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We live in Arizona, so we never run out of clichés about the excessive summer heat. With that we face numerous animal issues as well: people leaving their pets in locked vehicles, and people leaving pets outside without proper shade or water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a supposed “dry” heat. When it’s hot, it’s hot. As the temperature rises, it gets unbearable for our furry family members if left in bad situations.

One of the running jokes we often hear in Arizona is that the pavement is so hot that you can bake cookies on the sidewalk or on the dashboard of a parked car. While we know the car is no place to leave your pet, the pavement should also be off limits during the hottest hours of the paws

An article by The Humane Society of the United States advises to keep the level of exercise for your pet to a minimum when the temperatures are very high. “On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing,” the article said.

The following are some other great tips for walking your dog in the summer, as per a Banfield Pet Hospital article that said that materials such as pavement and asphalt “absorb heat from the sun and can stay hot for hours even after the sun has gone down.” According to the article, temperatures on these materials can be as high as 145 F! The article provides the following tips for your dog’s paws:

  • If the pavement is too hot for your hand or foot, “then it is too hot for your pet.” So check the pavement by leaving your hand or foot there for 10 seconds to see if you can handle it.
  • Where there’s grass, walk on that instead of the pavement.
  • Walk your dog either early morning or later at night.
  • Check out some of the available booties for your dog’s paws.

According to “10 Tips To Protect Your Dog’s Paws From Hot Pavement,” always be sure to check your dog’s paws on a daily basis to make sure there is no injury or damage. Be sure to keep your dog’s paws clean and moisturized as well. Other products you can try are disposable booties or dog socks if you must walk your dog on pavement during a hot summer day.

Put your best paw forward to ensure your dog is safe and free from harm, and you’ll both have a great summer!

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Celebrate Adopt-A-Cat Month And Bring Home a New Feline Friend

Spring is kitten season and with it comes numerous litters of unwanted kitties who either roam the streets with no family to call home or who end up at local shelters, along with their older counterparts.

In order to help spread the word and get more people interested in adopting kittens and older cats, American Humane Association sponsors Adopt-A-Cat month every June in hopes of enlightening the public about all the cats out there needing homes. According to American Humane Association, “your local shelter has tons of cute, cuddly newborns, in addition to all the mellow, older cats and everything in between.” Having a month dedicated to bringing awareness is important to help get felines adopted.

As bad as the unwanted dog problem is in most cities, it can be worse for cats. According to the Humane Society of the United States in “Pets by the Numbers,”  some estimates from 2014 include:

·         “Percentage of cats euthanized in shelters: 70%

·         Percentage of total shelter intake comprised of cats: Approximately 50% (but in some regions 2/3 of shelter population is cats)”

American Humane Association has a comprehensive checklist for adopting a cat to include:

·         Two cats can be better than one! When you go to adopt one cat, why not bring home two? Because cats need mental stimulation and exercise, American Humane Associations says “Two cats can provide this for each other” in addition to bringing humans great benefits.

·         Cats have their own personalities, so find one whose personality fits with your own.

·         Stay on top of things by choosing a veterinarian before you bring home your furry feline. Also, be sure to schedule a first visit ASAP.

·         Before you bring home your new cat, make sure everyone in the family is on board and ready. Make it a “family affair.” If you already have pets at home, be prepared “to make a proper introduction.”

·         Bringing home a new furry family member means additional costs. Make sure you are prepared for the responsibility for the long term.

·         Have everything waiting at home, including litter box, food and water bowls, toys, scratching posts, a bed, etc.

·         Is your home cat-proof? Don’t leave food or dangerous items lying around. You don’t want your cat to get into your food or to choke or chew on dangerous items such as electrical cords.

·         Cats need time to adjust to new surroundings, so allow them to get used to everything and everyone, including family and friends.

·         Have a family emergency plan that includes your cat and other pets.

Before you give a cat as a gift, “make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process.” Cats are living beings with feelings and emotions. Ensure everyone is on the same page.

The Best Ways to Keep Your Pet’s Hair Mat Free

You love your dogs and cats, but sometimes the hair! Oh the hair! Especially for those long-haired dogs and cats. What is a pet owner to do? Sometimes caring for the long hair can get away from you. Matted pet hair can be difficult to detangle and, most of all, can even be painful for your

beloved furry family member.

According to Doctors Foster and Smith’s “Hair Mats in Dogs & Cats,” most mats form in the following places:

·         “Behind ears

·         Between back legs

·         Along the back of the haunches

·         In the groin area

·         Underneath front legs

·         Under the collar”

Obviously, it is best to avoid hair mats whenever possible. When dog hair is long, smaller tangles are more prevalent. “The small tangles get snarled together, and dead, shedding hair and debris get caught in the snarl,” according to the article. “As the mat gets bigger, hair from farther and farther away from the original site becomes entangled and pulls on tender skin, causing the animal discomfort.”

The lack of combing and brushing results in bigger mats. That leads to the skin being pulled more. When mats get worse and tighten even more, that makes it even more painful for the animals. “Skin can become irritated and ulcerated from the constant pulling.”

Smaller mats can be managed and “broken apart” with use of a mat rake. However, the larger mats will need to be cut out with scissors or other tools, so you might want to bring your pet to a professional groomer if the situation is severe.

In order to prevent matting, it is best to routinely brush your pet’s hair. It is not easy to stick to a regimen, but it can alleviate a lot of discomfort and pain in your dog or cat down the road. It’s worth the time and effort. You can also keep your dog’s long hair shorter, which will also reduce the mats. This is an option for those hot weather months.

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Every summer, the news is filled with stories of dogs dying in hot cars, even here in Arizona where we should know better.

Our summers start early and are long and very hot, oftentimes with temperatures up into the triple digits. It’s important for pet owners to ensure their beloved furry family members are safe, cool and hydrated — and out of harm’s way. One of the most important things you can do for your pets is to leave them home.

Although it is not safe to leave your pets in the car at any time, remember that when it’s hot out, the situation is even worse. Even if you are just running into the store or leaving a window cracked open, the intense heat inside a car can threaten your pet’s health and can even result in death. Therefore, leaving the window cracked open does not help. For those who simply think they will only be five minutes in the store, how often do people get sidetracked or held up and that five minutes turns into a half hour or more? It’s just not worth the risk.

Remember, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Pets in Vehicles,” “The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30º F…and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle!”

Having the facts about how hot it can get in your vehicle points to the perfect reasons to leave your pets at home while you shop or run errands. Your pets are safest when in a cool home with plenty of fresh water.

But what if you spot a dog in a hot car? What should you do?

Whatever you do, don’t ignore the situation and get involved. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in “What to Do If You See a Pet in a Parked Car,”

  1. Get the car’s information, including make, model and license plate.
  2. If the car is parked near a business, ask store managers to make an announcement to see if the car’s owner can be located.
  3. Call your local police non-emergency number or animal control and give them the information.

According to the HSUS, it’s important to be informed about your town or city’s laws concerning leaving pets in hot vehicles. Have important numbers handy so that you can call for help. You can also ask retail store owners to post signs asking their patrons not to leave pets in hot cars. In addition, if your town does not have a law in place regarding pets in hot cars, start by contacting your local representatives.

The HSUS has an informative retro video. Watch it here.