Posts Tagged ‘Purina Pet Care Tips’

     According to the calendar, December 22nd is the first day of winter.  According to my frozen fingers, winter is here.  Do your dogs and cats a favor, and bring them in at night.

  Winter Pet Care Tips from Purina  

     Winter and the busy holiday can pose special risks for pets.  Help your pet to weather the winter and stay healthy and safe by following these simple tips.

  • Keep indoor pets in a dry, warm area free of drafts.  If possible, elevate your pet’s bed off the floor.
  • Bring pets inside when temperatures dip into the 50s or even the low 60s.  Otherwise, in warmer temperatures, provide outdoor pets a dry, insulated shelter out of the wind.
  • Staying warm requires extra calories, so feed your pet accordingly when the temperature drops.  Talk to your veterinarian for advice on feeding your pet.
  • Cats and kittens often nap on car engines for warmth.  Knock on the hood and honk the horn; then wait a few minutes before starting your car.
  • Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even a very small amount can kill them.  Thoroughly clean up spills at once.  Tightly close containers and store them where pets cannot get to them.
  • Always have fresh, clean water available for your pet.
  • Alcoholic beverages, holiday treats such as chocolates, and bones from poultry, pork and fish can be harmful or toxic to pets.  Keep your pet on his regular diet.
  • Many plants – including Christmas rose, holly, mistletoe, philodendron, poinsettia, and dieffenbachia – are toxic to pets.  Keep them out of your pet’s reach.
  • Remove ice, salt and caked mud from your pet’s paws and coat at once.  Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has frostbite.  Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white or gray, and it may be scaly or sloughing.
  • Holiday paraphernalia can be dangerous to pets.  Cover or tack down electrical cords.  Keep tinsel and glass ornaments out of your pet’s reach.  Read warnings on items like spray-on snow.  Never put ribbons around your pet’s neck or allow it to play with plastic or foil wrappings or six-pack beverage holders.

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     One of the most serious risks of leaving a pet outdoors during the summer is Heat Stress.  Heat Stress occurs when the pet’s body is unable to cool itself, resulting in dehydration, brain damage, organ failure, even death. 

     Most pet owners are aware of the danger of leaving a pet in a parked car for even a few minutes.  However, pets left outdoors without adequate cool shelter are also at risk.  Purina provides the following tips and advice:

     “Any pet can suffer from heat stress.  However, particularly susceptible are:

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

     Help prevent heat stress by:

  • Providing plenty of clean, fresh water for your pet at all times.*
  • Providing adequate ventilation and air circulation when pets are kept in kennels or pens.
  • Providing shade cover when pets are outdoors.
  • Avoiding excessive exercise of pets during hot weather.
  • Never leaving pets in parked vehicles.

     “Some signs of heat stress are profuse panting and salivation, staring or an anxious expression, failure to respond to commands, warm dry skin, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, muscular weakness or collapse.
     “If your pet has heat stress, try to reduce his temperature by gradually immersing your pet in cool water, spraying him with cool water or applying ice packs to his head and neck.  Then take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.”

     *Keep in mind that water left outdoors (especially in metal bowls) can become too hot to drink or provide any cooling benefit.  Check and change the water often.

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

[Purina’s booklet of Spring and Summer Pet Care Tips is available at our office.]

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