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Dog Tip: Warm Weather, Lawn Care and Outdoor Safety Guide

By Robin Tierney

NOTE: The content on this website cannot be used in connection with any profit-seeking activity due to agreements with the writers, editors and sources contributing to the content. These articles may NOT be reproduced in any form without author permission. To contact the author, email Robin at Tierneydog@yahoo.com.


Contents:
Sun and Heat Exposure
In the Car
In the House
Yard Safety, Lawn Care, Fertilizing and Pest Control
Outdoor Plant Hazards
If Your Dog Ingested Poison
Walking Your Dog - Seasonal Precautions
Playing it Safe During Outdoor Activities
Frosty Treat for Dogs
More Seasonal Tips
Heat Stroke Prevention and Treatment
Water and Lead Risks
Related Webpages

Sun and Heat Exposure, and Skin and Fur Care:

* The sun's rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so when possible, plan walks and outings earlier or later.

* Dogs can get sunburn, which can lead to discomfort, skin damage and even skin cancer. Vets advise applying sunblock to sun-sensitive areas such as nose and ears, particularly during the high-sun times of the day and for pets with short fur and fair skin. To be effective, sunblock should be at least SPF 15, plus should be applied more than 15 minutes before sun exposure. Note: some experts recommend that zinc oxide not be used on pets. If your pet gets a sunburn, contact your veterinarian.

* For burns and other skin problems, you can bathe the pet in an oatmeal-type bath or with Aveeno. For hot spots, you can saturate a cotton ball with witch hazel and apply on hot spots for several days. You can seal in moisture with petroleum jelly. Aloe vera from plants and creams can help heal skin.

* Use good protection against ticks and fleas. Many people prefer topical solutions such as Frontline, but there are many choices. Consult your veterinarian before using such treatments on a sick, debilitated, very young or pregnant pet. Do not use dog products on cats and vice versa. FYI: dogs should be on monthly heartworm prevention medicine available from your vet. Also, instead of using all-in-one type medications, some of us prefer to use flea/tick meds only during months when ticks and fleas are problems.

* Bring ample water and a water bowl on long walks and car rides.

* You can keep a spray bottle of water handy for spritzing the dog's head and paws. However, do not spritz a dog's face if he is skittish or afraid of being sprayed.

* Avoid overexertion in hot weather. Seek out shaded places to exercise and avoid exercise when it is really hot. If your dog shows fatigue, take him home or to a cool, shaded area without delay. See the Heat Stroke section near the end of this tipsheet.

* Avoid hot asphalt and other surfaces that can burn your dog's footpads. Dogs perspire through their feet, so long periods on hot pavement reduce their ability to cool themselves.

* Do not leave dogs out in the sun for long periods, even in a safe yard. Whenever the dog is outside, make sure he has access to fresh, cool water in a nontippable bowl and shade.

* The heat tends to affect elderly, overweight and larger dogs more quickly.

* Long-haired dogs can overheat quicker than their short-haired counterparts.

* While short fur can be a benefit, avoid shaving your dog down to the skin. Fur protects dogs from sunburn and actually helps insulate them against high heat. It also makes it harder for bugs to bite their skin.

* Snub-nosed dogs, and those with heart, lung or other conditions, should be kept indoors, preferably with air-conditioning, as much as possible.

In the Car:

* Bring ample water and a water bowl.

* Never leave animals alone in cars in warm or hot weather. On a balmy day, the temperature inside a car can reach a lethal 107 degrees. Even with the windows rolled down, the car will heat up, plus the pet could escape or a passerby could bother the animal.

* If you must leave your car for a couple of minutes, leave the car where you can see it and leave it running with the fan on recycle/low and apply the emergency brake. By restraining the dog in a crate, behind a barrier or with a specially designed pet safety belt, he will not be able to reach the controls of your car. Have an extra key in your hand so you can lock the car.

* If you see a pet trapped in a hot car, contact the store or mall manager to make an announcement (if it's a retail area) and contact the nearest police or animal control department.

* For more tips and advice about car transport, car safety, carsickness and more, see the tipsheet at http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_CarSafety.php

In the House:

* At home, maintain a moderate temperature in your house and leave cool water for your pets.

* Nice weather inspires people to open their windows. However, avoid leaving windows and doors open, since a determined dog can easily tear through a screen. If you leave windows open for ventilation, have strong screens in place to prevent escapes and falls.

