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Celebrate the Fourth Of July And Keep Your Pets Safe

The Fourth of July brings many things, from picnics and barbecues to swimming and fireworks. What’s often fun for humans can be a nightmare for animals. From dangerous foods and excessive heat to loud fireworks that can frighten dogs, cats and other animals, it’s important to have safety measures in place when it comes to our pets.

We deal with it year after year, but every year we hear the horror stories of pets panicking and running away due to the loud noises of the fireworks, which can start weeks before July 4 and go for weeks after.

What can you do to ensure your pets are safe this time of year? The American Veterinary Medical Associaton (AVMA) has some great tips to help prepare your animals ahead of time and keep them safe during the July 4 festivities as well:

The following safety tips from the AVMA include:

  • Ensure your pets wear ID tags with current information.
  • Microchip your pets and keep information up to date.
  • Keep current photos of your animals.
  • Keep your home and yard safe and secure.
  • If you’re attending a party, parade or other gathering, leave your pets home. Consider keeping your pets in a “safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.”
  • If you’re hosting, alert guests to the dangers and let them be part of keeping your pets safe.
  • Keep your pets indoors.
  • Keep your pets away from the sparklers, fireworks and other dangerous items, and don’t feed them harmful foods
  • Pets don’t do well in the excessive heat and humidity, so keep them inside in the A/C with fresh, cool water.

It’s always better to keep your pets safe than be sorry later. Don’t let your dog or cat be one of the statistics who run away during the holiday.

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How to Keep Your Pets Safe Around The Pool

It’s a common misconception that all dogs know how to swim. Nor do they all love the water. Forget about cats. Surely, there are some out there who like to take a dip, but for the most part, probably not. Even if you can’t get your pets to enjoy the water, it’s a good idea to ensure they know how to swim and get in and out of a pool.

If you are going to take your dog or cat out for a swim, make sure to keep an eye out and watch for heatstroke in your pet. According to Pool Safety Tips for Cats “Cat owners should keep their eyes out for the symptoms of heat stroke in their pets, which include restlessness followed by lethargy, dullness, weakness, recumbency (lying down), excessive drooling (foaming at the mouth) and difficulty breathing (dyspnea).”

Keep the following tips in mind from “9 Must Read Tips to Keep Your Dog Afloat” when considering taking your dog swimming:

  1. Start with a kiddie pool for newbies.
  2. Research breeds and their habits around water.
  3. Don’t force your pet to swim.
  4. Teach your pet how to get in and out of the water, whether it’s a pool, lake or the beach. You may need a ramp for certain dogs and cats as well.
  5. Pool water is filled with chemicals, so no drinking! Lakes and the ocean can also be dangerous. Keep fresh water available.
  6. A life jacket is a great idea, especially “for new or non-swimmers.”
  7. “A Giardia vaccination to prevent infections” goes a long way, especially in lakes or rivers.
  8. For those with pools, keep gates closed and locked.
  9. Rinse off your pet after a swim in the pool to remove chlorine residue, and other chemicals or bacteria from the ocean or lake.


Long-Haired Dogs: To Shave or Not to Shave?

We see it all the time. People with long-haired dogs who shed think it’s a good idea to have their dogs shaved, especially during the hot summer months. Many think it keeps their dogs cool and stops the hair from accumulating in their homes.

But is it a good idea in the first place?

According to the ASPCA’s article “Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?”, “hold those clippers! While you or I would hate to sport a fur coat in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief,” the article said.

“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, in the article. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing,” she said in the article.

The coat of your dog is comprised of various layers that help your dog in the heat; it’s an actual “cooling system” for your dog that “can lead to discomfort and overheating,” if shaved, the article said. That coat is also protection from sunburn and the possibility of skin cancer.

It is recommended to have a professional groomer trim your dog’s hair, but “never shave down to the skin or try to cut the hair yourself with scissors,” according to the article.

Dog owners can also leave their dog’s hair as is. Shedding provides a naturally lighter coat for dogs. “Remember to brush your dog’s fur and bathe her frequently as clean, brushed fur allows for better air circulation,” the article said.

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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.