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Fireworks and Hot Weather Tips

-A.D. Coppel, DVM

Independence Day is nearing which can mean the potential for fireworks to be going off several nights in a row near your home.  Here are a few tips to help ease firework anxiety in your pets.

  1.  Keep your pets indoors after the sun starts to go down.  Make sure all windows and doors are closed and secure to prevent your pet escaping from your home.

  2. Make sure your pet's collar is well-fitted and has an ID tag on it.  Also, make sure your pet's microchip information is up-to-date.

  3. Create a safe space within your house for your pets to escape.  You could make a bed in a closet or place a blanket over their crate to create a den.  You can add ADAPTIL or FeliWay diffusers or spray and play soothing music or TV.

The hot temperatures of summer are already upon us.  Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe during the dog days of summer.

  1. Do not leave animals in vehicles, even when the weather seems mild.  Cars can become dangerously hot in a very short amount of time.  This puts your pets at risk of overheating and suffering from heat stroke.

  2. Dogs should not put their heads out of car windows while driving.  This puts them in danger of getting hit by flying debris or damaging their ears from flapping around.  If the windows are open far enough, they also have the potential to jump out.  Similarly, dogs in the back of a pickup truck should be in a kennel during transport.

  3. Provide plenty of shade and water if your pet needs to be outdoors during the heat of the day.  In extremely hot and humid conditions, it is recommended that your pets be indoors.

  4. Avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day (10am-2pm).  This helps to prevent heat stroke and keeps the hot pavement from burning pets' paw pads.

  5. Animals with "flat faces" are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively.  These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool indoors as much as possible.

  6. Use caution with too much sun exposure, your pets can sunburn too!

Knowing the symptoms of overheating in pets can be helpful in determining when medical attention is warranted.  Signs include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, restlessness, drooling, weakness, or even collapse.  You may notice the gums becoming bright red.  Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.  If these signs are seen in your pet, remove them from the situation to a shaded area, an air conditioned building, or direct a fan on them.  You may offer your pet cool water to drink, but do not force them.  You may begin to cool your pet with cold tap water in the armpits, groin area, and back of the neck.  At this point, it is recommended to transport your pet for medical attention.

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