Pet Care - Weather Tips

Weather Tips

Summer heat can be hazardous to your pet if you are not careful. A routine romp can throw your pet into shock if proper caution is not exercised. Use the following Weather Tips to prepare for the warm days of summer or during the cold winter months.

Summer:

  • Never leave your pet in a car. An auto can quickly turn into an oven for a dog or cat, even with the windows open and the car parked in the shade.
  • ALWAYS provide plenty of cool clean water. Check his dish several times a day and refill it.
  • Do not let your pets run loose. Be especially careful with your cat. Make sure there are no open windows or doors for him to jump through when you're not looking.
  • ALWAYS provide plenty of shade for a dog staying outside the house. A properly constructed dog house serves best. Whenever possible, bring your pet inside during the heat of the day and let him rest in a cool part of the house.
  • Always exercise your pet in the cool of the day-early morning and late afternoon or early evening. Never give your pet forced exercise after feeding, especially in very hot, humid weather.
  • Always keep your pet well groomed. Do not shave off his coat because it gives him protection against heat and insects. Your pet's coat also helps him hold cooling water after a refreshing swim or a wetting with a hose. Comb him to remove excess undercoat. Keep the coat free of mats by brushing regularly. A clean coat also helps prevent summer skin problems.
  • Always watch out for summer fleas and ticks that may infest your pet. Take him to your veterinarian for a thorough summer check-up (including a check for heartworm) and use a good flea and tick repellent recommended by your vet.
  • Never walk your pet in areas that you suspect may have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Many of these chemicals can sicken or even kill animals. So keep your pets away from these areas, observe him closely, and call your veterinarian if he begins to act suspiciously.
  • If, in spite of your care, the hot days bring on twitching, rapid panting, unusual barking, or a staring expression, call your veterinarian immediately.  Then immerse your pet in water, spray him with cool to temperate (not cold) water from a hose, or pack ice bags on his head, stomach, and groin area.  Quick cooling may save your pet's life.


Winter:

  • Keep your cats inside! Cats can easily freeze, get hurt, or become lost outside.
  • Take your dog outside only long enough to relieve himself.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog's feet when he comes in. Snow can get encrusted between the pads. He can also pick up salt and other chemicals on his feet.
  • Consider getting your dog a warm sweater. While this may seem a luxurious frill, a sweater makes sense if your dog shivers from the cold.
  • Keep your dog on a leash, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent in the snow, panic and run away.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a car.
  • Increase your outdoor pets' daily food supply.
  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, away from drafts and off the floor. A basket or cardboard box with a warm blanket in it works well.
  • Bathe your dog only when absolutely necessary. A wet dog can catch a cold very easily.
  • Don't clip your dog's hair in winter (unless matted). He may look funny, but he will be warmer. And brush your dog daily. Daily brushing keeps your pet's coat healthy, shiny, clean, and mat-free.
  • If your dog must stay outside for several hours a day, make sure he has a weatherproof doghouse with the floor raised a few inches off the ground. Use straw, cedar chips, or shredded newspaper for bedding in a doghouse. Blankets can get wet and freeze.
  • For outdoor pets, check the water bowl several times a day to make sure the water doesn't freeze over. A heated water bowl is essential for outdoor pets.
  • Antifreeze tastes good to dogs and cats and can make them sick or kill them. Be sure antifreeze is put away carefully and all spills are wiped up thoroughly.
  • Before starting your car, honk the horn or bang on the hood. Cats like to crawl up under the car hood and can get tangled in the fan belt.
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