Monday, July 18, 2011

Top Summer Traumas for Pets and how to Weather Them


Home Again Newsletter

There are so many things to love about summer. Parades down Main Street, fireworks filling the night sky and camping beneath the stars, just to name a few. But while these warm-weather attractions might be fun for us humans, they can be frightening and even dangerous for pets. Here are a few tips on how to help your pet enjoy summertime festivities as much as you do.

Things that go BANG!

Fireworks can be so upsetting for pets that more dogs and cats run away from home on the 4th of July than any other holiday. It’s one of the most important times of year to make sure your pet is safe and secure. The Associated Humane Society offers these recommendations for helping Fido or Fluffy stay put during fireworks celebrations:

Take your pet out for a walk before fireworks begin to exercise, relax and go “potty.”
Keep him inside during fireworks with the windows securely closed. He may even feel most comfortable in a small interior room. Be sure to remove any items that your pet could destroy, or that would be harmful if chewed or ingested.

Make sure your pet is microchipped and that your information is up to date.

If your pet is extremely sensitive to loud noises, talk to your vet before the holiday weekend. He or she will offer ways to help alleviate your pet’s fear and anxiety.

Stormy weather

Summertime is thunderstorm seaso
n. For sensitive pets, storms can be terrifying. Whether they are scared of the light, the noise, the smells, or even the change in barometric pressure, a storm can set off a series of behaviors that can be dangerous for your phobic pet. Some pets may shake, drool, howl, bark and even lose bladder and bowel control.

Teach Fluffy that storms don’t have to be scary. Move her to a windowless room or a basement where her exposure to the storm will be reduced, or distract her by playing a game with one of her favorite toys. You can even reserve special toys or treats for use only during a storm, so that your pet associates the frightening stimulus with a positive behavior. If thunder is the biggest issue, you could also consider investing in a white noise machine or turning on a bathroom fan to drown out some of the boom.

Tent city

There’s no better time to dust off your camping gear, set out for the wilderness and sleep beneath the stars. But while the Great Outdoors may seem like an ideal vacation destination for Fido, remember that he will also be exposed to new and unfamiliar territory. Here are a few tips to make camping more fun for everyone:

Purchase a pet first aid kit from a pet supply store. Even something as small as a bug bite or splinter can make for a very unhappy pooch if untreated.

Bring the right food for Fido. While campfire fare might seem like a fun treat for your pets, ingestion of fatty foods can cause pancreatitis and other digestive issues, which even a first aid kit won’t cure. Best bet, bring along his favorite pet food and keep the s’mores to yourself.

Respect your pet’s physical limitations. Domesticated animals may seem like they simply can’t wait to “run wild,” but they can get as out of shape as the rest of us. So don’t expect Fido to climb a mountain, hike miles of trails or swim across the entire lake.

The best part of summer is spending time having fun with you pets. By thinking ahead, you can make sure that whatever you do this season, everyone has a great time—Fido and Fluffy included.

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