Hot weather can make us all uncomfortable, and it poses special risks for your dog. Keep the following safety concerns in mind as the temperature rises, and follow our tips to keep your dog cool.
If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child's wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in.
Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water.
Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun's heat is less intense.
Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog's paws.
Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.
Make sure your dog's vaccinations are up to date, especially since dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
Keep dogs off of lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers.
Keep your dog well-brushed and clean.
Fleas and ticks, and the mosquitos which carry heartworm disease, are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your dog. The AKC Pet Healthcare Plan can help with the cost of providing quality healthcare, including preventive medicine, throughout your dog's life.
Make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water.
Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog's exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish.
Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so keep a check on your dog's activity.
Do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make him sick.
Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog's coat, so rinse him off at the end of the day.
Not all beaches permit dogs; check local ordinances before heading out.
Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before trying to make him swim.
If you're swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with.
Never throw your dog into the water.
If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and keep his back end up.
Don't let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly.
If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides.
If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown.
Never leave your dog unattended in water.
By Air - Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with your airlines for specific rules.
If you do ship a dog, put icepacks or an ice blanket in the dog's crate. (Two-liter soft drink bottles filled with water and frozen work well.) Provide a container of fresh water, as well as a container of frozen water that will thaw over the course of the trip.
By Car - Keep your dog cool in the car by putting icepacks in his crate. Make sure the crate is well ventilated.
Put a sunshade on your car windows.
Bring along fresh water and a bowl, and a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. Keep a spray bottle filled with water to spritz on your dog to cool him down.
By RV - A dog's safety should not depend on the air conditioning and generator systems in an RV or motor home. These devices can malfunction, with tragic results.
If you leave your dog in an RV with the generator running, check it often or have a neighbor monitor it. Some manufacturers have devices that will notify you if the generator should malfunction.
Never leave an RV or motor home completely shut up, even if the generator and AC are running. Crack a window or door or run the exhaust fan.
Never, ever leave a dog unattended in a vehicle in the summer months. Heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in warm temperatures.
Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog's prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog is overcome.
Bright red gums and tongue.
Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.
White or blue gums.
Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
Uncontrollable urination or defecation.
Labored, noisy breathing.
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down:
Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
Apply ice packs to the groin area.
Hose down with water.
Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
Check your dog's temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog's temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process.
If you cannot get the dog cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately.
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Foods, substances and plants that are toxic to Dogs
What is NOT good for your best friend...........
There's a lot of common foods (or things that might be mistaken for food) that will make a dog sick, or even kill em. Here's a list of some of the household items a dog might be likely to eat that it shouldn't.
When ingested, aluminum foil can cut a dog's intestines, causing internal bleeding, and in some cases, even death.
If ingested, anti-freeze (ethylene glycol) is often lethal -- even in very small quantities. Because many dogs and cats like its sweet taste, there are an enormous number of animal fatalities each year from animals drinking anti-freeze. Poisoning from anti-freeze is considered a serious medical emergency which must be treated by a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Fortunately, the Sierra company now offers a far less toxic form of anti-freeze. They can be reached at (888)88-SIERRA.
Bloat (gastric torsion & stomach distension) is a serious life-threatening emergency which must be treated by a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Bloat is relatively common among large and deep-chested breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Great Danes. Many experts believe that a feeding a large meal within 2 hours of exercise or severe stress may trigger this emergency. Eating quickly, changes in diet, and gas-producing foods may also contribute to this serious condition. Symptoms of Bloat include: unsuccessful retching, pacing, panting, drooling, an enlarged stomach/torso, and/or signs of distress.
Chocolate contains an element which is toxic to dogs, called Theobromine. Even an ounce or two of chocolate can be lethal to a small dog (10 lbs. or less). Larger quantities of chocolate can poison or even kill a medium or large dog. Dark and unsweetened baking chocolates are especially dangerous. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. During many holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter and Halloween, chocolate is often accessible to curious dogs, and in some cases, people unwittingly poison their dogs by offering them chocolate as a treat.
