Monthly Archives: May 2015

Pet Safety Tips for the Summer

Bring on the summer! What activity does your pet like best? Maybe it the simple pleasure of rolling around blissfully in the green grass, leaping into the air to capture a Frisbee in his teeth, or sprinting after a neon yellow tennis ball. Soak up the fun, but keep these summer pet safety tips in mind.

We’re Having a Heat Wave

Though a walk around the neighborhood can be relaxing for you and your pet, common sense dictates that it’s not always a possibility in the summer. Avoid the midday swelter, and opt for early morning or late evening strolls. Shorten your walk when necessary, and keep your pup hydrated. Remember that your pet’s feet aren’t protected by sneakers, so lead him away from scorching pavement that can burn his paw pads. In addition, never leave your pet alone in a parked car, no matter how short the errand or how pleasant the day. According to the Humane Society, even if it’s only 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 116 degrees in less than an hour.

Paws” at the Pool

Splashing around poolside or taking a dip in the cool water might be the epitome of summer fun for you, but not necessarily for your pet. When possible, teach your dog to swim and consider outfitting him in a bright life vest; PetMD cautions that accidents can happen even if your pet is wearing a life vest, so stay vigilant. Even if your pup happily takes to the water like a fish, never leave him unsupervised near a pool.

Keep your furry pal from drinking chlorinated water, especially large amounts. The AKC recommends that you gently rinse him off after he exits the pool and then dab his ears with a dry towel. Remember that pool-time might be a challenge for puppies, short-legged dogs, arthritic or debilitated pets, and pups with vision loss, so consider spending quality time indoors instead.

Chemical Reaction

Those scraggly weeds might be an eyesore begging to be eradicated, or maybe you’re ready to give extra encouragement to your slow-growing plants, but think again if you own a pet. The Humane Society recommends avoiding pesticides, fertilizers, or gardening products that can pose hazards to pets. And while you’re slathering yourself in sunscreen, keep in mind that the common zinc oxide formulation is only intended for you, the pet parent. Protect Fido’s ears and nose with a pet-safe sunscreen created specifically for dogs.

Where, Oh Where, Can He Be?

Summer brings with it all sorts of curiosities and even a few scares for your pet. Even calm or well-behaved pets might scamper after a taunting squirrel, or flee after a turbulent bout of thunder or fireworks. Bring your pet indoors before stormy weather or a pyrotechnic display that might cause him discomfort. Make sure his ID tags and microchip information are up-to-date.

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How to Protect Your Pets During Flea and Tick Season

Ah, the delight of spring and summer months. You might be eager to dive into those carefree, halcyon days, but you’ll forgive your pet if he’s quite not ready to share in your enthusiasm. If he could talk, he’d probably tell you that he dreads the warm-weather flea and tick frenzy: the itching, the irritation, and, worst of all, possible infection or illness. Keep your beloved pet from becoming parasites’ most appealing, furry snack with the help of flea and tick preventatives and treatments.

Proceed with Care
Consult your veterinarian to determine the safest option for your pet, and always follow the label instructions carefully. Monitor your pet after administering a flea or tick control product, especially if it’s a new addition to your arsenal. According to the AVMA, you should be on the lookout for these negative reactions: anxiousness, excessive itching or scratching, skin redness or swelling, vomiting, or abnormal behavior. If your pet has a bad reaction, immediately contact a veterinarian.

Keep in mind that many flea and tick control products are not intended for the youngest puppies and kittens, nor elderly cats and dogs. In addition, not all products are safe for underweight, sick, medicated, pregnant, or nursing animals. If you have both a dog and a cat, resist the temptation to give them the same medication, unless the product is formulated specifically for both cats and dogs. Finally, know the weight of your pet, and pay careful attention to the dosage level.

Choices, Choices
Lost in a jumble of choices? PetMD outlines the differences:

1) Spot-ons refer to medications that are applied directly to the pet’s skin. The active ingredients will be released over several weeks’ time. Spot-ons are convenient to use, but you must exercise care: Seclude your dog from other pets and from children until the treatment has dried fully. Wear gloves, or wash your hands with soap and warm water after applying the medication.

2) Oral medications provide a simple alternative to topical treatments. Some will work to kill adult fleas and can treat sudden outbreaks and infestations.

3) Sprays and powders are inexpensive ways of controlling fleas and ticks. A powder is rubbed into the pet’s fur. Read all labels carefully, and monitor your pet for side effects.

4) Shampoos typically kill adult fleas on contact; however, they won’t usually stop an infestation or keep the fleas from returning.

5) Dips are concentrated liquids that are applied to the pet’s skin and left to dry. Dips should only be used on healthy, adult pets. Keep the dip away from your pet’s eyes and mouth, and take care to protect your eyes and skin.

6) Flea collars repel fleas and sometimes ticks with a concentrated chemical. Monitor your pet for irritation or hair loss.

Keeping It Simple
If you’re looking for gentle ways to protect your pet during flea and tick season, consider some simple and natural home remedies. For a healthy, adult dog, PetMD suggests rubbing a freshly squeezed orange or lemon onto his fur, or bathing him with a gentle shampoo or citrus-based dish liquid. Tenacious though they may be, fleas are repelled by citrus. Another alternative is to apply rose geranium oil, a natural repellant, to your dog’s collar. PetMD cautions pet owners that this solution is for dogs only – not cats, who may have an adverse reaction to essential oils.

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