Protect Your Pets from Heat Stroke

golden retriever puppy dog hugging british cat. isolated on whitYour pets are just as vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat stroke as their humans. You sweat to keep yourself from overheating.  But how do your four-legged friends keep their cool?

How Your Pets Sweat

Dogs and other pets don’t sweat through their skin and fur. Their sweat glands are located in their foot pads. They cool themselves through their paws and by panting through their noses and mouths. (Be sure you don’t muzzle your dog! They need to freely pant.)

It’s especially important to protect their paws, so avoid walking your dog on dangerously hot surfaces like sand (at the beach), concrete, or asphalt as they can severely burn their foot pads. Before taking your dog for a walk, place your hand or bare foot on the walking surface for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your pet! Opt for cool grass or shady areas.

Signs of Heat Stroke

Per veterinarians Drs. Foster and Smith, signs of heat stroke in dogs include:    Continue reading “Protect Your Pets from Heat Stroke”

Is Your Pet Allergy Linked to Heart Disease?

Pet allergiesYou finally give in to a family pet, but ever since you brought home Mr. Whiskers, your eyes are red and itchy, you’re sneezing and have a constant runny nose. You feel like you have a perpetual cold. Is being allergic to your pet a minor inconvenience or can it lead to something more serious?

How Prevalent Are Pet Allergies?

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), almost 62% of U.S. households have pets and more than 161 million of these pets are cats and dogs. Ten percent of pet owners are allergic to their pets and 25% of them decide to keep their pets.

Are You Allergic to Your Pet?

Some of the signs and symptoms of pet allergies include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives (hives on your face and chest are symptoms of a more severe allergy)
  • Skin reaction where your pet licks you
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Be aware that if you have asthma as well as a pet allergy, your symptoms could be especially serious.

What’s the Allergen?

If your pet causes any of the above allergic reactions or aggravates your asthma symptoms, your pet’s hair or fur is not to blame as many people seem to think. But keep in mind that pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens can collect in your pet’s hair and fur. The real culprits behind these allergic effects are the proteins found in your pet’s saliva, urine and dander (flakes of dead skin).

Dander, Dander Everywhere   

Continue reading “Is Your Pet Allergy Linked to Heart Disease?”

Feds Say Don’t Give Dogs a Bone

Here’s a bit of health news for pet owners.  The FDA said dogs should not be given bones of any kind.  According to a vet at the FDA, even large bones, like a ham or a roast, are unsafe.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones,” said Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA.  “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size.”

All bones can cause broken teeth, constipation, and mouth or tongue injuries.  Also, bones or bone fragments can get stuck in a dog’s esophagus or even its stomach, which might require surgery.  Worse yet, a real bone can cause a deadly bacterial infection of the abdomen, called peritonitis.  This happens when bone fragments poke holes in a dog’s stomach or intestines.