Christmas tree lights and electrical cords can be fatal if chewed on by a dog (or cat). Whenever possible, keep electrical cords out of reach.
Never unnecessarily expose your pet to firecracker noise or fireworks displays, as they can cause companion animals tremendous fear, and in> many cases, long-term phobias. Make sure to keep dogs indoors, and keep walks (on a leash) very brief. Try masking loud firecracker noises with "white noise" (from the air conditioner or white noise machine), as well as with music or other familiar sounds (radio or television). Or if possible, take a brief vacation with your pet in a quiet rural area, until The Fourth of July fireworks are over.
Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion
A dog's normal internal body temperature is between 100.5 degrees F and 102 degrees F. Leaving a dog in a parked car in the summer (even with the window a few inches open), can cause heatstroke within minutes. Heat exhaustion is usually caused by over-exercising a dog during hot weather. Both heatstroke and heat exhaustion can result in brain damage, heart failure or even death in a short period of time. To cool off an overheated dog, wet the dog's body and paws with cool water, then fan. If the dog experiences heatstroke or heat exhaustion, he should receive veterinary attention as soon as possible.
When a dog's internal temperature drops below 96 degrees F (by being exposed to cold weather for long periods, or getting both wet and cold), there is a serious risk to the dog's safety. Small and short-haired dogs should wear sweaters when taken for walks during cold winter weather. Any sign that a dog is very cold -- such as shivering -- should signal the owner to bring the dog indoors immediately.
Ice-Melting Chemicals and Salt
Ice-melting chemicals and salt placed across sidewalks and roads can cause severe burning to your dog's footpads. Whenever possible, avoid walking your dog through these substances, and wash off his footpads when you return home. There are also products available such as Musher's Secret which can be applied to your dog's footpads prior to going outside, that may help reduce the pain that is often caused by road salt and chemicals.
Dogs (and cats) can become extremely ill or even die from eating poisonous plants. Keep all unknown types of plants and any plants suspected of being poisonous out of reach of your pet, and/or spray with Bitter Apple (for plants). [See below for a partial list of poisonous plants.]
Plastic Food Wrap
Plastic food wrap can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Some dogs will eat the plastic wrapping when there are food remnants left coating its surface.
Tinsel and Other Christmas Tree Ornaments
When ingested by a dog (or cat), tinsel may cause obstruction of the intestines, and the tinsel's sharp edges can even cut the intestines. Symptoms may include: decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessless and weight loss. Treatment usually requires surgery.
Poisonous Plants -- Partial ListAcocanthera -- Fruit and Flowers
Amaryllis -- bulbs
Amsinckia -- Tarweed (foliage, seeds)
Angel Trumpet Tree -- flowers and leaves
Apricot Pits & Seed Kernal
Balsam pear (seeds, outer rind of fruit)
Betel Nut Palm
Bird Of Paradise -- Seeds
Bittersweet -- Berries
Bottlebrush -- Flowers
Boxwood Bleeding Heart
Buckthorn -- Fruit, Bark
Buttercup -- Sap, Bulbs
Cassava -- Roots
Castor Bean -- Leaves, Bean
Chalice vine / Trumpet vine
Cherry Tree -- Everything Except Fruit
Chinaberry Tree -- Berries
Christmas Berry -- Berries
Christmast Cactus -- Sap
Christmas Tree -- Needles, Tree Water
Crocus (Autumn) -- Bulbs
Crocus -- Bulbs
Daphne -- Berries
Datura / Jimsonweed
Death Cap Mushroom
Deiffenbachia / Dumb Cane
Destroying Angel / Death Cap
Dogwood -- Fruit
Eggplant -- Foliage
Elderberry -- Foliage
Elephant's Ear / Taro -- Foliage
English Holly Berries
Euphorbia / Spurges
Fiddleneck / Senecio
Fly Agaric / Amanita
Ghostweed / Snow On The Mountain
Golden chain / Laburnum
Holly Berries (English and American)
Horsetail Reed / Equisetum Hyacinth -- Bulbs
Hydrangea -- Flower Buds
Iris -- Bulb
Jack-In-The-Pulpit /Indian Turnip
Jatropha -- Seeds, Sap
Java bean -- Uncooked Bean
Jerusalem Cherry -- Berries
Jessamine -- Berries
