Humans aren't the only ones who suffer from cabin fever in the winter months, family pets do too. While many include their pets in family outings few realize the hazards that face their furry friends.
The warm weather presents threats from heat stroke to sun burns for animals which is why education is the first step to prevention. According to local veterinarians the number one rule to abide by as warm weather approaches is to never leave an animal in a parked car. A dog can have a heat stroke within 15 minutes at a temperature of 78 degrees.
A pet suffering from heat stroke needs to be cooled off gradually. Instead of cold water or ice the animal should be slowly showered in luke warm water.
Pet owners may think they're doing their pets a favor by shaving them in warm weather but it often causes harm. Having an animal shaved too closely to their skin can cause them to burn just like a human. Dogs can wear sun screen too, and it is often recommended.
Another thing pet owners often don't prepare themselves for is skunk season. Vets say there is a short window to "deskunk" a pet. A skunk's spray is oil based which means the longer it stays on an animal the more it is absorbed into the animal's skin.
It is recommended that pet owners have a "deskunking kit" handy prior to skunk season. A good deskunking kit should contain a box of baking soda, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, eye wash and a pet degreasing shampoo. The degreasing shampoo works better on a dry coat, then mix the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide thoroughly with water and scrub.
Also, just like humans, animals get insect bites. If this happens, do not use tweezers to remove the stinger as it will release more venom. Instead, use a credit card, placing it under the stinger to lift it up and then flick it out. This prevents the release of anymore venom.
Animals can be allergic to insect bites which can cause anaphylactic shock. The symptoms of anaphylactic shock are pain, redness and swelling at the site, unconsciousness, seizure, excessive salivation, vomiting and respiratory distress.
If a pet owner thinks their pet might be experiencing this they should consult a vet right away. Also having Benadryl geltabs on hand could help, if the gel substance, which is an antihistamine, is squeezed onto the animal's tongue.
For those pet owners who also love gardening, remember some plants and bulbs are poisonous to our furry friends. There is a Web site that lists poisonous plants, www.aspca.org. It is also a good idea to keep the poison control number handy. They can be reached at 888-426-4435.
The last thing to remember is to always include things that may be needed for a pet in the family first aid kit. Things like a picture of the family pet should be carried in case it is lost.