Even pets with thick fur run the risk of sunburn. Protect skin by covering the nose, ears and other exposed areas with pet-appropriate clothing or applying a pet-friendly sunscreen free of salicylates and zinc oxide (which are toxic if ingested). Pink-skinned pets should always wear sun protection or be confined to the shade, and do not forget to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
Although cookouts provide delicious, festive fun for humans, they can be dangerous for pets. When possible, grill from an elevated height or use a pet gate. Although the delectable aroma of grilled foods is nearly impossible for canines to resist, typical barbecue fare can be toxic, and sometimes deadly. If a pet does over-indulge or accidentally ingests a toxic food, serious medical issues may occur. If Fluffy shows symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite or lethargy, contact the vet.
Pets and Fireworks Don’t Mix
Besides being dangerous, fireworks can also create high anxiety. Keep dogs and cats safe and calm by only allowing access to non-firework areas. If necessary, confine the pet to a comfortable crate to prevent escaping through open doors, lunging at windows or eating inappropriate materials. Help pets relax by exercising them in the hours leading up to the fireworks, and turn on the television or radio during the event. In extreme pet-anxiety cases, a prescribed sedative such as acepromazine or alprazolam, an over-the-counter medication like diphenhydr-amine hydrochloride (i.e. Benadryl®) or a natural product like Rescue® Remedy Pet(nelsonsnaturalworld.com) or Spirit Essences™(jacksongalaxy.com) may be necessary. Of course, always consult a veterinarian about the appropriate use of any medication before administering to a pet.
Fun in the sun invites a variety of health risks. Pets primarily dissipate heat through the respiratory tract and skin, lacking the ability to sweat. A few minutes in the sun can increase their risk for hyperthermia, which can occur when the body temperature spikes above the normal range (100 – 102.5°Fahrenheit), Prolonged hyperthermia can cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, multi-system organ failure, prolonged blood-clotting times, seizures, coma and sometimes even death. Avoid hyperthermia by keeping pets cool with well-circulated air and maintaining a well-groomed coat to increase breathability on the skin’s surface
Keeping Exercise Cool
Never exercise a pet when the weather is excessively hot or humid. Provide rest, shade and water at least every 15 minutes during exercise to ward off hyperthermia and dehydration. Never force a pet to continue if he refuses to run or walk. If Fido’s refusal to run or walk is prolonged, think about visiting a veterinarian to check for underlying health problems.
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Copyright of this article (2014) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format