Juniper -- Needles, Stems and Berries
Lambkill / Sheep laurel
Lords and Ladies / Cuckoopint
Lily of the Valley -- All parts of the plant, as well as vase water
Mayapple -- All parts, except fruit
Milkweeds -- Foliage
Mock orange -- Fruit
Mushrooms (many wild forms)
Narcissus -- Bulbs
Oak -- Acorns, Leaves
Oleander (very poisonous)
Peach -- Pit
Pennyroyal -- Foliage & Flowers
Pokewood / Poke cherry -- Roots, Fruit
Potato plant -- New shoots and Eyes
Rosary Peas -- Pods, Seeds, Flowers
Senecio / Fiddleneck
Star Of Bethlehem
Tansy -- Foliage, Flowers
Toad flax -- Foliage
Tomato Plant -- All parts, except for fruit
Toyon Berry -- Berries
Trillium -- Foliage
Virginia Creeper -- Sap
Wild Parsnip -- Roots, Foliage
Yellow Star Thistle
Yew (American, English and Japanese)
Chocolate: baking chocolate is the worst, needing only 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight to kill a dog. Cocoa and milk chocolate should also be avoided. White chocolate is the least toxic, requiring 200 ounces per pound of body weight to cause death. It's the theobromine in chocolate that kills, found in chocolate liquor, coffee and tea.
Other things that might make an appearance in you kitchen that your dog shouldn't eat are:
All parts tomato plant except the fruit
Uncooked Java beans
Alcohol isn't poisonous, but dogs will get drunk much more quickly than a human.
Rich, fatty foods can cause pancreatitis.
Rawhides, cow hooves, and pigs' ears are hard to digest, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten too quickly. Cow hooves are hard enough that they can break a dog's tooth, and sharp splinters can become lodged in the intestinal tract.
Finally, watch out for Bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome or GDV), a condition that comes from eating too much too fast, especially in times of stress or just after exercise. Changes in diet and gas producing foods may also contribute to this condition. Most often occurring in large dogs, the symptoms are; a distended abdomen, abdominal discomfort, severe weakness and shock. This condition can be life threatening, and needs to be treated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
http://www.comportone.com/cpo/animal/articles/chocolate.htm (goes into more detail on chocolate).
Poison and Medical Emergency Hotlines
National Animal Poison Control Center
(800)548-2423 [Cost: $30. per case. Credit cards only.]
(900)680-0000 [Cost: $20 for the first 5 minutes,
then $2.95 per minute thereafter.
No charge for follow-up calls regarding same case.]
24 hr. Poison Hotline
(ASPCA/National Animal Poison Control Center)
Call: (800)548-2423 or (888)426-4435)
($30 per case -- via credit card); or
1-900-680-0000 ($20 for the first 5 mins.,
$2.95 for each additional minute.)
ASPCA POISON CONTROL LIST
Animal Poison Control
A Poison Safe Home
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet
- Alcoholic beverages
- Chocolate (all forms)
- Coffee (all forms)
- Fatty foods
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Raisins and grapes
- Yeast dough
- Garlic click here to read article
- Products sweetened with xylitol
Warm Weather Hazards
- Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
- Blue-green algae in ponds
- Citronella candles
- Cocoa mulch
- Compost piles Fertilizers
- Flea products
- Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
- Swimming-pool treatment supplies
- Fly baits containing methomyl
- Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde
Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:
- Pain killers
- Cold medicines
- Anti-cancer drugs
- Diet Pills
Cold Weather Hazards
- Liquid potpourri
- Ice melting products
- Rat and mouse bait
Common Household Hazards
- Fabric softener sheets
- Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)
- Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
- Electrical cords
- Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
- Glass ornaments
Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats
The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:
- Water-based paints
- Toilet bowl water
- Silica gel
- Cat litter
- Glue traps
- Glow jewelry
SWEETNERS ARE DEADLY FOR YOUR PETS
PET SUPPLIES AND GENERAL INFORMATION
OVER MEDICATING YOUR PET?
