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Know the Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet, How to Avoid, and Steps of Recovery

Preventing and Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pets

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously
above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death.
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs
have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and
noses. As summer rolls around and temperatures continue to rise, you’ll
notice your pets panting more to regulate their body heat.

Since our beloved pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, we need
to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we can keep our furry friends safe.
Early recognition, and treatment of heat stroke can improve your pet’s
chances of making a quick recovery. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status (i.e., confusion and dizziness)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

Seek Treatment for A Full Recovery

At the first sign of overheating, it’s essential to take steps to cool your pet
down gradually. Do NOT use ice or frigid water as it can cause shock and
other undesirable reactions. Here are some measures to take if you suspect
your animal is suffering from heat stroke:
1. Remove your animal from the heat immediately. Take your animal
inside or find some shade to allow them to cool off.

2. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cold, wet towels and
use a fan for convection cooling.

3. Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on
foot pads, groin and under the forelegs.

4. MOST importantly, seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as
possible!

Even if your furry friend seems to be feeling better and starts acting normal
again, it is still crucial to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary
clinic. Vets will be able to determine the severity of the heat stroke and
provide the appropriate medical treatment. This can include medication,
cooling procedures, supplemental oxygen, and blood tests. Additional
monitoring may be required to ensure your beloved pet is back in tip-top
health.

Unfortunately, since our pets can’t communicate their exact feelings to us, we
need to be alert and aware of all of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats.
In case of an emergency, we need to be knowledgeable about the steps to
take for pet heat stroke recovery. Once we educate ourselves on the
symptoms, we can have a fun and safe summer with our furry companions.

 

What to Know About Purebred Vs Mutt Health, Life Expectancy, and More!

Purebred Vs Mixed Breed: Everything You Should Know

There has been a lot said when it comes to whether or not a mixed breed dog is healthier (or not) than a purebred dog. There certainly seems to be a surplus of health benefits for mixed breed dogs as compared to their purebred counterparts. With that said, however, this isn’t to say there aren’t any benefits in choosing a purebred dog. So if you’re looking to bring a furry friend into your home but are worried whether a purebred or mixed breed is right for you, sit back and relax. We’re going to uncover the benefits of mixed breed dogs and purebred, purebred vs mutt health and life expectancy, and more!

Benefits of Mixed Breed Dogs

  • Get That Same Breed Look: Some dog owners are looking for a puppy with a distinct look, say a husky or a chow chow. Many mixed breed dogs will tend to physically resemble one breed more than the other, so you can get pretty close to a purebred look for your dog while still adopting mixed breed.
  • OR Get a Unique Look: On the other hand, if you like the uniqueness of a mixed breed dog, then it’s possible to find a dog that doesn’t look like other dogs. Take Basil for instance — a 3-year-old mixed breed dog (photo submitted by a staff member!). Take a second to guess what breed he is. We’ll give you a second.
  • Price: A key benefit of mixed breed dogs is that they come at a much cheaper price than those from the breeders of purebred dogs. While their personalities and growth may come as a surprise to you, the experience will be well worth the wait (and the wait itself is so much fun) if you love surprises and being spontaneous. And back to the question — what breed is Basil? If you guessed husky/labrador, you’re a winner!

Benefits of Purebred Dogs

One misconception people have about purebred dogs is that all purebred dogs are not as healthy as their mixed counterpart. While there is research that suggests this is true for some breeds (and we’ll get to this soon), there are various factors that influence the life expectancy and health of purebred dogs.

  • Specifically Selected Parents: In most cases, dogs breeders have selected the parents (sire and dam) specifically for health and desired breed traits to ensure that their puppies will be happy and healthy.
  • You Know What to Expect: When you get a purebred dog, you can expect to know how large they will get, their temperament, and more. If you’re living in a smaller home or work long hours, you can choose a dog that is suited for your lifestyle; whereas a mixed breed dog may have some surprises that might not be as easily manageable.
  • Ease With Training: With a purebred dog, you (and potential trainers) have a better idea of what to expect with your furry friend. What this means is that a dog might not have the temperament you’re looking for — and you won’t know this until they are older. For Basil for instance — part husky and part lab. While the lab in him makes him viable as a great service dog, the husky portion of him might make service or guide training difficult. Speaking directly with Basil’s owner, it’s clear that… the latter is true. He is apparently impossible to train. While this varies across the board, a purebred dog lets you know what to expect, so you can pick a pup with a training regimen in mind.

