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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Warm Weather Safety Tips
How to keep your pets happy, healthy and safe during the hot summer months.

Heat stroke can kill 

NEVER leave a pet alone in a vehicle, even in the shade. Pets left in cars, or other unventilated areas, or tied up in the sun, are susceptible to heat stroke. Since dogs have only a limited ability to sweat, even a short time in a hot environment can be life-threatening. Temperatures inside a parked car can rapidly reach dangerous levels even on relatively mild days, and even if the windows are slightly open. A dog's normal body temperature is 39°C and a temperature of 41°C can be withstood only for a very short time before irreparable brain damage or death can occur.

  Pets left outdoors on hot summer days can also be in serious danger. Dogs should only be left outdoors for short periods, should have sufficient water and a cool, sheltered place out of direct sun. Walking early morning or evening when it is cooler is advisable.

  Certain types of dogs - such as northern breeds or short-muzzled dogs like boxers and pugs - can have a more difficult time in the heat. Older dogs, overweight dogs, puppies under six months, dogs with certain medical conditions like lung or heart disease and dogs on certain medications may also be more susceptible to heat exposure.
First aid for heatstroke
  Even if you are cautious, there may be a time when you will have to deal with heatstroke. Familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke and what to do. First aid and medical treatment are essential and can help save your dog's life. Time is of the essence!
Signs of heatstroke include: 
 Increased heart rate
 Excessive panting or drooling
 Confusion or disorientation
 Bright red gums
 Vomiting or diarrhea
 Collapse, seizure or coma
 Body temperature higher than 40°C
What to do:
  Move your dog out of the heat immediately. Use a hose or wet towels to start cooling your dog down. Do not use ice. Offer your dog water. Take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Continue cooling him/her with wet towels during the drive. If you're unable to get to a veterinarian right away monitor his/her temperature and check for signs of shock. Stop the cooling process when your dog's temperature reaches 40°C or his/her body temperature can drop too low and increase the risk of shock. Even if your dog cools down take him/her to a vet as soon as possible as some medical problems caused by heatstroke may not show up right away.
Pets in pick-up trucks
  Dogs allowed to ride loose in the back of a pick-up truck can easily be thrown from the back into on-coming traffic. Flying debris can injure eyes and ears, and the metal flatbed can burn his/her paws. If your pet can't ride with you in the cab of the truck, leave him/her at home; it's safer for everyone!  Dogs in the back of pick-up trucks is a no-no, no matter the weather!
Garden hazards
Insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers are common causes of pet poisoning. Avoid walking your pet on lawns that have been recently sprayed with any of these chemicals; these substances, if ingested, can cause death. As a precaution, rinse her paws with water after your walk. For your garden maintenance, use non-toxic, natural alternatives. There are many natural gardening supplies available at most gardening centres. Numerous plants are harmful too.
Poisonous warm weather hazards
  Many seemingly harmless items can be poisonous to your pet. Make sure you know your veterinarian's procedures for emergency situations, especially ones that occur after business hours, and keep phone numbers for your veterinarian, and a local emergency veterinary service in a convenient location.
Poisonous hazards include: 
 Animal toxins - toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
 Blue-green algae in ponds
 Citronella candles
 Cocoa mulch
 Compost piles, fertilizers
 Flea products
 Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
 Swimming pool treatment supplies
 Fly baits containing methomyl
 Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde
  Fireworks are terrifying for many pets. They will often run, get lost and end up in animal shelters. When fireworks displays are planned, leave your pet at home and play music or the television to help disguise the noise. Close windows and blinds or curtains.

* Dogs under 2 years of age cannot handle excessive exercise, as their bones have not fully formed. If you jog with your young dog you could be putting your dog at risk for things like torn ACL's, hip displaysia etc.*
*Make sure to carry lots of cool water for your dog*

Be safe & enjoy the summer with your pets!

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