* If you use a flea fogger or spray, keep pets out of the house for the period indicated on the label. The same goes for any other type of pest control treatment done in and around your home.

* If flies are a problem, pyrethrin-based sprays and ointments are less toxic repellants.

* Try nonviolent techniques to remove insects from your home. If you're afraid to pick them up and place them outside, you can use the Bug Wand, a small, $15 battery-operated vacuum that's easy to use for all kinds of flying and crawling bugs. You can order it on the internet.

* Keep pets away from mouse, ant and roach bait and traps indoors and outside. Note: there are humane alternatives to traditional mouse traps.

* Many people are reducing their use of commercial cleaning products for the health of the human and pets in their homes. Instead, they use commonly available, simple ingredients often recommended in Hints from Heloise, including water, baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, club soda and cornstarch. Properly used and combined, these products can clean just about anything. In addition, the natural cleaning alternatives as well as pet mess-specific products such as Simple Solution typically work quite effectively for a wide range of cleaning needs. Some folks also keep ammonia and bleach in their arsenal. Never mix ammonia and bleach, since that combination is dangerously toxic.

* Many plants in homes and yards can be fatal to pets. Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, azaleas, oleander, castor beans, sago palms are among those that can lead to serious and even deadly illness in many pets.

* Pets can get their heads, limbs or tails trapped in the spokes of wheelchairs.

* Mothballs, potpourri oils, coffee grounds, grapes, raisins, homemade play dough, fabric softener sheets, dishwashing detergent, batteries, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, pens, space heaters and foot warmers are among many items that can be dangerous to your pet. For details about safety in the house, see the Household Safety Dog Tipsheet at http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HouseholdSafety.php

Yard Safety, Lawn Care, Fertilizing and Pest Control Avoiding Toxic Approaches that Endanger the Health of People and Pets:

* Use caution when purchasing lawn and garden products, always read the labels (even if you used a particular product in the past, since formulas often change), and consider switching to natural alternatives. Harmful herbicides are linked to cancer and other maladies in dogs and humans. In fact, recent studies indicate a link between the use of weedkillers (herbicides) and pesticides and rising cancer rates in children and dogs, Parkinson's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Also, fertilizer and weed killer runoff from yards and golf courses is an environmental, wildlife and public health hazard. Read about the less-toxic and nontoxic lawn and garden care alternatives in this section.

* Pet paws are often irritated by lawn and garden chemicals, and pets can get very ill from inhaling or ingesting chemicals. Chemicals are often ingested when the pet licks his paws and fur after a walk outside. Poison hotlines receive countless calls about pets getting sick after exposure to chemically treated lawns.

* Snail, slug and mouse baits can be deadly to pets. Ant and roach bait and traps are also hazardous. Metaldehyde, one of the poisonous ingredients in many baits, is often very appealing to dogs. Metaldehyde poisoning can cause increased heart rate, breathing complications and seizures, leading to liver complications and death. So keep dogs off treated lawns and wipe paws after each walk.

* If you use any potentially toxic substances such as lawn chemicals, post signs so that other pet owners are aware. Fence off treated lawns. Do not use lawn chemicals, pesticides, etc. on breezy or windy days.

* Keep pets away from treated areas until the treatments have dried completely. Watering the lawn after application of fertilizers and other lawn care products is necessary with many products. Watering before allowing pets or children on any treated lawn is typically a good idea because it can help break down the chemicals.

* Store lawn and other potentially poisonous products in areas inaccessible to your pets.

* Cocoa bean mulch is hazardous to pets. Its smell and taste is very appealing to them, yet it can be deadly because it contains theobromine. Avoid using it on lawns that pets can access.

Seek out nontoxic ways to maintain yards and gardens, thereby reducing risks to pets and children.

* Plan wisely. What are the risks disease, insects, foraging animals that your individual plantings actually face? Then look for natural resources to repel them. And remember that being natural does not guarantee the substance or product is safe. No matter what you use, choose and use it carefully...and avoid over-use.

* Slug control: metaldehyde products are poisonous, and poison many pets each year. Choose an alternative, such as products containing iron phosphate. Apply the products only to the base of plants that attract slugs. Another alternative: caffienated coffee kills slugs and weaker coffee can repel slugs.

