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Beat the Heat: Hot Weather Safety Tips for Your Pets

The summer can be hard on some of us humans as well as our pets. It is especially more difficult in Arizona, as the temperatures get into the triple digits where the heat can last far longer than in other parts of the country. 

It is always best to keep your pets indoors, especially during excessive heat (or cold). There is no place that is safer for them than inside the home. 

Remember never to leave your dog or cat in the car, especially during the summer months. “When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour,” according to The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) “What to Do If You See a Pet in a Parked Car.” The article provides important tips on what to do if you see a pet in a car. Make sure to keep the information handy and step in if you feel a life is in danger.

Some other important tips to help keep your pets safe in summer from the HSUS’ Keep Pets Safe in the Heat” include: 

1.      Keep track of humidity. Although Arizona tends to be on the dry side, it’s been getting more humid, so take heed. Pets cannot cool themselves in high humidity. Keep a thermometer handy for dogs whose temperature should not go over 104 degrees.

2.      Keep exercise to a minimum. In Arizona when it’s triple-digits, the pavement is extra hot and too hot to walk your dog. If you must walk your         dog, do it either very early in the morning or later in the evening. Bring water along for the both of you.

3.      If your pet must be outside, supply fresh water and proper shade.

4.      Always have enough water to keep your pets cool, even when your pet is inside.

5.      Watch for signs of heatstroke, including excessive panting, fever, glazed eyes, vomiting and more. Older and overweight dogs are more prone.

6.      Have a disaster plan in case of outage. 

It’s best to be prepared for summer, and now is the time to start. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen, for you and Fido!

Microchipping Can Help Bring Your Pet Home If He Gets Lost

We hear it all the time. Someone accidentally leaves a door open and a beloved family dog, cat or rabbit escapes. Or the dog is out playing in the backyard and the landscaper forgets to shut the gate, and the dog gets out. When it happens, there’s no worse feeling than knowing your family pet is lost, out there alone and frightened and in possible danger.

Although it is very important that all pets wear a collar and ID tags at all times, “Unfortunately, collars and ID tags are not foolproof and dogs and cats can still get lost. Collars can break or fall-off, leaving your beloved pet among the countless, unidentified lost strays at animal shelters,” according to “Microchipping 101: Why is it Important to Microchip My Pet? 

Even though microchipping has become popular and has helped reunite many pets with their families, the technology should be used in addition to a collar and tags. 

Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet’s skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place,” according to the Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) article “High Tech: Identifying Lost Pets With Microchips.” 

A special scanner is needed to read a microchip, which holds important identifying information so that owners can be reunited with their pets. Veterinarians and animal shelters typically have the scanners. 

When you get your pet microchipped, make sure to fill out the paperwork and register the chip with the accompanying microchip company. If you move, make sure to update the information. 

A microchip is an additional way to make sure your pet will be safe if he is lost. Your pet is family, so he can never have too much ID.

Make Sure To Have A Plan For Your Pets in Case of Emergencies

Even though here in Arizona, we don’t have tornadoes and hurricanes, emergencies and natural disasters come in other forms. From power outages during excessive heat to monsoons, it is important to ensure your pets are part of the bigger plan when disaster strikes. You definitely don’t want to scramble in the event of an emergency. You and your beloved pets could suffer uncecessarily. 

Over the years, the importance of our pets has been heard and FEMA has listened. FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino talks about preparing in case of an emergency in a short yet informative video. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to ensure our pets are safe, and it’s worth it. 

To find out how to be prepared and for more information go to

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It’s an age-old question, but one that gets asked time and again. Should your cat be indoors or outdoors?

Some say allowing cats to roam outdoors allows them to be free, get exercise, breathe the fresh air and explore, while others say it can put cats in extremely dangerous situations.

How do you know what’s best? And can you protect your outdoor cats? Not to mention how can you ensure your indoor cats get the exercise and fresh air they seemingly only get from being outside?

First things first: Because of the likelihood for danger outdoors, indoor cats are safer. “The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that it’s wiser to keep cats indoors,” according to the WebMD article “Should You Have an Indoor Cat or an Outdoor Cat?”


Outdoor cats are at risk for a variety of potentially life-threatening situations such as being hit by a car, attacked or eaten by a predator, becoming severely injured or contracting disease, or being stolen.

