snips hot weather tips...  
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This information can help you care
for your companion animal when the mercury rises.

Overheating (heat prostration) can kill an animal. Never leave an animal alone in a vehicle, since even with the windows open, a parked car, truck or van can quickly become a furnace. Parking in the shade offers very little protection, as the sun shifts during the day. If you see a dog left unattended in a parked vehicle and are unable to locate his guardian, contact the police.

When traveling, carry a gallon thermos filled with fresh, cold water. Don't force your animal to exercise after a meal in hot, humid weather.


Traveling with your dog? Make sure she has on current ID - it's also a very good idea to have both your permanent tag and a temporary tag with your "on the road" phone numbers. Also, carry a current photo of your companion animal in case you should happen to get separated. It will allow you to make "Lost Dog/Cat" posters on the spot. If you dog does escape in an unfamiliar area, contact local rescue groups. They may be able to send volunteers or provide traps to help you find her.

Make sure your dog or cat is restrained properly in your vehicle. That includes riding in an appropriately sized carrier or wearing the oh-so-fashionable "Roadie" by Rough Rider. You wear seatbelts, shouldn't she?

If you're traveling and your critter is staying home, again, make sure that your companion animal has current id tags and that your sitter/boarding kennel has your itinerary and a clear, current photo. (At Pawsitive Energy, all of our visiting dogs wear a coded Pawsitive Energy id tag.)

Always exercise in the cool of the early morning or evening. In extremely hot weather, don't leave your dog standing on the street, and keep walks to a minimum. He is much closer to the hot asphalt and his body can heat up quickly. His paws can burn since they are not protected by shoes.

Never take an animal to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for her to drink. Rinse her off after she has been in salt water.

Always provide plenty of shade (and water) for an animal staying outside the house. A properly constructed dog house serves best. (We recommend that all dogs be house dogs! Keeping a dog outside away from his family deprives him of his "pack," and there's nothing a dog needs more. If your dog must be kept outdoors, at least provide her with another canine companion. In addition, dogs who are kept on chains are extremely prone to developing serious aggression, and many cases of dog bites can be attributed to dogs who spend most of their time on a chain.)

Bring you dog or cat inside during the heat of the day and let her rest in a cool part of your house. Always provide plenty of cool, clean water for your animal.

Be sensitive to old and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachiocephalic (snub nosed) dogs (especially bulldogs, Pekingese, Pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus) and those with heart or lung diseases should be kept indoors in air-conditioning as much as possible. Greyhounds, Whippets and other sight hounds have no insulation (body fat or coat), so they are very sensitive to the heat, as are any dark or heavy coated dogs.

Keep a current license and identification tag on your dog or cat and consider tattooing or microchipping as a means of permanent identification.

Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals, as poisonings increase during the summer when gardens, lawns and trees are sprayed. These chemicals can sicken or kill an animal. Call your veterinarian or The ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA/NAPCC) if you suspect your animal has been poisoned.

Be alert for coolant leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste of coolant and ingesting just a small amount can cause an animal's death. Consider using animal-friendly products that use propylene glycol rather than those containing ethylene glycol.

A clean coat can help to prevent summer skin problems, so keep your dog or cat well groomed. If he has a heavy coat, shaving your dog's hair to a 1 inch length will help prevent overheating. Don't shave a dog's hair down to the skin; this robs him of protection from the sun.

A cat should be brushed frequently to keep his coat tangle-free.

Take your companion animal to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer checkup, including a test for heart worm if your dog isn't on preventative medication. Have the doctor recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program. If you're interested in natural flea and heartworm control, send me an email and I'll tell you what we use.

Never tie an animal outside on a fabric or metal choker collar - in fact, never leave this type of collar on any unattended dog. He can easily choke to death. If you must tether him, use a buckle collar with identification tags instead.

Never let your animal run loose. He could be injured, killed or stolen.

Be sure there are no open, unscreened windows or doors through which your animal can fall or jump.


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