* Neem oil, which some people use directly on their dogs to repel insects, is a vegetable oil extracted from the neem tree (which are renewable resources). You can use it in gardens to repel mosquitoes and mitces, and to kill some insects, mites and fungus, and is said to repel mosquitoes.

* Canola oil is a green, nontoxic way to control insects. Canola oil seems to repel insects by altering leaf surface as well as irritating the insects.

* Pyola is a fully organic product containing two natural insecticides, canola oil (which coats and kills eggs), and pyrethrin (an aster plant extract that kills larvae, nymphs and adults). Beware: it's very strong, so be sure to target it carefully.

* Corn gluten-based pre-emergent crabgrass and weed killer can be safely used around pets and children. However, they can kill grass seedling, so you wouldn't want to use them soon after you've seeded a lawn.

* Critters a problem? Spread products and mixtures containing castor oil can be used to repel moles, voles and other burrowing creatures. It works by altering the taste of grubs, worms and other food sources.

VoleBloc employs small particles of slate aggregate to form a physical barrier to between gnawing critters and the roots and stems you want to protect.

* Pet Friendly ANP now offers an all-natural, pet-safe fertilizer. For details, see www.petfriendlyfertilizer.com

* Here is a nontoxic, inexpensive weed-killer: To stop growth of weeds and grass between bricks, paving stones and stepping stones, pour or spray full-strength white vinegar directly on the weeds and grass. Also, vinegar can be scrubbed bricks as a cleaner. If you need a stronger vinegar to kill poison ivy and similar plants, use concentrated vinegar available at Asian grocery markets.

* Let clover grow with your grass in your yard to fix nitrogen in the soil, which will fertilize the grass. Some so-called weeds such as dandelions help the balance of ground cover in a yard.

* More safe methods to reduce insects in your yard. (1) From Hints from Heloise: make a solution of 1/2-cup of liquid dishwashing soap, 2 tablespoons of ammonia, and 5 to 7 cups of water. Use a bottle spray attachment with spray the solution to eliminate the insects. (2) If you plan to use a commercial product in your yard, first read the label to make sure it's safe for use around pets.

* Another natural repellent and a way to help keep pets away from potentially toxic plants: mix lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and spray the plants from time to time.

* You can use companion plantings to minimize insect problems and eliminate the need for pesticides. For example, some marigolds protect against nematodes, tansy repels fleas, and nasturtiums repel many bugs.

* To deter pets and other animals from entering your flower and plant beds, place wind chimes there. The sound helps repel them.

* By the way, to keep dogs out of your garden beds and other parts of your yard, create a separate place for dogs to play. Delineate with a decorative or plain fence of wood, iron or other material of your choice. For the surface, use wood chips, bark chips, leaves, ground rubber tires or other type of mulch.

* Grass recycling is a simple and natural approach to lawn care and a good alternative to chemical fertilization. Grass clippings are 75% to 85% water. When you mow regularly, grass clippings quickly decompose and release nutrients to fertilize the lawn. Proper mowing, watering and fertilizing of a lawn results in moderate turf growth, yet still produces a healthy green lawn. And since you don't have to bag your clippings, mowing time is reduced.

University of Florida studies among other have proven the great benefits to removing the bag from your lawn mower and dropping the clippings. The dry weight of grass clippings contains an estimated 3% nitrogen. That means 100 pounds of dry grass clippings contain about the same amount of nitrogen as a 50-pound bag of 6-6-6. Dropping your grass clippings returns valuable nutrients to the soil such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and manganese.

Dropping grass clippings does not contribute to thatch buildup. In fact, grass clipping contain sugars which stimulate microbes which help decompose thatch.

Grass recycling helps reduce fertilizer and water usage, which can protect local streams, rivers and the ocean from pollution, since runoff from yards and gardens can contain fertilizers and pesticides. Our nation could save more than 10% of our land fill space simply by not bagging our grass clippings.

* Many farmers and gardeners are using bioremediation, which involves spreading beneficial bacteria on the land. Find details at organic gardening centers and on the web.

* Lawn chemical report: Evidence shows that lawn chemicals are linked to development of cancer such as lymphosarcoma in dogs. To receive a report on lawn, garden and household chemcials hazardous to dogs, other pets and children, contact the Rachel Carson Council Inc., P.O. Box 10779, Silver Spring MD 20914.