Purebred Vs Mutt: The Major Health Differences

When comparing purebred vs mutt health, there are some differences in how purebred and mixed breed dogs inherit genetic disorders. A study conducted by the Institute of Canine Biology examined cases of 24 different genetic disorders and found that across the board, 10 disorders occurred more frequently in purebreds, 1 disorder occurred more frequently in mixed breeds and then the last 13 disorders did not appear more frequently in either dog.

So this means that you should only adopt a mixed breed dog, right? Nothing is ever that simple. Let’s just examine two of the disorders more frequented in purebred dogs: atopy (or allergies). Studies found that 1 percent of mixed breed dogs were affected by allergies. In contrast, some of the top purebred dogs with allergies included the West Highland White Terrier (8.2%), Coonhound (8%), and Wirehaired Fox Terrier (8%). Now let’s look at bloat in dogs. With mixed breeds, we are again at less than 1 percent. The breeds that bloat was most present in were Saint Bernard (3.7%), Irish Setter (3.4%), and Bloodhounds (3.4%).

What does this mean?

In these two categories of disorders, purebred dogs did exhibit symptoms more often; however, not all purebreds were at the same risk for the same diseases. Consider how some dogs are more apt to be a ‘watchdog’ or protective dog, and others are more apt to live in a small apartment than others. Obviously, not all dogs are the same. So do mixed breed dogs really have fewer health problems? The answer is not so definitive. Mixed breed dogs are not going to be healthier than purebreds all the time. While some breeds may be at a higher risk for health problems, every dog is different.

Furthermore, many dogs will go on without developing any particular health complications. If you want to know the health patterns for a specific breed of a dog, you’ll get a better expectation of what to look for throughout their life by talking to a breeder or by doing more breed-specific research.

Purebred vs Mixed Breed Life Expectancy

Not much will be said about life expectancy that hasn’t already been said about purebred vs mutt health. There are a multitude of factors that impact the life expectancy of a dog.

  • Wellness Care: Of course, if you invest in how you care for your dog — by adhering to the Veterinary recommendation for annual or semi-annual wellness exams — then your dog will be more primed to live a longer and healthier life.
  • Dog Size: Additionally, research on the size of the dog has shown that some larger dogs may have a life expectancy of around 7-10 years, while smaller ones may have up to 13-16 years. These, of course, aren’t hard numbers, but general observations.
  • The Real Question: Even though research has indicated that mixed breed dogs show signs of longer life expectancy, proper dog care will always be key in making sure your dog — no matter the size, no matter their lineage — will live a long and happy life beside you!

In Conclusion

Really, the decision to choose a dog that’s either mixed breed or purebred is entirely up to you. Each has its own unique strengths which can make for a fun (albeit different) experience for you and your family. Even with all these facts in place, it’s important to remember that each dog is different. While they may react to things in very similar fashions, every dog has its own special personality and spirit which will make the overall experience all-the-more fun!

National Poison Prevention Week: Signs of Poisoning in Pets

It’s National Poison Prevention Week – so it’s a great time to review the signs and symptoms of poisoning in dogs and cats. Pets are notoriously good at hiding pain, however, in the case of ingestion of a toxic substance, the signs can vary based on the particular poison.

If you think your dog or cat has been poisoned or may have ingested a toxic substance, call your veterinarian immediately for assistance! The sooner your dog or cat gets medical treatment, the better the outcome. 

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the most common signs of poisoning generally include (but are not limited to):

Gastrointestinal signs

  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling/excessive salivating
  • Lack of appetite/refusing food

Internal bleeding

  • Coughing of blood
  • Vomiting blood
  • Pale gums
  • A racing heart rate
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Collapse

Kidney failure

  • Bad breath that smells of urine or ammonia
  • Lack of appetite/refusing food
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Absence or decreased urination

Liver failure

  • Jaundice/yellow discoloration of the gums
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Dullness, confusion, acting abnormally
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Black-tar appearance in stool

For more information about potential toxins in the home, click here.

Outside of your personal veterinarian, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435

What To Do If Your Pet Gets Lost

lost dog posterOh, no! Your pet is missing – here’s what to do if your pet gets lost. With the right preparation and the help of lots of caring people, pets can be returned quickly.

First – canvas your neighborhood with a photo and your contact information. Put notices up where people are most likely to see them – near mailboxes is always a good bet. Share your news on social media sites, and be sure to post in Straydar or on NextDoor.

