Safety Tips Archives - Seatown Veterinary Care

All jokes aside, it’s getting hot this summer and it is important to recognize when our dogs need cooling down.  We release heat all over our body so it is easy to dismiss the heat once we cool ourselves down; our dogs however can only release heat through their paws and by panting.

Your dog will tell you when they are hot; the first signs of heat stress are panting and an increased thirst.  Heat exhaustion strikes when your pet starts getting dizzy, weak, or unable to stand for long periods. Make sure to listen to your pet, give him water and make sure he has a shaded area with good air circulation to rest in.

Without cool air, ground, and water to cool themselves down, our pets can experience heatstroke. Once a pet gets too hot, they can lose the ability to thermo-regulate themselves and we need to intervein.  Symptoms include incessant or noisy panting, collapse, inability to walk/stand and an altered mental state.

If you are concerned that your pet is too hot, take a rectal temperature (with that thermometer in your pet’s first aid kit). Our dogs and cats have a normal body temperature of 99.5-102.5 F. If your pet’s temperature is high, get then to drink water and rest in the shade. Monitor their temperature until it has returned to normal. If your pets’ temperature exceeds 104 F, contact your veterinarian immediately.

While on this topic, I would also like to debunk a popular myth about keeping our pets cool in the summer: shaving.  Our dogs have coats that are designed to keep them regulated. This especially applies to our northern breeds like Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs. By shaving away their coat we are taking away one of their mechanisms of protection from the sun and heat. Shaving down to their skin also increases their risk of sunburn.

Yes, that’s right, sunburn! Any skin exposure on our pets (shaved or natural) is at risk of sunburn. Keep an eye on ears, noses, bellies, and areas of thin or shaved hair so you can catch it quick. For pets with light skin, white fur and areas of hair loss make sure to apply sunscreen when spending time in the sun. Dog sunscreens or non toxic baby sunscreens are your best options, however you should always read the ingredients. Zinc Oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) are toxic to dogs and should be avoided.

If you have any questions on summer safety, never hesitate to call your local veterinary office.

With the heat wave that just passed through the Pacific Northwest, the perfect opportunity popped up to discuss pet safety and how to keep your cat cool in the Summer heat.  Last year we posted about keeping dogs cool but left out the pets that are stuck inside all day. As true for most of us in the PNW, my home does not have air conditioning. Last weekend I had four cats sprawled out and miserable on the hardwood floor trying to cool off- it was heartbreaking. I want you to have the tools you need to help all the animals in your house. The following information will do that. Learn what signs to watch for and what to do to help.

Watch For Signs:

Watch your pets closely on the hotter days this Summer. Your pet will tell you they are hot. Heat stress can be seen with increased thirst, shade-seeking, restlessness, and in dogs- panting. Heat Exhaustion strikes when they become dizzy, weak, unable to stand for long periods of time, and in cats- panting. Make sure to listen to your pet, give him water and make sure he has a shaded area with good air circulation to rest in.

Keep Your Cat Cool:

Animals are not impervious to the weather. As we discussed last year, our pets do not have the same ability to release heat throughout their bodies as we do. Cats and dogs release heat though their paws and by panting. That being said, panting in a cat is a lot more worrisome than in our dogs, so let’s focus on their toe-beans!

Heat rises, so focus on the floor: areas of tile or hardwood are going to be more appealing to your feline friends in the Summer heat. Fans in rooms with these floors will help the floors cooler and the heat in the air. Place a dry or lightly damp towel in the freezer. Putting that frozen towel on the floor can offer a happy cold spot to lay. That same towel or an ice pack can be placed in a small enclosed area such as a large cat carrier to cool the whole space.
More active cats can be given toys from the freezer or even an ice cube to play with. Batting around the cool items puts them in direct contact with those paw pads to start cooling them down.

Call your Vet:

If you are worried about your cat being overheated, or you think they are experiencing heat exhaustion, notify your veterinarian immediately.

This was: How to Keep your Cat Cool in the Summer Heat
Shayla, LVT
Seatown Veterinary Care

Check our more Summer Safety tips from the ASPCA at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips
Check out the article we posted last year at  https://seatownvet.com/how-do-you-cool-down-your-dog/

Yes, we are desperately awaiting the arrival of spring, but while we wait winter weather continues to brings it’s own set of challenges for our pets.  While our pets wear their own coats, each of them has varying tolerance for the weather.  Here are some tips to keep them safe for the remainder of the winter (which hopefully won’t be too much longer).

Tips to keep your pets safe in winter weather:

  1. If it’s cold out for you, it’s probably cold out for them.  Coats and sweaters are great for short haired dogs, this ensures they stay warm and dry.  Having a few around for them to wear in case one gets wet is a great idea.
  2. Check their paws!  Deicers and anti-freeze can be toxic for dogs, and you never know where it is.  Wiping their feet off after walks is important.  Make sure to get in between their toes and pads.  Ice can cause small abrasions to their pads as well.
  3. Pet proof your house! Seasonal plants, decorations, and treats are so tempting… and can all be hazardous.   Treats such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, any sweets containing xylitol, or raisins are toxic to dogs.  Keep them up and out of harms way.
  4. Keep pets indoors when at all possible.
  5. Stay off the ice!   Icy bodies of water can look tempting, but very dangerous.  Other than injuries caused by slipping on the ice, falling through the ice is an even bigger concern.  Just don’t do it!
  6. Make noise before getting into your car and starting it up.  Come wintertime cats (outdoor and feral) as well as other wildlife may use your car as a source of warmth.  Making noise may cause them to vacate your engine block, saving them from potential severe injuries.
  7. Watch out for signs of arthritis.  Cold weather will often agitate arthritis.  Arthritis can show up with stiffness, difficulty jumping, grumpiness, sleepiness or lameness.  An annual or semi-annual exam is recommended to make sure your furry friend is in tip-top shale and comfortable for the cold weather!
  8. If you must use anti-freeze, use PET FRIENDLY anti-freeze and other deicing products.  These products contain propylene glycol that is much less toxic then it’s counterpart.

Make sure to get out and enjoy the beautiful winter weather during the fleeting day light hours. It’s tempting to stay inside by the nice warm fire, but it’s important that your furry friends gets their exercise. So enjoy and keep your fur kids safe!