Outdoor Plant Hazards:

* Try to keep dogs from ingesting a lot of grass. And if there's a chance that chemicals were applied to, or have blown onto, the grass, keep pets away from it.

* A number of plants can be poisonous and deadly to pets. For example, lily of the valley, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew and foxglove can affect the heart. Some lilies and rhubarb leaves can lead to kidney failure. At the end of this tipsheet are a list of online guides to potentially poisonous plants.

* Some mushroom species and cycads (such as Sago palms) can cause liver failure. Heavy rains have led to mushroom growth and an increase in poisonings in dogs this season, so rid mushrooms from your yard and watch out for them on walks.

* Beware of fungus growth. There is risk of blastomycosis, which can lead to pneumonia-like symptoms and potentially fatal organ damage in dogs. Blastomycosis thrives as mold spores in soil.

If Your Pet Possibly Ingested Poison:

* If you think your pet has ingested poison, go to a vet immediately. A source for emergency guidance is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.

Nontoxic, Non-Prescription Anxiety Relief:

* Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence available in most health food stores, is a natural stress reliever that many folks keep on hand at home and in travel kits. It can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue, chocolate ingestion and irritation. Put a few drops in the dog's water bowl or portable water container. For stressed or injured animals, rub a drop on their ear or put a drop on the towel in their crate or carrier. Flower essences are free of harmful effects and can be used along with conventional medicines. Another safe, nontoxic Rescue Remedy-like product is Animal Emergency Trauma Solution, available from www.greenhopeessences.com, where you can also get Flee Free to combat fleas nontoxically. Other flower essence sources include anaflora.com and perelandra-ltd.com.

* When traveling, bring along Rescue Remedy with you. And use it to help prevent travel sickness: a common dosage is four drops in the mouth ten hours before the trip, repeating every four hours as needed. To reduce stress, rub a drop on the ear or put a drop on the towel in the dog's crate or carrier.

Other Yard Safety Alerts:

* To avoid exposure to outdoor hazards, keep pets indoors when unsupervised, secure window and door screens, and hold tight to dog leashes outdoors.

* Block access to air conditioning unit and puddles from fluids coming from air conditioners.

* Keep grass mowed, weeds pulled and bushes trimmed to help eliminate hiding places used by ticks and other pests.

* A good, fairly safe way to keep mosquitoes away is to spray your yard weekly with Simple Green, available at home and garden stores.

* Beware of lawn ornaments, which can be a choking hazard for pets.

* If flies are a problem, pyrethrin-based sprays and ointments are less toxic repellants.

* Use hoses with caution. When being filled with water, some hoses can suddenly unwind and hit a nearby person or pet. Also, there have been reports of toxic substances transferred by hoses. To be on the safe side, fill water bowls using your indoor water supply instead of a garden hose.

* Do not leave dogs unattended in yards with metal training or choke collars. The rings can easily get caught on something and cause choking.

* It is not a good idea to leave dogs unattended in yards at all, as it puts them at risk of becoming a barking nuisance to your neighbors ... getting in a fight with a wandering animal ... growling through the fence at passersby ... and being a target of pranks, teasing, rock-throwing, poisoning and pet theft.

* When outdoors, provide your dog with plenty of shade and access to clean, fresh water in a container that he cannot tip over.

* Dogs sometimes drink water collected in pans under potted plants (indoor and outdoor) so remember to dump the water or block access.

* Decks and balconies: see the Dog Tipsheet on avoiding hazards from dehydration and strangulation to arsenic poisoning.

* Cicadas: The Humane Society of the United States warns that eating these red-eyed bugs can make pets sick. Cicadas look like fun chase-toys and snacks to dogs, and unfortunately, dogs do not understand the concept of eating in moderation. Although such insects are protein-rich, their exoskeletons are indigestible. Eating a few will not hurt most pets. But eating too many can overload an animal's digestive tract with chitin, the hard substance which forms insect shells, leading to vomiting and constipation. If a pet vomit more than twice, or appears to be in pain, contact your veterinarian.

Walking Your Dog Seasonal Safety Precautions:

* Bring ample water and a water bowl. Choices include collapsible bowls, bottles with conveniently attached trays, and more.

