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Newsletter

July 2010 Newsletter

Dog Days of Summer
by Nancy Kay, DVM
Courtesy of SacPaws.com

Dog Days of SummerSome of us take “dog days of summer” literally- we want to go everywhere accompanied by our beloved canine companions! As tempting as this may be, keep in mind that when temperatures are soaring your dog is likely best served by staying home. Heat has the potential to be hazardous to a dog’s health.

Dogs are incapable of significant sweating- their only sweat glands are located on the undersides of their paws. The major mechanism by which dogs dissipate heat is by panting, but this cooling system is easily overwhelmed when the temperatures climbs. Panting becomes even less effective in humid conditions or for dogs with underlying respiratory tract ailments (collapsing trachea, laryngeal paralysis, lung diseases) or dogs that are overweight. Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and others I lovingly refer to as “smoosh-faced” breeds readily overheat because of their unique upper respiratory tract anatomy.

What happens when dogs get too hot? The result can be heatstroke, a life threatening condition. Symptoms of heatstroke tend to occur abruptly and can include increased heart rate, labored breathing, weakness, collapse, purplish gum color, and even seizures and coma. Of all the “summertime diseases,” veterinarians dread heatstroke the most because we know that, even with aggressive therapy, many heatstroke victims will succumb to organ damage and death.

Most cases of canine heatstroke are a result of confinement in cars. Perhaps the vehicle was parked in the shade, but the sun shifted, or a well-intentioned person thought that leaving the windows cracked or returning to the car quickly would be a safe bet. Overactivity in the heat is another common cause of heatstroke. The desire to chase the ball trumps all else, and the person throwing it doesn’t recognize when it’s time to quit.

If you suspect your dog has or is on the verge of heatstroke, spend just a few minutes cooling him off with water from a hose or covering him with towels soaked in cool water. Then get to the closest veterinary hospital as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence- the earlier heatstroke is detected and treated, the greater the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing heatstroke. Here are some pointers to help keep your best buddy safe during these hot summer months:

-Never leave your dog inside the car on warm or hot days. A panting dog in an enclosed space quickly creates a muggy greenhouse environment that can quickly cause heatstroke. Even with the windows down, temperatures inside a car can rise to 120 degrees or more. If you happen upon a dog confined in a car on a hot day, find the owner of the vehicle or contact a police officer- whichever will most rapidly liberate the dog from danger.
-Exercise your dog early in the morning or during evening hours to avoid the heat of the day.
-Allow for plenty of rest and water breaks during play activity and exercise. Your dog may not know his limits and will continue to enthusiastically chase the Frisbee even when his internal thermometer is getting ready to blow a fuse.
-Keep your dog indoors, ideally in air conditioning, on very hot days.
-If your dog is left outside, be sure he has plenty of shade and provide him with access to a sprinkler, wading pool, or sand pit soaked with water.
-If flying with your dog during the summer months schedule your flight for nighttime or early morning. Check with the airlines to find out whether or not the cargo hold is temperature controlled.

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend a most enjoyable and safe summer!

Stop that Scratching!
by Nancy Kay, DVM
Courtesy of SacPaws.com

Stop Scrathing!If the sounds of a canine or feline “scratchfest” is interrupting your slumber, or you’re snarling, “Stop scratching!” several times a day, chances are you have an allergic pet on your hands. Just as with human hay fever, most dog and cat allergies are the result of an exaggerated immune system response to allergens in the environment such as plant pollens, tree pollens, and mold spores. The scientific name for this inherited allergic condition is atopy or atopic dermatitis. Terriers of any type are notorious atopy sufferers along with Dalmatians, Lhasa Apsos, Shar-peis, Bulldogs, and Labrador Retrievers.
Whereas people are prone to runny nose and eyes, dogs and cats with atopy develop itchy skin, often accompanied by skin and ear infections. Symptoms are initially mild and seasonal, but tend to progress year by year in terms of severity and duration. Fortunately, there are many options for treating atopy including medicated shampoos, antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, and drugs that alter the immune system’s overzealous behavior (cyclosporine, cortisone). Just as for people, desensitization injections can be administered after specific testing is done to determine which allergens are provoking the immune response. Elimination of exposure to the allergens may also be an option (a good excuse to move to Hawaii!).

