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Posts tagged ‘Celebration Veterinary Hospital pet tips’

Beating the Summer Heat

ID-10076706Recently we’ve been asked about the safety of putting ice cubes in a pet’s water dish. This is perfectly fine, there is no danger to your pet if you put ice cubes in their water dish. Because of the misinformation we believe that more information needs to get out for our pet’s health and safety.

Hot days are hard on people and animals alike. Becoming overheated can be dangerous for pets because they are covered in fur and don’t ventilate the same way that humans do. This makes them susceptible to heat stroke and hyperthermia.

Living in a tropical climate like we do in Florida means that you need to take precautions for your pet all year round. The following are tips for keeping pets cool on those especially hot days.

1. Do not lock your pet in your vehicle. If you have to take your pet with you in the car, whatever you do, do not leave them in the car. The vehicle’s inside temperature will double in the heat of the sun. So if it’s 80° outside, then the inside temperature of the car will be 160°.

Every year pet’s die in their owner’s vehicles because they were left inside the car while their owner was out running errands. This is 100% avoidable, so if you have to take your pet with you, that means they need to get out of the car and brought along the entire time your out.

It’s better to clean up any potential mess you might find at home versus bringing your pet along and locking them in your vehicle only to suffer in the heat.

2. Reduce exercise during extreme heat. From 10am-2pm is the hottest part of the day, during a heat wave this time can be even longer. During these intensely hot days you should limit outdoor exposure, or just wait for another day to walk your dog or let your pet out.

Dog’s paws are sensitive to heat, which is another reason you may want to hold off on those walks. The hot pavement can hurt your dog’s paws, so if you need to go for a walk try to stay off side walks and roads.

If you have to go for a walk with your pet make sure to take frequent breaks in the shade, and bring plenty of water for yourself and your pet. You might even consider going for a shorter walk than normal.

There are a variety of accessories you can buy to help keep your dog cool, such as hats, bandanas, and special sun screen to stop sun burns on dog’s with shorter hair.

3. Give your pet plenty of water. During those hot days make sure your pet is well hydrated. You can even give them water with ice cubes in it. There is no danger of bloat as you may have heard. Bloat only occurs when an animal drinks too much water, with or without ice.

In the extreme heat your pet needs to be well hydrated, so they will need more water than usual, and if you can keep their water cool, even better! You might even want to freeze some treats to help them beat the heat. Cats enjoy chasing and eating ice cubes on hot days.

You can even cool your pet down by wrapping them in towels or light blankets that have been soaked in cold water. If your pet doesn’t find a bath stressful, you should give them a cool bath. You can even mist your pet with cool water to help keep the heat at bay.

4. Have your pet groomed. Having their excess hair brushed away, or having their hair cut will help keep your pet cool. You can even take a cloth soaked in cold water and rubbing alcohol and rub it over their ears to help cool their body down.

5. Provide a cool place for your pet inside and outside. If you have central air in you home then that’s the best place for your pet to be. If you don’t have central air then make sure your pet has a cool dark place to relax.

You pet needs a break from the heat, whether it’s in the shade outside, or in the house. Make your pet a comfortable place to relax where it’s cool. You can even dig a hole for your dog to lay in and keep cool.

During the heat do what you can to keep your pet cool. These suggestions are your best ways to keep your pet refreshed. Don’t rely on a fan to keep your pet cool, because a fan might work for you, but it won’t for your pet. Always keep an eye on your pet in the heat to make sure that they have plenty of water, are resting and relaxing, and generally staying cool.

Pet Turtles

ID-10017525Turtles are fascinating animals and can make great pets for someone who is willing and able to spend a tremendous amount of time and care on this docile species. These wonderful creatures have roamed the earth for more than 200 million years, meaning turtle ancestors lived amongst the dinosaurs. When given the right amount of care, turtles can even outlive human beings, so if you think you want to get a pet turtle, here is some important information you should know first.

In the USA it is illegal to sell a turtle that is less than 4 inches long. If you are buying a baby turtle because it looks cute, know that you will be doing so illegally. Turtles are classified as an exotic animal, which means you will have to check with your local and state regulations on what kind of turtle you can own and how it is to be kept in your home.

Because turtles carry salmonella you should not own one if you have children in the house younger than 5 years old, there is someone whose health is compromised due to illness, or if there is an elderly person living with you. These people are the most at risk for salmonella related illness that can cause severe illness and even death. Salmonella is dangerous because it sticks to surfaces, therefore when cleaning the turtles environment you will need to take care to ensure that you as well as the turtle are protected from cross contamination.

Still interested in getting a turtle? Here are some tips to choosing a turtle. First step is knowing the difference between a turtle and a tortoise. Turtles spend most of their time in the water, have webbed feet and tend to be omnivores. Tortoises live on land have stumpy feet like those of an elephant and are herbivores. There are many different kinds of turtles and tortoises available for purchase, but finding the right one depends on your ability to create an environment inside a tank or in your backyard that has all the elements a turtle or tortoise needs to be healthy and live long. This means you must research the breed you are interested in and decide if you are able to properly care for that type of turtle.

Common turtle environments include a pond with a log or rocks for sun bathing, a sun lamp, and a dry area where the turtle can come out of the water to get some exercise. It is suggested that prospective turtle owners buy a tank that is no smaller than 40 gallons. When putting bedding in the tank you should not use wood chips or bedding because the turtle can eat them and become ill, not to mention that the bedding is hard to clean and can encourage bacteria to grow inside the tank. Many turtle owners try to recreate the exact environment that the turtle would live in if it were wild. If you’re keeping your turtle in a tank make sure that the tank is kept at 80 degrees fahrenheit during the day and no colder than 70 degrees fahrenheit at night.

When adding water to the tank or the pond make sure to conduct a Ph balance test to ensure that the turtle isn’t being exposed to acidic water or water fused with fluoride and chlorine. However, you can clean tap water by using chlorine, but you must let the water and chlorine sit for 24 hours before it will be safe to use inside the turtle tank. It is recommended that you add partial new water to the tank every week and clean the tank thoroughly every 2-3 weeks. When preparing to clean the tank ensure that you have a safe place to hold your turtle while you clean, this environment should not be used for anything else other than holding your turtle. To clean the water in the tank in-between tank cleanings take a fish net and scoop out any uneaten food or waste to stop the water from becoming contaminated. You may need to do this daily as turtles eat in the water. A water filter can help you to keep the water clean and healthy.

You should feed your turtle a mixture of vegetables, fruits, bugs, and mosquito larvae. This mixture ensures that your turtle is getting all the nutrients he requires form his diet. Juvenile turtles require a strict diet of bugs and larvae until they mature into omnivores. Also make sure that any plants you place inside the tank are turtle friendly, because the turtles will munch on them and anything poisonous will kill you pet.

For more information about turtles you can consult the Humane Society website, or find a group of turtle enthusiasts to learn from. If you have a pet turtle and decide you don’t want to keep it anymore, do not release it into the wild, instead list it for sale and make sure it goes to a good owner. Releasing turtles into the wild is illegal and dangerous. Before purchasing a turtle make sure that you are able to make the commitment that a turtle needs.