Everything you need to know to prevent pet dehydration

During the hot summer days, we are all susceptible to dehydration, including our pets. Dehydration is the lack of water in the body and it can cause serious health problems and even death in humans and pets alike. Water makes up 80% of dogs and cats bodies, and helps with circulation, digestion, waste removal and other body processes.

When fluid levels drop below normal, dehydration occurs. Dehydration is caused by a reduced fluid intake and/or an increased fluid loss. Fluid loss occurs due to overheating or illness in dogs and cats. And with the increased heat and humidity, dogs and cats overheat quickly when outdoors or in a location without air-conditioning, such a parked car or garage. Older, young and sick pets are more susceptible to overheating and dehydration; but any dog or cat can become overheated and dehydrated at any time, so it’s important to look for the signs during the hot summer months.

The typical signs of dehydration are:

  • Fatigue or lack of desire to move
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Depression

There is a simple at home test to do for dehydration. Gently lift up your pet’s skin on the back of their neck or between their shoulder blades. The skin should immediately return back to its normal position. If a pet is dehydrated, it will take longer to return to its normal position. This is not the only sign that a pet is dehydrated, and your pet may still be dehydrated even with passing this test. So if you notice any signs, you should consider your pet may be dehydrated.

Test your dogs skin to see if they are dehydrated. Gently pull between shoulder blades and let go. If it takes a while to bounce back, dehydration is supected.

If you suspect your pet is dehydrated, immediately take him or her to your veterinarian. It’s always best to call ahead and let them know you are coming so they can have everything ready for your arrival. The veterinarian will test for dehydration and administer intravenous fluids if dehydration has occurred.

To prevent pet dehydration, always provide plenty of fresh, clean water. You should refill your pets bowl with fresh water regularly and be sure to clean their water dish(es) every other day to kill any bacteria that may have developed in the dish. And when you and your pet go outside, be sure to bring water and a water dish with you and take plenty of water breaks.

A pet should drink one ounce of water per pound of body weight a day, and more when exposed to heat or illness. Monitor your pet’s drinking habits and if you feel he or she is not drinking enough, consult with your veterinarian. There may be a medical reason why your dog or cat is not drinking as much as they should.

Dehydration is a dangerous thing for both humans and animals. But its prevention technique is simple: lots of fresh clean, water! I’ll see you around the drinking fountain!



Fun Activities for Your Pet on the Fourth of July

Fireworks and pets just don’t mix well. So the 4th of July is not a very fun day for dogs and cats. Pets often get overwhelmed by all the people, excitement and loud noises that come with a large celebration. But you can make the day special for your pet too! Here are some great ideas to make your pet happy this 4th.

1 – Take your dog for an early morning walk in the park or go to a dog park. Let’s face it, most dogs love to be outside, sniff around, explore, run and walk. What better treat for your pup than a special trip outdoors? Take your pup to a new park or his favorite park to explore and enjoy. Go early before the crowds and intense heat set in, and be sure to bring you and your dog some water to stay hydrated. If you are going to a dog park, be sure to read over these guidelines to keep the peace in the park.

2 – Buy your pet a new pet friendly toy. It can be something as simple as catnip or a bone, or it can be a special patriotic red, white and blue toy. During the heat of the day, stay inside in the cool air conditioning and play with your pet and his new toy. He will love the new toy and the time spent with you!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

3 – Instead of giving your dog or cat a piece of hotdog or burger as a special treat, buy him a pet treat instead. Human food often upsets pets’ stomachs, and some food is toxic to your pet. (For a list of toxic foods, read this article). Go to your local pet bakery and pick up a special dog or cat treat so your pet can indulge on the 4th.

4 – Create a safe place for your pet to go when he or she gets overwhelmed. If you are hosting a party, all the people, sounds and activities can cause anxiety in your pets. And most pets are extremely fearful of fireworks. So create a safe room for your dog and/or cat to retreat to de-stress. Put their favorite beds, blankets and toys in the room. Keep fresh water and maybe even a special treat in the room. Turn on some soothing music (if that appeals to your pets) to help drown out the party noise. And make sure your guests know that this is your pet’s safe space so they do not disturb them.

For your dog or cat to have a happy Fourth of July, all they need is to feel safe and comfortable. You can do that by giving them a special treat of extra outdoor time in the morning, a new toy or pet snack in the afternoon, and a soothing environment to go to when they are nervous.

Happy Fourth of July!



Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

It’s almost here: barbeques, swimming pools, friends, families and fireworks. We all love going to or hosting a 4th of July party. These celebrations can pose serious threats to our pet’s health. So in order to keep your dog and cat safe, follow these simple tips for your event this 4th.

