Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Summer Heat: Daily Walks

With the heat wave upon us, most of us are avoiding going outside and staying in the air conditioning during the day. That’s a great way to stay cool, but what about your dog that needs daily walks for exercise and potty breaks? Both you and your pup need to follow these survival tips to beat the heat during your walks.

Beat the Heat this Summer!

Tip 1: Go for early morning and late night walks if possible. Since these times are the coolest parts of the day, make an effort to get your walks in during these times. Usually between 10am and 5pm are the hottest times of the day, so avoid long walks during this time.

Tip 2: Watch your dog for signs of dehydration. Excessive panting, drooling, unusual fatigue and bloodshot eyes are signs of overheating and dehydration. If you notice these signs, get your dog to a cool place and give water immediately. And remember, dogs with thicker coats and darker cooler fur tend to overheat quicker than those with lighter coats.

Tip 3: Keep your dog hydrated! Carry a bottle of water on your walk with a collapsible dog bowl so you and your dog can have water breaks in the heat.

Tip 4: Avoid walking on the asphalt during the heat of the day. Not only is the asphalt hotter than the sidewalk or grassier areas, but it can burn your dogs sensitive paws. Choose the sidewalk or grass instead. If you can not avoid walking on asphalt, invest in doggie booties. These shoes will keep your dog’s feet from burning and help him or her stay cooler since they will absorb less heat through their paws.

Tip 5: If you must take your dog out during the heat of the day, make sure it is a short walk to do their duty only. Try to stay on a shaded path, away from asphalt if possible. Do not give your dog outside exercise during the heat wave. Instead, play with them inside for exercise.

Following these tips will help you stay happy, healthy and cool this summer. See you out early tomorrow morning for a walk!



Heat Safety for Your Pet

June 20th was the first official day of summer and it is hot, hot, hot outside! If you are new to the South, then I hate to tell you, but the heat is just getting started. Temperatures in the 90s and above, with very high humidity levels, are very typical for Southern summer months, which generally last from late May to late September/early October. So you’re in for a treat (if you like heat!).

A lot of people think that pets can survive in any weather. The thought is that since they are animals, nature has taught them ways to survive. Well, that’s true to an extent. A dog or cat will seek shade if they are overheated, water if they are thirsty, and shelter if there’s a storm. However, even the most instinctual pet can not survive the heat wave we are about to begin. Pets can and will get dehydrated, develop sunburns and even suffer from heat stroke if they are not properly cared for during the summer months. But by taking some simple precautions, you and your pet can stay safe and cool this summer.

1. Never leave your pet in a parked car! Even with the windows down, parked cars can get dangerously hot in the summer, leading to heat stroke and even death.

2. Make sure all your windows have screens and that they are fastened securely to your home. During the summer months, there is an increase number of what is classified as “High-Rise Syndrome”. This is when a cat or dog falls out of an upper floor window as they are trying to get fresh air. If you have any windows without screens, or broken screens, leave them shut.

3. If you have a dog with long hair, you may want to shave them down to a shorter length for the summer months. But remember not to completely shave your pup or cat. Pet hair is a natural sunblock, so shaved pets are at risk for severe sunburns. You should not cut hair shorter than 1 inch from the skin.

4. Watch out for asphalt and other outdoor surfaces that heat up quickly in the sun. Pet paws can burn on the hot surface. Walk on sidewalks, gravel paths or in the grass and avoid asphalt during the heat of the day.

5. Finally, always make sure plenty of fresh water is available to your pet. If you are going for a walk, take a bottle of water for you and your dog. You should always keep a bowl of fresh water easily accessible for your dog when spending any amount of time outdoors this summer to avoid dehydration.

It's important for your dog to stay hydrated this summer. Make sure to provide your pup with plenty of fresh water.

Stay tuned for more beat the heat tips. Stay safe and have fun!





Know the Signs of When Your Cat Needs Emergency Care

As we all know, accidents happen. Oftentimes when people think of a pet needing emergency care, they think of a dog eating something he shouldn’t have or trying to jump over a fence and cutting himself. They do not often think of cats needing emergency care. Cats do get themselves into situations where accidents happen; they are just a bit sneakier about it than dogs. A cat is just as likely to need emergency care as a dog. Knowing the signs and having a plan of action is important to helping your cat in an emergency.

