The weather is heating up and that means everyone is in the pool. It’s great to get cooled off and have some water fun. But does your dog know how to swim? Do you know how to keep your dog safe around the pool?
It’s a myth that all dogs can swim when in reality many cannot. “This common misconception can be life threatening to your pet,” according to the article, “Pool Safety for Dogs” at Modern Dog, which also points to brachycephalic dogs, such as English bulldogs, American bulldogs, and French bulldogs, all of whom are not good swimmers. “Therefore, it is smart to teach these and all dogs how to swim and exit the pool safely to prevent drowning.”
Keep your dog from drinking pool water, the article said. “It is also important that your pool’s chemical balance is correct, as algae can be disruptive to pets’ health.”
Introduce your dog to the pool by showing her the basics, according to the article, “Dogs and Water Safety,” at Fetch by WebMD. Have a positive attitude and make sure there’s no stress when teaching basics, including:
• Find a shallow, quiet place in the pool.
• Keep your dog on a leash while she learns.
• Be in the water with your dog.
• Don’t force your dog into the pool.
• “When your dog begins to paddle with their front legs, lift their hind legs to show them how to float,” the Fetch by WebMD article said.
Be sure to put a fence around your pool, keep a strong cover over it when it’s not in use, teach your dog how to get in and out of the pool, ensure the water is not too cold, and never leave your dog alone in the pool, the Fetch by WebMD article said.
Do you have a cat that’s an indoor cat, but you feel he should have a chance to be outdoors? Or maybe you have a cat who you think doesn’t want to be indoors and is missing out on something.
“A lot of cat owners feel guilty about keeping their cat inside and worry that they are depriving their cat of natural instincts or fresh air and sunshine,” according to the article, “Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats” at American Humane.
Ensure you do research so you can make the right choice for the benefit of your cat’s health and life in general.
When your cat is outdoors, he will encounter other cats, from your neighbors’ cats to feral cats, who can have diseases that they could pass to your cat. These include feline leukemia, feline AIDS (FIV), feline distemper, upper respiratory infections, and others, according to the article. Your cat can also pick up parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites, ringworm, and more that will be harmful to your cat as well as to you and your home.
Your cat’s safety is also at risk when outdoors, the American Humane article said. Concerns include:
• Getting hit by a car
• Wild animals and loose dogs
• Poisons and toxins, such as antifreeze and rodent poison
Cats can be happy indoors, and they will be healthier and safer as well, according to the article, “10 Reasons Why Your Cat Should Be an Indoor-Only Cat” at PetHelful.com. Your cat can enjoy fresh air if you buy a harness. Or you can get a stroller designed for cats, according to the article. “Be sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and flea prevention before taking them outside, even with a harness and leash or inside a pet stroller,” PetHelpful.com said.
If you live in the Southwest, you’ve probably heard of Valley Fever. Humans and dogs (and other animals) can contract it. If you plan to travel to the Southwest or plan to move there, you should know about the disease that can be severe in dogs.
The disease is most prevalent in south-central Arizona and “is caused by infection with a type of fungus called Coccidiodes immitis” according to the article, “Valley Fever in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know,” at PetMD.com. “The condition may also be called coccidioidomycosis, California disease, desert rheumatism, or San Joaquin Valley Fever.”
According to the article, “Coccidiodes organisms live in desert soils and produce long filaments that contain infectious spores.” When dogs dig or when there is construction going on, soil is disturbed, and that is when the spores are airborne and inhaled, the article said. Dogs are often diagnosed with Valley Fever because they play, mess around, and sniff dirt.
The PetMD article points to symptoms limited to the lungs, including:
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
If Valley Fever spreads, it is the disseminated form of the disease. According to the article, “What to Know About Valley Fever in Dogs” at Fetch by WebMD, those symptoms include:
• Back or neck pain
• Eye inflammation
After diagnoses, treatment includes antifungal medications. Treatment depends on what type of Valley Fever your dog has, so it’s best to discuss it with your veterinarian.
You can help prevent Valley Fever by keeping your dog inside most of the time. “Prevent your dog from digging when they are outside, and try to stay away from areas where the soil is loose and dusty, such as construction sites or spaces with limited ground-cover plants,” according to the Fetch by WebMD article.