Beat the Heat!

In my neck of the woods, temperatures have been hot for a while and seem to be heating up even more. Let’s talk about ways to keep your furry friends cool and safe in all of this extreme heat.

Fresh Water

You can never have too much water during hot weather. Indoors or out, make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times. If the water dish is outside, make sure it’s in the shade, that your pet can easily reach it, and put more than one dish of water out. There are also outdoor waterers that you can buy to keep a fresh supply of water available for your pet.

You can also put an ice cube (or more) in the water dish, but if this keeps your pet from drinking, try giving him refrigerated water, instead.

Crated dogs should also be given water during this time if the house is going to get hot. If you have air conditioning and they’re going to stay cool, withholding water and food as you usually do is ok. If the house gets hot, or you don’t have air conditioning, they should have water available during the extreme heat. I know, I know this goes against the way you’re supposed to crate a dog, but if it’s going to be 90* in your house, do you want a dead dog or maybe an accident in the crate? Extreme heat calls for some flexibility and common sense.

Shade

If your pet is outside, make sure there is plenty of accessible shade. I say accessible because sometimes people don’t realize that Fido might not want to go over to the shady spot in the yard for one reason or another that makes perfect sense in his mind. So, having more than one shaded area is the best way to go. That way, if the blue jay in the tree on the east side of the yard likes to attack Fido, he can go lay under the awning on the west side, instead.

Dogs and cats can get sunburned just like we can. While there is dog sunscreen, it’s really just better and more effective to make sure they have proper shade.

Stay Chill

Don’t play fetch with your dog or laser pointer games with your cat during the hottest part of the day. Hot times are times to chill out and be cool, man. I’ll never forget the bewildered look on a client’s face when he brought his black lab into the clinic. They’d been out on the beach all day long playing Frisbee and the dog just abruptly collapsed. Sure, your pet may want to play, but it’s up to you to know when it’s appropriate to do so.

Make Dinner

Ok, that header was me being a wise cracker, but you can take a bag of frozen peas out, wrap it in a towel, and put it in your dog’s or cat’s favorite bed, or on the floor, or wherever they like to lay. By laying on or next to it, they can cool off and you can thaw those peas for dinner!

There are also cooling beds that have a special gel or water inside them that you can buy.

Sponge Bath

Ok, not quite a sponge, but rather a towel. Take a towel and get it damp with cool water. You can then gently wipe down your cat or dog. They might not be so fond of it at first, but if you do it gently and calmly, they’ll appreciate it after a minute or two. Be sure to get the belly and the feet as those are both good areas to help them cool down quickly.

Along the same lines of a bath, you can also try to get your pet to stick his feet in water. Some dogs (and even cats) like to splash around in a few inches of water. If your cat likes to play in the shower after you’ve used it, leave a tiny bit of water in there for them to splash in. (Just be sure to rinse the tub out first). Also, some dogs enjoy the kiddy pool as much as the kiddies!

Signs of Heat Stroke

The signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats are similar, so I’ll list them all together.

Heavy panting

Increased rectal temperature = 104* they need to be cooled down and 106* is an emergency

Inability or lack of desire to get up from laying down

Dark red gums

Tacky or dry mucus membranes, especially gums

Lethargy

Anxiety or agitation

Thick saliva

Increased heart rate

Loss of consciousness

Collapse

Difficulty breathing

Dizziness or disorientation

If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, grab an ice pack, stick it on them and head straight to your vet’s office! Heat stroke can absolutely be fatal!

With these tips in your head, I hope you and your furry friends enjoy a safe summer. Happy journeys!

Lilies Are Toxic to Cats

I was admiring my garden yesterday and saw that my lilies are blooming. Having two cats, I’m not particularly fond of lilies as they are toxic. So, this is just a little reminder to keep lilies out of your house if you have indoor cats. It only takes a very small amount to kill a cat.

The flower itself is the most toxic part of the plant, but all of the plant is toxic. Even the pollen is toxic!

It usually takes 6-12 hours after ingestion for the first signs of toxicity to show up. These signs are usually:

Loss of appetite

Vomiting

Lethargy

Seizures or tremors

Kidney failure results within 36-72 hours. Signs of this are:

Initial increased urination, then gradually less, until there is no urination

Increased thirst

Dehydration

Death

If you think your cat has been exposed to lilies, call your veterinarian immediately or head straight to the nearest animal emergency hospital.

Treatment usually includes IV fluids and some form of medication to protect the GI tract. If left untreated or treated 18 or more hours after ingestion, mortality is pretty much 100%.

So, keep all lilies away from your cats and enjoy the journey through life with your furry friends!

Published in: on June 24, 2012 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Interesting Cat Toy

These kittens have found an interesting toy. What things do your furry friends like to play with?

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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