Posts Tagged ‘overweight pets’

Pool time by Leif Skoogfors

Keep your pet cool this summer!

Heat Stroke in Pets

Do you know how to protect your pets from heat stroke during the muggy days of summer?  This goes beyond the usual caveat of “never leave your pet in a car while you go shopping, babysit, attend a sporting event, spy on your girlfriend, etc.  Here are some tips to keep your pet safe in the yard or out and about:

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, especially if they are sluggish or panting soon after going outdoors.
  • Limit exercise to brief walks in the coolest parts of the day.  Keep in mind that hot pavement and sand can burn pets’ paws.
  • Provide plenty of cool water.  Check water throughout the day, as it can become hot if left outdoors. 
  • Kennels and pens should have good ventilation and air circulation and should be kept in shaded areas.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke or Heat Stress

Your pet may need emergency assistance if it exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Balance problems
  • Lethargy
  • Staring or anxious expression
  • Labored breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Failure to respond to commands
  • High fever
  • Collapse

What To Do

Lower your pet’s body temperature by easing him into a cool (not freezing) bath.  Water from the outdoor hose may be hot, so that may not be your best option.  

Bring your pet indoors and place him in a tub, taking care to keep his mouth and nose above water [we use stacks of towels to accomplish this.] 

Apply ice packs to his head and neck

Call your veterinarian for further instructions.  In most cases, your pet will be hospitalized for treatment and observation.  By necessity, this sort of care may take place at the 24-hour emergency hospital.

Who Is At Risk of Heat Stroke?

Any pet can have heat stroke, but some are more susceptible than others. All pets need to be protected on hot days.  However, these pets are more likely than others to have a problem:

  • Very young and older pets
  • Short-nosed/pug-nosed breeds
  • Overweight pets
  • Pets with cardiovascular or respiratory disorders
  • Pets with a previous history of heat stress

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency.  If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, we recommend taking him to the nearest emergency hospital for comprehensive care.

[Information borrowed from “Summer Pet Tips” by Ralston Purina Company and “Summer Safety Tips” by Firstline magazine.]

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This article was originally published on July 28, 2010.

Photo credit: By Leif Skoogfors (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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     On Wednesday, I blogged about the dangers of visceral fat buildup in pets. But how do you know if your pet is truly overweight? Purina makes it easy with a Body Condition System, ranging from Emaciated to Grossly Obese.

     Click on the charts below to compare your dog or cat to those illustrated. Does your pet need to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain, based on what you see here?

     The Body Condition System chart is also available online for dogs and cats.

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I’d like to ask you a question and I’m going to be blunt:  is your pet fat?  If so, it’s not alone.  The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates that more than half the dogs and cats owned by Americans are overweight.  Unfortunately, that’s not the sort of company you want your pet to keep.  Here’s why:
Extra weight carries health risks for our pets, just like it does for us.  Obesity can contribute to

  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney disease
  • respiratory disease

Want a quick way to find out whether your pet is carrying extra weight?  Check these four areas:

  • Ribs – can you feel them?  If not, they may be covered by a layer of fat.
  • Stomach – is it sagging or bulging?  Not good!
  • Back – is it wide and flat?  Also not good!
  • Waist – can you see it?  Your pet’s waist should be defined.

Start by asking your vet for a diet recommendation for your dog or cat.  Next, add exercise to your pet’s weight loss program.  Use a conservative approach to exercise with obese dogs and cats.  As the pet loses weight, the amount of activity can be gradually increased.

     APOP has compiled a list of toys it recommends to get your pet moving.  Here are just a few:

You can find the full list of toys and technology here.

Note:  some pets may have a liver, thyroid or adrenal gland condition which causes weight retention and bloated stomach.  Certain diseases may need to be ruled out before an effective weight loss program can begin.

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