Metro Pets

By Missye K. Clarke

Animals are the best friends to have. They love you when you’re down, sit next to you quietly and don’t ask, “What’re you thinking?” when you’re bit with the blues and are such a stress reliever when your boss chooses the hottest day of the year to be the biggest &*$%!#@ he could be – and picked you as the target. Since Fluffy or Fido show that much love and affection to you, be good to them this and every summer with these great tips to get them through the May-September summer season. On the website www.teterboro-online.com, the link http://www.teterboro-online.com/boro/shelter/pettips.shtml shares great tips about pet care. Though we keep hearing story after story every year about kids and/or animals being left in overheated cars to suffer severe or fatal heatstroke, the inside of your car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes, even if you’re parked in the shade. Dogs and cats can’t perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Pets who are left in hot cars even briefly can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can even die. Please, play it safe by leaving your pet cool and refreshed at home ir take then inside with you while you’re on the road.

WARM WEATHER TRAVELING
If you see a pet in a car alone during the hot summer months (May through September), alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police department immediately. Pets need exercise even when it is hot, but extra care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt and sidewalks get very hot and can burn your pet’s paw beds. Your dog may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.

INSECT PROTECTION – MOSQUITOES, FLEAS & TICKS, BYE-BYE!
My cat, Tesla, recently suffered a mosquito bite to her right foreleg, causing the toxin I from the invader left in my cat to keep the free blood the she-mosquito got from colagulating caused her leg to swell as big as Barry Bonds’ forearm. She licked the swelling away – amazing how animals show their survival instincts to us when they really need them – and she was fine in a few days. Have your pet checked for heartworms, fleas and ticks. These parasites transmit diseases that can potentially be fatal to your dog or cat.

Many people are familiar with heartworm disease in dogs, but are unaware that cats may also contract the parasite (heartworm disease was reported in cats in 38 states by the American Heartworm Society); in fact, cats infested with heartworms often have more severe clinical signs than dogs and a poorer prognosis. Have your dog or cat tested for the presence of heartworms by your veterinarian, and ask about heartworm preventatives. Treatment for this disease can be expensive and risky for your pet prevention is easy and inexpensive. The fact that your dog only goes outside to urinate and defecate, and the fact that your cat does not go outside at all, does not eliminate the risk of disease. Mosquitoes are everywhere!

Normally, adult fleas live on pets and often they remain there only long enough to feed. Eggs may be laid on the pet, but usually fall off the pet into the environment where conditions are right for them to develop (through a multistage life cycle) into adult fleas. As a result, it is possible to have a substantial flea problem although you have only identified a few or no fleas on your pet. Egg and larval stages can survive in your home all year and in your yard from spring through late fall (all year in warmer climates). Biting and scratching on the lower back, tail, and abdomen are the most common signs of flea infestation you’re your veterinarian can check if dermatitis has appeared in these areas. Flea control involves treatment of the pet and the environment by means of shampoos, sprays, dips, “spot-ons,” powders, oral medications, and collars. Your veterinarian can recommend the most appropriate flea prevention/treatment program for your pet. Fleas carry tapeworms, so be sure to have your veterinarian check your pet for these intestinal parasites as well. Yet another common parasite during the warmer months: Ticks. They aren’t only an irritant and nuisance to your pet, but may transmit several debilitating diseases, such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis. Many flea prevention/treatment products will also help with control of ticks. Your veterinarian can help you recognize ticks and show you the proper way to remove them from your pet (if you simply try to remove the tick by pulling, you may leave its mouthparts embedded within your pet’s skin). Owners whose dogs have substantial exposure to ticks (eg, sporting dogs, dogs that go camping, and those spending time in forest preserves or woods) should also ask their vet’s advice about the appropriateness of a vaccination for Lyme disease.

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! (DON’T FORGET TO ADD WATER)
While this is a given, many pet owners don’t realize animals can suffer heat stress during the summer months. Change their water bowls with fresh, cool water daily, if not twice daily. Fill a gallon milk jug with water, freeze it, and place it in cage or in a cool spot in the yard or floor so rabbit, cat or dog can lay next to it and get cool. Consider giving your dog or cat organic or natural moist foods as part of their meals, if they usually eat dry food. This way, they can glean water from their food as well as their water bowls. For natural food choices for your pets, please visit http://www.nutroproducts.com for store locations, free pet food for a year entries and breeding tips. A healthy, well-cared for pet brings life and joy to your home. Be well to your furry companion and they will love you for life!

Originally published August 2006
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