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Summer Pet Care Tips

The Hasbrouck Heights Oradell Veterinary Group offers these summer pet care tips:

During warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120 in a matter of minutes, even if you’re parked in the shade. Dogs and cats can’t perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Pets who are left in hot cars even briefly can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can even die. Play it safe by leaving your pet cool and refreshed at home while you’re on the road.

If you see a pet in a car alone during the hot summer months (May through September), alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police department immediately.

Do not allow your dog to hang out the window of a moving car. Objects, such as rocks or tree limns, might hit your pet or he/she might fall or jump out.  Do not allow your animals to ride in the back of a pick-up truck. They may be thrown out or they may jump out.

Take your pets inside if there is a possibility of a thunderstorm. Loud thunder may frighten them or lightening could strike them.

Plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Keep all poisonous garden chemicals out of reach of your pet. Read instructions thoroughly and carefully before applying to your lawn or garden.

Many outdoor plants are poisonous to dogs and cats if ingested; keep your pets away from your garden and do not let them eat any plants.

Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tag.

Check with your veterinarian to see if your pets should be taking heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be fatal in both dogs and cats. Use only flea and tick treatments recommended by your veterinarian. Some over-the-counter flea and tick products can be toxic, even when used according to instructions.

Some dogs do not like to swim. Do not force your dog into the water if he/she is frightened. If your dog likes to swim, do not leave him/her unattended. Bathe your dog afterwards to remove all sand, mud and chlorine. Also, be sure all pool chemicals are stored safely out of reach. Make sure your dog can easily exit from the pool when tired. Many above ground pools are easily to get into than out of.

Always make sure your pet has fresh, cool, clean water available. Dogs, and even cats, drink more on hot days and water warms up quickly. Also, provide plenty of shade for your pets so they can stay cool.

Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws.

Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.

Your pet can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These conditions are very serious signs of heat stress, which could include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.

If your pet does become overheated, you need to immediately lower his body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet’s head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most important, get him to a veterinarian immediately. ###


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