* Avoid hot asphalt and other surfaces that can burn your dog's footpads. Walk during the cooler times of the day.

* Watch for puddles, and do not let pets drink from them. Antifreeze, coolants and parasites are threats year-round. Animals are attracted to the taste, but ingesting even a small amount can cause severe illness and death. Products using propylene glycol are safer than those containing ethylene glycol.

* Do not walk dogs near grass and flower beds that may have been chemically treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. Pet paws are irritated by chemicals, and pets can get critically ill from inhaling or ingesting chemicals. Chemicals are often ingested are when the pet licks his paws and fur after a walk outside.

* The wind can carry poisonous metaldehyde dust from snail and slug bait onto lawns and park areas where your dog may walk. The dogs walk through the bait, then lick their feet and ingest the poison. It's wise to wipe paws after each walk.

* After each walk in public areas or even around your neighborhood, be sure to have your dog walk through a pan of clean water to rinse his paws. Then, dry his feet with a towel. This simple measure could save your pet's life, since otherwise a dog could lick his paws and ingest poison.

* Check paw pads and between the toes for burrs, thistles, ticks and other injurious things during and after hikes. A good ointment to use is Bag Balm. Also check the dog's nostrils, in and behind the ears, in the armpits, and around the tail and head. Carry a flea comb to help check furry areas. If you find a tick, remove using tweezers and grasp close to the pet's skin ... try to avoid leaving the tick's head embedded in the skin. Rub the spot with rubbing alcohol.

* Some people use mothballs and other substances on lawns that are toxic to pets. Mushrooms, prevalent after rainy weather, can be toxic. Do not let your pet lick or eat stuff on the ground.

* Letting a dog romp off-leash in an unfenced area can lead to injury, accidents, lost pets, dog bites and other sad but avoidable situations. Even among those people who spend a lot of time training their dogs, few have airtight recall that works even in the midst of outdoor distractions. Please keep dogs on-leash when not in a fully and safely fenced yard.

* Antifreeze alert: many hotel fountains and public fountains contain antifreeze.

Playing It Safe During Outdoor Activities:

* Bring ample water and a water bowl. Choices include collapsible bowls, bottles with conveniently attached trays, and more.

* Bring some food, and especially some highly tasty treats. They will be useful if you need to immediately get the attention of your dog when outdoors.

* Make sure your dog is wearing a well-fitted collar and current I.D. with a phone number for reaching you, including a cell phone if you have one. If you are traveling, get a tag displaying your temporary lodging and cell phone number.

* If you use a flea collar, remove the flea collar before letting a dog enter water, since wet flea collars can irritate the skin, and the active ingredients will wash off.

* If you take your dog to the beach, rinse sand and saltwater off when you finish your walk. Be aware that fleas tend to be more prevalent at the beach.

* When taking pets to the beach, avoid subjecting them to toxins from dead fish or pollutants.

* If your pet goes swimming, rinse her afterwards with fresh water to remove chlorine or salt, and dry the ears completely to prevent ear infections. Keep dogs away from blue-green algae, which is extremely toxic.

* Before taking your dog on hikes, gradually introduce her to hiking, working up to longer walks. Be conscious of the temperature of the pavement that paws will be touching.

* When hiking on trails or walking through parks, keep watch for piles of feces, whether from other dogs or wildlife. Animal feces carry germs and parasites.

* Letting a dog wander off-leash can lead to injury, accidents, getting lost, dog bites and other sad but avoidable situations. Even among those people who spend a lot of time training their dogs, few have airtight recall that works even in the midst of outdoor distractions. Please keep dogs on-leash when not in a fully and safely fenced yard.

* Check and rinse off dogs after hikes. Pay special attention to cleaning their ears and around their paw pads and toes. Also check eyes and nostrils.

* Keep pets away from fishing gear. Dogs are attracted to the flies, lures and hooks in tackle boxes and may get injured or swallow one. Cats may get caught up in or swallow the fishing line, especially if it smells like fish. Keep fishing supplies out of reach of pets.

* For tips for removing foreign objects from skin, paws, eyes and ears, and for removing tar and paint from fur, see http://www.kolias.com/homegarden/dogfirstaid.htm

* To clean off pine sap or tar, try Dawn dishwashing liquid, or petroleum jelly to soften and follow with washing with baby shampoo.

