Summer Maltese Care
When the lazy days of barbecues and
swimming pools roll around, you can make them even better by sharing them with
your favorite pet. By following a few summer pet safety tips, you can keep your
animal friends healthy and enjoy the months of sun and fun.
Never leave your
pet in the car. Though it may seem cool
outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees
Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down. If you
need to run some errands, leave the furry ones at home.
As you're outside enjoying the warm weather,
keep your pet leashed.
It will keep her from getting lost, fighting other animals, and eating and
drinking things that could make her sick. This tip isn't just for dogs--even
cats can learn to walk on a leash if you train them.
everywhere. Whether you're indoors or out,
both you and your pet need access to lots of fresh water during the summer,
so check her water bowl several times a day to be sure it's full. If you and
your furry friend venture forth for the afternoon, bring plenty of water for
both of you.
Pets need sunscreen
too. Though all that fur helps protect her,
your pet can get sunburned, particularly if she has light skin and hair.
Sunburn in animals can cause problems similar to those it can cause in
people, including pain, peeling, and skin cancer. So keep your pet out of
the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and when you do go out, rub a bit of
sunblock on unprotected areas like the tips of her ears, the skin around her
lips, and the tip of her nose.
Say no to tangles.
Keeping your pet well groomed will help her hair do what it was designed to
do: protect her from the sun and insulate her from the heat. If she has
extremely thick hair or a lot of mats and tangles, her fur may trap too much
heat, so you may want to clip her.
Watch out for
antifreeze. Hot weather may tempt your pet
to drink from puddles in the street, which can contain antifreeze and other
chemicals. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like, but it's
extremely toxic. When you're walking your pet, make sure she doesn't sneak a
drink from the street.
Be cautious on
humid days. Humidity interferes with
animals' ability to rid themselves of excess body heat. When we overheat we
sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Our
four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to
cool the body. To rid themselves of excess heat, animals pant. Air moves
through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body. As it
is expelled through the mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. Although
this is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in
areas of high humidity or when the animal is in close quarters.
Make sure your pet
doesn't overexert herself. Though exercise
is an important part of keeping your dog or cat at a healthy weight, which
helps her body stay cool, overdoing it can cause her to overheat. Keep the
walks to a gentle pace and make sure she has plenty of water. If she's
panting a lot or seems exhausted, it's time to stop.
Take it easy on
pets that can't deal with the heat.
Elderly, very young, and ill animals have a hard time regulating their body
temperature, so make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on steamy summer
days. Dogs with snub noses, such as Pekingese, pugs, and bulldogs, have a
hard time staying cool because they can't pant efficiently, so they also
need to stay out of the heat. Overweight dogs are also more prone to
overheating, because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which
traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities.
Bring them inside.
Animals shouldn't be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in
the shade. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and pets can become ill
quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you
must leave your pet in the backyard, keep a close eye on her and bring her
in when you can.
Keep an eye out for
heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical
emergency. If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, you must act quickly and
calmly. Have someone call a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, lower
the animal's body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the
hairless areas of the body. Often the pet will respond after only a few
minutes of cooling, only to falter again with his temperature soaring back
up or falling to well below what is normal. With this in mind, remember that
it is imperative to get the animal to a veterinarian immediately.
Once your pet is in the veterinarian's care, treatment may include further
cooling techniques, intravenous fluid therapy to counter shock, or
medication to prevent or reverse brain damage.
Even with emergency treatment, heatstroke can be fatal. The
best cure is prevention, and Fido and Fluffy are relying on you to keep them out
of harm's way. Summer does not have to be fraught with peril--with ample
precaution, both you and your furry friends can enjoy those long, hot dog-days
Signs of Heatstroke
Refusal to obey commands
Warm, dry skin