Friday, August 31, 2012

We're Open on Labor Day! Plus Summer Holiday Pet Tips

Summer time is coming to an end. While the official last day of summer isn't for another few weeks, Labor Day weekend certainly feels like the last hurrah of the long, lazy days in the sun. 

We wish all of our clients and their pets a safe and wonderful holiday weekend! As a reminder - we are here if you need us. We will be open on Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd from 8am to 8pm.

Keep reading for some summer time pet safety tips for warm weather, pools, barbecues, hiking, camping and more! 
Summer Holiday Pet Tips:

Warm Weather

Make sure your pets have access to plenty of fresh, cool water at all times. If the days are warm it is important to provide them with shade and shelter from the heat.  The best option is to keep your pets indoors during the heat of the day. Access to fresh water is important whether they are indoors or outside. Try taking your dog on a walk early in the day or at sunset when the temperature is cooler. Dogs can burn the pads of their feet on the hot concrete and can suffer from heat stroke, which is a veterinary emergency. See our document Hot Weather Tips: A Guide to Keeping Your Pet Cool.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:
Excessive panting
Difficulty breathing
Increased heart and respiratory rate
Weakness, stupor, and possible collapse
Bloody diarrhea
Flat nosed breeds such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Persians are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. Other pets at high risk include the elderly, overweight pets, and pets with heart or lung disease. If you think your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, get them to a vet immediately. In the interim you can try to cool them off by dousing them with cool (but not COLD water) especially on the groin, arm pits, and paws. You do not want to soak them completely with cold water. This can cause shock and can also cause the blood vessels to constrict, thereby trapping heat inside the body. 

Never leave your pet unattended in the car. The result can be devastating for your pet; even with the windows slightly cracked. Remember that it is against the law in California to "confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health...of an animal due to heat...lack of adequate ventilation…or other circumstances that expected to cause suffering...or death to the animal." If you come across this situation contact the police right away or Contra Costa Animal Control at 925-335-8300 and select option #1.

Pool Parties & Barbecues

Do not leave your pet unsupervised by the pool or any other bodies of water. Even swim savvy pets can get tired and struggle to keep afloat. Better yet - get your dog a special life jacket!

Avoid feeding your pet any human foods or scraps from the grill. Bones pose many dangers, including chocking and intestinal obstruction. Fatty, sugary, and greasy food can cause pancreatitis.  This is a serious illness that often requires hospitalization. Keep alcohol out of reach. Alcohol is poisonous to pets and can cause severe stomach upset. Be especially aware of the grease trap on your grill - dogs love to lick it clean. Make sure you clean it out before they do! 

Make sure your pet has a safe and secure room. This is especially important if you are having a party. This room should be off-limits to guests. Set it up so that it is quiet and escape proof with plenty of fresh water. Place their favorite things in the room such as toys and a bed. If the safe room is for a cat, make sure to place a litter box in the room. This should be a place for your pet to feel secure when things get noisy as the night goes on. Some people like to leave a TV or radio on to help counter act loud party noises or to provide familiar sounds for your pet if you are away.

If you are having guests over, remember to inform them that you have pets and to keep all doors and gates closed at all times. Make sure your pet has a collar with a current idea and is micropchipped! It is not uncommon for indoor kitties and dogs to be accidentally let out the door or gate when people have guests over for back yard cook outs. Current collars and a microchip give you that extra layer of protection and ups the odds of a missing pet returning to your loving arms. A microchip placement is a quick and easy procedure done with a technician - call us today to schedule!

Outdoor Activities, Camping, & Hiking

Make sure your dog is in good health before going on a camping or hiking trip. It is a good idea to bring a copy of your pet's medical records when you go camping in case of any accidents. It will also be helpful to have on hand to put other campers at ease with proof that your dog is up to date on all their vaccines. Protect your pet by applying flea and tick preventative prior to leaving for your trip to avoid infestation.  Always make sure your pet has a current ID tag and collar on, as well as a registered microchip. Don’t forget to pack plastic baggies for bathroom breaks, portable water bowls, and a pet first aid kit.
Every day in the summer we remove foxtails, a weed rampant in California with seeds that look like a fox's tail. The tip of each seed has barbs, allowing it to move only deeper into your pet's eyes, ears, nose, feet, genitals, and coat. Foxtails cause a lot of discomfort to dogs and cats and can even migrate internally, potentially causing organ damage and severe illness. Check your dog's feet and coat for foxtails after a hike. If you think your dog or cat has a foxtail that you cannot remove at home, take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible to reduce the risk of the foxtail migrating deeper.

Have a safe and wonderful summer with your family, friends, and pets! And remember - we're here when you need us. If you have any questions, concerns, or need to schedule an appointment, please call us at 925.866.8387.

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