Pet of the Month

Congratulations to July’s pet of the month: Bandit, aka Bandido. Bandit is a rat terrier who shares his home with our pet sitter, Jessica. He was recently interviewed by his mom and had this to say.

Bandit

Bandit

 

How we met our family:

I was a rescue dog. My previous family was not very nice to me so I ran away and a very nice lady picked me up and took me in. Unfortunately, she could not keep me so she put me up for adoption at Petsmart and my new mommy fell in love with me from the minute she laid eyes on me. I have been a vital part of the family ever since.

What I have to say about the companion human(s) I share our home with:

I have only nice things to say companion humans. My mommy lets me snuggle at her feet at night and my baby sister, even though she can be a pest and likes to crawl on me and pull at my legs, can be a lot of fun. She likes chasing me around the house and I run away just because it keeps her busy. I also love the fact that she drops food all the time!

My favorite hobbies:

I love basking in the warm summer sun and I also love eating bark from the trees. I enjoy running around with my playmate Koda. He is much bigger than me but we are the best of friends.

My favorite foods:

Well I am not going to lie, I enjoy pretty much all foods, especially the human kind. My mommy tries to limit my human food intake but occasionally I take it upon myself to get into the trash and eat whatever I find. I guess my favorites are pizza crust and bacon. My mommy always tells me though that “A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips.”

My favorite toys:

I am not really into toys but I do have a crazy sock fetish! I like to steal my mommy’s or my baby sister’s socks and hide them in random places throughout the house and backyard. It really makes my mommy mad but then I know she thinks I look cute with her sock hanging out of my mouth.

My most exciting adventures:

I have not been on too many crazy adventures but I love going to the river and on walks around the neighborhood. It’s a lot of fun for me to check out the scenery beyond my own backyard! I also love to go on car rides and sit on my mommy’s lap and look out the car window. Life’s simple pleasures…

My idea of a perfect day:

I would be in heaven if I was able to sleep in at the foot of my mommy’s bed, then go to the river with my playmate Koda and splash around for awhile, come home and eat a large dinner (whatever my mommy is eating) and then snuggle up on my mommy’s lap underneath a blanket. It’s not easy being a dog!!

Secret skills or abilities that few people know about us

I guess I would have to say my ability to jump really, really high. My mommy has tried to use baby gates to keep me in and out of rooms but I can clear those without a problem. Even though I am tiny, I can jump several feet in the air. Sometimes I think I am a big dog stuck in a little dog’s body!

Service Announcements

Please let us know about your summer vacation plans. We still have availability but would like to schedule the visits now so we can plan ahead. It’s also not too early to be thinking about the rest of the year and the holiday season especially.
We are looking to hire a pet sitter and dog walker for the Folsom area. Pet sitters need to be generally available 7 days a week during peak hours of 7-9am, 11am-1pm, and 6-8pm. We are also in need of a dog walker who is available Monday through Friday from 11am-1pm. If you or anyone you know is interested, please submit your resume to jobs@myfavpetsitter.com.

Focus on Fundraising

The upcoming used book sale fundraiser will be held on August 7th and 8th at Country Club Plaza Mall in Sacramento (2310 Watt Ave.), near the food court. Saturday hours are 10am to 8pm and Sunday hours are 11am to 2pm. Come and browse more than 8,000 gently-used hardcover and paperback books including fiction, mystery, biographies, romance, cookbooks, art books, children’s books, and more. On Saturday, most paperbacks will be priced at 50 cents; most trade paperbacks at $1; and most hardbacks at $2. Romance is half off! On Sunday, all books will be sold for $5 a bag.

Proceeds benefit Folsom Feline Rescue and Katmom/Dogdad. We are still accepting book donations until mid-July.  

Pet Humor

 

   
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