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Desert Dangers – Summer Safety For Pets

While the desert landscape can be incredibly breathtaking, it can also be very dangerous to our pets. From snake bites to scorpion stings, cactus injuries and more, it’s important to stay vigilant as a pet parent. AZPetVet’s Dr. Amy Schomburg shares some symptoms to look for, as well as some helpful treatment suggestions with Gina and the Your Life Arizona viewers.

Symptoms of Snake Bite

  • Change in Gum Color (Brick Red or Pale)
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Rapid Breathing & Heart Rate
  • Continuous Licking of Paws
  • Digging at Ears
  • Oozing From Puncture Wound
  • Collapse From Shock

Get to the vet immediately! Dogs must be treated for snake bite within four hours of the bite for best chance of recovery. Remove collars and halters if swelling is occurring near the head or limbs.

Symptoms of Scorpion Sting

  • Pain
  • Localized Swelling
  • Smaller dogs can experience seizures

Foxtails & Cactus

If your dog comes in contact with a cactus, try gently pulling the barbs out with a pair of pliers. Foxtail can be quite dangerous to pets, as the barbed seed heads can work their way into your dogs eyes, ears, mouth, paws or skin. Left untreated, they can cause serious infection.

Not sure what to do? When in doubt, seek help from your veterinarian.

Summer Travel – Pets and Cars

Summer travel with pets in cars can be wonderful but it’s important to be prepared. Here are some great summer safety tips for traveling with pets in cars; brought to you by AZPetVet’s Dr. John Graham.

Tolerance Test: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Before you pack up the family and set out on the Holiday Road to WallyWorld or to visit Arizona’s wonders, be sure your pet can handle a longer car trip. Make test runs from short to medium durations, and observe them closely to see how they’re faring along the way. As members of the family, you want them to be happy and safe.

Remember long family trips? The togetherness? Everyone singing, laughing, playing games? How about being crowded into the back of the car? Fighting with your siblings because someone was touching you. Hunger. Sheer boredom. Are we there yet? What’s that smell? Needing to GO but dad says “wait until the next rest stop” and that’s approximately ONE. MILLION. MILES. AWAY. 

Now imagine you’re a dog.

While many dogs go mad with joy at the prospect of going ‘bye bye’ for a ride in the car, others will get quite stressed and anxious but calm down. Barking, pacing, whining, whimpering, or panting excessively are all clear signs that your barker needs a break. Not every car ride is a trip to the vet, but if they have general anxiety about going, check out this previous blog for tips.

Traveling In the Car
Provide access to water, food & don’t forget any meds they might need!
Bring along a familiar blanket or favorite toy.
Make sure your pet has ample space to stand and turn around.
Make frequent ‘Potty & Stretch Your Legs’ stops.
DON’T leave your pet (or children) in a hot car, even for a couple of minutes.
If your dog is prone to car sickness or anxiety, talk to your vet. We can help.

Buckle Up Means Pets, Too.
Keeping pets safely restrained is vital to everyone’s safety. In case of an accident, an unrestrained pet becomes a projectile, and can injure others or be hurt or killed, even at a relatively slow speed. Definitely not worth the risk. Use proper safety harnesses or restraints whenever you’re on the road. For small to medium sized pets, there are even specially designed pet seats with built-in harnesses, similar to cozy beds. From there, your pupper can see everything clearly and truly be … King of Road.

From everyone at AZPetVet, have a happy and safe vacation!

Summer Pet Safety Tips – Pool Safety

Just like with kids, you should never leave pets unattended around the pool!
AZPetVet’s Dr. John Graham shares a few summer pool pet safety tips with Gina and the Your Life Arizona viewers.

Water Safety 
A pool is a wonderful way to beat the heat, but like children, animals should never be left unsupervised around water. Don’t assume your dog is a good swimmer or won’t go into the pool. The pool can be just as tempting for pets as it is for humans! If your dog jumps into the pool or falls in while you’re away from home, they might not be able to get out on their own.

If you can’t block their access to the pool, take time to work with them in the water. In order to pool-proof your pet, introduce them to the water gradually, and make sure they know how to get out.

As they swim, use your body and hands to direct them to swim the steps or a shallow area where they can safely get out or wait for help. Practice “swimming to the steps” with your pet until they are able to get out of the pool unaided. Plenty of praise and encouragement can help reinforce this safety lesson. If they accidentally fall in when nobody is around, this training can mean the difference between life and death.

For dogs that love to swim, be sure to rinse their coats after swimming to remove chlorine or salt. And while it may be a losing battle, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water – the chemicals can upset their tummy.

Four Key Ways to Boat Safely With Pets

Rhodesian ridgeback wearing a sailor outfit and a life preserverSummer is definitely the time to take the boat out and head for the lake. Whether it’s a day trip or longer, if you plan to boat safely with pets, there are some things you need to do first to ensure their safety and comfort.

1/ Plan, Plan, Plan! You’ll need to pack all the basics for your pet. Puppy pads for potty breaks, toys, treats and food, a water bowl, any medications they might need, and health records in case of an emergency, especially if your trip is an extended one. If you haven’t chipped your pet, now is a great time to do it. 

2/ Invest in a Doggy Life Jacket. State law requires a life jacket for everyone on board a vessel. While it doesn’t specifically mention dogs, your pet is a member of your family, so why wouldn’t you protect them, too? It’s tempting to just order a life vest online to save time and money. Problem is – dogs come in so many shapes, weights and sizes, you’d be better served by making a trip to a sporting good or pet store to test it out for size and fit. Make the trip – it’ll save you lots of hassle in the long run, and it might even save your pet’s life! Introduce them to wearing the life vest before you go on the boat – trust us on this one.

3/ Make a Test Run. Not all dogs are going to be comfortable on a boat, so it’s wise to keep the first outing a short one.  Allow your dog to get acclimated on the boat BEFORE you head for water, or while you are still docked. Once you’re on the water, watch your dog carefully for signs of sea/motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness include: 

  • Inactivity
  • Listlessness
  • Uneasiness
  • Yawning or panting
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)

4/ The Heat is a Hazard! Be sure your pet has access to shade on the boat and plenty of clean, fresh water. Dogs are more prone to heatstroke and will need to stay hydrated, so know the signs. More information on heat stroke in pets.

Monsoon Pet Menace: Sonoran Toad Poisoning

Sonoran Toad, Colorado ToadWe’re just about to come into monsoon season, so it’s time for our annual reminder about the biggest monsoon related hazard for pets: the Sonoran or Colorado Toad. During the hot and humid summer monsoon season, toads will emerge in yards and the desert, eventually ending up in pools and other areas your pet may be. They are TOXIC to pets!

Watch your pet’s behavior outdoors: Dogs and cats will be fascinated by toads and their movements, and will think it’s a great game to try to catch them in their mouths. Don’t let them!

Toads will also seek out water, so your pet’s water bowl is a perfect target. Be careful of where you place water outdoors. If your dog or cat comes in contact with a toxic toad, you’ll need to get to the vet, stat!

These symptoms of toad poisoning will be observable almost immediately:

  • Severe drooling
  • Head shaking
  • Pawing at the mouth or eyes
  • Muddy red mucous membranes
  • Hyperthermia (overheating)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting of yellow fluid
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils, loss of coordination,
  • Vocalization, seizures, collapse, and death

ALERT!!! Toad poisoning is a life-threatening medical emergency. If you know or suspect your pet has been exposed to a toad, rinse your pet’s mouth out immediately, using a constant stream of water from a faucet or hose (if at all possible). Call your veterinarian, the closest emergency animal hospital, and/or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.