July 10, 2012

OT: Avoid Summer Hazards for Companion Animals

Along with fleas, summer brings a host of potential hazards for our companion animals, many of which escape our notice until the damage is done. Forewarned is forearmed.

1. Burned foot pads.

Know how it feels to walk barefoot on hot sand or a sizzling sidewalk? hot hot hot hot hot And you hop gingerly to safety as quickly as you can. Hot pavement can burn a dog's feet too.

The signs that a dog has burned pads are limping, refusing to walk, darker than usual pads, blisters, redness, missing parts of the pad or licking and chewing the foot, according to Vetmedicineabout.com.

A dog that has been in the water for a while is more easily injured due to pads that have been softened.
If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, the best treatment is to immediately flush the injured paw with cool water, get the dog to a grassy area, and carry him/her if possible.

As soon as possible, the dog should be checked by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will determine if the dog needs pain medication and/or antibiotics.

2. Heat stroke and dehydration.

I applauded one of my Canadian friends last week. She called the police when she noticed a dog locked in a car in the supermarket parking lot. When the driver was cited, he swore up and down it had only been five minutes. The police asked what they would see if they looked at the security video. Maybe it was 30 minutes. a-hem.

Heat stroke is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Because dogs do not sweat (except to a minor degree through their foot pads), they do not tolerate high environmental temperatures as well as humans do. Dogs depend upon panting to exchange warm air for cool air. But when air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by panting is not an efficient process.
  • Common situations that can set the stage for heat stroke in dogs include:
  • Being left in a car in hot weather
  • Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather
  • Being a brachycephalic breed, especially a Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese
  • Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing
  • Being muzzled while put under a hair dryer
  • Suffering from a high fever or seizures
  • Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces
  • Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather
  • Having a history of heat stroke
Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C). The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shock sets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.
On a 78 degree day, the temperature inside a car that is parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees/ it hits a suffocating 160 degrees if parked in the sun!

Just don't, okay?

3. Dehydration.

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.

PetMD has more tips to keep your pets safe this summer. 

Think people! Think!

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