Cats can get themselves into plenty of sticky situations. My cat sister Tory is pretty trouble free now in her senior years, but I hear stories of when she was younger and mischievous. Cats love to jump and climb, which puts them at risk for falls. They also love to explore the world with their mouths (just like dogs) and may ingest a harmful substance. Bug bites, overexposure to heat or cold, or choking on an object are also common reasons cats need emergency care.

You may catch your cat in the act of the trauma, or you may not see the act but just the symptoms. Signs that a cat is in need of emergency care include:

• Excessive bleeding

• Loss of consciousness

• Difficulty or rapid breathing

• Rapid or weak pulse

• Difficulty standing or moving

• Inability to move

• A change in body temperature

• Pale gums

If your cat exhibits any of these signs, seek veterinary help immediately. If it’s during business hours, call your primary veterinarian and explain the situation. They will give you guidelines on how to care for your pet in route to the vet office. But sometimes accidents happen when the vet is closed. So next time you speak to your veterinarian, ask for the name and number of a good 24-hour emergency clinic near you. Keep the name of the office, address and phone number in an easily accessible place, like saved on your cell phone or taped onto your cat carrier.

Some cats, like Tory, are lucky and never need emergency care. But some cats are not as lucky. That’s why it’s always a good idea to know the signs of trauma and have a plan of action in place. It’s never a bad idea to plan ahead for the “just in case”.



Happy Father’s Day to all Doggy Daddies!


Happy Father's Day to all Doggy Daddys!

Top Ten Reasons Dogs love their Dads:

1. You take me for long walks and sometimes even run with me.

2. You give me extra treats from the dinner table when Mommy isn’t looking.

3. You brave the rain to take me outside while Mommy waits inside with towels.

4. You throw the ball extra far for me to chase in the yard.

5. You give me a little bit extra food at every meal you feed me.

6. You let me get on the couch even though I’m not allowed.

7. You give great belly rubs with your great big hands!

8. When I dig a hole in the yard, you just fill it back up for me to do it again!

9. You will let me run and bark at squirrels without telling me “no”!

10. You let me curl up on your shoes while Mommy hides all of hers in the closet.


Proper Nutrition for Your Senior Dog

Did you know that dogs are considered seniors at about 7 to 12 years of age, depending upon size and breed? As a general rule, the smaller the dog, the longer it takes to show signs of aging. Lately I’ve noticed some of my puppy friends are slowing down a bit. Abby & JoJo are starting to rest more and are even getting grey hairs. And I don’t get to play as much with my friend Caroline anymore because her joints are not as strong as they used to be. But let me tell you, these senior pups are still as sharp as they ever were and loving life. That’s because their Mommy’s and Daddy’s help keep them in tip-top shape. One way they do that is through their diet.

Make sure to feed your senior dog specially formulated food for optimal health.

One easy thing to do when your pup reaches senior age is to switch them from adult dog food to the senior formula. Senior formula’s have special vitamins and minerals to help decrease the most common problems of senior dogs. As a dog ages, just as a human ages, their bodies change. Their metabolisms slow down, so it’s easier for them to gain weight. They can start to lose muscle mass, their skin and coat start changing, they can develop arthritis and dental issues. Plus as dogs age, it’s more difficult for them to fight off illnesses and infections. Feeding senior dogs’ specially formulated food for older pups can help decrease a lot of the common aging problems.

Since senior dogs put on weight easier than younger dogs, you need to pay close attention to their calorie intake. If you keep feeding them as much as you did when they were younger, they most likely will gain weight. Switching to a lower calorie food or lowering the amount of food and/or treats you feed your dog is the best way to avoid pet obesity. If you choose to lessen the amount of food in your dog’s diet, do so gradually. Like humans, your pups can become very hungry if you dramatically lower the amount of food they are eating.

And make sure your senior dog is getting plenty of protein. Not only does protein help your dog feel fuller for a longer period of time, but it helps maintain their muscle mass. Check with your veterinarian for specifics on the amount and type of food your senior dog should be eating.

A dog’s diet is important at any age, but by paying special attention to your senior dog’s nutrition needs, you can help him or her live a longer, healthier and happier life.