Archives for posts with tag: dangers

veterinary_cat_pool_wd

April showers are gone, and the sun’s rays are on.  Now is the time to enjoy some cat cuddles and romps with your dogs.  But make sure your pets stay healthy and safe during this season marked by pests and high temperatures.  Here are seven ways to safeguard your pets:

 

1 Cover the basics. Secure an up-to-date tag on your pet’s collar,
and make sure to use a leash when you head outdoors. Consult
your veterinarian for flea and tick control options, and always keep your
pet’s vaccinations current.
2 Be wary around water. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so
watch your pooch when you’re near the pool, beach, or lake. On
trips to the ocean, make sure your pets don’t drink the salt water—it
upsets their stomach, just like yours. And watch those currents; the best
paddling dog can struggle against a mean undertow.
3 Keep cool. Schedule walks in the early morning or evening;
dog paws hate hot pavement. You can also make dog exercise
sessions safe by stopping for drinks of fresh water and finding shady
spots for necessary panting breaks. Some pet owners also help prevent
overheating with short fur shaves for cats and dogs in the summer.
4 Watch for warning signs. Heat stroke is an issue for pets, too.
Be on the lookout for early symptoms: excessive panting and
drooling, bright red gums, weakness, and balance problems. As the
condition worsens, pets may experience labored breathing, lethargy,
and even seizures. If you see any of the above signs, get your pet to its
veterinarian immediately.
5 Safely see the sights. Taking your pets for a ride in the car or
minivan? Never leave them inside—windows up or down—on hot
days. Keep dogs’ heads in the car while driving; inner ear damage, lung
infections, and injury happen when man’s best friend sticks his head
out the window. Buckle up your dog with a harness or seat belt for
dogs, or a crate or carrier secured with a seat belt. And never let dogs
ride in the back of trucks. A crate in the truck bed keeps dogs from
bouncing out in an accident or being hit with debris on the road.
6 Party with prudence. Be wary of what your cats and dogs
can get into when you celebrate. Chocolate, raisins, and onions
can be bad for dogs and cats, and alcohol is also a no-no. If your pets
get anxious or fearful around fireworks or big crowds, keep them away
from the sparklers and concerts.
7 Protect against pests and poisons. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes,
and more seem to be everywhere in the summer, so consult with
your veterinarian on the best pest preventives to use for your and your
pets’ lifestyle. Also, keep your animals off areas sprayed with chemicals
or insecticides, and always store fertilizers and other poisonous substances out of their reach.

Courtesy of the ASPCA.

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kittens

Did you know that the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is just 3 to 5 years while indoor cats average 12 years.  This huge difference is a compelling reason for all cat parents to keep their feline friends indoors.  I think many people feel like it is natural for their cat to want to play and explore outdoors but the dangers far outweigh the benefits of letting your cat outdoors.  Here are some outdoor dangers you can avoid by keeping your cat indoors.

Cat Fight Wounds.  Cats are territorial by nature and when more than one cat has to share their territory this can lead to conflict. Besides bites and scratches, cat fights can result in abscess when a bite wound becomes infected.  Abscesses are painful and can be accompanied by a fever and many cats do not eat well.  Treatment requires a veterinarian and involves surgical drainage and antibiotics to fight the infection.

Viral infections.  Even worse, cat bites can transmit infections like feline leukemia virus (FeLV) feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Some of these diseases do not have effective vaccines and unfortunately there is no cure for any of them.

Parasites. Outdoor cats are more likely than indoor cats to become infected with internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms.

Cars.  Automobiles are one of the deadliest hazards to outdoor cats.  Most car injuries are fatal.  Those who survive usually have severe injuries that often require surgery.  Many people believe that their cat is smart enough to avoid being hit by a car, but even the most street-savvy cat can be a victim.  Cats can become distracted; they could be chasing after prey, or running from a dog, or pursuing another cat in play.  The fact is, all free roaming cats are at risk of being hit by a car.

Poisons.  Poisons are another very common danger facing cats.  Cats can be exposed to poisonous chemicals such as insecticides, rodenticides and fertilizers.  Pesticides are the most dangerous because they are sweetened or scented to attract pests and cats are often the unintended victims.  In any neighborhood cats can commonly come in contact with fertilizer, snail bait, ant bait, rat poison and fertilizer.

Wild Animals.  Predators have always been a threat to cats, but as suburbs expand and disturb natural habitats, encounters with native wildlife have increased.  In Western states, coyotes claim the lives of many cats.

Once your cat is outdoors, there is no way to protect them from all of these dangers.  As pet parents, it is our responsibility to care for them and protect them from harm.  Keep your cat out of unnecessary danger by keeping him safely indoors.