Pets don't need shots every year
The Houston Chronicle
April 22, 2002, 12:32AM
Pets don't need shots every year
Experts say annual vaccines waste money, can be risky
By LEIGH HOPPER
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle Medical Writer
Debra Grierson leaves the veterinarian's office clutching Maddie and Beignet, her Yorkshire terriers, and a credit card receipt for nearly $400.
That's the cost for the tiny dogs' annual exams, including heartworm checks, dental checks and a barrage of shots.
"They're just like our children," said the Houston homemaker. "We would do anything, whatever they needed."
What many pet owners don't know, researchers say, is that most yearly vaccines for dogs and cats are a waste of money -- and potentially deadly. Shots for the most important pet diseases last three to seven years, or longer, and annual shots put pets at greater risk of vaccine-related problems.
The Texas Department of Health is holding public hearings to consider changing the yearly rabies shot requirement to once every three years. Thirty-three other states already have adopted a triennial rabies schedule. Texas A&M University's and most other veterinary schools now teach that most shots should be given every three years.
"Veterinarians are charging customers $36 million a year for vaccinations that are not necessary," said Bob Rogers, a vet in Spring who adopted a reduced vaccine schedule. "Not only are these vaccines unnecessary, they're causing harm to pets."
Just as humans don't need a measles shot every year, neither do dogs or cats need annual injections for illnesses such as parvo, distemper or kennel cough. Even rabies shots are effective for at least three years.
The news has been slow to reach consumers, partly because few veterinarians outside academic settings are embracing the concept. Vaccine makers haven't done the studies needed to change vaccine labels. Vets, who charge $30 to $60 for yearly shots, are loath to defy vaccine label instructions and lose an important source of revenue. In addition, they worry their patients won't fare as well without yearly exams.
"I know some vets feel threatened because they think, `People won't come back to my office if I don't have the vaccine as a carrot,' " said Alice Wolf, a professor of small-animal medicine at Texas A&M and an advocate of reduced vaccinations. "A yearly exam is very important."
The movement to extend vaccine intervals is gaining ground because of growing evidence that vaccines themselves can trigger a fatal cancer in cats and a deadly blood disorder in dogs.
Rogers conducts public seminars on the subject with evangelical zeal but thus far has been unsuccessful in persuading the Texas Veterinary Medical Association to adopt a formal policy.
"I'm asking the Texas attorney general's office if this is theft by deception," said Rogers, whose Critter Fixer practice won an ethics award from the Better Business Bureau in 2000. "They just keep coming out with more vaccines that are unnecessary and don't work. Professors give seminars, and nobody comes and nobody changes."
When rabies shots became common for pets in the 1950s, no one questioned the value of annual vaccination. Distemper, which kills 50 percent of victims, could be warded off with a shot. Parvovirus, which kills swiftly and gruesomely by causing a toxic proliferation of bacteria in the digestive system, was vanquished with a vaccine. Over the years, more and more shots were added to the schedule, preventing costly and potentially deadly disease in furry family members.
Then animal doctors began noticing something ominous: rare instances of cancer in normal, healthy cats and an unusual immune reaction in dogs. The shots apparently caused feline fibrosarcoma, a grotesque tumor at the site of the shot, which is fatal if not discovered early and cut out completely. Dogs developed a vaccine-related disease in which the dog's body rejects its own blood.
"That really caused people to ask the question, `If we can cause that kind of harm with a vaccine ... are we vaccinating too much?' " said Ronald Schultz, a veterinary immunologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. "As you get more and more (vaccines), the possibility that a vaccine is going to cause an adverse event increases quite a bit."
Less frequent vaccines could reduce that risk, Schultz reasoned. Having observed that humans got lifetime immunity from most of their childhood vaccines, Schultz applied the same logic to dogs. He vaccinated them for rabies, parvo, kennel cough and distemper and then exposed them to the disease-causing organisms after three, five and seven years. The animals remained healthy, validating his hunch.
