- If possible, keep your pets indoors with the shades drawn and the air conditioning or an oscillating fan on.
- If your pet has to stay outside make sure they have access to cool and shaded areas.The best option is to keep your pets indoors during the heat of the day.
- Whether they are indoors or outside, make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in their bowls to keep the water extra cool.
- Keep long, thick fur trimmed in a lightweight summer cut.
- Only take your dog on a walk early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Not only can exercise in extreme heat cause heat stoke but the hot asphalt can burn sensitive paw pads.
- Avoid strenuous exercise or play in general in the hot weather; don't go on long hikes or lengthy walks.
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! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes. The result can be devastating for your pet.
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 could...be 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.
Tips for Keeping Pocket Pets Cool
- Place a large, ceramic tile in the freezer overnight, then place inside the pet's cage. Make sure to cover the sharp edges so your pet won't get cut. You can purchase tiles at most hardware stores for fairly cheap.
- Make sure they have access to full, fresh water bottles.
- Place a cold, damp (not soaking wet) towel in one part of their cage, insuring your pet still has warm, dry spots in their habitat. You can also drape the towel on the outside of the cage, over one side to create a cool, shaded shelter.
- Keep their cages indoors and out of direct sunlight.
- Place frozen water bottles wrapped in towels in their cage for pets to lean against. Secure them so they do not have the chance to roll over.
- Use an oscillating fan near their cage. This way the fan is not constantly blowing directly on your pocket pet but is still providing cool air flow.
- Feed them frozen fruit and refrigerated veggies.
- Mist rabbit ears lightly with water to help them regulate their temperature.
- The House Rabbit Society has an informative page on rabbits and heat exhaustion with useful tips that can be applied towards other pocket pets as well.
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.