the heat comes hot pavement! Asphalt, black tops, sidewalks, pool patios, and even turf can quickly become hotter than the outside air temperature making it dangerous for your pup’s paws.
To help avoid painful burns, damage to their paw pads, and ouchies that may require veterinary care, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to the heat. Avoid taking your dog out during the hotter times of the day and instead choose to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening after the pavement has had time to cool off. Another option might be to take them to a place without pavement like a grassy park where dogs are allowed.
When hot pavement or turf can’t be avoided, it’s a good idea to use dog booties! For summer, it’s best to have protective but breathable booties for your dog. There are even booties with reflective material on them to help provide visibility at nighttime. Make sure to shop around to find the best fit for your dog’s paws, their lifestyle, and your wallet. When buying booties, typically the manufacturer provides information that should tell you how to properly measure to find the best size for your pet’s paws.
Other things to consider when shopping around:
Make sure they are made for summer wear; you wouldn’t want to order dog sledding boots for summer! Look at the reviews and make sure they stay on dogs’ paws well; you don’t want to lose a bootie during an adventure. Lastly, make sure they fit your pup’s active lifestyle, as there are all different boots for different activities. For example, if they are using them around a pool, you may need ones that are water-appropriate material. If they are going to be hiking in them, they make trail dog boots for even more protection.
Introducing them to the boots:
It’s important to take a slow approach when introducing booties to your dog for the first time. Start by rewarding them for acknowledging the booties. You want them to see the boots as something positive and fun! Once your dog sees the boots as being something positive because they get a treat when the boots come out, try placing one of the boots on one of your dog’s paws. If your dog will not let you place a boot on their paw, try just touching their paw with the boot and rewarding them as a starting point – don’t strap them up just yet! One at a time, work to where you can successfully place a boot on each paw. Then, once you’ve had success doing that, place one bootie on and strap it up… don’t forget to reward your pup! Do this one paw at a time until you have successfully put on all the boots, give them a treat, and only leave them on for a few seconds before taking them off. Repeat this step, gradually increasing the amount of time they are on. Once they are comfortable with them on, encourage their first steps…they may walk a little funny at first!
Make sure to praise and reward your pup a lot while they figure out how to walk in their new shoes! After they have had time to adjust to the boots by having play sessions in the house with them on, you can begin to take them on walks wearing the boots. Don’t forget to bring treats and praise during your walk. Having your dog wear the booties for fun like on a trip to the pet store or to the park helps them associate positive experiences with the boots. Remember that making it a positive and fun experience for your pup will go a long way!
[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately
Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, occurs when the adrenal glands become overstimulated and produce too much cortisol, more commonly known as the stress hormone. At normal levels, the hormone cortisol helps regulate the immune system, body weight, skin, tissue, and stress. Too much cortisol can weaken the immune system and lead to many health problems.
As an endocrine system disorder, Cushing’s disease occurs in people and other species. While it’s one of the most common endocrine disorders in dogs, it’s relatively rare in cats. Learn about the causes, the symptoms, and treatment for Cushing’s disease in dogs.
Causes of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
Cushing’s disease generally affects middle-aged to older animals. The disease develops when a dog’s adrenal glands begin to overproduce the hormone cortisol. The majority of dogs diagnosed with Cushing’s disease (around 80-90 percent) will have a benign (noncancerous) tumor in their pituitary gland causing the disease, known as Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease. Most of the remaining Cushing’s cases in dogs will be Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease, which is caused by a tumor on one of the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys. Although Cushing’s syndrome can take on multiple forms, what they each have in common is the overproduction of cortisol. No matter the cause, the adrenal glands become enlarged, which makes sense since they’re getting quite a workout!
In rare cases, iatrogenic Cushing’s disease can be caused by long-term use or high doses of steroids like prednisone, cortisone or other medications for allergies, autoimmune disorders, and inflammation in the joints or body. This form of Cushing’s disease can develop in dogs at any age.
Many other health conditions have symptoms that are similar to those of Cushing’s disease in dogs. That’s why it’s important for your dog to have regular wellness exams, along with any lab work and screenings recommended by your vet.
Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
Cushing’s disease shares many of the same symptoms associated with a large number of other health conditions, so it’s best to make an appointment to see your veterinarian for further examination. In order to reach a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, the vet will need to perform several diagnostic tests.
Common symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease in dogs may include:
Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
Frequent accidents or need to urinate at night
Fatty pads around the neck and shoulders
Pot-belly or distended abdomen
Obesity or unexplained weight gain
Hair loss along the back and/or tail
Lack of energy, generally lethargic
Recurring skin or urinary tract infections
Darkening of the skin
Thin skin that bruises easily
Treatment of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
In most cases, medications that regulate the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream can help successfully manage Cushing’s disease in dogs for years to come. In others, surgery may be required. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Since there is no way to prevent Cushing’s disease, establishing a regular veterinary care routine that includes an appropriate blood-screening schedule with your vet is critical. The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance you’ll have a wider, variety of treatment options. Finally, if you have questions about Cushing’s syndrome or your dog’s health, give your vet a call.
