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 Hot Weather Tips


Hooray for Summer! With the summer months rapidly approaching, many pet owners are starting to plan their summer activities. Nothing is better than getting outside into the beautiful sunshine and basking in the warm weather. This is the time for long outdoor walks, barbeques, swimming, and fun gatherings in the park. Many of our local pets enjoy tagging along and enjoying the outdoor festivities, too. The wonderful human-animal bond between us and our pets is celebrated when family outings include walking the family dog, or bringing them along on swimming or camping trips. Even some adventurous house cats venture out onto the patio or garden during the sunny weather.

However, with the fun of being outside, there are certain considerations to remember to keep your dogs and cats safe during the warm summer months. Here are a few timely reminders:
Make sure your pet is fit and healthy for summer activities by scheduling a spring or early summer check-up with our veterinarians. Our doctors can tailor your pet’s vaccination and parasite control programs to fit their individual needs. If your pet is not microchipped, this would also be a great time to get that done so your pet is returned to you if he or she wanders off during that summer barbeque or camping trip.
Never leave your pet in the car! On a 78° day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100-120° in mere minutes. On a 90° day, the interior car temperature can reach as high as 160° in less than 10 minutes! Cracking or opening the car windows does very little to keep the car cool, especially if there is little to no breeze. Sadly, hundreds of animals die each year from being left in hot cars. Beating the heat is hard for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating only through their paw pads. For your pets’ safety, please leave them at home while you run errands. If you cannot leave your pet safely home alone, Alpine Animal Hospital offers day boarding (aka, doggy daycare) to keep your pet company while you are at work or running errands.
If you come across a dog in a hot car that has been left for more than a few moments, take down the car’s make, model, color, and license plate number. Have the owner paged via store intercom in the nearest businesses, and call the local police if the owner does not arrive within a couple of minutes, or immediately if the animal is in distress.
Provide plenty of fresh water. We all know how hot the Palouse can get in the summer months. If your pet is going to be spending any time outdoors, it is extremely important that they have access to fresh water. If you are taking your dog on a long walk, make sure to bring a water bottle and a travel bowl so they can rehydrate as needed. Outdoor cats need regular water sources, too. Environmental water sources often dry up in the hot months, making water scarce for roaming cats. Make sure to keep fresh, clean water available at all times.
Avoid allowing your pet to drink from puddles – keep your dog on a leash while walking, and bring a supply of clean water for them to drink. In the spring & summer, homeowners and businesses are applying fertilizers, pesticides, and weed treatments to lawns and gardens, which can run off with irrigation or rain and pose a toxin hazard to your pet. Also, more people are outside working on vehicles, changing car fluids, filling lawnmowers with gasoline, etc. It is common for puddles to be contaminated with harmful chemicals, or even harmful bacteria, which could make your pet very sick.
Help your dog build up his or her paw pad toughness by gradually building up to increasingly longer walks and runs. Dogs need a certain amount of callus to tolerate longer walks and runs on pavement. Too much activity right off the bat can result in painful blisters. Ouch!
Keep your pet on a leash. Your dog may be the friendliest pooch on the Palouse, but he still needs to be on a leash when you venture outdoors. Other dogs may not be as friendly, and if your dog runs up to them, then both dogs and their owners are at risk for fight-induced injuries. Besides protection from other dogs, leashes will ensure that your dog doesn’t run into traffic if he gets spooked or suddenly see an interesting cat/squirrel/bird/leaf/shadow that needs investigating. If you desire off-leash playtime with your pet, consider visiting one of our local dog parks. There is one in Pullman next to the Whitman County Humane Society, and one in Moscow adjacent to the Humane Society of the Palouse.
Equally as important as safely controlling dogs while walking, is protecting dogs while driving. Warmer weather welcomes driving with the car windows down, or allowing dogs to travel in the bed of pick-up trucks. Many dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, but abrupt stops, or sharp turns, and vehicle accidents can result in your pet sustaining major internal injury, broken bones, being thrown from the car, or worse. Pets travelling in cars or trucks should always be secured in a crate, a doggy seatbelt harness, or a tether in the truck bed. A short length of rope and a buckle to the collar is inexpensive, quick, easy, and life-saving.
Before you open your home’s windows to allow the breeze in, double-check that your windows have snug and sturdy screens across the opening. This will prevent your basking pet – especially cats, from jumping or falling through an unscreened window. “High-Rise Syndrome” can result in serious or fatal injuries, but is completely preventable with secure window screens.
Summer haircuts are great for long or thick-coated breeds of dog or cat. Feel free to trim longer hair, but do not shave completely. Keeping a layer of the coat actually can protect your pet from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than normal can help prevent health and skin problems caused by excessive heat.
Apply sunscreen. Yes, we really do mean apply sunscreen to your pet! The exposed tips of the ears, lips, and nose can get sunburned and are at risk for developing skin cancer. White dogs and thin-haired dogs are especially sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. So next time you apply sunscreen to yourself, don’t forget your furry friend! Be sure to use sunscreen specifically labelled for use on animals.
Ick, ticks! The beautiful Palouse is home to many species of wildlife…including several species of ticks, which are skin parasites that can bite your pet (or you!) for a blood meal, and potentially expose their host to harmful diseases and infections. It is common for dogs and cats to acquire ticks while out on walks, hiking, camping, or even just chasing a tennis ball into the tall grass next to the house. We recommend continual protection of your pet for the duration of tick season, which typically extends from March through August. Recommended products include safe and effective spot-ons, Frontline and Advantix, or newer chewable long-acting products such as Bravecto (one dose lasts for three months!). We do not recommend over-the-counter flea and tick products found at the local grocery or pet store. Unfortunately, these products contain harmful insecticides/pesticides that do not work well and can cause serious side effects. Call us today at (509) 332-6575 to ask about which products we recommend to keep your dog or cat free from hitchhiking parasites!
Prevent heat-related injuries. During the hot summer months, walk dogs only in the cooler morning or evening hours. Avoid walks (or any form of outdoor exercise) during the heat of the day, usually between 12pm – 7pm. Area streets, sidewalks and trails have very hot pavement that can easily burn your dog’s paws during a walk. Another common heat-related injury is heat stroke, which can occur when the body temperature increases to over 104°. Any animal can suffer from heatstroke, but old, ill, overweight, and snub-nose dogs (like pugs and bulldogs), along with animals suffering from heart or lung disease, are more prone to overheating in the summer months. Unlike humans, who sweat all over to keep cool, dogs can only sweat through their paws. This isn’t enough to keep their body temperature down. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, thick saliva, staring and/or incoordination, restlessness, refusing to obey, dry skin, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue, staggering, bloody diarrhea, and collapsing. If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke, call us at 332-6575 right away. In the meantime, pouring rubbing alcohol on the paw pads, spraying with a hose, placing towels soaked in cool water onto the fur, and letting your pet lick ice cubes, will help bring the body temperature down.


Have a great summer, enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and keep cool!
Take me to the river
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Contact Us

Phone: (509) 332-6575
Fax: (509) 334-4561
Email:
AlpineAnimalHospital@frontier.com
Hours
Mon 8am - 5:30pm
Tue 8am - 8pm
Wed - Fri  8am-5:30pm
Sat 8am - 4pm
Address

Alpine Animal Hospital
4853 SR 270
Pullman, WA 99163
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