He continued his experiment by measuring antibody levels in the dogs' blood nine and 15 years after vaccination. He found the levels sufficient to prevent disease.
Fredric Scott, professor emeritus at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, obtained similar results comparing 15 vaccinated cats with 17 nonvaccinated cats. He found the cats' immunity lasted 7.5 years after vaccination. In 1998, the American Association of Feline Practitioners published guidelines based on Scott's work, recommending vaccines every three years.
"The feeling of the AAFP is, cats that receive the vaccines every three years are as protected from those infections as they would be if they were vaccinated every year," said James Richards, director of the Feline Health Center at Cornell. "I'm one of many people who believe the evidence is really compelling."
Texas A&M's Wolf said the three-year recommendation "is probably just as arbitrary as anything else," and nothing more than a "happy medium" between vaccine makers' recommendations and the findings by Schultz and Scott aimed at reducing vaccine-related problems.
But many vets are uncomfortable making a drastic change in practice without data from large-scale studies to back them up. There is no animal equivalent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in people, thus keeping tabs on a vaccine's effectiveness.
Federal authorities require vaccine makers to show only that a vaccine is effective for a reasonable amount of time, usually one year. Richards notes that studies to get a feline vaccine licensed in the first place are typically quite small, involving 25 to 30 cats at most.
There is no federal requirement to show a vaccine's maximum duration of effectiveness. Arne Zislin, a veterinarian with Fort Dodge Animal Health, the largest animal vaccine maker in the world, said such studies would be expensive and possibly inhumane, requiring hundreds of animals, some of them kept in isolation for up to five years.
"I don't think anyone with consideration for animals would really want to go through that process," said Zislin, another vet who believes current data are insufficient to support an extended schedule.
Diane Wilkie, veterinarian at Rice Village Animal Hospital, said she tells pet owners that vaccines appear to last longer than a year, but her office hasn't officially changed its protocol yet. She said 20 percent to 30 percent of her cat patients are on the extended schedule.
"It's kind of a hard situation. The manufacturers still recommend a year, but they're the manufacturers," Wilkie said. "It's hard to change a whole professional mentality -- although I do think it will change."
In Houston, yearly pet examinations typically cost $50 to $135, with shots making up one-third to half of the expense. A dental check, heartworm test, fecal check and overall physical are usually included in the price. Without the shots, vets could expect to lose a chunk of that fee.
But an increasing number of vets are emphasizing other services, such as surgery. Wolf said savings on vaccines might prompt pet owners to get their pets' teeth cleaned instead. An in-house test to check antibody levels is in development.
"I definitely think there's a profit issue in there; don't get me wrong," Wilkie said. "(But) people are willing to spend money on their pets for diseases. Although vaccines are part of the profit, they aren't that big a part. We just did a $700 knee surgery."
Veterinary research challenges the notion that pets need to be vaccinated every 12 months.
Some of the findings:
Dog vaccines/Minimum duration of immunity
Canine rabies 3 years
Canine parainfluenza 3 years
Canine distemper (Onderstepoort strain) 5 years
Canine distemper (Rockborn strain) 7 years
Canine adenovirus (kennel cough) 7 years
Canine parvovirus 7 years
Recommendations for dogs
Parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, distemper: Following initial puppy shots, provide booster one year later, and every three years thereafter.
Rabies: At 16 weeks of age, thereafter as required by law.
Bordatella: Use prior to boarding; may be repeated up to six times a year.
Coronavirus: Not recommended in private homes. Prior to boarding, may be given to dogs 8 weeks or older, and repeated every six months.
Lyme: Not recommended.
Giardia: Not recommended.
Sources: Ronald Schultz, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine; Fredric Scott, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine; Colorado State University; University of California-Davis Center for Companion Animal Health.
The Houston Chronicle
Any information posted here or on our links must be used with desecration. Sandemac offers theses links for information purposes only, the end results is the responsibility of the pet owner.