Our ER staff want you to enjoy your pets during the holidays. Here are some cautions to consider…
Did you know that a 20 pound dog can have a seizure after ingesting 9oz of Milk Chocolate, or 4 oz of Dark, or 1.5 oz of Baker’s chocolate? Many of us don’t think about the less obvious ingredients in our holiday desserts that can adversely affect our pets. Xylitol, Alcohol (think Rum Balls), Raisins, Grapes and even unbaked bread dough can all wreak havoc on our pet’s health and well-being.
Have Christmas Tree? Keep the water free of additives. Tinsel and Ribbons are super fun for cats, but can twist and cut their intestines if consumed. Electrical cords, ornaments and candles are big hazards to the curious pet.
Do you like cooking Potpourri? Did you know that some scents can hurt our pets when inhaled? Clove oil, Cinnamon and others can burn sinus and mucous membranes. And our beautiful holiday lilies and Christmas Cactus can irritate them when chewed.
We have a warm spring and summer up ahead, and while you may be relishing the longer days and bluer skies, warmer weather can be a threat to your pet’s health.
Dogs and cats can both overheat and experience heat stroke. Unlike humans, who are covered in sweat glands that help us cool down, cats and dogs have limited ways to cool down their bodies. They have very few sweat glands (only on their foot pads), so panting is their best defense against overheating. Since they are covered in fur, however, sometimes panting isn’t enough. Short-faced, obese and senior animals are even more likely to overheat and/or will suffer more than the average pet when they overheat, so take special care if your pet fits in one of these categories.
Signs your pet is overheating include:
- Excessive panting and/or drooling
- Sweaty and/or abnormally warm paws
- Stumbling, clumsy movements
- A bright red tongue, mouth and/or ears
- Rapid pulse
These are the most effective ways to keep your pet safe and cool this summer:
- Always provide more than enough fresh water. Overheating is accelerated by dehydration. Whether your pet is inside or outside on a hot day, he needs access to plenty of water, since water can help keep his body temperature down.
- Provide access to cool, shaded areas. This is particularly important if your pet must spend extended periods of time outside on hot, sunny days. Your pet needs places to hide from that sun. If you are leaving your pet inside, either leave the air conditioning on or provide whatever home-cooling methods you would use if you were home, as long as they are safe to use without your supervision.
- Do not, under any circumstances, leave your pet in a hot car. Cars heat up very quickly, so it doesn’t take long for them to reach dangerous temperatures. If it’s too warm to leave a baby in the car, it’s too warm to leave your fur-covered pet in the car.
- Let them be a little lazy on extremely hot days. If they don’t need to, don’t force them to exert excess energy. That will only heat them up quicker. Or, keep exercise to mornings and evenings, when it’s much cooler.
If your pet is overheating, but he is still able to stand on his own, lead him to a cool, shaded area, bring him his water bowl and stay with him until he cools down. However, if he is nonresponsive, first drench him with cool (not icy cold) water, concentrating on his head, neck and between his legs. This will speed up the cooling process. Then, don’t delay: take him to Lake Oswego Pet Emergency immediately. Fast treatment can save his life.
Lake Oswego Pet Emergency is located at 3996 Douglas Way Lake Oswego, OR 97035 within the Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego building. LOVE provides emergency care for your pets during nights, weekends and holidays. Our experienced medical staff is specifically trained for emergency veterinary care and is committed to providing the individualized care your pets need in any emergency.