Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer is Heating Up…Keep Your Pets Cool and Safe!



Guest Bloggers: The staff at Petagogy

Summer is here, which means tons of summer fun for humans and pets alike. But with the hot weather comes several safety issues that we want you to keep in mind.

Noise anxiety
Thunderstorms and fireworks can be heard on many hot summer nights. These events can be exciting for us, but our pets may not understand what is happening and can be overtaken by anxiety and fear. If you know a storm is coming or that there will be fireworks nearby, it is best to try to prevent the anxiety before it occurs. The Thundershirt is a great non-medicinal product that uses gentle pressure to ease a dog’s anxiety. There are also several treats and supplements available to help calm an anxious dog or cat; two of our favorites, which we’ve used on our own pets, is Rescue Remedy herbal calming drops and Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming treats.

If you do have an anxious dog, be wary of his or her ability to run away during a bout of anxiety. Make sure all doors and gates are closed. If your dog is on a leash or harness, make sure you are holding the leash tight and that he or she can’t slip their collar (if they can, it may be time to try a martingale-style collar, which has an extra non-slip loop). Even if you have a dog that would not normally run away, if their anxiety takes over they may act on their instinct to run for safety.

Over-heating
When the temperature creeps up, time walks and outside play carefully. Some dogs can handle the heat, but many can’t. Certain dogs are more susceptible to overheating than others, particularly short nosed dogs, otherwise known as brachycephalic dogs. These types of breeds include bulldogs, pugs, mastiffs and Pekingese. Dogs can overheat pretty quickly and heat exhaustion can be fatal. 

If you do take your dog out in the heat, make sure that while your dog is exercising, he or she has a clean, readily available water source. If you are walking your dog and/or are going to a park where you are unsure if there will be water available, remember to bring your own. Gulpys are a great option to carry water––they can clip right onto your pants or a carabineer on your leash and have a water bowl built right in. 

Also, never leave your dog in the car during the summer. Even on mildly sunny days, cars can heat up to lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes; simply cracking the windows does not prevent cars from getting too hot. Err on the side of caution and avoid leaving pets in cars during the warmer months. 

Nighttime walks
On really hot days, sometimes it is better to wait until the sun goes down to take your dog on his or her walk. Just like with dark wintertime walks, special safety precautions should be taken: never assume a car sees you, always wear light-colored clothing, and try to wear at least one reflective item. Your pup should also be seen. Reflective leashes and blinking lights that hang on collars are both excellent ways to make your pup visible during nighttime strolls. 

Paws
Yard maintenance is often a forgotten area of danger for dogs and cats. There are many pesticides and chemicals that are used to make grass greener and flowers brighter. If you have an outdoor cat that explores the neighborhood or your dog walks through yards while on walks, be sure to clean off his or her paws so that when your cat or dog grooms themselves they aren’t ingesting any traces of lawn chemicals they may have stepped on. A great way to quickly and thoroughly clean those paws is to use the PawPlunger, a handy, portable tool that you fill with water and use to squeegee your pet’s paws.

Another paw malady comes from hot, summertime pavement and asphalt. Never forget that your dog doesn’t have the protection of shoes or socks and the afternoon sun can heat up the ground enough to burn their paws. Be careful where you walk your dog during hot afternoons and use a paw protector like Mushers Secret, a wax that can be rubbed onto paws to create a strong barrier between paws and the ground.

With a few simple precautions, you and your pets can safely enjoy the long, sunny days of summer!

Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies for dogs, cats and small mammals. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visit their website at www.petagogypgh.com.





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