* To give your pet a waterless bath, sprinkle on baking soda and brush off the excess.

* Drowning: if a pet is in danger of drowning, see the Drowning section of the Hiking, Camping, Swimming Dog Tipsheet at http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Hiking.php.
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Hiking.php#s1

Cool Treat for Canines:

Treat your best friend to a Frosty Paws. Here's the recipe from Sheryl Katzman:

1 8oz cup of yogurt (plain or flavored, but avoid sugary varieties)
1 banana
1 or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
2 cups of cold water

Mix all ingredients in blender, pour the mixture into 2 ice cube trays, then freeze. Feed your dog 5 or 6 cubes in his or her bowl.

More Seasonal Tips:

* Be careful about using molded plastic pet carriers in hot weather. The heat inside may build up to dangerous levels.

* Brush your dog vigorously and regularly. After being inside in dry air during the colder months, a dog's fur and skin can become dry. In addition, many dogs grow an undercoat that you'll need to comb out in warmer weather. If the fur gets matted, the skin cannot breathe. Then the dog will scratch and pull out fur, which can result in sores.

* Be sure your pet always wears a properly fitted collar and ID tag with accurate contact information, including your phone number, cell phone number and address. When you travel, make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag with the proper temporary contact information.

* Check the fit of your pet's collar periodically. It may be getting tight if the pet is still growing ... or could get loose over time, and thus be at risk of being pulled off.

* KeepSafe Break-Away Collar by Premier: designed to prevent strangulation from collars getting hooked on fences, railings, deck boards, crates, vents, knobs and cabinet hardware, or when two dogs get tangled when playing. It has a special safety buckle that is reusable after release. The collar also has an override feature so the collar may be used to securely walk dogs on leash. www.keepsafecollar.com or call 888-640-8840.

* When traveling with your pet, make sure you bring along water for the ride. Allow time for stops so your dog can relieve itself. Don't let pets stick their heads out windows, since serious injury can occur if dirt flies in their eyes or something hits them in the head. Also, a pet can squeeze out of an open window and even jump from a speeding car or truck.

* When taking your pet along to visit friends and relatives, take things from your home that will comfort your pet. Crates are ideal for containing and comforting your pet as well as making your host feel more secure. The crate gives your companion animal a nice, quiet place to rest and calm down. Bring along favorite chewies, toys, pet bedding and non-tippable water container.

* Festivals and other outdoor events are usually not so fun for dogs. That's one reason why dog bite incidents rise in warm weather months. Heat also can affect human and canine tempers. So it is usually best to avoid taking your dog to crowded places.

* Keep the garage off-limits. Pets may lick up poisonous gas or antifreeze, or step on debris. Plus exposure to cement floors in garages and basements can lead to health problems.

* Keep first aid kits accessible in both your home and in your car. To see what to keep in your first aid kits, see
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_FirstAid.php

* If you see dog or cat suffering in the heat, left outside without adequate fresh water, shade or shelter, or being treated cruelly, please speak to the owner for the welfare of the pet. If the owner will not act responsibly or humanely, call your local Humane Society, SPCA and animal control department without delay.

Heat Stroke Prevention and Treatment:

To protect your pet from heat stroke, review the tips above. Heat stroke can be brought on by activity as well as confinement outside in the heat, and the effects can be devastating. First, be aware of the signs of heat stroke:

* Excessive panting
* Labored breathing that may signal upper airway obstruction
* Bright red mucous membranes in the gums or eyes and/or bright red tongue
* Lethargy and weakness
* High body temperature
* Collapsing and seizures, even coma

If you notice any of these signs, get your pet inside and place a cool, wet towel over him or submerge him in cool water. Do not use ice, which can damage skin.

Take your pet's temperature using a rectal thermometer. Normal body temperature in dogs and cats is higher than in humans -- 100.5 to 102.5 F as compared to 98.6 F. If the animal's temperature exceeds 105 F, get medical attention at once.

FYI, dogs cool themselves by panting; this draws air over the moist membranes of the nose and tongue and cools by evaporation. But panting works only for short periods. Prolonged panting endangers the metabolic system. In addition, high humidity interferes with the ability of panting to cool the body.