Many cat owners are under the assumption they are doing what’s best for their feline by allowing him or her to roam free under the guise that it’s good for their cat to be outside. Many people even believe their cats won’t stray too far. But that’s just asking for trouble. There’s no way to predict what a cat might do in any given situation.

Some owners believe their cat could never become one who is indoors. “Many cats have successfully gone from outdoor-only or indoor/outdoor to indoor-only. The key, again, is making sure the indoor environment is just as interesting as outside — and being vigilant about preventing escape attempts,” according to “6 Reasons You Might Let Your Cat Out, And Why Not To.”

Then there are allergies, which some people use as an excuse to keep their cats outside. First find out from your doctor if that is true. You also want to ensure your cat is not bringing home anything you may be allergic to and “you can reduce the allergens in your home — even when your cat is indoor-only,” according to the article.

The safest place to keep your cat is indoors, and you can make your home a fun place for your feline. According to Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats, you can:

  1. Get another cat as a companion.
  2. Bring home some interactive play toys for physical and mental stimulation.
  3. Cats love to scratch, so make sure they can by providing enough scratching posts.
  4. Provide enough climbing places and perches.
  5. Got box? Cats love to hide, so simple boxes will fill that need.

If you really want to provide an outdoor environment, get creative and build our own indoor/outdoor cat atrium or catio attached to your home. This will allow your cat to be outdoors, but also be safe at the same time while under your watchful eye.

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Have a Heart And Ensure Your Pets Are Safe From Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is not something to be taken lightly, which is probably why there’s a special month to recognize what can be a very deadly disease if not caught early enough and treated. 

And April is that month. During National Heartworm Awareness Month, there is no better time to get educated about the disease and steps you can take to prevent it. 

Affecting dogs, cats, ferrets and some other mammals from coyotes and sea lions to even humans, which is rare, “heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world,” according to the American Heartworm Society. “It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body,” the website said. 

The American Heartworm Society offers important information: 

In Dogs:

1.      Dogs are “a natural host for heartworms.” The heartworms become adults, then mate and then have offspring. Without treatment the situation escalates and dogs can have hundreds of worms, which ends up in damage to the heart, lungs and arteries.

2.      Signs can include decreased appetite, weight loss, mild persistent cough and fatigue after moderate exercise. As the disease progresses, pets may experience heart failure and a swollen belly because of extra fluid in the abdomen.

3.      Have your dogs tested annually for heartworm, even if your dog is on heartworm prevention medicine. 

In Cats:

1.      Cats are an “atypical host” and the disease is different in them than it is in dogs as the worms typically do not mature to adults. Often it goes un-diagnosed. The immature worms can cause damage. The condition is heartworm associated respiratory disease. Remember, cats cannot use the same medication that dogs use to treat heartworm, so prevention is important.

2.      Either subtle or dramatic, signs in cats can include lack of appetite, weight loss, coughing, vomiting or asthma-like attacks.

3.      Much more difficult to detect in cats than in dogs, heartworm screening includes an antigen and an antibody test. “Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical,” the website said. 

The best thing you can do is discuss a heartworm prevention program with your veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Heartworm is deadly and you don’t want to put your beloved pet in harm’s way.

Celebrate National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day And Adopt A Furry Family Member

Every day thousands of dogs and cats in local shelters across the nation are looking for homes.

Due to that sad fact, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was established every April 30 to bring awareness to those animals. It’s a way to try to get people to go out to their local shelter and adopt a dog, cat, puppy, kitten or even a bunny.

The “unofficial” holiday is hopefully catching on as an important day not only to bring the homeless pet problem to the forefront but to also attract more  people to shelters to adopt pets. 

According to the ASPCA, “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are indepenedent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters.” In addition, according to the website: 

·         There are roughly 7.6 million companion animals who enter shelters yearly in the U.S.: 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats.

·         Every year 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized.

·         About 2.7 million animals in the shelters are adopted: 1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats. 

With those numbers, it is plain to see there are so many more animals needing homes. It’s a great idea to have a holiday to remind people to go out and adopt a shelter pet.

To try to help make National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day a national holiday, you can send a letter to the President. Click here for more information.