As the weather warms up, everyone, including the family pet, wants to spend more time outdoors. Fresh air, sunshine and more opportunity to exercise are just a few of the benefits of the summer season. But summer also brings with it an opportunity for injury. To keep your pet safe this summer season, here are a quintet of pet hazards that could spoil your fun in the sun.
Heatstroke is a completely preventable emergency. Pets should never be left in a closed car on a hot day. At home on scorching hot days, close the blinds, provide plenty of water and a fan or air conditioner. Some dogs have a greater risk of developing heatstroke. If you have a porky pooch, a dark-coated doggy or a flat faced fur friend like this French Bulldog, exercise them outdoors in the early or later part of the day when it is coolest. An overnight change from spring to summer weather may not allow your pet to acclimatize, increasing the risk for heatstroke. If your pet becomes overheated, is panting excessively or collapses, go immediately to an animal ER.
Our mothers told us cats always land on their feet and have nine lives. Every year, New York City cats prove our mothers wrong. Whether chasing pigeons or losing their balance on a slippery fire escape, every summer cats fall out of apartment windows. They clearly don’t always land on their feet because they commonly suffer a triad of injuries: fractured roof of the mouth, fractured wrists and punctured lungs. This type of injury may use up all nine lives at once, so please keep your windows closed or use window screens to protect your cat.
Is your dog better at predicting a thunderstorm than the weatherman? Some believe dogs hear thunder as it approaches and before humans do. Others believe the static electricity from the storm accumulates in their fur, making them act crazy before a storm. Whatever the cause, a special jacket may help. The Storm Defender coat diffuses the static electricity accumulating in your dog’s fur during a thunderstorm. The Anxiety Wrap’s tight fit soothes anxious or frightened dogs. However they work, these jackets are worth a try if your dog has thunderstorm phobia. They may protect your house from destruction by your frightened dog during a thunderstorm.
Watching your cat stalk bugs in a summer garden can provide hours of entertainment, but the garden can be a dangerous environment for pets. Azaleas, lilies, tulips, cyclamen and narcissus can cause stomach upset or even kidney failure. It is best to check the plant’s toxicity profile before adding it to your garden. Mulch holds moisture around plants and creates an attractive look in your garden. Cocoa mulch has become popular for its dark color and aroma. Some dogs will eat the cocoa mulch, resulting in chocolate toxicity. For a pet-friendly garden, skip the cocoa mulch altogether.
Beaches and Pools
The beach is a great place to make a summer getaway for swimming, boating or reading a good book. Just be sure your dog is properly outfitted. A dog life jacket will prevent a dog overboard emergency if you have a landlubber dog. Take fresh drinking water for your dog if you are spending the day at the ocean – sipping too much salt water can result in stomach upset and/or diarrhea. If you can’t make it to the beach and are poolside, keep it safe for your dog by installing floating pool stairs. Most dogs can’t negotiate a pool ladder to escape if they fall into to the pool. Before there is an emergency, practice using the pool stairs so your dog knows where they are and how to use them. Swimming rules are for dogs too – never let them swim alone!
For more summer pet safety and health information please join us at The AMC’s PAW Day 2010, a day of pet and wellness fun for families and their furry companions, on Saturday, June 5 from 9am-12pm in Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan.
The Animal Medical Center
For 100 years, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.