Seasonal Tips for Spring

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  • NEVER leave your pet in the car.  The sun can raise the temperature inside your car in a matter of minutes, even if the windows are cracked.
  • Keep your pet leashed. A leashed pet can be controlled from becoming lost, fighting other animals, getting hit by a car and eating/drinking things that make him/her sick.
  • Water.  Water.  Water. Make sure your pet always has access to fresh water and check his/her water bowl several times throughout the day to make sure it's full.  Going for a hike?  Make sure and being plenty of water for your pet as well as for yourself.
  • Sunscreen for pets! Sunscreen, or sunblock, can  be used on cats and dogs. Pets with light skin and a short or thin hair coat are particularly prone to sunburn, skin cancer, and other solar-induced skin diseases. If your dog’s coat is shaved during the summer for cooling, sunscreen may also be helpful. Additionally, pets who have suffered hair loss from allergies, surgery, or cancer radiation can benefit from sunscreen.
  • Keep your pet well-groomed. A mat-free coat is much more efficient at temperature control and keeping your pet cool as well as provides protection from the sun.  If your pet has extremely thick hair or a lot of mats, you may want to ask a groomer about a summer haircut.
  • Drinking from puddles in the street can be dangerous. Hot weather will make your pet look for all kinds of water sources like puddles in the street.  These can contain toxic chemicals, like fertilizer and antifreeze
  • Be cautious on hot days and avoid exercise between the hours of 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Unlike our ability to sweat and cool our bodies, pets can only rid themselves of excess heat by panting and perspiring around their paws.
  • Easy does it. Make sure your pet does not overexert himself/herself on walks.  Overdoing it can cause heat stroke.  If your pet is panting a lot or seems exhausted, it's time to stop.
  • Not all pets can deal with the heat.  Dogs like the Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingnese and Pug (brachycephalic/short-nosed breeds), to name a few, are ineffectual panters and have more difficulty when it comes to panting to keep cool.  Overweight and elderly dogs, especially those with laryngeal paralysis, are more prone to overheat as well.
  • Bring your pets indoors. Pets can become ill from heat stroke quickly so keep them inside as much as possible.  If you must leave your pet outside, make sure you are supervising your pet and the outdoor conditions so you can bring him/her inside should the conditions become intolerable.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke.  Heat stroke can be FATAL, EVEN WITH EMERGENCY TREATMENT.
  • More warm weather tips to check out. 

If your pet is experiencing any of the following signs, move the animal to a cool environment and begin cooling with wet towels (on the back and neck, in the armpits and groin) and a fan. DO NOT USE ICE. DO NOT FORCE YOUR PET TO DRINK WATER.  Transport your pet to the veterinary emergency clinic nearest you IMMEDIATELY. 

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse 

 

ITCHY, ITCHY, SCRATCHY, SCRATCHY Ah….seasonal allergies. Here they come as the warmer weather approaches. For some pets, some years are worse than others for allergies but for many, relief won't come until the first hard freeze of autumn and others itch all year long. Suffering through this time may mean itching and licking of the paws, scratching of the skin or head shaking from ear infections.  It's good to know that many pets find relief from seasonal allergies with over-the-counter antihistamines and fish oils/omega-3 fatty acids as well as with regular bathing using the appropriate veterinarian approved shampoo. It is important to schedule a physical exam to determine the best approach to your pet's allergy care. And as with any over-the-counter medication, please do not administer without first consulting a veterinary professional for appropriate dosing.

 

HEARTWORM DISEASE DOES OCCUR IN COLORADO  Albeit, Colorado is not a hot bed for this disease but with the population being transient from year to year, one can never tell if mosquitoes transmit the worms between animals via a blood meal.  The financial cost of preventing the disease is far less than the cost, financial and health, of treating the disease.  Heartworm testing and prevention is recommended.  

 

BUCKLE UP!  We all know seat belts save lives and it's illegal for humans to be found not using one while traveling in a vehicle.  Why not keep your pets as safe as possible too?  It is very dangerous for a dog to be transported in an uncovered truck bed.  Sudden changes in direction with turning or stop and go traffic can throw your pet into an oncoming car or truck.  Traveling at high speed also puts your pet at risk for injuries caused by flying debris and insects.  Keep your dog in an airline-approved, hard-side kennel that is secured with ratchet/cargo tie-down straps to the truck bed, if it must be transported outside in the truck bed.  The safest place for your pet is inside the vehicle and secured with a seat belt whether kept inside a kennel or not.  In the event of an accident, an unsecured pet kept in the vehicle or like cargo outside in a truck bed, serves as a projectile and puts other people at risk of serious injury.

 

WATCH OUT FOR CREEPY CRAWLIES.  In the spring, be on the lookout for snakes, spiders and stinging insects.  Prairie/Western diamondback rattlesnakes are most common for our area but if you like to hike with your dog in the mountains it's important to know the copperhead and cottonmouth, also known as the water moccasin, are present in Colorado too.  Check out these snake bite safety and prevention tips.  It's difficult to curb those hunting instincts for a dog or cat, even if the prey is a bee/wasp, spider or another kind of bug.  Signs your pet may be suffering from an assault caused by an insect or spider are pawing/rubbing the face, facial swelling, hives (more easily seen on short-coated dogs) and/or excessive salivation.  Like people, dogs and cats can have allergic reactions to stings and may require emergency attention.

 

DOG BITES  The incidence of dog bites rises as the weather gets warmer and owners spend more time with their pet outdoors.  Before heading out to the dog park, make sure you know how to handle your dog and that your dog is properly fitted with a collar.  Ask yourself if your dog is well-socialized to handle all the sensory stimulation that occurs at the dog park and if the answer is no, it's best to just stay home until you understand your dog better or create your own small play group for your dog.  Should a fight occur don't get in the middle and try to break it up!  Have your dog seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent infection and additional pain.  Here are some simple tips to help your dog park visit be a success.  Also, spaying or neutering your dog will not only reduce aggressive tendencies perpetuated by hormones but your pet will receive additional health benefits.

 

FOXTAILS  These spiky little grass seeds can migrate almost anywhere in the body.  Most commonlyfoxtails, or grass awns, cause abscesses in between the webbing of the toes and the footpads.  Be aware if you take your dog to an area where foxtails are more common or your dog has been hunting, foxtails can migrate into the lung or the abdominal cavities creating life-threatening situations.  Brush the haircoat and examine the feet, top and bottom, immediately after your return home to remove any grass awns that remain.  If your pet becomes victim to these spiky nuisances, the symptoms vary on where the foxtail is lodged.  Licking the feet, sneezing if in the nasal cavity or head shaking from entry into the ear canal are all typical signs of foxtail penetration.  Surgery, usually minor but sometimes major, and antibiotics with anti-inflammatories are the common course of treatment.

 

ORPHANED OR INJURED WILDLIFE RESOURCES

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