Animal Tips

Hot weather tips

  • A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Ask your vet to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. Even if the windows are open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace in no time.
  • Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
  • The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.
  • When the temperature is very high, do not let your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
  • Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather.
  • When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals.
  • Never shave a dog down to the skin; this robs him or her of protection from the sun, which prevents overheating.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
  • During a backyard barbecue, always keep matches, lighter fluid and citronella candles out of pets reach.
  • Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.
  • Stay alert for signs of overheating in pets, which includes excessive panting, drooling and mild weakness, along with an elevated body temperature.
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool.

Dog bite prevention

  • Do not stare into a dog's eyes.
  • Do not tease a dog or any animal.
  • Do not go near dogs chained up in yards.
  • Do not touch a dog you see loose outside.
  • If you see a loose dog, tell an adult.
  • Do not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
  • Do not touch a dog while he or she is sleeping.
  • Only pet a dog with permission from its owner.
  • If a dog barks or growls at you, slowly back away. Don't look straight into his eyes; he considers that a threat.
  • If a dog chases you, stand perfectly still, like a tree. If he knocks you down curl up on your side and lie still, like a dog or lie on the ground like a log with your hands over the back of you neck. Dogs like to chase moving objects. If you stop, so will they. They'll usually just sniff you and walk off.
  • If a dog bites you, get an adult. Wash your skin with warm, soapy water for 10 minutes. Then notify your doctor and animal control.

Traveling with your pet in the car

  • Keep your pet safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. It should be big enough for your pet to be able to stand up, lie down and turn around comfortably. It is a good idea to start your pet out with small trips around town to get them used to the carrier before going on a longer road trip. By lengthening the trip each time you have your pet in the car, they should hopefully be a lot more comfortable and less stressed by the time you take them on a long trip with you.
  • You should feed your pet a small meal about 3 to 4 hours before you leave for your trip. Don't feed your pet in a moving vehicle, even if it is a long drive.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. On a hot day the inside of a car can heat up very quickly, even with the windows cracked. This can cause your pet to develop heat stroke.
  • Pack a traveling kit for your pet. You should have proof of vaccinations (especially proof of rabies vaccination), food and water bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, any medications that your pet is on and a favorite toy or pillow to help make your pet more comfortable.
  • It is best to use bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs for your pet. Using water from rest stops and different places that your pet isn't used to can cause your dog to have an upset stomach.
  • Make sure your pet has a collar with an ID tag on it and also any county or city tags that are required for where you live. The ID tag should have your home address on it and also a cell phone number and a phone number of where you will be staying.

Being a responsible cat owner

Most, if not all communities, require each cat in a household to be registered and some of them have limits on the number of cats one household can own (check with your local animal control if you are not certain of these limits).

Keeping your cat indoors avoids potential problems with you neighbors and it also protects your cat from being hit by a car, encounters with unfriendly dogs, attacks by other animals, parasites, poisoning, disease and other outdoor hazards.

Cats who are allowed to roam may damage neighbors gardens or use planters as litter boxes.

Spaying and neutering your cats will potentially make them better neighbors. Spaying eliminates the problem of a female in heat who attracts male cats and neutering your male cat will eliminate his urge to roam and spray, which can be very unpleasant because of the odor.

Cat scratching and spraying

Scratching and spraying can both be very undesirable traits in your cat. Scratching is done for a number of reasons from marking territory to having it just plain feel nice. Spraying is usually done just to mark territory.

Scratching

  • Scratching is a natural instinct in cats to mark their territory and establish their own space. Cats mark their territory by doing more than simply shredding your favorite armchair or coffee table leg. They are also leaving their scent with the glands that cats have in their paws.
  • Scratching acts as a form of kitty exercise by stretching and pulling the muscles in the front part of a cat's body. It is also important for good nail health and growth. It helps to shed the dead outer layers of the old nail.

Now that you know why cats scratch, here are some helpful hints on trying to redirect it from your furniture:

  • If your cat has already scratched something in your house, try putting plastic over the object and place a scratching post next to it.
  • Use positive reinforcement, like petting and praising her when your cat does use the scratching posts that you provided.
  • If you catch your cat scratching on something you don't want them to, try using a quick squirt of water and a firm no.
  • If your cat is reluctant to use the scratching pad or post, try covering it with catnip.
  • Keep your cats nails trimmed on a regular basis.

Spraying

Spraying is another way for cats to mark their territory. This is a trait mainly found in male cats but females will also mark when they are in heat. Spaying or neutering your cat is the best way to correct this problem, especially if you get them altered before they reach sexual maturity, which is usually when they six months old. If this does not help, check with your vet to make sure there are no other health problems going on.