    • Never keep alcoholic beverages unattended and where a pet can reach them. And remember, if your dog tends to be creative to get to things he or she wants, you need to take extra precautions. Notice where you leave your drinks and take into account if your pet can jump up on a chair and get to a beverage sitting on the table next to the chair. Alcohol is poisonous to pets and if too much is ingested, they can become severely weak and even go into a coma. Keep your beverages up high with nothing your dog or cat can use as a ladder to reach them.
    • It’s a great idea to apply sunscreen and bug repellent to your pet when they are outdoors for an extended period of time. Dogs and cats can both get sunburns as well as nasty bug bites. Always use products approved for pets on your dog or cat. The chemical DEET is often found in popular bug repellants humans use, but DEET can lead to neurological problems in dogs and cats. Never use sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet unless it is labeled safe for animals.
    • Keep party items away from your pets and out of their reach. Things like matches and lighter fluid used for grilling can cause severe respiratory problems in your pet if accidentally ingested. Glow jewelry is popular with adults and kids alike during times of celebration, but never put the jewelry on your pet. The substance that makes it glow is highly toxic to pets. Also popular items to use in the backyard, like citronella candles and insect coils and oils to keep bugs away, are extremely harmful to your pet if ingested. So if you have these items on hand at your gathering, make sure that your dog or cat can not get to them at any time.
    • We all love to pamper our pets and include them in the family fun. But feeding them “people food” that they are not used to eating is not a good way to pamper pets. Dogs and cats have very sensitive digestive systems and any change in their diet can cause digestive distress. Plus, many human foods that we consider either treats or healthy snacks can be toxic to pets. So when your pup begs for a bite of hotdog, just say no. Reach for their normal pet treats instead.

Avoid giving your dog human food this 4th of July. They may be disappointed, but their tummies will thank you!

  • Finally, remember that this can be a stressful time for even the most well adjusted pet. Dogs and cats are often overwhelmed by large crowds, different noises, and loud fireworks. When going to a 4th of July celebration that may be too much for your dog to handle, you may want to keep them home in a safe place instead. And if the party is at your house, make sure your pets have a comfortable and safe room to retreat to when they start to feel a little jittery.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!



How to Ease Your Dog’s Fear of Fireworks

It’s almost July 4th and that means barbeques, parties and fireworks. Some dogs don’t mind fireworks while others are extremely fearful. So for some dog parents, the 4th of the July is less of a holiday and more of a stressful evening with their pup. But there is hope. Try these tips and tricks to help calm your dog during this stressful time.

The reason dogs are afraid of fireworks is simple; it’s because they are loud. A dog’s hearing is extremely sensitive. To dogs, the sound of a firework boom is like an explosion right outside their house. So no wonder a lot of dogs are afraid!

Rule number 1 for calming your dog during this time is for you to stay calm. Many times pup parents get anxious before the fireworks begin because they know that their dog is going to become overwhelmed by the noise. Mom’s and Dad’s start dreading the trembling, whining, panting and pacing that many dogs exhibit when they are fearful. Your pup can pick up on this anxiety and it will make the event even scarier for them. Their logic is much like a child’s; if Mom & Dad are scared or anxious, then something bad is happening. So if you stay calm, you will make the experience less frightening for your dog.

A great idea is to teach your dog to associate loud noises, such as fireworks or thunder, with something positive. If you took any psychology course throughout your education, you will remember the experiment by the scientist Pavlov. He trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell ringing through what is called conditioning. He conditioned the dogs to start salivating by ringing the bell, and then giving them food. He continued to do this for a while and eventually the dog learned that when the bell rang, he got food. Before long, the dog got excited and his mouth started watering when he heard the bell. He associated the bell with a good thing, being fed. So you can start associating loud noises with a good thing, such as treats. Since we don’t have storms and fireworks every day, you can find a CD or DVD of storm sounds and fireworks to work on training your dog. Soon, just upon hearing a loud noise, your dog will begin to salivate instead of tremble!

Finally, make sure your dog is in a safe indoor environment the evening of July 4th. Dogs have a tendency to flee when they are scared, so if left outdoors he or she may try to escape. If they are left alone indoors, make sure things that can harm them are out of their reach. When a dog becomes fearful, they have a tendency to act out their fear in the form of destruction. So make sure all electric cords, small toys, and any other item a dog may easily destroy is out of the way. Make the environment safe and comfortable for them by adding their favorites toys, blankets, and treats.

Other remedies for noise fear in dogs include medications (ask your veterinarian before trying) and thundershirts.

I hope you and your pup have a happy and fear-less 4th of July!