Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Tips to Beat the Heat and Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer

You’ll see plenty of hot dogs on the grill this time of year, but you don’t want a hot canine or cat. As summer comes into full swing, rising temperatures pose a serious risk to pets. Heat makes it easier for your pet to become injured, ill, or worse.

As you’re planning your summer fun, keep in mind that your pets don’t experience the heat the same way we do. Here are our top hot tips to keep your pet safe all summer long.

Keep Their Core Temperature Down

Heatstroke is a serious concern during the summer. Owners may accidentally put their pets in danger, believing that dogs and cats are built to tolerate outdoor heat. This is simply not the case for many breeds, and a shift in only two degrees can send a dog to the ER.

Also known as heat stress, heatstroke occurs when a pet’s temperature gets too high, and their body can’t bring it back down on its own. This can result in issues with their nervous system, cause seizures, and potentially put them in a coma.

To prevent your dog or cat from suffering heat stroke:

  • Always provide access to ample cool, clean water
  • Don’t leave your dog or cat outside during the middle of the day
  • Alter your walk schedule to mornings and evenings to avoid the midday sun
  • Provide your pet with a shady place to escape the heat 
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car

If you think your pet’s suffering from heatstroke, cool them off with a damp towel or in a lukewarm shower, as cold water can send your pet into shock. Provide them with plenty of cool water and seek medical help immediately.

The Floor is Made of Lava--Or It At Least Feels Like It

Our pets’ paws are vulnerable. They don’t wear shoes, and their paw pads are a vital component for regulating their body temperature. Walking on a hot sidewalk or road can feel like torture to a dog or cat. And if their pads get burned, you can bet the pain is multiplied.

Check your dog’s or cat’s paws every few days for cracks or blisters. If you see any visible signs of damage, take it easy while they heal and limit outdoor activity.

To avoid burnt paws

  • Try to walk your dog on the grass and in the shade
  • Test the surface with your hand. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there for five to ten seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. 
  • Watch for signs of discomfort. If your dog keeps switching paws as you stand, it’s too hot.

We’re always happy to look at your pet’s paws if you think they’re hurting from the heat. If you suspect your dog or cat scorched their feet, immediately bring them home and soak their paws in water, then give us a call.

Give Your Pet Plenty of Opportunities to Cool Off

Whether you’re on a walk or just enjoying some sunshine in the backyard, take breaks in the shade and offer them a drink. Even if it’s just a quick stroll, bring water and a travel bowl and let your dog set the pace. One of the best things about summer is the heat gives you an excuse not to rush.

If you’re looking for fun summer activities, try making fun, frozen recipes for your furry friend. Frozen fish pops may not sound tasty to you, but we bet your cat would love them. Cold treats like these help your pet cool off from the inside out.

Some pets may not let you know that they need to cool off. Bring your dog or cat into the house to enjoy a bit of air conditioning if you notice yourself sweating. If you’re hot, your pet probably is too.

Even if they’re shorthaired, brush your cat or dog regularly to remove excess fur that may keep them overly insulated. Some breeds depend on their coat to keep them cool, so check with your veterinarian first before bringing them to the groomer for a shave.

Don’t Risk Your Pet’s Life and Health

We hope these tips help keep your summer filled with fun and joy. Treat your pet to good health during these hot months by protecting them from heatstroke and scalding sidewalks. We may love hot dogs, but keep your pets cool.

Photo Credit: danaibe12 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Skinny On Your Pet’s Extra Weight

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. From pudgy to lanky, we love our furry friends no matter what they look like. To show their affection, many pet owners enjoy showering their cats and dogs with treats and table scraps. We get it: food is love. Unfortunately, this form of appreciation can have a dangerous effect on your cherished pet.

If you’re thinking, “My pet is a little plump, so what?”, read on to learn more about the consequences of extra pounds, and what you can do to help your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Joint Strain and Pain

Carrying around extra weight takes a toll on an animal’s joints. Over time, the likelihood of joint and bone damage increases for hefty pets. Many become prematurely arthritic and have a hard time getting around the house or up and down stairs.

Heart Disease, Difficulty Breathing, and Organ Damage

As with humans, excess weight for pets can lead to elevated blood pressure, which could lead to heart failure. This is because your pet’s heart has to work harder to push blood through their body and to the excess tissue.

Just as the extra weight puts a strain on a pet’s cardiovascular muscles, it also makes it harder to breathe. In fact, when a pet’s body weight becomes too high, all of their organs struggle to keep up, including the liver.

