Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pet Safety Tips

I get so excited when it is time for training, or even a game of retrieve, that I don't stop and take care of myself.  That's Angie's job.  Here are some ways that she makes sure I stay safe.  Thanks to my friend, Alexis Willingham, DVM, for sharing these important tips.

Identifying Your Pet:
  Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags or has a microchip should they get lost.  Update identification tags and microchip information any time there is a change in your contact information such as phone number or address.   Having your pet microchipped is the only way to permanently identify your pet as collars and tags can fall off or be removed.

Keeping Cool:  Always make sure your pet has access to fresh water and plenty of shade.  If a heat advisory is announced, it is best to keep pets indoors.  Take walks in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler, and avoid hot pavement which can burn dog’s paws.

Warning Signs of Heatstroke:  Heatstroke can be a life-threatening condition and requires immediate treatment.  Warning signs to watch for include excessive panting, drooling, bright red gums, weakness, balance problems, lethargy, labored breathing, and even seizures.  If you see any of these signs, take your pet immediately to your veterinarian.

Seeing the Sites by Car:  Never leave your pet in the car alone no matter how quickly you think you will return.  Vehicles can heat to over 100 degrees in mere minutes!  Always secure your pet in the car with a harness, seat belt, or carrier to protect themselves and other passengers.

Going by Plane:  Confirm with your airline that you are flying with your pet, the carrier size and dimensions allowed, and if a USDA health certificate is required.  If you are concerned your pet may be stressed or scared by travel, talk with your veterinarian about what options are available to decrease anxiety.

Staying Current on Exams and Vaccinations:  Physical exams allow you to be proactive versus reactive in your pet’s health by detecting conditions early.  Keeping your pets current on vaccinations, protects them from infectious and often fatal diseases.  Make sure your pet is ready for summer travel by discussing your pet’s lifestyle and history with your veterinarian.

Protecting Against Pests:  Warm temperatures mean fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other biting insects are on the prowl.  Consult your veterinarian on the best preventatives for your area and your pet’s lifestyle.

Swimming Safety:  Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and even the best swimmers can get in to trouble sometimes.  Always watch your pet around the pool, beach, or lake.

Avoiding Poisons:  Keep pets away from fertilizers and insecticides and always store chemicals out of their reach.  Remember certain foods are toxic to pets, so keep pets away from the picnic basket.

Preparing for Emergencies:  Summertime can bring severe weather in the form of hurricanes, wildfires, and thunderstorms.  Be prepared by keeping an emergency supply kit readily available.  Know how to contact your veterinarian quickly and where the closest pet emergency clinic is located. 

Thanks to Dr. Willingham at Prosper Trail Animal Hospital

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