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4th of July Safety

July 4th Safety

Fireworks, picnics, and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.

Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after the July 4th festivities.

Preparing in advance:

  • Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. 
  • If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats and dogs – just in case.
  • If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian at The Corner Vet.
  • Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained? Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals; and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure.

Safety during July 4th celebrations:

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.
  • Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
  • If you’re traveling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
  • Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

Click here to print out these tips. 

Check out our blog for more pet information! 

Your Pet’s First-Aid Kit

Your Pet’s First-Aid Kit

Everyone who shares a home with a pet should have a basic pet first-aid kit on hand.

Keep your pet’s first-aid kit in your home and take it with you if you are traveling with your pet.

One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it. You can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. But you can easily assemble your own kit by gathering the items on our lists below.

Pet-specific supplies

  • Phone numbers: The Corner Vet, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic (along with directions!) and a poison-control center or hotline (such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at 1-800-426-4435)
  • Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)
  • Nylon leash
  • Self-cling bandage (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs)
  • Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (don’t use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing or otherwise having difficulty breathing)

Basic first-aid supplies

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
  • A pet carrier

Other useful items

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet’s size.
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers
  • Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
  • Nail clippers
  • Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
  • Penlight or flashlight
  • Plastic eyedropper or syringe
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer
  • Splints and tongue depressors
  • Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
  • Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet’s collar when you travel)
  • Towels

Common-sense advice

  • In addition to the items listed above, include anything The Corner Vet veterinarian has recommended specifically for your pet.
  • Check the supplies in your pet’s first-aid kit occasionally and replace any items that have expired.
  • For your family’s safety, keep all medical supplies and medications out of the reach of children and pets.

Click here to print out this check list. 

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Keeping your pet cool in the summer Texas heat can be tough especially as we creep into triple digit temperatures. However, there are a few simple precautions you can take to keep your furry pal safe and comfortable this summer. 

Hydration is key…Take fresh cold water with you whenever you take your pet. Collapsible water bowls are great for hydrating on the go. 

Home is where the AC is…While 85-degree days might be enjoyable for us, our pets will likely get overheated. When exposed to hot temperatures for a long period of time, their bodies aren’t able to cool down. Leave you pet home on hot days with the AC on and plenty of fresh water. 

Enjoy the outdoors wisely… Beat the heat by timing your walks around the early mornings and late evenings to avoid the heat of the day. This will make your daytime excursions more enjoyable for both you and your pet. 

Cool off in the yard…Sprinklers are a great way to cool your pooch off in the summertime. If your pet prefers to ease into water, a children’s plastic swimming pool provides a cheap and easy option for cooling off. No yard? No problem! Texas has several amazing dog parks that feature swimming ponds and rinse stations!

Cooling mats…In the car, at the park, or at home, a cooling mat is a great option to keep your pet comfy. You can even make one yourself if you’re handy with a sewing machine! 

Signs of dehydration…Be mindful of your pet’s comfort in the summer months and watch out for the following signs of dehydration: shallow breathing/panting, back is warm-to-the-touch, thick saliva, visibly tired, walking unsteadily, dry nose, dark urine, or vomiting and/or diarrhea. 

By following these tips, you and your pet are sure to have an amazing summer!

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With the recent canine influenza outbreak, many pet parents have questions about how to protect their furry family members from getting the sniffles. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is it? Also known as ‘dog flu’, canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses (H3N2). The virus can be spread through both direct (i.e. dog bowls, chew toys) and indirect contact with an infected pet. For example, if a friend’s pet is infected and coughs or sneezes on your clothing, the virus would live long enough for you to bring it home to your fur baby. If your pet comes in contact with the virus, the chance that he or she will become infected is nearly 100%. 

What are the symptoms? Dog flu symptoms are similar to that of humans. About 80% of dogs that become infected with the virus experience a high fever, coughing, a runny nose, a loss of appetite, and fatigue. 

Who’s at risk? Dogs that live in an area where there has been an outbreak in canine flu are as a higher risk. Dogs that are regularly in contact with other dogs (pet boarding, dog parks, etc) also have a higher chance of contracting the virus. 

As with humans, puppies and older dogs have a higher risk of experiencing serious illness. Breeds with smushed-in faces (i.e. pugs, French bulldogs) have a harder time dealing with the illness due to their respiratory tract. 

Prevention: Dog flu vaccinations are available to help prevent your pooch from contracting the virus. While some dogs may still contract the virus, the vaccine has been proven to reduce the severity of the symptoms. According to AVMA, dogs that are vaccinated are less likely to spread the virus to other dogs. 

Contact your vet fore more information! 

Disaster Preparedness Kit Checklist

Necessities

  • Food One-to-two-week supply of the dry or canned food your pet usually eats. (While stored, make sure to replace the food according to expiration dates.) Also include a spoon, food dish and, if you use canned foods, a can opener. Record your pet’s eating habits (amount and times) as well as any allergies your pet may have and keep the record with the other paperwork in this kit. Store the food in a waterproof and protective bag or case.
  • Water One-to-two-week supply in gallon-sized plastic containers. (Make sure to replace stored water regularly to ensure freshness.) Include a collapsible or travel water bowl that is easy to store.
  • Cleaning Supplies To clean crates/litter boxes.
  • Cat Litter One-to-two-week supply plus a small, plastic litter box and litter scoop. You can opt for disposable litter
  • Boxes that come pre-made with litter. 
  • Spare or extra collars, harnesses, or leashes, bedding or pet blankets
  • Identification Tags If possible, have the ability to write your temporary location or contact information on the tags.
  • Animal Crates or Carriers Label with your contact information; make sure the animal has room to move around and it is safe for the pet (latches and bolts should be secure).
  • Toys
  • Brushes/Combs, Grooming Supplies
  • Pet First-Aid Kit For more information, check out The Corner Vet First-Aid Kit Checklist.

Paperwork

  • Photographs In case you need to distribute pictures if your pet gets lost.
  • Vaccine Records/Medical History Copies of important veterinary documents, such as vaccination records, medical history, medical conditions, and records of important test results (FeLV/FIV).
  • Veterinary Information Write down the name, address and phone number of your vet and an alternate vet. Write out a release statement, authorizing medical treatments for your pets. Write down your pet insurance policy number, if you have one.
  • Proof of Ownership/Animal Information Copies of registration information, adoption papers, proof of purchase, microchip, tattoo or other identification information.
  • List of Emergency Contacts
  • Medication List each pet separately and include dose and frequency for each medication. Keep a two-week reserve supply, with directions on how to administer. If possible, keep the medication in the original jar or bottle that it came in. Replace according to expiration dates. Don’t forget reserve doses of flea and tick and heartworm preventatives.

Click here to print out this checklist. 

Visit our blog for more pet tips! 

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