Water and Lead Risks:

Reports about water in Washington, D.C. have indicated that drinking water rarely leads to lead poisoning. However, young animals tend to absorb such toxic substances more quickly in their developing bodies. If there are reports of lead or other toxic substances in your household water, the safest route is to give pets bottled or filtered water.

Another good practice is to never use water from the hot water tap for drinking. Also, run the cold water a few seconds before filling the water bowl. Unfortunately, this does waste water, which is a limited resource. Again, bottled or filtered water may be the best choice all-around.

The warning signals of lead poisoning include: lethargy and fatigue, seizures, pressing his head against a wall or floor, vomiting, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, uncoordination, major constipation, loss of vision and frantic behavior. These can also be signs of other types of poisoning. Immediately contact your vet upon noticing such signs. If you suspect lead poisoning, have your vet conduct a blood test. X-rays can show whether the animal swallowed an object.

Keep a First Aid Kit at Home and in Your Car:

* Keep a pet first aid safety kit on hand at home and when you travel. The kit should include an animal first aid book, hydrogen peroxide 3% USP, rubbing alcohol, adhesive tape, cotton balls, sterile gauze pads, petroleum jelly, Bag Balm for paw pads, turkey baster or bulb syringe for administering medications, saline eye solution to flush out eye contaminants, artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing, grease-cutting dishwashing liquid such as Dawn for bathing (to help safely remove oils and other matter), rubber gloves, tweezers and/or forceps to remove stingers and tips, a muzzle (in case the animal is excited or in pain), material such as gauze that you can use to muzzle a dog or to stabilize an injured joint or limb, rectal thermometer, towels, scissors, sterile needle to remove splinters and tick heads, activated charcoal tablets (when away from a clean water supply), a can of soft pet food, phone numbers for your vet and the closest emergency vet hospital. Pack a sock or dog booties in case a paw is injured, and a disposable razor in case you need to shave fur from around a wound. It helps to have a pet crate or carrier, which is also a safe way to transport a pet in any situation.

Related Webpages:

Safety in the House and Yard
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HouseholdSafety.php
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_WarmWeatherSafetyTips.php

Decks and Balconies - Avoiding Hazards from Falling to Arsenic Poisoning
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Decks.php

Safer Alternatives to Household and Yard Products
http://www.rainyday.net/cbc/products.shtml
http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/outdoors/188
http://www.beyondpesticides.org
http://www.petfriendlyfertilizer.com

Garden Tips for Dog People
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_garden.php

First Aid Kit and Guidance
Keep a Pet First Aid Kit in your home and car, and take your car kit when you travel. This webpage lists items to include:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_FirstAid.php http://www.healthypet.com/Library/petcare-36.html
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=SRC&S=1&SourceID=20
http://www.kolias.com/homegarden/dogfirstaid.htm
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/firstaid.html (Feline First Aid)
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Hiking.php#s1

CPR and Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation
Print these life-saving brochures to have on hand!
http://members.aol.com/henryhbk/acpr.html
http://www.rescuecritters.com/cpr.html

Poison Emergency 24-Hour Hotlines
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
1-888-4-ANI-HELP or 1-888-426-4435
National Animal Poison Control Center
1-800-548-2423

Plants Poisonous to Pets
http://www.aspca.org/site/FrameSet?style=User&url=http://www.aspca.org/toxicplants/M01947.htm
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/index.html
http://www.uexplore.com/health/poisonplants.htm

Poison Proof Your Home
http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=apcc_poisonsafe
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/dogs/ten_tips.html
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Poison.html
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_SafetyAlerts.html

Pets in Hot Cars
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HotCars.html

Hiking, Camping and Swimming with your Dog
Plus How to Help a Drowning Dog
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Hiking.php

Car Trips and Car Safety
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_CarSafety.php

Travel with Pets -- Packing, Preparation and Other Trip Tips
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Travel.php

Hotels, Motels, Lodging with Pets
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Lodging.php

Locate a Nearby Animal Hospital When You Travel
http://www.healthypet.com/hospital_search.aspx

Petsitters and Boarding Kennels
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Petsitter.php

Remedies for Insect Stings and Bites, Hot Spots and other Skin Conditions
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_InsectBites.php

Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes - Prevention and Treatment
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_InsectPrevention.php

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For more of Robin's Dog Tips, see the index at  www.paw-rescue.org

Partnership for Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768

Last Updated: June 23, 2013 (LET) PawSupport