Diabetes

Pet diabetes is one of the most harmful and dangerous complications of extra weight. As your pet gains pounds, their body must produce more blood glucose and insulin. Eventually, the pancreas won’t be able to keep up with the demand and will ultimately burn out. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to cataracts, urinary tract infections, seizures, enlarged liver, and kidney failure.

Quality of Life

Obese pets don’t just suffer physically. Overweight dogs and cats aren’t able to enjoy all the fun activities they once loved, like trips to the local trail or chasing a cat teaser. Their inability to breathe makes them uncomfortable and quickly tired.

And, simply, pets with extra weight tend to not live as long. Shaving off extra pounds can add years to your pet’s life.

How Chubby Is Too Chubby?

Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, it would be much easier for pet owners to recognize. The best way to find out if your pet is too heavy is to bring them in for a checkup. We’ll assess your pet’s overall health, including if their weight is putting them at risk.

What Can You Do to Help Your Pet Get Back Into Shape?

When it comes to your pet’s diet, there is a lot of conflicting information. The reality is that not all food is right for every pet, and they can be picky! It can be frustrating and costly for your pal to turn up their nose to their new dinner. If you’re trying an alternative to commercial food, you don’t want your pet to suffer from a vitamin or mineral deficiency. For exercise, it’s essential to tailor your plan to fit your pet’s activity level and current weight. It can be dangerous to go all in right away.

From planning your pet’s diet and meal portions to creating a safe plan to become more active, we’re here to support your pet’s slim-down. Let’s get started today on the road to a healthier life. We love to see the smiles of pet parents that know their pets are fit and flourishing.

If you need guidance or have questions regarding your pet’s weight, don’t wait. Make an appointment today.

Photo Credit: Mikhail Sedov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

No Party Fowls: How and Why You Should Respect Chickens

Chickens are nothing to bock at. Seriously - these creatures are remarkable! Chickens have more fascinating lives than you may realize. For example, they can recognize over 100 faces of humans and other animals. Chickens are also the closest living relative to the T-Rex… talk about an interesting family reunion.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating International Respect for Chickens Month by learning more about the lives of these domesticated birds.

Why Do Chickens Deserve Our Respect?

It’s easy to overlook how neat chickens can be. These feathered friends live pretty interesting lives and have a few secrets that many people find fascinating. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Did you know that chickens may have more cognitive function than many of our pets? Chickens even possess object permanence and have relatively advanced problem-solving skills.

  2. These unique feathered fowl have social hierarchies and communicate with up to twenty-four different vocalizations. Recent studies demonstrate that hens are empathetic to their chicks’ distress and many perform mourning rituals when a member of their flock passes away.

  3. There’s no denying that chickens are amazing. These neat birds even dream… with one eye open! That’s right. Chickens have a mechanism that allows half of their brain to sleep while the other half remains alert.

  4. What’s that chicken’s name? Chickens can learn to recognize and respond to their own names. They can even learn the names of their flockmates over time.

  5. Knock-knock. Who’s there? Your chick! Mother hens and their chicks can communicate through the shell of their eggs before the chicks hatch. Once the chicks are born, they already know their mother’s voice and respond to it. This helps keep them safe.

What Can You Do to Observe International Respect for Chickens Month?

If you want to join in and show chickens some much-needed respect, try:

  1. Adopting Rescued Chickens
    Caring for chickens in your backyard can give you and your family first-hand experience with how friendly and complex chickens can be. This changes how you think about domestic fowl while providing an animal in need of a better life.

    Many local rescues, including The Chicken Run Rescue, have chickens in need of caring homes. They are often rescued from neglect, abuse, found as strays, or left behind when families move away.
    Ready to have your own hens? Check out the regulations in your area for keeping a coop before you adopt your first feathered friends. You may need to submit an application, like the Lake Elmo residential chicken permit.

  2. Sharing a Chicken Fact with the Hashtag
    #InternationalRespectforChickensMonth
    Educate others about the amazing virtues chickens have and the harsh reality they experience. We often fall into the “we don’t know what we don’t know” space, which can be easily remedied with a little time, education, and awareness.

We Respect Creatures, Large and Small

We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating International Respect for Chickens Months by researching where your chicken comes from and spreading the word about the remarkable potential chickens possess. 

If your feathery, furry, or scaly friend is in need of veterinary care, we hope you’ll choose Cedar Pet Clinic. We’re here for you and your pets.

Image credit: Pixabay

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1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
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