Next, call local vets and let them know to be on the lookout. Why? It’s the first place people often go to check for a chip. Lost pets pass through our doors daily. It’s always sad when we scan a scared stray dog or cat and their contact details are so out of date there’s little hope of them finding their way home. We share news through our network of Facebook pages and local rescues, so be sure to follow. Social media has helped us reunite many families!

Sometimes lost pets are brought to us because they’ve been injured. We care for them all, providing them the best medical help whenever possible, ensuring that we ultimately ease their pain and keeping them calm and comfy – all while doing our best to help them find their family.

Make sure your pets have their best chance to return home if they escape the house or yard and get lost. Microchip your pets, have them wear collars and tags, and please keep your contact numbers current, especially when you’re moving to a new home or neighborhood. We’re happy to introduce you and your furry (or not so furry) family to the team at one of our 21 locations in the Phoenix Metro area. They’ll welcome you with the WOW service you have come to know and love from AZPetVet.

Benefits and Safety Tips for Hiking or Running With Your Dog

Helpful Preventative Measures When Hiking or Running With Your Dog

Arizona’s warm climate is ideal for hikers and runners. Sometimes, it’s nice to bring a friend along. Hiking with your dog – or even running with your dog – can be great exercise, as well as a bonding experience. Here are some key tips for how to make your run or hike with your dog a tail-wagging good time for everyone.

Vaccinations & Preventative Medicines: Before you begin running or hiking with a young dog, be sure they’ve built natural immunity, the bones are sufficiently developed, and are up to date on vaccines. One year, give or take a few months (depending on size, breed, and other factors) should be a safe age for you to hit the trail with your trusty sidekick. Make sure they’re also protected from heartworm, fleas and ticks. Consult your vet about recommended preventative measures for dogs participating in outdoor activities like running and hiking.

Is Your Hiking Trail Tail-Friendly? We understand the urge to take your dog with you, especially when you’re enjoying a run or hike and taking in the Arizona sights. The problem? While the number of dog-friendly places is growing, unless you have a service dog, your furry sidekick is not welcome everywhere. Always check the regulations posted for the areas where you’ll be hiking or backpacking. Many national parks actually prohibit dogs on the trail, even when they are leashed! However, many national forests, as well as state and local parks, do allow dogs on their trail systems, though rules vary. Leashes are mandatory almost everywhere.

Bone Up on Trail Etiquette: When hiking or running with your dog, you must maintain control at all times. Yield the right of way to hikers, horses and bikes, so step to the side of the trail to allow them to pass. Also – having your dog on a leash isn’t enough. If your dog is distracted or becomes agitated as other people and pooches pass by, further training is in order. Obedience training establishes you as the leader of the pack.

Leave No Trace: Pooper Scoop! Going for a day hike? Don’t leave your pooches’ presents by the trail for someone else to pick up (or your own, for that matter!). Always pack out filled poop bags. Double bag for extra protection from unpleasant smells.

Protect the Paws: There are lots of protective pet shoe options for dogs of all sizes. While they’ll need to adjust to the strange sensation of wearing shoes, as well as walking or running in them, it’s worth it to protect your dog from harm – especially during Arizona’s long, hot summers. Hiking and running shoes made just for dogs can help prevent cuts, bites, and burns on tender paws and pads that will require veterinary care.

Remember the Sunscreen: Pets can get sunburned or develop skin cancer, so it’s important to take precautions when hiking or running with your dog. Breeds like Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers are very vulnerable to sunburn and possible skin cancers. Severe burns may also cause skin infections. Ask your vet about sunscreens formulated especially for pets. Caution – what’s safe for dogs may not be for cats. Look for pet safe products that contain NO ZINC OXIDE (a common ingredient in many sunscreens) – it’s toxic to animals.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Pets can dehydrate incredibly quickly. It’s vitally important to bring along plenty of fresh water – for both of you – when running or hiking with your dog. Remember, flat face breeds cannot pant effectively, so they’re more susceptible to heat stroke. Leave them at home. Older dogs that are overweight or have medical conditions should be kept cool, so best to pick another form of exercise.

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 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.

The Best Time for Running or Hiking With Your Dog: During the heat of Arizona’s summer months, 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, the pads on your dogs feet are not the same as shoes, and can burn and blister very easily; so if you can’t be barefoot on the ground, then neither should your pup.

Regular hikes or runs can also help ensure your dog gets appropriate amounts of exercise and stimulation. Make sure you run through the above checklist, then get outside with your pooch and have a wonderful time! Still not sure about taking your dog on a run or hike? Talk to your vet for additional guidance.