[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.
How To Tell If Your Dog or Cat Has Seasonal Allergies
Coughing, runny eyes, and nose, stuffiness and congestion – people agree that
seasonal allergies are miserable! But did you know pets can suffer from seasonal
allergies, too? While it may be surprising, don’t worry. It can be challenging to
recognize when your dog or cat is experiencing seasonal allergies. That’s because
pets with seasonal allergies will exhibit very different symptoms from people.
Knowing the signs of allergies to watch for can help you identify seasonal allergies
with your beloved pet. From there, you can get your furry friend the help
needed so they can enjoy the outdoors in peace.
Here are some general cat and dog allergy symptoms of seasonal allergies to look
● Constant scratching and licking
● Chewing of the paws and pads
● Scratching or rubbing of the face
● Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
● Recurrent hot spots in dogs and facial scabs in cats
● Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)
● Any foul odor from the skin or coat may indicate secondary infections
Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
It is not uncommon for our beloved pups to experience seasonal allergies due to
various allergens in the air. There are many ways to tell if your dog has seasonal
allergies, but the single most common symptom is scratching. Dogs will often chew
on their feet and pads, which is a huge tip-off that they’re dealing with an
environmental allergic reaction to pollen, mold, or dust mites. This condition is
known as allergic dermatitis.
Keep a close eye on specific parts of your dog’s body that will show signs of irritation,
including the paws, face, tummy, ears, and armpits. When a dog has irritated skin,
they can fall into the vicious itch-scratch cycle, which can leave their skin inflamed.
Untreated, allergies can potentially lead to developing hot spots, bleeding, and even
hair loss. Being aware of these common dog allergy symptoms so you can recognize
when your dog needs help.
Seasonal Allergies in Cats
Can cats suffer from seasonal allergies? Yes! Although cats are much less likely to
suffer from seasonal allergies, cats can experience symptoms of seasonal allergies
similar to their dog counterparts. While your cat might sneeze after exploring the
outdoors for a bit, your feline friend’s reaction is more likely due to slight physical
irritation to the pollen in the air. If this happens, you can try to keep your cat inside
on days that have high pollen warnings. To lessen sneezing, you can try leaving your
shoes by the door. Also, remember to wipe your feet on the welcome mat before
entering the house — this simple act helps to reduce the amount of pollen traveling
into your home!
What Causes Seasonal Allergies in Dogs and Cats?
Environmental allergens that are inhaled or come in contact with skin and can cause
irritation are also known as “atopy.” Seasonal examples of atopy include ragweed,
which will usually occur here in Phoenix during the fall months. Reactions to
spring pollens from trees and other plants will most commonly occur during April
and May when trees and flowers are in full bloom.
Although dust mites tend to thrive better in more humid environments, dust mites
in Arizona are not uncommon. If you notice your furry friend suffering from allergy
symptoms, it could be due to dust mites in your own home. While it’s impossible to
rid your home of these pesky, microscopic critters completely, you can reduce the amount of them living with you. Some recommended ways to reduce the number of dust mites in your home include replacing carpet In favor of tile or wood flooring, swapping out upholstered
furniture with alternatives such as leather and wood, and washing bedding on a weekly basis.
There are also many products and treatments available to help ease your cat’s or
dog’s allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for you
and your pet.
Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.
Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes
the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy.
Unfortunately, Diabetes is not curable in either dogs or cats. However, early diagnosis,
along with regular treatment and care, means your furry friend can still live a very long
and happy life.
Being aware and able to recognize the signs of Diabetes in your dog or cat is critical to
ensuring they get the help they need. Left unmanaged, Diabetes can have irreversible
effects. If you suspect your beloved dog or cat has Diabetes, be sure to consult your
Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as
they could be indicators that your dog has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms
overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.
● Change in appetite
● Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
● Weight loss
● Increased urination
● Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
● Urinary tract infections
● Cataract formation, blindness
● Chronic skin infections
While Diabetes is more common in middle-aged to older dogs, especially among
females, it’s not uncommon for younger dogs to develop Diabetes. Certain breeds are
more likely to develop Diabetes, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and
Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is
experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be
indicators that your cat has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.
● Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
● Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
● Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
● Weight loss
● Change in gait (walking)
● Reduced activity, weakness, depression
Diabetes tends to be more common among middle-aged to older cats, as well as among
felines that are overweight. However, unlike dogs, neutered male cats are more likely to
develop Diabetes. While any cat can develop Diabetes, breeds that are more prone to
this disease include Siamese, Maine Coon, and Burmese.
What To Do if Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes
If you find out your furry friend has Diabetes, it’s totally normal to feel worried and
anxious. First, take a deep breath. With the right kind of care and treatment, your beloved cat or dog can still live a happy and productive life. Your veterinarian can discuss various lifestyle changes
you will need to make in your pet’s life to ensure they remain healthy. These can include
more exercise, diet changes, oral medication, and insulin injections.
With proper veterinary care, Diabetes can be manageable. Working together, we can help your pet live a long and healthy life.
[disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.