With the fires finally back under control, and life returning to normal, it seemed like a good time to start talking about what to do with all the summer heat we are experiencing. Last summer we saw several pets that had overheated, were dehydrated, and just generally were not big fans of the heat. Thankfully there are many easy tips and tricks for keeping your cats and dogs cool during the summer months.
We all know just how overheated we can get while out on a run on a hot day. Your pets experience the same bodily reaction to exercise and heat. Utilize extremely hot days to take a break or reduce the amount of exercise they are getting. A dog will often run with you as long you run, disregarding their body overheating.
Pets and Cars
Do not leave pets in the car on hot days. Even with the car windows cracked, a vehicle’s inside temperature can reach over 100 degrees in just a few minutes. Consider taking your pet into the store (many are pet-friendly) or leave them at home with plenty of water.
Plan ahead for hot days by making your pet frozen treats to munch on. In need of a good recipe? Check out our past blogs!
The best way to beat the heat is water. Keep plenty of water available to your pets. If you will be gone for the day, leave an extra bowl of water available. It is better to find a pee spot by the door, than come home to a dehydrated pet! You can also consider getting a kiddy pool for your backyard or give your pet a cool bath or rinse to help keep their temperature down.
Although any pet can experience heatstroke, it is most common in pets who are very young or old, overweight, not used to hot weather, or who may have a chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, heatstroke can go from bad to ugly very quickly. Watch your pet for panting, glazed eyes, unexplained tiredness, excessive drooling, or vomiting. If you see any of these signs on a hot day, call the doctor immediately.
Help your pet in a heatstroke emergency by:
- Moving them to the shade or inside
- Cooling them by using ice packs
- Giving them small amounts of water to drink
- Calling your veterinarian immediately, or better yet drive them to the nearest hospital for further assessment and assistance.
If you have further questions about helping your pet stay cool this summer or are concerned that they may be experiencing heatstroke, give us a call! We are always happy to help assess the situation and answer any questions you have.
Given the recent fire emergency across San Diego, we thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the easy ways you can help your pet in the coming days.
Before an Emergency:
Emergency stickers: Contact the ASPCA (either online or by phone) to obtain an emergency alert sticker. These great stickers can be placed in the front window of your home and let emergency crews know who all may be inside waiting for rescue. The ASPCA does request that if you evacuate your home write “evacuated” across the sticker so that they do not waste time searching for pets. If you do not have a sticker, consider using an old can of spray paint to notify the rescue teams. Repainting your garage door is better than losing your pets.
Safety kits: Keep a small supply of emergency goods (food, first aid, blankets, copies of any pertinent pet medical information, and leashes and collars) in your car, and a second set in your home or garage. If you need to leave in a rush, the last thing you want to worry about is what to pack. For more details about what to pack, check out our past blogs.
Pet tags: The easiest way to keep your pet safe if an emergency arises is to have each pet labeled properly. If you have moved or changed your phone number, replace the old collar tags. If your pet is micro-chipped, contact the chip company and update all pertinent information. Clinics and shelters across San Diego rely on tags and microchips for pet identification.
During an Emergency:
Communication: In the event of an emergency, such as the current wildfires, your pets are likely to be on high alert. Watching your behaviors and listening to your tone of voice, they will be looking to you for cues on what is going on. Help your pets stay calm by using calm, quiet voices, and no exaggerated gestures.
Hiding Places: Although dogs may also engage in hiding, cats are well known for their ability to disappear in an emergency. Close off all unnecessary rooms, keep their carrier out and open, and as you are starting to prepare to leave the house immediately put them in their carrier. It is better to have them wait in their carrier, than spend hours trying to find them or be forced to leave them behind.
After an Emergency:
While you are at an evacuation point or back at your home post-emergency, your pet may continue to experience anxiety (remember they don’t understand the television or radio).
At the evacuation site: The most important thing you can do is follow all directions given by the staff and volunteers. As each site may operate slightly different, the guidelines given for pets will ensure everyone’s safety.
Once you return home: Give your pet lots of T.L.C. They will likely need extra reassurance that they are safe. If your pet does not seem to return to their usual self within a day or two, contact your veterinarian.
Great resources for more information:
-Our past blog posts about pets and emergencies.
–ASPCA: general emergency information and directions on how to get emergency stickers
–San Diego Humane Society: Up-to-date information on where to take your pets, and receive supplies in the event of an emergency.
We were recently talking with a client about why their cat needed to come into the hospital for annual exams. Her cat is getting older, and has never been one for leaving the house. Being a very practical person, she wanted hard facts and reasons why they needed to be seen. So in listing off the reasons why her cat should be seen regularly, the topic of feline blindness came up. Not expecting this to be in the list, the doctor spent some time discussing blindness in cats. In case feline blindness is not a topic you are familiar with, here are some basics about feline blindness:
How to know if your cat is going blind?
For many families, they realize there may be something wrong with their cat’s eyes if they start bumping into walls and furniture. For some cats, their blindness is a rapid onset, but for most the onset is over a longer period of time. Here are some easy signs that your cat may be having difficult seeing:
-Missing their mark when they jump
-Attempting to rub their eyes or scratching at their eyes
-Cloudiness or discolored eyes
What causes blindness?
For many cats, blindness is a secondary condition of a primary health issue, such as diabetes, cancer, untreated eye infections. For others their vision loss may be due to a medication reaction, vitamin deficiency, or trauma to the head or eyes.
How is blindness diagnosed and treated?
Blindness in cats requires the help of a veterinarian to diagnose and treat. Your pet’s doctor will perform a comprehensive examination, as this is a good check for any other conditions that may be causing the vision loss. Afterward, the veterinarian will assess your cat’s eyes, checking for anything abnormal. If they are able to diagnose the issue through a simple vision check, you and the doctor will be able to move forward with a treatment plan to address the cause of the vision loss. If no definitive reason can be found, the doctor may suggest blood testing or an ophthalmologist to aid in diagnosis and treatment.
How to live with a blind cat?
Many clients become worried about how they will live with a disabled cat. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to help keep your pet comfortable and at ease in your home.
-Keep the house clutter free
-Only move furniture when absolutely necessary
-Do not move their food, water, or litter box
-Lots of love and attention can help keep your cat calm and reduce everyone’s stress
-Regular check ups to ensure overall health
-Have your cat stay indoors, or only go out on a leash
-Monitor grooming habits. If your cat has vision loss due to old age, they may also start to have problems with grooming themselves and need your help.
-Utilize their other senses
-Speak or make noise when entering rooms
-Let them visitors before making physical contact
Living with a blind cat is far from the end of the world. Cats are extremely smart creatures and can adapt to living without sight. Your help and encouragement will keep them comfortable, healthy, and safe.
If you think your cat may be experiencing vision loss, contact your veterinarian.